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                                 The Coven at Pooh Corner 

          (This article was first given as a talk at The Wiccan Workshop
          Number 6, held at Coombe, North Cornwall, in May 1989, and was publis-
          hed in Web of Wyrd #7, January 1993)

          This  talk is designed to  illustrate  that  spiritual significance is
          present  in everything around us (see "Wicca and the Art of Motorcycle
          Maintenance:  Children of Sekhmet, May 1988). On this occasion I shall
          be using  for my inspiration the stories of that world famous writer A
          A Milne, to whit, Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. These
          are  of  course coded  allegories of  the  spiritual development  of a
          certain bear.

          Firstly I would like  to introduce the characters because there may be
          someone here not enlightened enough to have read these great works, in
          a similar sort of way as a Christian may not have read his Bible.

          Our Hero. W T Pooh.

          Pooh, as he  is known to his more intimate  acquaintances, is a modest
          chap not known  for his intellectual ability,  and has been called  "a
          bear  of very little brain". He is  given to composing hums well aware
          that being a bear his singing voice  is not what it might be. I  would
          think he is probably  a Taurean and  all in all  a well rounded  pers-
          onality; possibly because it is always time for a little something.


          Piglet is a small timid little person, a very young spirit, and Pooh's
          best friend. He  is a chattery soul who tends to dwell on his fears of
          heffelumps and woozles. It is generally thought he may be a Gemini and
          would  be an  extrovert if  he could  find more  confidence. He  has a
          peculiar aversion to being clean.


          Wol has delusions of being  the wise old owl based mainly on  the fact
          that he  can spell his  name, which is OWL.  He lives in  the grandest
          house in the woods, the old oak tree. It is quite obvious  to everyone
          that he is in fact Libran because he comes out with statements of fact
          which are more often than not wrong. All the other animals turn to him
          for advice, which he  gives freely although no-one understands  a word
          of it.


          Eeyor is a  very interesting character. He is a  very, very old spirit
          who in this incarnation has come back as a donkey.  Nothing much seems
          to bother him and he lives all alone in a boggy field. He is generally
          perceived to be miserable. This is wrong. He is quite happy in his own
          little world  and is thought to  be a Piscean with  a Capricorn ascen-
          dant. He  is in fact the most intellectual of  them all because he can
          make the letter A out of three twigs. Also he has a brain whilst all
          the rest have grey fluff which has blown in by mistake. 



          Kanger is a newcomer to the  forest and something of a matriarch being
          very protective of  her offspring,  Roo. She is  of course  Cancerian,
          like my wife, and will mother everybody whether they like it or not.


          Tigger is the archetypal extrovert and obviously an Aries.  Overwhelm-
          ingly friendly and bouncy. Piglet is terrified of him because he jumps
          out at you and says "WorraWorraWorra" in what he thinks  is a friendly
          tone... He has no idea  that he can't do something until after  he has
          done it. He shows no trace of forethought and eventually is adopted by

          Christopher Robin

          A small boy who will be fully explained at the end.

          The Parables of Pooh

          1    Down the Rabbit Hole

          In  this story,  Pooh  after breakfast  of  honey followed  by  honey,
          decides to  go visiting. First he  visits Piglet, and is  just in time
          for  a little  something, ie  a little  honey. Eventually  they  go to
          Rabbit's place. Rabbit,  who has hundreds and  thousands of relations,
          naturally lives  in a rabbit hole,  where Pooh and Piglet  are just in
          time for  a little something. Pooh  however eats too much  and being a
          stoutish bear anyway,  finds that when he leaves he  gets stuck in the
          rabbit hole, with  his feet dangling in  Rabbit's living room  and his
          head out in the air. Everyone comes to his aid, but no amount of
          pulling or pushing will  shift him. Christopher Robin is  summoned and
          decides that  Pooh will have  to stay there without  honey until think
          enough to leave.  Rabbit is obviously not well  pleased about having a
          bear wedged  in his  front door.   However he  is compensated  when he
          discovers that Pooh's legs make excellent towel rails.

          Moral: From this escapade we can see that Pooh is not very spiritually
          developed. He is far too keen on the physical desires of the  body and
          through  this forced period of  fasting and the  altruistic use of his
          lower limbs, he learns that  it is alright to be portly so long as you
          don't block  someone's portal. In other  words, you are at  liberty to
          follow your own way so long as you do not block another's. This is the
          experience of the tarot card of The Devil. Deluded  about the relative
          sizes of the door and his  tummy, he cannot pass through until he  has
          cast off the chains of his baser desires for honey. Most covens have a
          Pooh at this stage  of development. This is the witch who overindulges
          in the communal wine during the rite, becomes comatose before the
          altar, and neither heaven, earth, or High Priestess's boot, can shift.


