Martin Shaw on Old Gods

“But the hour is getting late now. And when the stories we tell only have a human directive peering back at us we start to get very lost. We hypnotise ourselves with our own gaze. In such a moment it is quite possible to bury your heart under a rock and forget where you put it.But I mean what I say: the rough gods are still amongst us – and not just the porcelain ones that look a little like us on a good day, but the big bad bunch – the raggle-taggle, rhino tusked menagerie of the Original Ensemble, the Other Folk, the Gentry, the Benji. I know you’ve glimpsed them, once or twice. They’re about.

They are gnawing on the edge of these sentences.

The Otherworld is also this one, when it chooses.

It’s a convenience to believe that the Old Gods are leaving. Gives us permission for all kinds of nonsense.

That they are squatting in the departure lounge of Heathrow and LAX with hurt feelings, waving old bones about and shaking their heads. Clambering into some metaphysical elevator that’s going to deposit them in a nursing home for Abandoned Primordials on the other side of Pluto.

We have to stop saying that they die if we stop thinking about them.

That’s a degraded idea. Yet that’s what so many claim mythology is – us thinking these beings up.

But what if they were allowing us to think them? What if we were getting thought?

Not as manikin puppets, but as part of a profound conversation we can barely remember the moves for anymore.”

— Martin Shaw, writer, teacher, mythologist
(Via Serpent And Stang)

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Down the Rabbit Hole: At the Centre of Things

This gets heavily redacted for obvious reasons. This was, as previously mentioned, an extremely personal working.

What I find at the centre is Me. Me chained. Me bloodied. Me trapped. Me on my knees. Me with the white rabbit before me, wounded and still. Here is everything I have hidden and trapped away. The wounded soul, stubborn and defiant on her knees.

I can not remove the chains.

We talk of many things over the days I get stuck here (long story, but this was meant to be a two day ritual and ended up going a week). We talk, primarily, of integration and becoming whole, of doing the damned work and healing, and of living.

We discuss what the Rabbit thing is about, because that’s a new one for me.

When I leave I have some clarity on where to next and how to start breaking those chains.

Down the Rabbit Hole: The Seventh Gate and Beyond

He waits for me at the Seventh Gate, guised in his ram skull form. I don’t see this form often and I know to take it deadly serious. He is a God, not a spirit, and what he takes he can choose to keep if it serves me no purpose.

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Scumbugg vs. MDC by scumbugg

This one hurts, it turns out. I had figured it would be asked of me, but I hadn’t expected how much it would hurt when the time came. With my wedding band he takes from me my relationships – my friends, my family, my kids… My Partner.

There is no idle chatter, that will be left for the return. It is done, and I am devastated by the impact.

He sends me on…

There’s a break in the working here. I return to it a day later after having written everything down and started processing what had been and how I felt.

I return to where I left

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Hecate by CanisAlbus

off. Standing on the far side of the 7th gate. I continue down the path, black rabbit in arm, until I reach a river. The ferryman advises I bathe before crossing. I do, and I pay him the usual fare for taking me across.

I walk on, the landscape is different here. Rocky and blasted. It is here that I come face to face with the Lady of the Ways, Hekate. We speak, briefly, of altars and growth. She reassures me about what I have been doing so far for her and sends me on with the simple warning ‘It will be hard’.

And I find myself at the end, or is it the centre?

Down the Rabbit Hole: The First Gate

The path is over grown and there’s not much of anything growing along it as we walk (yes, me and the bun are still going strong) at this point. This is the longest part of the walk, other than the stairs down here, and it’s so still and silent as to be unnerving.

When I finally round the corner that reveals the first gate I am to pass through I almost laugh at the familiarity of the Guardian. I knew going into this that it would be a very personal journey and not necessarily a deity driven one so I’m not overly surprised, but somewhat pleased to start with such a familiar face.

The Ancestor appears as he did the first time I met him. Blue tattoos from head to toe, warm hazel eyes and ancient despite his still copper hair. I note that I was mistaken in our first meeting, his hair isn’t in dreadlocks but rather many small braids with charms and bones woven amongst them.

I approach respectfully and He directs me to sit on the stone ground across from him, as I did the first time we met. He brushes his hands over the stone and dragged them back in the same motion.

The stone had become red earth.

There are no words. He traces images in the dirt again and the conversation happens in silence. He has never spoken a word out loud and I doubt He ever will. He speaks of passion, desire, will…

He asks my heart, reaches into my chest and takes it.

It glows like embers in his hand. 

Review: Belladonna and Bones – Clary Sage Single Note Flying Ointment

I’ve put off writing this because I’m hopeless at reviews truth be told. I usually just squee and then tell everyone to try it for themselves. So, to start with, I am not being paid for this review in any way shape or form, it’s just a product I really like…

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This Clary Sage Single Note Flying Ointment is probably one of the most beneficial things I have spent money on as part of my practice in years. I’m so glad I got the chance to try it in ritual with the lovely creatrix, and bought some. 

Dream-magics are my forte. They’re what I do better than anything else and have been for as long as I can remember, but I have always struggled to get into the right state to work between worlds deliberately. I struggle to get my own head out of the way, especially when lying beside a partner, to travel between or hear those I’m interacting with well. The state of relaxed needed to get started properly would elude me or I would not remember anything when I woke, even though I’d have that ‘I know something happened’ feeling.

The Clary Sage Flying Ointment has been a huge assistance on the occasions I’ve gone looking for that dream-magic state of being with specific goals in mind. My head clears out of the way quickly and I drop into a relaxed fugue state – not here nor there – where I can move between this world and the other smoothly within a short time period. I remember everything when I wake whether it’s 15 minutes of fugue state later or 8 hours of proper sleep later.

Belladonna and Bones is doing some maintenance and travel right now so the store is down but you can find them over here. Better yet, they’re Australian so no worrying about ointments vanishing in the mail because customs.

Ancestral work – Getting started with the spirits. 

I have so much going on right now that it’s hard to stay on top of it all. 

 

I often advise newcomers that their absolute first port of call should be the dead of their family lines. These Beloved Ancestors are the spirits that have the most interest in your well being and continuation because without you there is no more of their bloodline in the end. Which isn’t to say they can’t be complete twats, because they can – especially those who are recently dead. Which is to say that if you’re dad was an asshole in life, or your uncle a racist shit, then they probably still will be in death. Probably. Nothing is 100% set in stone.

Now, I don’t interact with any of my recently dead. I prefer working with the older family spirits to date. In part because none of my actual bloodline had passed until very recently and in part because of that bloodline I didn’t know the one who is gone. I do still honour my Grandfather’s second wife and my Grandmother’s second husband as family, but they’re not Ancestors, they’re Beloved Dead or ‘Ancestor’s of the Heart’ so my feelings of them is a bit different.

Anyhow, this is about getting started working with them. There are a lot of different ways to go about and different paths have different rules. This is just where I started, what I know and what I have experienced. It is not the absolute, one true, and only way. Quite the opposite, this is MY way and one of many. A lot of my practice is mashed together from UPG, reading up on Hellenic Chthonic practices, folklore and traditional witchcraft.

When I started off on this part of my path I did so from a point of necessity. There was a major family drama going down and I was at the point of hot-footing a family member. Before taking what I knew to be very drastic measures I touched base with some peers and asked if anyone had better suggestions to get the issue resolved quickly. One of them, a vodou practitioner, suggested I speak with my Ancestors. At this point I had no dead in my family line and I had no clue. This wonderful person gave me the starting point from a vodou perspective and it’s the one I recommend for everyone as it’s pretty neutral. Do note that in Vodou you do not keep the Ancestral altar in your bedroom unless you can cover it or have it somewhere you can close the door on it (Think of it this way – effectively your relatives can watch you fuck).

Start simple, clean white cloth, a white candle and a glass of fresh water that you change regularly. Sit down, light the candle, say hello and talk to them. You can tell them about your day, your problems, your victories and they seem to like knowing about any family things, good and bad, that are happening. That’s the basis of the whole shebang. Simple and sweet, nothing complex and easy to do even if you’re not ‘out’. You can also add white flowers and photos of your family. 

You can literally stop reading here if you wanted to.

Moving forward to what I have now. I draw on a lot of traditions and I’m going to lay out some odds and ends of praxis that you can take or leave.

il_570xn-545636399_sjr5The Skull

The skull is a spirit house for the Ancestors. For me it is where their candle rests and is elevated on my Ancestral Altar at the hearth of my home (in this case a bookshelf in the lounge room as we spend most our time there). George (naming is optional) looks a little like the plaster of paris one by etsy use ViciousNoodle. You can use a real skull if you want, but ceramic ones tend to be as good, and you can also get stunning theatre prop ones.

Offerings to the ancestors and various props and objects live on the altar which are ‘owned’ by my Ancestors or part of their worship.

The Candle

Candles are important, as we all know. If you can not have an open flame for any reason then don’t, they’ll live. The main aim of the candles is to create light for your spirits to see your working and be warmed. In the case of the Dead they can also act as a guiding light to the spirits.

For my family we have two options for candles. I used to use beeswax candles. The downside is they’re expensive, the up is bees and honey have long held associations with the dead, and they smell amazing. Unfortunately my local supplier for beeswax pillars got in a bunch that literally burnt for 30 minutes and then dissolved into an absolute mess, so we’ve been using tea lights. The advantage of tea lights, as much as they are cheap, is that you can leave them to burn as they have limited burning time and are inexpensive. You can also get them in many colours and scents if you’re so inclined. One of my Dead loves vanilla scented ones.

Offerings

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An adhoc offering made at my beloved’s home before we moved in together. Honey, port and a lit candle for warmth and light.

Speaking of, these are a big deal, for me fresh water
is a must and my Dead insist on alcohol. Whenever asking for anything big from them I put out the good scotch, and wine and port are regular additions. Food isn’t good for us, the cat gets into it, but rice, bread, honey, and olive oil are all traditional offerings, as are foods that your dead liked in their lifetimes. Likewise tobacco is often a fantastic and traditional offering, as is incense. A LOT of spirits like smoke offerings. The reason I have been given is that it make their spirit bodies feel ‘full’ or tangible if you will.

In my praxis anything given to the dead is no longer fit for human consumption. Liquids are poured into the garden, food discarded away from the home (usually given to the ravens) and other offerings either burnt, buried or carefully discarded in the main bins after being wrapped separately. Burying objects for the dead is a great idea as the lands of the Dead are literally beneath the ground in most lore.

 

Feeding any spirit regularly is a good idea. Food is love as the phrase goes, and regular attention and feeding strengthens your bond with your spirits. For the Dead water, olive oil, honey etc is also soothing. Alleviating restlessness and potential anger and resentment directed towards the living.

So next big thing is working with them!

At the end of the day this is as easy as sitting down and talking and then listening. Working with your Ancestors can be a good way to start developing your ability to hear spirits and interpreting their messages. They can communicate with you directly, through divination, dreams and various waking symbols.

For odds and ends tell them what’s happening and what you need/want from them, give them a little extra love for their attention and then again if they do the work (and they won’t if they think it’s bad for you).

For house protections place items that are related to the home and family (hair or symbols of living family members) on the altar permanently. Feed them regularly and let them know you’re trusting the home and household members to them.

 

Oudeira

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Oudeira is the Stardust Compass’ world tree.

I have been slowly becoming acquainted with it. I’m honestly 80% head blind and this stuff takes a while, which is fine for me. Tonight, finally pronouncing Oudeira correctly, I made some very good headway.

Some context in regards to my magic: I do most my magic stationary. When I was younger it was because I was working in confined spaces. Now it’s because pain and fatigue is a thing, and not wasting energy moving around in a sore body means I can do life stuff. This means that I tend not to invoke into my space but rather travel into ‘other’ or ‘trance’ space to work. Whenever I speak of walking, running etc I am doing it in ‘other’ space, because in this space my ass is firmly on the couch. 

So, Oudiera.

I move, initially, into my usual liminal space. This is a very literal white space. Stark white and bright as far as the eye can see, no landmarks, doors, stairs etc. I speak my intent to Fox, who has been acting as a wonderful guide in and out of this space since I first started working with it. We dance around a little until there’s a shift in the energy, and when I look up there are thousands of cables of light above me, and again below me. This is Oudeira.

There is a particular space on the floor that calls to me. One of the cables of light ends here today. It’s not small. It’s around the size of my lounge room in diameter with two concentric circles towards the outer edge of the cable. Fox leads me along the path between these – it becomes very hard going very quickly – this is a way opening. I am, at this point focussed mostly on my own two feet and Fox so it comes as a surprise when, after I have come to the point I can no longer move along the path, I look up to find myself within a circle of doors.

I open one that stands out from the others and enter an endless half of… you guessed it, more doors. Fox paws at one quite a bit further along.

**What happens from here falls into the need to know and doesn’t need to be online right not category, so we’ll skip to coming back.

Returning through the doors I’ve entered I come back to the original node and doors. I don’t need Fox to show me the steps. To close this node for my uses is easy, walk the path in the opposite direction, this time with my head up so I watch the doors recede into the floor and become part of the wall of the node beneath my feet.

Erm… title goes here

I can not for the life of me think of a title for this post. I blame the wonder of a hot bath full of beautiful scents.

Firstly, if you’re a fellow Australian please do follow the link and check out the wares of the lovely Belladonna and Bones. She specialises in magical herbal tinctures, oils, balms and flying ointments.

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So, I did a fantastic guided meditation with the very delightful Belladonna and Bones after a wonderful chat about her garden and some of what grows in it today. There were a few moments of note, and for obvious reasons I am not going into much detail here, but it’s been ages since I posted so…

  1. Clary Sage is a delightful entity.
  2. She was there and we got a brief chat in. This was nice as Himself of the Dark Heart has dominated in the past few years.
  3. V is an ass, but it was nice of him to show when I first arrived.
  4. Fox was pinned to my side the entire time. I actually can’t remember the last time I did any magic without Fox being there, and for some reason this only hit me today.
  5. I came through stark fucking naked. This is actually the bit that got me. It has never, ever, happened before. At least not so that I’ve noticed, but that self was naked. I am pondering the why’s of that and I think I have an answer which is for another day.

I picked up some of the Clary Sage ointment to use and plan to continue getting to know the spirit as I grow the seeds we were all so kindly gifted with today.

Right now, however, it is time for sleep.

Good night.

Walking Between

I walk between.

It’s often not deliberate. I throw on some music or or pop my headphones in and start daydreaming vaguely as I move around, next thing I know I’m walking between worlds. One foot in the here in the city and one on the otherworld.

I’m sure there are those reading that with horror due to the lack of active intent behind the act, but it’s actually incredibly useful a skill. It also requires a lot of trust in the spirits I walk alongside, but these are times when I am most open to hearing. Out of my head and into the heart the voices are clear, the visions are solid as to be touched and the only drawback is the slight disorientation when someone starts talking to me midway through. Traffic I can deal with but not human interaction.

It’s not a skill I ever worked to develop, nor refine. I am currently side-eying myself over the later, I mean really you have a skill and you neglect it to try and learn another one that achieves the same thing but it what you’re ‘meant to do’. I’m now well past the ‘do because you’re meant to stage’ but there’s all these weird hangovers that I run into. Insidious shit is what it is, but I digress. Not that there was much to digress from.

Point of this stupid ramble is that I had a moment today where I dropped in line with Her. Standing between worlds, feeling the difference between my bod on one side, Her’s on the other, and for no other reason than Uptown Funk was on I/She danced. It was a brief moment, I went back on my meds yesterday so sinking deep isn’t something I will be doing in the next fortnight or so, but it left me giggling like a fucking idiot. Sometimes you just need to let go and let it be fun…

There is no purpose to this post other than to document that it’s hilariously funny to dance as I/She and leaves me feeling quite grounded mentally and physically.

And it can serve as a reminder that I need to get out and start actively working on developing this skill and refining it till I can step between at will as well.