Friday, April 29, 2016

An Intention to Guide Meditation Practice

Today, as I stand at the axis of the 2Three Worlds, and center of the Seven Sacred Directions3,
     I am grateful for the opportunities granted me by the gift of incarnation4,
     supported by the blessings of the gods and spirits whose unseen hands
     guide my steps. May I continue to be be shepherded by the adepts, mystics,
     and masters of old, those upon whose shoulders I stand5 so that I, in turn, may
     one day be found fit to shepherd others on the path of the Mysteries6.

Let me not squander this precious opportunity to free myself of delusion, fear,
    suffering, ignorance and all things that occlude the vigorous and vital flow of
    energy through my channels. May my energy body be healed, healthy, and whole
    that it may serve the highest purposes of fate, will, and Ma'at7.

May I practice this day and every day with discipline, determination, effortlessness,
    and equanimity. May I encounter all mind-states without attachment or aversion8.
    May I be steadfast in the face of all obstacles and difficulty, allowing
    all discomfort to be a means of insight, self-knowledge, and illumination.

May I enter without effort and clarity of mind into the Sacred Flame9 at my center,
    the inner gateway of Emptiness, the silent doorway to all worlds.
    Let me be ever-guided by its illumination and warmth and the blessings of
    my Akh10 who beckons me ever-forward so I may one day be worthy to be called
    Justified11 among the Ancient and Shining Ones12.

*Notes: Included to demonstrate that each turn of phrase has a purpose. Where certain concepts are open to interpretation, the interpretations are my own, guided my by own knowledge and experience.

1. This Meditation Intention is based both upon the intention I've been using to guide my meditation practice for a few years, but has been adapted to more clearly align itself to the Quareia curriculum.
2. Land, Sea, and Sky...Celestial World, Mortal World, Underworld...or any other tripartite conception of the Universe.
3. North, East, South, West, Above, Below, and Center
4. Acknowledgement that incarnation is truly a gift for which we should be grateful.
5. Acknowledgement and showing gratitude for the unseen assistance we receive from those beings that are, essentially, our spiritual ancestors who may or may not be our blood ancestors.
6. A pledge of willingness to be of service to those who come after us on the path.

7. Recognizing that Self-Realization/Enlightenment isn't merely a change of heart and mind, but instead rests on the cleaning, aligning, and strengthening of our energy body so that it is reflective of its own natural perfection...without blockages and pollution and dedicating our enlightenment to the principles of Ma'at.
8. One of the keys to fruitful meditation practice....being ok with what is and rejecting nothing that arises within consciousness.
9. Your inner, sacred Flame, doorway to the Void.
10. The highest aspect of the multiple soul, the Higher or Divine Self
11. He or she who, upon being judged worthy, is able to "go to their Ka." (ie. reunite with their Divine Self.
12. The gods and great powers

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Witch, an Authentic Look at Witchcraft From the Recesses of the Neurotic Puritan Mind

Here are some of my thoughts on The Witch, the incredibly popular occult thriller that has captured the imaginations of so many lately. 

(warning  spoilers)

In my opinion, the movie was a top notch psychological thriller and a "must see" if you prefer that type of film.

The film is grey and dark both in imagery and in atmosphere. The subject matter being what it is, I found the director's choices in regards to cinematography and color palette to be flawless. Naturally, with nearly everything on screen being capable of carrying a symbolic meaning, it seems quite clear that the bleakness and darkness of the film is rooted in the oppressive, soul-crushing, joyless nature of Puritanism that practically oozes from screen from its very beginning.

Having said that, allow me to state that this movie is not, despite the fanfare it is receiving among many Witches and Pagans, a Pro-Witchcraft movie.

"The Witch" is not an Anti-Witchcraft movie either.

In regards to Witchcraft, "The Witch" is neither an apologetic nor a polemic film.

Instead, the story underlying The Witch it is a tale told both through the lens of the Christian Puritan mindset and extant Witchcraft folklore. It is a story that hews closely to its source material which is exactly what makes it very much worth seeing. 
Therefore it is important to keep in mind that "The Witch" is a story told from the perspective of those who would have believed in Witchcraft at the time. 

If one wants to see what Puritans thought of Witches and Witchcraft, the "The Witch" is the movie to watch.

Witchcraft in, "The Witch" is dark and terrible and by "dark and terrible," I mean unremittingly evil by any rational definition of the term. 

The first encounter the puritan family, around whom the tale is built, has with a witch involves the theft of their infant son who is, in turn, slaughtered and used as an ingredient for a flying ointment (again, true to the folklore of using baby-fat in flying ointments). This first unflinchingly brutal act on the part of the witches in the film is symbolic of their nature. These witches are horrifically dark and, one could argue, barely human any least not in any way the viewer could understand. What they do, they do for their own inscrutable motivations. 

There is nothing to be found in these witches that one could see as sympathetic. The film, thankfully, does not attempt to peer into their psychology because in so doing, the witches would perhaps become relatable and this would fly directly in the face of the subject matter as told from the film's Puritan perspective.

If these witches, as cruel and calculating as they are in the film, started out as innocent as Thomasin (the film's primary protagonist), which one could I believe safely assume to be the case, then they are not only dreadful, they are tragic.

There is no "romantic darkness" to be found here, no misunderstanding, no sympathetic villains. One may argue that in this bleak spiritual landscape there are no "good" and no "bad" guys. This would not be true. The innocents struck down by witches, Thomasin's entire family, for a total of six victims, are the "good guys" even if the culture from which they come, and the beliefs they hold are noxious to us. They are still victims of a fate they did nothing to deserve. This is especially true of the children, even the creepy twins, who are themselves highly unsympathetic characters.

True malevolent Darkness (pathological selfishness, cruelty, libertine freedom at the expense of the well-being of others, etc.) only seems romantic when the Light ("the good") is defined as oppressive, moralizing, repressive ugliness as it is in this film. There is no joy, no laughter, no happiness, no love in the Light in this film. There is bleakness and debasement.

Unfortunately for Thomasin she is, because she dwells in a universe wherein Puritan Christian assumptions of spiritual truth are clearly implied (as is obvious in the storytelling and events of the film), doomed. She escapes from under the boot heel of her Puritan culture and its God only to find herself forced to choose a new master if she would retain her freedom. 

This new master, who is both directly and indirectly responsible for the brutal deaths of her entire family, does not grant Thomasin freedom out of  love for her or respect for her agency, but instead grants her agency so she can in turn serve as a tool of his own rebellion. He is no more noble a figure than the oppressive and joyless taskmaster God of the he seems as such to Thomasin who, at her lowest and most vulnerable, signs his offered pact.

As any occultists knows, should one fail to approach a power of questionable character as anything but its equal or superior, and instead approach as a servant, things are bound to end badly. Thomasin is not the equal of the Devil, and so her fate is to serve him as his creature. She will become the very thing that stole away and slaughtered her infant brother in the earlier portion of the film. In a Puritan universe, this young woman can never be truly free.

Yes, the protagonist's outlook is that grim from within the Puritan paradigm from which this darksome tale is woven. 

The Devil, in this tale, is no Prometheus, no Lucifer the Lightbringer, bringing illumination even at great personal sacrifice. He is the Satan that is the Enemy of God and man, who waits as a hungry lion to pounce upon believers. This is the Devil/Satan of "The Witch," as the Puritans would have believed him to be in accordance with the truths they believed expressed in their Bible.

The Devil, in this film as he is rooted in Puritan assumptions, is a malevolent force....even if he is only a slightly less odious figure, possibly, than the conception of God the Puritans worship. That's entirely arguable. One may attempt to, wrangle something of value out of "The Witch's" Devil, to make him somehow a liberator, or, gods forbid, a representative of older Pagan sensibilities, but this seems, in my opinion, to be projecting one's own hopes/preferences/biases onto a character and story that implies no such thing. If one swaps paradigms, seeing the movie's antagonists through the lens of modern Pagan Witchcraft (Wiccan, Trad, or other) wherein the underlying Puritan belief structure if lost or invalidated, the story loses all internal consistency.

In all instances when I refer to "darkness" or "light" in reference to this film, it is from within the paradigm of a dualistic Christian moral universe as presupposed by The Witch and not as these concepts are understood from within various Pagan faiths in general or from within Witchcraft, of any kind, specifically. 

