pagan to the hilt

April 22, 2018

Bacchanal - Rosaleen Norton

From an early age she had a remarkable capacity to explore the visionary depths of her subconscious mind, and the archetypal beings she encountered on those occasions became the focus of her art. It was only later that Roie was labelled a witch, was described as such in the popular press, and began to develop the persona which accompanied that description. As this process gathered momentum, Roie in turn became intent on trying to demonstrate that she had been born a witch. After all, she had somewhat pointed ears, small blue markings on her left knee, and also a long strand of flesh which hung from underneath her armpit to her waist – a variant on the extra nipple sometimes ascribed to witches in the Middle Ages.. .

.. .She had no time at all for organised religion, and the gods she embraced – a cluster of ancient gods centred around Pan – were, of course, pagan to the hilt. She regarded Pan as the God of Infinite Being. Traditionally Pan is known as the god of flocks and shepherds in ancient Greece. Depicted as half-man, half-goat, he played a pipe with seven reeds and was considered the lord of Nature and all forms of wildlife. He was also rather lecherous, having numerous love affairs with the nymphs – especially Echo, Syrinx and Pithys.

Nevill Drury
Rosaleen Norton: Remembering Roie – the Witch of Kings Cross

Awareness grew stronger

April 21, 2018

A witch - Rosaleen Norton

If the Kingdom of Pan had always been with me, it had been mostly in the background, overlaid by what was called reality: Now it had begun to emerge and pervade the latter. Awareness grew stronger and stronger that the tedious world of childhood didn’t really matter, because this held the essence of all that called to my inmost being: Night and wild things and mystery; storms; being by myself, free of other people. The sense of some deep hidden knowledge stirring at the back of consciousness; and all about me the feeling of secret sentient life, that was in alliance with me, but that others were unaware, or afraid of, because it was unhuman. So my first act of ceremonial magic was in honour of the horned god, whose pipes are symbol of magic and mystery, and whose horns and hooves stand for natural energies and fleet-footed freedom: And this rite was also my oath of allegiance and my confirmation as a witch. I remember my feelings on that occasion well, and they are valid today: If Pan is the ‘Devil’ (and the joyous goat-god probably is from the orthodox viewpoint) then I am indeed a ‘Devil’ worshipper.

Rosaleen Norton
Thorn in the Flesh: A Grim-memoir

No beginning, no end

April 19, 2018

There is no beginning, there is no end,
There is only change.
There is no teacher, there is no student,
There is only remembering.
There is no good, there is no evil,
There is only expression.
There is no union, there is no sharing,
There is only one.
There is no joy, there is no sadness,
There is only love.
There is no greater, there is no lesser,
There is only balance.
There is no stasis, there is no entropy,
There is only motion.
There is no wakefulness, there is no sleep,
There is only being.
There is no limit, there is no chance,
There is only a plan.

Ultimate Journey
Robert A. Monroe

the tradition of witches

April 15, 2018

Going nuts. Witches didn’t often talk about it, but they were aware of it all the time. Going nuts – or, rather, not going nuts – was the soul and center of witchcraft, and this was how it worked. After a while, a witch, who almost always worked by herself in the tradition of witches, had a tendency to go … strange. Of course, it depended on the length of time and the strength of mind of the witch, but sooner or later they tended to get confused about things like right and wrong and good and bad and truth and consequences. That could be very dangerous. So witches had to keep one another normal, or at least what was normal for witches. It didn’t take very much: a tea party, a singalong, a stroll in the woods, and somehow everything balanced up, and they could look at advertisements for gingerbread cottages in the builder’s brochure without putting a deposit on one.

Terry Pratchett
I Shall Wear Midnight

witch spell making

Last night was my Wiccan dedication ritual.

This morning, I’m different. Not overly so. I didn’t start my morning by scrawling a pentacle on my forehead and then dancing naked in the woods around my apartment. That’s not my style, and besides, getting evicted would be a rough way to start this new spiritual path.

Instead, I woke up after a peaceful sleep. It was raining outside. Instead of stressing out over the fact that I wouldn’t be able to get in my morning jog, I took one of the candles from my altar and sat on my screened-in patio. I lit the candle and asked the male aspect of the Deity I worship to join me. I thanked Him for the rain, especially since we’ve been having a drought. I thanked Him for the lovely morning and fresh air. I especially thanked Him for reaching out to me during my dedication the night before.

I was surprised at His reaction during the ritual. One of the reasons I am starting this new path is because of the difficult relationship I had with God during my Catholic upbringing. He always seemed angry and disapproving. He had to have everything just a certain way, and I was always doing it wrong. He seemed eager to punish and reluctant to show love. As comedian Lewis Black said, the God of the Bible really does come across like a raging alcoholic.

Jennifer Layton
A Mother, Father and Child Reunion

The Crone

February 24, 2018

I am the silence of midnight,
and black velvet skies.
I am the shadow of vision
that tempers your eyes.
I am the darkness of secrets
that draw the veil thin,
The coldness of winter
that shakes on your skin.

I am Grandmother, Weaver,
Enchantress and Crone.
The knowledge of Justice
that strikes at the bone.
Destruction is mine when its time comes to be:
Death to the living, who all come to me.

Mine is the hand of the spinning of fates.
Mine is the passage between life’s fragile gates.
I am the giver of magickal sight,
The slight sliver of waning moonlight.
I am the branch of ageless worn trees.
Hear my voice and know me!

I am the Raven that flies through the woods,
Black silken wings opened up to the sky!
Bearer of closure, competition, and truth
Dreamscapes and Banshee am I!
Mine is the wisdom that comes in the dark.
Mine is the dying that calls to your flesh.
Mine are the hidden remains of your heart.
Mine is the mist that will take your last breath.

Give unto me what is old and outworn,
And I will return it with new life reborn.
Give me your sorrows, your sadness, your grief.
And in the dark hour, I will give thee relief!

I am the giver of death and rebirth,
Mine are the last things, before they are first.
See me in the shadows, and in the dark sea.
I am the Crone!
Hear my voice and know me!

destroy it first…?

February 20, 2018

A witch is, actually, a successful (in the sense of surviving) deviant. You have a cultural, ideological, social, what-not pattern which is, for that society in question, normal (and, importantly, this is understood as a synonym for natural). Most people survive because they conform to these patterns, because they behave normally. …But then suddenly you get a deviant which survives, and since it does not draw its support from the normal pattern…that deviant is understood as drawing its support from “unknown,” “supernatural” sources…If we cannot survive without our order, how can she [the witch] survive in solitude? Hers must be indeed a very powerful order to exist so independently, without all the inter cooperation and individual compromise which we have to go through to survive. And if it is so powerful, then it could destroy us. We must try to destroy it first.

Maya Deren
Notebook of Maya Deren”, October 1947

Witch

January 2, 2018

We are the blood
of the witches
you thought were dead.
We carry witchcraft in our bones
whilst magic still sings
inside out heads.
When the witch hunters
imprisoned out ancestors
when they tried to burn the magic away.
Someone should have
warned them
that magic cannot be tamed.
Because you cannot burn away
what has always
been aflame.

Nikita Gill

crazed with the torture

December 17, 2017

When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to. Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

Virgina Woolf
A room of one’s own

Lady of the Lake

December 3, 2017

Body of water
Body of work
“A body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing”

Call it a healing ritual
Or a mercy fuck, whichever you like.
Corporal act of mercy — that sounds nice

It was on an afternoon woven of equal parts
Sunlight, aimlessness and proscribed botanicals
A young hero in need
As they often are,
Of a body of collected knowledge
A body of work

Where the sun came in I was gilded
Where the shadows fell he was oak leaf and ivory
A cascade of glossy black down his back
Where the fire inside touched us both
We were molten copper
A burning ship
St. Elmo’s fire wreathing the mast
Climbing along the rigging
Reflections like flaming coins scattered
On frantic waves

Ocean?
No. Not ocean.
I was a lake,
I have always been a lake
Quiet,
Until some idiot threw a sword in me.
There’s always some idiot with a sword.
How’s a natural phenomenon to have any peace
With people always mucking about making an omen of one
Requiring auguries, questing after this vision, that revelation
Or simply demanding that one reveal or conceal the artifact of the week?

My sister’s a cenote.
What’s thrown down her, vanishes.
Cold jade waters.
Colder silence within.
I am more temperate, if no warmer.
I prefer the give and take
Though it means my contemplations will be disturbed from time to time
By this one making a deposit
And the other one drawing something forth
A regular lending library, some centuries.

The sword was hot, newforged
Or so I recall.
There was, as always, enough and more
To quench the burning brand, temper the steel
I think, from time to time, this annoys some of them
The sheer inexhaustibility
Of a body of water, a body of work, a body of collected knowledge
As if it were somehow a reflection on them.
No matter. The sword went in.
As I recall, I gave it away again later.

My old lover the witch in her tower
Used to tease me
Call me a plaguey thing for giving her gifts away again
Roses cast up on shore,
Bits of ribbon for the ravens to carry off
Hey, offerings come and offerings go.
Collect knowledge. Disburse.

The sword stayed for a while.
The hero died.
They do, you know. It’s generally part of the tale
Though people may not always want to hear it.
Swords outlast them as a rule.
Lakes outlast swords.

There were currents cold within me
Green weeds wreathed my heart
As I took in the sword, drew it down
The word “fathom” was not made to describe
What was in my young hero’s eyes
They widened as he felt the water close over him
I was still too much lake
To tell him that he was a hero
That heroes die.

My silence disturbed him
More than he had disturbed mine
But the waves we made together
Rocked him to peacefulness
Or exhaustion.
A body of work, whatever else it is, is just that. Work.
We came back to ourselves
In that room of dust and oakleaves.
The shadows were longer. We had come very far.
What water was left spilled down my cheeks.
Struck dumb as any oracle, I held him,
And with what little kindness I had left
Carefully told him nothing but stories of swords.

Elise Anna Matthesen