Monday, August 31, 2009

The Hermit Reloaded

It was nearly a year ago that I first scryed this card, and posted two Blogs on my Rorschach impressions you can read here and here. So much has happened since then, changes mostly due to study and growth, I hope.

But study is a big part of it. During my time in the military I took college courses to pursue my undergraduate degree, then Iraq brought all that to a screeching halt, and I got out immediately after I came home.

I only needed three or four classes to finish my degree but just never got around to it. But then a few months back the Department of Veterans Affairs started up a Post 9/11 GI Bill for Combat Veterans like me. Tuition, books, its all covered. I have eleven years of free college, so suffice to say I'm back in school to finish my BA in Religious Studies then onward and upward, M.Div & PH.D

Lately I have become the Hermit, spending the majority of my days and evenings behind a pile of books. My first class is Bible 105 Introduction to the Old Testament, and everyone who knows me seems incredibly amused by the idea. But for the record I actually enjoy the academics of the bible so far. It's the "historical document" part I have a problem with, but I need the class, so pray for me.

When I'm not ploughing through the three textbooks and eighteen disk set of DVDs of the OT, I am enjoying a few new books that entertain the topic of Wicca, as a religion. No spells and Magic for love and money or candle colors and directions, but faith, based on perfect love and trust. Right now I am reading "Out of the Broom Closet" 50 True Stories of Witches Who Found and Embraced the Craft.

Click the Pic to go to Amazon.

It's a nice book of stories about people coming out. The first story is my favorite so far, "Yes, We Are Working Professionals" by Deb Goeschel. Thanks Deb, I love you Sis.

This book has been my buffer between the Bible class and the Scottish Rites Master Craftsmen Program. Sponsored by my Temple, the program includes a copy of our Scottish Rite Ritual, Monitor and Guide which is around nine hundred and fifty pages of pure unadulterated knowledge. It was here that I learned something more about the Hermit. Our 24th degree teaches its symbolism, the Lamp of Trismegistus, the Cloak of Appollonius and the Staff of the Patriarchs. Although Masonry teaches that these are the required possessions of the "Initiate".

I love the Tarot, but I don't use them as much for Divination as for Tracing Boards. When I first became a Mason over twelve years ago I began an obsession with the Old Tracing Boards, and have spent years collecting and studying them. The Waite-Rider Tarot deck was designed by A.E. Waite, and member of the Golden Dawn and other orders which sprang from Freemasonry, its all connected and thus a logical step forward in my interest and study.

Which was been very beneficial on my path, and started this Blog. See my first post.

I've learned so much about the symbolism of the Tarot, but what I've learned was not in any books about the Tarot. Funny how that works. I've been taking notes, scribbling ideas and stray thoughts. I develop them slowly and save them for some day when I feel ready to commit what is required, to my own Tracing Boards.

After all, that's what its all about, isn't it? Finding your way, and drawing a clever map like a Rebus to leave behind for others to follow, if they put in the work and figure it out. Right now is all about the work.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wiccan Grace

It's incredible how synchronized the events in your life can become when your living in harmony.

The Speculative or religious side of Wicca has really come into focus in my life lately. Once I acknowledged and embraced it, things really took off.

<-----This book by Diane Sylvan surfaced in my life at a suspiciously appropriate time. (click pic to go to Amazon)

Chapter three is about "Walking the Path". As my friends in the Ceremonial Magic Community are fond of saying, "Magic is a verb", and so is Wicca.

A good portion of chapter three is about "Wiccan Graces" or attributions that as Wiccans we should embody. The one that really stuck out for me was Forgiveness.

Diane Writes "the longer we hold past actions against someone, one longer we are victims of their actions." I really chewed on that one for a while, thinking about those who shall remain nameless.

I thought about how much I have benefited from people who have made themselves obstacles in my life, and even though I know they were necessary for my path, part of me can't let go of what they were trying to purposefully do to me. Intent is EVERYTHING.

