Thoughts, lessons, and theology from an eclectic witch from a varied background.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

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If you like what I have been posting here, please take a few moments to donate a few pennies my way. Your funding will help pay for research materials, maintaing of the sacred space I work in, and the book that I am currently working on. Please, be kind and donate. Thank you for your time and thank you for your readership! Brightest blessings to you and yours.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On Nobility

From Here
The daughters of the Earth are due the nobility of their birth. There is a meme on the internet that says "Be humble for you are made of Earth. Be noble for you are made of Stars." There is something profoundly powerful in that little sentiment.

Women have, for a very long time, in Western society been in a place that is secondary to men. It is important that women step forward and reclaim our place as equals. This is not only important for political and social reasons. It is important for our spiritual health. The inequality of women has eroded our inner spiritual fund of strength to a terrible degree.

While goddess worship may not be what all feminists are engaged in, all who engage in goddess worship are somehow engaging in feminism. We are restoring the female back to her place of divinity within society. It is quite appropriate that women who are seeking to build their interior sense of spiritual strength are drawn to goddesses of sovereignty.

The Great Queen is more then just a beautiful archetype. She is a powerful figure who has the ability to not only validate her people but to extend a touch of her power through them. Goddesses of sovereignty bestow upon the Gods who are their consorts the rights to serve as such. They are not taken as plunder. Instead, the choose whom they take as their own.

This is an incredibly powerful thing. To recognize a woman's right to choose her destiny, conditions, and company is to recognize their humanity. It elevates women up from the position of lesser being. One may be curious how to identify with the Great Queen.

There are many different ways to do so. Over the next month, I will be posting techniques to help one engage and build a relationship with several goddesses of sovereignty. I will also be posting how to invoke the archetype of the Great Queen into oneself.

The Maid as Warrior

From Here
The Maiden of Filianic and Deanic faith is different from the Maiden of Wicca. Where the Maiden of Wicca is the Goddess before she is impregnated by the God, the Maiden of these sister faiths serves as a sacrificial figure who returns the whole of existence to harmony with the Mother. Some would argue that she is a Christ figure. While there are some parallels between the story of the Maiden and the story of Christ, the resemblances between them are somewhat superficial.

When one considers the Mythos of the Maid in The Gospel of Our Mother God, one finds that it speaks of her birth but nothing of her youth. Some would argue that it is because this is a matter that is something which we would have no knowledge of. I believe that knowledge is shown to those whom the Maid believes ready for such revelation.

 When considering the youth of the Maid, I find myself thinking of the temptation of the Maid. She carries with her the Moon-Axe and by way of it banishes the temptations placed before her. I do not think this banishment is a purely peaceable action. No, I think that the Maid takes martial action against her opposition and her victory is one that would be spoken of in terms of violence by some.

In this sense, I see the Maid in the iconic image of Jeanne D'Arc (or as she more commonly known to English speakers, Joan of Arc). If the angel Vikhë is of a martial aspect, it stands to reason that such an aspect would be seen in Dea, for the angels are manifestations of Dea's many aspects. We are told in the Gospel of Our Mother God that the Mother is benevolent and kind. I think it reasonable that the Mother would send her Daughter out into the world with the skills to handle the challenges of spiritual combat.

The Maid's courage could be viewed as her shield. Her purity of purpose and determination to free the world of eternal demise could be viewed as her armor. Her divinity would also possibly be viewed as both her armor and her weapon. Most assuredly, her union with the Mother can be understood in this fashion.

At the same time, however, I can not say with certainty that the Maid leaves from her time of temptation unscathed. For in my reading and meditating upon the passages of the descent of the Maid into the underworld, I find a very, very strong parallel between the temptation of the Maid and the assault upon her person by the daughters of the Dark Queen.

I do not thing that the icon of the Sorrowful Mother can only stand for the Mother in her grief for the death of the Daughter. The more I consider it, the more certain I am that this icon could also be understood to represent the suffering of the Maid at the hands of the Dark Queen's daughters.

Her beating, scorn, and wounding by the daughters of the Dark Queen could be a manifestation of the assault against her by temptation. For, when we are in the grips of temptation to do that which is unwholesome, it can feel as though we are being attacked.

The text of the conflict between the Dark Queen's daughters and the Maid says nothing of if the Maid defended herself against them. Again, this is purely personal gnosis, but I believe that the Maid did so. Her defeat came only when the Dark Queen struck the killing blow.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Reading for the young Witch

From Here
People who are new to witchcraft often are intimidated by the vast body of literature available to them. They see the virtual sea of texts and despair of finding the right source. Or, worse yet, they pick a work that is not written to their skill level and become frustrated.

It is important to consider what one's goals are in practicing witchcraft. While some witches are religious, like myself, there are those who distinctly are not. Their secular witchcraft is no less valid then my religious practice. Indeed, it often has ties to the older roots of witchcraft that we will miss in contemporary readings.

For witches who are seeking to build a religious practice, it is important to start with the foundational materials. These teach where the concepts so popular in modern witchcraft originate. They also give the reader a grasp as to how these ideas can be worked with for maximum effect. For secular witches, the religious aspect of the information tends to be secondary to their interests, but it can be equally useful. Many of the earlier books on witchcraft included a great deal of information as to how the mechanics of the magical arts worked.

I highly recommend the following books on the basis of solid content on magical theory and theological considerations.

Title: The Spiral Dance  
Author: Starhawk

The Spiral Dance is one of the foundational books of American witchcraft. Starhawk very concisely and directly details the mythic history1of witchcraft under the guise of Faery Wicca. She presents a very pro-LGBT vision of Wicca. Her treatment of the genders is a bit dated (as of the 10th anniversary version, which I have on my shelf) but when taken in the context of the era that produced the work, it is exemplary.

Her rituals are very easy to comprehend and enact. Her detailed instructions on magical theory are quite accessible to the neophyte witch. The exercises that she presents are truly exemplary and I have found great success in using them with students in the past.

Title: Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft  
Author: Raymond Buckland

Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft is a meaty text that covers virtually any aspect of Wicca you could think of. It shows elements of Gardenerian traditional witchcraft, which Buckland was trained in, and of his Seax tradition of witchcraft that he developed upon his arrival in the United States. His treatment of gender divisions is more hetero-normative then that of Starhawk.

There is also distinctly less political overtones in Buckland's work. At the same time, he provides a great deal of information on a broad area of subjects. The information he presents is not entirely all inclusive but it is a good springboard for a student witch to use  in determining what areas of the Craft they wish to study more deeply.

Title: A Witches' Bible
Author: Janet & Stewart Farrar

A Witches' Bible is a very through discussion of Gardenerian witchcraft. Janet and Stewart Farrar studied directly under Gardner (who is considered to be the father of British witchcraft and Wicca at large) like Buckland. Much of the information they present can cross correlate with Buckland's material.

At the same time, their treatment of matters of ritual procedure and the religious aspect of Wicca is far more complete then Buckland's. This is an excellent book for witches who are seeking for a more religious Wiccan experience.

There is the question of what of the witches who are not Wiccan, is there literature out there for them to read. There is of course material for non-Wiccan witches. I am not personally familiar with much of it, however. I can, though, direct you towards materials from other faiths that are useful to witches or any other person who is engaged in spiritual growth.

The writings of various Catholic Christian saints are the first thing that comes to mind. The works of St. Ignatius of Loyola, more specifically his spiritual exercises, can prove quite useful. When viewed as a series of intellectual and spiritual exercises that can be couched in the terms of what ever faith one follows, these simple and direct activities can help one harness significant mental and spiritual strength within themselves.

The works of St. Therese of Lisieux provides powerful instruction in spiritual growth. Her Little Way is exceptionally useful to both Christians and non-Christians alike. Her autobiography clearly illustrates how she implemented this practice and the influence it had upon her spiritual life.

The writings of the Protestant mystic Dame Julian of Norwich is both luminous in its spirituality and provides the reader with a strikingly clear path to developing a relationship with the divine. Her emphasis upon the maternal nature of the Divine and the loving relationship that can be established is one that is a refreshing contrast to the more patriarchal writings of the period.

Additionally, the work of the ever present age old author, anonymous, titled the Cloud of Unknowing can prove an extremely powerful tool in developing one's spiritual relationship with the divine. This text must be read within the cultural context of the era that produced it. Unlike the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux and Dame Julian of Norwich, the Cloud of Unknowing is much more difficult to translate to modern thought. Like the Zen koans, however, the Cloud of Unknowing can help one to experience the Divine by way of a juxtaposition of concepts.

1. I speak of the mythic history of Witchcraft because the history presented by Starhawk and various others is based in what evidence we have but can not be conclusively proven. As time has passed, the theories that had given rise to Starhawk's version of early history were called into question and I can not, with any academic integrity, state that this is a purely accurate factual portrayal of past events. Just because it is mythic, however, does not mean it is false.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Veil and Modesty

From here
The veil and modest dress are hallmarks of many faiths. Perhaps the most visible today is that of Islam with their distinctive burqa. Not all who follow Dea are called to wear a veil, as I do. Indeed, there are many who follow her that do not. I am actually in the minority as of the time of this writing.

Modesty in dress and decorum, however, is considered important for those who follow Dea. Some would argue that the traditional images of Dea, including the statue of Hestia to the left, present a very clear indication that all who would follow Dea are required to wear a head covering of some sort. Upon some examination of cultures around the world, it becomes clear that head covering for women (and men, but I am focusing upon women because I am one) is an inconclusive thing.

Looking into antiquity, we find it difficult to determine precisely what rules can be applied in general for dress in all cultures. Modesty, it would seem, is a culturally dependent concept.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines modesty as:
~ the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities
~ the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention
~ propriety in dress, speech, or conduct
Many people assume that when modesty is mentioned with respect to dress and demeanor that it is specifically with reference to sexual attention. This is inaccurate. Modest dress and behavior is such that conforms with the social standards of the culture that you are within. Many devotees of Dea are within a Western culture. As such, modest dress and behavior would reflect elements of this cultural basis. If a devotee of Dea was within a culture where nudity was the norm, their dressing in even the most casual of Western attire would be an immodest act because it draws attention to them and violates the norms of propriety of the culture they are within.

Now, this can lead to a thorny problem when considering the question of what of modest dress and veiling is appropriate when it moves against the cultural norms of where a devotee of Dea is centered. It is possible to accommodate the cultural context that one moves within and still retain their adherence to acts that are required of them, be it by way of taboo, dictates of their superiors, or something else that I can't think of at this time. Modest dress can be modified to fit the constraints of the dominant culture while allowing the devotee to adhere to their typical practices.

In the case of the dominant nudist culture, it could be that one wears the bare minimum of clothing. Thus,  
Image from here
they are making concessions to the dominant culture but retaining their own internal sense of propriety. Most situations where modest dress is adapted to fit the dominant culture are not so extreme. The culture that I am within has at times a hostile response to women who veil. As such, I would wear a headband or a kercheif which are not looked at in askance by the dominant culture.

Sometimes, however, it may be necessary to dress in an distinctive fashion. When choosing to do so, be certain that your behavior and speech continue to be modest within respect to the culture you are immersed within. When necessary to determine how modest your speech should be, always err on the side of excessive politeness. Curtness in speech and action should only happen when necessary.

Now, I am not the best example of this gracious decorum. If you follow my Facebook wall, you find that I fairly regularly will lapse and use vulgar phrases. This is something that I'm working on. (Having children who parrot everything I say has been proving an exceptionally effective goad on this point.) When circumstances are such that you feel that you can let slip some measure of formality and give way to more colloquial mannerisms, continue to adhere to the first of the definitions of modesty.

At the bare minimum, a devotee of Dea is wise to remain humble. We may have lapses and make more then our share of mistakes on the matters of behavior, dress, and speech. As long as we remember to take an honest stock of who and what we are, we will continue to be modest. Or, to put it more bluntly, "Don't get too big for your britches."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Past life knowledge vs Present life knowledge

From Here
A few posts back, I touched upon the concept of reincarnation. Now I want to take a moment to look in a bit more detail at the matter of reincarnation and how it influences our present lives. More specifically, how knowledge from past lives manifests in present lives.

Anyone who has taken a moment to look at the writings out in the market about past life experiences finds that there is a great deal said about how to recall those lives and to access the information from them. The tricky part in all of this is it is difficult to verify if the information gathered is legitimate or self deception. Additionally, it is quite challenging to determine how past life knowledge will manifest in present life circumstances. Just because you were a brilliant painter in a past life, it does not mean that you have that skill set in the present life.

Let us take the painter example that I just presented. In a past life, you were a brilliant, famous painter who contributed to the establishment of a new style of painting (for your era). How would this manifest in present life? One way is that works of your past self would be extremely familiar to you, even works that you have not encountered in this life. Upon seeing those unfamiliar (in this life) works, you would immediately comprehend the mindset of the artist while painting and what they were attempting to convey. You may even have a vivid memory or two flash across your mind. You would know details that would not be common knowledge, though you did not 'know' them before hand. Your knowledge would be intuitive and visceral.

If some one were to ask you how you knew these things, you would have a difficult time explaining it. The knowledge would feel as though it has always been there, as though you were remembering something you had known for a very long time and merely forgotten about. Now, the likelihood that you were a famous person in a past life is very small. It is more likely that you were the person who sold apples on the street corner a few blocks down from where that famous painter lived and who may have had a passing glance or two of the famous painter.

Past life knowledge is an ephemeral and tricky thing. It is much like knowledge that is conveyed to us by the dead or most spiritual beings. It should be handled with care and given vigorous testing before being applied. If you have a past life memory of some sort of ritual, for example, before you attempt to enact it, you would be wise to research and see if there is any sort of existent record of such a ritual in the past. It is important to consider that your recollection of this past ritual is flawed or incomplete.
From Here

Additionally, past life memory does not equate to present life knowledge. In a past life, you might have been an exceptionally gifted dancer. The person you are in this present life would not have the muscle memory to perform the dance that your past self could have done effortlessly. Now, this does not mean that it is impossible to recreate past life knowledge in present life circumstances. The person who was a painter in their past life may find that they are drawn to painting in their present life. The dancer in a past life may find that they have a passionate love for the music that they had danced to in that past life.

The influence of the past life upon the present life is subtle. It can manifest as an aversion to circumstances (such as a person who fell to their death in one life has a mild, but inexplicable fear of heights in this one), a measure of skill in an area (a person who was a chef in their past life might perhaps carry forward a natural aptitude for cooking), or an intuitive understanding of how something works (a person who was an alchemist in a past life proving to have an uncanny talent for chemistry in their present life). It is highly advisable to be wary of people who claim that all information that they have is due to past life knowledge. This is frequently a sign of some sort of a scam and one should be wary of it. Past life knowledge, while potent, is limited in its scope and can only offer brief snapshots of what that past life was like.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Polytheism & Filianism

From Here
A while back, I discussed in brief how I am a polytheist and that I follow the Filianic/Deanic faith as well. I thought that I'd take a little time today to explain this in a bit more detail and how it is not the 'div0 error'[1] it might seem to be. If you take a moment to consider the theology[2] of this seemingly monotheistic faith, it [3] it is my understanding that Dea will manifest her presence as male or female.
becomes apparent that within Filianism and Deanism one finds that Dea is understood to manifest in many different ways. As we live in a world where there is a masculine and feminine genders

By the same mystery that allows for the Mother, Daughter, and Deam Mysterium can be three independent forms of Dea and one, the same function allows for the gods of the world to exist as many and independent deities. They are unified by their nature as deities. Additionally, there is some sort of mystic connection, in my understanding and perception of it all, that binds them all to each other and makes up a singular entity which is both possessed of the characteristics that we comprehend of Dea and that which simply surpasses our ability to understand.

