Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Coolest Thing I've Seen This Week

I remain interested in the Non-Wiccan Witchcraft efforts moving through the movement today, and interested in the modern cunning-folk and professional magic users. While there can be a needless resistance to religion in some of them, there's also quite a lot of good research into what folk-magic actually looks like, and how some kinds of modern magical techniques can be adapted to traditional forms.
In my web wanderings I came across the site of one Sarah Lawless, an artist and modern spae-wife from British Columbia. She's got great articles on a variety of Scots magical topics, all pretty late period stuff, but surely retaining bits of an older lore. It's a great combination of scholarship and inspiration, with good charms and invocations of some unusual Scots spirits.
I don't think us Druid types should be scared away by the Witch word. The reg'lar ol' Druid, living in a village or in his own little steading, would have been offering a menu of services including land-blessing, divining for the efforts of the people, turning aside the ill-will of spooks and sorcerers, love-spells and profit-spells. Even the sacrifices would often have been specific blessings for their village patrons. So the kinds of skills being developed by these practical witches is directly related to what a Druid might be today.
Articles that are directly interesting to Druids might include How to Create a Genius Loci Profile, Nicnevin and Cunning Folk, this last with a great list of links to later Scottish lore.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Eldritch Notes

Those of you who are HP Lovecraft geeks like me, or who know one, might occasionally yearn for a good all-in-one introduction to the Old Gent's ideas. What if your fan-boy self finally mates, and you have to explain your cryptic ramblings to a new set of inlaws? Well, the task has been made a bit easier by the new documentary Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown . It brings us nice summaries of all the major Lovecraft stories and plotlines, all analysed by the most well-known current commenters and scholars on HPL. ST Joshi, Robert Price, Ramsey Campbell, John Carpenter, Guillermo Del Toro, Peter Straub and more bring a variety of viewpoints. Even with almost all the data old news to me I found it engaging.

Why, it's almost like some big film-maker were about to take up HPL's stuff, and needed a briefing for the staff... Coincidentally, we hear that Ron Howard (!) may be making the first big-budget Hollywood flick using HPL. They're looking at using Lovecraft: The Graphic Novel, a pleasantly lurid comic-book that uses the outline of HPL's life to write a mythos pastiche. Yes, it's Opie meets the Old Ones... we'll see...

The art is from artist Harold Arthur McNeil. Found him on the back pages of the HPLHS, very nice stuff, including Odinic and Thelemic art as well as his own strangeness.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yuletide Fun

I love the real Four-Seasons climate of NE Ohio. This year we are having a nice moderate winter thus far (no telling how far into March it’ll go…). But Yuletide is often pleasant here, and so it is this year.

All the sweet emotions of modern post-Christmas Yuletide tend to hide the element of dread with which the ancients seem to have faced Yuletide. Of course it was the start of the lean and harsh months of the year, but it was also a between day for Germanic folks, haunted by trolls and ill wights. It seems to me that the best memory of all that stuff is in the various kinds of demonic assistants of St Nick – Black Peter and the Krampus, especially. I’ve always been a little skeptical of the Santa-meets-the-Wild-Hunt mythography, but having the Jolly One accompanied by whip-wielding horned imps makes it feel a bit more likely.

Stone Creed Grove did our Yuletide back in our old rental site in the Cleveland Metroparks. We had been ousted by a fire some months back, and spent two winters in less desirable digs. But the parks have built us a lovely new hall, with a lovely (for them) new rental rate, and we’re glad to be back there. Yule was moderately attended, with 50ish guests. It felt like a big season for SCG. We’re beginning our 20th anniversary celebration, and we’re issuing our best-ever Grove Ritual Book, along with planning the 20th Wellspring Gathering. There was fine frith in the hall, and we gained several new members.

