Shamanic Illness as Initiation

Photo 64

Diary of Drawings

This is a drawing I made in the mid 1980′s.

During the two and half years that Saturn transited my Eighth House of love and death, I went a little mad you might say.

It wasn’t insanity or anything, it was because of psychic attack.

I had been in a deep relationship with a man who was separated from his wife. If there is such a thing as a Soul Mate, we were it. We openly talked about ourselves that way. I had a vision of him shortly before we met. During my daily meditation practice, I saw him falling out of the sun towards me. When we met, it was an instant attraction. Numerologist Tania Gabrielle would probably look at my 44-8 birth numbers and call it Fate.

But the estranged  wife wasn’t having any of it.  When she found out he was seeing me, she decided wanted him back and went on the warpath with me.

There was a point at which she got really aggressive and started to play games. I was a pretty otherworldly and therefore naive in the way that otherworldly, ungrounded people are. I had nothing against her anyway — this guy and I were Soul Mates. What was I supposed to do?

When the fallout started, I was kicked out of the apartment by my room mate. I moved into a house closer to where my boyfriend lived and spent most of my time at his place. She started coming around. Next thing I knew, I fell into such a deep depression that my personality actually changed. I even looked weird to myself surrounded in this horrible dark vortex.

I always drew pictures and started doing that for hours at a time instead of studying — I was in University then. I mostly drew images of this guy and me in boats and in towers. I began a series of myself with antlers on my head. The drawing at the top is one of the survivors.

Its me looking into a mirror and seeing  antlers on my head.  Before that, my boyfriend had told me I looked like a deer. Maybe it was auto-suggestion, but I do have a Capricorn Moon and associate this self image with that.

Dreamtime

selkie_2

At one point I became very ill and had to go to the hospital with anemia. I was a vegetarian, but also very depleted in other ways.

I became obsessive compulsive, especially with the drawings. I just didn’t stop. Drawing is a wonderful thing, but I felt like I had a motor in my head — maybe I had become autistic or something. It was just weird.

I had been a regular meditator since I was seventeen, and with this boyfriend, had gotten into Tibetan Buddhism and had been initiated into a few saints whose names I can’t remember any more. One was a purification saint. I have always been a great visualizer, and had built up images of these saints in my mind that were very powerful. I was really good at meditation.

So imagine how it felt when I couldn’t do it any more. All I saw was a swirling black energy that made me sea sick. I even went back to Massachusetts to visit my family and it was still just as bad. I was always nauseous and a light- headed, and very confused.

My dreams were  violent. I was always being chopped up into pieces. My body parts were scattered all over the place. I had a series of these  dreams and I drew pictures of those and burned them because I was afraid I might be murdered or something.

Then one night, I dreamed my body parts were scattered over the snow and it was very bloody. Some Inuits came up the slope and wrapped all my body parts in a seal skin. Then they put me inside a sweat house — I can still remember lying on a bench near a wonderful steamy rock pile. I stayed there for a long time.

When I was healed, I dreamed all the time that I swam under the sea with the seals. I was a kind of mermaid.  I drew the seal under the boat that my boyfriend and I were on all the time in my drawings. I let the seal guide me through my emotional turmoil and show me what I needed to know.

Psychic Attack

612789_SadAngel

Our relationship suffered because my boyfriend  just wouldn’t deal with what was going on. He was too weak, and they had a six year old daughter that he felt guilty about.

I began to isolate. I was not a fighter. I still hate to fight, but have learned since that sometimes I have to stand up for myself. But I do hate conflict.

One day I was in my room and took a break from drawing. I wanted to meditate. I remember so clearly sitting in front of my altar and seeing the black vortex spinning all around me. I also saw all these spirits, very flat with triangular heads — a bit dog-like and cartoonish. There were hundreds of then all over the room. I felt sick as one of them stood behind and was tying something around my neck. Seeing them, I said to myself, “I am going to push them away with my light.”

I focused really hard on the light inside of me and sent it out until it was all around me. I continued to expand, obliterating all those little dog things, intending to fill the entire room.  Suddenly there was a kind of explosion, and it was as if the sun had come into the room!  Golden light was streaming everywhere and in the midst of the light were these eyes, black rimmed and compassionate, and face like Christ, though I am not if it was He or some older God. The golden light kept pulsating all around me, erasing all of the spirits, filling the room and healing me.

Deer Lady

It was after that I began to draw the deer lady pictures.

My relationship bit the dust. She was a lawyer and he didn’t stand a chance. Exhausted  ( and I haven’t even told you the half of it) I bowed out and concentrated on school.

This was the 80′s. Lots of books and courses were being given on the West Coast especially. I was also living near some of the most powerful Indian Tribes in North America. Powerful for magic that is. Gradually I learned about Shamanism and was told by one of the Salish Elders here that I had had a Shamanic sickness. All the dismemberment dreams were about taking me apart so I would be put back together in a certain way. The Seal medicine was help me to flow in the sea of the emotions — I also say the unconscious.  The Inuits are at the North Pole where me spirit came into the earth’s atmosphere before birth. They  still have a very strong Shamanic culture.

I see the Capricorn Moon at work as well. The fish-goat who climbs to the top of the mountain and dives deep into the ocean, is very much like the selkie seal lady and the deer lady I became. The Indian gave me a name: Whiteswan, a spirit  bird who transits sea and sky. I also believe that the psychic attack forced me  to strengthen my power, strengthen my light, because that was all it took to make the attack stop and fill me with a vision of golden light and the presence of God.

Two years later I was drafted into the healing profession and have been doing that ever since. Though the seal medicine healed me, it is the deer that I feel is the most like me and images of people with horns and antlers cast a kind of spell over me. I suppose I am more sure-footed that way.

Chesca Potter

Chesca Potter

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

Attributes of the Horned God During the Dark Night of the Soul

This picture saved me!

Christina Oakley gave this extremely powerful image to me over tea and cookies in her office at Treadwells Bookshop in Covent Garden, London. Seven years after my harrowing spontaneous initiation with the Horned God, I had finally drummed up the courage to ask for help.  It was not easy to find someone who would understand the difference between visionary experience and insanity — especially in the UK where ‘mental and emotional problems’ are still perceived quite harshly.  But the only way out of darkness for me has always been to find meaning in the experience. I felt Christina could provide that meaning, for she is a knowledgeable initiated Witch.

This Initiatory ordeal is discussed in depth in my previous posts: The Horned Ones, and London: How I Encountered the Spirits of the Land.

The Horned God had come to me in the form of large and powerful Stag/Man.  Due to my own resonance with deer, I always see the God in the form the French Cernnunnos, the Stag. I had written a poem about Cernunnos as he appears on the Gundestrup cauldron a good 15 years before he came to me in the night.

( Intimations of Ancestry: Song of the Gudestrup Cauldron)

In England, the Stag is called Herne the Hunter, Lord of the Wild Hunt. Indeed, it was as he was leading the Wild Hunt through my house that he found me and my ordeal began.

When it comes to spirits and the Elder Gods: “If you can see them, they can see you.” Never take this lightly.

In her own poetic style, Christina told me about the picture at the top of this post. The bottom shows the Stag  in the dark forest. We, as Hunter, or man in his primal, unconscious, undifferentiated state, have chased him there thinking “Wow I have found a big one! One that will feed me for many months!” In our pride we fail to see that the case is reversed. It is he who has led us into his wild domain.

The Hunter thinks the Stag is the one who will die — or who will serve him, or feed for him for a long time, but it is not so. It is the Hunter who dies by entering the Dark Night. The Hunter enters the maze and cannot find the way out until the God decides he is ready. This usually takes seven years in human time.

Does anyone know the reason seven years are required to face one’s demons and walk out wounded, but wiser, and profoundly changed? It is seven years. I know for a fact!

(In writing this, I just realized, I had asked for this experience back in 1996. I was questing in true Arthurian fashion in an Arthurian, Faery domain. In other terms, I was hunting the God — following the White Stag into the Otherworld to discover the richness and beauty of the unseen worlds.  Where would he take me? What marvels would he show me? I thought he would he ‘feed’ me for a long time with wonders and possibly a spiritula prize of great merit. But rather than into the Grail Castle of transcendent beauty, he led me into the Abyss where death and a darkness waited to consume my to my very bones….for to the mortal being, the Faery realm is the abode of spirits, shades, the dead — and that is a dark place indeed.)

In Christina’s picture, the Stag’s antlers grow and branch into the Tree of Life. For Qabbalists, you can see that the Stag is not only BELOW the Tree, in the Qlippoth, but is actually the ROOT of the Tree. The traditional Qabbalistic propaganda about about the roots of the Tree of Life, or its upside down reflection, it shadow on the earth, is that they are the abode  devils, demons, chaos, and evil to be strictly avoided in meditation and magical workings. Very dangerous indeed!

This fear, in my thinking, was promoted at a time when the Roman Church sought to separate the people from their Pagan Gods, who were also rooted in the land, and thus sever them from intimacy with nature. An image of the roots of the Tree of Life beginning in the horns of an animal with cloven hooves, is remarkable indeed. For the horned and cloven ones came to be, in Christianity, synonymous with the Devil.

The Dark Forest

Wandering in the Dark Forest, is the symbol for the Dark Night of the Soul. You are lost. It seems even God has left you to grope your way through your own blindness, left you unprotected to face the monsters you grew in the shadowy corners of your mind that lurk and block you until you admit their presence. No one can advise you in the murky terrain of your own soul.  It is the helpless, lonely stage of the Quest, where no one answers your questions, where you don’t even know the right questions to ask, and comfort is in short supply.

But look again at the picture. High in the antler/branches of the Stag, are birds fluttering their wings. They hover just below the culminating symbol of what I guess is an embryonic deer, seeded in the womb space that pokes into the Upper World just under the earth. Singing, the birds conjure a blazing light around the top of the tree. Yet they seem to be barred from ascending to the Upper World, where light and life is. These birds show, not that there is a way out of the darkness, but that there is light in the darkness. The symbol also shows that the antlers of the Underworld Stag terminate in buds. These buds will flower and live again when conditions are right.

Seeing the pattern of the antler/tree reminds me of the labyrinthine path one follows in the forest of the soul. I have come to believe you must tread the maze completely before you are able to come back out into the light where the birds sing and fly free. This is because the pattern and boundary of the maze are fixed– its route, and our journey along it, is pre-ordained by the nature of its fixity.

Birds have always been symbols of the Soul. The presence of birds tell us this is soul work, this Stag chase into the woods is how we reclaim our soul.

Our Reward:Coziness

When we return to the light and the living, we find our way to the sunny mountaintop where a cozy cottage sits in plain view with smoke coming out of the chimney. A warm, welcoming fire awaits us. We see the forest far below, visible and no longer threatening. Nothing can ever threaten us again, once we have faced the darkest dark and gone through it, not even the Devil with his horns and cloven hooves can scare us!

Looking closely at the image of the little hut on the hill, we see the impressions of flowers growing along a path that climbs a hill of solar rays, and terminates in a fire inside the house. Smoke flows out of the chimney.The land is cleared and the view is spectacular. In the distance, across the treetops of the forest, we see another such hill with another little hut with smoke coming out of the chimney.  We are separate but not alone.

The flowers bloom from the buds at the points of the antlers that poke up out of the Underworld, the path ending in fire is an extension of the central trunk of the Tree of Life. Though the mountaintop is a classic symbol of spiritual attainment, this image is homely, earthy. The path of the Horned God does not lead to a celestial abode of angels and endless harping, but to life close to nature without being at its mercy. We are sovereign, but not lonely. But as the path leads up, it also leads down again. Our relationship with the God is cyclical and permanent. As this image so eloquently tells us, the Stag/God/Tree sustains us as he sustains all of life through nature.

Herne the Hunter and his Symbols

There were many other spirits that came to me with Herne — all of them part of his iconography, listed on his Table of Correspondences. When Christina described these things to me, the information was all the more convincing for my not having known it consciously before.

Herne’s Rites are traditional for Autumn Equinox, but I learned by experience that the Rites of Autumn are foreshadowed in the Spring, due perhaps to that Scorpio Full Moon at Beltane. The veil is thin at both seasonal tides, and when the veil is thin, the spirits come out upon the Earth.

Among the images associated with the Stag God are:

Harvest: First is the Harvest of Grain. Then comes the Harvest of Grapes for the wine. Third is the Harvest nuts. Last is the Harvest of Souls.

