Deosil and Tuathal

June, 2013

Deosil (pronounced jesh’l) or clockwise or sunwise follows the Sun’s path, at least in the northern hemisphere.  Tuathal or widdershins or counter-clockwise pertains to the Earth, as the Hopis teach.  Both directions are sacred but have different meanings and functions.

When witches wish to make something, they cast a spell while circling deosil.  If they want to unmake, they circle tuathal.  Deosil is for raising the cone of power; tuathal is for delving the reverse cone of power.  The cone of power raises power from the depths of the Earth, including the depths in each Witch, and sends it through the zenith (or ‘Height’) of the circle out into the astral realm.  The reverse cone of power gathers the energy from the zenith of the circle and channels it down into the Earth and into the depths of each Witch present, to the ‘Deep’ or nadir of the circle.  The energy raised in the cone of power carries a thought-form which embodies the purpose of the spell and imprints it on the astral matter beyond the Height, whence it falls to the material realm once more and passes through the spell’s material link to effect the spell’s purpose.  The energy focused and channeled downward in the reverse cone of power sends a thought-form down into the depths of the Earth and of each Witch, where it will incubate until the coven is ready to raise it again.  It is a little like making a bank deposit.  When something is unmade in the circle, it is not obliterated; instead, its component energies are saved for future use by binding them in a thought-form and sending it down the reverse cone of power by circling tuathal.

According to Celtic witch tradition, the Fomorians utilized the tuathal direction, whereas the later races of Eire, the Tuatha de Danaan and Milesians, favored the deosil direction in their circlings.  The Fomorians inhabited a part of Eire that had sunk into the sea; thus, the rest of Eire was virgin land when the parricidal Partholans landed there.  This allowed the Partholans to expiate their blood-guilt, this being the method known to antiquity to become purified of such guilt, that is, by landing on land that had never been previously inhabited, and spending a specified amount of time there.  For that reason, parricides in the eastern Mediterranean used to travel to that part of the delta of the Ister (Danube) just being deposited on the shores of the Black Sea.

The Fomorians regarded the part of Eire above the water as a natural extension of their own engulfed kingdom, and so came ashore to contest it with the invading races.  They were partly successful, in that they intermarried with the Tuatha de Danaan, but ultimately balked of their design to drive out the invaders.  Their sort of witchcraft, as already mentioned, made use of the tuathal direction in circling, and followed the dark moon cycle.  Witchlore attributes the stone circles to their practice, for the Druids always worked in sacred groves.  The Druids, however, worked with both directions, regarding it as equally important to raise Earth energies to the Sun as to ground solar energies in the Earth.  This synthesis no doubt was a result of the intermarriages mentioned above.

Traditions of the modern Craft tend to favor the deosil or Sunwise direction.  This is because modern witches believe they are going to the Sun.  After an undetermined number of reincarnations in Middle-Earth, our root-souls in the Underworld will be fully mature from the lessons and skills learned in our various Earthly lives, and we shall be ready for transmutation.  Then, as a passage in the ancient Prasna Upanishad teaches (and as the stregha of Italy believe), we shall go to the Sun and there receive a body of light.  Prior to that, we sojourn in the Summerland (in part of the Underworld) between lives, and when it is time to be reborn, we go to the Moon, descending thence in the rain.  The Prasna Upanishad calls this ‘the southern path.’  When it is ready, the soul takes ‘the northern path’ to the Sun, and it never returns from that journey.  Modern Vedantin monks confess they do not understand this passage; they say it describes a lost spiritual experience.  But the stregha and modern Witches have not lost their knowledge of it, which may have been brought west from India by Apollonius of Tyana.

But do we never return?  The meaning is probably that we do not reincarnate.  However, now we are daimones, demigods, and our real work lies ahead of us.  Like the Sidhe, we now have bodies of light, and the more recent historical sightings of the fair folk describe these bodies.  But in former times they also materialized as physical and at times dangerous beings.  Either we of Middle-Earth have lost the power to see them thus (as indeed the second sight, whereby their light-bodies can be seen, has become increasingly rare), or else they have withdrawn their material forms from our world for some reason, perhaps because we are entering the end of the current cosmic cycle.




The Fomorians and tuathal:

Ryall, Rhiannon, Celtic Lore and Druidic Ritual, Capall Bann Publishing, Berkshire,    UK, reprinted 1995.

The Northern and Southern Paths:

Prasna Upanishad 1: 9 – 10.  In The Upanishads, Vol. 2, edited by Swami Nikhilinanda, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, New York, 1952.

The body of light and stregheria:

Grimassi, Raven, Italian Witchcraft; the Old Religion of Southern Europe, p. 263.                       Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, Minnesota, 2000.

Decline of second sight:

Evans-Wentz, W.Y., The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries, Colin Smythe Humanities      Press, Gerrards Cross, Atlantic Highlands, orig publ 1911, reprint 1999.

Association of tuathal with the Earth:

Waters, Frank, Book of the Hopi, Penguin , New York, 1963, p. 166.

Apollonius of Tyana:

Mead, G.R.S., Apollonius of Tyana; The Philosopher-Reformer of the First         Century A.D., New Hyde Park, New York, University , Inc., 1966.