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)

Gods of…

So nothing much to see here, I wanted to share this post about how we see ‘God of’ and how inadequate that is.

I never really thought that much about it myself, until I read this ost this weekend gone. It was an interesting post until I started thinking about it, reframing Him in that context… and holy shit…

Read it, try to reframe your gods in context of the post. It’s an awakening of a sorts.

Link: Weight Loss for the Soul

Strange thing on a magic blog I know, but part of my new year magic is going towards this self same goal, and I think this post will be one worth coming back to late so I’m linking it.

Adventure’s in WooWoo – Weight Loss for the Soul

And, on the off chance anyone cares enough around here to take offence with this post – What you do with your body is your business. Your weight doesn’t make you a better person or more beautiful… but my weight, though not massively high, is having clear negative health effects and needs to be dealt with.

2016 into 2017

This could be a long one but in truth it’s brutally short.

I did next to nothing in 2016, magically that is.

I maintained my altars. I blogged a bit. I did some tarot readings. I thought about doing magic a lot… and that’s it. I didn’t even remember to post most my blogging on the Australian blogging group I moderate.

I did read a lot in 2016. Gemma Gary, Peter Grey (again), and lots of blog posts and essays on magic. It was uninspiring for the most part. Not to say it wasn’t interesting, but it wasn’t inspiring. I’ve felt a bit like I’m doing nothing but going through the motions for a long time.

A few weeks ago I picked up the wonderful Chaos Protocols by Gordon White. I believe my exact comment was that ‘If Peter Grey was poetry for my soul then Gordon White was the good swift motivating kick up the ass’. I can not recommend this book enough. There was nothing there, skill wise, that was overly new – a few technical things I can incorporate on top of well honed skills though – but the book as a whole was inspiring and motivating. It’s what I’ve been needing to get my magical brain buzzing again.

So we’re leaving 2016, which was one hell of a year in both the good and the bad sense, and moving into 2017…

I can’t think of a much better time to rediscover my motivation and inspiration that right on the cusp of a new year really. Can you?

Of Christianity,God, and Changing.

I’m scrolling through Gods and Radicals when a phrase, an introduction to the topic of a post in fact, caught my eye:

… on what we lose when we accept the categories of identity

Now, that line was the intro for this post, which I have not read, but it caught my eye because it’s in line with something I’ve been pondering for a while.

I promise this gets to witchcraft eventually…

Categories of identity are pretty cool in a way. They allow us to find people like us or who think like us, to delineate between us and them (admittedly not always a good thing) and to organise to protect vulnerable groups (Transgender people, homosexual people etc). Those are good things. But there’s also a downside to it.

As teenagers, when we’re still figuring things out, it’s considered normal to change your mind about your identity. You are growing up, you’re changing rapidly, and so are your tastes, sexual attractions and internal identity. As adults those categories can become incredibly restraining. They can become boxes you can’t step out of for fear of ridicule, ostracisation or upsetting loved ones.

And that’s kind of where I’m at right now. Things have changed massively for me over the past few years and I’ve been very quietly reassessing many things. Among those things are questions around my sexual identity, my gender identity and, somewhat more relevant to this blog, my religious and magical identity.

As far as magic goes I dropped Pagan years ago. I’m not comfortable with it, nor with a lot of people who identify as Pagan. I remain part of the community anyway, because it’s where I find many like minded people and have many old friendships I won’t be giving up any time soon. I simply refer to myself as a witch, which is still fine and dandy in and of itself. It’s a pretty broad category covering a lot of people of all kinds of different paths.

Where I’ve been really hung up in recent months is religion.

My last post opened with “There’s a crucifix buried in the garden. Roses grow from it.” What it didn’t touch on is the urge to go find it or the confusion that it is causing. I grew up in a very loving Christian household, and when I chose to walk away from Christianity that household, my family, remained very loving and supported me in my explorations. My parents have never turned their back on me and have actively supported my choices. I was very lucky in that (even if it did mean I ended up with some truly woeful dragon statues over the years), but what I was never able to reconcile that household, and even many of my childhood churches, with was the larger institution of the Church and Christianity and the truly horrific things that have and continue to come out of it. Honestly that’s why I left – The horrific hypocrisy of the Church.

And yet I never really stopped believing in God. So now I’m grappling with where I sit, witch will never leave me but am I still Christian? I’m have the vague feeling the answer may be yes.

God is the divinity in all things. To me They are so far removed as to be unknowable. They are the divinity behind and in everything, and we are so tiny as to be flickers on the edge of Their perception. They do not answer prayers or inflict children with diseases. They certainly do not condone the actions of humans, anymore than They necessarily condemn them. They are too far removed to notice it all in my mind.

Which is where the spirits come in, they are the intermediaries. I believe this of all gods and entities including angels, demons, and even the one I refer to as the Wild God from time to time. He’s a big, very powerful, very old, spirit. The spirits and entities give us a knowable face, something we can comprehend and communicate with. Which ones we are drawn to tends to be dependant on where we’re at in ourselves and where we need to go.

And behind them all sits God, Divinity, The Creator. Whatever it is you wish to call Them.

I don’t really have anywhere to go with this. I just wanted to get it down.

As silly as it sounds I’ve been sitting on this for a long while. In part because of my natural loathing of a church that sees me and mine as deviant, corrupt and wrong and in part because there’s a low key fear that it will make those I love look at me like I’ve grown a second head. It’s out now.

And off to my tutorial with 4 minutes to spare…

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.

rose_by_clap_san-d3l1iho
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.

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.

wordpressbanner_new_crop

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.

Q is for Question Everything

Seriously question fucking EVERYTHING!!!!

Question the status quo, because it’s not ‘just how it’s done’, because the wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented every time but you need to understand what you’re doing before you can change it..

Question authors, relentlessly, because their bias isn’t the be all and end all thought they’ll certainly paint it that way, look up their sources, demand their sources if they don’t offer them and burn their books if they’re trash because you deserve better on your shelves.

Question the gods, before you agree make sure you know what you’re getting into, before you decide to worship them make sure you know what they want from you.

Question the spirits, they will lie to you without second thought, they will omit anything they can from information and send you stumbling down the wrong track, they will bind you into agreements that will fuck you over if you’re not careful.

Question yourself, poke at your brain and you beliefs and your innermost workings over and over and over till you know what makes you tick, till you’ve distilled that vague belief into something concrete in your mind.

Question everything, it keeps you out of trouble and gets you into trouble.

It’s the only way to grow.

Question, and then think critically about the answers.

LEARN!

 

N is for Nature

So I moved house, as previously mentioned, and therefore away from usually inner suburban world of steal and well manicured gardens (or grass filled ones as the case may be at our place) to a outer-ish suburban area. I say ish because my home town just keeps fucking expanding and what used to the the back ass of no where is now sort of the middle point between city and outer suburbs…

But they didn’t trash the parklands in the process. So I have a walking track through beautiful bushland a literal two minute walk from my house. Colour me happy?

This was my sunset view on the way home from the shops.
This was my sunset view on the way home from the shops.

I’d forgotten how much being away from people and in the middle of tress fixed parts of my brain. Can’t say the sunshine hurt. It’s going to be interesting getting to know the locals though. The land here doesn’t speak to me in the ways I’m familiar.

L is for Lovers

A bit corny perhaps but I recently announced my engagement so fuck off, I’m allowed my cornball moment. If it makes you feel better I’m not going to talk much about The Wolf here in the romantic sense. I’m feeling a bit more pragmatic than that. For reasons undisclosed I haven’t been able to live with them up until now. Nothing religious, just reasons. So I moved in this past weekend and they kindly cleared me an altar space. They’ve never bothered themselves but my altar for the past few years has been, uh, extensive to say the least of it. I came home tonight to find a blade on the altar*…

The Wolf is my first magically inclined partner. Like me he doesn’t really have a ‘path’ that is easily navigable by others. One place we meet very firmly as equals and on the same track is as lovers though. So we’re both queer as fuck, and yeah there’s occasionally sex magic involved and yada yada…

Art by the exquisite Chiara Bautista

It’s interesting to have a lover who is also capable of being a magical partner. I’ve always worked solitary. Always. I’ve attended a tiny handful of group rituals, but my path isn’t something I’ve ever considered compatible with anyone elses. And now I have The Wolf and the longer we’re together the more little incidental things happen and make me wonder…

It’s the breath shared. The growl in The Wolf’s throat. The moments of absolute still. The moments of complete vulnerability. The snarl and bite.

Can this be something shared? Is there a place between or do we create something entirely new?

It’s ecstasy and breath, death and sex, at the core.

Isn’t that what magic is made of?

* I’d pointed out to him that I’d like the space to be ours, not mine so not a shock or complaint. Just one of those moments of holy shit cohabitation!!