Category Archives: General

Seeing through different eyes.

So I did promise you a post about my recent eye surgery and this morning seems like a good time to write it; I woke early, before it was even daylight and sat on my doorstep drinking a coffee, the moon very low and very golden watching over me. I can see her still even though dawn is now upon me, over my shoulder through my office window.

It was a gorgeous day yesterday, balmy, the blossom is out on my Damson tree in the garden its delicate white petals literally just sprang forth over night and the birds have all gone twitter-pated as my dad used to call it. Spring has definitely sprung. But the spirits of winter cling albeit deperately on for a few more weeks and beautiful clear days are followed by bitterly cold nights and last night was one of those nights, the grass is covered in a freezing glistening coating of very heavy dew, almost frost.

On a morning such as this I would normally have stepped out from my cozy kitchen and instantly steamed up; it would have taken much polishing of glasses to afford me a clear view of the moon above me, removing them would have been pointless for I would not have even been able to make out the step at my feet let alone a solitary satellite orbiting above. But this morning there I sat shivering just a little in my dressing gown and pyjamas staring in wonder. Even now nearly two months after my surgery little things such as this, something many take for granted, delight me.

It not all a bed of roses though, one eye didn’t take the surgery as well as the other and as a result I have some ghosting/double vision in that eye, but combined my binocular vision is 20:20 so my jury is still out as to whether I will take the surgeon up on the offer to have a 2nd surgery to try and correct it. Life after all is not perfect, its all about tolerances. Look at any machine or gadget in your home, it functions, serves it purpose, as a complete unit you could say it is an item of perfection, yet its component parts may be far from perfect, all manfactured to a specification plus or minus a certain degree of tolerance. The natural world operates in the same manner, the seasons, the weather, when the flowers bloom and when the animals breed happen to a timetable but that timetable again has more than a little bit of flexibility in it and it happens in its own sweet time and its own sweet way, but it does happen, it works, a perfect item.

I’ve pondered long and hard as to why so many people purporting to lead magickal or spiritual lives seem so dissatisfied with thier lives, their constant striving for perfection (however they define it) leads to naught. And I think the problem comes down to understanding the tolerances involved, the balance that is required to take these imperfect things we are given and make them a working whole. We are all given a bunch of pegs and a board full of holes, and if peg A is just a little too large to fit in hole A, we shouldn’t sit down and moan that we have no sandpaper to make it fit, first we should try and see if peg A fits in holes B, C, D or E first, we may find that all the pegs fit in a hole somewhere even if it isn’t in the order we imagined and no sandpaper is required.

Somebody asked me about spellwork and Hekate the other day, and seemed quite disgusted when I suggested that Hekate was not generally the Goddess to approach for everyday spells. “Why is she known as the Witches Goddess then?” I was asked. And it is an interesting question. And I think it comes down to perception of what a witch is and what a witch does. And in my opinion a witch does what works! Let me explain; I was for over a decade an Engineer and a large part of that time I worked in Quality Assurance, I could look at a circuit board under a microscope and tell within a thousanth of an inch if the tracks printed on it were too close together, too thin, too thick, too raised or any number of other criteria given by the designers. If you place tracks too close together wierd stuff happens, odd harmonics can be created by the signals running down these little strips of metal affecting the operation of the device, shorts can happen, tracks that heat up can buckle causing catastrophic failure, those boards are rejected, or sometimes sent back for rework; the witch does the same, s/he takes what they are given they inspect it and accept or reject it, and unlike the clear cut function of a circuit board which is either fit for purpose or it isn’t, a witch can take what they are given and find a purpose for it. They have to look at things with different eyes, Witches are in short the Quality Assurance of the natural world.

And Hekate is the Project Manager, you can tell her you need more pegs, (or boards to inspect – pick your metaphor), but she rules the work flow. She knows what needs doing and when, she will present you with something, but it might not be the something you were expecting, or even specifically asking for, but it will be a something you can use. After all what is it Hesiod said?

