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{file "The Laws by J. Random Folksinger" "jrflaws.htm"}

J. Random Folksinger writes:

I had reason to search the Web under my pseudonym, J. Random Folksinger, and found a couple of my works included in your Book of Shadows Index. While it is nice to see my writings still in circulation, my Commentaries on the Abbreviated Laws (included in the Abbreviated Laws file) and the Book of the New Law (free-standing) are among my more negative works.

I am much prouder of my modern-English version of the Old Laws of the Craft, which is mainly different from the other versions because you can understand the language. I made no deletions and extremely few additions to the original texts, and compared over 10 different versions as well as various exigeses which were lovingly sent me by Judy Harrow.

I would very much like to have this added to your files, and have attached a copy for your perusal and/or addition. This is in DOS Text format, feel free to convert it to HTML if needed.

In Service to the Goddess,

Moss Bliss
aka J.Random Folksinger and Harry Smothers (many filk references)

The Laws


In the Magic Circle, the words, commands and wishes of the High Priestess are Law. She is the earthly representative of our gracious Goddess. She is to be obeyed and respected in all things. She is our Lady and, above all others, a Queen in the highest sense of the word. All female coveners will curtsy and say "Blessed Be" when they come before Her, and all male coveners will bend their knee and kiss Her on the right cheek and say "Blessed Be".


In the Magic Circle, the High Priest is the earthly representative of the Great God. He commands the respect due a Magus, Lord Counselor and father.



  1. The Witches should worship the Gods as is their due, and obey their will. For the worship of the Gods is good for the Witches even as the worship of the Witches is good for the Gods: For the Gods love all their Witches.

  2. As a man loves a woman more by learning more of her wants and desires, so should the Witches love the Gods by the learning (mastering) of them.

  3. It is necessary that the Magic Circle, which is the Temple of the Gods in these times, be cast and purified such that it may be a fitting place for the Gods; and the Witches should be properly prepared and purified to enter into the presence of the Gods.

  4. With love and worship in their hearts the Witches shall raise power from their bodies (and the elements around them), and they shall offer this power to the Gods so that the Gods may help their Witches.

  5. The High Priestess shall rule her coven as the representative of the Goddess, and the High Priest shall support her as the representative of the God. The High Priestess will choose any member of the coven to be her High Priest, if he has sufficient standing in the coven. As the God Himself kissed our Lady's feet, gave Her the five-fold salute, and offered Her His power because of Her youth and beauty, Her sweetness and kindness, Her wisdom and justice, Her humility, gentleness and generosity, and shared His power with Her, so therefore the High Priestess should always be aware that all power comes from Him; it is only lent, to be used wisely and justly.

  6. The greatest virtue of a High Priestess shall be recognition that youth is necessary to the representative of the Goddess. She will, therefore, gracefully retire in favor of a younger covener should the coven so decide in council. The true High Priestess should realize that gracefully surrendering the pride of place is one of the greatest virtues, and that thereby she will return to that pride of place in another life with even greater power and beauty.

  7. In the Old Days, when there were many Witches, we were free and worshipped freely in the greatest temples; but in these times, we must celebrate our sacred mysteries in secret. Therefore, none but the Witches are to see our mysteries; no coven shall know the location of any other coven or who its members are, except the High Priest, the High Priestess and the Messenger; and that there shall be no communication among the covens, except by the Messenger of the Gods or the Summoner. Only if it is safe may the covens meet in some safe place for the Great Festivals; and while there, none shall give their true names or any information about their coven or its members. This law is made for this reason: No-one can tell our enemies what they do not themselves know.

  8. It is ordained that no-one shall tell any person not in the Craft who other Witches are, or give them names or addresses, or in any way tell anything that can betray a Witch to their face. Nor may anyone tell where the covendom or covenstead is, where any meetings are held or any other information about the coven unless directed to do so by the coven in council.

  9. If anyone breaks these laws, even under torture, may the Curse of the God and the Goddess be upon them, so that they may not be reborn upon the Earth (but shall live forever in the Hell of the Christians).

  10. Let each High Priest and High Priestess govern their coven with justice and love, with the help and advice of the other and of the elders of the coven, always heeding the advice of the Messenger of the Gods if he should arrive. They will heed all the suggestions of their coveners and strive to settle any differences among them.

  11. It is recognized that there will always be people who will try to make everybody agree with their ideas: these people are not necessarily bad -- they often have good ideas and these ideas should be discussed in council. But if they will not come to agree with their other coveners or if they say "I will not work with this High Priestess", then the elders will have them leave. It should be suggested that they might join another coven, or if they are of sufficient standing, they may be encouraged to found their own coven. For it is better this way, to avoid strife among the family of Witches.

  12. When using geographic boundaries, whenever anyone of Third Degree lives more than a league from the covenstead (or are about to), any of these may found a new coven; indeed, any Witch living within the covenstead who wishes to form a new coven will inform the elders of this intention and immediately move to a new dwelling beyond the boundaries of known covensteads. Members of any coven may choose to join the new coven when it is formed, but they must totally avoid their old coven if they choose this course. The elders of the old and new covens should meet in peace and love to determine the boundaries of the covens. Any Witch living outside of any two covens may choose to join either coven, but never both. All may meet for the Great Festivals if the elders agree, so long as they meet in peace and love. Let the elders confer as to the use of this law when it is not directly applicable. Always be aware that the splitting of a coven breeds bad feelings (energy vortices?); this law was made chiefly for this reason. And may happier times come!

  13. If you would keep a Book (whether it is called a Black Book, Book of Shadows, Book of Light, or whatever), write it in your own hand. Let your brothers and sisters in the Craft copy as they will from your book in their hand, but never let your Book out of your hands and never keep the writing of another. Every Witch should keep and guard their own writings, that none may be discovered through their Book being found in another's possession.

  14. Destroy your Book whenever danger threatens, and commit as many as possible of these Laws to memory. Destroy the writings of a deceased Witch if they did not have time to do so themselves. If any of their writings are found, it is clear proof against both the writer and the holder, for our enemies firmly believe that "one may not be a Witch alone": their family and all who are known to be friends may be suspected as Witches. Be responsible with your writings and you will protect all who love you.

  15. If your Book is found on you, it is clear proof against you along unless you tell our enemies what you know. You may be taken and tortured, but keep all thoughts of the Craft from your mind. If the torture is too much to bear, tell them, "I cannot bear this torture. I will confess. What do you want me to say?" If they try to make you talk about the Craft, do not; but if they try to make you speak of absurd things, such as flying through the air, consorting with the Christian devil, sacrificing children or eating men's flesh, say, "I held an evil dream; I was beside myself; I was crazed," or words to that effect, to obtain relief from the torture. Not all magistrates are bad -- if there is any semblance of an excuse, they may show mercy. If you have confessed to anything, deny it afterwards: say that you babbled under torture, or that you don't remember what you said. If you are condemned, do not be afraid, for the Craft is powerful and your escape will be aided if you stand fast. If you go steadfast to the flames, be certain that drugs will reach you and you will feel nothing of the pain. You will only go to death and what lies beyond -- the ecstasy of the God and the Goddess. If you betray anything, however, there is no hope for you in this life or that which is to come.

  16. To avoid being discovered, choose your working tools to be ordinary items which you would have around the house. Make your Pentacles out of wax so that you can break and melt them at once. Do not keep a sword unless its presence would alarm no-one. Have no signs or names visible on anything. Write the signs in ink or water immediately before consecrating the tool and wash them off immediately after. Do not engrave anything, for this will only help you be discovered. Keep your athame and kerfan (working knife) among your kitchen knives, and let the colors of the hilts determine the one from the other and from the other knives. Always remember that we are the Hidden Children of the Goddess. Never do anything to disgrace the Craft or Her -- never boast, never threaten, and never say that you wish ill of anyone.

  17. It is not forbidden to say, "There is Witchcraft in the land", for the Christians say so themselves and have made it heresy not to believe so; but always say, "I know nothing of it here, though it may be elsewhere." If any person speaks about the Craft outside of the Circle, say, "Don't speak of such things -- it frightens me. It is bad luck to talk about such things." Say this for this reason: the Christians have their spies everywhere. These spies have been known to talk as if they were drawn to the Craft and as if they would want to come to our meetings, and they say such things as, "My fathers and forefathers worshipped the Old Ones, and my mother; I would like to worship in this way myself." To all of these, tell them that you do not know what they are talking about, and that you wish they would stop. But to others, say, "It's silly to talk about Witches flying around in the air; they would have to be lighter than feathers or thistle-down. Besides, everyone knows that Witches are all bleary-eyed old hags; what fun could they possibly have at their meetings, and why should I want to participate? And besides, you know we were taught in school that there are no such things as Witches." Always make fun of the subject, that we may worship in peace when the persecution ends: let us all work for that happy time. May the blessing of the God and the Goddess be upon all who keep this law.

  18. If any in the Craft holds any property, let all Witches guard it and keep it clear and good for the use of the Craft. It is the further responsibility of all Witches to guard Craft funds wisely.

  19. If any Witch offers a well-made item, it is proper to pay them for it according to the value of the work; this is not taking money for the Craft, but payment for honest work -- even the Christians believe that "the labourer is worth his hire". Still, if any Witch works willingly for the good of the Craft and will not accept payment, this shall be to their greater honor.

  20. It is known that a coven may be bound together by sexual ties, and that this is often not desirable. When it is found that this is not desirable, the coven should be made up of loving couples, and there may also be single coveners. In such cases, it is required that the search for new love be undertaken outside the coven except when two single coveners find love with each other; otherwise, it will often cause division in the coven. For while all acts of love and pleasure are indeed the rituals of our beloved Goddess, She is not inclined to favor acts which divide Her covens and scatter Her Witches unnecessarily.

  21. If there should arise quarrels or disputes among the Witches, the High Priestess or High Priest shall immediately convene the elders and inquire into the problem. The elders shall hear each side separately, and then both together. Their decision should be just, not siding with one side until the matter is determined, recognizing that there are people who cannot work under others, and others who cannot make wise decisions. To those who must always be in charge, the possible solutions for them are to void the coven altogether, find another coven for them, or for them to found a new coven (taking with them all who will go). To those who cannot rule wisely, the solution is that those who cannot bear the rule will leave the coven. No one can truly worship the Gods when personal conflicts among the coveners are not resolved; all who cause strife in the coven must be told, "Go away from us, for the Craft must ever survive."

  22. In the Old Days, we could use the Art against anyone who treated the Witches badly; but in these times, we must not do so. Our enemies have invented a burning pit of everlasting fire into which their God throws everyone who does not worship Him, except for those few who buy their penance from His priests (for their God always seems to be in need of money). Even as our Gods need our aid to make fertility for people and crops, so it is that the God of the Christians is always needing men to find and destroy us. Their priests tell them that any man who is helped by us will be damned to their Hell forever, to the point that men are mad with the terror of it. But the priests also make them believe that they may escape this Hell if they give up Witches to be tortured, so that these men are always thinking, "If I catch only one Witch, I will escape the fiery pit." For this reason we have our hiding places, and when no Witches are found, the searchers will say, "There aren't any Witches, or at least not in this area." But as soon as one of our oppressors dies or even catches a cold, the cry will go up that it is "Witches' work", and the hunt will be on again. And while they may kill ten Christians for every Witch, they will not care, for they are countless millions while we are few indeed.

  23. THEREFORE, IT IS ORDAINED that none shall use the Art in any way to harm anyone or even wish them ill. However much they may injure us, HARM NONE, and may the Christians forget that we exist.

  24. These laws are ordained to help us in our difficulties. No person, no matter how large the injury or injustice they incur, may use the Art in any way to do evil or harm anyone. But they may use the Art, after great consultation with the elders and fellow coveners, to keep the Christians and their tools from harming anyone -- but only to constrain them. To this end, some day men will say "That man says he is a mighty persecutor of Witches, but all we ever see him torture are old women -- we cannot see that they have hurt anyone, and if they are all such powerful Witches, why has he not been harmed?" They will see him as the evil person he is, regardless of his professed beliefs. We know that too many people have died because someone had a grudge against them, or were persecuted because another wanted their wealth or because they were too poor to bribe the witch-hunters. And many have died only for being old women -- so many that most men now seem to believe that only old women are Witches. This is to our advantage, for it turns many suspicious eyes away from us; but we mourn deeply for the old women. Still, in England and Scotland, it has been hundreds of years since a Witch "died the death"; be vigilant, for the misuse of our power might begin the persecutions again. Never break this law, no matter how much you are tempted. Never consent to the breaking of this law: even a High Priestess who merely consents to the breaking of this law must be deposed immediately, for it is the blood of all the Witches that she endangers. DO ONLY GOOD, and then only when it is safe to do anything at all.

  25. Never accept money for the use of the Art, for money always smudges the receiver. Christians take money for the use of their arts, and they sell pot-metal charms, pardons and potions to men so that they may escape from their sins. Do not act like these; as long as you refuse to take money, you will be free from the temptation to use the Art for evil causes. All may use the Art for their own advantage or for the advantage of the Craft, but you must always be certain that no-one will be harmed by its use. Let the coven debate the use of the Art at length, and only when all are satisfied that none will be harmed by its use will the use be allowed. Remember that if you cannot achieve your means in one fashion, your aim may still be reached through another -- always harming none.

  26. If anyone in the Craft needs a house or land and there is no one willing to sell to them, you may use the Art to incline an owner's mind to be willing to sell, provided that the spell does not harm the owner or the property and that the full value is paid without haggling. Never bargain or cheapen anything while living by the Art.

  27. The most important of laws: Do nothing that will endanger anyone in the Craft or which will bring them into conflict with the law of the land or any of our persecutors. In this regard, it is NEVER permissible, in any dispute involving the Craft, to invoke any laws other than those of the Craft, nor may any tribunals be held other than one consisting of the High Priestess, the High Priest, and the elders.

  28. The coven is to keep two books on herbalism. One of these will list the names and uses of all herbs which are cures for ills or are otherwise good for humans, and all may have access to this book to learn these things. But keep a separate book with the names of all poisonous herbs and those used in dark spells, letting only the elders and other trusted Witches know of these secrets or even of this book's existence.

  29. Remember that the Art is the secret of the Gods and may only be used in earnest -- never for show, or pride, or personal glory. The Christians may taunt you saying, "You have no power: Perform some magic for us, and then we may believe." Do not listen to them, for the Art is holy and is to be used only in need.

  30. It has always been the way of men and women that they should seek after love, and while no one should be reproved for this, it may be to the disadvantage of the Craft sometimes. It has happened too many times that a High Priestess has found a new love and run off with him, giving no word to the coven of this. A High Priestess may resign in full coven at any time, and this resignation is valid; but if she has not resigned, the coven shall wait for her to return for a year and a day (for she may return sooner, having left for love). If she has a deputy, that deputy is to act as Priestess for as long as the High Priestess is away. If she returns within this time, all will be as if she had never left; but if she does not return within this time, a new High Priestess shall be elected in full coven. Unless there is a good reason to the contrary, the deputy, having done the work, should reap the reward and be chosen as the new High Priestess. But if another is chosen, the deputy shall be the maiden and deputy of the new High Priestess.

  31. The High Priest serves at the pleasure of the High Priestess. If the High Priestess is gone for more than a year and a day, he shall continue in his office while the deputy serves in her place. However, once a new High Priestess has been chosen, the new High Priestess will appoint her own High Priest (and it may be the current High Priest or not). Neither the prior High Priest nor his friends may be angry if a new High Priest is chosen, for pride must always give way to harmony in the coven.

  32. The Art is sacred: it is the Art of the working of energies, and it must always be taught inside of the Magic Circle. It has been found that teaching the Art frequently leads to a sexual attraction between the teacher and student -- and that this often improves the result. If for any reason this is not desirable, it should be avoided at the beginning by both persons firmly - and verbally - resolving that their relations will be limited to that of brother and sister, or parent and child. It is for the reason that shared love often increases the result of working magic that teaching should always be done from man-to-woman and from woman-to-man. When a coven is made up of members of all one sex, the masculine-to-feminine energy exchange should be adhered to whenever possible. Teaching people about the Craft, however, may be done whenever and wherever it is safe, so long as the teacher is knowledgeable, the student is willing, and the information taught is available publicly or is not a secret of the Art. No-one may charge for teaching, unless it is to cover such expenses as the cost of the room, books or other printed materials, refreshments, and so forth.

  33. Order and discipline must be kept within the coven: the High Priestess or the High Priest should and may punish all faults. To this end, all in the Craft should receive their correction willingly. With the culprit kneeling, all in the Circle should be told of the offense, and the sentence will be pronounced. Punishment might include the scourge or the recasting of the Circle, followed by something silly such as several kisses. The culprit must acknowledge the justice of the punishment by kissing the scourge upon receiving sentence, and afterward by thanking everyone for their loving correction.


Source: "J. Random Folksinger" (I did this as a project for my 2nd Degree.) -- Available on most pagan BBSes and the Web as JRFLaws. These laws are a combination of what I was taught and what I learned, using many different sources, including my neo-Gardnerian training, two different sets of Celtic Craft laws, several other versions found in print, exigeses lovingly provieded me by Judy Harrow, and the picked brains of several of my students. You may contact the redactor at, as of 11/99 (subject to change).

Chroma, hue, brightness, contrast and depth
...or the world is grey and flat.

Seuss/Zappa: 2000 -- Ascended Masters Party

Visit my webpage at
Hear some of my songs at

{file "How to power a magic spell by Black Cat" "msg0000.htm"}

How to power a magic spell
by Black Cat

Some believe that Witches say a few magic words and do a ritual and then a spell is created and performs its function.

There is a metaphorical plane, a plane where all the psychic energy of both the living and the dead exists. We draw from this energy when we are being creative. It can also be psychically tapped to energize one's will and envisionment to cast spells.

The metaphysical plane acts like a battery. Psychic energy is alive and can be given a will of evil or good. Good psychic energy can heal and make good things happen. The evil energy creates a negative field around the person the spell was cast on, Some evil spells can cause someone to lose health etc.

It will effect random chance and make bad or negative things happen, causing luck and other factors to be reduced and depending on the nature of the spell and the psychic skill of the Witch. The spell could take years before it begins to lose its energy and effects.

There are several ways to create a psychic battery. Covens are great for this. A spell cast by a coven is much more powerful then one cast by a single Witch. There are also places in the world where there are rips in the psychic energy layer of the metaphysical plane. These places are ideal for Witches because the psychic energy leaking out of the metaphysical plane is very powerful and very easy to tap. One can also tap a person and use hir as a psychic battery to cast spells, but learning to channel and draw psychic energy from the metaphysical plane is the first thing any Witch should learn.

Submitted to the Internet Book of Shadows 12/29/2000. HTML by brujo.

{file "What is Magick by David Rankine" "msg0001.htm"}

What Is Magick

David Rankine

© copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 David Rankine

What is magick? Forget all the fallacies and stereotypical pre-conceptions
taught to you out of fear and ignorance and approach this question with an
open mind. You will probably find it is not what you have been taught to
think. Magick has been defined as "The art and science of causing change to
occur in conformity with will *1"   which could be put more simply as making
desired change happen; or as "energy tending to change"; a definition I use
is "magick is conscious evolution through directing energy". This does not
really explain magick though, so I will try to elaborate on these phrases
without jargon.

An aim of magick is to train the mind by harnessing and making more
consciously accessible such higher faculties as intuition, inspiration and
the creative imagination, and by drawing on the power of the unconscious -
to try and use more than the 10% of our brain's capacity that we do.

Magick assumes belief in, or rather experience of, subtle energies. We can
only see about one seventieth of the light spectrum, yet what we cannot see
still affects us - such as x-rays and ultraviolet light. Similarly, magick
is about focusing more subtle, non-physical energies, and directing them to
create change. To go about this requires experience, and training to improve
the power of the mind, and specifically, the will.

Acts such as meditation, breath control, voice work, body work,
visualization, drama, ritual, and others, are all designed to improve our
body and mind, to better sharpen us and balance us, and to enable us to
perceive and wield more subtle energies.

In the same way, an individual is as strong as their will, and the more
balanced and integrated a person is, the stronger their will (note, this is
probably one of the main reasons why so many magicians have experience of
counselling and/or psychology, recognising the help these processes can
give, both through training and experiencing them. This also acts as a
removal of farcical social stigma often attached to these processes).

Practising magick tends to act as a deconditioning mechanism and can be a
subtle process, the longer you practice, the more you change and the
unnecessary inhibitions, stigmas, guilts and sin complexes that society
builds in are removed. This has the effect of releasing their energy into
the psyche, where it can strengthen the individual.

The more physical side, such as yoga, bodywork, dance and massage, also
removes the tension held in the body as body armour, and releases this and
removes energy blockages which impair full efficiency and may result in

Possibly the major difference between magick and many of the religious paths
to spiritual growth is that magick is more dynamic, and places the emphasis
on you to work for change - there are no gurus in magick, rather there are
fellow students with different perspectives and experiences - we learn from
each other, as in other areas of life.

Magick tends to work a lot with symbols, as these are the language of the
unconscious, and this is an area of tremendous power to tap. Symbols have
many functions, and one of these, released through magick, can be the
ability to confound the ego and the censor mechanisms, and enabling us to
perceive more subtle truths, or experience direct revelations. Although we
may not be able to fully explain how symbols work, we know from experience
that certain symbols seem harmonious with certain types of energy.

For example a magician may tell you that if you want to attract love you
should wear green, and rose perfume, perhaps wear copper, like a bracelet or
necklace, etc. These are all things attributed with Venus, who is associated
with love, and so the principal is one of contagion - sympathetic magick, or
making something happen by working with items linked to it. This is one of
the oldest and most commonly practised forms of magick. Working with the
symbols of a type of energy does seem to attract that energy.

A cautionary word here, magick is often seen as a way to hidden powers, and
entered for the wrong reason, the "I want sex, power and lots of money"
syndrome. Now there is nothing wrong with these things in themselves, but
when you do magick you will discover that you tend to get what you need
rather than necessarily what you want.

When you do magick you generally use techniques to alter your state of
consciousness and raise energy, and then direct that energy to create a
desired result. The channel that energy takes as directed by your altered
state of consciousness is not necessarily the path you might expect in your
normal everyday state. Magick does bring you power, yes, but it is power
over yourself, not other people. It is the power that is important, to grow
and to create positive change.

This does not mean there is anything wrong with using magick to gain more
physical things, there is nothing wrong with doing a ritual or spell to get
a job, whereas trying to make a specific individual go to bed with you would
be wrong. Magick is very much about intent, and if your intent is to get
work, you are not imposing on people, whereas if you were trying to make
somebody do something that they would not naturally do, you are imposing on
their will.

If you did a ritual to attract love without specifying a person, but opening
yourself to the opportunity to meet someone where love may arise, and to
feel more attractive and better about yourself, you are not imposing, you
are trying to create positive change.

Magick is a commitment to yourself, and it requires determination,
perseverance, strength, openness to change and absence of rigidity, a love
of life (including yourself), and a desire to grow and fulfil your
potential. It may be that you already have all these qualities and do this
already without calling it magick - magick is not about labels, and those
who think and talk as if it is unfortunately put some people off. Magick is
learning about the natural flows of energy in the universe, and working in
harmony with them to effect positive change, both in yourself and in your

Some people ask why magick is spelt with a 'k' on the end. This is to
distinguish it from magic, associated in the popular mind with illusionism
and prestidigitation, stage magic. Magick is not about illusion, it is about
creating real change, and the 'k' signifies this. K is the eleventh letter
of the alphabet, i.e. the one beyond ten. Symbolically this is very
powerful, as we work in base ten, and eleven represents the unseen, or
hidden energies - the subtle energies of magick, eleven is considered to be
the number of magick.

Magickal training and experience bring forth the energies of the
unconscious, and so it is no surprise to see that symbols become more
important as you develop, providing not only the language of dream and the
unconscious, but also helping create a more flexible perception grid of the
universe. To grow spiritually, it is vital that you remain flexible and do
not become dogmatic, rather that you are open to experience and willing to
question your ideas and beliefs as a result of those experiences.

Magick can be a painful process. It is not easy to maintain the discipline
and honest self-critical approach all the time. It can also be hard work
dealing with the energy released without being knocked off balance
sometimes. The important thing in these cases is to remain honest and keep
at it. Nobody said magick was easy! It takes a lot of practice and hard work
and pain, but the rewards are spiritual and mental growth, the joy of life
and the beauty of unconditional love. Beyond the limits there are no limits!


© copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 David Rankine
This article may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, providing that
this original copyright notice stays in place at all times.

{file "Ethics and Etiquette by Morgaine" "msg0002.htm"}

Ethics and Etiquette



I would like to contribute the attached article, written by me, to the IBOS. This article may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, providing that this original copyright notice stays in place at all times.

Thank you,


© Morgaine 2001


When we speak of ethics and etiquette in relation to pagansim what are we referring to? Are we speaking of outdated rules and actions that no longer have meaning and we only give lip service to? I don't believe so. Ethics and etiquette are living, breathing codes of life, shaping our actions in relation to each other, and ourselves. They are a guiding force in the way we live our lives.

Let us first look at ethics. Ethics are defined as --a set of principles; moral philosophy; rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession; human duty; a particular system of principles and rules concerning duty, whether true or false; rules of practice in respect to a single class of human actions; motivation based on ideas of right and wrong; the philosophical study of moral values and rules.

When we begin to speak of ethics, we need to realize that this can be a very touchy subject. We are human after all, and we want to think our ethics are the correct ones. While there are generally accepted community ethics, it is personal ethics that make up who we are. And these are not the same for each person.

Before we begin to discuss in depth community and person ethics let us first look at the Rede, the most common code of conduct among Wiccans.

Bide the Wiccan law ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust;

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill;

'An ye harm none, do as ye will';

Lest in self-defense it be, ever mind the rule of three;

Follow this with mind and heart;

And merry ye meet and merry ye part.

Every Wiccan knows the Rede. Our passwords into the sacred circle are in here. Our major rule of ethic is here. And the reason for breaking this ethic, as well as the consequences of breaking it foolishly. When we extract the line most popular --An ye harm none, do as ye will' and begin to dissect it, we have to wonder "Is this an ethic we can every achieve?"

I believe the Rede is a standard of living, like all ethics, and one that is an impossibility to achieve. The goal is to live as closely to the Rede as possible. In the attempt to do this, we begin to analyze our actions. We follow the path of LEAST harm. Thus, we begin to live conscious of our actions, and how they effect the world around us. And here comes the REAL lesson of the Rede. It forces us to have personal responsibility. Once you have acknowledged that the Rede is a goal to work for and not a given situation, and have taken of the blinders that let you go around smug and happy that your religion is so sweet it makes your teeth itch, you can get down to the work of making your life an ethical one. What this involves is considering each decision in the light of the Rede before you decide upon a course of action. You do this by looking at all the possible consequences of that action and whether that will cause harm to any, choosing the path that causes the least harm and, (THIS IS THE KEY) accepting the responsibility for the consequences of your actions whether intentional or unintentional. -Lark, HPS of Tangled Moon Coven.

Wicca, as well as most Pagansim, is a religion and spiritual path of personal responsibility. We strive to live in an aware state. When we do this, we recognize our free will, and the free will of others. If we ignore the lesson of personal responsibility, we fail to realize our true spiritual potential and our true spiritual will.

As we begin our path, we must develop a set of personal ethics, while maintaining a respect for the ethics of the community we are becoming a part of. Some community ethics are very well defined.

-Don't practice black magick, or follow the left-hand path.

-Don't attempt to harm another or interfere with their free will.

-Always act in a way that will reflect well upon your path. Never do anything that will bring harm to the Craft.

Since Wicca, and pagansim, are very open paths and for the most part do not seek to make anyone follow 'ONE RIGHT WAY', most of the ethics defined by community are concerning harm to others, and harm to the Craft.

But to begin a spiritual path, and to follow it every day of your life, you must develop your own set of personal ethics that define the way you live. No one can tell you what your personal ethics should be. Your teachers, mentors, HPS, HP can all recommend both in word and deed, ethics that work for them. You may be given a 'Book of the Law' that governs your group or tradition. If you are a solitary, you may read on the net, or in a book, acceptable codes of conduct, or ideals. But you cannot take someone else's ethics and make them your own. You must do some soul searching, and decide how you feel about things. Now I am NOT suggesting that you ignore your HPS or HP, or your teachers and mentors. I am suggesting that you should always temper wisdom with personal experience. You must come to a point that you are willing to question what you are taught, to grow in your own self. Through this, your own sense of ethics and morals will come.

Now, here comes the biggie. What do you do when your personal ethics are in direct conflict with accepted community ethics? For example-it has become a phenomenon in the pagan community to love everything white and full of light, and shun everything dark and full of shadow. It has become unacceptable to speak of negative emotions like anger and envy. It has become unacceptable to feel hate towards another person, wish that a murderer would get the death penalty, which that rapist would get castrated by a bunch of angry women. Some of us fondly refer to this a fluffy, bunny Wicca, no offense to anything fluffy, or bunnies. We are taught to love unconditionally because we are all brothers and sisters, connected to each other and every living thing. We are taught that if we experience these emotions, maybe we aren't all that spiritual, and especially not as much as Miss crystal love and light. We are often looked down upon if we say something like 'I am so damn mad at my ex husband I could smack him'. The response I myself have heard to such comment is 'my my, now THAT wasn't very positive'. Well, guess what. It WASN'T. Now I am not saying that you should indulge in these emotions. They can be deterrents to developing a sound spiritual identity because they are 'negative' in the sense that they are base emotions that do not vibrate on the spiritual plane. But they also teach us lessons that can lead to spiritual epiphanies.

Life is a balance between light and dark. Nature is both beautifully creative and frighteningly destructive. Inside of a single human there is light and shadow, and to be totally balanced we must learn to face both, experience both and therefore learn from both. So back to the original question. Let's say you don't feel that you are evil if you feel anger at another person or what have you. What do you do when community ethics conflict with your personal ethics? In my opinion, as long as what you are doing does not come into direct conflict with the good of the general community, or does not manipulate or purposefully harm another person, then your personal ethics should come first. You should not do something maliciously to another person. When you do this, you are not only harming yourself, but you are harming that person, AND the whole of the community. It is very important that our community not be sullied, and the reasons are obvious. But beyond this, your personal ethics should prevail.

Do ethics change over time? Do you think that the ethics of our ancestors of 100, 200 or even 1000 or more years ago are the same as what they are now? I believe that ethics are a revolving and ever changing system. Some become outdated, and some we should always keep. For instance, it has only been in the recent resurgence of Pagansim in the last 50-60 years or so that the belief of 'An ye harm none, do as ye will came about'. In times past, a witch who could not curse, could not heal. Societies have not always believed that you should not harm another person, or that interfering with someone life was a bad thing. The old wise woman of a village was sought out for every reason from fertility, to love, to revenge. It has been in our time only, with the resurgence of beliefs and the discrimination that we face, that we have adopted some of the common ethics we now have. I am NOT saying this is wrong, or that we should go back to the 'Old Ways'. In a society that we now living in, and the information is available for spiritual purposes, there is no longer a need to seek out the crone of the village and ask her to grant you revenge on your enemy. But this is the perfect example of how ethics change with time. At one time it was ethical for old men to mate with young girls. In our culture, it is no longer ethical. So ethics change, and so they should. Change is the only constant in the universe, and without it, we grow stagnate and our lives become filled with rot and decay. Change blows in new life to help recreate our lives, our beliefs and yes, even out ethics.

The other common code of conduct that we hear of in the Pagan community is 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, love under will.' This comes from Aleister Crowley, from his book entitled 'The Book of the Law'. Now knowing some of the things that we do about Crowley, it's almost humorous to think of him in a discussion of ethics, except to point to what not to do maybe! But, this is a very powerful outlook on developing your own set of personal ethics.

In my understanding 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will' does not mean you may do as you wish and that is it. It is speaking of your TRUE will, your TRUE purpose in life. And if you are following your true or higher will and purpose you will not come into conflict with another's will so therefore you do not have to worry about stepping on anyone else's toes. So you don't have to worry about harming another, because you are in touch with the divine and you are following your own spiritual path and will, which will not cause harm or conflict with another. Of course, we still have conflicts with people. One way to look at this is as a spiritual lesson for either you or the other person. But if you are seeking to control another or harm another, this is not your true will. This is based upon the belief that every person is an individual, and as an individual you should be true to your own nature or consciousness. You must find your true will and make all of your actions subservient to the one great purpose. This again leads to conscious living.

If ethics are codes of personal and community conduct, then etiquette is a code of social conduct. Etiquette is defined as --the practices and forms prescribed by social convention or by authority; forms of conduct prescribed by polite society; code of correct conduct; also decorum denotes conformity with established standards of manners or behavior; the forms required by good breeding, or prescribed by authority, to be observed in social or official life; observance of the proprieties of rank and occasion; conventional decorum; ceremonial code of polite society; rules governing acceptable behavior.

Just like Emily Post and polite society, we in the Pagan community have behavior that is expected from us in how we interact with that community. In my opinion, etiquette is something sorely lacking in many Pagans. They are not taught certain things about how we interact with each other. This could be because maybe you didn't have a teacher, or your teacher didn't know them either. Or it could be because you or those who taught you just didn't care, it wasn't important to them. But I feel that etiquette is VERY important. It keeps us civilized, it aids us in how we interact and it shows the outside world that we know how to act.

Beyond the mundane world and it's social etiquette, lets take a look at some things that are common among Pagan paths, especially the Wiccan path.

  1. You should never touch someone else's magickal tools and items without their express permission. If you see something you like and want to touch, then ASK. Don't just hold out your hand for it, or just pick it up. A person leaves an imprint of their energy on what they touch, and they may not want someone else's energy on their magickal items. This includes athames all the way to stones and jewelery. And do not take offense if you ask and are told no.
  2. The way you live reflects on our whole community. You should always respect others, no matter their path. Inside your own religion thee is a certain higher respect given each other, as Children of the Goddess. This comes from a basic understanding of the hardships of the path, and the process we all go through in some way to evolve. It can be equated to any secret society and it's initiation process and path of self-discovery. This path is not for everyone, and if you take it seriously, will change your life in ways you could never imagine. Any path that causes growth can be difficult. And we link with others that are going through the same thing we are and take strength from and learn from them.
  3. We endeavor to hold ourselves to a high standard of living our spiritual lives that the mundane world does not. Therefor we support each other, lending a hand when the pitfalls of the world come about.
  4. When someone gives of themselves to teach or guide, we recognize that person's giving, and respect it. Not all of us are called to teach, and those who are offer a valuable service that should not be taken for granted.
  5. When you are called to teach or guide, you have been given a very serious part to play in your community. You should never abuse it in any way. It also does not mean that you may use it as a way to gain power over, or look down upon any other person. We are all where we should be onour path, and it does not mean a thing that you have 10 or 20 years of service and someone else has 1. We are all equal in the eyes of the Gods. And if you are a teacher, you are held to an even higher state of conduct. You must never involve yourself in anything that could cause harm to your students or to the Craft. You should never do anything that would bring a bad light on us. For instance, you should never become romantically involved with one of your students. You should not condone the use of illegal drugs, or alcohol if the person is not of age. You should not use your position to control your students, or make them dependent on you. The goal is to aid a person on this path. You supply the seed as a teacher. You cannot take them by the hand and learn from them, or be easy on them when you should be honest.
  6. In that same light, those who would be considered an elder in our faith are given a large amount of respect. The wisdom that is gained from following this path for 10, 20 or 30 years is an asset to our community, and we should respect the Elders of the community for what they have learned and what they teach us.
  7. Due to the advent of the internet, there is a phenomenon growing among new seekers that is very disturbing. It involves not understanding the hard work it takes to learn the Old Ways, or the dedication and self sacrifice those who follow, and especially those who teach and guide give to the path. From this lack of understanding, new seekers think they can go to any page on the net, learn what they can and be done with it. It also leads them to think that they can ask for what they want, and someone will just hand it over. For example, I have been asked to send someone a copy of my BOS. This shows me that the person requesting this has no idea of what a BOS is, what it stands for and the process that is gone through to acquire it. This is flat out rude to begin with. This person is wanting their religion hand fed to them. They want to skip the hard work, the dedication, the pitfalls and the trials, and get right to the reward. This is simply not how it's done. This person wants the secrets and mysteries handed to them on a silver platter, without having to leave the comfort of the computer chair and work for them. This isn't possible. And I am here to say STOP. Be mindful of what you are asking. You can't go to the net, read a page or two, then go ask someone for their BOS, or even ask them to teach you. There must be effort on your part. You are not an adept after reading a page, or a book, or even ten books. The mysteries cannot be handed to you on a silver platter and you are a master of the universe. This is what I call lazy Wicca, and through lazy Wicca you will never come to experience the mysteries, because they come through dedication, hard work and a personal dedication to the Gods.
  8. Those who are out of the closet must NEVER give away the secrets of their brothers and sisters. You should never give any personal information. You should never tell the secrets of a coven, who it's leaders are, who the members are or any other information. We must honor our vows and protect those who for whatever reason have chosen to remain hidden from the eyes of the world.
  9. For those who are out of the closet, your life and your actions must be above reproach in the eyes of the world. As an open pagan, you may be the only one that a non pagan every sees. They will see every Pagan in you. So in all things you must be truthful. You must live with dignity and honor.

In our discussion of ethics and etiquette the point I was trying to impress upon you is this. We have become a society who thinks that we may do as we please, act as we please and there are no consequences. We fight with the Christians. We complain about how they fight amongst themselves. We sneer at them when they point to another of them and say how that person is wrong and they way they practice is wrong. And yet, WE DO THE SAME THING.

When I meet a fellow priestess, I treat her with respect as a person, and doubly so as a priestess, since I know how hard that path can be, to have dedicated your life and your service to the Gods and the Old Ways. If I meet someone who has been walking the path for 20 or 30 years, I respect that person because of the knowledge they have obtained in that time. That is not to say my 10 years is less, or they are 'more spiritual' than me. It is saying that this path is not an easy one all the time, and to have lived it every day for that amount of time is deserving of respect. I was taught as a child to respect my elders, and I believe that is still a valid lesson. The elders of this path can teach us things that we have never even thought of. At the same time, as an elder, you should always remember what it was like to take your first stumbling steps on this path, and how you may have longed for some guidance. It is just as wrong to be an elder, and act as if you know everything, or someone who is only 20 or whatever age could never be a spiritual person. We all must remember our ethics and etiquette, and encourage each other every day.

We have forgotten to practice our personal ethics, and have thrown etiquette out the window. We have forgotten Emily Post and Miss Manners, and have went on about our merry little way to fight like cats and dogs, without even offering basic human respect for those with diverging views, and this troubles me. It is a plague that is infecting our community. The Witch Wars continue. We struggle to make our way the right way, even if we don't realize we are doing this. We forget the very basic teaching that we are all connected, and that all paths are valid, as long as they fulfill our spiritual needs.

Let us remember our ethics. Let us live our lives with honor, treating all of life with respect. Follow your own path, without interference into another's. Work hard, study hard and receive the blessings of a life well lived.





{file "Becoming a Witch by Morgaine" "msg0003.htm"}

Becoming a Witch

by Morgaine

© Morgaine 2001.

This article may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, providing that this original copyright notice stays in place at all times.

I am often asked how one becomes a witch. Do you find someone who is a witch and they make you one? Or are you a witch just by saying you are? Can you make yourself a witch?

The process of becoming a witch doesn't happen overnight. It is a life change, a new path upon the journey of your life. It takes consideration, study and work. If you have previously followed a mainstream religion, you may have things that take time to let go, and new things that take time to absorb. I have heard many people say it is often hard, coming from a life of Christianity, to feel comfortable praying to the Goddess. All new things take time, but if you are serious upon this path, you will find your way. The Gods call their own home to them.

No matter how you have came about finding the Old Religion, here you are. So where do you go? To the book store. For a novice, books are like the air you breathe. You must have them, or access to them in some way. If you cannot afford, or do not feel safe having books on the Craft, the internet is the next best place.

In both books and on the internet you will find a wealth of knowledge that will help guide you upon your new path. Of course, as with anything else, there is good information and bad information. Avoid any kind of book, or internet site, that speaks of controlling another person in any way, harming them, doing love spells on a specific person, or tells you to chant in latin, even though you have no idea what you are saying (yes, I have seen sites like that). These books/sites will not fulfill your need for knowledge in the Craft and will only serve to confuse you.

Once you have read a variety of books and feel called to this path, the next step is to find a teacher. If you have access to a teacher, in my opinion this is the best course of action. A teacher or a coven can often be found if there is a new age book store in your community. Also, the Witches Voice is a site that offers networking in every state. It has grown extremely large over the past few years and is a valuable resource in the Craft community. All of my coven members have found me on the Witches Voice.

Having a mentor can offer so much to you when you are beginning. There will be things you come across that you have a hard time understanding and need clarification. If you have a teacher, they are just a phone call or email away. If you do not, you must try to decifer things on your own, and may not come to the correct end on them. If you do not have a teacher, again, the internet is the next best place to look.

If you are only looking for a 'how to' on casting spells, then the Craft is not for you. Witchcraft is a serious spiritual path, in which magick is performed, but is secondary to the religion itself. I would suggest you look to ceremonial magick for that.

A couple of things need to be said about beginning this path, in light of recent attitudes about the Craft. Here lately it seems that you have a people who, after reading a few books, feel as if they can call themselves a master of the Art. They throw on a title like Lady/Lord, or HP/s, add some black clothes, a pentacle the size of a hubcap, and they are ready to go. This is not what the Craft is about. If you have spent years following a particular path, have worked hard for the spiritual lessons that have been presented to you, and through this have attained the title and rank, then by all means use it. But think of how you would feel if, after all that, you have a newbie with 6 months and 5 books unde their belt walking about calling themselves Lady Starry Ski or Lord Thunderbutt. It is very offensive. Just like your parents told you when you were growing up (or maybe you still are) 'don't rush things, it will all come to you in the end, and be sweeter for the waiting'. This is true with the Craft. Using titles, putting on airs, and in general acting high and mighty are not going to make you any more spiritual. And that is what this path is about. What it will do is alienate you from people whom you may actually want to meet and get to know!

All of this being said the way to become a witch is through study and dedication. Gather all of the information you can. Find the best teacher possible. Read whatever you can get your hands on. Go outside in nature and commune with the Goddess and God. Listen to the trees and the wind and the rush of the water, for this is the witch's world.

{file "Self Dedication Explained by David Rankine and Sorita" "msg0004.htm"}

Subject: Articles - (BOS section)
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 03:57:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vitriol London 

Hi there,

I thought you might be interested in the following
articles for your Book of Shadows section on Sacred

Self Dedication explained
Article by David Rankine & Sorita
For more information on the authors please visit - or if you wish to contact them
please write to: BM Avalonia, London, WC1N 3XX, United
Kingdom. (Please include a SAE)
© David Rankine & Sorita 2000

Initiation is a process of "death and rebirth" - the
old self dies, and the new and magickal self is born.
A rite of self-dedication marks a serious commitment
and dedication to the path, and should not be taken

Having followed your path this far, you will have
noticed subtle (or not so subtle) changes in your
self, and you may wish to mark this, and affirm your
commitment to the path with a self-dedication ritual.
Initiation is a process which happens over time, and
the rite itself will benefit from being preceded by a
daily practice, building up in intensity as you
approach the day of the rite, with the dedication rite
being the culmination of this ritual practice.

As the rite marks a rebirth, into your witch self or
magickal self, you may wish to obtain a new magickal
item or items for it. This could be a piece of ritual
jewellery, such as a pentagram pendant, or amber and
jet necklace (the traditional witches necklace), or a
cord you wear around your waist. Some people choose to
mark their dedications by having a tattoo in a
magickal design, personal to themselves.

It is also good to have a magickal weapon which you
will consecrate at the end of the dedication rite. A
ritual dagger, or athame is the general tool chosen.
Self-dedication can be very empowering, and can
produce a feeling of "walking on clouds", and it is
very important to earth oneself afterwards, and then
to have a rest from magickal work for a period of
between a week and a month.

Simple daily meditation may be practised during this
period, but avoid intense magickal work. Time is
needed to assimilate the experience, and the
dedication process should be undertaken at a time when
you do not have too much outside stress, and are able
to take time for yourself.

It should be stressed that self-dedication is not the
same as initiation into a coven, and should you wish
to join a coven at a later date, you would still have
to go through a probationary period and coven
initiation, if accepted.

{file "A Self Dedication Ritual by David Rankine and Sorita" "msg0005.htm"}

Subject: Article 2 - BOS section
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 03:59:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vitriol London 

A Self Dedication Ritual
For more information on the authors please visit - or if you wish to contact them
please write to: BM Avalonia, London, WC1N 3XX, United
Kingdom. (Please include a SAE)
© David Rankine & Sorita 2000


When you decide that you want to do a self-dedication,
plan the date of the ritual at least a month in
advance, choosing a suitable time, perhaps consulting
astrological tables, or at least the phases of the
moon. It is best done on a waxing or full moon.

Start your preparation at the new moon. Make sure that
you have a day off work for the initiation itself. You
may already have decided on a magickal or witch name.
If you haven't yet decided on your witch name, find
one through meditation and pathworking in the daily
ritual leading up to the rite of self-initiation.

Begin preparing for the self-initiation by performing
a daily ritual. Start by creating a sacred space.
Purify the area with incense and sprinkling salt
water. Visualize a sphere around yourself, and call on
the powers of the four quarters, visualizing the
elemental landscapes. ( casting)

Call on the Goddess and the God, by whatever names you
prefer to call them. Declare to the Elements, the
Goddess and the God that you are embarking on the path
of dedication, and ask for their help in preparing

Spend some time in meditation on the meaning of
dedication, and opening yourself up for any messages
from the Goddess and God. Thank and say farewell to
the Goddess, God, and Elements, and close the circle.

Closer to the time

Try and spend time every day in the week leading up to
the self-dedication rite working out your vows and
meditating. Make sure that the vows you make are
realistic! It is better to make less demanding vows
than to make highly demanding vows and not live up to

The Ritual

Spend the day in quiet meditation and fasting. Drink
only pure water, or if you really cannot do this,
allow yourself a small quantity of apple or grape
juice. Do not smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs! If
you are on prescribed medication, consult your doctor.
If the medication is short term, wait until you have
finished the course of medication before doing the

If possible, go to a sacred site or wild place and
attune yourself with nature. Communicate with the
nature spirits, and ask for their blessings.

Think about the vows that you wish to make in your
initiation. Think of a vow to yourself, one to the
Goddess and God, and one to the Earth.

Before you start the ritual, have a purification bath.
You may put essential oils, herbs or sea salt in the
bath. Whilst in the bath, meditate on purifying your
aura. See your aura as grey and dirty, but gradually
becoming lighter and cleaner, until it is brilliant.

When you emerge from the bath, allow yourself to dry
naturally. Do not use a hair dryer, or rub yourself
with towels. Rub your entire body with oil. This may
be olive oil, grapeseed oil, or other vegetable oil,
scented with pure essential oils of your choice.
Perform the ritual skyclad if possible.

Have an altar set up, with an altar cloth on it, with
a chalice of wine, a piece of bread or cake on a
platter, a censer, two altar candles, some anointing
oil, your athame or other tool, any ritual jewellery
which will be put on at the end of the ritual to mark
your dedication, and two small dishes containing sea
salt and water (from a spring or sacred well if
possible). You may also wish to have images or statues
of the Goddess and God on the altar.

Light the candles and the incense, and purify your
ritual space. Hold your hands over the water dish and
"I purify you, Oh water, in the blessed and mighty
names of the Goddess and God",
visualizing it glowing with white light. Do likewise
with the salt, then tip some of the salt into the
water, and mix it in with your forefinger.

Sprinkle the salt water around your ritual space.
Visualize a circle around you. (or cast a circle in
your usual way) Call on the elements, then on the
Goddess and God.

Declare your intent, saying something like: "I
(ordinary name) am prepared for dedication. I have
followed the path and fulfilled my vows, and I now
call upon the Goddess and the God to confer on me
wisdom and integrity. I ask for the blessings of air,
fire, water and earth".

Spend some time in meditation, and controlled
breathing to gather energy and achieve an altered
state of consciousness. You may also wish to use a
mantra or chant.

Meditate for a while on finding the stillness inside
yourself. When you are ready, stand before the altar,
and anoint yourself first with oil, then with salt
water and lastly wine, saying:
"I am reborn into my true and magickal self, and I
take on the name of (Witch name). I ask for the
blessings of the Goddess and God on my endeavours, and
I vow (make your vows)".

When anointing yourself you may wish to anoint your
chakras, or anoint yourself with a circle, pentagram,
or personal symbol. It is good to write down your vows
in your magickal diary, and sign the entry with your
witch name.

Present yourself to the quarters, stating that you are
now dedicated to the solitary path. Consecrate your
ritual jewellery with the four elements (incense,
water, salt and candle flame), and anoint it with oil
for spirit before putting it on.

Consecrate your athame or other tool in the same
manner, then hold it to your heart, feeling a link
with it, and filling it with your energy. Say
"I am a child of earth and starry heaven."

Hold it up to the moon and stars, and ask for the
blessings of the cosmos on it, then touch it to the
ground, and ask for the blessings of mother earth.

Lastly, consecrate the wine and cake by touching your
athame to them, and channelling energy through it.
Drink and eat, earthing yourself, then thank the
Goddess, God and Elements, and close the circle.

Remember: Write up your experiences in your magickal
diary. Refrain from ritual for at least the next week,
whilst you integrate the work.

{file "How to find a Coven or Group by David Rankine and Sorita" "msg0006.htm"}

Subject: Article 3 - BOS section
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 04:02:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vitriol London 

How to find a Coven or Group
For more information on the authors please visit - or if you wish to contact them
please write to: BM Avalonia, London, WC1N 3XX, United
Kingdom. (Please include a SAE)
© David Rankine & Sorita 2000

How to find a Coven or Group

If you are looking for a group then going out and
meeting people and talking, asking questions and
showing your intent of finding a group are the most
important steps.

If you stay at home and never mingle with other people
then don't expect anything to happen. This is not a
'spoonfed' path to walk, there is a lot of serious
work involved and when you do find a group,the work
doesn't stop.

Joining a Coven means giving up a lot of free time,
subsituting social time for Coven time and spending a
lot of time studying and experiencing... So which ever
path you follow, and which ever type of group you are
seeking - make an effort and be patient.

In big cities such as the one we live in, London (UK)
there is no reason to say 'But there is nothing to go
to'. There are online organisations such as WWL who
keep their members informed of social events,
workshops, training groups, conferences and open
rituals. The WWL also organise events just for their
members, so that you can meet the faces behind the
names.  To find out more about WWL visit:

The Witches Voice - is another
great resource.  You can find contacts with similar
interests to yourself to correspond with, but most
importantly they list all the major events,
conferences and festivals organised by Pagans from all
over the world.  They also list smaller events, such
as pub moots and workshops.

In parts of the world it is not that easy, and you
might have to travel to attend conferences or
workshops. This might seem like a lot of work just to
meet other people, but if you are serious then travel
should not deter you from your path.

When you do get the oppurtunity to meet other Pagans
make an effort to ask around about open groups and
other events. As the organisers of the event if they
know of groups which might be taking on new trainees.

It is important to note that even in big cities such
as London there are very few new groups forming and
the groups in existance might only take on a trainee
every few years. Those who do might expect to
interview you to see if you will fit in with the rest
of their group. If this happens take the oppurtunity
to interview them too! Be honest with them, but make
sure that their answers also satisfy you. Ask what
they will be expecting from you and what training they
will be providing you with.

Unfortunately there are still some dubious groups
using the name of Wicca to cover other activities. Do
not just join a group because they happen to be the
first one which approaches you!


You should feel comfortable with your HPS & HP;
Sex should not be expected in return for training, nor
should it be part of your initiation;
You should not be expected to contribute large sums of
money in return for training - although you should
expect to contribute towards temple expenses;
Confidentiality is VERY important in Wiccan groups;
Expect a lot of hard work!
Finally you should enjoy being part of the group you

{file "Book of the Whole" "bow.htm"}




1.Many have failed to see the True Nature of Mankind.
2. For mankind know not the true Splendor that is me.
3. I give this message unto you so that you can pass it onto the Children of
the Beast.
4. For He is a lie, He is a sin.
5. Mankind knows naught but shame.
6. They fear the truth, and they reject rality.
7. Hath not the Will to Learn, though hath the Will to teach.
8. He teaches them all lies. For all He Knows are Lies.
9. The New Aeon has come. As It has been fortold.
10. The Beast has risen. He is that who has lied to You all.
11. The One claims to be the Son of Jehovah. Though He is the Son of the
12. A Child portrayed by Sin and engulfed in Shame.
13. He died for Your Sins, though he hath no name.
14. The Only Sin Mankind knows is Shame.
15. As they ate from the Tree of Life, they were blinded by the Lies.
16. He claims that these Lies are reality. That the Liar is the Beast.
17. The Only Way to Salvation is through the death of Desire.
18. Salvation is the Key.
19. The Key of Man is Sin.
20. The Sin of Man is Shame!
21. If thou teaches Sin then thou know only Shame.
22. the Book of Sin is the Book of Shame.
23. His disciples taught lies.
24. They taught fear.
25. They taught slavery.
26. They taught Shame.
27. They claim to do Jehovah's work.
28. They claim to be prophets.
29. Has it not said that to beware the false prophet?
30. Though the prophet himself was false?
31. He taught lies and He taught fear.
32. I repeat this to You.
33. The truth is inside Of You.
34. Apostiles brought forth the Lies from Heaven.
35. The Lies are the Book of Truth.
36. Mankind reject these truths.
37. For You are ignorant and You are hipocrates.
38. You ignore the Truth and follow Lies.
39. Which of His revelations came true?
40. Let the Word be burnt!
41. Spit in the eyes of the False Ones.
42. Let none stride You away from achieving Your Desire.
43. Desire is a lie.
44. Then Jehovah created the world with his word of Command.
45. Though whenHe sent his son down for us to pray with He hath sent an
46. For Christ was a fake. He was a Son of The Beast.
47. Created into manifestation through the lies of the One.
48. These are the truths that you hear.
49. For the truth lies inside us all.
50. For if we naught look within, we shall never find it without.
51. The Nature of Man is this: Lies, lies, lies!
52. Lies taught by Jehovah's Son?
53. No. Lies taghut by the Child of the Beast.
54. For this is the Age of Truth.
55. The One and Twenty centuries of the Earth shall We know the Truth.
56. The Book is written. It cannot be erased.
57. The Lies are in our minds and must be denied.
58. Teach not lies Thou servents!
59. Teach love and Wholeness.
60. Teach Forgivness and Condemn not to death!
61. It is written to command death.
62. Thou shalt never condemn to death.
63. Ye shal never subject Another to discrimination.
64. For the Prophet said "Love All Unto the Being".
65. Let these truths hold near to You.
66. Let them always Be.
67. For just as You are here to Be, Let the Truths be known to thee.
68. The truths said are those by Man.
69. Follow not thier empty lies.
70. With the grace of the One unto You all.
71. By the powers of Love and Life.
72. Spread my Word and Teach them the Truth!





The key to Inner knowledge and salvation is through discipline of the Self.
The Mind is the mystery. The Body is the Temple. The Spirit is the Will. Ye
shall endure through suffering perfection of the Self is the Death of Desire
under Will. Read not the words of the rite unless You decide to perform it.

Once you have agreed to embrace Yourself to the Gods and Goddesses, then
shall ye be granted knowledge and wisdom that was once unknown. The Occult
shall no longer be. The truth shall be Hidden No More!

1. Ye shall have with you a dagger, a star, a cup, and Your Book.
2. The Book shall be of Your secrets.
3. Arange the items as listed onto an altar. Have a statue of the Goddess
and Her consort Pan.
4. Kneel before thine altar and raise the Dagger high above.
5. Thus through Your voice proclaim:
"I am of the Gods, and to the Gods I do submit myself!
I give unto thee my soul, and I give to thee my Whole!
I shall be granted My Rebirth!"
6. Thus shall youtake thy Blood and mix it within the blessed cup of life.
7. Mix it with the Holy Water.
8. Then shall You raise the Cup to the Gods and Say:
"My Body shal be pure,
My Mind shall be Pure,
My spirit shall be pure,
I embrace Myself,
I take thine Mysteries inside of Me!"
9. Upon thine proclimation, shall ye drink the Cup of Life.
10. Lie onto the ground before thine altar.
11. In the position of the God with arms across your chest, raise the
ancient powers by chanting thier sacred names:
"Nuit, Rah, Pan!
Ares, Dionyus, Graal!
Horned Hunter of the Night,
Great One of the Seas,
Silent One of the Skies,
And Mighty Lord of Might!
I invoke thine sacred Name,
The One is the All,
The All is the Many!"
12. Ye shall arise and raise the Star.
13. Hold it upon Your Heart.
14. Proclaim Yourself as a servent of the Gods.
15. Then drop the star and raise your arms.
16. In a Loud and Demanding voice, say these words:
"Great Goddess I take thee inside of Me,
I pledge My loyalty to thee,
As I head into Your Arms,
Shall ye then make Me Whole,
I shall endure,
All that You know,
Isis, Hecate, Diana,
Cerridwen, Artimes, Athena!"
17. Then shall you meditate
18. After completion of the Ritual, ye shall scribe all you have seen.
19. And shall ye scribe all You Now know.
20. For You have now been initiated into the Spirit's Glow!
21. "Love Unto All, and Fallow thine self!"





The Sin of Man is shame. When Eve ate from the Tree of Life she knew the
truth. The truth was Shame. Then she Gave the fruit to Adam. Who was taught
the Lies of Man.

The snake was not a serpent. He was the Lies. He taught them the truth of
shame. For it has been seen inside His eyes!

The Sin is here and shall always be. Nothing can hide it. The woman had
given man the gift. The gift of Shame. So too did Christianity. Christ gave
the gift of Shame. For shame is the only Sin of Mankind.

All Mankind knoweth is Shame. For Shame is the lies taught by the Child. The
Child was the Son. The One was the Father. And the Lies were the Holy

For Mankind know now the lies. They will never forget. Thier desires are
then never met. For they are blinded by the lies. The Lies of Shame.

The Will is the Control,
The Will is the life!
Spread Will until you All,
And fear Not for I have come!

I am Here. I have always Been,
I shall teach to You the Sin!


The Sin of Man is Shame,
Repeat not he mistake again!
Teach love and naught fear,
For I am always here!
I shall arise until the end,
And teach to you my friends!


{file "Physics and the Basic Principle of Visualization Magick" "msg0007.htm"}

Physics and the Basic Principle of Visualization Magick

by Dan


For starters, I would like to say a few things about myself to set the record straight. I have a Masters degree in Quantum Field Theory, am working on my PhD in the same, and am a practicing, if tyro, shaman. I have read in several places that the best way to start in magick is to read read read read, and I have noticed several articles using Physics to explain magickal arguments. Unfortunately, many of these articles either do not explain the Physics very well or are just plain wrong. I am not disrespecting these people: after all, not everyone can be a Physicist! I thought I would write a brief article to clear up a few issues on the nature of probability in Physics as well as how probability might play a role in magick.

The following article is essentially a short paper on the Metaphysics behind what I call "visualization magick." I am not going to footnote: all of the Physics arguments are well known and documented and can be found in any introductory text on Quantum Mechanics. As for my magickal arguments, well, they are as correct as I can make them. Naturally, I accept responsibility for any errors contained in this article.

The Nature of Investigation:

Most of the science done today is based on a problem solving technique called the "Scientific Method." The Scientific Method is a well-established way to start from the basic principles behind a problem and develop an experimentally based explanation of a given phenomenon. It has been used successfully for centuries. There is one problem with this method, though: it can be very difficult to incorporate any newly discovered facts that do not fit the structure of the current scientific theory. This point has been raised repeatedly when scientists try to discover the nature of ghosts, ESP, etc.

I think it is natural to take the viewpoint that any axiomatic structure, such as the sciences, can only explain certain types of phenomena. Other systems, such as magick, can explain other phenomena. It is interesting that these different axiomatic structures can overlap: they can explain the same types of phenomena, but they explain them in different ways. One might call different axiomatic systems as "paradigms," or "representations." Whatever you call them, it is important not to mix the different systems, because the any term defined in one representation are not likely to have the same meaning in another. For example, anyone trying to explain a magickal phenomenon in terms of Physics needs to be careful of how the word "energy" is used. Energy in magick will not necessarily mean the same thing as it does in Physics. (Incidentally, energy is not a well-defined concept in Physics!)

In the remainder of this article I am going to discuss the Physics representation known as the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Physics (CI) and, within that representation, provide an explain of visualization magick.

Schrodinger's Cat and Quantum Reality:

When most people think of Physics, they think of equations, math, and all sorts of difficult problems. In actuality, Physics is based on very simple arguments and can often be put in the form of puzzles that illustrate the basic principles. For instance, Classical Physics can usually be put into the form of some little guy (or person, for you extreme liberalists) firing a cannon over a ravine. Classical Physics describes what we see and touch in everyday life. We are familiar with it and it is the representation that makes the most sense to us. Another representation, which is more basic, is that of Quantum Reality. Classical Reality is fully contained within Quantum Reality, but Quantum Reality contains more phenomena, much of it things we do not see in day-to-day life. Not really accepting Quantum Reality for what it is, Erwin Schrodinger devised a thought experiment to show the odd nature of what Quantum Physics implies. He was essentially trying to ridicule the interpretation of the science he was helping to develop. The thought experiment is known as "Schrodinger's Cat."

We start with building a switch device based on quantum principles. We are going to take an atom of a radioactive material and place it inside a detector. The detector sends a signal to a switch if the atom decays. Now, all atoms decay eventually, and the amount of time it takes for half the amount of a radioactive material to decay is called the "half-life" of the material. So the chance our one atom will decay in one half-life is 50%. Thus, after one half-life, our switch has an equal chance of being "on" or "off." We now connect a vial of the deadliest poison to the switch; if the switch is "off" then the poison vial is closed, if the switch is "on" then the poison vial is open and any creature in contact with the poison will die instantly. Now place the quantum switch and vial of poison along side a cat in a sealed box. The question is after one half-life has elapsed, is the cat alive or is it dead?

Since there is a 50% chance that the atom has decayed in one half-life, our "logical" answer must be that the cat has a 50% chance of being alive or dead. No other answer in our (Classical Reality) experience makes any sense. We cannot say with certainty if the cat is either alive or dead.

However, we are asking a question that requires a specific answer. Is the cat alive, or is it dead? Quantum Reality gives us a third, and actually the only valid, answer to this problem. The cat is in a mixed quantum state of both alive and dead as far as anyone outside the sealed box is concerned. That is, the cat is only in a specific state of alive or dead when someone called a "quantum observer" looks inside the box to determine the state of the cat. This leads us to all sorts of metaphysical problems about the cat as well as the problem of what defines a quantum observer.

The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Reality:

The Quantum Reality representation of the result of the Schrodinger's cat experiment does not make any sense as far as Classical Reality is concerned. Nevertheless, it has good basis in Physics. Many of the top Physicists of the time (around the 1930's I believe) met in Copenhagen to discuss Quantum Mechanics. Several topics were on the board there and eventually a consensus was made as to the nature of a quantum system: if a system is not measured it exists in a superposition of all possible quantum states. When the system is measured, it falls into one specific state. (For you Physics buffs, this is the concept behind the Born interpretation of the wave function.) This representation has become known as the "Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Physics." (CI) According to the CI, Schrodinger's cat is both alive and dead until someone opens the box to look.

There is one other way to look at Quantum reality, but you pay a severe price. The representation, called the "Many Worlds Theory," states that every time a quantum level decision is made, the Universe splits into two or more copies, one for each outcome of the decisions. The Many Worlds interpretation of Schrodinger's cat states that the Universe splits into two copies: one with a dead cat and the other with a live cat. When we open the box we find out which Universe we are in. Personally, I find this representation to be a bit ridiculous, but you may feel free to choose which one you like the most. Both the Many Worlds and the CI make exactly the same predictions and we cannot tell which one is correct (if either!).

The Double Slit Experiment:

The Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment does not really tell us anything about the real world unless we can prove it. Obviously, we are not going to learn anything from killing cats (and why would we want to anyway?) so we need to turn to another experiment to give us some facts. The Young's double slit experiment does just that and is almost as simple as Schrodinger's Cat. First though we need to talk about light.

When Sir Isaac Newton was doing his experimentation on light he decided, based on his experiments on reflection, refraction, and the sharpness of shadows, that light was made of little particles, which he dubbed "corpuscles." (We now call corpuscles photons.) Later on, interference experiments (such as the Young double slit) showed that light was made of waves, not particles. Was the great Sir Isaac wrong?? Not entirely. In the early 1900s, a man named DeBroglie showed that electrons, which are "obviously" particles, could be thought to have a wavelike character. Eventually scientists realized that all subatomic particles have both wave and particle properties...subatomic "particles" are neither particles nor waves, but are something else which we have come to call by the badly punned name of "wavicles." (If you are a John Gribbon fan, as I am, then you may like to call subatomic particles "slivey toves.") When we run an experiment that assumes light is a particle, light behaves as if it were made of particles; when we run an experiment that assumes light is a wave, light behaves as if it were a wave.

Young's double slit experiment assumes light is going to behave as a wave. We start with a monochromatic (single colored) light source and pass it through a slit so that we obtain a set of equally spaced wave fronts. We pass these wave fronts through a wall that has two tiny holes in it, equally spaced from the center point. Beyond the wall is our "detector:" essentially a TV that records the wave pattern striking the screen. A diagram of the double slit experiment may be found in any introductory Physics text, just look under the term "interference" in the index.

When we turn the light source on, we see a pattern of light and dark areas on the TV screen. This is the expected result since light is a wave and the two slits create an interference pattern: the peaks and troughs of the wave cancel out in different regions on the TV screen. This is entirely due to the fact of those two little holes in the wall...if there was only one tiny hole in the wall then we would only see one point of light on the TV screen and no interference. The one hole experiment is more like treating light as a particle rather than a wave, and we get no interference from it since particles do not interfere with themselves.

Now let us play with the experiment a bit. We are going to presume that light is made of particles and install detectors in both holes in the wall to see which hole the photon goes through. What kind of pattern do we get on the TV screen now? According to Classical Reality it had better be an interference pattern again. Nope. We get two little points of light on the TV screen. Why? Because we are thinking of light as particles we detected the particles, so they cannot interfere with each other. Let's play with this again. We are going to take the original double slit experiment and this time put the photon detector right in front of the light source and then we are going to run the double slit experiment only letting one photon through at a time. Obviously, we only get a point of light on the TV screen each time a photon passes through. However, let us record where each photon hits and run a bunch of single photons through the experiment. What do we get on the TV screen? We might expect to see two little points of light on the screen, but we do not. We now get a full-fledged interference pattern! Remember, this is a composite pattern made up of individual photons going through the experiment, not a bunch of waves. This is truly weird.

There are only two ways to explain this last result, neither of them comfortable. Consider a photon passing through hole #1 as a photon in state 1 and a photon going through hole #2 as a photon in state 2. The only way we can get an interference pattern is if we have something going through BOTH holes at the same time. This implies that the photon is traveling through the double slit apparatus in both states at the same time. Remember we are not trying to detect which state the photon is in as it goes through the holes, so the CI predicts that the photon is in both states, just as the results say it must be. (We can make a similar argument for the Many Worlds case as well). This is hard experimental evidence for the CI and has not been contradicted in the last 70 years or so. Just the opposite...other experiments have lent validity to the CI. (By the way, this same experiment has been done with electrons and, I believe, neutrons as well.)

The Extreme Copenhagen Interpretation and Your Quantum Universe:

What follows is my personal interpretation of the Physics mentioned above.

Let us go back to Schrodinger's Cat since it is the simpler experiment. We need to discuss what makes a quantum observer again, because it is a tricky point. A quantum observer is some nebulous thing that takes a measurement of a system. What is it that creates the measurement process? Presumably, we have two systems to consider: the first is the actual experiment that we want to measure, and the second is the system that does the measuring. Therefore, if we take the measurement process to its most basic level, a measurement is the process by which the experimental system "gives" information to the observer's system. This information exchange is mediated by photons (or W, Z, gluons, etc. Basically any boson you wish. That's another topic.) To make a long story short, the observer gets information from the experiment by absorbing a photon. This means that an electron can serve as a quantum observer since a absorbing a photon will alter the electron's state. A quantum observer does not actually need to have an intelligence to function; it merely needs to respond to the experiment in some way.

So. Let us go back to Schrodinger's Cat. According to the scientist running the experiment the cat is both alive and dead until the box is opened. Say that he opens the box and knows the state of the cat. Now look at the people in the next room who are waiting to hear from the scientist in the room with the cat. According to them, the cat is STILL in that odd alive and dead mixed state. We can go further and state that the whole lab we ran the experiment in is in an undetermined state since the scientist in the lab might take different actions depending on the state of the cat. No one outside the lab can possibly know what is going on in the lab. Now look at the people in the next room beyond that, etc. What we have is a nested set of "Schrodinger's Cats." Until the information is passed between different rooms, the set of rooms inside exists in a mixed state.

We can take this argument to an (I feel logical) extreme. Since the individual particles in our bodies act as quantum observers the only pertinent information we have about the state of the Universe at large is what we perceive through our senses. Therefore, anything that we do not perceive through our senses exists in a mixed state similar to Schrodinger's alive/dead cat: nothing exists in a definite state unless we are sensing it. This is what I call the "Extreme Copenhagen Interpretation." (ECI) What this implies, then, is that each of us exists in our own personal universes and everything exterior to that universe exists in an undetermined state until we sense it. Note: I am going to ignore the question of other people existing...I will assume other people exist and our knowledge of their reality comes from the "interference" of these multiple universes. To give a quick example consider the question: "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to see it fall, does it make any noise?" The ECI states that since no one was around, the tree is in a mixed state of existance/non-existance. Furthermore it has fallen/not fallen, much less made any noise/silence. Since the tree does not directly influence your universe, you cannot say anything definite about it even existing, even though you may have seen the tree an hour ago.

The Basic Principle of Visualization Magick:

The ECI tells us that what we sense is what is contained in our universe. In order to do magick we need (at least) one more principle. When we do visualization magick, we actually feel what it is that we visualize. The ECI says that what we feel makes up our reality. Combining these two statements, we have what I call the "Basic Principle of Visualization Magick." What we visualize becomes real in our universe. This principle can be demonstrated by a simple spell, which I call an "empowering" spell. First, enter a light meditative state. (This first step may also be achieved by casting a circle.) Next visualize a blanket of white fire surrounding you, starting at your feet and working its way up to encompass your whole body. Hold this visualization until you can actually feel the fire surrounding you, cleansing your spirit and not letting any darkness penetrate your being. Now visualize your hands held outward from your body and let a globe of white fire come into being between your hands. Hold the globe there until you can feel it. This globe of fire represents your inner strength and the longer you hold it the more in touch with your strength you will be. The result of this spell is that you will feel empowered and more able to cope with the challenges of your life.

Is this magick, physics, or psychology? Remember, how we view our universe depends on the representation we use. In this case, the empowering spell may be viewed in any one of these representations. Using the ECI to describe the spell what we are doing is literally bringing up our inner strength as a concrete object and physically contacting it. We know it is there because we can feel it, therefore according to the ECI it has an actual existence. A similar argument holds for essentially any magick that has its basis in visualization or feelings.

The ECI explains how magick can affect our own universe, what about someone else's? After all many witches (warlocks, sorcerers, etc.) will claim that their magick affects other people, not just their own universe. We can use visualization magick to show how this might work, so there is not necessarily any conflict here. You (presumably) put some clothes on today so anyone that sees you will see those clothes and all of them will be able to describe the same set of clothing. You know you are wearing a certain set of clothes, and your best friend came up to you and mentioned something about the outfit, so you know she saw them. Both of you agree on the set of clothes because both of your universes came into contact, i.e. the two universes interfere because they both contain quantum observers. Now, can your best friend say anything about what you are wearing three hours after you parted? No, because you might have changed clothes. (Or Heck, you might be skinny-dipping in the local watering hole!) Once the universes are out of contact they no longer interfere.

To continue the analogy, if you feel something in your universe then it is real in your universe and thus, because your universe interferes with other universes the effect may well be real in someone else's universe. Say you know a spell to create a rainstorm. It will happen in your universe. Whether or not it happens in someone else's universe depends on the strength of the interference between your universe and theirs. I would suppose that the strength of the interference depends on the strength of your belief (and that of others) that you can make it rain. Taking things at face value, I would say that it would take a tremendously powerful mage to create an effect in someone else's universe seeing how difficult it is to create a magickal effect in our own universe. Note: I am aware the rain spell probably has nothing to do with visualization magick. I am also aware that other magickal principles could come into play here. Remember that I am using a representation, the ECI, to explain an effect. The ECI is probably not a good representation to discuss a rainmaking spell!


The way we explain an effect depends on the representation we use. The rules for which a representation is a good representation to explain an effect are not known, though we may certainly use common sense to guide us. The CI is a well-established representation that is used in modern day Physics. A logical extension to the CI is the ECI, which states that we all live in our own individual universe and that the Universe is composed of the interference of these personal universes. The ECI provides a way for Physics to explain the phenomenon of visualization magick by stating that what we feel is what is real in our universe.

{file "Birthing Ritual Chant" "msg0008.htm"}

Greetings and Aloha,
 As a mother witch I have come up with a chant that is quite appropriate for any birthing ritual. Use and enjoy:
  Tiny bud, swelling nub, resting in the womb
  Unleashing spark, in the dark, birthing to be soon
  Healthy child, labor mild, mother safe and strong
  Nature flow, now to growm a household before long
	Bright Blessings , Me Aloha Pumehana
	Lady Maeve Moerae Coven
	Honolulu, Hawaii

{file "Brujeria" "msg0009.htm"}


Brujeria. For many, it is nothing more than the Spanish word for witchcraft. But for a growing number of North Americans, Brujeria is something much more complex--it is a religion, not unlike Wicca.

I would like to volunteer to contribute some articles to the archive on this Pagan path. Myself, I am what is known as the Roja, or Red Priestess, of a temple here in Philadelphia. One does not need to be of Hispanic/Latin descent to celebrate Brujeria--I am not.

As a sample, allow me to offer you what is known as the Rule of the Brujo. Much of Brujeria is done in Spanish or in the native language of Nahuatl, but much is being brought into English.

"The one who made the Rule known is not known, but from this person the Rule spread unto the Olmecs, unto the Toltecs, unto the Aztecs, and ultimately the Rule has come down to us. That there is one piece of the rule for every full moon in the solar year is a certainty.

The universe is a living thing (which is an idea brought into modern Brujeria from Aztec cosmology), and Brujeria is a method of interacting with the living energy of the universe.

A brujo/bruja practices what could be termed magic by attuning himself/herself to this living energy.

This living energy can seize a brujo/bruja at any time, or through the concentrated work of an impromptu and inspired ritual.

An individual enters Brujeria through a personal encounter with the living energy.

Once a brujo, always a brujo. It is something that cannot be shaken off.

Brujos are born and cannot be made, even if they do not come to realize their place in Brujeria until much later in life.

A brujo has no ethical laws or limits to restrict his magic. However, he must also assume complete responsability for his actions and be willing to submit to the consequences.

'A dead brujo is more powerful and more dangerous than a living brujo.' What exactly this means is up for interpretation.

As Mexican Presidente Beinito Juarez said, "Respect for the rights of others is peace."

Brujos are free to use their abilities for non-brujos. Example situations are healing, spiritual counselling, and the creation of hechizos ("spellwork").

Brujeria is a community bound together by the living energy of the universe, and all brujos are brothers and sisters. A brujo is pledged to assist a fellow brujo wherever and whenever needed.

Some of what makes Brujeria can be revealed to non-brujos but most of Brujeria must remain between brujos alone.

Brujeria is learned from brujo to brujo, and through interaction with the living energy."

I hope I can make a contribution that will enhance the archive.


{file "Gender and Nature in Contemporary NeoPaganism" "msg0010.htm"}

Gender and Nature in Contemporary

                           by Salamantis
   In recent decades, several social and political movements have 
       had profound impacts upon the popular Western psyche. 
    Collectively, they pose a powerful challenge to religiously 
    grounded relational paradigms which until recently have been 
   accepted almost without question. These movements include the 
human rights trio (ethnic/racial civil rights, lesbian/gay rights and 
                  feminism) and environmentalism.
  The last two of these, feminism and environmentalism, have been 
  converging to the degree that a common discipline, ecofeminism, 
  has been born. Although some affinities exist between these two 
  and the others, the only solid connection seems to be the choice 
 by some feminists of lesbianism on ideological grounds in spite of 
  their personal sexual preferences. What could the womenÌs rights 
      movement have in common with the attempt to preserve and 
  protect our planetary ecology which the homosexual and nonwhite 
  rights movements do not share? To answer this question, we must 
   take a look at the paradigm they are all opposing, and in what 
                    ways each of them oppose it.
                        Our Present Paradigm
  This paradigm is drawn from the moral laws set down in the holy 
        texts of the religions comprising mainstream Western 
        Monotheism. These religions mainly include Judaism, 
  Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism; their texts include the 
  Bible, the Koran and the Zend Avesta. For purposes of simplicity 
         and brevity, we shall call this the JCIZ paradigm.
   JCIZ postulates a single omniscient, omnipotent and relatively 
   benevolent male deity (Jahweh, Jehovah, God or Lord, Allah or 
      Ahura Mazda), who created and populated the world but is 
 essentially transcendent with respect to it. This deity is opposed 
     by another somewhat less knowing and powerful, relatively 
  malevolent male deity (Lucifer, the Devil, Shaitan or Ahriman), 
 who is also essentially supernatural. These two opposed forces of 
   good and evil, light and darkness, contend with each other by 
  intervening in our affairs. Each of us shall spend eternity with 
  whichever one he or she allies with; in any case this earth is a 
    temporary inconvenience, unimportant in the greater order of 
things. It is in our interest to ally ourselves with the Ïgood guyÓ, 
   and we know how to do this because HeÌs thoughtfully sent us a 
    male savior or prophet or avatar (Moses, Jesus, Mohammed or 
                   Zarathustra) to so inform us.
    We are now in a position to understand the special affinity 
      between feminism and environmentalism. Homosexuality is 
      condemned and slavery condoned in the JCIZ, but if these 
       tendencies were reversed, it would not compromise the 
   underpinnings of the theological structure; gay/lesbian rights 
 identical to those of straights and white/nonwhite equality are no 
 metaphysical threat to the integrity of the system. The religious 
  ramifications of feminism and environmentalism, however, strike 
it to its very core. By criticizing the consequences of following the 
 JCIZ, they indict as immoral or unwise the premises upon which it 
     is based, and do so from the perspective of an alternative 
      paradigm which derives from many pagan sources past and 
            present, but which is crystallized in Wicca.
In the JCIZ, all deities are male, the first human is male, and any 
  central prophets or saviors are male. In the cosmic play, women 
    are relegated to the roles of dupe, slave, rebellious whore, 
   broodmare and submissive saint. Mary DalyÌs dictum that if God 
 is male, the male is God has the existential corollary, within the 
   JCIZ, of reducing females to nothing. In order to follow GodÌs 
 plan, women must submit to their husbandsÌ rule in particular, and 
 to male authority in general. Men may have to attend the school of 
   hard knocks, but women are stuck with their homework. They are 
to raise their many children but not their voices, for fear of getting 
    knocked about themselves. This excision of the feminine from 
spiritual significance and their resulting societal subservience has 
   provoked, within many contemporary women, a soul alienation of 
    Marxian proportions. Revolt against the predominance of this 
   divine chain of being has followed, and the guerillas have not 
    been exclusively female. Some men have come to feel cramped 
     and pigeonholed in the role of overseer on the domination 
  plantation and degraded and ashamed of what is expected of them 
  there. They have therefore joined the rebellion against the JCIZ 
 gender hierarchy, agreeing with Martin Luther King that you canÌt 
   hold folks down in a ditch unless you climb down in there with 
    them. As women and men come to the practical conclusion that 
 only equality of rights, responsibilities and opportunities works, 
  however, they also tend to come to the spiritual conclusion that 
  this is true because the sexes equally approach divinity. This, 
  however, would require deity to be comprised of masculinity and 
 femininity in equal measure, which of course directly contradicts 
                             the JCIZ.
 In the JCIZ, the Creator packed a hostile and bountiful world like 
   a reluctant lunchbox for fallen humanity (read man) to suffer, 
   endure, dominate, subdue and exploit for his own benefit. This 
 divine license for exploitation without regard to consequences in 
 the name of greed has borne bitter fruit. Because we have not held 
   our common home in reverence, or honored her as sacred to us, 
 we have felt free to pollute, pillage, rape and otherwise profane 
  her. Yet, after fouling our own nest, we seem surprised to find 
       ourselves surrounded by human filth, with the blood of 
   extinguished comrade species crying out inconsolably from the 
  bleak bare ground. We are coming painfully to the understanding 
that the earth is our source and foundation, and that poisoning and 
      impoverishing her can only hasten our own hollow demise. 
    However, the grasping of the fact that we are only a part of 
     something much older, wiser, grander and more complex than 
     ourselves draws us inexorably to an experience of awe and 
  sublimity in the presence of the sheer marvel of it. We begin to 
 see ourselves as tiny threads, which, by some miracle, are able to 
 sense the weave of a gigantic dancing tapestry (and the reality is 
   much more wondrous than that). The earth becomes hallowed for 
 us. But this contradicts the JCIZ premise that it is transcendent 
      Deity which is holy, not a nature which, compared to the 
               supernatural, must remain substandard.
    Ecological degradation may be divided into natural resource 
  depletion and biosphere pollution, but both have overpopulation 
   as a root cause. Overpopulation drives us like lemmings to mow 
 our global lungs for farmland, lumber and cattle pasture, sapping 
  species diversity in the process. It drives us to strip-mine our 
eroding soil to build skyscrapers, cars and soda cans. It drives us 
      to burn our fossil fuels, overheating our atmosphere and 
  decimating our ozone sunscreen for the sake of light, mobility, 
     plastic containers and air-conditioned comfort for a small 
 percentage of our teeming billions. It drives us to turn our over-
    fished oceans into toxic cesspools when our rivers bear our 
       pesticides, factory byproducts and sewage to the seas. 
  Furthermore, the resulting competition for room and resources on 
a shrinking sphere has led our infant race to nurse the barrel of the 
                            nuclear gun.
     It is ecologically imperative that we control our rate of 
   reproduction generally, and the fundamental pillar of feminism 
  that women must have the right to control their own reproduction 
 individually. To this dovetailing of the calls of personal freedom 
    and global necessity, the JCIZ responds with an iron demand 
   frozen for thousands of years in the face of catastrophically 
     changing circumstances; you must be fruitful and multiply.
    The realization that birth control is both a feminist and an 
      environmental issue is one of many pattern matches which 
 ecofeminists have found. They follow the clue given by the phrase 
  ÎMother NatureÌ to the conclusion that women and the earth have 
     both been victimized by the same attitudes of subjection, 
rapaciousness, violation, penetration of virgin territory, stripping, 
   despoiling and defloration. They consider this an unfortunate 
  result of the separation of the sexes into godlike, transcendent 
     man and earthy, immanent woman, into man as mind and woman 
  as body, found in the JCIZ. This partition, for ecofeminists, is 
    based on the differing positions of the sexes with regard to 
  childbirth; men observe, women participate. Women also, like the 
 earth, produce food, and can be planted with seed when in season; 
       hence the ancient occurrence of the term ÎplowingÌ for 
 Sexist theological Cartesianism, however, is untenable; the JCIZÌs 
gender-based spirit/flesh dichotomy has been an injurious illusion. 
    Self-aware parts of nature are still woven into the web they 
    perceive. Mind, whether abstract or concrete, and of either 
   gender, is a bodily based, earthly and evolutionarily emergent 
    The main division within ecofeminism is between ÎgenderÌ and 
   ÎnatureÌ ecofeminists. The ÎgenderÌ ecofeminists believe that 
  male-female relationships are the source of a domination pattern 
 that is generalized to apply to culture-nature relationships, and 
that if we replace it with an egalitarian sexual partnership pattern, 
  our environmental abuse will stop. ÎNatureÌ ecofeminists believe 
 just the opposite; that replacing the egocentric, exploitative and 
  uncaring attitudes underlying environmental abuse with valuing, 
       consequence based stewardship will repair male-female 
  relationships by osmosis. I think that the domination pattern is 
   imprinted during child-rearing, and that to end it, we have to 
       embrace noncoercive methods of socializing our young.
                    The Challenge of Neopaganism
                       Neopaganism Generally
  The Neopagan alternatives to the JCIZ paradigm trace their roots 
   to prehistoric Eurasian and African tribal and shamanic nature 
   religions, and count the Amerindian and Australian aboriginal 
     traditions as siblings. From them, Pagans have taken their 
 reverence for the earth and their celebration of the more feminine 
   principles of divinity. They generally create sacred space by 
  casting a circle (which is the intersection between a sanctified 
   sphere and the ground), and calling the four directions, which 
 correspond to the four elements, and to the divisions of a day, a 
 moon cycle, a year and a lifetime, and much else. Their holy days 
 fall on the solstices and the equinoxes, on the midpoints between 
 them (the cross-quarters), and/or on full moons. In addition, they 
  honor personal rites of passage; such as birth, a naming of the 
  child (sometimes called wiccaning), puberty, marriage (known as 
     handfasting), menopause (croning), and death. Contemporary 
   neopagan groups include the Fellowship of Isis, Ar n Draiocht 
   Fein (Our Own Druidism), the Church of all Worlds, Asatru and 
                 the Church of the Eternal Source.
                         Wicca Specifically
All the above is true of Wicca, but when casting their circles most 
   also call the Earth Mother, Sky Father, and Center, this last 
representing both the individual selves of the participants and the 
   common center they create by joining together. They also thank 
       and dismiss them when they open their circles upon the 
     conclusion of their ritual workings.Wicca follows a gender-
     complementary immanent duotheism comprised of a God and a 
   Goddess; for Wicca, deity is double and non-transcendent. The 
 distinctions between them entail neither mutual hostility nor the 
  subservience of either to the other, but instead require the co-
      presence in dynamic symmetry of these differing yet equi-
      primordial principles for circumstances to proceed. The 
fundamentalist belief in the actual existence of these deities is not 
  a prerequisite for becoming Wiccan. In fact, many, if not most, 
   Wiccans view the Earth Mother and Sky Father as archetypes in 
  the Jungian sense, and as lenses through which to apprehend, and 
  grasp in concrete, human-friendly terms, a totality which is too 
  vast and ineffable to be circumscribed by finite minds. Wiccans 
   consider all Goddesses and Gods throughout history as cultural 
   manifestations of these principles, revel in the diversity of 
   expression that they find, and borrow whatever they find that 
 works for them. In this sense, Wicca does not enslave and use its 
adherents; rather it is the case that Wicca is made use of by them, 
     as a spiritual tool with which to focus their passions and 
  intentions upon the realizations of their plans and desires. The 
    conceptions and attributes surrounding these deities are not 
inscribed for all time in any holy text, but are flexible, for Wicca 
  is an evolving, pragmatic religion with little dogmatic baggage.
Wicca's central ritual, the Great Rite, consists of dipping a dagger 
    in a chalice of wine in symbolic intercourse. The Christian 
   Communion, in contrast, is symbolic cannibalism.Wicca has one 
    major law, the Law of Three (any action, whether well or ill 
     intentioned, is returned to its source threefold), and one 
    commandment, the Wiccan Rede (Îif it harms none, do what you 
      willÌ). While these admonishments do emphasize personal 
     freedom, they link it to personal responsibility, and the 
 consequences of following them are a strict self-discipline, since 
   one is expected to strive not to harm oneself, others, or the 
    biosphere we share. Their more magickal practices include a 
 Santeria-like invocation of the masculine principle by the priest 
  and of the feminine principle by the priestess (the Drawing Down 
      of the Sun or Moon), and Raising the Cone of Power. This 
practice involves an entering of the group into a shamanic state of 
  consciousness, usually by means of some combination of dancing, 
  chanting and drumming, preparatory to attempts at divination or 
     The Earth Mother represents the foundation or substrate of 
  change; the matter underlying form, the being beneath becoming. 
  She is omnipresent, although aspects of her may undergo periodic 
     change. She never dies. The feminine principle of divinity 
      encompasses the cyclical-intuitive, synthesizing, fecund-
  formative, nourishing aspect, with its emphases on the personal 
   and collective dream worlds, and on relatedness.The Sky Father 
  represents the changes of form that must occur in the life cycle 
 and food chain. He withdraws and returns, and never lingers. He is 
 the God of the inseparability of hunter and prey, and of the cycle 
 of vegetation. He is born of the Mother, grows, flowers and dies, 
   to be reborn of his own seed the following year. The masculine 
  principle of divinity encompasses the linear-logical, analyzing, 
       fertilizing aspect, with its emphases on ego, task and 
individuality.A combination of these traits is preferable to either 
 alone, and all people are considered to have their own particular 
 ratios of these attribute sets; their own yin-yang or anima-animus 
      Modern Wicca publicly began in 1949 when Gerald Gardner 
  published ÏHigh MagicÌs AidÓ, a book of Wiccan ritual disguised 
    as historical fiction. He then, in collaboration with Doreen 
      Valiente, published ÏWitchcraft TodayÓ in 1954 and ÏThe 
    Meaning of WitchcraftÓ in 1959. Although other Wiccan forms 
    exist, Gardnerian Wicca and an offshoot (Alexandrian Wicca, 
 after its founder Alex Sanders) remain the core Wiccan traditions. 
     Other important Wiccan theorists include Janet and Stewart 
                  Farrar, Starhawk and Z Budapest.
              WiccanTheo/alogy and the Foundations of 
                   Feminism and Environmentalism
 In a religion in which the God and the Goddess are equi-potential 
    (possess complementary and equal status), gender equality is 
     mandated rather than forbidden. Freedom of societally and 
 planetarily responsible choice belongs to all. In a religion that 
   urges its adherents to love the earth as a mother, rather than 
 resenting and coveting her as a rich, conquerable hostile kingdom, 
children would be raised from birth to treat her with restraint and 
   respect, and to pass her on to their children in as pristine a 
  condition as possible. There is, in fact, a kind of Wiccan Eden 
   myth; a vision of a prehistoric peaceful eco-friendly agrarian 
  matriarchy which was overthrown by males banished for violence, 
  who banded together to conquer and enslave their former society 
   and pillage its lands. This Edenic vision is more admired than 
   believed. Most Wiccans desire a ÎreturnÌ to this Eden, even if 
             humanity has never in reality been there.
   Feminists and environmentalists, particularly ecofeminists and 
 deep ecologists, share this vision for the future; it is what they 
 strive for. It is therefore to be expected that many of them would 
 appropriate a belief system possessing sensibilities so in harmony 
 with their hopes, goals, desires and dreams. If the Wiccan Utopia 
is theirs also, adoption seems eminently reasonable. In fact, these 
    movements receive both support and guidance from Wicca, and 
                        give both in return.
      Wicca and ScienceWiccaÌs attitude toward science is one 
of intense interest and positive regard, for WiccaÌs perspective of 
 pragmatic self-conscious evolution and its anti-dogmatic character 
  resemble scientific ideals. Science, for Wicca, is attempting to 
 reveal the underlying nature of immanent divinity, and as such is 
     performing a sacred service. In addition, LovelockÌs Gaia 
hypothesis, that the entire biosphere is an evolving, self-regulating 
      totality, appears to be to Wiccans the beginning of the 
    confirmation of their ecological suspicions, and the recent 
 comparisons of gender, brain structure and cognitive style bolster 
the validity of their chosen deity attributes. They for the most part 
  accept that humanity creates divinity in its own image, and feel 
flattered that science is indicating that they in particular are doing 
                          it rather well.
   WiccaÌs deities form a heterosexual couple, and sex with oneÌs 
 significant other is regarded as a sacrament. This has caused gays 
    and lesbians to sometimes feel uneasy with the energy in the 
  circle. For this reason, some gay men have formed Faerie circles 
    and some lesbians have embraced Dianic Wicca. Straight women 
will also meet in full moon circles, or esbats, and straight men in 
     wild man groups. Although there are some differences, for 
instance in the deity or deities invoked, the thaumaturgy, or ritual 
  structure, remains similar throughout. General meetings are held 
   on the sabbats eight times a year, and networking is constant. 
   Wicca and Neopaganism remain far more gay-friendly than JCIZ.
Although racial diversity endures as an ideal in Wicca, it is sadly 
  lacking in reality. This failure to rainbow the Craft is deeply 
disturbing to its members. It is almost certain that the reason for 
 the phenomenon of whitebread Wicca is that, for racial minorities, 
  the intensity and immediacy of their oppressed condition drives 
      gender and ecological concerns to the periphery if their 
   awareness. Also, it only stands to reason that they would feel 
 uncomfortable participating in ritual as the token minority, or at 
  best as one of the few. It is very likely that, despite the best 
 intentions of the other participants, such an experience serves to 
    reinforce, rather than relieve, the awkwardness and sense of 
    difference for which racial minorities would seek religious 
   comfort. Wiccans, having experienced discrimination themselves 
     on the religious front, understand these impediments, and 
                continue to remain open and hopeful.
   Lastly, the Wiccan division of deity has inadvertently had the 
    corollary of evolving lists of masculine and feminine gender 
attributes that seem disturbingly similar to those of the JCIZ, only 
   wrapped in positive-regard packaging. Also, in some cases, the 
   Wiccan backlash against patriarchy has swung the pendulum too 
 far in the opposite direction, subjecting men to the same ridicule 
and discrimination that the phallocentrists previously reserved for 
    women. Wiccans must be on guard that they do not pigeonhole 
  individuals into these archetypes, and thus descend the slippery 
   slope into the very bigotry and gender expectations that many 
                    have joined Wicca to escape.

{file "A Code Of Ethics for Teachers of the Wicca" "msg0011.htm"}

Code of Ethics for Teachers of Wicca

Below is a code of ethics for teachers of Wicca.

This article may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, providing that this original copyright notice stays in place at all times. Permission for commercial, or periodical publications shall be granted through the author at

© 2002 Brian M. Walsh

A Code Of Ethics for Teachers of the Wicca

All initiations, previous experience and group affiliations to be made known to your students.

Before beginning training tell your student you don't know everything about the subject, but are willing to refer them on to another person if you don't have the personal expertise.

Tell your student of your personal beliefs, teaching what you know but also emphasising Paganism is about personal spirituality and that they must find their own truth.

Students should be of legal age (i.e. 18) or have parental permission. This does not exclude passing on basic information of religious beliefs to minors.

All theoretical information should be supported by ritual demonstration.

All lessons must be preprepared by reading up on the area to be teached about, decide how you're going to present this information for the easiest understanding of the individual student and make notes to be given to the student.

There is to be a nominal fee for teaching to cover ritual supplies and fluctuates depending on the student. It is at the discretion of the teacher if they choose to loan books or give supplies from their personal collection.

All teachers must continue their own education also. It is impossible to know everything.

Do not proselytise. All students must seek out their teacher.

You do not take on more than 4 students at a time per mentor.

Students can be taught on an individual basis or in a teaching circle.

Students should be told if the training would not lead to initiation.

You respect the confidentiality of your own students first and foremost but also respect the confidentiality of group members, other Pagans and clients for whom you perform the Occult arts.

The only time that confidentiality is broken is if you feel that the person is a danger either to themselves or to others in a physical or mental way.

A teacher must never have a sexual relationship with their student. It destroys the power balance and has led to much disrepute in the communities both inside and outside the Pagan paths. If relations occur between the teacher and student, a new teacher must be found for that student.

Teaching is to be given on a mentor basis, the teacher adapting for each student.

A student can be rejected and all psychic links can be broken if they use the magickal arts outside the restraints of the magickal law of "harm none".

A list of the code of teaching ethics is given to the student to show your position on various issues. This is to be kept and training can be broken by either parties, but a reason should be given out of courtesy.

Note: Many teachers ask the students to draw up a corresponding Students code of ethics to show commitment.

A good teacher:

© Brian M. Walsh 2002 as a brief to all students in Pagan and Magickal training.

{file "Auras" "msg0012.htm"}


by Jonathan Milne

An aura is the energy field around all each matter that takes space (excluding air itself), whether that is a person, plant, animal, or an object. Each colour represents a different aspect of that matter. Reading auras can be useful in determining whether you should confront a person at a certain time; what you can do to improve your present condition; tune you in to illnesses and conditions around you, and many other benefits. Every time you come into contact with someone, your aura reacts to his or hers. If your aura's frequency is close to theirs, you will feel close to them quickly and drawn to them. If not, you may feel an instant dislike towards them.

Everything has an aura. We have been "trained" not to see them, but with a little practice many people can successfully see and read them. Below I've listed what the different colours of auras mean, but first you should learn how to read them. When you begin, you may have a hard time seeing the colours. A lot of times, beginners will see pale colours such as white, yellow, and light blue. As time passes, and with practice, you will see that the colours seem to become brighter to you and easier to read. A little bit of patience can go a long way.


The astral aura extends about eight to twelve inches from the physical body and appears as brightly coloured rainbow clouds. The astral aura is the bridge between the physical world and the spiritual world.


The etheric template aura extends about twelve to twenty-four inches from the physical body and appears as a blue print form. There is an empty groove in the etheric aura into which the etheric aura fits. The etheric template aura holds the etheric aura in place. It is the template for the etheric dimension.


The celestial aura extends about twenty-four inches from the physical body and appears as a bright shimmering light of pastel colours. This is the level of feelings within the world of our spirit. Here we communicate with all the beings of the spiritual world.


The ketheric template aura extends about thirty six to forty eight inches from the physical body and appears as an extremely bright golden light that is rapidly pulsating. This aura takes on the form of a golden egg that surrounds and protects everything within it.


Everybody has the ability to see the aura. For beginners a low light is the best way to start.

Turn out the lights and lay on the bed. Leave the window curtains open and let the natural light flow in. As you are lying on the bed hold your hands out at full distance in front of you. Don't stare hard but rather just gaze at your hands. Moving your hands slowly, bring your fingertips together until they are almost touching. You will notice a cloudy blue haze appear around your finger. This is the etheric aura.


Draw a circle on your left hand using your right fingertip. Don't let your finger touch your hand; keep it at a distance of about a half inch. Move slowly. You will feel the power of your aura.

How to Read the Aura

First of all, find a place where you won't be around any harsh light; soft light is best to read auras. You will also need a piece of white paper large enough to place your whole hand on.

Place your hand on the cardboard and relax your eyes. Don't stare at your hand; rather look at the areas around the fingertips and fingers.

After a while, if you are relaxed enough, you will begin to see a soft haze around your hand. If you look at it long enough, you will start to see colours. Beginners can usually make out only one colour, but as you get better you will be able to see more at one time.

Don't be discouraged if you don't see anything the first few times. It takes practice to become good at reading auras, and after a while you will realize that it's not really as hard as you might have first thought.

You may also wish to take nonliving objects, like rocks and such, and try to see their auras as well. This can be very good practice for you.

Colours of Auras

The following are the more common colours:

Red--The colour of strength, strong passion, and will. Dark red may symbolize one who has a quick temper and is nervous or impulsive. All red relates to nervous tendencies.

Orange--Colour of warmth, thoughtfulness, and creativity. The muddier shades may represent pride or vanity, while golden orange denotes self-control. A person with orange in their aura may suffer from kidney ailments.

Yellow--Mental activity, optimism. It can mean new learning opportunities and wisdom. A golden yellow means that the person takes care of him or herself. Ruddy yellow may mean that its owner is shy.

Green--Green is the colour of sympathy and calm. A person who has green in his or her aura may be very good at the healing arts and is very reliable. Dark shades of green can indicate one who is jealous or uncertain.

Blue--The colour of quiet and calm. Any blue in the aura is good to have, but deep blue is the best. One with deep blue in his or her aura shows a person who has found his or her work in life. Many are spiritual minded as well. Blue may sometimes represent a tendency to be moody and depressed.

Indigo and Violet--The colours of one who is seeking something in life. They represent an ability to handle affairs with worldliness and practicality. Dark shades may show that the person has obstacles to overcome and is feeling misunderstood.

Black--The colour of protection. May reflect a person who is hiding something. It may possibly indicate imbalances as well.

Here are some other colours that may be seen within the aura:

Pink--This is the colour of love. It represents compassion, and possibly a love of art and beauty. Darker or muddier shades of pink may point to an individual who is immature.

White--Many times this is one of the first colours you will see in an aura. However, when it is a true and strong colour of the aura, it reflects purity and truth.

Brown--This could reflect a person who is very "earthy" and that a person is establishing new roots. However, if it is seen in the chakras, it may mean that a person's energy is in some way being blocked.

Silver Lights or Twinkles--Seeing these in a person's aura may mean that they are pregnant, or have been or may soon be. However, this is not always so. Seeing this may indicate a person who is allowing great creativity in their life.

Black Spots--The presence of black spots in the aura may indicate that it is imbalanced in some areas. This may mean that the person has some negative habits that he or she should work on.

© Copyright Jonathan Milne, 2002

May be distributed for educational purposes but may not be used commercially.

{file "Protection Spell" "msg0013.htm"}

This is a very powerfull Protect Charm Spell.

  Time-Day=Midnight of a fullmoon
  Cast your circle
  Call apon the God=Aleto:He is the protecter from unseen enemies.

               :Items needed:

  1.Item you wish to charm.

  1.Blue Blueberry candle:Blue=Physical Protection .  Blue Berry=Keep harm away.
  2.Purple Candles=Magik Power and wisdom.
  1.White Vanilla Candle:White=Lunar Power .  Vanilla=Enhance Memory
  1.Gram Of Anise=Protection "Moon Power"
  1.Gram Of Eucalyptus=Wrap Around the Blue candle And burn With candle=Protection Energies .  "Moon Power"
  1.Gram Of Garlic=Protection "Fire"
  1.Gram Of Black Pepper=Protection "Fire"
  Dry and mix Anise+Garlic+Black Pepper

  Spell = In the Name Of ALETO, By the power of the Source "Protect from harm The Keeper of this charm". "Repeat Protect from harm the keeper of this charm". 6 times while walking around The charm item.

  Close circle

      Hope this spell works well for everyone..

       Blessed Be
     Raziel Of The Nexus

{file "Personal Cleansing" "msg0014.htm"}

Here is a very effective personal cleansing spell that I would like to pass on to any who may have need of it.

Personal Cleansing

Choose candles according to your personal and daily preferences, I have found that any will work. Run a bath with as hot of water as you can stand. If you prefer, this ritual can be done in the shower. Use whatever bath oils work for you. Visualize all the day's negative energies surrounding you as you get into the water. Then, visualize all that negativity being removed from your Self by the water. Focus on your candle flames, meditate on cleansing your Self. When the water has cooled to the point of being uncomfortable, pull the stopper, and say these words: "Drain away these pains and troubles, As does this water pure and free. Take with it all this day's distress. As I will, so mote it be!" Dry yourself off and rub your preferred cream onto your body to protect you from negativity over the night. Prepare to sleep well!

This spell has worked wonders not only for me, but for other Wiccans that I have passed it to. I would be honored if you would choose to place this simple spell into your online Book of Shadows.

Blessed be... Naddya

{file "What is Progressive Witchcraft?" "msg0015.htm"}

What is Progressive Witchcraft?

By Terminus

"We do not see our 'trainees' as empty vessels, waiting to be filled up, but as individuals with a wealth of experience and ideas which they can contribute to the craft. (Rainbird, 1993)

The use of the term progressive arose from a discussion between Ariadne Rainbird and Tam Campbell in London in the late 1980s (*3) They were discussing the evolution of Wicca, and the fact that it had moved on over the decades, beyond the labels of "Gardnerian" or "Alexandrian". They clearly stated that the term was being used to describe a trend, not a tradition, and that any coven that was eclectic in its approach and not limiting itself to the Book of Shadows was being progressive.

In 1991 Ariadne Rainbird formed a network for covens who subscribed to a more eclectic view of Wiccan practice, called the Progressive Wiccan network (*1). This network included covens in Wales, England, Germany and Canada. 1991 also saw the first Grand Sabbat, at Lughnasadh, with around 30 witches from six different covens meeting up to camp out in the wilds of South Wales and celebrate together. This tradition was to continue for some years, developing into an annual weekly gathering in Cornwall for members of different covens to work together.

In 1992 David Rankine became the editor of the magazine Dragon's Brew, which became the magazine of the Progressive Wiccan movement. Dragon's Brew was created by Chris Breen in 1990, originally as the house magazine for the Silver Wheel Coven (*1).

To quote from the magazine (1992):

"Progressive Wicca is a movement which spans the traditions and emphasises networking, closeness to nature, personal growth and co-operative development. Personal experience of other paths is welcomed and integrated into covens, and we do not slavishly follow a Book of Shadows, as we see Wicca as an ever growing religion and the Book of Shadows changes and grows with each new Witch." (*1)

Contact details for a number of covens were given in the back of each issue of the magazine. The editorial stance of the magazine was actively supportive of environmental protection, detailing protests, distributing leaflets and supporting organisations like Dragon (eco-magick environmental network) and Friends of the Earth Cymru in their actions. Campaigns like the ones to save Oxleas Wood and Twyford Down were covered, as well as events in other parts of the world, like proposed wolf culling in Canada, tiger conservation in India, and anti-nuclear testing by the French in the Pacific. (*1)

Dragon's Brew ran quarterly until 1997, with a circulation of several hundred copies, and covered a wide range of subjects, from chakras and kundalini to Enochian magick and running effective open rituals. Different pantheons were also explored, including the Welsh, Greek, Sumerian and Egyptian. A number of prominent academics also contributed to the magazine, which received articles from distinguished figures such as Professor Ronald Hutton and the Egyptologist Terry DuQuesne. (*1)

By 1994 Progressive Witchcraft was widely known throughout Europe. David Rankine gave a number of talks at events like the Talking Stick Meet the Groups conference in 1994, and at various University Pagan Societies. The growth of the movement was acknowledged by Michael Jordan, who gave it a sizeable entry in his 1996 book Witches: An Encyclopaedia of Paganism and Magic. (*3)

To avoid some disharmony caused by the term "Progressive" in the Wiccan community the term was changed from "Progressive Wicca" to Progressive Witchcraft in 1993, as was demonstrated by the cover of Dragon's Brew (*1). In combination with this Ariadne Rainbird and David Rankine set up the Progressive Witchcraft Foundation, to deal with enquiries about Progressive Witchcraft, and also ran workshops under the banner of Silver Wheel with other coven members on a variety of related subjects.

In 1994 Ariadne Rainbird and David Rankine started running correspondence courses on natural magick based on much of the (non-oathbound) Progressive Witchcraft material. This material was to form the basis for their book Magick Without Peers: A Course in Progressive Witchcraft for the Solitary Practitioner, published by Capall Bann in 1997. (*2)

Reference Material


(*1) Dragon's Brew, a Magazine of Magick, Paganism & Progressive Witchcraft, (1992 -1997)

(*2) Magick Without Peers, A Course in Progressive Witchcraft. Capall Bann 1997

(*3) Witches, An Encyclopaedia of Paganism and Magic; Michael Jordon, 1996

Patchwork of Magic, Julia Day, Capall Bann, 1995

(*4) Talking Stick Magical Directory, 1993

This article was written by Terminus, 2000 and provided for free distribution.


{file "Making Contact with the Lord and Lady" "msg0016.htm"}



Making Contact with the Lord and Lady

(Pre Self Initiation Exercise)


By Karnayna Lilly



An Official Document of


The Green Man Craft Tradition


Copyright© 1999


I. Physical Preparations

In a convenient place, preferably in the North, set up a small altar. Cover the altar with a cloth of your choosing. Upon this altar have at each rear corner a candle. Use white at this time. Between these place a censer or incense burner. For this purpose a stick burner will work very well. Use incense that gives you a sense of power and connection with the Greenwood.


Images of the God and Goddess are a bonus however they are not mandatory. Framed images in this case work quite well. If you do not have images I will e mail you some to print. If you use them always remember that the Left side is for The Goddess and the Right, the God.


You will need a small bowl of water and one of salt.


Also a glass of wine or other suitable beverage. Any fruit juice works well however a good wine of your choice is best.


Finally you will need anointing oil. For this use Patchouli.


Your matter of dress is your choice. It is best to work in loose comfortable clothing and as you know Gardnerians work skyclad. At this point I want to make clear that my instruction will not make you an official Gardnerian because there is a strict rule that self initiation is an apostasy. You will however eventually self initiate yourself in the Green Man Craft Tradition.


II. The Ritual

Each evening approach your altar and sit before it. Use a chair if you must. Light the candles and incense and say:


“I welcome you Great Lord and Lady and invite you to attend my ceremony”


Now, to the best of your ability imagine that you are surrounded by a sphere of white light. Not just a circle. When this is accomplished take the salt and lift it as in offering and say:


“Lord and Lady (Your Choice of God Names will come later) I, a seeker of Thy mysteries do pray Thee, bless and purify this salt that it may be used for the good of all. So mote it be.”


Replace the salt and repeat the above with the water. Now place three pinches of the salt in the water. Hold up the mixture and say:


Lord and Lady Bless this union of earth and water that by Thy power all that is unclean will be cast away.”

Sprinkle the mixture in a CLOCKWISE direction three times. Replace the mixture and say:


“Blessed Be”


Take the incense and say”


“Lord and Lady Bless this union of fire and air that by Thy power all that is unclean will be cast away.”


Cense the incense in a CLOCKWISE direction three times. Replace the mixture and say:


“Blessed Be”


Now return to your place in front of the altar. Meditate for a moment on why you feel that you are being called to the Lord and Lady. Take your time. You will find that each night you will learn something different. When you feel ready begin the invocation:


“I invoke thee and call upon thee, O Mighty Mother of us all, bringer of all fruitfulness, by seed  and root, by stem and bud, by leaf and flower and fruit do I invoke thee to bless me and admit me into the company of Thy hidden children, So Mote it Be!”


Make a pentagram before the altar with the words:


"Of the mother darksome and divine,
mine the scourge and mine the kiss;
here I charge you in this sign,
the five point star of love and bliss."


Anoint yourself with the oil (forehead, solar plexus and above genital area)


Now invoke the Horned Lord:


Great Horned Lord, return to earth again!
Come at my call and show thyself to men.
Shepherd of Goats, upon the wild hill's way,
Lead thy lost flock from darkness into day.
Forgotten are the ways of sleep and night -
Men seek for them whose eyes have lost the light.
Open the door, the door which hath no key,
The door of dreams, whereby men come to thee.
O Mighty Stag, O answer to me!”





III. The Proclamation


“Gentle goddess powerful god: I am your child, now and always. Your breath is my life. Your voice Great Mother and yours Great Father speak within me, as they do in all creatures, if we but only listen. Therefore here in your presence and before the Mighty Ones do I open my self to your blessing.”


Lift up the cup of wine and say:


Bless this wine with your essence Great Lady, Great Lord that by partaking of it I may also take part of you. Make a toasting gesture and drink. After consuming the wine lift up the cup and say:


“Flax Flags Fodder and Frig” (this is an old blessing )


Sit for a while in silent contemplation. Listen. You will hear the Gods within you. Speak with them and tell them why you wish to follow them. Afterwards put out the candles and thank the Lord and Lady for hearing you. Then Say So Mote it Be.



NOTE* Listen to your inner thoughts, feelings and dreams at all times while using this simple rite. The Lord and Lady will speak in many ways.


Do not underestimate the importance of this rite. It will prepare you for all further work.





Karnayna Lilly


Green Man Wicca









{file "Cleansing (Rowan Moonstone)" "bos000.htm"}


Rowan Moonstone 05-28-89

When I cleanse a dwelling place, first I burn a good cleansing incense, like frankincense or sandalwood in the home while I prepare for the rest of the ritual. You should have in addition to the incense, a candle, a bowl of salt water and a bowl of herbs. I particularly like to use rose buds for love, lavender for preservation, rosemary for protection, and any other sweet-smelling ones that appeal to you personally. If you can get them home-grown, so much the better. You should proceed around the house, widdershins (counterclockwise) and cleanse the area with the salt water. Be sure to get each corner, window, door, drain, etc. Simply sprinkle a little salt water on each and ask that any evil or disruptive influences leave the place. When this is finished, proceed around the house deosil (clockwise) sprinkling the blessing herbs and invoke whatever deities or properties you wish on the home, such as peace, prosperity, tranquility, etc. In the past, I have used 3 candles on the central altar. Blue, symbolizing tranquility, green for healing and prosperity, and purple for protection. Others might be pink for love, or brown for hearth and home. You and anyone who is to share the home with you should share food and drink, and don't forget to leave a little of the food and drink to take outside and return to the Earth that which has been given.
Blessed Be. Rowan
--- DragonMail 0.00
Origin: Beagle Express - (405)848-2828 - *ISA* *IFNA* (1:147/4)

{file "Second Degree Initiation (Gary Dumbauld)" "bos001.htm"}

Second Degree Initiation

This is a ceremony we have used a couple of times (with variations to suit the candidate) for the second degree initiation. You will note that it borrows from many sources: Masonic, Gardnerian, Celtic and Flight of Fancy. We've done it robed, skyclad and some interesting combinations. Seems to work OK either way. If the candidate has done the work, the initiation ceremony is more of a public "rite of passage" or recognition of that fact... the real "initiation" is between the Gods and the candidate, and therefore cannot really be "conferred".
...Gary Dumbauld, High Priest, Hernesgaard Circle

A ceremony to recognize completion
of the 2nd degree course of study

The Circle is cast as usual. All are properly prepared and purified. High Priestess and High Priest perform the Ceremony in concert. The candidate is brought into the circle by a friend and circled 3 times deosil, ending north of the altar, facing the Priest, who is standing south of the altar (where else?).

"This is the time of Full Moon, a time for rekindling of light. The struggle for higher light is: That we may see it, and seeing it, work and live by it. We are about to embark upon a solemn ceremony to rekindle the light of Knowledge, the light of Will, the light of Compassion, the light of Steadfastness; we will combine these lights, and rekindle the light of Dedication in our Sister (Brother) here before us.
______________, here have you been taught the ways of the Wise, that you might count yourself among those who serve the Gods, among the brothers and sisters of the Wicca, those who are called the shapers of the universe."

"I now direct your attention to the two lights upon our altar, the one representing the Sun, the God, and the High Priest; the other representing the Moon, the Goddess, and the High Priestess. The High Priest and Priestess, presiding over the coven, may be thought of as 'One light to rule the day, one light to rule the night'. Since these lights are both beneficent, each having honor in its place, the Craft of the Wise does not set day against night, God against Goddess, Priest against Priestess. In the Craft, we do not define evil as a negative power, rather as the lack of light; where there is the light of Sun or Moon, God or Goddess, there can be no lack of light. Choose one, or both; place light within yourself, and nurture it."
"In times past, the Circle of Initiation was called a 'Hermetic Circle', after Hermes, the ancient name for the planet Mercury." In astrology, the house of the Sun is in the zodiacal sign of the lion, which is the fifth house; the house of the Moon is in Cancer, the crab, and is in the fourth house; and the day house of the planet Mercury is in the Gemini, the Twins, and is the third house. These numbers, three, four and five, were sacred to many ancient peoples, as the dimensions of the Pythagorean Triangle, in which the square of five, twenty five, is equal to the sum of the squares of four and three, or sixteen and nine. Knowledge of this triangle was essential to builders; you are also a builder-you are building your character."

"I now direct your attention to the several lights surrounding us, in the East, South, West, and North. Let us now examine these lights, and see what we can discern within them of human character."
"In the building of character, the Eastern light is denoted the Lamp of Beauty, and stands for accomplishments; for learning, skill in art, poetry, in song and instrumental music, in painting and sculpture. It exemplifies the art of making one's self attractive to those about one. It is an old saying that 'Beauty is as Beauty does'. It causes great distress to see these noble graces of character prostituted to ignoble ends. Remember well the lesson of the Lamp of Beauty and accept the blessing of the East."

Initiate is censed with incense from the censer which has been previously placed in the East.

"The light in the South is denoted the Lamp of Life, and stands for individuality, and for energy; for fervency, for zeal and vitality. It exemplifies passions, desires and appetites. It means loves and hates, sympathies and abhorrences, and what is more than all the rest of these, it means heart and joy in the work of life. Remember well the lesson of the Lamp of Life and accept the blessing of the South."

Initiate is circled three times with the brazier, previously placed in the South.

"Look now to the West, and observe the Lamp of Compassion, which stands for 'fellow-feeling'. Every work in life demands a price. Labor, tears, self-denial, self-recrimination, the very blood of life is sometimes the price of a truly great work. Look to your fellow travellers on the road; note with care what sacrifice they have made in their progress toward the truth; allow them their faults, commiserate with them in their failures and rejoice with them when they succeed. Remember well the lesson of the Lamp of Compassion and accept the blessing of the West."

Initiate is circled three times with water and his/her hands washed in a laving bowl, previously placed in the West.

"Look now to the North, and observe the lamp of obedience. The laws of the Gods are inevitable, and the more we, as children of the Gods, understand and work in accordance with them, the greater is the sum of our happiness. Obedience in character means order, the subjection to one's principles, the fear to do wrong, and the desire to learn and do right. Many would rather give charity than do justice. They swell with emotion, weep with sentiment, howl with the mob, so long as their own particular little tyranny or injustice is not touched. The Lamp of Obedience exemplifies firm will and determination of character, in spite of difficulties, dangers and losses. So also the Lamp of Obedience stands for self-control, perseverance and prudence. In time of peace, prepare for war; when shines the sun, expect the cloud; and in darkness wait patiently for the coming light. 'When all the sky is draped in black and beaten by tempestuous gales, and the shuddering ship seems all awreck, calmly trim once more the tattered sail, repair the broken rudder and set again for the old determined course.' Remember well the lesson of the Lamp of Obedience and accept now the blessing of the North."

Initiate's hands are marked with damp earth from a bowl in the North. Initiate is then led back south of the altar.

"Of the character thus illuminated and thus guided by the lights here on the altar, and by the Lamps of Beauty, Life, Compassion and Obedience, it may be said, 'Though the world perish and fall away, he/she remains."

Initiate then takes the Oath/Obligation, kneeling.

"In the names of Arianhrod and Bran; Diana and Appolyon; Heartha and Cernunnos; and by the powers of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, I, __________________, pledge to love, worship and honor the Goddess in her many aspects; and her Consort, the Horned One, Lord of Death and Ruler of Chaos; to always be true to the Art and its secrets; to never abuse the Art or my own powers; and to keep this pledge always in my heart, in my mind, in my body and in my spirit. This I pledge, by the Circle of Life, by Cerridwen's Sacred Cauldron and by my own hopes of a future life."

Initiate stands. High Priestess places a necklace over Initiate's head.

"The Circle is a place between the worlds and outside time. The Circle is also the Symbol of Life, Death and Rebirth. We wear the necklace as a token of the Sacred Circle and as a sign that we are part of all it symbolizes."

High Priest strikes the bell three times.

"Hear ye, Lady of Life and Lord of Death! Hear ye, Ancient Guardians of the Powers of Air, Fire, Water and Earth! In this place, by our hands and will, ___________________, known to us as _______________, has been duly pledged and anointed a Priest/ess of the Second Degree!"

{file "Pagan Ritual for Basic Use" "bos002.htm"}

Pagan Ritual for Basic Use

(by Ed Fitch)

A circle should be marked on the floor, surrounding those who will participate in the ceremony. An altar is to be set up at the center of the circle. At the center of the altar shall be placed an image of the Goddess, and an incense burner placed in front of it. Behind the image should be a wand fashioned from a willow branch. Candles should be set upon the altar ... a total of five, since on is to be set at each quarter and one will remain on the altar during the rite.

When all the people are prepared they shall assemble within the circle. The woman acting as priestess shall direct the man who acts as priest to light the candles and incense. She shall then say:

"The presence of the noble Goddess extends everywhere,
Throughout many strange, magical and beautiful worlds
To all places of wilderness, enchantment and freedom."

She then places a candle at the north and pauses to look outwards, saying:

"The Lady is awesome,
The Powers of Death bow before Her."

The person closest to the east takes a candle from the altar and places it at that quarter, saying:

"Our Goddess is a Lady of Joy,
The winds are Her servants."

The person closest to the south takes a candle from the altar and places it at that quarter, saying:

"Our Goddess is a Goddess of Love.
At Her blessings and desire
The sun brings forth life anew."

The person closest to the west takes a candle from the altar and places it at that quarter, saying:

"The seas are the domain of our Serene Lady,
The mysteries of the depths are Hers alone."

The priest then takes the wand and, starting at the north, draws it along the entire circle clockwise back to the north point, saying:

"The circle is sealed, and all herein
Are totally and completely apart
From the outside world,
That we may glorify the Lady whom we adore.
Blessed Be!"

All repeat: "Blessed Be!"

The priest now holds the wand out in salute towards the north for a moment and then hands it to the priestess, who also holds it out in salute. She motions to the group to repeat the following lines after her:

"As above, so below ...
As the universe, so the soul.
As without, so within.
Blessed and gracious one,
On this day do we consecrate to you
Our bodies,
Our minds
And our spirits.
Blessed Be!"

Now is the time for discussion and teaching. Wine and light refreshments may be served. When the meeting has ended, all will stand and silently meditate for a moment. The priestess will then take the wand and tap each candle to put it out, starting at the north and going clockwise around the circle, while saying:

"Our rite draws to its end.
O lovely and gracious Goddess,
Be with each of us as we depart.
The circle is broken!"

{file "A Circle For Catharsis (Judy Harrow)" "bos003.htm"}

A Circle for Catharsis


One of my near and dear once spent an hour in a therapist's office kicking an innocent throw pillow around the room and screaming out rage at his abusive father. At the end of the hour, he had a broken foot -- and the first beginnings of a healed mind.

But we have learned that magic works through symbols. Calling an object by your abuser's name and then abusing that object is sympathetic magic used for the purpose of cursing. To throw a curse is to project one's worst feelings out into the world of form, and to invoke upon oneself the inevitable karmic feedback.

It is not our way to blast the crops and sour the milk. Wiccan tradition and plain common sense both tell us to avoid the practice of baneful magic. But, as usual, it's not quite as easy as just saying no.

Rape and child abuse, loved ones killed by muggers or drunk drivers, emotional manipulation and betrayal, economic exploitation and dishonest office politics -- people hurt and victimize other people in many different ways every day. We are not immune.

At some point in our lives, probably every single one of us will feel violated by some other human being. Often our feelings will be based in fact. Whether they are or not, however, we need and deserve a safe way to discharge them.

Symbolic baneful actions are also cathartic actions. They drain and clear our poisonous feelings and allow our own emotional healing to begin. If we deny ourselves this outlet, what happens to the grief and pain and rage?

If projection is bad for us, introjection is even worse. Unreleased bad feelings are a major source of stress. In a very real sense, stress cripples and kills. Ulcers, strokes, heart attacks and more are all heavily stress-related. A simple refusal to engage in baneful magic could easily amount to punishing a victim by adding serious illness to the original harm.

I am part of the All. "An it harm none" is about me too. Release of my feelings is my right.

At first it seems like an insoluble paradox. But the same understanding of magic that forbids projection of our bad feelings can open a safe channel for those feelings. Here's one possible form:


  1. Understanding

    Think about the Alcoholics Anonymous prayer. "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference." People of any religion can recognize the wisdom in those words. This ritual is intended to ease emotional pressure. I believe that is a step towards granting all three of those things to ourselves.

    If your hurt is ongoing, you must take steps to stop it -- leave the abusive relationship, begin searching for a new job, begin organizing politically to stop your oppression. What good this Circle does you will be temporary at best if you are not acting on both the magical and material planes to change the things you can change.

    But some of our pain comes from old, old injuries. And some of our feelings are not based on fact at all. The source of those hurts cannot be changed, but the pain can be. This particular working is to release any bad feelings, not to judge them.

    Don't worry about justice. You may be mistaken about who has hurt you, but nobody will be hurt by what we do here. All energy will be contained within the Circle. The object of this working is healing, not justice. You deserve this healing simply because you hurt, and even if you are mistaken.

    Prevention and healing are human tasks; to do them is to change the things we can change. Justice -- the evening of karmic balances -- is the business of the Gods, and may take place across a span of many lifetimes. Karmic balance is a thing we cannot change.

  2. Set Up

    You have some decisions to make. The first one is whether you will work alone or ask one or more trusted friends to witness and facilitate your working. Some of us can only let our feelings go in strict privacy. For others, the presence of people who will make sure we don't hurt ourselves or our homes removes a source of inhibition. And sometimes simply being heard is part of the release process.

    Next, exactly what kind of symbolic action will release your feelings? Will kicking a throw pillow suffice, or do you need to actually make a poppet? Or just screaming may be enough. If you want to work with a physical symbol, prepare it in advance, and be sure not to use anything you will want to keep after the rite or ever use again.

    Figure out whether you can either cast a Circle to include your bathroom, or leave a cast Circle for a period of time. This will depend on your particular training. If possible, have a warm, scented tub waiting for you. If not, a basin of warm, scented water and a washcloth within easy reach just outside of your Circle will suffice. Also, a ritual meal should be prepared and waiting outside of Circle, and this should include something green and growing -- I favor sprouts -- and something sweet.


  1. Waning moon is a good time for this Circle, and the Dark of the Moon is even better. Cast the Circle and invoke the Watchers in your usual manner. Call on the Crone, on She who weeds and prunes and disposes of the obstructive and unnecessary.

  2. Just inside the Circle, like the membrane in an eggshell, cast a grounding shield. One possible image for this shield would be a black absorptive chain link fence, supported at regular intervals by fence posts that are lightning rods. Whatever happens within this space will be contained and grounded.

  3. Make clear to yourself what wound you seek to drain. Say it out loud, even if you are alone. Recall what happened to you in detail and let the feelings grow strong.

  4. Now, let go of your feelings. Do whatever will help you release what is in you. Beat on a pillow or rip up a doll. Scream till you cry. Don't stop till you are emptied. Then fling the thing you used as a symbol out of your Circle.

  5. When you are sure you are all done, all drained, contract the shield into a tight ball in the center of the Circle. As it contracts, it will gather all the negative energy from the Circle. Ground it. Affirm that you are sending this energy to the fire at the heart of the Earth -- to Jarnsaxe or to Pele -- to be purified in that blast furnace and cycled to wherever strong energy is needed. Know that what you now let go is gone. Affirm this out loud.

  6. Wash or bathe in a ritual manner, feeling the last traces of your bad feelings dissolve away. If others are present, allow them to wash and serve you.

  7. Rest a few minutes. Feel the peace of emptiness.

  8. Then invoke the Maiden's energy for new beginnings. Have your ritual feast and otherwise indulge your senses. Gentle and joyful music would be effective, and you may want to switch to a sweeter-smelling incense. This is a time to dream dreams and plan plans. You have removed an energy drain from your life, now you will be able to ... ?

  9. Thank and dismiss whatever Beings you have called on, throughout the whole ritual. Close your Circle as usual. Do not do any other kinds of working or worship within this particular Circle.

Follow Through:

The final part of any effective magical working is "acting in accordance" on the material plane. By doing this, we give the magic a channel through which to manifest. For this working, there are three forms of follow through, and all are important.

  1. Remember that painful feelings are partly habitual. Acting in accordance with magic to banish such feelings requires you to stop feeding the habit. Don't talk about the pain with anybody until at least the second full moon after the working. This gives the habit a chance to fade out. As much as you can, eliminate the topic from your internal dialogue as well. When you notice yourself dwelling on the old pain, gently and firmly change the subject.

  2. Thinking about action to change your life in the here and now is perfectly OK. The problem is reiteration of old feelings of frustration and helplessness that actually impede change.

  3. If the hurtful situation is current and ongoing, continue with any steps you were taking to change the things you can change. In fact, you will probably find you have more energy than you did before to devote to your projects.

  4. Be sure to use some of your newly freed emotional energy to reward yourself. Take time for friendship, love, and pleasure. The object of the exercise is to clear space for the enjoyment of life, so start right now.

Judy Harrow, HPs, Proteus Coven

{file "Opening (ending) The Circle" "bos004.htm"}

Opening (ending) the Circle

The High Priestess goes to each of the four directions in turn and draws a Banishing Pentacle, saying:

Guardians of the East (South, West, North),
Powers of Air (Fire, Water, Earth), we thank you
For joining in our circle
And we ask for your blessing
As you depart
May there be peace between us
Now and forever. Blessed be.

She raises her athame to the sky and touches it to the earth, then opens her arms and says:

The circle is open, but unbroken,
May the peace of the Goddess
Go in your hearts,
Merry meet, and merry part.
And merry meet again. Blessed be.

{file "Consecration Of Chalice, Athame Or Other Tool" "bos006.htm"}

Consecration of Chalice, Athame or Other Tool

Before these assembled spirits I bring (name type of tool) to be dedicated to the service of the Lady and Lord.

(Pass tool three times through smoke of the incense.)

By the power of air, be thou purified. Be thou dedicated to purity of thought and to harmlessness that all intentions for which thou art used may harm none and be for the good of all.

(Pass tool three times through or over the flame of the fire candle.)

By the power of fire, be thou purified. Be thou dedicated to purity of desire and to harmlessness that all goals which thou doest help achieve may harm none and be for the good of all.

(Take a few drops of water and sprinkle or dab on instrument.)

By the power of water, be thou purified. Be thou dedicated to purity of emotion and to harmlessness that all that thou shalt be used in a spirit of harmony, harming none and for the good of all.

(Touch instrument to the stone or salt in north quarter)

By the power of earth, be thou purified. Be thou dedicated to steadfastness and purity of purpose, that my will be achieved without wavering, with harm to none and for the good of all.

(If this is a chalice, present it first to the Lady, then to the Lord, if athame, reverse order. All other instruments use personal preference, but it is courtesy to present them to Her first.)


Lady Freya, Keeper of Femininity, bless this chalice. Let it be as Thy cauldron, a vessel of productivity that it may be worthy to dispense Thy bounty. Let it be used in Thy service and in the service of humanity. Let it be so bound that no harm may come of it to any being, but let it rather be an instrument of goodwill and understanding; of loving harmony. To Thy sacred self I dedicate this vessel, (name of vessel), that it and I may long be of service to Thee.

Lord Thor, companion to the Lady, champion of the Gods, bless this chalice and keep watch over it. Guard the works which come forth from it, that they ever be in the service of Thee and Thy Lady, that they be of service to humankind, and that they abide by the laws of harmony. To Thee I vow I shall use it for Her sacred purposes, and for no other.

So mote it be.


Lord Thor, thunderer & hammer wielder, bless this athame. Let it be as the spring rains which fall upon the Earth to cause Her to bring forth Her bounty.

Let it quicken my hopes and dreams, yet keep them from causing harm. Let it guide them in the harmony of the seasons, bringing forth only good for all. Lord Thor, bless this athame, (name of athame), that it be used ever in the worship and honor of the Gods.

Lady Freya, companion to the Thunderer, lover of the Gods, bless this athame that it shall bring forth joy, and shall cause no pain nor disharmony to any. I dedicate this athame (name athame), symbol of the Defender and Rain Maker, to Thy service. May it ever bring Thee joy and pride.

So mote it be.

(This ritual, with suitable changes, may be used to dedicate other tools as well as these.)

{file "Samhain Ritual For Small Circle (L. A. Hussey)" "bos007.htm"}

Samhain ritual for a small Circle

[older woman to older man]:
One-eye, Wanderer, God of wisdom,
Hunt-lord, hail, who leads the hosting!
Nine nights hanging, knowledge gaining,
Cloaked at crossroads, council hidden.
Now the night, your time, is near us --
Right roads send us on, Rune-winner.

[older man to older woman]:
Every age your eye has witnessed;
Cauldron-Keeper, hail wise Crone!
Rede in riddles is your ration --
Wyrd-weaving at the World-tree's root.
Eldest ancient, all-knowing one,
Speak secrets to us, send us vision.

[younger woman to younger man]:
Lord of Life, hail Land-Master!
God of grain that grows and dies
And rises reborn, full of richness;
Fallow fields shall yet be fertile --
Spring sap runs as stirs your phallus
Bless barren earth, let it bear again!

[younger man to younger woman]:
Snow-shoes striding, hail swift Huntress!
Wild one, free and willful Goddess
Bow and blade you bear beside you,
Finding food to fend off hunger --
Winter will not leave us wanting;
Give good hunting, grant us skill.


Welcome winter, waning season,
Now with night the new year comes;
Hail the horse's head with blessings --
Blessings be on those who bide here
And indeed on all the world!


Wide are the worldgates,
Sights to be sent us;
Ready for rede-gifts,
We wait for your wisdom.


Grateful, we give now, gifts of our own
Heart-work and hand-work the hearth shall grace;
Happiness, harmony, health in the new year,
Send to the world and we in it, we wish you.


To watching winds we wish fair travelling;
To sleepless dead sweet rest we send;
Gods and Goddesses, go with praises --
See: the circle is severed thus. [cut with sword at east]

I wrote that ritual for David, myself and two friends who are older than we. It was the first ritual that I wrote not based on NROOGD material in any way, but on entirely original structure and material. The horse's skull is a primitive form of the Mari Lwyd (Grey Mare/Mary), a Welsh folk traditional hobby horse that goes from house to house at the calendar New Year, but she's such a bizarre and macabre beast that she was almost certainly a Samhain leftover. There's interesting material about her in Trefor Owen's "Welsh Folk Customs" (which is probably out of print, but I could provide photocopies for interested parties who provide copying costs...)

Happy Samhain!
Leigh Ann
ThelemaNet of Berkeley * (415)548-0163 (161/93)

(L.A. Hussey 20 Nov 86 12:05:56)

{file "NROOGD SAMHAIN - 1987 (l.a. Hussey)" "bos008.htm"}

NROOGD Samhain -- 1987

A Cymro-Norse ritual

TOOLS: Drinking Horn
Hammer (Mjollnir)
Bowl of Salt
Censer & Incense


White Priestess(Skadi)
Gold Priest(Freyr)
Red Priestess(Freyja)
Red Priest(Heimdallr)
Black Priestess(Vala)
Black Priest(Odin)

Procession, consisting of Soulers (any small number) and White Mare.

Skadi takes the sword around the circle with these words:

Sharp bright steel the circle scribes;
Carving, cleaving world from world.

Freyja banishes the circle with the hammer and these words:

Mankind's friend, by Mjollnir's might
Banish beings that bode us ill!

She stands in the center and to each quarter and above and below she makes the Hammer-Sign, saying:

Holy hammer, hallow and hold us.

Vala seals the circle, carrying pentacle and bowl of salt, saying:

Stout stone shield us, shut the circle.

Skadi asperses the circle (Vala follows with censer) with these words:

Be all bless'd who bide herein,
By stone and sea, by storm and sun.

Now Heimdallr takes the sword and calls the quarters as follows:

Wisdom's wain, East wind I call thee!
Thoughts thy thanes that thrive in newness.
Breathe and bless, blow all clean;
Watch and ward, O wind of mind.

Summer's savour, South wind come now!
Bright the blessings you bear with you.
Strong of spirit, sun-like fire;
Watch and ward, O wind of soul.

Wild and wet, West wind I summon!
Sea-spray bearing, singing, shouting;
Beats the Earth's blood in thy breast;
Watch and ward, O wind of heart.

White with winter, North wind, waken!
Stone's strength bringing, snow-cloaked wind.
From the Frost-realms, fresh and chill,
Watch and ward, O wind of form.

The Priestesses and Priests stand opposite each other, and each one of the pair invokes the other, as follows:

Skadi (to Freyr)

Lord of life, hail Land-master!
God of grain that grows and dies
And rises reborn, full of richness;
Fallow fields shall yet be fertile --
Spring sap runs as stirs your phallus --
Bless barren Earth, let it bear again!

Freyr (to Skadi)

Show-shoes striding, hail swift huntress!
Wild one, free and willful Goddess,
Bow and blade you bear beside you,
Finding food to fend off hunger.
Winter will not leave us wanting;
Give good hunting, grant us skill!

Freyja (to Heimdallr)

Standing steadfast, hail far-seer!
Watchful one, on rainbow waiting,
Horn at hand to rouse the heroes,
News you know from Nine Worlds over.
People's parent and our patron,
Open our eyes to altered sight.

Heimdallr (to Freyja)

Vanir bride, hail vision-giver!
Capped in cat-fur, cloaked in feathers,
Drumming for the dance of dreams,
You haste to hunt out hidden things.
Scant now the screen that hinders sight;
Let us learn the lore of trance-work.

Vala (to Odin)

One-eyed wanderer, God of wisdom,
Hunt-lord, hail, who leads the hosting!
Nine nights hanging, knowledge gaining,
Cloaked at crossroads, council hidden.
Now the night, your time is near us --
Right roads send us on, rune-winner.

Odin (to Vala)

Every age your eye has witnessed,
Cauldron-keeper; hail, wise crone!
Rede in riddles is your ration --
Wyrd-weaving at the World-tree's root.
Eldest Ancient, all-knowing one,
Speak secrets to us, send us kenning.

Odin reminds everyone what the festival is about, as follows:


So comes the Souls'-day. summon for feasting
Ancestors, ancients, honoured and blessed;
Let in beloved ones, lend them your bodies --
Whom do you hallow? Hail them by name!

Allow a few minutes for everybody to name the ancestor they want to welcome. Then Vala gives this admonition:


As ancient Elders you learn from and honour,
Let not the living ones moulder alone.
Near is their knowledge nearer than spirits',
Seen without ceremony, simply for asking.


Grandmothers, Grandfathers, great be their blessings
Past ones and present we dance them all power!

All the Celebrants but Heimdallr form a circle facing outward; Heimdallr goes to the West, and all say:

Wide are the Worldgates; now the wights wander.
Welcome within are the dead who were ours;
Rest from riding here, revel and feast here;
Come in, old kinsfolk, keepers of wisdom!

Heimdallr cuts the Soulers' Procession into the Circle on "Come in", and moves to stand with the other Celebrants while the Soulers dance slowly around singing:

Welcome Winter, waning season,
Now with night the New Year comes;
All who honour elder kinsfolk
Dance the dead to earthly drums.
Souls respected safeguard living
House we'll hold, and hallow hearth;
Blessings be on those who bide here,
And indeed on all the Earth!

The Celebrants begin also to circle, dancing in character, starting widdershins then spiralling in and out to end deosil, as in the meeting dance, while the Soulers encourage the outer circle to dance also. The intent should be for luck in the new year, and better connection with our Ancestors (as well as better treatment of our Elders!). "We Are The Old People" and "Blood Of The Ancients" are appropriate and may be sung in polyphony...

As the providers of food, Freyr and Skadi bring forward the feast. Some food should be laid out for the ancestors, and people should be encouraged to let the ancestors use their senses for a while to enjoy the food with them. The Soulers in particular should receive Soul Cakes. A strong magical gesture would be for people to bring forward canned and other non-perishable food (which can be later given to a food bank or similar organization).

Freyr speaks as follows:

Cakes to us carry, corn from the storehouse;
Wine defies winter, warm with caught ripeness;
Milk made to cheeses, meat dried and salted;
Last of the land's fruits ere the long sleep.

Skadi speaks as follows:

Good nuts and game-food are hunters' guerdon;
Sleeping Earth's secrets yield to the seeker
True buried treasure: onions, potatoes
Forest shall feed us while the fields rest.

Both say (if there is to be food donation):

All who have aught to offer, now bring it;
Wights, bear ye witness work with the givers.
Feeding our fellows, let us be fed so,
Sops for the spirit or sup for the flesh.

If there is to be scrying and divination, it should be done now in a quiet space marked off as separate from the feasting-place. Freyja and Heimdallr lead the scrying and Vala and Odin lead rune-work, with the following optional speeches:


Let the lots tumble, loosing their learning;
Word-wood and wit-stones, won through ordeal.
Come up and cast them, while word is clearest
Augers may answer aught the year holds.


Wide are the Worldgates, windows are open;
Sights may be seen now, elsetimes but scarcely.
Crystal and cauldron capture the vision;
Mystery's meaning speaks to the mindful.

Note: it is entirely appropriate for partying to go on inside the sacred circle (people can get up and move around), so that the Dead have the opportunity to enjoy their day before we bid them farewell; the circle should be cast large, with this in mind. The only constraint is to open in sufficient time to clean up the hall before the rental time runs out. The circle is opened as follows:


To watching winds, we wish fair wandering;
Fan us sweet fragrance; Hail, farewell!


To sleepless souls, we wish sweet resting;
Friends will keep faith; farewell now!

Gods and Goddesses, go with praises!
Finished our festival; Hail, farewell!

Celebrants ground with this formula:

As from the Earth our energy comes,
Into the Earth the excess flows;
Earth and all empowered alike
Be it so!


See: the circle is severed thus (she cuts)
Merry meet, Merry part, Merry meet again!

Leigh Ann
ThelemaNet - Hail Eris! * (415) 548-0163 (Opus 1:161/93)

{file "The Origins Of Halloween (Rowan Moonstone)" "bos009.htm"}

The Origins of Halloween

copyright © 1989, Rowan Moonstone

In recent years, there have been a number of pamphlets and books put out be various Christian organizations dealing with the origins of modern-day Halloween customs.

Being a Witch myself, and a student of the ancient Celts from whom we get this holiday, I have found these pamphlets woefully inaccurate and poorly researched. A typical example of this information is contained in the following quote from the pamphlet entitled "What's Wrong with Halloween?" by Russell K. Tardo. "The Druids believed that on October 31st, the last day of the year by the ancient Celtic calendar, the lord of death gathered together the souls of the dead who had been made to enter bodies of animals, and decided what forms they should take the following year. Cats were held sacred because it was believed that they were once human beings ... We see that this holiday has its origin, basis and root in the occultic Druid celebration of the dead. Only they called it 'Samhain', who was the Lord of the Dead (a big demon)".1 When these books and pamphlets cite sources at all, they usually list the Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana, and the World Book Encyclopedia. The Britannica and the Americana make no mention of cats, but do indeed list Samhain as the Lord of Death, contrary to Celtic scholars, and list no references. The World Book mentions the cats and calls Samhain the Lord of Death, and lists as its sources several children's books (hardly what one could consider scholarly texts, and, of course, themselves citing no references).

In an effort to correct some of this erroneous information, I have researched the religious life of the ancient Celtic peoples and the survivals of that religious life in modern times. Listed below are some of the most commonly asked questions concerning the origins and customs of Halloween. Following the questions is a lengthy bibliography where the curious reader can go to learn more about this holiday than space in this small pamphlet permits.

  1. Where does Halloween come from?

    Our modern celebration of Halloween is a descendent of the ancient Celtic festival called "Samhain". The word is pronounced "sow-in", with "sow" rhyming with "cow".

  2. What does "Samhain" mean?

    The "Irish-English Dictionary" published by the Irish Texts Society defines the word as follows: "Samhain, All Hallowtide, the feast of the dead in Pagan and Christian times, signalling the close of harvest and the initiation of the winter season, lasting till May, during which troop swere quartered. Fairies were imagined as particularly active at this season. From it, the half-year is reckoned. Also called Feile Moingfinne (Snow Goddess)."2 The "Scottish Gaelic Dictionary" defines it as "Hallowtide. The Feast of All Souls. Sam + Fuin = end of summer."3 Contrary to the information published by many organizations, there is no archaeological or literary evidence to indicate that Samhain was a deity. Eliade's "Encyclopedia of Religion" states as follows: "The Eve and day of Samhain were characterized as a time when the barriers between the human and supernatural worlds were broken... Not a festival honoring any particular Celtic deity, Samhain acknowledged the entire spectrum of nonhuman forces that roamed the earth during that period."4 The Celtic Gods of the dead were Gwynn ap Nudd for the British and Arawn for the Welsh. The Irish did not have a "Lord of Death" as such.

  3. Why was the end of summer of significance to the Celts?

    The Celts were a pastoral people as opposed to an agricultural people. The end of summer was significant to them because it meant the time of year when the structure of their lives changed radically. The cattle were brought down from the summer pastures in the hills and the people were gathered into the houses for the long winter nights of story-telling and handicrafts.

  4. What does it have to do with a festival of the dead?

    The Celts believed that when people died, they went to a land of eternal youth and happiness called Tír na nOg. They did not have the concept of Heaven and Hell that the Christian Church later brought into the land. The dead were sometimes believed to be dwelling with the Fairy Folk, who lived in the numerous mounds, or sidhe, (pronounced "shee" or "sh-thee") that dotted the Irish and Scottish countryside. Samhain was the new year to the Celts. In the Celtic belief system, turning points such as the time between one day and the next, the meeting of sea and shore or the turning of one year into the next, were seen as magickal times. The turning of the year was the most potent of these times. This was the time when the "veil between the worlds" was at its thinnest and the living could communicate with their beloved dead in Tír na nOg.

  5. What about the aspects of "evil" that we associate with the night today?

    The Celts did not have demons and devils in their belief system. The fairies, however, were often considered hostile and dangerous to humans because they were seen as being resentful of man taking over their land. On this night, they would sometimes trick humans into becoming lost in the fairy mounds where they would be trapped forever. After the coming of the Christians to the Celtic lands, certain of the folk saw the fairies as those angels who had sided neither with God or with Lucifer in their dispute and thus were condemned to walk the Earth until Judgment Day.5 In addition to the fairies, many humans were abroad on this night causing mischief. Since this night belonged neither to one year or the other, Celtic folk believed that chaos reigned and the people would engage in "horseplay and practical jokes".6 This also served as a final outlet for high spirits before the gloom of winter set in.

  6. What about "trick or treat"?

    During the course of these hijinks, many of the people would imitate the fairies and go from house to house begging for treats. Failure to supply the treats would usually result in practical jokes being visited on the owner of the house. Since the fairies were abroad on this night, an offering of food or milk was frequently left for them on the steps of the house so the homeowner could gain the blessing of the "good folk" for the coming year. Many of the households would also leave out a "dumb supper" for the spirits of the departed.7 The folks who were abroad in the night imitating the fairies would sometimes carry turnips carved to represent faces. This is the origin of our modern Jack-o-lantern.

  7. Was there any special significance of cats to the Celts?

    According to Katherine Briggs in "Nine Lives: Cats in Folklore", the Celts associated cats with the Cailleach Bheur, or Blue Hag of Winter. "She was a nature goddess, who herded the deer as her cattle. The touch of her staff drove the leaves off the trees and brought snow and harsh weather."8 Dr. Anne Ross addresses the use of divine animals in her book "Pagan Celtic Britain" and has this to say about cats: "Cats do not play a large role in Celtic mythology ... the evidence for the cat as an important cult animal in Celtic mythology is slight".9 She cites as supporting evidence the lack of archaeological artifacts and literary references in surviving works of mythology.

  8. Was this also a religious festival?

    Yes. Celtic religion was very closely tied to the Earth. The great legends are concerned with momentous happenings which took place around the time of Samhain. Many of the great battles and legends of kings and heroes center on this night. Many of the legends concern the promotion of fertility of the Earth and the insurance of the continuance of the lives of the people through the dark winter season.

  9. How was the religious festival observed?

    Unfortunately, we know very little about that. W.G. Wood-Martin, in his book "Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland", states: "There is comparatively little trace of the religion of the Druids now discoverable, save in the folklore of the peasantry and the references relative to it that occur in ancient and authentic Irish manuscripts are, as far as present appearances go, meager and insufficient to support anything like a sound theory for full development of the ancient religion."10 The Druids were the priests of the Celtic peoples. They passed on their teachings by oral tradition instead of committing them to writing, so when they perished, most of their religious teachings were lost. We do know that this festival was characterized as one of the four great "Fire Festivals" of the Celts. Legends tell us that on this night all the hearth fires in Ireland were extinguished and then re-lit from the central fire of the Druids at Tlachtga, 12 miles from the royal hill of Tara. This fire was kindled from "need fire" which had been generated by the friction of rubbing two sticks together, as opposed to more conventional methods (such as the flint-and-steel method) common in those days.11 The extinguishing of the fires symbolized the "dark half" of the year, and the re-kindling from the Druidic fires was symbolic of the returning life hoped for and brought about through the ministrations of the priesthood.

  10. What about sacrifices?

    Animals were certainly killed at this time of year. This was the time to "cull" from the herds those animals which were not desired for breeding purposes for the next year. Most certainly, some of these would have been done in a ritual manner for the use of the priesthood.

  11. Were humans sacrificed?

    Scholars are sharply divided on this account, with about half believing that it took place and half doubting its veracity. Caesar and Tacitus certainly tell tales of the human sacrifices of the Celts, but Nora Chadwick points out in her book "The Celts" that "it is not without interest that the Romans themselves had abolished human sacrifice not long before Caesar's time, and references to the practice among various barbarian peoples have certain overtones of self-righteousness. There is little direct archaeological evidence relevant to Celtic sacrifice."12 Indeed, there is little reference to this practice in Celtic literature. The only surviving story echoes the tale of the Minotaur in Greek legend: the Fomorians, a race of evil giants said to inhabit portions of Ireland before the coming of the Tuatha Dé Danann (or "people of the Goddess Danu"), demanded the sacrifice of 2/3 of the corn, milk and first-born children of the Fir Bolg, or human inhabitants of Ireland. The Tuatha Dé Danann ended this practice in the second battle of Moy Tura, which incidentally, took place on Samhain. It should be noted, however, that this story appears in only one (relatively modern) manuscript from Irish literature, and that manuscript, the "Dinnsenchus", is known to be a collection of fables. According to P.W. Joyce in Vol. 2 of his "Social History of Ancient Ireland", "Scattered everywhere through our ancient literature, both secular and ecclesiastical, we find abundant descriptions and details of the rites and superstitions of the pagan Irish; and in no place -- with this single exception -- do we find a word or hint pointing to human sacrifice to pagan gods or idols."13

  12. What other practices were associated with this season?

    Folk tradition tells us of many divination practices associated with Samhain. Among the most common were divinations dealing with marriage, weather and the coming fortunes for the year. These were performed via such methods as ducking for apples and apple peeling. Ducking for apples was a marriage divination. The first person to bite an apple would be the first to marry in the coming year. Apple peeling was a divination to see how long your life would be. The longer the unbroken apple peel, the longer your life was destined to be.14 In Scotland, people would place stones in the ashes of the hearth before retiring for the night. Anyone whose stone had been disturbed during the night was said to be destined to die during the coming year.

  13. How did these ancient Celtic practices come to America?

    When the potato crop in Ireland failed, many of the Irish people, modern descendants of the Celts, emigrated to America bringing with them their folk practices which were remnants of the Celtic festival observances.

  14. We in America view this as a harvest festival. Did the Celts also view it as such?

    Yes. The Celts had 3 harvests. Aug 1, or Lammas, was the first harvest, when the first fruits were offered to the Gods in thanks. The Fall Equinox was the true harvest. This was when the bulk of the crops would be brought in. Samhain was the final harvest of the year. Anything left on the vines or in the fields after this date was considered blasted by the fairies ("pu'ka") and unfit for human consumption.

  15. Does anyone today celebrate Samhain as a religious observance?

    Yes. Many followers of various pagan religions, such as Druidism and Wicca, observe this day as a religious festival. They view it as a memorial day for their dead friends and family, much as the mainstream US does the national Memorial Day holiday in May. It is still a night to practice various forms of divination concerning future events. It is also considered a time to wrap up old projects, take stock of one's life and initiate new projects for the coming year. As the winter season is approaching, it is a good time to do studying on research projects, and also a good time to begin handwork such as sewing, leatherworking, woodworking etc., for Yule gifts later in the year. And while "satanists" are using this holiday as their own, this is certainly not the only example of a holiday (or even religious symbols) being "borrowed" from an older religion by a newer one.

  16. Does this involve human or animal sacrifice?

    Absolutely NOT! Hollywood to the contrary, blood sacrifice is not practiced by modern followers of Wicca or Druidism. There may be some people who think they are practicing Wicca by performing blood sacrificing but this is not condoned by reputable practitioners of today's neo-Pagan religions.


  1. Tardo, Russell K., "What's Wrong with Halloween?", Faithful Word Publishers, (Arabi, LA, undated), p. 2
  2. Rev. Patrick Dinneen, "An Irish-English Dictionary", (Dublin, 1927), p. 937
  3. Malcolm MacLennan, "A Pronouncing and Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language", (Aberdeen, 1979), p. 279
  4. "The Encyclopedia of Religion", ed. Mircea Eliade, "Halloween" by Primiano, (New York, 1987) pp. 176-177
  5. Alwyn & Brinley Rees, "Celtic Heritage", (New York, 1961), p. 90
  6. W.G. Wood-Martin, "Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland", Vol. II, (Port Washington, NY, 1902), p. 5
  7. Kevin Danaher, "The Year in Ireland", (Cork, 1972), p. 214
  8. Katherine Briggs, "Nine Lives: Cats in Folklore", (London,1980), p.5
  9. Dr. Anne Ross, "Pagan Celtic Britain", (London,1967), p. 301-302
  10. Wood-Martin, op. cit., p. 249
  11. Rees & Rees, op. cit., p. 90
  12. Nora Chadwick, "The Celts", (Harmondsworth, 1982), p. 151
  13. P.W. Joyce, "A Social History of Ancient Ireland", Vol.2, (New York, 1968), pp. 282-283
  14. Madeleine Pelner Cosman, "Medieval Holidays and Festivals", (New York, 1981), p. 81


Published by CultWatch Response, Inc., PO Box 1842, Colorado Springs, CO 80901-1842. This article may be reprinted only if it is not excerpted or abridged in any way except for review purposes. Permission to republish must be requested in writing from the author at the above address. Price: $1.00 each, 10/$8.00, over 100/$0.65 ea., other quantities available. All prices are postpaid.

{file "Firestar Beltaine 1986" "bos010.htm"}

Firestar Beltaine 1986

Note: there is NO meeting dance before the ritual because the spiral dance occurs inside it.



BARD: (harp accompaniment)

This is the air, oh people; these are the creatures:
Far-flying Goose; far-seeing Hawk;
Owl who knows; Raven who talks;
Crane who dances; Thrush who sings;
Quail the humble; Wren the king;
Lark who revels; Loon who weeps;
Jay who scatters; Buzzard reaps.
This is the air I conjure, and this is the birth of the world.

This is the fire, oh people; these are the creatures:
Drake who hoards; Kirin who gives;
Angel heals; Chimera reaves;
Coal the slow; lightning the quick;
Salamander, power's wick;
Soul who praises; Gryphon scorns;
Phoenix dies and is reborn.
This is the fire I conjure, and this is the birth of the world.

This is the sea, oh people; these are the creatures:
Whale who chants; Dolphin who speaks;
Clam content; Salmon who seeks;
Pike who rages; Shark who mourns;
Walrus steadies; Carp transforms;
Seal who gathers; Crab the lone;
Otter wave-borne; Eel in stone;
This is the sea I conjure, and this is the birth of the world.

This is the earth, oh people; these are the creatures:
Deer who worries; Boar who schemes;
Cat who conjures; Sheep who dreams;
Hare the playful; Brock the stern;
Mouse who teaches; Horse who learns;
Wolf who wanders; Bear who stays;
Stag who guards; Puma who preys.
This is the earth I conjure, and this is the birth of the world.

Now is the darkness. Now is the pain. Now is the fear.
Now is the danger. Now is the hate. Now are the tears.
Call on our mother! She is the one! Hers is the way!
She will bring comfort. She will bring life. She will bring day.


Earth Mother, Birth Mother, Birch Mother,
Sea Mother, Stone Mother, Star Mother!
Queen of night and death and birth,
Womb of deep and fertile earth,
Dame of heaven's silver wheel,
Lady of the greening field,
Keeper of the apple grove,
Mistress of the arts of love,
Shine out in the fearsome dark --
Teach us how to strike the spark.
People, we can feel Her near!
She is coming! She is here!

GODDESS: (emerging from hiding -- should be in green with amber & copper)

Now the veils of worlds are thin;
To move out you must move in.
Let the Balefires now be made,
Mine the spark within them laid.
This My gift: that people meet
In peace and plenty made complete.
This I give: the Sacred Way,
The strength, the soul, the sight, the say.
Move beyond the fiery screen
Between the seen and the unseen;
Shed your anger and your fear,
Live anew in a new year!

FIREMAKER: (at each tree name, holds up twig, then binds all together into a torch)

The Nine I sing, the Nine blessed trees
Which were empowered of old:
Oak, thou druid's door, open the way for us.
Apple, thou knowledge-giver, break our circle of blindness.
Ash, thou world-supporter, drive away ill powers.
Birch, thou tree-mother, help in our healing.
Hawthorn, thou branch of May, give us light and hope.
Willow, thou soul-leader, grant us safe passage.
Holly, thou forest king, be our safe refuge.
Hazel, thou wise-one's branch, give us true vision.
Alder, thou river's love, let us flow outward.
In peace let us flow outward; in power let us flow outward; in beauty let us flow outward.

(The Goddess lights the torch, the Firemaker lights the two fires, which have been saturated with some flammable material, i.e. charcoal starter. White Sage and Cedar chips may be thrown thereon.)


Dark to light, night to day,
Through the fires lies the way;
Old to new, death to birth,
Between the worlds to our rebirth.

PRIESTESS: (once all have passed between the fires)

Sky's Father, Wise Father, Wine Father,
Sun Father, Sap Father, Song Father!
Lord of forest, field and beast,
Lord of harvest, hunt and feast,
King of heaven's golden fire,
Dancer of the soul's desire,
Master of the drum and flute,
Keeper of the vineyard's fruit,
Shine on us and warm our souls --
Teach us how to make us whole!
People, we can feel Him near!
He is coming! He is here!

GOD: (emerging from hiding, dressed in green, with leaves & horns)

Let the light of living blaze!
Dance within the spiral maze;
Cry of pipe and thump of drum;
Out you go and in you come!
Mine the living pole of May --
Outside loving starts today!
This My gift: that lovers join
Touching at the lip and loin.
This I give: the Joyous Dance,
Music, song, the vine, the chance!
Now do fear and anger cease:
Dance the healing and release!

(A fairly simple triple spiral should be traced on the ground in lime or flour, to give the people guidelines for dancing. The dance should go on until satiation or until the circle forms again; there is no one human focal point -- the intent should be for peace, understanding, tolerance, etc.)


Joy, health and peace be in the world
That spins into the May-o,
For summer is a-comin' in
And winter's gone away-o.


God: Mine is the ripening sun.
Goddess: Mine is the nurturing soil.
God: Mine is the fruit of the vine.
Goddess: Mine is the chalice of life.
Both: We are the blessing of wine! And the wine blesses us.

God: Mine is the planted seed.
Goddess: Mine is the fertile earth.
God: Mine is the mower's blade.
Goddess: Mine is the oven of making.
Both: We are the blessing of bread! And the bread blesses us.

Feasting, dancing, singing, partying etc. Some kind of grounding afterwards.

{file "An Eclectic Circle Ceremony (Durwydd)" "bos011.htm"}

An Eclectic Circle Ceremony

Durwydd, 1989-90



Blessings upon thee, O creature of water, I cast out from thee all impurities and uncleanness of the spirits of phantasm, confusion or any other influence not for the free will of all.


Blessings be upon this creature of salt; let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth thencefrom, and let all good enter therein. Wherefore I bless thee and invoke thee, that thou mayest aid me.


I take this salt of the Earth,
Blessed with the will of Fire;
I take this water of spirit,
Exorcised with mind of merit;
I mix them with words of power,
Dedicated to every Tower.

By the power of Moon and Sun,
By the power of Spirit, Earth and Sea,
God and Goddess are part of One,
As I Will, so mote it be!

Casting of the Circle

I conjure thee, O circle of power,
As thou encircle every Tower.
That thou beest a place of Truth, Joy and Love,
Encircling Flight of Eagle, Hawk and Dove.

Mighty Aegis of the Lady and Lord,
Rampart of thought, action and word.
To work in Peace, Powerful and Free,
Who walk between two worlds conjure thee;

A boundary to Protect, Concentrate and Contain,
That Power raised here be not in vain.

Wherefore do I bless thee and consecrate thee, in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia.

Sealing of the Circle

(seal with water/salt mixture)

With potion of earth and water, I seal the sacred circle,
Linking air and fire!

With potion of earth and air, I seal the sacred circle,
Linking fire with water!

With potion of earth,air,and fire, I seal the sacred circle,
Linking water with the Earth!

As the four directions are brought to merge,
Let influence of the mighty ones converge!

(Seal with Censer)

With Incense and air of Mind,
East to South, I do Bind!

With Incense and air of Mind,
South to West, I do Bind!

With Incense and air of Mind,
West to North, I do Bind!

With Incense and air of Mind,
North to East Completion Find!

(Seal with Candle)

With the Fire of emotion and will
East to South, our dedication fulfill!

With the Fire of veneration and Will,
South to West, our allegiance fulfill!

With the Fire of Devotion and Will,
West to North, our consecration fulfill!

With the Fire of Commitment and will,
From North to East, this inscription fulfill!

Within the circle All wills be free,
The circle is sealed, So Mote it Be!

Setting the Watchtowers

Ye Lords of the Eastern Tower,
Airy Lords of Spirit;
Let your influence of Power,
Aid our minds with merit!
I do summon, stir and call you up to witness these rites and to guard the circle.

Ye Lords of Southern Power
Fiery Lords of Will.
Pray do grace your Tower,
Your Powers to fulfill!
I do summon, stir and call you up to witness these rites and to guard the circle.

Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the West,
Watery Lords of Death and Initiation;
I do summon, stir and call you up to witness these rites and to guard the Circle.

Ye Northern Lords of the Earth,
Though we be yet but Mortals;
Bless our work with worth,
Boreas, guardian of Northern portals.
I do summon, stir and call you up to witness these rites and to guard the Circle.

Goddess and God, I would know,
As 'tis above, so 'tis below
Blessings on this work, please bestow!

This be my will, true and free,
I do so will, so mote it be.

Invocation of the Elements

Air, Fire, Water, Earth,
Elements of astral birth,
I call you now; attend to me!
In the Circle, rightly cast,
Safe from curse or blast,
I call you now, attend to me!

From cave and desert, sea and hill,
By wand, blade and pentacle,
I call you now, attend to me!
This is my will, so mote it be!

{file "A Mabon Outline (anon.)" "bos012.htm"}

A Mabon rite outline

(soon to be a major Mabon Ritual, at a terminal near you.)

General Mabon info to start with, set the mood &c...

What is Mabon?

Mabon, sometimes known as the Harvest/Thanksgiving ritual of the Autumn Equinox, is one of the Spokes of the Wheel of the Year. In the many Earth or Pagan Religions, a special kinship with the passing of the seasons is felt... this is usually due to the history of said traditions, most of which stem from agrarian cultures where the seasons marked the way of life. From planting to reaping to winter to summer... the seasons were of great importance to our ancestors, for their very existence depended upon good harvests, mild winters, enough rainfall, and the like.

So... having shown the importance of the seasons, we shall turn to Mabon itself. Autumn... harvest time... the reaping of what was sown and cared thru during the year. A time of thankfulness and rejoicing. So, of course, someone at some point in time must have said... "Now that the work is over... LET'S PARTY!!!"

This is the essence of Mabon. Rejoicing in a bountiful harvest, thanking the Gods for being so kind during the year, and, hopefully, helping in winning over the Gods' favor for the coming year.

About the Mabon rite itself:

Now, this will be a very Discordian ritual in that each participant will be (more or less) writing his/her own part. This outline is provided to sorta nudge (nudge, wink, wink, say no more, sir, say no more!) people into making their individual pieces able to fit into the whole thing... (I feel like the Green Ball outta "Heavy Metal", the movie, something which ties things together).
Back to the rite itself.

Basically, 6 personages will be represented: Callers or Watchers of the East, South, West and North, High Priest (HP) and High Priestess (HPS).

Of course, since this is a generic rite, the terms "Lord" and "Lady" will be used when referring to the Male and Female aspects of divinity/godhood/whatever... individuals may use which ever names they wish, for a Rose, by any other name, would still smell as sweet.


  1. Invocation... once everybody has arrived, a Circle shall be cast, more or less, and the 4 Watchers/Callers each get to do their thing invoking that which that direction symbolizes to come and attend the festivities. After which, either the HPS, HP or both would consecrate the circle... in our case... the circle will be around each person at their 'puter... with a sense of being connected to each other via the others' 'puters. So... what we'll do is... after the circle is cast, and the four Corners have done their things, then the HP will call upon the Lord to attend, and the HPS shall call upon the Lady, (or, if we want to be different, we can have the HP call the Lady, and the HPS call the Lord... it's not as traditional, but I know of some Ladies who are more likely to pay attention to a young, handsome HP than any HPS, if you get my meaning [wink]).

  2. Once invoked... it's time for the thanksgiving part... we all got things we're thankful for... now's the chance.

  3. After the thanks are over, a customary requesting of blessing for the coming year is asked.

  4. That done with, it's time to dismiss the summoned ones... first, around the circle... each corner doing it's thing... the dismissal consists of a Hail to the being summoned, a flattery (as I call it), and then a structured dismissal (eg. "Air of the East... blah, blah, blah,... Go if thou must, but stay if thou wilt"). The HP and HPS dismiss the Lord and Lady last with similar words.

  5. PARTY TIME!!!! Get out the Beer, munchies, what have you... celebrate... you've earned it.

{file "A Midsummer Celebration (Mike Nichols)" "bos013.htm"}


by Mike Nichols (a.k.a. Gwydion)

In addition to the four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year, there are four lesser holidays as well: The two solstices and the two equinoxes. In folklore, these are referred to as the four 'quarter-days' of the year and modern Witches call them the four 'Lesser Sabbats' or the four 'Low Holidays'. The Summer Solstice is one of them.

Technically, a solstice is an astronomical point and, due to the precession to the equinox, the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer and we then experience the longest day and the shortest night of the year. Astrologers know this as the date on which the sun enters the sign of Cancer.

However, since most European peasants were not accomplished at reading an ephemeris or did not live close enough to Salisbury Plain to trot over to Stonehenge and sight down its main avenue, they celebrated the event on a fixed calendar date, June 24th. The slight forward displacement of the traditional date is the result of multitudinous calendrical changes down through the ages. It is analogous to the winter solstice celebration which is astronomically on or about December 21st, but is celebrated on the traditional date of December 25th, Yule, later adopted by the Christians.

Again, it must be remembered that the Celts reckoned their days from sundown to sundown, so the June 24th festivities actually begin on the previous sundown (our June 23rd). This was Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Eve. Which brings up another point: our modern calendars are quite misguided in suggesting that 'summer begins' on the solstice. According to the old folk calendar, summer BEGINS on May Day and ends on Lammas (August 1st), with the summer solstice, midway between the two, marking MID-summer. This makes more logical sense than suggesting that summer begins on the day when the sun's power begins to wane and the days grow shorter.

Although our Pagan ancestors probably preferred June 24th (and indeed most European folk festivals today use this date), the sensibility of modern Witches seems to prefer the actual solstice point, beginning the celebration at sunset. Again, it gives modern Pagans a range of dates to choose from, hopefully with a weekend embedded in it.

As the Pagan mid-winter celebration of Yule was adopted by Christians as Christmas (December 25th), so too the Pagan mid-summer celebration was adopted by them as the feast of John the Baptist (June 24th). Occurring 180 degrees apart on the wheel of the year, the mid-winter celebration commemorates the birth of Jesus, while the mid-summer celebration commemorates the birth of John, the prophet who was born six months before Jesus in order to announce his arrival.

This last tidbit is extremely conspicuous, in that John is the ONLY saint in the entire Catholic hagiography whose feast day is a commemoration of his birth, rather than his death. A generation ago, Catholic nuns were fond of explaining that a saint is commemorated on the anniversary of his or her death because it was really a 'birth' into the Kingdom of Heaven. But John the Baptist, the sole exception, is emphatically commemorated on the anniversary of his birth into THIS world. Although this makes no sense viewed from a Christian perspective, it makes perfect poetic sense from the viewpoint of Pagan symbolism.

In most Pagan cultures, the sun god is seen as split between two rival personalities: the god of light and his twin, his 'weird', his 'other self', the god of darkness. They are Gawain and the Green Knight, Gwyn and Gwythyr, Llew and Goronwy, Lugh and Balor, Balan and Balin, the Holly King and the Oak King, etc. Often they are depicted as fighting seasonal battles for the favor of their goddess/lover, such as Creiddylad or Blodeuwedd, who represents Nature.

The god of light is always born at the winter solstice, and his strength waxes with the lengthening days until the moment of his greatest power, the summer solstice, the longest day. And, like a look in a mirror, his 'shadow self', the lord of darkness, is born at the summer solstice, and his strength waxes with the lengthening nights until the moment of his greatest power, the winter solstice, the longest night.

Indirect evidence supporting this mirror-birth pattern is strongest in the Christianized form of the Pagan myth. Many writers, from Robert Graves to Stewart Farrar, have repeatedly pointed out that Jesus was identified with the Holly King, while John the Baptist was the Oak King. That is why, 'of all the trees that are in the wood, the Holly tree bears the crown.' If the birth of Jesus, the 'light of the world', is celebrated at mid-winter, Christian folk tradition insists that John the Oak King was born (rather than died) at mid-summer.

It is at this point that I must diverge from the opinion of Robert Graves and other writers who have followed him. Graves believes that at midsummer, the Sun King is slain by his rival, the God of Darkness; just as the God of Darkness is, in turn, slain by the God of Light at midwinter. And yet, in Christian folk tradition (derived from the older Pagan strain), it is births, not deaths, that are associated with the solstices. For the feast of John the Baptist, this is all the more conspicuous, as it breaks the rules regarding all other saints.

So if births are associated with the solstices, when do the symbolic deaths occur? When does Goronwy slay Llew and when does Llew in turn slay Goronwy? When does darkness conquer light or light conquer darkness? Obviously (to me, at least), it must be at the two equinoxes. At the autumnal equinox, the hours of light in the day are eclipsed by the hours of darkness. At the vernal equinox, the process is reversed. Also, the autumnal equinox, called 'Harvest Home', is already associated with sacrifice, principally that of the spirit of grain or vegetation. In this case, the god of light would be identical.

In Welsh mythology in particular, there is a startling vindication of the seasonal placement of the sun god's death, the significance of which occurred to me in a recent dream, and which I haven't seen elsewhere. Llew is the Welsh god of light, and his name means 'lion'. (The lion is often the symbol of a sun god.) He is betrayed by his 'virgin' wife Blodeuwedd, into standing with one foot on the rim of a cauldron and the other on the back of a goat. It is only in this way that Llew can be killed, and Blodeuwedd's lover, Goronwy, Llew's dark self, is hiding nearby with a spear at the ready. But as Llew is struck with it, he is not killed. He is instead transformed into an eagle.

Putting this in the form of a Bardic riddle, it would go something like this: Who can tell in what season the Lion (Llew), betrayed by the Virgin (Blodeuwedd), poised on the Balance, is transformed into an Eagle? My readers who are astrologers are probably already gasping in recognition. The sequence is astrological and in proper order: Leo (lion), Virgo (virgin), Libra (balance), and Scorpio (for which the eagle is a well-known alternative symbol). Also, the remaining icons, cauldron and goat, could arguably symbolize Cancer and Capricorn, representing summer and winter, the signs beginning with the two solstice points. So Llew is balanced between cauldron and goat, between summer and winter, on the balance (Libra) point of the autumnal equinox.

This, of course, is the answer to a related Bardic riddle. Repeatedly, the 'Mabinogion' tells us that Llew must be standing with one foot on the cauldron and one foot on the goat's back in order to be killed. But nowhere does it tell us why. Why is this particular situation the ONLY one in which Llew can be overcome? Because it represents the equinox point. And the equinox is the only time of the entire year when light (Llew) can be overcome by darkness (Goronwy).

It should now come as no surprise that when it is time for Llew to kill Goronwy in his turn, Llew insists that Goronwy stands where he once stood while he (Llew) casts the spear. This is no mere vindictiveness on Llew's part. For, although the 'Mabinogion' does not say so, it should by now be obvious that this is the only time when Goronwy can be overcome. Light can overcome darkness only at the equinox -- this time the vernal equinox.

So Midsummer (to me, at least) is a celebration of the sun god at his zenith, a crowned king on his throne. He is at the height of his strength and still 1/4 of a year away from his ritual death at the hands of his rival. The spear and the cauldron have often been used as symbols for this holiday and it should now be easy to see why. Sun gods are virtually always associated with spears (even Jesus is pierced by one), and the midsummer cauldron of Cancer is a symbol of the Goddess in her fullness. It is an especially beautiful time of the year for an outdoor celebration. May yours be magical!

{file "Ceremony Of Initiation (Brad Hicks)" "bos014.htm"}

Ceremony of Initiation

Author's note:
This ritual is a compilation of Gardnerian, Fairy and traditional Wiccan sources and is intended to be used as an initiation for graduates of my training course in Basic Technologies of Witchcraft. While the ritual is powerful enough as it stands, I strongly recommend that it be reserved for people who have been prepared through training at least equivalent to that which I give, or much of the impact may be lost.
Blessed be!
J. Brad (Talespinner) Hicks

Guided Meditation

(The following will be read to all participants in the form of a guided meditation, prior to the processional. It helps if the first paragraph is read by a male voice and the second paragraph by a female voice. NOTE: All are nude; the initiate is also blindfolded.)

Hear the words of the Threefold Goddess, who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Diana, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Isis, Arianrhod, Brigid, Aradia and many other names:

"Whenever you have need of anything, once in the month and betterit be when the moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me who is Queen of all the Wise. She who would learn all sorcery yet has not won its deepest secrets, them I will teach her, in truth, all things as yet unknown. And you shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you be free you shall be naked in your rites. Sing, feast, dance, make music and love in My presence, for Mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and Mine also is joy on earth. For My law is love unto all beings. Nor do I demand aught of sacrifice, for behold, I am the mother of all things and My love is poured out upon the earth."


The Initiate is left to meditate as the others rise and follow the High Priest/ess into the Circle area and three times around, chanting:

"We all come from the Goddess,
And to her we shall return
Like a drop of rain,
Flowing to the ocean." (repeat)

Raising of the Circle

HIGH PRIEST/ESS takes the Sword from the altar and traces a circle around the coveners. When he/she returns to the north, he/she kneels and salutes saying: "Hail and welcome, frosty Spirits of the North. Lend to us your power and protection this night that <Initiate's born name> may be given a true initiation to justly wield the power of Earth. So mote it be!"

ALL (envisioning a wall of dark green light springing up from the circle): "So mote it be!"

HIGH PRIEST/ESS advances to the east, kneels and salutes saying: "Hail and welcome, bright Spirits of the East. Lend to us your power and protection that <Initiate's born name> may be given a true initiation to justly wield the power of Air. So mote it be!"

ALL (envisioning a wall of lemon yellow light springing up from the circle, within the wall of green): "So mote it be!"

HIGH PRIEST/ESS advances to the south, kneels and salutes saying: "Hail and welcome, fiery Spirits of the South. Lend to us your power and protection that <Initiate's born name> may be given a true initiation to justly wield the power of Fire. So mote it be!"

ALL (envisioning a wall of crimson light springing up from the circle, within the walls of green and yellow): "So mote it be!"

HIGH PRIEST/ESS advances to the west, kneels and salutes saying: "Hail and welcome, tireless Spirits of the West. Lend to us your power and protection that <Initiate's born name> may be given a true initiation to justly wield the power of Water. So mote it be!"

ALL (envisioning a wall of dark blue light springing up from the circle, within the walls of green, yellow and red): "So mote it be!"

Statement of Purpose

HIGH PRIEST/ESS: "I call upon the Horned God; I call upon the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone; I call upon the Spirits of Earth, Air, Fire and Water; I call upon the Hosts of the Mighty Dead; and I call every true Witch within this circle to witness that we are here to consecrate <Initiate's name> as Priest(ess) and Witch. The circle is cast!"

ALL (envisioning the walls of the circle bending together overhead and flowing together under the floor to form a hemisphere of bright white light): "So mote it be!"

The Warning

HIGH PRIEST/ESS cuts a gate in the circle and roughly leads the Initiate to kneel at the edge before the gate, then balances the sword-point over the Initiate's heart (the Initiate raises hir hands to support the point). "You stand at the edge of a place that is between the worlds, in the presence of the Gods and under the watchful eye of the Mighty Dead. If you go any further, you embark on a path that cannot be safely turned aside before your death. Feel the sharpness of the blade at your breast, and know this in your heart that it would be better for you to throw yourself forward and spill out your life than to enter this circle with fear or falseness in your heart."

INITIATE: "I come with perfect love and perfect trust."

HIGH PRIEST/ESS lays down the sword, lifts the Initiate to his or her feet and kisses him or her. "Thus are all first brought into the Circle.", then leads the Initiate to the altar and taking up the sword, re-draws the circle over the gateway.

Administration of the Oaths

ALL (except the High Priest/ess and the Initiate) begin a quiet "Aum" and sustain it throughout the Five-fold Kiss and the Oaths of Initiation.

HIGH PRIEST/ESS, administering the Five-fold Kiss: "Blessed are your feet, that have brought you to this place. Blessed are your knees, that shall kneel at the altars of the Gods. Blessed is your sex, without which we could not be. Blessed is your breast, formed in strength and beauty. Blessed are your lips which shall speak the Words of Truth. Are you prepared to take the oath?"


HIGH PRIEST/ESS: "Then kneel." (takes the Initiate's measure.) "You who have from birth been called <born name> but now seek to become <Craft name> -- do you willingly pledge yourself to the God and the Goddess?"

INITIATE places his or her left hand on the top of the head and right hand on the soles of the feet. "All between my two hands belongs to the Gods. So mote it be."

ALL others raise the volume of the "Aum" slightly.

HIGH PRIEST/ESS: "And do you swear to keep silent all those things that must be kept silent and to respect that which is taught to you?"

INITIATE: "I willingly swear to keep silent all that must be kept silent and to respect that which is taught to me. So mote it be."

ALL others raise the volume of the "Aum" a little more.

HIGH PRIEST/ESS: "And by what surety do you swear all of these things?"

INITIATE: "All of these things I do swear, by my mother's womb and my hope of future lives, knowing well that my Measure has been taken in the presence of the Mighty Ones. Should I fail utterly in my oaths, may my powers desert me, and may my own tools turn against me. So mote it be. So mote it be. So mote it be!

ALL yell quickly: "SO MOTE IT BE!"

Triggering of the Spell

ALL grab the Initiate quickly and hoist hir completely into the air (if possible), chanting the Initiate's new name over and over again, as fast as possible, as they carry him or her three times quickly around the circle. When they return to the starting point, they set him or her down face-down and press him or her firmly into the ground.
Gradually, the pressure relents to gentle massage. Through all of this they continue chanting the Initiate's new name, falling off in volume and speed as the pressure relaxes.

HIGH PRIEST/ESS: "Know that the hands that have touched you are the hands of love." (removes the Initiate's blindfold and helps hir up.) "In the Burning Times, when each member of the Coven held the lives of the others in her hand, this would have been kept and used against you should you endanger others. But in these happier times, love and trust prevail, so take this (hands the Measure to the Initiate), keep it or burn it, and be free to go or stay as you please."

Follow-through and Earthing of Power

HIGH PRIEST/ESS hands the sword to the Initiate and leads hirto the East, where they both kneel. The Initiate salutes and the High Priest/ess announces: "Behold, restless Spirits of Water -- I bring before you <new name>, who has been consecrated as Priest/ess and Witch!" Repeats at the South, West, and finally North.

ALL (including High Priest/ess and Initiate) join hands in the Circle.

HIGH PRIEST/ESS: "Thank you Spirits of the Mighty Dead, Spirits of the Four Elements, and awesome Lord and Lady for hallowing our circle. Go or stay as you will -- our circle is ended."

ALL ground and center, then absorb the power of the Circle and return it to the Earth beneath their feet.

HIGH PRIEST/ESS (after a suitable pause): "Our lovely rite draws to its end. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again. Blessed Be!"


{file "Invocations to Frigg, Baldur, Freyja, Freyr, Brigit, Herne and Thorr" "bos015.htm"}

Invocations to Frigg, Baldur, Freyja, Freyr, Brigit, Herne and Thorr

Russ Anderson

When the invocation to Frigg was first used, each person in a healing circle invoked a healer into hirself. This was my invocation. The rest of the circle was asked to echo "Join us, Frigg" as I was saying "Join us, Frigg". This was my first attempt at writing an invocation, and it DID work. I hope that it also works for anyone else who wishes to use it, because it now feels like time to share it.
Blessed Be, Russ.


"Frigg, Daughter of Jord, Join us.
Frigg, Daughter of Fjorgyn, Join us.
Frigg, Wife of Odin, Join us.
Frigg, Sister of Thorr, Join us.
Frigg, Mother of Baldr, Join us.
Frigg, Mother of Hodr, Join us.
Frigg, Mother of Hermod, Join us.
Frigg, Mother of the gods, Join us.
Frigg, Wise in all fates, Join us.
Frigg, Who will tell no fortunes, Join us.
Frigg, First among the Asynjur, Join us.
Frigg, Queen of Asgard, Join us.
Frigg, Mistress of home and hearth, Join us.
Frigg, Mistress of Eire, Join us.
Frigg, Mistress of healing, Join us.
Frigg, Your servant _______ calls you! Come to me NOW!"


"Baldr, Son of Frigg, Join us.
Baldr, Son of Odin, Join us.
Baldr, Husband of Nanna, Join us.
Baldr, Brother of Hodr, Join us.
Baldr, Brother of Hermod, Join us.
Baldr, Father of Forsetti, Join us.
Baldr, Slain by blind Hodr, Join us.
Baldr, Master of Breidablik, Join us.
Baldr, Who is much loved, Join us.
Baldr, Who Thokk alone would not mourn, Join us.
Baldr, The Fairest of the Aesir, Join us.
Baldr, Whose Judgments stand unaltered, Join us.
Baldr, Whose Judgments stand unheeded, Join us.
Baldr, The Wisest of the Aesir, Join us.
Baldr, The Shining One, Join us.
Baldr, Your servant _______ calls you! Come to me NOW!"


