Monthly Archives: September 2012

Michaelmas: Time of Binding

Today, we stand at Michaelmas (though the original sate wasn’t until October 11).  This is the day the Western Church traditionally honours all the Angels, but more specifically the Archangels, and most specifically the Archangel Michael.  It is traditionally the day Michael kicked Satan (or Lucifer) from Heaven.

This is a time of year for binding, for reducing, for constricting.  The days shrink, just as the moon shrinks following the full moon.  The spring, heading toward the Summer Solstice, as the days increase, is a time for loosing, for increasing, for expanding.  But now we bind, not loose.

Michaelmas (under the current Western calendar), falls one week after the Equinox.  It’s significant that it falls at this point in the year, after harvest, heading toward Samhain.  At this point when the days are shortening, when winter is coming.

This year, the full moon lands on Michaelmas this moon.  Tonight is the height of the Tide of the current moon.  The energy flows strong, from that white mirror, that whole in the black sky.  A dark night full of light.

Half a moon has passed since the Sage Brush Moon ended.  Half way to the next Dark Moon.  This is a moon of changing, of turning.  The Moon of the Equinox, half way to darkness.  The Moon of Michaelmas, of Lucifer’s fall from heaven, the Bright and Morning Star.  The leaves changing, the season changing.    This is truly the Changing Moon, a moon for bringing change into the world.

The main story of Michaelmas, of the Archangel Michael overcoming Lucifer and casting him from Heaven, is of course paralleled many places.  One such is Hera kicking Hephaestus, the smith of the gods, from Olympus, the fall giving him a limp the rest of his life.  Looking at that, we see Bran, wounded in the foot in the battle with Ireland, and eventually dying, but his head living on, speaking for a year.  We see the Fisher King in Arthurian Legend, wounded through the thighs, unable to walk, so spending his time fishing in a boat.  We find Odin, pierced through the side with his out spear, hanging upside on the Tree, then falling to the depths of the roots.  Jesus stabbed in the side, then descending to Sheol.  The Fall of the Watchers is also the Descent of the Watchers, also, the Descent of Inanna, of Ishtar.

We find this motif also in our myth cycle of the year.  At the equinox, the power was in the balance, but now it’s tipped.  The Horned Child has grown in power, and he confronts the Winged Serpent, challenges him.  The Serpent has never know how to back down from a challenge.  He rises to that challenge, the two fight.

But the Serpent is weakening and the Horned Child is stronger.  The Serpent is God of the Vegetation, and with the harvest, his power waned.  The Horned Child is God of the Beast, and with the Hunt, he grows strong.  As the cold Northern Wind, he howls, the howls of wolves.  His is the call of ravens, gathering around the dead and dying.  He is strong and only getting stronger, heading toward his height at the time of the Wild Hunt.  He wounds the Serpent, but does not kill yet.  He casts him down, and this time of the year, he does not heal.

He who was once a vibrant young man, happy in love, without a care in the world, is now old, now weak, now wounded.  He walks with a limp, in old rags that were once royal robes.  He walks hunched over, a lantern in his hand, staring into the growing darkness with eyes that are failing him, unsure what the future holds where once he could see the path laid out before him.

And so Michaelmas passes and we rush towards Samhain.

~Muninn’s Kiss
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Posted by on September 29, 2012 in muninnskiss


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Reading List

Below is my newest updated reading list.  The official version I will update, in an indexed form, can be found by link at the top of this blog or with any of the following links:

While it is practice that defines a path, tradition, or system, and it cannot be learned from books, but only passed down or experienced, books and other media can provide pointers to practice and can serve as guides or inspiration to find the Truth that must be found alone.  The reading suggestions on this page form a collection of pointers that might help the seeker, student, or practitioner to dig deeper and find the Truth they seek.  This list is mostly non-Grimr sources but contain truth and ideas relevant to Grimr.  All must be taken critically and not taken as necessarily true or complete.  There is a saying in Huna, that not all knowledge is taught in one school.  Use this list to find tidbits and hints to find what you truly seek.

The following are called “non-fiction” not because anything in them is true, but because they are no intentionally fiction. There is truth in all things, but also illusion, lapwings, and lies. Always judge for yourself. The following are arranged by category. None are directly Grimr books, but contain truth that will help both those pursuing Grimr and those on different paths. Take what you can, throw out what you can’t, and weigh and judge all. May you find a seed of wisdom in each of these books. Some categories overlap, and I’ve listed the books in multiple categories. The categories reflect my views on the books, not necessarily those of the authors or other readers. In each category, books are sorted by author, series, and date.

