The Parts of The Soul: A Greek System of Chakras, by John Opsopaus 2
qualifications to be determined by combined Councils of all Rings;
A. First Circle (identified with the planet Pluto and its symbols.)
B. Second circle (identified with the planet Neptune and its
C. Third Circle (identified with the planet Uranus and its
ARTICLE V Scions
The second Ring shall consist of Scions, to be identified by the color
red, as used on membership cards, newsletters, and in ceremonial
vestments. They shall be grouped into the following three Circles by
qualifications to be determined and amended by the Board of Directors:
A. Fourth circle (identified with the planet Saturn and its
B. Fifth circle (identified with the planet Jupiter and its
C. Sixth circle (identified with the planet Mars and its symbols.)
Section 2: Duties of Scions shall include management of various
Church programs, functions, and activities, as well as studies directed
toward qualification for the Clergy, determination of qualifications for
advancement through First and Second Rings, and any other such duties as
may be determined by the Board of Directors.
Section 3: In the event no Priest or Priestess is available to
serve an established Nest, the Scion who takes on major responsibility
for coordinating that Nest shall be designated High Scion by consensual
agreement of the members of said Nest. The High Scion shall assume the
administrative and organizational functions normally assigned to Clergy,
until such time as said High Scion or any other member of said Nest
shall become ordained. If members of the Nest desire, the position of
High Scion may rotate among qualified members of the Nest.
Section 4: In areas where no Nest exists, Scions may, with the
approval of the Board of directors, establish proto-nests of the Church
of All Worlds, Inc.; such proto-nests shall conduct meetings in
accordance with the Bylaws and principles of the Church of All Worlds
and shall forward monthly reports of activities to the Board of
Directors via the Membership Officer.
Section 5: In special cases the Church may license a Scion of 6th
Circle as a Minister and iissue Ministerial Credentials, which shall
consist of a Ministerial Certificate and wallet-sized ID card. Licensed
CAW MInisters shall function as the equivalent of Chaplains, and be
authorized to perform such sacraments as authorized by the Council of
the Third Ring. In order to qualify for this special status, the Scion
must present a Ministerial Proposal to the Board of Directors indicating
the nature of the Scion's intended Ministry and his/he qualifications to
fulfill it. Examples of such Ministries shall include (but not be
limited to): Prison Ministries, Hospital Ministries, Armed Services
ARTICLE VI Clergy
The Third Ring shall consist of Priests and Priestesses, to be iden-
tified by the color purple, as used on membership cards, in newsletters,
and in ceremonial vestments. They shall be grouped into the following
three Circles, by qualifications to be determined and amended by the
Board of Directors.
A. Seventh Circle (identified with the planet Earth and its
B. Eighth Circle (identified with the planet Venus and its
C. Ninth Circle (identified with the planet Mercury and its
Duties of the Clergy shall include hosting and officiating at various
ceremonies and services, administering the sacraments, writing and
preparing rituals, arranging meetings and councils, supervising the
training of Seekers and Scions, sponsoring and aiding postulants to the
Clergy, voting for and serving as members of the Board of Directors,
maintaining communications with other Nests, and any other such duties
as may be determined by Councils of the Third Ring or the Board of
The Priest and/or Priestess establishing a Nest or assuming respon-
sibility for an established Nest shall be known as High Priest or High
Priestess of that Nest. The duties of High Priest or HIgh Priestess
include primary responsibility for all Church activities in that Nest,
including reports to the Board of Directors, and any other such
functions as they themselves shall determine, subject to approval by the
board of Directors. The term of office for High Priests and High
Priestesses shall customarily be for a period of not more than seven
years, during which time it shall be the duty of such persons to select
and train their successors. Any High Priest or High Priestess who does
not step down before this seven year period is up may, at any time after
the seven years, be summarily eliminated at the consensual agreement of
the rest of the Nest.
Ordination into the Priesthood may be bestowed upon Scions who have
completed all the currently stated qualifications of the Sixth Circle
and have been recommended for the Seventh by any sponsoring member of
the Clergy, provided the candidate has first been approved unanimously
by the Board of Directors through the submission of such data as the
Board may choose to require.
ARTICLE VII Primate
The primary authoritative and not authoritarian spokesperson for the
Church of All Worlds shall be known as the Primate, and shall hold this
position for as long as he or she can adequately demonstrate his or her
capability to perform its duties and functions, or until successfully
challenged for the position by a would-be successor, or for life, or for
as long as he or she desires to hold the position. Any of the foregoing
conditions may serve to limit the term of office of the Primate.
Duties of the Primacy shall include all appropriate duties of a general
spokesperson, coordination and integration of programs, activities,
information and input included in the Church gestalt, and coordination
of relationships with other groups within the larger Pagan and Neo-Pagan
community. It shall be the responsibility of the Primate to keep well
informed enough on all phases of both the Church of All Worlds and
Paganism/Neo-Paganism as a whole that such duties may always be
competently and effectively performed.
As the Primate is largely an honorific position awarded by the member-
ship in respect for a person's years of service to the Church of All
Worlds, a successor may or may not be chosen upon the discontinuation of
one Primate's term of office. Should it be desired, a successor shall
be chosen by the same method as any other elected official.
ARTICLE VIII Directors
Management of the Corporation shall be vested in a Board of Directors,
consisting of not less than three nor more than thirteen persons,
consisting of a representative of each chartered subsidiary and the
following officers: President, Vice-President in charge of Membership,
Treasurer, and Secretary. A minimum of one-third of the Board of
Directors shall be members of the Clergy. The Board can approve the
calling of qualified persons among the membership to the positions of
Secretary and Treasurer by unanimous decision. An individual may hold
the position of an officer and a representative of a subsidiary group,
if necessary. Decision-making shall be by consensus, but if agreement
cannot be reached, decisions will be made by two-thirds majority vote.
In such a case, the votes of all members of the Board of Directors are
equal, regardless of the Ring status of the person voting.
At the first annual meeting of the Board of Directors, the Board shall
elect from its own number, a President, one or more Vice-Presidents, a
Secretary and a Treasurer, who shall serve as officers both for the
Board of Directors and for the Corporation. At the discretion of the
Directors, the same person may serve in more than one office. The
President and Vice-President in charge of Membership must be members of
The powers of the Board of Directors shall be those usually assigned to
such Directors. They are subject to limitation or specification at any
meeting of the Board or the Third Ring. They shall specifically include
the following powers:
A. To call regular or special meetings of the Directors, the
Councils, or of the membership, on initiative of the President, or by
mutual agreement of two or more of the Directors.
B. To make rules and regulations not inconsistent with the laws of
the State of California or the Bylaws of this Corporation, for the
guidance of officers, Directors, and members.
C. To make rules and regulations for the use and management of all
Church property, whether real or personal, and to change such rules and
regulations at such time and in such manner as to said Board of
Directors, or Directors of subsidiary groups, shall seem right and
D. To accept, review, and approve or reject applications for
Priesthood, and to issue certificates of ordination to those applicants
who shall have fulfilled their qualifications and shall have complied
with the requirements of the rules, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporat-
ion, and who are recommended by their High Priests or High Priestesses,
to serve as Clergy or for other special purposes recognized by act of
the Board of Directors.
E. To issue certificates of Charter to members in other areas when
they wish to establish a local Nest, or to establish Subsidiary
Organizations, upon conditions to be determined by the Board.
F. To determine what shall be due and reasonable compensation to be
paid any member of the Corporation for services rendered to or for the
Corporation, affecting one or more of its purposes.
G. To maintain, at the Central Nest, confidential files on all
members, active and inactive, and such other records as may be deemed
necessary adequately to carry out the purposes of the Corporation. Section 4:
The Board of Directors shall have full power and authority to borrow
money on behalf of the Corporation, including the power and authority to
borrow money from any of the members, Directors, or officers of the
Corporation, and to otherwise incur indebtedness on behalf of the
Corporation, and to authorize the execution of promissory notes, or
other evidences of indebtedness of the Corporation, and to agree to pay
interest thereon to sell, convey, alienate, transfer, assign, exchange,
lease, and otherwise dispose of, mortgage, pledge, hypothecate, and
otherwise encumber the property, real or personal, and the franchises of
the Corporation to purchase, lease, and otherwise acquire property, real
and personal, on behalf of the Corporation; and generally to do and
perform, or cause to be done and performed, every act which the
Corporation may lawfully do and perform.
The Board of Directors shall have summary power by vote of a two-thirds
majority of its members to suspend, or to expel and terminate the
membership of any member of the Church, including the Priesthood and the
Board of Directors, for conduct which in its opinion disturbs the order,
dignity, business or harmony, or impairs the good name, popularity or
prosperity of the organization, or which is likely in its opinion, to
endanger the welfare, interest or character of the organization, or for
any conduct in violation of these Bylaws or of the rules and regulations
of the Corporation, which may be made from time to time.Such action by
the Board of Directors may be taken at any meeting of such Board upon
the initiative of any member or members thereof. The proceedings of the
Board of Directors in such matter shall be final and conclusive, unless
overruled by majority vote of the Council of the Third Ring, acting as
a Board of Appeal. It is expected that any Clergy serving on such a
Board will absent themselves if s/he is unable to be impartial, or is
affected personally by the decsions of such a Board.
The Board of Directors shall constitute a nominating committee for
Directors to serve on the Board. Their recommendations shall be
presented by the Secretary to the Council of the Third Ring at any
regular meeting. Other nominations may be made by any member present at
the said meeting.
ARTICLE IX Officers
The officers of the Corporation shall be a President, a Vice-President
in charge of Membership, a Secretary, and Treasurer. Other officers may
be created by resolution of the Board, not to exceed thirteen. Doubling
of roles is permissible with the agreement of the Board.
The term of all offices shall be one year.
The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Corporation,
and shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors. S/he shall
have general charge of the business of the Corporation, and shall
execute, with the Secretary, in the name of the Corporation, all deeds,
bonds, contracts, and other obligations and instruments authorized by
the Board of Directors. The President shall also have such other powers
and shall perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Board of
Unless the Board of Directors shall specify otherwise, the Vice-Preside-
nt shall be the regularly designated authority to act on applications
for membership and ordination, and may head a committee which performs
this task. It shall be the responsibility of the Vice-President to keep
addresses and other information relating to membership up-to-date. The
Vice-President shall be vested with all the powers and shall perform
all the duties of the President, in case of the absence or disability of
the President. The Vice-President shall also have such other powers and
shall perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Board of
The Secretary shall keep records of all regular and special meetings of
the Board of Directors, and forward these records to the members of the
Board and the Third Ring. The Secretary shall also mail notification to
members of the Third Ring and the Board of the time, place, and planned
agenda of the regular Board meetings. Subsidiary representatives are
asked to send the secretary a record of the quarterly business of each
subsidiary three weeks prior to the regular meeting, for inclusion in
the quarterly meeting notes. Notices should be sent at least two weeks
prior to each regular meeting, and as early as possible before a special
meeting. The Secretary also serves as the correspondent of the Corpora-
tion with persons representing the State of California, and files
whatever reports and forms may be required by the State on an annual or
A. In case of the absence or disability of the Secretary, or
refusal or neglect to act, notices may be given and served by the
President, or by the Vice-President, or by any person authorized by the
President or the Vice-President, or by the board of Directors. Section
6: The Treasurer shall receive and safely keep all funds of the
Corporation and deposit same in such bank or banks as may be designated
by the Board of Directors. Such funds shall be paid out only on the
cheque of the Corporation signed as directed by the Board of Directors.
The Treasurer shall also control the keeping of the books and accounts
of the Corporation, and is responsible for the filing and payment of any
monies required by the State of California. Subsidiary representaives
are responsible for the forwarding of quarterly financial records of
each subsidiary to the Treasurer in advance of each quarterly Board of
ARTICLE X Councils
Section 1: Seekers of the First through Third Circles shall be
the general laity, and shall relate peripherally to the Inner Circles,
members serving on committees, participating in open meetings, and
fulfilling any other such functions as shall be designated by members of
the Second and Third Rings.
Scions shall constitute the Council of the Second Ring, or the Scion
Council, which shall function in the interest of the Corporation in such
matters as cannot conveniently be brought before a regular or special
meeting of the First Ring. This council shall have one representative
sit on each meeting of the First Ring as Chairman. This Council shall
fulfill any other particular functions as shall be designated by members
of the Third Ring, and may hold such regular or special meetings as
shall be found necessary adequately to carry out the purposes of the
Clergy of the Seventh through Ninth Circles shall constitute the Council
of the Third Ring, or the Clergy Council, which shall function in the
interests of the Corporation in such matters as cannot conveniently be
brought before a regular or special meeting of the First or Second
Rings. This Council shall have one representative sit on each meeting of
the Second Ring as Chairperson. This Council shall fulfill any other
such functions as shall be designated by the Board of Directors, and may
hold such regular or special meetings as shall be found necessary to
adequately carry out the purposes of the Corporation.
The officers of the Board of Directors shall constitute the Executive
Council, which shall function in the interest of the Corporation in such
matters as cannot conveniently be brought before a regular or special
meeting of the Board of Directors or of the Ring councils. This Council
may hold such regular or special meetings as shall be found necessary
adequately to carry out the purposes of the Corporation.
Each Nest shall establish a Nest Council, which shall function in the
interest of that Nest in such matters as cannot appropriately or
conveniently be brought before meetings of any of the other aforemen-
tioned Councils or the Board of Directors.The Nest Councils shall deal
with all those matters which are the exclusive concern of the particular
individual Nests, rather than of concern to the Church or Corporation as
a whole. Such Nest Councils shall consist only of Second and Third Ring
members of such Nests, in number not to exceed thirteen. Application for
membership on a Nest Council must be made in person before the assembled
body of the Council, during which the applicant should be questioned on
his or her reasons for wanting to serve on the Council and his or her
understanding of the principles and purposes of the Nest and the Church.
Acceptance to the council must be by unanimous vote or consensus of the
current Nest Council membership. Candidates for Priesthood must first
have served at least six months on a Nest Council, and that Council must
unanimously approve the candidate's application for ordination before it
can be submitted to the Board. The advancement and training of members
of each Nest through the Second Ring shall be under the supervision of
the Priesthood of that Nest, who may consult the Nest Council if such
consultation shall be found useful or necessary. Second Ring members who
are not affiliated with a particular Nest shall be trained under the
supervision of the Priesthood of the Central Nest. At meetings of the
Nest Councils, the High Priest, High Priestess, or High Scion shall be
Chairperson, and shall be familiar with the rudiments of parliamentary
or consensus procedure.
Any of the aforementioned Councils are authorized to appoint such
committees as shall be found useful in the conduct of the activities of
Each of the aforementioned Councils and Committees shall elect or
appoint, for any term necessary, such officers as may be found necessary
to the conduct of the Councils. Such offices shall include a Secretary,
whereby minutes shall be taken and notices of meetings disseminated. Section 8:
General membership shall have the prerogative of vetoing any action
taken by the Board of Directors, which it finds objectionable. Such veto
to be taken by two-thirds majority at the Annual meeting.
ARTICLE XI Nests
The basic local organizational/congregational unit of the Church of All
Worlds shall be the nest. A nest is a group of Church members, with at
least one member 4th Circle or above, organized in a local area to learn
about, discuss, and creatively practice the purposes of the Church.
Nests shall be largely autonomous units which have agreed to adopt and
practice the values and purposes of the Church and have, after applying
to the Board, been granted a charter by the Board of Directors pursuant
to a recommendation of the Nest Co-ordinating Council.
In order to form a nest, a group of at least three Church members of at
least 2nd Circle must apply to the Nest Co-ordinating Council for a
charter as a proto-nest, or Chapter. Chapter charters are issued a the
discretion of the Nest Co-ordinating Council. In order to be granted a
full Nest Charter, a group must function for at least a year and a day
and have at least one member who has reached the level of Scion (4th
Circle). Granting of a Nest Charter will be by vote of the Board of
Nests chartered by the Board of Directors shall be legal subsidiaries of
the Church of All Worlds as incorporated under the laws of the States of
Missouri and California. Nest shall not have the power to incur debt in
the name of the Church of All Worlds.
The Board and Clergy of the Church of All Worlds do not wish to impose
any doctrinal restraints upon local nests beyond the requirement that
their activities be in accord with the purpose of the Corporation as
stated in Article II of these bylaws. The board and Clergy in fact
encourage creativity and innovation on the part of all local nests and
groups in the lawful pursuit of the goals of the Church of All Worlds.
The Board of Directors does, however, reserve the right to revoke either
a Chapter or Nest Charter on the recommendation of either the Council of
the Third Ring or the Nest Co-ordinating Council for one of the
A. The conduct at its meetings and public functions or in its
public statements is found to be incompatible with the purposes of the
Corporation as stated in Article II of these Bylaws, or contrary to the
laws of the United States or the State of residence of the Nest or
B. The conduct or statements of the Nest or Chapter in its
meetings and public functions or in its public statements, in the
judgement of the Board of Directors, reflects unacceptable discredit on
the Church of All Worlds, its purposes, members and Clergy;
C. The Board of Directors has reason to believe -- on recommenda-
tion from either the Council of the Third Ring or the Nest Co-ordinating
Council -- that the chartered group is not truly functioning as a Nest
or Chapter in that the contact person of that Nest or Chapter does not
respond to queries, show evidence of membership or the holding of
regular meetings or other evidence that the Chartered Nest or Chapter
is, indeed, functioning as a viable organizational unit of the Church of
ARTICLE XII Meetings
General meetings of the Corporation shall be held in conjunction with
the first yearly meeting of the Board of Directors. Regular meetings of
the Board of Directors shall be held quarterly, approximately three
weeks before cross-quarter Sabbats. The first annual meeting shall
propose the meeting dates for the remaining quarters of the year.
Special meetings may be held whenever deemed necessary.
Notice of the Annual Meetings of the General Membership shall be made
each year at least one month in advance of the date of the meeting by a
special mailing to all registered members of the Church of at least 2nd
Circle. Notices of regular meetings of the Board of Directors, together
with quarterly subsidiary reports and proposed agenda items, shall be
sent to members of the Board two weeks prior to such meetings by the
Church Secretary. Notice of special Board meetings shall be made as
early as possible. Notice of regular meetings of other councils shall be
sent to relevant members two weeks in advance by the appropriate council
secretary, and notices of special meetings, as early as possible.
Meetings of Nest Councils shall be held at least quarterly, the
frequency and dates to be determined by said councils.
The privelege of decision-making at any meeting shall be limited to
those present who are actual active members both of the Church and of
the particular Council or Ring convening the meeting. If the number
present is thirteen or less than thirteen, all decisions must be made by
consensus, and if consensus cannot be reached, by a twothirds majority.
If the number present is greater than thirteen, all decisions must be by
a two-thirds majority vote. In meetings where more than thirteen voting
members are present, the number of votes carried by each member shall be
equal to the ring (1,2, or 3) that member has attained. Section 4: A
quorum to conduct business shall consist of a number of voting members
equal to two-thirds majority plus one of the members of that particular
Section 5: The fiscal year of the Corporation shall be from
January l to December 31, inclusive.
ARTICLE XIII Subsidiary Operations
The Corporation, acting through the Board of Directors or their
delegated authority, may organize, charter, establish, and operate such
subsidiary operations, agencies, groups, and institutions as may be
found necessary or expedient adequately to carry out the purposes of the
Each subsidiary shall send a representative to serve on the Board of
Directors. The subsidiary representatives shall be responsible for
reporting the activities of the Subsidiary to the Board, and for
relaying information from the Board to each subsidiary. In addition, the
subsidiary representatives shall submit reports to the Secretary and the
Treasurer detailing the activities of each subsidiary.
Chartering and serving as Directors of subsidiary organizations is open
only to active members of the Church with Scion or Clergy status. Under
exceptional circumstances, and by special dispensation of the Board of
Directors, a project or provisional subsidiary may be approved for
inception by a Church member of only 3rd Circle status, conditional upon
that person's attainment of 4th Circle within a year from the date of
approval, or the appointment within that time as a Director of the
aforesaid subsidiary of another active Churcdh member of at least 4th
Circle. Subsidiaries should begin as projects or provisional sub-
sidiaries and be considered for full subsidiary status if they have been
active for two years and two days. Provisional subsidiaries should send
a contact person to the Board of Directors' meetings.
The governance of subsidiaries shall be by Directors and Councils, the
combined total number of which must always be an odd number, from one to
seven, of whom one to three shall be designated Directors. Should the
subsidiary be authorized to open a bank or checking account, there shall
be three approved signatories on the account, at least one of which must
be a Scion or Clergy. Directors of subsidiaries must be Scions or
Clergy, but other members of the subsidiary councils may be any active
members of the Church that the subsidiary Directors wish to delegate.
Decision-making in subsidiary councils should follow the procedures
outlined in Article XI, Section 3 above.
ARTICLE IV Amendments
Amendments or changes in these Bylaws may be made by recommendation of
the Board of Directors at the Annual meeting, by unanimous vote or
consensus of voting members present.
A Pagan Sacrament of Holy Communion
(as performed in the Church of All Worlds)
by Morning Glory Zell
The Priestess, Priest and Congregation sit in a circle, with the
Priestess to the right of the Priest, on the ground outside or the
An altar is set in the center, with Bread and Water and either fresh
flowers and greenery (when outdoors) or a potted plant (indoors).
When everyone is settled and silent, the Priestess begins the blessing:
P'ess: Blessed be this Bread, the body of our Lord,
And Blessed be this Water, the blood of our Lady.
As our bodies are nourished by Their divine energy,
So let Them ever nurture our spirits.
We are the conscious product of Their eternal passion,
And so do we give Them our gratitude in celebration of Life.
The Priest takes the Bread from the altar and raises it aloft in
Priest: Seed fallen on the wet Spring table,
embryos bedding in the night.
The Sun is joy on the Earth in the morning,
And the wheat reaches up for the food that is Light.
He holds his child to the Sun and would free him to the wind.
Then we take them both, Father and Son, both still young.
We fold them into tight brown loaves, Rocks of Sun for the tables of the
The Priest takes a piece of the Bread and places it into the mouth of
the person on his left with the words: "May you always have sufficien-
cy". He then passes the plate on to that person, who does the same
actions and gives the same blessing to the next person to the left, and
so on round the circle. When the loaf comes around to the Priestess
sitting on the Priest's right, she gives him his share while taking a
small piece and crumbling it onto the Earth , if outdoors, or into the
potted plant if indoors, saying:
"Mother Divine, take back what is Thine."
The Priestess then takes the chalice of Water from the altar and holds
it aloft in consecration:
P'ess: Ice in the North will melt into the Earth.
She will soften and breathe again.
Water, sweetened by the lungs of the Earth, our Mother, runs
South To the houses of the people, and the clouds give birth and
They tremble on beds of air giving birth.
Their trembling rocks the Earth with thunder; all their life is
Their last breath is in our cup,
Let us drink the rain.
The Priestess then holds the chalice to the lips of the Priest on her
left, who drinks as she says:
"Water shared is Life shared."
He then holds the cup and repeats the phrase for the person on his left,
and so it goes, clockwise, around the circle. Other phrases may be
spoken, such as "May you never thirst", or "Drink deeply". As the
chalice passes from each person, they link hands with those who already
shared the water, until, as the chalice completes its round, all hands
are joined. Finally the person to the right of the Priestess gives her
back the chalice and the blessing, whereupon she pours out the remainder
of the water onto the ground or the plant as a libation to the Earth,
speaking again the words:
"Mother Divine,take back what is Thine."
She places the chalice back onto the altar, then returns to her place to
link hands and complete the circle. Then may follow a silent medita-
tion, a chant or song, a breathing exercise to raise energy,
or whatever is desired. When the exercise or meditation has reached its
conclusion, the Priest pronounces the Benediction:
Priest: O Gracious Lady and Laughing Lord,
We would ever have Thee here with us.
Now the time is come to break the circle and return to the
May Thy love be ever with us and Thy wisdom guide our steps.
Everyone repeats the words "Blessed Be" simultaneously dropping the
hands they are holding, thereby breaking the link and ending the Rite.
"Well, for instance, who is this All-Mother you're always talking
"Why, you are, Edward. . . The All-Mother. You're the All-Mother,
I'm the All-Mother, that little bird singing out there, it's the
All-Mother. The All-Mother is everything. The All-Mother is life..."
The primal and supreme deity of the ancient world, the oldest and
most universally worshipped, was the Great Mother, Mother Earth. Images
of Her date back to Aurignacian Cro-Magnon peoples, from 27,000 years
ago, and are found all over the Eurasian continent from Spain to
Siberia. For thousands of years before there were any male gods, there
was The Goddess, and Her worship continued unabated clear up until its
violent suppression by Iron Age patrism. When and where worship of the
Mother prevailed women and Nature were held in esteem. The Chinese
called Her Kwan Yin; the Egyptians knew Her as Isis; the Navajo call Her
Changing Woman. To the Greeks She was Gaia, and to many black peoples
She is Yemanja. She is Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, and She says:
"All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals." She is also the ancient
Crone Hecate,who gives us both wisdom and death. The Goddess is
diversity. She represents both darkness and Light and Her worship is
the reconciliation of opposites. There can be no such thing as a "Good
Goddess" or an "Evil Goddess". Death is part of the natural cycle as
night follows day and we accept it with grace as Her final gift. The
search for Balance is the goal of Her people, and it is achieved by the
acceptance of multiple paths and truths. Dion Fortune once commented
that all goddesses are manifestations of the One Great Goddess whose
identity is as the universal feminine spirit of Nature.
The eldest and greatest aspect of the Goddess is as Great Mother
Nature, the all-encompassing energy of Universal Life. Her womb is the
Quasar, the white hole through which all energy pours into creation, and
Her all-devouring mouth is the Black hole itself through which all
matter is consumed to be reborn once again as between Her thighs the
universe is squeezed from spirit. Her energy then coalesces into
Matter-Mater:the Mother of all forms. She ignites, becoming the Star
Goddess Nuit, whose galactic breast is our Milky way. Of Her are born
star systems and planets including, of course, our very own Earth
Because of the diversity of the Goddess, She is seen as manifesting
in many different aspects. She is often called The Triple Goddess,
which refers to Her link in the fertility cycle where She appears as
Maiden, Mother and Crone. Some ancient cultures personified this
Triplicity as the waxing, full, and waning Moon, and other three-faced
Goddess aspects are familiar to us as the Fates, the Graces, the Furies,
the Muses, or even as Faith, Hope and Charity. Another familiar
division of Her aspects is into Mother and Daughter (Demeter and
Persephone), or as Sisters/Lovers (Fauna and Flora). Such polarities
are also important in Her worship. Sometimes the polarity can exist
with two different aspects of the Goddess representing both poles, but
more commonly it is the great gender polarity, for the Goddess is a
deity of sexual loving.
