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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Ashes and Dust

Pulling apart the pieces of my craft and exploring new areas. It’s a never ending search for what’s missing, what isn’t sitting in the right spot or in the right way, what’s absent and what needs to be discarded.

There’s much to chew through.

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Rose by Claparo-Sans (click through for artist)

There’s a crucifix buried in the garden. Roses grow from it.

My earliest paths in paganism are grown over from lack of use, and I have no urge to explore them further. Pieces were already thrown into the bonfire willingly, but almost everything is gone now. I hold onto the hands of my lover for he alone still walks with me.

Chaos magic served it’s time and there a practices, tiny bits and bobs, that I continue with. The mind set it allowed me is more important than the ritual or paraphernalia that went along with it. It goes, almost in it’s entirety, into the fires and the path grows over. It can not be un-walked. The mindset – the do what works attitude – remains, and the skills I developed in this time will never be idle.

Both this city and The CITY are home, and nothing can seperate my blood from them, but they are no longer under my feet each day. Their paths grows over, but welcome my step with perfumed roses and jasmine when I walk their ground. Rarely as witch, always as beloved and lover.

The Ancestors, well one does not discard ones blood, but it is time to find a better way to work this path. It is grown over and full of tripping hazards. I need to tend this path, burn away the debris and weeds. Tend it so it meanders less and less. There is work to be done on this path, always.

And the paths I’ve walked recently…

Witchcraft, eclectic, somewhat traditional but not quite… I walk the same ground over and over, collect and discard, collect and then burn. It grows over as fast as I tend it. No roses grow here. No belladonna. No lily. No ivy. Just weeds. There’s nothing to be burnt or tended anymore. There were skills learnt whilst trying to navigate this jagged path that will serve me, and interests piqued that will continue for many years no doubt. This path is closed to me.

This land continues to breath beneath my feet. That path needs neither tending nor discarding. It is old and implacable. It cares not if I walk upon it, but welcomes me, and any other, who does. Provided we walk with care and tend it as needed.

The path of stardust and compass is not mine. I walked it for a while, and loved it dearly. I can wish nothing but the best for the Coterie. May they breath, may they live, my the excel and may they explore ever onwards. Here is not my home, but I hope here I will always find friendship.

The Fox is waiting ahead in the garden, together we will continue to explore.

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.

A Naming

The Fox leads me true, to the heart of the great dark forest where He waits. We run through a forest that gradually becomes darker, closer, more claustrophobic until we reach the heart. It’s dark here, the light only trickles in. It’s a place of death and dying. You walk over old bones. You can smell the wet decay of fur anId flesh.

You can smell loam so rich that it feeds an entire forest. What returns here, brings life out there.

He’s waiting.

Cross legged on the ground, hidden in the shadows of the tree’s massive roots, he’s waiting for me. He always knows I’m coming, but he’d normally be on the throne in the tree. Forcing me to climb for his attention… or just shout. I’ve done that before.

He told me once, long ago, that his name was of no concern until such time as I figured it out for myself. I take a breath and hesitate. This has been a long time and a lot of research in the making. He waits until I’m ready. Patiently, he knows. Finally I find it in me to speak.

The God of the Wild Places.
The King on the Bramble Throne.
Lord of the Black Heart.

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He smiles and speaks, and I am given a new name.

 

(Despite best efforts I could find no artist to attribute this image too, if you know of them let me know please.)

T is for Tools

I’m working on ‘things’. Planning, plotting, gathering.

Mostly I’m trying to figure out how the knots will work for that one over there, how to carve so that delicate lines will be maintained in relief for that thing there, and how to rejig the altar space because it’s big and yet too small. I miss my three tiered altar. I miss it’s beautiful dark stained wood and oodles of space in which I could separate the sections of my work.

This one is about tools. When most people start out they’re they’re stuck with the basic books and the basic list of tools – athame, wand, chalice, uhm, pentacle for earth? Salt? A rock? Ok, so the fact that I don’t actually know what the element of earth is represented by in generic beginner witchcraft/paganism probably says a great deal about the basic tool list and I.

I want to talk about the tool that isn’t on the basic list: The Key.

Cle De L’os – RhetoricHaystack

The key is easily the most invaluable tool I think anyone can have. It opens doors and doors show up a lot in practice right? Maybe not literally, but the key doesn’t have to be literal either. A key can work by association or by trigger or by magical working. It can open doors to mind places, to paths, to worlds, to a door in a city that doesn’t exist which leads to a warm bed where you’re safe for the time being.