L. and I sang a Paganed-up version of the Boar’s Head Carol. I’ve always liked that melody, but I’d like to do another lyric. It’s all very available for parody as well… If there had been 16th century Pagan colleges filled with young scholars we’d have things like…
The Boar’s ass as I understand
Is the fattest ass in all the land
And it will give us two fine hams
Eat puteus quod imbibo

Damned latin translator provides ‘eat’, for English ‘eat’… too bad…
Anyway, Yuletide Blessings on us all – grow in bounty with the sun!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Two-Powers Healing Charm

• The Druid stands or sits with the patient, the patient seated or lying. If the Druid has his Wand and Cauldron, then the Cauldron might sit in the lap of the patient, or be held in her hands, with a moderate amount of a healing drink in the vessel. The Druid holds the Wand. Without the Wand and Cauldron, there should still be a vessel of drink, and the raised hand of the Druid shall serve.
• The Druid brings the Two Powers strongly into the self, perhaps finishing with the Kindling Charm.
• The Druid raises her hand, or the wand, and divides the Two Powers, allowing the Dark to fill the earth beneath the patient, and the Light to accumulate in the Wand or hand. Using the breath, the Two Powers are built up, with the patient in the field between them.
• The Druid focuses the Light, with Wand or hand, into the drink in the Cauldron or vessel, allowing it to be charged by the images of the charm, spoken or sung three times:

Powers of Land and Sky attend me.
Attend me powers of Earth and Sun.
Mighty Spear of Lugh defend the
Earth from which all life’s begun.
Hie to me healing

from the deeps
Ancient of Ancients

wholeness keeps
Boon of the bright sky,

healing is
Light on the lurker, illness flees
Sun gives life to Earth’s broad field
Bring me Healing, Spear and Shield!

• As the third recitation is completed the Druid focuses the Light and Shadow into the drink in the vessel, drawing the sigil over the vessel with hand or Wand. The patient then drinks the drink.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Working With the Spirits

