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                         Wicca & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 
          by David Wadsworth 
          (This article first appeared in Children of Sekhmet, May 1988. It  was
          originally given by  Dave as a talk at a  Wiccan Workshop organised by
          Chris and Vivianne Crowley in 1987)

          This talk aims to illustrate  the all-pervading nature of Wicca. If  a
          system  of  natural laws  or beliefs  is true,  it  can be  applied to
          virtually  anything. I intend to try and apply parts of Wiccan beliefs
          to my other passion, biking.

          There  is a  peculiar sort  of bonding  between a  real biker  and his
          machine. The  biker will put  the well-being of his  machine far above
          his  own. I have seen men  cry over a bent bike,  or after an accident
          tell  the driver  off for  hitting his  bike rather  than him.  I have
          personally fought off two ambulence men so that I could hop to my bike
          to inspect  the damage before being  taken to hospital. My  theory for
          this  strange bond  is that the  motorcycle and  rider form  a sort of
          Gestalt being, a conplete  entity, either part of which  is incomplete
          or useless without the other.

          The  motorcycle represents the male  part of this  entity. It provides
          all the force and power, but lacks control and direction. It is all
          potential, in Wiccan terms, the God force, waiting for the female
          aspect,  the  Goddess, in  the form  of  a horrible  grubby motorcycle
          rider.   The rider takes the  force and harnesses  it, giving purpose,
          form and direction.  Controlling the raw male potential, and together,
          in harmony, they  will be  capable of reaching  heights impossible  to
          either on their own.

          The motorcycle can be seen as a way through which to tap a source of
          cosmic energy.  The energy  which we  in the  Wicca  use for  healing,
          spells, divination, as a  gateway to alternative universes. Just  as a
          witch  wouldn't attempt to tap this  awesome power without protection,
          neither would a biker. The biker will put on boots, gloves, helmet and
          leathers  in a  similar sort  of way as  a member  of the  Craft would
          surround themselves with a protective circle to preserve the power and
          keep out undesirable spirits. In the biker's case he is also aiming to
          keep in  the heat, and protect him from the road, onto which demon car
          drivers  possessed of  evil spirits  (gin, vodka, whiskey  etc.) would
          lure him to his death!

          This brings us neatly (?) to the subject of reincarnation. Most of you
          reading this will have some knowledge of the ideas of reincarnation;
          i.e. that we are born, live in the world, die, and are then reborn to
          develop further. Not many of you will realise that motorcycles go
          through a similar process.  They leave the  factory to roam about  the
          face of the earth, then some parts wear out, and they descend into the
          dark underworld of the  workshop. Here they are consoled  and repaired
          by  the creative  force of  the female,  who is  the biker,  to emerge
          re-born  in Spring, once more  blooming with refreshed  colour of res-
          tored  paintwork, and the cycle starts again. Many British machines go
          through this every year. About  Yule they are ready, and in  the first
          days of Spring  they roar about in the  first flush of youth.  Then at
          the peak of their  power, at Lammas, they are cut down, usually due to
          some  terminal mechanical problem. They dwell for the remainder of the
          year in Hades, the garage, thus mirroring the cycle of the God.


          The spirituality of bikes is perceived by man in different forms, and
          each has its followers. Here are some of the major religions:


          This  newcomer to  the  spiritual motorcycle  rides a  modern Japanese
          bike.  He  pays little more than  lip service to his religion.  He has
          few rituals, all he has  to do is turn  the key and start the  starter
          engine.   He  tends to  be into  power and  speed, tearing  past older
          machines which he regards with contempt. He cares little for the inner
          workings of the  machine, running to  his priest/mechanic whenever  he
          has a  problem.  Should his  machine pass on, i.e., wear  out, it will
          believed to be irreparable, i.e., too expensive, and gone to the great
          scrap heap  in the sky. The makers of this  are the great salesmen and
          evangelists of the bike, not to mention the profit makers.

          THE MAGICIAN

          He  will typically be an older bearded gentleman, who rides an immacu-
          late old British  motorcycle. They  are into status,  and will  pootle
          along at 40 mph all day, imagining themselves  the envy of all who see
          them.  They are into ritual  and mystery. The  performance required to
          summon some older bikes into life is awesome and  dangerous. Yet these
          fellows will watch in silence as a machine spits at a new initiate and
          breaks  his shin. They will endlessly pontificate on the correct shade
          of colour for the petrol tank, or whether a part is the right year for
          the model; mostly that's all they do.

