Love & Lust Magic

This isn’t your normal blog post on love and lust magic. I did contemplate placing a sample ritual of each version but since I am still trying to make sense of so much of this I felt a better approach would be an allegorical approach from my own history with magic and being sensitive. This is, I hope, going to be therapeutic.

 The Backstory:

I don’t think I have ever really shared with you all how it was I ventured out in to the practice of magic and eclectic witchcraft in particular?! Well, as always there was a guy! He went to school with me and he came out first. I remember feeling like it was an odd him coming up to me after school, for one reason he NEVER used his locker which was beside mine; and for another he only ever spoke to me in passing up until this point. Heck, last I really recalled interacting with him was to accidentally pick up on the vibes between him and another girl in class!

Anyway, this guy, let’s call him “A”, just comes out as being gay at our lockers once everyone had left. I’d been bullied so bad I needed counselling in primary school I’m not above saying I was so very paranoid that this was a set up. Somehow we managed to get beyond the undoubtedly mutual paranoia and started hanging out. A few of his friends were eventually told to but he certainly spent months “out” before me. The reason was that I wanted to know what being gay meant. Its one thing to know you’re attracted to the same sex but another to figure out how you want to be both yourself and gay! This is especially difficult when society tells you what gay is meant to be.

“A” and I had another secondary identity burgeoning – he was dabbling in witchcraft and I was interested in Wicca and magic. He was so much a part of these two secret worlds for me. Especially when we started sleeping together. At the time I told myself I was just experimenting and not emotionally invested but I was a teenager so of course emotions and sex feature strongly together. “A” asked me at the time if I wanted to be his boyfriend but something instinctual told me “NO”…now my psychic sensations from childhood had gone into the background so I didn’t assume this might have been something more than just an instinct. In any event I said no to a relationship but yes so sex – I told myself I was protecting myself and being in charge of my sexuality, and he was clearly content with this!… Wasn’t he?!

Things turned sour as friendships and relationships often do. Part of this was the flack he was enduring for coming out whereas even out I seemed to be liked. Truth was I was protected by my uncle owning the only off-licence in town at the time and working there at weekends, guys that were jerks in school were my best friends at the weekend. Naturally, I took delight in wielding power and saying no to them but “A” had so such mental reserve. Dabbling in witchcraft and magic should have given him power over others and if most magical practitioners are honest with themselves its a huge part of the attraction for many magical practitioners.

One of the biggest regrets I have was getting angry with him for “breaking up” with me and lying about me was using magic to hurt him. I had the curse uttered before I even knew what I’d done. I know it had an effect because I could see him mucking up his other friendships and pushing people away. I’d wanted him to feel as alone as I did (or more aptly how I’d felt before having any friends in town).

“A” moved away after ditching me. I don’t know what happened but a few weeks or months later he came back to town and sure enough we’d bump into each other EVERYWHERE! I could not get away from this guy and everytime I saw him I was overcome with loneliness and anger over what he’d done and it would re-trigger things for me, and I gather that further fed into the curse. I remember reading Fiona Horne’s big book and flicking to the page on “Hexcraft” or “Bitchcraft” – not my fault someone had broken the spine to that page! Anyway, she explained that part of working curses or hexes can be tying you to the person – a-ha!

I had to learn to let go of the anger and break the curse this way. It took some time. Eventually I learned to let go and started feeling better in myself as time went on and sure enough I stopped bumping into “A” around town. A few years later he did make a big thing about astral projecting into my dreams but he’d taken some ‘shrooms’ to make it happen and I was in a bad space dealing with some college related stuff (honestly a story for another day!).

Lust Magic:

Since Fiona Horne’s advice had worked so well in fixing what I’d done to “A”, I decided that I still wasn’t ready for love but she had a funky “Condom Spell” that really seemed a sneaky way to make condoms cool to carry with you but meant also recognising that sex can be fun. I didn’t want to regress as a gay man and had so many questions about what my body liked and what other guys liked to do and so a lust spell that targeted no one but focused on my well-being seemed like a legit direction.

I found a pink candle and inscribed it as the ritual recommended and placed the condom beneath it to drawn in the energy for the lust ritual. I remember this as being my second attempt at candle magic and fascinated with the colours and visualisation side of magic.

