How To Create Moon Circles and Harness the The Power of the Moon

The Nightmare

The Nightmare by Fitzgerald

Painful Womanhood

When I was younger, I had horrendous menstrual periods. I dreaded every month as the symptoms came on, for it meant two days of agony, vomiting, dizziness, back pain, every kind of torture a girl can go through without dying.

During the 1980′s it was a new thing to discuss women’s health issues openly. Before that, it seemed all the doctors were men, or at least male thought dominated medical opinion, and so women’s maladies were dismissed as “hysterical”, “all in their heads”, or as my doctor told me as a teenager “Motherhood will cure you.”

Yet the pundits of the Women’s Movement in the 1980s’ were no better, especially when it came to gynacological problems. There were statistics about dysmenorea, the fancy word for  “cramps”, stating that women who were raised Catholic had much higher rates of menstrual problems.

Since I was raised Catholic, I actually bought this B.S. (I am sure the people who gathered this “data’ were not Catholic.) It was supposed to be a dysfunction of our legendary guilt trip.

It was actually caused by a growth spurt that went wonky when I was 14.

Moon Power

Trying to discover and understand  the roots of my problem via the Womens Spirituality Movement, (looming large in the 1980′s)  led me down the path of mythology. This suited me as I tend to mythologize everything anyway.

The menstrual cycle is ruled by the Moon. The Moon rules all the watery tides of life, including our blood, but the menses mirror the 28 day cycle of the Moon as well. The Number three is also important, for there are three phases of the Moon: Full, Dark and Crescent. These phases mirror the three phases of life for women: Maiden, Mother, and Crone. I don’t like the word Crone, I prefer something like Mentor which contains the root men, for it is a time when women take natural leadership roles if they have grown wise.  Even Elder is preferable, as Crone brings up images of decrepitude for me. Or how about calling us Hekate after the powerful Dark Moon Goddess?

The Moon stays in each phase for 3 days and most womens periods are 3 days long.

This is from the Online Etymological Dictionary:

menstrual Look up menstrual at
1398, from O.Fr. menstruel, from L. menstrualis “monthly,” especially “of or having monthly courses,” from menstruus “of menstruation, monthly,” from mensis “month” (see menses). Menstruation first attested 1776; O.E. equivalent was monaðblot “month-blood.”

Moon, month, menses, mental, measure, moon blood, month blood, menisus, mensa, menses,mensuration, my moon, moontime, moon lodge, moo…

The moon, the month, the measure of time…

I studied the moon. I read everything I could from mythology, to Greek Drama, to poetry, to The Moonchild by Aleister Crowely, and Moon Magic by Dion Fortune.  On the desk in front of me I have my first book about the moon. It is called Moon, Moon, by Anne Kent Rush, and it was published in 1976.  It is one of the books that started me one the path of honoring the Triple Moon Goddess hoping she would heal my wise wound.

Moon Circles

In 1989 — such a long time ago now it seems — I brought together a group of close women friends for my first Moon Circle. This was the first time I had led led a ritual involving other people, and it was far from perfect. I wanted to bring my soul into harmony with the Moon in the hopes of healing my problem, but also to explore and address  Women’s Mysteries, which are Blood Mysteries having to do with generation, creativity, and birth. Our ability to bring another living being through our bodies is truly Goddess-like, far surpassing the attempts of magicians to create homunculii and Frankenstein monsters. (I never understood that drive considering the means of replicating human life exists everywhere in nature. — through the female.)

I also wanted to bring our Cycle out of the closet — for every female creature on planet Earth goes through some from of menses on a regular basis — over half the human race. So why can’t we be open about it? I wanted to erase the shame that our culture has attached to women’s bodies and mysteries from time immemorial.

Despite my crude initial attempts, four friends stayed with me as I held these circles every Sunday night close to the Full Moon and every Sunday night close to the Dark Moon. To be in harmony with the Moon meant menstruating on the Dark Moon to mirror the process of emptying and purification, and to ovulate on the Full Moon — the time of fullness and fertility. As women do, we began to synchronize our cycles. This told me the Circles were truly generating magical and healing power.

The more I led the Circles, the better they got. I wanted others to learn to lead it as well, but nobody ever stepped up to the plate and so it always fell to me.

These Circles went on for 9 years — then I left for England.  There was a steady core group of 4 women, but at one time I had as many as 12. Toward the end I began to include men as the energies had changed for me and I was tired of the feminist tendency to exclude men as if they were the enemy.

These Circles wers o powerful and healing that we hated to miss them. I had also opened powerful portals in my house through which the Faery would visit me in 1996.

Moon Bag

Two powerful we did to initiate entry into the Moon Circles was to have each woman make  a Moon Bag.

Here is mine:

I used to do a lot of bead work back then as you can see around the rim.

It is a circle of red velvet gathered with a cord. Very simple.

Inside you put your secrets. I can show mine now as I am Hekata.

It is a little muslin bag tied with red thread and symbols are marked upon it.

Herbs, flower petals, little charms are inside. I leave the rest to your imagination.

I also put my animal power inside: a white swan. In silver of course for the Moon.

This is a very powerful little Crane Bag, or Medicine Bag.

I also asked people to make their Moon Lodge shield. You can amke one by stretching leather over an embroidery hoop and painting it.

Moon Shield

Here is mine:

Using shamanic techniques, we journied into the Otherworld by opening and calling in the five directions, and drumming. This was immensley powerful as our power animals took us deep into parallel dimensions for healing, inspiration, and teaching.

In another post I will lay out the pattern for the Moon Circles in case you might want to start your own.

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A Poem of Faery Witchcraft

My friend Alex sent me this poem a while back. I don’t know if he translated it from his native French, but it is very intriguing. The images are archetypal and strike a deep, primal chord. It seems Alchemical.
This what he says about it:

This is a poem from 1692, from a very rare book on  page 5, but also at the bottom right, there is the number 96 and only the Universe knows the name of the writer, and its tune.
I will give it a title:

Spider’s Moon

A blue candle for the three webbing spiders
A white candle for the apple and the sparrow
The half moon above, not yet shining but smiling, to me?
A half apple already shining, and two seeds, is this her juicy face?
I spill the water and I drink the wine,
two serpents in love entwine.
I see the egg and touch the soul,
I touch the egg and see them crawl,
The spider now still, the wind playing the web
The Moon now shines and my soul follows the ebb.
I see the Goddess pointing her finger to the sky,
And a flow of semen at that moment, in a cascade of rainbows
Pierces my heart, and so trickles the poison,
And trickle, trickle down the bones,
I grow a new skin, and wake up in a rose,
Dew and dew and dew,
the water lamp roaming the Land of Sorrow
Drying the impure heart and a spider passes in front of my eyes,
Driven by a slow breeze, she rides across the skies.
She follows the Moon, and reaches for the Sun,
And in between is her web, so they can be as One.

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Babalon Diaries Appendix # 2: The Qliphoth, by Paul A. Green

This is an appendix to my 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 occultist, Alison Rockbrand, Babalon was performed on December 5, 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 played Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.

Babalon Diaries:Appendix # 2

The Qliphoth

Paul A. Green, Author of Babalon

Tomorrow, I am interviewing Paul Green, author of Babalon to have him share with us the story behind the story of his wonderful radio play about the Babalon Working of Jack Parsons, Babalon.

In order to understand what is behind the play, I spoke with Paul Green about his related novel called The Qliphoth. In it he explores the themes of Qabbalistic Magick and the way the unseen dimensions,  that run parallel to our own, bleed through, or make contact  with us.  In the case of the characters in this novel, the effects of those contacts result in chaos and madness. Such is the dark side of life in the Sub Lunar, or Yesodic realm.

It is daunting to write a straight review of a book as complex as The Qliphoth. It is a great read, full of hip, jazzy, language, and some very strange post 1960′s apocalyptic characters. The young protagonist, Lucas, sets out on a quest to find  his father, Nicholas Oscar Beardsley, who has been confined to Oakhill Lunatic Asylum. Beardsley is obsessed with researching the Lore of the Brazen Head. (I believe the Brazen Head comes from a vision of Elizabethan magician John Dee.) The result is chaos, disaster, kidnapping, murder, and the weirdest magickal ritual I ever read.


“I have to get it all down, For the record, the Akashic Record of the Aeons, naturally. Wherin all our phantasms are inscribed, squiggles of amoebic neon eternity like an old broadcast of Journey into Space on its way to the Pleiades.’

And I have to set the angelic record quite straight….”

And off he goes! Wheeee!

Mountian of Initiation

Mountain of Initiation

Correspondence About the Qliphoth with Paul A. Green via Email:

I wrote to Paul after I read his book and asked a few questions. His answer is so amazing that I told him it would make a great blog post all on its own. I hope you like this. He is a great writer, so his response is so much fun to read. And if you like Thelema, Parsons, or just the craft of writing, it is very informative too.

In the middle of this post, you will find a link to Paul’s podcast of Lud Heat which I highly recommend for lovers of hauntings. There is also a link for the script of The Ritual of the Stifling Air that he mentions in the text at the end. Very strange and amazing stuff!

Arlene to Paul, or Ground Control to Major Paul:

I finished the Qlippoth and am now digesting it. Its really profound about the influence of the sub-lunar realm, Yesodic energies, etc. And quite a good read.
I take it you have had first hand experience at some of this stuff?
This could be really relevant to the Babalon Diaries in that, when I was England, I found the lunar energies extremely strong. As a natural clairvoyant I was bombarded with thought forms and  images that were quite different to my own  innate mindset. (Yesod, the Moon, is called, in Qabbalah, The Treasure House of Images.) I was aware that the group mind in London was so strong that I sometimes had trouble keeping my own thoughts and feelings free of it.

I think it would be best to talk about the themes in the Qliphoth in an interview. I have a lot of questions and if you can relate them to Babalon, the Moonchild, the Anti-Christ gang, (Parsons, Hubbard, Cameron, etc.) whatever… Perhaps we can discuss a focus so we don’t go all over the place?
The subject is very rich.

Its important not to dive in without a contact line….

Paul to Arlene:

Thanks for your generous comments on the book.  First hand experience?  Hmm, all depends on how you define experience…  On the blog, you kindly referred to me as an “occultist,” which is kind of flattering, as if I was some kind of Eliphas Levi or John Dee sage, but that could be misleading.  I haven’t been a formal member of, say, a Golden Dawn or Thelemic type group.  I haven’t participated in the kind of elaborate rites  Quilthorpe tries to conduct towards the end of the book. The “Babalon Working Group” mentioned in the blurb really existed  but it was a group of writers drawn together via the www through a common interest in Parsons.  (The most overtly pagan was the convener Adrian Lord  who used to run a big wiccan festival in  Pendle.)

Nevertheless, certain kinds of writing, in certain situations are in themselves  like magickal procedures and seem to trigger odd events.  One of my earlier radio pieces Ritual of the Stifling Air  ( written in a very dark period of my life) allegedly induced weird electronic phenomena in the studio equipment ( although I wasn’t there to hear them)  while  a piece by my friend Iain Sinclair ( from “Lud Heat”)  recorded  in the crypt of St Annes Limehouse, one of London’s strangest churches, nearly defeated the efforts of the BBC sound man to capture it properly.  You can hear the whole programme  as one of my podcast episodes.

For the wonderful, ghostly “Lud Heat” click here: Radio QBSaul: Lud Heat. This sort of poetic ghost hunt is really fabulous, especially if you know London.

