14
Jun

Website back up

   Posted by: Scrivener   in Uncategorized

Hooray!

The Circle of the Dark Moon website is back up. Actually it’s been back up for a while I just haven’t had a chance to post the news.

20
May

Website is down

   Posted by: Scrivener   in Uncategorized

The damn website is down again—sorry for the inconvenience. I am so sick of fighting with MySQL and my POS laptop server but perhaps soon we’ll have a permanent solution. Or maybe I should put whine out on the witches’ meetup board. That’s what C did for her little shop of farces, “oh help l’il ol’ me; the laptop I had isn’t mine to use anymore and can’t all you good-hearted Wiccans come together and give me the equipment I want?”

Guess she’s running low on funds from her small business loan.

14
May

Can You Help Me?

   Posted by: Scrivener   in wicca

Recently I received this letter from a seeker.

Hello,

My name is Gabrielle, and I was just browsing around for Wiccan web sites and found yours. Although I’m not sure that I could believe in Wicca, (I’m an atheist), I am extremely fascinated by your religion. I was hoping to get some tips on how to learn more about your lifestyle etc. I wish that I was able to believe in something so beautiful as Wicca, but it unfortunately isn’t for me I guess. Anything that you can tell me would be great. I have been trying to find some tarot cards that I like because I love the idea of them, and I’ve been searching bookstores for books about witches and haven’t found anything that would jump out at me…of course, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.


 

Thank you for reading this, and for your time,

PS: I would say “Blessed Be” but I’m so ignorant to everything that I have no idea if it would be an insult to tell you this when I’m not Wiccan. Like I said…I have NO idea.

 

My reply was as follows this text

Merry Meet Gabrielle:

I usually reply to emails sooner, but two weeks ago my parents were visiting and stayed for about a week, and the following  week I had dental surgery and didn’t feel much like doing anything including chewing.

It’s always nice to hear from seekers such as yourself. Yes, I know you said you’re an atheist, but even atheists want to know the truth about existence and that’s all a seeker is—someone trying to find their true path. Truth is truth no matter whether you ascribe it to a God-form or quantum mechanics.

Faith is another matter. You either believe in something or you don’t and no amount of evangelizing by me or someone else can change your mind if deep down you cannot reconcile the proffered beliefs with your own worldview. However, even a quantum physicist must make a leap of faith; for many of the exotic particles they study cannot be observed directly but rather only as an after effect of a quantum event. Take for instance the subatomic tachyon particle. Nobody has ever seen one or caught one in a Petri dish, but the existence of these particles fill gaps in relativistic equations thus making Einstein’s special theory of relativity work. It was as though the scientists said, “gee, it would be nice to have a particle that travelled faster than light to make these equations come out right.” So the physicist believes in tachyons not because he’s seen one or measure one but because he sees the effect the tachyon has on quantum mechanics. Similarly, astronomers for many years only knew or  ‘believed’ in the existence of black holes not because they could see them but by observing the black holes gravitational effects upon other astronomical bodies.

Thus it is with Goddess and God. Seldom do we feel their hand upon our shoulders, even rarer is the manifestation to the visible or audible. Although once (recently) I did have the Goddess throw a book at me, but that was just to get my attention. I’ve always said that I’m one of her slower students.  Like a whisper of cool silk passing against our skin or a sudden intuition or when reality bends to meet your will, that is the most likely way most of us experience the touch of the Divine upon our lives. When you feel the connectivity of things in the universe, you can’t help but  understand that when we are done with this mortal coil, that what happens to our spirit is something more than winking into nothingness or vacationing for eternity in the Summerland. That somehow our spirits are meant for more than that.

Don’t despair if you haven’t had such an epiphany. There are people far older than you that have  less of a clue. Even a belief in not believing in the gods or even a god is a belief and perhaps as valid a path as any. Only the person walking a path knows whether it’s the right way or not.

Okay, I think we covered faith as well as this space permits. You also asked for any information we could give you.

Our tradition, the Dark Moon Tradition, is based upon Gardnerian and Alexandrian teachings. Gardnerian and Alexandrian are two other traditions—just as Christianity is divided into different doctrines (e.g. Catholicism, Protestantism, etc.)—Wicca is similarly divided. What makes our tradition different from our Gardnerian and Alexandrian counterparts is we emphasize the use of witchcraft, chaos, and ceremonial magick in our practice. Contrary to popular belief, not all witches are Wiccans. Wicca is a spiritual path and witchcraft is merely a system of magick much like Kabala, or Ceremonial Magick.

Our own spirituality is nature-based. We strive to understand how everything is since to us the world is one large living organism. This belief within us is shamanistic. Most of us are rabid environmentalists for by saving the planet, we’re really saving ourselves. While for us Wicca is a way of life and not just a religion, we observe 8 holy days or Sabbats and 24 or more Esbats. Our Sabbats are:

  • Samhain (our new year and your Halloween)
  • Yule or the Winter Solstice (observed around Dec. 21 not on the 25th like Christmas)
  • Imbolg (Feb 2)
  • Ostara or Spring Equinox (around March 21st  similar to the Christian Easter)
  • Beltane (May 1)
  • Litha or Summer Solstice (Around June 21st)
  • Lughnasadh (August 1)
  • Mabon or Fall Equinox (Around September 21)

We also observe Esbats which are lesser holy days such as the full and dark moon and the occasional blue moon.

Our way of life is initiatory and considered a mystery school where we attempt to learn and understand the miracles and mysteries which everyday life presents.