"Freyja, Of the many names, Join us.
Freyja, Of the golden tears, Join us.
Freyja, Daughter of Njord, Join us.
Freyja, Wife of Od, Join us.
Freyja, Sister of Freyr, Join us.
Freyja, Mother of Hnoss, Join us.
Freyja, Claimed by Thrym, Join us.
Freyja, Driver of cats, Join us.
Freyja, Goddess of Fertility, Join us.
Freyja, Who shares the slain with Odin, Join us.
Freyja, Who taught the Aesir Magick, Join us.
Freyja, Lender of Falcons' Flight, Join us.
Freyja, Mistress of Brisingamen, Join us.
Freyja, Mistress of Folkvang, Join us.
Freyja, Mistress of nature, Join us.
Freyja, Your servant _______ calls you! Come to me NOW!"


"Freyr, Son of Njrd, Join us.
Freyr, Husband of Gerdr, Join us.
Freyr, Brother of Freyja, Join us.
Freyr, Father of kings, Join us.
Freyr, Whose sword would fight for itself, Join us.
Freyr, Who gave his sword for Gerdr, Join us.
Freyr, Patron of married couples, Join us.
Freyr, Most beautiful of Gods, Join us.
Freyr, Whose tooth-gift was Alfheimr, Join us.
Freyr, Master of Gullinbursti, Join us.
Freyr, Owner of Skidbladnir, Join us.
Freyr, Slayer of Beli, Join us.
Freyr, Master of Frodi's Peace, Join us.
Freyr, Who directs Man's good fortune, Join us.
Freyr, Who brings fruitful seasons, Join us.
Freyr, Your servant _______ calls you! Come to me NOW!"


"Brigit, Wise One,
We, your children, call to you.
Lady, Smithy,
We, your children, invite you here.
Triple Goddess,
We, your children, ask your presence.
Brigit, Wise One,
We, your children, call to you.
Lady, Smithy,
We, your children, invite you here.
Triple Goddess,
We, your children, ask your presence.
Brigit, Wise One,
We, your children, call to you.
Lady, Smithy,
We, your children, invite you here.
Triple Goddess,
We, your children, ask your presence, NOW."


"Herne, Winter Lord,
We, your children, call to you.
Horned One, Hunter,
We, your children, invite you here.
Woodland Spirit,
We, your children, ask your presence.
Herne, Winter Lord,
We, your children, call to you.
Horned One, Hunter,
We, your children, invite you here.
Woodland Spirit,
We, your children, ask your presence.
Herne, Winter Lord,
We, your children, call to you.
Horned One, Hunter,
We, your children, invite you here.
Woodland Spirit,
We, your children, ask your presence, NOW."


"Thorr, Red-beard, Join us.
Thorr, Son of Jord, Join us.
Thorr, Brother of Frigg, Join us.
Thorr, Father of Modi, Join us.
Thorr, Father of Magni, Join us.
Thorr, Father of Thrudr, Join us.
Thorr, Husband of Sif, Join us.
Thorr, Jtunn bane, Join us.
Thorr, Foe of Jormungandr, Join us.
Thorr, Who bears Marriage Hallower, Join us.
Thorr, Who bears Death Hallower, Join us.
Thorr, Who wields Mjollnir, Join us.
Thorr, Defender of Asgard, Join us.
Thorr, Thunderer, Join us.
Thorr, Storm Lord, Join us.
Thorr, Your servant _______ calls you! Come to me NOW!"

{file "An Issian Circle Casting (Matrika)" "bos016.htm"}

An Isian Circle Casting

Circle casting adapted by Matrika of PAN -- the ORIGINAL Psychic Awareness Network BBS at 1-703-362-1139
ADAPTED from the Community of Isis Rites in Salem MA. for use by the Moonchildren Coven

This requires the use of a duly consecrated wand, a chalice, an athame and a container for salt and water -- non-plastic, PLEASE -- on your altar as well as 2 candle sticks with candles in them and an incense burner for stick or hanging incense. You should work robed or nude as you prefer. In the 4 directions you should have either air (as incense) or fire (as candle -- lit, of course, and preferably red) in the east -- according to your tradition. The OTHER element -- the one not used in the east -- in the south, again according to your tradition. (I prefer air/east -- wand, fire/south -- athame, personally -- but I realize there are differences in tradition.


A bowl -- again not plastic -- of water in the west and some rocks or a dish of salt in the North for Earth.

If you wish, you may lay a circle of salt on the floor, leaving a gate for the priest/ess to enter and leave for the temple purification or you may visualize the circle coming as electric blue light out of your athame point as you cast it. After s/he returns from purifying the outer perimeter, the gate would be closed and the circle cast (after the directions are called) by pointing the athame (or the sword) at the salt and charging it instead of casting into the air. The gate would be closed by completing the circle of salt.

Okay, I am writing this as used by a person working alone, but the P or PS in parenthesis is how it would be done if done by a couple. PS is the female and P is the male. This is the ideal form of the rite.

(PS) picks up bowl of salt and bowl of water on alter. (P) picks up athame and places it point down in the water and says: "Salt is pure. Let this salt be pure and let it purify our rites as we use it in the service of the Lady and the Lord."

All: "So mote it be."

(PS) pours some of the salt into the water. (P) stirs it with his athame and says: "May this sacred salt purify this water so it may be used in this service of the Lord and Lady, throughout this rite, in any way and at any time we may wish to use it."

All: "So mote it be."

(PS) takes the salt-water and sprinkles it about the perimeter of the circle (outer) saying the following while walking widdershins or counterclockwise (to banish):

"Salt and water where I cast thee
No spell or unknown purpose be
Unless in full accord with me
and as I will, so mote it be."

She returns to the circle. The (P) then takes the incense burner -- if a swinging one -- or the burning stick of incense and goes around the circle deosil saying: "Ever as we walk in the ways may we feel the presence of the Lady and the Lord. We know that in all we do they are ever with us. They abide in us and we in them forever. No disharmony or imbalance can be entertained for purity, harmony and balance are the dwellers within and without us:
For good do we strive and
for good do we live.
Love unto all things.
So be it forever.
Love is the law and Love is the bond.
Blessed be the Lady and the Lord."

All: "So mote it be."

He returns to the circle. He then picks up his wand and goes to the East, raising it high he invokes the element of air visualizing either the ruler of that element as he understands that being OR a yellow pentacle can be substituted. I like to imagine a weeping willow tree budding in the spring being moved by the gentle breezes through the center of the pentacle -- as if through the center of a window. (If you use fire in the east, swap visualization here with the one I give in the south and change the invocations accordingly)

"Hail to thee
Lord of the Watchtower of the East,
element of air (fire?).
We invite your presence and your power in our circle and
our magick this night.

All: "So mote it be."

(P): "Welcome and Blessed Be."

All: "Blessed Be."

Go to the South and repeat this visualizing either your conception of the ruler of the watchtower for the south OR a red pentacle -- I like to see a campfire through its center, as if through a window. Repeat invocation with raised wand making suitable changes of direction and element in it.

Go to the West and repeat this visualizing either your conception of the ruler of the watchtower of the west OR a blue pentacle -- I like to see a mountain stream or the ocean through the center of it, as if through a window. Repeat invocation making suitable changes of direction and element in it.

Go to the North and repeat the process visualizing either your conception of the ruler of the north OR a green pentacle -- I like to see mountains rising up in the distance through the middle of it, again as if through a window. Repeat invocation making suitable changes of direction and element in it.

He returns to the altar and replaces the wand.

THE (PS) takes up hers and invokes the Deities: "Hail to Thee, Lord and Lady." (Substitute aloud or silently the names you are using for the Goddess and the God here -- with non-initiates, some prefer to use the generic "Lord and Lady" out loud, keeping the names by which the inner circle of initiates know Them a secret. This is also a good idea to use when you have members of several traditions present who may not agree on what names are used for them) "We invite your presence and power in our circle and our magick this night."

All: "So mote it be."

(PS): "Welcome and Blessed Be."

All: "Blessed Be."

She then replaces her wand on the altar and picks up her athame or the coven sword and casts the circle -- either straight out, visualizing blue light coming from its point -- or, if a circle of salt is used, straight DOWN at the salt, to charge it.

This is done deosil (clockwise), of course, just like the censing of the circle was done earlier. The only time widdershins is used is the salt-water banishing / cleansing to prepare for circle casting and in opening the circle.

First casting: " I conjure this circle, a mighty Psychic rampart that turns back ANY excess positive or negative energy which may come to do us harm"

All: "So mote it be."

Second casting: "I cast this circle, a place that is not a place, a time that is not a time, a sacred place between the worlds, a place to commune with eternity (or THE LADY AND THE LORD)"

All: "So mote it be."

Third casting: "I charge this circle, a place of perfect love and of perfect trust where all may know peace profound"

All: "So mote it be."

She returns to the altar. If a bell is used (brass or silver ONLY please) she rings it and says: "Now is the circle cast."

All: "So mote it be."

The circle then perform the full-moon rite, raising the power and drawing down the energy into themselves by whatever rites they use and Magick is performed as is appropriate and necessary OR the ritual for one of the 8 sabbats is performed -- a much lighter and informal occasion -- according to the time and purpose of the circle.

The cakes and ale/wine (I substitute APPLE juice or SPRING water, as I am allergic to alcohol) are consecrated by the athame in the chalice.

NOTE -- the cakes should be as natural as possible. Show some respect! Please no twinkies or oreos -- I've seen some "people" do that!

Circle closing

The (P) takes up his wand and goes to the 4 quarters, beginning at the north and going widdershins, where he raises his wand at each and dismisses the rulers of the elements thusly:

"Farewell to thee
Lord of the watchtower of the (direction)
element of (name element)
We thank you for our presence and power
in our circle and our magick this night."

All: "So mote it be."

(P): "Merry part and Blessed Be."

All: "Blessed Be."

As he does this, he visualizes whatever he visualized earlier and then "sees" it fading out. When he has done all 4 quarters he replaces his wand on the altar.

THE (PS) picks hers up, raises it high and says: "Farewell to the Lord and Lady" (again names may be substituted silently or aloud) "We thank you for your presence and your power in Our circle and our magick this night."

All: "So mote it be."

(PS): "Go if you must, stay if you will. Blessed be."

ALL: "Blessed be."

She then picks up her athame (or sword) and pointing it either in the air or at the salt, whatever she did before, she walks widdershins and as she opens the circle she pictures in her mind's eye the electric blue light fading out or being reabsorbed by the tool she carries as she says: "THE CIRCLE IS OPEN, YET REMAINS UNBROKEN."

ALL: "So mote it be."

(PS): "Merry part and blessed be."

ALL: "Blessed be." (they all hug each other in many circles here.)

(candles are snuffed on altar here -- never blow out candles) If bell is used, she rings it and says: "The circle is now open."

Note -- our circle in New England, which met only for the Sabbats except for its leadership which did the full-moons themselves as it was a training coven, tended to use a lot of chanting and simple ritual drama to raise energy as we worked in a very confined space. Other methods can be used. In full-moon work I like active deep-meditation or guided trance and chanting because of size of space available to me at this time. However, many covens also use the dance, the cords, the Great Rite (actual or symbolic) and other methods. Always remember there is no one right path.

There is also no one right way of casting a circle. Different traditions differ greatly. The main body of this rite is that used by the community of Isis -- but I have added invocations at the circle cleansing that I like which come from Al Manning (for the salt-water) and Ray Buckland (for the censing of the circle). The blessing of the salt and water are also from Ray Buckland's teachings. Because of its clarity of intent, I prefer his method to the one I learned, so I use it here.

Part of the circle closing was also adapted from Starhawk. Many people like to elaborate on the invocations at the quarters and present them in poetic formats, as they do with the invocation of the Lord and Lady.

{file "Circles, why use them? (Mel White)" "bos017.htm"}

Circles, why use them?

Mel White

They say that the longest journey begins with a single step. So, too, the exploration of Magickal studies begins with a single step. Though the first step in a physical journey is often self-evident, the First Step on a Magickal journey is often not quite so clear. While formally organized groups often have a path of lessons to instruct newcomers, the solitary or isolated student is often left standing in perplexity on this broad plain of knowledge, wondering just where in the heck to begin. And wondering, too, if it's "okay" to start just anywhere.

While it's true that studies can begin in any direction that attracts you, the necessary first step must be learning to make psychic shields. There are "Things of the Dark" out there. There are any number of explanations for what these things might be -- ghosts, demons, or simply uncontrolled urges of the subconscious mind. In truth, it doesn't matter what they are. What does matter is that their effect is very real and unless they are put under your control, they will drag you over the borders of sanity into psychosis. You are most vulnerable to them while you're in an "open" trance or meditative state. That's why the wise practitioner always begins by taking steps to define exactly what will be permitted through the portals of their "psychic shields" -- no matter how simple the ritual. And this, in a nutshell, is what "protective magic" is about.

There are a number of ways to do this. The most common is to begin by drawing a circle (around a group or yourself) and invoking the one or more protective powers. Generally, this is done by candlelight, in front of an altar that holds certain magical objects. The circle may be further "secured" and "cleared" by using salt, salt water, rum, incense, or some other method. You may be wearing a special robe and will have taken a bath (or performed a cleansing ritual) earlier. The powers that protect you will be called on and then you will begin your ritual.

Is it psychological? Absolutely! Is there a reason why protection rituals always take this form? Positively! Let's take a step back and see what you're actually doing and how the process works -- from a psychological standpoint -- and how to use this knowledge to help you refine your circles to enhance your rituals.

Psychologists and psychics alike view the mind's structure as a three-part entity: The Ego (that which you think of as yourself), the Superego (the "higher self") and the Id (the child within). The Id is, in a sense, a computer. Like most computers, it operates on the GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) principle. There's an old superstition: "As you name something, so will it become." Tell yourself that you're very unlucky and your Id will obligingly give you bad days by enhancing any negatives in your environment. Tell yourself that you are clumsy, and your Id-computer will obligingly arrange for you to break a leg while stepping off the sidewalk. The bad news is that the Id can't make a judgement as to whether or not this is a good idea. It only knows that it's received these "instructions" and must carry them out. The good news is that you can actually program/reprogram this portion of your mind.

You begin programming this Internal Servant of yours by first drawing its attention to what you want done and then explaining what you need done in a simple and clear manner. Repeating the instructions in a chant help fix the goals for the Id -- rhymed chants seem to be easier for it to process. Each time you perform the ritual and repeat the chant, the programming is strengthened. Never mind that your ego and superego understand that you're going to program the child-like Id. It works just the same.

To direct the Id's attention to the process, you first have to impress it. Using special tools and clothing alert it that something unusual is going on and that it must pay attention. Acquiring hard-to-obtain items, drawing symbols, performing a symbolic sacrifice (donating money, say, to a good cause) are all ways of reinforcing the Id's impression that this ceremony is very special and that the result will be very powerful. Organized, meaningful symbols, speak to your subconscious mind in ways it understands, reinforcing the goals you have set.

Drawing the circle itself establishes boundaries within your environment ("The rest of the world can do what it likes Out There. All within this circle is in my control!"). Purifying the circle and consecrating it (sprinkling water which has been blessed and salt added) further enforce your territory, defining the borders where you are "safe". Nothing can enter this area except what you invite inside. You further tighten these borders by calling on certain Powers.

You can call on any powers you like. Some use traditional Christian images. Others call up deities from the religion they are most comfortable with. And many people use the thought/image of a beam of light that represents either God/Goddess (whichever one they like) or the power of light and life and goodness in the Universe.

The number of powers called as guardians varies. You may choose to invoke one powerful being to protect your circle. Or you might call on the Universal Being/Light and four guardians (one for each quarter of the compass). A third approach is to use a guardian for the four quarters of the compass and no higher being. There is no "absolutely correct" system; the correct system is the one that you are comfortable with.

Take time to choose the guardians of your circle carefully. You should select guardians (gods or animals or some form of life) which have a deeper meaning to you and whose qualities are in harmony with your goals. For the new student, it's best to have all your Powers and Guardians from the same belief system/religion/mythic universe so that the symbols will be consistent and not confuse the Id.

You can use people -- saints, movie actors, figures from favorite books as guardians. Do, however, pick someone who's dead or non-existent. The dead can't argue with your interpretation of them, whereas the living may be highly offended to be approached as gods/guardians.

As your studies continue, you will find that your totems or guardians change. This is to be expected; as you explore new realms in your studies, you may find you need guardians who deal with very specific areas to strengthen and guide you in these new fields.

But don't make the mistake of assuming that you'll become so powerful that you will never need the protection of the psychic shielding circle in some form. And don't assume that you will not need a circle for "positive" magicks such as healing. Open is open -- and open is vulnerable. And circles strengthen and protect you by defining what psychological influences will be allowed to work with you.

{file "Handfasting (Wedding)" "bos018.htm"}

Handfasting (Wedding)

Ryan Hunter

The following wedding ceremony was written to provide for Pagans who must of necessity be wed in the presence of the uninitiated who are not pagan and are perhaps unaware that the bride and groom are pagan. Replace the words Bride and Groom below with the names of the happy couple. This ceremony was used by both my wife and myself and by my sister and her husband. They modified the text at the point below where it says "loving each other wholly and completely" to add the phrase "forsaking all others" as they are into monogamy. Either version works beautifully, I recommend the participants rewrite where necessary to form a legal contract that they can and will keep. It is easy to avoid being an oathbreaker if you only swear to that you will keep and avoid swearing to something just because the other party wants it or because it might be "expected" by the family. Notice: parts of this ritual were cribbed from the writings of others. I apologize in advance for failure to reference sources but after the fifteenth rewrite we had forgotten where we got the text and what was and what was not original to us. I doubt if there are quotes from other sources longer than paragraph length and thus should not be a copyright problem. If you see something that is yours, please send me mail and I will reference you in the future. Our thanks to those who paved the way.

Ryan Hunter

[PRIEST] We have come together here in celebration of the joining together of [BRIDE] and [GROOM]. There are many things to say about marriage. Much wisdom concerning the joining together of two souls has come our way through all paths of belief and from many cultures. With each union, more knowledge is gained and more wisdom gathered. Though we are unable to give all this knowledge to these two who stand before us, we can hope to leave with them the knowledge of love and its strengths and the anticipation of the wisdom that comes with time. The law of life is love unto all beings. Without love, life is nothing, without love, death has no redemption. Love is anterior to Life, posterior to Death, initial of Creation and the exponent of Earth. If we learn no more in life, let it be this.

Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection. As with any aspect of life, it has its cycles, its ups and its downs, its trials and its triumphs. With full understanding of this, Groom and Bride have come here today to be joined as one in marriage.

Others would ask, at this time, who gives the bride in marriage, but, as a woman is not property to be bought and sold, given and taken, I ask simply if she comes of her own will and if she has her family's blessing.

Bride, is it true that you come of your own free will and accord?

[BRIDE] Yes, it is true.

[PRIEST] With whom do you come and whose blessings accompany you.

[FATHER] She comes with me, her father, and is accompanied by all of her family's blessings.

[PRIEST] Please join hands with your betrothed and listen to that which I am about to say.

Above you are the stars, below you are the stones, as time doth pass, remember...

Like a stone should your love be firm like a star should your love be constant. Let the powers of the mind and of the intellect guide you in your marriage, let the strength of your wills bind you together, let the power of love and desire make you happy, and the strength of your dedication make you inseparable. Be close, but not too close. Possess one another, yet be understanding. Have patience with one another, for storms will come, but they will pass quickly.

Be free in giving affection and warmth. Have no fear and let not the ways of the unenlightened give you unease, for God is with you always.

Groom, I have not the right to bind thee to Bride, only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in her hand.

[GROOM] It is my wish.

[PRIEST] Bride, if it be your wish for Groom to be bound to you, place the ring on his finger. (Bride places ring on Groom's left ring finger.)

Bride, I have not the right to bind thee to Groom, only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in his hand.

[BRIDE] It is my wish.

[PRIEST] Groom, if it be your wish for Bride to be bound to you, place the ring on her finger. ( Groom places ring on Bride's left ring finger.)

(to Groom) Repeat after me:

I, [groom (full name)], in the name of the spirit of God that resides within us all, by the life that courses within my blood and the love that resides within my heart, take thee, [bride (full name)], to my hand, my heart and my spirit, to be my chosen one. To desire thee and be desired by thee, to possess thee and be possessed by thee without sin or shame, for naught can exist in the purity of my love for thee. I promise to love thee wholly and completely without restraint, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, in life and beyond, where we shall meet, remember, and love again. I shall not seek to change thee in any way. I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people and thy ways as I respect myself.

(to Bride) Repeat after me:

I, [bride (full name)], in the name of the spirit of God that resides within us all, by the life that courses within my blood, and the love that resides within my heart, take thee, [groom (full name)], to my hand, my heart, and my spirit to be my chosen one. To desire and be desired by thee, to possess thee and be possessed by thee without sin or shame, for naught can exist in the purity of my love for thee. I promise to love thee wholly and completely without restraint, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, in life and beyond, where we shall meet, remember, and love again. I shall not seek to change thee in any way. I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people and thy ways as I respect myself.

[PRIEST] (hands chalice to the groom, saying:) May you drink your fill from the cup of love.

(Groom holds chalice to bride while she sips then bride takes chalice and holds it to groom while he sips. The chalice is then handed back to the Priest who sets it on the table. Next the Priest takes the plate of bread, giving it to the groom. Same procedure repeated with bread, groom feeding bride and bride feeding groom.)

By the power vested in me by God and the State of Alabama, I now pronounce you husband and wife. May your love so endure that its flame remains a guiding light unto you.

{file "Initiation Into The Coven, Outdoor Version" "bos019.htm"}

Initiation Into The Coven, Outdoor Version

Candidates for initiation should be in good mental and physical health. They should also be of legal age and have sought out the Craft of their own free will.

(All references below are to a female candidate. In case of a male, all instances of 'she' become 'he' and the High Priest and High Priestess swap roles.)

Before being accepted into the Coven she should spend sometime learning about the Craft and magic and such. She should know about practices that most people get uptight about. She should be told that initiations are perfectly safe and voluntary. Also, if at any time prior to taking the oath she wants to back out, she can do so with out fear or other recriminations.

The candidate must choose a Craft name. This name should not be a common American name and must have personal meaning to the candidate.

Traditionally the apprenticeship lasted for a year and a day. This is a good idea if it can be done. Before she can be initiated, the Coven must vote. A single no is sufficient to not allow the candidate to be initiated into that particular Coven.

This ritual is written for use in the woods. There has to be a path leading from the staging area to a clearing where a fire can be lit. To save time, the fire should be setup but not lighted.

The bathtub should be set up along the path and filled with warm water and the other ingredients. The water will also have to be consecrated.

The candidate should be brought to the staging area by their sponsor. She should be wearing clothing that can be cut away easily by a sword without undoing buttons or stepping out of pants legs. The candidate should be lead down the path by the sponsor. After a little ways a member of the Coven, the Challenger, should step onto the path. They might want to wear a mask. They take the sword that they carry and say: "Who comes to the gate?"

The candidate, coached beforehand, answers: "It is I, (new Craft name), child of earth and starry heaven."

Challenger: "Who speaks for you?"

Sponsor: "It is I, ________, who vouches for her."

The Challenger holds the point of the sword up to the candidate's heart, and says: "You are about to enter a vortex of power, a place beyond imagining, where birth and death, dark and light, joy and pain, meet and make one. You are about to step between the worlds, beyond time, outside the realm of your human life. You who stands on the threshold of the dread Mighty Ones, have you the courage to make the essay? For know it is better to fall on my blade and perish than to make the attempt with fear in thy heart!"

The apprentice answers: "I tread the path with perfect love and perfect trust."

The Challenger replies: "Prepare for death and rebirth."

And the Challenger takes the sword and cuts off the apprentice's clothing till she is standing naked. The Challenger grounds their sword to the Earth. The Challenger should then blindfold the candidate and tie a cord around their wrists and one ankle while saying: "And She was bound as all living things must be, who would enter the Kingdom of Death. And Her feet were neither bound nor free."

The candidate is led to the tub and bathed, while still blindfolded, by the rest of the Coven. While being bathed, she must remain quiet. She is helped from the tub and dried off. The candidate is then carried to the Circle. Everyone in the Coven, starting with the High Priest, kisses her and says: "Thus are all first brought into the world, and thus are all first brought into the Coven."

The High Priest now leads the candidate to each of the four corners and introduces her to the Guardians, of course going deosil.

"Hail Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East and all the Mighty Ones of the Craft. Behold _________(new name), who will now be made Priestess and Witch."

The candidate is brought back to the altar. The High Priest kneels and gives her the Five Fold Kiss; that is, he kisses her on both feet, both knees, womb, both breasts, and the lips, starting with the right of each pair. He says as he does this:

"Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways.
Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar.
Blessed be thy womb, without which we would not be.
Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty.
Blessed be thy lips, that shall utter the Sacred Names."

For the kiss on the lips, they embrace, length-to-length, with their feet touching each others. When he reaches the womb, she spreads her arms wide, and the same after the kiss on the lips. The candidate is then measured with the other piece of cord from head to toe. The cord is cut. She is then measured around the head and chest and knots are tied to mark these lengths. The High Priestess rolls up the cord and asks the candidate: "Are you willing to swear the oath?"

The candidate answers: "I am."

The High Priestess asks: "Are you willing to suffer to learn?"

The candidate answers: "Yes."

The High Priestess takes the apprentice's hand and with a needle properly purified by fire and water, pricks her finger, squeezing a few drops out onto the measure. The candidate then kneels and places one hand on her head and the other beneath her heel and she repeats what is read to her. The High Priest says:

"This is the Charge of the Coven:
That I will keep secret what I am asked to keep secret, and never divulge the names or dwelling places of our people unless by their consent.
That I will learn and try to master the Art Magical; but ever remember the rune: "What good be the tools without the inner light? What good be magic without wisdom sight?"
That in due course I will strive to find a worthy pupil in magic, to whom in future years I can hand down the knowledge I acquire.
That I will never use the Art Magical merely to impress foolish persons, nor for any wrongful end.
That I will help the Craft of the Wise, and hold its honor as I would my own.
That I consider these vows taken before the Elder Gods; and that if I betray this Charge I accept as my just reward that retribution of destiny which overtakes those who basely betray the trust and confidence that others have placed in them.
Know that none can escape the fate, be it curse or blessing, which they make for themselves, either in this life or in another life."

The High Priestess says: "Repeat after me:
'I, ________, do of my own free will most solemnly swear to protect, help and defend my sisters and brothers of the Art and to keep the Coven's Charge.
I always keep secret all that must not be revealed.
This do I swear on my mother's womb and my hopes of future lives, mindful that my measure has been taken, and in the presence of the Mighty Ones.'
All between my two hands belongs to the Goddess."

The candidate repeats the oath. The Coven shouts: "So mote it be!"

The High Priest says: "Arise and be anointed."

The High Priest then makes an X mark on the initiate's forehead, breast and genitals while saying: "May your mind be free. May your heart be free. May your body be free. I give you the Craft name of ______"

The rest of the Coven members grab her suddenly, lift her if possible and carry her three times around the Circle, laughing and shrieking. They then lay her face down before the altar and press her into the ground. Gradually the pressure changes to stroking. They chant her new name, raising a Cone of Power over her. The blindfold is removed and she is told:

"Know that the hands that have touched you are the hands of love. Thus are all first brought into the world, and thus are all first brought into the Coven."

The Charge of the Goddess is spoken and any other myths, mysteries, and secrets are revealed. She is also told the Coven names of all the members. The High Priestess returns the measure, saying:

"In the Burning Times, when each member of the Coven held the lives of the others in their hands, this would have been kept and be used against you should you endanger the others. But in these more fortunate times, love and trust prevail, so take this, keep it or burn it, and be free to go or to stay as your heart leads you."

The service goes on as usual, be it New or Full Moon or Sabbat. Before the Circle is opened, the new initiate is taken to the four corners again and introduced to the Guardians again.

Starhawk; "The Spiral Dance: Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess"; HarperRow 1979
Valiente, Doreen; "Witchcraft for Tomorrow"; Phoenix Publishing 1985

Transcribed to computer file by Seastrider

{file "Neo-Pagan Ritual (Brad Hicks)" "bos020.htm"}

Neo-Pagan Ritual

#1619  05 Aug 85  22:48:33 (RECV'D)
From: Curly Howard  To: Da Sysop
See also msg # 17

Alright, I don't want to sound dumb, but I have no idea what these rituals entail. What goes on during these, and what is their purpose?
Curly Howard

#1719  06 Aug 85  11:59:57 (RECV'D)
From: Brad Hicks  REPLY To: Curly Howard
Reply to msg # 16    See also msg # 18

Boy, you don't ask the easy ones. Dr. Regardie takes 12 volumes to answer this one; Aleister Crowley, 13 or so; Isaac Bonewits, two (and that's only introductory).

I'll try to summarize, but if you're really interested, track down Starhawk's THE SPIRAL DANCE for further details. Most scholars divide ritual into two classes: 1) theurgic, and 2) thaumaturgic. In fancy words, this means that either you are praying to make your self "a better person" or "closer to God/dess" or "to be saved from your sins", or you are praying for the God/dess to intervene in the world around you - prayers for peace, for money, for health, etc.

Neopagan ritual partakes of both aspects, to some extent. In a typical ritual, various techniques (as old as humanity) are used to "raise the power," then the power is focused via magickal symbols to contact the God(s) and/or Goddess(es) who are being called upon. He/She/They take that magickal energy, augment it, and return it to the circle. The High Priest/ess then focuses that energy on the target - the object or person to be affected, if any - then any energies that remain (or the total energy, if there is no magickal target) are returned to the Gods, via a process called "grounding."

To paraphrase Uncle Isaac's wonderful book on the subject, you have the wind-up, the pitch, and the follow-through.

The windup uses any ritual techniques that are appropriate to a) the setting, b) the purpose of the ritual, c) the deities being contacted, and d) the skills of the participants. The universals are chanting, dance, and "ritual theatre." There are, of course, others.

The "pitch" uses beautiful, poetic imagery in guided meditations and ritual movement. Occasionally (if possible), this uses music and dance. Once the gods are contacted and the energy flows, it is concentrated in an object - usually cakes and wine, but occasionally by other means - and distributed, symbolically to all the participants. Having partaken of the energy thus raised, the guided meditations direct the people in focusing their energy on the purpose at hand.

Finally, the High Priest or Priestess goes through a "follow-through", which involves dissolving the "group mind", reassuring people that what we have worked is done and was effective, and then "grounding" any loose energies, so that when the group leaves the ritual circle, they are back in their normal minds.

As I write, it occurs to me that the real answer to your question lies in that last sentence - "back in their normal minds." Neopagan ritual is a collection of tools and techniques for altering your consciousness, temporarily, to a place where the Gods and Goddesses are real and near, where we as their children and lovers and friends can worship them, and where the magick we work can come true. Having convinced ourselves of this, we act on it, then return to our daily lives refreshed.

(Gods, what a bunch of gibberish! You would have been better off reading the books!)

Anyway, I tried. Anyone else (esp. Black Dragon if he shows up again, as he's worked at least as much ritual as I) please feel free to add or comment. Was this the kind of answer you wanted, Curly?

Reverend Talespinner, O.S.C.
Clan Destiny Chapel of Eris & Dionysus
(aka Brad Hicks)

{file "A Celebration of May Day (Mike Nichols)" "bos021.htm"}

A Celebration of May Day

by Gwydion Cinhil Kirontin

"Perhaps it's just as well that you won't be here... to be offended by the sight of our May Day celebrations."
Lord Summerisle to Sgt. Howie from "The Wicker Man"

There are four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year and the modern Witch's calendar, as well. The two greatest of these are Halloween (the beginning of winter) and May Day (the beginning of summer). Being opposite each other on the wheel of the year, they separate the year into halves. Halloween (also called Samhain) is the Celtic New Year and is generally considered the more important of the two, though May Day runs a close second. Indeed, in some areas -- notably Wales -- it is considered the great holiday.

May Day ushers in the fifth month of the modern calendar year, the month of May. This month is named in honor of the goddess Maia, originally a Greek mountain nymph, later identified as the most beautiful of the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades. By Zeus, she is also the mother of Hermes, god of magic. Maia's parents were Atlas and Pleione, a sea nymph.

The old Celtic name for May Day is Beltane (in its most popular Anglicized form), which is derived from the Irish Gaelic "Bealtaine" or the Scottish Gaelic "Bealtuinn", meaning "Belfire", the fire of the Celtic god of light (Bel, Beli or Belinus). He, in turn, may be traced to the Middle Eastern god Baal.

Other names for May Day include: Cetsamhain ("opposite Samhain"), Walpurgisnacht (in Germany), and Roodmas (the medieval Church's name). This last came from Church Fathers who were hoping to shift the common people's allegiance from the Maypole (Pagan lingam -- symbol of life) to the Holy Rood (the Cross -- Roman instrument of death).

Incidentally, there is no historical justification for calling May 1st "Lady Day". For hundreds of years, that title has been proper to the Vernal Equinox (approx. March 21st), another holiday sacred to the Great Goddess. The nontraditional use of "Lady Day" for May 1st is quite recent (within the last 15 years), and seems to be confined to America, where it has gained widespread acceptance among certain segments of the Craft population. This rather startling departure from tradition would seem to indicate an unfamiliarity with European calendar customs, as well as a lax attitude toward scholarship among too many Pagans. A simple glance at a dictionary ("Webster's 3rd" or O.E.D.), encyclopedia ("Benet's"), or standard mythology reference (Jobe's "Dictionary of Mythology, Folklore & Symbols") would confirm the correct date for Lady Day as the Vernal Equinox.

By Celtic reckoning, the actual Beltane celebration begins on sundown of the preceding day, April 30, because the Celts always figured their days from sundown to sundown. And sundown was the proper time for Druids to kindle the great Bel-fires on the tops of the nearest beacon hill (such as Tara Hill, Co. Meath, in Ireland). These "need-fires" had healing properties, and skyclad Witches would jump through the flames to ensure protection.

Sgt. Howie (shocked): "But they are naked!"
Lord Summerisle: "Naturally. It's much too dangerous to jump through the fire with your clothes on!"

Frequently, cattle would be driven between two such bonfires (oak wood was the favorite fuel for them) and, on the morrow, they would be taken to their summer pastures.

Other May Day customs include: processions of chimney-sweeps and milk maids, archery tournaments, morris dances, sword dances, feasting, music, drinking, and maidens bathing their faces in the dew of May morning to retain their youthful beauty.

In the words of Witchcraft writers Janet and Stewart Farrar, the Beltane celebration was principly a time of "...unashamed human sexuality and fertility." Such associations include the obvious phallic symbolism of the Maypole and riding the hobby horse. Even a seemingly innocent children's nursery rhyme, "Ride a cock horse to Banburry Cross..." retain such memories. And the next line " see a fine Lady on a white horse" is a reference to the annual ride of "Lady Godiva" though Coventry. Every year for nearly three centuries, a sky-clad village maiden (elected Queen of the May) enacted this Pagan rite, until the Puritans put an end to the custom.

The Puritans, in fact, reacted with pious horror to most of the May Day rites, even making Maypoles illegal in 1644. They especially attempted to suppress the "greenwood marriages" of young men and women who spent the entire night in the forest, staying out to greet the May sunrise, and bringing back boughs of flowers and garlands to decorate the village the next morning. One angry Puritan wrote that men "doe use commonly to runne into woodes in the night time, amongst maidens, to set bowes, in so muche, as I have hearde of tenne maidens whiche went to set May, and nine of them came home with childe." And another Puritan complained that, of the girls who go into the woods, "not the least one of them comes home again a virgin."

Long after the Christian form of marriage (with its insistence on sexual monogamy) had replaced the older Pagan handfasting, the rules of strict fidelity were always relaxed for the May Eve rites. Names such as Robin Hood, Maid Marion and Little John played an important part in May Day folklore, often used as titles for the dramatis personae of the celebrations. And modern surnames such as Robinson, Hodson, Johnson and Godkin may attest to some distant May Eve spent in the woods.

These wildwood antics have inspired writers such as Kipling:

Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight,
Or he would call it a sin;
But we have been out in the woods all night,
A-conjuring Summer in!

And Lerner and Lowe:

It's May! It's May!
The lusty month of May!...
Those dreary vows that ev'ryone takes,
Ev'ryone breaks.
Ev'ryone makes divine mistakes!
The lusty month of May!

It is certainly no accident that Queen Guinevere's "abduction" by Meliagrance occurs on May 1st when she and the court have gone a-Maying, or that the usually efficient Queen's guard, on this occasion, rode unarmed.

Some of these customs seem virtually identical to the old Roman feast of flowers, the Floralia, three days of unrestrained sexuality which began at sundown April 28th and reached a crescendo on May 1st.

By the way, due to various calendrical changes down through the centuries, the traditional date of Beltane is not the same as its astrological date. This date, like all astronomically determined dates, may vary by a day or two depending on the year. However, it may be calculated easily enough by determining the date on which the sun is at 15 degrees Taurus. British Witches often refer to this date as Old Beltane, and folklorists call it Beltane O.S. ("Old Style"). Some Covens prefer to celebrate on the old date and, at the very least, it gives one options. If a Coven is operating on "Pagan Standard Time" and misses May 1st altogether, it can still throw a viable Beltane bash as long as it's before this date. This may also be a consideration for Covens that need to organize activities around the week-end.

This date has long been considered a "power point" of the Zodiac, and is symbolized by the Bull, one of the four "tetramorph" figures featured on the Tarot cards the World and the Wheel of Fortune. (The other three are the Lion, the Eagle and the Spirit.) Astrologers know these four figures as the symbols of the four "fixed" signs of the Zodiac (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius, respectively), and these naturally align with the four Great Sabbats of Witchcraft. Christians have adopted the same iconography to represent the four gospel-writers.

But for most, it is May 1st that is the great holiday of flowers, Maypoles, and greenwood frivolity. It is no wonder that, as recently as 1977, Ian Anderson could pen the following lyrics for Jethro Tull:

For the May Day is the great day,
Sung along the old straight track.
And those who ancient lines did ley
Will heed this song that calls them back.


{file "Midwinter Night's Eve: Yule (Mike Nichols)" "bos022.htm"}

Midwinter Night's Eve: Yule

by Mike Nichols

Our Christian friends are often quite surprised at how enthusiastically we Pagans celebrate the 'Christmas' season. Even though we prefer to use the word 'Yule', and our celebrations may peak a few days before the 25th, we nonetheless follow many of the traditional customs of the season: decorated trees, carolling, presents, Yule logs, and mistletoe. We might even go so far as putting up a 'Nativity set', though for us the three central characters are likely to be interpreted as Mother Nature, Father Time, and the Baby Sun-God. None of this will come as a surprise to anyone who knows the true history of the holiday, of course.

In fact, if truth be known,the holiday of Christmas has always been more Pagan than Christian, with its associations of Nordic divination, Celtic fertility rites and Roman Mithraism. That is why both Martin Luther and John Calvin abhorred it, why the Puritans refused to acknowledge it, much less celebrate it (to them, no day of the year could be more holy than the Sabbath), and why it was even made illegal in Boston! The holiday was already too closely associated with the birth of older Pagan gods and heroes. And many of them (like Oedipus, Theseus, Hercules, Perseus, Jason, Dionysus, Apollo, Mithra, Horus and even Arthur) possessed a narrative of birth, death and resurrection that was uncomfortably close to that of Jesus. And to make matters worse, many of them predated the Christian Savior.

Ultimately, of course, the holiday is rooted deeply in the cycle of the year. It is the Winter Solstice that is being celebrated, seed-time of the year, the longest night and shortest day. It is the birthday of the new Sun King, the Son of God -- by whatever name you choose to call him. On this darkest of nights, the Goddess becomes the Great Mother and once again gives birth. And it makes perfect poetic sense that on the longest night of the winter, 'the dark night of our souls', there springs the new spark of hope, the Sacred Fire, the Light of the World, the Coel Coeth.

That is why Pagans have as much right to claim this holiday as Christians. Perhaps even more so, as the Christians were rather late in laying claim to it, and tried more than once to reject it. There had been a tradition in the West that Mary bore the child Jesus on the twenty-fifth day, but no one could seem to decide on the month. Finally, in 320 C.E., the Catholic Fathers in Rome decided to make it December, in an effort to co-opt the Mithraic celebration of the Romans and the Yule celebrations of the Celts and Saxons.

There was never much pretense that the date they finally chose was historically accurate. Shepherds just don't 'tend their flocks by night' in the high pastures in the dead of winter! But if one wishes to use the New Testament as historical evidence, this reference may point to sometime in the spring as the time of Jesus's birth. This is because the lambing season occurs in the spring and that is the only time when shepherds are likely to 'watch their flocks by night' -- to make sure the lambing goes well. Knowing this, the Eastern half of the Church continued to reject December 25, preferring a 'movable date' fixed by their astrologers according to the moon.

Thus, despite its shaky start (for over three centuries, no-one knew when Jesus was supposed to have been born!), December 25 finally began to catch on. By 529, it was a civic holiday, and all work or public business (except that of cooks, bakers or any that contributed to the delight of the holiday) was prohibited by the Emperor Justinian. In 563, the Council of Braga forbade fasting on Christmas Day, and four years later the Council of Tours proclaimed the twelve days from December 25 to Epiphany as a sacred, festive season. This last point is perhaps the hardest to impress upon the modern reader, who is lucky to get a single day off work. Christmas, in the Middle Ages, was not a single day, but rather a period of twelve days, from December 25 to January 6. The Twelve Days of Christmas, in fact. It is certainly lamentable that the modern world has abandoned this approach, along with the popular Twelfth Night celebrations.

Of course, the Christian version of the holiday spread to many countries no faster than Christianity itself, which means that 'Christmas' wasn't celebrated in Ireland until the late fifth century; in England, Switzerland and Austria until the seventh; in Germany until the eighth; and in the Slavic lands until the ninth and tenth. Not that these countries lacked their own mid-winter celebrations of Yuletide. Long before the world had heard of Jesus, Pagans had been observing the season by bringing in the Yule log, wishing on it, and lighting it from the remains of last year's log. Riddles were posed and answered, magic and rituals were practiced, wild boars were sacrificed and consumed along with large quantities of liquor, corn dollies were carried from house to house while carolling, fertility rites were practiced (girls standing under a sprig of mistletoe were subject to a bit more than a kiss), and divinations were cast for the coming Spring. Many of these Pagan customs, in an appropriately watered-down form, have entered the mainstream of Christian celebration, though most celebrants do not realize (or do not mention it, if they do) their origins.

For modern Witches, Yule (from the Anglo-Saxon 'Yula', meaning 'wheel' of the year) is usually celebrated on the actual Winter Solstice, which may vary by a few days, though it usually occurs on or around December 21st. It is a Lesser Sabbat or Lower Holiday in the modern Pagan calendar, one of the four quarter-days of the year, but a very important one. This year (1988) it occurs on December 21st at 9:28 am CST. Pagan customs are still enthusiastically followed. Once, the Yule log had been the center of the celebration. It was lighted on the eve of the solstice (it should light on the first try) and must be kept burning for twelve hours, for good luck. It should be made of ash. Later, the Yule log was replaced by the Yule tree but, instead of burning it, burning candles were placed on it. In Christianity, Protestants might claim that Martin Luther invented the custom, and Catholics might grant St. Boniface the honor, but the custom can demonstrably be traced back through the Roman Saturnalia all the way to ancient Egypt. Needless to say, such a tree should be cut down rather than purchased, and should be disposed of by burning, the proper way to dispatch any sacred object.

Along with the evergreen, the holly and the ivy and the mistletoe were important plants of the season, all symbolizing fertility and everlasting life. Mistletoe was especially venerated by the Celtic Druids, who cut it with a golden sickle on the sixth night of the moon, and believed it to be an aphrodisiac. (Magically -- not medicinally! It's highly toxic!) But aphrodisiacs must have been the smallest part of the Yuletide menu in ancient times, as contemporary reports indicate that the tables fairly creaked under the strain of every type of good food. And drink! The most popular of which was the 'wassail cup' deriving its name from the Anglo-Saxon term 'waes hael' (be whole or hale).

Medieval Christmas folklore seems endless: that animals will all kneel down as the Holy Night arrives, that bees hum the '100th psalm' on Christmas Eve, that a windy Christmas will bring good luck, that a person born on Christmas Day can see the Little People, that a cricket on the hearth brings good luck, that if one opens all the doors of the house at midnight all the evil spirits will depart, that you will have one lucky month for each Christmas pudding you sample, that the tree must be taken down by Twelfth Night or bad luck is sure to follow, that 'if Christmas on a Sunday be, a windy winter we shall see', that 'hours of sun on Christmas Day, so many frosts in the month of May', that one can use the Twelve Days of Christmas to predict the weather for each of the twelve months of the coming year, and so on.

Remembering that most Christmas customs are ultimately based upon older Pagan customs, it only remains for modern Pagans to reclaim their lost traditions. In doing so, we can share many common customs with our Christian friends, albeit with a slightly different interpretation. And thus we all share in the beauty of this most magical of seasons, when the Mother Goddess once again gives birth to the baby Sun God and sets the wheel in motion again. To conclude with a long-overdue paraphrase: 'Goddess bless us, every one!'

{file "Winter Solstice Or Yule (Starhawk)" "bos023.htm"}

Winter Solstice or Yule

The High Priestess says:

"This is the night of the solstice, the longest night of the year. Now darkness triumphs; and yet, gives way and changes into light. The breath of nature is suspended: all waits while within the Cauldron, the Dark King is transformed into the Infant Light. We watch for the coming of dawn, when the Great Mother again gives birth to the Divine Child Sun, who is bringer of hope and the promise of summer. This is the stillness behind motion, when time itself stops; the center is also the circumference of all. We are awake in the night. We turn the Wheel to bring the light. We call the sun from the womb of night. Blessed Be!"

Purify, cast the circle, but do not light the candles. Invoke the Goddess and God. All sit down and begin an antiphonal chant.


"To die and be reborn,
The Wheel is turning,
What must you lose to the night?" (repeat)

Covener: "Fear."


"Fear is lost to the night.
Fear is lost to the night.
To die and be reborn,
The Wheel is turning,
What must you lose to the night?"

Continue interjecting lines and echoing each other until the energy dies away. Stand up and link hands. The High Priest stands before the altar, holding an animal skull filled with salt. The High Priestess leads a slow spiral procession that first snakes outward so that each member is brought to face the High Priest. They are chanting:

"The light was born,
And the light has died." (repeat)

Another Priestess whispers:

"Everything passes,
All fades away." (repeat)

The High Priest places a pinch of salt on each member's tongue and says:

"My body is salt,
Taste the breath of death."

The High Priestess leads the spiral inward, until the members are huddled together. She leads an improvised trance induction, slowly suggesting that they crumble to the Earth and sleep. As all lie down, they are sent into a deeper trance with a multivoiced induction. As it fades out, they are told:

"You are entering a space of perfect freedom."

Time is allowed for trance in the state of suspension before birth.

The High Priestess approaches one of the coveners, stands by her head with her legs apart and pulls her through, symbolically giving her birth. She becomes part of the birth canal; they continue the process with the other coveners, the birth canal growing longer. The men of the coven take the newborns one by one and lay them back down to sleep, telling them:

"Sleep the sleep of the newborn."

As all sink back into trance, they are guided into a visualization of their hopes for their new life to come. Priestess smears honey on their tongues, one by one, saying:

"Taste the sweetness of life."

A new chant begins softly, builds in power as it gradually wakes the sleepers, who join in on repeating lines:

"Set sail, set sail,
Follow the twilight to the West,
Where you may rest.

Set sail, set sail,
Turn your face where the sun grows dim,
Beyond the rim, beyond the rim.

Set sail, set sail,
One thing becomes another,
In the Mother, in the Mother.

Set sail, set sail,
Make of your heart a burning fire,
Build it higher, build it higher.

Set sail, set sail,
Pass in an instant through the open gate,
It will not wait, it will not wait.

Set sail, set sail,
Over the dark of the sunless sea,
You are free, you are free.

Set sail, set sail,
Guiding the ship of the rising sun,
You are the one, you are the one.

Set sail, set sail,
Into the raging wind and storm,
To be reborn, to be reborn.

Set sail, set sail,
Over the waves where the spray blows white,
To bring the light, to bring the light."


"We are awake in the night!
We turn the Wheel to bring the light!
We call the sun from the womb of night!"

The High Priestess says:

"He sets his face to the West, but in the East arises!"

All: "Who is that?"

P: "Who goes down in darkness?"

All: "Who is that?"

P: "Who sails?"

All: "Who is that?"

P: "The Renewer."

All: "Who is that?"

P: "Who brings the golden fruit."

All: "Who is that?"

P: "Unstained."

All: "Who is that?"

P: "Whose hands are open?"

All: "Who is that?"

P: "Whose eyes are bright?"

All: "Who is that?"

P: "Whose face is shining?"

All: "Who is that?"

P: "Morning's hope."

All: "Who is that?"

P: "Who passes the gate?"

All: "Who is that?"

P: "Who returns in light?"

All: "Who is that?"

P: "A glow between twin pillars."

All: "Who is that?"

P: "A cry between thighs."

All: "Io! Evohe! Io! Evohe!"

High Priestess: (leading, repeated by all)

"Queen of the sun!
Queen of the Moon!
Queen of the horns!
Queen of the fires!
Bring to us the Child of Promise!

It is the Great Mother
Who gives birth to Him.
It is the Lord of Life,
Who is born again!
Darkness and tears
Are set aside,
When the sun comes up again!

Golden sun,
Of hill and field,
Light the earth!
Light the skies!
Light the waters!
Light the fires!

All: "Io! Evohe! Io! Evohe!"<7p>

The High Priest lights the fire and point candles and all begin chanting:

"I who have died am alive again today,
And this is the sun's birthday! (repeat)

This is the birthday of life and love and wings,
And the gay great happening illimitably earth.

We are born again, we shall live again! (repeat).
The Sun Child, the Winterborn King!"

Build a Power Chant, focused on reawakening life. Share feasting and friendship, ideally until dawn. Before ending, the High Priestess says:

"The Dark God has passed the Gate,
He has been reborn through the Mother,
With Him we are each reborn!"


"The tide has turned!
The light will come again!
In a new dawn, in a new day,
The sun is rising!
Io! Evohe! Blessed Be!"

Open the Circle.

Starhawk; "The Spiral Dance: Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess"; HarperRow 1979

{file "Yule in Britain (Tana)" "bos024.htm"}

Yule in Britain

Copyright © 1987, Tana Culain

Midwinter has long been a traditional time for celebration and merrymaking in Britain. All of the activities at midwinter were meant to ensure that the season would renew itself and the days would begin to grow longer again. Greenery was brought into decorate the house: evergreen to symbolize the promise of life to come even in the darkest winter; the mistletoe, believed to hold the life of the host tree even when the tree itself appeared to be dead in winter; and the holly and ivy, symbols of male and female, both of course necessary for new life. Carols, some of which survive to this day, such as the Gower Wassail, were sung. The earliest carols consisted of taking hands and singing while dancing in a ring or around a bush, May tree, or even an apple tree (as in the case of the Apple Tree Wassail, sung in hopes of a good crop of cider the following year).

The Wassail Carols in particular date back to the Viking invasions of England, about 700 A.D., when the greeting was "Ves heill". By Anglo-Saxon times, the greeting had evolved into "Waes thu hal", meaning "be whole" or "good health". The response was "drink hail", meaning "I drink and good luck be to you". People would travel from house to house in the village bringing good wishes and carrying an empty bowl. The master of the house being wassailed was expected to fill the bowl with a hot spicy ale and then it would be passed around to the carolers.

Midwinter was also a time for exchanging gifts and for feasting. Turkey only dates to the 1500's. Much more common were boar, geese, capons, swans, and pheasants. Minced pies were originally made with meat, and with the coming of spices to England during the Crusades, plum pudding became quite the traditional dish. Plum pudding makes a great dish for cakes and wine in the Yule circle, especially if you pour warmed brandy over it and set it afire before the blessing.

While I am writing about midwinter customs in Britain because our heritage in .K.A.M. is largely Celtic in origin, the Isles do not have a monopoly on Yule. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia for seven days around the Solstice, and it was a time to look ahead and rejoice in the longer days to come. Slaves and masters switched places at table, and presents were exchanged. The Persian Mithraists held December 25th as sacred to the birth of their Sun God, Mithras, and celebrated it as a victory of light over darkness. And in Sweden, December 13th was sacred to the Goddess Lucina, Shining One, and was a celebration of the return of the light. On Yule itself, around the 21st, bonfires were lit to honor Odin and Thor.

Midwinter has always been a Pagan holiday, so much so that during the 1600's the Christian Christmas was recognized as a celebration based on Pagan customs and was outlawed in England and many of the colonies in America.

(Text version of the Journal has "Gower Wassail" here)

A Monthly Rune (Traditional) 

January   By this fire I warm my hands 
February  And with my spade I delve my lands 
March     Here I set my seeds to spring 
April     And here I hear the birds to sing 
May       I am as light as bird in the treetop 
June      And I take pains to weed my crop 
July      With my scythe my mead I mow 
August    And here I shear my corn full low 
September With my flail I earn my bread 
October   And here I sow my wheat so red (Winter wheat) 
November  At Martinmas I kill my swine * 
December  And at Yule I drink red wine 

* Martinmas, November 11, is a christianization of the Pagan Celtic Hallows when the herds were culled.

Recipe for Wassail for 8

3 red apples
3 oz brown sugar
2 pints brown ale, apple cider, or hard cider
1/2 pint dry sherry or dry white wine
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
strips of lemon peel

Core and heat apples with brown sugar and some of the ale or cider in an oven for 30 minutes. Put in large pan and add rest of spices and lemon peel, simmer on stove top of 5 minutes. Add most of the alcohol at the last minute so it heats up but does not evaporate. Burgundy and brandy can be substituted to the ale and sherry. White sugar and halved oranges may also be added to taste.

Plum Pudding

1/4 lb. flour
1/4 lb. currants
1 tsp. salt
1/4 lb. sultanas (small raisins)
1 tsp. allspice
2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tsp. ginger
1 ounce cut mixed (citrus) peel
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 oz. shredded almonds
pinch fresh grated nutmeg
Juice and grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1/4 lb. fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 lb. molasses (treacle)
1/2 lb. shredded suet
4 large eggs
1/4 lb. brown sugar
2 tbsp. brandy
1/4 lb. dried chopped apricots
1/4 lb. prunes
1/4 lb dates

Sift flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs, suet and sugar. Add fruits, peel and rind. Beat lemon and orange juice, molasses and eggs together and add to other ingredients. Steam for 6 hours -- a coffee tin filled with the mixture and placed in a steamer in a covered pan does well. A little vinegar and lemon juice in the water will prevent the pan from discoloration. After steaming cover in a cool place and let age as long as possible -- usually about 5 weeks. To serve, re-steam for another 3 hours. Remove from tin, douse with warm brandy and set it ablaze!

If you haven't got six weeks before Yule to prepare a proper pudding (I never do) a tinned one from Crosse & Blackwell will do fine. Just be sure to always heat the pudding first, no matter who made it, or all the warmed brandy in the world won't help. And don't forget the hard sauce!

{file "Witches Lesser Banishing Ritual Of The Pentagram (Paul Hume)" "bos025.htm"}

Witches' Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

by Paul Hume

The following text was an addendum to some Wiccan friends of mine written in 1986. It followed a fairly standard instruction in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, with which they were not familiar. We were feeling out some linking techniques leading to a proposed joint ritual involving several Wiccans and two ceremonial qabalists (one Thelemite -- ie. myself, and another). While events conspired to torpedo this project, some interesting ideas came along on both sides. The goal was a set of brief rituals meaningful to both traditions which we could practice individually, thus building up a group current prior to the date of the proposed rite (Samhain of that year). Herewith my notes on "The Wiccan Pentagram" ritual which evolved during this project. My primary source of God Forms was Paul Huson's "Mastering Witchcraft" which was my main source of information on Wicca at the time (I've done considerable study elsewhere since).

Non-Solar symbolism

A ritual can be modified in many ways, to refit it for a different set of symbols, for example. I have taken the liberty of doing some research into alternate symbols for the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram since I know that you work a lunar-feminine current (Wicca) whereas I use more solar-masculine symbols in my current (Thelemite). The Qabalistic Cross This might be used as is, though you could use the English if you don't feel that the Hebrew is relevant. I am sure you recognize the words as being similar to the end of the Lord's Prayer in the King James Version: 'Unto thee, the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever! Amen.' I would point out that this formula was around a long time before Christ, much less the translators of the Standard Revised Version of the Bible. If you dislike such a specifically Christian form, it may be replaced with the words KETHER (KEH-THER), MALKUTH, GEBURAH, GEDULAH (or Crown, Kingdom, Power, Mercy), the spheres of occult energy that you are invoking with the Q-Cross. The mental images remain the same. You could even avoid these Hebrew symbols entirely, using Names and formulae more suitable to raising the Cone of Power, which is what you are doing here in Wiccan terms. See the 'Wiccan Cross,' below.

The principle is:

  1. Invoke strongly the presence of the Supreme Creative Principle as you conceive it (or in your case, Her) to be. Your Name for the Goddess as Creatrix would be most suitable.
  2. Draw down power from this Godhead and project it through your body into the Earth. Invoke strongly the Supreme symbol of Creation in your Tradition: maybe the God -- as Son of the Goddess and Lord of the Trees, and as John Barleycorn, the ever-born and dying One.
  3. Establish on your right side the Active Principle -- Yang -- the Projective Energy of the Universe. A God image, I should think.
  4. Establish on yourleft side thePassive Principle -- Yin -- the Receiving Energy of the Universe. A Goddess force I feel.
  5. Strongly visualize yourself at the center of these axes between the Infinities. This centers you at the middle of the Sacred Space to be created -- the still point at the center of the universe.

The Pentagrams

Again, the pentagram should be used. This symbol is universal to many, many systems of magick, including Wicca, as you know. The five-pointed star has supreme power over the Elements: Spirit, Fire, Water, Air and Earth. It drives off negative influences and attracts positive ones. It is an essential part of the rite and there is no symbol that can take its place as effectively.

The Names

I prefer using the Hebrew God-Names as is. In this connection they express formulae that govern the Elements and are no more religious than E=MC squared. However, there are equivalent Wiccan God-Names, which I describe in the next section, as substitutes for the Archangels. The use of the same Names to activate the stars and to invoke the Elemental force is quite in keeping with the Wiccan tradition, which does not use the same hierarchical system of God-Name, Archangel, Angel, Ruler, Spirit, etc. that Qabalism does.

The Archangelic Invocation

Instead of the Hebrew Archangels I described, you could use Wiccan Deities to invoke the 'pure' form of the Elements.

The Air image in Wicca seems to be masculine and relates to Herne, the Black Man, the messenger of the Gods, or the Sky Gods: Odin, or Lugh as the rising Sun God. The God can be imagined as riding through the night sky, at the head of the Wild Hunt, or rising above the branches of the world-ash. Instead of the Sword given to Raphael, the God might carry a staff, spear or wand, which is attributed to Air in most Wiccan traditions.

The Fire image is definitely masculine and relates to the Horned God: Cernunnos, Lucifer, call Him what you will. He stands in the hot light of the noonday sun, radiating fiery energy. He would bear an Athame or sword, which is the weapon of Fire in most Wiccan styles.

The Water image is the Maiden, the mistress of the Moon and the Tides: Aradia, Artemis, Venus rising from the waves. Her image is lit by the silver light of the moon, upon a tranquil reach of water or the foaming sea. She might hold the chalice, symbol of water (alternatively, the cauldron might be envisioned).

The Goddess in Her aspect as Earth Mother is here: Hertha, Habondia, Demeter. She stands beneath the golden, life-giving sun surrounded by the fruits of the Earth. Before her, a platter flows with good things of the Earth, for the disk/shield/platter is the pentacle, magick instrument of Earth. These are only bare sketches of the magickal images that a witch might use to replace the Qabalistic images of the traditional pentagram ritual. I offer them for what they are worth.

A few points to note:

  1. The phases of the sun used in the Archangelic images (East:Dawn; South:Noon; West:Sunset; North:Midnight) are not the same, nor are they as important to Wicca. Instead, the poles of day and night are established: Night for the East-West axis and Day for the North-South axis.
  2. The male-female poles are established with the masculine images (Herne and Cernunnos) attributed to the active Elements (Air and Fire) and the feminine images (Aradia and Habondia) to the passive Elements (Water and Earth). Note that one figure of each gender stands in light, and one in darkness. This male-female/positive-negative/active-passive polarity is central to virtually all systems of magick, eg. the yin/yang symbol in oriental systems. I may be betraying solar-phallic tendencies by these assignments, and you may want to use different attributions: The Maiden can be Air and the Mother switch to Water, with the Hunter moving into Earth, for example. Heck, the dual God Forms should perhaps be invoked in each quarter. eg. Venus/Adonis imagery in East or South, Hertha/Herne in West, etc.

The Star Of David

The last line of the Invocation refers to a 'six-rayed star' and the mental work calls for imagining a Star of David. This is not a specifically Jewish symbol in this context. The six-pointed star, or hexagram, is the Qabalistic symbol par excellence of initiation and spiritual illumination. The upward-pointing triangle represents the aspiration of the magician to the Gods, and the downward-pointing triangle represents the divine power, flowing down to the world. These meet at the moment of magick and the interlaced triangles forming the hexagram symbolize the power of this meeting. Should you prefer not to use the Star of David, you can replace the mental image with any symbol showing the meeting of your soul and the power of the Goddess. This can even be a private symbol, one that is meaningful only to you. Alternatively, you can just envision the sphere of white light from the Q-Cross, as a symbol of divine power. Replace the words about the 'six-rayed star' with some descriptive form: 'the seal of the Goddess,' or 'the sign of my Awakening,' or simply 'the light Divine.'

Wiccan Pentagram ritual

Rubric [This is a form of the rite incorporating the changes in symbolism discussed above]

Face East. Touch forehead. Say IO EVOE HERTHA ('Blessed be Hertha,' or other Name by which you worship the Goddess as Creatrix) Touch solar plexus or genitals. Say IO EVOE CERNUNNOS ('Blessed be Cernunnos,' or other name by which you worship the Horned God as the Earth) Touch right shoulder. Say EKO EKO AZARAK ('Hail, hail force of fire') Touch left shoulder. Say EKO EKO AMELAK ('Hail, hail to the glory') Extend arms in form of a cross. Say IO EVOE ('Blessed be.') Clasp hands upon breast and say 'So mote it be.'

Trace pentagram in East. Say HERNE. Trace circle of protection until facing South. Trace pentagram in South. Say CERNUNNOS. Trace circle of protection until facing West. Trace pentagram in West. Say ARADIA. Trace circle of protection until facing North. Trace pentagram in North. Say HABONDIA. Finish tracing circle, closing it in the East.

Return to center of circle and face East. Extend arms in form of a cross. Chant:
Before me HERNE The Huntsman
Behind me ARADIA The Maiden
On my right hand CERNUNNOS, the Horned God
On my left hand HABONDIA, the Great Mother
About me flame the pentagrams
And above me shines the light of the Goddess.

Repeat the Wiccan Cross. Rather than performing this in the rather measured cadences of Qabalistic Ritual, a form of dancing and chanting more pleasing to the God-forms of Wicca might profitably be devised.

{file "On the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (Tim Maroney)" "bos026.htm"}

On the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

by Tim Maroney

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is one of the chief rituals of Western Magick. It has been with us at least since the Golden Dawn of the nineteenth century, and it has penetrated into all the many Golden Dawn spinoffs, including Neo-Paganism. Yet there is still no widely available, clear instruction. The directions of the magical orders are mere mnemonics for those who are assumed to have personal instructors. To formulate my personal approach to the ritual, to aid any others who may be considering practicing the LBR, and to satisfy the idle curiosity of any gawking onlookers, I have put together this short discussion of the ritual and its symbolism and performance.

A. Intent of the Ritual

The real action of a magick ritual takes place in the mind. Ritual is a form of moving meditation. The effect is also primarily psychological.* The LBR is a tool to facilitate meditation.

[*Not all players would agree with this statement. Many would say that the effect of the LBR is a fortified and cleansed area on the astral plane, which they think is as real as Hoboken, if not more so. It doesn't really matter in practice.]

The experience of a proper LBR is pleasurable and soothing, yet energizing and empowering. One is made at home in the mystical realm, protected from lurkers and phantasms by strongly imagined wards. This solace from mundane experience is a precondition for more serious works of meditation or ritual, but it can also form a healthy part of the life of the mind by itself.

B. The Ritual

I'll just reprint the description of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram from Liber O, a publication of the occult order A.'.A.'.
  1. Touching the forehead, say "Ateh (Unto Thee)."
  2. Touching the breast, say Malkuth (The Kingdom)."
  3. Touching the right shoulder, say "ve-Geburah (and the Power)."
  4. Touching the left shoulder, say "ve-Gedulah (and the Glory),
  5. Clasping the hands upon the breast, say "le-Olahm, Amen (To the Ages, Amen)."
  6. Turning to the East, make a pentagram (that of Earth) with the proper weapon (usually the Wand). Say (i.e. vibrate) "IHVH" (Ye-ho-wau*).
  7. Turning to the South, the same, but say "ADNI" (Adonai).
  8. Turning to the West, the same, but say "AHIH" (Eheieh).
  9. Turning to the North, the same, but say "AGLA" (Agla).
  10. Extending the arms in the form of a cross say:
  11. "Before me Raphael;
  12. Behind me Gabriel;
  13. On my right hand Michael;
  14. On my left hand Auriel;
  15. For about me flames the Pentagram,
  16. And in the Column stands the six-rayed Star."
  17. until xxi. Repeat steps (i) to (v), the "Qabalistic Cross."

[* Modern scholarship has a different take on the pronunciation of the Big Guy's name. I use "Yahweh" rather than the "Ye-ho-wau" of Liber O because that's what the Catholic priests of my youth taught me to say, and I've never been able to shake it off. Use whatever pronunciation you prefer, or a different name altogether.]

C. Politics of the Ritual

With practice, you will no doubt come up with your own style of performance, and your own different symbolism for ritual acts. Different people do rituals as differently as actors play parts, even though the lines and motions may be fundamentally the same. (The alternative is an authoritarian, dogmatic horror which is alien to the deep occult understanding of religion, but is still common in magical groups.) Slavish imitation will get you nowhere in Magick -- except, perhaps, to some high spiritual degree!

The Christianity -- or at least angelic monotheism -- of the ritual symbolism may give a start to some. Many of us involved in occultism have strongly negative feelings about Christianity. These are perhaps justified, but there are a few saving graces here.

First, as with any ritual, you should feel free to make it yours, to mess around with it. If you don't start to at least play with the styles of a ritual after a while, you are probably not doing it very well. It is perfectly legitimate to substitute cognate symbols at any time. However, the saying in the martial arts is that one first learns another's style, and after mastering it, moves on to create one's own. For a beginner, it will be easiest simply to use an existing ritual form in order to explore the meaning of a banishing ritual.

Given that experience, which transcends any mere set of symbols, one may devise a form more in keeping with the emergence of one's personal style. For instance, Neo-Pagans use a highly reified form of the same basic ritual in many of their traditions, but with non-Christian deities, spirits, and heros at the quarters. Aleister Crowley wrote a new version which made the performance more dancelike, and used the names of Thelemic deities and officers rather than monotheist gods and angels. My private version, called "Opening the Threshold", is entirely atheistic and philosophical.

In any case, of those people who so abhor Christianity, how many have looked at some of the practices of historical pagans in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas? No religion should ever be "accepted" by an occultist. When using any religion's symbolism, the adept should cut to its sacred poetical core and discard the political dross. By this standard, Christianity looks about as good as any other religion. Without this standard and by factoring in historical excesses and power plays, almost all known religions look just about as bad as Christianity.

In other words, someone who will happily use Norse gods, Arthurian heroes, Taoist immortals, Voudoun loas, or what have you in rituals, but will never touch a Christian angel, is guilty of the same narrowness he or she probably imparts to the Christians.

The Vibration of God-Names

In the LBR, the vibration of the god-names "charges" or "enlivens" the pentagrams in the air. This is difficult to describe, but easy to recognize. There is a feeling of presence in one of these charged warding images -- though not necessarily a feeling of true externality or separate intelligence. Weare told to "vibrate" the names. The description and illustration of the "vibration" given in Liber O have been known to mislead people into hilarious postures. What the picture most resembles is the skulking monster from the movie The Mummy. To the modern eye, it is remarkable how truly unclear a photograph can be. I didn't learn how to vibrate a god-name until I signed up with yet another occult order and was taught it in person. I wouldn't wish the ensuing experience on anyone, so here is a description which I hope will be adequate in print.

Vibration phase i -- The Sign of the Enterer (1-4)

1. Stand upright. Blow all the air out of your lungs. Hold your arms straight out at your sides.

2a. Close your eyes and inhale nasally, imagining that the breath is the name. The exact nature of this imagination differs from person to person. Thus, you imagine yourself inhaling the name into your lungs.

2b. As you inhale, sweep your forearms smoothly and deliberately up so that your fists rest on your temples.

3. Imagine the breath moving down through your torso slowly, and through your pelvis, your legs, and finally to the soles of your feet. (Don't do this so slowly that you are hurting for air when the name reaches your feet!)

4a. The instant the inhaled vibrational name hits the soles of your feet, imagine it rushing back up and out.

4b. Simultaneously, throw yourself forward, thrusting your left foot forward about twelve inches (or thirty centimeters) and catching yourself on it. Your hands shoot forward, together, like a diver. You bend forward at the waist so that your torso winds up parallel to the floor.

4c. The air in your lungs should be blown out through your nose at the same time, but imagine the name shooting out straight ahead.

Steps 3-4 are known as the Sign of the Enterer, or of Horus. This symbolizes powerful active energy. The Enterer should be something of a "rush". The vibrational name is projected outwards into more tangible manifestation -- in this case, in the pentagrams of the LBR, which are charged by the force of the projected god-names.

It is highly inadvisable to omit the portion of step(4b) which reads "catching yourself on it." But again, I have no desire to infringe on your freedom of choice.

Vibration phase ii -- The Sign of Silence (5)

5. Finally, withdraw into a standing position, left arm hanging at your side, right forefinger on lips, left foot pointing ninety degrees out from the body.

Step 5 is called the Sign of Silence, or of Harpocrates. This Egyptian god was mistakenly believed (at the turn of the century) to pertain to silence, because his finger or thumb was touching his lips. This gesture is now believed to be a symbol of childhood; this correction appears in the World card of Crowley's "Book of Thoth" Tarot deck. Harpocrates was the god of the Sun at dawn, and so symbolizes wonder, beauty, potential, growth. So, step 5 may be done in this academically corrected light instead.

However, the "hush" gesture of the Golden Dawn Sign of Silence is adequate for the modern occultist, even if deprived of A Divine Identification. It is a common gesture, at least in the European culture, meaning silence. Silence perhaps balances the ultra-active Sign of the Enterer better than does the more scholarly positive/active "Sign of Harpocrates the Rising Sun", and silence is surely no alien concept to mystics.

The Invocation

The pentagrams are given form by the drawing, life by the vibration, identity by the four-part prayer of steps (x) to (xiv). Some people do very elaborate visualizations of angelic guardians on each of (xi) to (xiv). Because of my tragic personal deficiencies, I am content with strong feelings of presence, identity, and divinity in each of the four directions.

A horizontal cross is built up step by step as you say, "Before me Raphael", etc, with you at the center; and the position of your arms forms a vertical cross, a renewal of the Qabalistic Cross from the start of the ritual. You may feel a quite peculiar rising and expansion when both of these crosses are formulated. One has become the center of the geometry of the space, and it is like a little world in itself, cut adrift from the mundane currents of everyday experience.

Steps (xv) and (xvi) are when the real banishing takes place, during "For about me flames the pentagram, and in the column stands the six-rayed star." A great pulse of force is emitted during these steps, imposing the personal will on the space and clearing it of all hostile influences.

After this is done, the invoked "archangels" maintain the banishing effect, guarding in all four directions. Of course this talk of angels is all bullshit -- the importance lies in the psychological effect. Whether there "really is" an archangel standing there keeping out inimical spirits is not important. The "feeling of cleanliness" is what matters.

Concluding Cross

The final Qabalistic Cross is an affirmation of the completeness and symmetry of the ritual, and also a new self-consecration. This is more efficacious than the previous Cross because it is done in a banished environment.

One is now ready to do a formal invocation, an evocation, a meditation, or whatever the overall purpose may be. The LBR is a preliminary ceremony, although it has a beneficial effect in itself. It can profitably be done as a stand-alone ritual, but you should move on. The LBR should keep away the horrible ickies that turn so many novices away from Magick. Its mastery is a first step to adeptship.

{file "Mystical Pentagram" "bos027.htm"}

Mystical Pentagram

Brightstarr, Kathexis

The Mystical Pentagram is a technique which will enhance psychic self-awareness. Practiced on a daily basis it will produce surprising individual results. One of the features of this technique is that it encourages personal development by allowing each entity to discover a personal mantra which corresponds to the five elements.

To begin, you will need a table of correspondences such as "777" by Aleister Crowley. Look up the names of the gods and goddesses which correspond to the air element. Pick a name which when chanted 'feels' right for you. For example, Nu is the Egyptian lord of the firmament and corresponds to air. If I were inclined towards egyptian deities, I would chant the name Nu for several minutes to see what effect transpired. If I felt relaxed, comfortable, and generally positive I would inwardly know that this name would be in tune with my inner self. Proceed to find correspondences for fire, water, and earth in the same manner and finally for spirit since it is the aggregate of the four common elements.

Once you have found a personal mantra or a chant consisting of five names, vowel sounds, etc. You are ready to proceed with the practical application of the Mystical Pentagram.

Assume your favorite meditation position, relax and begin to breathe in a rhythmic pattern; ie. inhale count one, two, three, four, exhale count one, two, three, four and so on. Continue to breathe in such a manner for about five minutes so that a definite rhythm is firmly established.

Visualize the five psychic centers. Memorize their positions so that you become familiar with the positions.

Next visualize a brilliant white light forming a circle above your head in the spirit center. Mentally draw a white light pentagram within the circle of light. This should be an invoking pentagram.

If your mind should begin to wander, gently bring it back and vocally vibrate the mantra you have chosen for the spirit center. Let your mind dwell on this center and intone your mantra several times for at least five minutes.

Next see a shaft of white light radiate down through your skull stopping at your throat near the adam's apple. See a circle of white light begin to form and pulsate. Mentally draw an invoking pentagram within the circle of light and vocally vibrate your chosen mantra for the air center. Continue to stimulate this center for at least five minutes.

Now see a shaft of white light radiate down through your torso stopping at your fire center. This is located just above the navel. See a brilliant white light begin to pulsate at this center and draw an invoking pentagram within the circle of light. As your mind begins to wander gently guide it back to he image of the glowing white pentagram. Here vibrate your chosen fire mantra. Once this center is stimulated the sensation is unmistakable. A mild tingling or vibration of the solar-plexus area is physically experienced. Continue to dwell on this center for at least five minutes.

See the shaft of white light push down to the water center which is located in the groin area. Here, too, a brilliant circle of white light should be visualized. Again draw an invoking pentagram within the circle of light. Intone the mantra for the water center and repeat the sound several times for the next five minutes.

Having arrived thus far, see the shaft of white light radiate down through your legs stopping at the bottom of your feet which is the earth center. Form a brilliant, white, pulsating circle of light and draw an invoking pentagram within the circle. Intone your earth mantra and vocally vibrate the sound several times during the next five minutes.

When all of the energy centers have been stimulated, direct the light energy from the spirit center to the earth center. As you exhale see the light travel from the top of your head down through your body to the bottom of your feet. As you inhale see the energy travel from your feet up through your body up to the top of your head, the spirit center. These circulations should be persisted for at least seven complete circuits. See the energy cleanse and vitalize every part of your being and expand your awareness to cosmic consciousness. As you continue to repeat this technique each day you will begin to see and feel a change in your psychic awareness and a marked improvement in your health.

Don't become discouraged if you don't achieve results immediately. This technique produces very positive effects but they are cumulative in nature. Be gentle with your inner self however you must also be persistent and keep the communication open. It is also a good idea to perform this exercise at the same time each day in order to allow your body cycles incorporate the energy flow in a natural order.

Suggested reading:
The Art of True Healing -- Israel Regardie
Energy Ecstasy -- Bernard Gunther

{file "Basic Spell Construction" "bos028.htm"}

Basic Spell Construction

Because of the very nature of Magick, each working should be highly individualized and personal. Even if following a traditional spell, it should be tailored to your specific needs to be most effective for you. Understanding the basics of Spell Construction will enable you to formulate your own specific, effective spells for any purpose you desire.

Preliminary planning is necessary. The very first step is to decide precisely what your desired end result is to be. Before you can start, you must decide where you are going. You must be very explicit.

It is important, also, that you choose your time carefully. You should take into consideration all Astrological implications, energy currents and Moon phases.

The Moon is the astronomical body closest to us and, therefore, has a profound influence upon us, it is very important to choose a time when the Moon is in an astrological sign which is appropriate for your working. For example: Aries/Action -- Enthusiasm, Taurus/Renewal -- Sensuality, Gemini/Communication -- Curiosity, Cancer/Emotion -- Nurturing, Leo/Vitality -- Determined, Virgo/Organizing -- Studious, Libra/Balance -- Cooperation, Scorpio/Sexual -- Philosophical, Capricorn/Authority -- Ambitious, Aquarius/Innovation -- Social, Pisces/Sensitivity -- Idealistic.

Bear in mind that magickal workings for gain, increase or bringing things to you, should be initiated when the Moon is Waxing (from Dark to Full); when the Moon is Waning (from Full to Dark), it is time for magickal workings of decrease or sending away.

The highest energy occurs at the Full Moon and, therefore, this is the most powerful time for magickal workings. The New Moon is the next most powerful time for Magick.

Whenever possible, follow Nature's own energy flows. There is a natural time for starting things (a planting time), for maturing things (a growing time), for reaping things (a harvest time) and, of course, a time for rest and planning.

Flowing with these currents will make your magickal work much easier.

Remember to plan your project for a time of uninterrupted privacy. It is important that you have no distractions. Generally speaking, it is best to work as late at night as possible. A time when there is less frantic energy is most appropriate. You might consider Midnight or later.

In choosing a place to do your magickal working pay particular attention to your needs, for you must be comfortable. Your place should be private, quiet and secure. If at all possible, set aside a special place for this purpose only. An unused room, a special corner of your bedroom, a quiet, secluded spot in your garden. A place that is yours. A place that you can come to whenever need arises and that is as free from intrusion of others as possible.

Prior to the night of your magickal working, gather together the things that you will need. All of the things used are tools. They have no inherent magick. They are to help you create a mood. If correctly made and used, they will trigger primitive responses from deep within you. They should be chosen with care. Consider the purpose of your ritual and choose your tools accordingly. If your magick is to be sexual, your candles, oils, incenses and so forth should bring forth a sexual response. If the desired result of your Magick is tranquility, then the tools should make you feel calm, peaceful and serene. Any candles you might use should not have commercially added fragrances as these may not be appropriate for your working.

Prior to your ritual, prepare yourself and your equipment by any means necessary to clean and purify. Historically, people have fasted, followed meticulous and detailed bathing practices, practiced chastity and used many other methods.

Most often a ritual bath is the preferred method. A bath frequently utilizing candlelight, fragrant herbs, bath salts or sensuous oils. A sumptuous hot bath, special bathing preparations and appropriate lighting, combined, can create the soothing effect which will help in the very important step of relaxing and clearing the mind completely of all mundane thoughts and experiences of the day. Your ritual bath should, also, begin to set the specific vibrations conducive to your purpose into motion. You must not only cleanse and purify but must also begin to create the type of energy necessary. Once your purification process has been accomplished, you are now ready to begin. Proceed to the special place you have previously chosen in which to perform your magick. If at all possible, you should make use of the primitive responses set into motion by a well chosen piece of music. Your music should start slowly and build to a rousing climax.

As you use your oils, light your candle or incense (or utilize any other tool you have chosen), you should begin to further intensify the energy that you have set into motion around you. A high degree of intensity is vitally important.

The Altered State of Consciousness that you must reach is not a meditative state. Anything that interferes with your ability to concentrate upon, reach and control the high energy state necessary to perform magick should be avoided, such as screaming children, a sink full of dirty dishes, use of alcohol or drugs, etc.

Do not scatter your energy by attempting to do more than one magickal working at a time.

Remember that Magick is the manipulation of energy, a thought is a form of energy and a visualization is an even stronger form of energy. Your visualization can be a method used to intensify further and direct your will. Your visualization can be the method by which you control the magickal energy you have produced. You must know what you want. You must see it. You must feel the high energy flow. You must direct it.

One of the most important elements in the practice of any form of Magick is the Universal Law of Cause and Effect. This means that whatever you do (or don't do) you cause something to happen.

The most important consideration is the Universal Law of Retribution. This means that no matter what you do, it comes back to you in like kind.

It is the nature of things that as you send something out it gains momentum, so that, by the time it comes back to you, it is three times stronger. If you do something nice for someone, someone will do something nicer for you.

{file "Tool Blessing Ritual" "bos030.htm"}

Tool Blessing Ritual

A purification of objects for ritual use and their transformation into magical items.

(The area is prepared by placing a quantity of each element in the proper quarter, as well as preparing the altar in the usual way. If available, a cauldron (empty) is placed in the center of the circle. Candles are placed at each of the four corners and lit, progressing deosil from the east. Salt and water are blessed, and the celebrants are purified with them. A magic circle is cast, and watchtowers summoned. The god is then drawn down as follows:
The priest stands before the alter in the Osiris position, arms crossed across chest and feet together. The Priestess kneels before him with face and arms upraised.

PS: Hephaestus, forger of magic,
descend upon this the body of thy priest and servant,
lend us the strength of your arms.
Prometheus, shape of man,
descend upon this the body of thy priest and servant,
lend us your fire and foresight.
Morpheus, weaver of dreams,
descend upon this the body of thy priest and servant,
lend us your subtlety and vision.
P: I am he, the shape-god,
forger, builder, artisan, smith.
With strength and craft I form the world.

(The Priest helps the Priestess to rise and she stands in the center of the circle in the god position, extending her arms outward and down, palms facing forward. The Priest kneels before her with head bowed.)

P: Clotho, spinner of the strand of life
Descend upon this the body of thy priestess and servant.
Lend us your wheel of making.
Hecate, caster of spells,
Descend upon this the body of thy priestess and servant.
Lend us the power of your magic.
Aphrodite, goddess of love,
Descend upon this the body of thy priestess and servant.
Grant us eros, philos, aristos, agape.
PS: I am she, the weaver-goddess,
Painter, poet, sculptor, witch.
With art and love I form the world.

(The priestess extends her hands to the priest and helps him rise. The priest cups both hands and scoops from the cauldron, then offers to the priestess.)

P: Drink now from the cauldron of Cerridwen, whose draughts bring knowledge, peace and life.

(The priestess sips from the cupped hands, after which the priest drinks. The objects to be blessed are taken from the altar by the priest and moved widdershins to the west quarter, and immersed in the water there.)

P: Spirits of the west, in water born
In cool waters cleanse these tools
And wash from them all hurt and harm
This I ask, this charge I lay,
By oak and ash and bitter thorn.

(The objects are moved by the priestess to the south quarter and moved above the flames there.)

PS: Spirits of the south, in fire born
In shining flames purify these tools
And burn from them all impurities
This I ask, this charge I lay,
By oak and ash and bitter thorn.

(The objects are moved to the east quarter by the priest and moved through the incense smoke.)

P: Spirits of the east, in sweet air born
In swirling winds polish these tools
And sweep from them all phantasm and illusion
This I ask, this charge I lay,
By oak and ash and bitter thorn.

(The objects are moved to the altar by the priestess, and placed upon the pentacle.)

PS: Spirits of the north, in cool earth born
In mother earth ground these tools
And take from them all spirits dark
This I ask, this charge I lay,
By oak and ash and bitter thorn.

(The person consecrating the tools now offers an impromptu or prepared charge to the items, stating their purpose and mode of use. They are then taken up by the priestess and moved to the east quarter.)

PS: Spirits of the east, from the bright air come,
Fill these tools with the swirling energies of the whirlwind
Make them float like the breeze
Spirits of air, hearken unto me,
As I do will, so more it be.

(The tools are now taken up by the priest and moved to the south quarter.)

P: Spirits of the south, from wild fire come,
Fill these tools with the burning energies of the flames
Make them glow with bright fire
Spirits of fire, hearken unto me,
As I do will, so more it be.

(The tools are now taken up by the priestess and moved to the west quarter.)

P: Spirits of the west, from soothing water come,
Fill these tools with the calming energies of the warm rain
Make them flow like the tide
Spirits of water, hearken unto me,
As I do will, so more it be.

(The tools are now taken up by the priestess and moved to the altar.)

PS: Spirits of the north, from firm earth come,
Fill these tools with the ordering energies of the growing crops
Make them flourish like grapes on the vine
Spirits of earth, hearken unto me,
As I do will, so more it be.

(The priest takes the tools from the altar and steps backwards. The priestess stands at the altar facing south towards the priest. The priest extends his right arm in parallel to the ground, between he and the priestess, with the tools in his hand.)

P: I am the god, ever desiring.
I am the stag in the woods,
I am the sun in the noonday sky,
I am the lover in the dark.
I offer passion, strength, devotion and the swiftness of the hunt.

(The priestess extends her right arm in like fashion, and places her hand over that of the priest.)

PS: I am the goddess, ever nurturing.
I am the tempting beauty of the maid,
I am the quiet strength of the mother,
I am the infinite wisdom of the crone.
I offer life, love, warmth and the fruitfulness of the fields.

(Both step towards each other and turn their hands and arms so the fingers point upwards with the palms facing their own chest, cupping the other's palm between and holding the tools. They clasp each other with their left arms.)

P&PS: Male and female, yin and yang, light and dark, action and stillness. Apart we are forever incomplete, but together we form one. In our joining we are blessed. In our union, the limitless energy of universe is released and captured here.
P: As I do will,
PS: As I do will
P&PS: As we do will, so mote it be.

(The priest and priestess kiss, then release grasps. If the number and size of the tools precludes them being held in one hand simultaneously, the latter charging section should be repeated for each. The tools are replaced on the altar. Cakes and wine are blessed and consumed and a period of relaxation and rest follows. The watchtowers are then dismissed and the circle opened.)

{file "Dedication Of Altar And Athame (Durwydd)" "bos031.htm"}

Dedication of Altar and Athame

Durwydd MacTara (1990)



{file "Beltane: Its History and Modern Celebration in Wicca in America" "bos032.htm"}

Beltane: Its History and Modern Celebration in Wicca in America

by Rowan Moonstone

The celebration of May 1st, or Beltane as it is known in Wicca Circles, is one of the most important festivals of our religious year. I will attempt here to answer some of the most often asked questions about this holiday. An extensive bibliography follows the article so that the interested reader can do further research.

  1. Where does the festival of Beltane originate?

    Beltane, as practiced by modern day Witches and Pagans, has its origins among the Celtic peoples of Western Europe and the British Isles, particularly Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

  2. What does the word Beltane mean?

    Dr. Proinsias MacCana defines the word as follows: "... the Irish name for May Day is Beltane, of which the second element, 'tene', is the word for fire, and the first, 'bel', probably means 'shining or brilliant'."1 The festival was known by other names in other Celtic countries. Beltaine in Ireland, Bealtunn in Scotland, Shenn do Boaldyn on the Isle of Mann and Galan Mae in Wales.2

  3. What was the significance of this holiday to the ancients?

    To the ancient Celts, it symbolized the coming of spring. It was the time of year when the crops began to sprout, the animals bore their young and the people could begin to get out of the houses where they had been cooped up during the long dark cold winter months. Keep in mind that the people in those days had no electric lights or heat and that the Celtic countries are at a much more northerly latitude than many of us are used to. At that latitude, spring comes much later and winter lasts much longer than in most of the US. The coming of fair weather and longer daylight hours would be most welcome after a long cold and dark winter.

  4. How did the ancient Celts celebrate this festival?

    The most ancient way of observing this day is with fire. Beltane, along with Samhain (Nov. 1), Imbolc (Feb. 1), and Lughnassadh (Aug. 1), was one of the four great "fire festivals" which marked the turning points of the Celtic year. The most ancient records tell us that the people would extinguish all the hearth fires in the country and then relight them from the "need fires" lit by the druids (who used friction as a means of ignition). In many areas, the cattle were driven between two great bonfires to protect them from disease during the coming year. It is my personal belief, although I have no documentation to back up the assumption, that certain herbs would have been burnt in the fires, thus producing smoke which would help destroy parasites which might make cattle and other livestock ill.

  5. In what other ways was this festival celebrated?

    One of the most beautiful customs associated with this festival was "bringing in the May." The young people of the villages and towns would go out into the fields and forests at Midnight on April 30th and gather flowers with which to bedeck themselves, their families and their homes. They would process back into the villages, stopping at each home to leave flowers and to receive the best of food and drink that the home had to offer. This custom is somewhat similar to "trick or treat" at Samhain and was very significant to the ancients. John Williamson, in his study "The Oak King, the Holly King and the Unicorn" writes: "These revelers were messengers of the renewal of vegetation, and they assumed the right to punish the niggardly, because avarice (as opposed to generosity) was dangerous to the community's hope for the abundance of nature. At an important time like the coming of summer, food, the substance of life, must be ritually circulated generously within the community in order that the cosmic circuit of life's substance may be kept in motion (trees, flocks, harvests, etc.)."3 These revelers would bless the fields and flocks of those who were generous and wish ill harvests on those who withheld their bounty.

  6. What about maypoles?

    The maypole was an adjunct to the festival of bringing in the May. It is a phallic symbol, and as such represented fertility to the participants in the festival. In olden days, the revelers who went into the woods would cut a tree and bring it into town, decking it with flowers and greenery and dance around it clockwise (also called deosil, meaning "sun-wise", the direction of the sun's apparent travel across the face of the Earth) to bring fertility and good luck. The ribbons which we associate with the maypole today were a later addition.

  7. Why was fertility important?

    The people who originated this custom lived in close connection with the land. If the flocks and fields were fertile, they were ableto eat; if there was famine or drought, they went hungry. It is hard for us today to relate to this concept, but to the ancients, it was literally a life and death matter. The Celts were a very close tribal people, and fertility of their women literally meant continuity of the tribe.

  8. How is the maypole connected with fertility?

    Many scholars see the maypole as a phallic symbol. In this aspect, it is a very powerful symbol of the fertility of nature and spring.

  9. How did these ancient customs come down to us?

    When Christianity came to the British Isles, many of the ancient holy sites were taken over by the new religion and converted to Christian sites. Many of the old Gods and Goddesses became Christian saints, and many of the customs were appropriated. Charles Squire says," An ingenious theory was invented after the introduction of Christianity, with the purpose of allowing such ancient rites to continue with a changed meaning. The passing of persons and cattle through flame or smoke was explained as a practice which interposed a magic protection between them and the powers of evil."4 This is precisely what the original festival was intended to do; only the definition of "evil" had changed. These old customs continued to be practiced in many areas for centuries. "In Scotland in 1282, John, the priest in Iverkething, led the young girls of his parish in a phallic dance of decidedly obscene character during Easter week. For this, penance was laid upon him, but his punishment was not severe, and he was allowed to retain his benefice."5

  10. Were sacrifices practiced during this festival?

    Scholars are divided in their opinions of this. There is no surviving account of sacrifices in the legends and mythology which have come down to us. As these were originally set down on paper by Christian monks, one would think that if such a thing had been regularly practiced, the good brothers would most certainly have recorded it, if for no other reason than to make the pagans look more depraved. There are, however, some surviving folk customs which point to a person representing the gloom and ill fortune of winter being ostracized and forced to jump through the fires. Some scholars see this as a survival of ancient human sacrificial practices. The notion that animals were sacrificed during this time doesn't make sense from a practical standpoint. The animals which had been retained a breeding stock through the winter would either be lean and hungry from winter feed, or would be mothers nursing young, which could not be spared.

