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."

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Singular Point of Ritual




Different Witches express their religiosity in different ways. This is a common sense statement that I am sure most agree with. Nonetheless, all of these Witches are valid—Witches all. In the multitude of practices that exist across this spectrum of Witchcrafts, there is an emphasis for the experiential. We talk of the evocative emotions that rise from our inner depths in the presence of the subtle, we make elaborate charts mapping the unseen world into a web of associations for the mind to toil over, and we engage purposely in relationships with the spirit world. All of this… all of the practices of the Craft come together in the singular during ritual.

It is perfectly fine that all of these Witches don’t agree on the form of ritual either. As the saying goes, “ask any three Witches a question and get seven contrary answers.” We don’t all experience the world around us the same and so our expressions of our individual human experience will rightly vary from those of our fellows. Let’s take for example the elements, for some they are tied to the cardinal directions in ritual and for others they are not, let alone have everyone agree on which element is associated with which direction. On that note, some don’t even work within a paradigm of the elements.

Just as our ritual models vary, so too does our concept(s) of Self. Within the same Tradition, there is often lore that affirms that there is no separate Self, that all is interconnected as one, and at the same time have complex models of the Self. Some of these models teach that there are really more than one soul, some teach a spectrum to the Self, and some an idea of layers. All though agree on one thing; that there is a physical body. Sure the nature of said body is debated, but that’s not the point. The point is that we experience the world about us through the filter of the body. Regardless of what model of Self(s), or lack thereof, that we use, it all comes together here. This is also true of ritual.

It all comes together here—here in the physical. All of it, EVERYTHING, comes together here in the physical. For it is the physical, that is manifestation in form. It is no longer the realm of potential but of that which has become.

This is one of the reasons that ritual participation, not just the theorizing about it, is so important. It allows us to more fully experience, in that instance, across the entire spectrum of our Self the mysteries of existence as they are expressed in our ritual form. Take for example the body during meditation: When we sit in good posture during meditation, this is the body also sitting in meditation. We aren’t just in the mind trying to focus on the breath, though this may be occurring, the body also participates. In that moment, we are more fully and wholly present in the practice of meditation. This is what it is like when Witches engage in ritual and not just “Witchcraft in theory.”

All of the various Witches may not agree on damn near anything, but we all have a body in one shape, fashion, or another; thus it becomes one of our uniting points within the Craft. Our existential experience is physical, so engage and be aware of the physical.

Boidh se,

-SM

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

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Betwixt the Mill Stones


Trudge one step after the other, each step a thunder bolt upon the conscious awareness of the now, a poignant reminder of mindfulness. The Mill, as heavy as all of existence, turns with each breath, with each placement of foot against path.

Circle round the axis that is the center of the circle-the center that is the altar, the thread of eternity connecting heavens to hell and through the heart of our realm, the heart whose vessel is ours to fill and pour out as we seed each path with the future harvest of life. Each step is upon the wheel whose boundary is not and whose center is all-encompassing.

The shimmer in the eyes is a reflection of the stars the Mill churns forth, a light of the heart, and that which burns betwixt the two candle flames alight the altar.

Ours is the heart beat that keeps pace with drums within the earth and amongst the stars; that chant that permeates the flesh, blood, and bone. "Rout and tout, through out and about, all in the Horned One's name!"

Boidh Se!

-SM

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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Out of the Broom Closet

Out of the Broom Closet I come. Sure I have been "out" as a Contemporary Pagan since sometime back in High School and publically a Witch for all of my adult life, but in regards to this blog, I have always kept my wording careful. It has been purposeful subterfuge. Well, I have decided I don't care about the list of reasons for such anymore.

I'm not just a Witch; I'm Wiccan.
There I said it. However, from here on out I'm likely to say "one of the Wic(c)a" as opposed to Wiccan though. As both an Alexandrian and Gardnerian initiate whom has passed through the pentacle, I prefer it. Also for full "out of the broom closet-ness," I'm also an initiate of the Eternal Harvest, which is a related Witchcraft Tradition but not British Traditional Wicca (BTW).  I never planned to be involved with more than one Tradition, but I move every few years and know that I work best in a group, so it just kinda happened that way. Nor do I plan to become involved with any others. I, however, digress.

The thing is that there is so much misrepresentation and misinformation abound about our practices and lore. More than I've cared to wade through on most days. For example, take the Rede. It is woefully misunderstood and usually championed as some ethical ideal that is impossible to attain whereby all actions that cause any harm of any form is against one's religion. The thing is, the Rede is permissive in nature and denounces nothing. All it is really saying is that if something is harmless then you can do it, and that's it. Everything else falls on the Witch to weigh against their own sense of morality.

Furthermore, due to the abundance of misinformation, Wicca gets a lot of flak and I didn't really want to bother with having preconceived notions tossed upon me.

Now, with all of that said, there are many things in this blog, past and future, that are not representative of Wicca. After all, this blog encompasses my Craft, which, as all Traditionalists are, is quite eclectic in personal practice. Yes, you read that right. Traditionalists are eclectic in their personal practice. Personal practice isn't coven practice though, so there is that.

So there you have it, for those that did not already know, I'm one of the Wicca. Now back to your regularly unscheduled program.

Boidh Se,

-SM

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