She is Ishtar or Aphrodite, the eternal Lover who awaits with eager
arms the mortal man brave enough to risk Her immortal favor. Many men
have worshipped Her as a lover, but she may never be possessed, for She
belongs only to Herself. She is Parthenos, the eternal Virgin (in the
prepatriarchal meaning "of her own household"). She represents the
Strong Woman : not dominant, but independent. Her lovers are not truly
human but divine. She has been the Beloved of many gods, and though
jealous male gods eventually suppressed Her worship, She shared the
co-rulership of Heaven and Earth for thousands of years of marital
bliss. She is the inescapable Yin necessary for the cosmic balance of
Yang/Yin. Symbols associated with Her (the Tree of Life, the Sacred
Serpent, the Labryrinth) are found in all parts of the globe, at the
heart of all the Mysteries, and underlying all the later accretions of
successive religions. The search for Her is the search for our deepest
ancestral roots.I am the star that rises from the twilight sea.I bring
men dreams to rule their destiny.I am the eternal Woman; I am She!The
tides of all souls belong to me-Touch of my hand confers polarity-These
are the moontides, these belong to me.
Honor Thy Mother
In all the cultures where She is still worshipped, there is no
confusion over Her identity : She is Nature, and She is the Earth. She
is not an atavistic abstraction, not a mystical metaphor, not a
construct of consciousness. Her body is of substance as material as our
own, and we tread upon Her breast and are formed of Her flesh. "Walk
lightly on the bosom of the Earth Mother," says Sun Bear, and tradition-
al Native Americans agree. Cherokee shaman Rolling Thunder emphasizes
that "It's very important for people to realize this: the Earth is a
living organism, the body of a higher individual who has a will and
wants to be well, who is at times less healthy or more healthy,
physically and mentally."3 Frank Waters, author of Masked Gods and Book
of the Hopi, makes the same point::. . . To Indians the Earth is not
inanimate. It is a living entity, the mother of all life, our Mother
Earth. All Her children, everything in nature, is alive: the living
stone, the great breathing mountains, trees and plants, as well as birds
and animals and man. All are united in one harmonious whole.4 Renowned historian Arnold Toynbee, writing on "The Religious Background
of the Present Environmental Crisis," also observed that:For pre-monoth-
eistic man, nature was not just a treasure-trove of "natural resources".
Nature was, for him, a goddess, "Mother Earth," and the vegetation that
sprang from the Earth, the animals that roamed, like man himself, over
the Earth's surface, and the minerals hiding in the Earth's bowels, all
partook of Nature's divinity.5 Before ever land was, before ever the
sea, Or soft hair of the grass, or fair limbs of the tree, Or flesh-
coloured fruit of my branches, I was : And thy soul was in me.
The Gaia Thesis
In order to understand the nature of the Earth Mother, we must
first understand our own origins. Biologically, unisexual organisms are
always considered to be female, since only the female brings forth life
from her own body; in the act of reproduction single cells are referred
to as mothers and their offspring as daughters. Each of us began our
individual life as a single fertilized cell, or zygote. In the process
of its innumerable divisions and multiplications, that cell kept
dividing up and redistributing the very same protoplasm. That
protoplasm which now courses through all of the several trillion cells
of your adult body is the very same substance which once coursed through
the body of that original zygote. For when a cell reproduces, the
mother cell does not remain intact, but actually becomes the two new
daughter cells. And this is why, no matter how many times a cell
fissions in the process of embryological development, all the daughter
cells collectively continue to comprise but one single organism. We
may imagine that, should our cells have consciousness akin to our own,
they may very well fancy themselves to be independent entities living
and dying in a world that to them would seem to be merely an inanimate
environment. Blood cells race along our arterial highways, but we know
them to be in fact minute components of the far vaster living beings
that we ourselves are. Over three billion years ago, life on Earth
began, as do we all, with a single living cell containing a replicating
molecule of DNA. From that point on, that original cell, the first to
develop the awesome capacity for reproduction, divided and redivided and
subdivided its protoplasm into the myriads of plants and animals,
including ourselves, which now inhabit this third planet from the
Sun. But no matter how many times a cell fissions in the process of
embryological development, all the daughter cells collectively continue
to comprise but one single organism. All life on Earth comprises the
body of a single vast living being:Mother Earth Herself. The Moon is
Her radiant heart, and in the tides beats the pulse of Her blood. The
protoplasm which coursed through the body of that first primeval
ancestral cell is the very protoplasm which now courses through every
cell of every living organism, plant or animal, of our planet. And as
in our own bodies, Earthly life was biologically female for the first 3
billion years, before sexual reproduction, complete with males, evolved
around 600 million years ago. In evolutionary theory we say "ontogeny
recapitulates phylogeny" (the development of the individual repeats the
development of the ancestry); ancient people anticipated such scien-
tific ideas when they intuitively conceptualized our planetary Divinity,
like that first single cell, as feminine: our Mother Earth.
The soul of our planetary biosphere is She whom we call Goddess.
First life on my sources first drifted and swam. Out of me are the
forces which save it or damn.
Out of me man and woman, and wild-beast and bird. Before God was, I
am.6". . . Be the terror and the dread of all the wild beasts and all
the birds of heaven, of everything that crawls on the ground and all the
fish of the sea: they are handed over to you." (Gen. 9:2-3)
Since the time of the Exodus, 3,500 years ago, Western Civilization
has been pursuing a course that has taken it farther and fhree great
monotheistic religions of the West, Judaism, Christianity and Islam,
have from their beginning activity suppressed the worship of the
Goddess, and have tortured and brutally murdered millions of Her people.
Today, she is all but forgotten in the hearts of Her children, and Her
body lies raped and ravished in the wake of human progress. The Goddess
is the concept of feminine divinity incarnate. The denial of feminine
divinity results in the oppression of all women, including Mother
Nature. As Toybee says:The thesis of the present essay is that some of
the major maladies of the present-day world:for instance the recklessly
extravagant consumption of nature's irreplaceable treasures, and the
pollution of those of them that man has not already devoured:can be
traced back in the last analysis to a religious cause, and that this
cause is the rise of monotheism. 5
This is not to say that all non-monotheistic religions have a
perfect track record for the treatment of women in those societies.
Certainly Hindu cultures revere various goddesses and yet are among the
more sexist and female-suppressive societies in the modern world.
Nevertheless, there is abundant archeological evidence to indicate that
things were not always as they are now, especially in truly ancient
societies like India. Before the Aryan Indo-European invasion around
1,500 BCE many Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures, including the Harrapan
culture of the Indus Valley and the Minoan people of Crete, had
societies that appeared remarkably egalitarian. These societies were
universally characterized by the worship of a powerful Great Mother whom
the Hindu people still call Maha Devi Ma. She was later broken into a
multiplicity of minor goddesses which were demoted to the position of
wives or concubines of the gods. By the time sacred writings were
codified in the Vedas, the Primal Goddess Maha Devi in India had been
divided into a triplicity of goddesses characterized as Creator,
Preserver and Destroyer: Saraswati, Laksmi and Kali; respectively the
consorts of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. In Greece, a similar process led
to Kore, Demeter and Persephone (or Hecate) created from the original
Cretan Rhea. Once the Great Mother had been married off She became
easier to control and the way was paved for Her dowry of natural wealth
to be handed over to the financial control of Her divine consorts.
Whether this new mythical development was a simple mirror of the social
diminishment of women's rights or whether it preceded it and was invoked
as a justification is really a moot point. But the land, formerly tied
to matrilineal territorial clans, passed into the hands of patriarchal
kings and princes who began to treat it as their private property and to
lay waste to the forests in order to build vast temples and palaces to
house their harems and other slaves. The Goddess of Nature went from
the position of being the body and soul of all that lives to that of a
wife, mother and household servant. Many traditions have given lip
service to the so-called "Female Principle," either in the form of a
divided identity like the Hindu Shakti or as a semi-divine emanation.
But the power of the Goddess of Nature has gradually lost its ability to
inspire the necessary respect and reverence once accorded to the Source
and Bearer of Life.
Where are You, then, Mother, whose strength was before All
other powers? Your name is the only freedom.8 Pantheism is the view
that everything in Nature is alive, and that all living is Divine. In
that context, then, the simplest explanation of Divinity is as "an
energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, it
penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together." (Star Wars: "The Force")
Thus a pantheistic theology of Immanent Divinity ("Thou Art God/dess")
contrasts sharply with the theology of Transcendent Divinity ("God is
Out There") presented by most of "The World's Great Religions." Unlike
the God worshipped by Christians, Moslems and Jews, the Goddess is not
an all-powerful, indestructible, non-physical being who created the
world and exists apart from it. Though Mother Nature is Life on the
universal scale, Gaia, the Earth Mother is the very soul of this living
planet, and she lives or dies as all life on this planet lives or dies.
. . Mother, not maker; born, and not made. Though her children forsake
her, allured or afraid, Praying prayers to the God of their fashion, She stirs not for all who have prayed.O my children, too dutiful
towards Gods not of me, Was not I enough beautiful? Was it hard to be
free? For, behold, I am with you, am in you, and of you: Look forth
now and see!6 "Earth Mother, Your Children Are Here!" Current environ-
mental crises are legion. Chlorofluorocarbon chemicals are destroying
the ozone layer in the atmosphere; industrial pollution is creating the
greenhouse effect which will melt the polar icecaps, drowning the
coastal regions; and the destruction of the rainforests and the
pollution of phytoplankton in the seas is causing worldwide droughts.
The problems are so vast and the politics of greed and corruption are so
complex that it will truly take a miracle to reverse such global
destruction. The only thing that can save us is a total and electrify-
ing change of consciousness. Nothing short of a worldwide realization
of our planetary awareness will bring home the desperation of our
plight. We must activate our Gaian identification so that we regain our
shattered empathy with the Spirit of Nature. We must become one with
the Earth Mother in order to feel Her pain/our pain and make it stop
before the cancer we have become reaches the terminal phase.
The word religion derives from the Latin re-ligio; "relinking."
The very purpose of true religion, then, is to heal the rifts and
alienations which have caused us to become separated from the divine
Source of Being: the rifts between humanity and Nature; between matter
and spirit; between mind and body; between man and woman; between our
own egos and the Soul of Nature. Recent books analyzing the trends of
our wayward world have, with increasing frequency, been calling for a
return to the worship of the Mother. So many wistful comments made by
writers such as Merlin Stone, Mary Daly, James Lovelock, Judy Chicago,
Dolores LaChapelle, Rene Dubos, Daniela Gioseffi, Paolo Soleri,
Elizabeth Gould Davis, Arnold Toynbee, Joseph Campbell, Marija Gimbutas
and Riane Eisler reflect a craving for such a religious revival. The
truth is that such a revival has been going on for some time now:since
the early 1960's:in the form of what we call the Neo-Pagan movement
(from Latin paganus:"peasant" or country dweller:Paganism now refers
to all nature religions). To the several hundred thousand Neo-Pagans
who have been actively practicing and publishing for more than a quarter
of a century, the greatest mystery of this religion is its continuing
obscurity and invisibility to those such as the above-named writers, who
continue to publish books advocating such a movement as this, while
remaining ignorant that it is already in effect. The new Paganism
encompasses many Nature-oriented groups such as Feraferia, Church of All
Worlds, Madrakara, Bear Tribe, Venusian Church, Pagan Way, Church of the
Eternal Source, Odinic Fellowship, Reformed Druids, Earth Church of
Amargi and Children of the Earth Mother. The largest contingent of
modern Goddess-worshippers, however, is found in Witchcraft, or Wicca.
Wicca is a pre-Christian European Pagan magical tradition; European
Shamanism. The violent suppression to the point of eradication of the
followers of Wicca by the Inquisition can only be compared to the Jewish
Holocaust of Nazi Germany (estimates of the number of martyrs run as
high as nine million!), but today the Craft is making a powerful
comeback on the wings of the re-emergent Goddess.
The Neo-Pagan movement, and especially Feminist Witchcraft, has
recently been joined by increasing numbers from the Women's Spirituality
movement and lately also by many thinkers from the Deep Ecology movement
and even such radical environmental activists as Earth First!. These
are some of the forces which form the core of the movement to restore
the Earth Goddess to Her rightful place; a movement which has its roots
in the combined studies of feminism and ecology and is the logical
spiritual application of such studies. If Witches can be priestesses of
feminism, then Neo-Pagans are the chaplains of the ecology movement. The
overall movement, though variously called Eco-feminism and Ecosophy, is
truly an attempt at expressing Gaian Spirituality. These three
streams of spirituality:Deep Ecology, Goddess Spirituality, and
Neo-Paganism:have met and mingled with Native American, Hindu,
Tibetan, Hawaiian and other ancient spiritual teachings and fused
somewhat with the more nebulous New Age Movement. What is struggling to
be born from this blending of pathways is a truly planetary religious
metaphor that will transcend all the tradition-specific patterns in the
same way the idea of Neo-Paganism absorbed and united a multiplicity of
wildly differing but basically polytheistic religious groups in the
1970's. Perhaps what we are looking for could be called Gaean
religion, because at the heart of our Unity is our identity as children
of the same Mother:Gaia Herself; Mother Earth. It is said that it's a
wise child who knows its own Mother! A brief digression on
etymology here: Who is Gaia, that we would name a movement after Her?
The name Gaia is the Greek name for the Earth Mother Goddess, She who
was created by Light and by Love from the primal cosmic chaos. Pierced
by the arrows of Eros, Gaia gave birth to all the plants, animals, gods
and goddesses and of course the human race. So Gaia is the Mother of us
all according to ancient Greek mythology.
From the moment that the people of Earth achieved the ability to
observe the image of our planet spinning in all Her radiant blue-and-
white splendor through the black velvet night, we have been impelled
towards planetary identification. We must inevitably begin to think of
ourselves as one planet, one people, one organism. The power of that
image alone unites us, not to mention the concept that the past
three-and-a-half billion years of terrestrial evolution resembles one
vast embryogenesis. Something is developing, hatching, unfolding as a
self-reflexive mind capable of contemplating its own existence. Gaia
developed increasingly complex eyes and extensions of Her eyes/our eyes
in order to contemplate Her own image. And now, having seen Herself
through our satellite eyes, She is awakening to consciousness. She has
a face, an identity and now even a name, and so we inevitably come to
identify ourselves through Her as Gaian.
A Gaian movement would be deeply committed to communication and
education. Many tribal people and many of the old nature-based folk
religions such as native Australians, Hawaiians, Siberians, Tibetans and
Americans have come to the brink of extinction rather than to allow the
mysteries of their sacred rites to pass outside their tribes. Others
have realized the need to become more eclectic if they are to survive.
The Gaian movement is presently small and largely unrecognized,
since it is anarchic and not evangelical, but it has tremendous
potential in having no single head and presenting a genuine answer to so
many of the world's problems. Its vision is, in fact, an idea whose
time has come. Yet there are still many obstacles, and revolutions in
consciousness rarely happen overnight. The greatest forces operating
against a new Gaian renaissance are inertia and apathyษ the watchwords
of the ิ70s and ิ80s. But winds of change are blowing, and by the time
the century turns we will see that once again Goddess is Alive and
Magick is Afoot!And you who think to seek for me -Know that your seeking
and yearning will avail you naughtUnless you know the Mystery:That if
that which you seek you find not within you,You shall never find it
without.For behold: I have been with you from the beginning,And I am
that which is attained at the end of desire.9
1. Mack Reynolds, Of Godlike Power, 1966, pp. 146-1472.
2. Dion Fortune, "Charge of the Moon Goddess"
3. Doug Boyd, Rolling Thunder, 1974, p. 51
4. Frank Waters, "Lessons From the Indian Soul," Psychology Today, May
5. Arnold Toynbee, "The Religious Background of the Present Environmen
tal Crisis," International Journal of Environmental Studies, 1972,
6. Algernon Charles Swinburne, "Hertha"
7. Tim Zell, "The Gods of Nature; The Nature of Gods," Gnostica #15,
8. Ramprasad Sen, Grace and Mercy in Her Wild Hair; 18th Century Bengal
9. Doreen Valiente, "Charge of the Star Goddess"
(This article was first written in 1978; revised and updated in 1990.)
The Church of All Worlds, a Brief History
It all began on April 7, 1962, when, after reading Stranger in a
Strange Land, Tim Zell and Lance Christie shared water and formed a
water-brotherhood called "Atl" at Westminster College at Fulton,
Missouri. During the mid-1960s the group was centered on the University
of Oklahoma campus at Norman under the name Atlan Foundation. A
periodical, The Atlan Torch (later The Atlan Annals), was published from
1962-1968. Following a move to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1968 the Church
of All Worlds was legally incorporated. In March of that year, the first
issue of Green Egg appeared and over the years made Tim Zell, its
editor, a major force in Neo-Paganism, a term which Zell coined. CAW was
the first Neo-Pagan/Earth Religion to obtain full federal recognition,
although it was initially refused recognition by the Missouri Department
of Revenue on the basis of its lack of primary concern about the
hereafter, God, the destiny of souls, heaven, hell, sin and its
punishment, and other supernatural matters. The ruling was overturned as
unconstitutional in 1971. The Church of All Worlds took much
inspiration from the science fiction classic, Stranger in a Strange Land
by Robert Heinlein. In the novel, Valentine Michael Smith was a human
being born on Mars and raised by Martians. Upon being brought to Earth,
he established the Church of All Worlds, built around "nests", a
combination of a congregations and an intentional communities. A basic
concept was "grokking", i.e., the ability to be fully empathic.
Heinlein's CAW emphasized non-possessive love and joyous expression of
sexuality as divine union. Their greeting was "Thou art God" or "Thou
art Goddess", a recognition of immanent divinity in each person. The basic theology of the CAW is a pantheism focused on immanent rather
than transcendent divinity, which is worshiped in female as well as a
The most important thealogical statement came in revelatory
writings by Zell in 1970-73, on a theory which later came to be known as
the Gaia Thesis, a biological validation of the ancient intuition that
the planet is a single living organism, Mother Earth. Pantheists
hold as divine the living spirit of Nature. Thus the CAW recognizes
Mother Earth, the Horned God, the Green Man and other spirits of
animistic totemism as the Divine Pantheon. Church of All Worlds was an
early forerunner of the Deep Ecology movement. Through its focus on
Mother Nature as Goddess and its recognition and ordination of women as
Priestesses, CAW can also rightly be held to be the first Eco-Feminist
Church. Its only creed states: "The Church of All Worlds is 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."
In 1974, CAW reported nests in Missouri, California, Illinois,
Kansas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Wyoming, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee,
New Jersey, New York, and Ohio. It was then publishing two periodicals,
Green Egg and The Pagan. Two years later Zell moved to Oregon with his
new wife, Morning Glory, an ordained Priestess, for a rural life of
writing, research and the practice of the religion he had developed.
They left the administration of the CAW and the publication of the Green
Egg in the hands of other Church leaders. After only a few more issues,
the magazine ceased publication. Subsequently many Church Nests
dissolved due to internal conflicts.
By the mid-1980s CAW survived only in California, focused around
the sanctuary land bequeathed to the Church by its Bard, Gwydion
Pendderwen. On and around this rural retreat, a Pagan homesteading
community grew which included the Zells (Tim Zell had changed his first
name to Otter in 1979 following a vision quest) and other long-time
Church members who had moved to California, as well as many new people.
Two new clergy were ordained during that time, Orion Stormcrow (a Church
member since 1969) and Anodea Judith. (In 1991, Deborah Hamouris was
ordained, bringing the present number of active clergy to six.) In the
late 1980s, following Otter and Morning Glory's emergence from eight
years of living in the wilderness, the Church of All Worlds began
reorganizing under the leadership of Anodea Judith. The membership
program was radically upgraded to include a Progressive Involvement
Program (PIP), intensive training courses and a new members newsletter,
The Scarlet Flame. Activities and membership increased dramatically
during this period as CAW emerged from its slumber. The first issue
of Green Egg (The Next Generation!) appeared in May, 1988, the 20th
anniversary of its original publication. It has risen to a position of
prominence among Pagan periodicals. Diane Darling, who joined the Church
in the mid-'80s, is its editrix, Otter its publisher and designer. In
1991, with 52 pages and a four-color glossy cover, Green Egg won the
Silver Award from the Wiccan/Pagan Press Alliance (WPPA) for "Most
Professionally Formatted Pagan Publication". In 1992 Green Egg won the
WPPA Gold Award for "Readers' Choice" as well as the Dragonfest Awards
for "Most Attractive Format" and "Best Graphics". Diane won the Pentacle
Award for "Favorite Pagan Editrix", and Otter for "Favorite Pagan
The non-fictional Church of All Worlds has grown far beyond
Heinlein's dream. There are nine concentric circles of member involve-
ment, named after the planets and grouped into three rings. Each
circle's activity includes study, writings, magical training, sen-
sitivity and encounter-group experience, as well as active participation
in the life of the Church. The First Ring, Circles 1, 2, and 3, is for
Seekers, those who are only participants. Second Ring, Circles 4 through
6, is made up of Scions, members who help run the church. The clergy,
Council of the Third Ring, consists of legally ordained priests and
priestesses; longtime members who have worked through the other circles,
undergone personal and leadership development, religious training, and
completed the Church's ordination requirements. There are two
governing bodies in addition to the Clergy: the Board of Directors,
which determines policy and business matters, and the Fun Committee,
which implements the activities and functions of the Church. The Fun
Committee is made up of a Board member, a clergy member, and one
representative from each of the church functions, such as Rites and
Festivals, Publications, Membership, Communications and each subsidiary.
There is an annual General Meeting to elect officers and make changes in
the Church's ever-evolving Bylaws. Worship involves attending weekly or
monthly Nest meetings usually held in the homes of Nest members.
Autonomous nests are composed of at least three members of 2nd Circle
meeting monthly or more often. The basic liturgical form is based on a
circle where a chalice of water is shared around as part of the ritual
part of the Nest meeting. Longer events are celebrated at the Church
sanctuary, Annwfn, a 55-acres of land in northern California. Annwfn has
a two-story temple, cabins, garden, orchard and a small pond. It is
maintained by a small community of resident caretakers. In addition to
the eight Celtic seasonal festivals, the Church holds handfastings
(marriages), vision quests, initiations, workshops, retreats, work
parties and meetings on the land. As of 1993, the Church has ten
chartered nests in California, with others in Florida, Illinois,
Arizona, Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Australia (where CAW has
become the first legally-incorporated Pagan church in that country). A
number of proto-Nests are in the process of forming. Current President
is priest Tom Williams (a member since 1968). Otter is presently
engaged in the formation of the Universal Federation of Pagans (UFP), a
worldwide association with which he hopes to unify the global Pagan
community. 1992 was the 30th anniversary of the Church. A Grand
Convocation was held in August, with an attendance of nearly 300.
Membership at the end of 1993 was around 600.
The Mission Statement of the Church of All Worlds is as follows:
The mission of the Church of All Worlds is to evolve a network of
information, mythology, and experience that provides a context and
stimulus for reawakening Gaea, and reuniting Her children through tribal
community dedicated to responsible stewardship and the general evolution
of consciousness. Over the years, the Church of All Worlds has
chartered a number of subsidiary branches through which it practices and
teaches its religion:
* Forever Forests : Box 212, Redwood Valley, CA 95470. Founded in
1977 by Gwydion Pendderwen; the ecology branch. Sponsors tree-planting
events and rituals.
* Lifeways : 2140 Shattuck #2093, Berkeley, CA 94704. Founded in
1983 by Anodea Judith; the teaching branch. Offers workshops, classes,
healing rituals, recovery programs, wilderness excursions, and training
for the priesthood. Handles the Progressive Involvement Program.
* Nemeton : Box 610, Laytonville, CA 95454. Founded in 1972 by
Gwydion Pennderwen and Alison Harlow; the marketing branch. Tapes and
CDs, songbooks, T-shirts, philosophical tracts and books. Catalog
* Ecosophical Research Assn. (ERA) : Box 982, Ukiah, CA 95482.
Founded in 1977 by Morning Glory Zell; devoted to research and explora-
tion in the fields of history, mythology and natural sciences. Produced
the Living Unicorn, the New Guinea Mermaid expedition and a Peruvian
* Holy Order of Mother Earth (HOME) : Box 212, Redwood Valley, CA
95470 Founded in 1977 by the Zells and Alison Harlow; magical and
shamanic branch open only to trained initiates. Creates and conducts the
Church's rituals and ceremonies.* Peaceful Order of the Earth Mother
(POEM) : Box 5227, Clearlake, CA 95422. Founded in 1988 by Willowoak
Istarwood; dedicated to children and child nurturing. Provides
enriching activities for children at gatherings, summer camps and a
quarterly magazine for Pagan youth, How About Magic? (HAM) :$7 per year.
* Green Egg : Box 1542, Ukiah, CA 95482. Award-winning quarterly
journal of the New Paganism and the Gaian Renaissance, founded in 1968
by Otter Zell. Sample $6; subscription $15/yr US bulk mail; $21/yr
US/Canada 1st class/envelope; $27/yr trans-Atlantic; $30/yr trans-Pacif-
* Annwfn : Box 48, Calpella, CA 95418. CAW's 55-acre land sanctuary
and retreat in the Misty Mountains of Mendonesia. Write for Visitor's
* CAW Membership and General Correspondence :
(Australian Headquaters) PO Box 408, Woden, ACT 2606.
Further information on the Church of All Worlds may be found in the
Adler, Margot, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-
Worshipers and other Pagans in America Today, Beacon Press, 1979;
revised and updated 1987. (essential!)
Ellwood, Robert, Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America, 1973.
Gottleib, Annie, Do You Believe in Magic? The Second Coming of the
Sixties Generation, Times Books, 1987
Guiley, Rosemary, Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, Facts on File,
The Perennial Encyclopedia of Mystical and Psychic Experience, 1990.
Jade, To Know, Delphi Press, 1991.
Martello, Leo Louis, Witchcraft, the Old Religion, University Books,
Melton, J. Gordon, The Encyclopedia of American Religions, from the
Institute for the Study of American Religions, POB 90709, Santa Barbara,
CA 93190 1979 ( 3rd edition, 1988); The Essential New Age, 1990.
Wilson, Robert Anton, Coincidance, Falcon Press, 1988
Neo-Paganism: An Old Religion for a New Age
by Otter G'ZellFounder, Church of All Worlds
As founder and priest of a Neo-Pagan church, I have often been
asked to explain exactly what we mean by the term "Pagan". We find
ourselves in the peculiar position of having a public image that was
created not by ourselves, but by our persecutors. It is much as if the
Nazis had succeeded in eradicating Judaism to the extent that, genera-
tions later, the common opinion of what the Jewish faith was all about
was derived solely from the anti-Semitic propaganda of the Third Reich.
In Europe alone, from tens of thousands to millions (the figures
are still in dispute) of Pagans were martyred by the Christian churches
during the Inquisition and Witch trials. Those figures do not even
count the millions of other Pagan peoples in North and South America,
Africa, Polynesia, Melanesia and Asia who fell before the advancing
plague of Western Christendom.
Today, the conception most people have of Paganism is the lurid one
drawn by the Christian church to justify its own reign of terror, and
bears about as much relation to reality as the similar propaganda
Christianity once fostered about Jews. In the 13th century the Church
opened its long-drawn-out conflict with Paganism in Europe by declaring
Witchcraft to be a 'sect' and heretical. It was not til the 14th
century that the two religions came to grips.
All through the 16th and 17th centuries the battle raged. The
Pagans fought a gallant, though losing, fight against a remorseless and
unscrupulous enemy; every inch of the field was disputed. At first
victory occasionally inclined to the Pagans, but the Christian policy of
obtaining influence over the rulers and law-givers was irresistible.
Vae victis was also the policy of the Christians, and we see the priests
of the Papacy gloating over the thousands whom they had consigned to the
flames while the ministers of the Reformed Churches hounded on the
administrators of the law to condemn the 'devil worshipers'.
What can have been the feelings with which those unhappy victims
regarded the vaunted God of Love, the Prince of Peace, whose votaries
condemned them to torture and death? What wonder that they clung to
their old faith, and died in agony unspeakable rather than deny their
God. (Margaret Murray, The God of the Witches, 1931, Oxford GB 332, pp.
'Pagan' does not mean "irreligious" or "barbarian". It is the
correct anthropological term to describe indigenous folk religions,
being derived from the Latin paganus, "peasant," which derives in turn
from pagus, "village". The Latin comes from the Greek pagos, "standing
stone," and paga, "sacred spring," representing, respectively, the male
and female generative powers. Paganism is basically Nature worship.
'Pagan' is a proper noun or adjective denoting the name of a religion,
and as such, is properly always capitalized, as is 'Jewish' or 'Hin-
Religions can be roughly divided into two distinct categories: the
naturally evolving, indigenous "folk" religions of particular regions
and peoples (the Pagan religions), and on the other hand the "revealed"
religions: those religions owing their existence to a "revelation"
taught by some great "prophet" and formulated in various creeds and
dogmas. The latter category, of course, includes most of the "Great
Religions of Mankind:" Judeo-Christian-Islamic, Buddhist, Confucian,
etc. Though articulated by a great teacher, Lao-tsu, Taoism is
essentially Pagan in philosophy and attitude, while Hinduism and Shinto
are Pagan in origin and essence even though they have become institu-
tionalized as State religions.
Pagan religions are characterized by being "natural," both in
origin and mode of expression, as opposed to the artificiality of
constructed revealed religions. Paganism emerges out of the processes
of Life and Nature, and continues to evolve as a living, growing,
Revealed religions are like buildings: an architect (prophet) get
an inspiration (revelation) and lays down his vision in blueprints
(prophecy; scriptures). Then contractors, carpenters, masons, etc.
(disciples and followers) build the structure more or less according to
his specifications. It is made of non-living materials, and does not
grow naturally; it is assembled. When it is finished, it cannot grow
further, and begins to deteriorate, until it is eventually so outmoded
and rundown it is demolished to make way for new buildings. A world of
revealed religions is like unto a city, with all the problems (hunger,
war, hatreds, crime, pollution, dis-ease) of a city, and for much the
same reason: alienation from the life-flow.
A Pagan religion, on the other hand, is like a tree: it emerges
alive from the Earth, grows, changes (both cyclically through the
seasons, and continually in upward and outward growth), bears flowers
and fruit, and shares its life with other living beings. It is not made
or designed according to any blueprint other than genetic. And when,
after many thousands of years, perhaps, it should come to the end of its
time, it does not pass from the world entirely, for its own progeny
have, in the interval, begun to spring up all around, again from the
Earth, and again, similar yet each unique. A world of Pagan religions
is like a forest.
Paganism includes Animism, Pantheism, Shamanism and Totemism.
(Witchcraft is the survival or reconstruction of European Shamanism;
i.e., the magical arts of tribal peoples.) Pagan are the native
religions of the American Indians, the Africans, the various Island
peoples, many peasants in the mountains of Asia, the Aborigines of
Australia, and, at one time, the Gauls, Teutons, Norse, Celts and
Faeries (as the invading Saxons called the pygmy neolithic race they
encountered in the British Isles). Long before they encountered
Christianity, the Faeries (known to archaeologists as Pretani, or Picts)
had been forced by the Saxons onto the inhospitable Heaths of Britain,
later to be called "Heathens" by the Church. By 1500 CE, they had been
virtually exterminated, save for those who managed to intermarry or
exchange their infants for those of the invaders ("changelings").
Moreover, as it was later to do in the case of the Witches, who
inherited much of the Faery lore and religion, the Church began a
campaign to convince the world and future generations that these people
had never existed in the first place, but were merely imaginary! The old
Pagan religions were never "created". They had no founding prophets and
no saviors. They grew up with their people, and their origins are lost
in the mists at the dawn of humanity. What little we can trace
indicates a descent from paleolithic and neolithic "fertility cults,"
hence the common symbols of the Earth Mother Goddess, the Green Man and
the Horned Godัthe fecund embodiments of living Nature. We find them
therefore unanimous in their veneration of Nature and their sensual
celebration of life, birth, sex and death as expressed in the seasonal
Festivals of the Sacred Year. All these Great Festivals of Paganism,
wherever they may be found, correspond in common with the Solstices,
Equinoxes, and other natural annual cycles of life (animal mating and
birth seasons, planting, harvest).
Most of these remain with us today in more-or-less disguised form
as the so-called "Christian" holidays of Christmas (Yule), Easter
(Ostara), May Day (Beltane), Thanksgiving (Mabon or Harvest Home),
Halloween (Samhain) and even Groundhog's Day (Oimelc). In addition to
these six, there are two others, Litha (Midsummer) and Lughnasadh,
comprising a total of eight Festivals (or Sabbats, as they are known,
sometimes under different names, in Witchcraft). Thus it is obvious
that the rich heritage of Paganism forms a solid foundation for the
spontaneous emergence of a Neo-Pagan revival today. In the midst of our
current spiritual and ecological crisis, it is highly appropriate that
natural religions are once again finding a place among the children of
Modern Neo-Paganism, however, is somewhat distinct from the Old
Religion, in that it is to a large measure a relatively new phenomenon.
Neo-Pagan religions are many and diverse. They range from the sublimely
artistic Paradisal vision and reconstruction of old Pagan Mysteries of
Feraferia to the astrological divination and ancient Egyptian religion
of the Church of the Eternal Source, and from the Wiccan-oriented myth
and ritual of the Pagan Way to the transpersonal psychology, science-
fiction mythology and deep ecology of the Church of All Worlds. All of the dozens of Neo-Pagan religions now in existence, and most of
the countless sects of Witchcraft, however, do hold certain values in
common, and it is these values which relate them to Paganism in the
One of the key values of Neo-Paganism is its insistence on personal
responsibility. The Church of All Worlds expresses this in the phrase,
"Thou art God/dess," implying total personal freedom and individual
responsibility on the part of every one of us. Paganism has no concept
of "original sin," and hence has no need of saviors. Neo-Pagans do not
expect Divine retribution for breaking social taboos. Rather, concepts
of "sin" and "atonement" are restated in the framework of ecological
awareness and karma. If our actions are discordant and in opposition to
the evolutionary flow of Life, we suffer the ecological consequences, in
much the same way, and for exactly the same reason, as diseased cells in
the body are attacked by the antibodies and other natural defenses.
Whatever energy we put out returns to us multiplied threefold. Love
returns love; hate returns hate. Robert Ingersoll observed: "In Nature
there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences". The
total responsibility (and hence the total freedom) rests in our
As in the Old Religion, Neo-Pagans conceptualize Divinity as
manifest in the processes of Nature. Indeed, in a very literal sense,
Mother Nature, Mother Earth, is "Goddess," and She has been recognized
as such since time immemorial. Thus ecology is seen as the supreme
religious study: "Nature is Divinity made manifest...It is creativit-
y, continuity, balance, beauty and truth of life. "Everything we
encounter in the Biosphere is a part of Nature, and ecology reveals the
pattern of that is-ness, the natural relationships among all these
things and the Organic Unity of all of them as a Biospheric Whole. Thus
ecology shows the pattern of man's proper and creative involvement with
Nature, that Nature which encompasses his own life and on proper
relation to which his survival and development depend: Of all man's
secular studies, ecology comes closest to bringing him to the threshold
of religious relationship to his world. Ecology not only confirms the
wonders of form and function that other secular studies have revealed,
but it brings these into organic union with each other as one dynamic,
living Whole; and it points out the conditions for the wellbeing of both
this overall Unity and the parts that comprise it.
An intensive realization of these conditions, and of one's own
immediate role in their sustainment and development, brings one to the
threshold of religious awe. To worship Nature, therefore, is to
venerate and commune with Divinity as the dynamically organic perfection
of the whole. (Council of Themis, from Green Egg #43)
Neo-Paganism is a recent mutation of the Old Religion which had its
earliest emergence during the European Renaissance with the rediscovery
of the ancient Greek philosophers via Arabian texts brought by traveler-
s. However, this was also the time of the Burnings, and the budding
Neo-Pagan emergence was suppressed until the late 1700's, when it found
expression in the Romantic Period of art, music and literature,
especially in Germany.
This Romantic flowering of Neo-Paganism, especially the element
known as the Bavarian Illuminati (whose mottoes were "eternal flower
power" and "eternal serpent power"), greatly appealed to a visiting
American named Benjamin Franklin, and upon his return to the colonies,
it became a major spiritual force in the post-Revolutionary America of
the 1780s, where its influence continued to shape the new nation through
the presidencies of the Adams family. It was Monroe and the War of 1812
that managed to suppress this movement for a time, but it re-emerged 60
years later in the form of the Transcendentalist Movement, exemplified
in the poetry and writings of Whitman, Thoreau and Emerson, and the
overnight mushrooming of the commune movement in the 1840's. The Civil
War, Reconstruction, the conquest of the West and the Gold Rush drained
the Nature-oriented spiritual energy from the people of America for
another 60 years, but it blossomed again through the Art Nouveau
movement in the 1900's. Then came the World Wars, the Depression,
McCarthyism...60 more years had to pass before the gathering impact of
Eastern religious philosophy, especially Zen, and Existentialism gave
birth to the "hip" "underground" counter-culture of the Beatniks, whose
experimentation with drugs, sexuality, music, poetry, communal living
and alternate lifestyles paved the way for the Hippie phenomenon of the
1960's (which spontaneously resurrected the old Illuminati motto of
The seeds of Neo-Paganism which had again lain dormant for three
generations took root in such fertile soil, and emerged once more into
the light, to be joined in the '70s by the heirs of Wicca, the last
vestiges of the Old Religion of Europe. The New Religion is still very
much Paganism, for its inspiration and orientation today is based, as
was that of its predecessors, upon an understanding and relationship of
Humanity within the larger perspective of Life, Nature and the Universe.
Fred Adams of Feraferia coined the term "eco-psychic" to describe the
type of awareness that permeates the New Religion.
Revealed religions, especially of the monotheistic variety, tend to
see man as a special creation, exalted above all Nature, and the epitome
of God's handiwork. Thus the Biblical injunction to Man to "have
dominion over all the Earth" is not seen by Judeo-Christians as
outrageously presumptuous; nor is God's destruction of all life on Earth
in the legend of the Deluge seen as insanely immoral ecocide. Both God
and Man are considered to have a "divine right" to desecrate the Earth
at their pleasure. This is in direct opposition to the view of
Paganism, which sees humanity's duty not to conquer Nature, but to live
in harmony and stewardship with Her. Every revealed religion claims
to have its own direct pipeline to the Divinity, and its own essential
precepts from direct, unassailable revelation. Neo-Pagans, on the other
hand, have outgrown egotistical and temperamental gods, and expect no
intervention from some Big Daddy in the Sky to solve the problems of our
times. Instead, we look to Nature (through the clear glass of ecology)
for inspiration and direction, and to ourselves as the instrumentality
for all that needs to be done.
Thou art God/dess!
Otter G'Zell, 1970 (revised Jan. 8, 1991)
Neo-Pagan Witchcraft vs. Satanism:Confusions and Distinctions
by Otter and Morning Glory Zell
It seems to be necessary to preface every discussion of Witchcraft
with an explanation that, no, Neo-Pagan Witches aren't Satanists. The
Christian anti-God, Satan, has no place in Pagan pantheons, either
mythologically or theologically. Plainly and simply, Satanism is the
dark side of Christianity, and Satan is nothing other than the collec-
tive Id of Christendom.
Even today, Witchcraft is frequently misrepresented by being
confused with Satanism. Often the word Witchcraft is used to represent
two wholly opposite phenomena: the survival of ancient Paganism in one
instance, and the inversion of Christianity in another. Let us make it
clear: a Satanist is a renegade Christian, who, in his rebellion
against the authority of the church, worships Satan rather than Christ.
Such people are at times called witches and warlocks in popular books
and movies but they have little to do with Pagan Witches. Satanists,
for one thing, accept the Christian duality between good and evil;
Pagans do not. Satanists may choose to worship evil rather than good:
but they have utterly bought the Christian world view".1
The word Pagan derives from the Latin paganus, meaning "peasant" or
"country dweller". It is correctly applied to indigenous (native)
pantheistic folk religions and peoples. The term "Neo-Paganism" is
applied to the current revival of ancient Pagan religious values,
including the sacredness of all Life and the worship of Nature. Modern
Witchcraft has been a major component of the Neo-Pagan resurgence since
England repealed its anti-Witchcraft laws in 1951.The Goddess and the
God of Witchcraft The many traditions of Neo-Pagan Witchcraft have few
universal theological precepts, but one of them is certainly the
veneration of the Moon Goddess, known most commonly by her Roman name,
Diana. She is perceived as manifesting in triple form: as Maiden,
Mother and Crone. These triple aspects are identified respectively with
the waxing, full, and waning moons. Witches gather at esbats every full
moon, to sing and dance in Her moonlight, share cakes and wine, and work
magic to heal each other, their friends, and the Earth. Many modern
Witches expand the concept of the Goddess considerably, and see Her also
as Mother Earth and Mother Nature.
Most traditions of Neo-Pagan Witchcraft also honor the Consort of
the Goddess in the form of the Horned God, who is seen as Lord of
Animals as well as seasonal ruler of the Underworld. The most familiar
version of the Horned God is the Greek Pan, goat-horned and goat-hooved,
playing His panpipes, guzzling wine from His freely-flowing wineskin,
and seducing nymphs in the woods. He is regarded as lusty and jovial,
epitomizing masculine attributes of ideal father, brother or lover. As
the Goddess of Witchcraft is closely identified with the Moon, so the
God is identified with the Sun. In this way He may be seen mythologi-
cally as the lover both of the Moon and of the Earth. Another of His
many epithets is "Lord of Light". Every light casts its shadows, and
the Lord of Shadows is the other face of the Lord of Light. Lord of the
Underworld is the title of the God in Winter when He goes underground
with the animals to hibernate. Some traditions had Him alternate with
His brother as husband to the eternal Goddess. Others, as in the Greek
Hades, had a year-round God of the Underworld, "The Devil."
It is essential to clarify the historic relationship of Pan and the
Devil, as Christianity has tended to confuse the two, giving rise to the
accusation that Pagans are Devil-worshipers because some Pagan gods have
horns. Once and for all, the Christian Devil is not the God of the
Witches! The genesis of the Devil comes from a merging of two concepts:
Satan and Lucifer. The original meaning of the word satan is "adve-
rsary", and his inclusion in the Bible represents an attempt by later
apologists of the Old Testament to justify the more negative actions of
a benevolent God (such as the persecution of Job) by attributing the
actual dirty work to a testing spirit; the original "devil's advocate".
This entity was not considered evil until after the Persian conquest
introduced the Hebrews to the Zoroastrian dualism of Ahura-Mazda (the
good God) vs. Ahriman (the evil God). This later manifested in Chris-
tianity as Manichean dualism. The Manichean equation was brutally
simple: God=Good; Devil=Evil. But it was not until the year 447 CE
that the Council of Toledo declared the legal existence of the Devil as
an actual entity, though he was still not thought of as necessarily
manifesting in human form.
The Lucifer story is a mish-mashed retelling of the Canaanite myth
about the overthrow of Baal by Mot and the usurpation of Baal's throne
by Athar, the god of the morning star. The original Hebrew name for
Lucifer was helel ben shahar meaning "son of the day star" (the planet
Venus). The name Lucifer ("light bearer"), a Romano-Etruscan title of
the Sun God, was erroneously used when the Bible was first translated
Various shadow gods or divine adversaries contributed to the
creation of the Devil, including the Canaanite Moloch or Mot, the
Egyptian Set or Suteck and the Roman Saturn.
Judeo-Christian theologians placed all Pagan gods and goddesses in an
adversary position to Yahweh, the god of Israel, who, as a monotheistic
deity, cannot share a pantheon. This is a profound cultural difference
from Pagan pantheons and polytheistic peoples who co-existed together,
whether or not in harmony. Also since unbridled sexuality, especially
for females, was defined by Judeo-Christianity as evil, Pagan gods and
goddesses who were especially sexual or sensual garnered the new sect's
particular hatred. Pan (who instills panic) and Dionysus were neither
evil nor adversary deities, but because of their riotous celebrations
the Devil acquired Pan's horns and hooves and Dionysus' ambiguously mad
and bibulous nature. This final equation of the Pagan Horned God with
Satan was not established, however, until the year 1486, when the
Dominicans Kramer and Sprenger published the Malleus Malificarum, or
"Hammer of the Witches", wherein they gave the first physical descrip-
tion of the Devil as he is commonly depicted today, declaring that this
was the god worshiped by those they wanted to call "witches", thereby
justifying the centuries of terrible persecution inflicted upon those
who clung faithfully to their worship of the elder gods.
Witchcraft and Shamanism Witches were the shamans, or medicine men
and women, of the tribal Celtic peoples of Europe, and they functioned
in the same fashion as shamans of any other tribal culture, be it
American Indians, Africans, or Australian Aborigines. In fact, and in
time-honored tradition, shamans are still commonly referred to as "Witch
Shamans are specialists in herbal lore, and the Witches of Pagan
Europe were no exception. Usually, but not exclusively, women, they
practiced herbal medicine, midwifery, augury, spellcasting, and
counseling. Often dwelling alone out in the woods, Witches lived close
to Nature, and attuned to Her cycles. Their gardens grew not only food,
but also many kinds of herbs, including those valued for their medic-
inal, anesthetic and hallucinogenic properties. In a period of time
when good Christian folk maintained only those domestic animals that
could be considered "livestock" (i.e., useful to humans), Witches
frequently kept wild animal pets: foxes, ferrets, owls, ravens and of
course, the ubiquitous cats. Such became known, appropriately enough, as
familiars. When Witches came to be persecuted, so did these familiar
animals, and the brutal capture, torture and burning of millions of cats
that accompanied the Witch burnings begat the horrible Black Plague that
devastated Europe in the 14th century, for the cats had kept the rat
populations under control, and it was rat fleas that were the carrier of
the bubonic plague bacillus."The Burning Times"
It is sadly ironic that, though the practitioners of Witchcraft
have historically suffered real abuse and persecution, the Witch has
somehow continued to be misrepresented as the villain. Christianity did
not become the world's dominant religion by peaceful conversion, but by
the sword and stake. As the legions of Caesar had forged the Roman
Empire over the dead bodies of countless tribal peoples of Europe, so
did its heir, the Holy Roman Empire, continue the tradition. Declaring
them "heresies", agents of the Holy Inquisition hunted out and ruth-
lessly exterminated every religion, sect or tradition that would not
convert to "The One True Right And Only Way". Witches, however, lived
outside of any organized religious structure and were largely ignored
until the 13th century, when the Church had finally gained enough power
to deal with grass-roots Paganism. "In the 13th century the Church
opened its long-drawn-out conflict with Paganism in Europe by declaring
"Witchcraft' to be a "sect' and heretical. It was not til the 14th
century that the two religions came to grips. . . In 1324 the bishop of
Ossory tried Dame Alice Kyteler in his ecclesiastical court for the
crime of worshiping a deity other than the Christian God. . .
"The 15th century marks the first great victories of the Church.
Beginning with the trials in Lorraine in 1408, the Church moved
triumphantly against Joan of Arc and her followers in 1431, against
Gilles de Rais and his coven in 1440, and against the Witches of Brescia
in 1457. Towards the end of the century the Christian power was so
well-established that the Church felt the time had come for an organized
attack, and in 1484 Pope Innocent VIII published his Bull against
"Witches.' All through the 16th and 17th centuries the battle raged.
The Pagans fought a gallant, though losing, fight against a remorseless
and unscrupulous enemy; every inch of the field was disputed, but the
Christian policy of obtaining influence over the rulers and law-givers
was irresistible. Vae victis ["woe to the conquered"] was also the
policy of the Christians, and we see the priests of the Papacy gloating
over the thousands they had consigned to the flames while the ministers
of the Reformed Churches hounded on the administrators of the law to
condemn the "devil worshipers.' What could have been the feelings with
which those unhappy victims regarded the vaunted God of Love, the Prince
of Peace, whose votaries condemned them to torture and death? What
wonder that they clung to their old faith, and died in agony unspeakable
rather than deny their God".3 It should also be pointed out that the
court recorders at the Witch trials were specifically instructed that,
whatever gods or goddesses the accused actually claimed to worship, what
went into the record was "Satan" or "The Devil". And what wonder if
some of those who had come to believe the Biblical history taught them
by the missionaries, monks and priests of the conquering faith,
concluded that the story must have gotten it wrong somehow? That if
there had indeed been a rebellion in heaven, it was clearly evident that
the winner had not been the God of love and peace, as his propagandists
claimed, but rather a God of cruelty and evil; of war and violence,
wrath and jealousy. (This had, in fact, been an old Gnostic tradition.)
The clear implication was that the defeated Lucifer must have been
the good guy, and surely many must have swarmed to his allegiance in
this belief. While true adherents of the Old Religions certainly knew
better, and continued their faith entirely distinct from Christianity,
there were surely, then as now, many ignorant people who were simply too
unsophisticated or too illiterate to question the Christian paradigm
once it became established. And thus did Satanism as a belief and a
practice come into being, spawned by the Church, and forever to be
locked together with it in a fatal embrace of mutual antagonism.
Whether or not the persecuted peasantry who came to side with Satan
against their oppressors thought of themselves as "Witches", the Church
and the authorities of the Holy Inquisition certainly identified them as
such: "The heart and centre of the persecution of Witches was that
they were Satanists, that they had rejected the rightful God and given
their allegiance to his arch-opponent, and that in their "sabbaths' or
meetings they worshiped the ruler of evil, carnality and filth. Some of
those accused as Witches do seem to have taken the Devil for their god,
worshiping him as an equal opponent of the Christian God, over whom he
would eventually triumph. They looked to Satan for power and pleasure
in this world and for a happy future in the next, and they vilified
Christ as a traitor and a cheat, who had made promises which he did not
keep, and who had gone away to live in heaven while Satan remained with
his faithful on earth".4 "The Witches and sorcerers of early times were
a widely spread class who had retained the beliefs and traditions of
heathenism with all its license and romance and charm of the forbidden.
. . in their ranks every one who was oppressed or injured either by the
nobility or the church. They were treated with indescribable cruelty,
in most cases worse than beasts of burden, for they were outraged in all
their feelings, not at intervals for punishment, but habitually by
custom, and they revenged themselves by secret orgies and fancied
devil-worship, and occult ties, and stupendous sins, or what they
fancied were such. I can seriously conceive: what no writer seems to
have considered: that there must have been an immense satisfaction in
selling or giving one's self to the devil, or to any power which was at
war with their oppressors. So they went by night, at the full moon, and
sacrificed to Diana, or "later on' to Satan, and they danced and
rebelled. It is very well worth noting that we have all our accounts of
sorcerers and heretics from Catholic priests, who had every earthly
reason for misrepresenting them, and did so. In the vast amount of
ancient Witchcraft still surviving in Italy, there is not much anti-
Christianity, but a great deal of early heathenism. Diana, not Satan,
is still the real head of the Witches".5
Since Witchcraft is still little understood by the general public,
whose images are shaped mostly by the popular media, Witches continue to
be easy targets for persecution. It must be remembered that, in the
previous episodes of Witchcraft persecution hysteria, it was the Witches
who were the victims, not the Christians. Witches, and those con-
veniently accused of being Witches, died by the millions during the
terrible centuries of the holocaust they remember as "The Burning
Times". They do not wish to repeat that experience today.6
Notes and References:
1. Jong, Erica, Witches (New American Library, New York,1981) p. 52
2. Zell, Morning Glory, "The Lord of Light", Green Egg, Vol. XXI, No.
82; Aug. 1, 1988 (POB 1542, Ukiah, CA 95482) p. 12
3. Murray, Margaret, The God of the Witches (Oxford Univ. Press, NY,
1931) pp. 21-22
4. Cavendish, Richard, "Satanism", Encyclopedia of Man, Myth and
Magic, Vol. 18 (Marshall Cavendish, NY, 1970) p. 2479
5. Leland, Charles Godfrey, Legends of Florence, (David Nutt, London,
6. Guiley, Rosemary, Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft (Facts on
File, NY, 1989)
WHERE THE HELL IS THE CHURCH OF ALL WORLDS
WHERE WE'RE AT:
The Church of All Worlds offers a religious position uniquely suited to
the enlightened, inquiring modern mind. In harmony with the principles
and conclusions of science, receptive to the values and wisdom of the
ancients and the great religions of humanity, sensitive to the deep
psychological and spiritual needs of all people, the Church of All
Worlds aspires to be the kind of free, growing and unifying religion
that today's and tomorrow's world so urgently needs.
The Church of All Worlds is Neo-Pagan : a modern Earth Religion - an
orientation chosen because of its traditional associations with Life and
the processes of Nature, which we consider an appropriate religious
orientation for the emerging Aquarian Age. As Western civilisation has
been to a great degree the product of the past two thousand years of
Piscean Age Chrisianity, so do we envision a new whole-Earth culture of
transformative religious ecology to become the product of the next epoch
of Aquarian Age Neo-Paganism. In common with many other Neo-Pagan
religions, CAW presents a life-affirming religious philosophy for the
joyous unification of eros, ethos and ecos; of cult, culture and
We consider the Church of All Worlds to be radically evolutionary in
concept, rather than revolutionary. We see the evolution of Life on
Earth as moving towards a point of actualisation whereby the entire
planet will come to share a single vast global consciousness. We see
humanity being instrumental in the course of that evolution. As humans
seem to be the only creatures on the planet capable of disrupting entire
ecosystems, it becomes our manifest responsibility through our unique
freedom of choice to prevent such systems from being disrupted. We are
not anti-technology or science, for we recognise that certain scientific
and technological advances, such as ecology, geology, astronomy,
psychology, archaeology, cybernetics, astrophysics, communications
and the technology of the bio-renaissance can be positively evolutionary
and in harmony with the accelerating advance of planetary consciousness.
What we oppose is the senseless use of industrial technology to wreak
havok with the planetary ecosystem, often in the name of the Biblical
injunction that Man is to have "dominion over the Earth." We percieve
our not as dominion, but as responsible stewardship.
Applying evolutionary concepts to each individual, we agree with Erich
Fromm that the purpose of life is "to become what we potentially are."
We identify strongly with the concepts of human self-actualisation
identified by Abraham Maslow and found in transpersonal psychology and
ethics. Rejecting utterly concepts of predestination and inherent sin,
we affirm the ultimate freedom and responsibility appropriate to
conscious entities, which we express in the phrase "Thou Art God/dess,"
derived from Robert Heinlein's novel, 'Stranger in a Strange Land.' This
implies that each one of us must define our own specific purpose. There
is no excuse; no shelter from the awesome responsibility of total
Recognising that all Life on Earth comprises a single vast living
Entity, which has been intuitively conceptualised as a feminine from
time immemorial, we are in harmony with our Pagan ancestors who
worshipped The Goddess: Mother Earth, Mother Nature. Thus we also affirm
mystically and mythically the pantheistic conceptualisation of immanent
divinity inherent in all living entities, as synergic living Nature, for
we define divinity as the highest level of aware consciousness acces-
sible to each living being, manifesting itself in the self-actualisation
of that being. Hence, "Thou Art God/dess" applies equally to a person,
a tree, a grasshopper or a planet.
As Neo-Pagans, we are concerned, not with life after death, but with
life after birth. We have no dogmas of immortality, considering that
whatever one believes about an afterlife, may very well be what one
gets. We view death as an evolutionary prerequisite for the emergence of
new life, and so we return the dead to the Earth, from which the
elements of their energy and matter will eventually be recycled and
reconstituted into the energy and matter of other life forms. Other than
our ecological responsibility of returning to the Earth that which we
have taken from Her, we are not concerned with dying, but with living.
We are deeply concerned with improving the quality of that life, to
which end we agree with population ecologists that its quantity (in
sheer numbers of people) must be drastically reduced. Thus we are
strongly supportive of the various measures of birth control advocated
by such agencies as Planned Parenthood, including full legalisation of
abortion. We greatly fear that if humanity does not choose to limit its
numbers by reducing births, Nature will do it for us by increasing
WHERE WE'RE GOING:
The word 'Religion' means "re-linking." The basic committment of the
Church of All Worlds is to the re-integration of people with themselves,
their fellow humans, and with the whole of living Nature. In company
with all other Pagan peoples, we create no artificial demarkations
between the sacred and the secular, for we recognise that religion must
ultimately be an entire way of life, not merely some ritual acts
performed once a week. We are committed to developing an organic,
vitalistic philosophy of life and its expression in an organic culture.
To this end, then, the Church of All Worlds devotes itself to those who
need or want the help and understanding through the processes of
unlearning and learning. It is our aim to offer assistance through any
personal expansion programs found to be effective. Furthermore, we
intend to remain openminded and receptive to new ideas, interests and
goals, and learn to live responsibly and responsively with each other.
We advocate envolvement with every conceivable aspect of the emerging
Gaian culture, from religious service and mythology to family relations
and child rearing; from education to ecology; from psychic development
to space travel; from the sensual to the sexual; from intentional
communities to planetary government and world peace. "Nothing short of
everything will ever really do." We are engaged in the eclectic
reconstruction of ancient Nature religions, combining archetypes of many
cultures with other mystic and spiritual disciplines. But we are not
just trying to re-create a Paradise Lost; we are actively working to
actualise a visionary future. With roots deep in the Earth and branches
reaching towards the stars, we evoke and create myths not only of a
Golden Age long past, but also of one yet to come...
Since we are concerned with the emergent evolution of a total new
culture and lifestyle, and since we perceive no distinction between the
sacred and the secular, we consider every activity to be essentially a
religious activity. For us, taking our cans and bottles to the
recycling centre is as much a religious duty as prayer and meditation.
And so are composting our garbage, growing organicl vegetables,
practicing birth control, using bio-degradable products, boycotting
tuna, training and study, protecting animals and celebration of the
seasons. We recognise that the essence of a religion is in the living of
WHERE WE CAME FROM:
The Church of All Worlds traces its history back to 1962, when a "water
brotherhood" called "Atl" was formed by Tim Zell and Lance Christie at
Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. During the mid 60's the group
was centered on the University of Oklahoma campus at Norman and operated
under the name "Atlan Foundation". A periodical "The Atlan Torch" (later
"The Atlan Annals") was published from 1962-1968. In 1968, following a
move to St. Louis, the Church of All Worlds was incorporated, becoming
the first of the Neo-Pagan/Earth Religions to obtain full federal
recognition. In March of that year, the Green Egg appeared. From its
inauspicious beginnings as a one page ditto sheet, it grew over 80
issues into a 60 page journal, evolving into the most significant
periodical in the Pagan movement during the 1970's. After a 10 year
hiatus while the original staff moved to northern California to
experience a life of homesteading in the mountain wilderness, the Green
Egg resumed publication in 1988 with its 81st edition.
The Church of All Worlds took much inspiration from the 1961 science
fiction classic, 'Stranger in a Strange Land' by Robert Heinlein. In the
novel, the stranger, Michael Valentine Smith, was an earthman born on
Mars and raised by Martians. Among his other adventures upon being
brought to earth was the formation of the "Church of All Worlds". The
"Church" was built around "Nests," a combination of congregation and
expanded family. A basic concept was "grokking" i.e. the ability to be
fully empathic. It also emphasised the experience of co-equal love
between sexes. The common greeting was "thou Art God;" as recognition of
the immanent divinity in each person.
The basic theology of the real-life Church of All Worlds is a form of
pantheism which focusses on immanent rather than transcendant divinity.
The most important theological statement came in the form of revelatory
writings by Tim (now Otter) Zell in 1970-1973, on the theory which later
became known as the "Gaia Thesis". This concept is a biological
validation of an ancient intuition: that the planet is a single living
organism; Mother Earth (Gaia). Pantheists hold as divine the living
spirit of Nature. Thus to CAW recognises Gaia, Pan and other nature
spirits as the Divine Pantheon. In this manner, the Church of All Worlds
became a forerunner of the Deep Ecology movement.
Though the Church maintains an egalitarian rather than matriarchal
social structure, nevertheless, through its focus on Mother Nature as
Goddess, its recognition and ordination of women to the priesthood, and
the important central policy making positions held by women in the
Church, CAW can rightly be held to be the first Eco-Feminist Church. We
are not a secret or members only organisation, and we welcome partici-
pation by all who are sincerely interested in our path regardless of
race, sex, national or cultural origins or sexual preference. We support
unity through diversity. Our only creed states: "The Church of All
Worlds is dedicated to the celebration of life, the maximum actualisa-
tion of human potential and the realisation of ultimate individual
freedom and personal responsibility in harmonious eco-psychic relation-
ship with the total Biosphere of Holy Mother Earth"
Worship in the Church involves weekly or monthly meeting which are held
usually in the homes of nest members on a rotational basis. The basic
liturgical form is a Circle where members take turns in sharing their
creativity. A chalice of water is always shared around the Circle either
as the opening or closing of the ceremony. Other events are celebrated
at the Church retreat sanctuary, a 55 acre parcel of land called
"Annwfn" in Northern California. It is maintained by a small residential
community of caretakers. In addition to various campfire and ritual
areas, the land has several hand-built buildings including a two-storey
temple, plus a garden, an orchard and a small pond. It has limited solar
electricity, propane hot water and a radio telephone, but no TV. In
addition to the eight Celtic seasonal festivals, we hold handfastings,
vision quests, rites of passage, workshops, retreats, work parties,
summer camps and staff meetings on the land.
As in "Stranger in a Strange Land", congregations of the Church of All
Workds are called nests, and quite a few are currently in existance
around the world. See the latest issue of Green Egg for listings to
find the nest nearest you.
Over the years, the Church has founded a number of subsidiary branch
orders through which we practice and teach our religion. These include:
NEMETON - Founded in 1972 by Gwydion Pendderwen and Alison Harlow, this
is the publishing arm. Tapes, records, songbooks, T-shirts,
figurines, jewelery and philosophical tracts. Catalog $US 1.
FOREVER FORESTS - Founded in 1977 by Gwydion Pendderwen, this is the
Churches ecology branch. Sponsors tree planting rituals and
environmental actions. Has stewardship of Annwfn, the Church
ECOSOPHICAL RESEARCH ASSN - Founded in 1977 by Morning Glory Zell, the
ERA is devoted to research and exploration in the fields of
history, mythology, and natural sciences.
LIFEWAYS - Founded in 1983 by Anodea Judith, this is the teaching
order. Offers workshops, classes, healing rituals and
training for the priesthood.
PEACEFUL ORDER OF MOTHER EARTH - Founded 1n 1988 by Willowoak, POEM is
dedicated to children and child nurturing. Provides enriching
activities for children at gatherings, summer camps,and a quarterly childrens magazine, 'How About Magic?'
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Director of Australian Operations,
PO Box 408,
Woden, ACT, 2606,
FAX (06) 299 4100
PHONE (06) 299 2432
What is Myth?
This article appeared in Web of Wyrd #10, and is by Anna from Canberra.
Mythology can be approached from various perspectives, such as anthropo-
logical, sociological, folk-lorist, psychological and metaphysical. Our
understanding of what myth is depends on the perspective we use. The
folk-lorist is interested in the variety of myths and their spread with
migrations of peoples. The anthropologists study myth as part of a
peoples' culture. The sociologist is interested in how it helps society
to function. The psychologist studies its effects on peoples' perspec-
tives, and how it helps them cope with the world in which they live. The
occultist and mystic regard it as a tool to help them achieve their
aims, whether that be union with the divine, or a greater understanding
of themselves and the divine within. Myth occurs in the history of
most, if not all, human traditions and communities, and is a basic
constituent of human culture. It occurs both with and without associated
rites (though not all rites have myths associated with them). This paper
discusses the purpose of myth, and how we may use myth more effectively
in the magical context.
Some definitions of myth:
"Myth is the secret opening through which the
inexhaustible energy of the cosmos pour through into human
(Campbell: The Masks of God - Primitive Mythology)
"Myth is a psychic phenomenon that reveals the nature of
Jung: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious)
"Myths are accounts about how the world came to be the
way it is, about a super-ordinary realm of events before (or
behind) the natural world."
(Keesing: Cultural Anthropology - a Contemporary
"A myth is a statement about society and man's place in
it and the surrounding universe."
(Middleton: Myth and Cosmos)
"Myth is a collective term used for one kind of symbolic
communication and specifically indicates one basic form of
religious symbolism, as distinguished from symbolic behaviour
(cult, ritual) and symbolic places or objects (such as temples
and icons). Myths are specific accounts concerning gods or
superhuman beings and extraordinary events or circumstances at
a time that is altogether different from that of ordinary
From these definitions it can be seen that myth has two functions,
esoteric and exoteric. The exoteric function is to: "...bind the
individual to his family's system of historically-conditioned senti-
ments, as a functioning member of a sociological organism." (Campbell:
In this role myth is exploratory and narrative. An example is the North
American tale: Old man saw a circle of cottontail rabbits singing and
making medicine; they would lie in the ashes of a hot fire and sing
while one of their number covered them up; it was lots of fun. Old Man
asked to be shown how to do this, and was covered in the coals and ashes
and was not burnt. Then he wanted to be the one to cover up the others,
and all the rabbits jumped into the fire. Only one got out, who was
about to have babies; Old Man let her go so that there would continue to
be rabbits. She went off with a dark place on her back where she got
singed, which all rabbits since have had. The others he roasted and laid
on red willow brush to cool. The grease soaked into the branches and
even today, if you hold red willow over a fire, you will see the grease
on the bark. This myth is explanatory; it explains two observed
features of the natural world.
Another myth explains not the natural world, but the use man puts it to.
This is an Ojibway myth explaining the origin of maize and man's use of
it. To summarise this myth: a young man went to the forest to fast for
seven days and search for his spirit guide or guardian. During this
period he was visited by a richly-dressed handsome young man, sent by
the Great Spirit, whom he had to wrestle, despite his weakness from his
fast. Before the last time the visitor told him he would prevail this
time, and gave him instructions: how to prepare the ground, how to bury
his body, how to care for the ground after, and how to harvest the maize
that would grow. This he did, so his people now have maize. This myth
not only explains the origin of maize, but also gives instructions for
planting, care and harvesting, thus ensuring that all the tribe know how
to grow it, as well as learn where it came from. Other myths are
justifying and validating, answering questions about the nature and
foundation of ritual and cultic customs.
An example is the Blackfoot myth about the origin of the Buffalo Dance.
The Blackfeet hunt buffalo by chasing them over a cliff, but at one time
they could not induce the animals to the fall, and the people were
starving. A young woman, seeing a herd of buffalo near the edge of the
fall said, "if you will only jump into the canal, I shall marry one of
you." The buffalo did so, and a big bull came and carried her off. Her
father came looking for her, but was trampled to pieces by the buffalo.
The woman got a piece of his backbone and sang over it until his body
was restored and he was alive again. The buffalo allowed the woman and
her father to go, on condition that they learn the dance and song of the
buffalo, and not forget them. For these would be the magical means by
which the buffalo killed by the people for their food should be restored
to life, just as the man killed by the buffalo was restored. This myth
tells the people why they do the dance, and the consequences if they
don't. It is also a piece of sympathetic magic designed to increase the
fertility of the buffalo herds when the dance is performed. As such it
gives them a sense of control over some of the important factors of
their environment and indicates appropriate action if the buffalo do
Myths also have a descriptive function, explaining facts beyond normal
reason and observation. Creation myths are an example. The Norse
creation myth describes Niffleheim forming out of the Abyss, with ice to
the north and fire to the south.
From the melting ice where these two realms met formed a giant, Ymir,
and a cow, Audmulla, who became the wet-nurse of the gods. From Ymir
came the frost giants, and Audmulla's licking of the ice freed the
progenitors of the gods, Odin, Vile and Ve. And so the myth goes on,
describing the creation of the world, the gods and mankind. This myth
does not describe or explain the world as it is, but how it came about
in the first place. It is an explanation of something that man couldn't
see or comprehend, that is beyond his knowledge and experience.
One purpose of myth is to help tie a community together. When
myth is expressed in ritual, it builds the community, or
specific segments of it, together. An example is the
Aborigines' use of myth in boys' initiation rites. Myths are
revealed to the boys as part of their initiation to manhood;
since the women and children do not know these mysteries, they
serve to bind the men together, and important factor for a
group that needs to hunt together.
Myth gives a community a common framework, a common view of
the world. The whole community has the same understanding of
why the world is the way that it is. It also tells them how to
behave in certain circumstances and why they should do so; why
their society is structured the way that it is, and what will
happen if they break cultural taboos.
An example in our cultural context is the myth of David and
Goliath. This myth tells us how to behave in a situation where
we are faced with overwhelming odds. It teaches us courage
rather than running away, and suggests an approach that can be
used to cope with the situation.
Myth provides the moral values of the culture. Many of our
moral values, for example, come from the Christian myths. The
story of David and Goliath is one reason why we revere
courage. Murder and theft are regarded as wrong, evil, as the
myth of Moses teaches us. The myth of Noah and the Ark tells
us of the consequences of evil and righteousness. To summarise
then, myth provides a guide for the individual throughout his
life; one that aids him to live in health, strength, and
harmony in the particular society in which he was born.
Myth also has an esoteric function, which is almost the opposite of the
exoteric function. Myth transforms the individual, detatching him from
his local historical and cultural condition, and leading him to some
kind of ineffable experience. It provides a bridge between an in-
dividual's local consciousness and universal consciousness. Myth and
rites constitute a mesocosm, a mediating middle cosmos through which
the microcosm of the individual is brought into relation with the
macrocosm of the all, the universe. Myth, "... fosters the centering and
unfolding of the universe in integrity with himself (microcosm), his
culture (mesocosm), the universe (macrocosm) and finally with the
ultimate creative mystery that is both beyond and within himself and all
things." (Houston: The Search for the Beloved)
Myth bridges the gap between ourselves and godhead, providing a path
that we may use to become aware of the cosmos, the godhead. In this
context, R J Stewart describes creation myths not as explorations but
as, "... resonant re-creations that echo the original creation... an
organic timeless flow of images and narrative within which such
questions [of the nature of the world] were by-passed altogether, for
the 'answers' of such mythology come from deep levels of
consciousness, in which universal patterns or intimations are
apprehended." (Stewart: The Elements of Creation Myth)
When we imagine a creation myth, irrespective of our belief or
disbelief in the myth, we re-create or re-balance ourselves. Another
function of myth is to act as a filter. The full, unadulterated
experience of the universal consciousness is more than our minds are
capable of holding, and there are those who went too far and fell into
psychosis and other imbalances as a result. Myth provides a way of
experiencing universal consciousness or godhead without it overwhelming
us to the point where we cannot return to ourselves.
There is an alternative way of looking at the esoteric levels of myth.
C G Jung considers mythological processes to be, "symbolic expressions
of the inner unconscious drama of the psyche which becomes accessible to
man's consciousness by way of projection." (Jung: ibid.) He views the
unconscious as having two levels; personal and collective. The personal
unconscious contains experiences that have been forgotten, whereas the
collective unconscious has contents and modes of behaviour that have
never been through consciousness, and are more or less the same
everywhere and in everyone. The contents of the collective unconscious
are called archetypes.They are expressed in myth and fairy-tale in a
specific form, but can also be experienced by the individual in a more
naive and less understandable form as dreams and visions.
An archetype is a memory deposit, derived from endless repetition of a
typical situation in life. It is the psychic expression of an anatomi-
cally physiologically determined natural tendency. Archetypes are
normally referred to as figures; the wise old man, the mother, the
trickster. However, they also include experiences, of which an example
is the birth experience. Everyone goes through this experience, so it
has made a strong imprint on the collective unconscious. As a result,
rebirth experiences are a very powerful mythic image, and form the core
of initiation rites and the process of becoming a shaman.
For example, as part of his initiation into manhood, and Arandan boy,
after the trauma of circumcision (which mirrors the birth trauma),
stands in the smoke of a fire, a repetition of the smoking he underwent
as soon as he was born. Similarly, many shamans, ind escribing the
experience that made them a shaman, report being swallowed or eaten by
an animal or spirit person, then being reborn. Taking on a new name at
initiation is an outward symbol of the rebirth that has occurred.
Archetypes have given rise to the eternal images in myth and religion.
These are meant to attract, convince, fascinate, overpower. They give
man an experience of the divine, while at the same time protecting him
from being completely overwhelmed. In this sense, archetypes and mythic
images are the same; they are both the gateway for this experience of
the divine. They are an image or a reflection of a god or goddess,
but are not the divine itself.
In the Greek creation myth Gaea is the archetype of the earth mother,
the image of that aspect of godhead; the image that allows us to reach
out and touch that aspect of godhead.
However the mythic image of Gaea, the archetype image from the myth, is
not actually godhead itself. Both are filters, not the actuality.
Jung sees archetypes as having psychological as well as metaphysical
significance. In our daily lives our attention is focused outwards to
deal with the world, and we lose contact with our inner world, powers in
our psyche such as creativity. Myth is a means to bring us back in touch
with these inward forces. When archetypes are activated in our lives we
have two choices: either let the archetype have its way irrespective of
other factors, or block it, producing a conflict that leads to neurosis.
Jung sees the symbols of modern psychology analogous to those of myth,
and considers that we have replaced myth by psychology. We have done so
as a result of a growing impoverishment of symbols; as our culture has
become more scientific and rational, we have analysed our cultural
mythic symbols until they have appeared to die, leaving us with a
culture that seems superficial to many.
Some individuals have coped with this by turning to the myths of other
cultures, leading to the popularity of eastern philosophy in western
culture. Others haven't coped at all, hence the increased violence,
crime, despair, suicide, and so on, of our culture. Some are developing
new modern myths, imspired by visions such as the blue-green jewel of
the earth seen from space.
Because myth is a means of regeneration for both the individual and the
group, this turning to old myths, to myths of other cultures and to new
myths coming out of our culture is seen by people such as Campbell as
the beginning of a new age, a rebirth of mankind. Whether this is so
remains to be seen.
What does this teach us about the use of myth in magic? What we often do
in Wicca is to take an old myth and apply it or adapt it in some way for
our use in ritual. Understanding the distinction between the two levels
of myth, exoteric and esoteric, aids in this adaptation. To modify a
myth for use in ritual, those aspects of the myth relating only to the
exoteric, ie the explanatory and justifying aspects, can be excluded
with impunity. However, those aspects relating to the esoteric function
(some, of course, may relate to both) cannot be excluded or modified
without changing or destroying the myth's ability to take us beyond
ourselves and towards the universal consciousness.
Another aspect to consider is how this journey to universal conscious-
ness is achieved. To experience myth fully requires the willing
suspension of disbelief. Logic is set aside, imagination comes into
play, and the masks used change from the symbolic to the actuality.
Enactment of the myth becomes, not people masked and dressed up, but
reality itself. Children do this easily; to a child playing, a piece of
wood is a person or a horse, to the extent that the child can become
terrified of a piece of wood that at the beginning of the game he or she
pretended was a monster. To the adult westerner with his developed
rational mind this is more difficult, and much of western occult
training is aimed at attaining this child-like state of experiencing the
world and myth again.
Meditation stills the active mind. Visualisation and imagination create
the symbols, the game, the mythic images. Ritual gives the images life,
enacting the myth so that it might impact upon the individual. Con-
centration maintains the images long enough that the desired effect is
attained. The result: contact with, and experience of, universal
Finally, the fate of our cultural myths warns us of a danger that lies
in wait with the myths we use. The mind is a powerful tool that is very
useful in magic; eg, it can prevent us from falling into the trap of
self-delusion. However, abuse of the mind in relation to myths can be
destructive. Myths are experiential. If we analyse and explain away the
myths we use in the same way our culture has recently done with its own
myths, we run the risk of devaluing them to the extent that they no
longer have an impact on us and can no longer be used effectively to
Campbell J: "The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology"
(Penguin Books, New York, 1969)
"Myths to Live By" (Bantam Books, New York, 1972)
Encycopaedia Britannica, vol 12, macropaedia, 15th edition,1978
Houston J: "The Search for the Beloved. Journeys in Mythology and
Sacred Psychology" (Jeremy P Tarcher Inc., Los
Jung C G: "The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious" (Bollingen
Series XX, Princeton University Press, New York,1969)
Keesing RM: "Cultural Anthropology: a Contemporary Perspective"(Halt,
Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1976)
Middleton J: "Myth and Cosmos: Readings in Mythology and Symbolism"
(University of Texas Press, London, 1967)
Stewart RJ: "The Elements of Creation Myth" (Element Books Ltd, Longmead, 1989)
"Magical Tales: the Story-telling Tradition" (Aquarian
Press, London, 1990)
Generic Pagan Funeral for a Elder Woman
(as written, to be conducted by a group of Priestess, Priest, chief
mourner and possibly other coven members as attendants, i.e. ushers.)
The room (perhaps of a funeral home) is decorated with evergreen boughs
and roses. This supposes there is a casket, but may be adapted if there
is a picture only of the deceased.
Before anyone comes into the room, the priest and priestess may cast a
circle, summon the quarters and invoke the Lady and Lord.
As the mourners enter, they will be greeted at the door (and portal to
the circle) by the Priest and Priestess. When all are seated, the
PRIESTESS: (adapted from the "Decent of the Goddess," in the Farrars'
Witches Bible Complete )
There are three great events in the life of a person: love, death and
resurrection to a new life. Of these love is the most important. For
by love and in fulfillment of it, we may again be joined with our
families and friends, remembering and loving them again. Death cannot
take away love or our loved ones.
Without love there is no birth, without birth no death, without death no
rebirth. This is the miracle of love.
-------(name of Chief mourner, here a son), loving son, all here feel
your sorrow and with you honor --------(name of deceased).
Nearest relative or chief mourner tells about the persons life and
accomplishments. Others may speak also. When this is finished, the
PRIEST:(adapted from memorial service of "Magical rites from the Crystal
For a while we have lost one who is dear to us, but it is only for a
time and we should not be sorrowful. There is a reason to be here and
a reason to go when we have fulfilled the tasks of a life's work. Dying
is only a way of forgetting, of resting, of returning to the eternal
source to be renewed and made strong.
PRIESTESS:(adapted from the rite of the Three-Fold-Goddess in the
Behold a woman who has been three women. First a girl full of dreams
and hope. Then a mother who brought forth life and gave love. Finally
an elder, rich in knowledge and experience. Her journey is ended and a
new one begun. Let us bid her farewell and entreat all her loved ones
who have gone before her to greet and guide her on her way.
The priest may then instruct the mourners to bid a personal farewell if
they desire, then proceed to the foyer or otherwise outside the room.
This is the traditional time to play the departed loved one's favorite
song or hymn. Again, some attendant should be at the portal to see all
out of the circle. The priest, priestess and perhaps the chief mourner
may then thank the Gods, release the quarters and open the circle.
Some refreshment in the outer area might be available to help the people
ground a bit. The pall bearers may then return and carry the casket to
At the grave side, salt or ashes, water and wine, and aromatic oil may
have been poured to bless the site.
"We wish you all love and happiness. Do not forget us. We will not
forget you. We find our peace and hope in the sure and certain
knowledge that we shall meet again and at that time we will celebrate in
After the casket is lowered, the chief mourner throws earth upon the
This is again a traditional time for all to eat together. This helps in
Tue 21 Dec 93 20:58
By: Irv Koch
Copied from "Nesting Notes" in GREEN EGG Winter '93-94 (Issue # 103)
Accuracy NOT guaranteed: contact Nest Coordinator, Tony Navarra,
692 SanJose Ave #6, SanFrancisco, CA 94110; 415-282-1872 or Voicemail
at 510-549-7745 or e-mail (responds slow) at email@example.com to
further confuse the issues. (Newletters -- samples = $2 standard).
This may be "freqed" as CAWNEST1.txt (see below re complete set).
CAW OZ HQ (DRAGONSONG), Anthorr & Fiona Nomchong, Box 408, Woden, ACT
2606 Australia; 06-299-2432 or Fax 299-4100.
Draconis Nest (DRAGONSONG), Bunz, 5 Sollya Pl, Rivett, ACT 2606
Ectopia Nest (ECTOPIA NEST NEWS), Aeona Silversong, Box 335, Redwood
Valley, CA 95470; 707-485-0098.
Eleusis, c/o Carrie McMaster, Box 300762, Arlington, TX 76007;
(This is Dallas-FtWorth) 817-827-1218.
Fog City (THE FOGHORN), Don Eigenhauser, 756A 12th Av, SanFrancisco,
CA 94118; 415-751-4009.
Holy Oak Nest,Paul Moonoak,Box12625,Gainesville,FL32604;904-472-9395.
Home (GREEN SPIRIT), Gerald Osgood, 1/105 Washington St, Vic Park,
Hornet's (THE ELEMENTAL), Helen & Quinton Phillips, 13 Reiby St,
Ides Nest (IDOL CHATTER), Melissa Ellen Penn, 2140 Shattuck Av, Box
2093, Berkely, CA 94704; 510-549-9606.
Lake Nest Monsters, Willowoak Ishtarwood, Box 5277, Clearlake, CA
MACAW Nest (VOICE OF THE HERETICS), Kris Jensen, Box24124, Milwaukee,
WI 53224; 414-357-6571.
Moon-in-Redwoods Nest (MIR NEWS), Eric HeBert, Box2610,McKinleyville,
CA 95221; 707-839-6113.
Osprey Protonest, 855 Leesburg Ct, Huntington,MD 20639; 301-855-9479.
South SF Bay & San Jose, CA, Jeff Williams; 408-378-5173.
Our Lady of the Lakes Nest (WAVE INTERSECTIONS), Tess Kolney, Box
80792, Minn., MN 55408; 612-824-2893.
Outpost (OUTPOSTULATE), c/o Danae, 86223 Franklin Blvd, Eugene, OR
Primeval Soup, Carline Tully, 7 Turner St, East Malvern, VIC 3145,
Star City Sanctuary (CORONA), Avilynn Waters, 20851 ShermanWay #101,
Canoga Park, CA 91306; 818-888-NEST.
Two Rivers Nest (BARSOON FISH 'RAP), Wilma McCann, 4247 Sloan Dr, N.
Highlands, CA 95660; 916-344-9561.
Triskelion (CROWINGS ON), Larry Cornett, 10310 Main St #110, Fairfax,
VA 22030; 703-904-8559(VoiceMail). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Valley of the Moon Nest (The LUNATIC FRINGE), Dragon Singing, Box
5622, Santa Rosa, CA 95402.
Amber Agawela, 601 Brown Tr #421, Hurst, TX 76053-5754.
Chane Alvarez, Box 11183, Huntsville, AL 35814; 205-837-7628.
Inanna Arthen, Box 1233, Pepperell, MA 01463.
Gabriele, 335 NW 19th Ave #352, Portland, OR 97209; 503-335-0975.
David Hall, 2111 Lido Cr, Stockton, CA 95207; 209-474-7421.
Damien Markland, Box 2135, Crescent City, CA 94431.
Kathryn Millar, Box 138,Gabriola Is, BC, VOR 1XO Canada;604-247-8929.
Parris McBride, 102 San Salvador, Santa Fe, NM 87501.
John Percy, 1137 Borden St #202, Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1V6, Canada.
Diana Parr, 7717 Brashear St #2, Pittsburg, PA 15221; 412-371-7065.
Silver Ravenwolf, Box 1392, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055; 717-432-9118.
Paul Shumway, 239 1/2 W.Mulberry, Lancaster, OH 43130; 614-654-5061.
Jeanmarie Simpson, 454 Glenmanor Dr, Reno, NV 89509; 702-786-3969.
"Mr Bill" Stewart, Box 24731, Winston-Salem, NC 27114; 919-723-8024.
Silva Viridis Thorne, Box 8853, Atlanta, GA 30306; 404-522-2131.
Brett Culloden/Les Kiss, 6/L15 Leichardt St, Bronte, NSW 2113;
Electronic CAW (Draft1 for SCARLET FLAME)
Sat 18 Dec 93 21:22
By: Irv Koch
When Triskelion Nest et al imported or diverted Otter up here for our
Summer's End festival this past Oct/Nov, I in turn diverted him to my
apt. and put him online to the International CAW "echo" on computer
bulletin board systems. As a result I was to do a more extensive
article on BBSes, Internet, and the like, with a shorter version
directed at the membership, here. Events have been moving faster than
I am, so this is just the basics of what is already happening and what,
in my opinion (and there seems to be a lot of agreement) NEEDS to
The overall object of the entire exercise is for every CAW nest and
activity to have a reasonably stable internet AND PODS phone number.
These should be listed in SCARLET FLAME (not necessarily GREEN EGG) and
used so ALL OF CAW can TALK TO EACH other, with only a few days "lag" as
opposed to trying to pile the world on the shoulders of one small group
putting out the central publications quarterly.
This is BY FAR the fastest, least effort, way to meet the challenge of
everyone outside Northern California tending to be isolated. It is also
the easiest, SAFEST, way to growth of the membership while still
acculturating and assimilating new persons, not being overrun in such a
way as to change the character of the organization.
It not only can be used to conduct national business, in a way, ADF and
other groups are already doing it to some extent.
If you don't understand the following, wait for the main article. If
you do have a computer with a modem, just "go for it." There are
plenty of computer experts who love people who listen to them. Once you
get online at all, there are even more, if you ask politely.
If you have access to the Internet, and can get alt.religion.all-worlds
then you have found CAW. Reports say that it's rarely posted to. You
can change that by posting. Introduce yourself as a CAW member, ask a
question or talk about what you're doing or want to do in CAW. It can
build fast. Non-members will be drawn in to the discussion and even if
they never join, if we can get 100 people -- and remember this is
worldwide so you have access to many thousands -- this "newsgroup" can
be moved to the main "rel" "hierarchy" and accessible by incredible
numbers. And, for some reason the culture of the net tends to favor
Access to "THE net," however, isn't always easy to come by. Access to
BBSes usually, more or less, is. Like pagan (or sf fan) publications,
once you find one, it will lead you to many others. The object of your
game here is to find one of the "fidonet TYPE," that either belongs
to a network called PODS (Pagan Occult Distribution System) or is
willing to join. Then you politely ask them to carry the CAW "echo" if
they don't already. It's currently a hot item on PODS so that shouldn't
be a problem.
This operation, thanks to Bunz of OZ CAW and others is already a going
operation. Bunz and myself are also building sets of downloadable
files such as the bylaws, application, nesting-notes, other new member,
and general information about CAW. (And we need help, people to furnish
us ASCII copies of such stuff. It doesn't make any difference if it was
created on a Macintosh, PC, or school Vax -- if you can get it into
ASCII and fire it at either of our boards or any similar site, it is
available to the world MUCH easier than people having to phone or mail
someone and wait for the person to be available to stuff the material
into the mail.) It's looking like we'll see 1 - 3 protonests formed in
the next year or so, JUST from people who became interested by the
Aussies and a few of us up here chatting, and already having Dancing
Hummingbird's old electronic copy of the CAW application online. These
new people will likely be knowledgeable stable types also, not your
suburban kid cruising for new groups to play in.
Because these, unlike internet, are systems sitting in people's homes,
possible targets of attacks, in some cases for reasons having
nothing to do with beliefs, I'm not yet ready to list any system phone
numbers besides my own. Some sysops don't want it. The following,
however, are the Fidonet (more universal) addresses of PODS systems
either known to be interested in the CAW echo or good candidates.
Therefore if you can find ANY nearby Fidonet system (and they're
EVERYwhere) and are VERY nice to the sysop, they can find you the phone
number. Of course, if you dial in to a Fidonet system and they are
spouting hellfire and brimstone -- you won't ask THAT sysop. (On the
other hand, if you find a Fidonet system where half the people are
talking Hebrew (but not Yiddish), there's a fair chance they're ALSO a
PODS system -- go figure.)
Also, all Fidonet addresses convert into internet e-mail-only addresses,
My own BBS is 1:109/629 so to get me by normal internet, you send to
The board is 703-354-4176 if you want to dial straight in (Washington,
DC area). Contact me one way or another and I can give leads on your
CAW Central OZ and Draconis Nest, Bunz (Ian Metcalfe), Anthorr
Nomchong, et al in Canberra= 3:620/259
Hornets Proto-nest, Quintin & Helen Phillips
in Werrington Co, NSW= 3:713/805
Primeval Soup Proto-nest, Nigel Cooper and Caroline Tully in Melbourne=
Home Proto-nest, Gerald Osgood in Perth=3:690/115
So far only Ian, Anthorr, and Quintin have equipment to call in; the
others may or may not be reachable, yet, indirectly, but have systems
near them, as listed.
Cary/Raleigh, NC = 1:151/186 (also possible "gate" to WWIVnet and
Reno/OKC-North, OK = 1:147/1701
Providence, RI = 1:323/101
Millington/Memphis, TN = 1:123/422 (REALLY good)
Cincinatti, OH = 1:108/215
SanDiego, CA = 1:202/909
Oakland, CA= 1:125/33 (Also the Buddhist net HQ)
San Francisco, CA = 1:125/28 (not a sure bet)
Fairfield, CA = 1:161/609 (not a sure bet)
Aurora/Denver, CO = 1:104/680 ("DarkLing," #2 in PODS, pretty much has
sworn to do "anything which contributes to Pagan BBS networking")
Austin, TX = 1:382/502 (Chuck Haynes, PODS HQ)
NorthMetro, NJ = 1:107/585 (very helpful)
KC, MO = 1:280/89
There is, reportedly, a third type network with a CAW "sub" in opera-
tion: WWIVnet. Work is proceeding on linking it to PODS, and the PODS
online CAW to the one on Internet. Then it won't matter which you can
access as what you say on one will show up on all, and you'll get
answers from all. If you're on WWIVnet, ask for "Subtype 5303 Host 5303
from Mind Game BBS."
Last, you can send e-mail to people in CAW FROM BBSes (ask the Sysop) as
well as from Internet, and they mail back, even if they aren't on a BBS
or directly on the Internet. Here are some key addresses:
GREEN EGG, Otter, etc. = email@example.com
Tony Navarra,Nest Coord. = firstname.lastname@example.org
Quintin (in OZ) = email@example.com
Triskelion/Torin = firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ... willing/able
to be an FTP site!
Eric HeBert (nest, Chaplain project, etc.) = firstname.lastname@example.org [The
previously published addresses will NOT work from outside MCI's piece
of the net. Use ONLY this format when sending to someone on MCImail.
There is also a trick for Compuserv, besides converting the comma to a
period, but I haven't figured it out yet. If you're sending FROM
Bitnet, enclose the whole address in braces thus:
Sending TO "Bitnet" is a normal path name however it may NOT be the one
your recipient is used to. Gates. Have them ask their Sysadmin.]
Don't be surprised if this is only the first in a series of stuff about
/s/ Sysop of Ice Fire (where Hell DOES freeze over?)
Ghosts of Christmas Past
by Eric Maple
Every December 25th the normally phlegmatic British let down their hair
and plunge into an orgy of fun which one would normally associate with
the people of more exuberant nations.
Complete strangers wish one another a Happy Christmas as a parting
greeting and the public houses are filled with revellers strenuously
keeping up the spirit of the season of goodwill.
Few of these light-hearted souls will be aware that the celebration
of Christmas had its origins in the pagan worship of the Sun or, for
that matter, that the funny hats, the evergreens and the festive board
have nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace,
but rather with the older gods worshipped by our ancestors in the
twilight world of pre-Christmas Europe.
It is strange to consider that the presence of pork on the Christmas
table and the custom of carrying in the boar's head was once associated
with the sacrifice of a sacred Boar to the Sun god. At the festival of
Frey, the dispenser of rain and sunshine in the mythology of
Northern Europe, a boar was a good luck offering for the New Year and
its head, with an apple in its mouth, was borne into the banqueting-hall
amid singing and the sound of welcoming trumpets. Later in history,
the boar's head gave way to the goose and the turkey. But where this
custom survives, it should be seen as one of the many curious ghosts of
Consider the evergreens and their modern counterparts: the paper-
-chains which festoon the house at Christmastide. The evergreen was
once the symbol of immortality, declared sacred to the Teutonic nations,
and given pride of place in celebrations associated with the Winter Sol-
stice from which our modern Christmas is descended.
As a symbol, the evergreen means constancy and eternity, and even in
the Orient we find that it expresses a similar idea, for the Japanese
believe the evergreen needle brings longevity and prosperity. The holly,
especially, brings happiness and friendship, but if kept in the house
after New Year's Day misfortune is ordained. Generally speaking,
however, all evergreens must be taken down by Twelfth Night-- then all
will be well.
When we look around the room that has been decked with the regalia
of the Christmas party our eyes inevitably settle on one of the focal
points, the mistletoe. In pagan times, it was customary to celebrate
the death of the old year and the birth of the new by kissing under the
mistletoe's berries. Old enemies were then expected to forget their
quarrels and take a ceremonial kiss, promising to live in amity from
that time forth.
It is not generally known that the mistletoe became a powerful
life symbol because it grew' berries in winter when other plant life
seemed dead. Once known as All Heal, it was employed as an ingredient
in many folk medicines. It was the golden bough of the ancient Druids
and, because of its association with sacrificial ceremonies, was
outlawed by the Church as an emblem of paganism.
Oddly enough, the sole exception was York Minster where a sprig of
mistletoe was placed on the altar each Christmas. A general pardon for
crimes remained in force throughout that city for as long as it remained
The central symbol of the Christmas scene, the evergreen
Christmas tree, had its origins in Germany where St Boniface cut
down a sacred oak which was worshipped by the pagans and, to placate
them, offered a fir tree in its place. However, later research
indicates that traces of a similar custom existed in other lands,
notably Greece and Rome, where trees were decorated at the time of year
later dedicated to Christmas. There is also reason for believing that
the same or a similar custom was known in ancient Egypt.
The mystical heritage of Christmas is very strongly represented in
one of the principal characters in the celebrations, Santa Claus, the
embodiment of the spirit of goodwill. The name Santa Claus is in fact a
corruption of the fifth century St Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra, who was
honoured with special ceremonies by the Greeks and Romans on December
6th, later changed to December 25th.
This distinctly un- ghostlike genus of happiness was a 'reincar-
nation' of Odin, God of the Scandinavians who, on the conversion of
Northern Europe to Christianity, was transformed first into St Nicholas
and later into the modern Father Christmas.
Christmas has no equal as a religious feast; it is the most
important as well as the most enjoyable festival of the entire year. Yet
even the good things spread out on the table have their religious
aspects, particularly the mince-pies which were originally fashioned in
the shape of small cribs in honour of the Christ Child.
Among the superstitions associated with mince-pies is one which
demands that the Christmas reveller makes a pilgrimage among his
neighbours and friends demanding the gift of a mince-pie wherever he
calls. For each one eaten, so goes the tradition, the visitor may expect
a month's good health for the ensuing year.
Originally, mince-pies contained a far more potent filling than
mere mincemeat. They were stuffed with flesh of game hashed together
with pickled mushrooms. One should always make a wish when taking the
first bite of the first mince-pie of the season.
The Christmas pudding qualifies as a magical ritual in its own
own right, for it is surrounded by the most curious ceremonies.
Prior to the 18th century the pudding was known as Plum Porage and was
a concoction of plums, spices, wines, meat broth and breadcrumbs. It was
eaten in a semi-liquid state and only later in its history were the
plums replaced by raisins.
To preserve good luck, the pudding should be stirred deasil or
clockwise: a ceremony known to most psychic cooks. Lucky charms and
silver coins have to be incorporated in the mix to bring good fortune to
the eater, usually a silver coin, a silver thimble and a ring, with the
following meanings: the silver coin brings good luck; the ring promises
a happy marriage to the girl who finds it; while the thimble hints that
she is likely to remain a spinster.
The most interesting feature of Christmas pudding lore is the custom
of setting fire to the brandy, so that the pudding can be brought to the
table all aflame. This is a curious reminder that in ancient times
special fires were lit at the midwinter feast to honour the Sun god.
One ghost which has been finally exorcised from the Christmas
scene is the Dumb Cake which in times past was prepared by single girls
for consumption on Christmas Eve. Its ingredients were salt, wheatmeal
and barley, and it had to be baked in complete silence. It was
carefully placed in the oven and the front door opened precisely at
midnight. The spectre of the girl's future husband was expected to
enter the house at that time and march into the kitchen to turn the
cake. In some areas the cook would prick her initials on the cake and
in due course her future husband would materialise to add his
initials to hers. Alas, this custom seems to have vanished for ever.
The modern Christmas cake is still with us. It is supposed to have
originated with a cake presented by the people of ancient Rome to their
senators. A custom among Scots demanded that the cook should rise in the
early hours of Christmas Day and bake sowen (oatmeal) cakes. These
were distributed to the family at Hogmanay. If a cake happened to
break, bad luck followed, but if it remained unbroken the eater
could look forward to a Happy New Year.
Although there is no clear-cut tradition that Christmas Day was ever
associated with the giving of presents prior to modern times, it is
known that a similar custom was observed by the Romans on New Year's
Day. The Roman gift would have been a goodwill symbol only, consisting
of branches of evergreen, but in time the presents became more lavish.
Many of the enjoyable rituals which involve our lives at Christmas
time are but the shadow survivals or 'ghosts' of very ancient customs
performed around the close of the old year and the birth of the new, and
the feast of fire celebrated at the time of the Winter Solstice to
honour the Sun god.
But the season of fire and light, as it is sometimes called, would
be nothing without the Yule-log,for Christmas is also known as Yule,
which was the Scandinavian feast of the Winter Solstice.
In the days of old, an oak log was cut down on Yule Eve, and borne
with much ceremony into the house and rolled onto the huge fire that was
to burn during the days of the Nativity, especially Christmas Day.
Little did the pious Christians of the medieval world realise that
originally it had been burned in honour of the god Thor and represented
the sacred element: fire.
No doubt it was due to this association with the old gods that the
hearth fire at Christmas assumed the important role which it retained
until the advent of artificial forms of heating. The hearth was the
centre for the telling of Christmas ghost stories and for those curious
superstitions relating to the mysteries of fire.
Throughout Northern Europe there were traditions that the family
ghosts returned at Christmas time to share the festival with their
living relatives. In Brittany there was the custom of leaving food for
the ghosts while the family attended church. In Scandinavia, stories
were told of trolls (who were ogres not ghosts) returning at this
season to rattle the window-panes. In the British Isles there were
contradictory beliefs, some people thought, erroneously, that no ghost
had power to haunt during the Christmas season.
It is when the light is extinguished save for the glowing embers
that the ghost-story teller comes into his own and, surrounded by the
family, describes some ancient haunting which is calculated to chill the
blood of his listeners. Traditional hauntings include the posthumous
adventures of Anne Boleyn who haunts her old homes during the Christmas
season. Her ghost has been reported at Rochford Hall in Essex and Hever
Castle in Kent, wandering headless during the 12 days of the festival.
There are a number of cheerless proverbs which surface at the season
of goodwill, as when someone observes, 'A green Christmas brings a full
church-yard,' possibly to counteract any excessive exuberance among the
However, the children turn to less ghostly rituals, including
divination to discover the future. Each of them cuts an apple and
counts the pips. The one whose apple has the most pips can look forward
to the most happiness in the 12 months ahead.
And so young and old join in quiet communion with Christmas-
es past, present and future, united in quaint ceremonies whose
origins are lost in history - a celebration presided over by ancestral
spirits who have been lured into the home from outer darkness by the
glow of the pagan fire.
A Yule Mythos
Thu 23 Dec 93
From "The Mystery of the Bards: The Book of the Fool"
"Hey! Wake up there!"
The Fool opened His eyes, stretched, and rolled over on the soft
grass of the Summerland.
"I suppose you're talking to me?" he murmured.
"I certainly am!" The Lady, shimmering in Her Aspect as the
Goddess of Love, smiled at Him. Had He been human, that smile would have
sent Him into a transport of happiness. As it was, He felt a little
shiver of joy run on catfeet down his spine.
"What's up?" He got to His feet, brushing back his hair.
"What's up? WHAT'S UP?" The Lady looked at Him in disbelief.
"Dummy! It's almost Your birthday!"
The Fool looked puzzled for a moment. "My birthday? I thought We
have been....for always. We don't -have- birthdays, do we?"
The Lady grinned, shifting into the Nymph for a delightful
moment. "No, we don't, but Humanity likes to give Us birthday parties,
and yours is probably the biggest.....so you need to get moving!"
"So I do! And this Aspect is probably one of my favorites!" The
Fool jumped in the air, landing on His hands in a perfect handstand with
a jingling of bells. Then he took His hands off the ground, and hung
suspended, upside down, in mid-air. One leg was folded at the knee.
"Can You stand on Your head?" He grinned.
"Not with -this- dress on!" She laughed.
Humming a tuneless melody. the Fool strode thru Summerland, and
thru the cloudy space between the Worlds of the MultiVerse, finally
ending up on a small, very green-and-blue planet that the natives called
"It's My Birthday a-comin'!" He shouted, and there was a
stirring, and a movement. The Life that was locked in the grip of Winter
remembered that Spring would come, as it always will, and the half of
the world that was in Summer gave a little quiver of happiness.
He went to a Place, and put on the suit, and the Aspect to fit
it. He hitched the nine animals to His sleigh, grooming them with loving
hands. Then He loaded it with gifts for all the people of the Earth. He
was helped by quite a lot of the smaller elves, who found the game most
enjoyable. Most of these gifts were toys, but many of them were
practical, useful things. Some, like Love, and Peace, and Happiness,
were quite insubstantial....but they were His Gifts nonetheless.
He laughed. No longer slim, but chunky (if not fat), and dressed
in a red suit lined with white fur, His laughter was a "Ho! Ho! Ho!" of
gladness that rolled over the Earth.
He spent the next instant of Time ("And what a clever concept
Time is," He thought in self-congratulation) delivering His gifts,
riding the sleigh to the music of tiny bells thru the Night.
"Good Yule! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukka! Io Saturnalia! Hail
Mithras! Welcome Cernunnos!" He shouted.
"And a Happy Birthday to Me," He added under His breath, with a
He landed the sleigh, and unhitched His animals. Each one was
Named, and each one nuzzled Him as an old friend. The last was younger
then the rest, and full of energy, bounding across the Place like a
puppy in a warm kitchen. The red light from his nose reflected on the
snow, and gave a joyful light that lit the sky in a glowing aurora.
The Fool laughed at the sight, and hung up His suit, and took
off the Aspect, and returned to the Summerland over the paths He knew so
"Well," She said, "Did everything go all right?"
The Fool leaned back against a tree and watched a butterfly land
on His nose. "Yep. Got all My presents delivered. Did the usual
sleigh-and-reindeer thing with the red suit and all.....great fun! I
sure like to see the children happy."
"Well, You sure are bass-ackwards sometimes!" The Lady shook Her
finger at Him in mock anger.
"Huh? Whattya mean?" The Fool was puzzled.
"Well....everybody else -gets- presents for their birthdays. You
gotta reverse it and give presents away!"
The Fool giggled, and said, "That's my Nature, dearest. By the
way, your fly's open."
The Lady looked down and reached to zip up Her fly, and then did
a perfect double-take.
"But....I don't -have- a fly!"
And the Fool leaned back against the World Tree and laughed and
laughed and laughed.
Thus it was, and so it is, and evermore shall be so!
The following is from The Mysts of Annwfn Book of Shadows, and
appeared in NightScapes Vol. 1, No. 5 (a journal of Magick,
Paganism and the Occult). Subscriptions are $13.00 a year/six
issues, sample copy $3.00. Write to: NightScapes, P.O. Box
4559, Mesa, AZ 85211-4559. Phone: (602) 898-3551.
Information about The Mysts of Annwfn (who publishes
NightScapes), can also be obtained by contacting the above
THE LEGEND OF THE MAIDEN
The Mysts of Annwfn
Book of Shadows
In Ages long past, the lovely Lady Brighid came to Hibernia
to dwell in that land among her people. She brought to them many
special treasures from the Outer Realms to enrich their lives.
She gave them the art of Smithcraft, Poetry, and Inspiration.
Brighid also shared a sacred Cauldron that overflowed with
inspiration and love. She was adept at the healing arts, and in
the Magick of Medicine. Her people loved her deeply, and kindled
a fire in her honor which was constantly attended by nineteen
maidens, and was never allowed to go out.
The Lady Brighid eventually became a mother, and her people
rejoiced, knowing their lands would be fruitful just as their
Goddess was fertile. However, Brighid also knew the misery of
loss. When one of her beloved sons was killed, the whole land
wept. She lamented so deeply that she invented "keening," the
mournful song of the bereaved women of Erin. Her Flame burned so
brightly, however, that happiness soon returned to the land. She
bestowed upon her people, yet, another gift: The Art of
However, in the fullness of time, the beloved Lady could no
longer dwell openly with her people, and she made her home in the
Sidhe. There, she would dwell close to her people and her land,
and they could call upon her name at the appointed times, and
keep her Flame burning within their hearts.
The Eternal Flame continues to burn!
The following ritual derives from The Mysts of Annwfn Book of
Shadows, and was publicly conducted by Goddess Moon Rising Coven
in San Diego, Ca. on Imbolg, 1988, and by The Mysts of Annwfn
Coven in Mesa, Az. at Pagan Arizona Network's Imbolg celebration
This ritual appeared in NightScapes, Vol. 1, No. 5 (a journal of
Magick, Paganism and the Occult). Subscriptions are $13.00 a
year/six issues, sample copy $3.00. Write to: NightScapes, P.O.
Box 4559, Mesa, Az 85211-4559. Phone (602) 898-3551.
Information on The Mysts of Annwfn (who publishes NightScapes),
may also be obtained by contacting the above information.
Mysts of Annwfn
Book of Shadows
The following ritual calls for the participation of eight
people, and is best performed at a large gathering. The
participants include: The Maiden Goddess, the Young Lord, the
High Priestess, the High Priest, and the four Watchtowers.
Specific items needed for this ritual are: a Crystal Ball,
a cross of rushes, a mat, a basket, a phallic wand, a sprig of
evergreen, pieces of paper, cakes, wine, and basic Altar and
ritual equipment. All participants shall write upon the paper
things and qualities they wish to gain during the coming season,
and then place them in the basket prior to ritual.
Candlemas is the festival of the Flame, and is best
performed at night. This is Brighid's celebration. Winter is
bade farewell, and as Spring approaches, it's a time to think of
* * * * *
All members of the ritual enter the Circle except for the
Maiden. She should be wearing white, and is adorned with a
garland of flowers in her hair. She stands out of sight,
awaiting her cue. All attendants of the ritual should line the
outer ring of the Circle, leaving a walkway into it. The Young
Lord is to position himself among the attendants.
The High Priest starts the ritual by saying:
The young Sun King now begins to feel the first stirring of
desire for the Lady. The Goddess patiently awaits her future
lover. The Rites of Spring are near, and the year is in its
waxing phase. The Sun's presence is ever-more increasing and the
darkness runs and hides.
The Invocation of the Four Quarters comes next, starting
with the East:
We welcome the Guardians of the East. Your breath of life
is sacred, and greetings to the lovely Fand, the Pearl of Beauty,
and gracious Olwen, the White Lady of the Day. Your presence is
most welcome at this Festival of Imbolc!
We welcome the Lords of the South. Your warmth flows
through us all, and greetings to the Honored Lady Brighid, and to
beautiful Branwen, the White Bossomed One. Your presence is most
welcome at this Festival of Oemlic!
We welcome the Holy Ones of the West. Your moisture is
refreshing and precious to life, and greetings to our Queen
Arianrhod of The Silver Wheel, and sweet Aine of the Wisps. Your
presence is most welcome at this Festival of Lights!
We welcome the Watchers of the North. Your power and wisdom
is ours, and greetings to the Wise Cerridwen of Lake Tegid, and
to the desirable Rhiannon of the Netherworld. Your presence is
most welcome at this Festival of Candlemas!
The High Priest continues:
From now to Beltane, is the pathway less dark. Thus, shall
the journey be made through to Beltane, renewed in strength and
happy in love.
The High Priestess now turns slowly, addressing those assembled.
As she speaks, the Maiden walks slowly into view down the
processional towards the Circle, until she stands at the Northern
Gateway. She is holding the Cross of Rushes. The High Priestess
Long Winter is now passing away and the buds will soon swell
on the Apple tree bough. The Earth gladly receives the plow in
preparation for the celebration of life. For the Queen and the
King will begin to wear the garden's green and will speak in a
The High Priest acknowledges the physical presence of the
Maiden, and exclaims:
Behold!!! Brighid has come! Brighid is welcome!
The Maiden enters the Circle and lays the Cross on a mat
situated just South of the Altar. She says:
Greetings to you, not only from myself, but from the Mother
and the Crone as well. All seasons of the Earth are important
and must have their course.....but now, I weary of Winter, and I
long for the greenness of Spring, and all that it encompasses. I
strongly desire the companionship of my Lover-to be!
She searches the Circle of people and draws him out. She
kneels before him and invokes the God Lugh:
Lord of Death, Resurrection, Life, and the Giver of Life!
Lord who is within us, whose name is Mystery of Mysteries!
Descend we pray thee, upon thy servant and Priest!
Lugh, after indwelling the Priest, now moves over to the
Altar, picks up the Phallic Wand, and places it on Brighid's Bed
(the mat). The Maiden addresses the God:
I grow weary of the darkness. Let's join to hurry Winter
along its way so we can enjoy the pleasures that await us! (She
motions to the mat).
The God starts the Balefire in the South, and while doing
this, the Maiden sweeps the Circle three times while everyone
Return, return, return, return
The earth, the water, the fire, and the air.
At an appropriate time, the singing comes to an end and the
The Key to unlocking Winter's hold is to erase its memories!
He now holds up a sprig of evergreen and hands it to the
Maiden Goddess. She tosses it into the Balefire. She then picks
up a basket full of everyone's desires and wishes for the coming
season, and says:
Behold! In my hands I carry Hopes and Wishes for the coming
seasons. I place them in this fire and as quickly as the
memories of Winter fade, let the Hopes and Wishes just as quickly
She tosses them into the Balefire, and Lugh now says:
My dear Lady and Lover-to-be, do us great honor by gazing
into the Crystal and give your people words they can hold as
Brighid picks up the Crystal Ball and holds it between her
hands. She gazes into it momentarily before saying:
All the gods are one God, and the goddesses, one Goddess,
and there is but one Initiator. And to every man, his own Truth,
and the God within.
Upon hearing this, he smiles and says:
Come! Let's feast and make merry on this great occasion!
The High Priestess steps in front of the altar and raises
the water and Wine. She faces North and says:
In celebration of Brighid's Day, we open the Moongate and
let the Westwind blow! We bring Water, life's elixir, to refresh
ourselves. We bring the Fruit of the Vine, the drink of the
gods! Let us sip and enjoy. Hail to fair Brighid!
The High Priestess now picks up the plate of cakes and says:
Upon this plate are gifts from Erin! Farrels for us to
enjoy! Let us eat and remember the Gods. These are holy Sabbat
Cakes. They bring us sustenance and fill the hunger. Blessed Be
Brighid's Feast! Let us dance in joy and mirth!
The High Priestess now raises the honey as all say:
Here is the Sweet Nectar! Sacred to the Gods!
All now partake of the Cakes and Wine. Sing songs, dance,
and do anything else that feels appropriate. (Brighid's Day is a
traditional time for initiations). When the celebration is
winding down, the God, taking the Maiden Goddess into his arms,
Now that we all have feasted and made merry, come with me
now, our bed of Love awaits us!
The Maiden, protesting lightly, responds:
Oh! How I've longed for you through the Dark days of
Winter! But My Love, though our bed is ready, we still must wait
a short while. Our time of Union is not yet upon us, but the
Rites of Spring, and of Beltane, are not far off!
The Sun King looks slightly disappointed, but smiles
lovingly at her. They embrace and kiss passionately, while
everyone starts to sing, "Lady Weave Your Circle Tight." While
the song continues, she slowly leaves his arms and exits the
Circle. He follows her, not wanting her to leave, but stops at
the Circle's edge. She turns and says to him:
My Heart is with you, and Destiny will bring us back
together soon! As the Cup is to the Knife, so am I to you!
She now disappears out of sight, and the singing shall die
down. The High Priest now says:
Even though the Maiden has departed, her presence continues
to increase! Light chases away the Darkness, and soon, the
Maiden shall reign Supreme! The Winter grows short, and the
leaves shall return to the trees! New Life shall spring forth,
and New Love along with it! The Wheel turns, and the Young Lord
and his Lady shall meet to consummate their Love. So ends this
prelude to Spring! May the coming season bring you much joy and
The Watchtowers are now given their release:
Farewell to the Watchtowers of the North, and to Rhiannon
and Cerridwen. May we depart in love and peace until we gather
Farewell to the Holy Ones of the West, and to Queen
Arianrhod and Aine. May we depart in love and peace until me
Farewell to the Lords of the South, and to Branwen and the
Maiden Brighid. May we depart in love and peace until we gather
Farewell to the Guardians of the East, and to Olwen and
Fand. May we depart in love and peace until we gather again.
Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again!
References for inspiration:
Janet & Stewart Farrar
Marion Zimmer Bradley
An Herbal "Quick Reference"
Acicia - Protection, Psychic Powers
Adam & Eve Roots - Love, Happiness.
Adders Tongue - Healing
African Violet - Spirituality, Protection
Agaric - Fertility
Agrimony - Protection, Sleep
Ague Root - Protection
Alfalfa - Prosperity, Anti-hunger, Money
Alkanet - Purification, Prosperity
Allspice - Money, Luck, Healing
Almond - Money, Prosperity, Wisdom
Aloe - Protection, Luck
Aloes, Wood - Love, Spirituality
Althea - Protection, Psychic Powers
Alyssum - Protection, Moderating Anger
Amaranth - Healing, Protection, Invisibility
Anemone - Health, Protection, Healing
Angelica - Exorcism, Protection, Healing, Visions
Apple - Love,Healing, Garden Magic, Immortality
Apricot - Love
Arabic Gum - Purify negativity and evil
Arbutus - Exorcism, Protection
Asafoetida - Exorcism, Purification, Protection
Ash - Protection, Prosperity, Sea Rituals, Health
Aspen - Eloquence, Anti-Theft
Aster - Love
Avens - Exorcism, Purification,Love
Avocado - Love,Lust,Beauty
Bachelor's Buttons - Love
Balm, Lemon - Love,Success, Healing
Balm of Gilead - Love,Manifestations,Protection,Healing
Bamboo - Protection, Luck, Hex-Breaking, Wishes
Banana - Fertility, Potency, Prosperity
Banyan - Luck
Barley - Love, Healing, Protection
Basil - Love, Exorcism, Wealth, Flying, Protection
Bay - Protection, Psychic Powers, Healing, Purification, Strength
Bean - Protection, Exorcism, Wart Charming, Reconciliations,
Bedstraw/Fragrant - Love
Beech - Wishes
Beet - love
Belladonna - astral projection *DEADLY POISON!!
Benzoin - Purification, Prosperity
Bergamot, Orange - Money
Be-Still - Luck
Betony/wood - Protection,Purification,Love
Birch - Protection, Exorcism, Purification
Bistort - Psychic Powers, Fertility
Bittersweet - Protection, Healing
Blackberry - Healing, Money, Protection
Bladderwrack - Protection, Sea Spells, Wind Spells, Money, Psychic
Bleeding Heart - Love
Bloodroot - Love, Protection, Purification
Bluebell - Luck, Truth
Blueberry - Protection
Blue Flag - Money
Bodhi - Fertility, Protection, WIsdom, Meditation
Boneset - Protection, Exorcism
Borage - Courage, Psychic Powers
Bracken - Healing, Rune Magic, Prophetic Dreams
Brazil Nut - Love
Briony - Image Magic, Money, Protection
Bromeliad - Protection, Money
Broom - Purification, Protection, Wind Spells, Divination
Buchu - Psychic Powers, Prophetic Dreams
Buckthorn - Protection, Exorcism, Wishes, Legal Matters
Buckwheat - Money, Protection
Burdock - Protection, Healing
Cabbage - Luck
Cactus - Protection, Chastity
Calamus - Luck, Healing, Money, Protection
Camphor - Chastity, Health, Divination
Caper - Potency, Lust, Luck
Carawy - Protection, Lust, Health, Anti-theft, Mental Powers
Cardamon - Lust, Love
Carnation - Protection, Strength, Healing
Carob - Protection, Health
Carrot - Fertility, Lust
Cascara Sagrada - Legal Matters, Money, Protection,
Cashew - Money
Castor - Protection
Catnip - Cat Magic, Love, Beauty, Happiness
Cattail - Lust
Cedar - Healing, Purification, Money, Protection
Celandine - Protection, Escape, Happiness, Legal Matters
Celery - Mental Powers, Lust, Psychic Powers
Centaury - Snake Removing
Chamomile - Money, Sleep, Love, Purification
Cherry - Love, divination
Chestnut - Love
Chickweed - Fertility, Love
Chicory - Removing Obstacles, Invisibility, favors, Frigidity
Chili pepper - Fidelity, hex Breaking, Love
China Berry - Luck
Chrysanthemum - Protection
Cinchona - Luck, Protection
Cinnamon - Spirituality, Success, Healing, Power, Psychic Powers,
Lust, Protection, Love
Cinquefoil - Money, Protection, Prophetic Dreams, Sleep
Citron - Psychic Powers, Healing
Cloth of Gold - Understand animal languages
Clove - Protection, Exorcism, Love, Money
Clover - Protection, Money, Love, fidelity, Exorcism, Success
Club Moss - Protection, Power
Coconut - Purification, Protection, Chastity
Cohosh,Black - love, courage,protection,potency
Coltsfoot - Love,Visions
Columbine - Courage,Love
Comfrey - Safety during travel, Money
Copal - Love, Purification
Coriander - Love,Health, Healing
Corn - protection,luck, divination
Cotton - Luck,Healing,Protection,Rain,Fishing Magic
Cowslip - Healing,Youth,Treasure Finding
Crocus - Love, Visions
Cubeb - Love
Cuckoo-flower - Fertility,Lover
Cucumber - Chastity,Healing,Fertility
Cumin - Protection,Fidelity, Exorcism
Curry - Protection
Cyclamen - fertility,Protection,Happiness, Lust
Cypress - Longevity, Healing, Comfort,Protection
Daffodil - Love,Fertility, Luck
Daisy - Lust,Luck
Damiana - Lust, Love, Visions
Dandelion - Divination,Wishes,Calling Spirits
Datura - Hex Breaking,Sleep,Protection
Deerstongue - Lust, Psychic Powers
Devils Bit - Exorcism, Love, Protection, Lust
Devils Shoestring - Protection, Gambling, Luck, Power, Employment
Dill - Protection, Money, Lust,Luck
Dittany of Crete - Manifestations, Astral Projection
Dock - Healing,Fertility, Money
Dodder - Love,Divination,Knot Magic
Dogbane - Love
Dogwood - Wishes, Protection
Dragons Blood - Love,Protection,Exorcism,Potency
Dulse - Lust, Harmony
Dutchmans Breeches - Love
Ebony - Protection, Power
Echinacea - Strengthening Spells
Edelweiss - Invisibility, Bullet-Proofing
Elder - Exorcism,Protection,Healing,Prosperity,Sleep
Elecampane - Love,Protection,Psychic Powers
Elm - Love
Endive - Lust,Love
Eryngo - Travelers Luck, Peace, Lust, Love
Eucalyptus - Healing,Protection
Euphorbia - Purification, Protection
Eyebright - Mental Powers, Psychic Power
Fennel - Protection, Healing, Purification
Fenugreek - Money
Fern - Rain Making, Protection,Luck,Riches,Eternal Youth, Health,
Feverfew - Protection
Fig - Divination,Fertility, Love
Figwort - Health,Protection
Flax - Money, Protection,Beauty,Psychic Powers, Healing
Fleabane - Exorcism, Protection, Chastity
Foxglove - Protection
Frankincense - Protection, Exorcism, Spirituality
Fumitory - Money, Exorcism
Fuzzy Weed - Love,Hunting
Galangal - Protection, Lust, Health, Money, Psychic Powers, Hex
Gardenia - Love, Peace, Healing, Spirituality
Garlic - Protection, Healing, Exorcism, Lust, Anti-Theft
Gentian - Love, Power
Geranium - Fertility, Health, Love, Protection
Ginger - Love, Money, Success, Power
Ginseng - Love, Wishes, Healing, Beauty, Protection, Lust
Goats Rue - Healing, Health
Goldenrod - Money, Divination
Golden Seal - Healing, Money
Gorse - Protection, Money
Gotu Kola - Meditation
Gourd - Protection
Grain - Protection
Grains of Paradise - Lust, Luck, Love, Money, Wishes
Grape - Fertility, Garden Magic, Mental Powers,Money
Grass - Psychic Powers, Protection
Ground Ivy - Divination
Groundsel - Health, Healing
Hawthorn - Fertility, Chastity, Fishing Magic, Happiness
Hazel - Luck, Fertility, Anti-Lightning, Protection, Wishes
Heather - Protection, Rain Making, Luck
Heliotrope - Exorcism, Prophetic dreams, Healing, Wealth, Invis
Hellebore,Black - Protection *POISON*
Hemlock - Destroy sexual drives *POISON*
Hemp - Healing, Love, Vision, Meditation
Henbane - POISON Not used
Henna - Healing
Hibiscus - Lust,Love, Divination
Hickory - Legal Matters
High John the Conquerer - Money, Love, Success, Happiness
Holly - Protection, Anti-Lightning, Luck, Dream Magic
Honesty - Money, Repelling Monsters
Honeysuckle - Money, Psychic Powers, Protection
Hops - Healing, Sleep
Horehound - Protection, Mental Powers, Exorcism, Healing
Horse Chestnut - Money, Healing
Horseradish - Purification, Exorcism
Horsetail - Snake Charming, Fertility
Houndstongue - Tying dogs tongues
Houseleek - Luck,Protection, Love
Huckleberry - Luck, Protection, Dream Magic, Hex Breaking
Hyacinth - Love, Protection, Happiness
Hydrangea - Hex Breaking
Hyssop - Purification, Protection
Indian Paint Brush - Love
Iris - Purification, Wisdom
Irish Moss - Money, Luck, Protection
Ivy - Protection, Healing
Jasmine - Love, Money, Prophetic Dreams
Jobs Tears - Healing, Wishes, Luck
Joe-pye weed - Love, Respect
Juniper - Protection, Anti-theft, Love, Exorcism, Health
kava-Kave - Visions, Protection, luck
knotweed - Binding, Health
Ladys mantle - Love
Ladys slipper - Protection
Larch - Protection, Anti theft
Larkspur - Health, Protection
Lavendar - Love, Protection, Sleep, Chastity, Longevity, Purifica
tion, Happiness, Peace
Leek - Love, Protection, Exorcism
Lemon - Longevity, Purification, Love, Friendship
Lemongrass - Repel snakes, Lust, Psychic powers
Lemon Verbena - Purification, Love
Lettuce - Chastity, Protection, Love, Divination, Sleep
Licorice - Love,Lust, Fidelity
Life Everlasting - longevity, Health, Healing
Lilac - Exorcism, Protection
Lily - Protection, Breaking Love spells
Lily of the Valley - Mental Powers, Happiness
Lime - Healing,Love,Protection
Linden - Protection, Immortality, Luck, Love, Sleep
Liquidamber - Protection
Liverwort - Protection
Liverwort - Love
Looestrife - Peace,Protection
Lotus - Protection, Lock-Opening
Lovage - Love
Love Seed - Love,Friendship
1. Salt & Water
2. Incense (fire and air)
3. Milk & Honey
4. Oil (for anointing)
5. Wine (for offering)
6. Bells, Pots, Pans, Whistles, etc.
Cast a circle in the main room (livingroom) and after casting, visualize
the circle expanding to include the entire house. Call upon the spirits
and energies living in the house (or apartment). Invite those who will
be harmonious with the new household and its energies to remain.
Invite/ask those who will be happier elsewhere to depart. Release all
"energies" not compatible with the new household. (This may be
expressed as a "release" in order to unbind anything that may be stuck.)
Then call upon, greet, and invite ancestors, patron deities, and all
harmonious spirits and energies to dwell in the house as they please.
Gather up the pots, pans, and all the noise-makers. Go to each door and
window, not forgetting the fire-place and dog-door, making as much
racket as humanly possible--to shoo out anything unwanted. (This is
hysterical fun, and also raises lots of energy for the next important
step.) Go again throughout the house and at each portal (door, window,
etc.) sprinkle salt-water and cense, saying: "By the Elements I purify
and charge this portal." Then anoint the portal with milk and honey,
saying: "By Milk and Honey I ensure prosperity and peace within this
place." Finally, anoint the portal with oil, saying: "With Oil I seal
this portal and protect all within." At the front door a special prayer
is said, asking the guardian deities (God & Goddess) to freely grant
entry to all frien ds and loved ones, and to prevent passage (turn
aside) to any who would do harm." Then, if it's a house--pour wine
across the width of the threshold; if it's an apartment anoint the
threshold with light touches of wine.
The house-holders then each take a sip of wine, leaving some as an
offering to the Gods, and the Circle should be closed. The remaining
wine, milk, and honey should be offered to the Gods. (In our case to
the fruit tree and the oak tree in our yard.)
Addenda: This is very effective if done as part of a house-warming
party, followed by much feasting. It has also been done very
effectively by two people. It only takes about 30 minutes to do a large
house. You _can_ take the time.
Do make certain to "ground" afterward, by closing the circle and by
eating. This ritual can "stir" up everybody and make the house feel
full of "buzzy" energy.
By: Pirate Jenny
Re: Re: House Blessing notes
In the spirit of house blessings, and because I'm basically a kitchen
witch at heart, and like little projects over serious ritual, I offer
some selections gleaned from Cunningham's The Magical Household. I'm
typing these without permission but with the hope that they'll
inspire you to pick up the Cunningham book, because it's wonderful
For the doorway:
o Suspend over the door a fresh sprig of dill, tied with a blue cord (or
red, if you prefer), to prevent those who mean you harm from entering.
o Cross two needles, and stick into or tie onto a corner of your
doormat, to prevent evil from entering.
o Grind Dragon's Blood herb into a powder and sprinkle it on door and
window sills, to protect your house from harm.
o Powder some more Dragon's Blood herb with a small quantity of sugar
and salt, and place in a small corked or screw-lidded bottle. Shake
and seal with red wax, then place it where it won't be found (or at
least not easily seen). This will ensure harmony and peace within
o Place three new needles, three new pins, and three new nails in a
glass jar. Fill with salt and shake vigorously nine times. Seal with
white wax and place in kitchen cupboard where it will not be seen.
This protects your food from contamination.
o Gather rosemary, along with several needles and pins, into a small
glass jar with a tight-fitting lid or cork. When full, pour in red
wine and shake. Seal with black or red wax, and place in an
inconspicuous place in the apartment. If you own your own house,
bury this at the furthestmost corner of your property. The book
also adds this:
As you're filling the jar, say these words...
"Pins, needles, rosemary, wine,
In this witch's bottle of mine;
Guard against harm and enmity;
This is my will; so Mote it Be!"
Personally, I'm not hip on anything but, "Hey, Gods? It's me again",
but I know, I'm CONSIDERABLY less formal than most!
An Anti-Theft Sachet
o Mix caraway, rosemary, juniper berries, and elder leaves or mistletoe,
and place into white square of cloth. Tie with white yarn and hang
prominently. I'd assume either at the place you think thieves are most
likely to enter--this being an anti-theft sachet--or at every entrance
and doorway. This will require more cloth and more herbs, but most of
the above are fairly inexpensive.
Finally, on Moving Day itself:
o Bring two things into the house first: a small amount of salt, half
to be scattered upon crossing the threshhold, and a small loaf of bread.
Break the bread into as many pieces as you have people moving in, with
one extra piece for the gods' portion. Sprinkle a dash of salt on each
piece; share, when you have a moment. (I'd say have water on hand as
well--at the very least, to clear the salt!) Next, bring in an apple and
do the same thing--Cunningham recommends a fruit and cheese basket--I'd
stick with just the apple and maybe a few slices of cheddar, or
something. Lastly, bring in a sturdy chair and place it either near the
apple and bread bits, or facing the door. This ensures that you will
never know poverty, for there is bread and salt, hunger, for there is
fruit (and cheese), and instability (for there's your stable chair
guarding the door. After that, heave and lift until you're moved in!
A Note: I think ritual is very important, and I do admire rituals I've
picked up here and those I've found on my own. In the long run, though,
I know myself well enough to think that if I have to wait for a certain
day and have a certain robe on, or need a special tool or altar lay-out,
it'll never happen. But I can put my hands on needles, pins, wine and
spices at virtually any time, and can easily make up witch's bottles for
the shelves and cupboards, sachets for the windows, and incenses for
household protection and cleansing. These simple items can have just as
much power as just about any major ritual, and are sometimes easier to
"whip up" for the busy pagan... :>
2 parts Dragon's Blood
1 part Valerian Root
1 part Sulphur
1 part Asafoetida
In conjunction with any banishing ritual this WILL remove ANY psychic or
magical impression from your home. Then you can start fresh filling it
with the energies you want.
It may sound strange but it works! (Though it WILL GAG a Maggot!)
** Gwydyon Masengale, P.O.Box 4, Tolleson, Az 85353**
A Warrior is born with Three Things,
A Body, A Mind, and A Spirit...
With these three things a Warrior is to build a Life,
A Life of Balance, A Life of Peace, A Life of Will.
A Warrior is born with Three Things,
Speed, Dexterity, and Reflexes, these are the gifts of the Gods to
A Warrior. Skills can be learned, but the gifts are rare, and are
to be honed to the sharpest of edges and used to build...
A Life of Balance.
A physical battle is quite simply an exercise, in which A Warrior
is given the opritunity to use the gifts of the Gods, and test the
skills learned on this plane. It will at times be necessary to use
the gifts and the skills knowen to A Warrior to build...
A Life of Peace.
Through training, the development of the gifts and skills combined can
become a formidable weapon. Perfect Balance, Peace of Mind, and An
Indomitable Spirit are necessary for A Warrior to build...
A Life of Will...
A Warrior is born with Three Things,
Intellect, Creativity, and Common Sence, these are the compasses and
maps given A Warrior to help in navigating this existance. In life
A Warrior will make mistakes. The way these mistakes are handled
will set the tone of countless lives determining the measure of
A Warrior's steel. A Warrior will accept responsibility for the
actions taken, learn from them, and use the experiance to build...
A Life of Balance.
A Warrior must constantly endeavor to learn all that is to be learned
of the path ahead, always drawing inspiration from the path which
lies behind. For strength is the knowledge drawn from the past, and
discretion is the wisdom of the future which empowers the Warrior
A Life of Peace.
A Warriors mind is to be constantly sharpened, for the mind alone
IS the most formidable weapon the Warrior will ever posses.
The balance of knowledge and wisdom is the temporing of the steel
that makes A Warrior, lending the strength necessary to build...
A Life of Will.
A Warrior is Born With Three Things,
A Warrior will carry a shield of Honor. The strength of which
is in perfect balance with the Honor of the Warrior.
The Warrior will carry a sword of Truth. With an edge that mirrors the
inner peace and honesty of the Warrior.
A Warrior will wear a helmet of Integrity. With power matched only
by the will of the Warrior.
While battles can be fought and won with the well trained body.
While wars can be waged and won with the tempored and sharpened mind.
The most perilous test A Warrior will face is the test of the Spirit.
Here the Gods give no gifts. A Warrior will have only the strengths
of the spiritthat have been developed in the short life on the physical
A Warrior is born with Three Things,
A Body, A Mind, and A Spirit...
With these Three Things A Warrior must build a Life,
A Life Eternal...
My Name is Nite Hawk,
By: Judy Harrow
The ceremony originated with Judy Harrow and one of her coveners who
co-wrote the dedication ritual. During the ritual, the dedicant is
asked several questions and is expected to respond in whatever way s/he
I will include all the questions here for completeness sake:
1. Do you understand that Witchcraft is the Priesthood of the Old Gods
and Old Ways of Nature, and that every Witch is a Priestess or Priest?
2. Do you understand that initiation into that Priesthood will change
your life forever, in ways that you cannot now forsee?
3. Do you understand what priesthood requires: that, if you become a
Witch, you serve the Lady and the Lord by serving Their People, to the
fullest of your ability?
4. Knowing these things, do you want to study Witchcraft and its
related arts until you know enough to decide whether this is truly your
5. Do you understand that Witchcraft is one of many means to serve the
Old Gods and awaken the Old Ways, and that even if this is not your way
after all, you may learn and grow while you are here? Can you accept
that the decision may be, "No?"
6. Teaching what I love is a great joy. But I can only teach in joy if
I know that what I love will be used and shared with care and honor.
Before I am willing to teach you, there are three things and a fourth
that you must promise me:
Will you respect and protect the confidence of all who you meet
in this Circle and all who seek our aid, revealing their identities to
no one except by their explicit permission?
7. Will you practice and teach the Craft for love alone, using this
knowledge or teaching it only as a free gift, as I give it now to you,
never accepting payment for it in money or goods or labor?
8. Will you promise never to use what I teach you to affect another
person, avoiding not only baneful magic but all well-intentioned
meddling, unless you have that person's explicit permission?
9. And if time brings fullness, as all here hope and expect it will,
when you teach new students of your own, will you require these three
pledges of them, along with their pledge to similarly bind their own
students, so that all that spring from this line may be so pledged?
MEAD: THE BREW OF THE GODS!
Mead is the oldest alcoholic drink known to mankind. More recently it
has been taken up in the Pagan and other าalternativeำ communities
such as the SCA as a favorite for years. It's a form of wine made
with a honey instead of grape juice. Mead is most often associated
with the Vikings and in the Pagan community with modern day Norse
Paganism or Asatru.
Mead is an important part of the Asatru religion and has a place in
both of the major Norse rituals: the blot and the sumble. The sumble
is a drinking ritual where stories, oaths, and poetry are shared and
meadีs function here is obvious. In this day and age mead is even
more important to the blot or sacrifice ritual. The blot is actually
quite simple. A God or Goddess is called upon and a sacrifice is
poured in their honor. In ancient times this was most often an
animal sacrifice and blood was poured out onto the ground or altar.
Today an alcoholic beverage of some kind is the usual sacrifice. This
is not only an adjustment to modern feelings about animal sacrifice,
but is appropriate from an esoteric point of view as well. In ancient
times the Norsemen were primarily farmers and an animal would
have been a product that they had raised. Also, sacrifices were not a
wasting of the animal, merely given to the Gods and left to rot, but
were usually feasts where the Gods got their portion and the humans
their own. Today mead making has been a frenzied activity among
Norse Pagans, and it is most appropriate that something be
sacrificed to the Gods which has been made by your own hands in a
sacred manner. Mead fits the bill. It has the immediate links to our
farming ancestors, but it can be easily made from household items
in even a small apartment.
While we really donีt know a great deal about how the ancients
viewed mead, other than as an intoxicant, we do have a few clues.
One interesting item to start with is that mead was apparently
sometimes strained through rye, which contains the hallucinogenic
chemical ergot. This may offer some insights into Seidhr, a Nordic
shamanic practice, and the frenzy of the berserkers. Another
interesting item is that Frey, a God of farming and harvest, was said
to have two close companions, Bygvir and Beyla. Bygvir was the
spirit of the barley and Beyla of the honey ั both important Gods to
brewers and appropriate companions for the God of fertility.
Finally, we have a few myths involving mead directly. Mead was
known as Kvasirีs blood and itีs primary association was with
wisdom. Kvasir was a being who was the wisest in all the universe,
but he was killed and a mead created out of his blood that when
drank brought the drinker wisdom. Aegir, a God of the Sea, was held
to be the patron of brewing and the finest of mead and ale for the
Gods to drink in Valhalla. Odin is said to never eat, but to exist
purely on mead, just as the Greek Gods had their nectar.
Even if it were not for any mythological importance, mead is of
interest to the modern brewer because it is easy to produce and
delicious. One merely introduces a yeast to the sugary liquid, and the
yeast converts the natural sugars into alcohol. After all the sugar is
converted, the yeast dies off and the wine can be bottled. However,
this is not always as easy as it sounds.
The largest problem in brewing is keeping inappropriate yeasts out
of the drink. While the correct wine (or beer) yeasts eat sugar and
excrete alcohol, other yeasts produce vinegar instead. Because of
this it is absolutely vital to keep all brewing equipment absolutely
sterile. This is the most important thing you can do in brewing. All
the great equipment purchased as your wine making shop and the
finest ingredients cannot beat a glass jar filled with welfare honey
if the former is contaminated and the latter sterile. There are two
major ways to sterilize your materials, one is a commercial
"sanitizer" found in wine making shops. Follow label directions and
youีre all set. The other is to make a solution of 25% bleach and
rinse very thoroughly.
Letีs make some cheap and easy mead. Youีll need a large pot, a one
gallon vinegar or cider bottle, a 4' or 5' length of plastic tubing (try
าairlineำ tubing from a pet shop), a balloon or non-lubricated
condom, a package of wine yeast (not bread yeast), wine bottles,
corks, a corking device, and 2 1/2 pounds of honey.
First you need to prepare the mixture that will be fermented. Take
your pot and add the honey and enough water to finish filling up the
one gallon bottle. Bring these to a boil slowly. If you donีt want
scum in your mead and it forms on the top, skim it off. You donีt
need to boil it for any length of time, you just need to bring it up to
this temperature. Boiling for a while will release a lot of scum and
additives which you can get rid of right now and it will also allow
the mead to age more quickly. However, some of this าscumำ as Iีve
called it is made up of those very things which can create flavor
nuances. I donีt boil mine. When you decide itีs done, let it cool long
enough so it wonีt melt the plastic tubing, then siphon the mead into
the gallon jug , cap and let cool overnight. The gallon jug is your
Did you sterilize the pot? the bottle? the cap? the plastic tubing?
No! Pour it out and start again ั yes I am serious.
Once the mixture is cooled to room temperature you will need to
pitch the yeast. Get a small cup half full with warm, but not hot,
water and add the yeast. Let it sit for about ten minutes and absorb
water and liven up, then pour it into your gallon jug and mix it in.
As of now your honey and water mixture is now being converted into
mead. However, this will take about two weeks, perhaps more, to
complete. During this time the mead mixture will bubble and foam,
and this is what the balloon is for. Cover the top of the bottle with
the balloon and about an hour later, when the balloon has started to
inflate but has not become too stretched, poke a few holes in it with
a pin. (I understand this may make you wince if you are using a
condom.) This balloon takes the place of a fermentation lock and
allows the gas to escape while not allowing air in, thus keeping the
fermentation bottle sterile. The holes may become clogged with
foam and you may need to poke a few more. Just remember the
purpose of this and use your common sense. Iีve accomplished this
with plastic wrap and a rubber band, but I wouldnีt advise others to
try unless youีre fond of unmet expectations.
About two weeks from this point the balloon will cease to be greatly
inflated and will eventually go limp. When it has been completely
limp for a few days and the mead is clear rather than cloudy,
fermentation is over. At this point sanitize your wine bottles and
plastic tubing and bottle the mead. Be careful not to get the yeast
into the bottles as itีs not exactly tasty stuff. I stop about an inch
before the bottom of the primary fermenter and we siphon off the
last inch into cups and toast the new mead. My mead has been very
tasty at this point, other people describe theirs as tasting like paint
thinner. In any case, you may not mind a little yeast in your cup now,
but donีt inflict it on yourself in the future by bottling it.
Wait two to six months and then enjoy. Since the above recipe has no
additives which would hasten aging, it may take a while for it to
become truly fine mead, perhaps years. There are a lot of chemical
additives that one can use to improve the flavor and process. The
most common and important addition is a teaspoon of yeast
energizer or yeast nutrient. Others include grape tannin (1/4
teaspoon), malic acid (2 or 3 teaspoons), tartaric acid (1 to 2
teaspoons). I recommend all of these chemical additives in your first
batch, but if you canีt find them you can make do with natural
ingredients or nothing at all.
One can also add slices of fruit, raisins, or berries for flavor and in
place of grape tannin. One recipe I know of adds some apple jelly. A
few lemon peels will substitute for malic acid and a spoonful of
strong tea will do replace tartaric acid. Hops are a common additive
and will give the mead a bit of a bitterness to offset the sweetness
of the honey. The more bizarre ingredient I have heard of was
Szechuan peppers, use your imagination.
All of the above additives should be made to the honey and water mix
when it is boiled. Depending on the ingredient, some, such as fruit,
may have to be boiled in this mixture for a while to break them
down. Obviously hunks of fruit should be strained out after the
boiling. Also, all the above ingredients are based on 1 gallon of
mead, adjust appropriately with the exception of the yeast itself,
one package of which will do for anywhere between 1 and 5 gallons.
Another semi-useful item is sulfite tablets which can be added to
the mead mixture a day before bottling. This will kill all remaining
yeast and will assure that you are not contaminated by vinegar yeast
after bottling or worse that the fermentation process does not
continue in the bottle, causing it to explode or pop its cork. I donีt
use sulfite and Iีve heard negative comments about a sulfurous
aftertaste. Itีs probably the better part of valor to simply wait a
while longer and make sure the fermentation process is truly ended.
The above instructions also assume you are not interested in
spending a great deal of money on equipment. The only things you
really must obtain from a wine making store are the yeast, the
corks, and the corker.
If you are willing to spend $50 to $100 more you can improve your
chances of making a good mead by purchasing equipment made for
the purpose. A balloon works, but it is a poor substitute for a proper
fermentation lock that is custom fit to a vat built for the purpose.
Likewise there are many other devices which will useful.
In Defense of Excellence
I've noticed a trend, particularly in paganism, toward "elite" becoming
a derogatory term. "Elitist" has very unpleasant connotations. In the
mad scramble toward equality and egalitarianism, perhaps the trend has
gone too far.
I am all in favour of equality of opportunity. I believe in Martin
Luther King's dream, "I have a dream that someday my children will be
judged, not upon the colour of their skin, but on the content of their
Yet, I am deeply disturbed by structures and titles meant to reward
excellence downgraded and dismissed as being elitist and hierarchical.
It the Wicca, this is most strongly epitomised by the continuing
attempts to do away with degree systems on the basis of being elitists
So I ask, what is wrong with elites? Elites exist as an informal (and
often highly formal) network of persons who, by virtue of
personal qualities, or power, or money, or birth status, are capable of
shaping and changing the structure of society. Some elites are based on
nothing more than bank balances or parentage. Others are firmly based
on intelligence, wisdom, commitment and ethical stance of their members.
I have no problem with the concept of elites. Not everyone has the
desire or capability to belong to every group. The problem lies with
the qualification for membership, not with the concept.
Hierarchy has an even nastier reputation. Yet in all societies,
regardless of size, structure of purpose, have a hierarchy. Leadership
roles exists and will be filled by those who can fill them. Leaders are
necessary to achieve the goals of the group, regardless of how that
leadership manifests. It is only when a hierarchy becomes closed and
fixed that the structure becomes abusive.
The concerns of those who dislike the concept of hierarchy due to
experience of its abuses are valid. It is very easy to fall into a
system where power rests, not on those who are qualified, but upon
other,less desirable criteria, such as birth status, or wealth, or
loudness of voice. However, doing away with the formal structure of
hierarchy does not solve the problem. Non hierarchical groups often
fall into leadership by peer pressure. Those that are thick skinned and
dominant will lead de facto, especially if there is no de jure leader.
Hierarchies exist. They exist because, like physics, nature abhors a
vaccuum. A power vaccuum will be filled regardless of the good
intentions on all sides. The solution is to have structures where all
persons have the opportunity to become leaders, to participate in the
decision making process, based only upon ability and desire to do so.
Equal opportunity,equal access.
The degree system within the Craft is not perfect. Like any other
system,it has its abuses. However, if properly used, it has rewards far
greater than having no such system.
First, there is the reward for excellence. Those who have personal
qualities such as commitment, talent, study, intelligence and open
mindedness, should be rewarded for their abilities. The reward is not
just a fancy title, but a recognition of that excellence, and membership
in an elite.
Second, there is a benchmark for others to judge by. If I know what
degree a person holds, mundane or Craft, I have some idea of their
abilities and can assume a certain level of understanding.
Third, there is the recognition of self. A standard of excellence is
required and achieving a degree is a feedback upon the levels achieved.
There are other aspects dealing with the magic rite itself, but even if
there were not, the hierarchy of degrees and the elite groups formed by
having them are a mark of excellence for those who belong. Within my
tradition and, according to my faith, within the Wicca itself, there are
no barriers of opportunity to the system. Therefore, I see no reason to
abandon it. I do not say that the system cannot be improved or that
another system cannot provide the same benefits, but I haven't seen one
that provides a reward for excellence while avoiding the pitfalls.
Without active encouragement of excellence, whether in Craft or in the
mundane world, entropy says that we will end up with mediocrity and
least common denominator. And a world where mediocrity rules is not a
world I wish to live in.
(This article previously appeared in "The Messenger")
I looked through all my information, but as far as the Seminoles go
I couldn't find any reference to the Badger. I'm not saying that it
doesn't exist, I just couldn't find any. Here is something from one of
my books that I thought you might find interesting:
"Badgers are 2-3 feet long and are about 12 inches high. Family
members mark each other with scent for recognition since their sight
is poor. Their senses of smell and hearing, however, are excellent.
Their diet includes a wide variety of roots, herbs, plant, and many
small animals. They dig with remarkable speed to catch burrowing prey
and when they need to get underground quickly. Badgers live in simple
but extremely clean, well kept dens. They pay close attention to
details within their home environments. They change their bedding
often, backing carefully into their dens with straw, so as not to make
a mess in the process.
Badgers bring us gifts of tidiness and organization. They are
fastidious about their surroundings and will correct any disorder
quickly. If Badger has come to you in some way, it may be saying that
you need to concentrate on maintaining an orderly environment to better
facilitate your day to day living. Badger can also be helpful to call
upon for aid in managing your time. This can be useful for those of us
who are trying to satisfy our need to devote time to ceremonies and the
spirit realm and still work a job.
Badger will fight to the death if cornered. While this may be a
useful trait in the wild, men used this quality of Badger to exploit it
in the so-called sport of Badger-baiting. Captured Badgers were put
into small enclosed areas with a dog or dogs, and bets were placed on
the outcome of the fight. Are you stuck in a pattern that served you
well once, but is now damaging? Badger could be warning you that a
change of behavior is in order if you don't want to be cornered or
[From _Animal Energies_ by Gary Buffalo Horn Man and Sherry
Firedancer - Dancing Otter Publishing]
Here's something I think you might find interesting.
It's from a book on Zuni fetishes. (Author: Hal Zina Bennett)
BADGER (Guardian of the South)
Zuni name: Black Mark face
Wide, bulky, compact body, spread out along the ground, legs and tail
barely suggested. Narrow, blunt face, prominent nose.
(Describing the fetish itself)
This fetish helps you focus your attention and deepen your passion.
It is an antidote to passivity and 'victimized' feelings. It helps you
become more tenacious and grounded, for achieving any goal.
If you are a Badger person, you are aggressive, highly goal oriented,
able to concentrate on a single task or mission for long periods; and a
Imbolc for the Covenstead
First, the cleansing. We do covenstead cleansing on this day, partl
because of the (somewhat) purificatory nature of Imbolc, and partly
because it coincides with the date a Japanese custom called yokubrai, if
memory serves correctly, is carried out. Yokubarai means the same as
exorcism, and is done with beans! More about that in a minute.
I give as many parts to the cleansing as there are people to perform
them. The last house cleansing we did had about 10 people take part and
I found something for each of them to do. But that wasnt easy. Lessee,
I think the most necessary elements for me to go around with are salt
water, incense and beans. But Ive also had people waving away negative
energy with brooms and wands. Ive had them sprinkle with salt water,
and with water in which basil had been soaking for awhile. Ive had
people carry around bells, incense and candles (not quite bell, book and
candle, but close enough ). I live in a loft apartment, so we start
in the closet up there, partly because its in the heart of the house,
partly because I like the humorous aspect of coming out of the closet to
do the blessing. Anyway, we banish in a counterclockwise
diretion, single file, sprinkling, censing, or chanting into each corner
each mirror, light fixture, appliance or outlet, as well as the walls
In other words, we banish negative energy from all things giving
ingress or egress from the house, as well as walls and mirrors.
Sometimes we just take in everything in one room at once if its small,
or everything along one wall--saves time. I usually come at the end of
the line throwing beans at things (I find beans for MONTHS afterward)
and chanting in Japanese: Funiki ga ire; oni ga soto! (Good luck, come
in; devils, begone!) Then someone follows me making a banishing
pentagram with an athame. We circle around the house in a counter-cloc-
kwise spiral till were back where we started--downstairs by that time.
Then we go back upstairs for the blessing part. For the mos part, this
uses the same tools, but no beans this time, and we go clockwise. We
bless the corners, walls, outlets, appliances, and mirror, doors and
windows. We concentrate on blessing and on making a seal that cannot be
broken on the windows and doors especially. I usually come last and
seal everything with a pentagram drawn by my atham. Then I draw a large
permanent circle around the house, call in the elements, and ask the
Lord and Lady to guard and bless the house for another year.
Consecrating the dirt is simpler. I usually buy potting soil and
place it in the center of the circle. All the ritual is done around it.
We usually consecrate it just before we do cakes and wine by placin our
hands on it and channeling energy into it. Then everyone takes some
The last thing we do is to make up Bridgets bed. We take some long
grass, or herbs and fold them into the shape of a doll about a foot long
We dress her up and name her Bridget. Then we make her a soft bedof
some grasses (all on a sheet of newspaper, of course, so the Virgo HPS
doesnt get her nose, or her carpet, bent out of shape), lay her down and
put a phallic image in the bed with her. We use a large dried seed pod
with a rounded head for this. Then we place some of the consecrated
dirt on a sheet of newspaper beside her. She was put by the hearth in
days of yore, but, alas, I have no fireplace! In the mornng, if there
are prints in the dirt (ashes), it foretold a favorableyear. When we
did it last year, I swear there was the image of the phallic figure in
the dirt, though no one had moved him! And it was a very good year for
the coven, all in all.
Hope you can use some of this.
Invocation of Lord and Lady (Ritual)
The following is the text of a ritual titled Invocation of the Lord and
Lady which was presented by the Fellowship of the Sacred Grove at a
local gathering in November of 1993. Prayers and invocations are not
included in the text as these are delivered spontaneously by the Priest
PART ONE: THE PREPARATIONS
[Priest, Priestess, Bard and Quarters begin standing in circle just
outside the circle that will be consecrated for the ritual. Other
participants begin outside of circle and will later enter through South
gate. Customarily, East and North are male, South and West female.]
1. The Warning
[The Bard moves to center of circle and addresses all.]
"We gather tonight to open the veil between the worlds.
This is not safe -- To pass beyond that threshold we must leave behind
the protections of the mundane world. We must remove the veils which
disguise us and lay aside the jewels which dazzle our eyes. We must
take the risk of Seeing, and of being Seen.
For our protection we rely upon the Lord and the Lady, whose Children we
are. Any who are not ready to approach Them in reverence, love and trust
should leave now.
Those of you who have chosen to walk this path, prepare yourselves to
meet God and Goddess.
[Bard remains in center.]
2.Claiming the Circle
[East takes one step forward into the circle and speaks, facing inward.]
"In the name of the Lady of Light, and in my own name,
I claim this circle as a place of Men.
Let all who enter be bound to speak, and hear, the Truth.
So mote it be."
[West takes one step forward into the circle and speaks, facing inward.]
"In the name of the Sacred King, and in my own name,
I claim this circle as a place of Women.
Let all who enter be bound to Perfect Love and Trust.
So mote it be."
[South takes one step forward into the circle and speaks, facing
"In the name of the Lord of the Greenwood, and in my own name,
I claim this circle as a place of Nature
Let all who enter be bound to the sacred web of life.
So mote it be."
[North takes one step forward into the circle and speaks, facing
"In the name of the Queen of Heaven, and in my own name,
I claim this circle as Sacred Space.
Let all who enter be opened to the presence of God and Goddess.
So mote it be."
3. Marking the Circle
[All sing Listen to the Lord and Lady while Priest and Priest mark
circle. When finished Priest and Priestess stand before alter in North,
4. The Challenges
[East and West move to South gate and form Arch with athames. North
crosses to South gate. Participants enter through South gate one at a
time and are challenged at knife point by North and South, then shown to
places by Bard.]
Who seeks to join this fellowship?
Will you support and defend your companions on this quest?
Do you swear to use that which you learn in this circle only in service
of the light?
Are you ready to meet the Mother and Father of All life?
Then enter and be welcome.
[Comment: This took several minutes, but the effect of the delay was
positive rather than negative. The lengthy challenge process acted to
center and focus the entire circle.]
5.Sealing the Circle
[Bard speaks from center.]
We have stepped beyond time, to a place not of earth. In the presence of
the Lord and Lady, we join together and are one.
[Bard crosses to take place in circle, then takes hand of next person
deosil and says We are one. Each participant takes the hand of the next
repeating We are one until the whole circle is joined. When the circle
is complete, the Bard announces again We are one!]
PART TWO: THE MYSTERY
[Priest moves to center and leads all in pathworking. After preliminary
relaxation and centering, the working takes the participant first to
four symbols -- a living tree, a sword, a cup, and a standing stone --
each of which holds a message for the visitor. Then the participants
journey to an ancient clearing around a weathered stone alter where, in
times long past, their ancestors honored the Lord and Lady. In that
holy place, the participants call the Guardians of the Quarters, then
prepare to invoke the Lord and Lady.]
[Comment: The actual invocation of the Lord and Lady follows without
transition, inviting the participants to continue to experience it in
the ancient clearing.]
2. Calling the Lord and Lady
[Priestess joins Priest in center. Priestess invokes the Lord. Other
invoke Lord and/or Lady as they feel inspired. Priest closes invocations
by invoking the Lady. All invocations end with Come join with us. which
is repeated by all.]
Priestess begins chant alone, all join in after first time through.
Participants should stand, clap and dance as they feel moved.]
Isis, Osiris, Woden and Freya; Lord and Lady, Brigid and Lugh
[Chant builds in power to be cut off at peak by Bard striking staff on
[During chant East and West have stepped outside circle and deliver
readings from opposite sides of circle. Bard is at center. Bard speaks.]
Hear now the words of the Great Mother who is called Isis, and Freya,
and Brigid, and many other names.
Think not that I am far from you, for you can see my visage in the moon,
and hear my voice upon the wind.
I am the silence of the sea, and the secret of the standing stones.
I am the beauty of the green earth, and the mystery of the stars.
I am the Mother of all things, and the soul of nature, who gives life to
I am the source of your beginning, and I am the fulfillment of your
Hear the words of the All Father who is called Osiris, and Woden, and
Lugh, and other names beyond counting.
You know me not, but I am with you. My face is the sun, and my voice the
I am the strength of the forest, and the keenness of the sword.
I am the rune giver; the patient teacher; the revealer of secrets.
I am the warrior, the defender of the weak and the companion of heroes.
I am the Horned One. I am the gateway to the Mysteries, and I am Mystery
Arise and come unto us, for mine in the womb that bore thee and the
breast that nursed thee. Your joy is our joy, and your sorrow, our
sorrow. We would teach you the ways of healing, and the joys of love,
for our law is love unto all beings. We give the knowledge of the
eternal spirit, and beyond death we give peace and reunion with those
who have gone before. We would lead you to love and to freedom. Call on
us, and we will show you the hidden paths.
Follow my white stag into the deep forest. There is mystery in the wild
places, and a path that leads between the worlds.
The path is not easy, for it leads to that which cannot be given by
Those who would share our freedom must create it anew within their own
But no one who walks that path walks alone. Fear not to call on us, for
we have not forgotten our Children.
5. Great Rite
[Priest and Priestess take positions in center of circle, Priest
kneeling with chalice, Priestess standing with athame. Priest makes
spontaneous prayer to Lord and Lady. Priestess prays and/or responds on
behalf of Lord and Lady, customarily ending with So mote it be as she
lowers the athame.
[Comment: a common theme here is to invite the Lord and Lady to join
with us as they join with each other, but sensitivity to the inspiration
of the moment is the prime concern.]
[All sing We all come from the Goddess as Priest and Priestess circle
group, touching and offering a blessing to each in turn. When all have
received a blessing, Priest and Priestess return to circle and all join
hands. Priest and Priestess signal end to song by returning to center.]
PART THREE CLOSING
1. Thanking the Lord and Lady
[Priest thanks Lady, Priestess thanks Lord.]
2. Return to Mundane Consciousness
[Priestess return to circle. Priest resumes pathworking in ancient
clearing, thanks quarters and draws participants back into normal
consciousness. Priest returns to circle.]
3. Opening the Circle
[Bard moves to center and addresses all.]
The rite is ended, the circle is open, may the blessing of the Lord and
Lady be with you all. So mote it be. (All respond.)
YULE DIVINE PLAY - by Lady Allusha, Coven Tara, publiched in the
Georgian Newsletter, December 1983
Characters: Narrator, Earth Goddess, Handmaidens, Sun God
Props: Yule Fire
Narrator: It has been a long cold winter. Here, where the trees are
all barren and the snow covers the ground the nights are dark and long.
Earth Goddess enters, followed by her Handmaidens. They all move slowly
around towards the birthing spot.
Narrator: We see shadowy figures in the distance, moving slowly. The
delicate footprints lead into the deepest realms of the forest. It is
the Earth Goddess, pregnant with Life, followed by her Handmaidens.
Earth Goddess stops. Handmaidens gather before her and kneel. Earth
Goddess starts to make soft birthing sounds.
Narrator: Listen! The Earth Goddess is about to give birth. In the
midst of deepest darkness, light shall be reborn. Lend her your aid!
Handmaidens start swaying gently, joining in the birthing sounds.
Narrator encourages all present to join in the birthing sounds. The
sounds get louder and louder until ...
Narrator: The Sun is Born!
Sun God jumps out from hiding into the center. He appears small and
Earth Goddess: Go, my faithful Handmaidens, and build up the Yule fire.
That the weak Sun God shall grow in warmth and strength by its flames.
She collapses with a sigh. Handmaidens build up the fire. The Sun God
slowly grows as the fire grows, until he stands tall with his arms
outstretched. He says, " I have returned" Then he dances a little jig.
The celebrants gather in a room apart from the ritual area.
It is best if the ritual can be held in a room without lights
and with no heat. Priest and Priestess may choose to cast
the circle before hand and allow all to enter through a
portal, or cast after the candle lighting. At the time for
the ritual to begin, the warden and maiden lead all into the
ritual area with only one dim candle to light the way which
circles to the Southern tower and stays there. As all shiver
in the darkness, the priest and priestess, at the Southern
tower begin, alternating:
It is winter.
It is night.
We await the Sun.
We await the light.
In this darkness
In this night,
We await the warmth.
We await the light.
(Together:) And slowly it comes.
(As they have moved around the cirle saying these things, the
Priestess Widdershins and the Priest Deosil, they light
candles which completely surround the circle. By the time
they have finished, the room should be very bright.)
Circle is cast if not already. Salt and water. Fire and air.
Quarters summoned in manner appropriate to the season.
Horned God, Winter God, Father of the Sun, with frost upon
your beard and the blazing of Yule fires in your eyes, you
bless us with your presence. We greet you.
The Winter God (lighting the appropriate candles, which are
held by women appropriately dressed):
White is for the Maiden, divine and joyous child. Fresh as
the snow is her taper. I give greetings, Blessed One.
Red is for the Mother, warm embracing creation queen.
Scarlet as the winter sunset is her taper. I give greetings,
Black is for the Crone, keeper of magical mysteries. Ebon as
the stormy night is her taper. I give greetings, Wise One.
Queens of winter, Sister, Mother, Grandmother, I greet you
and ask your blessings upon your people gathered here.
The three Goddesses, dividing the parts appropriately, invoke
the Sun (the Maiden then crowns the God with a crown of
candles or other appropriate crown, the Mother gives him a
staff with a pine cone tip and the Crone gives him a kiss):
Return, oh, return! God of the sun, god of the light,
return! Darkness has fled -- Thou hast no enemies. O lovely
helper, return, return!
Return to thy sister, thy spouse, thy mother who loveth thee!
We shall not be put asunder. O my brother, my consort, my
son, return, return! When I see thee not my heart grieveth
for thee, mine eyes seek for thee, my feet roam the earth in
search of thee! Gods and men weep for thee together. God of
the sun, god of the light, return! Return to thy sister, thy
spouse, thy mother, who loveth thee! Return! Return!
The God raps three times on the altar with his wand
Newly born, am I. What wisdom says the watcher of the east
to aid me and those gathered here with me?
This is a time for entering wilderness and seeking its
magical strengths. A time for standing alone and godlike,
and seeing all things clearly. It is a season of joy!
What wisdom says the watcher of the south?
This is a time of active seeking, both without in nature and
within oneself. Eagerness and resolution shall concern
mysteries and create results. It is a season of courage!
What wisdom says the watcher of the west?
This is a time for devotion to the way of the wild places and
seeking the calmness of solitary locales. A time for finding
understanding, and confiding only in trusted friends. It is
a season of meditation!
What wisdom says the watcher of the north?
This is a time to know the endurance of the hills, and to so
grow in one's own inner firmness. A time for scrupulousness
and thoroughness and considering all things. It is a season
The Winter God:
Rich are these gifts of knowledge. Soon I will give way to
my Son, but until that time mine is the feast and the season
of joy. (The God blesses the feast as is customary for the
Each Deity and Watchers is thanked and bid farewell as they
The circle is released as is appropriate to the group.
If anyone is crowned with a crown of candles, a veil helps
with the dripping wax. Holly can be pretty uncomfortable,
too, so ditto.
Portions of this are liberally stolen from the Magical Rites
from the Crystal Well by Ed Fitch. It's great stuff and you
may want to use it outright, rather than my mutilated
If you have enough people and candles, everybody may be naked
by the end of this.
It's great to use your oldest male as Winter and your
youngest male for the Sun (kids are great suns). Same for
Obviously, this is just an outline that can be spindled,
folded and mutilated any way you like. The opening part with
the candles we have used for more than one Yule and it's
We have also done a guided meditation into Herne's Grove,
rather than a Winter God invocation. It involves a treck
through the winter forest, trudging through snow until you
find the lone pine tree in the clearing in the heart of the
Female Wine Blessing
The Goddess calls originate from an all-female version I wrote of the
Dedication ritual of the Odyssian tradition. The original was written by
Richard and Tamarra James. This version follows the structure of the
original fairly closely, and maintains some of the original lines, so if
you like it, send your compliments to Richard as well as to me.
Ditto for the Wine Blessing, as it is a modified version of the Odyssian
One priestess represents the Moon Goddess (the conventionally feminine
role), and the other the Sun Goddess (the conventionally mascualine
We half-jokingly called this the butch-femme wine blessing...
SG: I am She who shone forth from the Dark of Night,
When time was begun.
Lady of the Sea, join Me,
And let all things be formed of Our union.
Thou who art called Artemis, Hecate, Cerridwen, Isis.
Giver of love, protection, and the joy of life,
Goddess of the Earth, Moon and Sea,
Ruler of the Night,
Mistress of Magic, Keeper of the Mysteries.
Ascend to Me on bright and silvered wing.
For lo, I receive these gifts of Thee:
Life, and love, and gifts from the Sea.
I am the Sun, the Sun that calleth Thee.
I am the arching Sky that covers Thee.
Come unto Me, my Lady, come unto Me,
And be welcome.
Hail, and blessed be.
MG: I am She who rose from the depths of the Sea,
When time was begun.
Lady of the Bright Sky, join Me,
And let all things be formed of Our union.
Thou who art called Athena, Bast, Sekhmet, Amaterasu.
Giver of strength, guidance, and the will of life,
Goddess of the Sun, Sky, and Winds,
Ruler of the Day,
Bringer of Justice and Voice of Truth.
Descend to Me on bright and golden wing.
For lo, I receive these gifts of Thee:
Life, and strength, and fullest ecstasy.
I am the Sea, the Sea that calleth Thee.
I am the waiting Earth that welcomes Thee.
Come unto Me, my Lady, come unto Me,
And be welcome.
Hail, and blessed be.
MG anoints SG and hands her the athame.
MG: Bright Lady, thou art the Sun.
Thy heat is radiant.
Warrior Maiden, Giver of the Law,
Here is the athame,
The Air and Fire are contained within it,
As are their powers.
SG anoints MG and hands her the chalice.
SG: Dark Lady, thou art the Moon,
Giver of dreams and visions.
Wise One, Teacher of the Mysteries,
Here is the chalice,
The Earth and the Sea are contained within it,
As are their powers.
SG: I am the spark of life,
The well of flame wherein dwells all power and potential.
MG: And I am the primal matter,
The core of earth that gives shape and form to that power.
Both: Neither one can work without the other.
One without the other is incomplete.
SG: Mine are wisdom and knowledge, passion and pride.
MG: And mine are love and dreams, silence and mystery.
Both: To learn you must suffer,
To live you must be born,
To be born you must die.
The beginning, continuation and the end,
Over and over.
SG: The Sun brings forth light,
MG: And the Moon holds it in darkness.
SG: As above,
MG: So below.
SG: (Raises athame) And as the athame is one half of our divine
MG: So the chalice is the other.
Both: (Athame into chalice) And conjoined they be one in truth,
For it is in the Dance that Life is born,
In the balance that truth is found,
And there is no greater power in all the world
Than that of Love.
Altars (misc. Thoughts)
As for Altar set ups...
1. I once read Crowley's remarks on how he contrived his stuff while he
was out wandering the world or climbing mountains. He found ways to
just use the simple things from his kit...cook knife became Athame, tin
cup became the Cup...etc.
This sort of 'kitchen witch' working is accepted by lots of folks. You
can set an altar up and take it down as fast as you can set a table.
2. I also have noted the "Porto-Pagan" set-ups at some of the Pagan
Fests I've attended. Carry the stuff in a cardboard box that can be
up-ended for an altar, or even placed on it's side for a rain-proof
'shrine'. Close and carry off at the end of the visit with a minimum of
re-wrapping to protect the fragiles.
Some just contrive one with the natural objects at hand...a rock, a
stick, a lantern or candle, etc.
3. Some folks (including myself) have a small duffle into which I've
placed a second set of "traveling" working tools. I have the great
good-fortune of having friends who give me cool things. The coolest
stay on my Altar, the second-coolest hang out in the sac, and sometimes
I shift the goodies around.
4. I have a buncha books that offer arrangements I find a bit Over-
whelming, but I can certainly post them, if you really need them. If
you want me to fetch out Official Altar diagrams from some of the slick
commercial works I have on the shelf, RSVP.
5. For "public" Altar, in my home, I 'clutter' a shelf, a mantle, or a
small window sill. It sounds to me as though, since all your stuff is
packed andyour space is totally compressed, that the "window sill" Altar
is a good solution for you. I put a little origami pinwheel up on an
Eastern sill, a small shell on a Western one, a tiny oil lamp on a
Southern one, and a pretty rock on a Northern one. The whole House is
the Altar "Table".
To clear my space I have been known to light a stick of incense, scaling
it upward in my mind until I am swinging a huge flaming brand before the
various Darks I'm dispelling, and run through the house screaming and
raving aloud until they back off. A joss stick lasts about 20 minutes.
I can almost guarantee that if you summon your Ki and Incant over a
flaming brand for 15 minutes, most Shadows _will_ go elsewhere. I
haven't had to do it in THIS house more than twice in 3 years.
What Is Shamanism?
Since the term "shamanism" has been used in a number of ways during the
discussions here I thought it might be helpful to present some basic
information on shamanism as the inter-disicplinary subject that it has
become since Mircea Eliade wrote _Shamanism_.
The following is from the Foreward, which explains the approach that
Eliade took to study Shamanism as a magico-religious phenomena, and
which has been the foundation that shamanism as a spiritual tradition,
as well as explaining how other academic disciplines approach the
_Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy_
Princeton University, Bollingen Series LXXVI 1964
Originally published in French as _Le Chamanisme et les techniques
archaiques de l'extase_, Librairie Payot, Paris, 1951. Revised and
enlarged for the Bollinger edition.
ISBN 0-691-01779-4 pbk 0-691-09827-1 hdbk
To the best of our knowledge the present book is the first to cover
the entire phenomenon of shamanism and at the same time to situate it
in the general history of religions. To say this is to imply its
liability to imperfection and approximation and the risks that it
takes. Today the student has at his disposition a considerable
quantity of documents for the various shamanisms--Siberian, North
American, South American, Indonesian, Oceanian, and so on. Then too,
a number of works, important in their several ways have broken ground
for the ethnological, sociological, and psychological study of
shamanism (or rather, of a particular type of shamanism). But with
few notable exceptions--we refer especially to the studies of Altaic
shamanism by Holmberg (Harva)--the immense shamanic bibliography has
neglected to interpret this extremely complex phenomenon in the
framework of the history of religion. It is as a historian of
religions that we, in our turn, have attempted to approach,
understand, and present shamanism. Far be it from us to think of
belittling the admirable studies undertaken from the viewpoints of
psychology, sociology, or ethnology; we consider them indispensable
to understanding the various aspects of shamanism. But we believe
that there is room for another approach--that which we have sought to
implement in the following pages.
The writer who approaches shamanism as a psychologist will be led to
regard it as primarily the manifestation of a psyche in crisis or
even in retrogression; he will not fail to compare it with certain
aberrant psychic behavior patterns or to class it among mental
diseases of the hysteroid or epileptoid type.
We shall explain why we consider it inacceptable to assimilate
shamanism to any kind of mental disease. But one point remains (and
it is an important one), to which the psychologist will always be
justified in drawing attention: like any other religious vocation,
the shamanic vocation is manifested by a crisis, a temporary
derangement of the future shaman's spiritual equilibrium. All the
observations and analyses that have been made on this point are
particularly valuable They show us, in actual process as it were,
the repercussions, within th epsyche, of what we have called the
"dialectic of hierophanies"--the radical separation between profane
and sacred and the resulting splitting of the world. To say this is
to indicate all the importance that we attribute to such studies in
The sociologist, for his part, is concerned with the social function
of the shaman, the priest, the magician. He will study prestige
originating from magical powers, its role in the structure of
society, the relations between religious and political leaders and so
on. A sociological analysis of the myths of the First Shaman will
elicit revealing indications concerning the exceptional position of
the earliest shamans in certain archaic societies. The sociology of
shamnism remains to be written, and it will be among the most
important chapters in general sociology of religion. The historian
of religions must take all these studies and their conclusions into
account. Added to the psychological conditions brought out by the
psychologist, the social ocnditions, in the broadest sense of the
term, reinforce the element of human and historical concreteness in
the documents that he is called upon to handle.
The concreteness will be accented by the studies of the ehtnologist.
It will be the task of ethnological monographs to situate the shaman
in his cultural milieu. There is danger of misunderstanding the true
personality of a Chukchee shaman, for example, if one reads of his
exploits without knowing anything about the life and traditions of
the Chukchee. Again, it will be for the ehtnologist to make
exhaustive studies of the shaman's costume and drum, to describe the
seances, to record texts and melodies, and so on. By undertaking to
establish the "history" of one or another constituent element of
shamanism (the drum, for example, or the use of narcotics during
seances), the ethnologist--joined when circumstances demand it, by a
comparatist and historian--will suceed in showing the circulation of
the particular motif in time and space; so far as possible, he will
define its center of expansion and the stages and the chronology of
its dissemination. In short, the ethnolgist will also become a
"historian," whether or not he adopts the Graebner-Schmidt-Koppers
method of cultural cycles. In any case, in addition to an admirable
purely descriptive ethnographical literature, there are now available
numerous works of historical ethnology: in the overwelming "gray
mass" of cultural data stemming from the so-called "ahistorical"
peoples, we now begin to see certain lines of force appearing; we
begin to distinguish "history" where we were in the habit of finding
only "Naturvolker," "primitives," or "savages."
It is unnecessary to dwell here on the great services that historical
ethnology has already rendered to the histroy of religions. But we
do not believe that it can take the place of the history of
religions. The latter's mission is to integrate the results of
ethnology, psychology, and sociology. Yet in doing so, it will not
renounce its own method of investigation or the viewpoint that
specifically defines it. Cultural ethnology may have demonstrated
the relation of shamanism to certain cultural cycles, for example, or
the dissemination of one or another shamanic complex; yet its object
is not to reveal the deeper meaning of all these religious phenomena,
to illuminate their symbolism, and to place them in the general
history of religions. In the last analysis, it is for the historian
of religions to synthesize all the studies of particular aspects of
shamanism and to present a comprehensive view which shall be at once
a morphology and a history of this complex religious phenomena.
Chapter One, General considerations. REcruiting Methods. Shamanism
and Mystical Vocation.
Since the beginning of the century, ehtnologists have fallen into
the habit of using the terms, "shaman," "medicine man," "sorcer,"
and "magician" interchangeably to designate certain individuals
possessing magico-religious powers and found in all "primitive"
societies. By extension, the smae terminology has been applied in
studying the religious history of "civilized" peoples, and there
have been discussions, for example, of an Indian, an Iranian, a
Germanic, a Chinese, and even a Babylonian "shamanism" with
reference to the "primitive" elements attested in the corresponding
religions. For many reasons this confusion can only militate
against any understanding of the shamanic phenomenon. If the word
"shaman" is taken to mean any magician, sorcerer, medicine man, or
ecstatic found throughout the history of religions and religious
ethnology, we arrive at a notion at once extremely complex and
extremely vague; it seems, furthermore, to serve no purpose, for we
already have the terms "magician" or "sorcerer" to express notions
as unlike and as ill-defined as "primitive magic" or "primitive
We consider it advantageous to restrict the use of the words
"shaman" and "shamanism" precisely to avoid misunderstandings and
cast a clearer light on the history of "magic" and "sorcery." For
of course, the shaman is also a magician and medicine man; he is
believed to cure, like all doctors, and to perform miracles of the
fakir type, like all magicians, whether primitive or modern. But
beyond this, he is a psychopmp, and he may also be preist, mystic
and powet. In the dim, "confusionistic" mass of the religious life
of archaic socieites considered as a whole, shamanism--taken in its
strict and exact sense--already shows a structure of its own and
implies a "history" that there is every reason to clarify.
Shamanism in the strict sense is pre-eminently a religious
phenomenon of Siberia and Central Asia. The word comes to us,
through the Russian, from the Tungusic _saman_. In the other
languages of Centeral and North Asia the corresponding terms are
Yakut _ojuna_ (_oyuna_), Mongolian _buga_, _boga_ (_buge_, _bu_) and
_udagan_ (cf. also Buryat _udayan_, Yukut _udoyan_: "shamaness")_,
Turko-Tartar _kam_ (Altaic _kam_, _gam_, Mongolian _kami_, etc.) It
has been sought to explain the Tungusic term by the Pali _samana_,
and we shall return to this possible etymology (which is part of the
great problem of Indian influences on Siberian religions) in the
last chapter of this book. Throughout the immense area comprising
Central and North Asia, the magico-religious life of society centers
on teh shaman. This, of course, does not mean that he is the one
and only manipulator of the sacred, nor that religious activity is
completely usurped by him. IN many tribes the sacrificing priest
coexists with the shaman, not to mention the fact that every head of
a family is also the head of the domestic cult. Nevertheless the
shaman remains the dominating figure; for throught the whole region
in which the ecstatic experience is considered the religious
experience par excellence, the shaman, and he alone, is the great
master of ecstasy. A first definition of this complex phenomenon,
and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = _technique of
Yet one observation must be made at the outset: the presence of a
shamanistic complex in one region or another does not necessarily
mean that the magico-religious life of the corresponding poeple is
crystallized around shamanism. This can ocur (as, for example, in
certain parts of Indonesia), but it is not the most usual state of
affairs. Generally shamanism coexixsts with other forms of magic
It is here that we see all the advantage of emplying the term
"shamanism" in its strict and proper sense. For, if we take the
trouble to differentiate the shaman from other magicians and
medicine men of primitive societies, the identification of shamanic
complexes in one or another region immediately acquires definite
significance. Magic and magicians are to be foudn more or less all
over the world, where as shamaism exhibits a particular magical
specialty, on which we shall dwell at legth: "master over fire,"
"magical flight," and so on. By virtue of this fact, though the
shaman is, among other things, a magician, not every magician can
properly be termed a shaman. The same distinction must be applied
in regard to shamanic healing; ever medicine man is a healer, but
the shaman employs a method that is his and his alone. AS for the
shamanic techniques of ecstasy, they do not exhaust all the
varieties of ecstatic experience documented in the history of
religions an dreligious ethnolgoy. Hence any ecstatic cannot be
considered a shaman; the shaman specializes in a trance during which
his sould is believed to leave his body and ascend to the sky or
descend to the underworld.
A similar distinction is also necessary to define the shaman's
relation to "spirits." All through the primitive and modern worlds
we find individuals who profess to maintain relations with
"spirits," whether they are "possessed" by them or control them.
SSEveral volumes would be needed for an adequate study of all the
problems that arise in connection with the mere idea of "spirits"
and of their possible relations with human beings; for a "spirit"
can equally well be the sould of a dead person, a "nature spirit,"
mythical animal, and so on. But the study of shamanism does not
require going into all this; we need only define the shaman's
relation to his helping spirits. It will easily be seen wehrein a
shaman differs from a "possessed" person, for example; the shaman
controls his "spirits," in the sense that he, a human being, is able
to communicate with the dead, "demons," and "nature spirits,"
without thereby becoming their insturment. To be sure, shamans are
sometimes found to be "possessed," but these are exceptional cases
for which there is a particular explanation.
These few preliminary observations already indicate the course that
we propose to follow in odrder to reach an adequate understanding of
shamanism. In view of the fact that this magico-religious
phenomenon has had its most complete manifestation in North and
Central Asia, we shall take the shaman of these regions as our
typical example. We are not unaware, and we shall endeavor to show,
that Central and North Asian shamanism, at least in its present
form, is not a primordial phenomenon that has a long "history." But
this Central Asian and Siberian shamanism has the advantage of
presenting a structure in which elements that exist independently
elsewhere in the world--i.e., special relations with "spirits,"
ecstatic capacities permitting of magical flight, ascents to the
sky, descents to the underworld, mastery over fire, etc.--are here
already found integrated with a particular ideology and validating
By: JULIA PHILLIPS
Re: Travelling Chant
Some time ago I promised to post some of the BoS material I have which
(allegedly) pre-dates Gardner. No guarantees , but I was told that
this chant dates from the 1920s:
Let's ride, let's ride, to the sabbat tonight,
we'll ride over hill, over dale.
We'll ride to the feasting and ride to the dance,
and ride to the October ale.
Let's dance, let's dance at the sabbat tonight,
We'll sing with a heart full and glad.
We'll sing and we'll love through the chill autumn night,
and remember the loves we have had.
Let's ride, let's ride when the sabbat is done,
let's ride back to hearth and to home.
Let's ride back together all under the stars,
and wait for the next sabbat to come.
I think it's rather a nice chant, whenever it was written.
Bridal Blessing Song
This is one of a collection which I have been told dates from the 18th
century. As with the previous one, no guarantees !
Blessing Song for a Bridal
Bless the furrow, bless the plough
and bless the seed that springs.
Bless the fruit and bless the corn
the blossoms on the bough.
Bless the man and bless the maid
and bless the bed they share.
Bless the babe that's got this night
and in the Lady's care.
---- A WICCANING PART 4 ---
THE DIVULGENCE OF THE NAMES (explained to the Witnesses):
ANCIENT EUROPEAN PEOPLES BELIEVED THAT YOU MUST HAVE TWO
NAMES, ONE PUBLIC AND ONE A SECRET NAME THAT ONLY THOSE
PRESENT AT THE BLESSING CEREMONY KNEW. THIS SECOND NAME
IS FOR USE AFTER PUBERTY, WHEN THE SOUL CHANGES INTO ITS
FIRST ADULT SELF, WHEN IT CAN BE UTTERED ONCE MORE, AND
MADE PUBLIC. THE PURPOSE OF THE FIRST PUBLIC NAME WAS TO
DIVERT THE EVIL EYE, TO GAIN FAVOR WITH THE FATES, TO
KEEP AWAY SICKNESS, AND TO HELP THE CHILD REACH ADULTHOOD.
"Great Spirit of Nature, protect and guide these young souls
among us. May the Blessings of the wise and joyous Father of the Gods
far-seeing and far-knowing be upon thee. May the blessings of the Triple
Goddess, of Maiden, of Mother, of Crone, and all their power
be upon thee."
The following blessings/invocations were spoken and followed by
the child being immersed in the ocean water of the beach where
the ritual was held:
Great Goddess, Mother of All
Envelope this daughter of yours
in the waters of Your womb
Grant her protection from wrong-doing
Wash away the memories of her pain
Shower her with Your blessings
in a life everlasting
Bless Elizabeth Mae Luzerne.
So Mote it Be!
Great Goddess, Nurturer and Bearer of all Men, great and small
Without whose womb they would not be
Mother of Gods, of Sacrificial Kings,
Presidents, Emperors, and beggars
Welcome this son of Yours into Your Light
and as you have taught us, let him find
"Beauty and strength, power and compassion,
mirth and reverence, honor and humility"
within his heart.
Wash his fears away with your caress!
Bless Patrick Howard Lloyd!
Hail, o gracious and most magnificent Lady
whose slender hand turns the vast wheel of the sky.
whose triple aspect does see
the beginning, the life, and the end of all things.
whose wells of mystery do give
inspiration and rebirth thoughout eternity,
receive here this small daughter of yours with blessings
and with love.
Bless Morgainne Ellayne!
So mote it be!
Christmas has two distinct themes running through it, as study of any
collection of Christmas cards shows. One is the religious aspect,
involving Wise Men, angels, the Star and shepherds, and refers to
the Gospel story of the birth of Christ. The other theme seems totally
unrelated and depicts reindeer, stockings, a sleigh and, of course,
The two main Christmas personalities are Jesus and Santa, as most people
will agree. Everyone brought up in a Christian country knows the
significance of Jesus at this time but just who is Father Christmas and
why should he become part of a religious festival?
We must first look back at history and see why December became such
an important month in the religious calendar in the first place. The
reason is, of course, the Winter Solstice, December 21st, when the
Sun appears to stop in the sky prior to beginning its journey back
across the heavens.
After the Solstice the days gradually get longer and the peoples
of old considered this to be almost the birthday of the Sun. The peoples
of the northern hemisphere were fond of having a festival in mid-winter,
perhaps because they needed something to take their minds off the long,
cold, dark days.
In ancient Rome the feast of Saturnalia was held between December
17th and 23rd and gifts were exchanged. The Romans also held the
feast of Brumalia on the Solstice day itself and considered this to be
the birthday of Mithra the unconquered Sun god. The Norsemen celebrated
Yule at this time, to herald the return of the Sun.
It is interesting to note that Christ is often known as the Light of
the World, a title that continues this theme of darkness in retreat in
the face of good.
The Solstice has long been associated with the idea of people giving
each other presents. Apart from giving gifts at Saturnalia the Romans
also exchanged presents on the feast of the Kalends, which we call New
Year's Day. These customs prevailed all over the Roman Empire when
Christianity was still a new religion.
When Christianity spread to the northern lands they found the
Norsemen worshipping Odin--who rode his chariot through the night sky at
the time of the Winter Solstice, handing out gifts.
Because the exchange of gifts was so linked in the pagan mind with
these old festivals devout Christians were not supposed to exchange
gifts at this time. However, gift-exchange never died out on the
European scene and finally the Church fathers had to do something about
it. They did not want to let people keep on believing that Odin or any
other pagan deity had anything to do with gift-bringing so they looked
around for an acceptable Christian figure to bring them instead. The
person they chose was St Nicholas, the former Bishop of Myra in the
4th century AD.
Not much is actually known about St Nicholas, though many legends
grew up around his kind ly figure. One thing that qualified him for the
role of gift-bringer was his feast day being December 6th, a date
sufficiently close to the Solstice for the two to be connected in the
St Nicholas was a useful saint and could even be described as
all-purpose. His responsibilities included the welfare of pawn-
brokers, boatmen, parish clerks, dockers and barrel-makers among
others. He was the patron saint of both Russia and Aberdeen. The
best-known story about him tells of his leaving three bags of gold on
a poor man's windowsill as dowries for his three daughters. One version
of this tale states that the gold was thrown through the window and
landed in a stocking that had been hung up to dry, which perhaps
explains our custom of the Christmas stocking.
A Witch's Thoughts on Halloween
Most people celebrate Halloween as a children's holiday of candy
and costumes. However, I will be celebrating tonight as Samhain
("Sow-wen"), the Celtic New Year, the night for remembering loved ones
past and looking toward the future. For I am a Neo-pagan, a follower of
the Old Religion, a Wiccan. I am a Witch.
There are probably as many definitions of Wicca as there are prac-
titioners of the Craft--one of the joys of this path is that there is no
"one, true way"; intuition is as valuable as teaching. This then is my
personal definition of what Wicca is to me.
First, what Wicca is not is devil-worship. Wiccans don't believe
in an entity of all-evil. (I personally don't believe in evil per se;
all evil is simply a perversion or excess of something that is good when
present in a proper balance.)
Wicca is a religion based on experience of Deity as male and
female. It is pantheistic--seeing all things as part of God/dess, and
seeing the Earth Herself as a living organism of whom we are part. It
is also a religion of immanence--seeing God/dess present in each of us
and in the world around us, not "out there somewhere" but part of daily
Wiccans celebrate eight major holidays, or sabbats--the beginning
and midpoint of each season. We also celebrate the phases of the moon:
some only celebrate the full moon while others celebrate full, waxing,
and new moons. Each of these rituals helps keep us in touch with
Nature. These celebrations are in small groups usually called circles,
covens, or groves and are usually led by a Priestess, and often a
Priest. Some groups share duties and avoid titles.
Wicca is also a "Craft". We practice magic through chants,
visualizations and spells, all to focus our will on something we want to
happen. We believe that everything we do, good or ill, comes back to us
tripled, which is why we don't "hex" or "curse" anyone. We also believe
that many psychic talents are real and simply haven't been studied
enough by science to be catalogued as such.
Wiccans for the most part accept reincarnation, not as dogma to be
believed, but as fact based on personal experience. Many of us remember
past lives. As one who has studied science, I know that every atom of
my body once was part of something else, and I am continually losing
atoms that become part of others. Knowing this, it makes sense that my
soul also is "recycled".
Wicca is a positive philosophy. The only "law" is 'An it harm
none, do as ye will": Enjoy life to its fullest, and remember to help
everyone else enjoy it as well. Wiccans don't preach; Wiccans don't
evangelize. Everyone has to find his/her own path, and we welcome the
diversity this brings.
So tonight, when you dress up as a "wicked witch", know that there
are "good witches" celebrating as well. Know that I and thousands like
me throughout the world are celebrating the cycles of life through the
dance of the Lord and the Lady, trying to make this world we all share
a little brighter through our cauldron fires in the darkness. Know we
are not out to convert you; know we mean you no harm. All we ask for
is understanding, tolerance, and the freedom to practice as we choose.
High Priestess, Thalia Clan
P.O. Box 681092 ๚ Indianapolis, IN 46268-1092 ๚ (317) 579-3083
The Money Tree Spell
YOu wil need:
Green candle annointed w/ pine oil.
Sweet basil (1tbsp of basil in r hand.)
(Pass the basil over the altar candles and the green candle and incense
3 times and sprinkle basil around the green candle.
Green silk pouch
White altar candles annointed w/ sandalwood oil
5 pennies, 4 old, 1 new.
orange candle annointed w/ basil oil
O Altar Candle O Altar Candle
O Green Candle
| Parchment |
O orange candle O salt
O pine incense O water
On a waxing moon, set the altar in the east of yoru circle. This will
need to be left up for a full waxing cycle. You will need easy access
to a door.
Take a new penny in your hand, Circle the altar deosil and say
"Bring to me what I see By thy power, Hecate,"
Spin rapidly deosil and go outside and toss the new penny in the air.
Wherever it lands, bury all 5 pennies, saying:
"I give thee money - Hecate
Return to me prosperity.
I give thee five
REturn by three
As I will
So mote it be."
Return to your altar and snuff out the candles.
Next week, at the same day and time, return to your altar with your
talisman bag and the parchment. Light the orange candle. Visualize
money flowing onto the altar. Unearth the coins and bring them to the
altar. Wash them in the chalice water to purify them. Pass them
through the incense smoke and the fire from the orange candle. Place
each coin in the talisman pouch, old coins first. Add nine pieces of
rock salt, close the mouth of the talisman pouch and face east and say: