The Presence Candle – The Dryghten

Dryghten – A New Mystery: 

Perhaps this is just me being slow as usual but I’d honestly never heard of the Dryghten before when someone posted on it about a year or so ago so when I googled I flippantly tossed it aside as either an outmoded remnant of Judeo-Christian influence which at that point I’d been hearing lots of contemporary witches commenting. Admittedly I should have known better because I do recall most of those comments usually followed some dismissive attitudes from said speakers but to be honest I was enamoured with my study of the GD and not to flustered with learning more of Wicca, my head simply needed a break from it and I wasn’t sure how much I’d find out those I know as initiates would never betray their Oaths so when a few months ago Anni aka MirthandReverance on YouTube posted a clip describing the concept in some detail I was delighted (See below). 

Annika from Oathbound Secrets offers an extensive review of the One as All concept on her blog here. In her blog post she discusses how she relates to this concept:

Unlike religions that place a divine creator outside of Nature, Wicca is pantheistic, seeing Nature as divine in itself. I first came across the term pantheism when I was in my early teens. The word was constructed from the Greek pan “all” and theos “god” by the English mathematician Joseph Raphson, in his work De spatio reali, published in 1697. 

What may be understood from this comment is that the Dryghten is not merely an abstract androgyny, but is immanent in Nature. Where Annika elucidates by saying that she worships Nature I (not being Wiccan mind) have taken to being more obtuse by saying I venerate Nature. In actuality I don’t think there is a difference at all but I have found that people resonate with veneration through respect but it goes deeper than the surface layer of respect too, there is a connection. 

Now, I’ve danced around the concept of the Dryghten as a singular entity through my earlier definitions of the entity and what I can say is that according to Annika the term Dryghten comes through Patricia Crowther, while Gerald Gardner called this the Prime Mover (this term reminds me of the Primum Mobile in astrology which precedes the Empyrean or Fiery Heavens [Firmament] in cosmology). Some Traditional Wiccans have been known to explore Qabalah or Jewish Mysticism, which expresses the Tree of Life (עץ החיים) as 9 Sephiroth (spheres) linked through 22 Paths with the top three Spheres known collectively as the Supernals. The Tree of Life is arranged in descending order so from Kether (Crown) to Chokmah (Wisdom) to Binah (Understanding); interestingly in Qabalah Kether is preceded by the Three Negative Veils in which G-d or ha-Shem cannot be defined. Of course in Qabalah G-d is seen as immanent through all Life too. Annika’s post cites Janet and Stewart Farrar as stating that without polarisation manifestation is not possible. This strikes me as very Qabalahistic in approach considering that in Qabalah manifesting Malkuth or the Sphere of Earth is not possible without the other Sephiroth descending from the Supernals. 

In her video below, Anni relates the Prime Mover to Aristotle or rather what she calls a simple understanding of his concepts. The Prime Mover simply was and was never borne of anything. It is a mystery with only parts being understood. Given that Anni hails from a Gardnerian perspective this is interesting to hear. As she expresses in Wicca the Lord and Lady is what can be known and for this reason Gardner said, “we make little of this”, in relation to the Dryghten. It simply sufficed to acknowledge it and begin to know the Lord and Lady (see image above for depictions on an Altar). As Anni discusses in her video it is interesting to hear her discuss the difference of the Dryghten as being distinct from the Akasha, on this I would say that the connection forged in my own work is not to a collective wisdom (Collective Unconscious) but to the essences of Life, this is as best as I can currently describe it. Unlike Anni and Annika I have no relation to the Dryghten in ritual with others. 

For the readers of this blog who may not be interested in Qabalah the veneration or worship of Nature will suffice and it has been my experience before I began studying Qabalah that the connection with the world around me opened to avenues of spiritual signification, that is to say I would define meaning from my interactions with the world. This mindfullness or presence in the world can be transposed to the ritual Circle or the Witch’s Art as they craft their own Path.

Dryghten Candle:

I’ve spoken in some detail of the Dryghten as concept, now I wish to explore one of the expressions of the Dryghten in Craft. The primary expression I have encountered of the Dryghten has been the Presence or Spirit Candle. Anni discusses it as part of her Coven rites below in her video. As with most things in Traditional Craft circles spellings and pronunciations of terms morph, in my view this is both frustrating and a good thing because means the Traditions are living entities themselves growing constantly. For Anni and her Coven their rituals are begun and ended with the Presence Candle yet they do not say goodbye to something which is always present. 

While I am meditating or conducting personal rites I will light a candle in honour of the Higher Self and the Ancestors (both of my ancestral line but also those whose knowledge and learning contribute

Prayer of the Drygten:

Light the Presence Candle, hold it aloft and recite the following:

In the name of that most Ancient Presence,Which was, is and always will be male female All knowing all powerful and ever present And in the name of the Ancient Ones Who have gone before Who guide and protect us And in the name of Four Mighty Ones Rulers of the elements Let power and blessing descend In this hour this place and in our hearts.

Replace the Candle on the Altar and using a taper light the votive candles in the ritual Circle including any to the Lord and Lady you may have. The recitation should be made with due reverence and care and rather than the loud calls to Deities this should be uttered quietly. 

Uses of the Presence Candle:

Please note that these are my own personal gnosis’s of the tool rather than dogma, while I’ve cited Wiccans exclusively in this blog I am a solitary practitioner and of late many of my pagan practices hails from the Irish Traditions.
  • Honouring Presence – yours as well as Sacred Entities being brought into Circle. I often light a tea light to my Higher Self for guidance and help along my Path in Life but this is different because the Presence candle is concerned with the mindfullness of the world around us as we discover our individuality.
  • Honouring Path by lighting the candle for copying ritual work into one’s Book of Shadows. To this effect it serves to remind the Witch of the labours of those who have come before with their Wisdom and learning but also to bare in mind that the secular world offers learning and insights to the Witch or Seeker.
  • Remembering that the Circle is a place to go to seek commune with the Devine but that it is present before the establishing of Circles. If hegemonic faiths can become focused to the extreme on Churches and Temples its worth remembering that its human individuals that do this first and what are we?
  • I commented that I am working primarily of the Irish Traditions which don’t have a concept of the Dryghten or All innately within them but as a tool the Presence Candle is still quite useful for focusing the mind (as Anni has commented).

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