Monday 31 October 2011

The Year is Drawing Nigh, a Samhain poem

The Year is Drawing Nigh
A Samhain poem by Muninn’s Kiss

As darkness fall, the veil thin,
The year is drawing nigh.
Shadows lengthen, gather strength,
The year is drawing nigh.
The dead they stir, and look around,
The year is drawing nigh.
Tonight they walk, tonight they dine,
The year is drawing nigh.
The sinks down, she’s dying now,
The year is drawing nigh.
Beneath the hills, the dying sun,
The year is drawing nigh.
Hollow hills, they open wide,
The year is drawing nigh.
Faerie folk, the mighty dead,
The year is drawing nigh.
Samhain’s fires, burning bright,
The year is drawing nigh.
To dance around, in death’s embrace,
The year is drawing nigh.
Ancestors dead, some long gone,
The year is drawing nigh.
We tip a glass, we place a plate,
The year is drawing nigh.
Death stands up, tonight he reigns,
The year is drawing nigh.
In darkness strong, the dying year,
The year is drawing nigh.
The revelers grow deathly quiet,
The year is drawing nigh.
All knees bend and all tongue stilled,
The year is drawing nigh.
For Death takes all and all will come,
The year is drawing nigh.
The Gates of Death, they open wide,
The year is drawing nigh.
His face you meet, at Death’s great doors,
The year is drawing nigh.
A friend, a judge, a lover, a blade,
The year is drawing nigh.
His embrace is sweet, but deathly cold,
The year is drawing nigh.
In love he strips you, bone from bone,
The year is drawing nigh.
Nothing left, you pass beyond,
The year is drawing nigh.
The veil it parts, the doors swing wide,
The year is drawing nigh.
Your last strong breath, last orgasm,
The year is drawing nigh.
And through you go, to what’s beyond,
The year is drawing nigh.
But Death’s great doors and Life’s fair doors,
The year is drawing nigh.
What’s dead and gone, will be reborn,
The year is drawing nigh.
A new breath breathed, a new day dawns,
The year is drawing nigh.
Death to Life, he takes your hand,
The year is drawing nigh.
All is gone, but all in new,
The year is drawing nigh.
The new dawn’s sun, in the east,
The year is drawing nigh.
The cold it flees, the shadows hide,
The year is drawing nigh.
Dark Samhain’s night to new year’s light,
The year is drawing nigh.
What was dead has come again.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

On Centres, Actions, Webs, and Spiders

Image from National Geographic.
There are certain keys, mantras, ideas, concepts, that are central to my being, central to my work, central to my beliefs, central to my practice, central to my ethics, central to my religion, central to my witchcraft.  These keys come up again ans again.  These include the Twins (Tvennr), the Weaver (Grimr), the Mirror, the Bridge, the Priest, the Mask, the Knot, the Blade, the Tower, and the Wanderer.

Another is the mantra, "Each person is responsible for their own action."  This mantra is very important in defining my personal ethics and is very important in informing my understanding of not just the human world, but the natural and spiritual worlds as well.  The following passage from Riding Windhorses expresses this mantra in a very well and in a way that makes a lot of sense to me.  This is in the context of Northern Asian shamanism, primarily among the Siberian and Mongolian peoples.
"Shamanism is concern with personal power and bringing good fortune into one's life.  In the context of the cosmology described above, one must remember the saying, 'Everyone has his own universe, everyone has his own path.' While every day brings an individual into contact with the personal worlds of others, the core issues of life lie within one's personal universe. In this individual aspect of the cosmos, a person stands at the perfect center of the universe, supported by Mother Earth and enveloped in the clear blue vastness of Father Heaven. At the center one's cosmic soul (suns) shines as a bright white star, and the body soul (ami) is a red point of light. One can fly freely within the vastness of space or travel upon the earth. Because one has his or her own path, one is ultimately responsible for his or her own actions."
This also expresses a lot of other important concepts in my beliefs and practice.  Present here is the concept of the Guardian of the Centre, and also of Witch Herself.  Modern science and common belief says that it is pure ego to say the earth is the centre of the universe, and especially to say yourself is the centre.  But who doesn't feel, at least subconsciously, that they are the centre?  That doesn't mean no one else is important, or that all should serve and cater to you, or that it's all about you.  But you relate to the world from your own person, not from the centre of the galaxy or solar system, nor even from the person you hold most dear.  You relate to the world from your own person, so that is the centre of your world.  You are the centre of the web, the weave.  All the threads in your life radiate out from you, connecting you to the things and beings around you.

