Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft –B.9. Power (1953) to B.13. The Working Tools (1953)

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.

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The Fourth REDE – The Great Work

THE FOURTH REDE – THE GREAT WORK

Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it; let naught stop
you or turn you aside.

To Moondaughter, men and women were children of the Lord and Lady in more senses
than one. Not only are we the offspring of Their sacred joining, but we are also
children in the sense that we are immature. We have not yet grown into the
spiritual and ethical maturity of which we are capable.

Moondaughter taught that the human children of the Lord and the Lady are in the
process of growth, a time during which they must build for themselves that
nobility of character that is their natural inheritance. Moondaughter’s students
learned that we cannot look elsewhere for salvation, but must build our
characters by our own actions. This is the Great Work.

Nobility of character, however, was only the outer aspect of the Great Work,
according to Moondaughter. The inner aspect was mystical union with the Lord and
Lady. Mysticism and ethics were for Moondaughter converging lines, each of which
must be energetically pursued. To neglect one would obstruct progress in the
other.

The Threefold Law

It is to Moondaughter that I owe my understanding of the Threefold Law, the
Wiccan precept that whatever a person does, good or evil, returns to her
threefold.

Every action, Moondaughter taught, first affects the self directly by leaving
its imprint on the character of the actor. Second, it affects the target of the
action, with whom the actor is in relationship, and the effects feedback upon
the actor through that relationship. Finally, every action affects the
environment in which the actor must live — ultimately, the entire universe —
and thus feeds back again upon the actor.

Thus the Great Work is a transformation of self which we pursue through our
actions and our relationships. It is the realization of our nature as children
of the Lord and Lady; and — since each of us is part of the web of
relationships which connect all that exists — it is at the same time a
transformation of the universe as a whole.

Mind and Body as Lover and Beloved

Moondaughter taught that the Great Work could be divided into three interrelated
aspects, each of which establishes a relationship of lover and beloved. The
first aspect of the Great Work consists of bringing one’s own mind and body into
the relationship of lover and beloved. Externally, this relationship results in
the opening of the inner senses, and therefore much of magical development is
concerned with this small part of the Great Work.

The union of mind and body, however, has an ethical dimension as well as a
magical one. Moondaughter taught that perfect unity of mind and body could only
be achieved when the actions that result from the mind/body interaction are
consistently based on Will rather than desire — a transition that requires more
than a little self-discipline.

It is possible (and unfortunately not uncommon) for mind and body to form a
relationship in actions that contradict the Will. Rape, for example, is a
perversion of sexuality which develops a dysfunctional relationship between the
mind and body of the rapist and corrupts the Work within him. Thus, living by
the Wiccan Rede — an’ it harm none, do what ye will — is a first step toward
accomplishing this first aspect of the Great Work.

The Sacred Marriage

The second aspect of the Great Work is the Sacred Marriage. Moondaughter taught
that for most of us this means that a man and a women come together as lover and
beloved, not merely physically and for a time, but on all levels and forever, in
a relationship that is in harmony with their individual Wills.

While each of us already has both Yin Self and Yang Self, union with the sacred
spouse brings Yin and Yang together in ways which transform each partner. Lover
and beloved act as priest and priestess for each other, and together they become
an embodiment of the Lord and the Lady.

The Unity of all Life

The third aspect of the Great Work is unity with all beings. This, Moondaughter
taught, is accomplished when an individual takes the entire universe as her
beloved, in a relationship in harmony with her Will.

In the lesser sense, this aspect is achieved when the individual comes to
spontaneously regard all beings with the love and compassion that the Lord and
the Lady feel for their children. In the greater sense, however, this aspect is
not achieved until humanity as a whole regards all beings with that love.

The culmination of this Work on the individual level, according to Moondaughter,
is a state in which the individual inherits the character of the Lord and the
Lady, and lives constantly in the presence of Lord and Lady. This is not a state
which I believe has been achieved by very many incarnate human beings, but I
have found it a most worthwhile goal toward which to strive.

Your Magickal Correspondence for Friday, July 20

Your Magickal Correspondence for Friday, July 20

Friday is Ruled by Venus

Element:  Earth

Color:  Green, pink

Crystals:  Amethyst, emerald, jade, moss agate, rose quartz

Incense:  Geranium, rose strawberry, vervain

Trees:  Almond, apple, birch

Herbs and oils:  Feverfew, mugwort, pennyroyal, verbena, yarrow

Metal:  Copper

Astrological rulership:  Taurus, Libra

Friday, the day of Venus, is associated with love and all forms of love magick (especially to attract love).  Venus is also invoked for beauty, the arts, crafts, relationships, friendships, blossoming sexuality, the acquisition of beautiful possessions, and the slow but sure growth of prosperity (Venus rules all matter of growth).  Like the moon, she can be invoked for horticulture, the environment, fertility and women’s health matters. Since she can be associated with excessive and unwise love affairs, her spells can, paradoxically, be used to reduce the influence of destructive lovers and possessiveness.

