August 30, 2017

Evil is a growing thing
It has its own gravity
and never answers to its name
It is a hole into chaos. It is real

Fanny Howe
One Night in Balthazar

The Witches’ Round

August 30, 2017

Nowadays used to raise the Cone of Power, this old dance may be used alone or in full coven. It is better if the Drawing Down of the Moon has gone before, for then the Gods shall fuse with the energies raised in the ecstacy of the dance and thereby accomplish your will.

All join hands to form a ring about the High Priestess. Heads turned left and eyes tightly shut, will a flowing river of power about the circle, moving from one through the next, from man to woman and woman to man, about the circle without beginning or end, gathering strength as it goes.

When the circle is set thus, in motionless intensity, the High Priestess begins to clap to the rhythm of the heart-beat. And upon this signal all open their eyes and step widdershins; slowly at first but with a quickening step as the High Priestess quickens the beat of her clap, until three rounds are complete. And this must be accomplished smoothly and without awkwardness.

Now change direction and dance deosil to the Witches’ Rune or some other tune; slowly at first, but faster and ever faster until, the Power being at its peak, the High Priestess shall release it crying: “Down !”, whereupon all shall fall to the ground to sit in a circle facing in. Thus also was the Cone of Power raised of yore.

Janet and Stewart Farrar
The Witches Bible

Those who look beyond

August 30, 2017

Here is the Path written in blood, blood fresh fallen from the Stars in their seasons, fallen to the opened hearts of Those who look beyond both themselves and the Stars in heaven. That which is seen is not that which should be sought. Seek it in the Pearl that is set upon the Dragon’s brow.

Andrew D. Chumbley
Qutub: The Point

Sound bites from the dark

August 30, 2017

Tanith Lee’s garden – a statue waiting

Tanith Lee’s Garden – face in the trees

Tanith Lee’s Garden – a pathway to infinity

Tanith Lee's house - stained glass

Tanith Lee’s house – stained glass

30th August

Donald Trump is frequently vilified by the mass media. Social media, too, is not exempt from this trend: electronic graffiti condemns the man’s actions or lack of same on a daily basis. And yet the question needs to be asked, is the real problem the American President or America itself?

Donald Trump did not seize power. He was elected by a majority – democratically. Faced with a choice between a woman and a billionaire television personality, the US electorate chose the television personality – And, yes, it is inspirational to see what democratic nations can do when they think the chips are down.

The American people awarded the imperial purple to a man who has succeeded in lowering the issues of the day to the level of triviality. To sound bites. A promise of government by twitter feed. American politics has become, under Trump’s presidency, as thrilling, and almost as much fun, as an appendectomy performed without benefit of anaesthetic.

And with regard to the media they seem distracted by each fresh utterance this president makes. Which, of course, is exactly what he wants. Major issues degenerate into a name-calling contest, while a procession of minor celebrities and wannabes appear, and as rapidly disappear, as presidential aides and advisors. Movement signifies progress – even when that movement is perfectly static or backwards! America run as a corporation by a businessman used to having his own way.

Should we be surprised? No we should not. Donald Trump exists in a world that demands twenty-four-hour rolling self-obsession. And he is there to fill this almost ecological niche in the American psyche. He is president because of hostility towards those pesky interfering liberal do-gooders who force “political correctness” on everybody; he will clean house, rid the country of all those undesirables who have slipped surreptitiously across America’s borders; he will end Muslim migration! He will make America great again!

It’s almost as if a majority of the American electorate woke up one morning with a cloying, skin-tight rage, a need to lash out at something, anything, and change the face of their society. Sick to death of fatuous, self-absorbed politicians who all seemed mired in minutia and an age old mantra of consumer democracy so inescapable, yet so reliant on carefully-marketed kitsch, that they voted for Trump.

And they got him.


Really good weather at the end of last week. Mowed both lawns. Caught the sun. Working in the garden my thoughts drifted to the late Tanith Lee’s incredible house and garden in Hastings where she lived with her partner John Kaiine.