St. Anne's Limehouse

St. Anne's Limehouse

Where the Qliphoth was concerned, I was immersed  in studying Crowley, Golden Dawn, Chaos Magic and the Qabalah. I was also trying to get a grasp on the multiverse idea and relate that to the Sephiroth.  As the work evolved – a  journey into the Yesodic realms, personal as well as  external -  I  began using magical techniques and mind-maps.  Locations, characters, sequences of action, visual detail were  sometimes determined with reference to Crowley’s system of correspondences, or a Qabalistic Tarot pack,  or a series of cards devised by Brian Eno which gave enigmatic Taoist-type directions ( e.g “Stop work”  or “Reverse the order”).  Dreams at certain phases were often extremely intense, and images from some crept into the book. I sometimes  used automatic writing as a way of finding the voice of a character. e.g Nick near he beginning. But progress was often slow.

A climax in the writing of the book co-incided with the suicide of a close friend, on whom certain aspects of a key character were based.  This wasn’t his first attempt, as he had a very long history of manic depression, so I’m not asserting  there was any direct connection but  it was a horrible shock when it finally happened, especially as our relationship had broken down. It was as if  writing about him was dangerous, as if I’d written him out of existence.  My own sanity was precarious at times like this. I was certainly became  very obsessive.

I think what kept me balanced was having a firm root in my relationship with my wife  and  a job (inner city supply= substitute teacher) which although exhausting and distracting  and pretty dismal much of the time kept me earthed in what I  guess is Malkuth. The Pauline story-strand  and many of the characters grew out of that.   You could say that  it was a coming-of-age novel, given that Yesod is the sphere of adolescence. And there’s a tension between Pauline’s dialectical materialism and the magickal omniverse  that breaks through at  the end. She’s forced to acknowledge  it  and even participate in it. Yet it’s her earthbound strength and resilience that saves Lucas. She could also be read as Binah, the  stern mother.



Click here for : The Ritual of the Stifling Air

Watch for my podcast interview with Paul A. Green coming soon!

And of course, if you want to listen to podcasts of our December 16, 2005 performance of Babalon, the links are just below.

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

Please leave comments. For updates of the Babalon Diaries, subscribe to my RSS Feed or my email list. There is more to come…

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The Shadow Effect

The Shadow Effect

Introducing the blog of Corinne Edwards: Personal Growth with Corinne Edwards

Aepril Schaile by Peter Paradise

Aepril Schaile by Peter Paradise: One who knows...

I found this on the blog of the fabulous Corrine Edwards at Personal Growth With Corinne Edwards.

Be sure to visit Corinne’s blog, it is full of humor, down to earth wisdom, and interviews with famous icons of the personal growth movement like Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson.

The article and the movie trailer below, moved me so much I am reprinting the whole thing here. It is also a nice follow up to the previous post about the Dark Side of the Tree of Life: Understanding the Tree of Life, and the Qliphoth

I began the Winterspells blog ( January  2009) to explore this very issue, for my own Shadow Work, or what I called the Nigredo as the Alchemical process is very real for me, has been cyclical and intense. It follows the revolving nature of light/darkness/light/darkness, or life/death/life/death, creation/destruction pattern that is the essence of the Great Goddess.

There are Black and White Madonnas for instance that reveal this cycle. This is partly based on the seasons, and the passage of day into night and back again. The Celtic Goddess Brighid has Bright and Dark aspects. It is said to be wiser to worship the Dark side the Gods first, for it will bring you to the Light, whereas  if you focus exclusively on the Light you will be forced to face the Darkness. And Dark isn’t just a color or  an idea, it is an experience of loss and pain, but without it we would not know wholeness, and at this time of increased consciousness, the ability to see the whole is what the Earth needs from us.

Shadow times are also called the Dark Night of the Soul when it arises along the spiritual path.

This is when you learn that the Light comes from the Darkness.

I know Debbie Ford.  As a matter of fact, I know almost everyone in her movie, The Shadow Effect.

I interviewed them on my TV show on Wisdom Television so I studied their books and spent much time speaking with them.

Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Mark Victor Hansen, James Van Praagh.  I love these people.

I can vouch for everyone above that they are sincere and are dedicated to helping.  With all their hearts.  They are good people.

But I have to admit The Shadow Effect was a surprise to me.  It goes much deeper than I thought it would.

Especially, Debbie, who is the star of the show.  She has developed from an accomplished writer who was even a little shy when I met her to – just as I said – a STAR!

If you are going to invest in this movie, either as a download or in a group or as a purchase of the DVD, I thought I should prepare you.

This is not a goody two shoes, woo woo consciousness, make-you-feel- good-self- help movie.

The only word I can conjure up at this moment is that this is a -


It will shake your being.  The being you have hidden from others – and – most important – the secrets you have held that you share with no one.  Not even yourself.

The “shadow” is the self that you hide.  That you cover up, very carefully.  You have substituted a whole different self you show to the world.  You have started to believe it yourself.  You have a public life and a private life.  Don’t go there into the shadow because it is terrifying.

Except it is there.  It could be shame you have carried since you were a child.  Deep within you and it comes out like an erupting volcano when you least expect it.

This DVD set is in parts.  The first a documentary.  The second an interactive experience where you are asked questions which are designed to bring your secrets out into the open. Privately, in your living room perhaps.

One of the important questions you will be asked is a nice one.  “What do you like best about yourself?”  Then, think of all the people you know who reflect those qualities.  They are all you.

Then, the zinger.  “What do you dislike most about yourself?”  Think of the people you don’t like and then come back to yourself.  Could this be a projection?  Are these things MY shadow?  Am I transferring my own darkness onto others?  Is this why I avoid these people?

Is it possible that these projections are holding you back from happiness and contentment? What if – as is stated in this movie –


This movie is not a condemnation.  It is an exercise in awareness.  Of bringing our worst selves into the cold bright day of the sunshine.  Taking a good look and deciding if we need to hide those secrets anymore even from ourselves.

I have known about the “shadow” for a long time.  I just did not know what to call it.

My opinion is that it never really leaves us.  It is an imprint.

The benefit of this movie is that you will suddenly know who it is.  It will have a first and last name and you can call it out when it inspires us to act destructively.  You will become aware it is there.

So, when something comes up, we can say to it –

Damn!  There you are again.  Get lost.

As Deepak Chopra says –

“The sinner and the saint are only exchanging notes.”

I would say – be brave enough to see this movie.  You might be surprised at what you uncover.  I was.

To purchase the DVD
The Shadow Effect Movie DVD

To buy the online version:
Watch The Shadow Effect Online

P;ease note, this blog does not benefit if you buy the film.

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Understanding the Tree of Life, and the Qliphoth

This is an appendix to my 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 occultist, Alison Rockbrand, Babalon was performed on December 5, 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 played Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.

Babalon Diaries: Appendix 1

I am very excited to announce that an interview with Paul Green, author of the play Babalon, is coming up on the Winterspells blog. This should be very interesting, as he is a wonderful writer with a lot to say. He shall bring us his insight into the magical paths of Jack Parsons. L.Ron Hubbard, Marjorie Cameron, and the Babalon Working.

Since Paul’s knowledge of magic, and  especially Thelema, is very deep, I thought I should give you an overview of the one of the most prevalent Magical Patterns in Occultism, or Western Mystery Tradition: the Qabbalistic Tree of Life. An basic understanding of the Tree will provide a foundation for understanding most magical systems, from Ceremonial Magic to Wicca.

My Background in Qabbalah

I began my study of the Qabbalah in 1983, when I was reading book by the esoteric author, Dion Fortune, a former Golden Dawn Magician. The book was the Mystical Qabbalah, a journey through the ten Sephiroth, with descriptions of the spheres of the Gods, and their corresponding planets, colors, numbers, choirs, and the Legions of Angels. The Qabbalah is the key to the Magic of the Angels and for the Union with the Holy Guardian Angel.

During the time of my studies, I was living in the servants quarters of big mansion in Seattle that was home of my  Middle Eastern Dance director and instructor, Elizabeth Dickinson. She gave me refuge when I broke up with my rock star boyfriend who was fun, but drank way too much. I couldn’t physically take it any more…wimpy I know, but I had to leave. (But his idol was Keith Moon who was dead, after all.) I also left because I read Dante’s Inferno as part of my study for a Shakespeare play I was in, and I realized I was, oh my God, in the Upper Hell!

I guess my latent Catholicism kicked in big time, because I went through a very holy phase. One holy thing I did was wake up at 5:00 every morning to study the Qabbalah book and meditate. I worked with it like this for a very long time and began having visions of the Sephiroth Gods and Goddesses, using all the correspondences to build altars, and just got into doing Magic. I think I wanted to be like Vivian LeFay Morgan from Dion Fortune’s Sea Priestess book among other things. I used the magical images and ideas I learned in the Mystical Qabbalah in my own dances for the troupe I was in called the  Companions of the Musavir. It was Sufi dance troupe. As the dance company was about using Scared Dance to tell Sufi stories, my contributions fit in very well. I always liked the idea of the theater as a temple.

So my knowledge of the Tree is pretty extensive, but also very old. I will give you what I have internalized over the years. It may be technically off for some people, but if you are one of those, please feel free to leave comments. I would enjoy an refresher and it will help the other readers as well.

Tree of Life, Tree of Lights

Above is a very nice diagram of the Tree of Life, the basic glyph, or magical pattern, on which the Qabbalistic system is based. But in case you are new to this, here is a simple one:

As you can see, there are ten spheres with thirty-two paths linking them together in various ways. The spheres are called Sephiroth and, in my experience, when you work with them, they open up as little chapels with altars in them that correspond to the qualities of the deities that work through them. Each Sephiroth is aligned to a planet and with the Gods, Goddesses, Planetary Intelligences, Angels that make up the consciousness of that Sphere.

You can also meditate standing within the Tree, so that your feet at at Malkuth (Earth), your pelvis is at Yesod  (Moon), heart is at Tiphareth (Sun) and so on. You must “Cross the Abyss” (Daath) so that your head is just below Kether whose symbol is appropriately enough, a Crowned King.

This is a huge topic that entire books have been written about, but these little keys can help you go through the doors on your own. It is the basis of Tables of Correspondences, relationships between powers and deities, and many other things. It is very enlightening to take your favorite Gods, say the Greek Gods, and put each one in a sphere according his or her planetary association and see how the energies collide and interact. You can understand things at a much deeper level when you play with the Tree of Life in this way.

The Dark Side of the Tree, Tree of Death?

Now, more appropriately for Parsons and Thelema, I shall do my best to explain the Dark Side of the Tree of Life. Think of it as the same as the Dark Side of the Moon, where a crater has been named for Jack Parsons, where everything is reversed like a reflection in a mirror.

The mirror can be front to back as with a coin, but also up and down as when a tree is reflected in a lake. (See  the image at the top of this post.) This essay is about the front/back dichotomy. The up/down has to do with the Underworld of Faery.

Most things that live in the dark, or on the dark side, have developed fearful shapes in the minds of the members of the Big Three religions that have been indoctrinated to to seek, exclusively, the Light. In Christianity, I think the idea that God is Logos, equated to the Sun, may have something to do with this. Therefore, the moon, or the dark being opposed, must be anti-God.

Exploring the reverse side of the Tree of Life was forbidden, for it was said to be  the abode of demons, shells, and destructive, chaotic forces — the flip side of the acceptable qualities of the bright side of the tree. An example of this would be:

Chesed, ruled by Jupiter and all the Gods of beneficence, mercy, abundance, and expansion can flip over into excess, greed, compulsion, and cancerous growth. Think of the good and bad sides of Sagittarius: jovial, fun- loving, active, philosophical, but wow, can they be dogmatic, bullying, crude, and its my way or the highway!

Its like that for all of the Sephiroth, whether Netzach (Venus), Hod (Mercury) Geburah (Mars) Binah (Saturn), etc.. (See the charts) The Dark Tree houses  chaos, disintegration, unbalanced power, or forces out of conscious control — for what is in the dark is unconscious, instinctual, reacting without thought. Furies live on the dark side of tree, and all those beings that we, or society as a whole, reject. Death lives on the dark side, waiting in the shadows.

Qliphoth and Astral Shells

Some Occultists have a need to redeem these exiled entities, wishing to bring about wholeness and healing. In order to do that safely, one must have been initiated into their own shadow side, in a real way, so that when these beings show themselves, they can be understood.

Some Occultists feel that the Qliphoth are storehouse of power.  The truth is that the darkness brings you deep, and if you seek to look into what has been repressed, or forbidden, then the paths that work with the dark side of the Tree will have a magnetic pull for you.

The Qliphoth are what are called by Occultists, Astral Shells. What this means is that, at one time these were bodily forms with souls, perhaps human, but they are now dead and emptied out of any Divine spark, or consciousness. Ghosts are considered by some Parapsychologists to be Astral Shells, or just figments or imprints left behind in the aethers after the original occupant has moved on. These shells can be used, taken over by wandering entities, that seem a bit like hermit crabs looking for new homes. Since they are floating around on the dark side, the  spirits that take them over are, of course, low grade entities and demons who can be magically persuaded to do the bidding of Black Magicians. Nyahahah! The lovely Lillith is considered to be one of these.

Lilith by Anandazone

Lilith by Anandazone

Astral Realm or Sub Lunar Realm

I have a question about the idea of Astral Shells. The word Astral means Star, so it suggests that the Qliphoth are dead stars perhaps? But the Earth is under the Moon; we live in the Sub Lunar Realm. It is said that, at one time, the Earth and the Moon were joined. The Moon split off and we descended into denser material forms.

Therefore, are the demons Astral Shells or Lunar Shells? They sure seem to be of the dark side of the moon to me.

I understand why someone would want to do magic with the Underworld Tree, another forbidden zone by the Big Three Religions. It is because  I feel very resonant with Faery. But I must admit, even though I played Majorie Cameron/ Babalon in the play and was deeply effected by Her, I don’t understand the attraction of some people to destructive forces, chaos, and astral shells. there is a gap in my education that, hopefully, Paul Green will fill when we speak at the end of this week.

The interview will be recorded over Skype and then I will stream it from the blog. Cross fingers that all goes well. Technically speaking that is.

Of course, if you want to listen to podcasts of our December 5, 2005 performance of Babalon, the links are just below.

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

Please leave comments. For updates of the Babalon Diaries, subscribe to my RSS Feed or my email list. There is more to come…

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The Burning Times

Jean d"Arc

CJean d'Arc

This series of videos is a Canadian documentary I saw a long time ago. It is beautifully produced and tells a story that has shaped our world even to this day. It takes about 90 minutes to watch them all.

I was amazed when I lived in London what difficulties I sometimes had with men who saw me, a Tarot reader, as a dangerous threat, and how often a woman was sinisterly labeled a “witch” just for being attractive. These ideas still hang around 300 years later. Ignorance still poses a danger to those of who choose to come out as Witches. There are still large numbers of people who don’t really understand what that really means.

I think one aspect should be considered. In my studies, it seems that the Spanish Inquisition was not for rural witches, or pagans, but for much bigger fish — the heretics with a big H, like Giordano Bruno — learned men whose ideas threatened the dogmas and power base of the Church. I believe it was the job, or whim, of the regional churches to do away with practice of the Old Ways among the people.

The Womens’ Spirituality Movement, represented in this film, may be a bit passe now as younger women seem pretty free of the repression imposed on those of us born before 1970. In my younger days, it was a huge thing for us to feel safe to say what was true for us, let alone forge a meaningful life that did not revolve around child rearing.

I love the music by Loreena McKennitt, who I have always suspected her of being one of us, and the little girl in Part Six who, when asked “What is a witch?” replies, “A witch is something that comes out of the ground on Halloween and gives everyone magical powers.”

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

From Selena who posted the film on YouTube

The Burning Times Documentary

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This beautifully crafted film is an in-depth look at the witch-hunts that swept through Europe just a few hundred years ago. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and burnings at the …

This beautifully crafted film is an in-depth look at the witch-hunts that swept through Europe just a few hundred years ago. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and burnings at the stake, and ultimately to the destruction of an organic way of life. The film advances the theory that widespread violence against women and the neglect of our environment today can be traced back to those times. Part two of a series of three films on women and spirituality, which includes Goddess Remembered and Full Circle.

REMARKS: I posted this video uncertain of how it would be received, though I suspected there were many others, particularly women, who would find it to be a clarifying link to our history. Even that word history erases the account of women, but such is the power of what happened during the Burning Times. I’ve read every single comment that has been posted, including the 15% or so that I moderate out, and I am glad that it has been so meaningful to Pagans, who have very few serious films to choose from that treat their roots with respect. Whether you are Pagan or not, the important thing to understand as you watch this video is that the Burning Times was a holocaust perpetuated on a culture that regarded women as patently valuable in spiritual and social importance, which seems the most obvious thing in the world to believe from simple observation of both ourselves biologically and nature at large. But that was the problem: a nature-based religion left no room for a centralized metaphysical authority, and no matter how hard Rome tried to coax these cultures into a comparatively nonsensical belief in order to better rule over their resources and land, an independent human’s natural curiosity leads one back to the rhythms of observable nature, and inevitably into questioning the authority of the Church. In order to destroy such a compellingly sensible view of the world — a view that was, in many respects, the ancient precursor of modern science — an act of genocidal terrorism was committed, for it was only that kind of fear that finally subdued people into accepting the counter-intuitive view that humans are separated from nature, and sublimated the recognition of the intrinsic duality between the feminine and male elements that underpins our very existence.

