…………..this woman’s work

selected lines edited from my first published collection of work 1999 –  2006 :

‘Tubelos Green Fire’

 

The Mythos of the ‘People of Goda’, of the ‘Clan of Tubal Cain’ reveals an archaic spiritual heritage – of the ‘Sangraal’ Mysteries, of sacred priest kings, the serpent or ‘Dragon line of divine Kingship’… a symbience evolved from enigmatic benefactors of our kind. It is this ancestral legacy that we celebrate honour and revere within our rites and ceremonies. Traditional Craft draws heavily from the knowledge and wisdom imparted by these otherworld avatars, allowing us to fully explore the darker, deeper (hidden, secret) aspects of magical experience on the souls’ journey to gnosis. Robert Cochrane freely embraced ‘Luciferian’ gnosis within the philosophy taught and practiced within his own 60s group before a tragic and early death left much of his insightful legacy undeveloped.

His research and understanding of the ‘left hand path’ (Vama Marg) lives on in the current group – ‘The Clan of Tubal Cain’, by virtue of the ‘Rites of Transmission’, a direct inheritance, awarded and experienced through disciplined and sacred rites of kingship and kinship. The ‘sinister’ (Latin for) left-hand (as opposed to dexter for right-hand) path contains none of the modern connotations now sadly associated with this term. Traditional forms of Craft are still practised today in considerable variance. We may easily recognise many ancient pagan elements and themes, which, despite the Reformation have survived. Neo-Pagans, Wiccans and Traditionalists, have revived various ancient classical/hermetic practices.  According to the late Sybil Leek, witches were:

“women who have unusual powers of both Good and Evil, who manipulate supernatural forces, including invocation of spirit” (sorcery); put succinctly – witches work magic.

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How then may we differentiate a pagan from a witch?  A dictionary is not particularly helpful; the generic term – pagan (a country dweller/simple rustic), is a bit of a misnomer. Many city dwellers, often of high status, practising a variety of religions and philosophies such as Neo-Platonism were also classed as ‘pagans.’ In other words, anyone who remained outside the sophisticated state religion of Christianity was considered a pagan. By the early 6th -10th century Christians, ‘pagan’ was used indiscriminately to describe anyone – Monist or Polytheist! Professor Ronald Hutton affirms that:

“By assuming that Witchcraft and Paganism were formally the same phenomenon, they are mixing two utterly different concepts and placing themselves in a certain amount of difficulty.”

 Witchcraft thrived as a malefic practice within paganism before, during and after Christianity, in the West at least. Within the Russell Hope-Robins Encyclopaedia we read how:

“Before 1350, witchcraft primarily meant sorcery, a survival of common superstitions – pagan only insofar as the beliefs antedated Christianity, never pagan in the sense of an organized survival of opposition to Christianity or of some pre-Christian religion.”

The Encyclopaedia further emphasises that sorcery and magic are archaic, world-wide practises, indulged by young and old alike for self gratification in contra-distinction to the self- development praxes adopted by Neo-pagans. Throughout history, all pagans have shared an observation of witches as malignant forces; beings who cursed and hexed freely, revelling in malicious torments, worshipping a ‘Queen’ of the Underworld. Witches were presented as rulers of darkness whose hags, crones and remote virgins presented the very antithesis of their own worship of a more ‘benign’ pantheon of gods and goddesses. Boundaries merge with each generation of seekers and workers of the Mysteries.

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Myth preserves the magic of creation, of life and the mystery of death. Over time the Craft has been the natural repository of myth, knowledge and magical practice as these things have declined from use within society, either through suppression, ignorance or ambivalence. Sadly, much of it only exists in fragmentary forms, such as folklore and superstition. Myth celebrates cyclical time; against this, annual celebrations of recurrence, suspended in the dreamtime of the eternal present preserve indelibly the relationship between man, his environment, and the Universe.

