October and the Hunters Moon: Ecstatic Rites

Hello all, I hope that October has been treating you extremely well. The energy of the last month at least in good old Britannia, has been building to a crescendo as we go towards our beloved Samhain.

The energy that has been permeating the air here became extremely powerful at the height of the Hunters Moon, to the point it was almost thick and could be tasted even outside of ritual. The energy was sufficient to turn several areas of the local area very thin as far as the veil is concerned. At one particular spot, the energy grew so thick I felt I needed to work with it – the spirit of the place seemed oddly demanding but also welcoming.

I took a small stone, and alternated a simple beat on a nearby piece of metal, similar to that of a heartbeat. One loud, one subtle, matching it to my own pulse as best as could be felt. Over time, i quickened this beat, again mirroring the internal quickening, thus bringing my own bio rhythm into tune with that of the energy of place. At the crescendo i could feel the merging of my blood with that of the ‘blood’ of the place, the earthy powerful feeling of copper filling the mouth, that taste of primal energy. At its peak, I felt the energy release along the spine, and abruptly everything stopped. In the still air, everything went quiet, and the wind seemed to murmur in approval at the stirring communion given. Leaves rustled past and then fell silently to the ground and all went still.

This is but a small example of an ecstatic experience. In the west, we have become overly used to working in eastern ways – with systems of meditation taught to us with the aim of quietening our minds. These, I will not argue against as having innate value, and it is no wonder they were adapted for use, entering our collective skillset. Many of them have been used highly successfully in our modern practice – and many of them have similar if not identical analogues in older western traditions. However I see in certain areas of the Craft (not all, some) that some of the importance around rites of ecstatic communion have been lost – especially when it comes to possession work. This seems strange when you consider that many witchcraft traditions stress ecstatic work – are even founded upon it – but are somehow still seemingly afraid of the power that can be unleashed. This is maybe understandable, but it is something that needs to be worked through in my eyes to properly inflame the craft for future generations.

‘Ask the Oak’ by Adam Oehlers

This is mainly aimed at those working within Hecates Primal Current that are reading this, but this may also be of use to others out there – you should incorporate where possible the ecstatic rites into your work. How this is done is difficult to teach or even to convey in some respects. How it can be done is numerous – one good example would be when performing sexual magickal possession work within this current.  When done at a high level with the Gods and Spirits this is anything but a subdued, meditative experience – but one that rips through the entire body and delivers body shaking possessions that send energy pulsating along the spine. As such, restraint in these operations should be removed and the experience fully embraced – anything else results simply in half measures and results.

Again in general ritual, drumming, singing, chanting and dancing can all be used to intensify the energy of a rite – this is the perfect method for bringing in some very powerful spirits, losing oneself in the experience and truly embracing the being called in. As long as Hecates ever watchful eye and protection has been invoked. and the practitioner is in the correct space, the result should be a positive one. With the dismissal of fear, this can be a profoundly progressive and literally transformative experience that can facilitate massive leaps on the theurgic path. It must be adapted to fit the situation, it is not something that can be replicated from reciting cold hard text from any book. It is learned through experience, sometimes hard earned – do not believe the snake oils salesmen who will direct you away from this, telling you they alone hold the secrets. Secrets of course they will ever so divulge if you believe their comedic youtube promotionals and buy into their overpriced and frankly amateurish body of work that shows little understanding of the above.

Note although I previously used sexual magick as an example, ecstatic work does not need to be confined to such. Only people who lack imagination or who are after something would say so (if its related to paired work). None of the above methods (drumming, singing, chanting, dancing) need to possess a sexual element – they just need to harmonise with the particular spirit being worked with. Similar to how in physics, waves that in phase have an amplifying effect, the same is to be attempted using the ecstatic method.  As such, it is also usually specific to each individual spirit as to what works best in your relationship with them when bringing them into the flesh.

Many have been in contact with me and told me they have problem with possession work – hence the topic of this post. Talking to them I realise they are only approaching its performance from meditative, contemplative angles. This has its place in more subtle forms of possession, in preparation before rites, and in other forms of magickal work but in my experience (and certainly, it is dependent on the individual and their innate gifts) the strongest forms of possession are experienced using ecstatic methods. As we go towards Samhain, I recommend people change to more ecstatic means to take their possession work to the next level if they are having difficulties working with spirit. I wish it was something I could give more concrete guidance on, but the exact method differs wildly from individual to individual. The only universal tip I can settle on is aim to synchronise your own innate biorhythms, your ceremonial actions, and the energies of the possessing spirit into harmony – in this way everything flows as one – all you need to do from then on is grab hold of the surging wave, and ride it to its natural completion.

Art by Valin Mattheis

For those who are feeling a little more comfortable, i’d suggest if you have the opportunity you take it to the next level and push past your own comfort zone. Leave your usual working space and go into the wilds away from human contact, ensuring of course proper preparation to stay safe. You don’t need to go overly far – the most startlingly beautiful and powerful places are usually within reach, even for those of us with limited transport options with a bit of effort. If you find a site that feels good for communion after physical and spiritual considerations have been taken into account, you can perform the ecstatic rites. These should always be conducted from within a suitably cast circle (even if that is a quick cast than something fully ceremonial). The goal being to learn about that space, its genius locii, and begin building powerful relationship. Not just this, but also simply for the sheer joy of exercising your divine right to embrace your existence upon this plane and others. In these workings the ways to rehallow the Earth soul are revealed and worked – real change can be made here at the liminal crossing points where long forgotten spirits await. Not all are friendly, or easy to work with, but all will listen to a sincere call of one of Hecates kin. From there it is up to you. Not all can do or are suited to thiswork and that is perfectly fine. But for those who are, I can tell you its a worthwhile experience.

With the above relayed, I want to quickly say I hope to do a few more posts over the Samhain period, keeping them relatively short  but detailing select things. The next post I want to be about Lucifers burning stellar energies, and how that interplays with Hecates, in a way that is somewhat channelled if possible at the time. It is difficult to relate it text but I will do my best to bring it forth for (more likely on!) our hallowed date.

May the light of the Goddess guide you,
On the Ecstatic Paths the lead to Her Throne,
And Into the Arms of Her and her Kin

Ave Hecate,
~S~

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