Category Archives: choices

Attention “trad craft”

You’re “trad” isn’t any older then Wicca. “Trad Craft” is not ancient. It is as much an invention of the early 20th century as Gardnerian Wicca.
Only the Golden Dawn, and the OTO and related traditions are relatively new, although, they are older then Gardnerian and “Trad Craft” having started in the late 19th century.
The Grimoires, the 3 books of Occult Philosophy by Cornelius Agrippa, The books of Astrological magic and thought written by various authors, the Picatrix, and other classics of Hermetic Philosophy, are older then “Trad Craft” The PGM is older then “Trad Craft.” The roots of Hermeticism in Mediterranean Antiquity are older then “Trad Craft.” The Vedas, various Sutras, Mahabharata is older then “Trad Craft.” The Chaldean Oracles are older the “Trad Craft.” Actual Folk Magic of actual specific cultures from around Europe, and in the United States is older then “Trad Craft” and some of them are living traditions that are practiced to this day.

But, None of this matters, In my day to day life, and interactions with spiritual workers of all types, I rarely if ever need to mention it, because I don’t need the the claims of “antiquity” or “Tradition” or “Old” to feel good about my spiritual practice. I’m fine with it being modern, because it works for me. But I also like to be informed about whatever everyone else is doing, has done, and is thinking about doing, because it keeps me from thinking I’ve invented the wheel, when everyone around me is already driving cars.

Stop thinking you’ve invented the wheel “trad craft.” We’re all driving in cars, while you’re excited that you can roll something along.

E is for Empowerment

First some ideas

I like the concept of Empowerment. While it has a more social and political and cultural implications in the west, I also like it’s understanding in the terms that come from Vajrayana. I also found empowerment plays it’s role in modern American neo paganism, both in a social context and in an esoteric way. What I find is that one seems to fuel other, in it’s searching and it’s steps of slowly gaining it.

Of course, esoteric Empowerment has a different name, that is probably much better known, and much shorter. Initiation. Initiation is something that seems to be absent from a lot of contemporary spiritual practice, although it is making a come back. Some people gain it from traditions. P re-exisiting orders, Lineage, passed down from the founder. People seek in it various ways. Other methods of initiation are personal and unique. From the spirits themselves, you can be initiated, by Gods, by Angels, by the Fae, many beings. Some initiations are specific to the spirit giving it. Others might be deep, and require time and many challenges. The major initiation in modern western esoteric orders is the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Nothing could be more personal, even though the practice of it well documented and worked on by many. I think this practice also shows how Initiation is also an empowerment. It is just access to special club, or the specific rituals, but it is the power, the current of that tradition, those spirits. From the power gained from the initiation, they may be able to move mountains, metaphorically speaking. They have been empowered and so they acted with that power to change things to make them better.

In the USA, Empowerment’s twin streams very much run side by side. In the beginning of alternative spirituality movement it attracted a people of a variety of different groups. This dates back to the late 19th century. While there was plenty of men who were involved in alternative spirituality and occultism, there are also quite a few very famous women. Madame Blavatsky is a key figure that comes to mind. At a time when women had few rights and were very much limited, she worked to create a movement, a movement that continues on to this day, and has influenced much of Western occultism and alternative spirituality. Her books are still published and sold today. She very much demonstrates a power, being empowered through her spiritual aspirations she did more then many other women of her day.

With the second occult flowering in the USA in the 60’s, which brought with it the spread of Wicca, it then also picked up more of the cultural empowerment. Many minorities found the idea of Wicca, witchcraft and alternative spirituality as means to find their own empowerment, to pursue their goals of empowering themselves socially, culturally, and politically. Some minorities have always had their spiritual means of getting one up on the Man. The role of conjure doctors and spiritual workers in African American communities was often not only spiritual, but also physical, as they cared for clients physical needs with their knowledge, helping them when they were sick, not only from being hoodooed but also from colds, illnesses and injuries. The same for Appalachian folk magic, and Pennsylvania pow-wow practitioners. The Mexican curandera or curandero would be consulted for herbal knowledge for sickness just as much spiritual ailments. While not all of them are minorities, in a sense, they are often limited to specific communities, and often derided by outsiders for their “backwards superstitions” by others.

