Archive for Wheel of the Year

Wishing All: A Most Bountiful Samhain

Posted in Occultism, Paganism, The Path of Flames, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2021 by Sypheara

It is that time of year again, arguably the most sacred of cross quarter holidays in our witches calendar. It is a very busy one here – just last night, I was supporting the other half who led the local moot here in performing our first, group ritual since January 2020.

That ritual was a very powerful and emotive one. Seeing people I have been unable to meet up with even for a coffee, like I would in more normal times, was magical enough – when paired with a powerful, evocative rite involving the dead, it was something very special.

Reflecting on that ritual, I thought it would be great to put a post up for our dear devotees, to help with clarification on one of our newer, yearly rites, as well as share a funny little tradition that seems to have started here.

Some spoopy skeletons and stuff, photographer unknown

With that intention lain out, I’ll continue saying last nights ritual had a special poignancy.

It felt like the start of the end for a very bad time in my life. Although I mentioned it in passing in last years post – the death of my father just over a year ago today – was something that I didn’t delve deeply into. That said, it did affect me more deeply than I was willing to admit at the time. The Gods had not lied in their warning of that period… At the time I decided that that to speak on it at any length would be generally unnecessary, unwise, and self indulgent. I still feel that to an extent – there is much I would love to say, to give testimony on, that I simply can’t. What I can say is it will colour my experience of this month for the rest of my life – change is the only constant – and Samhain for me will forever now be attached to that loss.

As such it was a very intense time – much altered dramatically for myself, and the temple, and it was a very real loss that I needed to take time to process. Even with Hecate’s help – in both process and healing – it was very hard to drag myself to the altar in Samhain 2020, and do what needed to be done. Just doing the tearing down and rebuilding of the space felt like swimming through treacle – but is a duty that needed to be done. It was also whilst feeling metaphysically ran over by a train, that I decided to put together a devotional rite for the Trident – taking a leaf out of a dear mentor and guide of mine Sorita D’Este.

I had always been inspired by ‘The Rite of Her Sacred Fires’ which is conducted around Beltane (full moon in May). I wanted something similar that devotees of the Trident could also do, yearly, to both deepen their connection with their gods as well as grow a sense of brotherhood/sisterhood between people in shared sacred space. It seemed just good logical sense.

I am so very glad that I did. Many people took part last year – and shared wonderful testimonials in our Facebook group. It went so well I decided to rerun it this year – and I hope to continue it with peoples support into the year ahead.

Since I am unable to provide advice via facebook (Zuckerberg has decided I am decidedly too spicy to be allowed to post in the month of the Pumpkin Spiced Lattes), I advise anyone who has any questions over the rite to directly message me. Either by email, or by messenger if they require any guidance. The main two questions I have seen posted are to do with the following: timing and hand position, especially during the bow after the Sepheranz devotional piece. The other, often asked question by people who are not in the group is: where do I find the Rite to perform it? I will answer all three succinctly now, in a manner I hope is easy to follow.

The Timing of the Samhain Eves Rite of Trident Devotion

The timing of the Rite is that it should ideally, be performed on the night of the 30th. However there is no strict timing for the rite. Anytime between 29th-30th, before commencement of the night of the 31st, is entirely acceptable. This is a rite for the Devotee – to connect them to the Gods and other devotees around the world. Because the Current is so geographically widespread, it would make no sense for a rite such as this to be set at some strict time.

Like many older witchcraft rites, when things were done when ‘the season was correct’ and things ‘felt right’, so should intuition guide the devotee when to do this ritual, as well as in its performance. You will be connecting to the Gods and other Devotees in Mythic Time at the centre of the Circle. As such, exact timings for this particular rite, do not matter.

The event on facebook is usually therefore set at the start of the 30th Day to reflect this flexibility. Choose what works for you, when you have maximum quiet time to enjoy the ritual.

The Positioning of the Hands in the Sepheranz Devotional

The positioning of the hands in the bow to Sepheranz, is similar to a bow as performed in many schools of Iaido / Aikido. I.e. it is very similar to this video (6:40). I tend to interlace the thumbs for more stability and safety than the example here, but this comes from a martial arts background and is somewhat an irrelevant point for devotional purposes. The reason for these hand movements are entirely symbolic – feel free to adapt them to what works for you. I use the ones as lain out because, they are relatively simple once you have the hang of them. I did not want overly complex, yoga like components in the rite, but something simple to reaffirm the spoken words. If anyone has issues, feel free to message me as above and ill explain as best as I can.

Acquiring the Ritual Text

I have shared many documents in the last few years of this blog. So why not this ritual? This is mainly because I want it to be for active devotees of the current, who are interacting on a regular basis. However, those who read the comments on the blog will know I am more than happy to provide the text to anyone who wishes to perform it on an individual basis – the very act of reaching out to me means a lot in this case. If you are reading this, and are a devotee not in the social media group who wants to perform the rite, please email me by midnight tonight and ill make sure you have what you need.

I hope this has helped anyone who might be struggling and needing some clarification. I look forward to your experiences shared in the group and I’ll be able to hopefully reply in full on the Fifth of November!!

When life gives you melons..

Not everything was doom and gloom, and I want to share a small, funny story and the start of a potentially peculiar new tradition over here in very rainy England. I hope this story brings a bit of daft joy to those who read it.

Last year, there was a Pumpkin shortage in Britain. Getting any of the desired, spooky orange fruit was not possible. A week before Samhain 2020 I tried desperately to get one, and was unable to source one. This was, as they say, a bit of a problem.

Someone familiar with folklore would probably now pipe up, ‘what about a Turnip?’ Even finding a humble turnip proved harder than anticipated.. and for anyone who has had the sad, forlorn experience of actually carving one, I’ll admit the thought did not fill me with joy. They are incredibly hard to shape – being in no way hollow, and having a body that is hard and resistant to being shaped even with a good knife. My mind went back to when me and my mother tried to carve one when I was nine, and it took literal hours. A tedious experience to say the least.

Standing there, I saw another fruit. The humble watermelon. And like that it was decided. It was a non traditional choice.. for sure.. but certainly easy to carve, very tasty, and the end result I thought, looked rather good!

A Carved Watermelon, self carved and taken.

It looked fantastic on the altar, and I thought it had worked out! It served its purpose – being a lantern to keep away the malign spirits of the dead, and offer a waylight and warmth to the benefic dead who wanted to hang around the altar space and temple room. It worked far better than I expected. I gave it no further thought..

Of course, until this year. And again, there is even a worse pumpkin shortage. Feeling a bit whimsical, and again being unable to find one never mind two pumpkins, this year I have bought two of the cheery, non traditional green boys. Both of which we will be carving up for the Sabbat!

Witchcraft need not always be super serious – especially on the Sabbats which are in many ways celebrations of existence – of the lockstep of life and death – of the gift of joy and the turning of the wheel. That said as well however, on the surface what was just a bit of fun, does hold deeper meaning. The first time I made this substitution was out of desperation really – due to circumstances shooting any plans to observe the turning of the seasons to ribbons. Something had to be done.

I had to ensure that the cycled would be observed, that it would not be missed, that the dead would have their way lit, and that real healing would be conducted through the observance of the Sabbat was of primary importance. So in that way, the good old watermelon took on more personal significance than just an in joke, or just an ‘easy way out’.

Merging the Joy of the Dance with the Deep Meaning of the Cycle is the best way any of us can truly hope to both celebrate and mark our most important times of the year. And the lives of those we love, and those who we have loved, and lost.

The Lit Watermelon, self carved and taken.

I hope the above silly story also imparts the deeper lesson I had painfully reinforced. And that is where you have the will, never give up. This doesn’t mean the futility of a pointless struggle. Accept, adapt, change, undergo renewal. You will come out far stronger than how you went in – one way, or another – if in a very different form.

This is the promise and power of the Cauldron of our Great Triple Faced Goddess.

I will end this here. Things here will get busier still for me and Temple – with 30th, 31st celebrations and the initiation to be held on the 4th. This will mark a turning point for the Temple and there might be a few announcements to make – of both personal and temple nature. The latter if I can get together the required art assets over the next few months.

‘In the season leaves should love,
since it gives them leave to move
through the wind, towards the ground
they were watching while they hung,
legend says there is a seam
stitching darkness like a name.

Now when dying grasses veil
earth from the sky in one last pale
wave, as autumn dies to bring
winter back, and then the spring,
we who die ourselves can peel
back another kind of veil

that hangs among us like thick smoke.
Tonight at last I feel it shake.
I feel the nights stretching away
thousands long behind the days
till they reach the darkness where
all of me is ancestor.

I move my hand and feel a touch
move with me, and when I brush
my own mind across another,
I am with my mother’s mother.
Sure as footsteps in my waiting
self, I find her, and she brings

arms that carry answers for me,
intimate, a waiting bounty.
“Carry me.” She leaves this trail
through a shudder of the veil,
and leaves, like amber where she stays,
a gift for her perpetual
gaze.’

-Annie Finch, “Samhain” from Eve, published by Carnegie Mellon University Press.

I wish you all a beautiful and bountiful Samhain and Year to Come,
In the Arms of Our Mother.

~S~

As the darkness now draws near,

See the cycle of the year,

As the light now goes within,

Let the hallows dance begin.’

Unknown

Belated: Happy Imbolc

Posted in Folk Belief, Luciferianism, Other, Paganism, The Path of Flames with tags , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2014 by Sypheara

To everyone reading this, firstly I’d like to wish you happy Imbolc! Sorry the post is  a bit late, but I got caught up in my own workings.

Imbolc marks the beginning of spring, when the solar fires once again begin to return and winters grip begins to loosen.  It certainly hasn’t felt that way in England as of yet! A mild but constantly rainy weather pattern seen this be a very strange January, and  I can only hope that going forward it will calm down allowing for more workings outside to be performed. Although it can’t be said to be unwelcome, keeping everywhere around here relatively warm.

The cross quarter sabbats, are for me, emphasised more than the solstices. The liminality, the crossing points, are for me the times were I seem to combine solitary work with celebrating the event with the wider pagan community. This is something, as a solitary practitioner, I seldom do but feel is essential to prevent myself from falling into a disconnected state.

I often get asked if there is a reason behind this, in an objective fashion, but it simply more of a personal preference that for me. The answer I often give is simple.  The solstices and equinoxes become more of a personal experience for me, simply due to practicality. Not as a rule but as a guide, using the cross quarter days for communal and introspective work, and the quarter days for more workings with an objective, it allows for multiple expressions of my practice where  the staggering of priorities encourages me to take part in all of the Sabbats on some level. Not out of only a sense of duty, but missing out! Of course this isn’t roughly stuck to – if I feel prodded in a certain direction, I roll with it and do workings or rituals or whatever as required.

I participated in an interesting ritual the night before Imbolc which revolved around the Goddess Brighid and the Spirit of the Swan. This involved a guided meditation of a journey to a lake, where upon the Swan would be met, and a message potentially received.

For me it was rather interesting, and played out far differently that I could have expected. I entered a forest from the minds eye that was filled with silver light. The trees and the land itself seem infused with silver, and I felt of reduced weight. It wasn’t long before I reached a lake – the lake was a deep, sapphire blue, in vivid contrast to that of the surrounding land. On it, a swan swam, xrayed, it’s skeleton viewable through its skin. It flickered between this and a more solid corporeal appearance, as it swam towards me.

When it got close, I felt it an aura extend from it to myself. Quite quickly this enveloped me,  surrounding me in a deep sapphire light. At this point, I entirely lost any sense of being connected within anyone else present. I felt the bones push out from my skin and reach down into the ground, piercing into the roots of a great tree. My minds eye was dominated by a giant, white and blue searing eye, and a voice spoke through the swan delivering its message. The energy felt not too dissimilar from that of Belial’s, and completely overtook my body. Eventually once the message was delivered, the experience slowly became less intense, before finally my bones retracted back towards my body, and the swan began to swim away. Even as it did so, it felt like the scene and my own aura was collapsing inwards, and soon i was surrounded by a pitch blackness.

800px-Imbolc_Festival_February_3rd_2007

Imbolc celebration in Marsden

In the distance, I could see an orange light so I stumbled towards it. As i got closer, I could see a skeletal figure, which looked like a ram or goat, except it possessed human hands and stood upright on it’s hindquarters. Like the swan, it flickered between this skeletal visage and a solid form. In this case, the solid form was of a creature covered in black deep fur,  with bone bleached antlers. I could see it stirring a dark, black cauldron, in which a clear, warm liquid that had the consistency of treacle circled, vortex like. As I came closer, the figure reached up, and tore off its own head, to reveal an angelic male figure underneath. This figure glowed like white hot metal, and long flowing blonde hair descended around the narrow face like streams of plasma .There was a feeling that the air around him (for the figure felt distinctly male) was electrified. The skin of the goat fell away entirely , and the figure walked over to me and extended out his right hand, and placed it on my head. There was no feeling of heat, but instead I felt an immense jolt of energy, and suddenly became aware of my own physicality. At that point, I slowly came to, and opened my eyes..

All in all it was a very rewarding and interesting journey, although far different and expanded than  what I expected or the goal of the working itself. It was interesting that I experienced no feelings from Hecate or any other feminine energies.

After everything was over, the person who was leading the ritual also gave to me and other participants a wonderful present: a hand sewn Imbolc bracelet, made out of a white material that also  bore a small charm. As someone who works with knots, knows how much concentration to create it would have taken and appreciates how much intense focus can create a powerful object, it was a very, very nice gift. It was taken home and placed on the altar immediately, and I intend to wear it close to the body between now and Beltane.

On the Sabbat night I prepared the offerings, tying them with red and white string. This included several apples, an alcoholic libation, and some walnuts. One of these walnuts was opened, and filled with the ashes from burnt incense and a small piece of coloured quartz, one I have had since being a small child. As such, i felt it would make an ideal gift. Associations were not thought of here in any large amount – just the desire to return something to the spirits for their continued presence and as  a thank you for the previous experience.

On Monday, I plan to take these offerings to an appropriate place, somewhere secluded where they are unlikely to be bothered. I hope you have all had a similarly interesting few days.

~S~