By Whomever she chooses, she comes and stands in full presence and helps him.


The Faith of the Wise

I wanted my next post to be about my experiences of sight and sound; having recently undergone LASIK surgery a whole new world was for a time tantalisingly dangled in front and yet hidden from me but persistance showed the way and experiences I had never dreamed of came shining through; but something else happened, or maybe it happened as a result I am not sure which; during the many quiet hours I’ve had away from the computer and reading and for a short while even light many things from my past came swimming to the fore and I laughed at the irony of it as a friend had asked me just a mere few days before if I ever just sat and did nothing, my reply was, well not very satisfactory.

But this time of “altered” sight which was physically neither clear nor perfect showed me in great detail things I had not seen before; some of which is still happily swimming round and bopping me on the nose days and weeks later.

I’m not a newbie to the craft and the world of the Occult, but I wouldn’t call myself a learned master either, I’ve been on this road only slightly over a decade there are many twists and turns left to explore, I travelled for a while alone, but something made me seek out others to learn from them and thier experiences. A determined soul I searched and found, in fact I keep searching and I keep finding; the point is I found what I was looking for and needed then!

I remember somebody telling me I was an “old crafter” and the sooner I got comfortable with that the better but I had to go away and look to find out what that meant, the closest thing I could find to define this concept of “old craft” was the concepts of Gwyddon, Coven of the Scales and The Clan of Tubal Cain; none of which have a huge public presence that is for sure. I picked up the Bob Clay Edgerton Book published by Ignotus Press, and I picked up The Robert Cochrane Letters and The Roebuck in the Thicket by Capall Bann. I’ve picked up many other books along the way too, thousands of pounds worth actually on just about every subject imaginable, to the point we are seriously considering cataloging my books within the household insurance as we are not sure they would be covered under the general contents.

Yet despite all these wonderful tomes, these 3 little books not one of them priced above £12.99 are the most loved, treasured and refered to books in my collection; sorry things they are, backs all broken and torn, pages filled with highlighter pen and post it notes, pages all sellotaped together, and still they endure and call to me, perhaps less now than before, but even now 10yrs later I would say there is less than 6 months goes by without me referring to these books or working from them in some way.

A chance conversation happened this evening a fellow insomniac was bemoaning thier fate and I told them to take up spinning as it was very relaxing and was capable or putting any person into an alpha state within minutes with the right practise, I quipped that as a result of my spinning addiction I was more qualified to sign off FFF&F than many I know that have used it. And that took me aback because for many years I refused to use that as a sign off on my correspondence, to me, it should be used by only those who understood the concept of each and every one of those “F’s”.

And it got me thinking again, as a non pagan friend asked me a month or so back if I was a witch and I said categorically that no I really wasn’t one, well not in the way she was thinking anyway. But there it was shouting at me in the back of my head, The Ritual of the Castle, was I really one of the quick and the dead and maybe sadly or maybe other wise the answer was no I wasn’t. I am other, I am what Cochrane defines as witch. I personally think it is an entirely human condition and far from supernatural, its rather mundane actually when you get to the bare bones of it, but to be a member of her darling crew isn’t so much a doing but a being and I think this is where people who want lables fall down drastically.

Ghosts in the Machine?

Whilst reading an article provided by a Facebook friend about an evangelical sect in Brazil who have purportedly banned the use of USB technology because it bears the mark of Satan, (see here), I followed another link, the content of which made me giggle, but not for the reason you might think (and here).

In this article it clearly states amongst other things, that “Any PC built after 1985 has the storage capacity to house an evil spirit”.

I do like the fact that they have decided that a memory capacity is required to store said demons, which I think is a little silly but, theoretically, they may be correct. Across the world there is a long history of humanity constructing poppets, fetishes and spirits house within which demonic, familiar and ancestral spirits can reside.

