Great Goddess, whose voice is heard Throughout the world And throughout the ages Help me to find my voice. Help me to speak clearly So others might understand Loudly enough to be heard But not so loudly I offend Help me state my position well So I might argue on my behalf And on the behalf of others Fairly, wisely and strongly. Great Goddess, whose voice is beauty Let me find the beauty in my own voice And let my light shine out In all the days to come. So Mote It Be.
The Power of Words
Author: Kestryl Angell
Recently, it is all over the news where celebrities are being “caught with their pants down” over racial slurs, backbiting remarks against each other, tearing at the fabric of the illusion of the “Peaceful American Community” that Hollywood is supposed to be so integral a part of creating in the framework of our society. Even within pagan communities themselves, a place where many claim to have found the first bit of peace in their spirit in their entire lives up to the point of their discovery of paganism grow more and more rife with stories of people that have, in their own way, attempted to serve their community and been shunned due to human mistakes or misunderstandings. America’s illusion says that Americans are supposed to be Keepers of the Peace.
But Americans, and in many cases humans in general it seems, have forgotten that there is Power in words.
I was trained in classical music from a very young age. Because of this training, my ears have been fine tuned to hear tone before I even hear actual words. As well, I have come to understand over the years the reasons why the Celts, the Native Americans and so many other cultures taught their deepest and most spiritual lessons to rhythm, dance and in rhyme. The cadence, the effect on the body, mind, heart and spirit, the effect on the chakras…all attribute pieces of the beautiful stained glass window of reality that is the Power of Words.
Everyone has had the experience, in or out of Circle, of feeling truly and deeply moved to their deepest self by a piece of music or poetry. The way a High Priest or High Priestess speaks a lesson, their tone and manner focused totally on opening the hearts and minds of their students that sets that lesson forever in the mind of those attending them or the way a Shaman or Medicine Man or Woman guides their patient through a Journey or necessary healing process to the rhythm of a Medicine drum, all are designed to not only speak the lesson, tell the journey…but to set it indelibly into the brain and memory so that we do not forget.
In the day and age when it was still dangerous to know the legal names of coven mates, knowing a single word—a name—could mean death and the end of entire family lines, no matter what guilt or innocence was the truth of their existence or beliefs.
Do you, as a magickal person, honestly believe that there was not a time when Words of Power were used far more frequently than they are now? Do you honestly believe that science fiction is the only place where something like Frank Herbert’s concept of the Voice, held in his works in the Dune series…where single syllables could be used to shatter bone, burst organs, bring down entire cities? If you truly believe this, look at the way that the cruelty of words spoken in haste can shatter families, permanently scar minds, hearts, souls and weigh heavily on our Karmic scale in the long run.
If we truly know that words have Power, this means that we must consider more carefully how we speak to and of each other. This is not to say that we should become completely unrealistic in the “sunshine” we spout, but rather we should speak the best reality we may into being.
Rather than simply wishing each other “Happy Holidays” a holiday season or wishing for “world peace, ” why not truly speak with clarity and vision the positives you see possible in this world. Instead of finding fault with a child’s grades or social performance, teach them pride enough in themselves, their families and their community that such things wouldn’t even occur to them as long as they have the academic support their personal learning curve requires.
Instead of “preaching” our faith or hearing only “preaching” in other’s words about their faith and beliefs this time of year, why not listen with compassion in your ears and find the commonalities with your own, sharing those with a smile and a warm heart (Merry Meet, Merry Part, Bright the Cheeks and Warm the Heart—from the long Wiccan Rede, sound familiar?)
When we speak of our faith, speak of what we ourselves practice—not just the history of those that died for our faith. Speak the beauty, not just the once-mysteries and mythologies. Speak the usefulness, the daily contact with Deity, the ways that the Universe reflects Its Infinite Wisdom and Complex Simplicity to you as an individual every single day, instead of finding the reasons to nit-pick your neighbors or their lives to death or place personal judgment on other’s lives for reasons of pride, ego or simple human differences of opinion.
Spend less time finding fault and more time finding blessings—no matter how small or unlikely the arrival or package they come in. Spend less time speaking poison, thus poisoning your own heart and spirit and drawing the same to yourself in the process—if you live by the Law of Three or other like law of balance in your system of beliefs. Sing praises over your own life and accomplishments instead of doubt that you’ll ever truly “get there.” Find places to smile each day instead of facing a list of stresses and duties alone with a sense of dread in your heart, mind and voice.
