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)

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?

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.