preserved by women

December 2, 2019

We can remove the lazy habit of gender which creeps into our speech, and say that it is more likely that this symbolic language was created and preserved by women, that they possessed these ritual tools themselves. Witchcraft throbs with a lunar menstrual rhythm. When we look at the acts and tools of the craft: the doll, thread, knot, needle, loom, wheel, poison, plant, chant, hearth, fire, home, it is an inevitable conclusion that these are female mysteries and have been since the dawn of time. But the hunt and the rites of men are also presided over by this pre-eminent figure as Mistress of the Beasts, whom the sorcerer, or devil, is beneath, and these separate streams flow together in the sexual conjoining of the full moon Sabbat.

Peter Grey
Apocalyptic Witchcraft

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

Eroticism & Magick

May 20, 2017

Magical power is sexual power. Crowley understood this. Parsons understood this. Bataille understood this. Or to be more accurate, Laylah knew this, Candy knew this, Laure knew this. Witchcraft sometimes seems to have forgotten it, along with the body, a trend that technology continues to exacerbate. For the return to the erotic we need a physical culture that our dancing bodies weave and chorus into life.

Witchcraft is inherently erotic, by which I mean it is a construct of shadow and light. Of historical elements and of our current experience, of truth and lie; as it always has been. Witchcraft is an art of glamours which demands that we explore and harness our full erotic potential and that of others. Witchcraft is neither a glossy magazine, nor a gender studies module, nor a particular aesthetic; though they may be paths towards it they are not to be mistaken for the thing in itself. Modern expressions of witchcraft that appear to value style over substance are better seen as part of a continuum of erotic expression, of the necessary poses demanded in a culture of surfaces. Witchcraft is a practice with attitude, not a practiced attitude. The erotic is witchcraft if it not only attracts power, or the gaze, but if it is able to harness that power for its own ends. We are not here to please, or to be measured in likes.

Though it is often, and somewhat smugly, pointed out that the brain is the most important sexual organ to stimulate, that misses the fact that the brain is a direct evolutionary result of our need to process movement. We are not a series of selfies but bodies in motion. We are not a brain in a control tower whose interaction with the world is only done with our thumbs. The body awaits our rediscovery of it, for ours is a naked art, garbed only in the shadows we artfully cast and the masks that demand to be danced.

Touch marks and transforms us. It is the most eroded of the senses and the most necessary to our psychological health. Touch is a condition of all sentient life, the loss of tactility is death, and as Aristotle observed, thought itself depends upon tactility.

Though we deal with the intangible, touch is something we should be developing in the creation of a series of exercises to extend the range of our senses. It is not surprising that the blindfold is one of the key technologies of both initiation and sexual play. Leading and being led, hunter and hunted are the ways in which we extend our sensitivity across the country of skin.

Alongside the blindfold, the mask must be mentioned in this context, for the way in which it frees the body. In masking we discover hitherto unknown movements and voices, selves that we pull on like long gloves and that articulate potentials which animals have not forgotten. Masks can wear us, as gods often do. The blindfold is of course the dark moon and initiation, the mask, the sabbat at the full.

The erotic is the art of the extension and the anticipation of desire. It triggers a cascade of chemical releases that renew the body. We glow with it. What all the methods of eroticism and ordeal have in common is the body, and the function of the endocrine system. We can exploit this rather than taking it as a given, by training with the exactitude and presence of dancers and martial artists. The edge play of fight or flight, of tonic immobility, of extended arousal are the penumbra through which we are transvected. Our aim is to extend our mastery over the so-called autonomic nervous system, and in doing so, live more deliciously.

The work of witchcraft is best approached if you have a working energy body. The endocrine system in particular needs attention: hypothalamus, pineal, pituitary, thyroid, thymus, adrenals, pancreas and ova/testes. Unless you have an active method to address it, your system is either aggravated or in decline. Unless you are moving every day you are becoming stiffer. The challenge is that most people in our culture, which includes witches, are heavily self-medicating, particularly with alcohol, painkillers, prescribed pharmaceuticals and in a state of chronic inflammation. If this is not rectified then eroticism is impaired, ordeal work becomes blunt trauma wrought on muffled senses.

In tandem with this are the requirements of herb craft to provide the building blocks and support for the experience so that it is not catastrophic. I am not going to give a full herbal, but let me mention damiana, red clover and ginseng as general tonics as well as two of my preferred and less known ones, amachazuru and tongkat ali. If you are not taking Vitamin D and magnesium supplements I urge you to do so. For men I should add zinc, and testosterone support for those over 40, along with lifting heavy weights: these are far more effective than shunning ejaculation in order to stay vital. For women, dong quai, cat’s claw, ashwaganda, catuaba, and of course the master substance: chocolate, theobroma cacoa, food of the gods. And I recommend you consume your chocolate like your witchcraft, as dark, raw and unadulterated as possible!

The quick hit and subsequent body load of sugar and cooked fats, the over reliance on alcohol as a disinhibitor rather than a solvent for medicines, processed denatured food and death by sofa are the hallmarks of a slave society and a slave body. In addition we trash our adrenals with caffeine and crash our immune systems with cigarettes. This toxic approach does have some short term benefits, but it ultimately burns us out. The excess of energy in youth can lead us to self-destructive displays. I am not promoting abstinence, but an extended drunkenness of the senses.

Would it not be better if we were to stretch into ourselves like felines? If witchcraft drank from the cauldron of medicine and health? If we recognised that what we do requires sustained and sustainable energy work? If when we engage in the work of poisons we pay as much attention to recovery? Ask yourself: How powerful is your erotic response? Then ask, how powerful can it become?

Find a physical practice that you love. Make the body your magical weapon of choice for the performance of witchcraft. Keep extending and retracting your power like cat claws. It is a lunar mystery that we work, and it gives us supernatural seeming powers. The erotic is not linear, this genders witchcraft female whatever our biological sex. It teaches us to sustain from the smudged kohl of evening to the rose blush of day. It makes our witchcraft a full body art from the field of flesh through to our secret interiors that the blindfold and mask reveal.

Peter Grey
Forging the body of the Witch
Presentation given at the Occult Conference in London, England, 18th June 2016

luis-roca

Magical power is sexual power. Crowley understood this. Parsons understood this. Bataille understood this. Or to be more accurate, Laylah knew this, Candy knew this, Laure knew this. Witchcraft sometimes seems to have forgotten it, along with the body, a trend that technology continues to exacerbate. For the return to the erotic we need a physical culture that our dancing bodies weave and chorus into life.

Witchcraft is inherently erotic, by which I mean it is a construct of shadow and light. Of historical elements and of our current experience, of truth and lie; as it always has been. Witchcraft is an art of glamours which demands that we explore and harness our full erotic potential and that of others. Witchcraft is neither a glossy magazine, nor a gender studies module, nor a particular aesthetic; though they may be paths towards it they are not to be mistaken for the thing in itself. Modern expressions of witchcraft that appear to value style over substance are better seen as part of a continuum of erotic expression, of the necessary poses demanded in a culture of surfaces. Witchcraft is a practice with attitude, not a practiced attitude. The erotic is witchcraft if it not only attracts power, or the gaze, but if it is able to harness that power for its own ends. We are not here to please, or to be measured in likes.

Though it is often, and somewhat smugly, pointed out that the brain is the most important sexual organ to stimulate, that misses the fact that the brain is a direct evolutionary result of our need to process movement. We are not a series of selfies but bodies in motion. We are not a brain in a control tower whose interaction with the world is only done with our thumbs. The body awaits our rediscovery of it, for ours is a naked art, garbed only in the shadows we artfully cast and the masks that demand to be danced.

Touch marks and transforms us. It is the most eroded of the senses and the most necessary to our psychological health. Touch is a condition of all sentient life, the loss of tactility is death, and as Aristotle observed, thought itself depends upon tactility.

Though we deal with the intangible, touch is something we should be developing in the creation of a series of exercises to extend the range of our senses. It is not surprising that the blindfold is one of the key technologies of both initiation and sexual play. Leading and being led, hunter and hunted are the ways in which we extend our sensitivity across the country of skin.

Peter Grey
Forging the body of the Witch
(Lecture given at the Occult Conference in London, England, 18th June 2016)

throw-up-your-soul-little-girl-by-cesare-longhi

The salve has another purpose, hidden in the ingredient list. Not the baby fat suggested in the ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ (which Redgrove intuits to be menstrual blood), but a more subtle one. It is often compounded with soot. A small detail, this is overlooked as not sensational or psychoactive enough, yet for me this small detail has been revelatory. One purpose of the salve with this ingredient is to blacken the face and limbs, just as Shiva is smeared with ash from the cremation ground. We are becoming dead, as spirits invisible to the living who cannot see us risen in the whirlwind. To be as no man, no one, to pass unchallenged in the bacchanal and spirit throng having erased our name among the living, we are now forever changed, at one with the fey and the dead. We are mummers, morris, beelzebus – burned black by the fierce sun of the grave, involved in something archaic yet vital.

Peter Grey
Apocalyptic Witchcraft

Confront death…

August 28, 2016

flight

Confront death, not by pretending that you have cut a deal with the Elder Vampire Gods invented for you by some internet Dark Witch fantasist in their over-priced books. Confront death, not by pretending that a beautiful Beltane ritual and a blue sky means everything will stay the same. Confront death, not by practicing the magic of ploughmen and wortcunners in your urban apartment believing that it makes you more authentic than any given Wiccan. We need to stop making those closest to us our sworn enemies. The game has changed. I have no interest in telling people how to practice their witchcraft, a term which covers a multitude of sins, but what I can offer is the principles that will make it work in these difficult circumstances. Readers of my Apocalyptic Witchcraft will recognise these ideas: Orientation, Presence, Imperative. We are not simply losing it all, it is being stripped from us as surely as those accused of being witches were by their inquisitors in the torture cell. Our enemies are not our sisters and brothers in the craft, they are the named individuals and corporations and their governments who are tearing out our living flesh. Witchcraft has never been about turning the other cheek to this. The witch has been created by the land to speak and act for it.

Peter Grey
Rewilding Witchcraft
From a talk given at the Pagan Federation South Central conference on Saturday 7th June, 2014

goddess of witchcraft…

August 20, 2016

Dark Godess2

The wild goddess has passed through the city of whoredom and has emerged intact as the witch on the heath. There was never one goddess of witchcraft, but rather a thousand Ishtars: mild white, blood red, lamp black. There can never be orthodoxy. We are simultaneously possessed, annihilated and forever outside of Time.

She is immanent.

She dwells within us.

Peter Grey
Apocalyptic Witchcraft

Apocalyptic Witchcraft…

April 28, 2016

church

Witchcraft is the recourse of the dispossessed, the powerless, the hungry and the abused. It gives heart and tongue to stones and trees. It wears the rough skin of beasts. It turns on a civilisation that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Peter Grey
Apocalyptic Witchcraft