Hymn to Pan is one of the most famous creations by the English Occultist & Ritual magician Aleister Crowley. He wrote this in 1913 (published in 1919). I had first seen this poem performed by the late Wiccan Elder Zachary Cox, at a Pagan Picnic in Queen’ Woods, High Gate, North London.. (2006?). I have seen it done by a friend few years ago (again in Queen’s Woods, at a Beltane Ritual I was facilitating for my `London Woodland Witches meetup group’ . Going as far back as 2008,
I’ve been organsing `Pan’s Picnic’ every year.. And it was now..during lockdown, while we are doing so many online zoom rituals, that I had the sudden idea to perform this poem myself. I began fully familiarizing myself with the poem at night. Each night I’d whisper it and practice..(‘cos others were sleeping in our household).
And on the night of 21st March 2021, after much delays and almost giving up.. I drove to the woods near Croydon – where I hold Hern’s Tribe rituals for some 16years. There I quietly set the camera up.. set up an altar – and heard the poem in my head as I danced with flame. When it was all done, I packed it all away …and finally set the voice recorder, and let loose reciting the poem!! And the Pan in me was fully Free!
(note: Apart from adding a little echo for the later section, no other voice manipulation was done. The throaty croaky snarly growly changes were as it happened live in 1 take of the voice recording…and almost in 1 long breath too. You can hear it once where I gasped for breath and continued!)
It’s now my quest to fully learn this glorious poem by heart.. and do it as a Self-invocation & Charge of the God Pan -in a woodland ritual, for that is what this poem is. If you study the words carefully,. you’ll see where it changes from `calling Pan’ to `being Pan’ !
Isidias Navigatum: Blessing of Wealth 2021 ceremonyfor London Woodland Witches meetup community.
This annual ceremony was held at the start of the Spring time in Ancient Egypt, to gain the blessings of Goddess Isis upon the ships and boats (Fleet) – so that they may go forth, find commerce, resources and wealth and bring them back.
–Monday 8th March 2021
–8.30pm to 9.30pm ONLINE (Free)see link below for meetup event.
This is our 9th annual event, and is being held online (due to social restrictions). However we are including newly filmed video clips of our ceremonial altar-ship being floated on river Thames at Richmond with Goddess Isis statue onboard!
TODAY on Thursday 11th February, the most beneficial planets Jupiter & Venus will be conjunct!! This is happening on a new moon day!! That’s a stellar opportunity for planetary magic that must not be missed!!!
So we’re setting this FREE online event at a special time at 12noon.. to go through step-by-step, and do this magic together!
The actual conjunction occurs at 3pm UK time.. so by teaching and going through it at 12pm, you’ll be attuning to it and `capturing’ the energies of this most auspicious joining of 2 planets.. !
I’ve been doing astrology & planetary magic for many decades.. and will be teaching & guiding you through this step by step.. This spell does not exist. It’s been created by me just for this occasion, adapted from my own private workings. Normally I keep this to myself, but as a Sagittarian ruled by Jupiter, I’ve been propelled by intuition to lead this today (hence the short notice). The world is very much in limbo with many intense difficulties.. There has never been a need for positivity more so than now.. to give people Hope, inspiration, and motivation.. to lift spirits and lives up!
Enough about all that.. If you are any it into astrology and planetary magic, you’ll want to do this with me. Even if you can’t get all the tools and ingredients together quickly (I’ve kept it so easy but keeping the essence intact).. at least join and observe… so you can learn a bit of planetary magic for Free (normally my courses have a fee around £20-30 for this sort of workshop/ course).
Preparations/ tools needed—–
1. A candle (for the spell) – At the most luxurious, you can use a large pillar candle, or a simple long dinner candle…or the very least, a tea-light candle. What colour? That’s up to you.. white is better. But red is better.. Blue or purple are good too. But don’t worry.. just have a new candle ready. [Real witches & magicians have to be able to do magic quickly with what they have. sometimes!]. — You’ll need a candle holder too to place this candle (if it’s tea-light or pillar candle it will stand on its own. –lighter/ matches (obviously).
2. A large White (A4) size blank paper (or card) & pen (any colour). This paper/ card is where you’ll be writing some key words to power up, and place the spell-candle. This paper/ card will then become a `sigil-talisman’ to keep. So try to find something that can last longer.
some sort of incense / sage for cleansing your working space – if you can manage something.
3. [optional] Altar candle(s). If you already have some altar candles.. Have them lit when we start this work. Light/ fame are magical and clear space and create a positive environment to do this magical work.
4. [optional] Sit and think about 5-10 key positive things you like in your life.. This is not a gratitude thing. This is a WISH spell. So think of the things you want, desire, need – to be fulfilled and have a happy life. (examples; Financial wealth, friendships, love, relationship, Job, career, work, good health, freedom, passing exams, happiness, loved ones being healthy/ happy, progress in life…all that!! )
Jupiter & Venus – between them are all about GOOD-FORTUNES & GOOD-LUCK. Their energies can help with all good things.
