Introducing a new Tarot project!

by Thea Wirsching

Some of you know me as Thea Wirsching, Evolutionary Astrologer, but I’m also an academic with a research background in American esotericism.  That research is the subject of a forthcoming Tarot deck, The American Renaissance Tarot.  This Tarot celebrates the Transcendentalists and other nineteenth-century American writers who transformed the landscape of American spiritual life.  The careers of many of these writers naturally fit Tarot archetypes. Margaret Fuller, editor of the Transcendentalist magazine The Dial and author of a book called Woman in the Nineteenth Century, could only be the Empress.  Emily Dickinson’s sibylline meditations on nature elect her as the High Priestess.  Walt Whitman’s ecstatic love for America and all its inhabitants – black and white, rich and poor, male and female – made him perfect for the World card.  Ralph Waldo Emerson’s lectures on the power of the mind and the majesty of the individual soul resonate with the Tarot’s Magician archetype.

Hermit Image@2xBut perhaps the most natural fit of all for an American literary Tarot was Henry David Thoreau as the Hermit.  Thoreau made a two-year, two-month, and two-day experiment in simple living. He left American society to live in the woods at Walden Pond, to discover truths that can only be gained in solitude.  We depicted Thoreau on the water in the card image, to emphasize the reflective power of nature; Thoreau described Walden Pond as a “perfect forest mirror.” Importantly, Thoreau returned to society after his sojourn in the wilderness.  The Hermit archetype can also represent someone with highly individual views. For Thoreau, these were his anarchistic ideas that appear in essays like “Civil Disobedience.” Thoreau was also fiercely anti-slavery, and the card illustrates the white water-lily that Thoreau discussed in the lecture, “Slavery in Massachusetts,” which gave him hope that one day “man’s deeds will smell as sweet.”

Keep an eye on www.americanrenaissancetarot.com and follow @americantarot on Instagram, for updates on when this exciting project will be available for purchase!

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The World’s Wisdom of Manly P. Hall

By Tammye McDuff

“Education at any age is a lifelong dedication to the improvement of character, and the enlargement of understanding. We are here to learn and grow and share…
– Manly P. Hall –

It has been called the Alexandria Library for modern times.  Whether you are new to metaphysics or a mage of many years, there is no doubt you have heard of Manly P. Hall and the Philosophical Research Society [PRS] located in Los Angeles.

PRS 01For eight years the library was open only on special occasions and with certain permissions, however due to the generosity of the Virginia S. Warner Foundation, the library has been reopened and all of Halls’ information transferred into a digital catalogue.

Dr. Greg Salyer, President and CEO of the University of Philosophical Research introduced the woman behind the foundation, “Virginia Warner has long been a friend of the Society, because she shares the desire to bring wisdom to all seekers.”  For the past several years, her foundation has supported a significant part of the large undertaking of organizing and creating a digital catalogue of Halls’ unique esoteric library.

In a quote by Hall, upon the original opening of the library, he stated, “There is no reason why PRS should not be remembered like Plato’s Academy, but if it is to continue, the society must make use of the most advanced technology available. I now envision a university of the mind, and think that through proper organization we can bring this message of enlightened living to a much greater audience throughout the world.”

For years, students and seekers would scour through black binders filled with Hall’s writings and notes. The catalogue system was neither dewy decimal nor library of congress, “Rather it was a list of books with its own unique formatting including penciled in notes and corrections,” said Salyer. The library fell behind in technology and organization, not knowing what hidden gems might have lost in stacks of books and bins of notes.

“Many years ago in my practice of meditation,” Says Warner, “A very unusual message came to me. I was told you must meet Obadiah. So I turned to the book of Obadiah in the bible. Coincidently I had purchased a book entitled The Secret Teachings of All Ages. I thought I might find an answer to my message in this book.” Warner goes on to say she was awestruck by the remarkable range of wisdom that Hall had compiled, “Never before had I seen a compilation of the ancient truths offered to this world.” As it turns out later that same year Warner was introduced to PRS President, Dr. Obadiah Harris, thus beginning her mission to create a complete catalogue of Halls works and his vision to make these teachings available to everyone around the world.

Manly Hall was a Canadian-born scholar and philosopher. He is perhaps most famous for his 1928 book The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Hall was the first president for the Philosophical Research Society’s and was a seeker and lover of wisdom. He had the courage and the raw intellectual energy to look for wisdom in places most would have long since forgotten. He lived in an era when most Americans did not look toward other cultures and traditions, without looking down.

Manly P. Hall began his public career in the related fields of philosophy and comparative religion at the age of nineteen, was ordained to the ministry at 22 and devoted his life to teaching, writing, and lecturing without interruption for over half a century. Hall gave nearly seven thousand lectures and talks, appearing on numerous radio and television stations throughout the Unites States.

Hall traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Central America, and assembled a magnificent library which he presented to the Society. On October 17, 1935, nearly one hundred people assembled on the site for the purpose of breaking ground for the headquarters, which included a front office, print shop, bindery, and library. Prior to the construction of the library, Hall attracted the attention of wisdom seekers from across the world. Donations from philanthropists and supporters enabled him to visit great auction houses of Europe, purchasing rare manuscripts that pre date the 1800’s.  His collection was so impressive that during World War II, The Library of Congress requested permission to make microfilm copies of unique items for permanent record, in case the Library should be damaged by bombardment.

The Library collection grew book by book, building on the great truths of illuminated thinkers such as Pythagoras, Plato, Buddha, Confucius, Hermes, Aristotle, Jesus and Mohammed; along with other prophets and sages.

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In 1998, the Society’s many educational offerings became an accredited formal University.  In July of 2000, the State of California approved the University of Philosophical Research to issue a Master of Arts Degree in Consciousness Studies.  Since that time the Philosophical Research Society has been doing business as The University of Philosophical Research. In January 2003, the State of California approved the UPR’s second Master of Arts Degree Program, in Transformational Psychology.

The University of Philosophical Research is now open Tuesday to Fridays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and is located at 3910 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, California. For more information call 323.663.2167 or visit http://www.uprs.edu

Celebrating Your Role: Leader, Hermit or Soldier

by Jeanne McLaughlin

What’s your role in our Pagan community? Or in any other?

Are you a Leader?  One who leads a coven or group?  One who initiates gatherings or projects?  One who inspires others? Wonderful!  Thank you!  A group without direction can’t achieve much.

Without Leaders, no changes are likely to happen.  The Collective would likely sit and continue as is indefinitely.  Leaders are the ones who see the big picture, long term goals for the better, and how to achieve them.  Without Leaders, the Collective doesn’t have a focus.  It takes tremendous courage to be a Leader; to believe you have the right solution for many and have the courage to execute your plans.

Are you more the Hermit, preferring to work as a solitary?  Doing good for the Collective from behind the front lines, often unseen or unknown.  Great!  Thank you!  Good energies and positive change helps, no matter the source.  Imagine for a moment, how many solitary lightworkers exist right now in the world… and if all of them keep working for a common goal of greater good, how much positive energy that provides!