You also asked me to recommend some reading material. I’m going to list three books. While not an exhaustive study of Wicca, these books give a good basic understanding of the Wiccan way of life. The books are listed below this paragraph.

  • A Witch Alone by Marian Green
  • Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland
  • The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation Solitary Witch by Silver Ravenwolf (I’m not SR’s biggest fan, but this book is particularly good for would be teenage Wiccans.

Hopefully, the above list will be enough to get you pointed in the right direction. And hopefully, I’ve been of some help also. If you have any more questions or just want someone to point you in the right direction, I’ll be glad to be of assistance and I promise that I’ll answer your next query in a more timely fashion.

Oh and by the way, it’s always okay to say, “Blessed Be” if that’s what’s in your heart. The Goddess recognizes intent and not whether you’re a card-carrying Wiccan or not.

 

Blessed Be and Merry Part,

 

Scrivener

      
 

               
 

 
 

 

28
Apr

Fakers (not fakirs) Among Us

   Posted by: Scrivener   in Bunnyism

An Editorial by Scrivener

It gives me no pleasure to write this blog entry, but C (who in my opinion is more a sham than a shaman), from a so-called new age store in Centerville, GA. has really pegged my bullshit meter. Wait, no, it’s not a new age store; it’s a ‘health and wellness bookstore.’ At least that’s what C put on her business license application to the city of Centerville several months ago and hence the partial source of her some of her troubles and damage to the pagan community.

I say damage because it’s people like C who in my opinion are more interested in collecting a ten spot for their ‘intuitive spiritual readings’ (Isn’t that the same thing as saying you’re guessing?) than actually being an asset to the pagan community. It’s people like her that are pointed out as examples that all
pagans are flakes by folks who are a bit more mainstream.

Incidentally, I’m not using actual names in this article because I don’t want to give C and her shop (I use the term loosely) any further search engine visibility, and, she’s taken the advice of Johnny Cochran that if your talents are not legiti-mate, you must instead litigate.

Let’s rewind the way-back machine to late January when this little shop of farces first opened. Even then, negative events surrounded her. It was about that time that an untrue rumor about the proprietor of another new age (an actual new age store) started floating around town. Charging to the rescue came the 800-pound belly-dancing gorilla of the local witches meetup group(not in any way affiliated the Circle of the Dark Moon) who was going to investigate the source of these rumors. Uh huh, C is a member of this group. While nothing was ever proven one way or the other, the suspicious mind would wonder aloud who stood the most to gain from disparaging the good name of the other store proprietor.

And, the drama continues. Last month Centerville served papers to C stating that she was in violation of a city ordinance. A copy of this letter is presented below for clarification.

CITY OF CENTERVILLE
100 East Church Street Centerville, Georgia 31028-1099
Phone: (478) 953-4734 Fax: (478) 953-4797

JOHN R. HARLEY .MAYOR

April 12, 2010

Dear Ms. B:

Centerville City Ordinance, Article I, Section 6.1
I have enclosed a copy of city ordinance Section 6-1, entitled “Forrunetelling and similar practices prohibited.” A recent article in the Local and State section of The Telegraph indicates that your business, Energy Among Us, is operating in violation of Section 6-1. At this time, the City asks that you discontinue offering any of the services described in this ordinance. A review of your business license application, filled out by you, describes your business as a “wellness center/bookstore.” Had you disclosed the entire nature of your business at the time you applied for a license, any lack of awareness or misunderstanding of the applicable city ordinance could have been cleared up. The cities of Warner Robins and Perry both have ordinances of the same nature as Centerville’s ordinance.

Additionally, it has come to the city’s attention that you are sponsoring or otherwise organizing some type of event in the shopping center located at 100 N. Houston Lake Road within the next few weeks. It is the city’s impression that you intend to have vendors offering services that violate City Ordinance Section 6.1. Please contact any vendors that offer such services and inform them that they will not be allowed to participate in such an event within the Centerville city limits.
The City Marshal will be making contact with you soon to ensure that your business is operating legally. The City will not be issuing any citations to you for offering the prohibited services at this time; however, prompt compliance with this letter and all applicable city ordinances is expected.

Sincerely,
Krista A. Bedingfield, City Clerk

Listed below is a copy of the actual ordinance.

GEORGIA, HOUSTON COUNTY
CITY OF CENTERVILLE

AN ORDINANCE

PROHIBITING THE PRACTICE OF FORTUNE-TELLING, PALMISTRY, OR OTHER KIND OR PRACTICES WITHIN “CENTERVILLE”;

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF “CENTERVILLE”, GEORGIA AND IT IS HEREBY ORDAINED BY AUTHORITY THEREOF:

SECTION I

It shall be unlawful for any person to have the occupation or advertise the practice of fortune-telling, phrenology, astrology, clairvoyance, palmistry, spiritualism, or other kindred practices, businesses, or professions where a charge is made or a donation is accepted for the services.

SECTION II

Any and all persons guilty of violating any portion of this ordinance shall be guilty of violating a City Ordinance. Each person so convicted in the Recorder’s Court [sic] shail be fined not to exceed $500.00 and imprisonment not to exceed sixty (60) days, either or both in the discretion of the Recorder.

SECTION III

All Ordinances and parts of Ordinances in conflict with this Ordinance are hereby repealed.

SECTION IV

This Ordinance shall be effective immediately upon its adoption.

BE IT ORDAINED, this the 5th day of February, 1985.

CITY OF “CENTERVILLE”, GEORGIA

While I abhor such ordinances, I have to agree with the city that it IS within their purview to regulate the type of businesses operated within the city limits AND that C was untruthful—or at least not completely truthful—in her business application license (apparently another failed student of Business Ethics 101.) Furthermore, such regulation of business IS NOT RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION as alleged by C and her witches meetup cohorts. If C were not charging for these ‘readings’, or she had set herself up as non-profit organization much the same way the Circle of the Dark Moon has, or was simply doing these readings for herself, and was told she couldn’t perform tarot readings or other such workings, then and only then would her constitutional rights have been abridged. The constitution does not guarantee your right to charge for fortune telling just because you say it’s connected to your religion. Why, pray tell is the religious-persecution/it’s-the-burning-times-all-over-again trump card played EVERYTIME a pagan doesn’t get their way. Especially since most of C’s would be rescuers are the selfsame people who hide in the shadows of Christian cathedrals and only come out into the bright light of pagan pride when it suits their purposes.

C’s big court date was yesterday, and as an ordained minister, and degreed Wiccan clergy, I had planned to testify to the ridiculous claims of religious persecution by C and Co. but alas, the city declined to follow through on prosecuting her not because their case was without merit, but because they couldn’t see giving her anymore free advertising.

When it comes to religion, C, seems duplicitous at best. She has claimed to be Christian, and now apparently Wiccan in addition to being an Indian seeress down many generations on her grandmother’s side (sounds like she borrowed a page from Alex Sander’s book.) It seems that she is whatever religion will ring her cash register. If C is Christian, then she should have been aware of the many prohibitions in the Bible against practicing divinatory arts communing with spirits and hence the reason Christian politicians pass ordinances such as the one listed above. In addition, as an ex-police officer she should have been aware of such an ordinance. However, I believe she was aware of that ordinance. Otherwise, why would she have been evasive on her business license application? Or—and this is probably giving her more credit than she is due—perhaps she did
know and expected to get a lot free publicity for her store from all the fallout. It took her less than a day to run to CNN and local media outlets with stories of religious persecution. It seems she more about slick self-promotion than substance.

On her website, C claims to be the next John Edwards. I’d ask which John Edwards, the senator who lied about having an affair or the other one.

C encourages these same sorts of exaggerated claims in her clients. One client claims that she “went off her meds” on C’s urging and now doesn’t need them any longer. If this is true, then there couldn’t have been much wrong with the client. Maybe the city should have prosecuted C for practicing medicine without a license as well. Another person has variously claimed to be Claire-sentient (not so bad a lot of people are to an extent), a shape-shifter (okay, this is a bit incredulous for even those of us who have been in the occult field for 20+ years), and finally this person is now a mystic (pass the Thorazine please.)

Admittedly, most of this chicanery is harmless. And if her customers feel that they’ve gotten their money’s worth, even if the readings are totally inaccurate because of lack of experience and talent, I’d venture that no harm has been done and that people will find out and make their own decisions. However, when my wife gets calls after C’s ‘expo’ and has to calm frazzled nerves, explaining that the readings had been done by a neophyte, because these people had received readings predicting events more dire than the 2012 apocalypse, that’s when I get upset. That is why most cities have these ordinances, because ultimately these ‘businesses’ end up being more trouble than they’re worth in terms of consumer complaints about fraud, misinformation spread through the community, and poor relations with practitioners and cowans alike.

Such ‘businesses’ are hard to monitor for consumer confidence because occultism is an art and not a science. Perhaps it’s an art-science, but still it is a subjective matter and not an objective one, and hence not easily measured by the usual business metrics. I believe that such ‘businesses’ are better suited to being run from a parlor or other private property than a public storefront. Why should such ‘businesses’ waste scarce business credit when the veracity of their usually wild claims cannot be verified?

Does anyone remember the Jamaican woman on the TV from the psychic friends network? As far as I am concerned, this so-called health and wellness bookstore is no different.

2
Apr

A Tarot Card Primer – “Cheat Sheet”

   Posted by: Scrivener   in Tarot

One of our Second-Degree students, Danika Yawn, submitted the Tarot “cheat sheet” that follows this paragraph to our wytcheboard forums. I dressed it up a bit but the work is all hers.

There are 78 cards in Tarot. The Tarot is divided in two groups, the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana contains 22 cards numbered with Roman numerals 0-22. The Minor Arcana is further divided into four groups, Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, and they are also sort of divided. Each group contains cards numbered 1-10, as well as a page, a knight, a queen, and a king. The following is a cheat sheet from the back of The Easy Tarot Handbook by Josephine Ellershaw.

Major Arcana


0     The Fool: Unexpected opportunity. major choice.
I     The Magician: You have the ability you need to succeed. Mastery.
II     The High Priestess: Intuition. secrets to be revealed. unexplored potential.
III     The Empress: Nurturing to full potential. marriage. motherhood.
IV     The Emperor: Ambition. authority. financial stability. achievement.
V     The Hierophant: Traditional values. a wise person provides guidance.
VI     The Lovers: Love relationship. perhaps love choices.
VII     The Chariot: Triumph over difficulties. strength of will needed.
VIII     Strength: Gentleness wither inner strength and courage.
IX     The Hermit: Withdrawal for contemplation. inner wisdom.
X     The Wheel of Fortune: Change of fortune. a new cycle commencing. progress.
XI     Justice: Fairness. the need for a balance mind. legal matters.
XII     The Hanged Man: Understanding. Different perspective. Self-sacrifice.
XIII     Death: Major change. Transformation.
XIV     Temperance: Patience. Moderation. Compromise. Balance. healing.
XV     The Devil: Manipulation. Overindulgence. self-enslavement.
XVI     The Tower: Destruction of something built on false beliefs.
XVII     The Star: Hope. Healing. Optimism. Better times ahead.
XVIII     The Moon: Uncertainty. Illusion. Fluctuating emotions. Unseen depth.
XIX     The Sun: Success. happiness. good health. Happy marriage.
XX     Judgement: Renewal. Revival. Reward for past efforts. Karma.
XXI     The World: Triumph and achievement. success and happiness.

