Bring forth the Star-Son: A Reflection on Dual-Faith

LE CORBEAU

Christianity is very often the butt of many jokes made by Pagans and Witches the world over, and often these jokes are in very bad taste, making light of things like the paedophilia scandals or the vow of celibacy taken by those in religious orders.  I have also found that, along with the jokes, will come bitter words, mocking and attacking Christians and their faith – often followed by a total dismissal of said faith because “it was all stolen from the Pagans.”

But among those who practice Traditional Witchcraft are people who hold dual-faith, and hold it quite comfortably.  I am one of those people, and what follows is a personal reflection on this aspect of my spiritual journey.

I spent many years deeply involved in the life of the church, culminating in me almost dedicating myself to a life of contemplation and service, bound by the counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.  After a period of often very painful discernment, I effectively left the church, and immersed myself in Paganism and Wicca.  The journey did not end there, however, and I eventually found myself on the crooked path of Traditional Witchcraft, which I now practice as a solitary – and it is in this context that I have found myself holding dual-faith.

The irony of my own argosy is that this stage was only reached after I made a charged renunciation of Jesus and the Church.  It was only after metaphorically trampling the Cross that I was able to take it up and follow Him.

It comes down to understanding.  You see, I make no claims of orthodoxy.  I’m also not saying that on Sundays I am a staunch Catholic and that I practice Witchcraft on weekdays.  I have no doubt that many of my beliefs regarding Christ, sin, salvation, etc would be regarded as heresy in the eyes of the church – and that does not bother me in the least.  The view I hold regarding various “heresies” is that, before the orthodox groups of Christians gained power, the Gnostics (and other groups) were a part of Christianity.  It was through power and politics that they were silenced.  Men got involved and muddied things, and I’ve long been of the opinion that the voices of the Gnostics & Co. must be added to the corpus of wider Christian tradition.

So, while the “Christian” aspect of my belief may not be in keeping with institutional Christianity, it is certainly not a case of simply using the name of Jesus as a label for some generic Witch-God.  The person of Christ plays a definite role in my faith, as do certain practices and rites of the church – it is simply that my understanding of Jesus and these practices and rites is different.  I say the same creed as everyone else at Mass.  I don’t understand those words in the same way, though, and that is the difference.

For me, Christ is the friend of ‘sinners’ – those who ‘miss the mark’.  This basic point is one that is so often forgotten by the self-righteous who would claim a monopoly on this Person, but is one of the most beautiful aspects of his character, as recorded in the canonical gospels.  Jesus sought the friendship of those condemned and ridiculed by society, and he often defended them, reserving his most harsh words for those who really should have known better.  This is not to say that Jesus glanced over the concept of sin.  It is very much present in his teachings in both the canonical and Gnostic gospels.  I am often surprised when Pagans deny the reality of sin.  A simple glance at the newspaper on any given day confirms the reality of sin and evil in our world!  Deliberate wrong action is missing the mark.  It is not living according to our divine nature and the basic principles of good living.  We all act wrongly.  We all miss the mark.  We all sin.  It’s a reality of life, and something we need to accept responsibility for.  But Jesus did not condemn and punish.  He offered his friendship.  And in this friendship with Jesus, one finds liberation, initiation, and illumination – the gift is Promethean.

The Christ is the Initiator, in his Work as Teacher, Mystic, and the Lord of Death and Life.  Jesus shows the way to Liberation through His teachings and His actions, that in order to gain one’s life, one must first lose it.  His Work as Initiator and Liberator takes on an interesting aspect when one considers other myths of liberation and initiation.

Some of the early Christian Gnostics held the belief that this world was created by the Demiurge, who himself was the result of Sophia (Wisdom/Shekinah/The Feminine Face of God) attempting to Bring Forth without Her partner.  This Demiurge said, “There are no other Gods but me,” at which point a voice cried out from Above, “No, Yaldaboath, you are wrong!”

Then Sophia’s daughter Eve or the Serpent crafted of Light from Sophia told Adam to eat the fruit that would liberate them from the Demiurge’s clutches – they were enlightened to their own divine nature (cf The Apocryphon of John, On the Origin of the World, and The Hypostasis of the Archons).  It is interesting that the image of the serpent is so often connected to satan, the personification of ultimate evil, by the churches.  Of course, a closer look at the Bible can turn that image upon its head.