Being a Hermit you have the luxury of doing your spiritual work at will; when and where you wish.  Yet it can also be challenging because you’re always on your own; no other energies to support yours.  It takes great courage to be a Hermit – to have the strength to work alone, and know that’s what you do best.

Or are you a Soldier, preferring to be the strength of the group, yet neither leading nor being solitary?  Lovely!  Thank you!  After all, what good are leaders without someone to lead?

Without Soldiers (the Collective) the Leaders have no one to lead, and the Hermits have no one to help.  You who are Soldiers are the strength of us all – the heartbeat, the soul… the reason the Leaders and Hermits exist at all.  It takes courage to be a Soldier, to have the confidence of knowing yourself and understanding you simply want to be part of the group.  To belong. To be part of something much greater than yourself.

How about a combination?  (Oh, do we dare?  Yes!)  Perhaps you act as each of those roles in different aspects of your life.  Perfect!  Maybe you enjoy leading a ritual but prefer to do healing work alone?  Do you like to participate sometimes as part of the crowd and other times leading them?  Awesome!  Sometimes do you just want to be alone?  Nothing whatsoever wrong with that.  Personally, I live all three roles at different times; I teach workshops at Pagan gatherings for hundreds of people, I’m part of big groups doing energy work, and I do much work alone.

No matter which role suits you best, celebrate it!  Own it!  See all the good points therein and savor them. See any drawbacks and handle them as best you can.

The point is ALL are needed, Leader, Hermit and Soldier.  Whichever one(s) you are, you are an important part of the collective.  Please don’t ever doubt that.  You are here for a reason, exactly as you are… perfect and beautiful.

 

The Red Bones

By Jesper Toad

57678082_311499279522193_1173713170703843328_nNigel Jackson’s book Masks of Misrule contains a piece entitled the Ceremony of the Red Bones (1996, pp. 93-106)..  It is prefaced by material revolving around the ordeal of initiation.  The experience of initiation invokes a shift in relationships and the individual’s way of being in the world, regardless of whether this experience is earned through the process of study and achievement and enacted in ritual, or occurs spontaneously through dreams or other liminal experiences (Eliade, p. 33 1964).  The follow account documents a transformational dream experienced by the author:

I am a soldier on patrol on the edge of the village, in that place where the cultivated fields give way to the wild.  A shallow ditch separates new wheat from a wall of trees.  A small grave yard is placed here, by the green fields, at the edge of human habitation.  I pace my patrol at dusk, and as I walk the perimeter I peer into the gloom beneath the eaves of the ancient forest. I can sense a threat, the eyes of the predator upon me, but I cannot tell from what direction the attack may come.

Suddenly, and before I can react, a great she-wolf, eyes blazing yellow, leaps from the underbrush.  Her teeth catch me in the throat, and with a great heaving snap of her jaws and a gout of blood, my head is severed from my body.  My body is merely meat, and the she-wolf settles into her meal.

But the head rolls across the ground, toward the grave yard, and the ground gives way to a great sloping decline descending into the underworld.  As the head rolls it sheds it mortality: hair scatters in all directions, the eyes roll from their sockets, and skin and muscle peel away, all lost on the journey downward.  The skull, now white and shining, rolls through the shadows until it comes to a flat place: here a circular labyrinth winds in great loops, the paths demarcated by a multitude of skulls, each gazing inwards toward the center.  My skull rolls inward, upon the meandering paths, rolling, rolling inward, until it comes to rest in the heart of the labyrinth.  I have come to the center, to the place where all the ancestors watch and witness.

The dream shifts.  I am myself now, no longer a soldier, and I am wandering through the avenues of an old style carnival with tents and side show attractions.  I stop at a puppet show, located to the left of me.  Before the curtain appear three poorly crafted puppets, each a skull with a hinged jaw and comically overemphasized eyes and teeth.  These three disembodied heads begin to sing a song about a soldier who met a grisly fate at the maw of a she-wolf.  The curtain opens and other puppets take the stage and act out the story.  After the curtain closes on the puppet narrative I resume my wandering through the carnival.

A short ways on and to my right fortune teller’s tent presents itself.  In front of the tent is a small table, with a tall brass candle in a holder and an eyeless skull perched atop a book.  As I begin to pass by the skull turns to me and begins to speak, relating the now familiar story of the soldier who lost his head to the she-wolf.  At the end of the skull’s narrative I awake.  The illuminated numbers on the clock read exactly 12:00.

Although I realized the importance of this dream, it wasn’t until later in my life that I could more completely acknowledge power and implications contained by the images.  Working with the text of this dream, I realized that the liminal elements–the motifs of death, transformation, transition, and rebirth in the underworld—all suggest an initiatory significance.

According to Jung, when we fall into a dream the first element presented to our dream senses is a sense or idea of place.  In this dream, the domestic, signified by the cultivated fields and the distant township, juxtaposes the wildness of the impenetrable dark and sinister forest, far from the safely locked doors and shuttered windows of the town.  In the opinion of the author, initiation into the mysterium pulls us into the space between the domestic, cultivated, safe folds and fields, and the untamed, unpredictable, and perilous wilds.  To be an initiate of the mysteries is to walk widdershins on the edge of things, eyes askew in both directions, within the perimeter of the shadows cast by the central fire burning in the heart of the community, but not so deep in the dark that our belonging to the community is obscured.  This is, I think, the nature of the esoteric practitioner, to hover near the margin of social norms, tight against the invisible membrane that divides the cultivated from the wild, the concrete from the imaginal, the manifest from the un-manifest, the wake from dream, and that which is seen from that which is unseen.

The initial statement of place that begins a dream is coupled with in introduction of the dream figures, or dream protagonists.  The apposition between the edicts and structures valued by society and the laws of the wild are further reflected in the dream figures of the soldier and the she-wolf.  Not unlike an officer of the law, the soldier patrols the margins of the village, protecting and upholding the social and cultural structures that hold the community together.  He holds back the seemingly unpredictable and savage wild, lest it ravages and destroys the elements that comprise the structured civilization contained within the safety perimeter.  The soldier cannot breach the boundary without taking with him the elements that create the very domesticity and culture that he so zealously guards.

It is the she-wolf that unexpectedly breaches the barrier, initiating the exposition of the dream, tearing apart the static relationship between the wild and domestic, the beast and the soldier. She leaps and snuffs out the human life, bringing with her action the terror of the unknown, a red flush of murder, and the taste of fear.  However, she is only following the demands of her own nature: she must feed, hunts for her pack or her offspring, or defends her own territory from the encroachment of a perceived enemy. Her wildness, her savagery, and the in-human laws she follows leads her to disregard the boundary that separates the domesticated from the feral. Depth psychologist James Hillman might suggest that this dream beast is a manifestation of a familiaris, a soul-brother or soul-doctor that has an understanding of the laws that govern the night, the pale, the wild, and the underworld (Hillman, 1979, p. 105).  This spirit animal in this dream is the guardian of the wild, walking on the margin of the forest, just as the soldier is a guardian of his domestic world.  She is the feral initiatrix, and the soldier the initiand.  Her attack initiates a change in status of the soldier and serves as a transformational passage between the worlds of the wild and the town.