ELEMENTAL MAGICK – EARTH

ELEMENTAL MAGICK – EARTH

The elemental Spirits of Earth are the Gnomes.

Mastering The Element Earth….

1- Make a list of things which have the combined qualities of dryness and
coolness. However, don’t to this just out of your head. Rather, make a list of
Earth things that you see each day. Practice this for one week. Be sure to
record the results each day in your magickal diary.

2- Find a place filled with nature, such as a field or park. Wear as little
clothing as you can (if possible, nudity is best), and sit or lie on the ground
so that as much of your skin as possible is touching the ground. This is
especially easy for women, as they can simply wear a flowing skirt with no
underwear and sit on the ground with the skirt spread out. Spend some time
contemplating, feeling the coolness and dryness of the Earth. You should do this
at least three times within a week.

3- Spend a period of up to three minutes (no more), once a day, imagining that
you are the element Earth. Feel the heaviness, the slowness, the coolness and
dryness of Earth. Feel the way you can absorb the pains and problems of the
world (however, do not actually do so). Become Earth. Do this exercise for at
least a week before moving to the next exercise.

4- Once you have leaned to “be Earth”, the next step is to control the element
Earth. Bring the feeling from the previous exercise into your consciousness.
Next, hold your hands 9-12 inches apart, palms facing each other. Imagine a
bottle or box between your hands. Now, as you exhale, visualize all of the Earth
element which is in you going out with your breath and into the container
between your hands. Three to five breaths should be enough to fill it. Then,
with three breaths, inhale it back into you and go back to normal consciousness.

THE TEST
The next time you feel lightheaded, overweight, just heavy and lethargic, do
this exercise. If you feel lighter and better, you have succeeded, with the test
AND with mastering the element Earth.

Of Witch’s Work, and Child’s Play

Of Witch’s Work, and Child’s Play

Author: Moly

“Yes, the spirits are real. Yes, the spirits are imaginary. Most of us, however, cannot imagine how real our imaginations are.” — Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford.

There are times when our study of the Great Work changes the way we look at life. That is, after all, why we study it. There are other times, perhaps rarer, and certainly more precious, when everyday life turns our understanding of Spiritual Alchemy entirely on its head.

When I was fresh out of college, I found myself working in a daycare, changing the diapers of two and three year olds. It was unglamorous, but the daily drudgery of mopping the floor and applying band aids to tiny fingers was offset by the very real joys of play, and being with people for whom the entire world was new.

The true downside was the lead teacher. She was a behemoth of a woman, an ex-professor of some hard science like thermodynamics who had gotten her degree in the Soviet Union, and who, despite having experience personally designing jet engines, had to start her education all over again, and was none-too-pleased at becoming a school marm. Everything about the job made her angry, and her misery was contagious. Anything out of the ordinary caused her to yell at the top of her lungs, and I, being possessed of a slightly nervous disposition, lived in fear of her wrath.

One day, during naptime, I was left alone with the children while the lead teacher, we’ll call her Marya, went on break. My instructions were simple but absolute: kids stay on mats. Clean the counters. Barring a natural disaster, I intended to follow these instructions.

The room was dark when Marya left, and the children were sleeping peacefully — or so I thought. I turned my attention to my chores.

Suddenly, I heard rustling. Two children, Anna and Jon, age three, were up off of their mats, and were apparently attacking the wall, throwing invisible stones, or maybe swinging invisible swords. Marya wanted kids on mats, so, dutifully, I went over to try and right the wrong.

“Anna and Jon, back on your mats, now.” I said. Jon did not pause for a moment to acknowledge me, but Anna turned her huge dark brown eyes on me, her small, light-coffee colored face filled with grave seriousness, and shook her head vigorously.

“No. We have to get the blug before it gets all the children, ” she explained. Reflexively, I scanned the area that Jon was attacking, but detected nothing that I recognized as magical, and certainly no kind of entity that I had ever encountered. I did not discount the possibility that something was there, but judged it harmless due to the low level of energy in the area. Ana continued to explain — very loudly– about the “blug” and how all the children were in danger. I steered her away from the sleeping children.