But I recognize the potential for personal growth and the opportunity for freedom that has been laid at my feet, and I accept it. This coming Full Moon ritual will be dedicated to the craftwork of forgiveness. And to those of you, and you know who you are... I forgive you.

To read more suspiciously synchronized Wiccans rambling on about forgiving their enemies, click here to read "A Letter to My Enimies" that was published less than an hour ago on Witchvox.

BLESSED BE.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hell On Wheels

It's just crazy how things come into being. I'm not exactly sure how it all fell into place, but it goes something like this...

We are very close with everyone at the local Metaphysics shop, I teach classes there, our Wiccan church holds its services there, its our home away from home full of friends always happy to talk shop.

So one of those great gals moved out of state, but not before they through her a girls night out going away party, which my wife attended.

So a friend of a friend of a friend who was there, is the athletic trainer for our towns Roller Derby team, and the daughter of our Reiki instructor is founder of the team, so they're all pretty much in on it, and ended up getting my wife a few free tickets.

So of course being a red blooded American Pagan that I am, I was down for it. In fact I bought tickets and took all of my clients and made it an activity. Holy cow, we had a ball! Not only that, but now my wife is interested in joining the team, which is actively recruiting.

I spent most of the night thinking, this seems like something my wife Claudia would be into. For those who haven't had the pleasure, I am married to the girl all the bad boys want. Just like the song, she's the Goth chic that likes watching wrestling, football, Horror movies and Rock Metal; but wait theres more, she can cook like my Mom and knows how to take care of her man. Sigh....

I must admit I find the idea of her in a plaid mini skirt and knee highs, knocking the crap out of some other chic in a similar getup, well strangely arousing to say the least. (thank you God/dess)

Anyways, I been here in "V town" for almost five years and just never knew anything like this existed. It was great fun, fun to cheer for our Girls and they destroyed the Mission City "Brawlin Betties" from Santa Barbara.

There is nothing wrong with a little culture in your life, and thers nuthin rong wit a lil Sub-Culture eithr!

Click on the picture, it's a link to the team's Myspace which is a doorway to this whole other cool ass world. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

...In "Other" News...

As I have mentioned in this Blog post here, my daughters boyfriend has enlisted in the US ARMY and is currently in Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

A place near and dear to my heart as it the birthplace of Sergeant Nichter, I attended Basic Training there too. Now looking back I realize why so many movie depict Boot Camp, it is an incredible rite of passage that we NEVER forget.

So in the first letters my daughter received from the little knuckle head, he told us about his dog tags. He knew how important, significant and auspicious this was to me and many others.

The letters we got yesterday were equally profound for me. First he talked about "the Gas Chamber".... aw the good old days... apparently not much has changed.

But then he mentioned that he gets to go to "Wiccan Services" while everyone else is in church. He said it wasn't as good as the services he's been to with us (Grin) but that he enjoys it none the less and is just happy they have it available.

He requested some reading material, more "good" Wicca books. So We're going through our library looking for books we have enjoyed, when I stumbled upon "the Circle Within" by Dianne Sylvan. It was one of those quick impulse book buys.

I flipped through a few pages, scanning for key words and Kangaroo Magic. I remember not seeing any and bring it home. But that was three years ago and I forgot all about it. So I've started reading through it again, but one whole page at a time, this time.

This book seems to have perfect timing. I think it one of the few books that approaches Wicca from a Non-Magical point of view. The book is about a religion. A simple but important difference that has been the topic of much conversation lately.

So if your a Wiccan, go out an buy it. If your not, go buy it anyways. You never know, you just might get it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kangaroo Comments

So my Witchvox article went over very well, and I was pleasantly overwhelmed with the responses I received, which came in the form of well over a hundred and thirty emails and counting. I have made it a personal challenge to answer each one of them. So if you haven't heard from me, you will.

I knew I was going to receive opposition from some people, which I was prepared to receive and interpret as "constructive criticism" and food for thought. To be completely honest, I actually expected to receive it from RO, who always calls'em how he sees'em and often comes out of left field with a perspective that no ones considered, because he's crazy. Grin.

