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crookedways

Over the next wee while, I’m going to be posting articles on a few ‘series’…

The first series I wanted to talk about was a set of articles for:

This series will firstly look into my concept of deity. Then go on to look at Cernunnos’ lore & myth and how I work with him. I will be talking about the correspondences I attribute to him, what areas I feel his presence stronger, and how he found me, how our relationship works and how I worship & honour him. I’ll be sharing the ‘bones’ of ritual (as a lot of my work with Cernunnos is kept secret),original poetry, chants and the like. This series will also feature an outstanding article from a guest blogger – Mr Rick Derks of Two Torches & Seven Tines, a fellow Cernunnos devotee, and Witch! And I’ll be talking a little about his Cernunnos Devotional that is in the works as we speak (type & read)

The second series I am working on right now is:

Basically ‘what is says on the can’! This is going to be a series of articles on how a Witch traverses to other worlds, communes with the Gods, spirits, their Ancestors, etc. This series will go into detail about Trance and how to induce it in a number of ways, Gatekeepers, Chthonic deities & Psychopomps, Necromancy & Ancestor worship/veneration in Witchcraft. I’ll be writing articles on times of the year when the veil between these worlds are at their thinnest, and how a Witch can best utilize these times. I’ll also be looking into places where access to the other worlds are easier, and places that I personally use and have experience with; Crossroads, The power of the Wetlands – Fen, Bog & Marsh, Wells, Burial Mounds, Cemeteries. How certain trees like the Hawthorn can act as gates to places unseen. And of course we’ll be discussing the use of the Witches Flying Salves and other entheogens. And other tricks and treats…

And the third and final series I’ll be working on is:

I’ll be writing about the differences in my personal practice since moving from England to the States. How I adapt my ‘land based’ working to a entirely different land altogether. A set of deeply personal articles on how I sometimes feel like I’m starting from scratch, forging new relationships with the spirits, and powers of a land I am not native to. My trials and tribulations with finding new locations to work my Witchery, finding new areas to Wildcraft, and how it feels to not work your personal witchery in places you have been used to for years. This section will also have snippets from my personal Grimoires and I’ll be sharing wee charms, workings, etc with you all…

I hope you’ll all find these articles insightful…

 
 
crookedways
17 May 2010 @ 05:37 pm

Bealtuinn has always an extremely hectic time for me… Every year no matter how calm April seems, there is as storm brewing, and as soon as May hits – KABOOM!

Bealtuinn is a time of change… Most of my major moves (apart from moving from the UK to the States which was in Feb) have been within the season of Bealtuinn. I moved to Glasgow from London in Bealtuinn, then the following year I moved back to London, and then back to Glasgow once again for the last time, before Bealtuinn was up. We moved into our first proper family home this year within Bealtuinn. The first time I saw Connor was during Bealtuinn, I cried when that big head of his came into view on the monitor. The first time Cernunnos made himself known to me was within Bealtuinn, which was very unexpected, especially since Bealtuinn was never celebrated in Gaul….

For the rest of this post - Traverse the Crooked & Hidden Ways...

 

 
 
crookedways

I’ve been having a few discussions lately about what it means to me, to be a Witch… And the more I think about it these days there seems to be two distinct types of witches…

There are witches (please note the lower case ‘w’) – People who have adopted the title for themselves because they have a working knowledge of herbs, may have read a few books, practice ritual either by themselves or with a group, they may have even been initiated into said group. Initiation alone isn’t enough! An initiation should be made by the gods/spirits, etc, as the gods alone can make a Witch. If someone has an initiation as part of a ‘welcoming’ to a group, or as a path to the deeper mysteries offered by said group, then the fellow members of this group should be obliged to guide, advise and support the individual in their own deeply personal and spiritual initiations along the way. Having some sort of religious/spiritual magical practice and a relationship with gods and spirits (when unsupported by the proper oaths, dedications and initiations by Gods, spirits, familiars and Fetch) still does not make you a Witch… The same as piles of books, jars of herbs, and all the knowledge in the world will not make you a Witch either…

http://crookedways.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/sabbath.jpg
 

Then there are Witches! A Witch (with a capital ‘W’ to denote the title earned by hard graft) to me is someone with an animistic belief associated with a pre-Christian religion native to Europe… Someone who traverses to the realm of the Gods & spirits, the Otherworld – to convene, converse and commune… Someone who practices ancestor veneration/worship – How do you think you can converse and have a relationship with your Gods if you cannot even speak to and honour your dead grandmother? Someone who practices their Sorcerous Craft with the aid of a familiar, their Fetch-Beast and a ‘supernatural ability’ – One that they were either born with, gained from practice, which has been honed & tuned to perfection with advice and pointers from the Gods, spirits and by listening to the land (and of course practice), or as a gift… Well, I say a ‘gift’, but all Witches know that nothing comes free, but ‘paying the toll’ can be discussed another day! All three still require a shit load of work, dedications, initiations (note this is plural), oaths… Oaths are very important! So is practice, practice and even more practice, lots of sweat, blood and tears (I mean this literally as well as metaphorically – those who are squeamish shouldn’t be Witches in my opinion) and a ton of fucking hard work and STUDY!

How anyone can even think of being a Witch, without some form of in-depth course of study is beyond me! How can you be ‘wise’ if you know nothing!? Yes, I agree there comes a time where you should get up and go, dive into your practice and craft, but this does NOT mean that you should forsake books… Yes, by all means forsake the books in the Pagan/Witchcraft section of your local Barnes & Noble (It’s really a NeoPagan/Wiccan section anyway isn’t it?), because you’ll find more to shore up your Crafty foundations in the mythology, folkore and poetry sections! No Witches bookshelf should be without the works of the Grimm Brothers, I’m serious. A Witch should immerse her/himself in history, anthropology and archaeological sources, the study of their and their ancestor’s past. This information should then be used and put into practice in conjunction with the advice/information/teachings gleaned from the gods and/or spirits…

And that my friends is, very briefly, the difference between a witch and a Witch…

 
 
Current Music: Baby monitor...
 
 
crookedways
08 May 2010 @ 12:00 am
The bright wild-fires blaze!
Sparks fly, as the Beal-fires burn;
Purifying. Gate opening. Welcoming…

I light three fires…

The first is called “Rejuvenate the Soul”,
The second – “Paths Begin to Blossom”,
The third – “Lovers’ Lusty Hearts”.
I keep the Feast of the Bright Fires…

Stag King of seven tines, Cernunnos,
Lord of the Land, Ruler of the Forests, Protector,
Horned One, Rampant One, Wild God at the Crossroad,
Receive my offerings and praise…

I honour you… I salute your power…

I raise my blessed cup and drink to You, my Horned Lord…

Guide me so that I may learn…

Let me know health, wealth, and wisdom…

Grant me Your blessings this Summer…
 
 
Current Mood: creative
 
 
crookedways
04 May 2010 @ 10:17 am

Bealtuinn is the mirror of Samhuinn… Where Samhuinn marks the end of Summer and the ‘Black Months’, Bealtuinn and the Feast of Bright Fires heralds it’s coming – the beginning of the ‘Bright Months’ of the year..

A time of light, gaiety and new life… Of revelry, carousing and sexual activity, when the veil between the worlds is thin, and the Underworld and Otherworld denizens come to cavort… The dead and Faerie are unusually active, and the future may be as easily read by the taking of omens, as it can be at Samhuinn…

Feast of Bright Fires indeed...

I’ve always had an issue with the 8-fold festival schedule now actively celebrated, I feel much more at home with a 4-festival-year, with observances on the Solstices… I don’t get much out of the equinoxes at all, as I’m not at all hyped about the whole ‘duality’ thing; I guess I’ll get a few scowls and huffs when I say that I’ve never brought into the duality of the God and Goddess…

But Samhuinn and Bealtuinn on the other hand, I celebrate both for a whole 14 days each, so you could say I’m into them quite a bit… I feel the veil is thin for a week or so either side of the ‘actual’ feast, which I hold on the 7th of the month, a mini ‘season’ if you will…

I must say I really miss celebrating the cross-quarter days with the Beltane Fire Society… Much sadness!

So on Thursday evening I’ll be meeting with a bunch of Pagans in the park, for a potluck picnic for my moot’s gathering! We haven’t met for a while, and the weather is meant to be lovely!

Then on Friday, I’ll be setting the alarm and leaving The Sprogling in bed with The Wolf, and running out to perform my Bealtuinn ritual, I’ve found a lovely wee spot on the banks of the Scioto river…

Then just before Bealtuinn is over, we’ll be moving into our new home…

We have booked the movers for Thursday the 13th, so on Wednesday evening after we’ve collected the keys I’ll be armed, and ready to get cleansing and blessing… There’s an old tradition of baking bread in a old home and taking it to the new, to be eaten with the first meal (I’ll be using it in my first housle in my new home)… I’d love to find the time to bake some bread before then, but lets face it, I think I might end up running to the bakery!

Or I might just bake a Bealtuinn Cake… Very fitting don’t you think?

 
 
 
crookedways
02 May 2010 @ 09:35 am

“The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May, in likewise every lusty heart that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds. For it giveth unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May.”

~ Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur

 
 
crookedways

Over the course of a lifetime a person will probably build relationships with a more than one Patron, as a patronage doesn’t have to be for life. Relationships ebb & flow, and change over the years as circumstances change, you grow, delve deeper and travel further along your personal path…

Bacchus and Mount Vesuvius

Your patron, which could be a deity, a spirit or an ancestor, can lead and guide you through various initiations, support you over hurdles, then step back in order for you to move on… Another patron may at this point make themselves known…

Not everyone will build a relationship with specific deities, and that is their personal preference…

I on the other hand prefer to build a relationship with the deities I worship. I mean, would you go to a family member you haven’t spoken to in years, or haven’t actually met, and ask a favour of them? Or would you rather go to your best friend who you eat and drink with regularly, and hang out with daily (or at least weekly) and have been exchanging gifts back and forth for some time?

The question I get asked all the time is – “Why would a deity want to be someone’s Patron?”…

There are many reason and each very personal… But one of the reasons I believe is that offerings to the Gods are like food… It gives Them power… Of course they don’t need our offerings to exist, but They benefit from them, and in return we benefit! You see, if I need something, it is best to go to my patron… “A gift for a gift”… It’s that kind of relationship we have going down…

And then people ask me how you go about finding your Patron deity or deities… And well, it’s not an easy answer, but in brief – You don’t! They chose you… How you can build up the relationship with your patron is a story for another day…

Having a patron deity relationship is a very beautiful thing & extremely rewarding; but I tell you, it can be very complicated… And at times frustrating… And possibly upsetting… Especially when you have to sever relationships with deities you’ve built strong, loving relationships with…

Caravaggio's Bacchus

Someone asked me this week why I had ‘Bacchus’ tattooed on my chest, if I am oathed and dedicated to Cernunnos… My first response to this was to tell them to mind their own business, but it’s a valid question! A very personal, but valid question…

Basically – I had a 5 year fling with Bacchus, filled with drunken debauchery, rock ‘n’ roll and smokey jazz lounges… He was there for me through a stage of my life that not only broke me, but made me who I am today… He was never my patron, he never had any interest in being my patron, or I for his patronage… But he offered me a ride, and I jumped on to see how weird and wild it could get…

Somewhere along the way I fell off, I lost my way and Cernunnos found me… I got inked early on in my relationship with Bacchus and it’s my constant reminder to open myself to opportunity and find the joy in everything I do… And everything does indeed happen for a reason, no matter how weird, wild and wonderful it can get in the process!

 
 
crookedways
28 April 2010 @ 01:24 pm

…of packing craziness, not everything has been packed away! My Cernunnos altar has been relocated to an empty bookshelf until we move on the 13th May...

 

 

Yes, it’s a little minimalist at the moment, but it serves it’s purpose…

 
 
crookedways
25 April 2010 @ 08:12 am

Someone asked me the other day, how I would ‘define’ myself, and I’ve always said I’m a non-dualistic, hard polytheistic, animist…

Meaning basically that as a ‘hard’ Polytheist, I believe all the Gods are individual, unique beings and not just stereotypes or facets & aspects of one Divine Being/Higher Power… And as an Animist, I believe that everything has a spirit/soul that can be interacted with – Us, The Gods, spirits, animals, Ancestors, plants, The Land as a whole, the rocks, the thunder, mountains and rivers… Everything…

I have been dedicated to and hold Oaths with both Cernunnos and Elen…

But recently I’ve been getting a wee shove, I say ‘wee’ but even though Cernunnos is subtle, he makes his will known without a shadow of a doubt… I’ve been getting a wee shove down the Henothesim path!
 


Now, what about poor ol’ Elen? Well, I’m very sad to see her go… I’ll never know why we were to get so close, and then have her back off… I’ve tried the cards, the ogham, the runes… But I get nada… I’m sure the answers will come in time…

I must say that ever since I moved to the States, I’ve felt her back off… Firstly I thought it was my own self inflicted restrictions, what with being in a totally different country, in a totally different situation, and I was unintentionally ‘blocking’ her in some way… But when I felt Cernunnos step forward, I knew that wasn’t the case… He’s made it plainly clear that ‘I am his’ in no uncertain terms…

Cernunnos had taken a laid back approach with me for a while, I guess that was what I needed at the time… Since I moved here last year I’ve been a slack little Pagan… I mean the land just feels so foreign to me… I’ve not worshiped and honoured him in the way I did before I left England, I no longer hold my housles, or give daily offerings, or do this or that, etc… I’ve fallen into ‘I’m too busy’ mode, and he’s made it clear that he wants me to make more time for him in my life, once again…

He’s not jealous per se, he just wants his dues…

He’s been calling me back to him…

To his ACTIVE worship…

And I answer the call with all my heart, my soul, spirit and mind…

Gods! I’ve missed him…

 
 
crookedways
23 April 2010 @ 02:50 pm

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