I Am Aradia!

Aradia

Aradia: Or the Gospel of the Witches of Italy by Charles Leland. One of the most influential books on modern witchcraft.

#Metoo 

Have you seen this hashtag lately? It’s all over social media. The purpose of the hashtag is to bring awareness to the fact that women have been sexually harassed and/or sexually assaulted. The more the hashtag appeared on my feed, the more I realized that all of the powerful women I know were brought down to their knees by the simple fact that “No” was not enough. Men are a threat. They always have been. Even in places where women are empowered, men are still a threat.

The Legend
Aradia is considered by many in Neopaganism and modern Witchcraft as a demigod Hero (even a Goddess). Her legend can be found in Leland’s “Aradia, Or the Gospel of the Witches of Italy.” According to the Mythos, the Goddess Diana made love to Her brother Lucifer. Lucifer is the God of the Sun, the Moon, and Splendor. At the time that Aradia was set to be born, many were rich but many more were poor. The poor were slaves. This situation is similar today.

The Mission
Aradia is the daughter of Diana and Lucifer. She is the enigmatic Hero and Goddess who was commissioned by Her Mother to come down to Earth and teach the art of Witchcraft to the masses: both women and men. The poor, the oppressed, the outcast: these are the people to whom Aradia was sent to empower. The slaves of the rich. The oppression of women threatens them with a type of slavery (or, in many cases in other countries, they are). Mental, emotional, and physical pain often find their way to them via the violence of men. Around the world in such places as India and Afghanistan women are consistent targets of rapes and murders. Here in the United States women’s rights have been rolled back by pompous men who seem to denigrate women’s own choices on sex and healthcare.

Her mission, in all, was to bring liberty. How? She passed onto them Magic. Magic to oppress your enemies, to manipulate the weather, to cause their enemies’ crops to die, and even cause the death of their oppressors.

But Harm None? 
Sorry folks, but this was pre-Rede. Witchcraft is grit and dirt. It is steeped in the power of Nature melded with the capabilities of the human mind. The Rede should not apply when you are being targeted because of your gender. It’s time to fight back. Use all of your power and influence. It’s time to reclaim your birthright as a Daughter of Aradia…nay, the spirit of Aradia Herself dwells within you.

Aradia was beautiful as she was dangerous. So are you. Women have ultimate power over their own bodies. They should have power in the workplace, in the home, and in every inch of their lives. Women are the oppressed gender, make no mistake about that. To deny it is to silence their voices. It is to be hypocritical.

“But I am not the oppressor!” 
it is not just about you being an oppressor or not. It is about awareness. It is about knowing that women on the daily experience harassment of some kind. Some men laugh about it. Some men ignore it. Others perpetuate it, eventually taking it beyond levels with simple “fun” into aggression and violence.

Crossed a Line

As a man in the Craft, I know I am part of a religion which gives strength and voices to women. But that doesn’t make me guiltless. How many times have I jokingly laughed at what I thought was funny but turned out it wasn’t okay with her? How many times did I refuse to pay attention when others did the same? How many times did I make an innocent remark that was uncalled for? It doesn’t always matter with your intent. What matters is how women deal with this on a daily basis and now they have to put up with you too. They may say it’s fine, but they may say it because they are afraid to lose their job or to even entertain conflict. To be viewed as a troublemaker, a bitch, a whining girl.

Men, now is the time to step up and say “I believe you.” Women are Aradia. They embody Her power and spirit. They need their voices heard. They need us to step back from the conversation about what is right for them and let them take charge of it…without your input. It’s not always needed. It’s definitely not always wanted. Remember whenever a woman needs to find their personal power, that she is the body and soul of the Goddess.

Women: you ARE Aradia!

Eirene kai Hugieia!
(Peace and Health!)
~Oracle~

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Remember The Dead

Myrrh Gum Burning

Myrrh Gum Burning. Myrrh is often used in Underworld workings for the blessed dead.

Many in the Neopagan and Witchcraft communities state that at this season, as Samhain approaches, the veil between the worlds is becoming thin. Personally, I have a difficult time with that concept seeing as the veil tends to be continuously in motion around me. Basically, I think no veil exists. If it did, communing with my spirits would be a difficult thing.

What Veil? 
I think a lot of people would agree with me on this. There has been an objection raised that what is meant by the term “thinning of the veil” is that even people who are not involved in the Neopagan and Witchcraft communities can sense there is something “else” in the air. I still don’t know about that. Roman Catholics have their sacred days at the end of October and the beginning of November. Many Christians have Harvest Festivals. Mexican-Americans and other Hispanics such as Bolivians have their Day of the Dead. I guess it seems like everyone has something about the Otherworld to celebrate; to bring the ancestors close to us. I just find it funny since, as a Hellenist as well, the dead aren’t necessarily celebrated right now. So it’s a cultural thing methinks. Besides, technically Samhain is a Celtic holiday which made its way into Wicca. Since Wicca is not a Celtic path, there is room to mix and match here. Anyway, the main thesis of this post is not to downgrade the season. Rather, it’s about to emphasize something important: veneration of the dead.

I once wrote that if my family got together and spoke to me once a year and walked away thinking I’m all better for it, they better think again. How do your ancestors feel? Samhain/Shadowfest/Feast of the Dead shouldn’t be the only time we commune with our beloved Dead. They have a right to commune with you, to be fed and honored.

A Part Of Us
Ancestral veneration seems to be in inherent part of humanity. We don’t just have special days designated for them, but we also instinctively seem to want to do it. As an example, when loved ones pass away, some folks build a small “shrine” with photos and mementos where they can be seen. People will toast to their memory on their birthdays. They’ll say “They were here today watching over you,” or even “So-and-so is an angel now.” None of this involves magickal rituals, just remembrance. For a particular person who might have had an extraordinary life or tragic death, a non-profit might be named in their honor to raise awareness of something dear to them. For major celebrity figures, a statue might be erected, or their home might have flowers, cards, alcohol, and other memorabilia stacked. This happened when Princess Diana passed away. Another celebrity was Harry Caray, a sportscaster who was known very well for his undying support of the Chicago Cubs. He once said, “Sure as God made green apples, someday, the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series.” As the Chicago Cubs entered the Play-Offs in 2016, people began putting green apples on the statue of Harry Caray, hoping it would bring “luck.” Something must have worked, because that was the year the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.

The Holy Days of Memory
The capability of the imagination and its link to Memory is something powerful. We build egregores and monuments. We light birthday candles sometimes or say, “Happy birthday Grandpa.” All of these are instinctual actions that help us venerate the dead, and we shouldn’t limit it to once per year. They need to be honored and fed. We need to talk to them. We need to celebrate their achievements. Why? Because when you honor them, you are honoring yourself. You are a part of a remarkable lineage of people who survived so much to be here: war, famine, plague, slavery, persecution, poverty, rebellion, and so much more. You have a lot to offer this world. Your ancestors made sure that they survived so you can be here. There is something inherently spiritual about that.

Memory is very tangible. It was so important to be remembered that many folks in the ancient world adopted others into their family if they had no children just to be remembered. Memory is what keeps us alive. We become part of the stream of consciousness that, like a river, is ongoing in the subconscious of our human race.

Before the Gods
I think Samhain and other holy days set aside for the dead should be simply when an entire community of strangers come together to honor everyone. I know that this is the definition of Samhain for many (a DUH from some), but you’d honestly be surprised how many forget about the ancestral dead after Samhain.

I was taught by Hekate to honor the ancestors in ritual before honoring the Gods, because it was the ancestors to whom knowledge of the Gods was discovered and to whom the sacred lore was passed down to. In turn they passed it down to the next generation, and they in turn to the next, etc. In addition, the ancestors are the closest thing to us who understand our trials and tribulations. While I honor the Gods, I also honor the ancestors. I pray to them constantly because they know my plights more than the Gods. The Gods, being Gods, might not sympathize with humanity as much. They have their own time table. They may not understand why we need that donation, or that paycheck. They may not understand how we need to cry and release our depression. Gods tend to separate from humans because of pollution (miasma) until we are purified again. But the ancestors? Being human spirits, they know what it is to be stuck in the metaphorical mud (sometimes literal). They know our suffering and desperation.

Remember: Honor your past so that your present has meaning and your future is blessed.

Eirene kai Hugieia!
(Peace and Health!)
~Oracle~

Dark Logic

Help

Dark Logic (n). – 1. Reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity in which suicide seems the avenue of valid choice. 2. The state or quality of being justified by Reason pertaining to the contemplation of suicide.

Depression
Dark Logic is a term I coined many years ago. Have you ever felt the depths of despair where the means of escape was nothing more than a simple cut away? Sometimes the emotional and mental agony is greater than any physical pain, and we want it desperately to stop. We try everything: therapy, pills, being baker acted when it comes to that…it all doesn’t seem to work. We try spells and exorcisms. We try to reach out to friends and families. We do everything we are supposed to do, but to no avail.

We’ve got this. We spread positive posts on social media. We reach out to encourage ourselves to get better, and we receive a lot of “likes” and “hearts.”

And then we feel like we are bothering everyone, and we hide. We made a big deal out of nothing. We’re okay, we tell ourselves. Everything is going to be alright. It will be alright. Right? I mean, I mean it. Don’t I? … … …

Seclusion
Sometimes we do the opposite: we seclude. We hide. Maybe not just physically. No, that might give away that something is wrong. We mustn’t let them think that. It’ll alert unwanted attention. We need to deal with this on our own. Our emotions are suppressed. We put masks on. A smiley face. Grins. Laughter…all the socially acceptable things to be embraced by our friends and family.

But we are desperately lonely. Behind the facade is unbearable sorrow. That sorrow can manifest in different ways:

  1. Anger: we are upset that others are so happy and that we can’t be. What is wrong with me?
  2. Irritability: Unlike anger, irritability is more moody than bouts of anger. We carry a grudge. We can’t explain it. But it’s there. Everything is annoying.
  3. Crying: We get emotional diarrhea and just cry. We are crying about anything and everything. Sometimes the grief is too much to carry so we look for anything that will trigger sadness so that we cry to release our emotions. Think of this method as an emotional equivalent to physical cutting.
  4. Moroseness: We brood. We walk around and nearly everyone can sense the blackness around us. There is no rhyme or reason. It’s just “who we are.”

Suicide
I was thinking about subtitling this one into something else, like “The Unthinkable.” But it needs to get out there. Sometimes this word is largely taboo. We don’t use it. It’s a sin to many. But for others, it’s the only way out of this misery called life.

Different things can trigger dark logic. It can be from overwhelmed responsibility that we don’t want or can’t carry anymore, to absolute loneliness, to nothing at all. Just a mental illness where nothing makes sense but for not being a burden anymore. Mind you. none one of these excludes the other. We all carry within us a sense that the Sacred is empty. We dance with Death rather than Life. It’s the only logical choice...

But is it?

Logic is what got us here. But can we successfully accept our emotions and state of being without compromising the life we still have yet to live? I’ll say it plainly: you are a gift. I’m not here to lecture you about how suicide is a selfish act and harms your family. I’m here to let you know that sometimes you need to live. Sometimes it is an act of courage to be around, because we all feel the pain. All of us, at one time or another, have thought about it. Some of us have gone further. And some of us have gone further still and ended it all.

The problem is society: how we look at those moments of mental illness. Some of us act on the very urges that the majority of the population thinks about, and yet we are the ones vilified for it. We are rejected before we even cut, swallow, or pull the trigger. That is one of the major sources: rejection. Rejection of us. Becoming the outcast. Being made the outcast, even when we fit in. Remember this much:

You aren’t meant to just be the outcast. They are. You were born to stand out. So stand out. Dance with Death and Life. Play in the shadows and be illuminated in the light. Let your mind, will, and emotions be at peace. Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the state of contentment, even if temporary. To be satisfied in that contentment is happiness. Happiness is temporary. And that’s okay. We can’t always find things which make us happy. Sometimes it’s about discovering the darker parts of who we are in order to fully gain wholeness. Sometimes we need that Shadow to help measure our strengths and weaknesses. There is no shame in Dark Logic. There is no shame period. We are who we are. Some of us need healing on many levels before we are able to fully comprehend ourselves and find how we fit with those whom we surround ourselves with.

So dance my friend. Dance. You’re in pain. I know it hurts. I know because I have been there as well. I know because I survived when I needed to. I know because this path we have been taken connects us as kin. We are not alone. We have one another. Remember that.

Eirene kai Hugieia!
(Peace and Health!)
~Oracle~

Descent, Incubation, Resurrection

Incubation
Votive relief of Asclepius healing a dreamer, from the Asklepieion of Piraeus. 4th century.
Source: Archaeological Museum, Piraeus, Greece.

Dreams. Many cultures throughout the world – both ancient and contemporary – have given rise to the belief that the Dreaming is another world. A separate entity, bordering our own. Perhaps its own nexus of Reality. In the Odyssey, a woman by the name of Penelope (the husband of Odysseus) speaks of two different dreams. Homer writes of what she says:

“Stranger, dreams verily are baffling and unclear of meaning, and in no wise do they find fulfillment in all things for men. For two are the gates of shadowy dreams, and one is fashioned of horn and one of ivory. Those dreams that pass through the gate of sawn ivory deceive men, bringing words that find no fulfillment. But those that come forth through the gate of polished horn bring true issues to pass, when any mortal sees them. But in my case it was not from thence, methinks, that my strange dream came.”(1)

Deception and Fulfillment. What doesn’t come to pass and what does come to pass. Both are the points on either side of a spectrum of possibilities. And when we Dream, the possibilities are endless. Why am I writing about dreams? Because my journey into where I am at now began with a Dream.

The Dream 
At the Spring Equinox in 2010, I had a dream about Alex Sanders. This is the first time I am writing about it publicly. I feared for a long time to even pen this because I didn’t want to be looked at funny. I did not want to receive any ire from the Alexandrian Community, and I certainly did not want to offend anyone. In 2010 I knew nothing about the Alexandrian Tradition. That’s not true: I knew it was a British Traditional Wiccan Tradition began by a man who was called “King of the Witches.” But my immersion at the time was in Stregheria, and in the ways of Graeco-Roman-Egyptian magick (Alexandrian Hermeticism I might call it). I was also very interested in Gardnerian Wicca, and I felt that it was that specific Tradition to which I was called to. I wanted to be a Gardnerian. That’s another story. Right now let’s focus on this Reality. This Dream. A dream within a Dream. Spirals and circles. They all meet together, coalescing and separating. Like Love and Strife. Aphrodite and Ares. Even Hephaistos. All have a hand or two in this perpetual dance.

Here was the dream (vision?) that I had of Alex:

I found myself sitting in a cozy chair by a fireplace. Between myself and Alex was a small table with some tea & snacks. He started telling me, “Do you know what it means to be King of the Witches?” I replied that I didn’t. He began explaining to me the significance of the Sacred King, the sacrifice, the Mask of the Horned One that the Priest must wear as his (in Alex’s words) “Vicar on earth.” Alex told me his life was a mask that he himself didn’t fully understand until he was close to death, and his struggle with his “identity” came from separating the Holy Mask from his human ones. The Sacred King, he told me, was something which came from the Holy Isle of Atlantis (mind you, I don’t believe in Atlantis, but apparently Alex did…or does.) He was not only a representative of the God, he WAS the God. He was the Lord of the tribes, and it was his energy which fertilized the land. Alex told me that it wasn’t so much the blood, but the occult nature within it which sustained the egregore of which the Sacred King was entrusted with. For those of you who do not know, an egregore is an occult term for what some psychologists might call the Group Mind, or the Hive Mind. It is the gestalt: the cohesion of both consciousness and subconsciousness within the spectrum of a social intelligence. It is the energy pooled by every person within an occult group, which is why screenings, secrecy, and privacy are so innate in Mystery Traditions. The Group Mind must be protected at all costs, and it is the job of a High Priest and/or High Priestess together who work to do just that.

Alex was lecturing me…no, he wasn’t. He was just talking to me. I was sitting and he was happy to share what he knew. What he was learning is more precise. Alex was considering himself a spiritual adventurer, tapping into the limitless potential of occultism. This was all he was telling me. He also told me that, as a Protector of the Tribe, he had to give his best. Alex told me he had been abused and used during his tenure as the Sacrificed King, and his time was coming to a close. There would continue to be questions about his role, but the Tradition needed, he felt, a new Sacrificed King. Someone to bear the burden of the Alexandrian Egregore, and guide it always.

To Awaken
In the Dream Temples of old, one was bathed and purified before entering the sacred. This purification might have gone on days or weeks, while sacred drink was given to you. There might have been some hallucinogen in the substance, but it was to prepare your imagination to be receptive to the Other. The veil of your Mind needs to be thin, and then both worlds can meet. Where both worlds meet in the consciousness, ecstasy occurs. Magick happens.

Since my last major post on this blog, I have incubated. I have spiritually slept, taking things in. My Temple disbanded, because people moved to different areas and interests changed. The Goddess Selene spoke and told another to start their own journey in an oracle given by me. I’m not upset. This is the way of things: cycles, spirals, change. In our Mythos, Nyx was reborn at the end of one multiverse cycle and the beginning of a new one. At the precipice is when She began to stir. I felt like Nyx: a precipice had come, and I was given the opportunity to continue or stay asleep. Instead, I took the opportunity to continue and breathe new life in my spiritual walk.

At the same time that my Temple began to come to an end, my journey found me contacting an Alexandrian coven. It would be a few months more that my Temple met and before Selene spoke, but I felt Alex’s pull. He inspired me to reach out. Perhaps it was the Magick of the coven as well, who called out for new members (unbeknownst to me). They too, had a Dream. They, too, walked in spirals. They too, had incubated for some time. Now it was time for the sleeper to awaken!

Resurrection
Awakening and Resurrection are two different things. To awake, one must be sleeping. To resurrect, one must be dead. Dead to yourself. Dead to everything. No pulse. No life. No quickening. The Flow has stopped, and Entropy has ensued. This is when the Dance stops: Aphrodite has united the elements, only for them to stagnate. They are ready for Strife: for the Axe of Areia and the blow of Hephaistos. They are ready for new life.

Sometimes we walk in peace, and wonder why still things don’t seem to be at their best within us. Sometimes the calm can be deafening, and the silence frightening. Sometimes “safe” should not be in our vocabulary. How can we live and break out, if safe is what we keep? Entropy. It is time to rise from the dead, and touch the energies of the Mother again. It is time to be back in the cycles, the spirals of the Dreaming, where Reality and Reality meet. You are there. You are the Nexus. All of it comes down to you and your choices. The decisions you make can break out into the multiverse into endless possibilities, but only YOU have the mind to make the decision that affects you and will, in turn, affect those around you. That Snowball Effect we will delve into in a later blog post. For now, let us return to my own journey, one in which I needed to resurrect.

I was dead inside. My relationships changed. My Temple was gone. My writing stilted. I separated myself, and compartmentalized everything where I tried to be the hero of my own problems. I caused so many of them upon me and everyone I loved dearly. Have you ever felt that way? Where you mess up, and you become the negative influence Facebook memes warned others about? I was that person. I won’t go into what I did, but I needed to find my Voice again.

…and I did.

Here I am. I am writing. My spirituality is awakened. Resurrected, actually. I am alive. And I only have more to give. My religious practices are integral, because they give me something to stand on. They grant me a passion to dance with life and cavort with death. I am an initiate of the Alexandrian Tradition. But my question continues: why me? I know I am an oracle. That much is certain about my calling. But why Alex visited me 7 years ago during the Spring Equinox is beyond me. Why he gave me that message is certainly beyond me. And, furthermore, why he visited me again is very much beyond my comprehension. Yes Alex Sanders made a couple of more visits to me. I don’t know if I should share them yet though. I’ll find out what Spirit says, and follow from there. For now, I encourage you to be content that in Dreaming lies your adventure. It is in the power of the Imagination that possibilities are born. And it is in the awakening and resurrection of yourself that you find the strength, courage, and power to come forth and speak your Truth to the world. Your Voice. And once you find it, do not let it go silent.

Eirene kai Hugieia!
(Peace and Health!)

~Oracle~

NB: Although in the vision Alex felt that a new Sacrificed King was needed, I encourage anyone who is Alexandrian who might read this to not think I have an agenda. I wrote a dream/vision. That is all. I have no agenda. Nothing. My goal is simply to share here what I felt Spirit wanted me to share. That is all. Thank you and blessings.

 

1) Homer, “The Iliad and the Odyssey.”