What Would My Inner Queen do?

Happy Friday 13th! (3)

I have been musing about how one takes control of ones own sovereignty in regards to the parts of ourselves that we might ‘give away’ in interactions with other people – whether unwittingly or knowingly, and the impact that it has on our selves.

With steering the best course so one does not get trampled underfoot of the wants and desires of other people, and yet not to become tyrannical in our approaches. The balance between personal boundary and the urge to support others.
Where the line might be.

It is different for everyone – it is all a matter of perspective, and there cannot be simple answers.
But these are some of the examples that have become tried and true at least personally… and when I am struggling, I ask, “what would my inner Queen do?”

  1. “You better work, bitch.”
    I mean this Britney phrase with love, because if you do not engage in your holy work, who will? Who will have the voice that is yours, only yours, to smash the ceiling and break convention? Too often the human need to fit in, be accepted, get a nice pat on the head from those in the ‘popular crowd’ becomes the shackles that bind us from screaming, shouting, and implementing our truth, our knowledge, our own brand of weirdness in its actuality instead of providing an image that we think others want to see.
  2. Create boundaries. 
    I covered this only recently, when discussing The power in boundaries. How we create our own spiritual protections but give too much of ourselves away in our personal interactions with people. How can we reign over our destinies if we are constantly drained from the shackles of expected servitude?
  3. Don’t expect support.
    This is a toughy. Seriously, the pain that this has caused my heart on occasion is difficult to describe, but ultimately, the only person who fully understands your vision, your purpose, your quest – is you. That is not to say you won’t find support, aid, even tribe along the way, because even the most introverted of us can find those like-minded souls who nourish us. But it is best to reconcile with the idea that YOU have to cheer-lead, for yourself.
  4. Don’t give yourself away.
    This is a personal perspective one, but it boils down to self respect. Do not compromise your authenticity, your integrity, to further any situation. For myself, I fiercely dislike the notion of sleeping your way to the top. I find it demeaning, and feel it sets implication that women can’t be as talented as men. It makes life harder on those seeking to excel by merit. It breeds an abusive playground.
    I won’t tell anyone what to do with their body, that’s a choice. But that’s my bottom line, and I stand by it.
  5. Speak.
    The world needs your voice.

Many blessings, Starlet, Stay Fluxy,

Much love

Joey

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Pagan Poetry – Channeling Badb – Fire child

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Puncture marks punctuate
Torn from bullet wounding points
A cage of overgrown weeds
Deep breaths filling lungs with ache
The moments between chaotic order dissemble
Ties of red chord twisting
Shadow calling in the tears
The point of entry shifted and shifted again
A wall of broken points
Silent wailing phantom echoes
Lesson after lesson of drowning
The absence of fire dancer
Lends to abscessed feet
Only passion burns away the mold
The crackling of the cinder in the bone
Charred and yearning
Hang not from a broken chord
With voice cracking and ebbing
Scream it out into the world
Make it so tangible that it tastes in the mouth
Of all that would deny you
And when they stick their fingers down their throat
To regurgitate a stunted message of growth
You scream again and again and again
Not louder as though engaging in siege warfare
But wiser knowing the ground on which you stand
Is not the decayed decrepit bog they would trap in
But the coals of your own damn magnificence
Burn it all down

– Joey Morris 2017
All my own work and design all rights reserved
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The Power in Boundaries – The Queens’ No’s

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Image – Ashley Joncas

*Sidenote props if you understood that pop culture reference.

We stand at the boundaries, the edge walkers, the hedge jumpers, peering out into the Unknown with our Other Eyes seeking to better understand the depths of the world.
We raise energies in circles, embodying a temple within and without of the self, structuring our magickal practice with border lines and directing our power to protect and allow (or reject) certain levels of spirit encroachment within our personal spaces.

Following a particularly illuminating video chat (which I shall link at the bottom) concerning reclaiming the Queen archetype with two of my absolute favourite Witchy Women; the Kickass Joanna Devoe and my favourite Death Witchin’ Cris Ashburn I have been musing on the spiritual premise of personal boundaries, and why it is that we, as spiritual pathwalkers chase the depths of knowledge concerning magickal borders, but often hesitate when it comes to emotional, mental, and even physical boundaries within the rest of our lives.

