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A few points to note: 1) the phases of the sun used in the Archangelic images (East:Dawn; South:Noon; West:Sunset; North:Midnight) are not the same, nor are they as important to Wicca. Instead, the poles of day and night are established: Night for the East-West axis and Day for the North-South axis. 2) themale-femalepolesareestablishedwiththemasculine images (Herne and Cernunnos) attributed to the active Elements (Air and Fire) and the feminine images (Aradia and Habondia) to the passive Elements (Water and Earth). Note that one figure of each gender stands in light, and one in darkness. This male- female/positive-negative/active-passive polarity is central to virtually all systems of magick, eg. the yin/yang symbol in oriental systems. I may be betraying solar-phallic tendencies by these assignments, and you may want to use different attributions: The Maiden can be Air and the Mother switch to Water, with the Hunter moving into Earth, for example. Heck, the dual God Forms should perhaps be invoked in each quarter. eg. Venus/Adonis imagery in East or South, Hertha/Herne in West, etc. The Star Of David The last lineof the Invocationrefers toa 'six-rayed star'and the mental work calls for imagining a Star of David. This is not a specifically Jewish symbol in this context. The six-pointed star, or hexagram, is the Qabalistic symbol par excellence of initiation and spiritual illumination. The upward-pointing triangle represents the aspiration of the magician to the Gods, and the downward-pointing triangle represents the divine power, flowing down to the world. These meet at the moment of magick and the interlaced triangles forming the hexagram symbolize the power of this meeting. Should you prefer not to use the Star of David, you can replace the mental image with any symbol showing the meeting of your soul and the power of the Goddess. This can even be a private symbol, one that is meaningful only to you. Alternatively, you can just envision the sphere of white light from the Q-Cross, as a symbol of divine power. Replace the words about the 'six-rayed star' with some descriptive form: 'the seal of the Goddess,' or 'the sign of my Awakening,' or simply 'the light Divine.' 101 WICCAN PENTAGRAM RITUAL Rubric [Thisis a formof the riteincorporating the changesin symbolism discussed above] WICCAN CROSS Face East. Touch forehead. Say IO EVOE HERTHA ('Blessed be Hertha,' or other Name by which you worship the Goddess as Creatrix) Touch solar plexus or genitals. Say IO EVOE CERNUNNOS ('Blessed be Cernunnos,' or other name by which you worship the Horned God as the Earth) Touch right shoulder. Say EKO EKO AZARAK ('Hail, hail force of fire') Touch left shoulder. Say EKO EKO AMELAK ('Hail, hail to the glory') Extend arms in form of a cross. Say IO EVOE ('Blessed be.') Clasp hands upon breast and say 'So mote it be.' CIRCLE OFPROTECTION Tracepentagram in East. SayHERNE. Trace circle of protection until facing South. Trace pentagram in South. Say CERNUNNOS. Trace circle of protection until facing West. Trace pentagram in West. Say ARADIA. Trace circle of protection until facing North. Trace pentagram in North. Say HABONDIA. Finish tracing circle, closing it in the East. INVOCATIONOF THEGREAT GODS Return tocenter ofcircle and face East. Extend arms in form of a cross. Chant: Before me HERNE The Huntsman Behind me ARADIA The Maiden On my right hand CERNUNNOS, the Horned God On my left hand HABONDIA, the Great Mother About me flame the pentagrams And above me shines the light of the Goddess. Repeat the Wiccan Cross. Rather than performing this in the rather measured cadences of Qabalistic Ritual, a form of dancing and chanting more pleasing to the God-forms of Wicca might profitably be devised. 102 On the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram by Tim Maroney The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is one of the chief rituals of Western Magick. It has been with us at least since the Golden Dawn of the nineteenth century, and it has penetrated into all the many Golden Dawn spinoffs, including Neo-Paganism. Yet there is still no widely available, clear instruction. The directions of the magical orders are mere mnemonics for those who are assumed to have personal instructors. To formulate my personal approach to the ritual, to aid any others who may be considering practicing the LBR, and to satisfy the idle curiosity of any gawking onlookers, I have put together this short discussion of the ritual and its symbolism and performance. A. Intent of the Ritual The real action of a magick ritual takes place in the mind. Ritual is a form of moving meditation. The effect is also primarily psychological.* The LBR is a tool to facilitate meditation. [*Not all players would agree with this statement. Many would say that the effect of the LBR is a fortified and cleansed area on the astral plane, which they think is as real as Hoboken, if not more so. It doesn't really matter in practice.] The experience of a proper LBR is pleasurable and soothing, yet energizing and empowering. One is made at home in the mystical realm, protected from lurkers and phantasms by strongly imagined wards. This solace from mundane experience is a precondition for more serious works of meditation or ritual, but it can also form a healthy part of the life of the mind by itself. B. The Ritual I'll just reprint the description of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram from Liber O, a publication of the occult order A.'. A.'. 103 i. Touching the forehead say Ateh (Unto Thee), ii. Touching the breast say Malkuth (The Kingdom), iii. Touching the right shoulder, say ve-Geburah (and the Power), iv. Touching the left shoulder, say ve-Gedulah (and the Glory), v. Clasping the hands upon the breast, say le-Olahm, Amen (To the Ages, Amen). vi. Turning to the East, make a pentagram (that of Earth) with the proper weapon (usually the Wand). Say (i.e. vibrate) IHVH. vii. Turning to the South, the same, but say ADNI. viii. Turning to he West, the same, but say AHIH. ix. Turning to the North, the same, but say AGLA. [Pronounce: Ye-ho-wau*, Adonai, Eheieh, Agla.] x. Extending the arms in the form of a cross say, xi. Before me Raphael; xii. Behind me Gabriel; xiii. On my right hand Michael; xiv. On my left hand Auriel; xv. For about me flames the Pentagram, xvi. And in the Column stands the six-rayed Star. xvii-xxi. Repeat (i) to (v), the "Qabalistic Cross." [* Modern scholarship has a different take on the pronunciation of the Big Guy's name. I use "Yahweh" rather than the "Ye-ho-wau" of Liber O because that's what the Catholic priests of my youth taught me to say, and I've never been able to shake it off. Use whatever pronunciation you prefer, or a different name altogether.] C. Politics of the Ritual With practice, you will no doubt come up with your own style of performance, and your own different symbolism for ritual acts. Different people do rituals as differently as actors play parts, even though the lines and motions may be fundamentally the same. (The alternative is an authoritarian, dogmatic horror which is alien to the deep occult understanding of religion, but is still common in magical groups.) Slavish imitation will get you nowhere in Magick -- except, perhaps, to some high spiritual degree! The Christianity -- or at least angelic monotheism -- of the ritual symbolism may give a start to some. Many of us involved in occultism have strongly negative feelings about Christianity. These are perhaps justified, but there are a few saving graces here. 104 First, as with any ritual, you should feel free to make it yours, to mess around with it. If you don't start to at least play with the styles of a ritual after a while, you are probably not doing it very well. It is perfectly legitimate to substitute cognate symbols at any time. However, the saying in the martial arts is that one first learns another's style, and after mastering it, moves on to create one's own. For a beginner, it will be easiest simply to use an existing ritual form in order to explore the meaning of a banishing ritual. Given that experience, which transcends any mere set of symbols, one may devise a form more in keeping with the emergence of one's personal style. For instance, Neo-Pagans use a highly reified form of the same basic ritual in many of their traditions, but with non-Christian deities, spirits, and heros at the quarters. Aleister Crowley wrote a new version which made the performance more dancelike, and used the names of Thelemic deities and officers rather than monotheist gods and angels. My private version, called "Opening the Threshold", is entirely atheistic and philosophical. In any case, of those people who so abhor Christianity,how many have looked at some of the practices of historical pagans in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas? No religion should ever be "accepted" by an occultist. When using any religion's symbolism, the adept should cut to its sacred poetical core, and discard the political dross. By this standard, Christianity looks about as good as any other religion. Without this standard, and by factoring in historical excesses and power plays, almost all known religions look just about as bad as Christianity. In other words, someone who will happily use Norse gods, Arthurian heroes, Taoist immortals, Voudoun loas, or what have you in rituals, but will never touch a Christian angel, is guilty of the same narrowness he or she probably imparts to the Christians. 105 The Vibration of God-Names -------------------------- In the LBR, the vibration of the god-names "charges" or "enlivens" the pentagrams in the air. This is difficult to describe, but easy to recognize. There is a feeling of presence in one of these charged warding images -- though not necessarily a feeling of true externality or separate intelligence. Weare told to "vibrate" the names. The description and illustration of the "vibration" given in Liber O have been known to mislead people into hilarious postures. What the picture most resembles is the skulking monster from the movie The Mummy. To the modern eye, it is remarkable how truly unclear a photograph can be. I didn't learn how to vibrate a god-name until I signed up with yet another occult order and was taught it in person. I wouldn't wish the ensuing experience on anyone, so here is a description which I hope will be adequate in print. 106 Vibration phase i -- The Sign of the Enterer (1-4) -------------------------------------------------- 1. Stand upright. Blow all the air out of your lungs. Hold your arms straight out at your sides. 2a. Close your eyes and inhale nasally, imagining that the breath is the name. The exact nature of this imagination differs from person to person. Thus, you imagine yourself inhaling the name into your lungs. 2b. As you inhale, sweep your forearms smoothly and deliberately up so that your fists rest on your temples. 3. Imagine the breath moving down through your torso slowly, and through your pelvis, your legs, and finally to the soles of your feet. (Don't do this so slowly that you are hurting for air when the name reaches your feet!) 4a. The instant the inhaled vibrational name hits the soles of your feet, imagine it rushing back up and out. 4b. Simultaneously, throw yourself forward, thrusting your left foot forward about twelve inches (or thirty centimeters) and catching yourself on it. Your hands shoot forward, together, like a diver. You bend forward at the waist so that your torso winds up parallel to the floor. 4c. The air in your lungs should be blown out through your nose at the same time, but imagine the name shooting out straight ahead. Steps 3-4 are known as the Sign of the Enterer, or of Horus. This symbolizes powerful active energy. The Enterer should be something of a "rush". The vibrational name is projected outwards into more tangible manifestation -- in this case, in the pentagrams of the LBR, which are charged by the force of the projected god-names. It is highly inadvisable to omit the portion of step(4b) which reads "catching yourself on it." But again, I have no desire to infringe on your freedom of choice. 107 Vibration phase ii -- The Sign of Silence (5) --------------------------------------------- 5. Finally, withdraw into a standing position, left arm hanging at your side, right forefinger on lips, left foot pointing ninety degrees out from the body. Step 5 is called the Sign of Silence, or of Harpocrates. This Egyptian god was mistakenly believed (at the turn of the century) to pertain to silence, because his finger or thumb was touching his lips. This gesture is now believed to be a symbol of childhood; this correction appears in the World card of Crowley's "Book of Thoth" Tarot deck. Harpocrates was the god of the Sun at dawn, and so symbolizes wonder, beauty, potential, growth. So, step 5 may be done in this academically corrected light instead. However, the "hush" gesture of the Golden Dawn Sign of Silence is adequate for the modern occultist, even if deprived of A Divine Identification. It is a common gesture, at least in the European culture, meaning silence. Silence perhaps balances the ultra-active Sign of the Enterer better than does the more scholarly positive/active "Sign of Harpocrates the Rising Sun", and silence is surely no alien concept to mystics. The Invocation -------------- The pentagrams are given form by the drawing, life by the vibration, identity by the four-part prayer of steps (x) to (xiv). Some people do very elaborate visualizations of angelic guardians on each of (xi) to (xiv). Because of my tragic personal deficiencies, I am content with strong feelings of presence, identity, and divinity in each of the four directions. A horizontal cross is built up step by step as you say, "Before me Raphael", etc, with you at the center; and the position of your arms forms a vertical cross, a renewal of the Qabalistic Cross from the start of the ritual. You may feel a quite peculiar rising and expansion when both of these crosses are formulated. One has become the center of the geometry of the space, and it is like a little world in itself, cut adrift from the mundane currents of everyday experience. 108 Steps (xv) and (xvi) are when the real banishing takes place, during "For about me flames the pentagram, and in the column stands the six-rayed star." A great pulse of force is emitted during these steps, imposing the personal will on the space and clearing it of all hostile influences. After this is done, the invoked "archangels" maintain the banishing effect, guarding in all four directions. Of course this talk of angels is all bullshit -- the importance lies in the psychological effect. Whether there "really is" an archangel standing there keeping out inimical spirits is not important. The "feeling of cleanliness" is what matters. Concluding Cross ---------------- The final Qabalistic Cross is an affirmation of the completeness and symmetry of the ritual, and also a new self-consecration. This is more efficacious than the previous Cross because it is done in a banished environment. One is now ready to do a formal invocation, an evocation, a meditation, or whatever the overall purpose may be. The LBR is a preliminary ceremony, although it has a beneficial effect in itself. It can profitably be done as a stand-alone ritual, but you should move on. The LBR should keep away the horrible ickies that turn so many novices away from Magick. Its mastery is a first step to adeptship. 109 Mystical Pentagram Brightstarr, Kathexis The Mystical Pentagram is a technique which will enhance psychic self- awareness. Practiced on a daily basis it will produce surprising individual results. One of the features of this technique is that it encourages personal development by allowing each entity to discover a personal mantra which corresponds to the five elements. To begin,you will needa table ofcorrespondences such as"777" by Aleister Crowley. Look up the names of the gods and goddesses which correspond to the air element. Pick a name which when chanted 'feels' right for you. For example, Nu is the Egyptian lord of the firmament and corresponds to air. If I were inclined towards egyptian deities, I would chant the name Nu for several minutes to see what effect transpired. If I felt relaxed, comfortable, and generally positive I would inwardly know that this name would be in tune with my inner self. Proceed to find correspondences for fire, water, and earth in the same manner and finally for spirit since it is the aggregate of the four common elements. Once you have found a personalmantra or a chant consistingof five names, vowel sounds, etc. You are ready to proceed with the practical application of the Mystical Pentagram. Assume your favorite meditation position, relax and begin to breathe in a rhythmic pattern; ie. inhale count one, two, three, four, exhale count one, two, three, four and so on. Continue to breathe in such a manner for about five minutes so that a definite rhythm is firmly established. Visualize thefive psychiccenters. Memorize theirpositions so that you become familiar with the positions. Nextvisualize a brilliant white light forming a circle above your head in the spirit center. Mentally draw a white light pentagram within the circle of light. This should be an invoking pentagram. If your mind shouldbegin to wander, gently bring it back and vocally vibrate the mantra you have chosen for the spirit center. Let your mind dwell on this center and intone your mantra several times for at least five minutes. 110 Next seea shaft of whitelight radiate down throughyour skull stopping at your throat near the adam's apple. See a circle of white light begin to form and pulsate. Mentally draw an invoking pentagram within the circle of light and vocally vibrate your chosen mantra for the air center. Continue to stimulate this center for at least five minutes. Now see ashaft of white light radiate downthrough your torso stopping at your fire center. This is located just above the navel. See a brilliant white light begin to pulsate at this center and draw an invoking pentagram within the circle of light. As your mind begins to wander gently guide it back to he image of the glowing white pentagram. Here vibrate your chosen fire mantra. Once this center is stimulated the sensation is unmistakable. A mild tingling or vibration of the solar-plexus area is physically experienced. Continue to dwell on this center for at least five minutes. See theshaft of whitelight pushdown tot thewater centerwhich is located in the groin area. Here, too, a brilliant circle of white light should be visualized. Again draw an invoking pentagram within the circle of light. Intone the mantra for the water center and repeat the sound several times for the next five minutes. Having arrived thusfar, see the shaft of white light radiate down through your legs stopping at the bottom of your feet which is the earth center. Form a brilliant, white, pulsating circle of light and draw an invoking pentagram within the circle. Intone your earth mantra and vocally vibrate the sound several times during the next five minutes. When all ofthe energy centers havebeen stimulated, directthe light energy from the spirit center to the earth center. As you exhale see the light travel from the top of your head down through your body to the bottom of your feet. As you inhale see the energy travel from your feet up through your body up to the top of your head, the spirit center. These circulations should be persisted for at least seven complete circuits. See the energy cleanse and vitalize every part of your being and expand your awareness to cosmic consciousness. As you continue to repeat this technique each day you will begin to see and feel a change in your psychic awareness and a marked improvement in your health. 111 Don't become discouraged if you don't achieve results immediately. This technique produces very positive effects but they are cumulative in nature. Be gentle with your inner self however you must also be persistent and keep the communication open. It is also a good idea to perform this exercise at the same time each day in order to allow your body cycles incorporate the energy flow in a natural order. Suggested reading: The Art of True Healing-Israel Regardie Energy Ecstasy-Bernard Gunther 112 BASIC SPELL CONSTRUCTION Because of the very nature of Magick, each working should be highly individualized and personal. Even if following a traditional spell, it should be tailored to your specific needs to be most effective for you. Understanding the basics of Spell Construction will enable you to formulate your own specific, effective spells for any purpose you desire. Preliminary planning is necessary. The very first step is to decide precisely what your desired end result is to be. Before you can start, you must decide where you are going. You must be very explicit. It is important, also, that you choose your time carefully. You should take into consideration all Astrological implications, energy currents and Moon phases. The Moon is the astronomical body closest to us and, therefore, has a profound influence upon us, it is very important to choose a time when the Moon is in an astrological sign which is appropriate for your working. For example: Aries/Action - Enthusiasm, Taurus/ Renewal - Sensuality, Gemini/Communication - Curiosity, Cancer/ Emotion - Nurturing, Leo/Vitality - Determined, Virgo/Organizing - Studious, Libra/Balance - Cooperation, Scorpio/Sexual - Philosophical, Capricorn/Authority - Ambitious, Aquarius/Innovation - Social, Pisces/Sensitivity - Idealistic. Bear in mind that magickal workings for gain, increase or bringing things to you, should be initiated when the Moon is Waxing (from Dark to Full); when the Moon is Waning (from Full to Dark), it is time for magickal workings of decrease or sending away. The highest energy occurs at the Full Moon and, therefore, this is the most powerful time for magickal workings. The New Moon is the next most powerful time for Magick. Whenever possible, follow Nature's natural Energy Currents. There is a natural time for starting things (a planting time), for maturing things (a growing time), for reaping things ( a harvest time) and, of course, a time for rest and planning. Flowing with these currents will make your magickal work much easier. 113 Remember to plan your project for a time of uninterrupted privacy. It is important that you have no distractions. Generally speaking, it is best to work as late at night as possible. A time when there is less frantic energy is most appropriate. You might consider Midnight or later. In choosing a place to do your magickal working pay particular attention to your needs, for you must be comfortable. Your place should be private, quiet and secure. If at all possible, set aside a special place for this purpose only. An unused room, a special corner of your bedroom, a quiet, secluded spot in your garden. A place that is yours. A place that you can come to whenever need arises and that is as free from intrusion of others as possible. Prior to the night of your magickal working, gather together the things that you will need. All of the things used are tools. They have no inherent magick. They are to help you create a mood. If correctly made and used, they will trigger primitive responses from deep within you. They should be chosen with care. Consider the purpose of your ritual and choose your tools accordingly. If your magick is to be sexual, your candles, oils, incenses and so forth, should bring forth a sexual response. If the desired result of your Magick is Tranquillity, then the tools should make you feel calm, peaceful and serene. Any candles you might use should not have commercially added fragrances as these may not be appropriate for your working. Prior to your ritual, prepare yourself and your equipment by any means necessary to clean and purify. Historically, people have fasted, followed meticulous and detailed bathing practices, practiced chastity and used many other methods. 114 Most often a Ritual Bath is the preferred method. A bath frequently utilizing candlelight, fragrant herbs, bath salts or sensuous oils. A sumptuous hot bath, special bathing preparations and appropriate lighting, combined, can create the soothing effect which will help in the very important step of relaxing and clearing the mind completely of all mundane thoughts and experiences of the day. Your ritual Bath should, also, begin to set the specific vibrations conducive to your purpose into motion. You must not only cleanse and purify but must, also, begin to create the type of energy necessary. Once your purification process has been accomplished, you are now ready to begin. Proceed to the special place you have previously chosen in which to perform your magick. If at all possible, you should make use of the primitive responses set into motion by a well chosen piece of music. Your music should start slowly and build to a rousing climax. As you use your oils, light your candle or incense (or utilize any other tool you have chosen), you should begin to further intensify the energy that you have set into motion around you. A high degree of intensity is vitally important. The Altered State of Consciousness that you must reach is not a meditative state. Anything that interferes with your ability to concentrate upon, reach and control the high energy state necessary to perform magick should be avoided. Such as, screaming children, a sink full of dirty dishes, use of alcohol or drugs, etc. Do not scatter your energy by attempting to do more than one magickal working at a time. Remember that Magick is the manipulation of energy, a thought is a form of energy and a visualization is an even stronger form of energy. Your visualization can be a method used to intensify further and direct your will. Your visualization can be the method by which you control the magickal energy you have produced. You must know what you want. You must see it. You must feel the high energy flow. You must direct it. One of the most important elements in the practice of any form of Magick is the Universal Law of Cause and Effect. This means that whatever you do (or don't do) you cause something to happen. The most important consideration is the Universal Law of Retribution. This means that no matter what you do, it comes back to you in like kind. 115 It is the nature of things that as you send something out it gains momentum, so that, by the time it comes back to you, it is three times stronger. If you do something nice for someone, someone will do something nicer for you. "As you weave and spin your spell, Three fold return the tale will tell." 116 117 A CEREMONY FOR THE TROOPS IN THE GULF FOR SAFETY AND VICTORY To be performed at the next Full Moon after Jan. 15th, or when war breaks out Introduction: This is not a ceremony for peace. Unfortunately, it seems that peace isn't a viable option, and our warriors and the warriors that are allied with us will go on the war path to engage the enemy. In days of old, the Chiricahua Teneh invoked the energies of White Painted Woman before going into battle. White Painted Woman was not only the Maiden aspect of the Goddess, but also the one who taught First Man and First Woman, Her children, the skills of battle. It is She who will be addressed the most in this ceremony. Preparations: Set up the shields (or candles: Black in the East, White in the South, Yellow in the West and Royal Blue in the North) at the four cardinal points, with the aid of a compass if possible. The Altar is set up a little to the West of the center, for the sake of the spirits of the warriors that have gone before. The altar cloth should be Desert Camo, to bring to mind the uniforms of the warriors now poised for battle. Two tan candles and a brown Maiden candle should be burning on the altar, but there should be no other adornments save for the usual tools. This is a solemn occasion. If robes are worn, they should be desert tan or Desert Camo. If you can get hold of them, the traditional Kaffiyeh scarves can be worn around the neck or as a belt for your athames. (for circles with both a High Priestess and a High Priest, the "F" in parentheses refers to what should be spoken by the HPS, the "M" in parentheses means that which should be spoken by the HP.) HERE BEGINS THE CEREMONY ~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~~~~ PART ONE: ESTABLISHING THE SACRED GROUNDS OFFICIANT (F): To all present, I bid you Ho'n'dah (welcome). Welcome to the sacred ground, the place where the world is made one...the special place, the place where we can remember ourselves. PARTICIPANTS: Ho'n'dah! Welcome! OFFICIANT (M): We come in a time of crisis, in a time when our brothers and sisters have taken up arms against the enemy. The Pagans of old have seen the war times again and again, and have when needful fought valiantly and victoriously. It is time again to ask the Lady of War, the One Who taught us the arts of battle in the first place, for Her protection and for the blessings of quick and decisive victory! PARTICIPANTS: Enju! Let it be so! OFFICIANT (F): Let us make the circle and make the ceremony. Drummer starts a slow (60-70 bpm) beat. The Officiant(s) and the(ir) Acolyte walk to the intended perimeter of the circle, just in front of the eastern shield. The Officiant (F) is given the Smudge Stick by the Acolyte. She smudges the Eastern Quarter, saying: OFFICIANT (F): Harmful ones of the East, Gan'n of the Eastern Mountains, stay away from this sacred ground...leave and not return. The process is repeated at the Southern quarter. 