I spent sometime debating the possibility of these entities residing within an electronic environment and how that might be achieved, sigilisation of circuit boards seemed to be the most obvious way in which to do this, however the contruction of servitors and even possibly egregores purely electronically or through the medium of branding could be achieved with a view to them performing a specific function. Accidental creation is also not beyond the realms of possibility either, I already joke, that when I need to know something, I go and worship the great god google!

I read of interesting experiments online to create electronic guardians of websites, Barbelith was one particular site that sprang to mind, some 5 or 6 yrs ago if I recall correctly their servitor achieved egregore status and promptly locked some of the admins out of the site, if reports are to be believed.

I even spent sometime sporting an avatar which was a photo of a spirit house containing a thoughtform, with the intention to give it access to the electronic realms, the results of those experiements weren’t particularly successful, but that may have had something to do with the thoughtform itself rather than the manner in which it was given access (it was a singularly useless thoughtform and I breathed a sigh of relief after it was returned to the person to constructed it).

So are these claims really so far fetched, recent joking discussion on my status have included a work of fiction in which the Lwa find the web, and what would happen when the goetics get email access, it gives a whole new meaning for “gmail” doesn’t it. Or are they and we already using an electronic medium to access the other worlds? I actually think so? Obviously I don’t percieve that these manifestations are as the result of Satan, and neither do I believe that as a result of being a computer buff I am going to go out and shoot a school full of innocent children, but I do sometimes wonder, if some days we are just singing to the same tune, just with different lyrics.

The True meaning of Human Sacrifice

If you haven’t already read my post on Devotion, you might like to read it before continuing on DEVOTION.

I thought I might expand a little bit on the subject today as recently I’ve seen a lot of “want it quick, want it easy, want it now” attitude happening. I’d been advised that putting anything on my blog from my book before it was published was probably a little unwise, but I felt it necessary to make an exception in this case, here is a little of what I write about sacrifice in the ancient world.

in general it appears that even in ancient society there was worth in expensive or difficult to obtain items, a value that perhaps has been forgotten, sacrifice as a ritual device was not and should not necessarily be all about blood offerings and immolation, but about providing the Gods with items worthy of their notice and devotion over and above everyday religious activity. – From the forthcoming book Liber Hekate by Tara Sanchez

Devotion and sacrifice to what ever deity you venerate is not just about lighting candles, burning incense, doing ritual, reading holy books, even going to church or other sacred sanctuary; it is about sacrifice, real human sacrifice; and in our modern world where everything IS bigger, better, faster, more, what is more precious than our time and our effort.

My daily devotion currently consists of sitting at this computer, sometimes upwards of twelve hours a day, I write, I write about Hekate, agonising over the content and the details, hoping that what I provide is worthy of notice. And its not the first time my devotional work has been, to the outsider, apparently entirely mundane and time consuming, I’ve spent whole weekends up to my elbows in clay creating images, hours with superglue and hundreds of glass beads, creating, when I would rather have been out with my friends or family instead. And I’ve smashed those lovingly, hard worked for items, into a million smithereens, burnt them on open fires, gifted them to others, thrown things in running water, launched them into the sea. I think you get the idea, I made a sacrifce, just as I sacrificed my time, I sacrificed the item itself.

Oh I could have bought many of the items I have created from the shops or other artisans. Got them quick, got them easy; but that isn’t the point. I had to put the effort and energy and intent into it, if I hadn’t, then the sacrifice would have meant nothing to me, or her for that matter!

Well Ive gone and done it now haven’t I?

I know I’ve been quiet over the last few months, basically since the Hekate: Her Sacred Fires rite, but Hekate has been keeping me very busy, just when I think that I might get a break for a while something new comes up. You get the distinct impression sometimes that no matter how much you do the response is going to be like the proverbial school report of; bright girl but could try harder.

