28th June

Only a slight hangover this morning. Celebration of Jimmy Joyce’s 1924 letter to Miss Weaver regarding Bloomsday went well yesterday.

Talk of the great book’s opening with its mockery of the mass – which in turn reflects the Last Supper and Christ’s words: ‘Do this in memory of me’; so that the mass is an act in which the mystery of Christ is not just commemorated, but made present, living over again. All in that Martello Tower. Daedalus, Mulligan, and the Englishman Haines – a pun on the French la haine, ‘hate’ as the man is anti-Semitic and English – perched in the omphalos over breakfast –

Conversation touched on many subjects, including Flann O’Brien. Then, out of the blue, mention was made of Finnegans Wake.

How many people had read that book? God alone knows how many copies sold, but how many read? Published 4th May 1939, the ‘Wake’ has puzzled multitudes. Joyce, as we all know, spent a third of his life on this one book –

Read at age fifteen. Peedeel must confess that he approached this book, this incredible allegory of the fall and resurrection of humankind, with trepidation. He decided to read a small part each morning – while sitting on the lavatory, in actual fact – and consider its enigmas throughout the course of the day. Like Ulysses the main action occurs in Dublin and its environs (where the product of Guinness’s Brewery is the magic elixir of life, thus the immortal drink of heroes and gods) –

The book’s impact was (is) profound. We come to recognise the story as our own. Just as in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, where we follow the journey of a soul through the dreamlike landscape to the Throne of the Lord of the Dead, so here the voyager is not specifically this man or that, but Man, that is to say ourselves –

And this morning, clear away the empties: bottle of brandy, two bottles of wine, a torn cardboard outer of beer and eight pizza boxes. Oh what piggies we were, we were!

A Witch is a person who has mastered the ways of magick, and performs magick spells and rituals. They are usually very knowledgeable about herbs, gardening, gemstones, moon phases and divination. The word Witch means “wise woman”, but it should be noted that males are also referred as Witches too. Witches are usually very adept at various forms of divination, and know a great deal about the powers of herbs and gemstones. Witches are usually very good healers as well. It is said that Wiccan and Pagans can be Witches, but witches are not always Wiccans or Pagans. The first thing you have to understand that Witchcraft “is” a craft, and like any craft, it takes a lot of study, and practice before you can become proficient at it. In any Coven, it is traditional that a person must do extensive study, and practice, for a year and a day, before they can even refer to themselves as a Witch. It’s a good idea for the countless number of solitary ‘would be’ Witches, to follow this rule as well. On the day you finish your year & a half of study is when you choose whether whatever path you’re on is right for you. If it is, a ritual called “The Initiation” is done in which you pledge yourself to follow that path, after which you can refer to yourself as a Witch or Wiccan, Celtic etc. A solitary Witch in training can easily design their own ritual, when the time comes, as they have studied and practiced enough to know how to properly perform spells and rituals.

Anon
The path of the Witch

Storm in the blood

May 30, 2017

27th May

Huge electrical storms throughout the night. Lightning flashes all over the moor, as far as the eye can see. Lightening washing the horizon with vivid blood-orange light. One violent rumble of thunder after another above us. Power off, then on again. Internet connection gone…The end of the world!

End of days, at last. Armageddon, Gotterdammerung, ragna rokkr – it has finally arrived with these terrible bursts of forked and sheet lightning! From the west in a ship manned by a phantom crew comes the giant Hrym; his ship rides the waves stirred up by the great serpent of Midgard. From the north another ship, this one crewed by inhabitants of the underworld, Loki sitting at its helm. The wolf Fenrir accompanies him, fire spurting from the beasts eyes and nostrils; blood drips black as ashes from its ferocious jaws. Fenrir’s upper jaw touches the heavens, his lower jaw brushes the earth –

All is finished!