If your faith does not make your spirit smile enough to share something of its Light with the world around you, then my friend, you need some work on you first—and like the Christian Bible says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged” and “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
No man or woman is above another on the scale of the Universe—but all are on various levels of the spiral, all learning, all growing, all paying debts and moving up and either fast or slow, they are finding ways to make themselves and their world better. Some are just a bit further along in the process than others and those are our treasured teachers and Elders. Yet, all in life truly have something to teach if only you are brave enough to listen to the lesson when the package it comes in doesn’t seem pleasing to your senses at first glance.
Just as many mythologies tell stories of Gods and Goddesses taking the form of injured animals or ugly or deformed creatures to teach lessons to the ones they were in the story with, so too does the Universe often scream our lessons in that tone of voice that makes us wish we were deaf on every level or put them in a package we find so distasteful we might not stick around for the lesson itself, no matter how sweetly delivered from the distasteful representation—it is often part of the test the God/dess gives us, one that we commonly fail.
However, if we are open to the lesson, even when it is yelled or screeched or even when it is in the simple deafening silence of darkness, the power of words remains a truth that cannot be denied. Therefore, it is necessary that we take responsibility for our use of this magick in a far more active way than many often choose to keep on their everyday mouth and perceptions. However, as aware and ethical magickal folk, it cannot be said too often that awareness is only the first step.
There is a large difference, when working through life issues, in sharing your experience and speaking poison over the hardships of your past. There is a difference between sharing positive information that you have to share and insisting another must use the information just as you have in their lives or practice or it will immediately invalidate the information in your eyes.
There is a difference in speaking an honest disagreement with an issue or person and defaming them out of bruised ego, hurt feelings or mistaken sense of prideful or righteous indignation. There is a difference in realizing that shadow must exist for light to have its balance point, but when something already has a momentum of its own, it is not always correct for us to “add our two cents worth” to the engines by pumping our own poison into the process.
Not if we take seriously the idea that we will eventually reap what we sow.
If you are aware that the words you say and how you say them are like seeds in soil and what you bring back to you is the harvest of those words, think about the words you speak in a day. Do you speak brightly, positively, encouragingly to the world and your reality and those in it? Or do you speak doubt into your every sentence?
In your attempt to be a “realist” have you become a “pessimist” instead? When ill or in pain, do you speak the truth of the pain or issue and truly seek help or do you play it up for attention and shun any real assistance?
When you bring up a difference of opinion with someone, do you bring it up or do you attack him or her with it and then expect him or her to “understand, because they are your friend” and then become upset when they do not react as you expect them to? Do you take responsibility for your own expectations?
All these are examples of the places where the power of words is often simply forgotten or conveniently passed up in favor of the more instant gratification of a snap decision or reaction. Being Children of the Light, attempting in some small human way to be reflections of our Gods and Goddesses, do we honestly think that our Deity would speak in the poisonous terms most human beings use on one another every single day? If you do not know what I am talking about, read a newspaper or watch the evening news or an episode of Jerry Springer.
Insults, invasion of privacy, making jokes of infirmity or life circumstances beyond the control of the center of the joke, finding joy in other’s pain or thinking peace comes out of war are all ways in which even the words themselves can show us they are not what will draw us the most positive ends if the magick of words is truly something we understand and choose to manifest in our every day lives.
Instead of arguing how horrible it is that places like Macy’s and Wal-Mart Corporation are “forbidding” the Happy Holidays greetings in stores in favor of using a strict “Merry Christmas” (or “Happy Easter”) policy, why not try something different?
Of course it’s horrible they are denying others their holidays as well in society and putting forward such a prevailing discriminatory front to their business, but do we really need to RE-state the obvious? Why not plant more positive seeds instead?
Try, through this and every holiday season to give the gift of using a voice of compassion, a voice of sharing, a voice of joy, wisdom, peace and beauty.
Just share the joys of all of the various holiday seasons as you pass others at home, at work, at the store. And even if it is only in a few words, delivered with a smile, you can share a bit of this magick that is the power of words simply by planting the seed with a voice that says, “Have a Happy Holiday, whatever yours may be.”
See what harvests come your way; you might just be pleasantly surprised.
Embraced by the Goddess
Author: Elwin Shadowstrider
Originally I was planning to place this in my Book of Mirrors, as you see; I changed my mind for many reasons. Some were to let others know of a beautiful life-changing event that forever changed me. I felt that to some it may help, for others maybe just to remind them of when they first set their own two feet on their Path.