Within the Old Testament lies an oft misquoted and misunderstood phrase from the prophet Isaiah concerning the fall of a corrupt King of Babylon:

“How you are fallen from Heaven, day star, son of the Dawn” (Hel-el-ben Shahar).

Hundreds of years later, when compiling theological instruction, 4th century Latin scribes working for the venerable Church fathers (Augustine and Jerome etc), interpreted this title, ‘Son of the Morning Star’ (Venus) as ‘Light-bearer’ or ‘Lucifer,’ bearer of the emerald crown. This jewel of illumination placed within the horned cleft, the seat of wisdom, becomes the sacred ‘mound’ of divinity Herself. Symbolic of the magical voice, the ‘qoul’ or ‘call’ refers to the womb, or (Latin form) uterus, meaning utterer – the word or logos was the ‘serpent,’ the holy spirit that created life.

Centuries later, Gnostic inheritors of such wisdoms, the Cathars became subject to accusations of heresy (meaning free choice) for their unorthodox practices and associations. Personal attainment had been replaced by the transference of grace via a priest, strictly controlled and monitored by Ecclesiastical authorities. The ‘Goat of Mendes’ became synonymous with the Devil and his alleged feasts. 

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Metaphysically, the letter, Q (khu), developed from this profound and complex Venus symbol representing Q ‘ayin-Queen. It denotes the ultimate Q ‘ayin’ship of Venus, Isis, Lilith, Kali, Nin-khursag – all ‘black but beautiful’, the original gene source and mother of mankind. The Hermetic symbol for the all Seeing Eye replaces the cross within the circle, with a dot, (the central ‘nux’, the point of focus and energy). Thus it becomes the ‘Eye of Ra’, kamakala of Indian mystics, central point of all creation within the totality of sacred space, the seed within the womb, and the fire or generative spirit within the working circle. Q’ayin also means kenning or knowing, an attribute gifted to man in the form of smith-craft, a pre-requisite skill of the first priest kings. An artificer of metals was a true ruler, a Q’ayin.

Robert Cochrane understood that sigils and symbols have universal significance, and this expression within the Craft supports the Mysteries stimulating magical comprehension.

 “Symbols contain the seeds of their own revelation, the virtue (power) of which changes with each group/era using it.” (Robert Cochrane).

Robert Cochrane also expressed the Mysteries as a means by which man may perceive his own inherent divinity. He postulated that students of the Mysteries are seekers of truth and wisdom where magic is a by product, a secondary device of little real consequence. For him, the Craft was a:

 

“Mystical religion, a revealed philosophy, with strong affinities to many Christian beliefs. The Faith is concerned only with truth; that brings man into closer contact with the Gods and himself – the realisation of truth as opposed to illusion – fulfilled only by service.”

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He even described himself as a member of the ‘People’, not a witch and certainly not pagan. This is fairly typical of many within the Traditional Craft who understand that it is not a remnant of a fertility religion, therefore it does not practise seasonal rites per-se or nature worship; it is a priesthood of the ancient Mystery Schools. Virtue is passed from male to female in accordance with ancient law and rites of transmission. All Mystery teachings agree that within the Universe, many life-forms and intelligences exist outside the confines of matter, co-existing independently.

Through the rite of the Old Covenant, the Magister acts as the ‘son’ of the Morning Star, aligning himself to the potencies of Lucifer as the Young Horned King, thereby assuming himself ‘Herald’ of the Old Horned King. In this capacity, he holds the ‘tribal’ symbols of that authority as visual and spiritual potencies, asserting charge of matters temporal and cosmological to all descendants bound under its Law. Prevalent throughout the ancient world, the ‘Old Covenant’ evokes a sacred compact, eloquently described as that which:

“binds its people within a kinship bestowed by divine Grace through time, beyond manifest form as a cohesive unit for its survival and continuity, rather than its dissemination and diaspora.”

For many schooled in modernity, this represents abhorrence, contrasting as it does with Wiccan and Neo-pagan independent and autonomous practices. Yet it is thus designed to eliminate or reduce factionalising corruptions and all the ensuing decimation that follows.

