Issue 15, Autumn 2010
Stones Smoothed Over, by Elan Justice
Articles & Fiction
Tips and Hints from Grannie Burton
The great Mysteries at Eleusis are one of the most astonishing stories in human history, because they are still mysterious in so many ways. It seems that over two thousand years of initiation for both men and women, young and old, rich and poor, no-one ever talked about what happened in the Rites.
This is almost impossible to believe, especially in an age of information and blogging. Most of the evidence for what actually occurred comes from archaeological digs and votive offerings. This in itself is very limited and the central rites are still a complete mystery. It seems that a person's chance to achieve life after death was dependent on keeping everything that happened a secret, so I suppose that could be a great incentive to keep it to yourself.
by Elizabeth A Kaufman
For Witches, such as myself, Pagans and other followers of the Old Ways, Hallows (also known as Samhain or Halloween, among other names) marks the third, final harvest and a new year. It is a time of introspection, withdrawal and honoring the Goddesses known as "dark", the Crone or Hag. As Winter draws near, we begin that journey down and within. The scent of woodsmoke, drying herbs, apples and spices fill the air. Out of doors, the temperature has dropped and chill winds begin to stir; leaves crackle beneath our feet as we walk through field and forest, drawing in the aroma of the season, a not unpleasant decay. Autumn, the Grand Dame, makes Herself known to us.
Now, all of this may sound a bit macabre and not very festive, but if you consider carefully, it is indeed a joyful time. We are able, on some level, to reconnect with those who have crossed the veil. The Ancestors of our Way (Witchcraft) and the Hidden Company (those who once practiced our arts, they are no longer physically with us, but assist those who practice those Old Ways) along with family and friends are, perhaps, easier to connect with. For these reasons, various divinatory tools, such as scrying or black mirror, tarot cards, runes, stones and bones, are wisely used to make contact and obtain answers and gain wisdom. These tools seem to come alive, at this time, in a special and more powerful way. Used respectfully, wisely, we can find answers and guidance for the year ahead.
by Barbara Barnett
I was studying ‘Awakening Osiris’ by Normandi Ellis. This is a new translation of the ‘Egyptian Book of the Dead’ an ancient classical writing of western spirituality. In the 21st century the world seems to be moving at a very fast pace and we struggle to keep up. It is easy, in this situation, to lose sight of our spiritual origin or to forget the close connections there are between the natural world and the spiritual world. This book seeks to reinforce those connections and to remind us to seek our spirituality as much in the natural world as in the heavens.
The Reclamation of the Sun in the Feminine Circle and Healing from the Phase of Supremacy
by Lauren K. Clark
For many years the Sun has become symbolic as a beacon of enlightenment and nourishment in various eras and cultures of the ancient world. The sun was viewed in many areas of the world as the symbol of hope; and as that which would save humanity from the darkness, and all of the evils which were considered to be associated with it. In various ancient civilizations, (specifically where there was still the stance of the sun as the divine feminine, but with careful analysis can understand the progression of male-centeredness and domination) we are also presented with the sun in the masculine form.
Examining ancient Egypt we are presented with the deity Ra/Re. In Greece and Rome, we have Apollo. Then let us not forget Mithras of Persia, and Sol Invictus who is also of the Romans. Throughout our understanding of "pre-historic" feminine, spiritual practices, today's modern servant of the Goddess is highly attuned with the female connection to the Moon. However, it has become apparent that today, and even in ancient civilizations existing after the era of women-centered societies (all over the world), the sun has become symbolic of masculinity. Even in this particular form, it has taken on a connotation of supremacy, and the being which is the sole reason for human existence. Such interpretation of the Sun has even contributed to the establishment of hierarchies in the various communities. Could it be that as humans we have actually deviated from our natural understanding of the sun in relation to its existence with other planets and beings that exist in the Universe? In what ways has the Sun lost the archaic, feminine understanding and principles in retrospect to its existence, which accentuates the true meaning of the Circle of Life.
by Alex Chaloner
The esoteric philosophy of Helena Blavatsky and Alice A Bailey both advocated the idea of the seven rays. These mysterious rays have been described as “seven great divine Emanations, Aeons or Spirits”1 and “Seven Holy Ones, self-born from the inherent power in the Matrix of Mother Substance.”2 It is said that each ray holds a unique quality which manifests in the universe and throughout all of creation.
Earlier this year my organisation, Goddess Within, produced a ritual performance piece entitled “The Goddess and the Seven Rays”. The aim of the performance was to map the rays to well-documented Goddess archetypes and through their stories come to understand how these ray qualities manifest within human consciousness.
by Susun S Weed
I didn’t lose it all in the recent USA downturn, but, like many others, I watched my material wealth shrink this past year. Am I worthless because I’m worth less? Of course not. I’m worthwhile, no matter what I’m worth financially. Having less money doesn’t have to mean having less joy or less abundance. I didn’t lose my job – since I am self-employed, I know I won’t be laid off – but work has slowed down, giving me time to appreciate the many ways abundance pops up in my life.
An abundance of things is not fulfilling or satisfying. Having many things can be a burden. It takes time to care for them, leaving less time to enjoy them. Things can be lost, stolen, or broken, giving rise to anxiety about loss. To find abundance, give something away. Trust that the empty hand will be filled. (read more...)
by Leslene della-Madre
As a young woman in the psychedelic revolution of the 1960s, I lived in the heart of the rising tide of change in Berkeley, California, where I was a student at the University of California. I feel it is important to include some of my background here because my journey to becoming a mother was shaped by my own experiences and explorations into consciousness transformation in those days. My real education at that time, however, was not in the classroom. It came from being in the streets, going to “love-ins” in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, dancing and “tripping out” at the Fillmore, adventuring in nature, traveling, using sacred entheagens and living in community. There was no time like the 60s in our recent history before or since. This time of tumultuous social upheaval was truly deep and profound in many ways. Everywhere I went people were into exploring consciousness and the true meaning of life. Much of this collective searching was reflected in the music and art of the time, with messages of “turning on, tuning and dropping out.” A synergistic awareness of going “back to the land” and “back to nature” as the “thing to do” swirled about in the air like clouds of incense smoke, wafting through every crack and crevice of our homes, thoughts and dreams.
A Novel by Clarise Samuels
And so my personal saga was about to begin. Sigurd was about to arrive.
Chapter 3: How Sigurd Slew Fafnir
But not right away. Sigurd was being unavoidably detained. I was lying on the top of Mount Hindarfiall, rumored to be somewhere in Frankland, but in fact was in the area later to be known as Sweden. As I lay there, a tortuous circle of flames angrily reached for the sky at hellish temperatures. The walls of a small golden castle had magically appeared, and within its circular rotunda, I lay on a bier as if I were dead and lying in state. The thunder and lightning, which had accompanied my arrival, were rolling away in the distance. The setting sun hung wanly in the metallic blue sky like a thin sheet of orange paper pasted against the pale background. It was quiet. It was eerie.
What was I doing here? My thoughts wandered in my state of what was quickly becoming semiconsciousness. Earth was a dangerous planet. Humans lived in fear, and their very fears created the dangers they dreaded so much, resulting in chaos and disruptive forces. A primitive place, this planet Earth. Women were denigrated, reduced to mere consorts. Men feared the power of a woman, a fear harking back to a primordial era when women reigned as goddesses on Earth before they were usurped by men. And I was the most powerful woman of them all.
I was a true goddess.