Each deity that I interact with is sovereign in their sphere of influence and can reach out of it to interact in other areas. At the same time, I do not see the divisions of different deities as mutually exclusive things. All forms of deity make up the Divine. All forms of deity, as part of the Divine, possess elements that we can not comprehend. Reverence given to one deity is no different at its core then reverence given to another because in the end, all honor is given to the Divine that is beyond our comprehension.
From Here

Some Wiccans call this Akasha. They identify the central point of the circle space with it. Some people speak of the fluid spiritual energy that moves through the universe as akasha. I don't think that the Divine, which I understand to be Dea, is the same as akasha. I don't know what the correct term for this would be, perhaps quintessence. The matter of this spiritual energy, however, is a subject for another day.

I revere Dea. I also revere Freyr and the other gods of the Norse pantheon. I do not believe they are mutually exclusive. I believe that they are all part of the same collective numinous whole that we simply can not fathom. Indeed, it is this whole which I refer to as the Divine is what makes all religions of the world valid.

In the end, all roads lead home.


1 div0 = divide by zero, something of a joke that I picked up in my travels. Beloved is a computer programmer by vocation and this is something he regularly encounters.

2 I use the term theology rather then thealogy because it's more easily recognized, some concept different genders for each term. Theology = the study of god  Thealogy = the study of goddess

3 Binary gender division is used for the sake of simplicity. Perhaps in a later entry, I will address fluid gender states and my faith.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Schools of Magic

A school of magic can be defined as a discipline of magical study that is distinguished by techniques,
From Here
equipment, and focus of inquiry. It is possible to come up with a nearly inexhaustible list of schools of magical study. Some of these schools have roots that go back into deep antiquity. Others are purely modern pursuits that are shaped by the sensibilities and considerations of modern occult thought. Magic can be defined as high or low magic. This also has a degree of influence on how a school of magic is comprehended.

Generally, high magic is understood to have a very strong ceremonial aspect to it and a focus upon abstract concepts. Low magic, on the other hand, is understood to have a more improvised element and focuses on more concrete ideas and immediate concerns. There are schools of magic that lend themselves towards highly ceremonial magical study. Frequently, high magic that is focused upon ceremonial elements is the heritage of ritual magicians of earlier eras. Low magic tends to manifest most frequently as folk magic.

The schools of achemy, theurgy, and ceremonial necromancy could be classed as high magic. Many modern spirit manipulative magic, chaos magic, and technologically based magic fall under the category of modern folk magic. Each school of magic has their own specialized set of tools and practices. Each has their own traditional focus of inquiry. While there are components from each school that can be applied to other schools, the primary practices are what is considered when determining if something is part of a given school of magic.
From Here

Alchemy is perhaps one of the oldest forms of magical study. The language of alchemy is specialized and can be difficult to make sense of with out an understanding of what the symbolism used means. This specialized language makes the texts that we have access to difficult to comprehend but it is also a mark of high magic. Many of the tools of alchemy, such as the alembic, have persisted into modern day, non occult use, morphing into the recognizable laboratory equipment.

Theurgy, which is argued to be a forerunner of alchemy, is the ritual invocation of deity and spiritual beings for magical purpose. It is from here that ceremonial magicians acquired the use of ritual circles and sigils. Additionally, the practice of invocations of a formulaic nature are derived from this school of magic. When one considers the works of John Dee and his recording of Enochian magic, it is possible to see how his work is heavily influenced by earlier techniques that are alluded to in the Malleus Maleficarum and related works from the Burning Times.

