Sometimes A Dark God

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Our civilization doesn’t work. No ones does.

None are sustainable, and all are laden with dark debts of immense weight.

All are sinking, all are marching towards their dissolution.

Mourning comes in many stages. Denial and Bargaining are two of those stages. It helps to conceptualize all of civilization- ever since the first civilizations- as a long, drawn out, and complicated process of bargaining which followed upon a foundational denial.

If you look at our political struggles as a form of bargaining against the inevitable, against Nature and reality itself, many things become clear to you. We were doomed, in a very real way, the first moment animals and forests began to perish wholesale because of our chosen human life-ways.

As the problem widened, as the waters, the ground, and the sky became tainted, and as the extinctions of our kin beings accelerated, the doom itself (already assured) just kept updating its arrival time. There was denial- and then there was more and more bargaining.

We crossed a line ages ago which has serious and inevitable consequences. Once it was crossed, there was no going back and no avoiding the debt it incurred. A sacred boundary was broken- and the world, Nature, the sacred- it has integrity. It has power. It can’t be broken and offended, then ignored or storied away.

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Crossing the Hedge

jowanet5The image above is a work of silhouette art that I created last year. I call it Crossing the Hedge. Much visual symbolism comes together in this image to communicate the deeper reality of the vocation of Witchcraft.

The image shows a cosmological map of types. On one side is the human world, and a hedge separates it from the other-than-human world, the wilderness beyond. The hedge that protects the human space of habitation from the outside is breached, crossed, by a witched woman, a woman who is made capable of this extraordinary passage by her Familiar spirit, who sits on the hedge in the form of a cat. Continue reading

Strong Horn

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A very long time ago, when the trees were much larger than they are now, and animals of various kinds were more likely to be met by a traveler who followed the streams through the forests, there lived a man. He lived in a place where a large river split itself around a large outcropping of boulders and stones.

He was not a human man; in the evenings, he would slip into the water and turn into an enormous snake which had two long, sharp horns coming from its head. In this shape, he would coil up under the water and sleep. Sometimes he would sit very still, and look like the mud and stones of the river bottom, and eat fish who swam nearby. He also ate turtles, and toads, and eels.

When he emerged from the water, he would take the shape of a human man, and wander in the forest. Sitting still, he might look like a tree-stump, and snatch foxes or rabbits up when they came by, but he usually let them go after they kicked and cried out in terror. A fox who bit him while he was engaged in this prank discovered that his blood was too strange and powerful; it warped the tongue and throat of the fox.

The horned snake man slipped back into the water one evening, assuming his long, scaly shape. But unbeknownst to him, the large stones and boulders who had watched him for seasons beyond count had been plotting against him. They chose one of their number to harm him- and as he passed below them in the water, a great boulder freed itself from the dark soil and rocks that held it suspended over the river. It crashed down, making an enormous splash, and crushing the horned snake man. He died there in the water, pressed against the bottom of the river.

His spine was crushed, and much of his power slipped out of him, being drawn away by the moving water, which licked and drank it up. Some fish came to take their share. All the horned snake man could do with the power he saved from his spine was assume the shape of one of the fish in the river. And thus he had to remain, for many seasons: a fish in the shallow water near the bank and the stones. Continue reading

Now They Fly Together: Sorcery and the Serpent Walk

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Full moon. Third Wolf Night. Dark room. Candles flicker around a circle of stones surrounding a triangle made of thin, knotty branches.  A trail of stones leads from the northeast of the circle to a deer’s skull, silently watching. Freezing wind leaks into the room from over the windowsill, snakes around the stones, and makes the flames flicker.

Open, hedge.
Open, deep forest of the Manitou world.
Adonay Sabaoth Cadas, Adonay Amara. Aly Adoy Sabaoth Amara.
Abbomacho. Abbomacho. Abbomacho.
King of spirits, you who come from the cold northeast,
Open the way into the unseen world for me.
You have given me the Serpent Dreams,
And you protect those who dream your dreams!
Open the way into the unseen world for me.
Cheepi. Cheepi. Cheepi.
You of the Cheepi Host who protect me and help me,
Open the hidden way into the unseen world for me.

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The Nine Nights Ritual

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For many years, I have used the ritual described in this post as a way of not only mourning for those human and other-than-human beings that death parted me from, but also of helping their transitioning breath souls and free souls to have an easier passage between this condition of ordinary life, and the stranger (but no less natural) condition I know that they come to inhabit beyond.

This ritual is perhaps one of the oldest rituals in my entire repertoire, one that I was engaging in long before the larger body of my known works (and my unpublished body of works) ever existed. I have lost count of how many times I have actually performed it, and of the number of times people came to me seeking a ritual like this to use for themselves, in their own difficult times. I have always (in the past) given these instructions to people so that they could accomplish their own version of this rite.

I decided that formally writing it down now could only help me to bring my thoughts and experiences together in one place, honoring this long past, but also help others who will come to me in the future still seeking this information. My community Cylgh An Carow Gwyn also might be helped by having this ritual at their fingertips, for it is based on the same familiar and enduring bedrock of impulses and principles that the True Old Way sits upon.

It is also fitting that I write this down on this day- December 18, 2018- as the great solstice-season (which my European ancestors called the ‘Yuletide’, and the indigenous peoples of this land called ‘The Feast of Dreams’) arises in power. This season is about the closeness of the eldritch world, the immanent power of the Unseen, generous honor paid to all spirits, and the return or closeness of the dead. In this regard, it is parallel to the old beliefs and customs tied to Samhain by other Ancestors. But it is The Feast of Dreams to me, because of where I live, and the spiritual connections I have here.

No matter what we call it, it binds us all as a time in which we make a special opening to face the deeper realities that are the timeless and eternal scaffolding of our ordinary, time-bound lives.

Writing this is an act of devotion to my deepest principles and beliefs. It is an act of help and aid to all human beings who need it. It is an act of compassion and aid to all of those who die and wander the strange landscapes beyond breathing life. I will endeavor to make this work as available as I can, in every place that I can. Continue reading