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Archive for August, 2012

For me, Witchcraft is an exacting cultivation of Will. Being an initiate of a warrior tradition, what we struggle with is our own freedom. We live in an oppressive society, clearly, and we must struggle every day to free ourselves from the slavery of our own delusions about ourselves, our lives, and the world through which we move. We have been conditioned by culture, our parents and teachers, environment, circumstance, and the way in which we can perceive the world has been made convenient. Yet when we are free, we are able to see more choices stretching out from the moment we find ourselves in, and are able to act more creatively, more spontaneously from our center. These choices are extensions of our deepening self-knowledge and our movement through the world.

I disagree with Robert Anton Wilson, who said that the only thing you we can be certain of is what is going on in our own nervous system, implying that probably our knowledge of our self is readily, almost automatically, accessible. It is my experience that access to our Deep Self (and I use this term not to refer to only our Godsoul/divine spark/Will, but to all our parts while in communication with one another) requires that we develop keen attention to all of our parts (and the uncovering of personality parts yet hidden to us). In many ways, without the Great Work of Self-Gnosis, we are blind even to vast stretches of our inner landscape. What does this tell us about the outer landscape through which we move and what we can see of that? Why do we think there is a separation between inner and outer? 😛

When we are engaged in the work of self-possession and personal evolution, of growing more fully into ourselves, we cultivate the attention to see ourselves with more clarity. It is our hope that all our parts might come into fuller communication, that we might come into deeper communion with the world around us (including other beings), and achieve more resonance with our purpose. This is it — when we are engaged in the Work, we struggle, every day, against our unhealthy impulses: our inner demons, our habitual mis-perceptions about ourselves, the world, our connections, against habits of action that though these things may have stemmed from a place of self-preservation during times of stress and trauma, they now work against our purpose and deep desires. We must win back those precious things, these (for lack of a better term) “soul parts” we hid in the deepest darkest parts of our unconscious, that they might not be put in jeopardy — though, if we do not engage these bad habits, they remain disconnected from our aligned self and remain lost. Our impulses drive us away from our purpose, into hiding from Deep Self, towards that which is easy.

Yet, when we cultivate a keen and exacting attention to the self (which tends towards gentleness and compassion, as we need not be stern) we enter into the flow of our Deep Self, and our impulses tend die down. We become more centered, we can respond from a place of deeper connection. Our bodies tell us this. Our physical bodies are the prima materia — they are not just the container for the energy bodies that make up the soul — the body is the authentic self. The mind (and I don’t mean the ego, which is a shell, but our intelligence) is just one of the energy bodies, good for cleverness, solving puzzles and communicating our Will into the collective world.

We must move forward from merely asking “what do I want,” and letting impulse decide. The Work urges us to sit still to find the answers. Deep desire is where want and need meet. When we step from this into action, into manifesting our desire, we can only do so if we have a commitment to our intention and a responsibility with how it moves through us. It is not enough to merely speak our desires or to talk about our intention. We must move with it and hold the responsibility for what our action does in the world. We do not exist in a vacuum, so intention alone can create havoc, with self and world always changing in its process. When we let loose our own inner authority and make our work come to pass, when we use our Will, it changes the world, those around us, and even the self.

So it seems, to manifest our desire we must move from a place of spontaneity; connected to that which surrounds us, centered in that which is within us. We must be able to adjust in the moment, as the universe is always in process, as a friend of mine says. We cannot just blunder along with our supposed intention. We must move with attention. In Tai Chi, one learns the movements of the martial art slowly at first, with keen attention, and then the movements can be “sped up” after precision is attained. This is like the manifestation of our Will. To me, this is magic.

Please, move with Love.

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Of the Sun and Moon

A poetic teaching from Spirit.

Of the Sun and the Moon.

