Ellis: DKMU Godform Cycle week one

Myself and Anton started the DKMU Godform Cycle on 1st of March’17 with a large bonfire in our garden. We drew chalk sigils around the fire pit and spent a while staring at the flames and toasting bread with cheese. After we were done with the fire we came back inside and performed the evocation in front of our altar.

We performed evocation everyday for the next week and each day was slightly different. On the first night I did a tarot reading, the second night I received a telepathic message from Ellis, the third day I created a small red queen faery and watched it morph into shapes. We also did automatic drawing and towards the end Ellis told me about linking memories by visiting them and placing the sigil in them. Overall it was a very good week of magick and I feel that I got to know Ellis much better. To close the one week working we smoked the house with incense made of rose petals, dragon’s blood and saffron.

Tarot: the 5 of Swords from the Tarot of the trance deckThis card sent out a warning against allowing a conflict to escalate, seeing enemies around and choosing the most difficult path in life. It seems a timely message considering socio-political climate of 2017.

Message from Ellis

Ellis appeared to me very much as the Grandmother spider. I visualised her travelling through different reality tunnels, stretching her web across space time. She spoke to me about the importance of making and keeping connections alive.

Everything is connected. The magick web spins across the universe and beyond. Some get trapped by the web while others travel freely along its threads. There are those who spin and those who tear the web. Grandmother Spider knows them all! Those who spin are her children, those who tear are their food and nourishment. All must thrive!

Red Queen Faery

This faery was created on Friday. It was a gorgeous, warm day and we decided to do magick in front of our outdoor altar. Anton placed an LS stone in the centre, we burned incense and drank sangria enjoying the early spring sunshine.

I had an idea of creating an Ellis fetish using our cut hair from our Chelsea Manning ritual and some wool. I used needle felting to bring them together. It took me a few hours to make the shape and decorate it. As I did I was imagining this faery to stretch cobwebs with her wings wherever she goes.

I placed her on the altar for our evening meditation. The low light, flickering candles and sangria in my system brought the faery alive. She was morphing from one gorgeous female into another. Each with unique style and  personality but still recognisably Ellis. The forms I saw didn’t look like a faery at all, they were more like  photographs or realistic paintings. some looked like cartoon characters. It was pretty awesome to see her like that. Each incarnation radiated strength, confidence and was glamorous in its own way.

Automatic drawing

I did this towards the end of the Ellis week. The web seems to be populated with funny cartoony faces. Some really make me giggle, especially the little one in the centre.

Learning from the Victory

Following on from my article Magi for Chelsea Manning.

It has been nearly two months since president Obama commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We did some very involved magick in the days preceding the commutation and this surely felt like a great victory for all of us in the Magi for Chelsea Manning group. Not only will she go free on the 17 May 2017 but her supporters managed to put together a welcome home fund to cover her expenses as she transitions from her life in prison. It was a piece of good magick. I hope it will always work so well!

I am writing this not only to celebrate our victory and Chelsea’s upcoming freedom but also to look back at our endeavours and to consider why they were successful. I never tried to work so hard on magickal activism before. The most political project I ever got involved in must be Operation Intruder. I found it incredibly fun to do collaborative magick and in my experience doings so often generates positive results.

Working together.

Setting up Magi for Chelsea Manning was definitely a good idea. Having other magicians contributing and collaborating with me was both empowering and motivating. Even if some group members seemed to only like and cheer the rest, their presence was providing much needed moral support. I have no doubt that  each out of  23 members contributed immensely to the success of the project.

Listening to criticism.

Another aspect that in my opinion helped was to take on board the feedback of magicians who decided not to take part. It’s very easy to take such refusals personally and become dismissive of the received critique. I am thinking in particular about the belief in the binding power of the oath and inevitability of punishment upon braking it. I found it so prevalent that I could not ignore it, even though I do not believe in it myself. It occurred to me that if so many people empower such notion then it must live within the collective unconscious and influence all of us. Understanding that we will all be involuntarily affected  led me to finding the solution. In a sense the magicians who refused to participate enriched and empowered the project too. I think that is amazing.

