Thursday, 28 May 2009

A rite what I wrote...

So... the general idea a few weeks ago was to have a rite on or around the June full-moon as a final group ritual for the year with the purpose of being one focused on protecting the Site over the summer' showing out gratitude to the Spirits of Place and blanketing/grounding its energies while we're away.

And after a couple of weeks... still no-one really did anything so... I wrote a rite! Tell me what you think! It's definitely not perfect, and it was typed out in about half hour/three quarters of an hour.

Roles: Firekeeper; Warden; Herald; Circle Guardian; Elements.

For the altar: Pot of sea salt; cup of mead; cup of apple juice; plate of food to share; bowl of water; cauldron of incense; incense; horn.


(Those not involved in the above are gathered at the bottom of the north bank involved with the final banter before the start of the rite, or in personal meditation.)

(Circle Guardian and/or Firekeeper prepares wood for, and lights, fire and tends to it whilst the Circle area is properly prepared by those involved in the creation of Sacred Time/Sacred Space. Warden consecrates sea salt and casts circle.)

-Starting the Rite-

(Facilitator or Warden blasts a sound of the horn)

(Warden comes from the Circle to the bank and guides the celebrants in a short procession, then taking the position at the entrance shall individually challenge each participant)

Warden: [Name], do you release all ill will?
Participant: I release all ill will.
Warden: Then welcome to this Circle!

(Participants enter after the challenge and take one’s place. Warden seals circle with appropriate sigil.)

-Sacred Space-

Warden: We are in Sacred Time and Sacred Space.

Herald: We have come from the North and the South, the East and the West to this Special Place. Long has this Circle stood, and long may it remain – as such is the purpose of our gathering for we have come to celebrate it existence and bid it farewell as we leave for these summer and autumn months. May the Rite begin!

Let us call forth to the Quarters!

East: Come to us from the East, O Air; bring to us inspired Words upon your swift golden wings!

All: Hail and be welcome!

South: Come to us from the South, O Fire; bring to us fiery Will through the passion of your vigor!

All: Hail and be welcome!

West: Come to us from the West, O Water; bring to us flowing Intuition riding with your surging tide!

All: Hail and be welcome!

North: Come to us from the North, O Earth; bring us stable Foundation embedded within your hardened stone!

All: Hail and be welcome!

Herald: Let us call upon the Spirits who call this place home.

Firekeeper: By Land, Sea and Sky, we call upon the Spirits of this Place. You have resided here longer than we can imagine and you have allowed us to use this Special Place for our rites and magic. We have gathered in your tribute, to praise these woods, to honour this site and to protect it from those who damage and desecrate it. We come to bid you our farewells as we travel in these summer and autumn months.

Come, Fair Folk, and rest at the fire’s side and join us at the edge of magic. Accept this mead as libation!

(Firekeeper cast mead into the centre of the fire)

-Main Rite-

Herald: Let us rest in Sacred Space and share our gratitude, appreciation and love for this site.

(All relax and begin pseudo bardic circle as suggested above and community sharing)


(Warden goes in front of altar facing north and takes the pot of salt and goes around to each participant. Each takes a portion of the salt – enough is left for Warden to have three odd portions)

Herald: In your hands, feel the salt that you hold – appreciate it for what it is. This is consecrated Earth taken from the Sea and dried by the Air. If there is any substance which can consecrate, protect and ground, is it not this salt?

Take it and cast it to the ground around you – know that through this act, you are consecrating this Circle and protecting it, but also that you are grounding the energies during our absence.

(All cast the salt about the land around them while the Warden takes the remainder and walks around the Circle pouring the salt while the Herald says the following)

Herald: May the Circle be Blessed and Concecrated! May the Circle be Protected and Cared For! May its energies be grounded!

Now let us make an end of this Rite and take leave of this place.

-Unwinding Sacred Space-

Herald: Let us thanks the Spirits of Place for their help in this rite.

Firekeeper: We thank you for your attendance, O Spirits of Place. You are shall be fondly remembered in our hearts as we depart forth to our homesteads. Stay in this land and we supplicate you help us keep this Special Place protected!

