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INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD RELIGION
I. GODDESS RELIGIONS IN THE OLD WORLD
A. Gravettian-Aurignacian Cultures (25000 BC-15000 BC)
1. The Upper-Paleolithic period, though most of its sites have been
found in Europe, is the conjectural foundation of the religion of
the Goddess as it emerged in the later Neolithic Age of the Near
a. There have been numerous studies of Paleolithic cultures,
explorations of sites occupied by these people, and the apparent
rites connected with the disposal of their dead.
b. In these Upper-Paleolithic societies, the concept of the
creator of all human life may have been formulated by the clan's
image of women, who were their most ancient primal ancestors.
(1) It is believed that the mother was regarded as the sole
parent of children in this culture.
(2) Ancestor worship appears to have been the basis of sacred
rituals and ancestry is believed to have been reckoned through
(a) The beginnings of Roman religion were based on survivals
of the Etruscan culture and ancestor worship was the earliest
form of religion in Rome.
(b) Even today, the Jewish people determine who is and is not
a Jew through the matriline.
2. The most tangible evidence supporting the theory that these
cultures worshipped a Goddess is the numerous sculptures of women
found throughout most of Europe and the Near East. Some of these
sculptures date as far back as 25,000 BC.
a. These small female figurines, made of stone, bone, and clay,
most of which are seemingly pregnant, have been found throughout
the widespread Gravettian-Aurignacian sites in areas as far apart
as Spain, France, Germany, Austria, and Russia.
(1) These sites and figurines appear to span a period of at
least 10,000 years.
3. Johannes Maringer, in his book 'The Gods of Prehistoric Man'
says- "It appears highly probable then that the female figurines
were idols of a Great Mother cult, practiced by the non-nomadic
Aurignacian mammoth hunters who inhabited the immense Eurasian
territories that extended from Southern France to Lake Baikal in
a. It was from this Lake Baikal area in Siberia that tribes are
believed to have migrated across a great land bridge to North
America about this time period, and formed the nucleus of what
was to become the race of American Indians.
(1) This tends to support the observation that European
witchcraft and American Indian shamanism have similar roots.
B. The Roots of Western Civilization
1. Western Civilization began in Mesopotamia and the Nile Valley,
where it traveled into Palestine and Greece.
a. From Greece civilization traveled to Rome,and as the Roman
Empire grew it spread to Spain, France, Germany and England.
2. Mesopotamia ( 3500 BC - 539 BC )
a. Mesopotamia ("the land between the rivers") is the name used to
describe the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the
southern area of which is mostly lowlying swampland and marshes.
(1) The fertile lands of Mesopotamia lie between the desert and
the mountains. The northern part has regular rainfall while the
southern part, stretching down to the Arabian Gulf, suffers dry
scorching summers from May to October.
(a) In what is now the southern part of Iraq, Sumer existed
as one of the world's first civilizations.
b. Between 2800 and 2400 BC the city-states of Sumer were at their
strongest and wealthiest.
(1) The Goddess was worshipped under various names which were
epithets, or characterizing phrases, such as 'Queen of Heaven'
and 'Lady of the High Places'. The name of the city or town that
She was the patroness for, was often attached to Her title
making Her name even more specific.
(a) An example of this is the temple erected about 3000 BC in
the city-state of Uruk which was dedicated to the Queen of
Heaven of Erech.
(b) This city was made a major power and rival to its sister
city Ur by Gilgamesh's son.
c. About 2350 BC an ambitious king, named Sargon, attacked
Sumer, and made it part of his huge Empire. His capitol of Agade
gave us the name by which Sargons empire is known- the Akkadian
(1) The Akkadian Empire was the first successful attempt to
unite a huge area under the rule of one man. It eventually
gained supremacy in about 1900 BC and gradually superseded the
Summerians as the cultural and political leaders of the
(a) The Akkadian language of the Babylonians became the
international language of the Near East, just as French
would become the language of diplomacy thousands of years
(b) The new Babylonian culture incorporated the Sumerian
religion, and the Sumerian language was adopted as the
language of the liturgy much as Latin is used as the
language of liturgy for Roman Catholics.
(c) The sumerian Goddess, under the names Inanna, Eriskegan
and Irnini, evolved into the great Babylonian Goddess
d. Approximately 1600 BC Babylon was sacked by an Indo-European
people known as the Hittites who came from Anatolia, off to the
(1) During the confusion that ensued, the Kassites seized the
throne of Babylon and ruled peacefully for 400 years.
(a) Ishtar's power waned as the Babylonians were influenced
by the warlike Hittites and Her temples were taken over by
a male-dominated priesthood, which called the Goddess
Tiamat and wrote stories of how their god Marduk had killed
Her in the struggle for control of the region.
e. In the centuries following 1103 BC the Assyrians rose to
power and expanded into most of Mesopotamia from their homeland
which lay between the cities of Asher and Nineveh on the Tigrus
(1) In the eighth century, the Assyrians conquered most of
Syria, Palestine, Phoenicia and had invaded Egypt as far as
Thebes (Luxor) before the Egyptians drove them back.
(a) Looking to legitimize their new empire, they 'married'
their god Asher to Ishtar, whose followers had secretly
kept Her worship alive.
(b) The joining of Ashur with Ishtar produced a son named
Ninurta, and this is the first formally recorded triad of
Goddess, Consort, and Divine Child in the Near East.
(2) From 631 to 539 BC much inter-city warfare occurred as
the Assyrian empire fell apart.
(a) In 539 BC Nabonius, the last king of Babylonia,
surrendered to Cyrus II of Persia who was busy building
the greatest empire ever attempted.
a. Anatolia, which is also called Asia Minor, is a broad peninsula
jutting westward from the Asian continent itself. To the north
lies the Black Sea, to the south the easternmost part of the
Mediterranean. At the entrance to the Black Sea are the
Dardanelles and it is here that Asia comes closest to the
continent of Europe. Not surprisingly, Anatolia has always been
the main link between the Orient and the Occident.
b. In Neolithic Anatolia (present day Turkey) the Great Goddess
was worshiped in the shrines of Catal Huyuk around 6500 BC.
c. Anatolia was invaded sometime before 2000 BC by the Indo-
Europeans and a group of them settled in a part of Anatolia known
as Hatti. The invaders and local people came to be known
collectively as the Hittites.
(1) These are the same Hittites who sacked Babylonia in 1600 BC
and suppressed the worship of Ishtar in favor of their god
d. Most of the references to the Goddess in the literature and
texts of Anatolia alluded to the older Hattian deities despite the
fact that the only records allowed to survive were written after
the conquest of Anatolia by the Indo-Europeans.
(1) One of the most important female deities to survive was the
Sun Goddess Arinna. After the conquest she was assigned a husband
who was symbolized as a storm god.
(a) At the time of the Hittite invasions of other lands, many
of the people who were Goddess-worshippers may have fled to
the west. The renowned temple of the Goddess in the city of
Ephesus was the target of the apostle Paul's zealous
missionary efforts (Acts 19:27). This temple remained active
until 380 AD.
a. The Aegean Sea is an area of the Mediterranean, lying between
the mainland of Greece and the western coast of Anatolia. The
Aegean Sea is dotted with a great number of mountainous islands
and the largest of these is Crete, which is just about 60 miles
southeast of Greece.
(1) Crete was the society that is most repeatedly thought to
have been matrilineal and possibly matriarchal from Neolithic
times to the Dorian invasion.
(a) Reverance of the double headed ax as a symbol of the
Mother Goddess and a reverence for the sexual vitality of
bulls were two notable aspects of Crete's early culture.
(b) Bull leaping is thought to have been the origin of
Spain's bullfighting, although in Crete the bull was never
(2) After viewing the artifacts and murals at Knossos, the
Archaeological Museum at Iraklion and other museums in Crete,
there is little doubt that the principal sacred being on Crete
for several millenia was the Goddess and that women acted as Her
5. Egypt (3100 to 30 BC)
a. Egypt is a hot, desert land divided by the fertile valley of
the Nile river. Hardly any rain falls there and the summers are
scorching hot. Even today, most of Egypt is arid desert.
(1) The Cultivation, a strip of land on each side of the Nile
river, is one of the most fertile stretches of land in the world.
(a) Although the Cultivation is only 12 1/2 miles wide, it
runs for about 620 miles from Aswan in the south to the broad
farmlands of the delta where the Nile empties into the
b. In prehistoric Egypt, the Goddess held sway in Upper Egypt (the
south) as Nekhebt and She was depicted in the form of a vulture.
(1) The people of Lower Egypt, including the northern delta
region, worshipped the Goddess as Ua Zit (Great Serpent) and
depictions of Her show Her as a cobra.
c. From about 3000 BC onward the Goddess was said to have existed
when nothing else had been created.
(1) She was known as Nut, Net, or Nit which was probably derived
(a) According to Egyptian mythology, it was the Goddess who
first put Ra, the sun god, in the sky.
(b) Other texts of Egypt tell of the Goddess as Hathor in
this role as creatrix of existence, explaining that She took
form as a serpent at the time.
d. In Egypt the concept of the Goddess always remained vital.
Eventually the Goddess evolved into a more composite Goddess known
(1) Isis (Au Set) incorporated the aspects of both Ua Zit and
Hathor. Isis was also closely associated with the Goddess as
Nut, who was mythologically recorded as Her Mother; in paintings
Isis wears the wings of Nekhebt.
(a) Isis was also associated with another triad which
included Her husband, Osiris, and their son Horus.
(b) Isis' cult was introduced into Rome and the last temple
of Isis was closed in 394 AD by Theodosios.
6. Canaan (8000 - 63 BC)
a. The biblical land of Canaan, the 'land of milk and honey' was
an area about 90 miles wide running north and south along the
eastern coast of the Mediterranean.
(1) In modern times the region includes the states of Israel,
Jordan, Lebanon, and part of Syria. The area made up of Jordan
and Israel used to be known as Palestine.
b. Images of the Goddess, some dating back as far as 7000 BC,
offer silent testimony to the most ancient worship of the Queen of
Heaven in the land that is most often remembered today as the
homeland of Judaism and Christianity.
(1) In exploring the influence and importance of the worship of
the Goddess in Canaan in biblical times, we find that as
Ashtoreth, Asherah, Astarte, Attoret, Anath, or simply as Elat
or Baalat, she was the principal deity of such great Canaanite
cities as Tyre, Sidon, Ascalon, Beth Anath, Aphaca, Byblos, and
c. In Egypt, the Hebrews had known the worship of the Goddess as
Isis or Hathor. For four generations they had been living in a
land where women held a very high status and the matrilineal
descent system continued to function at most periods.
(1) Judging from the number of Hebrews who emerged from Egypt in
the Exodus, as compared with the family of the the twelve sons
who supposedly entered it four generations earlier, it seems
likely that a great number of those Hebrews known as Israelites
may actually have been Egyptians, Canaanites, Semitic nomads and
other Goddess-worshipping peoples who had joined together in
d. Archaeological records and artifacts reveal that the religion
of the Goddess still flourished in many of the cities of Canaan
even after the Hebrews invaded it and claimed it as their own on
the authority that their god had given it to them.
(1) And just to the east, all most at their doorstep was
Babylon, where the temples of Ishtar were still going strong.
7. Persia (3000 - 331 BC)
a. Throughout its early history Iran was often invaded by nomadic
(1) Some came through the Elbruz mountains east of the Caspian
(a) Others, like the Medes and Persians, entered Iran through
the Caucasus mountains in the Northwest.
b. By the 9th century BC the most powerful group in Iran was the
Medes, who kept the Persians as their servants.
(1) In 612 BC the Medes, together with the Babylonians, captured
Nineveh, Ashur, and Kalhu, which were in the heart of the
(a) The Assyrian empire collapsed and its vast territories
were divided between the Medes and the Babylonians.
c. About 550 BC the king of the Persians led a revolt against the
Medes and from that point on the Persians, led by their King Cyrus
the Great, ruled over Iran.
(1) Cyrus captured Babylon and gained control of the whole
former Babylonian empire.
(a) Virtually all of western Asia was now under Persian rule.
(2) The nest two kings extended Persian rule to Egypt in the
south and to the borders of India in the east.
(a) Egypt revolted later and won its independence for a short
time, but was forced back into the empire just in time to be
part of the prize won by Alexander the Great of Macedonia
when he conquered the Persian empire in 331 BC.
II. PEOMAGOGIC HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSAL GODDESS RELIGION
A. Definition of Poemagogic
1. Term coined by Anton Ehrenzweig
a. The special function of inducing and symbolizing the ego's
(1) It has a dreamlike 'slippery' quality.
(a) One aspect slips into another just like a dream.
B. Legend of the Universal Goddess
1. The craft is a religion which has an unbroken tradition that
dates back to Paleolithic times (approximately 35,000 years).
a. As the last ice age retreated the tribe of nomadic hunters
worshipped the Goddess of the Wild Things and Fertility and the
God of the Hunt.
(1) Semi-permanent homes were set up in caves carved out by the
(a) Shamans and Shamanka conducted rites within hard to
reach portions of the caves, which were painted with scenes
of the hunt, magical symbols and the tribes totem animals.
2. The transition from Hunter-Gatherers to agriculturists was
reflected in the change of the 'Lady of the Wild Things and
Fertility' to the 'Barley Mother' and the 'God of the Hunt' to the
'Lord of the Grain'.
a. The importance of the phases of the moon and the sun was
reflected in the rituals that evolved around sowing, reaping, and
letting out to pasture.
3. Villages grew into towns and cities and society changed from
tribal to communal to urban.
a. Paintings on the plastered walls of shrines depicted the
Goddess giving birth to the Divine Child - Her son, consort and
(1) The Divine Child was expected to take a special interest in
the city dwellers, just as His Mother and Father had taken an
interest in the people who lived away from the cities.
b. Mathematics, astronomy, poetry, music, medicine, and the
understanding of the workings of the human mind, developed side
by side with the lore of the deeper mysteries.
4. Far to the east, nomadic tribes devoted themselves to the arts
of war and conquest.
a. Wave after wave of invasion swept over Europe from the Bronze
(1) Warrior gods drove the Goddess' people out from the fertile
lowlands and the fine temples, into the hills and high
mountains, where they became known as the Sidhe, the Picts or
Pixies, and the Fair Folk or the Fairies.
b. The mythological cycle of Goddess and Consort, Mother and
Child, which had held sway for 30,000 years was changed to
conform to the values of the conquering patriarchies.
(1) In Canaan, Yahweh fought a bloody battle to ensure that his
followers had "no other gods before me."
(a) The Goddess was given a masculine name and assigned the
role of a false god.
(b) Along with the suppression of the Goddess, women lost
most of the rights they had previously enjoyed.
(2) In Greece, the Goddess in Her many aspects, was "married"
to the new gods resulting in the Olympic Pantheon.
(a) The Titans, who the Olympians displaced were more in
touch with the primal aspects of the Goddess.
(3) The victorious Celts in Gaul and the British Isles, adopted
many features of the Old Religion and incorporated them into
the Druidic Mysteries.
(a) The Faerie, breeding cattle in the stony hills and
living in turf-covered round huts preserved the Craft.
(b) They celebrated the eight feasts of the Wheel of the
Year with wild processions on horseback, singing and
chanting along the way and lighting ritual bonfires on the
(c) It was said that the invaders often joined in the revels
and many rural families, along with some royalty, could
claim to have Faerie blood.
(d) The College of the Druids and the Poetic Colleges of
Ireland and Wales were said to have preserved many of the
5. In the late 1400's the Catholic Church attempted to obliterate
its competitors, and the followers of the Old Religion were forced
to 'go underground.'
a. They broke up into small groups called Covens and, isolated
from each other, formed what would later be known as the Family
(1) Inevitably, parts of the Craft were forgotten or lost and
what survives today is fragmentary.
6. After nearly five centuries of persecution and terror, came the
Age of Disbelief.
a. Memory of the True Craft had faded as non-members who could
remember how they once had met openly died and those who came
after never knew of them.
(1) All that was left were the hideous stereotypes which were
ludicrous, laughable or just plain tragic.
7. With the repeal of the last Witchcraft Act in England in 1954,
the Craft started to re-emerge as an alternative to a world that
viewed the planet as a resource to be exploited.
III THE ARCHETYPE OF THE GODDESS
A. The Craft has always been a religion of poetry, not theology.
1. The myths, legends, and teachings are recognized as metaphors for
'That which cannot be told'; the absolute reality our minds can
never completely express because of the limitations placed on it
a. The mysteries of the absolute can never be explained - only
felt or intuited.
b. Symbols and ritual acts are used to trigger unusual states of
awareness in which insights that go beyond words are revealed.
(1) When the phrase 'secrets that cannot be told' is used, it is
not a matter of oaths taken or the threat of penalties that
might be imposed.
(a) The true meaning is that the inner knowledge literally
cannot be expressed in words.
(b) It can only be conveyed by experience and no one can
legislate what insight another person may draw from any given
(c) This is why the Craft is not a spectator religion, where
you can refuse to put any effort in and gain anything
meaningful for your own development.
(d) This is also why entrenched priesthoods foster the belief
that non-priests must go through a hierarchy of priests,
heads of churches, and eventually through chosen prophets and
sons of the deity in order to receive special attention by
B. The primary symbol for 'that which cannot be told' in the Craft is
the Mother Goddess. She has an infinite number of aspects and
thousands of names because She is the reality behind many metaphors
for the creation of the universe.
1. Unlike patriarchal systems, the Craft sees the Goddess as giving
birth to the world rather than creating it out of nothing.
a. The fertile Lands were made from Her Flesh, the Waters from Her
own bodily Fluids, the Mountains from Her Bones, and the Winds
from Her own Breath.
(1) The Goddess does not rule the world, She IS the world and
since She gave birth to us all, we have the potential to
reconnect with the spirit of Her in all Her magnificent
(2) Religion for us, then is a matter of relinking with the
divine within and with Her outer manifestations in all the human
and natural world.
(a) One of the basic beliefs that the Craft is founded upon
is what Stewart Farrar call the 'Theory of Levels', which
recognizes that reality exists and operates on many planes.
(b) A simplified but generally accepted list would be -
physical, etherical, astral, mental and spiritual.
(c) It is recognized that each of these levels has its own
laws and that these laws, while special to their own levels,
are compatible with each other and their mutual resonance
governs the interaction between the levels.
(d) The point of this excursion into the esoterica of how the
universe works, is to point out that we do not separate our
physical existence from our spiritual existence. In the
Craft, spirit and flesh are joined together and physical
aspects of being human such as sex are not considered 'dirty
' or 'sinful'.
C. The importance of the Craft for women, is a direct outgrowth in the
decline of Goddess religions and the rise of God dominated religions.
1. Male images of divinity are characterized in both western and
eastern religions today, and women are thus deprived of religious
models and spiritual systems that can speak to female needs and
a. In the extremes of male dominated religions, women are not
encouraged to explore their own strengths and realizations.
(1) They are taught to submit to male authority, to identify
masculine perceptions as their spiritual ideals, to deny their
bodies and sexuality, and to fit their insights into a male
mold, no matter how ludicrus that may seem.
2. The image of the Goddess inspires women to see themselves in a
very different light.
a. As Daughters of the Goddess, they are divine, their bodies are
sacred, and the changing phases of their lives are holy.
(1) Their aggression is healthy, and their anger can be
(a) Their power to create and nurture as well as their
ability to limit and to destroy, when necessary, is seen as
the very force that sustains all life.
(2) Through the Goddess, women can discover their strengths,
enlighten their minds, own their bodies and celebrate their
(a) They can move beyond narrow constricting roles and
become whole people.
3. For women, the Goddess is the symbol of the inmost self and the
beneficent, nurturing, liberating power within all women.
a. The cosmos is modelled on the female body, which is sacred.
(1) All phases of life are sacred and age is a blessing, not a
(a) The Goddess does not limit women to their bodies. She
awakens their minds and spirits and emotions.
(b) Through Her, they can know the power of anger and
aggression, as well as the power of love.
D. The Image of the Goddess has a great deal to offer men as well as
1. Men are also oppressed in a God ruled, patriarchal society.
a. Men are encouraged to identify with a model that no human being
can possibly live up to.
(1) Men are expected to be mini-rulers of their own very narrow
(a) Men are internally split between a spiritual self, that
is supposed to conquer their baser animal instincts, and
their emotional selves.
(b) They are at war with themselves. In the west, they are
expected to overcome the tendency to sin, while in the east
they must suppress the desires of the ego.
(c) Needless to say, no man comes away from this type of
2. Every male who is raised by a mother, will from birth carry
within him a strong feminine imprint.
a. This is so, because women give birth to males, nurture them at
their breast, and in our culture, are primarily responsible for
their care until they reach adolescence.
(1) The symbol of the Goddess allows men to experience and
integrate the feminine side of their nature without danger of
losing those feelings which are the touchstone of their
(a) The Goddess becomes: the mother who will never abandon
her child: refuse to nurture him when he is feeling his most
vulnerable: tempers her justice with compassion and
understanding, all these in ways not always possible in human
women and other men.
3. For a man, the Goddess is his own hidden Female self, as well as
being the Universal Life force.
a. She embodies all the qualities society teaches him not to
recognize in himself.
(1) His first experience with Her may therefore be somewhat
stereotypical, in that She appears as the cosmic lover, the
gentle nurturer, the eternally desired Other, or the Muse. All
that he is not.
(a) As he becomes more whole and becomes aware of his own
'female' qualities, She seems to change, to show him a new
face. Always holding up a mirror, She shows what may seem
ungraspable to him.
(b) He may chase Her forever and She will elude him, but
through the attempt, he will grow until he too learns to find
IV THE ARCHETYPE OF THE HORNED GOD
A. The Horned God is born of a Virgin Mother
1. He is a model of male power that is free from father-son rivalry
or 'Oedipal' conflicts.
a. He has no father, because He is his own father.
(1) As He grows and passes through the changes on the Wheel, He
remains in relationship with the prime nurturing force of the
(a) His power is drawn directly from the Goddess and He
participates in life through Her.
2. The Horned God represents powerful, positive male qualities that
derive from deeper sources than the stereotypical violence and
emotional crippling of men present in our society.
a. When a man strives to emulate the God, he is free to be wild
without being cruel, angry without being violent, sexual without
being coercive, spiritual without being unsexed, and able to truly
3. For men the God is the image of inner power, and of a potency
that is more than merely sexual.
a. He is the undivided Self, in which mind is not split from the
body, nor spirit from flesh.
(1) United, both can function at the peak of creative and
b. Men are not subservient or relegated to second class spiritual
citizenship on the Craft.
(1) But neither are they automatically elevated to a higher
status than women, as they are in other religions.
(a) Men in the Craft must interact with strong, empowered
women who do not pretend to be anything less than what they
(b) Many men find this prospect disconcerting at first.
4. For women raised in our present culture, the God begins as a
symbol of all those qualities that have been identified as male, and
that they, as women, have not been allowed or encouraged to own.
a. The symbol of the God, like that of the Goddess, is both
internal and external.
(1) Through meditation and ritual a woman invokes the God and
creates his image within herself.
(a) In this way she connects with those qualities that she
(2) As her understanding moves beyond culturally imposed
limitations her image of the God changes and deepens.
(a) He becomes the Creation, which is not simply a replica of
oneself, but something different and of a different order.
(b) True Creation implies separation as the very act of birth
is a relinquishment or letting go.
(c) Through the God, women know this power within themselves,
and so, like the Goddess, the God can empower women.
5. In the Craft, the cosmos is no longer modeled on external male
a. The hierarchy is dissolved and the heavenly chain of command is
(1) The "divinely revealed" texts are seen as poetry not the
"word of God."
(a) Instead, a man must connect with the Goddess who is
immanent in the world, in nature, in women, and in his own
(b) She is immanent in everything that childhood religions
taught needed to be overcome, transcended, and conquered, in
order to be loved by 'God'.
b. The very aspects of the Craft that seem threatening also hold
out to men a new and vibrant spiritual possibility: that of
wholeness, connection, and freedom.
(1) Men of courage find relationships with strong powerful women
exhilarating and they welcome the chance to know the Female
within the self.
(a) They enjoy the chance to grow beyond their culturally
imposed limitations and become whole.
c. Within Covens, women and men can experience group support and
the affection of other women and men.
(1) They can interact in situations that are not competitive or
(a) Men in Covens can become true friends with other men,
without giving up any part of themselves, or subjecting
themselves to derision or ridicule.
V. ETHICS AND VALUES SHARED BY MOST MEMBERS OF THE CRAFT
A. The ethics of the Craft are more positive than negative.
1. Rather than being exhorted with a plethora of "thou shall nots"
the Craft is guided by principles more along the lines of "blessed
be they who...."
a. The Craft is a joyous creed; it is also a socially and
ecologically responsible one. Witches delight in the world and
their involvement in it on all levels.
(1) They enjoy their minds, their psyches, their bodies, their
senses and sensitivities; and they delight in relating, on all
these planes, with their fellow creatures and the Earth Herself.
2. Wiccans believe in a joyful balance of all human functions.
a. This outlook is perfectly expressed in the Charge of the
Goddess, which is an integral part of most of the rituals of all
(1) "Let My worship be within the heart that rejoices; for
behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals, and
therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and
compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you."
(a) This provides a model of a balanced ethic which presents
eight qualities that are positive and not restrictive.
(b) Compassion means empathy, not condescension; humility
means a realistic appraisal of your own stage of development;
reverence means a sense of wonder.
(c) The Wiccan is always conscious that compassion must be
partnered with power, humility with honor, and reverence with
3. Love of life in all its forms, is the basic ethic of the Craft.
a. We are bound to honor and respect all living things and to
serve the Life Force.
(1) It has been said that we all serve the Goddess, even if only
4. Witchcraft recognizes that life feeds on life.
a. We must kill in order to survive, but life is never taken
needlessly, never squandered or wasted.
(1) To ensure the survival of the species, females are not
hunted as game, for they share the sacred bond of motherhood
with the Goddess.
(a) Serving the Life Force also means working to preserve the
diversity of natural life, preventing the poisoning of the
environment and the destruction of species.
5. The World is seen as the manifestation of the Goddess
a. What happens in the World is important because the Goddess is
(1) While the seasons of the year renew the Goddess, She needs
the participation of Her creations to keep the cycle going.
(a) This is the real function of the Sabbats. They reinforce
the ties between humankind and the Planet that gives us life.
(b) Unlike other gods, that allow humanity to exist at their
sufferance, the Goddess needs us just as much as we need Her,
and we are partners in the pageant of Life.
6. Justice is seen as an inner sense that each act brings about
consequences that must be faced responsibly.
a. This is based on the belief that all things are interdependent
(1) Therefore, we are all mutually responsible because an act
that harms anyone harms us all.
(a) This is summed up in the form of a law known as Karma,
which dictates that all actions bring about changes.
(2) There is a saying in the Craft that illustrates the effects
of Karma known as the 'Threefold Law of Return'
(a) 'Whatever is sent out is returned three times over.'
(b) It is a sort of amplified 'Golden Rule'
7. Honor is a guiding principle of the Craft.
a. It is an inner sense of pride and self respect
(1) Refusing to do anything which would make you ashamed of
yourself strengthens your magical will and leads to the self
respect that comes from setting your own course, guided by your
own inner sense of right or wrong.
(a) This makes you rightfully proud of past accomplishments
and encourages you to stay the course.
b. The Goddess is honored in oneself and in others.
(1) Women are respected and valued for all their human
(a) The Self, one's individuality and unique way of being, is
(2) Like Nature, the Goddess loves diversity.
(a) Oneness is attained not through losing the Self, but
through realizing the Self's potential.
8. Self development and the full realizatin of one's unique yet many
aspected potential is a moral duty for a witch.
a. Life is seen as a gift from the Goddess and it is up to us to
push the evolution to mankin
(1) If suffering exists, it is not our task to reconcile
ourselves to it.
(a) We must work for change in all ways at hand.
b. That which helps this evolution to come about is seen as good
and desirable while actions that thwart it are to be avoided
because each of us is a factor in the cosmic evolutionary process.
END OF LESSON 1
INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD RELIGION
I. THE MODERN SCIENTIFIC VIEW OF THE UNIVERSE
1. Nearly three thousands years ago, the Greeks started to emigrate
eastwards towards Ionia. They settled on the islands in the Aegean
Sea and on the coastline of Asia Minor.
a. The conditions found in Ionia were difficult.
(1) Backed by inhospitable mountain ranges, they settled in
small walled towns and supported themselves with dry farming,
capable of producing only some olives and a little wine.
(a) With farming ruled out as an option for survival, the
Greeks turned towards the sea and soon found that they were
the neighbors of two very large empires, the Babylonians and
(b) Trade with these two empires seemed to be the natural
solution to their problem, but they needed to resolve some
basic questions concerning the founding of their society.
b. Both Babylonian and Egyptian cultures had developed urban
civilizations based on an abundance of arable land and plenty of
(1) Their societies were theocratic, ruled by kings with magical
(a) There had been little technological or scientific
novelty, due to the extreme regularity of their physical
environment and the rigidity of their social structures,
which were based on the need to build and maintain vast
(b) Babylonian mathematics and astronomy were restricted
subjects whose study was permitted only to the priesthood.
Egyptian geometry served exclusively to build pyramids and
measure the area of inundated land or the volume of water
(2) Both cultures developed mythical explanations for Creation.
(a) With gods being responsible for all aspects of the world,
and with minimal science and technology developed for
practical necessities, their simple cosmology was complete.
(b) Unlike the Greeks, the environment made no demands on
them which they were not able to meet. So other than figuring
out how to kill their enemies more efficiently, there was no
inducement to learn to think or to develop their science and
c. The colonial Greeks were forced by their environment to adopt a
more dynamic outlook.
(1) With no theocratic traditions to hold them back, they
rejected monarchies at an early stage.
(a) They opted, instead, for republican city- states in
which a small number of slave-owners governed by mutual
(2) Babylonian astronomy, which had aided priests to make magic
predictions, was pressed into service as an aid to maritime
(3) Contact with the Egyptians had planted the seeds of wonder
in the intellectuals who accompanied the Greek traders on their
trips around the Aegean.
(a) Rejecting the cosmologies of the Egyptians they formed
the rudiments of what was to become philosophy.
(4) Seeking explanations to the world around them, they found
ways of exploring nature in order to explain and control it.
(a) The Ionians took the geometry developed by the Egyptians
and made a tool with many applications; such as measuring the
distance from the coast to a ship at sea.
(b) Geometry became the basic instrument for measuring all
things. All natural phenomena including light and sound, as
well as those of astronomy, existed and could be measured in
exclusively geometrical space.
(c) Simple analyses of natural phenomena such as water,
beaches, clay deposits, phosphorescence, magnetism,
evaporation and condensation as well as the behavior of the
winds and the changes of temperature throughout the year led
to the discovery that nature is made up of opposites.
(5) These simple analyses of phenomena and the observation of
the presence of opposites combined with the political and
economic structure of Ionian society produced the dominant
intellectual structure which is the basis of modern western
(a) Geometry rendered the cosmos accessible to examination
according to a common standard, quantitative scale.
(b) Together with the concept of pairs of opposites, geometry
was to become the foundation for a rational system of
philosophy that would underpin Western culture for thousands
(c) Rational thought followed a new logical technique
developed by Aristotle called the syllogism, which provided
an intellectual structure for the reconciliation of opposing
(d) In this way, the Ionians before him, and Aristotle,
produced a system of thought that would guide men from the
limited observations of personal experience to more general
truths about nature.
B. The Middle Ages
1. During the latter part of the Roman empire, interest in science
as founded by the Greeks waned and practically all Greek manuscripts
went to Arabia.
a. In a way, Greek science was preserved for posterity by the
Arabs, who themselves added very little to it.
(1) They did introduce to science the so called Arabic system of
numbers, which used the zero as a place holder.
(a) To be sure, Alhazen produced a work on optics, but
generally speaking Greek science was not improved upon to any
appreciable extent by its translation into Arabic. (b)
Science was still based upon the authority of Aristotle.
2. Between 700 and 1100 AD, a beginning was made toward a revival of
learning in Europe.
a. Large universities developed under the shelter of the Church.
(1) Trade spread, and both Greek and Arabian manuscripts
gradually found their way back into Europe.
(a) The Crusades assisted in this process.
b. Since the Church had survived the Roman state and had become
all powerful, it was natural that the revival of learning should
take place under its influence.
(1) Many of the scientific manuscripts were translated from the
original Greek into Latin by monks, in monasteries where
merchants and knights bringing treasures from the east would
often seek shelter for the night.
(a) These scholars were satisfied just to make exact
translations, and so the science which they passed on to the
world through the Church was the original Aristotelian
(2) Although the church had re-established science in the
various large universities, it is important to remember that
Church domination flavoured it to suit itself.
(a) The doctrines of Aristotle came to have the power of law
(b) Truth was not discoverable, by that time truth was
dictated by the Church.
(c) It became a crime of the first order even to question the
Church sponsored views of Aristotle, to say nothing of
suggesting that experimentation might be a better way to
establish the truth.
C. The New Awakening
1. During the Renaissance, universities were able to free themselves
from Church rule and science was able to see the light of day
without being shrouded in theology.
a. All of the following produced revolutionary ideas which led to
their authors spending some part of their lives in prison because,
while the Church did not have a stranglehold on the human mind, it
still ruled with an iron fist and was always on the lookout for
(1) Copernicus developed the heliocentric theory of the
(2) Galileao, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler established the
fundamental ideas of modern celestial mechanics, based upon
observation first, and theorizing afterward, thus
revolutionizing scientific thought.