There is no separation between the magickal and the so-called mundane, as some might suggest. Instead, the sacred flow of the universe permeates every molecule of our being, whether we are echoing the songs of the universe in chanting ritual or washing the dishes.
Magickal practice can be applied even at a subconscious level regardless of the activity or the audience with which we are engaging.

So why is it that when faced with moments that confront our personal sovereignty we hesitate? Are we so conditioned into the “mentality of service” from every indoctrinating angle within our daily lives that we buckle under the psychological pressure to just be wholesome and supplicative?
Do we truly feel as though standing for our own personal space is argumentative when we have taken an alternative route to spiritual practice as pagans or witches or magicians or howsoever we have chosen to align our definitions?

It takes courage to openly defy convention and stand by ones spiritual practices even in the face of dislike, ridicule, and hostility; especially when the world churns in a tumultuous display of backward thinking. Those declaring themselves as Witches etc without apology are helping to draw a personal and social boundary that refuses to allow others to crush them under the metaphorical (and frighteningly, sometimes literal) wheel of oppression.

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So why is it that in interpersonal spaces we have forgotten what it means to embrace the courageous stance, the respectful stance of sovereignty that disavows the practice of personal manipulation and bullying tactics to make us go against our own decisions?

In the Northern Hemisphere, many of us are confronted with the notions of who we should be and how we should act at this time of year. Guilt tripped by a toxic stench of “not enough” that paints an ugly veneer over social and interpersonal interactions. We see what family “should” look like, and the values that “should” be applied to it.
Once again it is the bellowing of the outmoded, the dying cries of the dinosaurs who stomp their feet to tell us to behave, be quiet, don’t argue or rebel.

We are the rebels.
We chose a practice of spiritual freedom where we refused to engage in systematic religious fear mongering and instead sought (and continue to seek) the truth for ourselves. How can we lie that aside even for a moment?

No one should have power over us but ourselves, for mastery of the self is the only power we can truly wield. We can create those boundaries for ourselves, reclaiming our personal sovereignty a step, a conversation, a simple “no” at a time.

Remembering that “no” is a complete sentence, without justification, because noone should dictate our lives to us, but ourselves.

Stay Fluxy, Starlet

Joey

All my own written work all rights reserved

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Winter Solstice musings – The needed f*ck up versus the f*cked up

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For the first time in a long time; this New Moon felt like a chore. Almost everyone around me seemed to be suffering with a form of shaman sickness; manifesting their shadow through their physical selves, whilst technology seemed to fail entirely, and the general atmosphere of the world seemed toxic beyond all measure.

It’s not always a popular move to point out when the spiritual ecosystem feels funky, but to deny that areas need addressing is a head in the sand style move that leads us back to the problems of spiritual stagnation.
In the build up towards the Winter Solstice which is now approximately a month away, there has been a weird pausing of energy that has brought forth all that which is causing us to feel poisoned within the self and giving it physical symptom so that we can not ignore or deny that aspect of ourselves any longer.
Furthermore, the manifestation has seemed to linger particularly on a physical symptom relative to an aspect of ourselves that we ought to be engaging with, but for whatever reason we have pulled away from doing so.

For myself, this was wrist pain.
And whilst I titter to myself on one level about the meaning, I knew what this New Moons poisonous tail was actually stabbing at; the message was to write.
Everyone around me seemed to experience something similar, experiencing pain and sickness with a body part that was directly correlated to a talent or calling that they had ignored or feared on some level; to notice the pain and the absence of being able to engage with that emphasized the notion of “what if you lost the ability to do this completely? Then get on with it.”

This seemed to tie into another thread which echoes throughout; the necessary and needed f*ck up.
Throughout November and going into December the call to #breakthemold has been at the foremost of my attention; asking Witches (and non witches alike) to smash the conventions that are being laid on us like tar; the over sanitization of Witchcraft into pretty little boxes that presents a fashionable and ultimately uniform public face to modern witches.
I cannot abide the idea that there is one “right” way to be; and moreover this overly polished and filtered image negates the discussion of the necessity of getting it wrong.

The fear of being judged, of being not enough, of leading, of making ourselves heard, is a light shadow – that with an audience we will be deemed as a failure. Which is reinforced in a society that punishes the idea of the mistake.

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I find the idea of the necessary f*ck up to be incredibly enlightening; we as human beings are continuously learning by trial and error, and there should be no shame attached to this; it is embracing the sensory exploration of the world around us; from the child learning that something hot should not merit naked fingers, to the social etiquette of considering others feelings and boundaries; a process which is individual and constantly evolving for how we approach relationships with others (and ourselves) is a process of trial and error – we learn what we find pleasant and agreeable, what is not to our tastes, what we really dislike… and then we begin to question why that is so, and allow for our preferences to change and adapt as we grow.

So why is it that when it comes to spirituality, there is frequently an onus on the concept of the “right” way to practice? Why do we not celebrate when things go hideously wrong? At best we talk about the “silver lining” of a lesson – which also denies the premise that some situations do not have to teach us anything positive; sometimes the f*ck up is exactly the point.
It strengthens our ability to be able to just say “no,” to another circumstance which feels the same way without having to justify our every decision.

I recently happened across a toxic form of what I am dubbing “anti-sisterhood” in which women throw the actions of other women under the bus. The apparent lamentation that women are “pretending” to be strong by exhibiting cautiousness in the progression of personal interactions with possible sexual partners. This for me had devolved into the actually f*cked up; a poisonous symptom of a sick society that exhibits behaviours relative to the conditioning that has been swallowed for so long that it leads some to feel entitled to their agenda without the consideration for the emotions or boundaries of others.

Like the systematic attack on the animal kingdom that offers animals up as (supposedly) non-sentient play things for blood sport, or the poisoning of the land by oil spill which was caused by the refusal of those in government to listen to the very real concerns of the people of the land.

As we approach the Winter Solstice, there is a shadow purging. We cannot hide from our shadow any longer, with that which poisons both us and society being dragged into the spotlight, ready or not. How we react to the ongoing reveal of all that which has been purposefully concealed is our test.
It won’t be easy. It will likely be painful. But it is necessary.
The dinosaurs are dying out.

Stay Fluxxy, Starlets

Many blessings, Joey

All my own work and design all rights reserved

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Witches, I call out to you… break the mold

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Remember when I blog posted about the archetype of the Story teller?

This is the extension of that message. The obligation to write our own stories. The call to #breakthemold when it comes to who we want to be.

In a world where we are handed a role, it’s our prerogative – if not a downright personal necessity – to question that, smash it, rewrite it…

You are not small.
You cannot be defined simply and indeed, every person exists between the lines. No matter what is written, it is not enough.
The spiritual is the experiencing. The feel. The intuitive beats between what is defined by those outside of ourselves.

There is an enticing comfort in the game of names, to categorize everything into neat little lines that determine who and what “we are,” and allow us to control the world outside of ourselves by knowing who “they are,” which of course devolves into a mentality of us versus them – whosoever “they” might be.

Smug superiority clings in our throats like tar, cutting off the spiritual air that we breathe as we mock and taunt that which is not as we are.
The roles we play give us the reliability of knowing what role we are playing, and in the boredom of this blandness we conform and become spiteful in so doing.

We do not create, nor thrive, nor grow if we repeat the same dusty cycles, walking the same road back and forth and never venturing from what is tested and known. Aggressive words slip like venom from the mouths of those secure in whatsoever they have allowed themselves to become, never questioning themselves, never pushing beyond the boundaries.

We are not small.
If we realise that we have limitless potential and eternity in our veins, why would we ever punish ourselves by remaining gridlocked in the ‘now’ version of ourselves instead of dipping our toes into the ‘could be’ and ‘dream’ us; to take a step along the road of becoming?

Who wants to remain stagnant and unchanged? Only rot forms in still pools. I want the river, the wild rapids of change, the furious undertow that drags the complacent down to the depths and drowns it, or the unknowingly depths of the ocean that is impenetrable to the limited human grasp…

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Image – Dorota Górecka – Subiektywnie

The world is churning with a mentality of backwards, and in defiance those who live at the borders, the boundaries, the fringes and peek into the Void, who walk amongst the unseen and speak with the dead, the witches, the cunningfolk, the seers and the wanderers must dive head first into the waters, singing the teardrops of our ancestors to join us, envelop us, and be at one with us, as we prepare to fight back against the rot that festers in our society.

All people are limitless. All deserve honour and respect, and a voice. Not only those who have culminated more so-called wealth at the expense of others and the land, who poison the minds and bodies of their fellow living beings, in all the forms that takes.

There is a call to action, a fury in the hearts of people, and these sparked embers will ignite and tear the stagnant order down. We will only get wilder. We will not crumble under the pressure of those clinging to their outmoded, outdated ways, thinking they have the power and snarl and snap trying to defend it; no, we have the power, we of the flow who shapeshift around the world, connecting, seeing, feeling and harmonising our voices with all the voices around us.

Hope is our superpower.
Not the limited greeting card version of hope that promises much and delivers nothing, but the hope that survived at the base of Pandora’s box amidst all the painful and tragic aspects of human experience; the hope that sees the world descending and refuses, refuses to give up on people. on humanity, and still sees the magick within the world, and that magick reflected within people.

We stand by the broken and the abused, and speak for those whose voice breaks. We fight for the justice against a broken system and stand by those who are beaten simply for their differences. We are all different, we are all the in-between spaces of the limited constricting lies of who humans are told we are to be.

Throw off the shackles of stereotype and role, defy sanitization, reject conformity with every inch of your soul.
There are a thousand, a million, a limitless amount of ways to be. You do not need to be told who you are, you do not have to know who you are, you merely sample yourself in sips on a daily basis and walk your path in flux, becoming, unbecoming… free.

Stay Fluxy,and many blessings Starlet

Joey

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Raising Runes in Ritual – Roadopening, Raido and Alfheim

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“What builds courage and heart but the journey of becoming? To throw open the gates of adventure and understanding. Raido.”
– Joey Torvol

Before discussing the essence of the spiritual experience at hand, it seems necessary, albeit unfortunate, to touch upon the Nordic nature of this ritual and spell work amidst a personal Celtic path.
Long before the realisation of my personal connection to the Celtic path had become apparent to me, I walked in the abstract of Witchcraft for many years. Learning, seeking, testing the waters of different mythologies, practices and rituals.
One of these was the Viking tradition, which seemed a natural conclusion given that I, like most of British descent, have Viking ancestry (along with Celtic ancestry,) and that path had called to my blood sister whom I consider a soul sister as well.

Undoubtedly, elements of the Viking path worked themselves well through my magick, although I found the runes peculiar. For no matter how I tried, divination with the runes never seemed to connect – even after implementing experimentation with different materials to back the runes, but whether tree, stone or crystal, frustratingly none would provide a depth of divination I sought.

Magick, rune bindings, and Sigils however, was another matter. Then and now, the runes as a form of written or carved spellworking was as natural as breathing, and moreover, the spells always worked and quickly. At the time I found this quirk a little bizarre, but it came to be one of those personality traits that bleeds into personal gnosis.

It also promoted a challenge – to see beyond the given divination kennings as they were presented and evolve a personal relationship to each rune. To this day, I struggle with runic divination, (although rune on bone has allowed for some progress in that department) – but the personal interaction of the magical vibration of each rune has elevated and improved my spellwork.

So, with a little personal history and perspective in hand, I lead to a recent ritual that my partner Asbjorn and I undertook to affect road opening and grant opportunities within our lives, by harnessing both our individual connections with the Nordic rune Raido.

The poem at the beginning gives insight into my interpretation of this Rune; it embodies the journey of becoming.

Furthermore there was an inkling within my subconscious to interlink the road opening ritual with the Light Elves of Alfheim; mysterious beings from one of the nine Nordic realms, who are said to act as muses of creativity if they are feeling benevolent. For the task at hand, ritual was undertaken with the assistance of a realm Journey candle with sigil from Starry Eyed Supplies:

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Raido as a rune of journeying, and the Light Elves with their peculiar viewpoint of life and the interlinking of all things, both embody the energy of creativity and movement.
Within the personal ritual there was a clairaudient sensing of bells and music; an usual first connection as often it is a visual or scent that first makes itself known.

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.”
– Mary Lou Cook

Within ritual – all magickal ritual – there is too frequently a loss of levity that is vital for spellwork, pathworking, and indeed life. Road opening and journeying is no exception. The emphasis is repeatedly on a very desperate albeit sincere need to create new opportunities, to create a new way of living. But without an element of humour, there can be no creativity, for if something is joyless to us then it does not inspire us to elevate or to chase after it.
Magick succeeds because we have an all-encompassing need and desire to see it done.

