“THINK on THESE THINGS”
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler
In the frantic search for something that has meaning to life, we have a tendency to do a thing simply because everyone else is doing it. It becomes a “thing,” a fad that must be done to keep on the inside circle. There’s little originality, little thought, but a lot of following along in beaten paths.
It is a mistaken idea to believe that all I see with my eyes and the limits of my thinking are the limits of the world. There is a tremendously interesting world out there never before investigated, and I am an individual like no one else.
It is quite marvelous to break through the shell of the middling and to discover the ability to see and feel, and to hear more keenly. Suddenly, I can feel more kindly, not because of who I am on this earth, but because I’m a child of God.
I can see more color, more light, more vision because I’m not being shown, I’m discovering. My world is no longer based on passing fancies, but on the lasting built slowly within me, with love.
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
Elder’s Meditation of the Day – June 8
“So we are connected to the moon. That gives us power, a connection to the earth and the moon, men don’t know about.”
–Cecilia Mitchell, MOHAWK
The Elders tell us that the Woman has access to special powers. The Earth Mother gives her love in a special way to the Woman. The Moon also gives special powers to the Woman. She uses these powers to nurture, heal and guide the people.
Great Spirit, today, give a special Blessing to our Women.
June 8 – Daily Feast
If you need something and you have asked for it, then get ready to receive it. Getting ready to receive is a part of the asking, an act of faith that the answer is on its way. It’s no wonder that so few of our needs are met. We do so little toward preparing for it, and when it happens the first thing we say is, “I can’t believe it!” Well, believe it, because it is assurance of receiving.
~ Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking.~
BLACK ELK – OGLALA SIOUX
“A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II” by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
The Daily Motivator message for
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Instead of making your work a burden, make it a blast. Have fun with it, no matter what it may be.
As long as you’re spending the time, you might as well spend it enjoyably, and that’s a choice you can always make. Plus, when you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll naturally do it with more creativity and effectiveness.
Remember, it’s not the task, or the situation, or the people that determine how much fun you’re having. It’s you, and your attitude.
It makes no sense to fight against what you’re doing. Do yourself a favor and choose to enjoy it.
Imagine empowering yourself, just by the way you decide to look at your situation. With an attitude of enjoyment, increased power is yours.
Make life more enjoyable by deciding to enjoy more of life. Choose to enjoy, and experience how powerful that choice can be.
© 2016 Ralph S. Marston, Jr.
From The Daily Motivator website at http://greatday.com/motivate/160608.html
Learning To Follow
When we approach children with the awareness that they can teach us, we automatically become more present ourselves.
As grown-ups, we often approach children with ideas about what we can teach them about this life to which they have so recently arrived. It’s true that we have important information to convey, but children are here to teach us just as much as we are here to teach them. They are so new to the world and far less burdened with preconceived notions about the people, situations, and objects they encounter. They do not avoid people on the basis of appearance, nor do they regard shoes as having only one function. They can be fascinated for half an hour with a pot and a lid, and they are utterly unself-conscious in their emotional expressions. They live their lives fully immersed in the present moment, seeing everything with the open-mindedness born of unknowing. This enables them to inhabit a state of spontaneity, curiosity, and pure excitement about the world that we, as adults, have a hard time accessing. Yet almost every spiritual path calls us to rediscover this way of seeing. In this sense, children are truly our gurus.
When we approach children with the awareness that they are our teachers, we automatically become more present ourselves. We have to be more present when we follow, looking and listening, responding to their lead. We don’t lapse so easily into the role of the director of activities, surrendering instead to having no agenda at all. As we allow our children to determine the flow of play, they pull us deeper into the mystery of the present moment. In this magical place, we become innocent again, not knowing what will happen next and remembering how to let go and flow.
Since we must also embody the role of loving guide to our children, they teach us how to transition gracefully from following to leading and back again. In doing so, we learn to dance with our children in the present moment, shifting and adjusting as we direct the flow from pretending to be kittens wearing shoes on our heads to making sure everyone is fed and bathed.
Freedom of Choice: Religion or Spirituality
For many years I have walked this path constantly in search of answers to the mysteries of life. And one of the observations that stand out in my mind is how I see myself as following a spiritual path rather then a religion.
But in order to validate such a statement one has to delineate between religion and spirituality.