However, the attack upon the soldier is not the climax of this story.  As initiatrix, the she-wolf opens wide the life to new possibilities and the culmination of this dream, the peripeteia, is the rolling descent into the labyrinth and the confrontation with the ancestors.  This boundary crossing, and the power of the hot red fountain of sacrifice, activates the liminality of the space between.  The ditch between the cultivated fields and the dangerous gloom beneath the trees gives way, and a portal to the underworld yawns wide, swallowing down the soldier’s noggin.  As the head rolls down into the underworld it experiences a further dissolution: the fleshy bits wear away until all that is left is the immortal, enduring skull.  The lasting image in this dream is of the soldier’s skull in the center of a great labyrinth of skulls, the focus of the empty gaze of many ancestors.  The mythologems of death, dismemberment, the descent into the underworld, and communion with the spirits or souls of the mighty dead are all a part of the cannon of shamanistic initiatory experiences (Eliade, pp. 33-34, 1964).  In such an initiation the individual has made the ultimate sacrifice of the self.  This notion of the self, this persona or mask, tears asunder, exposing to the initiate the truth of who they are, and who they are not, beneath the narrative of personality they have woven for themselves.  Once revealed in this manner to themselves, they must endure the scrutiny of those that have gone before.  This is ecstasy in a very literal sense of the word—to exist or be removed outside of oneself—is a transcendent experience that fulfills one of the ultimate aspirations of our magical and esoteric practices.

This shift into a second locale is significant.  The labyrinth occurring in this dream is a circular unicursal figure based on a seed pattern that consists of a central equal-armed cross-shaped component with four seed points: seven circuits or pathways are formed by connecting the terminal ends of the cross and the points, creating a mandala-like figure with a hidden fourfold demarcation.  The labyrinth’s path leads both to and from the center where the soldier’s skull sits enthroned.  These meanderings of path can be viewed as a metaphor for the digestive process, like the coiling serpentine path of the intestines.

The soldier’s circumambulations of the labyrinth lead him closer to the goal of psychic development of the self (Jung, 1961, p. 96).  The soldier in the dream narrative has died, the she-wolf has devoured the meaty physical part of his being, his identity has been obliterated with his face, and he finds himself interred in the spiraling bowels of the underworld; these are the transformational elements of an initiation—the destruction of the old body and way of being and the resurrection of the individual within a new, previously unrealized center of power (Moore, 1990, p. 6).  The latter part of the soldier’s journey, within the curves of the labyrinth, is witnessed by the empty gaze of the ancestors. Eventually he take his place among them, in the center of the circle.

The final stage of the dream narrative, the lysis, concerns itself with the resolution or result of the dream story (Jung, 1960/1974, P. 81).  The third shift of location occurs, and the dream self is strolling along the un-natural sights and sounds of a carnival.  The atmosphere of this location is full of the strange and bizarre; a liminal, between-place civilized people sometimes dare to stray  into in an effort to catch sight of the macabre, titillating, and frightening.  English gains the word carnival from a circuitous route from the Latin caro, or flesh, and is related to the word incarnate—and, appropriate to this dream narrative, disincarnate.  Carnival once was a time that the community came together to eat quantities of meat.  During Christian times this occurred as a preparation of fasting before Lent; in pre-Christian times carnival may have been celebrated with a sacrifice, and a sharing of meat with the divine (Walter, 2014, p. 26).  Within this liminal place related to the eating of flesh, the main narrative arc of the dream is twice repeated, as if to emphasize the importance of the dream, each time with fewer images involved.  The initial dream presents itself with a cinematic quality, like most visual dreams.  The first of the subsequent retellings uses visual puppets and a chorus of macabre puppet skulls, and is told to amuse an audience of children.  This retelling is amusing, theatrical, and the blood and gore of the wolf attack is artistically buffered and minimalized.  The second retelling is completely oral, relying only on words to convey the narrative, and all the while the animated skull relating the story is supported by a book, a thing of paper and words that long outlives the author.  There seems to be a process here relating to the action of the dream, and how the story will be remembered in the context of time as the narrative of transformation to be related at the time of carnival.

Storytelling, in either waking or dreaming life, reflects the soul’s deepening of experience and revealing of unconscious elements to the conscious mind, all in the service of creating an increasingly structured and consolidated identity (Moore, 1990, p. 5).  Part of my process of working with the material and text of a dream is to write it into a specific poetic form.  I find the restrictive meter and rhyme required for some styles of poetry often condenses the dream to its figurative and argumentative core and clarifies the central archetypes, constructs, and constellations of the dream narrative.  The narrative style of this dream text appeared most suited to a ballad form, including alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and trimeter, and an alternating A-B-A-B rhyme scheme. The last stanza of the ballad the soldier’s skull imparts a vital message, encouraging us to engage the world not as a collection of end products, but by experiencing, submitting, and being aware of the transformative journeys of the soul.

The Soldier’s Tale

 The soldier with his sword unsheathed

Upon the field of green,

His death he knew would be ungrieved,

That much had been foreseen.

 

But plowed he forward through the field,

‘Tween bone yard and the chase,

Not knowing that the trees concealed

A beast both vile and base.

 

Ancient and grizzled, rolling eyes,

Great chops of yellow’d gnash,

No sooner soldier did it spy

From the shadows did it lash.

 

It lept at him from out the dark,

The howling hulk a blur.

Dire fanged death it struck its mark,

In throat its teeth interred.

 

The soldier’s cry a crimson flood,

His beating heart it ceased;

The horrid beast engorged by blood

Plied red jaws to the feast.

 

It gobbled flesh and snap’d the bones—

Consuming all it could—

It left the head to roll alone

And slunk into the wood.

 

His grinning face it peeled away,

All aptitude had fled.

Toward the near necropolis

The soldier’s noggin sped.

 

With each turn the flesh unknotted:

A corps perdu!  Atone!

Eyes, brains, lips, and tongue outwitted,

‘Til all that’s left was bone.

 

He rolled into the charnel home

Between the mourning stones,

A whitened skull with polished dome

Bereft of cries or moans.

 

Into the catacombs he fell:

His ancestors await,

That he might find a place to dwell

In honor of his fate.

 

The labyrinth, it welcomed him:

Of kindred skulls built round,

In seven circuits twisting grim,

Within the core path wound.

 

He took his place within their rank,

The center occupied,

His truth amid the dim and damn’d

Enshrined and beautified.

 

O traveler, the secret seek,

The mizmaze walk and hear

The dogged lipless soldier speak:

“Engage your path and never fear!”