There are two reasons why Ive been so quiet, firstly, and I have alluded to it before, a writing project that has been in the works on and off for some time has been coming to fruition, but seeing as it is now in black and white on the Avalonia web-site under their forthcoming titles see here I cannot shy away from it any longer; this peice of work is a magickal obligation made several years ago, and I had rather hoped I had found a loop hole by contributing to Sacred Fires, but no, apparently I am not going to get away with it that easily, so “Liber Hekate” is currently undergoing severe labour pains. The end however is in sight so watch this space for more information.

Secondly, I’ve been in cahoots with the wonderful author and priestess Sorita d’Este, far too many late night discussions have ensued since the launch of Hekate: Her Sacred Fires, most of them revolving around how the ever growing community of priests, priestesses and devotees of Hekate can best be supported and served. Lovely lady that she is, she has spent many hours deliberating and I think has come up with a wonderful solution, needless to say I can only wholeheartedly support this venture in any way I can, especially as I suspect it is partially my fault anyway. It’s in its early infancy and membership applications will not be open for a few weeks yet, but go and have a look at Covenant of Hekate and have a read about it yourself.

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone”

The title of this post is an excerpt from a direct quote made by Mother Theresa of Calcutta, a Nobel Peace prize winner and all around inspirational and beautiful woman. These words are actually something I feel quite strongly about. I’ve been trying to write this post for a very long time, in fact it has sat in my draft box of this site for nearly a year; I come back to it, tinker with it, I review my own personal thoughts and feelings by re-reading it from time to time, but now I think it is time to post it, but please excuse me if it is a rambling post as this is the culmination of a train of thought going over many months, Ive tried to edit it into a readable format, but just shout if it doesn’t make sense I will try and clarify.

Hekate and Hermes have some fairly undeniable links, both on occasion are messenger to the gods and both perform the role of psychopomp, guide to the dead; now that of course can be taken literally and they can be called to aid the passing of souls but it can also mean that they can take away from you, especially in the case of Hekate the ghosts of things that have gone before, things that are unhealthy, habits, emotions and memories long past that tie you, that prevent you from progressing forward; after all she is the Goddess of the restless dead and what can be more restless than those nasty annoying little things from the past that you hang on to for no good readon but bring up time and again and allow to fester in your heart and mind.

For years I hankered after a mentor, somebody who would hold my hand, who would be there for me when rather than if, I envitiably screwed up, I suppose I wanted a parent, somebody to wipe my magickal arse and dispose of the dirty nappies. I got my mentor and surprise, surprise, I still had to wipe up my own dirty messes. A good teacher actually doesn’t stop you cocking up, they just teach you how to deal with it. One of the things my mentor and me talked about over the years was the concept of fear, and how it can stop you from “becoming”. Possibly one of the wisest things they ever told me was that fear and being wary produce similar chemical responses in the body, of course the hard part is working out which is which, for the aim of course should be that you are aware but not living in fear.

Being alone for most is a huge fear, we sit online or turn the TV on rather than sit in visual and/or auditory silence, we strive for somebody to tell us what to do so we don’t have to be alone with our own thoughts and actions. Approaching deities such as Hekate also seem to elicit similar responses, although I am pretty sure that is the result of media hype, but of course your mileage may vary. Being alone with Hekate to my knowledge has never killed anybody or driven anybody insane, unless possibly they were predisposed to insanity anyway. And approaching her alone or within group seems to elicit similar responses, yes you might find out things about yourself you don’t like, and yes you might be tempted to hide behind your ego and blame somebody else for what you see, but you will reap the consequences of that; yes you might get a bitch slap, normally from hiding from the former example; but seriously we all read the news headlines, when was the last time you read a headline entitled “Witch found dead in satanic circle attacked by her own demons”?