Cochrane instructed Joe Wilson that ‘Faith’ too is the Mother of all Gods, that Christianity is part only of an even more ancient faith, that the ‘People’ are the direct descendants of those ancient priests and priestesses of their Mysteries. It could not be more lucid – Goda/Godi represents the priesthood, the Chieftains, the leaders of his Clan, and not the Goddess of it. Robert Cochrane states that the Clan of Tubal Cain is of the ‘Order of the Sun’, yet its people are children of the Moon, whose women hold the key to these Mysteries, advising all to seek supernatural manifestations of her in all her guises; this was axiomatic to his ethos- she is the presiding genius. Immanent and transcendent, this deity is not pantheistic but panentheistic.

He cautions Bill Gray in another letter not to underestimate any form of the Goddess, and to read the Golden Ass; above all, to understand the epiphanic, theurgical renditions rather than the frenetic, shamanistic, bacchanalian revelry, and the myths of the dark and light twins of the east, in particular, of Egypt and Persia. Eclectically, he speaks of the Shekinah, of Babylon and of Gilgamesh, also of Christ and of Thor. He believed emphatically that everything was linked symbolically with higher spiritual principles above and beyond the banal, the mundane and the obvious. Everywhere He sought Her manifestations, in caves, woodlands, myth and poetry; anywhere local myth, lore or legend recorded Her myriad guises. 

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She rises from the milky waters of the cosmic ocean, radiant and beautiful; and like Aphrodite, She is a goddess of not only beauty, devotion and creation but most interestingly, wisdom; ultimately representing divine Love, Grace and Communion. One of three consorts to the Divine King, who severally embody the creative qualities of Will, Act and Energy; consequently the Universal Mother became referred to as the ‘Three Queens.’ This phrase was often used, coincidently, by Cochrane when referring to the Goddess in one of Her numerous triune forms. Together they command the three planes of the three worlds. Goda therefore, as one facet of the Queen of Elfame is simply another representative of the Tutelary Goddess of Tubal Cain aspected in earthly form, anthropomorphic and accessible, a familiar of the faerie denizens.

Finally, in a letter to Norman Gills, Cochrane mentions the Alba (White/Pale) Guiden, a harsh mistress, a dark Muse whose third face is Terrible. This dark Goddess is the enigmatic Pale-faced Lady in White, the beautiful and multi-faceted cosmic jewel and the pearl of wisdom.

A tenuous thread binds the Mysteries of ancient wisdom to Christian Medieval Europe, into the flowering of the Literary Renaissance. This domain of 12th century poets exalted the use of metaphor and allegory that prevailed esoteric erotica conjunct with orthodox medieval media.  Within the Gnostic Cult of the Black Virgin in Medieval Southern France, she is sometimes referred to as ‘The Notre Dame de Lumiere.’ She is suggested by Peter Redgrove  to be coterminous with the Black Goddess, Mary Lucifer the light giver – the Magdalene. Her symbol, the Rose, flower of Venus, exemplifies sacred/secret love, though it also represents esoteric wisdom within female mysteries, both carnal and religious. ‘Sub-rosa’ information was thus ‘revealed’ only to initiates seeking enlightenment and gnosis through those mysteries.

 Redgrove poetically reveals esoteric machinations disguised within the genre known as ‘Courtly Love’; he describes how sexual energy radiated from the eyes of the beloved, fusing into the lover’s subtle bodies, illuminating and elevating the spirit. Remembering how eyes are windows to the soul, this emanation of ‘light’, the soul’s ‘psyche’ power is further explained as follows:

“the invisible thus becomes sensible by the operation of spirits dependent upon the physiological workings of the body”

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Such intellectual foreplay induced radiating kalas erupting in miasmic waves of orgasmic pneuma, somatic secret-ions absorbed and transformed in acts of communion. Redgrove expresses this Dark Goddess force as the:

 “black light flexing as the loa, spinning her web around all within her grasp, she is the light of revelation within the darkness.”

