Tag Archives: Self-Empowerment

One Spot of Beauty, In a Gray World

When the Beauty of Life Clings onto Life Itself,

Photo of Fireweed
Fireweed (Epilobium augustifolia), Photo taken: Nov 8th, 2015

Sometimes,

We may need a little inspiration to continue doing, that which we feel needs to happen. Life, with all of its challenges and hardships, is also full of anticipation, expectation, curiosity, and the limitless number of possibilities and potentialities. It is all the more reason, worth exploring Life to its every moment. Even a path, traveled only inch-by-inch, will eventually be able to tell the world, that at least someone, has taken the travel, into unfamiliar territory. It is an experience recorded, for others to see, reflect, and also be inspired to carry on, with their own paths of exploration.

There is no “handbook” nor manual on Life. Nor is there any “roadmap” on which path or turn to take, and of when. Each and every Path, is an individual’s own “Sacred Moment of Reflection”. Each and every crossroad, a point of decision. Each and every step, a movement towards the goal, a nuance, or a progress towards an ultimate understanding of who and what we are, and of who or what we may become. It is a Path worth the travel, even with its ruts, stones, and other hazards. It is THAT state of Being in Motion, Here and Now, that we begin to realize our Path, is our own!

THIS is worth a Life experienced, because it is a Life well-lived, no matter where, when, or how we came to it. THAT is the eternal beauty of Life, with all of its “unknowns”.

Rev. Dragon’s Eye,
Founder and Chief-Elder Dragon of the Temple,
TEMPLE OF THE ANCIENT DRAGONS

A History on Witchcraft – Part 1

THE EARLY YEARS OF SPIRITUALITY.

The history of witchcraft goes deep into the man’s past, long before recorded history. It is thought to have originated as far back to the days when man still lived in caves and other primitive living conditions. Though early man have not have had the level of understanding of his natural environment then, he may have started to formulate a belief in a presence or power beyond his own.

The many examples in paintings on the cave walls near Lascaux, France demonstrate, early on, man’s interest in the animals and the natural setting. Some of these paintings are surprisingly detailed, given that most new anthropologists may still be astounded by the idea that they were created by primitive man upon seeing them. With such keen attention to detail, it is reasonable to guess that this attentiveness would eventually help man to further his understanding of nature in later ages.

Some of us may remember stories about the American Indian and his ceremonial dances. Many such occasions incorporated song and dance, costumary, chanting, the use of pigments ( like face-painting, etc. ), and the “smudge” ( usually comprised of aromatic native plants that were dried and bundled for later use, like an incense ). Because these early peoples relied so much on what the land produced ( whether be it the animals for hunting, or the farmers crops in the case of agrarian societies ), and how consistently it produced adequate supplies for the community, they had a healthy reverence for the land and nature. This respect and reverence was the reason for prayers and chants to the spirits of the land and sky. Prayers that a hunt would be successful. Prayers to protect and bless the hunting party. Prayers that the people would be well-fed. Prayers for healing the sick. AND Prayers for just about anything that was felt needed that the spirits could help provide.

The later agrarian cultures eventually learned by watching the seasons and the migratory patterns of animals, the best times to plant, to weed and thin, to harvest, and when to let the land fallow. This was when celebrating the change of the seasons ( the Solar “Sabbats” ) first
became a tradition ( though they were yet to be considered the traditions of today ). These “times of year” were celebrated by the whole village usually with song and dance, accompanied by a feast. The seasons also reminded the people of the changes within themselves. An early form of a priesthood came into being, whose responsibilities were primarily keeping track of the seasons, recording the history of the past harvests and seasonal conditions, and praying to the spirits on behalf of the people’s needs. After many centuries of recognizing the patterns and the natural cycles of the seasons ( also referenced by the positions of the stars and planets – used as their “calendar” ), they had built up a base of knowledge on how to tell what one year will be like from the next. Their advice became very valuable, as it often meant the difference between feast and starvation for the people.

