…and so the wheel spins on and we move on toward Litha, Summer Solstice …not for me the ‘silly season’ days but rather a family gathering that expresses the time of year, as it is here in the Southern Hemisphere …mind you it’s been a long, wet, mild Spring and one could be forgiven at times for thinking its Autumn!
…the farm is green and lush and we see the elder and blackberry hedges bursting with blossoms for the coming season’s berries …for now it’s elderflower sparkling wine or syrup-making, time…
…birds are busy doing their thing and the tomato vines are growing fast; their first flowers like little bright bursts of sunshine…
…dance of fire …jump the pyre
…revel with the lady of the flame
…dance through the night
…feel your strength with delight
…free yourself …give her all your pain
…fire cleanses and heals
…wounds renewing …old skin peels
…waking warmth as it grows deep within
…spring awakens …births new green
…buds opening …blossoms seen
…revel …in the warmth on your skin…
…after a month or so of re-publishing my first three books (Silver’s Threads series) I’m now in a moment of stasis between writing book four, writing new programmes for next year and having just completed my Bardic Review, (and proudly passed *buffs finger nails on shoulder* into the hallowed halls of the Druid), writing poetry and lyrics for another little volume.
…life has taken me on a crooked path this year and I’m hopeful for 2014 to come as I withdraw more to the land, to the creative cauldron and focus on teaching… so here’s a wee introduction to my work as it unfolds toward exploring non fiction writing…
Who I am
As a small child Nature was my friend, my means of understanding the natural laws of life and a constant solace in a world that otherwise, at times seemed bleak. I’m not saying I was unhappy all the time, but rather somewhat different as I was blessed (or cursed) to see, sense what most could not, and from a very early age too.
I could ‘see’, read a gravestone by touch to tell the story of the person interred there …hold an old book and ‘know’ who had held it, perhaps loved or hated it. I could see-read the energies of Nature, swirling in a coloured dance around everything.
My Grandmother called me Fae and a spiritualist friend of hers wanted to take me to train my gifts for ‘good’. My Mother said I was too young and scoffed at the notion that I might indeed be different, psychic, clairvoyant and empathetic, call it what you will but for me simply different was enough and that ‘differentness’ is what brought me to where I am today.
…by the light of her shining
…white and cool in the room
…moonshadows grow stronger
…gleaming bright in the gloom
…shadowed Fae flit like star dust
…to dispel fears of doom
…as She sails, high on cloud-wings
It is possible however to unlock these ‘other senses’ …to let go the fear and superstitions designed to keep us ignorant and controlled, to discover what it’s like to be attuned to the cycles of life both Lunar and Solar. Symbols and guidelines become as clear as the face you see each day in the mirror …when you know how and where to look.
‘Fate,’ per Se, was not always kind to my family but again I could see, when everyone was bemoaning their personal and mutual experiences they didn’t actually take responsibility for what had happened.
Life led me by my senses, not in a hedonistic way but in the way that Nature called to me, a constant companion. If I were smart, I would always have listened to her promptings without reserve; for the times I did not, life would generally fall apart and so I learned through that beautiful irony known as hindsight.
From the very beginning, I connected to Her, at times one with Her. I would question everything told to me that did not resonate within, right down to my spirit and so my questioning of formal religion began early.
I thought about things deeply and fully, my child’s brain straining to take in all the information around me and to understand how it all worked. I remember being maybe seven or eight, wondering why people thought of God as being a large, old man on a throne who waved a big stick at everyone and said in a sonorous voice, “Thou shalt not” and “Thou shalt.” It would at times make me giggle at the thought because I would then picture an ageing Santa, rolls of jelly fat quaking as he roared, and shook that big stick. Why did people believe that source would ‘smite or smote’ those who disobeyed and why was he, presumably, so far away? He obviously didn’t listen to human prayers and pleadings either, for if he did then he wasn’t very nice when he allowed famine, wars (all in his name) and painful sicknesses.
My family was by no means ‘churchly’ and so there came a time when I would ask the question, “why not,’ wondering why other kids went to Sunday school …and the reply came from my quietly wise father, ‘Well darling, all you need to do is sit under a tree.’ I will always thank him for those words of wisdom, because they gave me the foundation to understand whom and what I am.
Many years later, when a book fell on my head off a shelf in my bookshop ‘Concepts …an adventure,’ by an author and in a genre I had no recollection ordering, the realisation came to me, after devouring it in one sitting, ‘I’m a Wytch!’ That book was Spiral Dance by Starhawk. (Thank you honoured lady.)
Yes, it was that simple and through the years snippets of information fed to me as a child, when I asked relevant questions on the subject, came back to me. All the little rituals and superstitions from both my grandmothers hit home. It doesn’t matter that they were closeted in their beliefs, because that was just the way it was back then …but that two women from such different origins, had the same foundations in their belief system.
It led me on a search all my life and, when life was tough, relationships hard, growing up angst, heartbreak and happiness, nothing really deterred me. Every religion, philosophy, cult and culture led me deeper into the understanding that the same thread ran through each of them, and with that came the knowledge that all of them had been twisted, possibly out of all recognition. They were fabricated, mostly to control others …and so my catch phrase became, ‘what was before that?’
This question took me back further to the very origins of today’s religions and yet further still to the Old Ways. The Christian traditions themselves came from a need man had to control the worship of others; even to the point of the Greenman image that still graces the oldest churches in the UK. It was this image that was one of the means used to bring the Pagan folk into the buildings prescribed as needed, to worship in …which brings me back to my father’s words, “If you need to find source, sit under a tree.”
Wicca was born from the assembled information traced through the Celtic Mystery Traditions, for they are the keepers of the wisdom that would otherwise have been lost and which include Stregga, the Italian Tradition.
Many brilliant identities have written reference books to aid in a quest for historical knowledge, some of whom you will find listed at the back of this book, because the history of Wytchcraft, as I prefer to call it, is not the goal of this volume. I wrote this book in an attempt to help/guide those seeking a stronger rapport with the planet Herself. Wytchcraft or Hedgewytchery and even Fae-craft in this instance, are the multi-faceted Old Ways that combined to create the Crooked Path I will be referring to hear …going beyond the somewhat hierarchical systems born in the last 60 plus years, to find a more spontaneous way to be…
…And so I come full circle, just as Her cycles do, to the first Primordial and elemental ways of Nature, within which we can see and understand everything we need to, know about ourselves if we have the eyes and ears …in fact all the senses to ‘see.’ By ‘see’ I do not necessarily refer to the physical eyes either, although that form of sight is a gift indeed, but rather I will use the term ‘see’ to also mean, sense in whatever way the reader may ‘perceive’ things in a different way to those prescribed as ‘normal.’
Her ways are cyclic and we do need all our senses to survive in what can be harsh conditions, when we are unprepared as so many are, for the sheer breathtaking force when we are out of tune with Her, and then the amazing bliss engendered when we are in harmony with the Seasons of Lunar and Solar change.
Science has methods of discovery that are in fact proving the existence of a driving force that lives behind and within all things, but that is a tale for another time.
Without the curative discovered, from Nature via herbal remedies, which are now synthesised by science, we would most likely, have disappeared as a species centuries ago, but then I guess that too would just have been the way of Nature.
Science has most of us cocooned in a safe world, where everything is insured, protected by security devices, preventative medicines and procedures. When it’s hot, we can flick a switch, likewise when it’s cold.
In cities the stars are rarely seen, due to light pollution or smog; machines take us everywhere and the demand for the latest gadgets holds many captive to their key boards, just as I can be, when I endeavoured to self-publish books in a world of electronic data.
It is more the norm for communication forums and social media activities to be held in cyber-space, than in physical gatherings and most people will email or text, rather than pick up the phone to speak in person. Children have to be pried (or bribed), outside into the fresh air and as a result, we can see why the epidemic levels of Vitamin D deficiency have come about, (in fact not only in children).
Australia has a harsh climate in the first place and so we need to address more than ever the warming globe we live on and what we can be doing ourselves, not waiting for the mysterious ‘they’ to do it for us.
My methods, those that I would attempt to share with you here, are intense and yet they are the simplest to achieve in any life situation; it is connection …with all life, with the cycles of Nature and with the force behind it all …Primordial Goddess.
No matter how we try to control Her however, She will always break free. Imagine if, just for 5 years, no maintenance was done to roadways or railway lines. I’m sure you’ve all seen the small, so-called ‘weeds,’ breaking through solid concrete with slender stems, in their bid to grow. Imagine then in 10 years or 20, how our carefully constructed cities would blur around the edges as Nature took back her territories …for it is all Hers not ours …it is by Her Grace we walk this Planet and I believe it was meant to be as Her caretakers or caregivers, would perhaps be more appropriate.
Our lives are full and busy with doing but whether we pay attention Nature is there, everywhere, even when we think we have Her under control …simply being.
…blessings from Beyond the Gate …my home…Penny