Past Lives and the Craft

Considering the Craft is largely considered a fertility religion many people refer to incarnation and the cycle of rebirth. It’s long been claimed that many who come to the Craft really young do so because they have walked this Path before. While I am not seeking to outright discredit the concept of reincarnation and catching glimpses of someone’s life before I do wonder when it is cited as a means to assert some control over others whether subtly or expressly.
With my own limited experiences I have never fully known a previous incarnation and NEVER beyond a shadow of a doubt. I don’t think that knowing our life used to be a royal figure in Mayan culture is necessarily going to benefit use in the hear and now. And if it doesn’t why would we be shown it?
As witches let us not forget that magick is a means for us to seek unity with the Higher Self or godhead (pressuming that is one’s wish for studying witchcraft or indeed modern ceremonialism). There should in my experience be no need to be dominated by one’s past life experiences and if so the best thing one can do is to release the experience to the Higher Self as this will allow it to be accepted if need be or if it is false, which can be the case, to discern in the face of one’s Karmic life flow.
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From Amall Acorns – Big Trees

When I first began studing magick and Wicca I was 15 years old. Like most teenagers I really didn’t see the point of waiting around for a Coven to initiate me, considering I was in the West of Ireland I couldn’t envision meeting Witches anytime soon and if I did would they be members of Covens? And as I continued to read and find out different authors with diverging life experiences and then the copious fora out there in “paganland”, I learned that many worked solitary, indeed most seemed to work as individuals.
In many respects I had felt the stirrings to what would become known to me as the “Old Ways” since I was a child. My first emersion into the worlds of magick were with a friend from school. Though this friend was also seeking some sense of control in life I think we went about this in slightly different fashions. I sought a deeper understanding (I would come to realise that I wanted to understand why I felt the call much later however) and he sought to physically control. It remains fascinating to think that someone could enter my life offering exactly what I needed. x
Since then I’ve never really stopped seeking others to work with and share in my experiences and I think that this is very natural for most people as the silence presents its own rewards it can be also be over worked and therefore under valued in later times. There are many ways to worship the Gods and I try to remember this whether with others on special days or meeting others for a coffee and a chat.
The reason for this entry is primarily because on a Yahoo Group the question was posted on what age or ages people felt appropriate for people to initiate into a Coven. My reply has it seems been dearly influenced by my own Path. I said that I felt that for those under 18 to formally initiate would be unwise for several reasons, namely that because whether they stem from a pagan family or not a few people don’t really know what it is in life they are seeking. For myself I have been pretty clear I want to be a teacher but even with this knowledge there have been moments when the Craft or rather associated discoveries have been more alluring than following my own “True Will”.
I’m neither hypocritical or naive enough to assume that my experiences will prevent or postpone anyone else who may be legally underage from learning and studying magick. I responded to the initial poster of this question stating that I felt that 15-16 years old was time enough to start looking earnestly at material and developing one’s self and if they so desire Initiation into a Coven at 18 then at least they will have developed themselves for a lot longer than the standard Year-and-a-Day (which btw no High Priest/ess is obligated to progress you unless you have achieved the desired aims and objectives).
There comes a point at which Coven work, which does require a level of commitment isn’t feasible. In the end this is something a well-adjusted Witch will be more than capable to resolve in themselves. Wicca is about being in tune with the cycles of life and whether one is in a Coven or not one may need to work alone as well. The Coven can be a great resourse but I personally feel that it should not replace certainly family desires or roles, emulate perhaps as it is no doubt an initimate grouping of people but never replace. x
I hope that this blog entry proves helpful to others and I look forward to responses if any. x

Midsummer and me

The Summer Solstice always marks a special time for me as it’s the day I took part in my first group ritual. The first was two summers ago in 2007 and contained an small, hab-dash gathering of people whom I had met. The Summer Solstice Ceremony itself was composed by Frater Yechidah from Occult Ireland with some spacing alotted for personal elections by individuals and considering that we were all coming together from different personal spiritualities it was the easiest option to make the overall Ceremony viable.
The event was arranged for June 21, 2007 in Dalkey Beach, Dublin. I remember feeling very nervous and wanting to do right for all the group and considering I was assuming the role of consecretor by Fire (I will have to double check that mind) and at that point most of my personal workings had centred around Earth energies as a personal comfort zone. I remember creating the Solstice Incense blend (happened upon the remainder) for the Incense and a Fire Element Mojo to help align my own personal energies to the impending work. I also wore my brightest red and yellow jumper and t-shirt respectfully. I spent a solid week working on the incense and I must say felt very witchy.
Eventually when we all made it to Dublin we went to Dalkey via the DART (my first time on a DART by the way!) when we got off we seemed to be quite some distance from the intended rendezous and so we lost one member of the troupe. Two more were no shows but you know sometimes things happen. So in the end we had to double on roles. But in no time at all we had the circle laid out. As we were laying out the required impliments wouldn’t ya know it a Reiki group showed up. I still maintain they cheated with their fire not having 9 sacred woods and by using fully dried out wood and you know if I was the skeptical sort I would suspect them of using petrol!
The day itself was quite overcast to start with but during the course of the Ceremony there came a point after all the elements were invoked and Sol was also invoked that over the horizon and presumably in the East and watching the clouds almost part as rays of light shone down on the horizon. I left with windburn (fire element perhaps) and some really chaffed and burned feet.
Last year Summer Solstice for group was a no go but one year on we all managed to meet up again and discuss things since the last meeting and how we’d all managed to grow and learn and really make headway in a lot of different avenues.
This year also had a lot of firsts for me personally as I formalised a working group with some others. For me Midsummer is certainly a time of new beginnings and achieving goals. I look forward to the seeding of today’s energies taking effect and wish everyone a blessed and happy Midsummer, Litha, Summer Solstice. x

