Shadows of Our Ancestors

The limbs that move, the eyes that see,

These are not entirely me;

Dead men and women helped to shape,

The mold that I do not escape;

The words I speak, the written line, these

Are not uniquely mine.

For in my heart and in my will, old

Ancestors are warring still,

Celt, Roman, Saxon and all the dead, from

Whose rich blood my veins are fed,

In aspect, gesture, voices, tone, flesh of

My flesh, bone of my bone;

In fields they tilled, I plow the sod, I walk

The mountain paths they trod;

Around my daily steps arise – the good,

The bad – those I comprise.

Richard Rolle 1300- 1349

 

It was five years ago now, when sixteen witches from a then amazing community came together to create what would be the most memorable Samhain of my life. We were hosting for the Orlando Pagan Collective, a public Samhain and Witches Ball. I speak of it now, because it’s message resonates with the energies of today, the racism, sexism, religious intolerance, lack of empathy, hatred but most of all of fear. “Shadows” most simply is “The Burning Times”, it was inspired and guided by two Goddesses ( My Lady Arianrhod and My Lady The Morrighan), and included beautiful invocations by Lady Lionrhod, two songs from some renowned artists and the input, love and hard work of some truly inspiring people. We worked on this in practice for more than six months, with the entirety of the 30 pages of it memorized. Not work you see too often any longer.

 

The Intent of “Shadows” was to give us a moment of what it was like for our ancestors during this time of chaos and terror.   We found that even in those darkest of moments when all hope should have been lost, that they found peace and were able to move past what was done to them. It also gave us a glimpse into the thoughts, prejudices and fears of their accusers, torturers and even those who sat silent. We realized that we all have those same feelings. From Murderer to victim we can both be controlled and paralyzed by them. “Shadows” was an amazing working in self transformation. It was about recognizing all those things within us and letting them go. It was about freeing ourselves by giving us permission to move past the pain and by forgiving not only those we felt had done these terrible things to us, but also forgiving ourselves. Forgiveness for our own terrible thoughts, feelings and fears, forgiveness who the things we had done as well as for those we have not. In truth it is powerful magick.

 

I do not share my ritual work publicly, however, given the current energies in the world today, I felt it was time to share excepts of “Shadows”. I will apologize ahead of time, the actual meditation which contained the largest part of the working is not in print. In my practice, all meditations are channeled, so the perspective of those who were accusers, torturers, who were silent; will not be included. I leave it to you to take the time, to seek the Gods for those. I urge you to do so. It can be life changing. I will be sharing the Invocations and some the stories and songs used in the ritual. I hope that it inspires your own inner discourses and helps fuel your inner transformation.

May the Blessings of Samhain Be Yours

Nyt

 

Shadow of Our Ancestors 

The Invocations

(A Word on these invocations, they are written from the perspective of a witch on the eve of their death, as they call out to an aspect of the God/dess. There are eight of them; Maiden & Lover, Father & Mother, Matron & Warrior, Hunter & Crone.)

 

Lover God Invocation:

Jailor: Go to your cell. Fall to your knees and pray. For tomorrow the river and the drowning awaits you.

Invoker: (on his knees)

From the depths of this, my prison cell, my last home on this Earth,

God, Lover I call upon you,

You who are the flute in the meadow

And the sap rising in the trees

I invoke you.

Be with me in my hour of need.

Lover: (standing before the prisoner and stretching out a hand)

My children do not call me on bended knee. Stand tall, my son, and have faith,

For I ask naught of sacrifice. And that done onto you in this earth does not reach the Spirit Eternal except in the loving expression of your adoration.

Invoker: (rises to his feet and to god pose)

You who are the wind whispering joy and the song of lovers moaning

You who are the grain rising to the face of the Sun and the brook babbling passion, forsake me not.

Lover: I am with you, now and forever.

Maiden Goddess Invocation:

Jailor: Go to your cell. Fall to your knees and pray. For tomorrow the stones await you.

Invoker: (on her knees)

From the depths of this, my prison cell, my last home on this Earth,

Lady, Maiden I call upon you,

You who are the beauty of the green earth

And the crescent moon among the stars

I invoke you.

