Category Archives: Witchcraft & Wicca

Corn-Kings, Dictators & Lammas Principles

Lammas is one of the 8 agricultural festivals celebrated by modern pagans – in the UK, Europe, America and other countries where pagan practices are observed (and growing).

What’s Lammas? Agriculturally? Magically? What does it mean for the non-pagans.. and for the world at large? These are questions I have asked myself – for being a pagan doesn’t mean socialising and caring for other pagans, but for the whole world- Paganism is all about nature worships, and nature in my book includes all on Earth!

Corn King mask worn at pagan Lammas ritual

Here’s what I wrote about Lammas in my Witchcraft and Magic website for the festival section:

“All that rise shall fall again.. says the popular pagan poetry! The newborn Sun-child of Yule has grown to be a rampant and playful youth and lover at Spring, committed man and husband at Beltane and responsible Sun-King at Midsummer. And at the time of Lammas, at the height of his supreme power, the King steps down- or rather gives up his life force to the land! This is harvest time in the fields, where Corn and other such grain are harvested. John Barleycorn is `baked’ and sacrificed. In God mythology, the God willingly gives himself up and the Goddess cuts him down, so that his blood may feed the land. Though it may sound alarmingly gruesome, this is to be seen in terms of symbolism, and not actual! The spilling of his blood is in fact the falling of the grains and seeds to the ground, that they may produce next year’s crops! Just as the fallen seed sleeps safely within the soil, till winter passes and next spring, so the spirit of the Lammas-King enters the underworld.”

AGRICULTURAL  SYMBOLISM

So effectively, Pagans celebrate the first Harvest of the crops (agricultural)..  harvest of the Corn and wheat!   And traditionally, the first cut of the corns is kept, woven into a Corn-dolly and kept in the house as a symbol, and at the start of the following year’s farming preparations, it is ploughed back into the fields. Thus the energy is returned to the farmland/ field.

In magical rituals, traditionally, one person takes on the role of the `Corn-King’ , and is invoked with those energies, revered, celebrated, and at the culmination of magical ceremony amidst songs and dance- symbolically cut down as a Willing Sacrifice. No, not in the style of some hollywood horror movie. But a designated Priestess (representing the Earth) passes a sickle or knife across the neck (symbolic!!) and the `Corn-King’ falls gently to the ground (in a dramatic way!) He is then covered up by a cloth, and all dance around and `mourn’ the passing of the Corn-King, and his willing sacrifice. Towards the end of the ritual, he is `resurrected’  (pagans don’t like to leave an enacting person `dead’ !)  This is ritual drama – that is all. Cutting off the head, releases the energy of the Corn king, which is needed to replenish the land once more!

MALE MYSTERY

But many years ago, I was having a dialogue with the late Maureen Brown (High Priestess) on these matters, and she discussed the idea of `Every man giving  (not giving up, but giving) his life-forces – the ability to create life. Yes we are talking about the sperms! There are impulses within all biological beings to procreate. But there are also primal instincts of self-preservation. To procreate one must choose to let go of some of those self-preservation instincts – because the Offspring born will eventually grow and rise, to challenge his/her father (parental figure). The next generation can not truly be free until the previous one lets go. The great Oak must fall, so that the acorn in it’s shadow can see new light and grow. The genetic material goes on (in the Offspring), but not the biological entity (father).

So for a man, the sacrifice is the letting go of his life-force, in favour of  his off-spring.  The `corn’   must be cut down, so that its seeds can fall to the ground and crate he next generation of crops. The corn holds the mystery.  And a man must let go of his seeds, so that they may create the offspring. This is the deeper male mystery that many have become oblivious to!    It has been known that in private & personal  magical Lammas rituals,  some Male priests have symbolically `offered’ their owns seeds to the Earth. As we all know, magic can be done with all sorts of body fluids – blood, sweat, urine, and of course sperms!

KINGS & DICTATORS – a special case

On a communal, world front, the Lammas principle is all about someone who has been in power – and serving the land and people- stepping down willingly his or her time has come!) – so that another one who has proved him/her self may take the place of the Ruler!