These powerfully evocative words suggest that she is cast in the role of ‘Fate’ whose ‘maithunic’ alchemical processes were actuated by women operating under the traditional role of hierodule or sexual initiatrix.  The Black Virgin was ever a symbol of the soul, a gateway into the supra-conscious or nodal crossroads of the senses. As whore and shadow goddess she leads the mysteries of death and rebirth, revealing Her heretical knowledge of female menstruation and Kundalini magic; Her serpent wisdom, explored in dream scapes where revelatory experiences are to be marveled  Redgrove upholds the Black Goddess as primal woman, a primal Goddess, a Queen of Enchantments, of dark magics and all things occult.

Her hidden radiance the inspiration of poets and kings. Further, he posits this Black Goddess as cognate with the Holy Spirit, Wisdom – the Shulamite lover of Solomon:

It was I who covered the earth like a mist, Alone I made a circuit of the sky and traversed the depths of the abyss……..whoever feeds on me will be hungry for more, and whoever drinks from me will thirst for more….…” .

Habitually expressed as a succubus, she haunts the nocturnal dreamscapes – the realms of Hekate, the sender of dreams. All aspects of the Goddess are explained by Redgrove as psycho-erotic, as multi-faceted, at once subliminal and physical.

Her Lunar ophidian current offering magical renewal is germane to the Draconian Cult. Furthermore Grant  reveals Nyx/Nox as key to the Abyss, guardian of the first Gate within Daath, the bridge between mind and body, the place of trance-formation and the place where Gnosis is achieved. This bridge when activated by (Tantric) Yogic practices, stimulates and sensitizes the skin, organs and olfactory units, emitting Kalas of black light, by which all other lights are illuminated. Hekate is the ultimate sexual Initiatrix, the shroud of mystery and knowing, she is Lady Wisdom, Star Maiden and gateway to other worlds. Redgrove names Her the –

 ‘Aimah Elohim Shekinah.’ 

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Ultimately linked to the Dark Moon, Hekate was ever a Goddess of the soul’s illumination before this. Time and destiny are within her dominion; many of Her epithets reveal her numerous roles and forms – Wise One, Queen of Shades, Mistress of Initiation, Gatekeeper, Psychopomp and Shining One.  To mystics, the Dark Night is the depth of love (Eros) and light (Phanes).

Hekate stands at the crossroads of our unconscious looking forwards and backwards into our lives, fulfilling a paradox of criteria, of healing, of destruction, of wisdom, of lunacy and of life and death. Here in this mental labyrinth, we face our demons, our negative subversions, here She strips us of our illusions, eliminating all those facets that deny our wholeness, loving Her is loving yourself; the revelation of true Gnosis is the realization of the inherent divinity of oneself.  Though no definitive form of Hekate exists, spatial representations of Her reflect only the needs of the moment. She remains the Ultimate Dark Goddess, the primal serpent of cosmic illumination, a role She shares with Lucifer the light-bringer, together the twin beings of Phosphorous, the torchbearers of true Gnosis.

Ovid (43BCE-18CE) records how ‘Matuta’ became a common name for ‘Leukothea,’ meaning firstly, to set on fire or ‘to light’, and secondly to ‘glean’. This quality links her to the star ‘Spica’ (Virgo and Ishtar), fertility goddesses of grain and generation. So again, a virgin gives birth to a son, Lucifer, who assumes the title of the sun – ‘Like the Sun’ – ‘Likened to God’ – or ‘He who is as God’ .. all ambiguous epithets for a 4th century Church Father seeking to present the Truth of Lucifer as the false and deceiving light.