          2    In which Pooh and Piglet go hunting heffalumps

          One  snowy day,  Piglet finds Pooh  staring at some  footprints.  Pooh
          thinks this may be a  heffalump or maybe a woozle, and  exhorts Piglet
          to  come and follow it. Piglet is not  keen. He agrees as long as Pooh
          is with him. Sometime later they notice that  the footprints have been
          joined by another set, two heffalumps, or, as it may be, woozles! Pooh
          composes a hum  to keep their  spirits up, "How  cold my nose,  tiddly
          pom....".  A little  while later  there are  four sets  of footprints.
          Piglet is getting frightened. They sit down for a think and eventually
          realise they are walking around a wood following their own footprints.
          So off they go for a little something.

          Moral:  Here we see Pooh's total lack  of brilliance. He gets there in
          the  end with a  bit of help. On  the other hand  there is the immense
          faith he  inspires in others. People feel safe with Pooh. He knows the
          value  of a  kind word and  a cheery  song. This  also illustrates the
          danger of overwhelming others  with your enthusiasm for a  path, which
          may not be the path they would choose. This is why in Wicca we are not
          evangelical. Each must find his or her own heffalump or woozle.

          In Which Pooh Builds Eeyore a House

          One  rainy day  Pooh sets  out  to find  Piglet. After  many hours  of
          careful  thought  he has  realised that  everyone  has a  house except
          Eeyore, but he has a plan. On one side of the wood he has discovered a
          pile of sticks,  so with Piglet's help they take  the sticks around to
          the other  side of the wood  and build Eeyore  a fine Des.  Res. After
          some moments  of contemplation of their labours,  they set off to find
          Eeyore. They come  across Eeyore  in the approximate  location of  the
          pile of sticks looking  puzzled. So they take him off  to show him his
          new house. Eeyore is muttering but Pooh and Piglet take no notice
          whatsoever.  They arrive  at Eeyore's  house and  Pooh and  Piglet say
          proudly, "There!".  Eeyore looks  pleased, but even  more puzzled.  It
          transpires that Eeyore built  a house out of a  pile of sticks on  the
          other  side of  the wood.  He  puts down  the change  of location  and
          certain architectural  improvements  to the  high  wind of  the  night
          before. Pooh and Piglet say nothing to Eeyore, and then Pooh says that
          he thinks it's "Time for a little something."

          Moral:  From this  we can  see that  although still  not devastatingly
          intelligent, Pooh has managed to perceive someone else's  problem, and
          has made some attempt  to solve it for them. It may  however have been
          better if he had  consulted Eeyore who had already gone  about solving
          his problem  for himself. Thus  we see that  we should not  impose our
          particular perception of the universe on others. Fortunately Eeyore is
          of such greatness of spirit that he lets this event pass, and Pooh has
          developed  sufficient maturity to let discretion be the better part of
          valour. As Eeyore was muttering perhaps we should also learn to listen
          to others.


          The Great Flood

          Pooh looks out one morning and sees that it  is STILL raining.  Chris-
          topher  Robin has  been  getting concerned  about  the rising  waters,
          measuring their  progress with sticks. Each  morning yesterday's stick
          has disappeared.  He  goes around  and warns  everyone to  go to  high
          ground. Pooh laboriously takes his stock of honey and balances all his
          jars on a high branch of  a tree, where he takes refuge. When  all his
          stock  is exhausted  he ponders  for a  while, then  makes a  not very
          successful  boat  out of  a honey  jar. The  boat  and Pooh  have some
          disagreement as to whom  should be on top. He eventually  paddles this
          Craft over to Christopher Robin's house where they take to Christopher
          Robin's upturned umbrella. They then ensure that all the other animals
          are safe.

          Moral:  This story illustrates Pooh's growing concern for the environ-
          ment  and his fellow creatures.  In this particular  crisis, Pooh does
          not go off half cock making rash  decisions, but seeks the help of the
          most  developed spirit in the  forest.  Pooh  exhibits great fortitude
          and  determination in  his quest  for this  higher spirit. Also  he is
          showing  better use  of his  baser desires,  ie for  honey. There  are
          obvious parallels  with numerous  other flood  myths although  in this
          Wiccan  version, having had our fill  of our favourite tipple, the Ark
          mark 1A  has some design  faults. This  is why in  the world of  today
          there aren't quite so many  unicorns and other mythical beasts.   They
          lost the argument with their honey pots.