Single Minded Focus.

Completing long term magical workings requires discipline. This doesn’t have to mean a regular daily routine, such as in Abramelin and similar operations. It can mean concentrated bursts of intense, single minded practice dispersed overtime. I  found this much more effective. Having periods of rest and regeneration can really help to make sure that you are at the top of your form when the time is right.

Timing.

In the case of this project, timing was everything. Synchronising our ritual to the timing of external events was a very good strategy. It provided us with a good workable schedule and helped to empower the activists campaigning for Chelsea. Obama leaving office provided a window of opportunity that could not be missed. Working to a deadline made it easier to organize and motivate.

Anchor in reality

Doing activism alongside magick provided a much needed anchor in reality. Like with any other spell or intention, creating a pathway along which it can manifest is essential. In a sense, in this project activism facilitated magick. The social media campaign #HugsforChelsea could be considered a metasigil and participating in it definitely felt like a form of a meditative practice or mantra. Each new tweet or share was like another bead on the mala or a rosary taking us closer to victory. Another important anchor was writing letters to both Chelsea and to Obama. Creating a connection to both of them in real life allowed an easier influencing of the result.

Expertise

It occurred to me that taking on criticism of other magicians wouldn’t have led me to finding a solution unless I did all the research for my upcoming book “aimonic Essence”. Researching and working with Abramelin oil and related formulas meant that I knew of its  pagan origins and uses that it was put to. My knowledge of the ancient lore provided a solution to a problem that many magicians couldn’t find.

Brink of madness

Last, but certainly not lest, after doing the magick on behalf of Chelsea I am certain that what makes magick successful is putting all of yourself into it and letting yourself be transformed in the process.  Shaving my head for Chelsea was very challenging. I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t taking it too far. It felt like begin fanatical.  In last days of Obama’s presidency I could barely eat and had trouble sleeping. There is no denying that I got deeply emotionally involved. I even invoked Chelsea into myself.

Putting so much of myself into it was very risky psychologically. Realising how hard  the last months were for me despite our victory I dread to think of the consequences in case we were defeated. The failure could have meant being plunged much deeper into suicidal depression. This experience, like countless others, convinced me that if the magick doesn’t cause you to ask if you are going too far, you are most likely not going far enough. One might ask is the victory worth the risk? In the case of Magi for Chelsea Manning I have no doubt that it is.

I consider this project  a victory because Chelsea’s sentence has been commuted but this doesn’t change the fact that she is still in prison and will have to transition into 45’s new reality upon her release. Our pace at Magi for Chelsea Manning has slowed down but we are still doing protection for her and we are happy to welcome new supporters. It will help if you drop me a private message when you request the add since we had some alt-right nazis requesting to be added.

 

 

 

 

 

Magi For Chelsea Manning

bradley-chelseaChelsea Manning has been at the back of my mind for a very long time. We targeted her with the #opIntruder ‘you are not alone’ sigil at different points. Her presence had been growing stronger in my awareness, when last Summer I heard of her suicide attempt. I was just coming down from my Abramelin Operation. International events and politics weren’t at the forefront, even though I was seriously affected by them. I was still partly in a different world.

Since the operation my priorities changed. I began understanding the results coming from undergoing such process and wanting to implement them. I needed an intention, something to focus on. My personal situation might have been a logical priority but at the same time it didn’t interest me. Everything down here seemed a bit foggy and unreal for me. It lacked the sharp, clarity associated with the other world. I felt that my energy will be better spent elsewhere.

chelsea-manningWhen I read about Chelsea’s suicide I received a very clear message. One that stood out against the murky background of 2016. She needs help. She reached me in the here and now against all odds.