118 OFFICIANT (F): Harmful ones of the South, Gan'n of the Fiery Southern Mountains, stay away from this sacred ground...leave and not return. The process is repeated at the Western quarter. OFFICIANT (F): Harmful ones of the West, Spirits of unquiet dead and those conjured by the sorcerers of the Enemy, Gan'n of the Western Mountains, stay away from this sacred ground...leave and not return. The process is completed at the Northern quarter. OFFICIANT (F): Harmful ones of the North, Thunder people of evil intent, Gan'n of the Northern Mountains, stay away from this sacred ground...leave and not return. The Officiant (F) then passes the smudge stick back to the Acolyte (or Male Officiant) who smudges hi/rself then smudges all participants. S/he then takes the smudge stick back to the altar, placing it in its bowl. The Acolyte takes the pouch of sacred meal off the altar, to bring it to the Officiant The Acolyte and Officiant(s) then walk to the Eastern Quarter. The Officiant(F) throws a pinch of corn meal in the direction of the East, then says: OFFICIANT(F): Spirit keepers of the East, direction of the Sun's rebirth, kindly ones of Air, come, see, and join in the ceremony! PARTICIPANTS: Blessed Be! The process is repeated at the South. OFFICIANT(F): Spirit keepers of the South, direction of the Sun's repose, kindly ones of Fire, come, see, and join in the ceremony! The process is repeated at the West. OFFICIANT(F): Spirit keepers of the West, direction of the Sun's setting, brave warriors who have fallen in battle, blessed, mighty, good and brave ancestors, kindly ones of Water, come, see and join in our ceremony! The process is completed at the North. OFFICIANT(F): Spirit keepers of the North, direction of the Sun's zenith, kindly ones of the Soil, come, see, and join in our ceremony! The Officiant(s) then walk back to the East. The Acolyte joins them. The Officiant(F) unsheathes her athame, points it to the sky, and says: OFFICIANT(F): Great Sky Father, Sun Father, Killer of Enemies, Lord of Battle, Lord of the Hunt, Rain Lord, Eternal Hero, Father, Grandfather, we welcome you to the Circle of Light, on this night when we ask your blessing on the Warriors of our Nation. Come bless us, come comfort us, come strengthen us, come enlighten us, come, see, and join in the ceremony! ALL: Hail, Sky Father! Hail, Lord of Battle! Come bless us, come comfort us, come strengthen us, come enlighten us, come, see, and join in the ceremony! Ho'n'dah! Blessed Be! 119 (The male officiant unsheathes his athame, then) The Officiant(M) then says: OFFICIANT(M): Great Mother, White Painted Woman, She Who taught the Pagans puissance at arms, She who gives victory to Her beloved People, Mother of Limitless Space, Mother of the Silver Moon, Corn Mother, Grandmother Wisdom, we your children welcome you to the Circle of Light, on this night when we ask your blessing on the Warriors of our Nation. Come bless us, come comfort us, come strengthen us, come enlighten us, come, see and join in the ceremony! ALL: Hail, White Painted Woman! Hail, Bringer of Victory! Hail, Maiden of Battle, She of Unlimited Strength! Come bless us, come comfort us, come strengthen us, come enlighten us, come, see and join in the ceremony! Ho'n'dah! Blessed Be! (The Male Officiant then sheaths his athame then) The Officiant(s) and the Acolyte then walks the circle around four times Deosil, once for each of the four directions. The Officiant(f) traces the circle in the air with the athame three times, then scatters more corn meal on the next pass. The rounds begin and end in the Eastern Quarter. The Officiant(s) and the Acolyte complete the rounds, then stand at attention at the Eastern Quarter. OFFICIANT(F): Four times the circle is drawn. It is good, and unbroken. It is the boundary between Ordinary and Non-ordinary, between sacred and more sacred still. I have done this! Enju! ALL: ENJU! BLESSED BE! THE CIRCLE IS COMPLETED. NO-ONE IS TO LEAVE IT ABRUPTLY, BUT AT A SUITABLE LULL ONE WHO HAS NEED CAN CUT THEMSELVES OUT. CHILDREN AND ANIMALS ARE EXCLUDED FROM THESE REQUIREMENTS. THE CIRCLE IS BROKEN ~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~ ~~~~~~ OFFICIANT(F): It is time to break the circle. We have joined here to lend our support to our Warriors, as Pagans have done in war times past. It is time to dismiss the Spirit Keepers, the great ones, who have kept guard over this sacred spot. The Officiant(s) face East. OFFICIANT(S): Spirit keepers of the East, from the direction of the Sun's rebirth, kindly ones of the Air, we bid you farewell. Blessed be. The Officiant(s) face North. OFFICIANT(S): Spirit keepers of the North, from the direction of the sun's Zenith, kindly ones of the Soil, we bid you farewell. Blessed be. The Officiant(s) face West. OFFICIANT(S): Spirit keepers of the West, from the direction of the sun's setting, blessed, mighty, good and brave ancestors, kindly ones of watet, we bid you farewell. Blessed be. 120 The Officiant(s) face South. OFFICIANT(S): Spirit keepers of the South, from the direction of the sun's repose, kindly ones of fire, we bid you farewell. Blessed be. The Officiant(s) return to face East. Great Mother, Noble Father, Beautiful Lady, Mighty Lord, we thank you for your presence and blessings here. Go if you must, but stay if you can. Blessed Be. The circle is then "sunken" by all assembled into the soil, to give the energy released within to the Earth for healing if the ritual is done outdoors. If indoors, the circle is broken by the Officiant(s) walking the circle around four times Widdershins to disperse it. THUS ENDS THE RITUAL. Minerva Chihacou White Puma Pasekngavit 1/14/1991 121 Tool Blessing Ritual A purification of objects for ritual use and their transformation into magical items. [The area is prepared by placing a quantity of each element in the proper quarter, as well as preparing the altar in the usual way. If available, a cauldron (empty) is placed in the center of the circle. Candles are placed at each of the four corners and lit, progressing deosil from the east. Salt and water are blessed, and the celebrants are purified with them. A magic circle is cast, and watchtowers summoned. The god is then drawn down as follows: [The priest stands before the alter in the Osiris position, arms crossed across chest and feet together. The Priestess kneels before him with face and arms upraised.] PS: Hephaestus, forger of magic, descend upon this the body of thy priest and servant, lend us the strength of your arms. Prometheus, shape of man, descend upon this the body of thy priest and servant, lend us your fire and foresight Morpheus, weaver of dreams, descend upon this the body of thy priest and servant, lend us your subtlety and vision P: I am he, the shape-god, forger, builder, artisan, smith. With strength and craft I form the world. [The Priest helps the Priestess to rise, and she stands in the center of the circle in the god position, extending her arms outward and down, palms facing forward. The Priest kneels before her with head bowed.] Clotho, spinner of the strand of life Descend upon this the body of thy priestess and servant. Lend us your wheel of making. Hecate, caster of spells, Descend upon this the body of thy priestess and servant. Lend us the power of your magic. Aphrodite, goddess of love, Descend upon this the body of thy priestess and servant. Grant us eros, philos, aristos, agape. PS: I am she, the weaver-goddess, Painter, poet, sculptor, witch. With art and love I form the world. [The priestess extends her hands to the priest, and helps him rise. The priest cups both hands and scoops from the cauldron, then offers to the priestess.] P: Drink now from the cauldron of Cerridwen, whose draughts bring knowledge, peace, and life. [The priestess sips from the cupped hands, after which the priest drinks. The objects to be blessed are taken from the altar by the priest and moved widdershins to the west quarter, and immersed in the water there.] P: Spirits of the west, in water born In cool waters cleanse these tools And wash from them all hurt and harm This I ask, this charge I lay, By oak and ash and bitter thorn. [The objects are moved by the priestess to the south quarter and moved above the flames there.] 122 PS: Spirits of the south, in fire born In shining flames purify these tools And burn from them all impurities This I ask, this charge I lay, By oak and ash and bitter thorn. [The objects are moved to the east quarter by the priest and moved through the incense smoke.] P: Spirits of the east, in sweet air born In swirling winds polish these tools And sweep from them all phantasm and illusion This I ask, this charge I lay, By oak and ash and bitter thorn. [The objects are moved to the altar by the priestess, and placed upon the pentacle.] Ps: Spirits of the north, in cool earth born In mother earth ground these tools And take from them all spirits dark This I ask, this charge I lay, By oak and ash and bitter thorn. [The person consecrating the tools now offers an impromptu or prepared charge to the items, stating their purpose and mode of use. They are then taken up by the priestess and moved to the east quarter.] PS: Spirits of the east, from the bright air come, Fill these tools with the swirling energies of the whirlwind Make them float like the breeze Spirits of air, hearken unto me, As I do will, so more it be. [The tools are now taken up by the priest and moved to the south quarter.] P: Spirits of the south, from wild fire come, Fill these tools with the burning energies of the flames Make them glow with bright fire Spirits of fire, hearken unto me, As I do will, so more it be. [The tools are now taken up by the priestess and moved to the west quarter.] P: Spirits of the west, from soothing water come, Fill these tools with the calming energies of the warm rain Make them flow like the tide Spirits of water, hearken unto me, As I do will, so more it be. [The tools are now taken up by the priestess and moved to the altar.] PS: Spirits of the north, from firm earth come, Fill these tools with the ordering energies of the growing crops Make them flourish like grapes on the vine Spirits of earth, hearken unto me, As I do will, so more it be. [The priest takes the tools from the altar and steps backwards. The priestess stands at the altar facing south towards the priest. The priest extends his right arm in parallel to the ground, between he and the priestess, with the tools in his hand.] P: I am the god, ever desiring. I am the stag in the woods, I am the sun in the noonday sky, I am the lover in the dark. I offer passion, strength, devotion, and the swiftness of the hunt. [The priestess extends her right arm in like fashion, and places her hand over that of the priest.] 123 PS: I am the goddess, ever nurturing. I am the tempting beauty of the maid, I am the quiet strength of the mother, I am the infinite wisdom of the crone. I offer life, love, warmth, and the fruitfulness of the fields. [Both step towards each other, and turn their hands and arms so the fingers point upwards, and the palms facing their own chest, cupping the other's palm between and holding the tools. They clasp each other with their left arms.] P&PS: Male and female, yin and yang, light and dark, action and stillness. Apart we are forever incomplete, but together we form one. In our joining we are blessed. In our union, the limitless energy of universe is released and captured here. P: As I do will PS: As I do will P&PS: As we do will, so mote it be. [The priest and priestess kiss, then release grasps. If the number and size of the tools precludes them being held in one hand simultaneously, the latter charging section should be repeated for each. The tools are replaced on the altar.Cakes and wine are blessed and consumed, and a period of relaxation and rest follows. The watchtowers are then dismissed, and the circle opened.] 124 DEDICATION OF Altar And Athame Durwydd MacTara (1990) ALTAR This Altar in the circle's center, A focal point that only good may enter. Erected to God and Goddess in strength, Circular, it has neither breadth nor length. Focal point in A Circle of Power, A mighty lens for every Tower! Sacred to Lord, Maiden, Lady, and Crone, The foundation of many a powerful Cone! Resting Place of Magick and its implements, Let veneration and Love be our only sentiments! A tool of will, powerful and free, As it is willed, So Mote it Be! ATHAME Mighty Deities, Gracious Lady and Mighty Lord, As I perform this ritual, Pray hearken to my word. This tool, conceived in Mind of Air, (Point East) Forged and formed in Fire of the South, (Point South) Power tool for those who dare, I CLAIM thee with my mouth! (Kiss blade) Tempered with Water for Strength, (Point West) Also dedicated to the Earth,in Power. (Point North) Blessed be, entire in length, (Kiss Pommel) As it partakes of every Tower! By the Power of Cosmos, As above, (Point Up) The Expression of Cosmos, is below. (Point Down) Upon this instrument of Will and Love, My Sacred Tie I bestow! (1 drop of blood on each side and hilt) This tool is dedicated to my service of Lady and Lord, Please find this work beneficial and good. Bound to thee by homage, decimation, effort and word, Bound to me by words, will, and blood. By the powers of earth, sky, star, and sea; Such is my will, So mote it be! 125 BELTANE:Its History and Modern Celebration in Wicca in America by Rowan Moonstone The celebration of May 1st, or Beltane as it is known in Wicca Circles, is one of the most important festivals of our religious year. I will attempt here to answer some of the most often asked questions about this holiday. An extensive bibliography follows the article so that the interested reader can do further research. 1. Where does the festival of Beltane originate? Beltane, as practiced by modern day Witches and Pagans, has its origins among the Celtic peoples of Western Europe and the British Isles, particularly Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. 2. What does the word Beltane mean? Dr. Proinsias MacCana defines the word as follows: "... the Irish name for May Day is Beltane, of which the second element, `tene', is the word for fire, and the first, `bel', probably means `shining or brilliant'."(1) The festival was known by other names in other Celtic countries. Beltaine in Ireland, Bealtunn in Scotland, Shenn do Boaldyn on the Isle of Mann, and Galan Mae in Wales.(2) 3. What was the significance of this holiday to the ancients? To the ancient Celts, it symbolized the coming of spring. It was the time of year when the crops began to sprout, the animals bore their young, and the people could begin to get out of the houses where they had been cooped up during the long dark cold winter months. Keep in mind that the people in those days had no electric lights or heat, and that the Celtic counties are at a much more northerly latitude than many of us are used to. At that latitude, spring comes much later, and winter lasts much longer than in most of the US. The coming of fair weather and longer daylight hours would be most welcome after a long cold and dark winter. 4. How did the ancient Celts celebrate this festival? The most ancient way of observing this day is with fire. Beltane, along with Samhain (Nov. 1), Imbolc (Feb. 1), and Lughnassadh (Aug. 1), was one of the four great "fire festivals" which marked the turning points of the Celtic year. The most ancient records tell us that the people would extinguish all the hearth fires in the country and then relight them from the "need fires" lit by the druids (who used friction as a means of ignition). In many areas, the cattle were driven between two great bonfires to protect them from disease during the coming year. It is my personal belief, although I have no documentation to back up the assumption, that certain herbs would have been burnt in the fires, thus producing smoke which would help destroy parasites which might make cattle and other livestock ill. 126 5. In what other ways was this festival celebrated? One of the most beautiful customs associated with this festival was "bringing in the May." The young people of the villages and towns would go out into the fields and forests at Midnight on April 30th and gather flowers with which to bedeck themselves, their families, and their homes. They would process back into the villages, stopping at each home to leave flowers, and to receive the best of food and drink that the home had to offer. This custom is somewhat similar to "trick or treat" at Samhain and was very significant to the ancients. John Williamson, in his study, The Oak King, the Holly King, and the Unicorn, writes, "These revelers were messengers of the renewal of vegetation, and they assumed the right to punish the niggardly, because avarice (as opposed to generosity) was dangerous to the community's hope for the abundance of nature. At an important time like the coming of summer, food, the substance of life must be ritually circulated generously within the community in order that the cosmic circuit of life's substance may be kept in motion (trees, flocks, harvests, etc.)."(3) These revelers would bless the fields and flocks of those who were generous and wish ill harvests on those who withheld their bounty. 6. What about maypoles? The maypole was an adjunct to the festival of bringing in the May. It is a phallic symbol, and as such represented fertility to the participants in the festival. In olden days, the revelers who went into the woods would cut a tree and bring it into town, decking it with flowers and greenery and dance around it, clockwise (also called deosil, meaning "sun-wise", the direction of the sun's apparent travel across the face of the Earth) to bring fertility and good luck. The ribbons which we associate with the maypole today were a later addition. 7. Why was fertility important? The people who originated this custom lived in close connection with the land. If the flocks and fields were fertile, they were ableto eat; if there was famine or drought, they went hungry. It is hard for us today to relate to this concept, but to the ancients, it was literally a life and death matter. The Celts were a very close tribal people, and fertility of their women literally meant continuity of the tribe. 8. How is the maypole connected with fertility? Many scholars see the maypole as a phallic symbol. In this aspect, it is a very powerful symbol of the fertility of nature and spring. 127 9. How did these ancient customs come down to us ? When Christianity came to the British Isles, many of the ancient holy sites were taken over by the new religion and converted to Christian sites. Many of the old Gods and Goddesses became Christian saints, and many of the customs were appropriated. Charles Squire says," An ingenious theory was invented after the introduction of Christianity, with the purpose of allowing such ancient rites to continue with a changed meaning. The passing of persons and cattle through flame or smoke was explained as a practice which interposed a magic protection between them and the powers of evil." (4) This is precisely what the original festival was intended to do; only the definition of "evil" had changed. These old customs continued to be practiced in many areas for centuries. "In Scotland in 1282, John, the priest in Iverkething, led the young girls of his parish in a phallic dance of decidedly obscene character during Easter week. For this, penance was laid upon him, but his punishment was not severe, and he was allowed to retain his benefice."(5) 10. Were sacrifices practiced during this festival? Scholars are divided in their opinions of this. There is no surviving account of sacrifices in the legends and mythology which have come down to us. As these were originally set down on paper by Christian monks, one would think that if such a thing had been regularly practiced, the good brothers would most certainly have recorded it, if for no other reason than to make the pagans look more depraved. There are, however, some surviving folk customs which point to a person representing the gloom and ill fortune of winter being ostracized and forced to jump through the fires. Some scholars see this as a survival of ancient human sacrificial practices. The notion that animals were sacrificed during this time doesn't make sense from a practical standpoint. The animals which had been retained a breeding stock through the winter would either be lean and hungry from winter feed, or would be mothers nursing young, which could not be spared. 11. How do modern day pagans observe this day? Modern day pagan observances of Beltane include the maypole dances, bringing in the May, and jumping the cauldron for fertility. Many couples wishing to conceive children will jump the cauldron together at this time. Fertility of imagination and other varieties of fertility are invoked along with sexual fertility. In Wiccan and other Pagan circles, this is a joyous day, full of laughter and good times. 12. What about Walpurgisnacht? Is this the same thing as Beltane? Walpurgisnacht comes from an Eastern European background, and has little in common with the Celtic practices. I have not studied the folklore from that region and do not consider myself qualified to write about it. As the vast majority of Wiccan traditions today stem from Celtic roots, I have confined myself to research in those areas. 128 FOOTNOTES (1) MacCana, Proinsias, Celtic Mythology, The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, London, 1970, p.32. (2) Squire, Charles, Celtic Myth and Legend, Poetry and Romance, Newcastle Publishing Co., Van Nuys, CA, 1975, p.408. (3) Williamson, John, The Oak King, the Holly King, and the Unicorn, Harper & Row, NY, 1986, p.126. (4) Squire, p.411. (5) Hole, Christina, Witchcraft In England, Rowman & Littlefield, Totowa, NJ, 1977, p.36. BIBLIOGRAPHY Bord, Janet & Colin, Earth Rites, Fertility Practices in Pre-Industrial Britain, Granada, London, 1982. Danaher, Kevin, The Year in Ireland, The Mercier Press, Cork, 1972. Hole, Christina, Witchcraft in England, Rowman & Littlefield, Totowa NJ,1977. MacCana, Proinsias, Celtic Mythology, The Hamlyn Publishing Group, Ltd., London, 1970. MacCulloch, J.A. Religion of the Ancient Celts, Folcroft Library Editions, London, 1977. Powell, T.G.E. The Celts, Thames & Hudson, New York, 1980. Sharkey, John, Celtic Mysteries, the Ancient Religion, Thames & Hudson, New York, 1979. Squire, Charles, Celtic Myth, Legend, Poetry, and Romance, Newcastle Publishing Co., Van Nuys, CA, 1975. Williamson, John, The Oak King, The Holly King, and the Unicorn, Harper & Row, New York, 1986. Wood-Martin, W.G., Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland, Kennikat Press, Port Washington, NY, 1902. 129 CASTING THE CIRCLE ONE Set up : place a candle in each of the four cardinal directions.Lay the rest of the tools on the altar cloth or near it. The altar can be on the ground, a table, a rock or a stump. The altar should be in the center or just north of center of the Circle. Light the six candles and the incense, start the musicand begin the ritual. THE RITUAL Facing North, the High Priest and Priestess kneel in front of the altar with him to her right. She puts the bowl of wateron the altar, places the point of her athame in it and says: "I exorcise thee, O Creature of Water, that thou cast out from thee all impurities and uncleanliness of the world of phantasm; in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia" She then puts down her athame and holds up the bowl of water in both hands. The High Priest puts the bowl of salt on the altar, puts his athame in the salt and says: "Blessings be upon this Creature of Salt; let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth hence, and let all good enter herein; whereforeso Iblessthee, thatthoumayest aidme, inthenames of Cernunnos and Aradia." He then puts down his athame and pours the salt into the bowl of water the High Priestess is holding. The High Priest then stands with the rest of the Coven outside the Circle. The High Priestess then draws the Circle with the sword, leaving a gap in the Northeast section. While drawing the Circle, she should visualize the power flowing into the Circle from off the end of the sword. She draws the Circle in a East to North or deosil or clockwise direction. She says: "I conjure thee, O Circle of Power, that thou beest a meeting place of loveandjoyand truth;ashieldagainst allwickednessand evil; a boundary between men and the realms of the Mighty Ones; a rampart and protection that shall preserve and contain the power that we shall raise within thee. Wherefore do I bless thee and consecrate thee, in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia." The High Priestess lays down the sword and admits the High Priest with a kiss while spinning him deosil and whispers"Bless Be" . He then admits a women the same way. Alternate male female male. Then the High Priestess finishes closing the Circle with the sword. She then names three witches to help strengthen the Circle. The first witch carries the bowl of consecrated water from East to East going deosil, sprinkling the perimeter as she/he goes. They then sprinkle each member in turn. If the witch is male, he sprinkles the High Priestess last who then sprinkles him. If female she sprinkles the High Priest last, who then sprinkles her. The bowl is replaced on the altar. The second witch takes the incense burner around the perimeter and the third takes one of the altar candles. While going around the perimeter, each person says: 130 "Black spirits and white, Red spirits and grey, Harken to the rune I say. Four points of the Circle, weave the spell, East, South, West, North, your tale tell. East is for break of day, South is white for the noontide hour, In the West is twilight grey, And North is black, for the place of power. Three times round the Circle's cast. Great ones, spirits from the past, Witness it and guard it fast." All the Coven pickup their athames and face the East with the High Priest and Priestess in front, him on her right. The High Priestess says: "Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the East, ye Lords of Air; I do summon, stir, and call you up to witness our rites and to guard the Circle." As she speaks she draws the Invoking Pentagram of Earth in the air with her athame. The High Priest and the rest of the Coven copy her movements with their athames. The High Priestess turns and faces the South and repeats the summoning: "Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the South, ye Lords of Fire; I do summon, stir and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle." She does the same pentagram and then faces West and says: "Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the West, ye Lords of Water, ye Lords of Death and Initiation; I do summon, stir, and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle." She faces North with rest of the Coven and says: "Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the North, ye Lords of Earth; Boreas, thou gentle guardian of the Northern Portals; thou powerful God and gentle Goddess; we do summon, stir and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle." The Circle is completed and sealed. If anyone needs to leave, a gate must be made. Using the sword, draw out part of the Circle with a widdershins or counterclockwise stroke.Immediately reseal it and then repeat the opening and closing when the person returns. Farrar, Janet and Stewart; "Eight Sabbats For Witches"; Robert Hale 1983 and Valiente, Doreen; "Witchcraft for Tomorrow"; Phoenix Publishing 1985 131 TECHNOLOGY AND THE CRAFT Removing the Barriers to Spaceflight Before the ritual begins, distribute paper and have an airplane-folding session. TECHNO-LESSON #1: Making Fire He tries to light the fire with firesticks; She then enters, lights the charcoal with the sacred Bic, and hands it to He, who lights the quarter candles with it and hands it back to She, who lights the altar candles. Bless the Elements (She) By the oceans that fed our grandparents And the oceans that will house our grandchildren I bless and purify this being of water. By the Earth from which our grandparents rose And the Earth which our grandchildren will watch rise I bless and purify this being of earth. By the wood fires of our grandparents And the fusion fires of our grandchildren I bless and purify this being of fire. By the airy realms our grandparents studied And the airy realms our grandchildren will walk I bless and purify this being of air. Cast the Circle (He) As the Moon cuts a Circle round the Earth As the Earth cuts a Circle round the Sun So I cut this Circle round us. As the rains wash the mountains As the oceans wash the beaches So I cleanse this Circle and we within it with Water and Salt. As the Moon charges the restless waters As the Sun charges all that is green and growing So I charge this Circle and we within it with Air and Fire. Invoke Quarters (She) I invoke thee, Mighty Ones of the East; bring us Your gifts of wisdom; watch over us in this Circle. Come to us in the name of Athena WiseWeaver! Hail and Welcome! Iinvoke thee, MightyOnes of theSouth; bring us Yourgifts of will; watch over us in this Circle. Come to us in the name of Brigid SmithMistress! Hail and Welcome! I invoke thee, Mighty Ones of the West; bring us Your gifts of understanding; watch overus in thisCircle. Come tous in thename of Poseidon ShipMaster! Hail and Welcome! 132 I invoke thee, Mighty Ones of the North; bring us Your gifts of dedication; watch over us in this Circle. Come to us in the name of Ptah CraftsMaster! Hail and Welcome! We are now between the worlds. ALL BREATH, GROUND AND CENTER TECHNO-LESSON #2: Overcoming Physical Shortcomings Chant: She Changes Everything She Touches He & She begin the chant, She drumming. Her shoulder starts acting up; He gets out the Casio (tempo -2, any 4/4 rhythm). For the chant, mix verses as is pleasing. She changes everything She touches and Everything She touches, changes. She changes everything She touches and Everything She touches, changes. We are the changers Everything we touch can change. Change us, touch us; Touch us, change us. Everything that dies is born again In a new place, on a new day. Everything that's lost is found again On a new day, in a new way. Io, Kore! Io, Kore! Io, Persephone! TECHNO-LESSON #3: Supplementing Abilities First, He & She 'argue' about who's going to lead it, jokingly asking if anyone in Circle wants to do background music; then He gets pathworking with music on audio tape. When pathworking is done, folks should still be in light trance; the next thing is to concretize the working by distributing pens so that people can put whatever they symbols they think are appropriate on their airplanes. POWER CHANT: A rising OM; which at peak leads into Countdown. At "Liftoff", throw the planes upwards (when done, planes can either be kept or HP/S should offer to see that they get burned. (* Note *) (* Note *) Don't forget to Ground (* Note *) (* Note *) 133 GROUNDING CHANT: Earth below us Drifting, falling Floating weightless Coming home TECHNO-LESSON #4: There is no Techno-Lesson #4. CAKES & WINE, WITH DISCUSSION Topics for Discussion: (0) Why we invoked the particular guys (1) Best and Worst side of technology (2) Incorporating tech with Wicca (3) Space Travel & Wicca: not leaving Her dead when we go (4) More respecters of Earth involved with control of tech (5) Whatever else ... CLOSE (SHE) I thankThee, Mighty Onesof the Northfor Your presenceat our rite, and ere You depart for Your earthy realms we bid You Hail and Farewell, in the name of Ptah CraftsMaster. I thank Thee,Mighty Ones of theWest for Your presenceat our rite, and ere You depart for Your watery realms we bid You Hail and Farewell, in the name of Poseidon ShipMaster. I thank Thee,Mighty Ones ofthe South forYour presence atour rite, and ere You depart for Your fiery realms we bid You Hail and Farewell, in the name of Brigid SmithMistress. I thank Thee, MightyOnes of the Eastfor Your presence atour rite, and ere You depart for Your airy realms we bid You Hail and Farewell, in the name of Athena WiseWeaver. 134 (HE) Fire, seal the Circle round; let it fade beneath the ground; Let all things be as they were since the beginning of time. (3 times) ***** NOTES ***** Tools: (0) Athame(s) & cingula Cup Censer & Incense Pentacle Salt dish & salt Altar & quarter candles Libation bowl Cakes & wine Robes (optional, depending on participants) God & Goddess symbols SCRIPT (1) Firesticks & Sacred Bic (2) Paper and pens for paper airplanes (3) Cassette deck and pathworking cassette (4) Drum and Casio w/ rhythm generator (5) Talking stick (optional) by Skydancer & Triton Proteus Coven, NYC (c) 1987 Perihelion Press. Reprinted by permission. 135 WICCAN TOOL LIST MASTER Equipment: a Pentacle 6 candles; 1 for each direction, 2 for altar chalice of wine wand scrounge of silken cords small bowl of water small bowl of salt 3 cords, one red, one white, one blue, 9' long each white handled knife individual athames incense burner and incense small hand bell dish of cakes sword chalk altar cloth any color cauldron tape recorder and tapes of appropriate music veil for Great Rite of a Goddess color blue, green,silver or white For New or Dark Moon Esbat: (For Samhain Sabbat replace wine with hard apple cider) extra incense an apple and a pomegranate cauldron with a fire in it and/or a bonfire crystal ball or other scrying tools white tabard with hood for Priestess For Winter Solstice (Yule): cauldron with candle or oak bonfire wreaths, 1 of holly and 1 of mistletoe crowns, 1 of oak and 1 of holly blindfold sistrum animal skull filled with salt For Spring Equinox cords as described in preparations hard boiled eggs a bonfire ready to ignite or a taper in the cauldron flowers For Beltane Sabbat: bonfire For Initiations anointing oil tub to bath the candidate in towels salts, herbs and oils to add to the bath a blindfold a shirt or other clothing that can be cut a length of string to measure the person two lengths of cord to bind the hands and feet bonfire for warmth if needed For Blessings anointing oil, wine 136 ALL HALLOW'S EVE ================ by Mike Nichols * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Halloween. Sly does it. Tiptoe catspaw. Slideand creep. * * But why? What for? How? Who? When! Where did it all * * begin? 'You don'tknow, do you?' asks Carapace Clavicle * * Moundshroud climbing out under the pile of leaves underthe * * Halloween Tree. 'You don't REALLY know!' * * --Ray Bradbury from 'The Halloween Tree' * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Samhain. All Hallows. All Hallow's Eve. Hallow E'en. Halloween. The most magical night of the year. Exactly opposite Beltane on the wheel of the year, Halloween is Beltane's dark twin. A night of glowing jack-o-- lanterns, bobbing for apples, tricks or treats, and dressing in costume. A night of ghost stories and seances, tarot card readings and scrying with mirrors. A night of power, when the veil that separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest. A 'spirit night', as they say in Wales. All Hallow's Eveis the eveof AllHallow's Day (November1st). And for once, even popular tradition remembers that the Eve is more important than the Day itself, the traditional celebration focusing on October 31st, beginning at sundown. And this seems only fitting for the great Celtic New Year's festival. Not that the holiday was Celtic only. In fact, it is startling how many ancient and unconnected cultures (the Egyptians and pre-Spanish Mexicans, for example) celebrated this as a festival of the dead. But the majority of our modern traditions can be traced to the British Isles. The Celtscalled itSamhain, whichmeans'summer's end',according to their ancient two-fold division of the year, when summer ran from Beltane to Samhain and winter ran from Samhain to Beltane. (Some modern Covens echo this structure by letting the High Priest 'rule' the Coven beginning on Samhain, with rulership returned to the High Priestess at Beltane.) According to the later four-fold division of the year, Samhain is seen as 'autumn's end' and the beginning of winter. Samhain is pro- nounced (depending on where you're from) as 'sow-in' (in Ireland), or 'sow-een' (in Wales), or 'sav-en' (in Scotland), or (inevitably) 'sam-hane' (in the U.S., where we don't speak Gaelic). Not onlyis Samhaintheend ofautumn; itisalso, moreimportantly, the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. Celtic New Year's Eve, when the new year begins with the onset of the dark phase of the year, just as the new day begins at sundown. There are many representations of Celtic gods with two faces, and it surely must have been one of them who held sway over Samhain. Like his Greek counterpart Janus, he would straddle the threshold, one face turned toward the past in commemoration of those who died during the last year, and one face gazing hopefully toward the future, mystic eyes attempting to pierce the veil and divine what the coming year holds. These two themes, celebrating the dead and divining the future, are inexorably intertwined in Samhain, as they are likely to be in any New Year's celebration. 137 As afeast of the dead, it was believedthe dead could, if they wished, return to the land of the living for this one night, to celebrate with their family, tribe, or clan. And so the great burial mounds of Ireland (sidhe mounds) were opened up, with lighted torches lining the walls, so the dead could find their way. Extra places were set at the table and food set out for any who had died that year. And there are many stories that tell of Irish heroes making raids on the Underworld while the gates of faery stood open, though all must return to their appointed places by cock-crow. As a feast ofdivination, this was the night parexcellence for peering into the future. The reason for this has to do with the Celtic view of time. In a culture that uses a linear concept of time, like our modern one, New Year's Eve is simply a milestone on a very long road that stretches in a straight line from birth to death. Thus, the New Year's festival is a part of time. The ancient Celtic view of time, however, is cyclical. And in this framework, New Year's Eve represents a point outside of time, when the natural order of the universe dissolves back into primordial chaos, preparatory to re-establishing itself in a new order. Thus, Samhain is a night that exists outside of time and hence it may be used to view any other point in time. At no other holiday is a tarot card reading, crystal reading, or tea-leaf reading so likely to succeed. TheChristianreligion, withitsemphasisonthe 'historical'Christ and his act of redemption 2000 years ago, is forced into a linear view of time, where 'seeing the future' is an illogical proposition. In fact, from the Christian perspective, any attempt to do so is seen as inherently evil. This did not keep the medieval Church from co-opting Samhain's other motif, commemoration of the dead. To the Church, however, it could never be a feast for all the dead, but only the blessed dead, all those hallowed (made holy) by obedience to God - thus, All Hallow's, or Hallowmas, later All Saints and All Souls. There areso manytypes of divinationthat aretraditional toHal- lowstide, it is possible to mention only a few. Girls were told to place hazel nuts along the front of the firegrate, each one to symbolize one of her suitors. She could then divine her future husband by chanting, 'If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me, burn and die.' Several methods used the apple, that most popular of Halloween fruits. You should slice an apple through the equator (to reveal the five-pointed star within) and then eat it by candlelight before a mirror. Your future spouse will then appear over your shoulder. Or, peel an apple, making sure the peeling comes off in one long strand, reciting, 'I pare this apple round and round again; / My sweetheart's name to flourish on the plain: / I fling the unbroken paring o'er my head, / My sweetheart's letter on the ground to read.' Or, you might set a snail to crawl through the ashes of your hearth. The considerate little creature will then spell out the initial letter as it moves. 138 Perhapsthe mostfamous iconof theholiday isthe jack-o-lantern. Various authorities attribute it to either Scottish or Irish origin. However, it seems clear that it was used as a lantern by people who traveled the road this night, the scary face to frighten away spirits or faeries who might otherwise lead one astray. Set on porches and in windows, they cast the same spell of protection over the household. (The American pumpkin seems to have forever superseded the European gourd as the jack-o-lantern of choice.) Bobbing for apples may well represent the remnants of a Pagan 'baptism' rite called a 'seining', according to some writers. The water-filled tub is a latter-day Cauldron of Regeneration, into which the novice's head is immersed. The fact that the participant in this folk game was usually blindfolded with hands tied behind the back also puts one in mind of a traditional Craft initiation ceremony. Thecustom of dressing in costumeand 'trick-or-treating' is of Celtic origin with survivals particularly strong in Scotland. However, there are some important differences from the modern version. In the first place, the custom was not relegated to children, but was actively indulged in by adults as well. Also, the 'treat' which was required was often one of spirits (the liquid variety). This has recently been revived by college students who go 'trick-or-drinking'. And in ancient times, the roving bands would sing seasonal carols from house to house, making the tradition very similar to Yuletide wassailing. In fact, the custom known as 'caroling', now connected exclusively with mid-winter, was once practiced at all the major holidays. Finally, in Scotland at least, the tradition of dressing in costume consisted almost exclusively of cross-dressing (i.e., men dressing as women, and women as men). It seems as though ancient societies provided an opportunity for people to 'try on' the role of the opposite gender for one night of the year. (Although in Scotland, this is admittedly less dramatic - but more confusing - since men were in the habit of wearing skirt-like kilts anyway. Oh well...) To Witches,Halloween is oneof thefour HighHolidays, orGreater Sabbats, or cross-quarter days. Because it is the most important holiday of the year, it is sometimes called 'THE Great Sabbat.' It is an ironic fact that the newer, self-created Covens tend to use the older name of the holiday, Samhain, which they have discovered through modern research. While the older hereditary and traditional Covens often use the newer name, Halloween, which has been handed down through oral tradition within their Coven. (This is often holds true for the names of the other holidays, as well. One may often get an indication of a Coven's antiquity by noting what names it uses for the holidays.) 139 With suchan important holiday, Witches oftenhold two distinct celebrations. First, a large Halloween party for non-Craft friends, often held on the previous weekend. And second, a Coven ritual held on Halloween night itself, late enough so as not to be interrupted by trick-or-treaters. If the rituals are performed properly, there is often the feeling of invisible friends taking part in the rites. Another date which may be utilized in planning celebrations is the actual cross-quarter day, or Old Halloween, or Halloween O.S. (Old Style). This occurs when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio, an astrological 'power point' symbolized by the Eagle. This year (1988), the date is November 6th at 10:55 pm CST, with the celebration beginning at sunset. Interestingly, this date (Old Halloween) was also appropriated by the Church as the holiday of Martinmas. Ofallthe Witchcraftholidays, Halloweenisthe onlyonethat still boasts anything near to popular celebration. Even though it is typically relegated to children (and the young-at-heart) and observed as an evening affair only, many of its traditions are firmly rooted in Paganism. Interestingly, some schools have recently attempted to abolish Halloween parties on the grounds that it violates the separation of state and religion. Speaking as a Pagan, I would be saddened by the success of this move, but as a supporter of the concept of religion-free public education, I fear I must concede the point. Nonetheless, it seems only right that there SHOULD be one night of the year when our minds are turned toward thoughts of the supernatural. A night when both Pagans and non-Pagans may ponder the mysteries of the Otherworld and its inhabitants. And if you are one of them, may all your jack-o'lanterns burn bright on this All Hallow's Eve. 140 **PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ** SAMHAIN (pronounced saw-an), commonly referred to as Halloween, is a religious holiday celebrated by Wiccan and witch. The festival traditionally is a feast for the gathering of the family in love and remembrance. All the family including one's ancestors. Wiccans do not regard physical death as an end but merely one more event in a continuing progress of the soul's in its path toward fulfillment of divine destiny. Because of these beliefs, it is only natural at this time of year to invite our beloved ancestors to remember and to celebrate with us. If you do not find these beliefs in conflict with your own personal beliefs, please join us in the following ritual of thanksgiving and remembrance. Whether you join with us or not, May you walk in the Light of the Lady and know the Wisdom of the Lord. Blessed Be. The clergy and members of the United Wiccan Church. *** After you have shared the bounty of your harvest with the children of your neighborhood (candy, etc) and the house has settled down for the night, disconnect or turn off your telephone so that this state of serenity will continue uninterrupted. Prepare a special feast of whatever foods reminds you of a special departed friend or family member, or of past family gatherings. While you are preparing this feast think of all of the good times you had with them. When the feast is prepared, set your holiday table with a special place of honor for the departed friend or family member. Decorate the table and room as you would for a holiday dinner with the family, add those special things that are important to you and your family (flowers, candles,etc.) If you have a picture of the loved one, it is nice to place it at their place at the table. Speak to that special person and invite them to join you in this celebration and time of remembrance. It is completely appropriate to say grace or offer any prayer that you feel is fitting. THE FOLLOWING IS DONE IN COMPLETE SILENCE: Serve the meal remembering to serve your honored guest (or guests) first. If wine or other alcoholic beverages are served, it is recommended that they be kept in moderation as you and your guests need to have a clear head. 141 Now sit down to the table with your loved ones and enjoy your feast. When you address them in your mind, always see them as well. (Try not to say in your mind, "if you can hear me...", etc.). After the meal, the time of silence is over. Do whatever you normally do at a family holiday gathering (clear the table, play games, sing songs, etc.). Enjoy the companionship. When the evening is over, or in the morning if you wish to make it an all night party, thank your invited guests for being with you and for making your celebration a special one. *** There are a few words of caution that we will offer. 1. If this ritual does not feel right for you, do NOT do it. Follow your instincts. 2. Remember that crossing over does not necessarily change a person, so if you could not get through a meal in peace with them while they were alive, you will probably have the same problem with their spirit. 3. Do not ask your guest to grant you wishes or do you favors. It is rude to invite a guest and then make it obvious that a favor is the reason they were asked, not because of love and respect. Spirits do NOT like rudeness! Besides, spirits often forget that you are limited in ways that they are not. If you ask them for $1,000, it may come as an insurance settlement after a painful break in your water pipe with all the delight in cleaning up the mess from ensuing water damage. 142 SAMHAIN NOTES ONE FARRAR The High Priestess wears her white tabard if she has one for the opening ritual, with the veil thrown back. After the Witches' Rune, the High Priest and High Priestess take up their athames. He stands with his back to the altar, she faces him across the cauldron, They then simultaneously draw the Invoking Pentagram of Earth in the air with their athames, towards each other, after which they lay down their athames he on the altar, she by the cauldron. The High Priestess scatters incense on the charcoal in the cauldron. When she is satisfied that it is burning, she stands still facing the High Priest across the cauldron. She then declaims (if needed, ask a man to bring one of the altar candles and hold it for her): "Dread Lord of Shadows, God of Life, and the Giver of Life Yet is the knowledge of thee, the knowledge of Death. Open wide, I pray thee, the Gates through which all must pass. Let our dear ones who have gone before Return this night to make merry with us. And when our time comes, as it must, O thou the Comforter, the Consoler, the Giver of Peace and Rest, We will enter thy realms gladly and unafraid; For we know that when rested and refreshed among our dear ones We will be reborn again by thy grace, and the grace of the Great Mother. Let it be in the same place and the same time as our beloved ones, And may we meet, and know, and remember, And love them again. Descend, we pray thee, in thy servant and priest." The High Priestess then walks around the cauldron and gives the High Priest the Five Fold Kiss. She returns to her place and pulls the veil of her tabard over her face. She then calls on each woman, by name to come forward and give the High Priest the Five Fold Kiss. When they have all done so, the coven forms up around the circle, alternating male and female with the Maiden next to the West candle. As soon as they are in place, the High Priestess says: "Behold, the West is Amenti, the Land of the Dead, to which many of our loved ones have gone for rest and renewal. On this night, we hold communion with them; and as our Maiden stands in welcome by the Western gate, I call upon all of you, my brothers and sisters of the Craft, to hold the image of these loved ones in your hearts and minds, that our welcome may reach out to them. There is mystery within mystery; for the resting place between life and life is Caer Arianrhod, the Castle of the Silver Wheel, at the hub of the turning stars beyond the North Wind. Here reigns Arianrhod, the White Lady, whose name means Silver Wheel. To this, in spirit, we call our loved ones. And let the Maiden lead them, moving widdershins to the center. For the spiral path inward to Caer Arianhod leads to night, and rest, and is against the way of the Sun." The Maiden should spiral into the center, taking three or four circuits to do so. During this time, the coven should maintain absolute silence and concentrate on welcoming their dead friends. When she reaches the center, she faces the High Priestess across the cauldron. They touch palms and the High Priestess says: 143 "Those who you bring with you are truly welcome to our Festival. May they remain with us in peace. And you Maiden, return by the spiral path to stand with our brothers and sisters; but deosil for the way of rebirth, outwards from Caer Arianrhod, is the way of the Sun." The women break contact and the Maiden returns to the West candle. When she is there, the High Priestess says: "Let all approach the walls of the Castle." Everyone moves in and sits in a close ring around the cauldron. The High Priestess renews the incense. Now is the time for communion with the dead. When finished scrying, the cauldron is placed next to the East candle. The spirits of the dead must be thanked and released. The High Priestess leads the rest of the Coven in saying: "We thank you our friends for visiting here this night. We bid you a pleasant repose in Caer Arianrhod. We also thank you, the Dread Lord of Shadows for taking care of them and giving them comfort." The next thing to do is the Great Rite in some form. Farrar, Janet and Stewart; "Eight Sabbats For Witches"; Robert Hale 1983 Transcribed to computer file by Seastrider 144 O.T.O. Samhain Ritual Open the Temple in fire. Banishing ritual. Hierophant: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Hierophant: Ve Gabolah. Ring bell 5-5-5-5-5 Priest strikes staff upon ground 3-3-3 5-5-5-5-5 3-3-3 Return bell and staff to altar. Hierophant: Let all adore the King of Fire. All do the god form of PUER, the fire of NOX, facing Altar. AUM Hierophant picks up dagger and points Toward the East, standing in the West. (Fire with) TETRAGRAMMATON TZABOATH (all repeat) ALGA (all repeat) BITOM (all repeat) Hierophant: In the sacred names and letters: OIP * TEAA * PDOCEE * In thy name: IHVH TZABAVTH Hierophant: I declare the sacred fire one and eternal In all worlds seen and unseen. (priest lights censer) Hierophant: Glory be the light, eternal fortress On the frontiers of darkness. Blessed Be. (all repeat) Priest drops more incense in censer. Hierophant: Hail those from the caverns of the dark. (sign of enterer) Bell: 3-3-3 5-5-5-5-5 3-3-3 (sign of silence) 145 Hierophant: O great and dreaded Lord of Shadows He who is God of all Life & the giver of life, It is Thee we invoke. (all repeat last line) Hierophant: Behold, the West is Ameti Land of the Dead To which many have gone for rest and renewal. OPEN WIDE THE GATES THROUGH WHICH ALL MUST PASS LET THE SHELLS OF KINDERED SOULS RETURN THIS NIGHT GUIDED BY THE SACRED FIRE SEEN IN ALL WORLDS DESCEND UPON US, ALL ARE TRULY WELCOME TO OUR FESTIVAL. MAY YOU REMAIN AMONG US TILL THE FIRST LIGHT OF DAWN... IN PEACE AND HARMONY APPROACH THE WALLS OF OUR CASTLE (all repeat) 3-3-3 5-5-5-5-5 3-3-3 (put more incense in censer) Hierophant: Hail those from the caverns of the dark. (all repeat) pick up contract at sacrifice; KINDERED SOULS HERE THIS NIGHT, TO THEE WE GIVE OUR SACRIFICE UPON THIS PAPER WE EACH HAVE WRITTEN A CONTRACT BINDING OF SOULS TO SOULS SO INTO THE FLAMES & LET IT BE CONSUMED IT IS BETWEEN YOU AND I, NO ONE ELSE. as written, to bind the contract drink of the blood. ....done So mote it be (all repeat). Others who desire a sacrifice may now do such; come forward one after another. all participating in the sacrifice drop in 'contract' repeating as before with wine then saying 'so mote it be'... all should repeat after each sacrifice 'so mote it be'. After last sacrifice; all raise hands upward, vibrating AUM Hierophant: Our sacrificing done, I proclaim this evening rite over LOVE IS THE LAW, LOVE UNDER WILL. (all repeat) 146 T W O W I T C H E S A Modern Craft Fairy-Tale ========================= by Mike Nichols Once upon a time, there were two Witches. One was a Feminist Witch and the other was a Traditionalist Witch. And, although both of them were deeply religious, they had rather different ideas about what their religion meant. The Feminist Witch tended to believe that Witchcraft was a religion especially suited to women because the image of the Goddess was empowering and a strong weapon against patriarchal tyranny. And there was distrust in the heart of the Feminist Witch for the Traditionalist Witch because, from the Feminist perspective, the Traditionalist Witch seemed subversive and a threat to "the Cause". The Traditionalist Witch tended to believe that Witchcraft was a religion for both men and women because anything less would be divisive. And although the Goddess was worshipped, care was taken to give equal stress to the God-force in nature, the Horned One. And there was distrust in the heart of the Traditionalist Witch for the Feminist Witch because, from the Traditionalist viewpoint, the Feminist Witch seemed like a late-comer and a threat to "Tradition". These two Witches lived in the same community but each belonged to a different Coven, so they did not often run into one another. Strange to say, the few times they did meet, they felt an odd sort of mutual attraction, at least on the physical level. But both recognized the folly of this attraction, for their ideologies were worlds apart, and nothing, it seemed, could ever bridge them. Then one year the community decided to hold a Grand Coven, and all the Covens in the area were invited to attend. After the rituals, the singing, the magicks, the feasting, the poetry, and dancing were concluded, all retired to their tents and sleeping bags. All but these two. For they were troubled by their differences and couldn't sleep. They alone remained sitting by the campfire while all others around them dreamed. And before long, they began to talk about their differing views of the Goddess. And, since they were both relatively inexperienced Witches, they soon began to argue about what was the "true" image of the Goddess. "Describe your image of the Goddess to me," challenged the Feminist Witch. The Traditionalist Witch smiled, sighed, and said in a rapt voice, "She is the embodiment of all loveliness. The quintessence of feminine beauty. I picture her with silver-blond hair like moonlight, rich and thick, falling down around her soft shoulders. She has the voluptuous young body of a maiden in her prime, and her clothes are the most seductive, gossamer thin and clinging to her willowy frame. I see her dancing like a young elfin nymph in a moonlit glade, the dance of a temple priestess. And she calls to her lover, the Horned One, in a voice that is gentle and soft and sweet, and as musical as a silver bell frosted with ice. She is Aphrodite, goddess of sensual love. And her lover comes in answer to her call, for she is destined to become the Great Mother. That is how I see the Goddess." 147 The Feminist Witch hooted with laughter and said, "Your Goddess is a Cosmic Barbie Doll! The Jungian archetype of a cheer-leader! She is all glitter and no substance. Where is her strength? Her power? I see the Goddess very differently. To me, she is the embodiment of strength and courage and wisdom. A living symbol of the collective power of women everywhere. I picture her with hair as black as a moonless night, cropped short for ease of care on the field of battle. She has the muscular body of a woman at the peak of health and fitness. And her clothes are the most practical and sensible, not slinky cocktail dresses. She does not paint her face or perfume her hair or shave her legs to please men's vanities. Nor does she do pornographic dances to attract a man to her. For when she calls to a male, in a voice that is strong and defiant, it will be to do battle with the repressive masculine ego. She is Artemis the huntress, and it is fatal for any man to cast a leering glance in her direction. For, although she may be the many-breasted Mother, she is also the dark Crone of wisdom, who destroys the old order. That is how I see the Goddess." Now the Traditionalist Witch hooted with laughter and said, "Your Goddess is the antithesis of all that is feminine! She is Yahweh hiding behind a feminine mask! Don't forget that it was his followers who burned Witches at the stake for the "sin" of having "painted faces". After all, Witches with their knowledge of herbs were the ones who developed the art of cosmetics. So what of beauty? What of love and desire?" And so the argument raged, until the sound of their voices awakened a Coven Elder who was sleeping nearby. The Elder looked from the Feminist Witch to the Traditionalist Witch and back again, saying nothing for a long moment. Then the Elder suggested that both Witches go into the woods apart from one another and there, by magick and meditation, that each seek a "true" vision of the Goddess. This they both agreed to do. After a time of invocations, there was a moment of perfect stillness. Then a glimmer of light could be seen in the forest, a light shaded deepest green by the dense foliage. Both Witches ran toward the source of the radiance. To their wonder and amazement, they discovered the Goddess had appeared in a clearing directly between them, so that neither Witch could see the other. And the Traditionalist Witch yelled "What did I tell you!" at the same instant the Feminist Witch yelled "You see, I was right!" and so neither Witch heard the other. To the Feminist Witch, the Goddess seemed to be a shining matrix of power and strength, with courage and energy flowing outward. The Goddess seemed to be holding out her arms to embrace the Feminist Witch, as a comrade in arms. To the Traditionalist Witch, the Goddess seemed to be the zenith of feminine beauty, lightly playing a harp and singing a siren song of seduction. Energy seemed to flow towards her. And she seemed to hold out her arms to the Traditionalist Witch, invitingly. From opposite sides of the clearing, the Witches ran toward the figure of the Goddess they both loved so well, desiring to be held in the ecstasy of that divine embrace. But just before they reached her, the apparition vanished. And the two Witches were startled to find themselves embracing each other. And then they both heard the voice of the Goddess. And, oddly enough, it sounded exactly the same to both of them. It sounded like laughter. 148 WICCA From My Point of View by Lady Phoenix I can give you a brief overview of Wicca. (I don't speak for all Wiccans, only myself. There are some differences in the different Traditions.) Webelievethatthe ultimategodheadisunknowable. Thisdoesn't make for a good working relationship with the deity, however. So, we break it down into a Goddess and a God. Different Wiccans worship different Gods/Goddesses. We can utilize *any* pantheon. Some worship Pan/Diana, some Cernnunos/Aradia, Isis/Osiris, and many others. We see our Goddess as being Triple Aspected -- Maiden, Mother, and Crone, and she is reflected in the phases of the Moon -- Waxing, Full and Waning. We see the God as the Lord of Nature, and he is reflected in the seasonal changes. Like Jesus Christ, he dies for the land and the people, and is reborn. In general, we believe in reincarnation and karma. What you call Heaven, we call the Summerlands. We don't believe that Hell exists (or Satan either.) We believe that there should be balance in all things - when the balance is disturbed, that's when 'evil' occurs. Fire, for example is not 'evil'. It could be considered such when it becomes out of balance, as in a forest fire, or house fire. Controlled fire is a useful tool. Anger is not 'evil', but when unbridled can't help but lead to negative things. When properly expressed and balanced with constructive working to correct that which invoked the anger - it, too, can be a useful tool. We regard the Earth as our Mother, and try to have respect for Her by not polluting her and try to live in harmony with Her and Her ways. Womenreflectthe Goddess,Menreflectthe God,sotheWicca have a Priestess and Priest to 'run' the religious services. We call our services circles. Thiswassortof an"Reader'sDigestCondensedVersion" ofWicca. If you have any questions or want more detail on any of this, please let me know. Thank you for asking. Blessed be >>Phoenix<< * Origin: InterVisioN "The ParaNormal Connection" 603-547-6485 HST (1:132/123) 149 The following is an excerpt from "Witchcraft: The Old Religion" by Dr. L. L. Martello. Questions and Answers. Q. What is the best way for one who is interested in the Old Religion to make contact with a genuine coven? A. Subscribe to all of the Pagan and Witchcraft publications. It's easier to get into a Pagan grove which often acts as a backdoor to the Craft, since many are Wicca-oriented in their worship and rituals. Fill out a Coven-Craft application form issued by WICA. To obtain yours, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope. WICA's address is Suite 1B, 153 West 80 Street; New York 10024, Q. What are the major feast-days of Witches? Could you tell me more about the origins of Halloween? A. Most Anglo-American covens celebrate the following holy days. The four major ones are Oimelc or Candlemas on February 2; May Eve, Beltane, or Walpurgisnacht on April 30; Lammas on July 31 or August 1; and of course Halloween or Samhain on October 31. The four minor Holy Days are the two solstices: Yule, around December 22; and Midsummer, around June 21 or 22. The other two are the equinoxes: March 20-21 for spring and the fall equinox on September 22 or 23. The following will help to give you some idea of the origins of Halloween: November Eve, All Hallows' Eve, the Gaelic fire festival of Samhain, now generally called Halloween, represents the summer's end, when the Earth Goddess turns over her reign to the Horned God of the Hunt, the transition from life to death, from an agrarian time to one of hunting, from summer to winter, from warmth to coldness, from light to darkness. It has been Christianized into All Saints' Day, a time when the souls of the departed wander the land and in some cases where the souls of the living temporarily join their spirit brethren, a time for mediumship, remembrance of departed loved ones, and celebration (as opposed to mourning) of the dead. The Roman Goddess of fruits and seeds, Pomona, was worshipped on this day. The stored fruits and seeds of the summer were then opened for the celebrants. Apples and nuts were the main fruits. This was also the autumn harvest festival of the Druids. They believed in the transmigration of souls and taught that Saman, the Lord of Death, summoned those wicked souls who were condemned to occupy the bodies of animals in the preceding twelve months. The accused believed that they could propitiate Saman by gifts and incantations, thus lessening if not eliminating their sentences. This was also the time when the Druids lit huge bonfires in honor of Baal, a custom continued in Britain and Wales until recent times. In Ireland October 31 was called Oidhche Shamhna, or Vigil of Saman. In his Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, Villancey says that in Ireland the peasants assembled with clubs and sticks, "going from house to house, collecting money, breadcake, butter, cheese, eggs, etc., for the feast, repeating verses in honor of the solemnity, demanding preparations for the festival in the name of St. Columb Kill, desiring them to lay aside the fatted calf and to bring forth the black sheep. The good women are employed in making the griddlecake and candles; these last are sent from house to house in the vicinity, and are lighted up on the (Saman) next day, before which they pray, or are supposed to pray, for the departed soul of the donor. Every house abounds in the best viands they can afford: apples and nuts are devoured in abundance; the nutshells are burnt, and from the ashes many strange things are foretold; cabbages are torn up by the root; hemp-seed is sown by the maidens, and they believe that if they look back they will see the apparition of the man 150 intended for their future spouse; they hang a smock before the fire, on the close of the feast, and sit up all night, conceal ed in the corner of the room, convinced that his apparition will come down the chimney and turn the smock; they throw a ball of yarn out of the window, and wind it on the reel within, convinced that if they repeat the Pater Noster backwards, and look at the ball of yarn without, they will then also see his sith or apparition; they dip for apples in a tub of water, and endeavor to bring one up in the mouth; they suspend a cord with a cross-stick, with apples at one point, and candles lighted at the other, and endeavor to catch the apple, while it is in a circular motion, in the mouth." Vallancey concludes that these practices are the remnants of Druidism and will never be eradicated while the name of Saman remains. In this brief passage we will see the origins of many modern Halloween practices, such a trick or treat, the Jack-o-Lantern, and apple bobbing. In the island of Lewis the name Shamhna, or Saman, was called Shony. One writer in disgust described "an ancient custom here to sacrifice to a sea-god, called Shony, at Hallowtide." The supposed Christian inhabitants would gather at the Church of St. Mulvay, each family bringing provisions and malt which was brewed into ale. They chose one of themselves to wander into the sea at night up to his waist. He then poured out a cup of ale calling upon Shony to less his people for the coming year. "At his return," this writer says, "they all went to church, where there was a candle burning upon the altar; and then standing silent for a little time, on of them gave a signal, at which the candle was put out, and immediately all of them went to the fields, where they fell a-drinking ale, and spent the rest of the night in dancing and singing. The ministers in Lewis told me they spent several years before they could persuade the vulgar natives to abandon this ridiculous piece of superstition." The name Saman shows evidence of Druidism in the Irish. Another word, the name of a drink, is "lambswool." It is made from bruising roasted apples and mixing it with ale or milk. The Gentlemen's Magazine for May, 1784, says, "this is a constant ingredient at a merrymaking on Holy Eve." Vallancey shrewdly traced its etymological origin when he said, "The first day of November was dedicated to the angel presiding over fruits, seeds, etc., and was therefore named La Mas Ubhal,--that is, the day of the apple fruit,--and being pronounced Lamasool, the English have corrupted the name to Lambs-wool." The angel referred to of course is the Roman Goddess Pomona. 151 Q. Are these Holy Days the same throughout the world? A. No. However, there are many universal similarities between all the pagan religions. Names, dates, and days vary according to national origin. For instance, one of the Holy Days still celebrated by many It alien and some Sicilian traditions is the Lupercalia, on February 15. It has since been Christianized into St. Valentine's Day on Feb. 14. Let me quote from the WICA Newsletter: Ancient Roman festival honoring Lupercus, God of Fertility. It was called dies februatus meaning 'day of expiation.' The Lupercal --'wolf's grotto' --a cave on the western slope of Palatine Hill. Near it was the ficus ruminalis, the fig tree under which Romulus and Remus were found and nursed by a she-wolf. The Lupercai who celebrated this yearly festival were made up of the Fabian who belonged to the Sabines and the Quintilian Lupercai, the Latins. Later in honor to Julius Caesar, there was added the Julian Brotherhood. They sacrificed a goat. Young neophytes were brought in. The High Priest touched their foreheads with the bloody knife. Then another priest wiped away the blood with wool dipped into milk. The feast began with the celebrants clothed only in goat skins and carrying (really hiding) thongs made from the same goat hides. They ran up and down the streets of the city striking anyone who passed them. Women came forward to be hit by the goat-thongs, believing it enhanced their own fertility. This was also a symbolic purification of the land and of the persons touched. This was on of the last Pagan rites to be given up before Christianity completely dominated the country. It is still celebrated today but in modern form, without the goat or any other kind of sacrifice, but all wearing skins and goat horns in a special streghe ritual." Q. What are some of the Christian holy days that are based upon or borrowed from ancient Pagan Religions? A. You'll find many of them discussed in this book. However, briefly, here are some of them. December 25 in ancient times was the day celebrated in honor of the sun, deified in such figures as Mithra, Osiris, Horus, and Adonis. It was also the feast day of Bacchus, Krishna, Sakia, and others. The legends of these Gods were the same as those attributed to Jesus Christ by the early Church. Pope Julius I in A.D. 337 made December 25 the official day to celebrate Jesus's birth, following older traditions who honored their founders on that date. It was also the ancient celebration of the winter solstice. There is absolutely no record in the Bible or elsewhere of when Jesus Christ was born. All of us are still paying tribute to the ancient Gods and Goddesses by the names of our days of the week. English French Italian Spanish Planet GOD Sunday Dimanche Domani Domingo Sun Mithra Monday Lundi Lunedi Lunes Moon Diana Tuesday Mardi Martedi Martes Mars Tiw Wednesday Mercredi Mercoledi Miercoles Mercury Mercury Thursday Jeudi Giovedi Jueves Jupiter Jove-Thor Friday Vendredi Venerdi Viernes Venus Venus-Freya Saturday Samedi Sabato Sabado Saturn Saturn 152 Two of the English names come from Old Saxon rather than Latin. Tiw's Day became Tuesday in honor of the old Teutonic deity, Tiw or Tives. Wednesday is named after the old Teutonic Norse God Wodan or Wotan. The Saxon word for day is doeg. In olden times the days were called Jove's Doeg (Thursday), Mercury's Doeg (Wednesday), Mar's Doef (Tuesday), etc. Friday was the day when the ancients paid tribute to Venus--the love day. When Christianity became dominant, Friday was no longer considered lucky--Jesus was crucified on that day; also, the uninhibited sexual rites dedicated to the love Goddess Venus was considered a great "sin." Besides the days of our week our months are also named after the ancient deities: January: From Latin Januarius, honoring Janus, a Roman God. He presided over the Gates of Heaven, which the Christians later assigned to St. Peter. The Anglo-Saxons called it Aefter-Yule, and prior to that Wolf-monat. February: From Februus, another name for the God of purification Faunus, thus fertility. The feast was held on February 15 (see Lupercalia) and was called Februa. March: After Mars, God of War. Anglo-Saxons called it Hraed-monat, rugged month, or Hlyd-monat, stormy month. A stormy March was an omen of poor crops. A dry March indicated a rich harvest. April: From Latin aperio "to open," like buds. Anglo-Saxons called it Easter-monat, in honor of the Teutonic Goddess of the same name. She ruled spring and light. The Romans dedicated this month to Venus, often referring to it as Mensis Veneris instead of Aprilis. May: Named after Maia Majesta, ancient Roman Goddess of Spring. Considered Vulcan's wife. Look up the folklore regarding the May Day celebrations, bonfires, and other rites celebrated throughout Europe. June: Named after the Roman Goddess Juno. Called Sear-monat by Anglo-Saxons. Juno was Queen of Heaven and Guardian of Marriage and ruled childbirth. June is still the most favored month for marriage today. July: Originally called Quintilus, the fifth month. Old Saxons called it Maed-monat,--"mead month"--the time to gather honey for the drink called mead. August: Named after the Roman Emperor Augustus. Was once called Sixtilis, the sixth month. September: Named after the Latin number for seven, that being the month in the old calender . Saxons called it Gerst-monat, barley month, as this crop was usually gathered then. October: From octo, theeighth month in the old calendar. Saxons named it Wyn-monat, "wine month." This was harvest time, and Bacchhus and Dionysius and all the other ancient deities were honored. See Halloween above. November: From the ninth month in old Roman calendar. Saxons called it Blot-monat, "blood month." This was when the cattle and sheep were slaughtered for food and sacrifices. December: Named after the tenth month in the old calendar. It was consecrated to Saturn, and on December 17 the great feast of Saturnalia began, lasting several days. It coincided with the winter solstice and the Yule season. The Anglo-Saxons called it Yule-monat, "midwinter month." It coincided with the winter solstice and the Yule season. The Anglo-Saxons called it Yule-monat, "midwinter month." 153 Wicca, Wicca, Who's Got the Wicca? or My Tradition, or Yours? [An article which attempts to make sense of all the various Traditions, Brands, Denominations, ect., which may confuse the unwary new-comer to Neo- Paganism (Wicca in particular).] By: Hurn Greetings, and Bright Blessings... Welcome to this, the next in a series of introductory pieces on Alternate Religions. Today, we shall take a look at the many varied Traditions in the Wicca Family of Faiths. Whilst there is, indeed, a large number of groups who profess one set of tenants, or ideas; one soon begins to see why they may all be lumped together as one Religion. Obviously, to start, one must define Religion as it applies to these groups of people. Next, a listing of some of the more Popular Traditions, giving a basic description of each. Lastly, some comments on the "cords which bind these groups together", ie. a discussion on the Underlying Philosophies of the New Age Movement, Neo-Paganisms in particular. I. What is a Religion? A dictionary definition of religion looks something like: Religion, n.; An organized system of Beliefs and/or Rituals, centering on a Supernatural Being or Beings. Everyone with me so far? Good. I think we can all agree on definitions for "Beliefs" and "Supernatural", so the only sub-definition will be "Ritual": any ordered sequence of events or actions, including directed thoughts, especially one that is repeated in the 'same' manner each time, and that is designed to produce a predictable altered state of consciousness, within which certain magical or religious results may be obtained. Now, by using these definitions, the astute reader may realize that one need not "believe" in anything in order to belong to a Religion, although most 'established' churches Do require that one has conforming beliefs in order to become 'accepted into' that Religion. One of the beauties of the Pagan/NeoPagan/Wiccan Religion is that the majority of the sects do not require one to have 'conforming' beliefs. One need not Believe in the God/dess in order to worship them, and this is the key to being a New Age type Religion. New Age Religions acknowledge that there are many paths to Godhood, and that each person should find his/her own way. Thus, while there is communication and discussion between the diverse ways of Wicca, there is generally no cause for religious persecution or Holy Wars. Also, there are very little 'missionary' type efforts, since there is no Prime Directive stating that everyone who does not believe a certain piece of Dogma is Wrong, and will burn in Hell forever, unless saved, or made to see the light. Contrary to most religions, it is Not the shared set of Beliefs, or 154 similar Dogma which holds the Wiccan Religions together. Rather, it is the Attitudes of the people involved, and their common Heritage which provide the bonds of cooperation among the Pagan Peoples. These points of agreement shall be further addressed following a brief list of some of the more popular Traditions, with a description of each. II. Traditions/Branches/Gatherings/Sub-Groups/Interpretations/ect. [nb. This is not, by any means, an all inclusive list] A. Gardnerian: Started by G. Gardner, in England, in the mid 1950's, this Tradition claims to have existed, in secret, since the Witch-Burnings began during the Middle Ages. While there is some doubt as to whether or not it is as old as it claims, there is no denying that the Gardnerian Sect has been one of the most Influential of the Traditions. In fact, many of the groups which follow were started by people who had been introduced to Paganism and the Worship of the Lord and Lady as members of a Gardnerian group. Characteristics: A structured religion with definite hierarchy within each group (known, as a Coven), but little to no Authority of one coven over another. Within the coven, a Matriarchy exists, with the High Priestess generally being considered the leader (there are, of course, exceptions to this, but these descriptions are, for the most part, only generalizations based upon information gathered from many sources). The typicalGardnerian view of the God/dess is that of a Dominant Three- Faced Goddess (Maid, Mother, and Crone) with a Male Consort (Who has 2 sides.. the Young Summer King, and the Old Winter King). Ceremonies include a series of initiations into higher levels of the Craft, various Holiday Celebrations (based, of course, upon the "Wheel of the Year" calendar of Feast days. B. Alexandrian: Started about the same time as Gardner's, this tradition is fairly similar, with a little more emphasis upon Ceremonial Magick. There are numerous Covens in both US and Europe. C. Dianic: This is more of a Sub-class, rather than a particular Tradition. There are several Feminist Traditions which are considered Dianic. This sub-class tends to emphasize the Female aspect of the Goddess, sometimes to the exclusion of the Male God. Some feel that these groups are rather reactionary and self limiting. Be that as it may, the Dianic Covens tend to be more politically active. D. School of Wicca: Headed by Gavin and Yvonne Frost, this School is the largest correspondence school of Witchcraft in the US. Numerous Covens have resulted from this School, although it is somewhat unconventional (if, that is, anything dealing with Wicca could be called conventional). The Frosts' views on Wicca as a religion do differ with the majority.. in that they do not consider Wicca as "Pagan", but rather as Monotheistic. 