Archive for the ‘Wytchecraft Coven’ Category

14
May

House/Apartment Banishing the Darkness Ritual

   Posted by: Scrivener

A reader posted this request on our Facebook page:

Greeting my sister & brothers, I hoping that some of you may be able to assist me on a time sensitive matter…A friend of mine is having darklings manifesting themselves around & even trying to harm her. She doesn’t have any one faith, however, knows I’ve delt [sic] with things along this nature before. This time however I am not close & she needs somewhat easy assistance to banish or block these things. Any ideas, spells, etc. are welcome. Thank you. Blessed Be. )0(

Since the reader didn’t specify whether they meant fae darklings or dark/malevolent spirits, what I am proposing is a general banishing. The Circle of the Dark Moon coven used this ritual last August to remove a “dark and heavy presence” as described by the apartment tenants. This presence was so forcefully expelled that upon reciting the final banishing, two members were pushed backward.

Usually, I would recommend before performing a banishing to first attempt contact with the entity/entities to determine what they want. While there are presences that are just nasty pieces of work, many perceived attacks (poltergeists, banging noises, etc.) are actually attempts by spirits to get your attention in order to elicit help. Oftentimes, these seemingly malevolent beings are merely entities that have strayed onto the mundane plane and don’t know how to get back to wherever it is that they belong. Just some food for thought, the monsters under our beds aren’t always monsters.

However, should you decide to perform a banishing, the following ritual has yielded us great success.

 


GENERAL APARTMENT/HOUSE BANISHING/CLEANSING

We begin this ritual by performing a variation of the Cabalistic Cross. This is done to secure a cleansed area for the working to follow. The Cabalistic Cross is traditionally executed by touching the forehead, solar plexus/genitals, right and left shoulder and finally the heart and intoning in order the holy names listed below this sentence.

 

ATOH ( thou art)

MALKUTH (the kingdom)

VEH-GEBURAH (the power)

VEH-GEDULAH (the glory)

LE-OLAHM (unto the ages)

AUGHMN (so mote it be)

 

However, for a more Wiccan flavor, use the below variation.

 

WICCAN CROSS

  • Face East. Touch forehead. Say IO EVOE HEKATE
  • Touch solar plexus or genitals. Say IO EVOE CERNUNNOS
  • Touch right shoulder. Say EKO EKO AZARAK (‘Hail, hail force of fire’)
  • Touch left shoulder. Say EKO EKO ZAMELAK (‘Hail, hail to the glory’)
  • Extend arms in form of a cross. Say
  • IO EVOE (‘Blessed be.’) Clasp hands upon breast and say ‘So mote it be.’

 

CIRCLE OF PROTECTION

Next, we raise a magickal circle. If the circle caster doesn’t have an athame, sword, wand, or staff, or simple prefers not to use such an instrument, then the caster may use some lit sage, a white candle or even just their projective hand.

 

Using the magickal projective tool of choice (or even just your right or left hand depending upon your right or left handedness)

 

  • From the center of where you are casting the circle, go to the Eastern Quarter. Then, trace the invoking pentagram of Air and say, “I call upon Herne the Great Hunter
  • Continue counterclockwise around the circle to its Northern Quarter and trace the invoking pentagram of Earth and say, “I call upon Hecate, Queen of the Crossroads and Protectoress of Witches.”
  • Continue around the circle to its western Quarter and trace the invoking pentagram of Water and say, “I call upon the Morrigan the Warrior Goddess of the Celts.”
  • Continue around the circle to its Southern Quarter and trace the invoking pentagram of Fire and say, “I call upon Cernunnos the Horned Lord of the Wild.”
  • Finish tracing circle, closing it in the East.

 

INVOCATION OF THE GREAT GODS

  • Return to center of circle and face East.
  • Extend arms in form of a cross. Chant:
  • Say, “Before me HERNE The Huntsman.”
  • Say, “Behind me the Morrigan The Warrior.”
  • Say, “On my right hand CERNUNNOS, the Horned God.”
  • Say, “On my left hand HECATE, the Crone and Queen of all Sorceries.”
  • In your mind’s eye see the invoking pentagrams you traced blazing with an all consuming and cleansing fire
  • Say in a strong voice, “About me flame the pentagrams.”
  • Say in an even stronger voice, “And above me shines the light of the God and Goddess.”
  • Say in your strongest voice, “By the Power of the Divine Light,”
  • Say, “I banish this darkness from my sight.”
  • Say, “Depart, do not follow me or mine and never return.”
  • Say, “Lest by the Divine Flames of the Pentagrams you be consumed and burned.”

 

 

4
May

The Chalice vs. the Blade

   Posted by: Scrivener Tags:

Riane Eisler describes how humankind once lived in a caring, sharing environment. That period, which lasted for tens of thousands of years, survived, though barely, just into historical times. It was characterized by a worship of the divine feminine as represented by the chalice in the title of Eisler’s book.

In a blink of the eye, historically speaking, that environment was brutally overthrown and replaced with the beginnings of the patriarchy in which we live today. Those who overthrew this golden age worshipped not life and creativity, but death and destruction; in short, the blade. Those in power today continue to worship that blade, which has been changed by the rapid rise of technology into the lethal systems that could end all life on the planet in a matter of days or hours.

The premise of The Chalice and the Blade is that the rapid transition from a partnership society to a male dominator society was the result of the sociological equivalent of a “critical bifurcation point” in Chaos theory. Eisler explains in some detail how the currently popular scientific theory applies to that sudden shift into darkness that occurred approximately six or seven thousand years ago. However, she also goes on to propose that we once again face a critical bifurcation point; that we live in an exciting, dangerous time in which we can just as rapidly overthrow our hierarchically controlled patriarchal system and replace it with a technologically advanced model of the partnership system in which both genders work together to emphasize the nurturing side of life.

That’s the theory, anyway.

I found the early part of The Chalice and the Blade fascinating. Eisler frequently quotes such notables as Marija Gimbutas and James Mellaart, whose archaeological findings are the supporting pillars in Wiccan/Pagan cosmology. In fact, my only complaint about the first two-thirds of the book is that Eisler often refers to specific photos in the books of those two authors, but does not reproduce the photos in The Chalice and the Blade. Not a problem if you have the other works at hand; however, not everyone does.

About a third of the way from the end of the book, however, I began to lose interest. This is the point at which Eisler begins to explain how our age has reached that critical point in which we can effect a rapid transformation of our patriarchal (dominator) society into anything we want–in particular, the partnership model that would truly represent a maturing of our species. So why did I lose interest? Eisler’s theory is the stuff of dreams.

I would give almost anything to return to a Chalice-oriented social structure. However, Eisler just didn’t convince me that we have reached that critical bifurcation point. She labors long on man’s cruelty to woman and what things might be like; too long, by a good measure. Of course, in the vernacular of the internet, YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Having lived in those heady days of revolution known as the sixties, I’m a little more realistic about the pace at which change occurs. However, those days also taught me that persistence is how to bring change about. For that reason, I can criticize Eisler for her verbosity, but not her persistence.

If you’ve read Mellaart and Gimbutas, you might want to pass on reading The Chalice and the Blade. However, if your Goddess history is a little weak, you should take a look at this book to fill in the gaps. ~ Yona

*****

Riane Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade was one of several books by feminist scholars released in the late 1980’s that tried to sketch out the origins of patriarchy in order to suggest ways that it might be ended. Like Marilyn French’s Beyond Power and Gerda Lerner’s The Creation of Patriarchy, Eisler asserts that patriarchy is built on particular symbol and value reversals – the Great Mother Goddess, primary symbol for the divine source of being and associated with peace and compassion, is marginalized and then discarded entirely, while a masculine war god is raised in her place. Of these three similar books, however, Eisler’s is by far the shortest, simplest, and easiest to read, which may account for its continuing popularity and multiple reprintings since its initial publication in 1987. At the time of writing, the book has sold over 500,000 copies and has inspired a similar study of China edited by Min Jiayin, The Chalice and the Blade in Chinese Culture.

Eisler uses the symbols of chalice and blade to stand for two competing sets of values and models of society. The chalice stands for a style of social structure that Eisler calls the partnership model, in which relations between the sexes are understood primarily in terms of partnership rather than hierarchy. The resulting society is egalitarian, peaceful, and matrifocal, centered on the nurturing values traditionally associated with mothers. Using a variety of archaeological studies, Eisler claims that such societies existed in Neolithic Europe from the beginning of the agricultural revolution until around 5000-3000 BCE, when warlike invaders from the fringes of these regions conquered them. These invaders’ social model, which Eisler calls the dominator model, is warlike, hierarchical, and organized around patterns of domination. Sex, race, class, and other characteristics are used to rank individuals in a social pecking order, which is then kept in place with the threat of violence. This model is generally associated with a male god and with the glorification of the ability to take life, in contrast to the partnership model’s sacralization of women’s ability to give life through birth. Eisler also coins more technical-sounding terms to describe the dimension of gender in these models: she calls the principle of the partnership model gylany, which is intended to invoke the linking of the two sexes, while she refers to dominator societies as practicing androcracy, the rule of men by force.

For Eisler, history is the keystone of her argument, her proof that because partnership societies existed in the past, they might be achievable again in the future (xv). She uses Minoan Crete as her primary illustration of a partnership society, and draws on archaeologists James Mellaart and Marija Gimbutas to argue that the worship of a single Great Goddess was the shared religion of all of Neolithic Europe. The following chapters turn to cultural and art history, as she examines the literature of the ancient Greeks and Hebrews to find myths suggesting remnants of usurped female power. Her particular proof texts include the story of Adam and Eve, in which Eve is tempted to eat the fruit of knowledge by a serpent, a symbol associated with Goddess worship in several ancient cultures of the region, and the Greek Oresteia, in which the Furies are stripped of their power to punish the murder of a mother by a son when Athena sides with the gods against the goddesses.

Eisler’s ultimate aim, however, is not historical but normative. The chapters on archaeology and cultural history serve as a background for her insistence that with the invention of the atomic bomb, humanity has reached an evolutionary crossroads. Human society must turn again to a gylanic model of association and embrace its values, because to continue along the path of androcracy is likely to lead to nuclear war. The remainder of the book is devoted to what Eisler calls Cultural Transformation theory, and sketches out mechanisms by which transformation from a dominator model of society to a partnership one can be accomplished. Among her observations is a criticism of the rigid sexual stereotypes that she sees as a necessary part of a dominator society, as well as the claim that the rise of women’s status in a given society is highly correlated with its overall quality of life.

Although Eisler’s goals are admirable, her assertion that history provides the proof for her arguments is dangerous due to the poor quality of her scholarship. Much of the archeology that she relies on for her argument has been discredited by later scholars, particularly the work of Marija Gimbutas. Even in the case of Crete where the material evidence is suggestive of an egalitarian society, Eisler’s claims are grossly overstated. She makes far-reaching statements about social structure, the nature of Minoan religion, and the relations between the sexes essentially on the basis of a limited set of paintings, buildings, and figurines. In contrast to most contemporary archaeologists, who are hesitant to make any certain claims about the Neolithic due to limited data, here the speculations of a few now-discredited archaeologists are reported as proven fact. The lack of illustrations in The Chalice and the Blade prevents the reader from coming to her own conclusions about the artifacts on which so much of Eisler’s argument rests. Further, Eisler’s cultural history is both oversimplified and full of minor errors. For example, in analyzing the two creation stories of Genesis, she attributes the first story (in which man and woman are created simultaneously) to an earlier, more egalitarian source, while the second story (of Eve being created from Adam’s rib) is considered a later androcentric addition. Contemporary biblical scholarship, however, dates the second story hundreds of years earlier than the first. The simultaneous-creation story which Eisler admires is actually part of the priestly tradition that, a page before, she portrayed as an androcentric conspiracy, carefully editing out evidence of egalitarianism from the biblical text (85-86). Finally, despite Eisler’s frequent insistence that it is not men per se, but rather the sacralization of killing and death that creates dominator societies, her model nevertheless perpetuates the very “war between the sexes” that she seeks to end – pitting the nurturing, womblike chalice of the Goddess against the destructive, phallic blade of Yahweh and other war gods. In her tendency to strongly associate women and mothering with her desirable model, she potentially marginalizes men by failing to effectively model positive images of masculine power. Under a system where Mother is God, can men legitimately be anything but children?[1]

Postscript: Riane Eisler was born in Vienna, but was forced to flee with her family to Cuba and then to the United States in response to the Nazi occupation of Austria. She holds degrees in sociology and law from the University of California, and is currently president of the Center for Partnership Studies, a non-profit organization dedicated to realizing Eisler’s vision of cultural transformation. Its work includes programs against violence in intimate relationships, designing partnership-style educational techniques for children and adolescents, economic activism, and public education on the research of Eisler and her associates.

Works Consulted

The Center for Partnership Studies [online]. Cited 24 Apr 2004. Available from World Wide Web: (http://www.partnershipway.org/).

Conkey, Margaret W., and Ruth E. Tringham. “Archaeology and the Goddess: Exploring the Contours of Feminist Archaeology.” Feminisms in the Academy, eds. Domna C. Stanton and Abigail J. Stewart. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1998.

Donaldson, Laura E., reviewer. “The Course of Co-Creation” (The Chalice and the Blade book review). Cross Currents 40 (Spring 1990): 124-6.

Eisler, Riane. The Chalice and the Blade. With special epilogue for 25th printing. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1987 [1995].

Patton, Laurie L. “The Chalice and the Blade (book review).” Anglican Theological Review 70 (July 1988): 287-290.

Ruether, Rosemary Radford. “The Chalice and the Blade (book review).” Daughters of Sarah 15 (May-June 1989): 22-23.

 

Circle of the Dark Moon Coven


 

    First Degree

Minimums for Initiation

 

  1. Be able to meditate and or maintain a trance state for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Be able to visualize the results of their magick.
  3. Be cognizant of their heritage
    1. Be able to converse intelligently about the major traditions in Wicca
    2. Know the major historical figures in Wicca
    3. Understand that while Wicca may have sprung into existence in the 1950’s, that it’s roots lie with Goddess worship and witchcraft techniques which extend back to at least Paleolithic times.
    4. Be passably well read on the heritage of their life-path and be able to discuss Wicca intelligently.
  4. Have an awareness of Deity
    1. Know what Deity means to themselves and others.
    2. Have a passing familiarity with differing religious pantheons in order to better define their personal relationship to Deity and to further understanding of others on a different path.
    3. Be aware of their God and Goddess.
    4. Know the steps to take to further their spirituality.
  5. Be able to function as a competent solitaire.
    1. Understand how Wicca is a lifestyle and not just a religion.
      1. Be familiar with the laws of Karma.
      2. Understand at least in a limited fashion the concept of living lightly and deep ecology.
    2. As a Wiccan, know your responsibilities to society.
    3. Understand the Wheel of the Year.
    4. Know the lore connected with the Sabbats and be able to observe the Sabbats and Esbats.
    5. Be confident in their ability to conduct rituals.
  6. Have a passing familiarity with numerous magickal systems so that if they should decide to pursue further experience in magick the student will know how to proceed.
  7. Have a thorough understanding of the basic symbolism of the Circle including,
    1. Casting the circle, calling the quarters, and invocation of deities.
    2. Altar arrangement
    3. Must have obtained proper ritual wear as put forth in the laws and know why you are required to wear a robe in ritual.
    4. Be well versed in Circle protocol and etiquette.
  8. Demonstrate the ability to write a full Sabbat or Esbat ritual. (teachers choice)
  9. Know the Sabbats, dates, mythos and symbolism behind them.
  10. Know the Esbats, what they stand for and how they are used magickally.
  11. Choose a healing art and demonstrate a beginning knowledge of it.
  12. General knowledge of the power of symbols. (May include some runes).
  13. Demonstrate a general knowledge of one magickal alphabet.
  14. Demonstrate the ability to cast a circle, create sacred space, and perform basic ritual of teachers choice.
  15. Display a passing competency of one form of form of divination.
  16. Receive a recommendation of secession from the HPS, the HP or at least one member of the coven council.
  17. Demonstrate the ability to write and cast a spell of your choosing.
  18. Complete a paper on what you believe a First Degree is and why you want to advance to that level.
  19. Know the differences between Witches and Pagans.