This movie is interesting, disturbing, and even fascinating (for the student of folklore) look at the manner in which 17th Century Christians saw the world outside of that which fell directly under the influence of Christendom....this of course includes the wild places of the being under the dominion of the adversary of their God.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Case against the Case for Satan or What Really Underlies the Desire to Include Satan in Wicca and Paganism?

Milton's Satan
This is a response a rebuttle, to the blog article making the rounds that suggests that Wicca needs to embrace Satan or at least not reject him outright (The Case for Inviting Satan Back into Wicca).

*Note: This is an attempt to present a logically consistent argument against the NEED to include Satan in modern Wicca and Paganism. This is not an argument against the simple operative sorcery of including Christian symbolism and spirits in one's eclectic spiritual practice.

I disagree and in this article I will explain why.

Satan, as the actual Adversary, the ultimate transgressive force, makes absolutely no sense outside of
his conflict with the dictatorial (from the Satanic point of view) creator Yahweh. A rebel without a rebellion.....just isn't. The Good vs. Evil dynamic required to allow Satan to make any theological sense is not found in Wicca.

Some theistic Satanists conflate all "dark" gods with Satan as a sort of archetype of (cue spooky music and thunder) Dark Power...a sort of LHP overgod. This form of Satanism is nominally Pagan. It could be argued, by some, that Luciferians belong to this grouping as well, but many would disagree, as would I....because many Luciferians never reference Satan.

Some Witches, though usually not Wiccan Witches, see Satan as a form of the Horned God, the Master, the Lord of the Wild Hunt, Odin, Lucifer, etc. This is the folkloric Devil more than it is the Satan of Milton's Paradise Lost.

Devl at the Mississippi Crossroads
Colloquially Satan and the Devil are seen as the same being. However, in practice, the Devil is form of initiator/trickster god/spirit (an amalgamation of several) whose only relationship to the Biblical Satan is that, in European folklore, this being was transformed into the Lord of Darkness via the Catholic Church's relentless campaign to demonize all remaining remnants of indigenous European Paganism. Thus, to rustic folk (the storytellers and chroniclers of folklore), this being was Satan/The Devil. This is the only point of reference medieval folks had once they were successfully Christianized by the Church...while still clinging to echoes of their ancient Pagan perceptions.

It's quite apparent to me that folks who cling to the imagery of Satan, despite the fact that he is a useless accretion or add-on to any path outside of one that fails to include the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are those who are tied to an aesthetic they grew up with as part of a Christian culture.
They are, for all intents and purposes, closet Abrahamics.

LaVeyan Satanists are simply hedonist atheists (some of whom are unacknowledged Chaos Magicians) many of whom buy into Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy. Again, no Pagans here either.

The whole thing is a clusterf*ck of bad theology and unrelated, half-baked concepts that make little sense if studied objectively. There is no case for inviting Satan back into Wicca, because he was never there.

I would argue that Satan, for most, is merely a symbol of transgressive virtues. I would argue that he is a completely unnecessary symbol in terms of most modern Pagan practice. Satan, according to the author of the much shared blog post that's been doing the rounds lately isn't all that dark, he is merely selectively transgressive.

For the author whose work I'm referencing the Satan he wishes to shoehorn into Wicca is more about making a cultural statement about sexuality, gender dynamics, the oft-sighted Cis-Hetero-Patriarchy, queerdom, trans-issues, and whatnot. His other blog article about Satan/The Devil (Prying Open the Devil's Broom Closet) makes this quite clear. The author is really proposing the inclusion of Satan, not as a deep mystery of some kind, but as a kind of Social Justice Occultism. It would have been better had he been more honest in his motivation and approached the subject of social justice more directly instead of couching it in smoke and mirrors the way he has.

Satan isn't required so as to bring issues of social justice to the fore. Modern Paganism is quite capable of discussing/wrestling with these issues sans Satan and all the baggage that comes with him. We just don't need Satan as a symbol when most Pagans deal with entire pantheons of deities, many of which fit the bill for....transgressive power....quite nicely.

But, let's be honest here....

What does it even mean to be Transgressive in today's society?

The truth is that what is, and what is not, truly transgressive is entirely rooted in the current moral structure of our time and culture. So much of what was once transgressive thought and values are now pretty much an inseparable part of Progressive/PC/Post-Modern/Tolerance/Inclusion culture. What was once transgressive simply isn't so any longer...assuming of course one lives outside the Bible Belt or Mormon Utah.

