BOOK OF SHADOWS
VOLUME The SIXTH
pp. 2400 -2856
RIDERS OF THE CRYSTAL WIND
The Parts of the Soul
A Greek System of Chakras
by John Opsopaus
This essay resulted from an attempt to find a Greek system of "energy
centers" corresponding to the chakras of Eastern philosophy. Such a
correspondence would help illuminate Greek mysticism and reveal some of
the foundations of the Western Magical Tradition. This goal might seem
to be a shallow exercise in analogies, but there are reasons to expect
substantial correspondence. First, the Eastern and Greek systems evolved
out of a common Indo-European culture, so one would expect genetic
correspondences; these connections were likely maintained over the
millennia, since we know the Middle East mediated continual cultural
transfer with both the West and East. Second, there is a certain degree
of objectivity in the system of chakras, as reflected in the physical
body, which would lead to correspondences even in the absence of
cultural contact. The consequence of these two factors is a significant
uniformity in ideas about the Spirit and its connection to the Body
across the Eurasian continent, and even beyond, as documented, for
example, in Onians's _Origins of European Thought_.
How would we know a Greek system of chakras if we saw it? The standard
I have used is that (1) they should be approximately seven energy
centers; (2) they should be approximately located where the chakras are
located; (3) they should have approximately the same "functions" as the
It's worth keeping in mind that the chakra system best known in the
West, with seven chakras, is not the only system; some have more than
fourteen (Eliade, 243-5; Murphy, 156). Therefore, we should not expect
an exact correspondence of number, since certain energy centers might or
might not be counted depending on their strength or the "kind" of energy
they concentrate. Furthermore, different systems differ in their exact
placement of the chakras, so likewise we should not expect an exact
correspondence in a Greek system. Nevertheless, it will be apparent that
the Greek system corresponds closely to the system of seven chakras.
My principal source has been Onians, especially Part I and Part II (chh.
1-7), but the overall structure is described in Plato's account of the
"Parts of the Soul" in the Timaeus (69c-73d), which probably embodies
Pythagorean doctrine. In the following I've numbered the energy centers
from the top down with Roman numerals, since this accords better with
Platonic doctrine; however, the chakras are conventionally numbered from
the bottom up, for which I've (appropriately) used Hindu numbers
(so-called Arabic numbers).
The Crown of the head (Gk. koruphe, Lat. vertex). Plato said the humans
stand upright because of the connection between the Heavens and the Soul
in their brains. People with especially great power in their heads were
represented with a nimbus, a halo of flames, around their head (attested
as early as the 3rd cent. BCE in Greece). This center corresponds to
Chakra 7 (at the crown of the head), called Sahasrara, which means
"thousand (-petaled)," an appropriate description of a nimbus.
The Brain (Gk. enkephalos, Lat. cerebrum), which contains the psuche
(Gk.) or genios (Lat.). (I use the old Latin spelling "genios" to avoid
confusion with the English "genius." The genios is sometimes called the
anima.) In Homeric times the psuche was taken to be the "Vital Spirit"
or Life Principal (the mind or consciousness was placed in IV, the
chest), corresponding to Skt. asu. The later view, which is found in
Plato and corresponds better to the Eastern system (cf. Skt. atman), is
that the brain is the center of rational thought, the Intellectual
center. In both Homer and Plato the psuche is considered the immortal
part of the Soul. The physical substance corresponding to psuche was
marrow (medulla), especially the cerebrospinal fluid of the brain and
spine, but also in other parts of the body (see below). For this reason
departed souls were thought to appear as snakes, which are all brain and
spine. Scalp and facial hair were considered physical emanations of the
psuche, and so the hair, scalp and chin were considered sacred (hence
the dedication of locks and the touching of the chin or beard in
supplication). This center corresponds to Chakra 6 (at the brow),
called Ajna, which means "authority or command," an appropriate name for
the rational faculty, which Plato said "controls and restrains" the
lower faculties; Onians calls it the Executive function.
The Neck (Gk. trachelos, dere; Lat. collum), which Plato called the
"isthmus or boundary" between the Superior, Divine or Immortal Soul and
the Inferior or Mortal Soul. He said that it allows communication
between the two, but prevents the Lower Soul from "polluting" the
Higher. This center corresponds to Chakra 5 (in the throat), called
Visuddha, which means "purgation or purity," that is, "the purging of
the merely animal, physical system" (Campbell, 165).
The Heart and Lungs (Gk. phrenes, Lat. cor), which contain the thumos
(Grk.) or animus (Lat.), which is the Higher part of the Mortal Soul.
In Homeric times the thumos was the Conscious Spirit, the vehicle of
Thought and Feeling (cf. Skt. manas). Later, it was restricted to
feeling, emotion, passion and especially spirit, courage and anger - the
Affective function. This center corresponds to Chakra 4 (at the heart),
called Anahata, which means "not hit" (referring to the mystical sound).
This chakra is associated with prana (Skt.) - vital breath, vital spirit
(Campbell, 164), as are the phrenes with pneuma (Gk.) or spiritus
(Lat.) - breath, spirit. Campbell (164-5) says, "This is the
aspiration, then, of spiritual striving," and "the birth of the
spiritual as opposed to the merely physical life," and likewise the
phrenes are associated with spirit, as opposed to the lower parts, which
are associated with physical needs and desires.
The "little foyer" (the Red Lotus of Eight Petals with the Kalpa Tree)
below the Heart Chakra corresponds to the diaphragm, which Plato called
the "midriff partition" separating the two parts of the Mortal Soul
(associated with Spirit and Desire, respectively).
The Belly (Gk. gaster, Lat. abdomen), between the diaphragm and navel,
is the site of the Lower Part of the Mortal Soul, which is the
Appetitive Soul, which we share with the lower animals and plants; its
function is nutrition and it is the source of Desire (both Nutritional
and, by most accounts, Sexual). This center corresponds to Chakra 3 (at
the navel), called Manipura, which means "city of the shining jewel,"
and its function is "aggressive: to conquer, to consume, to turn
everything into oneself" (Campbell, 159-60), which is a good description
of the Appetitive Soul.
The Gonads (Gk. gonades, Lat. genitalia), representing the Procreative
function. The "marrow," the stuff of which psuche or genios was made,
was the Life Essence; Plato says that in it is made "the bonds of life
which unite the Soul with the Body." This marrow or sap is passed down
the spine, concentrated in the gonads, and is the source of the life of
the offspring. In particular, semen was considered a kind of
cerebrospinal sap. This center corresponds to Chakra 2, called
Svadhisthana, which means "her favorite resort," an apt name for "the
cakra of sexuality" (Campbell, 144).
The Sacrum or Holy Bone (Gk. hieron osteon, Lat. os sacrum), that is,
the base of the spine. Because this was a center of concentration of
the Life Force, Middle Eastern people believed that the entire body
could be regenerated from this bone, and Onians (p. 208) conjectures
that its potency may account for "kiss of shame" (osculum infame) of the
Witches and Templars (and perhaps the Cathars and Waldenses). This
center corresponds to Chakra 1, called Muladhara, which means "root
base," which Campbell (p. 144) associates with "hanging on to life" and
a "reactive psyche," so in both cases we have the grossest form of the
Similarly, the Spine was called the Holy Tube (hiera surinx), which
recalls the Sushumna (Spine), which is likewise considered a channel
(nadi). Likewise the Egyptian Ded Pillar, which represents the spine,
was a symbol of Life. I have not, however, found Greeks correspondents
to the Ida and Pingala nadis.
The above are the "central" energy concentrations of Greek philosophy,
and it is apparent that they correspond closely to the familiar seven
chakras. The Greeks also recognized "peripheral" energy concentrations
in the hands, thighs and knees (which have a large concentration of
"marrow"). This explains the sacrifice of thigh bones, the use of the
hand (especially the right hand) to exercise executive power, and
clasping the knees when beseeching. (The knee - Gk. gonu, Lat. genu -
was especially associated with the Life Force - genios - and with
procreation or "generation"; cf. genital, genetic, gonad, etc.) So far
as I know, corresponding chakras are not recognized in Eastern thought.
As a general rule of thumb, Spirit, of one sort or another, is most
concentrated where the flesh is thinnest (Timaeus 75a), thus, in the
head, chest, sacrum, knees and hands.
No. English Greek Latin Function Chakra No.
I Crown Koruphe Vertex Illumination Sahasrara 7
II Brain Enkephalos Cerebrum Intellection Ajna 6
III Neck Trachelos Collum Purification Visuddha 5
IV Heart/Lungs Phrenes Cor Affection Anahata 4
V Belly Gaster Abdomen Appetition Manipura 3
VI Gonads Gonades Genitalia Procreation Svadhisthana 2
VII Sacrum Hieron Osteon Os Sacrum Basic Life Muladhara 1
Campbell, Joseph. (1990). Transformations of Myth Through Time. New
York: Harper & Row.
Eliade, Mircea. (1969). Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, tr. Willard R.
Trask. Bollingen Series LVI. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Mead, G. R. S. (1967). The Doctrine of the Subtle Body in Western
Tradition. Theosophical Publishing House.
Murphy, Michael. (1992). The Future of the Body: Explorations Into
the Further Evolution of Human Nature. New York: Jeremy
Onians, Richard Broxton. (1951). The Origins of European Thought About
the Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time, and Fate. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Poortman, J. J. (1978). Vehicles of Consciousness: The Concept of
Hylic Pluralism. Vols. 1-4. Theosophical Publishing House.
RITUS OLYMPICUS PENTAGRAMMOU MINOR AD EXPELLENDUM
(c) 1993, John Opsopaus
The following is an adaptation of the Lesser Banishing Ritual
of the Pentagram to the Graeco-Roman Tradition, and so it is
called the "Olympic Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram."
Such a "translation" is possible because the LBRP is an
enactment in a Qabalistic framework of certain shamanic
practices that are nearly universal. Once the underlying
shamanic cosmology has been identified, it's relatively
straight-forward to reexpress the ritual in the terms of
another cosmology, such as the Graeco-Roman.
I would welcome criticism of the result, especially from
Qabalists and Ceremonial Magicians. Criticism/correction of
my Latin and Greek composition will also be appreciated.
Finally, I beg readers to forgive the Early Modern English,
which I've used to add dignity to the text.
The Ritual follows in summary form; a separate posting will
contain a fully annotated text. This information should make
clear which aspects of the ritual follow from Ancient
Tradition, which come from more recent Magical Traditions, and
which are a result of my speculation or arbitrary choice; such
information is all too often missing from Neopagan recon-
structions. If anyone knows of a similar adaptation, please
let me know.
Gratias vobis ago,
The Olympic Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram
The Traditional Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram
Adapted to the Graeco-Roman Tradition
(c)1993, John Opsopaus
I. The Opening Tau Cross
i. Close thine eyes, and by thy breath fan thou the Fire,
which awakeneth the Serpent and the Eagle. Allow thyself to
grow beyond all bounds of space, until the Universe is
within thee. Be thou as a God; be thou as a Goddess.
ij. Draw thou down the Fire of Heaven into thy Heart, and
"From Celestial Fire"
"Ab Igne Caelesti"
"Apo tou Ouraniou Puros"
[)Apo\ tou= )Oura/niou Puros/]
[Suggested gestures for the preceding step: Raise your arms
into a horizontal, cross position, with palms up (in Celestial
Invocation). Bring them together above your head, palm to
palm, and then draw the Celestial Fire down to your heart,
while saying "From Celestial Fire."]
[The words to be spoken by the practitioner are given in
English, Latin and Greek. In an attempt to combine
readability and accuracy, I've given the Greek text two ways,
in a simple but approximate Roman transcription, and in "Beta
code," a standard ASCII representation of Greek including all
the accents, breathings, etc. Beta code transcriptions are
enclosed in square brackets. The Beta code transcriptions
should be reasonably comprehensible with the following
information: ")" and "(" represent smooth and rough
breathing, respectively; "/", "\" and "=" represent acute,
grave and circumflex accents, respectively; "|" is iota
iij. Guide thou the bright Beam downward, until it stirreth
the Subterranean Waters of the Abyss and bringeth Them to
life; and while so doing, say thou:
"To Watery Abyss"
"Ad Aquosum Profundum"
"Eis ten Hudroessan Abusson"
[)Ei\s th\n (Udro/essan )/Abusson]
[Suggested gesture: Keep the palms together and move them
down in front of the groin. Then separate the hands and hold
them to the sides and slightly forward, with palms down (in
iv. Direct thou the beam from thy heart through thy left
shoulder, until it stretcheth to the Moon, and say:
"By Way of Earth"
"Kat' Hodon Chthonion"
[Kat' (Odo\n Xqo/nion]
[Suggested gesture: Raise the left hand up to your chest;
then extend your arm into horizontal position, with the palm
v. Direct thou the beam from thy heart through thy right
shoulder, until it stretcheth to the Sun, and say:
"By Way of Air"
"Kat' Hodon Aitherion"
[Kat' (Odo\n )Aiqe/rion]
[Suggested gesture: Raise the right arm to the chest and then
into a horizontal position, with forward palm.]
vi. Feel thou the Sacred Tau Cross that blazeth inside
thee. Now cross thy arms over thy Heart, and say:
"Abiding always in the Center. So be it!"
"Semper in Medio manens. Esto!" or "Fiat!"
"En Omphaloi aei menon" (masc.) or "menousa" (fem.). "Esto!"
[)En )Omfalw=| a)ei\ me/nwn] (masc.) or [me/nousa] (fem.).
[Suggested gesture: Bring your arms together and cross them
over your chest.]
vij. As thou makest this gesture the Moon and Sun will
stand together above thy head, nor will they ever move from
there. Moon over Sun and Sun over Tau Cross; thou art the
Holy Caduceus. Thou hast become the Center of the World,
for the Cosmic Axis runneth through thy spine; on thy left
standeth the Path of the Moon, and on thy right the Path of
the Sun, above thee shineth the Cosmic Pole, below thee
lieth the Abyss.
viij. Thou standest upon the Sacred Mountain, the World
Navel, under which hideth the Watery Abyss. At thy back
groweth the Tree of Life, which stretcheth over thy head,
the Navel Cord, for the Mountain and Tree are the Cosmic
Pillar, which supporteth the four Quarters of the Heavens.
From Calypso's Cave between the Tree's roots, which
penetrate the Abyss, are the four springs, which flow to the
four Quarters of the World, and they run with water, honey,
milk and wine. Around the World Tree's trunk coileth thrice
and half again the Serpent. In the Cosmic Tree's leaves
percheth the Eagle of Zeus, guarding the Horn of Amalthea,
from which Nectar floweth into the Libation Bowl, the
Bountiful Breast, which overfloweth, raining Nectar on the
World. Ambrosia floweth up the trunk of the Tree from the
Deep. Illumination cometh from Above and Growth cometh from
Below. The World Tree is the Tree of Destiny and Its leaves
are the Book of Fate, for as they fall, so fall to earth the
winged souls of the folk, ever singing in its foliage.
ix. Divine Helen, Leto's Daughter, with large breasts,
liveth in the Bountiful Cosmic Tree, for she is Its Spirit;
and Her Brothers, the Dioskouroi, Sons of Zeus [Dios Kouroi]
the All-Shining [Pamphaes], the Heavenly Twins of Leto,
command the Sacred Paths on either side. For Castor, who
resideth underground, knoweth the Lunar Discipline and
controlleth the Way of Descent, and Polydeuces, who liveth
above, is Master of the Solar Discipline and controlleth the
Way of Ascent.
x. For learn thou this about the Way of Ascent. It is
under the jurisdiction of Zeus, the Sky Shaker, who giveth
fertilizing rain and nourishing sunlight. He holdeth the
Lightning Bolt of Illumination, and His lightning descendeth
from the Sky. The Way of Ascent is to climb Scylla's
Mountain, which riseth into the clouds, nor can its peak
ever be seen. Prometheus or Apollo will show thee the Way.
Thy Helper in this journey is the Horse Pegasos, but also
the Soaring Eagle, Dove and Goose. Then wilt thou break
through the Vault of the Heaven, and going through the
Celestial Pole thou wilt ascend the Heavens. For this is
the Way of Light, the Path by Day, the Sun's Way, the Path
of the Sage.
xi. And learn thou this about the Way of Descent. It is
under the jurisdiction of Poseidon, the Earth Shaker, who
giveth fresh water from springs, but also floods and
earthquakes. He holdeth the Trident of Ecstasy and His
lightning leapeth up from the Earth. The Way of Descent is
by the precipice opposite Scylla's cliff, which is the lower
of the two, and from it groweth the Sacred Fig Tree. Climb
thou down from this Tree to Charybdis, by which thou wilt be
drawn into the Watery Abyss. Circe or Herakles will show
thee the Way past the Dog and Gatekeeper. Thy Helper in
this journey is the Serpent Python, but also the Raging Lion
and Bull. Then wilt thou break through the Vault of the
Abyss and, going down the Well, thou wilt descend through
its levels. For this is the Way of Darkness, the Path by
Night, the Moon's Way, the Path of the Mage.
xij. But the Wise know that the Way Up and the Way Down are
the same, for they are both on the Cosmic Pillar, and
sometimes our task demandeth that we go up it, and sometimes
it demandeth that we go down it. When Duty calleth, we
travel by Day or Night as is the need. Ask thou Hermes for
guidance, for he frequenteth the Navel.
II. Pentagrams of the Quarters
xiij. This is the way thou wilt draw the Shining Pentagrams
that wardeth each Quarter. The first ray goeth from the
lower left to the top, and each ray continueth from the
last. And as thou makest each ray, sing a letter of the
Name of the Pentagram.
xiv(a). In Greek the Pentagram hath the Name HUGIEIA
[U(GI/EIA], which meaneth Soundness or Wholeness, so sing
thou the sounds:
"Huuuuuuu, Gggggggg, Iiiiiiih, Aaaaaay, Aaaaaaah."
xiv(b). In Latin the Pentagram hath the Name SALUS, which
meaneth Soundness or Welfare, so sing thou the sounds:
"Ssssssss, Aaaaaaah, Llllllll, Uuuuuuuu, Ssssssss."
xiv(c). Though in English we label the Pentagram WHOLE or
SOUND, its spoken Name is WHOLENESS, so sing thou the
"Hooooooo, Llllllll, Nnnnnnnn, Eeeeeeeh, Ssssssss."
xv. Now go thou to the East and make the Pentagram. As
"Jupiter" or "Zeus"
hurl thou His Thunderbolt through the center of the
Pentagram, and see it fly away to Infinity.
[Iuno / Hera [(/Hra] might also be appropriate for the East
(She is not an Earth Goddess), in which case you should throw
Her Cuckoo-bearing Sceptre, which represents the Celestial
Spirit nesting on the top of the World Tree. (Zeus first came
to Hera in the form of a Cuckoo.)]
xvi. Now with thy Staff forge thou the Fiery Ring, drawing
it from the center of the Eastern Pentagram and stretching
it to the South, where thou wilt make another Pentagram, but
"Vesta" or "Hestia"
"Vesta" [pron. "Westa"]
and throw thou Her Burning Circle.
xvij. Then to the West:
"Neptune" or "Poseidon"
Hurl thou His Trident.
xviij. Then to the North:
"Ceres" or "Demeter"
"Ceres" [pron. "Keres"]
Throw thou Her Torch.
[Pluto / Hades [(/Aidhs] would also be appropriate for the
North, in which case his Helmet of Invisibility should be
projected through the Pentagram. Hades' name may mean "the
Unseen" ["(/Aidhs" < "a) idh/s"].]
xix. Then draw thou the Fiery Ring back to its beginning,
so it burneth on every side. Then will the Barrier expand
above and below until thou art surrounded by the Glowing
[When projecting the Four Weapons through the Pentagrams, the
practitioner might find it helpful to make an appropriate
gesture: as though throwing a dart for Zeus's Keraunos, as
though throwing a frisbee for Hestia's Burning Ring, as though
throwing a javelin for Poseidon's Trident, as though throwing
a knife for Demeter's Torch.]
III. Wards of the Quarters
xx. Now raise again thy arms so thou art the Sacred Tau and,
focusing thine attention before thee (Eastward), say:
Apollo will appear before thee in all His Glory, Bow in hand,
facing thee. Then will He turn His back to watch the Eastern
[Mercurius/Hermes [(Ermh=s], with His Caduceus, would also be
appropriate for the East.]
xxi. West: Focusing thine attention behind thee, say:
Artemis will appear with Her Bow. Then will She turn away to
watch the West.
[Venus/Aphrodite [)Afrodi/th], arising from the waves and
holding Her Zona (Girdle), would also be appropriate for the
xxij. South: Focusing thine attention to thy right, say:
"On the right, Minerva/Athena"
Athena will appear with Her Aegis and Spear, and turn to
watch the South.
[Mars / Ares [)/Arhs] (with Shield and Sword) or Volcanus /
Hephaistos [(/Hfaistos] (with Hammer and Tongs) would also be
appropriate for the South; Mars was also an Italic vegetation
God, and so might be evoked in the North.]
xxiij. North: Focusing thine attention to thy left, say:
"On the left, Bacchus/Dionysos"
"Ep' aristera, Dionusos"
[)Ep' a)ristera/, Dio/nusos]
Dionysus will appear with His Thyrsus, and then turn to
watch the North.
[Pan [Pa/n], with His Pipes, would also be appropriate for the
North. Pan may seem an unlikely Ward, but when Athens honored
Him and asked Him to help defend them from the Persians, he
did so (Herodt. VI.105.2-3).]
xxiv. In thy mind, thank all the Wards of the Quarters for
IV. The Macrocosm in the Microcosm
xxv. Spread thy feet apart and assume thou the form of the
Sacred Pentagram, which Pythagoras hath called Hugieia
(Salus, Whole/Sound). When the Pentagram flameth around
"For around flameth the Pentagram."
"Nam circa flagrat Pentagrammon."
"Peri men gar phlegei to Pentagrammon"
[Peri\ me\n ga\r fle/gei to\ Penta/grammon]
[If you prefer "For around flame the Pentagrams," then use:
"Nam circa flagrant Pentagramma"
"Peri men gar phlegousi ta Pentagramma"
[Peri\ me\n ga\r fle/gousi ta\ Penta/gramma]
xxvi. When the Sacred Hexagram shineth within thee, say:
"And within shineth the Six-rayed Star."
"Atque intra lucet Stella Sexradiata."
"Entos de lampei ho Hexaktinotos Aster."
[)Ento\s de\ la/mpei o( E(caktinwto\s )Asth/r.]
[If you prefer your Hexagram shining above rather than within,
then say "super" instead of "intra," or "Huper" [(Upe/r]
instead of "Entos." However, I think it's better to have it
within (see the notes for the reason).]
xxvij. The Pentagram signifieth the Microcosm, and the
Hexagram signifieth the Macrocosm. Thus the Macrocosm
shineth within the Illuminated Microcosm.
V. The Closing Tau Cross
xxviij. Repeat thou the Tau Cross as it was at the beginning.
[The following alternative gestures incorporate the relation
of the elements embodied in the Hexagram: As you recite the
text of the Tau Cross, (1) begin with arms crossed, right over
left, on your chest; (2) raise your right arm to the Celestial
Fire, (3) lower your left arm to the Watery Abyss, (4) let the
Fire draw up the Water to yield Earth, by moving your left arm
up to your chest and out to the left, the Way of Earth; (5)
let the Water draw down the Fire to yield Air, by moving your
right arm down to your chest and out to your right, the Way of
Air; (6) cross your arms over your chest, indicating the
Reconciliation, Union and Balance of the Oppositions (Bivium),
Worlds (Trivium) and Elemental Quarters (Quadrivium). I must
admit, however, that these gestures seem somewhat awkward.]
xxix. Thou hast made for thyself a Sacred Space at the
World's Navel. Ascending on thy Right is the Light Path and
descending on thy Left is the Dark Path, but remember thou
that the Wise One knoweth that the Way Up and the Way Down are
the same and that together they make the one Path of Wisdom.
So must it be.
THE FARMER AND THE GODDESS - A MODERN STORY OF REBIRTH
The night was quiet and peaceful, with only the occasional call of
a whippoorwill to break the tranquil silence. The Moon was an
iridescent ball of silver perched high in the heavens, illuminating
the Earth below. The sky, a lovely shade of midnight blue, was
sparsely speckled with the twinkle of stars. I peered out my
window, enchanted by the beauty of the night. As my eyes wandered,
they came to rest upon the corn field - the corn field that had
broken my very heart.
In the beginning, I had worked patiently and diligently tending the
soil. I tilled it - turning it over and over, so that the new
could surface and the old could rest. I carefully pulled away the
weeds and the remnants of the old crop to make the field ready for
new planting. I fertilized and nurtured it, smoothed and moistened
it. Day after day, I toiled to make it ready. Finally, I plowed
it into even rows and lovingly planted it.
Every day, I tended the seed and watched for new sprouts.
Tenaciously, I ripped the weeds from Earth that would rob the seeds
of the nutrients necessary for their growth. And then one day, I
saw it - a single, solitary sprout that had pushed its way through
the soil! Within the week, the entire field was covered with a
very thin mesh of green, and I felt a joy in my heart that words
cannot describe! The hard work, the aching muscles, and the tender
care with which I had nurtured the field was not in vain - the
Earth which I loved had given birth, and was alive in the greening
of the seed I had sown.
Daily, I worked in the field, delighting in the growth of the corn
- revelling in its freshness - exulting in the part I had played in
its birth. The rains came down, drenching the earth and the roots
grew deep. The sun shone brightly on the young plants and they
grew tall, reaching for the sky. Ears began to form on the stalks,
and all was well with the crop.
But then the drought arrived, and the rains came no more. The sun
still beamed brightly, and the roots moved deeper and deeper into
the Earth in their desperate quest to find water. Alas, there was
not a single drop left with which they could quench their thirst.
The once luxuriant green leaves began to yellow and wither. The
stalks which had stood so proudly against the sky began to shrivel
and crack, and the tender ears, so newly born, dried up in death.
Yes, the corn which I had helped to birth - that which I had loved
so dearly - was gone. Dried up. Dead.
A tear fell from my eye as I stood looking at the field that night,
remembering. A gentle breeze rustled through the old and withered
stalks as I wiped away the tear. And then...I saw something! Or
was it someone? Slowly and silently I crept toward the corn field
to take a better look. I felt my heart beating faster and faster,
as panic began to consume me. After all, it was nearly midnight
and too late for visitors! Whomever was in the field was obviously
up to no good, and I wanted them to leave immediately! My legs
moved faster and faster - more quickly than I had dreamed they were
capable - until I was, indeed, on a dead run! When I reached the
old oak tree that shaded the northern edge of the field, I opened
my mouth to shout my displeasure at the trespasser; however, I fell
silent as my eyes focused on the sight, and my mouth gaped wide.
For there, in the center of the corn field, was a young woman in
white - her hair as gold as the maize - glowing in the shimmering
iridescence of the moonlight!
Questions ravaged my tired brain, as I tried to assess the
situation and size up the intruder. Who was She? What was She
doing there? Surely She knew She was trespassing - and most
certainly She knew that it was illegal! As much as I wished to
call out to Her, I was mesmerized by Her very presence and found
that I could say nothing. Helplessly, I watched as She moved
through the rows of death. She stopped to caress a dry and
withered leaf, and then smiling, held it to her cheek. Gently, She
reached out and wrapped Her arms about the cracked, brown stalk,
hugging it closely to Her breast. She released the stalk and bent
down to look at one of the ears - perfectly formed, but shriveled
in its deathly demise. Quickly, She snapped the ear from its
stalk, tugged away its husk and swiftly moved toward the outside
perimeter of the field.
Holding the ear of corn high above Her golden head, She began to
dance upon the barren Earth. As if in slow motion, She twirled
about the outside edges of the field, as she softly hummed an
unfamiliar tune. Round and round the field She danced, picking up
momentum as She worked Her way toward the center. Louder and
louder She sang, the volume increasing as Her feet flew faster and
continued to spiral toward the center. Within the matter of a few
seconds, She had become a whirling dervish - dancing with such wild
abandon that the kernels of corn were loosed from their cob, flying
helter-skelter across the field! She glistened in the moonlight as
droplets of perspiration formed upon Her body, and in the frenzy of
Her dance, they too, were flung upon the Earth. Her feet and voice
reached the ultimate crescendo at the center of the corn field, and
She fell upon the ground in total exhaustion.
All was silent. The sounds of the nocturnal creatures had been
stilled. All was enveloped in an unnatural hush - as if time
itself, had stopped. She lay on the Earth, unbreathing, unmoving,
immobile - as still as Death, itself! I stared at Her in horror,
the panic which I had forgotten, rushing back into my brain with
full force. Was She alright? Good Heavens! Was She dead??
Finally, I gathered my wits about me, found my feet and rushed
toward the center of the corn field, where She had fallen in
collapse. My heart beating wildly, I reached out to Her - but She
was gone! She had disappeared into the very ether! All that was
left in Her place was a single corn cob, void of its kernels - the
kernels which had flung from their resting place in the midst of
the Lady's spiral dance.
The sun was shining hotly on my face as I rubbed my sleepy eyes
into total alertness. Where was I? This didn't feel like my bed!
What was causing this blinding light? I was soaked to the bone!
Just what the hell was happening here? Cautiously, I opened my
eyes and surveyed my surroundings. To my dismay, I was lying
smack-dab in the middle of the corn field and my head was resting
in a rather large mud puddle. Clenched tightly in my fist, like
some precious jewel in need of protection, was a solitary corn cob.
I scrambled to my feet and tried in desperation to collect my
thoughts. What was I doing here? Had I lost my mind?
And then...I remembered! I remembered the cornfield in the
moonlight - the Lady and the dance. I also remembered how Her
drops of perspiration had dropped to the ground in the frenzy of
Her movements. I looked at my feet and the Earth beneath them.
Joy and wonder rose in my heart. It had rained! Merciful Heavens!
It had rained - the Earth was soaked with moisture - the drought
Gleefully, I ran through the cornfield, feeling my bare toes dig
into the wet Earth - the same Earth which had been so cracked and
dry and barren just yesterday. I ran in joy. I ran in ecstasy. I
ran in sheer celebration of the soil's return to richness - and
then, I stopped dead in my tracks. Something was amiss. Something
had changed. Something was quite unlike it had been before.
Scanning the field, I realized that it was once again covered with
delicate green mesh of newly sprouting corn! In awe, I reached
down to cradle a newly-formed sprout and as my fingers touched the
verdant green leaf, a feminine voice began to speak:
"You were born of me! You are my child and at death you shall
return to me. Fear not of death, dear one, for within its
realm I shall bring you new life! Just as the corn lives again
- so shall it be with you! For all that falls shall rise
again, and that which dies shall be blessed with the gift of
rebirth - the gift of My love!"
The Chocolate Ritual
By: Buckmeister Thu 30 Sep 93
Materials required: On the altar there are brown candles; a Tootsie Roll
(the great big one-as the athame); a large glass with milk in it,(the
chalice); a small dish of Nestle's Quick and a spoon; a small dish of
chocolate sprinkles; a plate of cupcakes and some Yoo-Hoo along with a
CLEANSE THE SACRED SPACE:
(Take the small bowl of chocolate sprinkles)
Chocolate sprinkles where thou art cast No calories in thy presence
last. Let no fat adhere to me And as I will So Mote It BE!
Nestle's Quick where thou art cast Turn this milk to chocolate, fast.
Let all good things come to me, and make my milk all chocolatey!
CAST THE CIRCLE(using a toosie roll):
CALL THE QUARTERS:
Mousse of the East, Fluffy one! great prince of the palace of dessert.
Be present, we pray thee, And guard this circle from all moochers
Approaching from the East.
Fondue of the South, Molten One! Great prince of the palace decadence.
Be present we pray thee, and guard this circle from all diet Approaching
from the South.
Cocoa of the West, Satisfying One! Great prince of the palace of thirst.
Be present we pray thee, And guard this circle from all carob Approach-
ing from the West.
Rocky Road of the North, Cold One! Great prince of the palace of
crunchy. Be present we pray thee, And guard this circle from all cheap
imitations Approaching from the North.
HANDMAIDEN(Henceforth known as the Swiss Miss): Listen to the words of
the Mother of Chocolate; who was of old called; Godiva, Ethel M, Sara
Lee, Nestle, Mrs. See, and by many other names:
HPS: Whenever you have one of those cravings, once in a while and
better it be when your checkbook is full, then shall you assemble in a
great public place and bring offerings of money to the spirit of Me, who
is Queen of all Goodies.
In the Mall shall you assemble, you who have eaten all your
chocolate and are hungry for more. To you I shall bring Good Things for
And you shall be free from depression, and as a sign that you are
truly free, you shall have chocolate smears on your cheeks, and you
shall munch, nosh, snack, feast, and make yummy noises, all in my
presence. For mine is the ecstacy of phenylalanine(FEEN-EL-AL-A-NEEN),
and mine is also the Joy on Earth, yea, even into High Orbit for my law
is "Melts in your mouth, not in your hand."
Keep clean your fingers, carry Wet Ones always, let none stop you
aside. For mine is the secret that opens your mouth, and mine is the
taste that puts a smile on your lips and comfy padding pounds on your
I am the Gracious Goddess who gives the gift of joy unto the tummies
of men and women. Upon earth, I give knowledge of all things delicious,
and beyond death.......well, I can't do much there. Sorry about that.
I demand only your money in sacrifice; for behold, chocolate is a
business and you have to pay for those truffles before you eat them.
SWISS MISS: Hear now the words of the Goodie Goddess, she in the
dust of whose feet are the cheap imitations, whose body graces candy
racks and finer stores everywhere:
I, who am the beauty of chocolate chips, and the sastifying softness
of big bars, the mystery of how they ge the filling inside of truffles,
and fill the hearts of all but Philistines with desire, call unto thy
soul to arise and come unto me. For I am the soul of candy; from me do
all confections spring, and unto me all of you shall return, again....
and again....and again...... and again.
Before my smeared face, beloved of Women and Men, thine innermost
divine self shall be enfolded in the rapture of overdose.
Let my taste be within thy mouth that rejoices. For behold, all
acts of yumminess and pleasure are my rituals. Therefore let there be
gooeyness and mess, crispness and crackling, big slabs and bite size
peices, peanut butter and chocolate covered cherries all within you.
And you who think to seek me, know that your seeking and yearning
shall avail you not unless you know the Mystery; "We shall sell no
chocolate until you pay for it."
For behold; I have been with you since you were just a baby, and I
am that which is attained at nearly any shop in the land.
SWISS MISS: Hear now the words of the Chocolate God, who was called
Ghirardelli, Milton Snavely Hershey, Bosco, Fudgesicle, and by many
HP: I am the strength of the candy rack, and the peice that fell on
the floor, but looks like it might not have gotten too dirty, and the
deepest bitterness of dark chocolate. No matter how you try to resist
the call of chocolate, I will hunt you out and I will become your sacred
prey. I am warmth of hot cocoa in the dead of winter, and the call of
the road that leads you to that really expensive Godiva store downtown.
I give you my creatures, the fire of love of chocolate, the power of
jaw strength to bite off a piece of that frozen Milky Way bar, and the
shelter of Haagen Daz when that big date didn't work out. You are dear
to me, and I instill in you my power of a piece of chocolate that you
had forgotten you had hidden, and the power of vision and magickal sight
with which you can spot a candy counter a mile away.
By the powers of the half melted bar in the glorious sun, I charge
you, by the darkest depths of the bottom of the cocoa pot and lingering
smell of bittersweet chocolate, I charge you, and by the beauty of a
perfectly swirled vanilla butter cream, I charge you.
Follow your heart and your instinct, wherever they lead you. The
wealth in your pocket can buy you treats that a Mayan king would envy.
Take joy in that first bite of lecithin emulsfied cocoa, and in the last
satisfying slurp of Yoo-Hoo. Yet you must be wary of deciet. Eat not
of that which is called "Baking Chocolate" for it is vile and bitter.
Lastly, always remember to leave some chocolate behind you. Be not
greedy, but let yourself be known as a connoisseur. Leave a little for
I am with you always, just over your shoulder, or around the next
corner. I am the Lord of Chocolate, and when you have reached the end of
your hoard, I will never be farther away from you that that 7-Eleven on
the corner. I am the spirit of the Wild Child; the Inner Child who can
never get quite enough. If you are a true chocolate lover, then your
soul and mine are interwined.
CUPCAKES & YOO-HOO:
(The blessing of the Yoo-Hoo)
HP: Be it known that milk chocolate is not better that dark
HPS: Nor is dark chocolate better than milk chocolate.
HP: For both are better than the falsely named "White
HPS: And neither one is carob.
HP: As the frosting is to the cupcake.
HPS: So the creamy nougat is to the Milky Way Bar.
BOTH: And when they are eaten, they are yummy in truth, for there is
no greater snack in all the world than one made of chocolate.
(The blessing of the cupcakes)
HP: Frosting is keen,
HPS: And the frosting is neat.
BOTH: Great Goddess! Let's eat!
Feasting and drinking(chocolate liquer, if possible), music and
HPS: Oh, ye mighty goodies of the _______________, We thank you
for attending our rites and guarding our circle and ere you depart for
your sweet and sticky realms, We say unto you, "N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestles
makes the very best."
(After all the quarters have been dismissed, give a final, satisfy-
ing belch at the East.)
AUDIENCE WITH THE KEEPER OF WISDOM
I sat on the cobblestone bridge, listening to the ancient song of
the rushing waters in the brook below and contemplating the day's
events. I had awakened this morning with the strange anticipation and
wariness that generally accompanies the prediction of important
occurrences in one's life. All day, I had gone about my usual routine,
waiting and watching for something out of the ordinary - but to no
avail. There had been nothing of signifance...just another normal day
filled with the dull mundanity of household chores, grocery shopping and
bill paying. Nothing more.
I let out a heavy sigh, and turned my attention to the sheep
grazing in the lush meadow. I pondered their lives and wondered if they
ever felt the same anticipation I had experienced this morning. I
smiled at the foolishness of my thoughts, knowing full well that the
creatures of the field were content enough in the simpleness which life
had to offer - ample food and water was all they required. No, the
peaceful flock below couldn't be bothered with such nonsense. Maybe I
should follow their lead and just turn my thoughts to the more mundane
side of life.
Looking down at my feet as they dangled over the rushing water, I
became aware of the myriad of color that was reflected from the setting
sun. Mesmerized by the beauty of the kaleidoscopic dance, I watched
intently as the oranges, reds and purples whirled and twirled with each
other on the surface of the brook. The rich shades of the sunset
gradually faded into pastels and then, the irridescence of shimmering
silver. An owl hooted nearby, jolting me fully back into reality.
Good Goddess! Night had fallen! How long had I been there, lost in the
absurdity of human thought? Obviously much too long, from the looks of
I hurriedly scrambled to my feet, shivering as I gathered my shawl
about my shoulders. The night had turned cool and damp, and the misty
veil of fog was rolling into the valley at a rapid pace. The delicate
breeze of early day had been replaced a heavy west wind, and my hair was
whipping about my face and shoulders. Great! There was going to be a
storm, and here I was - in the middle of nowhere - likely to be caught
As I neared the end of the bridge, I realized that it was too
late. The fog had settled into a mist so dense and heavy, that I
couldn't see my hand in front of my face. There was no use in searching
for cover, as the visibility factor was nil. Aside from that, it was
quite dangerous to wander blindly through the valley mists - even folks
who knew the valley territory very well knew better than to try it.
Several years earlier, one of the area residents had been caught in the
steamy vapors while in search of a missing lamb, and had been found
hours later - miles from the valley - still wandering about looking for
his home. I cursed under my breath as I settled back onto the bridge to
wait out the fog.
No sooner than I'd gotten situated, the fog began to dissipate
nearly as quickly as it had descended. The wind was still blowing in
fierce gusts, but at least now, I reasoned, I should be able to find my
way home. Without another thought, I hurried across the bridge and onto
the path below. From the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the
silvery moonlight reflected on the water. Suddenly, I realized that
something was wrong - genuinely wrong! The brook had ceased to run!
Disbelieving, I rubbed my eyes and looked again. No, I wasn't seeing
things! Despite the heavy winds and the decline of its course, the
surface of the brook hadn't so much as a ripple. Goddess! The surface
was as smooth as glass! Shock! That was it - I must be in shock! I
began to conjure all sorts of excuses as to why my eyes were playing
tricks on me.
But then...it happened! The winds began to blow from all four
directions at once, their forces concentrated at the center of the still
and lifeless brook. A bit of mist was caught up in the forces of the
gale - twirling this way and that, becoming larger in size and stronger
in density - until all at once, the winds were hushed in deathly
silence. There She stood - a beautiful and terrible visage - atop the
glassy water. Robed and Hooded. Dark and black. Faceless. It was
She! The Devourer of Souls. The Keeper of Wisdom. She Who stirred the
Cauldron of Rebirth. The Shapeshifter. I shivered in fear and
From beneath the hood, She gazed upon me with the invisible eyes
that saw all. Silently, She fixed Her eyes on mine and bade me not to
turn away. Deeper and deeper into Her eyes I went. Deeper. Deeper
still. A myriad of jewel-tone colors began to swirl in my very being -
faster, darker, brighter - until I was the color and it was me! I began
to feel ill. I knew I should turn away, but Her strength was such that
I seemed incapable of the slightest movement. Just when I thought I
would faint from terror, there was a tumultuous clap of thunder and I
realized that it was too late. Goddess! My entire being had been
consumed by Hers!
The world began to change around me, and I found myself suddenly
back in time. I witnessed firsthand the Tale of the Taliesin - which
heretofore I had always thought a mere fairytale - and watched in horror
as the Three Drops of Wisdom flew from the Cauldron and spilled onto
Gwion Bach, imbuing him with infinite knowledge. I was taken on the
frenzied chase between Cerridwen and Gwion, and felt my mortal body
contort and twist with every shape that was shifted. As the greyhound,
I tracked the hare who was Gwion. My muscles flexed again, and I dove
into the water as the otter, chasing the salmon who just moments before,
had been the hare. Gwion then took to the sky as a sparrow, and in
flight, I swiftly pursued him as the hawk. I watched knowingly as
Gwion, thinking himself quite safe, smugly turned himself into a single
grain of wheat. And it was I, who in sorrow and pleasure, shifted into
the black hen and supped upon that grain. I felt the swell of pregnancy
and the pains of labor as I delivered the new-born babe. For the very
first time, I began to understand...*really* understand!
Suddenly, I was once again caught up in the rapid whirl of color.
There was a blinding streak of blue-black lightning and after a moment
of excruciating pain, I was hurled forcefully from the essence of the
Goddess and back into my own! So frightening and traumatic was this
experience, I wasn't really sure whether I was alive or dead! I drew a
long breath, blinked my eyes and gingerly flexed my toes. Apparently,
I was allright and everything seemed to be working okay! I quickly
dusted myself off and got to my feet.
We stood looking at each other - I from the bank, and She from her
realm atop the water. Unexpectedly, She opened Her hand and held it out
to me. Inside were three drops of liquid, sparkling like diamonds in
the night. She tossed Her hand to the North, and one of the drops
splashed into the water, forming a very large circle - the Circle of
Causes and Necessity. I drank of its earthy waters and tasted the
poignant flavor of lessons learned, as pieces of my life flashed before
She cast a second drop to the West, and a smaller circle appeared:
The Circle of Blessedness. As I carefully sipped of its waters, my
spirit left my body and for a split second, stood on the water facing
the Wisdom Keeper before re-entering its physical realm.
The third drop, She flung cautiously to the East. From it, too,
a circle materialized - though much smaller than the rest: The Circle of
the Infinite. As I bent to partake of its knowledge, She stopped me
with Her upraised hand. I understood. Gently, I dipped my finger into
the waters, and for a moment saw all the knowlege that is and ever will
At that very moment, She raised Her hands skyward and Her form
shifted into that of a great red dragon. Opening Her arms, She moved
to the South and lovingly gathered all three circles to Her breast. The
winds gusted from all four directions again, their forces centered
toward the spot where She stood. I watched as She twirled furiously in
the wind and in a matter of seconds, She was gone. The winds died
quickly to a gentle breeze. The brook which had been so deathly still,
quickly burst forth with new life. All was as it had been.
It was just after daybreak, and the promise of a new beginning was
well underway. I sat on the cobblestone bridge to contemplate with awe
and wonder the night's events. I felt exhilarated, happy and humbled
all at once! I had been visited by the She, The Stirrer of the
Cauldron. I had been devoured and rebirthed again from Her body! I was
newly alive with the mysteries she had unfolded to me! I finally
understood! I jumped up from my seat and blew a kiss to the Triple
Goddess in thanksgiving, then happily skipped across the bridge.
As I neared the path toward home, the sheep were being let into
the meadow for their morning repast. One of them had strayed from the
flock and seemed to be coming in my direction. I walked toward him in
an effort to herd him back to the others, and as I grew near, he raised
his head and looked at me. Stroking him gently, I looked into his eyes
and saw a strange look - an odd look - a look of anticipation and
Two women are selected to represent the Maiden and the Crone.
the Priestess will represent the Mother.
The members of the group should bring with them the candles which
they will use for the year for blessing.
The altar is at the Northeast and is covered with a white cloth.
Evergreens are used as decoration. A basket filled with tiny
bundles of straw or wheat rests on the altar [there should be one
bundle for every person participating in the ritual], as well as
two (2) white candles. A black ribbon at least twelve (12)
inches in length is placed in the basket. A single white flower
tied with a white ribbon (to symbolize Bride) and the wand rest
together in front of the altar. Four (4) white candles stand
between the quarter candles. The cauldron is placed at the
South, and a white candle is situated inside. A dark colored
scarf or shawl (for the Crone) and a bouquet of flowers (for the
Maiden) are on the altar, as well as a single white taper (for
Full Circle is cast.
The two women prepare "Bride's Bed." The MAIDEN and the CRONE
pick up the flower and the wand respectively, and take them to
the center of the Circle. They place the flower and the wand
side by side in the center of the Circle, with the heads toward
the altar. They place the altar candles on either side of the
"bed" and light the candles.
The two women and the Priestess stand around the bed and say
together three times:
The Maiden comes to bring us light!
The Winter dies, and all is bright!
The frozen ground shall disappear -
And all shall sprout, for Spring is near!
The Priestess now summons the two women, and the three of them
stand in front of the altar, assuming their Triple-Goddess roles.
The MAIDEN kisses the Priestess (MOTHER) on both cheeks and hands
her a white candle. The CRONE lights the MOTHER's taper. The
CRONE stands to her left. The MAIDEN drapes the shawl over the
CRONE'S head and shoulders. The MAID stands to the MOTHER'S
right and picks up the bouquet of flowers. The PRIESTESS says:
Behold the three-fold Goddess;
Maiden, Mother, and Crone;
She is one - yet She is three
Together and Alone
Summer comes not - without Spring
Without Summer, comes no Winter chill;
Without the Winter, Spring isn't born
The Three, life's cycles, fulfill!
The Charge of the Goddess is then recited. After the recitation
is finished the Priestess says:
Now let us celebrate Imbolc!
The MAIDEN picks up the besom and makes her way SLOWLY deosil
around the inside edges Circle, ritually sweeping it clear of all
that which is old, useless and unnecessary. MOTHER and CRONE
walk behind her in stately procession. While sweeping, the MAID
With this besom filled with power
Sweep away the old and sour
Sweep away the chill of death
As Winter draws its last cold breath
Round, round, round about
Sweep the old and useless out!
The Maiden replaces the besom and the women resume their places
in front of the altar. The MAIDEN picks up the basket of straw
bundles and presents each member of the group with one. The
CRONE goes to the South, kneels before the cauldron and lights
the candle inside. She explains to the group that the bundles of
straw which they have been given are symbolic of Winter and
Death, but also that any negativity with which they are charged
will be burned along with it. A few moments of silence are
allowed so that each person may charge their bundle with their
own negative thoughts, habits and shortcomings. The CRONE then
collects the bundles, walking widdershins. She then ties the
bundles together with the black ribbon, lights the "community
straw man" and places him in the cauldron to burn, saying:
Thus we melt the Winter!
And warm the breath of Spring!
We bid adieu to what is dead,
And greet each living thing.
Thus we banish Winter!
Thus we welcome Spring!
The Rite of Cakes and Wine is appropriate at this time. All
members have libation, sit and relax and visit amongst
When libation is finished, the MAIDEN collects candles from the
coveners to be blessed for use during the coming year, placing
them in a basket. The basket is placed on the altar. The
I bless thee creatures of wax and light
Casting out all negativity
Serve your purpose, flaming bright
Infused with magic, you shall be
Instruments of light and strength
Wick and wax though you may be
I give you life of needed length
To aid in creativity!
In the Names of the Lord and Lady, so mote it be!
The candles are then redistributed to the coven members. The
As we close this celebration of Imbolg, let each of us find joy
in the power of the returning Sun! As each new day dawns and the
light of day becomes brighter and stronger, remember that your
inner light should burn as brightly. Feel the changes in the
earth around you, as the chill of Winter recedes and all sprouts
in the greeness of fresh, new life. Remember the wonder you felt
as you awakened from Maidenhood to Womanhood - from Boyhood to
Manhood. Relive the joy of that awakening and heal any emotional
scars you may have! Breathe deeply of the harmony of the Earth's
new life and and rejoice in your own!
Dearest Bride, Maiden of all that is fresh and new, we warmly
thank you for attending our Rite of Imbolc. As this Circle is
dissolved, we ask that you guide us in our new beginnings and
inspire us with the fresh creativity that you bring to all life.
Outdoor libation to the Lord and Lady.
Sikeston, MO 63801
This ritual was written at a time when I did not have a
qualified Priest in my group. However, it may easily be adapted
for those groups in which the Priestess and Priest work
together. It may be just as easily adapted to solitary work.
Place an apple and pomegranate upon the altar. There should
also be a "planted" pot of earth for each participant - these
may be arranged on the altar as well, if there is ample space.
Instruments of divination may be placed within the Circle
perimeter for use during the ritual if you wish. Arrange the
altar as usual and decorate with Autumn leaves, pumpkins, etc.
The Circle is cast and purified the Circle in the usual manner.
Dancing around the Circle in a shuffle step (deosil), all chant
The Moon is bright, the Crone is old
The body lifeless - the bones so cold
We all live and pay our dues
To die in ones and threes and twos.
Death, dance and play the harp
Piercing silence in the dark
The Woman's old with withered limbs
Death beckons Her to dance with Him
As She accepts the Dance of Death
The Earth is cooled by ghostly breath
To lie in dormancy once more
To have Her strength and life restored
Go to the Western Quarter and draw an invoking pentagram with
the athame to open the gate. Then evoke the dead by saying:
All ye spirits who walk this night -
Hearken! Hearken to my call!
I bid you in our Circle join!
Enter! Enter - one and all!
Come ye, spirits of the dead:
Be ye spirit of plant or pet
Or human being who still roams!
Into this Circle you are let!
Speak to us of things unknown!
Lend your energies to this rite!
To speed your journey, we have joined
On this sacred Samhain night!
All ye spirits who walk this night -
Hearken! Hearken to my call!
I bid you in our Circle join!
Enter! Enter - one and all!
Bestow blessings upon the dead, saying:
Oh Mighty Pan of the Summerlands:
Guardian of the beloved dead
We pour forth love on those you keep
Safely, in your peaceful stead
We bless those who have walked the path
That someday, we as well, shall rove
We offer peace unto their souls
While resting in your arms, below
Now is the time for divination (Ouija Board, pendulum, cards,
etc.) and communication with those who have gone on before us.
Allow plenty of time for this. [Note: I have found that it is
helpful to have a tape recorder handy within the Circle for
recording any communications that may be "channeled" during this
time. Some people disagree with this suggestion, saying that
the metal of this electronic device causes scattered energies in
the Circle; however, if the recorder has been cleansed and
purified as the rest of the ritual tools, the problem seems to
When the divinatory processes are completed, the Priestess goes
to the Western Quarter and draw the banishing pentagram, saying:
Blessings be upon thee, oh wondrous Spirits of the
Summerlands. We humbly thank thee for your presence in our
Circle and honor you in celebration this sacred night. We
beseech thee, oh Pan, keeper of the sacred dead, embrace
once again those souls within your keep and hold tightly
to your breast those which have been lost and wandering.
Grant them safe passage to the Summerland, where they may
rest peacefully in your strength until they are refreshed
and reborn again in perfect love. We bid thee all a fond
farewell. So mote it be!
The gate is now closed.
The Priestess goes to the altar and hold up the pomegranate,
Behold the pomegranate, fruit of Life ...
The athame is plunged into the pomegranate, splitting it open to
display the seeds. She says:
Whose seeds lie in the dormancy of Death!
The Priestess eats one of the seeds, saying:
I Taste the seeds of Death.
The pomegranate is then passed hand to hand through the
participants of the ritual, each eating a seed and saying to the
next person, "Taste the seeds of Death."
The Priestess then holds up the apple, saying:
Behold the apple: fruit of wisdom, fruit of Death...
She then cuts the apple crosswise, saying:
Whose symbolism rewards us with life eternal!
She holds up the apple, displaying the inner pentagram, and
Behold the five-fold star - the promise of rebirth!
Consecrate the fruit and wine. Each person then tastes of the
apple and sips the wine, saying to the next person:
Taste the fruit of rebirth and sip from the cup
of wine of Life.
After libation, the Priestess presents each member of the group
with a small pot of earth, planted with three seeds [preferably
rue or lavendar]. She briefly explains to the group that this
is the season of the seed - it is a time of dormancy, but also a
time of re-generation for growth. Further, as the seed rests in
the earth, they should also take time to rest and re-evaluate
their lives, metaphorically planting only those values which
will enrich and enhance the growth within the Divine Self. She
then instructs them to name the seeds within their pots with
three values they wish to incorporate into their lives, knowing
that as the seeds sprout with new life, their lives will be new,
After the presentation, all join hands and hold them skyward.
PRIESTESS Thus is the Circle of Rebirth.
All pass from this life through the great god, Pan
But through My love you are all reborn
In the cycles of nature - through the Cosmic Plan.
In living we die - in dying we live
The fruit is first seed, yet seed comes from the
In the mystery of life and death and rebirth
The Circle turns ever, and I am its root.
ALL RESPOND The Sun conceived in Darkness, cold
In the Shadow of Death, a Life unfolds
A shred of Light begins to burn
From Death comes Life - the Circle turns.
Dismiss Quarters and Dissolve Circle.
PRIESTESS The rite is ended.
ALL Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!
Outdoor libation to the Lord and Lady, and the spirits of the
A BRIEF ASSESSMENT OF NEOPAGAN THEOLOGY
(As offered by Cyprian at the Pan-Pagan Festival August, 1980
Physicists currently interpret physical creation, that is, the
universe as we know it, as having occurred within a time span o
about three minutes...the "Big Bang." Our physical universe is
thought to have been created with the explosion of a hyper-dense
particle which contained every bit of matter and energy that now
exists in the universe, including the matter which forms our
living bodies as we meet here today. This hyper-dense super
molecule also is thought to have been quite small. Dr. Leon
Friedman, director of the FermiLab near Chicago, has indicated it
may have ben no larger than a basket ball. Into this "ball" was
jammed all matter and all energy in our universe. It remained
there until some creative force, some creative urge, disrupted
the status of this primal "egg" and set into being the universe
as we know it. this event occurred with the so-called "Big
Bang," echoes of which have been detected by scientific
Our interpretation of the nature of this creative force or
creative urge is opposed to that of Judeo-Christianity in that we
perceive it as feminine...they see it as masculine. We hold that
pre-creation was feminine and this divergence in concept of first
Things, creation, forever separates our Neopagan world-view from
the Judeo-Christians. Briefly consider this, and you may want to
dwell upon it later, our Goddess, of Her own will, receives Her
consort, the God whom she created, and from Their union our
creation is ever revived and sustained. The Christian reviver
and sustainer, on the other hand, was conceived in a most
singular manner. The omnipotent God sent a neuter third party
messenger, and angel, to announce to a virgin that she was
pregnant with the child, Jesus. So there. Zap! What a
put-down! What revival and sustenance can we find in such a
sterile and asexual concept? Even masculine old Zeus copulated
with human females so at least somebody got some fun out of the
process! What we Neopagans find difficult to understand is why
Judeo-Christianity so vehemently turned its back on sex and not
just sex as a physical act but also sex as a gender,
specifically, sex as a feminine gender.
When we seek to deal with Creation we also must situate our place
as human beings within the totality of Creation. The orthodox
Judeo-Christian view gives humans a special place within
Creation; that is, that we are not part of general creation but a
special creation..."Man was created in the image of God"...and
the rest of creation is our plaything..."Yours is the earth and
everything on it." There is no need to expound upon our
rejection of these two fundamental points: of course we are not
created in any special way, any more than is a rock or a tree or
a raccoon or a galaxy, nor do we have dominion over anything. We
are a part of general creation along with every other particle of
matter in the universe.
I hope you grasp the vast difference this makes; it forever
separates us from the Judeo-Christian heritage and it s a gulf
that cannot be bridged. They must forever consider themselves
special and we must forever consider ourselves general and one
with creation. And it is given to us to look at a grain of sand
and in that grain see the sum total of creation and to see
ourselves as part of it and to gibe thanks for the creative force
of the Goddess and Her consort that sustains this creation.
With Chaos, as with so many other concepts, we must think on at
least two levels, the physical and the mythical, to come to any
sort of understanding of ourselves and what we really believe
about our place in creation. And it is this belief, this
understanding that is the ultimate determination of how we live
as human beings upon this beautiful Earth. That is what we
Neopagans are trying to do right now: learn to think differently
that Western man has thought in nearly two-thousand years in
order that we may live in a renewed relationship with creation.
It is an exciting adventure.
Before there was form, there was Chaos. We may well suppose
Chaos represents the disordered formlessness of matter and energy
in that initial "Big Bang" of the primordial egg in those first
three minutes when creation began. Mythologically, we see this
formlessness as before the Earth and Sky were separated, as
before the four elements, actually the four states of matter, had
coalesced into their separate forms. The myths speak darkly of
this time, of the births of the Titans, Cyclops and 100-handed
monsters, of a father who devours his own young...what better way
to represent Chaos!
We may assume, too, we have our own dark and personal counterpart
to this primal Chaos. Is it that black win that whips at the
raveled edge o sanity? I believe our ancestors felt far more
keenly than we can understand in this present age a constant fear
that what order they had managed to being to their lives, indeed,
what order they could see in creation around them, would suddenly
collapse and they would be plunged into chaos and madness. Greek
myths are redolent with stories of madness and possession. Even
great Heracles fell victim. It is no wonder, then, the gods of
chaos are said to have been chained beneath the Earth, castrated,
even devoured. But they still live, they still can escape.
And to some degree, escape they have from time to time. How else
can we account for the chaos of war, of a Hitler, a Napoleon, a
Modern psychology recognizes the chaotic madness that dwells in
all of us, ever ready to pounce and destroy. We may think of it
as a chained and raging primal demi-god, that psychologists
probably use more scientific language but when that chain snaps,
the result is the same; concentration camps, starvation, and on
and on. History is too full of such dismal lists. There is no
need to go on with a recitation or horrors.
But that does turn us at once to the next topic...the
consideration of evil.
Every religion, great and small, has had to wrestle with the
problem of evil because evil poses a fundamental question: how
can an all-omnipotent god who is all good permit evil to
exist?...and this is whether you interpret evil as some dark
malevolent Satan or whether you see it as death camps, war,
starvation or whatever.
Judeo-Christian theologians have wrestled with the problem of
evil since the very beginnings of the Judeo-Christian faith.
When boiled down, all the more reasonable answers go something
like this: The all-powerful God permits evil to exist so that
man, who is created in God's image, may have a choice between
good and evil. Ultimately, in the Last Days, evil will be
defeated and woe betide those who made the wrong choice! At
first glance this seems satisfactory but we Neopagans cannot
accept it because it sets man apart, as being different from the
rest of creation. This is absolutely contrary to what we
believe. We hold that man is VERY MUCH a natural part of
creation and we have no special place in it. We have no more
choice between good and evil than the stars or a bumblebee.
To the non-Pagan, then, who asks us to explain the existence of
evil we must give a two-fold reply: one, we are not special
creatures so we cannot truly know what evil is or if it even
exists; that which we perceive with our limited faculties as evil
may not be evil at all within the creative scheme. Two, our
three-fold Goddess is possessed of a dark visage, the Hag, which
we no more understand than we do the Lusting Nymph or the Loving
Mother-Creator. The Hag, the Old Woman who lays us out and
prepares our remains for the journey to the Land behind the North
Wind, is no "Satan" but an integral part of the creative process,
which we see as our three-fold Goddess.
If we are pressed hard enough, at the end we must say a Hitler, a
Vietnam war, a starving child are all part of the creative
process although we cannot pretend to know exactly how or why.
We must confess, too, that a statement we simply don't know and
cannot know the nature of evil is easily interpreted as a
cop-out. This is not rue in our case, though, because we do not
believe in special creation, that is, man is not a special
creature molded in the image of the Creator and sharing the
Creator's mind. No, man is simply a part of the overall creative
urge and therefore it is not given to us to know good and evil
anymore than it is to my two cat friends, Buzz and Fang.
But the problem of what we think of as evil is not resolved by
casting it aside with a simplistic explanation we are not given
to know what it is...although we Neo-Pagans, I think, pretty
generally agree this is a true statement. But just because it is
true does not put the question to rest. There is another
approach, however, and this approach to the problem makes a lot
of ultimate sense for us Neo-Pagans.
As stated earlier, the astro-physicists and we agree on the
probable pre-creation existence of a super-molecule or, in
mythical terms, a "world egg." This egg exploded to create the
universe, Creation, as we know it. If we accept this cosmology,
and it makes sense with our mythos, then we must also accept the
fact there is only a finite amount of matter and energy in
creation. There can be no "new" matter or energy, only matter
and energy that have been recycled. And were not only matter and
energy re-cycled and interchanged then we would run out of matter
and energy and creation would reach a state of status wherein
matter and energy were forever locked in cold sterility. Don't
we, in fact represent this constant play-interplay of matter and
energy as the reviving and renewing union of the Goddess and Her
Even more germane to our problem of evil; may that which we
perceive so dimly as evil actually be an essential part of this
re-cycling of matter/energy? If so, then we have the key example
of our Wiccan/Neopagan belief in BALANCE. That is, creative
forces must be balanced by destructive forces in order to
preserve the interplay between matter and energy...and we
represent this by the copulation of the Goddess and Her consort.
Perhaps we shouldn't fear our Goddess as Hag nor run in fear when
Pan tosses his horns and roars. Perhaps dimly we can understand
life and death, construction and destruction, the coming together
and the tearing apart, are necessary to sustain Creation.
The true nature of sin generally is misunderstood in Western
society and has been for many centuries...one is tempted to
suspect, by design. Sin does not involve right and wrong or good
and bad; these are moral and ethical concepts. Sin concerns
itself with man's deliberate and willful separation from God and
man's disobedience of the Law. The Law is that agreement
established between man and God: "I'll do this if you'll do
that." Although all the major religions and even the so-called
primitive religions deal with concepts which my be equated with
sin, only Christianity has developed sin to a fine art...indeed,
it may be the single pivotal idea which not only separates
Christianity from our Paganism but also from the rest of the
religious world. Obviously, the "sin and guilt" trip has paid
pretty good dividends within the Judeo-Christian heritage. But
these dividends have been garnered at a terrible, terrible price.
We Wiccans and Neopagans may be almost alone in rejecting the
concept of sin. Yet, we must reject it if we are to follow
logically our view of creation and our place in it. Put it
together this way; can a tree sin? no, it can only be a tree; can
your cat sin? no, he can only be a cat; can a human sin? no, he
can only be a human. In other words, none of us can be wither
more or less than our creation. Now, remember what we said about
general creation. If we accept this idea of general creation,
that we are no different from the other life around us, then we
are just as incapable of true sin as the tree or the cat, we can
only be what we are...human. To accept the idea of sin means you
must also accept the idea of special creation, that our human
race is somehow special and god-like and therefore is capable of
sin, and if you think so then you are in the wrong pew.
It seems almost blasphemous to me to think our Goddess would in
some way create us flawed and imperfect...creatures somehow able
to deny our own creation...did She create the tree imperfect, or
your cat? Then why should we be??? We are created as humans to
be humans and we should find joy in that fact, not sin.
This is the great freedom of Wicca and Neopaganism; that we are
free of sin and its guilt trip...that we are left with the
admonition that all joy, all mirth, all pleasure are our Goddess'
Fully stated, our Rede declares, "An' it harm none, do what thou
wilt shall be the whole of the Law."
Law, in this usage and as we've mentioned, refers to the
relationship between Man and god and this Rede, then, is in total
keeping with our contention that man is not special creation but
has just the same relationship to divinity as does any other part
If you have trouble dealing with this, then you are confusing sin
and ethics. And ethics is our next topic.
Unlike sin, which is a religious concept and which may be
considered as a constant from one age to another...that is,
willful separation from God must be the same for any time and
place...ethics involve a moral choice between what is deemed
right and wrong and with this we come to the realization that
which is right in one time and one society, is wrong in another.
Thus, the moral and ethical standards of, say, 18th century
England and 20th century America hardly are congruent despite a
But it is at exactly this point that we Wiccan/Neopagans have
introduced a novel idea: a moral and ethical constant:
"Eight words the wiccan Rede fulfill; An' it harm none, do what
Now, you and I are fully aware that outsiders first learning of
our Rede smirk behind their hands and conjure in their minds all
sorts of images or orgies and such. Well, I've been a Crafter
for thirty years and more, and I've yet to attend a Craft orgy.
so, if any of you are planning on throwing one, I wish you'd
invite me, and do hurry before I get too old to enjoy it!
All of which is by way of saying the Rede is widely
misunderstood. It simply sounds too much like an unbridled
license for hedonism. Of course it is not. But to seek its true
meaning we must first go back a few centuries.
the earliest known literary reference to our Rede, "Do what ye
will," appears in that marvelous Renaissance satire, Gargantua,
written by the French doctor-monk, Francios Rabelais, in 1534.
In Book I, a certain monk is very helpful to Gargantua in winning
a battle and Gargantua offers him several rich abbeys as reward
but the monk rebukes Gargantua, saying, "For how shall I be able
to rule over others that have not full power and command over
myself?" The monk then asks Gargantua to found an abbey like no
other and thus is established the Abbaye de Theleme and the rule
of the order is, "Fay ce que voudras"...Do what thou wilt. And
this is no libertine license but it is an essential and
straightforward clue to our understanding of the Rede.
The second clue to our Rede occurred during the summer of 1918
when Aleister Crowley painted on the Hudson River cliffs south of
Kingston, New York, this slogan:
EVERY MAN AND WOMAN IS A STAR!
DO WHAT THOU WILT
SHALL BE THE WHOLE OF THE LAW
Crowley, a man of great scholarship and magick, had recognized
the truth expressed in Rabelais and taken it a step further,
which Rabelais could not have dared. (Rabelais' printer was
burned at the stake for heresy.)
Now, keep in min the Law refers to the relationship established
between man and his creation/divinity. All religions have this
relationship spelled out as their Law and this Law usually is
employed to establish the ethical/moral relationship relationship
between men because it is also the ethical/moral relationship
between man and God. One, then, is used to justify the other.
Thus, there was the attempt to trap Jesus between the religious
Law and the moral law but he very handily fielded the question by
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy
soul, and all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it; thou shalt love thy neighbor as
thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the
And as Jesus recognized a new Law so Crowley saw in Rabelais'
"Fay ce que voudras" a further interpretation of the Law and he
expressed it in red paint on the Hudson River cliffs.
At this point is is possible, even tempting, to go off on some
very fine semantic nit-picking but that is not our purpose and it
would be counter-productive because we are simplistic
religionists and such goings on would be like trying to determine
how many elementals can dance on the point of an athame and it
would only serve to muddy some already confused thinking.
Instead, let me offer two very broad brush strokes based on the
clues already offered. If these are helpful, then I am more than
rewarded; if they are useful thinking tools, then I am twice
blessed! So here goes:
When Gargantua's helpful monk refused the offer of rich abbeys,
saying, "For how shall I be able to rule over others that have
not full power and command over myself?" he established the first
part of our understanding of the Rede. Unless and until such
time as you are able to exert your own will over yourself, "full
power and command," then our Rede, "Do as ye will," has very
little meaning because you can't truly will anything, and you are
no more than a plaything for every wind that blows. Hardly could
you have rule over others. Thus, the first part of the monk's
statement, "For how shall I be able to rule over others," has
within it the implicit meaning of the first part of our Rede,
"An' it harm none." what the monk is saying here is, "How can I
be responsible for someone else until I can be responsible for
myself?" It would be interesting to further press this
declaration because it stands in contradiction to some classical
Judeo-Christian concepts concerning man's responsibility to God.
And that, no doubt, is the reason Rabelais did not do it.
Remember what happened to his printer!
However, Crowley did press the issue another step. If
self-responsibility is the Law, then Man is responsible for
himself and God is responsible for Himself. So, the interplay
between God and Man suddenly is changed; god must be God and man
must be Man. And now we are back to where we said we were in our
brief discussion of sin...Man can only be man, he can be nothing
else. But he is responsible for that.
I hope all of us see in some way the very deep and even mystical
and certainly always constant ethical demands placed upon us by
our Rede. The Rede is demanding but it yields freedom from the
chronic guilt of the past twenty centuries. And it does not
leave us the luxury of a cop-out, be it God, Satan, Karma, Fate
or a white mule beside a red barn (the mule counts two points).
In this topic I use the term "World View" to mean how we, as
Neopagans, see the material creation around us. I know I already
have intimated a great deal about this in previous topics but
there is such a fundamental difference between us and the rest of
Western society that I believe we must deal with it more
directly. To do this, we will work from two premises:
1. That Christianity has taught, objectively and subjectively,
material creation somehow is "bad, sinful, evil and corruptive"
as opposed to the so-called pure spiritual creation. that the
Earth, a material creation, is only a way-station toward some
higher spiritual creation, be it heaven or hell, and that this
earthly creation eventually will be destroyed come the
Millenia/Last Judgement as it must be because it is "sinful" and
corruptive of spiritual man.
2. That Neopaganism teaches there is no division between
material and spiritual creation and neither can be considered
inherently good or bad, pure or corruptive. that the Earth is
our home, our only home, and is not some battle ground designed
to determine our future existence in a spiritual heaven or hell.
There are deep-rooted implications behind these two differing
points of view. In the first case, because the material creation
in which we live and are "tested" is somehow inferior and sinful
and is only a way-station en route to a "higher" spiritual
creation then we are free to despise and abuse this material
creation as we see fit. "Yours is the Earth and everything in
it." Love Canal, then, has a perfectly sound and reasonable
Judeo-Christian premise. However, in the second case, if we, as
part of general creation, abuse our Earth, we are abusing
ourselves, exactly as Love Canal had demonstrated. And we must
at the end finally admit the ecological frustration and fury of
this age is because the whimpering ecologists and the Sierra Club
have no theology to guide them...only guilt. The Judeo-Christian
trip all over again. I'm sure we stand in a much better
But don't make the mistake of thinking planetary plunder is an
invention of the 20th Century and its technology...far from it.
Man has abused his Earth since pre-historic times. Primitive
farming and herding practices are among the most destructive
ecological force know. The stripping of the Mediterranean Basin
is ample proof. So is the collapse of the one great Mayan
civilization and the fact that once heavily forested Scotland was
forced to import timber for the Baltic as early as the Middle
Ages. Indeed, we might well argue the concept of a "sinful"
material creation with its implicit license to ravage had to be
invented to excuse the earthly pillage that had been going on for
several thousand years.
I sometimes refer to reincarnation as "the secret belief" because
any number of Christians have admitted to me they believe in
reincarnation as opposed to orthodox Christian teaching or had
had experiences which can only be interpreted as a reincarnitave
experience. whether these people actually understand what
reincarnation really is may be open to question.
At the outset, then, let's establish the very essential
difference between reincarnation and resurrection, as taught in
Christian doctrine. Resurrection means at some future time, the
Millenia, the Last Judgement, etc. you will be pulled from the
grave intact in your present body and you will be in full
awareness of yourself and your previous earthly life; that is,
you will retain your personal identity. thus, with your present
body and personal identity you may be meaningfully rewarded in
Heaven or amply punished in Hell. Heaven and Hell have no
meaning and no promise or threat unless these conditions of body
and identity are met. What good would it be to punish or reward
a disembodied spirit with no knowledge of what it was being
praised or punished for?
Our concept of reincarnation does not meet either of these
criteria. Reincarnation, unlike resurrection, does not
automatically imply ultimate survival of the physical body and
retention of personal identity. So, any discussion of a Pagan
heaven or hell is simply meaningless.
What reincarnation says is survival of life-energy and
life-energy has no one body and no one identity. One of the best
examples to illustrate this concept of reincarnation is the later
stage of the Osiris-Horus myth. In this myth, Osiris is killed
by Seth but he is reincarnated as the child Horus and, in various
forms, the myth repeats. There is no indication Horus ever
remembers himself as Osiris. thus it is with us, sometimes we
have a sort of "leakage" across this reincarnation insulator and,
with some exceptions, the best we ever get are only
picture-postcard glimpses of our previous life-energies.
Eschatology is only a fancy word for the study of "last
things"...that is, death, the Last Judgement, and so forth. For
us, eschatology must have an entirely different meaning because
we really have no "last things." We are involved in cycles, not
beginnings and endings. As Pagans we must view the entire
continuum of matter, energy, life force and even time itself as
circular. We do not see these things as a piece of string with a
beginning and an ending but as that same piece of string tied
together to form a circle...our Circle...a repeating cyclical
Although definitive physical proof still is lacking, there is a
growing belief among some astronomers and astro-physicists that
the expanding galaxies of our creation will one day stop their
head-long flight and by mutual gravitation slowly and then faster
and faster plunge back together again to form a new primal
super-molecule world egg. From there, it is only reasonable to
assume the creative urge of our Goddess once more will explode
this primordial egg to begin a fresh creation.
And, thus, we have come full circle.
[Tony Kelly of the Selene Community in Wales wrote this
piece in l970. It was published in l97l in the British
edition of The Waxing Moon under the title "Pagan Movement."
Under the title "Pagan Musings" it has passed from hand to
hand and group to group all over the United States. Tony
Kelly was one of the founders of the Pagan Movement in the
British Isles, which, with the Pagan Way in the United
States, began as a single group of researchers into ancient
goddess cults. They later divided, agreeing that each
country required a different approach in bringing back
We're of the old religion, sired of Time, and born of our
beloved Earth Mother. For too long the people have trodden
a stony path that goes only onward beneath a sky that goes
only upwards. The Horned God plays in a lonely glade for
the people are scattered in this barren age and the winds
carry his plaintive notes over deserted heaths and reedy
moors and into the lonely grasses. who know now the ancient
tongue of the Moon? And who speaks still with the Goddess?
The magic of the land of Lirien and the old pagan gods have
withered in the dragons breath; the old ways of magic have
slipped into the well of the past, and only the rocks now
remember what the moon told us long ago, and what we learned
from the trees, and the voices of grasses and the scents of
We're pagans and we worship the pagan gods, and among the
people there are witches yet who speak with the moon and
dance with the Horned One. But a witch is a rare pagan in
these days, deep and inscrutable, recognizable only by her
own kind, by the light in her eyes and the love in her
breast, by the magic in her hands and the lilt of her tongue
and by her knowledge of the real. But the wiccan way is one
way. There are many; there are pagans the world over who
worship the Earth Mother and the Sky Father, the Rain God
and the Rainbow Goddess, the Dark One and the Hag on the
mountain, the Moon Goddess and the Little People in the
mists on the other side of the veil. A pagan is one who
worships the goddesses and gods of nature, whether by
observation or by study, whether by love or admiration, or
whether in their sacred rites with the Moon, or the great
festivals of the Sun.
Many suns ago, as the pale dawn of reason crept across the
pagan sky, man grew out of believing in the gods. He has
yet to grow out disbelieving in them. He who splits the
Goddess on an existence-nonexistence dichotomy will earn
himself only paradoxes, for the gods are not so divided and
nor the magic lands of the Brother of Time. Does a mind
exist? Ask her and she will tell you yes, but seek her out,
and she'll elude you. She in in every place, and in no
place, and you'll see her works in all places, but herself
in none. Existence was the second-born from the Mother's
womb and contains neither the first-born, nor the unborn.
Show us your mind, and we'll show you the gods! No matter
that you can't, for we can't show you the gods. But come
with us and the Goddess herself will be our love and the God
will call the tune. But a brass penny for your reason; for
logic is a closed ring, and the child doesn't validate the
Mother, nor the dream the dreamer. And what matter the wars
of opposites to she who has fallen in love with a whirlwind
or to the lover of the arching rainbow.
But tell us of your Goddess as you love her, and the gods
that guide your works, and we'll listen with wonder, for to
do less would be arrogant. but we'll do more, for the heart
of man is aching for memories only half forgotten, and the
Old Ones only half unseen. We'll write the old myths as
they were always written and we'll read them on the rocks
and in the caves and in the deep of the greenwood's shade,
and we'll hear them in the rippling mountain streams and in
the rustling of the leaves, and we'll see them in the storm
clouds, and in the evening mists. We've no wish to create a
new religion for our religion is as old as the hills and
older, and we've no wish to bring differences together.
Differences are like different flowers in a meadow, and we
are all one in the Mother.
What need is there for a pagan movement since our religion
has no teachings and we hear it in the wind and feel it in
the stones and the Moon will dance with us as she will?
There is a need. For long the Divider has been among our
people and the tribes of man are no more. The sons of the
Sky Father have all but conquered nature, but they have
poisoned her breast and the Mother is sad for the
butterflies are dying and the night draws on. A curse on
the conqueror! But not of us, for they curse themselves for
they are nature too. They have stolen our magic and sold it
to the mindbenders and the mindbenders tramp a maze that has
no outlet for they fear the real for the One who guards the
Where are the pagan shrines? And where do the people
gather? Where is the magic made? And where are the Goddess
and the Old Ones? Our shrines are in the fields and on the
mountains, in the stars and in the wind, deep in the
greenwood and on the algal rocks where two streams meet.
but the shrines are deserted, and if we gathered in the arms
of the Moon for our ancient rites to be with our gods as we
were of old, we would be stopped by the dead who now rule
the Mother's land and claim rights of ownership on the
Mother's breast, and make laws of division and frustration
for us. We can no longer gather with our gods in a public
place and the old rites of communion have been driven from
the towns and cities ever deeper into the heath where barely
a handful of heathens have remained to guard the old secrets
and enact the old rites. there is magic in the heath far
from the cold grey society, and there are islands of magic
hidden in the entrails of the metropoles behind closed
doors, but the people are few, and the barriers between us
are formidable. The old religion has become a dark way,
obscure, and hidden in the protective bosom of the night.
Thin fingers turn the pages of a book of shadows while the
sunshine seeks in vain his worshippers in his leafy glades.
Here, then, is the basic reason for a Pagan Movement; we
must create a pagan society wherein everyone shall be free
to worship the goddesses and gods of nature, and the
relationship between a worshipper and her gods shall be
sacred and inviolable, provided only that in her love of her
own gods, she doesn't curse the names of the gods of others.
It's not yet our business to press the law-makers with
undivided endeavour to unmake the laws of repression and,
with the Mother's love, it may never become our business for
the stifling tides of dogmatism are at last already in ebb.
Our first work, and our greatest wish, is to come together,
to be with each other in our tribes for we haven't yet grown
from the Mother's breast to the stature of the gods. We're
of the earth, and sibs to all the children of wild nature,
born long ago in the warm mud of the ocean floor; we were
together then, and we were together in the rain forests long
before that dark day when, beguiled by the pride of the Sky
Father, and forgetful of the Mother's love, we killed her
earlier-born children and impoverished the old genetic pool.
The Red child lives yet in America; the Black Child has not
forsaken the gods; the old Australians are still with their
nature gods; the Old Ones still live deep in the heart of
Mother India, and the White Child has still a foot on the
old wiccan way, but Neanderthaler is no more and her magic
faded as the Lli and the Archan burst their banks and the
ocean flowed in to divide the Isle of Erin from the land of
the White Goddess.
Man looked with one eye on a two-faced god when he reached
for the heavens and scorned the Earth which alone is our
life and our provider and the bosom to which we have ever
returned since the dawn of Time. He who looks only to
reason to plum the unfathomable is a fool, for logic is an
echo already implicit i the question, and it has no voice of
its own; but he is no greater fool than he who scorns logic
or derides its impotence from afar, but fears to engage in
fair combat when he stands on his opponent's threshold.
don't turn your back on Reason, for his thrust is deadly;
but confound him and he'll yield for his code of combat is
honorable. so here is more of the work of the Pagan
Movement. Our lore has become encrusted over the ages with
occult trivia and the empty vapourings of the lost. The
occult arts are in a state of extreme decadence, astrology
is in a state of disrepute and fears to confront the
statistician's sword; alien creeds oust our native arts and,
being as little understood as our own forgotten arts, are
just as futile for their lack of understanding, and more so
for their unfamiliarity. Misunderstanding is rife.
Disbelief is black on every horizon, and vampires abound on
the blood of the credulous. Our work is to reject the
trivial, the irrelevant and the erroneous, and to bring the
lost children of the Earth Mother again into the court of
the Sky Father where reason alone will avail. Belief is the
deceit of the credulous; it has no place in the heart of a
But while we are sad for those who are bemused by Reason, we
are deadened by those who see no further than his syllogisms
as he turns the eternal wheel of the Great Tautology. We
were not fashioned in the mathematician's computations, and
we were old when the first alchemist was a child. We have
walked in the magic forest, bewitched in the old Green
Thinks; we have seen the cauldron and the one become many
and the many in the one; we know the Silver Maid of the
moonlight and the sounds of the cloven feet. We have heard
the pipes on the twilight ferns, and we've seen the spells
of the enchantress, and Time be stilled. We've been into
eternal darkness where the Night Mare rides and rode her to
the edge of the Abyss, and beyond, and we know the dark face
of the Rising Sun. spin a spell or words and make a magic
knot; spin it on the magic loom and spin it with the gods.
Say it in the old chant and say it to the Goddess, and in
her name. Say it to a dark well and breathe it on a stone.
There are no signposts on the untrod way, but we'll make our
rituals together and bring them as our gifts to the Goddess
and her God in the great rites. Here, then, is our work in
the Pagan Movement; to make magic in the name of our gods,
to share our magic where the gods would wish it, and to come
together in our ancient festivals of birth, and life, of
death and of change in the old rhythm. We'll print the
rituals that can be shared in the written work; we'll do
all in our power to bring the people together, to teach
those who would learn, and to learn from those who can
teach. We will initiate groups, bring people to groups, and
groups to other groups in our common devotion to the goddess
and gods of nature. We will not storm the secrets of any
coven, nor profane the tools, the magic, and still less, the
gods of another.
We'll collect the myths of the ages, of our people and of
the pagans of other lands, and we'll study the books of the
wise and we'll talk to the very young. And whatever the
pagan needs in her study, or her worship, then it is our
concern, and the Movement's business to do everything
possible to help each other in our worship of the gods we
We are committed with the lone pagan on the seashore, with
he who worships in the fastness of a mountain range or she
who sings the old chant in a lost valley far from the
metalloid road. We are committed with the wanderer, and
equally with the prisoner, disinherited from the Mother's
milk in the darkness of the industrial webs. We are
committed too with the coven, with the circular dance in the
light of the full moon, with the great festivals of the sun,
and with the gatherings of the people. We are committed to
build our temples in the towns and in the wilderness, to buy
the lands and the streams from the landowners and give them
to the Goddess for her children's use, and we'll replant the
greenwood as it was of old for love of the dryad stillness,
and for love of our children's children.
When the streams flow clear and the winds blow pure, and the
sun never more rises unrenowned nor the moon ride in the
skies unloved; when the stones tell of the Horned God and
the greenwood grows deep to call back her own ones, then our
work will be ended and the Pagan Movement will return to the
beloved womb of our old religion, to the nature goddesses
and gods of paganism.
The Lord looked askance at the Fool, who was busy making faces
behind the Lady's back.
"So, which of your Aspects have you enjoyed the most?" he said.
The Fool looked up, wiggling his ears.
"Stop that!" grinned the Lord, "I'd really like to know!"
"Well.....I suppose that it would be a toss-up between Dionysus,
Tyl Eulenspiegel, and Krishna, I guess. Tyl had a whopping good time,
Dionysus got to be pretty much drunk, mostly, and Krishna had those
sweet little milk-maids......THAT was a good time! But Coyote gets to do
most everything. I guess I like Him the best."
The Lord sat back against a tree, folded His hands, and smiled.
"Yeah, ol' Coyote gets to do everything all right...except catch
the Roadrunner," he said.
"Well," said the Fool, with a lopsided grin, "I guess I'm the
only One of Us that perpetually chases Myself!"
The Lady turned, and, Aspecting the Nymph, dropped a large
grasshopper down the Fool's back. She giggled, and ran off over the
fields of Summerland.
The Lord laughed, pounding His fists on the ground as the Fool
jumped and twisted, trying to reach the insect.
Between whoops of laughter, He said, "Did you ever figure out
what 'Updoc' was?"
"Shaddup!" said the Fool.
The Fool leaned back against the brick wall of the alley and
said, "I'd like to tell you a story. It seems that a man fell into a
deep pit, and couldn't get himself out. He was in a world of hurt, and
pretty unhappy. Pretty soon, a Subjectivist type of person came along
and said, 'I feel for you down there,' but did nothing."
"An Objectivist wandered by next, and said, 'It's logical that
someone would fall down there.' But he just stood around looking too."
"A Pharisee said, 'Only bad people fall into a pit,' and put his
nose in the air and kept walking."
The Fool took a drag from his cigarette and then flipped it
expertly into a nearby puddle. Somewhere in the distance of the city a
"Then, a mathematician calculated how he fell into the pit. But
all he did was calculate."
"A news reporter wanted the exclusive story on his pit, but was
too busy interviewing everyone in sight to help."
"A fanatic fundamentalist shouted, 'You deserve your pit!'"
"Then a government tax-man asked if he was paying taxes on the
"A self-pitying person then whined, 'You haven't seen anything
until you've seen MY pit!'"
"Then a Christian Scientist came by, and said, 'Just believe
that you're not in a pit.' But that didn't seem to help." He paused, and
brushed His hair back from His eyes. After looking around that those who
were listening, He continued.
"An optimist said, 'Things could be worse!' But the pessimist
disagreed, and said, 'Things -will- get worse!' "
"A Wiccan said, 'MURPHY! You &*$%^#@,' while a New Ager jumped
into the pit to share the experience." A couple of people laughed at
this, a bit nervously.
"A Baha'i looked over the edge of the pit and said, 'See the pit
as a Spiritual Experience!' while a Moslem murmured that it was God's
Will that he was in the pit."
"A Satanist just laughed at the man in the pit and kept
"A conspiracist rubbed his hands together in glee, and said,
'-They- threw you into the pit! I -knew- it!'"
"A Jew said, 'Why are we -always- in a pit?' "
"A Communist shouted 'Why are you in the People's Pit without
"An Alcoholic muttered to himself, 'It's not -my- fault you're
in the pit.....' "
"A Liberal said, 'Those Conservatives must have dug this pit!'"
"A Conservative said, 'See where Liberalism has gotten you?' "
"A TV Evangelist came by and promptly took up a collection from
" Then, several well-meaning people came by, and wanted to help,
but they were too busy arguing whether to throw him a ladder, or a
shovel, or to hire a helicopter with a rope ladder, or to call the fire
department or police to manage to get anything done."
"A well-known radio cult hunter said, between requests for money,
'See! Satan threw you into the pit!'"
"A doper looked blearily at him, and said, a bit incoherently,
'Far out! Got any more pit?'"
"A Hindu said that the man's karma had put him into the pit, and
a television news commentator shouted, 'Man in a pit! Why is the
But then, a Good Samaritan came along, looked at the man in the
pit and at all the others standing around pursuing their own agendas,
and said, quietly, 'Here are two shovels. Let's get you out of the
The Fool looked around at His listeners, grinned, and said, "He
that hath ears to hear with, let him hear."
He shoved His hands into his jacket, and walked away thru the
puddles, idly kicking at an empty beer can.
"Pretty good!" said the Lady.
"Maybe," said the Fool, "But not up to the Sermon On The Mount."
"That one -was- one of Your best," She agreed.
"Yeah," He said, "But even then, they ignored most of it. Oh
well. Some of it caught on, at least."
"It takes a while," said the Lord, "But they -are- learning."
"Yes, they are," said the Fool, "But they have a long way to go
The Lady smiled warmly, and said, "They'll get there."
Thus it was, and so it is, and evermore shall be so!
The Lord and the Lady (and the Fool, of course) looked at the
Men and Women, and were not pleased.
"Look at that! They saw Your Sacrifice, and went and elaborated
it into some kind of magic." The Lady spoke disgustedly. "Cutting out
human hearts. Sacrificial Kings. Ritual burnings. Ritual torture. Blood
sacrifices. Cannibalism. Blood, killing and more blood! What -do- they
think they're doing?"
"I agree it's pretty grim," said the Sacred King, "But it does
work, though in a very limited way. So....what can we do about it?"
"I know what We can do, but it will take all of Us," said the
Fool, unsmiling. "Listen up...."
As he began to explain, the faces of all Three grew grimmer and
grimmer, and sad beyond words.
The Fool incarnated as a Child within a Woman, who was the
Mother and the Maiden. He was born in poverty, and laid in a straw bed.
He grew up in a small village in a backwater nation on the edges of a
great Empire. Some, a very few, knew Him and honored Him, seeing Him as
the Child, truly the Child of Promise, but most simply went on with
their lives, unknowing. When He was of age, He turned, and from Child
became Transformer, and He began to teach.
As Transformer, He went out on the dusty roads of the small,
conquered nation, and taught the Way of Love. Love for -all,- not just
some. He taught of the Brotherhood of Man, and of the Fatherhood of the
He taught of the Way of Salvation: to love. To love the Diety,
and to love your neighbor, whoever he might be.
He brought a message of hope to the poor, and a warning to the
Around Him, He assembled a small band of men and women, and
taught them His Mystery. But one was given a role to play, and the role
A man asked, "Teacher, what shall we do when those that hate us
And He answered, "Turn the other cheek, and let them strike you
again. Give them love in return for hate. If you must take up the sword,
then do it in great reluctance, and only after you have stepped aside
time and time again. Remember that I bring you not peace, but a sword,
for this Path will separate you from your families and friends, and your
enemies will persecute you in their ignorance."
"And forgive your enemies, and those who wrong you, that you may
put away your anger and live in love."
Another asked, "Sensei, what of the poor?"
And He answered, "The poor you shall always have with you, but
give them the tools to lift themselves out of their poverty. Clothe and
feed them, but give them the means of independence also."
"But what of the rich, then?" said a wealthy man.
"Give what you have to the poor. give them of clothing, and
food, and, more importantly, of learning, for if you feed a man, then
you have only given him one meal, but if you teach him to feed himself,
then he may eat for a lifetime, and move from the cycle of poverty and
ignorance," He said. "Lay not treasures up for yourself on earth, save
that you give of that treasure to those in need, but rather lay up
treasure in heaven, for it would be easier for a camel to pass thru a
needle's eye than for an avaricious man to leave his earthly treasure
A Doctor asked Him, "Healer, what of the sick?"
"Verily, let them be healed by the knowledge of man, and by
prayer," He answered, "For whatsoever you ask in prayer, if you have
faith even as small as the tiniest grain of mustard seed, what you need
will be granted you. But be wary of what you ask for, for you will get
what you need, and not always what you want."
A woman asked, "Rabbi, what of those that follow other Teach-
And He answered, smiling, "There are many rooms in your Father's
house, and many fields in Heaven. And I come again, and yet again, and
as there are many languages of mankind, so are there many Names for
Deity. Rejoice in it, and be glad of the diversity of Deity, and do not
hate those that call the Diety by other names, but rather weigh them by
And one asked of Him, "How should we pray?"
And He answered, saying, "Pray in your own fashion, as you will,
for all prayer is good. But if you wish, pray thusly:"
"Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom
come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our
daily bread, and forgive us our errors, as we forgive the errors of
others. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
"And if you feel this prayer should be given to the Mother, then
let it be so."
And a Priest shouted, angrily, "Shall God be then female?"
And He answered, "The Deity is what It will be, not what you
make It into. You see the Diety in your own image; if you are vengeful,
then your God is vengeful. If you are full of hate, then your God is
hateful. But if you have love, then you shall know the Deity's love.
Listen, and be wise."
A child asked, "Father, how shall we know what is right, and
what is wrong?"
And He replied, "Weigh it by it's fruits. If it gives a bad
fruit, then it is wrong, but if the fruit is good, then eat of it and be
"But Brother, what of a fruit that seems to be good, yet will
poison us slowly?" asked another.