“Ana, kids are sleeping, you can’t shout like that.”

Ana was not listening. Jon had stopped hurling the invisible stones, and was frozen in place. He and Ana seemed to be looking at the same point on the wall, following some invisible something as it moved slowly along the wall over the sleeping children. Each child in turn shuddered in their sleep as whatever it was passed over them. I realized that I was not feeling “nothing, ” what I sensed, I realized, was the energy and color of a “pretend” thing.

In a daycare, there are thousands of these baby thought forms. A plastic dish has an artificial elemental spirit shaped like a steering wheel stapled to it. There is a stationary “godform” of Princess Jasmine near the dress-up area. Teddy bears are “consecrated” to keep away monsters. But as a discerning practitioner, I fancied that there was a real, functional difference between the pretend things fashioned by adults, and those dreamed up by children. One was “magic, ” the other, fantasy. I had taught myself to screen out flights of fancy from my radar.

“The blug is real, and I have to go help Jon-Jon now.”

“I believe you, ” I said, “just let me take care of it.”

“No, you can’t!” Ana was on the verge of hysterics, her eyes darting back and forth between me and Jon. ” You’re a grown-up”

The blug, whether real, pretend, or both, was a problem I wasn’t going to be able to solve through a brutal application of authority. I taped together two Popsicle sticks with masking tape and handed it to her. “Here, take my sword, it has a plus six against blugs.”

She nodded, and took the sword, but we were too late. As I watched, Jon was suddenly blasted backward, as though hit in the chest by some unseen force, lifted off of his feet by the impact. He fell to the ground and onto one arm. Ana wasted no time to explain, but dashed and stabbed at the ground twice.

Jon did not get up. I was shocked. I don’t exactly remember if I said anything, or if I ran over, or walked. I remember taking his vitals, checking for injury or concussion, opening his eyelids and shining a light to see if his pupils were dilating unevenly. He was breathing and apparently uninjured, but I did not dare move him. He was not twitching, there was no sign of seizure, but he was completely unresponsive.

Ana stood, looking over my shoulder as I did this. She said, “I didn’t hit him, I swear. He falled down by hiself.”

“I saw, Anna.”

“I didn’t hit him, ” she repeated, more quietly. “Tell Marya I didn’t hit him.”

I called 911. About thirty seconds before the ambulance arrived, Jon woke up, and immediately started crying. You will be happy to know that Jon was fine, and that the Children’s Hospital found nothing wrong with him. Still, this incident drove home for me the deadly power of the human imagination.

At times, those of us who practice magic have difficulty separating mystical experiences from imaginary ones. That is because, in a very fundamental way, they are the same thing. We bring order to these experiences, magical, religious, fantastical or imaginary, by playing games. Whether we are playing the game where you are the fire-man and I am the doctor, or the game where you are the hierophant and I am the neophyte, the game where we put out a chair for our imaginary friend “flopsy, ” or whether we are pouring out a libation for our “imaginary” friend Odin, we are accessing the same –very human– faculty.

As seriously as we take our religions, I assure you, children are just as serious about the games that they play.

The “Gloria Mundi” discusses the Prima Materia (that First Thing, which the Alchemist must find before any Alchemy can take place at all) , saying that it is…

“Familiar to all men, both young and old, is found in the country, in the village, in the town, in all things created by God, yet it is despised by all. Rich and poor handle it every day. It is cast into the street by servant maids. Children play with it. Yet no one prizes it, though, next to the human soul, it is the most beautiful and the most precious thing upon earth and has the power to pull down kings and princes. Nevertheless, it is esteemed the vilest and meanest of earthly things.”

When I consider the disdainful way that many of by pagan colleagues discuss the imaginary, or when I think of my own mother telling me to get my head out of the clouds, I could believe that the imagination really is “esteemed the vilest and meanest of earthly things.” Has it pulled down Kings and Princes? Imagining one’s self richer, or more powerful, or in possession of more land certainly has. Children certainly play with it, and if our everyday retail worker is the modern day equivalent of a servant maid, then for certain, I have seen many in this field so tired, crushed and frustrated by their work that imagination no longer had a space to breathe.

Everyone, though, rich and poor, has a flight of fancy, at least daily. And indeed, if you subscribe to the idea of a Creator, how could such a being create without first having imagined the end product? Possessing an imagination may be what is meant when it is said that we are made “B’Tzelem Elohim” or “in the image of the divine.”