 

The experience of initiation invokes a shift in the relationship with the world.  In this dream the soldier has thrown off life, been thrown out of time and space, and rolls into a moment of eternity.  Like the Buddha, he has transcended life.  However, in the lysis of the dream, his lives on in the world in the story told at carnival.  As Campbell remarks in the Power of Myth, the Bodhisattva, an individual whose being is illumination, and maintains an awareness of his or her relationship with eternity, does not withdraw from the world, regardless of the horrors that it might hold, but instead regards the horrors as a manifestation of the spirit of the world, the animus mundi (Campbell, Moyers, & Flowers, Ep. 2, 1988).   Engaged in the game of life, these theophanies are experienced as aesthetic, beautiful, wondrous things, regardless of all life being filled with hate, sorrow, and greed.

 

References

 

Campbell, J, Moyers, & B. Flowers, B. S (Ed). (1988).  Joseph Campbell and the power of myth: Ep.2 The Message of the myth.  Initial broadcast June 21, 1988 on PBS.

 

Eliade, M. (1964).  Shamanism: Archaic techniques of ecstasy (W, R. Trask, Trans.). Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

 

Hillman, JH. (1979).  The dream and the underworld.  New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Jackson, N. (1996).  Masks of misrule.  Freshfield, UK: Capall Bann Publishing.

 

Jung, C. G.  (1961).  Memories, dreams, reflections.  New York, NY: Random House.

 

Moore, R., Gilette, D.  (1990).  King, warrior, magician, lover: Rediscovering the archetypes of the mature masculine.  San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins.

 

Walter, P. (2014). Christian mythology: Revelations of pagan origins (J. E. Graham, Trans.).  Rochester, VT.: Inner Traditions.  Original material published 2004.

 

Frey’s Hermetic Supplies

By Tammye McDuff

When you first walk into Frey’s Hermetic Supply store and look around, to the mundane eye it would seem a pleasant little shop for an eclectic few. Ah, but to the magical eye, what wonders abound!

Frey 07Owners Frey and Martinique have invested their time and talent into doing things properly. From hand carved ruins that are astrologically timed, to hand dipped candles, oils and potions, they truly offer high end products for serious practitioners.

“We have already made a name for ourselves, in supplying and finding unique magickal items,” said Martinique, “Just the other day we had someone come in to purchase Soul mirrors to trap two men that were stalking a young woman. We even had a Death Eater come in looking for tools to use in his fire rituals.”

“The Czech magician known as Franz Bardon first described the Soul Mirror as a quintessential technique of magical introspection,” added Frey “Franz stated that this self-analysis is one of the most important preparatory works in magic.” Many occult systems neglect it and thus will not have much success. “This spiritual groundwork is most essential to the magical balance, without which there is no regular progression in development,” added Frey “These Saturn Mirrors are designed to look deep … into the mirror of our soul.”

The two met in 2008 in a college painting class. Frey had asked if Martinique could make a label for his graveyard dirt product and it was love at first sight. Martinique is an artist of the highest degree; she creates beautiful detailed watercolors that truly speak to the Pagan essence which are available for purchase. Some paintings are available as lithographs at a reasonable price, and she also has one-of-a-kind greeting cards that emote pagan holidays.

Martinique had participated in Pagan fairs displaying her artwork and invited Frey to join her and host a booth, “Even though we really didn’t have a lot of product, in caught the attention of some folks who were influential in their practice and we sold out!”

Many herbs are purchased from the Amish community, “We couldn’t find a decent Mugwort anywhere, and found a pure species through a quiet Amish community online. We are very specific what we want, if we order a bat’s heart that’s what we want – NOT bat root.”  Many herbs are ordered from the scientific community and animal bones from medical suppliers to ensure the purity of the product.

Some of the newer items under construction are Automatic writing planchettess and handmade talking boards crafted from cherry wood or pine, “In our practices, it is important to be able to commune with other spirits and entities and we believe that having a board made of the proper woods and by proper magicians is essential,” said Frey.

Athames and ritual blades are hand fired from high carbon steel; drinking horns are hand selected, sealed with natural beeswax and can be personally inscribed for a coven or clan.

Frey 02Items of intense interest are their magic lamps beginning at $18.00, made of beautiful brass. In true Jinn fashion these lamps are specially forged to work with their trademarked lamp fluid that can burn blue, green or yellow flame depending upon your intent and desire. “ In mythology, the Jinn are said to be controllable after magically binding them to objects, such as rings of Solomon, we have done the research to confirm that different genies responded to different colors. We couldn’t locate the type of fluid that would produce the right color, so we decided to make our own,” noted Frey.

One of the most impressive pieces in the shop are the handmade Magic Tables or Squares. Being crafted of proper metals the ancient table of numbers contains the magical essence of individual planets, the Table of Saturn is created under the proper instruction and made of lead while the Table of Venus is a square of seven with numbers one through 49 and imprinted on copper. “Eventually we will offer all of the magical tables and seals. All perfectly crafted, in their perfect day and time,” said Frey.

If you check out their YouTube channel, Martinique has a thorough tutorial for solitaire practitioners Book of Shadows, “I am doing my BOS in front of everyone, and viewers can follow along, it is a basic binder that everyone needs, but few know how to fashion,” she said. “Once people complete this Book of Shadows, it will basically complete the year-and-a-day and we will bestow their black cord.” She adds that there is no favoritism this way, you do the work, receive your charter and then students can move on to other practices that they are drawn too.

Frey 05“When you get deep enough into the occult and go through secret societies you will eventually see the ties that bind these practices together, whether they are oils and incense or voodoo dolls and mojo bags. We want our products to be magically correct and available to all or the community. ”

I spent over three hours with this couple, discussing magick and paganism.  They know what they are talking about; you can see their passion to correctly deliver quality items and teaching to the Pagan Community. Frey and Martinique will offer Tarot classes and spell casting workshops along with yoga instruction this summer, “We want to give people the back ground on magick, not just sell stuff!”

Frey’s is located at 2701 North Orange Olive Road in the city of Orange. For more information, you can find them on Facebook, Etsy and Instagram or contact them at 714.202.5458

 

April 2018 Reviews by a Witch

In our new segment Reviews by a Witch Voice Over Actress Jennifer Anne Scott is sharing reviews of products, events, places and whatever strikes her fancy.

This month she shares her thoughts on The Cauldron Bar and Restaurant, Momento AtelierThe Wicking Hour Flamery, and Spellbinding.  Click here to listen to another great MP3 by one of my favorite witches. You don’t want to miss her killer podcast,”Whispers of a Witch” a pod cast where she narrates various poems and short stories of the dark and witchy sort.

2019 Topics Continued

Our next 6 month newsletter topics and due dates!

