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Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

June, 2019

June
2019 for Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

Bright
Blessings!

I
write this on the 18 of May, and it is above 80 degrees, and feels
and smells like Summertime already! I can hardly believe how fast the
Wheel of the Year is turning!

I
could write a lot about which plants are doing what, but I thought it
would be better to show you. I decided I would focus on planting as
much on the patio as possible this year, and you can see that is
going very well. Raised beds are a great favorite of mine! I proudly
share my photos.

In
the front, you can see things are JUST beginning. I put in seeds,
some of which have sprouted, and I am excited to see them come along!
I bought more seeds also. I am not done planting yet! By this time
next month, it will be Summer Solstice, and the plants will be even
bigger, the days even longer, and the weather, even warmer.

Summer Solstice

For
many, Summer Solstice is about festivals, cookouts, and road trips.

Not
for those who practice the Old Ways, though. It falls when day is
longest, and night is shortest, and it celebrates the sun at the
height of its power. To emulate that, traditionally, in the British
Isles, bonfires burn day and night in some places to give more power
and strength to the sun. Torchlight processions, to further give the
sun power can be seen to this day, although most celebrants are
Xtianized and just do the rituals as matter of tradition.

Golowan

One
thing I will focus on is the festival of Golowan, which is well done,
and well attended.

Here is a link to one of the event listings: GolowanFestival.org

Here
is a video where you can see how much fun everybody is having! Here
you hear the marching band, and see the street dancing. I partook of
similar observances for a different celebration in Mexico. Let me
tell you, nothing is quite as much fun as a street procession and
dance!

These
are their versions of St. John’s Eve celebrations. Catholic
tradition has it that St John was born 6 months before Jesus, so his
feast day is right at 6 months before Christmas. So from June 21-June
30, various towns have a Golowan at Midsummer.

Historically,
Golowan had been outlawed due to so many fires being used, and the
increasing price of insurance being a strain on townships. But that
all changed in 1991 when Penzance in the UK resurrected it. Other
towns followed suit, and it’s now a major cultural celebration
again.

Things
you will see besides the street dancing and music include amazing
food, costumes, and a form of costumed beast called the Penglaz, or
‘Obby Oss’. Winter celebrations see a similar costumed performer
toting along a horse’s skull on a pole, and the name “Obby Oss”
supposedly means hobby horse.

This
is done because there is much revivalism currently. People have
decided to reclaim old folk traditions for themselves. Our culture
makes us who we are, and many never forget that. Here is a video of
the Obby Oss! This is a night procession complete with band and
torches. It’s so beautiful! Note the reveler joining in on his or
her scooter!

Many
Neo Pagan celebrations in the States include outdoor ritual, and
potlucking someplace nice like a yard or park. As few of us rely on
our own gardens or farms for our food, the significance of giving the
sun power so it can make things grow is not on the forefront of our
minds for the most part. Like the Golowan celebrations, it’s about
joy, frolicking, and gathering in good weather.

But,
if you are like me, and you are a plant lover, Summer is what you
dream of and look forward to on cold days. While doing your garden,
you plan next year’s, and you are always gathering supplies from
soil to seeds, and learning all you can to improve.

Another
thing we, as Pagans work to cultivate, is our knowledge base. I would
like to share with you a very good book , a bit of info about the
author, and a free link to read the whole publication online as my
Summer Solstice gift to you!

Magick
Without Tears

When
my Priest assigned this book, I rolled my eyes. I have a lot of
respect for Aleister Crowley, aka The Wickedest Man Alive aka The
Beast! But I am not Ceremonial Magician, and I have no plans to be. I
prefer to focus more on ancient history than modern things, and I’d
rather read about something the Vikings did than something a man
wrote close to a century ago.

I
always do what Lord Shadow says, and I always learn why he wants me
to do what he does.

In
this particular case, I read a great book which not only defined a
lot of things in Crowley’s words, but this revealed an intimate
portrait of Crowley, himself.

The
book was not a book perse when it was first written, but a collection
of letters he wrote to his student. In the Forward to the Hermetic
Library’s free online link to the book, Karl J Germer tells us
Crowley met a gal in 1943 who wanted to learn from him, and he sent a
series of letters to her. He saved many letters, and they were
published together as Magick Without Tears after his death.

