Monthly Archives: February 2013

Meeting The Triple Goddess

We have spoken about The Horned God and mentioned very little about his counterpart, the Triple Goddess. I thought it was about time we introduced this all-encompassing female deity.

Just as Neometheus and I found it a challenge to put into words and describe the Horned God, so we have found the Triple Goddess. It seems this exercise of writing down our beliefs to share with you, dear readers, has really made us examine what we think and how we think of those that we honour.

Where do I begin? What do I say about someone, or something, that encompasses all life? Exactly that: She IS all life. Goddess Mother. She is the earth: She nourishes us, protects us, and it is to her womb we return when we die. ‘Mother’ earth, Gaia – all are names for the Goddess. She is the cycle of the seasons, She is the Moon, She is the keeper of magical power, She is Fertility, She is Creativity, She is Will. When we honour Her, and the Horned God, we are honouring the earth and the aspect of each season, each cycle of the moon. The two aspects – physical and divine – are intertwined.

So who IS the Triple Goddess? Brighid; Arianrhod; Epona; Ceridwen, Morrigan – are some of the more well-known names of the Celtic Goddesses. Then you have other Goddesses from Ancient times – Hecate, Diana, Aphrodite, Isis, and many many more, too numerous to mention. Some Pagans honour specific Goddesses such as these, and the particular aspect that each represents.

Other Pagans, including myself – and by extension, Neometheus, do not honour a specific Goddess; we honour the Triple Goddess. Why? Why not give her a name? Because to us, she is all of these Goddesses rolled into one, and yet none of them. They are a part of Her, and She of Them, and yet they are separate deities. Think of it as a hologram. To understand this concept, you have to forget the mundane world and enter the Divine world; a kind of dream vision, where things don’t work in terms of ‘reality’.

It is interesting to note that both the Morrigan and Hecate are Triple Goddesses in themselves; The Morrigan is A Goddess, and incorporates Macha, Anu and Badb. She is also known by other names, there are many variations and myths surrounding her, but essentially each of these has Her own characteristics, traits and mythology. Hecate is shown as actually having three faces. So the Triple aspect is repeated in other Goddesses.

The-Tripple-Goddess

The term ‘Triple Goddess’ refers to her changing role as Maid, Mother, Crone. The Crone is perhaps the least well loved, the least understood, and the image that has been most distorted through modern times… and we shall see why, as I explain each of these aspects.

It is worth mentioning here that it is very hard to pin down an EXACT mythology of the Goddess. As we have said earlier, Neopagans do not have a structure, nor scripture. Each is free to believe, honour, and follow the path in their own way. Therefore the below is MY interpretation of the Goddess, which will perhaps differ somewhat from other neopagans, yet will have the same underlying core values.

The Maid

The Maid is of course, the young woman, a virgin, and who is pursued by the young lusty hunter, the Horned God. She is Spring; resurgence of life, the new bloom. She is hope in life, joy, youth, and new beginnings. She is potential.

The Mother

Is the Lover of the Horned God: He has caught – and courted – Her, and they stand side by side, strong in love and equal in power. She is Strength, she is the protector. She is Creativity. She is Summer, sustenance, calm, strength and power. She is wisdom. Her power starts waning as autumn gives way to winter.

At the Harvest, the Horned God sacrifices himself, giving himself to the corn, and being ‘harvested’ by the Goddess, to make way for new life. As the sun wanes, so too does the strength of the Horned God, he sets sail – to the West, say some, to the Underworld, say others, to rest and regather his strength (as he goes so the sun goes, and thus we have winter – as the sun goes, so he goes… you can read it either way, this is the symbology of the Horned God).

The Crone

The Crone is the old woman. Ugly? NO. Warty? NO. Wearing a black shroud and muttering over a cauldron? Quite possibly…

The Crone is the keeper of the deep mystical secrets, deep knowledge of the Otherworld, and of the after-life. The Cauldron is the tool with which She helps guides souls back into rebirth. The cauldron is also a symbol of the womb, as well as the keeping of magics. She is Wisdom, She is Magic. This doesn’t seem a lot to say about her, but they are the two most powerful things to have. She can see far beyond and is also known as the keeper of the web of the Wyrd (Fate). She is the Winter – cold, harsh winter. But as with all life – what has been given must be reaped; taken again.

As Maid, she gave life, bloom, love – she kept, sustained and nourished this as the Mother in Summer – and now, as life cycles round, she takes away again, even unto death.  Yet she does not bring death – she is the knowledge of death, and the guardian of it (Just as the Horned God is).  The earth needs to rest and gather its strength. She is the Dark Moon.

Crone

As such, she is perhaps the least of the aspects of the Goddess that a Witch will favour, or ask a boon of – not because she is less loved, but because her boons and knowledge are so powerful, one must be sure what she/he is doing when he/she casts a circle for the Crone. However, she is also the One that is called upon to diminish: to banish anything negative, to get rid of unwanted things in life, and to lessen power of something no longer needed.

At this point, the Horned God has become the ‘wise old man’.(Yes, I know I said he ‘went away with the Sun’, but this was allegorical, He simply metamorphosises into this other aspect). Think of Merlin: the only person, or character, depending on how you think of him – who incorporates the traits of the old Horned God. Wise, intelligent, also guardian of death – He is the Light in the Dark, the companion on the road – knower of deep magic and mysteries, friend to all the animals. He is calm, sure, patient, knowing all things come in time.

The Crone and the Horned God are not often – if ever – seen together, yet they are still equal counter-parts.

From this, it is easy to see why the crone has been distorted throughout history: the most to be feared, the darkest. Her image has been warped to an ugly old woman working horrible tricks to evil ends (Disney haven’t helped this image, yet they are not the only nor the first to project such a distortion), yet nothing could be further from the truth. With Light, there is dark; with warmth, the cold. So it is with Maid-Mother-Crone. She, the Crone, is the culmination and the balance of Her other two aspects.

The Mother Goddess is under my feet when I walk. She is the face of the moon at which I look. She is the strength in my heart and the song in my soul. She is the knowledge unknown. She is the power being tapped.

When I call on the Goddess, how can I describe to you how I feel? I know I am free. Absolutely, totally free, in my soul. I know I cannot be harmed, for She is in me and beside me. She is beautiful, wise. Is She benign? Yes, but not weak. She will not suffer foolish frivolity. She is honest love, deep passion, and raw power.

triple_moon_triple_spiral

This is (my) Triple Goddess. I hope you have come to understand Her a little better, Her relationship with the world we live in, and Her relationship with us, as witches, neopagans, and/or simply people.

Blessings be.

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Meeting The Horned God: Popular Misconceptions

Following from reikiheidi’s introductory post about the Horned God, I thought I would go into more detail regarding some of misconceptions about the Horned God. Many people are still influenced by ancient Christian propaganda and more or less equate the Horned God with Satan. This is not the case as I will attempt to demonstrate.

bg11_devil

A boil covered Job flees from Satan. From William Caxton’s The Golden Legend, ca 1483-1484.

According to the Bible (Ezekiel 28:12) God describes Lucifer as “…perfect in beauty.” He was created by God as a cherub angel, and is considered the greatest being ever created, outranking even the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. The Bible (Ezekiel 10:10-17) describes a cherub angel as having four faces: one of a cherub, one of man, one of a lion and one of an eagle. They stand at about 18 feet tall, have four wings with hands underneath, and their entire bodies are covered in eyes. This description applied to Satan before his fall from Heaven. Whether his appearance changed following his fall is not, to my knowledge, stated. Alternately in Revelations (12:3), Satan is described as a seven-headed dragon with 10 horns. Evidently there is scant biblical support for the supposed iconographic similarities between Satan and the Horned God.

Detail of Pan from a vase painting depicting the Judgement of Paris. Ca 320 BC

Detail of Pan from a vase painting depicting the Judgement of Paris. Ca 320 BC

So where did this perception come from? It can be traced back to early Christian attempts to convert the old pagan populations of Europe to Christianity. The exact origin of the demonisation of the ancient horned Gods has been lost in the mists of time. Pan is perhaps the best known of these pagan Gods, and shares much of the His symbology with popular conceptions of Satan including horns, goats legs, cloven hoofs and tail. It is worth noting that in most modern and ancient depictions the Horned God possesses only the horns and not the goat aspects. It is easy to see that the libidinous image of Pan with his partly animal form and permanent erection (a symbol of virility), would be abhorrent to the ascetic early Church Fathers. It seems that Pan who is just one of many old horned Gods revered around Europe and the Mediterranean has been used as a blueprint for the most common image of the Christian Satan. There is evidence that Pan had a wide following around the formerly Hellenistic regions of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. For instance a shrine to Pan located at the ancient site of Ceasaera Phillipi near the Jordan River and the borders of Israel, Syria and Lebanon. Archaeologists excavating the shrine, that was erected some time following the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 3rd century BC, found that although the ritual practices seem to change over time, the shrine did not fall out of use until some 700 years later in the 4th century AD. That Pan was not indigenous to the region and yet outlived the Hellenic culture that exported him there by many centuries – even here in the birthplace of Christianity – demonstrates his popularity, at least with rural populations. Nor is Ceasaera Phillipi an isolated case, in Egypt Pan was equated with Egypt’s own horned Gods such Banebdjedet (the Ram of Mendes) and even Zeus-Ammon, and perhaps also the phallic deity Min. The same equivalence and similarities were seen elswhere; the Basque image of the horned God Akerbeltz, the celtic Cerrunos and Herne and the Roman Faunus. To the early Chritians Pan came to symbolise all the pagan Gods and their most dangerous aspect: freedom. The early pagans were absent the idea of sin, Pan epitomised this perhaps most of all, with his guilt free and promiscuous nature he would have been seen as the antithesis of the Abrahamic perceptions of sex and the marginal role of women. Thus he became synonomous with the arch-daemon of Christianity. It seems this perception was formed relatively quickly; in the early 4th CE Eusebius responded to Plutarch’s report of the alleged ‘death of the Great God Pan’, claiming that the Christian God had rid humankind of its biggest demon. By this time apparently the perceived equivalence of Pan, and thus all the pagan Gods, with demons and Satan was already established. The Christian church spent most of its first millennium mopping up pockets of paganism around Europe. Turning the pagan’s own symbology against them was one of the many tools employed in this task. The medieval Church zealously re-iterated this horned depiction of Satan and it is solidly ingrained even today. The simple facts of the matter are that the Horned God symbolism pre-dates Christianity by millennia, and contradicts Christianity’s own biblical depictions of Satan. The success of the adoption and transformation of the image of the Horned God and Pan in particular is indicative of how popular and therefore threatening the horned Gods were to early Christianity, and also of Christian flexibility in adapting pagan symbology into it’s own dogma. It is worth mentioning that another popular symbol of the Devil, the pitchfork or trident is most likely a reference to the Greek God Poseidon who also bore a trident, the symbol is not to my knowledge associated with the Horned God.

Baphomet, the Sabbatic Goat, by Eliphas Levi, 1855.

The misunderstandings are exacerbated further by the use of aspects of Horned God symbolism by Satanists. The Church of Satan has adopted Baphomet as its official emblem. The symbol of Baphomet has a curious history, which I will not relate here. Instead of being a pre-Christian emblem of the Horned God, it is a post-Christian reaction to Christianity itself, incorporating the horned and goat-like characteristics that, as I have discussed, were taken by Christians from the original pagan sources. For instance the name Baphomet is most likely a medieval corruption of ‘Mahomet’ an old rendering of Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam. The originator of the Baphomet symbol Eliphas Levi derived it, in part, from the ‘Devil’ card of the eighteenth century Tarot of Marseilles and representations of the Egyptian ‘Ram of Mendes’, Banebdjedet. Levi’s image does not and it seems has never been intended to depict the Horned God, but instead depicts Satan or in Alestair Crowley’s words “the hieroglyph of arcane perfection”. It is ironic that Satanism has adopted the very same symbols for use against Christianity that the Christians themselves lifted from paganism in order to discredit it.

Needless to say therefore, Neopagans do not worship the Devil. In fact we do not believe in Satan or even in the Christian duality of good and evil. Rejecting the good/evil dualism does not mean that Neopaganism is amoral; most if not all practitioners follow a form of the Golden Rule, often called the Wiccan Rede, which states ‘Do what thou wilt, though it harm none’.

Detail of a Horned God probably the Celtic Cernunnos, from the Gundestrup Cauldron. Ca 200 BC – 300 AD.

Additionally there is the ‘Rule of Three’ or ‘Law of Returns’, a principle similar to Karma which attests that whatever energy and intent you put out into the world, constructive or destructive, will be returned to you three-fold.

I hope this goes some way to resolve some of the anxieties and misunderstandings commonly associated with the Horned God. The next posts on the topic will go into more detail about who the Horned God actually is, his role, attributes, history etc.

Thanks for reading and blessings be )O(

Meeting the Horned God: An Introduction

A dear blogger friend has asked us about the Horned God of Paganism – or rather, I should say, Neo-Paganism: the ‘new’ Paganism that survives today, formed from Ancient Celtic Paganism. We are not, here, talking about Norse, Greek, or Roman Paganism.

Of course, we thought, yes, He needs an explanation for those who are not familiar with Him! And Neometheus and I were more than happy to oblige.

This has become a more monumental task than we realised: we started discussing, thinking, explaining to each other just WHO the Horned God is: who and what he represents to us. And the more we talked and thought, the more we came up with. How do you ‘wrap up’ a living God? – for that is what He is (more on this later.) I had never really thought in depth before about analysing the Horned God: He simply is; I know what He represents to me. Yet this task of sharing Him, of describing Him, has made me think deeply about this subject, and we have decided that there is no way we can describe Him in full measure in just one post. There is too much to say – He encompasses so much, has so many aspects, that one post would end up being ridiculously long! In fact, I wrote down some bullet points – and those alone ended up being 2 pages!

So Neometheus and I have decided that the best way to approach this is by headings, and (trying) to deal with one aspect at a time. Amongst these headings, we will include a personal anecdote of a meeting with the Horned God, as well as a guided meditation/journey for yourselves to meet Him, if you are curious and so choose. There is so much I could say about this right now, but I shall (reluctantly!) leave that for the appropriate time.

I realise this introduction doesn’t really tell you much, but we felt it necessary to explain our approach to this task. It’s probably worth noting at this point that paganism is not a religion – it is a belief system, as Buddhism is, a way of life. Also, Paganism is open to interpretation to each individual – there is no set scripture. If you ask 50 pagans to describe Paganism, or the Horned God, you will probably get 50 different answers. There are of course underlying core values, an understanding of ‘the path’, yet it is a very personal way of living life and interacting with the deities.

Cultural differences

I understand that for our American readers, this may be more revelatory, surprising, and eye-opening than for our British readers. (For other cultures, I don’t know how Paganism is thought of in your countries, so I’m not leaving you out, just pointing out the American/British difference – your thoughts and comments on Paganism in your country are more than welcome). Online and in various ways, I have come across American Pagans. To be Pagan in America seems to be a huge deal: I have heard of people ‘not coming out’ to their family and friends, for fear of being thought a Satanist, ostracised, or dragged to the church to be baptised! Paganism seems to be less accepted and less understood in America. In Britain, it is accepted – or at least, not cared about by those that don’t follow ‘the path’. To say you’re Pagan may result in a raised eyebrow, a few curious questions, and a shrug. Others may think it is ‘cool’. That’s it. I have never feared calling myself Pagan in public, or even thought of hiding it. I am proud to be a Pagan… and proud to honour – we do not worship – the Triple Goddess and the Horned God.

So, time for some FAQs, which I hope will give you a basic and succinct introduction to this beautiful, living natural deity.

The Horned God

The Horned God

So just who is this Horned God?

Let’s state this clearly now: he is NOT Satan. Neopagans do not believe in Satan. Satan is the opposite of the Christian God, and thus, he can only exist within the Christian faith – as we perceive it. The Horned God is not evil.

The Horned God is dynamic, a part of nature, and is often ‘seen’ as living in glades, woodlands, groves and forests – anywhere there is wild nature. He is a hunter, passionate, wild, driven, full of absolute joy – and he is a wise old man, brimming with knowledge. This is his dual aspect –something else we will cover in more detail later.

So why does He have horns and cloven feet?

The Horned God is a god, not human. His animal symbols, as described above, represent his Oneness with nature. They are there to remind us that he is more than human; he is all life. It is not the animalistic nature of Humanity he represents with his horns and hoof; it is his totality with all life. He is guardian of the animals, he is One with them, as well as with us.

What do you mean by the term, ‘a living God’?

The Horned God is in and around everything in nature. He is in the trees; the plants; the animals. He is the cycle of the sun and the seasons. We honour Him as a part of Nature, always around us.

Neo-Paganism has resurrected the Horned God: We don’t know for sure how he was honoured or thought of in ancient Celtic ways, but we know enough to honour Him in our own way, today. He is not who he was then – but he is, and always has been, entwined in every aspect of nature. Just as Nature, and Ages and Culture, cycles and moves on, so too does the Horned God – hence ‘a living God’.

So you worship a male deity then?

No. First off as I have said, the term ‘worship’ is really anathema to neo-pagans. Rather, we honour our deities. We enter into a respected relationship with them. It is a relationship that is alive; interactive; respectful. We feel them in everyday life, we talk to them, offer offerings (no, not living sacrifices!) ask for their ‘favour’ or wisdom, – as long as we give something back to them. In respect of them, we honour all nature, as this is their domain and a part/aspect of them.

What do I mean by ‘they’? The Horned God is consort to the Triple Goddess. Many pagans see Her as the primary deity; many others consider them wholly equal. Either way, even when the Goddess is seen as ‘primary’, they are still in every way equal. This is a difficult concept to explain if you are unfamiliar with it. They have their own energies; power, unique aspects and ways of helping and manifesting to us. The Horned God is the Goddess’ support, Her companion, Her lover. They are two energies helping us in different yet equally important ways. There is much to discuss on this topic, which we hope to cover later.

That’s it for now. We hope that this covers the basics, and gives you a further insight and clarity into the male deity that we neo-pagans honour. We will be happy to answer any further questions that you may have on this subject, and of course we will follow up this introductory post with further details about the Triple Goddess and Horned God.

Blessings be.

The Holographic God

A water drop

A water drop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the written record of human history several thousand different deities have been identified. Some you will have heard of many more you will not. Until a few years ago I would have called myself an atheist. I have now come to believe in the existence of the divine, I have my Gods to whom I connect with as often as I can. If I am prepared to acknowledge the existence of any given God, can I rationally deny the existence of any other? Some belief systems maintain that there is only one God or pantheon Gods and Goddesses, mine does not. How then should I regard my relationship to these other deities? If the spiritual and divine realms do indeed reflect the material world, then there is scope for myriad forms of spiritual beings and deities.

Many ancient pagan religions revered Gods and Goddesses under their different aspects, the Triple Goddess of neopaganism has the Maid, Mother and Crone aspects. This triple aspect feature is common among pagan deities and similar to the Christian Holy Trinity. Despite acknowledging multiple deities with multiple aspects I still consider myself a monist, that is the belief that all existence essentially comprises a single reality. That is a single divine reality, manifesting the physical universe, the spiritual realms, the soul of each individual and the Gods themselves; it has been variously called the Tao, Logos and Brahman among many other names.

It seems to me that the nature of reality and therefore the divine is holographic, meaning that each part contains within it the entirety of the whole. Normally when each of us encounters the divine we see one (or more) of its many faces. The face we see differs from person to person and culture to culture, whether or not we see that which we expect to see or whether the divine presents a face which is most appropriate to the time, place and expectations of the observer I could not say. Whoever we are and whatever Gods we call upon, it is the same divinity that gazes back at us all. This is not to say that Yahweh is identical to Odin, or that Zeus and Shiva are the same. They possess different personalities and attributes, potentially different spheres of influence and powers. They are all manifestations of the divine reality in the same way that each person is a different manifestation of the same ultimate divinity.

It has long been the goal of the wise to know the divine reality directly, it is agreed by those mystics that have experienced it that the divine is unknowable except through direct contact and practices such as Yoga and meditation. The Gods in the various forms in which they recognised are more accessible – perhaps that is part of their purpose, perhaps not – through prayer, Shamanism, meditation etc. Whilst Brahman cannot be understood except by the most elevated, the Gods represent a more discernible face that people can to connect to. If this represents intention on the part of the Gods, or whether we have evolved to be able to interpret the Gods in a way which makes sense to us I do not know. That many if not most of the Gods are anthropomorphised to some extent suggests to me the latter.

Some people may feel that this belief in some way diminishes the Gods, from being absolute in and of themselves. However this misunderstands the nature of the Great Hologram, since each part contains the entirety of the whole, each deity is no less than the entirety of reality; as incidentally are each of us as individuals. As the Hindu Vedanta philosophy says There is only Brahman.

I feel this idea accounts for the diversity of human experiences of the divine whilst maintaining the principle that we (people, nature and Gods) are all essentially one and the same infinite and divine essence. This vision of reality serves as the basis of a flexible, tolerant and all inclusive belief system, it allows me to rationally follow my chosen Gods whilst still aiming for the realisation of the understanding that I am one with Brahman.

Does this conflict or fit with your own beliefs?

Many thanks for reading, and blessings be )O(

Shamanic Drumming: An Exploration

I promised you a blog post about Shamanic drumming and here, I keep my promise. This is not an informative post that will teach you how to drum Shamanically: rather, it is sharing the first proper experience that Neometheus and I had with teaching ourselves this important Shamanic art.

Neither Neometheus nor I are musically inclined. But for this purpose, you don’t have to be – Shamanic drumming is about connecting to the Source; the ‘Other realm’, helping to connect with [your] deities in ritual, respect, and honour. Neither do we have ‘proper’ Shamanic drums: they are expensive, and we are completely new to this. As followers of a hedge-witch path, we therefore used what we have to hand – namely, two beautiful Djembe drums. As with anything that you do in magic, ritual, or in any way connect actively with sources outside of ourselves, it is INTENTION that matters, not how much money you have spent or how beautiful or ‘appropriate’ something is.

Djembe drums and rattles

Djembe drums and rattles

It was my desire to set up our alter for this exploration. Now, an alter is not necessary – it is more of a witch-craft aspect than a Shamanistic aspect. However, it has been a long time since I have set up my alter and connected and honoured the Triple Goddess and Horned God, and I felt the need to do this. I added to it the usual east/south/west/north symbolisms: air/fire/water/earth, respectively, a symbol of the Horned god, and the Goddess (of course), and representations of our animal spirits, as well as a couple of candles. I welcomed and honoured the Guardians and spirits of each direction, to join us in our exploration, as well as the Goddess and Horned god. I did not cast a full circle – this was not a magic ritual we were intending to do, after all. We sat next to the alter, with a drum each, and looked at each other, slightly bemused, slightly self-conscious.

Our intent and purpose this night was to attune and teach ourselves about Shamanic drumming; to find the beat within ourselves, and with each other. To understand the connection, to FEEL it. As we wish to explore Shamanic practice further, drumming is an important tool that we need to learn.

All I knew was that a Shamanic drum beat is about 220 beats per minute. I have never experienced drumming of any kind before. So- we just gave it a shot. This was an exploration, an experimentation, held in joy, light of heart (in respect and honour) and learning.

Neometheus started drumming. I started drumming. We each played around with our drums – with the beats, the tempos, the sound as fingers and palms found different parts of the drum. At first it was hard to keep a beat. I kept changing it, losing the rhythm, trying a different rhythm. Eventually, our drum-beats began to co-incide, without any conscious thought. The beat became fast, deep, and-

That’s when the beat took over me. My Mind was not in control of the rhythm: I had lost myself in the rhythm, it was as if my hands drummed of their own accord – and the drum sang back to me. There was no conscious urging of my hands; of controlling the beat or tempo, rather, my body instinctively took control whilst I lost myself in the sound of drumming.

I felt my throat opening – the urge to Voice came – a wordless sound came out of me, accompanying the drumming, and Neometheus added his own wordless counterpart. Again, surprisingly, with voice added, something changed in our beats, our melody together – and more than that – I felt the tone of the drum resonate at the exact same pitch as my Voice.

As I chanted my wordless song, my whole body thrummed at the same pitch as the drum: I felt the drum’s song flow into my throat; and vice versa. I can only compare this to the same intent as a Mantra.

Neometheus added his rattle, experimenting with that too. It worked wonderfully. I stopped my chant, my drumming becoming more gentle. Neometheus started his own chanting, and I chanted a background counterpart.

To me, lost in time and space, lost in rhythm and the Drum, it sounded beautiful, melodic, tribal. What it would have sounded like from an outside perspective, I can’t begin to imagine!

Eventually we stopped, drummed out, and looked at each other. The silence was deafening. For us, we felt that we had experienced something profound – I got a lot more from the drumming than I had thought I would. Neometheus remarked that we ‘synched’ a lot quicker than he thought we would, and this was true. It had not taken us long, and the wordless chanting was an unexpected happening. It was an amazing first session, and I learned a lot from it.