Volume Month Topic Draft Due Publication
28 July 2019 Inclusivity in the Community 06/21/19 06/28/19
29 August 2019 Divination Nation 07/19/19 07/26/19
30 September 2019 By the Gods! 08/23/19 08/30/19
31 October 2019 The Broom Closet 09/20/19 09/27/19
32 November 2019 Chosen Families 10/18/19 10/25/19
33 December 2019 Delving into Darkness 11/22/19 11/29/19

Weal and Woe: Amplication and Reflection

By Jesper Toad

Weal and WoeThe figure of the witch as handed down to us in these old yarns appears as a person around whom power gathers, and that power lashes out, amplifying the kindness of some, emphasizing the unkindness of others.  To Christianity, which attempted to erase the earlier paganisms of Europe, the figure of the witch represented only evil.  But as a pagan symbol the witch is richly ambiguous, a greater than human elemental force, simultaneously representing and embodying fundamental contradictions (Roper, 2012, p. 57-58).  In the stories handed down through time she deals in fertility and destruction, life and death, energy and entropy, all of which further connects and allies the witch to the Fates (p. 58).

An excellent example of this occurs in the story of Frau Holle, recorded in the early nineteenth century by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales).  In short, the story goes something like this:

Once there was a widow that had both a daughter and a stepdaughter.  While she spoiled the daughter of her blood, she was unkind to her dead husband’s daughter, and resented being saddled with the extra mouth to feed as she suffered in her widowhood.  The favored daughter did little work, and lounged idle all day, while the stepdaughter did all the work about the cottage, along with the spinning and weaving.  Each day, she would take her spinning out to the old well, and sit beneath the tree there as the spindle spun round and the roving lengthened into thread.

One day the stepdaughter pricked her sp0indle upon the sharp haft of the spindle. Not wanting to stain her work, she washed her hand in the cool water of the well.  Leaning over, she lost her grip upon the spindle and it fell, splash, into the water and quickly sank from sight.   Terrified at how angry her stepmother would become over the loss of the spindle, the stepdaughter, with no thought other than reclaiming what was lost, leapt over the lip of the well and dived into the water.

Strangely (for that is how things happen in such stories) the stepdaughter found herself in a great green meadow, lush with wildflowers and abuzz with bees.  She follow a winding path, and came upon a great oven, from which issued the smell of baking bread.  She heard small, soft voices crying out in the oven.  It was the bread, now baked to perfection, crying out to be removed from the oven lest they begin to burn.  The stepdaughter snatched up the bread peel, threw open the oven, and removed the brown loaves before following the path further.

Soon she came to a great gnarled apple tree, its boughs so full they bent to the ground.  The apples, ripe and shiny called out to the stepdaughter, pleading to be harvested.  The stepdaughter snatched up the bushel basket from beneath the tree and gathered the ripe apples before following the path further.

Finally, the stepdaughter came to a cottage, neat as a pin.  An old woman stood at the gate, and offered the stepdaughter a place to stay in return for assistance around the cottage.  The stepdaughter consented, for where was she to go in this strange world in which she found herself?

The woman introduced herself a Frau Holle, and the stepdaughter helped her as she churned the butter, spun the flax, and shook out the feather bed pillow and coverlet.  Frau Holle joked that when they were shaking out the pillow and coverlet that it would make it snow in the world the stepdaughter was from.  The shook the coverlets until feathers flew and drifted, like snowflakes, all about the yard.

But the stepdaughter became homesick after a time, which shows that there is no place like home, even if the people there treat you poorly.  Frau Holle had been pleased with the stepdaughter’s hard work, and her kindness and industriousness at the oven and to the apple tree.  As Frau Holle walked the stepdaughter to the garden gate there was a sparkling in the air, a shower of gold that fell upon the girl. Frau Holle presented the stepdaughter with the lost spindle, and when the gate was closed the stepdaughter found she was transported back to her stepmother’s house.

The stepdaughter ran into the house, overjoyed to be home.  She told the stepmother all that had befallen her, but as she spoke jewels slipped from her lips with the words. Pearls and rubies, peridot and topaz scattered across the floor.  Astounded, the stepmother listened to her stepdaughter’s story, and then thought of her own daughter, and how she was much more deserving of such a blessing.

So the stepmother set her daughter next to the well and made her spin.  The thread was broken and uneven, and in disgust the daughter threw the spindle into the well and watched it sink from sight.  The stepmother boxed her ears, and tipped her into the well, yelling at her not to return until she had won a blessing such as the undeserving stepdaughter had received.

The daughter found herself in the meadow, and follow the path as her mother had bade her.  Coming to the oven she heard the bread calling out to be removed from the oven, but she told herself she hadn’t time for that, and left the bread to burn.  Likewise, she had not time for the laden apple tree, and left the apples to break the boughs.  When she came to the cottage the woman at the gate offered her room and board in exchange for assistance.

But it wasn’t long before Frau Holle dismissed her, disgusted with her laziness and selfishness.  Frau Holle walked the daughter to the gate, where a kettle of pitch appeared, and upended, spilling the hot pitch down over the ungrateful girl.  She bolted out the gate, only to find herself standing before her own homely cot.

The Stepmother, alarmed at her daughter’s state, asked her what had happened.  The poor girl began to speak, but with each word a snake or toad would spring from her mouth, and go wriggling and hopping off in all directions.

Here is Frau Holle, an archetypal figure of the witch, granting blessings to the deserving, and dishing curses to those who are ill-tempered, selfish, or don’t pull their own weight.  The witch in the real world, in my mind, is quite similar: I suppose I hold the opinion that the witch figure, walking on the margin between the civilized and wild, acts as a point of causality for doling out the so called Rule of Three.  The figure of the witch reflects back upon the people she comes into contact with.  Kindness is returned with kindness, and thoughtlessness encounters thoughtlessness.

There are those that live their lives in a kind and helpful manner.  I make an effort to speak words of blessing to them, even if it is only for today.  Those that are needlessly cruel, excessively self-absorbed, and wrapped up in their own egotism are not so.  Cross the Witch.  See what happens.

 

References

Grimm, J & Grimm, W. (1897).  Spindel, weberschiffchen und nadel, Kinder- und hausmärchen (Children’s and household tales — Grimms’ fairy tales), 7th ed. Berlin: DE.

Roper, L. L.  (2012).  The witch in western imagination.  Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press.

 

The Cauldron of Rebirth

by Jesper Toad

47022405_1114438622053531_9021174249393487872_nThe Cauldron of Rebirth

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts…”

~William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

 

She gathers them up, all the broken threads, frayed, unremembered, unraveled, placing every small bit of fiber into her great cauldron.  They spin and swirl in the immense darkness, remembering and forgetting what they were, dreaming of what they will be. At some point the spinning twists these fibers together into a new thread, a new life, to be measured and cut.  A new thread, vibrant with possibility, waits to be woven across the creation in a new pattern.  So it is with the world: nothing is ever wasted, nothing is ever lost.