Review of Witchvox article by Belladona Laveau HP

While parousing my usual online haunts I was directed to a link entitled: “Why is There a Rule Against Training People Under 18?” by Belladona Laveau HP. I must confess some issues with this article. While I do understand the author’s motivations for refusing underage applicants I have so say I was more than a little dismayed to read and hear a certain patronising tone in use.
Personally, I feel that in constructing such articles (or indeed posts for which I think everyone inevitably end up responding to on various fora and yahoo groups) it would be more prudent to give positive and constructive advice in developing the skills necessary in seeking Coven or group initiation.
A friend of mine of mine, in the course of a rather heated debate over this article pointed out to me that while not all countries or schools offer modules or classes in the necessary areas for Wicca, so in place of simply stating “be good in school” or “study well” I propose that suggestions be made that are productive.
In the afore mentioned article Laveau says:

Students with bad grades inevitably lack the required skill set needed to perform in a college level setting. Since they’ve not developed the disciplinerequired to learn basic educational concepts, they have a difficult timegrasping the more complex concepts that are required to train your brain to movefrom a linear thinking pattern to a spiral-thinking pattern. Basically, schools are doing FAR MORE to establish the roots of magical training than most people realize!

I cannot speak for all but this on the surface strikes me as very patronising. I know that it has been in later life that I have come to that “Aha!” moment, where I was able to finally understand something. In the same paragraph Laveau had explained how she looks at the report cards of new students coming into the seminary who are under the age of 30. Frankly I am alarmed that she cannot remain on topic. So far her article has jumped from paganism, to Coven work to the seminary and she has the gaul to critique people who’s report cards don’t meet her standards? In my own opinion her involvement in the school and college work of students strikes me as very unprofessional.I’m sorry but should I be impressed with someone that bases a teenager’s life experiences on ‘Sabrina: The Teenage Witch’? Don’t get me wrong I love some escapism and flights of fancy as the next person but if my teenage experiences had been even one-tenth of fun as Sabrina’s I’d have been delighted.
Shakespeare (a magical name, btw) was a Priest of the craft who took ritual
performance to a new level. That crazy language he wrote in is the language
ofthe Fey. It’s fairy speak. It’s hard to understand at first, but it’s very
helpful in making magic. These are things they don’t tell you in school.
OMG! As a student of literature, oh my God…I’m sorry thats all I can muster! First, if this person could please practice what she preaches from her self created pulpit, I would dearly like to see a citation reference for this article. Shakespeare was a Priest of the Craft? Really? While many Craft people have speculated on Shakespeare’s initimate knowledge of Craft-terminology for herbs and references to Greco-Roman gods in the form of Hecate, I do not know anyone that can verify that William Shakespeare was ever initiated into any form of witchcraft.
Furthermore, where does she see “fairy speak” in Shakespeare? I pressume she means ‘A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream’. Here I must confess my ignorance I’ve looked over this play in a cursory manner so can’t disprove it only express my skepticism.Please understand I am not blogging merely to blast or otherwise insult Lady Belladona Laveau, as simply put I wholeheartily agree with the majority of her points of view in relation to Initiatory Wicca, particularly within British Traditional Wicca. I do feel that articles such as these do need to clearly and succinctly address the target audience. They also need to be clear in making statements and use quotation and adequate referencing when using statistics.

The Goddess as I discover Her

As a male Wiccan I have formed a strong connection to the Goddess, almost to the detriment of the God. I have always felt a stronger affiliation to Gaia as the Cosmic Mother. The reason for my sense of affiliation is due in no small part to the strong female presence in my life through my mother and grandmothers. Also because I seem to have inherited the majority of my sensitivities from my family lines (this is quite common for Irish people really, I dare say for others too but Ireland has an ongoing acknowledgement of clairvoyancy and the like).
During the course of study for the writing of this article I found a Wikipedia entry on the etymology of Gaea, which claims that:

Etymologically Gaia is a compound word of two elements. Ge, meaning “Earth“, is found in many neologisms, such as Geography (Ge/graphos = writing about Earth)and Geology (Ge/logos = words about the Earth). *Ge is a pre-Greek substrate word that some relate to the Sumerian Ki, also meaning Earth. Aia is a derivative of an Indo-European stem meaning “Grandmother”. [1]

Considering the level to which Greek culture sought to categorize the universe and social order it seems that such a claim would not to too far off the make. While I could query the Neopagan entry in this article on Wikipedia as I personally have only really viewed Gaia as the Mother of Earth i.e. that of physical or mechanical Earth.
In developing my sense of this goddess I wanted to look into how the Irish mind might have seen her. Danú in old-Irish or Dana in modern-Irish (I prefer for former), seems to have a similar reference to the Gaia/Gaea of Ancient Greece in that she seems to embody form from the chaos of the unknown. The unknown it would appear is the deep sea or ocean, many at this point point out Jung’s concept of the Collective Unconscious. I would like to look at this from claims that there is a link between Greece and Ireland as noted in some of the myths.
To me the Goddess is far more than the perceiveable parts we see before us. While we may ‘know’ her as the afore mentioned names and others besides, I feel it is more apt to say that this is a system of classification. While this is far from the method I was intruduced to in Wicca books, it certainly seems to reflect the experiences of the Goddess I have had. While I am always reviewing my relationship in the mysteries of the Goddess.
References: