Maintaining Memory

Ancestral Altar

                               Ancestral Altar

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

It’s That Time of Year
This time of year is interesting in the NeoPagan world, because many of the people and groups influenced by Traditional Craft and are DIY Wiccans honor their ancestors on Samhain. By the by, DIY Wiccans is now my term of preference rather than “eclectic Pagans” and “NeoWiccans.” Feel free to use it. Anyway, Samhain is an important part of the NeoPagan Wheel of the Year. If you pick up any 101 book, it’s a night of sorrow and joy to feast with the departed. Many will even state that it’s a wonderful night to divine, and mediumship is popular. Black robes, lit candles, and processional chants with shrines hallowed for passed loved ones (including animals) are the highlight of the festivities. Some folks incorporate what’s known as a “Dumb Supper,” a silent meal shared by the community in honor of the beloved dead.

My quote above is not to go against the Wheel of the Year and be disrespectful towards this sacred day or the people who celebrate it. It is special and very important because it connects the community with the realization of Memory. But if the dead are so powerful and existent, why not continue to celebrate them beyond Samhain/Shadowfest/Feast of the Dead? They subsist as you and I do, but in a different reality than what many of us are used to. In this blog I won’t go into hauntings and my personal take on them. I don’t want to lose the focus here, which is that many modern communities, for the most part, have severed themselves from the living well of Memory. To many the dead aren’t as interactive and alive, or if they are they are not fed to maintain their egregore with the family unit.

The Wellspring of Memory
An abundant stream of consciousness that finds its source in the Underworld cauldron of wells and trees, the Wellspring of Memory is the most powerful contact that a people have with their lineage. It is something within our very DNA that births and links generations upon generations with their past, so that they might carry on the continued work of their ancestors. We honor the past by being alive, by overcoming the odds and becoming more than what we are on a daily basis. Each time we grow into self actualization, we are culminating into the peak of what our ancestors have fought and conquered so much for. Memory is a living fabric connected to the strings of Ananke, of Fate: a golden thread which connects all people. But in a family unit, a specific clan within a tribe within a nation, the clan is banded together with their own stories and songs which may be similar or different than the tribe and nation they belong to. And these stories and songs of the ancestors were passed down to succeeding generations at one time. People were proud of their heritage, and some still are. My own family is just discovering our lineage through mementos and photographs. We are informing one another, thanks to my mom who set the whole thing up, about our family histories. Knowing these informs me of my own spiritual practices. Why? Because I believe that blood and bone never die.

The Body of Memory
The immense information held deep within the blood and bones of who we are, the Body of Memory is the vessel that is evidence of the past succeeding into the present. It is the caricature of triumph held within our very flesh. Like I said above, if my family all spoke with me once a year and thought that was okay, they better think again. Many of us hate to be disconnected and feel alone. Loneliness is the requiem of companionship, and humans are nothing if not social creatures. We evolved that way. It’s how we’ve been able to thrive for hundreds of millennia. It’s not enough to know you meet someone and you have similar tastes in music, art, films, drinks, food, etc. It’s not enough to simply have a family or even friends around us, because loneliness is a disassociation of the soul: the soul has forgotten why the connection to the living exists in the first place. It has forgotten the message of Memory, the stream of consciousness connected to Ananke that underlies all of us. There is no clan, no Mythos, no tribe, no rites of passage to pass on the past to the present and give us hope for the future. We have forgotten that our bodies are a living testimony.

The Shrine of Memory
As the living are lonely, so are the dead. They aren’t frightening, just sad. Many folks have a shelf or several in their homes that has photos of the their departed loved ones. They frequently look at them and smile, saying, “Happy birthday dad” or “I miss you brother.” Today lots of folks also have Facebook pages up to memorialize the deceased. This is commendable, because it demonstrates that within our very being we are desiring to acknowledge that our bodies are the central whirlpools of energy within the stream of Memory: in other words, we are desperate to remember and keep something alive within us. The only way to be truly alive is to maintain the shrine of Memory. A shrine is a shelf or flat surface that acts as a house. This “house” has photographs and mementos of the beloved dead. Candles may be lit and offering bowls may be present. This shrine is the external manifestation of the internal stream. This is the central point that our inner energies are connected to. The building and maintaining of a shrine to the dead is not only ancient, but it is where we actually weave the strings of Memory and Ananke to tie us always to the spirits. We establish the foundation for an egregore. After that, it is up to us to continue to remember the dead not just by being alive, but by helping them to not be lonely. We need to acknowledge them all of the time. We need to feed them, care for them, and speak with them. They are desperate to speak and help us. Many, myself included, are learning or have learned to ask them for assistance rather than a Deity because the ancestors are closer to us. In my temple, we honor the dead before we call on the Gods, because it was our ancestors who taught us the stories of the people. They revealed the spirits and Gods. They contacted the Old Ones and shared these so that we might be able to have an identity and be a part of something greater than ourselves: to bring honor to them. Honoring ourselves is honoring them.

Random Commentary on Karma



I wrote a little bit about karma here. I touched on it briefly while attempting to communicate what I believe, based on the given research I had studied and continue to study, about the 3fold law. I have not backtracked from my commentary on the 3fold law in any way. However, karma is a different thing altogether, and here you will read that I have had to amend some things.

Late last year I began to study karma as it pertained to various sects of Buddhism and Sanatana Dharma (what many Westerners erroneously refer to as Hinduism). The sources are located at the end of this article, but I started with “The Vedic Origins of Karma” by H. W. Tull. Afterwards anything on Vedic Hinduism and from thence Buddhism drew my attention. What I came to realize (and am continuing to do so) is that there is an attempt at taking a borrowed word from a different religious mindframe and plug it into the English vernacular so it can be a justified term to skeptics. “Oh but karma is scientific and real: it just means action.” I’m guilty of this mistake.

Karma is moral causation. The actions and intents of those activities are at a precise level of propriety that dictates not only do our deeds affect others (which I still cling to: see the link above for the part on the “ripple effect”), but suddenly there is a morality clause. If I go out of my way to give some money to a homeless man, then that principled behavior ricochets good unto me, either in this life or the one to come. It is not enough to be kind, but the kindness itself has divine currency stamped onto it to ensure my virtuous account has positive transactions. Looking back over my life and examining it more thoroughly, however, here is my current thesis:

It’s bullshit. 

I don’t believe in karmic cycles because, honestly, the philosophy (in whatever school of thought) deals with the consequences of one’s actions which are rooted in both intent and behavior. But is it that simple? Does good make good and bad make bad? What if a person who has good intentions sets out to do a good deed, but it’s met with disastrous results? Or a person who has bad intentions and sets out to commit a societal wrong yet due to variables becomes successful in their venture at the expense of another? In my opinion, the underlying variables which are responsible for defining just what karma does and how it works cause the entire notion to be moot.

I know many folks who have attempted to redefine the word “karma” and make it part of Newton’s Third Law which is always summed up simply as:

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I have a brain injury but I’m ready to give myself another one when righteousness – not ethics – is trying to infiltrate science. That’s the same kind of nonsensical trappings which the Religious Right are attempting – and rather successfully in some parts of the States I might add – to subvert science curriculums by having intelligent design added. It’s rubbish.

Karma has little to do with questions of right and wrong and causality in the human experience, and it certainly has no equivalency to Newton’s Third Law. The mechanics of pushing a chair won’t determine you will become rewarded with winning the lottery. My coined phrase of “slingshot morality” is a form of narcissism in which our egocentrism demands to be given attention by the cosmos. In a universe where billions of planets and stars are being extinguished every hour (some perhaps with life on them) it makes no sense in the grand scheme of things. Barring factors which may influence our full capacity to execute behavior and personal ethical comprehension such as culture, mental illness, etc., the one fact remains that we are truly indeed responsible for ourselves. But we must keep in mind that bad things do happen to good people and vice versa.

