‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for April 17th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

The greatest tragedy of life is not that we quarrel with our fellows, but that we do not take time to know them.

In his great understanding of man and nature, Thoreau wrote, “Let a man take time enough for the most trivial deed.” Take time.

How often what seems to be an unfriendly atmosphere is only a lack of time. Some of our dearest friends are hidden behind the mask of hurry. And we need so desperately to know each other.

Understanding comes when people are allowed to talk to one another. They discover the ways and needs, the loves and hopes, and the despairs and fears when they take enough time to speak of them. All these things that make for understanding and compassion come from personal contact and the knowledge and practice of good will.

People become more civilized, more peaceful, more as God intended them to be when they take time to make friends out of acquaintances.

To be a good listener endears many a friendship. Everyone needs someone with whom to talk at length on all subjects without later regret. It has been written, “What a great blessing is a friend with breast so trusty that you may bury all your secrets in it.”

And how often we need to be that friend and be the listener, and to make sure we are worthy of that trust.

Listening comes in many ways. We listen with all our sense, knowing many times without having to be told what someone’s needs are. Charles Dickens said that no one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else. And it just may be by listening that we lighten another’s load.

Sometimes we listen with our hearts and understand in silence. Sometimes we simply have to put ourselves into a situation to understand all sides of it. And we best do so by listening.

All our lives we carry secrets with us that we long to reveal to someone who understands.

There are relationships in our lives better and closer than the ordinary. Closer yet than brothers or sisters are those with whom we can share all our secrets, we think.

What a sad state of affairs when life imparts that others cannot always be trusted. What a shock to realize we have given all our hearts and bared our souls to people whose curiosity was the only motive that compelled them to listen.

Phillip Massinger, sixteenth century poet wrote, “I have played the fool, the gross fool to believe the bosom of a friend would hold a secret mine own could not contain.”

Not one of us can testify that we have nothing within our lives and thoughts that we cannot reveal. And many of us have not expressed our innermost thoughts because we have found no one in whom we can confide.

As Shakespeare said, “Many a man’s tongue shakes out its master’s undoing.” Sometimes the loquacious tell their secrets not out of a need to tell them, but out of a love of talking.

One of the greatest feelings in the world is to discover we haven’t told something we cherish very much to someone we once thought we could trust.

_________________________________________

Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site:
http://www.whitebison.org

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 17

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 17

“Women know more about love than men do…Love is taking. Love is sharing. Love is learning things about each other.”

–Mary Leitka, HOH

The Elders say Mother Earth shares Her special gifts of love with the Women. The Women know about bringing forth life and nurturing their offspring. Through this gift of love the Earth really makes the Woman special. Men should look upon the Woman with a Sacred Eye. She should be respected. The Woman is a role model for love. When the Woman talks, we should listen; when she shares, we should be grateful. We should all learn about each other.

Grandmother, teach me to love with the power of the Woman.

April 17 – Daily Feast

April 17 – Daily Feast

We want to do the right thing, say the right thing, be the right person. We try to be in tune with life, to find harmony within to blend with all that surrounds us. It just seems that so much has been borrowed from us – time, concern, spirit – until we cry for restoration. Like children, we want to ask, “Are we happy yet?” Is there a time of rhythm and order and an even beat, so that we may walk without running, laugh without tears, care without fear of giving too much? Yes, beyond the slightest doubt we can renew and we can overcome the feeling of being totally taxed to despair. Speak to yourself, said the little Cherokee grandmother. Tell yourself you are u wo du hi, fine looking, and your surroundings will see it and want you to be happy. In other words, change your attitude and the world will respond.

~ Why do you take by force what you could obtain by love? ~

POWHATAN

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

The Daily Motivator for April 17th – Transform weakness into strength

Transform weakness into strength

Weakness is nothing to be ashamed of. It is something to be worked on.

It’s good to improve on your strengths. It’s even better, though, to make improvements in the areas that are your weaknesses.

When you improve on your strengths, you get good incremental gains. Yet when you can transform a weakness into a strength, you get major, life-changing gains.

Be willing to admit what you don’t know, what you are not experienced at doing, and what you don’t understand. Then get busy learning, developing your skills, and increasing your understanding.

Instead of using your weaknesses as excuses, use them as pathways for improvement. Instead of resigning yourself to whatever’s holding you back, challenge yourself to find a way around it.

Be honest and realistic with yourself about where you are coming up short. Then do the work, transform that weakness into strength, and move forward faster than ever before.

— Ralph Marston
Source:

The Daily Motivator

The Daily OM for April 17th – Releasing and Welcoming

Releasing and Welcoming
Energetic Sweeping

by Madisyn Taylor

Sweeping the front porch every morning is an important cleansing ritual that prepares the ground for new energy.

In some of our lives, sweeping has become an activity performed without much thought. In many cases, sweeping is a lost art, replaced by the noisy, efficient vacuum cleaner. But in several cultures and religions, sweeping the front and back porch every morning is regarded as an important cleansing ritual that prepares the ground for new energy on every level—physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. It is often employed to sanctify a space and prepare it for a ceremony. This seemingly simple action has the power to clear away the old and make space for the new. It stirs up the energy in a place, clearing out the astral buildup that is the natural by-product of the presence of humans.

This kind of sweeping is not about cleaning the area of dust. In fact, the broom doesn’t have to actually touch the ground to be effective. You might want to consider having two different brooms, one you use for cleaning dust and dirt, and one you use for energy clearing. If you are so inspired, you could decorate your broom by carving its handle, painting it, decorating it with gemstones and ribbons, or any other creative adornment that appeals to you. You can also make your own broom out of tree branches and twigs, or choose a naturally appearing broom from nature, such as a pine bough.

Sweeping each morning prepares the ground for the new day at the same time as it deepens our awareness of the importance of letting go of the past to welcome the present. As we clear the energy of our space, we clear our own energy systems. In addition, we create a space that feels clean, clear, and open to all who enter. Be sure to think welcoming thoughts as you sweep, manifesting what you need for the day. Making sweeping part of our daily ritual tunes us into the continuing cycle of releasing the old and welcoming the new that is the hallmark of a healthy energy system.

Source:

The Daily OM

Spell Ingredients: Add a Large Dose of Reality

Spell Ingredients: Add a Large Dose of Reality

Author: Solonius 

The first ingredient for any spell: A large dose of reality…. I mean, really, what do you expect? If all spells worked, wouldn’t humanity universally believe in witchcraft and magic and use it wholeheartedly? And to that extent wouldn’t worthy practitioners be a desired commodity? It is imperative for practitioners to separate their wishful and whimsical fantasies from serious study, contemplation, experimentation and application.

I believe that in order to further understand and define the super-natural, you first have to develop and have a thorough understanding of the natural. Any study of the Craft requires a greater amount of study into the realm of Laws of Nature and the Laws of Physics. After all, how can you define what is extra-ordinary, if you don’t even know the extent of what is ordinary?

The Laws of Physics are many, and the typical high-school student mostly understands the important ones. Opposites attract (by and large this only works for ions, kids, not people) , for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction, a body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, for any change in state the by-product or causation is heat, etc. How can better knowing these things help us in a greater understanding of our spell work? Because all these things deal with Energy, and what is the Universe constructed of? Anyone…? Yes, Energy. And what does spell work deal with, when you boil it all down (pun intended) ? That’s right, Energy! Or more accurately, the transfer of energy. This is the First Insight that any practitioner should grasp. EVERYTHING is energy.

The Second Insight that we should understand, because it deals with both types of laws, is that Nature abhors a vacuum. That can be observed as simply as watching a balloon deflate. What do you discover with these phenomena? That Nature seeks a balance. This holds true for the Laws of Life and the Laws of Physics. The Universe naturally seeks equilibrium. Whether this is between hot/cold, high pressure/low pressure, too many predators and not enough prey, the Law stays the same. In the end, Nature will follow its Laws. You do know, though, that there is a defined and empirical Order to Things. You might not understand it fully, but you can be assured that an order exists by observing the smallest things in nature. This is crucial: Be observant to Nature and learn from it. Nature, in all its complexity, is still a system of doing things the easiest and least energy wasting way. Contemplate that reality for a while.

Where does this energy come from? Good question. Is it physical energy, which means connected to our current plane of existence? If that is so, then you would not be able to contain it for the energy you are talking about on the physical plane is electrical in nature, and you would become walking atom bombs if you gathered the energy required to perform some spells. So it can’t be a physical energy type.

Is it spiritual energy (which obviously means it is energy collected from higher levels of existence) that you are able to gather and use? The usual consensus is “Yes, it is.” This leads to the next set of questions. Can energy from higher levels of existence cause effects on a lower level of existence? How can if affect the energy in a lower existence, if the two existences are not on the same sphere? Can the physical things you do on a lower plane of existence affect what happens on a higher plane of existence? Is your mentality the only link between what you perceive as the physical plane and planes above what you can perceive with your physical senses? What is the extent of ‘Reality’, does it encompass ALL spheres of existence as ONE reality? Nature abhors a vacuum, so if As Above – So Below is a Law of Nature, does this mean that the energies of a higher plane seek a balance with the energies of a lower plane?

It is said that in the higher planes all things are possible if you only imagine it so. I further postulate that you must not only imagine it so, it must become your perceived REALITY. You must learn to tap into the energies of the higher planes, and effect permanent changes there, before any changes can happen in the physical plane. I’ve often said that there is an ocean of difference between Understanding and Knowing. Understanding is intellectual; it is accepting truth without necessarily going through all the motions to prove it. Knowing is visceral; it deals more with proof from the physical senses perceiving something as true. Ergo, to make a change here, you have to Know that you have made a change in higher realms first.

I postulate the reason for this is the hypothesis of ‘trickle down economics’ if you’d like. What does this mean? It means that in order to build a hut on the physical plane, you must first build a mansion in the higher planes. More complexly, Nature (meaning all planes of existence) seeks a balance. Nature also does things the absolute least energy-wasting way. I perceive that Nature does not easily permit energy to flow across planes of existence, even if they are in the same ‘Reality’. With As Above – So Below, you can see through a simple diagram of two superimposed triangles (one point up, the other point down) that the equilibrium point is above here and now (the bottom point) , yet below the ultimate expression (the top point) . As you move down from the ultimate expression (the open V) , less and less energy is transferred. Therefore you must have a firm and knowing conviction of what you wish to accomplish and see a clear and precise picture of it occurring, before you can hope to realize it happening.

