I’m Getting Tired…

…tired of the elitism and jealousy in spiritual circles.

I’m tired of watching good people tear each other to shreds over things that any supposedly educated and mature person could work out amicably.

I’m tired of the fundamentalism of “I’m right, you’re wrong!” every way I turn.

I’m tired of allowing myself to be marred by the doubts of others.

I’m tired of the belittlement of things I hold close to my heart.

I’m tired of being considered a “sheep” or moron by proxy.

I’m tired of being part of a wider community that is snide and bitchy and no better than the faiths it claims to surpass.

I’m tired of having to choose sides.

I’m tired of the energy that is wasted by people who have allowed themselves to be tainted and twisted and then blame it on other people.

I’m tired of these people who will smile to your face, whilst concealing their envenomed blade behind their backs.

I’m tired of people telling me who my Gods are (or aren’t!)

I’m tired of the hubris of some people who think they are the mouthpiece of a deity and can perceive to dictate to everyone else what is and isn’t right. And alternatively, I’m tired of those people who pull apart those people who claim to be the mouthpiece of a deity. 

To be honest, the way we are going as “pagans” and “witches” we may as well all go back to Church because a lot of us aren’t behaving any differently than the people in the faiths we supposedly reject.

If people don’t like what I’ve said, or want to interpret it as a personal attack on them, fine – be THAT egotistical! This world doesn’t revolve around your big heads. 

New Moon Ritual

2013-07-10 23.23.33This Noumenia I carried out the newly written Covenant of Hekate New Moon Ritual. My previous night’s Deipnon had been an ad hoc affair, not least because I resigned from my job without currently having something else to move on to. A huge test of my faith as well as a big banishment – not planned, but necessary!

So with a huge sense of relief and the stress of eight years of undervalued corporate slogging firmly off my shoulders, I set about arranging my ritual space and planning for the New Moon Ritual. It is a very proactive and involved kind of ritual, written by a very talented bunch of individuals all bringing together their own experiences and thoughts to make a cohesive and rewarding ritual structure.

After completely stripping down my altar area, cleansing it with three different types of sacred well/spring water, scattering with rose petals and then anointing with Hekate oil, I placed fresh cloths in black and white and placed centrally my magnificent statue created by Georgi Mischev of Threskeia. Around the central image of Hekate I coiled a whole shed snake skin, placing a braided red, white and black cord in a circle and putting an iron key at the feet of the statue. I also used a new red candle for my ritual, which I had decorated with the CoH symbol (something I’ve wanted to do for ages!). There were two small black beeswax candles either side of the Hekate statue, a small statuette of Hermes to the left and one of Hestia to the right. Other items included were of course my red cord (used in all Covenant rituals), bread and wine offerings, a small bowl of anointing oil, a vase of roses, “jewelled” candle holders I picked up from a charity shop and my newly mounted Hekate coin pendant to be consecrated.

With the candles and incense (I used myrrh resin) lit, it was time to proceed with the ritual itself. After the initial grounding and centring and a preliminary offering of wine to Hekate, Hermes and Hestia it was time to go on the Pathworking part of the ritual. A member of the ritual team who had kindly recorded themselves reading through this and I had downloaded it as I find it easier to follow a guided meditation or pathworking without having to worry about talking myself through it.

I really liked this part, though I think personally I may move it to the end of the ritual rather than the beginning just because I feel that flows better for me. The imagery was very profound and the adventure was enjoyable and rewarding. Despite there being quite a lot of disturbances in my home and the street outside (noisy passers-by, cars, inconsiderate/noisy housemates) that hindered my journey, for the most part I had a beneficial experience and received my “token” symbol from Hermes on behalf of Hekate.

ivyleafI don’t mind sharing here with you that it was an ivy leaf. Something I am still musing on the possible meaning and connection of this. For me personally it is not the first time Hekate has visited me or shown me what I identify as Dionysian symbols but I have yet to distinguish if these are markers meaning I shouldn’t forget my sometimes floundering relationship with Him or if She is trying to tell me that I can get everything He can give from Her…or something else.

So after the pathworking, the ritual itself took place. I liked the flow, symbolism and power of the whole thing and found the energies built, especially with the beautifully written words used to praise and evoke the Gods. I also like the use of a bowl of chilled water, used to reflect the passing from Dark to New moon; it was refreshing and energising!