(a) Galileo in particular stressed the idea of controlled
experimentation to such a degree that today he is recognized
as the father of the modern scientific method based upon
inductive rather than deductive reasoning.
(b) Galileo carried observation to the quantitative stage by
making accurate measurements. He truly emphasized the 'how',
as contrasted with the 'why' of Aristotle.
(c) By quantitative observations on falling bodies and other
mechanical motions, assisted by instruments of his own
invention to improve the accuracy of his measurements,
Galileo laid the foundation for the discoveries of Newton.
(3) Sir Isaac Newton is considered by many to be the greatest
scientific genius the world has produced thus far.
(a) He crystallized the scientific thought of his time into a
few fundamental statements now accepted as laws of nature.
(b) These include three famous laws of motion and the law of
gravitation in the field of mechanics alone.
(c) In addition, he invented calculus and contributed greatly
to the field of optics.
(d) His role was primarily that of a co-ordinator of
information or a systematizer of knowledge. He formulated the
over all pattern by which scientific knowledge was to be
organized in the great classical period that was to follow his
D. Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Classical Period.
1. Science was really gathering momentum by this time and becoming
a. The various branches of physics received recognition as fields
that, while related, were becoming too complex to be included
under the general heading of physics.
b. Chemistry was coming into its own after a balky start as the
secret science of Alchemy.
c. Electricity was an infant science, with a great deal of
E. The Modern Period (1890 to Present)
1. With the discovery of radioactivity and x-rays, along with the
isolation of the electron, and the formulation of the concept of the
electrical structure of matter, science moved into today.
a. In the early days, science was concerned with the observation
of natural phenomena and the search for explanations of WHY they
(1) As the emphasis shifted to HOW the phenomena worked the body
of knowledge grew dramatically.
(a) Many varied disciplines developed to encompass general
fields of specialized knowledge and sciences such as geology,
oceanography, and meteorology came into their own.
(b) In the light of this tendency to form subgroups, the
mother of all sciences, which was and is dedicated to the
study of the physical world, came to be known as Physics.
b. The field of physics deals with three 'realities' of the
physical world and has developed three interconnected world views
to explain them.
(1) Classical Newtonian Model of the Universe
(a) This model of the universe works well when you deal with
objects consisting of large numbers of atoms, and velocities
which are small compared to the speed of light. In other
words, our mundane world.
(2) Einstein's Relativistic Model of the Universe
(a) This model works well when considering objects on a
planetary and larger scale that may be many light years away
from each other. In this model the shortest distance between
two points is not always a straight line, because gravity
(3) Quantum Theory of the Universe
(a) Quantum theory was developed to explain the behavior of
subatomic particles. It is similar to Relativistic physics in
that it deals with speeds approaching, and sometimes
exceeding, the speed of light, but it considers small groups
and singular particles at a time.
II. THE CRAFT VIEW OF THE UNIVERSE
A. Craft cosmology is rooted in the paleolithic Shaman's insight of
the universe being made up of swirls of energy.
1. Everything is seen as vortexes of moving forces which are either
swirling into existence or out again.
a. These vortexes of force set up currents in a sea of
2. The appearance of separateness exists where fixed objects exist
within a linear stream of time.
a. Reality, as we know it, is actually a temporary solidification
of a field of energies into a physical form.
B. Rationale of the Two Principles
a. Stewart Farrar has proposed the following explanation of how
Crafters integrate every phenomenon from chemistry to clairvoyance
into a philosophical framework that allows them to constantly
explain, examine, develop and improve their philosophy.
(1) The Theory of Levels maintains that a reality exists and
operates on many planes.
(a) That each of these levels has its own laws.
(b) That these sets of laws, while special to their own levels,
are compatible with each other.
(c) That mutual resonance governs the interaction between the
(2) The Theory of Polarity maintains that all activity, all
manifestation, arises from the interaction of pairs and
(a) Pairs of opposites such as positive and negative, light and
dark, content and form, male and female are not conflicts
between 'good and evil', but a creative tension like that
between the earth and the sky in a lightning storm.
III MODES OF PERCEPTION
A. Ordinary Waking Consciousness
1. Sees the world as made up of separate parts of matter.
a. While some of the arrangements of matter are recognized as
living, few are recognized as intelligent.
b. Evolved as a means of survival.
(1) Allows a differentiation between things that are
potentially threatening and those that are not.
(a) It works by narrowing the field of conscious perception
to one thing at a time, isolating it from its surroundings.
(b) Starhawk describes it as viewing a dark forest with a
narrow beam flashlight that illuminates a lone leaf or a
c. It casts a net across reality which allows us to break the
whole down into pieces which can be examined one at a time or
fitted together to get the 'whole picture'.
(1) It is based on a culturally transmitted system of
classification which acknowledges the existence of phenomena
that is perceived as valid by the majority and ignores
anything that is not.
B. Extraordinary Waking Consciousness
1. Views the world as broad, holistic and undifferentiated.
a. Allows us to see patterns and relationships between all the
vortexes of energy that make up the universe.
(1) Frees us from the constraints of our culture, but prevents
us from sharing it with others who have not experienced it.
(a) The psychic and magical aspects of the Craft are
concerned with shifting into and out of this mode of
perception at will.
C. The Hemispheres of the Brain
1. The brain is actually composed of two specialized organs, which
provide us with our perception of reality.
a. The brain is made up of several different structures, which are
believed to have evolved as we became more adaptive to our
(1) The Spinal Cord
(a) This is the oldest part of the brain, stretching from the
neck down to the base of the spine.
(b) The two principle functions associated with the spinal
cord are simple reflexes and to provide an electrical
connection between the brain which controls the body and the
nerves which cause the muscles to move the body and provide
feedback to the brain.
(2) The Brain Stem
(a) This is situated on top of the spinal cord. It still
possesses the tubular form of the spinal cord and in some
respects can be thought of as an extension of it.
(b) There is a very intricate network of nerves in the
brainstem known as the reticular formation. The reticular
formation is the central point from which and to which all
nerves run between the body and the brain.
(c) Visualizing the reticular formation as a telephone
operators switchboard helps to understand its function. It
sends all stimuli that has not proven to be benign to the
brain for immediate attention and suppresses all other
(d) The brain is still aware of all of the other stimuli, but
it need not focus on all of it at once.
(3) The Cerebellum
(a) Connected to the brainstem is the cerebellum, which
somewhat resembles the cortex in terms of its neuronal
structure though it is much older than the cortex.
(b) The cerebellum is primarily concerned with the co-
ordination of movements. It seems to integrate the information
coming from all the senses with all the muscles so as to
produce smooth, finely tuned movements rather than jerky unco-
(4) The Midbrain
(a) The midbrain consists of the Thalamus, the Limbic System,
and the Hypothalamus.
(b) The Thalamus sits on top of the brain and relays
information from the sensory organs to the cortex and between
different portions of the cortex and the reticular formation
and the limbic system.
(c) The Limbic System is a group of structures in the middle
of the brain that play an important role in emotion and
motivation. Included in the limbic system is the pineal gland,
which is thought by some to be the 'third eye.'
(d) Just below the thalamus is the Hypothalamus, which
regulates the internal balance of the body. The pituitary
gland is located here and it is the gland which tells all the
other glands when to produce hormones.
(5) The Neocortex
(a) The Neocortex, or Cortex, as it is commonly called, makes
up only one quarter of the brains total volume, but it
contains 75% of all the neurons that make up the brain.
(b) The cortex is also known by its greyish color which is a
result of a greater density of blood cells in this region.
For this reason, the cortex is sometimes called 'grey
matter' and the rest of the brain is called 'white matter.'
(c) Some areas of the cortex play particular roles in sensory
activity. The rear of the cortex is associated with the
processing of visual information, a small area on the side
with auditory information, and a strip extending from the top
center of the cortex down each side is concerned with the
sense of touch and also with muscular control.
2. Large parts of the cortex do not appear to be very specific in
a. Rather, they seem to be concerned with the integration of
information from several different senses.
b. In other words, the cortex builds up a total world view based
on all the information that is relayed by the body's senses.
c. In reality, the cortex is not just one structure, but two,
which appear to have developed separate, but complementary,
(1) The left side of the cortex seems to have specialized in
(a) It is here that math ability is found, along with
understanding language and a sense of linear time.
(2) The right side of the cortex seems to have specialized in
(a) Creativity, all forms of art, the sense of rhythm and
music and a distinct lack of time sense characterize the
states of consciousness which are attributed to the right
side of the cortex.
d. To make things really interesting, these two sides of the
cortex are connected by a mass of nerves, which form what is
called the corpus callosum.
(1) It just so happens that the corpus callosum wires the brain
up so that the right side of the body is controlled by the left
side of the brain and vice versa.
IV. THE CONCEPTS OF THE SELF
A. Classical Psychoanalysis
1. Freudian and Jungian Psychology
a. The Id and the Personal and Collective Unconscious
(1) Contains sensations, emotions, basic drives, image memory,
intuition and diffuse perception.
b. The Ego
(1) Organizes the impressions of the unconscious, gives those
impressions names, and classifies them into systems.
c. The Super-Ego
(1) A set of verbally understood precepts, that encourages us to
make judgments about right and wrong according to the society in
which we reside.
2. Transactional Analysis (T/A)
(1) Corresponds to the Id and the Personal and Collective
(1) Corresponds to the Ego
(1) Corresponds to the Super-Ego
B. The Craft Concept of the Three Selves
1. Younger Self or Child
a. Corresponds to the Child mode of T/A
(1) Indirectly experiences the world, through the holistic
awareness of the right hemisphere of the brain.
(a) Due to its limited verbal ability, Younger Self
communicates through images, emotions, sensations, dreams,
visions, and physical symptoms.
2. Talking Self
a. Corresponds to Adult and Parent modes of T/A
(1) Speaks through words, abstract concepts, and mathematics.
3. High Self
a. Does not easily correspond to any 'scientific' concept, because
science refuses to accept the existence of a non-physical soul.
(1) The High Self, or God Self, is the Divine within the Self.
(a) It is the ultimate and original essence, the Spirit that
exists beyond time, space and matter.
(b) It is our deepest level of wisdom and compassion and is
conceived of as being both male and female, two forms of
consciousness united as one.
C. Interactions Between the Three Selves
1. High Self is connected directly to Younger Self, and does not
know how to communicate with Talking Self in a direct manner.
a. In order to communicate between High Self and Talking Self, we
must learn to speak in Younger Self's language.
(1) We utilize symbols, art, poetry, music, myth, and the
actions of ritual.
(a) These translate abstract concepts into the language of
the unconscious and thus we can communicaate to the High Self
through the Child Self.
V. THE FOUR PRICES OF FREEDOM
A. As in everything else in the world, nothing is free.
1. There are four prices that a Wiccan must pay in return for the
wisdom and power that they can gain through the Craft.
a. Paying these prices awakens our true potentials and allows us
to be 'as gods', and thus help us to creat a better universe.
(1) Discipline and Responsibility
(a) To awaken the extra-ordinary mode of consciousness is a
natural step in any Wiccan development but it requires a
great deal of practice to develop and train it properly.
(b) Powers and abilities gained through this heightened
awareness must also be used responsibly, for otherwise they
will destroy their possessors.
(2) A Willingness to Play
(a) We unleash a great power when we are willing to let go of
our adult dignity and laugh for no particular reason, without
worrying about looking foolish.
(b) For example, we can make believe that a wand has magic
power, and it becomes a channel for energy.
(c) Humour and play awaken the sense of wonder that
characterizes Wiccans, and is the basic attitude that the
Craft takes into the World.
(3) The need to maintain a balance between the different states
(a) The difference between magic and psychosis lies in
maintaining the ability to step back, by an act of will, into
the ordinary mode of perception.
(4) A willingness to face the most frightening of all beings,
one's own self.
(a) The depth of our inner selves are not all sunlit.
(b) To see clearly, we must be willing to dive into the dark,
inner abyss and acknowledge the creatures that we may find
there as being a part of what makes us what we are.
VI. ANALYSIS OF THE CREATION MYTH
A. The Creation Myth which is located at the beginning of the Chapter
Two of "The Spiral Dance" by Starhawk, expresses the attitude of
wonder, to the world which is Divine and to the Divine which is the
1. In the beginning, the Goddess is the All, virgin, complete within
a. The female nature of the ground is stressed because the process
of creation is a birth process.
(1) The world is born, not made, and definately not commanded
2. The Goddess sees Her reflection in the curved mirror of space.
a. Water is the original mirror on earth.
(1) The image conveyed is similar to that of the Moon floating
over the dark sea, watching Her reflection in the waves.
b. There is yet another aspect of the mirror.
(1) A mirror is a reversed image. It is the same but opposite,
of reverse polarity.
(a) The image in the mirror is the embodiment of the
(b) All things are one yet each is separate, individual and
3. The Goddess falls in love with Herself, drawing forth Her own
emanations which take on a life of its own.
a. Love of self for self is the creative force of the universe.
(1) Desire is the primal energy that motivates and that energy
(a) It has been expressed as the attraction of lover to the
beloved, moon to plant, and electron to proton.
(2) Blind Eros becomes Amor
(a) The love that is personal, directed towards an individual
rather than the universal sexless charity of the Christian
Agape or indescriminaate sexual desire.
(b) The Goddess' reflection takes on its own Being and is
given a Name.
(c) Love is not only an energizing force but an
individualizing force as well. It dissolves separation and yet
creates individuality. Again, it is the universal paradox.
4. The sense of wonder, of joy and delight in the natural world is
the essence of the Craft.
a. The world is not seen as a flawed creation from which we must
escape, nor is it in need of salvation or redemption.
b. However it may appear from day to day by the nature of its
deepest being, the world fills us with wonder.
5. Divine ecstasy becomes the fountain of creation and creation is
seen as an orgasmic process.
a. Ecstasy is at the heart of the Craft.
(1) During ritual we turn the paradox inside out, and become the
Goddess, sharing in the primal throbbing joy of union.
b. The Craft is a shamanistic religion, and the spiritual value
placed on ecstasy is a high one.
(1) It is seen as the source of union, healing, creative
inspiration, and communion with the Divine.
(a) Ecstasy brings about harmony.
6. By its very nature matter sings.
a. The song is carried forth on waves that become spheres.
(1) The waves are the waves of orgasm, light waves, ocean waves,
pulsating electrons, waves of sound.
(a) The waves form spheres as swirling gases in space
coalesce and form stars.
b. It is a basic insight of the Craft any energy, whether
physical, psychic or emotional, moves in waves, in cycles that are
7. The Goddess swells with love and gives birth to a rain of bright
a. It is a rain that awakens consciousness in the world as
moisture awakens green growth on earth.
(1) The rain is the fructifying menstrual blood, the Moon's
blood that nourishes life.
(a) It is also the bursting waters that herald birth.
(b) And birth is the ecstatic giving forth of life.
8. The motion or vibration becomes so great that Miria is swept
a. As She moves further and further from the point of union She
becomes more polarized and more differentiated, until She become
(1) The Goddess has projected Herself.
(a) Her projected Self becomes the Other, Her Opposite, who
eternally yearns for reunion.
(2) The energy field of the cosmos becomes polarized.
(a) It becomes a conductor of forces exerted in opposite
VII. ANALYSIS OF THE MYTH OF THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR
A. The rituals of the eight Solar Holydays, the Sabbats of the year,
are derived from the Myth of the Wheel of the Year.
1. The cycle of the Goddess which occurs on a monthly basis is
contrasted to the slower cycle of the God, which takes a full solar
year to complete.
a. The Goddess reveals Her threefold aspects as--
(a) She is the Virgin, Patroness of birth and initiation.
(a) She is the sexual temptress, lover, siren, and
(a) She is the dark force of life, which demands death and
b. The God changes -- from Son to Brother to Lover, and eventually
becomes His own Father.
(1) He is the eternal sacrifice who is eternally reborn into a
(a) All things are divine as manifestations of the Goddess.
(b) The death of the grain in the harvest, or the death of a
deer in the hunt, was considered to be a divine sacrifice
freely made out of love so that life might go on.
VIII. EXAMINATION OF THE ALL AS TWO GREAT FORCES
A. The view of the All as an energy field polarized by two great
forces is common to almost all traditions of the Craft.
1. These forces have been named Female and Male. And Goddess and
a. Which in their ultimate being are aspects of each other.
(1) It is important to separate the concept of polarity from our
culturally conditioned images of female and male.
(a) The Female and Male forces represent a difference, yet
they are not different in essence.
(b) They are the same force, flowing in opposite, but not
2. The Female force is seen as the Life-giving force.
a. It is the power of manifestation, of energy flowing into the
world to become force.
3. The Male force is seen as the Death-giving force.
a. This is death in a positive rather than a negative way.
(1) Death is seen as the Force of Limitation that is necessary
to provide a balance to unbridled creation.
(a) It is the force of dissolution, of return to
b. Each principle contains the other.
(1) Life breeds death and feeds on death.
(2) Death sustains life and makes evolution and new creation
c. They are opposing halves of a complete cycle.
(1) They area each dependent upon the other.
4. Existence is sustained by the on/off pulse, the alternating
current if you will, of the two forces in perfect balance.
a. Unchecked the life force is a cancer whereas the death force
becomes unbridled war and genocide when allowed to go unbalanced.
(1) When held in balance they are in harmony and work to renew
and sustain life.
(a) We see the effects of this balance in the changing cycle
of the seasons, and in the ecological balance of the natural
IX OLD AGE IN THE CRAFT
A. The Craft does not maintain, like the first Truth of Buddhism, that
"All life is suffering." On the contrary, we maintain that life is a
thing of wonder.
1. Old age is a natural and highly valued part of the cycle of life,
the time of greatest wisdom and understanding.
a. We look forward to the time when we are freed from the cycle of
reproduction so that we may devote more time to our preparation
and contemplation of the journey into death at the end our years.
(1) This does not mean that the joys of sex become lost to us
but that the urgency that wells up in the Spring and rides us
through until the Autumn subsides and we get to go at our own
(a) While the quantity sometimes decreases, the quality
2. The Crone serves as a role model for both women and men in their
a. A tendency to withdraw from society to a certain degree is
coupled with a diminishing of compassion in favor of a little more
emphasis on justice and balance.
(1) People soon find that appealing to the Goddess as the Mother
brings help tempered by a mother's willingness to overlook the
fact that most children bring problems upon themselves.
(a) Appealing to the Goddess as Crone however, gets a full
measure of justice for all parties involved.
(b) The Crone does not play favorites, She has the severity
of a strong will to see justice done, that prevents Her from
doting on any of Her grandchildren.
3. Old age sometimes brings suffering.
a. Where suffering is a natural part of the cycle of birth and
decay, it is relieved by understanding and acceptance. By a
willingness to give over to both the dark and the light in turn.
(1) Disease can cause misery and suffering but it is not seen as
something to be inevitably suffered.
(a) The practice of the Craft has always been connected with
the healing arts, herbalism, and midwifery.
b. When suffering is the result of the social order or human
injustice, the Craft encourages active work to relieve it.
(1) Witches are naturals for getting involved in the ecology
movement and other movements that try to address the issues that
they feel make society as a whole ill, both physically and
4. Nor is death fearful in old age.
a. It is seen simply as the dissolution of the physical form.
(1) It allows the spirit to prepare to be reborn into a new
X. DEATH AS SEEN BY A MEMBER OF THE CRAFT.
A. The experience of death is a lesson for the living.
1. The people most affected by death are the people left behind who
must learn to deal with their sense of loss.
a. In the Craft, death in this world is seen as a birth into the
"other" world that has been given many names.
(1) The Summerland, Tirn-nan-og, and Avalon are all names given
to a pleasant land, usually in the West, where people go to
examine their past lives, grow young again, and prepare to be
born into this world again.
(a) There are two theories about why the world beyond is
thought to be in the west. One is that the last rays of the
setting sun 'die' in the west and lead the way into the dark.
While the other is that since the invaders always came from
the east, the people who were being invaded came to think of
the west as being safe because it was the direction they were
running toward in order to get away from the invaders.
b. Rebirth is not considered to be condemnation to an endless,
dreary round of suffering as in Eastern religions.
(1) Instead it is seen as the great gift of the Goddess who is
manifest in the physical world.
(a) Life and the world are not separate from the Godhead. They
are immanent in the divinity.
2. Since death is seen as a part of the natural order of things and
the Witch is taught that the departed spirits go on to the next life
to be watched over by the Goddess and the God until they are reborn,
a Witch should not grieve over the loss of a loved one.
a. The realization of how much the departed person meant to the
ones who are left behind is gauged by the memories that live on in
the people still living.
(1) It is said that the departed do not die as long as their
memory lives on in the hearts of the ones left behind them.
(a) Keeping the memory alive and participating in the
seasonal celebrations prepares the people left behind for
being visited by the departed when the two worlds come close
to one another at Hallows.
(b) It is always important to remember that a death in this
world is a birth in the other world, and just as you did not
have a lot of time for anything other than learning to
function in this world when you were young, newly departed
people have to learn to function in their new world and may
not be able to visit as often as you would like.
3. The belief the Karma ties a certain number of souls together over
and over again in many lives reassures people of the Craft that they
will meet the departed in a new life.
a. Part of the training of the Craft is learning to see your own
past lives in relation to the people around you and their past
lives as well as discerning patterns of Karma in your everyday
END OF LESSON 2
I. DEVELOPMENT OF THE MYSTERY RELIGIONS
1. The development of agriculture had a profound and far reaching
effect upon the spiritual development of humanity.
a. No longer content to worship the Goddess of the Wild Things
and the Lord of the Hunt, early mankind sought to interpret their
deities in the physical surroundings of the places where they settled
to grow their crops.
(1) Volcanic mountains, such as those surrounding ancient
Persia, gave rise to Fire Gods whose priests evolved a cosmology which
postulated a universe based upon a struggle between good and evil.
(a) A Fire Priest named Zoroaster would eventually lay the
foundation for Zoroasterianism, which would lead to Mithraicism, which
would greatly influence religious thinking of the early Christian
(b) Even today, the spiritual center of the Japanese people
is the volcanic mountain Fujiyama.
(c) And the major deity of the Hawaiian people is the
volcano Goddess Pele.
(2) Natural opening into the earth were seen as gateways into
the domain of the deities and shrines were built around them.
(a) The most famous of these openings was the shrine at
Delphi where, through a succession of goddesses and gods who served as
patrons, the priestesses received visions of the future for a fee paid
to the temple.
(b) There is some conjecture that the visions were brought
about by inhaling the gases rising from the chasm, over which the
priestesses were suspended on a tripod seat.
(3) In the British Isles, prominent hills or Tors, such as
Glastonbury Tor in Somerset, and the Welsh mountains in Snowdonia,
became the focus for local rites.
(a) In Ireland, each river was believed to have its own
Goddess, was well as the Goddesses which hold sway on dry land.
b. The one common thread running through all of this was that
while the people were becoming urbanized, they still felt a need to
identify with the countryside around them and religious rites evolved
around some natural power spot so that anyone wishing to partake of
the religious experience of these rites had to make a pilgrimage to
that religious shrine and be initiated into those rites by the local
priestesses or priests.
c. As the cities grew up it became necessary to spread out into
the countryside and the shrines were sometimes enclosed in temple
building and sometimes opened 'branch offices' on the other side of
the city, or in neighboring cities, for the people who could not or
would not make the pilgrimages.
(1) This led to the establishment of temples, for public
worship and offering, in all the cities of the ancient world.
(a) Usually, these temples were dedicated to the local
Goddess or God, that the people of the city worshipped as their
 An example would be Athens, which was named for its
patroness Pallas Athena, who is the Greek Goddess of Wisdom and
(b) Not surprisingly, these deities were sometimes tribal
deities, which were urbanized as the city grew in size.
 And the rites that grew up around the temple were
seasonal rites performed to insure the common well-being of the city
as a whole.
[a] Religious rites for personal spiritual
development was a foreign concept to all but a very few members of the
priest/esshood who were responsible for seeing after the well being of
2. Once the concept of ownership of land for growing food gained a
foothold, the need to defend the land from 'outsiders' became a
a. This led to the development of standing armies and navies
whose purpose, while initially defensive, soon became offensive.
(1) Time and again, the justification for attacking their
neighbors was wrapped in religious robes and it became a matter of one
city's Goddess/God supplanting the other in the conquered city.
(a) Usually this did not create too much of an upheaval for
the common citizen because the attacker was usually a nearby neighbor
and through long years of trade with each other, they were familiar
with one anothers rites and beliefs.
(b) Most people saw it as a problem only for the
priesthoods, who lost control of the temple monies to the conquering
 Sometimes it was seen as an improvement for the city
could only benefit from having a more powerful God/dess ruling over it
and as long as the priesthood kept up the seasonal rituals to insure
prosperity the common citizen was not too worried about who was ruling
3. The founding of the Mystery Religions can be tentatively dated
back to 331 BCE, when Alexander of Macedonia completed his conquest of
the world around the Mediterranean and the Near East.
a. To give some perspective on how this brought about such a
drastic change in the world order we need to look at astronomy and see
if we can discern a pattern that repeats itself.
(1) Ancient humanity used astronomy and astrology to guide
(a) The zodiac was seen as a measurement system which
allowed humankind to divide the solar year up into 12 equal parts,
although some believe that the original zodiac had only 10 signs.
(b) The sign of Virgo-Scorpio was broken into two parts by
inserting Libra (the Balance) in between them. This created eleven
signs plus Libra, establishing the 'balance' at the point of
equilibrium between the ascending northern and descending southern
(c) Each year the sun passes entirely around the zodiac and
return to the point from which it started, the vernal equinox, and
each year it falls just a little short of making the complete circle
of the heavens in the allotted space of time.
 As a result, it crosses the equator just a little
behind the spot in the zodiacal sign where it crosses the previous
[a] Each sign of the zodiac consists of 30 degrees,
and as the sun loses about one degree every 72 years, it regresses
through one entire constellation or sign in approximately 2,160 years,
and through the entire zodiac in about 25,920 years.
(2) Among the ancients, the sun was always symbolized by the
figure and nature of the constellation through which it passed at the
(a) For nearly the past 2,000 years the sun has crossed the
equator at the vernal equinox in the constellation of Pisces (the two
 Christianity developed about the beginning of the
Piscean Age and the fish was an early symbol for them.
[a] Christianity was only one of two new religions
that were based, in part, on the teachings of Judaism.
 About 630 years after the founding of Christianity,
Mohammed founded the religion of Islam, and his followers are known as
Muslims or Moslems.
(b) For the 2,160 years prior to then, it had crossed
through the constellation of Aries (the ram).
 Just as the Age of Aries began, a new religion
developed which would prove to be one of the most enduring
Monotheistic religions on Earth.
[a] Judaism was founded by Abraham of Chaldea, who
made an agreement with Jehovah that he and his offspring would spread
the doctrine that there was only one God.
[b] In return Jehovah promised Abraham the land of
Canaan (Israel) for his descendants. The only problem is that the Jews
and the Arabs both trace their beginnings back to sons of Abraham, and
now both claim Israel as offspring of Abraham.
 About 600 years later Hinduism developed in India.
[a] From 600-300 years before the Age of Aries gave
way to the Age of Pisces, Buddhism, Taoism, Confuscianism,
Zoroastrianism and Mithraicism developed.
(c) Prior to the Age of Aries, the vernal equinox was is the
sign of Taurus (the bull).
 In ancient Egypt, it was during this period that the
Bull, Apis, was sacred to the Sun God.
[a] And the Winged Bull was the spiritual symbol of
the Assyrians back when they had city-states dedicated to Goddesses.
[b] How interesting - that just as humanity was
discovering agriculture during the Age of Taurus, the bull was
domesticated so that it could pull a plow.
(d) We are about to enter a new age. The Age of Aquarius
which promises to turn the world upside down.
b. Getting back to gaining a perspective on how Alexander the
Great changed the world order, we need to understand that there is a
pattern where the world order changes about every 2,000 years -
militarily, economically and religiously.
(1) At any given time through history one or two of these
conditions may change, but it is rare that all three change around the
same time. When they do people live in what the chinese philosophers
called 'interesting times'.
c. The 400 years preceding the Age of Pisces can be compared
with the same period of our time, which is bringing in the Age of
(1) About 331 BCE an upstart military leader named Alexander
of Macedonia led an army into the very depth of what was then known as
the Persian Empire after defeating the troops of Persia who were
trying to maintain control of Greek cities in Asia Minor.
(a) Once he had effectively wrested control of the empire
from the Persians, he proceeded to take the best of what the empire
and his native land had to offer and he created a new world order by
which he and his generals divided up the known world and planned to
(b) After Alexander's death the generals ruled as best they
could, but they slowly lost control of the great empire until a new
military power, Rome, came along and took over.
 It is important to keep in mind that the Roman empire
did not spring up over night. Under the inspiration and protection of
the Macedonian Empire from foreign intervention the Romans were able
to defeat the Etruscans who had ruled most of Italy until that time.
[a] It was the peace brought about by the Grecian
empire that allowed the Roman republic to last for 200 years and
embrace many of the loftier ideals of Greek culture.
(2) In the mid 1700's, a colonel in a rag tag band of
irregulars attached to regular troops of the British Empire, started
to make a name for himself among the colonists of a British
(a) The British, who were the ruling elite just under 300
years ago, thought of the colonial colonel as an uneducated barbarian
and did not take him seriously when the colonials declared their
independence and named as their supreme military leader the barbarian
(b) History has recorded how George Washington had his day
in the sun when, after defeating the mercenary troops of Britain at
Valley Forge, General Cornwallis surrendered to him at Yorktown.
 Again the world was turned up side down, and the
empire of old was supplanted by a new order, only on a smaller scale.
[a] While it is true that the British Empire did not
collapse with the loss of the American Revolutionary War, it marked
the beginning of the breaking up of the Empire.
[b] And despite recurring clashes, like the War of
1812, the new country was allowed to grow and develop as a Republic
for 200 years until now it is very common to refer to America as the
(3) Like Alexander before him, Washington and his supporters
took the best of what they liked in Britain and combined it with the
best thoughts and ideas of the Colonies.
(a) Washington refused to be made the king of America,
and they hammered out a new form of government, new laws of commerce,
and assurances that the old religious order would not hold sway in the
 Not long after the American Revolution, the French
Revolution, based on American ideals, rocked Europe with its
deliberate shaking off of aristocratic rule.
[a] Even the Russian Revolution was originally a
revolt of the people against their aristocracy. It was only after the
revolution left a vacuum of leadership that the Communists stepped in
and assumed power.
d. If you look around at our capitol, you will see that the
architecture is reminiscent of Grecian and Roman Temples, and the
principles that our country was founded upon, principles like freedom
and democracy, are Grecian Ideals.
(1) This is not a coincidence. The Founding Fathers were
scholars of Greece and Rome, for knowledge of the history of these two
countries was considered an integral part of a classical education.
(a) It will be interesting to see if America, like Rome,
falls into the trap of being forced into becoming an Imperial power in
order to support the welfare state at home.
 One of my favorite sayings is "A people who refuse
to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it."
B. The Social Significance of the Mystery Religions
1. In order to understand the needs and desires which found
satisfaction in mystery religions, it is necessary to take a broad
view of the general social situation in the Greco-Roman world.
a. And to define, if possible, the outstanding religious
interests of the Mediterranean people in the 1st century of the
(1) Greco-Roman society with all of its complexity was, even
so, a closely knit social fabric unified in large and significant
(a) Politically, the Mediterranean world of the Augustan
Age was a unit for the 1st time in history, welded together by 300
years of military conquests preceding the beginning of our era.
 To hold this Mediterranean world together in an
imperial unity, Rome had thrown over it a great network of military
highways reaching to the farthest provinces and centering on Rome
(b) Cultural and commercial processes operated even more
effectively than military conquests and political organization to
unify the peoples of the Mediterranean area.
 Society under the early Empire continued to be as
highly Hellenized as it had been during the 300 years previous.
[a] Greek continued to be the language of culture and
commerce, with Latin as the lingua Franca of diplomacy.
 The sea, cleared of pirates, was a great channel of
commerce that led to all the Roman world, and the military highways
provided the necessary land routes.
[a] Because of the easy means of communication,
there was a free mingling of races and classes in the centers of
(c) Free competition on a world scale gave the individuals
 Before the days of Alexander, the interests of the
individual were quite submerged in comparison with those of the tribe
[a] The larger social group was the end-all of
existence and personal concerns were properly subordinated thereto.
[b] But in the changed conditions of the imperial
period, all was different.
 Individual interests came to the fore and those of
the state receded to the background.
[a] The Roman Empire meant far less to the citizen
than the Greek polis had meant.
[b] Rome was too large and too far away to be very
dependent on each citizens support or to contribute to their
(d) In the ruthlessness of conquest and the stress of
competition, local customs were ignored, traditions were swept aside,
and the unsupported individuals were thrown back upon their own
 Happiness and well-being, if won at all, must be
won by the individual, and for the individual alone.
2. Religion, like the other phases of Greco-Roman life, felt the
effect of these changed social conditions.
a. For the masses, the former religious sanctions and guaranties
no longer functioned.
(1) In the old, pre-imerial days, the individual was well
satisfied with group guaranties that were offered by local and
(a) Granted, the relationship to the state deity was only
an indirect one - through the group to which they belonged.
(b) Also granted, the goods sought were chiefly social
benefits, which were shared with their fellow citizens.
 But so long as the God/desses protected the state
and the state protected the citizen, they were well content.
(2) Successive conquests by foreign powers, however, rudely
destroyed this complacency, and the victory of Macedonian and Roman
arms wrecked the prestige of merely local and national deities.
