Saturday, November 4, 2017

On the First Day in The Age of Seed and Fruit



The rolling over of an Age doesn’t happen every day; that is unless you measure an Age by lengths of one day and then I guess they do in that case. However, in the calendar I learned growing up in the Church of Rhiannon (CoR), an Age is 3888 years long. Go read my blog here for further context. As you can see, I’m going to talk a bit about this. For good reason I feel. Today is the first day of the first month in the new lunar calendar; thus today is the first day of an Age.

I wasn’t going to write this blog until this morning when I was thinking about it. I recall when I was maybe 12-14 sitting around the campfire before Circle (what CoR called our rituals) and listening to discussion about the coming Age of Seed and Fruit. At the time I didn’t know how to calculate the moons and so didn’t think about the lore attached to them in regards to the turning over of an Age.

Well, here we are. With the arrival of Samhain, the year ended officially and we entered into a period of time that is not on the calendar. It is a time that belongs to the thinning of the veil, of mystery; it is a time that is not a time. This has ended too, with the arrival of the first Full Moon after Samhain the new lunar year begins with the month of Beth.

Beth is the tree of birch, called the Lady in Silver, and is all about new beginnings and initiations. This is under the horns of Taurus, which amongst many other things is associated with our Lord of the Mound in the Craft. Also, it is the Beaver Moon. This is the bit that made me think to write today. You see, the beaver is all about the creation and making of things—they build.
 
On this 1st day in the month of Beth (birch), the Beaver Moon, in the sign of Taurus, the Age of Seed and Fruit, I implore you to build. Build and craft whatever it is you want your life to be right now as we all step off into the new age. It doesn’t come again for 3888 days.

Boidh Se,

-SM

“Lost in a thicket, bare foot upon a thorn path.”

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Our Face Before We Were Born: The Song of Ancestors

Today is Hallows Eve, and most of Contemporary Paganism here is the West, this day, tomorrow, and the following week is saturated with Ancestor Work. I wanted to a take a moment and share with you a quick train of thought about this time that came to me last night right after meditation. My hope is that it will provide you with substance of contemplation in this tide.

Exhale. Focus sharply upon it. Keep extending the breath out until you can't anymore and allow the awareness of that movement to shift to the space just beyond the outbreath. You will find that beyond the outbreath is both neither something and simultaneously a thing.

This is the song of the ancestors. It is your eternal face from before you were born. Think about that. 

What did your face look like before you were born?
Distinct features should not come to mind; it is not a thing. Yet, there is the vague feeling of something there; it is a thing. This same face permeates down through the ages every day from this day forth. This is one of the reasons for celebration during Hallows-tide. In this way, we are the total sum of all of our ancestors. As such, today we celebrate the shared eternal hearth of our ancestors enacted in the manifestation of the present experience of our life.

The praxis associated with this time of year is our ritualization of this experience. Dressing in costumes, Dumb Suppers, rites associated with a particular Tradition, whatever, are all myth and symbolism expressed in the experiential.

Just as you found at the end of your breath, when you exhaled, a thinning of the veil, this is the time of year when the cycle of the year exhales and the veil thins. Take the time to gaze upon the reflection of the ancestors that comes through. Call them and feed them. Redden their bones so that they may dance the night away within the sphere of your life and hearth once more.

Now inhale.

Boidh Se,

-SM

"Lost in a thicket, bare-foot upon a thorn path."

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Witchcraft in the Face of Suffering


The world is a place saturated with hardships, with suffering, and it has always been this way throughout history. Regardless of what myths of a Golden Age may get touted, there wasn’t one. Not in the least. The same can be said about today. Take a peek at your local, national, and world news and it will become instantly apparent, this is of course assuming that you aren’t already well aware.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in light of the ongoing and continuous onslaught of political upheavals and social tragedies across the world. For example, the recent mass murder/shooting in Los Vegas by Stephen Paddock. This is one example of many. Like most, I don’t have an answer that will solve the world’s problems.

There is a famous line from the rites of the Wicca that has encroached upon the greater Contemporary Pagandom. I blame the early authors. It goes, “art thou willing to suffer to learn?”

The line instantly reminds me of the passage from Charles G. Leland’s Aradia: Or the Gospel of the Witches that would inspire much of the Charge of the Goddess ole great* auntie Doreen wrote. In this section, Aradia the Daughter of the Queen of Witches, Diana, has come to the mortal plane to teach sorcery and witchcraft to the oppressed, and all those whom suffer, at Her mother’s direction and this is what She say’s to Her pupils:

“When I shall have departed from this world,
Whenever ye have need of anything,
Once in the month, and when the moon is full,
Ye shall assemble in some desert place,
Or in a forest all together join
To adore the potent spirit of your queen,
My mother, great Diana. She who fain
Would learn all sorcery yet has not won
Its deepest secrets, then my mother will
Teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown.
And ye shall all be freed from slavery,
And so ye shall be free in everything;
And as the sign that ye are truly free,
Ye shall be naked in your rites, both men
And women also: this shall last until
The last of your oppressors shall be dead;
And ye shall make the game of Benevento
Extinguishing the lights, and after that
Shall hold your supper thus:”

If you take a quick look over a few sections of the Charge of the Goddess and you will see the immediate influence:

“Whenever ye have need of anything, once in a month, and better it be
when the Moon be full, then ye shall assemble in some secret place and
adore the spirit of me, who am Queen of all Witcheries.

There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not
yet won its deepest secrets: to these will I teach things that are yet
unknown.

And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye are really free, ye
shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music
and love, all in my praise.

For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and mine also is joy on earth; for my
Law is Love unto all Beings.”

As Witches we exist upon the fringed liminal spaces of society. For many, they were pushed there by suffering. Perhaps society rejected them for their gender, orientation, economic class, race, etc. Or by some other means they have found their place at the edges that is the threshold between the wild and the tamed. As I don’t know each Witches’ story, I can’t say what called them to the Sabbath.

The Craft teaches us to strip free that which the world of suffering has wrapped us in and lay ourselves bare to learn in the process—to be free. Yet in this, we are empowered by which we find when we are naked in our rites of life. 

Depending upon the context, the line “willing to suffer to learn” can mean many different things. Lately though, for me, it has taken up the meaning of being willing to participate in the world, to engage our own suffering and that of those around us. Specifically, to “actively” engage. At the end of it all, everything but our actions can be taken from us. So ensure that your actions are of measured worth.

Boidh Se,

-SM

“Lost in a thicket, bare-foot upon a thorn path.”

Friday, September 15, 2017

Riding the Winds of Change Like a Witch


When you have practiced magick for a while you begin to attune yourself with the flux of its current that run through your life. You begin to become more conscious of the subtle shifts that it brings. This includes when your own practice is transforming. Metaphorically we could say it's like being aware of an approaching breakthrough. Only we aren't really because the concept of movement in this manner is only abstract, an illusion we would not want to get trapped in. Anyway, those attune to their happenings in the now will notice when the focal axis of this now is in metamorphosis. Plus, the symbol of movement is a useful one.

Right now, as I write this, I'm standing on the shaking earth. I have over the past months, since a major life change coupled with an initiatory experience, stripped down my practice to bare-bones, and something, I dunno what, is about to erupt out of this ground before me. Not like crops cultivated over time either, more like the ground opening up and a drake bursting forth from the bowels of the underworld kinda erupt. It itches, it's on the peripheral, and it's pulling me every which way. The only constant in it is the centralization of the Craft, but only in form and not interpretation.

This is all fine and dandy for me but I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with anything. Well, I'm not going to claim to be some expert in these things but over the years I have learned from my own experiences thereof somethings that have made such transitions easier, for me at least. I figured I'd share them with y'all in the case any of it can help in your own times of spiritual transformation.

Patience

A long time ago, like twenty'ish years ago, one of my first experiences of having a spiritual change of this nature had to do with patience. If you are like me, you get excited when you have the mindfulness to recognize being on the cusp of these moments. Well, I was excited and decided I was going to give it a little extra push. With the help of some friends and fellow Contemporary Pagans at the time, I constructed a sweat lodge with the intent on submersing myself into a journey to my spirit allies at the time and ask them to give me a little push over the edge into the next phase.

I thought it was a great idea and spent a long time planning it, coordinating it, and setting it up. Then the time came, in the depths of the inner landscape and I called out longing to bring the action to a climatic peak that would culminate with this breakthrough. Only it didn't. I kept trying though. Finally I gave up and asked my spirit allies, what gives? And they said, "patience, have patience."

That was it. Nothing more. In that moment I realized my breakthrough was learning to have patience with breakthroughs.

Acceptance

Change is the only constant in life. That's it, nothing else. This is why in my own practice I try and stress my actions as being ethical in application. After all, everything else can be taken away, but not my actions. So they are my only possessions and I strive to make them worth more than gold. I spend a lot of time in reflection upon coming to understand my moral compass because of this. I do it for me, the only person that can judge our success in this regards is ourselves.

With change being the only constant, there comes other implications. One of which has to do with approaching major change. It is that of acceptance of change being inevitable. You can't hold the past, sure you can learn from it, but it's already manifested into the fabric of fate-past. Nor can you prevent change from coming, it's already here and any attempt to divorce change from the present is futile.