That’s it.. get your stuff ready…and log in at 12pm.. We won’t waste time.. we’ll get straight to it. I’ll give some brief explanations of the God/ Goddess we are drawing in, explain the magic, and off we go..!
Once zoom starts, I’ll lock the room to avoid distractions. There will be NO replay. You get one chance.. to take it!!
Bright Stellar Blessings -Mani Navasothy Author, Astromage, Wiccan High Priest
Mercury Retrograde: Is this one a walk in the park.. finally? Heads up on the upcoming Mercury Retrograde through Aquarius. This infographics has all the info !!!!
I always consider ..not just the period of actual retrograde (in this case from 30th Feb to 21st feb), but also the date when the planet catches up to it’s previous advanced position.. for that’s when the issues brought up during the retrograde period are truly getting resolved so further progress can be made.
Between 30th Jan to 21st Feb-
— past issues are going to come up hard and fast. I note that at start and end of retrograde period, the effects are more disruptive.. and in between, we get a little calm but still have to be working on identifying those things bubbling (or rather erupting) up
— During this time, the retrograde Mercury forms various aspects with other planets (that’s normal). BUT what’s amazing about this particular one.. is that apart from the 10th Feb, when Mercury(R) squares Mars ( a volatile stressful day), there are NO negative or harsh aspects between Mercury and any other planets (excluding the moon – that’s a special case!).
-During this retrograde time, if anything, it forms beneficial aspects! On 8th Feb, it conjuncts The Sun; On 13th it conjuncts Venus, and on 14th it conjuncts Jupiter (which happens *again* later on 5th March , during it’s direct motion!! That in itself is a 2nd chance.
-warning: Saturn in Aquarius forms a square on 17th Feb.. a few days before Mercury goes direct. That may cause other deeper difficulties.. and may seem like it’s Mercury retrograde doing it. So please don’t always blame the `messenger of the Gods’ for everything
And finally Mercury leaves Aquarius on 15th March. So between 30th January and 15th March, Aquarians have a lot of work to do.. dig deep, go over older issues, explore and resolve them. I’ll have to write more specific forecasts on those matters another time, as this one is about Mercury retrograde.
Hi all.. here are the forecasted meteor showers in the year 2021. Several good websites give good data and instructions . List of Sources/links at the bottom. -Mani
Following peak-dates/local times are for London.
3–4 Jan 2021 – Quadrantids Northern Hemisphere (Best) . Up to 120 meteors per hour. The Quadrantids is an above average shower, with up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak. It is thought to be produced by dust grains left behind by an extinct comet known as 2003 EH1, which was discovered in 2003. The shower runs annually from January 1-5. It peaks this year on the night of the 2nd and morning of the 3rd.
22–23 Apr 2021 -Lyrids Both Hemispheres. Up to 18 meteors per hour. The Lyrids is an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861. The shower runs annually from April 16-25. It peaks this year on the night of the night of the 22nd and morning of the 23rd. These meteors can sometimes produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds.
5–6 May 2021 – Eta Aquarids Both Hemispheres.Up to 50 meteors per hour. .The Eta Aquarids is an above average shower, capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. Most of the activity is seen in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rate can reach about 30 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet Halley, which has been observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28. It peaks this year on the night of May 6 and the morning of the May 7.
July 28, 29 – Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. (no info on peak rate yet). The Delta Aquarids is an average shower that can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by comets Marsden and Kracht. The shower runs annually from July 12 to August 23. It peaks this year on the night of July 28 and morning of July 29.
12–13 Aug 2021 -Perseids Northern Hemisphere (Best).Up to 150 meteors per hour. The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. The shower runs annually from July 17 to August 24. It peaks this year on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13.
8–9 Oct 2021 -Draconids Northern Hemisphere (Best) . (Variable peak rate). The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The Draconids is an unusual shower in that the best viewing is in the early evening instead of early morning like most other showers. The shower runs annually from October 6-10 and peaks this year on the the night of the 7th. This year, the nearly new moon will leave dark skies for what should be an excellent show.
21–22 Oct 2021 – Orionids Both Hemispheres . Up to 15 meteors per hour. The Orionids is an average shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. It peaks this year on the night of October 21 and the morning of October 22. The full moon will be a problem this year for the Orionids. Its glare will block out all but the brightest meteors.
November 4, 5 – Taurids Meteor Shower. (no info on peak rate yet). The Taurids is a long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The first is produced by dust grains left behind by Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris left behind by Comet 2P Encke. The shower runs annually from September 7 to December 10. It peaks this year on the the night of November 4.
17–18 Nov 2021- Leonids Both Hemispheres . Up to 15 meteors per hour. The Leonids is an average shower, producing up to 15 meteors per hour at its peak. This shower is unique in that it has a cyclonic peak about every 33 years where hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. That last of these occurred in 2001. The Leonids is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1865. The shower runs annually from November 6-30. It peaks this year on the night of the 17th and morning of the 18th.
13–14 Dec 2021- Geminids Both Hemispheres . Up to 120 meteors per hour. The Geminids is the king of the meteor showers. It is considered by many to be the best shower in the heavens, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered in 1982. The shower runs annually from December 7-17. It peaks this year on the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th. The waxing gibbous moon will block out most of the fainter meteors this year.
21/ 22–23 Dec 2021 – Ursids Northern Hemisphere. Up to 10 meteors per hour. The Ursids is a minor meteor shower producing about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1790. The shower runs annually from December 17-25. It peaks this year on the the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd. The nearly full moon will be a problem this year, blocking all but the brightest meteors. But if you are patient enough, you may still be able to catch a few good ones.
Back in March 2020, I wrote, “On Sunday 22nd March 2020, Saturn arrives in Aquarius! Wild energies will begin to be pinned down. Stability, endurance, authority & hard lessons take focus .. instead of erratic, rebellion for sake of rebellion, thrill-seeking, disruptive behaviors..”
Well we all know what happened to the world since then.. Lockdowns came every where! Entertainment and leisure activities and industries came to a halt or where shut down.. We all only went out for exercise or to support loved ones .. And we all started going to the woods.. instead of Cinemas, pubs, clubs, football games, matches etc.. because nature was the only place we could go and be free (for a short while).
Well.. Saturn started retrograding on 11th May 2020, and moved back into Capricorn on 3rd July… and continued to move retrograde till 29th September. Then Saturn started to go direct in Capricorn..
That’s all like the just the pre-title action sequence of an action movie – well not so much action but an epic!
The opening titles are playing now.. and today on 17th December 2020, Saturn moves into Aquarius (again) after a gap of 5 and a half months.
Now, Saturn will slowly transit through Aquarius for the next 2+ years.. till 8th March 2023! Now comes all the hard work and weight.
If people thought that 2020 was a bad year, and as 2021 begins, we’re going to ease back out to our old ways .. Think again. Saturn isn’t going to let us get out of jail for free! We must pay with hard work!
While Jupiter also arrives in Aquarius and will be there for 1 year, it will soften the Saturn blow.. Expansions of horizons will occur.. but just alongside it, hard lessons, tasks will also be taking place. Future foundations will be getting laid.
There’s so much to say.. but for now.. here are the key dates of this Saturn transit through Aquarius.
22nd March 2020 – Saturn enters Aquarius.
11th May – Saturn begins retrograde motion in Aquarius (1’57”Aq).
3rd July – Saturn slips back ..out of Aquarius and back into Capricorn.
29th Sept – Saturn goes direct in Capricorn (25’20” Cap).
17th December- Saturn arrives in Aquarius.
23rd May 2021 – Saturn begins retrograde (13’31” Aquarius)
The LBRP – Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram – is a ceremonial piece of magic performed at the start of any major magical work. It’s aim is to clear / banish *all* energies from a particular working space – so that the magician can then create sacred space, consecrations, and fill the space with energy of their own – for invoking Deities or angels or other works.
LBRP has 5 components/ stages:
1. Grounding & Reaching High to Deity.
2. Kabbalistic Cross.
3. Banishing Pentagrams & Circle.
4. Calling 4 Archangels at Quarters for Protection.
5. Kabbalistic Cross (again).
I’ve written detailed blogs and taught LBRP at courses. And finally, in this video I give a personal introduction, and give a demonstration on how to perform the LBRP. I’ve created graphics & short animations to help show you what to `visualise’. The video was filmed in a woods near my home in 2018.
In a forthcoming video (LBRP video2), I will be giving full explanations of each of the sections of LBRP, as well as verbal guide (like a guided pathworking), so that you can play it and practise the LBRP your self. Look out for my LBR video-2 soon. For now I hope this video gives you all the basics you need to learn about LBRP. It really is a short piece of magical work, but profound, nevertheless.
Article originally written on 9th March 2012. eBook `Coven Guide: How to become an initiated Witch’ published on 13th November 2012.
If you are reading this article, then I imagine you belong to one of the following categories:
You are seeking initiation, or are just interested or curious about initiations (non-initiate).
You are against initiations and want materials to argue against (non-initiate).
You have been initiated already (or you have initiated others) and want to know what I may have to say.
All of these supposes that the `initiation’ we are talking about (about to) is one of those formal, human engineered initiations. That is to say – one that is created by one or more Priests/ Priestesses for the purpose of an individual going through them. It can be pat of a solitary working, or as part of joining a Wiccan/Witch coven. (Discussions and thoughts about differences between Wicca & Witchcraft are found in another article, so I will use those terms loosely here).
Let me address the second category first! Whatever I am writing in this article comes from my personal experiences of about 15 years of participating in initiatory Wiccan covens in the UK. I have also initiated a number of people into Wicca. I am qualified to write about my experiences and thoughts, and opinions. And before anyone jumps on the matter of me revealing `secrets’ of initiations, they really should just visit a big bookshop (for real) and browse through the shelf on wicca / occultism – because hundreds of other people have written about it all. Even novices who have never run a coven or initiated others and taken responsibility for guiding others, seem to write about Wicca these days.
If you are one of those who has been initiated recently, then this article may have additional insights for you. You really should book time with your initiator(s) soon to go through your experiences, insights, questions and thoughts on your personal experiences. It is a valuable meeting that will benefit you, and them! Gone are the archaic days where initiators act like walking-gods (or Dictators) and `ride’ their initiates hard. We don’t put up with that sort of behaviour in the modern world. Ancient or modern, initiations and the people involved reflect and must also move with the times. Hierarchy that worked 200 years ago in ancient Greece or even covens in 1950’s just won;t be applicable in the modern era.
Coven leaders used to `give’ the `witch name’ to their initiates at initiations in the early covens of 1950’s, 60’s (or even in recent times). But this is something I personally do not agree on! Leaving aside arguments and logic-chopping about Fatalists and what’s `fated’, my insights on the matter is that- the first conditioning we human beings ever get from the moment of birth (or even before) is our very name! We don’t choose it. Our parents, relatives, guardians, foster-parents, social service officers, adopters and others name us! And we grow up with the energy of that name that has been given. And unless you are one who chose to change your name legally by deed-poll, you are still bound by that conditioning. And choosing your own `witch name’ or identity is possibly the most liberating and empowering act one could ever do! So if an initiator is going to give you a name, then they are not giving you freedom, but more slavery! And in any case, freedom can not be given. It is a right, and when it fails, it must be taken!
Let’s get back to initiations! And the first category of people reading this: You are interested in, or are about to go through a Wiccan initiation.
If you are about to go through one that a coven or individual is preparing for you, then I hope you have had plenty of time to think about and explore your reasons for this.
Why do you want to be initiated?
Are you fully aware of the expectations the coven or that initiator has from you, once you go through it?
Practising Witchcraft and/or Wicca does not require one to be initiated into a coven or wicca by others! Once you embark on that path, or awaken to that path by a series of coincidences and synchronous events, initiatory experiences start happening for you! I guarantee that!! It may be little things or big life-splitting events! There will be challenges, hardship and difficulties, in equal measure to all the harmony, depth, spiritual insights and rewards. (but most humans tend to only notice the `problems’ ). What I am trying to say here is that fate itself (and the Gods and Goddesses) will put you through initiatory experiences! You don’t need a man or a woman in a Priest/ Priestess /leader/ guru role to do that.
And here’s an important thing to be aware of: even of you are going through an initiation that is devised by a coven leader or a High Priest/ High Priestess, they can not engineer the experiences. The initiatory experiences will either being to build up –before- you have your initiation, or it will stat to happen –after- you formal initiation ceremony or ritual. A word of warning – sometimes you might go through weeks or months before these start to happen. It’s like a lit-fuse. You don’t quite know when it will explode and start to manifest. Another word of warning: the `euphoric’ experiences you may get during a coven initiation, while giving you a feeling of spiritual well-being, are not always going to be the only things you will experience. Don’t fall into a false sense of spiritual security. There will be challenges ahead- and every single oath you have taken will come back to test you in the months and years ahead! In fact, you will always be challenged and tested. It’s not a done deal. It’s an ongoing partnership – with the deities!! (You have been warned!)
So why do you want to get initiated? To learn more; to get deeper wisdom; To serve the world; To teach others… Ah, the responses are endless and many. Trust me, I’ve given many of them myself (I went and looked at my old magical diaries of pre-initiation days!). Some of those responses make me shrink with shame and embarrassment. Oh, no one else has seen them, but I know. It’s amazing how I was trying to pull the wool over those Gods of mine! Oh, they knew all along, am sure, like a parent who can see through the lies of a young child.
So I ask again – Why do you want to get initiated? Be utterly honest with your self now. Write it down. And them read what you wrote, and burn it if you have to. But be honest 100% with your self. Then, if you have to, go ahead and create those `other’ reasons which everyone else will accept and applaud you for!
Am I being harsh? Yes, probably. Okay so let me ease up a bit.
Reasons – real ones – for initiations vary. Here are some perfectly valid personal reasons.
Initiation is attractive and scary at the same time. (mystery of the Craft).
Initiation is (currently) the only way for you to join a coven or a magical group (joining a group). (there are training groups you can join and explore spirituality & magic, without getting initiated, by the way! I know, because I myself have run many of them).
It’s a deep-rooted calling and you just can’t explain it (intuitive).
Serious magic can only be learnt after initiation (or so you believe).
Your friends / partner have been initiated – and they either want you to be initiated, or you don’t want to be left behind.
You are writer / Journalist, looking to learn some things and then write about (this has happened many times!). Warning: Many who start off this way have ended up `really’ being pulled in to the mysteries and become `genuine’. Initiation is a door and anyone who walks through it –be in genuine Seeks or attention seeking Fools – are going to find their lives transformed sooner or later for real! Gods can wait a very long time!!