A Preface to Druidic Spirit Arte
It is my intention to outline a method of magical practice that allows the operator to make personal alliances and agreements with specific members of the Host of Spirits. It is Our Druidic custom to regularly honor and offer to the beings of the spiritual worlds in three categories, which we call the Kindreds – the Gods, the Dead and the ‘Spirits’. This latter is an indistinct category that includes what heathens call wights and trolls, what Hellenes might call daemons, what the Gaels called the Daoine Sidhe – the People of the Mound, and, functionally, what later mythology and magic came to call angels and demons. Traditional magical arte as it comes down to us through the European Middle Ages, and as we see it in polytheistic cultures, involves communication and alliance with beings of these latter two categories – the Dead and the Spirits, done under the protection and presidency of one or more of the Gods.
Many Pagans have been rather ‘put off’ by the systems of spirit magic presented in the grimoire tradition. Written within the Christian mythology, the Landspirits, Ancestors and Daemons of the Pagan magician became pawns in the imagined war between good and evil. Magic based on contact with the ‘evil’ side of the spirits came to seem tainted and treacherous. Later grimoires often use an adversarial approach to the spirits that has made those systems seem unPagan and unpalatable.
When restored to a less dualistic Pagan perspective, the methods prescribed in the grimoires are plainly an inheritance from the pre-Christian magic of the late classical world. We find plain parallels between the methods of the Graeco-Egyptian books of spells from 100ce and French grimoires of the 1700s. This is enough to interest me in abstracting the methods of classic European spirit arte into a northern cultural setting and giving it a try.
The Grimoiric Formulae
There are several basic patterns I see within this style of magic.
• Personal authority: Conjuration works because the conjuror has developed sufficient ‘authority’ among the spirits to be taken seriously by them. Developing this authority is a process of purification and mental training, the regular performance of rites of personal empowerment and protection, a sacrificial relationship with the Gods and Spirits and, many say, the making of a personal alliance with a herald or gatekeeper spirit who may or may not be the personal genius.
• Hierarchical authority: By making alliance with the mightiest spirits in a region one gains greater authority to deal with minor spirits who can actually work in the world. The Great Queens and Nobles of the Others are deep in their courts, not very concerned with mortal matters. They can, however, direct the spirits of local lands to aid the magician. Magical tradition tells us that it is the local spirits who actually have power over local events, luck, fertility, etc. The Magician works to gain the blessing of the Gods in herself, and by that blessing deals with the rulers of the Nobles, who aid us in dealing with the local clans.
• Formal practice: The spirits are to be taken seriously, and dealt with as though with the envoys of a different tribe, with respect and caution. The magician’s personal authority is only as good as his protections, and care is taken against the proverbial deceits and misunderstandings of the spirits. A conjuring is a pretty formal working (at least for initial contacts) that honors the spirit(s) while attempting to constrain them to harmlessness. Grimoire magic is the inheritor of ‘ritual magic’ from the ancient world, and it’s all pretty high church, as ancient magic goes.
• Specific conjuration: The spirits are a motley host of beings of various kinds. The grimoiric systems make several kinds of effort to specify the spirits that are actually conjured. At the most specific we find the address-book approach of the later Solomonic books, with call-signs and names for various related hosts of spirits. We find the free-form version of this in the traditions of the Liber Spirituum, though even there the conjuror may be working from a pre-existing list. At perhaps the other end of the spectrum we find some of the GEM formulas, which simply ask/tell the God to send his daimons to accomplish the magical goal. Even there the kind of spirit is focused by being (I assume) daimons of a God proper to your intention, and thus of a similar nature. At least the Mathers edition of the Greater Key (I haven’t yet seen the more scholastic modern editions) contains instructions for the invitation of a Host of Spirits, from which the magician finds his allies. It is this last formula that I decided to use in an effort to make the acquaintance of the wights of the land and the local Otherworld.
The Nature of the Spirits
In Our Druidry we have had a pretty clear understanding of the kinds of spirits we call the Gods and the Dead. It has been rather more difficult to clearly place ‘landspirits’ in an ancient context. It is easy for moderns to address ‘nature spirits’ as the spirit reality of natural species and objects – stone and stream, bird and beast. What we have been less willing to address is the huge category of… Others… of non-human, non-animal powerful spirits that is obviously present in ancient understanding.
For the Hellenes it was the daimons that carried human offerings to the gods to whom they were offered, and the daimons who brought the blessings back to humans. If a figure appeared to a mortal as though a god, the common understanding would be that it was a daimon ‘of’ that deity. We Druids should be reminded here that our Three Kindreds remain just conventional categories. To the Hellenes, for instance gods, non-human messenger spirits and the dead could all fit in the category of ‘daimon’.
