If the land is being poisoned, Witchcraft must respond…

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The Old Ways have never been forgotten, but false histories propagated during the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras still taint our understanding of what is commonly called ‘witchcraft’ and the hallucination of rationality has enchanted many of us to miss the signs all around us that Isis remains unveiled. Our images are often either skewed toward malefic personas bent on the corruption of society, or people lost in a feverish illusion damning them to a life of futile imagination.

We think of the infamous ‘witch hunts’ that raged through the Renaissance and Reformation, or are mislead by the rationalist attempts to cut the chord of the reality of the ‘witch’ in order to counter the fires of malice and ignorance that caused so much suffering. Between these poles we’re pulled back and forth while the Truth walks freely around these easy classifications.

In the contemporary setting other groups have arisen to take claim of witchcraft, such as Wicca and certain Neo-Pagan sects, attempting to use the powerful image of the witch as a centering point for their practice. Beyond all of this, however, lies a more subtle truth.

Peter Grey and Alkistis Dimetch are the proprietors of Scarlet Imprint, a publishing house that specializes in exploring contemporary esoteric currents. Their Work is focused on revitalizing the Path and practice of  Magic, and rediscovering the long line of Tradition that ebbs and flows through the Art. They were kind enough to take a few moments to discuss their thoughts on the Craft and it’s place in our time,  offering up a potent rejoinder to all who walk the Crooked Path – “If the land is being poisoned, then it is witchcraft which must respond, and do so with compassionate anger.”

What is different about the Witchcraft that you espouse and something like Wicca which more people are generally aware of?

We should probably define Wicca to begin with here, as the English usage refers to the initiated witchcraft tradition invented by Gerald Gardner (and subsequently copied by Alex Sanders) rather than as an umbrella term for various flavours of neo-paganism which it is often taken to mean in the United States. Wicca is essentially constructed around a core of the Masonic grade system, the ritual accoutrements of Solomonic grimoire magic, and a liturgical Crowley cut-up with a sprinkling of folklore. It has no demonstrably older codified origin than the 1940s. The work of Ronald Hutton here seems decisive. Furthermore, claims of any traditional witchcraft survival are taken in Europe with a pinch of salt. Though there may be fragments preserved in some groups and families, it hardly constitutes a cultus which is rather an inspiration rising from the example of Austin Osman Spare. If you want to understand European Witchcraft then you would be better to start with Catholicism, which is the old religion.

Certainly Gerald created a very workable fusion of the material available to him, and one which fitted the spirit of his time and certainly Alex and Maxine had more flair in their presentation of it. Wicca fused with a spirit of sexual liberation and a rebirth of female and earth-based spirituality. It was bolstered by the myths of Murray and Gimbutas.
It was a necessary stage in the re-emergence, or re-imagining of witchcraft.

Yet Wicca has profound limitations, in the same way that the Golden Dawn and the OTO have profound limitations. These are the limitations of its time and its founders. They are systems in entropy. We would ask those who consider themselves witches, rather than more narrowly wiccans, to look at the source material. To consider that Gardner and Sanders did not have the access to what we do now, and that their world is very different to ours. We suggest that their witchcraft should go beyond that of their godfathers.

This is a world in crisis, we are seeing a mass extinction of plant and animal species, the death of the oceans, climate change, and peak oil. It is not only our way of life, it is life itself which is under threat. Wicca did not predict this and neither did Liber Al vel Legis. We need a culture of radical resistance that understands that we are part of the whole ecology, that we are intimately connected to the web of life. Witchcraft has this vision.

Furthermore, Witchcraft is the recourse of the dispossessed, the powerless, the hungry and the abused. It gives heart and tongue to stones and trees. It wears the rough skin of beasts and turns on a civilisation that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Reading fantasy novels is not a valid response, and neither is hiding in a thicket of studied archaic English and obfuscation. Witchcraft is rooted in the land, whether that is Benevento, Cornwall or Pennsylvania. If the land is being poisoned then it is witchcraft which must respond, and do so with compassionate anger.