Book and letter

I decided to write to Chelsea Manning and buy her a book. The latter proved much simpler than the former.  It was a thin little copy of C.G.Jung’s ‘Undiscovered self’. One of my favourite writings on personal transformation. I recapped a few pages and found it very illustrative of Chelsea’ situation. It seemed possibly relevant to her. The contents are very political but weaved into a psychological narrative. It should be a very validating read for Chelsea.

jungI can’t remember how many times I started writing only to abandon and scrap my letter. I knew that the letter might be read by the prison staff before it gets to Chelsea. In theory everything I write could be passed on to whomever authorities find suitable. The thought of sharing my private life with Fort Leavenworth staff and possibly with the CIA and NSA definitely didn’t help. How can I communicate my message effectively in those strange circumstances, I kept asking myself.

I spend my life studying communication in its varied forms, from my degree in media to my recent exploration of Eriksonian Hypnosis. I remember reading somewhere in Crowley’s writings about attracting the attention of another person using Magick. I experimented with it on famous people during public events such as autograph signing or music concerts. Crowley considered it extremely hard to accomplish. I found it was easy but required strategy. You need to do and say something very different from what they hear usually. It might be  a trivial difference like using an obscure pseudonym or making sure your clothing stands out somehow. It’s remarkably effective. You aid it with a single minded focus and you are almost unstoppable.

dscf1616The techniques I worked with rely largely on visual cues such as body language. You have none of this in a  letter. In hypnosis you need a certain level of understanding between you and the other person. Writing to Chelsea was taking a blind shot.

After many failed attempts I finally felt like my writing began flowing. I described an experience of giving  a tarot reading to a stranger. As I did it I suddenly understood that this is what I need to do for her also. I proceeded to do a reading.

I asked for ‘The message that Chelsea needs to hear’. I drew a single card, Atu X, The Wheel of Fortune.  I interpreted the reading best I could and arranged the letter such that if she prefers she can easily skip it.

wheelWhen I was typing the words of the letter my intention was to create a pleasant and cheerful narrative describing some of my everyday life and weave into it some powerful messages that will affect her subconsciously. Before posting the letter I meditated with it to charge it with my magick, to make sure it gets to her. Once it was posted I felt a sense of accomplishment but no closure.  I waited for 6 weeks to see if the prison sends the letter back to me. I assume Chelsea received it after she was released from solitary confinement.

The group

Soon after sending the letter I  targeted The Fort Leavenworth and its staff with CE5 and Ontological Shock Sigils. I still felt it was not enough. Myself and Anton talked about engaging more agents in this. First we thought of it in terms of #OpIntruder specifically but we decided to keep it open.  Eventually we formed a Secret FB Group Magi for Chelsea Manning. Anton wrote an introduction but we didn’t advertise it right away.

leavenworth-prisonMy attention was brought back to Chelsea in November when a petition for clemency started circulating in my network. I decided it’s time to get magicians on board. There was a couple of vigils held in front of Fort Leavenworth, and the White House. It seemed a perfect opportunity to synchronise magick. We launched the group only a few days prior to the event and gathered a small number of interested supporters, some very enthusiastic, I might add.

Meanwhile some very strange events happened at Fort Leavenworth. I read a long statement released by Chelsea regarding her second suicide attempt, solitary confinement and strange intrusion into the prison of an unknown group posing as regular prison staff. These events were taking place shortly after I posted my letter. It seemed strange that the reading I did for her reached her afterwards. My message, whatever it was, would be delivered to Chelsea who tried to kill herself twice, not once.

The painting

I spent my day preparing the altar for a weekend of meditation and magick. I also did a painting based on Chelsea’s selfie. I painted her wearing  a crescent moon on her head with a star in the middle and an alien figure extending from it. The painting acts like a spell, to connect her to her Genius. Paining it was also a ritual during which I petitioned the Universe to help and grant my wish for Chelsea. When I finished I went outside to the garden, to get some fresh air.

dscf2065I looked at a cold November sky, covered with a thin layer of cloud, only a few stars  twinkling  faintly. The air seemed electrified and I felt a familiar clarity.  As I stood in anticipation a spectacular meteor fell from the sky. It originated right above me, at zenith and descended east leaving long trail like a flare. It was one of the three most amazing shooting stars I have ever seen. ‘This one is for you Chelsea’ I thought to myself. The Universe is listening!

