Sunday, December 8, 2013

The First Tears

As an old witch stands in the silence of the woods, apart from the din of humanity, a gentle rain begins to fall.
The thought that comes to mind is that this gentle rain is tears falling from the heavens.
Tears which fell from those who went before us and which were swept up to the skies, ancient tears which are falling back to the earth as a symbol of both sorrow and joy.
For life without death is an empty illusion. Joy without sorrow is a partial lesson.
And so I begin to wonder about who shed the first tears and why.
Were they tears of fear as the unknown swirled about just beyond the edge of darkness?
Were they tears of joy as the morning sun rose and cast about its warming rays, bringing forth another day of life?
Were they tears of anguish at the loss of a loved one?
Were they tears of triumph brought on by overcoming a seemingly insurmountable obstacle?
Were they tears of anger brought on by the misconceptions of humankind?
And who was it that shed these first tears?
Were they a man or a woman?
Did they realize the profound significance of such a seemingly simple act?
And so with a deep sigh, this old witch also shed a few tears while standing in the gentle autumn rain. My hope is that these tears will also be swept up to the heavens.
And that one day they will fall to earth when humankind has matured beyond its violent tendencies and has learned to embrace compassion for others.
That they will fall when humankind has re-embraced the village concept, thus moving beyond the self-absorption that stymies the growth of spirit.
That they will fall on a quiet autumn morning, lost in the silence of the woods…

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hey folks: Its been a long time since I have written anything here. That will change in the near future, stay tuned...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Where is the Neo Pagan community?

Where is the Neo Pagan community?

I have been watching Neo Paganism since about 1960. And the one thing that neo pagans love to talk about is community. My question; is where is this much vaulted community amongst neo pagans? If one cuts through the hype and takes an honest pragmatic view, there are some serious concerns to be raised. It is well known that a flamboyant gentleman, who in all probability had ulterior motives in relation to his taste in women, started his brand of neo paganism back in the early to mid 1950’s. He took a few facts and mixed it with a whole lot of fantasy which he altered at will. He started off by denying the existence of true pagans around the world in his quest to reinvent the pagan wheel. After his last attempt to alter his own written tenets in regards to his brand of neo paganism in an attempt to install a younger woman as his High Priestess, his movement fell apart. In the early 1960’s, remnants of his former gathering re-ignited the neo pagan movement in such a way as to create an elitist class of neo pagans. One of their tenets was that all of their members were witches but not all witches were one of their members. This of course is a oxymoron since true witchcraft is based upon individuality and the freedom to experiment with the forces in life to see what works for the individual. And since the group seeking elitism amongst their peers was essentially of European descent and primarily of Christian backgrounds, their tenets were and are based in large part on their Christian upbringing. This is to say that such a group cloaked themselves into a set dogma with little room for growth. And thus to claim to be witches and yet adhere to a dogma based upon Christian tenets is like the old adage of having your cake and eating it too. This would hardly seem to be a way to contribute to community, neo pagan or otherwise. But as the years have gone on even these elitist attempts have fallen by the wayside. Today, anyone can purchase a 101 book put out by this group and then proclaim they to be a member. But again where does this contribute to a viable community? As Neo Paganism stumbles forward one sees various groups spring up here and there who proclaim themselves to be the Gods gift to neo paganism. Very seldom will these self proclaimed groups reach out in support of other such groups in their area. For each such group is not interested in true community amongst neo pagans. They prefer instead to adulate themselves and to seek out their personal agendas which cater to their individual egos rather than to the general benefit of the community at large. And in usually in a short period of time such groups devolve to a few active individuals doing all of the work and then they fall by the wayside due to burn out. And then they will point a finger at the nebulous community and cry foul for lack of support, little realizing that it was their own narrow agendas that contributed to their demise. Across the neo pagan landscape there are a multitude of such ghost towns if you will. For in neo paganism unlike in true pagan communities around the world there is no direction or consensus of what neo paganism is about. And of course let’s not overlook the many commercial affairs that have sprung up courtesy of the neo pagan concept. These commercial enterprises will cloak themselves in neo pagan banners and then charge a week’s wages for someone to vend at their affair or a day’s pay for folks to come out and spend yet more money while visiting their business. Is this what neo paganism community is about? In true pagan communities around the world, folks gather simply for the concept of community. They gather to share ideas and camaraderie with like minded folks. Not to make a buck like some snake oil salesman.
In true pagan communities, when an elder/teacher takes on a student, it is not to make money off of that student, but to enrich that student’s life and to pass on the heritage and traditions of that particular pagan belief. Why does everything have to have a price tag in the neo pagan community? Do neo pagans want to continue to emulate the Abraham practices of enriching oneself through its members or do they sincerely want to learn the mystical lore of life? And yet neo pagans continue to talk about community. This is a good thing within itself, except that the majority of such talk is over the Internet. Take five hundred of these folks away from their computers and take them on a walk in the woods and then ask them to point out ten medicinal plants. You may get two or three who are capable of such a simple task. Is this the standard of community that depicts neo paganism? And why take a time honored standard of belief and knowledge that began with the very first humans and then essentially deny its continuance in favor of a movement that was begun on questionable tenets. Why even have the word “neo”. Does such arrogance contribute to a sense of true community? And so today, the neo pagan community is essentially an empty concept that folks toss about on the internet. Is this really what neo pagans want to be a part of? At what point do the apathetic hanger-on’s go back to their Abraham religions where they are told when to sit, when to stand, when to put money in the collection plate and leave paganism, less the neo, to folks who are truly interested in learning the mystical arts? And to folks who are truly interested in breaking free of the bondage of dogma and thus find the strength and freedom to grow spiritually? In short, when do neo pagans stand up and be counted as real pagans who are interested in and involved in a true and viable pagan community?
Do you have what it takes? Can you step away from your computer and step outside and engage Mother Nature? Can you reach out and support those of a truly like mind and join them at the park or in the woods or atop a mountain free of charge? In short are you ready to create a true “pagan” community?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ode to Brighid

