A Witch and Athene20 August 2015
There are moments in my Craft that stick out to me. Some are grand, expansive, solar-radiant revelations; others are subtle, more lunar, silent, within. There is a whole spectrum there, like twisted ivy.
I am currently on a Reclaiming WitchCamp team of six co-teachers and we have been opening to and working with specific Beings since February this year. Our 4 night Camp – EarthSong in Victoria – is at the end of September and we are working with and being worked by the mythic landscape shared between the well-known Hellenic Goddess Athene and the infamous Gorgon Medusa. We identify them both as Goddesses in the sense that they are both Great Spirits.
I am a Witch who works with “several pantheons”. I have conscious and deliberate relationships with Aegean, Mediterranean, British, Himalayan-Hindu and Balinese Spirits and Deities. I am public about my dedications to Persephone – my Soul Goddess – to Hekate, Hermes, Aphrodite, and the Four Witches’ Gods I honour in three Traditions. I have a deep Soul-connection with Kali Maa, but I can barely word that. In nearly five years of attending WitchCamps I have also been exposed to and worked with (on and off teaching teams) Spirits and Gods from Sumerian, Greek, Celtic-British, Nordic, Egyptian and Hindu traditions and cultures. Reclaiming is an avidly open-source and intelligently eclectic style of magic and tradition of revivalist Witchcraft which has roots in Anderson Faery and has active communities throughout North America, Europe and the British Isles and Australia. In our various covens, core classes, circles and WitchCamps we contact and are contacted by a veritable cornucopia of Beings who seem quite willing to partake in our ecstatic, activist and deep work. I love that we have the big conversations about cultural appropriation, what a Deity even is, ritual protocol and social responsibility regarding our magical spirit-work.
Amidst all this I am still very much an Old-style Witch who acknowledges something specific about what a Witch is underneath all the discussions about definitions. It is a Nameless Deed, a Mysterious Art, we do. The Mark of Cain is there. The Fire of the Fallen Ones seething in the Blood of the Witch is there. The blessings of the Fae are there. A Witch will recognise another regardless of formal initiation, grade or tradition. A witch is a witch is a witch is a witch. We are born this way.
What has also been true for me is that there are certain Deities and Spirits in this world that seem inextricably linked to the mythic landscape of the Witch, and others that seem not to be.
I had written a list of Names of Beings that I consider absolutely culturally and mythically linked to sorcery and witches’ works, however it would be easier and far more appropriate to illustrate the point of this all by speaking about the Goddess Athene.
I have respected and offered to Athene for as long as I have been consciously practising my Craft. I have called on Her and Artemis when I have needed protection and felt threatened by human and non-human forces. I have very much witnessed Athene present next to me, imposing, silent, and towering. She has smelled of the Citadel to me. I have visited and tranced at the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis in the middleworld, in this life. (Yes, I felt it necessary to describe it in that way, because that is how I experience the world and I need to make distinctions to convey exactly what I mean)…
Early this year I invoked Her on Her night, the third night of the new month which is begun by the first sliver of a crescent – older understanding of what a new moon is – coming forth from the three nights of the dark moon. I invoked Her and I came to Her, undressed and declared with my sorcerous tongue:
Athene, I am a witch, a sorcerer, a worker with spirits, a dancer with devils. I come as I am. May I work with you? What do you think?
She is not human, but she seemed detached, above emotional conveyance. She really did feel like an ultimate and impartial strategist. A high-minded Metis-born, Zeus-blessed daughter of the Gods whose skills would be highly useful in battle and in the protection, sustaining and upholding of order within the bounds of the City. Beyond the City, outside of the Citadel, She still seemed to be haunted as the Owl, the Bird of Ghosts, and She communicated to me that She would protect me as I wandered in the wild. She would shield me with Her powerful cloak; that She was in the Wind with Her Eyes and that She could extend Her hand over me to ward me and ensure I was kept from harm. I don’t know Her agenda. I don’t what She really feels of this WitchCamp that will bring Her intimately close in ritual space and magical process to Medusa. She seems to have extended the same hand over that Camp. She doesn’t mind that I am a witch; though in the City they would have decried me as a foul vagrant and tainted by the volatile forces, a son of the Goddess whose Name we can not speak. The ancient Athenians would not have linked me with Grey-Eyed Athene.
I would not say that Athene is a/the Witches’ Goddess. But I will say that witches in the lands She knows best have likely been propitiating Her for protection and wisdom for thousands of years and that we are friends of Her Owl. She comes in Australia, in September 2015, to offer cool strategy, articulation of Mind, wisdom and the weaving that is our portal into the Wheel of Fate that we ride as magic-workers.
How Medusa and Athene will meet will be another Mystery, another Magic, another Story. Therein lies the essence of our Art.
I am also a pagan so I pray to and propitiate many pagan deities, but when I am a pagan I don’t stop being a witch. How is it with you?