 

Foreword

It is not the intent of this notice to chastise, scold, or take a harsh tone. Nay, it is to the contrary. I first want to thank and congratulate each of you who have given of your time and resources these past years. It’s through your kind contributions that you have made the Circle of the Dark Moon as successful as it has been.

I know that at the last coven meeting we discussed the below points, this missive is merely the ‘official’ notification and justification.

Background

An early, informal incorporation of the Circle of the Dark Moon Coven & School of Wicca, Wytchecraft, and Magick (CotDM) known as the Circle of Cerredwen’s (CoC) was formed in 1996. In 2002, the founding members approved an official coven charter for the CotDM declaring the coven now to be a teaching coven. Shortly thereafter, the CotDM began in person classes as well as online classes. In 2008, the CotDM received 501(c) status. Since then, the CotDM has been in continuous operation making it one of the most active covens in middle Georgia. Also since its inception, the founding members of the CotDM have financed coven operations from their own resources.

Charging coven members dues and charging students for classes is an issue coven officers have struggled with at the CotDM for quite some time. It’s not that we didn’t need the financial assistance. Quite the contrary, as the founders continued to finance coven operations even while unemployed. However, the fear was that by charging for services, more attention would be paid to the bottom line and that members and students would suffer as a result. Alas, economic realities now dictate otherwise.

Let’s Do the Math

Each year, without fail, the CotDM holds open rituals for the eight Sabbats (Samhain, Yule, Imbolg, Ostara, Bealtaine, Litha, Lughnasadh, and Mabon.) in addition to the eight Sabbats, the CotDM celebrates 12 full moon Esbats and 12 dark moon Esbats in addition to Blue and Black Moon Esbats. For each ritual (Sabbat or Esbat), we produce a professionally designed program. Our programs usually run around 26 to 30 pages so let’s take an average length of 28 pages.

28 pages X $.18 per page (the average cost per page for operating an ink jet computer) = $5.04 = the cost to produce one program. The cost per page was derived based on the published estimated yield per cartridge of 170 pages at on average $30 per cartridge comes out to $.1764 per page rounded to $.18. This figure does not take into account amortization of the original purchase cost of the printer.

$5.04 x (8 Sabbats + 12 Full Moon rituals + 12 Dark Moon rituals + 2 special rituals = $5.04 x 34 = $171.36 / year which is the cost to produce programs for just one person. If we discount Blue and Black Moon rituals (because we don’t always have a Blue or a Black Moon every year), the cost drops to a paltry $161.28 per person per year.

After ritual there are always refreshments served. At Sabbats, we serve full meals and at Esbats, simpler snacky type foods are served. While people have been very good about pitching in with the food costs, I add those estimated costs here for the sake of accurate accounting. We estimate the average cost per person per after ritual meal is $3.64 (based on USDA figures for Oct. 2010.)

$3.64 x 32 Sabbats and Esbats = $116.48 per person per year.

$161.28 (printing costs) + $116.48 (food) = $277.76 per person per year expenses thus far.

Another cost that’s difficult to calculate, therefore we won’t provide a figure, is the temple room (a room at our covenstead which is devoted exclusively to ritual.)

Other miscellaneous expenses include ritual supplies (candles, herbs, incenses, altar cloths, etc.) We estimated those expenses to be around $42 per year.

$277.76 + $42 = $319.42 per year per covener so far. However, to be fair, since technically, the food will be a shared expense (see below), let’s drop the cost of the food so that the cost per covener is now $161.28 again.