American Witchcraft

  • Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America – Margot Adler
  • Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition – Cora Anderson
  • Thorns of the Blood Rose – Victor H. Anderson
  • Lilith’s Garden – Victor H. Anderson
  • Heart of the Initiate: Feri Lessons – Victor and Cora Anderson
  • Etheric Anatomy: The Three Selves and Astral Travel – Victor H. Anderson, Cora Anderson
  • Evolutionary Witchcraft – T. Thorn Coyle
  • Kissing the Limitless: Deep Magic and the Great Work of Transforming Yourself and the World – T. Thorn Coyle
  • Goddess Initiation: A Practical Celtic Program for Soul-Healing, Self-Fulfillment & Wild Wisdom – Francesca De Grandis
  • Share My Insanity: It Improves Everything – Francesca De Grandis
  • Children of Cain: A Study of Modern Traditional Witches – Michael Howard
  • The White Wand: Ruminations, Meditations, Reflections Toward a Feri Aesthetic – April Niino
  • The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess – Starhawk
  • Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery – Starhawk
  • The DustBunnies’ Big Damn Handout Volume I – Valerie Walker
Balkan Witchcraft
  • Balkan Traditional Witchcraft – Radomir Ristic, Translated by Michael C. Carter, Jr.
British Isle History
  • Book of Invasions – Anonymous
  • History of the Kings of Britain – Geoffrey of Monmouth
  • Blood & Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain – Ronald Hutton
British Witchcraft
  • Azoetia: A Grimoire of the Sabbatic Craft – Andrew D. Chumbley
  • Qutub. Or, The Point – Andrew D. Chumbley
  • Mysticism: Initiation and Dream – Andrew D. Chumbley
  • The Robert Cochrane Letters: An Insight into Modern Traditional Witchcraft – Robert Cochrane, Evan John Jones
  • Pillars of Tubal Cain- Nigel Jackson, Michael Howard
  • The Book of Fallen Angels- Michael Howard
  • Children of Cain: A Study of Modern Traditional Witches – Michael Howard
  • The Roebuck in the Thicket: An Anthology of Robert Cochrane Witchcraft Tradition – Evan John Jones, Robert Cochrane, Michael Howard
  • The God of the Witches -Margaret Murray
  • Tubelo’s Green Fire: Mythos, Ethos, Female, Male & Priestly Mysteries of the Clan of Tubal Cain – Shani Oates
  • The Star Crossed Serpent Volume I: Origins: Evan John Jones 1966-1998: The Legend of Tubal Cain – Evan John Jones & Shani Oates
  • The Star Crossed Serpent Volume II: The Legacy Continues: Shani Oates 1998-Present: The Legend of Tubal Cain – Shani Oates
  • The Rebirth of Witchcraft – Doreen Valiente
  • Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed – Doreen Valiente, Evan John Jones
Buddhism and Hinduism
  • Kalachakra Tantra: Rite of Initiation – His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Translated by Jeffrey Hopkins
Celtic Myth and Legend
  • Book of Invasions – Anonymous
  • Blood & Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain – Ronald Hutton
  • The Grail: From Celtic Myth to Christian Symbol – Roger Sherman Loomis
  • The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Myth and Legend: A Definitive Sourcebook of Magic, Vision, and Lore – John and Caitlin Matthews
Ceremonial Magic, Grimoire Tradition,Rosicrucian, Golden Dawn, and Thelema Related
  • 231 Gates of Initiation & The 32 Paths of Wisdom Tarot – Rawn Clark
  • Magic in Theory and Practice – Aleister Crowley 
  • The Book of Lies – Aleister Crowley
  • The Book of Thoth: A Short Essay on the Tarot of the Egyptians, Being the Equinox Volume III No. V – Aleister Crowley
  • The Book of the Law: Liber Al Gel Legis – Aleister Crowley
  • Chicken Qabalah – Lon Milo DuQuette
  • The Lesser Key of Solomon – S. L. MacGregor Matters
  • The Greater Key of Solomon – S. L. MacGregor Matters
  • The Middle Pillar: The Balance Between Mind and Magic – Israel Regardie
Charms and Spells
  • The ABC of Magic Charms – Elizabeth Pepper
Christian Mystics and Mysticism
  • The Cloud of Unknowing – Anonymous
  • The Interior Castle – St. Teresa of Avila
  • The Way of Perfection – St. Teresa of Avila
  • The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila By Herself – St. Teresa of Avila
  • The Dialogue – Catherine of Siena
  • Little Flowers of St. Francis – Brother Ugolino
  • Living with Contradiction: An Introduction to Benedictine Spirituality – Ether de Waal
Cultus Sabbati
  • Azoetia: A Grimoire of the Sabbatic Craft – Andrew D. Chumbley
  • Qutub. Or, The Point – Andrew D. Chumbley
  • Mysticism: Initiation and Dream – Andrew D. Chumbley
The Devil
  • Satan: The Early Christian Tradition – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • The Prince of Darkness: Evil and the Power of Good of History – Jeffrey Burton Russell
Etruscan, Greek, and Roman Myth and History
  • The Golden Bough – James George Frazer
  • The Golden Ass of Apuleius – Translated by Robert Graves
  • Diodorus Siculus: Library of History – Diodorus Siculus
European Heresy, Dissent, and Religious History
  • Miracles and Pilgrims: Popular Beliefs in Medieval England – Ronald C. Finucane
  • Blood & Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain – Ronald Hutton
  • The Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind – Claude Lecoiteux
  • The Formation Of A Persecuting Society: Power And Deviance In Western Europe,950-1250– R.I. Moore
  • The Origins of European Dissent – R.I. Moore
  • Inquisition – Edward Peters
  • Dissent and Reform in the Early Middle Ages – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • Witchcraft in the Middle Ages – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • Religious Dissent in the Middle Ages – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • Satan: The Early Christian Tradition – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • The Prince of Darkness: Evil and the Power of Good of History – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • A History of Medieval Christianity: Prophecy and Order – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, Pagans – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • Dissent and Order in the Middle Ages: The Search for Legitimate Authority – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • A History of Heaven: The Singing Silence – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • Paradise Mislaid: How We Lost Heaven and How We Can Regain It – Jeffrey Burton Russell
Faeries and other Hidden People
  • An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies,  and Other Supernatural Creatures – Katharine Briggs
  • Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia – Carol Rose
  • A Field Guide to Irish Fairies – Bob Curran
Feri Tradition and Related or Influenced Traditions
  • Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition – Cora Anderson
  • Thorns of the Blood Rose – Victor H. Anderson
  • Lilith’s Garden – Victor H. Anderson
  • Etheric Anatomy: The Three Selves and Astral Travel – Victor H. Anderson, Cora Anderson
  • Heart of the Initiate: Feri Lessons – Victor and Cora Anderson
  • Evolutionary Witchcraft – T. Thorn Coyle
  • Kissing the Limitless: Deep Magic and the Great Work of Transforming Yourself and the World – T. Thorn Coyle
  • Goddess Initiation: A Practical Celtic Program for Soul-Healing, Self-Fulfillment & Wild Wisdom- Francesca De Grandis
  • Share My Insanity: It Improves Everything – Francesca De Grandis
  • The White Wand: Ruminations, Meditations, Reflections Toward a Feri Aesthetic – April Niino
  • The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess – Starhawk
  • Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery – Starhawk
  • The Dust Bunnies’ Big Damn Handout Volume I – Valerie Walker
Healing, Plants, and Herbalism
  • The Web That Has No Weaver – Ted J. Kaptchuk
  • The Herb Book: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to More than 500 Herbs – John B. Lust
  • Practical Chinese Medicine – Penelope Ody
  • Plants of Life, Plants of Death – Frederick J. Simoons
  • The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 600 Natural, Non-Toxic and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, A Safe Home Environment – Valerie Ann Worwood
Italian Witchcraft
  • Aradia: Gospel of the Witches -Charles Godfrey Leland
Jewish, Arabic, and Middle Eastern Magic and Traditions
  • Black Book of the Yezidi
  • Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation
  • The Zohar
  • The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons – Jill Hammer
  • Magic that Works: Practical Training for the Children of Light – Frances Harrison, Nineveh Shadrach
  • I Asked For Wonder: A Spiritual Anthology – Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • The Guide for the Perplexed – Moses Maimonides
  • The Kabbalah: The Essential Texts From the Zohar – Bharat Rochlin
  • Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism – Howard Schwartz, Caren Loebel-Fried, Eliot K. Ginsburg
Judaism and the Kabbalah
  • Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation
  • The Zohar
  • The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons – Jill Hammer
  • I Asked For Wonder: A Spiritual Anthology – Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • The Guide for the Perplexed – Moses Maimonides
  • The Kabbalah: The Essential Texts From the Zohar – Bharat Rochlin
  • Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism – Howard Schwartz, Caren Loebel-Fried, Eliot K. Ginsburg
King Arthur, the Grail, and Arthurian Legend
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – Anonymous
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends – Ronan Coghlan
  • The Grail: From Celtic Myth to Christian Symbol – Roger Sherman Loomis
  • The Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend – Alan Lupack
  • Le Morte D’Arthur – Thomas Malory
  • The Elements of the Grail Tradition – John Matthews
  • The Faerie Queene – Sir Edmund Spenser
  • Erec and Enide – Chrétien de Troyes
  • Cligès – Chrétien de Troyes
  • Yvain, the Knight of the Lion – Chrétien de Troyes
  • Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart – Chrétien de Troyes
  • Perceval, the Story of the Grail – Chrétien de Troyes
Literary Theory
  • Monster Theory: Reading Culture – Jeffrey Jerome Cohen
Miscellaneous Non-Fiction
  • The Book of Qualities – J. Ruth Gendler
  • Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom – Caitlin Matthews 
  • Stillness Speaks – Eckhart Tolle
Mythology, Faerie Tales, Folk Stories, and Inventive History
  • Book of Invasions – Anonymous
  • Phantoms and Fairies from Norwegian Folklore – Tor Age Bringsvaerd
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends – Ronan Coghlan
  • A Field Guide to Irish Fairies – Bob Curran
  • Roles of the Northern Goddess – Hilda Ellis Davidson
  • The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion – James George Frazer
  • History of the Kings of Britain – Geoffrey of Monmouth
  • The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth – Robert Graves
  • The Golden Ass of Apuleius – Translated by Robert Graves
  • Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages – Claude Lecouteux
  • The Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind – Claude Lecoiteux
  • Aradia: Gospel of the Witches -Charles Godfrey Leland
  • The Grail: From Celtic Myth to Christian Symbol – Roger Sherman Loomis
  • The Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend – Alan Lupack
  • The Elements of the Grail Tradition – John Matthews
  • The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Myth and Legend: A Definitive Sourcebook of Magic, Vision, and Lore – John and Caitlin Matthews
  • Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia – Carol Rose
  • The Religion of the Teutons – Pierre Daniel Chantepie de la Saussaye
  • Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism – Howard Schwartz
  • Diodorus Siculus: Library of History – Diodorus Siculus
  • Plants of Life, Plants of Death – Frederick J. Simoons
  • The Poetic Edda – Snorri Sturluson
  • The Prose Edda – Snorri Sturluson
  • Primal Myths: Creation Myths Around the World – Barbara C. Sproul
  • Goddess of the North – Lynda C. Welch
  • Magical Creatures – The Witches’ Almanac, LTD.
Northern European and Asian Shamanism
  • Phantoms and Fairies from Norwegian Folklore – Tor Age Bringsvaerd
  • Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy – Mircea Eliade
  • Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages – Claude Lecouteux
  • Riding Windhorses: A Journey into the Heart of Mongolian Shamanism – Sarangerel
Northern European and Heathen Traditions, Myth, Magic, and Practice
  • Roles of the Northern Goddess – Hilda Ellis Davidson
  • The Elements of the Runes – Bernard King
  • Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages – Claude Lecouteux
  • The Religion of the Teutons – Pierre Daniel Chantepie de la Saussaye
  • The Poetic Edda – Snorri Sturluson
  • The Prose Edda – Snorri Sturluson
  • Northern Magic: Rune Mysteries and Shamanism – Edred Thorsson
  • Drawing Down the Spirits: The Traditions and Techniques of Spirit Possession – Kenaz Filan, Raven Kaldera
Robert Cochrane, Clan of Tubal Cain, and Related or Influenced Traditions
  • The Robert Cochrane Letters: An Insight into Modern Traditional Witchcraft – Robert Cochrane, Evan John Jones
  • The Roebuck in the Thicket: An Anthology of Robert Cochrane Witchcraft Tradition – Evan John Jones, Robert Cochrane, Michael Howard
  • Tubelo’s Green Fire: Mythos, Ethos, Female, Male & Priestly Mysteries of the Clan of Tubal Cain – Shani Oates
  • The Star Crossed Serpent Volume I: Origins: Evan John Jones 1966-1998: The Legend of Tubal Cain – Evan John Jones & Shani Oates
  • The Star Crossed Serpent Volume II: The Legacy Continues: Shani Oates 1998-Present: The Legend of Tubal Cain – Shani Oates
Saints, Sages, Hermits, and Other Figures
  • Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints, and Sages: A Guide to Asking for Protection, Wealth, Happiness, and Everything Else! – Judika Illes
Taoism, Chinese Folk Religion and Practice, and East Asian Thought and History
  • I Ching – Anonymous
  • The Web That Has No Weaver – Ted J. Kaptchuk
  • The Elements of Feng Shui – Man-Ho Kwok, Joanne O’Brien
  • Practical Chinese Medicine – Penelope Ody
  • Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai – Yamamoto Tsunetomo
  • Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu
  • The Art of War – Sun Tzu
Traditional Witchcraft and Witchcraft History
  • Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America – Margot Adler
  • Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition – Cora Anderson
  • Heart of the Initiate: Feri Lessons – Victor and Cora Anderson
  • The Robert Cochrane Letters: An Insight into Modern Traditional Witchcraft – Robert Cochrane, Evan John Jones
  • Magic and Witchcraft: From Shamanism to the Technopagans – Nevill Drury
  • The Book of Fallen Angels – Michael Howard
  • Children of Cain: A Study of Modern Traditional Witches – Michael Howard
  • Pillars of Tubal Cain – Nigel Jackson, Michael Howard
  • Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft – Ronald Hutton
  • Masks of Misrule: The Horned God & His Cult in Europe – Nigel Jackson
  • Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages – Claude Lecouteux
  • Aradia: Gospel of the Witches -Charles Godfrey Leland
  • The God of the Witches -Margaret Murray
  • Balkan Traditional Witchcraft – Radomir Ristic, Translated by Michael C. Carter, Jr.
  • Witchcraft in the Middle Ages – Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, Pagans – Jeffrey Burton Russell and Brooks Alexander
  • The Rebirth of Witchcraft – Doreen Valiente
  • Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed – Doreen Valiente, Evan John Jones
War, Martial Thought, and Fighting
  • Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai – Yamamoto Tsunetomo
  • The Art of War – Sun Tzu


Victor Anderson once said, “White magic is poetry, black magic is anything that works,” and “Every poem is a love letter to the Goddess.” Poetry is the language of the soul, or ritual, of magic. It speaks on a deeper level than prose does, and can say things that can’t be put into words any other way.