Ode to Brighid

Like the sound of a butterfly's wings she descends upon the snow covered forest. A nebulous presence filled with the essence of a wildflower rising in the early morning sun. Birds begin to sing as they greet her radiant arrival. Her skin glistens like the surface of an ice laden pond whose surface is gently caressed by the rays of the midnight moon.
The violent winter winds become mere wisps of cool breath as she passes by. A lone hawk, circling above high in the sky, gives a thunderous shriek. The gleam emitting from his yellow eyes, reveals an expression of heartfelt joy. For far below, it is Brighid who meanders amongst the silent panorama of this sacred forest.
Herds of deer gather in her wake to absorb the crescendos of heat emitting from her beating heart.
It is the time for our Sacred Mother, Brighid to stroll forth out of the heavenly mists. As she steps out of the dark shroud of the mysteries she casts about the rays of brilliant light that herald the coming of Spring.
For it is Brighid, she who represents the sacred torch, that brings life to bear in a world beset with darkness.
Dark hooded crows line her route as if they were wary sentinels. They are creatures of the netherworld who accompany their queen on her journey through this realm. And such are masters of magick, who bow low before their beloved Goddess.
For they know that it is our mother Brighid, who is the epitome of such ancient wisdom.
Suddenly, in the cold winter morn, the tap, tap, tap of tiny hammers can be heard echoing across the land. Deep within the earth beneath her feet, the woodland dwarfs are hard at work. They are anxiously laboring to create a splendid gift for their beloved matron. Such magnificent artisans give honor to Brighid by way of their superb craftsmanship. For it is the radiant Brighid, who it is that represents the aspect of Blacksmithing and her children who live in the depths of the earth know this well. And so they clamor about with a song in their souls, seeking to create the perfect gift for she who inspires them so.
As she walks along, a gaggle of geese fly by overhead heralding her presence to all far and near. And then from a strand of oaks steps out a gray bearded Druid who begins to recite long forgotten odes.
His words are like living sounds dancing about in the crisp morning chill. For behold, it can be none other then Taliesin himself, he who is the Arch Druid of old. As he serenades his queen, the brown sheathed reeds off to the side of the path begin to sway to and fro.
His eloquent words describe a world of Gods and magick engaged in tremendous battle. His is a sad tale of life and death which for a brief moment, brings a tear to the lovely Brighid's eye.
As she listens to the words of the bard, she relives the passing of her own son, Ruadan. It was from the death of her son which came the first keening, Brighid's own lament, and that was heard across the land.
As Taliesin continues to weave his tale, he recounts the heroic events and the rebirth of life which followed such an epic saga. And Brighid once again begins to smile.
For health and the birth of life are also aspects of our Sacred Mother.
About then a huge horned owl goes gliding by his w ings spread wide in all their glory as he gently lands on Brighid's shoulder.
She stops and after a short pause she begins to speak to the owl.
Go forth my winged friend she says and carry my words to all who would listen.
And these are the words she spoke aloud.
Hope is a seed often borne out of despair. For without the dark there can be no light, for each keeps the other in balance.
From the throes of death come the stirrings of life. And such balance is the essence of true magick.
Know that as the Wheel of Knowledge turns, so shall the Great Mysteries of life reveal themselves to those who seek such ancient wisdom.
And with that the great horned owl took to the skies to spread the word far and wide.
And with that the mists began to rise all about Brighid as she raised her arm and gave her blessings to the world about. An instant later she was gone and a lone sparrow stood singing where she was just a moment before...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Great Escape