Web hosting costs for the Circle of the Dark Moon website divided by the number of active members comes to about $12.87 per year.

$319.42 + $12.87 = $332.23 is estimated cost per covener per year now.

Finally, for those attending classes there are additional costs associated with class handouts. Not to mention the time spent by the founders to prepare and give classes, write rituals, and prepare food. In the past, the CotDM never charged anything for classes. However, it has been our experience some people decide on a whim to become ‘wiccan’ but then after a while attend classes only sporadically or not at all. A teacher/student relationship is a sacred trust and both teacher and student must do their part to make the relationship successful. Therefore, the charging a nominal class fee is one way to ensure that the aspiring seeker has at least some modicum of dedication to the craft.

How Much Will All This Cost Me.

That depends.

Coven Dues

  • Beginning in January 2011, coven dues for dedicants and initiated members will be assessed.
  • $75.00 per person (not family) per year is the amount.
  • Dues may be paid in a lump sum due on the full moon in January.
  • Or you may pay $7 monthly for a total of $84/person/year
    • If paying monthly, one must have paid at the minimum, the quarterly amount of $21 by Ostara, Litha, and Mabon. For instance, if paying monthly one must have paid at least $21 by Ostara, at least $42 by Litha, and at least $63 by Mabon with the remaining $21 due by December 31 for a grand total of $84.
    • If you provide services or materiel to the CotDM the reasonable and proper cost of those services and or materiel will be deducted from your coven dues.
    • For those choosing to pay their dues monthly, payment is due on the full moon of each month.

Classes

  • Classes are always free for coven members.
  • Students, currently enrolled in a degree program (in-person or online) or who have already contacted the CotDM about January enrollment may complete their present degree for no cost. Any following classes will be subject to enrollment fees. If you have questions whether or not you are subject to the new class fee structure please email your inquiries to the CotDM.
  • Otherwise, in-person classes will cost $55.00 / student per degree.
    • For instance, the cost for someone taking classes through the Third Degree would be $165 = $55 (First-Degree) + $55 (Second-Degree) + $55 (Third Degree.)
    • Of course, if you become an initiated member as opposed to just taking classes then these classes would be free.
  • Online classes will cost $30.00 / student per degree.
  • Beginning in January, once classes have begun, students who miss more than three consecutive classes will be dropped from the student roles. What that means is if you are dropped and wish to resume classes, you will have to pay another enrollment fee (or a first enrollment fee if you are a student being grandfathered in under the old rules.)
  • Again, if you are currently enrolled in classes or a coven member these class fees do not apply but you must check with your instructor before classes begin in order to have the class fee waived. Otherwise you will be considered a new student and subject to enrollment fees.
  • Check with your instructor to make sure that you are not dropped from the rolls and charged a fee for classes.

Non-member Costs

  • Dedicants and coven members are welcome to sponsor guests who would like to attend rituals and coven events. However, if these guests become regular attendees at coven events, it would behoove their sponsor to suggest that they might contribute in some way to defray costs—especially if said guests have been attending rituals thus requiring extra printing.
  • Spouses or significant others of dedicants or coven members will never be expected to contribute any additional monies.

Food

  • It has and will continue to be customary for refreshments to aid in grounding to be served after rituals.
  • In the past, an informal approach was taken towards scheduling who was to bring what and what happened was that certain people always ending up bringing something and the founders also ending up organizing everything.
  • Please see our calendar page for a schedule of when rituals are being held and who will be responsible for organizing and bringing the evening’s treats.
  • For Esbats we usually have just snacks and for Sabbats a full meal.
  • For Esbats the person in charge will be responsible for bringing the snacks and for arranging the bringing of other items such as drinks, silverware, or other snacks, etc.
  • For Sabbats, the person in charge will be responsible for bringing the main course and for coordinating with other members as to who is bringing what side dish, utensils, or drinks.
  • If you are the person in charge of food for a particular event and you cannot make that event, it is YOUR responsibility to either trade dates with another member or make other arrangements.
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