Then: rain falling…a sudden heavy and prolonged downpour that drowns everything in the garden and leaves huge puddles on the patio. A deluge of unprecedented proportions –

With dawn comes final peace, and a thick mist rolling off the moor; it reduces visibility to three metres or thereabouts. Shapes move in that mist: moorland ponies, cattle or creatures from another dimension? You take your pick?

The mist smells of the sea.

It is a morning full of Lovecraftian possibilities.

Art & Magic

May 24, 2017

The ritual space is the mindset, the cave of the heart and the way consciousness views all phenomena. Once we reset our way of viewing these things, the whole landscape shifts. Either nothing is sacred or it all is. This is the shift in perspective the Goddess wants to bring now to humanity, to reprogram our warped perspectives that have been instilled for aeons and separate mind from body, spirit from matter. The Goddess offers us an embodied spirituality, one where we can own and celebrate all our sensations as part of Her Divine palette, and begin to live own our bliss. It is our natural birthright and the ecstasy that flesh is heir to is our way of experiencing the Divine play of Goddesses and Gods. It is our way to touch the hem of paradise.

How these marvels got to be designated as shameful, sinful, and profane is a crime against nature and the ecstatic state of being. We have been trapped in a dense materiality by these precepts and robbed of our ability to touch the skies and live in a world of magic and unbridled potential. It’s time to reclaim our sovereignty and our right to divine resonance if we are to have a future in this Eden called earth. When I co-wrote and illustrated, with over 600 drawings, the Sexual Secrets, The Alchemy of Ecstasy in the late 1970s, it was with the intention of sharing an enlightened and liberated view of the field of eroticism and sexuality. I wanted to share my discovery and revelation of a well-established spiritual path, which was inclusive of all this rather than exclusive. It was such an amazing and freeing revelation for me, so I wanted to pass it on. My own inner intuitions now had context and community. I felt confirmed and connected and wanted others to know there was a path for them out of the imposed tunnels of guilt and shame. A shining path.

Penny Slinger
Interview with Zora Burden for The Wild Hunt

Forget Me Not
A curse full of regrets made with no regrets

Materials
• A poppet or representation of target
• A jar or container big enough to contain the poppet
• Rose petals
• Strips of paper
• A pen
• Candles

Preparation
Pre-make poppet (this is a curse poppet so please make accordingly). On each strip of paper (and there should be a large amount) write “Forget me not.”

Performance
• Have all of your supplies on your workspace.
• If you usually cast a circle, do so now.
• Light however many candles you want to. They’re mainly for dramatic effect.
• Kiss the poppet (sweetly, if you can manage).
• Now place it into the container. With each line you say, place a strip of the paper you wrote on into the container with it.

Forget me not
Forget me never.
You will regret this mistake
Now and forever.
Cross me once.
Cross me twice.
Now that you have,
You’ll see I’m not so nice.
I whisper to you nothing sweet.
I whisper to you nothing kind.
But you’ll always remember me.
I shan’t fade with time.
You had me once.
You had my favour.
You threw me away.
Now not even the gods can help this be over.
Forget me not.
Forget me never.
You’ll remember me
And regret forever.

• Once this is done, close and seal the container. I recommend doing something like blowing the buried poppet one last kiss before doing so. It will never be opened again unless you want to break the curse.
• If you cast a circle, close it now.
• Put the container somewhere hidden or throw it away. I do not recommend breaking this curse.

Source here

This spell is not to be taken lightly. It is to be used when all other protection spells don’t seem to be working and you are afraid for your life or the lives of others. This spell is also for use against other witches that you feel may harm you. This can be cast at any time but if you would like to boost it you can do it during the Dark or New Moon, and on either a Tuesday or Saturday.

You Will Need:
• A picture of the person you are binding.
• A Black Candle
• Frankincense and Myrrh Incense
• Smudge Stick ( Sage or Sweetgrass)
• Dried Rosemary, Lavender, and Clove ( crushed during the ritual)
• Basic White or Black Thread.

Instructions:
Take the image of the person you intend to bind and begin wrapping the thread around it until everything but the persons face/eyes ( depends on if it is potrait or full body image you are using) are covered. Knot the thread in a way that you can dangle the image as if hung. As you are wrapping the thread around the image say these words.