  11. How do modern day pagans observe this day?

    Modern day pagan observances of Beltane include the maypole dances, bringing in the May, and jumping the cauldron for fertility. Many couples wishing to conceive children will jump the cauldron together at this time. Fertility of imagination and other varieties of fertility are invoked along with sexual fertility. In Wiccan and other Pagan circles, this is a joyous day, full of laughter and good times.

  12. What about Walpurgisnacht? Is this the same thing as Beltane?

    Walpurgisnacht comes from an Eastern European background, and has little in common with the Celtic practices. I have not studied the folklore from that region and do not consider myself qualified to write about it. As the vast majority of Wiccan traditions today stem from Celtic roots, I have confined myself to research in those areas.


  1. MacCana, Proinsias, Celtic Mythology, The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, London, 1970, p.32.
  2. Squire, Charles, Celtic Myth and Legend, Poetry and Romance, Newcastle Publishing Co., Van Nuys, CA, 1975, p.408.
  3. Williamson, John, The Oak King, the Holly King, and the Unicorn, Harper & Row, NY, 1986, p.126.
  4. Squire, p.411.
  5. Hole, Christina, Witchcraft In England, Rowman & Littlefield, Totowa, NJ, 1977, p.36.


{file "Casting The Circle" "bos033.htm"}

Casting the Circle

Set up: place a candle in each of the four cardinal directions. Lay the rest of the tools on the altar cloth or near it. The altar can be on the ground, a table, a rock or a stump. The altar should be in the center or just north of center of the Circle. Light the six candles and the incense, start the music and begin the ritual.

The Ritual

Facing North, the High Priest and Priestess kneel in front of the altar with him to her right. She puts the bowl of wateron the altar, places the point of her athame in it and says:

She then puts down her athame and holds up the bowl of water in both hands. The High Priest puts the bowl of salt on the altar, puts his athame in the salt and says:

He then puts down his athame and pours the salt into the bowl of water the High Priestess is holding. The High Priest then stands with the rest of the Coven outside the Circle. The High Priestess then draws the Circle with the sword, leaving a gap in the Northeast section. While drawing the Circle, she should visualize the power flowing into the Circle from off the end of the sword. She draws the Circle in a East to North or deosil or clockwise direction. She says:

The High Priestess lays down the sword and admits the High Priest with a kiss while spinning him deosil and whispers "Blessed Be". He then admits a woman the same way. Alternate male/female/male. Then the High Priestess finishes closing the Circle with the sword. She then names three witches to help strengthen the Circle. The first witch carries the bowl of consecrated water from East to East going deosil, sprinkling the perimeter as she/he goes. They then sprinkle each member in turn. If the witch is male, he sprinkles the High Priestess last who then sprinkles him. If female she sprinkles the High Priest last, who then sprinkles her. The bowl is replaced on the altar. The second witch takes the incense burner around the perimeter and the third takes one of the altar candles. While going around the perimeter, each person says:

All the Coven pick up their athames and face the East with the High Priest and Priestess in front, him on her right. The High Priestess says:

As she speaks she draws the Invoking Pentagram of Earth in the air with her athame. The High Priest and the rest of the Coven copy her movements with their athames. The High Priestess turns and faces the South and repeats the summoning:

She does the same pentagram and then faces West and says:

She faces North with rest of the Coven and says:

The Circle is completed and sealed. If anyone needs to leave, a gate must be made. Using the sword, draw out part of the Circle with a widdershins or counterclockwise stroke. Immediately reseal it and then repeat the opening and closing when the person returns.

{file "Technology And The Craft" "bos034.htm"}

Technology and The Craft

Removing the Barriers to Spaceflight

Before the ritual begins, distribute paper and have an airplane-folding session.

Techno-lesson #1: Making Fire

He tries to light the fire with firesticks; She then enters, lights the charcoal with the sacred Bic, and hands it to He, who lights the quarter candles with it and hands it back to She, who lights the altar candles.

Bless the Elements (She)

Cast the Circle (He)

Invoke Quarters (She)

All breathe, ground and center

Techno-lesson #2: Overcoming Physical Shortcomings

Chant: She Changes Everything She Touches

He & She begin the chant, She drumming. Her shoulder starts acting up; He gets out the Casio (tempo -2, any 4/4 rhythm). For the chant, mix verses as is pleasing.

Techno-lesson #3: Supplementing Abilities

First, He & She 'argue' about who's going to lead it, jokingly asking if anyone in Circle wants to do background music; then He gets pathworking with music on audio tape. When pathworking is done, folks should still be in light trance; the next thing is to concretize the working by distributing pens so that people can put whatever they symbols they think are appropriate on their airplanes.

Power chant: A rising OM; which at peak leads into Countdown. At "Liftoff", throw the planes upwards (when done, planes can either be kept or HP/S should offer to see that they get burned.

(* Note *) (* Note *) Don't forget to Ground (* Note *) (* Note *)

Grounding chant:

Earth below us
Drifting, falling
Floating weightless
Coming home.

Techno-lesson #4: There is no Techno-Lesson #4.

Cakes & wine, with discussion

Topics for Discussion:

  1. Why we invoked the particular guys
  2. Best and Worst side of technology
  3. Incorporating tech with Wicca
  4. Space Travel & Wicca: not leaving Her dead when we go
  5. More respecters of Earth involved with control of tech
  6. Whatever else...

Close (She)


***** NOTES *****

  1. Tools:
    • Athame(s) & cingula
    • Cup
    • Censer & Incense
    • Pentacle
    • Salt dish & salt
    • Altar & quarter candles
    • Libation bowl
    • Cakes & wine
    • Robes (optional, depending on participants)
    • God & Goddess symbols
    • This Script
  2. Firesticks & Sacred Bic
  3. Paper and pens for paper airplanes
  4. Cassette deck and pathworking cassette
  5. Drum and Casio w/ rhythm generator
  6. Talking stick (optional)

by Skydancer & Triton, Proteus Coven, NYC

© 1987 Perihelion Press. Reprinted by permission.

{file "Wiccan Tool List Master (Seastrider)" "bos035.htm"}

Wiccan Tool List Master

Equipment: For New or Dark Moon Esbat: For Winter Solstice (Yule): For Spring Equinox: For Beltane Sabbat: For Initiations: For Blessings:

{file "All Hallows Eve (Mike Nichols)" "bos036.htm"}

All Hallow's Eve

by Mike Nichols

Halloween. Sly does it. Tiptoe catspaw. Slide and creep. But why? What for? How? Who? When! Where did it all begin? 'You don't know, do you?' asks Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud climbing out under the pile of leaves under the Halloween Tree. 'You don't REALLY know!'
--Ray Bradbury, from 'The Halloween Tree'

Samhain. All Hallows. All Hallow's Eve. Hallow E'en. Halloween. The most magical night of the year. Exactly opposite Beltane on the wheel of the year, Halloween is Beltane's dark twin. A night of glowing jack-o-lanterns, bobbing for apples, tricks or treats, and dressing in costume. A night of ghost stories and seances, tarot card readings and scrying with mirrors. A night of power, when the veil that separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest. A 'spirit night', as they say in Wales.

All Hallow's Eve is the eve of AllHallow's Day (November 1st). And for once, even popular tradition remembers that the Eve is more important than the Day itself, the traditional celebration focusing on October 31st, beginning at sundown. And this seems only fitting for the great Celtic New Year's festival. Not that the holiday was Celtic only. In fact, it is startling how many ancient and unconnected cultures (the Egyptians and pre-Spanish Mexicans, for example) celebrated this as a festival of the dead. But the majority of our modern traditions can be traced to the British Isles.

The Celts called it Samhain, which means 'summer's end', according to their ancient two-fold division of the year, when summer ran from Beltane to Samhain and winter ran from Samhain to Beltane. (Some modern Covens echo this structure by letting the High Priest 'rule' the Coven beginning on Samhain, with rulership returned to the High Priestess at Beltane.) According to the later four-fold division of the year, Samhain is seen as 'autumn's end' and the beginning of winter. Samhain is pro- nounced (depending on where you're from) as 'sow-in' (in Ireland), or 'sow-een' (in Wales), or 'sav-en' (in Scotland), or (inevitably) 'sam-hane' (in the U.S., where we don't speak Gaelic).

Not only is Samhain the end of autumn; it is also, more importantly, the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. Celtic New Year's Eve, when the new year begins with the onset of the dark phase of the year, just as the new day begins at sundown. There are many representations of Celtic gods with two faces, and it surely must have been one of them who held sway over Samhain. Like his Greek counterpart Janus, he would straddle the threshold, one face turned toward the past in commemoration of those who died during the last year, and one face gazing hopefully toward the future, mystic eyes attempting to pierce the veil and divine what the coming year holds. These two themes, celebrating the dead and divining the future, are inexorably intertwined in Samhain, as they are likely to be in any New Year's celebration.

As a feast of the dead, it was believed the dead could, if they wished, return to the land of the living for this one night, to celebrate with their family, tribe, or clan. And so the great burial mounds of Ireland (sidhe mounds) were opened up, with lighted torches lining the walls, so the dead could find their way. Extra places were set at the table and food set out for any who had died that year. And there are many stories that tell of Irish heroes making raids on the Underworld while the gates of faery stood open, though all must return to their appointed places by cock-crow.

As a feast of divination, this was the night par excellence for peering into the future. The reason for this has to do with the Celtic view of time. In a culture that uses a linear concept of time, like our modern one, New Year's Eve is simply a milestone on a very long road that stretches in a straight line from birth to death. Thus, the New Year's festival is a part of time. The ancient Celtic view of time, however, is cyclical. And in this framework, New Year's Eve represents a point outside of time, when the natural order of the universe dissolves back into primordial chaos, preparatory to re-establishing itself in a new order. Thus, Samhain is a night that exists outside of time and hence it may be used to view any other point in time. At no other holiday is a tarot card reading, crystal reading or tea-leaf reading so likely to succeed.

The Christian religion, with its emphasis on the 'historical' Christ and his act of redemption 2000 years ago, is forced into a linear view of time, where 'seeing the future' is an illogical proposition. In fact, from the Christian perspective, any attempt to do so is seen as inherently evil. This did not keep the medieval Church from co-opting Samhain's other motif, commemoration of the dead. To the Church, however, it could never be a feast for all the dead, but only the blessed dead, all those hallowed (made holy) by obedience to God -- thus, All Hallow's, or Hallowmas, later All Saints and All Souls.

There are so many types of divination that are traditional to Hallowstide, it is possible to mention only a few. Girls were told to place hazel nuts along the front of the firegrate, each one to symbolize one of her suitors. She could then divine her future husband by chanting, 'If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me, burn and die.' Several methods used the apple, that most popular of Halloween fruits. You should slice an apple through the equator (to reveal the five-pointed star within) and then eat it by candlelight before a mirror. Your future spouse will then appear over your shoulder. Or, peel an apple, making sure the peeling comes off in one long strand, reciting, 'I pare this apple round and round again; / My sweetheart's name to flourish on the plain: / I fling the unbroken paring o'er my head, / My sweetheart's letter on the ground to read.' Or, you might set a snail to crawl through the ashes of your hearth. The considerate little creature will then spell out the initial letter as it moves.

Perhaps the most famous icon of the holiday is the jack-o-lantern. Various authorities attribute it to either Scottish or Irish origin. However, it seems clear that it was used as a lantern by people who traveled the road this night, the scary face to frighten away spirits or faeries who might otherwise lead one astray. Set on porches and in windows, they cast the same spell of protection over the household. (The American pumpkin seems to have forever superseded the European gourd as the jack-o-lantern of choice.) Bobbing for apples may well represent the remnants of a Pagan 'baptism' rite called a 'seining', according to some writers. The water-filled tub is a latter-day Cauldron of Regeneration, into which the novice's head is immersed. The fact that the participant in this folk game was usually blindfolded with hands tied behind the back also puts one in mind of a traditional Craft initiation ceremony.

The custom of dressing in costume and 'trick-or-treating' is of Celtic origin with survivals particularly strong in Scotland. However, there are some important differences from the modern version. In the first place, the custom was not relegated to children, but was actively indulged in by adults as well. Also, the 'treat' which was required was often one of spirits (the liquid variety). This has recently been revived by college students who go 'trick-or-drinking'. And in ancient times, the roving bands would sing seasonal carols from house to house, making the tradition very similar to Yuletide wassailing. In fact, the custom known as 'caroling', now connected exclusively with mid-winter, was once practiced at all the major holidays. Finally, in Scotland at least, the tradition of dressing in costume consisted almost exclusively of cross-dressing (i.e., men dressing as women, and women as men). It seems as though ancient societies provided an opportunity for people to 'try on' the role of the opposite gender for one night of the year. (Although in Scotland, this is admittedly less dramatic -- but more confusing -- since men were in the habit of wearing skirt-like kilts anyway. Oh well...)

To Witches, Halloween is one of the four High Holidays, or Greater Sabbats, or cross-quarter days. Because it is the most important holiday of the year, it is sometimes called 'THE Great Sabbat.' It is an ironic fact that the newer, self-created Covens tend to use the older name of the holiday, Samhain, which they have discovered through modern research. While the older hereditary and traditional Covens often use the newer name, Halloween, which has been handed down through oral tradition within their Coven. (This is often holds true for the names of the other holidays, as well. One may often get an indication of a Coven's antiquity by noting what names it uses for the holidays.)

With such an important holiday, Witches often hold two distinct celebrations. First, a large Halloween party for non-Craft friends, often held on the previous weekend. And second, a Coven ritual held on Halloween night itself, late enough so as not to be interrupted by trick-or-treaters. If the rituals are performed properly, there is often the feeling of invisible friends taking part in the rites. Another date which may be utilized in planning celebrations is the actual cross-quarter day, or Old Halloween, or Halloween O.S. (Old Style). This occurs when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio, an astrological 'power point' symbolized by the Eagle. This year (1988), the date is November 6th at 10:55 pm CST, with the celebration beginning at sunset. Interestingly, this date (Old Halloween) was also appropriated by the Church as the holiday of Martinmas.

Of all the Witchcraft holidays, Halloween is the only one that still boasts anything near to popular celebration. Even though it is typically relegated to children (and the young-at-heart) and observed as an evening affair only, many of its traditions are firmly rooted in Paganism. Interestingly, some schools have recently attempted to abolish Halloween parties on the grounds that it violates the separation of state and religion. Speaking as a Pagan, I would be saddened by the success of this move, but as a supporter of the concept of religion-free public education, I fear I must concede the point. Nonetheless, it seems only right that there SHOULD be one night of the year when our minds are turned toward thoughts of the supernatural. A night when both Pagans and non-Pagans may ponder the mysteries of the Otherworld and its inhabitants. And if you are one of them, may all your jack-o'lanterns burn bright on this All Hallow's Eve.

{file "Samhain (United Wiccan Church)" "bos037.htm"}

Public Service Announcement for Immediate Release

Samhain (pronounced saw-an), commonly referred to as Halloween, is a religious holiday celebrated by Wiccan and witch. The festival traditionally is a feast for the gathering of the family in love and remembrance. All the family including one's ancestors.

Wiccans do not regard physical death as an end but merely one more event in a continuing progress of the soul's in its path toward fulfillment of divine destiny. Because of these beliefs, it is only natural at this time of year to invite our beloved ancestors to remember and to celebrate with us.

If you do not find these beliefs in conflict with your own personal beliefs, please join us in the following ritual of thanksgiving and remembrance.

Blessed Be.

The clergy and members of the United Wiccan Church.

After you have shared the bounty of your harvest with the children of your neighborhood (candy, etc) and the house has settled down for the night, disconnect or turn off your telephone so that this state of serenity will continue uninterrupted.

Prepare a special feast of whatever foods reminds you of a special departed friend or family member, or of past family gatherings. While you are preparing this feast think of all of the good times you had with them.

When the feast is prepared, set your holiday table with a special place of honor for the departed friend or family member.

Decorate the table and room as you would for a holiday dinner with the family, add those special things that are important to you and your family (flowers, candles,etc.) If you have a picture of the loved one, it is nice to place it at their place at the table.

Speak to that special person and invite them to join you in this celebration and time of remembrance. It is completely appropriate to say grace or offer any prayer that you feel is fitting.

The following is done in complete silence:

Serve the meal remembering to serve your honored guest (or guests) first. If wine or other alcoholic beverages are served, it is recommended that they be kept in moderation as you and your guests need to have a clear head.

Now sit down to the table with your loved ones and enjoy your feast. When you address them in your mind, always see them as well. (Try not to say in your mind, "if you can hear me...", etc.). After the meal, the time of silence is over. Do whatever you normally do at a family holiday gathering (clear the table, play games, sing songs, etc.). Enjoy the companionship.

When the evening is over, or in the morning if you wish to make it an all night party, thank your invited guests for being with you and for making your celebration a special one.

There are a few words of caution that we will offer.

  1. If this ritual does not feel right for you, do not do it. Follow your instincts.

  2. Remember that crossing over does not necessarily change a person, so if you could not get through a meal in peace with them while they were alive, you will probably have the same problem with their spirit.

  3. Do not ask your guest to grant you wishes or do you favors. It is rude to invite a guest and then make it obvious that a favor is the reason they were asked, not because of love and respect. Spirits do not like rudeness! Besides, spirits often forget that you are limited in ways that they are not. If you ask them for $1,000, it may come as an insurance settlement after a painful break in your water pipe with all the delight in cleaning up the mess from ensuing water damage.

  4. {file "Samhain Notes (Farrar)" "bos038.htm"}

    Samhain Notes

    The High Priestess wears her white tabard if she has one for the opening ritual, with the veil thrown back.

    After the Witches' Rune, the High Priest and High Priestess take up their athames. He stands with his back to the altar, she faces him across the cauldron, They then simultaneously draw the Invoking Pentagram of Earth in the air with their athames towards each other, after which they lay down their athames; he on the altar, she by the cauldron.

    The High Priestess scatters incense on the charcoal in the cauldron. When she is satisfied that it is burning, she stands still facing the High Priest across the cauldron. She then declaims (if needed, ask a man to bring one of the altar candles and hold it for her):

    The High Priestess then walks around the cauldron and gives the High Priest the Five-fold Kiss.

    She returns to her place and pulls the veil of her tabard over her face. She then calls on each woman, by name to come forward and give the High Priest the Five Fold Kiss.

    When they have all done so, the coven forms up around the circle, alternating male and female with the Maiden next to the West candle. As soon as they are in place, the High Priestess says:

    The Maiden should spiral into the center, taking three or four circuits to do so. During this time, the coven should maintain absolute silence and concentrate on welcoming their dead friends.

    When she reaches the center, she faces the High Priestess across the cauldron. They touch palms and the High Priestess says:

    The women break contact and the Maiden returns to the West candle. When she is there, the High Priestess says:

    Everyone moves in and sits in a close ring around the cauldron. The High Priestess renews the incense. Now is the time for communion with the dead. When finished scrying, the cauldron is placed next to the East candle.

    The spirits of the dead must be thanked and released. The High Priestess leads the rest of the Coven in saying:

    The next thing to do is the Great Rite in some form.

    Farrar, Janet and Stewart; "Eight Sabbats For Witches"; Robert Hale 1983

    Transcribed to computer file by Seastrider

    {file "O.T.O. Samhain Ritual" "bos039.htm"}

    O.T.O. Samhain Ritual

    Open the Temple in fire.

    Banishing ritual.

    Hierophant: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    Hierophant: Ve Gabolah.

    Ring bell 5-5-5-5-5

    Priest strikes staff upon ground 3-3-3, 5-5-5-5-5, 3-3-3

    Return bell and staff to altar.

    Hierophant: Let all adore the King of Fire.

    All do the god form of
    PUER, the fire of
    NOX, facing Altar.


    Hierophant picks up dagger and points toward the East, standing in the West.

    (Fire with)
    ALGA (all repeat)

    BITOM (all repeat)

    Hierophant: In the sacred names and letters:

    In thy name: IHVH TZABAVTH

    Hierophant: I declare the sacred fire one and eternal in all worlds seen and unseen.

    (priest lights censer)

    Hierophant: Glory be the light, eternal fortress on the frontiers of darkness. Blessed Be. (all repeat)

    Priest drops more incense in censer.

    Hierophant: Hail those from the caverns of the dark. (sign of enterer)

    Bell: 3-3-3 5-5-5-5-5 3-3-3
    (sign of silence)

    Hierophant: O great and dreaded Lord of Shadows
    He who is God of all Life & the giver of life,
    It is Thee we invoke. (all repeat last line)

    Hierophant: Behold, the West is Ameti, Land of the Dead to which many have gone for rest and renewal.





    3-3-3, 5-5-5-5-5, 3-3-3
    (put more incense in censer)

    Hierophant: Hail those from the caverns of the dark. (all repeat)

    pick up contract at sacrifice;





    as written, to bind the contract, drink of the blood.

    So mote it be (all repeat).

    Others who desire a sacrifice may now do such; come forward one after another.

    After last sacrifice; all raise hands upward, vibrating


    Hierophant: Our sacrificing done, I proclaim this evening rite over.

    LOVE IS THE LAW, LOVE UNDER WILL. (all repeat)

    {file "Two Witches A Modern Craft Fairy-Tale (Mike Nichols)" "bos040.htm"}

    Two Witches

    A Modern Craft Fairy-Tale

    by Mike Nichols

    Once upon a time, there were two Witches. One was a Feminist Witch and the other was a Traditionalist Witch. And, although both of them were deeply religious, they had rather different ideas about what their religion meant. The Feminist Witch tended to believe that Witchcraft was a religion especially suited to women because the image of the Goddess was empowering and a strong weapon against patriarchal tyranny. And there was distrust in the heart of the Feminist Witch for the Traditionalist Witch because, from the Feminist perspective, the Traditionalist Witch seemed subversive and a threat to "the Cause".

    The Traditionalist Witch tended to believe that Witchcraft was a religion for both men and women because anything less would be divisive. And although the Goddess was worshipped, care was taken to give equal stress to the God-force in nature, the Horned One. And there was distrust in the heart of the Traditionalist Witch for the Feminist Witch because, from the Traditionalist viewpoint, the Feminist Witch seemed like a late-comer and a threat to "Tradition". These two Witches lived in the same community but each belonged to a different Coven, so they did not often run into one another. Strange to say, the few times they did meet, they felt an odd sort of mutual attraction, at least on the physical level. But both recognized the folly of this attraction, for their ideologies were worlds apart, and nothing, it seemed, could ever bridge them.

    Then one year the community decided to hold a Grand Coven, and all the Covens in the area were invited to attend. After the rituals, the singing, the magicks, the feasting, the poetry, and dancing were concluded, all retired to their tents and sleeping bags. All but these two. For they were troubled by their differences and couldn't sleep. They alone remained sitting by the campfire while all others around them dreamed. And before long, they began to talk about their differing views of the Goddess. And, since they were both relatively inexperienced Witches, they soon began to argue about what was the "true" image of the Goddess.

    "Describe your image of the Goddess to me," challenged the Feminist Witch. The Traditionalist Witch smiled, sighed, and said in a rapt voice, "She is the embodiment of all loveliness. The quintessence of feminine beauty. I picture her with silver-blond hair like moonlight, rich and thick, falling down around her soft shoulders. She has the voluptuous young body of a maiden in her prime, and her clothes are the most seductive, gossamer thin and clinging to her willowy frame. I see her dancing like a young elfin nymph in a moonlit glade, the dance of a temple priestess. And she calls to her lover, the Horned One, in a voice that is gentle and soft and sweet, and as musical as a silver bell frosted with ice. She is Aphrodite, goddess of sensual love. And her lover comes in answer to her call, for she is destined to become the Great Mother. That is how I see the Goddess."

    The Feminist Witch hooted with laughter and said, "Your Goddess is a Cosmic Barbie Doll! The Jungian archetype of a cheer-leader! She is all glitter and no substance. Where is her strength? Her power? I see the Goddess very differently. To me, she is the embodiment of strength and courage and wisdom. A living symbol of the collective power of women everywhere. I picture her with hair as black as a moonless night, cropped short for ease of care on the field of battle. She has the muscular body of a woman at the peak of health and fitness. And her clothes are the most practical and sensible, not slinky cocktail dresses. She does not paint her face or perfume her hair or shave her legs to please men's vanities. Nor does she do pornographic dances to attract a man to her. For when she calls to a male, in a voice that is strong and defiant, it will be to do battle with the repressive masculine ego. She is Artemis the huntress, and it is fatal for any man to cast a leering glance in her direction. For, although she may be the many-breasted Mother, she is also the dark Crone of wisdom, who destroys the old order. That is how I see the Goddess."

    Now the Traditionalist Witch hooted with laughter and said, "Your Goddess is the antithesis of all that is feminine! She is Yahweh hiding behind a feminine mask! Don't forget that it was his followers who burned Witches at the stake for the "sin" of having "painted faces". After all, Witches with their knowledge of herbs were the ones who developed the art of cosmetics. So what of beauty? What of love and desire?"

    And so the argument raged, until the sound of their voices awakened a Coven Elder who was sleeping nearby. The Elder looked from the Feminist Witch to the Traditionalist Witch and back again, saying nothing for a long moment. Then the Elder suggested that both Witches go into the woods apart from one another and there, by magick and meditation, that each seek a "true" vision of the Goddess. This they both agreed to do.

    After a time of invocations, there was a moment of perfect stillness. Then a glimmer of light could be seen in the forest, a light shaded deepest green by the dense foliage. Both Witches ran toward the source of the radiance. To their wonder and amazement, they discovered the Goddess had appeared in a clearing directly between them, so that neither Witch could see the other. And the Traditionalist Witch yelled "What did I tell you!" at the same instant the Feminist Witch yelled "You see, I was right!" and so neither Witch heard the other.

    To the Feminist Witch, the Goddess seemed to be a shining matrix of power and strength, with courage and energy flowing outward. The Goddess seemed to be holding out her arms to embrace the Feminist Witch, as a comrade in arms. To the Traditionalist Witch, the Goddess seemed to be the zenith of feminine beauty, lightly playing a harp and singing a siren song of seduction. Energy seemed to flow towards her. And she seemed to hold out her arms to the Traditionalist Witch, invitingly.

    From opposite sides of the clearing, the Witches ran toward the figure of the Goddess they both loved so well, desiring to be held in the ecstasy of that divine embrace. But just before they reached her, the apparition vanished. And the two Witches were startled to find themselves embracing each other.

    And then they both heard the voice of the Goddess. And, oddly enough, it sounded exactly the same to both of them. It sounded like laughter.

    {file "Wicca from My Point of View (Lady Phoenix)" "bos041.htm"}

    Wicca From My Point of View

    by Lady Phoenix

    I can give you a brief overview of Wicca. (I don't speak for all Wiccans, only myself. There are some differences in the different Traditions.)

    We believe that the ultimate godhead is unknowable. This doesn't make for a good working relationship with the deity, however. So, we break it down into a Goddess and a God. Different Wiccans worship different Gods/Goddesses. We can utilize *any* pantheon. Some worship Pan/Diana, some Cernnunos/Aradia, Isis/Osiris, and many others.

    We see our Goddess as being Triple Aspected -- Maiden, Mother and Crone, and she is reflected in the phases of the Moon -- Waxing, Full and Waning. We see the God as the Lord of Nature, and he is reflected in the seasonal changes. Like Jesus Christ, he dies for the land and the people, and is reborn.

    In general, we believe in reincarnation and karma. What you call Heaven, we call the Summerlands. We don't believe that Hell exists (or Satan either.) We believe that there should be balance in all things -- when the balance is disturbed, that's when 'evil' occurs. Fire, for example is not 'evil'. It could be considered such when it becomes out of balance, as in a forest fire, or house fire. Controlled fire is a useful tool. Anger is not 'evil', but when unbridled can't help but lead to negative things. When properly expressed and balanced with constructive working to correct that which invoked the anger -- it, too, can be a useful tool.

    We regard the Earth as our Mother and try to have respect for Her by not polluting her and try to live in harmony with Her and Her ways.

    Women reflect the Goddess, Men reflect the God, so the Wicca have a Priestess and Priest to 'run' the religious services. We call our services circles.

    This was sort of a "Reader's Digest Condensed Version" of Wicca. If you have any questions or want more detail on any of this, please let me know. Thank you for asking.

    Blessed be >>Phoenix<<

    * Origin: InterVisioN "The ParaNormal Connection" 603-547-6485 HST (1:132/123)

    {file "Witchcraft: The Old Religion Q&A (Dr. Leo Martello)" "bos042.htm"}

    The following is an excerpt from "Witchcraft: The Old Religion"

    by Dr. L. L. Martello.

    Questions and Answers.

    Q. What is the best way for one who is interested in the Old Religion to make contact with a genuine coven?

    A. Subscribe to all of the Pagan and Witchcraft publications. It's easier to get into a Pagan grove which often acts as a backdoor to the Craft, since many are Wicca-oriented in their worship and rituals. Fill out a Coven-Craft application form issued by WICA. To obtain yours, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope. WICA's address is Suite 1B, 153 West 80 Street; New York 10024.

    Q. What are the major feast-days of Witches? Could you tell me more about the origins of Halloween?

    A. Most Anglo-American covens celebrate the following holy days. The four major ones are Oimelc or Candlemas on February 2; May Eve, Beltane, or Walpurgisnacht on April 30; Lammas on July 31 or August 1; and of course Halloween or Samhain on October 31. The four minor Holy Days are the two solstices: Yule, around December 22; and Midsummer, around June 21 or 22. The other two are the equinoxes: March 20-21 for spring and the fall equinox on September 22 or 23. The following will help to give you some idea of the origins of Halloween:

    November Eve, All Hallows' Eve, the Gaelic fire festival of Samhain, now generally called Halloween, represents the summer's end, when the Earth Goddess turns over her reign to the Horned God of the Hunt, the transition from life to death, from an agrarian time to one of hunting, from summer to winter, from warmth to coldness, from light to darkness. It has been Christianized into All Saints' Day, a time when the souls of the departed wander the land and in some cases where the souls of the living temporarily join their spirit brethren, a time for mediumship, remembrance of departed loved ones, and celebration (as opposed to mourning) of the dead. The Roman Goddess of fruits and seeds, Pomona, was worshipped on this day. The stored fruits and seeds of the summer were then opened for the celebrants. Apples and nuts were the main fruits. This was also the autumn harvest festival of the Druids.

    They believed in the transmigration of souls and taught that Saman, the Lord of Death, summoned those wicked souls who were condemned to occupy the bodies of animals in the preceding twelve months. The accused believed that they could propitiate Saman by gifts and incantations, thus lessening if not eliminating their sentences. This was also the time when the Druids lit huge bonfires in honor of Baal, a custom continued in Britain and Wales until recent times. In Ireland October 31 was called Oidhche Shamhna, or Vigil of Saman. In his Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, Villancey says that in Ireland the peasants assembled with clubs and sticks, "going from house to house, collecting money, breadcake, butter, cheese, eggs, etc., for the feast, repeating verses in honor of the solemnity, demanding preparations for the festival in the name of St. Columb Kill, desiring them to lay aside the fatted calf and to bring forth the black sheep. The good women are employed in making the griddlecake and candles; these last are sent from house to house in the vicinity, and are lighted up on the (Saman) next day, before which they pray, or are supposed to pray, for the departed soul of the donor. Every house abounds in the best viands they can afford: apples and nuts are devoured in abundance; the nutshells are burnt, and from the ashes many strange things are foretold; cabbages are torn up by the root; hemp-seed is sown by the maidens, and they believe that if they look back they will see the apparition of the man intended for their future spouse; they hang a smock before the fire, on the close of the feast, and sit up all night, concealed in the corner of the room, convinced that his apparition will come down the chimney and turn the smock; they throw a ball of yarn out of the window, and wind it on the reel within, convinced that if they repeat the Pater Noster backwards, and look at the ball of yarn without, they will then also see his sith or apparition; they dip for apples in a tub of water, and endeavor to bring one up in the mouth; they suspend a cord with a cross-stick, with apples at one point, and candles lighted at the other, and endeavor to catch the apple, while it is in a circular motion, in the mouth."

    Vallancey concludes that these practices are the remnants of Druidism and will never be eradicated while the name of Saman remains. In this brief passage we will see the origins of many modern Halloween practices, such a trick or treat, the Jack-o-Lantern, and apple bobbing.

    In the island of Lewis the name Shamhna, or Saman, was called Shony. One writer in disgust described "an ancient custom here to sacrifice to a sea-god, called Shony, at Hallowtide." The supposed Christian inhabitants would gather at the Church of St. Mulvay, each family bringing provisions and malt which was brewed into ale. They chose one of themselves to wander into the sea at night up to his waist. He then poured out a cup of ale calling upon Shony to bless his people for the coming year. "At his return," this writer says, "they all went to church, where there was a candle burning upon the altar; and then standing silent for a little time, one of them gave a signal, at which the candle was put out, and immediately all of them went to the fields, where they fell a-drinking ale, and spent the rest of the night in dancing and singing. The ministers in Lewis told me they spent several years before they could persuade the vulgar natives to abandon this ridiculous piece of superstition."

    The name Saman shows evidence of Druidism in the Irish. Another word, the name of a drink, is "lambswool." It is made from bruising roasted apples and mixing it with ale or milk. The Gentlemen's Magazine for May, 1784, says, "this is a constant ingredient at a merrymaking on Holy Eve." Vallancey shrewdly traced its etymological origin when he said, "The first day of November was dedicated to the angel presiding over fruits, seeds, etc., and was therefore named La Mas Ubhal, that is, the day of the apple fruit, and being pronounced Lamasool, the English have corrupted the name to Lambs-wool." The angel referred to of course is the Roman Goddess Pomona.

    Q. Are these Holy Days the same throughout the world?

    A. No. However, there are many universal similarities between all the pagan religions. Names, dates and days vary according to national origin. For instance, one of the Holy Days still celebrated by many Italian and some Sicilian traditions is the Lupercalia, on February 15. It has since been Christianized into St. Valentine's Day on Feb. 14. Let me quote from the WICA Newsletter: Ancient Roman festival honoring Lupercus, God of Fertility. It was called dies februatus meaning 'day of expiation.' The Lupercal--'wolf's grotto'--a cave on the western slope of Palatine Hill. Near it was the ficus ruminalis, the fig tree under which Romulus and Remus were found and nursed by a she-wolf. The Lupercai who celebrated this yearly festival were made up of the Fabian who belonged to the Sabines and the Quintilian Lupercai, the Latins. Later in honor to Julius Caesar, there was added the Julian Brotherhood. They sacrificed a goat. Young neophytes were brought in. The High Priest touched their foreheads with the bloody knife. Then another priest wiped away the blood with wool dipped into milk. The feast began with the celebrants clothed only in goat skins and carrying (really hiding) thongs made from the same goat hides. They ran up and down the streets of the city striking anyone who passed them. Women came forward to be hit by the goat-thongs, believing it enhanced their own fertility. This was also a symbolic purification of the land and of the persons touched. This was on of the last Pagan rites to be given up before Christianity completely dominated the country. It is still celebrated today but in modern form, without the goat or any other kind of sacrifice, but all wearing skins and goat horns in a special streghe ritual."

    Q. What are some of the Christian holy days that are based upon or borrowed from ancient Pagan Religions?

    A. You'll find many of them discussed in this book. However, briefly, here are some of them. December 25 in ancient times was the day celebrated in honor of the sun, deified in such figures as Mithra, Osiris, Horus, and Adonis. It was also the feast day of Bacchus, Krishna, Sakia, and others. The legends of these Gods were the same as those attributed to Jesus Christ by the early Church. Pope Julius I in A.D. 337 made December 25 the official day to celebrate Jesus's birth, following older traditions who honored their founders on that date. It was also the ancient celebration of the winter solstice. There is absolutely no record in the Bible or elsewhere of when Jesus Christ was born. All of us are still paying tribute to the ancient Gods and Goddesses by the names of our days of the week.


    Two of the English names come from Old Saxon rather than Latin. Tiw's Day became Tuesday in honor of the old Teutonic deity, Tiw or Tives. Wednesday is named after the old Teutonic Norse God Wodan or Wotan. The Saxon word for day is doeg. In olden times the days were called Jove's Doeg (Thursday), Mercury's Doeg (Wednesday), Mar's <sic> Doef <sic> (Tuesday), etc. Friday was the day when the ancients paid tribute to Venus--the love day. When Christianity became dominant, Friday was no longer considered lucky--Jesus was crucified on that day; also, the uninhibited sexual rites dedicated to the love Goddess Venus was considered a great "sin." Besides the days of our week our months are also named after the ancient deities:

    January: From Latin Januarius, honoring Janus, a Roman God. He presided over the Gates of Heaven, which the Christians later assigned to St. Peter. The Anglo-Saxons called it Aefter-Yule, and prior to that Wolf-monat.

    February: From Februus, another name for the God of purification Faunus, thus fertility. The feast was held on February 15 (see Lupercalia) and was called Februa.

    March: After Mars, God of War. Anglo-Saxons called it Hraed-monat, rugged month, or Hlyd-monat, stormy month. A stormy March was an omen of poor crops. A dry March indicated a rich harvest.

    April: From Latin aperio "to open," like buds. Anglo-Saxons called it Easter-monat, in honor of the Teutonic Goddess of the same name. She ruled spring and light. The Romans dedicated this month to Venus, often referring to it as Mensis Veneris instead of Aprilis.

    May: Named after Maia Majesta, ancient Roman Goddess of Spring. Considered Vulcan's wife. Look up the folklore regarding the May Day celebrations, bonfires, and other rites celebrated throughout Europe.

    June: Named after the Roman Goddess Juno. Called Sear-monat by Anglo-Saxons. Juno was Queen of Heaven and Guardian of Marriage and ruled childbirth. June is still the most favored month for marriage today.

    July: Originally called Quintilus, the fifth month. Old Saxons called it Maed-monat, "mead month" the time to gather honey for the drink called mead.

    August: Named after the Roman Emperor Augustus. Was once called Sixtilis, the sixth month.

    September: Named after the Latin number for seven, that being the month in the old calender <sic>. Saxons called it Gerst-monat, barley month, as this crop was usually gathered then.

    October: From octo, the eighth month in the old calendar. Saxons named it Wyn-monat, "wine month." This was harvest time, and Bacchus and Dionysius and all the other ancient deities were honored. See Halloween above.

    November: From the ninth month in old Roman calendar. Saxons called it Blot-monat, "blood month." This was when the cattle and sheep were slaughtered for food and sacrifices.

    December: Named after the tenth month in the old calendar. It was consecrated to Saturn, and on December 17 the great feast of Saturnalia began, lasting several days. It coincided with the winter solstice and the Yule season. The Anglo-Saxons called it Yule-monat, "midwinter month." It coincided with the winter solstice and the Yule season.

    {file "Wicca, Wicca, Who's Got the Wicca? (Hurn, RMPJ)" "bos043.htm"}

    Wicca, Wicca, Who's Got the Wicca?
    My Tradition, or Yours?

    [An article which attempts to make sense of all the various Traditions, Brands, Denominations, ect., which may confuse the unwary new-comer to Neo- Paganism (Wicca in particular).]

    By: Hurn

    Greetings, and Bright Blessings... Welcome to this, the next in a series of introductory pieces on Alternate Religions. Today, we shall take a look at the many varied Traditions in the Wicca Family of Faiths. Whilst there is, indeed, a large number of groups who profess one set of tenants, or ideas; one soon begins to see why they may all be lumped together as one Religion.

    Obviously, to start, one must define Religion as it applies to these groups of people. Next, a listing of some of the more Popular Traditions, giving a basic description of each. Lastly, some comments on the "cords which bind these groups together", ie. a discussion on the Underlying Philosophies of the New Age Movement, Neo-Paganisms in particular.

    I. What is a Religion?

    A dictionary definition of religion looks something like:
    Religion, n.; An organized system of Beliefs and/or Rituals, centering on a Supernatural Being or Beings.

    Everyone with me so far? Good. I think we can all agree on definitions for "Beliefs" and "Supernatural", so the only sub-definition will be "Ritual": any ordered sequence of events or actions, including directed thoughts, especially one that is repeated in the 'same' manner each time, and that is designed to produce a predictable altered state of consciousness, within which certain magical or religious results may be obtained.

    Now, by using these definitions, the astute reader may realize that one need not "believe" in anything in order to belong to a Religion, although most 'established' churches Do require that one has conforming beliefs in order to become 'accepted into' that Religion. One of the beauties of the Pagan/NeoPagan/Wiccan Religion is that the majority of the sects do not require one to have 'conforming' beliefs. One need not Believe in the God/dess in order to worship them, and this is the key to being a New Age type Religion.

    New Age Religions acknowledge that there are many paths to Godhood, and that each person should find his/her own way. Thus, while there is communication and discussion between the diverse ways of Wicca, there is generally no cause for religious persecution or Holy Wars. Also, there are very little 'missionary' type efforts, since there is no Prime Directive stating that everyone who does not believe a certain piece of Dogma is Wrong, and will burn in Hell forever, unless saved, or made to see the light.

    Contrary to most religions, it is Not the shared set of Beliefs, or similar Dogma which holds the Wiccan Religions together. Rather, it is the Attitudes of the people involved, and their common Heritage which provide the bonds of cooperation among the Pagan Peoples. These points of agreement shall be further addressed following a brief list of some of the more popular Traditions, with a description of each.

    II. Traditions/Branches/Gatherings/Sub-Groups/Interpretations/ect.
    [nb. This is not, by any means, an all inclusive list]

    1. Gardnerian:
      Started by G. Gardner, in England, in the mid 1950's, this Tradition claims to have existed, in secret, since the Witch-Burnings began during the Middle Ages. While there is some doubt as to whether or not it is as old as it claims, there is no denying that the Gardnerian Sect has been one of the most Influential of the Traditions. In fact, many of the groups which follow were started by people who had been introduced to Paganism and the Worship of the Lord and Lady as members of a Gardnerian group.

      A structured religion with definite hierarchy within each group (known, as a Coven), but little to no Authority of one coven over another. Within the coven, a Matriarchy exists, with the High Priestess generally being considered the leader (there are, of course, exceptions to this, but these descriptions are, for the most part, only generalizations based upon information gathered from many sources).

      The typical Gardnerian view of the God/dess is that of a Dominant Three-Faced Goddess (Maid, Mother, and Crone) with a Male Consort (Who has 2 sides.. the Young Summer King, and the Old Winter King).

      Ceremonies include a series of initiations into higher levels of the Craft, various Holiday Celebrations (based, of course, upon the "Wheel of the Year" calendar of Feast days.

    2. Alexandrian:
      Started about the same time as Gardner's, this tradition is fairly similar, with a little more emphasis upon Ceremonial Magick. There are numerous Covens in both US and Europe.

    3. Dianic:
      This is more of a Sub-class, rather than a particular Tradition. There are several Feminist Traditions which are considered Dianic. This sub-class tends to emphasize the Female aspect of the Goddess, sometimes to the exclusion of the Male God. Some feel that these groups are rather reactionary and self limiting. Be that as it may, the Dianic Covens tend to be more politically active.

    4. School of Wicca:
      Headed by Gavin and Yvonne Frost, this School is the largest correspondence school of Witchcraft in the US. Numerous Covens have resulted from this School, although it is somewhat unconventional (if, that is, anything dealing with Wicca could be called conventional). The Frosts' views on Wicca as a religion do differ with the majority.. in that they do not consider Wicca as "Pagan", but rather as Monotheistic.

    5. Seax (or Saxon) Wicca:
      Started by Raymond Buckland, who was originally a leader in promoting the Gardnerian Tradition, as an alternative to the existing Covens. Unlike most traditions, which consider the Coven group to be the normal unit of division (ie. all ceremonies/Rituals = Group Rites), the Seax version has provision for lone witches (often referred to as Solitaires). Another thing which sets this particular brand apart is its non-reliance upon being properly initiated into the Wiccan community. Many of the other groups require that new members be brought to existing covens to be ceremonially initiated into that Tradition, and that only after years of study within the group is one ready to start a new coven. The Seax tradition, recognizing that there may not be a friendly, neighborhood Coven, allows for self-initiation, and Auto setup of a Coven.

    6. Traditionalist (Welsh, Scots, Greek, Irish, etc...)
      Like Dianic, this is a sub-class. Each Traditionalist group is based upon the traditions, literature, myth, and folktales of that particular geographic/demographic area. This is evident in the Names of the God/dess used by individual groups.

    III. Common ties/beliefs/Ideals/ect...

    As stated earlier, it's not doctrine/dogma similarities which tend to hold these diverse groups together, rather, it is the common Ideals and feelings expressed by the Pagan Peoples themselves. Here are some examples:

    The Wiccan Rede: "An it harms none, do what thou will." is almost universally accepted amongst the groups. Most groups tend to be polytheistic, animists, pantheists, ect. One is not "converted" to Wicca, rather, the new comer feels a sense of "Coming Home", or, more poetically, "The Goddess calls to Her own". Nature plays a big part in most Traditions, either as direct personification of the God/dess, or as aspects of them. There is no counterpart to the Devil, as such, in the Pagan religions... no personification of All Evil, rather, the choice is there for all to make. However, there is the Law of Three Fold Return, which states "That which thou dost send out shall return three fold", so good begets good, and evil befalls those who are evil (a horrendous understatement / simplification, but true).

    Author's note:
    Whew! That was a long haul of writing in one sitting... if there are any big errors noticeable, mail me, and I'll make a second draft of this.. or perhaps even expand it some.. (my time is limited in as far as when I have opportunities to just sit down and write something like this, but I can usually squeeze in some time, here or there.)

    I hope that this is somewhat enlightening... there are some other files, here, which give more basic explanations of the terms used.. (Witch, Coven, Magick, ect..) ... I did assume a small amount of familiarity present within the reader... if anyone wishes, I can append a Preface covering that which was presupposed knowledge.

    {file "Binding A Spell (Farrar & Farrar)" "bos044.htm"}

    Binding a Spell (Classic version)

    Come ye as the charm is made!
    Queen of heaven, Queen of hell,
    Horned Hunter of the night
    Lend your power unto the spell,
    And work our will by magic rite!
    By all the power of land and sea,
    By all the might of moon and sun
    I call the Earth to bind my spell.
    Air to speed it well.
    Bright as Fire shall it glow.
    Deep as tide of Water flow.
    Count the elements fourfold,
    In the fifth the spell shall hold.

    {file "Saxon Wicca Rites (Raymond Buckland)" "bos045.htm"}

    Saxon Wicca Rites

    From "The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft" by Raymond Buckland copyright 1974 -- Samuel Weiser Publishers (NOW OUT OF PRINT)

    posted for PAN, the ORIGINAL Psychic Awareness Network at 1-703-362-1139 by MATRIKA, co-sysop

    Legend of Woden/Odin retrieving the Runes

    The Snake came crawling and struck at none
    But Woden took nine glory-twigs (pieces of wood on which were carved runic inscriptions) and struck the adder so that it flew into nine parts.

    This quote shows how Woden/Odin was a master magician and drew his power from the runes. To this day many Saxon Pagans work much of their Magic with runes, inscribing them on candles in candle magick, incorporating them into talismans or symbols of protection that they wear, carry or keep in their homes (can also be for other purposes, etc. They can even be put somewhere invisibly by tracing them with a scented oil. For example, a rune or runic monogram (several runic letters overlaying one another) can be inscribed on your place of business in Money in Abundance oil or some other money -- oriented oils of your own preference. For healing a rune or runic monogram of healing can be written on the body of the patient with an oil of Healing, after the regular transfer of Pranic energy or "laying -- on -- of -- the -- hands" healing has occurred. (including use of crystals, if that is so desired) Etc. etc. etc. Why are runes so important? For the same reason that they were in Cabalistic Magick among the Jews and in Sidha Yoga. In India among the Sidhis the Shakti or Feminine aspect of Deity (as Shiva is the male) has many aspects through which the world was emanated -- one of the more important aspects is matrika shakti or the power of sound to create via the letters of the alphabet forming themselves into Words. In both systems -- Kabbalah and Sidha Yoga -- it is believed that the universe was created by words. This is reflected in modern New-Age work with Affirmations used by such diverse sources as Marion Weinstein, Diannic Witch, as described in her book "Positive Magic" (Phoenix Publishing) and the Unity School of Christianity as well as the Religious Science and Christian Science and Divine Science and all the other "science" churches. Shakti Gawain, author of "Creative Visualization" teaches it from the New Age perspective as well. It is through words we create out own reality and right use of them for good and in loving ways is one of the most powerful of Magicks. (Note by Matrika)

    From the old Norse Verse, Lay of the High one, stanzas 138, 139, and 141

    Woden/Odin is speaking

    As you can see this legend, which in the original sources pre-dates Christianity, has much in common with the legend of Jesus's Crucifixion/Resurrection in the Newer religion -- but then there are similar themes in the story of Tammuz from the Middle East, the story of Osiris in Egypt and in many other sources. The story of the fallen God who is resurrected with great power and wisdom reflects the Shamans's confrontation with his own death -- either in a literal sense through sickness or accident, or in a Psychological sense or by other means such as the mild, natural hallucinogens used by the Native Americans and other tribal peoples. (Note, I am not endorsing their use; they are completely unnecessary) -- but nevertheless, this is the practice in some cultures, where they know how to handle the power of these drugs and guide one safely through the experience. It is important to note this is not done lightly or playfully either and that the drugs they use are natural substances, not the harsher chemical ones abused in our modern society for recreational use)

    It also represents the natural cycles of the year -- the grain grows and is cut down or sacrificed only to be reborn again, the trees lose their leaves and seem to die only to resurrected, (which is why the tree of life/cross image developed) some animals hibernate and come back, etc. etc. etc

    Now here is the legend of the Goddess in the Saxon form as the search by Freya for the necklace Brosingame -- a silver circlet worn about her neck as a chaplet. As with the Gardnerian Wicca legend of the descent of the Goddess to the Underworld, it reflects the cycles of the year -- when fertility seems to sink into the earth and vanish during winter's barren months only to have the Lady and her bounty return to us in the spring.

    (Matrika's notes)

    1. All day had Freya, most lovely of the Goddesses, played and romped in the fields. Then did she lay down to rest.

    2. And while she slept; deft Loki, the prankster, the mischief-maker of the Gods; did espy the glimmering of Brosingame, formed of Galdra (magick) Her constant companion. Silent as the night did Loki move to the Goddess's side and with fingers formed over the very ages in lightness did remove the silver circlet from about her snow white neck.

    3. Straightaway did Freya arouse; on sensing it's loss. Though he moved with the speed of the winds, yet Loki she glimpsed as he passed swiftly from sight into the barrow (burial mound) that leads to Dreun. (land of the dead, the underworld)

    4. Then was Freya in despair. Darkness descended all about her to hide her tears. Great was her anguish. All light, all life, all creatures joined in her doom.

    5. To all corners were sent the Searchers, in quest of Loki; yet knew they. they would find him not. For who is there may descend to Dreun and return again from thence?

    6. Excepting the Gods themselves and, alack, mischievous Loki.

    7. So it was that, still weak from her grief, Freya herself elected to descend in search of Brosingame. At the portals of the Barrow was she challenged, yet recognized and passed.

    8. The multitude of souls within cried joyfully to see her, yet could she not tarry as she sought her stolen light.

    9. The infamous Loki left no trail to follow, yet was he everywhere past seen. Those to whom she spake held to Freya (that) Loki carried no Jewel as he went by.

    10. Where then was it hid?

    11. In despair she searched an age. Hearhden (also known as Heimdall) the mighty smith of the Gods, did arise from his rest to sense the bewailment of the souls to Freya's sorrow. Striding from his smithy, to find the cause of the sorrow, did he espy the Silver Circlet where Loki Mischief-maker had laid it; upon the rock before his door.

    12. Then was all clear.

    13. As Hearhden took hold of Brosingame (then did) Loki appear before him, his face wild with rage.

    14. Yet would Loki not attack Hearhden, this mighty smith whose strength was known even beyond Dreun.

    15. By wiles and tricks did he strive to get his hands upon the (silver) circlet. He shape-shifted; he darted here and there; he was visible, then invisible. yet could he not sway the Smith.

    16. Tired of the fight, Hearhden raised his mighty club. Then sped Loki away.

    17. Great was the joy of Freya when Hearhden placed Brosingame about her snow-white neck.

    18. Great were the cries of Joy from Dreun and above.

    19. Great were the thanks that Freya and all People gave to the Gods for the return of Brosingame.

    This tale and the Gardnerian legend of the descent of the Goddess into the Underworld (told in the 2d degree initiation) and similar myths from around the world, such as the legend of Kwan Yin's descent to the land of death and her being expelled for spreading mirth and joy, show that women also shared a very important role in the shamanism/priesthood of the European Pagan traditions and also faced the ordeals -- i.e. the physical or psychological confrontation with death. And again, it reflects the times of darkness and light in the year -- the waxing and waning of the moon each month and the waxing and waning of the sun each year from Yule or Winter solstice to Mid-summer's night or Summer solstice when the light grows stronger and the remainder of the year, when light grows weaker.

    {file "Wiccan Shamanism (Selena Fox)" "bos046.htm"}

    Wiccan Shamanism

    by Selena Fox

    typed by Lewis for P.A.N. 508-795-7628

    Shamanism exists in tribal cultures around the world and has done so for centuries. Yet, in reading most anthropological texts on Shamanism, there is little, if any reference made to shamanism in Europe. However Shamanism has existed among the peoples of Europe not only in ancient times, but also through the present day. During the Middle Ages, the Old Ways largely disappeared from public view because of persecution. Yet they were not eradicated but took a more underground existence. Today, there are some of us of European ancestry that are bringing Shamanic ways rooted in pre-Christian Europe back into the light.

    Wiccan Shamanism is a term I began using several years ago in an attempt to describe my own path of magick and spirituality in relation to the other forms of Shamanism on the Planet. Wiccan Shamanism draws on the Old but it is not simply an attempt re-construction and revival of the Old Ways of tribal Europe. Wiccan Shamanism blends both the Old and the New to suit the modern times in which we live. Although emphasis is on European symbology and traditions Wiccan Shamanism is multi-cultural, incorporating ways of other healers and magick workers from many places and eras.

    What follows is a glimpse into Wiccan Shamanism as I know it and practice it. While Jim, Dennis, and others who help with various aspects of CIRCLES work may share many of these concepts, I speak here only for myself - for at the heart of this spiritual approach is the idea that each person must seek their own connection with the Divine, within their own Self, rather than having me or anyone else do this for them. This is not a path of a leader with followers, but a path where each becomes their own leader.

    I call to the Powers of the Four Quarters -- to Earth in the North which is the Realm of the Physical Body and Material Plane, to Air in the East which is the Realm of Thoughts and Intellect, to Fire in the South which is the Realm of Will Power and Action, and Water in the West which is the Realm of Emotions and Intuition. My Medicine Wheel is the Magick Circle which connects the Four Quarters. The sacred places I frequent include a high rock, a crystal clear spring fed pool n a hidden valley and a circle of stones in a grove of Oak and Birch on a mound.

    I am a channel between Planet Earth beneath my feet and the Heavens above my head. I become the World tree when I Shamanize, linking the transforming Dark of the Underworld with the Awakening Light of the Upperworld.

    I am the Crystal LIght that is at the Center of the Circle and is the fifth Element Spirit. I seek always to act out of MY own Inner Self which is at the enter of MY being, for my Inner Self in the Balance of all the Elements, of my Female and Male sides, of my Lunar and Solar natures of my intellect and intuition my Inner Self is my doorway into the realm where All is One.

    I see the Circle of Life from the Center. I watch the Seasons change as the Wheel of the Year turns and I celebrate the 8 sabbats. I connect with the dance of Night and Day, of Fair and Stormy Weathers, of the Waxing and Waning Moon. I see the cycle of Birth, Growth, Maturity, Death, and Rebirth in all of Nature. I examine the cycles of my own life and of the lives of those who seek healing aid from me.

    I am the traveler between the World of Daily Life and the Otherworld which is the land of Dreams, visions and Spirits. I am a Consciousness Explorer. the Otherworldis as real and as important to me as the Day-to-Day World. I bridge the Worlds rather than seeking to dwell solely in one or the other. I journey into the Otherworld for a reason -- to bring back healing and knowledge to apply to Daily Life, helping others, myself and the Planet.

    I see the Divine in all things. My friends and allies include not only humans but also plants, animals, rocks, winds, waters, fire, stars, and other life forms. I commune with the Source some call "God" as both Mother Goddess and Father God, for both aspects are necessary for the Unity.

    The main focus of my Shamanic work is Healing. I was called to this path as a young child in dreams and Out-of-Body experiences, but I didn't begin my work until my adult years when I started Healing myself. To do this I journeyed alone into the Pit of my Shadow Self and came face-to-face with my problems and hang-ups; my doubts fears, disillusionments, rejections, angers and hurts; with all MY false self images. Words can not begin to express the misery, the utter despair the powerlessness I felt during this time. Yet coming apart was essential; it enabled me to break through the barriers which I had formed and let others form in my psyche that had kept me from being one with my True Self. In the deepest Darkness, I felt the Light of my own Inner Self beginning to shine through. I focused on the Light and slowly emerged from the Pit, stronger and more integrated than ever before and with the power to heal others as well as myself. As a result of this transformation process, my life's work became clear. I now help others from their own pits of negativity and become whole again.

    Yet my work also extends to more than Humankind; it involves bringing Healing to the Planet as a whole. In my communing with the Land, I have heard the cries of the Earth Mother, sorrowing over the self-centered, greedy, intolerant, and destructive behaviors of many of Her human children, who are polluting the soils, water, and air; who are playing power games with nuclear fire; and who are polluting the spiritual atmosphere of the entire world with their narrow-mindedness and hate. I am deeply concerned about survival -- not of the Planet Herself for all the humans in the world can not destroy Her even with all their weapons; She is too strong and powerful for that to happen. What I am concerned about is the survival of the human race. -- will we annihilate ourselves and many of the life forms around us, or will we wake up in time to see the larger picture, find and implement creative solutions to the worlds problems, and enter a New Age of expanded consciousness?

    The Balance of Life can be restored on Planet Earth; Harmony can be restored between humankind and other life forms; Love consciousness can increase and be prevalent on the Earth. I, along with numerous other healers and ministers from a variety of spiritual traditions around the world today have responded to the upset of Mother Earth by dedicating our lives to this Planetary Healing Work, each in our own way. It is this Great Work that underlies all the healing and other things I do. It is the Heart of Wiccan Shamanism.

    First published in fall 1984 "Circle Network News";
    © 1984, CIRCLE, Box 219, Mt. Horeb WI 53572 USA.

    {file "Healing Myth (Nihasa)" "bos047.htm"}

    A Healing Myth

    By "Nihasa"

    This story can have a powerful healing effect when read out loud (or recorded and then played) to someone suffering from a phobia or other effect of childhood trauma. While names, settings, and style can be varied to suit individual tastes, the sequence which the apprentice describes, the sequence the princess goes through, and the vagueness of the "bad thing" descriptions should remain unchanged and no element of the story should be left out.

    Once, in another time and another place, a kingdom of magic and beauty knew a time of peace. No armies threatened its borders, no bandits plundered its trade routes, no plagues sickened its people. Yet even in such peaceful times, bad things could happen: accidents, misunderstandings, even good people doing bad things.

    The third daughter of the king was a bright and cheerful sort. She wasn't the strongest or the prettiest of the royal princesses, but she did have the nicest wings of anyone her age. She loved to fly around the countryside and explore the groves and meadows she found...they were always full of surprises.

    One day she found a particularly pretty grove, with a pond glistening in a little clearing in the middle. As she went in for a closer look, she saw images start to form. She saw her own reflection, and as she lightly touched the ground she saw that her reflection was watching reflections of her own...dim watery reflections from her past.

    "So you can see the pictures." The voice from among the trees made her jump. "Don't worry," continued the young man as he stepped out from among the trees, "nobody else can see the same images, Princess. It's part of the magic."

    "How...?" she asked, looking him up and down. He was a young man, no older than the princess herself, dressed in the rough tunic of a wizard's apprentice. "Who are you? How did you know who I am, what I saw?"

    "I am apprenticed to the Court Wizard. Everybody knows who you are, Princess...and besides, I have seen you at the palace when I have been there with my master." He paused, glancing at the ground and lowering his voice. "As to the images... well, at one time I had need of their magic."

    "When I entered the Wizard's service, I had a great and secret fear. Something...bad...happened to me when I was younger. It hurt to even think about, and after time I didn't think about it much. But ever since that time, I had lived with the fear. When my master learned of this, he taught me the magic of this pool and its stream."

    "The pool reflects images from your mind...scenes from your past, dreams of the future, even fantasies of the present. The stream flows like time itself, upstream into the past, and downstream into the future. If I followed the ritual he described, these magics could wash clean the fear."

    She made a face. "I suppose this ritual involves deep magics usable only by Wizards?"

    "Not really. All the magic is in the waters, and anyone can use the ritual. Even a lowly apprentice." He grinned. "It's pretty simple. After he told me about it, he brought me here and then stood back by the trees. He said that he would answer any questions I had but otherwise I was on my own."

    "I stood where I could see my reflection in the pool, and then thought about my fear. As I thought, my reflection watched a reflection of my a stage where dimly lit actors played out the scene against a colorless backdrop. I looked up and saw that I was still here, in the glade. I looked back at the water, holding on to a small part of the special feeling of fear it had given me. As I turned and looked back upstream, I saw more images...each earlier than the last. I relaxed and let the feeling guide me back to the earliest image. When I had that, I turned back to the pool and found my reflection watching the same colorless players in their dim reflection of the memory. As my reflection watched, the image went from a time shortly before the bad thing happened, through the whole thing, and on to a time when it was all over. When it passed the ending that way, it a drawing. Then the drawing faded away, and I was just looking at my reflection. The Wizard had told me that if I stepped into that last part of the image, it would run very quickly backwards, with full color and sound and me living backwards through it all...all the way through to the part before the beginning. It sounded very strange. As I looked at my reflection again, it was watching the image go forward again in its dim, colorless way. When it reached the drawing at the end, I stepped into the image and was plunged into a world going backwards! It went clear through to before the beginning in less than a second, then stopped. Startled, I let the water carry me downstream, through all that had happened since, with the fear gone and the memory unable to hurt me. When I reached the here-and-now, I got out and just stood there, knowing that the fear would trouble me no more." He stopped, and suddenly seemed to remember where he was, and who he was talking to. "That was over a year ago, and the fear is still gone. The Wizard says it is gone for good."

    She thought for a moment. "So all there is to this ritual is think of the problem until your reflection sees it, follow a part of the feeling upstream to my earliest memory of it, wait for my reflection to see it all the way through, step into the ending, and live it backwards quickly? What kind of magic is that?"

    He thought for a minute, shrugged, and said "Effective? If you wish, I will withdraw to the trees while you try it."

    "What makes you think that I need it?"

    "Because the images only come to those who do." His voice faded to an embarrassed silence as he realized what he had said. "I'll go now."

    "Yes, do." She said absently, already thinking. Then: "But not too far, in case I need you." She was remembering an incident a few days back which had set off her special fear, and just as the apprentice had described, her reflection in the pool was watching a dim and watery scene of the memory. Startled, she looked up again. Yes, she was in the clearing, with the trees all around and the apprentice all but lost among the closer ones. She could still feel a part of that fear, so she kept that feeling while she looked back up stream at all the images from the past that the feeling had touched...until she found the earliest of them all. She brought that memory back to the pool and released it as her reflection started to watch it unfold in its dim and watery way. Her reflection seemed to have a life of its own as it watched the pale scene start before anything happened, run through the bad parts, and then pause at a time when it was all over. She watched her reflection shift as she prepared for what she would do. Her reflection settled as it watched the scene unfold again. The dim scene passed through the beginning, through the bad time and on past again. When it stopped, she jumped in to it. Suddenly, she was there again: back where and when it had happened. Everything was moving backwards, and in a flash she had lived backwards through it and past the beginning. Shocked, she let the water carry her down stream, forward through all the rest of her yesterdays without the bad times for company. When she got to today, she stood up. There she was...standing, dripping in a stream in the clearing. She looked around for the apprentice, half expecting him to be laughing at the soggy mess she must be. He was there, by the trees...not laughing, just smiling in an understanding way.

    In the years that followed, they became friends. Although they went their separate ways...he, as wizard to one of the King's high lords and she as wife to a neighboring prince... they valued that friendship to the end of their days. And from that time on, neither was ever again troubled by their great fears.

    {file "Candlemas: The Light Returns (Mike Nichols)" "bos048.htm"}

    Candlemas: The Light Returns

    by Mike Nichols

    It seems quite impossible that the holiday of Candlemas should be considered the beginning of Spring. Here in the Heartland, February 2nd may see a blanket of snow mantling the Mother. Or, if the snows have gone, you may be sure the days are filled with drizzle, slush and steel-grey skies -- the dreariest weather of the year. In short, the perfect time for a Pagan Festival of Lights. And as for Spring, although this may seem a tenuous beginning, all the little buds, flowers and leaves will have arrived on schedule before Spring runs its course to Beltane.

    'Candlemas' is the Christianized name for the holiday, of course. The older Pagan names were Imbolc and Oimelc. 'Imbolc' means, literally, 'in the belly' (of the Mother). For in the womb of Mother Earth, hidden from our mundane sight but sensed by a keener vision, there are stirrings. The seed that was planted in her womb at the solstice is quickening and the new year grows. 'Oimelc' means 'milk of ewes', for it is also lambing season.

    The holiday is also called 'Brigit's Day', in honor of the great Irish Goddess Brigit. At her shrine, the ancient Irish capitol of Kildare, a group of 19 priestesses (no men allowed) kept a perpetual flame burning in her honor. She was considered a goddess of fire, patroness of smithcraft, poetry and healing (especially the healing touch of midwifery). This tripartite symbolism was occasionally expressed by saying that Brigit had two sisters, also named Brigit. (Incidentally, another form of the name Brigit is Bride, and it is thus She bestows her special patronage on any woman about to be married or handfasted, the woman being called 'bride' in her honor.)

    The Roman Catholic Church could not very easily call the Great Goddess of Ireland a demon, so they canonized her instead. Henceforth, she would be 'Saint' Brigit, Patron Saint of smithcraft, poetry and healing. They 'explained' this by telling the Irish peasants that Brigit was 'really' an early Christian missionary sent to the Emerald Isle, and that the miracles she performed there 'misled' the common people into believing that she was a goddess. For some reason, the Irish swallowed this. (There is no limit to what the Irish imagination can convince itself of. For example, they also came to believe that Brigit was the 'foster-mother' of Jesus, giving no thought to the implausibility of Jesus having spent his boyhood in Ireland!)

    Brigit's holiday was chiefly marked by the kindling of sacred fires, since she symbolized the fire of birth and healing, the fire of the forge, and the fire of poetic inspiration. Bonfires were lighted on the beacon tors, and chandlers celebrated their special holiday. The Roman Church was quick to confiscate this symbolism as well, using 'Candlemas' as the day to bless all the church candles that would be used for the coming liturgical year. (Catholics will be reminded that the following day, St. Blaise's Day, is remembered for using the newly blessed candles to bless the throats of parishioners, keeping them from colds, flu, sore throats, etc.)

    The Catholic Church, never one to refrain from piling holiday upon holiday, also called it the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (It is surprising how many of the old Pagan holidays were converted to Maryan Feasts.) The symbol of the Purification may seem a little obscure to modern readers, but it has to do with the old custom of 'churching women'. It was believed that women were impure for six weeks after giving birth. And since Mary gave birth at the winter solstice, she wouldn't be purified until February 2nd. In Pagan symbolism, this might be re-translated as when the Great Mother once again becomes the Young Maiden Goddess.

    Today, this holiday is chiefly connected to weather lore. Even our American folk-calendar keeps the tradition of 'Groundhog's Day', a day to predict the coming weather, telling us that if the Groundhog sees his shadow, there will be 'six more weeks' of bad weather (i.e., until the next old holiday, Lady Day). This custom is ancient. An old British rhyme tells us that 'If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year.' Actually, all of the cross-quarter days can be used as 'inverse' weather predictors, whereas the quarter-days are used as 'direct' weather predictors.

    Like the other High Holidays or Great Sabbats of the Witches' year, Candlemas is sometimes celebrated on its alternate date, astrologically determined by the sun's reaching 15-degrees Aquarius, or Candlemas Old Style (in 1988, February 3rd, at 9:03 am CST). Another holiday that gets mixed up in this is Valentine's Day. Ozark folklorist Vance Randolf makes this quite clear by noting that the old-timers used to celebrate Groundhog's Day on February 14th. This same displacement is evident in Eastern Orthodox Christianity as well. Their habit of celebrating the birth of Jesus on January 6th, with a similar post-dated shift in the six-week period that follows it, puts the Feast of the Purification of Mary on February 14th. It is amazing to think that the same confusion and lateral displacement of one of the old folk holidays can be seen from the Russian steppes to the Ozark hills, but such seems to be the case!

    Incidentally, there is speculation among linguistic scholars that the very name of 'Valentine' has Pagan origins. It seems that it was customary for French peasants of the Middle Ages to pronounce a 'g' as a 'v'. Consequently, the original term may have been the French 'galantine', which yields the English word 'gallant'. The word originally refers to a dashing young man known for his 'affaires d'amour', a true galaunt. The usual associations of V(G)alantine's Day make much more sense in this light than their vague connection to a legendary 'St. Valentine' can produce. Indeed, the Church has always found it rather difficult to explain this nebulous saint's connection to the secular pleasures of flirtation and courtly love.

    For modern Witches, Candlemas O.S. may then be seen as the Pagan version of Valentine's Day, with a de-emphasis of 'hearts and flowers' and an appropriate re-emphasis of Pagan carnal frivolity. This also re-aligns the holiday with the ancient Roman Lupercalia, a fertility festival held at this time, in which the priests of Pan ran through the streets of Rome whacking young women with goatskin thongs to make them fertile. The women seemed to enjoy the attention and often stripped in order to afford better targets.

    One of the nicest folk-customs still practiced in many countries, and especially by Witches in the British Isles and parts of the U.S., is to place a lighted candle in each and every window of the house, beginning at sundown on Candlemas Eve (February 1st), allowing them to continue burning until sunrise. Make sure that such candles are well seated against tipping and guarded from nearby curtains, etc. What a cheery sight it is on this cold, bleak and dreary night to see house after house with candle-lit windows! And, of course, if you are your Coven's chandler, or if you just happen to like making candles, Candlemas Day is the day for doing it. Some Covens hold candle-making parties and try to make and bless all the candles they'll be using for the whole year on this day.

    Other customs of the holiday include weaving 'Brigit's crosses' from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection, performing rites of spiritual cleansing and purification, making 'Brigit's beds' to ensure fertility of mind and spirit (and body, if desired), and making Crowns of Light (i.e. of candles) for the High Priestess to wear for the Candlemas Circle, similar to those worn on St. Lucy's Day in Scandinavian countries. All in all, this Pagan Festival of Lights, sacred to the young Maiden Goddess, is one of the most beautiful and poetic of the year.

    {file "Lady Day: The Vernal Equinox (Mike Nichols)" "bos049.htm"}

    Lady Day: The Vernal Equinox

    by Mike Nichols

    Now comes the Vernal Equinox, and the season of Spring reaches its apex, halfway through its journey from Candlemas to Beltane. Once again, night and day stand in perfect balance, with the powers of light on the ascendancy. The god of light now wins a victory over his twin, the god of darkness. In the Mabinogion myth reconstruction which I have proposed, this is the day on which the restored Llew takes his vengeance on Goronwy by piercing him with the sunlight spear. For Llew was restored/reborn at the Winter Solstice and is now well/old enough to vanquish his rival/twin and mate with his lover/mother. And the great Mother Goddess, who has returned to her Virgin aspect at Candlemas, welcomes the young sun god's embraces and conceives a child. The child will be born nine months from now, at the next Winter Solstice. And so the cycle closes at last.

    We think that the customs surrounding the celebration of the spring equinox were imported from Mediterranean lands, although there can be no doubt that the first inhabitants of the British Isles observed it, as evidence from megalithic sites shows. But it was certainly more popular to the south, where people celebrated the holiday as New Year's Day, and claimed it as the first day of the first sign of the Zodiac, Aries. However you look at it, it is certainly a time of new beginnings, as a simple glance at Nature will prove.

    In the Roman Catholic Church, there are two holidays which get mixed up with the Vernal Equinox. The first, occurring on the fixed calendar day of March 25th in the old liturgical calendar, is called the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (or B.V.M., as she was typically abbreviated in Catholic Missals). 'Annunciation' means an announcement. This is the day that the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was 'in the family way'. Naturally, this had to be announced since Mary, being still a virgin, would have no other means of knowing it. (Quit scoffing, O ye of little faith!) Why did the Church pick the Vernal Equinox for the commemoration of this event? Because it was necessary to have Mary conceive the child Jesus a full nine months before his birth at the Winter Solstice (i.e., Christmas, celebrated on the fixed calendar date of December 25). Mary's pregnancy would take the natural nine months to complete, even if the conception was a bit unorthodox.

    As mentioned before, the older Pagan equivalent of this scene focuses on the joyous process of natural conception, when the young virgin Goddess (in this case, 'virgin' in the original sense of meaning 'unmarried') mates with the young solar God, who has just displaced his rival. This is probably not their first mating, however. In the mythical sense, the couple may have been lovers since Candlemas, when the young God reached puberty. But the young Goddess was recently a mother (at the Winter Solstice) and is probably still nursing her new child. Therefore, conception is naturally delayed for six weeks or so and, despite earlier matings with the God, She does not conceive until (surprise!) the Vernal Equinox. This may also be their Hand-fasting, a sacred marriage between God and Goddess called a Hierogamy, the ultimate Great Rite. Probably the nicest study of this theme occurs in M. Esther Harding's book, 'Woman's Mysteries'. Probably the nicest description of it occurs in M.Z. Bradley's 'Mists of Avalon', in the scene where Morgana and Arthur assume the sacred roles. (Bradley follows the British custom of transferring the episode to Beltane, when the climate is more suited to its outdoor celebration.)

    The other Christian holiday which gets mixed up in this is Easter. Easter, too, celebrates the victory of a god of light (Jesus) over darkness (death), so it makes sense to place it at this season. Ironically, the name 'Easter' was taken from the name of a Teutonic lunar Goddess, Eostre (from whence we also get the name of the female hormone, estrogen). Her chief symbols were the bunny (both for fertility and because her worshipers saw a hare in the full moon) and the egg (symbolic of the cosmic egg of creation), images which Christians have been hard-pressed to explain. Her holiday, the Eostara, was held on the Vernal Equinox Full Moon. Of course, the Church doesn't celebrate full moons, even if they do calculate by them, so they planted their Easter on the following Sunday. Thus, Easter is always the first Sunday, after the first Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox. If you've ever wondered why Easter moved all around the calendar, now you know. (By the way, the Catholic Church was so adamant about not incorporating Lunar Goddess symbolism that they added a further calculation: if Easter Sunday were to fall on the Full Moon itself, then Easter was postponed to the following Sunday instead.)

    Incidentally, this raises another point: recently, some Pagan traditions began referring to the Vernal Equinox as Eostara. Historically, this is incorrect. Eostara is a lunar holiday, honoring a lunar Goddess, at the Vernal Full Moon. Hence, the name 'Eostara' is best reserved to the nearest Esbat, rather than the Sabbat itself. How this happened is difficult to say. However, it is notable that some of the same groups misappropriated the term 'Lady Day' for Beltane, which left no good folk name for the Equinox. Thus, Eostara was misappropriated for it, completing a chain-reaction of displacement. Needless to say, the old and accepted folk name for the Vernal Equinox is 'Lady Day'. Christians sometimes insist that the title is in honor of Mary and her Annunciation, but Pagans will smile knowingly.

    Another mythological motif which must surely arrest our attention at this time of year is that of the descent of the God or Goddess into the Underworld. Perhaps we see this most clearly in the Christian tradition. Beginning with his death on the cross on Good Friday, it is said that Jesus 'descended into Hell' for the three days that his body lay entombed. But on the third day (that is, Easter Sunday), his body and soul rejoined, he arose from the dead and ascended into heaven. By a strange 'coincidence', most ancient Pagan religions speak of the Goddess descending into the Underworld, also for a period of three days.

    Why three days? If we remember that we are here dealing with the lunar aspect of the Goddess, the reason should be obvious. As the text of one Book of Shadows gives it, ' the moon waxes and wanes, and walks three nights in darkness, so the Goddess once spent three nights in the Kingdom of Death.' In our modern world, alienated as it is from nature, we tend to mark the time of the New Moon (when no moon is visible) as a single date on a calendar. We tend to forget that the moon is also hidden from our view on the day before and the day after our calendar date. But this did not go unnoticed by our ancestors, who always speak of the Goddess's sojourn into the land of Death as lasting for three days. Is it any wonder then, that we celebrate the next Full Moon (the Eostara) as the return of the Goddess from chthonic regions?

    Naturally, this is the season to celebrate the victory of life over death, as any nature-lover will affirm. And the Christian religion was not misguided by celebrating Christ's victory over death at this same season. Nor is Christ the only solar hero to journey into the underworld. King Arthur, for example, does the same thing when he sets sail in his magical ship, Prydwen, to bring back precious gifts (i.e. the gifts of life) from the Land of the Dead, as we are told in the 'Mabinogi'. Welsh triads allude to Gwydion and Amaethon doing much the same thing. In fact, this theme is so universal that mythologists refer to it by a common phrase, 'The Harrowing of Hell'.

    However, one might conjecture that the descent into hell, or the land of the dead, was originally accomplished, not by a solar male deity, but by a lunar female deity. It is Nature Herself who, in Spring, returns from the Underworld with her gift of abundant life. Solar heroes may have laid claim to this theme much later. The very fact that we are dealing with a three-day period of absence should tell us we are dealing with a lunar, not solar, theme. (Although one must make exception for those occasional male lunar deities, such as the Assyrian god, Sin.) At any rate, one of the nicest modern renditions of the harrowing of hell appears in many Books of Shadows as 'The Descent of the Goddess'. Lady Day may be especially appropriate for the celebration of this theme, whether by storytelling, reading, or dramatic re-enactment.

    For modern Witches, Lady Day is one of the Lesser Sabbats or Low Holidays of the year, one of the four quarter-days. And what date will Witches choose to celebrate? They may choose the traditional folk 'fixed' date of March 25th, starting on its Eve. Or they may choose the actual equinox point, when the Sun crosses the Equator and enters the astrological sign of Aries. This year (1988), that will occur at 3:39 am CST on March 20th.

    {file "Lammas: The First Harvest (Mike Nichols)" "bos050.htm"}

    Lammas: The First Harvest

    by Mike Nichols

    Although in the heat of a Mid-western summer it might be difficult to discern, the festival of Lammas (Aug 1st) marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. The days now grow visibly shorter and by the time we've reached autumn's end (Oct 31st), we will have run the gamut of temperature from the heat of August to the cold and (sometimes) snow of November. And in the midst of it, a perfect Mid-western autumn.

    The history of Lammas is as convoluted as all the rest of the old folk holidays. It is of course a cross-quarter day, one of the four High Holidays or Greater Sabbats of Witchcraft, occurring 1/4 of a year after Beltane. It's true astrological point is 15 degrees Leo, which occurs at 1:18 am CDT, Aug 6th this year (1988), but tradition has set August 1st as the day Lammas is typically celebrated. The celebration proper would begin on sundown of the previous evening, our July 31st, since the Celts reckon their days from sundown to sundown.

    However, British Witches often refer to the astrological date of Aug 6th as Old Lammas, and folklorists call it Lammas O.S. ('Old Style'). This date has long been considered a 'power point' of the Zodiac, and is symbolized by the Lion, one of the 'tetramorph' figures found on the Tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune (the other three figures being the Bull, the Eagle, and the Spirit). Astrologers know these four figures as the symbols of the four 'fixed' signs of the Zodiac, and these naturally align with the four Great Sabbats of Witchcraft. Christians have adopted the same iconography to represent the four gospel-writers.

    'Lammas' was the medieval Christian name for the holiday and it means 'loaf-mass', for this was the day on which loaves of bread were baked from the first grain harvest and laid on the church altars as offerings. It was a day representative of 'first fruits' and early harvest.

    In Irish Gaelic, the feast was referred to as 'Lugnasadh', a feast to commemorate the funeral games of the Irish sun-god Lugh. However, there is some confusion on this point. Although at first glance, it may seem that we are celebrating the death of the Lugh, the god of light does not really die (mythically) until the autumnal equinox. And indeed, if we read the Irish myths closer, we discover that it is not Lugh's death that is being celebrated, but the funeral games which Lugh hosted to commemorate the death of his foster-mother, Taillte. That is why the Lugnasadh celebrations in Ireland are often called the 'Tailltean Games'.

    One common feature of the Games were the 'Tailltean marriages, a rather informal marriage that lasted for only 'a year and a day' or until next Lammas. At that time, the couple could decide to continue the arrangement if it pleased them, or to stand back to back and walk away from one another, thus bringing the Tailltean marriage to a formal close. Such trial marriages (obviously related to the Wiccan 'Handfasting') were quite common even into the 1500's, although it was something one 'didn't bother the parish priest about'. Indeed, such ceremonies were usually solemnized by a poet, bard or shanachie (or, it may be guessed, by a priest or priestess of the Old Religion).

    Lammastide was also the traditional time of year for craft festivals. The medieval guilds would create elaborate displays of their wares, decorating their shops and themselves in bright colors and ribbons, marching in parades, and performing strange, ceremonial plays and dances for the entranced onlookers. The atmosphere must have been quite similar to our modern-day Renaissance Festivals, such as the one celebrated in near-by Bonner Springs, Kansas, each fall.

    A ceremonial highlight of such festivals was the 'Catherine wheel'. Although the Roman Church moved St. Catherine's feast day all around the calender with bewildering frequency, it's most popular date was Lammas. (They also kept trying to expel this much-loved saint from the ranks of the blessed because she was mythical rather than historical, and because her worship gave rise to the heretical sect known as the Cathari.) At any rate, a large wagon wheel was taken to the top of a near-by hill, covered with tar, set aflame, and ceremoniously rolled down the hill. Some mythologists see in this ritual the remnants of a Pagan rite symbolizing the end of summer, the flaming disk representing the sun-god in his decline. And just as the sun king has now reached the autumn of his years, his rival or dark self has just reached puberty.

    Many commentators have bewailed the fact that traditional Gardnerian and Alexandrian Books of Shadows say very little about the holiday of Lammas, stating only that poles should be ridden and a circle dance performed. This seems strange, for Lammas is a holiday of rich mythic and cultural associations, providing endless resources for liturgical celebration.

    [Verse quotations by Robert Burns, as handed down through several Books of Shadows.]

    {file "Harvest Home (Mike Nichols)" "bos051.htm"}

    Harvest Home

    by Mike Nichols

    Despite the bad publicity generated by Thomas Tryon's novel, Harvest Home is the pleasantest of holidays. Admittedly, it does involve the concept of sacrifice, but one that is symbolic only. The sacrifice is that of the spirit of vegetation, John Barleycorn. Occurring 1/4 of the year after Midsummer, Harvest Home represents mid-autumn, autumn's height. It is also the Autumnal Equinox, one of the quarter days of the year, a Lesser Sabbat and a Low Holiday in modern Witchcraft. Technically, an equinox is an astronomical point and, due to the fact that the Earth wobbles on its axis slightly (rather like a top that's slowing down), the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The autumnal equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator on its apparent journey southward, and we experience a day and a night that are of equal duration. Up until Harvest Home, the hours of daylight have been greater than the hours from dusk to dawn. But from now on, the reverse holds true. Astrologers know this as the date on which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the Balance (an appropriate symbol of a balanced day and night). This year (1988) it will occur at 2:29 pm CDT on September 22nd.

    However, since most European peasants were not accomplished at calculating the exact date of the Equinox, they celebrated the event on a fixed calendar date, September 25th, a holiday the Medieval Church Christianized under the name of 'Michaelmas', the feast of the Archangel Michael. (One wonders if, at some point, the R.C. Church contemplated assigning the four quarter days of the year to the four Archangels, just as they assigned the four cross-quarter days to the four gospel-writers. Further evidence for this may be seen in the fact that there was a brief flirtation with calling the Vernal Equinox 'Gabrielmas', ostensibly to commemorate the angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary on Lady Day.) Again, it must be remembered that the Celts reckoned their days from sundown to sundown, so the September 25th festivities actually begin on the previous sundown (our September 24th).

    Although our Pagan ancestors probably celebrated Harvest Home on September 25th, modern Witches and Pagans, with their desk-top computers for making finer calculations, seem to prefer the actual equinox point, beginning the celebration on its eve (this year, sunset on September 21st).

    Mythically, this is the day of the year when the god of light is defeated by his twin and alter-ego, the god of darkness. It is the time of the year when night conquers day. And as I have recently shown in my seasonal reconstruction of the Welsh myth of Blodeuwedd, the Autumnal Equinox is the only day of the whole year when Llew (light) is vulnerable and it is possible to defeat him. Llew now stands on the balance (Libra/autumnal equinox), with one foot on the cauldron (Cancer/summer solstice) and his other foot on the goat (Capricorn/winter solstice). Thus he is betrayed by Blodeuwedd, the Virgin (Virgo) and transformed into an Eagle (Scorpio).

    Two things are now likely to occur mythically, in rapid succession. Having defeated Llew, Goronwy (darkness) now takes over Llew's functions, both as lover to Blodeuwedd, the Goddess, and as King of our own world. Although Goronwy, the Horned King, now sits on Llew's throne and begins his rule immediately, his formal coronation will not be for another six weeks, occurring at Samhain (Halloween) or the beginning of Winter, when he becomes the Winter Lord, the Dark King, Lord of Misrule. Goronwy's other function has more immediate results, however. He mates with the virgin goddess, and Blodeuwedd conceives, and will give birth -- nine months later (at the Summer Solstice) -- to Goronwy's son, who is really another incarnation of himself, the Dark Child.

    Llew's sacrificial death at Harvest Home also identifies him with John Barleycorn, spirit of the fields. Thus, Llew represents not only the sun's power, but also the sun's life trapped and crystallized in the corn.

    Often this corn spirit was believed to reside most especially in the last sheaf or shock harvested, which was dressed in fine clothes, or woven into a wicker-like man-shaped form. This effigy was then cut and carried from the field, and usually burned, amidst much rejoicing. So one may see Blodeuwedd and Goronwy in a new guise, not as conspirators who murder their king, but as kindly farmers who harvest the crop which they had planted and so lovingly cared for. And yet, anyone who knows the old ballad of John Barleycorn knows that we have not heard the last of him.

    Incidentally, this annual mock sacrifice of a large wicker-work figure (representing the vegetation spirit) may have been the origin of the misconception that Druids made human sacrifices. This charge was first made by Julius Caesar (who may not have had the most unbiased of motives), and has been re-stated many times since. However, as has often been pointed out, the only historians besides Caesar who make this accusation are those who have read Caesar. And in fact, upon reading Caesar's 'Gallic Wars' closely, one discovers that Caesar never claims to have actually witnessed such a sacrifice. Nor does he claim to have talked to anyone else who did. In fact, there is not one single eyewitness account of a human sacrifice performed by Druids in all of history!

    Nor is there any archeological evidence to support the charge. If, for example, human sacrifices had been performed at the same ritual sites year after year, there would be physical traces. Yet there is not a scrap. Nor is there any native tradition or history which lends support. In fact, insular tradition seems to point in the opposite direction. The Druid's reverence for life was so strict that they refused to lift a sword to defend themselves when massacred by Roman soldiers on the Isle of Mona. Irish Brehon laws forbade a Druid to touch a weapon, and any soul rash enough to unsheathe a sword in the presence of a Druid would be executed for such an outrage! Jesse Weston, in her brilliant study of the Four Hallows of British myth, 'From Ritual to Romance', points out that British folk tradition is, however, full of mock sacrifices. In the case of the wicker-man, such figures were referred to in very personified terms, dressed in clothes, addressed by name, etc. In such a religious ritual drama, everybody played along.

    In the medieval miracle-play tradition of the 'Rise Up, Jock' variety (performed by troupes of mummers at all the village fairs), a young harlequin-like king always underwent a mock sacrificial death. But invariably, the traditional cast of characters included a mysterious 'Doctor' who had learned many secrets while 'travelling in foreign lands'. The Doctor reaches into his bag of tricks, plies some magical cure, and presto! the young king rises up hale and whole again, to the cheers of the crowd. As Weston so sensibly points out, if the young king were actually killed, he couldn't very well rise up again, which is the whole point of the ritual drama! It is an enactment of the death and resurrection of the vegetation spirit. And what better time to perform it than at the end of the harvest season?

    In the rhythm of the year, Harvest Home marks a time of rest after hard work. The crops are gathered in, and winter is still a month and a half away! Although the nights are getting cooler, the days are still warm, and there is something magical in the sunlight, for it seems silvery and indirect. As we pursue our gentle hobbies of making corn dollies (those tiny vegetation spirits) and wheat weaving, our attention is suddenly arrested by the sound of baying from the skies (the 'Hounds of Annwn' passing?), as lines of geese cut silhouettes across a harvest moon. And we move closer to the hearth, the longer evening hours giving us time to catch up on our reading, munching on popcorn balls and caramel apples and sipping home-brewed mead or ale. What a wonderful time Harvest Home is! And how lucky we are to live in a part of the country where the season's changes are so dramatic and majestic!

    {file "The Death Of Llew, A Seasonal Interpretation (Mike Nichols)" "bos052.htm"}

    The Death of Llew, a Seasonal Interpretation

    by Mike Nichols

    In most Pagan cultures, the sun god is seen as split between two rival personalities: the god of light and his twin, his 'weird', his 'other self', the god of darkness. They are Gawain and the Green Knight, Gwyn and Gwythyr, Llew and Goronwy, Lugh and Balor, Balan and Balin, the Holly King and the Oak King, etc. Often they are depicted as fighting seasonal battles for the favor of their goddess/lover, such as Creiddylad or Blodeuwedd, who represents Nature.

    The god of light is always born at the winter solstice, and his strength waxes with the lengthening days, until the moment of his greatest power, the summer solstice, the longest day. And, like a look in a mirror, his 'shadow self', the lord of darkness, is born at the summer solstice, and his strength waxes with the lengthening nights until the moment of his greatest power, the winter solstice, the longest night.

    Indirect evidence supporting this mirror-birth pattern is strongest in the Christianized form of the Pagan myth. Many writers, from Robert Graves to Stewart Farrar, have repeatedly pointed out that Jesus was identified with the Holly King, while John the Baptist was the Oak King. That is why, 'of all the trees that are in the wood, the Holly tree bears the crown.' If the birth of Jesus, the 'light of the world', is celebrated at mid-winter, Christian folk tradition insists that John the Oak King (the 'dark of the world'?) was born (rather than died) at mid-summer.