Between Death and Life

It is an undiscovered country, the territory that lies between our final breath and whatever comes after.  No one has definitively returned from that great unknown to elucidate us. Everything beyond the shroud remains a mystery we are all destined to discover for ourselves, and we fear that at that moment of discovery we will find that we have attended to the wrong tasks, that our values were out of step with the larger narrative of which we are a part, that we have simply wasted the time of our incarnation, or that there is only nothing after life and we merely cease to exist.

But this lacuna between death and life is intolerable, and demands filling.  Various systems of belief—we call them religion and spirituality, although they are no more than variations in our theory on how the world works—have arisen to fill this narrative void.  Some of these points of view are based on observations of the natural world.  Others are dictated by angels, devils, and spirits.  None of them can be verified for accuracy.

Consequently, hold lightly any information on what happens in the afterlife.  No matter how much we fervently believe in the Gates of Heaven, the narrow sword-bridge of As-Sirāt leading to the Hall of Abundance, or the eternal return of reincarnation, they are metaphors for what comes after, not concrete realities.  That being said, what follows is the metaphor I have come to believe concerning the souls’ existence between death and life, and the happenings of that invisible, undiscovered county.

Every culture, every religion, every system of belief, posits an idea of an afterlife.  In the majority of them the spirits or souls of the deceased go into an otherworld that is tenuously connected to our concrete, physical world, and pass time in an existence that resembles the station of the deceased during life.  Usually this afterlife is idyllic, without pain, hunger, or suffering, although some cultures believe that the evil actions during an incarnation meet with punishment, and the good deeds merit reward.  Other belief systems encompass a return of the soul in a new body, sometimes within the family that they had left behind at the advent of their death.

The Eternal Return

The word reincarnation comes to us from the Latin, and means “entering the flesh again.”  The older term, metempsychosis originates with the Pythagoreans.  The notion in reincarnation was probably part of most ancient pre-literate human cultures, and it typical of the shamanic beliefs of hunting and gathering peoples (Mills, 1994, p. 18).  Beliefs systems that include notions of rebirth appear to have spontaneously arisen across the world, and have been document not only in India, but in East Africa, China, among the indigenous tribal peoples of North America, and in Europe, notable among the Greeks and the Celts.  Plato most probably believed in reincarnation.   Alexander Cornelius Polyhistor, writing about the Gauls in the first century, claimed that they believed that their souls were immortal, and that these souls would return after a number of years, reincarnated into new bodies.  Julius Caesar also attributed a belief in metempsychosis to the Celts.

The notion that the souls of the deceased would be reborn may have started with the observations of the seasons.  As the sun ran its course across the vault of the heavens the days would lengthen and shorten.  The world alternated between the warmth of summer, autumns cooling, the dark of winter, and the spring’s thaw.  In time with the changing seasons, seeds gave way to green shoots emerging from the soul, to stems and leaves and eventually flowers, to fruit, and again to seeds in an eternal agricultural round of life and dying.  The young of many animals appeared in the spring, and birds built nests and laid their many colored eggs, from which new life also emerged.  Fish, fowl, and four legged creatures proliferated, and during the warmer months fattened themselves to survive the oncoming winter, when many of them would perish.  Living close to the seasonal renewal of the land, the people of the past did not perceive themselves as separate from the world, but rather as a presence embedded in nature, following the same cycles of birth, death and rebirth.

Respiration is another biological observation that may have led to the development of the idea of metempsychosis.  The people once believed that the newborn drew the invisible, vital soul into a body with the first wailing breaths.  Respiration signaled that a body was ensouled, alive.   Upon the drawing of the final breath life fled, returning the soul back to its element, back into the air, the atmosphere, the wind.  These souls, then, were free to seek out new human bodies to animate.  Alternatively, in the case of the transmigration of souls, any animal or plant that breath imbues with life can house the soul (Wall, 1919, p. 584).  The relationship between the words spirit, respiration, and inspiration are intimately connected in this breathing in and out of the soul.  Additionally, folklore across the world contains descriptions of witches and other magical workers leaving their bodies by way of the mouth, like a departing breath, when they traveled in spirit form.

Many early cultures throughout Europe held to a doctrine of reincarnation, in which the soul returns after death incarnated in a new body.  With the encroachment of the Church, these beliefs conflicted with the tenets of Christianity, and eventually were disallowed and considered heretical. Current research suggests the founder or the Theosophist Society Helena Blavatsky re-introduced the doctrine of reincarnation in the west, where it becomes a part of the Western Mystery Tradition (Hutton, 2001, p. 20).  Later, Gerald Gardner adopts the notion of reincarnation into the cannon of contemporary witchcraft belief.  The Goddess Arrives (1940), a fictional novel in which we begin to see the elements of Gardner’s Wicca beginning to crystallize, concludes with a theory of group reincarnation that appears heavily influenced by the theosophy of Rudolph Steiner (Hutton, 2001, p. 223).  Later, Gardner (1954) lists reincarnation with the activities and beliefs of the Witches outlined in Witchcraft Today (Hutton, 2001, p. 206).

Summerland and Witchdom

The writings of early contemporary witches, such as Gardner and Valiente, propose that when shrug off our mortal coil we continue existence in an idyllic place with those people with which we had lived in our corporeal lives.  This Summerland, as it is sometimes called, is conceived as being located not above, as in the Christian and Islamic afterworlds, but somehow beyond or between, in a world that those of us incarnate cannot detect with our mortal senses, although Valiente (1973) suggests that psychically gifted individuals such as witches can visit that far realm in dreams and visions (p. 36).  As to the nature of the soul’s sojourn in the idyllic afterworld,   Rudolf Steiner (1913), the founder of Anthroposophy, taught that after crossing over in death the soul focuses upon the memories and connections it has left behind, reflecting on the most recent incarnation.

Personally, I hold that the location of all afterlives—Heaven, Hell, Summerland, or what have you—have their existence in the Imaginal Realm: that place that co-exists with the physical world of flesh and bone, a habitation of thought and emotion and mind that some occultists refer to as the astral.  Souls recently deceased dwell there for a time (decades if we are to believe Steiner) continuing an existence much like what they experienced in life.  Doreen Valiente’s (1989) experiences with altered consciousness and her encounters with John “Nicholas” Breakspear, a witch that supposedly lived in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, appears to parallel this notion of the disincarnate continuing their existence in the Imaginal Realm1.  During Valiente’s interactions, Breakspear refers to a place called Witchdom, located in the Inner Planes or Other World, and describes the delights of the sabbat, replete with music and dances (pp. 100-114).

The research into folklore and the European witch trials by Ginzberg (1991), Pócs (1999), and Wilby (2019) suggest that the experience of the Witches’ Sabbat takes place while the practitioner is in an altered consciousness or trance state.  If we take a metaphysical view of these altered states of consciousness that includes experiences described as out of body, then where is the spirit traveling when it attends the nighttime revelries of the Witches?  From the metaphysical standpoint, we might locate Witchdom and the Sabbat in the Imaginal Realm.  The disembodied spirits traveling upon the wind recalls the narrative of the sabbat, with souls flying on straws, brooms, stangs, and goats to the great gathering of witches where they dance, feast, engage in acts of carnal love, and revel in the presence of the greater witch-spirits.