Anyway, I found myself hooking up with a lot of guys. I was 17 years old by now so still quite young and never sure what it was I was looking for since my ritual was just at finding the opportunity for sex (I went off books from Horne’s advice on this). I had a bi/closeted guy that used to bully me in Sligo, and then older guys and none of them very full-filling after awhile. Clearly Lust Magic was not the way forward so I stopped and tried to curtail my hormones now.

Love Magic (Part 1):

I decided to show a little restraint with magic around this point. I figured when it came to helping me find a nice boyfriend I was either at home or when I started in my course I was working at weekends and the course was 40 hours per week so I had no time. Don’t get me wrong I had time for sex, I mean I was at college even if it wasn’t university and my primary degree.

I felt strongly at the time I needed to allow a natural connection between myself and another guy. Trouble was Sligo was again not the right place for me to be an out gay man nevermind a sex-positive guy.

At least now I was prepared for a love connection even if I wasn’t going to use magic, right?

*****

University came around and I thought a couple of times I might have started something. More often than not my wild-child days had a stronger hold than I’d wanted to give it credit for because I didn’t know how to date or start to let down the guards. After everything with “A” and with “closet guy” I’d fallen in with a group in the west of Ireland who held events but it was all older guys or an impenetrable clique of younger guys who clearly didn’t like me because I’d been brought in by one of the older guys. I suspect I was known as “his boy”.

This was tougher to let go off than I’d realised. So I focused on making friends in the uni’s LGBT Society. I even became elected to the presidency in my first year! Once I was President of the Soc shagging or dating new members was out of the question – no really the Soc rulebook wouldn’t allow it! So celibacy was par for the course for me. Around this time I was initiated into the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea (MOAA) so it started to take up much of my time.

Love Magic (Part 2):

Flash-forward to two years ago, I had ended my celibacy and started sleeping around again but it was still too much of the old-patterns of behaviour and needed to stop.

I was working on my pre-Wicca training and I was getting some flashes of a lover in my near future. I wasn’t exactly sure when or where I would meet this guy. I felt like I would be back home but I never said anything to anyone, I did share that I thought I might have a liaison with someone else before I met this guy. Believe me I really felt like one of those fair-ground fortune-tellers telling myself all this, and maybe because those are the figures people associate with clairvoyance and clairsentience thats how we process the information we see/hear or sense?

By now I have noticed the trend for being slightly amorous and lusting after sex is generally followed by a desire for companionship. In the last year I have attempted to date three guys – the first was messing with my head in a big way, I fully understand that this was not his intention but at no point when he sorted himself out did he try to offer any apology for treating me like dirt. Suffice to say we never really dated, so the next guy I really tried to see my vision come through even though he looked nothing like my vision. And honestly, I faked my feelings well. Most of my family and friends thought I liked him more but I still had that feeling like with “A”. He was aggressive and could be controlling in small minute ways. Perhaps, it was nerves with him too but after him getting upset when I had some bad news and not really knowing how to check in with me I decided to call time on this one. I definitely could have handled it better but my energies were a mess.

With guy no.3, I was circling around his Grindr profile for a week or so. I talked myself out of tabbing in to chat because I wanted to leave Grindr and focus on my college work. Until *ping* or *scrunchy sound* he messaged me. We chatted and I just so happened to be doing a Tarot reading, so when he asked what I was doing I just said ‘doing a reading’. My plan was if a negative reaction go fob it off as a typo and say I was reading for college. But I had a sense. Aside from the shaved head he didn’t look exactly like my vision but we arranged to meet for coffee in Sligo.

The date went really well, turned out he was a witch too. This was promising because even if not in my Tradition or in MOAA he could be sympathetic to the time it takes up. Turned out he’d done a spell to meet someone with the same “interests”. We struggled to find time to meet – neither of us driving and with him working a new and demanding job.  Despite this I really liked him. We went on a few dates – not many with his schedule and the poor weather and my getting sick.

I remember telling another witch-friend of mine who counselled me to be cautious with love spells as they tended to be messy in her opinion. I remember thinking that all the Wicca 101 books used to caution the same so I was a bit peeved at this advice coming in when I’d found a really good guy more or less on the same wave-length. Hindsight I should have copped that my friend usually only says things like that when she senses something up.

Just before New Years’ I got a Facebook message while out with a friend of mine. Yes it was that type of message and it was over Facebook too. I knew then that I’d been ignoring my instincts with him as well. This had been coming a while. I’d seen him online meeting friends when he’d been too busy at work for me (honestly, don’t know why because everyone has friends that need some TLC too so the fib was completely unnecessary) but I’d also noticed him on Grindr and I had just told myself, “Hey, I’m on Grindr too, maybe he’s deleting spambots too”. I knew it was a lie to myself, I could sense him due to the spell connecting us. He was searching for something.

Now, I feel that I should explain that I am a firm believer in setting a person free. Don’t try and control everything but this was starting to hurt. I’d left him to see if he wanted to meet again he seemed like he did and then *BOOM* the Facebook message arrives.

What Have/Can I Learn from these experiences?:

Of the five guys I’ve mentioned here there are others with another element of the overall story and of course these guys have their own truths. It is not my intention to paint them as villains. I made missteps in each of my interactions too.

  • In “A’s” case, I failed to trust him and with that he learned that he could not trust me either. I used him when I should have tried to talk to him more.
  • In “closeted guy’s” case, I jumped into bed with him without knowing who he really was and this meant that I was too focused on sex and not on whether I really wanted or needed that after everything with “A”. I was still hurting.
  • With the group mentioned, I had already started telling myself I wasn’t worthy of love or a meaningful connection.
  • ‘Guy no.1’ – we’d dated before I went back to college and I felt an intense connection. He rejected me for his ex, so when he said he wanted to get back together last year and then dropped me I ignored the signs that night! For one I seized really badly but also when he decided to say this he was jealous of another guy I’d been with previously giving me attention. It was never about me.
  • ‘Guy no.2’ – straight forward enough once more I lied to myself but worse I lied to everyone else. At least after Guy no.2’s thing I was not being given a choice to listen to my feelings on this one.
  • ‘Guy no.3’ – like ‘guy no.1’, no.3 had a lot on his plate when I showed up. If I were asked why would his spell bring us together for such a short time I don’t think I would be angry about it. I am upset with being dumped by messenger but not that he came into my life. I’ve had a look at my life and I have fallen into a rut and no.3’s been able to help me see that the way things are can’t continue.

Moral of the Story: I am still learning and growing. Both in practice of magic and listening to my intuition/sensitivity and as an individual.

 

Top 10 Questions for Seekers

Doreen Valiente older“I think what matters is if people are sincere in their wish to follow the old ways and to carry them on – not whether they’re initiated by so-and-so or whether they have the umpteenth degrees. The power you get is the same. A witch is a witch is a witch.” – Doreen Valiente.

For the purposes of this blog the terms mythology and mythical figures shall stand for heroes and deities because various traditions and systems of magical practice have different outlooks on these concepts.

Here we go, for your entertainment, development and consternation, the top 10 questions as compiled by myself:

  1. Is the process of “backward birth” or palingenesis in modern magical systems something seekers consider before applying? If it helps discussion then palingenesis begins with the initiation of the seeker or candidate into an underworld which generally represents the unconscious mind. Through here ‘ordeals’ or ‘trials’ are faced on the understanding that the new initiate will temper their minds before the main process of magical and spiritual work begins.
  2. Following on from the above, then do you think the mythos or the mythology of the Tradition or System bares upon your decision-making? Basically does it matter whether you are placed in the Great Hall of King Arthur as Arthur himself or Merlin or is the importance more of spiritual link to God or the Gods of Mount Olympus?
  3. How intimately do you think/feel/believe you ought to identify with mythical figures from the Tradition/System? Here you may have intimate relationship as worshipper or postulant or do you feel that the story is what is of importance not the figure itself?
  4. Is this always a good idea? Explain why or why not. Many magical initiators have developed theories on how much one identifies with the figures within the tradition – afterall we aren’t Herakles or Persephone themselves… (shshhh if you are tell me I’ll not blab!)
  5. How important is this process to your sense of connection to your overall goals (Higher Self/the Gods/Deity etc.)? The process may be separate entirely, especially if the process is cerebral or completely psychological (D.H. Lawrence’s “Having it in the head!” comes to mind here!) but then why not just go for therapy?
  6. Do your patron/s mythical figures act as a psychopomps or guides on your Traditional Path or are they separate? If so, then see Q7, if not then see Q8.
  7. How important is the role of a guide/s on the magical path to you? I’ve a theory that in the wake of modern Wicca moving in to the realm of public scrutiny something crept out as a means to help people not freak out and see devils at every turn and that was personal protectors or patrons (in Male-Female pairing just like Wicca we all know and love) these forces could be called upon to remove negative impressions or block spiritual attacks on seekers who worked without training. I could be wrong – there is a lot of precedence for the tutelary deities of a household in antiquity but these were not connected to the mystery schools insofar as we know.
  8. How much help are guide/s on the mundane path? Or is it all business all the time?
  9. If they are separate from the Tradition, how do you reconcile the two natures/forces? Have you considered the time and dedication that each entity or figure is likely to demand for your to obtain a meaningful connection that can be worked with? There is offerings of prayers, invocations, ritual ensoulment (either ceremonially or over time), journeying (shamanic or Inner Vision work) and then making sure that the personal does not conflate or become confused with the group’s figure – whats good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander!
  10. As you change do you expect your guide/s or psychopomp figures to change too? I wonder whether you feel this is a psychological change being projected on to the situation or if this is a new contact for you to experience and learn with?