Among the gay civil rights movement, there were quite a few people and groups that embraced alternative spirituality to gain empowerment both spiritually and also to help them in their fight to gain temporal empowerment. One figure was Eddy Buczynski, the founder of quite a few American witchcraft traditions including the Minoan Brotherhood. At a time when gay men were standing up and going out, he created one of the first spiritual traditions for gay men. A magical practitioner and gay man who was also a major activist was Leo Martello, who founded a Witchcraft Anti Defamation League and Alternative Religions Education Network, who was also very active with Gay liberation during the time of Stonewall. Another significant figure was Arthur Scott Evans, writer of “Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture” in which he asserted that the Witch mania of Europe also targeted people who may have been accused of engaging in homosexual acts. All of these people in some way found the empowerment of alternative spirituality and practices, which gave them the force and power to pursue empowerment in the physical world.

As I watch and read the events of the day, and the responses of people, and the responses of the wide neo pagan community in the USA, I feel I notice how spiritual empowerment helps to give fuel to the physical empowerment that people pursue. There is great inequality still existing in the world. Women, people of color, GLBT people and others. Yet I am aware of many of these minorities finding power for themselves, what some might call “power within” to work to make changes, to empower others like them, and work to create a planet where we can all live together, with justice, with liberty, with equality and maybe as a global family.


Standing at a Crossroads

Right now I am standing at a crossroads and I am looking at my options about what direction to go, in terms of spiritual exercises and focus. A few weeks ago I completed an extensive meditation/trancework practice with the runes, spending a week (or more) with each rune. I began this in 2009, and while my original goal was to finish in 33 weeks (for the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc and Northumbrian runes) it did take much longer because of little bumps in the road of life, like colds, moving, or just not being able to get into the trance state I felt was needed. But I stuck it through to the end, and I finished. It was awesome and when I was done I felt great satisfaction and completion. That lasted for about a week.

The new question is “Where do I go from here?” It is the challenge of being mostly self-directed in one’s personal spiritual/magical practice. There is no teacher saying “study this next” and honestly, while I do love books, for me I need to move beyond them. They too easily become a crutch and a distraction, instead of propelling me ahead into my next thing. I have an extensive library already. The only things I would like to add to it are rare and expensive contemporary books from the Cultus Sabbati and a few things that I have sitting on my wish list at Amazon. That being said, I do need to be thrify and plan my expenditures in that direction more carefully.

That being said, I wonder, where do I go from here? There is no wrong direction, I just need to choose. My usual problem is that I like to my cake and eat it to, and a few other cakes from everyone else as well. Some of the options that have presented themselves to me are:

1) Elemental Mastery – I have a relationship with the elements, Persian and otherwise. But I wouldn’t say I have mastery or a deep and well-established relationship. I have been told that Earth is where I need to begin.
2) A friend and guide along the path has directed me towards working with another magical alphabet, and to unlock meanings from those. While at first I have to say I was not thrilled, after some thought, it seemed interesting.
3) Ancestor Veneration – while I already do this on some level, I would like to take it to a deeper level and put together a more complete ancestor altar, with items of my family and other lineages that I am connected to. This would eventually lead to practicing necromancy and developing that skill set.

So, that is some of the options I am considering. There are others, but I haven’t quite figured them out exactly what they are. I have recently been reading “The Master Book of Candle-Burning” by Henri Gamache and contemplating the working presented there. I have also been working with Biblical Psalms, which might lead to something else, but I am not sure where that might lead, other then my interest in prayers and incantations. I have also been desiring to move forward with my Reiki studies, and become a Reiki Master, but I am not sure if that is what I am ready for yet.

So, I stand at the center of the crossroads, and I contemplate which direction I should head in now. I know eventually I can return and pursue the other objectives, but for now I need to choose and follow that direction.