The link above directs you to an article where I have used the imagery of a pond with ripples in an attempt to communicate the poetic essence of the number 3 in the 3fold law. If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to look back on that post first before continuing so you have a better grasp of where I am going.

Or just keep reading. That’s fine too.

The ripples magnify, but they also thin as they spread out further away from the source. So while my behaviors may have a more immediate impact on those close to me, it will begin having a negligible effect beyond my immediate circle. Which makes sense.

And then there are the unfortunate times when our personal choices are taken away from us: H.H. Holmes made decisions for dozens of women who wanted nothing better than to improve their lives. (Yes I am using serial killers and will be using third world countries as example:  let’s keep it real). Those women did not deserve their suffering. Neither did the victims of John Wayne Gacy, Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Hitler or Stalin. Rwandan women and children hacked alive have nothing to do with karma or the moral and ethical necessity of bringing their killers to justice. And no one deserves to lose their pensions or jobs because of corpotate greed at the top.

The natural world and karma are antithetical. It is not the karma of the deer to be kind to the wolf so that it can be spared. A wolf is a wolf and they make no apologies for their behavior. Our own actions are better predicated on the fact that we are evolved social primates with a larger stake within our smaller communities. It’s natural human behavior, and we should start calling it what it is, rather than falsely extrapolating a word to become a synonym in our vernacular and lose the attachments which originally and continue to define this word in a specific context for millions of people. This as opposed to some invisible thread that ties our decisions to have a cup of coffee on the morning after having a raunchy Dionysian orgy with a sex worker and worried that this will impact whether we get a Bentley or not. (And, for the record, that sounds like a good morning). Quantum interconnectedness is one thing (wyrd, ananke, etc), but moral absolutism in there is not gospel.

Supporters of karmic doctrine attempt to say that we have past lives that affect us, or that we all have lessons to learn. Really? Because I have enough problems in this life to concern myself about. The past is the past. It’s gone. Attempting to find the source for my love of chocolate from 5 lives ago as a Spanish monarch is ludicrous. Why can’t I just love chocolate? Why can’t I just have problems and learn to deal with them? That’s taking responsibility for my behavior through and through. For example, what lessons did Nepal and the people who live there need to learn? What past life sins did they commit? Has not that area and the people suffered enough under totalitarian regimes, poverty, famine, disease, war, and human trafficking.

I often wonder if karma – as defined by New Agers and other Westerners – is still a remnant of Christian ideology for a reward system based on behavior, like we desperately need for people to see us and pat our head to reassure us. Oy.

Eirene kai Hugieia!

(Peace and Health!)




Tull, H.W. (1989). The Vedic Origins of Karma: Cosmos as Man in Ancient Indian Myth and Ritual.

Egge, J. (2013). Religious Giving and the Invention of Karma in Theravada Buddhism. 

Richman, P.H. (2010). Karma and the Rise of Buddhism in the West. 

Doniger, W. (1980). Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions. 

Ophic Strix Creation Mythos: Nyx

"Woman Between the Stars" by Corila Chirila

“Woman Between the Stars” by Corila Chirila

She awoke, alone and unsure, in the vast void which cloaked Hir flesh. The Night Mother yawned within the gaping void and began singing a mournful song of loneliness and abandonment. And it is why to this day the people feel pain when in the dark and alone within.

She traveled until at last She could no further and came to the very edge of the Cosmos. Watching the mirror of pristine wonder, She suddenly saw Hirself in all of Her glory! Straightaway She was taken with craving and began to masturbate in pleasure at the fullness of what She was seeing. This was the First Gnosis and First Desire. At the burst of Hir orgasm emerged the billions of stars and rocks which swirled about the body of the Mother. Hir momentary brush with Death (the First Death) in orgasm gave birth to Eros and Thanatos: the sacred twins of the First Mother, the genesis of linked souls: male, female and neither.

At once the potential of life had burst forth from joy and pleasure, sex unhinged. And it is why to this day the people experience transcendent ecstasy when reaching orgasm: the twins meet again. In lust She craved to know Hirself once more, and immediately metamorphosed and surrendered Hir nature to the impulses of yearning love. It is why to this day when people feel the stirrings of painful love and longing, often their nature is surrendered to obtain that which they desperately desire.

Thus the suns, gravity, light, speed, sounds, music, sacred harmony and planets with life were made. Life forms evolved; the dance of Eros and Thanatos for survival within the peoples brought joy, suffering, hope, healing and pain. Grief, anger, and other spirits were made.

All this is so the Great Night Mother would know Hirself. She desires nothing more. And when that time comes for our own world when She is satisfied, She will retake the body of the Earth Mother and all Her siblings, and they will return to the bosom of Nyx, where all souls become part of a Greater Cycle still to come, and the threads of Ananke never tear us apart.

Eirene kai Hugieia!

(Peace and Health!)


A Poem For Nyx

Nyx by Destiny Alford on Prezi

Nyx by Destiny Alford on Prezi


“In the shadowed den I wandered,
searching, seeking, ever I pondered.
Her beauty veiled in Starry Night,
Hallowed Shadows dance in the Light.
Bounteous Mother, Ebony Queen,
Flowing with Grace, Thy face Unseen.
Honorable Nyx, from Thy Throne Above,
Dost Thou lavish Wisdom, Faith and Love.
From the World Below, Fire gives birth,
Virtue flows, healing the earth.”

-First written by me 03 February 2011

Eirene Kai Hugieia!
(Peace and Health!)

Oracle of Nyx

The Star Goddess

The Star Goddess

In Darkness is where Wisdom and Knowledge can be found. In the things we choose to ignore and not give any attention to – those are the very things that we should face and find the answers we always search for. We cannot runaway from the inevitable. Hekate teaches us to face the Dark and, not to confront it, but to embrace it. To unite and become integrated with our shadows, our fears, and ourselves.

In ancient times, Nyx was not only the personification of Night. She has a wealth of importance in the Witchcraft Traditions that are influenced by the Samothrakian and Orphic Mysteries. She is the First Mother, the Hermaphroditic Demiurge that masturbates to bring about the origins of the macrocosm. She is also the First Oracle, pronouncing Her utterances from Her Cave that exists at the very edge of the Kosmos. She is heavily linked to Underworld Deities such as Hekate and Persephone. But what does this mean?  It means She is there to teach us to dance to the rhythms of the universe as it whirls, that She is there to teach us that things in the background are ever-present. We transcend from Hekate teaching us to embrace the Darkness, to Nyx teaching us to live without fear and understand that the Darkness itself is Divine. Every part of us is Divine, and everything that we face, no matter how difficult and fearful, is something we must endure. Here is the pronouncement of the Nyx Oracle:
“I am the First Mother, the Dreamer whose Dreams weave the fabric of the Kosmos.
Raise your eyes and look into the Stars; My Body, My Being, is always Watching.
Out of Love I bore you, and out of Love I watch and embrace all that you are.
Raise your eyes and look into the Stars; I embrace you, hold you, always Watching.
I hold all things in Harmony, for Themis is my Daughter.
Raise your eyes and look into the Stars; they are my Light reflecting back to you.
In the Darkness Hope shines, patiently, from life unto life.
Raise your eyes and look into the Stars; Harmony and Balance burn and decay – to which shall you hold onto?
I am the Constant Void, the Eternal Dance, the Whirling Mother.
I am the Night that Breathes, and you, My Children, are My faces that shine from My dreams.”
Eirene kai Hugieia!
(Peace and Health!)