In the aftermath, we both felt ‘cleansed; as if we had done a Reiki session, or had a spiritual encounter. For me, I felt empty inside – a good empty, totally at peace, in balance, in harmony with myself and my environment.

I had not expected the session to feel, to us, so powerful – not our first experimental exploration! But the Spirit of the Shaman’s Drum must have been with us that night – I cannot think how else to describe it.

Listening to some Shamanic drumming on the internet later, we discovered our rhythm had been too fast: It’s hard to count 3-4 beats per second with no measure! Still, it had worked in a wonderful way for us. I look forward to continuing to learn and practice Shamanic drumming, and I know Neometheus does too – and now I truly know why it is termed ‘the Shaman’s Horse’!

 

Neometheus will be back soon… he’s writing the very next post as we speak, entitled ‘The Holographic God’.

A Journey Within

I initially intended to write a post about mine and Neometheus’ Shamanic drumming experience that we enjoyed the other day, however something rather wonderful happened today that I would like to share with you. We will post soon about the drumming (I promise!)

Finding myself with a bit of free time today, I decided to do a meditation. Not on anything specific, I just had the desire to go within. As I sat down, my beautiful Obsidian crystal ball (a gift from Neometheus), that sits on our mantel piece, caught my eye. Yes, I thought, I haven’t used that in a while.

My Obsidian crystal ball

My Obsidian crystal ball

I sat on the sofa cross-legged, with the crystal ball held in both hands at my root chakra. I closed my eyes and just breathed, turning my attention inward…

Immediately, I felt the universal energy all around me, and it zipped down within me. I felt this like a lighter-than-air feeling, bright and pulsing. After a few moments, I felt the earth energy begin to push up within me. I concentrated on that, rooting myself with it… and felt not only the ‘roots’ around (underneath) me, but a connection to mountains; volcanos; plants… this was a reminder of my connection with the Oneness of all things. The earth energy felt dark and slow as it reached up within me – the very opposite of universal energy. The two energies met inside me, entwining, like two warriors gripping arms with honourable intent. My own inner energy, my Being, combined with these two outside forces, swirling and pulsing within.

Suddenly, I was with Snake. She is my Totem Spirit guide; my spirit animal. Snake has been with me for many years, and has shown and taught me much. I see her as residing in the Otherworld above my head, looking out into Space. It’s not really space, as it is just a vast blackness – it is the Void She looks out on. She does not reside or help me in the mundane realm- this, our earth realm, but is involved with Spiritual knowledge and matters.

I felt a ‘gap’ from the top of my head to below my eyes; the energy was different, there was a change of ‘colour’- more felt than seen. This is the place she resides when with me, and is also the place of the 3rd eye chakra, and the place where Spiritual energy channels through into the body, the crown chakra. I greeted Snake warmly – and She told me her name. This is the first time in the many years She has been with me that She has consented to give me this information. So it was a big deal to me: I felt honoured, warm, graced, and excited. I will not share her name here, as your personal Spirit Guide’s name is as personal as a Witch’s taken name. Suffice it to say that it is something that touched me very deeply.

I conversed with Snake, telling Her that at last, I was ready to learn. We sat, side by side, in the Void, looking out at Blackness. This is the first time I have done this in an Inner Journey- just sat with her, at her ‘home’. She emanated feelings of warmth and happiness, that we there together. Then, she danced: She swirled and whirled, her snake body circling and twining and moving in all directions – She was beautiful, radiant, elegant.

She then showed me my Path: She shot forward-straight ahead, on a road of Blackness, emptiness, of Void, with the shape of hills and valleys on either side. All Paths are (Ultimately?) nothing. This is your Path, She said.

(Does She mean that my Path is a Spiritual one, because of the fact we were in the Void? Or that any Path I choose is mine? Or something else entirely? I’m not yet sure of the meaning of this.)

After this, Snake shot up- and up, up, up… further up than I could imagine – I put a boundary on the ‘up’, but knew that really and truly there was no boundary.

There are no boundaries – you imagine a boundary because your Mind cannot conceive of No-boundary, She said.

Again we sat, side by side. Asking her permission, I slid into Snake – I became Her, to see, if possible, from Her perception. With this action, my perception of the Void opened: It widened, became deeper, I saw more of it – as if a horizon you look at suddenly expands, doubles what you take in and can see. But still I was limited by Mind – still, I knew, I did not see everything.

And that was it. The whole Inner journey took a very short time – maybe 15 or 20 minutes. It had not been my intention to go on a ‘Journey’, merely to meditate. Yet I was taken on this journey – by the outside energies and my own Spirit Animal. This makes it even more extraordinary to me.

The fact that I re-connected with Snake, and that she told me Her name, suggests to me that I am taking further steps forward along my spiritual Path.  For the rest of the day, I have felt totally at peace, with no extraneous thoughts in my mind, and just ‘being’.

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Thank you A—– (Snake spirit). I honour you, and I thank you for the Journey, and your message xx

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I will add a post soon about connecting with Power animals/spirit guides, my relationship with mine, how I discovered them, and how you can find yours. I will add further details about the meaning of Snake spirit, as well as some others.

For now, I hope you enjoyed sharing this journey, and please comment with any questions or thoughts you have about this. And we would love to hear about any Inner Journey experiences that you have had 🙂

Blessings be.