However, Leland connects ‘Leukothea’ (the pale-one) to Venus as ‘Morning Star,’ and as Mother of the ‘Light of the Day’. Moreover, he shares this belief with that of the Etruscans who understood Mater Matuta, the Mother of the Dawn (light) to be none other than Venus as the Morning Star. Tertullian also records a possible early form of this name found in the Etruscan Venus – ‘Murtia’.  In fact, all fertility gods are sons/lovers of the all mother – Alma Mater. His lightening seed falls to earth to penetrate and fertilize Her; He rises from his mother the seed and progeny of Himself, the Shining One of the Morning Star. In relating the Cedar Myths  it is revealed how the Moon Goddess, named ‘Lebannah’ (Levanah) has an epithet – ‘She that is White’ (the Pale-faced-One) linking her again to the ‘Shekinah,’ the bride of God.

Homer (c850BCE) too records in his epic, the ‘Iliad’, references to ‘Eosphorus’ as the light of dawn.  Neither of these authors intended us to assume this implied Venus or the Morning Star. Again, this is an invalid mis-representation suffered by so many translations of classical texts. ‘Hesperus’, similarly, is an epithet symbolising the simple qualities of the evening/night, wherein all light falls in to the western skies – Hesperides, the etymological root of west, despair and desperate. Star of the Morning (sun) is not the same as Morning Star (Venus). In fact, a common appellation of Saturn was ‘Star of the Sun’, the Sun at midnight, with both being named ‘Shamash.’ 

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Ishtar, as a divine goddess manifested her qualities within a whole plethora of symbols, ranging from the planet Venus (with whom her main corpus of attributes were identified), but also in the Moon, stars, Heavens etc., down to a related set of earthly simulacra. Described in cuneiform as ‘ilu’, this concept encompassed all that she was and was represented by, yet remained separate from her. By means of the ‘ilu’, she could be approached, propitiated and venerated, utilizing their collective ‘power’ for divination and acts of magic.

Throughout the biblical world, both Sun and Moon are cosmologically represented by the union of divine couples: Anath & Baal, Artemis and Apollo, Ishtar and Tammuz, Solomon and the Shekinah, even El and Asherah. Cedar poles dedicated to Asherah were erected within the oak groves of El. Asherah/ Ishtar/Anath were all Queens of Heaven, the stars, the earth and the Seas, encompassing all earthly and celestial phenomena except the Sun, which was reserved wholly for the son of El. She was awarded many epithets relating to her roles as ‘Stella Matutina’, ‘Stella Maris’ et cetera, all symbolising the power of manifest light, His light expressed though Her.

As far-reaching as India, within the Shakti cult, Hindu legends tell of ‘Shri Andal,’ beatific devotee of Krishna (8th avatar of Vishnu). This flower-garlanded nature sprite, and muse of poetry, renowned for her plaintive singing, beseeches her absent lover for re-union. ‘Shri Andal’ achieves rapture through divine love (bhakti) after joining in the ecstatic dancing of the Gopis (who were also milkmaids). She is in fact a manifest incarnation of the Goda Devi, ‘Mahalakshmi,’ Goddess of Fecundity and Abundance (now sadly reduced to material wealth and financial prosperity). It is tempting to speculate a connection between the Goda Devi and Godiva, however tenuous, and yet Leland’s criteria for forming an authentic link are worth considering.Astonishingly, ‘Mahalakshmi’ is the spouse and consort of none other than Vishnu, a watery, redeemer God who was part fish, a correlate of the Irish Sea God, Manannan, and Enki, the Sumerian manifest saviour of mankind (whose spouse was also the Great Queen and Mother of the Gods). So delighted was Vishnu with Goda Devi, that he named her the ‘Ruler’ of the entire Universe! 

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Like Orpheus, they too have the gift of making music so beautiful, all who hear it fall under an enchanted sleep. Aoife is herself punished for this deed, becoming the possession of Manannan in the form of his ‘crane-bag’, his treasure house of magic! An alternative account matches the beautiful Aoife against Iuchra as rivals in love. Aoife becomes bewitched and is placed in service to Manannan. After her death, the legendary crane-bag is made from her skin. Placed within the seas, it is only revealed at high-tide. Both versions remain true to the fundamental premise of a centralised female figure with transformative powers, somehow confined in service to or in possession of a dominant male deity, who considers her powers as hereditary virtues of mankind, dispensed and revealed only to worthy (male) heroes.

