The Witch I Am

The Witch I Am

Author:   Eilan   

Witchcraft, the Arte, the Craft, Magick, the Old Religion – what could these names possibly mean to an 18-year-old male living in an age of global warming, rapid deforestation, tyrannical war and occupation, fundamentalist literature and humanist rationalism? They are the faces of a largely spiritual movement, grounded in the sacred powers of Nature, from which the Old Gods themselves draw their strength and mystery.

My name is Gede Parma. I am an 18-year-old male Witch currently residing in Queensland, Australia. I am an initiate and co-founder of the dynamic Pagan wellspring that is the Coven of the WildWood, and I am priest and vessel to my Gods of Blood and of Breath.

My Pagan peers know me as Dobhair (pronounced ‘door’ with a soft accent in the middle), which is the name my ancestors revealed to me during last year’s solar eclipse as I dedicated myself to the Dagda and Morgaine le Fay. In this time of the Greening much will be seen to come to pass and the world will change in a way that none of us could ever have conceived.

I stand as the Rod of Power, as the Menhir, the Tree of Life, to whom my veneration is given in circles with my coven. As I focus inward so does my breath circulate into the outer realms, my consciousness expanding and taking into itself the divinity that is immanent within all of Life. I remember the animating force behind all that is and dance the spiral path of change and transformation into the very heart of the primal womb whose centre is the point of origin.

From the beginning I was Air, from whose new dawn’s breath ‘I’dea was formed. I was then fuelled by the heat of Fire, and light and warmth gave way to the oceanic-matrix that is the Water and blood-ways became rivers and streams in the body of the Goddess.

By Spirit and the Great Mystery I was given form and beauty and Earth’s presence and foundation continued the cycle, and when my thread is cut by the tides of Fate I will fall to the winds once more to decay with the autumn foliage under the slanted glare of a fading king whose sun sets in the realms of Death.

I am resurrected and born again by Love and by Light, and the Two Pillars join the heavens to the broad earth, from whom once more I will spring up as Kore, the sprout. From Death comes Life, and in Life there is Love, and the Mystery knows them all.

These are the mysteries that have been written of and told to others whose minds and hearts are listening, however their far-reaching and infinite truths are not simply grasped by an eloquent intellect or by the ascetics of a world-rejecting discipline.

Witchcraft to a teen in the 21st century has not lost its Great Mystery. We are still as the priests and priestesses of old who stole away to secret orders nestled in ‘tween places. We are still as the seers and shamans whose journeys remain intrinsically-patterned into our wild and unkempt spirits. We are Witches and by solitude or tribe we still raise the Power to celebrate the ecstasies of Life. I have never forgotten this charge and I have made it my oath to the Old Ones to continue to impart this knowledge and wisdom on those who have ears to listen.

There is immense power in the old mythos. They speak of Gods and Goddesses who inspire and protect their own, of ancient magicks whose powers awaken in the hearts of those who embrace the old ways. There is descent into the netherworld, and resurrection in the light of day. There are ancestors who kindle the hearth-fires and who gather us in to be warmed when way-ward our feet have taken us.

There are oceans and seas that speak of death and devotion. There are groves and mounds and stone-circles who whisper of ancient rites and who glisten and vibrate with the dragon-lines that sing through the land. There are wheels that spin and turn, and bring awareness to the cycles of Nature, to the implicit realities and cause us to revel in the wonder that is the blue sky and the green tree.

These things, these memories are not cast out or forgotten by the Witches of today, they are embraced and renewed by those of us who seek to rejoin and reconnect with the Wyrd, whose keepers, though at times stern, remind us to dance and to make Magick in their honor.

When the Pagan community regards its youths and also their influx into the tribes, they often forget that once upon time that was them. There are many who revile and resent the young folk who seek out the ancient wisdom and who practice the rites of the Craft. They seem to think that in doing so we desecrate their sacred power, or playfully twist and manipulate to achieve our own selfish and incorrigible ends.

Anyone who truly kneels at the Altar or draws the Circle of Power knows to what effect their pure Will can achieve. Those who are simply involved for the ‘glamour’ and the ‘prestige’ soon draw back when they discover what perfect love and perfect trust truly means.

So those of us who still remain after the year and a day and whose understanding has strengthened and whose energy has intensified should be known to all others who walk the spiral-ways as honest and humble devotees.

I will never forget the moment when I became a respected member of my community and was taken by my word for my word. It was as if all my potential became actualized and I could evolve and transform into a new identity, into a new persona. But personas are masks and identities fade, and through this time I began to feel again the pulse in the deepest part of me.

The façade had broken.

I didn’t need their recognition, their support, though it helped immensely in times of grief. What I needed was my connection, to awaken the divinity that is indwelling. It didn’t take long before one Goddess chose to love me and to pour into me what was already at my core. She is beauty; she is truth. She is power and she is that quintessential feeling that resonates through all my fragments, and whose veil covers not to hide, but to symbolize the other reality, that is always waiting, on the other side.

My life is enriched through my Craft. I am joined with all of Nature. I breathe on the mountain and I lose all ego-attachment, and it strikes me that all I am doing is breathing and existing, just as all other beings that dance through the cycles are.

My Gods speak to me through my descent and through my spirit. Their names are not written as a list of spiritual acquisitions, but as powers and forces that have revealed themselves to me, and have chosen to become my allies.

To be a Witch is not to forsake the divine bounty that is made apparent when we learn to trust, but to identify and understand the patterns of power that weave through the fibres of Life and manifest as expressions of innate and intimate truths. We celebrate this continuum of divine-play and revel in becoming a part of it.

I am a Witch, not because I was genetically made to be so (though that adds to it), and not because of some deep-set desire to conquer the plain drudgery and live out a fantasy of power and privilege.

I am a Witch because in my heart lives Magick and to deny its passage, its flow, would be to deny the very essence of my purpose here on Earth, and of my many lives before my present that have been sacrificed to continue the charge I was given.

As I dance the Wheel and as I draw the Circle I remember that I am different. It is not merely a contrast I draw between my nature and those of others, or an indulgent delusion I use to place myself higher than the rest. I am different in that the unfeeling, ego-ridden, politically-driven paradigm that our societies are built on rejects or else wholly negates who I am and what I do.

There is no room in this world, they say, for enchantment and Magick. There is no place for story-telling or dancing. Everything I am and everything I stand for is declared non-existent or irrational at best and Witchcraft is made out to be nothing more than a childish game.

Witches were once respected and revered for their skill, insight and power. In a sense this manifests today as the curious intrigue one feels toward the ‘supernatural’. Witches today are feared, maligned or ridiculed.

We are feared by the ignorant, maligned by the ‘pious’, and ridiculed by the so-called rationalists. However there are those among the liberally-minded communities who celebrate us as true visionaries in our right and who are inclined to study our spirituality in a bid to reclaim the lost wisdom.

There are few words that I can conjure that truly define my being. One of these is ‘Witch’. I embrace it wholly, in every way, for in doing so I reclaim the power that was once considered a gift. It is never a curse to realize truth and never a burden to uphold and live by it.

My Magick is a gift that I will pass on to the next generation of Witches, however at this point in time I work to encourage and inspire this generation. In my coven we circle every week and in between the esbats and sabbats we devote our circles to specific topics so that we may expand our knowledge and add to our magickal arsenal.

In the past we have discussed sacred tools, the Elementals, visualization, meditation and divination. Generally I take on the guise of the teacher as it suits me and I have a considerable amount of knowledge and practical experience in these areas.

The Witches of my coven are strong and steadfast spiritual beings, however we are all still human and prone to making mistakes. This is the reality of the Witch, especially as teenagers. We may be able to cast spells, transcend our egos, invoke ancient Gods and project our astral selves, but this does not exempt us from the everyday trials that bombard humanity.

As Witches, however, we make use of our knowledge of the subtle energies within and without and choose to take charge of our destinies accordingly. Perhaps it is this aspect of the Craft, more so than anything else, that truly frightens those who are not privy to the inner mysteries.

I am a Witch, pure and simple. You could tie to me to a stake, throw driftwood at my feet, drench me in gas and light a fire and I would not deny it.

I am a child of Nature, a Pagan and a priest. I dance the spiral-way and as I descend into the holy labyrinth I sing the old songs and chants to the Gods of leaf and bud, hoof and horn. I release tire and stress, exertion and envy to the four winds and I become the glowing scepter, the sword, and the spear. The serpentine force is aroused and it journeys upward along the spine to the crown that is the triangle of manifestation.

There I meet the Great Mystery and kneel to her charge as I feel the edge of her sword cut cleanly along my soul to my beating heart aflame with Magick.

Go in the way of the sacred, Blessed Be~

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Cobwebs

Cobwebs

Author: Brewan Blacksmith

A little while back, while driving around with, a friend I asked a simple question. “Is an artist still an artist if she loses her hands?” After a brief moment of pause she replied, “Yes.” I knew this was to be her answer and it was the same for me when the question first arose in my mind a while ago. It was easy for the both of us to answer being we are both artists. We understand that the underlying beauty in an artist is what resides in her mind and heart. At the same time, we both thought of the hardships that would come should an artist lose their outlet of expression. Painters paint and sculptures sculpt, but what if they no longer did? They would still see and think as they once had, but without physically doing what calls to them, what kind of an artist would they actually be?