          What Tiggers Eat

          Pooh, strolling through the woods, hears this peculiar noise: 
          "WorraWorraWorra". He picks  himself up, looks around  and espies this
          strange creature. The creature  bounces up and down and  says, "Hello,
          I'm Tigger". Pooh,  being a generous soul, asks him  back for a little
          something. He  asks Tigger what  he would like to  eat. Tigger doesn't
          know what he eats,  so Pooh gives him some  honey. Tigger is not  imp-
          ressed, so off they go  to Piglet's house with Tigger  bouncing along,
          running  ahead  of Pooh  and leaping  our at  him  in a  very friendly
          fashion. When they arrive,  Piglet gives him some acorns.  Tigger does
          not like Acorns. So off they  go to Eeyore's where Tigger tries thist-
          les. Tigger definitely does not like thistles. Lastly they try Kanger.
          Kanger  is very  concerned, but  doesn't know  quite what  to suggest.
          However, whilst giving malt extract to her baby Roo, Tigger bounces up
          and grabs  the spoon and says  "Mmmmmmm". So we find  out what Tiggers

          Moral: This shows Pooh's ready acceptance of all types of people, even
          Aries! He goes to great lengths to help this very young spirit to find
          spiritual sustenance and someone willing to look after him. Kanger, as
          is the  case with most Cancerians, does not believe they can solve the
          problem  but in  fact the  solution is  in their  grasp all  the time.
          Unfortunately, Kanger is now stuck with this waif and stray.  Pooh has
          climbed a long way  from the days when he got  stuck in Rabbit's door,
          and has learnt  the responsibility that goes with new initiates in our

          N.B. Please note that in the true Pagan spirit of this tome,
          even Tiggers eat vegetarian food.


          Pooh and the Honey Tree

          On this day we find Pooh staring  up into the branches of a tree.  His
          highly tuned senses  have detected  honey. Being a  portly bear he  is
          none too good  at climbing trees, so  he comes up with  a plan. Chris-
          topher  Robin had  a party with  lots of  balloons. So off  he goes to
          Christopher Robin's house to ask if he might borrow a balloon. He also
          asks  Christopher Robin to help him. They set off with Pooh's require-
          ments. The balloon is painted black to look like a thundercloud, and
          blown up. Pooh, grasping the  string, floats aloft. Christopher  Robin
          stays beneath with  his umbrella  announcing "Tut tut,  it looks  like
          rain." The  bees of course are  not fooled for an  instant. About this
          time Pooh  discovers the major flaw  in his plan. He  cannot get down.
          After much careful thought, Christopher Robin  shoots the balloon with
          his pop  gun, and Pooh descends  very rapidly and lands  on a thistle.
          Eeyore considers this a waste of a good thistle.

          Moral: This is the pinnacle of Pooh's intellectual development. He has
          solved  his immediate problem, but  not really thought  out the conse-
          quences. In a  spiritual sense, he has  strived too far  without being
          properly prepared  and is  brought back  to earth  with a  bump. Pooh,
          having developed so far, has  forgotten that if you are to  go flying,
          astrally or  not, then you  must not  forget your  parachute. As  Pooh
          found with the bees, we must  learn not to underestimate life forms we
          perceive  as being  lower than  ourselves. Eeyore  is another  case in
          point. Although he is  seen as under-developed because he does not say
          much, he has obviously seen the outcome from the word go, and  is only
          upset at the demise of a juicy thistle. Christopher Robin is obviously
          an interplanes adept  since once  again he rescues  Pooh after  having
          clairvoyantly foreseen the outcome.


          To lead up  to my  great revelation  I must  conclude the  story.   On
          frequent  occasions when Pooh calls  on Christopher Robin,  he is out,
          but has left a  note that he will be  "BAK SON", and is nowhere  to be
          seen. Pooh takes these notes to Wol, who is not sure if they  refer to
          a herbaceous "Bakson" or a spotted "Bakson". One evening,  Christopher
          Robin arrives  at Pooh's house  and reveals to  Pooh that his  time in
          this place is nearly over and he must go to school. He and Pooh have a
          long chat and Christopher  Robin decides that Pooh is  ready to accom-
          pany him on this great adventure  and they walk off hand in  hand into
          the Sun.

          This illustrates the basic fact of life that no matter how comfortable
          we are  we must be prepared  to grow and  develop and move on  when we
          must. Christopher  Robin is in fact  Pooh's Higher Self and  as can be
          seen from  the stories, unless you  use your Higher Self  you will not
          reach  your desired aims, and  indeed may go the  same way as the uni-
          corns  and their honey pots.  Between Christopher Robin  and Pooh they
          have achieved sufficient development to leave their current  plane and
          move on to higher things.  Christopher Robin, as can be seen  from his
          name, Christ/Robin, is  a Tipherathic  aspect of Pooh;  ie the  centre
          where the lower  and higher self come together. When  they have united
          the way is open  and clear for them to  move on to the next  sphere of


          Thus it  should be every witch's ambition to be reincarnated as a bear
          of very little brain who lives in the hundred acre wood on a  plane at
          least one  above this one.  After all the  idiots we see  running this
          world have to be  seen as a damn sight more stupid  than even Wol. (PS
          Mrs Thatcher is also a Libran!)

          copyright to  David Wadsworth, who has been a bear of little brain for
          many a long year!

          The End


Next: Wicca and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (D. Wadsworth)