As mythologies evolved, precedence became awarded to day and light; all things synonymous with the dark night became exiled to the chthonic (from ‘khthonios’ – in or of the earth, i.e. fertility, childbirth, abundance, crops, fate and death) realms of the underworld, the astral regions and dreamscapes, the inner psyche. In effect, Hekate developed as the Guardian of these dark and lonely places and of their inherent occult Mysteries. Dark acts of sexual mystery; Kundalini, prophecy, inspiration and divination all came within her gift. Creatures of the Night – Owls, dogs and horses became her totems, as did all creatures of the aquatic underworld – snakes, serpents, spiders, toads and frogs. As Mistress of Trance-formation, her divine light of gnosis is secreted by her chthonic powers of life and death; her all-devouring sexuality leads her victims in a mantic embrace of regeneration. Her legendary priestesses moved the dying through an ecstatic death by their orgasmic convulsions.

Water and all tides are governed by this celestial body; it waxes and wanes, having two vital modes. When waning, it is perceived as ‘lame’, its incapacity apparent. Yet, this dark mode conceals mysteries attributed to it. Since ancient times the moon has more generally been considered as ‘male’ (especially the lame smith, Cain – hence, the appellation of ‘man in the moon’); its dark and light qualities are aspected in Wagner’s opera as the old (unseen) king and the younger (visible) king who must become ‘whole’ viz, healed and renewed, to full strength in order to yield the oceans into fruition, to inspire truth and vision, to think and know ‘Truth.’ This wise head, whose face we see in the moon is none other than that (significant) head carried by Grail maidens upon the platter in the Grail Romance – ‘Peredur.’ In Wolfram’s version of the Grail, he writes of the Fisher King – “at the time of the change of the Moon, his pain is great…”

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Gawain’s love, more for himself than for his Lady, facilitates his denial and rejection of her gifts, offered for his salvation. Although the deceit he pays for is clearly his own, he denies responsibility for it. His failure to recognise her value and worth as an earthly manifestation of Sophia starkly contradicts the blazing pentangle of the five knightly virtues upon his shield, which when yielded, induce completion – perfection. For him, Eros (Love) and Psyche (Soul) fail to unite. His eternal reminder of this regret is symbolised in the acceptance of the green girdle, worn in the fullest sense of penitence, as a talisman into which it is hoped that all the grace and wisdom of ‘woman’ will be imparted.

Within Hindu mythology, both male and female gods wear belts/cords denoting sacrifice, puberty, manhood, initiation and protection, fertility respectively. Cords also represent reality, passion and inertia, all fundamental qualities of matter . Exploring these concepts further, Campbell interprets the symbolism of these bindings as representative of the threshold or sun-door, indicating the wearer is at once in time and eternity.

Lady Bertilak’s gift of a girdle/cord becomes significant in this understanding; its relevance no mere enchantment. Moreover, it is green, the fairy hue of both Green Knight and his Mistress (Fate) and therefore represents his initiatory powers of death/eternity and Her protective powers of life/time. Girdles are of course strong literary devices, indicative of magical dominion and the binding love/eroticism of the Goddess.

The Prophet John, conveyor of the ‘Word’, metaphorically ‘loses his head’ (the transient ability to prophecie) at the Winter Solstice, and is the significantly older, waning Oak King/Wild Woodwose/Green Knight, to Jesus, who as the waxing, Holly King and more youthful Gawain (as the ‘hawk of May’), takes the mantle until he metaphorically ‘concedes’ it in turn at the Summer Solstice. Importantly, the message is of life triumphant, and of the indestructibility of the dual forces of nature in opposition but which remain in harmony – those of renewal of life from its decay! This cyclical premise is represented in classical myth as the (waning) black sun of Dionysus (or Osiris-the ‘Green One’), birthed anew as the radiant (waxing) Apollo (or Horus) – Tanist twins of the axial ‘Mother’ or ‘Lady Alchymia.’