The first question of course would be, is there enough of a distinction between the two to identify them as separate paths. To my mind there is clearly a parting of the ways when it comes to religion and spirituality.
There are over 400 documented religions within this world of ours. And yet of these, three tend to stand out as the examples of what a religion consists of. This distinction is by virtue of their deliberate and successful quest for power, wealth, and influence over the masses.
I personally think that one of the most obvious examples of the difference between religious and spiritual paths is that within the religious parameters, there is a “selected man” to God to the masses type of connection. However with the spiritual path, there is a direct human being to Deity connection, thus effectively cutting out the middleman. Does anyone really know your innermost thoughts in such a way that they can convey such thoughts to Deity in a manner that matches or exceeds your own efforts?
As humans we spend our entire lives living behind an emotional façade in an effort to survive amongst those of our kind. Are we honestly capable of being so completely open with another human in the manner that we would with our chosen Deity? And if not, doesn’t a middleman infringe upon the experience one would have with a more direct and personal connection with Deity?
Before I go any further I would like to make it very clear that this treatise is not about determining whether religion is superior or not to a spiritual path or vice versa. Such a determination can only be made on an individual basis as befits the one who is doing the seeking.
Having said that, another difference that I personally see between the two is that religion tends to become elitist in so many ways.
For instance there is the class distinction between males and females, with females being the subordinates or lesser beings within organized religion.
Within a spiritual path there is no such distinction for we are all seekers/students regardless of what sex we happen to be born into. Being male or female has no impact on the lessons that our spirits so actively seek. And so while such elitism is an integral part of religion, it has no valid place within spirituality.
Another form of elitism is the misguided arrogance that one’s chosen God/s is seen as the only one to the exclusion of all other concepts of Deity. Deity presents itself to the human race in many different ways, as it should. For man to make such a determination as to the validity of my God/s or yours is a bit extreme and misguided to say the least.
My spiritual growth is not determined by a fellow human being, but rather by the God/s themselves. This form of extremism is not usually a common factor found within spiritualism as within organized religion, nor should it be. This is not to say that spiritual paths such as those found in paganism are altruistic.
Unfortunately there are those who have migrated from an organized religion into paganism and who have set up their particular spiritual path to mimic religious parameters.
Just as unfortunate is the fact that these same folks will often use their facsimile of a spiritual path to attempt to control others. But as always, it is up to each individual to determine how one proceeds along ones path. For some folks, this type of setting is acceptable within their lives.
Yet another parameter of organized religion that I am personally uncomfortable with is the tenet that all members must believe in and worship Deity as espoused by a small group of select individuals. To my mind such an approach stifles the personal needs and experiences of the individual in regards to spiritual growth. I don’t believe there is any one size spirituality/religion, fits all. I believe that we are each unique in our spiritual needs and thus the approach that we take has to be broad enough to allow personal freedoms as we seek out the answers that best befit our personal lives.
To not do so is to risk being considered an outcast from that particular religion. This approach, to my mind creates a world where personal responsibility takes a back seat to hypocrisy. As we have seen so often throughout our history, there have been numerous atrocities against fellow human beings which have been justified by stating that “it is God’s will” or “God is on our side” and so on and so forth.
Since when has man had the right to speak in place of our God/s? Or is such arrogance simply a folly of humankind?
When I speak to my chosen Deity it is without hidden agendas and generally on a level that exceeds the capacity of another human being who would seek to speak for me, for it is purely from my own heart. That is a form of communication that is unique to each and every person. For our spirits are indeed individual entities.
One of the most confusing aspects of a religion is the carrot and stick approach that is used.
If one does as a chosen leader of a religion tells you to do, you will go to a place where you are fed grapes and play a harp all the day long.
And if not your spirit is sentenced to a horrible torture chamber (hell) for eternity.
Even hardened convicts here on earth are usually eligible for parole at some point in their lives. How can a God/s be any less merciful then its own creations?
According to this line of reasoning, children who refuse to be sexually molested by the leaders/representatives of organized religions are destined to be sentenced to painful torture for eternity.
And so in such situations a child has to choose between having their mind and body tortured or having their spirits tortured. Where does such hypocrisy come from?
Within the spiritual path when one does something wrong, they know this within their heart. This is why we have a conscience.
The heart serves as a direct connection to ones spirit and thus to Deity. What occurs in this situation is that we take responsibility for our actions as individuals and we seek the answers that will prevent a repeat of such actions.