We hope to, and do, find many points in common across all expressions of witchcraft: the connection to the land, work with familiar spirits, herb and plant lore and malefica, to name but a few. We differ in our focus in that we are actively engaged in the world and that comes from both an apocalyptic and eschatological understanding of events. We dare to utter prophecy.

Our position is quite distinct:

Witchcraft is a force and not an order or cult.
Witchcraft is non-hierarchical. It utilises the rhizomatic structure of underground resistance.
Witchcraft is unbridled female sexuality. It is the woman who initiates.
Witchcraft is folk magic, the magic of the people and for the people.
Witchcraft is a myth, an invention, a story, and one which though drawing on the past, clothes itself in the symbols of its time.
Witchcraft is oracular.
Witchcraft is found in the ecstatic possession state.
Witchcraft flies to the Sabbat.

We insist that Witchcraft has power and requires the use of drugs, sex and ordeal.

The example we follow is that of Michelet who saw in the figure of the witch a revolutionary spirit, this is something which Alkistis discusses in XVI. We do not mistake these stories and myths for history, but we harness their emotional power to transform the future.  ‘
Of the modern writers, we feel it is Jack Parsons who embodied the spirit of witchcraft, which is one of revolution and of the power of female sexuality. The Goddess who possesses these qualities, and who speaks to us is Babalon.

How is Witchcraft and the pursuit of knowledge tied together? Are Witchcraft and Gnosis the same thing?

Knowledge enters us through the body. This is an internal alchemy which requires huge emotional reserves and cannot be accomplished in icy detachment or by effort of Will. The highest form of this knowledge is Love. The process needs passion and heat.

Ritual is the orchestration of the primal states such as innocence, fear, flight and fight and their alchemical transformation through experience.

Witchcraft concerns itself with mystery and it is through the gates of mystery that we come to knowledge.

Our counsel is to forget the nebulous modern use of terms such as Gnosis and concentrate on Work, or perhaps here we can use the German term, kraft.

Why are people so reticent to meet with the full impact of Magick? The major avant garde artists of the 19th and 20th century were all heavily involved in esotericism, whether organized or through individual practice, but it seems most practitioners today are happy with a few popular occultists they can reference.

Art has become a commodity. A tool of commerce, as safe and dead as a shark in a formaldehyde tank. It talks the empty language of advertising. These so-called artists are merely reflecting our secular society where spirit contact has been lost, and we have been alienated from the raw forces of nature. They have nothing to draw on, and their patrons reward their product which is destined for the vaults of investment Banks.

This is in stark contrast to the avant garde which ardently pursued the esoteric arts in paint, word, gesture and life whether implicitly or explicitly. This was done for art’s sake, for the sake of life. In our litany of Saints we must include Artaud, Nijinsky, Rimbaud, Jarry, Genet, Arthur Cravan, Kinski et al. Like Debord, we can say that we have been led by poetry and the belief that we should carry out its programme in reality.

To be alive is to be able to respond and resonate to works of art, literature, poetry, sculpture and dance. These are all forms of evocation, invocation and possession which inspire us to create our own.

By focusing on popular occultists, if that is not in itself an oxymoron, their wider context is lost. Is our idea of Crowley not enriched by Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley? Can Spare really be the only painter of note? Our minds should range widely.

10349208_1042164132480125_2802212991339206395_n.jpgWhat is worse is the claustrophobic drawing room atmosphere that surrounds a small selection of occultists whose biographical details are deemed more important than the living practice of magick. It is time to turn over the tables in the temple again.

Perhaps we must ask, where are the avant-garde esoteric artists today?
Magick is reflecting that absence of art in our materialist culture. If a work of art is truly of value it should be able to stand without ‘esoteric’ as a prefix, which is often simply an excuse for poorly executed derivative doodling. Magick can seem to be a myopic ghetto, a support group for losers seeking affirmation from an uncritical and needy subculture.

But there is an antidote: All art is magic, again something many of our writers emphasise in XVI. We continually encounter, correspond with and seek out artists. Our readers write to us and reveal a deeper and richer seam than the truncated internet profiles suggest.
Art cannot help but pursue the esoteric, as it goes beyond what is acceptable in search of the expression of truth. Art will not stop at the surface. Canvases are being savaged, poems wrought, movements found. The full impact of magick will unfurl in this century with a raw artistic beauty as those with nothing left to lose will choose to dare all.

How are poetry and magic related?

Intimately. Poetry is invocation, evocation and congress with the world of spirits. Poetry is vision which makes the mysterious manifest. Words carry their shades with them, they strike like shamanic darts. In vocalisation, rhythm and incantation the body resonates into other worlds and we are renewed by these glimpses. Poetry is also work. Hammered into shape, ruthlessly wrought, it is the process of self mastery.

Our answer could also be, read Peter Redgrove, Ted Hughes, Penelope Shuttle, Rene Char, Gysin, Shakespeare, Bukowski, Hafiz, The Song of Songs, the metaphysical poets, read everything and read it aloud.

We are totally committed to poetry as an art form, which is why we published Datura, and why we have followed up that commitment with a call for submissions to our next anthology Mandragora.

What do you see as a means to draw more neo-pagan and Wiccan groups into environmental thinking? It seems an obvious fit, yet there is very little action there.

Collapse. The inevitable decline of modern consumer capitalism which is in the final rapacious phase of destroying our natural resources cannot fail to wake people up.

The lack of movement is because many of those professing witchcraft are urban, industrial, sedentary and plugged into the internet rather than the biosphere.

Hunger, scarcity, ecological disasters will create a new generation of pagans who will have to find solutions. The speed of the rise of this new social movement will be completely unexpected.

Already those with eyes to see will have seen the signs of change. John Michael Greer seems to be doing this, and there are clearly other individuals such as Raven Kaldera with their fingers in the soil. There will be many others.

Those groups which do not understand eschatology will simply be unable to interpret the catastrophic chain of events as they celebrate a wheel of the year which has broken from the axle. Nostalgia is no protection from the end of the age of oil and a witchcraft which does not recognise this fact is irrelevant.

What myths would best invoke ecological responsibility?

The critical lie we are currently confronting is that of infinite economic growth on a finite planet with finite resources.

This pernicious myth can be traced back to the Bible which is full of ecological horror stories as the chosen people murder their way to dominance and cut down the sacred groves at the behest of their tribal god. Christianity continued this insane trajectory until their invisible god was replaced by the invisible hand of Adam Smith and finally the insanity of the Chicago school which believes that everything is for sale and profit alone is G_d.

The American dream is simply a variant of this myth structure supported with both an inquisition (Homeland Security) a devil, (the many-headed Al Qaeda) and a New Jerusalem (for sale piece by piece in your local Wal-Mart and propagandised for incessantly by Hollywood).

The myth we choose to oppose this with is Revelations. We read this by recognising the defamed whore as the pagan Love and War goddess, Her history made explicit in The Red Goddess. And we are all whores, proud to celebrate the luxury of our living flesh. In divine intoxication we seek communion with the Beloved. Every drop of blood sacrificed to the grail. Love cannot be bought with any other coin. We celebrate life, in radical opposition to the archons and our bridal bed is the battlefield of the earth.

By understanding the Antichrist, Dragon and Beast as Her lover we challenge man to be the equal of woman.

By disentangling the stellar myths we orientate ourselves.

By seeking and drinking from the forbidden grail we intoxicate ourselves with Her wine.

We recognise the continuity of this myth in the work of John Dee and Edward Kelley and further, we take this as a dynamic process which flowers in our midst.

When we say myth, we are stating that this is our direct living experience of Babalon that this story is being played out through our bodies. Her time is Now.

Shamanism seems to be an element that is missing from the outer manifestations of the Western Tradition; Jake Stratton-Kent and your own practice seem to be trying to bring that back into the fold. When/why did this practice fall away?

It never does. The practitioners simply go through periods of vilification and periods of mass ecstatic participation in defiance of the approved State religion. Whether this is the Dionysian cults or free festivals or rave culture, or ayahuasca, the shamanic connection cannot be prevented from spontaneous eruption and attendant social upheaval. But we do not mistake everyone who drops acid as a shaman.

The Western Tradition has fallen over itself to be respectable, and in doing so has pulled its own claws. Seeking tax status and social acceptance it has been craven in the war on some drugs, the war on consciousness expansion, and has rather tried to ritually script altered states rather than explore genuine ones. This is hypocrisy.

Our own work and that of JSK shows that divine intoxication is a central part of the Western Tradition.  From the goetic use of psychoactive incense to flying ointments, to the spiked ritual wine, the use of dance and drumming, to the role of the necromancer and psychopomp, this is the true Western Tradition and one which has retained the shamanic elements, most notably through a coded survival in the grimoire tradition. Jake is explicit about this in Geosophia, and we can also point to the work of Aaron Leitch in this context. The drugs do work, but they need to be part of a wider discipline.

Would you agree with Ralph Metzner that Alchemy/Shamanism/Yoga (in there various expressions) form the core consciousness changing technologies of humanity?

We could equally say drugs, sex and rock and roll, preferably in combination with each other. The magical body needs to be built, rather than simply a well stocked library, and it is perhaps the physical and subtle energy building practices which have been neglected in the West. As we work with a Goddess of Love and War then we understand the importance of being able to run energy, whether to fuck or to fight.

What is it that draws you to Jack Parsons?

Jack, like Henry Miller or Bukowski, was fuelled by a deep love for woman. He understood that the source of witchcraft is the body of woman. He grapples relentlessly with the need for liberation, ideas of sexual freedom and social change. He sings for the new woman in the way that Nietzsche tells us of the coming of the Superman. Jack stands on the threshold of change, and dares to innovate, dares to dream. Now it is for women to create the Witchcraft following the teachings of their own bodies. We are post-Parsons as much as we are post-Crowley, and it is time for this generation not to fixate on dead pin-ups and their magical misadventures but to have the courage to start the fires in themselves.

In The Red Goddess I am as critical of Jack and I am of Crowley or Dee but his story still needs to be told. He is a vital link in the history of Witchcraft. The telling of his story can span the gulf between the magick and pagan communities.

I love the idea of ” gnostic strategies for liberation.”  Does this concept encompass all forms of Gnosis? Psycho-Spiritual-Physical?

We mean: By any means necessary.

What are the best techniques for seeing through the spectacle? Is it unique to each individual?

The spectacle is increasingly unique to each individual, and the individual is increasingly homogenised.

The technique simply put, is to turn off the connections whilst ensuring you are building a community to sustain you and your loved ones.

Decouple from the failing structures. Simplify your life. Build parallel structures utilising a mix of high and low tech solutions. Find the others.

If you have no price you cannot be bought.
If you do not want anything you cannot be bribed.
If you are not frightened you cannot be controlled.

Understand that the Empire has ended, that what you are seeing is a mirage, an afterimage of the age of exuberance. It has no more reality than the light from a distant star whose rays are transmitting the ghost of a body which was extinguished millennia ago. Your paper money is worthless. Your career a trap.

Every individual is on their own path, but there are physiological and psychological principles that are generally applicable. Methods for destroying normalcy bias are essential to pursue and are explored in the essay Seeing Through Apocalypse in XVI. We must be vigilant, and constantly devising methods to sabotage the architecture of control.

Is it easier to operate outside of an Order or organization these days?

Perhaps we could say it is imperative to operate outside an Order. Though we recognise the value many gain from fraternal structures, they are woefully out of date, clustered around secrets which are not only published all over the internet but are often simply threadbare.
Our suggestion is that individuals honestly appraise the methods of transformation most suitable to themselves and work either alone and/or with their peers when necessary to reach attainment.
Orders whether intentionally or not, represent restriction and only seem to mould people into poor copies of their guru. Magic is not about being a follower or a spectator, let alone suckered into the latest personality cult. Hierarchical orders tend to self preservation through an artificial construction of secrets and the drip feed of complex sounding jargon dressed up as teaching. Human history is full of these pyramid schemes. Enough of this. We would like to see the individual brave enough to walk their own path, whilst recognising that they can learn from others and contribute to the evolving paths of those they touch on the Way.

What do you see as the next step for Magick in the 21st Century?

We are in a position of radical change where eschatology will be of vital importance. The world is entering a period of revelation, the like of which has never been seen. It is going to get hotter, and magick will be born from the female furnace. We predict that women will take a place in magick that they have not had since the ancient world. We predict revolution.

The publication of the grimoires has given us our magical history back. We are weaving together the severed ends of the Western tradition. Jake Stratton-Kent has done an immense service in reconnecting us to the Ancient Greek Goes, the PGM and the Picatrix. These are our ancestors, these are our goddesses, gods, demons and heroes. Finally we are getting right with the restless dead rather than ransacking the tombs or striking empty pop culture postures.
We are learning that we have a Western Tradition which is not 14th Century Qabalah and deco Egyptian dress-up. We have stellar lore, spirit contact, entheogens, possession states, poetry and bodywork.
Our Tradition can enter into an equal dialogue with the New World, which has preserved other missing fragments, just as the Arabic world preserved the teachings of Egypt and Ancient Greece. This is more honest than engaging in neo-colonial exoticism that seeks to exploit the darkness of the Other. From this fusion we can achieve an erotic explosion of human potential. A future that has a rich magical ecology which is engaged with the world of humans, plants, animals and entities. One which respects and works with the forces of nature. Where woman and man encounter each other as equals. This will not be achieved without struggle.

What are Scarlet Imprint’s upcoming plans? What should we anticipate next?

Everything we do is sub rosa, our stratagems are always evolving.

www.scarletimprint.com

Biographies –

Peter Grey –

Peter is a writer, the author of the acclaimed devotional work for Babalon, The Red Goddess.
He is the co-founder of Scarlet Imprint. He is an exponent of the antinomian and libertarian strand of the western magical tradition. his work comes out of physical praxis. his path is one of ordeal, ecstasy, and Love.
Much of his time is spent in the mountains following his devotional path.
he has spoken internationally and contributed articles to many magickal journals.

Alkistis Dimech
Alkistis is a dancer, artist and writer; her work explores the erotic, irrational and primitive, using techniques derived from Butoh, asian dance and martial forms, as well as shamanic practices to access states of expanded consciousness.
Alkistis is an alumnus of the Courtauld Institute and the school of oriental and African studies.  She has studied Butoh under Ko Murobushi, Masaki Iwana and other Butoh Masters.

She is the co-founder of Scarlet Imprint.

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17 responses to “If the land is being poisoned, Witchcraft must respond…

  1. As I started to read this article, my heart soared. I dream of a witchcraft as serious, embodied, geographical, ecstatic, intellectual, daring and relevant (not to mention political) as the spirit you evoke here would suggest. That said, may I offer a few comments in the spirit of constructive criticism?

    As a woman I am uneasy with some of the implications of the gender dynamics in this discussion, at least as they appear to me. Particularly the sections on Jack Parsons (about whom, I’ll admit, I know little) were hard for me to swallow.

    “Of the modern writers, we feel it is Jack Parsons who embodied the spirit of witchcraft, which is one of revolution and of the power of female sexuality.”

    This sentence kind of sums up my objections – a man embodies the spirit of the power of female sexuality? It seems, at various points throughout this post, that female sexuality and the attraction to female bodies are being conflated. I would argue, on the contrary, that an extreme fascination with female bodies is more often a feature of male sexuality. Not, of course, that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m absolutely an advocate of liberated sexuality for men as well as women, as an occultist as well as a human being. But I think it’s extremely important for the individual with the desire to own it, rather than projecting it upon the object. Personally, I would posit that rather than woman’s body (talk about exploiting the exotic darkness of the Other), honest human desire is the “source of witchcraft.” Of course, this desire sometimes resides within women’s bodies (though just as often within men’s), but to me, essentializing and fetishizing the bodies of women and conflating that interest with witchcraft helps to define a field from which I, personally, feel excluded to the extent that that image (the female body) is not a symbol of desire for me, not to mention feeling also just a bit nervous about the air of general entitlement to (at least the definition of) those bodies themselves. In terms of the wisdom of women’s bodies, that’s what mine is telling me right now, although I lack some of the feminist theory (and a lot of the time, due in part to the needs, intimately linked to my own female body, of my children, who are already growing restless with my extensive computer usage) to express my concerns 100 percent articulately.

    Let me just say that I, too, long for a future in which man and woman meet each other as equals. This is, among other things, the future in which heterosexual passion (and the occult power thereof) can be most fully, radically unleashed. I just think we need to check ourselves when it comes to notions of “superwomen”, especially those imagined primarily by men…these women are conveniently fantastical, in contrast to the real women working in (and trying to feel relevant to) the occult community as it is today.

  2. Dear Laura, thanks for your response and allow us to deal with some of your thoughts by clarifying our position. We appear to have more agreements than disagreements here.

    Your objections to Jack Parsons are caused exactly by what we find in much of witchcraft, which is that his ideas are not understood or included within the canon. You say that this line concerns you:

    “Of the modern writers, we feel it is Jack Parsons who embodied the spirit of witchcraft, which is one of revolution and of the power of female sexuality.”

    Jack in his work was one of the very first writers in magic to actively argue for female liberation and woman as the initiatrix. We are not saying that a man is the power of female sexuality, we are saying that he was calling for and celebrating an unbridled female sexuality and that it is unequivocably women who should be taking witchcraft forward.
    We can find no writer who expressed ideas in the way that Jack did, perhaps if you would like to pursue this we have a pdf here: http://scarletimprint.blogspot.com/2010/11/great-below.html
    which goes further into his work.

    Neither are we fetishising the female body or engaging in exoticism, when we say that witchcraft resides within the woman, we are not entering into gender politics. Here we mean very precisely and that it is the kalas of the woman and her very biology which is the power of witchcraft. We are being specific here, it is not simply ‘desire’ there is a physical basis to magick, and sex magic in particular. It is the female body and female sexual desire.

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  4. Thanks for your response…seems reasonable, but I guess maybe we just fundamentally disagree, in that I certainly don’t believe that the female body and female sexual desire are necessarily the basis of magick. Gay male magicians, for example, must have something else going on unless this is a far more esoteric argument than I am understanding. But I will definitely look into the Jack Parsons stuff you posted, he sounds like an interesting figure.

  5. I must say that I agree with Laura that this interview seems to imply a fetishization and almost an appropriation of female bodies, females’ sexualities, and “woman”–used in a most essentializing sense–in general. Perhaps this implication is exacerbated by the fact that, with all this talk of women, very few (I think just one?) specific women are mentioned.

    In general, I find the sentiments here to be headed in too many directions at once. Delighted at first by the characterization of witchcraft as “revolutionary,”–and especially by the comment about Catholicism–I soon found myself wondering how much of this revolutionary witchcraft wasn’t just rhetoric. I wonder because of a number of apparent contradictions: You say witchcraft is no order or cultus, and yet “the woman *initiates*”; you scold the armchair magicians, and then ask them to go on reading yet more; your “counsel” is “to forget the nebulous modern use of terms such as Gnosis” and yet you immediately turn to the no-less-nebulous term “Work,” not to mention your usages of “Love”, and “Will”, and even “magick”; you say witchcraft is “folk magic, the magic of the people and for the people,” and yet your discussion of witchcraft is then a treatment of occultism and esotericism — traditions not “of the people” for such things are necessarily the ken of an educated elite, and not “for the people” since no bowl of rice (nor gun, for that matter) has ever been passed from hand to hand after even the most strenuous bout of “inner alchemy”.

    Perhaps most confusing is your paradoxical approach to the “Western tradition.” You say that you are “weaving together the severed ends of the Western tradition” and yet what have been greater tributaries of the Western tradition than the Bible and Christianity? Strangly, you have rejected exactly these as the harbingers of that “critical lie” you hope to overcome. You take up John Dee (a great Christian mystic) and that same demonic magic by which Solomon built his temple – you work to re-enliven western esotericism – and yet that tradition you seek to save is the same tradition you seem to seek to reject. This all seems too contradictory.

    • Let us deal with some of your points, and misunderstandings. We’ve already dealt with the issue of ‘fetishisation’. As we both publish and correspond with many strong and outspoken women, this is not something we take lightly. You seem to have no familiarity with our work, and have merely read your own meanings into this.

      Saying that the woman is the initiatrix in witchcraft does not imply into an order or cult.

      The term ‘armchair magician’ is now rather tired, one of those pejorative terms that does not match our experience or that of our readers and peers.
      We would never suggest that there is anything wrong with reading, we are simply pointing out the need to actively engage with the world. Also there is a lot of new and relevant material being made available which fundamentally changes our conception of the Western Tradition, this is a rennaissance moment. Are you suggesting that reading and acting are mutually exclusive?

      As for the issue of language:

      Work is not a nebulous term, it means simply that, work.
      A use you will also find in brujeria.

      When we say Love, equally, we mean Love, there is no attempt to redefine the word.

      Will is capitalised as it is being used in the Thelemic sense, and we are suggesting here that the over-emphasis of Will is a mistake.

      There is no contradiction in talking about the people and esotericism in the same breath. The role of the witch, cunning man, shaman or what you will is as part of a community. Neither is it the provenance of an elite, something which is abundantly clear in the history of witchcraft. You seem to be making the mistake of seeing all those who are not part of a social elite as somehow unsophisticated in terms of magic. This is clearly not the case, and we can cite the penetration of the Bibliotheque Bleue, The Magus or The Discoverie of Witchcraft here as evidence of the widespread exchange of what you seem to be characterising as elite knowledge. Magic has never been simply the provenance of the court.

      We can’t understand why you think we are rejecting the Bible and Christianity. Quite the opposite, we are engaging with it in a critical fashion.
      We are reading the texts and finding much of our pagan heritage within them. There is a lot of very valuable material in the Bible, much of it looted from Paganism. We wish to restore this, and that means seeing through the Christian overlay.

      Your idea of John Dee is baffling. Dee could be described as a Christian Mystic, but his Enochian magic is clearly founded in the Grimoire tradition.
      Would that seem to be ‘demonic’ and a contradiction to you?
      Furthermore, his Angels do not seem to be delivering a very Christian message, as they state: That Jesus is not God, that there is no Sin… etc etc.
      You also equate Solomon with Christianity, rather odd considering that the Bible describes him as whoring after strange gods, consorting with goddesses and by all accounts a Pagan.

  6. I love this article. I for one am totally comfortable – even relieved – at the central place given to the female body, the original alembic.

    Although I am a woman and sometimes suffer with doubts about my beauty and my body shape, I feel that revelling in the wildness, the juice and the inherent sexual sorcery of the female form are the answer to this problem, not an extension of it. The monoculture has fetishized and branded and graded the female body, but only because it is a power object whose original use has been forgotten, like a standing stone, a temple and a tool.

    Recently I had a debate with a gentleman who pursued the tantric sexual and meditative practices of India. I felt uneasy with the controlled masculinity and the unjoyousness of it as it was presented to me. It tasted wrong to my sense and I wouldn’t play. Imagine my cackling delight when on reading the history of tantra I discovered that its original practitioners were rebellious flying bird-footed women who hung around on hilltops making potions out of their sexual fluids. That’s what I am in favour of. Here is the flavour of the liberating Goddess.

    I want to read more works by Grey and Dimech. Here is witchcraft which is intelligent and relevant and on fire.

    Love.

  7. Words that feel like they were written with a quill dipped in my heart’s blood, *purrrr*

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  10. I don’t agree that what we are dealing with here is a “fetishization” of the female body–but as a man, the implication that real magic comes only from woman makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s entirely right to emphasize the importance of the liberated woman and woman’s role in the Art, but to elevate the female over the male seems to me to be repeating the basic error of patriarchy, only in reverse. Why relegate the man to a secondary role? Why imply that only through the woman can he come to his full flowering? To me the importance of the Great Rite is that it is a Union. God and Goddess are both important, and the term “female” is meaningless without the existence of the term “male”. Each implies the other–before sexual reproduction there was neither female nor male, only undifferentiated blobs cloning into infinity. The duality is what has allowed the immense complexity of the biosphere to emerge. We should be careful, when reclaiming female power from the darkness of patriarchy, not to go so far in the other direction that we end up with a one-sided system once again.

  11. Fred, Fred, Fred.
    Freedom is giving up your desire to purchase power. Fulfillment is recognizing that the purchase of power was an illusion. Success is deciding that owning a stake called “importance” is an illusion.
    Sorry pal but I think you have missed the point entirely.
    You seem to have mistaken “It is the woman who initiates” as a loss when the indisputable fact is that you were “initiated” into your life through the magical process of birth through a woman. Own it, honor it, celebrate that our first mother chose to elevate our prospects.

    Petty political roles aren’t at stake here. This is about mystery.

    Matriarchy – patriarchy – those are silly games left over from our primate origin. What we, Witches, are is an amalgam of our primate origin and the intervention of “outside forces”. Perhaps it’s a source of angst for you that this intervention was manifested through the fructifying principle of the female pair of our split gender species but that’s just the way it is!
    It doesn’t mean that there is no meaningful role for the sons of this manifestation to play in the saga of succession.
    Be happy that you carry the seeds of enlightenment and are charged with an important place in the cycle.
    We are partners in this crime against the dismal past which had no future.
    If you remain uncomfortable in the raiment that you have chosen to wear, cast them off and clothe yourself anew in robes that reflect a renewed respect for our shared path.

  12. Pingback: Cognitive Sovereignty: Breaking Convention « Scarletimprint’s Blog

  13. Pingback: The Argo of Magic | ?!

  14. Michael Eugene Brown

    absolutely pure
    fire from water into air
    graced, encircled

  15. The opposite of magic, its antithesis, is the formulated concept. The Tradition, which is an ongoing description, appears to me to be based on this. Only by remembering details do its facts stay alive. Catholicism, thelema, Magic(k), gender duality, Femininity and other words with capital letters (although sexuality / gender being too big an issue to go into here).

    Of course the main problem is when we don’t notice this fact and consider our description the Be All End All. The more we try to pin it down the more we get away from where we wanted to go. The good people are the ones who remind us of this.

    The article – and your point of view – seems to acknowledge this (“it is imperative to operate outside an Order”, ” our minds should range widely…”) and at the same time rely on certain laws and concepts being inherent & definable. It’s not a bad criticism, just an unfortunate truth: how to draw people together without assuming a certain common base. Babalon to one person may be simply a brand of shampoo. Witch is a shame.

    It can never be found from what is Written Down (in history or the present). My own view is that this insistence on engraving a way based on an assumed inherent widespread meaning may ostracise those most relevant to your ambitions. “Individuals who walk their own path”, the real tradition, humans who act intuitively without High ritualised Concepts. You want the ones who don’t rely on “complex sounding jargon” but with an underlying rule to ‘please talk my language’.

    Remember – there are many, many histories. We should be careful to realise this, and not rely on one. And no this isn’t Chaos, just natural.

  16. I BELIEVE THERE ARE MANY MANY PANTHENONS AND PEOPLE FOLLOW MANY OF THEM . I MYSELF AM OF THE EARTH , SINU, ASH AND BONE. AS WE ALL ARE IN WHAT EVER FORM WE SEE OUR SELVES . AS I SEE IT EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO THEIR OWN RELIGION . FOR I HAVE TRAVELED MANY LIVES AND SEEN MANY THINGS IN THE TRAVELS THAT WERE ADORNED UPON ME FROM THE EARLY 1400’S TO PRESENT MANY I REMEBER AND SOME I DO NOT . BUT HAVE RECOLLECTION OF IMAGES IN MIND AS I SOMETIMES SEE. I HAVE READ MOST EVERYTHING I CAN AND HAVE READ MUCH ON HERE . I AM VERY INTERESTED IN ALL THE READINGINGS AND TEACHINGS I HAVE AQUIRED ON THIS SITE . THANK YOU .
    GYPSY

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