Most of the serious practitioners I know are in pretty rude health both mentally and physically and going strong even if they are a little bit beautifully wrecked. Somedays you just have to realise that you have to grab the bull by the proverbial horns (an there is a whole Hekate related post I could write about that) and do it; if you think you are being called then why are you scared? That being said of course anything you try is of your own volition and for legal purposes I cannot sanction 😉 Seriously though ask yourself what you are scared of, you might be surprised by the answer; in a group ritual recently I was asked to “give” something to Hekate, to my surprise right at the last minute, I asked her to take my fear, in return she asked my to agree to five more years of service; I didn’t even know I had something to fear, took me a week or two but now I do, but it isn’t fear it is being aware of a whole new aspect of serving and being proud to call myself a priestess of Hekate.

Lessons From The Real Belle Dame Sans Merci

Water is powerful. It can wash away earth, put out fire, and even destroy iron, said Mameha in the delightful film Memoirs of a Geisha. Wise words indeed, water is, or can be an overwhelmingly destructive element; a totally dichotomous characteristic to its well known and much lauded life giving and transformative powers. However on close inspection one cannot help but see that each goes hand in hand, to truly understand the creative principals of this element you have to understand the destructive as well.

That our ancestors were aware of the duality of this element, is apparent in the wealth of water related folklore that still exists even to this day, Nixes and Mermaids, Selkies and Kelpies and especially any number of Lake Ladies, to name but a few of the denizens of the elemental realm of water and almost all dualistic in nature, capable of benevolence and violence equally depending upon the circumstance.

Possibly one of the most well known of the Lake Ladies is of course she, who is found in the Arthurian Legends and Romances, bearing the name of Viviane, Niniane or Nimue depending upon the chosen recension. Each apparently capable of creating and destroying kings and magicians upon a whim. Caitlin Matthews posits in her book “King Arthur and the Goddess of the Land” that these fickle fae are remnants of a lost feminine, “She appears in many guises: as an otherworldly maiden whose beauty dazzles; as a bountiful queen bestowing the gifts of the land upon her people; as a Dark Woman of Knowledge, cailleach, or Loathly lady”.

I would disagree with this assumption to some extent, the Lake ladies are the children of the Loathly Lady, the primordial feminine, and they do her bidding. Just as a Queen would send her ladies in waiting to run errands and deliver messages, these fae creatures serve her will, however these once high nobles have fallen, their status reduced over eons, their faded beauty caught only in glimpses through poetry and myth and their lessons reduced to cautionary tales for children.

These ladies in waiting now have number of names across the country, Froud calls them “The Fideal”, in Teeside they are “Peg Powler”, and in Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire and parts of Yorkshire they are known as “Jenny Greenteeth”. Along with the nefarious Boggarts they are possibly one of the most primordial of elementals, Froud in his beautiful imagery describes the fideal thus:

“By the reed choked edges of lonely lakes, the fideal wanders through the twilight longing for a lover. Her song is sad yet irresistibly seductive. Her kiss is cold, tasting of earth. Her hands caress you, hold you, pull you down and down into chill waters. You would happily lie with her forever, wrapped in her watery embrace – but she is gone, she has returned to the dark lake shore and you are forgotten. The fideal sings as she walks through the reeds calling out to her next lover, leaving you down in the waters cold depths, eyes unseeing, weeds in your mouth.”

Keats also paints a horrifically descriptive yet elegant picture in his poem “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”,
“I saw pale kings, and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
Who cry’d–“La belle Dame sans merci
Hath thee in thrall!”
I saw their starv’d lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke, and found me here
On the cold hill side. “
Katherine Briggs in her “Dictionary of Fairies”, is not quite so eloquent, declaring her as a “true bred water demon” that has “an insatiable desire for human life”.