I bind you now by heart and soul.
No harm shall come from one so cold.
Arms pinned down and voice restrained,
I take your ability to cause others pain.
May love fill your hollow empty days.
If not your magick and you shall part ways.

Repeat these words as you dangle the image over the smudge bundle. Let the smoke become its own bindings on the person. Crush the herbs and ready them for burning, imagine and empower them with protection as you crush them. As you put the image over the incense and the smoking herb mixture, imagine the smoke binding and cleansing the person of hate. All the while repeating the words as a chant. Once the smoke is out or you feel it is complete, hold the image over the flame and set it and the thread afire with the words.

Fire purify, fire bind.
Once all is in ash,
No more hate shall they find.

Once it is completely ash mix it with the herb and incense ash. Take the mixture outside and toss it over your left shoulder, or let it go in a river if you have access to running water as such.

Walk away without looking back.

Source here

malign female demons

May 23, 2017

The Descent of Inanna

The suppression and control of female sexuality is not a new phenomena. Some of our the earliest extant writings, texts from Mesopotamia going back to the third millennium BCE, such as Inanna and the Huluppu Tree and The Descent of Inanna, offer evidence that woman’s body was subject to extreme ambivalence, non-procreative sex in particular being regarded with suspicion and fear.

It is at this time we first discover the lilitu, malign female demons who controlled the ‘stormy (disease-bearing) winds’ and who flew like birds. They were defined by negative sexual characteristics: they are unmarried and thus not under the dominion of a male; they are seducers, actively seeking men to satisfy them; and they are child-killers. Not only do they solicit and engage in ‘unnatural’ sex, that is, non-procreative sex, the lilitu steal and kill children, emasculate men, and cause miscarriage and death in mothers. They are, whilst seemingly exiled to the wilderness, to outside, able to transgress and penetrate human habitations and domesticity. We see them leaning out of windows and doorways, the standard iconographic motif of the prostitute, and slipping into houses uninvited. They are the thieves and whores that prey on civilised and law-abiding people, and they are at the very heart of the city.

This same iconography is used for the goddess herself: Inanna-Ishtar. She stands at the window looking for a man in order to seduce him, love him and kill him. Inanna displayed herself provocatively in windows and doors, she initiates sexual contact and was called sahiratu, the one who roams about. In hymns she is described going from house to house and street to street, a phrasing later used to describe demons and repeated in the Song of Songs, which despite being attributed to Solomon is a cut and paste of these earlier hymns to the goddess.

The lilitu are the inspiration for Lilith, dislodged from the Huluppu tree and flown into Jewish consciousness as the archetype of insubordinate and dangerous female sexuality. In Jewish myth, Lilith was the first wife of Adam, who refused to lie beneath him and wanted to take the mother superior rather than the missionary position. This is the genealogy of the witch, whose family tree profoundly roots her in the conflicted dna of our earliest civilisations.

The disconnect from the shamanic consciousness of our ancestors was accomplished by building walled cities, stepped pyramids imitating the emergence of a hierarchical order and patrilineal organisation; the sacred mountain and cave now made of burned brick, the priestess who gives the king his right to rule now a state function rather than a wild woman, a shaman. The stories and myths of Mesopotamia are already ancient when they are pressed into clay tablets, and we can intuit layers of earlier shamanic material in them.

It is worth plunging into the myth of the descent of Inanna-Ishtar. A description of the initiation of goddess and priestess, a mystery play, and a coming of age drama of reaching sexual maturity. It can also be read as a shamanic descent and ordeal, in which Inanna is forced at each of the seven gates of the underworld to surrender one of the seven tokens of her earthly power with which she has prepared herself, as she is brought, bent low and naked, to the throne room of her sister Ereshkigal. Ereshkigal is the goddess of the underworld, the Great Below. She is, in one sense, the chthonic mind, pre-conscious and unillumined darkness, absolute hunger and appetite. A devourer. Inanna, from her domain in the Great Above, has heard her sister Ereshkigal – ostensibly grieving for her husband – though the description is clearly playing on her suffering menstrual pains, or being in the pangs of labour, or in heat. All these explanations I believe are plausible and intended.