Be with me in my hour of need.

Maiden: (standing before the prisoner and stretching out a hand)

My children do not call me on bended knee. Stand tall, my daughter, and have faith,

For I ask naught of sacrifice. And that done onto you in this earth does not reach the Spirit Eternal except in the loving expression of your joy.

Invoker: (rises to her feet and to goddess pose)

You who are the seeds springing from the land and the song of children’s voices

You who are the sound of the lark and thrill of my own maidenhood, forsake me not.

Maiden: I am with you, now and forever.

Father God Invocation:

Jailor: Go to your cell. Fall to your knees and pray. For tomorrow the rope awaits you.

Invoker: (on his knees)

From the depths of this, my prison cell, my last home on this Earth,

Lord, Father I call upon you,

You who are the windswept sky

And the mountains we seek to attain

I invoke you.

Be with me in my hour of need.

Father: (standing before the prisoner and stretching out a hand)

My children do not call me on bended knee. Stand tall, my son, and have faith,

For I ask naught of sacrifice. And that done onto you in this earth does not reach the Spirit Eternal except in the loving expression of your encompassing heart.

Invoker: (rises to his feet and to god pose)

You who are the tide of noon, bringing fullness to my power

You who are the wise one, teacher of lessons and mysteries, forsake me not.

Father: I am with you, now and forever.

Mother Goddess Invocation:

Jailor: Go to your cell. Fall to your knees and pray. For tomorrow the fires await you.

Invoker: (on her knees)

From the depths of this, my prison cell, my last home on this Earth,

Lady, Mother I call upon you,

You who are the cauldron of passion

And the blazing heart eternal of the Earth

I invoke you.

Be with me in my hour of need.

Mother: (standing before the prisoner and stretching out a hand)

My children do not call me on bended knee. Stand tall, my daughter, and have faith,

For I ask naught of sacrifice. And that done onto you in this earth does not reach the Spirit Eternal except in the loving expression of your enfolding heart.

Invoker: (rises to her feet and to goddess pose)

You who are the full moon whispering magick and the power of creation

You who are the flow of lava that gives birth to land, forsake me not.

Mother: I am with you, now and forever.

 

Warrior God Invocation:

Jailor: Go to your cell. Fall to your knees and pray. For tomorrow the fire awaits you.

Invoker: (on his knees)

From the depths of this, my prison cell, my last home on this Earth,

Lord, Warrior I call upon you,

You who are the raging fire-swept prairie

The fields of conquest razed by sword

I invoke you.

Be with me in my hour of need.

Warrior: (standing before the prisoner and stretching out a hand)

My children do not call me on bended knee. Stand tall, my son, and have faith,

For I ask naught of sacrifice. And that done onto you in this earth does not reach the Spirit Eternal except in the conquest of passing your limitation.

Invoker: (rises to his feet and to god pose)

You who are the Sunset-warrior, champion of the just

You who are the leader who guides me to victory, forsake me not.

Warrior: I am with you, now and forever.

Matron Goddess Invocation:

Jailor: Go to your cell. Fall to your knees and pray. For tomorrow the rope awaits you.

Invoker: (on her knees)

From the depths of this, my prison cell, my last home on this Earth,

Lady, Matron I call upon you,

You who are the She-Wolf guarding your sister’s pups

And the wise pruner of the orchards

I invoke you.

Be with me in my hour of need.

Matron: (standing before the prisoner and stretching out a hand)

My children do not call me on bended knee. Stand tall, my daughter, and have faith,

For I ask naught of sacrifice. And that done onto you in this earth does not reach the Spirit Eternal except in the ways that you guide and prune.

Invoker: (rises to her feet and to goddess pose)

You who are the whispering wind that knocks the dead leaves to earth

You who separate wheat from chaff, forsake me not.

Matron: I am with you, now and forever.

Hunter God Invocation:

Jailor: Go to your cell. Fall to your knees and pray. For tomorrow the stones await you and will press you flat.

Invoker: (on his knees)

From the depths of this, my prison cell, my last home on this Earth,

Lord, Hunter I call upon you,

You who are the dolmen door we all fear to pass

The heart of mystery we yearn for and deplore

I invoke you.

