Celebrating The Old Ways in New Times

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.


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.