Friday 30 September 2011

Ylim: Weaver, Seeress, Mask of the Grimr

I first met the Grimr in a book called the White Hart by Nancy Springer.  In it, she appears as an old weaver and seeress named Ylim.  She captivated my imagination when I read the following passage.  The imagery and feel was forever burned into my memory, my imagination, my soul.  I have encountered them in many guises since, but never with the power of that first encounter.  It will forever be what I think of, what I feel, what I know, when i think of them.

~Muninn's Kiss

Sunday 25 September 2011

Autumn Equinox: A Time to Remember...

The most significant dates in the solar year are the Winter Solstice and the Summer Solstice, the longest night and the longest day.  These are significant because they are the points where the sun is nearest to one of the poles and furthest from the other.  The Winter Solstice marks the end of shortening days and begins the lengthening of days, and the Summer Solstice the opposite.  But half way between these days are two other significant days.  The Spring and Autumn Equinoxes mark the point where the sun passes the equator as it moves from one pole to the other.  The Solstices are liminal because they are transitions between the growing days that the shrinking days, the shrinking nights and the growing nights.  The Equinoxes are liminal because they are the transitions between the sun in the north and the sun in the south.  All liminal times and places are of importance and can't be ignored.

Yesterday marked the Autumn Equinox, half way between the Summer and Winter Solstices, the sun crossing from the northern hemisphere to the southern.  It is considered the transition from Summer to Autumn.  In astrological terms, the Equinox marks the sun moving from Virgo into Libra, the Virgin to the Scales.  The Coptic word for the constellation of Libra was Lambadia meaning "station of propitiation".  In Arabic, it's Al Zubena, meaning "redemption" or "purchase".  Around this time of year (from sunset of the 29th to sunset of the 30th) is Rosh Hashana in the Jewish religious calendar.  Rosh Hashana means "head of the year" and is the Jewish New Year.  In the Tanakh, it is often called Yom Ha-Zikkaron, the Day of Rememberance, because it's a day of looking back at the past year.  One tradition is Tashlikh meaning "casting off", in which you walk to the nearest moving water and empty your pockets into it, symbolizing casting off your sins from the year before.  Which fits well with the Coptic and Arabic words for the constellation of Libra.

An obvious image that comes to mind is Ma'at in Egyptian mythology weighing the heart of the dead against the weight of a feather.  Ma'at is the goddess of law and morality, whose justice is extreme and unbending, but she also regulates the movements of the stars, the changing of the seasons, the actions of all mortals and gods, and is the Order that brought the cycles and constants of creation out of the chaos that came before.  In Genesis, the is the bohu that is order in the tohu, the Chaos.  Ma'at can be seen as Ananke, the three-headed serpentine goddess of Necessity, Fate, and Destiny, the twisting of her and her mate Chronos, Time, their coils twisting around each other, causing the turning of the stars and seasons, and the actions of mortals and gods.  Just as the Egyptian gods are bound by Ma'at, the Greek gods are bound by Ananke and her daughters, the Fates, and the Norse gods are bound by the Norns.

Here begins Autumn, and the march toward Winter, the time of the Ana and the Arddhu in Feri, of Wisdom and the elder years of life as he head toward the death of Winter.  This time of year is a time of balance, redemption, forgiveness, and Fate.  It is a time to remember Her, "Old Fate, the major deity of all true witches."

~Muninn's Kiss

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Nine Acts of Witchcraft Become the Three Grimr, Part 1, Nourishment...

In 2009 and 2010, I wrote a series of ten posts on the first nine acts of witchcraft.  These posts were an analysis of the nine acts, the nine changes, G-d did at the beginning of Genesis which brought about the creation of the world.  I looked at them in sequential order as they occurred over the seven days in the myth.  I'd like to take another look at these acts by looking at them in a different way.

The nine acts are:

  1. Let there be light.  (link)
  2. Let there be a firmament.  (link)
  3. Let the waters under heaven be gathered.  (link)
  4. Let the earth put forth.  (link)
  5. Let there be lights in the firmament.  (link)
  6. Let the waters swarm and let fowl fly.  (link)
  7. Let the earth bring forth the living creature.  (part 1) (part 2)
  8. Let us make man in our image.  (link)
  9. And he rested.  (link)

People usually focus on there being seven days, but few ever mention that there are nine acts.  The number nine doesn't occur often in Hebrew texts and thoughts compared to other numbers, but is is very common in Norse and Germanic myth.  Among many other occurances of the number, there are nine worlds, Odin hung on the Tree, a sacrifice by himself to himself, for nine days, and nine of the gods survive Ragnarok.  Also, in Greek myth, there are nine muses.  In Robert Cochrane's letters, you circle the alter three time three (9) times for the Maid, three times six (18 which is 9 time 2) times for the Mother, and three times nine (36) times for the Hag.  Also, he indicates nine Rites or Knots of the year during which the male and female clans would come together.

But nine is always related to three in myth, as is six.  Six is three sets of twins, and nine three sets of three.  When you look at the nine acts as groups of three chronologically, not much emerges.  In the first trinity, we see separation, separation, coming together.  In the second, we see three things coming forth.  In the third, we coming forth, making, resting.  While these sets are interesting and shouldn't be ignored, they don't form any patterns that are common for all three sets.  But if we group them by taking each one in the chronological grouping and put them with each in the next set and so far, some interesting details emerge.

Let there be light.  Let the earth put forth.  Let the earth bring forth living creatures.

Working backwards, we see the the earth bringing the living creature, and the earth putting forth plants.  The connection here between the two is easy to see.  The earth brings forth both.  The interesting thing is there are two words here.  Let the earth put forth uses dasha (דָּשָׁא), but when the earth obeys, it brings forth, yatsa' (יָצָא).  Dasha is to sprout, to grow green.  Yatsa' is to put forth, to depart or cause to depart.  So it sprouts, then grows up, out, away from the ground.  But G-d tells the land to bring forth, yatsa', the living creature.  And all the living things of the earth (not of the water or the air) are brought forth, pushed out of the ground.  And then, it says, G-d makes, 'asah (עָשָׂה), fashions all of them.  So they come forth, then are formed.

But back to the first triune, the first of the Grimr.  The first two are easily connected, the earth bringing forth.  Out of the earth they come.  But how does that connect to the first?  Let there be light.  To see the connection, we must understand nature and cycles.  Let's start with the creatures.  To begin with, they only eat plants.  Only later do some eat other creatures.  Plants.  So animals, the third part, eat plants, the second part.  So what do plants live on?  If animals get their energy from plants, where do plants get their energy?  Light.  Ah ha, light!  The first part.  So light feeds the plants and plants feed the animals.  Now this triune starts to make sense and come together.

But there's another element here.  The plants and animals come out of the earth, but where does the light come out of?  Let's look back a bit:
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.
3 And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light. 
And afterwards:
3 And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
So, before light, there was the earth, darkness, waters, and the spirit of G-d (The four elements.  Earth and water.  The spirit is wind, air.  The darkness is black fire, see The earth was (tohu va-vohu), chaos and void...)  And it's the darkness that the light is intermingled with, not the rest.  So it would seem that the light came out of the darkness, just as the plants and animals came out of the earth.  There is a verse somewhere in the Zohar that says that light is brightest that comes out of the darkness.  The black fire of inspiration brings forth light, illumination, Truth.

So the darkness, the fire, brings forth light, and the earth brings forth plants, then animals.  The light nourishes the plants.  The plants nourish the animals.  The three are a cycle, the three become one.  On the first day.  On the third day.  On the sixth day.  The first act.  The fourth act.  The seventh act.

~Muninn's Kiss

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