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BOOK OF SHADOWS VOLUME The SIXTH pp. 2400 -2856 RIDERS OF THE CRYSTAL WIND ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2400 The Parts of the Soul A Greek System of Chakras (first draft) by John Opsopaus Introduction This essay resulted from an attempt to find a Greek system of "energy centers" corresponding to the chakras of Eastern philosophy. Such a correspondence would help illuminate Greek mysticism and reveal some of the foundations of the Western Magical Tradition. This goal might seem to be a shallow exercise in analogies, but there are reasons to expect a substantial correspondence. First, the Eastern and Greek systems evolved out of a common Indo-European culture, so one would expect genetic correspondences; these connections were likely maintained over the millennia, since we know the Middle East mediated continual cultural transfer with both the West and East. Second, there is a certain degree of objectivity in the system of chakras, as reflected in the physical body, which would lead to correspondences even in the absence of cultural contact. The consequence of these two factors is a significant uniformity in ideas about the Spirit and its connection to the Body across the Eurasian continent, and even beyond, as documented, for example, in Onians's _Origins of European Thought_. How would we know a Greek system of chakras if we saw it? The standard I have used is that (1) they should be approximately seven energy centers; (2) they should be approximately located where the chakras are located; (3) they should have approximately the same "functions" as the chakras. It's worth keeping in mind that the chakra system best known in the West, with seven chakras, is not the only system; some have more than fourteen (Eliade, 243-5; Murphy, 156). Therefore, we should not expect an exact correspondence of number, since certain energy centers might or might not be counted depending on their strength or the "kind" of energy they concentrate. Furthermore, different systems differ in their exact placement of the chakras, so likewise we should not expect an exact correspondence in a Greek system. Nevertheless, it will be apparent that the Greek system corresponds closely to the system of seven chakras. My principal source has been Onians, especially Part I and Part II (chh. 1-7), but the overall structure is described in Plato's account of the "Parts of the Soul" in the Timaeus (69c-73d), which probably embodies Pythagorean doctrine. In the following I've numbered the energy centers from the top down with Roman numerals, since this accords better with Platonic doctrine; however, the chakras are conventionally numbered from the bottom up, for which I've (appropriately) used Hindu numbers (so-called Arabic numbers). I The Crown of the head (Gk. koruphe, Lat. vertex). Plato said the humans stand upright because of the connection between the Heavens and the Soul in their brains. People with especially great power in their heads were 2401 represented with a nimbus, a halo of flames, around their head (attested as early as the 3rd cent. BCE in Greece). This center corresponds to Chakra 7 (at the crown of the head), called Sahasrara, which means "thousand (-petaled)," an appropriate description of a nimbus. II The Brain (Gk. enkephalos, Lat. cerebrum), which contains the psuche (Gk.) or genios (Lat.). (I use the old Latin spelling "genios" to avoid confusion with the English "genius." The genios is sometimes called the anima.) In Homeric times the psuche was taken to be the "Vital Spirit" or Life Principal (the mind or consciousness was placed in IV, the chest), corresponding to Skt. asu. The later view, which is found in Plato and corresponds better to the Eastern system (cf. Skt. atman), is that the brain is the center of rational thought, the Intellectual center. In both Homer and Plato the psuche is considered the immortal part of the Soul. The physical substance corresponding to psuche was marrow (medulla), especially the cerebrospinal fluid of the brain and spine, but also in other parts of the body (see below). For this reason departed souls were thought to appear as snakes, which are all brain and spine. Scalp and facial hair were considered physical emanations of the psuche, and so the hair, scalp and chin were considered sacred (hence the dedication of locks and the touching of the chin or beard in supplication). This center corresponds to Chakra 6 (at the brow), called Ajna, which means "authority or command," an appropriate name for the rational faculty, which Plato said "controls and restrains" the lower faculties; Onians calls it the Executive function. III The Neck (Gk. trachelos, dere; Lat. collum), which Plato called the "isthmus or boundary" between the Superior, Divine or Immortal Soul and the Inferior or Mortal Soul. He said that it allows communication between the two, but prevents the Lower Soul from "polluting" the Higher. This center corresponds to Chakra 5 (in the throat), called Visuddha, which means "purgation or purity," that is, "the purging of the merely animal, physical system" (Campbell, 165). IV The Heart and Lungs (Gk. phrenes, Lat. cor), which contain the thumos (Grk.) or animus (Lat.), which is the Higher part of the Mortal Soul. In Homeric times the thumos was the Conscious Spirit, the vehicle of Thought and Feeling (cf. Skt. manas). Later, it was restricted to feeling, emotion, passion and especially spirit, courage and anger - the Affective function. This center corresponds to Chakra 4 (at the heart), called Anahata, which means "not hit" (referring to the mystical sound). This chakra is associated with prana (Skt.) - vital breath, vital spirit (Campbell, 164), as are the phrenes with pneuma (Gk.) or spiritus (Lat.) - breath, spirit. Campbell (164-5) says, "This is the aspiration, then, of spiritual striving," and "the birth of the spiritual as opposed to the merely physical life," and likewise the phrenes are associated with spirit, as opposed to the lower parts, which are associated with physical needs and desires. The "little foyer" (the Red Lotus of Eight Petals with the Kalpa Tree) 2402 below the Heart Chakra corresponds to the diaphragm, which Plato called the "midriff partition" separating the two parts of the Mortal Soul (associated with Spirit and Desire, respectively). V The Belly (Gk. gaster, Lat. abdomen), between the diaphragm and navel, is the site of the Lower Part of the Mortal Soul, which is the Appetitive Soul, which we share with the lower animals and plants; its function is nutrition and it is the source of Desire (both Nutritional and, by most accounts, Sexual). This center corresponds to Chakra 3 (at the navel), called Manipura, which means "city of the shining jewel," and its function is "aggressive: to conquer, to consume, to turn everything into oneself" (Campbell, 159-60), which is a good description of the Appetitive Soul. VI The Gonads (Gk. gonades, Lat. genitalia), representing the Procreative function. The "marrow," the stuff of which psuche or genios was made, was the Life Essence; Plato says that in it is made "the bonds of life which unite the Soul with the Body." This marrow or sap is passed down the spine, concentrated in the gonads, and is the source of the life of the offspring. In particular, semen was considered a kind of cerebrospinal sap. This center corresponds to Chakra 2, called Svadhisthana, which means "her favorite resort," an apt name for "the cakra of sexuality" (Campbell, 144). VII The Sacrum or Holy Bone (Gk. hieron osteon, Lat. os sacrum), that is, the base of the spine. Because this was a center of concentration of the Life Force, Middle Eastern people believed that the entire body could be regenerated from this bone, and Onians (p. 208) conjectures that its potency may account for "kiss of shame" (osculum infame) of the Witches and Templars (and perhaps the Cathars and Waldenses). This center corresponds to Chakra 1, called Muladhara, which means "root base," which Campbell (p. 144) associates with "hanging on to life" and a "reactive psyche," so in both cases we have the grossest form of the Life Force. Similarly, the Spine was called the Holy Tube (hiera surinx), which recalls the Sushumna (Spine), which is likewise considered a channel (nadi). Likewise the Egyptian Ded Pillar, which represents the spine, was a symbol of Life. I have not, however, found Greeks correspondents to the Ida and Pingala nadis. VIII The above are the "central" energy concentrations of Greek philosophy, and it is apparent that they correspond closely to the familiar seven chakras. The Greeks also recognized "peripheral" energy concentrations in the hands, thighs and knees (which have a large concentration of "marrow"). This explains the sacrifice of thigh bones, the use of the hand (especially the right hand) to exercise executive power, and clasping the knees when beseeching. (The knee - Gk. gonu, Lat. genu - was especially associated with the Life Force - genios - and with procreation or "generation"; cf. genital, genetic, gonad, etc.) So far 2403 as I know, corresponding chakras are not recognized in Eastern thought. As a general rule of thumb, Spirit, of one sort or another, is most concentrated where the flesh is thinnest (Timaeus 75a), thus, in the head, chest, sacrum, knees and hands. Summary No. English Greek Latin Function Chakra No. _______________________________________________________________________ I Crown Koruphe Vertex Illumination Sahasrara 7 II Brain Enkephalos Cerebrum Intellection Ajna 6 III Neck Trachelos Collum Purification Visuddha 5 IV Heart/Lungs Phrenes Cor Affection Anahata 4 V Belly Gaster Abdomen Appetition Manipura 3 VI Gonads Gonades Genitalia Procreation Svadhisthana 2 VII Sacrum Hieron Osteon Os Sacrum Basic Life Muladhara 1 References Campbell, Joseph. (1990). Transformations of Myth Through Time. New York: Harper & Row. Eliade, Mircea. (1969). Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, tr. Willard R. Trask. Bollingen Series LVI. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Mead, G. R. S. (1967). The Doctrine of the Subtle Body in Western Tradition. Theosophical Publishing House. Murphy, Michael. (1992). The Future of the Body: Explorations Into the Further Evolution of Human Nature. New York: Jeremy Tarcher/Putnam. Onians, Richard Broxton. (1951). The Origins of European Thought About the Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time, and Fate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Poortman, J. J. (1978). Vehicles of Consciousness: The Concept of Hylic Pluralism. Vols. 1-4. Theosophical Publishing House. finis ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2404 RITUS OLYMPICUS PENTAGRAMMOU MINOR AD EXPELLENDUM (c) 1993, John Opsopaus Preface The following is an adaptation of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram to the Graeco-Roman Tradition, and so it is called the "Olympic Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram." Such a "translation" is possible because the LBRP is an enactment in a Qabalistic framework of certain shamanic practices that are nearly universal. Once the underlying shamanic cosmology has been identified, it's relatively straight-forward to reexpress the ritual in the terms of another cosmology, such as the Graeco-Roman. I would welcome criticism of the result, especially from Qabalists and Ceremonial Magicians. Criticism/correction of my Latin and Greek composition will also be appreciated. Finally, I beg readers to forgive the Early Modern English, which I've used to add dignity to the text. The Ritual follows in summary form; a separate posting will contain a fully annotated text. This information should make clear which aspects of the ritual follow from Ancient Tradition, which come from more recent Magical Traditions, and which are a result of my speculation or arbitrary choice; such information is all too often missing from Neopagan recon- structions. If anyone knows of a similar adaptation, please let me know. Gratias vobis ago, John Opsopaus 72747.154@compuserve.com ---------------------------------------------------------- Ritus Olympicus Pentagrammou Minor ad Expellendum The Olympic Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram which is The Traditional Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram Adapted to the Graeco-Roman Tradition (c)1993, John Opsopaus I. The Opening Tau Cross i. Close thine eyes, and by thy breath fan thou the Fire, which awakeneth the Serpent and the Eagle. Allow thyself to grow beyond all bounds of space, until the Universe is 2405 within thee. Be thou as a God; be thou as a Goddess. ij. Draw thou down the Fire of Heaven into thy Heart, and say: "From Celestial Fire" "Ab Igne Caelesti" "Apo tou Ouraniou Puros" [)Apo\ tou= )Oura/niou Puros/] [Suggested gestures for the preceding step: Raise your arms into a horizontal, cross position, with palms up (in Celestial Invocation). Bring them together above your head, palm to palm, and then draw the Celestial Fire down to your heart, while saying "From Celestial Fire."] [The words to be spoken by the practitioner are given in English, Latin and Greek. In an attempt to combine readability and accuracy, I've given the Greek text two ways, in a simple but approximate Roman transcription, and in "Beta code," a standard ASCII representation of Greek including all the accents, breathings, etc. Beta code transcriptions are enclosed in square brackets. The Beta code transcriptions should be reasonably comprehensible with the following information: ")" and "(" represent smooth and rough breathing, respectively; "/", "\" and "=" represent acute, grave and circumflex accents, respectively; "|" is iota subscript.] iij. Guide thou the bright Beam downward, until it stirreth the Subterranean Waters of the Abyss and bringeth Them to life; and while so doing, say thou: "To Watery Abyss" "Ad Aquosum Profundum" "Eis ten Hudroessan Abusson" [)Ei\s th\n (Udro/essan )/Abusson] [Suggested gesture: Keep the palms together and move them down in front of the groin. Then separate the hands and hold them to the sides and slightly forward, with palms down (in Chthonic Invocation).] iv. Direct thou the beam from thy heart through thy left shoulder, until it stretcheth to the Moon, and say: "By Way of Earth" "Via Terrena" "Kat' Hodon Chthonion" [Kat' (Odo\n Xqo/nion] [Suggested gesture: Raise the left hand up to your chest; then extend your arm into horizontal position, with the palm forward.] v. Direct thou the beam from thy heart through thy right shoulder, until it stretcheth to the Sun, and say: "By Way of Air" "Via Aeria" "Kat' Hodon Aitherion" [Kat' (Odo\n )Aiqe/rion] 2406 [Suggested gesture: Raise the right arm to the chest and then into a horizontal position, with forward palm.] vi. Feel thou the Sacred Tau Cross that blazeth inside thee. Now cross thy arms over thy Heart, and say: "Abiding always in the Center. So be it!" "Semper in Medio manens. Esto!" or "Fiat!" "En Omphaloi aei menon" (masc.) or "menousa" (fem.). "Esto!" [)En )Omfalw=| a)ei\ me/nwn] (masc.) or [me/nousa] (fem.). [)/Estw!] [Suggested gesture: Bring your arms together and cross them over your chest.] vij. As thou makest this gesture the Moon and Sun will stand together above thy head, nor will they ever move from there. Moon over Sun and Sun over Tau Cross; thou art the Holy Caduceus. Thou hast become the Center of the World, for the Cosmic Axis runneth through thy spine; on thy left standeth the Path of the Moon, and on thy right the Path of the Sun, above thee shineth the Cosmic Pole, below thee lieth the Abyss. viij. Thou standest upon the Sacred Mountain, the World Navel, under which hideth the Watery Abyss. At thy back groweth the Tree of Life, which stretcheth over thy head, the Navel Cord, for the Mountain and Tree are the Cosmic Pillar, which supporteth the four Quarters of the Heavens. From Calypso's Cave between the Tree's roots, which penetrate the Abyss, are the four springs, which flow to the four Quarters of the World, and they run with water, honey, milk and wine. Around the World Tree's trunk coileth thrice and half again the Serpent. In the Cosmic Tree's leaves percheth the Eagle of Zeus, guarding the Horn of Amalthea, from which Nectar floweth into the Libation Bowl, the Bountiful Breast, which overfloweth, raining Nectar on the World. Ambrosia floweth up the trunk of the Tree from the Deep. Illumination cometh from Above and Growth cometh from Below. The World Tree is the Tree of Destiny and Its leaves are the Book of Fate, for as they fall, so fall to earth the winged souls of the folk, ever singing in its foliage. ix. Divine Helen, Leto's Daughter, with large breasts, liveth in the Bountiful Cosmic Tree, for she is Its Spirit; and Her Brothers, the Dioskouroi, Sons of Zeus [Dios Kouroi] the All-Shining [Pamphaes], the Heavenly Twins of Leto, command the Sacred Paths on either side. For Castor, who resideth underground, knoweth the Lunar Discipline and controlleth the Way of Descent, and Polydeuces, who liveth above, is Master of the Solar Discipline and controlleth the Way of Ascent. x. For learn thou this about the Way of Ascent. It is under the jurisdiction of Zeus, the Sky Shaker, who giveth fertilizing rain and nourishing sunlight. He holdeth the Lightning Bolt of Illumination, and His lightning descendeth from the Sky. The Way of Ascent is to climb Scylla's Mountain, which riseth into the clouds, nor can its peak 2407 ever be seen. Prometheus or Apollo will show thee the Way. Thy Helper in this journey is the Horse Pegasos, but also the Soaring Eagle, Dove and Goose. Then wilt thou break through the Vault of the Heaven, and going through the Celestial Pole thou wilt ascend the Heavens. For this is the Way of Light, the Path by Day, the Sun's Way, the Path of the Sage. xi. And learn thou this about the Way of Descent. It is under the jurisdiction of Poseidon, the Earth Shaker, who giveth fresh water from springs, but also floods and earthquakes. He holdeth the Trident of Ecstasy and His lightning leapeth up from the Earth. The Way of Descent is by the precipice opposite Scylla's cliff, which is the lower of the two, and from it groweth the Sacred Fig Tree. Climb thou down from this Tree to Charybdis, by which thou wilt be drawn into the Watery Abyss. Circe or Herakles will show thee the Way past the Dog and Gatekeeper. Thy Helper in this journey is the Serpent Python, but also the Raging Lion and Bull. Then wilt thou break through the Vault of the Abyss and, going down the Well, thou wilt descend through its levels. For this is the Way of Darkness, the Path by Night, the Moon's Way, the Path of the Mage. xij. But the Wise know that the Way Up and the Way Down are the same, for they are both on the Cosmic Pillar, and sometimes our task demandeth that we go up it, and sometimes it demandeth that we go down it. When Duty calleth, we travel by Day or Night as is the need. Ask thou Hermes for guidance, for he frequenteth the Navel. II. Pentagrams of the Quarters xiij. This is the way thou wilt draw the Shining Pentagrams that wardeth each Quarter. The first ray goeth from the lower left to the top, and each ray continueth from the last. And as thou makest each ray, sing a letter of the Name of the Pentagram. xiv(a). In Greek the Pentagram hath the Name HUGIEIA [U(GI/EIA], which meaneth Soundness or Wholeness, so sing thou the sounds: "Huuuuuuu, Gggggggg, Iiiiiiih, Aaaaaay, Aaaaaaah." xiv(b). In Latin the Pentagram hath the Name SALUS, which meaneth Soundness or Welfare, so sing thou the sounds: "Ssssssss, Aaaaaaah, Llllllll, Uuuuuuuu, Ssssssss." xiv(c). Though in English we label the Pentagram WHOLE or SOUND, its spoken Name is WHOLENESS, so sing thou the sounds: "Hooooooo, Llllllll, Nnnnnnnn, Eeeeeeeh, Ssssssss." xv. Now go thou to the East and make the Pentagram. As thou callest: "Jupiter" or "Zeus" "Iuppiter" "Zeus" [Zeu/s] 2408 hurl thou His Thunderbolt through the center of the Pentagram, and see it fly away to Infinity. [Iuno / Hera [(/Hra] might also be appropriate for the East (She is not an Earth Goddess), in which case you should throw Her Cuckoo-bearing Sceptre, which represents the Celestial Spirit nesting on the top of the World Tree. (Zeus first came to Hera in the form of a Cuckoo.)] xvi. Now with thy Staff forge thou the Fiery Ring, drawing it from the center of the Eastern Pentagram and stretching it to the South, where thou wilt make another Pentagram, but call: "Vesta" or "Hestia" "Vesta" [pron. "Westa"] "Hestia" [(Esti/a] and throw thou Her Burning Circle. xvij. Then to the West: "Neptune" or "Poseidon" "Neptunus" "Poseidon" [Poseidw/n] Hurl thou His Trident. xviij. Then to the North: "Ceres" or "Demeter" "Ceres" [pron. "Keres"] "Demeter" [Dhmh/thr] Throw thou Her Torch. [Pluto / Hades [(/Aidhs] would also be appropriate for the North, in which case his Helmet of Invisibility should be projected through the Pentagram. Hades' name may mean "the Unseen" ["(/Aidhs" < "a) idh/s"].] xix. Then draw thou the Fiery Ring back to its beginning, so it burneth on every side. Then will the Barrier expand above and below until thou art surrounded by the Glowing Sphere. [When projecting the Four Weapons through the Pentagrams, the practitioner might find it helpful to make an appropriate gesture: as though throwing a dart for Zeus's Keraunos, as though throwing a frisbee for Hestia's Burning Ring, as though throwing a javelin for Poseidon's Trident, as though throwing a knife for Demeter's Torch.] III. Wards of the Quarters xx. Now raise again thy arms so thou art the Sacred Tau and, focusing thine attention before thee (Eastward), say: "Before, Apollo" "Ante, Apollo" "Prosthen, Apollon" [Pro/sqen, )Apo/llwn] Apollo will appear before thee in all His Glory, Bow in hand, facing thee. Then will He turn His back to watch the Eastern 2409 Quarter. [Mercurius/Hermes [(Ermh=s], with His Caduceus, would also be appropriate for the East.] xxi. West: Focusing thine attention behind thee, say: "Behind, Diana/Artemis" "Post, Diana" "Opisthen, Artemis" [)/Opisqen, )/Artemis] Artemis will appear with Her Bow. Then will She turn away to watch the West. [Venus/Aphrodite [)Afrodi/th], arising from the waves and holding Her Zona (Girdle), would also be appropriate for the West.] xxij. South: Focusing thine attention to thy right, say: "On the right, Minerva/Athena" "Dextra, Minerva" "Epidexia, Athena." [)Epide/cia, )Aqhna=] Athena will appear with Her Aegis and Spear, and turn to watch the South. [Mars / Ares [)/Arhs] (with Shield and Sword) or Volcanus / Hephaistos [(/Hfaistos] (with Hammer and Tongs) would also be appropriate for the South; Mars was also an Italic vegetation God, and so might be evoked in the North.] xxiij. North: Focusing thine attention to thy left, say: "On the left, Bacchus/Dionysos" "Sinistra, Bacchus" "Ep' aristera, Dionusos" [)Ep' a)ristera/, Dio/nusos] Dionysus will appear with His Thyrsus, and then turn to watch the North. [Pan [Pa/n], with His Pipes, would also be appropriate for the North. Pan may seem an unlikely Ward, but when Athens honored Him and asked Him to help defend them from the Persians, he did so (Herodt. VI.105.2-3).] xxiv. In thy mind, thank all the Wards of the Quarters for Their protection. IV. The Macrocosm in the Microcosm xxv. Spread thy feet apart and assume thou the form of the Sacred Pentagram, which Pythagoras hath called Hugieia (Salus, Whole/Sound). When the Pentagram flameth around thee, say: "For around flameth the Pentagram." "Nam circa flagrat Pentagrammon." "Peri men gar phlegei to Pentagrammon" [Peri\ me\n ga\r fle/gei to\ Penta/grammon] 2410 [If you prefer "For around flame the Pentagrams," then use: "Nam circa flagrant Pentagramma" "Peri men gar phlegousi ta Pentagramma" [Peri\ me\n ga\r fle/gousi ta\ Penta/gramma] xxvi. When the Sacred Hexagram shineth within thee, say: "And within shineth the Six-rayed Star." "Atque intra lucet Stella Sexradiata." "Entos de lampei ho Hexaktinotos Aster." [)Ento\s de\ la/mpei o( E(caktinwto\s )Asth/r.] [If you prefer your Hexagram shining above rather than within, then say "super" instead of "intra," or "Huper" [(Upe/r] instead of "Entos." However, I think it's better to have it within (see the notes for the reason).] xxvij. The Pentagram signifieth the Microcosm, and the Hexagram signifieth the Macrocosm. Thus the Macrocosm shineth within the Illuminated Microcosm. V. The Closing Tau Cross xxviij. Repeat thou the Tau Cross as it was at the beginning. [The following alternative gestures incorporate the relation of the elements embodied in the Hexagram: As you recite the text of the Tau Cross, (1) begin with arms crossed, right over left, on your chest; (2) raise your right arm to the Celestial Fire, (3) lower your left arm to the Watery Abyss, (4) let the Fire draw up the Water to yield Earth, by moving your left arm up to your chest and out to the left, the Way of Earth; (5) let the Water draw down the Fire to yield Air, by moving your right arm down to your chest and out to your right, the Way of Air; (6) cross your arms over your chest, indicating the Reconciliation, Union and Balance of the Oppositions (Bivium), Worlds (Trivium) and Elemental Quarters (Quadrivium). I must admit, however, that these gestures seem somewhat awkward.] xxix. Thou hast made for thyself a Sacred Space at the World's Navel. Ascending on thy Right is the Light Path and descending on thy Left is the Dark Path, but remember thou that the Wise One knoweth that the Way Up and the Way Down are the same and that together they make the one Path of Wisdom. So must it be. finis ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2411 THE FARMER AND THE GODDESS - A MODERN STORY OF REBIRTH The night was quiet and peaceful, with only the occasional call of a whippoorwill to break the tranquil silence. The Moon was an iridescent ball of silver perched high in the heavens, illuminating the Earth below. The sky, a lovely shade of midnight blue, was sparsely speckled with the twinkle of stars. I peered out my window, enchanted by the beauty of the night. As my eyes wandered, they came to rest upon the corn field - the corn field that had broken my very heart. In the beginning, I had worked patiently and diligently tending the soil. I tilled it - turning it over and over, so that the new could surface and the old could rest. I carefully pulled away the weeds and the remnants of the old crop to make the field ready for new planting. I fertilized and nurtured it, smoothed and moistened it. Day after day, I toiled to make it ready. Finally, I plowed it into even rows and lovingly planted it. Every day, I tended the seed and watched for new sprouts. Tenaciously, I ripped the weeds from Earth that would rob the seeds of the nutrients necessary for their growth. And then one day, I saw it - a single, solitary sprout that had pushed its way through the soil! Within the week, the entire field was covered with a very thin mesh of green, and I felt a joy in my heart that words cannot describe! The hard work, the aching muscles, and the tender care with which I had nurtured the field was not in vain - the Earth which I loved had given birth, and was alive in the greening of the seed I had sown. Daily, I worked in the field, delighting in the growth of the corn - revelling in its freshness - exulting in the