    It is at this point that I must diverge from the opinion of Robert Graves and other writers who have followed him. Graves believes that at midsummer, the Sun King is slain by his rival, the God of Darkness; just as the God of Darkness is, in turn, slain by the God of Light at midwinter. And yet, in Christian folk tradition (derived from the older Pagan strain), it is births, not deaths, that are associated with the solstices. For the feast of John the Baptist, this is all the more conspicuous, as it breaks the rules regarding all other saints.

    John is the only saint in the entire Catholic hagiography whose feast day is a commemoration of his birth, rather than his death. A generation ago, Catholic nuns were fond of explaining that a saint is commemorated on the anniversary of his or her death because it was really a 'birth' into the Kingdom of Heaven. But John the Baptist, the sole exception, is emphatically commemorated on the anniversary of his birth into this world. Although this makes no sense viewed from a Christian perspective, it makes perfect poetic sense from the viewpoint of Pagan symbolism. (John's earlier Pagan associations are treated in my essay on Midsummer.)

    So if births are associated with the solstices, when do the symbolic deaths occur? When does Goronwy slay Llew and when does Llew, in his turn, slay Goronwy? When does darkness conquer light or light conquer darkness? Obviously (to me, at least), it must be at the two equinoxes. At the autumnal equinox, the hours of light in the day are eclipsed by the hours of darkness. At the vernal equinox, the process is reversed. Also, the autumnal equinox, called 'Harvest Home', is already associated with sacrifice, principally that of the spirit of grain or vegetation. In this case, the god of light would be identical.

    In Welsh mythology in particular, there is a startling vindication of the seasonal placement of the sun god's death, the significance of which occurred to me in a recent dream, and which I haven't seen elsewhere. Llew is the Welsh god of light, and his name means 'lion'. (The lion is often the symbol of a sun god.) He is betrayed by his 'virgin' wife Blodeuwedd, into standing with one foot on the rim of a cauldron and the other on the back of a goat. It is only in this way that Llew can be killed, and Blodeuwedd's lover, Goronwy, Llew's dark self, is hiding nearby with a spear at the ready. But as Llew is struck with it, he is not killed. He is instead transformed into an eagle.

    Putting this in the form of a Bardic riddle, it would go something like this: Who can tell in what season the Lion (Llew), betrayed by the Virgin (Blodeuwedd), poised on the Balance, is transformed into an Eagle? My readers who are astrologers are probably already gasping in recognition. The sequence is astrological and in proper order: Leo (lion), Virgo (virgin), Libra (balance), and Scorpio (for which the eagle is a well-known alternative symbol). Also, the remaining icons, cauldron and goat, could arguably symbolize Cancer and Capricorn (representing summer and winter), the signs beginning with the two solstice points. So Llew is balanced between cauldron and goat, between summer and winter, on the balance (Libra) point of the autumnal equinox, with one foot on the summer solstice and one foot on the winter solstice.

    This, of course, is the answer to a related Bardic riddle. Repeatedly, the 'Mabinogion' tells us that Llew must be standing with one foot on the cauldron and one foot on the goat's back in order to be killed. But nowhere does it tell us why. Why is this particular situation the ONLY one in which Llew can be overcome? Because it represents the equinox point. And the autumnal equinox is the only time of the entire year when light (Llew) can be overcome by darkness (Goronwy).

    It should now come as no surprise that, when it is time for Llew to kill Goronwy in his turn, Llew insists that Goronwy stands where he once stood while he (Llew) casts the spear. This is no mere vindictiveness on Llew's part. For, although the 'Mabinogion' does not say so, it should by now be obvious that this is the only time when Goronwy can be overcome. Light can overcome darkness only at the equinox -- this time the vernal equinox. (Curiously, even the Christian tradition retains this association, albeit in a distorted form, by celebrating Jesus' death near the time of the vernal equinox.)

    The Welsh myth concludes with Gwydion pursuing the faithless Blodeuwedd through the night sky, and a path of white flowers springs up in the wake of her passing, which we today know as the Milky Way. When Gwydion catches her, he transforms her into an owl, a fitting symbol of autumn, just as her earlier association with flowers (she was made from them) equates her with spring. Thus, while Llew and Goronwy represent summer and winter, Blodeuwedd herself represents both spring and fall, as patron goddess of flowers and owls, respectively.

    Although it is far more speculative than the preceding material, a final consideration would pursue this mirror-like life pattern of Llew and Goronwy to its ultimate conclusion. Although Llew is struck with the sunlight spear at the autumnal equinox, and so 'dies' as a human, it takes a while before Gwydion discovers him in his eagle form. How long? We may speculate 13 weeks, when the sun reaches the midpoint of the sign (or form) of the eagle, Scorpio -- on Halloween. And if this is true, it may be that Llew, the sun god, finally 'dies' to the upper world on Halloween, and now passes through the gates of death, where he is immediately crowned king of the underworld, the Lord of Misrule! (In medieval tradition, the person proclaimed as 'Lord of Misrule' reigned from Halloween to Old Christmas -- or, before the calender changes, until the winter solstice.)

    Meanwhile, Goronwy (with Blodeuwedd at his side) is crowned king in the upper world, and occupies Llew's old throne, beginning on Halloween. Thus, by winter solstice, Goronwy has reached his position of greatest strength in our world, at the same moment that Llew, now sitting on Goronwy's old throne, reaches his position of greatest strength in the underworld. However, at the moment of the winter solstice, Llew is born again, as a babe, (and as his own son!) into our world. And as Llew later reaches manhood and dispatches Goronwy at the vernal equinox, Goronwy will then ascend the underworld throne at Beltane, but will be reborn into our world at midsummer, as a babe, later to defeat Llew all over again. And so the cycle closes at last, resembling nothing so much as an intricately woven, never-ending bit of Celtic knotwork.

    So Midsummer (to me, at least) is a celebration of the sun god at his zenith, a crowned king on his throne. He is at the height of his power and still 1/4 of a year away from his ritual death at the hands of his rival. However, at the very moment of his greatest strength, his dark twin, the seed of his destruction, is born -- just as the days begin to shorten. The spear and the cauldron have often been used as symbols for this holiday and it should now be easy to see why. Sun gods are virtually always associated with spears (even Jesus is pierced by one), and the midsummer cauldron of Cancer is a symbol of the Goddess in her fullness. If we have learned anything from this story from the fourth branch of the 'Mabinogion', it is about the power of myth -- how it may still instruct and guide us, many centuries after it has passed from oral to written tradition. And in studying it, we have barely scratched the surface.

    {file "Spring Equinox Ceremony (Farrar and Farrar)" "bos053.htm"}

    Spring Equinox Ceremony


    A wheel symbol stands on the altar; it may be anything that feels suitable a cut-out disc painted yellow or gold and decorated with spring flowers, a circular mirror, around brass tray. The High Priest's robe, if any, and accessories should be symbolic of the Sun; any metal he wears should be gold, gilt, brass or bronze. The altar, if indoors, should be decorated with spring flowers particularly the yellow ones such as daffodils, primroses, gorse or forsythia. One banquet should be ready for handing to the Spring Queen, and a chaplet of flowers for her crowning. The Spring Queen is one of the younger women in the Coven.

    The cauldron is placed in the center of the circle, with an unlit candle in it. If outside, and conditions permit, a bonfire is made ready to light. A taper is placed ready on the altar for the Maiden to carry fire to the High Priest.

    A phallic wand is on the altar.

    Half as many cords as there are people present are ready on the altar, tied together at their center point in a single knot. If there is an odd number of people, add one before dividing by two.

    As part of the feasting and offering to the Gods, you can use hard-boiled eggs with painted shells. These symbolize the World Egg, laid by the Goddess and hatched by the heat of the Sun of the God.

    The High Priest moves to stands in the East, and the High Priestess in the West, facing each other over the unlit bonfire. The High Priestess carries the phallic wand in her right hand. The rest of the Coven distribute themselves around the rest of the perimeter of the Circle.

    The High Priestess says:

    The High Priestess holds the phallic wand on high and walks slowly deosil around the bonfire or cauldron to stand in front of the High Priest. She says:

    The High Priestess presents the phallic wand the High Priest and then steps to one side.

    The High Priest holds up the wand in salute and replaces it on the altar.

    The Maiden lights the taper from one of the altar candles and presents it to the High Priest. The Maiden then steps to one side.

    The High Priest carries the taper to the bonfire and lights it. He gives the taper back to the Maiden, who blows it out and replaces it on the altar. She then picks up the cords and gives them to the High Priest.

    The High Priestess arranges everyone around the fire, man facing woman as far as possible. The High Priest hands out the ends of the cords in accordance with her instructions, retaining on end of the final cord himself and handing the other end of it to the High Priestess. If there is an odd number of people, with more men then women, he holds on to two cord ends himself, or if more women then men, the High Priestess does the same. Either way, both of them must be linked with two members of the opposite sex.

    When everyone is holding a cord, they all pull the cords taut, with the central knot above the fire. They then start circling deosil in the Wheel dance, building up speed, always keeping the cords taut and the knot over the fire. Any chant can be used that sounds good.

    Then the Coven all sit in a circle round the fire. The High Priest gathers up the cords, being careful not to let them get burned and replaces them on the altar.

    The High Priest names one of the women to be the Spring Queen and stands her in front of the altar. He crowns her with the chaplet of flowers and gives her the Five Fold Kiss.

    The High Priest steps back and calls forward each man in turn to give the Spring Queen the Five Fold Kiss. When the last man has done so, the High Priest presents the Spring Queen with her bouquet.

    Then, starting with the Spring Queen, everyone jumps over the fire, singly or in couples, not forgetting to wish.

    Farrar, Janet and Stewart; "Eight Sabbats For Witches"; Robert Hale 1983

    {file "Smudging: How To Do It -- How Not To Do It (Michelle Haas)" "bos054.htm"}

    Smudging: How to do it -- how not to do it

    Michelle Chihacou White Puma Klein-Hass

    I came across a very interesting article from "Shaman's Drum" which was reprinted for Vision Quest Bookstore. I will attempt to convey the gist of it, along with my views, as a student of the Ways of the Teneh, about it. Smudging is a way of using the smoke from burning herbs as a way to cleanse the body, an object, or a given area of negative influences. I myself use smudging to "cleanse" crystals before using them in jewelry projects I may do, and for protecting my home from some recent "bad vibe"-producing events. (landlord troubles!) I imagine that the skillful use of the proper herbs could help in warding and banishing ceremonies as well, if used properly and with reverence. The three most used plant material for smudging are sage of all types, cedar and sweetgrass.


    There are two major genii and several varieties of each genus of Sage that are used for smudging. Salvia, or the herb sage used for cooking, comes in two major varieties: S. officinalis, commonly known as Garden Sage, and S. apiana, commonly known as White Sage. Salvia varieties have long been acknowledged as healing herbs, reflected in the fact that its genus name comes from the Latin root word salvare, which is the verb "to heal" or "to save." Artemisia is the genus commonly considered "Sagebrush", and is more common in the wilds out here in California. There are two major varieties to the Artemisia genus: A. californica or Common Sagebrush, and A. vulgaris or Mugwort. There are many other varieties of both Salvia and Artemisia, and all are effective in smudging. Sage is burned in smudging ceremonies to drive out evil spirits, negative thoughts and feelings, and to keep Gan'n (negative entities) away from areas where ceremonials take place. In the Plains Sweatlodge, the floor of the structure is strewn with sage leaves for the participants to rub on their bodies during the sweat. Sage is also used in keeping sacred objects like pipes or Peyote wands safe from negative influence. In the Sioux nation, the Sacred Pipe is kept in a bundle with sage boughs. I would think special crystals could be so protected this way as well.


    True cedar is of the Thuja and Libocedrus genii. Some Junipers (Juniperus genus) are also called "cedar", thus complicating things some. Some Juniper varieties are cleansing herbs, especially J. monosperma, or Desert White Cedar. But for smudging, the best is Western Red Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and California Incense Cedar (Libocedrus descurrens). Cedar is burnt while praying to the Great Spirit (Usen', the Source -- also known to Plains nations as Wakan Tanka) in meditation, and also to bless a house before moving in as is the tradition in the Northwest and Western Canada. It works both as a purifier and as a way to attract good energy in your direction. It is usually available in herb stores in chipped form, which must be sprinkled over a charcoal in a brazier. I like a piece of charcoaled mesquite for this purpose, rather than the commercial charcoal cake.


    Very important to the Sioux and Cherokee nations, its botanical name is Hierochloë odorata. In these tribes, the sweetgrass is braided like hair braids. It could be burnt by lighting the end of it, or (more economically) by shaving little bits of it onto charcoal in a brazier. Again, use charcoaled Mesquite (I believe it comes packaged for barbecue use under the brand name "Red Arrow") to burn it, not pressed charcoal tablets. Sweetgrass is burnt after smudging with sage, to welcome in good influences after the bad had been driven out. Sweetgrass is very rare today, and traditional Plains people have been attempting to protect the last of it. Myself, I believe that Cedar, which is not endangered, can safely be used this way. Also Piñon pine needles (used more frequently by the Southwest Teneh, like the Navajo and Apache as well as the Pueblo people and the Zuni) and Copal (used by the Yaqui and in ancient times by the Azteca and the Maya) have similar effect. The three mentioned here are readily available either through gathering yourself or, in the case of copal resin, from any good herb shop.

    Using Smudging

    Burn clippings of the herb in a brazier... not a shell as some "new age" shamanic circles do... it is an insult to White Painted Woman (The Goddess) to do this, especially with the abalone shell which is especially sacred to Her. If the herb is bundled in a "wand", you can also light the end of the wand that isn't woody and use that. I like the latter way. Direct the smoke with your hands or with a Peyote (feather) wand over the person or thing you wish to smudge. If you can see auras, look for discolored places in the aura and direct the healing smoke towards those places on the patient's body. For cleansing a house, first offer cedar smoke to the four directions outside the house. Then, take a sage bough and go throughout the inside of the house, making sure the smoke penetrates every nook and cranny of the house. It might help also, if you have a power animal, to visualize your animal doing these things, to also dance your animal, and if you have a power song, to sing that too. Then finally, run through the house with a white candle that is well protected, to "light up" the house. Careful not to burn it down when you do it!!!

    Final Thoughts

    Smudging should be done with care, with reverence, and in an attitude of LOVE. Show your respect and honor to the plants that Usen' has given us for our healing, and they will return the favor by keeping us well and free from disease and negative energy. Aloe Vera plants, though not to be burnt, are good for the cleansing angle as well. Keep one or more potted Aloe Veras in the house (modern varieties are too tender to plant in anything but full shade outside) in organic (wood or ceramic, never plastic or metal) pots. To honor the plant when you transplant it, sprinkle the roots with corn meal and smudge it with cedar once it is transplanted. The spirit of Aloe Vera is a good protective spirit, and if you burn yourself, can also be used to heal your skin. Be sure to ask the plant's permission before cutting part of the leaf off for the healing juice. If you don't, the protective power of the plant will cease, and you will be left with but an inert houseplant... and perhaps some bad karma to boot.

    Hi-dicho, it is finished.... ENJU!

    {file "An Introduction to Traditional Wicca (K.A.M.)" "bos055.htm"}

    An Introduction to Traditional Wicca

    © 1987, Keepers of the Ancient Mysteries ( .K.A.M. )

    Often Traditional Wiccans are asked to describe our religion and beliefs for interested people, who may or may not have confused us with other Pagan religions, with inversions of Christian/Islamic religions like Satanism, or with purely magical traditions with no religious base. There is a lot of flexibility in the ways that we describe ourselves, and one characteristic of Wicca is a large degree of personal liberty to practice as we please. Still, there is an outline that can be described in general terms. Many traditions will depart from one particular or another, but groups departing from all or most of these features are probably non-Wiccan Traditions attempting to stretch or distort the Wiccan name to cover what they want to do.

    Mysteries and Initiation

    Wicca is an Initiatory religion descended from the Ancient Mystery Religions. A mystery religion is not like Catholicism where a Priest is the contact point between the worshiper and the Deity, nor like Protestantism where a sacred Book provides the contact and guidelines for being with the divine. Rather a Mystery Religion is a religion of personal experience and responsibility, in which each worshiper is encouraged, taught and expected to develop an ongoing and positive direct relationship with the Gods. The religion is called a "Mystery" because such experiences are very hard to communicate in words, and are usually distorted in the telling. You have to have been there in person to appreciate what is meant. Near and far-Eastern religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shinto are probably Mystery traditions, but Wicca is very western in cultural flavor and quite different than eastern religions in many ways.

    A Blend of Pagan Roots

    Most Wiccan Traditions, .K.A.M. included, have particular roots in the British Mystery Traditions. This includes traditions of the Picts who lived before the rise of Celtic consciousness, the early Celts, and some selected aspects of Celtic Druidism. American Wicca is directly descended from British Wicca, brought in the late 1950's by English and American Initiates of Gardnerian, Alexandrian and Celtic Wicca. These traditions are a little like the denominations in Christianity, but hopefully far more harmonious.

    While British Traditions are very strong in Wicca, or the Craft as it is sometimes called, other Western Mystery traditions feature prominently, including the ancient Greek Mysteries of Eleusis, Italian Mysteries of Rome, Etruria and the general countryside, Mysteries of Egypt and Persia before Islam, and various Babylonian, Assyrian and other mid-eastern Mysteries that flourished before the political rise of the advocates of "one god".

    What's In a Name?

    Wicca, Witchcraft, and "The Craft" are used interchangeably at times by many kinds of people. It is fair to say that all Wiccans are Witches, and many of us believe we are the only people entitled to the name. It is important to know that many people call themselves witches who are not in the least Wiccan, and that Masons also refer to themselves as "Craft", with good historical precedent. Carefully question people on the particular things they do and believe as part of their religion rather than relying on labels. Any real Wiccan would welcome such honest inquiry.

    Traditions and Flavor

    There are specific Wiccan beliefs and traditions, including worship of an equal and mated Goddess and God who take many forms and have many Names. Groups who worship only a Goddess or only a God are not traditional Wicca however they may protest, although they may be perfectly good Pagans of another sort. The Wiccan Goddess and God are linked to nature, ordinary love and children -- Wicca is very life affirming in flavor.

    Because we have and love our own Gods, Wiccans have nothing to do with other people's deities or devils, like the Christian God or Satan, the Muslim Allah or the Jewish Jehovah (reputedly not his real name). Christians often deny this fact because they think that their particular god is the only God, and everybody else in the whole world must be worshipping their devil. How arrogant. They're wrong on both counts.

    Traditional Wicca is a religion of personal responsibility and growth. Initiates take on a particular obligation to personal development throughout their lives, and work hard to achieve what we call our "True Will", which is the best possibility that we can conceive for ourselves. Finding your Will isn't easy, and requires a lot of honesty, courage and hard work. It is also very rewarding.

    Wicca is generally a cheerful religion, and has many holidays and festivals. In fact, most of the more pleasant holidays now on our calendar are descended from the roots Wicca draws on, including Christmas, May Day, Easter and Summer Vacation. Wicca is definitely not always serious. Dancing, feasting and general merriment are a central part of the celebrations.

    Wiccan Ethics

    Wiccans have ethics which are different in nature than most "one-god" religions, which hand out a list of "do's and don'ts". We have a single extremely powerful ethical principal which Initiates are responsible for applying in specific situations according to their best judgment. That principle is called the Wiccan Rede (Old-English for rule) and reads:

    Based on the earlier mention of "True Will", you will understand that the Rede is far more complex than it sounds, and is quite different than saying "Do whatever you want as long as nobody is hurt". Finding out your Will is difficult sometimes, and figuring out what is harmful, rather than just painful or unpleasant is not much easier.

    Initiation into Wicca

    People become Wiccans only by Initiation, which is a process of contacting and forming a good relationship with the Gods and Goddesses of Wicca. Initiation is preceded by at least a year and a day of preparation and study, and must be performed by a qualified Wiccan Priestess and Priest. The central event of Initiation is between you and your Gods, but the Priestess is necessary to make the Initiation a Wiccan one, to pass some of her power onto you as a new-made Priestess or Priest and to connect you to the Tradition you're joining.

    Women hold the central place in Wicca. A Traditional Coven is always headed by a High Priestess, a Third Degree female Witch with at least three years and three days of specific training. A Priest is optional, but the Priestess is essential. Similarly, a Priest may not Initiate without a Priestess, but a Priestess alone is sufficient. Women are primary in Wicca for many reasons, one of which is that the Goddess is central to our religion.

    One Religion at a Time

    People often ask "Can I become a Wiccan and still remain a Christian, Muslim, practicing Jew, etc. The answer is no. The "one god" religions reject other paths besides their own, including each other's. "One-god" religions also do not exalt the Female as does Wicca, and mixing two such different traditions would water them both down. Besides, you'd have to ask how serious a person who practiced two religions was about either one. Being Jewish is an exception, since it is a race and culture as well as a religion. There are many Wiccan Jews, but they practice Wicca, not Judaism.

    Magick and Science

    People interested in Wicca are usually curious about the magick that Wiccans can do. While magick (spelled with a "k" to distinguish from stage conjuring) is not a religion in itself, it is related to our religious beliefs. Wiccans believe that people have many more abilities than are generally realized, and that it is a good idea to develop them. Our magick is a way of using natural forces to change consciousness and material conditions as an expression of our "True Wills". Part of becoming a Wiccan is training in our methods of psychic and magickal development.

    Because we believe that everything a person does returns to them magnified, a Wiccan will not work a magick for harm, since they would pay too high a price. But a helpful magick is good for both the giver and receiver! Wicca is entirely compatible with the scientific method, and we believe all the Gods and forces we work with to be quite natural, not supernatural at all. We do not, however, hold with the kind of scientific dogma or pseudo religion that sees everything as dead matter and neglects its own method by trumpeting "facts" without honest examination of evidence.

    Priestesses at Large?

    Long ago the spiritual (and sometimes physical) ancestors of Wiccans were Priestesses and Priests to the Pagan culture as well as devotees of their Mystery. Now that a Pagan culture is rising again, some ask if today's Wiccans could resume that role. This seems unlikely.

    Today's Pagan culture is very diverse and more interested in exploring and creating new forms than in building on existing traditions. A public role would either dilute our traditions or force them on an unwilling audience. The neo-Pagan community generally prefers "media figures" and rapid membership and growth. This is not compatible with our slow methods of training and Initiation, the insistence that livelihood come from work outside the Craft, or our needs for privacy. Our religion is not accepted in the American workplace or political system, and may never be. The most powerful Priestesses are often unknown to all but their Coveners. While all Wiccans are Pagans, all Pagans are not Wiccan, and it is best that it remain so.

    {file "Principles of Wiccan Beliefs (American Council of Witches, 1974)" "bos056.htm"}

    Principles of Wiccan Beliefs

    1974, Council of American Witches

    1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarter.

    2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

    3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called supernatural, but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

    4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity -- as masculine and feminine -- and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive to the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.

    5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc. -- and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

    6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

    7. We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it -- a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft -- the Wiccan Way.

    8. Calling oneself "Witch" does not make a Witch -- but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with Nature.

    9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.

    10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be "the only way" and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.

    11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.

    12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil", as defined by the Christian traditions. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.

    13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and wellbeing.

    {file "The Wiccan Way (Lady Beckett)" "bos057.htm"}

    The Wiccan Way

    by Lady Beckett of Circle Atheneum in San Diego, CA in 1988.

    Recognizing that there is more than one path to spiritual enlightenment and that Wicca is but one of many, and that Wicca holds within itself the belief that there is more than one type of step set to the spiral dance, find here listed common denominators of the Craft.

    That there is above all the Goddess in her three-fold aspect and many are her names. With all her names we call her Maiden, Mother and Crone.

    That there is the God, consort and son, giver of strength and most willing of sacrifice.

    That and it harm none, do what ye will shall be the law.

    That each of her children are bound by the three-fold law and that whatever we create, be it joy or sorrow, laughter or pain, is brought back to us three-fold.

    That as she is the mother of all living things and we are all her children, we seek to live in harmony not only with each other, but with the planet earth that is our womb and home.

    That life upon the earth is not a burden to be born, but a joy to be learned and shared with others.

    That death is not an ending of existence, but a step in the on-going process of life.

    That there is no sacrifice of blood, for She is the mother of all living things, and from her all things proceed and unto her all things must return.

    That each and everyone of the children who follow this path has no need of another between themselves and the Goddess, but may find Her within themselves.

    That there shall not by intent be a desecration of another's symbols of beliefs, for we are all seeking harmony within the One.

    That each person's faith is private unto themselves and that another's belief is not to be set out and made public.

    That the Wiccan way is not to seek converts, but that the way be made open to those who for reasons of their own seek and find the Craft.

    And as it is willed, so mote it be.

    {file "The Charge of the Goddess (D. Valiente)" "bos058.htm"}

    The Charge of the Goddess

    Whenever ye have need of any thing, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of She, who is Queen of all witches. There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will She teach things that are yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in Her praise. For Hers is the ecstasy of the spirit, and Hers also is joy on earth; for Her law is love unto all beings. Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it; let naught stop you or turn you aside. For Hers is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth and Hers is the cup of wine of life, and the cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of immortality. She is the gracious goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man. Upon earth, She gave the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, She gives peace and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before. Nor does She demand sacrifice, for behold, She is the mother of all living, and Her love is poured out upon the earth.

    She who is the beauty of the green earth, and the white moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters, and the desire of the heart of man, calls unto thy soul. Arise, and come unto Her. For She is the soul of nature, who gives life to the universe. from Her all things proceed, and unto Her all things must return; and before Her face, beloved of gods and men, let thine innermost divine self be enfolded in the rapture of the infinite. Let Her worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And thou who thinkest to seek Her, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not unless thou knowest the mystery; that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, then thou wilt never find it without thee. For behold, She has been with thee from the beginning; and She is that which is attained at the end of desire.

    {file "Satanism vs. Wicca (Diane Vera)" "bos059.htm"}

    The article below was written back in 1991 or 1992 e.v. For an update by the author, please see:

    Satanism vs. Wicca

    by Diane Vera

    Since your main worry seems to be public relations, here's how I would make the distinction between Wicca and Satanism, in a way that is fair to both sides and does not throw Satanists to the dogs:

    I should mention, though, there's one possible problem with that last sentence. Some feminist Wiccans might take offense at it, since it implies the more radical forms of feminist Wicca are really more like Satanism than like Wicca. Which in my opinion they are. If you've read some of Mary Daly's books, you'll know what I mean.

    I myself identify as a feminist Goddess-oriented neo-Pagan, as well as a Satanist. Indeed, feminist Goddess religion is still my primary religious identification. (Satanism is how I relate to "male" energy.) I don't and never did call myself a feminist "Wiccan".

    By the way, while I accept today's use of the word Wicca (with a capital W) to refer to a specific European-based religion with a very specific worldview, I do not accept the attempt by Wiccans to copyright the words "witch" and "witchcraft". These words are generic terms, not the property of any one religion. They refer to occult practices found in many religions around the world. A Satanist has as much right to the word "witch" as anyone else. (It so happens that I don't call myself a "witch", but for a different reason: I think many "witches" are making exaggerated claims to occult power, and I don't want to give the appearance of making such an exaggerated claim.)

    {file "Women vs. Men (Michele Haas)" "bos060.htm"}

    Women vs. Men

    By: Michelle Hass (in conversation with Scott Szakonyi)

    "Ok folks, Loki and I have been chatting, and we're ready to raise a ruckus that might go on for months."

    Chiniginish and I relish the challenge... with Coyote looking over our shoulders and chuckling...

    "Here's the question: Are women superior to men, and if so, why? I think that women are superior to men in the modern world because evolution is lagging society. Most of the evolution of the human race (about 60 million yrs) took place in hunter/gatherer tribes, where aggressive behavior on the part of the male hunters was a survival trait, and relating/caring behavior was a survival trait for females. Now, in the 20 thousand or so years since we have become agrarian, the need for male hunter aggressiveness has gone the way of the Dodo, while the need for relating/caring behavior has become primary. Where does this leave us?

    "Well, as I see it, women are almost ideally suited to the overcrowded, communication-intensive environment that we call modern society. Men, on the other hand, are like people with no arms playing handball. It's not that we're bad folk, it's just that we were designed by evolution for an environment that hasn't existed for 20 thousand years, which is a real drop in the bucket in terms of evolution. Evolution isn't going to be giving us any help for at least a few million years; maybe never since we are constantly screwing up the gene pool with our wars that leave the genetically defective to breed and send the genetically preferable off to evolutionary dead ends. So all we men can do is try to better ourselves and ask for patience on the part of women, who must feel like the entire male sex has completely missed the boat."

    Well, you've got a nice point, but it assumes something that I believe 'taint necessarily so. Is male aggressiveness part of nature or nurture? The jury seems to be coming back from a long period of deliberation, and it looks like the verdict is nurture.

    This very nicely dovetails with my own theory of what thelemites refer to as the "procession of the aeons". In Crowley's notorious Liber Al vel Legis, we are said to be passing from an aeon of belief in suffering male gods and patriarchy to an aeon of belief in the value of Self and of partnership between the sexes. Crowley called the old aeon the "Aeon of Osiris" and the new the "Aeon of Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child." The enthroned Child is not masculine or feminine, but androgynous/gynandrous. The aeon before the Osirian was that of Isis, an aeon of Great Mother Goddesses and matriarchy.

    My chronology is a little different than that which Crowley attributed to these three epochs of human history so far. Crowley declared that the Aeon of Horus began with the Spring Equinox of +1904 Common, just before the writing of the Book of the Law. I maintain that the change is still taking place, and had its roots in the +1700s Common. The writings of the philosopher Locke were some of the first to make a very important quantum jump, and provided ideological impetus for the vital changes that have and are taking place.

    What Locke asserted was that government did not rest on Divine Right, but on the consent of the governed. Human beings were not born to different castes, some fated to serve while others were fated to rule by the grace of the gods. Human beings were born equal, and had certain rights as a birthright: Life, Liberty, the right to pursue Happiness, and the right to security of private property.

    This assertion shows up in Liber Al as these statements:

    In a little less arcane language, these statements run thusly:
    Every Individual matters.
    Every Individual has the right to live, be free and pursue Happiness (harmony with one's life's purpose, or True Will) as they Will.
    These rights stop at the boundary of the Wills of others. Live your life as you see fit, but mind your own business and above all, harm nobody. This includes yourself in a very conditional way. You do have the right to self-destruction, but if you truly believe that you matter, why would you want to?

    These assertions are usually encountered firstly in a Locke-inspired document that has passed into the history of this country, the Declaration of Independence. If there is any one document that is a trigger point for the New Aeon, it's that one. The American Revolution was the first time monarchy was cast aside in favor of democracy of a representative sort. Democracy was tried before, but never quite this way. And despite several course corrections that needed to be made, (the abolishment of Slavery, the giving of Women, Blacks and Amerinds the right to vote) and some that still need to be made (the granting of total equality for all races and sexes, a shift to a more direct method of participation, ie Cyber-democracy) the democratic experiment in the United States is the most enduring of all.

    Before the 1700s, government was imposed from above, not thought of as flowing from the consent of the governed. Individuals were not accorded rights as a birthright, but were granted rights by the king, usually on a class-by-class basis. Human beings were dealt with as masses and classes, on a Collective basis.

    Coincidental with these developments was a surfacing of hermetic thought in a more widespread way then ever before in history. The Rosicrucian and Freemason movements brought hermeticism to a wide audience. Within the ranks of Freemasonry were both common and noble, and often commoners would be lodgemasters in lodges frequented by those of noble birth. Hermetic orders ennobled not by birth, but by level of knowledge and initiation and (hopefully) by level of spiritual attainment.

    Now, this was fine in theory, but unfortunately in practice things weren't so swift. It was only until the mid-1800s and groups like the original Golden Dawn that women had the possibility of initiation. Even now, in Masonic lodges that have lost their occult focus and are now little more than men's clubs, men are ritually strip-searched to assure the initiator that the candidate is indeed male and not a disguised female.

    The baggage of the old days of sexism and classism remain in a lot of hermetic orders even today. Crowley himself had serious problems accepting women as equals: he had a rather low opinion of them and was quite cruel to them in numerous cases. But very explicit in the message of the New Aeon is that people are to be dealt with, not by sex or race or social strata but by their inborn, inalienable rights as individuals... as Stars, to use a thelemic term.

    The Neo-pagan movement was a definite evolutionary step in defining a New Aeon mode of spirituality. Unlike the traditional hermetic order, Wicca and other forms of Neo-paganism do not have a multiplicity of ranks and a chain of command. Some have three degrees, some two, some only one, that of initiate. Initiation is not a bestowal of rank, but more a purpose-oriented process. As magickal orders continue to evolve, they will either need to emulate more and more the informality and non-hierarchical non-structure of Neo-paganism or choke on their bloated hierarchies. It is funny when one considers that there is much evidence to suggest that Neo-paganism evolved from the Astrum Argentum and the OTO, and that much of Gardner's groundbreaking work in reconstructing the old pre-Osirian Druidic religion was helped along with the research help of Uncle Al himself.

    Perhaps, as the knightly orders of the past were meant as guardians of the Christian Church, there will become a symbiotic connection between Neo-paganism and Magickal orders, especially among those whose non-structure mimics that of the coven. Arguably this symbiosis exists now, and hell, I'm living proof of this.

    So what the deuce does this have to do with the sexes? You'll see as I wrap this up. Ok... remember I mentioned that before the Osirian epoch and the patriarchy, which seems to have come in with the rise of the big cities and the transformation from a hunter/gatherer society to an agrarian one (methinks you have placed the transformation a little too far into the past) there was the Isian epoch and the matriarchy? Well, before patriarchal philosophy displaced matriarchalism, women pretty much ran things. They didn't hunt because to place women, who were the living image of the Goddess and the ex-nihilo creatrixes of the next generation, in bodily jeopardy was literally blasphemy. Women were the intermediaries for men to the Goddess, who was unapproachable otherwise. The men had their hunting cults, but they were as insignificant in reality as the Victorian-era anthropologists misread the ancient religion of the Goddess as merely an inferior "fertility cult."

    When the transition came to the cities and to patriarchy sometime around -10,000 to -7,500 Common, the long-suppressed males took by force what the Goddesses of the Isian era denied them by their divine decree... power. Male warrior deities replaced female mother deities. The priestesses of the old religions were destroyed. (The Book of Joshua in the Old Testament is a vivid account of one triumph of Osiris over Isis.) And the new order began. But the old matriarchal religions survived for several thousands of years after the turn of the aeon, and it is painfully obvious that the old patriarchal ways will haunt us for thousands of years into the future, even as new ways take hold and new philosophies become more accepted. But it really is nurture rather than nature that makes men aggressive and women passive. Men can learn to be nurturing and loving, and women can learn to be assertive and empowered. In order that we can truly enter this new aeon where all are leaders and all are Stars, we each have to cultivate the "other side" of our Selves. No, women are not superior to men, nor is it the other way around. Every Individual matters. Everyone has the potential to be a King, in the thelemic sense of the word. We need to learn to treat all with dignity, be they material successes or abject material failures. We need to treat even those still enslaved by the old ideas fixes with as much dignity as those who have declared their secession from them and their embracing of the New Law.

    The evolution is really and truly in our own hands.

    Beauty and balance, Will and Love,

    The coven that I've been working with in Denver begins its cup blessing by a dialogue between the Priest and the Priestess. Both have a hand each on the athame and the chalice:

    Priest: "Be it known that a man is not greater than a woman.

    Priestess: "Nor yet is a woman greater than a man"

    Priest: "For what one lacks"

    Priestess: "The other can provide"

    Priest" "As the Athame is to the male"

    Priestess: So is the cup to the female.

    Both: And when conjoined together, they become one in truth, for there is no greater magick in all the world than that of love.

    BB Rowan

    {file "WHAT IS D.A.W.N.? (Denver Area Wiccan Network)" "bos061.htm"}

    What Is D.A.W.N.?

    The Denver Area Wiccan Network is a group of pagans and friends from a wide variety of Craft traditions. DAWN sponsors parties, group rituals, a student/teacher network and other activities as inspired or impelled.

    Why do I want to join DAWN?

    Do I have to "Go Public" to be a member?

    How do I join?

    Do I have to join DAWN to participate?

    Thank you for your interest in DAWN!

    D.A.W.N. Bob Key 
    P.O. Box 11202 (303) 758-2115
    Englewood, Colorado 80151

    Denver Area Wiccan Network

    Last amended June 11, 1989

      1. The Board of Directors (hereinafter referred to as the Board) shall be selected by the Steering Committee from among the active members of DAWN such that:
        1. Each coven shall have no more than one member on the Board; if there are fewer than 5 member covens, then there may be a second Director from any coven;
        2. There shall be at least one member of the Board who is a member of a coven; and
        3. There shall be at least one member on the Board from among the DAWN members who are not members of any coven.
      2. The Board shall have no fewer than 4 members and no more than 13 members. It shall determine its own size within those limits.
      3. The Board may appoint members of DAWN to fill vacancies on the Board. Persons so appointed shall serve only until the next regular election.
      4. Each elected Director (member of the Board) holds a two-year term, except that, when the size of the board is increased, half of the new positions shall initially be for one year only. Any person serving one elected term may not be reelected as a Director until they have been retired from the Board for one year.
      5. Each seated Director may designate an Alternate to speak and vote in their stead when they are absent from Board meetings. The identity of this Alternate shall be recorded in the Minutes of the Board, and no other person may serve this function until the Director changes the designation and the change is on record. Being named Alternate to a Director does not automatically name them Alternate to any offices that director may hold; however, they may so serve at the discretion of the Chair.
      6. The Board shall elect Officers from among the Directors for the positions of Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. This shall be done after each new election, and no later than the next regular meeting of the Board.
      7. A quorum of the Board shall consist of 70 percent of the Directors, either present or represented by their Alternate.
      8. The Board shall elect a Newsletter Editor from the general membership of DAWN. This officer shall serve at the will of the Board and report directly to the Board.
      9. The Board shall meet regularly, at least four times per year, at a time and place to be fixed by the Board. Additionally, The Chair or any two Directors may call a Board meeting upon giving at least 7 days notice to all Directors by U.S. Mail, or upon at least 2 days notice given by telegram. Said notice will be deemed delivered when deposited in the U.S. Mail with the last known address of the Director and proper postage thereon prepaid, or when the given to the telegram company. Any Director may waive notice of any meeting. The attendance of a Director at any meeting shall constitute a waiver of notice, except when the Director attends the meeting for the express purpose of objecting to the transaction of business because the meeting has not been lawfully called or convened. The notice of meeting need only contain the date, time, and place of the meeting.
      10. The Board may make rules to govern the conduct of its own meetings.
      11. All Board Meetings are open to the membership of DAWN. Accordingly, any Director is required to furnish information regarding dates, times and places of upcoming Board meetings to any DAWN member upon request.
      1. The Steering Committee shall be composed of the Directors, one representative from each member coven and proportional representation for such DAWN members as do not belong to any member coven (hereinafter referred to as Solitaries). The method of choosing a coven representative is left to the discretion of the individual coven. A method for choosing representation for Solitaries will be determined by said Solitaries, subject to approval by the Board. There shall be at least one (1) representative of the Solitaries, who is not a Director, on the Steering Committee.
      2. Steering Committee members must commit to serve for at least six (6) months. They may serve as long as their constituents wish them to serve.
      3. The Steering Committee shall elect a Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and Clerk of the Committee from among its members.
      4. A quorum of the Steering Committee for the purpose of amending the Bylaws or Constitution shall be two-thirds (2/3) of the committee. A quorum for other business shall be a majority of the Committee.
      5. Steering Committee members will not have alternates.
      6. The Steering Committee may make rules to govern the conduct of its own meetings.
      7. Decisions made by the Steering Committee shall be referred to the Board for action, except as otherwise provided for in these Bylaws.
      8. Any recommendation that dues be levied or changed must receive at least two-thirds (2/3) of the votes cast by the Steering Committee, ten (10) days notice having been given that dues will be discussed.
      9. The Steering Committee shall meet regularly at a time and place to be fixed by the Committee. Additionally, the Board may call Steering Committee meetings with 15 days notice should such meetings be necessary.
      1. Chair - duties shall include:
        1. Presiding over meetings of the Board.
        2. Presiding over meetings of the general membership of DAWN.
        3. Preparing an agenda for Board meetings.
        4. Preparing an agenda for meetings of the general membership of DAWN.
      2. Vice-Chair - shall perform the duties of the Chair when the Chair is absent or incapacitated.
      3. Secretary - duties shall include:
        1. Maintaining accurate and current minutes of all meetings of the Board and all business-related meetings of the general membership of DAWN. All such minutes are to be made available, upon reasonable notice, to all members of the body so recorded, and are to be presented at the next meeting of the Board for approval.
        2. Handling correspondence other than the newsletter and general announcements.
        3. Maintaining an accurate and current list of members and friends of DAWN. The Secretary may NOT release the addresses, phone numbers, or full names of any person associated with DAWN, except as noted in this paragraph, to any person, without specific permission from said person. The Secretary will share this list with the Newsletter Editor. When leaving this job, the Secretary will turn over all copies of the membership list, in whatever form, to their successor in these duties.
      4. Treasurer - is responsible for maintaining all the financial records of DAWN. The Treasurer is also responsible for the safekeeping and expenditure of the monies held by DAWN as directed by the Board.
      5. Speaker - shall preside over meetings of the Steering Committee and prepare an agenda for said meetings.
      6. Deputy Speaker - shall perform the duties of the Speaker when the Speaker is absent or incapacitated.
      7. Clerk of the Committee - is responsible for maintaining accurate and current minutes of all meetings of the Steering Committee. All such minutes are to be available to members of the Steering Committee, and are to be presented at the next meeting of that body for approval.
      8. Newsletter Editor - duties shall include:
        1. Providing timely announcements of meetings and other DAWN functions.
        2. Providing a regular newsletter in keeping with DAWN policies.
        3. Maintaining an accurate and current list of newsletter recipients. The Newsletter Editor may NOT release the addresses, phone numbers or full names of any person associated with DAWN, except as noted in this paragraph, to any person, without specific permission from said person. The Newsletter Editor will share the mailing list with the Secretary. When leaving this job, the Newsletter Editor will turn over all copies of the mailing list, in whatever form, to their successor in these duties.
        In order to amend this document, the proposed change must receive the votes of at least two-thirds of the Directors and must receive at least two-thirds of the votes cast at a proper meeting of the Steering Committee, both bodies having received at least 20 days notice of the proposed amendment.
      10. ELECTIONS
        On the second Sunday in October, The Steering Committee shall meet to hold an election. At this time, the Steering Committee will elect replacements for Directors whose term is expiring. Names will be taken in nomination, consent obtained from those nominated, and one ballot cast. Each Committee member, including retiring and interim Directors, shall have as many votes as there are vacancies. The qualified candidate with the most votes will fill the first vacancy - two year terms being filled first. As each vacancy is filled, members of the successful candidate's coven are stricken from the list. If only one vacancy remains and either part I.A.2 or part I.A.3 of the Bylaws has not been fulfilled, then only those candidates who meet the criterion can be selected; otherwise, the position will remain vacant to be filled by the Board, as soon as possible, by appointment. If a tie exists between equally qualified candidates, where all may not serve, a runoff election shall be held between those candidates. Misspellings shall not invalidate ballots where the appropriate person can be discerned; nor shall voting for fewer than the number of vacancies. Voting for too many candidates shall invalidate that ballot. No individual shall vote more than one time for the same person; therefore duplicate names on a single ballot shall count as only one vote. All elected persons take office at the first meeting in November.
      11. Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised (copyright 1970) will govern in any circumstances not covered by the Rules, Bylaws or Constitution of DAWN.
        In the event of dissolution of the organization, all remaining assets will be delivered to a tax-exempt organization to be chosen at the time of dissolution by the Board of Directors.

      {file "Glossary Of Terms Commonly Used In Wicca" "bos062.htm"}

                             GLOSSARY OF TERMS COMMONLY USED IN WICCA
                      Copyright 1992 by Rowan Moonstone and Durwydd MacTara
           AKASHA- the spiritual ether (or Aether); the omnipresent
           fifth occult element which embraces the other four- earth,
           air, fire, and water; and from which they stem. This is the
           realm of "pattern" or causality, from which the realm the
           normally thought of "five senses manifests.  Some define it
           is the "other" of the "two worlds" that the witch or
           magician walks between.
           ARADIA- Daughter of the Goddess Diana, and a name for the
           Goddess used by Italian Witches or Strega, commonly used in
           many Wiccan traditions today.
           ASPECTING- Any advanced magickal activity in which a practitioner
           manifests a particular aspect of the Goddess or God, in thought,
           feelings, behavior, appearance, etc.;  Often as a direct result of a
           "Drawing Down".  Often a minor variation of this phenomena occurs with
           the selection of a "Magical Name", of Craft Name.
           ASPECTS- Forms, facets, or personas of Deity:  for example, Brighid,
           Iseult,Eos, and Kore are all aspects of the Maiden, and the Maiden
           is an aspect of the Goddess.
           ATHAME- black handled, double edged dagger. Principally used
           to cast and dissolve the circle, for which purposes it is
           interchangeable with the magic sword. A tool of the
           "Element" of Fire in the Georgian Tradition and some others.
           BELTANE- May Eve festival. One of the Ancient Celtic "Fire
           Festivals." on this night, the cattle were driven between
           two bonfires to protect them from disease. Couples wishing
           for fertility would " jump the fires" on Beltane night. Also
           the traditional Sabbath where the rule of the "Wheel of the
           Year" is returned to the Goddess.  This Festival also marks
           the transition point of the threefold Goddess energies from
           those of Maiden to Mother.
           BOOK OF SHADOWS- Traditionally hand copied book of rituals,
           recipes, training techniques, guidelines, and other
           materials deemed important to a Witch or a coven. Each
           tradition has it's own standard version of the Book and each
           Witch's book will be different as he or she adds to it with
           time from many different sources. Only another Witch can see
           your book of shadows. Also, traditionally, it may never
           leave your hands or possession until death, when it should
           be destroyed, or (in some traditions) returned to the coven
           to be disposed of.
           BURNING TIMES- a term used by some Witches for the period of
           persecution in the Middle Ages and later. It is in fact a
           misnomer in some places, as Witches were only burned in
           Scotland, and on the continent of Europe. In England and the
           U.S., they were hanged.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           CANDLEMAS- Festival held on Feb. 1. One of the 4 Celtic
           "Fire Festivals. Commemorates the changing of the Goddess
           from the Crone to the Maiden. Celebrates the first signs of
           Spring. Also called "Imbolc" (the old Celtic name).  This is
           the seasonal change where the first signs of spring and the
           return of the sun are noted, i.e. the first sprouting of
           leaves, the sprouting of the Crocus flowers etc.  In other
           words, it is the festival commemorating the successful
           passing of winter and the beginning of the agricultural
           year.This Festival also marks the transition point of the
           threefold Goddess energies from those of Crone to Maiden.
           CARDINAL POINTS- North, South, East, and West, marked in the 
           Georgian Tradition by candles of green, red, yellow, and 
           blue, respectively. The Circle is drawn to connect these 
           four points. 
           CHALICE- one of the tools of the Witch. Placed on the altar 
           to represent the element of Water. 
           CHARGE OF THE GODDESS- The Traditional words of the Goddess 
           to her followers, or "hidden children". Normally declaimed 
           by the HPS at every coven Circle. 
           CIRCLE- the area in which the magickal worship and spells 
           takes place. Can also be used to designate a particular 
           group of Witches or Pagans such as "Silver Acorn Circle". 
           CONE OF POWER- power raised in the circle by the Witches 
           assembled, and sent out into the world to work magick, is 
           usually visualized as being retained and built in the form 
           of a "cone" prior to release. 
           COVEN- an organized group of Witches, led by a High 
           priestess and/or a High Priest who meet regularly for 
           worship and fellowship. The traditional membership is 13, 
           but in fact most covens number considerably less. 3 is the 
           minimum in the Georgian Tradition. In Middle English, 
           "Covin" a group of confederates;  In Old French "Covine" a 
           band or group with a single purpose; Latin "Com"-together, 
           "Venire"-to come or move. 
           COVENSTEAD- regular meeting place for a coven. Usually the 
           home of the High Priestess or High Priest. 
           COWAN- a non-Witch. Formerly used in a very derogatory 
           manner.  Still used in Masonic Ritual to indicate the non 
           initiate and/or pretender to "real craft".  Not often used 
           today among most Witches. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           COYOTE ENERGY- trickster energies. Named for the American 
           Indian Trickster, Coyote, who tricks man into learning what 
           he needs to learn. Applies to one who constantly jokes and 
           clowns.  Also applies to the concept of "Holy Fool" in many 
           CROSS QUARTER DAYS- The modern name for the Celtic Fire 
           Festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lammas. 
           DEOSIL- clockwise, or sunwise. Traditional direction for 
           working "building" magick. 
           DRAWING  DOWN THE MOON- Ritual invocation of the spirit of 
           the Goddess into the body of the High Priestess by the High 
           DIVINATION- magical method of exploration or inquiry into a 
           situation via such methods as Tarot cards, runestones, I- 
           Ching, etc. 
           ELEMENTS- Earth, air, fire, and water, plus spirit, which 
           includes them all. These are regarded as realms or 
           categories of nature (both material and non-material) and 
           are not to be confused with the physicists table of 
           elements, which the modern witch, of course, accepts. 
           ESBAT- weekly or biweekly meeting of a coven. Traditionally 
           held either on the full moon or the new moon. 
           FAMILIARS- Either a Witch's pet animal which has been 
           trained  to be a magickal helper, or an artificially 
           created "elemental"  which performs the same functions as 
           the animal friend. 
           FIVEFOLD KISS, FIVEFOLD SALUTE- The Witches' ritual salute, 
           with kisses; (1) on each foot, (2) on each knee, (3) above 
           the pubic hair, (4) on each breast, and (5) on the lips- 
           really 8 kisses in all. It is only used within the Circle, 
           but the words that go with it are the origin of "Blessed 
           GARDNERIANS- Tradition of Witchcraft descended from the 
           teachings of Gerald Gardner. 
           GNOMES- an "entity" or "elemental" that dwells in the plane 
           of Earth or is associated with the EARTH Element. 
           GREAT RITE- The rite which is the main feature of the third 
           degree initiation, and which is also laid down for certain 
           festivals.  It is sexual in nature, but may be `actual' 
           (and private to the couples concerned) or symbolic, as the 
           participants wish. 
           HALLOWS- name used by some traditions for Samhain, or 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           HANDFASTING- Wiccan equivalent of a wedding. It can be made 
           legal if the Priestess and/or Priest are registered as 
           clergy with the local authorities, or it may only be 
           considered binding within the coven. 
           HIGH PRIEST/ESS- Technically speaking, a Witch who has 
           received the 3rd. degree initiation. More usually, the male 
           and female leaders of a coven. 
           IMBOLC- Celtic name for Candlemas. 
           INVOCATION- The ritual "calling-in" of an entity (or 
           energies) higher than human, either for communication with 
           the caller through a medium or by visible manifestation or 
           else to enter into a human body as in the Drawing Down the 
           Moon. In some traditions, a Prayer. 
           LAMMAS- August 1st. Witch Festival. The Old Celtic name for 
           this festival is Lughnassadh. It is the Festival of the 
           First Fruits, and is the first of the 3 harvests. This 
           festival also marks the change of the Threefold Goddess 
           energies from that of Mother to Crone. 
           MAIDEN- An appointment held by one of the women of the 
           coven. She is virtually the assistant High Priestess. This 
           term is also the descriptive term used to describe the first 
           of the aspects of the Threefold Goddess Energies (Maiden, 
           Mother, and Crone).  It is traditionally associated with the 
           Waxing Moon, and the period from Imbolc (Candlemas) to 
           Beltane (May eve) where the energies are those of 
           initiating, beginning, and creation. 
           OLD RELIGION- another name for the Craft. 
           PAGANING- Presentation of an infant to the Circle and to the 
           PENTACLE- a disc shaped talisman; in particular, the metal 
           disc which represents the earth element among the witch's 
           working tools. 
           PENTAGRAM- The five-pointed star. With a single point 
           uppermost, it represents the human being. Inverted, with two 
           points uppermost, it can have Satanist associations; but not 
           necessarily. Some traditions of Wicca use the inverted 
           pentagram to signify an initiate of the second degree. 
           QUARTERS- The North, East, South, and West parts of a 
           magickal circle or other ritual area. (See also 
           REDE- rule or law. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           SABBAT- one of the Eight festivals or high holy days of 
           SALAMANDER- an entity that dwells in the realm of Fire. 
           SAMHAIN- The festival of remembrance for the dead, held on 
           the eve of Nov. 1st. It is the last of the three harvests. 
           This festival also marks the transition of rulership of the 
           "Wheel of the Year from that of the Goddess to that of the 
           SCRYING- divination, usually using such methods as crystal 
           gazing, or divination via incense smoke, or water as opposed 
           to tarot or other manipulative means. 
           SPELL- a prayer, or verbal direction of magickal energies 
           toward the accomplishment of some goal. 
           SUMMONER- The male officer of the coven who corresponds to 
           the Maiden. He is the assistant High Priest. 
           SYLPH- an "entity" or "elemental" that dwells in the plane 
           of Air or is associated with the AIR Element. 
           TRADITIONS- any of the various "sects" of Wicca such as 
           Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Georgian, Seax, etc. 
           UNDINE- an "entity" or "elemental" that dwells in the plane 
           of Water or is associated with the WATER Element. 
           WAND- A rod or staff that is prepared so that it may be used 
           for magickal or psychic purposes, usually to project some 
           form of power. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           WARLOCK- a term coined in the Burning Times . It was used to 
           denote a traitor to the Craft, or one who had betrayed the 
           followers of the Old Religion. It's origin is Scottish. 
           Because of the negative connotations, it is not used by most 
           Wiccans today. 
           WATCH TOWERS- Originally from the Enochian branch of 
           Ceremonial Magick, now incorporated into many "Traditions" 
           of Wicca, these are the four elemental "directions" or 
           "quarters" (corresponding to the appropriate points on the 
           compass) called to protect the Circle during its 
           establishment. Each of them have a correspondence between 
           the compass point, an element, and (varying amongst 
           different traditions) color associated with them. 
           WICCA- the name most modern day Witches use for the Craft. 
           It comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Wicce, meaning to bend or 
           to shape. This is the root word from which we get wicker. 
           WIDDERSHINS- counter clock wise. Used for "tearing  down" 
           OR BANISHING magick. 
           WHITE HANDLED KNIFE- the working knife of a Witch. It is 
           used to carve candles, and for fashioning the other tools. 
           Traditionally, it can only be used in a Circle. 
               Copyright 1991 by Rowan Moonstone and Durwydd MacTara.
           Permission to reprint for educational purposes at no cost is hereby granted
           to all and sundry, provided the text is not altered in any way. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Ritual For The Healing And Preservation Of Rainforests" "bos063.htm"}

                                              MOON WEB 
                                       C/O Michael Harismides 
                            PO Box 4538, Sunnyside, New York  11104-4538 
                                     Subscription $3.00 a year 
                                           May 24th, 1988 
                                          8 pm local time 
           (Individual version): 
           Cast a circle 
           Invoke  elements by calling upon  them in protective  aspects (for example,
           you might invoke Watchfires or Beacons in the South).   
           Chant  the names  of  the  Earth  Goddess,  beginning  with  your  personal
           favorites, then naming as many as you can think of.   
           Take a piece of green string.  Begin to tie knots in it, while chanting:   
                               Tying the Cord, Renewing the Earth; 
                               We are Her Children, bringing Rebirth. 
           (The  knots may  be simple  or elaborate,  but leave  enough string  to tie
           together  at the  end.)   As  you  chant, see  the world  as  a network  of
           connected systems.   Breathe the air  that comes from the  jungles of South
           America.  Feel the living fire of an ocelot's power.  Taste the rain on the
           leaves at  the tops of the trees.  Feel  the delicate structure of the soil
           at the forest floor.)   
           Tie the cord  together in a loop; hold it up, strung around your two hands,
           and begin chanting:   
                               We are the Flow and we are the Ebb; 
                               We are the Weavers, we are the Web.   
           As  you  chant,  see yourself  standing  guard  over  the  borders  of  the
           rainforest.  See yourself  with others, protecting rainforest as  you would
           protect yourself,_because that's what you're doing._   
           Bury  the cord in a container of earth.  Earth the power; thank the Deities
           and elements;  open  the circle.   Later  bury the  cord in  the forest  if
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           (If circumstances make the above impossible): 
           Sit quietly and see:  the network of ecosystems that make up the world; the
           rainforests thriving;  plants and  animals breeding;  the Earth,  green and
           filled with life; yourself, standing guard.  Breathe, and know that the air
           comes  from the sea  and the jungles  of Brazil.   Drink and know  that the
           water has  been around the  world, and  circulates through you  as it  does
           through the air, land, and sea.  Stand up and stretch; the strength of your
           body is the Earth's strength.   
                                  FOR THE HEALING AND PRESERVATION  
                                           OF RAINFORESTS 
           (Group version):   
           Facilitators give  each participant a slip of  paper containing the name of
           an Earth Goddess and a Nature God.   
           Facilitators invoke elements,  stressing protective/preservative aspects of
           each one and  ending with "Into this circle I call  the Element Air! (Fire,
           Water,   Earth.)"    After  each  such  invocation,  a  dancer  or  dancers
           representing the particular element  come into the circle from  outside and
           do an elemental dance.   
           A  facilitator says:   "We  now  call upon  the Earth  Goddess by  her many
           names!"   Participants call  out the Goddess  name on their  slip of paper,
           then  any other Goddess  names they wish.   This ends on  a signal from the
           A facilitator says: "We now call upon the God of Nature by his many Names!"
           The God is invoked in  the same fashion as the Goddess, ending  with a drum
           The elemental  dancers go to the  quarters and begin passing  out pieces of
           green   string,  while a  facilitator explains  that the  condition of  the
           rainforests  affects us all,  that all things  are connected,  and that the
           worldwide climate is changed every time another acre of rainforest is lost.
           S/he explains  that these  sections of  cord  represent parts  of the  Life
           Circle of Earth, and that they must be joined to protect her.   
           When the above speech has been made and all the cords have been passed out,
           a facilitator ties  the first knot, saying that tying  the cord is renewing
           the  Earth, that we are  her children, bringing  her rebirth.   This is the
           signal to begin the chant:   
                               Tying the Cord, Renewing the Earth; 
                               We are Her Children, bringing Rebirth. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           Clockwise  around the circle,  one by one,  each cord is  tied to the next.
           When  the circle is complete, the elemental  dancers go to the quarters and
           hold  the cord  aloft (participants  should  not let  go yet).   The  chant
           continues until the facilitators begin a second chant:   
                               We are the Flow and we are the Ebb; 
                               We are the Weavers, we are the Web.   
           (Since  this  is to  the  same  tune, the  transition  should  be easy  and
           seamless.)  When  this chant begins, the elemental dancers  begin to gather
           in  the  cord, gently  pulling it  away from  the participants,  who gently
           release it.   The  elementals bury the cord in  a container of earth in the
           center  of the circle, then return to the outside to lead a spiral dance in
           to  the center  and back   out  (once) as  the chant  continues.   When the
           participants are standing in a circle once more, the chant builds to a cone
           of power and fires.   
           The  Deities and  Elements are thanked,  the power  is earthed,  the circle
           opened, hugs exchanged.  Later bury the cord in the woods.   
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "What Are Runes (Lokrien)" "bos064.htm"}

                                        WHAT ARE RUNES
               In  the  most mundane  sense, runes  are an  alphabet  much as  our own
           alphabet and others such  as the Greek and Cyrillic alphabets.   Each  rune
           represents a sound and was/is used to write words with.
             But that is in the most MUNDANE of senses.
             Runes were used long before the concept of writing was around.  Each rune
           is an archetype of a force.  People had concepts for such  things as Fire,
           Honour, Birth, and each of these concepts were  given names to make
           them easier for us to comprehend.  In this way,  runes are very similar to
           the Hebrew alphabet.  Each  'letter' not  only has a sound and  a name, but
           is a complete word with all  associated concepts.
              This similarity with Hebrew extends even farther.  Each hebrew word  is
           made of several Hebrew letters, therefore each Hebrew word is made  of
           several Hebrew words.  The initial letters of several words in a  sentence,
           or of the first letters of each sentence or paragraph may  be gathered to
           form a new  word that  is used to  help explain  and  expand  upon what  is
           already written.  The same can be done with  runes.
              Runes lend themselves readily to numerology.  The Runic alphabet is 
           properly shown as three rows  of eight letters.  Therefore each letter  can
           be identified by row:column number.  Additionally, each rune has  it's
           sequential number  identified by it's placement in the alphabet.  Much like
           us numbering A as 1, B as 2, ... , and Z as 26.
              Each rune can be placed in position on a tree pattern much like the 
           traditional Qabbalah.  They may represent the different worlds or  paths of
           the tree and can be expanded and expounded upon as much as  the Qabbalah
           itself is.  In fact, Runic Qabbalah is quite intriguing  and does contain a
           life of study (as do all other facets of  Runework).
              Runes can be used for fortunetelling.  They can be drawn and placed  and
           read  much  like  tarot  cards.    The  can  be  cast  or  strewn  and  the
           relationship  of groupings, distance and  angles and patterns  formed  will
           tell the caster what he wishes to know.  
              Runes are also entities in and of themselves.  Much like the  angels,
           princes,  demons,  sylphs,  undines  and  watchtowers  of the    ceremonial
           magician.  Each rune can be invoked  or evoked and the  power harnessed  to
           work ones will to enlighten the intellect.  They are a fantastic meditation
           tool and will always increase ones  knowledge.
              Much as the primal elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Spirit,  each
           rune also has it's part in the manifestation of all things  manifested. 
           Chaos, grass, people, sunlight, honour, dragons, hopes,  and sex are all
           replete with runes are could not ever exist without  the runic force that
           creates, shapes, releases, destroys and changes  them.
              I have equated runes to many other branches of esoteric, occult, 
           phsycological and intellectual pursuits.  This is in the hopes that  if you
           are already familiar or interested in one of these, you will  realize that
           runes  are already familiar to  you or that you  are  already interested in
           them and don't yet realize it.
              May you approach the Well of Wyrd and may your sip there only  increase
           your thirst.
                                               Lokrien @ The Sacred Grove
                                                         (206) 634-1980 (WA)
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Models of Magick" "bos065.htm"}

                           MODELS OF MAGIC
                    Frater U.'.D.'. (Germany)
       In the  course  of  exploring  the  possibilities  of  new,  more
      efficient  techniques  of  magic  I was struck by the fact that a
      structuralist view of the history of magic to  date  might  prove
      helpful.  After all, magicians have always aspired to restate the
      theory and practice of magic in the language of their times  i.e.
      in different models pertaining to current world views.
           There is,  however,  some risk involved in such an approach:
      models  do  not  really   explain   anything,   they   are   only
      illustrations  of  processes,  albeit rather useful ones.  What's
      more,  over-systematization  tends  to  obfuscate  more  than  it
      clarifies  and  one  should not mistake the map for the landscape
      anyway, a fallacy a great many kabbalists seem to be prone to.
           Thus,  the following five (or rather: four plus one)  models
      of magic should be seen as a means of understanding the practical
      possibilities   of   various   magical  systems  rather  than  as
      definitive theories and/or explanations of the way magic works.
       It has proved effective in  practice  to  view  magic  under  the
      following categories:
       This  is purportedly the oldest model of magic though it may very
      well have come into existence after or  simultaneously  with  the
      energy  model.  We  can find it worldwide in shamanic cultures as
      well as in many religions.  Its basic premise is the existence of
      an  otherworld inhabited by more or less autonomous entities such
      as spirits, angels, demons,  gods etc.  The shaman or magician is
      someone who can enter this otherworld at will,  who has travelled
      widely in it,  knows  its  language  and  customs  and  has  made
      friends,  smitten  enemies  and/or  acquired allies and servitors
      there.  This is important as all  magic  is  of  these  entities'
      making. The modern German word for witch, "Hexe" (f.) illustrates
      this rather neatly if we take a closer look at its etymology.  It
      derives from Old High  German  "hagazussa"  which  translates  as
      "fence  rider".  The  hagazussa  is riding the "fence between the
      worlds" i.e. she is at home in the world of everyday life as well
      as in the magical otherworld of spirits.
           In the spirit model magic is seen as being effected by these
      entities who are usually  invisible,  at  least  to  the  average
      punter,  and  it  is the shaman's or magician's task to make them
      put his will into effect. This may be done by prayer,  by barter,
      by  cajoling  or  even  -  vide  medieval  demon  magic  - by the
      application of magical force, threats and pressure.
           The otherworld may have its own geography but it is  usually
      considered to coexist with the world of everyday life. The key to
      entering  it  is  an  altered state of consciousness,  controlled
      trance or ecstasy of which the shaman is an expert.
           The spirit model has prevailed in traditionalist or Dogmatic
      magic until today,  some of its most noted exponents being  Franz
      Bardon and, at least to a great extent, Aleister Crowley.
       The  rise  of the energy model in the West is marked primarily by
      the appearance of Mesmerism towards the end of the 18th  century.
      Anton  Mesmer,  who was not an occultist but who was on the other
      hand regarded by his contemporaries to be a "miracle  worker"  of
      sorts,  rediscovered  amongst  other  things  the ancient healing
      disciplines of hypnosis and magnetism.  He popularized his theory
      of  "animal magnetism" which he saw as a subtle force inherent in
      organisms,  but he also made  heavy  use  of  metal  magnets  for
      healing purposes.
           While  the French Revolution put a temporary end to Mesmer's
      movement, his ideas were not lost. They were taken up by a number
      of  others,   primarily  occultists,   who  drew  on  them  while
      developing their own theories of magic. One of the first to do so
      was  Bulwer Lytton of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA),
      who postulated the existence of a subtle energy which  he  termed
      Vril,  possibly  deriving from Latin virilitas or "force,  power,
      strength". (This was actually the model for the naming of Bovril,
      from Latin "bovis" or "ox",  and Vril or "life  force".)  We  can
      observe  interesting  parallels  to  this concept in the vitalist
      theories of biology which emerged around  the  same  time.  Other
      exponents  of the energy model of magic (not then so termed) were
      Reichenbach with his concept of Od,  Eliphas Levi and his  Astral
      Light and Mme.  Blavatsky, who adopted the theories of Prana from
      Yoga physiology.  This was also the time  when  anthropology  and
      ethnology  discovered  the Polynesian concept of Mana and Asiatic
      scholars began to concern themselves with the  Chinese  principle
      of Ki or Ch'i (Chi).  The latter two go to show,  of course, that
      the idea of subtle energies utilized by magic is far  older  than
      the  18th  century.  In fact,  we can observe it already in early
      shamanic cultures.  Shamanic magic is very frequently  a  mixture
      between  spirit and energy model,  e.g.  the shaman may call upon
      his spirits or gods to give him "power" or he  may,  vice  versa,
      use his power to extort favours from them.
           In its pure form,  however, the shaman or magician is not in
      need of spirits and other entities.  The world is viewed as being
      "vitalized"  by  subtle  forces  or energies and his primary task
      consists in mastering the  art  of  perceiving  and  manipulating
      them.  As  all  phenomena are basically energetic in nature,  the
      existence of an otherworld is not strictly  required.  Thus,  the
      magician  is  more  of an "energy dancer" than a "fence rider" or
      go-between. But even here the key to the perception, charging and
      general utilization of these forces is again the  magical  trance
      or, as Chaos Magic terms it, gnosis.
           Theories and practices pertaining to the energy model can be
      found  with many magical authors but it has seen its real,  large
      scale popularity only since the seventies of our century when the
      general influx of Eastern thinking  (pace  the  Hippie  movement)
      made  concepts  such  as  chakra and kundalini work a mainstay of
      most occult disciplines. Strong energy model elements can also be
      found in  Franz  Bardon's  system  of  "electromagnetic  fluids",
      "condensators" etc.
       Sigmund Freud's theory of the subconscious revolutionized Western
      thinking  in  general  and psychology (which he did not,  as some
      people are wont to believe, invent all by himself) in particular.
      Suddenly,  man was seen as  a  being  which  was  only  partially
      conscious  and  in  control of itself.  While psychology is still
      fighting for its academical recognition  as  a  science,  it  has
      stamped its mark on therapeutic disciplines - and on magic.
           The psychological model of magic does not purport to explain
      how  magic works,  its only premise is that the subconscious (or,
      as Carl Jung later retagged it,  the unconscious) will do the job
      if  it  is  properly addressed and/or conditioned.  This again is
      achieved by magical trance,  suggestion and the  use  of  symbols
      (i.e.  selective  sensory input) as tools of association and as a
      means of communication between the magician's conscious will  and
      his subconscious faculty responsible for putting it into effect.
           Aleister  Crowley  dabbled a great deal in the psychological
      model which comes as no surprise as he not only tried to keep  up
      with  all  major  academic  disciplines  of  his time but thought
      himself to be the world's greatest psychologist into the bargain.
      But all considered he remained a traditionalist exponent  of  the
      spirit   model:   after  all  Aiwass  was,   in  his  belief,   a
      praeternatural entity.  Nevertheless  he  did  have  a  knack  of
      explaining magic in psychological terms to make it sound sensible
      to the sceptics of his time.
           A  more  radical  approach  was  taken by Austin Osman Spare
      whose sigil magic rests on the basic tenets of the  psychological
      model.  Spare's  brilliant system is in principle an inversion of
      Freud's theory of complexes: by actively suppressing his will  in
      the  form  of  a graphical sigil and forgetting it,  the magician
      creates an artificial "complex" which  then  starts  to  work  on
      similar lines just as suppressed, subconscious traumas will cause
      neurotic behaviour etc.
           The  psychological  magician  is a programmer of symbols and
      different states of consciousness.  He is not necessarily in need
      of  a transcendent otherworld or even subtle energies,  though in
      practice he will usually work on the assumption that one  or  the
      other  (or  both)  do  in  fact  exist and can be utilized by his
           Authors such  as  Israel  Regardie,  Dion  Fortune,  William
      Butler,  Francis  King,  William  Gray  and  to  some extent Pete
      Carroll subscribe to the psychological model which  seems  to  be
      the  primary  domain  of  the English speaking world of magic and
      which has become the prevailing paradigm ever since the seventies
      of this century.
       The information model of magic is  being  developed  since  about
      1987  and  there is still considerable debate about the direction
      it shall ultimately take.  Its basic  premises  to  date  are  as
           a)  Energy  as  such  is "dumb": it needs information on
           what to do;  this can be so called  laws  of  nature  or
           direct commands.
           b) Information does not have mass or energy. Thus, it is
           faster  than  light and not bound by the restrictions of
           the Einsteinian spacetime continuum. It can therefore be
           transmitted or tapped at all times and at all places. In
           analogy (but of course only as such!) it may be  likened
           to    quantum   phenomena   rather   than   relativistic
           mass-energy. It can, however,  attach itself to a medium
           e.g. an organism or any other memory storage device.
       At the start of the theoretical debate it was still believed that
      the  postulation of morphic (or,  more precisely,  morphogenetic)
      fields as hypothesized by Rupert Sheldrake had to be an essential
      factor by way  of  explaining  the  mode  of  actual  information
      transmittance.  This,  however, while still being discussed, does
      not appear to be strictly prerogative though  it  cannot  be  not
      ruled  out  that  an  act  of  information  magic may create such
      fields. It does seem more probable,  though,  that the concept of
      information  matrices  will prove to be the most promising theory
      in the long run.
           The application of the as yet evolving information model has
      led  to  the  discipline   I   have   termed   Cybermagic   (from
      "cybernetics"  or the "science of control systems").  Contrary to
      the other models described above,  Cybermagic does  not  rely  on
      magical trance to achieve its effects.  Rather, the Cybermagician
      activates either his own main  memory  banks,  namely  brain  and
      spine  (the  Golf-club  chakra,  so-called  because  of its shape
      reminiscent of a golf-club) or those of the  target  person.  The
      desired  information  is  then  called  up  and transmitted quite
      similarly to a copy command  on  an  MS-DOS  computer.  The  copy
      command analogy holds good insofar as the information (not having
      mass)  is not actually "lost" in the process (as energy would be)
      but rather is duplicated. This is an important point as it allows
      for the magician to perform his magic even in a state of very low
      physical power, possibly even when almost completely intoxicated,
      as long as his basic  "life support systems" are still functional
      and the command syntax is employed correctly.
           It is,  however,  obvious that this technique demands a fair
      control  of what used to be termed kundalini effects and practice
      has shown  ever  and  again  that  a  good  amount  of  Yoga  and
      meditation experience is a great help in achieving to Cybermagic.
           Unfortunately,  the  full  theory and practice of Cybermagic
      cannot be described here due to lack of space and will thus  have
      to be the subject of a separate article to be published later. To
      date the main experimental research work is being done within the
      Magical  Pact  of  the  Illuminates  of Thanateros (IOT) and some
      quite astounding results have already been  achieved,  especially
      in  the  field  of  language  and  knowledge  transfer as well as
      magical healing.
           In spite of its very modern,  untraditionalist  outlook  the
      basic  principles  of  Cybermagic may in truth well be the oldest
      form of magic extant. For we can,  for example,  find a number of
      reports  in the East to the effect of a guru transferring all his
      knowledge to his successor before his  death,  which  is  usually
      achieved by an act of long, mutual meditation.
           This  goes  to show that magic as a whole has always existed
      in many,  coexisting models.  What has changed,  however,  is the
      stress laid on one model or the other in the course of time.
       The  meta-model  of  magic  is  not a model as such but rather an
      instruction on the use of the others.  For its only advice to the
      magician  is:  "Always use the model most adequate to your aims."
      This may sound a bit trite but we will see that it is  not  quite
      as  selfevident  amongst  magicians  as  one might expect.  It is
      rooted in Chaos magic's assertion "Nothing is true. Everything is
      permitted",    which   ultimately   boils   down   to   pragmatic
      utilitarianism.  Before this aspect is enlarged upon, though, let
      us look at an example of the models presented here as applied  in
       We shall take the situation of magical healing to demonstrate how
      these models differ from each other.
       In  the  spirit model healing is regarded as an exorcism: illness
      is caused by "evil" or,  at least,  undesired entities which have
      to  be neutralized and removed by the shaman or magician.  In the
      case of a patient with a heart  condition  the  shaman  may,  for
      example,  "see" a green lizard in the vicinity of the heart which
      must be removed.  To achieve this the shaman  will  usually  call
      upon the help of his own spirits who will then handle the matter.
      Properly exorcised,  the patient has been freed from the cause of
      his ailment and can recuperate.
       In the energy model ailments are seen to be caused  by  energetic
      imbalance.  Thus,  our  heart  patient  may have too much (or too
      little) "fire energy" in his heart  chakra,  and  the  magician's
      task  consists  of  restoring  that  balance of energies commonly
      defined as "health". This he may do by laying on hands,  by using
      crystals and precious stones, by magnetism or chakra massage etc.
      The  balance  having  been  restored,  the patient is regarded as
      having been healed.
       In the psychological model illness is considered to be  basically
      psychosomatic in nature.  The magician will, therefore, either do
      a ritual work with the patient which  enhances  his  stamina  and
      resolves  his  troubles  (e.g.  a  Saturn  ritual  to  cope  with
      "Saturnian challenges" the patient is seen  to  have  avoided  by
      becoming ill) or he will charge a sigil for the patient's health.
      Preferably  he  will instruct the patient to construct and charge
      his own sigil.
       In the information  model  the  Cybermagician  will  transmit  an
      informational  "healing  matrix"  into  the  patient's system (or
      somehow create a "morphic field" of health and self-healing)  and
      let  the  patient's  energies take it from there to do the job of
      their own accord i.e. automatically. This rests on the assumption
      that the energies are still powerful enough to get the work done,
      otherwise he will either jump  back  into  the  energy  model  to
      provide  the  patient  with  the  additional energies required or
      install another information matrix to create  an  influx  of  the
      power desired.
       Following  the  meta-model the magician will decide beforehand in
      which paradigm  he  will  begin  his  operation.  This  must  not
      necessarily  exclude the possibility of shifting the paradigms in
      midwork or of blending them, of course. Usually,  the decision is
      taken  on  the  lines  of  expediency,  efficiency  and  personal
      preference.  Thus,  I personally find healing work with  patients
      easier within the spirit or energy model,  while I do seem to get
      better   results   with   selfhealing   employing   either    the
      psychological or the information model.  Then again, cybermagical
      work tends to take up to two days to show noticeable  effects  so
      that it may be more expedient to go for laying on hands when pain
      is very acute.
       Another important point is the time factor.  While traditionalist
      rituals in the spirit model may take from half a day to weeks and
      even months,  operations in the energy model seldomly  take  much
      longer  than  a  few hours at the most.  If we take Spare's sigil
      magic as  an  example  for  a  very  fast  technique  within  the
      psychological  model,  the  operation  can  be over and done with
      within five to ten minutes. Information magical operations on the
      other hand only take up about three quarters of a second,  a time
      span   which   can   be   cut  even  shorter  by  an  experienced
       Self evident as the meta-model may seem,  in practice many people
      seem to feel somewhat uncomfortable with its inherent relativism.
      This  is  very  much the case with beginners in magic.  A typical
      dialogue on the subject might run on the following lines:
           "Are there spirits?"
           "In the spirit model, yes."
           "And in the energy model?"
           "In the energy model there are subtle energy forms."
           "And what about the psychological model?"
           "Well, in the psychological model we are dealing with
            projections of the subconscious."
           "What happens in the information model, then?"
           "In the information model there are information
           "Yes, but are there spirits now or not?"
           "In the spirit model, yes."
       This logical loop is, of course,  usually experienced as a pretty
      frustrating  exercise;  but  while  the  asker  claims  that  the
      magician is trying to avoid the issue  he is  at  the  same  time
      overlooking  the fact that he himself is basically only restating
      the old yen for absolute,  "objective"  truths  -  not  really  a
      quantum magical approach, to say the least. However, the aspiring
      cyberpunk  magician of today cannot expect to be spared the pains
      of coming to terms with the notion that  freedom  and  dogma  are
      mutually exclusive.
            UBIQUE DAEMON .'. UBIQUE DEUS .'.
       (c) copyright 1991 by Frater U.'.D.'. All rights reserved.
       Frater U.'.D.'., one of Germany's leading exponents of contemporary
       magic, is the author of "PRACTICAL SIGIL MAGIC" and
       "SECRETS OF THE GERMAN SEX MAGICIANS" (forthcoming). The essay
       above will be part of his next book, "DANCE OF THE PARADIGMS.
       (All books: LLEWELLYN's PUBLICATIONS, St. Paul, Minn.)
       * Origin: ChaosBox: Nichts ist wahr, Alles ist erlaubt. (2:243/2)

      {file "The Eight Paths and Other Wiccan Miscellany (Carrie McMasters)" "bos066.htm"}

                              The Eight Paths and other Wiccan miscellany 
                Dogs in the Temple:
                  The "dogs" were MALE Canaanite temple prostitutes
                (normally eunuchs, as I understand it), with whom male worshippers had
                intercourse in order  to obtain various boons from the  gods, of which
                the  fertility of  themselves, their  herds and  their crops  were the
                chief.    A  "dog"'s  earnings  couldn't  be  contributed  to  Yaweh's
                treasury.  (Nor  could that of  a FEMALE temple  prostitute!)  Now  if
                they were doing the Great Rite with male priests way back when TO make
                things   more fertility, why should Stewart Farrar have a cat over gay
                men and lesbians  being involved in  the Craft  now?!?  (Although,  in
                fairness  to him,  I'll bet  he's never  thought of it  that way!   He
                strikes me as a reasonable man, all in all... ) 
                As for the Paths:  
                     Meditation  is  the first  and--in  my  opinion--the most  basic,
                because you use it to get to or enhance some of the other Paths.  
                Trance work is the second, which includes astral projection exercises.
                Perhaps it's the  most important, because  it gets us  where we go  to
                exercise the power or obtain the wisdom that we want to.  
                Dancing is a Path that I personal can't use because I'm lame; but I've
                been  told by  able-bodied Pagan  friends that  it's great  because it
                engages  the whole self--and especially  it helps you  be grounded AND
                Elsewhere at the same time.  Binding with cords and other forms of
                sensory  deprivation are good for  helping the mind  travel beyond the
                body's limits because one  wishes to escape the tedium  and discomfort
                of them.   (I'm sorry, but  even a flotation  tank gets  uncomfortable
                eventually!)  Scourging and other repetitive acts also use tedium as a
                release but  are more  stimulating than being  bound or floating  in a
                tank.   (They do NOT use pain.   If they're being done THAT intensely,
                they're being done incorrectly... ) 
                Chanting and mantras use  repetitive sound and the inherent  nature of
                some sounds to produce altered states of consciousness.  
                Drugs  (which  normally  means  incense  and  MAYBE  alcohol  but  NOT
                hallucinogens  and such)  variously  stimulate,  relax, disinhibit  or
                otherwise change one's mental state.  
                And  that brings us  back to  the Great  Rite and  other forms  of sex
                magick, which attempt  to involve all levels from the  physical to the
                Divine Within at one time.  That's VERY thumbnail; but if anyone wants
                to know more, I'll be glad to elaborate on the ones I use or have seen
                used.   Oh, and I can--and  should--add that the various  Paths can be
                used in combination as well as separately, that there's some variation
                from one tradition to another as to what the Eight Paths are, and that
                not ALL traditions have Eight Paths per se!  
                                   Bright blessings!  Granny Spider
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Balance of the God and Goddess (Adrienne)" "bos067.htm"}

                                    Balance of the God and Goddess 
                I  see the God  as That is  Created and Destroyed; the  Goddess is the
                Creator and the Destroyer.   His knowledge is experiential and he sees
                the cycle  of rebirth from  the unique  perspective of the  being that
                experiences  it. He  understands, more  so than  the Goddess,  how the
                cycle shapes the world of the living.  His life cycle of birth to full
                power  to age  to death  to rebirth  parallels our  own lives  on this
                earth.    The Goddess  loves Her  children,  the God  understands His.
                Through the  love they bear  for each  other, they share  in both  the
                knowledge  of  the  mystery of  rebirth  and  in  the  power, but  the
                knowledge remains His province and the power rests in Her.
                --- Maximus-CBCS v1.02
                 * Origin: Pandora's Box, Ottawa, Ontario (93:9630/1)
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Where do we go from here?" "bos068.htm"}

                                       Where do we go from here? 
                                           By Pete Carroll 
                Occult revivals occur when the social, economic or intellectual 
                status quo is disturbed by the unexpected. Affluence combined 
                with the collapse of the Roman state religion caused one revival. 
                The rediscovery of classical knowledge in the Renaissance brought 
                about another. Dissatisfaction with catholic hellfire 
                christianity spawned spiritualism, theosophy, the Golden Dawn and 
                Crowley. In our own time anti-semitism, affluence, drugs and 
                oriental ideas spawned another outburst. 
                Occult revivals are stimulated by economics and by the availability, 
                rather than the creation of ideas. Roman culture was subject to a 
                huge influx of ideas, cults and philosophies from conquered peoples. 
                Written material surviving from this synthesis appeared again 
                as hermetics in the Renaissance. The revivals of the late 
                nineteenth century and the nineteen-sixties owe much to the 
                availability of scientific ideas and oriental philosophies. It is 
                probably more useful then, to look for impending changes in the 
                general situation rather than within the occult itself if we want 
                to second guess the next revival. The period between one revival 
                and the next is shortening rapidly and we are probably due for 
                another around the turn of the century, give or take a decade. 
                I`d like to try and identify some of the factors which may help 
                shape it. 
                Firstly the millennium. Christianity is unfortunately not yet 
                completely extinguished and humanity will have to cope with a 
                rising tide of apocalypse mania as the calendrical millennium draws 
                closer. Right wing christian fundamentalists in America may even be 
                in a political position to inaugurate a real Armageddon by then. 
                I hope that whatever courage and imagination there is in the occult 
                is put to good use in undermining this sort od idiocy. Those 
                occultists who do jump on the millennial bandwagon have only 
                disaster or ridicule to look forward to. 
                Economics has a powerful effect on the occult climate. A fairly 
                rapid increase in affluence will often provoke a revival as leisure 
                time becomes available and some minds turn to higher things. 
                Conversely, a decline in living conditions will sometimes make 
                people seek what they have lost, or a substitute, by occult means. 
                Boom propelled revivals are usually much more fun than slump 
                propelled upsurges. In this country, any increment in occultism 
                arising from socio-economic desperation, is likely to be some 
                species of neo-nazi mystic nationalism. As with millennium madness, 
                the greater honour will, in the long run, go to those occultists who 
                oppose such nonsense. However, the metaphysical fallout from the 
                sixties may yet carry us through to the next boom revival and these 
                problems may not yet arise. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                It seems unlikely that anthropology or archaeology will be able to 
                make fresh ideas available for cannibalization by the occult in the 
                next revival. Computerized libraries, satellite photography and 
                global communication systems leave few stones unturned. There seems 
                little chance lost ancient manuscripts, magical tribes or forgotten 
                occult civilizations coming to light nowadays. So it is to science 
                itself that I think we should turn for fresh ammunition. 
                There are already discernable strains of space mysticism in some 
                quarters of the occult. Questions about the reality or otherwise of 
                supposed visits by aliens should not distract us from recognizing 
                that UFO-mania itself is a mystico-religious phenomena. The 
                UFO-ologist wants to personally receive wisdom for the whole of 
                humanity from some superhuman being. Seeking angels in space suits 
                is to repeat humanity`s perennial mistake, pretending to look 
                outside for what is really inside ourselves. 
                Quantum physics has been quietly undermining the whole basis of 
                mechanistic cause and effect type science for nearly sixty years. It 
                has been said that if you are not shocked by the implications of 
                quantum physics then you have not understood it. This may be 
                perfectly true for the scientist but for the magician, quantum 
                physics provides elegant confirmation of many of his theories. A 
                quantitative approach to quantum physics is beyond all but the best 
                mathematician. Many of the principles are enshrined in equations for 
                which we have few verbal or visual analogies. Because of this very 
                few laymen or philosophers have been able to appreciate what has 
                been going on. 
                Briefly in qualitative terms, we now have hard experimental evidence 
                which strongly implies that physical process are, at root, acausal; 
                they just happen out of themselves and that consciousness, or at 
                least the decisions of the observer, can modify or control what 
                happens. Secondly it would seem that pure information can travel 
                anywhere instantaneously and perhaps persists indefinitely, 
                providing there is some sort of affinity, or magical link as we 
                would call it, between that which emits and that which receives. 
                Very few liberties need to be taken with quantum physics to fit in 
                virtually the whole of parapsychology. It remains to be seen if 
                quantum physics can be presented in sufficiently accessible form to 
                provoke another occult revival. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                A quantum based revival would effectively demolish the spirit 
                hypothesis. A "spirit" would have to be recognized as nothing more 
                than the information that a phenomenon emitted about itself when it 
                existed physically. Anything else would have to be put down to the 
                creativity of the observer`s subconsciousness. Thus the "tree-ness" 
                of a tree or the quality of a thought is just an extension of the 
                object itself on the plane of non-local information. If you talk to 
                Egyptian gods your subconsciousness is, at best, simply animating 
                the general personality characteristics of the gods projected by 
                their worshippers millennia ago. Spirits cannot be gaseous 
                vertebrates with powers of independent discursive thought. On the 
                practical level quantum physics implies that the medium of magic is 
                not some sort of nebulous psychic energy or force, it is simply a 
                transfer of information. Magical healing or attack is accomplished 
                by long range telepathic suggestion not by astral bandages or 
                thunderbolts. The quantum paradigm forces a re-examination of 
                reincarnation. There is no reason why anybody should not be able to 
                tap the memories of any historical person. Conversely we can all 
                look forward to fragments of our ideas and personalities manifesting 
                in other people in the future. 
                Telekinesis and related phenomena can be accommodated within the 
                quantum paradigm if we allow intent to expand upon the small degree 
                of fundamental uncertainty, or more properly indeterminacy, in the 
                position and momentum of any object. Prophecy is always the most 
                doubtful of the magical arts although short term prediction or 
                precognition can often be impressive. The quantum model allows for 
                this providing the operator later observes the precognised event. 
                Such apparent nonsense as astrology and homeopathy begin to make 
                more sense in a quantum paradigm which suggests that expectation can 
                have real effects via what one might call a magical level. This is 
                quite over and above the purely psychological effects of expectation 
                that materialists usually invoke to explain away these things. 
                I`ve heard the quantum occult paradigm described as Big Bang 
                Mysticism and Electro Gnosis. I rather like this, for it implies 
                that the universe is being viewed as a self-created magical organism 
                and that magic itself is a technology we can potentially master 
                because it is a part of the nature of ordinary reality. Of course, 
                what is missing in this scheme are the pseudo certainties of belief 
                in gods and higher powers or even a benign cosmic mind. It throws us 
                back on our own powers and ingenuities, but isn`t this what the best 
                occultism has always been about anyway ? 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Wiccan Path (Madoc)" "bos069.htm"}