The idea of a Harvest of Souls always stirs us. It comes at the time of Samhain as we descend into the freezing darkness of Winter. Perhaps in primal times, many humans died at this time. The ancient Celts had a tradition of flogging each other with birch rods to cleanse impurities from the soul. I imagine this was a kind of insurance in case one did not survive the snows. In Christian times, the weak and sick must have run to the priests to cleanse their sins and gain absolution. Certainly the priests used this time of worry to harvest souls for Christ.

But Samhain was also a time for hunting. A large animal such as a  stag would provide meat for many weeks, feeding a family in the deepest winter months when it was dangerous to stray out of doors. For farmers, October/November would have been a time to slaughter livestock, weeding out the old so that the new born in the Spring would be strong and healthy. Thus, the animal souls were harvested by the Gods, brought home again to be reborn in the Spring.

Symbols: Grapes, Wine, Vines, Garlands

The vines suddenly burst up through my bed, driving up over the sheets to wrap around me like snakes. Lengthening at a great speed, the green vines shot up through my mattress to bind me for the God.

Animals: Wolves!

If you ever get to read my fiction you will see I have been just as busy with wolves as I have been with Stag/Men.

Wolves prowled around the edge of my protective circle — but, strangely,  couldn’t get in.  Everything else did. Also Dogs, Birds of Prey, Blackbirds, Stags, Goats, Salmon ( the wisdom part)

Plants: Vines, Ivy, Cedar, Hops

Ritual Meaning: Celebrating the Second Harvest, Darkness Overtaking Light, Celebration of Wine.

Often Initiation leads through a death and second birth. In those terms, a second harvest  would have to do with gathering the fruits of the second birth, sacrificing those fruits in preparation for another death. So the cycle goes round and round.

Deities: All Wine Deities especially Dionysus and Bacchus, Persephone, Modron, Morgan le Fay, Demeter, the Muses, Snake Woman, Sphinx, Thoth, Hermes.

Oh my! All of my most significant Gods and Goddesses! What could it all mean?

Activities: Wine Making and Adorning Graves.

What is this connection with wine and death? Anyone? Perhaps the answer is here: Stirring the Witchblood: John Barleycorn Must Die

Foods: Grapes, Acorns, Root Crops, Nuts, Apples (Goddess), Wine, Ale, Cider.

Witchcraft is the Green Religion

I am not writing all of this to blather on about myself, but to show how real the Initiation of the Horned God was and how real the Gods are. They were not contrived by ancient poets and bards, they were not invented by story tellers. They exist in their own Time/ Space and can be contacted through magical rituals and conscious observation. Our ancestors lived with these Gods and Goddesses, communicated with them regularly, made sacrifices to them to insure an abundant harvest. These ancestors were not silly children with overactive imaginations. Rather we moderns lack the instincts and intelligence of our forebears. We give nature short shrift, deny her our true attention. What right do we have to decide that the Gods of Earth do not exist just because we have cut off the organs we used to have to see them with? Safe inside the walls of our cities, we have decided that nature, our very source and provider, is irrelevant.

Seeing the spirits of the land, respecting the Gods and Goddesses of Earth proves that the Earth and all of nature is alive! The Gods embody the wisdom and sentience of the Earth, the animals her soul, the plants her spiritual essence. The Gods may be forceful towards those of us with the Sight because it is so important that they re-establish their priesthood. Who else will say what I am saying here: The Earth is your Mother, the Sky is your Father. That which is Above is as that which is Below. The Under World of spirit gives life to the Upper World of mortality. Without one, the other cannot exist.

Please be aware that you are walking on the Gods.

Please Stumble this post!

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

London: How I Encountered the Spirits of the Land

The Faery Queen and the Horned God

In March 1998, I went to live in London, England. I had thought I would stay there for 18 months while I researched my  Grail Bearers’ Tarot, but the Spirits of the Land had other plans for me. I have since come to believe they called me to the British Isles because of certain Magical links I had made, and because of my contacts with the Celtic Faery who are the true Grail Bearers.