155 E. Seax (or Saxon) Wicca: Startedby Raymond Buckland, who wasoriginally a leader in promoting the Gardnerian Tradition, as an alternative to the existing Covens. Unlike most traditions, which consider the Coven group to be the normal unit of division (ie. all ceremonies/Rituals = Group Rites), the Seax version has provision for lone witches (often referred to as Solitaires). Another thing which sets this particular brand apart is its non-reliance upon being properly initiated into the Wiccan community. Many of the other groups require that new members be brought to existing covens to be ceremonially initiated into that Tradition, and that only after years of study within the group is one ready to start a new coven. The Seax tradition, recognizing that there may not be a friendly, neighborhood Coven, allows for self-initiation, and Auto setup of a Coven. F. Traditionalist (Welsh, Scots, Greek, Irish, etc...) Like Dianic, this is a sub-class. Each Traditionalist group is based upon the traditions, literature, myth, and folktales of that particular geographic/demographic area. This is evident in the Names of the God/dess used by individual groups. III. Common ties/beliefs/Ideals/ect... Asstated earlier, it's not doctrine/dogma similarities which tend to hold these diverse groups together, rather, it is the common Ideals and feelings expressed by the Pagan Peoples themselves. Here are some examples: The Wiccan Rede: "An it harms none, do what thou will." is almost universally accepted amongst the groups. Most groups tend to be polytheistic, animists, pantheists, ect. One is not "converted" to Wicca, rather, the new comer feels a sense of "Coming Home", or, more poetically, "The Goddess calls to Her own". Nature plays a big part in most Traditions, either as direct personification of the God/dess, or as aspects of them. There is no counterpart to the Devil, as such, in the Pagan religions... no personification of All Evil, rather, the choice is there for all to make. However, there is the Law of Three Fold Return, which states "That which thou dost send out shall return three fold", so good begets good, and evil befalls those who are evil (a horrendous understatement / simplification, but true). Author's note: Whew! That was a long haul of writing in one sitting... if there are any big errors noticeable, mail me, and I'll make a second draft of this.. or perhaps even expand it some.. (my time is limited in as far as when I have opportunities to just sit down and write something like this, but I can usually squeeze in some time, here or there.) I hopethat this issomewhat enlightening... there aresome other files, here, which give more basic explanations of the terms used.. (Witch, Coven, Magick, ect..) ... I did assume a small amount of familiarity present within the reader... if anyone wishes, I can append a Preface covering that which was presupposed knowledge. Blessed Be... Hurn 156 BINDING A SPELL (Classic version) Come ye as the charm is made! Queen of heaven, Queen of hell, Horned Hunter of the night Lend your power unto the spell, And work our will by magic rite! By all the power of land and sea, By all the might of moon and sun I call the Earth to bind my spell. Air to speed it well. Bright as Fire shall it glow. Deep as tide of Water flow. Count the elements fourfold, In the fifth the spell shall hold. Farrar, Janet and Stewart; "Eight Sabbats For Witches"; Robert Hale 1983 Valiente, Doreen; "Witchcraft for Tomorrow"; Phoenix Publishing 1985 157 Saxon Wicca Rites From THE TREE: THE COMPLETE BOOK OF SAXON WITCHCRAFT by Raymond Buckland copyright 1974 - Samuel Weiser Publishers NOW OUT OF PRINT posted for PAN, the ORIGINAL Psychic Awareness Network at 1-703-362-1139 by MATRIKA, co-sysop Legend of Woden/Odin retrieving the Runes The Snake came crawling and struck at none But Woden took nine glory-twigs (pieces of wood on which were carved runic inscriptions) and struck the adder so that it flew into nine parts This quote shows how Woden/Odin was a master magician and drew his power from the runes. To this day many Saxon Pagans work much of their Magic with runes, inscribing them on candles in candle magick, incorporating them into talismans or symbols of protection that they wear, carry or keep in their homes (can also be for other purposes, etc. They can even be put somewhere invisibly by tracing them with a scented oil. For example, a rune or runic monogram (several runic letters overlaying one another) can be inscribed on your place of business in Money in Abundance oil or some other money - oriented oils of your own preference. For healing a rune or runic monogram of healing can be written on the body of the patient with an oil of Healing, after the regular transfer of Pranic energy or "laying - on - of - the - hands" healing has occurred. (including use of crystals, if that is so desired) Etc. etc. etc. Why are runes so important? For the same reason that they were in Cabalistic Magick among the Jews and in Sidha Yoga. In India among the Sidhis the Shakti or Feminine aspect of DEITY (as Shiva is the male) has many aspects through which the world was emanated - one of the more important aspects is MATRIKA SHAKTI or the power of sound to create via the letters of the alphabet forming themselves into Words. In both systems - Kabbalah and Sidha Yoga - it is believed that the universe was created by words. This is reflected in modern New-Age work with Affirmations used by such diverse sources as Marion Weinstein, Diannic Witch, as described in her book POSITIVE MAGIC (phoenix Publishing) and the Unity School of Christianity as well as the Religious Science and Christian Science and Divine Science and all the other "science" churches. Shakti Gawain, author of CREATIVE VISUALIZATION teaches it from the New - Age perspective as well. It is through words we create out own reality and right use of them for good and in loving ways is one of the most powerful of Magicks. NOTE BY MATRIKA 158 From the old Norse Verse, Lay of the High one, stanzas 138, 139, and 141 Woden/Odin is speaking " I know that I hung there on the windy tree swung there nights, all of nine gashed with a blade bloodied by Odin myself an offering to myself knotted to that tree no man knows whither the root of it runs None gave me bread None gave me drink down to the depths I peered to snatch up runes with a roaring screech and fall in a dizzying faint Wellspring I won and wisdom too and grew and joyed in my growth from a word to a word I was led to a word from a deed to another deed As you can see this legend, which in the original sources pre-dates Christianity, has much in common with the legend of Jesus's Crucifixion/Resurrection in the Newer religion - but then there are similar themes in the story of Tammuz from the Middle East, the story of Osiris in Egypt and in many other sources. The story of the fallen God who is resurrected with great power and wisdom reflects the Shamans's confrontation with his own death - either in a literal sense through sickness or accident, or in a Psychological sense or by other means such as the mild, natural hallucinogens used by the Native Americans and other tribal peoples. (NOTE, I AM NOT ENDORSING THERE USE; THEY ARE COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY - but nevertheless, this is the practice in some cultures, where they know how to handle the power of these drugs and guide one safely through the experience. It is important to note this is not done lightly or playfully either and that the drugs they use are NATURAl substances, not the harsher chemical ones abused in our modern society for recreational use) It also represents the natural cycles of the year - the grain grows and is cut down or sacrificed only to be reborn again, the trees lose their leaves and seem to die only to resurrected, (which is why the tree of life/cross image developed) some animals hibernate and come back, etc. etc. etc Now here is the legend of the Goddess in the Saxon form as the search by Freya for the necklace Brosingame - a silver circlet worn about her neck as a chaplet. As with the Gardnerian Wicca legend of the descent of the Goddess to the Underworld, it reflects the cycles of the year - when fertility seems to sink into the earth and vanish during winter's barren months only to have the Lady and her bounty return to us in the spring. 159 (Matrika's notes) 1. All day had Freya, most lovely of the Goddesses, played and romped in the fields. Then did she lay down to rest. 2. And while she slept; deft Loki, the prankster, the mischief-maker of the Gods; did espy the glimmering of Brosingame, formed of Galdra (magick) Her constant companion. Silent as the night did Loki move to the Goddess's side and with fingers formed over the very ages in lightness did remove the silver circlet from about her snow white neck. 3. Straightaway did Freya arouse; on sensing it's loss. Though he moved with the speed of the winds, yet Loki she glimpsed as he passed swiftly from sight into the barrow (burial mound) that leads to Dreun. (land of the dead, the underworld) 4. Then was Freya in despair. Darkness descended all about her to hide her tears. Great was her anguish. All light, all life, all creatures joined in her doom. 5. To all corners were sent the Searchers, in quest of Loki; yet knew they. they would find him not. For who is there may descend to Dreun and return again from thence? 6. Excepting the Gods themselves and, alzck, mischievous Loki. 7. So it was that, still weak from her grief, Freya herself elected to descend in search of Brosingame. At the portals of the Barrow was she challenged, yet recognized and passed. 8. The multitude of souls within cried joyfully to see her, yet could she not tarry as she sought her stolen light. 9. The infamous Loki left no trail to follow, yet was he everywhere past seen. Those to whom she spake held to Freya (that) Loki carried no Jewel as he went by. 10. Where then was it hid? 11. In despair she searched an age. Hearhden (also known as Heimdall) the mighty smith of the Gods, did arise from his rest to sense the bewailment of the souls to Freya's sorrow. Striding from his smithy, to find the cause of the sorrow, did he espy the Silver Circlet where Loki Mischief-maker had laid it; upon the rock before his door. 13. Then was all clear. 14. As Hearhden took hold of Brosingame (then did) Loki appear before him, his face wild with rage. 15. Yet would Loki not attack Hearhden, this mighty smith whose strength was known even beyond Dreun. 16. By wiles and tricks did he strive to get his hands upon the (silver) circlet. He shape-shifted; he darted here and there; he was visible, then invisible. yet could he not sway the Smith. 160 17. Tired of the fight, Hearhden raised his mighty club. Then sped Loki away. 18. Great was the joy of Freya when Hearhden placed Brosingame about her snow-white neck. 19. Great were the cries of Joy from Dreun and above. 20. Great were the thanks that Freya and all People gave to the Gods for the return of Brosingame. This tale and the Gardnerian legend of the descent of the Goddess into the Underworld (told in the 2d degree initiation) and similar myths from around the world, such as the legend of Kwan Yin's descent to the land of death and her being expelled for spreading mirth and joy, show that women also shared a very important role in the shamanism/priesthood of the European Pagan traditions and also faced the ordeals - i.e. the physical or psychological confrontation with death. And again, it reflects the times of darkness and light in the year - the waxing and waning of the moon each month and the waxing and waning of the sun each year from Yule or Winter solstice to Mid-summer's night or Summer solstice when the light grows stronger and the remainder of the year, when light grows weaker. 161 WICCAN SHAMANISM by Selena Fox typed by Lewis for P.A.N. 508-795-7628 Shamanism exists intribal cultures aroundthe world and hasdone so for centuries. Yet, in reading most anthropological texts on Shamanism, there is little, if any reference made to shamanism in Europe. However Shamanism has existed among the peoples of Europe not only in ancient times, but also through the present day. During the Middle Ages, the Old Ways largely disappeared from public view because of persecution. Yet they were not eradicated but took a more underground existence. Today, there are some of us of European ancestry that are bringing Shamanic ways rooted in pre-Christian Europe back into the light. Wiccan Shamanism is a term I began using several years ago in an attempt to describe my own path of magick and spirituality in relation to the other forms of Shamanism on the Planet. Wiccan Shamanism draws on the Old but it is not simply an attempt re-construction and revival of the Old Ways of tribal Europe. Wiccan Shamanism blends both the Old and the New to suit the modern times in which we live. Although emphasis is on European symbology and traditions Wiccan Shamanism is multi-cultural, incorporating ways of other healers and magick workers from many places and eras. What follows is a glimpse into Wiccan Shamanism as I know it and practice it. While Jim,Dennis, and others who help with various aspects of CIRCLES work may share many of these concepts, I speak here only for myself - for at the heart of this spiritual approach is the idea that each person must seek their own connection with the Divine, within their own Self, rather than having me or anyone else do this for them. This is not a path of a leader with followers, but a path where each becomes their own leader. *************************************************************************** I call to thePowers of the Four Quarters-- to Earth in theNorth which is the Realm of the Physical Body and Material Plane, to Air in the East which is the Realm of Thoughts and Intellect, to Fire in the South which is the Realm of Will Power and Action, and Water in the West which is the Realm of Emotions and Intuition. My Medicine Wheel is the Magick Circle which connects the Four Quarters. The sacred places I frequent include a high rock, a crystal clear spring fed pool n a hidden valley and a circle of stones in a grove of Oak and Birch on a mound. I am achannel between Planet Earth beneath myfeet and the Heavens above my head. I become the World tree when I Shamanize, linking the transforming Dark of the Underworld with the Awakening Light of the Upperworld. I am theCrystal LIght that isat the Center ofthe Circle and isthe fifth Element Spirit. I seek always to act out of MY own Inner Self which is at the enter of MY being, for my Inner Self in the Balance of all the Elements, of my Female and Male sides, of my Lunar and Solar natures of my intellect and intuition my Inner Self is my doorway into the realm where All is One. 162 Isee the Circleof Life from theCenter. Iwatch the Seasons change as the Wheel of the Year turns and I celebrate the 8 sabbats. I connect with the dance of Night and Day, of Fair and Stormy Weathers, of the Waxing and Waning Moon. I see the cycle of Birth, Growth, Maturity, Death, and Rebirth in all of Nature. I examine the cycles of my own life and of the lives of those who seek healing aid from me. I amthe traveler between theWorld of Daily Lifeand the Otherworld which is the land of Dreams, visions and Spirits. I am a Consciousness Explorer. the Otherworldis as real and as important to me as the Day-to-Day World. I bridge the Worlds rather than seeking to dwell solely in one or the other. I journey into the Otherworld for a reason -- to bring back healing and knowledge to apply to Daily Life, helping others, myself and the Planet. Isee the Divine in all things. My friends and allies include not only humans but also plants, animals, rocks, winds, waters, fire, stars, and other life forms. I commune with the Source some call "God" as both Mother Goddess and Father God, for both aspects are necessary for the Unity. The main focus of my Shamanic work is Healing. I was calledto this path as a young child in dreams and Out-of-Body experiences, but I didn't begin my work until my adult years when I started Healing myself. To do this I journeyed alone into the Pit of my Shadow Self and came face-to-face with my problems and hang-ups; my doubts fears, disillusionments, rejections, angers and hurts; with all MY false self images. Words can not begin to express the misery, the utter despair the powerlessness I felt during this time. Yet coming apart was essential; it enabled me to break through the barriers which I had formed and let others form in my psyche that had kept me from being one with my True Self. In the deepest Darkness, I felt the Light of my own Inner Self beginning to shine through. I focused on the Light and slowly emerged from the Pit, stronger and more integrated than ever before and with the power to heal others as well as myself. As a result of this transformation process, my life's work became clear. I now help others from their own pits of negativity and become whole again. 163 Yetmy work also extends tomore than Humankind; it involves bringing Healing to the Planet as a whole. In my communing with the Land, I have heard the cries of the Earth mother, sorrowing over the self-centered, greedy, intolerant, and destructive behaviors of many of Her human children, who are polluting the soiled, waters, and air; who are playing power games with nuclear fire; and who are polluting the spiritual atmosphere of the entire world with their narrow mindedness and hate. I am deeply concerned about survival -- not of the Planer Herself for all the humans in the world can not destroy Her even with all their weapons; She is too strong and powerful for that to happen. What I am concerned about is the survival of the human race. -- will we annihilate ourselves and many of the life forms around us, or will we wake up in time to see the larger picture, find and implement creative solutions to the worlds problems, and enter a New Age of expanded consciousness? The Balance of Life can be restored on Planet Earth; Harmony can be restored between humankind and other life forms; Love consciousness can increase and be prevalent on the Earth. I, along with numerous other healers and ministers from a variety of spiritual traditions around the world today have responded to the upset of Mother Earth by dedicating our lives to this Planetary Healing Work, each in our own way. It is this Great Work that underlies all the healing and other things I do. It is the Heart of Wiccan Shamanism. First published in fall 1984 CIRCLE NETWORK NEWS; (C) 1984, CIRCLE, Box 219, Mt. Horeb WI 53572 USA.; 164 A Healing Myth By "Nihasa" |---------------------------------------------------------------| | This story can have a powerful healing effect when read out | | loud (or recorded and then played) to someone suffering from | | a phobia or other effect of childhood trauma. While names, | | settings, and style can be varied to suit individual tastes, | | the sequence which the apprentice describes, the sequence | | the princess goes through, and the vagueness of the "bad | | thing" descriptions should remain unchanged and no element | | of the story should be left out. | |---------------------------------------------------------------| Once, in another time and another place, a kingdom of magic and beauty knew a time of peace. No armies threatened its boarders, no bandits plundered its trade routes, no plagues sickened its people. Yet even in such peaceful times, bad things could happen: accidents, misunderstandings, even good people doing bad things. The third daughter of the king was a bright and cheerful sort. She wasn't the strongest or the prettiest of the royal princesses, but she did have the nicest wings of anyone her age. She loved to fly around the countryside and explore the groves and meadows she found...they were always full of surprises. One day she found a particularly pretty grove, with a pond glistening in a little clearing in the middle. As she went in for a closer look, she saw images start to form. She saw her own reflection, and as she lightly touched the ground she saw that her reflection was watching reflections of her own...dim watery reflections from her past. "So you can see the pictures." The voice from among the trees made her jump. "Don't worry," continued the young man as he stepped out from among the trees, "nobody else can see the same images, Princess. It's part of the magic." "How...?" she asked, looking him up and down. He was a young man, no older than the princess herself, dressed in the rough tunic of a wizard's apprentice. "Who are you? How did you know who I am, what I saw?" "I am apprenticed to the Court Wizard. Everybody knows who you are, Princess...and besides, I have seen you at the palace when I have been there with my master." He paused, glancing at the ground and lowering his voice. "As to the images...well, at one time I had need of their magic." "When I entered the Wizard's service, I had a great and secret fear. Something...bad...happened to me when I was younger. It hurt to even think about, and after time I didn't think about it much. But ever since that time, I had lived with the fear. When my master learned of this, he taught me the magic of this pool and its stream." 165 "The pool reflects images from your mind...scenes from your past, dreams of the future, even fantasies of the present. The stream flows like time itself, upstream into the past, and downstream into the future. If I followed the ritual he described, these magics could wash clean the fear." She made a face. "I suppose this ritual involves deep magics usable only by Wizards?" "Not really. All the magic is in the waters, and anyone can use the ritual. Even a lowly apprentice." He grinned. "It's pretty simple. After he told me about it, he brought me here and then stood back by the trees. He said that he would answer any questions I had but otherwise I was on my own." "I stood where I could see my reflection in the pool, and then thought about my fear. As I thought, my reflection watched a reflection of my a stage where dimly lit actors played out the scene against a colorless backdrop. I looked up and saw that I was still here, in the glade. I looked back at the water, holding on to a small part of the special feeling of fear it had given me. As I turned and looked back upstream, I saw more images...each earlier than the last. I relaxed and let the feeling guide me back to the earliest image. When I had that, I turned back to the pool and found my reflection watching the same colorless players in their dim reflection of the memory. As my reflection watched, the image went from a time shortly before the bad thing happened, through the whole thing, and on to a time when it was all over. When it passed the ending that way, it a drawing. Then the drawing faded away, and I was just looking at my reflection. The Wizard had told me that if I stepped into that last part of the image, it would run very quickly backwards, with full color and sound and me living backwards through it all...all the way through to the part before the beginning. It sounded very strange. As I looked at my reflection again, it was watching the image go forward again in its dim, colorless way. When it reached the drawing at the end, I stepped into the image and was plunged into a world going backwards! It went clear through to before the beginning in less than a second, then stopped. Startled, I let the water carry me downstream, through all that had happened since, with the fear gone and the memory unable to hurt me. When I reached the here-and-now, I got out and just stood there, knowing that the fear would trouble me no more." He stopped, and suddenly seemed to remember where he was, and who he was talking to. "That was over a year ago, and the fear is still gone. The Wizard says it is gone for good." She thought for a moment. "So all there is to this ritual is think of the problem until your reflection sees it, follow a part of the feeling upstream to my earliest memory of it, wait for my reflection to see it all the way through, step into the ending, and live it backwards quickly? What kind of magic is that?" He thought for a minute, shrugged, and said "Effective? If you wish, I will withdraw to the trees while you try it." 166 "What makes you think that I NEED it?" "Because the images only come to those who do." His voice faded to an embarrassed silence as he realized what he had said. "I'll go now." "Yes, do." She said absently, already thinking. Then: "But not too far, in case I need you." She was remembering an incident a few days back which had set off her special fear, and just as the apprentice had described, her reflection in the pool was watching a dim and watery scene of the memory. Startled, she looked up again. Yes, she was in the clearing, with the trees all around and the apprentice all but lost among the closer ones. She could still feel a part of that fear, so she kept that feeling while she looked back up stream at all the images from the past that the feeling had touched...until she found the earliest of them all. She brought that memory back to the pool and released it as her reflection started to watch it unfold in its dim and watery way. Her reflection seemed to have a life of its own as it watched the pale scene start before anything happened, run through the bad parts, and then pause at a time when it was all over. She watched her reflection shift as she prepared for what she would do. Her reflection settled as it watched the scene unfold again. The dim scene passed through the beginning, through the bad time and on past again. When it stopped, she jumped in to it. Suddenly, she was there again: back where and when it had happened. Everything was moving backwards, and in a flash she had lived backwards through it and past the beginning. Shocked, she let the water carry her down stream, forward through all the rest of her yesterdays without the bad times for company. When she got to today, she stood up. There she was...standing, dripping in a stream in the clearing. She looked around for the apprentice, half expecting him to be laughing at the soggy mess she must be. He was there, by the trees...not laughing, just smiling in an understanding way. In the years that followed, they became friends. Although they went their separate ways...he, as wizard to one of the King's high lords and she as wife to a neighboring prince... they valued that friendship to the end of their days. And from that time on, neither was ever again troubled by their great fears. ......... 167 C A N D L E M A S: The Light Returns ===================================== by Mike Nichols It seems quiteimpossible thatthe holiday ofCandlemas shouldbe considered the beginning of Spring. Here in the Heartland, February 2nd may see a blanket of snow mantling the Mother. Or, if the snows have gone, you may be sure the days are filled with drizzle, slush, and steel-grey skies -- the dreariest weather of the year. In short, the perfect time for a Pagan Festival of Lights. And as for Spring, although this may seem a tenuous beginning, all the little buds, flowers and leaves will have arrived on schedule before Spring runs its course to Beltane. 