Ironically, you should also have a wonderfully developed sense of imagination up to the point of believing in what seems impossible. Only with an active imagination can you build that mansion up to the point of actualization in the higher planes. This seems contradictory, but I don’t feel that it is. Without a firm mental picture of what you require to exist, can you hope to achieve your goal? You have to build that mansion brick by brick, through much mental exactness and conviction. This requires a great deal of imagination as well as focus. The constructed mansion should then remain in that higher plane once you have completed it. It’s there; there is no doubt of its existence in your mind. Every time you visit the higher realms your mansion is there, gleaming with its glory. Make it Reality. Does this mean that a mansion will magically appear here and now for you in the material plane? Probably not, but the single minded effort it took to imagine it as reality in the higher plane, could translate into the required motivation and focus to achieve it in the here and now. Here is something else to consider: owning the mansion is secondary to the method of achieving it.

I’ve used the visualization of a mansion to put a face to a concept. However, it holds true for any endeavor. What you wish to have happen is secondary to HOW you achieve its happening. You build the mental picture (higher plane reality) while simultaneously going through with the steps required to achieve the same results. This multiple avenue approach enlists all your faculties to achieve what your desire is. The greater the amount of energies enlisted to achieve your desire, the more energy the universe aligns with the outcome. Remember: the method of how you achieve your goal is primary to the goal itself.

As an example: There is a twice-weekly fervent prayer on many lips throughout the land: “Please let me win the lottery!” However, if you never go out to purchase a lottery ticket, the effort placed into your prayer was wasted, wasn’t it? The same occurs with your Craft. Creating a spell to achieve the end result is short sighted. You still have to do the work to realize your goal. There really are no shortcuts. I don’t mean using some elaborate spell either. I mean elaborate mental visualization, coupled with following a plan to achieve the goal. Each reinforces the other, making the possibility of achievement vastly greater. Ground that visualization into what Laws Nature has already demonstrated. This lends conviction and credibility to the achievement of the goal.

What would be the required steps to achieve that goal without using any Craft? Incorporate those steps into the visualization with your spell. Bypass any flights of fantasy; they require too much energy to maintain. After all is it easier for your mind to accept flying to work on a broomstick, or driving your car? Your mind will default to what it Knows is possible, and will automatically call B.S. to what is not. Even a child imagining flying around the house on a broomstick Knows that they are just pretending. So why kid yourself? The more reality you incorporate into your Craft, the greater the results you will receive.

*On a side note: I don’t think of the planes of Reality as floors in a skyscraper, nor are they in some cardinal Direction. They don’t exist as pages in a book, where you can turn a page and have a new reality. I think of it as a condensing of energy from zero (conversely the most dense) to the ultimate amount of energy. They are all concurrent and here and now, superimposed upon what we can only perceive as the physical plane due to the limitations of our senses. This energy is limitless to infinity. For infinity is provable as far as we have observed. Outside the edge of the growing globe of galaxies expanding outward, is vacuum. Forever. You could hypothetically travel so far away that this entire globe of expanding physical energy seems like nothing more than a single spec of brilliant light. However, the theory of infinity breaks down if you require a starting point. As Above – So Below… Infinity must go in BOTH ‘directions’ forever, or the concept breaks down.

I thank you for your time in reading this. I hope it gave you some food for contemplation, and in some way helps you with more success on your path.

Regards,
Solonius

Spell Casting: The Witches’ Craft

Spell Casting: The Witches’ Craft

Author: Jason Miller (Inominandum) 

The Greeks made a distinction between theurgy and thaumaturgy. Theurgy literally means “God working” and refers to spiritual work that leads one into illumination or gnosis. Thaumaturgy means, “wonder working” and refers to the conjuration of spirits, casting of spells, blessing, cursing, curing and harming through practical magick. The balance between these two aspects of the craft has been an issue since the emergence of Wicca in the 1950’s. Does spell casting overshadow religion? This debate has been heating up in online groups and blogs recently due to a story on beliefnet.com by Carl McColman entitled Is Wicca Under a Spell, which deals with both sides of the issue. Many people in the Pagan community that I have spoken with feel that magick and sorcery do the religious aspects of Wicca no good and should be downplayed. Some I have spoken to have no interest in spell-casting at all, or perhaps don’t even believe in practical magick, and thus see this aspect of the craft as an obstacle to Wicca taking its place as a major Western religion. I would like to take this opportunity to present the opposing argument.

What often gets overlooked is that Wicca and Witchcraft are not the same thing. The terms are often used interchangeably but Witchcraft is a craft that can be, but isn’t necessarily, part of a religion. Wicca is most definitely a religion. While not all Wiccan traditions stem by lineage from Gerald Gardner, by and large they use a constellation of terms and beliefs that were first put in place by him and those that came after, thus we can say that we can trace Wicca more or less back to him. Witchcraft is a larger area than this. Isaac Bonewits once provided a breakdown of the types of Witches in America, which can help put this into perspective:

10% Neo-Pagan – Revivalist traditions, including Wicca.
70% Neo-Classical – Those who practice folk magick with mixed Christian and Pagan roots without regard to Witchcraft as a religion.
1-2% Classical village healers who practice completely non-religious folk magick.
1-2% Neo-Gothic – Practitioners of Satanism which is based on the Gothic Witchcraft of the Witch Hysteria Era.
1-2% Family Trads.
1-2% Immigrant Traditions: Pow-wow etc.
10% Practitioners of Vodou, Santeria, etc.

For example one of my ancestors was allegedly a “water witch” who told people where to dig wells. While in Venice I was offered a charm to obtain by a Witch. In both of these cases the Witch in question was a devout Christian. According to this breakdown Neo-Paganism and Wicca account for only %10 of American Witches but even within that scope there are many Witchcraft traditions that make it very clear that they are not Wiccan: The Feri Tradition, The Clan of Tubal Cain and the Cultus Sabbati all represent traditions of the craft that have non-Gardnerian roots, and do not fall under the umbrella of Wicca.

I have an enormous respect for Wicca but I am a Witch, not a Wiccan. I object when the terms are used interchangeably and when Wicca attempts to speak for all Witchcraft. I got involved with the craft during the mid 80’s in North Jersey, just outside of Manhattan. Paul Huson’s Mastering Witchcraft, Herman Slater’s Magickal Formularies, and the little spell books from Original Publications had much more of an influence on my Witchcraft than Scott Cunningham or Ray Buckland. This is not to say that I am not religious: I am. But I learned to use practical magick at an early age and was successful at it. I have traveled all over the world to learn traditional magickal techniques: from New Orleans, to Europe, to Nepal. Today I do magick professionally and consider traditional techniques of spell-working to be just as important as religious and spiritual traditions.

I would argue spell-casting is just as sacred as Wicca and Neo-Paganism and far more ancient and widespread a tradition. So where McColman asks the question: “As publishers produce more books about casting spells, is the spiritual message of Witchcraft getting lost?” I ask the opposite: Is the popular influence of Wicca and Neo-Paganism negatively impacting the tradition of spell casting, or if you will, the Witches’ Craft?

I think it is, on a number of levels. I will give just three examples:

Ethics:

The Wiccan Rede provides a very strong ethical principle for Witches to follow. As such, any mention of curses, jinxes, or harmful magick is frowned upon by the Pagan press. Some take this even further and extend it to spells that influence another’s will or reverse a curse back upon its sender. Very often in modern books I read “A REAL WITCH would never do harmful or coercive magick…” While I can applaud the good intent of these writers, and understand that authors are trying to paint a picture of Wicca that is acceptable to mainstream America, the fact is that this type of magick IS part of a “REAL” Witch’s repertoire. From the lead curse tablets of Greece, to the Gospel of Aradia, to more modern Witches like Sibyl Leek and Andrew Chumbley, cursing and coercion have always been a part of the Craft.

When my teacher taught me my first pieces of harmful magick, I was surprised. I had no interest in harming anyone but she told me, “You have to learn how to harm, in order to learn how to heal. The power comes hand-in-hand.” Apart from that lesson, life has taught me that a curse can be justified, and that in rare instances it can be down right compassionate. It is the use of knowledge that determines whether it is good or evil, not the knowledge itself.

To my mind allowing Wicca’s religious stance to determine what gets printed about traditional Witchcraft is wrong and pollutes the baraka of an ancient art. For instance Paul Huson’s book Mastering Witchcraft is one of the only early books of the craft that deals with the subject of vengeance and attack, and was given a horrible reputation in the Pagan community because of it. I have been to stores that refused to even carry it. One that did felt the need to put disclaimers all over it stating that it was “Not Real Witchcraft.” The book didn’t endorse vengeance and attack. It merely tried to present the full scope of the art it claimed to teach. In doing so, it put the preceding chapter on counter-magic and protection into great context. If anything, the craft teaches personal responsibility. Why then can we not trust readers to make their own ethical decisions about the craft?

Materia:

In the aforementioned article on beliefnet.com, Gardnerian Priestess Judy Harrow, author of Spiritual Mentoring, was quoted as saying:

“I remember once a man solemnly informing me that if a spell calls for, say, blue candles, and the candles are white candles dipped in blue instead of being blue all the way through, the spell will fail or maybe even backfire… People who believe that (magic) power is in ‘the stuff’ will not be able to access the power if ‘the stuff’ is not handy.”

A proficient Witch learns to substitute items that can’t be gotten in time. We also learn the magics of breath, gaze, gesture and incantation that can be cast without materials of any type whatsoever. While I agree that not all the power is in “the stuff, ” there certainly is quite a bit more than many modern writers would have you think. Many modern books make the case that “it’s all in your mind” and that the materials are just props with no real power of their own. This to me is disrespectful to the Witches and sorcerers that painstakingly wrote down formularies and philtres over the centuries. If this was really the case, why bother getting the ingredients right at all? Why not just write down “Devils Shoe Strings” on nine pieces of paper and use them instead of the herb? Try it and see what kind of results you get. Having lived in Nepal and worked with various Ngakpas (sorcerers) and Jankris (shaman) , I can tell you that they take their ingredients very seriously. I can say the same about the Bokors and Root Doctors of New Orleans.

Flying ointment made from mugwort in a carrier oil may be safer, but it is not just as good as one made from hemlock, belladonna, and other baneful herbs carefully mixed and applied. A stone with a hole drilled in it will not work as well as a real hagstone formed by running water. A twig from the backyard will not provide as good a basis for an influence charm as a whole High John root. These things have a tradition that goes back hundred of years and should not be cast aside so easily.

Psychological Reductionism:

Australian sociologist Douglas Ezzy was quoted in the beliefnet.com article regarding the effect of spells themselves:

“In his paper ‘New Age Witchcraft? Popular spell books and the re-enchantment of everyday life, ’ Ezzy notes that spell books ‘encourage individuals to take control of their lives through self-exploration and self-affirmation.’ Furthermore, ‘performing magical spells functions as a way of re-discovering the enchanted and mysterious aspects of life.’”