(a) As racial barriers were broken down and the individuals
felt free to travel and trade, they became conscious of needs and
desires they had never known before.
3. As a practical matter, the time honored customs of an
individuals parent and grandparent could not be maintained in foreign
lands. New sanctions and assurances of a more personal sort were
a. In line with the general social movements of the times, there
was a distinct breakdown of traditional religion, and national cults,
popular in the Hellenic period, fell into disuse.
(1) But the masses of people did not become irreligious by any
means, they instead turned to religions of another type and sought
satisfactions of a different variety.
(a) Their quest was no longer for a god/dess powerful
enough to save the state but rather for one who was benevolent enough
to save the individual.
 Oracles were consulted, not so often in the interest
of the community but more frequently for the guidance of individuals
in their personal affairs.
[a] More than ever before the home became a temple
and the daily life of the family was filled with the trappings of
[b] The shrines of the healing gods/esses were
overcrowded, and magicians, who were considered the chief mediators of
divine power, carried on a thriving business.
4. In particular, people turned for the satisfaction of personal
desires to the group of mystery religions, which were very ancient
cults that had hitherto been comparatively insignificant.
a. Most of them came to the Greco-Roman world from the Orient,
with the authority of a venerable past, with an air of deep mystery,
and with rites that were most impressive.
b. But the chief reason for their popularity at this time was
the satisfactory way in which they ministered to the needs of the
(1) Completely denationalized and liberated from racial
prejudices, they could be practiced anywhere within or without the
(a) They no longer depended upon a natural focus such as a
cave or spring or mountain, so it was possible to worship anywhere
they found themselves.
 This allowed popular cults like that of Isis to
spread thoughout the Roman empire with little or no resistance
(b) Being genuinely democratic brotherhoods in which rich
and poor, slave and master, Greek and barbarian met on a parity, they
welcomed men of all races to their membership.
C. What the Mystery Religions had to offer Humanity
1. A new birth for the individual
a. When the neophyte was initiated into the cult he became a new
(1) In earlier centuries, when the emphasis in religion was
tribal or national, this had no special advantage.
(a) Then the individual felt certain of his salvation
because of his birth into a particular tribe or race. This still holds
true for tribal religions like Judaism, where it is not enough to be a
good Jew. All Jews must be good because they are the chosen people and
their God will not make good on His promises until the whole tribe
meets his requirements.
(2) Men in the Roman world had confidence in neither racial
connections nor in the potentiality of human nature.
(a) The first century Roman wanted a salvation that
included the immortality of the soul as well as the present welfare of
(b) An essential change of being was felt to be necessary,
and the mystery religions guaranteed this by means of the initiatory
b. The mystery initiation met the basic religious need for
individual as opposed to racial guarantees.
(1) Mystical experience was a common denominator of all the
Greco-Oriental cults of the mystery type.
(a) The imperial age was a time when religion was turning
inward and becoming more emotional, while philosophy, converted to
religion, was following the same trend.
 There was a cultivated antagonism between spirit and
matter and a conscious endeavor to detach one from the other by means
of ascetic practices.
[a] It was a period of world-weariness and other
 There was a demand for fresh emotional experiences,
and the culminating effort was to overleap the bounds of nature and to
attain union with the divine in the region of the occult.
[a] These experiences found expression in the popular
religions of redemption, in the mysteries of Eleusis and Attis and
Isis and the rest.
2. Fulfilling the yearning for the mystical type of religious
a. Two considerations that have a direct bearing on why the
yearning for mystical religious experience arose at this time are:
(1) The thought world of the average person had suddenly
enlarged to proportions that were frightening. The horizon of a Syrian
trader in Nero's time was vastly more inclusive than that of a few
hundred years before. And this new horizon included a far greater
number of facts to be classified and accounted for, and a constantly
enlarging group of problems and difficulties to be settled. This
expanded thought-world of the middle of the 1st century was in a very
chaotic state. The social structure of an earlier age had been
completely wrecked. Greek democracy and Oriental despotism alike had
been crushed by imperial power. National and racial distinctions, once
considered very important, had been all but forgotten. Whole classes
in society had been wiped out. Old things had passed away and what
chiefly impressed the ordinary man about the new order of things
imposed by Rome, was not so much its orderliness as its newness. The
citizen of the Greek Polis had lived in a friendly town that was his
own; but the Roman citizen found himself bewildered in the crowded
streets of a strange city that was everyman's world.
(2) The man of the early empire felt that the ultimate control
of his disordered universe was not at all in his own hands, but that
it rested with supernatural powers on the outside. According to the
1st century point of view, the more important relationships of life
were with the controlling powers in the supernatural realm. Whether
these powers were friendly or unfriendly or both or neither according
to circumstances, there was a great variety of opinion; but generally
speaking there was no doubt of their power.
(c) One way the common man had of establishing safe
relations with the occult powers was the way of mysticism. He either
projected himself emotionally into the supernatural realm and so came
into contact with deity, or else by magic and sacrament drew the God
down into the human sphere and in this fashion realized the desired
alliance. Not until this 'unio mystica' was accomplished did many men
feel completely secure in the face of the uncertainties of life. The
mystery religions offered this form of salvation through union with
the lord of the cult. This alliance with the lord of the cult robbed
the unknown spiritual world of its terrors and gave the initiate the
assurance of special privilege in relation to the potent beings who
controlled the destinies of men. In the background of each of the
mysteries hovered the vague form of the supreme power itself. The
Anatolian Magna Mater Deum. Or the Ahura Mazda of the Persians. In the
foreground, ready for action, stood the mediator who chiefly mad the
divine power manifest in life and nature. The youthful Attis, or the
invincible Mithra. The mystery Gods and Goddesses were also potent as
netherworld divinities. Persephone reigned as queen of the dead and
Osiris presided as judge of the souls of the departed. By means of
initiation into their cults, the devotee was enabled to share vividly
in the experiences of these divinities and even to attain realistic
union with them.
(d) United with the Gods themselves, the initiate was in
touch with currents of supernatural power which not only operated to
transform his very being but rendered him immune from evil both in
this life and in the next.
3. Providing emotional stimulation through the mystical experience
of contact with a sympathetic savior.
a. The mysticism of the cults was not of the intellec- tualized
type but rather of a more realistic, objective, ecstatic and highly
(1) This emotional character of cult mysticism answered
directly to an inordinate appetite for emotional stimulation among the
(a) This abnormal craving, directly or indirectly, was due
to the terribly depressing experiences through which society had
passed during the wars that filled the years immediately preceding the
 For 400 years the wars had been unceasing. The
Mediterranean world had known war at its worst, and this long series
of conquests, civil wars, proscriptions, and insurrections had
produced an untold amount of agony.
 All these military operations had entailed terrible
suffering for all classes. There was, of course, the killing and
maiming of the combatants themselves. Bread- winners had been drafted
into service, leaving their families to fend for themselves. Crops
over large areas had been destroyed to prevent the enemy from living
off the land when the armies retreated. Leaving the local farmers as
well as the invading army to starve. Conquered lands had been plunged
into debt and bankruptcy, while thousands of men, women, and children,
formerly free, had been sold as slaves.
 The indirect consequences of these military
operations were quite as disastrous for the happiness of large numbers
of people as were the direct results. One of the most deplorable
effects was the practical destruction of the middle classes, which had
been the backbone of the society. This left a bad social cleavage
between the wealthy aristocratic class on the one hand, and the
masses, including the slaves, on the other. Conditions were such that
the upper classes had the opportunity of becoming more wealthy and
prosperous, while the proletariat correspondingly became more
destitute and wretched. Enormous sums of gold and silver, the
accumulated wealth of the east, was disgorged on the empire. This
created a demand for more luxuries, raised the standard of living for
the rich, and multiplied the miseries of the poor. Throughout the
period, the number of slaves was constantly being augmented. This
lowered the wages and drove free laborers to the idleness of cities
where they were altogether too willing to be enrolled on what we would
call welfare. The first lesson new Emperors learned, if they were to
keep their crowns, was to feed and entertain this huge number of idle
workers so that they would not decide to overthrow the government.
This is where the phrase "give them bread and circuses" came from.
 With such an unequal distribution of the goods of
life, it was inevitable that both extremes in Roman society should
feel the need of special emotional uplift and stimulation. The
aristocrat felt the need of it because he had pleasures too many.
There was a disgust with life, bred of self-indulgence and brought to
birth by satiety. It was the weariness that comes when amusements cloy
and the means of diversion seem exhausted. And the poor freeman
because he had pleasures too few. There was a genuine sensitiveness to
suffering in this age born of a sympathetic understanding of its pain
and an earnest attempt to provide alleviation. It was a period when
all classes were sensitive to emotional needs, but chiefly the
inarticulate masses who were most miserable and knew not how to
express their misery.
b. Generally speaking, the officials of the state religion
remained unresponsive to this need and the marble Gods of Greece and
Rome had no word for men in agony.
(1) Judaism, which had itself gone through a prolonged
martyrdom, should have learned from suffering to minister to personal
need, but it had not, for its hope was still a national one, not
c. The religions of redemption that came from the east furnished
exactly the emotional satisfaction that the age demanded.
(1) They told men of savior-gods that were very human, who had
come to earth and toiled and suffered with men, experiencing to an
intensified degree the sufferings to which flesh is heir.
(a) These savior-gods had known the agony of parting from
loved ones, of persecution, of mutilation, of death itself. In this
hard way they had won salvation for their devotees and now they stood
ready to help all men who had need.
(2) The rites of these mystery religions were impressively
arranged to represent the sufferings and triumphs of the savior-gods.
(a) In this way it was possible for the initiate to feel as
his God had felt, and sometimes more realistically, to repeat the
archetypal experiences of his lord. His initiation was a time of great
uplift, that elevated him above commonplace worries and gave him an
exalted sense of security. In after days the memory of that great
event remained with him to bouy him up amid the hardships of his daily
lot, or in such special crises as might come to him.
4. By means of initiatory rites of great impressiveness, the
mystery cults were able to satisfy the desire for realistic guarantees
a. The majority of people were not satisfied with a merely
emotional assurance that the desired mystical union had taken place.
(1) Something more tangible and objective was required to
supplement the evidence furnished by subjective experience.
(a) Both the Greek and Romans conceived of their Gods as
being very real and humanistic.
(b) They gave them admirable representation in painting and
sculpture and sought to secure their favor by rites that were
 At the beginning of the imperial period, when the
uncertainties of life made man feel more dependent than ever on
supernatural assistance, the operations whereby they strove to assure
themselves of the desired aid became, if anything, more realistic than
ever. In such an age and amid people who thought in these vivid terms,
the rites of religion, in order to satisfy, had to give actual and
dramatic representation of the processes they were intended to typify
and induce. This was what the ceremonies of the mystery cults did, and
this was another reason for the great attractive power of the cults.
b. Most of the rites of the mystery religions had come down in
traditional forms from an immemorial antiquity.
(1) Originally performed among primitive people in order to
assure the revival of vegetable life in springtime, they were enacted
in these later imperial days for the higher purpose of assuring the
rebirth of the human spirit.
(a) Yet, among the masses at least, the efficacy of these
ceremonials was as little questioned as it had been in their original
(2) The baptismal rite, in particular, whether by water or
blood, was regarded as marking the crucial moment in a genuinely
(a) Once reborn the initiates were treated as such, their
birthday was celebrated and they were nourished in a manner
appropriate for infants.
(b) Childish though those rites may seem, yet they were
frought with spiritual significance for the initiate.
(3) The semblance of mystic marriage and the partaking of
consecrated foods were other realistic sacraments in which the
neophyte found assurance that he was really and vitally united with
his lord and endowed with the divine spirit.
(a) What usually gives the modern student pause is the very
sincere conviction of pagan initiates that their spiritual
transformation was not only symbolic, but was also really accomplished
by these dramatic ceremonies.
5. The personal transformation which was the initial feature of
cult mysticism had its ethical as well as its religious aspect, thus
producing a blend of ethics and religion.
a. The early imperial period was a time of great moral disorder
and confusion, paralleling the stress and strain in other areas of
b. The continuous social upheavals of the Hellenistic and
republican times, the free mingling of populations in commerce and
conquest, and the enormous increase of slaves furthered the process of
cutting thousands of human beings loose from moral restraints.
c. However, the general trend in society as a whole was not only
a period of moral anarchy but of ethical awakening as well.
(1) Interest was alive on moral questions.
(a) Almost every characteristic vice in Roman society was
being met with the most vigorous protests and sometimes by active
measures to correct them.
(2) There was at this time a particular demand for a greater
correctness in ethical teaching.
(a) Teachers of the time studied the writings of
philosophers and moralists to find texts and maxims to use with their
(b) Catalogues were made of virtues and vices and the
former were summarized as certain cardinal qualities especially to be
(c) There was a call for living examples, which could be
referred to as demonstrations of the practicality of these ideals.
(3) The conditions of life were such that most men did not
have confidence in their own unaided ability to achieve character.
(a) They looked to the supernatural realm for the powers
that controlled personal conduct as well as the more ultimate
destinies of humanity.
 What the men of the 1st century wanted was not so
much ideals, but the power to realize those ideals; not a code of
morals, but supernatural sanctions for morality. In the last analysis,
it was divine will, and not human welfare, that was the generally
accepted criterion whereby the validity of any ethical system was
tested. Accordingly, the religion which could furnish supernatural
guarantees along with its ethical ideals had a preferred claim to 1st
(b) The stern morality of Judaism was very attractive. The
element that fascinated was not the inherent excellence of Jewish
rules for living, but the fact that there were venerable sanctions
bearing the impress of divine authority.
 The Law of the Jews was quoted as the ipse dixit of
Yahweh himself and the scriptures were referred to as authentic
documents proving the genuineness of the representation. Such
confirmation was impressive to men who were seeking for divine
authority to make moral conduct obligatory.
(c) The religion of the Egyptian Hermes was one that offered
supernatural guarantees for its ethical ideals.
 In the process of Hermetic rebirth, the powers of the
God drove out hordes of vices and left the regenerated individual
divinely empowered for right living.
(d) That was Mithraism's point of strength also, and accounted
not a little for the vogue it continued to enjoy for some time after
the beginning of the Christian Era.
 The "commandments" of Mithraism were believed to be
divinely accredited. The Magi claimed that Mithra himself revealed
them to their order.
 One of the chief reasons why the high Mithraic ideals
of purity, truth, and righteousness had real attraction, was because
Mithra himself was the unconquerable champion of these ideals and the
ready helper of men who were willing to join with him in the eternal
fight of right against wrong and good against evil. Mithraism was the
outstanding example of a mystery religion which gave supernatural
sanctions to the demands of plain morality.
d. The mysticism of the mysteries came in effectively at just
this point to give both realistic content and divine authorization to
the ethic of brotherhood.
(1) The ideals of the group found personification and
embodiment in the divine Lord or Lady who was the object of the cult
(a) Osiris was the model righteous man who functioned in
the divine state as the judge of the departed. Hence the Isian
initiate, reborn as the new Osiris, was supposed to exhibit the
Osirian type of righteousness.
(2) So, too, in the other mystery systems, the initiate
realistically united with his Lord, and actually transformed by the
virtue of the union, had his ideal incorporated within himself as a
part of his very being.
(a) In the end, mystical experience became the theoretical
basis and practical incitement to good conduct.
(b) In this close articulation of mysticism and morality,
the cults made an important and distinctive contribution to the
ethical life of the age.
6. The mysteries were unusually well equipped to meet the need for
assurances regarding the future.
a. The ultimate pledge that the mystery religions made pertained
not to the present but to the future.
(1) It was the assurance of a happy immortality.
(a) Whatever attitude a man might adopt on the continued
existence after death, he could not well avoid the issue.
b. The mystery cults from Greece and the Orient specialized in
(1) Originally intended to assure the miracle of reviving
vegetation in the springtime, they were perfectly adapted to guarantee
the miracle of the spirit's immortality after physical death.
(a) These were the cults which in the form of Dionysian and
Orphian brotherhoods had first brought the promise of a happy future
life to Greece in the religious revival of the 6th century BCE.
(b) In Hellenistic times the Greek cults merged with
similar religions from the east which offered equivalent guarantees,
and in this syncretized form came into their own.
(2) In the early imperial period of Rome, they were more
popular than ever, for they gave positive and definite answers to the
questioning of the common man about the future.
(a) Their answer had the authority of revelation and it
included the guarantee of divine aid in the realization of that
blessed after-life which they vividly depicted to their devotees.
1. When consideration is given to the fundamental character of the
interests represented by the mystery religions, one can well
understand their popularity in the Greco-Roman world.
a. In an era of individualism, when men were no longer looking
to religion for guarantee of a racial or national order, the mystery
cults offered the boon of personal transformation through
participating in rites of initiation.
b. At a time when men were seeking a larger life through
contact with supernatural powers, the mysteries guaranteed absolute
union with the divine beings who controlled the universe.
c. In an age when men were craving emotional uplift, mystery
initiation gave them such encouragement as they could scarcely find
d. At a period where realism characterized thought in all
departments of life, the religions of redemption offered men realistic
rites to guarantee the actuality of spiritual processes.
e. The supernatural sanctions were sought to validate ethical
ideals, the mystery cults provided a unique combination of mysticism
and morality that was effective.
f. When, as never before, people were questioning about the
future fate of the individual soul, the mysteries, through initiation,
gave guarantee of a happy immortality.
2. At every one of these points the mystery religions of
redemption were effectively meeting the needs of large numbers of
people in Greco-Roman society.
END OF LESSON 3 PART A
INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD RELIGION
D. Prominent features of a Mystery Religion
1. A Mystery Religion was a religion of symbolism
a. Through the use of myth and allegory, iconic representations,
blazing lights and dense darkness, liturgies and sacramental acts, as
well as suggestion, the intuitions of the heart of the initiate were
quickened until s/he was provoked into a mystical experience.
(1) This experience led to a feeling of regeneration, which
was the object of every initiation.
2. A Mystery Religion was a religion of Redemption.
a. It professed to remove the estrangement between man and God,
to procure forgiveness of sins, and to furnish mediation.
(1) Means of purification and the formulae of access to the
God, and acclamations of confidence and victory were part of the
apparatus of every Mystery.
3. The Mystery Religions were systems of Gnosis.
a. The Mysteries brought men into contact with that God "who
wishes to be known and is known to his own."
(1) They offered an esoteric equipment by which the initiate
might ward off the attacks of demons, thwart the menace of Fate, and
after death reach the abodes of the blessed mysteries.
(a) There was something, whether doctrine, symbol, or
divine drama, which could not be imparted except by initiation to
those duly qualified to receive it, a supernatural revelation which
gave the recipient a new outlook on life, the world and the deity, and
security that was denied to the uninitiated.
(b) The 'mystery' consisted of an objective presentation of
the history of the cult Deity, in his or her struggles, sorrows, and
triumphs, repeated subjectively by the initiate in sacramental acts,
together with prayers and liturgic formulae.
4. A Mystery Religion was a Sacramental Drama.
a. The Sacramental Drama appealing primarily to the emotions,
aimed at producing psychic and mystic effects. Thus the neophyte
experienced the exaltation of a new life.
5. The mysteries were eschatological religions, having to do with
the interests and issues of life and death.
a. For the multitudes, it was the mysteries which illuminated
6. A mystery religion was a personal religion, to which membership
was open, not by accident of birth into any particular class, but by a
7. A mystery religion, as a personal religion, presents another
side, which is the necessary compliment of an individualistic
religion; that is, it takes on the character of a cosmic religion.
a. The ancients lived in a world in which the primitive
association of man's life with the earth and plant and animal life was
axiomatic, in which the Universe itself was a rational living being,
in which man by his good deeds might be elevated on the path of the
II. A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE MAJOR MYSTERY RELIGIONS
A. Fundamental Force Behind Development
1. Once, there was no purely 'native' or 'hermetic' tradition;
only a universal response by the Firstborn to the Earth-lore and the
Star-magic of their shamanic priests.
a. Later, as the single religious impulse of the Foretime split
into separate cults, these two approaches, which we may think of as
earthly (or chthonic) and stellar, grew further apart, until the
beginnings of the Hermetic traditions were seeded in Egypt and the
Hellenic world, while in Europe the Native traditions remained more or
less grounded in the magic of the earth.
(1) This is not to say that Greece and Egypt did not have
their own native traditions, or that development of religion and magic
in the Celtic West was so primitive and slow that it required cross-
fertilization with other sources to pull it into subtle realms of
B. The Major Mystery Religions.
1. It has often been said the the Egyptian mysteries are the true
foundation upon which the Western Hermetic systems are built.
a. This is due in part to the early identification of the
Egyptian God Thoth, scribe and guardian of mysteries, with Hermes
Trimegistos, the supposed founder of Western occult practice.
(1) Egypt had many mysteries, none more important that those
(a) Her name is said to mean 'throne', 'wisdom', or
'savior', though she possessed many other titles which testify to the
universality of her cult.
(2) The deepest mysteries of Isis, and her consort- brother
Osiris, the God of the Sun, revolve around his death at the hands of
his brother Set, who cut Osiris' body into 14 parts and scattered them
through the world.
(a) Isis undertook a terrible journey, suffering great
hardship, seeking out the broken body of her lord and reassembling the
 She found and reassembled all but one part, the
phallus, which was thrown into the Nile and consumed by a fish.
b. Despite this, such was the creative power of Isis that she
was able to conceive by means of an artificial phallus, and bore the
child Horus who avenged his father by killing Set.
(1) This is an archetypical mystery-telling, introducing
themes found later in the teachings of the Hellenistic schools and in
the work of modern esoteric orders.
(a) It prefigures the death and rising of many gods and
show forth the power of the Creative Principle.
(b) It also establishes Isis as Queen of Heaven, more
powerful in the eyes of many than even the great god Ra himself, whose
representative upon earth was the Pharaoh.
3. In Mithraism, which descended from the Persian Mysteries,
Mithra stands as a mediator between light and dark, a position adopted
by his followers.
a. In humanity, the battle for the soul is fought out in the
territory of the flesh. Mithra, entering there, keeps all in balance.
(1) Mithraism was the Freemasonry of the Roman world.
(a) Like the other cults of Oriental origin, it moved with
the vast commerce in human beings that was such a notable feature of
the ancient world.
(b) The cult of Mithra is one that traveled well, from
Syria to Scotland.
(c) The Mithraic community was all men: women gravitated
to the parallel cult of Cybele or the exclusively female one of Bona
(d) The congregations were small; no surviving Mithraeum
could house more than a hundred, but of course bigger lodges may have
formed, and dissolved, at army camps, because Mithraism was extremely
popular among the Roman Legions.
(e) There were no social barriers, so that slaves and
privates could become high initiates. The ceremonies were solemnly
enacted and the initiations were quite awe-inspiring.
b. Mithra was born on the 25th of December, called the "Birthday
of the Unconquered Sun."
(1) This date was not taken over by the Christians for the
birth of their Savior until the 4th century BCE.
c. Some said that Mithra sprang from the union of sun god and
his own mother.
(1) Some claimed his mother to be a mortal virgin.
(a) Others said Mithra had no mother, but was miraculously
born of a female Rock, the petra genetrix, fertilized by the Heavenly
Father's phallic lightning.
2. In the many histories of the ancient world, only one figure is
described as being of greater importance than Hermes. This is the
Persian mage Zoroaster, who may actually have lived around 1000 BCE.,
or even earlier, but who clearly did not predate the foundation of the
Egyptian mysteries from which he drew heavily for his own system.
a. It is from the Persian mysteries that we derive the dualistic
spectre which has haunted esoteric philosophy and teaching ever since.
(1) In the Zoroastrian pantheon these opposing forces are
Ormuzd and Ahriman, who derive ultimately from Ahura Mazda, the divine
(a) Known as the Holy Immortals, or Amesha Spentas, they
correspond to the levels of creation, clearly foreshadowing the
teaching of later mystery schools such as those of Orpheus and Mithra.
(b) Against the Spentas are arrayed the Devas, the
companions of the Evil One, who are seen as ruling over the earth.
 The position of Persian dualism is confused by a
Zoroastrian heresy called Zurvanism, which is often mistaken for
[a] In Zoroastrianism proper, Ahura Mazda is supremely
god: his Spentas are not on the same footing.
[b] In Zurvanism, however, Ahura Mazda is made into a
lesser creator or demiurge, hence the cosmic struggle of good against
evil which takes place in the world of matter.
(2) In Zoroastrian teaching, a savior or saoshyant was to be
born, who would combat evil and bring the struggle to an end once and
for all, thus betokening the Frasokereti, the making perfect at the
end of time.
(a) In this we see an echo of the Egyptian mysteries, and a
prefiguring of the gnostic position, as well as the appearance of a
third figure which becomes a requirement of all dualistic thinking
sooner or later. This third figure who will balance out the struggle
is a Messiah.
(b) Mithra's birth was witnessed by shepherd and Magi, who
brought gifts to his sacred birth-cave of the Rock.
d. Mithra performed the usual assortment of miracles - raising
the dead, healing the sick, making the blind to see and the lame to
walk, casting out devils.
(1) As a 'Peter', son of petra, he carried the keys of the
kingdom of heaven.
e. His triumph and ascension to heaven were celebrated at the
spring equinox, when the sun rises toward its apogee.
(1) Before returning to heaven, Mithra celebrated a Last
Supper with his 12 disciples, who represented the signs of the zodiac.
(a) In memory of this, his worshippers partook of a
sacramental bread marked with a cross.
 This was one of the seven Mithraic sacraments. It
was called mizd, in latin-missa, in english- mass.
(2) Mithra's image was buried in a rock tomb, the same sacred
cave that represented his Mothers' womb.
(a) His image was later withdrawn from the cave and was
said to live again.
f. What began in water would end in fire, according to Mithraic
(1) The great battle between the forces of light and darkness
in the Last Days would destroy the earth with its upheavals and
(a) Virtuous ones who followed the teachings of the
Mithraic priesthood would join the spirits of light and be saved.
(b) Sinful ones who followed other teachings would be cast
into hell with Ahriman and the fallen angels.
g. Mithra's cave-temple on the Vatican Hill was seized by the
Christians in 376 CE.
(1) Christian Bishops of Rome pre-empted the Mithraic high
priest's title of Pater Patrum, which became Papa, or Pope.
4. While the Mithraic mysteries succeeded those of Zoroaster, they
followed those of Dionysus, through which the core of Hellenic mystery
teaching found its way into the Western Mystery Tradition.
a. Two streams of consciousness are discerable within the
Classical mysteries, which might be called Dionysian and Apollonian.
(1) The Apollonian mysteries related to reason, to the heavens
and to order; this is in contradistinction to the chaotic mysteries of
(a) The priests of Apollo were more interested in wresting
the political power away from the earlier Goddess worshipping peoples
who held sway as the Oracle at Delphi, and so their mysteries were not
so widely spread because they were tied to a specific location and
(2) The Mysteries of Dionysus were those of the sacrificial
king: they pertain to the underworld side of things, the chthonic and
ecstatic cult of maenads and bacchantes.
(a) Of all the mystery Gods, it is Dionysus whose character
has become most firmly fixed in the collective imagination. His
worship spells orgies and drunkenness; he personifies the irrational
and uncontrolable urges of mankind and beasts; he drives to frenzy
the maenads and the poets.
 The myth of Dionysus' origins tells that he was
first born from the union of Zeus with Persephone.
[a] Zeus designated this 'Zagreus' as his heir, but
the jealous Titans lured him away while he was yet a child, killed,
dismembered him and devoured all the pieces except for the heart,
which Athena rescued and preserved.
[b] Zeus, in anger, reduced the Titans to ashes, from
which the new race of humanity was fashioned. Thus each person
contains a fragment of Dionysus within their 'Titanic' earthly body.
[c] From the heart of the god was brewed a love-
potion, which was given to Semele, a mortal, who then forced her
lover -Zeus again- into revealing himself to her in his primal form.
This unveiling was so overwhelming as to annihilate her, but the child
she was carrying was saved by Zeus enclosing it in his loins until
the time came for its birth as the second Dionysus.
 The young god grew up in Thrace, suckled by goats and
raised by satyrs and sileni. When he reached maturity, he descended
through the Alcyonian Lake to rescue the shade of his mother Semele
from Hades and then raised her to Olympus.
[a] Afterward, accompanied by a motley train of semi-
human beings, maenads and panthers, he set off on wanderings
throughout the world, from Libya to Arabia to India and thus back to
 Everywhere he went he brought humanity knowledge of
agriculture, arts and crafts, and most especially the cultivation of
the vine and wine-making.
[a] On the Isle of Naxos he discovered the Cretan
Princess Ariadne, abandoned there by Theseus, and joined with her as
her husband. Together they ascended to the heavens, whence he offers a
similar blissful reward to his devotees, temporarily in this life and
permanently after death.
5. There had been an initiatic institution in Greece at Eleusis at
least since the 8th century BCE, with both Greater and Lesser
a. The function of all lesser mysteries, and equally of the
lower grades of initiation was to impart information on the nature of
(1) The Eleusinian symbolism of corn, pomegranites and poppies
refers to the unseen forces which affect humanity via the vegetable
kingdom, building the body and informing the mind.
(a) The intuitive grasp of this relationship, in all its
wonder and complexity, was summarized in the famous climax od the
Mystery, so disappointing to non-initiates, the displaying of an ear
(2) Certain information was also given at Eleusis by word of
mouth, including the 'password to the Paradise of Demeter' to be used
(a) In the Lesser Mysteries of other gods, it is suggested
that the fact of heliocentricity was revealed.
 Jewish esotericism includes the teaching of
[a] So Lesser Mysteries give the initiates theoretical
knowledge which changes their whole view of humanity and the cosmos,
and stands them in better stead when they have to leave this world for
b. The Mysteries of Demeter were celebrated every five years at
(1) The candidate of the Lesser Mysteries underwent a symbolic
journey in which the quest of Demeter for her lost daughter Persephone
in Hades was reenacted with the would-be candidate in the role of
(a) The journey within was that of the darkened soul: the
candidate passed through a door into total darkness: if they survived
the experiences met within they passed through a second door into
brilliant light - symbolizing rebirth into the heavenly sphere. Here
they actually meet the gods, experiencing Demeter's journey as their
own recovery of lost enlightenment.
c. The function of the Greater Mysteries of Eleusis was to bring
about direct contact with the beings who inhabit the higher worlds.
(1) The higher grades of initiation were conducted
individually rather than collectively as in the Lesser Mysteries.
(a) The Initiation of Isis were given to those selected by
the Goddess through having had significant dreams, whether they were
laity, priests or priestesses.
(b) In the inner truth of the Eleusinian mysteries, the
birth of the soul into matter is seen as death; only through
participation in the mysteries can the initiate rise to a timeless
reality where he is utterly free and alive.
 The soul sleeps in the body for most of the time,
awakening only when it has been transformed by ritual and the use of
an initiatory drink.
[a] To die without this experience is to sleep
forever or to wander houseless in the caverns of Hades.
(2) The primary objective in these initiations was to take
the candidate through the gates of death.
(a) As in shamanic, Masonic, and other later initiations,
the candidate was placed in a trance, the consciousness taken out of
the body, and in this state to experience higher states of being and
meet some of the denizens of the invisible worlds.
 Through direct experience the candidates would
learn that they could live freely without their physical bodies, and
that the gods they worshipped were perfectly real.
[a] Then they would return to earth fully convinced
of their own immortality and prepared to meet death fearlessly,
knowing it is the gate to freedom and the soul's true home.
6. As a descendant of Dionysus, Orpheus is the intellectual image
of a demi-god, raised to deity by his sufferings in the underworld: a
perfect symbol for all who follow the paths of the mysteries.
a. The movement from the cult of Dionysus and Apollo to Orphism,
marks a change from a more primitive religious response towards an
ethically-based philosophy and mysticism which included belief in the
transmigration of souls, reincarnation and the final assumption into
(1) Orpheus has the lyre and the gift of music from Apollo,
yet ends like Dionysus, torn apart by Thracian bacchantes.
(a) The shamanic practices of the Native Tradition
overlapping the priestly function of the mystery school.
 The suffering of Orpheus, who loses Euridice
(through fear, the first pitfall of all mystery knowledge) and is then
dismembered by the Maenads, is a paradigm of the suffering and rebirth
of the sleeping soul.
b. The Orphic mysteries are complex in the extreme.
(1) The most important aspect of the Orphic Mysteries was that
humanity and the gods are related.
(a) At a most subtle and sensitive level a blurring of the
edges occurs, an overlapping of human consciousness and divine
 "Everything that lives is Holy" becomes a reality in
the interaction of the divine and the mundane.
(2) The hierarchy of spiritual creation is supremely complex,
but the gods are like a ladder, a system of related possibilities, the
potentiality of which is seeded within the whole of creation.
(a) We are all related, not just in a familial sense but
also to everything else: earth and water, sky and stone; not only
because all of creation is made up of different combinations of
molecules, but because we are all a part of the divine hierarchy.
 This is the true meaning of the mystery teaching
concerning the divine spark; the god like potential of humanity is far
better expressed by this means.
[a] The divine fragment is that part of us which is
always seeking reunion, a reassembly of separated parts into the whole
from which they were created; a return to the paradisial state.
c. The Orphic school was, above all, syncretic.
(1) Orpheus is credited with the dissemination of the
mysteries, with passing on rather than inventing much that became the
basis of subsequent Greco-Roman theosophy.
(a) Pythagoras followed many of the Orphic teachings and
made Orpheus the central deity of his own esoteric system,
establishing a canon of Orphic Hyms.
(2) Between the Orphic mysteries and their partial revival in
the Rennaisance, there is a long gap not only in time but in
III CHRISTIANITY VIEWED AS A MYSTERY RELIGION
A. The Foundation of Christianity
1. Most people think of Christianity as if it were a single
specific thing, a coherent, homogeneous, and unified entity.
a. Christianity is nothing of the sort.
(1) There are numerous forms of Christianity
(a) Roman Catholic
(b) Russian Orthodox
(c) Greek Orthodox
(d) Church of England (Anglican), formed by King Henry the VIII
(e) Various other forms of Protestantism
 From the original Lutheranism and Calvinism of the
16th century to such relatively recent developments as Unitarianism.
(f) There are multitudinous "fringe" or "evangelical"
 Such as the Seventh Day Adventists, the Jehovah's
Witnesses and the Assembly of God.
(g) And there are assorted contemporary sects and cults.
 Like the Children of God and the Unification Church
of Reverend Moon.
b. If one surveys this bewildering spectrum of beliefs - from
the rigidly dogmatic and conservative to the radical and ecstatic- it
is difficult to determine what exactly constitutes Christianity.
2. If there is a single factor that does permit one to speak of
Christianity, a single factor that does link the otherwise diverse and
divergent Christian creeds, it is the New Testament and more
particularly the unique status ascribed by the New Testament to Jesus,
his Crucifixion and Resurrection.
a. Even if one does not subscribe to the literal or historical
truth of those events, acceptance of their symbolic significance
generally suffices for one to be considered a christian.
3. If there is any unity then, in the diffuse phenomenon called
Christianity, it resides in the New Testament - and more specifically,
in the accounts of Jesus known as the four Gospels.
a. These accounts are popularly regarded as the most
authoritative on record.
(1) And for many Christians they are assumed to be both
coherent and unimpeachable.
b. From childhood one is led to believe that the story of Jesus,
as it is preserved in the Four Gospels, is if not God-inspired, at
(1) The Four Evangelists, supposed authors of the Gospels, are
deemed to be unimpeachable witnesses who consistantly reinforce and
confirm each other's testimony.
c. Of the people who today call themselves Christians,
relatively few are aware of the fact that the four Gospels not only
contradict each other in more than one way, but at times they
B. The Origin and Birth of Jesus
1. So far as popular tradition is concerned, the origin and birth
of Jesus are well enough known.
a. In reality, the Gospels, on which that tradition is based,
are considerably more vague on the matter.
(1) Only two of the Gospels - Matthew and Luke - say anything
at all about Jesus' origins and birth; and they are flagrantly at odds
with each other.
(a) According to Matthew, Jesus was an aristocrat, if not a
rightful and legitimate king - descended from David via Solomon.
(b) According to Luke, on the other hand, Jesus' family,
though descended from the house of David, was of somewhat less exalted
(c) And it is on the basis of Mark's account that the
legend of the "poor carpenter" came into being.
(2) In short, the two genealogies are so strikingly discordant
that they might well be referring to quite different individuals.
2. The discrepencies between the Gospels are not confined to the
question of Jesus' ancestry and genealogy.
a. According to Luke, Jesus, on his birth, was visited by
(1) But according to Matthew, he was visited by kings, the
b. According to Luke, Jesus' family lived in Nazareth.
(1) From here they are said to have journeyed, for a census
(that history suggests never in fact occurred) to Bethlehem, where
Jesus was born in the poverty of a manger.
c. But according to Matthew, his family had been fairly well to
do residents of Bethlehem all along, and Jesus himself was born in a
(1) In Matthew's version Herod's persecution of the innocents
prompts the family to flee into Egypt, and only on their return do
they make their home in Nazareth.
3. The information in each of these accounts is quite specific and
- assuming the census did occur - perfectly plausible.
a. And yet, the information itself simply does not agree. The
contradiction cannot be rationalized.
(1) There is no possible means whereby the two conflicting
narratives can both be correct, and there is no means whereby they can
(a) Whether one cares to admit it or not, the fact must be
recognized that one or both of the Gospels are wrong.
 In the face of so glaring and inevitable a
conclusion, the Gospels cannot be regarded as unimpunable.
[a] How can they be unimpunable- when they are
inconsistent with each other?
4. The more one studies the Gospels, the more the contradictions
between them become apparent.
a. They can not even agree on which day the Crucifixion took
(1) According to John, the Crucifixion occurred on the day
before the Passover.
(a) Whereas, Mark, Luke, and Matthew insist that it
occurred on the day after.
b. Nor are the Gospels in accord on the personality and
character of Jesus.
(1) Each depicts a figure who is patently at odds with the
figure depicted by the others.
(a) A meek, lamblike Savior in Luke.
(b) A powerful and majestic sovereign in Matthew who comes
"not to bring peace but a sword."
c. There is further disagreement about Jesus' last words on the
(1) In Matthew and Mark the words are, "My God, my God, why
hast thou forsaken me?"
(2) In Luke, the words are-"Father, into they hands I commend
(3) And in John they are simply "It is finished."
5. With these discrepancies, they can only be accepted as highly
questionable, and certainly not as definitive.
a. They do not represent the perfect word of ANY God; or if they
do, God's words have been VERY liberally edited, censored, revised,
glossed and rewritten by human hands.
C. Jesus and the Essenes
1. As we have seen, the Judaic religion was still a tribal
religion offering little chance for individual salvation during a time
when people were looking for some assurance that they mattered beyond
which tribe, or city or province they came from.
a. Mystery religions were well established in the east and
making inroads into Rome herself.
(1) In addition to the Pharisees and Sadducees who were vying
for control of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' life, there was a sect
of ascetics known as the Essenes.
(a) It has been said that the Essenes were the founders of
a Mystery religion based along the lines of the sun worshipping
Persian anchorites, who in turn evolved their system from Jain yogis
professing to work miracles by living apart from the world and
practicing extreme self denial.
 From historians and chroniclers writing at the time,
it is known that the Essenes maintained communities throughout the
[a] A large colony of Essenes occupied the Qumran
community from 110 BCE to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE, with a
significant period of vacancy during the reign of Herod, 31 BCE - 4
2. Jesus, John the Baptist, and Simon Magus are said to have been
trained in Essenic communities.
a. Jesus' parents, Joseph and Mary, are also said to belong to
the Essenic movement and Jesus may have received his rabbinical
training in their schools.
(1) John the Baptist is thought by some to have been an
'advance man' to prepare the way for Jesus to fulfill the old
prophecies of being the Messiah.
(a) But there is abundant evidence that Jesus not only knew
what the prophecies were concerning the Messiah, but went to great
lengths to plan for and carry out the prophecies.
3. The Essenic hierarchy included a chief priest called the
Christos (Annointed One), "head of the entire Congre- gation of
a. There were ordinary priests called the "sons of Aaron", and
another functionary known as the Messiah of Israel.
(1) The Messiah of Israel was also called Teacher of
(a) He suffered physical abuse in atonement for the sins of
the entire community, enduring "vindictive sentences of scourging and
the terrors of painful sicknesses, and vengeance on his fleshly body."
D. A Radical View
1. The following is a scenario of what the historical Jesus might
have been all about based on looking at the Gospels without the
trappings added after Christianity was transported to Rome and changed
to bring it into alignment with competing religions.
EDITORS NOTE: THESE ARE CONJECTURE BY THE AUTHOR, NOT A
STATEMENT OF KNOWN FACT BUT BASED ON THE FACTS KNOWN AND THE HISTORY
OF THE TIMES AND OTHER RELIGIONS.
a. Included in this scenario, but of little importance to our
discussion, is that Jesus may have been married and have living
descendants to this day. Remember that Rabbis had always been allowed
(1) Jesus was a priest-king, an aristocrat and legitimate
claimant to the throne of Palestine, who embarked on an attempt to
regain his rightful heritage.
(a) He was believed to be a native of Galilee, which was a
traditional hotbed of opposition to the Romans.
(2) He had numerous noble, rich and influential supporters
throughout Palestine, including the capital city of Jerusalem.
(a) One of these supporters, a powerful member of the
Sanhedrin, may also have been his kin.
(3) In the Jerusalem suburb of Bethany was possibly the home
of either his wife or his wife's family; and here on the eve of his
triumphal entry into the capital, the aspiring priest-king resided.
(a) Here he established the center for his mystery cult.
(b) Here he augmented his following by performing ritual
initiations, including that of his brother-in-law.
 A mystery initiation being the meaning behind the
'miracle' of raising Lazarus from the dead.
(4) Such an aspiring priest-king would have generated powerful
opposition in certain quarters.
(a) Amongst the Roman administration,
(b) And perhaps amongst the entrenched Judaic interests
represented by the Sadducees.
 One or both of these interests apparently contrived
to thwart his bid for the throne.
[a] But in their attempt to exterminate him they were
not as successful as they had hoped to be.
(5) The priest-king had friends in high places.
(a) These friends, working in collusion with a corrupt,
easily bribed Roman procurator, appear to have engineered a mock
crucifixion, on private grounds, and thus inaccessible to all but a
 With the general populace kept at a convenient
distance, an execution was then staged.
[a] In which a substitute took the priest-king's
place on the cross or in which the priest-king did not actually die.
 Toward dusk, further impeded visibility, the 'body'
was removed to an opportunely adjacent tomb.
[a] From which, a day or two later, it 'miraculously'
2. If Jesus was a legitimate claimant to the throne, it is
probable that he was supported, at least initially, by a relatively
small percentage of the populace.
a. His immediate family from Galilee, certain members of his own
aristocratic social class, and a few strategically placed
representatives in Judaea and the capital city of Jerusalem.
(1) Such a following, albeit distinguished, would hardly have
been sufficient to ensure the realization of his objectives or the
success of his bid for the throne.
(a) In consequence, he would have to recruit a more
substantial following from other classes.
 Jesus promulgated a message that attempted to do
[a] A message to offer hope to the downtrodden, the
afflicted, the disenfranchised, the oppressed.
[b] It was a message with a promise.
 There is no evidence that he promulgated this
message with cynicism, for he truly acted as though he took his role
as priest to the people of Israel as seriously as he did his role as
 His message was ethical and political.
[a] It was directed toward a particular segment of
the population in accordance with political considerations.
b. Jesus' message, as it appears in the Gospels, is neither new
nor wholly unique.
(1) But if the message, as such, was not entirely original,
the means of transmitting it probably was.
(a) Jesus himself was undoubtedly an immensely charismatic
 He may well have had an aptitude for healing and
other such 'miracles.'
[a] He most certainly possessed a gift for
communicating his ideas by means of evocative and vivid parables.
[b] Which did not require any sophisticated training
for his audience, and made them accessible, in some sense, to the
populace at large.
c. Moreover, unlike his Essene teachers, Jesus was not obliged
to confine himself to forecasting the advent of a Messiah.
(1) He could claim to be that Messiah.
(a) And this, quite naturally, imparted greater authority
and credibility to his words.
3. It is clear that by the time of his triumphal entry into
Jerusalem, Jesus had recruited a following.
a. But this following seems to have been composed of two quite
distinct elements; whose interests were not precisely the same.
(1) On the one hand, there seemed to be a small nucleus of
"initiates" - immediate family, other members of the nobility, wealthy
and influential supporters.
(a) Whose primary objective was to see their candidate
installed on the throne.
(2) On the other hand, there seems to have been a much larger
entourage of 'common people' - the rank and file.
(a) Whose primary objective was to see this message, and
the promise it contained, fulfilled.
b. It is important to recognize the distinction between these
(1) Their political objective - to establish Jesus on the
throne - would have been the same.
(a) But their motivations were very different.
E. Christianity after Jesus
1. When the bid to put Jesus on the throne of Palestine failed,
the uneasy alliance between the two factions fell apart.
a. The strength of the message that Jesus had used to gain his
following had captured the hearts and minds of the followers who were
not "insiders" and they fought to keep the hope alive.
(1) Little is said of the followers who backed Jesus in the
hopes of garnering power from having helped their friend to the throne
but it may well be imagined that they continued to fight for
independence from Rome and many may well have perished at Masada.
(a) The first major crisis for the early christians was
whether they could afford to be associated with the Jewish peoples,
who were becoming increasingly rebellious toward Rome.
 It was clear that Rome would have to take action
against the rebels.
[a] Against this backdrop the early christians needed
to decide whether it was necessary to first be a Jew before becoming a
<1> Saint Paul, always adept at reading the
writing on the wall, decided it was not. It was also Paul who decided
that the best place to take the new religion was the heart of the
empire where there were many oppressed and downtrodden gentiles who,
very possibly would be receptive to the message of hope.
2. The new religion was oriented primarily toward a Roman or
a. Thus the role of Rome in Jesus' death was of course
whitewashed, and guilt was transferred to the Jews.
(1) But this was not the only liberty taken with events to
render them palatable to the Roman world.
(a) For the Roman world was accustomed to deifying its
rulers, and Caesar had already been officially instated as a god.
 In order to compete, Jesus, whom nobody had
previously deemed divine, had to be deified as well.
[a] In Paul's hands, he was.
3. Before the message could be successfully disseminated from
Palestine to Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, Egypt, Rome and western
Europe, the new religion had to be made acceptable to the people of
a. And it had to be capable of holding its own against already
b. The new god needed to be comparable in power, majesty, and in
his repertoire of miracles, to those he was intending to displace.
(1) If Jesus were to gain a foothold in the Romanized world of
his time, he had to become a full-fledged god.
(a) Not a Messiah in the old sense of the term, not a
priest-king, but God Incarnate.
 Who, like his Syrian, Phoenician, Egyptian, and
classical counterparts, passed through the underworld and the
harrowing of Hell, and emerged rejuvenated, with the spring.
[a] It was at this point that the idea of the
Resurrection first assumed such critical importance, and for a fairly
obvious reason, to place Jesus on a par with Tammuz, Adonis, Attis,
Osiris, and all the other dying and resurrected gods who populated
both the world and the consciousness of their time.
(b) For precisely this reason the doctrine of the virgin
birth was promulgated.
(c) And the Easter festival, the festival of death and
resurrection, was made to coincide with the spring rites of other
contemporary cults and mystery schools.
4. Given the need to disseminate a god myth, the actual corporeal
family of the 'god' and the political and dynastic elements in his
history would become superfluous.
a. Fettered as they were to a specific time and place, they
would have detracted from his claim to universality.
(1) Thus, to further the claim of universality all political
and dynastic elements were rigorously excised from Jesus' biography.
(a) Also all references to Zealots, for example, and
Essenes, were also discreetly removed.
b. Such references would have been embarrassing.
(1) It would not have appeared seemly for a god to be involved
in a political and dynastic conspiracy. Especially one that failed.
5. In the end nothing was left but what was contained in the
a. An account of mythic simplicity, occurring only incidentally
in the Roman occupied Palestine of the first century, and primarily in
the eternal present of all myth.
END OF LESSON 3
I. MAGIC IN THEORY
A. Origins of the word Magic
1. Derived from the greek "Magike Techne" meaning the art of the
a. The Magi were priests of ancient Persia (Iran) who also
practiced in Chaldea and Babylon.
(1) They were similar to the Druids, in that they wore white
robes and favored a simple mode of life and a vegetarian diet.
(2) The Magi worshipped no idols.
(a) They chose the Divine and Sacred Fire as the symbol of
their Divine Being.
(b) The Divine Fire burned in their sanctuaries and was
never allowed to go out.
(c) Parallels to this exist in the practices of the Vestal
Virgins in ancient Rome and the Presence Lamps that are always kept
burning over the altars of some Roman Catholic churches.
2. The Greeks were unaware of any other caste of priests that
practiced the magical arts so they thought the Magi were responsible
a. This shows how isolated and ill-informed the ancient peoples
were of their own world.
(1) The Egyptians had quite a formidable magical system based
on the Egyptian Book of the Dead many years before the Magi appeared
in Persia. There is also a Tibetan Book of the Dead, which details a
magical system derived from Tibetan funeral rites.
3. The Greeks may have gained their root word for magic from the
Indo-European root word MAGH (meaning to be able, to have the power to
4. Aleister Crowley started the custom of spelling magic as MAGICK
as he felt it would help in differentiating between the illusions that
are the stock in trade of stage magicians and real magic as practiced
by serious students of the occult.
B. Working Definition of Magic
1. The ability to recognize and understand the underlying forces
of nature and the laws which govern them.
a. Starhawk pares this down to the ability to change
consciousness at will.
(1) To someone who understands these laws, magic is a very
natural part of the Universe.
(a) People who do not understand these laws or who refuse
to recognize them, see magic as a supernatural act performed against
God and therefore unnatural.
C. Foundation of Magical Theory
1. All of magical theory is based on the development of the human
brain and subsequent attempts to gain control over a hostile
a. The single most important development in the evolution of
humankind was the development and subsequent use of the cerebellum.
(1) Until humans developed a 'higher brain' they had only
their 'animal brain' to guide them through life.
(a) This 'animal brain' is responsible for those functions
that people sometimes call instincts, but are really functions of the
autonomic nervous system.
(b) The autonomic nervous system monitors and maintains
vital functions such as heartbeat, digestion, circulation, hormone
production and immediate responses to dangerous situations.
(c) Recent research in Biofeedback and Cybernetics have
revealed that the autonomic nervous system (known commonly as the
automatic nervous system, because it takes no conscious thought to
operate) is actually capable of being directly controlled by conscious
b. With the development of the 'higher brain', early humanity
was able to see the world as an integrated whole in which they played
an independent role.
(1) The development of this 'higher brain' led to self-
consciousness and started us on the road to questioning how our world
worked and how we could gain control of our environment.
(2) The subsequent development of the cerebrum into two
specialized organs interconnected so that they could work
independently or co-operatively as needed, led to the ability to
examine the world from two different viewpoints.
(a) The right half of the brain enabled humankind to form
holistic concepts of the interactions of the forces of nature in a
(b) The left half of the brain allowed the development of
verbal skills which ensured the transmission of knowledge learned
through trial and error and thus gave humanity the peculiar ability to
learn without the need to directly experience.
II. MAGIC IN PRACTICE.
A. The early magical systems were based on the observation that all
of reality is based on the interaction of various natural forces.
1. The two basic magical powers that are taught to all humans as
their birthright are the ability to embody complex concepts in
symbolic words and to divide the world into 'pieces' so that they can
examine it for short periods of time as though it were caught in a
a. We dismiss the ability to embody complex concepts in symbolic
words as being too fundamental to consider, but it is the basis for
(1) This process, which we call naming, is vital to our
understanding of the world around us.
(a) By creating names that embody specific concepts, we
create a vocabulary by which 'initiates' in the subject can manipulate
the relationships between the different concepts to reveal new truths
that lead to a better understanding of the world around us.
(2) Gaining control over something by learning its name is one
of the oldest forms of magic.
(a) In the Christian Bible, God instructs Adam and Eve to
name all the plants and creatures and to exercise dominion over all of
(b) In societies which practice magic, mothers give their
children 'true names' and 'public names' to protect them from harm by
someone wishing the child ill.
(c) Most people have heard the story of Rumplestiltskin,
where the heroine must guess the villains name, otherwise she will be
unable to stop him from carrying out his evil deeds.
(d) Or the story of the wizard who manages to summon a
demon to do his bidding, only to wind up becoming a slave to the demon
because he did not know the demons proper name.
b. Once humankind began to exert its influence on the world, the
need to differentiate its parts and count them became very important.
(1) We differentiate the world through the use of
DISCRIMINATION and this allows us to count the separate parts.
(a) Discrimination is the ability to separate an object
from its shadow, trees from a forest, your child from a group of
children, and your friends from your enemies.
(2) Counting took on additional significance when trading
surplus food for finished goods became the basis of early commerce.
(a) The merchants needed to develop a method of keeping
track of their transactions. At first they used a picture code similar
to Egyptian hieroglyphics, which involved drawing a picture that
represented the goods traded and which were then assigned a numerical
value in accordance with how much could be traded for the goods.
(b) This was before the concept of money and allowed
merchants to trade for credits of non-tangible assets.
(c) As competition grew the merchants started abbreviating
the pictures of their trade goods and the symbols became the letters
of the various alphabets, with the number values still attached.
(3) As astronomy and astrology were developed, the people who
were learning to recognize these interactions of the forces of nature
needed to record their knowledge, and they seized upon the merchants
secret trade codes, or alphabets (named after the first two letters in
the Phoenician script.)
(a) Because they placed great importance on the measuring
of things they also adopted the numerical values of the letters as
representing the numerical truth of the symbols they were using to
record their new knowledge.
(b) This led to the magical system called GEMATRIA, which
is based on reducing the letters of someones name, etc to a number
which is assigned special sig- nificance.
c. Gematria was especially popular with biblical scholars. In
the thirteenth chapter of Revelations in the Christian Bible, a beast
"comes up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns and ten
crowns, and on its heads the name of blasphemy". One of the heads had
been 'wounded to death', but the wound had healed. "Let him that hath
understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a
man; and his number is Six hundred, threescore and six."
(1) It is generally accepted now that the Beast was meant to
stand for the Roman Empire and its seven heads for the seven Emperors.
(a) The head which was wounded to death but healed, looks
like an oblique reference to Nero, who took great delight in
persecuting the new Christian faith and its followers, one of the more
well known of which was letting them fight lions bare handed in the
Coliseum. He was murdered in 68 AD, but there were persistent rumors
that he had risen again and had escaped to the East, and would soon
return with an army to take his revenge.
d. Aleister Crowley adopted the name of The Great Beast which,
when reduced from greek into numbers using gematria, equals 666. He
did this partly to shock the good people of the late Victorian era and
partly as an exercise in imitative magic.
e. Another story told of the importance placed on the
interpretation of the Christian Bible through gematria involves the
same chapter of Revelations and the Social Security Administration in
the United States of America.
(1) In chapter 13:16-17, the author speaks of a second beast
which comes after the first. 'Also it causes all, both small and
great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to marked on the right
hand or the forehead,' 'so that no one can buy or sell unless he has
the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.'
(2) These verses were quoted over and over from pulpits in the
United States when it was announced that everyone was to be issued a
Social Security number for purposes of identification, and that all
government files would require the populace to submit their Social
Security number along with their name, to be sure they were properly
(a) The citizens, whipped into a fury by the clergy,
deluged their Congressmen with letters of protest.
(b) The Congressmen, being pragmatists, came upon a plan to
soothe the savage breasts of their constituents and still get their
(c) They made it a part of the Social Security Act that the
number was not to be used as identification for any purpose other than
for Social Security. This is why all Social Security cards bear the
legend "Not to be used for Identification."
(d) Many years later, around 1973, this was set aside when
Military Service numbers were abandoned in favor of using Social
Security numbers to identify military service personnel.
(e) Even today the Social Security card is not generally
accepted as identification, not because of the original objection, but
because it does not have a photo of the bearer.
2. The ancients, in seeking to bring order and under- standing to
their world, developed the concept of the Elementals.
a. They recognized that everything was the result of the
interaction of four great natural forces.
b. These Elementals were not seen as what the world was made
of, like todays' elements in chemistry, but a shorthand way of
explaining the way things interacted.
c. After a while the process of visualizing the Elementals as
personifications of the natural forces produced thoughtforms which
were able to act independently of their creators.
(1) The major force that exhibited the principle of motion was
ascribed to the Element of Air.
(a) In visualizing airy beings the race of Sylphs were
actualized on our planet. These creatures had wings of gossamer, with
very slight and tiny bodies, their facial features were made up of
sharp planes and they tended to very short attention spans, and this
usually left them in very good spirits because it was not their nature
to brood. Childhood stories retain a racial memory of the Sylphs in
our present day Fairies, much as Walt Disney drew Tinkerbell.
(2) When the natural attribute of a force was expansion it was
said to have a Fiery nature.
(a) The Elemental creatures of Fire were the Salamanders.
These creatures loved to play in the warm ashes of fireplaces and
their skin glowed with alternating colors just like a hot piece of
charcoal.They were quick to take offense and could carelessly allow a
fire outside of the fireplace, if the family they chose to live with
allowed the ashes to get too cold for them to be comfortable. With our
present dependence on natural gas and electricity to provide our heat,
we have lost touch with the fire Elementals, but the big brothers of
the Salamanders were dragons, which possessed the airy quality of
flight, the fiery quality of being able to exhale fire and the earthy
quality of being fascinated by bright jewels and glittering gold.
(3) The natural force of contraction was assigned to the
Elemental of Water.
(a) The race of water Elementals were called Undines after
the undulating property of water, which rises and falls in
synchronization with the movements of the Moon. The Undines were
thought to be related to the Sylphs but of a stouter character. They
were slow to anger and slow to soothe, and steadfast unless stirred up
by the Sylphs.
(4) The epitome of the solid earthiness the last Elemental was
the Gnome and his burrowing cousin the Dwarf.
(a) Gnomes and Dwarves were as big hearted as they were
diminutive, but they did not take kindly to anyone who harmed the
earth. The forest was the natural habitat of Gnomes and they knew all
the secrets of each bud, leaf, root, and tree. The Dwarves lived
inside the earth and mined the treasures that were uncovered by dint
of their delving. Skill in metalsmithing developed alongside their
shrewd sense of trading and woe to the person who got between a
Dwarf and his treasure or bested him in a deal.
d. In the early stages of humanity's development, the
personifications of the Elementals lived on the fringes of human
settlements, and developed their own societies and kingdoms.
(1) But as humans started to infringe upon their domains and
closed themselves off to seeing the Elementals, they in turn withdrew
into the higher planes.
(a) Since they were originally expressions of natural
forces on earth, they are bound to it and serve as caretakers for the
earth until humankind is wise enough to care for it without their
(b) Because they were actualized on this plane by the
strength of human thought, they owe a debt of brotherhood to the human
race and will appear and help those humans who learn how to summon
3. Confronting the twin mysteries of Birth and Death, early
humanity was forced to consider the existence of a Supreme Being
responsible for these Mysteries.
a. Why some societies chose to see these forces as warring or
opposite, while others chose to view them as mutually beneficial or
complementary, we can only guess.
(1) What we can be sure of is that a lot of their rituals and
magical acts were motivated by their particular world view.
(a) The body of accepted rituals and magical acts were
codified and served as the basis of the religion which would grow up
to explain how the world began, how someone was supposed to act while
in it, and what happened after s/he died.
4. Imitative and Sympathetic Magic evolved as a means of
influencing the world around the Ancients.
a. These two forms of magic were based on the principles of
mimicry, contagion, and the belief that man is a microcosm of the
(1) Imitative magic is the general category which covers magic
performed on a model,doll or actor representing the real world
counterpart, which is to be affected.
(a) Examples of this type of magic would be cave drawings
depicting successful hunts, love poppets and Voodoo dolls, and the
survival of ancient folk dances wherethe dancer dons the skin and
horns of an animal while the other dancers act out the stalking and
killing of the "sacrifice."
(b) Mimicry of a real life situation, while utilizing parts
of the subject to form a bond is the basis for imitative magic.
(c) Underlying imitative magic is the Theory of Contagion,
which holds that parts of a living being contain the essence of its
life, even after being separated. In simple terms, a magical link
exists between ourselves and our parts.
(d) American Indians and Orientals did not want their
pictures taken, for fear of losing their spirits inside of the camera.
(e) Many of the Grimoires from the Middle-ages warn against
allowing nail clippings, locks of hair, or old articles of clothing to
fall in the hands of your enemies for fear of the harm your enemies
could bring against you by harming them.
(f) As a side note, the dancers in the mummers plays took
great care to ensure that the skins and horns of the animals that were
used in their dances were taken from male animals, this ensured that
the females were left to breed and produce new game for the future.
(2) Sympathetic magic is based on the belief that man is a
miniature reproduction of the universe, that he is the microcosm to
the universes macrocosm.
(a) This is based on the drawing of analogies between two
(b) Many of the important magical analogies are not natural
to most peoples minds today, but have been handed down by tradition
from the remote past.
(c) Salt is used to ward off demons. All demons are
supposed to detest it and no salt should be used in ceremonies
designed to attract them. Salt is anti-demonic because it is a
preservative. Since demons are creatures that corrupt and destroy,
anything that has a preservative quality is contrary to their nature
and is disagreeable to them.
5. Attempts to group observations into a codified system of
relationships resulted in the development of the many Tables of
Correspondences, which have been handed down through the ages and
serve as source documents for creating new rituals.
a. These tables usually ascribe variously corresponding items to
one of the old Astrological Planets.
(1) Each planet is ruled by a Goddess or a God from the local
pantheon and has its own number, color, musical note, metal, gem
stone, hour of the day, herbs and flowers, and attributes.
III. WESTERN TRADITIONS OF CEREMONIAL MAGIC
A. Hermetic Magic
1. This is the main tradition of the West and has been championed
by many secret societies such as the Freemasons, Golden Dawn Society,
and the Builders of Adytum.
a. Franz Bardon has written three volumes of instructions for
aspiring Hermetic Magicians.
2. What we know of Hermetic Magic dates from the first century AD.
a. Hermetic Magic is a mixture of traditions. It combines
Egyptian knowledge with ideas of the Greeks and Jews who lived in
Egypt, principally in Alexandria, at the time of Jesus.
b. These three groups all claimed that the knowledge they held
in common was divinely inspired. There are two different accounts of
how the knowledge had been received.
(1) The first account derives from the apocryphal Book of
(a) In a passage that amplifies Genesis 6:1-5, Enoch tells
how 200 angel descended from heaven to Mount Hermon and took wives
from the "daughters of man."
(b) The angels taught their knowledge to these women and to
the children they bore. For this presumption, the angels were thrown
out of heaven.
(c) Hermetic scholars recognize in this account a parallel
to the myth of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
(d) In the Gnostic interpretation of Adam and Eve's fall,
Jehovah is not The Deity, but a powerful though lesser spirit, who
built the material world and rules over it.
(e) Because of his jealousy and pride Jehovah forbade
knowledge to Adam and Eve hoping they would worship him as the Highest
(f) The serpent, in this interpretation, is not Satan, but
the spirit Ouroboros, sent by Wisdom (Sophia) to liberate the minds of
men and women.
(g) Magical knowledge is thus seen to be a higher and more
pious wisdom than obedience to Jehovah and the serpent Ouroboros, far
from being humankinds enemy, is seen as one of its greatest saviours.
(2) In a second account, magical knowledge came from Hermes
Trismegistus (Thrice Great Hermes) who has given his name to the
(a) Hermes was a god of Greek settlers in Egypt, and was
also identified with the Egyptian God Thoth.
(b) Through the agency of an ancient Egyptian king, this
god gave humankind 42 books of knowledge, of which 14 short fragments,
in Greek, survive.
(c) The most important of these is the Emerald Tablet.
(d) What we derive from Hermes above all is the Doctrine of
Correspondence: "That which is above is like that which is below."
(e) In other words, each man and woman is a small model of
the cosmos. Each mind is a model of the Divine mind.
(f) The four material elements - water, earth, wind and
fire - are models of the four universal principles.
(g) The Ptolemaic scheme of the solar system is a model of
the system of the astral spheres.
(h) The Doctrine of Correspondence is essential to magic,
and to all occult studies.
c. From Hermetic Tradition we derive not only Ceremonial Magic,
but also Alchemy.
(1) Magicians have usually practiced both sciences; and both
are said to have been taught by the angels of the Book of Enoch and by
(a) The difference between them is that, in alchemy, the
magician tries to bring about a special physical manifestation of
ether. This is the Philosophers Stone, the prima materia. With it the
Alchemist can transmute base metals into gold, which is the highest
(b) The Ceremonial Magician on the other hand, manipulates
the ether to call upon spirits and to learn from them.
(c) Obviously, these are two similar, though very different
branches of one science.
B. Faustian Magic
1. Faustian magic is the evocation of demons, and it began to
develop well before the 16th century when Faust lived.
a. We do not know how much Faustian magic the 16th century
wizard, Dr. Johann Faust, actually practiced.
(1) There are several copies extant of a book attributed to
(a) Doctoris Iohannis Fausti magiae maturalis et
innaturalis, printed in Passau in 1505.
b. The most significant of the magical practices advocated by
these books is the use of a book of spirits or Liber Spiritum.
(1) The Liber Spiritum must be written on virgin paper.
(a) On the left hand pages are pictures of demons and on
the right hand pages are oaths that those demons have taken to serve
(b) Each oath is signed by the demons mark.
(c) The book must be consecrated by a priest, who says
three holy masses over it.
2. The process the good doctor had to go through to evoke the
demons and force them to swear oaths to him was very involved.
a. Here is a short biography of Faust.
(1) Johann Faust (ca. 1480 - ca. 1540 ) probably born in
Swabia and was described by a contemporary as "a most filthy beast,
the midden of numberless devils." He was as notorious for his
homosexuality as he was for his reputed pact with Mephistopheles. When
he died there was "a great noise and shaking of the house that
night......In the morning he was found dead, with his neck rung behind
him; the Divell whom he served having carried his soule into Hell."
Although he sold his soul for material gain, he seems to have died in
C. Enochian Magic
1. What we know of Enochian Magic comes from a book called "A True
and Faithful Relation of What Passed For Many Years Between Doctor
John Dee and Some Spirits", edited by Meric Casaubon and published in
a. The book is a memoir of the Welsh scholar John Dee (1527-
1608), concerning the experiments he conducted with the aid of the
psychic Edward Kelley (c. 1553-1595).
(1) John Dee was a mathematician and astrologer at the court
of Elizabeth I of England, while Edward Kelley was a psychic; he was
also probably a sorcerer and necromancer.
b. Dee learned the Kelley had a gift for contacting spirits by
means of crystal gazing, and from 1582 to 1587 he used Kelley in
arduous attempts to learn the wisdom of the angels.
(1) Kelley, for his part, was never sure he was communicating
with angels and he constantly tried to with- draw from the
experiments, but Dee convinced him to continue.
c. Eventually, the spirits (chiefly a guide named Enoch)
communicated through Kelley a spiritual language.
(1) This Enochian language had an alphabet of 21 letters. The
spirits supplied 19 invocations in this language and they translated
these for Dee. They also dictated magical diagrams, primarily squares,
some of them containing as many as 2,401 letters and instructions for
2. Despite the wealth of knowledge it encompassed, Enochian magic
fell into obscurity for many years.
a. It was revived by the Order of the Golden Dawn and is
currently on the market titled "The Book of Enoch", and claims to
present the complete Enochian system in a simplified and easy to use
D. Abramelin Magic
1. This branch of magic is based on an 18th century french
manuscript titled "The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage".
a. Abramelin set forth the semi-Gnostic doctrine that the world
was created and is maintained by demons who work under orders from
(1) A magician given the help of a Guardian Angel, could learn
to control the demons for his own purposes.
(a) An adept depends heavily on word magic in the process
and especially on palindromic magic squares.
IV. THE GREAT BOOKS OF MAGIC
A. All great fairy tales mention the Magic Book of Spells, kept by
the great magicians of times long ago.
1. These are records of incantations and gestures that have been
tried out hundreds of times before and proved to be most effective.
2. Medieval magaicians collected any and all books on magic they
could get their hands on.
a. There was an explosion of magical books in the Middle Ages.
(1) Most were imperfect copies of each other as they were
translated from language to language and back again.
(a) These books were called Grimoires, perhaps an
adulteration of the french word for Grammer, which was applied to
books used to teach the basics of different subjects to the children.
b. Actually there were only about five books of magic which had
any claim whatsoever of being authentic and most of the others were
incomplete, and usually incorrect, copies of these basic five.
B. History of the Grimoires
1. The Testament of Solomon is the first great book of magic known
a. It was published in Greek between 100-400 AD.
(1) Probably copied down by hand in the 2nd century.
(a) Speaking of the book as being published is of course
strictly a convention since all books were hand copied until the
invention of the printing press.
b. This book purports to be Solomon's autobiographical memoir of
the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, which he accomplished with
the slave labor of devils.
(1) With the help of a ring given to him by the angel Raphael,
Solomon bound the vampire devil Ornais and forced him to work on the
(a) Solomon learned the names of the other devils from
Ornias and bound them as well.
(2) By the 12th or 13th century, a list of 51 useful demons
had crept into copies of the Testament of Solomon.
(a) These were demons who could be persuaded to bring
material benefits to the sorcerer.
2. The Key of Solomon is perhaps the most famous of all the
a. There are many versions in various languages.
(1) The bulk of these are in French and Latin, some dating
from the 18th century.
(a) The Grimoire itself is believed to be much older. In the
1st century AD Josephus referred to a book of incantations for
summoning evil spirits supposedly written by Solomon.
(b) A Greek version in the British Museum may date back to
the 12th or 13th century.
b. The Key was prohibited as a dangerous work by the Inquisition
in 1559, although like most books of magic, the local clergy were
allowed to keep (and to use) copies as long as they did not step out
of line and/or defy the authority of Rome.
c. The Key was concerned almost wholly with the practice of
magic for personal gain.
(1) It contained no hierarchy of demons, but it did offer a
system of magic based on the drawing of pentacles, which are five
pointed stars inscribed with charms.
(a) These were grouped according to astrological signs.
(b) The pentacles for Saturn, for instance, were useful for
causing earthquakes, inciting demons to fall upon victims, and in
general bringing about ruin, destruction and death.
3. The Lemegeton, or Lesser Key of Solomon, appeared mot long
after the Key of Solomon.
a. It was divided into four parts.
(a) Wier, Agrippa's pupil was said to have drawn on the
Goetia for his Grimoire called Psuedomonarchia Daemonium.
(2) Theurgia Goetia
(3) The Pauline Art
(4) The Almadel
(a) The Almadel was mentioned in writings dating back to the
b. The Lemegeton included a complete hierarchy of 72 demons,
whom the sorcerer could evoke for his benefit.
c. The origin and meaning of the Lemegeton is unknown.
4. The Constitution of Honorius first appeared in 1629.
a. It was attributed to Pope Honorius III (1216-1227) and its
main contribution was to put a strongly Roman Catholic construction on
(1) Manuscript copies (corrupt ones) of the Constitution of
Honorius made their way to Germany well before 1629. These had been
translated from Latin to French leading some to believe that it had
made its way into France before coming to Germany, where it was
translated from French into German.
b. Elements of the Constitution mingled with certain other
available texts and from these arose the strange mixture of practices
that can properly be called Faustian magic.
5. The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage is another puzzling text
with no definite source.
a. As far as we know, it began as an 18th century French
manuscript, dated 1458, and it claimed to have been translated from
(1) MacGregor Mathers, who founded the Order of the Golden
Dawn, came across the text in the British Museum and translated it
into English. Since then it has had a strong influence on the practice
C. Other Grimoires
1. As previously noted, there was an explosion of Grimoires in the
Middle Ages and they continued to proliferate with the advent of the
a. Most of these Grimoires were rip offs of the Key of Solomon
or later additions by lesser known magicians to works attributed to
well known magicians.
(1) Grimorum Verum, written in French and supposedly published
in Memphis by Alibeck the Egyptian in 1517, although it probably dates
from the 18th centuryand seems to be based on the Key of Solomon.
(2) Grand Grimoire, was written in French and dating from the
(3) The Red Dragon, a version of the Grand Grimoire
(4) True Black Magic or The Secret of Secrets, a French
version of the Key of Solomon published in 1750.
(5) The Arbatel of Magic, published in Latin at Basle,
Switzerland in 1575.
(6) The Black Pullet, supposedly published in Egypt in 1740,
it probably dates from the late 18th century.
(7) The Fourth Book, added to Agrippa's Occult Philosophy
after his death, and rejected by his pupil Wier as a forgery.
(8) The Magical Elements of Heptameron
(a) Attributed to Peter of Abano, who died in 1316. It was
probably written in the 16th century as a supplement to the Fourth
I. THE TRAINING OF A MAGICIAN
A. How Ceremonial Magic Works
1. We have seen that magical texts always appeared in print many
years after they were written.
a. By that time, the texts had become corrupted, secrets had
been suppressed, and whole new doctrines had been grafted onto the
2. The practice of magic is a highly individual matter.
a. A true adept works out his own methods of evocation after
sifting through all the available material and adopting techniques
that resonate with his own inner self.
(1) Magic is an inner discipline. The errors that crept into
the magical texts were errors of form as opposed to errors of
(a) The inner meaning is what gives the work its power.
What matters is the magician's state of mind, which produces the
psychic force he invests in the invocation.
3. Before one can practice magic he must attain a high level of
development in the mental, psychic and physical planes.
a. In order to practice ceremonial magic it is necessary to
strengthen and develop the physical and etheric.
(1) Become expert in the techniques of astral travel and psi.
(a) And master the symbols of the Universal Mind in all
4. Magicians are reputed to be able to make spirits appear and
talk to them face to face, materialize balls of fire or watery globes
and set them to work, penetrate people's minds, and travel to the
farthest parts of the world as quickly as thought.
a. They area said to be able to do these things by mastering the
use of the universal energy called ether.
(1) Some call the universal energy AKASHA which is a Sanskrit
word meaning bright or shining.
(2) Ether is not matter, but it is the origin, or substratum,
of all matter.
(a) It infuses the entire universe. The universe being
considered to be nothing but ether in its various states of existence.
(3) Ether emanates directly from the Deity. At its purest, the
point at which it is closest to the Deity, it is pure light.
(a) As it emanates outward in all directions it becomes
more and more gross.
(b) The different levels of what we call the astral plane
are levels of ether.
(c) What we call the material plane is the lowest, grossest
form of ether.
5. Magicians use the Ptolemaic scheme of the universe as a map of
the etheric levels.
a. In this scheme, the universe is made up of 10 astral spheres
and four material spheres.
b. It is further grouped into the Higher Astral, Lower Astral,
and the Material Planes.
(1) The Higher Astral Plane
(a) Primum Mobile (First Mover)
(b) Crystal firmament
(c) Fixed stars
(2) The Lower Astral Plane
(3) The Material Plane
c. In describing the Material plane magician use the ancient
division of four elements: earth, water, air and fire.
(1) Ether serves as the fifth element or (in Latin) the quinta
essentia, or quintessence.
(a) Because ether (or akasha or quintessence) has no bounds
of time or space, anyone who learns to use it will be able to
penetrate all levels of the universe thoroughly and instantly.
(b) The magician who is adept in his craft can thus work
equally well on the mental, astral, and material planes.
B. The Apprenticeship
1. It is possible to stumble across your hidden talents, but it is
better to follow a set course of study in magic.
a. This provides guidance along the way and because you are
following a path that has been trodden before, you will come across
milestones that will help you gauge your progress.
b. The following information is derived from a 10-stage program
of initiation based on the contemporary German magician Franz Bardon's
book Initiation into Hermetics.
2. Before you begin you must give up the idea that you own your
a. Most people believe their thoughts are part of their minds,
just as their hands are a part of their bodies.
(1) Your thoughts live freely in your mind, just as wild
animals roam freely through a forest.
(a) Each mind is connected to the Universal Mind and
thoughts, as well as thought-forms, swim through it occasionally
surfacing in this mind and that.
(b) This concept must be mastered if you are to understand
and master the process of magical evocation.
b. The spirits you will evoke inhabit your mind just as
independently as your thoughts. They live in your mind because it is a
part of the Universal Mind.
(1) For this reason if you evoke a spirit of the sphere Venus,
it will not arrive from outer space but from within your own mind.
(a) The spirits originate in the mind but they are quite
real. The spirits do appear and work on the material plane, but you
must look within yourself for them.
(b) The point is that whatever you seek must be looked for
within, for you only delude yourself when you look for the answers
3. Once you have grasped the material above fully, you can begin
the ten stages of the initiation.
a. tThe exercises will prepare you menetally, psychically, and
physically for the practice of magic.
(1) Mental- Now that you are awarea that your thoughts are
like living beings, you must become more awaare of them. Meditation,
perhaps coupled with yoga, is a good way of doing this.
END LESSON 4
I. THE MEANING OF RITUAL IN WORKING MAGIC
A. The Need to Change the Wiring in our Brains.
1. Learning to work magic requires that a certain amout of
neurological re-patterning of our brains takes place.
a. To be effective, we have to change the way we use our brains.
(1) Magic requires the development and integration of the
right hemisphere way of thinking with the left hemisphere way of
(a) The spacial, intuitive and holistic patterns of
awareness that characterize the right hemisphere modes of
consciousness must be able to communicate and work in harmony with the
verbal, analytical and linear patterns of awareness so characteristic
of the left hemisphere.
(b) A person's growth, creativity and personality is deeply
influenced during this process and it eventually leads to a person who
is truly functional as a whole person.
B. The language of magic is expressed in symbols and images.
1. Images bridge the gap between the verbal and non-verbal modes
a. Symbols and images implant certain ideas in Younger Self who
passes them on to High Self.
(1) By allowing the critical and analytical functions of
Talking Self to relax, Younger Self may respond fully and emotionally
to what happens during your magical workings.
(a) Ritual, which is defined as "a specific set of images
and symbols attached to certain actions", allows us to deliberately
alter our states of consciousness so that we may perform works of
2. All humans relate to their environment through symbols and
a. Except during rare occasions, we do not experience our
(1) Our left hemisphere patterning awareness developed so we
could safely ignore anything in our environment which was not
(a) A direct benefit of this survival tactic was the
ability to concentrate, which allowed us to examine the world around
us and led to experimentation.
(b) Experimentation led to better ways of doing things,
such as making tools, and technology was born. It has served as a goad
and a goal since then.
b. The way our left hemisphere works is fascinating
(1) Working as a filter of all the stimuli coming into the
various senses of a human, the left hemisphere examines everything
closely and then files the new sensory data away as images, tastes,
smells, etc. where it stays in memory.
(a) The majority of this activity occurs when we are young
and enchanted with the world around us.
(b) Maturity is usually judged by the degree to which your
enthusiasm for examining the world around you has diminished.
(c) Ironically, when you become too mature, you withdraw
from the world around you and lose interest, this is usually marked by
a tendency to live in your memories instead of the present. This
condition is called old age and people who give in to living in the
past are called senile.
(d) Those of us who never lose our sense of wonder toward
all the world has to offer are often accused of having never 'grown
up' or if, we have managed to live long enough, to be going through
our 'second childhood.'
(2) As we approach something in our normal everyday
activities we receive an image from our eyes and a part of our brain
searches through our memory for an image that matches the one at which
we are looking.
(a) If there is already an image on file, even if it is
not a perfect match, the image on file is fed to that part of our
brain which 'sees' what we are approaching.
(b) In this instance, assuming that we have not associated
the image in memory with something dangerous, we will walk past the
object without paying it any attention or actually seeing the object.
(c) If there is not an image on file we will stop and
examine the new object as if we were seeing it for the first time,
which we are.
(d) Then having classified and categorized it, we then
file it away in our memory for future reference and continue on our
way, oblivious to our surroundings.
(3) This behavior allows us to concentrate on more abstract
things than worrying if our favorite armchair is going to have us for
(a) An extension of this type of behavior is the
formation of habits. Habits are ways of interacting with our
environment, based on assumptions made using our stored images and
experiences as a true picture of reality.
(b) In effect, habits are pre-programmed responses to
(4) A little known fact relating to habits is that habits do
fulfill a psychological need.
(a) And you cannot break a habit, you can only replace it
with another that meets that same psychological need.
II RITUAL ETIQUETTE
a. The Ritual Bath
1. Before performing a ritual it is necessary to prepare yourself
for the work ahead.
a. A ritual bath washes away the dirt and grime of the everyday
world along with the tensions of the mundane world
(1) Draw a hot bath and add some essence, oils or perfume that
makes you feel good.
(a) If you have studied the uses of oils and scents in
magic, you might want to tune your additives to the work to be done.
(2) Turn off all the lights and light a single white taper.
(a) Make sure that it is in a candle holder that will
handle it without you worrying about it setting fire to anything or
spilling wax where you do not want it. Votive candles and holders work
very well for this.
(3) Light a stick of incense or place some on a glowing coal
in a censer that you can pick up.
(4) Place some sea salt in a white dish or small bowl.
(a) Being so close to the sea (southern California) it is
easy to collect sea salt by just taking some ocean water home and
letting it evaporate in the direct sunlight until all that is left is
the salt crystals.
(b) If you cannot get sea salt, you might want to use some
iodized or rock salt from the market. It is essentially the same thing
but personally I like the idea of making or collecting my own salt.
(5) You should have some purified water in a cup or vial.
(a) Fresh spring water or stream water is ideal but most
of us living in the desert have to make due with bottled water from
(b) Rain water, collected, strained, and kept in glass
bottles is a good substitute.
(c) It is definitely preferred that you not use tap water
because of the additives in it.
b. The following is a very simple ritual for consecrating the
(1) Lock the doors and unplug the phone.
(a) This is to ensure that you are not disturbed.
(2) Once the bath is drawn and any oils have been added to it
as desired, take the candle and make three slow passes over the water
as you say the following evocation.
(a) "By this creature of fire do I purify this ritual bath.
May all impurities flee before its light."
(b) Set the candle down so that it is out of the way but
still sheds light on your work.
(3) Take up the dish of salt and, sprinkling three pinches of
the salt into the water say the following.
(a) "By this creature of earth do I purify this ritual
bath. All impure creatures may not approach it."
(4) Set the dish of salt aside and pick up the incense or
censer and make three passes over the water as you say the following
(a) "By this creature of Air do I purify this ritual bath.
May my hopes and aspirations rise upon the smoke to be carried by the
winds to the Lady."
(5) Set the incense aside and pick up the water. Pour the
water into the bath. You may form patterns that appeal to you if you
like. Say the following.
(a) "By this creature of water do I purify this ritual
bath. May this bath contain the Waters of Life that spring forth from
the Heart of the Mother."
(6) Settle into the bath and soak until the water starts to
get too cold to stay in or until you have fully relaxed and left the
tensions of the world behind, which ever comes first.
(a) This is a good time to meditate on the work you wish to
(7) Dry off with a freshly cleaned white towel, that has been
allowed to dry in the sunlight if possible.
(a) Again, the color of the towel can be coordinated with
the work you intend to do. I prefer large bath sheets that I can wrap
around myself until I am ready to dress.
(8) Apply any anointing oils that you plan to wear and dress
in fresh clean clothes, or in robes if you do not have to travel to
your working site.
c. There are provisions made for 'emergency' ritual baths in the
event that you cannot take a real bath.
(1) These usually involve dousing yourself with specially
prepared solutions that serve the purpose.
(a) These are not favored as they do not allow any time for
relaxation and meditation.
(b) Any good 'formulary' should have the recipe for instant
ritual bath solutions.
B. Handling Ritual Tools
1. A Witch's tools are more personal than her toothbrush.
a. Generally, it is considered extremely bad form to handle
another persons tools without prior permission.
(1) Some witches charge their tools so that others who handle
them incorrectly can receive a nasty jolt of psychic power to teach
them to keep their hands to themselves. Personally, I do not approve
of this practice as it may result in harming someone too innocent to
know that they should not be handling the tools.
2. Some Covens maintain ritual tools that they only allow their
own members to handle.
a. If you are a guest, it is always best to avoid offending
anyone by not handling anything unless it is specifically offered to
C. Entering and Leaving the Circle
1. A witch's magic circle is designed to keep the power raised
within it contained and concentrated.
a. Leaving and entering the circle during the ritual tends to
weaken it and for this reason it is not encouraged.
(1) Animals and small children can pass through the barrier of
the circle because they live in a 'state of grace' under the
protection of the Goddess.
(a) Even so, animals and children should be kept out of the
ritual area unless they are a specific part of the ritual because they
b. When it cannot be helped, the High Priestess will open, or
'cut' a door in the circle so that people who need to, can pass into
or out of it.
(1) Naturally, after the person has passed through the High
Priestess will set a guard or close (seal) the circle.
c. Walking across the barriers of the circle is considered to be
extremely disrespectful and only someone who wants to test the
patience of the High Priestess will do it knowingly.
D. Movement Within the Circle
1. Movement within the circle is in accordance to the order found
a. As you face South you can track the Sun and Moon from your
Left to your Right.
(1) This is the order of how we move in the circle, from side
to side when doing things such as lighting candles, etc.
b. Continuing the movement from the West to the North and back
to the East we have inscribed a circle in a clockwise or Deosil (for
'as the sun travels') motion.
(1) Deosil is the direction the Circle is cast in, and all
circular movement within the Circle should be in a clockwise
(a) There are times when we would move in a counter
clockwise direction but that would be only under the specific
directions of the High Priestess and even then only after explaining
why we were doing it.
(b) The general rule is "Always move in a clockwise
2. Each Coven maintains its own practices for giving salutes
during invocations, evocations and blessings.
a. Invoking and banishing pentagrams are also used in setting up
the Circle and during other rituals acts.
(1) Imitating the others in the group is a 'safe' way to avoid
any social blunders.
(a) When in doubt, do not do anything that you feel
III CREATING MEANINGFUL RITUALS.
A. Creating Sacred Space
1. We define a new space and a new time whenever we cast a Circle
in the Craft to begin a ritual.
a. The Circle exists outside the boundaries of ordinary space
and time. We say it is between the worlds of the seen and the unseen.
(1) It is a space in which alternate realities meet, in which
the past and future are open to us.
b. Casting the Circle is an enacted meditation.
(1) We create an energy form which serves as a boundary that
limits and contains the movement of subtle forces.
(a) In group work, it is usually the High Priestess or her
assistant who casts the Circle.
2. Casting the Circle is the formal beginning of the ritual.
a. It is the complex 'cue' that tells us to switch our awareness
into a deeper mode.
(1) In ritual, we 'suspend disbelief' just as we do when we
are watching a play or reading fiction.
3. In the permanent stone circles of the Megalithic era, where
rituals were enacted for hundreds of years, great reservoirs of power
were built up.
a. There was no need to draw out the circle as we do today,
because the stones defined the sacred space.
(1) Casting a temporary circle as we do today probably began
during the time of persecution when tearing down stone circles was a
popular sport of christian mobs.
(a) To further the 'destruction' of our circles, the church
ordered that christian churches be erected over the old sacred spots
in the countryside.
B. Evoking The Guardians of the Watchtowers
1. The concept of the quartered circle is basic to the craft, as
it is to many cultures and religions.
a. The four directions each correspond to and resonate with a
quality of the self, to an Element, a time of day and year, to tools
of the craft, symbolic animals and forms of personal power.
(1) These correspondences are usually set down in a table
similar to the one in the back of The Spiral Dance and provide the
basis for visualizations throughout the ritual.
(a) Constant visualizations of these connections create
deep internal links, so much so that physical actions during ritual
can trigger the desired inner states.
2. The Guardians of the Watchtowers are energy forms.
a. They are the Spirits or Wraiths of the four Elements.
(1) They bring the elemental energy of Earth, Air, Fire, and
Water into the circle to augment our human power.
(a) The vortex of power created when we evoke the four
Quarters guards the circle from intrusions and draws in the higher
powers of the Goddess and God.
C. Each Movement in a Ritual has Meaning
1. When we move deosil or sunwise we follow the direction the sun
appears to move in, and draw in power.
a. Deosil is the direction of increase, of fortune favour and
(1) When we move widdershins, or counter clockwise, we move
against the path of the sun.
(a) This direction is used for decrease or banishing.
D. Cosmic Power Times
1. Some traditions assign one of the four seasons to each of the
a. When this is done, they will orient their altar to face that
quarter which represents the season that is being honored.
(1) Tthe East is associated with Air and the Spring, South is
associated with Fire and Summer, West with Water and the Autumn and
the North with Earth and Winter.
2. Depending on the time of day or night, some traditions
encourage facing towards one of the four directions to draw power and
perform magic appropriate to the Element used.
a. From sunrise to noon you should face East, Noon until sunset
face South, sunset to midnight face West and midnight to sunrise face
E. Raising the Cone of Power
1. Energy is raised in coven rituals and most often molded into
the form of a Cone.
a. This is called the Cone of Power. The base of the cone is the
circle of coveners; its apex can focus on an individual, an object, or
a collectively visualized image.
(1) At times the cone is allowed to rise and fall naturally
without being sent anywhere.
(a) At these times the cone is used to renew the coveners
(2) It may also be sent off in a burst of Force, directed by
one person who may be a part of the circle or may stand in the center
serving as the focal point.
b. Rhythmical drumming, hand claps and dance movements may all
be used to raise the Cone of Power.
IV. FORMAT OF A TYPICAL RITUAL
A. Creating Sacred Space
1. The High Priestess or assistant casts the circle.
a. The circle can be marked out by stones, chalk, salt or any
other natural material.
(1) No one is allowed to enter the circle until it has been
(a) Once cast, other members of the ritual enter the circle
through a pre-arranged 'door' in the circle. Usually in the north.
B. Evoking the Guardians of the Watchtowers
1. The guardians are evoked, one at a time and welcomed.
a. The circle can be purified by that Element assigned to each
Guardian, as the Guardian is evoked or later, after all the Guardians
have been evoked.
C. Invoking the Goddess and the God
1. Many traditions invoke the Goddess in all their rituals.
a. Some invoke the Goddess and God at Sabbats and the Goddess
only at Esbats.
(1) Some traditions invoke either the Goddess or the God, in
accordance with the Season.
1. The ritual feast can consist of eating a simple meal of ritual
cakes and wine or a full blown feast in honor of the Goddess and God
and the season.
a. It is traditional to pour a libation from the chalice out
onto the ground 'for the Goddess' before anyone else has a drink.
(1) Some traditions have a modest meal of cakes and wine and
then, after the circle is over, settle down for some serious feasting.
E. Working Magic/Raising the Cone
1. Any magical work or healing is usually done at this time.
F. Grounding of the Cone of Power
1. Some traditions perform a ritual to rejuvenate the Earth Mother
by grounding any unused energy raised during the formation of the Cone
G. Thanking the Goddess and/or the God
1. A formal declaration of thanks for attending the rites and for
any special favors granted.
H. Thanking and releasing the Guardians
1. A formal thanking and leave taking of the Guardians.
I. Closing the circle
1. Either the circle will be banished so that it cannot be
discovered or a maintenance spell will be placed upon it to allow it
to retain and grow in power.
END OF LESSON 5
I PHILOSOPHY OF CONSTRUCTION
A. Well to do Crafters
1. Well to do crafters, who have the ability to pay for fine
workmanship, may buy only the finest articles made of silver and gold.
a. Following the belief in the law of contagion, they will set
aside their tools and use them solely for their magical work.
(1) Many have velvet or silk covers made for the tools which
will keep them nice and shiny with a minimum of polishing.
B. Garden Variety Kitchen Witches
1. These people place more value on making their own tools, even
if they are not the prettiest to look at.
a. They feel the tools become charged with their will as they
are formed by their minds and hands.
(1) Many times the tools will do double duty in the kitchen
and it takes someone who knows how the tools are used to figure out
that they are magical.
(a) This necessitates that the equipment be reconsecrated
each time they are to be used for magic ritual.
(b) A direct benefit of this is that you get lots of
practice in consecrating tools. And you inject a certain amount of
magic into your everyday life.
II. NAMES AND THE USES OF THE VARIOUS TOOLS
1. The Ceremonial Robe
a. Most traditions adopt a robe of a particular color.
(1) This serves the same purpose of going skyclad, in that it
makes everyone more or less equal.
(a) Colors tend toward symbolizing purity (white)
identifying with nature (green) or camouflage for outdoor work (brown
b. The robe is usually hooded for outdoor use but many crafters
who only work inside use robes of a lightweight material with no hood.
(1) The robe is supposed to be made of a natural fiber such as
cotton and sewn by the owners own hand.
(a) Some witches will say a blessing over each stitch which
helps them concentrate their magical will on the purpose of the robe
as they are making it.
(b) Having someone who is good at sewing or using a sewing
machine to make the robe is not unknown, although rigid purists would
probably turn their noses up at the idea.
c. To ensure that the robe retains its ability to trigger
subliminal responses it is only worn for ritual purposes and usually
stored in a chest set aside for ritual equipment when not being used.
(1) Many traditions adopt a specific incense with a distinct
aroma for their ritual work and the robe absorbs the scent.
(a) The scent can be another subliminal trigger.
2. The Cingulum or Cord.
a. This is a cord, usually braided, which is worn about the
waist and tied in a simple knot.
(1) The cingulum symbolized the witchs' bond to the Goddess
and is used in knot magic and binding rituals.
(a) It is usually made of a natural fiber such as cotton,
silk or wool.
(b) Some traditions favor one color for all members (such
as red) while other traditions prefer a different color for each
(c) When there are different colors for each degree the
highest achieved is worn or all cords earned are worn braided
(d) The length is traditionally tied to laying out a
typical circle with a nine foot diameter. Some cords are 9 feet long
and others are a little longer than 4 1/2 feet long.
(e) To lay out a nine foot diameter circle with the shorter
cord the witch would mark the center of the circle with a stick or
athalme and tie one end of the cord to it. She would then use the
other end to measure out the circumference of the circle by walking
around it with the cord held taut.
3. The Cloak
a. This is a large loose fitting cloak or cape of heavy material
with a hood.
(1) The color is usually black, dark blue or grey.
(a) This is a totally functional piece of equipment. It was
worn as a witch travelled to the Covenmeet. It allowed her to blend
into the shadows of the night.
(b) Having the ability to disappear into the surrounding
shadows of a forest at night while wearing this cloak led to the
belief that witches had the ability to turn invisible.
(c) As night wore into dawn, the cloak was worn to keep
away the chill of morning on the return trip. Sometimes a lining of a
common color such as brown was sown into the cloak so that it could be
worn inside out on the return during daylight.
1. The Necklace
a. Almost all statues of the Goddess from ancient times depict
Her as wearing a necklace.
(1) For this reason a modern female witch may wear a necklace
as a sign of her attachment to the Goddess.
(a) The necklace is made of a natural substance such as a
strand of amber beads alternating with beads of jet, or seashells.
(b) A necklace made of acorns incorporates the connection
with the Goddess, and the God, whose tree is the oak and the acorn is
an ancient symbol of fertility.
(c) Necklaces with symbols that make the witch feel
'witchy' are very common and they are usually fashioned of silver
which is the Lady's metal.
(2) In most traditions the male witch is not required to wear
a necklace, but when he chooses to it might be silver in
identification with the Goddess.
(a) Or gold in identification with the God. Designs could
be traditional, like a torc or pentagram or anything else that appeals
2. The Bracelet
a. Some traditions use bracelets as magical amulets and female
witches, especially high priestesses, will wear copper bracelets which
help them to identify with the solar aspects of the Goddess or the
3. The Ring
a. I have no knowledge of any tradition that requires its
members to wear a particular ring.
(1) Most witches have a favorite 'magic' ring that they like
to wear during rituals.
(a) Most magical texts contain numerous instructions on how
to construct and decorate magical rings to bind demons, cloud minds of
people around you, and turn you invisible.
(b) The drawback to these is that you must learn to design
and cast your own jewelry. Not to mention getting the gold and other
precious metals and stones required in the formulas.
4. The Garter
a. Most properly an article of clothing, the garter has come to
be used as a badge of office rather than a necessity for holding up
(1) There is a cave painting from the paleolithic era showing
a male shaman, dressed in his robes and surrounded by his tribe, as
they perform a magical ritual and, while his legs are bare, a garter
is very plainly shown around each thigh.
(2) The garter may have been used as a talisman at one time,
as noted above, but today it is used to designate status in the Pagan
(a) A silver buckle is added to the garter when ever a
Priestess leaves the mother coven. The High Priestess of the mother
coven may then add a buckle to her garter to symbolize this hiving off
of a new coven.
(3) There is a story about a ball that King Edward the Third
of England gave. During this ball the dancing apparently got pretty
wild and one of the Lady's of the Court lost her Garter.
(a) The King picked it up and tied it on his own leg and
spoke the words "Shame to him who thinks ill of it."
(b) This was the basis for the Order of the Garter, which
is perhaps the oldest Order of Knighthood in Britain. The Kings words
became the motto of the Order;
"Hont soit qui mal y pense."
5. The Moon Crown
a. Ancient statues of Diana show her with a band about her head
and a crescent moon affixed to it across her forehead, to show her
dominion over the moon which is her celestial sphere.
(1) High Priestess are crowned with a Moon Crown during the
invocation of the Goddess. This serves as a reminder that she speaks
for the Goddess and acknowledges the High Priestesses connection with
6. The Horned Helmet
a. The God is a Horned God, and when He is invoked into the High
Priest during ritual the Priest is crowned with the Horned Helmet, for
essentially the same reasons.
(1) Horns were the original form that crowns took as they
represented the virility of the leader of the tribe which was
important to its survival.
(a) The words for 'horns' and 'crown' were the same in
Hebrew, and when Michaelangelo did his research for his statue of
Moses he was unaware of this and that is why his statue shows Moses
(2) Once tribal society gave way to urban society crowns were
fashioned in the shape of buildings, with a defensive wall around
(3) Crowns did not start to resemble the religious crowns of
the Catholic Church, with its attendant orbs and crosses, until the
false Donation of Constantine was created in 754 CE.
(a) Before this, a King was chosen by his people and
recognized by the Church. After the "Donation of Constantine" the
Bishop of Rome was recognized as the "Vicar of Christ" and vested with
the power to create Kings and Emperors.
(b) It is from the "Donation of Constantine" that the
subsequent power of the Vatican in secular affairs ultimately derives.
a. Candles are used for their light and their flame as the
symbol of the highest manifestation of ether on the material plane.
(1) Most altar setups use two candles for polarity
(a) They can both be white or one white and the other red
(2) Some altar setups use a single white candle called the
(a) This is the first lit and all other candles, as well as
the incense used, are lit from this candle.
(b) The Maiden Candle is usually kept in a holder that
allows it to be picked up and moved about the circle without danger of
spilling hot wax.
(c) It can be used as the symbol of fire when purifying the
circle and as a portable light as needed.
(3) Most traditions use candles to mark the four quarters of
(a) Colored candles to match the Elements they represent
are sometimes used instead of the traditional white.
(b) Some practical-minded witches, with the wherewithal to
do so, use polynesian kerosene powered torches for their outdoor
circles at the four quarters.
a. Most traditions adopt a particular scent that becomes a
subliminal trigger for them.
(1) Just about any incense will do, as long as it is pleasant
and does not produce too much smoke.
(a) Typical incenses are Frankincense and Myrrh
combinations and Sandlewood.
(2) In older times, some of the incenses were compounded using
mildly hallucinogenic plants, but todays incenses are used mostly to
scent the air.
(a) Although I have seen incenses used that were also
prepared so as to drive away night insects.
3. Annointing Oils
a. Used in annointings and blessings.
(1) It can be as simple as a good quality olive oil or as
complex as a fine mixture of rare essence oils.
(a) One advantage of working skyclad is that you don't
collect oil splotches on your robe from repeated annointings.
(b) Of course, you can always remove your robe for the
annointings, but then it is up to personal and group discretion.
D. Working Tools
1. Athame (ath-ay-me) or Athalme (ah-thal-may)
a. This is the witches basic working tool
(1) It is a steel bladed knife, usually with an edge on both
sides, and a black handle.
(a) Some old-time ones were made of chipped flint with the
handle made of twine or a small rope made from plants, which was then
died black with berry juice.
(b) Some modern ones have a bone handle or a deer hoof for
b. The Athame is a physical symbol of the witch's magical will.
(1) A knife was probably the first efficient cutting tool
developed by humans with which they could kill their game.
(a) Just as the dog was the first wild animal that mankind
domesticated, the knife was the first truly human piece of technology.
(b) It is used in the circle as a symbol of authority and a
badge of faith.
(c) Because the steel was forged in fire, the athame is
typically ascribed to resonate with the element of Fire.
(d) Although there are traditions that assign it to the
element of Air.
2. The Sword
a. More popular with Ceremonial Magicians, the sword can be seen
as a large version of the athame or the athame can be viewed as a
small version of the sword.
(1) Most covens possess only one sword which is community
property. It is rare that an individual witch will own their own
(a) In earlier times, everyone was expected to own a knife,
it and the spoon were the main eating utensils before the fork was
developed. Only people of the nobility or of high rank were allowed to
carry a sword because it was considered a weapon of aggression.
(2) As with the athame, the element of the sword is thought to
b. The sword, if used, can be used to cast the circle and during
the initiation rituals.
(1) Some people like to use a sword instead of an athame but I
find it gets crowded enough with thirteen people jammed into a nine
foot diameter circle, without having someone swinging a sword this way
3. The Boleen or Boline
a. This is the witches white handled knife, used for fashioning
(1) You may think of it as a magical pocketknife, although it
is not usually a folding knife.
(a) With the large amount of tools available today, ranging
from simple hand-tools to Dremel mini powered tools, it is not very
common to see a boleen in use today.
4. The Kerfan
a. This is the traditional golden sickle, which the Druids were
fond of using to cut mistletoe.
(1) Not many traditions use a Kerfan today, but those with a
Druidic leaning might favor them.
5. The Rod or Riding Pole (Broomstick)
a. The Rod served many purposes in the olden times.
(1) It was a walking stick in days when everything was not
paved over with concrete.
(a) And what with the desire to escape the city for
rituals, it still does a pretty good job.
(2) It usually represented a phallus and the end that was not
touching the ground was carved to enhance this effect.
(a) The practice of using it as a riding pole during
fertility rituals is self-explanatory.
(b) During the dances, the witches would leap amongst the
grain in the fields astride their 'broomsticks' to show how high they
wanted the crops to grow. This led to the belief that witches fly on
(3) In addition to camouflaging the pole so as not to offend
outsiders, tying bunches of broom plants to the end of the Rod
provided a practical tool for sweeping the twigs and leaves from
around the area that the witch wished for her circle.
(a) As a side note, the people who did not understand the
purpose of the Rod, but had seen it used in dances, turned it around
so that the 'broom' part was going away, behind the witch, as she rode
it in their illus- trations.
b. Traditionally, the Rod was cut from a tree that was sacred to
the Goddess or the God.
(1) Practically any good hardwood will serve.
6. The Magic Wand
a. Like the Riding Pole, the magic wand is really a phallus,
which serves as the symbol of the virility of its wielder.
(1) It is also traditionally cut from a tree which is sacred
to the Goddess or God.
(a) The Key of Solomon says that the wand should be cut
from a hazel or nut tree, and that the tree should be virgin (no more
than one years growth.)
(b) The wand is to be cut with a single stroke on the day
of Mercury at sunrise.
(c) Some traditions require that it be cut using a golden
b. The traditional length is from the tip of the middle finger
of the right hand to the tip of the elbow.
(1) This made it easier to hide in a robes sleeve.
c. The wand is considered a tool of persuasion rather than
command, and in most traditions is assigned the Element Air.
(1) Although, in those traditions that assign Air to the
athame and Sword, the element Fire is assigned to the Riding Pole and
7. The Pentacle
a. In magic, a pentacle is a mandalla or focal point for the
work it encompasses.
(1) Most pentacles were made of a maleable material, such as
wax or cast in the metal corresponding to the astronomical planet that
the Magician was evoking in his/her works.
b. In most traditions of the craft, the pentacle is an Earth
pentacle incorporating the symbols that are meaningful to the members
of the tradition.
(1) It is the centerpiece of the altar, on which objects are
consecrated; the water and salt bowls are placed upon it for blessing.
c. Some traditions call it a Moon Pentacle, and the symbols,
while basically the same, are carved into a silver disc.
(1) The idea being that consecration and blessing is performed
in direct contact with the Goddess.
(a) The silver metal of the pentacle providing the link
necessary for contagion.
d. When the pentacle is an Earth pentacle, it is usually made of
a metal such as copper.
(1) It is normally round, and 5-6 inches in diameter.
8. The Scourge
a. Typically, a whip made of a handle of nutwood and eight tails
of cords with five knots tied in each tail.
(1) The scourge has two uses.
(a) Symbolic, a sign of power and domination.
(b) And for gentle, monotonous, semi-hypnotic application
to affect the blood circulation as an aid to 'gaining the Sight.'
9. The Cauldron
a. The cauldron was one of the most useful items in the
(1) It was essential for cooking, brewing, processing many
kinds of food and medicines, treating hides, washing, dyeing, making
household items like soap and candles, and carrying water or fire.
(a) It's small wonder that the broom and cauldron became
the two most widely recognized symbols of a woman's dominion over
domestic matters as represented by hearth and home.
b. The cauldron is an essential symbol of the Craft and embodies
sacred truths that reflect the witch's world view.
(1) Seen as a 'cooking pot' the cauldron was endlessly
churning, turning, a boiling matrix, a soup of elemental raw materials
in the cosmic womb.
(a) The cauldron represents the stuff of creation, the
Mother's eternal flux.
(b) The cauldron symbolizes creation, that occurs not just
once as in some other religions, but constantly, as long as the
(2) But the cauldron was not only a symbol for the womb of the
Mother. It was also a symbol of abundance.
(a) Just a Nature overproduces to assure the survival of a
species, the cauldron is seen as an endless source of nourishment for
the followers of the Goddess.
(b) The Cauldron of Danu kept by the Dagda.
(3) The cauldron was also seen as the source of wisdom,
inspiration, understanding and magic.
(a) Both Western and Eastern myths insisted that the
aspiring Father God was obliged to steal his power and/or wisdom from
some version of the Mother's vessel.
(b) Odin managed to drink the Wise Blood from the three
cauldrons in the womb of Earth (Erda), by tricking the 'giantess' who
was tending them, and taking the sacred substance when she wasn't
looking. He was also able to illegally acquire knowledge of reading
and writing the runes, mastery of magic, shape-shifting ability, and
understanding of cosmic matters which were formerly the Goddess's
(c) In India, the sky god Indra also stole Wise Blood, from
Triple Kali's three cauldrons.
(d) The Welsh stories of the Tale of Gwion Bach, and the
Tale of Taliesin present Cerridwen as a witch who brews up a potion in
her cauldron to give her son magical abilities. The boy she has
tending the fire for a year and a day gets splattered and burned on
the hand by the brew and sticks his fingers into his mouth. He then
goes through some difficult times as he shape-changes to escape the
pursuing Cerridwen, until finally she catches and consumes him, and
nine moths later gives birth to Taliesin.
(4) A worldwide cycle of myths reveals that the cauldron was
also a symbol of rebirth.
(a) Mycenaean Demeter made a god of the sacri- ficial
victim Pelops by resurrecting him from her magic cauldron.
(b) This sort of magic was still attributed to the female
Trinity of the Fates in the late Roman Empire.
(c) Irish Celtic mythology speaks of a cauldron owned by
Bran which would restore dead warriors to life.
(d) Welsh mythology also has a similar cauldron known as
the Black Cauldron.
(5) All over Britain, both Pagans and Christians alike
continued to utilize the ancient holy wells and springs, especially
those in the earth-womb caves, or those whose waters bubbled and
boiled like seething cauldrons.
(a) This was because their Pagan ancestors regarded such
places as healing shrines. The ancient peoples thought them earthly
manifestations of the cosmic womb, where all life could be endlessly
c. Traditionally the cauldron is made of cast copper or cast
iron, with a bail so that it could be suspended over a fire on a
tripod, and had three feet or legs in remem- brance of the Triple
Goddess whose womb it represents.
(1) It is not unusual today to see a fire kindled inside of a
cauldron in deference to fire safety.
E. Altar Equipment
1. The Altar
a. Usually a table or some other handy item, which is large
enough to hold all the necessary equipment and flat enough to keep
everything from rolling off.
(1) Some traditions like to use a square or cube which
represents the material world, while others insist that it be round
like the circle.
(a) Square and rectangular shapes are also popular since
they are more common within the average home.
(b) As with so many other things, going with what you've
got and feel comfortable with, works just fine.
b. Some traditions feel that the altar top should be made of
slate or some other stone, while others prefer the light weight of
(1) If it is a permanent altar outside you might just want to
make it all out of stone and cement.
c. Something that is often overlooked is that the altar should
be tall enough not to give you a backache as you work over it.
d. Some people like to use different colored table runners or
cloths to cover the altar, while others prefer a 'bare' altar top.
(1) Personally, I prefer runners and cloths that are color
coordinated for the season and I am not above placing flowers and
fruits of the season on the altar.
a. There should be two candles on the altar for polarity.
(1) Depending on your orientation, you will want to use either
silver candlestick holders or gold, copper or some other solar metal.
(2) The candles represent the polarity of the Goddess and the
(a) They should be either both white or one white and the
other red or black. White is for purity and black is for the shadow.
Red can be substituted for black if black has too many negative
connotations for you, since red represents the love and passion of the
(b) It has been known for people to use red and green
candles, but I prefer to use white on the altar and colored candles
for the four Quarters of the circle.
3. Censer or Bowl of Incense
a. A censer can be as elaborate as those that the Catholic
Church employs or as practical as a small hanging pot from the garden
shed that has some sand in it to keep the incense from burning the
(1) Incense burners from curio shops are handy, but you should
be able to either pick them up or place sticks of incense in them.
(a) I prefer to use incense burners that have three legs in
accordance with the tradition associated wit the cauldron.
4. The Bell
a. The Bell is used to draw the Elementals, particularly the
Sylphs, to your rituals.
(1) Some people prefer bells with clappers while others like
bells that must be struck.
5. The Pentacle
a. Although we have already spoken of the Pentacle, it is
usually thought of as a piece of altar equipment, and so it is
mentioned it here.
6. Small Cauldron or Bowl of Water
a. It should be half-filled with spring water
(1) Typically, it is painted black on the inside if it is to
be used for scrying.
7. Vessel of Salt
a. Simply a bowl of salt to represent Earth.
8. Chalice or Drinking Horn
a. This is the cup from which you will drink a toast to the Lady
and Her Lord.
(1) It is a smaller version of the cauldron with all the
(a) The Arthurian legends speak of the quest for the Holy
Grail, which was much older than Christianity.
(b) One of the Mysteries attached to the Grail was that the
King and the land were one. If the king were to grow old and frail
without passing his kingdom along to a younger, more virile successor,
the land would wither and die.
(2) A major portion of any ritual involves the symbolic mating
of the Athame and Chalice, in recognition of the life forces of the
God and Goddess.
(a) While most traditions have the Priest wielding the
Athame and inserting it into the womb-chalice which is held by the
Priestess, I feel it is more meaningful to have the Priest and
Priestess exchange symbols and enact the rite as though they were on
the Astral Plane.
9. Statuary or Symbols
a. Some traditions use statuary of the Goddess and/or the God as
focal points for concentration.
(1) We do not worship the statues as embodiments of the
Goddess and the God, though they might take on the properties of being
a talismanic link between us and them.
(a) We do not worship the statues. Our goal is to invoke
the Goddess and the God into our hearts and minds, not into inert art.
b. Other traditions, still afraid of being accused of being
idolaters, will use symbols of the Goddess/God instead
(1) Moonstones and other stones with holes naturally worn into
them are sacred to the Goddess.
(a) Sometimes stones will be carved with occult markings,
of which only local initiates know the meanings. These are often
called 'mason marks' by those who do not understand the meaning of the
10. The Candle Snuffer
a. While technically not a tool of ritual, this is a carryover
from Ceremonial Magic.
(1) In Ceremonial Magic, where the world is seen as a
battleground between good and evil, the light of a candle represents
the purity of the Good, while darkness is seen as the evil of the Bad.
(a) To allow the pure flame of a candle to be blown out
supposedly weakens the effect of the flame, so Ceremonial Magicians
always snuff out the candle to show that they did so by an act of will
and not as a victory of the Bad over the Good.
b. It can be made of silver or brass, depending on your
III. SYMBOLS USED TO CARICATURIZE WITCHES
1. Each article of clothing associated with the witch has a long
and chequered history.
a. By the 17th century most witches were busy hiding while the
witch craze ran rampant across most of Europe.
(1) The majority of stereotypical clothing supposedly worn by
a witch was modeled on the style of clothing which was just going out
of style as the craze was gaining momentum.
(a) Not surprisingly, the older women who were tortured
into confessing that they were witches, tended to favor the mode of
dress which was going out of fashion.
2. The typical image of a witch shows a woman wearing a cone
shaped hat, wrapped in a cape with a girdle around her waist, gloves
in hand, and wearing long toed shoes.
a. We shall see that all these items were perfectly normal items
of clothing, which would not raise an eyebrow, unless the observer had
a twisted mind in the first place.
(1) The conical hat-
(a) These types of hats have been in fashion from time to
time, with and without a brim, and they are always condemned as being
diabolical because they led people to have carnal thoughts when they
realize the phallic symbolism of the hat.
(b) The brim was in vogue in the 17th century, but we
recognize it as the hat of a "princess in distress" when we add the
obligatory scarf and change the color from black (married or widowed)
to a lighter color.
(c) The Church required Heretics to wear the conical hat,
while they were on public display for ridicle and abuse, as a symbol
of the horns of the devil he was supposed to worship.
(2) The magic Cape-
(a) More appropriately the domain of the magician, locked
away in his tower with his books, the magic cape, with mystical moons,
stars, and other astrological symbols sewn or painted on it is
supposedly worn by the witch.
(b) This was supposed to make her invisible, and sometimes
to give her power to fly.
(c) A more likely explanation is that, back then capes were
used much as we use coats for warmth today, and the markings were
probably added later just to enhance the effect of strangeness.
(3) The Witches Girdle-
(a) A girdle is simply a belt, used to hold the wallet used
at the time. Neither men not women used pockets very much so they both
wore girdles or belts which held their pouch-like purses.
(b) The girdle was said to consist of 12 or 13 puffballs,
or other decorations, strung together with the magical pouch hanging
in their midst.
(c) We now know that 12 is a number representing the 12
signs of the zodiac, and that there are 13 moons in a solar year, so
the symbolism is not surprising. Keeping in mind that pickpockets used
to be called cutpurses, is it any wonder that an old woman would want
to carry her purse hanging in front or near the front of her girdle?
(d) The pouch is supposed to be made of skin and to
contain the witchs charms, amulets and herbs. More likely these were
old coins or religious medals and herbs made into medicines or
(4) The Gloves
(a) When gloves are mentioned, they are said to be made of
catskin, with the fur turned inside.
(b) These were supposed to give her the swiftness and
quiet of a cat in the night.
(c) More than likely they kept her arthritic hands warm.
(d) You can still buy gloves with the fur inside in the
colder parts of the US.
(5) The Shoes-
(a) Properly called the poulaine, it was the long-toed
(phallic) shoe that was very popular in the 15th century.
(b) They were the original 'high heels' or 'platform
shoes', but with toes so long that sometimes they had to be tied by a
string leading from the toe to just below the wearers knee.
(c) It has been said that playing the game of 'footsie'
with the person opposite of you was thought up by someone wearing
these shoes. The sexual connotations of the pointed toes is obvious.
B. Physical Appearance
1. Accused witches were as often young and sexually attractive as
they were old and ugly.
a. Whether exceedingly beautiful or horribly ugly, she menaces
men in a patriarchal society.
(1) The Church taught men to fear women.
(a) Ecclesiastical writings called woman the 'confusion of
man', 'an insatiable beast', 'a continuous anxiety and a daily ruin.'
(2) The infamous Malleus Malleficarum said that witchcraft
arose from female carnality.
(a) And 'all wickedness is but little to the wickedness of
b. Few attempts to understand the real causes of the persecution
of women have been made but here are a few high-lights found by a male
(1) Men feel a sense of inferiority in relation to the female
archtype of power, which he draws from his infantile experience of
total dependence on his mother.
(a) Adult men try to blame women for anything or everything
that goes wrong in their lives, as a child might blame his mother for
her failure to anticipate his every need.
(2) Few female actions arouse so much male bitterness as what
the child typically fears his mother might do: simply walk out, and
refuse to return to him.
(a) Medieval religion did not allow men to think of the
simple solution of studying how to please their women so they would
want to stay close and would enjoy being wives.
(b) Instead, they were taught to think of their women as
(3) The motive of sexual jealousy must be considered a
contributing factor in the persecution of women.
(a) Men in an intensely patriarchal society are, in
general, very poor lovers, because they are not taught to pay
attention to their partners needs or feelings.
(b) Not seeing the connection between their own
insensitivity and the dissatisfaction of their women, they assumed
that the women preferred demon lovers with huge penises, which only
fed their own feelings of inadequacy.
(4) Men's hidden sexual inferiority complexes then fostered
misogyne (miso-hate, gyne-women), which was propped up by tales of
women preferring to take demon lovers and other, less supernatural but
perhaps more intimidating lovers as rivals to their husbands.
(a) Members of the male hierarchy seldom trusted one
another, in view of the fact that almost any woman could be the sexual
prey of any man of a higher rank.
(5) Christianity gave men the best of all reasons for hating
women when it laid down its doctrine of Eve's responsibility for men
having to die.
(a) Ever since the early telling of this doctrine, every
man who feared the approach of death was taught to blame women for it.
(b) The limitless ferocity of the clergy toward witches
probably stemmed from the fact that they served the Church that
claimed to have conquered death, yet they continued to see death all
around them, especially in the terrible century of the plague.
(6) Women's sexual magnetism is still experienced by males as
a disquieting sort of magic, still poorly under- stood, inflicting a
sense of helplessness.
(a) This has probably been so ever since men began to fear
women's uncanny ability to force embarrassing responses from male
genitals, even across a distance, by words or gestures alone.
(b) Often it was their sexual attractiveness that led
women to be denounced in times when such things as erections and wet
dreams were reputed to be caused by bewitchments.
(7) Since the pagan ruler of death was usually the Crone in
the guise of an old woman, and elder priestesses had occupied the
honored positions in pagan temples, old women became the most frequent
victims of witch persecutions.
(a) Women after menopause no longer served the purposes of
the patrilineal family system, which viewed women as breeding machines
and even made 'barrenness' a legal reason for a man to abandon his
(b) The same Church helped codify laws that deprived elder
women of the wealth and property they used to control under the rules
(c) Consequently, the old woman was an ideal scapegoat:
most times too expendable to be missed, too weak to fight back (though
sme did), and too poor to matter.
2. In some sense, the word "Witch" is synonymous in our minds with
the word "woman".
a. Perhaps this is because we associate woman's creative powers
with the manipulation of vast unseen forces.
b. Or perhaps we intuitively understand that during the long
centuries when women were semislaves of society, they were naturally
drawn to witchcraft as a cure for their powerlessness, a means of
manipulating a world that otherwise painfully manipulated them.
END OF LESSON 6
I. MAGIC IN THE CRAFT
A. Working Definition
1. Magic is the craft of shaping and has been defined as "the art
of changing consciousness at will".
a. The art of changing consciousness at will is a demanding one,
needing long and disciplined apprenticeship.
(1) The outward acts of waving a wand, lighting a candle, or
crooning a rhymed incantation, are meaningless without the proper
(a) But when the force of a trained awareness is behind the
gestures, they are far more than empty motions.
B. The Witch as Cosmic Artist
1. We exist on this plane as multi-faceted jewels, which conceal a
spark of the essence of the Goddess in the heart of each jewel.
a. Each facet of the jewel that is ourself is likened to shells,
or "bodies" in which we wrap the heart of our jewel.
2. These "bodies" are divided into two groups.
a. The Individuality
(1) Upper Spiritual- Consists of pure or abstract Spirit.
Sometimes call the 'Divine Spark', it is substance and energy from the
Great Unmanifest which we symbolize with the archetype of the Goddess.
(2) Lower Spiritual- This is the individualized spirit which
has separated from the abstract. This is where the spirit embarks upon
it's own journey of self-discovery. And where it eventually returns
before it adds its experiences to the Great Whole and rejoins it as a
drop in the endless ocean of being.
(3) Upper Mental- This is the realm of the abstract mind.
Individualized spirit begins to be self-aware, and form polarities
which lead to the development of the personality.
b. The Personality
(1) Lower Mental- The person develops a concrete mind held
together by form and memory.
(2) Upper Astral- Level of abstract emotions. Attraction of
polarities leads to a desire for union.
(3) Lower Astral- Level of instincts and passions. A desire to
attract other polarities and to possess things develops.
(4) Etheric Body- Tenuous energy-web of near-matter which
links the Physical with the subtler planes. Without the Etheric body
to hold the physical body together, individual sparks of the spirit
cannot manifest on the physical plane.
(5) Physical Body- Made of dense matter.
3. Taking a broad look at the Personality, we find that it is an
instrument, or machine, consisting of three distinct 'bodies'.
a. These 'bodies' are built up during one incarnation and
discarded in the Summerland after they have served their purpose.
(1) A physical form that naturally moves and acts on instinct
and orders from your mind.
(a) This physical form has its own set of laws that govern
(b) It exists in time and space, and it has to be acted
upon; it is not capable of thinking.
(c) We know that our body is not the cause of us, because
it has to be acted upon to function. And anything that has to be acted
upon is an effect, caused by something else.
(2) An emotional 'body', operating from laws similar to
(a) If our emotions become blocked, we are like a river
whose flow is dammed up, building up untold pressure until some
release occurs; or we go dead inside and stagnate, diseased and toxic
to ourselves and others.
(b) Crafters know that pent-up emotions are to be released
and understood, so that this constricted energy can be expressed for
the purpose of validating our existence.
(3) A mental life, our unique world of personal thoughts, that
is creative by nature, and has no limits except those it chooses to
construct for itself.
(a) Since we exist in a Universal Mind that is all knowing
and limitless, we know that limitation is not a universal law, but
only exists in the individual use we make of these universal laws.
4. Our Personality is responsible for our being able to function
on this plane and it is through our personality that we create the
world around us.
a. Without our input the world is neutral, colorless and
(1) It is only when we assume the role of creators or artists
and paint an image of the world in our minds, colored by our feelings,
does the world affect us.
(a) This is way two people can have the same experience and
respond in two entirely different ways.
(2) We constantly choose moment-by-moment what our world is
(a) A person who opts for a negative experience descends
into a universe that contains all the potentially negative forces that
are waiting to make up reality.
(b) And no matter what someone outside does to make it less
negative, it will not change.
(c) Having set up the polarity for a negative experience,
the negativity acts as a magnet, attracting more and more negativity
until it is overwhelming.
(d) On the other hand, a person who opts for a positive
experience, ascends into another universe, that immediately
cooperates, and instantly, forces begin moving to manifest a positive
5. The main work of a person on the Path of Return is to integrate
the creative aspects of the Personality under the guidance of the
Individuality, or Essence, so that they can develop as a member of the
universe in full harmony with the rest of it.
a. When this happens the Seeker discovers an inner state of
harmony where all actions begin corresponding to a deeper truth
(1) It is as though every thing flows naturally and easily.
(a) Even what had seemed 'impossible' before fades into non-
existence and a new possibility takes its place.
II. CULTIVATION OF THE MAGICAL PERSONALITY
A. Magic is the Craft of Witchcraft
1. The power of magic should not be under-estimated.
a. It works, often in ways that are unexpected and difficult to
(1) But neither should the power of magic be over- estimated.
(a) It does not work simply, or effortlessly and it does
not confer omnipotence.
B. Learning to work magic is a process of neurological repatterning,
of changing the way we use our brains.
1. In order to manifest anything on the physical plane, it must be
formulated and given life on the mental plane.
2. Unless a person can concentrate his thoughts and desires down
into a tightly controlled set of symbols, the mental plane has
insufficient information to create what is desired.
a. The Archtype of the Magician in the Major Arcanum of the
Tarot deck teaches some valuable lessons in concentration.
(1) The traditional picture of the Magician shows a man
dressed in a white robe, encircled by a belt in the shape of a snake
holding its tail in its mouth, and he is wearing a cloak of vermilion.
(a) He stands in a garden with four white lilies and five
red roses, behind a table where he has laid out his magical tools.
(2) With his right hand, the Magician lifts a wand upward
toward the sky. His left hand makes the universal gesture of
attention, pointing with extended forefinger toward the fertile earth
at his feet.
(a) The message inherent in this gesture is that the Force
of the higher levels flows through the Magician to whatever he gives
his full measure of attention.
(3) The garden in which the Magician works represents the
(a) It is from this subconscious field that the hidden
powers come that the Magician directs in his quest for increased
(b) These powers are symbolized by the lilies which stand
for various aspects of truth and the roses which are symbols of human
(4) The Magician is a transformer and transmuter of
(a) He cultivates the flowers in his garden, improving
them and by force of his control of their development, takes them far
beyond the conditions spontaneously provided by nature.
(b) Taking things as he finds them, he watches until he
perceives the underlying principle at work in what he observes. Then
he applies that principle in novel ways so as to produce a different
C. The Language of the Old Belief, the Language of Magic, is
expressed in Symbols and Images.
1. Poetry, which is itself a form of magic, is magic speech.
a. Spells and charms worked by witches in rhyme are truly
b. The American Indians would call them Songs of Power.
2. Images bridge the gap between the verbal and non-verbal modes
a. They allow the two sides of the brain to communicate,
arousing the emotions as well as the intellect.
b. The vast storehouse of symbols, which embody all the possible
realities of this universe is the subconscious mind.
c. The Archtype representing the subconscious mind is the High
(1) The High Priestess is depicted as a solitary woman, seated
on a cube placed between two pillars of opposite colors. There is a
veil hung between the pillars with pomegranites and hearts of palms
woven into it.
(a) She is dressed in a white garment adorned with an
equilateral cross on her breast and surrounded by a blue robe that
flows down and out of the picture.
(c) She wears a silver crown, made of two crescents and an
orb and holds a scroll in her lap.
(2) The message conveyed by the High Priestess is two-fold.
(a) First she represents memory. Everything that comes to
the attention of the mind of her counterpart, the Magician, is
recorded on her scroll.
(b) Like all languages, the records she keeps are symbols
for the reality they represent and it is the second function that she
represents that makes the knowledge available to the Magician.
(c) The imagery of water flowing through this tarot card
is reinforced by the blue color of her robe, and the way it pools down
at the bottom right side of the card and seems to flow off the card.
Water is the universal symbol of the astral essence of the higher
planes and just as waterways on earth served as highways of
communication and commerce in the old ways, it is the astral essence
that serves as a bridge between the different planes.
(d) In order to recall things stored in memory as written
down on the High Priestess's scroll it is necessary to still the
waters so that they become a mirror and reflect the images you are
(3) The ability to concentrate to the point where a still
calmness in the mind is achieved, coupled with the images that surface
from the subconsciousness leads to the point where new realities can
D. All manifestations on the physical world are rooted in the mental
and astral planes.
1. In order to change your physical reality, you need to be able
to use creative visualization to plant the seeds of your new reality
in the higher planes.
a. The Archtype of the Creative Imagination is the Empress of
the Tarot deck.
(1) In direct contrast to the virginal High Priestess, the
Empress is a pregnant matron. She is Venus, goddess of Love, Beauty,
Growth and Fruitfulness.
(a) She is seated in a garden backed by trees, with a river
cascading down a waterfall and forming a pool at her feet.
(b) Wheat grows at her feet and her gown is the color of
Spring. She holds a copper shield with a dove on it and a sceptre of
an orb divided on two and topped by a cross.
(c) A crescent moon is at her feet and a crown of 12 stars
over her head. She wears a necklace of 7 pearls.
(2) When the Magician is joined with the Empress, the cold
virginity of the High Priestess is transformed into the rich fertility
(a) The Empress is imagination, the mind's power to make
new combinations from remembered experiences.
(b) What you make the object of your attention is what you
become, sooner or later. Fix your attention on images of misery,
poverty, and weakness, and their actual physical embodiments will
become part of your surroundings.
(c) Change the patterns by attending to their opposites,
and presently creative imagination, symbolized by the Empress, will
begin to build you a new life and will impress even the conditions of
your environment with new ideas.
(d) Remember, even your physical body is part of your
E. The generation of mental images at the level of self-
consciousness is a necessary forerunner of changing your
circumstances, but it does not do any good if you do not prepare the
ground for the seed to grow.
1. Creating prosperity thoughtforms and then doing nothing to
allow them to come through on the physical plane is as senseless as
buying a high performance car without any tires.
a. Getting control over your own environment is a necessary
first step in preparing for the changes you are working for.
(1) Working with the resources at hand, you need to gain
control over your environment.
(a) Physical and spiritual cleansing of your environment
clears away the clutter of old worn-out thought- forms.
(b) Actively seeking out knowledge of how to effectively
manage the conditions you are trying to bring about sends messages to
your subconscious that you are serious in you work and ar not going to
waste any gifts that come your way.
2. Regulation and supervision are implied by every- thing in the
Archtype of the Emperor.
a. Supervision is overseeing. Thus the function of sight is
chief among our senses.
(1) The Emperor is seated on a cube on the edge of a cliff
overlooking a river which has worn a channel through the mountains
turning them into the soil that serves as the base for the garden of
(a) He is dressed in armour, symbolizing his willingness to
impress his will on his surroundings but he sits in a passive stance
content to observe the conditions that exist before he acts.
(2) The quality of our vision or observations of how things
are determines the course of our progress towards liberation.
(a) Unless we imagine, we do not really see.
(b) The mind is the true seer. Unless we learn to
supplement what our eyes report with imagination based on other senses
no true vision of the world can be made.
b. Regulation is dependent on the ability to reason which is the
second aspect represented by the Emperor.
(1) The basic function of reason is to oversee and control.
(a) Through the development of our ability to reason we
learn to supervise and control our daily activities.
F. After we have learned to concentrate and visualize what we want
to do using symbols from the unconscious and prepared for the work to
manifest on the physical plane through observation and regulation of
our daily lives we are ready to manifest our new reality through our
1. Our Personality is not what we truly are, but how we express
our Inner Self. It is important that we work in accordance with the
guidance of our true 'Essence'.
a. The Archtype of the Hierophant represents the Self.
(1) The Hierophant sits between two pillars in a temple like
the High Priestess.
(a) He is the Inner Self who is also the Emperor. Only the
spheres of operation are different.
(b) The ministers kneeling before the True Teacher wear
garments which are embroidered with the same flowers that appear in
the garden of the Magician.
(2) The general meaning of the Hierophant is summed up in the
(a) Intuition is the Voice of the True Self.
(b) Genuine intuition is not a substitute for reason. It is
a logical consequence of good reasoning.
(c) The inner Teacher wastes no time in fruitless endeavors
to instruct the incompetent who will not take the trouble to observe,
to remember, to imagine, or to reason.
(3) The Voice never speaks loudly and many fail to hear it
over the clamor of their own thoughts.
(a) Practicing the listening attitude of mind leads to
eventually hearing it.
(b) The fundamental practice is to be still when you wish
the counsel of the Voice.
(c) Stop racking your brains when a seemingly insoluble
problem confronts you. The harder you try the less likely you are to
hear the answer.
G. Patterns appear when we have contrasting elements in what we are
1. The Tables of Correspondence (Spiral Dance) are based on the
recognition that everything exists in relation to other things, and we
use the process of discrimination to find the correspondences.
a. The Archtype of the Lovers represents the process of
(1) The tarot card of the Lovers shows an angel bestowing
blessings upon a naked man and woman.
(a) The message here is that the self- consciousness and
subconsciousness are equal and receive the blessings of the True Self.
(b) When there are no secrets between the two (nudity) they
work in harmony under the guidance of the Self and can see the
connections between seemingly unrelated facts.
H. The final ingredient needed in the development of the magical
personality is the development of the magical will.
1. Development of the Magical Will comes about as the result of
synthesizing all the aspects we have been talking about so far.
a. The Chariot is the Archtype of the Will
(1) The Chariot depicts a person standing in a chariot pulled
by two sphinxes of opposite polarity, before a city surrounded by a
wall. At the foot of the wall runs a river.
(a) The Charioteer is the Inner Self.
(b) The sphinxes represent the senses and the reins (which
are invisible) by which he guides them represent the mind.
(c) The chariot itself is the physical body and it is drawn
by the sphinxes.
(2) The starry canopy represents the celestial forces whose
descent into matter is the cause of all manifestation.
(a) On the shield is the Hindu Lingam-Yoni symbolizing
the union of opposites.
(3) The charioteer is a victor.
(a) This card represents the conquest of illusion which
comes about when the Self guides the personality.
2. The Magical Will is very much akin to what Victorian
schoolmasters called character: honesty, self-discipline, commitment
a. Anyone who wishes to practice magic must be scrupulously
honest in their personal lives.
(1) A bag of herbs acquires the power to heal because I say it
does. For my word to take on such force, I must be deeply and
completely convinced that it is identified with truth as I know it.
(a) In this sense, magic works on the principle that "It is
so because I say it is so."
b. Unless I have enough personal power to keep my commitments in
daily life, I will be unable to wield magical power.
(1) To a person who practices honesty and keeps commitments,
"As I will, so mote it be." is not just a pretty phrase; it is a
statement of fact.
III. THE ART OF CASTING SPELLS
1. "A spell is a symbolic act done in an altered state of
consciousness in order to cause a desired change."
a. To cast a spell is to project energy through a symbol.
(1) Too often, the symbols are mistaken for the agent that
casts the spell.
(a) Props are useful at times, but it is the mind that
works the magic.
b. Correspondences between colors, planets, metals, numbers,
plants and minerals, and musical notes make up a great deal of magical
(1) Particular objects, shapes, colors, scents, and images do
work better than others to embody certain ideas.
(a) But the most powerful spells are often improvised from
materials that feel right or that simply happen to come to hand.
B. Theory of Spellcasting
1. Spells are an important aspect of magical training.
a. They require the use of the combined faculties of relaxation,
visualization, concentration and projection.
(1) The casting of spells provides practice in coordinating
these skills and developing them further.
2. Spells are extremely sophisticated psychological tools that
have subtle, but important, effects on a person's inner growth.
a. Spells may highlight otherwise hidden complexes of the person
casting the spell.
(1) A person who has conflicts about success will find great
difficulty in concentrating on a money spell.
(a) Many times the practical results of a spell are far
less important than the psychological insights that arise during the
(b) Discovering our inner blocks and fears is the first
step in overcoming them.
b. Spells also go one step further than most forms of
(1) They allow us not only to listen to and interpret the
unconscious, but also to speak to it in the language it understands.
(a) Symbols, images, and objects used in spells communicate
directly with Younger Self, who is the guardian of our emotions and
who is barely affected by the intellect.
(b) We often understand our feelings and behavior but find
ourselves unable to change them.
(c) Through spells, we can attain the most important power
- the power to change our lives.
3. Spellcasting also forces us to come to terms with the material
a. Many people attracted to the spiritual path of the Craft find
themselves uneasy with using magic for practical or material goals.
(1) Somehow it seems wrong to work magic for oneself, to want
things and to get things.
(a) This is an attitude which is a holdover of the Judaeo-
Christian world view that sees spirit and matter as separate and that
identifies matter with evil and corruption.
(2) In the Craft, flesh, the material world, none of what is
commonly thought of as matter is separate from spirit.
(a) The universe is made up of the Goddess who is manifest
in all things.
(b) Union with the Goddess comes through embracing the
material world and all the gifts that She has placed in it for us.
(3) Our major task on this plane of existence is to become
masters of this realm of manifestation.
(a) We do not fight self-interest; we follow it, but with
an awareness that transmutes it into something sacred.
C. Mechanics of Spellcasting
1. Spellcasting is the lesser, not the greater magic; but the
greater magic builds on the lesser.
a. The paradox is that in spellcasting we may start out working
with the personal self, but in order to work the magic we are forced
to expand and recognize the Self that moves through all beings.
(1) Magic involves the deliberate self- identification with
other objects and people.
(a) To do a healing, we must become the healer, the one who
is healed, and the energy that is to do the healing.
(b) To attract love, we must be able to love ourselves and
to become love its self.
2. Spells work in two basic ways.
a. The first is through suggestion
(1) Symbols and images implant certain ideas in Younger Self,
or the subconscious mind.
(a) We are then influenced to actualize those ideas.
b. Spells can also influence the external world.
(1) The theoretical model that witches use to explain the
workings of magic is a clear one and coincides in many ways with the
(a) It is simply an elaborate but extremely useful
(b) The metaphor is based on a world view that sees things
not as fixed objects, but as vortexes of energy.
(c) The physical world is formed by the vortexes of energy,
and if we cause a change in the energy patterns they, in turn, cause a
change in the physical world.
(2) When our own energy is concentrated and channeled, it can
move the broader energy currents.
(a) The images and objects used in spells are the channels.
They are the vessels through which our power is poured, and by which
it is shaped.
3. As energy is directed into the images we visualize, it
gradually manifests physical form and takes shape in the material
a. Directing energy is not a matter of simply emoting.
(1) Emotion can be likened to a strobe light which provides a
very inconstant light.
(2) Directed energy is more like a laser beam.
(a) Even concentrated power is a small stream compared with
the vast surges of energy that surround us.
(b) The most adept witch cannot be successful in all her
spells. The opposing currents are often too strong.
4. The craft teaches to first identify the flow of energy and then
to decide whether or not it is going where we want it to go.
a. If not, then we can try to deflect it.
b. Or, we may have to change our own course.
(1) Sensing the energy climate is a matter of intuition and
(a) Some witches make a study of Astrology in an effort to
plan their magical workings at the optimal times.
(b) Others prefer to work when they feel the time is right.
(2) Of all the planets, the Moon's influence on subtle energies
is the strongest.
(a) Subtle power increases as the Moon waxes, so the time of
the waxing Moon is best for spells involving growth or increase, such
as money spells.
(b) The power peaks when the Moon is full and that is the
best time for workings of culmination and love.
(c) During the waning Moon, power subsides and turns inward.
The waning Moon's period is used for banishings, bindings, and
discovering hidden secrets.
(3) The practical witch soon learns to adjust her spells to fit
the time of the Moon. If, for example, she needs to do a money spell
during the waning Moon, she would put a little 'english' on it and
make it a poverty banishing spell.
5. Energy pursues the path of least resistance.
a. Material results are more easily achieved on this plane of
existence through physical actions that through magical workings.
(1) Example - it is simpler to lock your door than suffer the
constant drain from maintaining psychic seals on your doors and
windows while you are away from home.
(a) Of course once you have locked your door, you might
feel more reassured by placing seals on it.
6. No magic spell is going to bring results unless channels are
opened into the material world.
a. A job spell is useless if you are not willing to go out and
interview for jobs or at least let potential employers know that you
are in the market for one.
b. In the same vein, a healing spell is no substitute for
(1) Most medicine today can be broken down into two broad
categories, emergency medicine and that which is not needed for
immediate life-threatening situations.
(a) Emergency medicine has excelled at stabilizing the
body's condition so that it can repair itself at it's own pace.
(b) Most other forms of medicine consist of treatment
through surgery or chemotherapy or a combination of both.
(c) The procedures noted above work on the physical body
and do not take the other levels into consideration.
(d) Psychic healing works at healing the higher levels of
the person so that the physical heals itself or allows the person to
let go of their physical body if it cannot be repaired. In either case
the choice rests with the person who is being healed and not the
7. Visualization used in creating a spell should focus on the
desired result not the individual steps leading up to the result.
a. We give the spell free rein in how it goes about achieving
the results with the understanding that it is not to bring harm to
anyone or any being.
(1) For this reason, spells have a habit of working in very
8. To assure that the power we have unleashed does not
inadvertantly cause harm, we bind the spell.
a. This serves to 'set' the form we have created so that the
energy becomes fixed in the pattern we desire.
(1) The energy we project to others affects us even more
strongly than the other person. This is because we have generated the
energy, and thus we have become the object at which the energy is
(2) If healing energy is sent out, then the health of the
person casting the spell is enhanced.
(a) By the same token, any hex or curse that is sent out
ALWAYS effects the person who sends it no matter whether it affected
the person it was sent at or not.
9. MAGIC IS NOT TO BE USED TO GAIN POWER OVER OTHERS.
a. Magic is a technique used in developing your own 'power from
within'. Spells that are directed at gaining power over others weakens
the 'power from within'.
(1) Aside form the damage done to oneself, it is important for
(a) Many people who do not understand the laws of magic are
afraid of being attacked magically and are given to paranoia.
(b) The witch's main stock-in-trade used to be removing a
competitor's hexes and preparing charms to protect their clients.
(c) While true psychic attacks are EXTREMELY RARE a persons
guilt makes up for any lack and after using 'forbidden' help, their
paranoia leads them to seek protection from the same person they just
turned to in desperation. Do your self a favor, and resist the
temptation to 'help' these types.
(2) Most magical formularies consist of formulae gathered and
tested by witches as well as many charms to protect the common man
from those same witches who sold them their charms.
D. Times and Correspondences
1. I mentioned earlier that timing and the right props are
considered important in spellcasting.
a. For your convenience there is a Table of Hours included at
the end of this lesson.
(1) Keep in mind that all times are Pacific Standard Time.
(a) You will need to adjust for different time zones and
those periods of Daylight Savings Time as may be in effect in your
b. Over the years, systems of Correspondences were developed
which assigned certain attributes and aspects to the seven ancient
planets of Astrology.
(1) Each planet was assigned a God or Goddess, who embodies
the attributes the ancients wished to invoke.
(a) Each of the Gods and Goddesses were assigned an hour of
the day, color, incense, metal, number, signature, plant, mineral,
musical note, and animal or bird.
(b) There is a Table of Correspondences in the back of The
E. General Guidelines for Casting Spells
1. Set aside a room for your magical work.
a. Decorate it with things that put you in a magical mood.
(1) Remember to use things that stimulate all five of your
(a) Some obvious things would be the use of appropriate
colors for sight, incense for scent music for hearing, wines for
taste, and textures for feel.
2. If you do not have a room you can set aside exclusively for
your magical work then choose a room that can be locked while you do
a. This will allow you to work undisturbed.
(1) In any case you should clean your work area periodically
with a purifying powder/floorwash to keep away negative vibrations.
3. Set up an altar to be used as your worktable.
a. It's size and shape should be those that appeal to you.
(1) Placing candles and other items that assist you to
concentrate on the work at hand is a good practice.
(a) Some people like to cover their altar with a white
cloth and place fresh cut flowers on it every day.
4. Always use the best candles, oils, and incenses that you can
afford, or make your own.
a. Scrimping on materials has a negative effect on the
(1) Don't forget that the subconscious is very good at making
do with raw materials that it can shape to it's own use.
5. Never cast a spell until you have a clear and concise picture
of what it is you wish to accomplish.
a. This ties in with the saying "Be careful what you wish for,
you just might get it."
6. Always ground out any extra energy you raise for the spell, and
bind the spell so that it expires within the pre- determined amount of
7. Once you have cast the spell do not discuss it with any one
until after it has worked.
a. Most spells peter out because the person who casts it boasts
about it to so many people, that the spell is robbed of power before
it has a chance to work.
(1) The ancient bond placed on the magician was to dare, to
know and to keep silent.
IV. A BASIC FORMULARY
A. Preparation of candles
1. Types of candles
(1) Short and stubby. Usually burned in a small cup or
(a) Used to provide a light for several hours.
(b) Less space consuming so more candles can be placed on
the altar at the same time.
(1) Long and slender. May be burned in a candle holder.
(a) Very elegant and can be allowed to drip into a pie pan
so that the drippings can be read in a manner similar to tea leaf
(2) Come in many different lengths and thicknesses.
(1) Large, long-lasting candle, which is formed by pouring
either colored wax into a clear glass container, or clear wax into a
colored glass container.
(a) When annointing the candle, only the top of the candle
(2) This is probably the safest candle to leave burning
unattended, provided the maker of the candle took care to ensure that
the wick runs in the center of the candle.
(a) Although leaving any candle or open flame burning with
on one around is considered dangerous and foolish.
d. Specialty Candles
(a) Candles dedicated to a christian Saint or to a Voodoo
Loa. The designs, signatures and instructions on how to use the candle
are printed on the glass container.
(2) Cross Candles
(a) Candles formed into the shape of a cross. Comes in
black, white, green and red. Used as altar pieces for christian
oriented work tables.
(3) Male and Female Figurine Candles
(a) Comes in black, white, green and red. Used to bind two
people together or to separate them.
(b) Burned face to face & they melt into each other to
(c) Burned back to back so that no wax mixes to bring about
(4) Seven Day Knob Candles
(a) A candle which is cast so that its length is made of
seven knobs. One knob is burned each day for the duration of the
a. The color of the candle should reflect the planetary aspect
that is assigned to the incense you are going to use.
3. Annointing the Candle
a. There are two general methods which are used to anoint the
(1) The first consists of starting at the middle of the candle
and annointing it to the top, and then going back to the middle you
would anoint down toward the bottom.
(a) The principle behind this is that you are the center of
the candle, sending your energy both upward into the spiritual planes
and downward into the physical.
(2) The second method is to start at the top of the candle and
draw an unbroken line down the side, under its base, and back up the
(a) When you reach the top of the candle, you turn it 1/4
turn and trace another unbroken line in the previous manner so that
the candle is 'tied' to your purpose
b. When you are using a candle-in-a-jar you would anoint it by
placing your moistened finger inside and rubbing clockwise, or
counterclockwise as needed, three times in a circle in three sets to
make up nine.
(1) Here is one of the more popular rhymes used to focus your
attention on what you are doing. Perhaps you have heard it before.
"The wyrd sisters, hand in hand
Posters of the Sea and Land
Do go about and about
Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine
And thrice again to make up nine.
Peace! The charm's wound up!"
END OF LESSON SEVEN PART A
4. Casting your own candles
a. Most of todays candles are made from paraffin wax.
(1) Paraffin wax is sold in blocks in grocery stores for
sealing the tops of homemade preserves.
b. Coloring for the candles can be bought at an arts and crafts
store or if you are not going to make a lot at one time, you can melt
a colored crayon in the hot paraffin.
c. Molds for your candles should have smooth sides and should
not break your heart if they have to be broken or cut off your candle
with tin snips.
d. Lengths of wick can be bought or you can make your own by
soaking cotton thread or string (not nylon) in a boric solution (the
crystals may be obtained at your pharmacy) and then leaving it to dry.
e. When you are ready to make your candles, knock a small hole
in the bottom of your mold and run your wick through it. Tie a knot in
the wick at the outside bottom of the mold and apply some patching
plaster to the inside of the mold to close the hole.
(1) Tie the other end of the wick to a nail or stick which is
long enough to rest across the sides of the mold.
(a) Make sure the wick is taut so it is not wasted.
f. To safely melt the paraffin, place cut up lumps of it into
the top of a cheap double boiler which is sitting in a water bath and
heat the water bath slowly until the clumps of wax melt thoroughly.
(1) DO NOT place the wax into a pan which is resting directly
on the heat source.
(a) Wax is flammable and very hard to extinguish if you
start a fire in the pan with it.
(2) Once the paraffin is melted, add your coloring.
(a) If you wish to scent your candle, this is the time to
add your essential oils.
(b) Herb oils and essences may be purchased in most
pharmacies, herb stores, arts and crafts stores or occult supply
(c) REMEMBER--the oils should be used with restraint or
else your candle will stink like a cheap bar of soap.
g. The wax is poured into the mold a little at a time, say one
fourth, and then allowed to cool and form a depression, then another
fourth, and so on until the candle is entirely formed.
(1) Once the candle is poured, place it in a jug of cold water
so that the candle may cool, but no water may enter the mold.
(a) When thoroughly cold, tip out the candle, trim the
wick, and burnish the candles with a piece of cotton dipped in
5. It is customary not to blow out magic candles.
a. Candle snuffers are preferred to the use of wet fingertips or
a plate smashed down on the wick.
(1) IT IS NOT A SAFE PRACTICE to leave a candle burning
unattended in a closed up house.
(a) Even the seemingly safest candle can be knocked over by
a stray animal or a gust of wind and start a fire in your home.
B. Preparation of Incense and Charcoal
1. Types of Incense
(1) Sprinkled on a fire or a glowing coal.
(1) Warmed in tiny braziers
(a) Require a glowing coal to ignite
c. Small cones
(1) Also burned in a brazier
(a) Does not need to sit on a charcoal.
d. Joss Sticks
(1) Burned by placing sand in a bowl and lodging the stick in
the sand in an upright position.
(1) Made of inch-wide woven cotton ribbons.
(a) Burned in an ashtray.
(1) Specially treated papers which when lit are gently blown
out and allowed to smolder in ashtrays.
2. Colors of Incenses
a. The color is provided by the base and corresponds to the
color assigned to the planets in the Table of Correspondences.
(1) Of course, it is up to you, after experimentation, to
determine if the assigned colors work for you.
3. Bases and Recipes for each type of incense
a. Most bases are made from the sawdust, or raspings, of wood.
(1) Ground cascarilla bark is used in most of the finer
incenses because it gives off a weak musk smell when burned.
(a) It would not be unusual to find that the wood base of
an incense was made from raspings of the tree that is sacred to the
Intelligence of the planet for which the incense is prepared.
b. The basic recipe for a wood base is as follows.
(1) 50% of the total volume of the incense in the form of
(a) Normally one ounce mixed with 2 ounces of powdered
Benzoin and one ounce of Storax.
(2) 50% of the total volume of the incense in the form of
finely ground spices, herbs, or coarsely ground resins.
(a) Normally about one ounce.
c. Before mixing the base you would want to dye the raspings in
a pot of clothing dye and allow them to dry fully in the sun.
(1) As the raspings start to dry you should spread them out on
a drying board to ensure that they do not dry in clumps.
(a) Being careful to wear rubber gloves when you are
handling the raspings during the dying process, and afterwards when
you are spreading them out to dry, this will keep you from dying your
hands as well.
d. The base for making cones is as follows.
6 oz finely powdered charcoal
1 oz powdered Benzoin
1/2 oz Saltpeter
1/4 oz Tolu
1/4 oz of raspings.
Enough mucilage of tragacanth or gum arabic to make a stiff
(1) The solid ingredients are ground to a fine powder and
mixed into the tragacanth.
(a) Gum tragacanth and gum arabic or acacia gum are the two
principle glues used to hold powdered ingredients together.
(b) Mucilage of tragacanth is prepared by placing a
tablespoon of powdered tragacanth into a container with 10 oz of
water. If necessary, correct the consistency - you want a heavy paste
that can be molded with your hands.
(c) Keep the mucilage well covered, so that it will remain
(d) If the tragacanth or gum of arabic pastes become hard
before you have a change to mold them they can be softened in a double
boiler with gentle heat and constant stirring.
(2) When the oils and other powdered ingredients are added the
mixture should form a manageable dough.
(a) After the addition of the scented oils, the mixture is
divided and rolled into small cones.
(3) A cone shaped mold is handy to use as it is hard to get
the exact shape just with your fingers - but not impossible.
(a) You have to work quite fast and keep the unused portion
in a bowl covered with a damp cloth.
(b) Set these little shapes aside to dry - which takes a
day - and they are ready to ignite.
e. Joss sticks are difficult to make without a special press.
(1) You can usually obtain one in areas where there is a large
(2) The idea is to make coils from the paste mixture
prepared in the recipe for cones.
(a) You might roll slim snakes of the paste, place them
on waxed paper and stick tiny twigs into one end so they will stand in
an incense holder.
(b) You might also try rolling paste around a thick broom
f. Sweet Ribbons are made with inch wide woven cotton ribbons
like the ones used in upholstery repair.
(1) To ensure an even and slow burn in the ribbons, you should
prepare a solution of 12 ozs of boiling water and 1 oz of saltpeter.
(a) Pull the ribbons through the solution until they are
thoroughly saturated and set them aside in the sun to dry.
(b) Saltpeter (sodium nitrate) is obtainable from your
(2) After the ribbon is dried, it is pulled through a shallow
tray of the perfume or oil you are using and dried again.
(a) To use, you cut off a length of ribbon and light one
(b) Blow out the fire and set the smoldering ribbon in an
g. Armenian Incense Papers are prepared by cutting a large sheet
of white blotting paper into about eight pieces.
(1) Pull each paper through the saltpeter solution prepared
for the Sweet Ribbons, until each piece is thoroughly saturated. Hang
the strips to dry.
(a) Macerate or soak a crushed vanilla bean in 8 ozs of
vodka for a week, filter the solids. out.
(b) Add a few drops, to preference, of your favorite
essence oils to the alcohol and mix this with 1 1/2 ozs of powdered
benzoin and 1 oz of crushed sandalwood.
(c) Again, draw the papers through the resulting liquid and
hang them to dry.
(2) When dry, cut them into inch wide strips and store them in
waxed paper or foil.
(a) To perfume a room light the corner of one of the papers
and immediately blow it out.
(b) It should smolder and give off it's scent.
(c) Leave the smoldering paper in an ashtray, until it has
burned itself out.
4. Most incenses will burn by themselves, but oils and resinous
incenses, like Frankincense and Myrrh, as well as most powdered
incenses, require a glowing charcoal to provide heat for ignition.
a. Most religious supply stores sell self-igniting charcoal in
little round cakes which can be used whole or broken into smaller
(1) If you have a mind to, you can make your own charcoal and
then treat it so that it will catch fire easily.
(2) To make your own charcoal, build a small fire, in a
container which is airtight when it is closed, using wood chips
purchased at the supermarket or pieces of bark from a nursery.
(a) Once the wood is glowing red-hot, close the lid, and
let the fire smother.
(b) After the coals have cooled, from several hours to a
few days, remove them and grind them up into a fine powder using the
grating side of a kitchen grater.
(3) To treat your charcoal for easy lighting and shaping into
usable shapes you will need to prepare a solution of 30 ozs of water
in which 1/2 oz of saltpeter has been dissolved.
(a) Add 30 ozs of the ground up charcoal to the previou
solution and add just enough gum tragacanth or gum arabic to make a
(b) Form the paste into small squares or circles and make
an indentation in the top of them with your thumb. This will form a
cup to hold a pinch of incense.
(4) To light your charcoal, hold a flame to the corner or edge
of your square or circle.
(a) Lay the charcoal in an incense burner, which is filled
at least 1/3 full with sand or ashes to prevent burning the table that
it sits on.
(b) Wait until all the charcoal is glowing and then place a
pinch of powdered incense or a small piece of resin on the coal.
(c) Be careful not to smother it with too much incense.
C. Formularies for the Planetary Incenses
1. Moon Incense
a. Wood base is made of Willow raspings, colored white or silver
for use on the new moon, red or green on the full moon and black on
the dark or waning moon.
(1) Mix equal parts of wormwood and camphor raspings to the
(a) Form into whichever form of incense you prefer. Don't
forget you can shape it into the symbols that hold special meaning to
you. Example: making small crescent moons using the recipe for cones
would be appropriate.
2. Sun Incense
a. Wood base is made of acacia, bay laurel, ash, birch or broom
raspings and colored gold or yellow.
(1) Mix equal parts of coarsely ground Frankincense and Myrrh.
(a) It is best to form these into cones so that they burn
3. Mercury Incense
a. Wood base is made of hazel, ash, or almond raspings and
(1) Mix equal parts of gum mastic and cinnamon.
(a) Powder or cones will work just as well.
4. Venus Incense
a. Wood base is made of apple or quince raspings and colored
green, indigo, or rose red.
(1) Mixing equal parts of finely ground lavender, chamomile,
cinnamon, orris root, and rose petals. add musk and patchouli oil to
your liking. Best prepared as a powdered incense.
5. Mars Incense
a. Wood base is made of holly or kerm-oak raspings and colored
(1) Mix 4 parts coarse ground Dragons Blood resin with 4 parts
ground Rue, 1 part Ginger, 1 part coarse ground peppercorns, and a
pinch of sulfur.
(a) Best prepared as a powdered incense.
6. Jupiter Incense
a. Wood base is made of oak, olive, or terebinth raspings and
colored a deep, or royal blue.
(1) Mix equal parts of finely ground anise, mint, hyssop,
chervil, liverwort, and juniper.
(a) Makes an excellent powdered incense.
7. Saturn Incense
a. Wood base is made of alder or pomegranite raspings and
colored black or blue.
(1) Mix 4 parts of coarse ground myrrh, 1 part elderberry, 1
part cypress, 1 part yew, and 1 part patchouli raspings.
(a) Burns best as a powder, if it is finely mixed. Cones
are better if you cannot mix them well enough.
D. Using Spices as Incense
1. Once it was very common to use spices to perfume a room or
a. Popular spices such as cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves, or
rosemary leave a room smelling very pleasant.
(1) Heat up about 1/4 of a teaspoonful of a good vegetable
cooking oil and stir in your spices.
(a) As soon as the mixture starts to smoke, remove it from
the heat and walk about the room with the pan of hot spices.
E. Preparation of Essence Oils
1. Methods of Extraction
a. The three most used methods of extracting essence oils from
plants are: distillation, enfleurage and maceration.
b. Distillation is the most common method of extraction and
works well on leaves, bark, roots, seeds, and tough flowers such as
roses and lavender. This method is not, however, suitable for the more
(1) The basic apparatus for distillation consists of a still
or retort, in which the materials are heated over a boiling liquid, a
condenser to cool and condense the resulting vapor carrying the oils,
and a receiver to collect the distilled liquid.
(a) Gather and cut up about 60-80 grams of plant material
as best you can and place it in the retort, where the contents are
steamed by boiling water.
(b) As the steam passes over the plant material it causes
the moisture in the plants to escape, carrying the essential oils
along with it.
(c) The vapor enters into the condenser where it cools and
condenses into tiny droplets which slide down the collector into a
(d) Generally, the first ounce is pure oil and the rest is
suitable for toilet water.
c. Enfluerage is an extraction which uses no heat and is best
applied to the removal of essence oils from delicate flowers like
violets, lily of the valley, and mignonette.
(1) Enfluerage is based on the principle that essential oils
are absorbed by other fats and oils.
(a) Shallow trays are greased on both sides with purifies
fat and fresh blossoms are spread thickly between them.
(b) Every few days the spent flowers are removed and
replaced with fresh ones until, in about 4 weeks, the fat is saturated
with the flower oil. You now have Pomade.
(2) The oil is then extracted from the fat by mixing it with
unscented vodka, surgical alcohol or brandy.
(a) The oil will dissolve in the alcohol and can be removed
by placing the container of fat, essence oil and alcohol in a cold
(b) This is prepared by taking a container full of ice
water, which is larger than you oil container, and placing the oil
container in it.
(c) The fat will congeal and the alcohol, with the essence
oil, can be poured into a suitable container.
(3) Sometimes cloths soaked in olive oil are used instead of
trays, the blossoms being replaced as necessary until the olive oil is
fully charged with the perfume.
(a) Then the oil is squeezed from the cloths and the
essential oils separated with alcohol as in the earlier procedure.
d. Maceration is a similar and quicker method of extraction used
for less fragile flowers.
(1) Successive batches of fresh flowers are left to soak in
warm fat for several days, until the fat is strongly impregnated.
(a) As before, the oils are washed out of the fat by the
2. Mixing Essence Oils
a. When mixing essence oils for use as scents on the body, you
will want to dilute the pure essence oil with 50% olive oil or light
(1) This extends your essence oils and prevents the body oil
from being too overpowering.
(a) When applying body oils you should place a small drop
over those places where the blood vessels run close to the surface of
the skin so that as your blood runs hot the scent radiates from you.
b. In working specific spells, it might be necessary to use five
or more oils to cover all the bases.
F. Formula for an Annointing Oil
1. This oil is generally utilized to bless candles before they are
used in a ceremony, and is said to magnetize the candles or to give
them more occult strength.
b. This oil can also be used to wipe down an altar or a worship
(1) Determine the total volume of oil you wish to make, mix
50% of the total in a good quality olive oil or light mineral oil with
a 50% blend of the following oils:
(a) Patchouli Oil
(b) Cinnamon oil
(c) Verbena oil
(2) Try to obtain as pure an oil as possible for each
(a) Mix the patchouli, cinnamon, and verbena in equal
amounts, so that the total is 50% of the total volume.
G. A Word of Caution
1. Some people have allergic reactions to essence oils.
a. Never use oils or blends of oils in large amounts until you
have tried a small amount on your skin to be sure you are not allergic
END OF LESSON 7
I. ON JOINING A COVEN
A. Reasons for joining a Coven
1. To experience a sense of community.
a. As Crafters, we seem to stand slightly to one side of
(1) This setting apart makes us feel as though we are alone
and surrounded by people who do not understand us.
(a) A coven brings together like minded people who can form
a surrogate clan or tribe, which then serves as a support group.
(b) Most newcomers to the Craft express their feelings at
Covenmeets as a 'coming home' or finding 'their people.'
2. To find religious freedom
a. Most Crafters have had a lifetime of religious bigotry with
which to contend.
b. Consequently they are more willing to tolerate other peoples
(1) And, because of their emphasis on direct experience with
the Goddess, they are not so quick to condemn your experiences as the
result of psychosis or delusion.
(a) In most cases, they have had the same or similar
3. To receive training in psychic development.
a. A Coven serves as the training ground in which each member
develops her/his personal power.
(1) The support and security of the group reinforces each
member's belief in themselves.
(a) Psychic training opens new awareness and abilities.
(b) And feedback from the group becomes the ever present
mirror in which we 'see ourselves as others see us.'
4. To gain power over others
a. Many times this is the strongest motivation for becoming a
witch and joining a Coven.
b. The perceived need to gain power over others is a desperate
cry for help which indicates an insecure and frightened individual.
(1) Patriarchal systems teach that there are a privileged few
who manipulate the masses and we are led to believe that our own self
worth is direct proportion to the power we hold over other people.
(a) This mindset leads to the view of fellow humans as
being both competitors that must be 'beaten' and as potential slaves.
c. One of the major objectives of the first degree training of a
witch is to get the potential witch to face the Self truthfully.
(1) During this process the witch examines her/his own
motivations and internal programming.
(a) This is in keeping with the Hermetic maxim to "know
(2) As the witch comes to realize that the need to have power
over others stems from a lack of power over one's own self, s/he is
taught techniques which lead to gaining control over their own lives
and that build personal power.
(a) With personal power, the need to dominate others
subsides along with feelings of powerlessness.
II. TYPICAL STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION OF A COVEN.
1. The structure of the craft is cellular, based on small circles
whose members share a deep commitment to each other and the craft.
a. The craft tends to attract people who, by nature, do not like
to join groups.
(1) The coven structure makes it possible for rabid
individualists to experience a deep sense of community without losing
their independence of spirit.
(a) Even so, because the coven becomes a family, that makes
demands upon its members, just as any family does, there are crafters
who cannot function within the strictures of a coven.
(b) These crafters usually work their rites alone except
for those rare occasions when they can join their brothers and sisters
in the celebration of the Mysteries.
(c) These people are rightly called Solitaries or Solos,
and their dedication to the craft requires them to forego the
camaraderie of a support group such as a coven.
2. A coven, by tradition, never (?) contains more than thirteen
a. In such a small group, each person's presence or absence
affects the rest.
(1) The group is colored by every individual's likes,
dislikes, beliefs and tastes.
b. Some, less traditional, covens consist of any number of
members from 3 - 20.
(1) Many times this comes about because of the many people who
wish to work in the craft and the shortage of qualified leaders to
(a) Other factors that may affect the size of a coven are
the group's philosophy, the size of the working circle, and the
3. Originally, the members of a coven were the teachers and
priestesses/priests of a large pagan population of non- initiates.
a. They formed the Council of Elders in each clan, the wisewomen
and wisemen who delved beneath the surface of their rites and sought
the deeper meanings.
(1) At the Sabbats, they led the rituals, organized the
gatherings, and expounded upon the meanings of the ceremonies.
4. Each coven had its own territory, which by tradition extended
for a league in all directions (about 3 miles).
a. When a new coven hived off from an established one, they were
expected to honor the league rule and move off away from the
(1) This allowed the new and old covens some elbow room and
discouraged the new coven members from running to the old coven
leaders whenever things did not go smoothly.
(a) It is impractical in a modern urban setting to observe
the league rule, but new coven members should at least try to keep
their distance from their old coven except during community
(2) As mentioned above, neighboring covens might join together
for the Great Sabbats in order to share knowledge, herbs, spells and
(of course) gossip.
5. Every coven is autonomous
a. Each coven functions as its own authority in matters of
ritual, thealogy, and training.
(1) Groups of covens who follow the same rites may consider
themselves part of the same tradition.
(a) Some traditions make provisions for the leaders of
parent covens that have other covens hive off to receive recognition
for their work.
b. The reputation of a coven in the community is many times all
that other covens have to go on when determining whether it invite
them to gatherings or not.
(1) This means that the integrity of the coven leaders coupled
with the reputation of its members as being sincere followers of the
Path is what a coven is judged by.
(a) The craft is a religion that is lived, and if the lives
of this members do not reflect the teaching of the craft, then the
reputation of the coven suffers.
a. Every group which hopes to accomplish anything must have
people who provide leadership and organization and the craft is no
(1) Most covens are led primarily by a High Priestess, who has
gone through a lengthy training program in magic, psychic development,
ritual and leadership as well as thealogy.
(a) During ritual the Goddess is invoked into the High
Priestess and she is treated accordingly.
(b) Outside of ritual the High Priestess acts as the final
authority when deciding coven policy, but to disagree with her is not
an offense against the Goddess as some have espoused.
(2) In those covens that recognize the God as separate from
the Goddess, the High Priestess shares her authority and
responsibilities with her High Priest.
(a) As with the Goddess, the God is invoked into the High
Priest during some rituals.
(b) In covens that do not recognize the God as separate
from the Goddess, the High Priest is subservient and below the High
Priestess is authority.
(c) It is extremely rare to find a High Priestess that is
below or subservient to the High Priest in this day and age.
(3) Traditionally, the High Priestess is aided by the Maiden.
(a) The Maiden is usually a Priestess-in-training or a
visiting High Priestess.
(b) Some traditions call for the Maiden to be the daughter
of the High Priestess and in some cases this is satisfied by having
the High Priestess 'adopt' the Maiden when she accepts her as a
(c) It is the Maidens duty to assist the High Priestess
during ritual by handing her equipment, keeping the candles and
incense going, etc.
(4) Some Traditions make allowances for a Summoner.
(a) The Summoner, also called Puck, is responsible for
acting as the private messenger of the High Priestess.
(b) He may be a Priest-in-training or simply someone who is
capable of being seen anywhere without arousing suspicion.
(c) Along with the High Priestess, he is usually the only
one who knows all the other witches in the area with the possible
exception of the High Priest.
(d) He is responsible for the mundane matters of the coven
such as contacting coven members when a coven-meet is called,
overseeing coven finances, buying ritual supplies, coordinating
gatherings and providing light for the High Priestess or the High
Priest as needed during circle.
a. The craft is not for sale. There are no fees for initiation
and it is considered a breech of ethics to charge money for coven
(1) Covens might charge dues to cover expenses for candles,
incense, and other necessities but no one profits from commercializing
the craft for long.
(a) One of the tasks normally assigned to someone who is
about to undergo initiation is to bring a bottle of wine or to provide
some homemade Sabbat cakes for the ceremony.
(b) This is to impress upon the new initiate that everyone
is responsible for providing for the circle according to their
(c) More often than not, the coven members provide more
than expected. Not to show off or gain favor, but because they want to
contribute and have the ability. After the gathering the remains are
offered to the feathered friends or sent home with other members who
may have a need.
(d) There is no shame in admitting a need and taking home
any leftover food or supplies, because it was all given in the spirit
of providing according to one's ability and you do the provider the
honor of seeing that the gifts do not go wasted.
3. Degrees of Training
a. Most traditions possess a system of degrees to denote the
amount of training that the members of the coven have undergone.
b. Some traditions, such as the Welsh Celtic tradition taught in
Georgia, go from the sublime to the ridiculous.
(1) This tradition claims to have nine levels of
(a) Most of which their leader believes even he may never
c. Happily for the rest of us mortals, most other traditions
only recognize three degrees when they recognize any at all.
(1) The 1st degree is the degree of the Initiate.
(a) Training for this degree consists mainly of learning
the mythology and cosmology of the tradition, psychic and personal
development, Low Magic or spellcasting, divination, and healing.
(2) Once you attain the 2nd degree, you become an Elder in the
(a) Training involves learning the laws of the tradition,
ritual magic, folklore, Spirit contact and trance mediumship.
(3) The 3rd degree escorts you into the wonderful(?) world of
being a Priest or Priestess.
(a) Training focuses on rituals of life such as Wiccanings,
blessings, handfastings, and funereal ceremonies as well as training
in leadership and group dynamics.
(b) Inner teachings are presented during this training and
the Priest/ess is offered the option of leaving the group to start a
coven of their own or remaining to serve on the Council of Elders as a
representative of the Ancient Ones.
d. Some traditions have pre-initiation degrees that apply to
what is called 'outer-court' teachings.
(1) Many times these teaching will consist of courses very
similar to the ones associated with this series of lessons.
(a) No matter what the degree structure is, the important
thing to remember is that the material you are supposed to learn on
your way up is the foundation on which you build your future
(b) All too many people rush through the basics to collect
as many degrees as possible only to find that they have wasted their
time pursuing the illusion of prestige that goes along with the
degrees and never gained the knowledge and experience the degrees are
supposed to represent.
III. THE COVEN PERSONA
A. Group Mind
1. Just as a mob of individuals can be galvanized into acting like
a senseless animal, a coven can develop a group mind with its own
goals and orientation.
a. The orientation that a coven developes can be quite varied.
(1) Some covens concentrate on healing or teaching.
(2) Others may lean towards psychic work, trance states,
social action or creativity and inspiration.
(3) While others seem to throw great parties.
B. Group Power
1. In the craft, power is another word for that energy which is
the subtle current of forces that shapes reality.
a. A powerful person is seen as someone who draws power into the
group, not out of it.
(1) The sources of inner power are limited.
(a) One person's power does not diminish anothers; instead,
as each covener comes into his or her power, the power of the group
C. Group Consciousness
1. One of the laws of magic is that as thoughtforms are fed
regularly they grow into self-sufficiency.
a. This is why religious sites that have been abandoned for ages
still affect sensitive people who visit them.
(1) And why rituals performed the same way over and over again
become more powerful with each repetition.
2. Once the thoughtform is fully formed it is brought into
manifestation through repeatedly re-forming it.
a. Again, this is why rituals are performed over and over the
(1) You are following a blueprint for a thoughtform and
deviation produces a distorted thoughtform.
b. Once a coven has found its own orientation, it begins work on
forming a thoughtform of the work it wishes to do.
(1) Eventually, the coven actualizes its thoughtforms and the
group consciousness becomes a source of healing for the members of the
coven and a reservoir of power that any member can draw on in need.
IV. FINDING A COVEN TO JOIN
A. The Craft grows slowly.
1. Witchcraft will never be a mass-market religion, because it
requires a great deal from its followers in the way of learning and
a. For this reason witches never proselytize.
(1) Prospective members are expected to seek out covens and
demonstrate a deep level of interest.
(a) The strength of the craft is in the QUALITY of its
members not the quantity.
B. Finding a Coven can be Difficult
1. Crafters are not usually listed in the Yellow Pages and rarely
place classified ads.
a. However, they often give classes through Open Universities or
(1) And some Universities are beginning to offer courses about
the craft in their religious studies programs.
2. The Circle Guide to Wicca and Pagan Resources
a. Guide published by Circle Publications in Wisconsin
(1) Serves as a resource guide to books, periodicals, arts,
music, supplies and contacts in the Wiccan community in the United
States, Canada, and Britain.
3. Occult Shops
a. Occult shops are usually listed in the yellow pages of the
phone book if there are any in your area.
(1) If you make a good first impression, or are willing to
establish yourself as a good customer, you might be able to get some
leads from the manager.
(a) Many times a group leader will leave a phone number to
be given out to a prospective member that the manager feels is
(b) Getting that number does not guarantee that you will
get into a group but you will be closer than you were before.
(2) Most occult stores have community bulletin boards that
advertise festivals open to the public.
(a) Chances are you will meet Crafters who are already in a
coven or are about to form one at these festivals.
(b) If not, at least you will have the opportunity to
celebrate the season with like minded people.
(c) It would not hurt your chances to learn as much as you
can about the 8 sabbats so you will know when to look for the festival
(d) Once you are at the festival, you should show off any
skill you might have. Music, juggling, or a good sense of humor breaks
down barriers faster than calling cards and black robes.
4. The best route is through personal contacts
a. Most Crafters feel that when a person is internally ready to
join the craft, s/he will be drawn to the right people.
5. As a last resort, you can form your own group.
a. You do not have to be an hereditary, or even an initiated
witch to form your own group.
(1) Stewart and Janet Farrar have provided the necessary
framework for the Gardnerian tradition in their books.
(a) And Ray Buckland has provided instructions on how to
form groups around the Seax Tradition that he created.
b. The school of trial and error is also a very fine one,
although training by an established group helps a lot more and with a
lot fewer surprises.
(1) A Witch I respect very much once replied to the charge
that only an initiation can make someone a witch with the question
"Who initiated the first witch?"
V. GUIDELINES FOR EVALUATING PROSPECTIVE COVENS.
A. Do Your Homework
1. Before you join a coven you should try to learn as much about
the craft as you can from books and other readily available material.
a. This will prevent you from looking foolish to whoever you
contact and provides you with basic information to found your
B. Trust Yourself.
1. Always listen to the guidance of your inner voice.
a. Pay attention to your inner feelings in sensing whether or
not to pursue study, magical work, or other aspects of relationships
with those you encounter.
(1) If you get good feelings, gradually allow a relationship
(a) If you get bad feelings, do not get involved.
(2) If you get mixed feelings, feel somewhat uncomfortable, or
feel unsure about some group or individual, hold off on getting more
deeply involved until you can identify where your feelings are coming
from and what they are trying to tell you.
(a) It might mean that those you have contacted are
involved in negative magic of some sort.
(b) Or it might mean that you are shy about meeting new
(c) It could mean that the people, while not working
negative magic, are just not right for you.
(3) Meditate on your feelings
(a) Remember that the High Self can only speak to us
through the Younger Self who then speaks to us through feelings and
(b) Seek out your inner voice and follow its direction
C. Beware of others who try to convince you that theirs is the only
proper way of development.
1. There are many traditions and many paths of the craft and THERE
IS NO ONE WAY THAT IS RIGHT FOR EVERYONE.
a. Groups and individuals vary in size, structure, methods of
working, cultural roots, and other factors.
(1) You should try to connect with the path or paths that seem
to harmonize most with your own vibrations, needs, and interests.
D. Beware of others who are overly quick to initiate you and make
you part of their system of magic.
1. This is often a sign that they want to use you, your money, and
your energy to feed their own ego trips and power games.
E. Beware of those who flatter you and nourish your Ego more than
1. They are probably trying to control you for their own devices
and care little, if anything, for your spiritual needs.
a. On the other hand, beware of those who try to control you
with intimidation, guilt and/or fear.
(1) Watch out for teachers who constantly point out to you how
wise and powerful they are and how ignorant and weak you are.
(a) One who is truly wise does not have to call your
attention to it.
(b) Actions speak louder than words.
VI. WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE JOINED THE WRONG GROUP
A. Recognize WHY you joined this particular group.
1. People first contacting the craft rarely enter a specific
tradition out of deliberate choice.
a. Usually they are seeking 'The Craft' and they join the first
group that lets them in.
(1) This group gives them a plan of study, often lasting a
(a) Then, if they seem to mesh with the other people of the
group, they are initiated into it.
(b) Usually that coven has a specific orientation and
tradition that it follows.
B. Making Plans to Leave
1. If you find that you are impatient or that you are not
advancing as quickly as you think you should be, you may want to start
making plans to leave the group.
a. This should be done as graciously as you can possibly manage.
(1) As a newcomer to the craft community you will not have
much of an established reputation.
(a) And it is human nature to place more value on the story
told by the leader of a group as to why you left, than your story,
especially if it was a bad break.
(b) Unless the group and/or its leaders already have a bad
reputation, in which case you should not have gotten mixed up with
them in the first place.
(2) If you can get out of the group without causing conflicts
or confrontations, do it, as it will then be much easier to build a
good reputation in the community.
(a) And you will find it easier to get into a new group if
they do not have to risk facing bad blood with another coven because
they took you in.
(3) For your own sake, do not bad mouth your old group or its
(a) This only hurts you, as it tends to lower you in the
eyes of the other crafters and it will eventually get back to the ones
you are bad mouthing.
VII. WARDING OFF PSYCHIC ATTACKS
A. Get to Know Your Enemy
1. TRUE psychic attacks are VERY RARE.
a. There are few people with the knowledge and/or training who
can launch an effective psychic attack.
(1) Most people who suspect that they are being attacked
psychically are paranoid.
(a) The paranoia usually has its roots in guilt felt by the
person who believes he is under attack.
(b) The guilt is normally related to some action or other,
that the paranoid person has committed against someone else and the
fear of the wrath or supposed power of the person he believes is
(c) This guilt and fear is what works on their
subconsciousness until they start to manifest real symptoms or outward
appearances of being under attack.
2. Look for a link between yourself and your enemy
a. If in fact, there really is someone trying to attack you
psychically, they will need a link to you.
(1) Be very careful to dispose of all nail-clippings and hair,
so that they do not fall into the hands of your enemies and practice
restraint in giving out your picture.
(2) Wash all clothes that you are giving away and remove any
personalized initials or tags that connect them with you.
(a) All of these items are connected to you through the Law
of Contagion, and can serve as a link through which your enemy can
b. Check to see if any of these items may be in the possession
of the person you suspect is attacking you.
(1) You should be able to remember if you have given anyone a
lock of your hair, a photograph, or an article of clothing.
3. Seek out stories of failure on the part of the person you
suspect is doing the attacking.
a. A large part of the success of the attack will depend on the
faith of the victim that the enemy is truly as powerful as the victim
believes the attacker to be.
(1) This faith not only reinforces the psychological effects
of being attacked but the fear it creates opens a channel between the
victim and attacker.
(a) Asking around should soon turn up stories of failure on
the part of the attacker and this plants doubts in the victims mind as
to whether they are truly at risk from this bumbler.
4. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER
a. If you are under attack, it is at least partly your own
fault, and you need to get your life in order.
(1) Take control of your life by cleaning your living quarters
from top to bottom.
(a) This will reassure you that there are no hidden charms
or fettishes hidden inside your space.
(b) If you discover any, then you can break the link by
bathing them in the running water of a stream, canal or the waves of
an ocean to wash away their power and then burn them in a fire to
break any connection between you and them.
(c) Do not forget to check outside of your house for
recent signs of digging which would indicate that someone has buried
something there recently.
(d) One favorite place is under your doorstep so that you
must cross it each time you leave or enter the house and outside your
(2) If you have been raised in any particular religion that
you still feel an affinity for or have truly converted to, you might
try praying to your deity for protection and forgiveness for whatever
you have done to bring attack unto you.
(a) A good way to renew your faith is to sit down and read
the entire book, scroll, etc, that constitute your holy doctrines
which guide you through your life.
(3) Change your lifestyle if you feel that it has contributed
to opening you up to the attack.
(a) Unfortunately we are judged by others according to the
people we associate with and nobody needs friends who will turn on
B. Purify and Protect Your Home.
1. In addition to the physical cleansing of your home mentioned
above it is a good practice to spiritually cleanse your home on a
a. Natural cleansing agents such as sunshine and wind and also
prepared solutions such as floor washes and powders that can be
sprinkled into carpets or across doorways, etc.
(1) The sun has a disinfecting quality that is excellent for
bedding and rugs.
(a) Remove all cloth covered furniture, bedding and
clothing after it has been washed, and cloth floor and wall coverings
and hang or place them in the full sun for a minimum of 6 hours.
(2) Open all the windows of your home and allow the wind to
blow through your house.
(a) If there is no wind, then make some with a box fan,
bought or borrowed from a local source.
(b) Every house has a natural inlet and outlet for air
built into it. Light a stick of sweet incense and walk around your
home with it. Notice whether the air coming from each window or door
pulls the smoke of the incense out of the room or pushes it into the
room. Also notice which windows or doors produce the strongest push
(c) Place the fan at the window which has the strongest
pull of air inward, so that it pulls the air into the room. Another
fan should be placed at the window with the strongest push out, so
that the fan blows the air out the window.
(3) Choose an incense that appeals to you and fill the house
with smoke from the incense while it is being aired out.
(a) An instant incense burner can be made from a pie plate
with a can of playdough set in the middle of it.
(b) Shove the ends of stick incense into the playdough at
an angle, so that the ashes fall out into the pie plate. Light the
sticks and you are in business.
(c) An alternative is to use self-igniting charcoal with a
powdered or resinous incense. Take a 2 quart saucepan and fill it half
full with fine dirt or sand and set the charcoal in the center of the
sand. Light the charcoal and place a few pinches of powdered incense
or a few pieces of resin on the glowing coal.
(d) Do not place the incense burner too close to any walls,
as the smoke will stain the walls. Turn off any negative-ion
generators that you may have in the house as they will grab the smoke
out of the air and bond it to the walls and fixtures in your home.
(4) Scrub the floors and walls with a cleansing solution
containing soap, water, sea salt and fragrances which you associate
(a) Some people prefer the hospital smell that comes from
using Lysol, others the pungent smell of pine oil, and still others
the lighter fragrances of lemon oil or lavender.
(b) I would suggest staying away from cleansers that leave
the smell of ammonia since that particular smell is often associated
with stale urine.
(c) Any decent formulary should give several recipes for
concocting your own floor washes, cleansing powders, etc.
2. Once the psychic atmosphere of your home has been cleansed, you
will want to take measures to prevent any unwanted intrusions.
a. Setting wards at all the windows and doors will prevent any
unwelcome entities from crossing your threshold.
(1) This is done after all locks and bars, if any, are in
place and secured.
(a) Remember, on the physical plane it is best to use
physical means backed up by psychic means, rather than to rely solely
on psychic means, unless you like to live dangerously.
b. A ward is set by drawing, or tracing a protective sign such
as the cross for christians, a banishing pentagram for witches, etc.,
at each of the windows and doors.
(1) Appropriate visualizations depicting what the protective
sign is supposed to accomplish, will program it as you are drawing it.
(a) You can leave instructions for it to let you know if
anything tries to get past it or, if you are afraid you might not be
able to control your fear, tell it to stand its ground as long as it
(b) Personally, I prefer to visualize it as a local
manifestation of the Goddess and thereby set up a magical link that
allows the ward to draw on the natural protective urges of a mother
for her young.
<1> It's true that, in this case, that is playing a bit
of hardball, but I see no reason why I shouldn't feel as safe anywhere
I am as I do resting in the bosom of my Mother.
c. As a last line of defense, you might want to borrow a page
out of the ceremonial magicians book and cast a protective circle
about your bed before you go to sleep.
(1) If you are planning to go out and do some work on the
Astral Planes, it is almost mandatory that you do this to insure that
you are not messed with while you are "oot and aboot."
C. Learn how to handle yourself when confronted by your attacker.
1. Sit or stand with your arms crossed over your solar plexus.
a. The chakra through which energy enters and leaves your body
is located at the solar plexus.
(1) By blocking this chakra, you are denying the attacker any
of your energy and preventing him from sending any of his into your
(a) The effect is heightened if you stand or sit in such a
way as to be facing slightly to one side or the other of the attacker,
in other words, do not face him front on.
2. Become aware of how you are controlling your eyes.
a. The key here is relaxation.
(1) If you find yourself staring, or transfixed, blink your
eyes until they feel comfortable.
(a) Many forms of hypnosis depend on catching the eye and
holding it until the subject tires enough to allow an opening.
b. Notice which eye of your attacker you are staring into and
deliberately change your gaze to the other one.
(1) The eye which you find yourself staring into is your
attackers 'strong' eye by which he 'fascinates' his victims.
(a) Changing your gaze to his 'weak eye' breaks his control
(2) It takes a lot of concentration to keep your gaze on his
(a) But exerting this effort will distract you from his
voice which he will try to use to 'charm' you.
3. Become aware of your personal zones and posture.
a. Get a book on, and study, body language.
(1) Body language is the non-verbal way your subconscious
communicates how it is feeling to yourself and others around you.
(a) Without an understanding of how body posture can be
controlled, other people can gain the upper hand by placing you in
b. Learn how to recognize the positions and practice turning the
tables on aggressors by trading position while you subtly invade their
personal safety zone with a mildly aggressive move or two.
(1) This will remove you from being the one who is dominated,
while it throws your attacker off balance.
(a) For the most part, people who will threaten you with
psychic attack will not attempt to force their own will upon you
<1> But in the off chance they might try, stay away
from deserted or less than public places when confronting your
4. Do not overlook the obvious ridiculousness of the situation in
your search for a solution.
a. People who attack or try to attack, others psychically take
themselves much too seriously.
(1) The quickest way to counter an attack is to invoke your
innate sense of humor.
(a) Smiling, with an occasional giggle or snicker, while
your attacker is putting his curse on you, will send him into a fit of
ranting and raving.
(b) Pretending to be looking forward to the curse will make
him 'foam at the mouth".
(c) Asking if there is anything you can do to help will
send him over the edge.
5. Whatever you do, DO NOT try to counter-attack your attacker.
a. This will lower your psychic energies to his level and open a
channel between you and him through which he may successfully attack
b. This will play hell with your Karma and you will both be
required to work things out before either of you can proceed along the
Path of Return.
(1) Nor should you invoke the Crone aspect of the Goddess to
(a) The Goddess is not concerned about such matters in Her
Maiden aspect, very forgiving of everybody in Her Mother aspect, and
only interested in Justice in Her Crone aspect.
<1> This means that as Maiden, she doesn't care and as
Mother, she will forgive and not punish, but as Crone she will kick
everybody's backside that is involved.
There is a maxim of justice that - if there is a
dispute - everybody is at least somewhat at fault.
Therefore to serve justice - everyone must be
<2> It is better to ask for mercy and let the laws of
Karma even things out.
END OF LESSON EIGHT
1. Law of Knowledge: to effect/affect a thing you must know the thing. The more you know about yourself the more you can know something else.
2. Law of Identification: with your will you can become anything- be one with anything. (Our only tool is the brain)
3. Law of Contagion: anything that has been in contact with something else maintains contact with that thing through the ether.
4. Law of Names knowing the True Name of something defines the action you take to focus a function on that thing.
5. Law of Cause and Effect: under exactly the same conditions using the same actions you will always obtain the same results.
6. Law of Infinite Data: there is more in the universe than we can sense or know. Learning never stops.
7. Law of Association: if a thing reminds you of something else it can be used as a simulacrum for that something else for magickal purposes.
8. Law of Infinite Universes: change your perspective in one area and you change your universe. There are always three choices available.
9. Law of Invocation and Evocation: there are forces outside and inside of you that you can tap and direct through your brain.
10. Law of Pragmatism: if it works, it is true.
11. Law of Predestination and Free Will: events are predestined, each person chooses whether and to what extent to participate in them.
12. Law of Polarity: everything contains and implies its opposite.
a. As above so below. You can extrapolate the universe from one atom.
b. Rhythm serves as a counterbalancing pendulum.
c. "Chance" is a Law which tends to be ignored.
d. "Time" is a function of perspective, subject to the aggregate psychological outlook of your society.
e. Matter is a function of energy, energy can be converted but not destroyed.
f. The combination of any two energy forms will result in a third energy form more complex that the combination of the original two.
g. Even though there are always three choices available, you can always think of another ne.
h. There is no such thing as a wrong emotion, just an incorrect interpretation and manifestation thereof.
i. Don't take yourself too seriously, you are a physical function of a very young race. And Life is a lowlife clever practical joker, that loves to piss on your plans - keep your sense of humor.
j. It may not matter 10,000 years from now, but if it affects you it matters. Understand it and react accordingly.
k. Don't pee in the beer.
THE CHARGE OF THE GODDESS
Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who of old was called
Astarte, Artemis, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Ceridwen, Diana,
Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names:
"Whenever you have need of anything, once in the month, and better it
be when the moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and
adore the spirit of Me who is Queen of all the Wise. You shall be free
and as a sign that you be free, you shall be naked in your rites.
Sing, feast, dance make music and love, all in My presence, for Mine
is the ecstacy of the spirit and Mine also is joy on earth. For My Law
is love unto all beings. Mine is the secret that opens upon the door
of youth, and mine is the cup of wine of life that is the Cauldron of
Cerridwen, that is the holy grail of immortality. I give the knowledge
of the spirit eternal and beyond death I give peace and freedom and
reunion with those that have gone before. Nor do I demand aught of
sacrifice, for behold, I an the Mother of all things, and My love is
poured out upon the Earth.""
Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of whose feet are the
hosts of Heaven, She whose body encircles the Universe:
" I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among
the stars and the mysteries of the waters, I call upon our soul to
arise and come unto me. For I am the soul of nature that gives life to
the Universe. From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.
Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold - all acts
of love and pleasure are My Rituals. Let there be beauty and strength,
power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence with in
you. And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning
will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you
seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that
which is attained at the end of all desire."
Alone, awesome, complete in Herself, the Goddess, She whose name
cannot be spoken, floated in the outer darkness, before the beginning
of all things. As She looked into the curved mirror of black space,
She saw by Her own light Her radiant reflection, and fell in love with
It. She drew It forth by the power that was in Her and made love to
Herself, and called Her "Miria, the Wonderful."
Their ecstasy burst forth in the single song of all that is, was,
or ever shall be, and with the song came motion, waves that poured
outward and became all the spheres and circles of the worlds. The
Goddess became filled with love, swollen with love, and She gave birth
to a rain of bright spirits, that filled the worlds and became all
But in that great movement, Miria was swept away, and as She
moved out from the Goddess, She became more masculine. First She
became the Blue God, the gentle, laughing God of love. The She became
the Green one, vine-covered, rooted in the earth, the spirit of all
growing things. At last She became the Horned God, the Hunter whose
face is the ruddy sun, and yet dark as Death. But always desire draws
Him back toward the Goddess, so that He circles Her eternally, seeking
to return in love.
All began in love; all seeks to return in love. Love is the law,
the teacher of wisdom, and the great revealer of the mysteries.
In love, the Horned God, changing form and changing face, ever
seeks the Goddess. In this world, the searching and the seeking appear
in the Wheel of the Year.
She is the Great Mother, Who gives birth to Him as the Divine
Child Sun at the Winter Solstice. In spring, He is the Sower and the
Seed who grows with the growing light, green as the new shoots. She is
the Initiatrix, Who teaches Him the Mysteries. He is the Young Bull;
She is the Nymph, seductress. In summer, when light is longest, They
meet in union, and the strength of Their passion sustains the world.
But the Gods' face darkens as the sun grows weaker, until at last,
when the grain is cut for harvest, He also sacrifices Himself to Self,
that all may be nourished. She is the Reaper, the grave of earth to
which all must return. Thoughout the long nights and darkening days,
He sleeps in Her Womb. In dreams, He is the Lord of Death, who rules
the Land of Youth beyond the Gates of Night and Day. His dark tomb
becomes the Womb of Rebirth, for at Midwinter She again gives birth to
Him. The cycle ends and begins again, and the Wheel of the Year turns
on and on.
The pentacle is the primary Earth symbol. Its gender, like that
of the wand, is not usually emphasized, but as the symbol of the Earth
Mother, it may be taken as being feminine.
It is the centerpiece of the altar, on which objects are
consecrated; the water and salt bowls, too, are placed on it for
blessing - some covens do not use a salt bowl but place the salt
directly on the pentacle from which, after blessing, it is tipped into
In persecution days, the pentacle used to be inscribed on wax for
each Circle, so that it could be destroyed afterwards as a dangerous
piece of evidence. Today it is usually a disc of metal, mainly in
copper, and it is normally 5-6 inches in diameter.
The central upright pentagram is the primary symbol of the Craft.
Together with the upright triangle above it, it forms the symbol of
third degree initiation. The inverted pentagram, top right, is that of
the second degree, and the inverted triangle, top left, that of the
first degree. The Horned God symbol is bottom left, and bottom right
are the waxing and waning Moon-cresents of he Goddess (also sometimes
described as the breasts of the Goddess). The two SSs at the bottom
represent the polarity of Mercy and Severity, in the form of the kiss
(plain S) and the Scourge (S with a stroke).
PENTACLE FROM THE LIBER UMBRARUM BY DOREEN VALIENTE
The five-pointed star or pentagram is one of the oldest signs in
the world. It represents, among other meaning, magic itself, the
dominion of the spirit over the four elements of the material
The Circle which encloses it, being without beginning or ending,
represents infinity and eternity. Another meaning of the pentagram is
that it bears a rough resemblance to a human figure, as if standing
upright with the arms and legs outstretched. Hence the pentagram in a
circle is a symbol of the human being in relationship to the Infinite.
The eight armed figure in the center of the pentagram represents
the Eight Ritual Occasions of the Witch's year, four Greater Sabbats
and four Lesser Sabbats. The Greater Sabbats are Candlemas, May Eve,
Lammas, and Hallowe'en. The Lesser Sabbats are the equinoxes and
solstices. The eight of this symbol plus the five of the pentagram
makes 13, the traditional number of the Witches coven.
The three X-shaped crosses around the pentagram represent the
three annointing of the initiation ceremony, 'two above and one
below'; that is, two above the waist and one below it. The two spirals
or S-shapes represent the ancient symbol of the twin serpents, the
dual forces of positive and negative, yang and yin, masculine and
feminine, that underlie all manifestation.
The symbols on the three upper points of the pentagram are the
two crescents of the waxing and waning moons, and the circle of the
full moon. Together they represent the primordial Goddess of Nature,
often depicted in triple form as Nymph, Mother and Crone, the three
phases of the moon.
The symbols on the two lower points of the pentagram represent
the two aspects of the ancient God of witches. They are
conventionalized drawings of a horned head and a skull and crossed
bones. The former sign represents the Horned God of Life and Fertility,
and the latter is the God of Death and what lies beyond.
THE HOLY BOOK OF WOMENS MYSTERIES Z. BUDAPEST
PARTS I & II
ANCIENT MIRRORS OF WOMANHOOD MERLIN STONE
WHEN GOD WAS A WOMAN " "
THE BOOK OF THE GODDESS ANNE FORFREEDOM & JUNE ANN
THE GREAT GODDESS (HERESIES SERIES) VARIOUS AUTHORS
THE DESCENT TO THE GODDESS SYLVIA BRINTON PERERA
THE BOOK OF LILITH BARBARA BLACK KOLTUV, Ph.D.
THE WOMENS BOOK OF HEALING DIANE STEIN
THE WOMEN'S SPIRITUALITY BOOK " "
HYGIEIA, A WOMENS HERBAL JEANNINE PARVATI
WOMAN SPIRIT RISING CAROL P. CHRIST
GODDESSES IN EVERY WOMAN JEAN BOLEN
THE MISTS OF AVALON MARION Z. BRADLEY
WOMAN & NATURE:
THE ROARING INSIDE HER SUSAN GRIFFIN
THE ELDER EDDAS &
THE PROSE EDDAS SNORRELSEN
THE HORNED GOD
(THE MYTH OF DIONYSIUS) MANLY PALMER HALL
ADORERS OF DIONYSOS JOHN M. PRYSE
THE HERO OF A THOUSAND FACES JOSEPH CAMPBELL
FICTION - GENERAL
THE MISTS OF AVALON MARION ZIMMERMAN BRADLEY
THE SEA PRIESTESS DION FORTUNE
MOON MAGIC " "
LAMMAS NIGHT KATHERINE KURTZ
GOG & MAGOG LETHBRIDGE
A STEP IN THE DARK "
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE ANNE RICE
VAMPIRE LESTAT " "
QUEEN OF THE DAMNED " "
FANNY ERICA JONG
JONATHAN LIVINGSTONE SEAGULL RICHARD BACH
RECOMMENDED READING LIST
DRAWING DOWN THE MOON MARGOT ADLER
SPIRAL DANCE STARHAWK
DREAMING THE DARK "
THE COMPLETE BOOK OF WITCHCRAFT RAYMOND BUCKLAND
WITCHCRAFT FROM THE INSIDE " "
WITCHCRAFT-THE RELIGION " "
COMPLETE BOOK OF SAXON WITCHCRAFT " "
PRACTICAL COLOR MAGIC " "
THE WITCHES WAY JANET & STEWART FARRAR
WHAT WITCHES DO " " "
EIGHT SABBATS FOR WITCHES " " "
THE WITCHES GODDESS " " "
THE GODDESS -
MYTHOLOGICAL IMAGES OF THE FEMININE CHRISTINE DOWNING
MAGICAL HERBALISM SCOTT CUNNINGHAM
EARTH MAGIC " "
THE MAGIC OF INCENSES, OILS & BREWS " "
THE MAGICAL HOUSEHOLD " "
WITCHCRAFT TODAY GERALD GARDNER
HIGH MAGICS AID " "
THE MEANING OF WITCHCRAFT " "
MOON, MOON ANNE KENT RUSH
A BOOK OF PAGAN RITUALS ED FITCH
RITUALS OF THE PAGAN WAY " "
RITUALS FROM THE CYSTAL WELL " "
WHEN GOD WAS A WOMAN MERLIN STONE
LOST GODDESSES OF ANCIENT GREECE CHARLENE SPRETNAK
THE WHITE GODDESS ROBERT GRAVES
WATCH THE NORTHWIND RISE " "
THE KING MUST DIE " "
KING JESUS " "
THE BOOK OF THE GODDESS
PAST AND PRESENT edited by CARL OLSON
POSITIVE MAGIC DIANE WEINSTEIN
WOMAN SPIRIT RISING CAROL P. CHRIST
THE COMPLETE ART OF WITCHCRAFT
WITCHCRAFT- THE OLD RELIGION
GODDESSES IN EVERYWOMAN JEAN BOLEN
WITCHES, MIDWIVES, AND NURSES BARBARA EHRENREICH
WITCHCRAFT, THE SIXTH SENSE JUSTINE GLASS
WOMAN & NATURE:
THE ROARING INSIDE HER SUSAN GRIFFIN
THE WITCH CULT IN WESTERN EUROPE MARGARET MURRAY
THE DIVINE KING IN ENGLAND " "
THE GOD OF THE WITCHES " "
THE ABC'S OF WITCHCRAFT DOREEN VALIENTE
WITCHCRAFT PAST & PRESENT " "
WHERE WITCHCRAFT LIVES " "
THE ELDER EDDAS &
THE PROSE EDDAS SNORROLSEN
STONEHENGE DECODED HAWKINS
THE GREAT PYRAMID TOMPKINS
THE WITCHCRAFT REPORT HANS HOLZER
THE KRATER & THE GRAIL KAHARE
THE GREAT MOTHER NEUMANN
THE BOOK OF THE HOPI WATERS
BLACK ELK SPEAKS NEIHARD
LAME DEER, SEEKER OF VISIONS "
THE CRONES BOOK OF WORDS WORTH
SEASONAL FEASTS & FESTIVALS
THE CHILDREN OF LLYR
THE SONG OF SHIANNON
THE GREEN MAN
CELTIC MYTH & LEGEND C. SQUIRE
THE FIRST STEPS IN RITUAL ASHCROFT/NOWICKI
THE GOLDEN BOUGH FRAZIER
AARADIA, THE GOSPEL OF THE WITCHES LELAND
THE MAGIC ARTS IN CELTIC BRITAIN SPENCE
MOON MAGIC DION FORTUNE
THE SEA PRIESTESS " "
THE HERBALIST J. E. MEYER
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