“Occult” not because the Work itself is hidden, though that may often be the case with the nature of the magick, but “occult” because the Work brings forth hidden and obscured parts of the self into the Light of understanding, re-imbuing them with life-force. This is the importance of the Night; it is the unconscious, the primal ground of being upon which all consciousness is built, and into which many personality parts may get buried or hidden, and lie in secret, waiting to be rediscovered, re-infused into the force of Life.

A Witch knows that nature bears no false lights. The Sun is merely the Light of Life, where many things can get lost in the glare. In reflecting and refracting Life’s light, we may come into the Light of Understanding and Wisdom. This is the Moon, and that is why the Moon is of such great importance to the Witch. It is the Mirror of the Goddess, held up to shine the Light of Life into the Night, to uncover from that holy darkness the wild and untamed parts of self, that they too may dance with the power of life, and not merely lie hidden or obscured.

When these shadows have been brought forth into the Light of Understanding and have ripened and been tasted under the silver luminescence of the Moon, blossoming into such delightful and exotic fruits as you can Dream, it is then that true Awakening can occur, where your presence marries with that of the Gods, and a new Dawn occurs, shining like a brilliant star in the East, set between Moon and Sun.

There are many such ways to engage this occult Work, methods both as simple as daylight and exotic as those conjured by Night and the Moon’s eerie glow. Artists and poets who have exhibited the Light of Understanding do this as much as the Witch, and many who call themselves by that latter name who only know the landscape by daylight’s harsh creed.

Remember, it is by the mingling of these lights that you Dream, and then Awake to the Dawn.

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When I speak of “spiritual evolution,” I speak not of some vague idealism of immaterial concepts and new age rhetoric, but rather of a philosophy of consciousness, with the cultivation of attention and presence and Will as our instruments of observation and progression. I speak of the personal, not merely of personality — a coming into the fullness of our essence, becoming more aligned and true to our “spirit,” that particular flavor and presence a person carries with them, which is uncovered by exposure to them: intimacy. I do not believe in a separation between mind/body or spirit/physical. We are a monad; whole, divine, and we are not separated from our environment either — all share in the same consciousness, the separation is merely a practical illusion that allows the holographic universe to perceive itself in multiple ways, from multiple frames of reference.

It is much like the beautiful and rich Jewish teaching of tikkun olam, “repairing the world,” where the we-as-the-living-World, in interacting with itself, comes into a fuller and deeper understanding of all its Self. This “cosmic” spiritual evolution happens within us, as our body is the body of the entire world as well (in keeping with the holographic model, it’s just a less-focused image). When we deal with the microcosm, we are also dealing with all of our personality parts and other facets which remain hidden or dormant within us. By cultivating attention and presence, we become more aware of all of our parts, bringing them into communication with one another, “repairing the world” again, within ourselves, which in turn builds personal power and purpose.

But often we need an additional frame of reference with which to “get outside” of our own reality tunnel. I move from the assumption and belief that our culture is broken and encourages disconnective behavior. Our culture is violently ill, full of social injustice, disconnection, inattention, etc, and it damages us. It requires a radical transformation of our perceptions and our behaviors to start repairing the damage inflicted onto us from both the culture-at-large directly and our participation within it. So many of us more through this lifetime seeking comfort, status quo, moving like automatons. We have given up our free will, our choice, and we are slaves to our conditioning and social programming. True choice requires true freedom, and that means getting out of the mindset/reality tunnels within which this culture has imprisoned us.

This is where the Teacher comes in. We cannot achieve radical self-transformation by guiding ourselves along, following whatever sense of intuition we can garner like glimmers in the dark — we cannot move enough out of our own way, our own conditioning, to see what medicine we really need. Our “baseline” conditioning is pretty set, and it requires huge measures to change our neural pathways. The ego-shell is constantly seeking information (and indeed, often only perceiving information) that backs up its current position in space-time. We seek out friends who tell us what we want to hear (disagreement is a scary thing to the ego), books that assert our own beliefs, teachings that tell us that where we are and want to go or what we already believe is the final truth. We have suspicions, but the ego is a monster of the consciousness, and plays fool to itself.