There’s plenty of other reasons, but I wanted to highlight some, to give you a feel of the cross-section of reason. Whatever your own reasons, know that they are valid for you! (That applies even the journalists, and wannabe get-rich Gurus !)
Expectations of your initiator is something you must be fully aware of – so please have a good long genuine discussion. Coven leaders and initiators are not gods or goddesses (unless you fancy them that way, in which case, you should read my article on `Sexuality in Wicca & Paganism’). You should be able to sit and talk to them freely. By all means, learn from them, and respect them, (and even love them), but for Heaven’s sake, don’t get into the pit-fall of putting them on a pedestal (even if they want that!).
So talk to them – about what they expect from you, once they have initiated you into Wicca and/or their coven. Initiations have many purposes – one of them is joining individuals into the group-mind magically. Initiations are not to be treated as one-night-stands in wicca! It’s a long-term committed relationship – between you and the coven.
Most initiators in Wicca will expect you to attend coven and coven socials regularly, and for long periods. We are talking about at least the 8 festivals, a number of full moon/ new moon rituals (total of between 12- 20 rituals per year), training sessions and/or meetings (once a month – either in coven set-up or as one-to-one with your initiators) and of course coven/group socials – where members meet together at coven-home, or meet-up and go to pagan events, moots, festivals etc.
These things may not be exclusively stated or even expected – but trust me – there is highly likely to be these expectations. Initiators expect the people they initiate to stick around, working magically with them and coven for a good 3-4 years. In that time, they not only teaching and training them, but also investing their magic, hopes and ideals in their initiates. It is all about passing on knowledge and wisdom. That is part of the magical contract. And that is also how the wiccan lineage and magical current continues.
Not many people actually talk about this, possibly for fear of new Seekers becoming afraid of commitment and never joining. But it’s best all around to be clear from the start. No point joining a group, then giving the coven and initiators the run-around with excuses and explanations as to why one could not attend a meeting. Once pr twice is fine, but when ongoing, it shows a deeper lack of commitment. And there is that magical axiom – As within- So without. If life keeps throwing distractions at you and stops you going to coven, then, the question to ask is – is it fate that’s manifesting those distractions, or something deep within you?!
That brings me to another core ideal in magical traditions. Know Thyself! And be mindful of what you are thinking- feeling – doing – sensing – at all times. It’s not easy. It’s hard at first. It may feel like you mind doesn’t stop. And that you are `on-call’ all the time. But this phase will pass, and you’ll learn to be `normal’ about being so mindful. For example, as a Physicist, I am always aware of forces and material limitations of the objects around me. And as a magician, I am aware that I am sensing (esoteric) energy all the time, but learning to either ignore some or tune into to some more actively. It’s a bit like noise in our world. If you are in towns and cities, you hear what we call `background noise’ – it’s a collection of all the sounds that are going on. We learn to ignore them, but can also choose to listen to specific sounds. (Mothers are well-tuned to crying babies. Their own, or even other babies). So returning to the point- Know thyself & Mindfulness are important.
We’re just scratching the surface – but am sure you can begin to see the depth and seriousness of initiations. Initiations are not just rituals you do, it applies to articles and books too. In these preceding sections, I’ve been preparing you for the main matter of initiation. Taking you through all sorts of hoops!! Well done for sticking with the reading. And if you just skim-read this, you really should know. I write non-fiction like fiction. I plant clues, and I write like a mystic, in cryptic clauses too. So you should read this article at least a few times, to gain maximum insights from this.
That said, let’s get back to initiations.
Your approach & relationship with would-be-initiator(s):
Here are some serious considerations and questions you may (and should) be asking your self, once you’ve decided that Wiccan / witch initiation is for you. I’ll also add the insights for each one.
Did you ask for it? This may seem the most ridiculous of all questions. But in Wicca and in any initiatory mystery pagan traditions, a Seeker must take personal responsibility for his or her own path. And if you want to be initiated into a coven, or by someone who is an experienced Witch/priest/ priestess, you have to approach them – and ask for it! Most self-governing and honourable Coven leaders/ Initiators will not approach you and `offer to initiate you’. (If they do – run!). No matter how well you know someone, and no matter how much hints you drop, or how many hints they may drop, the clinching point is – you must gather your wisdom about you, and ask them to initiate you.
Did you get to know your would-be initiator? Don’t just walk up to a would-be initiator or a coven leader, and ask for initiation! Those days probably existed, but not now. You really must spend many months getting to know them – not just as pagan friends, or acquaintance, but as a `would-be initiator-of-you’! You may have known someone for years, and they may even have talked about their coven and such. But the moment you decide that you may like to join their coven as a trainee/ initiate, the relationship shifts magically, and it must shift! A teacher-apprentice connection suddenly forms. You have to get to know that part of them from scratch. (and if you do know them well, don’t try to pull emotional strings to get initiated. Remember that the Gods are watching!)
Is it about you or the initiator? Short answer- the moment a seeker decides to go down the path of formal initiation, it becomes about that Seeker- ie you! The would-be-initiator may give you all sorts of explanations, but ultimately, even though they are the initiator(s), the journey, the need and quest is all about you! And they are then-onwards there, in your life, to aid your learning.
How do you get to know the would-be-initiator(s)? This is the easiest one to answer, yet hardest to achieve. It’s got to be a gradual process, and you have to make the effort, unconditionally! You have to ask for either time with them – formal appointments to go and chat with them, or invite them to socials (group social and/or personal) where you can converse. In addition, you have to `hang-out’ with them, by going with them to some pagan festivals, events, conferences, pub socials, open rituals etc. Don’t end up stalking them by finding out about where they are going and always turning up to the same events. Everyone needs a bit of personal space. Even would-be-initiators. So just go to a few of the events. Once you have expressed a desire to `work magically with them’ they would know you are going to do this, so don’t get too sneaky about it. Be open. You don’t have to turn up every where they go. But you are best advised to turn up at least to the Open rituals, socials and other events that they may actually organise, or publicise, as one they are going to. It’s likely a hint that they are giving you an opening to socialise with them. Be genuine and civil with them (but no bribes of excessive gifts!).
Do they have experience? This may seem obvious, but – do they? These days anyone can `gain knowledge’ by reading a number of books, and set themselves up us some sort of coven leaders or initiators. But a genuine Initiator should have had a certain number of years experience being in a coven to learn and train to be a Wiccan, and ten undergone further training to become a self-contained coven leader (and an Initiator). In the old days (30-40 years ago), in some wiccan lineages, Witches spent a year as Initiates, and then were given their `2nd degree’ – as a High Priest or High Priestess, and thus were `validated’ as Initiators who are qualified to teach, train and initiate other seekers. In my opinion, this is not enough time. It’s like a novice learning to drive. Even after learning and passing a driving test, they the need `real life’ driving experience for a long period – before gaining expertise to be able to drive in motorways, highways and especially teach others. So why and how could someone become so competent in just 1 year to be able to teach or initiate? People generally go through a plethora of psychological and magical processes in their own rights. Sometimes time must pass, for experiences to sink in and become wisdom. As with would-be-initiators. Not only must they have `done time’ as seekers and initiates, but they mist also have spent time learning to teach, train, mentor and ultimately initiate. And here’s a pearl- someone who is very good in managing a team of 20 people in a business is not necessarily going to be good in training a seeker in magic. An expert in looking after pets isn’t necessarily an instant-expert in looking after a young child. The approach and psychology will be different.
The Initiation contract:
Not many talk about this, but once a person indicates they are seeking training and/or initiation from an Initiator (coven leader), and that initiator agrees, a magical contract exists! Dating is possibly a good analogy to explain this. In early stages (when one is footloose, wild and single), one may socialise with many would-be romantic partners, and at a certain stage, may even go-out with more than one person to explore compatibility. But then comes the committed relationship stage- where the person develops a relationship with only one person (unless they were `promiscuous’). In Wicca, when one has asked for training and a coven leader(s) have agreed, it’s a committed relationship. In romantic life, often committed relationships lead to marriage, so in wicca, a training relationship leads to initiation. Of course, relationships can fail, and engagements can break. Same in wicca. Sometimes, after a while, training relationships can break, because the Seeker and would-be initiator may find that they can not work together magically in the long term. There are many reasons why this can happen.
Their personalities do not gel better, and one or neither are willing to work to over come this.
The Seeker looses interest, or can not maintain commitment and exclusivity in working magically with the Coven leaders.
One or both parties move residence – to a location too far for travel and training in the long term.
The boundary between Seeker and trainer is breached, and quite possibly dependency, projections, or worse a sexual relationship may have developed – which in turn makes the training relationship incredibly difficult for both.
So assuming you traverse all these issues well and carefully, you will be on course for your initiation. Of course there are many more stages in between this and actual initiation. We’ve only been covering the psychological and logistical aspects here, so far. There is the whole magical development to consider – the Quests, knowledge, practise, preparations, tools, name, interactivity with would-be-coven members (or other initiates), where it all takes place, and the secrecy itself! Yes, there is the issue of secrecy!
What next? I can’t tell you, not because I am bound by some secrecy (well that too), but because what follows will be unique between you and your would-be-initiator(s).
If you have any questions, feel free to write to me – either as comments below, or as private messages . I’ll answer – as much as I am allowed to answer.. (without breaching the Wiccan secrecy oaths I have taken).
May your path be full of challenges you can conquer, and wisdom you can uncover. And may your deities always watch over you.
Note: This article was written on 9th March 2012. It was then fully developed as a book `Coven Guide: Become an initiated Witch’ (published 13th November 2012; 144 pages; ISBN: 978-0-9560746-4-5 (Awakening Publishing). You can buy the pdf version from me (this blog) directly by visiting the page here . page: Coven Guide: Become an initiated Witch’ e-book
Note: (17th May 2018).
Wicca New Moon & Wicca New Moon circles in London:
From this summer onwards, I’ll be getting back to holding Wicca New Moon’ training circles in a woods in North London.. you may wish to attend those for some practical experiences of foundations of wicca.. There are also my monthly Wicca full moon circles’ in central London by river Thames Link to my meetup is here https://www.meetup.com/London-Woodland-Witches-Pagans-Magicians/
***Please DO NOT copy or use my art/ graphics elsewhere. I have NEVER given permission to Anyone! **
If you do an internet search for the Archangel names, firstly many variations come up, and second, you’ll see a whole lot of shops selling talismans & pendants with all sorts of symbols and sigils, with a mixture of Hebrew writing included and all sorts of squiggles.
The question is, how far do you trust them? How accurate do you think those sigils are – and how do you even test to ensure they are accurate? (unless you are already an expert at those matters).
Am not saying anyone out there is deliberately trying to mislead anyone. But my own extensive internet (and hard printed books) searches have shown me that there’s a lot of smudging and confusion in this matter… People are sometimes just copying one another’s websites/ blogs or info..and the mistakes/ misinformation is either spreading or getting amplified (like Chinese whispers).
There are worlds, realms and beings out there – magical, etherial and the supernatural – that are best left alone. Because once you disturb them, or open a door to their realms, or if they happen to disturb you.. life is *never* going to be the same.
Years ago, I had dabbled…all so briefly..with some sigils.. just playful.. for a day or so.. and the psychic reaction I got from that was so shocking and intense, that it scared me. I erased all traces of that experiment..and put it away for years! Until last year! When I had cause to open it up again.. But this time it’s different. I’m being extremely careful.. and double..triple checking every detail..
It started as a personal need to know what I can trust ..and then it became an interest…and then it became a promise.. that what I know I must share with others.. Because there are those amongst you.. who are seeking.. out of curiosity, interest or worse…desperation..!
That’s why this is being written.. To help those who are seeking.
Is it my place to help? Do I know enough to help? Possibly No..for both questions. But I have a new philosophy that I have been living by now..for almost half a year.. If you are working with Angels, how ever small or large an involvement, you have to live by some high ideals and standards.. There is no faking it…or suppressing it or denying it.. They will know. So you have to simply start being it…your best self.. your noble self.. your angelic self!
So with those disclaimers / warnings in mind, let’s begin.
1. The Rose Wheel
I won’t go into the full history or detail of it.. You can look it up on wikipedia .. or the `Golden Dawn’ (for first hand knowledge/ reading). I will say this.. if you don’t know it,, and you were looking for it …it will have been one hard journey. Information online is fragmented..and bits seem to be kept apart.
I eventually found it…and suddenly it all made sense.. So am writing about it first..(so that it saves you the trouble). It’s a key that practitioners of `Golden Dawn’ western magical tradition used in their ceremonies, rituals and magical work.
I have re-created only the central section here. Not only that, I have also combined the Hebrew letters/ sounds that match the english letters/ sounds as near as possible..
2. Arch Angel names
Am only referring to the four Archangels used in the `Ritual of the lesser banishing of the Pentagram’ – mainly, Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and Uriel… for East, South, West and North directions respectively.
These names were originally said in Hebrew, and were written in that langage. So their pronounciations are slightly different.I have gone back to the Hebrew forms (given in example)..
3. How to write Archangelnames in sigil form
Start by writing the specific name in Hebrew (or find a hebrew version online!). Remember Hebrew is written from right to left..
Then Take out a pre-drawn Rose Wheel. Yes, you’ll need one. And above I ave provided one version. Just print it off, orr copy it using geometric accuracy..or view it enlarged, stick a paper on your screen, and trace over it carefully (don’t press too hard and end up damaging the screen.. so be very careful)
Mark out the letters of the name on the Rose Wheel.
Now in sequence, trace over the letters, thereby drawing the sigil of the Archangel name.
Here are fully illustrated examples I have created.
With these 4 examples, and the Rose Wheel diagram above, you now have the tools and techniques to start creating sigils of other Arch Angel and Angel names in sigil forms..
***Please DO NOT copy or use my graphics elsewhere. I DO NOT and NEVER have given permission to Anyone!!**
How many initiated Wiccans or otherwise, have been using the so called `invocation and devocation’ pentagrams in wiccan/ witchcraft or magical circles? Quite many thousands, I imagine. Back in my early `initiate/ first degree’ days (almost 2 decades ago now), I was taught those invocation pentagrams, and used them (still do) when standing in one of the quarters (North, East, South or West) and calling a respective element (Earth, Air, Fire or Water).
To be honest, it was hard trying to remember which way to `draw’ those pentagrams, as they differed for each quarter/element. One easy solution was taught to me – that for Air and Water (East and West), one started drawing the pentagrams `towards’ the altar. But for Earth and Fire, this was not possible..
Well, last year, while talking about this in a shamanic ritual, I was doing a fire invocation pentagram with an actual flaming torch (outdoors, in the woods).. and explaining it to someone. An astrology friend said, `well, you know why don’t you? it’s because Leo is there!’. That’s all he said, and that’s all he needed to say. In a flash the whole thing clicked in my head, as I worked / visualised the related images. And as soon as I got home I drew it all up and looked at it to make sure – and then wondered – `why on earth had no one told me about this in my old coven days? and why have I not read about this full explanation for some 15-20 years?’
And I resolved to share what I had learnt/ worked out openly. hence this blog post. (but even this took me months to get down and actually do.. because of my laziness of having to sit and do all that explanation *fully*).
It’s not just this stuff that is lurking in my mind as one of many `do blogs’ ..There are plenty more magical things I have learnt, worked out, reverse engineered or just created by trial and errors or experimentations (magical).. that require sharing.
This morning, I woke up and had (out of the blue) just one thought.. that my subconscious had surfaced.. and it was.. to begin that sharing!
(ps. I had since then learnt, some of this stuff comes from or practised by the `Golden Dawn’ western magical tradition practitioners).
So here it is..the full explanation…starting with astrology.. (there are still some questions..which I will pose and hope someone can answer).
1. The 3-Dimensional view of our Earth & the Sun.
Above is a graphical representation of what the Earth & Sun will look like, if viewed from space, from a point of vie `above’ the plane of the ecliptic (ie the orbital plane of planet Earth around the Sun). As you can see, the Zodiac signs are star systems far away, but they can be `projected’ onto a sheet in each of the 12 directions where those systems exist.
2. Making Earth the Centre.
In astrology, we draw charts of the Sky, as if they are seen from the Earth. So Earth is placed in the centre. You can see from above graphics, how – slightly shifting the Sun-Earth pair gives rise to this. And because the zodiac systems are so far away in relative terms to the Sun-Earth distance, the view of them do not change. In this graphics, watched from the Earth, the Sun will appear to be set against the Zodiac sign of Aries. (ie Sun in Aries).
3. Astrological Chart – a graphical representation of the Sky
In the pic above, I have `got rid of’ the details and 3-dimensional elements, and only left-in the Earth, Sun and the positions / directions where Zodiacs are. This is a `view from the `top’ (above the Ecliptic plane). And this is what it means when we see or draw an astrology Birth chart. Note: The fist sign of the Zodiac – Aries- is drawn in the `rising sign’ position at Spring Equinox.
Note: This is the starting point now, for the invocation pentagrams!
4. Elements and Fixed nature of Zodiac signs
In astrology, each sign of the Zodiac is assigned one of the 4 elements (Air, Fire, Water, Earth). I’ve grouped and shown these in the 4 corners of the diagram. (not in any order or direction). In astrology, there are qualities that are assigned to signs. The qualities are Cardinal, Mutable and Fixed. I have highlighted the `fixed’ signs.
As you can see, Leo is the fixed Fire sign. Taurus is the fixed Earth sign, Aquarius the fixed Air, and Scorpio the fixed Water sign. Note that I kept their positions in the astrological chart.
here on it gets easy to do the invocation pentagrams.
5. Fire invocation Pentagram using astrological chart
The fire invocation pentagram is drawn, by starting the first arm of the pentagram from the `midheaven’ position, and `into’ Leo, the fixed Fire sign, thereby activating the element of fire. The pentagram is then completed by carrying on the other 4 arms of it as shown in diagram above.
6. Earth invocation Pentagram using astrological chart
Here, for the invocation of Earth energy, we start from the same (midheaven) position,, then drawn the first arm of the invoking pentagram `into’ Taurus, the fixed Earth sign.
7. Air invocation Pentagram using astrological chart
For the Air invocation pentagram, the first arm of the pentagram is drawn such that it `enters’ the fixed sign of Air..ie Aquarius (as shown above).
8. Water invocation Pentagram using astrological chart
The first arm for the water invoking pentagram is drawn such that it enters the fixed water sign, ie Scorpio.
Note: I have shown these (Fire, Earth, Air water) `not in the order’ of invocation, but in a way that initially shows you the symmetry of them.
Of course in Wicca / Witchcraft circles, the order of invocation, is
I hope you found these full visuals useful and finally can see why the invocation pentagrams are drawn the way they are done. It is purely based on astrological convention of drawing the chart, relative zodiac positions on that chart, and where on that chart the fixed signs for each of the elements are situated.
The most important thing to have in mind is that it’s all just `conventions’ created by a magical system, and that in space there are only relative positions… there are no ups, downs left and rights; And that in magic, you – as the practitioner who is exercising the Will- has the choice and say in how and what you do!
Copyright /sharing note: As an artist, magician and an educator, I work very hard to create these visual aids to help others. Am happy for anyone to share this on social media/ reblog above blog, provided copyright note (c) Mani Navasothy / http://www.QuantumPhoenix.net remains. No publication of these graphics in any book /course / training allowed without express written (and magical) permission from myself. Thank you.