This was one of our darkest periods, one that brought out the very worst in people — our morbid sadistic bloodthirst that thrilled in the power of life and death over others — and it is, I think, fair to say that we still struggle with this now. Perhaps we always did. Even today, almost all women live with a distinct but unarticulated fear and uncertainty of their place in society, but perhaps in understanding what happened to bring that about — that it was a specific series of events that really happened, and her fear is that awful legacy — women may come to feel less isolated and more willing to move past that fear to find their own sense of purpose that they define for themselves. If this video plays any positive part in that, I am very happy for it.

UPDATE: You can buy the entire series here:…
Please consider buying it. Not only is it a fantastic series well worth having, but remember that buying the movies encourages more of these kinds of films to be made.

Three Princesses by Lucas Cranach

Three Princesses by Lucas Cranach, painter for Martin Luther

Check out my article The Wicked Women of Lucas Cranach by clicking here:

It discusses the interpretation of women by artist living during the height of the Burning Times.

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The Root of Confusion: Admission vs. Initiation

I found this very interesting article by Trystn Branwynn at Trystn’s Occult Journal and got his permission to reprint it here. Since Initiation is one of the main focuses of Winterspells, I found Trystn’s ideas very compelling. His thesis that Initialtion is granted by the Destroyer Gods, that the path of Magic is transformational — not just  a fun ride to the Otherworld, is a very important one.

This isn’t to scare people off, but you must know what the path is and where it leads if you choose to step upon it. For some of the choice was made lifetimes ago.

The Root of Confusion: Admission vs Initiation

by Trystn Branwynn
Reprinted from Trystn’s Occult Journal

I find a lot of confusion among occult and pagan practitioners between the terms “Initiation” and “Admission.” I’ve seen this confusion expressed by my friend Caroline Tully who said “I’m a member of several groups and their “initiation” is nothing more than “Welcome to the club.”” I’ve further seen it in Gardnerians who insist that nobody can be a Witch unless they are “…initiated in a circle like I was …” I’ve further seen eclectics pontificate “I’ll never initiate, it would tape my wings down” and “I would only self initiate.” That sad fact is that not one of the above statements is true and all express the confusion between Initiation and Admission.

A person cannot initiate themselves. Nor can a person initiate another person. This is Admission – “Welcome to the club.” Shani Oates, the Maid of the Clan of Tubal Cain has expounded beautifully on this point and her words, once published, will be well worth the reading. Admission rites may be intended to trigger an initiatory experience, but they are far from guaranteed to work although many groups insist that they work every time and insist that someone going through their rite is an initiate, whether they show the signs of successful initiation or not. This means that a great many groups and lines find themselves weighed down with a dearth of failures who do nothing to carry the stream forward, and often do everything possible to attract attention to themselves. Such individuals often run about insisting that “to be an initiate” one must “be an activist” or subscribe to a particular political ideology. Not only are these statements flagrantly false, their result is the creation of organizations that do nothing more than mimic the function of Christendom and its various churches. The hallmark of this mentality is a sense of abjection or victimhood that, far from carrying the stream forward, does everything possible to stunt its growth.

An Initiatory Experience consists of a collision – and I use this word with full intent – with Spirit. The spirit in question will be an initiating spirit – a Lightbringer and/or a Destroyer. The great Initiators are, in fact, the Destroyers. These figures include Cain, Woden, Taliesin, Legba, Herodia, Abraxas, Lugus, Lucifer, and other figures who have passed through the process of the Initiation. This is to say that they have destroyed or sundered their world, recreated it, and survived Death thus becoming the embodiments of the evolution of the Divine Consciousness. The Destroyers are the Great Mothers – The Morrigan, Hekate, Lilith, Ereshkigal, Isis, Gode, Freyjavigdis, La Madonna Negra, and others of their kind. Far from being the “gentle, laughing goddess” these beings stand at the center of the crossroads – at the point of ultimate destruction – created by the confluence of the seven worlds, offering rebirth and recreation.

Neither of these spirits should be sought out lightly. They are not gentle and their love is death. But it is this Death that the would-be Initiate must court, experience, and survive.

The mythic imagery of this process and its symbols is well known and very nearly universal. We find its symbols in Hindi, German, Welsh, African, Irish, Finnish, and Christian mythos, just to name a few sources.

It must also be understood that worship is neither the key nor the desired result of this process. The key and desired results are Epiphany and Apotheosis. This is to say that the Initiate does not seek to follow meekly in line behind the Lightbringer, nor to grovel at the feet of the Destroyer, but instead to realize his or her own inner Godhead and become a Lightbringer in his or her own right. This is why I said earlier that Initiation entails a collision with Spirit. The process feels as though one’s life has experienced a “train wreck.” One’s world or world-view is destroyed utterly in a cataclysmic process and then recreated in the image of Spirit.

The desired result of the Mystery of Initiation is not “now you’re a member of group X.” It is “Now you are on the road, intended by the True Gods.” It is not “Now you will have “good karma” but rather “Now you have overthrown karma and surpassed most of the spirits men call “gods.” This ties to the point I made earlier that “the gods” do not evolve. This is not their purpose, nor is it their nature, and the idea that they do is largely a product of pop-culture. The purpose of most of the spirits men call “gods” is to cause and catalyze human evolution. Indeed, most of these spirits were human at one time and have, in fact, evolved as far as they are able, and have become the servants of the terrible Pale Dame Fate. Again, our heritage or birthright is not to likewise become the slaves of Fate, but to overthrow this terrible foe, and transform her into Wyrd – Destiny – that we carve with our own hands. This is the upshot of the views expressed by such luminaries as Gautama Buddha, Robert Cochrane, Pythagoras, and others of like kind. But all of these figures also express their own cautionary tales, their own Poisoned Chalices, for the body is subject to Fate and that which is mortal will eventually fall prey to one of her traps. In the end, she lines her nest with our bones.

The Neophyt by Aubrey Beardsley

The Neophyt by Aubrey Beardsley

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“Mother Earth” by Within Temptation

I can’t resist sharing this wonderful video with you all. The link was sent to me by my friend Alex whose comments are like blog posts and full of wisdom.