 Chelsea

I spent Friday drafting my letter to president Obama in support of Chelsea’s plea to commute her sentence to time served.  I also pinned the petition in my browser to remind me to tweet it until it expires. Setting up an altar with a photograph of Chelsea felt really fun. I never did anything like it. I was thinking about the change she introduced into my life.

Before 2010, when Chelsea leaked the cables, I wasn’t very political. I didn’t see the point. I felt like a lonely traveller drifting through life, invisible to to others. Society seemed like a well oiled machine, a powerful system operated by human drone zombies. I had no chance to tackle something like that. Then, one of ‘the zombies’ turned out to be alive, feeling and thinking just like myself and she managed to do something incredible. I felt vindicated and empowered by that. I just didn’t realise how much at the time. Slowly, overtime, my sense of helplessness regarding politics and the economy gave way. Helping Chelsea seems like a natural thing to do.

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We incorporated into our altar LS and OpIntruder sigils, rainbow LGBT+Q hearts, Black Rats, the statue of my Daimon Axan and Anton’s pentacle. All sprinkled with colourful sequins. It felt like a party.

The vigils

We got up early morning on Satruday (2016-11-19) to meditate in front of our altar, directing protective, healing and liberating energy towards Chelsea. We had our morning coffee listening to Chelsea’s kiss and later the Amnesty International interview with Chelsea. We burned some Abramelin Incense and closed with Chelsea’s kiss again. We did the same on Sunday (2016-11-20). We synchronised these to vigils taking place at Fort Leavenworth and the White House. It was a very hopeful and heart warming experience. (We intend to repeat it on the 2016-12-17, Chelsea’s 29th birthday.)

dscf2078The sigil

During the weekend we also came up with a sigil to protect, strengthen and liberate Chelsea. This composite sigil includes two new sigils, a sigil for Chelsea Manning and another one to receive clemency. The base has a formed of a protection sigil received by one of the Operation Intruder agents. We also incorporated ‘you are not alone’ sigil in the middle top part and one strengthening OpIntruder magick in the middle bottom to complete the overall glyph.

dscf2218The absolution

As we were advertising Magi for Chelsea Manning we got a mixed response. Some magicians expressed the opinion that Chelsea brought the misery upon herself by braking an oath she has given and that nothing can be done. This perception was surprising to me but I took it on board. If some people believe in the significance of the oath then its worth addressing this. I have been researching Abramelin Oil and Incense for my upcoming book. It’s origins lie in antiquity dating as far back as ancient Mesopotamia. The Mesopotamians anointed themselves with oil whenever they signed a contract or swore an oath. They did the same to resolve one. The Greeks had a specific anointing ritual that could be performed in front of the temple to absolve themselves of guilt.

Chelsea Manning in her Amnesty International interview mentioned feeling guilty for the lives of civilians negatively impacted by mistakes committed by her department in Iraq. She might still feel that guilt. The ritual anointing would not only resolve the commitments she might have as a result of an oath but it can also be an opportunity for catharsis. Only I can not visit her in prison and anoint her!

dscf2194I made a small wax goddess figurine and carved Chelsea’s sigil onto it. In the evening, on the day I sent my letter to Barak Obama, I lit candles on my altar and anointed the statue with Abramelin Oil left over from my operation. I requested that Chelsea be absolved of guilt and free in body, mind and spirit. I asked for her pardon and clemency.

dscf2345By today the petition for her clemency collected enough signatures to grant a response from the White House.  It’s a long shot but we need to give her all we have got! She might just make it. I sincerely will it to be so. We will be boosting this magick during the upcoming weekend, especially on the 17th December. Lets see where it takes us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bending Abramelin rules.

When working with an old text such as The Book of Abramelin it seems wise to make some adaptations based on modern lifestyle. I find it appropriate to discuss my own interpretation of the suggested process at this stage.  I read a lot of interesting accounts and advise from other practitioners who did the operation and were happy to share their own experiences and insights. I took some of it on board but not all just like with the book itself. I am going to discuss in what way I did not follow the book and advice of others regarding the operation.