part I had played in its birth. The rains came down, drenching the earth and the roots grew deep. The sun shone brightly on the young plants and they grew tall, reaching for the sky. Ears began to form on the stalks, and all was well with the crop. But then the drought arrived, and the rains came no more. The sun still beamed brightly, and the roots moved deeper and deeper into the Earth in their desperate quest to find water. Alas, there was not a single drop left with which they could quench their thirst. The once luxuriant green leaves began to yellow and wither. The stalks which had stood so proudly against the sky began to shrivel and crack, and the tender ears, so newly born, dried up in death. Yes, the corn which I had helped to birth - that which I had loved so dearly - was gone. Dried up. Dead. A tear fell from my eye as I stood looking at the field that night, remembering. A gentle breeze rustled through the old and withered stalks as I wiped away the tear. And then...I saw something! Or was it someone? Slowly and silently I crept toward the corn field to take a better look. I felt my heart beating faster and faster, as panic began to consume me. After all, it was nearly midnight and too late for visitors! Whomever was in the field was obviously up to no good, and I wanted them to leave immediately! My legs moved faster and faster - more quickly than I had dreamed they were capable - until I was, indeed, on a dead run! When I reached the old oak tree that shaded the northern edge of the field, I opened 2412 my mouth to shout my displeasure at the trespasser; however, I fell silent as my eyes focused on the sight, and my mouth gaped wide. For there, in the center of the corn field, was a young woman in white - her hair as gold as the maize - glowing in the shimmering iridescence of the moonlight! Questions ravaged my tired brain, as I tried to assess the situation and size up the intruder. Who was She? What was She doing there? Surely She knew She was trespassing - and most certainly She knew that it was illegal! As much as I wished to call out to Her, I was mesmerized by Her very presence and found that I could say nothing. Helplessly, I watched as She moved through the rows of death. She stopped to caress a dry and withered leaf, and then smiling, held it to her cheek. Gently, She reached out and wrapped Her arms about the cracked, brown stalk, hugging it closely to Her breast. She released the stalk and bent down to look at one of the ears - perfectly formed, but shriveled in its deathly demise. Quickly, She snapped the ear from its stalk, tugged away its husk and swiftly moved toward the outside perimeter of the field. Holding the ear of corn high above Her golden head, She began to dance upon the barren Earth. As if in slow motion, She twirled about the outside edges of the field, as she softly hummed an unfamiliar tune. Round and round the field She danced, picking up momentum as She worked Her way toward the center. Louder and louder She sang, the volume increasing as Her feet flew faster and continued to spiral toward the center. Within the matter of a few seconds, She had become a whirling dervish - dancing with such wild abandon that the kernels of corn were loosed from their cob, flying helter-skelter across the field! She glistened in the moonlight as droplets of perspiration formed upon Her body, and in the frenzy of Her dance, they too, were flung upon the Earth. Her feet and voice reached the ultimate crescendo at the center of the corn field, and She fell upon the ground in total exhaustion. All was silent. The sounds of the nocturnal creatures had been stilled. All was enveloped in an unnatural hush - as if time itself, had stopped. She lay on the Earth, unbreathing, unmoving, immobile - as still as Death, itself! I stared at Her in horror, the panic which I had forgotten, rushing back into my brain with full force. Was She alright? Good Heavens! Was She dead?? Finally, I gathered my wits about me, found my feet and rushed toward the center of the corn field, where She had fallen in collapse. My heart beating wildly, I reached out to Her - but She was gone! She had disappeared into the very ether! All that was left in Her place was a single corn cob, void of its kernels - the kernels which had flung from their resting place in the midst of the Lady's spiral dance. The sun was shining hotly on my face as I rubbed my sleepy eyes into total alertness. Where was I? This didn't feel like my bed! What was causing this blinding light? I was soaked to the bone! Just what the hell was happening here? Cautiously, I opened my eyes and surveyed my surroundings. To my dismay, I was lying smack-dab in the middle of the corn field and my head was resting in a rather large mud puddle. Clenched tightly in my fist, like 2413 some precious jewel in need of protection, was a solitary corn cob. I scrambled to my feet and tried in desperation to collect my thoughts. What was I doing here? Had I lost my mind? And then...I remembered! I remembered the cornfield in the moonlight - the Lady and the dance. I also remembered how Her drops of perspiration had dropped to the ground in the frenzy of Her movements. I looked at my feet and the Earth beneath them. Joy and wonder rose in my heart. It had rained! Merciful Heavens! It had rained - the Earth was soaked with moisture - the drought was over! Gleefully, I ran through the cornfield, feeling my bare toes dig into the wet Earth - the same Earth which had been so cracked and dry and barren just yesterday. I ran in joy. I ran in ecstasy. I ran in sheer celebration of the soil's return to richness - and then, I stopped dead in my tracks. Something was amiss. Something had changed. Something was quite unlike it had been before. Scanning the field, I realized that it was once again covered with delicate green mesh of newly sprouting corn! In awe, I reached down to cradle a newly-formed sprout and as my fingers touched the verdant green leaf, a feminine voice began to speak: "You were born of me! You are my child and at death you shall return to me. Fear not of death, dear one, for within its realm I shall bring you new life! Just as the corn lives again - so shall it be with you! For all that falls shall rise again, and that which dies shall be blessed with the gift of rebirth - the gift of My love!" -Kalioppe- The Chocolate Ritual By: Buckmeister Thu 30 Sep 93 Materials required: On the altar there are brown candles; a Tootsie Roll (the great big one-as the athame); a large glass with milk in it,(the chalice); a small dish of Nestle's Quick and a spoon; a small dish of chocolate sprinkles; a plate of cupcakes and some Yoo-Hoo along with a goblet. CLEANSE THE SACRED SPACE: (Take the small bowl of chocolate sprinkles) Chocolate sprinkles where thou art cast No calories in thy presence last. Let no fat adhere to me And as I will So Mote It BE! Nestle's Quick where thou art cast Turn this milk to chocolate, fast. Let all good things come to me, and make my milk all chocolatey! CAST THE CIRCLE(using a toosie roll): CALL THE QUARTERS: Mousse of the East, Fluffy one! great prince of the palace of dessert. Be present, we pray thee, And guard this circle from all moochers Approaching from the East. 2414 Fondue of the South, Molten One! Great prince of the palace decadence. Be present we pray thee, and guard this circle from all diet Approaching from the South. Cocoa of the West, Satisfying One! Great prince of the palace of thirst. Be present we pray thee, And guard this circle from all carob Approach- ing from the West. Rocky Road of the North, Cold One! Great prince of the palace of crunchy. Be present we pray thee, And guard this circle from all cheap imitations Approaching from the North. MAIN RITUAL: HANDMAIDEN(Henceforth known as the Swiss Miss): Listen to the words of the Mother of Chocolate; who was of old called; Godiva, Ethel M, Sara Lee, Nestle, Mrs. See, and by many other names: HPS: Whenever you have one of those cravings, once in a while and better it be when your checkbook is full, then shall you assemble in a great public place and bring offerings of money to the spirit of Me, who is Queen of all Goodies. In the Mall shall you assemble, you who have eaten all your chocolate and are hungry for more. To you I shall bring Good Things for your tongue. And you shall be free from depression, and as a sign that you are truly free, you shall have chocolate smears on your cheeks, and you shall munch, nosh, snack, feast, and make yummy noises, all in my presence. For mine is the ecstacy of phenylalanine(FEEN-EL-AL-A-NEEN), and mine is also the Joy on Earth, yea, even into High Orbit for my law is "Melts in your mouth, not in your hand." Keep clean your fingers, carry Wet Ones always, let none stop you aside. For mine is the secret that opens your mouth, and mine is the taste that puts a smile on your lips and comfy padding pounds on your hips. I am the Gracious Goddess who gives the gift of joy unto the tummies of men and women. Upon earth, I give knowledge of all things delicious, and beyond death.......well, I can't do much there. Sorry about that. I demand only your money in sacrifice; for behold, chocolate is a business and you have to pay for those truffles before you eat them. SWISS MISS: Hear now the words of the Goodie Goddess, she in the dust of whose feet are the cheap imitations, whose body graces candy racks and finer stores everywhere: I, who am the beauty of chocolate chips, and the sastifying softness of big bars, the mystery of how they ge the filling inside of truffles, and fill the hearts of all but Philistines with desire, call unto thy soul to arise and come unto me. For I am the soul of candy; from me do all confections spring, and unto me all of you shall return, again.... and again....and again...... and again. Before my smeared face, beloved of Women and Men, thine innermost 2415 divine self shall be enfolded in the rapture of overdose. Let my taste be within thy mouth that rejoices. For behold, all acts of yumminess and pleasure are my rituals. Therefore let there be gooeyness and mess, crispness and crackling, big slabs and bite size peices, peanut butter and chocolate covered cherries all within you. And you who think to seek me, know that your seeking and yearning shall avail you not unless you know the Mystery; "We shall sell no chocolate until you pay for it." For behold; I have been with you since you were just a baby, and I am that which is attained at nearly any shop in the land. Messed Be. SWISS MISS: Hear now the words of the Chocolate God, who was called Ghirardelli, Milton Snavely Hershey, Bosco, Fudgesicle, and by many other names. HP: I am the strength of the candy rack, and the peice that fell on the floor, but looks like it might not have gotten too dirty, and the deepest bitterness of dark chocolate. No matter how you try to resist the call of chocolate, I will hunt you out and I will become your sacred prey. I am warmth of hot cocoa in the dead of winter, and the call of the road that leads you to that really expensive Godiva store downtown. I give you my creatures, the fire of love of chocolate, the power of jaw strength to bite off a piece of that frozen Milky Way bar, and the shelter of Haagen Daz when that big date didn't work out. You are dear to me, and I instill in you my power of a piece of chocolate that you had forgotten you had hidden, and the power of vision and magickal sight with which you can spot a candy counter a mile away. By the powers of the half melted bar in the glorious sun, I charge you, by the darkest depths of the bottom of the cocoa pot and lingering smell of bittersweet chocolate, I charge you, and by the beauty of a perfectly swirled vanilla butter cream, I charge you. Follow your heart and your instinct, wherever they lead you. The wealth in your pocket can buy you treats that a Mayan king would envy. Take joy in that first bite of lecithin emulsfied cocoa, and in the last satisfying slurp of Yoo-Hoo. Yet you must be wary of deciet. Eat not of that which is called "Baking Chocolate" for it is vile and bitter. Lastly, always remember to leave some chocolate behind you. Be not greedy, but let yourself be known as a connoisseur. Leave a little for someone else. I am with you always, just over your shoulder, or around the next corner. I am the Lord of Chocolate, and when you have reached the end of your hoard, I will never be farther away from you that that 7-Eleven on the corner. I am the spirit of the Wild Child; the Inner Child who can never get quite enough. If you are a true chocolate lover, then your soul and mine are interwined. CUPCAKES & YOO-HOO: 2416 (The blessing of the Yoo-Hoo) HP: Be it known that milk chocolate is not better that dark chocolate. HPS: Nor is dark chocolate better than milk chocolate. HP: For both are better than the falsely named "White Chocolate." HPS: And neither one is carob. HP: As the frosting is to the cupcake. HPS: So the creamy nougat is to the Milky Way Bar. BOTH: And when they are eaten, they are yummy in truth, for there is no greater snack in all the world than one made of chocolate. (The blessing of the cupcakes) HP: Frosting is keen, HPS: And the frosting is neat. BOTH: Great Goddess! Let's eat! Feasting and drinking(chocolate liquer, if possible), music and dance. Dismiss Quarters. HPS: Oh, ye mighty goodies of the _______________, We thank you for attending our rites and guarding our circle and ere you depart for your sweet and sticky realms, We say unto you, "N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestles makes the very best." ALL: "Chooooc-laaate." (After all the quarters have been dismissed, give a final, satisfy- ing belch at the East.) Close circle. AUDIENCE WITH THE KEEPER OF WISDOM I sat on the cobblestone bridge, listening to the ancient song of the rushing waters in the brook below and contemplating the day's events. I had awakened this morning with the strange anticipation and wariness that generally accompanies the prediction of important occurrences in one's life. All day, I had gone about my usual routine, waiting and watching for something out of the ordinary - but to no avail. There had been nothing of signifance...just another normal day filled with the dull mundanity of household chores, grocery shopping and bill paying. Nothing more. I let out a heavy sigh, and turned my attention to the sheep grazing in the lush meadow. I pondered their lives and wondered if they 2417 ever felt the same anticipation I had experienced this morning. I smiled at the foolishness of my thoughts, knowing full well that the creatures of the field were content enough in the simpleness which life had to offer - ample food and water was all they required. No, the peaceful flock below couldn't be bothered with such nonsense. Maybe I should follow their lead and just turn my thoughts to the more mundane side of life. Looking down at my feet as they dangled over the rushing water, I became aware of the myriad of color that was reflected from the setting sun. Mesmerized by the beauty of the kaleidoscopic dance, I watched intently as the oranges, reds and purples whirled and twirled with each other on the surface of the brook. The rich shades of the sunset gradually faded into pastels and then, the irridescence of shimmering silver. An owl hooted nearby, jolting me fully back into reality. Good Goddess! Night had fallen! How long had I been there, lost in the absurdity of human thought? Obviously much too long, from the looks of things. I hurriedly scrambled to my feet, shivering as I gathered my shawl about my shoulders. The night had turned cool and damp, and the misty veil of fog was rolling into the valley at a rapid pace. The delicate breeze of early day had been replaced a heavy west wind, and my hair was whipping about my face and shoulders. Great! There was going to be a storm, and here I was - in the middle of nowhere - likely to be caught in it! As I neared the end of the bridge, I realized that it was too late. The fog had settled into a mist so dense and heavy, that I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. There was no use in searching for cover, as the visibility factor was nil. Aside from that, it was quite dangerous to wander blindly through the valley mists - even folks who knew the valley territory very well knew better than to try it. Several years earlier, one of the area residents had been caught in the steamy vapors while in search of a missing lamb, and had been found hours later - miles from the valley - still wandering about looking for his home. I cursed under my breath as I settled back onto the bridge to wait out the fog. No sooner than I'd gotten situated, the fog began to dissipate nearly as quickly as it had descended. The wind was still blowing in fierce gusts, but at least now, I reasoned, I should be able to find my way home. Without another thought, I hurried across the bridge and onto the path below. From the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the silvery moonlight reflected on the water. Suddenly, I realized that something was wrong - genuinely wrong! The brook had ceased to run! Disbelieving, I rubbed my eyes and looked again. No, I wasn't seeing things! Despite the heavy winds and the decline of its course, the surface of the brook hadn't so much as a ripple. Goddess! The surface was as smooth as glass! Shock! That was it - I must be in shock! I began to conjure all sorts of excuses as to why my eyes were playing tricks on me. But then...it happened! The winds began to blow from all four directions at once, their forces concentrated at the center of the still and lifeless brook. A bit of mist was caught up in the forces of the gale - twirling this way and that, becoming larger in size and stronger in density - until all at once, the winds were hushed in deathly 2418 silence. There She stood - a beautiful and terrible visage - atop the glassy water. Robed and Hooded. Dark and black. Faceless. It was She! The Devourer of Souls. The Keeper of Wisdom. She Who stirred the Cauldron of Rebirth. The Shapeshifter. I shivered in fear and anticipation. From beneath the hood, She gazed upon me with the invisible eyes that saw all. Silently, She fixed Her eyes on mine and bade me not to turn away. Deeper and deeper into Her eyes I went. Deeper. Deeper still. A myriad of jewel-tone colors began to swirl in my very being - faster, darker, brighter - until I was the color and it was me! I began to feel ill. I knew I should turn away, but Her strength was such that I seemed incapable of the slightest movement. Just when I thought I would faint from terror, there was a tumultuous clap of thunder and I realized that it was too late. Goddess! My entire being had been consumed by Hers! The world began to change around me, and I found myself suddenly back in time. I witnessed firsthand the Tale of the Taliesin - which heretofore I had always thought a mere fairytale - and watched in horror as the Three Drops of Wisdom flew from the Cauldron and spilled onto Gwion Bach, imbuing him with infinite knowledge. I was taken on the frenzied chase between Cerridwen and Gwion, and felt my mortal body contort and twist with every shape that was shifted. As the greyhound, I tracked the hare who was Gwion. My muscles flexed again, and I dove into the water as the otter, chasing the salmon who just moments before, had been the hare. Gwion then took to the sky as a sparrow, and in flight, I swiftly pursued him as the hawk. I watched knowingly as Gwion, thinking himself quite safe, smugly turned himself into a single grain of wheat. And it was I, who in sorrow and pleasure, shifted into the black hen and supped upon that grain. I felt the swell of pregnancy and the pains of labor as I delivered the new-born babe. For the very first time, I began to understand...*really* understand! Suddenly, I was once again caught up in the rapid whirl of color. There was a blinding streak of blue-black lightning and after a moment of excruciating pain, I was hurled forcefully from the essence of the Goddess and back into my own! So frightening and traumatic was this experience, I wasn't really sure whether I was alive or dead! I drew a long breath, blinked my eyes and gingerly flexed my toes. Apparently, I was allright and everything seemed to be working okay! I quickly dusted myself off and got to my feet. We stood looking at each other - I from the bank, and She from her realm atop the water. Unexpectedly, She opened Her hand and held it out to me. Inside were three drops of liquid, sparkling like diamonds in the night. She tossed Her hand to the North, and one of the drops splashed into the water, forming a very large circle - the Circle of Causes and Necessity. I drank of its earthy waters and tasted the poignant flavor of lessons learned, as pieces of my life flashed before my eyes. She cast a second drop to the West, and a smaller circle appeared: The Circle of Blessedness. As I carefully sipped of its waters, my spirit left my body and for a split second, stood on the water facing the Wisdom Keeper before re-entering its physical realm. The third drop, She flung cautiously to the East. From it, too, 2419 a circle materialized - though much smaller than the rest: The Circle of the Infinite. As I bent to partake of its knowledge, She stopped me with Her upraised hand. I understood. Gently, I dipped my finger into the waters, and for a moment saw all the knowlege that is and ever will be! At that very moment, She raised Her hands skyward and Her form shifted into that of a great red dragon. Opening Her arms, She moved to the South and lovingly gathered all three circles to Her breast. The winds gusted from all four directions again, their forces centered toward the spot where She stood. I watched as She twirled furiously in the wind and in a matter of seconds, She was gone. The winds died quickly to a gentle breeze. The brook which had been so deathly still, quickly burst forth with new life. All was as it had been. It was just after daybreak, and the promise of a new beginning was well underway. I sat on the cobblestone bridge to contemplate with awe and wonder the night's events. I felt exhilarated, happy and humbled all at once! I had been visited by the She, The Stirrer of the Cauldron. I had been devoured and rebirthed again from Her body! I was newly alive with the mysteries she had unfolded to me! I finally understood! I jumped up from my seat and blew a kiss to the Triple Goddess in thanksgiving, then happily skipped across the bridge. As I neared the path toward home, the sheep were being let into the meadow for their morning repast. One of them had strayed from the flock and seemed to be coming in my direction. I walked toward him in an effort to herd him back to the others, and as I grew near, he raised his head and looked at me. Stroking him gently, I looked into his eyes and saw a strange look - an odd look - a look of anticipation and wariness. -Kalioppe- ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2420 IMBOLG RITUAL Two women are selected to represent the Maiden and the Crone. the Priestess will represent the Mother. The members of the group should bring with them the candles which they will use for the year for blessing. The altar is at the Northeast and is covered with a white cloth. Evergreens are used as decoration. A basket filled with tiny bundles of straw or wheat rests on the altar [there should be one bundle for every person participating in the ritual], as well as two (2) white candles. A black ribbon at least twelve (12) inches in length is placed in the basket. A single white flower tied with a white ribbon (to symbolize Bride) and the wand rest together in front of the altar. Four (4) white candles stand between the quarter candles. The cauldron is placed at the South, and a white candle is situated inside. A dark colored scarf or shawl (for the Crone) and a bouquet of flowers (for the Maiden) are on the altar, as well as a single white taper (for the Mother). Full Circle is cast. The two women prepare "Bride's Bed." The MAIDEN and the CRONE pick up the flower and the wand respectively, and take them to the center of the Circle. They place the flower and the wand side by side in the center of the Circle, with the heads toward the altar. They place the altar candles on either side of the "bed" and light the candles. The two women and the Priestess stand around the bed and say together three times: The Maiden comes to bring us light! The Winter dies, and all is bright! The frozen ground shall disappear - And all shall sprout, for Spring is near! The Priestess now summons the two women, and the three of them stand in front of the altar, assuming their Triple-Goddess roles. The MAIDEN kisses the Priestess (MOTHER) on both cheeks and hands her a white candle. The CRONE lights the MOTHER's taper. The CRONE stands to her left. The MAIDEN drapes the shawl over the CRONE'S head and shoulders. The MAID stands to the MOTHER'S right and picks up the bouquet of flowers. The PRIESTESS says: Behold the three-fold Goddess; Maiden, Mother, and Crone; She is one - yet She is three Together and Alone Summer comes not - without Spring Without Summer, comes no Winter chill; Without the Winter, Spring isn't born The Three, life's cycles, fulfill! The Charge of the Goddess is then recited. After the recitation 2421 is finished the Priestess says: Now let us celebrate Imbolc! The MAIDEN picks up the besom and makes her way SLOWLY deosil around the inside edges Circle, ritually sweeping it clear of all that which is old, useless and unnecessary. MOTHER and CRONE walk behind her in stately procession. While sweeping, the MAID says: With this besom filled with power Sweep away the old and sour Sweep away the chill of death As Winter draws its last cold breath Round, round, round about Sweep the old and useless out! The Maiden replaces the besom and the women resume their places in front of the altar. The MAIDEN picks up the basket of straw bundles and presents each member of the group with one. The CRONE goes to the South, kneels before the cauldron and lights the candle inside. She explains to the group that the bundles of straw which they have been given are symbolic of Winter and Death, but also that any negativity with which they are charged will be burned along with it. A few moments of silence are allowed so that each person may charge their bundle with their own negative thoughts, habits and shortcomings. The CRONE then collects the bundles, walking widdershins. She then ties the bundles together with the black ribbon, lights the "community straw man" and places him in the cauldron to burn, saying: Thus we melt the Winter! And warm the breath of Spring! We bid adieu to what is dead, And greet each living thing. Thus we banish Winter! Thus we welcome Spring! The Rite of Cakes and Wine is appropriate at this time. All members have libation, sit and relax and visit amongst themselves. When libation is finished, the MAIDEN collects candles from the coveners to be blessed for use during the coming year, placing them in a basket. The basket is placed on the altar. The PRIESTESS says: I bless thee creatures of wax and light Casting out all negativity Serve your purpose, flaming bright Infused with magic, you shall be Instruments of light and strength Wick and wax though you may be I give you life of needed length To aid in creativity! In the Names of the Lord and Lady, so mote it be! 2422 The candles are then redistributed to the coven members. The Priestess says: As we close this celebration of Imbolg, let each of us find joy in the power of the returning Sun! As each new day dawns and the light of day becomes brighter and stronger, remember that your inner light should burn as brightly. Feel the changes in the earth around you, as the chill of Winter recedes and all sprouts in the greeness of fresh, new life. Remember the wonder you felt as you awakened from Maidenhood to Womanhood - from Boyhood to Manhood. Relive the joy of that awakening and heal any emotional scars you may have! Breathe deeply of the harmony of the Earth's new life and and rejoice in your own! Dearest Bride, Maiden of all that is fresh and new, we warmly thank you for attending our Rite of Imbolc. As this Circle is dissolved, we ask that you guide us in our new beginnings and inspire us with the fresh creativity that you bring to all life. Routine dissolution. Outdoor libation to the Lord and Lady. -Kalioppe- 812 Courtney Sikeston, MO 63801 ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2423 This ritual was written at a time when I did not have a qualified Priest in my group. However, it may easily be adapted for those groups in which the Priestess and Priest work together. It may be just as easily adapted to solitary work. SAMHAIN RITUAL Place an apple and pomegranate upon the altar. There should also be a "planted" pot of earth for each participant - these may be arranged on the altar as well, if there is ample space. Instruments of divination may be placed within the Circle perimeter for use during the ritual if you wish. Arrange the altar as usual and decorate with Autumn leaves, pumpkins, etc. The Circle is cast and purified the Circle in the usual manner. Dancing around the Circle in a shuffle step (deosil), all chant three times: The Moon is bright, the Crone is old The body lifeless - the bones so cold We all live and pay our dues To die in ones and threes and twos. Death, dance and play the harp Piercing silence in the dark The Woman's old with withered limbs Death beckons Her to dance with Him As She accepts the Dance of Death The Earth is cooled by ghostly breath To lie in dormancy once more To have Her strength and life restored Go to the Western Quarter and draw an invoking pentagram with the athame to open the gate. Then evoke the dead by saying: All ye spirits who walk this night - Hearken! Hearken to my call! I bid you in our Circle join! Enter! Enter - one and all! Come ye, spirits of the dead: Be ye spirit of plant or pet Or human being who still roams! Into this Circle you are let! Speak to us of things unknown! Lend your energies to this rite! To speed your journey, we have joined On this sacred Samhain night! All ye spirits who walk this night - Hearken! Hearken to my call! I bid you in our Circle join! Enter! Enter - one and all! ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2424 Bestow blessings upon the dead, saying: Oh Mighty Pan of the Summerlands: Guardian of the beloved dead We pour forth love on those you keep Safely, in your peaceful stead We bless those who have walked the path That someday, we as well, shall rove We offer peace unto their souls While resting in your arms, below Now is the time for divination (Ouija Board, pendulum, cards, etc.) and communication with those who have gone on before us. Allow plenty of time for this. [Note: I have found that it is helpful to have a tape recorder handy within the Circle for recording any communications that may be "channeled" during this time. Some people disagree with this suggestion, saying that the metal of this electronic device causes scattered energies in the Circle; however, if the recorder has been cleansed and purified as the rest of the ritual tools, the problem seems to be resolved.] When the divinatory processes are completed, the Priestess goes to the Western Quarter and draw the banishing pentagram, saying: Blessings be upon thee, oh wondrous Spirits of the Summerlands. We humbly thank thee for your presence in our Circle and honor you in celebration this sacred night. We beseech thee, oh Pan, keeper of the sacred dead, embrace once again those souls within your keep and hold tightly to your breast those which have been lost and wandering. Grant them safe passage to the Summerland, where they may rest peacefully in your strength until they are refreshed and reborn again in perfect love. We bid thee all a fond farewell. So mote it be! The gate is now closed. The Priestess goes to the altar and hold up the pomegranate, saying: Behold the pomegranate, fruit of Life ... The athame is plunged into the pomegranate, splitting it open to display the seeds. She says: Whose seeds lie in the dormancy of Death! The Priestess eats one of the seeds, saying: I Taste the seeds of Death. The pomegranate is then passed hand to hand through the participants of the ritual, each eating a seed and saying to the next person, "Taste the seeds of Death." The Priestess then holds up the apple, saying: 2425 Behold the apple: fruit of wisdom, fruit of Death... She then cuts the apple crosswise, saying: Whose symbolism rewards us with life eternal! She holds up the apple, displaying the inner pentagram, and says: Behold the five-fold star - the promise of rebirth! Consecrate the fruit and wine. Each person then tastes of the apple and sips the wine, saying to the next person: Taste the fruit of rebirth and sip from the cup of wine of Life. After libation, the Priestess presents each member of the group with a small pot of earth, planted with three seeds [preferably rue or lavendar]. She briefly explains to the group that this is the season of the seed - it is a time of dormancy, but also a time of re-generation for growth. Further, as the seed rests in the earth, they should also take time to rest and re-evaluate their lives, metaphorically planting only those values which will enrich and enhance the growth within the Divine Self. She then instructs them to name the seeds within their pots with three values they wish to incorporate into their lives, knowing that as the seeds sprout with new life, their lives will be new, as well. After the presentation, all join hands and hold them skyward. PRIESTESS Thus is the Circle of Rebirth. All pass from this life through the great god, Pan But through My love you are all reborn In the cycles of nature - through the Cosmic Plan. In living we die - in dying we live The fruit is first seed, yet seed comes from the fruit In the mystery of life and death and rebirth The Circle turns ever, and I am its root. ALL RESPOND The Sun conceived in Darkness, cold In the Shadow of Death, a Life unfolds A shred of Light begins to burn From Death comes Life - the Circle turns. Dismiss Quarters and Dissolve Circle. PRIESTESS The rite is ended. ALL Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again! Outdoor libation to the Lord and Lady, and the spirits of the dead. -Kalioppe- ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2426 A BRIEF ASSESSMENT OF NEOPAGAN THEOLOGY (As offered by Cyprian at the Pan-Pagan Festival August, 1980 CREATION... Physicists currently interpret physical creation, that is, the universe as we know it, as having occurred within a time span o about three minutes...the "Big Bang." Our physical universe is thought to have been created with the explosion of a hyper-dense particle which contained every bit of matter and energy that now exists in the universe, including the matter which forms our living bodies as we meet here today. This hyper-dense super molecule also is thought to have been quite small. Dr. Leon Friedman, director of the FermiLab near Chicago, has indicated it may have ben no larger than a basket ball. Into this "ball" was jammed all matter and all energy in our universe. It remained there until some creative force, some creative urge, disrupted the status of this primal "egg" and set into being the universe as we know it. this event occurred with the so-called "Big Bang," echoes of which have been detected by scientific instruments. Our interpretation of the nature of this creative force or creative urge is opposed to that of Judeo-Christianity in that we perceive it as feminine...they see it as masculine. We hold that pre-creation was feminine and this divergence in concept of first Things, creation, forever separates our Neopagan world-view from the Judeo-Christians. Briefly consider this, and you may want to dwell upon it later, our Goddess, of Her own will, receives Her consort, the God whom she created, and from Their union our creation is ever revived and sustained. The Christian reviver and sustainer, on the other hand, was conceived in a most singular manner. The omnipotent God sent a neuter third party messenger, and angel, to announce to a virgin that she was pregnant with the child, Jesus. So there. Zap! What a put-down! What revival and sustenance can we find in such a sterile and asexual concept? Even masculine old Zeus copulated with human females so at least somebody got some fun out of the process! What we Neopagans find difficult to understand is why Judeo-Christianity so vehemently turned its back on sex and not just sex as a physical act but also sex as a gender, specifically, sex as a feminine gender. When we seek to deal with Creation we also must situate our place as human beings within the totality of Creation. The orthodox Judeo-Christian view gives humans a special place within Creation; that is, that we are not part of general creation but a special creation..."Man was created in the image of God"...and the rest of creation is our plaything..."Yours is the earth and everything on it." There is no need to expound upon our rejection of these two fundamental points: of course we are not created in any special way, any more than is a rock or a tree or a raccoon or a galaxy, nor do we have dominion over anything. We are a part of general creation along with every other particle of matter in the universe. I hope you grasp the vast difference this makes; it forever separates us from the Judeo-Christian heritage and it s a gulf 2427 that cannot be bridged. They must forever consider themselves special and we must forever consider ourselves general and one with creation. And it is given to us to look at a grain of sand and in that grain see the sum total of creation and to see ourselves as part of it and to gibe thanks for the creative force of the Goddess and Her consort that sustains this creation. CHAOS... With Chaos, as with so many other concepts, we must think on at least two levels, the physical and the mythical, to come to any sort of understanding of ourselves and what we really believe about our place in creation. And it is this belief, this understanding that is the ultimate determination of how we live as human beings upon this beautiful Earth. That is what we Neopagans are trying to do right now: learn to think differently that Western man has thought in nearly two-thousand years in order that we may live in a renewed relationship with creation. It is an exciting adventure. Before there was form, there was Chaos. We may well suppose Chaos represents the disordered formlessness of matter and energy in that initial "Big Bang" of the primordial egg in those first three minutes when creation began. Mythologically, we see this formlessness as before the Earth and Sky were separated, as before the four elements, actually the four states of matter, had coalesced into their separate forms. The myths speak darkly of this time, of the births of the Titans, Cyclops and 100-handed monsters, of a father who devours his own young...what better way to represent Chaos! We may assume, too, we have our own dark and personal counterpart to this primal Chaos. Is it that black win that whips at the raveled edge o sanity? I believe our ancestors felt far more keenly than we can understand in this present age a constant fear that what order they had managed to being to their lives, indeed, what order they could see in creation around them, would suddenly collapse and they would be plunged into chaos and madness. Greek myths are redolent with stories of madness and possession. Even great Heracles fell victim. It is no wonder, then, the gods of chaos are said to have been chained beneath the Earth, castrated, even devoured. But they still live, they still can escape. Brrr! And to some degree, escape they have from time to time. How else can we account for the chaos of war, of a Hitler, a Napoleon, a Viet Nam? Modern psychology recognizes the chaotic madness that dwells in all of us, ever ready to pounce and destroy. We may think of it as a chained and raging primal demi-god, that psychologists probably use more scientific language but when that chain snaps, the result is the same; concentration camps, starvation, and on and on. History is too full of such dismal lists. There is no need to go on with a recitation or horrors. But that does turn us at once to the next topic...the consideration of evil. 2428 EVIL... Every religion, great and small, has had to wrestle with the problem of evil because evil poses a fundamental question: how can an all-omnipotent god who is all good permit evil to exist?...and this is whether you interpret evil as some dark malevolent Satan or whether you see it as death camps, war, starvation or whatever. Judeo-Christian theologians have wrestled with the problem of evil since the very beginnings of the Judeo-Christian faith. When boiled down, all the more reasonable answers go something like this: The all-powerful God permits evil to exist so that man, who is created in God's image, may have a choice between good and evil. Ultimately, in the Last Days, evil will be defeated and woe betide those who made the wrong choice! At first glance this seems satisfactory but we Neopagans cannot accept it because it sets man apart, as being different from the rest of creation. This is absolutely contrary to what we believe. We hold that man is VERY MUCH a natural part of creation and we have no special place in it. We have no more choice between good and evil than the stars or a bumblebee. To the non-Pagan, then, who asks us to explain the existence of evil we must give a two-fold reply: one, we are not special creatures so we cannot truly know what evil is or if it even exists; that which we perceive with our limited faculties as evil may not be evil at all within the creative scheme. Two, our three-fold Goddess is possessed of a dark visage, the Hag, which we no more understand than we do the Lusting Nymph or the Loving Mother-Creator. The Hag, the Old Woman who lays us out and prepares our remains for the journey to the Land behind the North Wind, is no "Satan" but an integral part of the creative process, which we see as our three-fold Goddess. If we are pressed hard enough, at the end we must say a Hitler, a Vietnam war, a starving child are all part of the creative process although we cannot pretend to know exactly how or why. We must confess, too, that a statement we simply don't know and cannot know the nature of evil is easily interpreted as a cop-out. This is not rue in our case, though, because we do not believe in special creation, that is, man is not a special creature molded in the image of the Creator and sharing the Creator's mind. No, man is simply a part of the overall creative urge and therefore it is not given to us to know good and evil anymore than it is to my two cat friends, Buzz and Fang. But the problem of what we think of as evil is not resolved by casting it aside with a simplistic explanation we are not given to know what it is...although we Neo-Pagans, I think, pretty generally agree this is a true statement. But just because it is true does not put the question to rest. There is another approach, however, and this approach to the problem makes a lot of ultimate sense for us Neo-Pagans. As stated earlier, the astro-physicists and we agree on the probable pre-creation existence of a super-molecule or, in 2429 mythical terms, a "world egg." This egg exploded to create the universe, Creation, as we know it. If we accept this cosmology, and it makes sense with our mythos, then we must also accept the fact there is only a finite amount of matter and energy in creation. There can be no "new" matter or energy, only matter and energy that have been recycled. And were not only matter and energy re-cycled and interchanged then we would run out of matter and energy and creation would reach a state of status wherein matter and energy were forever locked in cold sterility. Don't we, in fact represent this constant play-interplay of matter and energy as the reviving and renewing union of the Goddess and Her consort? Even more germane to our problem of evil; may that which we perceive so dimly as evil actually be an essential part of this re-cycling of matter/energy? If so, then we have the key example of our Wiccan/Neopagan belief in BALANCE. That is, creative forces must be balanced by destructive forces in order to preserve the interplay between matter and energy...and we represent this by the copulation of the Goddess and Her consort. Perhaps we shouldn't fear our Goddess as Hag nor run in fear when Pan tosses his horns and roars. Perhaps dimly we can understand life and death, construction and destruction, the coming together and the tearing apart, are necessary to sustain Creation. SIN... The true nature of sin generally is misunderstood in Western society and has been for many centuries...one is tempted to suspect, by design. Sin does not involve right and wrong or good and bad; these are moral and ethical concepts. Sin concerns itself with man's deliberate and willful separation from God and man's disobedience of the Law. The Law is that agreement established between man and God: "I'll do this if you'll do that." Although all the major religions and even the so-called primitive religions deal with concepts which my be equated with sin, only Christianity has developed sin to a fine art...indeed, it may be the single pivotal idea which not only separates Christianity from our Paganism but also from the rest of the religious world. Obviously, the "sin and guilt" trip has paid pretty good dividends within the Judeo-Christian heritage. But these dividends have been garnered at a terrible, terrible price. We Wiccans and Neopagans may be almost alone in rejecting the concept of sin. Yet, we must reject it if we are to follow logically our view of creation and our place in it. Put it together this way; can a tree sin? no, it can only be a tree; can your cat sin? no, he can only be a cat; can a human sin? no, he can only be a human. In other words, none of us can be wither more or less than our creation. Now, remember what we said about general creation. If we accept this idea of general creation, that we are no different from the other life around us, then we are just as incapable of true sin as the tree or the cat, we can only be what we are...human. To accept the idea of sin means you must also accept the idea of special creation, that our human race is somehow special and god-like and therefore is capable of sin, and if you think so then you are in the wrong pew. 2430 It seems almost blasphemous to me to think our Goddess would in some way create us flawed and imperfect...creatures somehow able to deny our own creation...did She create the tree imperfect, or your cat? Then why should we be??? We are created as humans to be humans and we should find joy in that fact, not sin. This is the great freedom of Wicca and Neopaganism; that we are free of sin and its guilt trip...that we are left with the admonition that all joy, all mirth, all pleasure are our Goddess' rites. Fully stated, our Rede declares, "An' it harm none, do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." Law, in this usage and as we've mentioned, refers to the relationship between Man and god and this Rede, then, is in total keeping with our contention that man is not special creation but has just the same relationship to divinity as does any other part of creation. If you have trouble dealing with this, then you are confusing sin and ethics. And ethics is our next topic. ETHICS... Unlike sin, which is a religious concept and which may be considered as a constant from one age to another...that is, willful separation from God must be the same for any time and place...ethics involve a moral choice between what is deemed right and wrong and with this we come to the realization that which is right in one time and one society, is wrong in another. Thus, the moral and ethical standards of, say, 18th century England and 20th century America hardly are congruent despite a common heritage. But it is at exactly this point that we Wiccan/Neopagans have introduced a novel idea: a moral and ethical constant: "Eight words the wiccan Rede fulfill; An' it harm none, do what ye will." Now, you and I are fully aware that outsiders first learning of our Rede smirk behind their hands and conjure in their minds all sorts of images or orgies and such. Well, I've been a Crafter for thirty years and more, and I've yet to attend a Craft orgy. so, if any of you are planning on throwing one, I wish you'd invite me, and do hurry before I get too old to enjoy it! All of which is by way of saying the Rede is widely misunderstood. It simply sounds too much like an unbridled license for hedonism. Of course it is not. But to seek its true meaning we must first go back a few centuries. the earliest known literary reference to our Rede, "Do what ye will," appears in that marvelous Renaissance satire, Gargantua, written by the French doctor-monk, Francios Rabelais, in 1534. In Book I, a certain monk is very helpful to Gargantua in winning a battle and Gargantua offers him several rich abbeys as reward 2431 but the monk rebukes Gargantua, saying, "For how shall I be able to rule over others that have not full power and command over myself?" The monk then asks Gargantua to found an abbey like no other and thus is established the Abbaye de Theleme and the rule of the order is, "Fay ce que voudras"...Do what thou wilt. And this is no libertine license but it is an essential and straightforward clue to our understanding of the Rede. The second clue to our Rede occurred during the summer of 1918 when Aleister Crowley painted on the Hudson River cliffs south of Kingston, New York, this slogan: EVERY MAN AND WOMAN IS A STAR! DO WHAT THOU WILT SHALL BE THE WHOLE OF THE LAW Crowley, a man of great scholarship and magick, had recognized the truth expressed in Rabelais and taken it a step further, which Rabelais could not have dared. (Rabelais' printer was burned at the stake for heresy.) Now, keep in min the Law refers to the relationship established between man and his creation/divinity. All religions have this relationship spelled out as their Law and this Law usually is employed to establish the ethical/moral relationship relationship between men because it is also the ethical/moral relationship between man and God. One, then, is used to justify the other. Thus, there was the attempt to trap Jesus between the religious Law and the moral law but he very handily fielded the question by answering: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." And as Jesus recognized a new Law so Crowley saw in Rabelais' "Fay ce que voudras" a further interpretation of the Law and he expressed it in red paint on the Hudson River cliffs. At this point is is possible, even tempting, to go off on some very fine semantic nit-picking but that is not our purpose and it would be counter-productive because we are simplistic religionists and such goings on would be like trying to determine how many elementals can dance on the point of an athame and it would only serve to muddy some already confused thinking. Instead, let me offer two very broad brush strokes based on the clues already offered. If these are helpful, then I am more than rewarded; if they are useful thinking tools, then I am twice blessed! So here goes: When Gargantua's helpful monk refused the offer of rich abbeys, saying, "For how shall I be able to rule over others that have not full power and command over myself?" he established the first part of our understanding of the Rede. Unless and until such time as you are able to exert your own will over yourself, "full power and command," then our Rede, "Do as ye will," has very 2432 little meaning because you can't truly will anything, and you are no more than a plaything for every wind that blows. Hardly could you have rule over others. Thus, the first part of the monk's statement, "For how shall I be able to rule over others," has within it the implicit meaning of the first part of our Rede, "An' it harm none." what the monk is saying here is, "How can I be responsible for someone else until I can be responsible for myself?" It would be interesting to further press this declaration because it stands in contradiction to some classical Judeo-Christian concepts concerning man's responsibility to God. And that, no doubt, is the reason Rabelais did not do it. Remember what happened to his printer! However, Crowley did press the issue another step. If self-responsibility is the Law, then Man is responsible for himself and God is responsible for Himself. So, the interplay between God and Man suddenly is changed; god must be God and man must be Man. And now we are back to where we said we were in our brief discussion of sin...Man can only be man, he can be nothing else. But he is responsible for that. I hope all of us see in some way the very deep and even mystical and certainly always constant ethical demands placed upon us by our Rede. The Rede is demanding but it yields freedom from the chronic guilt of the past twenty centuries. And it does not leave us the luxury of a cop-out, be it God, Satan, Karma, Fate or a white mule beside a red barn (the mule counts two points). WORLD VIEW... In this topic I use the term "World View" to mean how we, as Neopagans, see the material creation around us. I know I already have intimated a great deal about this in previous topics but there is such a fundamental difference between us and the rest of Western society that I believe we must deal with it more directly. To do this, we will work from two premises: 1. That Christianity has taught, objectively and subjectively, material creation somehow is "bad, sinful, evil and corruptive" as opposed to the so-called pure spiritual creation. that the Earth, a material creation, is only a way-station toward some higher spiritual creation, be it heaven or hell, and that this earthly creation eventually will be destroyed come the Millenia/Last Judgement as it must be because it is "sinful" and corruptive of spiritual man. 2. That Neopaganism teaches there is no division between material and spiritual creation and neither can be considered inherently good or bad, pure or corruptive. that the Earth is our home, our only home, and is not some battle ground designed to determine our future existence in a spiritual heaven or hell. There are deep-rooted implications behind these two differing points of view. In the first case, because the material creation in which we live and are "tested" is somehow inferior and sinful and is only a way-station en route to a "higher" spiritual creation then we are free to despise and abuse this material creation as we see fit. "Yours is the Earth and everything in 2433 it." Love Canal, then, has a perfectly sound and reasonable Judeo-Christian premise. However, in the second case, if we, as part of general creation, abuse our Earth, we are abusing ourselves, exactly as Love Canal had demonstrated. And we must at the end finally admit the ecological frustration and fury of this age is because the whimpering ecologists and the Sierra Club have no theology to guide them...only guilt. The Judeo-Christian trip all over again. I'm sure we stand in a much better position. But don't make the mistake of thinking planetary plunder is an invention of the 20th Century and its technology...far from it. Man has abused his Earth since pre-historic times. Primitive farming and herding practices are among the most destructive ecological force know. The stripping of the Mediterranean Basin is ample proof. So is the collapse of the one great Mayan civilization and the fact that once heavily forested Scotland was forced to import timber for the Baltic as early as the Middle Ages. Indeed, we might well argue the concept of a "sinful" material creation with its implicit license to ravage had to be invented to excuse the earthly pillage that had been going on for several thousand years. REINCARNATION... I sometimes refer to reincarnation as "the secret belief" because any number of Christians have admitted to me they believe in reincarnation as opposed to orthodox Christian teaching or had had experiences which can only be interpreted as a reincarnitave experience. whether these people actually understand what reincarnation really is may be open to question. At the outset, then, let's establish the very essential difference between reincarnation and resurrection, as taught in Christian doctrine. Resurrection means at some future time, the Millenia, the Last Judgement, etc. you will be pulled from the grave intact in your present body and you will be in full awareness of yourself and your previous earthly life; that is, you will retain your personal identity. thus, with your present body and personal identity you may be meaningfully rewarded in Heaven or amply punished in Hell. Heaven and Hell have no meaning and no promise or threat unless these conditions of body and identity are met. What good would it be to punish or reward a disembodied spirit with no knowledge of what it was being praised or punished for? Our concept of reincarnation does not meet either of these criteria. Reincarnation, unlike resurrection, does not automatically imply ultimate survival of the physical body and retention of personal identity. So, any discussion of a Pagan heaven or hell is simply meaningless. What reincarnation says is survival of life-energy and life-energy has no one body and no one identity. One of the best examples to illustrate this concept of reincarnation is the later stage of the Osiris-Horus myth. In this myth, Osiris is killed by Seth but he is reincarnated as the child Horus and, in various forms, the myth repeats. There is no indication Horus ever 2434 remembers himself as Osiris. thus it is with us, sometimes we have a sort of "leakage" across this reincarnation insulator and, with some exceptions, the best we ever get are only picture-postcard glimpses of our previous life-energies. ESCHATOLOGY... Eschatology is only a fancy word for the study of "last things"...that is, death, the Last Judgement, and so forth. For us, eschatology must have an entirely different meaning because we really have no "last things." We are involved in cycles, not beginnings and endings. As Pagans we must view the entire continuum of matter, energy, life force and even time itself as circular. We do not see these things as a piece of string with a beginning and an ending but as that same piece of string tied together to form a circle...our Circle...a repeating cyclical process. Although definitive physical proof still is lacking, there is a growing belief among some astronomers and astro-physicists that the expanding galaxies of our creation will one day stop their head-long flight and by mutual gravitation slowly and then faster and faster plunge back together again to form a new primal super-molecule world egg. From there, it is only reasonable to assume the creative urge of our Goddess once more will explode this primordial egg to begin a fresh creation. And, thus, we have come full circle. ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2435 PAGAN MUSINGS [Tony Kelly of the Selene Community in Wales wrote this piece in l970. It was published in l97l in the British edition of The Waxing Moon under the title "Pagan Movement." Under the title "Pagan Musings" it has passed from hand to hand and group to group all over the United States. Tony Kelly was one of the founders of the Pagan Movement in the British Isles, which, with the Pagan Way in the United States, began as a single group of researchers into ancient goddess cults. They later divided, agreeing that each country required a different approach in bringing back Paganism.] We're of the old religion, sired of Time, and born of our beloved Earth Mother. For too long the people have trodden a stony path that goes only onward beneath a sky that goes only upwards. The Horned God plays in a lonely glade for the people are scattered in this barren age and the winds carry his plaintive notes over deserted heaths and reedy moors and into the lonely grasses. who know now the ancient tongue of the Moon? And who speaks still with the Goddess? The magic of the land of Lirien and the old pagan gods have withered in the dragons breath; the old ways of magic have slipped into the well of the past, and only the rocks now remember what the moon told us long ago, and what we learned from the trees, and the voices of grasses and the scents of flowers. We're pagans and we worship the pagan gods, and among the people there are witches yet who speak with the moon and dance with the Horned One. But a witch is a rare pagan in these days, deep and inscrutable, recognizable only by her own kind, by the light in her eyes and the love in her breast, by the magic in her hands and the lilt of her tongue and by her knowledge of the real. But the wiccan way is one way. There are many; there are pagans the world over who worship the Earth Mother and the Sky Father, the Rain God and the Rainbow Goddess, the Dark One and the Hag on the mountain, the Moon Goddess and the Little People in the mists on the other side of the veil. A pagan is one who worships the goddesses and gods of nature, whether by observation or by study, whether by love or admiration, or whether in their sacred rites with the Moon, or the great festivals of the Sun. Many suns ago, as the pale dawn of reason crept across the pagan sky, man grew out of believing in the gods. He has yet to grow out disbelieving in them. He who splits the Goddess on an existence-nonexistence dichotomy will earn himself only paradoxes, for the gods are not so divided and nor the magic lands of the Brother of Time. Does a mind exist? Ask her and she will tell you yes, but seek her out, and she'll elude you. She in in every place, and in no place, and you'll see her works in all places, but herself in none. Existence was the second-born from the Mother's womb and contains neither the first-born, nor the unborn. Show us your mind, and we'll show you the gods! No matter 2436 that you can't, for we can't show you the gods. But come with us and the Goddess herself will be our love and the God will call the tune. But a brass penny for your reason; for logic is a closed ring, and the child doesn't validate the Mother, nor the dream the dreamer. And what matter the wars of opposites to she who has fallen in love with a whirlwind or to the lover of the arching rainbow. But tell us of your Goddess as you love her, and the gods that guide your works, and we'll listen with wonder, for to do less would be arrogant. but we'll do more, for the heart of man is aching for memories only half forgotten, and the Old Ones only half unseen. We'll write the old myths as they were always written and we'll read them on the rocks and in the caves and in the deep of the greenwood's shade, and we'll hear them in the rippling mountain streams and in the rustling of the leaves, and we'll see them in the storm clouds, and in the evening mists. We've no wish to create a new religion for our religion is as old as the hills and older, and we've no wish to bring differences together. Differences are like different flowers in a meadow, and we are all one in the Mother. What need is there for a pagan movement since our religion has no teachings and we hear it in the wind and feel it in the stones and the Moon will dance with us as she will? There is a need. For long the Divider has been among our people and the tribes of man are no more. The sons of the Sky Father have all but conquered nature, but they have poisoned her breast and the Mother is sad for the butterflies are dying and the night draws on. A curse on the conqueror! But not of us, for they curse themselves for they are nature too. They have stolen our magic and sold it to the mindbenders and the mindbenders tramp a maze that has no outlet for they fear the real for the One who guards the path. Where are the pagan shrines? And where do the people gather? Where is the magic made? And where are the Goddess and the Old Ones? Our shrines are in the fields and on the mountains, in the stars and in the wind, deep in the greenwood and on the algal rocks where two streams meet. but the shrines are deserted, and if we gathered in the arms of the Moon for our ancient rites to be with our gods as we were of old, we would be stopped by the dead who now rule the Mother's land and claim rights of ownership on the Mother's breast, and make laws of division and frustration for us. We can no longer gather with our gods in a public place and the old rites of communion have been driven from the towns and cities ever deeper into the heath where barely a handful of heathens have remained to guard the old secrets and enact the old rites. there is magic in the heath far from the cold grey society, and there are islands of magic hidden in the entrails of the metropoles behind closed doors, but the people are few, and the barriers between us are formidable. The old religion has become a dark way, obscure, and hidden in the protective bosom of the night. Thin fingers turn the pages of a book of shadows while the 2437 sunshine seeks in vain his worshippers in his leafy glades. Here, then, is the basic reason for a Pagan Movement; we must create a pagan society wherein everyone shall be free to worship the goddesses and gods of nature, and the relationship between a worshipper and her gods shall be sacred and inviolable, provided only that in her love of her own gods, she doesn't curse the names of the gods of others. It's not yet our business to press the law-makers with undivided endeavour to unmake the laws of repression and, with the Mother's love, it may never become our business for the stifling tides of dogmatism are at last already in ebb. Our first work, and our greatest wish, is to come together, to be with each other in our tribes for we haven't yet grown from the Mother's breast to the stature of the gods. We're of the earth, and sibs to all the children of wild nature, born long ago in the warm mud of the ocean floor; we were together then, and we were together in the rain forests long before that dark day when, beguiled by the pride of the Sky Father, and forgetful of the Mother's love, we killed her earlier-born children and impoverished the old genetic pool. The Red child lives yet in America; the Black Child has not forsaken the gods; the old Australians are still with their nature gods; the Old Ones still live deep in the heart of Mother India, and the White Child has still a foot on the old wiccan way, but Neanderthaler is no more and her magic faded as the Lli and the Archan burst their banks and the ocean flowed in to divide the Isle of Erin from the land of the White Goddess. Man looked with one eye on a two-faced god when he reached for the heavens and scorned the Earth which alone is our life and our provider and the bosom to which we have ever returned since the dawn of Time. He who looks only to reason to plum the unfathomable is a fool, for logic is an echo already implicit i the question, and it has no voice of its own; but he is no greater fool than he who scorns logic or derides its impotence from afar, but fears to engage in fair combat when he stands on his opponent's threshold. don't turn your back on Reason, for his thrust is deadly; but confound him and he'll yield for his code of combat is honorable. so here is more of the work of the Pagan Movement. Our lore has become encrusted over the ages with occult trivia and the empty vapourings of the lost. The occult arts are in a state of extreme decadence, astrology is in a state of disrepute and fears to confront the statistician's sword; alien creeds oust our native arts and, being as little understood as our own forgotten arts, are just as futile for their lack of understanding, and more so for their unfamiliarity. Misunderstanding is rife. Disbelief is black on every horizon, and vampires abound on the blood of the credulous. Our work is to reject the trivial, the irrelevant and the erroneous, and to bring the lost children of the Earth Mother again into the court of the Sky Father where reason alone will avail. Belief is the deceit of the credulous; it has no place in the heart of a pagan. 2438 But while we are sad for those who are bemused by Reason, we are deadened by those who see no further than his syllogisms as he turns the eternal wheel of the Great Tautology. We were not fashioned in the mathematician's computations, and we were old when the first alchemist was a child. We have walked in the magic forest, bewitched in the old Green Thinks; we have seen the cauldron and the one become many and the many in the one; we know the Silver Maid of the moonlight and the sounds of the cloven feet. We have heard the pipes on the twilight ferns, and we've seen the spells of the enchantress, and Time be stilled. We've been into eternal darkness where the Night Mare rides and rode her to the edge of the Abyss, and beyond, and we know the dark face of the Rising Sun. spin a spell or words and make a magic knot; spin it on the magic loom and spin it with the gods. Say it in the old chant and say it to the Goddess, and in her name. Say it to a dark well and breathe it on a stone. There are no signposts on the untrod way, but we'll make our rituals together and bring them as our gifts to the Goddess and her God in the great rites. Here, then, is our work in the Pagan Movement; to make magic in the name of our gods, to share our magic where the gods would wish it, and to come together in our ancient festivals of birth, and life, of death and of change in the old rhythm. We'll print the rituals that can be shared in the written work; we'll do all in our power to bring the people together, to teach those who would learn, and to learn from those who can teach. We will initiate groups, bring people to groups, and groups to other groups in our common devotion to the goddess and gods of nature. We will not storm the secrets of any coven, nor profane the tools, the magic, and still less, the gods of another. We'll collect the myths of the ages, of our people and of the pagans of other lands, and we'll study the books of the wise and we'll talk to the very young. And whatever the pagan needs in her study, or her worship, then it is our concern, and the Movement's business to do everything possible to help each other in our worship of the gods we love. We are committed with the lone pagan on the seashore, with he who worships in the fastness of a mountain range or she who sings the old chant in a lost valley far from the metalloid road. We are committed with the wanderer, and equally with the prisoner, disinherited from the Mother's milk in the darkness of the industrial webs. We are committed too with the coven, with the circular dance in the light of the full moon, with the great festivals of the sun, and with the gatherings of the people. We are committed to build our temples in the towns and in the wilderness, to buy the lands and the streams from the landowners and give them to the Goddess for her children's use, and we'll replant the greenwood as it was of old for love of the dryad stillness, and for love of our children's children. When the streams flow clear and the winds blow pure, and the sun never more rises unrenowned nor the moon ride in the 2439 skies unloved; when the stones tell of the Horned God and the greenwood grows deep to call back her own ones, then our work will be ended and the Pagan Movement will return to the beloved womb of our old religion, to the nature goddesses and gods of paganism. ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2440 --------------------------------------------------------------- The Pit The Lord looked askance at the Fool, who was busy making faces behind the Lady's back. "So, which of your Aspects have you enjoyed the most?" he said. The Fool looked up, wiggling his ears. "Stop that!" grinned the Lord, "I'd really like to know!" "Well.....I suppose that it would be a toss-up between Dionysus, Tyl Eulenspiegel, and Krishna, I guess. Tyl had a whopping good time, Dionysus got to be pretty much drunk, mostly, and Krishna had those sweet little milk-maids......THAT was a good time! But Coyote gets to do most everything. I guess I like Him the best." The Lord sat back against a tree, folded His hands, and smiled. "Yeah, ol' Coyote gets to do everything all right...except catch the Roadrunner," he said. "Well," said the Fool, with a lopsided grin, "I guess I'm the only One of Us that perpetually chases Myself!" The Lady turned, and, Aspecting the Nymph, dropped a large grasshopper down the Fool's back. She giggled, and ran off over the fields of Summerland. The Lord laughed, pounding His fists on the ground as the Fool jumped and twisted, trying to reach the insect. Between whoops of laughter, He said, "Did you ever figure out what 'Updoc' was?" "Shaddup!" said the Fool. --------------------------------------------------------------- The Fool leaned back against the brick wall of the alley and said, "I'd like to tell you a story. It seems that a man fell into a deep pit, and couldn't get himself out. He was in a world of hurt, and pretty unhappy. Pretty soon, a Subjectivist type of person came along and said, 'I feel for you down there,' but did nothing." "An Objectivist wandered by next, and said, 'It's logical that someone would fall down there.' But he just stood around looking too." "A Pharisee said, 'Only bad people fall into a pit,' and put his nose in the air and kept walking." The Fool took a drag from his cigarette and then flipped it expertly into a nearby puddle. Somewhere in the distance of the city a siren wailed. "Then, a mathematician calculated how he fell into the pit. But all he did was calculate." "A news reporter wanted the exclusive story on his pit, but was too busy interviewing everyone in sight to help." "A fanatic fundamentalist shouted, 'You deserve your pit!'" "Then a government tax-man asked if he was paying taxes on the pit." "A self-pitying person then whined, 'You haven't seen anything until you've seen MY pit!'" "Then a Christian Scientist came by, and said, 'Just believe that you're not in a pit.' But that didn't seem to help." He paused, and brushed His hair back from His eyes. After looking around that those who were listening, He continued. "An optimist said, 'Things could be worse!' But the pessimist disagreed, and said, 'Things -will- get worse!' " "A Wiccan said, 'MURPHY! You &*$%^#@,' while a New Ager jumped into the pit to share the experience." A couple of people laughed at this, a bit nervously. "A Baha'i looked over the edge of the pit and said, 'See the pit 2441 as a Spiritual Experience!' while a Moslem murmured that it was God's Will that he was in the pit." "A Satanist just laughed at the man in the pit and kept walking." "A conspiracist rubbed his hands together in glee, and said, '-They- threw you into the pit! I -knew- it!'" "A Jew said, 'Why are we -always- in a pit?' " "A Communist shouted 'Why are you in the People's Pit without permission?'" "An Alcoholic muttered to himself, 'It's not -my- fault you're in the pit.....' " "A Liberal said, 'Those Conservatives must have dug this pit!'" "A Conservative said, 'See where Liberalism has gotten you?' " "A TV Evangelist came by and promptly took up a collection from the bystanders." " Then, several well-meaning people came by, and wanted to help, but they were too busy arguing whether to throw him a ladder, or a shovel, or to hire a helicopter with a rope ladder, or to call the fire department or police to manage to get anything done." "A well-known radio cult hunter said, between requests for money, 'See! Satan threw you into the pit!'" "A doper looked blearily at him, and said, a bit incoherently, 'Far out! Got any more pit?'" "A Hindu said that the man's karma had put him into the pit, and a television news commentator shouted, 'Man in a pit! Why is the government responsible?'" But then, a Good Samaritan came along, looked at the man in the pit and at all the others standing around pursuing their own agendas, and said, quietly, 'Here are two shovels. Let's get you out of the pit.'" The Fool looked around at His listeners, grinned, and said, "He that hath ears to hear with, let him hear." He shoved His hands into his jacket, and walked away thru the puddles, idly kicking at an empty beer can. "Pretty good!" said the Lady. "Maybe," said the Fool, "But not up to the Sermon On The Mount." "That one -was- one of Your best," She agreed. "Yeah," He said, "But even then, they ignored most of it. Oh well. Some of it caught on, at least." "It takes a while," said the Lord, "But they -are- learning." "Yes, they are," said the Fool, "But they have a long way to go yet." The Lady smiled warmly, and said, "They'll get there." Thus it was, and so it is, and evermore shall be so! --------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------- The Lord and the Lady (and the Fool, of course) looked at the Men and Women, and were not pleased. "Look at that! They saw Your Sacrifice, and went and elaborated it into some kind of magic." The Lady spoke disgustedly. "Cutting out human hearts. Sacrificial Kings. Ritual burnings. Ritual torture. Blood sacrifices. Cannibalism. Blood, killing and more blood! What -do- they think they're doing?" 2442 "I agree it's pretty grim," said the Sacred King, "But it does work, though in a very limited way. So....what can we do about it?" "I know what We can do, but it will take all of Us," said the Fool, unsmiling. "Listen up...." As he began to explain, the faces of all Three grew grimmer and grimmer, and sad beyond words. The Fool incarnated as a Child within a Woman, who was the Mother and the Maiden. He was born in poverty, and laid in a straw bed. He grew up in a small village in a backwater nation on the edges of a great Empire. Some, a very few, knew Him and honored Him, seeing Him as the Child, truly the Child of Promise, but most simply went on with their lives, unknowing. When He was of age, He turned, and from Child became Transformer, and He began to teach. As Transformer, He went out on the dusty roads of the small, conquered nation, and taught the Way of Love. Love for -all,- not just some. He taught of the Brotherhood of Man, and of the Fatherhood of the Lord. He taught of the Way of Salvation: to love. To love the Diety, and to love your neighbor, whoever he might be. He brought a message of hope to the poor, and a warning to the opressor. Around Him, He assembled a small band of men and women, and taught them His Mystery. But one was given a role to play, and the role was Betrayer. A man asked, "Teacher, what shall we do when those that hate us strike us?" And He answered, "Turn the other cheek, and let them strike you again. Give them love in return for hate. If you must take up the sword, then do it in great reluctance, and only after you have stepped aside time and time again. Remember that I bring you not peace, but a sword, for this Path will separate you from your families and friends, and your enemies will persecute you in their ignorance." "And forgive your enemies, and those who wrong you, that you may put away your anger and live in love." Another asked, "Sensei, what of the poor?" And He answered, "The poor you shall always have with you, but give them the tools to lift themselves out of their poverty. Clothe and feed them, but give them the means of independence also." "But what of the rich, then?" said a wealthy man. "Give what you have to the poor. give them of clothing, and food, and, more importantly, of learning, for if you feed a man, then you have only given him one meal, but if you teach him to feed himself, then he may eat for a lifetime, and move from the cycle of poverty and ignorance," He said. "Lay not treasures up for yourself on earth, save that you give of that treasure to those in need, but rather lay up treasure in heaven, for it would be easier for a camel to pass thru a needle's eye than for an avaricious man to leave his earthly treasure for heaven." A Doctor asked Him, "Healer, what of the sick?" "Verily, let them be healed by the knowledge of man, and by prayer," He answered, "For whatsoever you ask in prayer, if you have faith even as small as the tiniest grain of mustard seed, what you need will be granted you. But be wary of what you ask for, for you will get what you need, and not always what you want." A woman asked, "Rabbi, what of those that follow other Teach- ers?" And He answered, smiling, "There are many rooms in your Father's 2443 house, and many fields in Heaven. And I come again, and yet again, and as there are many languages of mankind, so are there many Names for Deity. Rejoice in it, and be glad of the diversity of Deity, and do not hate those that call the Diety by other names, but rather weigh them by their deeds." And one asked of Him, "How should we pray?" And He answered, saying, "Pray in your own fashion, as you will, for all prayer is good. But if you wish, pray thusly:" "Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our errors, as we forgive the errors of others. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." "And if you feel this prayer should be given to the Mother, then let it be so." And a Priest shouted, angrily, "Shall God be then female?" And He answered, "The Deity is what It will be, not what you make It into. You see the Diety in your own image; if you are vengeful, then your God is vengeful. If you are full of hate, then your God is hateful. But if you have love, then you shall know the Deity's love. Listen, and be wise." A child asked, "Father, how shall we know what is right, and what is wrong?" And He replied, "Weigh it by it's fruits. If it gives a bad fruit, then it is wrong, but if the fruit is good, then eat of it and be happy." "But Brother, what of a fruit that seems to be good, yet will poison us slowly?" asked another. And He answered, "If a man die of it, then it is an evil fruit. Look you to the past, see the mistakes therein, and learn therefrom. And beware those who would lead you into error thru their own need of power over you; leave them to the trap of their own making." One of the Priests came to Him, a man enmeshed in legalism, and, thinking to trap Him said, "Teacher, What is the Law?" And He looked at the Priest and said, "Love God. Love thy neighbor. All else is commentary, and the Law of Man. Study the holy books of all faiths, weigh the good and the bad in each, and learn." And the Priest went away abashed. And a person came to Him and said, "What of magic?" "Know that your will is that of a human, and you are not omniscient. You cannot see all the results of your actions. Therefore ask 'Not my will, but Thine be done' and leave the ordering of the MultiVerse to Deity, not to human will," He replied. "Order yourself, not the MultiVerse." And two came to Him, and asked, "O Mahatma, We are of the same sex, and love each other. What shall we do?" And He looked upon them, and said, "An it harm none, do as you will. You are all the Children of the Deity, and the Deities' Love for you is greater than you can imagine." A policeman asked of Him, "But what of the Laws of Man? If these Laws of Man conflict with the Law of the Diety, what shall we do then, Padre?" And Transformer answered, "Listen and hear. Obey the Laws of Man, for these Laws have power over your body. But if there is a man-made law that is not good, then strive to change it, in peace. But if you cannot change it, then obey it. And, if you must disobey it to change it, then accept the judgements of Man's Law in good grace until it is changed. But put not your trust in Rulers, and Kings and Princes, nor in those that would lead you, be they Priest, Priestess, or any 45 2444 other Office and Position, but weigh their words carefully, that their words match their deeds, and no hypocrisy enters into them, for as your leaders you have given them power over you. And always remember that Man's Law is made for humanity, and not humanity for Man's Law." And with the policeman was a woman, who had violated the Law of Man, and had been taken for her crime. She said, "But what of me, Lord? I am to be stoned by the crowd." And He picked up a stone from the ground, looked at her, and said, simply, "Let he who is without mistakes cast the first stone at you." And He dropped His stone from His hand. And there was a silence from the crowd, and those with stones in their hands dropped them guiltily to the ground. And He said to her, "Learn from your error, go in peace, and make error no more." And he said to those that had dropped their stones, and who were burdened by their guilt, "Be not guilty, for guilt is but a warning from your conscience. Be you delivered from your hell. Learn from your error, put it from you, and err no more." "And equally, if the tree that gives a bad fruit can be taught to give a good fruit, then do so. But if it persist in giving bad fruits, then leave it." And He walked to a nearby hill, and turned to the people, and spoke thusly: "Blessed be those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Blessed be those that mourn, for they shall be comforted." "Blessed be the meek, for they shall live to inherit the earth, long after the strong, and the proud, and the warlike have killed each other in their pride." "Blessed be those that hunger and thirst after the Truth, for they shall know it." "Blessed be the merciful, for they shall have mercy shown unto them." "Blessed be the pure in heart, for they shall see the Deity all the days of their lives and after." "Blessed be those that make peace among men, for they shall be called the Children of the Diety." "Blessed be those that are persecuted for the sake of the Truth, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Blessed be you, when men shall persecute you, and perjure themselves against you, and lie about you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for your reward is great indeed." "Let your Light so shine before all humanity, that they may know the Truth of you, and learn to live in love." ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2445 And he placed His hand upon the head of a dog, and said, "Your Brothers and Sisters in fur are your Brothers and Sisters in truth. They are in your care, and in your hands. Treat them with kindness, and that kindness will be returned to you a thousandfold. To those that give themselves to be eaten by you offer thanks, and be grateful to them for your sustenance." "Treat your Mother the earth likewise with kindness, and all the growing things thereon will sing your praises to the Highest, and you shall eat and drink of Her fruits, and live in joy and gladness all the days of your lives. Little children, love one another!" In truth, there was much more that He taught, and much of it is written for our study and learning, and the study of His teachings is a good and worthy thing. But the following of His teachings is a better thing, for He was who He said He was, and that is also a Great Mystery. And the Betrayer spoke to Him, and said, "Renounce this Path. It only leads to destruction. Give over to me, and I will give you rulership of all the kingdoms of Earth." And He gazed upon the Betrayer, and spoke, and said, "Get thee hence, foolish one, for I have no need of earthly treasure, nor earthly power, for all such is false, and an illusion." And on the night that He was betrayed, during a Festival that celebrated the conquered people's deliverance from tyranny, (and to choose such a time and place is also a Great Mystery and a great lesson) He took of the Sacred King, the Bread of Life, blessed and broke it, and gave it to His followers, and said, "This is My body. Do this in remembrance of Me." And then he took wine, fruit of the Mother, and blessed it, and gave it to them also, and said, "This is My blood. Do this in remembr- ance of Me." And Transformer was betrayed by the Betrayer, betrayed to the legalists and the soldiers of the occupying army, accused of sedition and taken by the Law of Man, and sentenced to die. And they fastened Him to an instrument of torture, to kill Him like a common criminal, with cruel jokes. And He was hung from a Tree. And, watching, was the Mother, and the Maiden, and the Crone, and They all three mourned Him. He turned, and was the Sacred King, and simultaneously the Fool (and that is a Great Mystery indeed) and, as He died, he said, "It is finished." And His Blood ran out upon the Earth, and worked a great magic. His body was buried in a tomb of rock, and the soldiers of the occupying army guarded it. But after three days and three nights, a greater magic was done, and He took His body again, sitting with the Lord and the Lady, and showed Himself to His followers, to show them that Death is not to be feared. And He said, "You have been bought, and redeemed, and nevermore shall you make sacrifice of blood, for this is the Final Sacrifice for all time, for all places, and for all those there are and were, and will be." "And fear not Death, for it it but a change in a MultiVerse of changes; another turning of the wheel on a road all must travel." And He shall come again, as He has throughout all history, teaching the Great Truth: that we shall love the Deity, and love our neighbor, for Love is the heart of the Law, and that Law is Love. For He is always with us and in us all. 2446 "I don't -ever- want to go through that again!" The Fool spoke vehemently, thru tears. "I don't think you'll have to go quite -that- far the next time," said the Lady. "They'll still play their stupid games with blood, but not for very much longer." "I hope not," said the Sacred King, "But do We have to put up with that Paul fella? He's a bit of a nut-case." "If you want it to work out right, yes," said the Lady. "He may be a nut-case, but he'll spread the Word quickly, and, after a time, they'll get the idea. And from that will come the seed of My future believers." "Sorry about that," said the Fool. "I did my best, but in such a patriarchal society as that one was, I just couldn't make much headway about You." "No problem," She said. "They can deny Me all they want to, but I'm still here." Thus it was, and so it is, and evermore shall be so! --------------------------------------------------------------- THE SYBILLYNE TRADITION OF WICCA by Virginia Stewart, M. Ed., TP. Our tradition is a moderate branch of Dianic Wicca, with an emphasis on equality, ecology and wo/men's mysteries. The tradition is open to women and men, over the age of 18, who have previously identified Wicca as their path. Someone under legal age must be accompanied by a parent and will not be initiated until they are of legal age. (Yes, there is a catch: few people under 21 will have studied other religions enough to have narrowed it down this much; therefore, a person without this study must spend at least a year pursuing comparative religions before they will be accepted for training.) The subject matter that each student must master prior to initiation is wide-ranging and intended to strengthen knowledge and interest in a number of areas, as well as increase the student's desire to "get involved" in the ecological/political issues which are important to them as individuals. This is not an exclusive tradition; one can be an initiate of other traditions and still participate. We have closed rituals only when the participating members desire it. Our initiation is open to initiates of other traditions (who would be asked to assist, no one gets to stand around.) Sybillynes do not have degrees, unlike Gardnerians; we have three stages. The Novice (or WIT, coined by one student -- it means "Witch in Training") is one who is actively studying, but has not yet been initiated. A Sister or Brother has been initiated and holds the title of Priestess or Priest (there is no High Priestess or High Priest.) The Chronicler is the one in the Coven or Circle who assumes the responsibility for making phone calls and keeping the Book of Shadows, but the position carries no authority. All decisions are reached by consensus, and the rituals are written and performed by various members of the group on a voluntary basis (it works, it really does). After a long period of study, in which one might specialize in a 2447 particular area, one is Ordained as a Priestess or Priest in that area; for example, one might be a Teaching Priest/ess, or a Healing Priest/ess. To become a Novice, one must ask to be taught, then show a sincere interest in the Craft and a willingness to study and learn about the various areas presented. One must also exhibit a willingness to do independent study in areas of personal interest. The Course of study is presented in two parts. The first is lecture/discussion/reading -- after which the novice must demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the following areas: I. Feminism and politics of Dianic craft A. Gaia and green magic B. balance of Male/female energies C. power over vs. power from within II. Feminist herstory/facts and theory A. Origins of the Goddess 1. prehistoric evidence 2. early myth (China, Sumer, Ur, India, Mesopotania, Egypt, Crete) 3. The patriarchal shift -- a. Theories on how it happened b. How to read around it i. Greek Myth ii. Mesopotamia/Sumer iii. Egypt c. Modern Approaches -- overcoming patriarchal repression d. The God in Dianic Wicca i. prehistory evidence/belief ii. Modern approaches III. Feminist interpretations on the origins of people A. creation Myths -- world samples B. "star" myth C. birth/genetic engineering myth D. the principles of myth writing IV. Goddess and Gods in Every Person A. Manifesting the God/dess in Everyday Life -- theory B. Archetypal Theory and how it relates to everyday life V. Magic and Physics -- Why Everything is Related To Everything A. Holographic Universe B. Gaia as a Living Being VI. The Goddess and Sexuality A. Living in our bodies is healthy B. how patriarchy/Christianity perverted sex C. healing the wounds of sexual oppression D. exercises VII. Beginning Meditation A. purpose B. some eventual goals C. visualization D. exercises IX. Psychic gifts A. How they have been suppressed B. What they are 2448 C. How to develop them D. Exercises X. Festivals A. The wheel of the Year B. Women's festivals/men's festivals C. Creating celebration for everyday life XI. Ritual tools and aspects A. Tools B. Symbols XII. Creating Ritual A. The Structure of a ritual B. Creating Sacred space -- theory C. Elements of ritual -- possibilities XIII. Drawing a circle -- demonstration & practice A. How to form a circle B. What to do if something goes wrong C. Group dynamics Our actual reading list is two double-columned pages, and takes about a year to get through. This is the short list, with which one must show a working knowledge. The Spiral Dance Dreaming the Dark Truth or Dare / Starhawk Holy Book of Women's Mysteries / Z. Budapest The Holographic Universe / Michael Talbot The New Inquisition / Robert Anton Wilson Real Magic / Issac Bonewits When God Was A Woman Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood / Merlin Stone Priestesses / Norma Goodrich Women's Encyclopedia of Sacred Symbols and Objects / Barbara Walker Drawing Down the Moon / Margot Adler Iron John / Robert Bly The Hero with A Thousand Faces / Joseph Campbell The second part of training focuses on ritual and practice, as no one will be initiated until s/he can write, perform and understand ritual; work with energy in a SAFE way, and guide meditations for the others. The following are the requirements for this level of training, in which one must demonstrate proficiency. 1. Circle Drawing 2. Healing (different types) 3. Energy Work 4. Journey to Lower World (working with totems) 5. Astral Realms (working with place of power and spirit guides) 6. 9 Inner Planes 7. Past Life Regression 8. Elements, Tools, and Aspects 2449 9. Women's Mysteries/Men's Mysteries (5 Mysteries) 10. Blessing of Tools 11. Personal Belief Systems 12. Spells and Spellwork 13. Full Ritual (writing and performing without assistance) Written assignments 1. A 4-10 page paper explaining and analyzing the Wiccan Rede and how it applies to one's personal life (Ethics are vital) 2. A 5-10 page paper explaining one's personal belief system (it does not conform to any particular standard, but an initiate must have one; this is a spiritual tradition). 3. A 5-10 page paper explaining and analyzing the 5 Mysteries of Wicca with particular attention paid to Wo/man's mysteries, Chalice and the Descent. 4. A 2-5 page paper explaining the Three-Fold Goddess and Her Relationship to the Three-Fold God. 5. A 5-10 page paper describing one's personal ethics 6. A Book of Shadows (to be reviewed by Teaching Priestess) that includes major rituals, meditations, observations and results of spell work and energy work. The final requirement for initiation includes the demonstration of Ritual functions of Maiden/Mother/Crone or Priest without written assistance; the demonstration of ritual writing and participation in/ directing the energy in a circle. Finally, the demonstration through daily life of a sincere commitment to the Way of the God/dess. The training period lasts anywhere from twenty-six weeks to over a year and is dependent on the completion of requirements, not number of months in training. A Novice (WIT) will be told that they may request Initiation when they have completed all requirements to the satisfaction of the Teaching Priestess. They will be told once, after that they must ask. Sybillynes do NOT recruit members. After Initiation, a Priest/ess may form a Circle (a loosely organized group that performs ritual together) or a Coven (a close-knit group with bonds of perfect love and trust). It is suggested that Circles be formed and allowed to evolve into Covens. All Initiates are encouraged to become politically/ ecologically active to whatever degree that they are able. Each group exists as an independent organization -- the job of a Teaching Priestess is to make herself unnecessary. Those who desire control over a coven or absolute authority within a coven are discouraged from attempting it within this tradition -- the labrys, our symbol, is sharp for a reason... We are also interested in tradition sharing, and can be found in the Hunter's Moon camp at CMA. Inquires can be made by leaving a message at Celebration! in Austin, or at the Magic Cauldron in Houston, for Virginia Stewart or Howard 2450 Gerber (sysop of THE WHEEL BBS in Houston). Merry Meet and Bright Blessings. --- ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2451 MAIN RITUAL, UEA 20TH ANNIVERSARY This ritual came together in strange ways. We are indebted to Tony Kelly of Celene Community in Wales who wrote the body of it in a piece called "Pagan Musings" in 1973, Kenny and Tzipora for the Wine Blessing, and Thomas Palmer of Denver for the Cakes Blessing. The Quarters calling and dismissals were written by Rowan Moonstone and revised by Bristlecone Glen. Devin Storm, Harper to Bristlecone wrote the God and Goddess Invocations, the Circle Closing, and the Crone's speech. We learned this particular version of "We All Come From the Goddess/Hoof and Horn" with the God verse from the Old Timers from United Earth Assembly and the Witches' Version of " Amazing Grace" was taught to us by Margot Adler at the America the Beautiful celebration in Colorado Springs in July of 1993. All these various parts came together into one of the most powerful rituals we have ever seen. We give it back to the community now with love and thanks. It is our heritage and our future. We give back to the Earth that which we have been given. - Bristlecone Glen Cast: High Priestess High Priest Harper Grey Man Crone Quarters Callers Props: Cauldron Cakes & Wine Dry Ice Glow Sticks Chalice Basket Flash Paper Quarters candles should be set up and lit before Circle. Altar Candles lit. A cauldron sits in the north. In the cauldron should be glow sticks to light it from within, a pan of dry ice, a candle, and the chalice. The Crone sits, cloaked and hooded, by the Cauldron. The Harper sits in the east, an empty stool sits beside the Harper. Cast Circle and purify sacred space as is the custom of your circle. Spirits of the East! Air, Breath of our ancestors Be with us in this Circle That we may KNOW we are the children of the Gods. Spirits of the South! Fire, Will of our ancestors, 2452 Be with us in this Circle That we may have the WILL to claim our heritage. Spirits of the West! Water, Blood of our ancestors, Be with us in this Circle That we may DARE to do the work of the Gods. Spirits of the North! Earth, Bones of our ancestors, Be with us in this Circle That we may NO LONGER BE SILENT, but may meet as one in love to do the work of the Old Ones. HP: Maiden bring Your Flowers Mother, Bring Your Child Old One bring your Wisdom Bright Lady, Cerridwen We welcome Thee to this Circle in Herne's name. For we are the blush of Thy silken cheek. We are the children You hold to Your breast. We are the Carriers of Your ancient way. Bright Lady, Cerridwen, Welcome! HPS: Hunter, bring Your prowess Warrior, bring your skill. Father, bring your guidance. Ancient One, Horned Crown We welcome Thee to this Circle in Thy Lady's name. For we are the flight of the arrow from Thy bow. We are the edge of the sword of Thy honor. We are the sparks of the flame of Thy love. Ancient One, Horned Crowned, Welcome! HPS: We're of the old religion, sired of Time, and born of our beloved Earth Mother. For too long the people have trodden a stony path that goes only onward beneath a sky that goes only upwards. HP: The Horned God plays in a lonely glade for the people are scattered in this barren age and the winds carry his plaintive notes over deserted heaths and reedy moors and into the lonely grasses. (Grey Man raps staff on ground comes into center of Circle unobserved by the HP/S. When he speaks, HP/S should be startled.) Grey Man: Who know now the ancient tongue of the Moon? And who speaks still with the Goddess? The magic of the land of Lirien and the old pagan gods have withered in the dragons breath; the old ways of magic have slipped into the well of the past, and only the rocks now remember what the moon told us long ago, and what we learned from the trees, and the voices of grasses and the scents of flowers. 2453 (HP/S begin to spiral into the center of the Circle to meet the Grey Man.) HP: We're pagans and we worship the pagan gods, and among the people there are witches yet who speak with the moon and dance with the Horned One. HPS: But a witch is a rare pagan in these days, deep and inscrutable, recognizable only by their own kind, by the light in their eyes and the love in their breasts, by the magic in their hands and the lilt of their tongue and by their knowledge of the real. HP: But the wiccan way is one way. There are many; there are pagans the world over who worship the Earth Mother and the Sky Father, the Rain God and the Rainbow Goddess, the Dark One and the Hag on the mountain, the Moon Goddess and the little People in the mists on the other side of the veil. HPS: A pagan is one who worships the goddesses and gods of nature, whether by observation or by study, whether by love or admiration, or whether in their sacred rites with the Moon, or the great festivals of the Sun. Grey Man: Many suns ago, as the pale dawn of reason crept across the pagan sky, man grew out of believing in THE GODS. Harper: He has yet to grow out of disbelieving in them. Grey Man: He who splits the Goddess on an existence-nonexistence dichotomy will earn himself only paradoxes, for the gods are not so divided and nor the magic lands of the Brother of Time. Harper: Does a mind exist? Grey Man: Ask her and she will tell you yes, but seek her out, and she'll elude you. She is in every place, and in no place, and you'll see her works in all places, but herself in none. Existence was the second-born from the Mother's womb and contains neither the first-born, nor the unborn. Show us your mind, and we'll show you the gods! Harper: No matter that you can't, for we can't show you the gods. But come with us and the Goddess herself will be our love and the God will call the tune. Grey Man: But a brass penny for your reason; for logic is a closed ring, and the child doesn't validate the Mother, nor the dream the dreamer. (Grey Man turns to face the seated Crone. Speaks almost as if talking to himself) And what matter the wars of opposites to she who has fallen in love with a whirlwind or to the lover of the 2454 arching rainbow. Harper: (To HP/S) But tell us of your Goddess as you love her, and the gods that guide your works, and we'll listen with wonder, for to do less would be arrogant. but we'll do more, for the heart of man is aching for memories only half forgotten, and the Old Ones only half unseen. HP: We'll write the old myths as they were always written and we'll read them on the rocks and in the caves and in the deep of the greenwood's shade, and we'll hear them in the rippling mountain streams and in the rustling of the leaves, and we'll see them in the storm clouds, and in the evening mists. We've no wish to create a new religion for our religion is as old as the hills and older, and we've no wish to bring differences together. Harper: Differences are like different flowers in a meadow, and we are all one in the Mother. HPS: What need is there for a pagan movement since our religion has no teachings and we hear it in the wind and feel it in the stones and the Moon will dance with us as she will? Harper: There is a need. For long the Divider has been among our people and the tribes of man are no more. The sons of the Sky Father have all but conquered nature, but they have poisoned her breast and the Mother is sad for the butterflies are dying and the night draws on. Grey Man: A curse on the conqueror! HP/S: But not of us! Harper: For they curse themselves for they are nature too. Grey Man: They have stolen our magic and sold it to the mindbenders and the mindbenders tramp a maze that has no outlet for they fear the real for the One who guards the path. Where are the pagan shrines? And where do the people gather? Where is the magic made? And where are the Goddess and the Old Ones? HP: Our shrines are in the fields and on the mountains, in the stars and in the wind, deep in the greenwood and on the algal rocks where two streams meet. But the shrines are deserted, and if we gathered in the arms of the Moon for our ancient rites to be with our gods as we were of old, we would be stopped by the dead who now rule the Mother's land and claim rights of ownership on the Mother's breast, and make laws of division and frustration for us. 2455 HPS: We can no longer gather with our gods in a public place and the old rites of communion have been driven from the towns and cities ever deeper into the heath where barely a handful of heathens have remained to guard the old secrets and enact the old rites. There is magic in the heath far from the cold grey society, and there are islands of magic hidden in the entrails of the metropolis behind closed doors, but the people are few, and the barriers between us are formidable. HP: The old religion has become a dark way, obscure, and hidden in the protective bosom of the night. Thin fingers turn the pages of a book of shadows while the sunshine seeks in vain his worshippers in his leafy glades. Harper: Here, then, is the basic reason for a Pagan Movement; we must create a pagan society wherein everyone shall be free to worship the goddesses and gods of nature, and the relationship between a worshipper and their gods shall be sacred and inviolable, provided only that in their love of their own gods, they doesn't curse the names of the gods of others. HPS: It's not yet our business to press the law-makers with undivided endeavor to unmake the laws of repression and, with the Mother's love, it may never become our business for the stifling tides of dogmatism are at last already in ebb. Our first work, and our greatest wish, is to come together, to be with each other in our tribes for we haven't yet grown from the Mother's breast to the stature of the gods. HP: We're of the earth, and sibs to all the children of wild nature, born long ago in the warm mud of the ocean floor; we were together then, and we were together in the rain forests long before that dark day when, beguiled by the pride of the Sky Father, and forgetful of the Mother's love, we killed her earlier-born children and impoverished the old genetic pool. Grey Man: The Red child lives yet in America; the Black Child has not forsaken the gods; the old Australians are still with their nature gods; the Old Ones still live deep in the heart of Mother India, and the White Child has still a foot on the old wiccan way, but Neanderthaler is no more and her magic faded as the Lli and the Archan burst their banks and the ocean flowed in to divide the Isle of Erin from the land of the White Goddess. Man looked with one eye on a two-faced god when he reached for the heavens and scorned the Earth which alone is our life and our provider and the