The
free link where you can read the whole thing is here:

Free Copy

If
you prefer an actual book you can hold in your hands to read, I
recommend buying it here:

Magick Without Tears on Amazon

The
book was first published in 1954, and the beloved publishers
Llewellyn did another edition in 1973. Two other editions, one in
1982, and finally one edited by the illustrious Israel Regardie was
published in 1991.

Who
Crowley was specifically, in the simplest of terms was a highly
influential occultist who believed it was his responsibility to bring
us all into what he called the Aeon of Horus.

Born
in 1875 to Plymouth Brethren Xtians, Crowley was blessed with their
wealth, and used it to promote his religion, Thelema, and travel
around the World.

Thelema
specifically taught magic, mysticism, and magick, which is anything
you do to conform with your Higher Will. The Higher Will is much more
than the mundane will. It makes you YOU, and that which is your basic
purpose to being. From what I have been told, anything can be magick,
even taking a shower, if it goes towards your goal. The spelling
“magick” , however, is used by a lot of mainstream authors and
groups to denote anything besides parlor tricks, and is not the
proper use of the spelling at all.

“Do
what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” Crowley wrote.
Meaning that everything you do in life ought to go towards your
Higher Will. Or as Lord Shadow says “It doesn’t mean do whatever
the hell you want to!” It is also where Wicca gets “the “Do
what thou wilt” from “An it harm none, do what thou wilt.”

Crowley
is actually responsible to some extent for Wicca in general. We all
know Uncle Gerald Gardner was highly influenced by the writings of
Margaret Alice Murray, taking her word for it that the witch trials
were persecution of the Pre Xtian Pagan religions in Europe. What
many don’t know is Gardner claimed he got a charter from Crowley to
start a Ceremonial Magic temple, and we will never know whether that
was one of Uncle Gerald’s tall tales or not.

What
we DO know is he founded Wicca, promoted it, and became the first
face of it.

He
borrowed more than the “Do what thou wilt” from Crowley.

For
example- Magical tools used in Thelema include a circle drawn on the
ground to operate within, a dagger, grimoires, wands, and pentacles.
Gardner stated his practice was old pre Xtian, but nothing like any
of this has been found in archaeological digs within temples or
sacred sites. It’s all found in Thelema, and Gardner was highly
influenced by Crowley.

It
is entirely fair to say without Crowley, there would have been no
Wicca, even though he was not an active participant in hand crafting
it.

Earlier,
I stated much of who Crowley was is revealed in these personal
letters. For example, one can tell he fussed over his students, but
expected them to do further reading. For example, in chapter XXXIV,
The Tao, he refers to The Book of the Law, which he expected her to
have a copy of, and full knowledge of, He writes, “ The
Book of the Law

states the doctrine of Tao very succinctly: “…thou hast no right
but to do thy will.  Do that, and no other shall say nay. 
For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of
result, is every way perfect.” (AL I, 42-44)” Further evidence he
expected her to know much, as well as grab her books he fully
expected her to have on hand is farther down in this chapter, when
he writes of other topics to use as an example. He writes, “ You
are familiar with the Four Powers of the Sphinx, attributed by the
Adepts of old time to their Four Elements.  Air is to Know,
Scire; Fire is to Will, Velle; Water is to Dare, Audere; and Earth is
to Keep Silence, Tacere.  But now that a fifth Element, spirit,
is generally recognized in the Qabalah, I have deemed it proper to
add a Fifth Power corresponding: to Go, Ire.  (Book
of Thoth
,
p. 275)

In
other sections, you can see Crowley’s beliefs, which influenced
what he did. For example, in chapter number XIX, titled “The Act of
Truth”, here is what Crowley says to do:

“Analysed,
it is to make the assumption that something which seems very wrong is
actually all right, that an eager wish is an accomplished fact. a
reasonable anxiety, entirely unfounded—and to act accordingly.

For
instance, I’m in some desolate place, dependent for my food supply on
a weekly messenger. If he is a day late, it is awkward; if two, it
means hardship; if three, serious risk. One is naturally anxious as
the day approaches; perhaps the weather, or some similar snag, makes
it likely that he will be late. From one cause or another, I have
rather exceeded my ration. There is nothing I can do about it,
materially.