They’re easy to come by, I started out using old and antique keys and skeleton keys. They’re easy to create, an item or a few linked together worked with magic to connect them to a specific door behind which lies whatever it is you want and then used repeatedly till the association takes the work out of reaching the place you’re headed. They’re easy to use, turn the key and step through the door to the place.

I’ve linked them to mind places and ‘astral’/spirit place. Here is the key for where I enter the underworld, here is the key to The City’s gates, here is the key to the house right at the end, and here is the one to the clearing on The Woods.

Anywhere I need a key to I can create one.

Keys can be bartered for many things if you have them made up right and the connections that want that sort of thing.

Unfortunately they can also be stolen. Worth keeping that in mind. They can be stolen and used to find you. Always have a way to disconnect them from the place and from you. Alway build in a failsafe. Always.

Offerings – Thoughts and a link to someone more eloquent (like a shit ton more)

I don’t often link to other people’s writings. I should.

Another Witches Blogg – Making Offerings to the Gods

This is a fantastic article on a part of magic that seems often overlooked, especially in public ritual. Offerings are a large part of my practice – Incense smoke, water, large amounts of alcohol and good quality beeswax candles. I couldn’t really imagine not doing them at this point and my practice went from vague and frustrating to very full on and fulfilling quickly after I got my head around the offerings and how they should work.

I think it’s a little easy to forget that these relationships are meant to be reciprocal, not just us demanding. It’s not that you can’t demand and get results, but to date I’ve found that working with someone/thing tends to get everything done that much faster, easier and better.

S is for Sex

Sex is magic, magic is sex…

I’m pretty sure I got that from Hellblazer. I could be wrong though.

I’m really not going into some massive in depth discussion on sex magic here. I haven’t read widely on the subject and most of what I know is from experimentation and experience.

What I want to point out is that, despite my own love of the combination of sex and magic, it’s not a fucking given that everyone who does magic does sex. Amongst magical practitioners are the asexual, celibate and traumatised. People who for one reason or another just don’t do sex and that we put such a huge emphasis on sex and sexuality in the West is off putting to many.

Hell, it’s off putting to me. I do sex magic with my long term partner, The Wolf. No one else. It’s an intimate and private practice. My sex and sexuality is not for public consumption and the assumption that it is is far too often made. There are many who choose to display their sex, sexuality… sensuality publically and often and that’s great.

But this whole goddess in touch with her suaxual energies and yoni and menstrual magic and yadda yadda yadda…

Not everyone’s cup of tea.

Now don’t even get me started on how fucking heterosexual most people sex is when it comes to magic either. Don’t even.

R is for Rites

We’ve never followed a conventional path, him and I. I don’t think we even know how. No words are ever spoken, not to start it nor to end it, truly. As always this is how our rites go.

I inhale the incense, letting it sooth away the aches and griefs of the past few days. Melting into the blankets as much as the shadow and flicker of the light. He runs his fingers over my face and through my hair. Sweeping them down my throat.

I still beneath his hands, letting go of everything but the sensation of his hands and my own breath. Still, quiet, sinking away. Palms sweep flat down my chest, fingertips drag across my abdomen… At some point a tug and pull of energy and I wake a little for a brief moment before surrendering, trusting, he acts in my interests as much as his.

I sink.

The smell of the Woods is achingly familiar and foreign at once. This is the Dark Heart of the Woods. As rich with life  as it is it smells of iron rich blood and decay in equal measure. Here is an underworld of it’s own kind. At it’s centre a tree large beyond measure with gnarled roots knotted through with bramble, littered with bones scattered by wild things. Above this, at the base of the tree where roots meet is the cavity where the bramble rise to form the Throne.

And on the Throne HE sits, or more accurately lounges, possibly slouches. One leg slung over what I take for the throne’s arm, the other stretched out. He has no care for the formalities that come with a throne the way you’d think one would. He’s barefooted and barechested, wearing naught bar worn leather pants. Draped across his shoulders is a wolf pelt, one that matches the colour of the Great Black Wolf’s. There is little light here and the air feels thicker than any I’ve known.

Here is the God of Wild Places.

Those are the words I wake with:

I see you,
I see Him.
The King upon the Bramble Throne,
The God of Wild Places.

He turns me over and I relax into his hands, awake now, aware of the pull and tug of energy more. I wrap myself around him and we sink together to other places built of breath and touch.