Tanith’s home was so like a wild fantasy, a journey beyond commonplace reality. There, it was easy to imagine a place “more poignant than the plumage of the spring.” There, indeed, could be heard “music played by the reflection of a swan as it passes over the strings of a moonlit lake.” Dusk in that garden and the leaves on the trees seem to form strange shapes and faces. A place of irregular stones and inconsistencies…

It is possible this will end badly. That I could drag
you down to the seabed between rock & whalestone
& teach you your consequences, your damage, your dead.
That I could split iron like crocus, swallow words
like nails, build walls of mud & mortar to withstand
your pounding. That I might count the seconds of night,
count flash to thunder, might give up ground for low sky,
thick air, might extend a willing neck or tongue.
That I believe words applied correctly can move walls
& reset clocks. That I’ve sealed my own with wax, dug
& pulled rocks like teeth from the earth until my fingers
bled, sowed them in pots & waited & watched until
they sprouted, until a glare cast itself in the stale sky.
I believe anything I wish for can come true if I stand
in a corner and not think of you. I don’t think of you;
I can’t think of a wish.

Ariana D den Bleyker

Should somebody penetrate the barbed-wire entanglement of my handwriting and read my Roughs , it would make little sense to him. He would find bewildering changes of time and place. The people would confound him with sudden new characteristics. Some would change their looks. Some would be whisked away without explanation. Some would put in a late appearance, yet be greeted by the rest as though they had been there from the beginning. He would find, this reader, traces of style followed by no style at all; pedestrian phrases, clichés, straight flat-footed reporting. Here a whole sequence of scenes complete and next some mingy skeleton stuff with a burst of apparently contemptuous hieroglyphs on the blank left-hand page beside it. Nor is the left-hand page reserved for “Exp” (meaning Expand, “X” (meaning Wrong), “//” (meaning much the same as “X” only more so) and “?” (meaning what it says). The left-hand page is likely to be a shambles, taking afterthought insertions for the right-hand page; paragraphs whose position may not be indicated at all. No; a reader would have no more fun with the Rough than the writer is having.

Pamela Frankau
Pen to Paper

Snakes hold a place of importance in folklore and mythology from around the world. A snake’s ability to shed its skin has made it a symbol of immortality in stories such as the Epic of Gilgamesh. This also may be the reason that snakes appear as deities or representations of rebirth or the return to youth in stories from many cultures.

Snakes as Symbols

Images of intertwined snakes symbolized healing and fertility in ancient Babylon. One of the oldest mystical symbols in the world is the Ouroboros, literally “tail-devourer,” which dates to ancient Egypt. The Ouroboros is the symbol of perfection, the endless cycle of being. It usually is pictured as a serpent with its tail in its mouth, forming a perfect circle. The Greek god of medicine, Asclepios, is depicted holding a caduceus, which is a staff with two intertwined serpents coiled around it. According to the myth, he discovered medicine by watching a snake use herbs to heal or, in some versions, to resurrect another snake. Since the sixteenth century, the caduceus has been a symbol for various medical organizations.

Snakes as Symbols of Divinity

Snakes appear as deities in many ancient cultures. The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the feathered, or plumed, serpent, whose Mayan counterpart to Quetzalcoatl is Kulkulcan, is a powerful god of civilization, credited with providing corn, the arts, and science to humankind. Ancient Egyptians worshipped Renenutet, a cobra goddess associated with fertility and the protection of children and the pharaoh. The Egyptians also idolized Nehebkau, a snake deity that guarded the entrance to the underworld, protected the pharaoh after death, and travelled with the sun god, Re, during his nightly journey through the underworld. In Australian aboriginal culture, Wollunqua is the Rainbow Snake, a giant snake connected with the rainbow as well as with Creation itself. Eingana is an aboriginal snake goddess and mother goddess who made the land, the water, and all living things. In Hindu mythology, nagas are a race of demigod serpent-people that are half human and half snake. Some African cultures look upon rock pythons as sacred and consider the killing of one to be a serious crime.