Leave our rite, and leave with the love of our hearts and with the peace of our spirits. We thank you, O Spirits of Place.

Herald: Let us release the Quarters!

North: Return to the North, O Earth; we thank you for your Foundation in this rite.

All: Hail and farewell!

West: Return to the West, O Water; we thank you for your Intuition in this rite.

All: Hail and farewell!

South: Return to the South, O Fire; we thank you for your Will in this rite.

All: Hail and farewell!

East: Return to the East, O Air; we thank you for your Words in this rite

All: Hail and farewell!

-Ending the Rite-

Herald: May the energies be left dormant; may this site be protected; may the Spirits feel the conviction and gratitude of our gathering.

Let us take leave of this place and remember our times here fondly. May we return again in the autumn season. Hail and farewell, all!

(Warden removes the seal)

Warden: Follow me, into the world of the Mundane.

(Warden leads the participants in a silent procession out to the north bank and homebound then returning to unwind the circle; all remaining aid with the clearing of the Circle – then onwards to pub!)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Elements of Magic - Air

Susan and Pinky have recently started organising Elements of Magic workshops to
"deepen your relationship to each element and sharpen your witchy skills – learn some new ones!"

The blurb goes on to say
"in each class we will study one element in depth, deepening our understanding of and relationship to the element. We will learn and develop new skills such as breathing techniques, energy work, voice work, trancework, visualisation, healing techniques and much more."

Now for Air, I was only able to catch possibly the last couple of hours (they last 6hrs) but I learned some useful skills nonetheless. Importantly, I had the opportunity to practice my vocal skills, if only in a comical fashion by learning the Seven Sacred Voices - now granted, we all know most of these, however, to be working with them like this was rather different to just knowing they exist. Those were:
  1. The Silent Voice
  2. The Whisper Voice
  3. The Normal Voice
  4. The Loud Voice
  5. The Yell Voice
  6. The Chant Voice
  7. The Song Voice
The Silent Voice was perhaps the most bizarre. Rather than air coming through the vocal chords, one must produced a
"... deep vibration in the chest as close to the heart chakra as one can manage."
It almost sounds like the deep chants the Tibetan clergy do, but even then you can still hear voice. One should feel this vibration but mouth the words rathen then hear what one says. Most difficult.

To practice for the others, we took a nursery rhyme and practiced each with with it (I changed from Humpty Dumpty to a Pagan chant to a Buddhist chant, just to see the difference). and admittedly, it was an eye opening session on how one can use one's voice for magic workings; one I shall be paying attention to much more.

Another useful skills we were taught was using our associations with the elements to really make a call to that particular element/quarter. Usually, I simply jot down a few poetic workds without really thinking of the implications of what I am calling. Why call the Hawk rather than the Robin? Why the Birch rather than some other tree? Why invoke its breeze aspect rather than the whirlwind (I'll explain below)? And why some attributes rather than others?

Susan invited us to jot down what we conceived Air to be, and then work a call from that, so here's what I did:

"Intellect, sharp-wit, inspired voice, whirlwind, voice, roar-in-a-chimney, scent, Birch, Hazel, rustling leaves, winds of change.

I glance towards the Eastern Quarter, to the place of the whirlwind's fury where the Robin glides at the glow of the sunrise.
We hear you in the rustling of the birch; we smell you in the sweet bloomin of spring; we feel you in the roaring of the tempest.
Air; we ask that you give us your sharp wit and the magic of your inspired voice - come to us with your words riding upon swift golden wings.
Hail and be welcome."

Now - why did I choose some of it's more fearful aspects rather than the softer ones? Am I calling trouble? Not neceserally.
I feel in a way that in creating a protective/containment circle, one can either strengthen it or add to it through the elements, so the circle, I give it the fury of a whirlwind emanating from from East.
I use the Robin as a personal animal at the moment, and one that is abundant in the woods in Lampeter. The 'sense' calls are based on associations also: the Birch - tree of new beginnings, light in colour, thin, delicate etc.; spring, the time of the emerging Sun, where freshness and newness is abundant; the tempest - self-evident.