The Gaelic category of the Daoine Sidhe actually fits very neatly with this southern model. The scribes of the Irish tales resolutely refused to depict Pagan religion, and so we don’t know whether the Sidhe had the place of daimons in ritual theory. However in other wasys the resemblance is striking. In the Book of Invasions (as close as we have to Gaelic mythology) the Tuatha De Danann, the divine race, includes both the great family, eldest and mightiest, that we call the gods, but also the hosts of lesser beings, some still very mighty, some less so. It is these less-than-deific beings who become the servants and messengers, the armies and hunters and reapers, who serve the gods. These are the beings that the tales refer to when they say that the Tuatha De took residence within the land. These beings are perhaps not, themselves, the genii loci of the hill, they are the ‘daimons’ who dwell there, helping to manage the local spiritual ecology. In addition to all this, the spirits of the mortal dead are also within the Gaelic Sidhe conception. The Gods, the Noble Ones and the Mighty Dead are, all together, the Sidhe in the way that all those categories can be daimons.
As to whether the Tuatha De hosts are identical with the animistic spirits of stone and stream, bird and beast, I think the answers vary. I think there are old spirits that precede even the Nobles in the land, and certainly there are those beings who stood against the gods in the first days, but now serve the World Order. If we were to look for a hierarchical model we might find these down-to-specifics spirits to be the third-function ‘yeomen’ of the Noble Court.
A medieval hierarchic depiction of the Other Court is common in Gaelic folklore. Kings and Queens, knights and nobles, and the host of ‘little people’ that join in the rades and processions, and make their dwellings under hedges and at hearths, all appear in the tales. We might, if we wished, employ a simple three- or four-tiered system. We might imagine a local pair as Chiefs, or King and Queen of a region or category, and serving them the Other Druids and poets, then Warriors and knights, and then a much larger company of Landkeepers, the spirits we commonly address as Landwights or ‘nature spirits’. Speculative indeed for anyone of a reconstructionist bent, but nicely in line with the tradition of spirit-arte.
I find myself in moderately surprised agreement about the descent of some of the ‘demons’ of the later grimoires from spirits of the GE sources, and find the modern grimoire tradition’s willingness to insert-divine-authority-figure-here very freeing for my intention. I’ve also been finding what there is to find about ‘fairy evocation’ in the new wave of grimoire publishing (bless ‘em all). I am intrigued that Oberion is the name of a king of the Nobles well before Shakespeare re-spells it.
Druidic Sidhe Evocation
So, that is the model I take in devising a basic rite of spirit alliance in a Druidic context. I will gather my Allies around me, especially my animal ally and my teacher among the Dead, but all beneath my divine patrons. I will establish authority and respect by making the proper offerings to the Gods and gaining their aid, then invoke the presence of the local wights, the Host of the Sidhe. Offering and praise for the King and Queen of the locals… perhaps they appear. Specific spirits are then invited to name themselves and make a deal about availability for aid. The conjuror might use a divination tool to speak with the spirits, or use direct Sight. In this way the conjuror begins a list of minor allies and makes deals with the spirits, creating a Liber Spirituum of new names and signs, perhaps.
The grimoires customarily describe the preparatory rites required for the work. I will adopt a three-day prep period (again, this is for the work of making initial contacts – later practical applications are much simpler). During these days the operator will complete and hallow any special signs or tools, make a preliminary offering to the genius locus of the immediate site of the working and fully preparing the site and tools.
Assuming that the operator is regularly working a Gaelic year-cult the Gods of the rite will be familiar. I have chosen Brigid and Lugh because of the powerful protective charm available as the Cloak and Spear. Offerings are also made to Aine and Aengus Og, both described as rulers of the Daoine Sidhe (the folk of the mound). In our usual Druidic ritual form the offerings are made and then a blessing cup is drunk, preparing the operator with the power of those gods.
This work assumes that the Druid has developed the skill of opening an Inner Eye or Second Sight, to get at least glimpses and reflections of the presences of the Spirits. From a northern perspective this work is not unlike a work of seid, in which trance and vision are used to enable commerce with the spirits. When we conjure to visible appearance, in this way, we bring the spirits into forms visible to our Vision Eye.
Enflamed with the Gods’ blessing the operator makes the call to the Host of Spirits, opens the Inner Eye and observes the gathering that comes to her Fire. From this crew she will seek to find her first small group of allies. This requires that she keep her authority firmly around her, speaking to and with the wights in a firm, respectful but masterful tone. While we may know that on many levels the spirits are greater than us, in this case the Druid is seated at her own Fire, which has claimed the space. In this place the Druid is the chief, and those spirits who are willing to come into that space are probably those willing to acknowledge that. Of course the Druid will be prepared with his talismans of protection, signs of authority and plenty of rowan wood for the fire if needed.
Oh yes – the method does not, at this time, call for the drawing of a circle. The protections described above, and the presences of the allies, especially the overlooking power of the patrons, are considered sufficient for a magician who already has a sacrificial relationship with the spirits. Of course the Wand can be used at any time to drawn a circle if needed, but the light of the properly blessed Fire, extending equally in all directions defines the Druid’s sphere of authority, and the sacrifices ensure a hospitality-bond with the spirits who approach.
The Druid calls for and treats with a few of the spirits, determining what sort of pact can be struck between them. In this the Druid does not act so much as master but as one of two partners in a fair deal. Both the Spirit and the Druid must gain from the bargain, with the spirit getting an innate benefit from contact with a human and our mind, and we getting innate benefit from the power and perspective of the spirit. Beyond that it is proper for the Druid to agree to a certain sort of offering to the Spirit, either when the spirit’s services are needed, or more regularly if there is to be a familiar relationship. In this the Druid must show discretion – swear carefully, when the pact is made, and never promise any offering that seems improper. It may be that some spirits will not be fit for any specific magician, though the next may get a different offer.
The result is that the Druid ends with a short list of (potential) allies. She should know their names, or name that can be used, and perhaps have received a call-sign from them, though a ‘sigil’ can be produced by the Fionn’s Window method, or however seems proper. She will have questioned them as to their station and nature, and what sorts of works they are willing to do. All this should be recorded in some way, whether an (undruidic, perhaps) book or written on stones or bark or whatever…
Working with the Spirits
With this first conjuring done the Druid has a few allies among the spirits. According to what powers his allies offer, he can begin to work with them for practical and spiritual goals. I’ve been interested in the various kinds of goetic rites for working with spirits that have been conjured. My version as given will owe a good deal to the work of Rufus Opus and Inominandum. By arranging the sigil and giving the proper offering, the spirit is available.
It’s a very Pagan-feeling thing to make eidola for these smaller spirits. By giving them a dwelling on or by your Shrine, they can be honored regularly, and addressed as needed. For me this is a fine opportunity for handicrafts, making little idols of clay and wood. Of course a variety of other ‘containers’ might be made, from the ‘brass vessel’ of Solomon’s tale to a spirit house for hearth-wights, to simple river stones given by the spirit itself and perhaps charged with the sigil. All of these are ways to bring these spirits more directly into your own sphere. Making contact with a spirit housed in this way can be by as simple a gesture as burning the right offering before them and calling their name.
I am also interested in a simpler sort of spirit-art charm, in which the daimons are convoked, and then ‘instructed’ in the intent of a spell using the usual combinations of words and symbols. This method should be doable with rather less peril and formality than dealing with individual spirits and making deals. The offerings given in the rite itself are what are offered, to those spirits who will work the operator’s will, with no longer-term pact required. Methods of this sort should be accessible even to only basically-trained Pagans.
The Project
So, it is my intention to finish expanding and refining the evocation material from Sacred Fire, Holy Well into a working grimoire for the convocation of and alliance with wights of the Sidhe in your region. I’m well into the project, and the method could be used now by someone familiar with our Druidic ritual. I’ll be fleshing it out in that style as well, while including cues for replacing our idiosyncratic rites with those of the operator’s choice.
Am I doing this while continuing my progress on the Nine Moons? Yes, yes I am… In fact by the time this work is done we will be well along in the Nine Moons program ourselves, and all brushed-up on skills and alliances, ready to undertake the work in the spring or summer. I really want to do it outside on this land, probably in our nemeton. So, if I begin reviewing and prepping it all here in the dark half, I should be ready to go by Beltaine or so.
Presently I have assembled the basics into a short grimoire-style document of about 12,000 words. Soon I’ll make that document available through a link here. I invite comments and, of course, experiment with the system. If you work with it this winter you’d be getting ahead of me, as I clean and press my alliances with the Kindreds through the Nine Moons work. In the meantime I’m interested in comment on the spirit-model above, as well as the ritual methods themselves.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Building the Inner Grove