Lately, Nick and Peregrin have been having a wee dialogue on their blogs concerning the nature of the Golden Dawn beast! Basically they have been asking what it means to be contacted and how this works with tradition and lineage. This got me to wondering about whether new seekers even cared for such discussions. I mean how much thought is ACTUALLY put in to applying to a Tradition when most seem to be acting on a gut feeling or deep routed intuition. So I compiled these questions to get a body started.

There is, of course, an obvious counter to this if one reads Doreen Valiente’s quote stating a “witch is a witch is a witch!”, while one may or may not be a witch or magician in a particular tradition or system one can be a witch/magician by one’s own work.

Bealtaine 2014

Well normally I’m one to avoid May Day or Bealtaine like the plague. In Irish lore it’s referred to as the Cattle Raiding Season on account of the end of the Winter cycle and the need to prepare for the Summer again. For this reason it was tradition to not have a large affair for Bealtaine and to be mindful of what you give away (NB: This is NOT an excuse to be a miserly git!), if you have excess leave it for the “Good People”, traditionally inferred as the Fairies but in actuality often one’s neighbours and those is more need in the community. For anyone thats been barely above the poverty margin you’ll know that it can often be the community that judges harshly.

So for Bealtaine this year I spent most of the day battling with a contract, which seems poetic enough for the season before descending on my Hairy Pagan mate’s house. He’d invited a number of friends around to have sing-song, some tea and banter and just listen to each other’s stories.

MAGICAL HEALING or HEALING MAGICALLY

unconditional-love-spellThe subject of healing and how being heard, or more distinctly being truly listened to, can have a healing quality of it’s own. Basically a sangha of sorts. The question was put out there to the Wiccans and Pagans present (not all of us were); what makes healing spells and rituals work? It’s become very popular to cite Terry Pratchett’s headology in modern witchcraft and in particular his character of Nanny Ogg so I did. Not missing a beat I was challenged straight away with:

“Why don’t books on Wicca [and witchcraft] include this aspect in their healing rituals then?”

Prosperity SpellNot going to lie folks… bit floored as I had to concede that Wiccan books and magic do tend to advise the practitioner do something physically to enable the magic to manifest. So if I’m working a Prosperity Spell for financial security over a certain period I’ll gather my ritual items and ingredients and if I’m swarthy enough I’ll ask for a sign the spell is working within say one month (thanks for the tip Nick!) but most books focus on what happens next – nearly all authors on magic suggest you get off your backside and go search for a job or make better effort at your current place of work or even play the damned Lotto! Something, anything to allow this change in the universe to manifest in your life. Same for Romance, you want a new boyfriend, fine spend €10-12 on a rose for a ritual that asks you to crush it all up (yep did it too!) see the incurred cost as a sacrifice and kick back and wait. Nope, once again books suggest you get up and go places to engage with other human beings (I know I think this can be such a chore too!) and allow the universe to do what it needs to after you went nagging at it.

But Healing is a bit more tricky to advise on. Not least of which because authors can be sued but because healing often means stepping beyond one’s comfort zones. Nanny Ogg would find more magic in visiting the sick person, helping them out by cleaning their house or making tea and offering a listening ear. In books, however, as stated we aren’t given any such advice or worse told to kick back and wait for it to work. A few months back I worked a Healing Ritual devised by Nick Farrell for author Donald Michael Kraig (RIP) as he faced his battle with cancer. To be honest I primarily saw the ritual as a symphony of magical practitioners working together for a good cause but magic worked then just not exactly how we thought but many people joined in helping Kraig and his family financially afterwards. So even if it wasn’t consciously done there was a move to act as agents and participants in our magic then. So why aren’t we doing this more often? Or if we do, why don’t we talk about it?