A call to inspiration is one that is needed in a rite where things can go wrong, but also is good as a general magical power and sharp-wit (the bardic/jester power) allows for us to make light a situation is it is needed, and to aid us in the release of the elemental powers - should they not wish to leave.

That said, I'm rather happy with that call, even if it is mediocre at bests. Next workshop is next month, and shall be on Fire.

Blessed be!

Monday, 18 May 2009

And now for a short break.

It's gonna be a busy week. I've got two exams (Ethics and An Introduction To The Self And Metaphysics) and straight after the last one on Wednesday, I'm going straight on the bus home to primarily see Kay, and stay there until the 27th-28th.

Time to relax, time to really push Lampeter at the back of my mind. I adore the place, but I need an escape too; but most importantly, some time to make up for almost neglectful amount of time I've spent with Kay. So yeah.

Once I get back, there's be Council, Forum and (hopefully!) sorting out the house issue - I may be sharing a house (above the funeral directors) with Cate, Willow and Rachel. Good size rooms, reasonable pricings. nothing's definite there, but we'll see.

Roll on Wednesday!

... in with the Goddesses.

Whilst never having having had a personal link with any deity, I mused about how it would be to be totally consumed by a deity - something along the lines of William James's Passivity: "... the mystic feels as his own will were in abeyance, and indeed sometimes as if he were grasped and held by a superior power." (James, William, The Varieties of Religious Experience, p. 381).

Ah, I love control! I so adore being at the back seat yet pulling the reigns - but to give oneself up to a Goddess!

Erin mentioned once that the energies of Lilith were fully and wholly consuming, in utter submission.

So here's a few lines I wrote, haphazardly, to Ol' Lily... see if she answers!

Surround me wholly in the whirlwind of your starless night.
Consume me completely in the ego-destroying forces of midnight -
Owl-woman; desert tempest; shadow mistress."

Out with the old...

I've had a strangely cathartic experience, which most of your oldies may find a little trivial.
I was going through my Windows Live Messenger contacts list and, as it was far too cluttered and long, I decided to delete old contacts who I hadn't spoken to in years or months, or redundant e-mail addresses.

And it came to a folder with three e-mails. Each other them were of the Pretty family; that of my ex, Connie. And as I don't talk to them, I deleted them.

Thought I'd share that here.
It was a strange feeling. Pressing the 'delete' button can be just as satisfying and as emotionally uplifting as riping up an old letter or photo.
Which I did also. I don't quite know why - I wasn't screwed over (in any proper sense) so. I just guess it's my way of dealing with it - even if it was almost two years ago. It still left its mark, however; I yet have to over come certain weights and scars it left.

Though, in a strange way, it was a bizarre means of 'letting go', if the term can be used. I horde, I keep, I never forget; and here was one way of doing so.
So, good-bye.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Site and Circle

Lampeter is a strange place.
It attracts a unique and bizzare group of people; most or all have emotional (and mental...) issues to sort and as such, this place can make or break you and if you can hack it, it can really be a healing place for you. Such is the group of people here, that at one time, the biggest and most successful of the University's societies was the Pagan Society - how in Eartha's name does that happen?!
This year though, the group's pretty small, but nevermind.

In the mid-to-late 90s, the University gave them permission to use some of the land that the university would use for the dumping and burning of rubbish. They (and it seems one of those people was an old initiate of Carole's) built a ritual Circle. Circle is within the Site, as its called, which is the immediate land surrounding it - it's withing a dip in the land. It seems to have changed over the years - from more of an egg-shape to a circle; different entrances; the building of an altar a few years ago etc. And I want to share this place with you:
You can see the North entrance there with the firepit and altar. If you look to the left of the entrance, there is a holly tree - this would be used as our 'Clootie Tree'

The 'Clootie Tree'.

Two entrance perspectives. In relation to the bottom picture, there is a means of access on the left in makeshift, studen-built steps.

The Site in spring. The Circle is behind.

During Imbolc.


I need more blogger friends...


I know few...

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The Curse complete with damp and mildew.