Here's an item from month four of the Nine Moons - three exercises toward establishing a complete and well-equipped Inner Grove, the Threshold-state 'launching pad' for further Otherworld adventures. One of the points of the trance-journey techniques in the system will be to move students from using scripted trance-inductions to independent, ubscripted work. This is an early-intermediate step in that process.

Three Trances for the Inner Grove
• Outline of Basic access and work in the Inner Grove
1: Basic trance, induced by whatever method you prefer.
2: Rise in Vision, stand up from your body and place yourself behind you Inner Eyes. Behold the Hallows in the common world
3: Call the Mist to obscure all
4: Envision the Gate Sign with your personal key-symbol.
5: Hold your goal-will as the Inner Grove, and step through the Gate out of the mist into a Threshold landscape containing the Hallows in the Inner.
6: Remember the Grove and recognize it as you have made it.
7: Recite a Grove Charm at the Inner Fire to establish your presence
8: Do any other works.
9: Return

Exercise 1: The Road to the Inner Grove
This work develops a personal habit and inner ritual of vision journey that allows you to easily reach your Inner working space – the Inner Grove in which you will do several works. This script is offered as an example, though it can be used as written.

• Seat yourself comfortably upright, back straight.
• Work a short blessing of the space, or the full Grove opening and Gate if you wish - in your first exercises it might be best to work the full opening, with the Gate.
• Renew and strengthen your Earth and Heavens contacts.
• Feel the cool Earth Power and the hot Sky Power meet in your head, meet in your heart, and meet in your loins.
• And from the meeting-places, feel the mingling of the Powers flow out into your whole form – into your hands, into your form, into your eyes. Where you have eyes of flesh, so you now have eyes of vision.
• Open your eyes of vision, and use your memory of the setting of your Shrine and tools. As you remember them, envision them, so that it is as if you see them with open eyes. It is the eyes of vision that open in this way, and it is in the eyes of vision that you will move.
• With your material eyes closed, decide to stand in your vision form. Allow your eyes to rise, effortlessly. You rise to your natural height, and take a moment to gaze upon your Shrine and Hallows as if you had stood in flesh. Allow the details of your Shrine to become clear.
- And in the meeting-places, feel the mingling of the Powers begin to produce the Mist - the streams of vapor pouring out of your Inner Cauldrons, flowing out from the roots of the Tree, where Fire and Water meet.
- visualize the Mist gathering and thickening, beginning to accumulate. The Mist gathers, growing thicker, and collecting around your feet... around your hips and loins... around your arms and chest. It grows thick and opaque, and rises, at last, to surround your head.
- Now, standing in the Mist, it is time to begin... in your imagination’s eye... in your Inner Vision... not with your physical body... but with the will of your mind and your power of vision… you create the Gate Sign before you. You remember the presence of the Threshold landscape that you have visited before…
- With your awareness firmly centered in your vision-self, step forward toward the Sign… and step through the Sign…, and steo out of the Mist… the Mist thins away... now, with memory and will... you see the scene resolve before you... your goal-image, your Nemeton, revealed in its Otherworld form... elements of the place you left behind in the common world… it resolve in your Inner Eye... You behold the Inner Grove resolving before you... you see the details more clearly now...
The Return
- Standing in vision in your Grove... remember your body… where it sits before the Hallows in the common world… Look out to the edge of your Grove, and there, see the Gate Sign appear… and the Mist beyond it… walk across the Grove, and passeasily through the Sign, remembering your body as your goal… and step out before your Fire in your common Hallows…
- Remember your Hallows, and see yourself seated there before them… go to your body… turn, and step backward into the space where your body is sitting... raise your spirit-hand before you... and make a tuathal triskel in the air before you... sit down into your body... renew your center... feel the Earth and Sky Powers meeting in your flesh...
-Remember your body, and let your awareness be firmly behind your eyes... feel the air flow in your lungs... the blood course in your veins... remember all you have seen and done in this work… open your eyes, and know that your spirit has returned fully to your flesh... stretch... and be finished with the trance.

Exercise 2: Building the Inner Grove
- Come to your Shrine or Hallows, Bless all and open a gate.
- Use your Short Road to the Grove:
Rise in Vision, and see your Hallows
Call the Mist
Make the Gate Sign
Step through the Gate Sign into the Grove
Envision and remember the Grove
- So you come again into the Grove… you pass through the gate and onto the ground of your Threshold locale… and allow the scene to resolve before you… remember where you have placed your Well… your Hearth of the Sacred Fire… see the World-tree as it stands in this small personal place…
- you have been working with forms for your Inner Hallows… now you must choose how you will build and make them, for your next phase of work… a Well... a pillar or Tree... the Fire in the Tintean... Simple or grand, earth-mound or golden temple… you will decide and create… as you begin to envision the shaping and detail of your Inner Grove…
- You might begin with the Well… for no place is whole without fresh water… go to the Well you have seen before… and consider what a more ideal form might be… what shape would inspire you?… go then to the Fire, as it has been before… envision what a true altar for your own Inner Fire might be… and turn to see the Tree or Bile as it has appeared… and consider how you would see its presence here before you…
- Let them be built by your will and vision… consider the bricks and stones, the substance and color… note how the things you build combine with the images of nature or environment present in the space… images of your own hands placing the materials may enter your mind… but it is by will and vision and shaping that you determine the form that your Grove will keep for some time to come… spend some while at this work…

- Now, in your vision body, turn and look around you... turn to your right... and to your left... turn at last and look behind you... you note clearly the form and nature of the things you are building… see them again, your Inner Sacred Grove… as you look at the Inner World around you...
The Return
- Standing in vision in your Grove... remember your body… where it sits before the Hallows in the common world… Look out to the edge of your Grove, and there, see the Gate Sign appear… and the Mist beyond it… walk across the Grove, and passeasily through the Sign, remembering your body as your goal… and step out before your Fire in your common Hallows…
- Remember your Hallows, and see yourself seated there before them… go to your body… turn, and step backward into the space where your body is sitting... raise your spirit-hand before you... and make a tuathal triskel in the air before you... sit down into your body... renew your center... feel the Earth and Sky Powers meeting in your flesh...
-Remember your body, and let your awareness be firmly behind your eyes... feel the air flow in your lungs... the blood course in your veins... remember all you have seen and done in this work… open your eyes, and know that your spirit has returned fully to your flesh... stretch... and be finished with the trance.

Exercise 3: Working in the Inner Grove
- Come to your Shrine or Hallows, Bless all and open a gate.
- Use your Short Road to the Grove:
Rise in Vision, and see your Hallows
Call the Mist
Make the Gate Sign
Step through the Gate Sign into the Grove
Envision and remember the Grove
- Remember and re-establish the Inner Hallows, and the surrounding environment.
- Stand at your Inner Fire, and bring the Two Powers into your vision body… hold up your hands, and know that whatever sacrifice you have given in the common world will also be available to you here in the Threshold… so make your usual offerings to the Hallows, and speak as you will…
- Let silver come to your hand… and give it, a substance of yourself, to the Well… and speak in the voice of your vision…
- Let precious scented oil come to your hand… and give it, a substance of yourself, to the Fire… and speak in the voice of your vision…
- Let burning herbs and pure water come into your two hands… and with them, substance of yourself, honor the Tree, sprinkling its roots and perfuming its leaves… and speak in the voice of your vision…
- pause and feel the presence of the place… its weight and solidity… its weirdness and limnality… remember…
- It is proper to do any other small bits of ritual you wish here before the Inner Fire…
The Return
- Standing in vision in your Grove... remember your body… where it sits before the Hallows in the common world… Look out to the edge of your Grove, and there, see the Gate Sign appear… and the Mist beyond it… walk across the Grove, and passeasily through the Sign, remembering your body as your goal… and step out before your Fire in your common Hallows…
- Remember your Hallows, and see yourself seated there before them… go to your body… turn, and step backward into the space where your body is sitting... raise your spirit-hand before you... and make a tuathal triskel in the air before you... sit down into your body... renew your center... feel the Earth and Sky Powers meeting in your flesh...
-Remember your body, and let your awareness be firmly behind your eyes... feel the air flow in your lungs... the blood course in your veins... remember all you have seen and done in this work… open your eyes, and know that your spirit has returned fully to your flesh... stretch... and be finished with the trance.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Comment on Nine Moons

Candee has written quite a few notes on her reading of the draft of the first three lessons of the Nine Moons project. Candee is in italic.
Candee – thanks for such a detailed and useful comment. Let me respond, mainly as an exercise in reviewing your pointers…
Often we are told to use a charm or rite or method long before it is explained, or with no explanation or reference to what book or website the method can be found in.I think it would be good to define terms or define a charm/rite when mentioned,or give reference as to where it will be described. Many terms are not defined or defined much later. Same for several charms or rites
I have decided that I must create a summary section in which I define a bunch of background ideas of the sort you mean. The fact is, much of the technique in the Nine Moons depends on stuff published in my book Sacred Fire, Holy Well. I’ve been trying to avoid simply importing large sections of text from that book, writing new material even if on ideas already covered. Still, I need to both refer readers to that book and provide at least a glossary level set of definitions for unusual terms. The other source of assumed data is the latest edition of the ADF Dedicant book. For instance the Bone, Breath and Blood entrancement is in there. I need to decide whether this publication needs to depend on the DP, or to what extent it is also offered to the Pagan public, and to what extent I mean to make it easy for them. I guess at least that technique should be added.
1) Bri and Bua mentioned on pg13,but not defined until pg 91
2) There are references to Bone Blood and Breath exercise,but it is not defined anywhere.
3) Rite of Hallowing mentioned as early as page 7,but not defined until pg121
The first Simple Charm of Hallowing is on pg 31, one of the first things in the rites for the first moon. One thing I wonder is whether the format of presenting all the support articles each month first, followed by all the rituals, is useful. The alternative, it seems, would be to present a support article followed immediately by the rite or exercise that it refers to. This would mix the practical text in with the expository stuff, which somehow I didn’t want to do.
4) Land over the 9 waves-what is that?
It’s a poetic reference to the Celtic Otherworld. I expect it to be recognizable to anyone doing some mythic reading. A little mystery doesn’t bother me.
5)Kindling Charm mentioned to be used on page 31, described on page75
6)Two powers used in several rites before being described on page 58
Here’s the thing – I rather assume that early text will be referred back to by students later on (and I’ve copied and pasted it repeatedly as part of formatting the book so far). The instruction is to use that charm or a two-powers centering. Again, I’m assuming students know some version of one of those. I don’t intend to reteach Dedicant material in this instruction – for instance there is no detailed instruction here on making the Home Shrine.
A Celtic pronunciation guide or reference to one would be helpful.
How are the sigils made - a reference to book and page would be great.
Both are in Sacred Fire, Holy Well – I’m a long way from back-matter on this. Remember, this is a draft of the first 35% or so of the Nine-Month instruction.
For a rite or for making incense, a list of things needed like one would do for a recipe would help. You did this for the Rite to Hallow a Cauldron of Blessing, for example .
Don’t I give the recipe, method of mixing, and ultra-simple charm to hallow the incense on page 30?
We are told to get a wand and cauldron,but not given all specifics until when you are soon to hallow and use it. Cauldron-necessity of getting onestated3-4times,but the fact it needs to be drinkable and easily washed not mentioned until pg109 when it is to be dedicated. Wand mentioned etc…
Noted. The hallowing of those two tools has been wandering around the nine lessons, but I think I have it in order – I’ll make that part make more sense.
Cairn mentioned pg10 and29 (not offering seeds so creatures won't climb on it),but none has been constructed nor its function explained yet.
Yeah, it’s in month 4. I don’t mind a little foreshadowing of that sort. Somewhere in the ‘how to use this book’ section I should advise folks to read all the instructional materials first, perhaps.
Sixth nite-how is that calculated?
By counting 6 nites from the new moon. How is New Moon calculated? By when the first crescent appears… is this subjective? Yes. I suppose I should give the student permission to be subjective and a little flexible within the constraints of the moon-phases.
Thanks for all your effort and hard work to put this together for us. It is an awesome task well done.Candee
Well, a task underway, anyway. I’m making my way through the Fourth Moon now. My goal, if I can, is to have the finished nine lessons by Wellspring.
Thank you so much for your cogent reading and comment. The file remains up for those who may want to know what we’re talking about…