But the souls of the dead don’t stay in this idyllic epilogue forever.

Recycling the Materials of the Soul

My first experience with reincarnation was intense, and that intensity made a believer of me.  In my early twenties I attended a workshop in reincarnation at a local shop, facilitated by a woman who was a hypnotist specializing in past-life regression.  Personally, I was skeptical as to the existence of reincarnation, but I was taking the class so that I could make a more informed opinion.  The instructor began the workshop with general information that I was already familiar with, and then give us a pre-hypnotic suggestion before she started the work of regressing us into our long forgotten past lives.  I went under more easily than I expects, and found myself in a dark Elizabethan inn, with a low ceiling and the timbers painted black (a detail I would not discover was authentic until two decades later).  I was a pale thin young woman, with dishwater hair and hands that had seen too much work for their age.  It was late, and I was cleaning up after the inn had closed for the evening, when a man burst from where he had been hiding in the shadows and assaulted me.  I watched as the person I was in the past was ravaged and raped and left half-conscious on the floor.   This woman died the next morning: a broken rib had punctured her lung.  When the workshop facilitator brought us out of our altered states of consciousness I was in shock, although otherwise unharmed.  The experience had impressed upon me that some there was something to this concept of reincarnation.

The remembrance of this one life opened a floodgate, and I had several more experiences with recalling past lives.  One thing I noted, however, was that the past lives that I could recover were always fragmentary, and that the incidents remembered were always emotionally charged in some way: rape, the pain of childbirth, the intense wonder and anticipation of a child about to board an ocean liner, the shock of recognition, fear, devotion, anger, and regret. It was as if each of the lives remembers had eroded in some way, leaving only those moments welded together through the force of intense emotion.  This observation would prove integral to my understanding of the process of reincarnation as not a continuation of a discrete individual personality—the classic understanding of metempsychosis in the west—but rather a recycling of the imaginal divine stuff of which the invisible portion which composes each individual.  The remembered parts, recalled to the conscious mind of the individual through dreams, artistic creations, through trance work, and meditation, are those portions of our earthly experience that have been crystallized into the soul’s memory through an intensity of emotion.  All of the experiences of a life that are not fixed by emotion remain fluid, and forget themselves after a time in the otherworld, flowing together into some great sea of soul, punctuated in places by frozen experiences—triumphs and traumas—floating like ice in the ocean.  Some witches refer to this as the Cosmic Soup, with the soul losing its individuality as it breaks down and flows into this collective sea of soul, much as the physical body breaks down into chemical components that are recycled and reused.

In short, I believe our death ushers our soul into an imaginal spirit word, but I do not think that this existence is for eternity.  The souls spend time in this imaginal landscape, the stuff of the mundus imaginalis shaping itself to the memory of the discarnate individual.  The dead exist within this pleasant or miserable experience, reflected in and reflecting on their past incarnation, until they slowly forget themselves: the ego boundaries fade, releasing the contents of the soul into some great reservoir.  Witches hold the great Cauldron of Death and Rebirth as the image for this unknowable pool, deep in the mundus imaginalis.  In time a portion of the contents of this great cauldron of rebirth will be allocated to a new incarnation.  That portion includes some memory of the soul, including those experiences that have been frozen or crystallized into the soul material by intense negative or positive emotion.  These insoluble elements float free from one another, no longer bound together.  In time a new individual is formed from this soul stuff, incorporating material from multiple individuals, often including those insoluble elements.

“You belonged to us in the past”

What is it that draws the soul materials toward incarnation?  Perhaps it is these insoluble elements, soul-stuff knit together around moments of joy, love, grief, and terror, which are drawn toward one another and into the flesh to act out the next chapter of their drama.  Many cultures believe that their forebears reincarnate in their descendants, or within the same kin group.  From the perspective of a tribal people, this return of the ancestors might be seen as a favorable occurrence, preferable to giving birth to strangers or outsiders.  Feminist Archeologist Marija Gimbutas suggests that at Neolith subterranean Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum of Malta, a necropolis replete with the remains of thousands of individuals, pregnant women would sleep among the bones of the dead, hoping to allow the incarnation of one of the ancestors (Borg, 2001, p. 57; Noble, 2003, p. 72).  Many indigenous Native American tribes believed that the features of newborn children echoed those of some deceased grandparent (Krickeberg, Walter et al, 1968, p. 161, quoted in Varner, 2010, p. 77).  Some tribes believed that a single soul might reincarnate simultaneously in several descendants (Mills, 2000, quoted in Varner, 2010, p. 78).  Charles Leland (1892) reports it as an esoteric doctrine of death and rebirth among the Romagna witches.  When those of the Strega or witch families die, they reappear again, reincarnating in their descendants.  Leland tells us that this belief is known but rarely discussed outside of the witch families.  When any child is born it is examined for some sign that it is an incarnation of a deceased relative (pp. 244-248).

As mentioned above, this belief in the metempsychosis of the soul is woven into the cannon of Contemporary Witchcrafts.  Gardner, in the Meaning of Witchcraft (1959), informs us that reincarnation is a basic tenet of how witches understand the mysteries of life and death, and this belief in reincarnation extends into a conviction that those that have been a witch in a past incarnation will return as a witch, even if they have no conscious knowledge of that previous incarnation (p. 14).  Valiente tells us that many members of the witch cult—presumably individuals with whom she was personally acquainted—feel as if they have been witches in past lives.  The belief gives rise to the expression “Once a witch, always a witch” (Gardner, 1959, p. 14; Valiente, 1973, p. xvi).  Gardner himself records that the witches that performed his initiation said, “You belonged to us in the past. You are of the blood. Come back to where you belong” (Gardner, 1959, p. 11).  He later  reports that witches past and present believed that they would return to their own people to be among those that they had loved and who had loved them, and that they would “remember, know, and love them again” (p. 25).

The Mighty Dead

The Mighty Ones are occasionally mentioned in the writings of Wicca and Witchcraft, but rarely elucidated upon in such a way to bring about a clear understanding of their nature.   Gardner (1954) remarks the Mighty Ones briefly, suggesting that the Mighty Dead are a result of the evolution of the soul through myriad incarnations (Gardner, p. 16).  Leland’s (1892) research into Witchcraft in Italy encounters folkloric stories in which the souls pass through successive lifetimes as a sorcerer or witch, gaining in might with each successive incarnation (pp. 104-148).  After a number of cycles of death and rebirth these souls cease to incarnate and become powerful spirits, wandering the earth in the guise of mortals, or traveling on the winds (p. 244).   Wall (1919) writes that the Gnostics believed gnosis in some part entailed the remembering of past incarnations, and that those individuals that could recall lifetimes of past experience broke past the bonds of conformity and attained mystical powers (p. 585).  Some occultists believe that individuals become part of this cavalcade through acts of heroism or though great leadership.  However, I think it is more accurate to understand the road leading to this existence as a powerful soul independent of physical form is more in the nature of an evolutionary step, one that takes time and the accrual of experience through repeated incarnations.