The UWLampeter Pagan Soc 'Library' has been found, located, sorted and filed! I should be a Virgoan.

It was at 2 Station Terrace within a nuclear bunker built to 1970s government regulations (that would be, two doors leaned at a 45 degree angle against a wall...). As such it was kept in the damp and the books and papers are covered in mildew. So it seems I'm in possesion of the curse, as it's affectionately (or fearfully!) called. It seems most of the books were sold off at some point (though that's been denied, I found a scrunched up piece of paper with the prices of the books to be sold... ho hum!) so there's a few notable ones. Not *bad* books per se, left; but not the ones you'd expect. The papers themselves are interesting showing things like the budget they had (four times what we have now) and troubles they had etc., also they have some newsletters of old, like the one Carole used to edit called 'Gates of Annwn' and there's also 'Drops of the Awen' which is the seriously old version of 'Myddle Earth' along with a 'Wiccan' (now 'Pagan Dawn') and 'Wood and Water' and so on. So yeah. Some pretty neat things.

I'm hoping to add to the box of books, and maybe to revive the society newsletter (which I've found old copies of). The old society newsletter provide some cool insight into how things were run and how popular it actually was (more than 6 people used to turn up to rituals! Shock!) and what the positions entailed - Site Guardian was a far more important position than I used to realise. Talking of which, I'll need to contact the Estates Officer to find out the university stance and the status of the Circle and the Site. It seems it's under review every 5 years...

Ho hum. Boing post, but there you go.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

And a love-life update...

Just a small update regarding a few posts back - the day Kay and I met up again, she ended up asking me out and we've been together since so... yeah. That was an interesting day. We've been together two months last Wednesday.

To be honest, it was quite a roller-coaster at first; from not seeing/talking each other at all to going out but things have now calmed down somewhat. We try to see each other as often as is conviniently possible - she came down on Thursday to attend the UWLampeter President's Ball (and she looked absolutely beautiful - as you can see!), which was a brilliant evening; my hallmates were also glamorous, everyone was having a wonderful time - but most of all, I was accompanying the most glamorous of them all!

Spokes, Wonderbrass and The Amateur Transplants played and were pretty good (although the sound technician should be given a good slap) but we didn't stay for the whole evening - stayed there for about 3hrs but spent like half an hour in a queue to get some decent pictures taken (thought I think they're worth it). So we left around half midnight, went back to mine for pizza and sleep - we were bloody tired by the time we got back. When did we get old, eh!? Though, now exams are happening, I doubt I'll see her for a good week and half. During her exams, she's got about ten days' worth of study leave, so I'll go see her for some of it and help her with her revision, spend some good quality time and go camping for Paul's birthday!

Beltane etc.

Golly, I haven't updated in bloomin' ages.

Well... I wont bore you with needless updates; but I shall just make a small post on recent stuff.

Yesterday was the Carmarthenshire Beltane celebration. First thing I have to say is: since when did I become so elitist?!
Though the circle went well, the parts was done, community togetherness was achieved and so forth, I just felt... so lacking. After a year of rituals and having experienced different group's rites, it's almost like I have a vision of what one should be like. The most frustrating thing though (for me) is that I don't even have the proper abilities to enact the parts are well as I wish I could. I have difficulty projecting, I panic at the last minute (i.e. I may have learned my lines, but then forget at the pivotal moment). What shocked me the most was how almost scathing I was at some of the people's performances - Ian had beautiful words but totally lacked any passion or conviction; no-one really knew what was happening and just silly things like that. Nagging thoughts like that have been going in my head for some time, like how awful the Carmarthen folk are at drumming, or how the raising of power is usually badly released etc. and I'm guilty of all that I dislike about the rites.
And it feels quite awful to be so critical.
And I blame Erin(!) She's planted biases into me head that I can't really seem to shake off. Oh, and Bonewits. And my general arrogance.

That said, the rite itself was lovely. It was nice to jump the fire, to be in Dom's garden, to be around these wonderful people. I tried telling a story (the story of Taliesin; which was far too long and frankly a bore), we ate and were watered. I loved it.
Wish I'd stayed longer...

Ho hum. Rant over.