With the advent of the Roman New Years, certain thoughts have gathered in my mind. Why is it that we as a species constantly seek to alter our state of consciousness? Every single day there are literally billions of folks, who engage in activities which is intended to alter the sense of reality that we are introduced into from birth. What is it that we are trying to escape from? Can it be the behavior that we as humans have introduced into this world, a behavior that we accept as natural? Or is the mystery of life to become cognizant of such activities and to find a higher sense of truth?
We as a species engage in this activity of escape through a wide variety of ways. This may be through alcohol in its many forms and proofs. Or perhaps through the use of a wide variety of drugs which are ingested in every way imaginable. It is interesting to note that though all drugs have the same intended result to some degree, though we as a species have become divided as to which drugs are acceptable into which segment of our many societies. Or through many other forms of consciousness altering such as those associated with spiritual endeavors such as vision quests and Chautauqua's or sexual eroticism with its many avenues of so called "sexual freedom". And so on and so forth. As pagans we proclaim our purpose in this life as seeking out the mysteries of life and yet we have literally hundreds if not thousands of ways to escape the very reality that we claim to seek an
understanding of.
By engaging in such activities; are we not as a species subjugating our very purpose for being in this realm? Is this behavior a means of escaping from our spiritual responsibilities in regards to those lessons that deity, as we individually relate to such a concept, has placed before us?
In short are we simply copping out as a species? And as pagans of many and divergent paths, do we not have an obligation to seek an understanding of such personal behavior?
Are we simply a facsimile of the three Abraham religions, which espouse love and peace on one hand and yet engage in every type of escape known to humankind on the other hand?
As pagans, do we truly seek a greater understanding of self and thus of our spiritual growth? Does our proclamation that we are Pagan translate into tangible actions in regards to our responsibility to self and to those around us?
Or do we simply join in the stampede to find a form of escape from this reality with its panorama of harsh and difficult lessons? And what about those activities that we engage in using mind altering substances that are intended to enable us to connect with spiritual endeavors?
Are such activities actually inclined towards such worthy goals or is it just another means of legitimizing the great escape from our current state of reality? A reality that may well be constructed for this particular realm only. This of course assumes that one believes in reincarnation and thus the possibility that we are re-injected into the human awareness or perhaps a sense of reality that we are totally unaware of from our current state of understanding. If they are constructive means of reaching a spiritual plateau, then what about the billions of folks around the world who employ mind altering techniques simply as an avenue of escape? Are they showing irresponsible insolence to a sacred means of connecting to deity? Why do you suppose that our world is in such a flux?
And more importantly what is our individual responsibility towards such an impasse of misguided actions? Is our responsibility, if any, confined to becoming beacons of personal behavior for others by instilling a greater knowledge of spiritual self within ourselves? Does it involve becoming actively engaged in the pagan community, provided that such a community extols the virtues of learning our life lessons and utilizing the wisdom that comes from such hard earned lessons?
If you are of the mind that mind altering substances are relevant to attaining certain spiritual plateaus, what are your personal responsibilities to yourself and to others that you may be teaching?, Especially in the cases where certain substances may be deemed illegal in your particular swath of society?
Of course your understandings of this subject may well be in the minority when compared to the current mindset of our species: that engaging in the Great Escape is both fashionable and acceptable on a grand consciousness of behavior. If this brief observation is acceptable, then what does this say of the spiritual direction of humankind?
Are Pagans as an alternative society, intended to make a difference in such a casual mindset? Or is paganism better served as a life boat to those who seek a greater understanding of self and life than that which is currently offered by the myriad religions that abound around our planet? Can pagans, who in many cases, came from a former religion and/or spiritual path, find the inner strength to expand their learning curve of life? If the Great Escape turns out to be legitimate tools of the spiritual trade, can pagans bring such an understanding back into perspective?
Or are pagans relegated to failing the self incurred goal of seeking out the rigid and/or flowing lessons of life which may well hold the key to opening the spiritual door for each of us?
Are pagans simply seeking to enjoin the Great Escape by way of indulging the many substances available to humans, just under a different societal label? Our world as it stands today and yes extending back to our roots, leaves a great deal of room for improvement on the spiritual level and as a society as a whole. And yet each of us owns a piece of the responsibility for our existence.
And at the end of the day we each must determine our contribution to that responsibility. Ok, folks, it's time for the old man to get his first cup of java. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts and comments in a common respect manner. After all, we are pagans!!!

