To be a writer, as I spoke of in the foreword of my first book to be published (Spirited), is to sacrifice one’s humility. We do so because we are enabling and empowering ourselves to allow our private opinions, insights and experiences to move beyond the sphere of the immediate self and into the world at large. These opinions, insights and experiences will be criticised, challenged, championed and ridiculed. Luckily, I have had the sense of self to understand this and let it all go. And yet here is the dilemma…how does one creatively express what is their inmost self without sacrificing not only humility, but privacy?
This is my third Descent cycle in a row (as I spent 4 months in the northern hemisphere last year). I returned to Australia post-Summer Solstice and prepared myself for the festival of Lughnasadh (or as I prefer to think of it ‘First Fruits’). In the WildWood Tradition, First Fruits is the point at which the decline of the Sun King’s rule becomes noticeable (the days begin to visibly shorten, although they are still longer than the nights). It is the time at which the ‘sun goes into the seed’ and the first harvest is acknowledged and gathered in. In South-East QLD the harvest of fruits we gather in tends to be a mass of tropical fruits – succulent and sweet. Various cereal crops are also beginning to be cut down and taken in. It is a time of harshness in the natural world – this manifested in my area of the world as flash floods and bush fires (on the other side of Australia). Lughnasadh has always been a festival at which the volatility of the Australian land comes to its peak – we respect and revere and gather in what we can, as we mourn for the destruction of the peaceful reign of our King. Calamity and Chaos ensues and our minds are cast, just as the shadows are…And then to the Descent of the Goddess Herself (the Autumnal Equinox, sometimes called Mabon. When our Lady of the Moon (under the Black Veil of Mourning) approaches the hungry, gaping jaws of the Wolf and his Domain (the Underworld). Our myth here is akin to the British Traditional ‘Legend of the Goddess’, in which she descends and confronts Death. She asks him why he must take life, and he replies “Tis age and fate.” It is at this time that the Goddess’s Veil is lifted away from her eyes and she can see into the Darkness to understand that it is Sovereign now, and that it is her duty to crown Him as King of the Dark Tide. We go within, we draw inward, we seek for insight buried inside our unfolding Dreams. Winter is approaching, and the cold breath of it is felt moving across the plains and valleys and over the hills.
My friend Awen and I were discussing such things quite recently, I was telling him of my recent reflections and experiences with this third cycle and how difficult it was and is for me.
“Yes, the horror of a sub-tropical climate,” he quipped, smiling broadly.
“And yet, when we work intensely with a mythos, we feel it to our very bones,” I replied.
Have I descended with the Lady into the Abyss? I believe so, yes.
I do not understand how anyone could move with the Wheel anachronistically. It would be pointless. To attune to the cycles and seasons, to the rhythms and tides, is to open oneself to become vulnerable to that Change and to be energetically interwoven with it. Aradia, the Beautiful Pilgrim, said that it is by celebrating the Sabbats that we come to our Power. This is absolutely true, or the entire Wheel of the Year and its inherent meaning would not be as foundational as it is in contemporary Witchcraft traditions. The Power Aradia speaks of is that capacity within, that wisdom, that determines the way we choose, think and act. It is the Power that joins us with our Centres and allows us to flow with the Current of the Pure Will. When one enjoins himself to a moving Mythos, one becomes the receptable into which its mana pours. And because we are each unique expressions of the Totality of Being (in its Allness and Infinite Possibility) we will each come to our own personal and private understandings and connections.
I read over an older article today, written by my Feri teacher (Storm Faerywolf); in it he spoke of the Star Goddess and he described Her as “the raging cosmos pregnant with possibility.” I could not agree me; this is a description that sings to the primal, raw spark within me that is born of Her – God Herself. The Mighty Weaver has woven me (is weaving me and I Her) into Her Being and Body and I am given Life. As I say when I bless my food:
“As I take thee into my Body, may I be woven into your Being, and may I be woven into Me.”
Feri is said to rip you apart, from the inside out. I would agree. And yet this feels decidedly tumultous; because not only am I learning to ride the current of Feri, I have been doing so with the current of the WildWood and have very recently started facilitating and teaching Shamanic Craft Apprenticeships (based on the fermentation and syncretisation of a personal path woven with intent, rhythm and purpose). I have been working intensively and energetically with different deities each moon(th) and engaging with the points of the Iron Pentacle over a five month period. My spiritual approach is open, inviting, respectful and engaged:
I stand at the open doorway of my new apartment. I have lit incense in my hand. I breathe into my Centre and I open my Light to the Tween Place, to touch Them All. I call out to the Fey, the Wild Beings of Nature. As I have said many times before – “Make your home here if it be your will. You are welcome to this sanctuary and may you find sustenance and celebration here. Let us share what is a place to share. Let this be. Blessed Be.”
To be gradually torn apart, slowly dismembered, quietly destroyed, and to look upon the process as if in hindsight, is an ordeal. To feel it viscerally, and to have every ‘part’ of one’s Life seem to crumble into fine dust, the composition of which seems to be the entrails of Time is disenchanting. And yet, I am flowing with this…I am angry, sad, terrified, lonely…but, supremely Awake. Have I been at this Crossroads before – yes…but not like this. Never before have I been so conscious and simultaneously so confused. I have entered a space that lends itself to Oblivion and I am walking the road of Time, which is nought but transparent and disappearing. Several Witches I know have been experiencing spirits and deities speak of the ‘ending’ of things, of this ungainly time and space…does this frighten me? No, does it soothe me? No…does it necessitate that meaning is void…no…I am Alive and Awake – what greater blessing is there?
I found myself in sheer desperation at the gates of the Underworld. The expansive darkness seemed to scream a hollow shriek at me as I knelt before the Guardian of the Gate. He demanded I pay a price to enter the sanctuary of Death, but wilfully I stared into his deep-black eyes and denied him his quarry. But he only knew what was rightfully his and stared back with equal, terrifying conviction and a further demand. I disrobed and lay my necklace and crown at his feet; all symbols and signs of my life in the bright world above. I was once the goddess of the peoples of Earth and shone brightly for them in the sky as the moon who sailed through the starry seas. Now I am a frightened girl again, going to my end, for all who enter into the Realm of Death never return unchanged.
- from In Perfect Love and Perfect Sex!? Divine Love and Sacred Sexuality (Part Two – The Great Rite) by Gede Parma, first published in Issue 12 of Spellcraft