For me, the thought later crossed over into another subject matter. “Is a Pagan still a Pagan if he no longer practices?” I asked myself. It was uncomfortable to think about as it pertained specifically to how my life hit me. For ten years I have been a Pagan, but since the recent recession a few years ago, day-to-day living removed the comforts of past practices. I wasn’t celebrating lunar rites, esbats, or sabbats like I used to. What once were coven celebrations amongst friends were now a lit candle and a prayer of thanks at best.

No more smudging, no more spell casting, no more divining and no more creating sacred circles for me. Good jobs became very sparse, living conditions changed, and disposable income disappeared. The time I once had for sharing with my coveners was removed, and all I was able to do was keep in connection with my gods through short prayers and silent conversations. The old ways of practicing the Old Ways were gone. The same held true for my coven friends.

While in this state of staleness I pondered briefly a few scenarios in which I wouldn’t be affected as much by these sudden changes in the way I lived my new life. Perhaps if I were a materialist I could cope by buying new things. Or maybe if I were of a more mainstream religious belief it would be easier as society makes time for it. If I were working a job that actually paid well, that would solve most of my problems. But, I’m no materialist, I’m devout Pagan until the end, and my job was a dead end. I always kept in mind that many people have it worse. I always kept in mind the beauty of my family and the smiles that they bring. But still, there was a void inside me. A great part of me remained dormant without my coven and all the great things we did. Within me there was a shadow, a lack of motion, a death.

Death, however, is often a misunderstood thing. People fear death because it is a physical end to what they know to be true. Death is a removal of what we see and that with which we are familiar. It is change, and it is inevitable and because of these it is something feared. Yet if you truly think upon death, which can be perceived as a lack of growth or motion, you will find that even in this state of stillness there is a spiraling of energy. Like the winter months when the trees shed their leaves and cold blankets the soil, beneath the snow there is life. In shadow there is gestation, evolution, transformation, and change. All of the energy witnessed during the warmer parts of the year trickle down the roots of the trees and plants and gather in the dark earth below.

The caverns of the Underworlds are filled with this energy. The realms of shadows and death are filled to the brim this time of year with the same energy the spurs us along when the sun is bright in the warm sky. So in death there is life, and also change.

When a mythic hero would die and enter into the Underworld, a place where one would never return, he in fact would eventually return. How is this so? The hero would escape death by embracing change. Through transformation he evades the clutches of death, but upon his return he is no longer the same person. He returns to the realm of the living, but at the same time he does not. Had he accepted his new place in dreary shadows in a void of timelessness? Only then would he truly have died.

It was this lesson that I learned during my college years that helped me get through a couple somber periods of my life, including this recent recession. At some point my inner, Sagittarian optimist took hold of it and I was altered by these life changes. Whether it’s making lemonade out of lemons, or always doing the best you can with what you have, death is not an enemy but a teacher about living. It is about transforming who you are to move unhindered with the ebb and flow of each incarnation.

We are given but a few decades with which to learn as much as we possibly can before we must start over again. Yet even within the span of a single life we can experience minor “deaths” which we can either submit to and become lethargic, or emerge from and become something more than we originally were. Within in each life we can mimic the life-death-rebirth cycle much like one year of Sabbats symbolizes the life’s journey of the Goddess and God. These murky times that shall strike our stable existences over and over are cosmic challenges, or tests, that help forge who we become. They bring sadness, depression, struggle, fear, and often hopelessness. But through them we become great, and that is one of the tasks this Earth is designed to do for us. So long as you do not succumb to stagnation and ignorance, even the darkest moments can strengthen you on your journey through each life.

It is through this wisdom that I tread forward. I feel no guilt any longer when I brush the dust off my old texts on Paganism. The cobwebs that have gathered on my robes and oils and tarot cards are wiped away free of sadness. I have missed my old tools that have gone years without use. But here they are now awaiting me once again. Little by little I get back into the habit of practicing as I once did. Yet every act now is different, improved, changed from my changed perspective.

I spent the last few years with my hands cut off. No Arte did I make. Yet within my inactivity my mind still churned, and many lessons were learned. And in many cases, epiphanies pertaining to Paganism came to me only through temporarily leaving behind my familiar Pagan rituals. Various mysteries are solved beyond texts and temples. Many require you to step outside your comfort zone and take with you only what you once knew.

It may seem through this that sometimes the Path of the Wise trails beyond our sights or that we lose our footing. But often it remains right under our feet as we walk upon it the entire time despite feeling otherwise. Rites and spells may be what a Pagan does, but in the mind and heart is where a Pagan resides. In my humble opinion I believe this as true, and with this I eternally move forward through every obstacle without regretting facets of the past. So long as I change for the better from every dark struggle, I can never consider those moments a waste of time. Learning keeps you moving forward no matter which direction life takes you.

My hope is that these words can bring a little comfort and understanding to those who have gone through recent hardship.