The
sensible course of action is to draw in my horns, live on the
minimun, necessary to life, which
involves cutting the day’s work down to almost nothing
,
and hope for the best, expecting the worst.

But
there is a Magical mode of procedure. You say to yourself: I am here
to do this Work in accordance with my true Will. The Gods have got to
see to it that I’m not baulked by any blinking messenger. (But take
care They don’t overhear you; They might mistake it for Hybris, or
presumption.  Do it all in the Sign of Silence, under the aegis
of Harpocrates, the “Lord of Defence and Protection”; be careful
to assume his God-form, as standing on two crocodiles. Then you
increase your consumption, and at the same time put in a whole lot of
extra Work. If you perform this “Act of Truth” properly, with
genuine
conviction that nothing can go wrong, your messenger will arrive a
day early, and bring an extra large supply. “

I
have been told there were times Crowley had spent all of his money,
and could not afford to buy pen , ink, and paper, so it is obvious
this, like any spellwork or magical or magickal operation has to be
done properly and with much forethought. All I am saying is when I
was at my lowest anxiety, I not only had friends nearby to help
comfort me, but I KEPT on telling myself “Everything is fine. It is
all okay. “ I was a basketcase, but I made it through. I used this
magical operation to get through.

Sometimes,
we literally tell ourselves the absolute worst, and just have to tell
ourselves the best to get through whatever we are dealing with. This
worked for me.

Crowley’s
eccentricity also comes through in a chapter that has been written
off as complete baloney by experts. He was said to have thought very
highly of himself, and been quite flamboyant. It showed in chapter
number V- The Universe 0=2 Equation.

He
writes:

“Q.
Ah, but what we started to do was discover the meaning of Nothing
It is not correct to write it simply as 0; for that 0 implies an
index 01,
or 0{2},
or 0n.
And if our Nothing is to be absolute Nothing, then there is not only
no figure, but no index either. So we must write it as 00.

What
is the value of this expression? We proceed as before; divide.

00
= 0n-n
= 0n
÷ 0n
= (0n
÷ 1) × (1 ÷ 0n).
Of course 0n
÷ 1 remains 0; but 1 ÷ 0{n} = ?.

That
is, we have a clash of the “infinitely great” with the
“infinitely small;” that knocks out the “infinity” (and
Advaitism with it!) and leaves us with an indeterminate but finite
number of utter variety. That is: 00
can only be interpreted as “The Universe that we know.”

R.
So much for one demonstration. Some people have found fault with the
algebra; but the logical Equivalent is precisely parallel.”

I
am sorry, but Crowley does not provide good mathematics here, as was
even stated in footnotes, where it was called “bogus math”.

I
joked to my Priest that Crowley must have been tripping on one of the
drugs he was not ashamed to say he used, and indeed, his COPD and
asthma was treated with heroin, which he was likely using at the time
he wrote this letter.

As
Neo Pagans, we are blessed today with a plethora of publications
available in libraries, bookstores, and for free online. Back in
Crowley’s day, the knowledge truly was more “hidden”, and you
really had to look hard to find it, spend a lot more money than we do
today, and keep it quiet what you were participating in.

Today,
enjoy this amazing book free on the Internet at the link I provided.

Saoirse’s Summer Solstice Celebration

I
always include a working in my articles.

This
month, in the spirit of Crowley, who was VERY true to himself, and
the revelry at Golowan, I want you to hit a festival or other
gathering when the weather is nice and eat, drink, dance, sing, and
be merry. That’s what it is all about. The sacredness of BEING
amidst the others who are happy to be alive and groove with the
beautiful weather is celebration enough. I can’t think of any
better way to connect to the old gods, the old ways, and the earth,
than to just be out in it having a good time doing what makes you
happiest.

Let my worship be within the heart that rejoicest, 
for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. 
Therefore, let there be beauty and strength, 
power and compassion, honor and humility, 
mirth and reverence within you. “

Blessed
Solstice.

Blessed
Be!

***

About
the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.