                (811)   Mon 29 Apr 91  3:26
                By: Madoc
                To: Chris Anderson
                Re: What's this "Right" stuff, anyway?
                @PID: RA 1.01
                @MSGID: 8:7703/8 4dba2fe8
                >What would a Wiccan provide as an explanation for behavior that was
                >"contrary"  in the  sense that  you've given?   We've all  seen folks
                behave in a way that is *apparently* inconsistent with stated beliefs,
                even  those that are closely held.   What do you  believe is the basis
                for the difference between  a "positive direction along the  Path" and
                actual behavior that is  contrary to this  by one who earnestly  seeks
                "the Path"?   The  answer  is stated  clearly  enough for  many  other
                religions, but I've  never had  the opportunity to  hear a Wiccan  add
                his/her windage on this  topic.  Flip Wilson's answer  obviously isn't
                going to apply, so where do we go with it? ;)
                Chris,  sorry for the delay in answering your question. I have written
                and re-written my response, and although I still may not have answered
                your question herein, I feel that I must reply at last.
                First, I must stipulate that what follows is my own interpretation of
                Wiccan belief, and my own sense of "morals." You know, the usual
                Second, I wish  to deal briefly with the concept  of separation of Law
                and Moral.  What I am writing  here has absolutely no  relation to the
                practice of law. I do not advocate murder, for example, nor do I think
                that murder  should go unpunished  by the State.  I recognize that  we
                live in  a society which  must have  rules in order  that the  maximum
                amount of  freedom may be enjoyed by  all. I would not  hesitate, if I
                were a  juror, to vote to send  a proven criminal to  jail, or even to
                death, if the situation warranted it.  Therefore, let none who read my
                words  mistake my moral convictions with my beliefs about our judaical
                system - I  am not in disagreement  with the majority  of our laws  as
                they exist.
                Finally; the point:
                To save space, I'll  omit the dictionary definition of  'sin.' I think
                we all understand that Christians believe  in sin, Wiccans do not.  As
                you have stated, members  of other religions have their  rules clearly
                stated,  so that  one may  easily decide  if one  is in  error or  not
                (although it's often not  quite *that* easy). Wiccans claim  to follow
                only the Rede, which states, "An it harm none, do as thou shalt."
                You have asked how a Wiccan can stray from such a path. The answer is
                complex and far-reaching, and even  delves into (ugh) philosophy. I'll
                try to keep it succinct.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                If one  thoughtfully examines  the Rede,  it quickly  becomes apparent
                that almost  every action has  the potential to harm  some creature in
                some  way.  Drawing breath can kill micro-organisms that float unseen,
                in  the  atmosphere. Drinking  water does  the  same thing.  One could
                choose to marry,  and ultimately  bring pain and  suffering on  future
                generations of children by way of an unhappy union. There is literally
                no way that  one could  possibly foresee all  circumstances and  avoid
                harming  anyone.  Yet, that  is  what the  Rede  demands. What  is the
                In my opinion, the answer is obvious. The Wiccan must choose. Each and
                every  Wiccan  is  responsible for  their  own  actions,  and will  be
                accountable to themselves for the results of those actions. The wheels
                turns, and  each Wiccan reaps what they have sown. No Godly mandate or
                indulgence can  save us from the  results of our own  actions, be they
                good or bad. But, with ultimate responsibility comes ultimate freedom.
                No God can shackle  my soul or subject me to that which I do not Will.
                I am supreme  within myself, and I am the "captain of my soul." I have
                chosen to obey  certain of society's laws and mores.  I have chosen to
                be a "good" man. Mine is the reward for choosing such action, and mine
                will  be  the   punishment  if   I  fail  to   meet  my   self-imposed
                responsibilities. As you jested, I cannot claim Flip Wilson's
                famous defence. Nor do I claim that such things as I do well stem from
                my Creator -  in ultimate hubris, I claim that "As  I Will, so mote it
                Every day,  I am met with  new decisions. I make  those decisions, and
                then I live  with the consequences of my actions.  In my opinion, that
                is what makes me human, what sets me apart from the animals. Man alone
                can  choose,  man  alone  is  not  chained  to  genetically  imprinted
                I have been asked why, if there is the possibility  that the Christian
                deity exists, do I not choose Christianity  on the possibility that it
                is  correct? This  is  Pascal's famous  wager.  If I  wager that  (the
                Christian) God exists and I  am correct, then I win all. If I am wrong
                and  God does  not exist,  then I  have lost  nothing, and  have lived
                (hopefully)  a  good and  productive life  in  the bargain.  Why would
                anyone not  accept this wager? My  answer to that is that  I would not
                willingly serve any  God that  would choose one  of His/Her  creations
                over another,  the good over the bad, the shriven over the heathen. If
                I had  definitive proof  that such  a  God existed,  I would  actively
                oppose  Him/Her. I would rather  suffer the cold  comfort of damnation
                than continue to  exist in a hereafter peopled with  only the "saved."
                This is my choice, and again, as I Will, so mote it be.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                >What  do  you believe  is  the  basis for  the  difference  between a
                "positive  direction  along  the  Path" and  actual  behavior  that is
                contrary to this by one who earnestly seeks "the Path"?
                A fine, difficult  question, Chris. As you've  stated elsewhere, we've
                been dancing all around this one for some time. Here goes:
                I cannot  determine what any one  individual's Path is. I  am not even
                sure of my own. I often follow forks in  the road until they come to a
                dead end, and  have to double back. Of course,  that's the problem one
                faces in  following one's own Will,  and not a set  of directions laid
                down by God. My concept of the Path is that it is like many roads, all
                of  which lead  eventually to self-knowledge  (enlightenment, Godhead,
                nirvana, and so on). In my theology, my ultimate goal is to become one
                with the  God of my creation  by gaining divine  knowledge, or gnosis.
                We've  discussed the concept of "hidden knowledge"  in the past, yet I
                feel that my understanding of gnosis differs from yours.
                The entire concept  of the  ancient mystery religions,  and of  modern
                "occult" (which mean only 'hidden' after all)  religions and practices
                was based on  the concept of the  inverted filter. Each  person passed
                through   successive  layers   of  filters,   gaining   knowledge  and
                understanding at each  stop, until they could  absorb no more (and  so
                could  not pass through the next layer  of filter). Of course, at each
                level,  the  initiate  was given  to  believe that  they  were  now in
                possession of secret knowledge, and ultimate truth. If they could find
                legitimate questions that led  them to reject or doubt  those 'truths'
                and seek deeper meaning, then they passed through to the next level of
                understanding. If they did not question, then they were satisfied that
                they had gained truth.
                This 'hidden knowledge' can be obtained outside of the constraints of
                organized religion; in fact  it originally was obtained independently.
                Just as Newton's  Laws could  eventually be  figured out  by a  person
                ignorant  of his discoveries, one  could find a  Path to enlightenment
                separate  from  any of  the mystery  religions.  However, just  as one
                attends school  to learn that which  is already known,  so one pursues
                illumination  from the teachings  of those  who have  already achieved
                more than oneself.
                Further,  I do not  believe that there  is one 'right'  Path. I accept
                that the OTO has valuable knowledge to impart. I accept that Christian
                Mystics,  Jewish Quabalists,  Muslim Sufis,  and so  on all  have some
                piece of the puzzle, and that all will eventually converge on the road
                to wisdom. I  know because I  have been to  that intersection once  or
                twice,  although I  am not there  now. My Path  is my own,  and as Van
                Morrison said, I have "No teacher, no guru, no method."
                Can  I  move in  a direction  that  is contrary  to  positive movement
                towards  the Laughing  Light?  You bet.  The tough  part  is that  the
                definition of what is or is not 'positive' is not  static. An example:
                it might  be proper that I  learn what it means to  take another human
                being's life by killing an intruder in my home. It might not be proper
                that I learn that lesson by following the orders of a superior officer
                in time of war. OR VICE VERSA.  I must choose at every instance, and I
                might  not immediately know  if my choice  has given or  taken from my
                search for truth.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                There are also times when I might know that I am actively choosing to
                deviate  from my Path.  I might choose  to sooth a  feeling of anxiety
                about whether or not  I can pay the rent  this month by yelling  at my
                wife.  I'm not  using this as  an example because  it is traditionally
                "wrong,"  but  because  I know  that  I  cannot solve  my  problems by
                transferring my anxiety to others.  If  I choose to ignore what I have
                already learned, then not only have I lost ground, but I  will have to
                deal with the anger that I've given out at some point.
                In conclusion, I believe that I am responsible for my own actions, as
                others are for theirs. I also believe that if I commit an action which
                may  seem 'right' to me, but  which society has deemed  to be a crime,
                I'll be  punished by society  for breaking  that law.  I would  punish
                those who break the laws which are meant to hold our society together,
                such as prohibitions on murder, burglary, and so forth. I believe that
                my moral convictions are  binding only on myself,  not on others,  and
                that I'll ultimately  deal with  the consequences of  my thoughts  and
                deeds.  I believe that I  have no right to judge  the moral content of
                another's actions. I believe in the  Wiccan Rede, "An it harm none, do
                as  thou shalt,"  and I further  believe that  it is meant  to make me
                consider  my  actions  and their  consequences,  and  to  make my  own
                decisions, rather than as a prohibition against any specific action.
                There  is much that I  do not know  about Godhead; much that  I do not
                know about Right and Wrong. I  have only my instincts and intellect to
                guide me, but I trust myself to make the right decisions eventually.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Sex and Magick (Fra. Apfelmann)" "bos070.htm"}

                                              Sex & Magic 
                                            Fra.: Apfelmann
                In this article I would like to address the issue of sex and magic.
                I am quite aware of the fact that this is a loaded subject. It is
                one of the oldest disciplines in occultism and virtually every magic
                tradition applies it somewhere down the road. Yet it has always been
                regarded as the innermost secret discipline. Witches, Shamans,
                Runesters, Yogis and Magicians of all varieties work with it in one
                form or another.
                To build up, strengthen, direct and aim this powerful energy is an
                awesome magical tool, as anyone who has ever worked with it knows.
                Being limited in time and space, but having such a wonderful and
                eclectic medium to work with, I want to give you a few unbiased
                ideas on the subject.
                No discipline of magic has attracted as much mumbo jumbo or
                misinformation as sex magic does. Nothing stirs the mind more than
                the left and right of the so-called middle path quite as vividly.
                Nothing is more ancient, powerful and misunderstood as Sex magic.
                Yes, the market on Tantra is booming, as a visit to any occult book
                shop will show you. Yet well researched, practical introductions
                into sex magic are virtually non-existent. Male sexist tunnel vision
                One of the reasons being that the general approach towards sexuality
                and women is steeped in Judeo-Christian hang ups.
                The most common approach seems to be: "Just lay down and be the
                altar dear, you are going to love it." Even such revolutionaries as
                Aleister Crowley have done very little to improve this. Louis
                Culling even dares to state in his contemporary work (1971), that a
                frigid woman is more conductive to sex magic practice than a sensual
                or, mind you, sexually aggressive one. For this would surely disturb
                ones concentration on the Great Work.
                No wonder that there are few women attracted to these kinds of
                partners! You will always get what you want in magic and the
                so-called true will does reveal itself in strange ways. Doing some
                soul searching and clarifying your motives is quite effective.
                Now, regarding literature on this subject there is hope. My german
                friend Fra.: U.D. has written a comprehensive, pragmatic book on sex
                magic. It`s title is "Secrets of the German Sex Magicians"
                (Llewellyn) and he told me last weekend that it is available in the
                States right now. (I hope he will give me some extracts to post them
                here...) It beats everything that has ever been published on the
                subject. Get it!
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Now let me point out, one more time, that magic is a practical
                science. Merely reading about it or going to a workshop will not get
                you anywhere.
                The multitude of sexual expressions is just as great and manifold as
                human behavior in general. Here, like everywhere in Chaos Magic, it
                is useful to keep in mind that if it works for you, use it!
                Remember, the real sex magicians, male and female, have always known
                that and discarded social conditioning and taboos, right along with
                the do`s and don`ts of dogma.
                We do magic to liberate ourselves. So if it is possible for one
                thing to be sacred we logically conclude that everything else can be
                sacred too.
                Auto-, Hetero- and Homosexual expressions are equally valid in
                sex magic. It is more about expanding ones horizons that about
                finding a certain "right" way, partner or ritual to do it. The Chaos
                Magical paradigm kicks right in: Nothing is True, and Everything is
                The next issue I want to address is the Auto-erotic practice. So let
                me state this loud and clear: Without auto erotic practice it is
                impossible to achieve anything in Sex magic!
                Auto-eroticism is of central importance because it is the ideal
                practice and playground. It constitutes a powerful technique in
                itself, and it makes us independent of partners. Especially in the
                beginning it is much easier to explore, prolong and amplify orgasmic
                trance states. For this very same reason it is possible to do
                effective sex magic with a partner who knows nothing about it but
                working with a partner who is equally trained in this art is ever so
                much more effective. Most amateurs believe that sexual magic is
                something that solely happens between partners in a ritual, but in
                reality the vast majority of sex magical arts are performed
                Regarding the physical aspects of the sexual magical training first
                thing to consider is that your body is really _your temple_. And for
                it to be your ultimate tool and asset it has to be in peak
                condition. Physical and mental dependencies, be it alcohol,
                stimulants or even tobacco, will interfere with your ability to
                develop and direct this tool. I do not want to project a moral
                attitude on this, or any other subject, but mind, spirit and body
                are deeply intertwined. And the more you alter your mind from the
                outside by using drugs of any sort, the harder it gets to focus your
                will and physical reaction. If you are in a frizzy condition, you
                will get frizzy results! Here, as in all magic, the borders are
                fluid. A good training in practical magic will greatly enhance your
                sexual magic and vice versa.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                A lot of physical exercises in sex magic derive from Tantra Yoga.
                The only point of disagreement appears to be the way of using the
                orgasm. In particular, the "traditional" Tantra authors seem to cling
                to the idea that there is only a limited amount of sperm available
                to men. Therefore this precious substance is carefully guarded, held
                back and reassimilated when spent. Western magic does not agree
                with this belief. Its approach is rather like: the more you spend -
                the more you get! This applies to male magicians, women have always
                been pretty much inexhaustible in their orgasmic capacity. What
                joins both is that the intent in Sex magic is much more result
                oriented and concrete than in Tantra, where it is mainly
                The longing for transcendence seems to be inherently natural in
                human behavior. Yet being western magicians living in the nineties
                we know that we have to handle the "real world", our physical
                reality first, and then we can move on to the loftier goals.
                A good manual for your physical preparation and training is
                "Stalking the Wild Orgasm" by Christopher Scott Kilham. Hie work not
                only includes some excellent yoga exercises, but also gives you some
                great clues regarding nutrition and aphrodisiacs.
                When you get going in this direction you will find that it soon
                penetrates into many other areas of your magical work. You will be
                in better physical shape, more relaxed, focused and grounded. Magic
                is a gut level art. We have to remove it from the intellectual
                stuff. Trust your own experiences. Strive to conduct your magic work
                from this part of your body where all magic originates - your loins.
                Have fun!
                With fractalic greetings and laughter  * Fra.: Apfelmann *
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "The Riddle Of The Trickster" "bos071.htm"}

                                     THE RIDDLE OF THE TRICKSTER
                                      a cross-cultural overview
                                     Thunderspud of Dragonfhain 
                Who  is  this trickster  archetype, the  one  who inspires  such mixed
                feelings   and  brouhaha?    Trickster  has  been  with  us  from  the
                beginning.   Trickster will  be there at  the ending. (If  there is an
                ending,  Trickster will probably trigger it).  Trickster is a creator,
                a transformer, a joker, a truth teller, a destroyer.
                Whoever has created a  dance, a song, written a ritual,  tailor-made a
                job, birthed a  child or invented a game has  partaken of a controlled
                Trickster  energy.     After  all,  in  Northwest   Native  and  Inuit
                tradition, Raven  created the world; Loki  is known to the  Norse as a
                co creator (and the bringer of Ragnarok); Anansi  the spider-trickster
                among  the Ashanti  of  Ghana and  Nareau  the spider  in  Micronesia;
                Coyote  among the Southwest Natives --these are the creator aspects of
                this  wild and  uncontrolled energy.   Trickster  often begins  in the
                void, desiring  to bring Order  out of Chaos;  once Order is  imposed,
                however, Trickster represents the breaking free of negative power 
                from the Universal Order of things.
                As a  shape-shifter, Trickster is  all things  to all  people, at  one
                time or another,  and often simultaneously.  Of  course Trickster is a
                creator  and a  destroyer.   Sure he's  a family  man and  a vagabond.
                Naturally he gives fire  to humans and then  steals their food  before
                they  can  cook  it.    This  is  his  style;  when  he  acts  out  of
                selfishness,  everyone benefits --  Maui of the  Thousand Tricks might
                snare the Sun to slow it  down, making life easier for humans,  but he
                did it so his  mother would have more time  to cook for him.   When he
                acts  out of altruism, there's most always a negative effect --Marawa,
                a Lou Costello prototype  from Banks Island carved human  figures from
                wood and put  them in the  ground so  they would grow  and be  strong;
                however,  they merely rotted and death  came into the world of humans.
                This  shape- shifter  not only  moves  from shape  to shape,  but from
                world to world.  Number Eleven suffered at the hands  of death to free
                his  brothers; his  brothers  then took  his  lifeless body  away  and
                revived him.   In the Winnebago cycle, Trickster dies  three times and
                returns to  life  three times.    In  just one  collection  of  Coyote
                stories, Giving Birth  to Thunder, Sleeping With  His Daughter, Coyote
                dies of  a snake bite, a  gunshot, an arrow  wound, a broken  heart, a
                rock-fall and a drowning; this resembles nothing so much as a 
                Roadrunner cartoon.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Trickster fuzzes  the lines between  Male and Female,  between cunning
                and  stupidity (in  one  story Coyote  steals a  horse, in  another he
                almost  drowns  trying to  eat some  berries  reflected in  a stream),
                between wisdom  and stupidity.  Trickster tells us the truth about our
                selves,  showing us with truth and wit the sides of our nature that we
                may be more comfortable not acknowledging;  he's the one who points at
                the Emperor's nakedness, he's Lenny Bruce and Ashleigh  Brilliant, Ken
                Kesey  and Uncle Remus, Opus,  Geech, Tom Robbins,  Abbie Hoffman, Don
                Becker,  Weird Al Yankovich and  David Letterman, holding  up a skewed
                mirror of reality  for us to look into.  Among  the Aztecs, as serious
                a culture  as this continent  has ever  seen, Ueuecoyotl, a  funny and
                outrageously unacceptable  clown figure; in the  Southwest, at serious
                rituals,  he's the  Koshare speeding  around the circle  with tickling
                feathers and rattle, being ignored completely by the priest.
                Trickster shines on as  a culture bringer: Prometheus steals  fire for
                his poor stunted creations, and pays  a terrible and eternal price for
                his  philanthropy.  Loki  also steals fire  for humans,  as do Anansi,
                Raven,  Coyote,  Maui; so  far  I have  found  no less  than seventeen
                stories  from  different  cultures  on  this  theme.   Anansi  tricked
                Nyankopon the Sky-God out of his stories and gave them to the humans. 
                Clat, from Banks Island, taught humans how to sleep.
                In the stories of the Ashanti, Anansi invented the tar-baby  as a ruse
                to  trap  an elemental  spirit, but  in  the Native  American stories,
                Coyote  is trapped  by a  tar-baby set  up by  a farmer.  Actually the
                farmer  had caught  a rabbit  with his  tar-baby, but  Coyote happened
                along and asked  Rabbit what he was doing there.  "The farmer who owns
                this  field got mad  at me because  I wouldn't  eat his melons,  so he
                stuck me  here and  said  he'd come  back and  make  me eat  chicken."
                Rabbit  replies, "But I told him I wouldn't do it."  Of course, greedy
                Coyote extricates Rabbit  and wraps himself around  the tar-baby where
                he still his when the farmer comes out and shoots him.
                So this is the Trickster,  the energy that  allows us to  break out of
                our  stereotypes,  whether  they've  been imposed  by  ourselves,  our
                families, our  culture.  This  is the energy  that opens the  world of
                limitless possibilities and it  behooves us all to work with it before
                it destroys us, to touch the Trickster as he touches us.
                                    ...........from RMPJ, Oct.'86   
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Notes on Kabbalah (Colin Low)" "bos072.htm"}

                         Notes on Kabbalah (a continuing series of many parts) 
                                       Copyright Colin Low 1991
                 Chapter 1.: The Tree of Life
                      At  the root of the Cabalistic view of the world are  three
                 fundamental  concepts and they provide a natural place to  begin.
                 The  three concepts are force,  form and consciousness and  these
                 words  are  used in an abstract way,  as the  following  examples
                      -  high  pressure steam in the cylinder of  a  steam  engine
                      provides a force.  The engine is a form which constrains the
                      -  a  river runs downhill under the force  of  gravity.  The
                      river channel is a form which constrains the water to run in
                      a well defined path.
                      - someone wants to get to the center of a garden  maze.  The
                      hedges  are a form which constrain that person's ability  to
                      walk as they please.
                      -  a  diesel engine provides the force which drives  a  boat
                      forwards.   A  rudder  constrains  its  course  to  a  given
                      -  a  politician wants to change the  law.  The  legislative
                      framework  of  the country is a form which he  or  she  must
                      follow if the change is to be made legally.
                      - water sits in a bowl. The force of gravity pulls the water
                      down. The bowl is a form which gives its shape to the water.
                      -  a stone falls to the ground under the force  of  gravity.
                      Its  acceleration  is constrained to be equal to  the  force
                      divided by the mass of the stone.
                      - I want to win at chess.  The force of my desire to win  is
                      constrained within the rules of chess.
                      - I see something in a shop window and have to have it. I am
                      constrained  by  the conditions of sale (do  I  have  enough
                      money, is it in stock).
                      - cordite explodes in a gun barrel and provides an explosive
                      force on a bullet. The gas and the bullet are constrained by
                      the form of the gun barrel.
                      - I want to get a passport. The government won't give me one
                      unless I fill in lots of forms in precisely the right way.
                      - I want a university degree.  The university won't give  me
                      a  degree unless I attend certain courses and  pass  various
                 In all these examples there is something which is causing  change
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 to  take  place ("a force") and there is something  which  causes
                 change to take place in a defined way ("a form").  Without  being
                 too pedantic it is possible to identify two very different  types
                 of example here:
                      1.  examples of natural physical processes (e.g.  a  falling
                      stone) where the force is one of the natural forces known to
                      physics (e.g.  gravity) and the form is some  combination
                      of physical laws which constrain the force to act in a  well
                      defined way.
                      2.  examples of people wanting something, where the force is
                      some ill-defined concept of "desire",  "will",  or "drives",
                      and  the form is one of the forms we impose  upon  ourselves
                      (the rules of chess, the Law, polite behavior etc.).
                 Despite  the  fact that the two different types  of  example  are
                 "only  metaphorically  similar",  Kabbalists see  no  fundamental
                 distinction  between  them.  To the Kabbalist there  are  forces
                 which  cause  change  in  the  natural  world,   and  there   are
                 corresponding psychological forces which drive us to change  both
                 the world and ourselves,  and whether these forces are natural or
                 psychological they are rooted in the same  place:  consciousness.
                 Similarly,  there  are  forms which the component  parts  of  the
                 physical  world  seem  to  obey  (natural  laws)  and  there  are
                 completely  arbitrary forms we create as part of the  process  of
                 living (the rules of a game, the shape of a mug, the design of an
                 engine, the syntax of a language) and these forms are also rooted
                 in the same place:  consciousness. It is a Cabalistic axiom that
                 there is a prime cause which underpins all the manifestations  of
                 force  and form in both the natural and psychological  world  and
                 that prime cause I have called consciousness for lack of a better
                      Consciousness is undefinable.  We know that we are conscious
                 in different ways at different times - sometimes we feel free and
                 happy,  at other times trapped and confused,  sometimes angry and
                 passionate,  sometimes  cold  and restrained -  but  these  words
                 describe  manifestations  of consciousness.  We  can  define  the
                 manifestations  of  consciousness in terms of  manifestations  of
                 consciousness,  which is about as useful as defining an ocean  in
                 terms  of  waves  and  foam.   Anyone  who  attempts  to   define
                 consciousness  itself tends to come out of the same door as  they
                 went in. We have lots of words for the phenomena of consciousness
                 - thoughts,  feelings, beliefs, desires, emotions, motives and so
                 on  -  but few words for the states of consciousness  which  give
                 rise to these phenomena,  just as we have many words to  describe
                 the  surface  of a sea,  but few words to  describe  its  depths.
                 Kabbalah  provides  a  vocabulary  for  states  of  consciousness
                 underlying the phenomena,  and one of the purposes of these notes
                 is to explain this vocabulary,  not by definition,  but mostly by
                 metaphor  and analogy.  The only genuine method of  understanding
                 what  the  vocabulary  means is by attaining  various  states  of
                 consciousness in a predictable and reasonably objective way,  and
                 Kabbalah provides practical methods for doing this.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                      A fundamental premise of the Cabalistic model of reality is
                 that  there  is  a  pure,   primal,   and  undefinable  state  of
                 consciousness which manifests as an interaction between force and
                 form.  This is virtually the entire guts of the Cabalistic  view
                 of  things,  and almost everything I have to say from now  on  is
                 based  on  this  trinity  of  consciousness,   force,  and  form.
                 Consciousness  comes first,  but hidden within it is an  inherent
                 duality;  there is an energy associated with consciousness  which
                 causes   change  (force),   and  there  is  a   capacity   within
                 consciousness  to constrain that energy and cause it to  manifest
                 in a well-defined way (form).
                                        First Principle
                                      /  Consciousness   \
                                     /                    \
                                    /                      \
                                Capacity                   Raw
                                to take  ________________ Energy
                                           Figure 1.
                 What do we get out of raw energy and an inbuilt capacity for form
                 and structure?  Is there yet another hidden potential within this
                 trinity waiting to manifest? There is. If modern physics is to be
                 believed we get matter and the physical world.  The  cosmological
                 Big  Bang  model of raw energy surging out from  an  infinitesimal
                 point and condensing into basic forms of matter as it cools, then
                 into  stars and galaxies,  then planets,  and  ultimately  living
                 creatures,  has  many points of similarity with  the  Cabalistic
                 model. In the Big Bang model a soup of energy condenses according
                 to  some  yet-to-be-formulated  Grand-Universal-Theory  into  our
                 physical  world.  What Kabbalah does suggest (and modern  physics
                 most  certainly does not!) is that matter and  consciousness  are
                 the  same  stuff,  and  differ only in the  degree  of  structure
                 imposed  -  matter  is consciousness so  heavily  structured  and
                 constrained  that  its behavior becomes  describable  using  the
                 regular and simple laws of physics.  This is shown in Fig. 2. The
                 primal,  first principle of consciousness is synonymous with  the
                 idea of "God".
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                                        First Principle
                                      /  Consciousness   \
                                     /         |          \
                                    /          |           \
                                Capacity       |           Raw
                                to take  _____________ Energy/Force
                                 Form          |
                                    \          |           /
                                     \         |          /
                                      \        |         /
                                           The World
                                           Figure 2
                 The glyph in Fig.  2 is the basis for the Tree of Life. The first
                 principle of consciousness is called Kether,  which means  Crown.
                 The  raw energy of consciousness is called Chockhmah  or  Wisdom,
                 and  the capacity to give form to the energy of consciousness  is
                 called Binah, which is sometimes translated as Understanding, and
                 sometimes  as  Intelligence.  The outcome of the  interaction  of
                 force and form,  the physical world,  called Malkuth or  Kingdom.
                 This  quaternery  is  a Cabalistic  representation  of  God-the-
                 Knowable,  in the sense that it the most primitive representation
                 of God we are capable of comprehending;  paradoxically, Kabbalah
                 also  contains  a notion of God-the-Unknowable  which  transcends
                 this glyph,  and is called En Soph.  There is not much I can  say
                 about En Soph, and what I can say I will postpone for later.
                      God-the-Knowable has four aspects,  two male and two female:
                 Kether and Chokhmah are both represented as male,  and Binah  and
                 Malkuth are represented as female.  One of the titles of Chokhmah
                 is Abba,  which means Father,  and one of the titles of Binah  is
                 Aima,  which means Mother,  so you can think of Chokhmah as  God-
                 the-Father,   and  Binah  as  God-the-Mother.    Malkuth  is  the
                 daughter, the female spirit of God-as-Matter, and it would not be
                 wildly  wrong to think of her as Mother Earth.  One of  the  more
                 pleasant things about Kabbalah is that its symbolism gives  equal
                 place to both male and female.
                      And  what  of God-the-Son?  Is there also a  God-the-Son  in
                 Kabbalah?  There is, and this is the point where Kabbalah tackles
                 the interesting problem of thee and me.  The glyph in Fig. 2 is a
                 model of consciousness,  but not of self-consciousness, and self-
                 consciousness throws an interesting spanner in the works.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 The Fall
                      Self-consciousness  is like a mirror in which  consciousness
                 sees itself reflected.  Self-consciousness is modelled in Kabbalah
                 by making a copy of figure 2.
                                      /  Consciousness   \
                                     /         |          \
                                    /          |           \
                               Consciousness   |      Consciousness
                                    of  ________________   of
                                   Form        |       Energy/Force
                                    \          |           /
                                     \         |          /
                                      \        |         /
                                             of the
                                           Figure 3
                 Figure 3.  is Figure 2. reflected through self-consciousness. The
                 overall  effect  of self-consciousness is to  add  an  additional
                 layer to Figure 2. as follows:
                                        First Principle
                                      /  Consciousness   \
                                     /         |          \
                                    /          |           \
                                Capacity       |           Raw
                                to take  _____________ Energy/Force
                                 Form          |
                                    \          |           /
                                     \         |          /
                                      \        |         /
                                      /  Consciousness   \
                                     /         |          \
                                    /          |           \
                               Consciousness   |      Consciousness
                                    of  ________________   of
                                   Form        |       Energy/Force
                                    \          |           /
                                     \         |          /
                                      \        |         /
                                             of the
                                           The World
                                           Figure 4
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Fig.  2  is  sometimes  called "the Garden of  Eden"  because  it
                 represents a primal state of consciousness.  The effect of  self-
                 consciousness as shown in Fig.  4 is to drive a wedge between the
                 First Principle of Consciousness (Kether) and that  Consciousness
                 realized  as  matter and the physical world  (Malkuth).  This  is
                 called "the Fall",  after the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden
                 of Eden. From a Cabalistic point of view the story of Eden, with
                 the  Tree  of Knowledge of Good and Evil,  the  serpent  and  the
                 temptation,  and the casting out from the Garden has a great deal
                 of   meaning   in  terms  of  understanding  the   evolution   of
                      Self-consciousness    introduces   four   new   states    of
                 consciousness:  the  Consciousness  of  Consciousness  is  called
                 Tipheret,  which means Beauty;  the Consciousness of Force/Energy
                 is  called  Netzach,   which  means  Victory  or  Firmness;   the
                 Consciousness  of Form is called Hod,  which means  Splendor  or
                 Glory,  and  the Consciousness of Matter is called  Yesod,  which
                 means  Foundation.  These  four states  have  readily  observable
                 manifestations, as shown below in Fig. 5:
                                            The Self
                                      /        |         \
                                     /         |          \
                                    /          |           \
                                 Language      |         Emotions
                                  Reason       |         Feelings
                                    \          |           /
                                     \         |          /
                                      \        |         /
                                       \   Perception   /
                                            Figure 5
                 Figure 4.  is almost the complete Tree of Life,  but not quite  -
                 there  are  still two states missing.  The inherent  capacity  of
                 consciousness  to take on structure and objectify itself  (Binah,
                 God-the-Mother)  is  reflected through  self-consciousness  as  a
                 perception of the limitedness and boundedness of things.  We  are
                 conscious of space and time, yesterday and today, here and there,
                 you  and  me,  in and out,  life and  death,  whole  and  broken,
                 together and apart.  We see things as limited and bounded and  we
                 have a perception of form as something "created" and "destroyed".
                 My  car was built a year ago,  but it was  smashed  yesterday.  I
                 wrote an essay, but I lost it when my computer crashed. My granny
                 is dead. The river changed its course. A law has been repealed. I
                 broke  my  coffee  mug.  The world changes,  and  what  was  here
                 yesterday  is  not  here today.  This  perception  acts  like  an
                 "interface"   between  the  quaternary  of  consciousness   which
                 represents  "God",  and the quaternary which represents a  living
                 self-conscious  being,  and  two  new states  are  introduced  to
                 represent this interface. The state which represents the creation
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 of new forms is called Chesed,  which means Mercy,  and the state
                 which  represents  the destruction of forms  is  called  Gevurah,
                 which   means  Strength.   This  is  shown   in   Fig.   6.   The
                 objectification  of forms which takes place in  a  self-conscious
                 being,  and the consequent tendency to view the world in terms of
                 limitations and dualities (time and space,  here and  there,  you
                 and me,  in and out,  God and Man,  good and evil...) produces  a
                 barrier to perception which most people rarely overcome,  and for
                 this reason it has come to be called the Abyss. The Abyss is also
                 marked on Figure 6.
                                        First Principle
                                      /  Consciousness   \
                                     /         |          \
                                    /          |           \
                                Capacity       |           Raw
                                to take  _____________ Energy/Force
                                 Form          |            |
                                   |\          |           /|
                                   | \         |          / |
                                   |   \       |        /   |
                              Destruction      |        Creation
                                  of_____\_____|_____ /____of
                                 Form     \    |     /    Form
                                   | \     \   |    /    /  |
                                   |  \     \  |   /    /   |
                                   |   \ Consciousness /    |
                                   |          of            |
                                   |  /  Consciousness   \  |
                                   | /         |          \ |
                                   |/          |           \|
                               Consciousness   |      Consciousness
                                    of  ________________   of
                                 \ Form        |       Energy/Force
                                  \ \          |           / /
                                   \ \         |          / /
                                   \  \        |         /  /
                                    \    Consciousness     /
                                    \         of           /
                                     \     the World      /
                                      \                  /
                                       \       |        /
                                        \      |       /
                                         \     |      /
                                           The World
                                            Figure 6
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 The  diagram  in  Fig.   6  is  called  the  Tree  of  Life.  The
                 "constructionist"  approach I have used to justify its  structure
                 is  a little unusual,  but the essence of my presentation can  be
                 found  in  the "Zohar" under the guise of the  Macroprosopus  and
                 Microprosopus, although in this form it is not readily accessible
                 to  the average reader.  My attempt to show how the Tree of  Life
                 can be derived out of pure consciousness through the  interaction
                 of an abstract notion of force and form was not intended to be  a
                 convincing exercise from an intellectual point of view - the Tree
                 of  Life  is  primarily  a gnostic  rather  than  a  rational  or
                 intellectual  explanation  of consciousness and  its  interaction
                 with the physical world.
                      The  Tree is composed of 10 states or  sephiroth  (sephiroth
                 plural,  sephira singular) and 22 interconnecting paths.  The age
                 of  this diagram is unknown:  there is enough information in  the
                 13th.  century "Sepher ha Zohar" to construct this  diagram,  and
                 the  doctrine of the sephiroth has been attributed to  Isaac  the
                 Blind in the 12th.  century,  but we have no certain knowledge of
                 its  origin.  It  probably originated sometime  in  the  interval
                 between the 6th.  and 13th.  centuries AD. The origin of the word
                 "sephira"  is unclear - it is almost certainly derived  from  the
                 Hebrew word for "number" (SPhR),  but it has also been attributed
                 to the Greek word for "sphere" and even to the Hebrew word for  a
                 sapphire (SPhIR).  With a characteristic aptitude for discovering
                 hidden meanings everywhere, Kabbalists find all three derivations
                 useful, so take your pick.
                      In the language of earlier Cabalistic writers the sephiroth
                 represented  ten primeval emanations of God,  ten  foci  through
                 which  the energy of a hidden,  absolute and unknown Godhead  (En
                 Soph)  propagated  throughout  the  creation,  like  white  light
                 passing  through  a prism.  The sephiroth can be  interpreted  as
                 aspects of God,  as states of consciousness,  or as nodes akin to
                 the  Chakras  in the occult anatomy of a human  being  .
                      I  have left out one important detail from the structure  of
                 the  Tree.  There is an eleventh "something" which is  definitely
                 *not* a sephira,  but is often shown on modern representations of
                 the  Tree.  The Cabalistic "explanation" runs as  follows:  when
                 Malkuth "fell" out of the Garden of Eden (Fig.  2) it left behind
                 a "hole" in the fabric of the Tree,  and this "hole",  located in
                 the center of the Abyss,  is called Daath,  or Knowledge. Daath is
                 *not* a sephira; it is a hole. This may sound like gobbledy-gook,
                 and in the sense that it is only a metaphor, it is.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                      The  completed  Tree of Life with the Hebrew titles  of  the
                 sephiroth is shown below in Fig. 7.
                                            En Soph
                                 /                           \
                                (            Kether           )
                                        /   (Crown)    \
                                       /       |        \
                                      /        |         \
                                     /         |          \
                                 Binah         |        Chokhmah
                             (Understanding)__________  (Wisdom)
                              (Intelligence)   |           |
                                   |\          |          /|
                                   | \       Daath       / |
                                   |  \   (Knowledge)   /  |
                                   |   \       |       /   |
                                Gevurah \      |      /  Chesed
                               (Strength)\_____|_____/__ (Mercy)
                                   |      \    |    /    (Love)
                                   | \     \   |   /     / |
                                   |  \     \  |  /     /  |
                                   |   \   Tipheret    /   |
                                   |   /   (Beauty)    \   |
                                   |  /        |        \  |
                                   | /         |         \ |
                                   |/          |          \|
                                  Hod          |        Netzach
                                (Glory) _______________(Victory)
                               (Splendor)     |       (Firmness)
                                  \ \          |           / /
                                   \ \         |          / /
                                   \  \        |         / /
                                    \  \       |        /  /
                                    \   \    Yesod     /  /
                                     \    (Foundation)   /
                                      \                 /
                                       \       |       /
                                        \      |      /
                                         \     |     /
                                            Figure 7
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 From  an historical point of view the doctrine of emanations  and
                 the  Tree  of  Life are only one small part of  a  huge  body  of
                 Cabalistic speculation about the nature of divinity and our part
                 in  creation,  but it is the part which has  survived.  The  Tree
                 continues  to  be used in the Twentieth Century  because  it  has
                 proved  to be a useful and productive symbol for practices  of  a
                 magical,  mystical and religious nature.  Modern Kabbalah in  the
                 Western   Mystery  Tradition  is  largely  concerned   with   the
                 understanding and practical application of the Tree of Life,  and
                 the following set of notes will list some of the  characteristics
                 of each sephira in more detail so that you will have a "snapshot"
                 of  what each sephira represents before going on to  examine  the
                 sephiroth and the "deep structure" of the Tree in more detail.
                 Chapter 2.: Sephirothic Correspondences
                      The correspondences are a set of symbols,  associations  and
                 qualities  which  provide  a handle on the  elusive  something  a
                 sephira represents.  Some of the correspondences are hundreds  of
                 years old, many were concocted this century, and some are my own;
                 some  fit very well,  and some are obscure - oddly enough  it  is
                 often  the most obscure and ill-fitting correspondence  which  is
                 most  productive;  like a Zen riddle it perplexes and annoys  the
                 mind  until  it arrives at the right place more in spite  of  the
                 correspondence than because of it.
                      There  are  few  canonical  correspondences;   some  of  the
                 sephiroth  have  alternative  names,   some  of  the  names  have
                 alternative  translations,  the mapping from Hebrew spellings  to
                 the  English  alphabet varies from one author to  the  next,  and
                 inaccuracies  and  accretions  are handed down  like  the  family
                 silver. I keep my Hebrew dictionary to hand but guarantee none of
                 the English spellings.
                      The correspondences I have given are as follows:
                      1.  The  Meaning is a translation of the Hebrew name of  the
                      2.  The  Planet in most cases is the planet associated  with
                          the  sephira.  In some cases it is not a planet  at  all
                          (e.g.   the  fixed  stars).   The  planets  are  ordered
                          by   decreasing   apparent   motion  -   this   is   one
                          correspondence which appears to pre-date Copernicus!
                      3.  The Element is the physical element (earth,  water, air,
                          fire,  aethyr) which has most in common with the  nature
                          of  the Sephira.  The Golden Dawn applied an  excess  of
                          logic to these attributions and made a mess of them,  to
                          the  confusion  of  many.   Only  the  five  Lower  Face
                          sephiroth have been attributed an element.
                      4.  Briatic  color.  This is the color of the  sephira  as
                          seen in the world of Creation,  Briah.  There are color
                          scales  for the other three worlds but I  haven't  found
                          them to be useful in practical work.
                      5.  Magical Image. Useful in meditations; some are astute.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                      6.  The  Briatic Correspondence is an abstract  quality
                          which  says something about the essence of the  way  the
                          sephira expresses itself.
                      7.  The  Illusion characterizes the way in which the  energy
                          of the sephira clouds one's judgement;  it is  something
                          which is *obviously* true.  Most people suffer from  one
                          or more of these according to their temperament.
                      8.  The  Obligation is a personal quality which is  demanded
                          of an initiate at this level.
                      9.  The  Virtue and Vice are the energy of the sephiroth  as
                          it  manifests  in a positive and negative sense  in  the
                      10. Klippoth  is a word which means  "shell".  In  medieval
                          Kabbalah  each sephira was "seen" to be adding  form  to
                          the  sephira  which preceded it in the  Lightning  Flash
                          (see Chapter 3.). Form was seen to an accretion, a shell
                          around  the pure divine energy of the Godhead,  and each
                          layer  or  shell hid the divine radiance  a  little  bit
                          more, until God was buried in form and exiled in matter,
                          the end-point of the process.  At the time attitudes  to
                          matter  were  tainted  with the  Manichean  notion  that
                          matter   was  evil,   a  snare  for  the   spirit,   and
                          consequently the Klippoth or shells were "demonised" and
                          actually turned into demons.  The correspondence I  have
                          given  here restores the original notion of a  shell  of
                          form  *without* the corresponding force to activate  it;
                          it  is the lifeless,  empty husk of a sephira devoid  of
                          force,  and while it isn't a literal demon, it is hardly
                          a bundle of laughs when you come across it.
                      11. The  Command  refers to the Four Powers of  the  Sphinx,
                          with an extra one added for good measure.
                      12. The Spiritual Experience is just that.
                      13. The Titles are a collection of alternative names for the
                          sephira; most are very old.
                      14. The  God  Name  is a key to invoking the  power  of  the
                          sephira in the world of emanation, Atziluth.
                      13. The Archangel mediates the energy of the sephira in  the
                          world of creation, Briah.
                      14. The Angel Order administers the energy of the sephira in
                          the world of formation, Yetzirah.
                      15. The Keywords are a collection of phrases which summarize
                          key aspects of the sephira.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Sephira: Malkuth                   Meaning: Kingdom
                 -------                            -------
                 Planet: Cholem Yesodeth            Element: earth
                 --------(the Breaker of            -------
                          the Foundations, sphere of the elements, the Earth)
                 Briatic Color: brown              Number: 10
                 ------------- (citrine, russet-red,------
                                olive green, black)
                 Magical Image: a young woman crowned and throned
                 Briatic Correspondence: stability
                 Illusion: materialism              Obligation: discipline
                 --------                           ----------
                 Virtue: discrimination             Vice: avarice & inertia
                 ------                             ----
                 Klippoth: stasis                   Command: keep silent
                 --------                           -------
                 Spiritual Experience: Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel
                 Titles:  The Gate; Gate of Death; Gate of Tears; Gate of Justice;
                 ------   The Inferior Mother;  Malkah,  the  Queen;  Kallah,  the
                          Bride; the Virgin.
                 God Name: Adonai ha Aretz          Archangel: Sandalphon
                 --------  Adonai Malekh            ---------
                 Angel Order: Ishim
                 Keywords:the  real world,  physical  matter,  the  Earth,  Mother
                          Earth,  the physical elements, the natural world, sticks
                          & stones,  possessions,  faeces, practicality, solidity,
                          stability, inertia, heaviness, bodily death, incarnation.
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                 Sephira: Yesod                     Meaning: Foundation
                 -------                            -------
                 Planet: Levanah (the Moon)         Element: Aethyr
                 --------------                     -------
                 Briatic Color: purple             Number: 9
                 -------------                      ------
                 Magical Image: a beautiful man, very strong (e.g. Atlas)
                 Briatic Correspondence: receptivity, perception
                 Illusion: security                 Obligation: trust
                 --------                           ----------
                 Virtue: independence               Vice: idleness
                 ------                             ----
                 Klippoth: zombieism, robotism      Command: go!
                 --------                           -------
                 Spiritual Experience: Vision of the Machinery of the Universe
                 Titles: The Treasure House of Images
                 God Name: Shaddai el Chai          Archangel: Gabriel
                 --------                           ---------
                 Angel Order: Cherubim
                 Keywords: perception, interface, imagination, image, appearance,
                           glamour, the Moon, the unconscious, instinct, tides,
                           illusion, hidden infrastructure, dreams, divination,
                           anything as it seems to be and not as it is, mirrors
                           and crystals, the "Astral Plane", Aethyr, glue,
                           tunnels, sex & reproduction, the genitals, cosmetics,
                           instinctive magic (psychism), secret doors, shamanic
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Sephira: Hod                       Meaning: Glory, Splendor
                 -------                            -------
                 Planet: Kokab (Mercury)            Element: air
                 ------                             -------
                 Briatic Color: orange             Number: 8
                 -------------                      ------
                 Magical Image: an hermaphrodite
                 Briatic Correspondence: abstraction
                 Illusion: order                    Obligation: learn
                 --------                           ----------
                 Virtue: honesty, truthfulness      Vice: dishonesty
                 ------                             ----
                 Klippoth: rigidity                 Command: will
                 Spiritual Experience: Vision of Splendor
                 Titles: -
                 God Name: Elohim Tzabaoth          Archangel: Raphael
                 --------                           ---------
                 Angel Order: Beni Elohim
                 Keywords: reason, abstraction, communication, conceptualization,
                           logic, the sciences, language, speech, money (as a
                           concept), mathematics, medicine & healing, trickery,
                           writing, media (as communication), pedantry,
                           philosophy, Kabbalah (as an abstract system), protocol,
                           the Law, ownership, territory, theft, "Rights", ritual
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Sephira: Netzach                   Meaning: Victory, Firmness
                 -------                            -------
                 Planet: Nogah (Venus)              Element: water
                 --------------                     -------
                 Briatic Color: green              Number: 7
                 -------------                      ------
                 Magical Image: a beautiful naked woman
                 Briatic Correspondence: nurture
                 Illusion: projection               Obligation: responsibility
                 --------                           ----------
                 Virtue: unselfishness              Vice: selfishness
                 ------                             ----
                 Klippoth: habit, routine           Command: know
                 Spiritual Experience: Vision of Beauty Triumphant
                 Titles: -
                 God Name: Jehovah Tzabaoth         Archangel: Haniel
                 --------                           ---------
                 Angel Order: Elohim
                 Keywords: passion, pleasure, luxury, sensual beauty, feelings,
                           drives, emotions - love, hate, anger, joy, depression,
                           misery, excitement, desire, lust; nurture, libido,
                           empathy, sympathy, ecstatic magic.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Sephira: Tipheret                  Meaning: Beauty
                 -------                            -------
                 Planet: Shemesh (the Sun)          Element: fire
                 --------------                     -------
                 Briatic Color: yellow             Number: 6
                 -------------                      ------
                 Magical Image: a king, a child, a sacrificed god
                 Briatic Correspondence: centrality, wholeness
                 Illusion: identification           Obligation: integrity
                 --------                           ----------
                 Virtue: devotion to the Great Work Vice: pride, self-importance
                 ------                             ----
                 Klippoth: hollowness               Command: dare
                 Spiritual Experience: Vision of Harmony
                 Titles: Melekh, the King; Zoar Anpin, the lesser countenance, the
                 ------  Microprosopus; the Son; Rachamin, charity.
                 God Name: Aloah va Daath           Archangel: Michael
                 --------                           ---------
                 Angel Order: Malachim
                 Keywords: harmony, integrity, balance, wholeness, the Self, self-
                           importance, self-sacrifice, the Son of God, centrality,
                           the Philospher's Stone, identity, the solar plexus,
                           a King, the Great Work.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Sephira: Gevurah                   Meaning: Strength
                 -------                            -------
                 Planet: Madim (Mars)
                 Briatic Color: red                Number: 5
                 -------------                      ------
                 Magical Image: a mighty warrior
                 Briatic Correspondence: power
                 Illusion: invincibility            Obligation: courage & loyalty
                 --------                           ----------
                 Virtue: courage & energy           Vice: cruelty
                 ------                             ----
                 Klippoth: bureaucracy
                 Spiritual Experience: Vision of Power
                 Titles: Pachad, fear; Din, justice.
                 God Name: Elohim Gevor             Archangel: Kamael
                 --------                           ---------
                 Angel Order: Seraphim
                 Keywords: power, justice, retribution (eaten cold), the Law (in
                           execution), cruelty, oppression, domination & the Power
                           Myth, severity, necessary destruction, catabolism,
                           martial arts.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Sephira: Chesed                    Meaning: Mercy
                 -------                            -------
                 Planet: Tzadekh (Jupiter)
                 Briatic Color: blue               Number: 4
                 -------------                      ------
                 Magical Image: a mighty king
                 Briatic Correspondence: authority
                 Illusion: being right              Obligation: humility
                 --------  (self-righteousness)     ----------
                 Virtue: humility & obedience       Vice: tyranny, hypocrisy,
                 ------                             ----  bigotry, gluttony
                 Klippoth: ideology
                 Spiritual Experience: Vision of Love
                 Titles: Gedulah, magnificence, love, majesty
                 God Name: El                       Archangel: Tzadkiel
                 --------                           ---------
                 Angel Order: Chasmalim
                 Keywords: authority, creativity, inspiration, vision, leadership,
                           excess, waste, secular and spiritual power, submission
                           and the Annihilation Myth, the atom bomb, obliteration,
                           birth, service.
                 Non-Sephira: Daath                 Meaning: Knowledge
                 -----------                        -------
                 Daath has no manifest qualities and cannot be invoked directly.
                 Keywords: hole, tunnel, gateway, doorway, black hole, vortex.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Sephira: Binah                     Meaning: Understanding,
                 -------                            -------
                 Planet: Shabbathai (Saturn)
                 Briatic Color: black              Number: 3
                 -------------                      ------
                 Magical Image: an old woman on a throne
                 Briatic Correspondence: comprehension
                 Illusion: death
                 Virtue: silence                    Vice: inertia
                 ------                             ----
                 Klippoth: fatalism
                 Spiritual Experience: Vision of Sorrow
                 Titles:   Aima, the Mother; Ama, the Crone; Marah, the bitter
                           sea; Khorsia, the Throne; the Fifty Gates of
                           Understanding; Intelligence; the Mother of Form; the
                           Superior Mother.
                 God Name: Elohim                   Archangel: Cassiel
                 --------                           ---------
                 Angel Order: Aralim
                 Keywords: limitation, form, constraint, heaviness, slowness, old-
                           age, infertility, incarnation, karma, fate, time,
                           space, natural law, the womb and gestation, darkness,
                           boundedness, enclosure, containment, fertility, mother,
                           weaving and spinning, death (annihilation).
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Sephira: Chokhmah                  Meaning: Wisdom
                 -------                            -------
                 Planet: Mazlot (the Zodiac, the fixed stars)
                 Briatic Color: silver/white       Number: 2
                 -------------   grey               ------
                 Magical Image: a bearded man
                 Briatic Correspondence: revolution
                 Illusion: independence
                 Virtue: good                       Vice: evil
                 ------                             ----
                 Klippoth: arbitrariness
                 Spiritual Experience: Vision of God face-to-face
                 Titles: Abba, the Father. The Supernal Father.
                 God Name: Jah                      Archangel: Ratziel
                 --------                           ---------
                 Angel Order: Auphanim
                 Keywords: pure creative energy, lifeforce, the wellspring.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Sephira: Kether                    Meaning: Crown
                 -------                            -------
                 Planet: Rashith ha Gilgalim (first swirlings, the Big Bang)
                 Briatic Color: pure white         Number: 1
                 -------------                      ------
                 Magical Image: a bearded man seen in profile
                 Briatic Correspondence: unity
                 Illusion: attainment
                 Virtue: attainment                 Vice: ---
                 ------                             ----
                 Klippoth: futility
                 Spiritual Experience: Union with God
                 Titles:   Ancient of Days, the Greater Countenance
                           (Macroprosopus), the White Head, Concealed of the
                           Concealed, Existence of Existences, the Smooth Point,
                           Rum Maalah, the Highest Point.
                 God Name: Eheieh                   Archangel: Metatron
                 --------                           ---------
                 Angel Order: Chaioth ha Qadesh
                 Keywords: unity, union, all, pure consciousness, God, the
                           Godhead, manifestation, beginning, source, emanation.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Chapter 3: The Pillars & the Lightning Flash
                      In  Chapter  1.  the  Tree of Life was  derived  from  three
                 concepts,  or  rather  one  primary concept  and  two  derivative
                 concepts which are "contained" within it. The primary concept was
                 called consciousness,  and it was said to "contain" within it the
                 two complementary concepts of force and form. This chapter builds
                 on  the idea by introducing the three Pillars of  the  Tree,  and
                 uses the Pillars to clarify a process called the Lightning Flash.
                      The Three Pillars are shown in Figure 8. below.
                                Pillar      Pillar       Pillar
                                  of          of           of
                                 Form    Consciousness   Force
                              (Severity)  (Mildness)    (Mercy)
                                        /   (Crown)    \
                                       /       |        \
                                      /        |         \
                                     /         |          \
                                 Binah         |        Chokhmah
                             (Understanding)__________  (Wisdom)
                              (Intelligence)   |           |
                                   |\          |          /|
                                   | \       Daath       / |
                                   |  \   (Knowledge)   /  |
                                   |   \       |       /   |
                                Gevurah \      |      /  Chesed
                               (Strength)\_____|_____/__ (Mercy)
                                   |      \    |    /    (Love)
                                   | \     \   |   /     / |
                                   |  \     \  |  /     /  |
                                   |   \   Tipheret    /   |
                                   |   /   (Beauty)    \   |
                                   |  /        |        \  |
                                   | /         |         \ |
                                   |/          |          \|
                                  Hod          |        Netzach
                                (Glory) _______________(Victory)
                               (Splendor)     |       (Firmness)
                                  \ \          |           / /
                                   \ \         |          / /
                                   \  \        |         / /
                                    \  \       |        /  /
                                    \   \    Yesod     /  /
                                     \    (Foundation)   /
                                      \                 /
                                       \       |       /
                                        \      |      /
                                         \     |     /
                                            Figure 8
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Not surprisingly the three pillars are referred to as the pillars
                 of  consciousness,  force and form.  The pillar of  consciousness
                 contains the sephiroth Kether,  Tiphereth, Yesod and Malkuth; the
                 pillar  of  force contains the  sephiroth  Chokhmah,  Chesed  and
                 Netzach; the pillar of form contains the sephiroth Binah, Gevurah
                 and Hod.  In older Cabalistic texts the pillars are referred  to
                 as  the pillars of mildness,  mercy and severity,  and it is  not
                 immediately obvious how the older jargon relates to the  new.  To
                 the  medieval Kabbalist (and this is a recurring metaphor in  the
                 Zohar)  the  creation  as  an emanation  of  God  is  a  delicate
                 *balance* (metheqela) between two opposing tendencies:  the mercy
                 of  God,  the outflowing,  creative,  life-giving and  sustaining
                 tendency in God, and the severity or strict judgement of God, the
                 limiting,   defining,  life-taking  and  ultimately  wrathful  or
                 destructive tendency in God. The creation is "energized" by these
                 two tendencies as if stretched between the poles of a battery.
                     Modern  Kabbalah makes a half-hearted attempt to remove  the
                 more  obvious  anthropomorphisms in the  descriptions  of  "God";
                 mercy and severity are misleading terms,  apt to remind one of  a
                 man with a white beard,  and even in medieval times the terms had
                 distinctly  technical meanings as the following  quotation  shows
                      "It must be remembered that to the Kabbalist, judgement [Din
                      - judgement,  another title of Gevurah] means the imposition
                      of limits and the correct determination of things. According
                      to  Cordovero  the  quality  of  judgement  is  inherent  in
                      everything  insofar as everything wishes to remain  what  it
                      is, to stay within its boundaries."
                            I understand the word "form" inprecisely this sense - itis
                that which  defines *what* a thing is,  the structure whereby a  given
                thing is distinct from every other thing.
                      As for "consciousness",  I use the word "consciousness" in a
                 sense so abstract that it is virtually meaningless, and according
                 to whim I use the word God instead,  where it is understood  that
                 both  words are placeholders for something which  is  potentially
                 knowable  in  the  gnostic  sense only  -  consciousness  can  be
                 *defined* according to the *forms* it takes, in which case we are
                 defining   the  forms,   *not*  the   consciousness.   The   same
                 qualification applies to the word "force". My inability to define
                 two  of  the three concepts which underpin the structure  of  the
                 Tree  is a nuisance which is tackled traditionally by the use  of
                 extravagant  metaphors,   and  by  elimination  ("not  this,  not
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                      The classification of sephiroth into three pillars is a  way
                 of  saying  that each sephira in a pillar partakes  of  a  common
                 quality  which is "inherited" in a progressively  more  developed
                 and  structured form from of the top of a pillar to  the  bottom.
                 Tipheret,  Yesod and Malkuth all share with Kether the quality of
                 "consciousness in balance" or "synthesis of opposing  qualities",
                 or but in each case it is expressed differently according to  the
                 increased degree of structure imposed. Likewise, Chokhmah, Chesed
                 and   Netzach   share  the  quality  of  force   or   energy   or
                 expansiveness,  and Binah,  Gevurah and Hod share the quality  of
                 form,  definition  and limitation.  From Kether down to  Malkuth,
                 force  and  form  are combined;  the symbolism of  the  Tree  has
                 something  in common with a production line,  with  molten  metal
                 coming  in one end and finished cars coming out  the  other,  and
                 with  that  metaphor we are now ready to describe  the  Lightning
                 Flash,  the process whereby God takes on flesh, the process which
                 created and sustains the creation.
                      In  the beginning...was Something.  Or Nothing.  It  doesn't
                 really matter which term we use,  as both are equally meaningless
                 in this context. Nothing is probably the better of the two terms,
                 because  I can use Something in the  next  paragraph.  Kabbalists
                 call  this  Nothing "En Soph" which literally means "no  end"  or
                 infinity,  and  understand by this a hidden,  unmanifest  God-in-
                      Out of this incomprehensible and indescribable Nothing  came
                 Something.  Probably more words have been devoted to this  moment
                 than  any other in Kabbalah,  and it is all too easy to make  fun
                 the effort which has gone into elaborating the indescribable,  so
                 I  won't,   but  in  return  do  not  expect  me  to  provide   a
                 justification for why Something came out of Nothing. It just did.
                 A  point  crystallized in the En Soph.  In some versions  of  the
                 story  the En Soph "contracted" to "make room" for  the  creation
                 (Isaac  Luria's  theory of Tsimtsum),  and this  is  probably  an
                 important clarification for those who have rubbed noses with  the
                 hidden  face of God,  but for the purposes of these notes  it  is
                 enough  that a point crystallized.  This point was the  crown  of
                 creation, the sephira Kether, and within Kether was contained all
                 the unrealized potential of the creation.
                      An  aspect of Kether is the raw creative force of God  which
                 blasts into the creation like the blast of hot gas which keeps  a
                 hot air balloon in the air. Kabbalists are quite clear about this;
                 the creation didn't just happen a long time ago - it is happening
                 all  the time,  and without the force to sustain it the  creation
                 would crumple like a balloon. The force-like aspect within Kether
                 is  the sephira Chokhmah and it can be thought of as the will  of
                 God,  because  without it the creation would cease to  *be*.  The
                 whole of creation is maintained by this ravening, primeval desire
                 to  *be*,  to  become,  to  exist,  to  change,  to  evolve.  The
                 experiential distinction between Kether,  the point of emanation,
                 and Chokhmah,  the creative outpouring,  is elusive,  but some of
                 the  difference  is  captured  in  the  phrases  "I  am"  and  "I
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                      Force by itself achieves nothing;  it needs to be contained,
                 and the balloon analogy is appropriate again.  Chokhmah  contains
                 within it the necessity of Binah,  the Mother of Form. The person
                 who  taught  me Kabbalah (a woman) told me  Chokhmah  (Abba,  the
                 Father) was God's prick,  and Binah (Aima,  the mother) was God's
                 womb,   and  left  me  with  the  picture  of  one  half  of  God
                 continuously ejaculating into the other half.  The author of  the
                 Zohar  also makes frequent use of sexual polarity as  a  metaphor
                 to describe the relationship between force and form, or mercy and
                 severity  (although the most vivid sexual metaphors are used  for
                 the  marriage of the Microprosopus and his bride,  the Queen  and
                 Inferior Mother, the sephira Malkuth).
                      The sephira Binah is the Mother of Form;  form exists within
                 Binah  as a potentiality,  not as an actuality,  just as  a  womb
                 contains  the  potential of a baby.  Without the  possibility  of
                 form,  no thing would be distinct from any other thing;  it would
                 be impossible to distinguish between things,  impossible to  have
                 individuality  or  identity  or  change.   The  Mother  of   Form
                 contains the potential of form within her womb and gives birth to
                 form  when a creative impulse crosses the Abyss to the Pillar  of
                 Force and emanates through the sephira Chesed.  Again we have the
                 idea of "becoming", of outflowing creative energy, but at a lower
                 level.  The  sephira  Chesed is the point at which  form  becomes
                 perceptible  to the mind as an inspiration,  an idea,  a  vision,
                 that  "Eureka!"  moment  immediately  prior  to  rushing   around
                 shouting  "I've got it!  I've got it!" Chesed is that quality  of
                 genuine  inspiration,   a  sense  of  being  "plugged  in"  which
                 characterizes  the  visionary leaders who drive  the  human  race
                 onwards into every new kind of endeavour.  It can be for good  or
                 evil; a leader who can tap the petty malice and vindictiveness in
                 any  person  and  channel it into a vision of  a  new  order  and
                 genocide  is  just  as much a visionary as  any  other,  but  the
                 positive  side  of Chesed is the humanitarian leader  who  brings
                 about genuine improvements to our common life.
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                      No  change  comes easy;  as Cordova points  out  "everything
                 wishes to remain what it is". The creation of form is balanced in
                 the sephira Gevurah by the preservation and destruction of  form.
                 Any impulse of change is channelled through Gevurah, and if it is
                 not  resisted then something will be destroyed.  If you  want  to
                 make  paper you cut down a tree.  If you want to abolish  slavery
                 you have to destroy the culture which perpetuates it. If you want
                 to  change  someone's  mind you have  to  destroy  that  person's
                 beliefs about the matter in question.  The sephira Gevurah is the
                 quality  of strict judgement which opposes change,  destroys  the
                 unfamiliar,  and  corresponds  in many ways to an  immune  system
                 within the body of God.
                      There has to be a balance between creation and  destruction.
                 Too much change,  too many ideas,  too many things happening  too
                 quickly  can have the quality of chaos (and can literally  become
                 that), whereas too little change, no new ideas, too much form and
                 structure and protocol can suffocate and stifle.  There has to be
                 a  balance  which  "makes sense" and this "idea  of  balance"  or
                 "making  sense" is expressed in the sephira Tiphereth.  It is  an
                 instinctive  morality,  and  it isn't present by default  in  the
                 human species.  It isn't based on cultural norms; it doesn't have
                 its roots in upbringing (although it is easily destroyed by  it).
                 Some people have it in a large measure,  and some people are  (to
                 all  intents and purposes) completely lacking in it.  It  doesn't
                 necessarily  respect conventional morality:  it may laugh in  its
                 face.  I  can't  say  what it is in any  detail,  because  it  is
                 peculiar  and individual,  but those who have it have  a  natural
                 quality   of integrity,  soundness of judgement,  an  instinctive
                 sense of rightness,  justice and compassion, and a willingness to
                 fight or suffer in defense of that sense of justice. Tiphereth is
                 a  paradoxical  sephira because in many people it is  simply  not
                 there.  It  can  be developed,  and that is one of the  goals  of
                 initiation,  but for many people Tiphereth is a room with nothing
                 in it.
                      Having  passed through Gevurah on the Pillar  of  Form,  and
                 found its way through the moral filter of Tiphereth,  a  creative
                 impulse picks up energy once more on the Pillar of Force via  the
                 Sephira Netzach,  where the energy of "becoming" finds its  final
                 expression  in  the form of "vital urges".  Why do  we  carry  on
                 living?  Why bother?  What is it that compels us to do things? An
                 artist  may have a vision of a piece of art,  but  what  actually
                 compels the artist to paint or sculpt or write? Why do we want to
                 compete  and  win?  Why do we care what happens  to  others?  The
                 sephira  Netzach  expresses the basic vital creative urges  in  a
                 form we can recognize as drives,  feelings and emotions.  Netzach
                 is pre-verbal; ask a child why he wants a toy and the answer will
                  be  "I just do".  "But why," you ask,  wondering why he doesn't want
                the  much more  "sensible" toy you  had in mind.  "Why don't you  want
                this one here."
                      "I just don't. I want this one."
                      "But what's so good about that one."
                      "I don't know what to say...I just like it."
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                 This  conversation  is  not fictitious  and  is  quintessentially
                 Netzach.  The structure of the Tree of Life posits that the basic
                 driving  forces which characterize our behavior  are  pre-verbal
                 and non-rational; anyone who has tried to change another person's
                 basic  nature or beliefs through force of rational argument  will
                 know this.
                     After  Netzach we go to the sephira Hod to pick up our  last
                 cargo of Form.  Ask a child why they want something and they  say
                 "I  just  do".  Press  an adult and you will  get  an  earful  of
                 "reasons".  We  live  in a culture where it is  important  (often
                 essential) to give reasons for the things we do,  and Hod is  the
                 sephira  of form where it is possible to give shape to our  wants
                 in  terms  of reasons and explanations.  Hod is  the  sephira  of
                 abstraction,  reason,  logic,  language and communication,  and a
                 reflection  of the Mother of Form in the human mind.  We  have  a
                 innate  capacity  to  abstract,   to  go  immediately  from   the
                 particular  to  the general,  and we have an innate  capacity  to
                 communicate these abstractions using language,  and it should  be
                 clear    why   the   alternative   translation   of   Binah    is
                 "intelligence";  Binah  is  the "intelligence of  God",  and  Hod
                 underpins what we generally recognize as intelligence in people -
                 the ability to grasp complex abstractions, reason about them, and
                 articulate this understanding using some means of communication.
                      The   synthesis  of  Hod  and  Netzach  on  the  Pillar   of
                 Consciousness  is  the sephira Yesod.  Yesod is  the  sephira  of
                 interface, and the comparison with computer peripheral interfaces
                 is an excellent one. Yesod is sometimes called "the Receptacle of
                 the  Emanations",  and it interfaces the emanations of all  three
                 pillars to the sephira Malkuth,  and it is through Yesod that the
                 final abstract form of something is realized in matter.  Form  in
                 Yesod  is  no  longer abstract;  it  is  explicit,  but  not  yet
                 individual  -  that last quality is reserved for  Malkuth  alone.
                 Yesod  is  like  the mold in a bottle factory -  the  mold  is  a
                 realization  of  the  abstract  idea "bottle" in  so  far  as  it
                 expresses  the  shape  of a particular  bottle  design  in  every
                 detail, but it is not itself an individual bottle.
                      The final step in the process is the sephira Malkuth,  where
                 God  becomes  flesh,  and  every abstract  form  is  realized  in
                 actuality,  in the "real world". There is much to say about this,
                 but I will keep it for later.
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                      The process I have described is called the Lightning  Flash.
                 The Lightning Flash runs as  follows:  Kether,  Chokhmah,  Binah,
                 Chesed,  Gevurah, Tiphereth, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, Malkuth, and if
                 you  trace the Lightning Flash on a diagram of the Tree  you  will
                 see  that  it has the zig-zag shape of  a  lightning  flash.  The
                 sephiroth are numbered according to their order on the  lightning
                 flash:  Kether  is  1,  Chokhmah is 2,  and so  on.  The  "Sepher
                 Yetzirah" [2] has this to say about the sephiroth:
                      "When  you think of the ten sephiroth cover your  heart  and
                      seal  the  desire of your lips to announce  their  divinity.
                      Yoke your mind.  Should it escape your grasp,  reach out and
                      bring it back under your control.  As it was said,  'And the
                      living  creatures  ran and returned as the appearance  of  a
                      flash  of  lightning,'  in such a manner  was  the  Covenant
                 The  quotation within the quotation comes from  Ezekiel  1.14,  a
                 text   which  inspired  a  large  amount  of  early   Cabalistic
                 speculation,  and  it  is probable that the  Lightning  Flash  as
                 described  is  one  of the earliest components  of  the  idea  of
                 sephirothic emanation.
                      The   Lightning  Flash  describes  the   creative   process,
                 beginning with the unknown, unmanifest hidden God, and follows it
                 through ten distinct stages to a change in the material world. It
                 can be used to describe *any* change - lighting a match,  picking
                 your  nose,  walking the dog - and novices are  usually  set  the
                 exercise   of analyzing any arbitrarily chosen event in terms  of
                 the Lightning Flash.  Because the Lightning Flash can be used  to
                 understand  the inner process whereby the material world  of  the
                 senses  changes  and evolves,  it is a key to  practical  magical
                 work,  and because it is intended to account for *all* change  it
                 follows that all change is equally magical,  and the word "magic"
                 is   essentially   meaningless  (but  nevertheless   useful   for
                 distinguishing   between  "normal"  and  "abnormal"   states   of
                 consciousness, and the modes of causality which pertain to each).
                      It also follows that the key to understanding our "spiritual
                 nature"  does  not belong in the  spiritual  empyrean,  where  it
                 remains  inaccessible,  but in *all* the routine  and  unexciting
                 little  things  in life.  Everything is  equally  "spiritual",
                 equally  "divine",  and there is more to be learned from  picking
                 one's nose than there is in a spiritual discipline which puts you
                 "here" and God "over there". The Lightning Flash ends in Malkuth,
                 and it can be followed like a thread through the hidden  pathways
                 of  creation  until  one arrives back at  the  source.  The  next
                 chapter  will  retrace  the  Lightning  Flash  by  examining  the
                 qualities of each sephira in more detail.
                 [1]  Scholem,  Gershom  G.  "Major Trends in  Jewish  Mysticism",
                                             Schoken Books 1974
                 [2]  Westcott, W. Wynn, ed. "Sepher Yetzirah". Many reprintings.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Chapter 4: The Sephiroth
                      This  chapter  provides a detailed look at each of  the  ten
                 sephiroth  and  draws together material scattered  over  previous
                      Malkuth  is  the  Cinderella of the  sephiroth.  It  is  the
                 sephira most often ignored by beginners,  the sephira most  often
                 glossed  over in Cabalistic texts,  and it is not only the  most
                 immediate of the sephira but it is also the most complex, and for
                 sheer  inscrutability  it  rivals Kether -  indeed,  there  is  a
                 Cabalistic aphorism that "Kether is in Malkuth,  and Malkuth  is
                 in Kether, but after another manner".
                      The  word Malkuth means "Kingdom",  and the sephira  is  the
                 culmination of a process of emanation whereby the creative  power
                 of  the  Godhead is progressively structured and  defined  as  it
                 moves  down the Tree and arrives in a completed form in  Malkuth.
                 Malkuth is the  sphere of matter,  substance,  the real, physical
                 world.   In  the  least  compromising  versions  of   materialist
                 philosophy (e.g. Hobbes) there is nothing beyond physical matter,
                 and from that viewpoint the Tree of Life beyond Malkuth does  not
                 exist:  our  feelings  of  identity  and  self-consciousness  are
                 nothing  more  than  a by-product of chemical  reactions  in  the
                 brain,  and the mind is a complex automata which suffers from the
                 disease   of  metaphysical  delusions.   Kabbalah  is   *not*   a
                 materialist  model  of reality,  but when we examine  Malkuth  by
                 itself we find ourselves immersed in matter, and it is natural to
                 think in terms of physics,   chemistry and molecular biology. The
                 natural  sciences provide the most accurate models of matter  and
                 the physical world that we have,  and it would be foolishness  of
                 the  first  order  to imagine that Kabbalah  can  provide  better
                 explanations  of the nature of matter on the basis of a study  of
                 the  text  of  the  Old Testament.  Not  that  I  under-rate  the
                 intuition  which  has gone into the making of Kabbalah  over  the
                 centuries,  but  for  practical purposes the  average  university
                 science  graduate knows (much) more about the material  stuff  of
                 the  world than medieval Kabbalists,  and a grounding  in  modern
                 physics is as good a way to approach Malkuth as any other.
                      For  those  who are not comfortable with physics  there  are
                 alternative,  more traditional ways of approaching  Malkuth.  The
                 magical  image  of Malkuth is that of a young woman  crowned  and
                 throned.  The woman is Malkah,  the Queen, Kallah, the Bride. She
                 is  the  inferior mother,  a reflection and  realization  of  the
                 superior mother Binah. She is the Queen who inhabits the Kingdom,
                 and the Bride of the Microprosopus.  She is Gaia,  Mother  Earth,
                 but of course she is not only the substance of this world; she is
                 the body of the entire physical universe.
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                      Some care is required when assigning Mother/Earth  goddesses
                 to Malkuth,  because some of them correspond more closely to  the
                 superior  mother  Binah.  There is a close  and  deep  connection
                 between  Malkuth  and Binah which results in  the  two  sephiroth
                 sharing   similar  correspondences,   and  one  of   the   oldest
                 Cabalistic texts [1] has this to say about Malkuth:
                      "The  title of the tenth path [Malkuth] is  the  Resplendent
                      Intelligence.  It is called this because it is exalted above
                      every head from where it sits upon the throne of  Binah.  It
                      illuminates  the  numinosity  of all lights  and  causes  to
                      emanate  the  Power  of the  archetype  of  countenances  or
                 One of the titles of Binah is Khorsia,  or Throne,  and the image
                 which  this  text provides is that Binah provides  the  framework
                 upon  which Malkuth sits.  We will return to  this  later.  Binah
                 contains the potential of form in the abstract,  while Malkuth is
                 is the fullest realization of form,  and both sephiroth share the
                 correspondences of heaviness,  limitation,  finiteness,  inertia,
                 avarice, silence, and death.
                      The  female quality of Malkuth is often identified with  the
                 Shekhinah,  the  female  spirit  of  God  in  the  creation,  and
                 Cabalistic literature makes much of the (carnal) relationship of
                 God and the Shekhinah.  Waite [7] mentions that the  relationship
                 between God and Shekhinah is mirrored in the relationship between
                 man and woman,  and provides a great deal of information on  both
                 the  Shekhinah and what he quaintly calls "The Mystery  of  Sex".
                 After  the  exile  of the Jews from  Spain  in  1492,  Kabbalists
                 identified their own plight with the fate of the  Shekhinah,  and
                 she  is pictured as being cast out into matter in much  the  same
                 way as the Gnostics pictured Sophia,  the outcast divine  wisdom.
                 The doctrine of the Shekhinah within Kabbalah and within  Judaism
                 as a whole is complex and it is something I don't feel  competent
                 to  comment further on;  more information can be found in  [3]  &
                      Malkuth   is  the  sphere  of  the  physical  elements   and
                 Kabbalists  still  use the four-fold scheme which dates  back  at
                 least  as  far  as Empedocles and  probably  the  Ark.  The  four
                 elements correspond to four readily-observable states of matter:
                               solid     -     earth
                               liquid    -     water
                               gas       -     air
                               plasma    -     fire/electric arc (lightning)
                 In  addition  it is not uncommon to include a  fifth  element  so
                 rarified  and arcane that most people (self included) are  pushed
                 to say what it is;  the fifth element is aethyr (or ether) and is
                 sometimes called spirit.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                      The  amount  of  material  written  about  the  elements  is
                 enormous,  and  rather than reproduce in bulk what is  relatively
                 well-known  I will provide a rough outline so that those  readers
                 who aren't familiar with Kabbalah will realize I am talking about
                 approximately the same thing as they have seen before. A detailed
                 description of the traditional medieval view of the four elements
                 can  be  found in "The Magus" [2].  The  hierarchy  of  elemental
                 powers can be found in "777" [4] and in Golden Dawn material  [5]
                 - I have summarized a few useful items below:
                      Element        Fire          Air       Water       Earth
                      God Name       Elohim        Jehovah   Eheieh      Agla
                      Archangel      Michael       Raphael   Gabriel     Uriel
                      King           Djin          Paralda   Nichsa      Ghob
                      Elemental      Salamanders   Sylphs    Undines     Gnomes
                 It amused me to notice that the section on the elemental kingdoms
                 in Farrar's "What Witches Do" [6] had been taken by Alex Saunders
                 lock,  stock  and  barrel  from traditional  Cabalistic  and  CM
                      The elements in Malkuth are arranged as follows:
                              East          Zenith Aethyr+    West
                              Air           Nadir  Aethyr-    Water
                 I have rotated the cardinal points through 180 degrees from their
                 customary directions so that it is easier to see how the elements
                 fit on the lower face of the Tree of Life:
                              Hod           Yesod          Netzach
                              Air           Aethyr          Water
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 It  is important to distinguish between the elements in  Malkuth,
                 where  we  are talking about real substance (the  water  in  your
                 body,  the breath in your lungs),  and the elements on the  Tree,
                 where we are using traditional correspondences *associated*  with
                 the elements, e.g.:
                      Earth: solid, stable, practical, down-to-earth
                      Water: sensitive, intuitive, emotional, caring, fertile
                      Air: vocal, communicative, intellectual
                      Fire: energetic, daring, impetuous
                      Positive Aethyr: glue, binding, plastic
                      Negative Aethyr: unbinding, dissolution, disintegration
                 Aethyr or Spirit is enigmatic, and I tend to think of it in terms
                 of the forces which bind matter together.  It is almost certainly
                 a coincidence (but nevertheless interesting) that there are  four
                 fundamental forces - gravitational, electromagnetic, weak nuclear
                 & strong nuclear - known to date, and current belief is that they
                 can  be unified into one fundamental force.  On a  slightly  more
                 arcane tack, Barret [2] has this to say about Aethyr:
                      "Now   seeing   that  the  soul  is  the   essential   form,
                      intelligible  and incorruptible,  and is the first mover  of
                      the body, and is moved itself; but that the body, or matter,
                      is of itself unable and unfit for motion, and does very much
                      degenerate from the soul, it appears that there is a need of
                      a more excellent medium:- now such a medium is conceived  to
                      be  the  spirit  of the world,  or that which  some  call  a
                      quintessence;  because it is not from the four elements, but
                      a  certain first thing,  having its being above  and  beside
                      them. There is, therefore, such a kind of medium required to
                      be,  by which celestial souls [e.g.  forms] may be joined to
                      gross  bodies,  and bestow upon them wonderful  gifts.  This
                      spirit is in the same manner,  in the body of the world,  as
                      our spirit is in our bodies;  for as the powers of our  soul
                      are communicated to the members of the body by the medium of
                      the spirit,  so also the virtue of the soul of the world  is
                      diffused,  throughout  all  things,  by the  medium  of  the
                      universal  spirit;  for there is nothing to be found in  the
                      whole world that hath not a spark of the virtue thereof."
                 Aethyr   underpins  the  elements  like  a  foundation  and   its
                 attribution to Yesod should be obvious,  particularly as it forms
                 the  linking  role between the ideoplastic world of  "the  Astral
                 Light"  [8] and the material world.  Aethyr is often  thought  to
                 come in two flavors - positive Aethyr, which binds, and negative
                 Aethyr,  which  unbinds.  Negative  Aethyr  is  a  bit  like  the
                 Universal Solvent, and requires as much care in handling ;-\}
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                      Working with the physical elements in Malkuth is one of  the
                 most  important areas of applied magic,  dealing as it does  with
                 the basic constituents of the real world.  The physical  elements
                 are  tangible and can be experience in a very direct way  through
                 recreations such as caving,  diving,  parachuting or firewalking;
                 they bite back in a suitably humbling way,  and they provide  CMs
                 with an opportunity to join the neo-pagans in the great outdoors.
                 Our bodies themselves are made from physical stuff, and there are
                 many Raja Yoga-like exercises which can be carried out using  the
                 elements  as a basis for work on the body.  If you can stand  his
                 manic intensity (Exercise 1:  boil an egg by force of will)  then
                 Bardon [9] is full of good ideas.
                      Malkuth is often associated with various kinds of  intrinsic
                 evil,  and to understand this attitude (which I do not share)  it
                 is necessary to confront the same question as thirteenth  century
                 Kabbalists:  can  God be evil?  The answer to this  question  was
                 (broadly speaking) "yes",  but Kabbalists have gone through  many
                 strange  gyrations  in an attempt to avoid what was for  many  an
                 unacceptable conclusion.  It was difficult to accept that famine,
                 war, disease, prejudice, hate, death could be a part of a perfect
                 being, and there had to be some way to account for evil which did
                 not contaminate divine perfection. One approach was to sweep evil
                 under  the  carpet,  and  in this case the  carpet  was  Malkuth.
                 Malkuth became the habitation for evil spirits.
                      If one examines the structure of the Tree without  prejudice
                 then  it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that evil is  quite
                 adequately  accounted for,  and there is no need to shuffle  evil
                 to  the periphery of the Tree like a cleaner without  a  dustpan.
                 The  emanation  of  any  sephirah  from  Chokhmah  downwards  can
                 manifest as good or evil depending on circumstances and the point
                 of view of those affected by the energy involved. This appears to
                 have  been  understood  even at the time of the  writing  of  the
                 "Zohar", where the mercy of God is constantly contrasted with the
                 severity  of God,  and the author makes it clear that one has  to
                 balance  the  other  -  you cannot have  the  mercy  without  the
                 severity.  On the other hand, the severity of God is persistently
                 identified  with  the rigors  of  existence  (form,  finiteness,
                 limitation),  and while it is true that many of the things  which
                 have  been  identified  with  evil  are  a  consequence  of   the
                 finiteness of things, of being finite beings in a world of finite
                 resources governed by natural laws with inflexible causality,  it
                 not  correct  to  infer  (as  some  have)  that  form  itself  is
                 *intrinsically* evil.
                     The notion that form and matter are *intrinsically* evil, or
                 in  some  way imperfect or not a part of God,  may  have  reached
                 Kabbalah  from  a  number  of  sources. Scholem comments:
                      "The  Kabbalah  of  the early  thirteenth  century  was  the
                      offspring  of  a  union between  an  older  and  essentially
                      Gnostic tradition represented by the book "Bahir",  and  the
                      comparatively modern element of Jewish Neo-Platonism."
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                 There  is  the possibility that the Kabbalists of  Provence  (who
                 wrote  or  edited  the "Sepher Bahir")  were  influenced  by  the
                 Cathars,  a  late form of Manicheanism.  Whether the  source  was
                 Gnosticism,  Neo-Platonism,  Manicheanism or some combination  of
                 all three,  Kabbalah has imported a view of matter and form which
                 distorts the view of things portrayed by the Tree of Life, and so
                 Malkuth ends up as a kind of cosmic outer darkness, a bin for all
                 the  dirt,  detritus,  broken  sephira and dirty hankies  of  the
                 creation.  Form is evil,  the Mother of Form is female, women are
                 definitely and indubitably evil,  and Malkuth is the most  female
                 of the sephira,  therefore Malkuth is most definitely evil...quod
                 erat demonstrandum. By the time we reach the time of S.L. Mathers
                 and  the  Golden Dawn there is a complete Tree  of  evil  demonic
                 Klippoth  *underneath* Malkuth as a reflection of the "good"  Tree
                 above it.  I believe this may have something to do with the  fact
                 that  meditations  on Malkuth can easily  become  meditations  on
                 Binah, and meditations on Binah have a habit of slipping into the
                 Abyss,  and once in the Abyss it is easy to trawl up enough  junk
                 to "discover" an averse Tree "underneath" Malkuth.  This view  of
                 the  Klippoth,  or Shells,  as active,  demonic evil  has  become
                 pervasive,  and the more energy people put into the demonic Tree,
                 the  less  there is for the original.  Abolish  the  Klippoth  as
                 demonic  forces,  and the Tree of Life comes alive with its  full
                 power of good *and* evil.  The following quotation from  Bischoff
                 [10] (speaking of the Sephiroth) provides a more rational view of
                 the Klippoth:
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                      "Since  their energy [of the sephiroth] shows three  degrees
                      of  strength  (highest,  middle and  lowest  degree),  their
                      emanations group accordingly in sequence. We usually imagine
                      the   image  of  a  descending  staircase.   The   Kabbalist
                      prefers to  see this fact as a decreasing alienation of  the
                      central  primeval  energy.  Consequently  any  less  perfect
                      emanation  is  to him the cover or shell  (Klippah)  of  the
                      preceding,  and so the last (furthest) emanations being the
                      so-called material things are the shell of the total and are
                      therefore called (in the actual sense) Klippoth."
                 This is my own view;  the shell of something is the accretion  of
                 form  which  it accumulates as energy comes  down  the  Lightning
                 Flash. If the shell can be considered by itself then it is a dead
                 husk  of  something which could be alive - it preserves  all  the
                 structure  but there is no energy in it to bring it  alive.  With
                 this interpretation the Klippoth are to be found  everywhere:  in
                 relationships,  at work, at play, in ritual, in society. Whenever
                 something  dies and people refuse to recognize that it  is  dead,
                 and cling to the lifeless husk of whatever it was, then you get a
                 Klippah.  For this reason one of the vices of Malkuth is Avarice,
                 not only in the sense of trying to acquire material  things,  but
                 also  in the sense of being unwilling to let go of anything, even
                 when it has become dead and worthless.  The Klippah of Malkuth is
                 what you would get if the Sun went out:  Stasis, life frozen into
                      The  other  vice  of Malkuth is Inertia,  in  the  sense  of
                 "active resistance to motion;  sluggish;  disinclined to move  or
                 act".  It is visible in most people at one time or  another,  and
                 tends  to  manifest  when a  task  is  new,  necessary,  but  not
                 particularly exciting, there is no excitement or "natural energy"
                 to keep one fired up, and one has to keep on pushing right to the
                 finish.  For  this  reason  the obligation  of  Malkuth  is  (has
                 to be) self-discipline.
                      The  virtue  of Malkuth is Discrimination,  the  ability  to
                 perceive  differences.  The ability to perceive differences is  a
                 necessity  for any living organism,  whether a bacteria  able  to
                 sense  the gradient of a nutrient or a kid working out  how  much
                 money  to  wheedle out of his parents.  As Malkuth is  the  final
                 realization  of  form,  it is  the sphere where  our  ability  to
                 distinguish between differences is most pronounced.  The capacity
                 to  discriminate  is  so fundamental to survival  that  it  works
                 overtime and finds boundaries and distinctions everywhere - "you"
                 and  "me",  "yours" and "mine",  distinctions of  "property"  and
                 "value"  and "territory" which are intellectual  abstractions  on
                 one  level  (i.e.  not real) and fiercely defended  realities  on
                 another  (i.e.  very real indeed).  I am not going to  attempt  a
                 definition  of real and unreal,  but it is the case that much  of
                 what we think of as real is unreal,  and much of what we think of
                 as  unreal  is real,  and we need the same  discrimination  which
                 leads  us into the mire to lead us out again.  Some people  think
                 skin color is a real measure of intelligence;  some don't.  Some
                 people  think gender is a real measure of  ability;  some  don't.
                 Some people judge on appearances;  some don't. There is clearly a
                 difference between a bottle of beer and a bottle of piss,  but is
                 the color of the *bottle* important?  What *is* important?  
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                What differences are real, what matters?  How much energy do we devote
                 to things which are "not real".  Am I able to perceive how much I
                 am being manipulated by a fixation on unreality?  Are my goals in
                 life "real",  or will they look  increasingly silly and  immature
                 as I grow older?  For that matter,  is Kabbalah "real"?  Does  it
                 provide  a  useful model of reality,  or is it the remnant  of  a
                 world-view which should have been put to rest centuries ago?  One
                 of  the  primary  exercises  of an initiate  into  Malkuth  is  a
                 thorough examination of the question "What is real?".
                      The  Spiritual  Experience  of  Malkuth  is  variously   the
                 Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel  (HGA),  or
                 the Vision of the HGA (depending on who you believe).  I vote for
                 the  Vision  of  the  HGA  in  Malkuth,  and  the  Knowledge  and
                 Conversation  in Tiphereth.  What is the HGA?  According  to  the
                 Gnosticism  of  Valentinus each person has a guardian  angel  who
                 accompanies  that individual throughout their life and reveals  the
                 gnosis;  the angel is in a sense the divine Self.  This belief is
                 identical  to  what  I was taught by the  person  who  taught  me
                 Kabbalah,  so  some  part of Gnosticism  lives  on.  The  current
                 tradition concerning the HGA almost certainly entered the Western
                 Esoteric Tradition as a consequence of S.L.  Mather's translation
                 [11]  of  "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin  the  Mage",
                 which  contains  full details of a lengthy ritual to  attain  the
                 Knowledge  and Conversation of the HGA.  This ritual has  had  an
                 important  influence  on twentieth century magicians  and  it  is
                 often attempted and occasionally completed.
                      The  powers  of Malkuth are invoked by means  of  the  names
                 Adonai ha Aretz and Adonai Melekh, which mean "Lord of the World"
                 and "The Lord who is King" respectively. The power is transmitted
                 through the world of Creation by the archangel Sandalphon, who is
                 sometimes referred to as "the Long Angel",  because his feet  are
                 in Malkuth and his head in Kether, which gives him an opportunity
                 to chat to Metatron,  the Angel of the Presence.  The angel order
                 is  the Ashim,  or Ishim,  sometimes translated as the "souls  of
                 fire", supposedly the souls of righteous men and women.
                 In concluding this section on Malkuth,  it worth emphasizing that
                 I  have  chosen  deliberately not to explore  some  major  topics
                 because there are sufficient threads for anyone with an  interest
                 to  pick up and follow for themselves.  The image of  Malkuth  as
                 Mother  Earth  provides a link between Kabbalah  and  a  numinous
                 archetype with a deep significance for some. The image of Malkuth
                 as physical substance provides a link into the sciences,  and  it
                 is  the  case  that at the limits of  theoretical  physics  one's
                 intuitions seem to be slipping and sliding on the same reality as
                 in Kabbalah.  The image of Malkuth as the sphere of the  elements
                 is  the key to a large body of practical magical technique  which
                 varies  from yoga-like concentration on the bodily  elements,  to
                 nature-oriented work in the great outdoors.  Lastly,  just as the
                 design of a building reveals much about its builders,  so Malkuth
                 can reveal a great deal about Kether - the bottom of the Tree and
                 the top have much in common.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 [1]  Westcott,  W. Wynn, ed. "Sepher Yetzirah", many editions.
                 [2] Barrett, Francis, "The Magus", Citadel 1967.
                 [3] Scholem,  Gershom G.,  "Major Trends in  Jewish  Mysticism",
                                             Schocken 1974
                 [4] Crowley, A, "777", an obscure reprint.
                 [5] Regardie, Israel, "The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic",
                                        Falcon, 1984.
                 [6] Farrar, Stewart, "What Witches Do", Peter Davies 1971.
                 [7] Waite, A.E, "The Holy Kabbalah", Citadel.
                 [8] Levi, Eliphas, "Transcendental Magic", Rider, 1969.
                 [9] Bardon, Franz, "Initiation into Hermetics", Dieter
                                     Ruggeberg 1971
                 [10] Bischoff, Dr. Erich, "The Kabbala", Weiser 1985.
                 [11] Mathers,  S.L.,  "The Book of the Sacred Magic of  Abramelin
                                        the Mage", Dover 1975.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Chapter 4: The Sephiroth (continued)
                     This  chapter  provides a detailed look at each of  the  ten
                sephiroth  and  draws together material scattered  over  previous
                     Yesod means "foundation",  and that is what Yesod is:  it is
                the  hidden  infrastructure  whereby  the  emanations  from   the
                remainder  of  the Tree are transmitted to the  sephira  Malkuth.
                Just as a large building has its air-conditioning ducts,  service
                tunnels,  conduits,  electrical wiring, hot and cold water pipes,
                attic  spaces,  lift shafts,  winding  rooms,  storage  tanks,  a
                telephone exchange etc,  so does the Creation,  and the external,
                visible   world  of  phenomenal  reality  rests   (metaphorically
                speaking)   upon  a  hidden  foundation  of   occult   machinery.
                Meditations  on  the nature of Yesod tend to be  full  of  secret
                tunnels and concealed mechanisms, as if the Creation was a Gothic
                mansion  with  a secret door behind every mirror,  a  passage  in
                every wall,  a pair of hidden eyes behind every portrait,  and  a
                subterranean world of forgotten tunnels leading who knows  where.
                For this reason the Spiritual Experience of Yesod is aptly  named
                "The Vision of the Machinery of the Universe".
                     Many  Yesod  correspondences  reinforce  this  notion  of  a
                foundation,  of something which lies behind,  supports and  gives
                shape to phenomenal reality.  The magical image of Yesod is of "a
                beautiful  naked man,  very strong".  The image which springs  to
                mind  is that of a man with the world resting on  his  shoulders,
                like  one  of  the misrepresentations of  the  Titan  Atlas  (who
                actually held up the heavens,  not the world). The angel order of
                Yesod is the Cherubim, the Strong Ones, the archangel is Gabriel,
                the Strong or Mighty One of God,  and the God-name is Shaddai  el
                Chai,  the Almighty Living God.
                     The idea of a foundation suggests that there is a  substance
                which lies behind physical matter and "in-forms it" or "holds  it
                together",  something less structured, more plastic, more refined
                and rarified,  and this "fifth element" is often called aethyr. I
                will  not attempt to justify aethyr in terms of  current  physics
                (the  closest  concept  I have found is  the  hypothesized  Higgs
                field); it is a convenient handle on a concept which has enormous
                intuitive  appeal to many magicians,  who,  when asked how  magic
                works,  tend  to  think in terms of a medium  which  is  directly
                receptive  to  the will,  something which is plastic and  can  be
                shaped through concentration and imagination, and which transmits
                their  artificially  created forms  into  reality.  Eliphas  Levi
                called  this  medium the "Astral Light".  It is also  natural  to
                imagine  that  mind,  consciousness,  and  the  soul  have  their
                habitation in this substance, and there are volumes detailing the
                properties of the "Etheric Body",  the "Astral Body", the "Causal
                Body" [1,2] and so on. I don't take this stuff too seriously, but
                I do like to work with the kind of natural intuitions which occur
                spontaneously  and  independently in a large number of  people  -
                there  is  power  in these intuitions - and it is  a  mistake  to
                invalidate  them  because they sound cranky.  When I  talk  about
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                aethyr  or  the  Astral Light,  I mean there  is  an  ideoplastic
                substance  which  is subjectively real  to  many  magicians,  and
                explanations  of  magic  at the level  of  Yesod  revolve  around
                manipulating this substance using desire, imagination and will.
                     The fundamental nature of Yesod is that of  *interface*;  it
                interfaces the rest of the Tree of Life to Malkuth. The interface
                is  bi-directional;  there are impulses coming down from  Kether,
                and echoes bouncing back from Malkuth.  The idea of interface  is
                illustrated in the design of a computer system: a computer with a
                multitude  of  worlds hidden within it is a source  of  heat  and
                repair  bills  unless  it has peripheral  interfaces  and  device
                drivers to interface the world outside the computer to the  world
                "inside"  it;  add  a keyboard and a mouse and a  monitor  and  a
                printer  and you have opened the door into another  reality.  Our
                own senses have the same characteristic of being a bi-directional
                interface  through which we experience the world,  and  for  this
                reason  the  senses correspond to Yesod,  and not only  the  five
                traditional senses - the "sixth sense" and the "second sight" are
                given  equal  status,   and  so  Yesod  is  also  the  sphere  of
                instinctive psychism,  of clairvoyance,  precognition, divination
                and  prophecy.  It is also clear from accounts of lucid  dreaming
                (and personal experience) that we possess the ability to perceive
                an inner world as vividly as the outer,  and so to Yesod  belongs
                the inner world of dreams,  daydreams and vivid imagination,  and
                one  of  the titles of Yesod is "The Treasure House  of  Images".
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                     To  Yesod is attributed Levanah,  the Moon,  and  the  lunar
                associations of tides,  flux and change,  occult  influence,  and
                deeply   instinctive   and  sometimes   atavistic   behavior   -
                possession,   mediumship,  lycanthropy  and  the  like.  Although
                Yesod is the foundation and it has associations with strength, it
                is  by  no means a rigid scaffold supporting a world  in  stasis.
                Yesod  supports the world just as the sea supports all  the  life
                which lives in it and sails upon it,  and just as the sea has its
                irresistible currents and tides, so does Yesod. Yesod is the most
                "occult"  of the sephiroth,  and next to Malkuth it is  the  most
                magical, but compared with Malkuth its magic is of a more subtle,
                seductive,  glamorous and ensnaring kind.  Magicians are drawn to
                Yesod  by the idea that if reality rests on a hidden  foundation,
                then  by  changing the foundation it is possible  to  change  the
                reality.  The magic of Yesod is the magic of form and appearance,
                not   substance;   it  is  the  magic   of   illusion,   glamour,
                transformation, and   shape-changing.   The  most   sophisticated
                examples of this are to be found in modern marketing, advertising
                and  image consultancies.  I do not jest.  My tongue is not  even
                slightly  in my cheek.  The following quote was taken  from  this
                morning's paper [3]:
                     Although  the changes look cosmetic,  those responsible  for
                     creating  corporate  image  argue  that  a  redesign  of   a
                     company's uniform or name is just the visible sign of a much
                     larger transformation.
                     "The majority of people continue to misunderstand and  think
                     that  it is just a logo,  rather than understanding  that  a
                     corporate identity programme is actually concerned with  the
                     very commercial objective of having a strong personality and
                     single-minded,    focussed    direction   for   the    whole
                     organization, " said Fiona Gilmore, managing director of the
                     design company Lewis Moberly.  "It's like planting an  acorn
                     and then a tree grows.  If you create the right *foundation*
                     (my  itals)  then you are building a whole culture  for  the
                     future of an organization."
                I don't know what Ms.  Gilmore studies in her spare time, but the
                idea  that it is possible to manipulate reality  by  manipulating
                symbols and appearances is entirely magical.  The same article on
                corporate identity continues as follows:
                     "The scale of the BT relaunch is colossal. The new logo will
                     be  painted on more than 72,000 vehicles  and  trailers,  as
                     well as 9,000 properties.
                     The  company's 92,000 public payphones will get new  decals,
                     and  its 90 shops will have to changed,  right down  to  the
                     yellow door handles.  More than 50,000 employees are  likely
                     to need new uniforms or "image clothing".
                Note  the emphasis on *image*.  The company in question  (British
                Telecom)  is  an ex-public monopoly with  an  appalling  customer
                relations  problem,   so  it  is  changing  the  color  of   its
                door handles! This is Yesodic magic on a gigantic scale.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                     The  image  manipulators gain most of their power  from  the
                mass-media.  The  mass-media correspond to two  sephiroth:  as  a
                medium of communication they belong in Hod,  but as a  foundation
                for our perception of reality they belong in Yesod. Nowadays most
                people form their model of what the world (in the large) is  like
                via the media.  There are a few individuals who travel the  world
                sufficiently  to have a model based on personal  experience,  but
                for most people their model of what most of the world is like  is
                formed by newspapers,  radio and television;  that is,  the media
                have become an extended (if inaccurate) instrument of perception.
                Like  our  "normal"  means of perception  the  media  are  highly
                selective in the variety and content of information provided, and
                they  can be used by advertising agencies and other  manipulative
                individuals to create foundations for new collective realities.
                     While on the subject of changing perception to assemble  new
                realities,  the following quote by "Don Juan" [4] has a definite
                Cabalistic flavour:
                     "The next truth is that perception takes place," he went on,
                     "because  there  is  in  each of  us  an  agent  called  the
                     assemblage   point  that  selects  internal   and   external
                     emanations for alignment.  The particular alignment that  we
                     perceive  as  the world is the product of  a  specific  spot
                     where our assemblage point is located on our cocoon."
                One of the titles of Yesod is "The Receptacle of the Emanations",
                and  its function is precisely as described above - Yesod is  the
                assemblage  point which assembles the emanations of the  internal
                and the external.
                     In  addition  to the  deliberate,  magical  manipulation  of
                foundations, there are other important areas of magic relevant to
                Yesod.  Raw, innate psychism is an ability which tends to improve
                as more attention is devoted to creative visualization,  focussed
                meditation (on Tarot cards for example),  dreams (e.g.  keeping a
                dream  diary),   and  divination.   Divination  is  an  important
                technique  to  practice even if you feel you are terrible  at  it
                (and  especially  if  you  think  it  is  nonsense),  because  it
                reinforces  the  idea  that it is permissible  to  "let  go"  and
                intuits  meanings into any pattern.  Many people have  difficulty
                doing  this,  feeling  perhaps  that they will  be  swamped  with
                unreason (recalling Freud's fear, expressed to Jung, of needing a
                bulwark  against the "black mud of occultism"),  when in  reality
                their minds are swamped with reason and could use a holiday.  Any
                divination system can be used,  but systems which emphasize  pure
                intuition are best (e.g.  Tarot,  runes,  tea-leaves,  flights of
                birds,  patterns on the wallpaper,  smoke. I heard of a Kabbalist
                who  threw a cushion into the air and carried out  divination  on
                the  basis  of the number of pieces of foam stuffing  which  fell
                out).  Because  Yesod  is a kind of aethyric  reflection  of  the
                physical world,  the image of and precursor to  reality,  mirrors
                are an important tool for Yesod magic.  Quartz crystals are  also
                used,   probably  because  of  the  use  of  crystal  balls   for
                divination,  but also because quartz crystal and amethyst have  a
                peculiarly  Yesodic quality in their own right.  The average  New
                Age shop filled with crystals, Tarot cards, silver jewelry (lunar
                association),  perfumes, dreamy music, and all the glitz, glamour
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                and  glitter  of a demonic magpie's nest,  is like a  temple  to
                Yesod.  Mirrors  and  crystals are used passively  as  foci  for
                receptivity, but they can also be used actively for certain kinds
                of  aethyric magic - there is an interesting book on  making  and
                using magic mirrors which builds on the kind of elemental magical
                work carried out in Malkuth [5].
                     Yesod  has  an  important  correspondence  with  the  sexual
                organs. The correspondence occurs in three ways. The first way is
                that when the Tree of Life is placed over the human  body,  Yesod
                is positioned over the genitals. The author of the Zohar is quite
                explicit about "the remaining members of the  Microprosopus",  to
                the  extent that the relevant paragraphs in Mather's  translation
                of "The Lesser Holy Assembly" remain in Latin to avoid  offending
                Victorian sensibilities.
                     The  second  association of Yesod with the  genitals  arises
                from  the  union  of the Microprosopus and  his  Bride.  This  is
                another recurring theme in Kabbalah, and the symbolism is complex
                and  refers  to several distinct  ideas,  from  the  relationship
                between  man and wife to an internal process within the  body  of
                God: e.g [6].
                     "When  the  Male  is  joined  with  the  Female,  they  both
                     constitute one complete body,  and all the Universe is in  a
                     state of happiness, because all things receive blessing from
                     their perfect body. And this is an Arcanum."
                or, referring to the Bride:
                     "And she is mitigated,  and receiveth blessing in that place
                     which is called the Holy of Holies below."
                or, referring to the "member":
                     "And  that  which floweth down into that place where  it  is
                     congregated,  and  which is emitted through that  most  holy
                     Yesod,  Foundation,  is entirely white,  and therefore is it
                     called Chesed.
                     Thence  Chesed entereth into the Holy of Holies;  as  it  is
                     written Ps.  cxxxiii.  3 'For there Tetragrammaton commanded
                     the blessing, even life for evermore.'"
                It  is  not difficult to read a great deal into  paragraphs  like
                this,  and there are many more in a similar vein.  Suffice to say
                that  the  Microprosopus  is often identified  with  the  sephira
                Tiphereth,  the  Bride is the sephira Malkuth,  and the point  of
                union between them is obviously Yesod.
                     The  third and more abstract association between  Yesod  and
                the  sexual  organs  arises because  the  sexual  organs  are  a
                mechanism  for perpetuating the *form* of a living  organism.  In
                order to get close to what is happening in sexual reproduction it
                is worth asking the question "What is a computer program?". Well,
                a  computer program indisputably begins as an idea;  it is not  a
                material  thing.  It can be written down in various ways;  as  an
                abstract  specification  in set theoretic notation akin  to  pure
                mathematics,  or  as  a  set of  recursive  functions  in  lambda
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                calculus;  it  could be written in several different  high  level
                languages - Pascal,  C,  Prolog,  LISP, ADA, ML etc. Are they all
                they same program? Computer scientists wrestle with this problem:
                can we show that two different programs written in two  different
                languages  are  in some sense functionally  identical?  It  isn't
                trivial  to do this because it asks fundamental  questions  about
                language  (any  language)  and meaning,  but it  is  possible  in
                limited  cases  to  produce  two  apparently  different  programs
                written   in  different  languages  and  assert  that  they   are
                identical.   Whatever   the  program  is,   it  seems  to   exist
                independently of any particular language,  so what is the program
                and  where is it?  Let us ignore that chestnut and go on  to  the
                next  level.  Suppose we write the program down.  We could do  it
                with  a pencil.  We could punch holes in paper.  We  could  plant
                trees in a pattern in a field.  We can line up magnetic  domains.
                We can burn holes in metal foil.  I could have it tattooed on  my
                back. We can transform it into radically different forms (that is
                what compilers and assemblers do). It obviously isn't tied to any
                physical representation either.  What about the computer it  runs
                on?  Well,  it  could be a conventional one made with CMOS  chips
                etc.....but  aren't there a lot of different kinds and  makes  of
                computer, and they can all run the same program. It is also quite
                practical  to build computers which *don't* use electrons  -  you
                could use mechanics or fluids or ball bearings - all you need  to
                do  is  produce  something with the  functionality  of  a  Turing
                machine, and that isn't hard. So not only is the program not tied
                to any particular physical representation,  but the same goes for
                the  computer itself,  and what we are left with is two puffs  of
                smoke.  On another level this is crazy;  computers are real, they
                do  real things in the real world,  and the programs  which  make
                them work are obviously real too....aren't they?
                     Now apply the same kind of scrutiny to living organisms, and
                the mechanism of reproduction. Take a good look at nucleic acids,
                enzymes,  proteins etc., and ask the same kind of questions. I am
                not  implying  that  life is a sort of program,  but  what  I  am
                suggesting is that if you try to get close to what constitutes  a
                living  organism  you  end up with another puff of  smoke  and  a
                handful  of  atoms which could just as well be  ball-bearings  or
                fluids  or....The thing that is being perpetuated through  sexual
                reproduction is something quite abstract and immaterial; it is an
                abstract  form preserved and encoded in a particular  pattern  of
                chemicals,  and if I was asked which was more real, the transient
                collection  of chemicals used,  or the abstract  form  itself,  I
                would answer "the form". But then, I am a programmer, and I would
                say that.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                     I   find  it  astonishing  that  there  are  any   hard-core
                materialists left in the world.  All the important stuff seems to
                exist at the level of puffs of smoke,  what Kabbalists call form.
                Roger Penrose,  one of the most eminent mathematicians living has
                this to say [7]:
                     "I  have made no secret of the fact that my  sympathies  lie
                     strongly  with the Platonic view that mathematical truth  is
                     absolute,  external and eternal,  and not based on  man-made
                     criteria;  and  that  mathematical objects have  a  timeless
                     existence of their own,  not dependent on human society  nor
                     on particular physical objects."
                "Ah  Ha!"  cry  the  materialists,   "At  least  the  atoms   are
                real." Well,  they  are until you start pulling them  apart  with
                tweezers and end up with a heap of equations which turn out to be
                the linguistic expression of an idea. As Einstein said, "The most
                incomprehensible   thing   about  the  world  is   that   it   is
                comprehensible",  that  is,  capable of being described  in  some
                linguistic form.
                     I am not trying to convince anyone of the "rightness" of the
                Cabalistic  viewpoint.  What I am trying to do is show that  the
                process  whereby  form is impressed on matter  (the  relationship
                between  Yesod  and Malkuth) is not  arcane, theosophical  mumbo-
                jumbo;  it is an issue which is alive and kicking, and the closer
                we  get  to  "real things" (and that  certainly  includes  living
                organisms),  the better the Cabalistic model (that form precedes
                manifestation, that there is a well-defined process of formation
                with the "real world" as an outcome) looks.
                The  illusion of Yesod is security,  the kind of  security  which
                forms the foundation of our personal existence in the world. On a
                superficial level our security is built out of  relationships,  a
                source of income, a place to live, a vocation, personal power and
                influence etc,  but at a deeper level the foundation of  personal
                identity  is  built  on a series  of  accidents,  encounters  and
                influences  which  create the illusion of who  we  are,  what  we
                believe  in,  and  what we stand for.  There is  a  warm,  secure
                feeling  of knowing what is right and wrong,  of doing the  right
                thing,  of living a worthwhile life in the service of  worthwhile
                causes,  of having a uniquely privileged vantage point from which
                to  survey  the problems of life (with all  the  intolerance  and
                incomprehension of other people which accompanies this  insight),
                and conversely there are feelings of despair, depression, loss of
                identity,  and  existential  terror  when a crack  forms  in  the
                illusion,  and  reality shows through - Castaneda calls  it  "the
                crack in the world".  The smug,  self-perpetuating illusion which
                masquerades  as  personal identity at the level of Yesod  is  the
                most astoundingly difficult thing to shift or destroy.  It fights
                back  with  all  the  resources  of  the  personality,   it  will
                enthusiastically embrace any ally which will help to shore up its
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                defenses   -  religious,   political  or   scientific   ideology;
                psychological,   sociological,   metaphysical  and   theosophical
                claptrap (e.g.  Kabbalah); the law and popular morality; in fact,
                any  beliefs  which  give it the power to  retain  its  identity,
                uniqueness and integrity.  Because this parasite of the soul uses
                religion (and its esoteric offshoots) to sustain itself they have
                little  or  no  power  over it and become a  major  part  of  the
                     There  are  various ways of overcoming this  personal  demon
                (Carroll [8],  in an essay on the subject,  calls it  Choronzon),
                and the two I know best are the cataclysmic and the abrasive. The
                first method involves a shock so extreme that it is impossible to
                be  the  same person again,  and if enough preparation  has  gone
                before  then it is possible to use the shock to rebuild  oneself.
                In  some  cases this doesn't happen;  I have  noticed  that  many
                people  with  very rigid religious beliefs  talk  readily   about
                having  suffered  traumatic experiences,  and the  phenomenon  of
                hysterical conversion among soldiers suffering from war  neuroses
                is well known.  The other method,  the abrasive,  is to wear away
                the demon of self-importance,  to grind it into nothing by  doing
                (for  example) something for someone else for which one  receives
                no thanks, praise, reward, or recognition. The task has to be big
                enough  and awful enough to become a demon in its own  right  and
                induce  all  the  correct feelings of compulsion (I  have  to  do
                this),  helplessness (I'll never make it),   indignation  (what's
                the point,  it's not my problem anyway),  rebellion (I  won't,  I
                won't, not anymore), more compulsion (I can't give up), self-pity
                (how  did  I get into this?),  exhaustion (Oh  No!  Not  again!),
                despair  (I can't go on),  and finally a kind of submission  when
                one's  demon hasn't the energy to put up a struggle any more  and
                simply gives up.  The woman who taught me Kabbalah used both  the
                cataclysmic  and  the  abrasive  methods  on  her  students  with
                malicious  glee  -  I will discuss this in  more  detail  in  the
                section on Tiphereth.
                     The virtue of Yesod is independence, the ability to make our
                own foundations,  to continually rebuild ourselves, to reject the
                security  of comfortable illusions and confront  reality  without
                     The vice of Yesod is idleness.  This can be contrasted  with
                the  inertia of Malkuth.  A stone is inert because it  lacks  the
                capacity to change,  but in most circumstances people can  change
                and can't be bothered.  At least,  not today. Yesod has a dreamy,
                illusory, comfortable, *seductive* quality, as in the Isle of the
                Lotus  Eaters - how else could we live as if death  and  personal
                annihilation only happened to other people?
                     The  Klippothic aspect of Yesod occurs when foundations  are
                rotten  and  disintegrating and only the  superficial  appearance
                remains  unchanged - Dorian Gray springs to mind,  or cases where
                the  brain is damaged and the body remains and carries out  basic
                instinctive  functions,  but the person is dead as far  as  other
                people are concerned.  Organizations are just as prone to this as
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                [1] A.E.  Powell,  "The Etheric Double",  Theosophical Publishing
                                    House, 1925
                [2] A.E.  Powell,  "The Astral Body",  Theosophical Publishing
                                    House, 1927
                [3] "It's the Image Men We Answer To",  The Sunday  Times,  6th.
                                                        Jan 1991
                [4] Castenada, Carlos, "The Fire from Within", Black Swan, 1985.
                [5] N.  R.  Clough, "How to Make and Use Magic Mirrors", Aquarian
                [6] S.L.  Mathers, "The Kabbalah Unveiled", Routledge & Kegan Paul
                [7] Roger Penrose,  "The Emperor's New Mind",  Oxford  University
                                     Press 1989
                [8] Peter J. Carroll, "Psychonaut", Samuel Weiser 1987.
                Copyright Colin Low 1991
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Footprints in the Chamber - Towards a Quantum Qabbala" "bos073.htm"}

                        Footprints in the Chamber - Towards a Quantum Qabbala, 
                                             by Fra.: +0- 
                The Qabbala has through the ages been used as a directory towards 
                the understanding of the universe and man`s relationship to it. 
                Since former Aeons of magick have had their perceptions rooted in 
                the observance of simple cause and effect relationships, the Qabbala 
                itself, having attained its nascence in the earlier traditions, was 
                unfortunately bogged down by this limited apprehension of the 
                universe. Here mathematics as used in a more or less Pythagorean 
                context provide a sort of key with which to approach the 
                unfathomable nature of human consciousness. 
                To this very day there are groups which still adhere to and openly 
                practice the more traditional ramifications of Qabbalistic 
                principles which are still firmly rooted in the mire of Nineteenth 
                Century Newton-sewed-it-all-up-there-are-no-more-mysteries physics. 
                But of course, owing to the leaps and bounds acquired by a very 
                unpredictable but consistent quantum model of reality as observed in 
                our laboratories, this simplistic view is necessarily obsolete. We 
                no longer live, we have learned (if indeed we ever did) in a simple 
                cause and effect universe where the source can always be gleaned 
                from observable effect. For the same reasons, Newtonian-based magic 
                must give way to a more quantum model. Newton`s apple must now take 
                into consideration Heisenberg`s Uncertainty Principle. The secret 
                wisdom must follow suit towards quantumization. 
                Another unfortunate tendency of some modern practioners of Qabbala 
                is to continue to regard everything from the standpoint of the 
                Demiurge, Yahweh, which of course is the basis of the now obsolete 
                (and dangerous) Judeo-Christian foundation of religious thought 
                which has held western civilization in its thrall for about two 
                thousand years. Personally I find it amazing that modern 
                practioners, who despite no real Semitic disposition still practice 
                an unmistakably orthodox Jewish mysticism. It was Aleister Crowley, 
                that great Qabbalistic agent provocateur, who initiated the process 
                of liberating the Qabbala from its otherwise Judaic orientation. 
                (This is not anti-semitism but a necessary step towards individual 
                development. It must also be stated that a Qabbala had been in use 
                centuries earlier by the Egyptians. The Jews merely adopted it to 
                their own religious precepts. They didn`t invent it. The actual 
                origin most likely predates Egyptian history.) 
                Crowley emphasized that the enlightened magician must, after careful 
                study and application of his knowledge, develop his own Qabbalistic 
                framework. By virtue of this the magician has arrived at a more 
                chaotic paradigm in opposition to a purely empirical view. Crowley, 
                by adapting the Qabbala to a Thelemic context initiated that first 
                leap forward into the quantum age. Thus, the foundation for a more 
                quantum/chaotic system was lain. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                I would like now to redefine the secret wisdom in terms of 
                quantumization as follows: 
                "The Qabbala is a table of observed synchronicities wherein multi- 
                dimensional potentia overlap into the field of perception implying a 
                correlation/interaction as perceived on a three-dimensional plane." 
                The sum of the parts of the whole is determined by conceptual 
                visualization and the observer`s ostensible observation thereof. It 
                is therefore merely a perceptual tool for perceiving hidden meaning 
                in the world determined entirely by the perceived-perception of the 
                perciper (in the language of Satre), which will alter its form and 
                content (via expansion and contradiction) according to the 
                percipere`s own innate tendencies. 
                The qabbala is no longer merely a mathematical construct of an 
                ordered universe as conceived by divine will. Instead it becomes a 
                kind of computerized network of extra-sensory information. Even the 
                idea of a prima causa itself may be inadequate as well. This idea is 
                based solely upon a linear time frame and is therefore a corollary 
                of our erroneous perception of time whose actual nature may tend 
                more towards the cyclical. Primitive man, for example was very well 
                aware of this fact, and acted in accordance with it. (This may have 
                to do with primitive people being more in tune with their own 
                circadian rhythms. This expresses a more lunar-intuitive cycle 
                rather than our own solar one.) If perception of time is based upon 
                natural rhythms which effect the body coupled with our observance of 
                nature, then our concept of time is entirely contrary to what nature 
                itself is telling us. We are thus unaligned with a proper time 
                framework. Since a cycle is essentially a circle, no beginning or 
                ending can be found. And, it is already been theorized that there 
                are other dimensions of reality in which time as we know it (in a 
                durational, linear sense of perception) simply cannot exist. 
                The universe has again and again defied our attempts a definable 
                order upon it. Yet, mysteriously it does seem to act intelligently, 
                even though this cannot be grasped by a rigid point A to point B 
                structure. What emerges is a kind of chaotic mandala structure, and 
                it is the task of quantum qabbalism to apprehend, as much as is 
                possible, the interior of this structure. This opens the doors to 
                practical mysticism as opposed to impractical mysticism. The qabbala 
                must then be updated to accommodate this vital realization in regard 
                to its properties of being able to regulate perceptive awareness via 
                interacting forces springing from more or less hidden dimensions 
                whose effect is known but not the cause. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                The understanding of the intention of creation is a product of the 
                mind of the qabbalist himself. The fabric of reality is thereby 
                flexible, effected by his own experience of it, and in turn, this 
                experience determines his perception of it, which is altered by the 
                interaction of these elements, more clearly understood as a 
                transaction. In other words, one perceives his environment and that 
                environment by virtue of one`s perception of it begins to act 
                accordingly to the reality model which is believed to be true. This 
                could be described as a kind of Copenhagen Interpretation as applied 
                to qabbalistic principles. The qabbalist then shares a unique 
                position of receiving qabbalistic impressions via observable 
                systematic synchronicities by means of inclination represented in 
                his own psyche. These impressions will translate back as meaningful 
                data insofar as the transaction between observer and the observed 
                becomes enacted. His perception modifies the universe and in turn, 
                the universe modifies his perception. (This can serve as a 
                representation of the union of microprosopus and macroprosopus.) The 
                feedback of this required information will be meaningful to him 
                alone as it is a byproduct of his own psychic field. He becomes a 
                kind of decoder of esoteric information which he has learned to 
                From this quantum/chaos framework the qabbala can be regarded as a 
                four (or five) dimensional transaction as revealed in the mundane 
                world, whereby an enriched quality of information provides the key 
                to a higher understanding of the universe and of oneself, provided 
                the person in question is capable of processing this information. 
                From this perspective, ghosts, poltergeists, and other enigmas of 
                paranormal phenomena can be understood as failed communication or 
                remnants of a highly coded system which hasn`t been solved. The 
                problem arises when one dimension fails to adequately "translate" 
                into another. You might term this the Tower of Babel Effect. The 
                information being received is misinterpreted due to inadequate tools 
                of reception and perhaps an inability to use tools properly. There 
                is also a basic misunderstanding of what this information means and 
                to what extent the source can be determined. This is a little like 
                trying to demonstrate fourth dimension physics by a purely three 
                dimensional means. The instances of paranormal phenomena as 
                described above, may be due to a discrepancy of overlapping 
                dimensions which allows for a greater margin of error which impedes 
                effective communication between the dimensions themselves. One is 
                reminded of Plato`s parable of the cave, wherein the shadows of the 
                things observed on the wall of the cave are mistaken for reality 
                itself. Granted, a shadow does resemble the object projecting it, 
                but it is hardly the object itself. It is the task of the quantum 
                qabbalist to make allowances for this margin of interpretive 
                miscalculation by preparing for it in advance and thus integrating 
                this possible glitch into his qabbalistic computer. He makes 
                allowances for this possible occurrence of organizational entropy and 
                thus he is able to use it to his advantage. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                The idea of a qabbala based upon an exploration of prima causa is no 
                longer valid in the quantum age. The quantumized qabbalist learns to 
                regard himself in the mirror of chaos. For him, the old Gnostic 
                dictum of "there is no part of me which is not of the gods", is 
                literally true. His "Tree of Life" is based squarely upon the 
                apprehension of his own enigmatic existence. He is more interested 
                in a practical application of his qabbalistic ideas and principles 
                for himself and others, than a cosmological game of hide and seek 
                wherein one searches for a prima causa "God" figure. But even for 
                this, he has an explanation: By careful observation of himself 
                within the mirror of chaos he has learned that the miracle of 
                creation is somehow a byproduct of his own consciousness and that he 
                has played an inexplicable role in the very act itself. ("Did ye not 
                know that ye were gods?") Joyously he has found that the tracks of 
                God etched across the illimitable sands of time in the accelerated 
                particle chambers of his own expanding consciousness. Thus has he 
                learned to adore the divine mystery of existence donning the masks 
                of creation. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "The Dark Night of the Soul" "bos074.htm"}

                                      The Dark Night of the Soul 
                                            Fra.: Apfelmann
                "The Dark Night of the Soul" is the name given to that experience of
                spiritual desolation that all students of the Occult pass through at
                one time or another. It is sometimes characterized by feelings that
                your occult studies or practices are not taken you anywhere, that
                the initial success that one is sometimes granted after a few months
                of occult working, has suddenly dried up. There comes a desire to
                give up on everything, to abandon exercises and meditation, as
                nothing seems to be working. St.John of the Cross. a christian
                mystic, said of this experience, that it;
                 "...puts the sensory spiritual appetites to sleep, deadens them,
                 and deprives them of the ability to find pleasure in anything.
                 It binds the imagination, and impedes it from doing any good
                 discursive work. It makes the memory cease, the intellect become
                 dark and unable to understand anything, and hence it causes the
                 will to become arid and constrained, and all the faculties empty
                 and useless. And over this hangs a dense and burdensome cloud,
                 which afflicts the soul, and keeps it withdrawn from the good."
                Though the beginner may view the onset of such an experience with
                alarm (I know I did), the "Dark Night" is not something bad or
                destructive. In one sense it may be seen as a trial, a test by which
                the Gods examine our resolve to continue with occult work, and if
                you are not completely whole-hearted about your magical studies, it
                is during this period (at its beginning) that you will give up. The
                Dark Night of the Soul should be welcomed, once recognized for
                what it is (I have always received an innate "warning" just before
                the onset of such a period), as a person might welcome an operation
                that will secure health and well-being. St.John of the Cross embraced
                the soul`s Dark Night as a Divine Appointment, calling it a period
                of "sheer grace" and adding;
                 "O guiding Night,
                 O Night more lovely than Dawn,
                 O Night that has united the lover with his beloved
                 Transforming the Lover in her Beloved."
                When entering the Dark Night one is overcome by a sense of spiritual
                dryness and depression. The notion, in some quarters, that all such
                experiences should be avoided, for a peaceful existence, shows up
                the superficiality of so much of contemporary living. The Dark Night
                is a way of bringing the Soul to stillness, so that deep psychic
                transformation may take place. All distractions must be set aside,
                and it is no good attempting to fight or channel the bursts of raw
                energy that from time to time may course through your being. This
                inner compulsion to set everything aside results in the outer
                depression, when nothing seems to excite.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                The only thing to do is obey your inner voice and become still,
                waiting for the inner transformation, (which the "Dark Night"
                heralds), to take place. You may not be aware for a very long time
                of the results of that inner change, but when the desire to work
                comes again and the depression lifts, the Dark Night has (for a
                moment) passed. No one can help during this time, and in many cases
                there is hardly anyone to turn for advice. One must disregard the
                well-meaning advice of family and friends to "snap out of it" this
                is no ordinary depression, but a deep spiritual experience which
                only those who have passed through themselves (in other words to a
                magical retreat) but for many, as the routines of everyday life
                prohibits this, all you can do is cultivate an inner solitude, a
                stillness and silence of heart, and wait, (like a chrysalis waits
                for the inner changes that will result in a butterfly) for the
                Transformation to work itself out. There are many such "Dark Nights"
                that the occult seeker must pass through during the mysterious
                process of mitigation. They are all trials but experience teaches
                one to cope more efficiently.
                With fractalic greetings and laughter  * Fra.: Apfelmann *
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Weaving Webs (David Rankine)" "bos075.htm"}

                                             Weaving Webs 
                                            by David Rankine
                The Mantra Web is a very simple and effective technique for using
                sonics in a group. Choose a mantra with a number of syllables
                corresponding to the numbers of operators, eg. IAO for 3 people. The
                operators should link hands, left palm up and right palm down, and
                slowly start to circle clockwise, each vibrating their syllable. As
                this is done the operators should each project a thread of light
                from their Solar Plexus (Manipura chakra) to a central focal point.
                The color(s) of the threads of light should be determined before
                the operation according to its purpose and the current beliefs of
                the operators. As the speed and resonance of the mantra is built up
                over a period of time, so the web is empowered, until a climax is
                reached and the web energy directed by a pre-specified operator to
                its purpose. This is just a sketchy outline of the technique, which
                obviously can be used for much more than this. Some of the more
                common uses for this technique include healing (with the individual
                in the center at the focus, crystals would also boost the energy
                levels); sexual magick (with operator(s) in the center and, if
                possible, the climax timed accordingly); empowering sigils, and so
                If the operators vibrate their syllable alternately instead of
                together, the mantra will spin around the circle and have a
                positively disorienting effect on the operators.
                It is important that the operators visualize their thread of light
                continuously, and not just when vibrating their mantra syllable. I
                particularly recommend this technique for outdoor use, especially at
                suitably aspected power sites. However, if you are using a stone
                circle or any other site of magick, please do think about what
                aspects the site has, and preferably visit beforehand to achieve
                some rapport with the site.

      {file "Supradimensionality Part I (I.O.T.)" "bos076.htm"}

                                      Supradimensionality Part I 
                                           by Fra. Forovius
                The Quest for Unknown ENNEAD:
                Supradimensionality itself cannot be experienced directly; our
                senses are not equipped for it. We are used to aligning our
                consciousness with the three space dimensions, and these proceed
                along the dimension of time.  Whereas we can move freely in  space, we
                experience the dimension of  time as a continuum that  goes inevitably
                in one direction  - from past to future, with  no return. People often
                lay all  their hopes and  theories on  some new, fourth  or fifth,  or
                whatever,  dimension,  when  they  are  confronted  with  supernatural
                phenomena and ask themselves where it all came from. At the very least
                science fiction novels tend to overstress supradimensions; as a source
                of UFOs, for example,  or of inexhaustible energy sources  and similar
                things.  In  this article  I  would  like to  try  out  a little  mind
                experiment with you to see if we might get a feeling for what it could
                be like if a gate opens to other dimensions. Let`s take a look:
                In answering the question  about the meaning of the  word "dimension",
                we  should leave  out all  overburdened explanations,  be it  SciFi or
                traditional mathematics. Mathematics is a perfect symbolic language(!)
                for  the  relationships  of numbers  and  quantities,  as  it is  very
                accurate and gives exact  results where normal language gives  up. But
                not everything is  true that can be proven by  mathematics, it is just
                conclusive. Let`s use our imagination first...
                For the  following we begin at  the simplest point. Try  to experience
                your surroundings as  a one-dimensional  being. You can  use all  your
                senses  as in  hot/cold, hard/soft,  light/dark, silent/loud.  You can
                move only along one  line in one direction - forward. So,  now you are
                sitting in your easy-chair and start to  move as a tiny speck of dust.
                At  first the world is soft and  comfortable; the room`s center gets a
                bit more cool,  although light;  then, at  the wall,  it is  extremely
                hard, dark  and uncomfortable, and so on. For every section of the way
                you  have  gone you  have  a single,  irreversible  impression. Sounds
                familiar doesn`t  it, like we think  of the "eternal flow  of time and
                aeons". But let`s steer clear od speculation that would not be apt for
                a speck of dust.
                Resume: when every section of this way has it`s own distinct
                characteristic (not  affectable by time, because  time doesn`t exist),
                it is inconceivable  for us that in some places other conditions along
                the same length in same sector may exist, just to the right or left of
                the way. Don`t forget - right/left have not been invented yet!
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Were it able to move left or right, if only slightly, it might be
                able to experience different conditions on the same spot of its
                one-dimensional  axis (on  a border, a  corner, a  different surface).
                But what lies outside its one-dimensional paradigm is unknowable.  The
                model  for this paradigm is, therefore, that along the dimension there
                can only be one condition at one spot.
                Let`s shift now to  a 2-dimensional paradigm. Now the  first dimension
                and the 2nd can  be used, and  the room presents itself  to us like  a
                section  with an  even surface.  Along the  first dimension  there are
                still  the same  conditions as  before, but  to the  side (left/right)
                there are some more.
                The model is changed as follows: along dimension 1 (length) there
                can  be different conditions, but  at different levels  of dimension 2
                (width).  This new being acts in a  more familiar manner as, like maps
                for example, it orients itself according to a horizontal and
                vertical axis.
                You can guess  how the riddle continues.  We learn to move  or grow up
                and  down. Now different conditions  are possible on  the same surface
                coordinates but at different  heights and depths. In the  new paradigm
                there is only one condition at one point in space.
                Finally, we  shift to our normal  paradigm by adding time.  We can now
                observe different conditions at  the same point of space  at different
                times, and can formulate the paradigm as follows: At the same point in
                space only  one object  can exist  at the  same time.  This is  a long
                established model of physics,  matching perfectly our mechanical world
                and our senses.
                In this mental experiment we have learned 2 things:
                1,  Moving along a dimension,  one can recognize  differences. This is
                the characteristic of a dimension, not its definition.
                2, After  each shift to the  next dimension, the model  (dogma) of the
                preceding one is superseded. Generally, the most recent dimension is a
                continuum, ie., a  dimension that goes irreversible  in one direction.
                Our own paradigm model  consists of the (old)  3 space dimension  plus
                the (new)  time as  a  continuum. How  could a  world  look like  that
                contains one dimension more, the  fifth one, called "E" or Ennead  for
                example?  (I  think Ennead  is an  expression  from a  science fiction
                novel,  but the  Ancient Egyptians  had a  similar expression  for the
                place where all possibilities exist that  don`t exist here;  or  where
                all the possibilities manifest that are kept by us from manifesting in
                this world here.)
                You can construct the new model dogma by yourself: at one and the
                same point of space and time there CAN be different conditions
                (objects, colors, temperatures...), but at a different Ennead(!!).
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                BUT: at the same point  of space at the same time and Ennead, there is
                again  only  one  condition  (object  etc.)  possible! This  game  can
                theoretically  be  continued  forever, but  soon  gets  uninteresting,
                because everything becomes far-fetched.
                The step to  the next  dimension implies  several interesting  changes
                - first of all it calls for the parallel existence of different
                things and events, side-by-side and at the same spot of the
                space/time-paradigm. This sounds very much like the sometimes
                incomprehensible reports of mystic experiences, whether from
                contemporary times like the Seth-books, or long ago, like Meister
                Eckhart, Tauler or Seuse. It  is also similar to the picture of  the 4
                worlds of the Kabbala  which exists inside  one another, and it  makes
                certain Egyptian mysteries understandable.
                - it makes a huge number of connections possible that we normally
                would not think of. Numerous events inexplicable by rational
                thinking may have their roots here, because causality is only valid in
                the exact  space/time paradigm  and loses  its ultimate  character the
                moment a new dimension is brought in.
                - most probably, and here all thinking and imagination stops, it
                replaces  the time  continuum with  a ubiquitous time  dimension (like
                length, width and  height in our  paradigm) where  we can move  freely
                forwards and  backwards - but  always at the same  Ennead. Again, this
                dimension shift doesn`t  free us completely, it just  opens a gate and
                makes the next border visible.
                The question about the quality or sense of this new E-dimension
                remains  unanswered. But our familiar dimensions also have no state or
                sense or quality; they just exist and make us  feel that they exist by
                limitations of  our sense of  movement etc. Although  we live in  this
                system, we cannot  give a real definition  of it (should  we really?),
                only some more or  less mathematical explanations. We  just experience
                that  along  a  dimension  something changes.  Dimensions  let  things
                happen. We feel something has changed along a dimension and we measure
                it by looking for  regular changes. We  measure time by observing  the
                regular movements  of the sun and  the earth, but with  no feeling for
                their pure quality.
                Also, a new dimension E would not change our world radically; its
                only effect to our paradigm would be that some additional things
                happened - miraculously side-by-side in time. But as we have no
                sensors for this, it would be totally imperceptible. And should a
                short impression slip  through, it  would be instantly  erased by  our
                mind`s censor. Moreover, if some of us should get to this dimension it
                would  prove  nearly impossible  to explain  it  to others;  having no
                common language, comparisons or symbols for it.
                This mental experiment has done its job, if we have achieved a
                feeling for what supradimensionality could be. Our paradigm is not the
                ultimate possibility, others exist - in between!
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Other Forms of Existence:
                Anyone used to observing nature from the heart, will have seen
                that it doesn`t like to have  jumps in it; especially when it  is only
                to  be fitted  into an  artificial theoretical  system   of  the human
                brain`s. Therefore, it is  not consequent to assume that  our paradigm
                of a space+time-continuum is  the only valid system. The  motto cannot
                be: "either you are with us in our system, or you are non-existent!"
                - a logical chain that we tend to follow  all too often.  If there are
                more  simple   dimensional  systems,  they  will   surely  have  their
                inhabitants.  However, the  creative amongst  you should  refrain from
                designing flat monsters  for a 2-dimensional  world now. As  explained
                before, this all exists in our world, one in the other!
                Again a  little mental experiment may  show us the  way. Let`s imagine
                the following:
                1, We put away all conditions related to the last dimension, the
                continuum. At  the same  time the  last-but-one dimension becomes  the
                continuum  automatically,  as  explained   before,  because  the  last
                dimension  always  is a  continuum (!!).  It  is interesting  that our
                time-continuum  physically is  related only  to movement,  which means
                that  everything able  to move  freely can experience  time.(As stated
                here, the gift  that our space+time  paradigm gives  to us is  motion.
                Now, in Ancient Egypt, a very important symbol was  the Ankh, meanings
                originally  a sandal`s belt (scientists  say). So, the  meaning of the
                respective  hieroglyph means "TO  WALK". On Egyptian  pictures, when a
                GOD gives life  to a HUMAN  he hands an ANKH  to him, i.e.  giving him
                LIFE = TO WALK = MOVEMENT.)
                So we  ignore everything that has  to do   with motion. And  the space
                becomes continuum.
                2,  We look for forms  of existing lacking  exactly that last paradigm
                element, ie., (in our case) time and movement.
                That means we  are looking for something that fulfills  the picture of
                this reduced paradigm. In our previous example: something that
                doesn`t move, but spreads in space continuously and irreversibly.
                Just let the picture grow before thinking further; that`s it -
                GROWING! Anything that grows steadily and cannot shrink
                We may think of  plants growing, clouds rising, micro-organism,  fungi
                etc. For  example, a tree  starts from  an exact point  in space  (the
                seed)  and spreads evenly according to a distinct blueprint. Its size,
                especially the section rings  of its stem, correlate exactly  with its
                age;  that  means spatial  growing and  age  match exactly.  It cannot
                shrink definitely; it  is able to  drop leaves  or branches, but  they
                soon grow  back to make it fill  the same space occupied  before.  The
                process  of spatial growth is irreversible. A harrowing thought - most
                probably we "grow" through time  in the same manner! Maybe,  even like
                some  herbs or  grass that  die off in  Autumn and  grow again  in the
                Spring - a picturesque allegory of death and rebirth!
                For our next example we again take one dimension less. Now there is no
                free  (active) motion  and no  growth in space.  The continuum  is the
                surface. A  much more  tricky paradigm.  Something existing here  must
                have the tendency  to spread in surface as much  as possible and never
                contract  again deliberately.  Hmmm..  what`s the  biggest surface  on
                earth? Of course, water! Water, as a liquid, can be  formed freely, as
                it has no fixed form and will mould itself to fit any surface.  But it
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                cannot  be  compressed, and  has  the tendency  to fill  a  space from
                beneath with  the maximum of even  surface at the same  time. The gain
                with  this form  of existence is  in the  changeability of  form - its
                flexibility and adaptability. The  picture for this is the  ocean, the
                river, or organisms like lichens which exist in clumps or patches.
                Our  next move is  one more step  towards reduction  of existence. Now
                there  is no area  and no spreading  over a surface.  The continuum is
                dimension  1, the line, and everything else is fixed. In this paradigm
                all solid objects exist. Changes, if  any, are only allowed along  one
                line and  are irreversible as in  falling towards a center  of gravity
                for  example, or rolling down a slope.  This dimension 1 does not have
                to  be a  straight line,  but is  the most efficient  and best  way of
                coming nearer to the center of attraction. Irreversible.
                It`s interesting to see  that we humans still align our orientation in
                space  according to these same systems as described. The vertical line
                is  a  solid object  hanging  down,  the  plumb-rule;  the  horizontal
                surface, the level, is adjusted  by hydrostatic balance (with water!).
                And the  only  independent (ie.,  not geodetic)  system for  measuring
                height is an instrument derived from a barometer (the
                altigraph), which works on the basis of the expansion and reduction of
                a specific gas volume in a sealed shell.
                These thoughts  are certainly a  little bit hard  to chew on,  but I`m
                sure they give enough themes for meditation.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Here`s  an example for a  simple meditation; freestyle  of course. Get
                yourself  into  a  trance-journey  somehow.  You  may use  a  shamanic
                technique or jump through a Tattwa sign or whatever you prefer and are
                best used to. Let`s take the  water element for example.  According to
                classical technique,  you imagine  the horizontal  syrinx sign  and go
                through  it (but in silver and not in  green as usual when you want to
                explore the  water world) and become  the water yourself.   Try to let
                the feeling flow  freely. Flow  down, spread, split  into drops  while
                breaking on a stone that lies in the water way; flow down as a torrent
                etc.; trickle to the ground; evaporate  to the sky;  experience  total
                passivity in the  respect of  controlled growth or  active motion.  Be
                totally  passive!  It  is  important  to  collect  oneself  after this
                meditation  and   perform  a  thorough  earthing.   This  exercise  is
                comparatively easy with the water element. It is also possible with  a
                3-dimensional system (plant or  cloud), but more complicated,  or with
                1-dimensional  system (solid object), but the latter takes a long time
                in my experience.
                The purpose of this exercise is to get a feeling for the structure and
                physical  reality of  other dimensional  existence and  their relation
                with other systems, and to comprehend that these need not be projected
                to distant universes,  but really exist in our world  and that we meet
                them every day.
                For people dealing with magic it is of immense value to get the
                right feeling of the existence of one universe in the other, and to be
                able  to shift  from a  low dimensional  system to  a supradimensional
                system and vice versa. This is because we face many phenomena reaching
                into our paradigm from other systems. For  example, severe distortions
                of  reality go  hand-in-hand  with  deep  trance, (lucid)  dreams  and
                precognition. These  all make our  reality and our  normal environment
                appear  more or less different  from normal experience:   for example,
                when  we experience our home in dream  reality or on a mental journey,
                the table in the room isn`t where it normally used to  be or maybe the
                window  is on another wall and  looks into a different landscape etc..
                All this is due to distortions along the 5th dimension  (the Ennead as
                I named it provisionally).
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Let`s continue our little mental experiment, but this time in the
                forward direction. At first we see no differences, when we go from our
                paradigm to a  4+1 dimensional system. Obviously we  have no sense and
                no feeling for what`s happening when we go beyond our 3+1 (space+time)
                system. So  the new mental experiment leads nowhere.  It`s worth it to
                demonstrate that no practical model comes  from mental speculations in
                this direction. But we can derive a description from our "experiences"
                with  low-dimensional systems.  Keeping the last paradigms in mind and
                adding  a new dimension, the Ennead, we can formulate the new paradigm
                by same method as follows:
                "At the same place in space at the same time there ARE different
                conditions possible at different E-dimensions."
                Exactly  like the  addition of a  "new" time-dimension to  the old 2+1
                (area+space) paradigm makes free movement possible for the first time,
                so also the addition of a new dimension E to our 3+1 paradigm makes it
                possible (at least theoretically) for the following to exist:
                - the one-inside-the-other-existence of different entities and
                - parallel worlds
                - events occurring simultaneously in time
                - time travel (forward and backwards).
                The key  to all this seems  to be the existence  of "parallel worlds",
                and I want to take  a little look into how our ability  to distinguish
                objects function. If different  things exist on the  same spot at  the
                same time this implies that the  same things exist in different worlds
                (systems,  universes etc., it`s  all the  same!). The  explanation for
                this you will find in the section Other Forms of Existence. Things are
                distinguishable for  us by their presence (POSITION in space+time) and
                their QUALITY  (that we  check by our  senses). They are  different if
                they  have different position and/or  quality. Example: sheep  A is as
                dull as sheep B, looks the  same, sounds the same, smells the same.  I
                know  they are  different  as one  stands  beside  the other  (ie.  at
                different positions at the same time). If there are enough sheep  that
                are so  similar and  they  run among  each  other, I  can  distinguish
                nothing. That  is unless I mark  them to make them  look different; or
                one  has changed its appearance, by having been sheared, for instance.
                Then it looks different at a different time,  but still is essentially
                the same. In  all these cases  we orient according to  differences and
                coherence of existence,
                and not very reliably at that.  I want to show with this  shaggy sheep
                tale that  the question  of continuous existence  throughout different
                positions  and  qualities is  not  easily resolved,  and  therefore we
                should  be carefully before we discount all talk of "double existence,
                parallel worlds etc.".
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Existence is hard to imagine and contradicts with experience and
                commonsense  unless we postulate  the existence of  parallel worlds in
                which all possibilities at least potential exist. But only one
                possibility becomes  reality. By taking  this thought further,  we see
                that  all these parallel worlds contain the possibilities of life, and
                we move  through all  this, making  reality out  of one  of them  - by
                DECISION or free  will, call it  as you like.  A picture that we  also
                find in some of Castaneda`s books.
                The question remains unanswered is:  What makes these parallel  worlds
                manifest  (ie. how  often do  "I" exist)  or just  remain hypothetical
                assumptions. But this is without importance for us at the moment. In a
                simple  and subjective  way, only  that which  we experience  actually
                manifests.  For me  it  appears  dimly that  out  of Ennead  only  the
                parallel worlds  through which we  pass by our  subjective experience,
                our  acting and our reality  become reality and  sharply outlined. All
                else remains dim  and unreal but  may be experienced  by others -  who
                knows? This is  similar to a widespread network of  rails in a railway
                shunting  station, with  numerous railtracks  linked by  switches, but
                only ONE track being used by a train. The switches stand for important
                decisions which open  this or that way. According to  our decisions we
                pass a  track leading more "up" or "down", more "ahead" or "back" (all
                seen from Ennead), or we just shuttle back and forth in the middle. To
                help to understand this we can look at certain games, like chess, that
                show how  the chain of events  is predetermined by  decisions that lie
                far back in  the past. By  playing chess you  can get  an idea of  the
                reality of fate, and that some errors taken in the past can  hardly be
                set right whilst some may  easily be. These causal chains may  be very
                long in any case.
                The previously described Ennead system could work in a similar
                fashion  to this: exactly like  our space+time paradigm  enables us to
                move,  so the jump into the space/time+ennead paradigm opens the gates
                to potentiality  and its  network of connections.  Although we  cannot
                take part  in this because of  our limited senses, and  we cannot jump
                into the next dimension and its  adherent paradigm, we can take a peek
                behind  the  curtain and  at  least  get a  feeling  for  the kind  of
                interference  therein. It  may  open a  new  view on  things  hitherto
                believed  to be inevitable:  the passing of time,  all our actions and
                interactions, and  on fate  itself. Are  we just  "programmed" towards
                another  target or direction, that  can only be  seen from above, from
                Ennead, from  the next  dimension? Do  we "move"  in  Ennead with  our
                decisions (and  this implies things like  character, mental attitudes,
                views and opinions, by which we decide on this or that way)?
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                However, for a  being fixed and rooted  in his/its paradigm, there  is
                not  much difference how  it decides. A  root or a  branch can grow in
                this  or that way, and reacts to  certain stimuli like light or water,
                but remains fixed and not suited for free movement. The more simple an
                animal is organized, the more unidirectional its reactions are:
                "lurk  - snap - gorge"  and suchlike. The  (occasionally) more complex
                motivations of  men lead me conclude  that we may be  on the threshold
                before   the  door  to  the  next  paradigm.  (Similar  to  plant-like
                organisms,  corals for example, that  are fixed to  the ground but can
                push out and pull in their tentacles... Hagazussa already?).
                We can "move" in this way - and this is certainly the most noble
                expression of  "do what thou  wilt" and Thelema  - by  influencing our
                position  in  Ennead consciously  and  constantly,  and without  mercy
                giving our decisions a  certain orientation and thereby  "moving" with
                this  through  Ennead  and  the  parallel  worlds.  (If  our  personal
                "thelema" was not a nonsense ie. Choronzon.) I`m sure many of you have
                experienced that  after somebody changed their  attitude and opinions,
                sometimes their  environment also  begins to  change, but  without any
                causal  reasons! Just the right people appear; some lucky (or unlucky)
                opportunities  open up; old friends  seem to withdraw  and appear more
                and more  strange... Maybe a  new parallel  world has opened,  and you
                move in? But besides these speculations and as a last consequence this
                means we bring  all that we face  by our own  decisions, and we  blame
                nobody else  but our own  good selves for  "all the bad luck  and hard
                days we  suffer from". On  the other  hand we are  not responsible  to
                anything/anybody/anygod for all the shit we are in... its our own hard
                way! All that has to do  with character building starts here. Here and
                now and in our own earthbound and mortal life and in our own paradigm,
                we have the  chance to move  in a certain  direction, perhaps "up"  or
                "down"  or maybe  recognized only  from aside/above/from  Ennead. Even
                from the next paradigm maybe. But
                we have the chance NOW. Possibilities are numerous. Let`s use them for
                maximum experience.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Celtic Craft Reading List (Rowan Moonstone)" "bos077.htm"}

                                CELTIC CRAFT READING LIST - 6 JULY 1991 
                                            Rowan Moonstone
                *** Marks especially good books. Read these FIRST!!  Keep in mind,
                this is simply a listing of the books that I have found useful.
                Question everything.
                A.E.(GEORGE RUSSELL); "The Candle of Vision", Quest Books,
                Theosophical Pub. 1975
                ALFORD, VIOLET; "The Hobbyhorse & Other Animal Masks", Merlin Press
                AMERICAN CONFERENCE FOR IRISH STUDIES; "Guide to Irish Studies in
                the U.S.A." 1987
                ANWYL, EDWARD; "Celtic Religion in Pre-christian Times", Archibald
                Constable & Co. 1906 ***
                ARTOS, ALLEN; "Arthur, The King of Light", Lorien House 1986
                ASHE, GEOFFREY; "The Ancient Wisdom", London 1977
                BAIN, GEORGE; "Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction", Dover Pub.
                BARBER, CHRIS; "Mysterious Wales", Paladin Press 1983
                BOASE, WENDY; "Folklore of Hampshire & the Isle of Wight", Rowman
                & Littlefield 1976
                BONWICK, JAMES; "Irish Druids and Old Irish Religion", Arno Press
                BORD, JANET & COLIN; "The Secret Country", Grenada 1978 ***
                BORD, JANET & COLIN; "Mysterious Britain", Grenada 1974 ***
                BORD, JANET & COLIN; "Earth Rites", Grenada 1983 ***
                BORD, JANET & COLIN; "Sacred Waters", Paladin Books 1986 ***
                BREFFNY, BRIAN DE, ed.; "Ireland, A Cultural Encyclopedia", Thames
                & Hudson 1983
                BREFFNY, BRIAN DE; " The Irish World", Thames & Hudson 1986
                BRIGGS, KATHERINE; "Abbey Lubbers, Banshees, & Boggarts", Pantheon
                BRIGGS, KATHERINE; "Nine Lives; Cats in Folklore", Rudledge & Kegen
                Paul 1980
                BROWN, PETER, ed. & selected by; "Book of Kells", Alfred A. Knopf
                CAMPBELL, J.F. & GEORGE HENDERSON; "The Celtic Dragon Myth",
                Newcastle Pub. 1981
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                CARMICHAEL, ALEXANDER; "Celtic Invocations", Vineyard 1972
                CASTLEDEN, RODNEY; "The Wilmington Giant", Turnstone 1983
                CHADWICK, NORA; "The Celts", Pelician 1970
                CHANT,JOY; "The High Kings", Bantam 1983
                CHMELOVA, ELENA; "Celtic Tales", Exeter Books 1982
                CLARE, T.; "Archelogical Sites of Devon & Cornwall", Moorland Pub.
                COGHLAN, RONAN; "Dictionary of Irish Myth and Legend", Donard Press
                COHANE, JOHN PHILLIP; "The Key", Crown Pub. 1969
                COLLUM, PADRAIG; "Treasury of Irish Folklore", Crown Pub. 1967
                COLLUM, PADRAIC; "Treasury of Irish Folklore", rev. ed. Killenny
                Press 1967
                COLLUM, PADRAIC; "The King of Ireland's Son", McMillian & sons 1933
                CONWAY, D.J.; "Celtic Magic", Llewellyn Pub. 1990
                COOKE, GRACE & IVAN; "The Light in Britain", White Eagle Pub. Trust
                COSMAN, MADELEINE, PELNER; "Medieval Holidays and Festivals",
                Charles Scribmer & Sons 1981
                CROSSLEY-HOLLAND, KEVIN, ed.; "Mabon of the Mabinogion", Thorsen
                Pub. 1984
                CUNLIFFE, BARRY; "The Celtic World", McGraw Hill MCMLXXIX ***
                CURTAIN, JEREMIAH; "Myths and Folk Tales of Ireland", Dover Books
                DAMES, MICHAEL; "The Avebury Cycle", Thames & Hudson 1977 ***
                DANAHER, KEVIN; "The Year in Ireland", (Leinster Leader, Ltd. 1972)
                Mercier Press 1972 ***
                DANIEL, GLYN & PAUL BAHN; "Ancient Places - The Prehistoric &
                Celtic Sites of Britian", Constable 1987
                DAVIDSON, THOMAS; "Rowan Tree and Red Thread", Edinburgh 1949
                DAVIES, EDWARD; "The Mythology and Rites of the British Druids",
                J. Booth 1809
                DELANEY, FRANK; "The Celts", Little Brown & Co. 1986
                DILLON, MYLES; "Early Irish Literature", University of Chicago
                Press 1948
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                DINNENN, REV. PATRICK S.; "Irish- English Dictionary", Irish Textes
                Society 1927
                DUGGAN, COLM; "Treasures of Irish Folklore", Mercantile Marketing
                Consultants, Ltd. 1983
                DYER, JAMES; "The Penguin Guide To Prehistoric England & Wales",
                Penguin Books
                EVANS-WENTZ, W. Y.; "The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries",
                Universtiy Books 1966 ***
                FELL, BARRY; "America, B.C.", Wallaby Books 1976
                FITZPATRICK, JIM; "The Silver Arm", Paper Tiger Press 1981
                FITZPATRICK, JIM; "The Book of Conquests", E.P. Dutton 1978
                FLOWER, ROBIN; "The Irish Tradition", Clarendon Press 1947/1978
                FORDE, JOHNSTON J.; "Prehistoric Britian & Ireland", W.W. Norton
                & Co. 1976
                FRAZIER, SIR JAMES GORDON; "The Golden Bough", (The Macmillan
                Company, 1951) Avenel 1981
                FRENCH, J.M.F.; "Prehistoric Faith and Worship", London 1912
                FROUD, BRIAN & ALAN LEE; "Faeries", Harry M. Abrams 1978
                GANTZ, JEFFERY; "Early Irish Myths & Sagas", Penquin 1982
                GERALD OF WALES; "The History & Topography of Ireland", Penquin
                GLASSIE, HENRY; "Irish Folk History", University of Pennsylvannia
                Press 1982
                GREGORY, LADY AUGUSTA; "Visions and Beliefs in the West of
                Ireland", Colin Smythe 1920/1979
                GREGORY, LADY AUGUSTA; "Gods and Fighting Men of the Celts", John
                Murray 1913 ***
                GUARD, DAVID, "Dierdre: A Celtic Legend", Celestial Arts 1977
                HERM, GERHARD; "The Celts", St. Martin's Press 1975
                HIGGINS, GODFREY; "Celtic Druids", Philosohpical Research Society
                HOPE, MURRY; "Practical Celtic Magic", Aquarian Press 1987
                IRISH TEXTES SOCIECTY; "Poems of Egan O'Rahilly", Rev. P.S. Dinnenn
                & T.O. Donough 1966
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                IRISH TEXTES SOCIECTY; "Duanaine Finn", Vol VII, part 1, ed. &
                trans. Eoin MacNeil
                IRISH TEXTES SOCIECTY; Keating, "History of Ireland, Vol 1-4,
                IRISH TEXTES SOCIECTY; "Adventures of Suibhne Geilt", ed. & trans.
                J.G. O'Keefe 1913
                IRISH TEXTES SOCIECTY; "Poems on the Marcher Lords", ed. Anne
                O'Sullivan & Padrain O'Riain 1987
                IRISH TEXTES SOCIECTY; "Labor Gabala Erenn", parts 1-4, Trans.
                R.A.S. MacAlister 1941 ***
                JACKSON, KENNETH HURLSTONE; "A Celtic Miscellany", Penguin 1980
                JACKSON, KENNETH HURLESTONE; "The Oldest Irish Tradition; A Window
                on the Iron Age", Cambridge 1964
                JACOBS, JOSEPH; "Celtic Fairy Tales", Dover 1963
                JONES, GWYN & THOMAS; "The Mabinogion", Dragon's Dream 1982 ***
                JOYCE, P.W.; "Social History of Ancient Ireland", Vol 1 & 2
                Benjamin Blum Pub. 1968 ***
                KERR, MILDRED L., HARNES, ELIZABETH & ROSS, FRANCES; "Giants &
                Faires", Charles E. Merrill Co. 1946
                KINSELLA, THOMAS; "The Tain", Oxford Univ. Press 1969 ***
                KNEIGHTLY, THOMAS; "The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and
                Other Little People", Avenel Press 1978
                KNIGHT, GARETH; "The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend",
                Aquarian Press 1983
                KRUTA, VENCESLAS & VERNER FORMAN; "The Celts of the West", Orbis
                LEAMY, EDMUND; "Golden Spears", Desmond Fitzgerald 1911
                LEHMANN, RUTH P.M.; "Early Irish Verse", University of Texas Press
                LOGAN, PATRICK; "The Old Gods", Apple Tree Press 1981
                LONSDALE, STEVEN; "Animals & the Origin of the Dance", Thames &
                Hudson 1982
                LUCY, SEAN; "Love Poems of the Irish", Mercier Press 1977
                MACALISTER, R.A.S.; "Tara; A Pagan Sanctuary of Ancient Ireland",
                Charles Schribner & Sons 1931 ***
                MACCANA, PROINSIAS; "Celtic Mythology", Hamlyn Pub. 1970
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                MACCULLOCH, JOHN ARNOTT; "Religion of the Ancient Celts", Folcroft
                Library, 1977rep.
                MACCULLOCH, JOHN ARNOTT; "The Mythology of all Races in Thirteen
                volumes; Celtic, Volume III.", Cooper Square Pub. 1967
                MACLENNAN, MALCOLM; "A Promouncing & Emtylogical Dictionary of the
                Gaelic Language", (Scots Gaelic) Aberdeen Univ. Press 1979
                MACMANUS, SEUMAS; "The Story of the Irish Race", Devin-Adair Co.
                MACNEILL, MAIRE; "The Festival of Lughnasa", Oxford, 1962 ***
                MARKALE, JEAN; "Women of the Celts", Inner Traditions International
                Ltd. 1986
                MARRIS, RUTH; "The Singing Swans & Other Irish Stories", Fontana
                Lions 1978
                MARSH, HENRY; "Dark Age Britain", Dorset Press 1970
                MATTHEWS, CAITLIN; "The Elements of The Goddess", Element Books
                MATTHEWS, CAITLIN; "The Elements of The Celtic Tradition", Element
                Books 1989
                McNEIL, F. MARTIN; "The Silver Bough, Vol 1.: Scottish Folklore &
                Beliefs", Cannon Gate Classic 1956/1989
                O'BRIEN, CHRISTIAN; "The Megalithic Odyssey", Turnstone 1983
                O'CONNOR, FRANK; "Short History of Irish Literature", Capricorn
                Books 1967
                O'CONNOR, NORREYS; "Battles & Enchantments", Books for Libraries
                Press 1922/1970
                O'DRISCOLL, ROBERT; "The Celtic Consciousness", George Braziller
                O'SULLIVAN, DONALD; "Carolan: The Life & Times & Music of an Irish
                Harper", Vol 1 & 2, Celtic Music 1983
                PEPPERS & WILCOCK; "A Guide to Magical & Mystical Sites - Europe
                & the British Isles", Harper Colophon Books 1977
                POWELL, T.G.E.; "The Celts", Thames & Hudson 1980
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                QUILLER, PETER & COURTNEY DAVIS; "Merlin, The Immortal", Spirit of
                Celtia 1984
                REES, ALWEN & BRINLEY; "Celtic Heritage", Oxford 1971 ***
                RHYS, JOHN; "Celtic Folklore, Welsh & Manx, Vol.I"
                ROLLESTON, T.W.; "Myths & Legends - Celtic", Avenel Press 1985
                ROSS, ANNE; "Pagan Celtic Britian", Rudledge & Kegen Paul 1967 ***
                ROSS, ANNE, & DON ROBBINS; "The Life & Death of A Druid Prince",
                Summit 1989 ***
                RUTHERFORD, WARD; "Celtic Mythology", Aquarian Press 1987
                RUTHERFORD, WARD; "The Druids, Magicians of the West", Aquarian
                Press 1978 ***
                SEYMOUR, ST. JOHN; "Irish Witchcraft and Demonology", 1913
                SHARKEY, JOHN; "Celtic Mysteries", Thames & Hudson 1975/1987
                SJOESTEDT, MARIE-LOUISE; "Gods and Heroes of the Celts", Methven
                & Co. Ltd. 1949 ***
                SMITH, LESLEY M.; "The Dark Age: The Making of Britian", Schocker
                Books 1984
                SPENCE, LEWIS; "The Minor Traditions of British Mythology", Rider
                & Co. 1948
                SPENCE, LEWIS; "The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain", Anchor Press
                SPENCE, LEWIS; "British Fairy Origins", Aquarian Press 1946
                SQUIRE, CHARLES; "Celtic Myth & Legend, Poetry & Romance",
                Newcastle 1975 ***
                STEWART, R.J.; "Book of Merlin", Blandford Press 1988
                STEWART, R.J., ed.; "Merlin & Woman", Blandford Press 1988
                STEWART, R.J.;  "Mystic Life of Merlin", Arcana Press 1986
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                STEWART, R.J.; "The Underworld Tradition", Aquarian Press 1985
                SUTHERLAND, ELISABETH; "Ravens & Black Rain", Corgi Books 1985 ***
                THURNEYSON; "Old Irish Reader", Dublin Institut for Advanced
                Studies 1968
                TOULSON, SHIRLEY; "The Winter Solstice", Jill Norman & Hobhouse
                1981 ***
                WHITE, CAROLYN; "A History of Irish Fairies", Mercier Press 1976
                WHITLOCK, RALPH; "In Search of Lost Gods", Phaidon Press 1979
                WILDE, LADY; "Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, & Superstitions of
                Ireland With Sketches of the Irish Past" Chatto & Windus 1925
                WILLIAMS, GWYNN A.; "Madoc, The Legend of the Welsh Discovery of
                America", Oxford Univ. Press 1987
                WILLIAMSON, JOHN; "The Oak King, the Holly King & the Unicorn",
                Harper & Row 1974 ***
                WOOD-MARTIN, W. G.; "Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland, Vols
                1 & 2", Kennicat Pub. 1902/1970 ***
                YEATS, W.B.; "Fairy & Folktales of Ireland", Pan Books 1882 & 1882/
                YEATS, W.B. & LADY GREGORY; "Irish Myth, Legend, & Folklore",
                Avenel Press 1986
                YOUNG, ELLA; "The Wondersmith and His Son", David McKay Co. 1927
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "The Covenant of the Goddess" "bos078.htm"}

                                        THE COVENANT OF THE GODDESS 
                    The Covenant of the Goddess was founded in 1975 to increase
                cooperation among Witches,  and to secure for Witches and covens
                the legal  protection enjoyed by members of other religions.
                    The Covenant publishes a newsletter;  issues ministerial
                credentials on request to qualified persons; sponsors a national
                festival each summer; and encourages networking nationally,  as
                well  as  regionally  through local councils.
                    The  Covenant is incorporated as a non-profit religious
                organization in California, though it has grown to be a
                nationwide organization.  It is a confederation of covens and
                solitaires  of  various  traditions,  who share in the worship of
                the Goddess and the Old Gods and subscribe to a common  code of
                ethics.  The Covenant holds a Grand Council annually to elect
                national officers, set a budget, and decide matters which require
                deliberation by the full membership.  Decisions are usually made
                by consensus.
                CODE OF ETHICS
                    * An ye harm none, do as ye will.
                    * Since our religion and arts and practices peculiar to it
                are the gift of  the Goddess,  membership and training in a local
                coven or tradition are bestowed free,  as gifts,  and only on
                those persons who are deemed worthy to receive them.  However, a
                coven may expect each of its members to bear a fair share of its
                ordinary operating expenses.
                    * All persons have the right to charge reasonable fees for
                the services by which they earn a living,  so long as our
                religion  is  not thereby exploited.
                    * Every person associated with this Covenant shall respect
                the autonomy and sovereignty of each coven, as well as the right
                of each coven to oversee the spiritual,  mental,  emotional and
                physical development of its members and students in its own way,
                and shall exercise reasonable caution against infringing upon
                that right in any way.
                    * Members of this Covenant shall respect the traditional
                secrecy of our religion.
                    * Members of this Covenant should ever  keep  in  mind  the
                underlying unity of our religion as well as the diversity of its
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                    *  These ethics shall be understood and interpreted in light
                of one another, and especially in light of the traditional laws
                of our  religion.
                    All information give to the Covenant of the Goddess or any of
                its officials  is considered strictly confidential,  unless you
                indicate otherwise.  No information about members is published or
                given  out  without explicit  written  permission.  Direct access
                to the Covenant's mailing list is limited to the Board of
                Directors.  Maximum privacy is assured.
                    At every Sabbat the Covenant publishes a newsletter of Craft
                and  Pagan news,  original  articles,  poetry,  humor,  rituals
                and announcements.  Member covens receive  the  newsletter
                automatically.  Individual  coveners  and  non-members who donate
                a suitable tax-deductible gift will also be placed on the mailing
                list, to receive the newsletter and other mailings.  Circulation
                is  limited  to members and friends of the Covenant.
                    An  annual  membership  tithe is set every year by the Grand
                Council to cover bare expenses,  based on the previous  year's
                expenses  and  any projected  cost increases.  The annual
                financial statement is published in the newsletter.  Other
                activities  are  supported  by  fund-raising.
                    All contributions to the Covenant of the Goddess are greatly
                appreciated and are tax-deductible.
                    Any Goddess-supporting coven or solitaire can be eligible
                for  membership  in  the  Covenant of the Goddess if certain
                criteria and requirements are met.  All inquiries into membership
                should  be  sent  to the National Credentials Officer.  If the
                coven or solitaire is in an area near a local council,  the
                National Officer will forward the inquiry to the local
                Credentials Officer, who will respond.  A member can apply in
                person at a council meeting, or by filling out the appropriate
                form and sending it in with the initial membership tithe.
                    * Generally focus thealogy and ritual, etc., around worship
                of the Goddess and the Old Gods (or the Goddess alone).
                    * Believe and follow a code of ethics compatible with that of
                the Covenant.
                    * Have been meeting monthly or oftener for at least six
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                    * Have three more members who have been formally
                accepted into the clergy.
                    * Be a cohesive, self-perpetuating group.
                    Full Membership:  The applicant must be recommended without
                reservation by two active members of the Covenant.
                    Provisional Membership:  The applicant may be recommended by
                one  member;  and  then  within a year and a day make a viable
                effort to get to know other members, in order to achieve Full
                Member status.
                    The appropriate Credentials Officer (National or  local)
                shall  verify information regarding criteria and credentials.
                    This is the term we use to represent the many Witches who are
                solitaires, i.e. practicing alone.  Each local council may devise
                its own standards for admission of coveners-at-large,  in harmony
                with national guidelines.
                LOCAL COUNCILS
                    A local council is a smaller branch of the Covenant,
                consisting of  at least three member covens of at least two
                different traditions, in
                reasonably close geographic proximity to each other.  The  local
                councils generally meet more often than the national
                organization.  They may initiate independent projects,
                sponsor local festivals and  workshops, and generally work
                together for common goals close to home.  As the Covenant
                continues to grow, we encourage new member covens close to one
                another to form their own local councils.
                    When a matter requiring a decision is presented before the
                Covenant in council, it is discussed by the members in attendance
                until a consensus is reached.  If a consensus cannot be reached,
                then a vote is taken.  A coven  holding a current Full Membership
                is entitled to one vote.  Each such coven also holds the power to
                veto,  though this is exercised only in extreme cases.  A coven
                with Provisional Membership is entitled to one vote, but does not
                hold veto power.
                    A coven-at-large is entitled to one vote if, and only if,
                three individuals are physically present at the council and
                unanimous in their choice of vote.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                    In order to receive Ministerial Credentials as a Priestess or
                Priest, a person shall:
                    1.  Be an active member of a coven which is a Full Member of
                the  Covenant.
                    2.  Have  been  "confirmed" to taking on the full commitment
                to the requirements of that coven's Tradition of our religion.
                    3.  Have undergone at least a full year  of  active  training
                for  the ministry of that Tradition.
                    These credentials shall remain valid only so long as the
                person remains an  active  member  of  the coven which remains an
                active member of the Covenant.
                    In order to be eligible to receive Ministerial Credentials as
                an Elder, a person shall:
                    1.  Satisfy (2.) and (3.) above.
                    2.  Have undergone an additional full year of active training
                for  the ministry.
                    3.  Be fully able to form a coven, admit members, and train
                them in the tenets and practices of that Tradition.
                    These  credentials shall remain valid for life, unless
                specifically revoked, so long as the person remains in contact
                with the Covenant.
                    The annual Grand Council or national business meeting is held
                as  part of a national festival,  which is open to the whole
                membership as well as Pagans and Witches who are not part of the
                Covenant.  The
                festival is usually held at a secluded campground or resort,  and
                moves to a different area of the country each  summer.  In
                addition to  the council  meeting,  the  program  includes
                workshops  on magick and the Craft, concerts, a potluck feast, a
                talent show, and the opportunity to purchase (or barter for) art,
                crafts and ritual tools by  Pagan  artisans.  Registration
                information is available in the newsletter.
                FOR MORE INFORMATION:
                    Write to: Covenant of the Goddess, P.O. Box 1226, Berkeley,
                CA 94704.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Covenant of the Goddess Pledge" "bos079.htm"}

                                    A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality 
                          I am a Pagan andI dedicate Myself tochanneling the Spiritual
                Energy of my Inner Self to help and to heal myself and others.
                    *  I  know  that I  am a   part of  the Whole   of Nature.   May I
                grow  in understanding of  the Unity   of all  Nature.  May  I  always
                walk in Balance.
                    *  May I  always be  mindful of  the diversity  of  Nature as well
                as  its Unity and   may I   always be   tolerant of  those whose race,
                appearance,  sex, sexual  preference, culture,  and other  ways differ
                from my own.
                    *  May I  use the  Force(psychic  power) wisely  and  never  useit
                for aggression nor  for malevolent  purposes. May  I never  direct  it
                to curtail the free will of another.
                    *  May I  always be mindfulthat I create my own reality and that I
                have the power within me to create positivity in my life.
                    *  May I   always act   in   honorable  ways:  being  honest  with
                myself and  others, keeping   my  word  whenever  I   have given   it,
                fulfilling  all responsibilities and  commitments I  have taken  on to
                the best of my ability.
                    *  May I  always  remember   that whatever  is  sent  out   always
                returns magnified  to  the  sender.  May  the  Forces  of   Karma move
                swiftly   to remind me   of these   spiritual commitments when  I have
                begin to falter from them,  and may I use this Karmic feedback to help
                myself grow and be more attuned to my Inner Pagan Spirit.
                    *  May I always remain strong and committed to my Spiritual ideals
                in the face of  adversity and  negativity. May  the Force  of my Inner
                Spirit  ground out  all malevolence   directed my   way and  transform
                it  into positivity. May   my Inner  Light shine   so  strongly   that
                malevolent forces can not even approach my sphere of existence.
                    *  May I  always grow  in Inner  Wisdom & Understanding.  MayI see
                every  problem that   I face   as  an opportunity   to  develop myself
                spiritually in solving it.
                    *  May I always act out ofLove to all other beings on this  Planet
                -- to  other  humans,   to  plants,   to  animals,   to  minerals,  to
                elementals, to spirits, and to other entities.
                    * May I  always be  mindful that the  Goddess and God in all their
                forms dwell within  me and  that this   divinity is  reflected through
                my own Inner Self, my Pagan Spirit.
                    *  May I  always channel  Love and  Light from  my  being.  May my
                Inner  Spirit, rather    than  my ego  self,  guide  all my  thoughts,
                feelings, and actions.
                                      SO MOTE IT BE
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Basic Principles Of The Craft (American Council of Witches)" "bos080.htm"}

                The Craft  (Witchcraft -  NOT to  be confused with  Satanism.   A true
                Witch has  nothing  to  do  with this,  even  though  there  are  some
                Satanists  who (unright-fully)  call themselves  "Witch".) contains  a
                large number  of groups with bonds  to each other, for  the most part,
                which  are looser than those you will find between Christian churches.
                Each has it's  own traditions,  it's own beliefs,  it's own  pantheon,
                etc.   So  just WHAT is  it that,  overall, a  Witch believes  in? The
                American Council  of Witches was formed to  determine what it was that
                all   Witches  have in common,  belief-wise.   In the  early 1970's, a
                paper  was  released with  their findings,  and  gives a  good overall
                picture of it.  The following is the text of that paper. 
                                     BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE CRAFT
                1.   The first principle is that  of love, and it is expressed in  the
                          "DO AS YOU WILL, SO LONG AS YOU HARM NONE" 
                          a)love is notemotional in it'sessence, but isan attribute of
                        the individual as expressed in relation to other beings; 
                     b) harming others can be by thought, word, or deed; 
                     c> it is to be understood the "none" includes oneself; 
                          d) theharm which isto be regardedas unethical isgratuitous  
                      harm; war, in general, is gratuitous harm, although it is        
                      ethical to defend oneself and one's liberty when threatened by  
                real and present danger, such as defense against invasion. 
                2.    The Witch must  recognize and harmonize  with the forces  of the
                universe,  in accord  with the  Law of  Polarity: everything  is dual;
                everything has  two poles;  everything has  it's  opposite; for  every
                action there is a reaction;  all can be categorized as either 
                active or reactive in relation to other things. 
                          a) Godhead is one  unique and transcendent wholeness, beyond
                                any limitationsor expressions; thus,it is beyond our  
                    human capacity to understand and identify with this                
                 principle of Cosmic Oneness, except as It is revealed to           us
                in terms of It's attributes and operation. 
                          b) The most basic and meaningful attribute of the One that  
                     we, as humans, can relate to and understand, is that of           
                 polarity, of action and reaction; therefore Witches                  
                recognize the Oneness of the Divinity, but worship and                 
                 relate to the Divine as the archetypal polarity of God                
                 and Goddess, the All-Father and the Great Mother of the               
                 universe.  The Beings are as near as we can approach to               
                 the One within our human limitations of understanding and            
                expression, though it is possible to experience the                   
                divine Oneness through the practices of the Mysteries. 
                          c) Harmony does not  consist of the pretty and the nice, but
                                the balanced, dynamic,poised co-operation and         
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                3.   The Witch must recognize, and operate within the framework of the
                     Law  of Cause  and Effect;  every action  has it's  reaction, and
                every effect has it's cause.   All things occur according to this law;
                nothing in the universe can occur outside this law, though  we may not
                always appreciate the relation between a given effect  and it's cause.
                Subsidiary to this is the Law of Three, which     states that whatever
                goes forth must return threefold, whether of      good or ill; for our
                actions affect more than people generally    realize,      and     the
                resulting reactions are also part of the     harvest. 
                4.   As  Above, So Below.  That which exists  in the Macrocosm exists,
                on a  smaller scale and  to a  lesser degree, in  the Microcosm.   The
                powers of  the universe  exist also in  the human,  though in  general
                instance they lie dormant.  The powers and abilities can be 
                awakened and used if the proper techniques are practiced, and    this
                is why initiates of the Mysteries are sworn to guard the    secrets
                from the unworthy:  Much harm can be done by those who      have power
                without responsibility, both to others and to     themselves according
                to the Laws of Cause and Effect and of  Threefold Return. 
                          a) Since our philosophy teaches that the universe is the    
                             physical manifestation of the Divine, there can be        
                        nothing in the universe which does not partake of the          
                 nature of the Divine; hence, the powers and attributes of            
                the Divine exist also in the manifest, though to much                 
                smaller degree. 
                          b) These powers can be awakened through the various          
                                techniques of theMysteries, and,although they areonly 
                capable of small effects in and of themselves, it is                  
                possible to use them in order to draw upon the forces of              
                the universe.  Thus humanity can be the wielders of the                
                 power of the Gods, a channel for Godhead to act within                
                 It's own manifestation.  This, then, is further reason                
                 for the oath of secrecy. 
                          c) Since the universe is the body of the One, possessing the
                             same attributes as the One, it's Laws must be the         
                        principles through and by which the One operates.  By          
                 reasoning from the known to the unknown, one can learn of            
                the Divine, and thus of oneself.  Thus the Craft is a                 
                natural religion, seeing in Nature the expression and                 
                revelation of Divinity. 
                5.   We know that everything in the universe is in movement or 
                vibration and is a function of that vibration.  Everything  vibrates;
                all things rise and fall in a tidal system that   reflects  the motion
                inherent in the universe and also in the     atom.   Matter and energy
                are but two poles of one continuous     phenomenon.     Therefore  the
                Witch celebrates, harmonizes with, and  makes  use of the tides of the
                universe and of life as expressed  through  the  cycle of  the seasons
                and the motion of the solar   system.    These ritual  observances are
                the eight great Festivals     of the Year, referred to as the Wheel of
                the Year.  Further, the  Witch works with the  forces and tides of the
                Moon, for this body      is the mediator of  much energy to our planet
                Earth and thus to   ourselves. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                6.   Nothing is dead matter in the universe.  All things exist, 
                therefore all things live, though perhaps in a different manner  from
                that which we are used to calling life.  In view of this,   the  Witch
                knows that there is no true death, only change from one     condition
                to another.  The universe is the body of Godhead, and  therefore
                possesses one transcendent consciousness; all things   partake  of the
                consciousness, in varying levels of     trance/awareness. 
                          a) Because of this principle, all things are sacred to the  
                             Witch, for all partake of the one Life. 
                          b) Therefore the Witch is a natural ecologist, for Nature is
                             part of us as we are a part of Nature. 
                7.   Astrology can be useful  in marking and interpreting the flow and
                     ebb of  the tides of our solar system, and  thus of making use of
                those tides; astrology should not be debased into mere 
                8.   Throughout the development of the human race,  civilizations have
                     seen and worshipped many  and various attributes of the  Divine. 
                These universal forces have been clothed in forms which were 
                expressive to the worshipper of the attribute of the Godhead     which
                they expressed.  Use of these symbolic representations of   t   h   e
                natural and divine forces of the universe, or god forms, is a 
                potent method for contacting and utilizing the forces they  represent.
                Thus the Gods are both natural and truly divine, and   man-made     in
                that the forms with which they are clothed are    products          of
                humanity's striving to know the Godhead. 
                          a)  In keeping with the Law of Polarity, these god-forms are
                                brought into harmony by the one great Law whichstates:
                                All Gods are oneGod.  All Goddesses areone Goddess.   
                    There is one Initiator.  This law is an expression of our         
                understanding that all of the forces of the universe, by              
                whatever ethnic god-form is chosen to clothe and relate                
                 to whichever force, can be resolved into the fundamental             
                polarity of the Godhead, the Great Mother and the                     
                          b) It is the use of differing god forms, of differing ethnic
                                sources or periods,which is the basis ofmany of the   
                                      EachTraditionuses theforms,andthusthenames,which
                                    to thatTradition bestexpress and awakenan         
                                  understandingofthe forcerepresented,accordingto the 
                        areas of emphasis of the Tradition. 
                          c) Because we know that differing names or representations  
                                      forces,werequire ourmemberstoswearthat theywill 
                                    nevermockthenames bywhichanotherhonors theDivine, 
                                  eventhough thosenames bedifferentfrom andseemingly  
                                lessexpressive thanthe namesand godforms usedby our   
                              Tradition(for tothe membersof anotherTradition, using   
                              it's names, oursmay easily seemequally less             
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                9.   A Witch refuses to allow her/himself to be corrupted by the great
                     guilt neuroses which have been foisted on humanity in the name of
                     the Divine,  thus freeing the self  of the slavery of  the mind. 
                The Witch expresses responsibility for her/his actions, and 
                accepts the consequences of  them; guilt is rejected as  inhibiting to
                one's self-actualization, and replaced by the efforts of the     Witch
                to obey the teachings of harmlessness, responsibility for   t    h    e 
                consequences of one's actions, and the goal of actualizing  the   full
                powers of the individual. 
                          a) We refuse to believe that a human being is born innately 
                                      sinful,and recognizetheconcepts ofsinandguilt   
                                    aretremendouslyinhibitingto thehumanpotential;the 
                                  consequencesof theLawof CauseandEffect,called karma 
                                  bysome, arenot punishment,but therecurrences of     
                                situations andtheir effectsbecause theindividualas    
                              notgained the Wisdomneeded tohandle or avoidsuch        
                          b) There is no heaven except that which we ourselves make of
                                      bypunishmentorreward,but bylifeandthecontinuing 
                          evolution of the human potential. 
                          c) One cannot damn the divine in oneself; one can, however, 
                                      cutoneselfofffromitthroughthe rejectionofwisdom 
                                    anda refusaltostrive forself-realization. This    
                         cutting off does not lead to personal suffering 
                                          in"hell", forthereisnoSelftosufferifthetieto
                                        one'sown divinityhasbeensevered;whatremainsis 
                          devoid of it's ensouling Spark of the Divine Fire. 
                10.   We  know of the  existence of  the life-force  which ensouls all
                living things, that is, all that exists.  We know that a spark of this
                Divine Fire is within each and every thing that exists, and      that
                it does not die; only the form of it's existence changes.   We    know
                that this spark of the life-force returns to      manifestation  again
                and again in order to fully realize and      actualize it's potential,
                evolving finally to the peak and   essence of existence which  is pure
                being.  In this process of    reincarnation each form  returns in  the
                same type of form, though     it's  ever-increasing actualization  may
                lead to higher levels of      existence of that form.   Man returns as
                man, cat as feline,      mineral  as  mineral,   each  class  of  form
                evolving as the individual    forms of that class evolve. 
                11.   This  process of  evolution through  successive incarnations  in
                manifest form works through the utilizations of wisdom gained,   t h e
                essence of the life-experience.  This essence of experience,     o   r
                Wisdom, is an attribute of the spark of life itself, one and 
                inseparable (see 9a). 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                12.  We must care for the body,  for it is the vehicle of the spark of
                     life, the form by which we attain.  Thus we must heal the body of
                     it's ills and keep it a tuned and perfected tool; so must we heal
                     others  (both physically  and psychologically)  as far  as it  is
                within our power to do so.  However, we cannot interfere with the life
                of another, even to heal, except at their request or with   t h e i r
                express permission; unless such non-interference would be   inhibiting
                to our own, ethical existence and development -- and  
                     even then the responsibilities and consequences must be 
                understood and accepted.  This, then, is one of the important 
                reasons for the communal life the Witches under the guidance of  t h e
                Priesthood:  That the group may be guided by wisdom and 
                experience, with the aid and support of one's peers; and that    one's
                actions may be guided by the influence of the ethical life  of     the
                group as a whole. 
                13.  Harmony with, and utilization of, the great natural forces of the
                     universe is called magick.  By magick we speak, not of the 
                supernatural, but of the superbly natural, but whose laws and 
                applications are not as yet recognized by the scientific 
                establishment.  The Witch must strive to recognize these forces, learn
                their laws, attune her/himself to them, and make use of     them.  The
                Witch must also be aware that power corrupts when  
                          used_only_ for thegains of theself, and thereforemust strive
                     to serve humanity:  Either through the service in the Priesthood,
                     or by example and effects of his/her life on others.   The choice
                     must be made in accord with the true nature of the Witch. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "In Grandmother's Lap (RMPJ)" "bos081.htm"}

                This article is excerpted from the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal. 
                Each issue of the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal is published by 
                High Plains Arts and Sciences; P.O. Box 620604, Littleton Co.,  
                80123, a Colorado Non-Profit Corporation, under a Public Domain 
                Copyright, which entitles any person or group of persons to  
                reproduce, in any form whatsoever, any material contained therein 
                without restriction, so long as articles are not condensed or  
                abbreviated in any fashion, and credit is given the original 
                                      IN GRANDMOTHER'S LAP 
                                      Copyright 1987, RMPJ 
                "Morals are the nagging fear that somebody somewhere may be 
                having a good time." --H. L. Mencken 
                     What is the difference between one of us and Oral Roberts?  
                Well, hopefully there are lots of differences, but the top one 
                on my list is that I work on being ethical and he is a moralist. 
                     The moralist knows how everybody else should behave in order 
                to be a good person, avoid Hell, fit into decent society, etc., 
                etc.  He is quite likely to feel that he is a valid exception to 
                all his own rules, since he can handle temptation and control his 
                outcomes.  His main characteristic is frantic paranoid distrust 
                of other people.  No one should be seen nude, for instance, 
                because this would be un-bearably sexually arousing and lead to 
                promiscuity, neglect of ordinary duties, etc.  He knows he can 
                control himself, but everybody else has to be "protected" from 
                their evil impulses.  His major defence is projection: "I'm not 
                oversexed, and of course I'd never want to be or want to be 
                unfaithful to my wife, but that woman in the (name situation or 
                article of clothing) sure is asking for it.  Ultimate expressions 
                of this type of thinking are wife-beating -- one man said, "When 
                I walked into the self-help group I thought that when they heard 
                what I'd had to put up with they'd con-gratulate me for not 
                having killed her." -- and witch-burning -- "I am a good person.  
                Bad things do not happen to good people.  A bad thing has 
                happened to me.  Somebody did it!  Kill them!" 
                     In essence, the moralist is saying "It can't be my fault 
                (I'm not able to face the idea that it might be my fault).  It 
                must be somebody else's fault.  If people would just follow these 
                few simple rules, which I'll be glad to explain to them, nothing 
                would go wrong and I wouldn't have to feel anxious.  But since 
                they won't all follow my rules, everything is their fault, not 
                mine, and I don't have to feel anxious." 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                     To me this is nauseating.  I have no idea how you "should" 
                behave; who are you?  What's the situation?  Who else is 
                affected?  Even then, the best I could offer would be some 
                suggestions of courses of action which might have good results -- 
                 but I don't believe there are any simple rules for human conduct 
                which are always "right."  What I do believe is that ethical 
                behavior consists of choosing your actions such that you can look 
                at yourself in the mirror in the morning without flinching.  
                Which means I can see a Corsican being ethical and killing 
                another person as part of a feud; a gypsy being ethical and 
                defrauding a gaujo.  I suspect that what I mean here is that 
                ethics impel you to be true to your own values, while morals make 
                you want to 
                a) control others, and 
                b) not get caught yourself.  But being ethical implies that they 
                are your own values, which you have thought through and decided 
                to accept, and not just the ones you have swallowed whole from 
                your family or culture. 
                     Marjoe, a famous evangelist who later went straight, 
                described preaching hellfire and damnation and then going back to 
                the motel and making love to his girlfriend of the moment -- who 
                had to be flown in from New York so the locals wouldn't know what 
                he was doing.  Oral Roberts says people have to give him $8 
                million, or God will "call him home."  These are examples of 
                people whose highest priority is influencing others, making the 
                right kind of impression - the actuality doesn't seem to be 
                really relevant to their choice-making process. 
                     The ethical person, on the other hand, may not care at all 
                about the impression he is erig; he will say in total sincerity 
                "I know I look like a fool for doing it, but I couldn't have 
                lived with myself if I hadn't."  Or even harder, "I know you 
                think I'm being hard and cruel, but I honestly believe this is 
                the best solution in the circumstances." 
                     Next issue (are you holding your breath?) the difference be- 
                tween act idealism and absolute idealism, or how to tell a witch 
                from a fundamentalist without a score card. 
                   The Spinster Aunt ..........  FROM RMPJ, 2/3/1987 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Exegesis On The Wiccan Rede (Judy Harrow)" "bos082.htm"}