Many of the early agrarian cultures retained much of their primal spiritual practices of prayer, ritual and ceremony, and rhythmic chants and dances well into their agrarian lifestyles. They felt that the spirits of land and sky were as important to them as they were to their ancestors. The spirits were thanked for the successes of the harvest and in battle.

The history of medicine with the use of special plants for healing, inducing visions, meditation, etc. was also common in early man’s spiritual practices since the dawn of his rise. Some recent discoveries of newly uncovered sites of Neanderthal remains have provided some compelling
evidence that they too, had profound spiritual beliefs and may have also practiced with healing and “entheogenic” herbs. These could be some of the earliest examples of “witchcraft”, in today’s understanding.


A BRIEF ON “COMMON-CORE” SHAMANISM

The practice of communicating with, and traveling to the realm of the spirits in search of answers and knowledge, became one of the common practices of Shamanism, a type of practice in witchcraft. Some of the earliest Shaman (wisefolk – men AND women who were considered very wise and were usually of advanced age ) were taught and practiced communicating with the spirits of animals. Some of these animal “spirit guides” were revered as having access to much hidden knowledge, and answers to many of life’s common questions. Animal spirits were often consulted for advice on healing certain illnesses, where the best hunting was, and for divination of possible future events. Some cultures even felt that every child was born with a “guardian” who would be his/her “totem animal”. A totem animal was a spirit that was expected to remain with the person until his death. Its purpose was to guide, teach, and even protect the person throughout his daily life.

There were certain other instances where one may be visited by an animal spirit for the purpose of teaching a single or a few lessons before moving on. This was a commonly-held belief in many of the early American ( “American Indian” ) nations and tribes. Every animal spirit, whether a life-long companion and guardian, or a temporary visitor for the purpose of temporary guidance, was to be respected with the highest honor. This was also part of honoring and respecting Nature.

Shamanism is considered to be the world’s oldest magical practice for healing, divination, and other special workings. It is not a specific religion in the same sense that one recognizes religion. It is a way of life, a way of “knowing”, a way of interacting with the spirits and Nature, and means to obtain knowledge and knowing himself through his divine connection and inner nature. A shaman is one who has traveled to the “other worlds” frequently, so he “knows the territory” well enough to guide others’ journeys into it. Thus, an experienced Shaman becomes teacher and guide for those seeking his guidance.

A good resource for learning more about shamanism and the many different cultures who practiced shamanism ( as well as those who still practice it today ) may be found on the Foundation for Shamanic Studies website. Michael Harner has written and published a very good book that I highly recommend called, “The Way of the Shaman”. It covers the “common core” of knowledge and symbolism that is shared by many differing cultural beliefs. ( Yes. Another “shameless plug” of mine. )


THE RISE OF MODERN WITCHCRAFT

Excerpted from: Don Cardoza’s
“Dragon Magick site”.
(Now defunct, except for archives of it on: archive . org)

Witchcraft has existed in all parts of the world from time immemorial as an outgrowth of man’s first religion, shamanism. Today, the word “Witchcraft” is commonly translated as meaning “the Craft of the Wise,” a translation supported with the argument that the Witch was the “wise one” of his or her village and served as resident healer. However, from the Middle Ages up until fairly recently, the word “Witch” was used very differently from today. Witches were thought to work magic only for personal malice or entertainment. When someone felt they were under a Witch’s spell, they turned for help to those who were the real precursors of today’s Witch: the Wise Women and Cunning Men. These Cunning Folk specialized in working magic to help others. One of their specialties was breaking the spells of Witches. Virtually all Cunning Folk were astrologers and herbalists, and they stood out among the generally illiterate population as people who read and collected books. They often wrote their own book of spells and recipes, made from notes they took from their books. Cunning Folk were almost always solitary individuals, but there were also many hereditary family Clans of a type of village Witchcraft who often lived around standing stones and ancient earthworks.