As a Celtic Faery Initiate, I received powerful visionary visitations by the Tuatha de Danaan, or the Irish Faery. This began just after Samhain in 1996 a few weeks after a workshop I took with R.J.Stewart. The Tuatha de Danaan not only came to my house and opned portals into the Otherworld for me to pass through, they taught me many secrets of the Underworld Faery and their connection to the Holy Grail and the Arthurian Mythos. I was compelled to go the U.K. to wander through the lands of Arthur and Merlin to ground the visions into my soul and body — for when we embark on the Initiate’s,  journey our blood changes, our ancestors wake up in our blood.
My King Arthur Tour to the U.K. took place in a beautiful March of 1997. During the month I was there,  I roamed through England, Wales, Cornwall and Ireland. The last thing I did before I came home, was an eight hour overnight coach trip to Edinburgh to see Rosslyn Chapel, reputed to be the final sanctuary of the Holy Grail.

I had many powerful experiences on this Quest of mine that will be shared in future posts.

Mystical Encounters with the Spirits of the Land

Having grown up in the woods in Massachusetts and maintaining my bond with wild nature throughout my life, I have always had a strong sense of how different places have their own spirit, and spirits who are particular to that place. The liminal twilight atmosphere of the Massachusetts woods, the low rolling hillls, swamps, and  changing light, the striking cycles of seasonal transformation, suit beings very akin to traditional fairies, the types you find in Grimm, and in the Romantic descriptions of Yeats or Fiona Macleod; seasonal spirits of snow, ice and  flaming and then falling leaves, silence, and subtlety. There are also witchy spirits, for  the Black Man of the Forest, ruler of the witches lives there. There is the Salem Witch current, ghosts, and Iroquoise False Faces and Manitous.

Some of these seem to have been brought from England during Colonial Times. There are records of Scottish Faery Seers coming to these shores in during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I who brought their spiritual contacts with them, or drew them here over the water after seven years of separation.

Mexico has spirits of another sort: desert beings, spirits that rattle in the night, wind ghosts, an earth that vibrates with living currents of serpent power that you can feel as you walk over it. The animals behave in mysterious ways. Coyote appears on the horizon and in the blink of an eye is gone; the sea tortoise comes ashore under a moonless sky, and vanishes under the waves of the sea as if she never been. The sun charges the Earth so that, even in daylight, the spirit world is palpable.

In Ireland, I took a bus  ride over the Burren. As lead singer in a Celtic band, Castlerigg, in the 1990′s, I had heard form Irish players that many tunes had been given  to the bards by the Faery. Maybe it was imagination, but as my contacts with the Underworld Faery, especially of Ireland had taught me, imagination is the key to the Kingdom. But I heard music, the same as that of an Irish tune, coming up from under the Earth. Had I been a proper musician, I could have written it down.

As the Queen slays the King in the Upper World, so he rules in the Underworld.

Tarot of the Grail Bearers

I wasn’t in London long before the God and Goddess of the British Isles made themselves known to me. I was living near to Hampstead Heath, formerly the stag hunting forest of the Royal families of Britain. I had arrived in that neighborhood in late April of 1998, finding a cheap bedsitting room with a large bay window that gave me plenty of light to paint by.

I was working on a Tarot Deck, Tarot of the Grail Bearers. Each image was designed after intense 3-dimensional visions given to me, in an ordered fashion, by the Tuathaa de Danaan. It was clear they wanted this Tarot deck to be painted, and to be painted by me despite my lack of skill. The project took over my life for four and half years during which teaching after teaching was given to me along with the images for the cards.

Perhaps the Tuatha deDannaan chose me because I had been reading and teaching for most of my life. The Tarot lived in me. I have been told that my images have great spiritual intensity. I think this is because, as I painted each card, I was passing back and forth a doorway of its symbols the entire time. This deck is charged with Faery magic.

To see the full Tarot of the Grail Bearers, please visit my website at http://www.whiteswan-tarot.com/ and look through the Gallery. It used to be called Tarot of the Holy Grail until I realized it is not about the Grail. but about those who guard and keep it in the Otherworld.

50 The Drive

I had no idea the house was haunted. Not only haunted — but also on the Spirit Line of the Wild Hunt!

See my post  How to Know if Your House is Haunted for another angle on this tale of woe.

Initiation of the Horned God

This etching looks like Old London, doesn’t it? My bedsitting room was in a house down below there, on the path the Wild Hunt has taken through North London, over the Heath, from antiquity.

It began with nightmares.

Not long after Samhain, 1998, I was woken at 3AM by the presence of a shadowy Stag/Man standing near my bed. He was looking down at me with pale, fiery eyes. I had been visited by such a spirit as a child in Massachusetts, ( See my post: The Horned Ones)  but never had he displayed to me such awesome power, never had he focused his entire being on me. Alarmed, I sat up, but the vision did not go away. I was experiencing the same level of clairvoyance that brought the visions of the Faery and Holy Grail. But, where the Grail Bearers were gentle, lofty, sometimes tricky, this being was dangerous.

The Stag/Man was not endowed with a human conscience, he did not let feelings or emotions concern him. He embodied raw, untamed, male sexual power. There were nor reasons, no inhibitions, no consideration for me. He intended to take me, to possess me as if I was the same as he — a wild animal from the forest. I wasn’t about to let him.
Since I was well versed in magical protection, and because I thought this was an illusion brought by some kind of psychic attack, I got to work. On the first night, I performed a  Rite of Banishing, sealed my space and, finally, at 6AM, went back to sleep.
I thought I had succeed. It was peaceful for two nights. Then, the third night, at 3AM, the Horned One was back again, and much more insistent and violent. This  time, the Stag/Man was also accompanied by a wolf. The wolf prowled around the edges of my protective circle. I was so grateful my Rite had been strong enough that he couldn’t get in! The wolf was beautiful, with a shimmering silver coat of thick fur. He howled and stared while
the Stag/Man commenced to try to attack me.

I chanted all the spells of protection I knew, and refused to go to sleep and surrender control of my being.


To cut a very long ordeal short, over the course of six weeks, I was stampeded by Wild Riders that raged through the bed room from the windows through the wall. Vines grew up from under my bed, crawled up from the foot of the bed, wound around me, bound me in tendrils and stems as thick as your arm so that I could not move. Under the blankets, great phallic stems rushed  towards me like special effects in a horror film.
Spirits of darkness circled around the room, uttering strange piercing cries like night birds hunting, wolves prowled, and owls fluttered across my dreaming eyes. A strange man entered my dream/ visions,  playing crazy clown,  Ringmaster, or walking on stilts, trying to get into my brain.

There was no place to go! For me the invasion of my very inner space, always my last ditch sanctuary,  was just not acceptable. The Stag/Man came every night at 3AM to get into bed with me, holding me down while I fought. I refused to go to sleep until 6AM when the visions stopped with the dawn.

It is unfortunate that I did not understand what was going on, for in my desperation to ward off the nightmare, I began to throw psychic fireballs, and to attack these beings, devastating my inner world. This was because I was afraid that if I surrendered, I would be possessed. My training in kundalini Yoga had taught me to send spirits away and purify myself so that the serpent could rise without triggering karma. (snark) Well…

I am sure for initiated Wiccans this attitude is incomprehensible, but I was not, and am not, an initiated Wiccan. I was born with the Witchblood, so much of what goes on between myself and the Otherworld is unexplained. My teachers have been lax in this area also. There seems to be a conflict of interest.

If you wonder why I refused to surrender to my mystic, nocturnal visitor, it was also  because of the raw power, strength, and violence of the God. Imagine being chased through the forest by a horney wild elk! How can you surrender to that?

Eventually, near Christmas, I was so exhausted that I just stopped fighting.  As I slept, exhausted and unable to care, I felt the Stag/Man enter me. I was instantly consumed in a fire that burned from head to foot. I was wrapped in flames. This sensation lasted for three days — even in during my daily activities. I burned, and burned, and burned…It was highly charged erotic energy. Soaring fire and burning eyes. As a student of Alchemy, I knew I was in the furnace.
I made a decision to stay away from magic after that. It was the wrong thing to do because the magical people were the very ones who had an explanation of what I went through…


It comes to mind that such a fiery Initiation seems to mirror the fate of witches burned in Elizabethan times, and later under King James. How passing strange it all is…

We hunt him and then he hunts us. The God of Death and Rebirth.

I had spent so many years connecting with the bright side of Faery. Little did I know that I would be forced into the dark, that my pursuit of the White Hart into the Forest of Brociliande would carry meh into the abyss as the God took on his cthonic, or Underworld, form.

For seven years I felt I had been a spiritual victim. Afraid of psychic attack, I  avoided the magical practices that had once been second nature to me. I stayed away from like-minded others: magicians, witches, magical people. It was lonely trying to fit in with mundanes and New Agers, but at least I was safe…I thought.