The Fable of Arachne by
Velazquez, image from  Hellenica.
This isn't just metaphor.  According to KaHuna tradition as it has been passed into Feri, Unihipili, Nefesh, your lower soul, Fetch, forms threads, called aka threads, which connect her to everything she comes into contact with.  Energy, mana, flows through these threads in both directions.  Fetch is the spider, the Weaver, at the centre of the web, each aka thread connecting her to everything she has ever touched until the thread is either cut or withers away.  Energy flows across these, but that energy has memory.  Fetch is made of the same stuff as the threads, that mana, that energy, and she contains our deepest memories.  And the Fetch of each thing contains it's memory, whether that thing is a person, a spirit, a god, a dog, a tree, a rock, a toaster.  All things have a Fetch, and all Fetches contain deep memories.  Across the threads, the memories flow.  Fetch is sometimes called the Listener, just as the middle soul is the Talker.  She sits at the centre of her web, her weave, and listens, listens to all the memories.  Her universe is made up of all those things that are part of her web, all the memories she listens to.

Horizontal Traditional Loom,
Centre Cultural Alexandra  David-Neel.
Uhane, Ruach, your middle soul, Talker, has a web of her own.  This one people are more familiar with.  We use terms like social networking all the time  Talker's web is one of social interactions and communication.  While Fetch's web is passive, she sits at the centre and listens, she forms connections automatically with anything she touches or that touches her, she lets the threads weave the pattern, Talker's is active.  She actively builds a web, reaches out to form each connection, feeds the connections she values and wants to keep.  She constantly has her hands in the weave, forming them, directing them.  Fetch's web is static.  A thread forms and stays until it is cut of withers.  Talker's web is dynamic.  She's constantly adding strands, cutting strands, feeding strands, pruning strands.  But for all the differences, one thing is the same.  Talker is also the centre of her web, her weave.

The Norns
And, of course, Aumakua, Neshamah, your higher soul, Godself, has a web of her own.  Many people, whether they believe in it or not, know the concept of Fate, Destiny, Necessity, Weird, Karma.  Consequences that influence the future, things in the past that direct the present.  Many cultures talk of the Weaver or Weavers, in whatever form.  Spin the thread, measure the thread, cut the thread.  Birth, Life, Death.  A good way to understand Godself's web is to look at the concept of Weird or Wyrd in the Germanic traditions.
O.E. wyrd "fate, destiny" (n.), lit. "that which comes," from P.Gmc. *wurthis (cf. O.S. wurd, O.H.G. wurt "fate," O.N. urðr "fate, one of the three Norns"), from PIE *wert- "to turn, wind," (cf. Ger. werden, O.E. weorðan "to become"), from base *wer- "to turn, bend" (see versus). For sense development from "turning" to "becoming," cf. phrase turn into "become." The modern sense of weird developed from M.E. use of weird sisters for the three fates or Norns (in Germanic mythology), the goddesses who controlled human destiny. They were usually portrayed as odd or frightening in appearance, as in "Macbeth," which led to the adj. meaning "odd-looking, uncanny," first recorded 1815.  (
Frigg Weaving the Clouds
Another world used in Old Norse is ørlǫg, literally, "beyond law".  Frigg is said to know all ørlǫg, but not say it.  She is often portrayed as a Weaver.  Think of her sitting at her loom, letting the threads go where they go and seeing ørlǫg in them.  But the Norns control the threads, control ørlǫg, control urðr, Wyrd, Weird.  You'll notice a few words above.  "To turn, wind".  Like a thread on a spindle or distaff.  "To turn, bend".  Like the threads being bent into a pattern on a loom.  (Note that one possible root meaning for witch is "to bend", also.)

Wyrd itself is Fate, the web of all things that were once whole.  Orlog is the ever changing threads which are found in the athem.  It is the fate of the individual itself.  Orlog affects hamingja and vice versa.  The hamingja bears the orlog in this life.  By fulfilling and bettering the hamingja, one takes care of orlog.  This in turn “feeds” the fetch, or spirit, by fulfilling fate and bringing the fetch one step closer to completing the true “Great Work.”  So it would seem that Orlog is the transmitter of wyrd to the hamingja and that by improving hamingja one can create a better wyrd for the future.  (
The Athem is the spirit cord, divine spark or “breath of life” which flows through us.  These cords, which all things possess are the “Threads of Fate” which tie all things together.  It is when these “threads” cross that we become attached to another being or thing and thus generate more “fate” (understood by most modern cultures as karma.)  It is the series of all athems which bind all things together in the great tapestry of Fate.  It is both a completion and destruction of the tapestry, by resolving all fate that we shall finally achieve the Great Work as a universe and allow the Godhead to be whole again.  Each athem by itself also binds together each part of the individual anthropos.  It is through the athem that we make contact with entities of spirit and, indeed, our own spirits.  This is because the athem is in constant contact with the spiritual forces of the universe.  It is interesting that the Egyptians seem to have believed that life ended when the ka left the body, which seems to support our analysis here.  (
The fetch is the portion of the soul complex that truly lives on after we are no more. It is what truly carries wyrd from life to life. (
(Note that he is using the word fetch differently than I used above, much closer to what I mean by Godself.  Read his whole articles to understand his use of it, which is Germanic in origin, whereas my usage comes from Feri.)

So, according to Dr. R.J. Thompson, we have the fetch (Godself) carrying wyrd between lifetimes, with the wyrd residing in the athem.  These cords, the athem, the "Threads of Fate", is what I'm talking about here.

The Godself, the (Greater) Neshamah is made up of three parts in Kabbalah, the (lesser) neshamah, the chiah, and the yechidah.  In the way I see these, the (lesser) neshamah contains our capacity for love, the chiah contains our True Will, and the yechidah our Divine Sparks, which are also the Threads of Fate.  The yechidah is the athem Dr. Thompson talked about.  It connects us with the Divine, to which all things are connected.  The yechidah is our Soul Root, which grows in the soil of the Divine.  Picture an upside down tree, with the roots in the ground above and the branches reaching for the sky below, which is our world, the World of Action.

These "Threads of Fate" are Neshamah's web.  Just as Fetch's web, the aka threads, connect to all things she has touched, to the Fetch of others, just as Talker's web, our social network, connects to all beings we interact with, to their Talkers, Godself's web, the Threads of Fate, connect her to the Godself of all others, and to the Divine, which is the same thing.  She, too, sits at the centre of her web, for only our own Fate, our own Destiny is relevant to us.  Other's actions effect us, other's threads cross ours, but only our own Fate matters in the end.

The Lady of Shalott, by
William Holman Hunt, 1905
Which brings us back to the passage from Riding Windhorses and my original mantra.  Other's actions, other's threads, be they aka threads, social threads, or Threads of Fate, effect us, influence us, come into contact with us.  We are effected by them.  When people enter our personal universe, they are part of that universe, and each one has an effect, like the butterfly flapping its wings in chaos theory or the observer in the slot experiment in quantum physics.  But ultimately, they are responsible for their actions and I'm responsible for mine.  It's not what they do to me that matters, it's how I respond.  It isn't what they give me, it's what i do with what they give me.  It is my web, my weave, my tapestry, my personal universe, and I am responsible for it.  I make my own decisions, I do my own actions, and I am responsible for what I do, not for what they do.  If I take responsibility for their actions and their decisions, I give them power over my life, I submit my life force to them.  Same thing if I let them dictate my decisions and actions.

I am the Guardian of the Centre.  I am Witch.  I loose and I bind.  I spin, I measure, I cut.  I weave the tapestry of my life.  I am responsible for it, and I have Power over it.  I am Human, but I am also Divine.  I am Fey.  I am God Herself.  I am the Nagara.  I am the Tvennr.  I am the Grimr.  I am the Vordr.  I am the Heidr.  I am all things.  And I am nothing.  It is my world, my universe.  I am the Centre.  I am the Circumference of all.

~Muninn's Kiss

Sunday 16 October 2011

What Does it Mean to Be Religious?

"Religion" comes from the Latin "religionem" meaning "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods."  Cicero claimed it came from relegare meaning "go through again, read again," from re- "again" + legere "read".  'However, popular etymology among the later ancients (and many modern writers) connects it with religare "to bind fast" (see rely), via notion of "place an obligation on," or "bond between humans and gods." Another possible origin is religiens "careful," opposite of negligens.' (

If it's "careful", it would mean to show respect to the being, to be careful around them.  If "to bind fast", this would include any tying of yourself to the being, whether it's by making a deal with them, as in all the stories of demons, djinn, faeries, and all manner of other beings, or leaving offerings to them, like milk for the faeries or coins at a crossroads, or a gift for a genii loci, or swearing allegiance to them.  I'm not sure about read again.  Maybe that's what Francis has been talking about today.  :-)

But for the actual Latin meaning, "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods," we have the question I asked a while back, what makes a being a god?
O.E. god "supreme being, deity; the Christian God; image of a god; godlike person," from P.Gmc. *guthan (cf. O.S., O.Fris., Du. god, O.H.G. got, Ger. Gott, O.N. guð, Goth. guþ), from PIE *ghut- "that which is invoked" (cf. O.C.S. zovo "to call," Skt. huta- "invoked," an epithet of Indra), from root *gheu(e)- "to call, invoke." But some trace it to PIE *ghu-to- "poured," from root *gheu- "to pour, pour a libation" (source of Gk. khein "to pour," also in the phrase khute gaia "poured earth," referring to a burial mound; see found (2)). "Given the Greek facts, the Germanic form may have referred in the first instance to the spirit immanent in a burial mound" [Watkins]. Cf. also Zeus. (

So our word god is whatever is invoked or called.  Hence my comment about connections to any spirit.  And you see the connection to the dead as well.  Of course, That's Germanic, whereas religionem is Latin, so:
Zeus - supreme god of the ancient Greeks, 1706, from Gk., from PIE *dewos- "god" (cf. L. deus "god," O. Pers. daiva- "demon, evil god," O.C.S. deivai, Skt. deva-), from base *dyeu- "to gleam, to shine;" also the root of words for "sky" and "day" (see diurnal). The god-sense is originally "shining," but "whether as originally sun-god or as lightener" is not now clear. (

diurnal - late 14c., from L.L. diurnalis "daily," from L. dies "day" + -urnus, an adj. suffix denoting time (cf. hibernus "wintery"). Dies "day" is from PIE base *dyeu- (cf. Skt. diva "by day," Welsh diw, Bret. deiz "day;" Arm. tiw; Lith. diena; O.C.S. dini, Pol. dzien, Rus. den), lit. "to shine" (cf. Gk. delos "clear;" L. deus, Skt. deva "god," lit. "shining one;" Avestan dava- "spirit, demon;" Lith. devas, O.N. tivar "gods;" O.E. Tig, gen. Tiwes, see Tuesday).  (

Which of course brings to mind Victor Anderson's talk of the 72 Bright Spirits, and of God Herself choosing two Bright Spirits as her consort, the Divine Twins.  And in the Magic Society of the White Flame, which is Arabic based and fairly Ishtar-centric, there is the Apkallu of which there is seven, who guide the universe.  The names given by Nineveh of the Society are the Sanskrit names for the main seven stars of the big dipper.  They are very stellar in nature.  They are relevant because in Shani's first book, she says, "Ante-deluvian cuneiform texts, discovered in the Middle Eastern regions once known as Sumer and Akkad (Mesopotamia) suggest an intriguing origin for mankind.  From translations presented from these clay tablets, many have posited the possibility of advanced proto-'Shamanic' beings named 'Apkallu' who may be considered synonymous with the 'Elohim' (plural and of both genders).  As great ethereal guardians, the 'Shining Ones' were bearers of deep knowledge and wisdom, who through their shared exalted status accelerated humanity's development beyond his natural evolutionary capacity.  Speculative sexual impregnation by these beings produced a hybrid race is very probably the most popular and enduring legend.  Certainly, this belief is recorded in the distinct myths of all peoples of the world, from China throughout Europe, it's sub-continents and into Britain.  Analysis of all extant creation myths conceal praxes fundamental to this premise; of superior beings in spirit or flesh becoming the benefactors of mankind, introducing animal husbandry, agriculture, smith-craft and the arts, both aesthetic and spiritual.  Commonly these beings are attributed with 'God-like' status."  She goes on to say they are given as numbering seven, with a leader making eight.  Note "Shining Ones", like Bright Spirits.  Also note that she's talking about the Watchers, and the number seven.  Like the seven Feri Guardians, who are also stellar, and also associated with the Watchers, as you can see in DRGN's article (  And the Watchers, of course, are essentually angels.

And we can look at other Germanic words.
Tuesday - O.E. Tiwesdæg, from Tiwes, gen. of Tiw "Tiu," from P.Gmc. *Tiwaz "god of the sky," differentiated specifically as Tiu, ancient Germanic god of war, from PIE base *dyeu- "to shine" (see diurnal). Cf. O.N. tysdagr, Swed. tisdag, O.H.G. ziestag. The day name (second element dæg, see day) is a translation of L. dies Martis (cf. It. martedi, Fr. Mardi) "Day of Mars," from the Roman god of war, who was identified with Germanic Tiw (though etymologically Tiw is related to Zeus), itself a loan-translation of Gk. Areos hemera. In cognate Ger. Dienstag and Du. Dinsdag, the first element would appear to be Gmc. ding, þing "public assembly," but it is now thought to be from Thinxus, one of the names of the war-god in Latin inscriptions.
Notice it comes from the same Proto Indio-European root as Zeus and deus.  And just a bit more.
The Sanskrit deva- derives from Indo-Iranian *dev- which in turn descends from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) word, *deiwos, originally an adjective meaning "celestial" or "shining", which is a PIE (not synchronic Sanskrit) vrddhi derivative from the root *diw meaning "to shine", especially as the day-lit sky. The feminine form of PIE *deiwos is PIE *deiwih, which descends into Indic languages as devi, in that context meaning "female deity". 
Also deriving from PIE *deiwos, and thus cognates of deva, are Lithuanian Dievas (Latvian Dievs, Prussian Deiwas), Germanic Tiwaz (seen in English "Tuesday") and the related Old Norse Tivar (gods), and Latin deus "god" and divus "divine", from which the English words "divine", "deity", French "dieu", Portuguese "deus", Spanish "dios" and Italian "dio", also "Zeys/Ζεύς" - "Dias/Δίας", the Greek father of the gods, are derived. 
Related but distinct is the PIE proper name *Dyeus which while from the same root, may originally have referred to the daytime sky, and hence to "Father Sky", the chief God of the Indo-European pantheon, continued in Sanskrit Dyaus. The bode of the Devas is Dyuloka.

All the Romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and the other I forget, and all the dialects of all of those) use words coming from the Latin word, not the German word ours comes from.  And you'll notice the Persian word that deus means demon or evil god.

So we've included all spirits, the dead (including the ghosts you mentioned, but also revenants and also the Mighty Dead which many trad witches talk interact with, and also the saints of Catholicism and the Lwa and similar beings of Voudou and similar traditions, and the ancestors revered by many in hoodoo and conjure, and across the world, from Japan to China to Europe to Native Americans), demons, angels, gods, faeries (which might be the dead or might be angels who didn't choose a side in the war in heaven or might be demons), djinn (who are like us, but made or smoke and fire instead of dust, and who are sometimes hard to distinguish from demons, angels, Watchers, etc), what have we left out?  What do you call or invoke?  What do give offerings or gifts to?  What do you show respect to or honour?  What are you careful around?
Wikipedia says:
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. (
Nothing about there having to be a being in a superior position or about appeasing anything.

Concerning religious experiences:
Religious experience (sometimes known as a spiritual experience, sacred experience, or mystical experience) is a subjective experience in which an individual reports contact with a transcendent reality, an encounter or union with the divine. 
A religious experience is most commonly known as an occurrence that is uncommon in the sense that it doesn’t fit in with the norm of everyday activities and life experiences, and its connection is with the individual’s perception of the divine. Studying religious experience objectively is a difficult task, as it is entirely a subjective phenomenon. However, commonalities and differences between religious experiences have enabled scholars to categorize them for academic study.  (
So, if you say you're not religious, yet have contact with spirits, are your experiences subjective or objective, i.e., can you prove that they exist, objectively, using repeatable scientific measurements?  Did you contact something beyond the objective physical world?  I guess you could argue they aren't divine, but "divine" comes from our words above, so you get back to my original argument that all these spirits are included. 

~Muninn's Kiss

Observation and Calculation: Laziness and the passage of time

 There are certain feasts and festivals that are considered "movable" in Christianity.  Easter is the most well known by the general public outside the churches.  But Easter is only movable because of laziness and an insistence on defining lunar feasts based a solar calendar.  As we talked about around that time earlier this year, Easter started out as the Sunday after Passover.  Passover is fixed, but obviously to the Hebrew calendar, not the Julian or Gregorian.  Passover is *always* the week of the 15th through 22nd of Nissan, which is sundown on the third Friday of Nissan until sundown of the next Friday.  So Easter was always 24th of Nissan.  But non-Jewish Christians didn't observe the moon, so they had to ask a Jew when it would occur, and, as relations got more and more strained between the two religions, the Christians wanted to know it themselves.  So they figured out a calculation, so they wouldn't have to observe.  And they did it based on a solar date, the equinox, and even that was set on the calendar by then, not observed.

Both the Hebrew and the Islamic calendar are based on observation and lunar cycles, not calculation and solar cycles.  The Jewish months aren't set, nor are the Islamic.  The Romans said, this month is this long and this month is this long.  The lengths are arbritary, not based on anything in nature.  Hence Julius Caesar was able to steal a day from February and put it in the month he renamed after himself, and Augustus did likewise.  But the Jewish months are based on observation and not arbitrary.  When the moon disappears from the final crescent into the dark of the moon, the new month starts.  And the Islamic, when the moon reappears after the new moon, in the first crescent.  But this varies.  First of all, because the moon isn't tied to the solar days.  Some lunar months are 29 days and some 30 days, or some people say 28 or 31, it's hard since the new moon doesn't last only one day, just as the Solstice is hard because there are three days real close.  So the length of the months are different from each other and based on observation, not the same, and not arbitrary.  The length of each month are pretty close to the same each year, day wise, but this isn't guarantied.  Even if it drifts, the Hebrew and Islamic calendar will still be consistant, because the exact length of each month doesn't matter and won't mess up other calculations.

That's the thing, we're lazy, so we prefer calculation to observation.  That's why the standing stones were more accurate.  As I said, nature isn't orderly and consistent.  We like to make laws and rules to define nature, to show its order and show it as static, but they always fall short, because nature is chaotic and dynamic, always changing.  Just look at the length of a year.  We have a nice calculation of 365.2425 days, but this is an average.  Each year is different in length.  It's pretty obvious it would vary, if you think about gravity.  When Jupiter or Mars are closer, earth is pulled out further, and when Venus or Mercury are closer, it's pulled closer to the sun.  These four planets aren't on a cycle relating at all to any of ours.  Depending on the timing of this, if the earth stays out further more of the year, the year is longer, but if it spends more time closer, the year is shorter.  The same thing happens with the lunar cycles, hence to the tides, and so on.

And even the "Law" of Gravity doesn't give the whole picture.  Even Newton saw that Mercury osculated in a way the Law couldn't account for, be he couldn't find a solution and no one else could, so they just kind of ignored it until Einstein looked at it and started from scratch and came up with the Specific Theory of Relativity, which he later expanded.  The point is that *everything* effects everything else, so the universe and nature is far too complex to calculate.

So calculation will only give averages, not specifics.  To really know the cycles, it takes observation.  In Genesis, G-d says, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth."  They are signs.  A sign is meaningless if it isn't observed.  The seasons, the days, and the years, are seen watching these signs, not calculated with an easy formula.  If the earth took an extra day to make it around the sun, or the moon an extra day to make it around the earth, how many people would even notice?  And if we noticed, would it be when it happened, or afterwards when the calculations start failing?  Would we change the calendar, or just pretend it didn't happen?  And if we changed it, would we just change the calculation and hope it happened again the next year, or watch and wait and observe and see what happens?

Do we as a modern people notice the signs and omens around us every day?

~Muninn's Kiss

Music of Ecstasy

The following is my Ecstasy playlist.  I'd love to just turn it on and dance in ecstasy for an hour or so, but I never have the time.  Some of them are great for ecstatic trance, and I've used some of them that way.

  1. A Place in the Hills - Bethany de Maio
  2. Harvest of The Moon - Steeleye Span
  3. We Will Dance - David Ruis
  4. The Old Ways - Loreena McKennitt
  5. Shalott - Emilie Autumn
  6. The Lady Of Shalott - Loreena McKennitt
  7. All Souls Night - Loreena McKennitt
  8. Spirit Of The Sovereign Lord - Andy Park
  9. The Mystic Dream - Loreena McKennitt
  10. Starkindler - Michael Card
  11. Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble? - Delirious?
  12. The Bonny Swans - Loreena McKennitt

Saturday 15 October 2011

לס, the 179th Gate

Long ago, I started a series of posts on the 231 Gates mentioned in the Sepher Yetzirah, the Book of Creation (or Foundation).  I posted a summary, then the first three gates, in my LiveJournal, then took a break and never got back to then.  A person approached me a few days ago, asking me what my thoughts were on the Samech/Lamed Gate.  So I wrote up the following in the form of the three I had done before.

(The LiveJournal posts can be found at

The 179th of the 231 gates is לס, Lamed Samech.

ל - Lamed - Ox Goad, Staff, Prod, Go Forward, Tongue, To Learn, To Teach, Secret Heart of Eve, Tower Soaring in the Air, Heart that Understands Knowledge
סַ - Samech - Prop, Support, Turn, Beginning, End, Endless Cycle, Equality, To Be Satisfied with Your Portion, Dependency, Support of Heaven by Earth and Earth by Heaven.

סַל, Cal - Basket (woven of rods)
בָּלַס, Balac - To gather figs, tend sycamore trees.  [root]
סָלָה, Calah - To make light of, toss aside, to flout, reject, to weigh, balance, to be weighed.  [root]
סֶלֶה, Celah - To lift up, exalt, Selah, a technical musical term probably showing accentuation, pause, interruption
סֻלָּם, Cullam - Ladder

סַל, Basket, is the heart of this gate.  This is a round or oval basket woven of slender rods, or reeds, or rushes, tightly woven, a wicker basket woven tight enough to be water proof.  Though it's not the word used, this can be seen in the basket Moses' mother placed him in.  Samech is the supports the rods, the reeds, the rushes, that form the support for the basket, the outside of it.  You can see Samech in the shape of the basket.  Lamed is that which is inside the basket, hidden, the secret knowledge, the occult knowledge, the dark space within.  And the hollow, round basket with a secret within is of course a Womb.  While Mem is the Womb of Creation, the Womb from which the physical, the revealed, the manefest, comes from, Samech is the Womb of Wisdom, Womb of Understanding, Womb of Knowledge.  Mem is the lower Womb, and Samech, pregnant with Lamed, is the upper Womb.

The meaning of a tower in the air, Lamed, and of the cycle of Samech gives us a tower, spinning without motion, which is the heart of Mystery.

Lamed (30) + Samech (60) = 90 which is Tzaddi.  Tzaddi is the fish hook or to hunt, but the newer name, Tzaddik means righteous, and the Aramaic word means Chaos.  Tzaddi is total, complete wisdom, but the wisdom below and the wisdom above, like Samech which the complete cycle, the the beginning and the end, which are one and the same.  90 is full consciousness, also complete and total, like the circle of Samech.  In the Manna and it is Mem, water, everything we need to survive, complete and total.  But when is a basket total and complete?  When it's full.  So we come back to Lamed within Samech.  90 of course reduces to 9, which is Tet, the Good, Tov, serpent.  We've all seen the cobra rising up out of the basket to the music of the snake charmer.  The serpent is often associated with teaching of man.  The most well known verion, or course, is the serpent teaching Eve and through Eve Adam to become like G-d (for good or for ill).  Lamed is the teacher.  And if you look closely, you will see that Lamed is a slithering serpent, and Samech is a curled one.  The symbol from Greece of the snake, the Ouroboros, eating it's own tail.  Or Jörmungandr, the Midguard Serpent in Norse mythology, encircling the world.

The lesson of the 179th gate is creating a place for the wisdom, the understanding, the knowledge we receive.  Create an outer support for an inner secret.  Make the basket and it will be filled.  And allow it to be filled.  Listen, digest, take in the teachings that come to you and allow then to fill that space you prepared, the place where only you will know what fills it.  And when it is full, when you've chewed it over, you will find the Mystery buried within.

~Muninn's Kiss

The True Meaning of Celebrations...

The issue with any calendar, the reason it will have issues, is because nature isn't exactly set patterns that can be predicted and set down in a mathematically defined calendar.  So we keep refining the calendar to try to better reflect nature, but never get there.  So we have many ancient calendars that were lunar based, 13 28 day months, so 364 days a year, and others that are solar based, but 12 30 day months, so 360 days, and some have an extra 5 days outside to get it closer.  Both of those  wander slowly over the decades.  So the Julian tried to fix this by having 365 days with a leap day every four years, but even that wandered by three days every four centuries, and got ahead, so the Gregorian tried to correct this by first resetting it to where it had wandered from, then taking out some leap days to avoid the wander.  And later we added a leap second, but it still doesn't exactly work.

Because the solar year is tied to the rotation around the sun, not the daily rotation of the earth.  The two aren't connected at all.  Just as the moon's monthly cycle isn't tied to either.  You can't define a solar year, a lunar month, or an earth day by each other.  So no calendar will ever work 100% the way intended.

All the calculator does is convert between the different calendars, not define exactly when the solstice or equinox or cross-quarter really occurs.

But the feast days were defined by the Julian calendar, not by the true dates of the event that earlier existed.  In the two examples you listed, more than likely, that was when the Solstice was thought to be at, because that was probably when the Solstice was when the Julian calendar was first created, so we kept that date, ie, December 25, even though we adjusted the calendar, so the Solstice lands on December 21 or 22 depending on the year, yet Christmas is three to four days off.  The Solstice hasn't moved, just the calendar day it lands on.

If we want to go by the calendar, we won't stay accurate to the astronomical event, and if we go by the astronomical event, we won't be consistent to the calendar.  But is it the calendar that truly matters?  And is it the astronomical event that really matters?

We say that the Autumn Equinox is the beginning of Autumn, the Winter Solstice is the beginning of Winter, the Spring Equinox is the beginning of Spring, and the Summer Solstice is the beginning of Summer.  But where is this true?  And when?

In Argos, there were two Horae, who represented Summer and Winter, but in Greece, there were three, basically bloom, growth, and harvest, Spring, Summer, and Autumn.  Later, the became four, from which our seasons come, before they became the hours, of which there were nine or ten, and later 12, which became our 24, 12 of night, 12 of day, at the Solstices.

In Wyoming, Winter begins some time between September and December, depending on the year, but always well before the Solstice, usually closer to the cross-quarter, Samhane or whatever name.  Spring usually doesn't come until May or June, so later than the Equinox, closer to the cross-quarter, Beltaine or whatever name.  Summer doesn't usually start until well into July, after the Summer Solstice, and Autumn starts early August to late September, depending on the year, usually well before the Equinox.  So the feasts, the Solstices, the equinoxes, the cross-quarters, Don't match too well.  And it varies from year to year.  Two years ago, Winter came mid September and snow fell and stayed until mid June, Spring was a month, then Summer lasted until late September.  Last year, Autumn went from late September until mid November, and Winter from then until a week after May Day.  But that was in the valley.  In the mountains, a half hour from town, all the roads were closed under twelve feet of snow until mid July this year.  And Autumn started around Labor Day, which was September 5 this year.  Snow came last Saturday, about a foot, but it's definitely still Autumn now.  It was back up to the 60s F the last two days.

So you can't match the seasons to a calendar, nor to astronomical events.

What are we actually celebrating at the Solstices?  The Equinoxes?  The Cross-Quarters?  The Feast Days?  The Saint Days?  Any other day?  That's what we really need to decide.  That's what will tell us when they should occur.

~Muninn's Kiss

Saturday 1 October 2011

Six New Books, From Inanna to the Grail, From Mongolia to the Modern World

Yesterday, I bought three new books from Night Heron, the local used bookstore, and ordered three from Amazon, which will be here in a couple weeks.

Starhawk is the author of the famous book Spiral Dance.  She is a Feri initiate who went out and did her own thing.  This book, Truth or Dare, is a look at the nature of Power and how to find us in our lives to create change in our lives and communities.  It uses the myth of the descent of Inanna, in several different retellings, to present this idea.  It uses the descent to show how we need to identify and shed off the things that hold us back.

This book, Elements of the Grail Tradition by John Matthews, looks at the test, trials, and initiations found in the Arthurian and Grail legends in the pursuit of the Grail, from the most ancient known Celtic legends up through the Middle Ages, to identify what the Grail truly is.

This book is by my friend Francesca De Grandis.  I've been wanting to get Goddess Initiation since I picked it up in the Tattered Cover down in Denver a year or so ago, before I knew Francesca and didn't notice who the author was.   I was very excited to find it here in town.  The book is basically a year long lesson plan on how to find your inner goddess and your priesthood.

This book, The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler, is basically a book of personifications of common human qualities.  A friend of mine from of mine from high school posted a piece about Beauty from it on Facebook and it really touched me, so I found it and ordered it.  It looks amazing.

This book is a guide to Mongolian and Siberian shamanism.  The author, Sarangerel, is actually trained in Mongolia.  She was born in the US but of a Mongol bloodline, and traveled to Mongolia and did the work and study and research to truly know the tradition and the people of her ancestors, then share it with world.  This book is her introduction to the tradition, including rituals and techniques.  It is one of the major sources for one of the books I'm reading, Calling Down the Spirits.

This is Francesca De Grandis's newest book, just recently released.  It looks amazing.  It is about finding and realizing your dreams, seeing your own beauty, and finding your freedom.  I'm really looking forward to it arriving.

~Muninn's Kiss

A Discussion at a Modern Crossroads

They say true crossroads are hard to find now a days because they've all been paved.
*chuckle*  Hard to find?  What do they call this?
A "square".
*puzzled*  Square?  It looks more like a narrow X to me.  Look, from there comes 7th Avenue, and there it crosses Broadway.  And 43rd Street there, 44th there, 45th there, and 46th Street there, all crossing 7th Avenue and Broadway.  How can it not be a crossroads?
They say in the South that only dirt roads can be crossroads.
I remember offerings to you at the paved crossroads of the Roman Roads.
Their memories aren't that long.  I recall your stone pillars at those Roman crossroads, and that sign there, the giant, phallic, red one with the Coke bottle on it isn't that much different, honestly, just taller.
Witches were hung in Britain at both paved Roman crossroads and the crossroads of the dirt High Roads, and people came to both to make deals with spirits and with both of us.
And musicians in the South coming to the crossroads to find you to make a deal for fame aren't that different than those looking for fame by playing at the Hard Rock over there, or that naked cowboy playing his guitar down there.
The money spent, the pilgrimages to this crossroads, the busy energy, the greed for fortune and fame.  They've forgotten our names, the crossroads are surround by buildings instead of forests, clearings, and gallows, the roads carry cars instead of feet or horses, the materials for paving have changed, but can't you feel it?  We're still worshipped.  They still come to the crossroads to make offerings to us or make deals with us.
From the streets of Athens to the Roman roads, from the streets of London to the High Roads, from the dirt roads of the South to the streets of New York City, nothing really changes.  It's all the same.  Only the names have changed.  They call it Time Square, but we stand here still, at the crossroads.

Faerie Nation Mag