It is within Transcendental Magic by French occultist Eliphas Lévi (1810 – 1875) that the “Four Powers of the Sphinx” is allegedly first mentioned. Although later to become know as the “Magi’s Pyramid” (amongst other names), Lévi’s referred to these four “powers” as being “indispensible conditions” that a student of the Ars Magica must include within their study in order to attain the “Sanctum Regnum” 0r the knowledge and power. These four “powers” were inscribed upon the symbolic forms of the sphinx as being:
To know (sciere)
To will (velle)
To dare (audere)
To keep silent (tacere)
“The term Wetiko is a term found in the Native America Cree Nation which refers to an evil being or spirit which creates terror in humans through acts of terrible evil. The term is analogous to the more recognisable Windigo of the Ojibway / Chippewa Nation mythology. These are beings of destruction and chaos, believed to infect a human host and cause them to engage in the most abhorrent behaviours right up to and including cannibalism.”
The reason for this introduction is because my attention was recently brought to an article on Cymraes’s Corner about such entities, parts of which follows. This article in its entirety can be found here.
” … there was no ritual, no incense billowing from the censer, no flickering candlelight, no barbarous words… none of this, but a sense of something watching, waiting… waiting for that moment to invade, infect, much as a mosquito does. A low level of intelligence, aware, but predatory. It was simply there, in the corner of my psychic eye, waiting to pounce! But was ‘it’? So I took to drawing the things I saw hovering, waiting for it’s chance to strike, and as I did so, it faded away ~ not completely, but it hid, out of sight, waiting… by the time I had finished the sketch, I believed it gone.”
The conversation of how important developing the practice (and yes, it is a “practice”) of meditation is when it comes to studying magick has come up recently. Being a long time practitioner of both, it is my opinion that the two go hand in hand together. Yet I am often surprised that this is not the general perception of all magickally orientated people. The reason for this seems to relate to how the word “meditation” is actually interpreted.
The dictionary meaning of “meditation” tends to refer to being engaged in an act of “contemplation or reflection”, as well as to “engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness”.
When looking at meditation from a magickal perspective, there is actually no evidence found within the medieval grimoires to suggest such a practice was used, save for prayer. Therefore this indicates that magick can certainly be performed without meditation. However, considering the benefits that meditation can bring to the individual alone, I am personally of the view that when the practice of meditation is included to one’s magickal practice then the latter is brought to a completely different level.
Central to many practices of contemporary Wytchcraft is the liturgy written by the late Doreen Valiente known as the “Charge of the Goddess”. Within poetic prose the Goddess, advises her followers:
“Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you ….”
which ties in very nicely with the following message received from Daily Om about humility.
Within contemporary Wytchcraft, there is the concept of acting with respect to one’s “Highest Ideal” – as is stated within the “Charge of the Goddess” where the Moon Goddess speaks:
“Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it; let naught stop you or turn you aside.”
One’s “Highest Ideal” can be likened to one’s “True Will” as found within the Thelemetic magickal tradition, where an individual, a follower of that path acts in accordance with their Higher Self, one’s Holy Guardian Angel.
Within the more traditional branches of contemporary Wytchcraft, certain passwords are provided – those being “Perfect Love and Perfect Trust” and prior to initiation into the Priesthood, the Dedicate is expected to have meditated upon these passwords to understand their “true” or “deeper” meaning. Likewise, a novice/neophyte seeking entry into the Temple of the Dark Moon’s Outer or even the Inner Court is expected to fully understand, or at least given due consideration, to the words of the Goddess and endeavour to “strive ever towards their highest ideal” for this implies that as the novice/neophyte grows within the Craft, their horizons, personal limitations and preconceptions will continuously expand and mature.
One of the aspects of Contemporary Wytchcraft is the alignment with the changing seasons. This is done through the observance of the eight seasonal festivals, sabbats, that mark the turning of the year, often called the “Wheel of the Year“. Within modern Paganism there are traditionally eight sabbats – being the summer and winter solstices, the autumn and spring equinoxes, as well as four “fire” festivals. Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasadh.
The idea of this eight-fold Wheel of the Year was created in the 1950s by the founders of what has become two of the more popular modern Pagan traditions, Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern witchcraft (often referred to a Gardnerian Witchcraft or Wicca), and Ross Nichols, the founder of modern Druiry, and in particular The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids.