Tag Archives: 1734

The Cauldron of Annwfn

The following is Preiddeu Annwyn, the Raid of Annwyn, the Raid of the Otherworld, part XXX (30) of the Book of Taliesin, as related by William F. Skene in 1868 in his The Four Ancient Books of Wales. In it is related the Caer Sidi, Caer Pedrycan, Caer Vedwyd, Caer Rigor, Caer Wydyr, Caer Golud, Caer Vandwy, and Caer Ochren, familiar to readers of the White Goddess by Robert Graves, and the Cauldron of Annwyn, referenced by Robert Cochrane when we asked Taliesin’s question, what two words are not spoken from the Cauldron.

Note that it is nine maidens whose breath it was warmed by. Those who know Norse myth might get a parallel. Those who know Greek myth might get another. Not the question, “what is its intention”. Those that know Arthurian legend, specifically of the Graal, might get a parallel. Also note the Cauldron is lined with Pearl. Some might get where I’m leading there.

~Lorekeeper, Muninn’s Kiss

I WILL praise the sovereign, supreme king of the land,
Who hath extended his dominion over the shore of the world.
Complete was the prison of Gweir in Caer Sidi,
Through the spite of Pwyll and Pryderi.
No one before him went into it.
The heavy blue chain held the faithful youth,
And before the spoils of Annwvn woefully he sings,
And till doom shall continue a bard of prayer.
Thrice enough to fill Prydwen, we went into it;
Except seven, none returned from Caer Sidi

Am I not a candidate for fame, if a song is heard?
In Caer Pedryvan, four its revolutions;
In the first word from the cauldron when spoken,
From the breath of nine maidens it was gently warmed.
Is it not the cauldron of the chief of Annwvn? What is its intention?
A ridge about its edge and pearls.
It will not boil the food of a coward, that has not been sworn,
A sword bright gleaming to him was raised,
And in the hand of Lleminawg it was left.
And before the door of the gate of Uffern [hell] the lamp was burning.
And when we went with Arthur; a splendid labour,
Except seven, none returned from Caer Vedwyd.

Am I not a candidate for fame with the listened song
In Caer Pedryvan, in the isle of the strong door?
The twilight and pitchy darkness were mixed together.
Bright wine their liquor before their retinue.
Thrice enough to fill Prydwen we went on the sea,
Except seven, none returned from Caer Rigor.

I shall not deserve much from the ruler of literature,
Beyond Caer Wydyr they saw not the prowess of Arthur.
Three score Canhwr stood on the wall,
Difficult was a conversation with its sentinel.
Thrice enough to fill Prydwen there went with Arthur,
Except seven, none returned from Caer Golud.

I shall not deserve much from those with long shields.
They know not what day, who the causer,
What hour in the serene day Cwy was born.
Who caused that he should not go to the dales of Devwy.
They know not the brindled ox, thick his head-band.
Seven score knobs in his collar.
And when we went with Arthur of anxious memory,
Except seven, none returned from Caer Vandwy.

I shall not deserve much from those of loose bias,
They know not what day the chief was caused.
What hour in the serene day the owner was born.
What animal they keep, silver its head.
When we went with Arthur of anxious contention,
Except seven, none returned from Caer Ochren.

Monks congregate like dogs in a kennel,
From contact with their superiors they acquire knowledge,
Is one the course of the wind, is one the water of the sea?
Is one the spark of the fire, of unrestrainable tumult?
Monks congregate like wolves,
From contact with their superiors they acquire knowledge.
They know not when the deep night and dawn divide.
Nor what is the course of the wind, or who agitates it,
In what place it dies away, on what land it roars.
The grave of the saint is vanishing from the altar-tomb.
I will pray to the Lord, the great supreme,
That I be not wretched. Christ be my portion.

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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in muninnskiss


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On Initiation, Fate, and Law

The following is adapted from an answer I gave to a post on a list.  I’ve edited it to only include my one words and ideas and for clarity now that the context is removed, and to remove things that shouldn’t be said publicly.  I’m going to ramble a bit, touching on a large number of subjects.  Just remember, I don’t know anything, just like everyone else.  😉  So take it with a grain of salt and your mileage may vary.

Sir Galahad as conceived
by George Frederick
Watts (1817–1904).

So, first, Initiation.  Though Feri initiation is unique to Feri, as Victor developed some key parts of it after his own initiation, at its core, it’s the same as Initiation found the world over, from the shamans of Northern Asia to the Greek Mystery Religions to the native tribes of Australia, North America, and South America.  And everywhere in between.  It’s the Welsh vigil on a hill in the dark of night in a storm alone with the spirits.  It’s the spirit journey to find yourself in the smoke in the forests of the Amazon.  It’s the Christian baptism.  It’s Odin cutting out his eye for wisdom, or him hanging upside down from the world tree for nine days, a spear in his side, a sacrifice of himself to himself.  It’s the ordeal of the Graal Knight, alone seeking the Castle Perilous, having to answer the question, “What is the secret of the Graal (or what is the meaning of these things), and whom does it serve?”, which is the same question as, “Who is this flower above me?  What is the work of this god?  I would know myself in all my parts.”1  Ultimately, in whatever form, Initiation is two things that are really one.  First, it is death and rebirth, torn apart by the spirits and put back together, the same person but changed, never to return.  Second, marriage to the gods and spirits, the becoming a Priest/ess.  As Cora says in Fifty Years:

“Initiation does not make you a full-blown highly trained Witch. In initiation you literally marry the Goddess, her dual consort and the Gods, whether you are male or female. In speaking to her priest the Goddess says, “I love you with the same love with which a mortal woman loves you, but raised to the power of divinity.” To her priestess she says, “I love you with the love with which a man or woman loves you, but raised to the power of divinity.” Always remember that in the deepest sense the man you love as life companion or in passing is your son, brother and lover and should be treated with love and respect as yourself and other half.”2

This, of course, begs the question of what is a Priest/ess.  Rather than make this too long, here’s my post about the subject, my own experience and ideas, of course, not “Orthodox Feri”, and almost a year ago now, so my thoughts may have changed some: 

Back to my list above, the idea of Initiation as the ordeal of the Graal Knight leads me to the next discussion, Karma.

Lady Justice

First off, before I explain that, I’ll say this, personally, I don’t believe in Karma, the Western broken version or the Eastern version.  The Western version is really an attempt to take the modern Christian idea of justice verses grace, or more accurately, the Medieval ideas of Lady Justice and Lady Liberty which forms much of the modern Western mythology of Government (Lady Fate got lost somewhere, as un-Christian), and make it less “Christian” by rebaptising it as Karma.  It is personified as that which spanks us if he do bad and rewards us when we do good, basically the way many modern people view the Christian god.  Though even the Medieval concept was different from that.  Lady Justice is blind.  She weighs the deeds but has no personal stake in it, no personal connection to the individual or their actions.  This is much closer to the Eastern (original) version of Karma, which is impersonal and very much a cause and effect, just on a level that’s both physical (Yin) and spiritual (Yang).  Remember, Yin and Yang in China are not two opposing forces but are two side of the same thing, connected, impossible to separate, and the Yin side can be further divided in Yin and Yang, and likewise the Yang side, a continuum, rather than duality.  Same thing in Karma, which originated in the Indian Subcontinent.  Science sees physical cause and effect.  Karma includes those, but allows for spiritual and non-linear effects.  But Karma is a principle in the world, not a god or spirit or entity like Western Karma tends to be seen.  Karma is more like Fate, but doesn’t really fully describe the way I see Fate.  Which brings me back to the Graal.

Robert Cochrane said:

Some groups seek fulfillment in mystic experience – this is correct if one does not forget the duty of ‘involvement’ – the prime duty of the wise. It is not enough to see The Lady, it is better to serve Her and Her will by being involved in humanity, and the process of Fate (The single name of all God’s is ‘Fate’). In fate, and the overcoming of fate is the true Graal, for from this inspiration comes, and death is defeated. There is no fate so terrible that it cannot be overcome – whether by a literal victory gained by action and in time, or the deeper victory of spirit in the lonely battle of the self, Fate is the trial, the Castle Perilous in which we all meet to win or to die – Therefore, the People are concerned with Fate –for humanity is greater than the Gods’, although not as great as the Goddess. When Man triumphs, fate stops and the Gods are defeated – so you understand the meaning of magic now. Magic and religion are aids to overcome Fate, and Fate is a cradle that rocks the infant spirit.

Now you know what ‘witches’ are.3

To me, this is the heart of witchcraft, of magic, of Feri (though it’s from a different stream).  “In fate, and the overcoming of fate is the true Graal, for from this inspiration comes, and death is defeated.”  How is death defeated?  In surviving it.  That’s what initiation is.  But, on to Fate.  What is Fate?  “The single name of all Gods”.  Elsewhere, Cochrane talks about cords and their use in witchcraft (which I’ll get back to).  There, he says, “They appear to have originated from the woven strands of Old Fate, the major deity of all true witches.”4  “The major deity of all true witches.”  This is important I think.

I don’t see Fate much in Feri writing or teaching, but She’s there, both as the Star Goddess, and as the Three Mothers (the term used in Clan of Tubal Cain, a British witchcraft tradition), the Three Hooded Ones.  I’ve only seen Feri references to the Hooded ones (often called the Cowled Ones in British traditions) in two Feri poems, so I won’t dwell heavily on the Feri lore, but I will look at some other places.

There’s a Greek creation with that tells of Chronos and Ananke, serpentine with three heads each (Chronos’, Time’s, heads are obviously the past, the present, and the future; Ananke’s are Fate, Destiny, and Necessity) curled around an egg.  Their movement around each other broke open the egg and Eros was born, along with the mud that solidified into Gaia, and the water that became Oceanus.  From Eros came Nyx and Erubus, Night and Darkness, who gave birth to Day and Light.  Chronos and Ananke came from Chaos, but those three seem to always have been there.  The movement of Chronos and Ananke’s coils keep the heavens and earth turning, the stars and planets (including moon and sun) moving, the seasons changing, the tides turning, the lives of gods and men moving forward.  Time and Fate are the two moving forces of the universe that even the gods are subject to.

The Moirae

But closer to the topic, with Zeus, Ananke had three daughters (or Chronos with Nyx, depending on the story), the Moirae, the Fates.  Clotho spins the thread of our life, setting the initial path. Lachesis measures the thread, determines what will happen during the lifetime.  Atropos cuts the thread, determines the death of the person.  Even the gods are subject to these three (except Zeus in some versions, as their father).  But man can overcome their Fate, hence why the demigods like Perseus and Hercules are so important, with the power and strength of the gods but the ability to overcome Fate like men.  (The Three Mothers are also seen in the Furies and the Graces.)

The Norns

In Norse belief, we find the Norns (there are many norns, but there are three main ones), very similar to the Fates of Greece, three daughters of giant-kin who control the Threads of Wyrd, with power over gods and men.

They appear many other places in Indo-European myth, from Ireland to India, and other places as well.  Even in Jewish Kabbalah with the Three Mothers, Shin, Alpha, and Mem, Fire, Air, and Water.  You even find them in Taoism if you know where to look.

But where I was going with this is Wyrd.  In my belief, Wyrd is the Threads of Fate that bind us together and determine each of our paths, and the paths of the universe.  It is the Chinese web that has no weaver, it is Buddhist and Hindu Karma, it is Greek Fate, it is the Soul Spark of Kabbalah.  Imagine a huge web, stretching forever in all directions in space and time.  There are an infinite number of threads, an infinite number of paths, an infinite number of possibilities.  But there are knots tied in this web, in these threads.  These knots limit the options, direct where things can go, control the past and the future.  Withing each of our Godselfs, there is a bundle of Threads at the middle.  These are our Wyrd, our Fate.  These Threads connect to the rest of the web.  These Threads determine our options, our choices, our future.  We received them from our (physical and spiritual) ancestors, and they came tied in knots to other threads, limiting us.  But each action we take, each world spoken, each choice we make, binds new knots or looses old knots, limits or expands our options.  Cause and effect.

I talked more on Wyrd and webs in this blog post, if you’re interested:

Getting back to “In fate, and the overcoming of fate is the true Graal, for from this inspiration comes, and death is defeated.”  Most people go through life on autopilot, essentially.  They let Fate dictate to them their choices.  They think they are deciding, but they’re really just following the Threads, letting the existing knots determine the outcome.  Eastern Enlightenment, Western Gnosis, is the realization of those Threads and our ability to change them.  To step back from the web and look at it and consciously change it, to untie a knot here, tie a knot there, and change the course of history.  To write your own Fate.  This is truly what witchcraft is, the binding and loosing of the Threads of Fate.  Once you move past letting Fate dictate, you enter the realms of Destiny and Necessity.  Destiny is what Crowley was talking about when he talked about True Will.  “Love is the Law, Love under Will.”5  It’s what we can truly be if we take the reigns of our life instead of submitting them to Fate.  As the Feri Maxim goes, “never submit your life force to another.”  Necessity is what Cochrane talks about when he says in his witch ‘Law’, “Do not do what you desire – do what is necessary.”6  Once we can see the web and know we can make the decisions, that we can create Change, we can see clearly what is necessary to accomplish what needs to be done.  This is fully integrated, of course.  It takes Fetch, Talker, and Godself to truly see the web, and see the Necessity.

And, the mention of Love being the whole Law brings me to the next subject.  Love and Law are of course both part of the Pearl Pentacle in Feri.  But they can’t exist without Knowledge, Wisdom, and Liberty/Power, either.  To just act without thought means there is no Knowledge involved.  No Point can be left out, or you are out of balance and can’t act rightly.


Going back to the discussion of Lady Liberty and Lady Justice, ultimately Dame Justice in Medieval thought is Law in the Pearl.  Dame Liberty is Liberty/Power, of course.  But Dame Wisdom, Sophia of the Greeks and Gnostics, got lost along the way.  The White Goddess of Robert Graves fame has become an integral part of modern paganism and witchcraft (both trad craft and Wicca), but the Black Goddess, Sophia, the deeper mysteries, has been ignored by most.  The White Goddess really stands as Fate and the Three Mothers, modernly seen as the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone, though this misses a lot.  But I’m on a tangent that I can’t pull back, so I’ll leave this one for now.

Law, Dame Justice, as relating to Dharma, the Laws that define how the universe work, is not really separate from Fate.  It is the workings of Chronos and Ananke, of Time and Fate/Destiny/Necessity that govern the things of the universe.  None of the Points function in isolation, they are really one and the same, just as they are in the Iron Pentacle.  Fate, Karma, is the movement, the Yin.  Law, Dharma, is the stillness, Yang.  Both come from the Tao but aren’t the Tao, they are part of the Te of the Tao, the virtue, the properties if you will.

The Tao begot one.
One begot two.
Two begot three.
And three begot the ten thousand things.7

The Tao and the One, are God Herself, the Star Goddess, the Uncreated, the Fountain of All, the Nagara.

The Two of course, are Yin and Yang, the Divine Twins, the Tvennr, their constant Dance as Lovers and Fighters being the constant change in the world, Chaos, from which Chronos and Ananke proceed.

The Three are the Three Mothers, the Three Cowled Ones that proceeded the gods, the Grimr.  They are seen are the three heads of Chronos and the three heads of Ananke.  They brought Order to the Chaos, though not stability, for they are always in movement.  In Kabbalah, the Three Fathers come from the Three Mothers, though they are really the same.

The Ten Thousand Things is the Chinese poetic description of all that is.

Of these Ten Thousand Things, we find seven, the Guardians, the Watchers, the Seven Stars in the Sky, the Vordr.  They are stillness and the foundation.  The static forces that hold the universe together if you will.  The ultimate teachers.  If the Three Mothers are Fate and Karma, the Guardians are Law and Darma.

To the next subject.  As I said above, to act in a deliberate way, a way that creates Change rather than lets Fate determine the course, requires all parts of us (“I would know myself in all my parts”).  There tends to be an emphasis in Feri to steer away from Talker, seeing Talker as bad, but this is mostly reactionary to a culture where Talker rules.  Talker has a purpose and is necessary.  Fetch cannot plan, as Fetch has no concept of Time.  Fetch only wants what she wants and wants it now, has no ability to abstain or say no to desires.  Talker is needed for these.  But Talker isn’t always right, either.  There is a time to plan and a time to act without thought or planning.  There is a time to abstain and a time to feed your desires.  Both are necessary and shouldn’t be ignored.  And Godself understands the big picture of the universe, but has little ability to understand the little things that make up life.  Godself without Fetch can’t meet the needs of the body and souls.  Godself without Talker can’t make the little discussions that can get us to the ultimate Goal, the Graal.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.8

Hmmm, I said I’d come back to Cochrane’s discussion on cords.

He starts out with:

Mrs. Basford has raised an interesting point about the real purpose of cords, harvest twine, string dolls, etc. They appear to have originated from the woven strands of Old Fate, the major deity of all true witches. They are, of course, the origin of such descriptive terms as “spellbinders.” When worked up properly they should contain many different parts–herbs, feathers and impedimenta of the particular charm. They are generally referred to in the trade as “ladders,” or in some cases as “garlands,” and have much the same meaning as the three crosses. That is they can contain three blessings, three curses, or three wishes. A witch also possesses a devotional ladder, by which she may climb to meditational heights, knotted to similar pattern as the Catholic rosary.

I began a blog post on the subject of roots that included a discussion of blessings and curses, binding and loosing, but it expanded into an article I’m going to submit to a magazine so was never posted, so I’ll include an excerpt here:

There are basically two ways to do magic.  You can bind or you can loose.  You can curse or you can bless.  Both ways can be used to do the same thing, if you’re clever and cunning.  In healing, you can either bless (improve the patient’s ability to fight off the infection or to heal the damage) and loose (release the patient from the illness), or you can curse (kill the infection) and bind (hold back the infection or attacker to give room to heal).  It is hard to bless and loose from darkness, and hard to heal and bind from light.  But we both have both in us, as do all things, the Twins in the Great Dance, Shining Bright One and Shadowy Darkling.  We can use our darkness, our impurities, our demons to heal, just as much as we can use our light, our purity, our innocence, our angels.  While plants and woods like aspen or apple might be used in the loosing and blessing way, blackthorn, and the poisons I listed above, usually comes from the other side, killing the infection, removing the cause.

The wording Cochrane uses is important here, I think.  “They appear to have originated from the woven strands of Old Fate, the major deity of all true witches.”  The web of the Threads of Fate isn’t just pathways, it is Herself.  The web isn’t just a metaphor, it is the Truth behind what we see, the Brahma behind Maya.  When a witch takes objects and ties them into a cord, s/he is taking the physical “reality” and binding the Threads of Fate, the “stuff” of God Herself, around that reality, forcing a change.

Cochrane says later:

Basically the cords of binding, as used today, are worked upon with mistaken enthusiasm. Originally they were cords of Fate, woven and bound into a charm for a defined purpose. Sometimes shaped into a semblance of the object or person to be influenced, they were also hung on a gatepost or nailed near to the object or person, preferably in a public place, as an indication of intent. In an Italian spell, the ladder is actually placed in the bed of the person to be enchanted. A beautiful witch ladder, incidentally, was once found in a church belfry: presumably one of the Old Craft could not sleep late on Sunday mornings because of the racket of the bells!

Charms made this way have interesting ramification in understanding Wyrd and Fate.  You can read the whole article (originally published in 1965 in Pentagram)  here:

Anyway, I’ve rambled enough.  Hopefully you find some kernels of grain among these tares.

~Muninn’s Kiss

1 Flower Prayer found in Feri, originally from KaHuna
2 Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition by Cora Anderson, available from Harpy Books at or Amazon at
3 From Robert Cochrane’s second letter to Joe Wilson, written in 1966, found here:
4 From On Cords by Robert Cochrane, originally published in 1965 in Pentagram, available here:
5 From Liber AL vel Legis, the Book of the Law, by Aleister Crowley, found here:
6 From Robert Cochrane’s sixth letter to Joe Wilson, written in 1966, found here:
7 From section 42 of the Tao Te Ching, originally written by Lao Tzu.  This translation is by Jonathan Star.  A copy with his translation can be found at
8 Ecclesiates 3:1-8, King James Version of the Bible, formatting mine.  In context, see

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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in muninnskiss


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The Seething Cauldron

Seidways: shaking, swaying and serpent mysteriesI just finished reading the article “Seidr and Modern Paganism” by Jan Fries in The Cauldron No. 139 (February 2011).  It raised some good points, about our understanding of ancient Seidr, about modern neopagan/neoheathen Seidr, and about magic, ritual, tradition, and religion in general.  The article is an edited extract of his book, Seidways: Shaking, Swaying and Serpent Mysteries, from Mandrake Press of Oxford.  The article makes me want to read the book in its entirety.

I guess there’s a lot of controversy from the neopagan/neoheathen community about his association of Seidr with the shaking of other shamanistic cultures in Europe.  It doesn’t match what the modern community has come to associate with the name Seidr, based on their reading of the lore and their experiences.  The article is basically his response to their objections, in summary form.

Enough with reviewing the article.  I want to discuss one specific paragraph here.  I’ll leave out the last two sentences as they aren’t related to what I want to discuss, but relates the rest of the paragraph to the flow of his argument.  I recommend reading the article in its entirety to get the context.

But seething was also part of sacrifice.  The Vikings never offered raw or burned meat to their deities.  To prepare a proper sacrifice, you suspended a cauldron on a chain from the temple roof and seethed the flesh until it was tender,  The scent arising from the sacrifice were an essential part of the sacrifice.  In Gothic the participants of the sacrifice were suthnautar, the ‘seething companions’.  So whatever else the word may have implied, there was something sacred to seething.

I want to address several things here.  These are the Cauldron, the tenderness of the meat, the aroma, and the “seething companions”.

The Seething Cauldron

I’ve talked many times about the Cauldron in many different contexts.  There is so much Mystery in it.

Image from Myths and Legends.

The Cauldron of the Welsh, Britons, and Irish became the Graal when Christianity came, and later became a cup.  Sometimes the Cauldron appears as a well, sometimes the Graal, sometimes a Cup, sometimes a pentagram.  It is Water and it is Earth.  It is the Sea and it is the Land.  It appears in many cultures, many religions, many myths, in many forms.

As I’ve discussed before, based on Cochrane’s letters, the Cauldron is Movement, this world, Fate.  The Movement inside is there to point us to the Stillness outside.  The Graal, the Cauldron, is Fate and the overcoming of Fate.  Fate is there to overcome and become what we need to become, not to be the bonds that hold us, as it is for most people.

Here, we have the Cauldron hanging from a chain from the roof, suspended over the fire.  In the Celtic myths, the Cauldron was always sitting in the flames.  I think this difference is significant.  It makes me think of Odin hanging on the tree for nine days, and of the sacrifices to him and Twr hanging on trees.  Suspended above instead of sitting in the fire, is a little cooler.  Meat heated slower becomes more tender.  The Celtic Cauldron had water, soup, stew, liquid based mixtures.  The goal is to boil the water and hence cook what’s in it.  In the  Viking Cauldron, it isn’t water but meat.  You aren’t boiling, you are simmering.  When you boil, you have the Roaring Cauldron, violently moving.  When you simmer, you have the Seething Cauldron.  But both are Movement.

If the Cauldron is Water and Earth, the flames are Fire.  Suspended, the Cauldron is in Air.

In the Seething Cauldron, we have primarily meat.  This is a sacrifice, not a normal meal.  The meat represents life.  The animal is killed, it’s life taken, life becomes death.  The dead animal goes in the Cauldron.  The whole process is the sacrifice.  First the killing, the taking of the life, giving the life to the god.  Then the seething, the simmering, preparing the meat, creating a meal for the god.  The Seething Cauldron prepares the meat for the god.  Just as this world, and Fate, prepares us, simmers us until we’re ready for the gods.

Bran’s Cauldron also has dead meat put in it.  If you put dead humans in it, they came back alive, though they couldn’t talk.  The Cauldron broke when Bran pretended to be dead and was put into it alive.  Life comes from the Cauldron, but only if death goes in.  The sacrifice must be killed before it goes in the Cauldron.

The Tender Meat

As I said, the Cauldron is used to prepare the meat, change it from the dead animal that was sacrificed and into a meal for the gods.  The tenderness is key.  It is the reason for the seething, for the simmering.  Why tender?  Well, who wants to eat tough, chew meat?  People want meat to melt in their mouth, not chew it for three years.  But there’s symbolism here as well.  Tenderness is about being soft.

Going back to the idea of this world and Fate, the Cauldron, preparing us to be ready for the gods, this world makes us “tender” for the gods.  If we’re “tough and chewy”, we won’t listen.  If we don’t listen, we can’t change.  What’s tender is flexible.  We need flexibility to change.

The Aroma

Aromas and smells rising have meaning in many cultures and religions.  This might be from incense and meat.  It rising up connects earth up to heaven, the sacrificer to the god.  It might be symbolic of prayer or praise, but it is usually seen as pleasing to the god.  An example from a Hebrew perspective comes from Leviticus 1:

1And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
 3If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
 4And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
 5And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
 6And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.
 7And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire:
 8And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
 9But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
 10And if his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep, or of the goats, for a burnt sacrifice; he shall bring it a male without blemish.
 11And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.
 12And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
 13But he shall wash the inwards and the legs with water: and the priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
 14And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the LORD be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.
 15And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off his head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shall be wrung out at the side of the altar:
 16And he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes:
 17And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

This sweet savour from the burnt offering is what we find with the Viking sacrifice with the smell, the aroma, rising off the seething meat.  I suspect the symbolism is similar.  The aroma rising off the meat is the worship of the people, their prayers, their praise, rising up from Midgard to Asgard.

The Seething Companions

Are the participants in the sacrifice called Seething because they are companions to the Seething Cauldron, to the sacrifice, or because they move like the contents?  Fries seems to think the later.  I get the image of the participants in the temple dancing, moving, as Fries says, shaking, around the Cauldron, like the images of Africans dancing around a fire, or like the images of Native Americans doing the same, or like Mummers, dancing in Britain.  They are moving like the contents of the Cauldron are moving.  They are companions to the contents, but they are one with the contents, moving like the contents, becoming the contents.  The contents and they are one.  There isn’t a separation between the sacrificer and the sacrifice.  They are one.

We are the animal, the sacrifice.  We are the temple, the chain, the Cauldron, the fire.  We are the meat in the Cauldron, and the aroma rising from the meat.  All is one.  A meal for the god, for the gods.

Ritual in Witchcraft

Ritual connects us to the gods.  It always includes sacrifice, but not always in a tangible way.  Sacrifice is life, death, and rebirth, the Cauldron.  And ritual unites us with that, and through that with the gods.  Like with the Viking sacrifice we’ve been discussing, the ritual isn’t something that we do, something separate from us.  The ritual is us and we are the ritual.  We are the sacrifice, what is given to the gods or spirits.  Without the connection between us and the sacrifice, the sacrifice has no meaning.

What is consumed becomes one with the consumer.  We are what we eat.  The sacrifice of the Vikings is a meal for the gods.  It becomes one with the gods.  The sacrificers and the sacrifice are one.  When the gods consume the sacrifice, the gods and the sacrifice become one, so the gods and the sacrificer become one.

This is what ritual is all about.

~Muninn’s Kiss

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Posted by on May 15, 2011 in muninnskiss


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Buddhism and Witchcraft, Part 1, Suffering and Desire

“The teachings of Buddha are eternal, but even then Buddha did not proclaim them to be infallible. The religion of Buddha has the capacity to change according to times, a quality which no other religion can claim to have…Now what is the basis of Buddhism? If you study carefully, you will see that Buddhism is based on reason. There is an element of flexibility inherent in it, which is not found in any other religion.”
~Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar

Gautama Buddha.
Image from History Simplified.

Two days ago is the date celebrated in much of Asia as the birthday of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, believed to be the latest of many, many Buddhas, called the Thousand Buddhas, but specifically the 28th of the Buddhas whose names are “known”.  (Some areas celebrate his death and enlightenment on that day as well, and some areas celebrate it on other dates.  For more information, see here.)  By tradition, he was born 2555 years ago.  Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the world today.  (Fifth or sixth, depending on how you do the counting.  See this page for details.)

The general story of his life is that he was born a prince.  His father wanted him to be a great king and isolated him from suffering and aging.  One day, he saw something, probably an old man, and realized that the sheltered life of privilege and wealth he had lived wasn’t all there was. After seeing some other things, he snuck out and went to find an end to suffering.

He lived as an ascetic, trying to completely deny the body, thinking that was the way.  He withered away to almost nothing.  At the lowest, he was bathing and collapsed in the river and almost drowned.  He reconsidered and decided deprivation wasn’t the answer either.

Recalling a memory of watching his father as a child, he decided to try contemplation.  This was the Middle Way, not privilege and wealth, and not asceticism and deprivation, but a way between them.  He went and sat below a tree by a river in contemplation.  After 49 days, he obtained Enlightenment.

He debated whether he should teach others the way to Enlightenment or not.  He finally decided to teach and spent the rest of his life teaching.

Thomas the Rhymer by Kinuko Craft.
Image from Lionheart Designs.

When I read about the Middle Way, I think of the 17th century poem, Thomas the Rhymer.  When Thomas is riding with the Queen of Elfland they stop in a desert place and she says to him:

‘Light down, light down now, true Thomas,
  And lean your head upon my knee;
Abide ye there a little space,
  And I will show you ferlies three.  40

‘O see ye not yon narrow road,
  So thick beset wi’ thorns and briers?
That is the Path of Righteousness,
  Though after it but few inquires.

‘And see ye not yon braid, braid road,  45
  That lies across the lily leven?
That is the Path of Wickedness,
  Though some call it the Road to Heaven.

‘And see ye not yon bonny road
  That winds about the fernie brae?  50
That is the Road to fair Elfland,
  Where thou and I this night maun gae.

I always imagined it being the Path of Righteous on my left hand, the Path of Wickedness on my left, and the Road to Elfland being between the two in front of me, the Middle Way.  Many neopagans, Wiccans, and witches have made a lot of this set of verses, but I won’t talk more on it right now, since this is a bunny trail, not the subject I want to write on.

What I do want to discuss is the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, believed to have been taught by the Buddha.  In simple terms, they are:

  1. Suffering does exist
  2. Suffering arises from attachment to desires
  3. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
  4. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path

No one who has lived long in this world would doubt the first Truth.  Yes, there is suffering in this world.  Even look at Christianity.  There are people who think a Christian doesn’t suffer, that God would protect them from suffering, that after becoming a Christian, all is prosperity and happiness.  But Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33 NIV)  He gives hope of an end to suffering, but promises that there will be suffering in this world.

Detail of Tryptich by Johfra
Bosschart.  Image from
The Witch of Forest Grove blog.

It’s on the second and third point that I diverge.  In my “religion”, desire is the purest of emotions and the thing that brings us to “Enlightenment”, that brings us to the Divine.  I’ve written about Desire a fair amount in the past, so I won’t reiterate it all here, but I’ll say a few things.  The world comes into being through the Desire of the Divine.  In Feri, this is the Star Goddess, God Herself, seeing Herself in the dark mirror of space and, feeling Desire for Herself, makes love to Herself.  From Her esctasy, from that first Divine Orgasm, the world is made (one way to view the myth anyway).  In Kabbalah as I know it, this is G-d having Desire for something else, and this Desire is the Tzimtzum, the Contraction, G-d withdrawing and creating a space that isn’t Him so that the world could exist.  It is Night in Robert Cochrane’s Basic Structure of the Craft, Desiring union and hence creating the masculine.  This Desire is reflected in the Neshamah, the Godself.  She is said to be female because she has a hollow space in her that wants to be filled, like the womb in a woman.  The hollow place is her Desire for the Divine.  This Desire is what makes her not content with the way things are, it’s what moves us to do something, to find something, to change.  It’s what drives us not to be static and stale.  Desire is the drive that moves us toward the Divine, that causes us to walk the Path.

While the second and third Truths are true, it’s the judgement of them I disagree with.  Yes, suffering is a result of desire, but does that make desire bad?  I don’t think so.  Because desire is also the cause of joy.  And in both suffering and joy, Truth, Wisdom, Divinity, can be found.  It isn’t by eliminating desire, but by embracing it.  Not the small, fleeting desires, but True Desire, the Desire for the Divine.  The small desires are the things Cochrane addresses in his witch ‘Law’, “Do not do what you desire, do what is necessary.”  And these desires do lead to suffering and do lead away from the Divine.  Maybe these are what Buddha saw.  But to do away with all desire won’t lead you to Enlightenment, but to a world that is just grey with no colour, no joy, no Beauty.  For Beauty is the Divine, and Beauty is what I long for above all and what I seek in all things.

Dharma Wheel.
When it has eight spokes,
they represent the Eightfold Path.
Image from the Middle Way blog.

Though I disagree with the need to do away with all desire, or even all suffering, coming back to the fourth Truth, I do agree, not with it being the path to do away with desire, but with the Eightfold Path leading in the right direction.  The Path is thus:

  1. Right understanding
  2. Right intention
  3. Right speech
  4. Right action
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

I think these things mesh with witchcraft quite nicely.  But only if you define what is right by what comes from yourself, the gods, and the spirits, not social norms.  But even Buddhism has teachings that address this.  One text (I read about it today, but don’t remember where now) talks about doing everything possible to thwart social norms.

Death by baldrakul
on Photobucket.

One last point.  Buddhism treats aging and death as part of suffering, part of what needs to be overcome.  Witchcraft, however, sees death very differently, as I’ve talked in a couple posts lately.  The last line of Cochrane’s witch ‘Law’ would be very foreign to traditional Buddhism, at least if I understand Buddhism correctly:  “When all else is lost, and not until then, prepare to die with dignity.”

Image from À Sombra do Freixo
(In the Shadow of Ash) blog
By Muninn’s Kiss

I desire you, oh Great Goddess,
Mother of all there is.
I desire you, oh Quakoralina,
Black Virgin of Outer Space.

My heart cries out, my soul cries out,
My longing is all for you.
Toward you is all I am,
You who walks amongst the stars.

I desire to desire,
I long to long,
I lust to lust,
All for you, oh Sugmad.

All I am is burnt away,
All I am is blown away,
All I am is washed away,
All I am crumbs away.

And Desire is all that’s left.

~Muninn’s Kiss

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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in muninnskiss


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Innocence: the King and the Land are one!

“How beautiful is the black, lascivious purity of small children and wild animals.” ~An African proverb as told by Victor Anderson

“The Black Heart
of Feri”
by Storm
Faerwolf from
his website.

The other day, I came upon a couple blog posts about the Black Heart of Innocence in Feri.  Just wanted to add my thoughts to the mix.

In her post, [info]heartssdesire says the following:

Rather, I began to think, the Black Heart is the state of awakening fully to one’s authentic self – it means one steps up to take the helm of one’s own ship. It means being ruled by no one other than one’s authentic self, being self-mastered. It means throwing off the masks and shackles of coercion, manipulation, or deceit so that one can by guided by the deep wisdom of innocence.

This makes me think of a Feri proverb that I’m told comes from Victor Anderson:

“Never submit your life force to anything or anyone for any reason.”

This very much is taking the helm of our own ship, being “self-mastered”.

It’s what T. Thorn Coyle calls being “self-possessed”.

Image from gothamist blog.

When a spirit or god possesses you, that being controls you.  It’s very intimate.  Possession is practiced in many traditions, including Voudou and some branches of Feri.  It can also be seen in Charismatic Christian churches with the Holy Spirit, though most wouldn’t use the term “possession”.

This is different from what most of the West thinks of as possession, the idea of a demon forcefully taking control of someone, where the person has no choice or control, and the possession is basically permanent.  This version is basically spiritual rape.  It does happen, though what’s a demon, and what’s a spirit is another question.  Even in occult and witchcraft circles, not just Christian circles, there are exorcisms performed because of this type of possession.  Though this is the type of possession most people in the “Christian world” (the Western, developed world) think of, this isn’t the only type, and not the type I’m talking about.

The type I’m talking about is voluntary and usually temporary.  The priest, the person being possessed, has a measure of control, choices to be possessed, and regains control at the end.  It is a form of worship, and is a great source of power and magic.

Thorn’s term “self-possession” builds on this idea.  But instead of surrender to a spirit, to something external, you surrender to your own will, your own soul.  It’s about taking full control of your own life, owning your actions, being conscious of your actions.  It’s about living consciously, being present in the moment instead of being on auto-pilot.  It is knowing yourself in all your parts.  In Kissing the Limitless, Thorn says the following about self-possession:

When we see a person who seems collected, confident, and stable, we may say that he or she is “self-possessed.” That meaning reflects some internal mastery cultivated by the individual. This mastery is a large part of what I mean by self-possessed. I am speaking of an individual who has done the work to know himself, and who has faced himself unflinchingly and learned to love what he sees. This person has integrated many of her parts, and remains essentially the same in any situation or in the midst of any emotion. By self-possession I mean all of this and something more as well.


Feri Tradition artist Anaar, says simply that our goal is becoming self-possessed.[6] Not initiated. Not holding power over other people. Not commanding forces outside of ourselves. Our goal is to possess ourselves, fully, in every moment.

Self-possession is the quality of being fully in touch with all of one’s parts and aware of the relationship those parts have to our own divinity, known as our God Soul or our Sacred Dove. Since the God Soul is connected to all things, establishing a constant link to this places us into concert with the All-encompassing. Self-possessed, we open fully to an awareness of ourselves as a point of matter anchoring the endless flow of spirit and energy. In this stage we not only have knowledge of our divine natures, we have active conversation with it.

Image from Heather Louise
Photography on Flickr

To do that, we need to know ourself as we truly are.  We use masks and walls to hide our true selves.  Some masks we create ourselves.  Others are created and placed on us by our childhood, our parents, our peers, our bosses and coworkers, our family, our friends, our enemies, society, culture, religion, and many other things.  We need to strip these masks away and see what’s underneath.  Masks can be very useful, but only as a tool.  We need to use our masks, not let them use us.  Masks are for a task, to do something in our lives or practices, not define us, not to control us, not to be what we see.  To be self-possessed, to be “self-mastered”, we need to take off the masks when we look in the mirror and truly see the “us” that is underneath all the masks.

Our culture thinks of Innocence, or rather innocence, as a state of ignorance and naivety.  We think you preserve innocence by protecting a child, isolating them from the world.  The innocent don’t know good or evil, don’t know about death or sex, about pain, suffering, sorrow, loss.  We think of the new born infant.  We think of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, naked, chaste, ignorant, powerless.  To know is to lose innocence.  To remain innocent is to never know.

Pandora by blackeri
on DeviantArt.

When you view innocence this way, innocence is lost and can never be regained.  I’ve seen Christians who come to Christ later in life, “washed in the blood of the Lamb”, try to ignore the world, pretend that there isn’t hurt or pain, suffering or violence.  But once you know these things, there’s no going back.  It’s like Pandora, opening the box and releasing these things into the world.  Once it’s opened, it’s opened.

But still in the box was one last thing: hope.  Innocence isn’t lost, we just forget how to be innocent.  Innocence isn’t about ignoring the pain in the world.  It’s found in accepting that it’s there and moving on.  It’s kind of like the Buddhist concept of Enlightenment through detachment.  To the Buddhist, suffering is caused by attachment to the things of the world.  Only by getting rid of attachment do you bring an end to suffering.  Except detachment is a lack of emotions and desire, and Innocence is full of emotion, pure desire.  Innocence is the way Fetch looks at the world, and Fetch is filled with emotions and instincts, like the wild animals in the African proverb at the top.  In Fetch, we find Innocence.  Talker will always dwell on what she sees in the world, all those “negative” things I listed, the things that make us forget Innocence.  So we must turn to Fetch and see the world through her eyes.

A song by Jewel comes to mind, Innocence Maintained.  The chorus says:

We’ve made houses for hatred
It’s time we made a place 
Where people’s souls may be seen and made safe
Be careful with each other
These fragile flames
For innocence can’t be lost
It just needs to be maintained

Innocence, like Fetch, is concerned with connectedness.  When Fetch touches something, she leaves a connection to it, an aka thread.  Part of its substance flows into her and part of her substance flows into it.  Fetch is part of everything around her.  Part of Innocence is seeing the divinity in other and respecting them because of it.

Back to self-possession, [info]heartssdesire goes on to say:

Then, I realized, I couldn’t come up with a proper name for this condition. It isn’t anarchy, rule by no one. If there were a name it might be something more like autarchy: self-rule, mastery of the self. That word, I discover, already exists, but its meaning in usage is more like autocracy – rule by one person over others. Or perhaps autonomy will serve; it is closest in meaning to what I’m looking for, but interestingly its literal significance is self-naming. Knowing one’s own name. In legend it is often seen that to name something is to own it, to master it. Perhaps that is it.

Baal Shev Tov
from Judaica Art.

Knowing one’s own name is very much important here.  In the White Goddess, Robert Graves talks about the Battle of the Trees, about the riddle.  The man could not be overcome unless his true name was known.  Gwydion guessed his name, Bran, and hence could overcome him.  It is said the Baal Shev Tov (Master of the Good Name), a famous Kabbalist, knew and had mastery over the true name of G-d.  He could work all types of miracles because of it, for to have power over G-d is to have power over His creation.  Unless we know our own true name, we can never hope to be our own masters.  We let others name us, to define who we are, and so, they are masters over us.  Only by knowing our selves can we give ourselves our own name, and be masters over our own destinies.  It is in knowing, fully knowing, ourselves in all our parts that we overcome Fate and become masters of our own destiny.

[info]heartssdesire goes on to say:

That is the Black Heart’s gift. When we have stripped away the layers of false selves we were wearing, torn away the habits of thought and feeling that do not belong to us, liberated ourselves from self-coercion, self-deceit, and we step into the Black Heart state, its gift is a radiant, black light that makes all things transparent to the gaze of innocence. That black light illuminates the chambers of the soul and shows us our true name. To speak a name is to invoke that being. The Black Heart lets us invoke our most true being to step forward and claim self-guidance of our lives, take the helm of our own ship, be master of ourselves. The Black Heart’s gift is sovereignty.

When I think of sovereignty, I think of Kether, the Crown, in Kabbalah, and of Malkuth, Kingdom.  The Crown has sovereignty over the Kingdom.  Kether is the King, the Throne, Kingship.  But what is a King without a Kingdom?  What is the King without the Land?

Image from Mythic Meditations blog.

This is shown in the story of the Fisher King that became part of the Arthurian Legends.  The Fisher King is a Graal story.  The basic story is that the Fisher King is ill, both physically and of heart.  Because of this, so is the Land.  There is drought, there is sickness.  For the Land to be healed, the Fisher King must be healed.  So he sends out his men in search of the Holy Graal which can heal anyone who drinks from it.  There’s three parts here:  the King, the Land, and the Graal.  Without the Graal, the King will die, and with the King, the Land.

In his second letter to Joe Wilson, Robert Cochrane said:

Some groups seek fulfillment in mystic experience – this is correct if one does not forget the duty of ‘involvement’ – the prime duty of the wise. It is not enough to see The Lady, it is better to serve Her and Her will by being involved in humanity, and the process of Fate (The single name of all God’s is ‘Fate’). In fate, and the overcoming of fate is the true Graal, for from this inspiration comes, and death is defeated. There is no fate so terrible that it cannot be overcome – whether by a literal victory gained by action and in time, or the deeper victory of spirit in the lonely battle of the self, Fate is the trial, the Castle Perilous in which we all meet to win or to die – Therefore, the People are concerned with Fate –for humanity is greater than the Gods’, although not as great as the Goddess. When Man triumphs, fate stops and the Gods are defeated – so you understand the meaning of magic now. Magic and religion are aids to overcome Fate, and Fate is a cradle that rocks the infant spirit.

So, “In fate, and the overcoming of fate is the true Graal, for from this inspiration comes, and death is defeated.”  I alluded to this above to overcoming Fate.  Our sickness, that which hides Innocence from us, is only healed with the Graal, with overcoming Fate.  Because we are sick, so is the Land.  In this case, the Land being the things in our lives, our relationships, our jobs, our spiritual practices.  Kether, the Crown, the King, is our divine nature, and Malkuth, Kingdom, the Land, is our human nature.  In the Graal, our divine nature, Kether, and our human nature, Mulkuth, become one.  The King and the Land are one.

Innocence is the Graal, and we must drink from her to be healed, to gain sovereignty, for the King and the Land to be one.  The Graal, Innocence, is Fetch.  The Land is Talker.  The King is Godself.

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them
by  Charles Christian Nahl.
Image from 1st-Art-Gallery.
Black Heart
By Muninn’s Kiss

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling a together;
and a little child will lead them.
~Isaiah 11:6 NIV

Black Heart,
Shining in the darkness.
Black Heart.
Black Heart of Innocence.

The wolf stalks her prey,
Slowly walking,
Slowly slaking,
Closing in,
Down in comes.
Black Heart.

The mouse trembles,
Staying still,
Don’t see me,
Walk on by.
It’s slowing,
The mouse tenses.
It turns,
Black Heart.

Little child sits,
Crayon in hand,
Paper before him.
He pauses,
He smiles,
He begins.
Crayon on paper,
Bright colours,
He draws the truth,
Truer than what he sees with his eyes.
The world within.
Black Heart.

Nimue stands,
Watching over them all.
She smiles,
They are hers,
Her people,
Her children.
Their innocence in hers,
Death and life,
Black Heart.

Black Heart,
Shining in the darkness.
Black Heart.
Black Heart of Innocence.

~Muninn’s Kiss

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Posted by on May 9, 2011 in muninnskiss


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"I am the queen: of every hive"

“Holy Mother, in Whom we live, move and have our being, from You all things emerge and unto You all things return.” ~Victor Anderson

Mary the Virgin Mother of God.
Image from Cyberbrethren blog.

Though Mother’s Day is a “greeting card holiday” invented by the greeting card companies and flower companies to sell their goods (*NOTE: Not accurate. See comments), motherhood is holy and important to life.  I have big issues with people who say women’s only worth is in being a mother.  You should have that choice, and there is power is the non-maternal feminine as well as the maternal feminine.  But there is something special about motherhood, for life ceases without birth, and there’s not birth without the mother.  And obviously no birth without the feminine.  There’s power in the masculine, but life comes from the feminine (Unless you’re Krana, “He who creates for himself”).

The Faery Star Goddess
w/Winged Serpent
by Storm Faerywolf.
Image from his website.

There are various versions of the creation myth in Feri, but they all begin with the Star Goddess, God Herself, the Holy Mother.  From Her Womb comes the worlds.  Or all of creation is Her Womb.  In some versions, the Divine Twins are her first born.  In others, the Blue God.  In others, Nimue, who is the Black Heart of Innocence.  The 72 Bright Spirits are her children.  The gods are her reflections, but they are her children.  They are her and they are her offspring.  And we are one with the gods.

Miriam watching Pharaoh’s
daughter taking baby Moses
from  reeds.  Image from
Sathyaveda Ministries.

Mari is the purest form of the Star Goddess as Mother.  Mari who became Miriam to the Hebrews and the Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother, to the Christians, especially to the Catholics.  Especially in Mexico, Mary, the Blessed Mother, is more than just the mother of Jesus, but the mother of all, at least spiritually.  Which makes sense if Christians are adopted as co-heirs with Christ.  Go to Mexico and observe the rituals and worship of Mary, and you will see she truly is Queen of Heaven to them.

Maiden, Mother, Crone
by Ithilyen on DeviantArt.

The feminine is often seen in witchcraft traditions, and other traditions, in threes, the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone.  This is seen in many religions and myths, though how much of it is us applying a modern model to understand ancient myths that may or may not be that simple, who knows?  In Feri, we have Nimue, the Maiden, Mari, the Mother, and the Anna, the Crone, but they are a continuum, not all there is.  Their ages aren’t constant and they bleed into each other.  Isn’t Nimue with a sword protecting children from abuse a Mother role?  Isn’t the Anna as grandma teaching her grand children just a continuation of the role of Mother?  It’s like the Sephiroth in Kabbalah.  Each Sephirah can be seen and considered separately, but in reality, each contains all the others.  All separation is an illusion.  Motherhood can be found in all things.

Splitting the Atom
by zy0rg on DeviantArt.

One version of the Feri creation story, God Herself is the proton, giving birth to the first electron and dark neutrino, the Divine Twins.  This is the “Big Bang”, the process that starts the universe.  Even in the splitting of an atom, we can see Motherhood.

Robert Cochrane said the following in his sixth letter to Joe Wilson:

The feminine Mysteries are the deeper – connected with the slow tides of creation and destruction, of the cycle of life and death. they are best expressed in the pentagram – Life/Birth, Love, Maternity, Wisdom, Death/Resurrection. They are connected with all things that grow – all creatures of flesh – fertility and sterility – the mystery of the woman who is Virgin/Mother/Hag in one person. They are in essence the cycle of life, and the universality of life – and they express themselves in deep intuition and feelings – in other world terms they control the unconscious, as the male controls the conscious.

In RC’s version of the Pentagram, the third point is Maternity, Motherhood.  The pentagram here is the cycle of life.  Birth, Life, the first point, comes into the world through Motherhood.  The five points are connected and can’t be separated.  In his fifth letter, he said:

I found your interpretation of the five Queen lines of Amergin of great interest, since it shows you are well on the road. Basically, they follow the Pentagram, that is Life, Love, Maternity, Wisdom, Death. Obviously, since the interpretation of the Faith is deeply personal, we differ somewhat in our approaches but basically we seem to be traveling in the same direction.

This is discussing the Song of Amergin, based on Robert Graves’ version in the White Goddess.  The relevant lines are:

I am the womb: of every holt,
I am the blaze: on every hill,
I am the queen: of every hive,
I am the shield: for every head,
I am the tomb: of every hope.

Queen bee.  Image from Connections.

Maternity, Motherhood, is the Queen, who rules over every hive.  The symbolism is the queen bee, which is of course the mother of the whole hive.  The hive is one, each bee part of the whole.  The queen’s pheromones dictate what happens in the hive.  So too the mother in a household is a guiding force, whether actively or passively.  And the Great Mother of us all influences our actions, “Old Fate, the major deity of all true witches.”

In the first quote from RC, you can once again see the Maiden/Mother/Crone, or in his words, Virgin/Mother/Hag.

There is one more place he talks about the pentagram.  I’ll include it here for completeness, but let you digest it and come to your own conclusions to his challenge.  In his third letter to Norman Gill, he said:

Above the head of the Moon, as shewn in the diagram lies five (seven) other stars, known as the Goddesses, that is they are to be seen in The Plough or Haywain. They fall into this sequence: Life, Love, Maternity, Wisdom, and Death. Since I maintain that knowledge is understood more fully if one has to work for it, I leave you to fit your own interpretation upon the five (seven) Stars, and how they fit as Queens within the Castles. By looking at the diagrams of both the Moat and the Mill, it is possible to see how they become Queens, and also why in ancient mythology, why the Queen was always considered to play a harlot, or fallen woman. In other words, by the juxtaposition of King and Queens, it is possible to work out a magical formula concerned with (a) aspects within the Mask, as one would use a Qabbalistic tree, and (b) an insight into the control of the four basic elements.

Sarah holding Isaac.
Image from Jesusfootprints blog.