Snakes as Symbols of Evil

In the Old Testament, a serpent tempted Eve to taste the forbidden fruit. In Greek mythology, one of the god Apollo’s earliest deeds was the slaying of the deadly serpent Python. The goddess Hera, who hated the infant Hercules, sent two serpents to destroy him in his cradle, but Hercules triumphed, strangling them. Later, Hercules slew the Hydra, a terrible serpent with nine heads.

Josepha Sherman (editor)
Storytelling: An encyclopaedia of mythology and folklore


Before the Light Fades

August 27, 2017

Before the light fades
Someone should be found to explain
With sufficient wisdom and patience
Everything I have seen.

And before owl and moth
Shock by remembered flight
The deep, tombed, silence
Of the world of night,

There should appear some linguist
Hot-blooded as a bird,
To translate with a single sentence
Everything I have heard.

Then darkness
Might prove home,
And eternal silence
The kingdom come.

Frances Bellerby

The Day The Mountains Move

August 27, 2017

The day the mountains move has come.
I speak, but no one believes me.
For a time the mountains have been asleep,
But long ago, they danced with fire.
It doesn’t matter if you believe this,
My friends, as long as you believe:
All the sleeping women
Are now awake and moving.

Akiko Yosano
Trans. Carole R. McCann and Seung-kyung Kim

Aine [pronounced On-ya] was the ancient sovereignty Goddess of the province of Munster in South West Ireland. Although She was a very powerful, important tutelary Goddess, still very much honoured and respected by the local people up until the 20th century, very little is known about Her. It is through the fragments of history, folklore, legends and the very people of Limerick, that Aine lives and survives today. She has never been Christianised, and traditions (recorded up until the 1970s) relating to Her that were practised remained truly pagan.

Aine is associated with Cnoc Aine, (Knockainey, Co. Limerick). A hill, with three ring barrows upon its summit, now lost to the memories of the older generation and where sheep quietly graze, was once the most powerful, Royal ceremonial centre of Munster. Here Kings undertook the Bas Fis, (coronation ceremony) and within Irish myth, performed a sacred marriage with the tutelary Goddess, to secure the Kingdom. The Oenach festival continued here up until the 20th century.

Legends and traditions grew about the hill to celebrate Aine as the people’s Goddess. At Samhain Aine is said to emerge from the sidhe of Aine, a cairn located to the east of the barrows, with Her red bull. The local people lit bonfires on all nearby sacred hilltops in her honour.

Another important and time-honoured festival was St John’s Eve, (23rd June) which celebrated Midsummer. The men of the locality would process around the summit of Cnoc Aine with lighted cliars (torches) then run down through their cattle and fields to bestow good luck upon them for the forthcoming year. The people understood that Aine and Her sidhe would then undertake a similar procession around the summit and barrows on this very night.

There have been accounts whereby the magical and mundane worlds united and it is said that Aine Herself appeared to local people. On one St John’s Eve night Aine appeared to a group of girls who lingered upon the hill to watch the festivities.

She thanked them for the honour that they had shown Her, but asked them to leave as Her otherworld friends wished to have the hill to themselves. It is said that Aine pulled back Her cloak to reveal a portal into the otherworld, whereby the Sidhe had already started to gather upon the hill.

Another account speaks of a year when the procession decided not to light their cliars, to show respect for a local man who had recently died. They found that although their procession was in total darkness, the supernatural gathering burned their torches even brighter, as if to compensate for the humans. Aine was seen leading the procession! These stories were retold by local people and many 19th century families living around the hill claimed direct descent to Aine, so much was She honoured and loved. They spoke of Her in near human terms as ‘the best hearted woman that ever lived’, yet She reminded them on occasions of Her supernatural nature.

Lana Jarvis
Aine: Goddess of Midsummer, Goddess of the people