A Message for you on Valentine’s Day

Rather than doing a full post today, I thought I would give a nod to Valentines Day, by sharing an Angel card reading for you.

I have two decks, one is Archangel Michael, and the other is Healing with the Angels. Both are by Doreen Virtue. I asked for a message to share today, on this day of love. I shuffled each deck and picked the top card of each. And I promise you, these are the cards I picked – I didn’t cheat! The Angels obviously heard my request and approved!

So, dear readers, a special message just for you:

Archangel Michael Oracle Cards, Doreen Virtue

Archangel Michael Oracle Cards, Doreen Virtue

Healing with the Angels oracle cards, Doreen Virtue

Healing with the Angels oracle cards, Doreen Virtue

“The angels want you to know that this is a light-filled time in your life. You have been working toward making changes and your intentions have now manifested into form… fill your heart with gratitude…

You are like a gardener who plants seeds and nurtures them… Keep watering and tending to your seeds… Your Angels are your co-gardeners…”

So – Happy Valentines Day to you and Blessings be.

Reikiheidi.

 

Related Articles: 

http://ashiramedicinewoman.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-angel-challenge.html#.URz_RqU71Bw

 

Venta Icenorum

Reikiheidi and I are very fortunate to live in Norwich, it is a wonderful city and positively seething with history, much of which can still be seen in the architecture and place names. I regret that I take it somewhat for granted and don’t know nearly as much of our local history as I would like. Many waves of history have left their mark on the area, but there is one time period in the history of Norwich which holds a fascination for both reikiheidi and myself.

At the time of the Roman conquests of Britain the Iceni tribe inhabited an area roughly corresponding with the modern county of Norfolk. The ancient capital of the Iceni Venta Icenorum (meaning ‘Marketplace of the Iceni’) lies close to Norwich, in the village of Caistor St Edmund. It has long been my intention to visit the place, and being free of the children this Tuesday reikiheidi and I did just that.

Our reason for the visit was primarily to make a small pilgrimage to connect with our ancestors, those people who walked the land we call our home before us, fellow pagans and a people whose culture has provided inspiration for the way we personally relate to the divine.

Neither reikiheidi or I hold much affection the culture and history of the Romans and tend to view them as being responsible for the destruction of much of Britain’s indigenous religions, traditions and mythology, although I concede this may be somewhat inaccurate and unfair. As such, to me Venta Icenorum represents a sad chapter of our history, more so because this land was once the home of a personal heroine of mine.

Boudica the queen of the Iceni is remembered for instigating and leading perhaps the most ferocious British rebellion against Roman rule. In AD 61 after her public beating and the rape of her daughters Boudica incited and led her own people and neighbouring tribes in a rebellion which led to the sacking of the Roman towns of Colchester, London and St Albans and the destruction of a Roman Legion, before her eventual defeat and massacre of tens of thousands of her followers.

English: Venta Icenorum, near to Caistor st Ed...

English: Venta Icenorum, near to Caistor st Edmund, Norfolk, Great Britain. The remaining wall on the northern side of the famous Roman town, market place of the Iceni. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In view of these events and my feelings about them I had expected the place to have a solemn, melancholy atmosphere, and was surprised to find that despite the bitter cold, the bare trees and ruined walls the place emanated a sense of vibrancy even cheerfulness. The wounds I had expected to encounter had healed and life had long ago moved on.

As soon as reikiheidi and I entered the gate to the place, we heard the crying of an animal and to our astonishment saw a weasel attacking a rabbit not 30 feet away from us. The rabbit struggled free from its attacker and ran towards us before stopping and huddling in the grass in front of us. The weasel sat watching the scene a little further away. I slowly moved towards the rabbit to see if it was injured. It lay still until I got close then bolted away into a burrow apparently unhurt. The most curious thing about this event is that I was half expecting we would see rabbits or hares, Boudica was reputed to have released a hare from her dress as a method of divination, with augury being determined by the direction of the hare’s flight. Hare’s are rare in the UK today, I have yet to see one, was this a sign from Boudica? If there is a divinatory or symbolic meaning to this event I am unsure of its interpretation.

At the south-west corner of the walls we found a hollowed tree stump nestled below a Hawthorne tree, this seemed to be the perfect place to make our offering to the ancestors. We lit an incense stick and buried a coin in the ground at the heart of the tree stump, thanked those who came before us for their gifts, sacrifices and contributions and assured them they were not forgotten.

At the far west end of the site is the Tar, a beautiful little river narrow, clear and fast running. Here we made an offering (of catkins! – the only thing to hand) to the Goddess and Horned God in thanks for nature’s bounty.

We spent the next two hours exploring the ruins and a church built within the ancient walls, before returning home grounded, calmed and at peace. I feel we succeeded in our aim of touching both the past and land, closing the distance both spiritual and emotional with our ancestors and bringing something of that beautiful place into our hearts and minds. If the very land itself has memory then it is worth listening to what it has to teach.