Reality tunnels that differ from our own too much frighten us in a profound way, leading to reactive behaviors, running away from teaching that could benefit us. We seek disconnection from individuals who live in different ways — all in the name of making our egos feel comfortable.

Comfort is the commodity of the weak. Strength, and likewise integrity (my favorite virtue), is in part the ability to endure temporary discomfort in the effort to enact our Will (our purpose) in the world. That requires the attention and the presence to *know* that purpose, to know the self in all its parts — and to separate the chaff from the wheat, as there are parts of ourselves that do us no service in this Work.

Only a teacher can guide us in this way. I must admit I do not believe in gurus. I strongly suspect that all the humans currently incarnate in this lifetime are not perfect beings with perfect enlightenment. Claims to perfection make me very uneasy. We are all in process, we are all working it out, and we are all suffering. I also suspect that enlightenment is knowing how to not suffer needlessly — we must learn from all our suffering. Comfort need be a blessing, not a commodity. Our greedy culture has warped this sense in us too, so that we constantly seek out gratification and comfort, but we are done no good service by this.

I do however believe that there are adepts; those that have cultivated great skill in working towards personal evolution, and that an adept, so willing, can teach us many things in an intentional way. I also believe that there are situational teachers — traveling and immersing yourself in a very different culture can teach you vast things about yourself, as old personality parts submerge and newer ones emerge to respond to the new situations in which you find yourself. Any radical shift in consciousness can produce this waxing and waning of personality parts; the more extreme situations can even recondition the psychosoma complex and create entirely new personality grids. The only problem is that these latter methods are often unguided and rife with the hazards of confused direction. To heal ourselves, we need careful medicine.

Indeed, we are all teachers in some way, often unintentionally. Any time we come together in human community, we learn from one another, we teach one another. So many of us have been both blessed and harmed by unintentional teaching, by interacting in or witnessing the actions of those close to and around us. Again, if we moved with exacting attention and intention, we could lessen our negative impact on others (and self), and reach towards more communal/social evolution. Our culture could grow up, we could stop acting socially irresponsible towards one another; more communicative, honest, honorable, and less reactive to our unhealthy, disconnecting impulses.

And that’s what I’m interesting in working towards. Our culture, and each of us as its holographs, needs to cultivate wisdom. We each can bear our truth on our skin, in our eyes and mouths and in our movement through the world. That would be beautiful. I spend a lot of time reading about the wisdoms of older cultures that had a healthy relationship with the land, the environment, and had garnered wisdom through hardship and suffering; they learned by really living, by making choices and carrying the responsibility for those choices through lifetimes. They too can be teachers, though the context must shift.

So be present, and seek out teaching that challenges where you are. I realize that most people are not ready for this kind of work — maybe spinning your wheels this time around is what you’re supposed to be doing. But this is a shout out to those of you who are seeking your own personal revolution, who are laboring hard, but, because our culture has no resources for us in this, you don’t know where to look, or you keep running into walls and find yourself doing the same thing over and over. Be attentive, you are only in the first steps of a ladder that has as many rungs as a lotus has petals. You get the same results because you have not really changed the formula. Reach up, there is teaching that awaits to grasp your hand, you only need to trust that where you are and where you could be are connected, there is just a lot of climbing to do.

To quote Craft teacher Cora Anderson: Walk in beauty, run in freedom.

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Soulstream

Standing on the shore in the quickening of the night,
I watched as ‘neath the waves the Sun put out its light.
And there beset twixt mountains rose the moon a perfect jewel,
As from the sea came a dragon like the salmon from the pool.

I looked into the fountain that was pouring from Her hands
And there I saw the stars which measured out like sands.
A steady stream of stars which cascaded from her heart,
A stream of souls and holy ghosts bound unto our Art.

And when the waters fell into the Well of Space,
My memory was washed clean white, my lips of blood did taste.
The river in which I waded was slow and dark and cool,
And when I scryed its depth, I was swept into the pull.