Both alchemy and theurgy have fairly standardized ritual practices within Western culture. They have their respective foci upon the refinement of the soul and the union of the soul with the divine. Each system of magical study has their own specialized language and symbolism. They are also shown to have their own set of tools.

Chaos magic has no standardized ritual format. It incorporates elements that a given practitioner feels would prove useful to them. It is very individualistic and experientially based. The focus of study ranges wildly, though trends suggest that a study in the manipulation of time is currently popular. There is a lack of unique tools, terms, or symbolism. The individual practitioner (sometimes known as a chaote) uses whatever means proves expedient.  As such, there is no set of required elements or correspondences used.

Technological magic has grown up alongside chaos magic. With the advent of computers, there are many modern occultists who employ this tool extensively. Their work has very few unifying qualities. The focus of inquiry is as varied as the practitioners themselves. Technological magic uses available technology as the vehicle by which occult elements are engaged and manipulated. A fine example of this is the use of Google as a divination tool. The search engine can be used in a randomized fashion much like a bible is for bibliomancy. The first result is generally the answer to the query.

There are countless different ways to divide the study of magic and the philosophical lines of inquiry engaged by occultists and magicians. Categorizing them by their common elements, it is possible to define general schools of magical study and philosophy. Unfortunately, there is no standardized discussion of magical schools of thought. As such, the organization of one's research into respective schools will be different for each person engaged in study.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Feast of Epiphany

From Here

A Chapel of Our Mother God notes that epiphany is sometimes referred to as the 'little nativity'. One of the winter celebrations and of the 'low' festivals of the Deanic and Filianic faiths, the feast of epiphany marks when the world was given a vision of the Mother and the Daughter. It is the first time since the 'fall' of maid that Dea is glimpsed directly. Within the sacred drama, the vision of epiphany fulfills and foreshadows the Maiden's actions as Redeemer of the World.

It is but by the virtue of the Maiden that the blinding brilliance of the Mother is softened such that we might gaze upon Dea. The Sun, in her brilliance, is considered a metaphorical cognate of the Mother. The Moon is the symbol of the Maiden. Just as a total solar eclipse permits us to look safely at the Sun, so does the Maiden serve to make the brilliance of the Mother less overwhelming.

The Maiden's girlhood is not spoken of in the Gospel of Our Mother God. Some would say that it is secondary to the work the Maiden undertakes as Priestess and Princess of the World. Others would contend that it is a mystery that knowledge of has been lost in this Age. For my part, I understand the girlhood of the Maiden as something that is revealed as She chooses to those who would engage her as the Holy Child.

The iconography of the Blessed Mother and the Christ child appeals very strongly to me. Children of the age that the Christ child is portrayed in most versions of this image are very difficult to determine gender because it is before the obvious secondary sex characteristics present. As such, I see images like the one below as images of the Mother and the Maiden. I contemplate them and I find myself both deeply moved as a mother and a daughter.

From Here
I look at the child curled up against their mother and I have a visceral recollection of holding my infant sons. I am left in a state of wonder at the idea that a goddess might be so tiny. I find myself curious if she was as helpless as my sons were. I wonder if the Mother had her heart in her throat as she watched the Maiden toddle about and grow to full stature.

I mark the feast of epiphany with some solemnity. I spent a good portion of my day, where I could, in meditation on the Daughter and my place in relation to her and the Mother.

May Dea bless you and keep you in her hand.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New material coming soon!

Hi folks!

From Here
There has been a great deal of upheaval in my house of late. First came the fun of the kids being off from school, then the holidays, and then everybody got sick. To say the least, I simply didn't have the starch in me to update here or any of my other blogs. This Tuesday, I will have some new material to share. As always, I am more then willing to answer any questions that you might have. Just shoot me a quick message via the comments.

I hope that this finds you all happy and well.

Dea Bless!