The French historian Lecouteux (2015) finds evidence in European folklore supporting the belief that the souls of the dead live on as tutelary spirits, benefitting those with whom they have a positive relationship.  These invisible ancestral spirits sometimes find residence to specific locations in the landscape.  Over the centuries, the memory of such spirits may have merged with the belief in elves and local land spirits.  Medieval agrarian households regarded these spirits as potentially beneficial or baneful and approached them with veneration.  The Church demonized the in all such spirit, although they the belief in them lingers on in the world, serving as a connection between the human and numinous powers (pp. 59-61).

The end point of the souls’ evolution, if believe that we can evolve into spirits capable of slipping the fetters of death and rebirth, is beyond right and wrong, good or bad, or dark and light.  It is an immoral, immortal existence—like that of the fairy folk—no longer enslaved to social, religious, or even spiritual strictures.  These souls have entered into the company of the dii animals—“spirit gods,” or literally translated: “the gods-animal.”  This state of being is, in my practice, one of the objectives of Witchcraft: the practices of gaining the sight, the manipulation of spirament, and traveling in the spirit body prepare us for this existence independent of the physical body.

This musing upon the survival of the soul through cycles of incarnations or the evolution into a non-physical entity is not an idle exercise: this framework of belief allows us, as magical folk, to make sense of the strange events that we witness in the course of our crooked spiritual path.  At the beginning of my own journey, I encountered a being that I have only been able to make sense of by relating it to the idea of the Mighty Dead.  I was sitting and doing my level best to meditate when I was startled by a figure in a white robe emerging through the corner of the room.  I could make out no features: the cowl of the hood completely shrouded the face, and the overlong sleeves covered the hands.  So occluded was the figure that I could not make out even the sex of the visitor.  The spirit—for so it must be—glided silently across the floor to where I sat on the floor, back against a chair.  It came to a stop in front of me, grasped me with its hidden hands on either side of my head, and bending forward put its head in mine.  What followed was a blaze of white bliss that seemed to go on for hours, but was certainly only a few seconds.  The figure pulled its head out of mine and floated back to the corner, where it disappeared, leaving behind questions as to its identity and purpose.  I flatter myself by thinking that the intensity of my curiosity, fueled by studies into psychic phenomena and witchcraft, had caught this being’s attention; conversely, it may have been waiting for me to progress to a certain point in my development to receive whatever gift it placed within my boney skull.

Jesper Bio image

Jesper Toad is a Georgian and a Gardnerian initiate, and studied the Feri Tradition with T. Thorn Coyle. His personal practice of three decades blends elements of all these traditions, as well incorporating spiritualist, shamanic and depth psychological perspectives. Jesper can be contacted at jespertoad@gmail.com.
The Enchiridion Magistellus: A Visual Handbook of the Witches’ Art is a collection of eighty-four images blending concepts and practices drawn from several Witchcraft traditions and academic sources. Each image is shaped by the artist’s dreams, reverie, meditations, and journeys in the imaginal realm. This deck of cards serves as a visual lesson plan to the practice of Witchcraft. The Enchiridion Magistellus: A Visual Handbook of the Witche

s’ Art can be purchased at https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/the-enchiridion-magistellus.

Notes

[1] Mark Carter (2012) in Stalking the Goddess suggests that and the information gleaned from Valiente’s experiences consists of a composite of material that Valiente herself was familiar with from her own studies.  However, if we give credence to the existence of the Breakspear entity, engaging in conversation using elements with which Valiente is familiar with to present instruction makes a certain pedagogical sense.

 

References

Borg, V. P.  (2001).  The rough guide to Malta and Gozo.  London, UK: Rough Guides, LTD (p. 57).Carter, M.  (2012).  Stalking the goddess.  Alresford, UK: Moon Books.

Gardner, G. B. (1959).  The meaning of witchcraft. London, UK: Aquarian.

Gardner, G. B. (1954).  Witchcraft today.  London, UK: Rider.

Ginzburg, C.  (1991).  Ecstasies: Deciphering the witches’ craft (R. Rosenthal, Trans.).  Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Hutton, R. (2001).  Triumph of the moon: A history of modern Pagan witchcraft. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Krickleberg, W., Trimborn, H., Muller, W, and Zerries, O.  (1968).  Pre-Colombian American religions.  New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Lecouteux, C. (2015).  Demons and spirits of the land: Ancestral lore and practices ( J. E. Graham, Trans.).  Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions. (Original work published 1995).

Leland, C. G. (1892).  Etruscan Roman remains in popular tradition.  London, UK: T. Fisher Unwin.

Mills, A. (1994).  Reincarnation belief among North American Indians and Inuit: Context, Distribution, and Variation in Amerindian rebirth: Reincarnation belief among North American Indians and Inuit.  Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Mills, A.  February 11-16, 2000.  Paper given at Survivial of Bodily Death, an Esalen Invitational Conference.

Noble, V.  (2003).  The double goddess: Women sharing power.  Rochester, VT: Bear & Company.

Pócs, E. (1999).  Between the living and the dead: A perspective on witches and seers in the Early Modern Age.  New York, NY: Central European University Press.

Steiner, R. (1913).  Life between death and rebirth: The connection between the physical and supersensible world.  Retrieved from on line 10/16/18 from https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA140/English/AP1968/19130310p1.html.

Valiente, D. (1973).  An ABC of witchcraft past & present.  Custer, WA: Phoenix Publishing Company.

Valiente, D. (1989).  The rebirth of witchcraft.  Ramsbury, UK :The Crowood Press LTD

Varner, G. R.  (2010).  Ghosts, spirits & the afterlife in Native American folklore and religion.  Raleigh, NC: Lulu Press.

Wall, O. A.  (1919).  Sex and sex worship (phallic worship).  St. Louis, MO: C. V. Mosby Co.

Wilby, E. (2009).  Cunning folk and familiar spirits: Shamanistic visionary traditions in early modern British witchcraft and magic. Chicago, IL: Sussex Academic Press.

The Sacred Stone

by Morgana RavenTree 2001

I Am beyond time, for me, past, present and future are all the same.

I Am without regret, for all things roll off my back.

I Am worn by the wind and the water, diminishing in size and shape, but my heart is solid.

I Am the keeper of secrets, jewels are hidden beneath my surface.

I Am a page in the book of eternity.

I Am the record of all that has been and the passage of time can be read within me.

I Am alone, but part of the world; always present, rarely noticed.

I Am the throne on which the Lady finds rest; step on my back, following in her footsteps.

I Am the Sacred Stone. I have been alive forever. There is nothing I have not been.

zen stones