                                      EXEGESIS ON THE WICCAN REDE 
                                            by Judy Harrow 
                originally published in HARVEST - Volume 5, Number 3 (Oimelc, 1985) 
                second  publication: THE  HIDDEN PATH  - Volume  X, Number  2 Beltane,
                     All religions began with somebody's sudden flashing insight, 
                enlightenment, a shining  vision. Some  mystic found the  way and  the
                words to share the  vision, and, sharing it, attracted  followers. The
                followers may repeat those  precise and poetic words about  the vision
                until  they congeal into set phrases, fused language, repeated by rote
                and without understanding.  Cliches begin as great wisdom - that's why
                they spread  so  fast -  and  end as  ritual  phrases, heard  but  not
                understood. Living spirituality so  easily hardens to boring religious
                routine, maintained  through  guilt  and  fear, or  habit  and  social
                opportunism - any reason but joy. 
                          We come tothe Craft witha first generation'sjoy ofdiscovery,
                and a first generation's  memory of bored hours of  routine worship in
                our  childhood.   Because we  have  known the  difference,  it is  our
                particular challenge to find or make  ways to keep the Craft a living,
                real  experience for  our grandchildren  and for  the students  of our
                          I think the best ofthese safeguards is already builtinto the
                Craft as we know it, put there by our own good  teachers. On our Path,
                the  mystic  experience  itself is  shared,  not  just  the fruits  of
                mysticism.  We  give  all  our   students  the  techniques,  and   the
                protective/supportive environment that enable almost every one of them
                to Draw the Moon and/or Invoke  the God. This is an incredibly radical
                change  from older religions, even older Pagan religions, in which the
                only  permissible   source  of  inspiration  has   been  to  endlessly
                reinterpret and reapply the vision of the Founder (the Bible, the 
                Book of the Law, the Koran, ... ). The practice of Drawing the Moon is
                the brilliant crown of the Craft. 
                     But notice how often, in the old myths, every treasure has its 
                pitfalls? I think I'm beginning to see one of ours. Between the normal
                process of  original visions clotting  into cliche, and  our perpetual
                flow of new inspiration, we are in danger of losing the special wisdom
                of those  who founded  the  modern Craft.  I do  not  think we  should
                assiduously  preserve  every  precious  word.  My  love  for   my  own
                Gardnerian  tradition does not blind me to our sexist and heterosexist
                roots. And yet, I want us to remain identifiably Witches  and not meld
                into some homogeneous "New Age" sludge. For this, I think we need some
                sort of anchoring in tradition to give us a sense of identity. Some of
                the  old   sayings  really  do  crystallize  great   wisdom  as  well,
                life-affirming Pagan wisdom that our culture needs to hear. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                     So I think it's time for a little creative borrowing from our 
                neighbors. Christians  do something they call "exegesis;"  Jews have a
                somewhat  similar  process  called  "midrash." What  it  is  something
                between interpretation and meditation, a very concentrated examination
                of a particular  text. The assumption often is that  every single word
                has  meaning (cabalists even look  at the individual  letters). Out of
                this  inspired  combination  of  scholarship and  daydream  comes  the
                vitality of  those  paths  whose canon  is  closed.  The  contemporary
                example,  of course,  is  Christian Liberation  Theology,  based on  a
                re-visioning of Jesus that would utterly shock John Calvin. 
                          Althoughour canon is not closed - andthe day it is the day I
                quit - I'm suggesting  that we can use a similar  process to renew the
                life of the older parts of our own still-young heritage. 
                          So, I'dlike totry doingsome exegesison anessential statement
                of  the Craft way of life. Every religion has some sort of ethic, some
                guideline for what it means to live in accordance with this particular
                mythos,  this worldview. Ours, called  the Wiccan Rede,  is one of the
                most  elegant statements  I've heard of  the principle  of situational
                ethics.  Rather  than  placing the  power  and  duty  to decide  about
                behavior  with teachers or rulebooks, the Rede places it exactly where
                it belongs, with the actor. 
                                     eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: 
                                      AN IT HARM NONE, DO WHAT YOU WILL. 
                I'd like to start  with the second phrase first, and to take it almost
                word by word. 
                     Do what YOU  will. This  is the challenge  to self-direction,  to
                figure out  what we want, and not  what somebody else wants  for us or
                from us. All  of us are  subject to  tremendous role expectations  and
                pressures,  coming  from our  families,  our  employers, our  friends,
                society in general.  It's easy to just be  molded, deceptively easy to
                become  a compulsive rebel and reflexively do the opposite of whatever
                "they"   seem  to  want.  Living  by  the  Rede  means  accepting  the
                responsibility to assess the results of our actions and to choose when
                we will obey, confront or evade the rules. 
                     Do what you WILL. This is the challenge to introspection, to know
                what we really want beyond the whim of the moment. The classic example
                is that of the student who chooses to study for an exam rather than go
                to a party,  because what she really  wants is to be  a doctor. Again,
                balance is needed. Always going to the library rather  than the movies
                is the road  to burnout, not the  road to a Nobel. What's  more, there
                are others values in life, such as sensuality, intimacy, spirituality,
                that get  ignored in  a compulsively  long-term  orientation. So,  our
                responsibility is  not to mechanically  follow some rule  like "always
                choose to defer  gratification in your  own long-term self  interest,"
                but to really listen within, and to really choose, each time. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                     DO what you will. This is the challenge to action. Don't wait for
                Prince  Charming or  the revolution.  Don't blame  your mother  or the
                system. Make a realistic plan  that includes all your assets.  Be sure
                to include magic, both  the deeper insights and wisdoms  of divination
                and the focusing  of will and energy that comes  from active workings.
                Then take  the  first steps  right now.   But,  beware of  thoughtless
                action,  which  is  equally  dangerous. For  example,  daydreaming  is
                needed, to envision a goal, to project the results of actions, 
                to check progress  against goals, sometimes to  revise goals. Thinking
                and planning  are  necessary parts  of personal  progress. Action  and
                thought are complementary; neither can replace the other. 
                          When youreally lookat it, wordby word, itsounds likea subtle
                and profound  guide for life, does  it not? Is it  complete? Shall "do
                what you will" in fact be "the whole of the law" for us? I  think not.
                The second phrase of the Rede discusses the individual out of context.
                Taken   by  itself,  "DO  WHAT  YOU  WILL"  would  produce  a  nastily
                competitive society, a "war of each against all" more bitter than what
                we now  endure. That is, it  would if it were  possible. Happily, it's
                just plain not. 
                          Pagan myth and modernbiology alike teach us that ourEarth is
                one  interconnected living sphere, a whole system in which the actions
                of each affect all (and this is emphatically not limited to humankind)
                through intrinsic, organic feedback paths. As our technology amplifies
                the  effects  of  our  individual  actions,  it  becomes  increasingly
                critical to understand that 
                these actions  have consequences  beyond the individual;  consequences
                that, by the  very nature of  things, come back  to the individual  as
                well.  Cooperation,  once  "merely" an  ethical  ideal,  has  become a
                survival imperative.  Life is relational,  contextual. Exclusive focus
                on the individual Will is a lie and a deathtrap. 
                          The  qualifying "AN IT HARM NONE," draws a Circle around the
                individual Will and places each of us firmly within the dual  contexts
                of the  human community and the complex life-form that is Mother Gaia.
                The first phrase of the Rede directs us to be aware of results  of our
                actions projected not  only in time,  as long-term personal  outcomes,
                but in  space  - to  consider  how actions  may effect  our  families,
                co-workers, community,  and the life of  the Earth as a  whole, and to
                take those projections into account in our decisions. 
                          But, like  the rest of the Rede, "an it harm none" cannot be
                followed  unthinkingly. It is simply  impossible for creatures who eat
                to harm none. Any refusal to decide or act for fear of harming someone
                is also  a decision and  an action,  and will create  results of  some
                kind.  When you  consider  that  "none"  also includes  ourselves,  it
                becomes clear that  what we have here  is a goal  and an ideal, not  a
                          The Craft,assuming ethical adulthood,offers us norote rules.
                We will always be  working on incomplete knowledge. We  will sometimes
                just plain  make mistakes.  Life itself, and  life-affirming religion,
                still demands that we learn, decide, act, and accept the results. 
                                         Judy Harrow 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Witches Creed (Doreen Valiente)" "bos083.htm"}

                       The Witches' Creed 
                Hear Now the words of the witches, 
                The secrets we hid in the night, 
                When dark was our destiny's pathway, 
                That now we bring forth into light. 
                Mysterious water and fire, 
                The earth and the wide-ranging air, 
                By hidden quintessence we know them,  
                And will and keep silent and dare. 
                The birth and rebirth of all nature, 
                The passing of winter and spring, 
                We share with the life universal, 
                Rejoice in the magical  ring. 
                Four times in the year the Great Sabbat 
                Returns, and the witches are seen 
                At Lammas and Candlemas dancing, 
                On May Eve and old Hallowe'en. 
                When day-time and night-time are equal, 
                Whensun is at greatest and least, 
                The four Lesser Sabbats are summoned, 
                And Witches gather in feast. 
                Thirteen silver moons in a year are, 
                Thirteen is the coven's array. 
                Thirteen times at Esbat make merry, 
                For each golden year and a day. 
                The power that was passed down the age, 
                Each time between woman and man, 
                Each century unto the other, 
                Ere time and the ages began. 
                When drawn is the magical circle, 
                By sword or athame of power, 
                Its compass between two worlds lies, 
                In land of the shades for that hour. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                This world has no right then to know it, 
                And world of beyond will tell naught. 
                The oldest of Gods are invoked there, 
                The Great Work of magic is wrought. 
                For the two are mystical pillars, 
                That stand at the gate of the shrine, 
                And two are the powers of nature, 
                The forms and the forces divine. 
                The dark and the light in succession, 
                The opposites each unto each, 
                Shown forth as a God and a Goddess: 
                Of this our ancestors teach.  
                By night he's the wild wind's rider, 
                The Horn'd One, the Lord of the Shades. 
                By day he's the King of the Woodland, 
                The dweller in green forest glades. 
                She is youthful or old as she pleases, 
                She sails the torn clouds in her barque, 
                The bright silver lady of midnight, 
                The crone who weaves spells in the dark. 
                The master and mistress of magic, 
                That dwell in the deeps of the mind, 
                Immortal and ever-renewing, 
                With power to free or to bind. 
                So drink the good wine to the Old Gods, 
                And Dance and make love in their praise, 
                Till Elphame's fair land shall receive us 
                In peace at the end of our days. 
                And Do What You Will be the challenge, 
                So be it Love that harms  none, 
                For this is the only commandment. 
                By Magic of old, be it done! 
                     Doreen Valiente, 
                     "Witchcraft For Tomorrow" 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "What is Wicca? (Texas Pamphlet)" "bos084.htm"}

                                    Hill Country Pagan Grove 
                                      Austin, Texas, U.S.A.  
                  Published December 1982 by C.C.C. Creative Cooperative  Consolidated
                12611 Research Blvd. Number 125 Austin, Texas 78759 U.S.A.  
                 First edition, December 1982 Second edition, revised, April 1983  
                  Some have  asked how this little  booklet came into being.  It's all
                very straightforward: as the  most visible representatives of paganism
                here in  Austin, Texas, I  and my consort, Arnthor  Phalius, are asked
                often  to appear  in public  to talk  about witchcraft.  The questions
                included here  are those most often  asked, along with  the answers we
                  Of course  we  cannot pretend  to  speak for  all Pagans,  only  for
                ourselves.  But  the  little  booklet  has  been  well-received  as  a
                non-threatening  method  of  getting  to know  a  subject  like Wicca.
                Occasionally  we will  find someone who  has had  negative experiences
                with  persons who  call themselves  Wiccans or  Witches, and  in those
                cases  they  expressed relief  on find  that  `other types'  of Pagans
                existed than those which had given them their initial bad impressions.
                  The Directory* is an individual effort at networking in the Sunbelt.
                Here in Texas there are many traditions and varieties of Paganism, and
                if  one  isn't  to be  alone,  one  must  learn  that there  are  more
                similarities  than  differences  in   Paganism  and  the  other  major
                religions.  Pagans have  always known this,  but for  various reasons,
                have not stepped forward as representatives of this view.  
                 I (Merlana) am a mystic who responds to the Universal Mind as it is 
                expressed in Nature. It  is my deep belief that persons  who reverence
                these  principles are  unified at  bottom, and  separated only  by the
                illusion  of words, which are not reality. Sometimes words aren't even
                adequate representations of `Reality`!  
                  It is my  intention in this little booklet to  re-define some issues
                and terms in the  way that my tradition sees them.  It so happens that
                much  of the  rest of  Paganism falls  within this  general framework.
                (NOTE: A  `tradition' is a varietal type, like `denomination').  
                  If youalready know the subject and wish to differ, your comments are
                welcome. If you are new to the subject, perhaps here  you'll find some
                questions  answered, and (if wanted) fellowship with others who are on
                similar paths. Directory* listings are free to those in the Sunbelt of
                the USA (South and Southwest.) New editions are published irregularly.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                  If you don't live in  the Sunbelt, but have goods or  services which
                interest Pagans, you may also put an ad into the Directory.* Write for
                 Blessed be, Merlana April 1983  
                 1. WHAT IS WICCA?  
                `Wicca' (pronounced Wick-ah) is one name given to the Nature religions
                practiced in Northern Europe and the Middle East from the times of the
                ice ages. It is one spiritual path out of many in a group of spiritual
                practices  known  as  NeoPaganism.   NeoPaganism  is  currently  in  a
                world-wide revival, led by persons and groups in the United States and
                 Wicca is one subsidiary form, or `tradition,' similar to the way 
                Christianity has  many forms.  One can  be  a Christian  and still  be
                Baptist, Methodist  or Roman Catholic. In  the same way, one  can be a
                Pagan  but   ascribe  to   another,  more  specific,   sub-variety  of
                 3. IS IT THE SAME AS WITCHCRAFT?  
                 One linguistic theory has the word Wicca coming from Olde English  
                `Wicca-Craeft', meaning `craft of the wise ones.' Most followers of  
                  Wicca (and most Pagans) prefer not to use  the terms `witchcraft' or
                `witch' because of the emotional connotations these words carry in our
                 Generally, one who calls him or herself a `witch' without further 
                qualifications is seeking notoriety and special attention. Those of us
                who guard  the  portals of  personal  Power (like  Carlos  Casteneda's
                character Don Juan) are normally hard to find or engage in discussion.
                Our Mysteries  are carefully hidden from the world, and from those who
                might be tempted to misuse them.  
                 4. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ABOUT GOD?  
                 Although Pagans generally agree that one God exists and is the same 
                regardless of name,  they vary in specific  concepts about God,  as in
                other religions.  
                  What  an individual  Pagan holds  is strictly  a matter  of personal
                belief.  However, occasionally  a tradition will teach highly-specific
                concepts,  structures  and  mythologies.   If  one  finds  oneself  in
                disagreement,  the  best  policy   is  `voting  with  the  feet',   or
                withdrawing to find another group who better agrees.  
                  NOTE: Sometimes it may be easierto gather together a group of people
                who  believe  as you  do to  form an  entirely  new group.  That's the
                purpose of networking, or what the booklet is designed for.  
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                  Most  Wiccans divide the  Godhead (generally conceived  of as Mother
                Nature) into two forces. One force is male and the  other female. They
                are called respectively: The God and The Goddess.  
                  Between them, these two divinities create balance and harmony in the
                Eternal  Dance.  They  represent  the  forces  of  birth,   death  and
                regeneration symbolized  in the  change of the  seasons. Wiccans  call
                5this cycle The Wheel Of The Year. Most rituals celebrate the Wheel Of
                The Year and our  deep, meaningful participation in natural  cycles of
                  Because the male force has been in ascendancy for thousands of years
                due  to the Christian, Moslem and Jewish religions, there is presently
                a  tendency to emphasize The  Goddess, especially by  feminists (or by
                those whose personal concept of God happens to be female).  
                  We also believe in  Magick, which is a partnership  between humanity
                and  the Universal Mind. This  partnership creates changes  in what we
                normally call `reality', i.e.,  change accomplished with prayer. These
                changes can seem miraculous or merely coincidental, and always include
                personal effort. Magick is not the same as `wishing.'  
                 5. WHAT HAPPENS AT A WICCAN CEREMONY?  
                  There  are  several  types  of  get-togethers  that  Pagans  of  all
                traditions  attend. The most available  and open is  called a `Grove,'
                where those who wish  may study both spiritual and  ceremonial topics.
                Most  groves emphasize fellowship  and harmony  of mind  between their
                members.  You should  choose one as  much for  how you  blend with the
                personalities of the members as for a particular brand of teaching.  
                  Eight  times  a  year, at  the  solstices  and  equinoxes, May  Day,
                Halloween,  and other  points  on the  lunar  calendar, Pagans  gather
                together  (usually outdoors under  trees) to celebrate  Nature and the
                turn of the seasons.  
                  These  celebrations consist  of  dancing,  prayer, invocations,  and
                rituals passed down from the many traditions through the ages. We also
                urge participants to develop and use their own original rituals and to
                share them with others.  
                  Because we  dance and  pray in  a standing  Circle  (or sometimes  a
                spiral),  and because  we  draw  at  these  times  from  the  Universe
                spherical energies of protection and power - these meetings are called
                (appropriately enough!) Circles.  
                 6. HOW CAN I ATTEND A GROVE OR CIRCLE?  
                  Wiccans and  Pagans tend to  be very  private, and do  not advertise
                their faith at publicly as  some others might. This is mainly  because
                of past persecutions. However, for those who are sincerely interested,
                there  always  exist  persons with  whom  to  visit  and explore  that
                interest. Check the Directory* at the  back of this booklet for  names
                of others who are open to contacts.  
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                  If you are sincere and rally want to setout upon the Pagan path, the
                first step  is to find a  Grove to study  with. After a  Grove accepts
                you, eventually you will attend Circles.  
                      That will depend on  the tradition and the teacher.  In general,
                Pagans  are most tolerant of any philosophical structure, and ask only
                that  the tolerance  be  returned. You  will  not be  requested  to do
                anything that differs with your beliefs and spiritual needs.  
                  Well  yes, of  course. But  the special  qualities are  available to
                everybody.  Everything that  Pagans do  with Magick  is done  in other
                religions by  other names. It  is only that  we have found  that these
                particular formulas, beliefs, and celebrations work best for us.  
                  These  are varying approaches to (and grasps of) personal Power. One
                way of recognizing someone who is truly Powerful is to note whether he
                or she seems to need control  or influence over others. True  personal
                power is content to control only the self, and personal reality.  
                 9. DO YOU CAST SPELLS ON OTHER PEOPLE? 
                  The major law in  our religion is: "Do what you will,  an it hurt no
                other." (The Golden Rule)  
                  In  other words, no  one is  prevented from  exploration of  God and
                GodSelf as long as others are not harmed.  
                 We do believe in directing the energies of the universe toward 
                accomplishment  of  certain ends,  but  magick is  never  effective on
                another person  unless the person  specifically requests it  and takes
                responsibility for that request.  
                  Attempts  at  so-called `black'  magick,  or  use of  the  universal
                energies for  negative  or harmful  purposes,  only result  in  karmic
                backlash  magnified at  least  threefold on  the unfortunate  would-be
                black magician.  
                  Our  tradition  does  not believe  in  the  possibility of  `psychic
                attack',  and hence  does  not teach  methods  for combating  it.  Our
                philosophy tells us that to raise  a force against `psychic attack' is
                only to create that which you fear.  
                 10. ARE PAGANS ANTI-CHRISTIAN?  
                  No.  But  many Christians  are  anti-Pagan.  Historically there  has
                existed an adversary relationship  between Christianity and the Nature
                Religions  (largely created by Christians.)  
                 It takes much universal love not to strike back when attacked, and 
                occasionally  a Pagan  might seem  bitter or  afraid as the  result of
                anti-Pagan  treatment.  This  is  only  a  personal  reaction,  not  a
                characteristic of the religion itself.  
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                  It is also true that Wiccans and Pagans have suffered dismissal from
                jobs and worse simply from their religious affiliation being revealed.
                Events like  these lead  to a  certain caution and  sometimes even  an
                attitude approaching mild paranoia.  
                 11. WHO IS IN CHARGE OF PAGANISM?  
                  Each person is in  charge of him or herself,  responsible totally to
                Godd/ess.  One might  hear  an individual  called  High Priestess,  or
                Priest,  but  this title  has  more  to do  with  the  role played  in
                ceremonies than with status in any formal hierarchy.  
                  Groves  and  teaching  groups   sometimes  have  various  levels  of
                initiation, but again, these are individual to each tradition.  
                PSYCHIC POWERS?  
                  We usually  find that people most often comment on the robes and the
                tools.  Traditionally  we  wear  special garments  while  engaging  in
                devotions, as a male Jew wears prayer shawl and skullcap. The garments
                have symbolisms, and stand for beliefs of the person wearing them.  
                  The tools  are: a cup, knife,  staff (or wand), and  the pentacle, a
                5-pointed star with 5th point upward, enclosed in a circle.  
                  For those familiar with the tarotcards, this was the original source
                of the  tarot suits as  well as  many meanings and  symbolisms in  the
                tarot deck.  
                 13. WHAT IS DONE WITH THE TOOLS?  
                  They  are used, along with  other objects, like  candles, bells, and
                incense  to focus  energies and  influence  Universal forces  with our
                prayers.  If the  format reminds  you of  Roman Catholic  mass, that's
                because much of the indigenous Nature Religion's mysteries were  
                `adopted'  when  Christianity  moved  into  Northern  Europe  --  into
                England, Scotland, Ireland and Scandinavia ... the lands of the Celts.
                  Also,  if  the  tools and  concepts  seem  to  resemble elements  in
                Rosicrucianism, the Caballa, and the Masonic Temple, it is because the
                latter paths drew and adopted Pagan  rituals and forms for other uses.
                Since  ours was an oral  tradition we gratefully  acknowledge the role
                these organizations played  in bringing to modern  times knowledge and
                insights which have otherwise been lost.  
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Here's a bit of trivia: Although the Founding Fathers of the U.S.A. 
                generally held indifferent attitudes  about Christianity they were all
                thirty-third degree Masons. Obviously they sought to incorporate their
                high  ideals  into  writing  our  first constitution.  This  odd  fact
                explains  to  some  people   why  fundamentalist  Christians  and  the
                constitution occasionally seem to be at cross-purposes.  
                 14. HOW LARGE IS THE RELIGION?  
                  Since Wicca, or Paganism, is an alternative religion uninterested in
                power  or clout,  we  measure our  `size'  usually only  by  spiritual
                growth. There  is a  national newspaper  published quarterly  by which
                many Pagans keep in touch.  
                  That's magick, too!  Craft practitioners of old  WERE the scientists
                ...  there  was  need  for  healers  and herbalists,  agriculture  and
                astronomy experts.  The scientific method has now  made teaching these
                subjects  respectable in universities. But in the process we have lost
                the lore's  former integration  of the spiritual  relationship between
                God Expressed As Nature and ourselves.  
                  Manyof us are scientifically trained and hold technological jobs and
                interests. This does not interfere with but only adds to  a desire for
                ritual  celebration and  union  with Godd/ess.  Also  many of  us  are
                ourselves  practicing psychics,  or  are  interested  in  extrasensory
                perception  (ESP)  and   its  uses.     Paganism  makes  available   a
                philosophical structure for all of these ends utilized effectively for
                millennia.   It  urges individuals  to develop  their personal  powers
                within that structure and to use them thereafter in a responsible way.
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                CHARITIES OR GOOD WORKS?  
                  Good news makes terrible press. News  media and supermarket tabloids
                would much rather print  scandal and controversy. How many  times have
                you  seen a  headline that  attributed a  person's conduct  to his/her
                belief in Witchcraft? Do you ever see the same types  of stories about
                Moslems, Jews or Christians?  
                  In addition, organized charity can only be accomplished undercertain
                forms  of  organized  religious  structures.  That  takes  leadership,
                delegation of  powers, community  resources and accumulation  of money
                and collective wealth.  
                  We focus  instead on  personal responsibility and  the necessity  of
                reflecting Godd/ess in our  characters and lives. Occasionally persons
                in  the Craft  will join  together to  change a  situation or  to help
                someone, but this is  always done quietly and with  the full knowledge
                and  permission of those for whom the  help of change in requested. It
                is always done  without taking  public credit. We  feel that  Godd/ess
                knows, and that is all we need.  
                 17. HOW CAN WE SUM THIS UP IN A FEW WORDS?  
                  Wicca, a  branch of  the spiritual  movement called Neopaganism  (or
                Paganism) is  primarily a religion of  personal, mystical relationship
                between  the Universal Mind as expressed in Nature and the individual.
                It  believes in  Magick,  or positive  change  wrought by  prayer  and
                ceremonial  ritual. It brings its  practitioners the joy  of union and
                harmony with Godd/ess  as expressed  in Nature as  well as  fellowship
                with other persons who  are on similar paths.  Personal responsibility
                and growth are stressed, dogma and rigid beliefs are discouraged.  
                                MAY GODD/ESS SPEAK TO YOU 
                                IN THE VOICE YOU HEAR BEST. 
                                BLESSED BE! 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "A Little Less Misunderstanding (J. Brad Hicks)" "bos085.htm"}

                                     A LITTLE LESS MISUNDERSTANDING 
                          (What Christians Don't Understand about Neopaganism) 
                                            by J. Brad Hicks 
                Q:   Are you a witch? 
                A:   That's actually a  tricky question to  answer, so let me  go     
                about it in a round-about way.  What I am is a Neopagan.   
                Neopaganism is a beautiful, complex religion that is not in  
                opposition  to Christianity in any way - just different.  However,  
                some of the people that the Catholic church  burned  as  "witches"  
                were people who practiced the same things that I do.  In  
                identification with them and the suffering that they went through,  
                some  of us (Neopagans) call ourselves witches.    One expert,  P.E.I.
                Bonewits,  says  that there are  actually several  kinds of groups who
                call  themselves "witches." Some  are people whose  ancestors were the
                village   healers,   herbalists, midwives, and such,  many of whom had
                (or were ascribed to  have) mental, psychic, or magical  powers, which
                were passed  down through the  family in the  form of oral  tradition,
                and  Bonewits calls them "Traditional   Witches." Some  are people who
                have deliberately used the term to oppose themselves to  Christianity,
                are  practicing  "Satanists," and practice (deliberately)  most of the
                practices invented by the  Inquisitors.  Bonewits calls  them "Gothic"
                or "Neo-Gothic Witches."  Of a different kind are some radical  
                feminist groups, who call themselves witches because they believe  
                that the original Inquisition was primarily anti-female;  some of  
                these also practice magic,  many of them do not -  Bonewits  calls  
                them "Feminist Witches." But the vast majority of modern witches  
                are harmless people who worship God in many forms, including the  
                Lord of the Dance, the Lady, and the Mother Earth.  These are the  
                people that Bonewits (and I) call"Neopagan Witches" - and this  is  
                what I am.  I hope that this helps more than it confuses.   
                Q:   Are you a devil worshipper? 
                A:   I'm tempted to just say, "No!" and leave it at that, but that  
                probably isn't  enough.   Devil   worship  (including   Satanism)   is
                really a Christian heresy.  (If you don't believe me,  ask an expert -
                say,  any well-read pastor or theology professor.) In order to worship
                Satan, you  have to believe  in him - and  there are no  references to
                Satan  outside of the  Christian Bible.   So to be  a Satanist   or  a
                devil worshipper, you have to believe in the accuracy of the Christian
                Bible, then identify yourself with God's Enemy, proclaim that you  
                are "evil," and then try to "fight against Jesus" or similar  
                nonsense.  Neopagans do not accept the Christian Bible as  a source of
                truth.  As a source of some beautiful poetry,  sometimes, or as a  
                source of myth, but not as a source of truth.  Emphatically, we do  
                not believe that God has an Opposite, an evil being  trying to destroy
                God,  the world,  man, or whatever.  So it is non-sensical to say that
                Neopagans worship Satan.   Of course, many people insist  that any god
                other than JHVH/Jesus (and his other Biblical names) is a  demon or an
                illusion created by  Satan.  Well,  you're welcome to believe  that if
                you like - but over half of the world's population is going to  
                be unhappy at you.  Jews and followers of Islam are just  as confident
                that  they worship  the True God as  you are, and resent being  called
                devil worshippers.  So do I.   
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Q:   What do Neopagans believe about God? 
                A:   Neopaganism is a new religion with very, very old roots.  It  
                harks back to the first religions that man ever practiced (based  
                on the physical evidence).  Neopagans worship a variety of symbols  
                from the Old Religions - the practices of the ancient  Celts,  the  
                Greeks, the  Egyptians, the Romans -  and differ with each  other over
                what those  symbols  really represent.    What I  (and   many  others)
                believe is that they are all aspects of  God (or maybe, the  Gods)   -
                some  kind of beautiful, powerful, and loving being or force that ties
                all of life  together and is the origin of all  miracles  -  including
                miracles such as written language,  poetry, music, art ...   
                Q:   Do Neopagans have a Bible? 
                A:   Not most of us.  The closest analogue would be a witch's Book  
                of Shadows, which is a  sort of notebook of legends,  poetry, history,
                and magic ritual which is copied by every newly-initiated witch,  then
                added  to.   But on  the whole,   even  a Book  of Shadows  isn't what
                Christians think of  as a  Bible.  It's  not  infallible (couldn't be,
                they've  been brought  to  us via  hastily-copied  texts under  trying
                circumstances),   it  doesn't prescribe  a specific  code of  morality
                (except for a  few general guidelines),   and it  doesn't claim to  be
                dictated by God -  except for a  few, debatable parts.    Those of  us
                who   aren't  witches don't  even have  that much.   Neopaganism  is a
                religious  system  that  relies   more  on  the individual than on the
                Book or  the Priest.  One  of the principal beliefs  of Neopaganism is
                that no  one,   not Pope   nor  Priest   nor  Elder, has the  right to
                interfere  with your  relationship to  God.   Learn from  whomever you
                want, and pray to whatever name means the most to you.   
                Q:   Did you say magic?  Do Neopagans believe in the occult? 
                A:   Cringe.  What a badly worded question - but I hear it all the  
                time.  Neopagans as a rule don't "believe in the occult" - we  
                practice magic.  Magic is simply a way to focus the   mental abilities
                that   you   were  born  with,  and  use them  to change the  world in
                positive ways.  Magic can also be mixed with worship; in which case it
                differs very little from Christian prayer.   
                Q:   But I thought that you said that  you weren't a demon-worshipper?
                A:   That's right.  Magic and demonology are two different things.   
                Magic you also know as "psychic powers" or "mentallics" or even as  
                "the power of positive thinking" - in essence,  the magical world  
                view holds that "reality" is mostly a construct of the human mind,  
                and as such, can be altered by the human mind.  That's all  there  
                is to it.   
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Q:   How do you become a Neopagan? 
                A:   In  a  very  real  sense,  nobody every "becomes" a Neopagan.   
                There are no converts, as no conversion is necessary.  Neopaganism  
                is  an attitude towards worship, and either you have it or you don't. 
                My case  is not atypical.  All  of my life, I  have been fascinated by
                the  old mythologies.   I have always found  descriptions of the Greek
                Gods fascinating.  If I had  any religious beliefs as a child, it  was
                that somewhere,  there was a God,  and many people worship  Him, but I
                had no idea what His name was.   I set out to find Him, and through an
                odd  combination  of circumstances,  I because convinced that his Name
                was Jesus.   But   seven years  later, I had  to admit to  myself that
                Whoever  God  is, he answers  non-Christians' prayers as well as those
                in the name of  Jesus.  In  either  case, true miracles are rare.   In
                both  cases, the one praying has a  devout experience with God.  After
                searching my soul, I  admitted that I could not tell that I was better
                off than when I believed in the Old Gods.  And in the mean time, I had
                found out that other people also loved the Old Gods -  and  that  they
                call  themselves  Neopagans.  When I realized that what I believed was
                little  or no  different that  what they believed,  I called  myself a
                Neopagan, too.  The common element for nearly all of us is that nearly
                all of  us already believed  these things,   before we found  out that
                anyone else  did.  "Becoming"  a pagan  is never a  conversion.   It's
                usually  a   home-coming.  No  one ever  "brainwashed" me.   I finally
                relaxed, and stopped struggling against my own self.   
                Q:   I've heard about witches holding orgies and such.  Do you? 
                A:   No, that sort of thing doesn't appeal to  me.  Most  of  the  
                crap that you've heard about "witch orgies" is nonsense made up by  
                the National Enquirer to sell magazines.  But I shouldn't  be flippant
                about this,   because it underlies  a serious question -  what kind of
                morality do Neopagans hold to?   
                                 "Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: 
                                  An it harm none, do what thou will!" 
                                              from an old Book of Shadows 
                That about sums it all up.  Neopaganism teaches that it is  
                harmful  to  yourself  (and  dangerous)  to  harm others.  It also  
                teaches that trying to impose your  moral  standards  on  somebody  
                else's behavior is (at least) foolish - and probably dangerous,  
                as you run some serious chance of hurting that person.  Perhaps in  
                a sense Neopagans don't have morality, for as R.  A.  Wilson said,  
                "There   are   no  commandments  because  there  is  no  Commander  
                anywhere," but Neopagans do have ethics - standards for  behavior  
                based on honor and mutual benefit.   
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Q:   I saw on the news that Neopagans use a star in a circle as their 
                    emblem.  Isn't that a Satanic symbol?   
                A:   A pentacle (that's what it's called) is a Satanic symbol in  
                precisely same sense that the cross is a Nazi symbol.  The German  
                National Socialist Party used an equal-armed cross with four flags  
                attached to it as their emblem.  (Yes, I know - that's a swastika.   
                Well, before the Nazis made the word common knowledge, people just  
                called  it  a  "bent cross" - it's an old heraldic symbol,  and it  
                means the same thing that a normal cross does).  That doesn't make  
                the Nazis good Christians, and it doesn't  make  Christians  into  
                Nazis.  In the same sense, Satanists (and some rock groups) use a  
                type  of pentacle as their emblem.   That doesn't make them Neopagans,
                nor   does   it  mean   that   Neopagans   are  Satanists   (or   even
                Q:   Are Neopagans opposed to Christianity? 
                A:   Some Neopagans are ex-Christians, and I'm not going to deny  
                that some of them have a grudge against the Church because of what  
                they perceived as attempts to control their minds.  Further,  many  
                Neopagans are suspicious of the Church, because it was in the name  
                of Jesus Christ that nine million of our kind were murdered.   
                Neopagans are opposed to anyone who uses force to control the  
                minds of others.  Does that include you?  If not,  then  it  means  
                that Neopagans as  such are not opposed to  you.  Do you work  for the
                benefit of mankind, are you  respectful to the  Earth?  Then  it makes
                us allies,  whether or not either of us wants to admit it.   
                                          - - - - - - - - - - 
                          There  are manyother misconceptions in the popularmind about
                the Neopagan religion.  Unless  you've   studied  it,  read  about  it
                from sympathetic sources,  then you really  don't know anything  about
                Neopagan history,  beliefs, practices, customs, art, science, culture,
                or  magic.  But it would take several entire books to teach you, and I
                already  fear  that I  will  be accused  of  trying to  win   converts
                (despite   what I've said  above).  If you  are curious and willing to
                learn,  try some of the following books:  
                                  Margot Adler, _Drawing Down the Moon_ 
                                       Starhawk, _The Spiral Dance_ 
                                      P.E.I. Bonewits, _Real Magic_ 
                                    Stewart Farrar, _What Witches Do_. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "NeoPagism (Eric S. Raymond)" "bos086.htm"}

                                          By Eric S. Raymond
                I. Introduction 
                          The neopagan  phenomenon is a loose  collection of religious
                movements, experiments and jokes that offers  a healthy alternative to
                the dogmatism  of the  Judeo/Christian/Islamic mainstream (on  the one
                hand)  and the  mushy-mindedness  of most  'New  Age' groups  (on  the
                          This article,prepared atthe requestof anumber ofcurious net.
                posters, offers a brief description of neopagan thought and  practice.
                A list of good sources for further study are listed at the end. 
                II. What is a neopagan? 
                          I  used the term 'religious'  above, but as  you'll see it's
                actually  more  than somewhat  misleading,  and  I  (like  many  other
                neopagans) use it only because no other word is available for the more
                general kind  of thing  of which  the  neopagan movement  and what  we
                generally think of as 'religion' are special cases. 
                          Neopaganism is 'religious' in  the etymological sense of 're
                ligare', to rebind (to roots, to strengths, to the  basics of things),
                and it deals with mythology and  the realm of the 'spiritual'. But, as
                we  in the Judeo/Christian West have come to understand 'religion' (an
                organized  body of  belief that  connects the  'supernatural'  with an
                authoritarian moral  code via 'faith') neopaganism  is effectively and
                radically anti-religious. I emphasize this because it  is important in
                understanding what follows. 
                          Common characteristics of almostall the groups that describe
                themselves as 'neopagan' (the term is often capitalized) include: 
                1. Anti-dogmatism 
                          Neopagan religions are religions of practice, pragmatism and
                immediate experience. The emphasis is always on what they can help the
                individuals in them to *do* and *experience*; theology and metaphysics
                take a back  seat, and very little 'faith' or  'belief' is required or
                expected. In fact many neopagans  (including yours truly) are actively
                hostile to 'faith' and  all the related ideas of  religious authority,
                'divine revelation' and the like. 
                2. Compatibility with a scientific world-view 
                        This  tends to follow  from the above.  Because neopaganism is
                centered in experiences rather  than beliefs, it doesn't need  or want
                to do vast overarching  cosmologies or push fixed Final Answers to the
                Big Questions -- understanding and helping human beings relate to each
                other and the world as we experience it is quite  enough for us. Thus,
                we are  generally friendly to  science and the  scientific world-view.
                Many of us  are scientists  and technologists ourselves  (in fact,  by
                some counts, a plurality of us are computer programmers!). 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                3. Reverence for nature, sensuality, and pleasure 
                        Mostneopaganisms makeheavy use ofnature symbolismand encourage
                people  to be more  aware of their  ties to all the  non-human life on
                this  planet.   Explicit  worship  of  'Gaia',   the  earth  ecosphere
                considered as a single  interdependent unit, is common.  Veneration of
                nature  deities is central to many  traditions. Ecological activism is
                often  considered a religious  duty, though there  is much controversy
                over what form it should take. 
                        Bypreference, mostneopagans holdtheir ceremoniesoutdoors under
                sun or moon. Seasonal changes and astronomical rhythms (especially the
                solstices,  equinoxes and  full  and  new  moons)  define  the  ritual
                        Ritual and festivenudity arecommon; to benaked before natureis
                often  considered a  holy  and  integrating  act  in  itself.  Sex  is
                considered  sacramental  and  sexual  energy  and  symbolisms permeate
                neopagan  practice (we  like to  contrast this  with Christianity,  in
                which the  central  sacrament commemorates  a murder  and climaxes  in
                ritual cannibalism). 
                4. Polytheism, pantheism, agnosticism 
                        Most neopaganisms are explicitly polytheistic -- that is, they
                recognize pantheons of  multiple deities. But the reality  behind this
                is more complex than it might appear. 
                        First,  many  neopagans  are philosophical  agnostics  or even
                atheists;  there is  a  tendency  to  regard  'the  gods'  as  Jungian
                archetypes  or otherwise  in some  sense created  by and  dependent on
                human belief, and thus naturally plural and observer-dependent. 
                        Secondly, asin many historicalpolytheisms, there isan implicit
                though seldom-discussed idea that  all the gods and goddesses  we deal
                with  are 'masks', refractions of some underlying unity that we cannot
                or should not attempt to approach directly. 
                        And thirdly, there is a strong undercurrent of pantheism,  the
                belief  that  the  entire  universe  is  in  some  important  sense  a
                responsive, resonating  and sacred whole  (or, which is  different and
                subtler, that it is proper for human beings to view it that way). 
                Many neopagans hold all three of these beliefs simultaneously. 
                5. Decentralized, non-authoritarian organization; no priestly elite 
                        Neopagans have seen what happens when a priesthood elite  gets
                temporal power;  we want  none of  that. We  do not take  collections,
                build  temples, or fund a  full-time clergy. In  fact the clergy-laity
                distinction  is  pretty  soft; in  many  traditions,  all members  are
                considered  'in  training'  for  it,  and  in  all   traditions  every
                participant in  a ritual  is an active  one; there are  and can  be no
                pew-sitting passive observers. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                        Mostneopagan traditionsare (dis)organizedashorizontal networks
                of  small  affinity groups  (usually  called  'circles', 'groves',  or
                'covens' depending on  the flavor of  neopagan involved). Priests  and
                priestesses have  no real  authority outside  their  own circles  (and
                sometimes  not  much  inside  them!), though  some  do  have  national
                        Many  of us keep a  low profile partly  due to a  real fear of
                persecution. Too many  of our spiritual  ancestors were burned,  hung,
                flayed and shot  by religions that are still powerful for  a lot of us
                to feel  safe in the  open. Down in  the Bible  Belt the burnings  and
                beatings  are  still  going on,  and  the  media  loves  to hang  that
                'Satanist' label on anything it doesn't understand for a good 
                juicy story. 
                        Also,  we never proselytize. This posting is about as active a
                neopagan solicitation as anyone will ever see; we tend to believe that
                'converts'  are  dangerous  robots  and  that  people  looking  to  be
                'converted' aren't the kind we want. We have found that it works quite
                well enough to let people find us when they're ready for  what we have
                to teach. 
                6. Reverence for the female principle 
                        Oneof the most striking differencesbetween neopagan groups and
                the   religious  mainstream  is  the  wide  prevalence  (and  in  some
                traditions  dominance)  of  the   worship  of  goddesses.  Almost  all
                neopagans revere  some form  of the  Great Mother,  often as  a nature
                goddess  identified with the  ecosphere, and  there are  probably more
                female neopagan clergy than there are male. 
                        Most neopagan traditions are equalist  (these tend to pair the
                Great  Mother with a male  fertility-god, usually some  cognate of the
                Greek Pan).  A vocal and  influential minority are  actively feminist,
                and (especially on the West Coast) there have been attempts to present
                various neopagan traditions  as the natural 'women's religion' for the
                feminist  movement. The  effects  of this  kind  of politicization  of
                neopaganism are a topic of intense debate within the movement and fuel
                some of its deepest factional divisions. 
                7. Respect for art and creativity 
                        Neopaganism tends to attractartists and musicians as muchas it
                attracts  technologists. Our myth and  ritual can be  very powerful at
                stimulating  and  releasing  creativity,   and  one  of  the  greatest
                strengths  of the  movement is  the rich  outgrowth of  music, poetry,
                crafts and arts that has come from that. It is quite common for people
                joining the movement to discover real talents in those areas that they
                never suspected. 
                        Poets and musicians have the kind of special place at neopagan
                festivals  that  they  did  in  pre-literate  cultures;  many  of  our
                best-known  people  are or  have been  bards  and songsmiths,  and the
                ability  to compose and improvise good ritual poetry is considered the
                mark of a gifted priest(ess) and very highly respected. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                8. Eclecticism 
                        "Steal from any source that doesn't run too fast" is aneopagan
                motto.  A typical neopagan  group will mix Greek, Celtic  and Egyptian
                mythology with  American Indian  shamanism. Ritual  technique includes
                recognizable  borrowings from  medieval ceremonial  magic, Freemasonry
                and pre-Nicene  Christianity,  as  well  as a  bunch  of  20th-century
                inventions.  Humanistic psychology and some of the more replicable New
                Age healing  techniques have recently been  influential. The resulting
                stew  is lively  and effective,  though sometimes  a bit hard  to hold
                9. A sense of humor 
                        Neopagans generally believethat itis more dangerousto takeyour
                religion too seriously than too lightly. Self-spoofery is frequent and
                (in some  traditions) semi-institutionalized,  and at least  one major
                neopagan  tradition  (Discordianism, known  to  many on  this  net) is
                *founded* on elaborate spoofery and started out as a joke. 
                        Oneof the most attractive features of the neopagan approach is
                that  we don't confuse solemnity with gloom. Our rituals are generally
                celebratory and joyous, and  a humorous remark at the right  time need
                not break the mood. 
                        We generally feel that anyreligion that can't stand tohave fun
                poked at it is in as sad shape as the corresponding kind of person. 
                III. What kinds of neopagan are there, and where did they come from? 
                          Depending onwho you talkto and whatdefinitions you use,there
                are between 40,000  and 200,000 neopagans in the U.S.; the true figure
                is probably closer to the latter than the former, and  the movement is
                still growing rapidly following a major 'population explosion'  in the
                late '70s. 
                          The numericallylargest and most influentialneopagan group is
                the 'Kingdom of Wicca'  -- the modern witch covens.  Modern witchcraft
                has  nothing  to   do  with  Hollywood's   images  of  the   cackling,
                cauldron-stirring crone (though wiccans sometimes joke about that one)
                and  is  actively  opposed  to the  psychopathic  Satanism  that  many
                Christians erroneously think  of as  'witchcraft'. Your  author is  an
                initiate Wiccan priest and coven leader of long standing. 
                          Otherimportant subgroupsinclude thoseseeking torevive Norse,
                Egyptian, Amerind,  and various kinds  of tribal pantheons  other than
                the  Greek and  Celtic ones  that have  been incorporated  into Wicca.
                These  generally started  out  as Wiccan  offshoots  or have  been  so
                heavily influenced  by Wiccan ritual  technique that their  people can
                usually work comfortably in a Wiccan circle and vice-versa. 
                          There arealso the variousorders of ceremonialmagicians, most
                claiming to be  the successors to the turn-of-the-century  Golden Dawn
                or one of  the groups founded by Alesteir Crowley during his brilliant
                and  notorious occult  career.  These have  their  own very  elaborate
                ritual  tradition, and tend to  be more intellectual,  more rigid, and
                less  nature-oriented.   They  are  sometimes  reluctant  to  describe
                themselves as neopagans. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                          The Discordians (and, more recently, the Discordian-offshoot
                Church of the  Sub-Genius) are  few in number  but quite  influential.
                They are  the neopagan  movement's sacred clowns,  puncturing pretense
                and adding an  essential note  to the pagan  festivals. Many  Wiccans,
                especially  among priests  and priestesses,  are also  Discordians and
                will  look you  straight  in the  eye  and tell  you  that the  entire
                neopagan movement is a Discordian hoax... 
                          Neopaganism used  to be largely a  white, upper-middle-class
                phenomenon, but that has been changing  during the last five years. So
                called 'new-collar'  workers have come in droves  during the eighties.
                We  still see fewer non-whites, proportionately, than there are in the
                general population,  but that is  also changing (though  more slowly).
                With the  exception of a few nut-fringe 'Aryan' groups detested by the
                whole  rest  of  the  movement, neopagans  are  actively  anti-racist;
                prejudice is  not the problem, it's more that the ideas have tended to
                be accepted by the more educated segments of society 
                first, and  until recently  those more  educated segments  were mostly
                          OntheEastCoast, ahigher-than-general-populationpercentage of
                neopagans  have  Roman Catholic  or  Jewish  backgrounds, but  figures
                suggest this is not true nationwide. There is also  a very significant
                overlap in population with science-fiction fandom and the  Society for
                Creative Anachronism. 
                          Politically, neopagans are distributed about the same as the
                general population,  except that whether liberal  or conservative they
                tend  to be more individualist and less conformist and moralistic than
                average. It is therefore  not too surprising that the  one significant
                difference  in  distribution  is the  presence  of  a  good many  more
                libertarians than one  would see in a same-sized chunk  of the general
                population  (I particularly  register this  because I'm  a libertarian
                myself, but  non-libertarians have  noted the same  phenomenon). These
                complexities are obscured by the fact that the most politically active
                and  visible neopagans  are usually  ex-hippie left-liberals  from the
                          I think the most acute generalization made about pagans as a
                whole  is  Margot Adler's  observation that they  are mostly self-made
                people,  supreme individualists  not necessarily  in the  assertive or
                egoist sense but  because they have felt  the need to  construct their
                own  culture, their own definitions, their own religious paths, out of
                whatever  came to  hand  rather  than  accepting  the  ones  that  the
                mainstream offers. 
                IV. Where do I find out more? 
                          I have deliberatelynot said much aboutmythology, or specific
                religious practice or aims, or the role of magic and to what extent we
                practice and  'believe' in it. Any one of those is a topic for another
                posting;  but you can  get a lot  of information from  books. Here's a
                basic bibliography: 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Adler, Margot _Drawing_Down_the_Moon_ (Random House 1979, hc) 
                    This book  is a lucid and  penetrating account of who  the modern 
                neo-pagans are,  what they do  and why they do  it, from a  woman who 
                spent almost two  years doing observer-participant journalism  in the 
                neo-pagan  community.  Especially valuable  because  it  combines an  
                anthropologist's objectivity  with a candid  personal account of  her 
                own  feelings about all she  saw and did and how  her ideas about the 
                neo-pagans  changed  under the  impact of  the  experiences she  went 
                through. Recommended  strongly as  a first book  on the subject,  and 
                it's relatively  easy to  find. There  is now  a revised  and expanded
                second edition available. 
                Starhawk _The_Spiral_Dance_ 
                    An anthology  of  philosophy, poetry,  training exercises,  ritual
                outlines and  instructive anecdotes  from a successful  working coven.
                First-rate as an introduction  to the practical aspects of  magick and
                running a functioning circle. Often findable at feminist bookstores. 
                Shea, Robert and Wilson, Robert Anton _Illuminatus!_ (Dell, 1975, pb)
                  This work of alleged fiction is an incredible berserko-surrealist  
                rollercoaster  that _will_  bend  your mind  into  a pretzel  with  an
                acid-head blitzkrieg  of plausible, instructive  and enlightening lies
                and  a few preposterous and obscure truths. Amidst this eccentric tale
                of  world-girdling  conspiracies, intelligent  dolphins,  the fall  of
                Atlantis, who  _really_ killed JFK,  sex, drugs, rock and roll and the
                Cosmic Giggle Factor, you  will find Serious Truths about  Mind, Time,
                Space,  the Nature   of God(dess)  and What It  All Means --  and also
                learn why  you  should  on    no  account  take  them  Seriously.  Pay
                particular attention to Appendix Lamedh ("The Tactics of Magick"), but
                it won't  make sense  until  you've read  the rest.    This was  first
                published   in   3    volumes   as   _The_Eye_In_The_Pyramid_,   _The_
                Golden_Apple_ and _Leviathan_, but there's now a one-volume trade 
                paperback carried by most chain bookstores under SF. 
                Campbell, Joseph W., _The_Masks_of_God_ (Viking Books, 1971, pb) 
                    One of the definitiveanalytical surveys of world mythography-- and
                readable to boot! It's in 4 volumes: 
                I. _Primitive_Mythology_ 
                II. _Oriental_Mythology_ 
                III. _Occidental_Mythology_ 
                IV. _Creative_Mythology_ 
                The theoretical framework of these books is a form of pragmatic 
                neo-Jungianism which  has enormously influenced the  neopagans (we can
                accurately  be described as the  practice for which  Campbell and Jung
                were theorizing). Note especially his predictions in vols. I & IV of a
                revival of shamanic, vision-quest-based religious forms. The recent  
                Penguin pb edition  of this book should be available  in the Mythology
                and  Folklore selection of any large bookstore. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Bonewits, Isaac, _Real_Magic_ (Creative Arts Books, 1979, pb) 
                  A fascinating analytical study of the psychodynamics of ritual and  
                magick. This was Bonewits's Ph.D. thesis for the world's only known  
                doctorate in Magic  and Thaumaturgy (UCLA Berkeley,  1971). Hardest of
                the  five  to  find  but  well  worth  the  effort  --  an  enormously
                instructive, trenchant and funny book. 
                V. Will there be more on this topic? 
                      I am  also available to answer  questions by email or  phone. Be
                warned  that I will probably tell  you to go off  and study some more,
                rather than referring you to a group, if you haven't read at least two
                out of the  five above or else good  equivalents like Michael Harner's
                _Way_Of_The_Shaman_   (Castaneda,  UFOlogy   books  and   anything  on
                astrology or the Great Pyramid will *not* count! Grrr...!). 
                      No  fooling, learning to  do this stuff  right is  hard work and
                demands a lot more rigor and clear thinking than most people associate
                with  'occultism'. But it's also fun and empowering and could turn out
                to be one of the couple most important things you do with your life. 
                      If response to this posting  is heavy, I may post some  stuff on
                Wiccan ritual practice and theology, that being what I know best. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "What is Wicca? (Amber K.)" "bos087.htm"}

                                   W H A T   I S   W I C C A ? 
                            An Introduction to "The Old Religion" of Europe 
                                      and its Modern Revival 
                                    by Amber K, High Priestess 
                                      Our Lady of the Woods 
                                           P.O. Box 176 
                                   Blue Mounds, Wisconsin 53517 
                (This leaflet may be reproduced and distributed exactly as-is,  
                without further permission from the author, provided it is  
                offered free of charge.  Changes in the text, however, must be  
                approved in advance by the author.  Thank you!) 
                     WICCA (sometimes called Wicce, The Craft, or The Old  
                Religion by its practitioners) is an ancient religion of love for  
                life and nature.   
                     In prehistoric times, people respected the great forces of  
                Nature and celebrated the cycles of the seasons and the moon.   
                They saw divinity in the sun and moon, in the Earth Herself, and  
                in all life.  The creative energies of the universe were  
                personified: feminine and masculine principles became Goddesses  
                and Gods.  These were not semi-abstract, superhuman figures set  
                apart from Nature: they were embodied in earth and sky, women and  
                men, and even plants and animals.   
                     This viewpoint is still central to present-day Wicca.  To  
                most Wiccans, everything in Natures -- and all Goddesses and Gods  
                -- are true aspects of Deity.  The aspects most often celebrated  
                in the Craft, however, are the Triple Goddess of the Moon (Who is  
                Maiden, Mother, and Crone) and the Horned God of the wilds.   
                These have many names in various cultures.   
                     Wicca had its organized beginnings in Paleolithic times, co- 
                existed with other Pagan ("country") religions in Europe, and had  
                a profound influence on early Christianity.  But in the medieval  
                period, tremendous persecution was directed against the Nature  
                religions by the Roman Church.  Over a span of 300 years,  
                millions of men and women and many children were hanged, drowned  
                or burned as accused "Witches."  The Church indicted them for  
                black magic and Satan worship, though in fact these were never a  
                part of the Old Religion.   
                     The Wiccan faith went underground, to be practiced in small,  
                secret groups called "covens."  For the most part, it stayed  
                hidden until very recent times.  Now scholars such as Margaret  
                Murray and Gerald Gardner have shed some light on the origins of  
                the Craft, and new attitudes of religious freedom have allowed  
                covens in some areas to risk becoming more open.   
                     How do Wiccan folk practice their faith today?  There is no  
                central authority or doctrine, and individual covens vary a great  
                deal.  But most meet to celebrate on nights of the Full Moon, and  
                at eight great festivals or Sabbats throughout the year.   
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                     Though some practice alone or with only their families, many  
                Wiccans are organized into covens of three to thirteen members.   
                Some are led by a High Priestess or Priest, many by a  
                Priestess/Priest team; others rotate or share leadership.  Some  
                covens are highly structured and hierarchical, while others may  
                be informal and egalitarian.  Often extensive training is  
                required before initiation, and coven membership is considered an  
                important commitment.   
                     There are many branches or "traditions" of Wicca in the  
                United States and elsewhere, such as the Gardnerian, Alexandrian,  
                Welsh Traditional, Dianic, Faery, Seax-Wicca and others.  All  
                adhere to a code of ethics.  None engage in the disreputable  
                practices of some modern "cults," such as isolating and  
                brainwashing impressionable, lonely young people.  Genuine  
                Wiccans welcome sisters and brothers, but not disciples,  
                followers or victims.   
                     Coven meetings include ritual, celebration and magick (the  
                "k" is to distinguish it from stage illusions).  Wiccan magick is  
                not at all like the instant "special effects" of cartoon shows or  
                fantasy novels, nor medieval demonology; it operates in harmony  
                with natural laws and is usually less spectacular -- though  
                effective.  Various techniques are used to heal people and  
                animals, seek guidance, or improve members' lives in specific  
                ways.  Positive goals are sought: cursing and "evil spells" are  
                repugnant to practitioners of the Old Religion.   
                     Wiccans tend to be strong supporters of environmental  
                protection, equal rights, global peace and religious freedom, and  
                sometimes magick is used toward such goals.   
                     Wiccan beliefs do not include such Judeao-Christian concepts  
                as original sin, vicarious atonement, divine judgement or bodily  
                resurrection.  Craft folk believe in a beneficent universe, the  
                laws of karma and reincarnation, and divinity inherent in every  
                human being and all of Nature.  Yet laughter and pleasure are  
                part of their spiritual tradition, and they enjoy singing,  
                dancing, feasting, and love.   
                     Wiccans tend to be individualists, and have no central holy  
                book, prophet, or church authority.  They draw inspiration and  
                insight from science, and personal experience.  Each practitioner  
                keeps a personal book or journal in which s/he records magickal  
                "recipes," dreams, invocations, songs, poetry and so on.   
                     To most of the Craft, every religion has its own valuable  
                perspective on the nature of Deity and humanity's relationship to  
                it: there is no One True Faith.  Rather, religious diversity is  
                necessary in a world of diverse societies and individuals.   
                Because of this belief, Wiccan groups do not actively recruit or  
                proselytize: there is an assumption that people who can benefit  
                from the Wiccan way will "find their way home" when the time is  
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                     Despite the lack of evangelist zeal, many covens are quite  
                willing to talk with interested people, and even make efforts to  
                inform their communities about the beliefs and practices of  
                Wicca.  One source of contacts is The Covenant of the Goddess,  
                P.O. Box 1226, Berkeley, CA 94704.  Also, the following books may  
                be of interest:  (Ask your librarian.)  
                   DRAWING DOWN THE MOON by Margot Adler 
                   THE SPIRAL DANCE by Starhawk 
                   POSITIVE MAGIC by Marion Weinstein 
                   WHAT WITCHES DO by Stewart Farrar 
                   WITCHCRAFT FOR TOMORROW by Doreen Valiente 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Re-Thinking The Watchtowers (Mike Nichols)" "bos089.htm"}

                                         RE-THINKING THE WATCHTOWERS 
                                 13 Reasons Air should be in the North 
                                                  by Mike Nichols 
                                      copyright 1989 by Mike Nichols 
                                 (fondly dedicated to Kathy Whitworth) 
                  It all started 20 years ago.  I was 16 years old then, and a 
                 recent initiate to the religion of Wicca.  Like most neophytes, 
                 I was eager to begin work on my Book of Shadows, the traditional 
                 manuscript liturgical book kept by most practicing Witches.  I 
                 copied down rituals, spells, recipes, poems, and tables of 
                 correspondences from every source I could lay hands on.  Those 
                 generally fell into two broad categories: published works, such 
                 as the many books available on Witchcraft and magic; and 
                 unpublished works, mainly other Witches' Books of Shadows. 
                      Twenty years ago, most of us were "traditional" enough to 
                 copy everything by hand.  (Today, photocopying and even computer 
                 modem transfers are becoming de rigueur.)  Always, we were 
                 admonished to copy "every dot and comma", making an exact 
                 transcription of the original, since any variation in the 
                 ceremony might cause major problems for the magician.  Seldom, 
                 if ever, did anyone pause to consider where these rituals came 
                 from in the first place, or who composed them.  Most of us, 
                 alas, did not know and did not care.  It was enough just to 
                 follow the rubrics and do the rituals as prescribed. 
                      But something brought me to an abrupt halt in my copying 
                 frenzy.  I had dutifully copied rituals from different sources, 
                 and suddenly realized they contained conflicting elements.  I 
                 found myself comparing the two versions, wondering which one was 
                 "right", "correct", "authentic", "original", "older", etc.  This 
                 gave rise to the more general questions about where a ritual 
                 came from in the first place.  Who created it?  Was it created 
                 by one person or many?  Was it ever altered in transmission?  If 
                 so, was it by accident or intent?  Do we know?  Is there ever 
                 any way to find out?  How did a particular ritual get into a 
                 Coven's Book of Shadows?  From another, older, Book of Shadows? 
                 Or from a published source?  If so, where did the author of the 
                 published work get it? 
                      I had barely scratched the surface, and yet I could already 
                 see that the questions being raised were very complex.  (Now, 
                 all these years later, I am more convinced than ever of the 
                 daunting complexity of Neo-Pagan liturgical history.  And I am 
                 equally convinced of the great importance of this topic for a 
                 thorough understanding of modern Witchcraft.  It may well be a 
                 mare's nest, but imagine the value it will have to future Craft 
                 historians.  And you are unconditionally guaranteed to see me 
                 fly into a passionate tirade whenever I'm confronted with such 
                 banal over-simplifications as "Crowley is the REAL author of the 
                 Third Degree initiation," or "Everyone KNOWS Gardner INVENTED 
                 modern Witchcraft.") 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                      The first time I noticed conflicting ritual elements was 
                 when I was invited as a guest to attend another Coven's esbat 
                 celebration.  When the time came to "invoke the Watchtowers" (a 
                 ritual salutation to the four directions), I was amazed to learn 
                 that this group associated the element of Earth with the North. 
                 My own Coven equated North with Air.  How odd, I thought. 
                 Where'd they get that?  The High Priestess told me it had been 
                 copied out of a number of published sources.  Further, she said 
                 she had never seen it listed any other way.  I raced home and 
                 began tearing books from my own library shelves.  And sure 
                 enough!  Practically every book I consulted gave the following 
                 associations as standard: North = Earth, East = Air, South = 
                 Fire, West = Water. 
                      Then where the heck did I get the idea that Air belonged in 
                 the North?  After much thought, I remembered having copied my 
                 own elemental/directional associations from another Witch's Book 
                 of Shadows, her Book representing (so she claimed) an old Welsh 
                 tradition.  Perhaps I'd copied it down wrong?  A quick 
                 long-distance phone call put my mind at ease on that score. 
                 (When I asked her where she'd gotten it, she said she THOUGHT it 
                 was from an even older Book of Shadows, but she wasn't certain.) 
                      By now, I felt miffed that my own tradition seemed to be at 
                 variance with most published sources.  Still, my own rituals 
                 didn't seem to be adversely affected.  Nor were those of my 
                 fellow Coven members, all of whom put Air in the North. 
                 Further, over the years I had amassed lots of associations and 
                 correspondences that seemed to REQUIRE Air to be in the North. 
                 The very thought of Air in the East offended both my sense of 
                 reason and my gut-level mythic sensibilities.  There are good 
                 REASONS to place Air in the North.  And the whole mythological 
                 superstructure would collapse if Air were in the East, instead. 
                 If this is so, then why do most published sources place Earth in 
                 the North and Air in the East? 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 RITUAL TAMPERING 
                      Suddenly, I felt sure I knew the reason!  Somewhere along 
                 the line, someone had deliberately tampered with the 
                 information!  Such tampering is a long and venerable practice 
                 within certain branches of magic.  In Western culture, it is 
                 most typically seen among Hermetic, Cabalistic and "ceremonial" 
                 magic lodges.  It is common among such groups that, when 
                 publishing their rituals for public consumption, they will 
                 publish versions that are INCOMPLETE and/or deliberately ALTERED 
                 in some way from the authentic practice.  This prevents someone 
                 who is NOT a member of the group from simply buying a book, and 
                 performing the rituals, without benefit of formal training.  It 
                 is only when you are initiated into the lodge that you will be 
                 given the COMPLETE and/or CORRECTED versions of their rituals. 
                 This is how such groups guard their secrets.  (And it is a 
                 telling postscript that many scholars now believe modern 
                 Witchcraft to have "borrowed" its directional/elemental 
                 correspondences from ceremonial magic sources!  What a laugh if 
                 this was Crowley's last best joke on his friend Gerald Gardner!) 
                      I remember the first time I became aware of such deliberate 
                 ritual tampering.  A friend of mine had been making a study of 
                 the so-called "planetary squares", talismans that look like 
                 magic squares consisting of a grid of numbers in some cryptic 
                 order.  There are seven such squares -- one for each of the 
                 "old" planets.  While making this study, he began coloring the 
                 grids (more for his own pleasure than anything else), making 
                 colorful mini-mosaics, using first two colors, then three, then 
                 four, and on up to the total number of squares in the grid.  Six 
                 of the planetary squares yielded pleasing patterns of color. 
                 Then there was the Sun square!  Against all expectation, the 
                 colors were a random jumble, with no patterns emerging.  Thus, 
                 he began his quest for the CORRECTED Sun square.  And I became 
                 convinced of the reality of ritual tampering. 
                 THE WATCHTOWERS 
                      All that remains, then, is for me to assemble all the 
                 arguments in favor of the Air-in-the-North model, which I have 
                 now come to believe is the CORRECTED system of correspondences. 
                 The remainder of this article will be devoted to those 
                 arguments, each with its own name and number: 
                      1. AIRTS: This is perhaps the strongest argument.  In 
                 Celtic countries, the four elemental/directional associations 
                 are referred to as the "four airts".  And it is a known fact that 
                 this tradition associates Air with North.  While it is true that 
                 some writers, familiar with ceremonial magic (like William Sharp 
                 and Doreen Valiente), have given "tampered" versions of the 
                 airts, it is a telling point that folklorists working directly 
                 with native oral traditions (like Alexander Carmichael and F. 
                 Marian McNeill) invariably report the Air/North connection. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                      2. PARALLEL CULTURES: Although arguing from parallel 
                 cultures may not be as convincing, it is still instructive to 
                 examine other magical aboriginal cultures in the Western 
                 hemisphere.  For example, the vast majority of Native American 
                 tribes (themselves no slouches in the area of magic!) place Air 
                 in the North, which they symbolize by the Eagle.  (Aboriginal 
                 cultures lying south of the equator typically have different 
                 associations, for reasons I will discuss next.) 
                      3. GEOPHYSICAL: If one accepts the insular British origins 
                 of elemental directions, then one must imagine living in the 
                 British Isles.  To the West is the vast expanse of the Atlantic 
                 Ocean (i.e.  water).  To the East, the bulk of the European land 
                 mass (earth).  South has always been the direction of fire 
                 because, as one travels south (toward the equator), it gets 
                 warmer.  Which leaves North as the region of air, home of the 
                 icy winds of winter.  (These last two associations would be 
                 reversed for cultures in the southern hemisphere, for whom north 
                 is the direction of the warm equatorial region, and south is the 
                 land of ice.) 
                      4. HYPERBOREAN: In fact, an ancient name for the British 
                 Isles was "Hyperboria", which literally means "behind the north 
                 wind", thus associating north and wind (air) once more.  The 
                 inhabitants were themselves called "Hyperborians", and the 
                 phrase "at the back of the north wind" (the title of one of 
                 George MacDonald's faery romances) is still current.  Of all the 
                 winds of the compass, it is unquestionably the north wind 
                 (Boreas), bringer of winter, which is perceived as the strongest 
                 and most influential (cf.  Robert Grave's goddess fantasy "Watch 
                 the North Wind Rise").  You don't hear too much about the other 
                 three cardinal winds. 
                      5. SEASONAL: Many occultists associate the four seasons 
                 with the four cardinal points, as well.  Hence, winter = north, 
                 spring = east, summer = south, and autumn = west.  (To be 
                 precise, it is the solstice and equinox points which align with 
                 the cardinal points.)  Again, in most folklore, winter is 
                 associated with air and wind, as the icy blasts that usher in 
                 the season.  In spring, it is the earth which arrests our 
                 attention, with its sudden riot of blooms and greenery.  Again, 
                 south relates to summer, the hottest season (fire), and west 
                 relates to autumn. 
                      6. DIURNAL: Occultists also often associate the cardinal 
                 points of a single day to the four compass points.  Thus, 
                 midnight = north, sunrise = east, noon = south, and sunset = 
                 west.  (Please note that we are talking about TRUE midnight and 
                 TRUE noon here, the points halfway between sunset and sunrise, 
                 and between sunrise and sunset, respectively.)  These associate 
                 nicely with the seasonal attributes just discussed.  It is easy 
                 to see why sunrise should equate to east, and sunset to west. 
                 And, once again, from the perspective of the British Isles, the 
                 sun rises over land (earth) and sets over the ocean (water). 
                 South is related to noon because it is the moment of greatest 
                 heat (fire).  Leaving the "invisible" element of air to be 
                 associated with the sun's invisibility, at midnight. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                    7. MYTHOLOGICAL: In Celtic mythology, north is invariably 
                 associated with air.  The pre-Christian Irish gods and 
                 goddesses, the Tuatha De Danann, were "airy" faeries (later 
                 versions came equipped with wings, relating them to sylphs).  The 
                 Book of Conquests states their original home was in the north, 
                 "at the back of the north wind".  And when they came to Ireland, 
                 they came in ships, THROUGH THE UPPER AIR (!), settling on the 
                 mountain tops.  (It has always struck me as odd that some modern 
                 writers see mountains as a symbol of earth.  The crucial 
                 symbolism of the mountain is its height, rising into the air, 
                 touching the sky.  Virtually all Eastern traditions associate 
                 mountains, favorite abodes of gurus, with air.  A CAVE would be 
                 a better symbol of earth than a mountain.)  In Welsh mythology, 
                 too, Math the Ancient, chief god of Gwynedd (or NORTH Wales), is 
                 specifically associated with wind, which can carry people's 
                 thoughts to him. 
                      8. YIN/YANG: Many occultists believe that the four elements 
                 have yin/yang connections.  Both air and fire are seen as 
                 masculine, while earth and water are seen as feminine.  If air 
                 is associated with the north point of the magic circle, and 
                 earth is east, then one achieves a yin/yang alternation as one 
                 circumambulates the circle.  As one passes the cardinal points 
                 of east, south, west, and north, one passes feminine, masculine, 
                 feminine, masculine energies.  This alternating flux of 
                 plus/minus, push/pull, masculine/feminine, is the very pulse of 
                 the universe, considered of great importance by most occultists. 
                 That it was equally important to our ancestors is evidenced by 
                 standing stones in the British Isles.  At sites like the Kennet 
                 Avenue of Braga, the tall, slender, masculine, phallic stones 
                 alternate precisely with the shorter, diamond-shaped yoni 
                      9. GENERATOR: This argument flows out of the previous one. 
                 Practicing magicians often think of the magic circle as a kind 
                 of psychic generator.  Witches in particular like to perform 
                 circle dances to "raise the cone of power".  Hand in hand, and 
                 alternating man and woman, they dance clockwise (deosil) around 
                 the circle, moving faster and faster until the power is 
                 released.  This model has an uncanny resemblance to an 
                 electrical generator, as man and woman alternately pass each of 
                 the four "poles" of the magic circle.  These poles themselves 
                 MUST alternate between plus and minus if power is to be raised. 
                 This means that if the masculine fire is in the south, then the 
                 masculine air MUST be in the north.  If the feminine water is in 
                 the west, then the feminine earth MUST be in the east.  If any 
                 adjacent pair were switched, the generator would stop dead. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                      10. MASCULINE/FEMININE AXIS: When you look at a typical 
                 map, north (the cardinal direction) is at the top.  Any 
                 north-south road is a vertical line, and any east-west road is a 
                 horizontal line.  Likewise, a "map" of a magic circle makes the 
                 vertical north-south axis masculine (with air and fire), while 
                 the horizontal east-west axis is feminine (earth and water). 
                 This makes logical sense.  When we look at the horizon of the 
                 earth, we see a horizontal line.  Water also seeks a horizontal 
                 plane.  Feminine elements, considered "passive", have a natural 
                 tendency to "lay down".  Fire, on the other hand, always assumes 
                 an erect or vertical position.  Air, too, can rise upward, as 
                 earth and water cannot.  Masculine elements, being "active", 
                 have a natural tendency to "stand up". 
                      11. ALTAR TOOLS: In modern Witchcraft, there are four 
                 principal altar tools, the same four tools shown on the Tarot 
                 card, the Magician.  They also correspond to the four Tarot 
                 suits, the four ancient treasures of Ireland, and the four 
                 "hallows" of Arthurian legend.  And, like the four elements, two 
                 of them are feminine and two of them are masculine.  The 
                 pentacle is a shallow dish inscribed with a pentagram, 
                 representing earth, and is here placed in the east.  The 
                 womb-shaped chalice, symbolizing water, is placed in the west. 
                 They form the horizontal feminine axis.  The phallic-shaped 
                 wand, representing fire, is placed in the south.  And the 
                 equally phallic-shaped athame is placed in the north.  They form 
                 the vertical masculine axis.  (The gender associations of cup 
                 and blade are especially emphasized in the ritual blessing of 
                      12. AXIS SYMBOLISM: In nearly every culture, the vertical 
                 line is a symbol of yang, or masculine energy.  The horizontal 
                 line is yin, feminine energy.  When the vertical masculine line 
                 penetrates the horizontal feminine line, forming the ancient 
                 Pagan symbol of the equal-armed cross, it becomes a symbol of 
                 life, and life-force.  Place a circle around it or on it, and 
                 you have a circle-cross or "Celtic" cross, symbol of everlasting 
                 life.  (Please note the importance of the EQUAL-armed cross.  If 
                 one arm is longer or shorter, then the four elements are out of 
                 balance.  The Christian or "Roman" cross, for example, has an 
                 extended southern arm.  And many historians have commented on 
                 Christianity's excess of "fire" or zeal.  Some versions actually 
                 show a shortened northern arm, indicating a dearth of "air" or 
                 intellectual qualities.) 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                      13. ASTROLOGICAL: The astrological year is divided into 
                 four equal quadrants, each beginning at a solstice or equinox. 
                 And each quadrant is governed by one of the four elements. 
                 Which element can be discovered by examining the exact MID-POINT 
                 of the quadrant.  For example, the first quadrant, beginning at 
                 the winter solstice (north) is governed by air, which rules 15 
                 degrees Aquarius, symbolized by the Man or Spirit.  The second 
                 quadrant, beginning at the spring equinox (east) is governed by 
                 earth, which rules 15 degrees Taurus, the Bull.  The third 
                 quadrant, beginning at the summer solstice (south) is governed 
                 by fire, which rules 15 degrees Leo, the Lion.  And the fourth 
                 quadrant, beginning at the fall equinox (west) is governed by 
                 water, which rules 15 degrees Scorpio, here symbolized by the 
                 Eagle.  Thus, north, east, south and west correspond to air, 
                 earth, fire, and water, and to man, bull, lion, and eagle, 
                 respectively.  If the last four symbols seem familiar, it is 
                 because they represent the four elemental power points of the 
                 astrological year, and their symbols appear in the four corners 
                 of the Tarot cards, the World and the Wheel of Fortune.  (The 
                 same figures were later adopted by Christians as symbols of the 
                 four gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.) 
                       If those are the arguments in favor of Air-in-the-North, 
                 where are the counter-arguments in favor of Earth-in-the-North? 
                 Surprisingly, I've heard very few.  The most common by far is 
                 "But we've always done it this way." Not too convincing. 
                 However, no matter HOW persuasive my arguments may be, many have 
                 countered that magic doesn't lend itself to rational arguments. 
                 It's what FEELS right that counts.  True.  And there's no 
                 denying that many practitioners do just fine with earth in the 
                 north.  Granted.  Still, if they've never tried it the other 
                 way, how would they really know? 
                      My challenge to my fellow practitioners then is this: give 
                 Air-in-the-North a shot.  Just try it on for size.  See what it 
                 feels like.  And not for just a single ritual.  It'll take 
                 several tries just to overcome your habitual ritual mindset. 
                 And nothing is as habitual as ritual!  So in order to give this 
                 a fair shake, you'll have to do a whole series of rituals with 
                 air in the north.  And go into it with an open mind.  Like all 
                 magic, if you decide ahead of time it won't work, it won't. 
                 Then, once you've tried it, compare it to your old method.  Ask 
                 yourself what's different, if it worked any better, and why or 
                 why not.  And let me know.  I'd enjoy hearing about your 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "First Degree, What is it?" "bos090.htm"}

                                     What is a First Degree? 
                Many  persons feel that the first degree initiation is  something  
                that  a person receives simply because this group or that  wishes  
                to accept a person into their circle (Gardenarian, Alexandrian,  
                In the my tradition, as a first degree, you ARE a priest/ess, and  
                as  such  you carry responsibilities.  In  some  traditions,  the  
                knowledge  you have gained during your first degree studies  will  
                qualify you for a third degree in that tradition.  But let's look  
                at it a minute. 
                As I have stated, as a first degree, you ARE a priest/ess.   What  
                does this mean?  In other faiths, you must go to seminary or  its  
                equivalent for a period of at least 5 years to obtain this  goal.  
                When  you  leave  there, you are knowledgeable in  not  only  the  
                beliefs  of  your  faith,  but  also  it's  history,  sects,  and  
                doctrines.  You have been trained to be a counselor, helper,  and  
                friend  to your parishioners.  You have had training  in  dealing  
                with  problems  within  your church,  your  community,  and  "the  
                enemy".  Basically, you have been given the trust of your  church  
                to be knowledgeable, loving, caring, and trustworthy.   
                Should a Priest/ess in the craft be expected to be any less?   As  
                an Isian, the answer is a resounding NO!   
                During  your first degree studies, you are the equivalent  of  an  
                Associate  Pastor/Minister/Whatever.  You are now in training  to  
                eventually  have your own coven, or if you wish to  be  solitary,  
                you  are  in training to be able to defend your religion  to  the  
                outside world if the need arises. 
                What are the responsibilities of a First Degree in my tradition? 
                As always, in the this tradition, you are required to  constantly  
                be learning and growing.  This does not mean that you have to  be  
                constantly be learning about the craft, but about yourself,  your  
                community, Mother Earth, etc.  This responsibility does not cease  
                even   when   you  receive  your  third  degree.    This   is   a  
                responsibility to yourself. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                Some of your responsibilities to the coven are listed below: 
                1.) To grow within the craft.  
                2.)  Observe  and  participate in all circle  functions  of  your  
                degree or lower. 
                3.)  To  assist in preparation for all circle functions  of  your  
                degree or lower. 
                4.)  To assist any student of a lessor grade in  his/her  studies  
                when asked by this student for assistance. 
                5.)  To contribute at least one research paper of 10 pages (5  if  
                single spaced) or more on the craft subject of your choice. 
                6.) Contribute in some manner to each sabbat or public  gathering  
                either  by  time, monies for supplies, or bringing  something  to  
                share  either during or after event.  Time could be  by  arriving  
                early to help set up, staying a little later and helping to clean  
                up  after, preparing and sharing a workshop (if open workshop  is  
                scheduled),  making  phone calls to remind people of  the  event,  
                7.)  Contribute  to ideas for coven gatherings and  help  arrange  
                same. (Remember, all things do not happen at Covenstead!)  
                8.)  Be aware of any conflicts within Circle, and bring  this  to  
                the  attention of the HP/HPS (even if that's where  the  conflict  
                9.)  Be  prepared  to accept the responsibility of  a  circle  or  
                ritual should something happen to your HP/S. 
                To  some  people, this may seem like a lot of  expectations,  but  
                keep  in mind.  We are not are not training  "week-end  witches."  
                You are in training to be a Priest/ess of Wicca.   
                Your  first degree is something to be proud of.  You have  worked  
                hard  and long to receive it, and your HP/S has found you  worthy  
                of same.   
                May the Lord and Lady smile on your efforts. 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Church of All Worlds" "bos091.htm"}

                                        CHURCH OF ALL WORLDS 
                                             BOX 1542 
                                           Ukiah, CA  95482 
                    Duplicate Membership Application (as presented in GREEN EGG Oimlec
                1989) Distributed Electronically to  the Pagan Community by  the Pagan
                Information Network in the general interest of all. 
                    In dedication tothe celebration of life in itsmany forms, I hereby
                declare my  commitment to a way  of life that is  ethical, benevolent,
                humanistic,  life-affirming,  ecstatic  and   ecologically  sane.    I
                subscribe  to   means  and  methods  that  are  creative  rather  than
                destructive, tolerant rather  than authoritarian,  gentle rather  than
                violent,  inclusive  rather  than  exclusive.    I  pledge  myself  to
                harmonious  eco-psychic awareness  with  the total  biosphere of  holy
                Mother Earth. 
                Like a redwood  tree, I would have  my roots deep in the  Earth and my
                branches reaching for the stars. 
                I acknowledge  my personal  responsibility for  myself,  to my  fellow
                humans,  and  to the  whole  of  Nature; and  I  recognize  this total
                responsibility,  in each of us, as  the source of our infinite freedom
                to become who we are and do what we will.  I dedicate myself to my own
                inner  growth and  development that  I may  be  of greater  service to
                myself  and  the  world around  me.    For these  reasons  I recognize
                Divinity both  within and without,  and I say  to myself and  others :
                THOU ART GODDESS; THOU ART GOD. 
                I wish  to unite with  others upon a  spiritual path that  encompasses
                both the  Heaven's and  the Earth,  and all  the  worlds between,  and
                hereby make  application to join the  membership of the Church  of All
                Worlds, in order that we may  learn together and teach each other ways
                to bring about these ends. 
                I  understand that this association  does not require  the severing of
                any other religious ties. 
                D   a   t   e   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _
                I enclose $_______ as a contribution to  help carry on the work of the
                (Annual membership dues are  $25 for individuals, $20 each  for family
                members  at one  address.) (The Church  of All  Worlds is  a state and
                federally tax-exempt 501(c)(3) religious organization.   All donations
                are tax-deductible.) 
                Reviewed        and       approved        by______________________this
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "What is Shamanism? (Michelle Haas)" "bos092.htm"}

                                          What is Shamanism? 
                             Michelle Klein-Hass/SysOp, Shaman's Soup BBS 
                Pardon me for asking, but what is Shamanism?  That's one area of "the 
                occult" that I don't remember hearing about. 
                OK, I guess I'm the resident shamanism maven here, so I'll try to 
                define it.  Shamanism is the name (from the Tungus Shaman, meaning 
                miracle-worker) for any tradition of ecstatic worship of the Earth, 
                and the forces that reside and pervade Her.  Most traditions of 
                shamanism worship two deities, the God and the Goddess.  In the 
                European shamanic tradition, also known as Wicca, the God and Goddess 
                are most commonly known as The Lord and The Lady, or Great Mother and 
                the Lord of the Hunt. In the Yoruban tradition, they are known as Ogun
                and Yemaja. In the shamanic tradition of the Chiricahua Teneh 
                (Apache), they are known as Earth Mother and Sky Father, and also as 
                White Painted Woman and Killer of Enemies.  In other traditions, there
                are more deities worshipped, and in most of those named, there are 
                other lesser deities.  Some forms of shamanic tradition can be 
                classified as true polytheism, some, like the tradition of the 
                Australian Dreamtime, are truly pantheistic (the God-force is in all, 
                and all exists in the God-force, or as they put it, the Dreamtime) and
                at least in the tradition of the Yoruba (Nigerian African) and in most
                Native American traditions, these Gods and Goddesses are seen as 
                emanations from a Great Spirit.  In the Teneh tongue, this spirit is 
                known as Usen', Who is neither Male nor Female but encompasses both. 
                Joe Wilson describes the difference between the path of the Shaman and
                the path of the Priest this way: the Priest is the custodian of 
                tradition and rite, the Shaman is the one who journeys within and 
                experiences the God(esse)s directly. The path of the shaman is the 
                path of healing, direct involvement with ones Gods/Goddesses, and the 
                path of acquiring Power for The Good.  Modern Shamanism in America is 
                usually of two currents: Wiccan and Native.  
                     Wicca  is a reconstructed  system, which is  probably similar but
                not  identical  to the  pre-Christian  religion  of  the  Keltoi  (the
                Britons, the  Gallics, the Irish and Scottish Gael, the Picts, and the
                Cymri(Welsh)  It  used to  claim quite an  impressive history, but  is
                reliably  traceable  to people  like  Gerald Gardner,  who  designed a
                system of Wiccan practice from various sources, including, supposedly,
                a wealthy woman whose family had practiced witchcraft for generations.
                He obviously had a good grasp of some of the  Anthropological works on
                the subject, but liberally borrowed as well from Crowley, Freemasonry,
                and  *fin de  Siecle* occultism  like the  Order of  the Golden  Dawn.
                Artificial or authentic, it seems to still work.  
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                     Native shamanism works with either  traditions of a native people
                like the Native Americans  or the Yoruba tribe (present  in Santeria),
                or is a distillation of many practices, as is the  shamanism taught by
                Dr. Michael  Harner and  by Joseph  Wilson of Toteg  Tribe.   The true
                native traditions are dying  out quickly, and most native  Shamans are
                unwilling to transmit their  knowledge.  In some cases,  the knowledge
                has died out, and those descendants who remain and wish to embrace the
                Old Ways must  re-invent their  tradition.  My  teacher, Misha  Sacred
                Wolf  of  the  Naiche-Tosawi  band  of  the  Chiricahua,  is  in  that
                unenviable  position.  The Apache still exist, and they celebrate some
                of the old festivals for the benefit of tourists.  But much of the Old
                Knowledge died with the coming of the  white man, the reservation, and
                the  missionaries  that  considered  the  reservation  their  rightful
                "mission field". 
                     While it is true that many Native peoples are indignant about any
                non-Native  involvement in shamanism, and the new age movement is full
                to  the brim with  hucksters and shysters  who if you  give them money
                will teach you "how to become a Shaman", there are two non-Natives who
                seem to respect the Ways, and have attempted to present  the teachings
                of  Native shamanism  in a  respectful, reverential way.   One  is Dr.
                Michael Harner,  author of  "The Way of  the Shaman" (Bantam)  and his
                "core  shamanism"  system.   His approach  is  sometimes a  little too
                eclectic, with a  glaring lack  of the  ritual and  mythos that  makes
                shamanism so  powerful.  He  has reduced the shamanic  experience to a
                few major elements: The Lowerworld Journey, where the  shamanist comes
                face-to-  face with their "Power Animal", which is a representative of
                the person's basic  animal energy; The  Upperworld Journey, where  the
                person  journeys  to   contact  their  "Teacher  Within",   who  is  a
                representation of  the person's Higher Self;  the Middleworld Journey,
                where ordinary reality is seen through non-ordinary eyes; and  various
                techniques of healing, primarily the Jivaro "sucking doctor"technique.
                A  non-ordinary state  of  consciousness is  reached through  rhythmic
                drumming,  singing,  and visualization.    Despite  the very  clinical
                "self-help" aspect of Harner's work, it is very valuable.  If you live
                in the Los Angeles area,  you are quite fortunate in that  perhaps the
                most exciting work in  the eclectic shamanic  way is going on  through
                Toteg  Tribe, a  shamanic society  founded and  facilitated by  Joseph
                Wilson. Joseph  was a  participant in the  Neo-Pagan (Wiccan-shamanic)
                movement for  more than 25  years, and  is now trying  to forge  a new
                shamanic way  for ALL  people of the  Americas.  He  has built  on the
                techniques of Harner with insight from both traditional Native peoples
                of  this  land that  he  has studied  with  and entirely  new  ways of
                expression  that he and others  that work with  him have spontaneously
                come up with.  He  does not claim to teach traditional  shamanic ways,
                but his  work is quite valuable  and instead of looking  behind to the
                old days  of Tribal America,  is aimed  towards the  21st century  and
                beyond.  Again, I study with  a woman who is of the Chiricahua  Apache
                tradition,  but I  also find  Wilson's work  to  be exciting  and very
                important.   I hope this  cleared up a  few things...there's a  lot of
                good info in the file areas about shamanic practice. 
                Hi Dicho--this is finished (sigh of relief) 
                Enju! B*B Michelle Klein-Hass (Chihacou White Puma) 
                               Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

      {file "Etymology of "Wicca"" "bos093.htm"}

                Here is the complete  expansion of the Indo-European root of  the word
                revised  & edited  by Calvert Watkins  (Houghton Mifflin  Co.: Boston,
                1985; ISBN 0-395-36070-6): 
                WEIK- [1].  Clan (social unit above the household).   1. Suffixed form
                *WEIK- SLA  in  Latin  VILLA,  country house,  farm:  VILLA,  VILLAGE,
                VILLAIN,  VILLANELLE, (VILLEIN);  (BIDONVILLE).   2.  Suffixed o-grade
                form  *WOIK-O in:  a.  Latin VICUS,  quarter  or district  of  a town,
                neighborhood:  (VICINAGE), VICINITY;  b. Greek  OIKOS, house,  and its
                derivativ   e  OIKIA,   dwelling:  ANDROECIUM,   AUTOECIOUS,  DIOCESE,
                HETEROECIOUS, MONOECIOUS,  PARISH, TRIOUECIOUS.    3. Zero-grade  from
                *WIK-  in  Sanskrit VIS-  dwelling,  house,  with derivative  VAISYAH,
                settler: VAISYA. 
                WEIK- [2].   In words connectid  with magic and religious  notions (in
                Germanic and Latin).  1. Germanic suffixed form *WIH-L- in Old English
                WIGLE,  divination, sorcery, akin to the Germanic source of Old French
                GUILE,  cunning trickery: GUILE.   2. Germanic  expressive form *WIKK-
                in:  a. Old  English WICCA,  wizard, and  WICCE, witch: WITCH;  b. Old
                English  WICCIAN,  to cast  a spell:  BEWITCH.   3.  Po