Surrender

There is a Zen Nun that I know whom relates acceptance of change back to breathing in meditation, amongst many other things. I'll do my best to reproduce the idea she shared with me a couple of months ago. As I'm not a Zen Buddhist, keep in mind that I have filtered her words through my own inner interpretation and though I am trying to stay within the boundaries of her words, I could be in another ball-park playing tiddlywinks instead of sports-ball*.

Now to paraphrase on the fly:

Breathe out as/with the world. Out, out, out until the breath reaches deep down and hits bottom. Breathe out just a little bit more and allow the truth that lay beyond the threshold of that bottom to draw you deeper into longing for what lay beyond. Relax, and without plan or form, release so that the in breathe comes and opens up into surrender. Follow this rhythm of deeper and surrender unto it. Be like the flower that opens and turns towards the sun. Just be, just sit, breath in and out, nothing more.

So with that said, be like the flower turning towards the sun of change.

Fin

That's it, that's all I got. These three little things that sound so simple and yet take degrees of practice that can be difficult: patience, acceptance, and surrender.

Boidh Se,

-SM

"Lost in a thicker, bare-foot upon a thorn path."




*Insert whatever flavor of a ball based sport of your choice here.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Changing the Drapes

Change has arrived. Or rather the drapes on the wall are being made to match the rest of the room. You see, the about tag line at the blog has been updated. Up until today, it said “Ramblings relevant to Contemporary Paganism, British Traditional Wicca, Traditional Witchcraft, Traditional Initiatory Witchcraft, and more…”

Back when I started this blog, err… restarted, it in 2012, I wanted to write about ALL THE THINGS! Sure I've written about tons of topics, with whatever whim comes through the door, but the focus of the blog had always been about my practice of the Craft and over time it became about my sharing of that experience.

You see, at first, the blog was a project to write more. Then it became something I fought as my ego did its best to weld it. All in all it was a transgressive experience of learning to just let the blog be what it is and not stress about people reading it. That being a vehicle for me to explore my practice of the Craft and sharing it with others.

Just as my own personal practice is influenced by different streams of Craft, such as those I’ve been initiated into, but also the works of Cochrane, Anderson (Feri), and Chumbley, so too the blog reflects this. On that note, since my own Craft is heavily influenced by Druidry, specifically the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD), Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF), The Henge of Keltria (HoK), and Ord Draíochta Na Uisnech (ODU), there is a bit of that hidden away here too. The ODU is especially influential.

However, I don’t specifically talk about Druidry. I had planned to when I first started the blog, because ALL THE THINGS. The blog tag line even listed Druidry at that point. Although I like Druidry and incorporate the influences thereof into my personal practice, I do so all in the context of Witchcraft and not Drudiry. So I took it out of the tag line.

Anyway, I think the new tag line is more indicative of what the blog is really about, me choosing to share thoughts on the Craft as I stumble around this thicket we call life.

Boidh Se,

-SM

“Lost in a thicket, bare-foot upon a thorn path.”

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Prophecy: Coming of the Age of Seed and Fruit


Today, is Monday, the Moon’s Day, on the New Moon with a Solar Eclipse with Mercury, Saturn, Venus, Pluto in Retrograde, so it’s as good as a time as any to bring this up. I had thought about doing so back in November, for reasons that will be discussed shortly, but decided not to.  

In the Church of Rhiannon (CoR), the Contemporary Pagan group I was raised in and around, there is a prophecy. A Turning of the Ages prophecy. Long story short, from various sources back in the 1980s, one of the founding members believed they had stumbled upon a Druid Prophecy of old and it became entangled in the lore and story of the Wheel of the Year that CoR enacted and followed. Regardless of the ancient authenticity of such, I grew up with the backdrop that the world was reaching a peak that would force change upon us. The discourse was usually about the environment.

This prophecy takes place in the year 3888 MT. Which I know needs some explaining… Using a modified version1 of the Beth-Luis-Fearn (BLF) calendar put forth by Colin and Liz Murray in The Celtic Tree Oracle: A System of Divination, the date of 3888 was calculated and affixed to 2017 CE. Each “age” is 3888 years long and the Age of Iron and Silver kicked off 3888 years ago based upon the supposed date of the Second Battle of Moytura, hence the “MT” as the year designator. I don’t know how Colin and Liz Murray came up with any of that and I haven’t been able to dig it up either. But I digress.

The point of all this is simple, the prophecy applies to this year, in fact it gets even more specific. 3888 MT started this past November and the event of the prophecy takes place between this past Beltane and the upcoming Samhain.

With all of that said, I’m not saying that the prophecy is to come about. I’ve just been thinking of the coming of the Age of Seed and Fruit a lot lately. You know, because childhood and it being the freaking year 3888 MT, the last year of the Age of Iron and Silver.