The interesting part of the ritual was the creation of three intents for the lunar month ahead, revolving around Hekate’s three realms of power: Heaven, Earth and Sea. I spent a long time thinking on this, feeling uncertain on what to create/say for these intents. In the end, I decided that the Heaven/Sky intent would be linked to something relating to the mind, intellect, reason, sciences, travel etc. For Earth it would be more to do with stability, order, material issues, fertility and the like. And for the Sea/Water aspect I would choose something pertaining to emotions, intuition, wisdom, clarity or healing.

Having spent quite a while thinking on what to choose, I ran out of time in making these intents anything “special” to look at ritually speaking; no fancy sigils, not a stone/shell/feather imbued with intent etc…instead I created little folds of paper, each marked on the front with the corresponding elemental symbol and then inside I wrote down my corresponding intent. Despite this, I still found this part of the ritual very rewarding. One of the ritual team had mentioned that “nature abhors a vacuum; so if you do any banishment during the dark moon, make sure to draw a corresponding number of things to you during this ritual of the new moon crescent” so I felt strongly of what my Earthly intent should be, given that both my partner and I are no currently unemployed. So I am interested to see how this all plays out during the current lunar cycle.

After the closing of the ritual, I decided to do something I have not really considered or done before. I took the bread, wine, 3 roses and my statements of intent to the end of the road, which is a 4-way crossroads. There, there is a small field on the corner, enclosed by trees near to a small river. In the dark, I walked to a hawthorn tree in the middle of the field, placed the offerings of bread and roses at the foot and poured the wine over them. Then I took the Earth intent, folded it up and pushed it into the earth by the tree’s roots. For the Sky/Air intent, I set fire to it and let the ashes flutter away on the night air and for the Water Intent I folded it into a small bundle and tossed it into the river to be carried away.

This aspect of the ritual was totally instantaneous and not previously planned, but felt right and good at that time.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the contributors who helped write this ritual and I look forward to doing it again at future New Moons as well as seeing how it develops and evolves into my own personal practice.

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Hekate Symposium 2013!

If there’s one thing guaranteed to get me all excited, gentle reader-folk, then it is when something as awesome as The Hekate Symposium returns for a second (and hopefully ongoing annual) time!

The first, which took place in Glastonbury during the weekend of May 5th & 6th was a superb success; the first of its kind it brought together devotees, priests and priestesses of the Goddess Hekate from near and far for a thrilling weekend “filled with lectures, rituals, meditations, invocations and celebration, in which all participants will be encouraged to learn more about the three-formed Goddess of the Crossroads; experience her as the initiatrix and protectress; and participate in transformative rituals, meditations and trance workings through which participants can explore her mysteries.

And now, due to both popular demand and the hard work of the organisers – which include Sorita d’Este – this year’s is set to be even more unique, exciting and intense, taking place just after the fourth annual Rite of Her Sacred Fires – a wondrous ritual that kicked off a huge surge in all things Hekatean over the last few years.

On Saturday June 1st, many people will once again gather for this years one-day event which promises a diverse and interesting selection of speakers and workshops as well as a no doubt fabulous evening ritual (which if it’s anything like the previous year, will be something very personal and memorable for all involved!)

The “sneak-peak” teaser that is given on the event’s website speaks for itself…”Elemental Blessing and Consecration, Hekate and the Sorceress Circe, Hekate and Oceanic Magics, the Four-Faced Goddess, Thracian Religion and Magic … There will also be a Sacred Ritual Theatre production, and evening ritual for all attendees.” With a full program still to be released and I’m sure tons more to be confirmed.

If you are a devotee of, or in anyway drawn to/intruiged by Hekate, then I would definitely recommend finding out about the Symposium and the Covenant of Hekate that facilitates it. It promises to be a unique and worthwhile event that cannot be adequately described or duplicated. I myself am excitedly looking forward to it – especially the fact that author and priest Georgi Mischev will be jetting in from Bulgaria to give a talk on the Four-Faced Goddess Hekate and Thracian Religion. If you haven’t heard of/read his book “Thracian Magic”, I heartily recommend it!!

With stalls selling books, magical & devotional items, artwork etc as well as being located slap-bang in the middle of the stunning hamlet of Glastonbury, this is shaping up to be AWESOME!!!

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The Pagan Blog Project: A is for Agathos Daimon

Firstly this post is later than planned secondly it’s not what I was originally going to talk about. My initial idea was to discuss Aphrodite and my past/present dealings with Her. However, ‘inspiration’ of sorts struck that I should write about the Agathos Daimon – coincidentally this idea came on the second day of the lunar month, a day traditionally associated with the Daimon.

Agathos Daimon means “good spirit” and is seen as a divine being – sometimes an intermediary between Gods and mortals – less powerful than a God but more so than a mere mortal. This being, associated with the oikos (household) and the protection of it and those within, is often portrayed as a snake or as a young man holding a cornucopia and presides over prosperity, fertility, spiritual evolution..

Not to be confused with the evil ‘demon’ of modern Christian mythology (though a negative counterpart called a kakodaimon did exist) the Agathos Daimon is sometimes linked with being an aspect of Zeus in his role of Ktesios – another deity of household religion – and sometimes with Dionysos and the gift of wine. It is traditional to pour out a small libation of wine in honour of the Agathos Daimon, especially on the second day of the lunar month to ask for aid, guidance, protection or merely just in praise.

Some modern practitioners of Hellenismos see the Agathos Daimon as a type of spiritual companion or guide – similar in some ways to the concept of a guardian angel. This is illustrated by the account of the philosopher Sokrates who spoke of his own daimon as a small voice which spoke to him, warning to refrain from certain actions (Plato, Apology, 31d).

There is a splendid invocation to the Agathos Daimon in the Papyri Graecae Magicae:

Rejoice with me, You who are set over the East Wind and the World, for whom all the Gods serve as Body-Guards at Your Good Hour and on Your Good Day, You who are the Agathos Daimon of the World, the Crown of the Inhabited World, You who arise from the Abyss, You who Each Day rise a Young Man and set an Old Man, HARPENKNOUPHI BRINTANTE’- NO’PHRI BRISSKYLMAS AROURZORBOROBA MESINTRIPHI NIPTOUMI CHMOUMMAO’PHI. I beg You, Lord, do not allow me to be Over-Thrown, to be Plotted Against, to receive Dangerous Drugs, to go into Exile, to fall upon Hard Times. Rather, I ask to obtain and receive from You Life, Health, Reputation, Wealth, Influence, Strength, Success, Charm, Favor with all Men and all Women, Victory over all Men and all Women. Yes, Lord, ABLANATHANALBA AKRAMMACHAMARI PEPHNA PHO’ZA PHNEBENNOUNI NAACHTHIP…OUNORBA, accomplish this Matter which I want, by means of Your Power. (PGM 36.211-30)

In my personal practice, I will admit that I am still trying to connect with my daimon. This post however has allowed me to consider how I can renew and strengthen my relatively weak relationship with Him. My first step will be the setup of a small shrine (will be documented in future follow-up posts) and begin a regular exploration of the daimon, giving offerings, prayers and praise as well as divination and meditation on the matter.

First off, here’s a small piece I’ve written to honour the/my daimon:

Hail most revered of daimons!

Serpentine in form

Whose coils move about my dwelling.

Let no harm befall this place or those who reside herein,

Protect our home against thieves and trespassers.

May all things grow by your acts;

Riches and opulence by your mind

Fertility and growth by your body

Advancement and fulfilment by your spirit!

You who watches over my stores

And keeps good counsel with Zeus Ketesios.

Let your feats and deeds be blessed

Unmixed wine do I sprinkle down upon you in praise!

Covenant of Hekate Camping & Picnic Weekend

Our humble abode for the weekend!

This weekend I have been away in Yorkshire at a very enjoyable weekend set up by Tara Sanchez (author of “The Temple of Hekate“.

After resigning myself to not being able to attend two weeks ago and subsequently making other, more local, plans things all changed at the last minute and I found myself scrambling about attempting to be able to attend with less than 24hrs to go!

As luck would have it and thanks to the support and generosity of both Tara and my partner Darren, I was able to jump in a car with just a few things and zip off first thing Friday morning to Bredsbury to meet with Tara, help her finish getting everything together and then together with another attendee, we drove up to Sentry Circle in Yorkshire.

Bly our HGH (Holy Guardian Hound) - no Hekatean should be without one!

We were very fortunate on a number of levels from the glorious weather (28-30 degrees at end of Sept/beginning of Oct!!), a beautiful site, welcoming people and all round just great energy. Of note is the wonderful Bly, the owner’s dog who is a real sweet character and

very friendly. He captivated everyone and was dubbed our HGH or Holy/Hekate Guardian Hound. His personality was so much bigger than his humble little form but he was such a heart-warming addition to the weekend.

On the Friday itself there was just 4 of us to open up and once the tent was pitched and we’d had a rest we set up an altar to Hekate, situated by the campfire (that was left up day and night for the entire weekend) and performed an opening/gathering ritual.

Amazing people, amazing place, amazing time!

The night continued with good food, good company, and good wine; with conversation trailing well into the wee hours – Tara and myself talking until 4am (until the wine ran out, lol!) It was a first for me camping – and only a second occasion of a group gathering. In the early hours of Saturday I went up to the stone circle that was raised in accordance to the old ways back in 2008 and considering it is in effect a modern construct it’s look and energy feels like it has been there for 1200 years or more!

Each stone was alive with a different energy and personality and the whole circle felt protective, still and calm. Lying on the ground in the center and gazing up at the clear, star encrusted sky was just wonderful and I could have easily fallen asleep up there. The local nature/land spirit seemed to take quiet an interest in me also, tempting me to play “chase” with a Pan-esque energy that was quite familiar. For the entirety of the night I was aware of Him wandering around just

Our altar to Hekate, left day and night by the campfire

behind me, just out of sight.

The next morning, despite being late to bed I was still early to rise (just before 9am) although it was plain to see that it’d been a good night even if the morning was a tad rough! But the beautiful Mima was on hand with cuppa and a smile which helped get things moving and the weather was still glorious! After a breakfast of sausage, bacon and egg (more like elevenses because the cooker was a bit slow) we got on with the rest of the day.

The afternoon was filled with laughter and frolics, with the “Covenant of Hekate Autumn/Winter Fashion Shoot” and the formation of Hekate’s Angels! The day continued with a shared picnic lunch (houmous, lavender bread, grapes, figs, sausages, cheese, antipasti, olives and so much more), lots of conversation and more wine. There were some other people who arrived on the Saturday, some who stayed and some who just came for a short

Hekate's Angels!

while. It was still very nice and during the winding down of the picnic, the land spirit (I think the name is Nur? Nor?) took a shine to a bag of apples which no one had touched. So I asked if anyone would mind if I got some food to offer to Hekate and also the apples to leave up by the circle for Him.

Night fell and the magick continued. I went back up to the circle eventually to offer the apples, despite feeling a little apprehensive because of the playful urgency with which the land spirit seemed to want me up there. Despite trying to offer the apples reasonably neatly, He just got stuck in; knocking apples from my hand and them rolling all over the place. I spent some time up there on my own and got a nice feeling overall and that He was very pleased with the apples (and my confrontation of my desire to run away) and I have promised that whenever I return, I will now bring Him apples.

The fire which burned almost continuously for the weekend thanks to the dutiful attendance of those present

Sunday morning, the heavens opened and the view of the previous two days had truly turned autumnal. In fact it was like we’d actually been camping in July and then fallen asleep for three months, only to wake up in the beginning of October cold, wet and gloomy. But it was still nice; fresh and natural. I had a last walk around, went up to the stones again, helped pack up and put the tent away and then it was time to say goodbyes and head on home.

I was fortunate enough to be able to get my copy of Tara’s book signed by her too, so I was made up with that. Icing on the cake! During my time at the campsite, I was drawing a card from my Mythic Oracle deck every morning and I found it mildly amusing that the card Eros~Desire was drawn on each morning; the description of the cards meaning echoing my experiences perfectly…”He represents the almost ethereal and ecstatic state of desire that is evoked within us when we feel a reconnection to nature and divine, to life and death, to eternity and change rather than the fixed and mundane.”

Sentry Circle, Yorkshire

The weekend was a triumph and I miss the place and company already! I’ve met so many lovely, genuine souls; laughed very hard and had some very profound experiences on a personal level. It’s looking to be that this camp will now become an annual event which will be brilliant and can only go from strength to strength!

 

The first sighting of the crescent moon just breaking over the hills

(Photos courtesy of Tara, Kath and Myself)

Prometheus Inbound

Ever since my investigation of the meaning and use behind the Flaming Thyrsos, the nods towards the Titan Prometheus have been growing. Not merely content with popping up in the divinations surrounding the symbol, I began to wonder if perhaps He was trying to get my attention for something else.