We don’t rape and pillage for six days and then are forgiven on the seventh day simply because a fellow human sees it as his right to subjugate the word of Deity. This action to my mind is another form of arrogance and hypocrisy as practiced by organized religions.
I personally believe that members of a religion tend to use the masses to dilute their personal responsibilities to self and to others. When on a spiritual path one is an individual and thus has no faceless mass to take refuge in.
One example of this lack of personal responsibility is the adage found within religions that “one shalt not kill”. And yet time and time again religious leaders and the followers of these man made religions are involved in perpetuating violence and death to their fellow human beings.
And this is a practice engaged in by all three of the main organized religions of this world. In one of these organized religions, its leaders encourage their members to blow themselves up in an effort to kill others around them. They claim that such actions will make them martyrs and thus ensure their entrance into their heaven. And for whatever reasons, all three of the main organized religions are at each other’s throats. And yet all three have sprung from similar roots, making them in essence, cousins of each other. And in fact all three are male dominated and worship the same distant male God
I don’t know of any spiritual paths that engage in or advocate such death and mayhem. And so the hypocrisy continues.
Finally, within the spiritual path, our Deity is as close as our heart. They are not a distant, standoffish God/s that no one can easily connect with. I personally see Deity often within the dream state. No big deal. But the God of the organized religions has never been seen by man with but one exception, and he died in the process.
Of course at the end of the day the only right religion/spiritual path is the one that works for the individual. To suggest otherwise is to engage in patterns of control and to deny folks such an innate right to their beliefs. And this goes for all regardless if one is Santeria, Buddhist, Muslim, Pagan, Christian, Agnostic and what ever have you.
Far too often humans tend to pass judgment on others when they themselves could stand a bit of improvement. And so whether one chooses a religion or a spiritual path, it should not matter to anyone outside of the individual doing the choosing for themselves and their personal choice of religion or spirituality.
These of course are the personal views of an old witch and may not coincide with your own thoughts on this subject. I only ask that you respect my right to such beliefs as I will respect your views however divergent they may be from my own…
Finding The Craft
Author: Siryn Dolphinsong
While some might say they were not satisfied with the Christian life, I cannot really relate. Exposure to the mainstream religion of Christianity was not an option as my father had a severe distaste for their beliefs. I will not say I had the opportunity to become a Witch right away either though.
I guess spirituality was just not an importance in my growing years as far as my family was concerned, or they felt it was a decision only to be decided as an adult. My father was in the zone of reality and fact. My Mother on the other hand was a people pleaser and refused to discuss religion with anyone except to nod in agreement to avoid discussions.
As long as I can remember my Father instilled upon me that harm to myself or anything else living which included nature would be an act not forgiven and punishable by repayment that I would never want to see. Growing up and learning about all living things reminded me of attending science class yet the teachers would never change. I have lived with everything from monkeys to gerbils and those experiences taught me an appreciation for creation in which I have never forgotten. This experience was fact and my Father pushed for me to see the world good and bad. They used to call my Father Dr. Dolittle because he talked to the animals and plants as well.
I had always felt an empty space for spirituality and so as I got older, I spoke with my father whom I was closest to and I finally asked, “What religion do we practice or believe in?” I will never forget that day. My Father stated very seriously, if any one asks let them know we are animists.
Looking very confused, my Father began to explain. We are not Native American although they are the true people of this North America and I am ashamed of what the supposed Christians did to these people. We are of Irish and French descent carried over many years by boat, we had terrible times including the great potato famine. My Father continued to say he worshipped silently and believed every woman needed a man and every man needed a woman, just like there are the same aspects in most of nature to continue life. Religion he stated was how you lived your life and that if he did right his life would not stop by death. I left that conversation feeling almost complete. Even though I had my share of fallbacks and sometimes harmed my self by entering bad relationships and wrong decisions, I kept most of what we discussed close to my heart.
At fifteen, I fit in more with the drug crowd at school everyone else I thought were to righteous and stuck up. I had friends reading Aleister Crowley and dabbling in some sort of occult activity. I borrowed their books and felt curious but it was still too dark for me.
In 1984, when I turned eighteen I moved to Lewiston, Maine with my wild boyfriend. There was Witchcraft, white and black all around. Old shut down churches homesteaded by occult activity and it was in the papers daily. I met a white Witch who was very kind and told me I had a gift but not to follow through until I was ready to be serious. Just apartments down from us a guy sacrificed his girlfriend’s youngest child in the oven propping a chair at the door and made the other two older children watch while listening to some dark music, the neighbors call the fire dept. to report smoke. This incident was in the media and scared the wits out of me. I did not want accusations for such happenings so I stayed silent about my interest in the occult. I was also scared of introductions to weirdos who were into such acts of violence.
In 1990 when I moved in with my sister in St.Augustine, FL., everything seemed to have changed including the outlook on the occult. There were New Age shops opening everywhere. I found a metaphysical bookstore called “Dreamstreet” to which as soon as I opened the door all my stresses seem to leave my body. I felt addicted in a sense and I visited often sitting in their hammock reading about Goddess worship and alternatives to the mainstream religions. The smell of Nag-Champa in the air, the sweet acoustical music and the soothing voices of the merchants made me feel welcome and at home. I purchased my first “Green Egg” magazine there and my first bumper sticker that read, “God is coming back and she is pissed”.
I guess that is my first real connection with Witchcraft. I studied solitaire and eclectic, reading Buddhist and Hindu cultures to really be sure of what was right for me. I was very intrigued by Tarot cards; Runes and I would by smudge bundles for cleansing just to feel I was on my way to what would soon by my path.
I transferred in 1992 to Georgia where I reside now and it seemed right away rude awakenings were coming. No one ever asked if I went to church, it was always where do you attend church. I felt alienated until meeting my soul mate. I met my now husband who had previously been brought up Salvationist until he was eighteen and made the decision Christianity was not his path either.
Together we went to major bookstores and purchased books like Buckland’s big blue book and several Celtic related Witchcraft books. I often hear Witches condemn Llewelyn publications for being too commercial but without them Witchcraft would not have been as open to us as it is today. Our library has grown and we still travel every year to St. Augustine to fill my void of my bookstore and I still buy and stockpile smudge bundles for later use. This year we weren’t able to make the trip and Dreamstreet’s Web site is gone and the number is disconnected, to which makes me very sad. I hope it is just an incident where the names changed or they have just moved. My husband was an intern after college and was a computer guru so when the Internet became available we started networking and trying to find as many resources as possible. We followed The Witches’ Voice when they were in Massachusetts and kept with them during their move to Florida. Not to be biased but they have always seemed to be the most thorough in helping find others and keeping updated with Pagan news.
Today we worship together and offer a small study group to help people in this area that of our same lifestyle. We started “The Southern Circle of the Willow Moon” in 1997 with six members and although the members have changed, the beliefs and teachings are still the same. We learn from each other, we are not experts as Witchcraft is a lifelong path of learning and experiences. There are severe persecutions still existing in our area and no doubt in other strong Baptist areas as well. We will continue to travel to places where we can be free with our religious beliefs, find people who feel the same as we do and try and educate people on what Witchcraft really is.
I recommend anyone starting out on this path begin by study. I know it can be boring but some knowledge is better especially when seeking teachers. When I go to a bookstore and a teen comes up and starts telling me how long the have been into Witchcraft and what books I should or should not get makes me believe they are going through a self-esteem and identity crisis. I want no part of the person playing games with their spirituality.
Gods, Magic and Bending Energy – What Other Oddities Do We Believe In?
Author: Bronwen Forbes
You’ve got to admit – to the outside world, we Pagans and Witches believe in some pretty weird stuff. For example, most, if not all of us, actively work with deities that a large chunk of the world doesn’t believe exist; either Apollo, Thor and the Morrigan (for example) were never Gods to begin with since there’s only One, or they were once considered Gods but now they’re just archetypes, or part of our psyches, or both. But to us they’re quite real. They think they’re real, too – just ask them. And the fact that some of us can actually invite these deities to inhabit our bodies for brief periods of time, i.e. draw down? Psychosis, plain and simple. Ask just about any non-Pagan psychiatrist.
And then there’s magic. Say “magic” to most non-Pagans and they’ll assume you’re talking about pulling a rabbit out of a hat, or card tricks, or sawing someone in half. What we call magic is “change in accordance with will” which, if you’ve actually done it, can be as amazing as pulling a rabbit out of a hat for real, but it’s not the same thing. Still, I’ve gotten a lot of derisive and condescending looks from non-Pagans when the subject of magic comes up, mostly because our definitions of the word are so different.
For the record, stage magic has always fascinated me. Whenever there’s a kid’s program at the local library that features a magician, my daughter and I are right there. Magic act at the local renaissance faire? I’m in the front row – at least twice, if it’s good. And one of my favorite adventures when my family and I lived in Wisconsin? Visiting the Houdini museum in Oshkosh. Not only do I find his escape feats to be really cool, but also the work he did to debunk fake mediums interests me. But I digress.
And the idea that we can “play with” natural energy just boggles the mind of those not part of this path. Have you ever triggered heat-activated elevator buttons without touching them? Or sensed lay lines in your yard or town? Or felt a change in temperature once the circle was fully cast? That’s all energy work – and the bit with the elevator buttons is kind of fun. If elevators are a regular part of your life, it’s a great way to brighten up an otherwise dull workday. Plus, it will scare the hell out of your co-workers once you perfect the trick. Trust me.
So my question is, is one of the reasons you and I became Pagan the fact that we have the innate ability to accept somewhat fantastic or “out there” concepts as truth? Or do we have the ability to possibly accept the fantastic as truth because we once made an informed decision to follow a Pagan path? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I suspect, just as with the chicken and egg question, that the answer doesn’t matter much. So I’m going to ask a different question: what other “out there” ideas or oddities do you believe?
Take, for example, the idea that beings from other planets regularly visit ours, or at least do drive-bys from time to time. I think it’s hubris to assume this one small ball contains all the life in the universe, but that’s just me. I also look at some reality television shows and seriously consider the possibility that we are just not evolved enough as a species to handle contact with alien beings yet. Do I think aliens kidnap people? Yes and no. And I’m saying this as someone who spent a very…interesting evening with several members of MUFON (Mutual UFO Network – a support group for alien abductees. Long story.) There are hundreds of folk stories, songs and legends about people who were taken into Faery and weren’t seen for weeks, months, or even decades. Now we have the same basic story, but the “others” in the story aren’t faeries and elves, they’re little grey people with big black almond-shaped eyes. I think the phenomena, whatever it is – actual or imagined – is the same, but the details changed as humans moved into a more technological culture.
And then there are ghosts. I’ve never seen one, although I have seen “paranormal activity” such as lights turning on and off by themselves, shadows moving across the backyard, things like that. When I was about five months pregnant, we moved into a new house, and one day after getting out of a particularly long, hot shower (during which the bathroom mirror fogged up much more than usual) I saw the name “floyd” (ghosts apparently don’t use basic capitalization) written in the steam on the mirror. I did what any self-respecting crazy pregnant woman would do and screamed for my spouse. We tried everything to clean “floyd” off the mirror including pure ammonia. But every hot shower brought out floyd’s graffiti tendencies for the next four years. Maybe Windex should carry a warning on the label “Does Not Work On Ectoplasm.”
Here’s another “out there” idea that some of us probably believe and some of us don’t. Let me tell you my story about it. As of this writing, my family and I live in what I call The Little House in the Little Woods outside the city limits of Bloomington, Indiana. We are completely surrounded by woods that connect, with the occasional break for a road, to other woods for several miles, although we also have plenty of pastureland in the immediate neighborhood. The other night I was up far later than usual, and didn’t take the dogs out for their last-pee-before-bedtime run until about 11:15 p.m. So the three dogs and I were about to come inside when I heard four or five VERY loud, low WOOTS from the woods.
When something like this happens, believe me, the mind tries to come up with all kinds of plausible explanations. My first thought, I swear to Gods, was “We are too damn far south for moose” and then I ran through all other animals I could think of. Thing is, I watch those shows like Monster Quest and Destination Truth on TV. I recognized the sound.
The dogs’ behavior was most telling. The old one did her usual hide behind me, the beagle barked – and the wooter WOOTed back another two or three times. The big German shepherd, though, was seriously considering plunging into the woods to deal with it, but I was able to call him back. The fact that I was able to call him back *immediately* says a lot – normally he chooses not to listen to a word I say.
I got us back into the house and confirmed with my spouse that I did indeed hear the sounds. Only then did my spouse bother to inform me that he’d been hearing them for the past four or five nights (the rat!) . The next morning he logged onto a (you knew this was where I was going, right?) Bigfoot research site and played me some recordings. They sounded identical to what I’d heard the night before.