It’s almost as though to admit that magic needs a physical partnership with the magician/witch is to somehow admit defeat. Of course there is also the fear of failure at such a crucial moment in magic. Its like our magical credentials or C.V. is under scrutiny.

Over on his blog – and quite independently from myself – Peregrin Wildoak has been positing on the social actions of (aspiring) magicians. Peregrin’s blog is worth a read as he focus’s more on the structuring of groups towards this end. Where we see ourselves is an interesting aspect to magic as quite often magic is structured from the perspective of the magician or witch in magic Circle commanding (or at least petitioning from privilege) spirits and Gods to heed us.

I suppose because a few weeks back I conducted my first humanist-paganesque Naming Ceremony I’ve been considering how ritual has two faces; the magical, and then the communal/personal (social/psychological). The Social and Psychological are held distinct from the psychological of ritual magic here, for example the Family weren’t religious pagans so a religious ceremony wasn’t really going to work for them and even if it did would mean more terms to confuse guests. Being a big believer in effective communication I specifically asked them about this. Also as a formal naming in the presence of the Community we had a pool of people from a few communities offering different elements of support to the new born and the family. At the end of the day it felt like such a subtle but no less powerful form of magic. The act was also followed up by people coming for a meal to welcome the new member of our community.

Hopefully some ideas around the pre-tense surrounding Healing Arts can be redressed here for people and a few ideas can be engaged in and questioned.

 

But just in case you thought I’d forgotten it was Bealtaine I thought I’d share some Pole Dancing click the link and visit Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150310419301789

 

 

The Fame Game

Having looked at the some of the reasons discernment can be applied in one’s search for a magical life or path (see here), now what I wish to look at is some of the motivators behind someone telling such fibs. Namely notoriety or fame is what most people either seek or succumb to really and there is little point dissecting this further. However, its also a bit simplistic because if they are seeking it they must have succumbed to it previous to our encountering them and so the whole process smacks of insecurity.

Readers may have heard me mention that my one guarantee to seekers and practitioners of magic is that magic changes things in your life and by extension the tools you lean on mentally. On the subject of introducing additional symbolism [read: meaning] into one’s Inner Kingdom [read: inner-space], Nick Farrell makes the following commentary:

“The visualisation movement flounders because while it can explain success, it has a greater difficulty explaining why it does not always work. There are many things that can prevent a visualisation having a full effect. This is mostly because when the new image is planted within your Inner Kingdom it immediately has to fit within the frame work of what is already there. Those things which fall short of the status quo are swiftly destroyed. This happens because you are your Inner Kingdom is the sum total of your past visualisations. If you do not believe in success you have effectively crippled yourself from making new visualisations. The new visualisation is like a seed cast on stony ground and dies before its results can manifest.” (Magical Imagination: The Keys to Magic)

I quoted the passage in full because I felt it painted a better picture of the situation than most people want to hear, obviously considering that Peregrin Wildoak has posted a review with the same quote also says something too. Nick is speaking specifically of visualisation techniques used within modern magical practices, however, the principle is in motion behind most magical practices in use regardless of one’s tradition or teaching. Witches and magicians expose themselves to ensouled symbols all the time to effect change including the making of amulets, talismans and charms. Candle magic is codified within colour correspondences such as; associations to Zodiacal signs, planets and elements.

Like many people I adopted the rhetoric of “be careful what you wish for” when it came to magic because frankly I didn’t want my predominantly non-magical friends to think I was simply casting spells or hexing my way out of every teenage related problem. My life was a caricature of T.V. enough without me pretending I was the gay-teen version of Sabrina: The Teenage Witch. Also, as my life as a witch would come to teach me I’d faced many of my inner-issues and come out stronger for it but I did so with the help and support of individuals and organisations who’d been motivated to help. I had a happy home and there are many who come to the Craft and to magical systems in general who don’t have that and so face other challenges. For them they can (and do!) learn to create safer spaces for vulnerable passers-by, engaging with community work and social care. But first they tend to need to learn discernment to learn to apply their skills and ability to help so that they don’t fall into abusive dynamics with service users or clients. The same is true for people seeking spiritual healing.

