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301 MACCULLOCH, JOHN ARNOTT; "Religion of the Ancient Celts", Folcroft Library, 1977rep. MACCULLOCH, JOHN ARNOTT; "The Mythology of all Races in Thirteen volumes; Celtic, Volume III.", Cooper Square Pub. 1967 MACLENNAN, MALCOLM; "A Promouncing & Emtylogical Dictionary of the Gaelic Language", (Scots Gaelic) Aberdeen Univ. Press 1979 MACMANUS, SEUMAS; "The Story of the Irish Race", Devin-Adair Co. 1981 MACNEILL, MAIRE; "The Festival of Lughnasa", Oxford, 1962 *** MARKALE, JEAN; "Women of the Celts", Inner Traditions International Ltd. 1986 MARRIS, RUTH; "The Singing Swans & Other Irish Stories", Fontana Lions 1978 MARSH, HENRY; "Dark Age Britain", Dorset Press 1970 MATTHEWS, CAITLIN; "The Elements of The Goddess", Element Books 1989 MATTHEWS, CAITLIN; "The Elements of The Celtic Tradition", Element Books 1989 McNEIL, F. MARTIN; "The Silver Bough, Vol 1.: Scottish Folklore & Beliefs", Cannon Gate Classic 1956/1989 O'BRIEN, CHRISTIAN; "The Megalithic Odyssey", Turnstone 1983 O'CONNOR, FRANK; "Short History of Irish Literature", Capricorn Books 1967 O'CONNOR, NORREYS; "Battles & Enchantments", Books for Libraries Press 1922/1970 O'DRISCOLL, ROBERT; "The Celtic Consciousness", George Braziller 1982 O'SULLIVAN, DONALD; "Carolan: The Life & Times & Music of an Irish Harper", Vol 1 & 2, Celtic Music 1983 PEPPERS & WILCOCK; "A Guide to Magical & Mystical Sites - Europe & the British Isles", Harper Colophon Books 1977 POWELL, T.G.E.; "The Celts", Thames & Hudson 1980 Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 302 QUILLER, PETER & COURTNEY DAVIS; "Merlin, The Immortal", Spirit of Celtia 1984 REES, ALWEN & BRINLEY; "Celtic Heritage", Oxford 1971 *** RHYS, JOHN; "Celtic Folklore, Welsh & Manx, Vol.I" ROLLESTON, T.W.; "Myths & Legends - Celtic", Avenel Press 1985 ROSS, ANNE; "Pagan Celtic Britian", Rudledge & Kegen Paul 1967 *** ROSS, ANNE, & DON ROBBINS; "The Life & Death of A Druid Prince", Summit 1989 *** RUTHERFORD, WARD; "Celtic Mythology", Aquarian Press 1987 RUTHERFORD, WARD; "The Druids, Magicians of the West", Aquarian Press 1978 *** SEYMOUR, ST. JOHN; "Irish Witchcraft and Demonology", 1913 SHARKEY, JOHN; "Celtic Mysteries", Thames & Hudson 1975/1987 SJOESTEDT, MARIE-LOUISE; "Gods and Heroes of the Celts", Methven & Co. Ltd. 1949 *** SMITH, LESLEY M.; "The Dark Age: The Making of Britian", Schocker Books 1984 SPENCE, LEWIS; "The Minor Traditions of British Mythology", Rider & Co. 1948 SPENCE, LEWIS; "The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain", Anchor Press SPENCE, LEWIS; "British Fairy Origins", Aquarian Press 1946 SQUIRE, CHARLES; "Celtic Myth & Legend, Poetry & Romance", Newcastle 1975 *** STEWART, R.J.; "Book of Merlin", Blandford Press 1988 STEWART, R.J., ed.; "Merlin & Woman", Blandford Press 1988 STEWART, R.J.; "Mystic Life of Merlin", Arcana Press 1986 Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 303 STEWART, R.J.; "The Underworld Tradition", Aquarian Press 1985 SUTHERLAND, ELISABETH; "Ravens & Black Rain", Corgi Books 1985 *** THURNEYSON; "Old Irish Reader", Dublin Institut for Advanced Studies 1968 TOULSON, SHIRLEY; "The Winter Solstice", Jill Norman & Hobhouse 1981 *** WHITE, CAROLYN; "A History of Irish Fairies", Mercier Press 1976 *** WHITLOCK, RALPH; "In Search of Lost Gods", Phaidon Press 1979 WILDE, LADY; "Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, & Superstitions of Ireland With Sketches of the Irish Past" Chatto & Windus 1925 WILLIAMS, GWYNN A.; "Madoc, The Legend of the Welsh Discovery of America", Oxford Univ. Press 1987 WILLIAMSON, JOHN; "The Oak King, the Holly King & the Unicorn", Harper & Row 1974 *** WOOD-MARTIN, W. G.; "Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland, Vols 1 & 2", Kennicat Pub. 1902/1970 *** YEATS, W.B.; "Fairy & Folktales of Ireland", Pan Books 1882 & 1882/ 1973 YEATS, W.B. & LADY GREGORY; "Irish Myth, Legend, & Folklore", Avenel Press 1986 YOUNG, ELLA; "The Wondersmith and His Son", David McKay Co. 1927 Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 304 THE COVENANT OF THE GODDESS PURPOSE The Covenant of the Goddess was founded in 1975 to increase cooperation among Witches, and to secure for Witches and covens the legal protection enjoyed by members of other religions. FUNCTIONS The Covenant publishes a newsletter; issues ministerial credentials on request to qualified persons; sponsors a national festival each summer; and encourages networking nationally, as well as regionally through local councils. STRUCTURE The Covenant is incorporated as a non-profit religious organization in California, though it has grown to be a nationwide organization. It is a confederation of covens and solitaires of various traditions, who share in the worship of the Goddess and the Old Gods and subscribe to a common code of ethics. The Covenant holds a Grand Council annually to elect national officers, set a budget, and decide matters which require deliberation by the full membership. Decisions are usually made by consensus. CODE OF ETHICS * An ye harm none, do as ye will. * Since our religion and arts and practices peculiar to it are the gift of the Goddess, membership and training in a local coven or tradition are bestowed free, as gifts, and only on those persons who are deemed worthy to receive them. However, a coven may expect each of its members to bear a fair share of its ordinary operating expenses. * All persons have the right to charge reasonable fees for the services by which they earn a living, so long as our religion is not thereby exploited. * Every person associated with this Covenant shall respect the autonomy and sovereignty of each coven, as well as the right of each coven to oversee the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical development of its members and students in its own way, and shall exercise reasonable caution against infringing upon that right in any way. * Members of this Covenant shall respect the traditional secrecy of our religion. * Members of this Covenant should ever keep in mind the underlying unity of our religion as well as the diversity of its manifestations. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 305 * These ethics shall be understood and interpreted in light of one another, and especially in light of the traditional laws of our religion. CONFIDENTIALITY All information give to the Covenant of the Goddess or any of its officials is considered strictly confidential, unless you indicate otherwise. No information about members is published or given out without explicit written permission. Direct access to the Covenant's mailing list is limited to the Board of Directors. Maximum privacy is assured. NEWSLETTER At every Sabbat the Covenant publishes a newsletter of Craft and Pagan news, original articles, poetry, humor, rituals and announcements. Member covens receive the newsletter automatically. Individual coveners and non-members who donate a suitable tax-deductible gift will also be placed on the mailing list, to receive the newsletter and other mailings. Circulation is limited to members and friends of the Covenant. FINANCES An annual membership tithe is set every year by the Grand Council to cover bare expenses, based on the previous year's expenses and any projected cost increases. The annual financial statement is published in the newsletter. Other activities are supported by fund-raising. All contributions to the Covenant of the Goddess are greatly appreciated and are tax-deductible. APPLYING FOR MEMBERSHIP Any Goddess-supporting coven or solitaire can be eligible for membership in the Covenant of the Goddess if certain criteria and requirements are met. All inquiries into membership should be sent to the National Credentials Officer. If the coven or solitaire is in an area near a local council, the National Officer will forward the inquiry to the local Credentials Officer, who will respond. A member can apply in person at a council meeting, or by filling out the appropriate form and sending it in with the initial membership tithe. GENERAL CRITERIA FOR COVEN MEMBERSHIP * Generally focus thealogy and ritual, etc., around worship of the Goddess and the Old Gods (or the Goddess alone). * Believe and follow a code of ethics compatible with that of the Covenant. * Have been meeting monthly or oftener for at least six months. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 306 * Have three more members who have been formally accepted into the clergy. * Be a cohesive, self-perpetuating group. REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP Full Membership: The applicant must be recommended without reservation by two active members of the Covenant. Provisional Membership: The applicant may be recommended by one member; and then within a year and a day make a viable effort to get to know other members, in order to achieve Full Member status. The appropriate Credentials Officer (National or local) shall verify information regarding criteria and credentials. COVEN-AT-LARGE This is the term we use to represent the many Witches who are solitaires, i.e. practicing alone. Each local council may devise its own standards for admission of coveners-at-large, in harmony with national guidelines. LOCAL COUNCILS A local council is a smaller branch of the Covenant, consisting of at least three member covens of at least two different traditions, in reasonably close geographic proximity to each other. The local councils generally meet more often than the national organization. They may initiate independent projects, sponsor local festivals and workshops, and generally work together for common goals close to home. As the Covenant continues to grow, we encourage new member covens close to one another to form their own local councils. VOTING When a matter requiring a decision is presented before the Covenant in council, it is discussed by the members in attendance until a consensus is reached. If a consensus cannot be reached, then a vote is taken. A coven holding a current Full Membership is entitled to one vote. Each such coven also holds the power to veto, though this is exercised only in extreme cases. A coven with Provisional Membership is entitled to one vote, but does not hold veto power. A coven-at-large is entitled to one vote if, and only if, three individuals are physically present at the council and unanimous in their choice of vote. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 307 MINISTERIAL CREDENTIALS In order to receive Ministerial Credentials as a Priestess or Priest, a person shall: 1. Be an active member of a coven which is a Full Member of the Covenant. 2. Have been "confirmed" to taking on the full commitment to the requirements of that coven's Tradition of our religion. 3. Have undergone at least a full year of active training for the ministry of that Tradition. These credentials shall remain valid only so long as the person remains an active member of the coven which remains an active member of the Covenant. In order to be eligible to receive Ministerial Credentials as an Elder, a person shall: 1. Satisfy (2.) and (3.) above. 2. Have undergone an additional full year of active training for the ministry. 3. Be fully able to form a coven, admit members, and train them in the tenets and practices of that Tradition. These credentials shall remain valid for life, unless specifically revoked, so long as the person remains in contact with the Covenant. THE NATIONAL FESTIVAL The annual Grand Council or national business meeting is held as part of a national festival, which is open to the whole membership as well as Pagans and Witches who are not part of the Covenant. The festival is usually held at a secluded campground or resort, and moves to a different area of the country each summer. In addition to the council meeting, the program includes workshops on magick and the Craft, concerts, a potluck feast, a talent show, and the opportunity to purchase (or barter for) art, crafts and ritual tools by Pagan artisans. Registration information is available in the newsletter. FOR MORE INFORMATION: Write to: Covenant of the Goddess, P.O. Box 1226, Berkeley, CA 94704. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 308 A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality I am a Pagan andI dedicate Myself tochanneling the Spiritual Energy of my Inner Self to help and to heal myself and others. * I know that I am a part of the Whole of Nature. May I grow in understanding of the Unity of all Nature. May I always walk in Balance. * May I always be mindful of the diversity of Nature as well as its Unity and may I always be tolerant of those whose race, appearance, sex, sexual preference, culture, and other ways differ from my own. * May I use the Force(psychic power) wisely and never useit for aggression nor for malevolent purposes. May I never direct it to curtail the free will of another. * May I always be mindfulthat I create my own reality and that I have the power within me to create positivity in my life. * May I always act in honorable ways: being honest with myself and others, keeping my word whenever I have given it, fulfilling all responsibilities and commitments I have taken on to the best of my ability. * May I always remember that whatever is sent out always returns magnified to the sender. May the Forces of Karma move swiftly to remind me of these spiritual commitments when I have begin to falter from them, and may I use this Karmic feedback to help myself grow and be more attuned to my Inner Pagan Spirit. * May I always remain strong and committed to my Spiritual ideals in the face of adversity and negativity. May the Force of my Inner Spirit ground out all malevolence directed my way and transform it into positivity. May my Inner Light shine so strongly that malevolent forces can not even approach my sphere of existence. * May I always grow in Inner Wisdom & Understanding. MayI see every problem that I face as an opportunity to develop myself spiritually in solving it. * May I always act out ofLove to all other beings on this Planet -- to other humans, to plants, to animals, to minerals, to elementals, to spirits, and to other entities. * May I always be mindful that the Goddess and God in all their forms dwell within me and that this divinity is reflected through my own Inner Self, my Pagan Spirit. * May I always channel Love and Light from my being. May my Inner Spirit, rather than my ego self, guide all my thoughts, feelings, and actions. SO MOTE IT BE Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 309 The Craft (Witchcraft - NOT to be confused with Satanism. A true Witch has nothing to do with this, even though there are some Satanists who (unright-fully) call themselves "Witch".) contains a large number of groups with bonds to each other, for the most part, which are looser than those you will find between Christian churches. Each has it's own traditions, it's own beliefs, it's own pantheon, etc. So just WHAT is it that, overall, a Witch believes in? The American Council of Witches was formed to determine what it was that all Witches have in common, belief-wise. In the early 1970's, a paper was released with their findings, and gives a good overall picture of it. The following is the text of that paper. ====================================================================== BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE CRAFT 1. The first principle is that of love, and it is expressed in the ethic, "DO AS YOU WILL, SO LONG AS YOU HARM NONE" a)love is notemotional in it'sessence, but isan attribute of the individual as expressed in relation to other beings; b) harming others can be by thought, word, or deed; c> it is to be understood the "none" includes oneself; d) theharm which isto be regardedas unethical isgratuitous harm; war, in general, is gratuitous harm, although it is ethical to defend oneself and one's liberty when threatened by real and present danger, such as defense against invasion. 2. The Witch must recognize and harmonize with the forces of the universe, in accord with the Law of Polarity: everything is dual; everything has two poles; everything has it's opposite; for every action there is a reaction; all can be categorized as either active or reactive in relation to other things. a) Godhead is one unique and transcendent wholeness, beyond any limitationsor expressions; thus,it is beyond our human capacity to understand and identify with this principle of Cosmic Oneness, except as It is revealed to us in terms of It's attributes and operation. b) The most basic and meaningful attribute of the One that we, as humans, can relate to and understand, is that of polarity, of action and reaction; therefore Witches recognize the Oneness of the Divinity, but worship and relate to the Divine as the archetypal polarity of God and Goddess, the All-Father and the Great Mother of the universe. The Beings are as near as we can approach to the One within our human limitations of understanding and expression, though it is possible to experience the divine Oneness through the practices of the Mysteries. c) Harmony does not consist of the pretty and the nice, but the balanced, dynamic,poised co-operation and co-relation. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 310 3. The Witch must recognize, and operate within the framework of the Law of Cause and Effect; every action has it's reaction, and every effect has it's cause. All things occur according to this law; nothing in the universe can occur outside this law, though we may not always appreciate the relation between a given effect and it's cause. Subsidiary to this is the Law of Three, which states that whatever goes forth must return threefold, whether of good or ill; for our actions affect more than people generally realize, and the resulting reactions are also part of the harvest. 4. As Above, So Below. That which exists in the Macrocosm exists, on a smaller scale and to a lesser degree, in the Microcosm. The powers of the universe exist also in the human, though in general instance they lie dormant. The powers and abilities can be awakened and used if the proper techniques are practiced, and this is why initiates of the Mysteries are sworn to guard the secrets from the unworthy: Much harm can be done by those who have power without responsibility, both to others and to themselves according to the Laws of Cause and Effect and of Threefold Return. a) Since our philosophy teaches that the universe is the physical manifestation of the Divine, there can be nothing in the universe which does not partake of the nature of the Divine; hence, the powers and attributes of the Divine exist also in the manifest, though to much smaller degree. b) These powers can be awakened through the various techniques of theMysteries, and,although they areonly capable of small effects in and of themselves, it is possible to use them in order to draw upon the forces of the universe. Thus humanity can be the wielders of the power of the Gods, a channel for Godhead to act within It's own manifestation. This, then, is further reason for the oath of secrecy. c) Since the universe is the body of the One, possessing the same attributes as the One, it's Laws must be the principles through and by which the One operates. By reasoning from the known to the unknown, one can learn of the Divine, and thus of oneself. Thus the Craft is a natural religion, seeing in Nature the expression and revelation of Divinity. 5. We know that everything in the universe is in movement or vibration and is a function of that vibration. Everything vibrates; all things rise and fall in a tidal system that reflects the motion inherent in the universe and also in the atom. Matter and energy are but two poles of one continuous phenomenon. Therefore the Witch celebrates, harmonizes with, and makes use of the tides of the universe and of life as expressed through the cycle of the seasons and the motion of the solar system. These ritual observances are the eight great Festivals of the Year, referred to as the Wheel of the Year. Further, the Witch works with the forces and tides of the Moon, for this body is the mediator of much energy to our planet Earth and thus to ourselves. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 311 6. Nothing is dead matter in the universe. All things exist, therefore all things live, though perhaps in a different manner from that which we are used to calling life. In view of this, the Witch knows that there is no true death, only change from one condition to another. The universe is the body of Godhead, and therefore possesses one transcendent consciousness; all things partake of the consciousness, in varying levels of trance/awareness. a) Because of this principle, all things are sacred to the Witch, for all partake of the one Life. b) Therefore the Witch is a natural ecologist, for Nature is part of us as we are a part of Nature. 7. Astrology can be useful in marking and interpreting the flow and ebb of the tides of our solar system, and thus of making use of those tides; astrology should not be debased into mere fortune-telling. 8. Throughout the development of the human race, civilizations have seen and worshipped many and various attributes of the Divine. These universal forces have been clothed in forms which were expressive to the worshipper of the attribute of the Godhead which they expressed. Use of these symbolic representations of t h e natural and divine forces of the universe, or god forms, is a potent method for contacting and utilizing the forces they represent. Thus the Gods are both natural and truly divine, and man-made in that the forms with which they are clothed are products of humanity's striving to know the Godhead. a) In keeping with the Law of Polarity, these god-forms are brought into harmony by the one great Law whichstates: All Gods are oneGod. All Goddesses areone Goddess. There is one Initiator. This law is an expression of our understanding that all of the forces of the universe, by whatever ethnic god-form is chosen to clothe and relate to whichever force, can be resolved into the fundamental polarity of the Godhead, the Great Mother and the All-Father. b) It is the use of differing god forms, of differing ethnic sources or periods,which is the basis ofmany of the differencesbetween thevariousTraditions oftheCraft. EachTraditionuses theforms,andthusthenames,which to thatTradition bestexpress and awakenan understandingofthe forcerepresented,accordingto the areas of emphasis of the Tradition. c) Because we know that differing names or representations arebutexpressionsofthesamedivineprinciplesand forces,werequire ourmemberstoswearthat theywill nevermockthenames bywhichanotherhonors theDivine, eventhough thosenames bedifferentfrom andseemingly lessexpressive thanthe namesand godforms usedby our Tradition(for tothe membersof anotherTradition, using it's names, oursmay easily seemequally less expressive). Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 312 9. A Witch refuses to allow her/himself to be corrupted by the great guilt neuroses which have been foisted on humanity in the name of the Divine, thus freeing the self of the slavery of the mind. The Witch expresses responsibility for her/his actions, and accepts the consequences of them; guilt is rejected as inhibiting to one's self-actualization, and replaced by the efforts of the Witch to obey the teachings of harmlessness, responsibility for t h e consequences of one's actions, and the goal of actualizing the full powers of the individual. a) We refuse to believe that a human being is born innately sinful,and recognizetheconcepts ofsinandguilt aretremendouslyinhibitingto thehumanpotential;the consequencesof theLawof CauseandEffect,called karma bysome, arenot punishment,but therecurrences of situations andtheir effectsbecause theindividualas notgained the Wisdomneeded tohandle or avoidsuch situations. b) There is no heaven except that which we ourselves make of ourlifeonEarth,andlikewisethereisnohellexcept theeffectsofourunwiseactions.Deathisnotfollowed bypunishmentorreward,but bylifeandthecontinuing evolution of the human potential. c) One cannot damn the divine in oneself; one can, however, cutoneselfofffromitthroughthe rejectionofwisdom anda refusaltostrive forself-realization. This cutting off does not lead to personal suffering in"hell", forthereisnoSelftosufferifthetieto one'sown divinityhasbeensevered;whatremainsis merelyanemptyshell,a"personality"orthought-form devoid of it's ensouling Spark of the Divine Fire. 10. We know of the existence of the life-force which ensouls all living things, that is, all that exists. We know that a spark of this Divine Fire is within each and every thing that exists, and that it does not die; only the form of it's existence changes. We know that this spark of the life-force returns to manifestation again and again in order to fully realize and actualize it's potential, evolving finally to the peak and essence of existence which is pure being. In this process of reincarnation each form returns in the same type of form, though it's ever-increasing actualization may lead to higher levels of existence of that form. Man returns as man, cat as feline, mineral as mineral, each class of form evolving as the individual forms of that class evolve. 11. This process of evolution through successive incarnations in manifest form works through the utilizations of wisdom gained, t h e essence of the life-experience. This essence of experience, o r Wisdom, is an attribute of the spark of life itself, one and inseparable (see 9a). Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 313 12. We must care for the body, for it is the vehicle of the spark of life, the form by which we attain. Thus we must heal the body of it's ills and keep it a tuned and perfected tool; so must we heal others (both physically and psychologically) as far as it is within our power to do so. However, we cannot interfere with the life of another, even to heal, except at their request or with t h e i r express permission; unless such non-interference would be inhibiting to our own, ethical existence and development -- and even then the responsibilities and consequences must be understood and accepted. This, then, is one of the important reasons for the communal life the Witches under the guidance of t h e Priesthood: That the group may be guided by wisdom and experience, with the aid and support of one's peers; and that one's actions may be guided by the influence of the ethical life of the group as a whole. 13. Harmony with, and utilization of, the great natural forces of the universe is called magick. By magick we speak, not of the supernatural, but of the superbly natural, but whose laws and applications are not as yet recognized by the scientific establishment. The Witch must strive to recognize these forces, learn their laws, attune her/himself to them, and make use of them. The Witch must also be aware that power corrupts when used_only_ for thegains of theself, and thereforemust strive to serve humanity: Either through the service in the Priesthood, or by example and effects of his/her life on others. The choice must be made in accord with the true nature of the Witch. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 314 This article is excerpted from the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal. Each issue of the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal is published by High Plains Arts and Sciences; P.O. Box 620604, Littleton Co., 80123, a Colorado Non-Profit Corporation, under a Public Domain Copyright, which entitles any person or group of persons to reproduce, in any form whatsoever, any material contained therein without restriction, so long as articles are not condensed or abbreviated in any fashion, and credit is given the original author.! IN GRANDMOTHER'S LAP Copyright 1987, RMPJ "Morals are the nagging fear that somebody somewhere may be having a good time." --H. L. Mencken What is the difference between one of us and Oral Roberts? Well, hopefully there are lots of differences, but the top one on my list is that I work on being ethical and he is a moralist. The moralist knows how everybody else should behave in order to be a good person, avoid Hell, fit into decent society, etc., etc. He is quite likely to feel that he is a valid exception to all his own rules, since he can handle temptation and control his outcomes. His main characteristic is frantic paranoid distrust of other people. No one should be seen nude, for instance, because this would be un-bearably sexually arousing and lead to promiscuity, neglect of ordinary duties, etc. He knows he can control himself, but everybody else has to be "protected" from their evil impulses. His major defence is projection: "I'm not oversexed, and of course I'd never want to be or want to be unfaithful to my wife, but that woman in the (name situation or article of clothing) sure is asking for it. Ultimate expressions of this type of thinking are wife-beating -- one man said, "When I walked into the self-help group I thought that when they heard what I'd had to put up with they'd con-gratulate me for not having killed her." -- and witch-burning -- "I am a good person. Bad things do not happen to good people. A bad thing has happened to me. Somebody did it! Kill them!" In essence, the moralist is saying "It can't be my fault (I'm not able to face the idea that it might be my fault). It must be somebody else's fault. If people would just follow these few simple rules, which I'll be glad to explain to them, nothing would go wrong and I wouldn't have to feel anxious. But since they won't all follow my rules, everything is their fault, not mine, and I don't have to feel anxious." Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 315 To me this is nauseating. I have no idea how you "should" behave; who are you? What's the situation? Who else is affected? Even then, the best I could offer would be some suggestions of courses of action which might have good results -- but I don't believe there are any simple rules for human conduct which are always "right." What I do believe is that ethical behavior consists of choosing your actions such that you can look at yourself in the mirror in the morning without flinching. Which means I can see a Corsican being ethical and killing another person as part of a feud; a gypsy being ethical and defrauding a gaujo. I suspect that what I mean here is that ethics impel you to be true to your own values, while morals make you want to a) control others, and b) not get caught yourself. But being ethical implies that they are your own values, which you have thought through and decided to accept, and not just the ones you have swallowed whole from your family or culture. Marjoe, a famous evangelist who later went straight, described preaching hellfire and damnation and then going back to the motel and making love to his girlfriend of the moment -- who had to be flown in from New York so the locals wouldn't know what he was doing. Oral Roberts says people have to give him $8 million, or God will "call him home." These are examples of people whose highest priority is influencing others, making the right kind of impression - the actuality doesn't seem to be really relevant to their choice-making process. The ethical person, on the other hand, may not care at all about the impression he is erig; he will say in total sincerity "I know I look like a fool for doing it, but I couldn't have lived with myself if I hadn't." Or even harder, "I know you think I'm being hard and cruel, but I honestly believe this is the best solution in the circumstances." Next issue (are you holding your breath?) the difference be- tween act idealism and absolute idealism, or how to tell a witch from a fundamentalist without a score card. The Spinster Aunt .......... FROM RMPJ, 2/3/1987 Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 316 EXEGESIS ON THE WICCAN REDE by Judy Harrow originally published in HARVEST - Volume 5, Number 3 (Oimelc, 1985) second publication: THE HIDDEN PATH - Volume X, Number 2 Beltane, 1987) All religions began with somebody's sudden flashing insight, enlightenment, a shining vision. Some mystic found the way and the words to share the vision, and, sharing it, attracted followers. The followers may repeat those precise and poetic words about the vision until they congeal into set phrases, fused language, repeated by rote and without understanding. Cliches begin as great wisdom - that's why they spread so fast - and end as ritual phrases, heard but not understood. Living spirituality so easily hardens to boring religious routine, maintained through guilt and fear, or habit and social opportunism - any reason but joy. We come tothe Craft witha first generation'sjoy ofdiscovery, and a first generation's memory of bored hours of routine worship in our childhood. Because we have known the difference, it is our particular challenge to find or make ways to keep the Craft a living, real experience for our grandchildren and for the students of our students. I think the best ofthese safeguards is already builtinto the Craft as we know it, put there by our own good teachers. On our Path, the mystic experience itself is shared, not just the fruits of mysticism. We give all our students the techniques, and the protective/supportive environment that enable almost every one of them to Draw the Moon and/or Invoke the God. This is an incredibly radical change from older religions, even older Pagan religions, in which the only permissible source of inspiration has been to endlessly reinterpret and reapply the vision of the Founder (the Bible, the Book of the Law, the Koran, ... ). The practice of Drawing the Moon is the brilliant crown of the Craft. But notice how often, in the old myths, every treasure has its pitfalls? I think I'm beginning to see one of ours. Between the normal process of original visions clotting into cliche, and our perpetual flow of new inspiration, we are in danger of losing the special wisdom of those who founded the modern Craft. I do not think we should assiduously preserve every precious word. My love for my own Gardnerian tradition does not blind me to our sexist and heterosexist roots. And yet, I want us to remain identifiably Witches and not meld into some homogeneous "New Age" sludge. For this, I think we need some sort of anchoring in tradition to give us a sense of identity. Some of the old sayings really do crystallize great wisdom as well, life-affirming Pagan wisdom that our culture needs to hear. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 317 So I think it's time for a little creative borrowing from our neighbors. Christians do something they call "exegesis;" Jews have a somewhat similar process called "midrash." What it is something between interpretation and meditation, a very concentrated examination of a particular text. The assumption often is that every single word has meaning (cabalists even look at the individual letters). Out of this inspired combination of scholarship and daydream comes the vitality of those paths whose canon is closed. The contemporary example, of course, is Christian Liberation Theology, based on a re-visioning of Jesus that would utterly shock John Calvin. Althoughour canon is not closed - andthe day it is the day I quit - I'm suggesting that we can use a similar process to renew the life of the older parts of our own still-young heritage. So, I'dlike totry doingsome exegesison anessential statement of the Craft way of life. Every religion has some sort of ethic, some guideline for what it means to live in accordance with this particular mythos, this worldview. Ours, called the Wiccan Rede, is one of the most elegant statements I've heard of the principle of situational ethics. Rather than placing the power and duty to decide about behavior with teachers or rulebooks, the Rede places it exactly where it belongs, with the actor. eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: AN IT HARM NONE, DO WHAT YOU WILL. I'd like to start with the second phrase first, and to take it almost word by word. Do what YOU will. This is the challenge to self-direction, to figure out what we want, and not what somebody else wants for us or from us. All of us are subject to tremendous role expectations and pressures, coming from our families, our employers, our friends, society in general. It's easy to just be molded, deceptively easy to become a compulsive rebel and reflexively do the opposite of whatever "they" seem to want. Living by the Rede means accepting the responsibility to assess the results of our actions and to choose when we will obey, confront or evade the rules. Do what you WILL. This is the challenge to introspection, to know what we really want beyond the whim of the moment. The classic example is that of the student who chooses to study for an exam rather than go to a party, because what she really wants is to be a doctor. Again, balance is needed. Always going to the library rather than the movies is the road to burnout, not the road to a Nobel. What's more, there are others values in life, such as sensuality, intimacy, spirituality, that get ignored in a compulsively long-term orientation. So, our responsibility is not to mechanically follow some rule like "always choose to defer gratification in your own long-term self interest," but to really listen within, and to really choose, each time. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 318 DO what you will. This is the challenge to action. Don't wait for Prince Charming or the revolution. Don't blame your mother or the system. Make a realistic plan that includes all your assets. Be sure to include magic, both the deeper insights and wisdoms of divination and the focusing of will and energy that comes from active workings. Then take the first steps right now. But, beware of thoughtless action, which is equally dangerous. For example, daydreaming is needed, to envision a goal, to project the results of actions, to check progress against goals, sometimes to revise goals. Thinking and planning are necessary parts of personal progress. Action and thought are complementary; neither can replace the other. When youreally lookat it, wordby word, itsounds likea subtle and profound guide for life, does it not? Is it complete? Shall "do what you will" in fact be "the whole of the law" for us? I think not. The second phrase of the Rede discusses the individual out of context. Taken by itself, "DO WHAT YOU WILL" would produce a nastily competitive society, a "war of each against all" more bitter than what we now endure. That is, it would if it were possible. Happily, it's just plain not. Pagan myth and modernbiology alike teach us that ourEarth is one interconnected living sphere, a whole system in which the actions of each affect all (and this is emphatically not limited to humankind) through intrinsic, organic feedback paths. As our technology amplifies the effects of our individual actions, it becomes increasingly critical to understand that these actions have consequences beyond the individual; consequences that, by the very nature of things, come back to the individual as well. Cooperation, once "merely" an ethical ideal, has become a survival imperative. Life is relational, contextual. Exclusive focus on the individual Will is a lie and a deathtrap. The qualifying "AN IT HARM NONE," draws a Circle around the individual Will and places each of us firmly within the dual contexts of the human community and the complex life-form that is Mother Gaia. The first phrase of the Rede directs us to be aware of results of our actions projected not only in time, as long-term personal outcomes, but in space - to consider how actions may effect our families, co-workers, community, and the life of the Earth as a whole, and to take those projections into account in our decisions. But, like the rest of the Rede, "an it harm none" cannot be followed unthinkingly. It is simply impossible for creatures who eat to harm none. Any refusal to decide or act for fear of harming someone is also a decision and an action, and will create results of some kind. When you consider that "none" also includes ourselves, it becomes clear that what we have here is a goal and an ideal, not a rule. The Craft,assuming ethical adulthood,offers us norote rules. We will always be working on incomplete knowledge. We will sometimes just plain make mistakes. Life itself, and life-affirming religion, still demands that we learn, decide, act, and accept the results. Judy Harrow Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 319 The Witches' Creed Hear Now the words of the witches, The secrets we hid in the night, When dark was our destiny's pathway, That now we bring forth into light. Mysterious water and fire, The earth and the wide-ranging air, By hidden quintessence we know them, And will and keep silent and dare. The birth and rebirth of all nature, The passing of winter and spring, We share with the life universal, Rejoice in the magical ring. Four times in the year the Great Sabbat Returns, and the witches are seen At Lammas and Candlemas dancing, On May Eve and old Hallowe'en. When day-time and night-time are equal, Whensun is at greatest and least, The four Lesser Sabbats are summoned, And Witches gather in feast. Thirteen silver moons in a year are, Thirteen is the coven's array. Thirteen times at Esbat make merry, For each golden year and a day. The power that was passed down the age, Each time between woman and man, Each century unto the other, Ere time and the ages began. When drawn is the magical circle, By sword or athame of power, Its compass between two worlds lies, In land of the shades for that hour. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 320 This world has no right then to know it, And world of beyond will tell naught. The oldest of Gods are invoked there, The Great Work of magic is wrought. For the two are mystical pillars, That stand at the gate of the shrine, And two are the powers of nature, The forms and the forces divine. The dark and the light in succession, The opposites each unto each, Shown forth as a God and a Goddess: Of this our ancestors teach. By night he's the wild wind's rider, The Horn'd One, the Lord of the Shades. By day he's the King of the Woodland, The dweller in green forest glades. She is youthful or old as she pleases, She sails the torn clouds in her barque, The bright silver lady of midnight, The crone who weaves spells in the dark. The master and mistress of magic, That dwell in the deeps of the mind, Immortal and ever-renewing, With power to free or to bind. So drink the good wine to the Old Gods, And Dance and make love in their praise, Till Elphame's fair land shall receive us In peace at the end of our days. And Do What You Will be the challenge, So be it Love that harms none, For this is the only commandment. By Magic of old, be it done! Doreen Valiente, "Witchcraft For Tomorrow" pp.172-173 Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 321 Hill Country Pagan Grove Austin, Texas, U.S.A. Published December 1982 by C.C.C. Creative Cooperative Consolidated 12611 Research Blvd. Number 125 Austin, Texas 78759 U.S.A. First edition, December 1982 Second edition, revised, April 1983 PREFACE Some have asked how this little booklet came into being. It's all very straightforward: as the most visible representatives of paganism here in Austin, Texas, I and my consort, Arnthor Phalius, are asked often to appear in public to talk about witchcraft. The questions included here are those most often asked, along with the answers we give. Of course we cannot pretend to speak for all Pagans, only for ourselves. But the little booklet has been well-received as a non-threatening method of getting to know a subject like Wicca. Occasionally we will find someone who has had negative experiences with persons who call themselves Wiccans or Witches, and in those cases they expressed relief on find that `other types' of Pagans existed than those which had given them their initial bad impressions. The Directory* is an individual effort at networking in the Sunbelt. Here in Texas there are many traditions and varieties of Paganism, and if one isn't to be alone, one must learn that there are more similarities than differences in Paganism and the other major religions. Pagans have always known this, but for various reasons, have not stepped forward as representatives of this view. I (Merlana) am a mystic who responds to the Universal Mind as it is expressed in Nature. It is my deep belief that persons who reverence these principles are unified at bottom, and separated only by the illusion of words, which are not reality. Sometimes words aren't even adequate representations of `Reality`! It is my intention in this little booklet to re-define some issues and terms in the way that my tradition sees them. It so happens that much of the rest of Paganism falls within this general framework. (NOTE: A `tradition' is a varietal type, like `denomination'). If youalready know the subject and wish to differ, your comments are welcome. If you are new to the subject, perhaps here you'll find some questions answered, and (if wanted) fellowship with others who are on similar paths. Directory* listings are free to those in the Sunbelt of the USA (South and Southwest.) New editions are published irregularly. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 322 If you don't live in the Sunbelt, but have goods or services which interest Pagans, you may also put an ad into the Directory.* Write for details. Blessed be, Merlana April 1983 1. WHAT IS WICCA? `Wicca' (pronounced Wick-ah) is one name given to the Nature religions practiced in Northern Europe and the Middle East from the times of the ice ages. It is one spiritual path out of many in a group of spiritual practices known as NeoPaganism. NeoPaganism is currently in a world-wide revival, led by persons and groups in the United States and Britain. 2. HOW DO WICCA AND NEOPAGANISM FIT TOGETHER? Wicca is one subsidiary form, or `tradition,' similar to the way Christianity has many forms. One can be a Christian and still be Baptist, Methodist or Roman Catholic. In the same way, one can be a Pagan but ascribe to another, more specific, sub-variety of philosophy. 3. IS IT THE SAME AS WITCHCRAFT? One linguistic theory has the word Wicca coming from Olde English `Wicca-Craeft', meaning `craft of the wise ones.' Most followers of Wicca (and most Pagans) prefer not to use the terms `witchcraft' or `witch' because of the emotional connotations these words carry in our society. Generally, one who calls him or herself a `witch' without further qualifications is seeking notoriety and special attention. Those of us who guard the portals of personal Power (like Carlos Casteneda's character Don Juan) are normally hard to find or engage in discussion. Our Mysteries are carefully hidden from the world, and from those who might be tempted to misuse them. 4. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ABOUT GOD? Although Pagans generally agree that one God exists and is the same regardless of name, they vary in specific concepts about God, as in other religions. What an individual Pagan holds is strictly a matter of personal belief. However, occasionally a tradition will teach highly-specific concepts, structures and mythologies. If one finds oneself in disagreement, the best policy is `voting with the feet', or withdrawing to find another group who better agrees. NOTE: Sometimes it may be easierto gather together a group of people who believe as you do to form an entirely new group. That's the purpose of networking, or what the booklet is designed for. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 323 Most Wiccans divide the Godhead (generally conceived of as Mother Nature) into two forces. One force is male and the other female. They are called respectively: The God and The Goddess. Between them, these two divinities create balance and harmony in the Eternal Dance. They represent the forces of birth, death and regeneration symbolized in the change of the seasons. Wiccans call 5this cycle The Wheel Of The Year. Most rituals celebrate the Wheel Of The Year and our deep, meaningful participation in natural cycles of change. Because the male force has been in ascendancy for thousands of years due to the Christian, Moslem and Jewish religions, there is presently a tendency to emphasize The Goddess, especially by feminists (or by those whose personal concept of God happens to be female). We also believe in Magick, which is a partnership between humanity and the Universal Mind. This partnership creates changes in what we normally call `reality', i.e., change accomplished with prayer. These changes can seem miraculous or merely coincidental, and always include personal effort. Magick is not the same as `wishing.' 5. WHAT HAPPENS AT A WICCAN CEREMONY? There are several types of get-togethers that Pagans of all traditions attend. The most available and open is called a `Grove,' where those who wish may study both spiritual and ceremonial topics. Most groves emphasize fellowship and harmony of mind between their members. You should choose one as much for how you blend with the personalities of the members as for a particular brand of teaching. Eight times a year, at the solstices and equinoxes, May Day, Halloween, and other points on the lunar calendar, Pagans gather together (usually outdoors under trees) to celebrate Nature and the turn of the seasons. These celebrations consist of dancing, prayer, invocations, and rituals passed down from the many traditions through the ages. We also urge participants to develop and use their own original rituals and to share them with others. Because we dance and pray in a standing Circle (or sometimes a spiral), and because we draw at these times from the Universe spherical energies of protection and power - these meetings are called (appropriately enough!) Circles. 6. HOW CAN I ATTEND A GROVE OR CIRCLE? Wiccans and Pagans tend to be very private, and do not advertise their faith at publicly as some others might. This is mainly because of past persecutions. However, for those who are sincerely interested, there always exist persons with whom to visit and explore that interest. Check the Directory* at the back of this booklet for names of others who are open to contacts. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 324 If you are sincere and rally want to setout upon the Pagan path, the first step is to find a Grove to study with. After a Grove accepts you, eventually you will attend Circles. 7. DO I HAVE TO GIVE UP MY OTHERSPIRITUAL PATHS TO BECOME A WICCAN? That will depend on the tradition and the teacher. In general, Pagans are most tolerant of any philosophical structure, and ask only that the tolerance be returned. You will not be requested to do anything that differs with your beliefs and spiritual needs. 8. DOES BEING PAGAN MAKE A PERSON SPECIAL OR DIFFERENT? Well yes, of course. But the special qualities are available to everybody. Everything that Pagans do with Magick is done in other religions by other names. It is only that we have found that these particular formulas, beliefs, and celebrations work best for us. These are varying approaches to (and grasps of) personal Power. One way of recognizing someone who is truly Powerful is to note whether he or she seems to need control or influence over others. True personal power is content to control only the self, and personal reality. 9. DO YOU CAST SPELLS ON OTHER PEOPLE? The major law in our religion is: "Do what you will, an it hurt no other." (The Golden Rule) In other words, no one is prevented from exploration of God and GodSelf as long as others are not harmed. We do believe in directing the energies of the universe toward accomplishment of certain ends, but magick is never effective on another person unless the person specifically requests it and takes responsibility for that request. Attempts at so-called `black' magick, or use of the universal energies for negative or harmful purposes, only result in karmic backlash magnified at least threefold on the unfortunate would-be black magician. Our tradition does not believe in the possibility of `psychic attack', and hence does not teach methods for combating it. Our philosophy tells us that to raise a force against `psychic attack' is only to create that which you fear. 10. ARE PAGANS ANTI-CHRISTIAN? No. But many Christians are anti-Pagan. Historically there has existed an adversary relationship between Christianity and the Nature Religions (largely created by Christians.) It takes much universal love not to strike back when attacked, and occasionally a Pagan might seem bitter or afraid as the result of anti-Pagan treatment. This is only a personal reaction, not a characteristic of the religion itself. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 325 It is also true that Wiccans and Pagans have suffered dismissal from jobs and worse simply from their religious affiliation being revealed. Events like these lead to a certain caution and sometimes even an attitude approaching mild paranoia. 11. WHO IS IN CHARGE OF PAGANISM? Each person is in charge of him or herself, responsible totally to Godd/ess. One might hear an individual called High Priestess, or Priest, but this title has more to do with the role played in ceremonies than with status in any formal hierarchy. Groves and teaching groups sometimes have various levels of initiation, but again, these are individual to each tradition. 12. WHAT MAKES WICCA DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PATHS THAT BELIEVE IN THE PSYCHIC POWERS? We usually find that people most often comment on the robes and the tools. Traditionally we wear special garments while engaging in devotions, as a male Jew wears prayer shawl and skullcap. The garments have symbolisms, and stand for beliefs of the person wearing them. The tools are: a cup, knife, staff (or wand), and the pentacle, a 5-pointed star with 5th point upward, enclosed in a circle. For those familiar with the tarotcards, this was the original source of the tarot suits as well as many meanings and symbolisms in the tarot deck. 13. WHAT IS DONE WITH THE TOOLS? They are used, along with other objects, like candles, bells, and incense to focus energies and influence Universal forces with our prayers. If the format reminds you of Roman Catholic mass, that's because much of the indigenous Nature Religion's mysteries were `adopted' when Christianity moved into Northern Europe -- into England, Scotland, Ireland and Scandinavia ... the lands of the Celts. Also, if the tools and concepts seem to resemble elements in Rosicrucianism, the Caballa, and the Masonic Temple, it is because the latter paths drew and adopted Pagan rituals and forms for other uses. Since ours was an oral tradition we gratefully acknowledge the role these organizations played in bringing to modern times knowledge and insights which have otherwise been lost. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 326 Here's a bit of trivia: Although the Founding Fathers of the U.S.A. generally held indifferent attitudes about Christianity they were all thirty-third degree Masons. Obviously they sought to incorporate their high ideals into writing our first constitution. This odd fact explains to some people why fundamentalist Christians and the constitution occasionally seem to be at cross-purposes. 14. HOW LARGE IS THE RELIGION? Since Wicca, or Paganism, is an alternative religion uninterested in power or clout, we measure our `size' usually only by spiritual growth. There is a national newspaper published quarterly by which many Pagans keep in touch. 15. WHAT ABOUT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY? That's magick, too! Craft practitioners of old WERE the scientists ... there was need for healers and herbalists, agriculture and astronomy experts. The scientific method has now made teaching these subjects respectable in universities. But in the process we have lost the lore's former integration of the spiritual relationship between God Expressed As Nature and ourselves. Manyof us are scientifically trained and hold technological jobs and interests. This does not interfere with but only adds to a desire for ritual celebration and union with Godd/ess. Also many of us are ourselves practicing psychics, or are interested in extrasensory perception (ESP) and its uses. Paganism makes available a philosophical structure for all of these ends utilized effectively for millennia. It urges individuals to develop their personal powers within that structure and to use them thereafter in a responsible way. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 327 16. THAT'S SOMETHING ELSE: WHY DON'T I EVER HEAR OR READ ABOUT PAGAN CHARITIES OR GOOD WORKS? Good news makes terrible press. News media and supermarket tabloids would much rather print scandal and controversy. How many times have you seen a headline that attributed a person's conduct to his/her belief in Witchcraft? Do you ever see the same types of stories about Moslems, Jews or Christians? In addition, organized charity can only be accomplished undercertain forms of organized religious structures. That takes leadership, delegation of powers, community resources and accumulation of money and collective wealth. We focus instead on personal responsibility and the necessity of reflecting Godd/ess in our characters and lives. Occasionally persons in the Craft will join together to change a situation or to help someone, but this is always done quietly and with the full knowledge and permission of those for whom the help of change in requested. It is always done without taking public credit. We feel that Godd/ess knows, and that is all we need. 17. HOW CAN WE SUM THIS UP IN A FEW WORDS? Wicca, a branch of the spiritual movement called Neopaganism (or Paganism) is primarily a religion of personal, mystical relationship between the Universal Mind as expressed in Nature and the individual. It believes in Magick, or positive change wrought by prayer and ceremonial ritual. It brings its practitioners the joy of union and harmony with Godd/ess as expressed in Nature as well as fellowship with other persons who are on similar paths. Personal responsibility and growth are stressed, dogma and rigid beliefs are discouraged. MAY GODD/ESS SPEAK TO YOU IN THE VOICE YOU HEAR BEST. BLESSED BE! Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 328 A LITTLE LESS MISUNDERSTANDING (What Christians Don't Understand about Neopaganism) by J. Brad Hicks Q: Are you a witch? A: That's actually a tricky question to answer, so let me go about it in a round-about way. What I am is a Neopagan. Neopaganism is a beautiful, complex religion that is not in opposition to Christianity in any way - just different. However, some of the people that the Catholic church burned as "witches" were people who practiced the same things that I do. In identification with them and the suffering that they went through, some of us (Neopagans) call ourselves witches. One expert, P.E.I. Bonewits, says that there are actually several kinds of groups who call themselves "witches." Some are people whose ancestors were the village healers, herbalists, midwives, and such, many of whom had (or were ascribed to have) mental, psychic, or magical powers, which were passed down through the family in the form of oral tradition, and Bonewits calls them "Traditional Witches." Some are people who have deliberately used the term to oppose themselves to Christianity, are practicing "Satanists," and practice (deliberately) most of the practices invented by the Inquisitors. Bonewits calls them "Gothic" or "Neo-Gothic Witches." Of a different kind are some radical feminist groups, who call themselves witches because they believe that the original Inquisition was primarily anti-female; some of these also practice magic, many of them do not - Bonewits calls them "Feminist Witches." But the vast majority of modern witches are harmless people who worship God in many forms, including the Lord of the Dance, the Lady, and the Mother Earth. These are the people that Bonewits (and I) call"Neopagan Witches" - and this is what I am. I hope that this helps more than it confuses. Q: Are you a devil worshipper? A: I'm tempted to just say, "No!" and leave it at that, but that probably isn't enough. Devil worship (including Satanism) is really a Christian heresy. (If you don't believe me, ask an expert - say, any well-read pastor or theology professor.) In order to worship Satan, you have to believe in him - and there are no references to Satan outside of the Christian Bible. So to be a Satanist or a devil worshipper, you have to believe in the accuracy of the Christian Bible, then identify yourself with God's Enemy, proclaim that you are "evil," and then try to "fight against Jesus" or similar nonsense. Neopagans do not accept the Christian Bible as a source of truth. As a source of some beautiful poetry, sometimes, or as a source of myth, but not as a source of truth. Emphatically, we do not believe that God has an Opposite, an evil being trying to destroy God, the world, man, or whatever. So it is non-sensical to say that Neopagans worship Satan. Of course, many people insist that any god other than JHVH/Jesus (and his other Biblical names) is a demon or an illusion created by Satan. Well, you're welcome to believe that if you like - but over half of the world's population is going to be unhappy at you. Jews and followers of Islam are just as confident that they worship the True God as you are, and resent being called devil worshippers. So do I. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 329 Q: What do Neopagans believe about God? A: Neopaganism is a new religion with very, very old roots. It harks back to the first religions that man ever practiced (based on the physical evidence). Neopagans worship a variety of symbols from the Old Religions - the practices of the ancient Celts, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Romans - and differ with each other over what those symbols really represent. What I (and many others) believe is that they are all aspects of God (or maybe, the Gods) - some kind of beautiful, powerful, and loving being or force that ties all of life together and is the origin of all miracles - including miracles such as written language, poetry, music, art ... Q: Do Neopagans have a Bible? A: Not most of us. The closest analogue would be a witch's Book of Shadows, which is a sort of notebook of legends, poetry, history, and magic ritual which is copied by every newly-initiated witch, then added to. But on the whole, even a Book of Shadows isn't what Christians think of as a Bible. It's not infallible (couldn't be, they've been brought to us via hastily-copied texts under trying circumstances), it doesn't prescribe a specific code of morality (except for a few general guidelines), and it doesn't claim to be dictated by God - except for a few, debatable parts. Those of us who aren't witches don't even have that much. Neopaganism is a religious system that relies more on the individual than on the Book or the Priest. One of the principal beliefs of Neopaganism is that no one, not Pope nor Priest nor Elder, has the right to interfere with your relationship to God. Learn from whomever you want, and pray to whatever name means the most to you. Q: Did you say magic? Do Neopagans believe in the occult? A: Cringe. What a badly worded question - but I hear it all the time. Neopagans as a rule don't "believe in the occult" - we practice magic. Magic is simply a way to focus the mental abilities that you were born with, and use them to change the world in positive ways. Magic can also be mixed with worship; in which case it differs very little from Christian prayer. Q: But I thought that you said that you weren't a demon-worshipper? A: That's right. Magic and demonology are two different things. Magic you also know as "psychic powers" or "mentallics" or even as "the power of positive thinking" - in essence, the magical world view holds that "reality" is mostly a construct of the human mind, and as such, can be altered by the human mind. That's all there is to it. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 330 Q: How do you become a Neopagan? A: In a very real sense, nobody every "becomes" a Neopagan. There are no converts, as no conversion is necessary. Neopaganism is an attitude towards worship, and either you have it or you don't. My case is not atypical. All of my life, I have been fascinated by the old mythologies. I have always found descriptions of the Greek Gods fascinating. If I had any religious beliefs as a child, it was that somewhere, there was a God, and many people worship Him, but I had no idea what His name was. I set out to find Him, and through an odd combination of circumstances, I because convinced that his Name was Jesus. But seven years later, I had to admit to myself that Whoever God is, he answers non-Christians' prayers as well as those in the name of Jesus. In either case, true miracles are rare. In both cases, the one praying has a devout experience with God. After searching my soul, I admitted that I could not tell that I was better off than when I believed in the Old Gods. And in the mean time, I had found out that other people also loved the Old Gods - and that they call themselves Neopagans. When I realized that what I believed was little or no different that what they believed, I called myself a Neopagan, too. The common element for nearly all of us is that nearly all of us already believed these things, before we found out that anyone else did. "Becoming" a pagan is never a conversion. It's usually a home-coming. No one ever "brainwashed" me. I finally relaxed, and stopped struggling against my own self. Q: I've heard about witches holding orgies and such. Do you? A: No, that sort of thing doesn't appeal to me. Most of the crap that you've heard about "witch orgies" is nonsense made up by the National Enquirer to sell magazines. But I shouldn't be flippant about this, because it underlies a serious question - what kind of morality do Neopagans hold to? "Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An it harm none, do what thou will!" from an old Book of Shadows That about sums it all up. Neopaganism teaches that it is harmful to yourself (and dangerous) to harm others. It also teaches that trying to impose your moral standards on somebody else's behavior is (at least) foolish - and probably dangerous, as you run some serious chance of hurting that person. Perhaps in a sense Neopagans don't have morality, for as R. A. Wilson said, "There are no commandments because there is no Commander anywhere," but Neopagans do have ethics - standards for behavior based on honor and mutual benefit. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 331 Q: I saw on the news that Neopagans use a star in a circle as their emblem. Isn't that a Satanic symbol? A: A pentacle (that's what it's called) is a Satanic symbol in precisely same sense that the cross is a Nazi symbol. The German National Socialist Party used an equal-armed cross with four flags attached to it as their emblem. (Yes, I know - that's a swastika. Well, before the Nazis made the word common knowledge, people just called it a "bent cross" - it's an old heraldic symbol, and it means the same thing that a normal cross does). That doesn't make the Nazis good Christians, and it doesn't make Christians into Nazis. In the same sense, Satanists (and some rock groups) use a type of pentacle as their emblem. That doesn't make them Neopagans, nor does it mean that Neopagans are Satanists (or even rock-and-rollers). Q: Are Neopagans opposed to Christianity? A: Some Neopagans are ex-Christians, and I'm not going to deny that some of them have a grudge against the Church because of what they perceived as attempts to control their minds. Further, many Neopagans are suspicious of the Church, because it was in the name of Jesus Christ that nine million of our kind were murdered. Neopagans are opposed to anyone who uses force to control the minds of others. Does that include you? If not, then it means that Neopagans as such are not opposed to you. Do you work for the benefit of mankind, are you respectful to the Earth? Then it makes us allies, whether or not either of us wants to admit it. - - - - - - - - - - There are manyother misconceptions in the popularmind about the Neopagan religion. Unless you've studied it, read about it from sympathetic sources, then you really don't know anything about Neopagan history, beliefs, practices, customs, art, science, culture, or magic. But it would take several entire books to teach you, and I already fear that I will be accused of trying to win converts (despite what I've said above). If you are curious and willing to learn, try some of the following books: Margot Adler, _Drawing Down the Moon_ Starhawk, _The Spiral Dance_ P.E.I. Bonewits, _Real Magic_ Stewart Farrar, _What Witches Do_. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 332 NEOPAGANISM By Eric S. Raymond I. Introduction The neopagan phenomenon is a loose collection of religious movements, experiments and jokes that offers a healthy alternative to the dogmatism of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic mainstream (on the one hand) and the mushy-mindedness of most 'New Age' groups (on the other). This article,prepared atthe requestof anumber ofcurious net. posters, offers a brief description of neopagan thought and practice. A list of good sources for further study are listed at the end. II. What is a neopagan? I used the term 'religious' above, but as you'll see it's actually more than somewhat misleading, and I (like many other neopagans) use it only because no other word is available for the more general kind of thing of which the neopagan movement and what we generally think of as 'religion' are special cases. Neopaganism is 'religious' in the etymological sense of 're ligare', to rebind (to roots, to strengths, to the basics of things), and it deals with mythology and the realm of the 'spiritual'. But, as we in the Judeo/Christian West have come to understand 'religion' (an organized body of belief that connects the 'supernatural' with an authoritarian moral code via 'faith') neopaganism is effectively and radically anti-religious. I emphasize this because it is important in understanding what follows. Common characteristics of almostall the groups that describe themselves as 'neopagan' (the term is often capitalized) include: 1. Anti-dogmatism Neopagan religions are religions of practice, pragmatism and immediate experience. The emphasis is always on what they can help the individuals in them to *do* and *experience*; theology and metaphysics take a back seat, and very little 'faith' or 'belief' is required or expected. In fact many neopagans (including yours truly) are actively hostile to 'faith' and all the related ideas of religious authority, 'divine revelation' and the like. 2. Compatibility with a scientific world-view This tends to follow from the above. Because neopaganism is centered in experiences rather than beliefs, it doesn't need or want to do vast overarching cosmologies or push fixed Final Answers to the Big Questions -- understanding and helping human beings relate to each other and the world as we experience it is quite enough for us. Thus, we are generally friendly to science and the scientific world-view. Many of us are scientists and technologists ourselves (in fact, by some counts, a plurality of us are computer programmers!). Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 333 3. Reverence for nature, sensuality, and pleasure Mostneopaganisms makeheavy use ofnature symbolismand encourage people to be more aware of their ties to all the non-human life on this planet. Explicit worship of 'Gaia', the earth ecosphere considered as a single interdependent unit, is common. Veneration of nature deities is central to many traditions. Ecological activism is often considered a religious duty, though there is much controversy over what form it should take. Bypreference, mostneopagans holdtheir ceremoniesoutdoors under sun or moon. Seasonal changes and astronomical rhythms (especially the solstices, equinoxes and full and new moons) define the ritual calendar. Ritual and festivenudity arecommon; to benaked before natureis often considered a holy and integrating act in itself. Sex is considered sacramental and sexual energy and symbolisms permeate neopagan practice (we like to contrast this with Christianity, in which the central sacrament commemorates a murder and climaxes in ritual cannibalism). 4. Polytheism, pantheism, agnosticism Most neopaganisms are explicitly polytheistic -- that is, they recognize pantheons of multiple deities. But the reality behind this is more complex than it might appear. First, many neopagans are philosophical agnostics or even atheists; there is a tendency to regard 'the gods' as Jungian archetypes or otherwise in some sense created by and dependent on human belief, and thus naturally plural and observer-dependent. Secondly, asin many historicalpolytheisms, there isan implicit though seldom-discussed idea that all the gods and goddesses we deal with are 'masks', refractions of some underlying unity that we cannot or should not attempt to approach directly. And thirdly, there is a strong undercurrent of pantheism, the belief that the entire universe is in some important sense a responsive, resonating and sacred whole (or, which is different and subtler, that it is proper for human beings to view it that way). Many neopagans hold all three of these beliefs simultaneously. 5. Decentralized, non-authoritarian organization; no priestly elite Neopagans have seen what happens when a priesthood elite gets temporal power; we want none of that. We do not take collections, build temples, or fund a full-time clergy. In fact the clergy-laity distinction is pretty soft; in many traditions, all members are considered 'in training' for it, and in all traditions every participant in a ritual is an active one; there are and can be no pew-sitting passive observers. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 334 Mostneopagan traditionsare (dis)organizedashorizontal networks of small affinity groups (usually called 'circles', 'groves', or 'covens' depending on the flavor of neopagan involved). Priests and priestesses have no real authority outside their own circles (and sometimes not much inside them!), though some do have national reputations. Many of us keep a low profile partly due to a real fear of persecution. Too many of our spiritual ancestors were burned, hung, flayed and shot by religions that are still powerful for a lot of us to feel safe in the open. Down in the Bible Belt the burnings and beatings are still going on, and the media loves to hang that 'Satanist' label on anything it doesn't understand for a good juicy story. Also, we never proselytize. This posting is about as active a neopagan solicitation as anyone will ever see; we tend to believe that 'converts' are dangerous robots and that people looking to be 'converted' aren't the kind we want. We have found that it works quite well enough to let people find us when they're ready for what we have to teach. 6. Reverence for the female principle Oneof the most striking differencesbetween neopagan groups and the religious mainstream is the wide prevalence (and in some traditions dominance) of the worship of goddesses. Almost all neopagans revere some form of the Great Mother, often as a nature goddess identified with the ecosphere, and there are probably more female neopagan clergy than there are male. Most neopagan traditions are equalist (these tend to pair the Great Mother with a male fertility-god, usually some cognate of the Greek Pan). A vocal and influential minority are actively feminist, and (especially on the West Coast) there have been attempts to present various neopagan traditions as the natural 'women's religion' for the feminist movement. The effects of this kind of politicization of neopaganism are a topic of intense debate within the movement and fuel some of its deepest factional divisions. 7. Respect for art and creativity Neopaganism tends to attractartists and musicians as muchas it attracts technologists. Our myth and ritual can be very powerful at stimulating and releasing creativity, and one of the greatest strengths of the movement is the rich outgrowth of music, poetry, crafts and arts that has come from that. It is quite common for people joining the movement to discover real talents in those areas that they never suspected. Poets and musicians have the kind of special place at neopagan festivals that they did in pre-literate cultures; many of our best-known people are or have been bards and songsmiths, and the ability to compose and improvise good ritual poetry is considered the mark of a gifted priest(ess) and very highly respected. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 335 8. Eclecticism "Steal from any source that doesn't run too fast" is aneopagan motto. A typical neopagan group will mix Greek, Celtic and Egyptian mythology with American Indian shamanism. Ritual technique includes recognizable borrowings from medieval ceremonial magic, Freemasonry and pre-Nicene Christianity, as well as a bunch of 20th-century inventions. Humanistic psychology and some of the more replicable New Age healing techniques have recently been influential. The resulting stew is lively and effective, though sometimes a bit hard to hold together. 9. A sense of humor Neopagans generally believethat itis more dangerousto takeyour religion too seriously than too lightly. Self-spoofery is frequent and (in some traditions) semi-institutionalized, and at least one major neopagan tradition (Discordianism, known to many on this net) is *founded* on elaborate spoofery and started out as a joke. Oneof the most attractive features of the neopagan approach is that we don't confuse solemnity with gloom. Our rituals are generally celebratory and joyous, and a humorous remark at the right time need not break the mood. We generally feel that anyreligion that can't stand tohave fun poked at it is in as sad shape as the corresponding kind of person. III. What kinds of neopagan are there, and where did they come from? Depending onwho you talkto and whatdefinitions you use,there are between 40,000 and 200,000 neopagans in the U.S.; the true figure is probably closer to the latter than the former, and the movement is still growing rapidly following a major 'population explosion' in the late '70s. The numericallylargest and most influentialneopagan group is the 'Kingdom of Wicca' -- the modern witch covens. Modern witchcraft has nothing to do with Hollywood's images of the cackling, cauldron-stirring crone (though wiccans sometimes joke about that one) and is actively opposed to the psychopathic Satanism that many Christians erroneously think of as 'witchcraft'. Your author is an initiate Wiccan priest and coven leader of long standing. Otherimportant subgroupsinclude thoseseeking torevive Norse, Egyptian, Amerind, and various kinds of tribal pantheons other than the Greek and Celtic ones that have been incorporated into Wicca. These generally started out as Wiccan offshoots or have been so heavily influenced by Wiccan ritual technique that their people can usually work comfortably in a Wiccan circle and vice-versa. There arealso the variousorders of ceremonialmagicians, most claiming to be the successors to the turn-of-the-century Golden Dawn or one of the groups founded by Alesteir Crowley during his brilliant and notorious occult career. These have their own very elaborate ritual tradition, and tend to be more intellectual, more rigid, and less nature-oriented. They are sometimes reluctant to describe themselves as neopagans. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 336 The Discordians (and, more recently, the Discordian-offshoot Church of the Sub-Genius) are few in number but quite influential. They are the neopagan movement's sacred clowns, puncturing pretense and adding an essential note to the pagan festivals. Many Wiccans, especially among priests and priestesses, are also Discordians and will look you straight in the eye and tell you that the entire neopagan movement is a Discordian hoax... Neopaganism used to be largely a white, upper-middle-class phenomenon, but that has been changing during the last five years. So called 'new-collar' workers have come in droves during the eighties. We still see fewer non-whites, proportionately, than there are in the general population, but that is also changing (though more slowly). With the exception of a few nut-fringe 'Aryan' groups detested by the whole rest of the movement, neopagans are actively anti-racist; prejudice is not the problem, it's more that the ideas have tended to be accepted by the more educated segments of society first, and until recently those more educated segments were mostly white. OntheEastCoast, ahigher-than-general-populationpercentage of neopagans have Roman Catholic or Jewish backgrounds, but figures suggest this is not true nationwide. There is also a very significant overlap in population with science-fiction fandom and the Society for Creative Anachronism. Politically, neopagans are distributed about the same as the general population, except that whether liberal or conservative they tend to be more individualist and less conformist and moralistic than average. It is therefore not too surprising that the one significant difference in distribution is the presence of a good many more libertarians than one would see in a same-sized chunk of the general population (I particularly register this because I'm a libertarian myself, but non-libertarians have noted the same phenomenon). These complexities are obscured by the fact that the most politically active and visible neopagans are usually ex-hippie left-liberals from the '60s. I think the most acute generalization made about pagans as a whole is Margot Adler's observation that they are mostly self-made people, supreme individualists not necessarily in the assertive or egoist sense but because they have felt the need to construct their own culture, their own definitions, their own religious paths, out of whatever came to hand rather than accepting the ones that the mainstream offers. IV. Where do I find out more? I have deliberatelynot said much aboutmythology, or specific religious practice or aims, or the role of magic and to what extent we practice and 'believe' in it. Any one of those is a topic for another posting; but you can get a lot of information from books. Here's a basic bibliography: Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 337 Adler, Margot _Drawing_Down_the_Moon_ (Random House 1979, hc) This book is a lucid and penetrating account of who the modern neo-pagans are, what they do and why they do it, from a woman who spent almost two years doing observer-participant journalism in the neo-pagan community. Especially valuable because it combines an anthropologist's objectivity with a candid personal account of her own feelings about all she saw and did and how her ideas about the neo-pagans changed under the impact of the experiences she went through. Recommended strongly as a first book on the subject, and it's relatively easy to find. There is now a revised and expanded second edition available. Starhawk _The_Spiral_Dance_ An anthology of philosophy, poetry, training exercises, ritual outlines and instructive anecdotes from a successful working coven. First-rate as an introduction to the practical aspects of magick and running a functioning circle. Often findable at feminist bookstores. Shea, Robert and Wilson, Robert Anton _Illuminatus!_ (Dell, 1975, pb) This work of alleged fiction is an incredible berserko-surrealist rollercoaster that _will_ bend your mind into a pretzel with an acid-head blitzkrieg of plausible, instructive and enlightening lies and a few preposterous and obscure truths. Amidst this eccentric tale of world-girdling conspiracies, intelligent dolphins, the fall of Atlantis, who _really_ killed JFK, sex, drugs, rock and roll and the Cosmic Giggle Factor, you will find Serious Truths about Mind, Time, Space, the Nature of God(dess) and What It All Means -- and also learn why you should on no account take them Seriously. Pay particular attention to Appendix Lamedh ("The Tactics of Magick"), but it won't make sense until you've read the rest. This was first published in 3 volumes as _The_Eye_In_The_Pyramid_, _The_ Golden_Apple_ and _Leviathan_, but there's now a one-volume trade paperback carried by most chain bookstores under SF. Campbell, Joseph W., _The_Masks_of_God_ (Viking Books, 1971, pb) One of the definitiveanalytical surveys of world mythography-- and readable to boot! It's in 4 volumes: I. _Primitive_Mythology_ II. _Oriental_Mythology_ III. _Occidental_Mythology_ IV. _Creative_Mythology_ The theoretical framework of these books is a form of pragmatic neo-Jungianism which has enormously influenced the neopagans (we can accurately be described as the practice for which Campbell and Jung were theorizing). Note especially his predictions in vols. I & IV of a revival of shamanic, vision-quest-based religious forms. The recent Penguin pb edition of this book should be available in the Mythology and Folklore selection of any large bookstore. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 338 Bonewits, Isaac, _Real_Magic_ (Creative Arts Books, 1979, pb) A fascinating analytical study of the psychodynamics of ritual and magick. This was Bonewits's Ph.D. thesis for the world's only known doctorate in Magic and Thaumaturgy (UCLA Berkeley, 1971). Hardest of the five to find but well worth the effort -- an enormously instructive, trenchant and funny book. V. Will there be more net.info on this topic? I am also available to answer questions by email or phone. Be warned that I will probably tell you to go off and study some more, rather than referring you to a group, if you haven't read at least two out of the five above or else good equivalents like Michael Harner's _Way_Of_The_Shaman_ (Castaneda, UFOlogy books and anything on astrology or the Great Pyramid will *not* count! Grrr...!). No fooling, learning to do this stuff right is hard work and demands a lot more rigor and clear thinking than most people associate with 'occultism'. But it's also fun and empowering and could turn out to be one of the couple most important things you do with your life. If response to this posting is heavy, I may post some stuff on Wiccan ritual practice and theology, that being what I know best. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 339 W H A T I S W I C C A ? An Introduction to "The Old Religion" of Europe and its Modern Revival by Amber K, High Priestess Our Lady of the Woods P.O. Box 176 Blue Mounds, Wisconsin 53517 (This leaflet may be reproduced and distributed exactly as-is, without further permission from the author, provided it is offered free of charge. Changes in the text, however, must be approved in advance by the author. Thank you!) WICCA (sometimes called Wicce, The Craft, or The Old Religion by its practitioners) is an ancient religion of love for life and nature. In prehistoric times, people respected the great forces of Nature and celebrated the cycles of the seasons and the moon. They saw divinity in the sun and moon, in the Earth Herself, and in all life. The creative energies of the universe were personified: feminine and masculine principles became Goddesses and Gods. These were not semi-abstract, superhuman figures set apart from Nature: they were embodied in earth and sky, women and men, and even plants and animals. This viewpoint is still central to present-day Wicca. To most Wiccans, everything in Natures -- and all Goddesses and Gods -- are true aspects of Deity. The aspects most often celebrated in the Craft, however, are the Triple Goddess of the Moon (Who is Maiden, Mother, and Crone) and the Horned God of the wilds. These have many names in various cultures. Wicca had its organized beginnings in Paleolithic times, co- existed with other Pagan ("country") religions in Europe, and had a profound influence on early Christianity. But in the medieval period, tremendous persecution was directed against the Nature religions by the Roman Church. Over a span of 300 years, millions of men and women and many children were hanged, drowned or burned as accused "Witches." The Church indicted them for black magic and Satan worship, though in fact these were never a part of the Old Religion. The Wiccan faith went underground, to be practiced in small, secret groups called "covens." For the most part, it stayed hidden until very recent times. Now scholars such as Margaret Murray and Gerald Gardner have shed some light on the origins of the Craft, and new attitudes of religious freedom have allowed covens in some areas to risk becoming more open. How do Wiccan folk practice their faith today? There is no central authority or doctrine, and individual covens vary a great deal. But most meet to celebrate on nights of the Full Moon, and at eight great festivals or Sabbats throughout the year. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 340 Though some practice alone or with only their families, many Wiccans are organized into covens of three to thirteen members. Some are led by a High Priestess or Priest, many by a Priestess/Priest team; others rotate or share leadership. Some covens are highly structured and hierarchical, while others may be informal and egalitarian. Often extensive training is required before initiation, and coven membership is considered an important commitment. There are many branches or "traditions" of Wicca in the United States and elsewhere, such as the Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Welsh Traditional, Dianic, Faery, Seax-Wicca and others. All adhere to a code of ethics. None engage in the disreputable practices of some modern "cults," such as isolating and brainwashing impressionable, lonely young people. Genuine Wiccans welcome sisters and brothers, but not disciples, followers or victims. Coven meetings include ritual, celebration and magick (the "k" is to distinguish it from stage illusions). Wiccan magick is not at all like the instant "special effects" of cartoon shows or fantasy novels, nor medieval demonology; it operates in harmony with natural laws and is usually less spectacular -- though effective. Various techniques are used to heal people and animals, seek guidance, or improve members' lives in specific ways. Positive goals are sought: cursing and "evil spells" are repugnant to practitioners of the Old Religion. Wiccans tend to be strong supporters of environmental protection, equal rights, global peace and religious freedom, and sometimes magick is used toward such goals. Wiccan beliefs do not include such Judeao-Christian concepts as original sin, vicarious atonement, divine judgement or bodily resurrection. Craft folk believe in a beneficent universe, the laws of karma and reincarnation, and divinity inherent in every human being and all of Nature. Yet laughter and pleasure are part of their spiritual tradition, and they enjoy singing, dancing, feasting, and love. Wiccans tend to be individualists, and have no central holy book, prophet, or church authority. They draw inspiration and insight from science, and personal experience. Each practitioner keeps a personal book or journal in which s/he records magickal "recipes," dreams, invocations, songs, poetry and so on. To most of the Craft, every religion has its own valuable perspective on the nature of Deity and humanity's relationship to it: there is no One True Faith. Rather, religious diversity is necessary in a world of diverse societies and individuals. Because of this belief, Wiccan groups do not actively recruit or proselytize: there is an assumption that people who can benefit from the Wiccan way will "find their way home" when the time is right. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 341 Despite the lack of evangelist zeal, many covens are quite willing to talk with interested people, and even make efforts to inform their communities about the beliefs and practices of Wicca. One source of contacts is The Covenant of the Goddess, P.O. Box 1226, Berkeley, CA 94704. Also, the following books may be of interest: (Ask your librarian.) DRAWING DOWN THE MOON by Margot Adler THE SPIRAL DANCE by Starhawk POSITIVE MAGIC by Marion Weinstein WHAT WITCHES DO by Stewart Farrar WITCHCRAFT FOR TOMORROW by Doreen Valiente Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 342 CULT DANGER EVALUATION FRAME ~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ (with apologies to P.E.I. Bonewitz) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 low middle high Rate these 15 criteria according to the amount of it you perceive in a given group/religious organization. Higher scores usually mean a higher danger of mind control or brainwashing. 1.) HOW MUCH CONTROL DO THE LEADER(S) OF THE ORGANIZATION HAVEOVER ITSMEMBERSHIP?............................___________ 2.) HOW MUCH WISDOM AND/OR INFALLIBILITY IS CLAIMED BY THELEADER(S)OFTHEORGANIZATION?...................___________ 3.) HOW MUCH WISDOM AND/OR INFALLIBILITY DO THE MEMBERS OF THE ORGANIZATION CREDIT TO THEIR LEADER(S)?.......___________ 4.) HOW INFLEXIBLE IS THE ORGANIZATION ON INTERPRETATION OF DOCTRINE/REALITY CONCEPTS?........................___________ 5.) HOW IMPORTANT IS RECRUITING/PROSELYTIZING TO THE ORGANIZATION?........................................___________ 6.) HOW MANY FRONT GROUPS DOES THE ORGANIZATION OPERATE UNDER?...............................................___________ 7.) HOW MUCH EMPHASIS DOES THE GROUP PLACE ON DONATIONS? HOW IS MONEY USED WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION? ARE THE LEADER(S) VISIBLY WEALTHIER THAN THE RANK-AND-FILE MEMBERSOF THEORGANIZATION?........................____________ 8.) HOW MUCH POLITICAL POWER EXISTS WITHIN THE ORGANIZATIONORIS DESIREDBYTHE ORGANIZATION?.....____________ 9.) IS THERE SEXUAL MANIPULATION BEING USED IN THE GROUP? (HARASSMENT/LEADER(S) ASKING OR GETTING SEXUALFAVORSFROMTHEMEMBERS).....................____________ 10.) HOW MUCH ACCESS TO AND TOLERANCE OF OTHER IDEAS DO THE LEADER(S) ACCORD MEMBERS? HOW MUCH DO MEMBERS KNOWOFOUTSIDE OPINIONSOFTHE ORGANIZATION?.......____________ 11.) HOW INTENSE ARE EFFORTS DIRECTED AT PREVENTING OR RE-INDOCTRINATING DROPOUTS?.........................____________ 12.) DOES THE ORGANIZATION ENDORSE VIOLENCE ON BEHALF OF ITOR ITSLEADERS?..................................____________ 13.) HOW MUCH PARANOIA DOES THE ORGANIZATION EXHIBIT TOWARDSTHE"OUTSIDE WORLD?"........................____________ 14.) HOW MUCH DISAPPROVAL DOES THE ORGANIZATION HAVE OF JOKES ABOUTIT,ITS DOCTRINES,OR ITSLEADER(S)?....____________ 15.) HOW TIGHT IS DISCIPLINE INSIDE THE ORGANIZATION? (FOR EXAMPLE, ARE THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH DOCTRINAL POINTS OR LEADERSHIP DECISIONS OSTRACIZED OR SHUNNED?).........................................._____________ Questions number 9 and 12 are pretty much yes or no questions, so give a 1 if no, a 10 if yes. 7 is an iffy one, if it looks like the leader or leaders of the group are living a lot higher on the hog than their "flock", or that the leader(s) skim liberally from the "collection box" and use that to live in luxury, then you should give the group an automatic 9 or 10 in that department. I hope this is of use to all in regards to figuring out whether or not a group is truly a "cult" or not. It's YOUR mind...USE IT!!!!!!! Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 343 RE-THINKING THE WATCHTOWERS or 13 Reasons Air should be in the North ======================================= by Mike Nichols copyright 1989 by Mike Nichols (fondly dedicated to Kathy Whitworth) INTRODUCTION It all started 20 years ago. I was 16 years old then, and a recent initiate to the religion of Wicca. Like most neophytes, I was eager to begin work on my Book of Shadows, the traditional manuscript liturgical book kept by most practicing Witches. I copied down rituals, spells, recipes, poems, and tables of correspondences from every source I could lay hands on. Those generally fell into two broad categories: published works, such as the many books available on Witchcraft and magic; and unpublished works, mainly other Witches' Books of Shadows. Twenty years ago, most of us were "traditional" enough to copy everything by hand. (Today, photocopying and even computer modem transfers are becoming de rigueur.) Always, we were admonished to copy "every dot and comma", making an exact transcription of the original, since any variation in the ceremony might cause major problems for the magician. Seldom, if ever, did anyone pause to consider where these rituals came from in the first place, or who composed them. Most of us, alas, did not know and did not care. It was enough just to follow the rubrics and do the rituals as prescribed. But something brought me to an abrupt halt in my copying frenzy. I had dutifully copied rituals from different sources, and suddenly realized they contained conflicting elements. I found myself comparing the two versions, wondering which one was "right", "correct", "authentic", "original", "older", etc. This gave rise to the more general questions about where a ritual came from in the first place. Who created it? Was it created by one person or many? Was it ever altered in transmission? If so, was it by accident or intent? Do we know? Is there ever any way to find out? How did a particular ritual get into a Coven's Book of Shadows? From another, older, Book of Shadows? Or from a published source? If so, where did the author of the published work get it? I had barely scratched the surface, and yet I could already see that the questions being raised were very complex. (Now, all these years later, I am more convinced than ever of the daunting complexity of Neo-Pagan liturgical history. And I am equally convinced of the great importance of this topic for a thorough understanding of modern Witchcraft. It may well be a mare's nest, but imagine the value it will have to future Craft historians. And you are unconditionally guaranteed to see me fly into a passionate tirade whenever I'm confronted with such banal over-simplifications as "Crowley is the REAL author of the Third Degree initiation," or "Everyone KNOWS Gardner INVENTED modern Witchcraft.") Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 344 CONFLICTING TRADITIONS The first time I noticed conflicting ritual elements was when I was invited as a guest to attend another Coven's esbat celebration. When the time came to "invoke the Watchtowers" (a ritual salutation to the four directions), I was amazed to learn that this group associated the element of Earth with the North. My own Coven equated North with Air. How odd, I thought. Where'd they get that? The High Priestess told me it had been copied out of a number of published sources. Further, she said she had never seen it listed any other way. I raced home and began tearing books from my own library shelves. And sure enough! Practically every book I consulted gave the following associations as standard: North = Earth, East = Air, South = Fire, West = Water. Then where the heck did I get the idea that Air belonged in the North? After much thought, I remembered having copied my own elemental/directional associations from another Witch's Book of Shadows, her Book representing (so she claimed) an old Welsh tradition. Perhaps I'd copied it down wrong? A quick long-distance phone call put my mind at ease on that score. (When I asked her where she'd gotten it, she said she THOUGHT it was from an even older Book of Shadows, but she wasn't certain.) By now, I felt miffed that my own tradition seemed to be at variance with most published sources. Still, my own rituals didn't seem to be adversely affected. Nor were those of my fellow Coven members, all of whom put Air in the North. Further, over the years I had amassed lots of associations and correspondences that seemed to REQUIRE Air to be in the North. The very thought of Air in the East offended both my sense of reason and my gut-level mythic sensibilities. There are good REASONS to place Air in the North. And the whole mythological superstructure would collapse if Air were in the East, instead. If this is so, then why do most published sources place Earth in the North and Air in the East? Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 345 RITUAL TAMPERING Suddenly, I felt sure I knew the reason! Somewhere along the line, someone had deliberately tampered with the information! Such tampering is a long and venerable practice within certain branches of magic. In Western culture, it is most typically seen among Hermetic, Cabalistic and "ceremonial" magic lodges. It is common among such groups that, when publishing their rituals for public consumption, they will publish versions that are INCOMPLETE and/or deliberately ALTERED in some way from the authentic practice. This prevents someone who is NOT a member of the group from simply buying a book, and performing the rituals, without benefit of formal training. It is only when you are initiated into the lodge that you will be given the COMPLETE and/or CORRECTED versions of their rituals. This is how such groups guard their secrets. (And it is a telling postscript that many scholars now believe modern Witchcraft to have "borrowed" its directional/elemental correspondences from ceremonial magic sources! What a laugh if this was Crowley's last best joke on his friend Gerald Gardner!) I remember the first time I became aware of such deliberate ritual tampering. A friend of mine had been making a study of the so-called "planetary squares", talismans that look like magic squares consisting of a grid of numbers in some cryptic order. There are seven such squares -- one for each of the "old" planets. While making this study, he began coloring the grids (more for his own pleasure than anything else), making colorful mini-mosaics, using first two colors, then three, then four, and on up to the total number of squares in the grid. Six of the planetary squares yielded pleasing patterns of color. Then there was the Sun square! Against all expectation, the colors were a random jumble, with no patterns emerging. Thus, he began his quest for the CORRECTED Sun square. And I became convinced of the reality of ritual tampering. THE WATCHTOWERS All that remains, then, is for me to assemble all the arguments in favor of the Air-in-the-North model, which I have now come to believe is the CORRECTED system of correspondences. The remainder of this article will be devoted to those arguments, each with its own name and number: 1. AIRTS: This is perhaps the strongest argument. In Celtic countries, the four elemental/directional associations are referred to as the "four airts". And it is a known fact that this tradition associates Air with North. While it is true that some writers, familiar with ceremonial magic (like William Sharp and Doreen Valiente), have given "tampered" versions of the airts, it is a telling point that folklorists working directly with native oral traditions (like Alexander Carmichael and F. Marian McNeill) invariably report the Air/North connection. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 346 2. PARALLEL CULTURES: Although arguing from parallel cultures may not be as convincing, it is still instructive to examine other magical aboriginal cultures in the Western hemisphere. For example, the vast majority of Native American tribes (themselves no slouches in the area of magic!) place Air in the North, which they symbolize by the Eagle. (Aboriginal cultures lying south of the equator typically have different associations, for reasons I will discuss next.) 3. GEOPHYSICAL: If one accepts the insular British origins of elemental directions, then one must imagine living in the British Isles. To the West is the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean (i.e. water). To the East, the bulk of the European land mass (earth). South has always been the direction of fire because, as one travels south (toward the equator), it gets warmer. Which leaves North as the region of air, home of the icy winds of winter. (These last two associations would be reversed for cultures in the southern hemisphere, for whom north is the direction of the warm equatorial region, and south is the land of ice.) 4. HYPERBOREAN: In fact, an ancient name for the British Isles was "Hyperboria", which literally means "behind the north wind", thus associating north and wind (air) once more. The inhabitants were themselves called "Hyperborians", and the phrase "at the back of the north wind" (the title of one of George MacDonald's faery romances) is still current. Of all the winds of the compass, it is unquestionably the north wind (Boreas), bringer of winter, which is perceived as the strongest and most influential (cf. Robert Grave's goddess fantasy "Watch the North Wind Rise"). You don't hear too much about the other three cardinal winds. 5. SEASONAL: Many occultists associate the four seasons with the four cardinal points, as well. Hence, winter = north, spring = east, summer = south, and autumn = west. (To be precise, it is the solstice and equinox points which align with the cardinal points.) Again, in most folklore, winter is associated with air and wind, as the icy blasts that usher in the season. In spring, it is the earth which arrests our attention, with its sudden riot of blooms and greenery. Again, south relates to summer, the hottest season (fire), and west relates to autumn. 6. DIURNAL: Occultists also often associate the cardinal points of a single day to the four compass points. Thus, midnight = north, sunrise = east, noon = south, and sunset = west. (Please note that we are talking about TRUE midnight and TRUE noon here, the points halfway between sunset and sunrise, and between sunrise and sunset, respectively.) These associate nicely with the seasonal attributes just discussed. It is easy to see why sunrise should equate to east, and sunset to west. And, once again, from the perspective of the British Isles, the sun rises over land (earth) and sets over the ocean (water). South is related to noon because it is the moment of greatest heat (fire). Leaving the "invisible" element of air to be associated with the sun's invisibility, at midnight. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 347 7. MYTHOLOGICAL: In Celtic mythology, north is invariably associated with air. The pre-Christian Irish gods and goddesses, the Tuatha De Danann, were "airy" faeries (later versions came equipped with wings, relating them to sylphs). The Book of Conquests states their original home was in the north, "at the back of the north wind". And when they came to Ireland, they came in ships, THROUGH THE UPPER AIR (!), settling on the mountain tops. (It has always struck me as odd that some modern writers see mountains as a symbol of earth. The crucial symbolism of the mountain is its height, rising into the air, touching the sky. Virtually all Eastern traditions associate mountains, favorite abodes of gurus, with air. A CAVE would be a better symbol of earth than a mountain.) In Welsh mythology, too, Math the Ancient, chief god of Gwynedd (or NORTH Wales), is specifically associated with wind, which can carry people's thoughts to him. 8. YIN/YANG: Many occultists believe that the four elements have yin/yang connections. Both air and fire are seen as masculine, while earth and water are seen as feminine. If air is associated with the north point of the magic circle, and earth is east, then one achieves a yin/yang alternation as one circumambulates the circle. As one passes the cardinal points of east, south, west, and north, one passes feminine, masculine, feminine, masculine energies. This alternating flux of plus/minus, push/pull, masculine/feminine, is the very pulse of the universe, considered of great importance by most occultists. That it was equally important to our ancestors is evidenced by standing stones in the British Isles. At sites like the Kennet Avenue of Braga, the tall, slender, masculine, phallic stones alternate precisely with the shorter, diamond-shaped yoni stones. 9. GENERATOR: This argument flows out of the previous one. Practicing magicians often think of the magic circle as a kind of psychic generator. Witches in particular like to perform circle dances to "raise the cone of power". Hand in hand, and alternating man and woman, they dance clockwise (deosil) around the circle, moving faster and faster until the power is released. This model has an uncanny resemblance to an electrical generator, as man and woman alternately pass each of the four "poles" of the magic circle. These poles themselves MUST alternate between plus and minus if power is to be raised. This means that if the masculine fire is in the south, then the masculine air MUST be in the north. If the feminine water is in the west, then the feminine earth MUST be in the east. If any adjacent pair were switched, the generator would stop dead. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 348 10. MASCULINE/FEMININE AXIS: When you look at a typical map, north (the cardinal direction) is at the top. Any north-south road is a vertical line, and any east-west road is a horizontal line. Likewise, a "map" of a magic circle makes the vertical north-south axis masculine (with air and fire), while the horizontal east-west axis is feminine (earth and water). This makes logical sense. When we look at the horizon of the earth, we see a horizontal line. Water also seeks a horizontal plane. Feminine elements, considered "passive", have a natural tendency to "lay down". Fire, on the other hand, always assumes an erect or vertical position. Air, too, can rise upward, as earth and water cannot. Masculine elements, being "active", have a natural tendency to "stand up". 11. ALTAR TOOLS: In modern Witchcraft, there are four principal altar tools, the same four tools shown on the Tarot card, the Magician. They also correspond to the four Tarot suits, the four ancient treasures of Ireland, and the four "hallows" of Arthurian legend. And, like the four elements, two of them are feminine and two of them are masculine. The pentacle is a shallow dish inscribed with a pentagram, representing earth, and is here placed in the east. The womb-shaped chalice, symbolizing water, is placed in the west. They form the horizontal feminine axis. The phallic-shaped wand, representing fire, is placed in the south. And the equally phallic-shaped athame is placed in the north. They form the vertical masculine axis. (The gender associations of cup and blade are especially emphasized in the ritual blessing of wine.) 12. AXIS SYMBOLISM: In nearly every culture, the vertical line is a symbol of yang, or masculine energy. The horizontal line is yin, feminine energy. When the vertical masculine line penetrates the horizontal feminine line, forming the ancient Pagan symbol of the equal-armed cross, it becomes a symbol of life, and life-force. Place a circle around it or on it, and you have a circle-cross or "Celtic" cross, symbol of everlasting life. (Please note the importance of the EQUAL-armed cross. If one arm is longer or shorter, then the four elements are out of balance. The Christian or "Roman" cross, for example, has an extended southern arm. And many historians have commented on Christianity's excess of "fire" or zeal. Some versions actually show a shortened northern arm, indicating a dearth of "air" or intellectual qualities.) Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 349 13. ASTROLOGICAL: The astrological year is divided into four equal quadrants, each beginning at a solstice or equinox. And each quadrant is governed by one of the four elements. Which element can be discovered by examining the exact MID-POINT of the quadrant. For example, the first quadrant, beginning at the winter solstice (north) is governed by air, which rules 15 degrees Aquarius, symbolized by the Man or Spirit. The second quadrant, beginning at the spring equinox (east) is governed by earth, which rules 15 degrees Taurus, the Bull. The third quadrant, beginning at the summer solstice (south) is governed by fire, which rules 15 degrees Leo, the Lion. And the fourth quadrant, beginning at the fall equinox (west) is governed by water, which rules 15 degrees Scorpio, here symbolized by the Eagle. Thus, north, east, south and west correspond to air, earth, fire, and water, and to man, bull, lion, and eagle, respectively. If the last four symbols seem familiar, it is because they represent the four elemental power points of the astrological year, and their symbols appear in the four corners of the Tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune. (The same figures were later adopted by Christians as symbols of the four gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.) If those are the arguments in favor of Air-in-the-North, where are the counter-arguments in favor of Earth-in-the-North? Surprisingly, I've heard very few. The most common by far is "But we've always done it this way." Not too convincing. However, no matter HOW persuasive my arguments may be, many have countered that magic doesn't lend itself to rational arguments. It's what FEELS right that counts. True. And there's no denying that many practitioners do just fine with earth in the north. Granted. Still, if they've never tried it the other way, how would they really know? My challenge to my fellow practitioners then is this: give Air-in-the-North a shot. Just try it on for size. See what it feels like. And not for just a single ritual. It'll take several tries just to overcome your habitual ritual mindset. And nothing is as habitual as ritual! So in order to give this a fair shake, you'll have to do a whole series of rituals with air in the north. And go into it with an open mind. Like all magic, if you decide ahead of time it won't work, it won't. Then, once you've tried it, compare it to your old method. Ask yourself what's different, if it worked any better, and why or why not. And let me know. I'd enjoy hearing about your experiences. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 350 What is a First Degree? Many persons feel that the first degree initiation is something that a person receives simply because this group or that wishes to accept a person into their circle (Gardenarian, Alexandrian, etc.). In the my tradition, as a first degree, you ARE a priest/ess, and as such you carry responsibilities. In some traditions, the knowledge you have gained during your first degree studies will qualify you for a third degree in that tradition. But let's look at it a minute. As I have stated, as a first degree, you ARE a priest/ess. What does this mean? In other faiths, you must go to seminary or its equivalent for a period of at least 5 years to obtain this goal. When you leave there, you are knowledgeable in not only the beliefs of your faith, but also it's history, sects, and doctrines. You have been trained to be a counselor, helper, and friend to your parishioners. You have had training in dealing with problems within your church, your community, and "the enemy". Basically, you have been given the trust of your church to be knowledgeable, loving, caring, and trustworthy. Should a Priest/ess in the craft be expected to be any less? As an Isian, the answer is a resounding NO! During your first degree studies, you are the equivalent of an Associate Pastor/Minister/Whatever. You are now in training to eventually have your own coven, or if you wish to be solitary, you are in training to be able to defend your religion to the outside world if the need arises. What are the responsibilities of a First Degree in my tradition? As always, in the this tradition, you are required to constantly be learning and growing. This does not mean that you have to be constantly be learning about the craft, but about yourself, your community, Mother Earth, etc. This responsibility does not cease even when you receive your third degree. This is a responsibility to yourself. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 351 Some of your responsibilities to the coven are listed below: 1.) To grow within the craft. 2.) Observe and participate in all circle functions of your degree or lower. 3.) To assist in preparation for all circle functions of your degree or lower. 4.) To assist any student of a lessor grade in his/her studies when asked by this student for assistance. 5.) To contribute at least one research paper of 10 pages (5 if single spaced) or more on the craft subject of your choice. 6.) Contribute in some manner to each sabbat or public gathering either by time, monies for supplies, or bringing something to share either during or after event. Time could be by arriving early to help set up, staying a little later and helping to clean up after, preparing and sharing a workshop (if open workshop is scheduled), making phone calls to remind people of the event, etc. 7.) Contribute to ideas for coven gatherings and help arrange same. (Remember, all things do not happen at Covenstead!) 8.) Be aware of any conflicts within Circle, and bring this to the attention of the HP/HPS (even if that's where the conflict is!) 9.) Be prepared to accept the responsibility of a circle or ritual should something happen to your HP/S. To some people, this may seem like a lot of expectations, but keep in mind. We are not are not training "week-end witches." You are in training to be a Priest/ess of Wicca. Your first degree is something to be proud of. You have worked hard and long to receive it, and your HP/S has found you worthy of same. May the Lord and Lady smile on your efforts. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 352 CHURCH OF ALL WORLDS BOX 1542 Ukiah, CA 95482 Duplicate Membership Application (as presented in GREEN EGG Oimlec 1989) Distributed Electronically to the Pagan Community by the Pagan Information Network in the general interest of all. In dedication tothe celebration of life in itsmany forms, I hereby declare my commitment to a way of life that is ethical, benevolent, humanistic, life-affirming, ecstatic and ecologically sane. I subscribe to means and methods that are creative rather than destructive, tolerant rather than authoritarian, gentle rather than violent, inclusive rather than exclusive. I pledge myself to harmonious eco-psychic awareness with the total biosphere of holy Mother Earth. Like a redwood tree, I would have my roots deep in the Earth and my branches reaching for the stars. I acknowledge my personal responsibility for myself, to my fellow humans, and to the whole of Nature; and I recognize this total responsibility, in each of us, as the source of our infinite freedom to become who we are and do what we will. I dedicate myself to my own inner growth and development that I may be of greater service to myself and the world around me. For these reasons I recognize Divinity both within and without, and I say to myself and others : THOU ART GODDESS; THOU ART GOD. I wish to unite with others upon a spiritual path that encompasses both the Heaven's and the Earth, and all the worlds between, and hereby make application to join the membership of the Church of All Worlds, in order that we may learn together and teach each other ways to bring about these ends. I understand that this association does not require the severing of any other religious ties. D a t e _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Signature_________________________________________________ I enclose $_______ as a contribution to help carry on the work of the Church. (Annual membership dues are $25 for individuals, $20 each for family members at one address.) (The Church of All Worlds is a state and federally tax-exempt 501(c)(3) religious organization. All donations are tax-deductible.) Reviewed and approved by______________________this day:_____________________ Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 353 What is Shamanism? Michelle Klein-Hass/SysOp, Shaman's Soup BBS Pardon me for asking, but what is Shamanism? That's one area of "the occult" that I don't remember hearing about. OK, I guess I'm the resident shamanism maven here, so I'll try to define it. Shamanism is the name (from the Tungus Shaman, meaning miracle-worker) for any tradition of ecstatic worship of the Earth, and the forces that reside and pervade Her. Most traditions of shamanism worship two deities, the God and the Goddess. In the European shamanic tradition, also known as Wicca, the God and Goddess are most commonly known as The Lord and The Lady, or Great Mother and the Lord of the Hunt. In the Yoruban tradition, they are known as Ogun and Yemaja. In the shamanic tradition of the Chiricahua Teneh (Apache), they are known as Earth Mother and Sky Father, and also as White Painted Woman and Killer of Enemies. In other traditions, there are more deities worshipped, and in most of those named, there are other lesser deities. Some forms of shamanic tradition can be classified as true polytheism, some, like the tradition of the Australian Dreamtime, are truly pantheistic (the God-force is in all, and all exists in the God-force, or as they put it, the Dreamtime) and at least in the tradition of the Yoruba (Nigerian African) and in most Native American traditions, these Gods and Goddesses are seen as emanations from a Great Spirit. In the Teneh tongue, this spirit is known as Usen', Who is neither Male nor Female but encompasses both. Joe Wilson describes the difference between the path of the Shaman and the path of the Priest this way: the Priest is the custodian of tradition and rite, the Shaman is the one who journeys within and experiences the God(esse)s directly. The path of the shaman is the path of healing, direct involvement with ones Gods/Goddesses, and the path of acquiring Power for The Good. Modern Shamanism in America is usually of two currents: Wiccan and Native. Wicca is a reconstructed system, which is probably similar but not identical to the pre-Christian religion of the Keltoi (the Britons, the Gallics, the Irish and Scottish Gael, the Picts, and the Cymri(Welsh) It used to claim quite an impressive history, but is reliably traceable to people like Gerald Gardner, who designed a system of Wiccan practice from various sources, including, supposedly, a wealthy woman whose family had practiced witchcraft for generations. He obviously had a good grasp of some of the Anthropological works on the subject, but liberally borrowed as well from Crowley, Freemasonry, and *fin de Siecle* occultism like the Order of the Golden Dawn. Artificial or authentic, it seems to still work. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 354 Native shamanism works with either traditions of a native people like the Native Americans or the Yoruba tribe (present in Santeria), or is a distillation of many practices, as is the shamanism taught by Dr. Michael Harner and by Joseph Wilson of Toteg Tribe. The true native traditions are dying out quickly, and most native Shamans are unwilling to transmit their knowledge. In some cases, the knowledge has died out, and those descendants who remain and wish to embrace the Old Ways must re-invent their tradition. My teacher, Misha Sacred Wolf of the Naiche-Tosawi band of the Chiricahua, is in that unenviable position. The Apache still exist, and they celebrate some of the old festivals for the benefit of tourists. But much of the Old Knowledge died with the coming of the white man, the reservation, and the missionaries that considered the reservation their rightful "mission field". While it is true that many Native peoples are indignant about any non-Native involvement in shamanism, and the new age movement is full to the brim with hucksters and shysters who if you give them money will teach you "how to become a Shaman", there are two non-Natives who seem to respect the Ways, and have attempted to present the teachings of Native shamanism in a respectful, reverential way. One is Dr. Michael Harner, author of "The Way of the Shaman" (Bantam) and his "core shamanism" system. His approach is sometimes a little too eclectic, with a glaring lack of the ritual and mythos that makes shamanism so powerful. He has reduced the shamanic experience to a few major elements: The Lowerworld Journey, where the shamanist comes face-to- face with their "Power Animal", which is a representative of the person's basic animal energy; The Upperworld Journey, where the person journeys to contact their "Teacher Within", who is a representation of the person's Higher Self; the Middleworld Journey, where ordinary reality is seen through non-ordinary eyes; and various techniques of healing, primarily the Jivaro "sucking doctor"technique. A non-ordinary state of consciousness is reached through rhythmic drumming, singing, and visualization. Despite the very clinical "self-help" aspect of Harner's work, it is very valuable. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you are quite fortunate in that perhaps the most exciting work in the eclectic shamanic way is going on through Toteg Tribe, a shamanic society founded and facilitated by Joseph Wilson. Joseph was a participant in the Neo-Pagan (Wiccan-shamanic) movement for more than 25 years, and is now trying to forge a new shamanic way for ALL people of the Americas. He has built on the techniques of Harner with insight from both traditional Native peoples of this land that he has studied with and entirely new ways of expression that he and others that work with him have spontaneously come up with. He does not claim to teach traditional shamanic ways, but his work is quite valuable and instead of looking behind to the old days of Tribal America, is aimed towards the 21st century and beyond. Again, I study with a woman who is of the Chiricahua Apache tradition, but I also find Wilson's work to be exciting and very important. I hope this cleared up a few things...there's a lot of good info in the file areas about shamanic practice. Hi Dicho--this is finished (sigh of relief) Enju! B*B Michelle Klein-Hass (Chihacou White Puma) Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 355 Here is the complete expansion of the Indo-European root of the word "witch", from THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY OF INDO-EUROPEAN ROOTS, revised & edited by Calvert Watkins (Houghton Mifflin Co.: Boston, 1985; ISBN 0-395-36070-6): WEIK- [1]. Clan (social unit above the household). 1. Suffixed form *WEIK- SLA in Latin VILLA, country house, farm: VILLA, VILLAGE, VILLAIN, VILLANELLE, (VILLEIN); (BIDONVILLE). 2. Suffixed o-grade form *WOIK-O in: a. Latin VICUS, quarter or district of a town, neighborhood: (VICINAGE), VICINITY; b. Greek OIKOS, house, and its derivativ e OIKIA, dwelling: ANDROECIUM, AUTOECIOUS, DIOCESE, DIOECIOUS, DIOICOUS, ECESIS, ECOLOGY, ECONOMY, ECUMENICAL, HETEROECIOUS, MONOECIOUS, PARISH, TRIOUECIOUS. 3. Zero-grade from *WIK- in Sanskrit VIS- dwelling, house, with derivative VAISYAH, settler: VAISYA. WEIK- [2]. In words connectid with magic and religious notions (in Germanic and Latin). 1. Germanic suffixed form *WIH-L- in Old English WIGLE, divination, sorcery, akin to the Germanic source of Old French GUILE, cunning trickery: GUILE. 2. Germanic expressive form *WIKK- in: a. Old English WICCA, wizard, and WICCE, witch: WITCH; b. Old English WICCIAN, to cast a spell: BEWITCH. 3. Possible suffixed zero-grade form *WIK-T-IMA in latin VICTIMA, animal used as sacrifice, victim (although this may belong to another root *[SHWA]WEK- not otherwise represented in English): VICTIM. WEIK- [3]. To be like. 1. Suffixed variant form *EIK-ON- in Greek EIKON, likeness, image: ICON, (ICONIC), ICONO-; ANISEIKONIA. 2. Prefixed and suffixed zero-grade form *N-WIK-ES, not like (*N-, not), in greek AIKES, unseemly: AECIUM. WEIK- [4]. Also WEIG-. To bend, wind. I. Form WEIG-. 1. Germanic *WIK- in: a. Old English WICE, wych elm (having pliant branches): WYCH ELM; b. Swedish VIKER, willow twig, wand, akin to the Scandinavian source of Middle English WIKER, wicker: WICKER; c. Old Norse vikja, to bend, turn, probably akin to the Scandinavian source of Old Nort h French WIKET, wicket (< "door that turns?): WICKET. 2. Germanic *WAIKWAZ in: a. Old Norse VEIKR, pliant: WEAK; b. Dutch WEEK, weak, soft: WEAKFISH. 3. Germanic *WIKON-, "a turning," series, in Old English WICU, WICE, week: WEEK. II. Form *WEIK-. Zero-grade form *WIK- in: a. Latin VIX (genetive VICUS), turn, situation, change: VICAR (VICARIOUS), VICE[3]; VICISSITUDE; b. Latin VICIA, vetch (< "twining plant"): VETCH. WEIK- [5]. To fight, conquer. 1. Germanic *WIK- in Old Norse VIGR, able in battle: WIGHT[2]. 2. Nasalized zero-grade form *WI-N-K- in Latrin VINCERE (past participle VICTUS), to conquer: VANQUISH, VICTOR, VINCIBLE; CONVINCE, EVICT. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 356 NATURE SPIRIT MAGIC By Larry Cornett INTRODUCTION: Each plant, animal, rock, and other entity has a spirit (consciousness resonance matrix). These spirits can join together, in a hive-mind, as a spirit of an area. Nature spirits include real biological intelligences, are psychically powerful, and are much less abstract and controllable than the Elementals that many magical people who perform all of their rituals indoors are familiar with. They can be extremely powerful allies. It is possible to sense nature spirits, to determine if they are receptive to a ritual planned, and to have them actively participate in magical workings if they are. SOME EFFECTS OF WORKING WITH NATURE SPIRITS: Spectacular physical manifestations can happen when working with nature spirits in the wild. I have personally seen actual foxfire mark the boundaries of a magic circle at a location that was identified as a receptive power spot and attuned to a planned ritual the day before. I have seen more than one site attuned for ritual be dry and comfortable, with a round hole in the clouds overhead, on days that were cold and rainy at other nearby locations. Birds have joined in rituals, flying around the circle when energy was being raised; and insects, birds and animals have joined in chants. In addition, the wind often responds to invocations. Generally, these spectacular manifestations happen unexpectedly. With or without such manifestations, nature spirits often will channel tremendous amounts of power into the magic being performed. It is suggested that you do not consciously try for specific manifestations. Let Nature channel her power into the magic in her own way. If approached with respect, nature may give you many pleasant surprises. Spectacular physical manifestations are not a necessary sign of success. If you need a spectacular manifestation and nature spirits know this, you will get it. The best success in magic is on the inner planes and more subtle than such manifestations. This success involves beneficial changes in consciousness that last and helpful chains of synchronicity. In addition, working with Nature Spirits can also bring a deep sense of partnership with Nature, and bring new levels of attunement. To get the best results, perform nature spirit attunement several hours to several days before the main ritual. The purposes of such attunement are to find suitable power spots and to get the help of friendly nature spirits. This timing gives Nature time to gather her children and to prepare to actively participate in the main ritual. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 357 WHAT TO NOT DO: If nature spirits are approached with disrespect by attempting to command them rather than listening to them and inviting them to work with you, nature spirits may flee, rebel, or attack. I once attended a ritual by some pseudo-Crowleyites who attempted to perform the "Ritual of the Barbarous Names" at a power spot in a forest and then to extend the circle several hundred yards in all directions. While the forest in general had loud insect and frog noises, the area at which the ritual took place got quiet immediately when the main ritualist declared that all spirits were subject unto him. The vibes from nature could best be characterized as "Oh yea, Mother...!" One participant was quickly possessed by an angry spirit and kept repeating "You killed my children, your children will never live in peace." When the priestess stepped out of the boundaries of the original circle, she was attacked by bees; and bees covered the Book of the Law. Magicians should know better than to attempt to command spirits whose true names they do not know! CALLING NATURE SPIRITS: To make the most out of working magical ritual in the wild, one should find power spots where nature spirits are receptive to the ritual planned and approach the spirits with respect, as equals. In my experience, the most effective power spots for working with the living intelligences of nature are located in wild areas with diverse, active ecologies. When entering a wild area to find a site for a ritual, find a place that feels good. Then do the following, either individually or, if in a group, as a guided meditation: o Relax, while standing upright, and focus on your breathing. Breathe deep breaths from the diaphragm. Breathe together if in a group. - Feel the wind, and let it relax you and awaken your spirit within, as your deep breathing takes you into non-ordinary reality. - Picture, in your mind's eye, a light inside you. As you breathe, feel the light expand, purify and energize you - as it expands to fill your aura. - Feel yourself glowing, balanced, purified, and full of power. - Connect with your inner self (your higher self), and feel your intuitive self operating. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 358 o Feel yourself as: - The wind, full of life and intelligence, communicating with all round. - The Sunlight, warm, alive, channeling the power to communicate with nature and energizing all around. - Water, emotional, intuitive, refreshing, and connected with nature. - The Earth, and note how your physical body is able to wander while remaining part of Mother Earth. o Focus on your spiritual self, and: - Note the light within and feel it as love, - Expand the light and love beyond the immediate aura of your body to the surrounding area - where you will go to find a power spot and contact nature spirits. o Telepathically (by thinking while channeling the love and light energy) send out signals to nature spirits to emerge and be aware of your presence. - Say why you have come, and invite them to join in sharing, mutual celebration, and the work you intend. - Visualize the light and love energy you are channeling extending out and merging with the light from distant places. - Feel the power of the Earth flowing up through your body and feet. - Feel the power from the sky, and channel this power also to further energize the carrier signal of light and love for communicating with nature. - Visualize the light expanding and merging. - Continue to send out telepathic signals. o Now go deeper: - Close your eyes, sit on the Earth, and feel your connection while you channel more light and love. - Continue modulating the light and love with your thoughts - inviting receptive spirits to join with you and to make themselves known. - If in a group, someone should start playing a drum at a rate of about one beat per second; and you should listen to the drum and let the drum take you deeper. - Affirm that you are a nature magician, a medicine person, who knows and communicates with nature. Let this part of yourself emerge to full consciousness. Let the drum and the connection to your inner self awaken that part of yourself that naturally communicates with other life forms. Let it awaken your telepathic senses. - Continue sending telepathic signals to nature. - When you feel ready and an inner urge to begin, open your eyes a crack and look around, while continuing to channel love and light and telepathically calling for a response. - You may see light coming from certain areas that are receptive. You may get other signals, such as a feeling of power or love returning in a certain direction. Perhaps the type of response to this work will be unexpected; follow your intuition in interpreting it. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 359 - You may test your connection by communicating (mentally) instructions for signals for yes/no responses (such as light getting brighter for less and darker for no) and then mentally ask questions and observe the responses. o When you have found an areas that seems to be responsive and receptive, begin walking to the area, while beaming love energy. Extend your aura to the area and sense the energy. ENTERING A POWER SPOT: o Before entering a power spot, ask permission to enter. If the response is good, enter; if not, locate another more receptive area. o When entering the power spot, look around. Perhaps the responsive energy will be concentrated around some singularity (a bush, a tree, a specific branch, a moss covered rock, or other entity that stands out). Perhaps the energy will be more general. Use your intuition and feedback from the spirits to guide your actions. o If it feels right, send out a signal that you would like to touch the singularity (or the ground) for better communication. If the response is good, approach beaming love energy, and then touch or hug the singularity (or the ground). o Treat the spirits as you would other Pagans you meet for the first time - be sensitive, open, and listen. DEEPENING COMMUNICATION WITH NATURE SPIRITS: o Now that you have made contact with spirits that seem receptive, deepen the communication: - Breathe deep breaths from the diaphragm, and with each breath, feel more refreshed. - Now imagine that your spine is the trunk of a tree; and, from its base, roots extend deep into the Earth. Deep into the rich moist Earth. - With every breath, feel the roots extending deeper, - Feel the energy deep within the Earth and within the waters of the Earth. Feel your roots absorbing nourishment from the Earth and from its waters. - Feel the moist, warm energy rising. - Feel it bursting up from the Earth and rising up your spine, like sap rises in a tree. - Feel the energy rise to your crown chakra (at the top of your head). - Now imagine that you have branches, branches that sweep up and then bend down towards the Earth, like the limbs of a willow. - Feel the branches extending and interweaving with your surroundings. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 360 - Feel the warm, moist energy of the Earth flowing through your branches. As it flows, feel yourself being purified, centered, and connected to the Earth. - Feel the power from the Earth flowing through your branches and then down back to the Earth, like a fountain. - Note how your branches absorb energy from the air. Also, feel them receiving light (fire) from the sky. - Feel the energy from above penetrating deep through your body into the Earth. - Feel the warmth of the Earth rising also. - Feel the energy circulating. o Notice how your branches intertwine with the branches of energy surrounding you. - Feel the energy dancing among your branches and the branches around you. - Notice how your roots also intertwine with underground energy channels. - Feel the energy dancing between your roots and the surrounding energy patterns. - Notice how you and the life around you are rooted in the same Earth, breathing the same air, receiving the same fire, drinking the same water, sharing the same underlying essence. You are one with the magical grove. o Telepathically mention the time in the past when nature spirits and people communicated regularly and the need to establish such communication now. o Test your connection by asking questions and observing the responses. WORKING WITH NATURE SPIRITS: o Explain to the spirits the purpose of your coming to them and the nature of the ritual you plan. o If the spirits you contacted are receptive: - Explain to them the details of the ritual and invite them to provide ideas. - Listen, you may receive suggestions on how to improve the ritual. Such suggestions may come in the form of hunches, visions, answers to yes/no questions using pre-arranged signals, or in other ways. - Explain what type of space is needed and ask what the best place to perform the ritual is. - You may see light or get other psychic signals leading you to other sites, or you may be at one of them. - You may also ask what the best places for other aspects of the planned work are (picnicking, individual vision quests, etc.). - If preparation of the site is needed (removing briars, preparing a fire circle, etc.) ask permission of the spirits before proceeding with such action. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 361 - Before you leave the power spot, tell the spirits you have contacted when you plan to return to do the ritual (visualizing the associated lunar and solar aspects can help with this communication). - Invite them to join in the ritual when you return and to bring their friends. - Ask if it would be best to return silently, with drums, with chanting, or with some other form of approach. - You can also ask the spirits to provide guidance for working in balance and to provide a teacher to provide further guidance. o Before you leave the power spot: - Thank the spirits, - Channel love energy, - Trigger your memory of the experience, and - If it feels right, leave an offering of tobacco, or beer and honey poured on the ground (or other suitable material). o Leave in peace and love. o Proceed to other sites that were indicated by the spirits, doing similar meditations at each site. o If you need something, like a staff, a Maypole, or a wand, you can also ask where you can find it and follow the guidance you receive (not slavishly, but as you would guidance from another Pagan). o Before leaving the general area in which you found power spots and contacted nature spirits: - Channel love energy towards the receptive sites you found, - Thank the spirits of the land, - Pull back your roots and branches, - Ground any excess energy into the Earth (placing your hands on the Earth, breathe in any excess energy, and channel the energy down your arms, while visualizing and feeling the energy going into the Earth), and - Leave in peace and love. o Naturally, you should leave the area at least as clean, and preferably cleaner, than you found it. o If you work with techniques of Wicca or Ceremonial Magic, you may find that by casting a circle, calling the Elements, the Goddess, the Gods, and the local nature spirits while you are at receptive sites, you may be able to greatly increase communication. o Through the use of drums and other power raising techniques, it is even possible to energize receptive nature spirits. The results can be very interesting. If with a coven, such circles can be done as part of a group attunement to a power spot you have located. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 362 o If you do not get good feelings in response to your explanation of the ritual and are unable to come up with a ritual that gives good responses, do not try to force a good response. You would only be fooling yourself. - Thank the spirits for their attention. - Ask them why they are not receptive (if it feels right and they are communicative). - Trigger your memory. - Pull back your "roots and branches," return any excess energy you feel into the Earth. - If it feels appropriate, leave an offering of tobacco or other appropriate material, out of respect for the spirits. - Move to a more receptive site. o If it is hard to find a site that is really receptive, you should: - Consider any impressions you got of why the nature spirits weren't receptive in the area you were in, and re-think your plans for a ritual, as necessary and appropriate. - It may also be appropriate to look for another general area in which to find a suitable power site that is receptive to the work planned. WHAT TO DO WHEN RETURNING: It can be very powerful to purify and center yourself and to attune to the spirits of the land using the techniques previously described for calling nature spirits immediately upon returning to the site. Often, individuals may have found small specific power spots to which they have a special attunement, where the spirits are interested in participating; but where the site is too small, has too much vegetation, or is otherwise unsuitable for the main ritual. Individual attunement to the spirits in such areas and inviting them to participate in the main ritual can be worthwhile. Then approach the main ritual site using the previously arranged technique. You should have the details worked out with the spirits of the land. An exceptionally powerful technique involves doing a procession through or past receptive power spots, inviting nature spirits to join as you pass each power spot, and then moving to the central power spot for the main ritual. If participants are at individual power spots, they can join the procession as it passes nearby. When consecrating space in the wild, or casting a circle, do not set up the perimeter as a barrier to all outside forces; it should be a beacon to attract friendly nature spirits, a container for holding magical power, and a barrier to spirits who it isn't right to be with. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 363 One thing that is fun and worthwhile in nature is to bring instruments, such as a rattle, a flute and/or a drum, to tune in to nature's sounds, and to make music in time to nature's sounds. You may be able to get some very interesting back and forth exchanges of music going with selected creatures of the wild, and get into an amazing jam session. After the work is complete, be sure to thank the spirits for their participation. Libations and other offerings may also be left for the spirits during and/or after the ritual. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: There are other ways of working with nature spirits. This is one approach. The author thanks Selena Fox for teaching the basic guided meditation technique for locating and contacting nature spirits at a tranceworking session sponsored by the Chameleon Club (part of the Association for Consciousness Exploration) in 1981, Vicky Smith for editorial review of this article, Isaac Bonewitz for the outline of the expanded tree meditation, and Carlos Castenada, Black Eagle, Pasha, the Goddess, the Gods, and various nature spirits for teaching the rest of the good methods. Most of this article is an expansion of an article by the author titled "Finding a Sacred Grove for Druid Initiation" by Larry Cornett, published in The Druid's Progress and in Amaranth Anthology. RIGHTS TO DISTRIBUTE THIS ARTICLE: This article is written by Larry Cornett. It is copyrighted l988; and it is hereby placed by the author in the public domain, providing it is not modified without the explicit permission of the author and providing the author is acknowledged. It may therefore be distributed freely to any BBS or other Electronic Forum or copied and handed out for free. Permission to reprint it in a publication for sale may be requested from the author, and will generally be granted in exchange for a copy of the publication containing the article. This copyright takes precedence over any copyright expressed or implied by any BBS or commercial system on which this file is posted. by Larry Cornett 9/24/'88 9527 Blake Lane, # 102, Fairfax, VA 22031 (703)352-3791 Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 364 THE MYCENEAEN MYSTERIES A Neo-Pagan Alternative Belief System (C) 1989 By Joseph W. Teller * Free to Distribute & Copy in its Entirety For Non-Commercial Use* MYCENEAEN MYSTERIES : A QUICK INTRODUCTION Myceneaen Mysteries are an ongoing project to introduce a new path of passage and religious belief to the present Neo-Pagan community. Like anything within the Neo-Pagan Community, we do not exist in a vacuum. I have been trained in several traditions and paths of the present community, and have learned much from them, but have found that a personal lack of hereditary connection to some of the pantheons and belief systems involved have often made my practice of Celtic or Shamanistic systems to become clumsy and sometimes ineffective forme personally. Thus, to find my own way, I went forth on a combination research project and personal path searching for what path would be best for myself. The Myceneaen Mysteries are based upon a personal interface between myself and the aspects of the Early religious system and belief of the area now known as Greece, a personal comfortable status with many of the gods and goddesses of the pantheon therein which I could not find in the Celtic, Norse or American Indian belief systems. Many hours of painstaking research into t h e true culture, beliefs, gods and means of worship practiced by t h e early Myceneaens have resulted in this ongoing system of belief. It is not for all, but if you feel a true connection b e t w e e n yourself, the mythologies, the social structure and the beliefs involved then perhaps this path is for you. TheMyceneaen beliefsystemis nota total"re-creationist" idea, nor the structuring of a system out of whole cloth, but like any belief system stemming from another time and blossoming into a Neo-Pagan tradition it comes from a combination of both. The land of Myceneae has gone through not one but two dark ages in its time, and much of the original material was lost or destroyed or very badly distorted by the people that would pass through it as their conquerors, and so I have had to take some liberty to the myths, sorting them according to the values and theology they present as to whether they were of these people and if so trying to prune out the changes made by centuries of conquest. This is an ongoing project, and the belief structure will be added to as new material is encountered and adapted, but the basic structure outlined in the pages of work already completed will for the most part remain stable, with each person who takes up the system adding their own touch to the system. Thus, if you choose this path, you will be forming and helping to form the belief system for yourself and for others, making your actions and writingsjust as important as thosethat have now been finished. Few religions or belief paths truly allow the many members within it to shape the system to their own needs and t o bring about change. Myceneaen Mysteries does. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 365 If you are reading this file online a BBS or from a printout of such,or on a distributed disk, there should be several other text files here for you to read over, so please do so and feel free to distribute it at will among your fellow Neo-Pagans and all open minded non-pagan friends. Only through the greatest number of people getting involved can we do the greatest amount of improvement and gain personal enlightenment on this path. * Love, Trust & Community : The key of Myceneae * MYCENEAEN MYSTERIES : THEOLOGICAL ANSWERS The purpose of this document is to explain some of the positions of The Myceneaen Belief system that are considered important and controversial to other Religious groups, many times to the point where they will place their views not only in public view but to enforce them upon others not of their beliefs 'for their own good'. These positions are important, as they help show where we stand and also explain a bit more of what we are really about. These views are not forced on the membership of the Laos, but are t h e official accepted policies, beliefs and viewpoints of the organization in today's world - based on the overall religion. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 366 1. Contraceptive Devices. We realize the importance of life, as most nature-oriented religions do, and have a high respect for it and for the right of all to live. On the other hand we strongly believe in the right to choose one's path and actions in life. Thus, because of these factors, and in consideration of the high risk of disease in today's social circles, we support the use of all non-destructive Contraceptive means to prevent the spread of disease and the possibility of unwanted children being conceived Wedo notsupport, on theother hand, operative contraceptionthrough vasectomyor sterilization- sincethese cause an actual mutilationof the bodyand because theyare both questionablein recent studies ascauses of increased cancerrates. We have astrong belief in taking responsibility forour actions, and to utilize contraceptivedevices is to take responsibility in ones sexual activities. 2. Homosexuality/Bi-Sexuality. These concepts in Sexuality are not nor ever have been in our beliefs or those of the original Myceneaens anything but Natural. To call such actions and feelings perverse, or worse, is to deny the realities of nature and of the human condition. We areborn bi-sexual and makeour choices based on environmental enforcement. We accept Homosexuality and Bi-sexuality as true parts of life, not something to be encouraged nor discouraged, but accepted as normal. 3. Public Nudity. This one is obvious and simple, throughout most of the Neo-Pagan community it hasalways been :if you feel comfortable and won't be making too many others uncomfortable then feel welcome to any level of dress or undress that suits you. It is suggested that among a Damos that a full level of acceptance and knowing each others bodies, at least by sight, be eventually accomplished to improve the ability of the Damos to work as a true group bound in the love and trust they have declared (if you can't trust to be nude in someone's presence you probably can't trust them entirely). This will be difficult for some, it is suggested that if a member seems uncomfortable with this that they be introduced to it slowly by the rest of the group so they become more comfortable. Not only does this build trust, but it can also help in keeping tension levels down and to improve health of the group overall in some ways. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 367 4. Smoking. The smoking of tobacco in today's society is deeply enmeshed, but slowly people are bring the realization of the damage of utilizing this herb as an addictive substance regularly. We also understand the difficulties of eliminating the effects of it upon the body in withdrawal. Considering all this, there shall be no usage of such materials within ritual or within a celebration's public confines (the exception is the use of pure, natural, un-chemically treated indian tobacco for use in American Indian smoking rituals - which are rare and very limited in scope or exposure). If a smoker chooses to do so at a celebration they must go off away from the Damos and Guests to a secluded area where their second-hand smoke cannot affect anyone else in the group. The Damos should join in on trying to help the smoker get past the addiction and back to a sense of personal worth where such is unneeded (all addiction is caused by a sense of personal inferiority and incompleteness). 5. Ritual Drugs. The use of these substances should only be within certain very controlled circumstances, under extreme supervision by people who are experienced and obviously personally balanced in the matter. The use of illegal or highly controlled drugs is not encouraged and anyone choosing to do so are doing so as an individual, not as a representative of the Laos. Again, the mainword iscaution withalldrugs ifyoudon't understand all the risks then don't use the substance. 6. Alcohol. The Myceneaens were the inventors of Beer and several other naturally fermented acholic drinks, and so we cannot deny this part of the past nor the religious aspects of it. Any naturally fermented alcohol is acceptable for libation in Ritualand incelebration, butthe takingof distilled alcoholsshall not bewithin Ritual (itsalright for celebration though). Unless a ritual is specifically to Dionysus, the taking of enough alcohol to be considered 'Drunk' in circle is to be frowned upon and felt offensive. Becoming drunk in a celebration if so wished is acceptable, so long as one maintains the rules of hospitality and does not attempt to do such morally wrong things as driving intoxicated (Hosts be warned that if a guest is so intoxicated you are under obligation to make sure they either have a ride home with a non-intoxicated person or that sleeping space, at least upon your floor, is made available to them). Alcohol in small amounts acts as a natural remover of the mental shields that can block ones ability to perceive the powers of nature and oneself, thus being useful in this way. 7. Abortion. This is for many groups one of the most discussed area of personal choice. In Myceneae belief, ones spirit is not found within an embryo until the finish of the third month, and so we support the right of a woman to choose whether or not to take such an action, but do want her to consider all of the available options before doing such. Life is precious, both thatof amother andthat ofa child,but anexisting life Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 368 will hold priority overa yet-to-be born, since ifan abortion doesoccur the spirit of the child will find another bodyto gain re-entranceinto the life-cycle. We do support the use of all natural abortifacient herbs and drugs over physical operations, but again this is the choice of the mother and not for the religion to enforce. 8. Pornography. We believe that the true pornography in the world is depictions of humanities cruelties unto itself for the purpose to glorify it and encourage it. This means we label books and movies of a purely violent nature to be Pornographic (Examples of such are 'Faces of Death', 'The Green Berets' or any of the numerous 'slasher' films). Additionally we feel that films of a sexual nature that show women as inferior, mere sex objects or actually depict violent rape as something its not to be pornographic (ex: The Story of O). We have no objections to sexuality in books in films, displays of nudity or love within such. We also oppose Child-pornography, bestiality and slavery of any kind. 9. Sexual Responsibility. Myceneaen beliefs have nothing in opposition to group sex or group marriages, from Menage-a-trois to full multi-faceted tribal families. We do have a strong ruling of community to regulate ourselves, and to reduce the risks of disease and other related problems. Any member of a Damos who has a sexually transmutable disease should warn all other members of the Damos. When a person enters into a Damos they must expose such info to the members, to protect all. If a member of a Damos is in a relationship withsomeone outside theDamos they should refrain from sexual contact with members inside the Damos, unless sure that they are clear of such afflictions. Relationships within the Damos should be encouraged, as this will prevent an influx of diseases from outside unknown sources. Members of a Damos who are sexually active in any way should seek out a medical check for such problems routinely and should share the results with the members. Keeping everyone within the Damos healthy is of import to all members of the Damos. Remember a Damos is more than just a group of friends and acquaintances as is common in most Neo-Pagan groups, it is an extended family and community. HISTORICAL CONTEXT ----------------- The Mycenaean Era is not the Greece of Homer, and has many of its own unique differences that set it off from that Era. It is sometimes known as the Golden Age or Heroic Age of the ancient land we call Greece. Fledgling borne from migrants coming into the area from Syria and Persia during the Empire of Crete, the Mycenaeans were a willful folk, who accepted the rule of Crete until the Minoans fell from power by a complex series of events that caused them to abandon the Mainland and Isles of Greece and vanish back into the mists of History. Neither The Minoans nor the Mycenaeans were remembered, until our own 1840's (AD) when the ruins were discovered and slowly excavated (a process still uncompleted to this day). Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 369 Egypt, it has been said, introduced government to the world (and Bureaucracy and all that goes with it). Minos introduced the concept of Laws governing all equally (which Homer's Greece would rediscover in its own era) and the value of colonization & trade. Each had its religions and cults, but it was in Mycenaean that did rise truly human gods and goddesses - those who could weep or laugh, who did not simply hold themselves aloof from the majority of the population but who were close and intricately associated with their people. In concept, and in Mycenaean Myth, we are all descended from the gods. We are all their children, and we are all working towards learning what we must to take our proper places beside them one day in a future existence. We all have within us the ability to perform feats of wonder, magic as we call it, through our own ability of will and perception. As children of the gods and goddesses, we are imperfect only in that we have not yet learned the ways to best utilize our own abilities and to work with nature thoroughly - as Neo-Pagans we can work towards this goal, unlike those who refuse to open their eyes to their own ability and instead falsely believe that nature is a force to be battled and conquered instead of one that we are part of and must work with in order to survive. We are not in any way perfect, we do not have 'the one true path' or the 'one way to enlightenment', we have simply chosen a path in this belief system and religion that serves our personal growth (some may even walk this path and then later chose another closer to their own hearts in some way). We ask that others accept the fact that we have chosen this path of our own free will, if they ask for any information we shall give it freely, and that we ask that they be tolerant of us in our every day lives and not show bigotry against us for our belief path. The Mycenaean Era, historically lasted from approx. 1700 BC, as the Minoan Empire collapsed inward, and prospered through till 1120 BC when the last shreds of it fell beneath the onslaught of the invading Dorians, who were the ancestors of Homer's Greece. The fall of Mycenaea brought with it a terrible 400 years of what has been called the 'Greek Dark Age' for the invaders destroyed all the knowledge of writing, and much of the culture and technology of the people of the land that was then Greece. They had come down out of the Northern parts of Central Europe, outnumbering the Mycenaeans and being experts at large scale war, still it took them from 1190 BCE to 1120 BCE to fully conquer the Mycenaeans. When the Dorians invaded and conquered the people, they destroyed what was then the most advanced civilized people in Europe. Mycenae had the benefits of the technology of the Minoans and the advantages of a widespread sea-trade with Syria, Italy, Sicily, Spain, Egypt, Rhodes, Persia and even possibly the Isles of Britain. This widespread trade made them one of the richest people, and their willingness to exchange knowledge and goods made them welcome in many ports. Mycenae had colonized villages in many lands, to serve as trading posts with native peoples. Their only major war was, that which we know now as the Trojan War, in 1200 BC (approx), was a successful enterprise supposedly based on principle instead of greed. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 370 Mycenae, like the native peoples of the Americas, were slowly worn down and defeated by an enemy they had sought to not war with but to trade with. The Dorians came first as raiders, then in larger numbers as they fled south from either hostile weather conditions or an unknown northern invader, and were not to be appeased with simply the lands of the neighbors of the Mycenaeans, such as the Hittites, but wanted the rich trade of the Black and Mediterranean Seas. They did not have a written language, but were evidently of similar stock of that which the Mycenaeans had once come from centuries before and spoke a similar tongue. They destroyed the citadels, palaces and shrines, burning many to the ground in their fury. They slew the learned and enslaved the poor and agricultural people to serve their own economy - they were not the peaceful folk that Homer first tries to show them to be, in Homer's day, after the ages, Mycenae was forgotten and Minoan Empire a wispy memory of long ago. Parts of the culture and its gods and goddesses were still so strongly enmeshed in the people that remained that the Dorians adapted it into their own rather than try to fight its existence, changing it to fit their own values and warlike natures. Thus the Mycenaean Age faded away in history and memory until the 1840's AD when the ruins of Mycenae were discovered and the Archaeological Society of Greece began to recover its forgotten past. Much of what we have to work with in our beliefs are based on the records of archaeological findings, the eventual deciphering of the few tablets and inscriptions in the ancient language of the people (Many of which were simply old accounting records) and the myths that have survived even the purging and nature of the Homeric era. Vocal records always change tales with the telling, and thus it has been painstakingly difficult to produce what these pages attempt to do. Much has had to been assumed in my research as the information is not available, and some has been modified to suit our modern times and needs. Thus this is not a recreation,no more than Ar nDracht Fan can claim an absolute reconstruction of Celtic Druidism, but a new view for the present and hopefully the future. Each Wanax is responsible for seeing that their Damos sits down and somehow develops a name for their Damos, and it is by this name that they will be known to other Damosi. It is suggested that Greek names or ones related to the places they choose to name sacred or to the local Native American Indian names be used (We, as members of the Myceneaen belief must realize the rights of the natives of the lands we presently live in and also respect and honor their gods, goddesses and local nature spirits and beliefs, for like the original Myceneaens we accept the validity of local deities as much as our own, some being our own known by other names and some being local powers like the dozens of river gods and nature spirits found in ancient Greece). If a name is not to be in Greek or in line with a Native American group then it should in some way reflect the nature of the people involved and their own goals together. Names, preferably, should not be more than ten words in length and not less than two. At the end of each name shall be added the word Damos, to identify it as a part of the Laos. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 371 For the present I have chosen to act as the Basileus of the 'organization', that is I wish to be a personage who will be the arbitrator (if requested by all sides) in disputes between any two or more Wanaxi or Damosi dealing with the material in my structure or in a gathering of Damosi. I will also, for the moment, hold the position of a communications point between any of the further spread Damosi. I hold this position only until we have someone who can serve better for either position and who is willing to take on the duties - the position holds no true power over other Wanaxi or the greater Damosi unless they choose to have me arbitrate. This position I will hold no longer than ten years, and preferably much less. Once a hundred Wanax are established they will have the power, by a majority decision, to decide when to replace the Basileus and with who (the who must be willing to take the office). I also ask that all Wanaxi record their record of activities (which we will call, for lack of better terminology your Damosi's Book of Records) in photocopy, ASCII text file or to be Handwritten/typed/carboned and pass this duplicate on to me to keep and utilize for communicating with all the members of the Laos (the people, in greek) of the Mycenaea faith, either within newsletters, computer files or whatever - based on the needs of each individual of the faith. This is a matter of choice of the Wanax personally, if they feel they need secrecy for some reason that is their choice and they may choose not to send such to me. I am not in a position of power in this path, simply a guide for part of the way and then it is up to your own selves to decide where you will go dealing with the path, your Wanax, your damos and your life-cycles. Many of the ancient titles and positions within Mycenae are no longer of great import in today's society, but might one day become of import. The E-qe-tai (ee-kay-tie) were the liaison between the temples and the military, I suggest that this be a position given by each Wanax to a member of their Damos when they feel the need for someone to act as a Liaison between the Damos and any other Damos, a messenger of sorts between groups, and also to serve as such if the group comes into contact with the press or other public media. This position need not be a permanent one, and several may be bestowed this title at one time if more than one series of liaisons are necessary. The Ko-Re-te (kowe-ray-tay) were military commanders within a Damos, we have no need of such at present, unless the Wanax of a group chooses that members of their Damos should learn a martial art or weapon skill for personal growth - then the Ko-Re-te will be the title given to a teacher within the group (You should not expect members of your Damos to be taught in such things by a person outside the Laos, nor can teaching be forced or required, only requested or suggested). The Lawagetas was in ancient times the 'Leader of the Host', a military leader for a collection of the Laos from more than one Damos for a particular purpose. Obviously this is not a needed position within our present structure. The Pa-si-re-u was the official responsible within a Damos responsible for the bronze smiths, again a title I cannot see the need to restore Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 372 (If anyone is skilled at this art and wishes to offer it as a teaching to members of your Damos, then grant them the title). The klawiphoroi were the key-bearers, always female, of the temple. Since our temples, shrines, groves and altars will be most likely within other buildings or outside and there is no plan to purchase buildings at present for this purpose (for we are a poor folk) this title will remain among the unused. Each individual of the Laos, including those not of a Damos, may consider themselves Mycenaean Priests and Priestesses as long as they choose to follow this path of Neo-Paganism. There are no paian (non-clerical followers), though there may be members of other faiths present at a ritual, celebration or gathering - so long as they are willing to accept the rules of hospitality. Due to legalities, children are brought into ritual rarely - they are not yet on this path and should not be forced upon it like some religions do. We must not make the mistakes that many mainstream religions have before. They can be present at an open celebration, but should not be brought into ritual until they are old enough to understand the beliefs and concepts, say not before their 16th birthday (this will be an arbitrary choice between the Wanax and the parents). Finances are the choice of the to deal with, and whether they will handle the finances of the Damos or have a separate person appointed treasurer or choose to keep no finances for the group but run the group as a 'donate anything but money' operation. I would like to hear from the Wanaxi on how they are handling their finances and the operations herein, especially any who set up their Damos as a physical communal household or farm site. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 373 THE LAWS OF HOSPITALITY FOR MYCENEAENS --------------------------------------- 1) A Guest always has the right to leave a Host's home, lands, celebration or gathering when they wish (this is not possible always in the middle of a ritual and can only be done when the officiary of the ritual grants it magically etc), without harm or threat of harm, with all that they brought with them into the locale. 2) A Host always has the right to ask a Guest to leave their home, lands, celebration, gathering or ritual without conflict of a physical or verbal nature, and to take with them all they brought with them into the locale. 3) A Host has the right to request an armed guest to peace-bond, remove from the locale or to take a weapon of any obvious nature, unless necessary for a ritual taking place, until it the guest is ready to leave without argument or conflict. 4) A Host has the right to request a guest not utilize or even bring into their home, lands, celebration, gathering or ritual any substance or device that may be legally questionable or outlawed or physically harmful to the Hosts health or that of other guests or members of the Damos. (this may be anything from drugs, alcohol, poisons, cigarettes, flamethrowers etc. all by the Host's discretion). 5) A Host may ask the following of a personal rule of hygiene or social concept be followed by a guest while within the home, celebration, ritual, lands etc (EX: the removal of shoes before entering the house, the washing of hands, maintaining a low level of noise due to someone else sleeping, sharing in the breaking of bread, etc by the host's discretion). 6) Both Host and Guest are bound by a rule of trust - none shall carry out violence of a physical or psychic nature against those present or they shall be in violation of the rules of Hospitality and nullify all such rules at that point. 7) Neither Host nor guest shall steal from the other - either doing such shall be in violation of the rules of Hospitality and they shall be annulled at that point. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 374 8) The Host may ask one service of the guest if they are to share meal, sleep within the hosts area, or in other words impose on the host in any manner. This service cannot require the leaving of the hosts area, nor be of an illegal, personally distasteful or harmful way, but will most probably be of a simple manner (and not the tasks set out historically in legend) such as assisting with the setting of the table, chopping of wood for the fire, etc. This is not mandatory, simply suggested in conceptual context of the original Mycenaean Society. 9) The Host and guest, if of different religions, will not seek to force their beliefs upon the other - discussion is allowed, but not obvious attempts to convert or proselytize. 10) The Host and guest (and members of the Hosts Damos) will not seek to force their affections on each other sexually - this does not rule out flirtation, involvement or seduction, but does rule out harassment, forced sex and rape. If a person says they are not interested then their word is final and any further consideration should be personally curbed. Violation of this rule invalidates the rules of hospitality in the situation. 11) The Host may request of a Guest reimbursement for any supplies that have been used in the feeding or entertainment of the guest that are considered excessive. Additionally a guest is expected to repay any bills of an excessive nature (such as those of long distance telephone calls) that they are responsible for. 12) A Guest at Ritual is expected to accept the Authority of the officiaries within the ritual area as absolute, and shall not question their authority or actions while within the ritual area. Nor shall a Guest seek to disrupt a ritual from within or from outside of it while it is being carried out. 13) A Guest is expected to provide a gift for a host or the hosts Damos when visiting for ritual (A food dish or libation is the common practice) or celebration. This is waved if not more than one days notice has been given or if the Guest claims a truly impoverish condition in their own life. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 375 The above may seem simplistic, obvious or unnecessary, but I feel it is important that we have a set of rules for those who cannot see the obvious and to protect all involved. Further, I'd like to request that any member of the Laos who has had the Rules violated by a Host or Guest (especially those rules dealing with violence, Forced affection, theft etc) to report them by name to me, anyone who has been found in such violation with witnesses by members of any three Damosi will be reported as such and publicized by us internally to be avoided as Guest or Host (and of course, if a legal violation occurs any Host is welcome to report them as such to the authorities). Remember that a Guest or host cannot be considered held by the rules of Hospitality if they have not seen them and agreed to them beforehand. Feel free to suggest that other Neo-pagan groups accept these rules themselves - this does not have to be just a Myceneaen only concept. ETHICS & CONCEPTS OF CONDUCT ---------------------------- You take, by using this work and collection of beliefs and the title of Myceneaen Priest or Priestess, the responsibility for your own life and actions in it. Every time you make a decision in life you are exercising your freedom and are responsible for your actions. With knowledge and power come great responsibility, to yourself, your Damos, your Waxan, the Laos, your homeland, your birth family, the human race and that of the entire planet. There are no 'evil' forces manipulating you or your actions, no devils or demons exist save in the minds of others (and if any do exist in your own mind then you must cast them out). No amount of alcohol, drugs or influence shall change the fact that you are still responsible for what you choose to do and not to do. Yes, we recognize that there are forces beyond our ability to fully conceive in this reality, that at times the gods and the goddesses might interfere with our lives, remember that there is something to be learned from each success and every failure, that they do not wish you to suffer - they simply wish you to learn and advance to one day rise above the need for the state of being what you are at present - bound within a limiting fleshly body for this cycle and for each you have and will have given to you until you have learned all this existence can teach and advance to a level where you may enjoin with the gods and see beyond our present. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 376 OPEN CIRCLE ETHICS by Brandy Williams Event organizers and open-circle coordinators have, I think, a responsibility to participants to provide a safe and comfor- table environment. The Pagan community here in the Pacific Northwest seems to be evolving an ethical standard governing organizers. Althea Whitebirch calls it choice-centered, and I offer my perception of it here as a model and a basis for dis- cussion. HISTORY: A few years ago, the Seattle/ Vancouver/ Portland area had no ongoing festivals. As I write, August '86, organi- zers are planning next year's schedule -- the second annual Spring Equinox Mysteries festival, the first Summer Solstice Gathering, the third annual Solitary Convention, the fourth annual Fall Equinox Festival. Many of the attendees are new -- either to Paganism or to the northwest, and the events draw people from a wide geographical area, including British Columbia, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, and all of Washington state. We're growing. We're growing very rapidly, and dealing with a disproportionate influx of people inexperienced in group rituals. As a result we're starting from scratch in developing organizer ground rules, and developing solutions to problems being discussed in the Pagan net nation-wide. In the Pacific northwest, the circle of organizers is very small, almost familial, and we're working from a basis of friend- ship and trust. We're concerned about each other and pay atten- tion to caring for one another. I think the combination of a small group handling a lot of newcomers has allowed us to gene- rate a uniquely compassionate set of attitudes and guidelines. This outline is my own. I'm going to phrase this is strong, definitive terms, with this qualifier: I call it Northwest Ethics because it has evolved out of discussions with other organizers. However, it isn't offered as a group consensus and any given or- ganizer might disagree with some of these points or the language. This is intended as a starting point for discussion and not a presentation of a set-in-concrete consensus. My own experience: I've staffed a number of events in and out of the community. My most recent experience was heading the SolCon '86 staff, so I'm using it as my most frequent example. RITUAL CHOICES: Althea Whitebirch and I facilitated a dis- cussion at the '85 Fall Equinox Festival that has borne substan- tial results in the local community. We argued that closed circles can do what they like, but those of us in charge of open circles should lay down some ground rules to ensure everyone's comfort and safety. Explain The Ritual. I'm personally finding it necessary to make some very basic announcements, like circle boundaries shouldn't be indiscriminately crossed, and people should only walk clockwise within them. Again, we're dealing with a lot of newcomers. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 377 No Pressure To Physically Touch. I've never seen anyone ob- ject to holding hands, but a lot of people have commented that they cringe at kisses. No kissing spirals in open circles. Why? Newcomers tend to go along with group activities, even ones they're uncertain about. Maybe they should be assertive, but more often they're not, and organizers are their voice. Choice: every event in this area includes space for people to put together their own circles, some of which can be more touching- oriented -- and are identified as such. Or we might experiment with providing an Intimate Circle, which would include a lot of hugs and kisses. The rule is: you don't have to touch anyone you don't want to, anytime. That should be clear to newcomers. Choice In Participation. In open circles, if the dancing gets too rapid or wild, participants can step back. Just bring your neighbors' hands together and move out of the way. I've also seen some ritualists allow people to cut themselves out of the circle -- the procedure was clearly explained in advance. Effective ritual evokes response. Novices are at different tolerance and skill levels than experienced ritualists, and some rituals can be overwhelming. Also, the 'boogie till you puke' crowd exhausts the older folks and the kids in the group. Experiment note: I recently separated a circle into two groups, the 'keep on dancing' people, and the 'sit down and rest' folks. Some rhythm is traded off for comfort. I've also seen two rituals staged consecutively, one quiet and one 'dance all night.' Suggestion: we can try a novice ritual, and a more power- ful one for skilled people. Also note: one northwest organizer disagreed with these sug- gested choices, feeling those who participate in a circle should be committed for the duration of the experience. It's a point. In that case, I think a clear understanding of what's to come would be essential. STIMULANTS In PANEGYRIA Vol. 3 No. 4, Althea Whitebirch argued for informed choice in using stimulants. If alcohol is used in a communal cup everyone should know, and a fruit juice or other substitute should also be available. Drugs: NOT AT EVENTS I COORDINATE! At least, not with my knowledge or approval. Private drug use hasn't been a problem so far. My concern is that if anyone is caught, it's not private any more. I'm the one who gets to deal with the police and the press, and the whole community's image suffers. If problems arise in the future, I'd consider banning drugs altogether. Organizing is tough enough -- I have a right to limit my risks. Call a closed circle and do it at home. MINORS: Young children supervised by Pagan parents are a real Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 378 joy. Teenagers with absent, non-Pagan parents or guardians are becoming a problem, even with signed in advance waivers. Some of us are leaning toward a 'no minor without attending parent' policy. How do you keep them away from the wine? Think of the issues surrounding sexuality with under-age kids. The 'what-ifs' are frightening to contemplate. I haven't made a firm decision because I know how important the contacts and support can be to our younger friends. On the other hand, they do grow up. In two years, a 16 year old can sign her own waiver. Maybe we could set up a gentle, first con- tact network to provide them with 'one on one' support, starting slowly. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 379 SOLOMONIC DECISIONS I was asked to kick out two people who wanted to attend the last SolCon, and I burned one request for a registration. I know, I know. The word 'blacklist' leaps immediately to mind. This is a tough issue. The request I burned was from a person who was suspected of having responded violently to a cri- ticism. The other two revolved around sexual ethics: men accused of coercing women into intimacy. Help. The problem, as always, is that none of the cases were clear- cut. How do I substantiate an accusation? Do I kick someone out on a suspicion? I don't want violence or sexual coercion at an event that has my name on it. I also don't want to mediate personal conflicts; that's not my job. At the moment, one well-placed person can ruin another's reputation. I've seen three people kicked from the community on ONE person's request. I've also seen people with a lot of con- tacts survive a number of complaints. Neither situation seems fair. We have a lot of options. This is an essay question: pick one and list the pros and cons. 1. Anyone at all can attend any event. 2. Each organizer must individually choose who to deny attendance to. (In practice, we do pass names to each other.) 3.˙Any person who has been accused by one person of one of the following things should get flagged. That is, every event orga- nizer should be notified: -Theft or destruction of another's property. -Violence against people -- assault. -Sexual coercion or abuse. This seems to me to be most workable: Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 380 4.˙In one case I had three complaints a man had made weird sexual phone calls to women. I called him and offered him probation: find someone to sponsor you, to be willing to act as liaison be- tween you and the community. As with minors, the sponsor should be with you at each event you attend. Then I would put the word out that you are one probation, and the sponsor should be contacted if you contact anyone on your own and misbehave. The probation would last for a year. Any repetition of the unde- sirable behavior would get you kicked from my events permanently, and I would notify other organizers. Failure to accept the probation means getting kicked immediately. I haven't had a chance to use this procedure because the per- son decided the effort wasn't worth it (a statement in itself). I notified other organizers. I'm aware this issue is extremely hot. Personally, I'm in- troducing a lot of people to the community, AND vice-versa. There are a lot of weirdos out there. I don't want to let a mass murderer loose among us (as it were). I also don't want to blacklist someone because of a personality conflict. Bottom line: some novice assertiveness training seems to be in order. CARETAKING Some of us have had good experience with 'greeters' or ombudsmen. (Ombudspeople?) It's a staff position, the sole re- sponsibility of which is to be available for participants' support, to solve problems, hold hands, and be a liaison with staff. I didn't have greeters at SolCon '86 and regretted it. Even with 30 people, the event coordinator (me) didn't have time to personally check in with everyone. I like very much that northwest events coordinators show visible concern and caring for everyone. A friend of mine said, "I love these events because I always feel so cherished." I'd like to see that become a community standard. ORGANIZER'S MAGIC SolCon '86 has a staff conceptualizer who renamed the position. An organizer is the focus, he said, of the energies coming into, and generated by the event. A festival isn't just about magic. It IS magic, and the focus has the pleasure of shepherding what another friend of mine calls the magical child through its inception, and allowing par- ticipants to share in its direction. (Rearing?) This outline is a suggestion, a template, for focusing event magic. These are the major focus points: -Conception. When the event is scheduled/sited. I saw a staff group hold a circle at the actual site several months before the Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 381 event, asking for: safety, to have enough registrants, what the event was designed to accomplish for the attendees, the staff, and the community. -Presentation. I don't know about anyone else, but for me, put- ting a flyer together is casting a spell. -Orientation. Somewhere in the first few hours of the event, ask the participants to help focus on the event's parameters -- safety, joy, solvency ... -Major or parting ritual. Of necessity the ritual coordinators will set the structure, and almost always the nature of the working as well, but eve here the attendees can have some space to give feedback. -Post-event focus: a thank-you circle. FEEDBACK It might be suggested that an organizer has a right to do whatever works, and event participants must fend for themselves. I argue that event sponsors represent the community -- create the experience of the Pagan community for many who have no other con- tacts, and as such, they are accountable to their participants and to other event organizers and community elders. Aside from the issues already discussed, there are financial ones. This year I distributed a financial accounting to SolCon '86 attendees. That was scary -- laying out the bottom line of the decisions and mistakes I made! The thing is, a lot of people asked for that kind of accounting, and I've wondered myself when I attended events. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 382 The other issue is proceeds or profits. SolCon '86 didn't make any. I had, however, planned to pay my staff some salary, thinking we should be compensated for our work. Some people dis- agreed, feeling event funds should be channelled into projects the community benefits from. Since teeny SolCon is becoming a formal organization (for legal purposes) and I'm putting myself on the Board, I won't personally be in a position to take any money out. However, I'd still like to pay the staff -- even a small amount -- because they sacrifice some of their own fun and do a lot of work to make the thing possible. Finally: organizing is a pretty heavy responsibility and a lot of work. I think we have a right to ask for hugs. I hope to see lots of discussion on these issues. Because our value is maximum tolerance for diversity, doesn't have to mean that anything goes. I think it's possible for us to reach consensus about some ground rules, to safeguard our community and everyone in it. We ask for perfect love and perfect trust. I think we need to provide a safety net to ensure it. As always, I welcome feedback. Brandy Williams Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 383 STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES AND ETHICS--LIFEWAY SHAMANIC FELLOWSHIP By Usen's grace, Ho-dah.... 1.) PURPOSES: Thisis aneraofdecision.Dowe allowourselvestocutthe throatoftheMotherWhohasnourishedus asaspeciessince we "came down from the trees"? Or do we work to walk in Beauty and Harmony with Her, and cherish Her, and work to see Her healed? The resurgence of Shamanism, the primal Earth Religion of practically all of the Earth's pre-Agrarian cultures, is an important thing, foretold by the Paiute prophet Wovoka and in the Hopi Prophecies. It was said that both the Red Man would return to the Ways of the Old Ones and that the non-Native would also embrace the Lifeway. Therearenon-Nativeswho respectfullyhavechosen these Ways, and are carrying them on in a reverent way. If the Lifeway was only given for the Native peoples, it would die out within our lifetime. There are simply not enough traditional Elders left. Ithasbeenshown tosomeofus thatOurMotherThe Earthis not willing to die quietly. She has demonstrated this by the increase in natural disasters of the past decade, which continue day by day. The Hopi prophecies state that, when the "bowl full of ashes" (most interpret this as the Thermonuclear Bomb) is overturned, that Our Mother shall rise up in Her righteous anger and destroy humanity. This prophecy is coming true, although it may yet be reversible. Perhaps it is we who reverence the Ways and walk in harmony with Our Mother that may stay Her hand. The Lifeway Fellowship is here for those who wish to honor Our Mother and Our Father, Earth and Sky, and to honor The Giver Of Life, from whence all things flow in the Universe. Our world-view is primarily allied with that of the Navajo/Dineh, Apache/Teneh, and Hopi peoples. However we do not represent ourselves as the keepers of those ways. The secrets of those Nations are for them alone, unless Usen' wishes to reveal them to us. Our mission is to help heal OurMother,TheEarth,andtohelpeachotherwalk incloser Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 384 harmony with Her. We also exist to provide a way for urban andsub-urbanpeopletolearnandpractice therootShamanic techniques that aid us in finding our True Vision and True Way of Power, and following that Vision and that Way. We identify ourselves as Pagan (Webster's New World Dictionary"1.b)...apersonwhoisnota Christian,Moslem, orJew (byfaith);heathen.Paganspecificallyreferstoone of the ancient polytheistic (or pantheistic) peoples.") and as unashamed Pantheists and Polytheists. The Lifeway is trulyareligious commitment. No-onecan makea commitmenttothe Lifewayandtothe worshipofLifeGiver, TheEarth Motherand TheSky Father andremain aworshiper of other Paradigms of the Deity,much as one cannot be a Christian and worship the Greco-Roman pantheon. However this does not imply the condemnation of other Paradigms, nor impel a duty to "convert" others. WestandbyotherPaganswhodonotshareour paradigms,IE. Wiccans,Asatruans, Hellenists,and otherShamanic traditions, (African and neo-African(Santeria & Voudoun), Australian, Siberian, Traditional Native American, and Polynesian, to name a few) and even though we may disagree with some or all of their practices and beliefs, they are Brothers, Sisters and Cousins, and in times of persecution as well as times of goodwill we must defend them. We may even share in their open rituals and allow them to share in our open ceremonials. But that which is ours must remain ours, just as that which is theirs must remain theirs. 2.) THE(A)OLOGY: AsourFellowshipisinherentlyreligious, wemustdeclarea The(a)ology. (The strange spelling refers to the fact that we acknowledge a Goddess as well as a God) This is summed up very easily. There are three main powers we worship, Usen' the Life Giver, The Earth Mother, and The Sky Father. The latter Two are emanations of the First, as all, including the God and the Goddess, are emanations from Usen', which is the primeval First Cause. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 385 Usen':OnecannotlookuponTheLifeGiveras eitherMaleor Female, for The Life Giver is beyond those distinctions. Usen', and The Life Giver, are names for this First Cause, this Force that pervades all and caused all to come into being. From Usen', the God, Sky Father, and the Goddess, Earth Mother, emanate, as the lesser Deities emanate from Them. The Earth Mother: We live and walk and are sustained from The Earth Mother, which is our Earth. She is alive, and we all exist within Her as part of Her structure. Science, through the Gala Hypothesis, has finally acknowledged Her existence, and some even have learnt the lesson that our duty in this life is to care for and honor Her. This is a lesson that all must learn, for as long as we despoil Her, we risk Her wrath. She is expressed through the faces of White Painted Woman, Who is The Woman Warrior, through Corn Mother, Who is The Nourishing Mother, and through Spider Woman,WhoisTheWiseWoman,TheAncientOne,TheCustodian of Wisdom. Women are acknowledged as being human represent- atives of The Earth Mother. The Sky Father: Just as among we Humans, there is both Man and Woman, so there is no Earth Mother without Sky Father. Sky Father is the air we breathe, the flame that gives us warmth and cooks our food, and brings forth the rain that fertilizes Our Mother and allows Her to provide us with the crops and animals that sustain us. Sky Father is also expressed as The Hunter, The Warrior, and First Shaman, and is also expressed in Killer Of Enemies and The Child Of Water. He is also present and acknowledged as being present in every Man. There are other spirits that exist in the Universe, some beneficent, some maleficent. But most important is Usen', EarthMother,andSkyFather.Bywalkinginharmonywiththe God(esse)s, one can tell the Good from the Evil, welcoming in Good, and protecting each other from Evil. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 386 3.)ETHICS: We have our code of Ethics. It is neither lengthy nor overly restrictive. We do not include ancient taboos in this list, such as Mother-In-Law avoidance or the taboo against Fish, because they may not apply nowadays. If you wish to not eat fish or to avoid your Mother-In-Law for religious reasons, it is your prerogative. But it is not a requirement. 1.) If the action does not harm yourself, other people or intelligentbeings,orOurMotherTheEarth,youarefreeto do as you wish. 2.)Tochargeforhealings,sweatsorceremonials istotally wrong and extremely offensive. Also, to charge excessively for teaching is equally offensive, but a modest fee over expenses is allowable. Your conscience is the best guide, that and the Will of the Deities. 3.) Magick should be limited only to protection of Self and Loved Ones, and to healing and helping those in need, provided that permission is given by the patient and that help other than healing does not interfere with the Will of others. Magick that is used in a coercive (IE. Love spells) or destructive (harming or killing magick) way is patently wrong and is considered Black Magick. 4.) Contact of spirits by any means other than Shamanic journeyingor theVisionQuestisveryrisky,andPossession is a real possibility. The practice of mediumship, or "channeling" has no place in the Lifeway, and exposes not only Self but others to danger. 5.)Permissionmustalwaysbeaskedofthespiritsofplants and/or animals before taking them for either sustenance or for medicine. 6.) One's visions and one's personal ceremonies are one's own. Personal visions should not be spoken of, but shared visions are for all of the group. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 387 7.) It is wrong to criticize another within the group or outside the group. Racism, sexism, xenophobia or general disrespect of others has no place in the Fellowship. Individual decisions about lifestyle and other ethical issues not covered here are an individual's own affair. 4.):GROUP STRUCTURE AND INITIATION PRACTICES There is only one Initiation, which is the Initiation that makes one Kin within the group and in the sight of The Deities.Itisgivenafterone hastakentheirfirstVision Quest, has found their Power Animal(s) and has met the Shaman Within. It can only be denied to those who have met theserequirements,isyoungerthanthe legalAgeOfConsent (in most places, 18 years) is not of sound mind, and/or is under suspicion of being a Law Enforcement Officer or other person antipathetic to Pagan and/or Shamanic belief who requests initiation for fraudulent purposes (usually to infiltrate to either sabotage or publicly discredit the Fellowship) Initiation must not be denied on account of physical disabilities, blindness, deafness, or sterility, nor on account of sex, race, nationality, political belief, or sexual preference. There are no set offices within the Fellowship. Ideally, leadership should be by consensus, with true leaders being temporaryandpurpose-oriented. Facilitation ofrituals may be done by any Initiate of the Fellowship. ANYONE WHO REPRESENTS THEMSELVES AS A HIGH PRIEST/ESS OF THE LIFEWAY SHAMANIC FELLOWSHIP IS A FRAUD, AND IS DOING SO CONTRARY TO THIS STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES AND ETHICS. Support of the Fellowship is done on a purely voluntary and mutual basis. No tithe or dues should be assessed unless they have been agreed upon by all members, initiates and non-initiates alike. Membership is extended to all. But initiation is reserved for those who meet the criteria mentioned above. Non-initiates can participate in open ceremonials and in basic workshops, but may be denied participation in certain ceremonials and advanced workshops. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 388 5.) THE QUESTION OF RECOGNIZING SHAMANS In traditional societies, the title Shaman was not just an honorific, or recognition of talents. Nor was it the highest initiatory level in a Shamanic society. The Shaman was,inmostcases,abovetheChiefin decision-makingpower and was judge, doctor, father-confessor, and intercessor withtheDeitiesforthetribe.SomeShamanicsocietiesare now providing their membership with "Shaman training seminars" and "Shaman apprenticeships" that can be had for an exorbitant price. This implies that the cost of being a Shaman can be paid in money and in a set amount of time. This is not the case. Many tribes believe that the office of Shaman is not one that is earned, but one that one is borninto.Certainly,theskillsareneversomethingoneis born with, and this is not merely hereditary. Rather, when achildisborn,thecurrentShamanwouldrecognizethatthe child had the POTENTIAL of being the next one, and the child'straining wouldbeginwhenthey wereconsideredready by theShaman.At adulthood,theywould betested. Ifthey passedthetest, theywould becomethenext Shaman.If they failed, usuallythe testwas suchthatthey wouldeither die outright, or they would go insane. Many "heroic quest" tales,andmostnotablytheArthurianlegendshave echoesof this practice within the ancient Shamanic traditions of Europe. But the point that is being made here is that we should not goback tothatsortofwayof doingthings,becauseinthis society it is nigh on impossible. The stand I am offering here is that recognition as a Shaman can be conferred only through shared vision, and signs from the Deities. It is not my place to say what the signs are...it will be obvious to the Fellowship. I am not Shaman myself, and will not brook anyone calling me that. This is something I place in the lap of the Deities to decide. I cannot do anything more. It is a mockery of those people that can truly be called Shamans, who are respected, powerful people of traditional tribes, to do anything less. In any event, to claim such a title is definitely not enough, and is punishableby withdrawingFellowshipfromthe onewhoclaims to be Shaman falsely. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 389 6.) FESTIVALS AND WORSHIP DAYS The festivals are reckoned as they have been for centuries by most Southwestern tribes, by both the Sun and the Moon. Theseasonsbeginonthefirst fullmoonafteraSolsticeor an Equinox. The Solstices and Equinoxes themselves are times ofcelebrationaswell,andperhapstheperiodbetween the two (which usually works out to be no more than a week or so) could be considered a time of Holiday. Lesser ceremonialsareheldonNewMoonsandFullMoonsbetweenthe first Full Moons of the seasons. Optionally certain Pagan festivals could be celebrated in conjunction with other groups, but they are not to be adopted as official Lifeway Fellowship ceremonial days. There areotherceremonialsthatarepersonalinnature,and can be held at any time, although synchronizing them with the Festivals and the New and Full Moons is advisable. They are Naming, where a newborn child is named in the presence of the group and their Life-beads given; Coming Of Age, where the child's physical maturity is acknowledged, and where, for a short time, they become Child of the Water (if aboy)orWhitePaintedWoman(ifagirl);Initiation,where a person becomes a full-fledged member of the group, given after a person becomes a legal adult; Joining, where a man and a woman consent to be married; Unjoining, where a man and woman who are married consent to have the bond dissolved, which is to be done only after four reconcili- ation attempts fail or after evidence of marital infidelity or abuse is given before the group; the Moonlodge, which is a special sweat for women in their Moon-time; and Release, whereaceremonyforadead memberoftheFellowshipisdone to guide their soul Back Home. Other ceremonials that are dreamed or envisioned by a person or group are also encouraged. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 390 7.) SUMMING UP A few quick ones: One can be either clothed or unclothed at ceremonies, but it should be known that none of the Southwestern tribes did ceremonies in the nude. However, one should disrobe for the sweat lodge, as clothes are not only uncomfortable within the sweat lodge, but interfere with the cleansing process of the lodge. This Statement can be accepted or rejected by individual groupsthat federatethemselves withLifeway Fellowship.But federation can be denied to those groups who stray too far fromsomeofthebasicguidelines,ordoanythingthatwould sully the reputation of the Fellowship in general. Hi-dicho...this is finished. May these proceeds please Life Giver Usen', and the Mother and the Father. ENJU! Chihacou White-Puma, 1988. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 391 The Pantacle - a teaching story (c) Gary Dumbauld, 1988 Michael came, walking slowly, purposefully, to the stone circle deep in the woods. Stripped of clothes he came, naked to the wind the moon and the stars, a cord of red twice his height tied round his waist, a black-hilted knife at his left hip. He tried to still his mind, remember his lessons, push his thoughts to the back of his mind, and just feel; the feel of the Earth on which he trod, the feel of the wind on his body, the feather- weight touch of the moonlight on his skin. He tried to put himself in harmony with the grand design of the Universe, the purpose of the evening, he willed himself sternly to master his emotions, listen and look with sacred intent. He came, bearing the pantacle before him, balanced firmly on his hands. Silver, it was, silver like the moon, carved and etched, polished, burnished and blackened with signs and symbols. How he had sweated over it, this past year, with hammer and chisel, graver and burin, acids and wax, the tools of the silversmith. A year and a day it had been, since he was judged worthy to become a Priest, and given this task. His to carry, this silver shield, but not his to own, till the rite was over and he, like his father and mother before him, his aunts and uncles and grandparents for generations, inherited by solemn and sacred ceremony the High Priesthood of the Wise. The High Priestess' athame pressed to his chest, her low, clear voice as she asked him the ritual questions, roused him as from a dream, of forest dark, and woods enchanted. He answered her with a voice not quite fearful, but not as steady as he would have wished. "I come to this Circle seeking knowledge. I am Michael; my face you well know; I have been sworn and initiated into the Third Degree, but I would now seek the Priesthood of the Wise. I come, bringing as my key this sacred Pantacle, over which I have labored for a year and a day; I wish to be instructed in it's true meaning; to this end I present my self, the work of my hands, and two passwords: Perfect Love and Perfect Trust." Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 392 "All who bring such words are doubly welcome" the High Priestess replied, "and I give to you a third password, a kiss", And so saying, kissed him on the lips and whirled him sunwise into the sacred space. He gazed about himself, his eyes sliding easily over the usual implements on the altar, the candles and wands, censer, bowls of incense and salt; he looked at the High Priestess expectantly. The High Priestess spoke again, her voice reverberating through the circle, echoing back from the sacred boundary stones; "A seeker comes; this his purpose. The purpose of the Wise--to teach! As it has ever been, let it now so be done! Who shall begin?" The Priest in the North stood forward. "I shall begin. Young High Priest to be, step to the North." Michael walked to the North, handed the Priest his Pantacle, and stood silently while the Priest examined it, hoping that his work would be judged as correct, hoping he had made an accurate rendering of all the signs and symbols that he had been shown, a year and a day previous. The Priest carefully examined the pantacle, turning it about to catch the light of the central fire, then handed it back to the boy. "It is well done, all is correct. Look upon the symbol at the top of the pantacle--the upright triangle. This sign is the symbol of fire, the flame straining upwards, and stands for the three-fold salute, by which I now salute you, recognizing the fire within you, the fire of will, the will to accomplish, the will to dare. A year ago you knew nothing of the craft of the silversmith, and yet you have taught yourself to make this pan- tacle. I say again, well done!", and so saying, the Priest touched Michael with his athame on the right shoulder, the top of his head, the left shoulder, and again on the right shoulder. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 393 Putting his arm around Michael's shoulder, the Priest brought Michael around sunwards a few steps, then faced him again. "The next symbol on the pantacle is a pentagram. This pentagram stands for the five-fold salute. In the form of a pentagram with one point up, the five-fold salute symbolizes that which is the best man has to offer, ascending to the Gods, being enriched, expanded and augmented, and returning to enrich the life of mankind. Thus, the five fold salute symbolizes the microcosm of man containing the macrocosm of the Universe." So saying, the Priest touched Michael with the wand, on the right hip, head, left hip, right breast, left breast, and right hip. A priestess stepped forward, saying, "Now, with your permission, I will carry on this candidate's instruction." The Priest bowed to her, and returned to his place in the North. The Priestess took Michael by the hand and walked with him farther around the circle, still moving sunwards. She stopped, released his hand, and faced him, taking up a bowl of blue paint. Stepping closer, she reached out her blue-daubed hand, and made the sign of the labrys on his chest. "The next symbol on the pantacle is that of the Goddess in her aspect as the two moons, monthly waxing and waning. The waxing moon symbolizes that which is outgoing and constructive in mankind, the waning moon that which is hidden and withdrawn. The waning moon also reminds us that for every accomplishment there will be failures, that for every gain in our lives there will be setbacks; we are not to weep and wail against the Gods, or fate, or karma, but we should accept that there is a balance, and the balance will be maintained, whether we will it or not. Constructive and destructive, life and death--this is the way the world is made; that which dies paves the way for the next round of life." The Priestess linked arms with him then, and they moved farther sunwards about the circle. She turned to him, and kissed him firmly on the mouth, saying "The next symbol on the pantacle is the kiss. I kiss you, Michael, because we are human; the Gods have created us male and female. I also kiss you in token of the perfect love and perfect trust I have for you, and for the perfect love and perfect trust you declared for us when you entered this holy space. That is why you were greeted by the High Priestess with a kiss." Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 394 Michael stood, blushing. He could still taste the sweetness of her mouth, and his body wanted to respond to her as man to woman--it was well he was carrying the pantacle in front of him; then he got himself under control, realizing the importance of this lesson; the ritual kiss would always be more than a handshake between equals, but never quite a sexual overture; an acknowledgement, not a demand. He sighed, composed himself, and looked at the next sign on the pantacle. A stern-looking Priest came towards Michael, his face set in grim lines, carrying something Michael could not quite make out. The man faced Michael, then walked behind him, carrying what could now be clearly seen as a cat o'nine tails. Michael flinched in anticipation of being struck; surely the Priest was not going to whip him? Ouch! Yes he was! "Michael," the Priest said, between strokes, "the next sign on the pantacle is the scourge. The scourge of memory. Stand tall, now, and be still, it will hurt worse if you try to avoid it." Now he had stopped striking Michael with the scourge. The welts on his back stung and burned, but Michael tried to ignore the pain and concentrate on the Priest's voice as he continued. "Michael, you told us at your First Degree initiation that you were willing to suffer to learn. This scourge will not be applied to your back again in a physical sense, but I want you to learn to look back upon your life; and take power from the foolish stupid things you have done. The mistakes, the petty jealousies, the little hurts you've inflicted on your friends, your parents, the people around you. Remember, Michael, and as you remember, allow yourself to feel sad, to feel the pain and embarrassment you've caused. Feel it, take the power from it, then let it go! Go onward, take strength from your past, don't dwell on it, but don't pretend the past never happened." The Priest again stepped behind Michael, this time carrying a pot of something in his hand. Michael flinched again as something touched his back, but this was cool and soothing, drawing out the pain. The Priest waited a few moments, till he saw that the cooling balm had done its work, then took Michael gently by the hand and drew him along, ever sunwards, to explain the next symbol. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 395 "The next symbol on the pantacle is the sign of the God, the horned circle. The horned circle represents, among other things, the Cretan bull, annually sacrificed by our ancestors. The bull symbolizes the wild magic of the God, the intuitional magic, the magic that springs from the instinct. The Cretan priests sacrificed the bull, thus indicating the triumph of reason and intellect over instinct and intuition. We, however are not Cretans, and we do not immolate the bull of intuition on the altar of reason. Logic and reason are fine in their place, but never neglect the way you feel; never forget that the universe is a mixture, a combination, a melding of the tangible and the unreal, instinct and logic. Now I must retire, your instruction will be completed by the High Priestess." The High priestess approached Michael, walking slowly, deliberately, each foot placed with purpose, her upright carriage reminding him of her status, first among equals, High Priestess of the Coven, the Circle of the Wise. She stepped closer. "Michael," she said, "the last symbol on the rim of the pantacle is the inverted triangle, the alchemical symbol of water; representing the number three, the number of life. It is a gate, a gateway of life, a gateway of time, for time is past, present, and future; life is body, mind, spirit. I am about to bestow upon you, the three-fold kiss, to bring your body, your past, your mind, the present, your spirit, and the future to bear on this moment." So saying, she bent and kissed him, first on the right shoulder, then the left; kneeling she kissed him just above the phallus, and then on his right shoulder again. "Michael, you have now passed around the rim of the pantacle, let us now move to the center, and I will instruct you in the meaning of the central pentagram. The pentagram in the center of the pantacle is the sign of mankind. If I stand thus, with feet apart, hands stretched to the winds, head erect, the pentagram will enclose my body. We therefore can observe that the pentagram in the center of the pantacle represents mankind in the center of the universe, surrounded by Goddess and God; blessings and reminders; past, present and future; good memories and bad; light and life, love and law. The central pentagram therefore can serve as a reminder to us, that the Universe was NOT made for man, man was made for the Universe." Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 396 She knelt at his feet, smiling, and kissed him, first on the left foot, then the right, saying, "I bless your feet, Michael, that have brought you in these ways, reminding you to be ever ready to go on foot, to help, protect, and defend the brothers and sisters of the Wise." She kissed his knees, saying, "I bless your knees, reminding you to ever go on bent knee in humility when supplicating the Deities, that one who knows his own worth will gladly kneel in order to learn." She kissed his phallus, and said, "I bless and consecrate the organ of generation, that in time you may know that love is the great teacher of equality; love is the prime example of man and woman as equals; two beings, alike in all ways, equal in all ways, but totally different; one incomplete without the other; forever opposite, but forever complimentary. Indiscriminate sex will gain you nothing, Michael, for though sex is magic, love is the magician." She kissed his right and left breast, saying "I bless your breast, and remind you to keep within the safe repository of the breast, the secrets of the Wise, as if under lock and key." Then she kissed him on the mouth, and said, "I bless your mouth, Michael; henceforth, as a High Priest, you will be a teacher, and the words of your mouth, based in knowledge, leavened with intuition and instinct, uttered with magical will, shall live in the memory of the Wise. Go forward, make your progress, High Priest and Magus! Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 397 Defining Chaos By: Mark Chao Introduction * Chaos, according to the `Oxford English Dictionary' means: 1. A gaping void, yawning gulf, chasm, or abyss. 2. The `formless void' of primordial matter, the `great deep' or 'abyss' out of which the cosmos or order of the universe was evolved. There are a couple of additional definitions, but they are irrelevant to this discussion. When chaos is used in magic, there is no place for confusion or disorder. Chaos is the creative principle behind all magic. When a magical ritual is performed, regardless of `tradition' or other variables in the elements of performance, a magical energy is created and put into motion to cause something to happen. In his book, `Sorcery as Virtual Mechanics', Stephen Mace cites a scientific precedent for this creative principle. I quote: "To keep it simple, let us confine our example to just two electrons, the pointlike carriers of negative charge. Let us say they are a part of the solar wind--beta particles, as it were--streaming out from the sun at thousands of miles a second. Say that these two came close enough that their negative charges interact, causing them to repel one another. How do they accomplish this change in momentum? "According to quantum electrodynamics, they do it by exchanging a "virtual" photon. One electron spawns it, the other absorbs it, and so do they repel each other. The photon is "virtual" because it cannot be seen by an outside observer, being wholly contained in the interaction. But it is real enough, and the emission and absorption of virtual photons is how the electromagnetic interaction operates. "The question which is relevant to our purpose here is where does the photon come from. It does not come out of one electron and lodge in the other, as if it were a bullet fired from one rock into another. The electrons themselves are unchanged, except for their momenta. Rather, the photon is created out of nothing by the strain of the interaction. According to current theory, when the two electrons come close their waveforms interact, either cancelling out or reinforcing one another. Waveforms are intimately tied to characteristics like electric charge, and we could thus expect the charges on the two electrons to change. But electron charge does not vary; it is always 1.602 x (-19) coulombs. Instead the virtual photons appear out of the vacuum and act to readjust the system. The stress spawns them and by their creation is the stress resolved". Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 398 Austin Spare understood this principle in regard to magical phenomena long before scientists discovered photons or began experiments in the area of chaos science. Austin Osman Spare-some history * Austin Spare was born at midnight, Dec. 31st, 1886 in a London suburb called Snow Hill. His father was a London policeman, often on night duty. Spare showeda natural talent for drawing at an early age, and in 1901-1904 left school to serve an apprenticeship in a stained-glass works, but continued his education at Art College in Lambeth. In 1904 he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. In that year he also exhibited a picture in the Royal Academy for the first time. In 1905 he published his first book, `Earth Inferno'. It was primarily meant to be a book of drawings, but included commentaries that showed some of his insight and spiritual leanings. John Singer Sargent hailed him as a genius at age 17. At an unspecified time in his adolescence, Spare was initiated into a witch cult by a sorceress named Mrs. Patterson, whom Spare referred to as his "second mother". In 1908 he held an exhibition at Bruton Gallery. In 1910 he spent a short time as a member of the Golden Dawn. Becoming disenchanted with them, he later joined Crowley's Argentum Astrum. The association did not last long. Crowley was said to have considered Spare to be a Black Magician. In 1909 Spare began creation of the `Book of Pleasure'. In 1912 his reputation was growing rapidly in the art world. In 1913 he published the `Book of Pleasure'. It is considered to be his most important magical work, and includes detailed instructions for his system of sigilization and the "death postures" that he is well known for. 1914-1918 he served as an official war artist. He was posted to Egypt which had a great effect on him. In 1921, he published `Focus of Life', another book of drawings with his unique and magical commentaries. In 1921-1924 Spare was at the height of his artistic success, then, in 1924 he published the `Anathema of Zos', in which he effectively excommunicated himself from his false and trendy artistic "friends" and benefactors. He returned to South London and obscurity to find the freedom to develop his philosophy, art and magic. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 399 In 1947 Spare met Kenneth Grant and became actively involved with other well-known occultists of the period. In 1948-1956 he began work on a definitive Grimoire of the Zos Kia Cultus, which is referred to in his various writings. This is unfinished and being synthesized from Spare's papers by Kenneth Grant, who inherited all of Spare's papers. Much of this information was included in `Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare' by Kenneth Grant, but there are some unpublished works which Grant plans to publish after completion of his Typhonian series. References for this section are mostly from Christopher Bray's introduction to `The Collected Works of Austin Osman Spare' and from `Excess Spare', which is a compilation by TOPY of photocopied articles about Spare from various sources. The Magic of Austin Osman Spare * Spare's art and magic were closely related. It is reputed that there are messages in his drawings about his magical philosophy. One particular picture of Mrs. Patterson has reportedly been seen to move; the eyes opening and closing. Spare is best known for his system of using sigils. Being an artist, he was very visually oriented. The system basically consists of writing down the desire, preferably in your own magical alphabet, eliminating all repeated letters, then forming a design of the remaining single letters. The sigil must then be charged. There is a variety of specific ways to do this, but the key element is to achieve a state of "vacuity" which can be done through exhaustion, sexual release or several other methods. This creates a `vacuum' or `void' much like the condition described in the introduction to this discussion, and it is filled with the energy of the magician. The sigil, being now charged, must be forgotten so that the sub-conscious mind may work on it without the distractions and dissipation of energy that the conscious mind is subject to. Spare recognized that magic comes from the sub-conscious mind of the magician, not some outside `spirits' or `gods'. Christopher Bray has this to say about Spare's methods in his introduction to `The Collected Works of Austin Osman Spare': "So in his art and writing, Spare is putting us in the mood; or showing by example what attitude we need to adopt to approach the `angle of departure of consciousness in order to enter the infinite. What pitch of consciousness we need to gain success. "One must beware making dogma, for Spare went to great pains to exclude it as much as possible to achieve success in his magic; however a number of basic assumptions underpin chaos magic. "Chaos is the universal potential of creative force, which is constantly engaged in trying to seep through the cracks of our personal and collective realities. It is the power of Evolution/Devolution. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD 400 "Shamanism is innate within every one of us and can be tapped if we qualify by adjusting our perception/attitude and making our being ready to accept the spontaneous. Achieving Gnosis, or hitting the `angle of departure of consciousness and time', is a knack rather than a skill." There are other methods to utilize the same concept that Spare explains for us. Magicians since Spare have written about their own methods and explanations of his method quite frequently in occult magazines, mostly in Great Britain. Spare is certainly not the first person in history to practice this sort of magic, but he is the one who has dubbed it (appropriately), Chaos. Chaos since A.O.S. * Austin Spare died May 15, 1956, but his magic did not die with him. There have been select groups of magicians practicing versions of Chaos ever since, especially in Northern England and Germany. In 1976, a couple of dozen Chaos Magicians, including Peter J. Carroll and Ray Sherwin, announced the formation of a new magical Order, the Illuminates Of Thanateros. The intention of the group was to have an Order where degrees expressed attainment rather than authority, and hierarchy beyond just organizational requirements was non-existent. There are those who say that this lofty ambition has failed and that the Order has since slipped into a hierarchical power structure; Ray Sherwin "excommunicated" himself for this reason, but the Order continues and is identified as the only international Chaos organization to date. The IOT has since spread to America. There are smaller groups of Chaos practitioners, as well as individuals practicing alone. Chaos since Spare has taken on a life of its own. It will always continue to grow, that is its nature. It was only natural that eventually the world of science would begin to discover the physical principles underlying magic, although the scientists who are making these discoveries still do not realize that this is what they are doing. It is interesting that they have had the wisdom to call it chaos science... In the abovw part of my series on Chaos, I've made scant reference to the IOT due to lack of information, however, in typical Murphy's Law fashion, a letter just arrived filling in some blank spots and pointing out to me that I made one mistake in chronology. The story goes; In 1977/78 Ray Sherwin was editor and publisher of a magazine called `The New Equinox', which Pete Carroll was a regular contributor to. Unsatisfied with the choices of available magical groups in England at the time, they formed the IOT. They advertised in `New Equinox' and the group formed and progressed as previously explained. Ray Sherwin dropped out before Pete Carroll went on to form `The Pact'. They are still friends, and Pete has graciously consented to write an introduction to Ray's newest edition of `The Book of Results' which will be available through TOPY soon. Last amended June 11, 1989 -- Page NEXTRECORD
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