At the seven concentric gates of the underworld, Inanna is compelled to give up all her worldly attributes of power and femininity. She is stripped for the final confrontation with her sister. Witchcraft and shamanic initiations are always an ordeal. The text reads:

Naked and bowed low, Inanna entered the throne room.
Ereshkigal rose from her throne.
Inanna started toward the throne.
The Annuna, the judges of the underworld, surrounded her.
They passed judgement against her.

Then Ereshkigal fastened on Inanna the eye of death.
Then spoke against her the word of wrath.
She uttered against her the cry of guilt.

She struck her.

Inanna was turned into a corpse,
A piece of rotting meat,
And was hung from a hook on the wall.

Inanna is hung up to season like meat in a butchers. The image of Inanna hung from a hook brings to mind suspension rituals, but in close analysis we become aware that this act of initiation is an inversion. When meat is hung it is from the hind legs, the feet, so that the blood can be drained from the throat. So here we have a chthonic sacrifice, and simultaneously an image of menstruation. One could also conjecture a connection to the head down position of a baby in the birth canal). A possible earlier version of the myth would have Inanna consumed (as sacrifice) by her sister and then birthed by her. This cannot be dismissed as primitive physiological (mis)understanding, similar acts of the ‘Mothers’ and female Seizers are detailed in the Tantras. See The Kiss of the Yogini by David Gordon White – a controversial work but one we highly recommend studying – for many interesting parallels and insights in this regard.

Inanna is rescued from the underworld by the intercession of another shaman, Enki, who sends two golems (a galatur and akurgarra) fashioned from spit and fingernail dirt. These comfort Ereshkigal in her pain, by repeating her cries, in the manner of professional mourners. We could even see them as dildos, as arousal and sex can be harnessed by women to alleviate menstrual cramps. It is worth reading The Wise Wound by Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove for more insights. That work, and Redgrove’s Black Goddess and the Sixth Sense, should be on any witchcraft reading list.

To return to our narrative: soothed, Ereshkigal grants the galatur and kurgarra a wish and they ask for the corpse of Inanna which they bring back to life with the food and water of life. She returns to the earth with a retinue of demons who drag off her husband Tammuz in her stead. What, besides a life for a life and life for death, has been exchanged? In being stripped of all that identified her as a woman, a priestess and a queen, in this absolute self-effacement before her sister, Inanna gains self-knowledge. She has confronted the dark, unknown recesses of the world that lies outside her domain (life, light, love) and in this process of acknowledging the other, this sacrifice of herself, has won carnal knowledge from the darkness of Ereshkigal. Sexuality becomes not a blind force that controls you, but a power that can be exercised knowingly. In psychological terms we would call this integration: the goddess who descends is not the goddess who returns. Ereshkigal has gifted Inanna the raw power of her sexuality. As the story ends: All praise to Ereshkigal!

The self-conscious use of sexuality is traditionally the domain of the prostitute, and Inanna was the goddess of sex and of prostitutes, whose repertory of techniques included how to void or avoid pregnancy, the arts of evoking and invoking pleasure, and the arts of disguise, transformation and illusion. These are gained through uninhibited knowledge of the self. Though we do not wish to glamorise the life of the ancient or modern prostitute, she remains a symbol of independent female sexuality in a human history of carnal repression. Confidence, strength, awareness: these are rarely gifts we are born with, but are wrested from the dark mirror to the underworld.

Witchcraft, like the ordeal of Inanna, is a matter of carnal knowledge, it is a question of gnosis in and through the body. We use the mythic structure of the descent in our own work, returning to the Great Below every year in our rites at Samhain. Without the descent to the underworld, there can be no flight to the sabbat. Incubation, the dark, the cave, the deep dreaming mind, are where we discover and bring back power to transform both our world and our selves. Sexuality and creativity are inexorably linked, but to access these most potent and primordial depths we need to strip our civilised selves naked and emptied of words.

As we have seen, the demonic feminine of Lilith migrates into Judaism, as too does a guilty and demonised Eve. Inanna-Ishtar becomes Astarte who, with her consort Baal, is denounced in the Old Testament before St John gives a final twist to the tale, and with the trappings of the Roman Empire, names her after the old enemy, Babylon. Revelation, like that other hymn to the love goddess, the Song of Songs, carried the old religion into a new post pagan age. It has been misread and misinterpreted ever since, but remains one of the core myths upon which our modern world revolves.

Alkistis Dimech and Peter Grey
2010 Presentation: Raw Power: Witchcraft, Babalon and Female Sexuality

23rd May

Hot day yesterday full of sun. Shopping and chores. Rain forecast for today, but clear weather and lots of sunshine for the rest of the week.

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“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law…”

Aleister Crowley’s famous (infamous) mantra. Risqué, even shocking in its time, today it is the prevalent belief system of the “ME” generation. Look at the way large corporations behave. They frequently display the moral and ethical codes of goose-stepping storm troopers. Banks and the financial crisis, you’ll recall, is a case in point: it was the tax payer rather than the banking industry that absorbed all the pain. Quite remarkable. Then we have scandals, such as Libor rigging, VW illegally cheating emissions tests, Enron, WorldCom, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and Bernie Madoff. I could go on and on, but won’t. I’m sure you get where I’m coming from here. Market forces rule. Do what thou wilt

Drug addled Crowley claimed his law of Thelema was dictated to him by an entity named Aiwass. If true, Aiwass was very well read and borrowed indiscriminately from all the works he’d read. For example: “Fait ce que vouldras,” François Rabelais describing the rule of his Abbey of Thélème in Gargantua and Pantagruel.

Aiwass the spirit-plagiarist…

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Thinking of you. Seeing you undressing slowly in the half-light, and exposing what normally lies hidden beneath skirt and panties. Seeing you finally naked in front of me – this starts the all too familiar ache inside my own flesh, the need to seek release with you…

Sexuality is intimately connected to questions of identity: who we are as individuals and also our role in society. Human sexuality is thus inextricably linked to cultural, political, and philosophical aspects of life, which are regulated through legal systems based on morality and ethics. Morality and ethics, even in our secularized and late-modern society, are to a large extent based on traditional religious doctrines and teachings (which of course differ in time and place), and it is thus perhaps only natural that new forms of religion often challenge the moral codes and deeply rooted views on sexuality prevalent in the dominant forms of religion and, by extension, in society at large.

Henrik Bogdan and James R. Lewis
Sexuality and the new religious movements

How tame we have become. How polite about our witchcraft. In our desire to harm none we have become harmless.

We have bargained to get a seat at the table of the great faiths to whom we remain anathema. How much compromise have we made in our private practice for the mighty freedom of being able to wear pewter pentagrams in public, at school, in our places of employment. How much have the elders sold us out, genuflecting to the academy, the establishment, the tabloid press. In return for this bargain we have gained precisely nothing. The supposed freedoms we have been granted are empty. Late capitalist culture simply does not care what our fantasy dress up life is like as long as we work our zero hour contracts, carry our mobile phones and keep consuming. The reason that social services are not taking your children away is that nobody believes in the existence of the witch. We have mistaken social and economic change for the result of our own advocacy. Marching in lock-step with what used to be called mainstream, but is now mono-culture, we have disenchanted ourselves, handed over our teeth and claws and bristling luxuriant furs. I will not be part of this process, because to do so is to be complicit with the very forces that are destroying all life on earth. It is time for Witchcraft not to choose, but to remember which side it is on in this struggle.

Peter Grey
Talk given at the Pagan Federation South Central conference on Saturday 7th June, 2014