Trees as the ‘prima materia’ represent life and time and the gift of  ‘Mother’ (earth) providing arboreal clues in the fifth tapestry that suggest the Maiden’s significant role: ‘Mary’ clothed in red as the Goddess of Love and Death – the heavenly Queen of sophianic wisdom. She sits by the apple tree under which the Unicorn is captured, evocative of the Apple groves and nuptial floor of sacred coupling within the ‘Hieros Gamos,’ particularly of Eastern myth. Apples also signify immortality, and of all the stages of life, love and death through the divine feminine that achieve it.

Interestingly, within the Garden of Hesperides, a serpent (child of Typhon), guards the fabled sacred apples, assisted by a triad of radiant beings, the daughters of Nyx/Nox. Wise retainer of mysteries and secrets, this multi-lingual serpent was able to impart knowledge in rituals where these shining maidens would dispense the golden apples, treasured gifts of immortality and wisdom, timed to coincide with Venus the Evening Star as it rose to the setting of the Sun. These fruits are in all probability, those favoured for their wisdom symbolism – the Pomegranate!

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Hildegard of Bingin, medieval nun, Christian mystic and confidante to the Pope, faithfully recorded her numerous experiences wherein she offers the word – ‘viriditas’ (greenness) to explain ‘the word made flesh’, the evocative manifestation of spirit into matter.This single word inculcates for her this state of Kenoma, where the ineffable becomes tangible. It is noteworthy that during her lifetime, carved, foliate heads adorned many churches and cathedrals throughout Europe. The verdant effulgence viridios/viridius  signifies a deified masculine spirit worshipped in ancient Britain.

Although the Hunt is usually peopled by the dead, witches’ testimonies in Europe during the 16th  and 17th  centuries presumes their belief as co-riders of the divine huntress Diana, the direct equivalent of Holda, Hekate and  Hela.  Revellers in the 13th century were described by Etienne de Bourbon as the ‘bona res’ – bringers of the ‘good things.’ Mortal and supernatural followers of Diana, Herodias/Abundia were popular in medieval myth and were associated initially with the faerie folk, who though fickle, would distribute and share gifts of abundance and wealth among those they had taken a shine too (or who had propitiated such acts).

A humorous poem written by Alexander Montgomery in the 17th century lampoons the ‘Faery Rade’ at All Hallows, and although the descriptions are clearly of faerie folk, witchery is explicit. This theme especially may have been compounded by alleged activities of witches themselves. In later, more enlightened times, beguiling principles of the Wild Hunt are once again expressed through poetic metaphor, intimating the modalities of astral travelling, spirit flight, mystical visioning and initiatory experiences.

Folklore, however retains legends of those who have died violent or early deaths whose traumatized souls then become the furious hosts within the Wild Huntsman supernatural train. The first full description of a procession of such ghosts was written by a Parisian priest in January of 1092 (recorded in the ‘Ordericus Vitalis’) who saw a swarming crowd led by an extraordinary and menacing figure armed with a club, followed by specters that wailed and moaned over their sins. Following this was a seething mass of corpse-bearers laden with some fifty coffins upon their backs. Women on horseback, seated on saddles with glowing nails stuck into them hastened them ever onward. 

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European accounts of the ‘Hunt’ primarily involved spectral forms of such discarnate souls, moaning and bewailing their fate. Many elaborate themes developed from these early reports into fantastic and often gruesome tales of masked and zoomorphic figures terrorizing the countryside. Sometimes it was claimed the Devil lead them, hunting for lost souls; though in Devon, the hounds themselves were thought to be souls of un-baptized children.

Many lurid tales were expounded by monks and clerics intent on feeding the natural fears and superstitions of the peasantry, exhorting real scare tactics with tales of horror and diabolism suggestive of the Witches Sabbat. Again folklore and history merge to support an underlying myth of mystical origin. In fact the late Gerald Gardner suggested how he believed where witches following in the wake of witch-craze hysteria could easily have capitalized upon earlier folkloric legends by riding and guising to Sabbats.