  1. The Oath. It is suggested that the practitioner swears an oath to complete the operation. I have followed this when I did Liber Astarte and concluded it unnecessary. My understanding is that the oath helps to motivate the individual. I do not need any additional motivations beyond the will to do it. If life circumstances would prevent me from completing the operation I will come back to it as soon as I can.
  2. Fixed duration. It has been suggested to choose a length of time and stick to it. I departed from this rule. I prefer flexible approach where I might aim at  a given length (6 months) but see how it goes. I do not see a reason for each stage of the operation to take equal length of time. I will progress onto the next stage when I feel ready. I have a lot of self discipline and motivation and do not need restrain to keep them up.
  3. Fixed time for daily ritual. The book suggest to do the prayer/orison/meditation at dawn and sunset. This was probably in tune with people lifestyles at the time of its writing. Modern magicians have suggested picking up a certain time, morning and evening and sticking to them with no exceptions. I do them when I get up, after my morning coffee any time between morning up to early afternoon. The second rite falls anywhere between late afternoon and midnight. I find this much easier to manage.
  4. Confession of sins. I had no need for a formal confession kneeling in front of an altar. I consider such thing too loaded with needless religious overtones. However I do spend fair bit of time on introspection. The whole process requires constant questioning of ones own motives and actions. Being absolutely honest with myself seems to come naturally during this operation. As I mentioned in All Seeing Eyes, there seems to be an intelligence at work that gently but pressingly sheds light on repressed and hidden issues. Nowhere to hide.
  5. Having female body. The book suggests women shouldn’t do this operation and instruct men to avoid them when they menstruate. The only difficulty I experienced because of my body is menstrual pain. Its severity forces me to take codeine for 3 days and I find its effects hindering my meditations. It seems a mild inconvenience and not something to worry about.
  6. Drugs and alcohol. The book clearly says to abstain from getting drunk. It doesn’t mention drugs but many interpret the alcohol rule extending to all mind altering substances. If someone has a habit they are not willing to give up for the duration of this operation I would suggest reconsidering the attempt. I definitely feel that substances causing numbness such as codeine and alcohol have a negative impact on my concentration and prefer to avoid them. I also avoid alcohol in social situations. I do have a very small glass of white wine during my evening Sabbath ritual. I intend to keep it that way at least for now. Apart from this, abstinence seems to be a nice experience. My position on other types of drugs seems ambivalent. Anything taken medicinally seems fine to me. I trust my Holy Guardian Angel to guide me on this. I definitely feel that excess of any kind of substance would  not be recommended and generally speaking keeping a clear head is a good idea. Doing so gives a unique opportunity to see how high you can get without drugs.

I might get few rotten tomatoes frown my way for saying all this but it seems fair to share my method honestly. Although my roots are strongly in Thelema I come at this practice from a Chaos Magick perspective. If my attitude leads to failure I will not be afraid to admit it. I do this for myself and not for the prestige and glamour some attach to Abramelin operation.

Generally I trust my relationship with HGA and see following their advice more important than sticking to arbitrary rules. Something I got out from a probationary period in Lectorium Rosicrucianum is the understanding that initiation happens to a certain extent by itself. I am not intending to fake my progress by rigorously adhering to rules. I let my own attitude guide me as to my progress. If I struggle with something then perhaps I need a little bit more time to process it. So far this seems to work for me.

The operation definitely has its own gravity and its own mind. I feel myself being pulled into it like one might be into a psychedelic trip. Meditations become longer and more involved. At this point I feel more comfortable doing up to two hour sessions, very rarely doing less than an hour. The need for solitude, introversion and study arises by itself and discipline becomes almost not necessary. I look forward to my meditations and time focusing on Axan (my HGA). It feels great.

My altar after Sabbath evening meditation.

My altar after Sabbath evening meditation.

Abramelin Operation: the begining.

I began my Abramelin operation on 21.09.2015 and am currently in the third week. I have been preparing for it since I was seventeen.  It feels absolutely great to finally do it.

The first couple of weeks were preparatory, fine tuning the process. I ran into  issues with my oil lamp. I attempted to make my own one but after a week of using it I abandoned it. I could not get it to burn consistently. One morning I was in my meditation (eyes closed) to become slowly increasingly aware of a stench filling in the room. The wick went out and was smouldering. My HGA (Holy Guardian Angel) spoke to me with a certain amusement  ‘you are feeling burned out’.

My abramelin Altar with dysfunctional oil lamp on the right.

My abramelin Altar with dysfunctional oil lamp on the right.

I am waiting for a delivery of  a wick to fit into my old oil lamp I used during ‘Liber Astarte’. Meanwhile my HGA  instructed me on how to proceed. From reading the Book of Abramelin and other peoples accounts I figured my life will continue more or less as usual (to begin with). However Axan (Name of my Angel kindly permitted to be shared) had something else in mind. Not one day of my life went according to my plan. I was given simple but concrete instructions to follow which pretty much filled up my days.

Some might ask since I already know my HGA’s name and can converse with them, why do I bother doing Abramelin? I have long suspected that Axan is my HGA but wanted a formal, ritualistic confirmation of this. My main reason for doing Abramelin is to tune myself in properly. I do not like Axan just popping in and out randomly. I want to establish a strong and durable relationship that will help me progress in magick.

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One of the tasks given to me by Axan.

After two and a half weeks I already see an amazing results from this work. Tuning in twice a day seems enough to address three very important issues in my life. The first one regards my obsession with making plans (which as I mentioned went out the window straight away). I never realised that being tied to tight schedule of my own making was creating so much stress. Nice to let go of it.

Second issue dealt with assertiveness and letting go of a sense of guilt in my family relationships. I was working on this one for a while now. I was able to place boundaries with my relatives before the operation but I still had a sense of guilt associated with it. It seems for now that its gone. Time will show of course.

The last big thing that changed regards my listening and communication skills. Again, I have been working on this intensely, especially over the last year. Doing Abramelin and having Axan advising and encouraging me does wonders to my confidence and with this comes much stronger control over emotions.

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Altar with introduced changes.

 

To sum up I definitely had a chance to ruin this operation in its first weeks and I managed to see through it. I credit  principles of flexibility, humor and patience for my initial success.

I intend to write regular updates and share insights in the spirit of Free and Scientific Illuminism.  Axan fully endorses this idea and sends a beam of light to all of you my fellow Agents!

 

Magick Bag

It has been a long time since I have created my first magick bag. I did so during travel to Babia Góra (Witches’ Mountain) in 2004. The bag has been created in a very similar way to what many people call a mojo. This bags purpose has been to bring  a good fortune and to stay connected to the amazing space time of my ravel. I feel it certainly served its purpose and eventually it fell apart.

I went without such bag for number of years and recently I began missing it. It so happened that during my recent autumn equinox travel I found a piece of hessian fabric on a jar of very tasty pickled cucumbers. It was a perfect size to make a small bag.

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In the following days I picked various leaves, herbs, flowers etc. to put inside. I chose everything that drew my attention to itself. The intention behind this bag is to strengthen my magick and myself. It will help me stay connected to the spirits of the places I took materials from. On the last night of the holiday I gathered all the materials together with a small bottle of healing water from a spring in Szczawnica. I placed them on my pentacle and left to charge in the moonlight. I lit couple of candles on each side. During this time I enjoyed evening bonfire and did some fire divination.

P1890644 After few hours I came back to my pentacle and put together the bag. Not all items could fit in. After choosing the ones I felt were most important I added some more at random and burned the rest in the bonfire. I finished by decorating it with colorful ribbons. Upon returning home I placed my bag in my dream box. I have found that since I did so I have many vivid dreams involving my family and places I visited during the holiday.

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Dożynki Slavic Harvest Festival pt 02

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The roots of Dożynki date back to Slavic pagan times and the key similarities remain the same. Slavs would cut the last sheaf of cereal and weave a wreath decorated with nuts, berries, fruits, flowers and ribbons. The most experienced female reaper would carry it, in her hands or on her head, to the richest house where feast and party would take place.

Like with many local traditions, the Church found it impossible to convince people to abandon them, so it decided to embrace them instead. As long as the wreath visits the Church and gets the priests blessing before the celebration begins it’s all right. The pagan flavour to the festival remains unchanged.

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The modern festival begins with a procession around the church. People wear their local traditional festive outfits. The procession is opened by women carrying the wreaths (notice that the female also carried the wreath in pagan times),  loaves of bread and other local produce.

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We looked at the symbolism of the wreaths in part one. It’s also interesting to notice the loaves of bread. This one says ‘ar Zimei’ which translates as “Earth’s Gift”.

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The most popular design appearing on the loaf is a cross. Interestingly the loaves seem always to be round. We know the cross and a circle represent the sun. Here we see one adorned with wheat.

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The shape and symbolism alludes to nature worship in its every aspect.

Once the procession encircles the church they place the offerings in front of the altar where they will be sprinkled with holy water. We rarely can see the connection with pagan culture more clearly than this.

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Once the mass is over the celebration begins. A huge parade leads through countryside and streets of the town to the chosen locations where the party will take place. People carry the tools of their trade and this tradition extends to farm vehicles decorated with straw, ribbon, leafs and flowers…

0011907002korowod33Dożynki powiatowe 2012maxresdefault This side of the festival has very little to do with Christianity. It’s usually organised by the local council and it’s ‘secular’ in nature (as much as harvest festival can be said to be so!)

Wonderful hay bail sculptures advertise the event…

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Once the parade is over the party begins. Folk groups sing traditional songs often about life in the countryside and the joys and hardships of farming. The songs should mock and reflect current affairs.

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They perform traditional, local folk dances…

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There is also a contest for the beast wreath….

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136d426747f3d9897573bed800431ab8The performances are usually accompanied by a food market, stalls selling arts, crafts and nibbles.

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The fact that these celebrations persist illustrates the inherited need to celebrate life and changes in nature. I remember going to events similar to this as a child. I felt excited, I was going to take part in something special and important but once at the event I was usually disappointed. All the fun, it seemed. was contained in the performance. As a spectator there was very little to do. This was also my experience with the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh. It was a fun event but I was truly able to appreciate it only once I took part in the performance. That seems to me a more important difference than what gods people choose to worship.

In the past  people celebrating  Dożynki were the same people who prepared it. It was a small festival with family, friends and neighbours. What people celebrated was the actual survival of their community. As we see the symbolism and themes stay the same but with festivities like this one the true meaning is not religious but personal. It’s about being together and sharing the adventure of life. People rejoiced the harvest because they sweated in the fields together, they helped each other and they succeeded at sustaining themselves. Nature provided them with right conditions to grow food and they got ready to face the adversities of winter with confidence.

 

 

Dożynki Slavic Harvest Festival pt 01

Wierusz-Kowalski_Dożynki_1910It’s a cloudy and warm day here in the Highlands. Moorlands are covered with purple heather blooms, some leaves begin to redden, forests are full of berries and mushrooms. As I seal another jar of jams and pickles from this years yield of plums and apples my thoughts drift towards Autumn Equinox celebrations. I am reminded of the Slavic pagan harvest festival and its more modern, Christianised version Dożynki. 

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The festival has been celebrated for over 1000 years. The key ingredient of the celebration constitutes making of a wreath that traditionally was done with the ritualistically cut last sheaf of grain from the fields.  This was done at the end of harvest and in pagan times connected to Autumn Equinox celebrations.

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This would have been followed by a parade, a feast, a dance and party. The celebration although both Christianised and secularised still remains very popular. The simple wreath became more and more elaborate. Each year people organise local competitions for the best one. Making it can be a rather laborious process.

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The most  traditional shape of a circle, like an ouroborus represents infinity. This was often topped up with a crown which nowadays seem to be the most popular design. The symbolism of the crown has to do with leadership and rule. The crown symbolised the dependence of humans on nature.

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Amongst other popular shapes are religious icons, church buildings and angels. These appeared fairly recently as additions to traditional crown, circle and hay bail. I can not help but see so much pagan influence on all these creations. They must be one of the best existing examples of modern, European folk art and they seem steeped in folklore magic.

The many different Mother Marys weaved from cereal grasses bring to mind fertility goddesses. They look weirdly non Christian, as if taken out of Slavic celebration and dressed with some insignia to pass for ‘Mother of Christ’.

They somehow resemble Marzanna, the Slavic goddess of underworld associated with death and rebirth of nature. The straw figures of Marzanna are burned and drowned each spring to chase away winter and welcome the new season. Interestingly the wreath from Dożynki celebration would have been kept till spring. Could it be that same wreath would then be made into a Marzanna doll?

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3495829_wieniec-dozynkowydebowiec-18092011Many designs incorporate religious paintings.  Madonna’s are very popular. Here we see the Black Madonna. This could as well serve greatly in a Vodou ceremony to Ezili Dantor.

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This one could be the mitochondrial eve, the first alien-human hybrid with its grey alien son.DSC07234 [1280x768]

Another common motif revolves around the Eucharist and the chalice. The pagan heritage of them becomes more obvious when looked at in this form.

Here we have Holy Grail surrounded by what seems to be Nehebkau, the Egyptian double serpent deity of protection and magic. This god protected Ra during his travells through underworld. This symbolism makes a lot of sense in celebrations associated with Autumn Equinox when we enter the dark part of the year, the underworld. This symbolism has been enforced by sun entering the chalice (sunset). Interestingly the central sun seem to be a multi petal flower, a lotus perhaps….

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I could not help myself to add this one of its kind Jesus. If you ever wondered if he was really a Hippie this will remove any doubts. I have not seen one with dreadlocks until now. He looks like a cheerful sun god.

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We will also find some bizarre representations of temples…

ponice-195562033_wieniec-dozynkowyAnd angels….

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The religious themes become even more obviously pagan when we consider an array of other wonderful creations that accompany them.

Salwator’s Lajkonik (Krakow’s own Hobby Horse)

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A water lily or perhaps lotus flower…

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A fish…

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and an impressive collection of birds.

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Basket full of grapes, chillies and bread….

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And a happy couple bringing to mind god and goddess of the harvest.

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All these creations celebrate nature’s abundance and diversity as well as local culture. The Church seems to be more incidental in all this as we will see in the next post, exploring the ritual itself.

 

Avi Lago’s Show

Myself and Anton had the pleasure of being guests on the Avi Lago Show last night. We met Avi midday at the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow. We spent the day visiting interesting magic and occult related shops, walking down the river Kelvin, visiting Glasgow Cathedral, the Necropolis and Lady Well. We had many long conversations before the evening.

Avi runs his show from his home where we received a warm welcome. We were treated to some lovely home-made soup and humus before the show and to a full supper afterwards. We also tried some delicious Indian tea made with freshly prepared spices. The show itself took place in a room that could only be accurately described as a temple. It’s a lovely atmospheric space full of books and figurines. Incense smoke rising from the altar filled the space with a pleasant aroma and it drew my attention to a beautiful Kali figurine and a very heavy stone with a carving of Ida and Pingala serpents. I was also welcomed by lovely little person who guards the space.

Being on the show was really amazing. Avi knows how to be a great host and make you feel comfortable. The private setting made this a truly magickal experience. I will be more than happy to appear on the show again someday.

One of the subjects we kept coming back to throughout the show was interactions with spirits. Myself and Anton mentioned a goddess we often see in the Lower Falls of Foyers as well as seeing trolls in tree stumps and other natural forms. I feel it’s most appropriate to illustrate this with a couple of photos capturing such appearances. The first one was taken in Foyers during KIA Retreat 2012 and it shows the goddess of the falls. The second photo was taken in Roslin Forest last autumn. This one is an excellent example of forest troll.

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