Free Love....Heard of hook up culture?

Witchcraft....go to any bookstore

Homosexual activity.....depends on where you live

Magick....again, any bookstore

Gender Bending....Social media, Tumblr, and depends on where you live

Animal Sacrifice....Not exactly supported overall (outside of ATRs) but legal

BDSM....entered pop culture for the desperate housewives set, 50 Shades anyone?

Goetia....kinda hip at the moment

Grave Robbing......Frowned on even by the blackest of black magicians

Human sacrifice.....still frowned on by everyone

Cannibalism......still frowned on by everyone.

So, one may have to travel far afield to be truly transgressive in our culture. One has to do some pretty dark things to do it right nowadays. Saying the Lord's Prayer backwards just isn't going to do it for most folks anymore.

Because we are, in many ways a divided culture, what is transgressive to the values of New York sensibilities is very different than what it might be in rural Mississippi.

We are not, like the Puritans of old, a society of monochrome virtues/taboos. And for blasphemy to have any liberating effect, one has to violate taboos that, deep down, one holds or fears breaking. If one is doing otherwise, one is merely cosplaying at being transgressive.

And if one isn't willing to bite the bullet, so to speak, and be truly transgressive, what's the point of Satan after all beyond the nostalgic yearning for familiar symbols even if they don't make sense?

One of the arguments in favor of Satan's inclusion is that Satan/The Devil has been part of folklore
and culture for a very, very long time. This is a dangerous argument to make because even more than Satan, THE central figure for the entirety of Western culture, for nearly 2000yrs, has been the figure of Jesus Christ.
Wars have been fought, lands have been conquered and colonized, indigenous faiths in both Europe and the Americas snuffed out, millions killed and enslaved, all in the name of the necessity of belief in Christ...for the good of the souls of the conquered/colonized/killed.

If anyone or anything has the right to be seen as central or necessary to Western culture, and by default, Western Pagan and magickal culture, it's Jesus Christ and, with him, his father Yahweh. In fact, I believe that whether or not the "pro-Satan in Paganism/magick camp" realizes it or not....

Their argument in favor of Satan is, in my opinion, really an argument for the recognition of Jesus Christ and Yahweh in Western Paganism and magick. It's an unconscious desire to be sure, but still a reactionary desire to their deeply held, even though consciously rejected, belief that Christ/Yahweh is their god and the god of Western civilization/culture.

Now, many will bridle at this idea, but consider this, one of the primary arguments for the inclusion of Satan in Paganism/magick is, "We need the transgressive in Paganism and magick!" The unspoken point of view is that "Satan is the ultimate source of transgressivism!" Beneath that expression of belief is another deeper, unspoken, belief and that belief is...

"We need Satan as the transgressive rebel against Jesus/Yahweh the lawgiver, the lightbringer, the lynchpin of Western culture and spirituality for nearly 2000yrs!"

This is what is being said, without the words being spoken. How can one so completely support the shadow of Yahweh/Christ without, albeit unconsciously, accepting the sovereignty of the very God who Satan stands in clear rebellion against?

One can't...not in any consistent manner anyway.

The reality is as follows...

Satan opposes the law of only one.

Satan's rage is against only one.

Satan steals the souls of men to pain only one.

Satan is dedicated to deceiving the servants of only one.

Satan corrupted the Creation of only one.

Satan deceived Eve to spite only one.

All that Satan does he does not in opposition to Baal, Zeus, the Great Mother, Cernunnos, Marduk, Jupiter, Shiva, Kali, etc, but opposition to one power, the singular authority figure that hides in the shadows of the Western unconscious mind.....


It doesn't matter that Satan is a prosecuting angel in the Jewish OT, Yahweh's servant, because that myth isn't what infuses the consciousness of 99% of Westerners. The Satan of the New Testament and Milton is the mythic structure that underlies the Western psyche. It doesn't matter that Satan, or the idea of Satan, may be built on even older Pagan beings. The psyche, the deep emotional/intuitive place that hums and buzzes when in the presences of myths that speak to us, cares little for scholarly nuance. That part of us resonates to that with which it has been infused over a lifetime.

This deep intuitive/emotional place in the psyche is the place that rebels when someone speaks Lord's Prayer backwards. This deep place is the reason that those who claim to reject Christianity still respond so strongly to Christian symbols.

The conscious and unconscious mind is only rarely in alignment. This is the deep place that allows Hebrew psalms to work effective magick even for those who would find the idea of bending the knee to Yahweh unthinkable. This is the deep place wherein Christ/Yahweh and Christianity is both loved and hated, embraced and rejected.

Don't expect the unconscious mind to make sense, reason isn't its strength. It is perfectly capable of holding contradictory beliefs/perceptions/worldviews at once without experience the cognitive dissonance that would cripple the conscious mind. Satan dwells in the deep places of the psyche beyond the influence of the relatively weak and ephemeral conscious mind and with him dwells Jesus/Yahweh.

Some can and will be able to caste off all unconscious remnants of our nominally Christian culture. Those that can should feel free to walk away from all Christian symbols, gods, and spirits without regret.

However, those that cannot or, deep down, would rather not, should not. These Witches and magicians should continue to use Christian symbols, gods, and spirits and can do so successfully. Sometimes it is easier to work with the contents of the unconscious than it is to attempt to change them.
No talk of Satan in Wicca, Paganism in general, or magickal culture, is complete without the equal
and opposite recognition that Christ/Yahweh is the very sovereign being honored while one is arguing for Satan's inclusion.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Balancing Personal Will and Permissive Will in Magickal Practice

That word is 'willing.' It's an attitude and spirit of cooperation that should permeate our conversations. It's like a palm tree by the ocean that endures the greatest winds because it knows how to gracefully bend. ” 
- Stephen Kendrick, The Love Dare

There's something inherently curious about the "Will." Anyone deeply involved in magick is well aware that one's will is of great importance...the will directs the intention, the energy, the spirits, etc. toward one's desired end.

Curiously though, I have found over the years that, even as a magician, one should not overvalue the personal will. What I mean to say is that there are times when our will can lead us seriously astray, times when getting what we thought we wanted would have been far worse than not. Sometimes the will can be countervened in a way that makes our magick seem as if it failed when in fact our "failure" to manifest a desired outcome leads us to something better that what we wished for.

Then there are times when magick happens without the involvement of our personal will. These times, linked to one's alliances with one's gods, spirits, HGA, Higher Self, etc., and the natural harmony with reality brought about by spiritual practices such as meditation, prayer, yoga, qigong, etc. allow what is best for us to flow to us not by will, but by "willingness" or Permissive Will....which is receptive state of non-doing, non-craving, natural flow.

In Taoism, this state of being is called "Wu Wei." Wu Wei is a state of non-doing, non-craving, effortless flow that, within the context of magickal practice, implies a deep trust in the gods, ancestors, spirits, etc. to provide for you that which is in alignment with your deepest needs.

It has been my experience that these times of effortless alignment to our own Highest Good (often a good unknown to the personal will) are times when we are granted boons far greater than those we would have received if had impressed the desires of our will upon the universe...thereby pushing for a specific, limited outcome.

It seems to me that one must balance one's active "will" with one's receptive "willingness." It seems that one's True Will is to be found more so in the latter than the former, at least until such time as one's personal will is in greater natural harmony with the will of the One Thing (who we may see manifest as God, Goddess, the Self, the gods, etc.) which is, in my understanding, naturally aligned to that which is best for all beings.

What is "best" is may or may not be what is, from our limited perspective, what is best for the individual ego-personality, but instead what is necessary for that being holistically (in regards to the entirety of the individual)....even if, from the view of the ego-personality, what is needed appears terrible, tragic, or needless. This is a different perspective, and one, at odds unfortunately with the prevailing paradigm of magickal practice which tends to confuse the True Will with the desires and predilections of the magician's ego-personality.

The axiom "As above, so below" comes to mind here. The "above" is that Will that knows more, knows better, and knows deeper than the the personal will (which is the "below") because it has a far vaster perspective. In aligning the "below" with the "above" we naturally come into alignment with experiences, awareness, knowledge, and wisdom that is more in keeping with our needs than than that which we could have manifested without that alignment by relying on the lower will alone.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Compassion and Cages

“You can do what you decide to do — but you cannot decide what you will decide to do.” 
― Sam HarrisFree Will

Gods know I'm as guilty as anyone else, so I don't excuse myself in the words that follow. This article is just as much for me as it is for anyone reading it.