Anyway, here is the prophecy, take a read:

"In the time of change, Abred will be grievous sore, the vessels shall be exposed.
Only then will the change be known.
At last the time of disgrace will be turned aside.
After this time has passed shall be seed and fruit anew.
After Cetsamhain, before Samhain, shall ye know."

I don’t know if the Age is rolling over today or not, but enjoy the ride anyway.

Boidh Se,

-SM

“Lost in a thicket, bare-foot upon a thorn-path.”

1 CoR developed and perpetuated a version of the BLF calendar that aligned with the Full Moon as opposed to the method originally outlined by Colin and Liz Murray. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Musings on Perfect Love and Perfect Trust

Yesterday evening while driving home, I was thinking about Perfect Love and Perfect Trust and then I was thinking about the context of said teachings. As a result of that weaving and wandering train of thought, this blog was born.

In addition to the Rede, which I previously spoke about commonly getting misunderstood, the phrase "In perfect love and perfect trust" also gets tossed around outside of the parameters of the traditional lore. Generally when I encounter said deviation, it is someone arguing against it. I am completely fine with someone not accepting it. Tis cool, really. Almost always though, the argument is "how can someone have complete and full unconditional love and trust for people you've never met?" Fair enough; I'm not going to disagree. The thing is though, that's not what Perfect Love (PL) or Perfect Trust (PT) is about from the way I was taught it.

*** Note: No oaths were broken in the following paragraphs. Everything is something I learned as a Seeker in an Outer Court to my first Alexandrian Coven. ***

First off, PL/PT is specifically meant to be used in the private context of a British Traditional Wicca (BTW) Coven. The moment it moves into the realm of the public sphere, such as at a Pagan Pride Day ritual, it is out of the ritual, mythic, and symbolic relevance for which it applies. I'm starting with Perfect Trust because it's easier to explain the relationship between the two when we understand it first. Now onto Perfect Trust.

Perfect Trust is simply the trust that an individual will act in accordance with their strengths and weaknesses. In short, it is the trust that hypothetical Witch Dianaisson, as a general rule of thumb, will continue to behave like Dianaisson. That's it. All Witches have warts, trust that.

Perfect Love then is accepting this fact and loving the person anyway. That does not mean that said love is unconditionally tolerant. It is simply the love of an individual despite their flaws. Again, this is not meant in the context of large public settings. After all, when Dianaisson was Seeking they and the Coven should have gotten to know each other well enough to take this step. It is also part of why BTW Covens tend to be small and don't just take every Seeker that comes to the door. It's about family of choice.

The whole PL/PT line of thinking occurred out of mulling over meditation. You see, one of the things that meditation has drilled into my head, is that people will live up to their nature. For example, my 4 year old is going to act like a 4 year old. It's just the way of it. I accept this. I may not always like the way 4 year olds act, temper tantrums and all that. However, I accept it, even if sometimes it is hard to do so.

In thinking about this acceptance of people acting to their nature and PL/PT, I was asking myself whether or not I personally could extend the idea of PL outside of the BTW Coven context. The short answer is sometimes. With some close friends and family, sure I could. For many many others, nope. Nopity nope. This I feel is because I interact with love in a similar fashion as to how a Feri Initiate once explained it.

So time for a quick story, and a waiver. First off, the waiver. I'm not trained Feri and may be misremembering what may not have been a Feri teaching but a personal opinion that I mistook as a teaching. Anyway, if you are a Feri Initiate, feel free to chime in. Now for story time...

At a BTW Coven's Outer Court event I was at years ago, some Feri Witches were in attendance as guests, because Feri Witches rock and came to engage in Craft shenanigans with us and Craft shenanigans are always a go. During one point while sitting around chatting, they recalled just how they got the invite. They and some of the initiates of the BTW Coven in question were at a local Pagan Group Leadership Forum discussing "stuff" a few weeks earlier, when the topic of universal love came up. To which the Feri folk rejected, saying that they don't interact with love that way. Back to the chat around the coffee table, the Feri Witches after relating this story then expounded upon how Feri doesn't interact with love as a universally applied. They said something along the lines of "We love sparingly but fiercely." And I was sold. Be discriminate in your love but do so deeply. Fiercely.

Though I cannot extend PL/PT to all, I can, however, foster compassion towards even some of the vilest. It's compassion for the suffering of a fellow human. Compassion for the pain that has shaped them into what they are. In this compassion though, there is room to stand up for what is right. I can accept that they will live up to their nature, have compassion for their life circumstances, and still hold no quarter and reject their actions. Passionately reject.

There you have it, the gist of the musing I had last evening.

Boidh Se,

-SM

"Lost in a thicket, bare-foot upon a thorn path."