Without a short background some of this will not make any sense at all, I will not go into gory detail. Some things are very tragic, some of those things I draw a great deal of strength from. However, my childhood was beyond horrible, abuse was prevalent, both physical and mental abuse. A great deal seems to come from Stephen King’s worst nightmares.
I have been asked many times by those who know me well how I did not become badly damaged goods…I attribute that to strength of will. I refuse to give up, especially when I know there are greater things out there than what I have to experience at that moment in time then. In time, I proved myself right, as you will see.
I was forced as a child to attend church; I really had no interest in going. They never could answer my questions to my satisfaction. The usual Cain slew Abel, then where did his wife come from if there were only four people on this planet at that time? Many explained that it was more than likely his sister, which I went up in flames then. Letting them know that only last week we were told that was forbidden to lie with your sister or brother. Or was it just holier then than it is now? You get the picture; I was seven when this took place.
My parents were begged not to bring me back to Sunday school. They said that I asked questions that no normal seven year old should ask, and that I should take more on “faith” and to be still and be quiet when the teacher was talking. I felt they were legitimate questions and still do, no pastor or otherwise could ever answer what I asked.
Many referred me to so and so apologetic pastor or seminary college since I was so questioning within the “faith”. Faith, no, I wanted clear concise answers as to WHY these things I was to take on “faith” had to not be asked. Too many holes within their stories and parables, I wanted straight facts that they were not equipped to give.
My teen years were pretty much the same; I was honestly kept as a house slave or servant, I was allowed no bed of my own, any furniture, and the least expensive clothes they could find and was told that it was “good” for my soul.
That got really old really quick, I grew up in Miami, Florida, and I had no air conditioning in my room either. The rest of the household had everything; this is just to give you an idea. By now, I had finally begged and cried to this “god” for deliverance, anything, just I wanted out of this household.
I begged for many years, all I got in return was silence…no answers.
I thought at first maybe I was “imperfect”, a “sinner” and god wanted nothing to do with me; just like everyone else in my life then. My despair began to grow to stellar heights, just what was I supposed to do? I left my Dad’s house when I was sixteen; I refused to put up with it any longer.
As the years passed as years will, I occasionally begged “god” for help, by now, I have been begging for years, still, no answer. I sought “help” from pastors; I got the usual praying over, and one even suggested performing an exorcism on me to cast out any “evil spirits” that might have taken up residence within.
Being that my family is from central Ireland we were brought up to trust and believe the clergy. Mostly Catholics, a few Protestants, was what ran in my family. I never could understand just how they could take so much on faith and let it go at that.
I was the one who always read everything, but my favorites still to this day is the “Sword and Sorcery” type epics that I learned so much from. I was the cast off, the one who believed that the Elves still existed and Dragons were around the next corner; during what free time I could steal away I walked the woods, searching for something, just what I never knew then.
What I didn’t know was that our beloved Green Man was whispering to me all that time. There were days I could almost hear what He was saying, almost; but not quite getting it.
Often, I just shrugged my shoulders and continued on, learning what so many just didn’t see. To learn of beauty, to know some small peace in my life. To see animals as more of my friends than Man, to know trees, to breathe in what I needed. In these times I didn’t feel lost at all, I felt at home then.
Here I will leave the past behind, these memories are very painful in ways, but I learned how to be what many never do, Human. To know the fullness of sorrow, anger, and hatred is something I do not recommend to anyone. Better to not know the fullness of what those emotions can do to a person, the hardness in can put in place of what should be someone’s heart.
This is when I looked back on my life, and wanted to know why, just why, “god” never answered me. Why my life was, so far, was so cold inside, why can’t I be happy like so many others here in this world?
Despair grew yet again, yet despair this time was very deep. It lasted for many months instead of just a few days.
I once again went to begging “god” for answers, help, anything; just one answer is all I required, just one. It never came, that answer. Finally, I broke down, after thirty-six years of fighting I broke down.
I gave up, entirely. I had nothing else to believe in.
Yes, I do have a wife and son; I do have family of my own. I love them both very dearly. I wanted faith. I wanted faith to believe in myself, to believe that when this path here on earth is over there is something other than nothing. As I said, I broke down, I wanted nothing anymore, and I gave up.
With that, I began the soul wrenching crying that signified total defeat; “god” wasn’t there. I was truly lost, and that’s what broke my heart more than anything. I was lost.
During this time of defeat, a PRESCENSE is the only way I could begin to describe it. Something unbelievably beyond me, something that radiated Love, I really gave in then. I felt as if I should know who this was, but for some reason I didn’t.