bosom to which we have ever returned since the dawn of Time. 2456 Harper: He who looks only to reason to plum the unfathomable is a fool, for logic is an echo already implicit in the question, and it has no voice of its own; but he is no greater fool than he who scorns logic or derides its impotence from afar, but fears to engage in fair combat when he stands on his opponent's threshold. Don't turn your back on Reason, for his thrust is deadly; but confound him and he'll yield for his code of combat is honorable. So here is more of the work of the Pagan Movement. HPS: Our lore has become encrusted over the ages with occult trivia and the empty vapourings of the lost. The occult arts are in a state of extreme decadence, astrology is in a state of disrepute and fears to confront the statistician's sword; alien creeds oust our native arts and, being as little understood as our own forgotten arts, are just as futile for their lack of understanding, and more so for their unfamiliarity. HP: Misunderstanding is rife. Disbelief is black on every horizon, and vampires abound on the blood of the credulous. Our work is to reject the trivial, the irrelevant and the erroneous, and to bring the lost children of the Earth Mother again into the court of the Sky Father where reason alone will avail. Harper: Belief is the deceit of the credulous; it has no place in the heart of a pagan. Grey Man: But while we are sad for those who are bemused by Reason, we are deadened by those who see no further than his syllogisms as he turns the eternal wheel of the Great Tautology. HP: We were not fashioned in the mathematician's computations, and we were old when the first alchemist was a child. HPS: We have walked in the magic forest, bewitched in the old Green Things; we have seen the cauldron and the one become many and the many in the one; we know the Silver Maid of the moonlight and the sounds of the cloven feet. We have heard the pipes on the twilight ferns, and we've seen the spells of the enchantress, and Time be stilled. We've been into eternal darkness where the Night Mare rides and rode her to the edge of the Abyss, and beyond, and we know the dark face of the Rising Sun. Harper: Spin a spell or words and make a magic knot; spin it on the magic loom and spin it with the gods. Say it in the old chant and say it to the Goddess, and in her name. Say it to a dark well and breathe it on a 2457 stone. HP: There are no signposts on the untrod way, HPS: but we'll make our rituals together and bring them as our gifts to the Goddess and her God in the great rites. (HP/S turn to Circle) HP: Here, then, is our work in the Pagan Movement; to make magic in the name of our gods, to share our magic where the gods would wish it, and to come together in our ancient festivals of birth, and life, of death and of change in the old rhythm. HPS: We'll print the rituals that can be shared in the written work; HP: We'll do all in our power to bring the people together, to teach those who would learn, and to learn from those who can teach. HPS: We will initiate groups, bring people to groups, and groups to other groups in our common devotion to the goddesses and gods of nature. HP: We will not storm the secrets of any coven, nor profane the tools, the magic, and still less, the gods of another. HPS: We'll collect the myths of the ages, of our people and of the pagans of other lands, and we'll study the books of the wise and we'll talk to the very young. HP: And whatever the pagan needs in their study, or their worship, then it is our concern, and the Movement's business to do everything possible to help each other in our worship of the gods we love. HPS: We are committed with the lone pagan on the seashore, with he who worships in the fastness of a mountain range or she who sings the old chant in a lost valley far from the metalloid road. HP: We are committed with the wanderer, and equally with the prisoner, disinherited from the Mother's milk in the darkness of the industrial webs. HPS: We are committed too with the coven, with the circular dance in the light of the full moon, with the great festivals of the sun, and with the gatherings of the people. HP: We are committed to build our temples in the towns and 2458 in the wilderness, to buy the lands and the streams from the landowners and give them to the Goddess for her children's use, and we'll replant the greenwood as it was of old for love of the dryad stillness, and for love of our children's children. HP/S: This we will do. What will you? (At this point, HP/S should walk around the Circle and "gather" the pledges from those in Circle who wish to give them. Participants should think carefully about what they wish to pledge before the Gods in this ritual. When all pledges are gathered, HP/S takes them to the Grey Man) HPS: When the streams flow clear and the winds blow pure, and the sun never more rises unrenowned nor the moon ride in the skies unloved; HP: when the stones tell of the Horned God and the greenwood grows deep to call back her own ones, then our work will be ended HP/S: and the Pagan Movement will return to the beloved womb of our old religion, to the nature goddesses and gods of paganism. (Grey Man nods, receives the pledges and palms flash powder unobtrusively. Conducts HP/S to the Crone. Grey Man opens hands and lets paper fall on candle. Crone pours hot water on dry ice, stands up, throws back hood of cape) Crone: I have heard your call across the mountains. I have heard your cries within the web of life and I have come once more. Single is the race, single of men and Gods. From a single source we both draw breath, but a difference of power in everything keeps us apart. You are the children of my heart - the light of my Soul. And I bring with me the seeds of your ancestors that I have kept safe for you. Like the cycle of the seasons, I give them again that you may plant yet again. Sow the seeds for yourselves , for your children, and your children's children. (Crone hands basket of seeds to HP/S. Reaches into the well again and draws out chalice from cauldron.) The chalice contains the blood of those who have died for the crime of being different, the sweat of those who toiled that the path of the Old Ones might survive, and the tears of those who thought themselves alone. The cauldron of the Gods is that of change - of turning evil to good, death to life. Through the power of the Cauldron, turn the blood of death to the water of life, turn the crime of being different to the strength of being whole. Turn the sweat of toil to the joy of work well done. Turn the tears of those alone to the tears 2459 of family reunited. The present is the balance between the past and the future. The power lies within your heart, within your hands. Do you have the courage? The choice is his, the choice is hers, the choice is yours. Can you make a difference? WILL you make a difference? (Crone hands chalice to HP/S and wraps cloak around her, sitting down once more.) HP/S spiral back out to the Circle. Chalice blessing: HP: Be it known that a man is not greater than a woman HPS: Nor is woman greater than man HP: For what one lacks HPS: The other can provide HP: As the athame is to the male HPS: So is the cup to the female HP/S: And when conjoined, they become one in truth. For there is no greater magick in all the world than that of love. Cakes Blessing: HPS: Be it known that death is not the end of life ... HP: But the beginning of the cycle of rebirth. HPS: As grain is touched by death's scythe ... HP: And passes through fire to be reborn as bread ... HPS: So are we reborn, passing through death into the next life. (High Priest draws Invoking Pentagram over cakes with Athame, while both say: HP/S: As the Earth gives its life to strengthen us, so shall we, in death, strengthen the Earth, for life and death together are the cycle of rebirth. HP/S take of cakes and wine and pass the basket and chalice to quarters callers to take to the Circle. We all come from the Goddess And to Her we shall return Like a drop or rain Flowing to the ocean We all come from the Horned One And to Him we shall return Like a flash of flame Ascending to the heavens. Hoof and Horn Hoof and Horn All that dies shall be reborn Vine and Grain Vine and Grain 2460 All that falls shall rise again. (The chant may evolve into others such as the Isis Astarte and corresponding God chants. Go with the flow. When all in the Circle have partaken of cakes and wine, the chalice comes back to the HP and HPS, who take it to the Harper. Harper eats and drinks, takes cakes and wine to Grey Man. Grey Man eats and drinks, takes cakes and wine to Crone, who eats, drinks, and receives seeds and chalice again. Replaces chalice in Cauldron, covers seeds with cloak. When HPS feels energy has built to a peak, she calls a halt to it by raising her arms and dropping them to her sides.) HP/S: Remember this night. Take the energy that has been raised here by your sisters and brothers and put it into your pledges. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! HPS: Hunter, for Your prowess Warrior, for Your skill Father for Your Guidance Ancient One, Horned Crowned, We thank you and bid you Hail and Farewell! HP: Maiden, for Your flowers. Mother, for Your child. Old One, for Your Wisdom. Bright Lady, Cerridwen, we thank You And bid you Hail and Farewell! Spirits of the North! Earth, Body of our ancestors. Go with us from this place United as heirs of our ancestors. Spirits of the West! Water, Blood of our ancestors. We have the courage to dare to do the work. Go with us from this place United as heirs of our ancestors. Spirits of the South, Fire, will of our ancestors. We have the will to do that which we promised Go with us from this place United as heirs of our ancestors. Spirits of the East Air, breath of our ancestors. We KNOW that we are the children of the Gods and all one family. Go with us from this place United as heirs of our ancestors. HP draws power back up into the blade of the sword/athame and earths the power. HP, HPS, Harper, Grey Man and Crone move into a circle. The next five lines should be shot from person to person, to form a pentagram: HPS: The Circle is Open 2461 HP: But not forgotten! Harper: The Circle is unbroken. Grey Man: Nothing is forgotten Crone: The Circle is Free All: Nothing is ever forgotten HPS, HP, Harper, Grey Man, and Crone join the larger Circle. HPS or Harper calls out lines of Amazing Grace to the Circle as all sing. Amazing Grace! How sweet the Earth That formed a Witch like me I once was burned, now I survive Was hanged, but now I sing. Twas grace that drew down the moon And grace that raised the sea The magick of the people's will Will set our Mother free! Amazing Grace! How sweet the Earth That formed a Witch like me I once was burned, but now I thrive Was hanged but now I sing. HPS: Blessed Be! C.O.G. History By: Michael Thorn 20 Nov 93 12:09 The Covenant of the Goddess is one of the largest and oldest Wiccan religious organizations with members in North America, Europe and Australia. Wicca, or Witchcraft is the most popular expression of the religious movement known as Neo+Paganism, which, according to the Institute for the Study of American Religion, is the fastest growing religion in the United States. It practitioners are reviving ancient Pagan practices and beliefs of pre-Christian Europe and adapting them to contemporary life. The result is a religion that is both old and new, both +traditional+ and creative. Witchcraft is a life-affirming, earth+ and nature-oriented religion which sees all of life as sacred and interconnected, honors the natural world as the embodiment of divinity, immanent as well as transcendent, and experiences the divine as feminine and often as masculine, as well. Like the spiritual world view and practices of Native Americans and Taoists, Wiccan spiritual practices are intended to attune humanity to the natural rhythms and cycles of the universe as a means of personally experiencing divinity. Rituals, therefore, coincide with the phases of the moon, the change of the seasons, solstices and equinoxes and days which fall in between these such as May Day and Halloween. This calendar of celebrations is referred to as the Wheel of the Year. Most Witches consider their practice a priest/esshood, akin to the mystery schools of classical Greece and Rome, involving years of training and passage through life-transforming initiatory rituals. All Witches agree on an ethical code known as the Wiccan Rede, "An it harm none, do what ye will," which honors the freedom of each 2462 individual to do what she or he believes is right, but also recognizes the profound responsibility that none may be harmed by one+s actions. In the 1970+s there was a marked rise of interest in Witchcraft not only in the United States, but throughout the world, reflecting a growing feminist awareness and global concern for the environment. In the Spring of 1975, a number of Wiccan elders from diverse traditions, all sharing the idea of forming a religious organization for all practitioners of Witchcraft, gathered to draft a "covenant" among themselves. These representatives also drafted bylaws to administer this new organization now known as the Covenant of the Goddess. At the 1975 Summer Solstice, the bylaws were ratified by thirteen member congreg- ations (or covens). The Covenant of the Goddess was incorporated as a nonprofit religious organization on October 31st, 1975. The Covenant is an umbrella organization of cooperating autonomous Witchcraft congregations with the power to confer credentials on its qualified clergy. It fosters cooperation and mutual support among Witches and secures for them the legal protections enjoyed by members of other religions. The Covenant is non+hierarchical and governed by consensus. Two-thirds of its clergy are women. The Covenant is coordinated by a national board of directors. Many of its activities are conducted at the regional level by local councils. The Covenant holds an annual national conference open to the Wiccan community, as well as regional conferences, and publishes a newsletter. In recent years, the Covenant has taken part in spiritual and educational conferences, interfaith outreach, large public rituals, environmental activism, community projects and social action, as well as efforts to correct negative stereotypes and promote accurate media portrayals. Its clergy perform legal marriages (handfastings), preside at funerals and other rituals of life-transition, and provide counseling to Witches including those in the military and in prisons. The Covenant also provides for the need of it members and their families with disaster relief, health insurance, Scouting awards, sponsorship of college and university student groups, and legal assistance in instances of discrimination. The Covenant+s participation in the 1993 Parliament of the World+s Religions continues its efforts to restore the respect due to a legitimate and deeply-rooted religion, protect and preserve the earth through its public dissemination of its wisdom and traditions, and participate in dialogue as a contributing member of the world+s community of faiths. A CHRISTIAN SPEAKS ON THE FAITH AND PATH OF WICCA by James Clement Taylor I am a Christian and not a Wiccan. A Christian is one who has been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and who has made a personal, free-will decision to commit himself and all his or her life to our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Both of these things are true of me. I am a member of St. Mary's Eastern Orthodox Church, Calhan, Colorado. In this paper, I am not speaking as agent for any church, but I am, entirely on my own responsibility, speaking the truth in love, as we Christians are supposed to do. A Situation of Strife and Shame: 2463 There are many Christians today who believe that anyone who is not a Christian is doomed to an eternity of suffering in hell. Any decent person, believing this, would be compelled to try to save as many people from this fate as possible. But is this belief correct? Jesus Christ, having noted the faith and righteousness of a Roman centurion, a Pagan, proclaimed: "Assuredly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the king- dom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:10-12) If we accept these words as true, and surely we should, then it is clear that heaven will contain many who are not Christians, and hell will contain many who are! Clearly, throughout the Gospels, Jesus Christ sets forth the criteria for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and those criteria include love, kindness, forgiveness, and a refusal to judge others: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15) "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you." (Matthew 7:2) "But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy and not sacrifice.'" (Matthew 9:13) "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be for- given." (Luke 6:36-38) Is it not clear? Anyone who fails in these things, will calling himself a Christian save him? Anyone who obeys God in these things, will being unbaptized condemn him? Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." (Matthew 7:21) Yet it is not by good works that we earn our way into heaven, because there is no way we can earn the free gift of God's mercy and grace, which alone can save us. But it is clear that it is not by faith, in the sense of sharing the Christian faith, that we are saved, either. The faith which saves us is not faith in the goodness of our works, nor faith that we have the right theology and/or belong to the right church. Rather, it is faith in God, and in His mercy: "So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy." (Romans 9:16) But the Wiccans, you will say, do not have faith in God. Yet by their own theology, they certainly do. Those who call them Satan-worshippers are entirely wrong. They do not worship Satan, or even believe that 2464 Satan exists. Instead, they worship a Goddess and a God whom they understand as manifestations of a higher and unknown Deity. Now if you are a Christian, this will sound familiar to you, and it should. In the Bible we find the following: "Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, `Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and con- sidering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you" (Acts 17:22-23) The Wiccans worship the Unknown God, as manifested to them in the form of a Goddess and a God. Therefore, our Bible tells us they worship the same God we do; and if they do not know this, we should know it! For those of us who are unable to simply stand on God's Word, and must prove to themselves the truth of what it proclaims the holy Apostle John has given us the method for doing this. You have only to attend any public Wiccan ceremony, and test the spirits which are there, to see "whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1). You will find that, while the power manifested there may be less than what you have experienced as a Christian, that power is clearly the power of God. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, these people of Wicca have been terribly slandered by us. They have lost jobs, and homes, and places of business because we have assured others that they worship Satan, which they do not. We have persecuted them, and God will hold us accountable for this, you may be sure, for He has said, "Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." (Matthew 25:40) Let us, from this point onward, repent of our misdeeds and declare that henceforth we shall obey Christ our God, and not judge others or condemn them, so that He will not have to judge and condemn us for our sins. KILL A TREE From: Ali Katz to the tune of "Jingle Bells": Dashing to the mall in a fleet of rented trucks, a million hairless apes are out to spend some plastic bucks. It's Christmas time again -- or maybe World War Three -- and to keep their spirits happy now, they've got to kill a tree. Oh, kill a tree, kill a tree, kill a tree for Christ. (Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, accept this sacrifice.) Kill a tree, kill a tree, kill a tree for Christ, not sure what we're doing, but it seems to work out nice. We know we each deserve a ton or two of crap, but to keep the goodies coming now, we've got to spill some sap, and string electric lights, and raise the ritual star, and bribe our friends and families to forget what jerks we are. 2465 And kill a tree ... (etc.) We always kill a tree. That's always been enough for videos and GI Joes and all that kiddy stuff. But Mommy wants a Harley, and Daddy wants a boat; that's prob'ly gonna cost at least a chicken and a goat. But kill a tree ... (etc.) To enhance everyone's holiday cheer, I highly recommend singing this one at the mall. But depending on where you live, you may want to make sure you've got a good bail bondsman's number first. ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2466 Lord of the Ants By: Karl Lembke (tune: "Lord of the Dance") Well we cleansed with sugar 'cause the salt was gone, And the color was right though the substance might be wrong, And when the water dried, it was sticky, my oh me, It attracted all of the ants, you see, (chorus) Ants, ants, all over they shall be, I am the lord of the ants, you see. I'll crawl on you, and you'll itch from me, And you'll dance with ants in your pants, said he. We have ants in the carpets and we've ants in the drapes, We have ants in the kitchen dancing galliards on the grapes, We have ants in the bedroom and what may be more fun, We have ants in our circles now from sun to sun. (chorus) 'What to do' cried the priestess, 'what to do' cried the priest, 'All the baits and the sprays haven't helped us in the least, 'The buggers eat it up and it only makes us sick, 'All in all I'd say it is no pic-nic!' (chorus) We stood round the fire while the flames lept up high, With the sound of the sirens wailing up to the sky, Though the bug bombs exploded it could still have been worse, At least now we're free of the ant lord's curse! (spoken: "Oh hell!") (chorus) ...........Karl ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2467 It's from a Pagan version of the song CIRCLES. I'm not sure who wrote it - I want to say a group of women in Lansing, Mich. Unfortunately, my copy says "ANON". CIRCLES TUNE: WINDMILLS (1) In days gone by, when the world was much younger, Men wondered at Spring, born of Winter's cold knife, Wondering at the games of the moon and the sunlight, They saw there the Lady and Lord of all life. CHORUS: Around and around, and around turns the good Earth, All things must change as the seasons go by, we are the children of the Lord and the Lady, Whose mysteries we know, but will never know why. (2) In all lands the people were tied to the good Earth, Plowing and sowing, as the seasons declared, Waiting to reap of the rich golden harvest, Knowing her laughter in the joys that we shared. Chorus. (3) Through Flanders and Wales and the green lands of Ireland, in the kingdoms of England and Csotland and Spain, Circles grew up all along the wild coastlines, And worked for the land, with the Sun and the rain. Chorus (4) Circles for healing, and working the weather, Circles for knowing the Moon and the Sun, Circles for thanking the Lord and the Lady, Circles for dancing the dance never done. Chorus (5) And we who reach for the stars in the heavens, Turning our eyes from the meadows and groves, Still live in the love of the Lord and the Lady, The greater the circle, the more the love grows. Chorus twice. Blessed be, and keep dancing. Keipa ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2468 GREAT RITE by Vivienne West (For J.M., commemorating Full Moon 30/1/91) Still is the night, and the clock silent. Water from somewhere drips, A breeze moves amongst your hairs. The Bird, her beak poised, watches As I caress you, child, With an absent movement of my hands, My mind elsewhere. She of the Silver Wheel Wheeling in darkness her silver overhead Watches more than passively As in Her name I take you and bless you; And the Dark Hunter, Jewels in His belt, Takes you for His own, Takes me in your flesh His magical scabbard at His side, Sword outraised, unutterably distant Yet manifest here in you... And I, primal woman and primal queen, Feel Her powerful darkness stirring And shouldering me aside within my own flesh As I call Her forth, She of the sky-castle Spinning dizzily overhead seen unseen; And I stand by and watch as the Hunter fills your body (you, no doubt, standing by and watching) As the Dark Lady fills my body and clothed in our flesh They mate (...but I did not tell you, nor did you ask that this is the time of my greatest fertility...) ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2469 Ishtar, Inanna, & Ancient Astrology By Valkyrie Many might be interested in some information that I came across awhile back that might shed some light on this for you. Some may have seen part of this already. Someone in a shamanic echo was asking about how scorpions and spiders were related to each other in dreams, and what meaning the scorpion had, especially in regards to an earth goddess. I ran across a reference in one of those 'feminist revisionists'" books and the statement was made that the Scorpion was found nearly world wide associated with an old Mother Goddess and the constellation Scorpio. I think it might provide some of the connections you are looking for. So I found a book that wasn't cross-referenced by that author, which is recognized in its field (astronomical history) and was surprised to find that it wasn't an exageration. Richard Hinckley Allen, _Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning_, Dover Publications, Inc., New York:1963. The book was originally published by G.E. Stechert in 1899, under the former title: _Star-Names and Their Meanings_. I consider this a reliable source to balance a perhaps more "revisionist" view since it was written during a period by an expert who probably never questioned it theologically and reported facts as facts. Bear with me, the first part becomes significant as you go along. pg 360-365. SCORPIO, or SCORPIUS, the SCORPION, was the reputed slayer of the Giant, exalted to the skies and now rising from the horizon as Orion, still in fear of the Scorpion, sinks below it; although the latter itself was in danger, --Sackville writing in his Induction to the _Mirror of Magistrates_, in 1565. Whiles Scorpio, dreading Sagittarius' dart Whose bow prest bent in flight the string had slipped Down slid into the ocean flood apart. Classical authors saw in it the monster that caused the disastrous runaway of the steeds of Phoebus Apollow when in the inexperienced hands of Phaethon. For some centuries before the Christian era it was the largest of the zodiac figures, forming with the [Greek name] it's Claws, --the _prosectae chelae_ of Cicero, now our Libra,--a double constellation, as Ovid wrote: Porrigit in spatium signorum membra duorum; and this figuring has been adduced as the strongest proof of Scorpio's great antiquity, from the belief that only six constellations made up on the earliest zodiac, of which this extended sign was one. With the Greeks it universally was [Greek]; Aratos, singularly making but slight allusion to it, added [Greek]; while another very appropriate term with Aratos was [Greek], the Great Sign. This reported magnitude perhaps was due to the mytholgical necessity of greater size for the slayer of great Orion, in reference to which that author characterized 2470 it as [Greek] 'appearing huger still.' The Latins occasionally wrote the word _Scorpios_, but usually _Scorpius_, or Scorpio; while Cicero, Ennius, Manilius, and perhaps Columella gave the kindred African title Nepa, or Nepas, the first of which the Alfonsine Tables copy, as did Manilus the Greek adjective, [G], Walking Backward. Astronomical writers and commentators, down to comparatively modern times, occasionally mentioned its two division under the combined title Sorpius cum Chelis; while some representations even showed the Scales in the creature's Claws. Grotius said that the Barbarians called the Claws Graffias, and the Latins, according to Pliny, Forficulae. In early China it was an important part of the figure of the mighty but genial Azure Dragon of the EAst and of spring, in later days the residence of the heavenly Blue Emperor; but in the time of Confucius it was Ta Who, the Great Fire, a primeval name for its star Antares; and Shing Kung, a Divine Temple, was applied to the stars of the tail. As a member of the early zodiac it was the _Hare_, for which, in the 16th century, was substituted, from Jesuit teaching, _Tien He_, the Celestial Scorpion. Sir William Drummond asserted that in the zodiac which the partriarch Abraham knew it was an Eagle; and some commentators have located here the biblical Chambers of the South, Scorpio being directly opposite the Pleiades on the sphere, both thought to be mentioned in the same passage of the _Book of Job_ with two other opposed constellations, the Bear and Orion; but the original usually is considered a reference to the southern heavens in general. Aben Ezra identified Sorpio, or Antares, with the K'sil of the Hebrews; although that people generally considered those stars as a Scorpion, their Akrabh, and, it is claimed, inscribed it on the banners of Dan as the emblem of the tribe whose founder was 'a serpent by the way." When thus shown it was as a _crowned Snake_ or _Basilisk_. A similar figure appeared for it at one period of Egyptian astronomy; indeed it is thus met with in moder times, for Chatterton, that precocious poet of the last centruy, plainly worte of the Scorpion in his line, " The slimy serpent swelters in his course;" and long before him Spenser had, in the _Faeirie Queen_, " and now in Ocean deepe Orion flying fast from hissing snake, His flaming head did hasten for to steepe. But the Denderah zodiac shows the typical form. Kircher called the whole constellation [Gk] _Statio Isidis_, the bright Antares having been at one time a symbol of Isis. The Arabians knew it as Al Akrab, the Scorpion, from which have degenerated Alacrab, Alatrab, Alatrap, Hacrab, --Riccioli's Askrab and Hacerab; and similarly it was the syrians' Akreva. Riccioli gave us Acrobo _Chaldaeis_, which may be true, but in this Latin word he probably had reference to the astrologers. The Persians ahd a Scorpion in their Gherzdum or Kdum, and the Turks, in their Koirughi, Tailed, and Uzun Koirughi, Long tailed. The Akkadians called it Girtab, the Seizer, or Stinger, and the Place 2471 where One Bows Down, titles indicative of the creature's dangerous character, although some early translators of the cuneiform text rendered it the _Double Sword_. With later dwellers on the Euphrates it was the symbol of darkness, showing the decline of the sun's power after the autumnal equinox, then located in it. Always prominent in that astronomy. Jensen thinks that it was formed there 5000 B.C., and pictured much as it now is; perhaps also in the semi-human form of two Scorpion-men, the early circular Altar or Lamp being shown grasped in the Claws, as the Scales were in illustatoins of the 15th century. In Babylonia this calendar sign was identified with the eigth month, Arakh Savna, our October-November. Early India knew it as Ali, Vicrika, or Vrouchicam, --in Tamil, Vrishman; but later on Varah Mihira siad Kaurpya, and Al Biruni, Kaurba, both from the Greek Scorpios. On the Cingalese zodiac it was Ussika. Dante designated it as Un Secchione, "Formed like a bucket that is all ablaze; and in the _Purgatorio_ as Il Friddo Animal of our motto, not a mistaken reference to the creature's nature, but to its rising in the cold hours of the dawn when he was gazing upon it. Dante's translator Longfellow has something similar in his own _Poet's Calendar_ for October: On the frigid Scorpion I ride. Chaucer wrote of it, in the _Hous of Fame_ as the Scorpioun; his Anglo-Norman predecessors, Escopiun; and the Anglo-Saxons, Throwend. Caesisu mistakenly considered it one of the Scorpions of Rehobam; but Novidius said that it was "the scorpion or serpent whereby Pharaoh, King of Egypt, was enforced to let the children of Israel depart out of his country;" of which Hood said "there is no such thing in history." Other Christians of their day changed its figure to that of the Apostle Bartholmew; and Weigel, to a Cardinal's Hat. In some popular books of the present day it is the Kite, which it resembles as much as a Scorpion. Its symbol is now given as [Astrological symbol], but in earlier times the sting of the creature was added, perhaps so showing the feet, tail and dart; but the similarity in their symbols may indicate that there has been some intimate connection, now forgotten, between Scorpio and the formerly adjacent Virgo. Ampelius assigned to it the care of Africus, the Southwest Wind, a duty which, he said, Aries and Sagittarius shared; and the weather-wise of antiquity thought that its setting exerted a malignant influence, and was accompanied by storms; but the alchemists held it in high regard, for only when the sun was in this sign could the transmutation of iron into gold be performed. Astrologers, on the other hand, although they considered it a fruitful sign, "active and eminent," knew it as the accursed constellation, the baleful source of war and discord, the birthplace of the planet mars, and so the House of Mars, the Martis Sidus of Manilus. But this was located in the sting and tail; the claws, as [Gk] Jugum, or the Yoke of the Balance, being devoted to Venus, because this goddess united persons under the yoke of matrimony. It was supposed to govern the region of the groin in the human body and to reign over Judaea, Mauritania, Catalonia, Norway, West Silesia, Upper Batavia, Barbary, Morocco, Valencia, and Messina; the early Manilius claiming it as the tutelary sign of Carthage, Libya, Egypt, Sardinia, and other island of the Italian coast. Brown was its assigned color, 2472 and Pliny asserted that the appearance of a comet hre portended a plague of reptiles and insects, especially of locusts. Although nominally in the zodiac, the sun actually occupies but nine days in passing through the two portions that project upwards into Orhiuchus, so far south of the ecliptic is it; indeed, except for these projections, it could not be claimed as a member of the zodiac. Scorpon is famous as the region of the sky where have appeared many of the brilliant temporary stars, chief among them, perhaps, that of 134 BC., the first in astronmical annals, and the occasion, Pliny siad of the catalogue of Hipparchos, about 125 BC. The Chinese She Ke confirmed this appearance by its record of the "strange star" in June of that year, in the sieu Fang, marked by [.....] and others in Scorpio. Serviss thinks it conceivable that the strange outburst of these novae in and near Scorpio may have had some effect in causing this constellation to be regarded by the ancients as malign in its influence. But this character may, with at least equal probablity, have come from the fiery color of its _lucida_, as well as from the history of the constellation in connection with Orion, and the poisonous attributes of its earthly namesake. In southern latitudes Scorpio is magnificently seen in its entirety, nearly 45 degrees,--Gould catolguing in it 184 naked-eye stars. Along its northern border, perhaps in Orphiuchus, there was, in very early days, a constellation, the Fox, taken from the Egyptian sphere of Petosiris, but we know nothing as to its details. "Antares" The Ariabians Kalb al Akrab, the Scorpion's Heart, which probably preceded the [Gk] and Cor Scorpii of Greece and Rome respectively. -=*=- In Buffie Johnson's _Lady of the Beasts_ (Harper, San Francisco, 1981) pgs 332-335, there are illustrations and photos of statuatary and pottery which show the representation of the Scorpion Goddess, as Selket, a woman with the lower torso taking the shape of a scorpion wiht a raised tail. On her head is the "horned" headdress with the disk between the horns,the horns and sun disk of Isis. (New Kingdom 1570-332 bce). A Stamp seal showing two scorpions protecting the rosette of the goddess Inanna, from Sumer, ca 3300 bce, and a statue of Selket wearing a scorpion on her head, as well as a drawing from Ur, ca 2400 bce showing the goddess giving birth guarded by scorpions. In the _Book of the Dead_ seven scorpions accompany Isis, when her son Horus was bitten by one scorpion of the most deadly species, her scorpion friends saved her son out of love for her...and bit the son of a woman who had refused to help, then with her magic, Isis then saved the bitten boy. (A classic shamanism motif(. Selket is shown as beneficial when associated with Isis, and it is possible that the "other" woman is Isis's dark aspect. Selket symbolizes resurrection into a new life beyond earthly existence. "Gathering the setting sun into her outstretched arms she becomes the link between the living and the dead and helps the dead accomodate themselves to their new land. In another aspect, Selket isunited with 2473 Sirius, as a consequence the star if placed in her crown." (ibid. p. 334) Johnson also compares Chamunda, the scorpion deity of the central Indian tradition with the other scorpion goddess with the endowment of poison which indicates her connection with death and rebirth. "The Scorpion expresses the vital spirit in humans which, transformed, becomes the divine pneuma. One of its symbols is the scorpion which stings itself to death (E. A. Wallis Budge, _The Gods of the Egyptians_ vol. 2 (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1969), 377-78. "The association between serpent and scorpion, both sudden and dangerous stingers, appears in the Babylonina and Greek astrological sign of Scorpio, which corresponds to the Ctyptian sign of the autumn equinox, the serpent. In esoteric traditions, the scorpion is recognized as a spiritual insect rhough its gift of self-immolation and rebirth. The venom of the scorpion is said to contain its own antidote." the Scorpion as the dual Mother, the one who gave birth to and then "swallowed" the divine son (sun) is found in Egyptian myth as the Scorpion which killed Horus, sending him to his midwinter death and resurrection as his Mother Isis gave him rebirth. Spirits of the four points of the year were called Sons of Horus and placed as small images on the pharoah's tombs...a man, bull, lion and scorpion or serpent...which seem to have become the four angels of the Apocalypse. Istar, Babylonian, "Star" was the Great Goddess who appears as Ashtoreth, Anath, Asherah. She was refered to as the Great Whore, and described in Revelation 17:5 as Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots. Another of her titles was the Goddess Har, who called herself the compassionate prostitute. Interestingly enough, in the Voluspa there is mention of the Hall of Har, where Gullveig was mentioned as being, who was "held up by spears" and who supposedly started the war between the Vanir and the Aesir by being attacked in the hall of Har...which is usually translated as Odin. There might be a better explanation, now that I think of it... I wonder how I missed that before. Anyway, Ishtar was also called in Bablyonian prayers: The Light of the World, Leader of Hosts, Opener of the Womb, Righteous Judge, Lawgiver, Goddess of Goddesses (Vanadis?), Bestower of Strength, Framer of all Decrees, Lady of Victory, Forgiver of Sins, among many other 'kennings'. Other sources suggest Ishtar was the same Great Goddess as Dea Syria, Astarte, Cybelle, Aphrodite, Kore, Mari, Mari-Ana and others. Preceding her though were supposedly the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, who rescued and/or gave birth to Dumuzi her sacred son/lover just as Ishtar did with Tammuz. Correlating to both was the Egyptian goddess Isis, who was the "Oldest of the Old," and the "Goddess from whom all becoming Arose," and her title was the same as the Queen Mother of Egypt's. Apuleius, a Roman philosopher, poet and Isis-worshipper, addressed her under several goddess names: For the Phrygians that are the first of all men call me the Mother of the gods of Pessinus; the Athenians, which are sprung from their own soil, Cecropian Minerva; the Cyprians, which are girt about by the sea, Pahphian Venus; the Cretans, which bear arrows, Dictynian Diana; the Sicilians, which speak three tongues, infernal Proserpine; the Eleusinians, their ancient goddess Ceres; some Juno, others Bellona, others Hecate, others Ramnusie...the Egyptians, 2474 skilled in ancient lore, worship me with proper ceremonies and call me by my true name, Queen Isis. (Richard Knight, _the Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology_. New YOrk: J.W. Bouton, 1892.) Isis/Nephthys was, or were, the Egyptian version of the creating-and-destroying Goddess, who were also typified as "weeping goddesses." And with other goddesses of this type were known as Guardians and Keepers of the Dead, and with the power over life and death, and healing. They can be found in shamanic traditions the world over as the Underworld deity and as the Lady of the Beasts. [Gk] _Statio Isidis_, the bright Antares having been at one time a symbol of Isis. This part becomes particularly interesting to me, since the Isidis is very similar to a term used for a particular group of ladies, comparable to the Disir of the Norse tradition, the OHG 'itis' or OE "ides" meaning applied to earthly women, but also used in kennings as 'goddess.' As a term for 'woman' it also has the meaning of 'virgin'. The worship of the Disir occured during the winter nights. And interesting correlation that could be made is that the Celtic and the Norse "winter" rites both involve some of the same archtypes and ceremonies, especially the duality of life and death and the door being open and "unguarded" at that time. The Wild Hunt Motif would be a defining factor here, including both the Dark Mother and the Lord of Death. The disir had two appearances, bright (swans feathers) and black (raven or crow feathers)...they were psychopomps, and hardly distinguishable from valkyrie at times. In the Wild Hunt they were accompanied by various Gods, Herne, Woden and others in various traditions and countries. Mazes in Myth Valkyrie I've been working with the labyrinth myths and stories myself. And there is another version or way of viewing the Maiden at the center of the labyrinth that I thought you might be interested in. The maze/labyrinth theme is central not only to the Celtic legends, but the Norse and others besides European. In some of the turf/snow games still played with the 'classical' unicursal labyrinth the Maiden at the center is guarded or held by a troll. In the symbolic analysis of the hero rescuing the maiden from the labyrinth there is the concept of the hero going through a rebirth process and recapturing the feminine, intuitive side of his nature (according to folks who like to do this sort of thing). In many of the later Grail stories, the hero soon abandons the feminine, rejecting it. Those that don't are the ones who remained with the old faith, with the "abandoning" ones the ones who rejected the feminine and went with the male dominant religion of Christianity. The maze can be interchangeable with a dragon or serpent in the same sort of stories as meaning basically the same thing, since the labyrinth is a symbol of a descent and ascent of death and rebirth through the Earth Mother. Old Anglo-Saxon castles were guarded by mounds of earth with basically the same name as dragon. At the center of the Underworld 2475 maze is also found the castle and the Cauldron of Regeneration or Plenty. Women undergoing the traditional challenge and initiation comprable to the Underground journey, were "given" to the trolls. The trolls, being the underground guardians (and not the nasty demons Tolkein and other Christians made them out to be...just ask any Swede) taught the girl secrets as she "served" in the Underworld, in many legends for Frau Holle, who has many well-known counterparts, including Hel, Annwyn, Hecate and others. This is a fairly well known theme in fairy tales also, but not as well recognized as being an initiatory story as the Heroic journeys are. In many Northern folktales, a girl is "given" to the trolls, or abandoned in the woods. In some stories she with her brother, in others she is alone, and the hunter is told to kill her. This journey into the wilderness is the beginning of her wandering through the maze. Or in some of the stories she is taken to a castle and beset with tasks that she must accomplish in order to "marry" the king or prince. She spins straw into gold with the help of the trolls, dwarfs or gnomes, all names for the Underworld beings who guard the fertility of the Upperworld. The spinning of straw into gold is the power of insuring the crops come to fruitful harvest as the grass winds through the season to gold. She is usually set three tasks by either the King who will marry her, or the Queen Mother of the Prince. When she accomplishes the tasks set for her, she "claims" the masculine side of herself and "marries" or becomes united with her masculine side. The story is told in different ways, but the journey to the center of the labyrinth/maze is form of the Spiral Dance of life and death. One of the themes that is found in conjunction with these stories are the ones that have the "poison" apple in them. The apple was a symbol of life and rebirth for many ancient cultures. Apples were associated with the Roman/Etruscan goddess Pomona, the Greek Hera, Demeter, Morgan in her Crone form in Celtic legends, and Holle or Hel in Norse and Germanic legends. Idunn was the Maiden form of Holle or Hel, who kept the apples of immortality in a basket. In the Volsung Saga it tells of the belief that a man could be perserved in death by the apples given to him by his wife. In other legends children are conceived after eating a magical apple. When the Bible was translated, the apple of life and death was found in the Garden of Idunn. The Apple, Rose and Hawthorn are all members of the same family. The Hawthorne, especially as a hedge or protective enclosure is found with the maze, either protecting it, or actually forming the walls. They are sacred trees/plants, the first to begin blooming in the spring. The Hawthorn is especially sacred because it can have blossoms, ripe fruit and ripening fruit on it at all times, as well as protective thorns. I'm posting from the Seattle, Washington area of the United States. Blessings V ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2476 By: Deborah Kest To: Rose Dawn Re: PAGAN SEMANTICS RD> OK, having some more thoughts about this. If there is/are one/two RD> original 'creators,' the system would still be polytheistic if the RD> original(s) created a bunch of gods/demi-gods and cut 'em loose so RD> to speak--not assigning them roles in the grand scheme of the RD> original(s)? If so, what would be a counter-example--something like RD> Yahweh & Son and the angelic hosts? I think I'm following you, it's RD> just a bitch to put into words, LOL! It's hard to imagine an original creator with a grand scheme who would "cut 'em loose." "Well, yes, I have this plan, you see. And things are going pretty well according to plan. But this demi-god was supposed to be in charge of the dinosaurs, and he really doesn't do his job very well. So I'm afraid I'm going to have to fire him, and let him shift for himself." Just an extra force in the universe, which doesn't really play any role at all in the "grand scheme?" This would be rather contradictory if the Grand Poo-Ba were omnipotent and omniscient, for if he wanted things to work according to plan, he would always have the power to make them work. But, much to my distress, I taught Neoplatonism in my sections this week. One of my students, (the only one who has displayed a mystical bent), has been to section every single time, and I was relying on him to defend the Neoplatonists. Figures this would be the only time he oversleeps. The reason the Neoplatonists bother me so much is that they do have the different levels of reality schtick, with The One, aka "The Good" at the top of the ladder. Because the cause is greater than the effect, (the first premise which I don't accept), The One emanates from itself the next level of reality, Intellect. (I still don't understand how something which is in no way differentiated, entirely uniform, could cause anything. After all, isn't causation a process involving some sort of differentiation?) But, anyway, like the sun emanates the halos around it without diminishing itself, or without being anything other than what it is, so too does The One have great fecundity and emanates Intellect. Intellect is still unified, as a mind thinking upon itself. But insofar as it can have thoughts, it has differentiation within its unity. Intellect is the act of unifying. All of the things it thinks on are Platonic Forms, like Beauty, which unify all of the particular instances (of beauty) in our world, (and all other worlds which the World-Soul spins). But Intellect doesn't think of the particular, it thinks only of true Beauty, true Justice, etc. It is not separate from all of these forms, so the way it thinks is from the perspective of each form onto all of the other forms. So from Beauty it contemplates Justice and Equality, and from Justice it contemplates Beauty, etc. Well, somehow in all of this pure thinking on itself, it too emanates another less perfect level of reality, which is Soul, explained as the higher Soul, or World-Soul, and the lower Soul, or our souls. The World-Soul is less fertile than the level before, so it can't manage 2477 to produce real babies, but "less real" babies, imitations of the Forms in the mind of Intellect. So it spins all of the myriads of combina tions of Forms, aka our world. This process of causality, where the effect is always inferior to that which causes it, continues down to the point where no causality is possible any more. This point is Prime Matter, which has no form left at all. As something approaches Prime Matter, it is less and less formed, less and less intelligible. Something is ugly not because it partakes in a form of ugliness, but because it does not partake in the form of beauty at all. This breakdown of order is responsible for what we call evil. According to Plotinus Prime Matter *is* Evil. This would suggest that either The Good is responsible for Evil, or there is more than one principle in the universe, which would deny the premise on which The One is based. The way they try to weasel out of this problem is by saying that Prime Matter is the least real of all, or that it isn't real. That doesn't mean that evil doesn't exist, but it exists because of holes, which are in themselves nothing-ness. It's like Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese has holes, but the holes are in themselves not anything. You wouldn't say that Swiss cheese is made up of cheese and holes, but that there are places in the cheese which simply lack cheese. Holes can't make up anything. So too Prime Matter can't cause anything. Well, anyway, the reason I laid the skeleton of the system out is because Neoplatonism would seem to be a system whose first cause was The One, and who followed necessarily according to a single principle, to produce a manifold which is, in a sense, independent of its "creator." But though there is order, there isn't a divine plan, in that The One can't have any goals. It just emanates from itself, from which all else is derived. The manifold is independent of The One because it isn't itself The One. While there are unifying principles which can only be derived from Unity itself, because they are not perfectly uniform, they are not part of The One. The One can't have parts!!! So, are they monotheists, (The One), duo-theists, (The One and Prime Matter), polytheists, (all of the levels of the hierarchy of reality, which includes levels of spirits which I didn't spell out), or all of the above? One could argue for all of the options, since The One is responsible for all, (but then where does matter, the building stuff of our world, come from, if by itself it is evil), and since the efficient causes of every phenomenon we experience comes from the lower deities, not The One itself. If I *had* to accept such a system, (which I don't feel myself obliged to accept at all, since the arguments which Plotinus and Proclus give are terribly flawed), I would be inclined to favor polytheism, since even though The One is the first principle, not everything is incorporated into The One. In fact nothing is, since that would violate its Unity. So, The One is sort of off by itself, just emanating, while the efficient cause of our world is the World Soul, and all of the levels of spirits can have their hand in our pie. It's my understanding that the Neoplatonic hierarchy of spirits is what much of magic is still based on today. Their nature isn't determined by The One, except insofar as they are caused by The One and this process of diminishing causation, which makes them worse than that which caused 2478 them. They have more unity than we do, being higher up the chain, but less than The One. So while they couldn't do terribly disunified things, they can still do somewhat disunified things, and thus aren't determined. If they aren't determined by The One, then they are powers unto themselves, and the ones which actually do stuff which matters to us. > Well, the "specific group" would be neo-pagans, of course. But then > the argument is circular, and I'm not surprised that you would be > confused. I think there is such a thing as neo-pagans. They are > defined, more or less, by a few distinguishing traits: polytheism, > feminist spirituality, environmental spirituality, and belief in/use of > magic. (This would be my starting list). (Again, none of the traits > are either necessary or sufficient, except *maybe* polytheism, as > sufficient, but not necessary.) So, if we start with the foundation of > neo-pagans, then their reclamation would be of religions which resemble > that which they seek. RD> RD> OK. It still sounds a little tautological to me! I definitely also RD> think there is such a thing as neo-pagans, but the major identifier RD> for me personally is that they define their religion *as* neo-pag- an, RD> which is also tautological... oh hell, my head hurts. Reminds me of a RD> local GLAAD meeting a