Part of membership within many coven or esoteric group involves the rite whereby an oath is sworn. Sometimes, depending on the structure of the group, there are a number of oaths that are sworn as the member moves through the ranks. Regardless of the number of oaths, very rarely does one supersede any made previously – more often than not, any subsequent oaths tend to for an additional layer (or enhancement) of the initial oath.
The word oath comes from the Anglo-Saxon āð (also referred to as a “a true principle or belief, especially one of fundamental importance. An oath is also a “solemn appeal to a deity”, as well as being a “formally affirmed statement or promise accepted as an equivalent of an appeal to a deity or to a revered person or thing; affirmation”.
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 Wytch’s Circle is a five part intensive course on ritual, magick and contemporary Wytchcraft that will commence on Thursday, 5 April 2018.
This course is designed for those who have some knowledge of the magickal arts and who would like to put this knowledge into practice, as well as those who are seeking to gain a more solid foundation upon which to base their own magickal practice.
Within The Wytch’s Circle the emphasis is placed on working ritual and the crafting of magick from a basis that encompasses the magickal, the mystical, the psychological and the spiritual. This is done within a group format in order to create a magickal egregore. Through the exposure of various magickal and esoteric techniques each participant will tap into and personally experience the true concept of “walking between the worlds”.
In a world filled with toxins, there is something reassuring about lighting a handrolled candle made from a sheet of natural beeswax as opposed to a candle made from paraffin, a petroleum byproduct.
Beeswax is an ingredient in ointments and natural body products, and it can also be crafted into poppets, talismans and also magical seals.
When ancient tablets and medieval grimoires speak of “wax”, they are almost always referring to beeswax. Petroleum-based wax had not yet been manufactured, and vegetable waxes that were available were inferior to work with. For candle making, it was often animal tallow that was used as beeswax was prized for being rare and hard to obtain. It has only been though the improvement in apiary technology over the last two centuries that has made beeswax more readily available. Yet despite this, beeswax is still a comparatively precious ingredient for ritual items.
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.
Being a avid reader, it is not unusual for me to have not only a number of books on the go at any one time, but also books on various subjects, especially the numerous techniques and/or magickal practices. One book that I read a number of years ago was “Abrahadabra: Understanding Aleister’s Thelemic Magick” by Rodney Orpheus. A strange choice for someone proclaiming to follow contemporary Wytchcraft some may say, however within it, I came across a passage which, while I have adapted it to have a more Craft focus in the posting below, even in its original format within Orpheus’s book, it provides much food for thought regardless of what spiritual path you may follow …
“One of the keys to Wicca is personal development. This means you have to do the work yourself. Simply reading books and/or web sites is not good enough. While this may increase your theoretical knowledge (or then again may totally confuse you further), unless you do it, you are wasting your time. Knowledge is not the same thing as understanding.”
A recent discussion raised a comment regarding the connection between the magickal arts and the practice of magick, or more appropriately was there any need for meditation within the magickal arts.
Learning the discipline of meditation is all about control over the mind … well it is for me anyhow. It is about turning away from the noisy confusion of the projected external world and turning inward in order to gain clarity, peace of mind and even connection with the higher forces, ie the Gods. When we are able to establish this place of inner calm, we become more alert, aware and focused in what we are doing.