Blessings be )O(

 

Sage and Feather: A Cleansing Ritual

As we have mentioned, Neometheus and I are currently exploring Shamanism. Cleansing is a ritual entwined in both Shaman and witch rituals (NOTE: I will not use the term ‘Wicca’ on this blog, as that is a particular strain of neopaganism. Not all witches are Wiccans, though the term has become synonymous with witch-hood). This is something that I am discovering: that there are a lot of overlapping areas with these two paths, and I am amazed at how similar, yet different, they are.  I will not go into the details here, as we will continue to explore this in further posts.

As a witch, I have done cleansing rituals before. As a Shaman, I haven’t. The ritual I did the other night was the first experience I had with burning sage. Witches use sage too, but it wasn’t something I had ever used before, having had other means and other ways of doing things ‘my way’. This time, however, I decided to try it, spurred on by the content of an excellent book I am reading: ‘The Shamanic Witch’ by Gail Wood.

For the past week, I was immersed in every day routine and reality. This is fine – reality happens, but I realised I was slipping dangerously close to a slide towards depression. I felt disassociated from my emotions: nothing excited me, nothing moved me. I felt like I was living in a fog, in shades of grey. I felt flat and dull. There is no specific reason I can point to that made me feel this way. Except: I hadn’t connected Spiritually for a while-for a long while. I’d been ‘too busy’. I knew I had to do something about this – I couldn’t carry on this state. It wasn’t healthy, not for me nor my family.

I went and bought some fresh incense sage-not the incense sticks, but a ‘bundle’, and a smudging feather. That evening, we switched off the television and dimmed the lights. I did a Reiki session on Neometheus, immediately removing his on-going headache, which also had the added effect of ‘shifting’ my energy to a higher state – thus putting us both in the right frame to do a ritual.

We placed some small gravel-like stones in our little cauldron, and placed the sage on top of them, lighting it. Sage works like incense: it should smoke, not stay on fire. Neometheus had a rattle in his hand, which he shook around the areas I was cleansing. A rattle is a tool of the Shaman, used for cleansing, scaring away negative energy/unwanted spirits, and much more. He rattled, I cleansed. It was a very simple ritual. I used the feather to waft the sage-smoke around the front door of our house, the windows, and around the living room. I used simple words:

Cleanse this place, cleanse this space… Clear away the negative energy, let it be cleansed.

I repeated this at each space we wafted the smoke. After we had cleansed the room, I took the rattle and shook it all around Neometheus, then smudging him with the smoke, cleansing his energy. He did the same for me.

A very simple ceremony. I called on no deities, cast no circle. Some say you should do this, to respect the ritual and spirits. Sometimes, yes – but I wanted to make this non-ordinary reality part of everyday reality – a connection between the two ‘worlds’. It is INTENTION that matters most when you walk with magic.

Did it work? Did anything change? I certainly felt more relaxed that evening – happy, even. Next morning when I awoke – what a difference! I virtually sprang out of bed, fully awake, alert, and ready to face the day. That has not happened for a very long time! I was at peace – with myself, my family, and the world around me. I haven’t felt any negative energy around me since – and we did this ritual 5 days ago.

So yes, it worked!

Such a simple thing to do, that takes very little time – all you need is sage and a feather… as long as you do the ritual with respect and sincerity, with an open heart, then it will work for you. If you are have any negative energy in your life, I recommend doing a cleansing rite.

Please feel free to share any experiences you have had with sage, or cleansing rituals.

Blessings be,

Reikiheidi.

Twisting Paths

Welcome to ‘The Eagle and The Serpent’!

For the first post on this blog I wanted to write a brief introduction to the paths I choose to follow and the reasons I am writing about it.

What does it mean to be a pagan? For me it is primarily about feeling a deep reverence and awe of nature and all it encompasses. It is about expressing that reverence in a way that is meaningful, fulfilling and personal. It is about connecting to the inner and outer divinity that we all share and celebrating that bond. Spirituality to me is the very act of connecting to that which is greater than oneself. The strengths of paganism lay in its vivid and profound manner of making that spiritual connection live everyday.

Where paganism brings spirituality to everyday life, shamanism provides the tools to delve directly into the spiritual realms themselves. The depth of experience that shamanism can provide is extraordinary and humbling allowing the practitioner to come face-to-face with their Gods within their own realm, to meet their ancient ancestors and converse with celestial beings.

Reiki is usually described as a energy based healing technique and although this is correct it falls far short of accounting the effect Reiki has had on my life. Whilst Reiki does heal it also spiritually elevates. Perhaps most importantly for me it proved beyond my capacity for doubt the reality of phenomena that could not conceivably be explained by materialist science. It opened the floodgate for the exploration of paganism, shamanism and many other things that I would have previously dismissed out of hand. Much like the internet I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

Curiously, I came to Buddhism through the study of physics. Science has always held a fascination for me, but it was not until I came to learn of the nature of quantum reality and its parallels with the Buddhist and Hindu concept of Maya (that our perception of the world is illusory) that I became entranced with Buddhism. Buddhism profoundly changed my priorities and opened my eyes to the vacuity of the materialist ideals that our culture so forcefully promotes.

Each of these paths represent a journey rather than a destinations, each augments the others. These are the journeys Serpent and I are inclined to share in our future posts.

Blessing be )0(