Be with me in my hour of need.

Hunter: (standing before the prisoner and stretching out a hand)

My children do not call me on bended knee. Stand tall, my son, and have faith,

For I ask naught of sacrifice. And that done onto you in this earth does not reach the Spirit Eternal except in your trust as you reach beyond the veil.

Invoker: (rises to his feet and to god pose)

You who are the Rider between death and birth

You who are the shaman who opens the door to mystery.

Hunter: I am with you, now and forever.

Crone Goddess Invocation:

Jailor: Go to your cell. Fall to your knees and pray. For tomorrow the drowning awaits you.

Invoker: Nay! My old bones will not take me there! Nor does the Lady of All expect her worshippers to meet her as a supplicant!

Jailor: Silence witch!

Invoker: I will not be silent! I will harangue you till I am a ghost! For as I call upon my gods they WILL answer!

Invoker: (Laughs) False gods, they are not. Indeed, they are Living Gods! Gods of the green earth, the magick and mystery of Life itself! Beginnings and endings! I curse you with it! In a day when your name is forgotten, the gods of the Old Ones and the Old names will rise and be remembered! And they shall live again, in the spirits of their children who remember them and their old ways.

Invoker: (seated on a sack)

From the depths of this, my prison cell, my last home on this Earth,

Lady, Crone I call upon you,

You who are the tomb and womb of our bones

The cauldron of eternity to whom we return in every life

I invoke you.

Be with me in my hour of need.

Crone: (standing before the prisoner and stretching out a hand)

My children do not call me on bended knee. Stand tall, my daughter, and have faith,

For I ask naught of sacrifice. And that done onto you in this earth does not reach the Spirit Eternal except in the ways that you transform those about you. I am the beginning and the end.

Invoker: (rises to her feet and to goddess pose)

You who are the ice that freezes us to the shape we create for ourselves

You who are beginning and end, a new possibility, a new chance, forsake me not.

Crone: I am with you, now and forever.

All Aspects: We are with you, now and forever.

 

The Stories of the Elements

(These stories were told by our elemental invokers from the perspective of each element)

Air

I am Air and you are my beloved child Ursula Kemp. In 1582 you were a cunning woman and midwife. You were renowned in your home of Chelmsford, England, for helping cure various ailments and sicknesses. However, it was a former friend, whose son refused to pay for you meger services, yet took them instead, and became no better. That proved your undoing. For then the family stood staunchly against you and complained to the magistrate. First for his lameness, and then for other accidents which befell them. A lifetime of work, undone by a miser. Under torture you confessed. Your last breath was drawn into me, from the hangman’s noose. So my child in 1582. I took you from the pain and anguish that men visit upon one another in their ignorance and hatred. You find rest within the soft whispering breezes of my cradle. I am Air and you are my beloved child Ursula Kemp.

 

Fire

I am Fire and you are my beloved child Johannes Junius. In 1628 you were the Mayor of Bamburg, Germany, when the witch craze enveloped your area. You had been Mayor since 1608, a fine upstanding citizen of your community, with love of your neighbors and family foremost in your heart. You were implicated by other victims, shortly after the execution of your wife. You held out against your accusers after almost a week under torture. I forget not your letter to your daughter.

“Many hundred- thousand good night’s, dearly beloved daughter Veronica. Innocent I have come into prison, innocent I have been tortured and innocent I must die. For whoever comes into this witch prison must become a witch or be tortured until he invents something out of his head. Dear child, keep this letter secret so that people do not find it, else I shall be tortured most piteously and the jailers will be beheaded. So strictly is it forbidden. Good night, for your father Johannes Junius will never see you more. So my child on August 6, 1628, I swelled with indignation and flared brightly, drawing you from the pain and anguish that men visit upon one another in their ignorance and hatred and you find rest within the warmth of my embrace. I am Fire and you are my beloved child Johannes Junius.

 

Water

I am Water and you are my beloved child Kristy Bamu. It was Christmas in 2010, when you are your four siblings went to visit your sister in London. It must have been a welcome and exciting trip, coming from your home in France. Your family had moved around somewhat, originally coming from the Congo. Life is full of promise for a young healthy teen boy. I am sure you felt that way. Shortly after arriving at your sister’s home, her mate Eric Bikubi, accused you and your sisters of witchcraft. It is not uncommon, in the Congo, where you all come from. He became more and more obsessed with witchcraft, and the torture began. There were more than 101 injuries covered with deep cuts and bruises. An armory of weapons were found, after you had been dragged in to the bathroom and placed clothed into the bath. You had pleaded forgiveness repeatedly, to no avail. And finally, you were asked if you wanted to die. “Yes, I want to die.” So, my child December 25, 2010. My water surrounded you and I took you from the pain and anguish that men visit upon one another in their ignorance and hatred and you find rest within my arms. I am water and you are my beloved child Kristy Bamu.

 

Earth

I am Earth and you are my beloved child Giles Corey. In life, you were a farmer and a member of the community of Salem Massachusetts. You devoted your life to your home and family. Age and work weather a man, and as an elder in your community you were hard and stubborn. You were not afraid to speak your mind. On April 18, 1692, you were arrested for witchcraft. You had seen those who came before you, including Martha your wife. As was your way, even under examination you refused to enter a plea. To do so would mean the loss of your property to the state on your death. As had been your life’s devotion family was most important. To force a plea from you, you were sentenced to pressing. On September 19, 1692, The Sherriff placed you naked between two boards, over the next two days places more boulders on top of you. They asked you three times to enter a plea, your last words to them were “more weight”. So my child I took you from the pain and anguish that men visit upon one another in their ignorance and hatred and you find rest within my womb. I am Earth and you are my beloved child Giles Corey.

 

Meditation

(Included in the meditation as spoken word, each a witch at the stake. This is a beautiful chant from Reclaiming, I believe)

Witch: Spirit of the Water, soothe away my anger, For, I am soon to leave here in great fear and pain. Surround me with thy beauty, if it please thee, That I may lose my fear of the flame.

Witch: Spirit of the Fire hear me when I cry, For I am soon to die, and leave a daughter to mourn. Let me burn brightly, if it please thee, That she might see my flame and be warned.

Witch: Spirit of the Air, lift my ashes, quietly, So high above that gathering, then let them fall again. And this shall be a sign, if it please thee, That I shall be returning, on the north wind.

Witch: Spirit of the Earth, I give my body to thee, Oh, let my bones, scattered, be among the growing things. And let the forest grow, if it please thee, O’er this place of death and suffering.

 

Chant

Where There is Fear there is Power

(This chant was used for our energy raising post meditation to actualize and what had done in our meditation, author unknown)

Where there’s fear there is power

Passion is the healer

Desire cracks open the gate

If you’re ready it’ll take you through

But nothing lasts forever

Time is the destroyer

The wheel turns again and again

Watch out, it’ll take you through

But nothing dies forever

Nature is the renewer

The wheel turns again and again

If you’re ready it’ll take you through.

 

As I had said these are just excerpts, my hopes again that they inspire you!

I do ask if you use them in any part, please credit them.

Blessings!

 

Credits:

The Photo is a Modern Burning in the 2000’s in the Middle East.

Invocations:  Lady Lionrhod

Elemental Stories:  Nyt ( based on true stories from current and historical research)

“Spirits”  The Reclaiming

Where There is Fear There is Power – unknown

The Elements and Experimentation

 

For many witches and Wiccans, the elements and their associated directions and correspondences are integral parts of their ritual practice as well as personal transformative work.  I would like to take a little time to devote to understanding the elements, how our use of and work with them should reflect what resonates deeply within us, and how to adjust our work with them accordingly. I do this with a bit of a story of my own development.

My own official training in the “craft” began in the early nineties.  During that era most of the publications were very basic and foundational in their teachings, the “net” or “web” was in its infancy.  The information, regarding the elements,  readily available to me at that time, as a practicing baby witch in North America, was what I playfully refer to as “pagan generic”;  meaning  that directionally; Air was associated with the East, Fire with the South, Water with the West and Earth with the North.  I faithfully learned all of the correspondences and began establishing my relationships with this as a foundation.  I was part of an established coven that worked with this system in this way for many years.   Our original coven, was an amalgam of Gardnarian, Irish/Welsh Celtic Eclectic, 1734 and Faerie.  I mention this only because the placement of our guardians at that time, (which are derived straight from 1734) did not resonate, for me, with the ascribed placement in our circle, at the time I had no idea why.   During those days, there was little enough information available, and of 1734, published, there was nothing.  So I simply went on and worked with element placement and our guardians as was handed down to me, without a great deal of questioning at the time.  I give you this of story at the moment, as it will make a great deal more sense later.

To keep, us all on the same page with elements/ directions and correspondences, simplified “pagan generic”.

Element Direction Color Time Elemental
Air East Yellow Dawn Sylphs
Fire South Red Noon Salamanders
Water West Blue Dusk Undines
Earth Earth Green Midnight Gnomes

My original High Priestess became very ill, and eventually slipped past the veil.  She had been a strong Priestess and had been the glue which held us together.  Even though I was years now, into my path, I was not ready to lead or even to teach, there was still much for me to learn.  Our small coven fell apart and I eventually found a new teacher, from who I also learned a great deal.

As part of our tradition, the elements as we worked with them had more of an alchemical placement.  Meaning, there were situated in circle opposed to their alchemical opposite; fire opposite water, air opposite earth. There was also a bit of a trick to fire and water.  Fire follows the Sun across the sky, much like the chariot of Helios, from midnight to noon, Fire was placed in the eastern quarter of the circle, representational of its rising and path; from noon to midnight, it resides in the western quarter, with its path representational of the setting sun.  Water of course is where ever fire is not.   This change in the placement of the elements, resonated with me quite a bit more, from my original teachings.  Symbolism, for myself is incredibly important, it easily helps my conscious mind, reach into my deep conscious and effect change through the pathworkings.  I found that my own magick, took quite the leap forward, things clicked more into place and the resonance I found with the change acted as an amplifier for my work.  For myself, I was finding the tune of the energies and fitting into the flow.  Magick works along the path of least resistance, much like electricity.  I was coming much closer to that path, for my own energy tunes, and it was working!

Draconian Elemental Table:

Element Direction Color Time Elemental
Air South Yellow Sylphs
Fire East                (midnight-noon)

West          (noon-midnight)

Red Salamnders
Water West         (midnight-noon)

East           (noon-midnight)

Blue Undines
Earth North Green Gnomes

Our paths are am amalgam of our sum total of experiences, so after many years, of following the workings of my second tradition, growing and developing as a Priestess, I felt a draw back to my original teachings, there were still things there I needed to explore. In truth, there was also a path I wished to restore.  I dusted off, my old books, and began reworking the original tradition, infusing it with teaching I had acquired along the way, along with some of the working from my most recent work.  Bringing it back and creating a coven with which to work with it, I went back to the original template “pagan generic” to start.  For myself, though I ran back into the same issue with the original element placement.  With the workings we were going into and our Guardian placement, it just didn’t flow, as the previous traditions had. It wasn’t until, one of my students ran across “The Forge of Tubal Caine” by Ann Finnian and a Gods touched meeting with a wonderful individual named Pagan that many things began to come into focus.   Our original coven, had a base in 1734, it was where our Guardians (Gods) were derived from,  however, as I was learning, my original High Priestess in her own pursuit for tuning to elemental energies that flowed with her, had shifted placement and our Guardians placement from 1734’s original placement.   Now, my disruptions in flow began to make sense.  So I shifted them back.

In 1734, Air is in the North, Fire/ East, Earth/South and Water in the West.   This resonated with me far more than the previous “pagan generic” practices I had followed.  My friend “Pagan” was from Wales.  For them, he said, Air was seen in the North (different from both my previous traditions).  This association, came from the height of the mountains to the North.  Air is seen as up among the clouds, the cold North winds, that would blow through you, blasting the dust and cobwebs from our brains, and instilling knowledge and clear thinking in its place.  Earth, on the other hand was seen in the south.  The beauty if the ripe and fertile land, bursting forth with all measure of life. Additionally placement of the elements, were again alchemically opposed, which worked very well.