So, I went back to the cards – the Mythic Oracle to be precise, as this is both my favourite deck and one I feel very connected too (after all, I had the image of the Dionysos card tattooed on me). I tried out a 5-card spread that would shed light on a question/situation.

Once the cards were selected, I turned over the first card which was to represent the overall theme/situation. I laughed out loud when Prometheus was staring me right in the face! Interestingly, He was paired with 2 fellow Titans – Rhea and Kronos – along with Iris and Poseidon; giving a reading that pointed towards a balance and harmony, as well as natural cycles.

To follow this up, I wrote down 5 questions regarding Prometheus’ interest in me/desire to get my attention and a similar theme presented itself, including Themis/Natural Order. The overall gist though was that Prometheus wanted attention from me.

That afternoon, whilst musing on how best to act on this revelation I found myself staring at a shelf that housed a generic Greek male statuette. Before I knew it I was sitting at the table with an assortment of paints and brushes and set to work on transforming the “plain” figure. A matter of hours later and I sat with an image of Prometheus looking back at me.

I painted his hair black, with a greying beard; draped in a deep blue robe standing on a rock. I also added an incision to his abdomen as a distinguishing feature, to represent where the eagle would devour his liver each day. Later that day I also remembered I had been giving a rather chunky, silver chain by a friend. When I picked it up, I instantly thought of the shackles that held Prometheus to Mt. Caucasus. Experimenting, I couldn’t decide whether to have Him bound in the chain or to have them lying before him, symbolising his release at the hands of Herakles.

And so I have a sacred icon of Prometheus to make central on some sort of shrine. I think I will keep it relatively simple and just offer libations and incense as well as the fire of the candle, for we wouldn’t have the gift of fire if not for his actions and subsequent sacrifice on our behalf.

My personal customised Prometheus statuette, chain and card from the Mythic Oracle depicting the fire-stealing Titan.

My exploration into his original worship and looking for those who actively worship him today hasn’t turned up much. That said it leaves me relatively free to follow my instincts in relation to a Hellenic framework and what I do know about Prometheus.

Further musing has also made me realise that the nature of the deities closest to me are outsiders in some way or another.  Both Hekate and Dionysos are liminal; they move between realms, exist within and without. They deal with the things most of the other Gods don’t seem particularly comfortable with; they’re personable, passionate, requiring us to look at ourselves and gain greater understanding of that which is hidden and within as well as our darker aspects.

Prometheus is the rebel. Another outsider, he threw his lot in with us: mortal man – his own (by some accounts) creation. Everything he does, he does for us, a beneficent father. He gave us the food from the Gods’ mouths, laying the foundations for all future sacrifice and he gave us fire, which in its own right – even by our modern understanding – is a gift of the Gods itself. With it we were taught how to cook food, keep warm, protect ourselves, smelt metals and work other material; the fires of invention, of passion, of will.

It is also reflecting my own innate qualities. I am a fire sign (Aries) and my birth chart mentioned that alignments and such at the time of my birth created a triple amplification of my fire qualities, making me in affect a Promethean Child. Also, though I’m not alone in this, fire is my favourite element. It is mesmerising, cleansing, transformative amongst other things and should be venerated as well as respected for we all know the capabilities of this element if mistreated or misused.

I cannot say whether this new relationship will be a long-standing one, as I have experienced the fleeting natures of certain deities in the past; all of which I am grateful to for their gifts and blessings. However, I am interested to see where this new route of worship takes me. I already know that the Flaming Thyrsos is my tool to connect further with both Hekate and Dionysos and it is wreathed in Prometheus’ gift to mankind.

 “Trickster, rebel, theif of fire, master of information and friend of mankind.”

~’Prometheus’ by Carol Dougherty

Rekindling the Thyrsos

So it’s been more than three months since I started this blog and I have succeeded in posting absolutely NADA, lol! I could spend the time coming up with excuses, but I’m going to gloss over all the whys, wherefores, coulda-woulda-shouldas and just get right back into the swing of things.

To get the ball rolling, I have already come up with a few things I will be looking to get posted in the coming days/weeks. These include reviews of “The Temple of Hekate” by Tara Sanchez (published by Avalonia Press) and “Tales of the Witch Moon” by Jade Sol Luna as well as sharing some pieces of devotional poetry, discussing my inspiration for my next spiritual tattoo and much more.

I hope those of you reading will bare with me and enjoy the ride and I look forward to sharing more about myself and my Gods.