Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft –B.9. Power (1953) to B.13. The Working Tools (1953)
B.9. Power (1953)
Power is latent in the body and may be drawn out and used in various ways by the skilled. But unless confined in a circle it will be swiftly dissipated. Hence the importance of a properly constructed circle. Power seems to exude from the body via the skin and possibly from the orifices of the body; hence you should be properly prepared. The slightest dirt spoils everything, which shows the importance of thorough cleanliness.
The attitude of mind has great effect, so only work with a spirit of reverence. A little wine taken and repeated during the ceremony, if necessary, helps to produce power. Other strong drinks or drugs may be used, but it is necessary to be very moderate, for if you are confused, even slightly, you cannot control the power you evoke.
The simplest way is by dancing and singing monotonous chants, slowly at first and gradually quickening the tempo until giddiness ensues. Then the calls may be used, or even wild and meaningless shrieking produces power. But this method inflames the mind and renders it difficult to control the power, though control may be gained through practice. The scourge is a far better way, for it stimulates and excites both body and soul, yet one easily retains control.
The Great Rite is far the best. It releases enormous power, but the conditions and circumstances make it difficult for the mind to maintain control at first. It is again a matter of practice and the natural strength of the operator’s will and, in a lesser degree, of those of his assistants. If, as of old, there were many trained assistants present and all wills properly attuned, wonders occurred.
Sorcerors chiefly used the blood sacrifice; and while we hold this to be evil, we cannot deny that this method is very efficient. Power flashes forth from newly shed blood, instead of exuding slowly as by our method. The victim’s terror and anguish add keenness, and even quite a small animal can yield enormous power. The great difficulty is in the human mind controlling the power of the lower animal mind. But sorcerers claim they have methods for effecting this and that the difficulty disappears the higher the animal used, and when the victim is human disappears entirely. (The practice is an abomination but it is so.)
Priests know this well; and by their auto-da-fs, with the victims’ pain and terror (the fires acting much the same as circles), obtained much power.
Of old the Flagellants certainly evoked power, but through not being confined in a circle much was lost. The amount of power raised was so great and continuous that anyone with knowledge could direct and use it; and it is most probable that the classical and heathen sacrifices were used in the same way. There are whispers that when the human victim was a willing sacrifice, with his mind directed on the Great Work and with highly skilled assistants, wonders ensued but of this I would not speak.
B.10. Properly Prepared. (1953)
Naked, but sandals (not shoes) may be worn. For initiation, tie hands behind back, pull up to small of back, and tie ends in front of throat, leaving a cable-tow to lead by, hanging down in front. (Arms thus form a triangle at back.) When initiate is kneeling at altar, the cable-tow is tied to a ring in the altar. A short cord is tied like a garter round the initiate’s left leg above the knee, with ends tucked in. Another is tied round right ankle and ends tucked in so as to be out of the way while moving about. These cords are used to tie feet together while initiate is kneeling at the altar and must be long enough to do this firmly. Knees must also be firmly tied. This must be carefully done. If the aspirant complains of pain, the bonds must be loosened slightly; always remember the object is to retard the blood flow enough to induce a trance state. This involves slight discomfort, but great discomfort prevents the trance state; so it is best to spend some little time loosening and tightening the bonds until they are just right. The aspirant alone can tell you when this is so. This, of course, does not apply to the initiation, as then no trance is desired; but for the purpose of ritual it is good that the initiates be bound firmly enough to feel they are absolutely helpless but without discomfort.
B.11. The Meeting Dance. (1953)
The Maiden should lead. A man should place both hands on her waist, standing behind her, and alternate men and women should do the same, the Maiden leading and they dance following her. She at last leads them into a right-hand spiral. When the center is reached (and this had better be marked by a stone), she suddenly turns and dances back, kissing each man as she comes to him. All men and women turn likewise and dance back, men kissing girls and girls kissing men. All in time to music, it is a merry game, but must be practices to be done well. Note, the musicians should watch the dancers and make the music fast or slow as is best. For the beginners it should be slow, or there will be confusion. It is most excellent to get people to know each other at big gatherings.
B.12. To Leave the Body. (1953)
‘Tis not wise to strive to get out of your body until you have thoroughly gained the Sight. The same ritual as to gain the Sight may be used, but have a comfortable couch. Kneel so that you have your thigh, belly, and chest well supported, the arms strained forward and bound one on each side, so that there is a decided feeling of being pulled forward. As the trance is induced, you should feel a striving to push yourself out of the top of your head. The scourge should be given a dragging action, as if to drive or drag you out. Both wills should be thoroughly in tune, keeping a constant and equal strain. When trance comes, your tutor may help you by softly calling your name. You will probably feel yourself drawn out of your body as if through a narrow opening, and find yourself standing beside your tutor, looking at the body on the couch. Strive to communicate with your tutor first; if they have the Sight they will probably see you. Go not far afield at first, and ’tis better to have one who is used to leaving the body with you.
A note: When, having succeeded in leaving the body, you desire to return, in order to cause the spirit body and the material body to coincide, THINK OF YOUR FEET. This will cause the return to take place.
B.13. The Working Tools (1953)
There are no magical supply shops, so unless you are lucky enough to be given or sold tools, a poor witch must extemporize. But when made you should be able to borrow or obtain an Athame. So having made your circle, erect an altar. Any small table or chest will do. There must be fire on it (a candle will suffice) and your book. For good results incense is best if you can get it, but coals in a chafing dish burning sweet-smelling herbs will do. A cup if you would have cakes and wine, and a platter with the signs drawn into the same in ink, showing a pentacle. A scourge is easily made (note, the scourge has eight tails and five knots in each tail). Get a white-hilted knife and a wand (a sword is not necessary). Cut the marks with Athame. Purify everything, then consecrate your tools in proper form and ever be properly prepared. But ever remember, magical operations are useless unless the mind can be brought to the proper attitude, keyed to the utmost pitch.
Affirmations must be made clearly, and the mind should be inflamed with desire. With this frenzy of will, you may do as much with simple tools as with the most complete set. But good and especially ancient tools have their own aura. They do help to bring about that reverential spirit, the desire to learn and develop your powers. For this reason witches ever try to obtain tools from sorcerers, who, being skilled men, make good tools and consecrate them well, giving them mighty power. But a great witch’s tools also gain much power; and you should ever strive to make any tools you manufacture of the finest materials you can obtain, to the end that they may absorb your power the more easily. And of course if you may inherit or obtain another witch’s tools, power will flow from them.
It is an old belief that the best substances for making tools are those that have once had life in them, as opposed to artificial substances. Thus wood or ivory is better for a wand than metal, which is more appropriate for knives or swords. Virgin parchment is better than manufactured paper for talismans, etc. And things which have been made by hand are good, because there is life in them.