McColman further interprets this:

“In other words, spells are more than just magical recipes for getting your own way; they are miniature rituals designed to foster a sense of mystery and wonder (what Ezzy calls ‘enchantment’) in everyday life, and to evoke a positive sense of power and hope in the spell-caster’s life. Even if casting a spell doesn’t make you rich or win you love, it could give you hope that such blessings really are possible in your life.”

There are many Pagans and Wiccans that have no interest, belief in, or talent for spell-casting. That’s okay. I don’t believe that Witchcraft was ever meant to be a widespread practice. It may be elitist of me to suggest it, but I don’t think that everyone can cast an effective spell. Some can, some can’t. What we have today however are people drawn to the purely religious and spiritual aspects of Neo-Paganism and mistaking it for Witchcraft. They need to find a way to explain the place of spell-casting in a modern world, so its gets explained away in psycho-babble.

Many teachers today will explain that spells don’t actually offer outer change, only inner change. A spell to help you get a job will perhaps build your confidence but not affect the mind of the interviewer. The claim is that the magick is providing mystery, wonder, and self-affirmation. These are all good things, but it is clear that Witches throughout history did not feel this way about their craft, and neither do I!

I and many others know from experience that a well placed and executed spell can alter future events, affect the mind and spirit of a target or a client, and generally deliver the goods that are traditionally attributed to the craft. The effectiveness of this depends on the ability of the practitioner, knowledge of the art, and skillful application of that power and knowledge. Some people have a talent for practical magic. Some do not. Not so long ago, if you didn’t have a gift or calling for Witchcraft, you would not have been drawn to it. Now that it has become a popular subculture and religion, I wonder if people that don’t have much talent for spell work feel the need to write it off? To be clear I don’t think that you need to practice spellcraft to be a Pagan, or even a Wiccan, but that doesn’t mean we should reduce the classical art of Witchcraft to therapeutic drama.

McColman quotes writer Laura LaVoie as saying: “One of my fears with the spell books is that they send the wrong message to those looking for answers on how to be Pagan.” I have heard her fear echoed often in the Pagan community but very few consider the other side of the coin: Neo-Pagans can sometimes send the wrong message to those that just want to practice Witchcraft.

It’s pretty easy to tell whether a book is religious or is a collection of spells. I find it difficult to believe that someone looking to get a start in a new religion would pick up an Encyclopedia of Spells. On the other hand I do know of many people who came to a spiritual path, Wiccan or otherwise, through a desire to cast spells that opened up deeper questions.

I have what I consider to be a very rigorous and serious spiritual practice. I also am a professional Occultist who does readings and magick for pay. If Wicca doesn’t want to be confused with spell-casting, then they should stop using the term Witchcraft and Wicca interchangeably. Wicca represents one tradition of Witchcraft, not the whole practice.

There is room for both spells and Spirit. Keep the spell books coming! Keep the Pagan books coming! Keep the Wiccan books coming! Let them all get better researched and lead people deeper into the mysteries, from whatever angle of approach they choose.

May the Blessing, Cursing, and Cunning Be!

______________________________________________-

Footnotes:
McColman, Carl, Is Wicca Under A Spell?”, beliefnet.com, 2005.

The Journey of a Wild Witch

The Journey of a Wild Witch

Author: Eilan 

It has been eight years since I first discovered Witchcraft in a spiritual context. Prior to this Magick was very much alive in my life as I was lucky enough to have been born into a family that understands the spiritual dimension of life. My family also had the insight and experience to see and live this dimension in their everyday. In truth there is no difference between what is conceived to be ‘spiritual’ and that which is apparent and ‘mundane’. It is all one. This is my truth and my wild way.

I am an initiated Witch and Priest of the WildWood Tradition of Witchcraft. This means a great deal to me, as I am also a ‘co-founder’ of the original Mother Coven, based in Brisbane and initiated at Samhain (April 30th) 2006. Our ‘tradition’ and way of living the Craft is deeply interwoven with what many people call ‘shamanism’; derived from the Siberian Tungus word for their medicine people – saman. Mircea Eliade, the late Romanian historian, described shamanism as a “technique of ecstasy” and my coven has come to define Witchcraft as an “ecstasy-driven, Earth-based, mystery tradition”.

Our (and all Witches’) rituals and methods of practice allow us to transcend the illusion of separation and therefore to dissolve the ego and actualize the freedom that lives in the heart of all things. I often call and relate to this ‘All’ as the Great Mystery. The beauty of being a Wild Witch is that nothing is absolute and I have come to realize that all of Life is a holy continuum, which constantly seeks to express itself through diversity. Through expression comes manifestation, which allows us to experience Beauty through Perfection (the world in which we live) and then once more we come to the Wholeness of Unity and the cycle repeats itself.

We are born into a plural world of many and pass into the One only to yearn to divide ourselves once more to grow, deepen and enrich our understandings and experiences of that subtle/overt thing – the Great Mystery.

My coven’s tradition has developed and evolved around this wild-trance-dance-of-wonder. The only consistency between our covens is that we honor and acknowledge our heartland the WildWood, keep holy our covenant with the Sacred Four (the Weaver, the Green Man, the Crescent-Crowned Goddess and the Stag-Horned God) and that we remain open and receptive to personal/group gnosis and to Awen (the divine flow of inspiration) . Other than this there are some structural similarities regarding dedication and priesthood and inner and outer courts.