Considering all this, I realized that the purpose of spiritual alchemy, for me, was the refinement of the imagination. It’s purpose was to gain control over flights of fancy, not only so that I could make better godforms, or craft stronger elementals, but so that, in casting a spell, or even in preparing for a board meeting, my imagination would not conjure up images of failure, and thereby undo all of my handiwork.

That which is dangerous is powerful, that which is powerful is dangerous. Be careful what you dream, because your dreams just might come true.

Doing The Work: Building a Spiritual Practice

Doing The Work: Building a Spiritual Practice

Author: Faye Dewell

What defines a Pagan? Is it just the belief in the old Gods and Goddesses? Is it doing Ritual work? Do you even have to believe in Magic to be a Pagan? At this point in time, it often seems like anything goes. And while I agree with the general premise that we should be careful about how we limit who and what we define as Pagan, because it can have detrimental effects on our community, I also believe that we need to have a clear look at what we define as being a practicing Pagan versus holding Pagan beliefs. Because I think there is a difference.

While there is no such thing as being “Pagan enough” there is something to be said in terms of qualifying our practice in regards to Sunday or Holiday Paganism (to borrow a Christian term) or Armchair Paganism (to take from Pop Culture) . There’s nothing wrong with being an Armchair Pagan if that’s what you want from this path. And if you only want to sign up for public rituals, so be it. I’m not here to judge those choices.

However, the fact of the matter is, whether you’re a 101 or 1001 Pagan, if you’re still stuck in your armchair, you’re not going to get as much from your craft as you could be. And that’s a choice you have to make for yourself: What do you want from your spirituality? Is Paganism even about spirituality for you? Or is Paganism a set of beliefs that help you understand the world, but nothing more?

We bandy about terms like Priest and Priestess, identifying Pagan practitioners (often, not always) as being Priesthood holders. But what does it mean to be the person responsible for your own faith, your own spiritual path?

Well, in a very literal sense, I suppose it could mean whatever you want it to mean. It could simply mean holding a certain set of beliefs. For example, it could mean believing in Lugh, Brighid and Tuatha de Danann without actually doing any more than praying to the Deities within that pantheon. Is that Pagan enough? For some it might be and I’m not in a position to judge that as being wrong. If it works for you and defines the space spirituality takes in your life, all the more power to you. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that if that’s what you are looking for from your Paganism.

However, I would argue that there is a great difference between holding Pagan beliefs and carving out a Pagan lifestyle. Wherever we are on our path, and however we define the nature of our path, I think it’s important that we make the effort to understand what our pathwork entails and then hold ourselves up to that level of commitment. And even within the ways we carve out our Paganism, there may be vast differences that can lead to arguments between members of the community in terms of what is “right” and “wrong.” I’m not here to look at that. I’m here to think about what it means to you (and me) to do the work if the work itself is something that interests you. For me, that means making an effort to actually claim my path, do the work, develop a practice, and make it mine, which is very different than Sunday (or Ritual) Paganism.

After all, how in Hades are we ever going to be any good at things like magic if we don’t take the time to hone our skills? Or have a relationship with the Divine if we don’t take the time to get to know them? How will we know ourselves enough to live a life of spiritual intention if we don’t spend time getting to know ourselves and contemplating what our spiritual intentions are?

Seriously.

I’m not asking the question to be rude or confrontational. Because honestly, these are questions that I ask myself on a regular basis, every time I fall off the wagon and let every day mundane (muggle) life draw me away from my practice. And it’s harsh but honest, and it keeps me in check. These questions keep me doing the stuff and developing the path that I am committed to following.

Every week I create new prompts for a 52 weeks of Pagan Art Journaling project I’m hosting, and in this week’s art journal prompt, I asked: what do you want people to know about your path? And my answer was this: that it requires serious levels of commitment and self-discipline. It requires that I do the work. Often without support systems, often at odds with the materialism in the world around me, often despite my own personal laziness and apathy. Because more often than not, I am my own worst enemy and as a member of a “fringe” religion, I don’t have the benefit of mainstream culture keeping me accountable or reinforcing the value system I’ve “created” for myself. (Which sounds like a lot of big pompous words to just say that sometimes this path is a bit more challenging because it isn’t necessarily aligned with what the world around us is doing and how our society is encouraging us to live) .

But more importantly, a Mystery Tradition, by its very nature requires a great deal of inner work in order to understand it. No one expects a yogi to reach enlightenment without yoga and meditation. So why do so many modern Pagans expect to being able to do magic and understand the Divine without doing the “Pagan variation” of the same things? Exercise and contemplation (or rather, if you will, practice and meditation) . If we can’t discipline our minds enough to focus our will on the intent of a spell, how will we actually create strong and effective spell work?