  • Thorns of the Blood Rose – Victor H. Anderson
  • Lilith’s Garden – Victor H. Anderson
  • Azoetia: A Grimoire of the Sabbatic Craft – Andrew D. Chumbley
  • Qutub. Or, The Point – Andrew D. Chumbley
  • The Faerie Queene – Sir Edmund Spenser


Not all stories are false, not all tales are lies. The following are considered fiction because they were written as fiction, not because the are not true, or true for that matter. These is truth in all things. Read them as fiction, but look for the truth underneath. I have grouped them in categories, then sorted them by author then series. The books listed aren’t the only good ones by these authors, but are the ones I see truth in relating to Grimr. My he who has eyes see and she who has ears hear.


Anne Bishop

  • Daughter of the Blood
  • Heir to the Shadows
  • Queen of Darkness
  • The Invisible Ring
  • Dreams Made Flesh
  • Tangled Webs
  • The Shadow Queen
  • Shalador’s Lady
  • Twilight’s Dawn
  • The Pillars of the World
  • Shadows and Light
  • The House of Gaian
  • Sebastian
  • Belladonna
  • The Voice: An Ephernera Novella
  • Bridge of Dreams
Steven Brust
  • Jhereg
  • Yendi
  • Teckla
  • Taltos
  • Phoenix
  • Athyra
  • Orca
  • Dragon
  • Issola
  • Dzur
  • Jhegaala
  • Iorich
  • Tiassa
  • Broken Down Palace
  • To Reign in Hell
Lewis Carroll
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • Through the Looking Glass
David Eddings
  • The Diamond Throne
  • The Ruby Knight
  • The Sapphire Rose
  • Domes of Fire
  • The Shining Ones
  • The Hidden City
Lyndon Hardy
  • Master of the Five Magics
  • Secret of the Sixth Magic
  • Riddle of the Seven Realms
Robin Hobb
  • Assassin’s Apprentice
  • Royal Assassin
  • Assassin’s Quest
  • Ship of Magic
  • The Mad Ship
  • Ship of Destiny
  • Fool’s Errand
  • Golden Fool
  • Fool’s Fate
  • Dragon Keeper
  • Dragon Haven
  • City of Dragons
  • Blood of Dragons
Nancy Springer
  • The Book of Suns
  • The White Hart
  • The Silver Sun
  • The Sable Moon
  • The Black Beast
  • The Golden Swan
  • Chance and Other Gestures of the Hand of Fate
King Arthur, Grail, and Arthurian Legend

Stephen R. Lawhead

  • Taleisen
  • Merlin
  • Arthur
  • Pendragon
  • Grail
  • Avalon: the Return of King Arthur
Nancy Springer
  • I am Mordred
  • I am Morgan le Fay
Mary Stewart
  • The Crystal Cave
  • The Hollow Hills
  • The Last Enchantment
  • The Wicked Day
  • The Prince and the Pilgrim
T.H. White
  • The Once and Future King
  • The Book of Merlyn
Celtic Myth and Legend

Lloyd Alexander

  • The Book of Three
  • The Black Cauldron
  • The Castle of Llyr
  • Taran Wanderer
  • The High King
Stephen R. Lawhead
  • The Paradise War
  • The Silver Hand
  • The Endless Knot
  • The Iron Lance
  • The Black Rood
  • The Mystic Rose
Robin Hood Legend

Stephen R. Lawhead

  • Hood
  • Scarlet
  • Tuck
Modern Day

Hal Duncan

  • Vellum
  • Ink
Neil Gaiman
  • American Gods
John Twelve Hawks
  • The Traveler
  • The Dark River
  • The Golden City
Mythology, Faerie Tales, Folk Stories, and Inventive History
  • The Complete Brother Grimm Fairy Tales
  • One Thousand and One Arabian Nights
  • Aesop’s Fables
  • Andersen’s Fairy Tales
Graphic Novels
  • The Sandman – Neil Gaiman
  • Promethea – Alan Moore, J.H. Williams III, Mick Gray

Magazines and Periodicals

Magazines and periodicals of course vary from books in that they are on going, not one time projects. Because of this on going nature, they can address more topics within the stated subject. The following are magazines or periodicals that have had presented articles in the past that were interesting or helpful in context of Grimr.

Blogs and Website Articles

In this information age, many good books are available that would never have been published fifty years ago.  But there are a lot of rotten books, books that are lapwings leading you away from the Truth.  This is doubly true on the Internet where anyone with access to a computer can commit their thought or ideas where the whole world can read them.  You have to be careful and separate the crap from the good stuff.  Usually, the best thing is to use the Internet to point you in the direction of more verifiable sources, or go out and do the work yourself.  However, there are articles and blogs on the Internet worth while reading, that can lead you to Truth. The following are a few.  Some of these are my own, but most are other people’s.  Some are no longer updated, but include good information.

Articles and Websites with Articles

Forums and Online Communities
Online Texts
Shops and Businesses
Traditions and Paths

Movies, Videos, and Television

Not only written media is valuable and helpful, but other mediums as well, including film. The following are movies, videos, television shows, and other types of films that contain truth, elements, or ideas relevant to Grimr, in alphabetical order.

  • 12 Monkeys (1995)
  • The 13th Floor (1999)
  • 13th Warrior (1999)
  • Alice (Miniseries 2009)
  • Alice in Wonderland (Disney Animated 1951)
  • Alice in Wonderland (2010)
  • Brave (Disney Animated 2012)
  • The Brothers Grimm (2005)
  • Caroline(Animated 2009)
  • Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
  • Dark Crystal (1982)
  • Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)
  • Kung Fu Panda (Animated 2008)
  • Labyrinth (1986)
  • Lady in the Water (2006)
  • Legend (1985)
  • The Order (2003)
  • Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
  • Sword in the Stone (Disney Animated 1963)
  • Tangled (Disney Animated 2010)
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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in muninnskiss


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Equinox Crossroads: The Beauty of Autumn

We come once again to a crossroads.  Though the equinox doesn’t officially come until Saturday afternoon, I felt the High Tide this afternoon, so for me, it is the equinox.  The equinox, like all the Knots, like all the Tides, is truly a crossroads, and all crossroads are decision points.

As you move further north in Europe, or in North America, harvest shift back toward the Solstice.  Further south, they shift the over way.  Planting shifts toward the same point, planting and harvest approaching each other.  In the far north, Planting is around May Day and harvest is around the Summer Solstice.  In the south, there are even winter crops.  The two points vary as you move north.  South of the Summer Solstice Harvest, but north of the Mediterranean.  Often three harvests are discussed, that of Lugh’s Feast, that of the Autumn Solstice, and that of Samhain.

In Laramie where I live, there is only one crop worth growing, one harvest a year.  Hay grows well and will feed the cattle through the long winter if the weather cooperates.  Though none of the Knots or Tides are commonly celebrated, they do roughly correspond to our growing season.  Typically, planting occurs between May Day and the Summer Solstice.  Typically harvest is between Lugh’s Day and the Autumn Equinox.  Planting has to be done after the last major freeze but before the rain comes.  Harvest occurs after the rain stops, but also after the hay has time to dry in the heat following the rain, but before the first major freeze.  This leaves a precarious balance.  If the cold lasts too late of the rains come too soon, the hay planted has little chance.  If the rain comes too late or ends too soon, the hay won’t grow.  If the rain lasts too long or the heat doesn’t last long enough, the hay doesn’t dry and if it can be harvested at all, it risks rot.  If the snow comes too soon, time runs out to finish harvest.

This year was an odd year.  Instead of May, Spring came in March, way too early.  This meant the water from the runoff, used for irrigation, peaked in May instead of July.  March is too early to plant, and the rain came too early, lid April instead of late May, and ended too early as well, early June instead of mid July.  The heat came early, mid June instead of early August.  The fields were dry enough for harvest in early August, way too early.  The hay grew about six inches this year instead of about two feet normally.  The ranchers didn’t have much to harvest, and grazing began to fade early as well, so the need for hay came early.  Hay prices have soared, but there is not enough supply for the demand no matter how much it costs.  A very bad thing heading into what appears will be an early winter.

We are approaching the full moon of the third moon of Autumn, when we should be in the second moon.  The first moon of Autumn was the Yarrow Moon, and the second was the Sagebrush Moon.  I’m unsure what name to give this current one.  Candidates currently are the Moon of Yellow Leaves, the Yellow Moon, the Dust Moon, the Cooling Moon, the Harvest Moon, and the Blood Moon.

The Autumn Equinox is a very obvious crossroads.  It stands at the midpoint between Midsummer and Midwinter, between the Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice.  The name Equinox is of course Aequus Nox, Equal Night.  From a astronomical point of view, it is the point where the sun rises at about six in the morning and sets at about six in the evening, with a twelve hour day and a twelve hour night.  It is the midpoint in the progression of day/night, with the longest day at the Summer Solstice and the longest night at the Winter Solstice.  The equinox is half way between, with the decreasing days and increasing nights passing each other as they swing the other way.

What’s interesting is that the cross quarters (Beltane/May Day, Lugh’s Day, Samhain, Candlemas/Bride’s Day) and the Solstices were common times for festivals and feasts, yet the equinoxes seldom were.  They are easier to observe for the common person without instruments or charts than any other, yet they are seldom observed.  But, then, the cross quarters were marked by the rising of certain stars, they were stellar in nature.  The Solstices are when the sun enters Cancer and Capricorn, and the Equinoxes are when the sun enters Aries and Libra.  They are solar but marked by stellar times.  The importance of the Solstices seem obvious.  The sun begins dying with the Summer Solstice, and coming back alive with the Winter Solstice.  But what purpose would the Equinoxes actually hold?  It would depend on the area, more than likely.  Some areas would indeed have planted and harvested at the equinoxes, but mostly they are a sign of the approach of Beltane and Samhain.

Looking at the Zodiac, the Autumn Equinox marks the sun moving from Virgo into Libra, from the Virgin to the Scales.  Virgo marks the end of growing in many cultures.  She is the Corn Maiden, the Wheat Maiden.  The brightest star is Spica, Spica Virginis, the Maiden’s Ear of Grain.  Spica is the fruit the Maiden brings.  Libra, though, the Scales, is judgment and endings.  It is Ma’at weighing the human heart against a feather.  It is accounts settled after the harvest is brought it.  Libra is the sign of cutting, the Cutter to Virgo’s Spinner.  Balanced scales of course are appropriate to the Autumn Equinox, a point of balance between night and day.

In areas like this area which truly have a defined Autumn, it truly is a beautiful time of year.  The grasses turn golden, the leaves bright yellow, the sky is a pale blue, with wispy clouds, the sunsets are reds and yellows, not the blues and purples of earlier in the year, the waters of the lakes and rivers are dark and secretive, the dust grey and dry.  There is a chill in the air that comes and goes, summer still hanging on stubbornly, winter sleepy but stirring.  The nights are cold but the days aren’t too chilly yet.  Sweat shirts and sweaters come out, though not worn constantly.  Everyone and everything can feel the Change in the air, the Year turning, Autumn approaching Winter.  The Scales stand balanced but begin to tip toward Night, toward Nyx, toward Nox.  They begin to tip toward Winter.

You will recall the Horned Child born at Lugh’s Feast.  The Winged Serpent grows old as Winter approaches, but the Horned Child grows stronger.  The Scales are balanced, The Horned Child increasing as Winter comes, the Winged Serpent growing weaker as Summer fades.  The Queen also ages, but she is not weaker.  Her white dress gives way to sable black robes, her black Night Veil runs red with Blood.  She who married the Winged Serpent as the Spinner and gave birth to the Horned Child as the Weaver has now become the Cutter.  And the stage is set for Samhain once more.

~Muninn’s Kiss

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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in muninnskiss


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As the Moons Change

And the tides turn and the moons change.  The Moon fades, the Moon grows.  The Summer warms and the Summer cools.  Summer gives way to Autumn.  As the moons change.

In July, I talked of the Flower Moon, of the Summer Solstice, of the Fire Moon.  The Fire Moon faded and another moon came.  That faded, and yet another came.  As the always do.  As the moons change.

After the Solstice, the Year marched on.  The Sun began its slow movement Southward, the days shortened.  Lugh’s Day Came and went.  As the moons change.

Fires seemed to grow until the Full moon of Fire, getting worse, bur as the Moon faded, so did the fires.  Fires continue in areas, and the ones that were here are not all out, buy with the passing of the Fire Moon, they no longer touched our lives.  They became forgotten, ignored.  New fires did not come, at least here.  With the moon, the fires withdrew for consciousness, from importance.  As the moons change.

So, we moved on in late July, from the Fire Moon to a new moon.  In the dark it was born.  With it, my allergies started acting up, an oddity, since usually this doesn’t come until the second week of so of September.  My allergies here in the valley have always been strange to me, as they never occurring in other places I have lived across the West.  Only once did I react to pollen, only one type.  As a kid, I sniffed a bundle of white yarrow flowers, and immediately sneezed.  Tried it again to test with the same results.  I had no reaction in general, only when I sniffed it directly.  So why allergies for a month here every year?  As the moons change.

Close to the middle of the unnamed Moon, just after the Full Moon, I traveled up into the mountains first to the East near Happy Jack, then the Southwest near Lake Owen.  I found plants in seed that I had expected to still see blooming.  I saw plants blooming that usually don’t until later.  I saw a world changing to Autumn when it should be the heart of Summer.  But Spring and Summer both came early, so no surprise there.  I thought to call it the Seed Moon because of all that had gone to seed, but it didn’t seem right.  I thought to call it the Moss Moon, for the moss I caught blooming.  But that didn’t fit either.  But I did find something that both fit the Moon and explained a mystery.  Everywhere I went, I saw yarrow blooming.  In small patches, it was scattered everywhere in the hills.  And I realized, the other signs I had seen all pointed to the time period of my normal allergies.  Like the other signs, yarrow was blooming early.  Though early, it was the time for yarrow to bloom, the Yarrow Moon.  As the moons change.

Earlier in the Yarrow Moon, just before the Full Moon of Yarrow, many calendars mark Lugh’s Day, also called Lammas (Hlaf-Mass, Loaf Mass) or Lughnasadh/Lunasa/Lunastal/Luanistyn (Lugh’s Feast) or Calan Awst (the Calends of August).  The myth goes that Lugh’s foster mother Tailtiu died of exhaustion after clearing the plans of Ireland for agriculture.  In memory of her sacrifice and to honour her death and memory, Lugh held a huge feast and sporting contest, the prototype for later jousts and similar events.  In another account, it marks Lugh defeating Balor (or Bel or Baal), the king of the giants, Fomorians.  Often, this was Lugh’s grandfather, and Lugh proclaimed a day of mourning for his death.  In later legends, it becomes Lugh who died and is mourned.  Lammas comes from the Saxon name, and was a Saxon feast around the same time.  Both are harvest festivals, the beginning of grain harvest, typically the first of three harvest festivals in the British Isles.  The clearing of the plans is obvious, the killing of Balor, not so much.  There are a couple hints in the details.  The death of the old giving rise to the new.  The mourning ceremony that continued almost to present day.  Bres, who had recruited Balor to fight that battle, being found alive and begging for mercy, first by offering to insure the cows of Ireland always give milk, then offering four harvests, then offering and having it accepted to teach the Dé how and when to plough, sow, and reap.  The last is obvious, it was on that day they learner the steps to get to harvest, which begins that time of year.  But what of death and mourning?  The harvest marks the death of the grain.  They grow until harvest, then are cut down, their heads cut off like people killed in battle, like Balor, cut down by Lugh’s spear through the back of his head or neck or through his one killing eye depending on the myth, his head falling and splitting and being impaled on a hazel tree, tree of wisdom and prophecy.  Many symbols there, but I won’t go into them now.  For our purposes here, Lugh cutting down Balor is the reapers cutting down grain in harvest, the mourning of that death.  As the moons change.

But that’s the origins and practices of tradition in the British Isles, among Celts and Saxons.  Wyoming is a different time and place, I am a different person, and Grimr is a different stream.  Lugh’s Day does not mark harvest here most years, where hay is the only crop.  No, I must look elsewhere, for the blooms and seeds, the harvest and births are here lunar, not solar, but the solar, and stellar, year hold mysteries beyond planting and harvest.  The secret lies not in the harvest per se, but in the day’s Twin across the year.  As Beltane and Samhain are linked, the Wedding and the Sacrifice, and Summer and Winter Solstices, the Child in the Womb and the Waking Serpent, so Bride’s Day and Lugh’s Day reflect.  The first thing to note is that Irish folk belief said animals didn’t give much milk in winter, but started producing after Brigid’s Day, Bride’s Day, when birthing began.  With milk comes butter, golden, like Lugh’s wheat at harvest.  Lugh’s from plants, Bride’s from animals.  There are also stories describing St. Brenden as father at Lugh’s. Feast and St. Brigid as mother.  Brenden can be shown as a sit in for Lugh, who could no longer be present in a Christian society.  Brigid/Bride became St. Brigid.  St. Brenden’s father was named Fionnlugh, Fionn Lugh.  Fionn was a great Irish hero, and we know Lugh.  Many rituals ones done in Lugh’s name are now done in St. Brenden’s name.  St. Brennan is of course the patron saint of navigation because of his voyage and roughly mirror’s the voyage of Bran mac Febal.  Bran the Blessed in Welsh tales, the giant who was King of all Britain, the possessor of the Cauldron of Rejuvenation and brother of Branwen, who was a sea god by all appearances, is often seen as the same as the Irish Bran mac Febal.  Bran the Blessed’s brother, Manawydan fab Llŷr in Welsh tales is Manannán mac Lir in Irishmyth and is the foster father of Lugh in Irish myth.  Like Bran in Welsh myth, Manannán in Irish myth is a sea god.  Curiously, it’s Manannán who prophecies to Bran mac Febal.  Both Llŷr and Lir are also sea gods, though little is said of them except who they are fathers to.  There is indication that they are the personification of the sea itself.  The similarities between the voyage of Bran mac Febal and that or St. Brenden, and the familial connections of Bran mac Febal, through Bran the Blessed and Manawydan, to Manannán, combined with his part in the voyage of Bran mac Febal, plus the abundance of sea gods and sea voyages in this confusing web, and Manannán being both the foster father of Lugh and the prophet directing Bran mac Febal seem to place St. Brenden in a role similar to that of Lugh, in a convoluted way.  (And it should not be ignored the Bran the Blessed became the Fisher King in Graal legend, and the connection between the Fisher King, the Land and Wasteland, and the Graal, with Lugh’s Day’s connection to fertility and harvest.)  So, in St. Brenden and St. Brigid overseeing Lugh’s Feast, we have Lugh and Brigid, father and mother of the feast, of the food, of the grain and butter, of the bread.  Fertility begins with Brigid, with the beginning of new life in February, ending with Lugh, with the harvest of August.  As the moons change.

It’s important, of course, to take the Zodiac into consideration. Lugh’s Day lands in the middle of Leo, the Lion.  The characteristic normally associated with people born in Leo relate well to both Bran the Blessed and to Lugh.  Generous, creative, enthusiastic.  Bran the Blessed was well known for his hospitality, his generosity.  Lugh was the master of all skills, he could do anything, create anything (among other things, like Brigid, we was a smith).  Creativity definitely applies.  And both were definitely enthusiastic, giving everything to anything they did.  The sun moves into Leo around July 23rd, reaches the middle around Lugh’s Day, then moves out around August 23rd.  As the moons change.

So we have a framework, but where does Lugh’s Day play into our cycle, the myth cycle I have described in previous posts?  The serpent killed in the Tide of Samhain, Awakened in the Tide of Widwinter, Called in the Tide of Candlemas (Bride’s Day), Reborn in the Tide of the Equinox, Wed in the Tide of Beltane, and Father of the Child in the Womb in the Tide of Midsummer.  Where does Lugh’s Feast find our Winged Serpent and our May Queen?  If impregnation was with the wedding at Beltane, and Midsummer had the focus of her pregnancy, Lugh’s Day must be the birth.  This is appropriate across from Bride’s Day, the Calling.  As the Winged Serpent crawls up the Well of Worlds, so the Horned Child is born through the Well of the Womb.  Twin and Twin.  Just as the Winged Serpent stirred in the Womb of Death as Midwinter, so the Horned Child stirred in the Womb of Life at Midsummer.  Twin and Twin.  Fitting parallels across the circle of the Year.  So, Lugh’s Day is the birth of the Horned Child.  Now, looking at Lugh and Brigid again, at the Golden Wheat and the Golden Butter, at Plant and Animal, looking at our cycle, the Winged Serpent becomes the Lord of Animals, and the Horned Child the Lord of Plants.  The Red God and the Green God.  The Hunter and the Gatherer.  The Herdsman and the Ploughman.  Abel and Cain.  Twins.  And Nexus and Catalyst as we will see as the year moves on.  As the moons change.

On the 17th of August, the Yarrow Moon drew to a close and a new Moon was born in the Dark of the Moon, as a new Moon is always born.  With the fading of the Yarrow Moon, my allergies faded and vanished as the new Moon began to grow.  This was a hard time for me, as my grandma died the day before the New Moon.  I distracted myself that evening by spending it in the high mountains below Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowies, started near the Lake of Tears and Skye’s Cairn.  I stopped many places on my way up, and spend several hours in the country around the mountain.  I realized that high country was very much what Jutenheim would be like, a place of giants and ancient power and wisdom.  On my way up, I discovered the sagebrush had begun to bloom in places.  On the Dark of the Moon itself, I went up to my working site and had an encounter with Deneb among other things, though I won’t go into detail in this public place.  Deneb was once the Pole Star, before it shifted to Polaris.  It sits in an open Well of Darkness in the sky, right by the Milky Way.  This is a timely experience, as the Chinese Feast of Qixi, the Night of Sevens, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.  The Moon following the Yarrow Moon is that month this year, placing Qixi on the day beginning at sundown on the 23rd of August this year the Thursday following my experience.  Qixi celebrates Zhinu and Niulang, the Weaver Girl and the Cowherd.  The Weaver Girl was princess of Heaven, and the Cowherd, a lowly human herdsman.  They fell in love and the Jade Emperor, the Weaver Girl’s father, got upset and placed a river between them.  Each year on Qixi, the magpies (it is also called the Magpie Feast) gather and form a bridge over the river so they can be together for one night.  Vega is the Weaver Girl.  Altair is the Cowherd.  The Milky Way is the River.  And Deneb is the Magpie Bridge, the Bridge across the River that separates Heaven and Earth.  Deneb is a Bridge between the Human and the Divine.  I’ve talked of Bridges before.  Sunday following the Dark of the Moon, I traveled down to Colorado to pick up my love from the airport.  On the way, I stopped and observed, and the sagebrush was blooming more and more.  This continued.  Some bloom sage green, but some bloom bright yellow.  sagebrush is important in Wyoming.  It the main native plant of the High Plains.  Some sagebrush in Wyoming is over 200 years old and seven or eight feet tall.  I call this old growth sagebrush.  Like those who settled in Wyoming, sagebrush is hard to kill. It survives the extremes of weather, from hard winters to hot summers.  It does fine in the short growing seasons.  It can survive on very little water but isn’t killed by flooding.  But it spreads very slowly and is virtually impossible to transplant, so once it’s cleared, it will take a generation for it to reclaim the fields.  sagebrush was used as a medicinal plant by natives to Wyoming.  It was used to treat infection, treat headaches and colds, and to stop internal bleeding.  Infection was treated with a poultice.  It was inhaled for colds and head aches, sometimes just breathed in, sometimes burned and the smoke inhaled, depending on the tribe.  For internal bleeding, it was drank as a tea.  On the Full Moon of this Moon (which was the Blue Moon, as I discussed in a previous post), I once again spent time outside in meditation.  I encountered the Twins in a dark mirror, but can’t give any more details here.  As this Moon draws to a close, I look back on the month, at the death of my grandmother on the 16th before the Moon changed, to Deneb on the 17th, to the return of my love on the 19th, to the lose of my job on the 24th, to my grandma’s memorial service on the 26th, to the Twins on the 31st.  I look at the darkness of the first half of the Moon, but growing light in the second half.  I look at the steadily increasing signs of Autumn as the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, as the leaves slowly change and the sagebrush blooms.  The second Moon of Autumn, early but firm, draws to a close.  Looking back, this month of death and endings, of darkness and light, seems to be a month for the sagebrush of the plains, not the trees or plants of the mountains.  It’s a month of ranchers not mountain men, of cattle and antelope, not the animals of the mountains.  Life fades in the mountains, but the prairies bloom.  So here we draw to the end of the Sagebrush Moon, wondering what the Dark of the Moon tomorrow night will bring, what the third Moon of Autumn has in store for us, what the coming Equinox will reveal.  As the moons change.

~Muninn’s Kiss

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Posted by on September 15, 2012 in muninnskiss


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Ever After: The Pursuit of Passion

Since it came out, one of my favourite movies has been Ever After.  I’m sure most people have seen it, and it is old news now, but I sit here watching it again, and as always it captivates me, insides me, and leaves me thinking.

For any who are not familiar with the film, it is a retelling of Cinderella staring Drew Barrymore set in France in the time of Leonardo da Vinci.  Henry (Dougray Scott), the prince of France is engaged to marry the princess of Spain in an arranged marriage.  He feels trapped by this marriage and by the responsibilities of his birth and his future home.  Danielle (Drew Barrymore) is the Cinderella figure.  Her father was a merchant who married a baroness and died jet after, leaving his manor, and Danielle, to his new wife, who had two daughter.  The Baroness raises Danielle as a servant.  She has several encounters with the prince, who believes her to a Comtesse, because of the name she gives.  It’s a beautiful love story and I’m a hopeless romantic, so I of course loved it.

But it’s not the love story I want to talk about, but Passion.  There is a lesson to be learner from the film for all of us, as most of us live our lives as the prince had previous to meeting Danielle.  This is summarized in Henry’s speech to Danielle in the library of the Franciscans:

“In all my years of study, not one tutor has ever demonstrated the passion you have shown me in the last two days.  You have more conviction in one memory than I have in my entire being.”

And also in his discussion with Da Vinci at the beginning of the movie:

Henry:  “I know.  I lied.  I thought I’d see the world before I gave up my life for God and country.”
Da Vinci:  “Why on earth did you stop?”
Henry:  “I suppose I lack conviction.  You seem to have it in spades.  Besides, you said it was a matter of life and death.”
Da Vinci:  “A woman always is, Sire.”  (unrolling the Mona Lisa)
Henry:  “She laughs at me, sir, as if she knows something I do not.”
Da Vinci:  “The lady had many secrets.  I merely painted one of them.”

Prince Henry had grown up having everything.  The best tutors, access to libraries most couldn’t dream of, he had never gone hungry, never had to do hard labour, never known loss, never suffered the way “lesser” people did.  He had never lacked anything.  Except Passion.

Danielle, on the other hand, though living a sheltered early life, experiences loss when her father dies.  From then on, though she always has enough to eat, she is treated like a servant and spends her life working and labouring.  She spent the rest of her life after his death without certainty, with no position, no access to any of the advantages the prince had.  But what she did have was Passion.  She was naive and idealistic to a point that she was bound to be disappointed by life, but she had a Passion that was a raging fire inside her.

Danielle’s Passion and Henry’s Apathy are shown in their confrontation the second time they met.  Danielle dressed up as a courtier and went with 20 pieces of gold to redeem one of the servants.  The Baroness had given him to the Crown for a debt of 20 pieces of gold.  She tried to make the driver of the cart hauling the poor debtors to the coast to serve in the new world to release him, and he was getting angry with her because she was delaying him.  The prince arrives and steps it.

Cargo Master: Get out of my way!
Prince Henry: You dare raise your voice to a lady, sir?
Cargo Master: Your Highness. Forgive me, Sire. I meant no disrespect. It’s just er… I’m following orders. It’s my job to take these thieves to the coast.
Danielle: A servant is not a thief, your Highness; and those who are cannot help themselves.
Prince Henry: Really? Well, then. By all means. Enlighten us.
Danielle: If you suffer your people to be ill-educated and their manners corrupted from infancy then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them what else is to be concluded, Sire but that you first make thieves and then punish them?
Prince Henry: Well, there you have it. Release him.
Cargo Master: But, Sire…
Prince Henry: I said release him!
Cargo Master: Yes, Sire.
Maurice: I thought I was looking at your mother.
Danielle: Meet me at the bridge. Prepare the horses! We will leave at once! Thank you, Your Highness.
Prince Henry: Have we met?
Danielle: I do not believe so, Your Highness.
Prince Henry: I could have sworn I knew every courtier in the province.
Danielle: Well… I’m visiting a cousin.
Prince Henry: Who?
Danielle: My cousin.
Prince Henry: Yes, you said that. Which one?
Danielle: The only one I have, Sire.
Prince Henry: Are you coy on purpose or do you honestly refuse to tell me your name?
Danielle: No! And yes.
Prince Henry: Then, pray, tell me your cousin’s name so I might call upon her to learn who you are. Anyone who can quote Thomas Moore is well worth the effort.
Danielle: The Prince has read Utopia?
Prince Henry: I found it sentimental and dull. I confess, the plight of the everyday rustic bores me.
Danielle: I gather you do not converse with many peasants.
Prince Henry: (chuckles) Certainly not, no! Naturally.
Danielle: Excuse me, Sire, but there is nothing natural about it. A country’s character is defined by its everyday rustics, as you call them. They are the legs you stand on. That position demands respect, not…
Prince Henry: Am I to understand that you find me arrogant?
Danielle: Well, you gave one man back his life but did you even glance at the others?
Prince Henry: Please, I beg of you a name. Any name.
Danielle: I fear that the only name to leave you with is Comtesse Nicole de Lancret.
Prince Henry: There now. That wasn’t so hard.

It’s clash of cultures and classes, but ultimately, it shows her Passion and his inability to understand that Passion.  It was foreign to him, beyond his understanding, like explaining flying to a deep sea fish, or the sea to a high mountain bird.  But that incomprehensible, that bafflement, is what fascinates Henry about Danielle.

He runs across her again at the river when he was accompanying Da Vinci to test a new invention and she was there swimming.

Prince Henry: You’re angry with me.
Danielle: No.
Prince Henry: Admit it.
Danielle: Well, yes, if you must know.
Prince Henry: Why?
Danielle: Because you are trying to bait me with your snobbery. Prince Henry: I’m afraid, mademoiselle, you are a walking contradiction and I find that rather fascinating.
Danielle: Me?
Prince Henry: Yes, you. You spout the ideals of a Utopian society, yet you live the life of a courtier.
Danielle: You own all the land there is, yet you take no pride in working it. Is that not also a contradiction?
Prince Henry: First I’m arrogant, and now I have no pride. However do I manage that?
Danielle: You have everything and still the world holds no joy. Yet you make fun of those who would see it for its possibilities.
Prince Henry: How do you do it?
Danielle: What?
Prince Henry: Live each day with this kind of passion? Don’t you find it exhausting?
Danielle: Only when I’m around you. Why do you like to irritate me so?
Prince Henry: Why do you rise to the occasion?

He sees the Passion in her and wants that.  He sees dynamic life in her, where his is static.  He seeks her out again the next day and takes her to the Franciscan library.  This is where the first quote I gave occurred.  By this point, his consternation has faded and awe has replaced it.  It is no long her foreignness where he focuses, but his lack of Passion and conviction.  This side was obvious to the audience in the previous encounters, but he noticed the Passion in her more than the lack in himself.  As he becomes familiar and comfortable in hers, it no longer eclipses the lack in him, and he desires what she has, where previously he desired the presence of hers.  Passion is contagious.  He is catching it, and it is beginning to light a fire in him.

The next morning, he storms into his parents’ bedroom, the fire of Passion now fully upon him:

King Francis: Off… with his head.
Queen Marie: Francis, wake up. Our son has something to tell us.
Prince Henry: Mother, Father. I want to build a university with the largest library in Europe, where people of any station can study.
King Francis: All right, who are you and what have you done with our son?
Prince Henry: Oh. And I want to invite the Gypsies to the ball.

Henry has now found a purpose, as he tells Danielle when he meets her at the ruins later that day:

Prince Henry: Hello.
Danielle: Hello.
Prince Henry: Are you well?
Danielle: I fear that I am not myself today.
Prince Henry: I feel as if my skin is the only thing keeping me from going everywhere at once. There is something I must tell you.
Danielle: And I you.
Prince Henry: Oh, here. Your book, you left it in the carriage yesterday. Danielle: Your Highness…
Prince Henry: Henry.
Danielle: I cannot stay long, but I had to see you. There is much to say.
Prince Henry: Come. I want to show you something. I used to play here as a boy. It was my father’s most cherished retreat before the war.
Danielle: It’s beautiful.
Prince Henry: I’ve measured my life by these trees starting here all the way up there. And still they grow. So much life to live but I no longer imagine it alone.
Danielle: You’re not making this easy.
Prince Henry: I have not slept for fear I would wake to find all this a dream. Oh, last night, I had a revelation. I used to think, if I cared at all, I would have to care about everything and I’d go stark raving mad. But now I’ve found my purpose. It’s a project actually inspired by you. I feel the most wonderful freedom. It wasn’t me. Nicole. You are unlike any courtier I have ever met. Tomorrow, at the masque I shall make it known to the world.
Danielle: Why did you have to be so wonderful?
Prince Henry: Now, then. What was it you wanted to tell me?
Danielle: Simply that last night was the happiest night of my life. Ow! I must go.
Prince Henry: Nicole! No.

This whole transformation reminds me of the song Standing Outside the Fire by Garth Brooks, which I’ve quotes before on earlier posts:

We call them cool
Those hearts that have no scars to show
The ones that never do let go
And risk the tables being turned

We call them fools
Who have to dance within the flame
Who chance the sorrow and the shame
That always comes with getting burned

But you’ve got to be tough when consumed by desire
‘Cause it’s not enough just to stand outside the fire

We call them strong
Those who can face this world alone
Who seem to get by on their own
Those who will never take the fall

We call them weak
Who are unable to resist
The slightest chance love might exist
And for that forsake it all

They’re so hell-bent on giving, walking a wire
Convinced it’s not living if you stand outside the fire

Standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried, it is merely survived
If you’re standing outside the fire

There’s this love that is burning
Deep in my soul
Constantly yearning to get out of control
Wanting to fly higher and higher
I can’t abide
Standing outside the fire

Standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried, it is merely survived
If you’re standing outside the fire

Standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried, it is merely survived
If you’re standing outside the fire 

Without that Passion Danielle had that Henry caught, we truly are merely surviving.  Without it Fate overcomes us, directs us, controls us.  We go through life on auto pilot, taking the default choice, having no control of our life, and often not even realizing it.  But Passion changes that.  It gives us purpose.  It releases our True Will, our Destiny.  It allows us to step out of the ordinary, out of Fate and her bonds, into the extraordinary, into Destiny and her freedom.  It allows us to burn hot like starfire, not die out like a dying coal.  As Neil Yong sang, later quoted in Highlander, and in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”  As Meatloaf sings in Jim Steinman’s Everything Loader than Everything Else:

I know that I will never be politically correct
And I don’t give a damn about my lack of etiquette
As far as I’m concerned, the world could still be flat
And if the thrill is gone, then it’s time to take it back
If the thrill is gone, then it’s time to take it back

Passion is that thrill in life, the spark, the fire.  We were made to burn hot like the stars we come from, not smolder and smoke and go out.  T. Thorn Coyle says in Evolutionary Witchcraft that Victor Anderson talked about four types of fire.  These were: coal, flame, arc, and star.  Think about these a moment.

A coal, and ember, holds heat for a long time, if other heat is present.  It doesn’t burn like the others, but it cooks evenly and can be used to light other fires.  It is the fire that is used to forge iron.  This is the level most people’s Passion burns at, the Aleph 1 of Passion, Infinite Passion if we only knew it.

Next we find the flame.  When fuel is added to a coal, you get flame.  Flame burns hotter, but less even than a coal.  It creates some change, turning the fuel (assuming a wood fuel) into more coals.  This is where Henry was after contact with Danielle.  She began to light something in him, fanning coal to flame.  This is the Aleph 2 of Passion, infinity raised to the power of infinity.  These are the people we find who are driven, who we can taste the Passion in, but who haven’t fully stepped into Destiny, and those who have burned at arc or star fire and are now walking in Destiny, but have calmed from the initial high to a more sustainable point.

Arc fire is short lived but instantly changes.  It is more powerful than a flame, but then is gone.  It is lightning from heaven.  It is an arc welder instantly joining two pieces of metal.  This is the Aleph 3 of Passion, infinity raised to infinity to infinity.  This is a sip from Odin’s Mead of Poetry, a sip from Ceridwen’s Cauldron of Inspiration.  It changes you in an instant.  It is Epiphany or Revelation.  It is the Tongues of Fire of Pentecost, it is Buddhist Enlightenment.  You will never be the same.  But it isn’t the greatest Passion, the greatest fire.

Star Fire is the fire of the gods, ecstasy, frenzy, berserk.  This is the Feast of Dionysus, the Berserking of Odin, the panic of Pan.  Wild uncontrolled Passion.  Fire so hot is consumes us.  This is Aleph 4 of Passion, infinity to the infinity to the infinity to the infinity.  This is Passion at its most extreme, at its hottest.

Coal fire is heated to flame fire.  Flame fire is heated to arc fire.  Arc fire is heated to star fire.  Star fire recharges arc fire.  Arc fire recharges flame fire.  Flame fire recharges coal fire.  Star fire is the mountain top.  It is important, it is needed, but we can’t live there.  As the Meat Puppets sing:

Coming down from the mountain
I have seen the high and mighty
I will go again someday
But for now I’m coming down
Coming down from the mountain
I have seen the lofty glory
I will go again someday
But for now I’m coming down

Looking back at Ever After, we see that Danielle is Henry’s Muse.  She is the inspiration that leads him to his life work, to the building of a library where anyone can go and study.  Her Passion, which fanned his coals to flame, is arc fire, changing him forever.

In Classic Greek myth and belief, there are nine Muses, the Mousai.  These are daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, of the Divine and Memory.  For it is when Muninn, Memory, the past, connects with the Divine that inspiration comes.  Inspiration builds on the past, but transforms it in the Star Forge of the Divine.  The Muses are Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (flutes and lyrical poetry), Thalia (comedy and pastorial poetry), Melpomene (Tragedy), Terpsichore (dance), Erato (love poetry), Polyhymnia (sacred poetry), and Urania (astronomy).  They’re leader was Apollo.  They are goddesses of knowledge, and remember all things that have passed before, a legacy from their mother.  They can be seen as chroniclers or historians of all time.  They are the past, pointing to the future.  They are the Threads of Fate.  They are also goddesses of wells, the deep flowing water below the earth that we can drink from.  This water is Odin’s Mead of Poetry, and the content of Ceridwen’s Cauldron of Inspiration.  It is the Well of Mimir, the Rolling Cauldron, and the Well of Urd.  It is significant the Brigid is both a goddess of wells and a goddess of fire.  The Muses pull forth Memory and use it as fuel to light the fire of Passion.

It is only through Passion that Change can come, the true power of witchcraft.  It is only through Passion that we can overcome Fate and find the true Graal.  It is only through Passion that we can learn to bind and loose the Threads of Fate.  It is only through Passion that we kind find our Destiny and True Will.  It is only through Passion that we can change the world.  Passion is the Catalyst, the Changer of Fate, and it is the Nexus, the Bringer of Destiny.

The movie Ever After ends with a line that sums this all up nicely.  “My great-great-grandmother’s portrait hung in the university up until the Revolution. By then, the truth of their romance had been reduced to a simple fairy tale. And, while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.”

~Muninn’s Kiss

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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in muninnskiss


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Taboos and Geases: Before you can advance, you must first withdraw…

Learning T’ai Chi Chuan, I learned a valuable lesson about the often misunderstood Yin and Yang.

I understood them on an intellectual level, from my study of Taoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  I knew not to think of Western dualism, the product of Zoroastrian influence.  I’ve talked before of the descriptions in The Web That Has No Weaver by Ted J. Kaptchuk.  His five descriptions greatly helped me understand Yin and Yang:

  • All things have two facets: a Yin aspect and a Yang aspect.
  • Any Yin or Yang aspect can be further divided into Yin and Yang.
  • Yin and Yang mutually create each other.
  • Yin and Yang control each other.
  • Yin and Yang transform into each other.

These principles describe a concept foreign to most Westerners.  The poetic understanding of the two is a hill on a sunny day, with no other hills or trees or mountains to cast shadows.  Before Dawn, the hill is all in darkness, is all shadow, is all Yin.  As the sun rises in the morning, it hits the Eastern side of the hill.  This is Yang.  The Western side is still in shadow, still Yin.  As the sun rises, the Yang part grows and the Yin shrinks.  Yin transforms into Yang.  by noon, the entire hill is sunny, all Yang, no shadow, no Yin.  But this doesn’t last long.  As the sun moves West, the Eastern edge darkens, shadow forms at the base, Yin, then grows as the sunny section shrinks.  Yang transforms into Yin.  As Dusk fades, it is all Yin again.  Yet it’s all one hill.  The hill doesn’t change, only the ever changing light.  It is Yin changing to Yang, changing to Yin again.  But it’s all one, the Tao.

Easy to understand intellectually and to observe, but what does it mean personally, how does it effect me and you specifically, beyond the intellect?  This is what T’ai Chi Chuang taught me.

T’ai Chi is the tent with a ridgepole, with form.  It is always moving, constant movement, constant change.  What changes, though, from what to what?  The forms change, our body, constantly in motion, moving, moving Chi, energy.  It changes, like the light, from Yin to Yang, to Yin, to Yang, and so on.  But what does this mean?  Have you ever tried to move without preparation?  Can you hit without pulling back your fist and have any force?  Can you step without first lifting your foot?  In T’ai Chi Chuan, Yin is pulling inward toward your centre, toward your lower Don Tian, preparation.  Yang is moving outward, away from your centre.  You learn quickly that before you can advance, you must first withdraw, and advancing puts you in the right position to be able to withdraw again to prepare for the next advance.  Yin transforms into Yang then back to Yin again.

That idea of advancing and withdrawing is visible in the Sepheroth of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah.  The two outer Pillars, the Pillar of Mercy and the Pillar of Severity, are named for the middle Sepherah of each side.  The Pillar of Mercy is the Pillar of Chesed, of mercy and loving kindness and forgiveness.  The Pillar of Severity is the Pillar of Geburah, of severity and justice and judgment.  Ultimately, in a base and stripped to the core manner, Chewed is infinite, unlimited expansion.  Geburah is infinite, unlimited restriction.  Geburah is Law, Chesed is Liberty.  Geburah is Yin, withdrawing, pulling inward; Chesed is Yang, advancement, moving outward.

Ultimately, Law (Geburah/Yin) takes one of two forms: a taboo or a gease.  A negative law or a positive law.  A taboo is negative in the sense that it says no, “thou shalt not”, it’s restrictive.  A gease is positive in the sense that it says yes, “Thou shalt”, it’s proscriptive.  But both are Law, and both are Yin, bring withdrawal.

At the scale of a large society like most modern societies, and the scale of large organized, taboos and geases are used to control and to prevent people from finding the power and strength and mystic connection that might make them a challenge to that established structure.  This is an extreme use of Law, of Geburah.  This is the legalism so common in organized religion, and the totalitarian tendencies of most government.  The more anarchic elements of society tend toward the other side.  The complete ignoring and breaking of taboos and geases just out of principle.  The “don’t tell *me* what to do!” attitude.  They assume all rules are wrong and made to be broken.  Of course, only a few take this to it’s complete extreme and break all rules including murder of random people and suicide.  The elimination of all rules, of all Law, is what Chesed as government would be, all is forgiven, all is allowed.

On a smaller scale, the extremes fall away.  Or do in the right context.  A tradition or teacher that operates fully in Chesed tends to become too “fluffy”.  The lack of Law tends to lead to a lack of structure and boundaries.  This can make learning from the tradition or teacher very difficult.  On the other extreme, a tradition or teacher that operates fully in Geburah, all Law with no Liberty, where everything that is not forbidden by taboo is dictated by gease.  The lack of Liberty tends to keep all students following the same path, which makes it easier to make sure the right things are learner, but it also stifles creativity and self discovery.

I think the best approach is a balance, more Tipherah, Beauty, than Chesed or Geburah.  The balance between Law and Liberty, Love, leads to Knowledge and Wisdom.  That balance leads to Da’ath, Knowing, to Binah, Understanding, to Chokmah, Wisdom, and on the Divine in Kether,  the Crown.

In this balanced approach, taboos and geases serve three important functions and should not be lightly broken:

  1. They serve as a guideline to keep the group or student all pointed in the same direction. Taboos serve as a map as it were for the path the group is walking or the teacher is leading the student.  This is similar to the use in the Law approach, but less firm, allowing flexibility, a map instead of a wall.
  2. They can serve to protect the student or person new to the tradition. There are very real dangers in any path worth taking, and if you are not prepared, those dangers may cause damage that cannot be undone, physical, emotional, mental damage, or create a road block that prevents them from going forward.  This gives a safety net and buffer as the student moves forward and develops the tools, the skills, the defenses, the weapons to face those dangers and truly to be tried by them.
  3. They create a contrast for later transgression. You need to sometimes learn the rule and learn to follow it before you learn when to break it. And there lies Wisdom and when you’ve moved past basics, when you can recognize when to break the taboos, and why.  This is ultimately the process of learning when to ask questions and learning to ask the right question.  And finally, to actually ask that question.

This can be seen in Conte del Graal by Chrétien de Troyes, the oldest Graal story we have.  Percival, found wandering in the woods by the woman who chose then to raise him, is enamoured with the knights of King Arthur he sees.  He sets off to become a knight.  Lord Gornemant meets him and looking kindly on him, trains him in the basics, knights him, and sends him on the way, on his own path.  This teacher, this mentor, as he was leaving, made a final statement, a taboo in some ways, a gease in others.  “Qui trop parole, pechié fait.”  “Who talks too much, commits a sin.”  This statement, though not phrased as either, implies both a taboo and a gease.  The taboo, of course, is, “avoid excessive speech.”  The guessed is, “be silent unless it is necessary to do otherwise.”

Necessity.  Learning that is Wisdom.  As Robert Cochrane said, “Do not do what you desire, do what is necessary.”  Following the taboos and geases is learning the first half, “do not do what you desire”.  But that is only half the lesson.  Learning when to break those taboos and geases is learning the second half, “do what is necessary”.

Percival learned the first lessen well we see as the story progresses.  There’s a set of principles that many trad craft witches I know tote as almost a central Law of Magic.  It is called the Four Powers of the Sphinx.  “To Know, to Will, to Dare, to Keep Silent.”  These Powers are found primarily in the writings of Eliphas Lévi and Aleister Crowley, with no real mention before them.  Most people I see quoting them focus on the last, “to be Silent”, the very command Gornemant gave Percival.  The context is often either oaths made in relation to initiations (it should be noted that being knighted, as Gornemant did to Percival, is initiation), or in discussions of speaking of your magical practice being giving your power away, that speaking of it is sharing power and therefore diminishing that power.  There is truth in this, but I think we should look more at Lévi’s discussion as it is the foundation of later discussion.  He says several things in the Great Secret and Transcendental Magick that should enter the discussion.

“To attain such an achievement it is necessary to KNOW what has to be done, to WILL what is required, to DARE what must be attempted and to KEEP SILENT with discernment.”  “When one does not know, one should will to learn.  To the extent that one does not know it is foolhardy to dare, but it is always well to keep silent.”  “In order to DARE we must KNOW; in order to WILL, we must DARE; we must WILL to possess empire and to reign we must BE SILENT.”

There’s a lot in those quotes demanding discussion, but we’ll focus on what’s relevant to this discussion of taboos and geases.  In the first quote, the phrase “with discernment” sticks out.  Lévi isn’t talking about blindly being silent, he’s talking about having discernment about when to speak.  As Cochrane said, “I was taught by an old woman who remembered the great meetings – and she took no terrible oath from me, but just an understanding that I would be discreet. She did not require silence, only a description of what I had seen and what I had heard and said when I was admitted. The Gods are truly wise – they know the future as well as the past and they admit not those who would abuse knowledge or wisdom.”  This is what Percival needed to learn, as do we.

In the second quote, Lévi is discussing when you’re working from a point of partial knowledge.  When you don’t know, no matter where you are in the path, you become a beginner again.  In this situation, of course silence is best.  You learn more at that stage from listening than from talking, and until you know enough to ask the right question, to know and dare to speak, you might prevent yourself from learning what you need to know to be able to dare.  Leaving Gornemant, this was where Percival was at.  He didn’t know enough to ask yet, so the gease of silence was best.