The Genesis Fall myth is often reduced to the Serpent’s tempting “lie” that eating of the Tree will make the woman and her husband “like God”, the disobedience of Adam and Eve, and their punishment (Gen. 3).

In the book of Numbers (21:4-9), God grows angry with the children of Israel, and sends ‘fiery serpents’ among them.  Many of the people are bitten, and they cry out for mercy.  Moses approaches the Lord, who tells him to fashion a serpent out of bronze and attach it to a pole.  This is to be set up in the midst of the camp, and all who looked at it were healed.  Later, in the gospel of John (3:14-15), Jesus says that he, the Son of Man, must be lifted up, just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that all who believe in Him will have eternal life.  Jesus clearly identifies himself with the image of the serpent!

The images of Fire and Light also have an important place in the gospel narratives – Jesus refers to himself as the Light of the World (John 8:12), the prologue of John’s gospel contains a striking and majestic description of ‘light’ and ‘dark’ (John 1:4-13),  Jesus said that he came to set the world ablaze (Luke 12:49), and John the Baptist said that the Christ would baptize with the Spirit and with Fire (Luke 3:15-18).  When the apostles gathered in prayer after Christ’s ascension to the right hand of the Father, his spirit came down upon them, appearing as tongues of fire (Acts 2: 1-4).

Lucifer, the Light-Bearer, is often mixed up with the Christian figure of satan, the Adversary, something that has given Him a pretty bad reputation.  Some Traditional Craft myths, however, portray Lucifer in a much more positive, Promethean Light.  These myths echo the Gnostic Tree of Knowledge story, mentioned above.  Here, Lucifer brings the light of Gnosis to our ancestors (some have referred to this as the Cunning Fire).  It is this Spirit of Light who takes the form of the serpent in the Garden.

It must be remembered, though, that Lucifer is “a composite form, an archetypal figure of pre and non-Christian prominence, based on an amalgam of Middle Eastern myths and beliefs concerning the ‘fallen’ angels, the Watchers and their progeny, later absorbed by the expanding philosophies of Greek and Roman cultures and subsequently bound into Grail myths of many diverse cultures.”  The “‘ultimate shadow of God’ is of course the Son behind the Sun: ‘Lucifer,’ the hidden light and Gnostic principle of pleromic transformation… This brilliant light burns into our subconscious, searing and exposing all issues, forcing sub-summation.[i]

‘Lucifer’ is the name the ancient Romans gave to the planet Venus as the Morning Star.  It is interesting to note that in the Second Letter of Peter (1:19), Christ is referred to as the Morning Star, and  in the Exultet, the great Easter hymn of the Roman Catholic Church, we find the following stanza:

Oramus ergo te, Domine, ut cereus iste in honorem tui nominis consecratus, ad noctis huius caliginem destruendam, indeficiens perseveret. Et in odorem suavitatis acceptus, supernis luminaribus misceatur. Flammas eius lucifer matutinus inveniat: Ille, inquam, lucifer, qui nescit occasum: Ille qui regressus ab inferis, humano generi serenus illuxit.

The translation:  “We beseech thee therefore, O Lord, that this candle, consecrated to the honour of thy name, may continue burning to dissipate the darkness this night. And being accepted as a sweet savour, may be united with the celestial lights. Let the morning star find it alight, that star which never sets. Which being returned from hell, shone with brightness on mankind.

And what of the Serpent’s “lie”, that eating of the Tree would make the man and woman “like God”?

When I consider how Christ’s “mission” was essentially that of “recapitulation” (decent into this world, ‘gathering it up’/redeeming it, and returning it to the Father) and showing the way to apotheosis, I fail to see how we can call the words of the Serpent a lie.  The goal of the mystic is union with God, becoming God.  I have found the Kabbalistic concept of “the shattering of the vessels” very helpful in my reflections on this.

In the process of creation, the primitive sephirot are brought into existence as a conglomerate.  The sephirot, which are intended to receive the Divine Light, are then separated.  But they are unable to contain this vast Divine force, and they shatter, the shards containing holy sparks of Divine Light embedding themselves all through creation.  It is the task of humanity to liberate these shards/sparks, this process being known as “Tikkun HaOlam” – the spiritual repair of the world.

In my mind, the most important sparks/shards that we can liberate are those within ourselves.  In liberating our own spark of Divine Light, we re-elevate it to its Source.  The process of recapitulation becomes complete, we experience gnosis, we experience union with the Divine, we become “like God”.  This is never a selfish process, however, as in co-operating with Grace, we are able to liberate many sparks, ultimately helping redeem the world.[ii]

Intimately connected to the figure of Jesus is that of the Holy Spirit who, in orthodox Christianity, proceeds from the Father and the Son.  This Holy Spirit, the Breath of God, is often one of the ‘forgotten’ Persons of the Trinity.  Moving across the face of the waters of chaos, inspiring the prophets, appearing as a dove and as tongues of fire, and imparting charismatic gifts to believers, the Spirit is difficult to grasp as the wind.  But there are those among the Gnostics and among Traditional Witches of dual-faith persuasion who see the Holy Spirit as Shekinah (the Feminine face/Bride of God), as Sophia (Wisdom Herself) – and Her ‘avatar’ is Mary Magdalen, the companion of the Saviour, the Woman who knew the All.  The memory and worship of the Magdalen as Shekinah/Bride, Myrrh-Bearer/Anointer, Initiatrix and Illuminator (Mary Lucifera) has been kept alive within these traditions, a spiritual well-spring that the Wise may draw from.

It is worth mentioning briefly that some Traditional Craft groups uphold the idea of a Divine Trinity of Father, Mother and Son/Child, who can be personified as Saturn, Hekate and Mercury; the resonances between Hekate and Mercury, and the Gnostic Magdalen and Christ being absolutely astounding![iii]

Now, while the focus in Wicca is upon the mysteries of the Land, in much Traditional Craft, the focus is on the “lineage” or the “People”.  Shani Oates, the current Maid of the Clan of Tubal Cain, explained that Traditional Witches draw “Virtue from an ancestral lineage centred not in the land, having no ‘blood acre,’ but in its ‘people’. Our whole Cosmology negates geo-centricity. We remain aligned to the histories of its peoples. A ‘people’ subsumes its gods through evolution and progress, but a geocentric ‘monarchy’ or system such as Wicca may not. Any faith or practice rooted in the land is tied to that of its prevailing Oligarchy. The ‘nomad’ on the other hand retains the faith of his ancestors – I follow the gods of my ‘father’s father’ etc. Virtue is of the line, then, not land, not even mythically.[iv]

Rather than focussing on seasonal changes, the central mythos is often based on the Sacred King who is born, dies a sacrificial death (his blood bringing life to land and folk), and then rises again/is born anew from the cauldron womb/tomb.  The round of life of the Sacred King is that of the Hero’s Journey[v] – it is the journey of everyman.

Robert Cochrane, founder of the Clan of Tubal Cain, wrote in a letter to William Gray that “the teachings of Jesus are very near to my own perception about ‘morality’.  The crucifixion is a much older story of hundreds, if not thousands, of divine kings who died upon the Tau Cross of the kerm oak and the supernatural is a commonplace legend surrounding such events.  It is well-known to the ancients that if man draws power, he must sooner or later replace it with something that is better if the social continuity is to survive.  Sacrifice is the keynote of survival, and the ancients thought to sacrifice their very best in order to replace the energy loss.  Jesus, if I read the legends rightly, literally did die to ‘save us all’ since he, as a developed man, created with his own solitary sacrifice a ‘field’ that many have drawn upon and added to since.  The fault with Christianity lies in the churches and the apostles, not in the founder.  The basic law behind the techniques of magic and fate is that nature abhors a vacuum, and it is with this in mind that mystics and magicians alike attempt to lift the world fate.  They replace that which is empty or negative with that which is positive.  The trouble lies in the interpretation many casual ‘mystics’ or divines put upon the word ‘love’.  Love is the most divine force, but it is only gained through pain and insight.[vi]

As I wrote above, the work of redemption is never selfish.  “Involvement” is what it’s about, and Cochrane had some thought-provoking words on this, in a letter to Joe Wilson: “Some groups seek fulfilment in mystic experience – this is correct if one does not forget the duty of ‘involvement’ – the prime duty of the Wise.  It is not enough to see The Lady, it is better to serve Her and Her will by being involved in humanity and the process of Fate… In fate, and the overcoming of fate, is the true Graal, for from this inspiration comes, and death is defeated.  There is no fate so terrible that it cannot be overcome – whether by a literal victory gained by action and in time, or the deeper victory of spirit in the lonely battle of the self.  Fate is the trial… Therefore the People are concerned with Fate…[vii]

I think my understanding began to put forth new shoots when I started pondering the goal of Witchcraft.  It was during the period of transition from Wicca to Traditional Craft that I began to question why Crafters (both Wiccan and Traditional) do what they do, and this question of the goal led to other questions concerning cosmogony, cosmology, and philosophical anthropology.

It was to my dismay that much of the Wiccan material I had studied just didn’t seem to grapple with these issues at any decent depth.  There was talk of being initiated into and experiencing ‘the mysteries’, reincarnation, and magic, but I was left with the feeling that popular authors have reduced Wicca to a self-help scheme in pretty, crushed velvet robes, where one can have the abundant life always dreamed of by simply burning a few coloured candles.  And then, when you die, you’ll hang out in the Summerlands for a while, before coming back to earth to work out your karma.  There is no central mythos binding it all together.  There is no movement toward a “Wiccan theology” because eclecticism and supermarket spirituality has become the order of the day, for fear of causing offence or being labeled dogmatic.

I have long held the opinion that, for a faith to be meaningful, it must address the gamut of human experience, including our hopes and fears, our questions regarding the meaning and purpose of life.  If the human being is indeed the microcosm of the macrocosm, then our faiths must have a starting point as well as an end point.  When I realized that my questions would not or could not be answered within a Wiccan context, I began to explore what some Traditional Witches had to say about the matter.

Possibly the most illuminating piece of writing I found on the matter is in the same letter from Robert Cochrane to Joe Wilson quoted above:  “A driving thirst for knowledge is the forerunner of wisdom.  Knowledge is a state that all organic life possesses, wisdom is the reward of the spirit, gained in the search for knowledge.  Truth is variable – what is true  now, will not be true tomorrow, since the temporal truths are dependent upon ethics and social mores – therefore wisdom is possibly eternal Truth, untouched by man’s condition.  So we must come to the heart of the People, a belief that is based upon Eternity, and not upon social needs or pressures – the ‘witch’ belief then is concerned with wisdom, our true name, then is the wise people and wisdom is our aim.[viii]

In another place, he wrote that “To my particular belief, the Goddess, white with works of Good is also Black with works of darkness, yet both of them are compassionate, albeit the compassion is a cover for the ruthlessness of total TRUTH.  Truth is another name for the Godhead.  Male or female doesn’t really matter, what does matter is the recognition of neither good or evil, black or white, but the acceptance of the ‘will of the Gods’, the acceptance of truth as opposed to illusion.[ix]

In “Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed” Evan John Jones wrote that “By following the ways of the Lady, her consort and the young Horned King, we are turning to something that is instinctively part of our heritage.  As it is part of the cycle of life itself, we must be part of that cycle as well.  From the moment of birth to the moment of death, we are involved in that cycle. Part of the magic of the Old Faith is the knowing and accepting of this.  To accept life, in some cases to be an instrument of destiny within that life; sometimes to try to change the rhythm of that life in some small way.  For to change life, on must change oneself also, which in turn can lead to greater understanding and involvement.  Only by seeking, understanding and involvement will the Old Faith yield up its secrets of inspiration, understanding and evolvement within oneself and one’s chosen group.  By giving, one receives, and the balance is maintained.[x]

Gemma Gary, a practitioner of Cornish Traditional Witchcraft, has said that “…the traditional candle betwixt the horns [symbolizes] the light of ‘All-Wisdom’, which is the ultimate goal of the Witch and is the light that illumines the Cunning Path.  This wisdom is achieved by resolving all opposites within to become balanced and whole…  The Traditional Witch will seek inwardly in their rites to become both female and male, dark and light, below and above and so on in an act of inner alchemy…  To embody this is a huge task, and is literally to seek to become ‘as the gods’…[xi]

Here, we have the basic goal of the Craft:  Gnosis.  Wisdom.  Salvation.  Liberation.  “The acceptance of Truth, as opposed to illusion.”  Magical ability is secondary to this goal – indeed, the development of magical power is a by-product of the Craft!  Yes, the Power is there, and we are able to make use of it…  But responsible use, keeping always in mind that there is a price to be paid for the use of the Power.

Now, how does this all tie together for me as a solitary Traditional Witch who draws from various traditions of the Elder Craft?

The easiest way for me to describe this is by using the symbolism of the stang or forked staff, the primary altar of the Traditional Witch.  At one level, it is “a combination of masculine and feminine up to the position of death.  Then it becomes the single path of enlightenment.[xii] My duality of faith is something like this.  I generally don’t bring Christianity into the Compass, and I don’t take my arthame to Church – each faith has its own symbols and keys that work within that context, and so that’s where I usually keep them.  Yet the two paths are complimentary, ultimately becoming “the single path to enlightenment”.

I have found that sharing in the life of the church in my own way has added depth to my Crafting and vice versa.  Of course, it requires perception and perseverance!  The Magdalen mediates in a way different to Hekate – the lesson, the graces may, ultimately, be the same, but the channels are not.  My telling of the story of Hansel and Gretel might be very different to your telling of it, even though the basic Story remains the same.

Also, there is much to be gained from an exploration of Christian devotional practices, especially those which arose during the middle ages.  If it is true that the church made use of many Pagan or mystical elements in various practices, then it stands to reason that through an exploration of these customs and practices, one could regain much wisdom that would otherwise have been lost to us.  It does involve detective work, it does involve dealing with theologies that can be very different to our own, but the reward is worth it.

Holding dual-faith has also allowed me to focus on principles and concepts that go beyond the cycle of the seasons of nature.  I still do celebrate the seasonal tides, as it is important to me to live in harmony with the world around me, and there are energies that I am happy to commune with at these times – and it’s a recognition that all of life, that the whole earth is under the sway of the Goddess.  Of course, I can’t say that I celebrate Yule in December – I don’t.  I celebrate Yule, the Winter Solstice festival, in June.  I can say, though, that I celebrate the Birth of the Son in December, at Christmas time.  It might sound like a lot of work, but I see this as an outer cycle and an inner cycle – there is the actual landscape and the mythical landscape, and, in my case, the two don’t coincide.  That, of course, is not an insurmountable problem – Samhain is the shadow-side of Beltane, Lammas of Candlemas, Yule of Litha, and so on.  Rites and workings can become very interesting indeed.

For me, Jesus is a Sacred Priest-King who taught with Wisdom and established His own form of the mysteries.  As the Morning Star, he embodies and imparts that same Luciferian spirit that spurs us on the journey that saw us crawling from the mud and reaching for the stars, striving to ultimately return to the Source from which we came.

I see the life of the Sacred King in both the Sabbats of the Craft and the liturgical feasts of the church (these often sharing the same dates or occurring within a few days of each other) – and I am able to enter into these mysteries, partaking in their graces and blessings.

The idea of the nomadic People following their tribal Gods is also one that yields much fruit for me.  Firstly, there’s a sense of movement, constant movement.  The theme of the pilgrimage is one that has been used time and again by Christian writers to describe our journey ‘back to God’.  It echoes both the Exodus from Egypt and the Babylonian exile (with the subsequent return to the land of Israel).  We can also find within it the wanderings of Christ and his disciples around the ‘Holy Land’, culminating in his journey to Jerusalem for the Passover.  There is also the ‘life’ of Christ present therein: His descent into matter/the Incarnation, his earthly career, his death, resurrection and ascension, when he returned to his Father in heaven.

The concept of Traditional Witches as a People is very close to the understanding of what the church is – a community of believers, a family bound by spiritual adoption and a spiritual ‘bloodline’.  The church as community is a reflection of the inner life of the Trinity – the Godhead as a community of Persons.  As I mentioned earlier, some branches of Traditional Craft uphold the concept of a ‘Trinity’ as well, albeit with a different understanding.  Also of great importance in Traditional Craft are the Ancestors of both Faith and Blood. This hidden company of souls can and do guide and teach, protect and cause mischief, and are honoured in the rites because they are still a part of the family, still a part of the People.

Living in South Africa and being exposed to traditional values here, especially that of ubuntu, has further enriched my appreciation of community.  I have also been lucky to have been a part of some very loving communities, be they family, church, coven or geographic.  The importance, value and sanctity of community is expressed beautifully in The Hospitality of Abraham, an icon written by Andre Rublev in the fifteenth century.  The scene depicted is found in Genesis 18:1-8.  Three angels disguised as men approached Abraham, who welcomed the strangers into his camp at the oak of Mamre.  He prepared a meal for them and bade them sit down and eat.  The icon shows three angels seated around a table, and Rublev has included much symbolism to give us clues to the identities of these angels.  But perhaps the most striking thing about this icon is that the reader is invited to join the angels, the Trinity, at table!  The invitation to participate in the inner life of the Godhead is there!

Our relationship with the Divine Community must be translated into our relationships on this earth, in this life.  So, while I might be a solitary Witch, I know that I’m not, in truth, a solitary.  I am part of a People who are on a journey toward a common goal.  Yes, we each of us have to walk the journey for ourselves – no one can do it for us – but we’d only be fooling ourselves if we think that our spiritual evolution is for us and us alone.

This journey, this pilgrimage, is my journey, our journey.  We each and every one of us carry within a Divine Spark – it is the very purpose of our lives to return to the Source of that Spark.  The whole point of initiation into the mysteries (and here I do not mean a ceremonial act or rite of initiation) is to enable us to attain to that purpose.

Of course liturgy and ritual are important.  The Catholic Church has an incredibly deep and rich liturgical history and theology.  Different sources were drawn upon and different influences were incorporated, whether one considers the Roman Rite of the Mass or the development of Gregorian chant or the use of various sacramentals.  Part of the church’s understanding of liturgy is concerned with unifying the community of believers in the worship of God; that the liturgy itself is a prayer of contrition, adoration, supplication and communion.  It is also emphasized that liturgy is catechetical – the very ritual itself teaches the faithful about the mysteries of salvation.

Within Traditional Craft, there is the understanding that ritual assists in achieving the mental-physical-spiritual state in which the spirit is free to journey to the Gods.  Also, there is the understanding that ritual strengthens the group mind in focusing on a common goal.  It fosters and promotes group identity.  Ritual within Traditional Craft is also often catechetical in nature, as it very seldom happens that Apprentices are schooled in a classroom setting.  Rather, knowledge and wisdom are sought through experience (praxis).

It should never be a case of ritual for the sake of ritual.  Pomp and ceremony have their place in the world, certainly, but as Robert Cochrane said, “…All ritual must be a prayer[xiii].  Ritual and liturgy are but tools to assist those involved to make a journey of the spirit.

I have found that my own rites have become very stripped down, and this hasn’t necessarily been a conscious decision on my part.  Ritual actions are kept to a minimum, and spoken words are few but powerful.  The simplicity is deceptive, as it allows for a greater freedom of spirit, mind and body – and it is here that Crafting happens, not in the externals.

Study, reflection, and ritual are all part of the alchemical process to transmute head knowledge into heart wisdom.  Actively engaging with the Faith at all levels is a transformative experience, and often uncomfortable.  But that’s just it – this faith demands all of oneself.  The process of refinement is ongoing, and must be applied to the whole Self.  Pagans and Witches often talk of being ‘between worlds’ or ‘between the horns’, which could refer to either being within the magic circle, or being in a trance state.  I think, though, that we can expand the understanding of those terms to include the ‘space’ within apparent contradictions: “If a man would save his life, he must first lose it”.  “Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair”.  What I mean by this is that we undergo various experiences in life, and only when we are in the midst of some of these, and some of these experiences might be very horrible indeed, do we find that what might have been thought of as a curse could, in fact, be a most tremendous blessing, spurring us on to heights greater than we could ever have imagined.  No amount of theorizing could have bestowed the wisdom gained from experience in these ‘spaces’ betwixt and between, as it is in these ‘spaces’ that we find the resolution of opposites.

The support and strength offered by this Faith has enabled me to survive some incredibly traumatic experiences; experiences I’m not certain I would have survived otherwise.  Several months ago, I found myself in a situation that I could only describe as the valley of the shadow of death.  Every sphere of my life was affected by an attack on my person, and I knew that there would be a long time between the event that set it off, and an answer from medical science.  I was faced with weeks of uncertainty, and was plunged into a time of great inner darkness.  There were moments when I felt as though I was on the very brink of madness.  But all through that time, coinciding as it did with both Easter and the beginning of winter, I clung to the image of Sir Gawain in the Chapel Perilous, the Sacred King bound to the Kerm Oak, Odin hanging from the World Tree, and the Christ nailed to the Cross.  My union with the Sacred King and Divine Mystic through my own sufferings transformed what could’ve been a life-destroying experience into a deepening of the quest to overcome Fate and gain the wisdom of the Transcendent.

I have also found that various elements of this Faith of mine have altered drastically my interactions with the world in which I live.  Whether I consider the belief in the Incarnation of Christ, the belief that God became a human being, or whether I consider the Witch belief that all exists within the Godhead (and not the other way around), I cannot escape the intrinsic value of manifest reality: the whole of humanity, the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom, the very rocks and stones.  An awareness of my own dignity has led to changes in my lifestyle to reflect that dignity.  The way I treat others needs to acknowledge their inherent dignity (regardless of their conduct!) – anything less is a betrayal of one’s own self.  I look to the presence of the Goddess in all of life, and I look to find the face of Christ in those I meet, and I try to behave with respect and compassion, cherishing the world around me.

My goal is not to make a broomstick fly or turn someone into a toad.  I don’t necessarily want to conjure up spirits or cast glamours.  My goal is Wisdom.  My goal is to be the glory of the Godhead, as a man fully alive – and in striving to attain this, it is my hope that my actions, my involvement in this world helps to liberate the sparks, assisting in the spiritual evolution of humanity, and the redemption of all.

I seek Wisdom because She is life-giving.  What else could possibly be worth searching for?  See what the book of Proverbs has to say about Sophia:

“Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding, for her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold.  She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honour.  Her ways are pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy…  Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars.  She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table.  She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls from the highest places in the town, ‘You that are simple, turn in here!’  To those without sense she says, ‘Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.  Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” (Proverbs 3:13-18; 9:1-6)

Let us who would call ourselves “the Wise” make Wisdom our aim, each and every day.

“Bring forth the star-son, and you have Dionysus, the Horned Child and Jesus Christ in one.” – Robert Cochrane

References:

[i] Tubelo’s Green Fire by Shani Oates.  Mandrake of Oxford, 2010. Pg 29

[ii] For a greater explanation of this Kabbalistic concept, please see the entry ‘Shevirat ha’Kelim’ in The Kabbalah Handbook by Gabriella Samuel, published by Tarcher Penguin, 2007.

[iii] For more on this, please refer to Tubelo’s Green Fire, especially the article entitled ‘Hekate – Dark Mistress of the Soul’.

[v] Cf. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, Fontana Press, 1993.

[vi] Letter Six to William Gray, The Robert Cochrane Letters by Robert Cochrane with Evan John Jones, published by Capall Bann, 2002, pg 87.

[vii] Letter Two to Joe Wilson, ibid, pg 21.

[viii] Letter Two to Joe Wilson, ibid.

[ix] Letter Six to William Gray, ibid.

[x] Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed by Evan John Jones with Doreen Valiente, published by Hale, 1999. Pg 51-52.

[xi] Traditional Witchcraft: A Cornish Book of Ways by Gemma Gary, published by Troy Books, 2008.

[xii] Sacred Mask Sacred Dance by Evan John Jones with Chas S. Clifton, published by Llewellyn Publications, 1997.  Pg 161.

[xiii] Letter Ten to Norman Gills, The Robert Cochrane Letters, ibid.  Pg 176.

 

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