while back; roundtable discussion, topic: What RD> Is A Lesbian? (After much discussion, the answer everyone agreed on RD> was 'Anyone who says she is.') I think the way to get out of the tautology is to differentiate between the questions "what are they" and "how are they identified." My foundation was that there *is* such a thing as a Neopagan, and I gave a rough description/definition. Your challenge was that *is* is dependant on *what we know to be the case*. If our knowledge is dependant on their self-identification as a Neopagan, we are back in the circle again. I'd like to break the circle by claiming that *is* is not dependant on what we know to be the case. There are Neopagans, separate from the issue of identification of Neopagans. The issue of identification is important for different purposes, but not to the purpose of whether there are Neopagans. If we break the circle, and give rough starting definitions, then the reclamations would be of those religions which have traits which would fit those starting definitions. This means that if just anyone found something appealing from ancient times, and worked to reclaim it, it wouldn't automatically get the label "Pagan." The "just anyone" would have to fit the rough starting definition, or convince the rest of us to include them in a revised definition, before they would count as Neopagans, and their reclamation count as "Pagan." Furthermore, if a Neopagan wanted to reclaim something which had nothing to do with religion, that wouldn't count as Pagan either. RD> Hmm, I don't think I was looking at it in terms of counting them as 2479 RD> pagans. I seem to recall you'd questioned whether Hinduism had RD> features that neo-pagans would find desireable, Yes, but I had made the argument that the fact that they wouldn't apply the word to themselves wasn't sufficient to prove that we shouldn't apply the word to them, if they had the features which we thought of as Pagan. Since the purpose of our discussion is to better understand our own word, we are concerned with whether, as we use it, it fits them, whether they use it or not. RD> and I was pointing out RD> the beliefs/practices of different denominations that might be RD> attractive to various neo-Pagan religions. But yes, I'd say the RD> argument against counting them as Pagans is pretty much spot-on. RD> If not originally a neo-Pagan word, it definitely *was* a western RD> word, no? As to the second, I hadn't even considered it & it's an RD> interesting point. I wouldn't say it was an argument in favor of RD> counting them as Pagan, but there's a lot of truth in it! Why isn't it an argument in favor of counting them as Pagan? If the major things which we use to define Paganism we share with them, and if their sects are closer to some of our "sects" than the sects of each respective religion (understood loosely) are to each other, why not? The Anglo - Saxon Rune Poem By: Steph Parker Anyway, here is the Anglo-Saxon Rune poem. The OE version is in West Saxon though the spelling hasn't been regulised (though I'm using the standard 'ae' for 'ash' and 'th' for 'thorn' and 'eth'). The transla- tion will be Anthony E. Farnham's from A Sourcebook in the History of English as it's much too late for me to bother doing my own and I'll be too busy over the next few days. Where the number '7' appears that is the Old English equivalent of the ampersand (&) and should be read as 'and' or 'ond'. One last point - the poem here has not been proofread so there is a chance that there are errors in the transcription (particularly with ommission of the letter 'e' as there is a slight problem with my keyboard). Feoh byth frofur fira gehwylcum - sceal theah manna gehwylc miclun hyt daelan gif he wile for drihtne domes hleotan. (Wealth is a joy to every man - but every man must share it well if he wish to gain glory in the sight of the Lord.) Ur byth anmod 7 oferhyrned, felafrecne deor, feohteth mid hornum, maere morstapa: thaet is modiy wuht! (Aurochs is fierce, with gigantic horns, a very savage animal, it fights with horns, a well-known moor-stepper: it is a creature of courage!) 2480 THorn byth thearle scearp, thegna gehwylcum anfeng ys yfyl, ungemetun rethe manna gehwylcun the him mid resteth. (Thorn is very sharp, harmful to every man who seizes it, unsuitably severe to every man who rests on it.) Os byth ordfruma aelcre spraece, wisdomes wrathu and witena frofur and eorla gehwam eadnys and tohiht. (Os is the creator of all speech, a supporter of wisdom and comfort of wise men, and a blessing aand hope to every man.) Rad byth on recyde rinca gehwylcum sefte, and swithhwaet tham the sitteth onufan meare maegenheardum ofer milpathas. (Journey is to every warrior in the hall pleasant, and bitingly tough to him who sits on a might steed over the mile-paths.) Cen byth cwicera gehwam cuth on fyre, blac and beorhtlic, byrneth oftust thaer hi aethelingas inne restath. (Torch is to every living thing known by its fire; bright and brilliant, it burns most often where the princes take their rest within.) Gyfu gumena byth gleng and herenys, wrathu 7 wyrthscype, 7 wraecna gehwam ar and aetwist the byth othra leas. (Generosity of men is an ornament and praise, support and dignity, magnificence and existence to every suffering man, who is otherwise destitute.) Wenne bruceth the can weana lyt, sares and sorge, and him sylfa haefth blaed 7 blysse and eac byrga geniht. (Joy he possesses who knows few woes, pain and sorrow, and has for himself prosperity and bliss, and also the abundance found in the fortified dwellings of men.) Haegl byth hwitust corna, hwyrft hit of heofones lyfte, wealcath hit windes scura, weortheth hit to waetere syththan. (Hail is the whitest of seeds, it comes down from the air of heaven, the gusts of wind toss it about, afterward it turns to water.) Nyd byth nearu on breostan: weortheth hi theah oft nitha bearnum to helpe and to haele gehwaethre, gif hi his hlystath aeror. 2481 (Necessity is oppressive to the heart: yet it often becomes for the children of men a help and salvation for each, if they have hearkened unto it.) Is byth oferceald, ungemetum slidor, glisnath glaeshluttur gimmum gelicust, flor forste geworuht, faeger ansyne. (Ice is extremely cold, excessively slippery, it glistens glass-clear, most like to gems, it is a floor wrought by frost, fair of sight.) Ger byth gumena hiht, thon God laeteth, halig heofones cyning, hrusan syllan beorhte bleda beornum and thearfum. (Year (the growing season) is the hope of men, when God, holy king of heaven, causes the earth to give forth shining fruits to wealthy and to needy.) Eoh byth utan unsmethe treow, heard hrusan faest, hyrde fyres, wyrtrumun underwrethyd, wynn on ethle. (Yew is a tree with unsmooth bark, hard and fast in the earth, keeper of fire, supported by roots, a joy in the land.) Peorth byth symble plega and hlehter wlancum [and wisum], thar wigan sittath on beorsele blithe aetsomne. (Peorth is always sport and laughter to the noble [and the wise], where men sit together in merriment in the mead-hall.) Eolhx secg eard haefth oftust on fenne, wexeth on wature, wundath grimme, blode breneth beorna gehwylcne the him aenigne onfeng gedeth. (Eolhx-sedge has its home most often in the marsh, it grows in the water, wounds cruelly, darkens with blood every man who touches it in any way.) Sigel semannum symble bith on hihte, thonn hi hine feriath ofer fisces beth, oth hi brimhengest bringeth to lande. (Sun is always a hope to seamen, when they guide the sea-steed over the fish's bath until it carries them to land.) Tir bith tacna sum: healdeth trywa wel with aethelingas, a bith on faerylde ofer nihta genipu, naefre swiceth. 2482 (Tir is a sign to remember: it holds faith well with princes, is always on course above the mists of the nights, it never wanders or deceives.) Beorc byth bleda leas, bereth efne swa theah tanas butan tudder, bith on telgum wlitig, heah on helme hrysted faegere, geloden leafum, lyfte getenge. (Birch (referring to the poplar?) is seedless, yet without fruit it nevertheless puts forth sprouts; it is beautiful with its branches, lofty in its crown, fairly adorned, sprung from shoots, pressing aloft.) Eh byth for eorlum aethelinga wyn, hors hofum wlanc, thar him haelethe ymb welege on wicgum wrixlath spraece, 7 bith unstyllum aefre frofur. (Horse in the presence of warriors is a joy to princes, a steed proud of its hoofs, where mounted men and wealthy exchange speech about him, and is ever a joy to the restless.) Man byth on myrgthe his magan leof - sceal theah anra gehwylc othrum swican; fortham Dryhten wyle dome sine thaet earme flaesc eorthan betaecan. (Man in merriment is beloved of his fellow - yet shall every one betray the other; for this reason God wills by his decree that the unhappy flesh be committed to the earth.) Lagu byth leodum langsum gethuht, gif hi sculun nethan on nacan tealtum 7hi saeytha swythe bregath and se brimhengest bridles ne gymeth. (Sea is to men a thing which seems everlasting, if they must dare to venture on the unsteady and untrustorthy ship and the sea-waves greatly terrify them and the sea-steed cares not for its bridle.) Ing waes aerest mid Eastdenum gesewen secgun, oth he siththan est ofer waeg gewat; waen aefter ran. THus Heardingas thone haele nemdun. (Ing was first among the East-Danes visible to men, until he later eastward departed over the sea; his chariot followed him. Thus did the Heardings invoke that hero.) AEthel byth oferleof aeghwylcum men, gif he mot thaer rigtes and gerysena on brucan on bolde bleadum oftast. 2483 (Homeland is most precious to every man, if he may therein enjoy justice and courtesies in his house, in frequent and abundant prosperity.) Daeg byth Drihtnes sond, deore mannum, maere Metodes leoht, myrgth and tohiht eadgum and earmum, eallum brice. (Day is the envoy of the Lord, dear to men, the great light of God, happiness and hope to blessed and to miserable, an enjoyment for all.) Ac byth on eorthan elda bearnum flaesces fodor, fereth gelome ofer ganotes baeth: garsecg fandath hwaether ac haebbe aethele treowe. (Oak is for the children of men on earth a provider of meat (acorns are food for swine); it journeys continually over the bath of the gannet: Neptune the spearman proves if the oak keep faith in honorable fashion.) AEsc bith oferheah, eldum dyre, stith on stathule, stede rihte hylt theah him feohtan on firas monige. (Ash (used for spears) is very tall, precious to men, stubborn in standing, holds its place well even though many men attack it.) Yr byth aethelinga 7 eorla gehwaes wyn and wyrthmynd, byth on wicge faeger, faestlic on faerelde, fyrdgeatewa sum. (Yr is for every prince and noble a joy and an hononr, it is fair on a horse, dependable on an expedition, a fine piece of military equipage.) Ior byth eafixa, and theah a bruceth fodres on foldan; hafath faegerne eard, waetre beworpen, thaer he wynnum leofath. (Ior is of the river-fish, and yet always partakes of food on land; it has a fair home, surrounded by water, where it dwells in joy.) Ear byth egle eorla gehwylcun thonn faestlice flaesc onginneth hraw colian, hrusan ceosan blac to gebeddan: bleda gedreosath, wynna gewitath, wera geswicath. (Earth is loathsome to every man when relentlessly the flesh, the carrion body, begins to cool, lividly to accept marriage to its fellow dust: blossoms fall, joys pass away, friendships fail.) 2484 Wyrd wes eower weard. Steph. ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2485 Traditional Aboriginal myth, which was printed in Web of Wyrd #10 Back in the Dreamtime, Gidja the Moon lived by the river with the Bullanji people. They made fun of him, because he was round and fat, with little stringy legs and arms. Gidja loved Yalma, the Evening Star, but she laughed at him too. So Gidja made a magic circle of stones, and at dusk every night, sat in his circle and sang of his love for Yalma. He made so many songs! So, Yalma agreed to marry him and the Bullanji people held corroboree for them. Now Yalma had a baby daughter - Lilga, the Morning Star. Lilga would go hunting with her father, Gidja. One day, while gathering honey, a limb fell off a tree and crushed Lilga, so she died. This was the first time that anyone had ever died. Poor Gidja mourned his daughter, but the Bullanji people were afraid, and blamed Gidja for bringing death to the world. When Gidja carried his little Morning Star in her coffin over the river, some men cut the ropes holding the bridge, and he fell into the river. The coffin drifted out to sea, and today, you can still see little Morning Star shining out at sea. Gidja climed out of the river, and made a fire. He carried a bright burning brand from the fire, and walked through the forest. The people saw him and were afraid. The they saw it was Gidja, and were angry. They tried to kill him, but couldn't, so they picked him up and threw him up into the sky. As he rose up, he cursed the people, and said they would all die, and remain dead. But he, and the grass, would die, and would come back to new life. And so it is. Gidja grows fatter and fatter, and then fades away like a little old man. Lilga though, shines brightly. Just like he said, Gidja comes back to life. At dusk on the third day after he dies, you can see him again, floating like a baby's cradle, waiting to start again. Christmas Customs by Rick Hayward Now that Christmas is fast approaching and the year has once more come full circle, most of us will soon be busy adorning the house with brightly coloured decorations, a Christmas tree and all the other paraphernalia that goes to create a festive atmosphere. Holly and mistletoe will almost certainly be included in our decorations as evergreens have been used in the winter festivities from very ancient times and definitely long before Christianity appeared on the scene. What Christians celebrate as the birthday of Christ is really something that was superimposed on to a much earlier pagan festival--that which celebrated the Winter Solstice or the time when the Sun reaches its lowest point south and is reborn at the beginning of a new cycle of seasons. In Northern Europe and Scandinavia it was noted by the early Christian scholar, Bede, that the heathens began the year on December 25th which they called Mother's Night in honour of the great Earth Mother. Their celebrations were held in order to ensure fertility and abundance during the coming year, and these included much feasting, burning of lamps, lighting of great fires (the Yule fires) and exchanges of gifts. The Romans, too, held their great celebrations--Saturnalia-- from December 17th to 25th and it was the latter date which they 2486 honoured as the birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The Saturnalia was characterised by much merry-making, sometimes going to riotous extremes, with masters and slaves temporarily exchanging roles. The use of evergreens to decorate the streets and houses was also very much in evidence at this great winter festival. That we now celebrate the birth of Christ at the same time is largely due to the early Church Fathers who found it was much easier to win converts to the faith by makng Christ's birthday coincide with an already long established pagan festival. In fact, it wasn't until the 4th century that Pope Julius I finally established the 25th as the official birthday of Christ; earlier Christians differed widely as to this date-- some choosing September 29th, while others held that January 6th or March 29th were the correct dates. As we have seen, the pagan element in Christmas lives on in the festival at the Winter Solstice. But these elements are also very much alive in our use of evergreens as decorations at this time of year. Like most evergreens, the holly and mistletoe have long been held to symbolise eternal life, regeneration and rebirth. Holly, with its bright red berries and dark spiky foliage, has been revered from ancient times as a symbol of life everlasting. It was associated with strength and masculinity and was considered useful in the treatment of various ailments which were seen to lower the vital spirits. In old England, a decoction of holly leaves was considered a cure for worms; but most of all this prickly evergreen was looked upon as a luck bringer--particularly in rural areas where a bunch of holly hung in the cow shed or stable was thought to favour the animals if placed there on Christmas Eve. Many people used to take a piece of holly from the church decorations at Christmas as a charm against bad luck in the coming year. Holly was also considered a very protective tree which, if planted outside the house, was believed to avert lightning, fire and the evil spells of witches. An old holly spell describes how to know one's future spouse. At midnight on a Friday, nine holly leaves must be plucked and tied with nine knots in a three-cornered cloth. This is then placed under the pillow and, provided silence is observed from the time of plucking until dawn the next day, your future spouse will come to you in your dreams. In certain areas of Wales, it was thought extremely unlucky to bring holly into the house before December 24th and if you did so there would be family quarrels and domestic upheavals. You would also be inviting disaster if you burned green holly or squashed the red berries. Turning now to mistletoe, it seems that this is by far the most mystical of the plants associated with Christmas and has, from very ancient times, been treated as magical or sacred. It is often included in modern Christmas decorations simply for the fun of kissing beneath it and, though this seems to be a peculiarly English custom, it probably harks back to the mistletoe's association with fertility. 2487 The real reason why mistletoe is now associated with Christmas is very much a carry-over from ancient practices, when it was considered as somehow belonging to the gods. The Roman historian, Pliny, gives an early account of how the Druids would hold a very solemn ceremony at the Winter Solstice when the mistletoe had to be gathered, for the Druids looked upon this unusual plant, which has no roots in the earth, as being of divine origin or produced by lightning. Mistletoe which grew on the oak was considered especially potent in magical virtues, for it was the oak that the Druids held as sacred to the gods. At the Winter Solstice, the Druids would lead a procession into the forest and, on finding the sacred plant growing on an oak, the chief priest, dressed all in white, would climb the tree and cut the mistletoe with a knife or sickle made of gold. The mistletoe was not allowed to touch the ground and was therefore caught in a white linen cloth. On securing the sacred mistletoe, the Druids would then carry it to their temple where it would be laid beneath the altar stone for three days. Early on the fourth day, which would correspond to our Christmas Day, it was taken out, chopped into pieces and handed out among the worshippers. The berries were used by the priests to heal various diseases. Mistletoe was considered something of a universal panacea, as can be gleaned from the ancient celtic word for it--uile, which literally translated means 'all-healer'. A widespread belief was that mistletoe could cure anything from headaches to epilepsy; and indeed modern research has shown that the drug guipsine which is used in the treatment of nervous illnesses and high blood pressure is con- tained in mistletoe. Until quite recently the rural folk of Sweden and Switzerland believed that the mistletoe could only be picked at certain times and in a special way if its full potency as healer and protector was to be secured. The Sun must be in Sagittarius (close to the Winter Solstice) and the Moon must be on the wane and, following ancient practices, the mistletoe must not be just picked but shot or knocked down and caught before reaching the ground. Not only was mistletoe looked upon as a healer of all ills, but if hung around the house was believed to protect the home against fire and other hazards. As the mistletoe was supposed to have been produced by lightning, it had the power to protect the home against thunder bolts by a kind of sympathetic magic. Of great importance, however, was the power of mistletoe to protect against witchcraft and sorcery. This is evident in an old superstition which holds that a sprig of mistletoe placed beneath the pillow will avert nightmares (once considered to be the product of evil demons). In the north of England, it used to be the practice of farmers to give mistletoe to the first cow that calved after New Year's Day. This was believed to ensure health to the stock and a good milk yield throughout the year. Underlying this old belief is the fear of witches or mischievous fairy folk who could play havoc with dairy produce, so 2488 here mistletoe was used as a counter magic against such evil influences. In Sweden, too, a bunch of this magical plant hung from the living room ceiling or in the stable or cow-shed was thought to render trolls powerless to work mischief. ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2489 With such a tremendous array of myth, magic and folklore associated with it, reaching far back into the pagan past, it is understandable that even today this favourite Christmas plant is forbidden in many churches. Yet even the holly and the ivy, much celebrated in a popular carol of that title, were once revered as sacred and magical by our pre-Christian ancestors. In view of what has been said, one could speculate that even if Christianity had never emerged it is more than likely that we would still be getting ready for the late-December festivities, putting up decorations, including holly and mistletoe, in order to celebrate the rebirth of the Sun, the great giver and sustainer of all earthly life. BYLAWS OF THE CHURCH OF ALL WORLDS, INC. As amended by General Meeting August 9, 1992 PREAMBLE Section 1: Recognizing the necessity for the affirmation of life in a world choked by the worship of death, we, the Priesthood and Councils of the Church of All Worlds do re-establish and re-ordain on this fair planet a vital new Pagan religion, dedicated to the celebration of Life, the maximal actualization of Human potential, and the realization of ultimate individual freedom and personal responsibility in harmonious eco-psychic relationship with the total Biosphere of Holy Mother Earth. To which end we do hereby adopt and enact the following Articles: ARTICLE I Name Section 1: The name of the corporation shall be the Church of All Worlds, Inc., and is a non-profit religious organization, incorporated under the laws of the States of Missouri and California. ARTICLE II Purpose Section 1: The purpose of this Corporation shall be as outlined in the Articles of Incorporation; and specifically the following: A. To present an alternative to war, hatred, violence, frustra- tion, insecurity, fear, ignorance, jealousy, brutality, dishonesty, apathy, misery, loneliness, guilt, anxiety, alienation, paranoia, dominance, killing, force, hypocrisy, envy, malevolence, irrespon- sibility, intolerance, prejudice, persecution, greed, addiction, authoritarianism, and presently established religions and institutions, and to aid and support individuals in their rejection of these; B. To provide mutual help and encouragement in the search for meaning and identity through association with similarly oriented fellows in a context of acceptance and love; C. To aid individuals and groups in the maximal actualization of Human potential and the realization of ultimate individual freedom and personal responsibility: to help people become what they potentially are; D. To furnish a central headquarters and branch offices (called Churches, Nests, Centers, or Temples) through which seekers may locate and communicate with each other, and to buy, sell, own, hold, mortgage, or otherwise encumber, lease, or otherwise hold and dispose of real and personal property necessary to properly establish, fit up, and maintain such places; E. To encourage reading, study and growth on the part of members and friends, and to make available literature in various relevant fields; 2499 F. To publish newsletters, papers, magazines, pamphlets, books, directories and other materials deemed appropriate to the purposes of the Church by the Board of Directors or their delegated authority; ΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝΝ 2500 G. To work, associate, and affiliate with other similarly oriented individuals, churches, agencies and groups promoting peace, love, joy, freedom, brotherhood, conservation, personal awareness and development, celebration of life and the eco-psychic recovery of Natural Wilderness, and to aid and support such people in such efforts as shall be found not to be in conflict with the purposes and principles of this Church; H. To establish and maintain Wilderness sanctuaries, retreats, camps, and communities in various regions; I. To establish and maintain schools, colleges, libraries and research facilities based on the principles of the Church; J. To receive money, property, and values of every kind heretofore donated, contributed, collected, and held, and to receive, and hold money, property and values of every kind that might be donated, contributed, collected and held, for the benefit of this religious organization; K. To engage in and promote any functions, services and activities deemed appropriate, necessary or expedient for the purposes of the Church by the Board of Directors , their delegated authority, or the directors of the various subsidiary groups; L. To do all in our power to increase the total degree of consciousness, individually, collectively, and synergically, at all levels of Being, in the unfolding course of emergent evolution; M. To provide all possible means for recycling the bodies of deceased members consistent with eco-psychic awareness and personal will; N. To make provision to establish and ordain various sacraments of the Church of All Worlds. ARTICLE I Membership Section l: Membership shall consist of those who understand the principles of the Church, who have made written application, paid the annual dues, and have been accepted by the Board of Directors or their delegated authority. The form of application shall be that approved by the Board of Directors or their delegated authority. Section 2: Members whose annual dues are current shall be referred to as active members, with full voting privileges and discounts at paid functions. Those whose dues are in arrears shall be regarded as inactive members, and their voting privileges and discounts at paid functions shall be suspended until such time as they renew their memberships with a payment of the annual dues. Section 3: Membership shall be organized in degrees of ranking, as follows: A. Three Rings of three Circles each, to be known (from outer to inner) respectively as Seekers, Scions, and Priests/Priestesses, or Clergy. B. Members may be referred to by designation of a Circle, one through nine. ARTICLE IV Seekers Section 1: The First Ring shall consist of Seekers, to be identified by the color green, as used on membership cards, newsletters and in ceremonial vestments. They shall be grouped in the following three Circles, by
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