England saw a general rise in the interest of magic in the late 1800’s, and a number of magickal societies helped to collect and disseminate the knowledge of magick to a wider audience. Far and away the greatest of these was the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (founded in 1888). The Golden Dawn collected a vast amount of occult information together into a coherent synthesis in its nine major rituals, and admitted both men and women as members (unlike many other Orders of the time). The Golden Dawn and its offshoots had hundreds of members, including many scientists, physicians, ministers, and writers, the most famous of whom was W.B. Yeats. A large number of Rosicrucians and Masons joined the Order. The Golden Dawn’s most infamous and successful initiate was Aleister Crowley, who probably had a hand in founding a new Witchcraft religion called Wicca.


Some of my own observations:

It is very interesting that much of the witchcraft practiced today, is based on a mix of various traditions and cultures. It is common to see groups using practices that blend the early Egyptian Kemetism ( from the doctrines of Hermes Trismegistus, for example ), Stregheria ( old Italian and “Gypsy magic” ), and the various old Germanic and Celtic/Gaelic practices.


THE WITCHCRAFT

By: Jack Parsons, 1946

WE ARE THE WITCHCRAFT.

We are the oldest organization in the world. When man was born, we were. We sang the first cradle song. We healed the first wound, we comforted the first terror. We were the Guardians against the Darkness, the Helpers on the Left Hand Side. Rock drawings in the Pyrenees remember us, and little clay images, made for an old purpose when the world was new. Our hand was on the old stone circles, the monolith, the dolmen, and the druid oak. We sang the first hunting songs, we made the first crops to grow; when man stood naked before the Powers that made him, we sang the first chant of terror and wonder. We wooed among the Pyramids, watched Egypt rise and fall, ruled for a space in Chaldea and Babylon, the Magian Kings. We sat among the secret assemblies of Israel, and danced the wild and stately dances in the sacred groves of Greece.

In China and Yucatan, in Kansas and Kurdistan we are one. All organizations have known us, no organization is of us; when there is too much organization we depart. We are on the side of man, of life, and of the individual. Therefore we are against religion, morality and government. Therefore our name is Lucifer. We are on the side of freedom, of love, of joy and laughter and divine drunkenness. Therefore our name is Babalon.

Sometimes we move openly, sometimes in silence and in secret. Night and day are one to us, calm and storm, seasons and the cycles of man, all these things are one, for we are at the roots. Supplicant we stand before the Powers of Life and Death, and are heard of these Powers, and avail. Our way is the secret way, the unknown direction. Our way is the way of the serpent in the underbrush, our knowledge is in the eyes of goats and of women.

It is our own force that sometimes shifts jeweled coils and creates mighty pinions in the breast of man; our Power is one with the Power that causes the God to stir in the heart of the seed, and the bud to burst into blossom and fruit; and whenever a man and a woman are united in one substance, our power is that substance.

Merlin was of us, and Gawain and Arthur, Rabelais and Catullus, Gilles de Retz and Jehanne d’Arc, De Molensis, Johannes Dee, Cagliostro, Francis Hepburn and Gellis Duncan, Swinburne and Eliphas Levi, and many another bard, Magus, poet, martyr known and unknown that carried our banners against the enemy multiform and ubiquitous, the Church and the State. And when that vermin of Hell that is called the Christian Church held all the West in a slavery of sin and death and terror, we, and we alone, brought hope to the heart of man, despite the dungeon and the stake.

We are the Witchcraft, and although one may not know another, yet we are united by an indissoluble bond. And when the high wild cry of the eagle sounds in your mind, know that you are not alone in your desire for freedom. And when the howl of the wolf echoes in the forests of your night, know that there are those who also prowl. And when the ways of your fellows about you seem the ways of idiocy and madness, know that there are also others who have seen and judged – and acted.