The last quote gives an order.  First you must know, then you can dare, then you can will.  Will gives you dominion, but silence keeps it.  We’re seeing a cycle here.  In the beginning, you are silent until you know enough to ask the right question.  Then you ask and learn more.  But when your knowledge is complete, when you have fully dared and fully willed, you return to silence.  This is discernment, knowing when to ask and when to be silent.  When to keep the taboo against speaking and the gease to be silent, and when to break them and ask.

So, back to Percival.  Percival eventually came upon the Fisher King in his boat on the river, then to the Graal Castle.  There he feasted with the Fisher King.  While he was there, he received a sword, he saw the Graal carried through by a maiden, with two pages with candelabras ahead and a second maiden with a carving dish behind, and he saw a lance that bled.  He kept silent, remembering Gornemant’s gease and taboo, and didn’t ask about these things.  He stayed the night, and the castle was empty in the morning, so he left, hoping to find the servants of the castle.

Instead, he finds his cousin.  She asked him what he saw in the castle and he describes it, answering each of her questions until she asks if he asked the meaning.  The conversation shows he knew enough to ask but kept silent.  She tells him his question could have healed to King and his silence brought desolation the land.

He proceeds to King Arthur’s court.  A horribly ugly maiden came and chewed him out:

“Ah, Perceval, Fortune is bald behind, but has a forelock in front. A curse on him who greets or wishes you well, for you did not seize Fortune when you met her. You entered the dwelling of the Fisher King; you saw the lance which bleeds. Was it so painful to open your mouth that you could not ask why the drop of blood sprang from the whim point of the lance? When you saw the grail, you did not inquire who was the rich man whom one served with it. Most unfortunate is he who when the weather is fairer than usual waits fir even fairer to come. It was you, unfortunate man, who saw that the time and the place were right for speech, and yet remained mute. You had ample opportunity, but in an evil hour you kept silent. If you had asked, the rich King, who is now sore troubled, would have been wholly cured of his wound and would have held his land in peace–land which he will never hold again. Do you know what will happen if the King does not hold his land and is not healed of his wound? Ladies will lose their husbands, lands will be laid waste, maidens, helpless, will remain orphans, and many knights will die. All these calamities will befall because of you!” ~The Grail: From Celtic Myth to Christian Symbol, Roger Sherman Loomis, Pg, 40

“…for you did not seize Fortune when you met her.”  This brings to mind something else Cochrane said, “In fate, and the overcoming of fate is the true Graal, for from this inspiration comes, and death is defeated.”  “Overcoming of fate” would appear to be the same statement, “seize Fortune”, as Dame Fortune was the guise Fate took in the Middle Ages, when Comte del Graal was written.  Percival failed to “seize Fortune”, failed to “overcome Fate” when he failed to ask about the things he saw, in effect failed to ask about the Graal.  Cochrane said the true Graal was fate and the overcoming of fate, and the maiden says failing to ask the question was failing to grasp Fortune.  It follows that Fortune, which is Fate, and therefore the true Graal, is obtained by asking the right question, asking the meaning of the Graal.  You obtain the Graal by asking its meaning and whom it serves.

Percival failed to ask.  He kept the gease and the taboo, and therefore failed to ask the question, failed to grasp Fortune, failed to overcome fate, failed to obtain the Graal.  The secret lies in learning when to break the gease and taboo.  And in general, the secret to Mystery, to Knowing, Understanding, and Wisdom.  To Kether and the Divine.

~Muninn’s Kiss

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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in muninnskiss


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Those Who Pray, Those Who Fight, Those Who Work: Musings About Labor Day

Yesterday was Labor Day in the US, in a lot of ways the Twin of Memorial Day.  Labor Day is the first Monday of September and Memorial Day the last Monday of May.  If you consider March, April, and May as Spring, June, July, and August as Summer, and September, October, and November as Autumn, Labor Day and Memorial Day mirror each other, exactly thirteen weeks apart, a quarter of a year.

But it’s not the date that makes them Twins, that ties them together, but their nature.  There’s two parts to this, the original intention, and the organic evolution.

Though it has evolved, Memorial Day is and always has been, throughout its history, a day of remembering those who died serving in the United States armed forces.  It is ultimately a day of mourning for the fallen, characterized by visiting graves and laying flowers and other offerings on the graves.  It has evolved in that people don’t only visit military dead, but family as well in a lot of cases.  It has become almost the US’s Dia de los Muertos.

Unlike Memorial Day, Labor Day is a celebration, not mourning.  It was a day created to honour the contributions of workers to the economy and society.  However, seldom is that element mentioned at this point.  It is seen as a reward for laborers, giving them a day off, laborers used to mean all those who have jobs, though I don’t think management and others that aren’t laborers in the traditional sense.  It is normally celebrated with picnics and barbecues, the last weekend of the summer season.  It is celebrated with family.

You have several levels, as I said, that make these two holidays Twins.  The first is obvious.  Memorial Day is a day for the military, Labor Day is a day for civilians.  This has been a strong dichotomy throughout history, with the addition of a third group, which I will get to in a moment.  Rome had a strong division between the civilians and the soldiers.  Civilians where pretty much set in their place unless they became soldiers.  You were either a citizen by birth, or you became one serving as a soldier.  There were other groups as well, but these were the largest two.  Medieval thought described the three estates, Oratores, “those who pray”, Bellatores, “those who fight”, and Laboratores, “those who work”.  A simplified summary of India’s caste system has four main castes, with the outcasts as a fifth.  These are: Brahman, “priests”, Kshatriyas, “warriors”, Vaishyas, “traders”, Shudras, “workmen”, and Panchama, “the fifth”.  Traders are of not, because as the Borges developed in Europe into a Middle Class, it was traders that they were.  But priests and traders are smaller portions of society, by their nature.  Fighters and laborers are the largest portions in all societies that have try classes or castes.  And they are very much opposites in their nature, but both essential for society.

On a deeper level, the two holidays represent life and death.  Memorial Day is a day of mourning the dead.  Labor Day is a celebration of life.  Memorial Day is visiting the dead.  Labor Day is spending time with family, the place our life came from.  Life and Death.  What is curious, these days, opposite on the calender and opposite in nature, are opposite of the older holidays, holy days.  Spring is normally a time of rebirth and life, Candlemas and May Day, the length of days growing.  Autumn is normally a time of death, harvest, Samhain.  But these two are opposite that.  Why?

If you think about Labor Day from an agricultural point of view, you realize Labor Day is during harvest time, and in many parts of the US, the end of harvest.  It’s appropriate that laborer’s would be celebrated after harvest, after the hard work they have done.  So Labor Day is easy to see as a traditional harvest festival, especially with the focus on the family gathering around food.  And the food from harvest, though often seen as dying, is the life that gets people through the winter.

But what about Memorial Day?  It’s important to note that the current Memorial Day comes from the Northern date after the Civil War.  The Southern equivalant occurred on May 1, May Day.  The secret here comes from a detail of the ceremony of visiting the graves.  The practice of laying flowers on the graves.  This practice is very ancient and didn’t start with the holiday.  The holiday determined a specific day for an older custom.  Now May is well known as the month flowers bloom (though it’s not as set as customs imply).  May Day is most commonly celebrated with gathering and giving of flowers.  Flowers on graves probably came from creating a place for the dead that was like where they would go in death, in the belief it would make that place better.  Just like the Egyptians filling tomes with what the dead would need.  So, if the intended custom was the placement of flowers (and the original name was Decoration Day because of this custom), it only makes sense that it would need to be at a time when flowers bloom.  Suddenly, Memorial Day becomes a flower ceremony, the placing of flowers on graves becomes a ceremony of planting, just as the body placed in the ground is the seed, the death that will bring life.

So the two Twins do in fact fit their seasons.  Memorial Day, a day of death, is a day of planting.  Labor Day, a day of life, is a day of harvest.

To get back to Labor Day specifically, lets look at labour itself.  In Kabbalah, this is Olam HaAssaiah, the World of Action.  It’s the world where things happen.  It isn’t the World of Planning or the World of thinking.  It’s the World of Action.  Priests in most cultures deal with spiritual things.  They are the ones who pray, not the ones who act.  Traders typically take the things made by laborers and transport them then trade them with others.  They distribute the result of others actions, don’t act themselves in the way we’re discussing.  But both laborers and warriors act and change the world, laborers typically by creating and building, warriors by killing and destroying.  Ultimately, labour is action, and action is the stuff of this world and the only way to change the higher worlds.  This is why down to earth, salt of the earth, people are the ones who labour, the farmers and ranchers that produce our food, the construction workers that produce our shelter and roads, the steel workers building skeletons of our cities and the cars we drive, the miners and droppers and rig workers who give us energy for our electronics and our heat, that provide the iron and copper, the lumberjacks that provide the wood for our houses, the teamsters who get our things from one place to another.

Part of the reason the craft has always been made up of outsiders is because we span the classes and castes above.  We work.  You can’t be a witch if you don’t do the work.  We trade.  On multiple levels.  On a mundane level, most magical services were bartered and traded for.  A charm in exchange for food, a curse in exchange for repairing my fence, an amulet for a bushel of wood.  On a spiritual level, much of magic is trade with the spirits, giving them something in exchange for a service or information from them.  Witches tend to be excellent traders.  We fight.  As Victor Anderson said, the craft is martial and a warrior tradition.  It’s not coincidence that many folk tales are about witches flying to fight spirits in the night.  As Cochrane said, “What I have, I hold!”  What can you hold if you don’t fight for it?  And we pray.  All spells are truly prayers, but more specifically, we are Priests and Priestesses.  We form the Bridge between the people and the gods, between the Kingdom and the King, between the mundane and the Divine, between this world and the otherworld, between heaven and earth, between this world and the underworld, between life and death.  We are the Bridge because we stand between worlds.  We are liminal, neither here nor there, but both, so can connect the worlds for others.  We are Priests, Warriors, Traders, Workers.  We are all things.  Liminal.  So we become the Fifth, the untouchables.  Because we can’t be contained in category because we claim them all.  So we become outsiders, Other, Monster, untouchable.

~Muninn’s Kiss

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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in muninnskiss


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