'Candlemas' is theChristianized namefor theholiday, ofcourse. The older Pagan names were Imbolc and Oimelc. 'Imbolc' means, literally, 'in the belly' (of the Mother). For in the womb of Mother Earth, hidden from our mundane sight but sensed by a keener vision, there are stirrings. The seed that was planted in her womb at the solstice is quickening and the new year grows. 'Oimelc' means 'milk of ewes', for it is also lambing season. The holiday isalso called 'Brigit's Day',in honor of thegreat Irish Goddess Brigit. At her shrine, the ancient Irish capitol of Kildare, a group of 19 priestesses (no men allowed) kept a perpetual flame burning in her honor. She was considered a goddess of fire, patroness of smith- craft, poetry and healing (especially the healing touch of midwifery). This tripartite symbolism was occasionally expressed by saying that Brigit had two sisters, also named Brigit. (Incidentally, another form of the name Brigit is Bride, and it is thus She bestows her special patronage on any woman about to be married or handfasted, the woman being called 'bride' in her honor.) TheRoman Catholic Church could not very easily call the Great Goddess of Ireland a demon, so they canonized her instead. Henceforth, she would be 'Saint' Brigit, patron SAINT of smithcraft, poetry, and healing. They 'explained' this by telling the Irish peasants that Brigit was 'really' an early Christian missionary sent to the Emerald Isle, and that the miracles she performed there 'misled' the common people into believing that she was a goddess. For some reason, the Irish swallowed this. (There is no limit to what the Irish imagination can convince itself of. For example, they also came to believe that Brigit was the 'foster-mother' of Jesus, giving no thought to the implausibility of Jesus having spent his boyhood in Ireland!) Brigit'sholiday waschieflymarked bythekindling ofsacredfires, since she symbolized the fire of birth and healing, the fire of the forge, and the fire of poetic inspiration. Bonfires were lighted on the beacon tors, and chandlers celebrated their special holiday. The Roman Church was quick to confiscate this symbolism as well, using 'Candlemas' as the day to bless all the church candles that would be used for the coming liturgical year. (Catholics will be reminded that the following day, St. Blaise's Day, is remembered for using the newly blessed candles to bless the throats of parishioners, keeping them from colds, flu, sore throats, etc.) 168 TheCatholic Church,never oneto refrainfrom pilingholiday upon holiday, also called it the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (It is surprising how many of the old Pagan holidays were converted to Maryan Feasts.) The symbol of the Purification may seem a little obscure to modern readers, but it has to do with the old custom of 'churching women'. It was believed that women were impure for six weeks after giving birth. And since Mary gave birth at the winter solstice, she wouldn't be purified until February 2nd. In Pagan symbolism, this might be re-translated as when the Great Mother once again becomes the Young Maiden Goddess. Today,this holidayischiefly connectedto weatherlore. Even our American folk-calendar keeps the tradition of 'Groundhog's Day', a day to predict the coming weather, telling us that if the Groundhog sees his shadow, there will be 'six more weeks' of bad weather (i.e., until the next old holiday, Lady Day). This custom is ancient. An old British rhyme tells us that 'If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year.' Actually, all of the cross-quarter days can be used as 'inverse' weather predictors, whereas the quarter-days are used as 'direct' weather predictors. Liketheother HighHolidays orGreat Sabbatsof theWitches' year, Candlemas is sometimes celebrated on it's alternate date, astrologically determined by the sun's reaching 15-degrees Aquarius, or Candlemas Old Style (in 1988, February 3rd, at 9:03 am CST). Another holiday that gets mixed up in this is Valentine's Day. Ozark folklorist Vance Randolf makes this quite clear by noting that the old-timers used to celebrate Groundhog's Day on February 14th. This same displacement is evident in Eastern Orthodox Christianity as well. Their habit of celebrating the birth of Jesus on January 6th, with a similar post-dated shift in the six-week period that follows it, puts the Feast of the Purification of Mary on February 14th. It is amazing to think that the same confusion and lateral displacement of one of the old folk holidays can be seen from the Russian steppes to the Ozark hills, but such seems to be the case! Incidentally,there isspeculation amonglinguisticscholars that the very name of 'Valentine' has Pagan origins. It seems that it was customary for French peasants of the Middle Ages to pronounce a 'g' as a 'v'. Consequently, the original term may have been the French 'galantine', which yields the English word 'gallant'. The word originally refers to a dashing young man known for his 'affaires d'amour', a true galaunt. The usual associations of V(G)alantine's Day make much more sense in this light than their vague connection to a legendary 'St. Valentine' can produce. Indeed, the Church has always found it rather difficult to explain this nebulous saint's connection to the secular pleasures of flirtation and courtly love. For modern Witches, CandlemasO.S. may thenbe seen as thePagan version of Valentine's Day, with a de-emphasis of 'hearts and flowers' and an appropriate re-emphasis of Pagan carnal frivolity. This also re-aligns the holiday with the ancient Roman Lupercalia, a fertility festival held at this time, in which the priests of Pan ran through the streets of Rome whacking young women with goatskin thongs to make them fertile. The women seemed to enjoy the attention and often stripped in order to afford better targets. 169 Oneof the nicestfolk-customs stillpracticed inmany countries, and especially by Witches in the British Isles and parts of the U.S., is to place a lighted candle in each and every window of the house, beginning at sundown on Candlemas Eve (February 1st), allowing them to continue burning until sunrise. Make sure that such candles are well seated against tipping and guarded from nearby curtains, etc. What a cheery sight it is on this cold, bleak and dreary night to see house after house with candle-lit windows! And, of course, if you are your Coven's chandler, or if you just happen to like making candles, Candlemas Day is THE day for doing it. Some Covens hold candle-making parties and try to make and bless all the candles they'll be using for the whole year on this day. Othercustoms ofthe holidayinclude weaving'Brigit's crosses' from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection, performing rites of spiritual cleansing and purification, making 'Brigit's beds' to ensure fertility of mind and spirit (and body, if desired), and making Crowns of Light (i.e. of candles) for the High Priestess to wear for the Candlemas Circle, similar to those worn on St. Lucy's Day in Scandinavian countries. All in all, this Pagan Festival of Lights, sacred to the young Maiden Goddess, is one of the most beautiful and poetic of the year. 170 L A D Y D A Y: The Vernal Equinox ===================================== by Mike Nichols Nowcomes theVernal Equinox,and theseason ofSpring reaches it's apex, halfway through its journey from Candlemas to Beltane. Once again, night and day stand in perfect balance, with the powers of light on the ascendancy. The god of light now wins a victory over his twin, the god of darkness. In the Mabinogion myth reconstruction which I have proposed, this is the day on which the restored Llew takes his vengeance on Goronwy by piercing him with the sunlight spear. For Llew was restored/reborn at the Winter Solstice and is now well/old enough to vanquish his rival/twin and mate with his lover/mother. And the great Mother Goddess, who has returned to her Virgin aspect at Candlemas, welcomes the young sun god's embraces and conceives a child. The child will be born nine months from now, at the next Winter Solstice. And so the cycle closes at last. We think thatthe customssurrounding the celebrationof thespring equinox were imported from Mediterranean lands, although there can be no doubt that the first inhabitants of the British Isles observed it, as evidence from megalithic sites shows. But it was certainly more popular to the south, where people celebrated the holiday as New Year's Day, and claimed it as the first day of the first sign of the Zodiac, Aries. However you look at it, it is certainly a time of new beginnings, as a simple glance at Nature will prove. In theRoman CatholicChurch, thereare twoholidays whichget mixed up with the Vernal Equinox. The first, occurring on the fixed calendar day of March 25th in the old liturgical calendar, is called the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (or B.V.M., as she was typically abbreviated in Catholic Missals). 'Annunciation' means an announcement. This is the day that the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was 'in the family way'. Naturally, this had to be announced since Mary, being still a virgin, would have no other means of knowing it. (Quit scoffing, O ye of little faith!) Why did the Church pick the Vernal Equinox for the commemoration of this event? Because it was necessary to have Mary conceive the child Jesus a full nine months before his birth at the Winter Solstice (i.e., Christmas, celebrated on the fixed calendar date of December 25). Mary's pregnancy would take the natural nine months to complete, even if the conception was a bit unorthodox. Asmentionedbefore, theolder Paganequivalentof thisscene focuses on the joyous process of natural conception, when the young virgin Goddess (in this case, 'virgin' in the original sense of meaning 'unmarried') mates with the young solar God, who has just displaced his rival. This is probably not their first mating, however. In the mythical sense, the couple may have been lovers since Candlemas, when the young God reached puberty. But the young Goddess was recently a mother (at the Winter Solstice) and is probably still nursing her new child. Therefore, conception is naturally delayed for six weeks or so and, despite earlier matings with the God, She does not conceive until (surprise!) the Vernal Equinox. This may also be their Hand-fasting, a sacred marriage between God and Goddess called a Hierogamy, the ultimate Great Rite. Probably the nicest study of this theme occurs in M. Esther Harding's book, 'Woman's Mysteries'. Probably the nicest description of it occurs in M. Z. Bradley's 'Mists of Avalon', in the scene where Morgan and Arthur assume the sacred roles. (Bradley follows the British custom of transferring the episode to Beltane, when the climate is more suited to its outdoor celebration.) 171 The other Christianholiday which gets mixedup in this isEaster. Easter, too, celebrates the victory of a god of light (Jesus) over darkness (death), so it makes sense to place it at this season. Ironically, the name 'Easter' was taken from the name of a Teutonic lunar Goddess, Eostre (from whence we also get the name of the female hormone, estrogen). Her chief symbols were the bunny (both for fertility and because her worshipers saw a hare in the full moon) and the egg (symbolic of the cosmic egg of creation), images which Christians have been hard pressed to explain. Her holiday, the Eostara, was held on the Vernal Equinox Full Moon. Of course, the Church doesn't celebrate full moons, even if they do calculate by them, so they planted their Easter on the following Sunday. Thus, Easter is always the first Sunday, after the first Full Moon, after the Vernal Equinox. If you've ever wondered why Easter moved all around the calendar, now you know. (By the way, the Catholic Church was so adamant about NOT incorporating lunar Goddess symbolism that they added a further calculation: if Easter Sunday were to fall on the Full Moon itself, then Easter was postponed to the following Sunday instead.) Incidentally,this raisesanotherpoint: recently,some Pagantradi- tions began referring to the Vernal Equinox as Eostara. Historically, this is incorrect. Eostara is a lunar holiday, honoring a lunar Goddess, at the Vernal Full Moon. Hence, the name 'Eostara' is best reserved to the nearest Esbat, rather than the Sabbat itself. How this happened is difficult to say. However, it is notable that some of the same groups misappropriated the term 'Lady Day' for Beltane, which left no good folk name for the Equinox. Thus, Eostara was misappropriated for it, completing a chain-reaction of displacement. Needless to say, the old and accepted folk name for the Vernal Equinox is 'Lady Day'. Christians sometimes insist that the title is in honor of Mary and her Annunciation, but Pagans will smile knowingly. Anothermythological motifwhich mustsurely arrestour attentionat this time of year is that of the descent of the God or Goddess into the Underworld. Perhaps we see this most clearly in the Christian tradition. Beginning with his death on the cross on Good Friday, it is said that Jesus 'descended into hell' for the three days that his body lay entombed. But on the third day (that is, Easter Sunday), his body and soul rejoined, he arose from the dead and ascended into heaven. By a strange 'coincidence', most ancient Pagan religions speak of the Goddess descending into the Underworld, also for a period of three days. Why three days? If weremember that we arehere dealing withthe lunar aspect of the Goddess, the reason should be obvious. As the text of one Book of Shadows gives it, ' the moon waxes and wanes, and walks three nights in darkness, so the Goddess once spent three nights in the Kingdom of Death.' In our modern world, alienated as it is from nature, we tend to mark the time of the New Moon (when no moon is visible) as a single date on a calendar. We tend to forget that the moon is also hidden from our view on the day before and the day after our calendar date. But this did not go unnoticed by our ancestors, who always speak of the Goddess's sojourn into the land of Death as lasting for three days. Is it any wonder then, that we celebrate the next Full Moon (the Eostara) as the return of the Goddess from chthonic regions? 172 Naturally, thisis the seasonto celebrate thevictory oflife over death, as any nature-lover will affirm. And the Christian religion was not misguided by celebrating Christ's victory over death at this same season. Nor is Christ the only solar hero to journey into the underworld. King Arthur, for example, does the same thing when he sets sail in his magical ship, Prydwen, to bring back precious gifts (i.e. the gifts of life) from the Land of the Dead, as we are told in the 'Mabinogi'. Welsh triads allude to Gwydion and Amaethon doing much the same thing. In fact, this theme is so universal that mythologists refer to it by a common phrase, 'the harrowing of hell'. However,one mightconjecturethat thedescent intohell, orthe land of the dead, was originally accomplished, not by a solar male deity, but by a lunar female deity. It is Nature Herself who, in Spring, returns from the Underworld with her gift of abundant life. Solar heroes may have laid claim to this theme much later. The very fact that we are dealing with a three-day period of absence should tell us we are dealing with a lunar, not solar, theme. (Although one must make exception for those occasional MALE lunar deities, such as the Assyrian god, Sin.) At any rate, one of the nicest modern renditions of the harrowing of hell appears in many Books of Shadows as 'The Descent of the Goddess'. Lady Day may be especially appropriate for the celebration of this theme, whether by storytelling, reading, or dramatic re-enactment. For modernWitches, Lady Day isone of the LesserSabbats or Low Holidays of the year, one of the four quarter-days. And what date will Witches choose to celebrate? They may choose the traditional folk 'fixed' date of March 25th, starting on its Eve. Or they may choose the actual equinox point, when the Sun crosses the Equator and enters the astrological sign of Aries. This year (1988), that will occur at 3:39 am CST on March 20th. 173 L A M M A S: The First Harvest =============================== by Mike Nichols * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Once upon a Lammas Night When corn rigs are bonny, Beneath the Moon's unclouded light, I held awhile to Annie... * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Although inthe heatof aMid-western summerit mightbe difficult to discern, the festival of Lammas (Aug 1st) marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. The days now grow visibly shorter and by the time we've reached autumn's end (Oct 31st), we will have run the gamut of temperature from the heat of August to the cold and (sometimes) snow of November. And in the midst of it, a perfect Mid-western autumn. The history of Lammasis as convoluted as allthe rest of theold folk holidays. It is of course a cross-quarter day, one of the four High Holidays or Greater Sabbats of Witchcraft, occurring 1/4 of a year after Beltane. It's true astrological point is 15 degrees Leo, which occurs at 1:18 am CDT, Aug 6th this year (1988), but tradition has set August 1st as the day Lammas is typically celebrated. The celebration proper would begin on sundown of the previous evening, our July 31st, since the Celts reckon their days from sundown to sundown. However,British Witchesoften referto theastrological dateof Aug 6th as Old Lammas, and folklorists call it Lammas O.S. ('Old Style'). This date has long been considered a 'power point' of the Zodiac, and is symbolized by the Lion, one of the 'tetramorph' figures found on the Tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune (the other three figures being the Bull, the Eagle, and the Spirit). Astrologers know these four figures as the symbols of the four 'fixed' signs of the Zodiac, and these naturally align with the four Great Sabbats of Witchcraft. Christians have adopted the same iconography to represent the four gospel-writers. 'Lammas'was themedieval Christiannamefor theholiday andit means 'loaf-mass', for this was the day on which loaves of bread were baked from the first grain harvest and laid on the church altars as offerings. It was a day representative of 'first fruits' and early harvest. InIrish Gaelic,the feastwas referredto as'Lugnasadh', afeast to commemorate the funeral games of the Irish sun-god Lugh. However, there is some confusion on this point. Although at first glance, it may seem that we are celebrating the death of the Lugh, the god of light does not really die (mythically) until the autumnal equinox. And indeed, if we read the Irish myths closer, we discover that it is not Lugh's death that is being celebrated, but the funeral games which Lugh hosted to commemorate the death of his foster- mother, Taillte. That is why the Lugnasadh cel- ebrations in Ireland are often called the 'Tailltean Games'. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The time went by with careless heed Between the late and early, With small persuasion she agreed To see me through the barley... * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 174 Onecommon feature of the Games were the 'Tailltean marriages, a rather informal marriage that lasted for only 'a year and a day' or until next Lammas. At that time, the couple could decide to continue the arrangement if it pleased them, or to stand back to back and walk away from one another, thus bringing the Tailltean marriage to a formal close. Such trial marriages (obviously related to the Wiccan 'Handfasting') were quite common even into the 1500's, although it was something one 'didn't bother the parish priest about'. Indeed, such ceremonies were usually solemnized by a poet, bard, or shanachie (or, it may be guessed, by a priest or priestess of the Old Religion). Lammastidewasalso thetraditional timeofyear forcraft festivals. The medieval guilds would create elaborate displays of their wares, decorating their shops and themselves in bright colors and ribbons, marching in parades, and performing strange, ceremonial plays and dances for the entranced onlookers. The atmosphere must have been quite similar to our modern-day Renaissance Festivals, such as the one celebrated in near-by Bonner Springs, Kansas, each fall. Aceremonial highlight ofsuch festivalswas the'Catherine wheel'. Although the Roman Church moved St. Catherine's feast day all around the calender with bewildering frequency, it's most popular date was Lammas. (They also kept trying to expel this much-loved saint from the ranks of the blessed because she was mythical rather than historical, and because her worship gave rise to the heretical sect known as the Cathari.) At any rate, a large wagon wheel was taken to the top of a near-by hill, covered with tar, set aflame, and ceremoniously rolled down the hill. Some mythologists see in this ritual the remnants of a Pagan rite symbolizing the end of summer, the flaming disk representing the sun-god in his decline. And just as the sun king has now reached the autumn of his years, his rival or dark self has just reached puberty. Many commentators have bewailedthe fact that traditional Gardnerian and Alexandrian Books of Shadows say very little about the holiday of Lammas, stating only that poles should be ridden and a circle dance performed. This seems strange, for Lammas is a holiday of rich mythic and cultural associations, providing endless resources for liturgical celebration. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Corn rigs and barley rigs, Corn rigs are bonny! I'll not forget that happy night Among the rigs with Annie! * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * [Verse quotations by Robert Burns, as handed down through several Books of Shadows.] 175 H A R V E S T H O M E ======================= by Mike Nichols * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * There were three men came out of the West, Their fortunes for to try, And these three men made a solemn vow, John Barleycorn must die... * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Despite the bad publicity generated by Thomas Tryon's novel, Harvest Home is the pleasantest of holidays. Admittedly, it does involve the concept of sacrifice, but one that is symbolic only. The sacrifice is that of the spirit of vegetation, John Barleycorn. Occurring 1/4 of the year after Midsummer, Harvest Home represents mid-autumn, autumn's height. It is also the Autumnal Equinox, one of the quarter days of the year, a Lesser Sabbat and a Low Holiday in modern Witchcraft. Technically, an equinox is an astronomical point and, due to the fact that the earth wobbles on its axis slightly (rather like a top that's slowing down), the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The autumnal equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator on it's apparent journey southward, and we experience a day and a night that are of equal duration. Up until Harvest Home, the hours of daylight have been greater than the hours from dusk to dawn. But from now on, the reverse holds true. Astrologers know this as the date on which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the Balance (an appropriate symbol of a balanced day and night). This year (1988) it will occur at 2:29 pm CDT on September 22nd. However, since most European peasants were not accomplished at calculating the exact date of the equinox, they celebrated the event on a fixed calendar date, September 25th, a holiday the medieval Church Christianized under the name of 'Michaelmas', the feast of the Archangel Michael. (One wonders if, at some point, the R.C. Church contemplated assigning the four quarter days of the year to the four Archangels, just as they assigned the four cross-quarter days to the four gospel-writers. Further evidence for this may be seen in the fact that there was a brief flirtation with calling the Vernal Equinox 'Gabrielmas', ostensibly to commemorate the angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary on Lady Day.) Again, it must be remembered that the Celts reckoned their days from sundown to sundown, so the September 25th festivities actually begin on the previous sundown (our September 24th). Although our Paganancestors probably celebrated HarvestHome on September 25th, modern Witches and Pagans, with their desk-top computers for making finer calculations, seem to prefer the actual equinox point, beginning the celebration on its eve (this year, sunset on September 21st). Mythically, thisis the day of the yearwhen the god of light is defeated by his twin and alter-ego, the god of darkness. It is the time of the year when night conquers day. And as I have recently shown in my seasonal reconstruction of the Welsh myth of Blodeuwedd, the Autumnal Equinox is the only day of the whole year when Llew (light) is vulnerable and it is possible to defeat him. Llew now stands on the balance (Libra/autumnal equinox), with one foot on the cauldron (Cancer/summer solstice) and his other foot on the goat (Capricorn/winter solstice). Thus he is betrayed by Blodeuwedd, the Virgin (Virgo) and transformed into an Eagle (Scorpio). 176 Twothings arenow likelyto occur mythically,in rapidsuccession. Having defeated Llew, Goronwy (darkness) now takes over Llew's functions, both as lover to Blodeuwedd, the Goddess, and as King of our own world. Although Goronwy, the Horned King, now sits on Llew's throne and begins his rule immediately, his formal coronation will not be for another six weeks, occurring at Samhain (Halloween) or the beginning of Winter, when he becomes the Winter Lord, the Dark King, Lord of Misrule. Goronwy's other function has more immediate results, however. He mates with the virgin goddess, and Blodeuwedd conceives, and will give birth -- nine months later (at the Summer Solstice) -- to Goronwy's son, who is really another incarnation of himself, the Dark Child. Llew's sacrificial death at Harvest Home also identifies him with John Barleycorn, spirit of the fields. Thus, Llew represents not only the sun's power, but also the sun's life trapped and crystallized in the corn. Often this corn spiritwas believed to reside most especially in the last sheaf or shock harvested, which was dressed in fine clothes, or woven into a wicker-like man-shaped form. This effigy was then cut and carried from the field, and usually burned, amidst much rejoicing. So one may see Blodeuwedd and Goronwy in a new guise, not as conspirators who murder their king, but as kindly farmers who harvest the crop which they had planted and so lovingly cared for. And yet, anyone who knows the old ballad of John Barleycorn knows that we have not heard the last of him. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * They let him stand till midsummer's day, Till he looked both pale and wan, And little Sir John's grown a long, long beard And so become a man... * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Incidentally, this annual mock sacrifice of a large wicker-work figure (representing the vegetation spirit) may have been the origin of the misconception that Druids made human sacrifices. This charge was first made by Julius Caesar (who may not have had the most unbiased of motives), and has been re-stated many times since. However, as has often been pointed out, the only historians besides Caesar who make this accusation are those who have read Caesar. And in fact, upon reading Caesar's 'Gallic Wars' closely, one discovers that Caesar never claims to have actually witnessed such a sacrifice. Nor does he claim to have talked to anyone else who did. In fact, there is not one single eyewitness account of a human sacrifice performed by Druids in all of history! Nor isthere any archeological evidenceto support thecharge. If, for example, human sacrifices had been performed at the same ritual sites year after year, there would be physical traces. Yet there is not a scrap. Nor is there any native tradition or history which lends support. In fact, insular tradition seems to point in the opposite direction. The Druid's reverence for life was so strict that they refused to lift a sword to defend themselves when massacred by Roman soldiers on the Isle of Mona. Irish brehon laws forbade a Druid to touch a weapon, and any soul rash enough to unsheathe a sword in the presence of a Druid would be executed for such an outrage! Jesse Weston, in her brilliant study of the Four Hallows of British myth, 'From Ritual to Romance', points out that British folk tradition is, however, full of MOCK sacrifices. In the case of the wicker-man, such figures were referred to in very personified terms, dressed in clothes, addressed by name, etc. In such a religious ritual drama, everybody played along. 177 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * They've hired men with scythes so sharp, To cut him off at the knee, They've rolled him and tied him by the waist Serving him most barbarously... * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Inthe medievalmiracle-play traditionofthe 'RiseUp,Jock' variety (performed by troupes of mummers at all the village fairs), a young harlequin-like king always underwent a mock sacrificial death. But invariably, the traditional cast of characters included a mysterious 'Doctor' who had learned many secrets while 'travelling in foreign lands'. The Doctor reaches into his bag of tricks, plies some magical cure, and presto! the young king rises up hale and whole again, to the cheers of the crowd. As Weston so sensibly points out, if the young king were ACTUALLY killed, he couldn't very well rise up again, which is the whole point of the ritual drama! It is an enactment of the death and resurrection of the vegetation spirit. And what better time to perform it than at the end of the harvest season? In the rhythm ofthe year, Harvest Home marks atime of restafter hard work. The crops are gathered in, and winter is still a month and a half away! Although the nights are getting cooler, the days are still warm, and there is something magical in the sunlight, for it seems silvery and indirect. As we pursue our gentle hobbies of making corn dollies (those tiny vegetation spirits) and wheat weaving, our attention is suddenly arrested by the sound of baying from the skies (the 'Hounds of Annwn' passing?), as lines of geese cut silhouettes across a harvest moon. And we move closer to the hearth, the longer evening hours giving us time to catch up on our reading, munching on popcorn balls and caramel apples and sipping home-brewed mead or ale. What a wonderful time Harvest Home is! And how lucky we are to live in a part of the country where the season's changes are so dramatic and majestic! * * * * * * * * * * * * * * And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl-- And he's brandy in the glass, And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl Proved the strongest man at last. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 178 T H E D E A T H O F L L E W A Seasonal Interpretation ================================= by Mike Nichols * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Not of father, nor of mother Was my blood, was my body. I was spellbound by Gwydion, Prime enchanter of the Britons, When he formed me from nine blossoms. --'Hanes Blodeuwedd' R. Graves, trans. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * In mostPagan cultures, thesun godis seen assplit betweentwo rival personalities: the god of light and his twin, his 'weird', his 'other self', the god of darkness. They are Gawain and the Green Knight, Gwyn and Gwythyr, Llew and Goronwy, Lugh and Balor, Balan and Balin, the Holly King and the Oak King, etc. Often they are depicted as fighting seasonal battles for the favor of their goddess/lover, such as Creiddylad or Blodeuwedd, who represents Nature. The god of light is always born at the winter solstice, and his strength waxes with the lengthening days, until the moment of his greatest power, the summer solstice, the longest day. And, like a look in a mirror, his 'shadow self', the lord of darkness, is born at the summer solstice, and his strength waxes with the lengthening nights until the moment of his greatest power, the winter solstice, the longest night. Indirect evidence supporting this mirror-birth pattern is strongest in the Christianized form of the Pagan myth. Many writers, from Robert Graves to Stewart Farrar, have repeatedly pointed out that Jesus was identified with the Holly King, while John the Baptist was the Oak King. That is why, 'of all the trees that are in the wood, the Holly tree bears the crown.' If the birth of Jesus, the 'light of the world', is celebrated at mid-winter, Christian folk tradition insists that John the Oak King (the 'dark of the world'?) was born (rather than died) at mid-summer. Itis at this pointthat I must divergefrom the opinion of Robert Graves and other writers who have followed him. Graves believes that at midsummer, the Sun King is slain by his rival, the God of Darkness; just as the God of Darkness is, in turn, slain by the God of Light at midwinter. And yet, in Christian folk tradition (derived from the older Pagan strain), it is births, not deaths, that are associated with the solstices. For the feast of John the Baptist, this is all the more conspicuous, as it breaks the rules regarding all other saints. John is the ONLY saint in the entire Catholic hagiography whose feast day is a commemoration of his birth, rather than his death. A generation ago, Catholic nuns were fond of explaining that a saint is commemorated on the anniversary of his or her death because it was really a 'birth' into the Kingdom of Heaven. But John the Baptist, the sole exception, is emphatically commemorated on the anniversary of his birth into THIS world. Although this makes no sense viewed from a Christian perspective, it makes perfect poetic sense from the viewpoint of Pagan symbolism. (John's earlier Pagan associations are treated in my essay on Midsummer.) 179 So if births are associated with the solstices, whendo the symbolic deaths occur? When does Goronwy slay Llew and when does Llew, in his turn, slay Goronwy? When does darkness conquer light or light conquer darkness? Obviously (to me, at least), it must be at the two equinoxes. At the autumnal equinox, the hours of light in the day are eclipsed by the hours of darkness. At the vernal equinox, the process is reversed. Also, the autumnal equinox, called 'Harvest Home', is already associated with sacrifice, principally that of the spirit of grain or vegetation. In this case, the god of light would be identical. InWelshmythology inparticular, thereisa startlingvindication of the seasonal placement of the sun god's death, the significance of which occurred to me in a recent dream, and which I haven't seen elsewhere. Llew is the Welsh god of light, and his name means 'lion'. (The lion is often the symbol of a sun god.) He is betrayed by his 'virgin' wife Blodeuwedd, into standing with one foot on the rim of a cauldron and the other on the back of a goat. It is only in this way that Llew can be killed, and Blodeuwedd's lover, Goronwy, Llew's dark self, is hiding nearby with a spear at the ready. But as Llew is struck with it, he is not killed. He is instead transformed into an eagle. Putting thisin the form ofa Bardic riddle, itwould go something like this: Who can tell in what season the Lion (Llew), betrayed by the Virgin (Blodeuwedd), poised on the Balance, is transformed into an Eagle? My readers who are astrologers are probably already gasping in recognition. The sequence is astrological and in proper order: Leo (lion), Virgo (virgin), Libra (balance), and Scorpio (for which the eagle is a well-known alternative symbol). Also, the remaining icons, cauldron and goat, could arguably symbolize Cancer and Capricorn (representing summer and winter), the signs beginning with the two solstice points. So Llew is balanced between cauldron and goat, between summer and winter, on the balance (Libra) point of the autumnal equinox, with one foot on the summer solstice and one foot on the winter solstice. This, of course, is the answer to a related Bardic riddle. Repeatedly, the 'Mabinogion' tells us that Llew must be standing with one foot on the cauldron and one foot on the goat's back in order to be killed. But nowhere does it tell us why. Why is this particular situation the ONLY one in which Llew can be overcome? Because it represents the equinox point. And the autumnal equinox is the only time of the entire year when light (Llew) can be overcome by darkness (Goronwy). Itshould now comeas no surprise that,when it istime for Llew to kill Goronwy in his turn, Llew insists that Goronwy stands where he once stood while he (Llew) casts the spear. This is no mere vindictiveness on Llew's part. For, although the 'Mabinogion' does not say so, it should by now be obvious that this is the only time when Goronwy can be overcome. Light can overcome darkness only at the equinox -- this time the vernal equinox. (Curiously, even the Christian tradition retains this association, albeit in a distorted form, by celebrating Jesus' death near the time of the vernal equinox.) 180 TheWelsh myth concludeswith Gwydion pursuingthe faithless Blod- euwedd through the night sky, and a path of white flowers springs up in the wake of her passing, which we today know as the Milky Way. When Gwydion catches her, he transforms her into an owl, a fitting symbol of autumn, just as her earlier association with flowers (she was made from them) equates her with spring. Thus, while Llew and Goronwy represent summer and winter, Blodeuwedd herself represents both spring and fall, as patron goddess of flowers and owls, respectively. Althoughit is far morespeculative than thepreceding material, a final consideration would pursue this mirror-like life pattern of Llew and Goronwy to its ultimate conclusion. Although Llew is struck with the sunlight spear at the autumnal equinox, and so 'dies' as a human, it takes a while before Gwydion discovers him in his eagle form. How long? We may speculate 13 weeks, when the sun reaches the midpoint of the sign (or form) of the eagle, Scorpio -- on Halloween. And if this is true, it may be that Llew, the sun god, finally 'dies' to the upper world on Halloween, and now passes through the gates of death, where he is immediately crowned king of the underworld, the Lord of Misrule! (In medieval tradition, the person proclaimed as 'Lord of Misrule' reigned from Halloween to Old Christmas -- or, before the calender changes, until the winter solstice.) Meanwhile, Goronwy (withBlodeuwedd athis side) iscrowned kingin the upper world, and occupies Llew's old throne, beginning on Halloween. Thus, by winter solstice, Goronwy has reached his position of greatest strength in OUR world, at the same moment that Llew, now sitting on Goronwy's old throne, reaches his position of greatest strength in the underworld. However, at the moment of the winter solstice, Llew is born again, as a babe, (and as his own son!) into our world. And as Llew later reaches manhood and dispatches Goronwy at the vernal equinox, Goronwy will then ascend the underworld throne at Beltane, but will be reborn into our world at midsummer, as a babe, later to defeat Llew all over again. And so the cycle closes at last, resembling nothing so much as an intricately woven, never-ending bit of Celtic knotwork. So Midsummer (to me, at least) is a celebration of the sun god at his zenith, a crowned king on his throne. He is at the height of his power and still 1/4 of a year away from his ritual death at the hands of his rival. However, at the very moment of his greatest strength, his dark twin, the seed of his destruction, is born -- just as the days begin to shorten. The spear and the cauldron have often been used as symbols for this holiday and it should now be easy to see why. Sun gods are virtually always associated with spears (even Jesus is pierced by one), and the midsummer cauldron of Cancer is a symbol of the Goddess in her fullness. If we have learned anything from this story from the fourth branch of the 'Mabinogion', it is about the power of myth -- how it may still instruct and guide us, many centuries after it has passed from oral to written tradition. And in studying it, we have barely scratched the surface. 181 SPRING EQUINOX CEREMONY Preparations: A wheel symbol stands on the altar; it may be anything that feels suitable a cut out disc painted yellow or gold and decorated with spring flowers, a circular mirror, around brass tray. The High Priest's robe, if any, and accessories should be symbolic of the Sun; any metal he wears should be gold, gilt,brass or bronze. The altar, if indoors, should be decorated with springflowers particularly the yellow ones such as daffodils,primroses, gorse, or forsythia. One banquet should be ready for handing to the Spring Queen, and a chaplet of flowers for her crowning. The Spring Queen is one of the younger women in the Coven. The cauldron is placed in the center of the circle, with an unlit candle in it. If outside, and conditions permit, a bonfire is made ready to light. A taper is placed ready on the altar for the Maiden to carry fire to the High Priest. A phallic wand is on the altar. Half as many cords as there are people present are ready on the altar, tied together at their center point in a single knot. If there is an odd number of people, add one before dividing by two. As part of the feasting and offering to the Gods, you can use hard boiled eggs with painted shells. These symbolize the World Egg, laid by the Goddess and hatched by the heat of the Sun of the God. The High Priest moves to stands in the East, and the High Priestess in the West, facing each other over the unlit bonfire. The High Priestess carries the phallic wand in her right hand. The rest of the Coven distribute themselves around the rest of the perimeter of the Circle. The High Priestess says: "We kindle this fire today In presence of the Holy Ones, Without malice, without jealousy, without envy, Without fear of aught beneath the Sun But the High Gods. Thee we invoke, O Light of Life, Be Thou a bright flame before us, Be Thou a guiding star above us, Be Thou a smooth path beneath us; Kindle Thou within our hearts A flame of love for our neighbors, To our foes, to our friends, to our kindred all, To all men on the broad earth. O merciful Son of Cerridwen, From the lowliest thing that liveth To the Name which is highest of all." 182 The High Priestess holds the phallic wand on high and walks slowly deosil around the bonfire or cauldron to stand in front of the High Priest. She says: "O Sun, be Thou ready to conquer the Dark!" The High Priestess presents thephallic wand the High Priest andthen steps to one side. The High Priest holds up the wand in salute and replaces it on the altar. The Maidenlights the taper fromone of the altarcandles and presents it to the High Priest. The Maiden then steps to one side. The High Priest carries the taper to the bonfire and lights it. He gives the taper back to the Maiden, who blows it out and replaces it on the altar. She then picks up the cords and gives them to the High Priest. The High Priestess arranges everyone around the fire, man facing woman as far as possible. The High Priest hands out the ends of the cords in accordance with her instructions,retaining on end of the final cord himself and handing the other end of it to the High Priestess. If there is an odd number of people, with more men then women, he holds on to two cord ends himself, or if more women then men, the High Priestess does the same. Either way, both of them must be linked with two members of the opposite sex. When everyone is holding a cord, they all pull the cords taut, with the central knot above the fire. They then start circling deosil in the Wheel dance, building up speed, always keeping the cords taut and the knot over the fire. Any chant can be used that sounds good. Thenthe Covenall sitin acircle roundthe fire.The HighPriest gathers up the cords, being careful not to let them get burned and replaces them on the altar. The High Priest names one of the women to be the Spring Queen and stands her in front of the altar. He crowns her with the chaplet of flowers and gives her the Five Fold Kiss. The HighPriest stepsback andcalls forward eachman inturn to give the Spring Queen the FiveFold Kiss. When the last man has done so, the High Priest presents the Spring Queen with her bouquet. Then, starting with the Spring Queen, everyone jumps over the fire, singly or in couples, not forgetting to wish. Farrar, Janet and Stewart; "Eight Sabbats For Witches"; Robert Hale 1983 183 SMUDGING: HOW TO DO IT--HOW NOT TO DO IT ~~~ I came across a very interesting article from "Shaman's Drum" which was reprinted for Vision Quest Bookstore. I will attempt to convey the gist of it, along with my views, as a student of the Ways of the Teneh, about it. Smudging is a way of using the smoke from burning herbs as a way to cleanse the body, an object, or a given area of negative influences. I myself use smudging to "cleanse" crystals before using them in jewelry projects I may do, and for protecting my home from some recent "bad vibe"-producing events. (landlord troubles!) I imagine that the skillful use of the proper herbs could help in warding and banishing ceremonies as well, if used properly and with reverence. The three most used plant material for smudging are sage of all types, cedar, and sweetgrass. Sage ~~~~ There are two major genii and several varieties of each genus of Sage that are used for smudging. Salvia, or the herb sage used for cooking, comes in two major varieties: S. Officinalis, commonly known as Garden Sage, and S. Apiana, commonly known as White Sage. Salvia varieties have long been acknowledged as healing herbs, reflected in the fact that its genus name comes from the Latin root word *salvare*, which is the verb "to heal" or "to save." Artemisia is the genus commonly considered "Sagebrush", and is more common in the wilds out here in California. There are two major varieties to the Artemisia genus: A. Californica, or Common Sagebrush, and A. Vulgaris, or Mugwort. There are many other varieties of both Salvia and Artemisia, and all are effective in smudging. Sage is burned in smudging ceremonies to drive out evil spirits, negative thoughts and feelings, and to keep Gan'n (negative entities) away from areas where ceremonials take place. In the Plains Sweatlodge, the floor of the structure is strewn with sage leaves for the participants to rub on their bodies during the sweat. Sage is also used in keeping sacred objects like pipes or Peyote wands safe from negative influence. In the Sioux nation, the Sacred Pipe is kept in a bundle with sage boughs. I would think special crystals could be so protected this way as well. Cedar ~~~~~ True cedar is of the Thuja and Libocedrus genii. Some Junipers (Juniperus genus) are also called "cedar", thus complicating things some. Some Juniper varieties ARE cleansing herbs, especially J. Monosperma, or Desert White Cedar. But for smudging, the best is Western Red Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and California Incense Cedar (Libocedrus descurrens). Cedar is burnt while praying to the Great Spirit (Usen', the Source--also known to Plains nations as Wakan Tanka) in meditation, and also to bless a house before moving in as is the tradition in the Northwest and Western Canada. It works both as a purifier and as a way to attract GOOD energy in your direction. It is usually available in herb stores in chipped form, which must be sprinkled over a charcoal in a brazier. I like a piece of charcoaled mesquite for this purpose, rather than the commercial charcoal cake. 184 Sweetgrass ~~~~~~~~~~ Very important to the Sioux and Cherokee nations, its botanical name is Hierochloe Oderata. In these tribes, the sweetgrass is braided like hair braids. It could be burnt by lighting the end of it, or (more economically) by shaving little bits of it onto charcoal in a brazier. Again, use charcoaled Mesquite (I believe it comes packaged for barbecue use under the brand name "Red Arrow") to burn it, not pressed charcoal tablets. Sweetgrass is burnt after smudging with sage, to welcome in good influences after the bad had been driven out. Sweetgrass is very rare today, and traditional Plains people have been attempting to protect the last of it. Myself, I believe that Cedar, which is not endangered, can safely be used this way. Also Pinon pine needles (used more frequently by the Southwest Teneh, like the Navajo and Apache as well as the Pueblo people and the Zuni) and Copal (used by the Yaqui and in ancient times by the Azteca and the Maya) have similar effect. The three mentioned here are readily available either through gathering yourself or, in the case of copal resin, from any good herb shop. Using Smudging ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~ Burn clippings of the herb in a brazier...not a shell as some "new age" shamanic circles is an insult to White Painted Woman (The Goddess) to do this, especially with the abalone shell which is especially sacred to Her. If the herb is bundled in a "wand", you can also light the end of the wand that isn't woody and use that. I like the latter way. Direct the smoke with your hands or with a Peyote (feather) wand over the person or thing you wish to smudge. If you can see auras, look for discolored places in the aura and direct the healing smoke towards those places on the patient's body. For cleansing a house, first offer cedar smoke to the four directions outside the house. Then, take a sage bough and go throughout the inside of the house, making sure the smoke penetrates every nook and cranny of the house. It might help also, if you have a power animal, to visualize your animal doing these things, to also dance your animal, and if you have a power song, to sing that too. Then finally, run through the house with a white candle that is well protected, to "light up" the house. Careful not to burn it down when you do it!!! Final Thoughts ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~ Smudging should be done with care, with reverence, and in an attitude of LOVE. Show your respect and honor to the plants that Usen' has given us for our healing, and they will return the favor by keeping us well and free from disease and negative energy. Aloe Vera plants, though not to be burnt, are good for the cleansing angle as well. Keep one or more potted Aloe Veras in the house (modern varieties are too tender to plant in anything but full shade outside) in organic (wood or ceramic, never plastic or metal) pots. To honor the plant when you transplant it, sprinkle the roots with corn meal and smudge it with cedar once it is transplanted. The spirit of Aloe Vera is a good protective spirit, and if you burn yourself, can also be used to heal your skin. BE SURE TO ASK THE PLANT'S PERMISSION before cutting part of the leaf off for the healing juice. If you don't, the protective power of the plant will cease, and you will be left with but an inert houseplant...and perhaps some bad karma to boot. Hi-dicho, it is finished....ENJU! Michelle Chihacou White Puma Klein-Hass 185 An Introduction to Traditional Wicca c. 1987, Keepers of the Ancient Mysteries ( .K.A.M. ) Often Traditional Wiccans are asked to describe our religion and beliefs for interested people, who may or may not have confused us with other Pagan religions, with inversions of Christian/Islamic religions like Satanism, or with purely magical traditions with no religious base. There is a lot of flexibility in the ways that we describe ourselves, and one characteristic of Wicca is a large degree of personal liberty to practice as we please. Still, there is an outline that can be described in general terms. Many traditions will depart from one particular or another, but groups departing from all or most of these features are probably non-Wiccan Traditions attempting to stretch or distort the Wiccan name to cover what they want to do. Mysteries and Initiation Wicca is an Initiatory religion descended from the Ancient Mystery Religions. A mystery religion is not like Catholicism where a Priest is the contact point between the worshiper and the Deity, nor like Protestantism where a sacred Book provides the contact and guidelines for being with the divine. Rather a Mystery Religion is a religion of personal experience and responsibility, in which each worshiper is encouraged, taught and expected to develop an ongoing and positive direct relationship with the Gods. The religion is called a "Mystery" because such experiences are very hard to communicate in words, and are usually distorted in the telling. You have to have been there in person to appreciate what is meant. Near and far-Eastern religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shinto are probably Mystery traditions, but Wicca is very western in cultural flavor and quite different than eastern religions in many ways. A Blend of Pagan Roots Most Wiccan Traditions, .K.A.M. included, have particular roots in the British Mystery Traditions. This includes traditions of the Picts who lived before the rise of Celtic consciousness, the early Celts, and some selected aspects of Celtic Druidism. American Wicca is directly descended from British Wicca, brought in the late 1950's by English and American Initiates of Gardnerian, Alexandrian and Celtic Wicca. These traditions are a little like the denominations in Christianity, but hopefully far more harmonious. While British Traditions are very strong in Wicca, or the Craft as it is sometimes called, other Western Mystery traditions feature prominently, including the ancient Greek Mysteries of Eleusis, Italian Mysteries of Rome, Etruria and the general countryside, Mysteries of Egypt and Persia before Islam, and various Babylonian, Assyrian and other mid-eastern Mysteries that flourished before the political rise of the advocates of "one god". 186 What's In a Name? Wicca, Witchecraft, and "The Craft" are used interchangeably at times by many kinds of people. It is fair to say that all Wiccans are Witches, and many of us believe we are the only people entitled to the name. It is important to know that many people call themselves witches who are not in the least Wiccan, and that Masons also refer to themselves as "Craft", with good historical precedent. Carefully question people on the particular things they do and believe as part of their religion rather than relying on labels. Any real Wiccan would welcome such honest inquiry. Traditions and Flavor There are specific Wiccan beliefs and traditions, including worship of an equal and mated Goddess and God who take many forms and have many Names. Groups who worship only a Goddess or only a God are not traditional Wicca however they may protest, although they may be perfectly good Pagans of another sort. The Wiccan Goddess and God are linked to nature, ordinary love and children -- Wicca is very life affirming in flavor. Because we have and love our own Gods, Wiccans have nothing to do with other people's deities or devils, like the Christian God or Satan, the Muslim Allah or the Jewish Jehovah (reputedly not his real name). Christians often deny this fact because they think that their particular god is the only God, and everybody else in the whole world must be worshipping their devil. How arrogant. They're wrong on both counts. Traditional Wicca is a religion of personal responsibility and growth. Initiates take on a particular obligation to personal development throughout their lives, and work hard to achieve what we call our "True Will", which is the best possibility that we can conceive for ourselves. Finding your Will isn't easy, and requires a lot of honesty, courage and hard work. It is also very rewarding. Wicca is generally a cheerful religion, and has many holidays and festivals. In fact, most of the more pleasant holidays now on our calendar are descended from the roots Wicca draws on, including Christmas, May Day, Easter and Summer Vacation. Wicca is definitely not always serious. Dancing, feasting and general merriment are a central part of the celebrations. 