There is such a thing as holding on to power for it’s own sake – something Dictators are well known for doing!   They do not step down – for whatever reason, and te land and it’s people suffer under such dictatorial rules.  So unless old age, illness or some accident removes those dictators from power – naturally – it is left up to the People ..and rebellions to rise, and over-throw the Dictator!  (In democratic places, this would be some sort of referendum, public poles, elections etc, and in non-democratic countries, this often is outright civil unrest, rebellions, even warped rebellion which is terrorism of groups fighting against tyranny of their own government or rulership!  Here the Robin_hood principle comes into play!)

There are some special cases of people in power – even the `good ones’- holding on to their reign for so long. One must wonder if it is because of fear of their successor not doing a good job, or if it is pure ego.  One example of this that I can see is the Royalty in England at the moment!!

The reluctant King who does not step down – is not limited to royalty, but to other politicians, presidents, military leaders, Board of Directors in Companies, Media bosses…and even community leaders!  Anyone who stays past their time in a position of power and authority of serving or ruling is simply.. tempting the natural order to step in..  and Lammas principle to enter their lives. And it will happen, sooner or later!  (This will happen to all of us, in our own realms and communities, in whatever power and positions we each hold. That must not be forgotten. And yes, I am aware of it. It is why I tend to step down from certain things when I feel my time has come.. and I start to do that quite a few months before Lammas!  That is my way of working this energy!  )

So every time pagans re-enact a Lammas ritual, the cutting down of the Corn King- we are in fact enforcing and strengthening this magical principle – for I have realised, that is how we the people of the land rule and govern our Kings and Dictators – by magic!

In Magic, we trust!

-Mani

 

Witchcraft vs Wicca – a comparison

A bit more on Witchcraft & Wicca.  Another article / write-up I was doing some months ago, and like to share here. -Mani

Witchcraft  vs Wicca:

 “ Witchcraft is a mystery tradition. It is best learnt experimentally. It is gritty, muddy, wet & wild in untamed nature, and requires dedication & discipline. Working with blood, bones, knots & spells are part of that, as well as the exploration of deities, trans-personal elements and cycles of nature.. from the fertile energies of spring to the solemn shadows of Samhain, leading to the light of Yule & Imbolc.”

Witchcraft is an unusual `religion’ – in that, you can practice the Craft without necessarily working with the deities in any way. There are so many books written by Scholars who have researched the subject, and there are yet more – all of whom tend to claim that in the ancient times, people practised witchcraft and they also worshiped certain gods and goddess of the Witches. This approach has been deeply favoured and `built-in’ to Wicca – the actual modern religious pagan path that also has its roots in Witchcraft.  So by saying `Witchcraft is an unusual religion…’  I was throwing a curve-ball, which I hope you caught on to immediately! It has that thought-provoking `gestalt’ feel to it- controversial, and pushing for a counter-rebellious response from you!

Let’s take it a notch or two down, and look at it in another way – from the gut, rather than through the eye-glasses of academics! The only way to understand Magic is to experience it by practicing it, and not by reading and talking about it!

What do we `know’ of Witchcraft from myths, here-say, fairy tales and medieval stories?  I refer to the general perceptions of general public, when I use the term `we’ here.

  • Witchcraft is practised by individuals called Witches.
  • Witches are mostly women – either old hags / ugly crones, or nubile nymphs who seduce and entice (men).
  • Witches work spells at Full moons, and Dark moons.
  • Witches do spells, chants, curses, love-potions, animal sacrifices, boil lotions & potions in their pots, pans and cauldrons.
  • Witches don’t like people’s company, and are rather solitary or reclusive. They live in small cluttered cottages, houses,  make-shift huts or adapted caves.
  • Witches have contracts with the devil or other dangerous unethical entities of supernatural make-up.
  • There are no major initiation frameworks. Witches are `natural’  or are made by other Witches in cultish rituals.

What do we know about Wicca, as it has been popularised in modern media, written about in books, magazines and websites?

  •  Wicca is a neo-pagan religion.
  • Wicca was  `founded’ or put-together by certain key English persons in the 1950’s in UK, using components and aspects borrowed from other western, eastern and ancient / classical magical practices.
  • Wiccans (people who follow Wicca) are also Witches, or practices Witchcraft.
  • Both men and Women can be Wiccans.
  • Wiccans mostly work and belong to covens.
  • Anyone with commitment and connections can join a coven or be initiated into Wicca (by another suitably qualified Wiccan). People can also follow the path and declare themselves as `Wiccan’.
  • There is a hierarchy in Wicca –  Coven leaders and members.
  • There is an initiation framework in wicca: Postulant, 1st degree initiate, 2nd degree Witch (High Priest / High Priestess), and 3rd degree Wiccan.
  • Wiccans have a clearly set-out framework for rituals – Opening, consecrations, energy raising, elements, deity work, blessing & sharing.
  • Wiccans worship Gods & Goddesses.
  • Deity energies are invoked into chosen people (Male & Female) in the coven at any one ritual. This aspires to `see’ the divine in humans.
  • Wiccans have rituals (or coven events) at Full moons, new moons, and 8 festivals around the year.
  • Wiccans do not do animal sacrifices, nor eat children.
  • Wiccans follow set-out ethics and rules which act to deter most wiccans from `abusing’ their magical powers for egotistical, harmful or extreme selfish causes.

This list is not extensive or exhaustive, but it serves to illustrate some of the main perceptions we have of the 2 concepts – Witchcraft and Wicca.

But a key point must be made – Olden day Witches were not Wiccans.    It’s doubtful that most of them even referred to themselves as Witches (for far of persecution?).  But modern day Wiccans do and are `qualified’ (or rather given a hierarchical validation at initiations) to call themselves Witches, as well as being Wiccans.   It’s as if the more acceptable aspects of Witchcraft have been taken, and amalgamated with other pagan practical frameworks, and be now known as Wicca.

My view is that Wicca has parts of Witchcraft within it, but not all. And Witchcraft is a more nebulous raw practice of dabbling in spell-craft and magic, without so much of the contrived framework of Wicca that would either define or restrict it.

(c)Mani Navasothy (23Feb12)

This was used in the website Witchcraft & Magic

Psychology & Magic: Know thy Inner-Child

Hi readers, I got to thinking, that for a guy who tags a number of blogs under  Wicca & Witchcraft – and specifically the  psychology, I haven’t really said much on those subjects…and yet, it’s those very realms that my everyday mind is occupied with.    I found this  write-up I had done for one of the modules of the e-Witch Apprentice course.   -Mani

Inner child

We each have an inner-child within us. It is a permanent psychological aspect of each one of us that stays with us forever. The inner child stems from our own childhood days and experiences, and he/ she does not grow! People may think that because it’s a `child’ within us, he/ she is powerless, and harmless. This is true on some level, but not in the way many of us think!

Gaia’s Child (graphics (c)Mani Navasothy 2012

As with any child on this planet, an inner child is powerless  – to fend for him/ herself, and protect him/ herself. But an inner-child is not to be under-estimated as one having no power. On the contrary, our inner-child has more power `over’ us than any other being on the planet! The personality and character of the inner-child can at times over-whelming and all-consuming! The whims and tantrums that our inner-child throws can quite easily take over us and control our actions and emotions.  Effectively, it’s as if the Inner-child is the driver of the adult-person!!

Our needs for security, for love, for warmth, food – and for our mothers  all stem from the Inner-child in us. And so does our need and want for play!  And what’s more, our very creativity stems from the inner-child.

The inner-child does not care about time-tables, schedules, work-loads, deadlines, career progressions, relationships (except one with `The mother’), honour, commitment, altruism or ideals.  He or she just is – pure need,  pure base  emotions, and pure joy!  Eat, drink, sleep & play are his or her only modes, and  the inner-child does not even have self-awareness, or self-identification.  He or she is a pure creature of nature!!

One of the major aspects that govern an inner child is that he/ she – just like any child – has an identity liked and intertwined with the Mother.  When his or her needs are met, he / she is happy and engages in play, and when those needs return, he/ she instinctively wants/ needs and seeks The Mother. And if the mother engages and fulfils those needs  (food, company, warmth, affection), then the Mother is `seen’ as `Good Mother’.  And if the mother does not seem to be fulfilling those needs – when the inner-child wants it (prompt), then the Mother is seen as `bad Mother’.

Mothers can quite quickly go from being `good mother’ to bad mother’ – in seconds, depending on how they did or did not fulfil the inner-child. And of course, if one person is fulfilling the inner-child, then that person – male or female `becomes’ the `good mother’, and elsewhere, another person who did not fulfil the needs of the Inner-child becomes `bad-mother’.

These psychological constructs are projected into our everyday interactions and relationships.  It is not the scope of this brief introduction to go into details, but needless to say,  how we as adults relate to people, leaders, authority figures, lovers, spouses, and even our Gods & Goddesses – are all so intricately tied into the Inner-child.

Knowing `thy self’ is a process, by which, we learn to separate the needs and whims of the inner child away from our `adult’ self, as well as other key considerations (projections, shadows, anima/ animus etc).

In this e-witch Course, we include various practical work and exercises – some of which may seem bizarre and `childish’. However they are not designed for you the adult – and they are aimed at your inner-child!!  For we have learnt through much study, counselling and personal magical experiences – that creativity and true magic flows from the purest of all humans – the child in us!

It is the responsibility of us – the grown-up adults, to become the `good mother’ to our own inner-children, and care, comfort and protect. When those are taken care of, and when we let ourselves play freely, we begin to tap into primal forces of magic!!

(c)Mani Navasothy. 22Feb2012

———–

Acknowledgement:   Much of these concepts were taught to me by the late Maureen Brown, Counselor & High Priestess of Wicca.  I shall give her due respect in another blog entry.

Weather-Witching the British Summer: Pros & Cons

Here is a bit of magic..that I feel I instigated..on a collective scale..  and one that seems to have produced results!  I have thought deeply about this matter, in light of droughts, torrential rains & storms, heat-waves elsewhere – all of which have caused ..even human lives!

There are many people in the pagan communities and Wicca worlds (That’s the world of practising Witches!) who either attempt or claim to have powers of controlling the weather – a talent associated with Witches & Shamans of old..here and elsewhere in the ancient worlds.. !

March2012- The poster I saw at Enfield train station – got me thinking `why can;t we make it rain?’

The first question to ask – and I often do- is this:    Can one insignificant person change the weather?  (in the scale of a world that has nearly 7 billion, not to mention the trillions of other life forms on Earth). If one is so powerful as to be able to change the weather that affects the whole planet, surely he or she is almost a God or Goddess?  And another question: Why on Earth would `nature or the weather forces’ bother to listen to one person anyway? Nature has it’s own plans, schedules, and when humanity interferes, it (nature) just takes related action..   as in when we people damage environment, nature just carries on in an alternative form.   Whether we humans live, destroy or die is quite irrelevant to the larger world at hand, and to the history of Earth itself…surely?   It will reach a new configuration of land-sea-air-life!    So when we humans are going on about saving the Environment, let us be clear- that we are saving it for us- and trying to keep the environment suitable for us.

That said, weather-magic is surely human interference on the environment too..surely?  It’s as interfering as blocking a river, adding greenhouse gases to the the atmosphere in tons of human industrial process etc.  Yes, rain may be something that the land needs …but the earth has to provide  it. We can’t instigate it.  That is still interference in the environment..  good or bad!

18March’12 – My call to pagans and magical friends, to do weather-magic for rain!

Another thought that occurred to me quite often is..  that in ancient times, tribal cultures etc, people did magic to have rain – so that their crops can have water, and animals may drink etc.  Sun-magic was not – in my view- as popular as rain-magic.  And yet, in modern pagan communities that I know of..  so may magical practitioners are quick to want to do Sun-magic…for  a good sunny day for a picnic or just to feel good (in western countries where there are shifts between summer and winter..  ).   In my view, way too many people do weather magic for hot sunny days..and don’t quite think of the implications.  After all, they are not doing it for some crops to have sun so harvest can occur, or some rainforest to thrive, are they? It’s pure selfish need, to have a sunny day.

Anyway, recently, when I saw the local water company’s poster (in March’12) that said we (in UK) are in draught, after 2 years of low rain, and to be careful of water-usage (horse pipe pan!) I was roused. Firstly I don’t care much about watering lawns and gardens – that also is personal and selfish, decorative. Yes we need the water, not so much for gardens, but for woods and forests!

24th April’12 – Media reports the coming of more heavy rains. Here’s the facebook entry on that.

Secondly, the poster said, `We can’t make it rain. But we can save water’.  Now that caught my attention, and my magical ego (I admit) was tweaked 🙂 So I put out a call on facebook, asking for magical people to do rain-magic… After all, we are suppose to be magical, and we do believe we can do weather magic..(unlike water companies). Right?

I think the call went out in March, and I wanted torrential rain..not just little bits… to solve the problem fast!  And I believed that by calling on everyone’s magical abilities, it can perhaps be nudged.  (I was born in a tropical island, in November during monsoon season, and I have always liked rain..more than the Sun..   as Sunny days in Uk means hay fever, being hot n bothered…etc).  Yes,. rain IS my thing..  :-p I won’t go as far as to say I can control weather. But I will go as far as to say, I do like to do `Collective magic’ where I enlist the inner powers of everyone.

Anyway, it started to rain…more and more..  and torrential too! Just the way I liked it.   And now, few days ago, we are told in the media ..that the last of the water companies have lifted the horse-pipe ban.  Good news.

That’s not all.  Only yesterday, we were having wild winds, and shaking trees. Dark clouds and thunder claps, and storms!   I get excited when weather gets all stormy. I’ve been known to run to the sea-side at 80 mph stormy winds at midnight and stand on the edge!  So yesterday, I went out, in just shorts, climbed the large Willow tree, and enjoyed the Storm, as it passed over me!   And I got to thinking  about brainstorms..  the storms that happen in our minds..  and the power of it all.   And I thought I’d just breathe it all in.. into my head!    It’s raw power of the elements!  Am sure I’ve been low on energy for months, and this will do nicely as a natural top-up…till the next storms!

24th June’12: After a few months of heavy rain, Thames water still enforces the idea of saving water!

I think the Rains and storms ate enough now.   It’s caused so much disruptions, devastations, damage, and even death in the UK, while in America – they are having the worst hot weather ever..where many people have died.  Sadly, and dangerously, there’s balance for you..   energy has to come from somewhere.  Rain here means heat there.

Le’s now work for balance..or rather, let Mother nature get back to her own schedules and plans..and let’s not interfere!

-Mani

Eclipse Magic Workbook – NOW PUBLISHED

Author of “Eclipse Magic Workbook” Manivannan Navasothy – Wiccan High Priest and founder of http://www.EclipseMagic.co.uk, in this book shows you step-by-step how to understand the uniqueness of Eclipse energies, their untapped hidden powers that could be used to develop your psychic powers, and offers you instructional tools to increase your magical receptivity, healing and balancing, accelerating your dream attainments, and many more personally useful methods, techniques, tools, tips, as well as safety considerations and your future eclipse preparatory work.

Eclipse_Magic_Workbook_by_Mani_Navasothy_-web

Note (22Dec’12): This book is available on Amazon Kindle and also in my website www.EclipseMagic.co.uk

-Mani Navasothy

 

Eclipse Magic workbook – teaser video

Here’s a new style video I’ve learnt to make- my first ever attempt at doing a `movie teaser’ style video. Graphics used have appeared in Eclipse Magic webinar (held in November 2011). The music was purchased (royalty free license). After trawling through 2 hours of samples, I picked this one.. because of the `News Flash’ feel.. and the high energy fun atmosphere 🙂
There’s another video already made.. I’ll link that in another post. Enjoy the video..and the music.
-Mani

ps. Here’s the blurb for the upcoming `Eclipse Magic workbook’ .

Every year, there are at least 2 pairs of Eclipses taking place!  We all live through Solar and Lunar Eclipses, and yet few magicians ride the magical currents of Eclipses –  opportunities for doing powerful  magical or psychic work that can be life-changing.Next Solar Eclipse occurs on 20th May, and the lunar one on 4th June.   Learn how to use their science & magic to stellar engineer your life!

This is a world 1st book on Eclipse magic – written by Mani Navasothy, Astrologer, Wiccan High Priest, Psychologist and a Physicist, and above all – a secret practitioner of Eclipse-Magic for over a decade.  The time is now – for sharing that real, personal, experiential knowledge!!   visit www.EclipseMagic.co.uk to find out more!

Flower crowns & NEWS articles

Few weeks ago, a Journalist for the local News Paper in Enfield contacted my wife April. She was tracked down through the pagan monthly social gathering that April has been running in Enfield for over 3 years (Enfield Town Circle).

April Jonquil & Mani Navasothy in Enfield Gazette News March 2012

The Journalist wanted to interview us about the upcoming Christian Festival `Easter’ and wanted our view on older pagan festivals that take place at this time.  So we had some phone calls, and we told them about Spring Equinox and about Beltane, and the older festival of Ostara – all the symbols of which seem to have been nicely muddled up (cooked?) and fashioned into the `Easter’ celebrations of Christ’s death and resurrection!

Within few days of the call, we had an early morning photo-shoot in Enfield, by the canal, just near the Registry office. Few people who walked past us thought we had just got married – and wished us well.  Well, we were in bright cloths and were both wearing flower crowns 🙂  The photo shoot took place a midst newley bloomed Daffodils!

I must say, for April & my handfasting (pagan wedding ceremony that took place in Epping forest few years ago), the flower crowns were somewhat  lacking! We had wanted natural flora, but at the time, our friend who created a flower crown had made just one..  and what was natural in her harden at the time was a rose and a few flowers.  It had often upset my wife April to look at those photos – one large rose on her forehead.

So this time, I made a big effort- I used ivy and new strands of Willow, and wove some red roses, with an original red ribbon used in our handfasting ceremony to make the crown.  And I am pleased to say, April was happy. And being wished by passers-by, we almost allowed ourselves to believe that is was our wedding day!  But that of course, is yet to come! 🙂

-Mani

The article in Enfield Gazette 28march2012

Hour of the Ram: Cernunnos (Spring God) invocation

In this original video (words,photos, graphics, animation – all by me – save for the music) – the process of growing horns, connection to star formations and energy, and a personal invocation to the Horned God are presented.   I mean have we ever really wondered what it’s like if horns started growing on us? The weight, the itch, the pain.. the need for a scratch??!!!  And really – where do those horns go..into space? where does the energy come from?   (you know my interests in magic, astrology and science!   Am fully aware of star formation, nuclear fusion of hydrogen etc).

I began working on the materials (taking photos) 2 weeks ago, but sudden ill-health (bleeding from the stomach for 2 days non-stop) stopped the process. After visits to Hospital Accidents & emergency, and  through recovery time, this is what kept me occupied, and away from pain.

The invocation came to me in a moment of fire, and rage and power .  It took me a day to edit the  voice-over with effects.    It took me a further few days to do the animations..   And about 8 hours to edit the video together.   The Am better now, and the video is complete. It stands as probably my most personally rewarding piece of magical in-vocation of the past 15 years. I now cast it into the net for all to take what they wish from it,and use, and enjoy.

-Mani.

Ghosts of the past – aiding the dead

On the eve of New Year.. and there is one thing I have been meaning to write about – before I can move on into the future!

It began with a dream on the morning of 25th December – in which April and I visited a hospital, where I met her mother – who was dying! To cut a long dream short, in the dream, many things got resolved between all 3 of us. And then I saw the elderly lady (Jean) free of all the needles and tubes, glow and float, and fall! Bearing in mind, I once came very close to meeting her (who would be my mother-on-law) in a hospital few years ago – but never actually met her, and since then had only seen 1 photo of her – I think this was a remarkable dream. It had elements of magic – of aiding a suffering person to pass through the veil.   Half a day later, when my back-pain issues started, I pushed this dream aside. But it was worth mentioning.

It wasn’t just in that dream that I had `performed’ a passing-through magical work. Few years ago, my sister and I did a very similar – albeit slightly Hindu version – ceremony for my uncle Sathyamoorthy who was suffering from cancer, and in a nursing home in Kent. That night he passed away.  And going back about 7-8 years, the first time I did that sort of a ceremony was for Maureen Brown  on Christmas Day  (Wiccan High Priestess and Psychologist, who had taught me so much of magic and psychology). That evening, she passed away. Previously she and I had discussed portals and the voids..   and it suddenly came to the forefront of my mind that afternoon. A fellow coven member and HPS  was part of the ceremony.

Some 20+ years ago, a few days after New Year, my father Navasothy (that was his first name, which in Tamil custom, become my Surname!) met with a road accident while crossing the road and died. It was a singular event that set me off – initially into a faithless spin- and brought me into the world of Paganism & Magical spirituality.   And reaching further back, to when I was 5 years, I saw my paternal grandfather die, at home, in his bed, surrounded by family. I was in my father’s arms that moment, and I remember crying because I had seen my father cry!

To this day, even such things as very old bones I find on the banks of river Thames (in London) tend to have a strong psychic effect on me – anything from tingles in the head, a burning sensation of the face, heaviness of the chest area, or head-ache that takes half  day to fade.  All I have to do is touch an old bone!   (This is a huge subject matter that I will write about another time).

My one regret is – I could not go and attend to a person who was pagan-hindu and dying – just about the time I was getting ready for my Handfasting / pagan wedding ceremony 2 years ago.  Weddings are so hectic to organise, and I just could not bring my self to give up half a day that week. I am sorry that I did not. The guilt plagues me still- that I may have been able to help that Soul pass over easily and that I didn’t.

As I stand on the eve of the next year – 2012 – I shall remember the loved ones I have aided, other nameless dead-Souls , both human and animals, I have touched. I don’t only need to remember them on Samhain (pagan festival of honoring the ancestors), or on the day of their deaths, or on some special religious day (such as tomorrow when it is the day to do a special `moksha-pooja’ for my deceased father). I can remember them whenever I wish.

I once wrote a story titled, `Yesterdays’ Fathers..’.  Time I dusted it, scanned it, and published it.

Winter Rites: Coven Yule Vs Church Service

On the night of 23rd of December, I celebrated the Winter Solstice in a private coven (withchy) Yule ritual in south London.  Then on the night of 24th of December, I attended a small local Church service in north London. Quite a bizarre one for many pagans and Witches, am sure.  Many pagans have woken up to it, and have been previously unfulfilled or unsatisfied Christians. So when they hear about an initiated Wiccan / pagan going to a Christmas service ..it must raise questions such as – has he started to waver? is he going over to the other side?

Unusually for our coven, especially at Yule, we had 5 guys (Priests or male Witches) and 1 gal (High Priestess). Almost 5-6 of the other Priestesses had not turned up due to one or other personal circumstances.  Initially, when I turned up, the other 4 guys were almost at a point of giving the Yule ritual a miss and going straight on to the celebrations, feasting and sipping of the wines!  But after some discussions, we decided to do a rather informal ritual.. (which ended up having almost all the ritual components anyway, albeit in different order at places!).  Yule is about the birth of the Sun-child, so considering the numbers present, I suggested the Priestess holding a Cauldron, and the 5 Priests lighting (in turn) candles inside the Cauldron. That seemed a good symbolic ritual..  where the Cauldron is the birthplace of light!

Following day, I went to be with my partner for the Christmas / festive 3-4 days..  and we went to a local church for a short service.  Some bus-driver talked about Jesus, sin, loving God,  following the rule of the God (people who sinned can;t go to heaven) and Gods’s love and own sacrifice (God sent his only Son into mankind to take on all of our sins, so mankind can be free to enter heaven).    Now this `sin’ part was not something neither my partner nor I ever accept or agree.  Needless to say, we believe we are all born free and pure – no sin – full stop!   It’s what we do there after that creates a sort of `good/ bad’ person.   Sadly, seeing that this sin-issue is at the heart of Christianity makes it impossible for any pagan to digest.

We were not there to infiltrate, nor recruit, spy, disrupt or anything of the sort.  We were looking for a bit of rejoicing..  festive experience. Singing..!

To give it perspective, I must mention –  few weeks back, we had both unexpectedly went to a Service at St.Paul’s Cathedral in Central London, and it had been hea

venly..the ethereal singing that echoed through that Cathedral.  I guess we wanted a re-experience of that.   It could also be that after many years of being practicing Witches/ pagans, we are feeling certain elements to be lacking.  Christianity may have come only 2000 years ago, in contrast to Paganism that has existed for many thousand years, but at least in modern times – pagan celebrations of Yule does not seem to nearly even match the festive atmosphere and celebrations of Christmas, it’s choir and carol singing, the lights and decorations.  And it is that festive element that we seem to miss, and sought in that Church service.

Another factor to add –  one of my friend- a Christian – came to a pagan open ritual recently.. only few days prior to this – to see what it’s like.  So I guess we were just completing the exchange – not that it was some contrived exchange. Truth is – we all seem to have did it for our own personal genuine reasons.

In the case of my partner and me, (despite my bad-back experience which started on Christmas day)..  we had a quiet and personal few days together – sipping wine, watching period dramas on TV, Xmas films on old videos  (Scrooged, Miracle of 34th street..) and having the Christmas meal for 2 evenings in a row – with a X’mas / yule tree and plenty of candles around us. That in the end gave us what we had been searching for – which neither coven nor church seem to provide for us.

This all reminds me of the old pagan principle –  “If that which you seek you do not find within, you will never find it without!”