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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Autumnal Musings – The webs, the weavers, the boundaries

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Image – Artist on picture

Following the New Moon in Virgo we step into the Autumn Equinox on the 22nd September.

Initially, the themes of this time have been fitting with Virgo energies; recent themes of note and spiritual prominence have swirled around obligation, responsibilities, and duties, with them laid heavy across the mantle of our homes, our lives, and our souls.

But more than that, the energies have reminded us of the obligation we have to ourselves, and to the world, to live in our truth. That if we truly want something we must not only fight for it, but live in it, even when that’s difficult, stressful, or even painful.

Results without sacrifice are rarely lasting, or true. There are easy routes to instant success but they are hollow and will not last, because true success is built on grit, determination, and soul calling. And soul calling is never easy.

If it were easy we would never break past our cocoons. We would never transform.
And from these trials, comes unwavering and learnt self belief… because we have faced our weakest moments, we have tasted defeat and despair and we have ridden them through, refused to drown in them.

That is the power of truth. Of obligation to ourselves.

The energies of the Equinox then go beyond this, for it is a time of balance, when the light and dark are equally met before the dark half of the year takes over once more in the Northern Hemisphere, but within this images of the Norns, Spiders and weavers have dominated recent awareness.
(Note – Given that there is no real Celtic equivalent of the Norns, and the closeness between the two cultures in social structure, mythology and even physical proximity – it seems as though cross over in modern spiritual pathworking in this fashion within a mind aware of the Nordic traditions of fate, was somewhat inevitable.)

All of these images are also cloaked in shadow, coming in dreams which are usually clear but now slip from grasp, with the Norns being mentioned and then fading out to the corners of consciousness.
They slip into memory and call from the edges, not clear in their messages or even in their presence, teasing and frustrating all at once.

Þaðan koma meyjar 
margs vitandi 
þrjár ór þeim sæ, 
er und þolli stendr; 
Urð hétu eina, 
aðra Verðandi, 
– skáru á skíði, – 
Skuld ina þriðju; 
þær lög lögðu,
þær líf kuru
alda börnum,
örlög seggja.

Then came maids
Much knowing
Three out of the sea (or hall)
That stands under the tree;
Urd, one is named,
another Verdandi,
—scoring on boards—
Skuld is the third;
They lay down laws (lög).
They choose life
for the children of men,
speak destiny (örlög).  – Völuspá 20.

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It is interesting to note that whilst the Norns are considered weavers of fate, the natural weaver of the animal kingdom is surprisingly absent from Norse mythology, unlike with the Greek mythos, which made the presence of both of these themes within my spiritual peripheral vision somewhat peculiar.

The only mention of Spiders is by researchers with regards to Loki;

“One of the more intriguing etymologies of his name connects it to the Swedish dialect-word Locke (“spider”), which places Loki in the world continuum of Trickster Gods with animal forms.” – Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried

Within modern interpretations of Spider energy, it is thought that the common number of legs and eyes to most spiders (eight) is synonymous with infinity – as the lemniscate (infinity symbol) is an eight on its side. It is also worth noting that sleipnir (off-spring of Loki) had eight legs.

The legs and the eyes are arguably two metaphorical conduits between the internal world of the human psyche, for they are how we internalise the world outside of us. Eyes and legs do not have to be biologically literal; rather ‘eyes’ being a mechanism for how we sense the world and take in information (this can also be taken to mean our other senses such as taste, hearing and smell) and then our ‘legs’ are the mechanism for connecting ourselves to the physical world by touch as well as traversing through it (again, it does not necessarily only mean actual legs.)

Regardless, the Spider, the weaver, generally wears enough conduits of interpreting universal energy to relate to infinity.

The common thread within all of this seems then to be the act (and perhaps the ineffectuality of the act) of self definition in seeming defiance of the ever expansive human soul and psyche.
Who we are as an individual is constantly growing and evolving and yet at the same time there is that element of chaos; the more expansive our knowledge becomes of the spiritual ecosystem, the greater our realisation of our overall ignorance at the workings of the universe.
If we, as human beings, are the microcosm of the Universe, reflecting it within ourselves, then the defining of the self is an enterprise in futility as we all have the genetic markers of the spiritual shape-shifter woven into our very beings.

We weave the stories of our own lives, even to the point of promoting largely useless labels of self identification, perhaps following the general fate laid down for this incarnation (perhaps not, who can say?)
And in this murky water somewhere, we find glimpses of truth about ourselves, our natures, our thoughts and feelings, that provide a kernel of truth about our inner workings.

But personal truth, such as it is, is never stagnant.
It is a journey, of shadows and chaos, and the webs we weave.

Many blessings, Starlets

Stay Fluxy with an ounce of Shimmy

Love
Queen of Death and Glitter
Joey

 

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image author on image

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Tipping the Veil – Spirituality Unmasked

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Image – Untitled by Lena Dunaeva

It is a common misconception that all masks worn by people in modern society are meant to deceive others; a judgement made from a place of selfishness, for it is an alarming trend to only interpret the actions of others through the affect those actions have on ourselves.

This unfortunate lack of understanding has plagued spiritual circles with the notion that masks are worn to hide soul, that the practice of wearing a mask is not only deception, but soulless.

In spiritual circles, the mask should be seen as it is; something other.
The mask belongs on the altar of the magician, in the crane bag of the Druid, and in the medicine bag of the Shaman.
It is an accoutrement of those who shapeshift and seek to understand the Underworld and realms beyond sight, those places viewed only with our other eyes, journeyed to through meditative trance and personal journey work.

A mask is akin to the veil itself, indeed it is no coincidence that the etymology of Veil from the Latin vela, plural of velum is “sail, curtain, covering,” and from PIE root *weg- (1) means “to weave a web.”
When the traveller seeks wisdom from their ancestors or Gods they seek to pull back the curtain, to glimpse a measure of understanding beyond what we can discern on this physical plane, and further, to discern that great web of interconnectedness that pervades time, matter, and space.

The mask is a physical incarnation of the veil, it can and should be viewed as sacred, and in the wearing of different masks, we can learn lessons through the eyes of others; be it ancestors, animal guides, spiritual entities and even Gods. It allows us to think and feel expansively, beyond the scope of our own experiences.
Such a instrument can be key in understanding, in empathetic exercises, empowering us with the attributes and wisdom of the particular mask we have chosen to wear.

The mask is ritualistic, in wearing it we give life to an action of sacrality; we perform physical acts loaded with spiritual significance, and in this process of transformation we give ourselves over to the energy of other-worldliness – we become what we believe ourselves to be.

“I wear a mask so I can write what I feel instead of what I think I should feel.” – Atticus

To remove the outward expectation that is placed upon us everyday is a powerful tool, and not without danger, it can be addictive to step inside a mask and find ourselves transported outside of the confines of who we believe ourselves to be. We can lose definition if we are not careful, if we are not sure of our physical incarnation and what that means. We have to tether ourselves that whilst we are infinite, we are also singular, and that these two components exist simultaneously within our being.

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Artist on picture

To step through the Veil wearing a mask is described in mythology as being invisible, as belonging to a place and not being discovered by the denizens of whatever realm one has travelled to. Such myth suggests that the realm in which we incarnated within leaves an imprint on us, marking us, identifying us as belonging to this Earthly plane.
That we can astral travel beyond that is a freedom of soul path-working, and protection of that soul is often the wearing of a mask.

How ironic it is then that such a powerful magical apparatus is dismissed in spiritual memes as being untruthful, when in fact the mask allows us to go beyond a limited form of truth seeking and finding something infinitely and expansively worthwhile.

Many blessings, Starlets

Joey

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Light Shadows – The Unlovable ones

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Image – Highly deadly black tarantula

We are the unlovable
The damaged and the broken
Those with complicated scars
And lurking memories
We don’t know how to fake a smile anymore,
Let alone a whole lifestyle
And so many chattering mouths and mean voices tell us that
We are too difficult to love.

Following in the murky footsteps of the Cult of Not Belonging is a painful shadow; fear based, suffocating in its icy grip… the shadow that if we show ourselves completely to someone, we become vulnerable, and in that vulnerability when we are naked in our complexities, that individual will reject us as “too difficult to love.”

This shadow of being unlovable is what Cris Ashburn and I have come to term a “Light Shadow” – a fear and pain based psychological and emotional reaction to the act of being seen; of having a spotlight placed upon us which is so blinding, so jarring, so revealing… that we cannot escape being “seen.”

This fear is compounded both by intimate personal experiences and a culture of filters and deception that pervades modern society – both elements of which feed into one another.
We are thus taught two fold that is “better” not to show the sides of us that are raw, emotionally loaded, supposedly imperfect or undesirable… the un-sanitized soul.

Personal interaction with those who perpetuate this myth can be some of the most emotionally damaging experiences, our sense of self can degrade as we internalise this conditioning and accept it as ‘true.’ We believe ourselves too difficult, too complicated, too emotionally scarred and in turn we try to filter out that which we perceive to be as the personal elements that make us this way.

 

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art- Natalia Drepina
Filter culture is rife within every aspect of the modern world; touch ups and image manipulation are no longer confined to the glossy magazines selling us products, in fact once such manipulation caused outrage when it was revealed that these images were doctored – now it is expected as a matter of course.

Even in the realm of spiritual pathwalking, filter culture is expected; indeed promoted, as we change images of ourselves to present a more ‘desirable’ image to the outside world; inwardly I cringe seeing spiritual authenticity presented as a picture perfect life, with perfectly made up hair and makeup, stylised images over and over in the exact same presentation (even down to the font!) where people showcase how “desirable” they are by flashing their physical assets in order to make a sale, because, hey, sex sells right…

In the initial processing of this light shadow, I felt for all the spiritual pathworkers who would see these images and shrink, feeling that they did not meet this doll- like model of spiritual success; wondering if this was why they were ‘unlovable.’
I had felt that twinge myself, saddened by the prospect that one must present nothing but tits, ass, and a smile in order to endear ones self to people… in spiritual circles which was supposed (to this witches mind) to be a journey of self, to dig deep for truth and understanding, to embrace the rawest, scariest, supposedly dark parts of the soul and make friends with that…

In the second processing of why this filter culture poked my shadow, I realised that this mentality is actually against the sexual liberation which I so crave for my fellow woman. Where sexual freedom and expression is not limited to those that look like models doing what they want (as the only “acceptable” faces of sexual freedom) but instead women on a mass scale, of all shapes, sizes, and colours being embraced as beautiful and different.
I will mention that of course, this applies to males too, however it is largely a female aesthetic using the shape of their body to ‘sell’ things that I have ran into.

Additionally I will state that currently, I am still unsure as to where I sit on the argument that a woman has a right to use her sexuality to sell herself… as a woman has every right to choose how to advertise herself in the world, but on the other hand I wonder how much damage it does to the women who feel that it is beneath them to do so; do they become rejected and less successful because they refuse to flash their skin? Does it take away from the supposedly deep and trusting bonds that are meant to be formed as part of spiritual connections?
Are we losing deeply meaningful insights and precious priestesses because they are overlooked as too complicated, not desirable enough or too outside of the filtered way we expect?

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Image – Model Mayhem

Does this culture of filters, so readily available on a mass scale, perpetuate light shadows?
All the tools are being provided to us in order that we might better hide ourselves, behind images on a screen which do not represent raw spiritual authenticity.
The over sanitized culture in which we live steals so much from us; teaching us to compete with others and worse, compete with a false and impossible standard of others – we are feeling that we are not enough and are comparing ourselves… to a lie.

Many blessings Starlet

Joey

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Pagan Poetry: Sight from the Morrigan

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Art – Bojan Jevtić

Sight from the Morrigan

Needle claws
Across my eyes
Blood drenched rivers
Flow across my arms
Blink to black then white
Crow sight
There stands a woman covered
In soot and darkness dirt
Blacked by the flames
Of fields once quickened
Rise and rise again
Paid for in sacrifice
Blade across the throat
Screaming out
Crow speak
Tempered never in robes of magnetic fury
Cascading in ember burnt husks of glitter
Do you think you know what it means
To be the daughter of a Queen?
Think and think again

– Joanne Morris 2017
All my own work all rights reserved

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Pagan Poetry – “Other Eyes.”

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Image – Nadia Maria Photography

“Other eyes.”

What does it mean to be starry eyed?
To have cosmic dust deep in your eyes
To peek beyond with void in veil

What does it mean to have Other eyes?
When the universe speaks energy never lies
To watch something darkly beautiful

What does it mean to see all is dust?
To know what is broken and all turns to rust
To see glimpses of eternity in inevitability

What does it mean to live as a seer
Are the chains just as broken, the cost to be freer
To be the observer and to live in the weaving

Is seeing believing
Is believing seeing?

-Joey Morris 2017 all rights reserved

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The Storyteller – A Spiritual Archetype for the Soul

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Image- Odysseyonline

“Every Story that has ever been told or will be, exists timelessly within the void. This is the temple of the Storyteller.”
– Joanne Morris 2017

Within the heart and soul of every human being is a story, the retelling of our lives; past, present and future – both the stories we have woven from our choices and actions, and those yet untold and unforeseen.

To some, we are the weavers of our own fates, to others, our destinies exist independently of our control, instead they are paths to be discovered, travelled, and experienced.
Wherever our personal perspective concerning fate lies, we certainly are own storytellers.
We retell our tales in dulcet tones, emphasizing the magick of our adventures, reiterating our lessons, and painting over the ‘uglier parts’ of life to make for a more palatable remembering.

The archetype of the Storyteller reaches out to something hardwired within our human natures; it is timeless, evolving, ageless, and arguably vital to the survival of our spiritual selves.

The modern age suffers from a lack of personal storytelling.
Stories suffer from technological advancement even as it benefits from the deluge of availability of information; we can watch stories brought to life as images on a screen, access thousands of books at the click of a button, and hear the words from voices all over the world easier than ever before; and yet, the tactile experiencing of stories has suffered from over-saturation of media as well as story sterilisation.

The stories we do hear through media are ultimately controlled by people with a vested interest in selling them; news outlets drive home sensationalised stories of terror and violence, and modern storytelling often hinges on similar titillation to capture the attention of an increasingly disengaged audience.

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Image from Behance

Hearing elders speak around a fire, capturing the tales of their ancestors, reliving histories and lessons, is an almost extinct artform; marginalized in modern times to be expected only in certain native communities.
The passing down of ethical and moral tale is now associated with supposedly less advance communities; leaving people free to buy into a culture of self, disingenuous, self-serving dialogue that encourages exaltation of only the self, even as it harms the spiritual ecosystem through which we are all connected.

Similarly, Libraries and physical books find their role as knowledge keepers supplanted.
This experiencing of stories, if not sought out and treasured, will be lost for all time.
To be deprived of such valuable conduits of human experience, portents of imagination and creativity is a travesty that spiritual weavers of this world should rally against.
To find wonderment in tales that touched our soul, fed our spirit, and expanded our mind is a true gift.
Such experiences breed empathy and understanding; as we connect to stories about others outside of the self, we in turn become more in touch with our humanity.

“Stories are the most important thing in the world. Without stories we wouldn’t be human beings at all.”
– Philip Pullman

Often magickal practitioners acknowledge the power our words – that’s why we call it spelling! – but neglect to bridge that line of thinking to the next step; the realisation that our stories are also spellcrafting.
The spiritual call is often fuelled by one simple question that leads us to a lifetime of seeking higher truth; Who am I?

Are we the sum of our experiences?
But then the human mind filters and forgets much of our memories, and it is a well-documented psychological perspective that suggests our memory typically acts like a storyteller; embellishing certain elements of what we remember and diminishing others.

Are we then the story we tell ourselves?
There is always the potential for self absorption and even self deception within spirituality, which shows the dangerous side of the storyteller.
To lose sight of objectivity and personal truth, focusing solely on the inflation of the egotistical retelling to perpetuate our own myth is to poison our narrative into self service.
Instead, as storytellers, we need to learn to see our stories, weave them if we must into clearer, beautiful narratives, and yet remain empathetic to the plights of others.

This is the art of forming emotional connection to and respect for the subject matter and all characters involved within that storytelling. It reminds us that we are not separate from our fellow human beings, no matter the perceived divide.

And in a world in turmoil, we need to remember that now, more than ever.

Many blessings, Starlets

Joey Morris

All my own work and design all rights reserved

storytekker2fairytalemood

Image -fairytalemood

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I dream in Death Screams… Echoes of Death Goddess Badb

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“…I hear her scream
Guttering
The pitch black chord of night
I am her
and She is me…”
– Joey Morris Woad Warrior

Never in human history has the screaming been so silent.

The sanitization of modern society impresses on the individual the need for silence to such a degree that the verbal act of screaming is relegated to films concerning horror.
The Horror genre is generally considered to be a psychological pressure valve for social and cultural concerns within the human psyche;

“Horror movies have always been a way of addressing our most unspeakable fears and desires. Sometimes these are smuggled past our defences disguised as zombies or werewolves – not to slip one over on the censors (though there was that, too, back in the day) but because it’s a way for us to absorb notions about death, decay and the human condition…” – Anne Billson Crash and Squirm

Within Pagan spiritual pathwalking, silence also encumbers the spiritual dialogue, based on the premise of self preservation in a dangerous world; for witches can still be segregated at best or put to death at worst depending on their physical location.

Though understandable in times of survival, the chains of silence permeate society in all sorts of insidious ways, until the very concept is associated with strength; even memes proclaim ‘A strong woman is one who is able to smile this morning like she was not crying last night.`

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Screaming is primal, ancient, and powerful.
The voice can be the seat of our magickal power; expression is the catalyst by which ideas ignite and spread through the minds of others like wildfire.

Human beings knew once the intrinsic value of screaming; that it represented far more than simply an outer expression of inner fear but could be harnessed in time of war to cause fear in the enemy, to rouse allies to combat or to warn of impending death as in the case of the Banshee in folklore.

The Goddess Badb is oft identified in Celtic mythology initially by her voice;

Ro erig em badb discir, dian, demnetach, dasachtach, dúr, duabsech, detcengtach, cruaid, croda, cosaitech, co bai ic screchád ar luamain, os a cennaib. Ro eirgetar am bananaig, ocus boccanaig, ocus geliti glinni, ocus amati adgaill, ocus siabra, ocus seneoin, ocus damna admilti aeoir ocus firmaminti, ocus siabarsluag debil demnach, co mbatar a comgresacht ocus i commorad aig ocus irgaili leo.”

“There arose a wild, impetuous, precitpitate, mad, inexorable, furious, dark, lacerating, merciless, combative, contentious badb, which was shrieking and fluttering over their heads. And there arose also the satyrs, and sprites, and the maniacs of the valleys, and the witches, and goblins, and owls, and destroying demons of the air and firmament, and the demoniac phantom host; and they were inciting and sustaining valour and battle with them.”—“Cogadh Gaedhel re Gallaibh,” Todd’s ed., p. 174

Whether it be in horror, folklore or historical accounts of battle, screaming is inextricably linked with the process of death; and perhaps the notion of fear and screaming is a pale ghost of this; as death is something that is greatly feared throughout history.

Death and screaming have both been sanitized, removed from sight and pushed into silent corners, as though encouraging people to speak about them only in hushed whispers takes away from their primal nature.

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What is really happening is the devaluing of the voice, and the power of the Death Scream, which is ours to reclaim; I had spoken before about discovering the nature of the Death Scream and have come to realise that such primal power would surge from the subconscious mind whenever it was required to repeal and defeat any form of spiritual attack.

The Death Scream has also been implemented personally to draw attention when the situation felt dire; and the reality of the Death Scream was that it was almost silent in its verbalisation – it was the pure embodiment of pain released through a screaming motion, the essence of what a scream became when the words within had ran out.

Strength and hiding ones emotional state are not the same; just as embracing Death Goddess energies can be the utter rejection of silence when one feels the desperate urge to scream.
The act in of itself is a liberation; a personal confession of the heart and soul to the endurance of the self… it acknowledges ones pain, and the survival of the many deaths one encounters along the road of life.

There is a time for silence. But not at the expense of the inner primal self that screeches, wails and screams.

Many blessings Starlets,

Joey

 

– Joey Morris 2017 All rights reserved

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Shadow Masks in Spirituality and Witchcraft

Obscurity - Natalia Drepina

Image – Obscurity – Natalia Drepina

Witches wear many masks.

There are those masks we wear to elevate ourselves through our magick; placing void fabric against our bare skin in order to peer into the in-between spaces, seeking to understand the lessons of our ‘Other eyes.’

Then there are the masks we wear built from our own shadows; carved from our fear, jealousy, and resentment.
Adorned in our weakness, we project outwardly from a place of spiritual insufficiency; projecting falsehood out into the world so as to detract from our own inadequacy, to hide our unworthy machinations that are often fuelled by a drive of coveting and envy, hostility to others, or even a place of shame.

With masks being concealment by nature, we can cleverly disguise our motivations as self-righteous reasoning, or even care or concern about others, but ultimately the root is corrupted; we are drawing venom up through our veins, poisoning ourselves.
Instead we should be cutting ourselves open in order to examine and better understand our wounding.

Slipping into a shadow mask is one of the simplest forms of self-deception.

To know ourselves is to resonate from a place of personal power; to ignore and justify our seemingly less desirable qualities or reactions, blaming others for our own shadows, is to make ourselves lesser.

This is highlighted where so ever there is personal disagreement; when one person solely blames another without acknowledging any self-responsibility; that is wearing a shadow.
When someone attacks another from a place of jealousy, that is wearing a shadow.
When someone competes with another to boost their self-esteem rather than pushing themselves from a place of elevation, that is wearing a shadow.

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Image – Natalia Dreprina

Emotional responses to situations and even people are never solely negative however; in fact they are all opportunities for spiritual advancement; if we acknowledge these impulses then we see our wounds; it highlights where we are lacking, and to know this means we can address it and begin a process of healing and making ourselves stronger.

We have to utterly destroy the concept of “I deserve” in regard to spiritual exercise and indeed within life.
There is no “deserve.”
There is hard work, passion, and determination, and even then, sometimes we are denied whatsoever it is we think we want.
These so-called failures are often lessons of self and opening doors to future success.

“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you..” – Josh Shipp

The problem with the human ego is that failed opportunity is often taken as a personal attack, rather than a lesson that needs to be learnt. The shadow mask makes us groan with embarrassment or shame, and encourages us to lash out at those who we perceive as being more advanced or successful than ourselves.

Failed opportunity tends to have a synchronistic element to it; if life tears us down it is because we require that death cycle.

Many cannot fully overcome the mourning process of this death within life, and choose to fixate on the loss, living in the poison that can come from their infected wounding.
The resentment that can breed from such loss is a driving force behind those wearing their shadow.

This analysis however is not to excuse the behaviour of those lashing out from a place of wounding; empathy and understanding are not the same thing, and whilst we can recognise the motivations of others, we do not have to accept behaviour which violates our personal boundaries.

Ultimately, we can only take full responsibility for our own person, our thoughts, emotions and behaviours.
The premise that power over the self is the complete control over reaction and emotion though, should be utterly rejected.
Emotional states do not exist solely to be controlled or repressed.

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tribally-infused.tumblr.com – image

Instead it is better to be mindful – when strong emotional responses burst forth (whatever these emotions might be) there is a reason for that to be so.

The choice on when to speak out and when to remain silent is a skill that has to be learned; not every vicious barb or challenge to your sense of self merits the opening of your emotional self.
Sometimes when confronted by a shadow mask of another, resilience and silence are the most powerful methods of response.
On the occasion that a situation threatens your emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual well-being however, then drawing a line in the sand is necessary.

Mindfulness is also a key to understanding our own shadow masks; when we react to harm another individual because they are (usually unwittingly) poking our shadow; their words or actions reminds us on some level of an unhealed part of ourselves.
They show us the way, whether we like it or not.

Many blessings Starlets,

Joey Morris

All my own work and design all rights reserved

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