Archive for the ‘Points to Ponder’ Category

Near Enemies

A series by Christopher Wallis and well worth reading:

Near Enemy #1: Everything Happens for a Reason

Near Enemy #2: Everything Happens for the Best

Near Enemy #3: Listen to Your Heart

Near Enemy #4: Negative Energy

Near Enemy #5: Love Yourself

Near Enemy #6: You Create Your Own Reality

Near Enemy #7: I Want To Be My Best Self

Near Enemy #8: Speaking Your Truth

Near Enemy #9: Be In The Present Moment

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Is the earth alive?

Read the short article on NPR

“Tim’s own work is a masterful display of the power of modeling to elucidate the coupling of life with the environment. Firmly based on data, he claims that we should look at Earth as a living thing, just as James Lovelock, his mentor, has argued in the Gaia Hypothesis.

At CERN, Tim told us that “you can pick up Earth’s breathing from the CO2 captured by detectors spread around the planet, a rhythm that moves with night and day.” What a staggeringly beautiful revelation.

Life regulates the stability of the atmosphere so that it can survive. It’s not a purposeful directive, but one that resulted from millions of years of interactions between life and Earth’s atmosphere; one cannot be seen without the other. Life and Earth are one.

I couldn’t think of a more fitting scientific topic to be discussed in this most revered cathedral of reductionism.

It all starts with electrons, quarks and the Higgs boson. But even if all living entities are assemblies of such particles, life is much more than its parts. New laws are needed to describe how matter interacts to become ever more complex; from molecules to cells to organisms to minds, all coupled to their environment.”

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help, protect, and defend thy Brothers and Sisters of the Art

There is an ancient story that in days long ago Wytches met in secret.  That to come among them, you swore a fearsome Oath.  Your measure was taken, with cord Hallow and Mighty, upon your promise to “keep Secret” and “Protect” the Art and those who practiced it.

A dread Oath to swear.  For, if the oath be broken by a Witch, his or her cord was buried with curses, so that as it rotted the traitor would too.

How many of you have mused on that time, and imagined yourself called to betray the names of your coven or your neighbors?  Would you…under torture, speak their names?

Bessie Dunloptumblr_m5gzspxhAN1qatqtto1_400

Elizabeth Knap

Marigje Arriens

Johann Albrecht Adelgrief

Goodwife Bassett

Giovanna Bonanno

George Burroughs

Lasses Birgitta

Michée Chauderon

Nyzette Cheveron

Elizabeth Clarke

Helena Curtens

Jean Delvaux

Catherine Deshayes

Thomas Doughty

Anna Eriksdotter

Ann Glover


Perhaps we understand, all too well, what heinous physical cruelty these healers, midwives, cunning folk, and mystics endured.

                       Perhaps we hold mercy for those who screamed the names of others.

But in our day and age?

What is our modern equivalent?

A subpoena?

Would you “out” your brothers and sisters if a court demanded it?

What of MONEY?

Would you make known the secrets of the Art for payment?

What of prestige?

“I am High Muckety Muck Raven Claw” …. “I was told by the Goddess Spank Me that THIS is the only correct way”

I am a Witch heart-broken, enraged, and determined.  Someone has revealed.  Someone has made known.  Someone has not protected her brothers and sisters of the Art.

What would you do?

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Thinking about it from the standpoint of the history of philosophy, it was once a “given” in philosophical thought that all things had a sort of inner spirit or purpose for being. When certain “advances” in human civilization occurred (e.g. the Enlightenment), the ensouled view of matter was thrown out in favor of a disenchanted and mechanistic one. It was no longer proper to speak of all things as having a teleological purpose. So in at least some contexts, animism does not particularly describe a religious belief at all, but a philosophical position. It could be seen, in a religious context, as similar to polytheism.