The light elves enjoyed a respectful approach with an edge of humour. Following, they gifted the Sigil beneath, and since, doors have begun to open in all manner of ways.

Raido bridged the energetic channelling to the realm of Alfheim, it connected and brought forth an opportunity; and only with courage and humour was the next step taken.

Food for thought.

Stay Fluxy my Starry Friends,
Joey

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Badb at Samhain – Guardian of Death

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Image – Natalie Ving

Memories in dirt trod places
An ache of something soul wired
Screeching across field and foe
The rankling of oppressive chains
Ripped and charred
Once a story learned by rote
No longer spoken but on the wind
Only the memories we carry
Claws in the darkness, teeth biting,
Burn it all to ash and starch the bones
Sing to them, sing for them, bleed into them,
All those forgotten souls, honourable, wise, less so
Death is not a quiet whisper
A story is not a silent thing confined to rotten tomes
It is alive in the tendons
In the bone of people
Singing out from the vein
Painted in every colour, every harmony
From wrathful rage to quietest hope.
See once more with Crow sight
A world apart, growing, yearning, dying,
As Guardian of Death She is ever watchful
All knowing
Still growing
Cawing in the Darkness, reminding,
Reclaiming
Remember who you are
Not who you were in distant times
But battle frenzied, blood clotted, sweating, aching in the act of living
And dying

– Joanne Morris 2017 All my own work all rights reserved

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Mask of Wyrd – Entering the Silence

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Image – Natalie Ving

“Fate always goes as it must.” – Beowulf c.800 I.455

There have been storms of late.
Moments of terrible tumultuous change vibrating through every iota of the universe, encapsulated in physical ballets of destruction across the world, as nature echoes the spiritual landscape.
Then alongside these crescendos of chaotic will are moments of stillness and silence, almost pregnant pauses that seem to punctuate this riotous ballad, and the contrast is so stark that it almost lends to an eeriness that is typical of the stereotype of Halloween – Samhain, but is usually not present in the actual experience from year to year.
This severe swing between noise and silence however is unsettling.

There are moments when the Earth lunges, screaming, howling, and tearing itself apart. Then there are mornings where the bird song is all that can be heard for hours.
There are moments when humans rage at each other, screeching insult and threat for those expressing an opinion or defending other people.
The weird backlash against the Metoo campaign has caught many peoples attention, as we watch the sad washing of intolerant responses and mocking degradation.

In spiritual terms, this bizarre swing has felt, to me at least, to be Wyrd related; as the focus of late has been peering into the conceptualisation of the Web of Wyrd, followed by the shadowy Norn energies who are ever present and yet largely silent, following just out of the line of sight, whispering in barely audible tones.

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Image – Natalia Drepina

In placing a mask of Wyrd against the skin of the Witch, it tests our willingness to embrace our Other Eyes to the extreme; how can we perceive that which we barely comprehend? Limitlessness, otherness, and the void are concepts that are eternal, ever expanding, just like the universe in which we live.
They are the quite pauses of the Divine, who speak through endless extremities of their cosmic being, and then take a deep breath to allow the silence in.
For in silence, there is every possible thought, and in true silence, there is nothing at all.

Nothingness is a concept that frightens many of us. To the human mind, becoming nothing is barely conceivable, how can we experience or consider that which is so far removed from the human experience?
We are always thinking, be it consciously or subconsciously… we are always feeling, and acting, and to undo all of that is to pick away at the threads of what it means to be human…

The mask of the Wyrd is unsettling, and faces us with many shadow elements of ourselves; what it is to be surrounded by silence, where no one is listening or speaking, and cannot even perceive us as being there. Stripped of our senses we are not just isolated, but truly naked, vulnerable, and alone.
To be submerged in this energy brings a wyrd sort of wisdom, as we can begin to realign and recognise how interconnected we are with regards to the spiritual ecosystem; for having felt, even for a moment, what true isolation must be like, then we being to appreciate being interconnected.

Further, that silent wearing of the mask of Wyrd sharpens our senses, our Other ears and intuitions, that lead us to trust our instincts when receiving messages from the Other side, from Spirits, Ancestors, and Deities. For having felt the absence of such presence, we realise that we must overcome the natural human reflex to dismiss and doubt ourselves, our purpose, our spiritual significance.
We can trust the pattern in the weaving of the Wyrd a little more having seen what it would be to be without it.

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Image – Natalie Ving

There is something in the discomfort of having felt alone.
It happens to us all, at some point, the aching, gnawing sensation that drives us to seek out like minds, connect with tribe, and to speak…

Our voices are highlighted in the mask of Wyrd, for once you are restrained from using it, you realise the remarkable gift that shines from within; the power and the glory of the human ability to communicate, in all forms.
What a waste it is to see that gift devolve into violent thought form, but yet again to see that change must come from these destructive storms. The rising of a hateful tirade may be underway, and they may be sure of their power. But they forgot, the power of those that have been forced to be silent.
Those who know their mind, and will, always, stand against the storm, providing shelter for their fellow human beings.

Speak Starlet. The time is now.

Stay Fluxy and Many blessings

Joey

 

– Joey Morris 2017 All my own work all rights reserved

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Shadow work with Snake energy: The Gorgon’s mask

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Scales in the void, the eternal ellipsis of rebirth; vilified, demonized and feared.
Lidless eyes peer into the depths of our souls and we, as humans, flinch at the ‘otherness.’ 

In times long past the sand and earth parted as the side-winding symbol of deeply connective Goddess energy imparted wisdom to those willing to learn, and the snake symbolized fertility, healing, sexual liberation, and rebirth.
But as a culture of sexual repression and shame rose up in the dregs of history, the once revered snake became cursed;

“Cursed are you above all livestock and wild animals. You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life!” – Genesis 3.14

In modern times, the spiritual significance of the serpent and the wisdom to be found within its mask, is complicated.
It’s importance, and the interpretation of its energies, is fundamentally individual, based on the perspective of ones spiritual leanings and the degree to which one has internalised biased teachings of dogmatic propaganda.

On the one hand, some of modern Witch culture embraces Snake energy, although unfortunately it often falls within a perception of the so-called ‘dark’ Witch iconography, still being associated with the ‘evil’ witch, such as in the Craft;

“The Serpent is a very powerful being. You should respect it.” – Nancy (The Craft)

Within popular consciousness it is almost impossible to disassociate the snake from its biblical damnation, even when, as pagans, we seek to reject dogmatic overtures, it sneaks up on us in popular culture that portrays the snake as ‘deceiver.’
The snake, once synonymous with healing, represented even now through the staff of Asclepius, is simultaneously used as a term for false medicine; “Snake-oil.”
‘A snake in the grass’ is a term for someone who means you harm and is lurking and waiting to strike and the entirety of the inner physiology of the snakes mouth has negative connotations.
A forked tongue which aids a snakes sense of smell has been vilified into a synonym for ‘liar’ and a mouth full of venom may be a snakes mechanism for defense (or hunting) but has been adopted by humans to indicate a hateful and less than truthful gossip.

So when we as spiritual practitioners approach the mask of the serpent, we ultimately find ourselves equally keen to place its cool scales against our skin in order to breathe in its lidless lessons as we are hesitant, taught by pre-conceived notions that we may be led astray down a path of deception and lies.
Some even approach the energy of the snake keen to become more poisonous and venomous in themselves, believing power lies in such involvement.

Instead, the mask of the snake has revealed itself to be just as complex as discerning the truth about snake energy is; the mask has as many mirrors within it as it has scales, revealing a multitude of lessons depending on where the witch wishes to delve.
Personally, the magick of the Serpent began with addressing the tangled shadow lesson of dealing with internalised shame.

Shame is the conflict within the snake medicine of personal transformation and personal (often sexual) liberation; for shame is akin to a nail that hammers down the process of shedding ones outmoded skin. Personal evolution begins with a sense of self-worth; that we can be deserving of the process.

Nowhere is this more painfully obvious than within the Greek mythology centred around Athena and her priestess, Medusa.
The very name Medusa hints at the nature of the truth behind this myth which has been perverted by that same repressive agenda that has dogged history:

Medusa is from the Greek ‘Medousa’ literally “Guardian.” Fem. Present participle of the verb ‘medein’ to “protect, rule over.”
– Etymology dictionary online

Additionally Medusa was depicted as physically beautiful (which in the patriarchal Greek mythology traditionally ends badly for mortals encountering Gods,):

Medusa once had charms; to gain her Love
A rival crowd of envious lovers strove.
They, who have seen her, own, they ne’er did trace
More moving features in a sweeter face.
Yet above all, her length of hair, they own,
In golden ringlets wav’d, and graceful shone.”
– Ovid ‘Metamorphoses’

Ovid also describes how Medusa had dedicated herself as a Virgin Priestess to the Goddess Athena, and was subsequently raped by Poseidon, defiling her and the temple.
This account then attributes Athena as wrathful, further ‘punishing’ Medusa for this ‘offence’, and transforming her once golden curls into venomous snakes, and Medusa became a scaled serpentine monster.

There are many interpretations of this mythology but the shadow energy of shame and the symbolism of snakes is unmistakable.
The presentation of the myth suggests that Athena felt shamed by the defilement of her priestess and temple, and further shamed the victim of the attack as a result.
However, it is my personal feeling that this does not seem in keeping with a few key points of Athenas mythos; Athena is referred to as ‘La Serpentine’ in some of the Orphic poetry, one of her most dedicated followers was associated with snakes and she wore the Gorgon head on her shield – a key line of personal defense when in battle.

Could it then not be possible that instead, a subversion of myth has taken place, bent on shaming female figures of empowerment so that these once serpentine gifts of solidarity became indicative of resentful wrath?
Through which the shadow of shame crept through a distortion within story-telling, shame that aimed to condition and polarize people by gender?
Particularly to vilify any independent or dominant woman, free of the constraint of expected patriarchal rule so that those Goddesses or ‘Guardians’ became monsters. (Which is true in many different myths in many cultures. More on that later.)

Athena, it has been noted was not interested in being sexually involved which could be viewed as deviant;

“Golden Aphrodite Kypria who stirs up sweet passion… Yet there are three hearts that she cannot bind nor yet ensnare… the bright-eyed Athene…(who) delights in wars and in the works of Ares…” – Homeric Hymn 5 to Aphrodite 7

Additionally Athena bested Poseidon in a competition for the city of Athens;

“The Land (Attika) which she (Athena) had newly obtained by vote of Zeus and the twelve other immortals and the witness of the snake.” (Kektrops.) – Callimachus Hecale fragment 1.2 (from Papyri) (trans. Trypanis) (Greek poet 3rd Century BC)

Kekrops (Cecrops) was a founder of Athens, depicted as a man with a snakes tail in place of legs, who was also said to be the “first man to offer sacrifices to the Goddess Athena after her birth…” – Theoi.com

Snake energy is therefore entwined at every stage within this story, to the point where certain theologians question as to whether they are in fact shadows of the same being; with the ‘monstrous’ and the ‘divine’ being divided into separate physical beings – very much akin to how we, as modern spiritual pathworkers seek to separate the shadow parts of ourselves from the supposed lighter parts.

The demonization of both Athena and her priestess Medusa seems indicative of the patriarchal influence within Hellenistic society.
Athena is described as non sexual and warlike, both attributes would go against the accepted Greek norms for female roles, and so is rendered into a spiteful heartless Goddess by the myth, rejecting another woman who is faced with the ultimate act of violent disempowerment.

Medusa, rejecting her beauty to become a virginal priestess of Athena (and thus denying those “envious lovers”) is raped by the God that Athena bested in fair contest; thus Poseidon seeks to shame Athena for her victory and shame her priestess.

The rejection of this shame game being played within the mythos is the medicine and the mask message of the magickal snake.
Athenas dominance at Athens is bore witness to by Kekrops, a snake-tailed man who reveres the Goddess and is therefore eternally the ‘lidless eyes’ of her victory; the consequent actions of Poseidon do not overturn her victory at Athens.

The physical transformation of Medusa by Athena can actually be seen as a gift; it frees Medusa from the cage of her physical appearance, bestowing her with supernatural abilities and equates with freedom; no longer can there be a supposed ‘obligation’ to her beauty and no longer can a male freely defile Medusa.
This is further supported by the work of R.Graves in his 1958 ‘Greek myths’ who asserts that a Gorgons mask was used at sacred ceremonies and mysteries for women, as well as being worn by young women to ward off male lust.

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In a side note, and totally personal musing, I wonder whether or not both Athena and Medusa (as separate entities or indeed as shadows of one) were not sexually disinterested but rather homosexual. This I cannot support in mythological reference but it did pass into my thought process.

Unfortunately the mythology claims masculine victory over Medusa when Perseus  uses a shield as a ‘mirror’ to murder Medusa; he forces the notion of a woman’s physical appearance being of tantamount importance in this telling of the myth, and confronted by her non-conformity to the traditional standards of beauty, Medusa turns herself to stone.
Medusa continues to be honoured by Athena however who carries the Gorgon head shield into battle and gifts Asclepius with two drops of her blood; one can cure all sickness and even resurrect people, and the other is a deadly poison.
Thus the legacy and magick of the snake (death and rebirth) was passed on through a modern magickal art, that of healing.

The shadow of shame which is perpetuated by societal control still rears its head to this day; the mythology of Medusa is not forgotten and is retold for every generation.
Yet the energy of the snake is evolving, and Medusa has become an icon to many, representing female rejection of standardized beauty and uniformity.
The snake mask invites us to learn these lessons for ourselves; shame may be the weapon of choice for those seeking to control us, but it cannot break the spirit of self empowerment, which will always resurrect; the connection between all people is an energy akin to the scales on the back of the Ouroboros.

Many blessings, Starlets

Joey Morris

All my own work and design all rights reserved

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Autumn Equinox ritual – Honouring the Forgotten Dead

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Image – Beata Banach Photography

Every Autumn Equinox I perform a small ritual which I call honouring the forgotten dead, in which I travel to the local graveyards and leave apple slices on the decrepit graves, those that have fallen into disrepair, or have been neglected or vandalised.

Initially, it was an intuitive practice, being solitary I had not been ‘taught’ by another to do so, but it felt like being a caretaker for the forgotten; those who had lived, loved, had adventures and perhaps even families once, and yet their memory had faded over time. There is a sadness and a heaviness to that thought, and so each Autumn Equinox I would stride down between the graves, leaving offerings and say a few words.

The apple is featured frequently within Celtic mythology being associated with prophecy and the fae (Otherworld) and is also associated with Death and Rebirth. The Celts buried apple slices with their dead, a practice said to date back over 7,000 years in Europe with petrified apple slices being found in tombs.

And so I present for your consideration:

The Ritual for the Forgotten Dead.

  1. Prior to the ritual it is best to become accustom to a local graveyard if possible, so that you have already honoured the spirits that preside over this space, and know the layout.
  2. It is also easier to slice up the apples prior to the visit and place the slices in a sealed bag so that you do not make a mess when transporting them.
  3. Depending on your custom, it can be traditional to leave a silver coin at the entrance to a graveyard for those spirits who protect and watch over the graveyard. This is almost a miniature ritual within itself.
  4. Open the graveyard gate (if it has one) or stand on the side of the threshold and place the silver coin nearby, out of sight if possible so that it will not be disturbed, and request permission to enter the graveyard from the protective spirits or wights.
  5. Whilst you can ask silently if necessary, if the opportunity arises you may wish to be vocal in your request: “Guardians who protect all those who enter here, I offer you this coin as a sign of good faith. I seek to enter here and honour the forgotten dead.”
  6. If you feel that the energies permit you to enter, draw a line across the threshold. This can be done simply with a finger or if you wish to engage your ritual Athame, then do so. This will act as a barrier both when ‘entering’ the spirit space, and when leaving it.
  7. Place the apple slices on the graves of the forgotten dead. If you are placing many apple slices you may wish to say something brief such as “gone but not forgotten, I honour you.” If you worry about being overheard, you can simply nod your head or place your hand lightly on the gravestone.
  8. Usually after this point I will walk through the graveyard and listen, being hyper aware of any spiritual messages that are passed on, or unusual occurrences that can be considered a spiritual synchronicity. On multiple occasions, cats have appeared at this stage in the ritual.
  9. Once you have completed this, head back towards the entrance, and thank the guardians (either vocally or silently).
  10. As you are ready to leave, make note of the barrier line that you drew before, and make the conscious knowing decision that when you step over it, you are leaving one realm (that of the dead) behind for that of the living, and nothing may follow you.
  11. At this point, some people prefer to take an alternative route home, or take a longer walk home, just incase an energy sought to follow them home. You can also take a ritual bath and cleanse and ground yourself once home.

Many blessings starlets,

Joey

All my own work and design all rights reserved

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