It turned out to be Frater POS and Jason Miller who strongly disagreed with me, and RO who argued in my defence, (you think you know people) thanks again bro. But in reading their responses I found that I was either honestly misinterpreted or purposely misquoted. Either way it was really funny to hear that I wrote/said/think that all traditions or system are based on lies and it's all a sham.

I'm a Freemason, I LOVE me a good system and feverishly disagree with everything they said "I said". Their comments were not applicable to the subject matter of my article. This later sparked an interesting thread of comments on my Facebook page, where I ended with the point of this post. Which it that there is a difference.


In the preface of Jason Miller's book "Protection and Reversal Magick" he writes...

"...the first thing I want to make clear is that this is a book on Witchcraft, not Wicca. Though many use the terms interchangeably, witchcraft embraces a much wider spectrum than just Wicca, which can be seen as a particular type of religious witchcraft..."

Agreed.

I wrote about a religious form of Witchcraft, where the craftwork is a religious activity. I write about being a Priest and I write about being a Chaplain, not about Ceremonial Magic and not about being a Magician.

You guys use a "system of magic", you train and perform "Ceremonial Magic". You cast spells, create thought forms and perform acts of magic to achieve a desire result. You invoke spirits, and with my blessings, you perform the Great Work, and much more.

I worship a God and Goddess, whom I pray to. I even have a system used to perform religious ceremonies, and yesterday I performed "Last Rights" on a dying seventy year old women in the hospital and helped her family prepare themselves for what is soon to come.

So although we share so much in common speculatively, we clearly have our differences when it comes to applications, which really puts all of this in proper perspective for me. I hope it clears things up for you.

Blessed Be.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lammas & Lament

Lammas

Merry meet we hail and greet
sing and dance in tune
gathered deep we call to seat
beneath the sickle moon
we husk at bee and thresh the grain
while bowlines swing in chorus
corn and wheat beat with cane
to lay the harvest down before us
reap the fields and pour the mead
the seasons yield from fertile seed
winnow fruits till baskets fulls
lash the shocks and dance the bull
glean the corn and cull the vine
break the bread and spill the wine
the time has come to dance and dine
and sing paeans to he who shines
Volvitur In Rota!

And Lament...

It was a beautiful day, we were blessed. Part of our tradition is to gather at every turn of the wheel and boast that this holiday is our favorite, we do this at every Sabbat. I have said one of my favorite things about being Pagan was all the holidays. We have more, and we have better. There is food, fun, friends and family, plus we always set something on fire and roll it down a hill or some sort or something or other. I love it.

Lammas is great for many reasons. In my family we have our own Lammas tradition called "Jackin' the Corn" because years back we didn't have any, so we went out late one night and cut seven corn stalks from a field. And we've done it every year since then. But now days we have Coven members who graciously grow corn for the the purpose of having it stolen. (I love you Sis)

But this Lammas Sabbat will always stay with me, because it was the day I lost my little girl.

After the opening ritual; the Poem above which we call a prescription, was read aloud to the Coven and guests while the corn was "harvested" with a nice shiny new Boline. This was followed by a liturgy on the sabbat and then we all shared a few words about the harvest of our own inner fruits and shared the shocks we were lashing.

This is where "Love and Trust" come in, because the kind of craft work we do requires that you openly give of yourself and receive of others, we are a magical melting pot. The Cauldron. And that's when it happened, the Harald rang the large brass bell and everyone returned to the altar. The Priestess announced that it was now time for all the men to retire back into the house, to the living room where they were to wait until they were called to conclude the ritual.


As we made our way I looked back to see her, my baby girl, apprehended and lead away. That was the last time I saw her.

What happened is a secret. Something known only to the women, our women. But they called it a "Maiden-ing", it was a puberty rite. My daughter is no longer a my little baby girl, she is now a young women. She carries within her the power and the responsibility a woman. And I am so proud of her.

It's amazing what you can see in a card with the right prospective.