Minor Arcana

Wands

Ace of Wands: New venture or way of life. Pregnancy or birth.
Two of Wands: Initial accomplishment. Possible partnership.
Three of Wands: Completion of first stage of project. Progress.
Four of Wands: Stability. Holidays. Marriage plans.
Five of Wands: Conflict. Quarrelling. competition.
Six of Wands: Success. Achievement. promotions.
Seven of Wands: Defending position. overcoming obstacles.
Eight of Wands: Fast progress after delays. travel.
Nine of Wands: Perseverance. pull reserves together for final push.
Ten of Wands: Feeling overburdened. weary. Determination required.

Cups

Ace of Cups: New relationship. New start that brings happiness for all at home.
Two of Cups: Important union. Balance in a relationship. reconciliation.
Three of Cups: Happiness and achievement. Wedding/family celebrations.
Four of Cups: Boredom and discontent.
Five of Cups: Feelings of disappointment letdown or betrayal. Regrets.
Six of Cups: Happiness from the past. Old friends. an old love revived.
Seven of Cups: Feeling overwhelmed with choices. one must be made. Imagination.
Eight of Cups: Abandoning a path. Disillusionment. emotionally unfulfilled.
Nine of Cups: The “wish” card. Emotional and material fulfilment.
Ten of Cups: Committed and contented love. Marriage. Happy home life.

Swords

Ace of Swords: Triumph over adversity. Inner strength and mental clarity.
Two of Swords: Stalemate.
Three of Swords: Quarrelling. Misery through separation.
Four of Swords: Rest and recovery following strain.
Five of Swords: Deceit. hidden agenda. unfair dealings.
Six of Swords: Harmony after strain. Long journey over water.
Seven of Swords: Diplomacy not aggression. Situation not going as anticipated.
Eight of Swords: Feeling restricted by fear. Being withdrawn.
Nine of Swords: Sense of anxiety and despair. Feelings of oppression.
Ten of Swords: Disappointment. End of cycle. Failed plans.

Pentacles

Ace of Pentacles: Start of successful venture. Important document. Gift.
Two of Pentacles: Maintaining balance with more than one area of life.
Three of Pentacles: Success through effort. Gains and recognition.
Four of Pentacles: Overly cautious fear of loss. Material focus. miserly.
Five of Pentacles: Temporary hardship. Guard against loss.
Six of Pentacles: Successful gains. Sharing. Gift.
Seven of Pentacles: Work and patience rewarded. Good news financially.
Eight of Pentacles: New job. moneymaking venture from existing talent.
Nine of Pentacles: Financial Success and material security.
Ten of Pentacles: Financial and family stability. Property. Inheritance.


The Court Cards

Pages

Page of Wands: Good news work related. Active cheerful child.
Page of Cups: Happy news emotional nature. Sensitive creative child.
Page of Swords: Delayed/Disappointing news. Minor problems with a child.
Page of Pentacles: Good news financially. Academic methodical child.

Knights

Knight of Wands: Change of home or long journey. Energetic young man.
Knight of Cups: Love proposals. Romantic idealistic young man.
Knight of Swords: Swift movement. Chaotic. Quick minded serious young man.
Knight of Pentacles: Eventual positive outcome. Reliable young man.

Queens

Queen of Wands: Warm cheerful woman. always very busy.
Queen of Cups: Kind thoughtful sensitive woman with caring nature.
Queen of Swords: Perceptive lady. Efficient no-nonsense type.
Queen of Pentacles: Woman of worth. capable and practical.

Kings

King of Wands: Entrepreneurial dynamic man who can be rash.
King of Cups: Warm thoughtful man in the caring or creative professions.
King of Swords: Man in uniform connected to law government etc.
King of Pentacles: Successful man who works with finance/ figures.

Tags: ,

1
Apr

The Dark Moon

   Posted by: Scrivener   in Uncategorized

I had a client once ask me about our tradition, The Dark Moon Tradition, and since it’s our namesake, could I explain the signifigance of the Dark Moon. I’ve included below the text of my answer.

 

Hello Babs:

 

First, let’s begin by discussing what a dark moon is. Astronomically, the dark moon is a period of about three days: the day before a new moon, the day of a new moon, and the day after a new moon. A dark moon occurs when the moon is in conjunction with the sun. What being in conjunction means is that the moon is between the Earth and the Sun. You can’t see the moon during the dark moon period—hence the term, “dark moon”—because essentially, the moon is lost in the glare of the sun. See the diagram below this paragraph.

What is now referred to as a waxing gibbous moon—the first crescent sliver that is visible of the moon as it once again grows larger—used to be called the new moon, and the period when you couldn’t see the moon was called the dark moon. However, over time, the dark period of the moon—no crescent visible—became known as the new moon instead of the crescent sliver.

But, I’m sure you didn’t write me for an astronomy lesson. You’re probably wondering about the magickal properties of the dark moon. I’ll see if I can’t help you there as well. Let’s refer back to the diagram above for a minute. If you notice where the Moon is in relation to the Sun, you’ll see that the two are in line, and if you were to look a this configuration headon, you’d see our tiny Moon inside the Sun—at least that’s how it would appear to an observer on Earth. Magickally what this configuration signifies is nothing less than the union of the psychic energies of male and female. In many systems of magick, witchcraft especially, it’s important to maintain a balance of male and female energies. In our tradition—the Dark Moon Traditon—for example we worship both a Goddess and a God.

What other signifigance can the Dark Moon hold for us magickally? The moon is both mysterious and triune (as in the triple-aspects of the Goddess where she is Earth Mother, Maiden, and Wise Crone.) The moon stands for all that is ethereal and mystical. It allows one to enter the realm of imagination, intuition, and wonder—the seeds of magick. The Moon’s element is water, meaning that the Moon heightens emotional, nurturing, aspects of magick. However, despite all these warm and fuzzy feelings, the dark moon is a powerful time for working banishing magick (magick where you want to rid something or someone from your life.) During the dark moon one can also call upon the wisdom of the Crone who is the Queen of all Sorceries. This magick can be a powerful force for effecting change in your life.

Remember I mentioned that the Dark Moon is a the product of the Sun and Moon being in conjunction? So, let’s look at the Sun for a minute (metaphorically of course since I wouldn’t want you to go blind.) Whereas the Moon is all mystery and mysticism, and misty thoughts, the Sun is all about the blinding light of truth and manifestation of will. The Sun’s elemental fire brings warmth and light to the world of dreams that Moon rules. While the Moon may bring the imaginings of dreams (or the need for something) the might of the Sun brings to fruition the axiom of “As above so below.” Or to say it another way, “As so we send our intentions or want to the astral plane these same intentions or wants are sent back to Earth and are fulfilled in our reality.” To state it in a very overly-simplified sense, the Sun and the Moon complete each other.

Another thing that is signifigant about a Dark Moon (or a Full Moon, or any celestial alignment for that matter) is that anytime there is such a conjunction, there occurs a thinning of the veil between this world and the Otherworld. When this happens many wonderful things may occur: psychic phenomenon, “ghost” sightings, or other occult manifestations. During this time it is especially a good opportunity to practice divination (tarot, scrying, dark mirror gazing, etc.), spirit communication via séance or witchboard, and for working magick. Of course this is true during a Full Moon. But it is especially true during a Dark Moon or a sabbat such as Samhain. This is because the Dark Moon is more closely allied with the Crone and as such it is a good time to channel her power and wisdom.

As to why you’re drawn to the Dark Moon; there could be several resons. Perhaps you’re coming of age magickally, and you’re beginning to feel the first stirrings of your own magick. Maybe the Dark Moon plays prominently in your astrological chart. Without knowing your birth date, time, and place, it’s hard to say. Or perhaps some Godform, who has an affinity with the Dark Moon, has selected you for patronage. All who walk this path, will at one time or another find themselves inexplicably drawn to something without knowing why. However, when the time is right, you will know why you were drawn to a thing.

I hope I haven’t bored you too much and more importantly, the information here has helped you understand what a Dark Moon is, what its signifigance is, and why you are drawn to the Dark Moon.

Merry Part and May We Merry Meet Again,

Duir

 


 

 

 

Invoking and Banishing 

Pentagrams

 

 


					

 

 

 

Definition/Preamble:

 

Oh my god, [they're] full of stars.”

 

David Bowman’s final, paraphrased words from 2001: A Space Odyssey
applies not only to enigmatic alien artifacts but to pentagrams and pentacles as well. A pentagram is a precisely drawn five-pointed star (as in the case of Wicca save for second-degree initiations) with the one point up and two downward (spirit over body.) A pentagram is a pentacle inside a circle. A pentagram drawn with the one point downward and two up, for a witch, signifies that they are on a voyage of self-discovery and learning to face the darkness within lest it overwhelm them later. This tradition is similar to the ceremonial magician’s Dark Night of the Soul.” For a Satanist, an inverted pentagram or pentacle is a sign of pleasure over rationality, or that their will is the sum of the law, and love is the law subject to their will.

 

I have written this short essay because last time at class there was some confusion (most of it on my part) over the proper way to use the invoking and banishing pentagram. This essay is my attempt at clearing some of the confusion and correcting an incorrect supposition on my part. Another reason for the writing, and for that matter, the reading of this small article is that whether it be ritual or magick, your experience will be all the more powerful if you understand why you do or say something rather than reading empty words or following gestures by rote.

 

Since this paper is not a formal thesis, I have not cited all my sources (what good ceremonial magician would?) only those whose work I have extensively quoted.

 

History:

The pentagram has long been associated with mystery and magic. It is the simplest form of star shape that can be drawn uni-cursally – with a single line – hence it is sometimes called the Endless Knot. Other names are the Goblin’s Cross, the Pentalpha, the Witch’s Foot, the Devil’s Star and the Seal of Solomon (more correctly attributed to the hexagram). It has long been believed to be a potent protection against evil and demons, hence a symbol of safety, and was sometimes worn as an amulet for happy homecoming. The potency and associations of the pentagram have evolved throughout history. Today it is a ubiquitous symbol of neo-pagans with much depth of magickal and symbolic meaning.

To the Gnostics, the pentagram was the ‘Blazing Star’ and, like the crescent moon was a symbol relating to the magic and mystery of the nighttimes sky.
For the Druids, it was a symbol of Godhead.
In Egypt, it was a symbol of the “underground womb” and bore a symbolic relationship to the concept of the pyramid form.
The Pagan Celts ascribed the pentagram to the underground goddess Morrigan.

Early Christians attributed the pentagram to the Five Wounds of Christ and from then until medieval times, it was a lesser-used Christian symbol. Prior to the time of the Inquisition, there were no “evil” associations to the pentagram. Rather its form implied Truth, religious mysticism and the work of The Creator.

In Medieval times, the “Endless Knot” was a symbol of Truth and was a protection against demons. It was used as an amulet of personal protection and to guard windows and doors. The pentagram with one point upwards symbolized summer; with two points upwards, it was a sign for winter.

During the long period of the Inquisition, there was much promulgation of lies and accusations in the “interests” of orthodoxy and elimination of heresy. The Church lapsed into a long period of the very diabolism it sought to oppose. The pentagram was seen to symbolize a Goat’s Head or the Devil in the form of Baphomet and it was Baphomet whom the Inquisition accused the Templars of worshipping.
In the purge on witches, other horned gods such as Pan became equated with the Devil (a Christian concept) and the pentagram – the folk-symbol of security – for the first time in history – was equated with “evil” and was called the Witch’s Foot.

The Old Religion and its symbols went underground, in fear of the Church’s persecution, and there it stayed, gradually withering, for centuries.
In the foundation of Hermeticism, in hidden societies of artisans and scholarly men, away from the eyes of the Church and its paranoia, the proto-science of alchemy developed along with its occult philosophy and cryptical symbolism. Graphical and geometric symbolism became very important and the period of the Renaissance emerged. The concept of the microcosmic world of Man as analogous to the macrocosm, the greater universe of spirit and elemental matter became a part of traditional western occult teaching, as it had long been in eastern philosophies.” As above, so below” The pentagram, the ‘Star of the Microcosm’, symbolized Man within the microcosm, representing in analogy the Macrocosmic universe. The upright pentagram bears some resemblance to the shape of man with his legs and arms outstretched. In Tycho Brahe’s Calendarium Naturale Magicum Perpetuum (1582) occurs a pentagram with human body imposed and the Hebrew for YHSVH associated with the elements. An illustration attributed to Brae’s contemporary Agrippa (Henry Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim) is of similar proportion and shows the five planets and the moon at the centre point – the genitalia. Other illustrations of the period by Robert Fludd and Leonardo da Vinci show geometric relationships of man to the universe. Later, the pentagram came to be symbolic of the relationship of the head to the four limbs and hence of the pure concentrated essence of anything (or the spirit) to the four traditional elements of matter – earth, water, air and fire – spirit is The Quintessence.

No known graphical illustration associating the pentagram with evil appears until the nineteenth century. Eliphaz Levi Zahed (actually the pen name of Alphonse Louis Constant, a defrocked French Catholic abbé) illustrates the upright pentagram of microcosmic man beside an inverted pentagram with the goat’s head of Baphomet. It is this illustration and juxtaposition that has led to the concept of different orientations of the pentagram being “good” and “evil”.

 

Five points for five elements:

 

While people have been drawing pentagrams for one purpose or another for thousands of years, it was the Greeks, particularly the mathematician, Pythagoras (of a2 + b2 = c2 = the Pythagorean Theorem fame) who first assigned elemental names to the five points of the pentagram. He also furthered some interesting properties of pentagram:

 

  • The ratio of any two unbroken line segments joined at point vertices, is approximately 1.618~. Check your trigonometry if you don’t believe me. This number is known as the golden mean. The golden mean also refers to body proportions of arms to legs. A normal human body with the arms and legs arranged properly forms the points for a pentacle.
  • A pentacle is unicursal; it is a single unbroken loop.

 

  • The golden mean may also be derived from the either of the shorter line segments formed from a long line segment where a point breaks such a line.

And

  • Treating the line segments as cords intersecting a circle provides the basis for some trigonometric and geometric functions. Remember our discussion about “circle geometries?”

 

The pentagram was adopted by Enochian ceremonial magicians and later by the Golden Dawn (not to be confused with the golden mean.) Somewhere in time, the wice, or witches learned this symbol.

 

Possibly, witches learned the use of this symbol from the druids. If druids were the priests of their time, then the witches were the village deacons: more accessible and less aloof than their druid brethren. The witches may have learned or copied druidic rituals and then changed them as they saw fit.

 

Druids were certainly well aware of the Greeks and could have learned some mathematics from them and then passed this knowledge on to the village wice or wicce (hence Wicca.) Much—not all—of witchcraft to me seems like watered down versions of ceremonial magick.

 

Pythagoras as I mentioned earlier assigned each point of the pentagram one of the basic magickal elements: Spirit or Will, Fire, Water, Air, and Earth.

 

Over the years the points the elements were assigned to shifted somewhat. One can attribute that fact to differences between Wiccan traditions and the cases where practitioners altered the directions of the elements to correspond more closely to the local geography. As in the case of some who call Air in the north and orient their altars as such. However, most traditions assign the elements as illustrated in fig. 1.

 

Five Points, Five Elements, and Five Ways to Summon Elementals

Alternatively, a Hypothesis Disproved:

 


Figure 1: Pentagram element and color correspondences

 

Pictured above is the pentacle, as we know it, oriented (usually) with one point up and two downward, and girded within circle. Some have proffered the idea that the circle represents protection, and or the fact that all the elements are connected. Personally, I ascribe to the latter notion. Elements and their respective colors assigned to the appropriate points of the pentacle.

 

In class, we were taught to draw an invoking pentagram by starting at the point assigned to Spirit, then moving in an unbroken motion from Spirit towards Earth as depicted in the next figure. The quarter caller would then proceed from Earth to Water to Air to

 

Fire and then back to Spirit.     

 

To draw the banishing pentagram one starts as shown in the adjoining figure and then visits each point in a similar fashion to the invoking

pentagram.

 

That’s about as far as most witches go even though there are invoking and banishing pentagrams for each of the elements. Therefore, when drawing an invoking or banishing pentagram while calling the quarters, one is actually drawing the invoking or banishing pentagram for the element of Earth.

 

In my personal practice, I plan to draw the proper elemental pentagram at each of the quarters instead of using the more generic technique. I was experimenting the other day. I was standing facing the east and drew the invoking pentagram for Air. Even though I didn’t call the quarter, I felt the elemental’s presence or at least its interest. Apparently, the act of drawing the pentagram alone is enough at least to get a nod from the quarter guardians.

 

There is a case for using just the invoking and banishing pentagram in Wiccan rituals. That being that since Air, Water, and Fire (according to their colors) combine to form Earth, it is not considered improper to use just the pentagram for Earth for quarter calls.

 

However, there are four more possible invoking and banishing pentagrams. There is an invoking and banishing pentagram for all five elements. Generally, the rule for drawing an invoking pentagram is start at the point opposite the element you are invoking and draw toward that element. To banish the element, simply begin at the element in question and draw away to the element directly opposite. See the figures for invoking and banishing Earth.

 

The exception to the rule is Spirit. The forms for the invoking and banishing pentagrams of Spirit are shown in figures 4 through figures 7.

 


Figure 2: Invoking Spirit (active)         Figure 5: Banishing Spirit (active)

 


Figure 6: Invoking Spirit (passive)        Figure 7: Spirit Banishing (passive)

 

Therefore, to invoke Spirit, one draws to either the left-hand or the right hand-point from the lower either left-hand or the right-hand point. Then, to banish the elemental, you simply reverse the drawing order used for the invoking.

 

Why are there two sets for Spirit? One set is for invoking the active Spirit and the other for Spirit in a passive sense. Put another way, an active invoking of Spirit is Spirit in a superior position over the element, which is what you would want in most circumstances. Invoking Spirit in an inferior mode or under the elements would be satanic equivalent of an inverted pentagram all that the satanic inverted pentagram stands for (e.g. flesh over spirit.)

 

Of course, this discussion regarding Spirit is moot since I am not aware of any Wiccan rituals that require Spirit to be called. This is just another one of my little intellectual curiosities.

 

Finally, to have one of my hypotheses proved wrong. Back when life was simpler and we only had one invoking pentagram, I suggested a better banishing pentagram would be just to draw down the right side of Spirit since the resulting pentagram would be a mirror image of the invoking pentagram used.

 

Nope.

 

I don’t know where I came up with that but I cannot find the source and until I can find a verifiable source that says that, I have to say that my supposition was invalid—just plain wrong. Besides, I think we have enough invoking and banishing pentagrams without adding another one.

 

 

Examples of Invoking and Banishing Pentagrams

 

Air invoking and banishing pentagrams

 



 

 

Fire invoking and banishing pentagrams

 




 

 

Water invoking and banishing pentagrams

 




 

 

Earth invoking and banishing pentagrams

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit invoking and banishing pentagrams

 

Unlike the other elements, there are at least four invoking and banishing pentagrams for Spirit.

 


Invoking Spirit (active)             Banishing Spirit (active)

 


Invoking Spirit (passive)            Spirit Banishing (passive)

1
Apr

Ideas for Daily Wiccan Devotions

   Posted by: Scrivener   in Uncategorized

  • Morning, greeting the Sun, waking, beginning the day.
  • Noon, the height of the Sun’s power, energizing.
  • Sunset, transition between day and night, releasing, changing consciousness from active to relective.
  • Moonrise, greeting the Moon, reflecting, strengthening intuition.
  • Before bedtime, reflecting on the day giving thanks for the day.
    • (Note that daytime Sun-based devotionals tend to be more active and action-based, while Moon-based devotionals are more mystical and reflective. Neither is better than the other. We need both to be fully integrated.)
  • Meal preparation: Feeding and nurturing yourself or others is a magickal act.
  • Eating: Mom was right. Don’t just gobble your food while you’re reading the paper. Honor the divinity of that which gave you sustenance. Eating as a ritual connects us with the power of the life force. It also can help you eat healthier and overeat less.
  • Housekeeping: bringing the spirit of cleansing into your daily chores, makes the chore easier, and brings cleansing to your mental/emotional life as well.
  • Study time: Embrace and heighten your intellect by invoking the power of your mind.
  • Bathing: A few candles, some scented soap and a magickal attitude can turn an ordinary bath into an honoring of the divinity of your flesh.
  • Before Making Love: This one requires the consent and desire of all parties. If it doesn’t heighten your sex/love life, don’t us it. And don’t feel you must perform a devotional EACH time before making love. Sometimes what we need is a good primal roll in the hay.
  • Tea Time: I think the English have this one right: Take a few moments in the afternoon to stop what you’re doing and relax.
  • Morning Dream Sharing: In some cultures, the first thing people do in the morning is to take time to speak of the dreams they had during the night; to share and analyze them.
  • Exercise: Speaking of the gym and dance class, a brief devotional before hand will enhance your energy and your entire experience. Creating a healthier, fit body is an honoring of the form and the flesh we have taken.

The Witches’ Pyramid of Four Pillars


There are many tools used in Modern Witchcraft. According to some Wiccan systems, the first four are not physical, but rather are qualities which must be developed within the witch.

The “Four Pillars of the Witches Temple” are;

To Know (nescere)
-corresponds to Air
-represents the witch’s reason/intellect/intuition/wisdom and other more mystical understandings…

Basically this has to do with the gaining of knowledge, whether it be from books, teachers, or from experience. This also includes anything having to do with organising said knowledge: remembering, analyzing, dissecting, logical reasoning, imagining, linking, and many more. This is shown in many kinds of knowledge needed to do ritual: from remembering the words to invocations, to knowing when to cast the circle, to knowing what incense to use, to remembering how it feels when one grounds correctly.

In witchcraft knowledge is power. No knowledge is ever wasted, and you may find that your fifth grade Creative Writing class taught you things useable for creating invocations, or that your Aunt Jean’s gardening tips are helping you with your herb growing, or your Tai Chi class helped get the idea of centering across.

The admonitions “Know Thyself”, “Know your Craft”, “Learn” and “Apply you Learning” are all included in the pillar.

To Will (velle)
-corresponds to Fire
-represents the witch’s Will/Discipline/her skills in the arts of magic and life.

This can be split into two categories: the mundane and the Magickal. The mundane is where a with tries to keep their life in good order, and to follow through on promises and commitments. The magickal version refers to the Will to see a spell or ritual to its completion, keeping the intent clear without letting onself get distracted.
Concentration, Discipline and Drive are definitely a part of this, as well as Enthusiasm for doing ritual in the first place.

Placing one’s will in tandem with Divine Will is also incuded.

“Keep you thoughts and deeds in good order” and “Breathe and Eat correctly” belong here (though really just the act of living up to all the Goals could be listed inder “To Will”)

To Dare (audere)

-corresponds to Water
-represents the witch’s Emotions/Heart since the word courage derives from a word that means “heart”

“To Dar” encompasses the acts of facing fears, especially with regards to doing magick. Dare to experiment with what one has learned to gain more experience, like trying out that new astral travel technique or trance working. Dare to meet the Gods and interacte with them. Dare to deal with inner darkness.

This is not to say that one must never feel fear. Fear must be felt and examined before it can be dealt with. The more one tries to hide one’s fear from one’s self, the more power that fear will have over one’s self. Facing the Shadow within can be more traumatic than facing the most awe-inspiring Deity. However, Starhawk mentions in her book The Spiral Dance, “Where there’s fear, there’s power.” One’s greatest fear can mask one’s greatest strength.

It must be stated that any emotion or personal attribute brought into a magickal circle will be increased and strengthened. This explains the admonition at the gateway “Better to fall upon this knife/Than enter here in fear, or strife”. Give strength to your courage.

To Keep [the] Silence (tacere)

-corresponds with Earth
“To Keep the Silence” is often interpreted as “To Keep Silent”: that is, to keep secret knowledge of witchcraft, of membership and places of meetings etc., except in cases of voucher-for persons. “To Keep Silent” is probably a good general practice since it keeps the foolhardy from trying things that might be dangerous or from getting flack from less sympathetic neighbours. This is, however, not the whole story.

“Silence” represents the ‘still point’… the silence within… The correspondence with Earth here also gives another hint of this interpretation, since in order to begin to work magick, we generally “ground” and “center” ourselves. It is difficult to keep clear one’s intent if other extraneous thoughts keep flitting by and being distracting.

Listening to the Gods and Nature (and other people for that matter) is also intimated since one cannot hear unless there is silence first.

Again, “Keeping your thoughts in good order” as well as “Meditate” come under this heading

To Go (ire)
-corresponds to Spirit

Some traditions use the fifth Element of Spirit as embodying the power “To Go”: to go forth, to journey, to make manifest, to evolove. Most traditions assign Spirit to the Gods, making spirit a combination of the other four elements in perfect balance.

Conclusion

If one sees each of these qualities written on a four-sided pyramid, “To Keep the Silence” would be on the base, with the other three (To Know, To Will, To Dare) rising from the base (ie. Earth, foundation) to meet at the top. All things begin and end in Silence.

All of these qualities must be developed to gain proficiency in magick. (Remember “Achieve Balance”)Sources:

sources:

The Way of the Goddess by Ly Warren-Clarke
Dalukah’s Notes
The Spiral Dance by Starhawk

30
Mar

Definition

   Posted by: Scrivener   in Uncategorized

Wic·ca (w¹k”…) n. 1. A pagan nature religion having its roots in pre-Christian Western Europe and undergoing a 20th-century revival, especially in the United States and Great Britain. 2. A group or community of believers or followers of this religion. [Old English wicca, necromancer. See WITCH.]1

Wic·can (w¹k”…n) adj. 1. Of or relating to Wicca: the Wiccan religion; a Wiccan ritual. –Wic·can n. A believer or follower of Wicca; a witch. 1

witch (w¹ch) n. 1. A woman popularly believed to have supernatural powers and practice sorcery, and often believed to be aided by spirits or a familiar. 2. A believer or follower of Wicca; a Wiccan. 3. A hag. 4. Informal. A woman or girl considered bewitching. 5. One particularly skilled or competent at one’s craft: “A witch of a writer, [she] is capable of developing an intensity that verges on ferocity” (Peter S. Prescott). –witch v. witched, witch·ing, witch·es. –tr. 1. To work or cast a spell on; bewitch. 2. To cause, bring, or effect by witchcraft. –intr. To use a divining rod to find underground water or minerals; dowse. [Middle English wicche, from Old English wicce, witch and wicca, wizard, sorcerer; see weg- below.] –witch”er·y (-…-r¶) n.
–witch”y adj. 1

1The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

* * *

 

I am a witch.

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