So what can such a raw elemental spirit teach, most people I know recoil from her in fear and repulsion, unaware that she has anything to give, other than nightmares the like of which you will have not experienced since you were a child. And it is no small wonder that people blanch at the idea of knowing her, because to get to know her is to get to know and understand your own more base and predatory self or even better to understand how that nature manifests in others. For she is perpetually searching for souls, for the spark of life that others can give, her nature is sociopathic, she grasps at people, she drains them, uses them for what they are worth and then moves on to her next victim, totally forgetting the husk of humanity left behind. Yet for her it means little; she is after all amoral, not immoral, she does not do this out of spite, or a desire to destroy, these things do not even cross her mind; the only thing that possesses her is the unquenchable thirst for “something” although she knows not what, all she knows is that for an all too brief moment the thirst is slaked.

And there is the lesson to be learnt, every person has an internal directive as driving as Jenny’s thirst for the human essence, this affects their interactions with everybody they come into contact with. There is no such thing as a truly altruistic action. For most people this driving urge is barely acknowledged if at all. They shy away from Jenny as surely as they shy away from their “real” selves. This makes them an unknown and unpredictable quantity, and if they profess to be magical practitioners, it makes them volatile and dangerous.

Some, a very few embrace Jenny, and of those few, some use it to intentionally manipulate others and whilst you have to be wary of these people they are a lot more “stable” than those that hide from her, just as we know that as sure as eggs is eggs, Jenny can be found wandering the water’s edge looking for her next victim, we can also ascertain these people’s predictable patterns, and interact with them if necessary.

We can also use the knowledge Jenny gives, the knowledge of our own driving force, of our own predatory and primordial nature, and how this affects how we also interact with others. To know this does leave you, like Jenny searching for “that something” that you will never find from the general populace. But it is worthwhile; lonely as it may be, it leaves you knowing not just Jenny but yourself. I would trust anybody that has looked Jenny in the eye and seen themselves through the glass darkly over anybody else, even knowing that having done so they have embraced their own internal directive, even though it may be totally at odds with mine.

Once you have that knowledge it is easy to realise that Jenny is also more than capable of “drowning” those who are prepared to wander oblivious, and that can include those you chose to point in her direction; in some ways she can be a test of the reality or truth of people. The key lies with Froud’s wise words “would happily lie with her forever, wrapped in her watery embrace”; for many would rather happily drown in their illusion of what they believe is, and when confronted by Jenny and her reality willing sink into her watery depths without a backward glance. As such she is a useful spirit to have on side; she can test for you, without ever showing the other person you are there, leaving no magical trace, other than her own.

So next time you walk past a mill pond, or that bizarre glass like patch of water just beyond the weir, that stagnant pond on the edge of the flood plain, take a deep breath, brace yourself and look into the depths, if you’re lucky and strong enough, you may just find Jenny staring back at you.
And If you do, pick up a stone and invoke into it everything that is an artificial construct, everything that prevents you, from being real and gift it to her, another stone for her cairn of souls and listen to her song.

“I am the Moon in the water; I am the illusion of reality. Man always strives to pursue that which he perceives to be real, not what is. And when he grasps beyond his reach he falls into my depths.
That is my function, for if man in unison started reaching for reality then my mother would cease to exist. I keep the balance for my mother’s sake, I ensure her survival by tempting man with illusion and I do it alone.”

Never underestimate the Power of Hekate

So, the post man arrived yesterday morning and in his bag of goodies was my contirbutor copy of Hekate: Sacred Fires. I ripped open the cardboard packaging like a child on christmas morning and greedily flicked through.

I wanted so desperately to sit down and read right there and then but events an obligations conspired against me, patience was never my strong point, but eventually late afternoon I sat down to read.

I finally finished it some 24hrs later, I am wrung out both intellectually and emotionally, my full review can be found here.

I just want to use this post not only to point out the review, which I hope will be of use to those that read this blog, but to thank my long suffering family; my husband in particular, who has reminded me to eat, and plied me with rich red wine and chocolate in the intervening period between opening and closing this book, suffice to say, her presence is pretty damn strong, and the secret little promise to myself to take a break for a while from all things Hekate, might, just might, have to go on hold, there is still so much more to learn, do and experience.