We need, collectively, to be able to demonstrate compassion to those with whom we strongly disagree. That compassion is born of, among other things, understanding that, to a large extent, each of us is the product of our experiences and environment.

I do believe that there are deeper forces at play in who we are and who we eventually become, but for the sake of the discussion that follows, experience and environment are enough.

The beliefs, perspectives, and values we carry are, to a greater or lesser extent, the product of our culture and upbringing. Like a fish in a lake, our culture is the very substance wherein we live and move, to such an extent that we are often blind to its existence around, or impact on, us.

The cultural realities we have come to accept are not revealed truth, they are merely relative realities that would have been completely different had we been born and raised in a different time and place. For the most part, we are who we are because of when and where we are. That may be an uncomfortable truth, but truth it is.

If we can but realize this, we will realize that we needn't hate those with whom we disagree. We can wholly reject another's principles, values, beliefs, and ideals while still recognizing, as they say, "but for the grace of God go I." We may have been those who are the targets of our scorn, mockery, and ire, if only we had their life experience or lived within the confines of their paradigm.

This recognition does not completely lift the onus of an individual's responsibility or agency. Instead, by recognizing that we are, in many ways, the product of our time and place, we are able to be more cognizant of the limits of responsibility and agency in regards to what we believe.

Free will is only operative within the constraints of culturally prescribed boundaries. Because most of humanity is not composed of visionaries, mystics, artists, etc., those who seem to be able to see beyond the limits of culture and time, it behooves us to accept the limits of most individuals' capacities to exercise what we commonly refer to as free will.

Only those who can see the confines of the cage within which they live can exercise the choice to choose freedom. One cannot escape a prison one fails to recognize.

Culture, traditions, religions, etc. are all, in a manner of speaking, cages. At different times in our lives any of these structures are not only useful, they are necessary to provide the stability needed for healthy growth within a culture. However, it is one thing to know and accept the boundaries of a cage that are at variance comforting, helpful, and stabilizing, it is entirely something else to believe that one's preferred structure is universally valid or divinely mandated truth for all people at all times.

Recognizing that until we reach a very refined level of awareness, a level of awareness wherein a chosen structure becomes recognized for the purely aesthetic choice it is (as opposed to the vessel of certainty and truth we once accepted it to be) we are all bound to a greater or lesser extent within our personal cage. This awareness, that we too are bound, can be a source of profound understanding and compassion.

If you or I are not, yet, fully free, then we cannot expect those with whom we have strong disagreement to be fully free of blinders, limitations and boundaries (ie. their cage) either. Our political and ideological enemies are merely trapped in cage different from our own.

However, despite strenuous and valid philosophical/Ideological conflict with those with whom we share little in terms of values and vision, we needn't hate those who wish us to share their cage because, for them, that cage is the only world they know.

Reject the cage, even hate the cage, but we needn't hate those trapped within.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Wear Your Label Lightly - Paradigms Needn't Imprison

I tend to wear labels loosely, more for ease of dialog than anything else. A label is a descriptor and nothing more and need only be a box, imprisoning and petrifying, when you make it so.

Too often many seem inclined to use their chosen label as not only a helpful descriptor, but as a prison that defines, for them, all that they may experience, accept, understand and know. That which falls outside the parameters of the box is ignored or rejected.

This is, in my opinion, spiritually deadly because no tradition contains within itself the totality of all possible human spiritual experiences and awareness. Sophisticated traditions will contain more than enough of reality within their paradigm to take the seeker to the point wherein the tradition is no longer needed. Less sophisticated traditions may be barely fleshed enough to keep an aspirant growing past the early years of spiritual practice and experience.

Due to the realities of the modern world and it’s abundant freedom to seek outside the commonplace, the paths many of us have chosen are either new, yet informed by ancient myth, principles, and practices, or truly ancient, yet gutted and skeletal due to the influence of cultural forces that ever seek to obliterate and demonize those beliefs unlike their own.