Deep brooding silences recorded as following the maniacal ravings of the ‘Bacchae’ and the ‘Maenads’ can be clinically identified as parallel to those of ‘Amanita’ consumption. Intense excitement is followed by delirium, hallucinations, animation, and finally a deep introspective depression. One scholar explained this profound moment as the zenith, the flight of spirit, held in rapt concordic silence, wherein one is closest to God. Well known within occult practice, is the pain and sadness experienced as withdrawal from esoteric, transpersonal identity with deity. On a more mundane level, these periods of rest and activity reflect archaic agricultural cycles of the ancient Middle East. Another myth of Lucifer, as Son of the Morning Star explains how his semen is sprinkled upon the ground each morning in the form of dew.

Ancient images of this divine shaman of the woods can be traced as far afield as Hatra in Mesopotamia and pre-Christian ‘Baalbek’; carved in stone, they present a stoic testament to their timelessness. Wildman and giant (Grigori?), his death inducing stasis engenders gnosis of the Horned Master. Tendrils whisper prophecy and wisdom. Only if we listen with the ‘true ear of the heart,’ will such secrets quicken the soul to graceful union within the ‘Ultimate Creatrix’ – a ‘Unio Mystica.’

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Various themes pay homage to the Dark Mother (Nox) and the Light Son (Lux). Furthermore, they reveal the true sacrifice of our Creator and our individual part in the anarchic process of redemption. Simplistically, myth and ritual combine to inculcate an awareness where Earth is the Mother and the Hero who must ‘enter’ Her, both physically and symbolically as son/child and lover. Her compassion alerts him to a conscious breakthrough, pushing him into a wider cosmos, to the stars themselves, back to the source.

Indeed, we are truly all ‘stars’ and children of the Earth; our initiator is the son and child of the earth. Cochrane’s gnostic principles adhere to this holism; spirit and matter are merely transformative stages in our magickal egress; they are not and should not be perceived as conditions of enmity…

 ‘En-aat-em-a-shu-t-em-neter’ (there is no part of me that is not of god’s essence).

There are two things that we as human beings encompass; one is a material body and the other is a spirit, the spark of divinity that animates it. The body dies, decays and ceases to be, whilst the spirit alone lives on. Generation continues to perpetuate the species and provide further vehicles for this spark to incarnate and fulfil its purpose, to find its way home.

Initiation duplicates the first magics, when ‘Gods loved Man,’ but the golden spark has become corrupted by the dross of a material existence, each disillusioned soul sinking deeper and deeper into the mire. Faith alone can restore this. My sentiments will no doubt regrettably cause offence to some and to those I reserve the caveat that each of us is entitled to express what is really only our own opinion, and so on that premise, I offer my own small voice in a sterile wilderness.

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Hopefully not all of my words will fall on deaf ears. They are my own, though they clearly reflect those of my spiritual ancestor, Robert Cochrane. As seer, poet, mystic and gnostic founder of ‘The Clan of Tubal Cain’, created from within his ‘family line,’ referred to by him somewhat enigmatically as ‘The People of Goda’, Cochrane said:

“The genuine witch is a mystic at heart. Much of the teaching of witchcraft is subtle and bound within poetical concept rather than hard logic.”

The great God Pan (Cain, the All-Father) is not dead, how could he be?, for in a truly pantheistic way, the virtue of grace is everywhere, in everything, in everyone; we have only to open our eyes, our hearts and minds to see Truth, Love and Beauty – the absolute Trinity. From the uniquely naïve (in the sense of being open and unsophisticated) perspective of a child, pantheism is simply Monism.

“All is One and One is All, and ever more will be so.

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my thanks and credits for all images used referenced throughout this blog

all photos are my own.

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~ by meanderingsofthemuse on April 19, 2013.

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