187 Wiccan Ethics Wiccans have ethics which are different in nature than most "one-god" religions, which hand out a list of "do's and don'ts". We have a single extremely powerful ethical principal which Initiates are responsible for applying in specific situations according to their best judgment. That principle is called the Wiccan Rede (Old-English for rule) and reads: "An (if) it harm none, do as ye Will" Based on the earlier mention of "True Will", you will understand that the Rede is far more complex than it sounds, and is quite different than saying "Do whatever you want as long as nobody is hurt". Finding out your Will is difficult sometimes, and figuring out what is harmful, rather than just painful or unpleasant is not much easier. Initiation into Wicca People become Wiccans only by Initiation, which is a process of contacting and forming a good relationship with the Gods and Goddesses of Wicca. Initiation is preceded by at least a year and a day of preparation and study, and must be performed by a qualified Wiccan Priestess and Priest. The central event of Initiation is between you and your Gods, but the Priestess is necessary to make the Initiation a Wiccan one, to pass some of her power onto you as a new-made Priestess or Priest and to connect you to the Tradition you're joining. Women hold the central place in Wicca. A Traditional Coven is always headed by a High Priestess, a Third Degree female Witch with at least three years and three days of specific training. A Priest is optional, but the Priestess is essential. Similarly, a Priest may not Initiate without a Priestess, but a Priestess alone is sufficient. Women are primary in Wicca for many reasons, one of which is that the Goddess is central to our religion. One Religion at a Time People often ask "Can I become a Wiccan and still remain a Christian, Muslim, practicing Jew, etc. The answer is no. The "one god" religions reject other paths besides their own, including each other's. "One-god" religions also do not exalt the Female as does Wicca, and mixing two such different traditions would water them both down. Besides, you'd have to ask how serious a person who practiced two religions was about either one. Being Jewish is an exception, since it is a race and culture as well as a religion. There are many Wiccan Jews, but they practice Wicca, not Judaism. 188 Magick and Science People interested in Wicca are usually curious about the magick that Wiccans can do. While magick (spelled with a "k" to distinguish from stage conjuring) is not a religion in itself, it is related to our religious beliefs. Wiccans believe that people have many more abilities than are generally realized, and that it is a good idea to develop them. Our magick is a way of using natural forces to change consciousness and material conditions as an expression of our "True Wills". Part of becoming a Wiccan is training in our methods of psychic and magickal development. Because we believe that everything a person does returns to them magnified, a Wiccan will not work a magick for harm, since they would pay too high a price. But a helpful magick is good for both the giver and receiver! Wicca is entirely compatible with the scientific method, and we believe all the Gods and forces we work with to be quite natural, not supernatural at all. We do not, however, hold with the kind of scientific dogma or pseudo religion that sees everything as dead matter and neglects its own method by trumpeting "facts" without honest examination of evidence. Priestesses at Large? Long ago the spiritual (and sometimes physical) ancestors of Wiccans were Priestesses and Priests to the Pagan culture as well as devotees of their Mystery. Now that a Pagan culture is rising again, some ask if today's Wiccans could resume that role. This seems unlikely. Today's Pagan culture is very diverse and more interested in exploring and creating new forms than in building on existing traditions. A public role would either dilute our traditions or force them on an unwilling audience. The neo-Pagan community generally prefers "media figures" and rapid membership and growth. This is not compatible with our slow methods of training and Initiation, the insistence that livelihood come from work outside the Craft, or our needs for privacy. Our religion is not accepted in the American workplace or political system, and may never be. The most powerful Priestesses are often unknown to all but their Coveners. While all Wiccans are Pagans, all Pagans are not Wiccan, and it is best that it remain so. 189 Principles of Wiccan Beliefs 1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarter. 2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept. 3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called supernatural, but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all. 4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity -- as masculine and feminine -- and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive to the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship. 5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc. -- and we see in the inter-action of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment. 6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership. 190 7. We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it -- a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft -- the Wiccan Way. 8. Calling oneself "Witch" does not make a Witch -- but neither does heredity itself, not the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with Nature. 9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal roll within it. 10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be "the only way" and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief. 11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future. 12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil", as defined by the Christian traditions. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another. 13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being. The afore mentioned principles are from the Council of American Witches circa 1974 . 191 The Wiccan Way Recognizing that there is more than one path to spiritual enlightenment and that Wicca is but one of many, and that Wicca holds within itself the belief that there is more than one type of step set to the spiral dance, find here listed common denominators of the Craft. That there is above all the Goddess in her three-fold aspect and many are her names. With all her names we call her Maiden, Mother and Crone. That there is the God, consort and son, giver of strength and most willing of sacrifice. That and it harm none, do what ye will shall be the law. That each of her children are bound by the three-fold law and that whatever we create, be it joy or sorrow, laughter or pain, is brought back to us three-fold. That as she is the mother of all living things and we are all her children, we seek to live in harmony not only with each other, but with the planet earth that is our womb and home. That life upon the earth is not a burden to be born, but a joy to be learned and shared with others. That death is not an ending of existence, but a step in the on-going process of life. That there is no sacrifice of blood, for She is the mother of all living things, and from her all things proceed and unto her all things must return. That each and everyone of the children who follow this path has no need of another between themselves and the Goddess, but may find Her within themselves. That there shall not by intent be a desecration of another's symbols of beliefs, for we are all seeking harmony within the One. That each person's faith is private unto themselves and that another's belief is not to be set out and made public. That the Wiccan way is not to seek converts, but that the way be made open to those who for reasons of their own seek and find the Craft. And as it is willed, so mote it be. 192 The Charge of the Goddess Whenever ye have need of any thing, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of She, who is Queen of all witches. There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will She teach things that are yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in Her praise. For Hers is the ecstasy of the spirit, and Hers also is joy on earth; for Her law is love unto all beings. Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it; let naught stop you or turn you aside. For Hers is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth and Hers is the cup of wine of life, and the cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of immortality. She is the gracious goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man. Upon earth, She gave the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, She gives peace and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before. Nor does She demand sacrifice, for behold, She is the mother of all living, and Her love is poured out upon the earth. She who is the beauty of the green earth, and the white moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters, and the desire of the heart of man, calls unto thy soul. Arise, and come unto Her. For She is the soul of nature, who gives life to the universe. from Her all things proceed, and unto Her all things must return; and before Her face, beloved of gods and men, let thine innermost divine self be enfolded in the rapture of the infinite. Let Her worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And thou who thinkest to seek Her, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not unless thou knowest the mystery; that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, then thou wilt never find it without thee. For behold, She has been with thee from the beginning; and She is that which is attained at the end of desire. 193 Satanism vs. Wicca By: Diane Vera Since your main worry seems to be public relations, here's how I would make the distinction between Wicca and Satanism, in a way that is fair to both sides and does not throw Satanists to the dogs: . Wicca and Satanism are quite distinct. Wiccans worship pre- Christian deities (or a modern-day composite of pre-Christian deities) and do not worship the Christian anti-God. Some Satanists also worship a pre-Christian deity, but regard the Christian anti-God as a manifestation of their deity, which Wiccans do not. Wicca and Satanism are very different in their aims and tone. Wicca emphasizes harmony and balance, whereas Satanism emphasizes spiritual self-liberation via iconoclasm and catharsis. . I should mention, though, there's one possible problem with that last sentence. Some feminist Wiccans might take offense at it, since it implies the more radical forms of feminist Wicca are really more like Satanism than like Wicca. Which in my opinion they are. If you've read some of Mary Daly's books, you'll know what I mean. . I myself identify as a feminist Goddess-oriented neo-Pagan, as well as a Satanist. Indeed, feminist Goddess religion is still my *primary* religious identification. (Satanism is how I relate to "male" energy.) I don't and never did call myself a feminist "Wiccan". . By the way, while I accept today's use of the word Wicca (with a capital W) to refer to a specific European-based religion with a very specific worldview, I do *not* accept the attempt by Wiccans to copyright the words "witch" and "witchcraft". These words are generic terms, not the property of any one religion. They refer to occult practices found in many religions around the world. A Satanist has as much right to the word "witch" as anyone else. (It so happens that *I* don't call myself a "witch", but for a different reason: I think many "witches" are making exaggerated claims to occult power, and I don't want to give the appearance of making such an exaggerated claim.) 194 Women vs. Men By: Michelle Hass (in conversation with Scott Szakonyi "Ok folks, Loki and I have been chatting, and we're ready to raise a ruckus that might go on for months." Chiniginish and I relish the challenge...with Coyote looking over Our shoulders and chuckling... "Here's the question: Are women superior to men, and if so, why? I THINK that women are superior to men in the modern world because evolution is lagging society. Most of the evolution of the human race (about 60 million yrs) took place in hunter/gatherer tribes, where aggressive behavior on the part of the male hunters was a survival trait, and relating/caring behavior was a survival trait for females. Now, in the 20 thousand or so years since we have become agrarian, the need for male hunter aggressiveness has gone the way of the Dodo, while the need for relating/caring behavior has become primary. Where does this leave us? "Well, as I see it, women are almost ideally suited to the overcrowded, communication intensive environment that we call modern society. Men, on the other hand, are like people with no arms playing handball. It's not that we're bad folk, it's just that we were designed by evolution for an environment that hasn't existed for 20 THOUSAND YEARS, which is a real drop in the bucket in terms of evolution. Evolution isn't going to be giving us any help for at least a few million years; maybe never since we are constantly screwing up the gene pool with our wars that leave the genetically defective to breed and send the genetically preferable off to evolutionary dead ends. So all we men can do is try to better ourselves and ask for patience on the part of women, who must feel like the entire male sex has completely missed the boat. " Well, you've got a nice point, but it assumes something that I believe 'taint necessarily so. Is male aggressiveness part of nature or nurture? The jury seems to be coming back from a long period of deliberation, and it looks like the verdict is NURTURE. This very nicely dovetails with my own theory of what thelemites refer to as the "procession of the aeons". In Crowley's notorious Liber Al vel Legis, we are said to be passing from an aeon of belief in suffering male gods and patriarchy to an aeon of belief in the value of Self and of partnership between the sexes. Crowley called the old aeon the "Aeon of Osiris" and the new the "Aeon of Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child." The enthroned Child is not masculine or feminine, but androgynous/gynandrous. The aeon before the Osirian was that of Isis, an aeon of Great Mother Goddesses and matriarchy. My chronology is a little different than that which Crowley attributed to these three epochs of human history so far. Crowley declared that the Aeon of Horus began with the Spring Equinox of 1904+ Common, just before the writing of the Book of the Law. I maintain that the change is still taking place, and had its roots in the 1700s+ Common. The writings of the philosopher Locke were some of the first to make a very important quantum jump, and provided ideological impetus for the vital changes that have and are taking place. 195 What Locke asserted was that government did not rest on Divine Right, but on the consent of the governed. Human beings were not born to different castes, some fated to serve while others were fated to rule by the grace of the gods. Human beings were born equal, and had certain rights as a birthright: Life, Liberty, the right to pursue Happiness, and the right to security of private property. This assertion shows up in Liber Al as these statements: "Every Man and Every Woman is a Star. " "Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law. " "Love Is The Law, Love Under Will. " "Thou hast no right but to do thy Will. " In a little less arcane language, these statements run thusly: Every Individual matters. Every Individual has the right to live, be free and pursue Happiness (harmony with one's life's purpose, or True Will) as they Will. These rights stop at the boundary of the Wills of others. Live your life as you see fit, but mind your own business and above all, HARM NOBODY. This includes yourself in a very conditional way. You *do* have the right to self destruction, but if you truly believe that you matter, why would you want to? These assertions are usually encountered firstly in a Locke-inspired document that has passed into the history of this country, the Declaration of Independence. If there is any one document that is a trigger point for the New Aeon, it's that one. The American Revolution was the first time monarchy was cast aside in favor of democracy of a representative sort. Democracy was tried before, but never quite this way. And despite several course corrections that needed to be made, (the abolishment of Slavery, the giving of Women, Blacks and Amerinds the right to vote) and some that still need to be made (the granting of total equality for all races and sexes, a shift to a more direct method of participation, ie Cyber-democracy) the democratic experiment in the United States is the most enduring of all. Before the 1700s, government was imposed from above, not thought of as flowing from the consent of the governed. Individuals were not accorded rights as a birthright, but were granted rights by the king, usually on a class-by-class basis. Human beings were dealt with as masses and classes, on a Collective basis. Coincidental with these developments was a surfacing of hermetic thought in a more widespread way then ever before in history. The Rosicrucian and Freemason movements brought hermeticism to a wide audience. Within the ranks of Freemasonry were both common and noble, and often commoners would be lodgemasters in lodges frequented by those of noble birth. Hermetic orders ennobled not by birth, but by level of knowledge and initiation and (hopefully) by level of spiritual attainment. Now, this was fine in theory, but unfortunately in practice things weren't so swift. It was only until the mid-1800s and groups like the original Golden Dawn that women had the possibility of initiation. Even now, in Masonic lodges that have lost their occult focus and are now little more than men's clubs, men are ritually strip-searched to assure the initiator that the candidate is indeed male and not a disguised female. 196 The baggage of the old days of sexism and classism remain in a lot of hermetic orders even today. Crowley himself had serious problems accepting women as equals: he had a rather low opinion of them and was quite cruel to them in numerous cases. But very explicit in the message of the New Aeon is that people are to be dealt with, not by sex or race or social strata but by their inborn, inalienable rights as Stars, to use a thelemic term. The Neo-pagan movement was a definite evolutionary step in defining a New Aeon mode of spirituality. Unlike the traditional hermetic order, Wicca and other forms of Neo-paganism do not have a multiplicity of ranks and a chain of command. Some have three degrees, some two, some only one, that of initiate. Initiation is not a bestowal of rank, but more a purpose-oriented process. As magickal orders continue to evolve, they will either need to emulate more and more the informality and non-hierarchical non-structure of Neo-paganism or choke on their bloated hierarchies. It is funny when one considers that there is much evidence to suggest that Neo-paganism evolved from the Astrum Argentum and the OTO, and that much of Gardner's groundbreaking work in reconstructing the old pre-Osirian Druidic religion was helped along with the research help of Uncle Al himself. Perhaps, as the knightly orders of the past were meant as guardians of the Christian Church, there will become a symbiotic connection between Neo-paganism and Magickal orders, especially among those whose non-structure mimics that of the coven. Arguably this symbiosis exists now, and hell, I'm living proof of this. So what the deuce does this have to do with the sexes? You'll see as I wrap this up. Ok...remember I mentioned that before the Osirian epoch and the patriarchy, which seems to have come in with the rise of the big cities and the transformation from a hunter-gatherer society to an agrarian one (methinks you have placed the transformation a little too far into the past) there was the Isian epoch and the matriarchy? Well, before patriarchal philosophy displaced matriarchalism, women pretty much ran things. They didn't hunt because to place women, who were the living image of the Goddess and the ex-nihilo creatrixes of the next generation, in bodily jeopardy was literally blasphemy. Women were the intermediaries for men to the Goddess, who was unapproachable otherwise. The men had their hunting cults, but they were as insignificant in reality as the Victorian-era anthropologists misread the ancient religion of the Goddess as merely an inferior "fertility cult." 197 When the transition came to the cities and to patriarchy sometime around 10,000- to 7,500- Common, the long-suppressed males took by force what the Goddesses of the Isian era denied them by their divine decree...power. Male warrior deities replaced female mother deities. The priestesses of the old religions were destroyed. (The Book of Joshua in the Old Testament is a vivid account of one triumph of Osiris over Isis.) And the new order began. But the old matriarchal religions survived for several thousands of years after the turn of the aeon, and it is painfully obvious that the old patriarchal ways will haunt us for thousands of years into the future, even as new ways take hold and new philosophies become more accepted. But it really is nurture rather than nature that makes men aggressive and women passive. Men can learn to be nurturing and loving, and women can learn to be assertive and empowered. In order that we can truly enter this new aeon where all are leaders and all are Stars, we each have to cultivate the "other side" of our Selves. No, women are not superior to men, nor is it the other way around. Every Individual matters. Everyone has the potential to be a King, in the thelemic sense of the word. We need to learn to treat all with dignity, be they material successes or abject material failures. We need to treat even those still enslaved by the old _ideas fixes_ with as much dignity as those who have declared their secession from them and their embracing of the New Law. The evolution is really and truly in our own hands. Beauty and balance, Will and Love, Michelle. 198 The coven that I've been working with in Denver begins its cup blessing by a dialogue between the Priest and the Priestess. Both have a hand each on the athame and the chalice: Priest: "Be it known that a man is not greater than a woman. Priestess: "Nor yet is a woman greater than a man" Priest: "For what one lacks" Priestess: "The other can provide" Priest" "As the Athame is to the male" Priestess: So is the cup to the female. Both: And when conjoined together, they become one in truth, for there is no greater magick in all the world than that of love. BB Rowan 199 WHAT IS D.A.W.N.? The Denver Area Wiccan Network is a group of pagans and friends from a wide variety of Craft traditions. DAWN sponsors parties, group rituals, a student/teacher network, and other activities as inspired or impelled. WHY DO I WANT TO JOIN DAWN? * You want to be part of an active, growing community of Wiccans who can work together to make some changes in their world; * You want to meet people and make new friends who share your basic values--people you can be yourself with, no need to keep your cover; * You want an ongoing opportunity to exchange views and information with people from groups or traditions other than your own; * You want to be in on the creation of a Denver pagan extended family which will make all the above possible; * You like hugs, and you enjoy being warmly welcomed. DO I HAVE TO "GO PUBLIC" TO BE A MEMBER? No. Only the Board Chair and Secretary are expected to be "public," and the identities of all other members are fiercely protected. HOW DO I JOIN? Dues are $13 per coven, $5 per solitary, payable twice yearly in May and November. These cover the cost of mailings and the setup costs for parties and rituals, as well as other costs authorized by the Board and/or Steering Committee. DO I HAVE TO JOIN DAWN TO PARTICIPATE? No. All parties are open to pagans and friends. To find out about them and other DAWN functions, write us at the P.O. Box listed below (postage is appreciated) or call Bob Key on his answering machine. Another way to find out more about DAWN is to show up at one of our Steering Committee meetings. They are held at 6:30 pm, the second Sunday of each month, at the Glendale Community Center (999 S. Clermont). THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN DAWN! D.A.W.N. Bob Key P.O. Box 11202 (303) 758-2115 Englewood, Colorado 80151 200 BYLAWS DENVER AREA WICCAN NETWORK I. BOARD OF DIRECTORS A. The Board of Directors (hereinafter referred to as the Board) shall be selected by the Steering Committee from among the active members of DAWN such that: 1. Each coven shall have no more than one member on the Board; if there are fewer than 5 member covens, then there may be a second Director from any coven; 2. There shall be at least one member of the Board who is a member of a coven; and 3. There shall be at least one member on the Board from among the DAWN members who are not members of any coven. B. The Board shall have no fewer than 4 members and no more than 13 members. It shall determine its own size within those limits. C. The Board may appoint members of DAWN to fill vacancies on the Board. Persons so appointed shall serve only until the next regular election. D. Each elected Director (member of the Board) holds a two year term, except that, when the size of the board is increased, half of the new positions shall initially be for one year only. Any person serving one elected term may not be reelected as a Director until they have been retired from the Board for one year. E. Each seated Director may designate an Alternate to speak and vote in their stead when they are absent from Board meetings. The identity of this Alternate shall be recorded in the Minutes of the Board, and no other person may serve this function until the Director changes the designation and the change is on record. Being named Alternate to a Director does not automatically name them Alternate to any offices that director may hold; however, they may so serve at the discretion of the Chair. F. The Board shall elect Officers from among the Directors for the positions of Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. This shall be done after each new election, and no later than the next regular meeting of the Board. G. A quorum of the Board shall consist of 70 percent of the Directors, either present or represented by their Alternate. H. The Board shall elect a Newsletter Editor from the general membership of DAWN. This officer shall serve at the will of the Board and report directly to the Board. Last amended June 11, 1989 --