So I, at least, am convinced I heard Bigfoot last week. I must say I’m handling it much more calmly than the poor people they interview on those programs – the ones who are still freaking out twenty years after seeing or hearing one. I like to think it’s because, as a Pagan, I’m fully invested in the idea “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Or maybe Bigfoot is less scary than ghosts. Hard to say.
What oddities do you believe in, and why? And what does that tell you about your Pagan path? Tell me, I really want to know.
High Magick Demystified
Author: Panisch Lockelear
The first thing many Neo-pagans think of when the words High Magick are conjured up is a painstaking order of rules and rotes that are strictly adhered to or a plan of Magick that far out-reaches the realm of Kitchen Witchery and solitary Folk Magick and spells we all dispense on a daily basis. As I have followed my path into the Magickal arts, I have learned that high Magick does not have to be something only sought after by the wicked smart or those who have years and years of sacred study of the Hermetic order under their belts. High Magick is for everyone. All who seek to apply themselves, that is.
The first thing to understand is a few important rules. The first is that you are seeking to allow Magick to conform to your own will. In 1850, Eliphas Levi stressed the importance of the practitioner’s will. Your will is very important. Aleister Crowley said that every intentional act is a Magickal act. A concept that may be lost on some of us today, but one that rings true when dealing with High Magick.
The second rule is that High Magick is formal. By formal, I mean casting circles, Calling quarters, evocations and invocations (found in a lot of Ceremonial Magick) .
The third rule is that unlike mundane Folk Magick that seeks to protect, bless, curse or obtain possessions, High Magick is done to achieve a mystical religious happening or experience. An experience such that the practitioner is united with divinity, or Deity.
Lastly, we must know that pioneer psychologists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud’s studies and the theories of their students confirmed that our subconscious minds do influence the outcome of events in the physical world. This is something that occultists and practitioners of the Magickal Arts have known from ages past.
So, going into your High Magick study, keep this firmly in mind:
* Seek to have Magick conform to your will and that every intentional act is a Magickal act.
* High Magick is formal in nature.
* High Magick achieves a mystical religious experience uniting us with the Divine.
* Our subconscious mind influences the outcome of physical world.
It has long been held that while in the midst of preparing to venture into the High Magickal realm, the practitioner needs very specific tools and supplies. It has long been held that in the day of Crowley, when the High Magickal working called for specific crystals, tools, parts of wild animals, or herbs harvested at a specific lunar phase, these items must not be substituted or strayed from.
I have come to understand that these specialized supplies are very important to be kept intact as they are, only if you really believe them to be. As with most Magickal rotes, spells, and workings these things are mind triggers. They aid us in defining our will and they can also act to concentrate our will, to be sent into the cosmos to tip the scales to our workings. However, most neo-pagans live in rural areas where these things are almost impossible to come by.
It is important to know, here, that I shall not take a side on the stance of the traditionalist or to the notion that these supplies can be changed to suit the practitioner. In my thinking it only matters if you believe it does. Mind triggers are funny that way. For the sake of this article and de-mystifying High Magick, I choose to lean on the thought that the exact duplication of the supplies is not essential and that if the supplies you substitute are justified in your own mind as an equal mind trigger, the substitution will suffice. Magick comes from within, ever mindful of how it comes from within.
Now, moving on, to a path. This is where I lose most traditionalists, but here goes anyway. You may choose to follow a specific High Magickal path, the Jewish Kabala, Alchemy, Hermetic Arts or the Enochian Magick among others. However to do so will commit you to years and years of study and practice.
I tend to believe that Magick must evolve. The old rotes and ways are to be respected and revered. However, exploration of new ways and keeping with our social and psychological evolution throughout the centuries carries weight. Imagine us today trying to put a man on the moon with the technology and thinking of the 1800’s. Although this thinking is logical and valuable, it allows for only so much success.
High Magick in today’s terms is less about ancient rotes, spells, and invocations, and more about specifics. In ancient times, Ceremonial Magick was only for the rich who could afford the supplies and had the time and space for the elaborate altars, crystals, distillation equipment for alchemy, and expensive metals and herbs. Some elaborate things still can be used and can be useful however, to achieve High Magick you only need to apply the rules above, but do so with specifics. In other words plan the spell or working while in a specific lunar phase, at a specific lunar hour.
Plan the workings around a specific astrological event that is powerfully lending to the specifics of that working. Curb and choose all your mind triggers to the workings in a very deliberate manner. Colors, Magickal properties, planetary phases, and planetary hours should all play an intricate part in planning and performing your High Magickal Working. This is all there is to it.
Of course calling and using Divine archetypes that best suit your Magickal workings is also essential. Keep fully in mind that this working is a uniting mystical experience with The Divine.
I think it important in our walk as wise ones, that we challenge ourselves. Old traditional thinking and fail-safes, meant to dissuade us from the higher Magickal arts is nothing more than a stumbling block in our own personal Magickal paths. This is not something we should allow to sway us away from learning higher arts. Of course, the application of wisdom with knowledge and study is essential. However, study alone, without practice, is stagnating and of little use.
Imagine where we would be if such Elders as Gerald Gardner simply was content with the “study” of Magick and witchcraft. It was he who said, “Let’s do this and practice this.” That set him apart from those around him in the 1950’s. We must evolve as a people of the Magickal Arts. We must keep journals of our findings and success and our failure as well.
It is the bold who gain audience of the Gods.
High Magic, Low Magic: Designations Help Define Our Styles
I personally find designations handy. They express no limit, only a specialization. It certainly helps you anticipate how easily you can work with another and how your styles and knowledge will mesh. I know, for example, that I don’t usually get on well with high magicians, or Iron John style wizards. That’s darn handy to know when someone tells me that he is a necromancer and a cabbalist.
As I label myself a ReClaimist, matriarchal, bardic green witch, most of you will have an idea of what I am currently working on, where my knowledge areas lie, what my focus is, and how I express my spirituality. That doesn’t mean I’ll stay like that forever, or that I’m not interested in other forms of worship, but it certainly makes it easier for us to find others of the same style. Rather like nametags at a convention.
I not only see no harm in it, I encourage folks to find a useful label for their personal style practice. Makes them feel more validated, too, especially when they are first starting out.
High magic is usually the term for what the wizards do. It’s rather like a Catholic mass, with all the ritual words in a sacred language, pomp and finery, ordained divine conduits, and strict adherence to detail. The power in high magic comes from without… the great universal energy that is harnessed by the correct performance of the ritual itself, with some measure from the performer (s) , but not much. They are mostly lending energy for the conduction of the spell to take place, which is why there is such an emphasis on hierarchy in high magic. It is vital that the ceremony be followed exactly with the correct people taking care of their assigned functions. The more powerful as spell, the less room for error.
The big draw for this kind of magic is that it offers a great deal of power in a relatively short period of time, but with a corresponding danger level as you ascend. The goal is to eventually control and submit the entire Universe. Nearly all wizards are male, white, and have terrible ego issues. They are usually still at the age where they feel invulnerable, since it’s required that you eventually wrestle with demons, for example, and incur the wrath of extra dimensional entities by enslaving them or their friends. It is often spelt with a ‘k’ to delineate it from low magic. Wizards find that sort of window dressing appealing.
Low magic is usually what witches do. Its goal is to make you one with the Universe, and therefore blissful, content, wise, with all your needs provided for. To unleash and accept your Goddess within, which is the same as the Goddess without, by giving full release to your Goddess self. This means that much attention is paid to your own instinct and the answers that are right for you, as your Goddess cannot ever be wrong, you just have to get better at hearing her. So our spells are more like mediation, sometimes with helpful symbols or foci like incense, statues, herbs, and other paraphernalia.
Most experienced witches don’t bother with it, however, unless they are trying to working on something much harder than usual. To effect change in the Universe, we try to use the Butterfly effect, to tug on the string of the Great Weave that will most affect the change we want. In trying to find the string, we learn how the Universe works and so increase our wisdom. And the Universe is vast, so She often can’t get to something as quick as She’d like.
It is therefore our job as Her representatives to draw her attention to inequities by blessing those who need it, to injustices by cursing those who deserve it, and other maintenance of the Continuum, thereby increasing our understanding and interaction with it.