I followed down the flow to where it emptied into Night,
And there I saw the river merge with waters that were bright,
And suddenly I knew the secret of the rivers ‘neath the earth,
As sun gives unto Night and Moon, so Death gives unto Birth.

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Power is of the element Earth. It is our in-born ability to manifest our desires and Destinies in the world, to make something happen, to move from intention into action. Our aptitude to crystalize all that we know, that we Will, that we Dare into Doing. It is about boundaries, as nothing can Flow without a container. Yet power is not so much about collecting as it is about radiating. That’s what keeps it moving. So it goes.

The practice of Witchcraft is about being powerful. To be a Witch is to effect change in the world, to cultivate and radiate the light of creation, life-force. This is to make meaning in our communities and lives. For those of us who practice, when we move upon the face of the world, the wet clay of unfinished creation impressed by even our breath, the dust of the earth, like sands of time, are swept up in the Flow which we seek to embody.

However, when we give up our power, we are giving away a part of our self to someone or something, a part of our soul, our lifeforce. Sometimes it is outright asked of us (usually by those who are manipulative) and sometimes we initiate its loss, but it is always given away blindly, for if we knew what we were truly losing when we did so, none of us would deign it.

What we lose is our access to choices, to roads we may have had the way to go, to opportunities and insights into the world and ourselves. Maybe a choice frightens us a little, and maybe making that choice, saying “yes!” to life, will make us grow a little bit wiser about the world and our connections to others. In this, we lack courage and the conviction of our Purpose.

What does giving away your power look like concretely? Limitation. Now, limitation doesn’t inherently involve the loss of power, but the loss of power means we become limited without our conscious choice involved. When we give away our power, we are closing off channels through which our power could be flowing, closing ourselves off from the full experience. When we can’t do or say a certain thing because we fear bearing the consequences of stepping into the flow of our Destiny, of doing right action, of truly Being who we are, that is the giving away of our power.

Saying or thinking “I can’t” or “this can’t” is often a clear marker that we have soul-loss going on, because it precludes or dismisses our Choice. Sometimes there is genuine marginalization and oppression occuring, and we have to break those chains through concerted effort and working together to create cultural change. Often we have given it to the invisible “archons” of culture, following the numerous scripts indoctrinated into us, but even more so we hand over our power to those who are closest to us — friends, partners and family — letting ourselves be limited by anything less than Love, fearful of hurting or being hurt, or just being responsible.

Solve et Coagula — this is Love; Divide and Unite. And it is done for Love’s sake. For us, it is to commit ourselves to the spiritual growth of another. The is the ultimate in power, the ultimate in Flow. Coming apart and coming together, Tikkun Olam; we piece God back together, and in this She comes to know Herself in all Her parts.

Like Earth, concentrated power is dark, black in color, like the lascivious hearts of children and the wild creatures who know the joy of their own natural Being. We must bear the whole measure, dig deep into the soil of ourselves to uncover the hidden pieces of our Purpose, face the Shadow and make it our ally. Here we were divided, and then made one, again. We unite flesh with spirit, and know that we are one, at peace, in stillness. Silence.

Here, in this deeper silence within the very dark core of our being, this is where the most potent radiation of power flows from us, where resides the last inch of us that is our dignity — the hope that cannot hide — joining the greater Flow of our Destiny, our passionate Purpose, and ultimately to the grand stream that is the River of Creation, flowing in a circle out from and back into Fate, the singularity in which all things share. This boundary, this is Love, and it need be the only thing that limit us. All else is fear of folly. And I may be a fool, but I deign to be just a little wiser for the wear.

Best be that every action, every breath, every movement is made with careful intention, that we painstakingly perform even our daily deeds much like the monks who spend such careful time and attention in laying down the lines of a mandala. And much like these mandala, in the end, it is all scattered to the winds; dust to dust, nothing is withheld, nothing is denied to the Great Teacher.

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