Now know that the power that we serve lies in the heart of every man and woman as the tree lives in the seed. And to be with us, you have but to call upon that Power, and you are as one of us. And when our Power and Joy have come upon you, you may go forth and do your will among men, and none shall say you nay. And if it be your will, you shall do your will secretly, and if it be your will, you will do your will openly, as your will.

Therefore lift up your hearts saying, “I am a man” or “I am a woman, and the Power of Life is mine!” And in the Power of Life you shall live and love, accepting no restriction and placing no restriction, freely and granting freedom. And it may be in the bounty of life you shall see the love of life shine in the eyes of another, and the lust of life burn upon his brow, and thus you shall take great joy together. And it may be in good fortune you may find a number such; and share your joy in secret feasting and rejoicing and all manner of lovemaking and festival. Or it
may be that at hazard and danger you will teach the joyous power to men; as your wills move you.

And this is well so long as you remember one thing. There can be no restriction. The Power of Life is not restricted; it knows its own way, but no mind knows that way. Therefore in yourself practice all the giving and taking of freedom that is consistent with life, for thereby alone can you remain in our joy.

Pain is. Terror is, loss and loneliness and agony of heart and spirit, even unto Death. For this is the gateway to the kingdom of Pan.

Our way is not for all men. There are those who are so constricted and sick in themselves that the thought of their own freedom is a horror, and that of others a fierce pain; so that they would enslave all men. And these you should shun, or, if you must, destroy them as you will know how, for this also is bounty.

Nor think the life power should manifest in those who have no trouble or turmoil, for these may be mere dumb cattle, innocents out of season. Rather does the power often show the most where conflict rages, since at any time, and especially in a false civilization, the way must be won through. Surrender is disaster. The other side of the coin is a song in the sunlight and a dance in the moonlight, where all mists are dispersed. But the way must be won.


– Rev. Athauliz “Dragon’s Eye” Firestorm,
Founder and Chief-Elder Dragon of,
TEMPLE OF THE ANCIENT DRAGONS

PRINCIPLES OF WICCAN BELIEF

The following set of Thirteen Principles was adopted by
the Council of American Witches in April 1974.

 

  1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarters.

  2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

  3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called supernatural, but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

  4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity — as masculine and feminine — and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive to the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magical practice and religious worship.

  5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc. — and we see the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magical exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

  6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

  7. We see religion, magick, and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world, and lives within it — a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft — the Wiccan Way.

  8. Calling oneself “Witch” does not make a Witch — but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees, and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with Nature.

  9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.

  10. Our only animosity toward Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be “the only way,” and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practices and belief.

  11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and not our future.

  12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as Satan or the Devil, as defined by the Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the sufferings of others, nor accept the that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.

  13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

( This was posted for educational and curiosity purposes. It was not intended to force a doctrine on any practitioner here, or elsewhere. )


Starting on the Path of Something Different

Starting on the Path of Something Different.

We often times may find ourselves questioning “What is my purpose?“, “Why am I here?“, and perhaps, “Who or what am I?” These are valid questions that many may silently be contemplating, or not, at various times in their lives. Many of life”s unanswered questions are questions that we may have dared to not explore, nor entertain any thought beyond that of a “passing fancy”. THAT has much to do with the social conditioning of virtually each and every individual who is part of that society.

The “mundane” life we often take for granted, is often quite “mundane” and perhaps very boring, to the extent that we may not even be aware that there is more to the living experience than we can remember. Young children, before they start to receive their “daily-dose” of that societal conditioning, are often very expressive and energetic about all of the nuances they discover, for the first time, in the world around them. That “innocence” of childhood is a fleeting part of their beginning lives. Such alert children seem to take such joy and fascination with the many details and “little things” that are often ignored in their later years. Ahh, how we seem to forget the simple pleasures of life as we get older!

The Path towards enlightenment and self-realization, then, may seem very simple on paper, but hard to grasp when attempting to put it into action. Many of us are taught, in our “early years” to know the difference between fact and fiction. We are taught that there is “reality”, and then there is “fantasy” ( or “make-believe” ). Then, our conditioning continues, with the identification of what constitutes “factual” from constitutes “fiction”. It is here that we begin to remove from ourselves the power of imagination, in favor of “given facts”. We may never realize that there is indeed power to “imagination” and its importance as a building block toward manifestation. So the Spiritual side of thinking too frequently becomes the casualty of this conditioning, as well as the unlimited possibilities that can unfold within our minds.

Imagination is as human as everything else we associate with the condition of being “human”. It is what drives our very creative talents. It is what drives us to “rise to the occasion” when we feel the cause to do so. It is that means by which artists create the very works they become known by. It is that part and process of thinking that scientists, doctors, and other academic and professional individuals “discover” a new theory, method, treatment, or process that makes a positive contribution to the art, career, profession, and/or discipline that he/she is engaged in. The art of “imagining” is a way to do things that is a natural aspect of “being human”, and it DOES require some form or stretch of imagination.

“Magic” is similarly an act of empowering “imagination”. It is also a natural process of creating change. ANY natural effect be it, the rain, sprouting seeds, growth in general, and especially childbirth, are themselves magical acts. They are very natural, an active process of change, and many of them involve an “intent”. Whether we understand where that intent begins from, or not, makes no difference. These are, by their very existence, magical acts.

Acts of magic are also divine acts. The power to create is a powerful aspect of living. Most religions recognize the divine act of creation. Man was supposedly created by divine creative acts (magic) of one or more Gods ( and/or Goddess/es ). [ This implies that there may be more than one co-creator involved in man”s creation. ] Having been created by such divine acts, and most likely empowered by the ability to also be creative (just look at the immense thought-processes and mental faculties man possesses), we see many historic examples of what creative talents (for good or for ill) man is capable of, more so than most other species that have been documented. Does this also mean man is capable of divine acts by way of also being very creative (a divine quality)? This question often does not sit very well with, let alone be discussed at length by, many of today”s churches and other religious faiths.

STARTING YOUR PATH: A Step by Step Progression.

One thing that is most necessary in order to begin your own practices in the “arts”, is the ability to “feel” the subtle energies around you and through you. This takes some time, practice, and patience. One must be willing to put in the effort and the regular practice in order to achieve the desired results. There is no such thing as an instant witch, sorcerer, shaman, or otherwise, a “magician”. One is “developed” into that role.

This can be started off with regular meditations, daily, and frequent – when practical. Such meditations should start off with regular “stress-relief” meditations (not “medications”!). This will serve one well to be practiced, as an over-abundance of stress has the nasty habit of distracting one from finding his/her state of inner-peace. This is why a good location with calm and quiet surroundings is best for the beginner – less of the external distractions.

As one begins to feel more inclined towards inner-peace, one becomes more adept at achieving that state of inner-peace. This should become second nature. In this state of inner-peace, one can “fine-tune” his/her inner feelings and sensitivity to the energies and various bodily processes. If one can “listen to” his/her heartbeat, one can learn to affect, and control, its beat. If one becomes acutely aware of his/her breathing at all times, one can regulate and control its pattern. These are all things that one should practice doing. Being able to control these things, means one can positively affect not only his/her physical state, but also his/her mental and emotional states. A calm, peaceful mind is one that is ready to receive, clearly.

I will cover some more steps and methodology in successive posts.

The main point of this article: To begin waking up to the other realities, rather than just the one you know now. I have a few guided meditation scripts that I will share on-line later. Getting into the habit of meditating regularly will help you relieve excess stress, enable you to clear your mind of mental “clutter” and confusion, and assist you in “tuning into” the energies and vibrations of your surroundings.

If you know a very good teacher or guide, now would be the time to get to know him/her. Starting off with just the simple silent meditation for about fifteen minutes a day, and doing this EVERY DAY, is a great start in the right direction.

I will have more on this in the next several articles!

– Rev. Dragon”s Eye