“I come in the Power of the Light, I come in the Light of Wisdom, I come in the mercy of Light, The LIGHT hath healing in it’s wings”. (Neophyte 0=0 Ceremony of the Golden Dawn)

In case you’ve not heard or guessed I’m speaking simultaneously of the healing modalities many seekers find themselves in such as neo-shamanic courses and Reiki initiation as well as more cathartic expressions and understandings of the Western Mysteries whether they be Golden Dawn, Ordo Templi Orientis, or some other expression such as Traditional Wicca. Healers who have faced their own issues can often be identified by clients/patients with strong versions of what they themselves wish to be. Facing the hard work of self-exploration and inflection can deter many from fulfilling their own potential but finding that they like the attention they get as a trusted acolyte or disciple seek to get more attention as a leader, teacher or healer in their own right.

Fame and notoriety become the addiction of choice for these people and like many addicts unwilling to work on their addiction problems will invariably ensue between the group and it’s leader. So how can we avoid or deal with this issue? Truth is I’ve not got a clue. Fame is intoxicating and diversity seems to be the best cure as people learn to apply natural skills at discernment and judgement to learn to keep away from such behaviours. Sometimes, such persons are so charismatic that no matter how good your judgement is you simply can’t avoid it because of the community or atmosphere lends itself so well to it all. Obviously recognizing the talents within others will help any group facilitator but not always helpful in systems that follow hierarchies such as Wicca or the Golden Dawn. In such cases become familiar very early on with any teacher and their lineage including vouches! Modern Wiccans never take offense to vouches and most of those I know would offer one-two themselves for those not connected to Traditional Wicca.

If anyone has tips for navigating around fame or even setting up a Famous Witches & Magicians Recovery Support Group (FWMRG – not the prettiest of acronyms I’ll admit) let me know in the comments section below.

D is for Discernment

This was originally titled, “Doing Magic” (note: with the obnoxious ‘k’ omitted; I am an English graduate after all!). I wanted to change my focus on this because I found that Discernment is really one of the first tools a new seeker or neophyte needs to develop when comes to engaging with the various maxims, aphorisms, ideologies and paradigms in play in modern magic and this is especially true for those of us practicing magic within a particular spiritual framework such as Contemporary Paganism and witchcraft but its stands true of the Western Mystery Tradition as a whole.

Janet & Stewart Farrar, Alexandrian Lineaged, Courtesy Allta Cailleach.
Janet & Stewart Farrar, Courtesy Allta-Cailleach.

As many of you may be aware I first started looking at Wicca as my spiritual path when I was 15 going on 16 and unlike my peers I wasn’t simply enamoured with the spellwork or rituals – I felt drawn to the spirituality and the ability to discern and think for myself. At the time ceremonial magic seemed to dressy and frankly I wasn’t altogether certain was a genuine practice since most of those I’d interacted with online clearly weren’t playing with a full deck! Besides with Wicca I had a cornucopia of books, grimoires and tomes charting it’s various expressions. Alexandrian material was far more accessible with authors such as Janet and Stewart Farrar on top of the plethora of easier authors on hand. Reading the Farrars material I could visualise myself as an Initiate of the Wica more roundly. Downside was as a teen that was all I could do. I learned of covens relatively close by but not accessible (and I didn’t realise it myself then but suppressed psychism was guiding me too). I read Scott Cunningham but found that while geared to practical work I had no access to plants or wildlife and I wasn’t sure what a magical herbalist actually did? How would I help people with herbs outside of the work a coven could do? (I realise now I was looking for the anonymity of working in a coven as much as anything). Truth is without initiation into the Craft of the Wica you can’t know what it’s like, hence why Cunningham focused on magical herbalism in the public sphere.

The issue for myself, like many, is discernment – the ability to judge well. Such judgements of reading material or people encountered along the way can lead to some precarious situations. I was asked once in a heated discussion whether I’d ever been a member of an online coven or working group and honestly I actually have been. It was one of those things I just fell into when I first started getting involved in online forums. I’d already been a posting member of Occult Ireland and attended one eclectic group circle for the Summer Solstice and I was tired of giving myself reasons not to observe the Wheel of the Year and the Esbats. So when my co-admin to Witchesforum.com asked if I’d join in one of the forum’s Global Esbats I figured why not? I mean what’s the worst that could come of it?

Will and T on the Astral but from the Physical
Willow and Tara on the Astral but from the Physical with Tara as an anchor.