          THE WITCH

          The bike will most likely be filthy, not from lack of care, but from
          constant use  in all sorts of  conditions. The rider knows  and under-
          stands the inner workings of his machine, its every click and whistle.
          He relies on no  guru for his understanding,  he is not afraid  to try
          things  out and see if  it works. Not for him  the search for power or
          acclaim. He is just out to  explore the universe and glean its myster-
          ies. He  will get there  in the end,  there's plenty of time.  He will
          rebuild bikes time  after time,  not sticking to  rigid formulae,  but
          with whatever  comes to hand. he  enjoys his bike and  is in-tune with

          As a biker-witch, I am now going to use two useful tools to explain my
          theory  of Life, the Universe  and Everything: i.e.,  the Kaballah and
          the four-stroke cycle.

          Firstly the act of invocation and the four-stroke cycle. For those of
          you who are not mechanically minded, I'll try and keep this simple.
          Officially the four-stroke cycle is referred to as Induction,
          Compression, Power and Exhaust. I prefer the much more evocative Suck,
          Squeeze,  Bang, Blow. There  are a few  parts that  really matter: the
          crank  shaft,  the con  rod,  the piston  and  the inlet  plus exhaust


          1)  Suck:  Initially the  piston is  at the  top  and both  valves are
          closed.  As the  crank shaft turns, the inlet valve opens, the con rod
          pulls the piston down which draws air and fuel in. At this point in an
          invocation,  the invoker is opening his chakras and drawing the cosmic
          energy which surrounds us into his body.

          2) Squeeze: The crank  shaft continues around, the inlet  valve shuts,
          and the  piston is pushed  up, squeezing tha  gases together. This  is
          when the  invoker says  the invocation  and passes  the  power to  the

          3) Bang: The fuel/air mixture ignites and pushes the piston down. The
          priest/ess takes on the aspect of God/dess being invoked.

          4) Blow: The exhaust valve opens and the piston pushes the charge into
          the exhaust pipe. The God/dess charges and shares his/her power with
          those assembled.

          And now - motorcycles on the Tree of Life:

          Kether - traditionally the godhead from which all energy flows. It is
          formless. This is the high tension spark which ignites the fuel and
          without which the bike is naught.

          Chokmah - Formless, directionless energy, raw untamed power. In the
          engine this is the burning fuel mixture.

          Binah - this takes the raw force and starts organising and forming it.
          The piston, conrod  and crankshaft  takes the power  of the  expanding
          and converts it to rotary motion.

          Chesed - Takes  the potential  energy of  Binah, gives  it order,  and
          makes it more solid and  usable. In the engine, the gearbox  and final
          drive take the power  from the crank shaft and  make it usable to  the
          whole machine.

          Geburah - An essential breaking down.  Where there is life, there must
          be death. In an engine when you  have got two lumps of metal thrashing
          about in violent motion, they must wear each other away.

          Tiphareth - This is the image of the godhead, the wayshower, Lucifer,
          Prince of Light. In the bike this is represented by the electrical
          system and the ignition system, and the lights, which on British
          machines are provided by Joe Lucas, Prince of Darkness!

          Netzach -  This is the spirit of nature, intuition and sexuality. This
          is more  concerned with what bikers  do. They are in  tune with nature
          and tend  to get drawn  to ancient  sites, eg Stonehenge,  Avebury and
          Wayland Smithy, or  just standing  around in a  muddy field  communing
          with nature  and the  local brewery.  This is also  the source  of the
          sexual bond between man and machine.

          Hod - Communication, intellect and travel. It is also where your will
          produces  power. The travelling  aspect of  motorcycles is  fairly ob-
          vious, and hordes  of despatch riders  fulfil the communication  role.
          This is  where we get  the knowledge of the  workings of the  bike. It
          definitely  takes Hodic willpower on  a cold, wet  morning, along with


          highly verbal expletives, leaping up and down  on the kickstart to get
          the bugger moving.

          Yesod - This is the lunar aspect of biking, linked to Tiphareth on the
          Middle Pillar (refer Joe Lucas, Prince of Darkness). Many bikers will,
          by the light of the Full Moon, switch their lights off and ride by
          moonlight in their lunatic hunt for the local  hostellry. In the event
          of  a biker meeting his  death through this  ridiculous activity, look
          into  the sky.  For there you  will espy,  on his  silver machine, the
          spirit  of the biker riding across the astral heavens. Scientists tend
          to think these are meteors. There is also the illusion of security one
          gets from riding  around with one's  head in  a goldfish bowl,  collo-
          quially known as a blood bucket.

          Malkuth - The concrete world, reality. On a bike you are cold, wet,
          tired, frequently uncomfortable, and very vulnerable, and no-one in
          their right mind would do it if it wasn't for something else......

          Despite Malkuth,  biking opens up  other realms, other  worlds (Birmi-
          ngham, London, Glasgow, etc) and  puts you in tune with the  inner and
          outer universes.

           The End.


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