And more importantly, beyond the magic, how do we complete the “Great Work” of our Mystery Traditions if we don’t understand what the hell that means?

Don’t just take my word for it. Pick an area and focus on it, work it. Get to know the feel and shape of it. Study it like you’d study a university subject. Be dedicated to learning your craft on a daily basis (or at least somewhat regular basis) , be it doing the Sabbats and Moons, or meditating daily, or taking time to observe the lunar cycles. Start small and build up. Don’t try to do it all at once because that’s a recipe for failure. But pick one thing, get that down, and then add another.

At this point in my practice (in loose, ambiguous terms that you can read between the lines of) , this is what my daily practice includes:

Meditation
Exercises
Dream keeping
Study
Weekly Classes
Journaling (art and written) reactions, thoughts, questions, emotions, etc
Tarot Work

On average, I spend at least 30 minutes a day devoted to my practice, if not double or triple that. If you’d asked me at the start of this work if I’d be capable of that, I would have emphatically denied my ability to be that self-disciplined. I am not good at self-discipline and never have been. But I started slowly. I have a buddy system. I am accountable to others when I fall off the wagon. And all of these things are things that help me stay focused. And it’s been worth it. Because trust me, if you don’t know it already, this path is amazing in terms of what it can bring into your life.

My practice has turned my world upside down and inside out, but the things that I have learned about people and myself have been phenomenal. I returned to this path after years in academia feeling jaded and wanting to believe but having a hard time reconnecting. Now I don’t just believe. I know again.

And knowing is half the battle!

Dragons In Alchemy

Dragons In Alchemy

In alchemy, the dragon was considered to be matter, metal and the physical body. Often mentioned in conjunction with the dragon was the dragon’s sister: spirit, metallic mercury, and the soul. Ancient alchemy used the picture of a dragon or winged serpent as one of its many secret symbols. A common symbol of spiritual alchemical work was the dragon or serpent holding its tail in its mouth, an unending circle of eternity. Near this circled dragon was written the Greek motto “en to pan,” or “all is one.” The fabled Philosopher’s Stone of alchemy was also considered the One Which Is All. This Stone was closely connected in ancient writings with the Great Work of alchemy; the Great work simply means humankind becoming God, or merging with the Supreme Creative Forces within, thus completing the cycle of human growth by returning to the Source.

Jung wrote that the alchemists considered the winged dragon as female, the wingless dragons as male. Jung also considered water in dreams and analysis as unconscious spirit or the water dragon of Tao. This water dragon of Tao symbolized the yang embraced in the yin, or balanced growth in spirit. In Chinese Taoist symbolism, the dragon was seen as ‘the Way,” the bringer of eternal changes. Often in was depicted as guardian of the Flaming Pearl, or spiritual perfection. Joseph Campbell also speaks of the winged dragon or serpent as being the balance between Earth and Spirit. To the Chinese, the dragon was a potent symbol of luck and power. Silver dragon amulets were worn to help gain these qualities.

“Dancing with Dragons”

D. J. Conway

Dragons In Alchemy

Dragons In Alchemy

 

In alchemy, the dragon was considered to be matter, metal and the physical body. Often mentioned in conjunction with the dragon was the dragon’s sister: spirit, metallic mercury, and the soul. Ancient alchemy used the picture of a dragon or winged serpent as one of its many secret symbols. A common symbol of spiritual alchemical work was the dragon or serpent holding its tail in its mouth, an unending circle of eternity. Near this circled dragon was written the Greek motto “en to pan,” or “all is one.” The fabled Philosopher’s Stone of alchemy was also considered the One Which Is All. This Stone was closely connected in ancient writings with the Great Work of alchemy; the Great work simply means humankind becoming God, or merging with the Supreme Creative Forces within, thus completing the cycle of human growth by returning to the Source.

Jung wrote that the alchemists considered the winged dragon as female, the wingless dragons as male. Jung also considered water in dreams and analysis as unconscious spirit or the water dragon of Tao. This water dragon of Tao symbolized the yang embraced in the yin, or balanced growth in spirit. In Chinese Taoist symbolism, the dragon was seen as ‘the Way,” the bringer of eternal changes. Often in was depicted as guardian of the Flaming Pearl, or spiritual perfection. Joseph Campbell also speaks of the winged dragon or serpent as being the balance between Earth and Spirit. To the Chinese, the dragon was a potent symbol of luck and power. Silver dragon amulets were worn to help gain these qualities.

“Dancing with Dragons”

D. J. Conway