Birds and butterflies
Rivers and mountains she creates
But you’ll never know
The next move she’ll make
You can try
But it is useless to ask why
Cannot control her
She goes her own way

She rules until the end of time
She gives and she takes
She rules until the end of time
She goes her own way

With every breath
And all the choices that we make
We are only passing through on her way
I find my strength
Believing that your soul lives on
Until the end of time
I’ll carry it with me

Once you will know my dear
You don’t have to fear
A new beginning always starts at the end
Until the end of time
She goes her own way

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Witches Familiars: Magic of the Horse

The White Mare of Britain

In April of 1996, I spent a full month traveling around the British Isles on what I called my “King Arthur Tour”, or my “Holy Grail Tour”.

The previous November, the visitations from the Tuatha de Danaan, or the Faery Court of Ireland,  had begun, plunging me into a life of altered realities: Grail Bearers processing through the house, portals opening in the aethers, visions of the Tarot cards as life sized holograms allowing me to enter and and return at will, etc. The Kingdom of Faery had moved into my house and had taken up residence there.

My eight year spiritual healing practice brought in a decent enough money for me to be able to travel to Europe. I was compelled to go to the Britain and ground my life-long obsession with the Arthurian Legends into my physical reality, as well as honor the sharp promptings of the Faery. So that April, I got on a plane to Heathrow and  landed in time for the sunniest April England ever experienced — I ended up living there for 9 years, so I should know! Having been warned about the cold and drizzle, I was always overdressed, but chic, I hope.

Part of my trip was to Cornwall to see Arthur’s birthplace, Tintagel Castle. It is a ruin of great antiquity that sprawls over the side of a cliff, crosses a channel, and continues up another cliff to the top where it overlooks the sea. It is park-like now, with green grass carpeting the ground between the rock formations of crumbled walls. You can look through loop holes and arches down to the rocky coast, or climb to the top of the cliff to sit in the remains of a walled garden. The sea surrounds you on all sides, waves crash and wallow in and out of deep caves, and drag away from the shore in a constant churning motion. And far below the castle, and deep under the cliff, is Merlin’s Cave.

I went down to Merlin’s Cave and went inside. It is quite a sensation to be a large cavern under the earth when you know an entire cliff and a castle tower over it, and that perhaps Merlin did indeed hide in this place. The cave looks very much like the painting above. It is a still, quiet haven at the edge of a tumultuous sea.

I tend to look for souvenirs from nature and found a nice, palm sized stone that had been worn down by the waves and by time, so that it looked a little like a fragment of solidified wave. Taking it outside into the light to examine it, I was amazed at what I saw! Traced in white crystals embedded in the gray stone was the head of a horse!

It looks more like a horse in real life, but it is definitely a horse!

Another syncronicity happened at that time. When Arthur was born at Tintagel Castle, it was said that a dragon tailed comet blazed in the sky to herald his birth. During the two days I stayed there, the Hale Bop comet floated in the sky  just above the water like a glowing golden ball in the twilight. It was a magical time.

Giant Horses Run Over the Hills

The British Isles are one of the most mystical places on earth. When one gets out of the smoggy, ghost ridden confines of London into the green hills of Wiltshire and Somerset, the train takes you through a landscape of green rolling hills, ancient villages crowned with tenth century churches, and endless populations of sheep.

Every now and then, the train rounds a bend and one sees a wonder. Little streams meander between rocky banks at the base of a crag, and in the near distance, a smooth, green mound looms, too perfect to have been made by nature. Is it the burial mound of an ancient King, or a Faery Rath, or a medieval storage unit? Then you will see more green hills and suddenly the White Horse, carved in the white lime rock of the land, gleams out at you. The more you travel, the more of them you see. What does it mean? Why do the English carve huge horses into the land that look like they are running over the hills?  When were they carved there? And why are they so carefully maintained? There weren’t always tourists coming through to see them. This is a land of sheep herders and farmers.

The Vale of the White Horse

The oldest chalk hill figure of a horse in Britain is the Uffington White Horse (see the top of the post). It is said to be between 3,000  and 10,000 years old. It is a a gigantic figure, 374′ in length, and was made of ditches dug into the hillside and filled in with white chalk. The stylized horse leaps across a steep hill above a lush, green, bowl- shaped valley called The Manger. According to local legend, on moonlit nights the horse leaves its place on the hillside to graze there.  (There has also been and annual cheese rolling festival there until recently).

Another steep hill ascends to what remains of Uffington Castle. It is one of the most gorgeous places in England. A friend and I did a ritual on top of a flat mound, called Dragons Hill,  in honor of the spirit of the Horse and the great Celtic Goddesses, Rhiannon and Epona who we suspect were revered there.

The other horses carved in the hills of England are more recent. One was created in Georgian times and others are Victorian. Though modern they are still in the spirit of the Uffington Horse, and are carefully maintained by English Heritage.  They were probably inspired by the Uffington Horse. I suspect crop circles may have a link to the Horses and other Hill Figures such as the Long Man, but who knows really…

The Horse and the Goddess of Sovereignty

It is said that horses existed in Britain before people. The small sturdy Dartmoor and Shetland ponies ran wild over the land. It isn’t strange then, for Sovereignty of the Isles of Britain to be symbolized by the Horse.

According to the apochrypha of Margaret Murray, the first human inhabitants of Britain were the Faeries. They tamed the wild ponies and stabled them in caves. The Celts invaded and, with their weapons of iron and their greater stature, overcame the Faeries, but the horse remained a sacred creature to them. To this day, the Irish are horse worshippers, as are the Gyspies who hold Horse Fairs in Britain during the summer.

Rhiannon, whom the Romans called Epona, was the Goddess of the Horse. The Mabinogian describes her as a Faery woman wearing a golden cloak and riding a white horse. The hero who follows her will never catch up, for she will stay just far enough ahead to elude and lure him into Faery.  In her story in the Mabinogian, Rhiannaon is put through a terrible trial that involves the sovereignty of Britain, in which she is forced to hand her power over to the men.