Oh and have a Happy Roman New Year!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yuletide Thoughts, Life and Death

Many a silvery moon has risen over the years as this old witch contemplates the lessons, which pertain to one’s spiritual endeavors. As the face of our sacred mother, casts her ancient glow over those who wisely embrace her. The mysteries of life silently unfold. As I stand before her loving gaze, thoughts of spiritual quests rise within my mind. Knowledge gained is but a threshold for answers yet to be met.
And so as a witch I find myself walking the edges of life like the thin blades of grass wavering back and forth in a quiet and forgotten glen. For one whom embraces the old ways, a way of life that has survived the hand of man, there will always are more questions than answers. Witchcraft is not the creation of humankind, but rather the mystical tools awaiting those who seek them out.
Magic is the energy that fuels the perception that one draws from their experiences in this realm. But how does one define the parameters of magic in a way that serves as a path of understanding and more importantly as a catalyst of desire to seek out those questions that heighten ones awareness of self and of one’s place along the road of spirituality?
This is a personal question with as many answers as there are pagans who seek to examine such goals within themselves. For me personally, such musings often wander to the ancient questions of life and death. As a witch I see the two events as forming an intertwining polarity of awareness and mystery, each concept and indeed reality, dependent upon the other. And indeed, as mysteries of life tend to be, any answer offered over the centuries are simply musings based upon the experiences of but one half of this spiritual conundrum.
As the migration of human beings travel through the tendrils of life, many are the religions, which have sprung up along the way, which claim to have the answers to such a profound mystery. But are they simply casting their eyes towards a limited source of light while the darkness that they fear stands at the ready just beyond their willingness to face such eternal unknowns? The fear of such darkness is based not upon any perceptible knowledge of that which awaits each of us regardless of personal belief, but rather upon a primordial lapse in the consciousness of our spirit. Can it be that the quest for spiritual growth has been stymied by the roadblock of ignorance and fear and has thus fallen to the wayside of spiritual quests by such folks?
The advent of Yule brings forth a telling of the God who has traversed both sides of the mysteries of life and death and then once again unto life as we know it. The divine mother, who stands deeply aware over all aspects of existence at all levels, awaits his return with a sure knowledge that he will re-appear. For she is the progenitor of the mysteries that serve as the challenges that we as individuals need to experience in order to draw closer to her whom we adore. Of course I use the term “mother” as an adjectival in order to provide form to that spiritual aspect in which I personally subscribe to. There are of course many descriptions which can be used to describe that entity which opens the gates to life but which in turn limits our understanding of what is just on the other side of the door.
And yet there are many rays of light that may serve to give us a glimpse into that which we perceive as the darkness or unknown in our annals of awareness.
For instance one may ponder, is life and death the only avenues available to understand the tenets of the mysteries of life. Or do we simply lack the inquisitiveness and individual courage to seek out these pinpoints of light that may well be emanating from the dark? For instance, many pagans and indeed those of other spiritual paths are adept at astral projecting. But where is it that that one projects their spirit to? Apparently we are not projecting into some physical vestige of this life and so are we projecting into locations found within the realm of death? Or perhaps we are projecting into realities that are totally unconnected to either our awareness of life or the hidden destinies of death?
Pagans are also adept at connecting with spirits who travel back and forth through the veil. And so I wonder, what forms our sense of fear in relation to death, a sense of dread, which these denizens seem to lack? Or do they convey a similar sense of fear when they travel to this side of the veil? And if so, why do we consistently seek them out, though we fear to extend our spiritual selves to their side of the realm?
When I think of life and death, I often wonder if such a cloak of darkness in relation to our limited awareness was intentionally erected. What better way than to test our spiritual resolve and to test the temerity of our belief in a supreme entity. And what better way to measure our desire to accept the challenges involved in our spiritual ascension, though in all reality we have no choice in the outcome of such a Chautauqua. Each of us will eventually be brought to the threshold and once there, cast through into even greater mysteries then perhaps that which we face within our current awareness.
Of course I do not seek to turn the handle to the door of death until it is my turn to do so. But the lessons of Yule triumphs over any unfounded fears that I may have incurred from the ignorance of our species while engaged within this realm. As a witch, I trust in a sacred knowledge that initiated the first step along a long and arduous journey back to the bosom of what I perceive as the sacred giver of life and knowledge at all spiritual levels.
I see death as a continuance of this forbidden knowledge. A knowledge that is hidden only from those who lack the courage to grasp those bits and pieces of wisdom, while in this realm, that eventually will reveal the true and beautiful tapestry of spiritual accomplishment. These are my thoughts about the lessons that Yule brings forth.
May you each have a very enlightening and spiritual Yule experience and may you find your own answers in regards to Yule and the experiences that it offers…