Then in a voice that was VERY female, soft, full of understanding and infinite Love spoke to me, ” Why do you weep? Why is your heart so heavy within your breast? Where is the laughter that I love to hear from you? Where are your smiles?”
I was dumbfounded, I could only answer, “I am lost, god doesn’t answer me, I am alone here, and I want faith in the universe around me.”
She laughed, not a mocking laughter, one full of understanding, and Love. “I have known your ancestors, the Celts, I know you. Why is it you don’t know me?”
I answered, ” My lady, I don’t know you I wish I did, I am tired of not knowing anything.”
She answered, ” So you shall, you are my child, none other’s, you are my son. Love shall be yours.”
At that moment, all the years of hatred, anger, sorrow, animosity, and narrow-minded beliefs fell away, replaced by Love. I fell to crying out of sheer joy and happiness.
At that, she laughed again, full of mirth, and joy that I did remember who She was at last. As I lay there my Goddess embraced me, not in the spiritual sense, it was very physical, yet I couldn’t see Her.
Her embrace was like nothing I have ever known in my life, for just one moment here on this plane of existence, I knew what it was like to Love all, to realize that Love was all my Goddess wanted from me; that and my laughter, my happiness.
Since that day, the Wiccan Rede is indelible upon me. I will harm NONE. I became a vegetarian; I refuse to harm anything, even so much as a bug outside.
My son (Goddess Bless him) came to me not two weeks ago and asked what was making me so happy, why I laughed at nearly everything now. I want to tell him, he’s only eleven, and I won’t alter his Path in life. When he gets a little older and he asks again, then I will tell him.
Just three days later, flying in the face of tradition, I gave myself to my Goddess. It’s been only five weeks from that wonderful day. I oath bound myself to Her, and laughed with Her when she accepted me as her child.
After the turn of events in the beginning of my life I had indeed proven myself right, that there are greater things out there. You just have to look in the right place sometimes.
There may be a few others out there who may have experienced something like this. I do not know, I do not claim to know. I know what gift was given to me, and that gift will be cherished until I see my Goddess yet again.
Please understand I have no hatred for the Christian religion. I have left hatred behind, and that is no longer who I am. I have many friends who are Christians; they know that I am a Witch, a Wiccan. They also know that I will never turn away from my Goddess; they know I will lovingly tell them that I have found my Path if they begin to preach at me.
I have also lost a great deal of friends who were too judgmental and walked away from me. Some of those were indeed painful, many were very good friends. Their children played with my son quite often, now I have yet to see them again.
I am at Peace with their choice; they too have a Path they must follow. As any Pagan, I just send them my Love from time to time. Many of my relatives also have nothing to do with me now, that too I have taken in Peace.
It is somewhat difficult to convey what exactly has happened to me. My life was filled with so much negative energies that I never believed that something such as this could really happen. Life has truly begun for me, to feel Love as never before, to Love all that I see. To feel the sense of the Spirit’s whisperings in all that is around me, to know and see indescribable beauty in all that my eyes behold.
The most fun part is to finally hear the Green Man’s laughter, to hear His dancing steps, to know His Love for all things that grow. I know who He is as well, no longer just whispers that I can’t quite catch, to hear His voice is truly wonderful. To also hear God’s voice in laughter with the Goddess’ laughter as I take my first tentative steps in Life, my heart is full.
There are days I wonder if I can really Love more than the day before, the answer is yes. Goddess, YES! Tears of true joy fall these days; the Goddess has embraced me. I have just scratched the surface of what I will know before I must return to Summerland.
I also no longer fear to die, I actually look forward to the day when I can return to all that knows me, to see those whom I know. To find so many there waiting for my return. I will also state I don’t think I will return to Mother Earth, I will stay in Summerland.
I know that I may return if I wish, however; I will stay. There is work to do there as well.
In closing, yes, I am indeed VERY new to Wicca; I have learned what Wiccan Pride is truly all about. I have learned what Love really is, what Peace, true Peace really is.
I have also learned what Magick is all about. Magick in one word, WOW! I had no real idea of what can be done; it’s real, and its mind blowing of what we can do with it.
I will leave you Sisters and Brothers here, know that one more Wiccan has joined your ranks. Thanks for taking the time to read of my experience with the Goddess. Know that She Loves us all; no matter what Path we take.
Merry Meet, Merry Partings until we Merry Meet again.
Abundant and Brightest Blessings to all,
Elwin Shadowstrider ) O (