Spiritual Keys to the Land

If we consider how intimate humans and horses have been until very recent history, we may understand how the Horse Goddess can have been the Queen of the Land. Horses have been transportation, weapons of war, workers, slaves, food, muses, sacrifices, symbols of beauty, freedom and bondage. They have done our dirty work for centuries. Even now, they are hauled out at Christmas time to cart us around the city breathing the fumes from their mechanical replacements so their owners can make a little money and we can conjure up a little “Christmas spirit”.

As the indigenous creatures of the British Isles, horses were the first tribe. They therefore held the keys to the land. The Goddess, Rhiannon, whose name means Horse, was that key, was that interface with the land that grants rulership in a time when the earth was known to be alive and conscious. When nature and human interacted in deep relationship.

Therefore in old Ireland, the King had to marry the Goddess of Sovereignty, or Queen of the Land, in order to be endowed with the fertile power that was needed to rule. The ritual of Kingship is very strange and very old. In the occasion of his enthronement (a “renewal” of the world), the King would ritually mate with a mare, which was subsequently sacrificed. From its remains a broth was made, which was served communally to all.  This  sharing was how the population merged with the land, and mediated its fertility and power.

The White Horse and the Hill of Tara

I support the preservation of the Hill of Tara in Ireland as it is being threatened by development. The spiritual work being done there to claim it as a place of sacred significance is totally inspiring and awesome.

I am reprinting part of one of these rituals because the visualizations express so eloquently the power and magic of the Horse. It was led by Ireland’s Druid School and their website is at:

Hill of Tara: Tara’s Celtic Goddess Dreaming

A suggested midnight visualization located in the high valley of Tara

“Tall leafy trees behind a Lady in White sitting on a White Mare; she leans forward offering a branch of thirteen leaves to three Celtic Women who open their hands to receive and reflect the old ways again. Eight Celtic Men form a semi circle around the three Celtic Women facing the Horse Goddess who emits a gentle white Light. Peace and Calm. Then, the neighing of a wild horse and the thunder of many hooves and the White Mare lifts her head to the gallop responding to the call to run free in the sacred valley… The ‘Three Ladies and the Eight Men’ of Tara step back enraptured in the graceful movement of the herd. This Fairy Host gallops along the entire Valley of the White Mare and down to the River of the Cow Goddess and back again, no fences or gates – just lush rolling grasslands edged by forest and overlooked by Rath Lugh and Rath Miles. Their free raw energy bursts through the mask of illusions every night at midnight. Light and freshness evolves in their space.”

Tara’s Celtic Goddess Heritage Park

“Join the visualisation / meditation / journeying at 23:59 Irish time, every night and heartlink to the Dreaming. The White Mare’s name is Edain Echraidhe and she lives in Ireland’s Celtic Goddess Heritage Park in the sacred valley of Tara. We suggest Rath Lugh as a focus for sending to. The co-ordinates of Rath Lugh are 693,829 / 761,317 and this magnificent monument is covered in trees, many of which are huge oaks and beech.
This desire dreaming of a Celtic Goddess Heritage Park around Tara’s sacred valley is to give substance to the White Mare as an expression of the Celtic Horse Goddess who then exposes those who seek to destroy the High Valley of the Royal City of Tara. But the night Mare is also kind and gentle and she will offer a lift to those who seek a return to the Light again, if asked properly.
Sunrise on Friday 22nd June”

Also, you can join the Hill of Tara at and help save the Faery Halls!

Please let me know what you think and if I got all my details straight. this is a deep topic and I have lived with this knowledge for many years. Things expand as scholarship grows and I would love to know what you know and can add to the conversation.

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Nigel Jackson and “Winter Rouses All My Grief”

The Magical Art of Nigel Jackson

While living in London, I was perusing the bookshelves in the legendary Atlantis Bookshop, across from the British Museum and not far from The Plough pub, haunt of Victorian and Edwardian magicians in the hay days of the London occult scene.

In Atlantis, I found a book called The Pillars of Tubal Cain. Published by Capall Bann, and jointly authored by Michael Howard and Nigel Jackson. I bought it because of the mysterious illustrations that captured the disturbing nature of true Otherworld contact — something you can’t quite put your finger on, for your pointing finger seems to multiply, and the object being pointed at seems to shimmer, the way that water does when a stone is thrown into it, only  the ripples go deeper, and something dark glimmers through..

The personality of each man shone through the writing, but it took a while for me to figure out who wrote what — and who drew the amazing illustrations! I finally found the name of the artist: Nigel Jackson. From there, I knew that the more academic writer was Michael Howard, and the intuitive, emotional writer had to be Nigel Jackson. Both are excellent, and the book is rich with the old lore of Masonry and explorations into the ancient Magic.

Over time, I bought a few more works by Nigel Jackson, about vampires and werewolves, an Ogham deck, his Rune cards, mostly for the wonderful pictures, though the texts are also fascinating and informative. I will review some of these in a later post. At this time, I want to share a video that Nigel himself emailed to me. The art is taken from his Nigel Jackson’s Tarot, his book, The Compleat Vampyre, and a piece called The Dance of Death.

Enjoy! We will speak to Nigel Jackson around the end of August. This would be appropriate as it would seem that Lammas time resonates with him….

You will also notice how suitable this video is for Winterspells….

Winter Rouses All My Grief

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Music performed by COURT OF THE BEES Lyric from the Harley Manuscript, trans. by Brian Stone Vocal by Patricia Maria Jackson Images by Nigel Jackson
Music performed by COURT OF THE BEES
Lyric from the Harley Manuscript, trans. by Brian Stone
Vocal by Patricia Maria Jackson
Images by Nigel Jackson
Category: Music

Here are some books by Nigel Jackson available from Amazon. They are all great! please check them out by clicking on this widget.

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