Unable to bear the isolation any longer, I found my way to Treadwells Bookshop in Covent Garden. There I found a thriving and brilliant community of occultists and pagans. With much trepidation, because I was afraid of being thought mad, I approached the owner, Christina, and asked her if she would explain something to me.
Over tea and cookies, I gave her my horrific story. Despite my trauma, I knew my experience was significant. I wanted to know what it meant, what was it for, and why did I have to go through it?
What she told me was actually quite beautiful. She gave me an illustration of a circle patterned after a labyrinth. At the bottom of the circle, a powerful stag stood in a dark forest. At the top of the circle was a little cottage with smoke coming out of the chimney.

The Horned God in the Forest

Christian explained that the bottom, the dark forest where I had been, represented death; that as we hunt the Horned God, so he hunts us, and takes us. At the top  of the circle, where the sunlight shines upon the cottage, is our reward when we pass through our ordeal successfully: safety and coziness.


Of course this idea of the ‘hunt’ is not a literally about killing for food or sport. One chases the white stag into the forest of the deep self, the unconscious, the soul, if you will. The goal is to find a transcendent experience, perhaps to gain healing, or powers, or a gift from the Otherworld. But in entering the uncharted, moonlit labyrinth of the soul, one must encounter the dark forces that dwell there, the repressed things, the caged animals within, the history of old hurts, rages, and hates. To avoid this experience is impossible once one has set foot on the Path, and dark experiences are necessary if one is to gain spiritual maturity, true depth, and wisdom. Without these qualities, one is not fit to take one’s place as a teacher of the Mysteries. I had been a teacher before, and a healer. But now, my work is made richer, and more potent, for my having passed through the Abyss.
Christina also told me that Hampstead Heath, near where I lived, had been a Royal stag hunting forest since Norman times. So it was no surprise that the Horned God might follow an ancient trackway through the haunted house I lived in.
One of the great hunting monarchs of all time was the Faery Queen, Elizabeth Tudor. So it was no wonder that the two came to me hand in hand, symbolizing the inner marriage of the polarities of the Land
.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

Babalon Diaries: Ninth Gate and the Great Whore

Are you sure you want to delete this post? This action is permanent. Yes, delete postNo, keep post

This is the second in a series of posts about my adventures during 2005, leading up to the performance of Paul Green’s play Babalon. The story is full of cloak and dagger, initiatory strangeness, chaos, and hysteria. It shows what can happen on the Magical path if one is not careful…(as if one has choice…)

Directed by Alison Rockbrand, Babalon was performed on December 16, 2005 at the John Gielgud Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to a sold out audience of London’s finest occultists and magicians. If you want to listen to it, click Radio QBSaul: Archives: Babalon. I play Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.


After putting this post together, I understand what it was about Lucifer, the Gates, and the Whore of Babylon, as shown in the film Ninth Gate, that was so magnetic for me. As a Faery Seer working in Celtic Faery Tradition, I had  deep encounters with the Irish Goddess Brighid in her  Dark Moon aspect, for it mirrors the phase of the moon at my birth.

For eight years, I led bi-monthly Moon Circles at my house with a group of women friends.  Once the Circle was cast we worked with our Animal Familiars and moved into the Otherworld in the manner of a Shamanic Journey. When one moves into the Underworld of Elfhame, encounters with the dark aspect of the Goddess are inevitable. Many people would like spiritual experiences to be bright and sunny and healing all the time. But that cannot be, for everything is cyclical, especially with the Great Goddesses of Nature. If one never experiences the darkness, one cannot spiritually mature. Shock and trauma are needed to shake the character loose of the karmic crud of the past. If the dark side is successfully avoided, the practitioner is not on a spiritual path, but is merely amusing him or herself in a fantasy land that they control.

My attraction to the Nine Gates was resonant with my descents into the Underworld of Faery. But, as was the case when I found out that the Spirits of the Land in London  are totally different, more violent and shocking, than those in Seattle, I also found going through the Nine Gates of the Luciferian Path led to a very different form of the Goddess. Lucifer: the Morning Star, Venus, the Angel of Light ( how those images move through the body in their darkness illuminated by green fire!)  left his exile in the green Underworld Faery Hill to return to red-gold earth of ancient Mesopotamia where he is the Underworld King. He is accompanied by Babalon, Goddess of Love and War, disparaged deity of the ancient Middle East filtered through the Magickal thought processes of Aleister Crowley.

Lucifer by Blake

Lucifer by Blake

Lesson: Do not take lightly the forces of Magic. Pay attention to details if you don’t want surprises. The price of liberation is constant vigilance. Everything is connected.

Lucifer, Faery, & Babalon

Although the experience was overpowering and mind bending, I do not regret my initiation into the Mysteries of Babalon. But the dark side of anything brings, with its endarkenment/ enlightenment, pain, loss, sorrow, even death. There are not many volunteers for that!

The Faery Realm is also “ruled” by the fallen Angel, Lucifer. This Tale of the Nine Gates gives us a glimpse of Luciferian Gnosis at its source. Faery Witchcraft is of the Green Ray of Nature and the Earth. Babalon is of the Red Ray of Blood and Passion. Red and Green are complimentary, or Flashing Colors, on the color wheel. Their juxtaposition charges them both. Their blending results in muddy gray.

Our Lady

Our Lady

The Biblical Source

The “great whore”, of the Biblical book of Revelation is featured in chapters 17 and 18. Many passages define symbolic meanings inherent in the text.

17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth (King James Version; the New International Version Bible uses “hills” instead of “mountains”).
17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
17:12 And the ten horns which thou saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

The Film: The Gates

One of my favorite things about the film Ninth Gate is flying through the nine gates to this gorgeous music. It has proven to be a Shamanic journey inducer — if you want to go to the Kingdom of Shadows. Click this and you will go straight to YouTube to watch it.

The Place: The Devil’s Tower, Puivert, France

This is the postcard of the castle Corso found in Baroness Kestler’s Book of the Nine Gates. It also shows up on the wall of Balkan’s library, just over his shoulder when he tells Corso how privedged he is.  An ancient Cathar stronghold during the Albigensian Crusade, this fortress was called the Devil’s Tower in the film.  Corso chases Balkan to this sinister place for the ‘tragic’ climax of the story. And as it burns he is initiated in a scared sexual rite, into the Mysteries of the Goddess as Babalon.

Isn’t it strange, a stronghold of the Gnostic Cather sect who were annihilated for heresy, should become the setting for  Luciferian heresy in Roman Polanski’s film? But Polanski knew what he was doing, for the themes of pre-ordination, resonance, and return run through the film.

The Music: sung by Sumi Jo

This music by Kilar Wojciech has a tremendous trance inducing power. It evokes the mystery of the Underworld; the melody transports consciousness into another realm, dark and fiery, ancient and cosmic.  When you listen you feel as if you had entered through a mysterious door into Magic.

As an aside, Kilar also wrote the soundtrack for Coppola’s Dracula. He is master of musically evoking the shadowy side of the soul.

Luciferian Gnosis

Awen

Awen

The Goddess first appears to Corso as a young, nameless, blond woman whom he calls Green Eyes.  The green eyes are a clue to her demonic origins, for green is the color of Faery, and is also the color Lucifer. In Celtic Tradition, the Holy Grail was said to be the emerald that fell from Lucifer’s diadem when he plunged to earth after losing the War in Heaven. Alchemists believed that this green emerald was the Philosophers Stone. Another link with Faery is the girl’s use of  her own (angelic) blood to trace the Awen on Corso’s brow, signifying enlightenment.

Though I suppose there some who would see the blood on his forehead as a pitchfork…..

Babalon Returns

She carries a book like the High Priestess in the Tarot, who in older decks, is called The Papess. She waits on the other side of the Abyss and points to the heretics’ Castle of Fire and Light. Her mysteries are sexual but have little to do with procreation. Rather sexual energy, and union with an enlightened partner, is a vehicle that transforms consciousness and builds the Body of Light.

This is Her secret…

Whore of Babylon

Whore of Babylon

Now I know that the Light comes from Darkness.

The Light of the Underworld

The Ninth Gate

The Ninth Gate

To listen to the Radio Show, Babalon, click here:

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

For updates on the Babalon Diaries, please subscribe to my RSS Feed or my email list!


Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.