Essentially however we are wild Witches who fly in the face of authority and seek the wilderness underlying the apparent ‘civilization’ of things. Nothing can be tamed, for the wild is free and the free is divine! As we say in the WildWood – “we have actualized our radness!”

What do Wild Witches do? First and foremost – we live! We breathe, we sleep, we eat, we drink, we sing, we dance, we make love, we scream and we spend time sharing presence and being with our loved ones. ‘Being’ is an important principle to consider. To be is quite simple but so many people find themselves distracted by the “this and that” that they leave ‘being’ behind and pursue illusion instead.

This isn’t the same concept found in various Christian philosophies which espouses a “Satan’s fault!” message when sheep stray from the flock so to speak. Witches understand self-responsibility and are aware of action, reaction and consequence (the Threefold Law) . Why not exist in euphoric awareness of self as Self – the animate Cosmos? You are not only a cell within a larger body of universal wholeness; you are whole and thus a perfect embodiment, expression and reflection of the Great Mystery whose cause, undercurrent and outcome is Life.

When we free ourselves from the illusion of past, present and future and surrender to the Flow of the Continuum (the spirals, the wayward ins and outs, the labyrinthine, serpentine undulations of fate becoming) we make real for ourselves the state of being known commonly as “here and now”. This seems to constitute location and time, however it simply addresses the emphasis of indwelling consciousness regardless of where you are and what frame of time constrains it.

There are moments in my life, which I refer to as ‘Nostalgic Rites’. They are pure, simple, soothing, knowing moments that are like the punctuation points in a flow of sentences. They are the markers and the thresholds that appear along our paths when it is time to pause, reflect and feel. I have them often enough in my life to understand their imminent message of timelessness, peace and overwhelming Love! For what I have learnt above all else thus far is that dwelling within the chaos in the cosmos is the peace which neither subsumes or overrides it, but embraces it and lets it be. Chaos is what happens naturally when the undifferentiated potential becomes “this and that” and peace is the understanding that this is the way of Life. All of this is wild; we dwell in a far-reaching, limitless wilderness.

In a recent priestess training session with two beautiful women from my coven I asked both of them to divulge their feelings and reflections of the journey toward their priestesshood, as they are nearing to the ‘end’ of the beginning – Initiation. One of the women honestly came out and said to us that she feared for us (the other priestess-in-training and I) because we are on the top of the mountain, but because we are risk-takers it is inevitable that we will fall.

I had to stop and wonder in that moment why anyone would not want to fall. In fact I also wondered whether it had occurred to her that surrounding the mountain were vast forests, plains, rivers, deserts, tundra, bushland, seas, oceans and lakes; not to mention all of the beings who inhabit these places.

For me the mountain is not the point. It is part of the whole Great Mystery, but the journey does not lead to a single place; in fact the journey doesn’t really lead anywhere. There is no aim to my wandering, to my blissful dance through the wilderness – I simply embrace every experience because it is worthy of it and I laugh, smile, cry, choke, rage, relax, love, ***, change, grow, and a million other things that I couldn’t possibly articulate or fathom for the purposes of this article.

The other woman, who knows me very well, and is one of my closest friends, then turned to me smiling and said, “You are so glib!” She then went on to explain that it was the “natural, offhand ease and articulate fluency and flow” of how I expressed my truth that made me glib in her opinion.

It wasn’t a criticism on her part, merely an observation. I think it is actually quite accurate. I have such ease and flow in my expression because I don’t have to think too hard about who I am or how I feel because I am and I feel in the “here and the now”. I live and I am, and in my experience Life itself is glib.

To my fellow journeyers of the wild way who know in their hearts that they are heading nowhere, anywhere and everywhere – may you dance the Wander with all you are. My deepest well of love to you all!

The Wanderer

The sages say that samsara is to wander, to pass through,
I say samsara is to know the way and dance it.
To dance is to live, and to live is never “to pass through”;
Dance doll – dance and light up the stage…

Then they came with their wrought-iron weapons
And they pierced my soul, and looked for the mark.
I sang to them to soothe their battered spirits.
They sunk their swords in harder, my heart is in shreds.

The blood ran dry and the old seas heaved
And there in the darkest hour all was forgotten,
And tattered clothes were left in tatters,
And the ashes were left in mounds at the pyres.

Is it a fact that when we are lost we wander?
Is it true that when we are in love we dance?
Or do we dance when we are lost?
And do we wander when in love?

Samsara, O holy wheel of Life,
Keep turning, I want to stay.
I don’t want nirvana in clouds far away
For I feel it already…here.

The Wanderer – the Fool?
I don’t mind, I don’t mind being;
For all the pain and suffering and the attachment to desire
There is a keenness that is not worth losing.

I want to live,
I want to wander if that’s what it takes,
But through all this I will dance
And I will dance because I love.

– Gede Parma, 2007

The Chicken or the Egg

The Chicken or the Egg

Author: BellaDonna Saberhagen 

Who created whom? Did the gods create man or did man create the gods? This question was posed on a podcast. The host invited responses to his opinion, however, I’m new to listening to podcasts and was listening to back episodes that are over a year old. He eloquently stated that humans couldn’t have created beings that are strong enough to have created the universe. I don’t disagree with that; what I do disagree with is that gods automatically must have the power to do so (or have that power at all) . The host is a soft-polytheist. He even quoted the axiom “All gods are one God and all goddesses are one Goddess” in support of his argument. If you’ve read my previous article, you will know that I’m a hard-polytheist. While numerous mythologies have creation myths, I don’t choose to subscribe to any of them. I take them as attempts by ancient peoples to understand the origins of the universe, the world and themselves.

Science has come a long way, and if you accept the sound scientific theories regarding the origins of the universe and man, then the need for a Creator/Creatrix god or goddess is unnecessary. This removes the problem the podcast host had of “humans unable to create the creator.” There is no creator; before the universe was there was only energy. This energy was just energy; it had no consciousness, no will. The purpose of this article is not to quantify this energy, but let’s suffice to say that it is the energy that connects us all.

What if this energy is the same energy that we use in magick to manifest change? If it is, then humans are obviously able to program it and form it according to their will. Many Witches and Magicians create Artificial Elementals to go forth and do work the Witch or Magician cannot do themselves. This is directly counter to the idea that humans cannot create beings from this energy (and the idea the podcast host had of humans not being able to create things greater than themselves) . Now, typically, Artificial Elementals are (and should be) given an expiration date; but that does not mean that all things created through the mental focus of man have one; and this is where the creation of gods comes in.

I’m not one to believe that everything exists on some part of the astral plane. I don’t think Hogwarts is there, just waiting to be explored. I know there are some Pagans (and New Agers) who believe this, but I have to hope that these are few and far between. I can’t really say what quality or quantity of belief is required to make a thought-form a god or goddess. I do believe it’s more difficult than just two or three people fervently believing in the god/desshood of some entity; and I do believe it is a higher quality of adoration than millions of fans squeeing over Edward Cullen. However, just because I can’t put forth an exact number of believers or define the level of fervor of belief does not mean that it is untrue. It simply means that it is currently immeasurable by science, as most spiritual things are. Could you accurately measure the qualities of the Creator/Creatrix deity you believe in (in scientific terms) ? No. The theory that man created the gods is still a matter of faith, a more scientific view of it, but more a matter of faith nonetheless.

Another argument put forth is that a Creator/Creatrix must be infallible, and man cannot create anything infallible. Again, remove the concept of a divine creator and look at the myths again. The gods ARE fallible. Zeus cheats on his wife more than Tiger Woods, Hera’s jealousy knows no bounds, Hephaestus was born deformed, Hod was born blind (and killed his brother Baldr) , Lir married a woman who turned his children into swans for 900 years out of jealously, and Frigga forgot to get the promise of mistletoe not to harm Baldr (again, leading to his death) . Lust, jealousy, deformity, handicaps, forgetfulness: these gods have very human characteristics, but on a larger, more epic scale. Humans can’t create infallible gods not only because “they just can’t”, but because fallible humans can’t relate to something infallible and vice versa. How many problems in Biblical myths occur because the Judeo-Christian God cannot relate to the fallibility of his creation (…Not that he is really infallible; after all, why would an infallible god have a fallible creation) ? This is why the construct of a “savior” was necessary.

You want further evidence that man creates gods? I’ll give you two examples commonly worshipped as “aspects” of “The Goddess” (or as goddesses in their own right) by modern Pagans: Cerridwen and Blodeuwedd.

Many Wiccans, Cerridwen see as a purely Celtic edition of the “ancient” (Don’t get mad here; the ancientness of Wicca has long been disproven) Wiccan Triple Goddess (See Janet and Stewart Fararr’s A Witches’ Bible and Raven Grimassi’s TheWiccan Mysteries) with strong connections to witchcraft due to her having the Cauldron of Inspiration and the ability to shapeshift. I will agree that this spirit had something to do with magick and inspiration, but there is no historical record or anthropological evidence showing she was worshipped as a goddess (as far as I know) . However, she is now counted among the ranks of the Welsh Celtic pantheon by most modern Pagans (but not Celtic Reconstructionists, they only worship those that were historically given that honor) and given due worship as such.

Here, I can understand why. Cerridwen is very powerful (superhuman) , and while there are no records of her worship, it may be that the Romans didn’t take a fancy to her (This is how we tend to tell the heroes and fairies from the gods in Celtic mythology, the Romans equating local gods with their own) and the Celts did not write her down as such (They wrote down very little, so this is understandable) . Her cult may have been isolated, or maybe she was just being formed as a goddess then and has been solidified as such in more modern times.

Even more puzzling is Blodeuwedd, another Welsh mythological figure modernly called a goddess by some (She is insinuated to be the patron goddess of Wales in Catrin James’ Celtic Faery Shamanism) . She is frequently listed on “god/dess lists” found in so many Pagan books (The problem with these lists is that they give the reader spheres of influence of specific deities without any real mythological information to back up such claims) , but her myth leaves something to be desired when it comes to seeing her as such.

An example of how she is seen by some modern practitioners is taken from The Modern Day Druidess by Cassandra Eason: “The Welsh maiden Lunar Goddess, created from flowers, Goddess of early summer and Blossoming Earth.” The only thing taken directly from her myth is “created from flowers”, and one has to ask, how can a being created from flowers be a Goddess of the Moon? For those of you unfamiliar with her actual myth, I’ll sum it up for you: Lleu Llaw Gyffes’ mother cursed him that he may not have a wife of human or fairy stock, so some druids got together and created Blodeuwedd from flowers to be his wife. She was unfaithful to him and conspired with her lover to murder him. The plot failed. For her crimes, she was changed into an owl for all eternity. Doesn’t sound like the makings of a goddess, does it? However, I think she was latched onto as a feminist role-model or archetype since she was not content with the lot she was given and did something about it. I can’t say I agree personally with her modern goddesshood, but I can see how some might do so for the aforementioned reason.