Wicca is like high magic for witches. It calls upon the spirits and entities in a very ritualized format with specific assignments to the members, but primarily uses the inner energies of the group or individual to do the prescribed task. There is therefore no backlash if done incorrectly. But they do seem very fond of their accoutrements…
Most women choose the style of Low magic because it is more like their usual style of being: persuading and joining, rather than controlling. The sex of the practitioner doesn’t enter into it, other than gender training in their culture helping them have certain inclinations… That explains the overwhelming majority of practitioners in the Middle Ages being clergy. They often went into the priesthood for reasons OTHER than piety, like power and wealth, they were learned, and they had access to all sorts of magical formula, arcane materials, etc. So High magic, or ceremonial magic, was almost entirely Christian and clerical in the Middle Ages.
It is indeed all the same power. However, I can cure myself, clean my house, or get rid of my weeds and insects in my garden through chemicals created in a lab, or I can use chemicals in herbs and natural liquids. Some are just as dangerous to the environment, and myself but most aren’t.
Chemicals, like magic, are all made of the same components essentially but how they inter-react and perform is completely variable depending on how they were generated and used. They can be naturally gentle and persuading, or they can be artificially harsh, brutal, and destructive.
I’m sure most of you have heard of the phrase “As above, so below”. Only one interpretation is rendered as “As in Heaven, so it happens down here.” Another, more widely used and helpful meaning is “Change or events Outside affect the Internal, and vise versa.” ‘High’ in the case of magic means ‘external’, ‘low’ means ‘internal’. ONLY when hierarchy becomes so predominate in this culture, and High implies more powerful, and consequently more male, does High and Low magic take on some connotations that some people today take umbrage with. It’s not a personal insult to our style.
Now. When was the last time any of you enslaved a demon, deity, or angel to unwillingly do your bidding? How about binding your local ghosts, fairies, and spirits as your personal gophers? I don’t remember when it was that I forced the dead to come back in an unquiet rest to speak about the secrets of the Universe… High magic involves the use of formula and ritual to achieve just such dog collars on the Powers of the Universe. It isn’t the end in and of itself. The spell is usually to DO something, but it is the elemental being that figures out how to achieve the goal.
This kind of style offers much to recommend it to those that want a lot of power fast. Sure, High magicians have to keep their will focused on the spell for it to work, but only for the ritual itself. For the results of the spell to be efficacious, it doesn’t have to be PERSONAL, internal power that is bringing it about. That’s what the Harnesses of the Universe are for, like Jewish magic squares, Keys of Solomon, which can energize, activate, and execute many different kinds of spells simply by being performed correctly. However, the perils increase correspondingly.
I’ve seen a young wizard tell me that Hunters from the sprit world are stalking him, and we did a little complex ritual around a lamppost to confuse them so they can’t follow. I mean, I never saw them, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there, so I won’t doubt his word. Much. But I’ll tell you. I’ve never done anything in my magic work to invoke their wrath in the first place.
I am not comparing levels of power here. A very experienced or instinctive witch who is close to the Warp and Weft of the Universe can indeed stop a storm with a thought. Unfortunately, that takes a great deal of Enlightenment to reach that point, so most of us don’t get there in a hurry, if ever. Now, it takes a wizard of far less experience, personal power, and self-mastery to achieve the same ends by going through the rigmarole to capture the power of the Storm God and just fire away or let Him do the work. It’s not easy, but it’s a hellova lot easier than becoming one with the Forces of a Hurricane and personally knowing on an unconscious level what strings to pull.
With these kind of benefits attached to High magic, including the hierarchy, the feeling of mastery and the practice of invincibility, it’s no wonder that most wizards are men. But there is no such thing as a free lunch. Most powers that are so bound in High magic are not only interested in becoming Unbound as soon as possible, they would also like to wreak revenge on the mortals who dared to commit such an atrocity.
Which is why my little wizard friend was almost PROUD at the Things following him. The quality of a wizard is told by the quality of his enemies, after all… I don’t know of many women who have the same disregard for personal safety as many men do, either, btw…
Now, the next time any of you try to harness the Angel of Life and Death to cure yourself of cancer by invoking the Necronomacon and creating a doorway to Hell in your closet, rather than simply lighting a candle and envisioning the cancer going away, then you can tell me that High magic and Low magic are the same.
You must admit, the first one, if done correctly, has a much greater probability of curing you quickly and permanently, but so much can go wrong. The latter requires a deeply Enlightened, experienced, or otherwise powerful witch, and you might not be able to find one before you croak, but at least you don’t have to worry about your relatives falling through to the Second Circle when they put their coats away at your wake.