I’ve talked before about the Partzufim, the Faces of G-d in Kabbalah.  One of these is Imma, Mother.  She is Binah, the upper sea, Understanding.  Imma is the Earth Above, and Abba, Father, is the Heaven Above.  Imma gives birth to the Heaven Below and the Earth Below, Ze’ir Anpin and his Nukva respectively, the Son and the Daughter.  Imma is represented as Sarah and Rebecca in Genesis.  Sarah was Abraham’s wife and the mother of Isaac.  Sarah can been seen in the Crone role if you like, but even though she as in her 90s and had gone through menopause, she still conceived and gave birth to Isaac.  Rebecca was Isaac’s wife and the mother of Esau and Jacob.  Not much is said about her, except that she favoured Jacob over Esau and helped Jacob, the Trickster, to trick Esau out of his birth right, then trick Isaac into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob.

Venus of Willendorf,
female figure, 22,000-21,000 BCE.
Image from Eris’ Wish blog.

Though there’s a decrease in the respect younger generations are giving to mothers (and fathers for that matter), and though there is a growing trend of women choosing not to be mothers, started with the feminist movement with women seeking careers instead of family, over all Western culture still revers and respects Motherhood.  It’s symbolic of life, in a culture that fears death.

Birth of Stars
(NASA, Chandra, 10/7/08)
Image from NASA’s Marshall
Space Flight Center Flickr page
From Her Mother’s Sacred Skirts
By Muninn’s Kiss

There she stands,
In the midst of Space,
God Herself is here.
Great Mother of all,
The sacred Womb,
From whom we all have come.
Robes of Darkness,
Deepest Night,
All stars shine from it.
A thousand suns,
A million lights,
Upon Her sacred skirts.
In Her Pleasure,
Life conceived,
A child is born today.
A baby girl,
A wild one,
Young Nimue coming forth.
In the midst,
Of darkest Night,
A little girl comes forth.
Nimue’s seen,
Beneath the skirts,
Peaking out at us.
Slowly stepping,
Out to us,
From her Mother’s sacred skirts.

Drawing of Saint Zita,
a servant who lived
the Rule of 1221.
Image from
The Children of My Soul
By Muninn’s Kiss

I am a mother,
Though my womb has born no child.
The ones I help,
The helpless ones,
Are the children of my soul.

I am a mother,
Though my womb has born no child.
The ones I teach,
The seeking ones,
Are the children of my soul.

I am a mother,
Though my womb has born no child.
The ones I heal,
The sickly ones,
Are the children of my soul.

I am a mother,
Though my womb has born no child.
The ones I feed,
The hungry ones,
Are the children of my soul.

I am a mother,
Though my womb has born no child.
The ones I free,
The hopeful ones,
Are the children of my soul.

I am a mother,
Though my womb has born no child.
The ones I bless,
The hurting ones,
Are the children of my soul.

I am a mother,
Though my womb has born no child.
The ones I comfort,
The fearful ones,
Are the children of my soul.

~Muninn’s Kiss


Posted by on May 7, 2011 in muninnskiss


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Death: We are the stars…

“The god of death, the wind, the underworld, the ever-burning entrance to hell, the knife-edge, poison, serpent, and fire – women are all of these in one.” ~The Ramayana

The Throne of Hell
in the Superman comics.
Image from  ComicVine.

Death is very important in many cultures.  Gods and goddesses of Death, and ones of the Underworld, are quite common around the world.  In our modern culture’s drive to avoid Death, we tend to demonize any god of death or the Underworld.  They become Satan to us.  It’s interesting that Satan became the ruler of Hell in Christian mythology, since in the Bible, he isn’t thrown into Hell until the end of the world, and he definitely doesn’t rule there.  It is Hades ruling the Underworld that became Satan ruling Hell.

In Mesoamerica, Death was, and still is, especially important, and most of the cultures in that area had more death deities than any other type.  And most death deities and images were also those of fertility.  This connection is found in Europe as well, the seed dies and from it comes life.

One set of deities, Mictlantecuhtli and Mictecacihuatl, ruled the lowest, northern part of the Underworld, Mictlan, in Aztec mythology.  The story goes that the bones of the gods of the previous world, the fourth sun, were kept in Mictlan.  After Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca created this current world, Quetzalcoatl and his twin, Xolotl, went to Mictlan to get the bones.  Mictlantecuhtli agreed to give them, but didn’t want to give them up to tried to stop them from leaving Mictlan.  Quetzalcoatl dropped the bones and some of them broke, but he gathered them up and made it out.  He gave the bones to Cihuacoatl, who grinds them up, then the gods add their blood and the humans of our world are formed.

Mictlantecuhtli sculpture at
the museum of the Great
Temple in Mexico City.
Image from Wikipedia.

Mictlantecuhtli’s head is usually portrayed as a skull with eyes intact.  Sometimes he has a human body and sometimes a blood splattered skeleton.  Sometimes he has a head dress of owl feathers and sometimes of knives (representing the wind of knives).  Sometimes he has a necklace of human eyeballs, or clothes made of paper.  The plugs in his ears were made of human bones.  The Aztecs sacrificed humans to Mictlantecuhtli, and sometimes worshiped him by eating human flesh.  He is described both horrible, tormenting souls, and benevolent, giving life.

Image from Aztec
Gods blog

It was Mictecacihuatl’s job to guard the bones of the dead.  As a result, she presided over Aztec festivals.   I can’t find much more details about her.  Many believe she evolved into Santa Muerte.

Third of the stars falling.
Image from Catholic Caveman blog.

Both of them are described as having their jaw wide, to swallow the stars during the day when they enter the Underworld.  The idea of them swallowing the stars brings to my mind the third of the stars falling from the sky into the sea in the Book of Revelations in the Bible (which some relate to the fall of Satan and his angels after waring against God and the angels led by Michael, and then being kicked out; this is where the idea of a third of the angels following Satan came from) and of all the stars falling from the sky into the sea in The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis.  It brings to mind the death of stars and the end of the universe.

Black Mother #1 by
Storm Faerywolf.
Image from his website.

I picture the Anna and the Arddhu standing at the Gates of Death, the stars falling from the sky.  I also think of Storm’s description and invocation of Black Mother, the Feri Guardian of the North in some lines.

Close-up view of a
Santa Muerte south of
Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
Image from Wikipedia.

Santa Muerte (Saint Death) was underground and hidden in Mexico.  Only recently has she become more public, and she is condemned and not accepted by the Mexican Catholic Church.  She is depicted as a skeleton, and is usually robed.  Ofter she is holding a scythe and a globe, the scythe representing both the harvest and death, and the globe for Death’s dominion over the earth.  She is the Lady of the Shadows, the White Lady, the Black Lady, the Holy Girl, and the Skinny One.  She is thought to preside over the Day of the Dead in early November, much like Mictecacihuatl presiding over Aztec festivals.

I’d like to look at a few mentions of Death in Robert Cochrane’s writings.

Fire, as such is the province of Alder, the God of Fire, of Craft, of lower magic and of fertility and death. ~Third letter to Joe Wilson

Here we see the tie between death and fertility that’s so prevalent in Mesoamerica.

The Thorn is Death or the process of Fate and as such the first principle, of the Broom. ~Fourth letter to Joe Wilson

 So Death is the process of Fate.

The Wizard is Merridwen, the Sky re-creating Life out of Death ~Fourth letter to Joe Wilson

This is what we see of the stars being eaten during each day but reborn the next evening.

 Even death is movement, one disintegrates and is recreated. The past moves in the future, since past shapes the future to come – this is Fate. ~Fourth letter to Joe Wilson

Here we bring together the two.  Death becomes life reborn, we are the stars, eaten each morning but reborn each evening.  This is Fate.

~Muninn’s Kiss

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Posted by on May 7, 2011 in muninnskiss


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