Both new paths with ancient roots and ancient paths denuded of the purity of their folklore and sacred myths, often leave blanks that need filling. These “blanks” are the experiences and awareness that are not within the purview of a given path or tradition to express or comprehend at least in its modern manifestation.

Thus are many of us called to learn from living traditions. We seek to fill in the gaps left behind by the cruelties of time, war, and forgetfulness. We learn and we grow, gleaning insight wherever it is to be found and, if we are wise, rejecting nothing merely because it fails to fall within the parameters of the labels with which we have chosen to define ourselves.

What we come to understand, through study and experience, we use, even if such choices violate the purity parameters of those mired in paradigms that reject all truth inexpressible within their own tradition.

Dare I say, truth is truth, even if one’s chosen tradition doesn't have the language to express it.

As your needs demand, be part of a tradition or path that suits you. However, it’s best to wear the label you’ve chosen as lightly as possible for truth tends to travel best through traditions, paths, and labels so light as to be transparent.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Prayer to Isis Panthea - A Modern Pagan's Prayer to the Great Goddess as Ground of Being

This is going to be, for me, a relatively brief blog post as its purpose is to impart the words I was inspired to put to paper, so to speak, upon arising from meditation this evening.

In all my years as a Pagan magician and mystic (30+yrs at this point) I have come to understand that all I need to know or experience, in terms of spiritual awareness, has ever been made available to me via the vehicle of committed spiritual practice. No amount of study, stimulating conversation with either like-minded or challenging souls, or intellectual rumination can help one come to terms with spiritual, magickal, and mystical realities the way dedicated spiritual practice can.

Spiritual awareness is, in this context, akin to falling in love.

No amount of reading up on the subject of falling in love can truly prepare one for the reality of what it really means to fall in love. Of course, one can read all about the evolutionary benefits of pair bonding, the neuro-chemical tides released by the brain when one feels love, or any number of brute, and often sadly reductionistic, facts on the subject of love as a biological reality. One may even accomplish being seen as either quite intelligent or as an insufferable bore, depending on the company one keeps, due to the ability to regurgitate such trivia on demand.

However, despite the fact one's brain is brimming with others' thoughts on the subject of love, none of this second-hand knowledge will be more than a footnote in the awareness of one who has actually fallen in love. The thoughts of others on the subject of love are swept away in a tsunami of personal experience that makes pale and shallow the pedestrian intellectualizing that once served as truth.

Such is the experience of the Divine for those who are willing to set aside being armchair magicians and mystics and who, instead, are willing to do the work and experience for ourselves what others merely talk about.

My theology is distinctly monistic (basically Panentheistic Dialectical Monism) in approach and though, nowadays, monism seems to have fallen on hard times within some sectors of the Pagan Community, I've never been one to pay much, if any, attention to the theological squabbles of others, I have always sought instead to follow the path of practice, study, and personal gnosis.

Isis Rising by Gilbert Williams

Prayer to Isis Panthea

It is not I who love, but you who love through me.

It is not I who touch, but you who touch through me.

It is not I who embrace, but you who embrace through me.

It is not I who perceive, but you who perceive through me.

It is not I who feel joy, but you who feel joy through me.

It is not I who weep, but you who weep through me.

It is not I who sorrow, but you who sorrow through me.

It is not I who rage and anguish at cruelty and injustice, but you whose righteousness is manifest both through the severity of justice the mercy of compassion who moves through me.

It is not I who reach out, but you who reach out through me.

It is not I who bring healing, but you who heal through me.

It is not my virtue through which I live in accord with Ma’at, but by you who are the heart of all virtue.

It is not I who breathe, but you who breathe through me.

It is you who are my Mother.

It is you who are my Lover.

It is you who are my Beloved.

It is you who are Sovereign of the Elements.

It is you who are Mother of the Gods.

It is you who are the Supreme Mystery whose veil none have lifted.

It is you who are both Seeker and That Which is Sought, both the Sacred Journey and its Destination.

It is not I who live, but you who live through me.

When I breathe my last breath, It is not I who shall die, but you who shall pass through the Gates of Death and it is not I who shall be reborn, but you who shall be reborn again to participate in the Great Dance, you who are dancer, the stage, and song.

Praise unto you Mother Isis, you who are my Guide, my Wisdom, and none other than my own Divine Self.