These two examples show how mythological figures can become gods through the belief and personal gnosis of modern Pagans.* Am I saying that Edward Cullen is likely to become a god anytime soon? No, that is unlikely because while his sparkle-loving fan base may WANT him to be real, they don’t BELIEVE he is real. Even if they could believe him into existence, they don’t see him as a god, but as a vampire (Maybe as the hottest vampire to ever “live”, but still just a vampire –Personally, I think Spike from Buffy is hotter, but to each their own) . That makes all the difference.

 

_____________________________________________

Footnotes:
* In a future article, I will discuss how this theory specifically affects the soft-polytheist versus the hard-polytheist argument.

Sources:
A Witches’ Bible by Janet and Stewart Farrar.
The Wiccan Mysteries by Raven Grimassi.
The Modern Day Druidess by Cassandra Eason.
The Mabinogion

The Origin of Magick

The Origin of Magick

Author: Crick   

Have you ever wondered about the origins of magick?
By magick I am not referring to the stage tricks employed by various entertainers for our amusement, but rather the energy which numerous cultures and belief systems have tapped into in order to manifest their various objectives.

This universal gift is known by many different names depending on which culture/belief system one looks at. It may be known simply as magick, prayers, miracles, life force, juju, karma and so forth.
For the purpose of this article it will be referred to as energy.

Have you ever wondered if such energy was a latent presence here on earth prior to the arrival of humankind? Residing here as an ancient primordial force, which was patiently waiting for sentient beings to discover its presence and purpose.

And if it was here prior to the arrival of human beings, did it serve an active purpose in the shaping of life and/or the creation of events that allowed for said life to begin? Was this primordial energy an essence that was introduced by Deity by way of a direct involvement with what we know as life? Or was it a side effect that formed as a result of actions taken by Deity during the course of said activities?

Or perhaps it is a development that manifested itself with the advent of humans? Could it be that the life force that we know as spirit introduced this energy into the life process in order to provide us with opportunities to expand our spiritual awareness and/or connection with alternate realms?

And if this is the case, why do you suppose that such a tool for growth and/or communication is so under utilized?

I say this because in society today, folks tend to become less connected with the world around them and more absorbed with the part of the self that is influenced by the individual ego.

And if this is a tool for growth and communication, why is it that those folks who actually use this energy for this purpose are spurned and looked upon with suspicion and in many cases with outright disdain by others in society? Witchcraft in essence, embodies the concepts and principals in the use of such energy.

And yet the word “witch” brings out and runs the gauntlet of emotions and perceptions of humanity as a whole. And depending on which side of the fence one stands, a witch is either an evil and vile creature or a person who is in touch with and resonates with the universal energies of which magick is a major part of.

Where does this fear of the unknown come from?

Was the ego installed into our souls as a balance to such a powerful tool? Has the balance shifted too far to one side of our souls?

As humans we readily employ magick in our various endeavors, but do we really understand its origins and what exactly is that we are using as a tool? Could the ego be a safety mechanism that has been allowed for whatever reasons, to exceed its purpose?

In some cultures, magick known as prayers is used as a means of communication with Deity. Does magick have but one specific intended use? And if so, are all other uses of such energy but an abuse of its original intended use?

Within these same cultures, when an event that is normally beyond the capacity of mere mortals, occurs, it is called a miracle.

Are these so called miracles really but a form of the same energy that others would call magick? Can we as humans in fact manifest these miracles by employing this energy? Or should such manifestations be the sole province of deity?

And while we are on the subject, does this energy have a shelf life?

Does it become stronger with use, opening even more avenues of discovery and power as one venture along the path, or does it weaken from non-use and/or the cultural disbelief in such a power?

Or is it simply a neutral tool offered by the powers to be, with many different attachments waiting to be realized by humanity.

Regardless of what name we call this energy or by what concept we use to identify with it, this gift has surpassed all boundaries of cultural, religious and societal beliefs. It is found in all aspects and fiber of this existence that we call life. It is a dominant force, often in a passive way, in basically everything that we do as humans. As such we may most likely only achieve but a peripheral understanding of such a complicated and diverse force.

Perhaps one day when we become as one with deity, a more comprehensive understanding of such a gift will be made known to us. But until such a revelation is proffered by the powers that be, we should always strive to understand as much as we are able to in order to effectively use such energy in a way that is both constructive and meaningful to our personal lives and not only our personal lives but to those around us as well.

As members of a diverse community, we have a responsibility to contribute to the health and well being of our community. Because of the diversity of society, there will always be divergent views as to what this energy is or in how it is to be used. But at the end of the day, how we use such energy is still an individual decision.

There are certain pagans, in particular Wiccans, who believe that whatever energy is sent out will return to the originator threefold.
As a traditional witch, I personally am not so sure that such a transfer is so cut and dry, but in general such a concept is a good yardstick or learning curve to adhere to.

I personally do not consider myself a master for I do not believe in such a being outside of deity. Rather I am a student of life with lots of questions. For without such questions there are no answers.
And quite frankly I don’t have answers to many of the questions that I have asked here. What few answers I may have are based upon my personal life experiences.

As pagans we are each individual and thus should answer such questions as they pertain to each person in regards to ones own beliefs and practices…