The rite called for us all to gather at our working spaces and altars and perform a simple ritual. Thing is what I hadn’t bargained for was the level of familiarity I’d developed with many of those part-taking in the ritual and my own curiosity concerning how real they actually were. I caught some glimpses of them in my mind’s eye. Bare in mind 3-4 of them were in the U.S. and my co-admin was in the U.K. and none of us were formally trained or equipped to deal with forging psychic links like this. I’d formed some with physical friends already so I was a little bit more accustomed to this but one of the members freaked when I’d posted the time and a small description of where she’d been and what she’d done including writing in her Book of Shadows (BOS). Why was I forming such links with strangers especially since there seemed to be no safeguards such as an Inner Temple (even a crap one)? Well remember I said many of us had forged strong bonds? We’d come from another forum and we’d wanted to explore more topics and it had been a challenge since many of the posters and key moderators had turned out to be very dodgy.

The need for discernment isn’t just on the internet or by books. Like many seekers I’ve encountered my fair share of fibbers willing to allow me to believe all sorts if I allow them. I’ve had fellow magicians mislead me and others on their involvement with magical organisations representing those same groups as physical while really they were organised online and worked primarily on the astral. Oh yes, he’d be very good and explain in PM or face-to-face if quizzed further but if you were silly enough to assume his co-operation more fool you! Another, for reasons I can only speculate, lied about his qualifications as a trained counsellor (I rang up the reported authorizing body), yet would actively use techniques of manipulation within the group to bully and eventually oust me. And finally there is that old chestnut (which had been tolerated in the online group example somewhat before) of family lineage. Everyone wants to be descended from Witch-queen royalty or to have grandparents in the Craft and its shocking how many will hide behind statements such as, “But our family tradition changes over time, just like Traditional Wiccan covens will be different because of newer generations!”. This last comment is taken from the expertise of martial artists really because the same thing done the same way by a different person is going to be unique to that person and this is true but its oh so handy get out clause to explain expensive crystal work and grimoire-derived ritual Circles in people’s practices. There’s also the scavenger defense too, and this is basically that they added to the inner secrets of their Family Craft.

Yikes! I’ve even heard rumours of a Queen of Witches here in Ireland, whose Books of Shadows are over 800 years old and clearly totally in Irish. This ignores the fact that 800 years ago most people with writing skills wrote in Latin not Irish and also that 800 years ago the Irish of then was early Middle-Irish so wildly different. Don’t get me started on some of the names associated with such witches!

The reason I’m sharing so much of my own experiences in this post is not to cry “poor me” or even to dissuade you from seeking out more like-minded folks but to offer advice on how discernment as a form of judgement can be useful. Within the Golden Dawn tradition the new Neophyte 0=0 is asked to approach discernment as a virtue to learn and practice before further embarking on their magical journey. I recently reviewed Nick Farrell’s latest book, Magical Imagination: The Keys to Magic, and I took a very terse look over the book in my review because the nature of the book is apt for so many readers of various levels of magical practice. Working on the Inner Kingdoms first helps to prepare the reader for more magical work later on as it will give the practitioner some serious skills which I’m still learning if I’m honest. Inner Kingdoms or inner spaces are also different from Inner Temples which I mentioned before in that they are personal to the witch or magician rather than to the group (Temple or coven). Preparing one’s self for the group mind on both a mental and astral level works wonders, I really wish I’d known more beforehand. I still think I’d have made some of those mistakes anyway but dealing with it would have come more naturally to me.

There are so many Traditions who have guided and nurtured many seekers over the years and who have nurtured new teachers who themselves created new approaches to magical practice. Sometimes these “growth spurts” come swiftly and without issue but other times people clash and fall out and thats normal. Not pleasant but normal. If you are working by yourself and establishing a personal viewpoint be ready to have it shaken a little bit but use discernment in what you decide to let go of and what needs amending. Develop discernment through working on your own Inner Kingdom or personal space within so you can work from firm foundation that you can change at your own will not someone else’s!

Oath Bound Secrets: Space Purification

Oath Bound Secrets: Space Purification: I was asked for a purification ritual that did not involve fire/smoke, so I am writing this up here for anyone who may find it useful. Remem…

I may be crushing on this blogger a little! Her blog is awesome and practical without over simplifying things. Its kinda cool that considering I don’t know my smoke alarms in my new place yet my recourse was to asperge the room with Angel Feathers, which is melted snow collected at the first fall last Winter, good for blessings and exorcising of rooms through the angelic realms.

Being in the city centre I had no available herbs I could gather to hand so used my two forefingers and thumb to represent the Divine Triad. This action by itself suited the purpose which was to initiate my own energies in the room rather than the pre-existing ones.

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).