And He answered, "If a man die of it, then it is an evil fruit.
Look you to the past, see the mistakes therein, and learn therefrom. And
beware those who would lead you into error thru their own need of power
over you; leave them to the trap of their own making."
One of the Priests came to Him, a man enmeshed in legalism, and,
thinking to trap Him said, "Teacher, What is the Law?"
And He looked at the Priest and said, "Love God. Love thy
neighbor. All else is commentary, and the Law of Man. Study the holy
books of all faiths, weigh the good and the bad in each, and learn."
And the Priest went away abashed.
And a person came to Him and said, "What of magic?"
"Know that your will is that of a human, and you are not
omniscient. You cannot see all the results of your actions. Therefore
ask 'Not my will, but Thine be done' and leave the ordering of the
MultiVerse to Deity, not to human will," He replied. "Order yourself,
not the MultiVerse."
And two came to Him, and asked, "O Mahatma, We are of the same
sex, and love each other. What shall we do?"
And He looked upon them, and said, "An it harm none, do as you
will. You are all the Children of the Deity, and the Deities' Love for
you is greater than you can imagine."
A policeman asked of Him, "But what of the Laws of Man? If these
Laws of Man conflict with the Law of the Diety, what shall we do then,
And Transformer answered, "Listen and hear. Obey the Laws of
Man, for these Laws have power over your body. But if there is a
man-made law that is not good, then strive to change it, in peace. But
if you cannot change it, then obey it. And, if you must disobey it to
change it, then accept the judgements of Man's Law in good grace until
it is changed. But put not your trust in Rulers, and Kings and Princes,
nor in those that would lead you, be they Priest, Priestess, or any 45
other Office and Position, but weigh their words carefully, that their
words match their deeds, and no hypocrisy enters into them, for as your
leaders you have given them power over you. And always remember that
Man's Law is made for humanity, and not humanity for Man's Law."
And with the policeman was a woman, who had violated the Law of
Man, and had been taken for her crime. She said, "But what of me, Lord?
I am to be stoned by the crowd."
And He picked up a stone from the ground, looked at her, and
said, simply, "Let he who is without mistakes cast the first stone at
you." And He dropped His stone from His hand.
And there was a silence from the crowd, and those with stones in
their hands dropped them guiltily to the ground.
And He said to her, "Learn from your error, go in peace, and
make error no more."
And he said to those that had dropped their stones, and who were
burdened by their guilt, "Be not guilty, for guilt is but a warning from
your conscience. Be you delivered from your hell. Learn from your error,
put it from you, and err no more."
"And equally, if the tree that gives a bad fruit can be taught
to give a good fruit, then do so. But if it persist in giving bad
fruits, then leave it."
And He walked to a nearby hill, and turned to the people, and
"Blessed be those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed be those that mourn, for they shall be comforted."
"Blessed be the meek, for they shall live to inherit the earth,
long after the strong, and the proud, and the warlike have killed each
other in their pride."
"Blessed be those that hunger and thirst after the Truth, for
they shall know it."
"Blessed be the merciful, for they shall have mercy shown unto
"Blessed be the pure in heart, for they shall see the Deity all
the days of their lives and after."
"Blessed be those that make peace among men, for they shall be
called the Children of the Diety."
"Blessed be those that are persecuted for the sake of the Truth,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Blessed be you, when men shall persecute you, and perjure
themselves against you, and lie about you, and say all manner of evil
against you falsely, for your reward is great indeed."
"Let your Light so shine before all humanity, that they may know
the Truth of you, and learn to live in love."
And he placed His hand upon the head of a dog, and said, "Your
Brothers and Sisters in fur are your Brothers and Sisters in truth. They
are in your care, and in your hands. Treat them with kindness, and that
kindness will be returned to you a thousandfold. To those that give
themselves to be eaten by you offer thanks, and be grateful to them for
"Treat your Mother the earth likewise with kindness, and all the
growing things thereon will sing your praises to the Highest, and you
shall eat and drink of Her fruits, and live in joy and gladness all the
days of your lives. Little children, love one another!"
In truth, there was much more that He taught, and much of it is
written for our study and learning, and the study of His teachings is a
good and worthy thing. But the following of His teachings is a better
thing, for He was who He said He was, and that is also a Great Mystery.
And the Betrayer spoke to Him, and said, "Renounce this Path. It
only leads to destruction. Give over to me, and I will give you
rulership of all the kingdoms of Earth."
And He gazed upon the Betrayer, and spoke, and said, "Get thee
hence, foolish one, for I have no need of earthly treasure, nor earthly
power, for all such is false, and an illusion."
And on the night that He was betrayed, during a Festival that
celebrated the conquered people's deliverance from tyranny, (and to
choose such a time and place is also a Great Mystery and a great lesson)
He took of the Sacred King, the Bread of Life, blessed and broke it, and
gave it to His followers, and said, "This is My body. Do this in
remembrance of Me."
And then he took wine, fruit of the Mother, and blessed it, and
gave it to them also, and said, "This is My blood. Do this in remembr-
ance of Me."
And Transformer was betrayed by the Betrayer, betrayed to the
legalists and the soldiers of the occupying army, accused of sedition
and taken by the Law of Man, and sentenced to die.
And they fastened Him to an instrument of torture, to kill Him
like a common criminal, with cruel jokes.
And He was hung from a Tree.
And, watching, was the Mother, and the Maiden, and the Crone,
and They all three mourned Him.
He turned, and was the Sacred King, and simultaneously the Fool
(and that is a Great Mystery indeed) and, as He died, he said, "It is
finished." And His Blood ran out upon the Earth, and worked a great
His body was buried in a tomb of rock, and the soldiers of the
occupying army guarded it.
But after three days and three nights, a greater magic was done,
and He took His body again, sitting with the Lord and the Lady, and
showed Himself to His followers, to show them that Death is not to be
And He said, "You have been bought, and redeemed, and nevermore
shall you make sacrifice of blood, for this is the Final Sacrifice for
all time, for all places, and for all those there are and were, and will
"And fear not Death, for it it but a change in a MultiVerse of
changes; another turning of the wheel on a road all must travel."
And He shall come again, as He has throughout all history,
teaching the Great Truth: that we shall love the Deity, and love our
neighbor, for Love is the heart of the Law, and that Law is Love.
For He is always with us and in us all.
"I don't -ever- want to go through that again!"
The Fool spoke vehemently, thru tears.
"I don't think you'll have to go quite -that- far the next
time," said the Lady. "They'll still play their stupid games with blood,
but not for very much longer."
"I hope not," said the Sacred King, "But do We have to put up
with that Paul fella? He's a bit of a nut-case."
"If you want it to work out right, yes," said the Lady. "He may
be a nut-case, but he'll spread the Word quickly, and, after a time,
they'll get the idea. And from that will come the seed of My future
"Sorry about that," said the Fool. "I did my best, but in such
a patriarchal society as that one was, I just couldn't make much headway
"No problem," She said. "They can deny Me all they want to, but
I'm still here."
Thus it was, and so it is, and evermore shall be so!
THE SYBILLYNE TRADITION OF WICCA
by Virginia Stewart, M. Ed., TP.
Our tradition is a moderate branch of Dianic Wicca, with
an emphasis on equality, ecology and wo/men's mysteries. The
tradition is open to women and men, over the age of 18, who
have previously identified Wicca as their path. Someone
under legal age must be accompanied by a parent and will not
be initiated until they are of legal age.
(Yes, there is a catch: few people under 21 will have
studied other religions enough to have narrowed it down this
much; therefore, a person without this study must spend at
least a year pursuing comparative religions before they will
be accepted for training.)
The subject matter that each student must master prior
to initiation is wide-ranging and intended to strengthen
knowledge and interest in a number of areas, as well as
increase the student's desire to "get involved" in the
ecological/political issues which are important to them as
individuals. This is not an exclusive tradition; one can be
an initiate of other traditions and still participate. We
have closed rituals only when the participating members
desire it. Our initiation is open to initiates of other
traditions (who would be asked to assist, no one gets to
Sybillynes do not have degrees, unlike Gardnerians; we
have three stages. The Novice (or WIT, coined by one student
-- it means "Witch in Training") is one who is actively
studying, but has not yet been initiated. A Sister or
Brother has been initiated and holds the title of Priestess
or Priest (there is no High Priestess or High Priest.) The
Chronicler is the one in the Coven or Circle who assumes the
responsibility for making phone calls and keeping the Book of
Shadows, but the position carries no authority.
All decisions are reached by consensus, and the rituals
are written and performed by various members of the group on
a voluntary basis (it works, it really does). After a long
period of study, in which one might specialize in a
particular area, one is Ordained as a Priestess or Priest in
that area; for example, one might be a Teaching Priest/ess,
or a Healing Priest/ess.
To become a Novice, one must ask to be taught, then show
a sincere interest in the Craft and a willingness to study
and learn about the various areas presented. One must also
exhibit a willingness to do independent study in areas of
The Course of study is presented in two parts. The
first is lecture/discussion/reading -- after which the novice
must demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the following
I. Feminism and politics of Dianic craft
A. Gaia and green magic
B. balance of Male/female energies
C. power over vs. power from within
II. Feminist herstory/facts and theory
A. Origins of the Goddess
1. prehistoric evidence
2. early myth (China, Sumer, Ur, India,
Mesopotania, Egypt, Crete)
3. The patriarchal shift --
a. Theories on how it happened
b. How to read around it
i. Greek Myth
c. Modern Approaches -- overcoming
d. The God in Dianic Wicca
i. prehistory evidence/belief
ii. Modern approaches
III. Feminist interpretations on the origins of people
A. creation Myths -- world samples
B. "star" myth
C. birth/genetic engineering myth
D. the principles of myth writing
IV. Goddess and Gods in Every Person
A. Manifesting the God/dess in Everyday Life -- theory
B. Archetypal Theory and how it relates to everyday
V. Magic and Physics -- Why Everything is Related To
A. Holographic Universe
B. Gaia as a Living Being
VI. The Goddess and Sexuality
A. Living in our bodies is healthy
B. how patriarchy/Christianity perverted sex
C. healing the wounds of sexual oppression
VII. Beginning Meditation
B. some eventual goals
IX. Psychic gifts
A. How they have been suppressed
B. What they are
C. How to develop them
A. The wheel of the Year
B. Women's festivals/men's festivals
C. Creating celebration for everyday life
XI. Ritual tools and aspects
XII. Creating Ritual
A. The Structure of a ritual
B. Creating Sacred space -- theory
C. Elements of ritual -- possibilities
XIII. Drawing a circle -- demonstration & practice
A. How to form a circle
B. What to do if something goes wrong
C. Group dynamics
Our actual reading list is two double-columned pages,
and takes about a year to get through. This is the short
list, with which one must show a working knowledge.
The Spiral Dance
Dreaming the Dark
Truth or Dare / Starhawk
Holy Book of Women's Mysteries / Z. Budapest
The Holographic Universe / Michael Talbot
The New Inquisition / Robert Anton Wilson
Real Magic / Issac Bonewits
When God Was A Woman
Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood / Merlin Stone
Priestesses / Norma Goodrich
Women's Encyclopedia of Sacred Symbols and
Objects / Barbara Walker
Drawing Down the Moon / Margot Adler
Iron John / Robert Bly
The Hero with A Thousand Faces / Joseph Campbell
The second part of training focuses on ritual and
practice, as no one will be initiated until s/he can write,
perform and understand ritual; work with energy in a SAFE
way, and guide meditations for the others. The following are
the requirements for this level of training, in which one
must demonstrate proficiency.
1. Circle Drawing
2. Healing (different types)
3. Energy Work
4. Journey to Lower World (working with totems)
5. Astral Realms (working with place of power and spirit
6. 9 Inner Planes
7. Past Life Regression
8. Elements, Tools, and Aspects
9. Women's Mysteries/Men's Mysteries (5 Mysteries)
10. Blessing of Tools
11. Personal Belief Systems
12. Spells and Spellwork
13. Full Ritual (writing and performing without assistance)
1. A 4-10 page paper explaining and analyzing the Wiccan Rede
and how it applies to one's personal life (Ethics are vital)
2. A 5-10 page paper explaining one's personal belief system
(it does not conform to any particular standard, but an
initiate must have one; this is a spiritual tradition).
3. A 5-10 page paper explaining and analyzing the 5 Mysteries
of Wicca with particular attention paid to Wo/man's
mysteries, Chalice and the Descent.
4. A 2-5 page paper explaining the Three-Fold Goddess and Her
Relationship to the Three-Fold God.
5. A 5-10 page paper describing one's personal ethics
6. A Book of Shadows (to be reviewed by Teaching Priestess)
that includes major rituals, meditations, observations and
results of spell work and energy work.
The final requirement for initiation includes the
demonstration of Ritual functions of Maiden/Mother/Crone or
Priest without written assistance; the demonstration of
ritual writing and participation in/ directing the energy in
a circle. Finally, the demonstration through daily life of a
sincere commitment to the Way of the God/dess.
The training period lasts anywhere from twenty-six weeks
to over a year and is dependent on the completion of
requirements, not number of months in training.
A Novice (WIT) will be told that they may request
Initiation when they have completed all requirements to the
satisfaction of the Teaching Priestess. They will be told
once, after that they must ask. Sybillynes do NOT recruit
After Initiation, a Priest/ess may form a Circle (a
loosely organized group that performs ritual together) or a
Coven (a close-knit group with bonds of perfect love and
trust). It is suggested that Circles be formed and allowed
to evolve into Covens.
All Initiates are encouraged to become politically/
ecologically active to whatever degree that they are able.
Each group exists as an independent organization -- the job
of a Teaching Priestess is to make herself unnecessary.
Those who desire control over a coven or absolute authority
within a coven are discouraged from attempting it within this
tradition -- the labrys, our symbol, is sharp for a reason...
We are also interested in tradition sharing, and can be
found in the Hunter's Moon camp at CMA. Inquires can be made
by leaving a message at Celebration! in Austin, or at the
Magic Cauldron in Houston, for Virginia Stewart or Howard
Gerber (sysop of THE WHEEL BBS in Houston).
Merry Meet and Bright Blessings.
MAIN RITUAL, UEA 20TH ANNIVERSARY
This ritual came together in strange ways. We are indebted to
Tony Kelly of Celene Community in Wales who wrote the body of it
in a piece called "Pagan Musings" in 1973, Kenny and Tzipora for
the Wine Blessing, and Thomas Palmer of Denver for the Cakes
Blessing. The Quarters calling and dismissals were written by
Rowan Moonstone and revised by Bristlecone Glen. Devin Storm,
Harper to Bristlecone wrote the God and Goddess Invocations, the
Circle Closing, and the Crone's speech. We learned this
particular version of "We All Come From the Goddess/Hoof and
Horn" with the God verse from the Old Timers from United Earth
Assembly and the Witches' Version of " Amazing Grace" was taught
to us by Margot Adler at the America the Beautiful celebration in
Colorado Springs in July of 1993. All these various parts came
together into one of the most powerful rituals we have ever seen.
We give it back to the community now with love and thanks. It is
our heritage and our future. We give back to the Earth that
which we have been given.
- Bristlecone Glen
Cakes & Wine
Quarters candles should be set up and lit before Circle. Altar
Candles lit. A cauldron sits in the north. In the cauldron
should be glow sticks to light it from within, a pan of dry ice,
a candle, and the chalice. The Crone sits, cloaked and hooded,
by the Cauldron. The Harper sits in the east, an empty stool
sits beside the Harper.
Cast Circle and purify sacred space as is the custom of your
Spirits of the East!
Air, Breath of our ancestors
Be with us in this Circle
That we may KNOW we are the children of the Gods.
Spirits of the South!
Fire, Will of our ancestors,
Be with us in this Circle
That we may have the WILL to claim our heritage.
Spirits of the West!
Water, Blood of our ancestors,
Be with us in this Circle
That we may DARE to do the work of the Gods.
Spirits of the North!
Earth, Bones of our ancestors,
Be with us in this Circle
That we may NO LONGER BE SILENT, but may meet as one in love to
do the work of the Old Ones.
HP: Maiden bring Your Flowers
Mother, Bring Your Child
Old One bring your Wisdom
Bright Lady, Cerridwen
We welcome Thee to this Circle in Herne's name.
For we are the blush of Thy silken cheek.
We are the children You hold to Your breast.
We are the Carriers of Your ancient way.
Bright Lady, Cerridwen, Welcome!
HPS: Hunter, bring Your prowess
Warrior, bring your skill.
Father, bring your guidance.
Ancient One, Horned Crown
We welcome Thee to this Circle in Thy Lady's name.
For we are the flight of the arrow from Thy bow.
We are the edge of the sword of Thy honor.
We are the sparks of the flame of Thy love.
Ancient One, Horned Crowned, Welcome!
HPS: We're of the old religion, sired of Time, and born of
our beloved Earth Mother. For too long the people have
trodden a stony path that goes only onward beneath a
sky that goes only upwards.
HP: The Horned God plays in a lonely glade for the people
are scattered in this barren age and the winds carry
his plaintive notes over deserted heaths and reedy
moors and into the lonely grasses.
(Grey Man raps staff on ground comes into center of Circle
unobserved by the HP/S. When he speaks, HP/S should be
Grey Man: Who know now the ancient tongue of the Moon? And who
speaks still with the Goddess? The magic of the land
of Lirien and the old pagan gods have withered in the
dragons breath; the old ways of magic have slipped into
the well of the past, and only the rocks now remember
what the moon told us long ago, and what we learned
from the trees, and the voices of grasses and the
scents of flowers.
(HP/S begin to spiral into the center of the Circle to meet the
HP: We're pagans and we worship the pagan gods, and among
the people there are witches yet who speak with the
moon and dance with the Horned One.
HPS: But a witch is a rare pagan in these days, deep and
inscrutable, recognizable only by their own kind, by
the light in their eyes and the love in their breasts,
by the magic in their hands and the lilt of their
tongue and by their knowledge of the real.
HP: But the wiccan way is one way. There are many; there
are pagans the world over who worship the Earth Mother
and the Sky Father, the Rain God and the Rainbow
Goddess, the Dark One and the Hag on the mountain, the
Moon Goddess and the little People in the mists on the
other side of the veil.
HPS: A pagan is one who worships the goddesses and gods of
nature, whether by observation or by study, whether by
love or admiration, or whether in their sacred rites
with the Moon, or the great festivals of the Sun.
Grey Man: Many suns ago, as the pale dawn of reason crept across
the pagan sky, man grew out of believing in THE GODS.
Harper: He has yet to grow out of disbelieving in them.
Grey Man: He who splits the Goddess on an existence-nonexistence
dichotomy will earn himself only paradoxes, for the
gods are not so divided and nor the magic lands of the
Brother of Time.
Harper: Does a mind exist?
Grey Man: Ask her and she will tell you yes, but seek her out,
and she'll elude you. She is in every place, and in no
place, and you'll see her works in all places, but
herself in none. Existence was the second-born from
the Mother's womb and contains neither the first-born,
nor the unborn. Show us your mind, and we'll show you
Harper: No matter that you can't, for we can't show you the
gods. But come with us and the Goddess herself will
be our love and the God will call the tune.
Grey Man: But a brass penny for your reason; for logic is a
closed ring, and the child doesn't validate the Mother,
nor the dream the dreamer. (Grey Man turns to face the
seated Crone. Speaks almost as if talking to himself)
And what matter the wars of opposites to she who has
fallen in love with a whirlwind or to the lover of the
Harper: (To HP/S) But tell us of your Goddess as you love her,
and the gods that guide your works, and we'll listen
with wonder, for to do less would be arrogant. but
we'll do more, for the heart of man is aching for
memories only half forgotten, and the Old Ones only
HP: We'll write the old myths as they were always written
and we'll read them on the rocks and in the caves and
in the deep of the greenwood's shade, and we'll hear
them in the rippling mountain streams and in the
rustling of the leaves, and we'll see them in the storm
clouds, and in the evening mists. We've no wish to
create a new religion for our religion is as old as the
hills and older, and we've no wish to bring differences
Harper: Differences are like different flowers in a meadow, and
we are all one in the Mother.
HPS: What need is there for a pagan movement since our
religion has no teachings and we hear it in the wind
and feel it in the stones and the Moon will dance with
us as she will?
Harper: There is a need. For long the Divider has been among
our people and the tribes of man are no more. The sons
of the Sky Father have all but conquered nature, but
they have poisoned her breast and the Mother is sad for
the butterflies are dying and the night draws on.
Grey Man: A curse on the conqueror!
HP/S: But not of us!
Harper: For they curse themselves for they are nature too.
Grey Man: They have stolen our magic and sold it to the
mindbenders and the mindbenders tramp a maze that has
no outlet for they fear the real for the One who guards
the path. Where are the pagan shrines? And where do
the people gather? Where is the magic made? And where
are the Goddess and the Old Ones?
HP: Our shrines are in the fields and on the mountains, in
the stars and in the wind, deep in the greenwood and on
the algal rocks where two streams meet. But the
shrines are deserted, and if we gathered in the arms of
the Moon for our ancient rites to be with our gods as
we were of old, we would be stopped by the dead who now
rule the Mother's land and claim rights of ownership on
the Mother's breast, and make laws of division and
frustration for us.
HPS: We can no longer gather with our gods in a public place
and the old rites of communion have been driven from
the towns and cities ever deeper into the heath where
barely a handful of heathens have remained to guard the
old secrets and enact the old rites. There is magic in
the heath far from the cold grey society, and there are
islands of magic hidden in the entrails of the
metropolis behind closed doors, but the people are few,
and the barriers between us are formidable.
HP: The old religion has become a dark way, obscure, and
hidden in the protective bosom of the night. Thin
fingers turn the pages of a book of shadows while the
sunshine seeks in vain his worshippers in his leafy
Harper: Here, then, is the basic reason for a Pagan Movement;
we must create a pagan society wherein everyone shall
be free to worship the goddesses and gods of nature,
and the relationship between a worshipper and their
gods shall be sacred and inviolable, provided only that
in their love of their own gods, they doesn't curse the
names of the gods of others.
HPS: It's not yet our business to press the law-makers with
undivided endeavor to unmake the laws of repression
and, with the Mother's love, it may never become our
business for the stifling tides of dogmatism are at
last already in ebb. Our first work, and our greatest
wish, is to come together, to be with each other in our
tribes for we haven't yet grown from the Mother's
breast to the stature of the gods.
HP: We're of the earth, and sibs to all the children of
wild nature, born long ago in the warm mud of the ocean
floor; we were together then, and we were together in
the rain forests long before that dark day when,
beguiled by the pride of the Sky Father, and forgetful
of the Mother's love, we killed her earlier-born
children and impoverished the old genetic pool.
Grey Man: The Red child lives yet in America; the Black Child has
not forsaken the gods; the old Australians are still
with their nature gods; the Old Ones still live deep in
the heart of Mother India, and the White Child has
still a foot on the old wiccan way, but Neanderthaler
is no more and her magic faded as the Lli and the
Archan burst their banks and the ocean flowed in to
divide the Isle of Erin from the land of the White
Goddess. Man looked with one eye on a two-faced god
when he reached for the heavens and scorned the Earth
which alone is our life and our provider and the bosom
to which we have ever returned since the dawn of Time.
Harper: He who looks only to reason to plum the unfathomable is
a fool, for logic is an echo already implicit in the
question, and it has no voice of its own; but he is no
greater fool than he who scorns logic or derides its
impotence from afar, but fears to engage in fair combat
when he stands on his opponent's threshold. Don't turn
your back on Reason, for his thrust is deadly; but
confound him and he'll yield for his code of combat is
honorable. So here is more of the work of the Pagan
HPS: Our lore has become encrusted over the ages with occult
trivia and the empty vapourings of the lost. The
occult arts are in a state of extreme decadence,
astrology is in a state of disrepute and fears to
confront the statistician's sword; alien creeds oust
our native arts and, being as little understood as our
own forgotten arts, are just as futile for their lack
of understanding, and more so for their unfamiliarity.
HP: Misunderstanding is rife. Disbelief is black on every
horizon, and vampires abound on the blood of the
credulous. Our work is to reject the trivial, the
irrelevant and the erroneous, and to bring the lost
children of the Earth Mother again into the court of
the Sky Father where reason alone will avail.
Harper: Belief is the deceit of the credulous; it has no place
in the heart of a pagan.
Grey Man: But while we are sad for those who are bemused by
Reason, we are deadened by those who see no further
than his syllogisms as he turns the eternal wheel of
the Great Tautology.
HP: We were not fashioned in the mathematician's
computations, and we were old when the first alchemist
was a child.
HPS: We have walked in the magic forest, bewitched in the
old Green Things; we have seen the cauldron and the one
become many and the many in the one; we know the Silver
Maid of the moonlight and the sounds of the cloven
feet. We have heard the pipes on the twilight ferns,
and we've seen the spells of the enchantress, and Time
be stilled. We've been into eternal darkness where
the Night Mare rides and rode her to the edge of the
Abyss, and beyond, and we know the dark face of the
Harper: Spin a spell or words and make a magic knot; spin it on
the magic loom and spin it with the gods. Say it in
the old chant and say it to the Goddess, and in her
name. Say it to a dark well and breathe it on a
HP: There are no signposts on the untrod way,
HPS: but we'll make our rituals together and bring them as
our gifts to the Goddess and her God in the great
(HP/S turn to Circle)
HP: Here, then, is our work in the Pagan Movement; to make
magic in the name of our gods, to share our magic where
the gods would wish it, and to come together in our
ancient festivals of birth, and life, of death and of
change in the old rhythm.
HPS: We'll print the rituals that can be shared in the
HP: We'll do all in our power to bring the people together,
to teach those who would learn, and to learn from those
who can teach.
HPS: We will initiate groups, bring people to groups, and
groups to other groups in our common devotion to the
goddesses and gods of nature.
HP: We will not storm the secrets of any coven, nor profane
the tools, the magic, and still less, the gods of
HPS: We'll collect the myths of the ages, of our people and
of the pagans of other lands, and we'll study the books
of the wise and we'll talk to the very young.
HP: And whatever the pagan needs in their study, or their
worship, then it is our concern, and the Movement's
business to do everything possible to help each other
in our worship of the gods we love.
HPS: We are committed with the lone pagan on the seashore,
with he who worships in the fastness of a mountain
range or she who sings the old chant in a lost valley
far from the metalloid road.
HP: We are committed with the wanderer, and equally with
the prisoner, disinherited from the Mother's milk in
the darkness of the industrial webs.
HPS: We are committed too with the coven, with the circular
dance in the light of the full moon, with the great
festivals of the sun, and with the gatherings of the
HP: We are committed to build our temples in the towns and
in the wilderness, to buy the lands and the streams
from the landowners and give them to the Goddess for
her children's use, and we'll replant the greenwood as
it was of old for love of the dryad stillness, and for
love of our children's children.
HP/S: This we will do. What will you? (At this point, HP/S
should walk around the Circle and "gather" the pledges
from those in Circle who wish to give them.
Participants should think carefully about what they
wish to pledge before the Gods in this ritual. When
all pledges are gathered, HP/S takes them to the Grey
HPS: When the streams flow clear and the winds blow pure,
and the sun never more rises unrenowned nor the moon
ride in the skies unloved;
HP: when the stones tell of the Horned God and the
greenwood grows deep to call back her own ones, then
our work will be ended
HP/S: and the Pagan Movement will return to the beloved womb
of our old religion, to the nature goddesses and gods
of paganism. (Grey Man nods, receives the pledges and
palms flash powder unobtrusively. Conducts HP/S to the
Crone. Grey Man opens hands and lets paper fall on
candle. Crone pours hot water on dry ice, stands up,
throws back hood of cape)
Crone: I have heard your call across the mountains. I have
heard your cries within the web of life and I have come
once more. Single is the race, single of men and Gods.
From a single source we both draw breath, but a
difference of power in everything keeps us apart. You
are the children of my heart - the light of my Soul.
And I bring with me the seeds of your ancestors that I
have kept safe for you. Like the cycle of the
seasons, I give them again that you may plant yet
again. Sow the seeds for yourselves , for your
children, and your children's children.
(Crone hands basket of seeds to HP/S. Reaches into the well
again and draws out chalice from cauldron.)
The chalice contains the blood of those who have died
for the crime of being different, the sweat of those
who toiled that the path of the Old Ones might survive,
and the tears of those who thought themselves alone.
The cauldron of the Gods is that of change - of turning
evil to good, death to life. Through the power of the
Cauldron, turn the blood of death to the water of life,
turn the crime of being different to the strength of
being whole. Turn the sweat of toil to the joy of work
well done. Turn the tears of those alone to the tears
of family reunited. The present is the balance between
the past and the future. The power lies within your
heart, within your hands. Do you have the courage?
The choice is his, the choice is hers, the choice is
yours. Can you make a difference? WILL you make a
(Crone hands chalice to HP/S and wraps cloak around her, sitting
down once more.)
HP/S spiral back out to the Circle.
HP: Be it known that a man is not greater than a woman
HPS: Nor is woman greater than man
HP: For what one lacks
HPS: The other can provide
HP: As the athame is to the male
HPS: So is the cup to the female
HP/S: And when conjoined, they become one in truth. For
there is no greater magick in all the world than that
HPS: Be it known that death is not the end of life ...
HP: But the beginning of the cycle of rebirth.
HPS: As grain is touched by death's scythe ...
HP: And passes through fire to be reborn as bread ...
HPS: So are we reborn, passing through death into the next
(High Priest draws Invoking Pentagram over cakes with Athame,
while both say:
HP/S: As the Earth gives its life to strengthen us, so shall
we, in death, strengthen the Earth, for life and death
together are the cycle of rebirth.
HP/S take of cakes and wine and pass the basket and chalice to
quarters callers to take to the Circle.
We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop or rain
Flowing to the ocean
We all come from the Horned One
And to Him we shall return
Like a flash of flame
Ascending to the heavens.
Hoof and Horn
Hoof and Horn
All that dies shall be reborn
Vine and Grain
Vine and Grain
All that falls shall rise again.
(The chant may evolve into others such as the Isis Astarte and
corresponding God chants. Go with the flow. When all in the
Circle have partaken of cakes and wine, the chalice comes back to
the HP and HPS, who take it to the Harper. Harper eats and
drinks, takes cakes and wine to Grey Man. Grey Man eats and
drinks, takes cakes and wine to Crone, who eats, drinks, and
receives seeds and chalice again. Replaces chalice in Cauldron,
covers seeds with cloak. When HPS feels energy has built to a
peak, she calls a halt to it by raising her arms and dropping
them to her sides.)
HP/S: Remember this night. Take the energy that has been
raised here by your sisters and brothers and put it
into your pledges. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
HPS: Hunter, for Your prowess
Warrior, for Your skill
Father for Your Guidance
Ancient One, Horned Crowned,
We thank you and bid you Hail and Farewell!
HP: Maiden, for Your flowers.
Mother, for Your child.
Old One, for Your Wisdom.
Bright Lady, Cerridwen, we thank You
And bid you Hail and Farewell!
Spirits of the North!
Earth, Body of our ancestors.
Go with us from this place
United as heirs of our ancestors.
Spirits of the West!
Water, Blood of our ancestors.
We have the courage to dare to do the work.
Go with us from this place
United as heirs of our ancestors.
Spirits of the South,
Fire, will of our ancestors.
We have the will to do that which we promised
Go with us from this place
United as heirs of our ancestors.
Spirits of the East
Air, breath of our ancestors.
We KNOW that we are the children of the Gods and all one family.
Go with us from this place
United as heirs of our ancestors.
HP draws power back up into the blade of the sword/athame and
earths the power. HP, HPS, Harper, Grey Man and Crone move into
a circle. The next five lines should be shot from person to
person, to form a pentagram:
HPS: The Circle is Open
HP: But not forgotten!
Harper: The Circle is unbroken.
Grey Man: Nothing is forgotten
Crone: The Circle is Free
All: Nothing is ever forgotten
HPS, HP, Harper, Grey Man, and Crone join the larger Circle. HPS
or Harper calls out lines of Amazing Grace to the Circle as all
Amazing Grace! How sweet the Earth
That formed a Witch like me
I once was burned, now I survive
Was hanged, but now I sing.
Twas grace that drew down the moon
And grace that raised the sea
The magick of the people's will
Will set our Mother free!
Amazing Grace! How sweet the Earth
That formed a Witch like me
I once was burned, but now I thrive
Was hanged but now I sing.
HPS: Blessed Be!
By: Michael Thorn
20 Nov 93 12:09
The Covenant of the Goddess is one of the largest and oldest
Wiccan religious organizations with members in North America, Europe and
Australia. Wicca, or Witchcraft is the most popular expression of the
religious movement known as Neo+Paganism, which, according to the
Institute for the Study of American Religion, is the fastest growing
religion in the United States. It practitioners are reviving ancient
Pagan practices and beliefs of pre-Christian Europe and adapting them to
contemporary life. The result is a religion that is both old and new,
both +traditional+ and creative.
Witchcraft is a life-affirming, earth+ and nature-oriented
religion which sees all of life as sacred and interconnected, honors the
natural world as the embodiment of divinity, immanent as well as
transcendent, and experiences the divine as feminine and often as
masculine, as well. Like the spiritual world view and practices of
Native Americans and Taoists, Wiccan spiritual practices are intended to
attune humanity to the natural rhythms and cycles of the universe as a
means of personally experiencing divinity. Rituals, therefore, coincide
with the phases of the moon, the change of the seasons, solstices and
equinoxes and days which fall in between these such as May Day and
Halloween. This calendar of celebrations is referred to as the Wheel of
the Year. Most Witches consider their practice a priest/esshood, akin to
the mystery schools of classical Greece and Rome, involving years of
training and passage through life-transforming initiatory rituals.
All Witches agree on an ethical code known as the Wiccan Rede,
"An it harm none, do what ye will," which honors the freedom of each
individual to do what she or he believes is right, but also recognizes
the profound responsibility that none may be harmed by one+s actions.
In the 1970+s there was a marked rise of interest in Witchcraft
not only in the United States, but throughout the world, reflecting a
growing feminist awareness and global concern for the environment. In
the Spring of 1975, a number of Wiccan elders from diverse traditions,
all sharing the idea of forming a religious organization for all
practitioners of Witchcraft, gathered to draft a "covenant" among
themselves. These representatives also drafted bylaws to administer this
new organization now known as the Covenant of the Goddess. At the 1975
Summer Solstice, the bylaws were ratified by thirteen member congreg-
ations (or covens). The Covenant of the Goddess was incorporated
as a nonprofit religious organization on October 31st, 1975.
The Covenant is an umbrella organization of cooperating
autonomous Witchcraft congregations with the power to confer credentials
on its qualified clergy. It fosters cooperation and mutual support among
Witches and secures for them the legal protections enjoyed by members of
other religions. The Covenant is non+hierarchical and governed by
consensus. Two-thirds of its clergy are women.
The Covenant is coordinated by a national board of directors.
Many of its activities are conducted at the regional level by local
councils. The Covenant holds an annual national conference open to the
Wiccan community, as well as regional conferences, and publishes a
newsletter. In recent years, the Covenant has taken part in spiritual
and educational conferences, interfaith outreach, large public rituals,
environmental activism, community projects and social action, as well as
efforts to correct negative stereotypes and promote accurate media
portrayals. Its clergy perform legal marriages (handfastings), preside
at funerals and other rituals of life-transition, and provide counseling
to Witches including those in the military and in prisons.
The Covenant also provides for the need of it members and their
families with disaster relief, health insurance, Scouting awards,
sponsorship of college and university student groups, and legal
assistance in instances of discrimination. The Covenant+s participation
in the 1993 Parliament of the World+s Religions continues its efforts to
restore the respect due to a legitimate and deeply-rooted religion,
protect and preserve the earth through its public dissemination of its
wisdom and traditions, and participate in dialogue as a contributing
member of the world+s community of faiths.
A CHRISTIAN SPEAKS ON THE FAITH AND PATH OF WICCA
by James Clement Taylor
I am a Christian and not a Wiccan. A Christian is one who has been
baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and who has
made a personal, free-will decision to commit himself and all his or her
life to our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Both of these things
are true of me. I am a member of St. Mary's Eastern Orthodox Church,
Calhan, Colorado. In this paper, I am not speaking as agent for any
church, but I am, entirely on my own responsibility, speaking the truth
in love, as we Christians are supposed to do.
A Situation of Strife and Shame:
There are many Christians today who believe that anyone who is not a
Christian is doomed to an eternity of suffering in hell. Any decent
person, believing this, would be compelled to try to save as many people
from this fate as possible. But is this belief correct? Jesus Christ,
having noted the faith and righteousness of a Roman centurion, a Pagan,
"Assuredly I say to you, I have not found such great faith,
not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come
from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the king-
dom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be
weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:10-12)
If we accept these words as true, and surely we should, then it is clear
that heaven will contain many who are not Christians, and hell will
contain many who are! Clearly, throughout the Gospels, Jesus Christ
sets forth the criteria for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and
those criteria include love, kindness, forgiveness, and a refusal to
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive
men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive
your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15)
"For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and
with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to
you." (Matthew 7:2)
"But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy and not
sacrifice.'" (Matthew 9:13)
"Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and
you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be for-
given." (Luke 6:36-38)
Is it not clear? Anyone who fails in these things, will calling himself
a Christian save him? Anyone who obeys God in these things, will being
unbaptized condemn him? Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me,
`Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the
will of My Father in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)
Yet it is not by good works that we earn our way into heaven, because
there is no way we can earn the free gift of God's mercy and grace,
which alone can save us. But it is clear that it is not by faith, in
the sense of sharing the Christian faith, that we are saved, either.
The faith which saves us is not faith in the goodness of our works, nor
faith that we have the right theology and/or belong to the right church.
Rather, it is faith in God, and in His mercy:
"So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs,
but of God who has mercy." (Romans 9:16)
But the Wiccans, you will say, do not have faith in God. Yet by their
own theology, they certainly do. Those who call them Satan-worshippers
are entirely wrong. They do not worship Satan, or even believe that
Satan exists. Instead, they worship a Goddess and a God whom they
understand as manifestations of a higher and unknown Deity.
Now if you are a Christian, this will sound familiar to you, and it
should. In the Bible we find the following:
"Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said,
`Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are
very religious; for as I was passing through and con-
sidering the objects of your worship, I even found an
altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing,
Him I proclaim to you" (Acts 17:22-23)
The Wiccans worship the Unknown God, as manifested to them in the form
of a Goddess and a God. Therefore, our Bible tells us they worship the
same God we do; and if they do not know this, we should know it!
For those of us who are unable to simply stand on God's Word, and must
prove to themselves the truth of what it proclaims the holy Apostle John
has given us the method for doing this. You have only to attend any
public Wiccan ceremony, and test the spirits which are there, to see
"whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1). You will find that, while the
power manifested there may be less than what you have experienced as a
Christian, that power is clearly the power of God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, these people of Wicca have been
terribly slandered by us. They have lost jobs, and homes, and places of
business because we have assured others that they worship Satan, which
they do not. We have persecuted them, and God will hold us accountable
for this, you may be sure, for He has said, "Assuredly I say to you,
inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did
it to Me." (Matthew 25:40)
Let us, from this point onward, repent of our misdeeds and declare that
henceforth we shall obey Christ our God, and not judge others or condemn
them, so that He will not have to judge and condemn us for our sins.
KILL A TREE From: Ali Katz
to the tune of "Jingle Bells":
Dashing to the mall in a fleet of rented trucks,
a million hairless apes are out to spend some plastic bucks.
It's Christmas time again -- or maybe World War Three --
and to keep their spirits happy now, they've got to kill a tree.
Oh, kill a tree, kill a tree, kill a tree for Christ.
(Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, accept this sacrifice.)
Kill a tree, kill a tree, kill a tree for Christ,
not sure what we're doing, but it seems to work out nice.
We know we each deserve a ton or two of crap,
but to keep the goodies coming now, we've got to spill some sap,
and string electric lights, and raise the ritual star,
and bribe our friends and families to forget what jerks we are.
And kill a tree ... (etc.)
We always kill a tree. That's always been enough
for videos and GI Joes and all that kiddy stuff.
But Mommy wants a Harley, and Daddy wants a boat;
that's prob'ly gonna cost at least a chicken and a goat.
But kill a tree ... (etc.)
To enhance everyone's holiday cheer, I highly recommend singing this one
at the mall. But depending on where you live, you may want to make sure
you've got a good bail bondsman's number first.
Lord of the Ants
By: Karl Lembke
(tune: "Lord of the Dance")
Well we cleansed with sugar 'cause the salt was gone,
And the color was right though the substance might be wrong,
And when the water dried, it was sticky, my oh me,
It attracted all of the ants, you see,
Ants, ants, all over they shall be,
I am the lord of the ants, you see.
I'll crawl on you, and you'll itch from me,
And you'll dance with ants in your pants, said he.
We have ants in the carpets and we've ants in the drapes,
We have ants in the kitchen dancing galliards on the grapes,
We have ants in the bedroom and what may be more fun,
We have ants in our circles now from sun to sun.
'What to do' cried the priestess, 'what to do' cried the priest,
'All the baits and the sprays haven't helped us in the least,
'The buggers eat it up and it only makes us sick,
'All in all I'd say it is no pic-nic!'
We stood round the fire while the flames lept up high,
With the sound of the sirens wailing up to the sky,
Though the bug bombs exploded it could still have been worse,
At least now we're free of the ant lord's curse!
(spoken: "Oh hell!")
It's from a Pagan version of the song CIRCLES. I'm not sure who wrote
it - I want to say a group of women in Lansing, Mich. Unfortunately, my
copy says "ANON".
CIRCLES TUNE: WINDMILLS
(1) In days gone by, when the world was much younger,
Men wondered at Spring, born of Winter's cold knife,
Wondering at the games of the moon and the sunlight,
They saw there the Lady and Lord of all life.
CHORUS: Around and around, and around turns the good Earth,
All things must change as the seasons go by,
we are the children of the Lord and the Lady,
Whose mysteries we know, but will never know why.
(2) In all lands the people were tied to the good Earth,
Plowing and sowing, as the seasons declared,
Waiting to reap of the rich golden harvest,
Knowing her laughter in the joys that we shared.
(3) Through Flanders and Wales and the green lands of Ireland,
in the kingdoms of England and Csotland and Spain,
Circles grew up all along the wild coastlines,
And worked for the land, with the Sun and the rain.
(4) Circles for healing, and working the weather,
Circles for knowing the Moon and the Sun,
Circles for thanking the Lord and the Lady,
Circles for dancing the dance never done.
(5) And we who reach for the stars in the heavens,
Turning our eyes from the meadows and groves,
Still live in the love of the Lord and the Lady,
The greater the circle, the more the love grows.
Blessed be, and keep dancing.
by Vivienne West
(For J.M., commemorating Full Moon 30/1/91)
Still is the night, and the clock silent.
Water from somewhere drips,
A breeze moves amongst your hairs.
The Bird, her beak poised, watches
As I caress you, child,
With an absent movement of my hands,
My mind elsewhere.
She of the Silver Wheel
Wheeling in darkness her silver overhead
Watches more than passively
As in Her name I take you and bless you;
And the Dark Hunter,
Jewels in His belt,
Takes you for His own,
Takes me in your flesh
His magical scabbard at His side,
Sword outraised, unutterably distant
Yet manifest here in you...
And I, primal woman and primal queen,
Feel Her powerful darkness stirring
And shouldering me aside within my own flesh
As I call Her forth, She of the sky-castle
Spinning dizzily overhead seen unseen;
And I stand by and watch as the Hunter fills your body
(you, no doubt, standing by and watching)
As the Dark Lady fills my body and clothed in our flesh
(...but I did not tell you, nor did you ask
that this is the time of my greatest fertility...)
Ishtar, Inanna, & Ancient Astrology
Many might be interested in some information that I came across awhile
back that might shed some light on this for you. Some may have seen
part of this already. Someone in a shamanic echo was asking about how
scorpions and spiders were related to each other in dreams, and what
meaning the scorpion had, especially in regards to an earth goddess. I
ran across a reference in one of those 'feminist revisionists'" books
and the statement was made that the Scorpion was found nearly world
wide associated with an old Mother Goddess and the constellation
Scorpio. I think it might provide some of the connections you are
So I found a book that wasn't cross-referenced by that author, which is
recognized in its field (astronomical history) and was surprised to find
that it wasn't an exageration.
Richard Hinckley Allen, _Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning_, Dover
Publications, Inc., New York:1963. The book was originally published by
G.E. Stechert in 1899, under the former title: _Star-Names and Their
Meanings_. I consider this a reliable source to balance a perhaps more
"revisionist" view since it was written during a period by an expert who
probably never questioned it theologically and reported facts as facts.
Bear with me, the first part becomes significant as you go along.
SCORPIO, or SCORPIUS, the SCORPION,
was the reputed slayer of the Giant, exalted to the skies and now rising
from the horizon as Orion, still in fear of the Scorpion, sinks below
it; although the latter itself was in danger, --Sackville writing in his
Induction to the _Mirror of Magistrates_, in 1565.
Whiles Scorpio, dreading Sagittarius' dart
Whose bow prest bent in flight the string had slipped
Down slid into the ocean flood apart.
Classical authors saw in it the monster that caused the disastrous
runaway of the steeds of Phoebus Apollow when in the inexperienced hands
For some centuries before the Christian era it was the largest of the
zodiac figures, forming with the [Greek name] it's Claws, --the
_prosectae chelae_ of Cicero, now our Libra,--a double constellation, as
Porrigit in spatium signorum membra duorum;
and this figuring has been adduced as the strongest proof of Scorpio's
great antiquity, from the belief that only six constellations made up on
the earliest zodiac, of which this extended sign was one.
With the Greeks it universally was [Greek]; Aratos, singularly making
but slight allusion to it, added [Greek]; while another very appropriate
term with Aratos was [Greek], the Great Sign. This reported magnitude
perhaps was due to the mytholgical necessity of greater size for the
slayer of great Orion, in reference to which that author characterized
it as [Greek] 'appearing huger still.'
The Latins occasionally wrote the word _Scorpios_, but usually
_Scorpius_, or Scorpio; while Cicero, Ennius, Manilius, and perhaps
Columella gave the kindred African title Nepa, or Nepas, the first of
which the Alfonsine Tables copy, as did Manilus the Greek adjective,
[G], Walking Backward. Astronomical writers and commentators, down to
comparatively modern times, occasionally mentioned its two division
under the combined title Sorpius cum Chelis; while some representations
even showed the Scales in the creature's Claws.
Grotius said that the Barbarians called the Claws Graffias, and the
Latins, according to Pliny, Forficulae.
In early China it was an important part of the figure of the mighty but
genial Azure Dragon of the EAst and of spring, in later days the
residence of the heavenly Blue Emperor; but in the time of Confucius it
was Ta Who, the Great Fire, a primeval name for its star Antares; and
Shing Kung, a Divine Temple, was applied to the stars of the tail. As
member of the early zodiac it was the _Hare_, for which, in the 16th
century, was substituted, from Jesuit teaching, _Tien He_, the Celestial
Sir William Drummond asserted that in the zodiac which the partriarch
Abraham knew it was an Eagle; and some commentators have located here
the biblical Chambers of the South, Scorpio being directly opposite the
Pleiades on the sphere, both thought to be mentioned in the same passage
of the _Book of Job_ with two other opposed constellations, the Bear and
Orion; but the original usually is considered a reference to the
southern heavens in general. Aben Ezra identified Sorpio, or Antares,
with the K'sil of the Hebrews; although that people generally considered
those stars as a Scorpion, their Akrabh, and, it is claimed, inscribed
it on the banners of Dan as the emblem of the tribe whose founder was 'a
serpent by the way." When thus shown it was as a _crowned Snake_ or
_Basilisk_. A similar figure appeared for it at one period of Egyptian
astronomy; indeed it is thus met with in moder times, for Chatterton,
that precocious poet of the last centruy, plainly worte of the Scorpion
in his line, " The slimy serpent swelters in his course;" and long
before him Spenser had, in the _Faeirie Queen_, " and now in Ocean deepe
Orion flying fast from hissing snake, His flaming head did hasten for to
But the Denderah zodiac shows the typical form.
Kircher called the whole constellation [Gk] _Statio Isidis_, the bright
Antares having been at one time a symbol of Isis.
The Arabians knew it as Al Akrab, the Scorpion, from which have
degenerated Alacrab, Alatrab, Alatrap, Hacrab, --Riccioli's Askrab and
Hacerab; and similarly it was the syrians' Akreva. Riccioli gave us
Acrobo _Chaldaeis_, which may be true, but in this Latin word he
probably had reference to the astrologers.
The Persians ahd a Scorpion in their Gherzdum or Kdum, and the Turks, in
their Koirughi, Tailed, and Uzun Koirughi, Long tailed.
The Akkadians called it Girtab, the Seizer, or Stinger, and the Place
where One Bows Down, titles indicative of the creature's dangerous
character, although some early translators of the cuneiform text
rendered it the _Double Sword_. With later dwellers on the Euphrates it
was the symbol of darkness, showing the decline of the sun's power after
the autumnal equinox, then located in it. Always prominent in that
astronomy. Jensen thinks that it was formed there 5000 B.C., and
pictured much as it now is; perhaps also in the semi-human form of two
Scorpion-men, the early circular Altar or Lamp being shown grasped in
the Claws, as the Scales were in illustatoins of the 15th century. In
Babylonia this calendar sign was identified with the eigth month, Arakh
Savna, our October-November.
Early India knew it as Ali, Vicrika, or Vrouchicam, --in Tamil,
Vrishman; but later on Varah Mihira siad Kaurpya, and Al Biruni, Kaurba,
both from the Greek Scorpios. On the Cingalese zodiac it was Ussika.
Dante designated it as Un Secchione, "Formed like a bucket that is all
ablaze; and in the _Purgatorio_ as Il Friddo Animal of our motto, not a
mistaken reference to the creature's nature, but to its rising in the
cold hours of the dawn when he was gazing upon it. Dante's translator
Longfellow has something similar in his own _Poet's Calendar_ for
October: On the frigid Scorpion I ride.
Chaucer wrote of it, in the _Hous of Fame_ as the Scorpioun; his
Anglo-Norman predecessors, Escopiun; and the Anglo-Saxons, Throwend.
Caesisu mistakenly considered it one of the Scorpions of Rehobam; but
Novidius said that it was "the scorpion or serpent whereby Pharaoh, King
of Egypt, was enforced to let the children of Israel depart out of his
country;" of which Hood said "there is no such thing in history." Other
Christians of their day changed its figure to that of the Apostle
Bartholmew; and Weigel, to a Cardinal's Hat.
In some popular books of the present day it is the Kite, which it
resembles as much as a Scorpion.
Its symbol is now given as [Astrological symbol], but in earlier times
the sting of the creature was added, perhaps so showing the feet, tail
and dart; but the similarity in their symbols may indicate that there
has been some intimate connection, now forgotten, between Scorpio and
the formerly adjacent Virgo.
Ampelius assigned to it the care of Africus, the Southwest Wind, a duty
which, he said, Aries and Sagittarius shared; and the weather-wise of
antiquity thought that its setting exerted a malignant influence, and
was accompanied by storms; but the alchemists held it in high regard,
for only when the sun was in this sign could the transmutation of iron
into gold be performed. Astrologers, on the other hand, although they
considered it a fruitful sign, "active and eminent," knew it as the
accursed constellation, the baleful source of war and discord, the
birthplace of the planet mars, and so the House of Mars, the Martis
Sidus of Manilus. But this was located in the sting and tail; the
claws, as [Gk] Jugum, or the Yoke of the Balance, being devoted to
Venus, because this goddess united persons under the yoke of matrimony.
It was supposed to govern the region of the groin in the human body and
to reign over Judaea, Mauritania, Catalonia, Norway, West Silesia, Upper
Batavia, Barbary, Morocco, Valencia, and Messina; the early Manilius
claiming it as the tutelary sign of Carthage, Libya, Egypt, Sardinia,
and other island of the Italian coast. Brown was its assigned color,
and Pliny asserted that the appearance of a comet hre portended a plague
of reptiles and insects, especially of locusts.
Although nominally in the zodiac, the sun actually occupies but nine
days in passing through the two portions that project upwards into
Orhiuchus, so far south of the ecliptic is it; indeed, except for these
projections, it could not be claimed as a member of the zodiac.
Scorpon is famous as the region of the sky where have appeared many of
the brilliant temporary stars, chief among them, perhaps, that of 134
BC., the first in astronmical annals, and the occasion, Pliny siad of
the catalogue of Hipparchos, about 125 BC. The Chinese She Ke confirmed
this appearance by its record of the "strange star" in June of that
year, in the sieu Fang, marked by [.....] and others in Scorpio.
Serviss thinks it conceivable that the strange outburst of these novae
in and near Scorpio may have had some effect in causing this
constellation to be regarded by the ancients as malign in its influence.
But this character may, with at least equal probablity, have come from
the fiery color of its _lucida_, as well as from the history of the
constellation in connection with Orion, and the poisonous attributes of
its earthly namesake.
In southern latitudes Scorpio is magnificently seen in its entirety,
nearly 45 degrees,--Gould catolguing in it 184 naked-eye stars.
Along its northern border, perhaps in Orphiuchus, there was, in very
early days, a constellation, the Fox, taken from the Egyptian sphere of
Petosiris, but we know nothing as to its details.
"Antares" The Ariabians Kalb al Akrab, the Scorpion's Heart, which
probably preceded the [Gk] and Cor Scorpii of Greece and Rome
In Buffie Johnson's _Lady of the Beasts_ (Harper, San Francisco, 1981)
pgs 332-335, there are illustrations and photos of statuatary and
pottery which show the representation of the Scorpion Goddess, as
Selket, a woman with the lower torso taking the shape of a scorpion wiht
a raised tail. On her head is the "horned" headdress with the disk
between the horns,the horns and sun disk of Isis. (New Kingdom 1570-332
bce). A Stamp seal showing two scorpions protecting the rosette of the
goddess Inanna, from Sumer, ca 3300 bce, and a statue of Selket wearing
a scorpion on her head, as well as a drawing from Ur, ca 2400 bce
showing the goddess giving birth guarded by scorpions.
In the _Book of the Dead_ seven scorpions accompany Isis, when her son
Horus was bitten by one scorpion of the most deadly species, her
scorpion friends saved her son out of love for her...and bit the son of
a woman who had refused to help, then with her magic, Isis then saved
the bitten boy. (A classic shamanism motif(. Selket is shown as
beneficial when associated with Isis, and it is possible that the
"other" woman is Isis's dark aspect.
Selket symbolizes resurrection into a new life beyond earthly existence.
"Gathering the setting sun into her outstretched arms she becomes the
link between the living and the dead and helps the dead accomodate
themselves to their new land. In another aspect, Selket isunited with
Sirius, as a consequence the star if placed in her crown." (ibid. p.
334) Johnson also compares Chamunda, the scorpion deity of the central
Indian tradition with the other scorpion goddess with the endowment of
poison which indicates her connection with death and rebirth.
"The Scorpion expresses the vital spirit in humans which, transformed,
becomes the divine pneuma. One of its symbols is the scorpion which
stings itself to death (E. A. Wallis Budge, _The Gods of the Egyptians_
vol. 2 (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1969), 377-78.
"The association between serpent and scorpion, both sudden and dangerous
stingers, appears in the Babylonina and Greek astrological sign of
Scorpio, which corresponds to the Ctyptian sign of the autumn equinox,
the serpent. In esoteric traditions, the scorpion is recognized as a
spiritual insect rhough its gift of self-immolation and rebirth. The
venom of the scorpion is said to contain its own antidote."
the Scorpion as the dual Mother, the one who gave birth to and then
"swallowed" the divine son (sun) is found in Egyptian myth as the
Scorpion which killed Horus, sending him to his midwinter death and
resurrection as his Mother Isis gave him rebirth. Spirits of the four
points of the year were called Sons of Horus and placed as small images
on the pharoah's tombs...a man, bull, lion and scorpion or
serpent...which seem to have become the four angels of the Apocalypse.
Istar, Babylonian, "Star" was the Great Goddess who appears as
Ashtoreth, Anath, Asherah. She was refered to as the Great Whore, and
described in Revelation 17:5 as Babylon the Great, the Mother of
Harlots. Another of her titles was the Goddess Har, who called herself
the compassionate prostitute.
Interestingly enough, in the Voluspa there is mention of the Hall of
Har, where Gullveig was mentioned as being, who was "held up by spears"
and who supposedly started the war between the Vanir and the Aesir by
being attacked in the hall of Har...which is usually translated as
Odin. There might be a better explanation, now that I think of
it... I wonder how I missed that before.
Anyway, Ishtar was also called in Bablyonian prayers: The Light of the
World, Leader of Hosts, Opener of the Womb, Righteous Judge, Lawgiver,
Goddess of Goddesses (Vanadis?), Bestower of Strength, Framer of all
Decrees, Lady of Victory, Forgiver of Sins, among many other 'kennings'.
Other sources suggest Ishtar was the same Great Goddess as Dea Syria,
Astarte, Cybelle, Aphrodite, Kore, Mari, Mari-Ana and others.
Preceding her though were supposedly the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, who
rescued and/or gave birth to Dumuzi her sacred son/lover just as Ishtar
did with Tammuz. Correlating to both was the Egyptian goddess Isis, who
was the "Oldest of the Old," and the "Goddess from whom all becoming
Arose," and her title was the same as the Queen Mother of Egypt's.
Apuleius, a Roman philosopher, poet and Isis-worshipper, addressed her
under several goddess names: For the Phrygians that are the first of
all men call me the Mother of the gods of Pessinus; the Athenians, which
are sprung from their own soil, Cecropian Minerva; the Cyprians, which
are girt about by the sea, Pahphian Venus; the Cretans, which bear
arrows, Dictynian Diana; the Sicilians, which speak three tongues,
infernal Proserpine; the Eleusinians, their ancient goddess Ceres; some
Juno, others Bellona, others Hecate, others Ramnusie...the Egyptians,
skilled in ancient lore, worship me with proper ceremonies and call me
by my true name, Queen Isis. (Richard Knight, _the Symbolical Language
of Ancient Art and Mythology_. New YOrk: J.W. Bouton, 1892.)
Isis/Nephthys was, or were, the Egyptian version of the
creating-and-destroying Goddess, who were also typified as "weeping
goddesses." And with other goddesses of this type were known as
Guardians and Keepers of the Dead, and with the power over life and
death, and healing. They can be found in shamanic traditions the world
over as the Underworld deity and as the Lady of the Beasts.
[Gk] _Statio Isidis_, the bright Antares having been at one time a
symbol of Isis.
This part becomes particularly interesting to me, since the Isidis is
very similar to a term used for a particular group of ladies, comparable
to the Disir of the Norse tradition, the OHG 'itis' or OE "ides" meaning
applied to earthly women, but also used in kennings as 'goddess.' As a
term for 'woman' it also has the meaning of 'virgin'.
The worship of the Disir occured during the winter nights. And
interesting correlation that could be made is that the Celtic and the
Norse "winter" rites both involve some of the same archtypes and
ceremonies, especially the duality of life and death and the door being
open and "unguarded" at that time. The Wild Hunt Motif would be a
defining factor here, including both the Dark Mother and the Lord of
Death. The disir had two appearances, bright (swans feathers) and black
(raven or crow feathers)...they were psychopomps, and hardly
distinguishable from valkyrie at times. In the Wild Hunt they were
accompanied by various Gods, Herne, Woden and others in various
traditions and countries.
Mazes in Myth
I've been working with the labyrinth myths and stories myself. And there
is another version or way of viewing the Maiden at the center of the
labyrinth that I thought you might be interested in. The maze/labyrinth
theme is central not only to the Celtic legends, but the Norse and
others besides European. In some of the turf/snow games still played
with the 'classical' unicursal labyrinth the Maiden at the center is
guarded or held by a troll.
In the symbolic analysis of the hero rescuing the maiden from the
labyrinth there is the concept of the hero going through a rebirth
process and recapturing the feminine, intuitive side of his nature
(according to folks who like to do this sort of thing). In many of the
later Grail stories, the hero soon abandons the feminine, rejecting it.
Those that don't are the ones who remained with the old faith, with the
"abandoning" ones the ones who rejected the feminine and went with the
male dominant religion of Christianity.
The maze can be interchangeable with a dragon or serpent in the same
sort of stories as meaning basically the same thing, since the labyrinth
is a symbol of a descent and ascent of death and rebirth through the
Earth Mother. Old Anglo-Saxon castles were guarded by mounds of earth
with basically the same name as dragon. At the center of the Underworld
maze is also found the castle and the Cauldron of Regeneration or
Women undergoing the traditional challenge and initiation comprable to
the Underground journey, were "given" to the trolls. The trolls, being
the underground guardians (and not the nasty demons Tolkein and other
Christians made them out to be...just ask any Swede) taught the girl
secrets as she "served" in the Underworld, in many legends for Frau
Holle, who has many well-known counterparts, including Hel, Annwyn,
Hecate and others. This is a fairly well known theme in fairy tales
also, but not as well recognized as being an initiatory story as the
Heroic journeys are.
In many Northern folktales, a girl is "given" to the trolls, or
abandoned in the woods. In some stories she with her brother, in others
she is alone, and the hunter is told to kill her. This journey into the
wilderness is the beginning of her wandering through the maze. Or in
some of the stories she is taken to a castle and beset with tasks that
she must accomplish in order to "marry" the king or prince. She spins
straw into gold with the help of the trolls, dwarfs or gnomes, all names
for the Underworld beings who guard the fertility of the Upperworld.
The spinning of straw into gold is the power of insuring the crops come
to fruitful harvest as the grass winds through the season to gold. She
is usually set three tasks by either the King who will marry her, or the
Queen Mother of the Prince.
When she accomplishes the tasks set for her, she "claims" the masculine
side of herself and "marries" or becomes united with her masculine side.
The story is told in different ways, but the journey to the center of
the labyrinth/maze is form of the Spiral Dance of life and death. One
of the themes that is found in conjunction with these stories are the
ones that have the "poison" apple in them. The apple was a symbol of
life and rebirth for many ancient cultures. Apples were associated with
the Roman/Etruscan goddess Pomona, the Greek Hera, Demeter, Morgan in
her Crone form in Celtic legends, and Holle or Hel in Norse and Germanic
legends. Idunn was the Maiden form of Holle or Hel, who kept the apples
of immortality in a basket. In the Volsung Saga it tells of the belief
that a man could be perserved in death by the apples given to him by his
wife. In other legends children are conceived after eating a magical
apple. When the Bible was translated, the apple of life and death was
found in the Garden of Idunn.
The Apple, Rose and Hawthorn are all members of the same family. The
Hawthorne, especially as a hedge or protective enclosure is found with
the maze, either protecting it, or actually forming the walls. They are
sacred trees/plants, the first to begin blooming in the spring. The
Hawthorn is especially sacred because it can have blossoms, ripe fruit
and ripening fruit on it at all times, as well as protective thorns.
I'm posting from the Seattle, Washington area of the United States.
By: Deborah Kest
To: Rose Dawn
Re: PAGAN SEMANTICS
RD> OK, having some more thoughts about this. If there is/are one/two
RD> original 'creators,' the system would still be polytheistic if the
RD> original(s) created a bunch of gods/demi-gods and cut 'em loose so
RD> to speak--not assigning them roles in the grand scheme of the
RD> original(s)? If so, what would be a counter-example--something like
RD> Yahweh & Son and the angelic hosts? I think I'm following you, it's
RD> just a bitch to put into words, LOL!
It's hard to imagine an original creator with a grand scheme who would
"cut 'em loose."
"Well, yes, I have this plan, you see. And things are going pretty
well according to plan. But this demi-god was supposed to be in charge
of the dinosaurs, and he really doesn't do his job very well. So I'm
afraid I'm going to have to fire him, and let him shift for himself."
Just an extra force in the universe, which doesn't really play any role
at all in the "grand scheme?" This would be rather contradictory if
the Grand Poo-Ba were omnipotent and omniscient, for if he wanted
things to work according to plan, he would always have the power to
make them work.
But, much to my distress, I taught Neoplatonism in my sections this
week. One of my students, (the only one who has displayed a mystical
bent), has been to section every single time, and I was relying on him
to defend the Neoplatonists. Figures this would be the only time he
The reason the Neoplatonists bother me so much is that they do have the
different levels of reality schtick, with The One, aka "The Good" at
the top of the ladder. Because the cause is greater than the effect,
(the first premise which I don't accept), The One emanates from itself
the next level of reality, Intellect. (I still don't understand how
something which is in no way differentiated, entirely uniform, could
cause anything. After all, isn't causation a process involving some
sort of differentiation?) But, anyway, like the sun emanates the
halos around it without diminishing itself, or without being anything
other than what it is, so too does The One have great fecundity and
emanates Intellect. Intellect is still unified, as a mind thinking
upon itself. But insofar as it can have thoughts, it has
differentiation within its unity. Intellect is the act of unifying.
All of the things it thinks on are Platonic Forms, like Beauty, which
unify all of the particular instances (of beauty) in our world, (and
all other worlds which the World-Soul spins). But Intellect doesn't
think of the particular, it thinks only of true Beauty, true Justice,
etc. It is not separate from all of these forms, so the way it thinks
is from the perspective of each form onto all of the other forms. So
from Beauty it contemplates Justice and Equality, and from Justice it
contemplates Beauty, etc.
Well, somehow in all of this pure thinking on itself, it too emanates
another less perfect level of reality, which is Soul, explained as the
higher Soul, or World-Soul, and the lower Soul, or our souls. The
World-Soul is less fertile than the level before, so it can't manage
to produce real babies, but "less real" babies, imitations of the Forms
in the mind of Intellect. So it spins all of the myriads of combina
tions of Forms, aka our world.
This process of causality, where the effect is always inferior to that
which causes it, continues down to the point where no causality is
possible any more. This point is Prime Matter, which has no form left
at all. As something approaches Prime Matter, it is less and less
formed, less and less intelligible. Something is ugly not because it
partakes in a form of ugliness, but because it does not partake in the
form of beauty at all. This breakdown of order is responsible for what
we call evil. According to Plotinus Prime Matter *is* Evil.
This would suggest that either The Good is responsible for Evil, or
there is more than one principle in the universe, which would deny the
premise on which The One is based. The way they try to weasel out of
this problem is by saying that Prime Matter is the least real of all,
or that it isn't real. That doesn't mean that evil doesn't exist, but
it exists because of holes, which are in themselves nothing-ness. It's
like Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese has holes, but the holes are in
themselves not anything. You wouldn't say that Swiss cheese is made
up of cheese and holes, but that there are places in the cheese which
simply lack cheese. Holes can't make up anything. So too Prime Matter
can't cause anything.
Well, anyway, the reason I laid the skeleton of the system out is
because Neoplatonism would seem to be a system whose first cause was
The One, and who followed necessarily according to a single principle,
to produce a manifold which is, in a sense, independent of its
"creator." But though there is order, there isn't a divine plan, in
that The One can't have any goals. It just emanates from itself, from
which all else is derived. The manifold is independent of The One
because it isn't itself The One. While there are unifying principles
which can only be derived from Unity itself, because they are not
perfectly uniform, they are not part of The One. The One can't have
So, are they monotheists, (The One), duo-theists, (The One and Prime
Matter), polytheists, (all of the levels of the hierarchy of reality,
which includes levels of spirits which I didn't spell out), or all of
the above? One could argue for all of the options, since The One is
responsible for all, (but then where does matter, the building stuff
of our world, come from, if by itself it is evil), and since the
efficient causes of every phenomenon we experience comes from the
lower deities, not The One itself.
If I *had* to accept such a system, (which I don't feel myself obliged
to accept at all, since the arguments which Plotinus and Proclus give
are terribly flawed), I would be inclined to favor polytheism, since
even though The One is the first principle, not everything is
incorporated into The One. In fact nothing is, since that would
violate its Unity. So, The One is sort of off by itself, just
emanating, while the efficient cause of our world is the World Soul,
and all of the levels of spirits can have their hand in our pie. It's
my understanding that the Neoplatonic hierarchy of spirits is what much
of magic is still based on today. Their nature isn't determined by The
One, except insofar as they are caused by The One and this process of
diminishing causation, which makes them worse than that which caused
them. They have more unity than we do, being higher up the chain, but
less than The One. So while they couldn't do terribly disunified
things, they can still do somewhat disunified things, and thus aren't
determined. If they aren't determined by The One, then they are powers
unto themselves, and the ones which actually do stuff which matters to
> Well, the "specific group" would be neo-pagans, of course. But then
> the argument is circular, and I'm not surprised that you would be
> confused. I think there is such a thing as neo-pagans. They are
> defined, more or less, by a few distinguishing traits: polytheism,
> feminist spirituality, environmental spirituality, and belief in/use
> magic. (This would be my starting list). (Again, none of the
> are either necessary or sufficient, except *maybe* polytheism, as
> sufficient, but not necessary.) So, if we start with the foundation
> neo-pagans, then their reclamation would be of religions which
> that which they seek.
RD> OK. It still sounds a little tautological to me! I definitely also
RD> think there is such a thing as neo-pagans, but the major identifier
RD> for me personally is that they define their religion *as* neo-pag-
RD> which is also tautological... oh hell, my head hurts. Reminds me of
RD> local GLAAD meeting a while back; roundtable discussion, topic:
RD> Is A Lesbian? (After much discussion, the answer everyone agreed on
RD> was 'Anyone who says she is.')
I think the way to get out of the tautology is to differentiate between
the questions "what are they" and "how are they identified." My
foundation was that there *is* such a thing as a Neopagan, and I gave
rough description/definition. Your challenge was that *is* is
dependant on *what we know to be the case*. If our knowledge is
dependant on their self-identification as a Neopagan, we are back in
the circle again. I'd like to break the circle by claiming that *is*
is not dependant on what we know to be the case. There are Neopagans,
separate from the issue of identification of Neopagans. The issue of
identification is important for different purposes, but not to the
purpose of whether there are Neopagans.
If we break the circle, and give rough starting definitions, then the
reclamations would be of those religions which have traits which would
fit those starting definitions. This means that if just anyone found
something appealing from ancient times, and worked to reclaim it, it
wouldn't automatically get the label "Pagan." The "just anyone" would
have to fit the rough starting definition, or convince the rest of us
to include them in a revised definition, before they would count as
Neopagans, and their reclamation count as "Pagan." Furthermore, if a
Neopagan wanted to reclaim something which had nothing to do with
religion, that wouldn't count as Pagan either.
RD> Hmm, I don't think I was looking at it in terms of counting them as
RD> pagans. I seem to recall you'd questioned whether Hinduism had
RD> features that neo-pagans would find desireable,
Yes, but I had made the argument that the fact that they wouldn't apply
the word to themselves wasn't sufficient to prove that we shouldn't
apply the word to them, if they had the features which we thought of
as Pagan. Since the purpose of our discussion is to better understand
our own word, we are concerned with whether, as we use it, it fits
them, whether they use it or not.
RD> and I was pointing out
RD> the beliefs/practices of different denominations that might be
RD> attractive to various neo-Pagan religions. But yes, I'd say the
RD> argument against counting them as Pagans is pretty much spot-on.
RD> If not originally a neo-Pagan word, it definitely *was* a western
RD> word, no? As to the second, I hadn't even considered it & it's an
RD> interesting point. I wouldn't say it was an argument in favor of
RD> counting them as Pagan, but there's a lot of truth in it!
Why isn't it an argument in favor of counting them as Pagan? If the
major things which we use to define Paganism we share with them, and
if their sects are closer to some of our "sects" than the sects of each
respective religion (understood loosely) are to each other, why not?
The Anglo - Saxon Rune Poem
By: Steph Parker
Anyway, here is the Anglo-Saxon Rune poem. The OE version is in West
Saxon though the spelling hasn't been regulised (though I'm using the
standard 'ae' for 'ash' and 'th' for 'thorn' and 'eth'). The transla-
tion will be Anthony E. Farnham's from A Sourcebook in the History of
English as it's much too late for me to bother doing my own and I'll be
too busy over the next few days.
Where the number '7' appears that is the Old English equivalent of the
ampersand (&) and should be read as 'and' or 'ond'.
One last point - the poem here has not been proofread so there is a
chance that there are errors in the transcription (particularly with
ommission of the letter 'e' as there is a slight problem with my
Feoh byth frofur fira gehwylcum -
sceal theah manna gehwylc miclun hyt daelan
gif he wile for drihtne domes hleotan.
(Wealth is a joy to every man -
but every man must share it well
if he wish to gain glory in the sight of the Lord.)
Ur byth anmod 7 oferhyrned,
felafrecne deor, feohteth mid hornum,
maere morstapa: thaet is modiy wuht!
(Aurochs is fierce, with gigantic horns,
a very savage animal, it fights with horns,
a well-known moor-stepper: it is a creature of courage!)
THorn byth thearle scearp, thegna gehwylcum
anfeng ys yfyl, ungemetun rethe
manna gehwylcun the him mid resteth.
(Thorn is very sharp, harmful to every man
who seizes it, unsuitably severe
to every man who rests on it.)
Os byth ordfruma aelcre spraece,
wisdomes wrathu and witena frofur
and eorla gehwam eadnys and tohiht.
(Os is the creator of all speech,
a supporter of wisdom and comfort of wise men,
and a blessing aand hope to every man.)
Rad byth on recyde rinca gehwylcum
sefte, and swithhwaet tham the sitteth onufan
meare maegenheardum ofer milpathas.
(Journey is to every warrior in the hall
pleasant, and bitingly tough to him who sits
on a might steed over the mile-paths.)
Cen byth cwicera gehwam cuth on fyre,
blac and beorhtlic, byrneth oftust
thaer hi aethelingas inne restath.
(Torch is to every living thing known by its fire;
bright and brilliant, it burns most often
where the princes take their rest within.)
Gyfu gumena byth gleng and herenys,
wrathu 7 wyrthscype, 7 wraecna gehwam
ar and aetwist the byth othra leas.
(Generosity of men is an ornament and praise,
support and dignity, magnificence and existence
to every suffering man, who is otherwise destitute.)
Wenne bruceth the can weana lyt,
sares and sorge, and him sylfa haefth
blaed 7 blysse and eac byrga geniht.
(Joy he possesses who knows few woes,
pain and sorrow, and has for himself
prosperity and bliss, and also the abundance found in the fortified
dwellings of men.)
Haegl byth hwitust corna, hwyrft hit of heofones lyfte,
wealcath hit windes scura, weortheth hit to waetere syththan.
(Hail is the whitest of seeds, it comes down from the air of heaven,
the gusts of wind toss it about, afterward it turns to water.)
Nyd byth nearu on breostan: weortheth hi theah oft nitha bearnum
to helpe and to haele gehwaethre, gif hi his hlystath aeror.
(Necessity is oppressive to the heart: yet it often becomes for the
children of men a help and salvation for each, if they have hearkened
Is byth oferceald, ungemetum slidor,
glisnath glaeshluttur gimmum gelicust,
flor forste geworuht, faeger ansyne.
(Ice is extremely cold, excessively slippery,
it glistens glass-clear, most like to gems,
it is a floor wrought by frost, fair of sight.)
Ger byth gumena hiht, thon God laeteth,
halig heofones cyning, hrusan syllan
beorhte bleda beornum and thearfum.
(Year (the growing season) is the hope of men, when God,
holy king of heaven, causes the earth to give forth
shining fruits to wealthy and to needy.)
Eoh byth utan unsmethe treow,
heard hrusan faest, hyrde fyres,
wyrtrumun underwrethyd, wynn on ethle.
(Yew is a tree with unsmooth bark,
hard and fast in the earth, keeper of fire,
supported by roots, a joy in the land.)
Peorth byth symble plega and hlehter
wlancum [and wisum], thar wigan sittath
on beorsele blithe aetsomne.
(Peorth is always sport and laughter
to the noble [and the wise], where men sit
together in merriment in the mead-hall.)
Eolhx secg eard haefth oftust on fenne,
wexeth on wature, wundath grimme,
blode breneth beorna gehwylcne
the him aenigne onfeng gedeth.
(Eolhx-sedge has its home most often in the marsh,
it grows in the water, wounds cruelly,
darkens with blood every man
who touches it in any way.)
Sigel semannum symble bith on hihte,
thonn hi hine feriath ofer fisces beth,
oth hi brimhengest bringeth to lande.
(Sun is always a hope to seamen,
when they guide the sea-steed over the fish's bath
until it carries them to land.)
Tir bith tacna sum: healdeth trywa wel
with aethelingas, a bith on faerylde
ofer nihta genipu, naefre swiceth.
(Tir is a sign to remember: it holds faith well
with princes, is always on course
above the mists of the nights, it never wanders or deceives.)
Beorc byth bleda leas, bereth efne swa theah
tanas butan tudder, bith on telgum wlitig,
heah on helme hrysted faegere,
geloden leafum, lyfte getenge.
(Birch (referring to the poplar?) is seedless, yet without fruit it
puts forth sprouts; it is beautiful with its branches,
lofty in its crown, fairly adorned,
sprung from shoots, pressing aloft.)
Eh byth for eorlum aethelinga wyn,
hors hofum wlanc, thar him haelethe ymb
welege on wicgum wrixlath spraece,
7 bith unstyllum aefre frofur.
(Horse in the presence of warriors is a joy to princes,
a steed proud of its hoofs, where mounted men
and wealthy exchange speech about him,
and is ever a joy to the restless.)
Man byth on myrgthe his magan leof -
sceal theah anra gehwylc othrum swican;
fortham Dryhten wyle dome sine
thaet earme flaesc eorthan betaecan.
(Man in merriment is beloved of his fellow -
yet shall every one betray the other;
for this reason God wills by his decree
that the unhappy flesh be committed to the earth.)
Lagu byth leodum langsum gethuht,
gif hi sculun nethan on nacan tealtum
7hi saeytha swythe bregath
and se brimhengest bridles ne gymeth.
(Sea is to men a thing which seems everlasting,
if they must dare to venture on the unsteady and untrustorthy ship
and the sea-waves greatly terrify them
and the sea-steed cares not for its bridle.)
Ing waes aerest mid Eastdenum
gesewen secgun, oth he siththan est
ofer waeg gewat; waen aefter ran.
THus Heardingas thone haele nemdun.
(Ing was first among the East-Danes
visible to men, until he later eastward
departed over the sea; his chariot followed him.
Thus did the Heardings invoke that hero.)
AEthel byth oferleof aeghwylcum men,
gif he mot thaer rigtes and gerysena on
brucan on bolde bleadum oftast.
(Homeland is most precious to every man,
if he may therein enjoy justice and courtesies
in his house, in frequent and abundant prosperity.)
Daeg byth Drihtnes sond, deore mannum,
maere Metodes leoht, myrgth and tohiht
eadgum and earmum, eallum brice.
(Day is the envoy of the Lord, dear to men,
the great light of God, happiness and hope
to blessed and to miserable, an enjoyment for all.)
Ac byth on eorthan elda bearnum
flaesces fodor, fereth gelome
ofer ganotes baeth: garsecg fandath
hwaether ac haebbe aethele treowe.
(Oak is for the children of men on earth
a provider of meat (acorns are food for swine); it journeys
over the bath of the gannet: Neptune the spearman proves
if the oak keep faith in honorable fashion.)
AEsc bith oferheah, eldum dyre,
stith on stathule, stede rihte hylt
theah him feohtan on firas monige.
(Ash (used for spears) is very tall, precious to men,
stubborn in standing, holds its place well
even though many men attack it.)
Yr byth aethelinga 7 eorla gehwaes
wyn and wyrthmynd, byth on wicge faeger,
faestlic on faerelde, fyrdgeatewa sum.
(Yr is for every prince and noble
a joy and an hononr, it is fair on a horse,
dependable on an expedition, a fine piece of military equipage.)
Ior byth eafixa, and theah a bruceth
fodres on foldan; hafath faegerne eard,
waetre beworpen, thaer he wynnum leofath.
(Ior is of the river-fish, and yet always partakes
of food on land; it has a fair home,
surrounded by water, where it dwells in joy.)
Ear byth egle eorla gehwylcun
thonn faestlice flaesc onginneth
hraw colian, hrusan ceosan
blac to gebeddan: bleda gedreosath,
wynna gewitath, wera geswicath.
(Earth is loathsome to every man
when relentlessly the flesh, the carrion body,
begins to cool, lividly to accept marriage
to its fellow dust: blossoms fall,
joys pass away, friendships fail.)
Wyrd wes eower weard.
Traditional Aboriginal myth, which was printed in Web of Wyrd #10
Back in the Dreamtime, Gidja the Moon lived by the river with the
Bullanji people. They made fun of him, because he was round and fat,
with little stringy legs and arms. Gidja loved Yalma, the Evening Star,
but she laughed at him too. So Gidja made a magic circle of stones, and
at dusk every night, sat in his circle and sang of his love for Yalma.
He made so many songs! So, Yalma agreed to marry him and the Bullanji
people held corroboree for them. Now Yalma had a baby daughter - Lilga,
the Morning Star. Lilga would go hunting with her father, Gidja. One
day, while gathering honey, a limb fell off a tree and crushed Lilga, so
she died. This was the first time that anyone had ever died. Poor Gidja
mourned his daughter, but the Bullanji people were afraid, and blamed
Gidja for bringing death to the world. When Gidja carried his little
Morning Star in her coffin over the river, some men cut the ropes
holding the bridge, and he fell into the river. The coffin drifted out
to sea, and today, you can still see little Morning Star shining out at
sea. Gidja climed out of the river, and made a fire. He carried a
bright burning brand from the fire, and walked through the forest. The
people saw him and were afraid. The they saw it was Gidja, and were
angry. They tried to kill him, but couldn't, so they picked him up and
threw him up into the sky. As he rose up, he cursed the people, and said
they would all die, and remain dead. But he, and the grass, would die,
and would come back to new life. And so it is. Gidja grows fatter and
fatter, and then fades away like a little old man. Lilga though, shines
brightly. Just like he said, Gidja comes back to life. At dusk on the
third day after he dies, you can see him again, floating like a baby's
cradle, waiting to start again.
by Rick Hayward
Now that Christmas is fast approaching and the year has once
more come full circle, most of us will soon be busy adorning the
house with brightly coloured decorations, a Christmas tree and
all the other paraphernalia that goes to create a festive atmosphere.
Holly and mistletoe will almost certainly be included in our
decorations as evergreens have been used in the winter festivities
from very ancient times and definitely long before Christianity
appeared on the scene.
What Christians celebrate as the birthday of Christ is really
something that was superimposed on to a much earlier pagan
festival--that which celebrated the Winter Solstice or the time when
the Sun reaches its lowest point south and is reborn at the
beginning of a new cycle of seasons.
In Northern Europe and Scandinavia it was noted by the early
Christian scholar, Bede, that the heathens began the year on
December 25th which they called Mother's Night in honour of the
great Earth Mother. Their celebrations were held in order to
ensure fertility and abundance during the coming year, and these
included much feasting, burning of lamps, lighting of great fires (the
Yule fires) and exchanges of gifts.
The Romans, too, held their great celebrations--Saturnalia--
from December 17th to 25th and it was the latter date which they
honoured as the birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The Saturnalia
was characterised by much merry-making, sometimes going to
riotous extremes, with masters and slaves temporarily exchanging
roles. The use of evergreens to decorate the streets and houses
was also very much in evidence at this great winter festival.
That we now celebrate the birth of Christ at the same time is largely
due to the early Church Fathers who found it was much easier to
win converts to the faith by makng Christ's birthday coincide with an
already long established pagan festival. In fact, it wasn't until the
4th century that Pope Julius I finally established the 25th as the
official birthday of Christ; earlier Christians differed widely as to
this date-- some choosing September 29th, while others held that January
6th or March 29th were the correct dates.
As we have seen, the pagan element in Christmas lives on in the
festival at the Winter Solstice. But these elements are also very much
alive in our use of evergreens as decorations at this time of year.
Like most evergreens, the holly and mistletoe have long been held
to symbolise eternal life, regeneration and rebirth.
Holly, with its bright red berries and dark spiky foliage, has been
revered from ancient times as a symbol of life everlasting. It was
associated with strength and masculinity and was considered
useful in the treatment of various ailments which were seen to lower
the vital spirits.
In old England, a decoction of holly leaves was considered a cure
for worms; but most of all this prickly evergreen was looked upon
as a luck bringer--particularly in rural areas where a bunch of holly
hung in the cow shed or stable was thought to favour the animals if
placed there on Christmas Eve. Many people used to take a piece of
holly from the church decorations at Christmas as a charm against bad
luck in the coming year. Holly was also considered a very protective
tree which, if planted outside the house, was believed to avert
lightning, fire and the evil spells of witches.
An old holly spell describes how to know one's future spouse. At
midnight on a Friday, nine holly leaves must be plucked and tied
with nine knots in a three-cornered cloth. This is then placed under the
pillow and, provided silence is observed from the time of plucking
until dawn the next day, your future spouse will come to you in your
In certain areas of Wales, it was thought extremely unlucky to bring
holly into the house before December 24th and if you did so
there would be family quarrels and domestic upheavals. You would
also be inviting disaster if you burned green holly or squashed the
Turning now to mistletoe, it seems that this is by far the most
mystical of the plants associated with Christmas and has, from very
ancient times, been treated as magical or sacred. It is often
included in modern Christmas decorations simply for the fun of
kissing beneath it and, though this seems to be a peculiarly English
custom, it probably harks back to the mistletoe's association with
The real reason why mistletoe is now associated with Christmas is
very much a carry-over from ancient practices, when it was
considered as somehow belonging to the gods. The Roman historian,
Pliny, gives an early account of how the Druids would hold a very
solemn ceremony at the Winter Solstice when the mistletoe had to
be gathered, for the Druids looked upon this unusual plant, which has
no roots in the earth, as being of divine origin or produced by
lightning. Mistletoe which grew on the oak was considered especially
potent in magical virtues, for it was the oak that the Druids held as
sacred to the gods.
At the Winter Solstice, the Druids would lead a procession into
the forest and, on finding the sacred plant growing on an oak, the
chief priest, dressed all in white, would climb the tree and cut the
mistletoe with a knife or sickle made of gold. The mistletoe was
not allowed to touch the ground and was therefore caught in a white
On securing the sacred mistletoe, the Druids would then carry it to
their temple where it would be laid beneath the altar stone for three
days. Early on the fourth day, which would correspond to our
Christmas Day, it was taken out, chopped into pieces and handed
out among the worshippers. The berries were used by the priests to
heal various diseases.
Mistletoe was considered something of a universal panacea, as can
be gleaned from the ancient celtic word for it--uile, which literally
translated means 'all-healer'. A widespread belief was that
mistletoe could cure anything from headaches to epilepsy; and indeed
modern research has shown that the drug guipsine which is used in
the treatment of nervous illnesses and high blood pressure is con-
tained in mistletoe.
Until quite recently the rural folk of Sweden and Switzerland
believed that the mistletoe could only be picked at certain times and
in a special way if its full potency as healer and protector was to be
secured. The Sun must be in Sagittarius (close to the Winter
Solstice) and the Moon must be on the wane and, following ancient
practices, the mistletoe must not be just picked but shot or knocked
down and caught before reaching the ground.
Not only was mistletoe looked upon as a healer of all ills, but if
hung around the house was believed to protect the home
against fire and other hazards. As the mistletoe was supposed to have
been produced by lightning, it had the power to protect the home
against thunder bolts by a kind of sympathetic magic.
Of great importance, however, was the power of mistletoe to protect
against witchcraft and sorcery. This is evident in an old superstition
which holds that a sprig of mistletoe placed beneath the pillow will
avert nightmares (once considered to be the product of evil demons).
In the north of England, it used to be the practice of farmers to give
mistletoe to the first cow that calved after New Year's Day. This was
believed to ensure health to the stock and a good milk yield
throughout the year. Underlying this old belief is the fear of witches
or mischievous fairy folk who could play havoc with dairy produce, so
here mistletoe was used as a counter magic against such evil
influences. In Sweden, too, a bunch of this magical plant hung
from the living room ceiling or in the stable or cow-shed was thought
to render trolls powerless to work mischief.
With such a tremendous array of myth, magic and folklore associated with
it, reaching far back into the pagan past, it is understandable that
even today this favourite Christmas plant is forbidden in many
churches. Yet even the holly and the ivy, much celebrated in a popular
carol of that title, were once revered as sacred and magical by our
In view of what has been said, one could speculate that even if
Christianity had never emerged it is more than likely that we would
still be getting ready for the late-December festivities, putting up
decorations, including holly and mistletoe, in order to celebrate the
rebirth of the Sun, the great giver and sustainer of all earthly life.
BYLAWS OF THE CHURCH OF ALL WORLDS, INC.
As amended by General Meeting August 9, 1992 PREAMBLE Section 1:
Recognizing the necessity for the affirmation of life in a world choked
by the worship of death, we, the Priesthood and Councils of the Church
of All Worlds do re-establish and re-ordain on this fair planet a vital
new Pagan religion, dedicated to the celebration of Life, the maximal
actualization of Human potential, and the realization of ultimate
individual freedom and personal responsibility in harmonious eco-psychic
relationship with the total Biosphere of Holy Mother Earth. To which end
we do hereby adopt and enact the following Articles:
ARTICLE I Name
The name of the corporation shall be the Church of All Worlds, Inc., and
is a non-profit religious organization, incorporated under the laws of
the States of Missouri and California.
ARTICLE II Purpose
The purpose of this Corporation shall be as outlined in the Articles of
Incorporation; and specifically the following:
A. To present an alternative to war, hatred, violence, frustra-
tion, insecurity, fear, ignorance, jealousy, brutality, dishonesty,
apathy, misery, loneliness, guilt, anxiety, alienation, paranoia,
dominance, killing, force, hypocrisy, envy, malevolence, irrespon-
sibility, intolerance, prejudice, persecution, greed, addiction,
authoritarianism, and presently established religions and institutions,
and to aid and support individuals in their rejection of these;
B. To provide mutual help and encouragement in the search for
meaning and identity through association with similarly oriented fellows
in a context of acceptance and love;
C. To aid individuals and groups in the maximal actualization of
Human potential and the realization of ultimate individual freedom and
personal responsibility: to help people become what they potentially
D. To furnish a central headquarters and branch offices (called
Churches, Nests, Centers, or Temples) through which seekers may locate
and communicate with each other, and to buy, sell, own, hold, mortgage,
or otherwise encumber, lease, or otherwise hold and dispose of real and
personal property necessary to properly establish, fit up, and maintain
E. To encourage reading, study and growth on the part of members
and friends, and to make available literature in various relevant
F. To publish newsletters, papers, magazines, pamphlets, books,
directories and other materials deemed appropriate to the purposes of
the Church by the Board of Directors or their delegated authority;
G. To work, associate, and affiliate with other similarly oriented
individuals, churches, agencies and groups promoting peace, love, joy,
freedom, brotherhood, conservation, personal awareness and development,
celebration of life and the eco-psychic recovery of Natural Wilderness,
and to aid and support such people in such efforts as shall be found not
to be in conflict with the purposes and principles of this Church;
H. To establish and maintain Wilderness sanctuaries, retreats,
camps, and communities in various regions;
I. To establish and maintain schools, colleges, libraries and
research facilities based on the principles of the Church;
J. To receive money, property, and values of every kind heretofore
donated, contributed, collected, and held, and to receive, and hold
money, property and values of every kind that might be donated,
contributed, collected and held, for the benefit of this religious
K. To engage in and promote any functions, services and activities
deemed appropriate, necessary or expedient for the purposes of the
Church by the Board of Directors , their delegated authority, or the
directors of the various subsidiary groups;
L. To do all in our power to increase the total degree of
consciousness, individually, collectively, and synergically, at all
levels of Being, in the unfolding course of emergent evolution;
M. To provide all possible means for recycling the bodies of
deceased members consistent with eco-psychic awareness and personal
N. To make provision to establish and ordain various sacraments of
the Church of All Worlds.
ARTICLE I Membership
Membership shall consist of those who understand the principles of the
Church, who have made written application, paid the annual dues, and
have been accepted by the Board of Directors or their delegated
authority. The form of application shall be that approved by the Board
of Directors or their delegated authority.
Members whose annual dues are current shall be referred to as active
members, with full voting privileges and discounts at paid functions.
Those whose dues are in arrears shall be regarded as inactive members,
and their voting privileges and discounts at paid functions shall be
suspended until such time as they renew their memberships with a payment
of the annual dues.
Membership shall be organized in degrees of ranking, as follows:
A. Three Rings of three Circles each, to be known (from outer to
inner) respectively as Seekers, Scions, and Priests/Priestesses, or
B. Members may be referred to by designation of a Circle, one
ARTICLE IV Seekers
The First Ring shall consist of Seekers, to be identified by the color
green, as used on membership cards, newsletters and in ceremonial
vestments. They shall be grouped in the following three Circles, by