By the last I intend all use of external plans or devices (apparatus) instead of development of the inherent inner powers or talents — or even the use of these talents with the corrupted motive of dominating: bulldozing the real world, or coercing other wills. The Machine is our more obvious modern form though more closely related to Magic than is usually recognised. . . . The Enemy in successive forms is always ‘naturally’ concerned with sheer Domination, and so the Lord of magic and machines. – JRR Tolkien

A natural history which is composed for its own sake s not like one that is collected to supply the understanding with information for the building up of philosophy. They differ in many ways, but especially in this: that the former contains the variety o f natural species only, and not experiments of the mechanical arts. For even as in the business of life a man’s disposition and the secret workings of his mind and affections are better discovered when he is in trouble than at other times; so likewise the secrets of nature reveal themselves more readily under the vexation of art [i.e., artisanry, technology] than when they go their own way. – Francis Bacon, Aphorism XCVIII

Although Bacon’s identification of knowledge with industrial utility and his grappling with the concept of experiment based on technology certainly underlie much of our current scientific thought,m the implications drawn from the Cartesian corpus exercised a staggering impact on the subsequent history of Western consciousness and (despite the differences with Bacon) served to confirm the technological paradigm–indeed,, even helped to launch it on its way. Man’s activity as a thinking being–and that is his essence, according to Descartes–is purely mechanical. The mind is in possession of a certain method. It confronts the world as a separate object. It applies this method to the object, again and again and again, and eventually it will know all there is to know. The method, furthermore, is also mechanical. The problem is broken down into its components, and the simple act of cognition (the direct perception) has the same relationship to the knowledge of the whole problem that, let us say, an inch has to a foot: one measures (perceives) a number of times, and then sums the results. Subdivide, measure, combine; subdivide, measure, combine. – Morris Berman, The Reenchantment of the World.

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from Sheffield Hallam University, Jenny Blain, author of Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic (Routledge, 2002).

She says that wight can be a synonym of “beings” or “persons”, but, more usefully, that it refers to “sentient beings for which we don’t have other words”. Derived from an old English word (with cognates in Old Norse), wiht, the word seems much more useful that the word “spirit”. Too many people, anthropologists included, add the word “spirit” where it really isn’t needed. If trees, rocks, clouds or animals are persons, then it doesn’t help to speak of them as “tree spirits”, etc., unless you want to confuse people into thinking you are making claims about some spiritualised, metaphysical or non-empirical reality. It is only useful to speak of “tree persons” and so on because we need to educate ourselves and other heirs/victims of modernism to find different ways to perceive and relate to other-than-human persons.

(The term “other-than-human persons”, was created by Irving Hallowell to say what his Ojibwe hosts had taught him)

Wights seems useful too in more poetic circumstances and one’s in which we’re happy to expect people to ask what we mean. It has become an important part of the language of contemporary Heathens.

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“Wherever the poetry of the myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed. The living images become only remote facts of a distant time or sky. Furthermore, it is never difficult to demonstrate that as science and history mythology is absurd. When a civilization begins to reinterpret its mythology in this way, the life goes out of it, temples become museums, and the link between the two perspectives is dissolved. Such a blight has certainly descended on the Bible and on a great part of the Christian cult.” Joseph Campbell

I know several people who would be upset with me for saying this, or at least disagree; but, the same is true with much of Paganism. People are taking ancient Myths and attempting to interpret them as custom, even taking the characters and elevating them to the status of gods. I’ll tell you….I don’t see a lot of (though there is some) overlap between what is found in the archeological record here in Ireland and what is actually recorded in its Mythical manuscript tradition.

“To bring the images back to life, one has to seek, not interesting applications to modern affairs, but illuminating hints from the inspired past. When these are found, vast areas of half-dead iconography disclose against permanent human meaning.” Joseph Campbell

Myth speaks to us on a subconscious level. As tempting as it is – especially for me – to look for cues to folk and lifeways within the narrative tradition, I remind myself to let go, and allow the images to dance – revealing hints of ancestral whispers and wisdom.

“…according to this view it appears that the wonder tales – which pretend to describe the lives of legendary heroes, the power of divinities of nature, the spirits of the dead, and the totem ancestors of the group – symbolic expression is given to the unconscious desires, fears and tensions that underlie the conscious patterns of human behaviour. Mythology, in other words, is psychology misread as biography, history, and cosmology.” Joseph Campbell

Myth and folklore are therapeutic narrative. Let them seep in and share their wisdom, but let your Talker mind, with its search for puzzle and answer, sleep.


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