In shifting the elements into the 1734 view, aligned them with the Gaelic Airts.  To the Celts, the directions were seen as Airts.  Airts are Scottish Gaelic for Winds, or the four winds, or cardinal compass points. For the Celts they were Tuath (North),  Deas (South),  Aes (East) & Iar (West). The associated colors were also slightly different from the Greek systems which many Neo-Pagans works with today.  Tuath is midnight and the color association is black.  Deas is noon and the color is white.  Iar is associated with Dusk and the color is gray, Aes is the breaking day and associated with the color red.

1734/ Gaelic Airt  Element Table

Element Airt Direction Color Time Elemental
Air Tuath North Black Midnight Sylphs
Fire Aes East Red Dawn Salamnders
Earth Deas South White Noon Gnomes
Water Iar West Gray Dusk Undines

While enjoying and working, exploring within this framework of elemental correspondence, I still felt a bit of tugging back to the system of my second tradition.  For me what was missing, was the trek of Fire across the sky. Again, as I said, for myself, symbolism is very important and increases my resonance with energy flows and workings.  So I made this small adjustment to the Gaelic Airts and I find I am very happy, in the flow of the energies with which I work best!

Many individual systems for working with the elements are based on geographical location.  Obviously our brothers and sisters south of the equator experience the elements and directions in an entirely different manner than ourselves.  In fact, their “pagan generic” places earth in the south and fire in the north.  Working with your planetary geography as well as the flow of the elemental energy the way that you feel it, is working towards developing a system that resonates with you.  These ways of working with energy need not be static, but living, breathing adaptive and growing!  I am sure a visit to our Aussie families and a little down under magick would involve me, readjusting my elemental workings to fit my location.

The point of this little story, is not to convince you that my way of working is the best.  It may not be.  However it works best for me.  The point I want you to take away, is that experimentation is an important part of developing YOUR path!  It has to be what works and resonates for you!  Each person tunes and feels the flows of nature and energy in unique and individual ways, they also project them differently.  No one cookie cutter method will work for everyone.  The method that works, is the one that you work out for yourself!

I hope, this had made you think, and possibly evaluate the way you work with the elemental energies and how they, in turn work with you. May it inspire you to experiment!

Many Blessings, Good Luck & Have Fun!

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What’s the Password; Beyond Perfect Love and Perfect Trust

 

Many times I have stood awaiting entrance to a circle either in a private esbats and sabbat observances or even at a large festival gathering.  As I stood watching others ahead of me I pondered the playing out of the beginnings of the ritual before my eyes.  Many rites would include an individual smudging or a challenge by the circle guardian.  Invariably all asking the same question of each participant. “How do you enter the circle?” our password spills forth, “In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust”.

 

Even if we do not ascribe to Wiccan theology, we have heard this ubiquitous password over and over, and most likely used it ourselves. My question to you; Do we really understand what we are saying, when we repeat these words?

Many authors, Priests and Priestess, will tell you that Perfect Love refers to unconditional love.  Many pagans would agree it is generally their assessment of that statement as well.  Is that something we really do?  Do you walk into a circle of strangers,  a delineated sacred space of any variety,  with unconditional love for everyone there?  I can tell you,  I don’t.  Unconditional love means just that,  to love freely without any condition whatsoever. While there is some innate truth that the ability to love without condition, we are finite, flawed beings in our present incarnation.  We are here to work through our lessons, via the flaws which exist, and to work to creating the perfection within ourselves that we seek.  Our existence is the testing and proving grounds for our divine spirits.

 

All of our love has conditions.  We ask that you do not hurt us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  We ask, hopefully, you help us grow and develop in the direction we choose.  We ask you are true to your words with us, and you allow a foundation to be built for trust.   We might not realize this consciously, but this is the criteria for every person we meet- and yes, even flesh and blood, even children. Does that mean you can not love them, if they don’t meet all of our criteria?  No it doesn’t.  When you look to parents of children whom have committed horrific crimes, you find that in spite of the crime, there is love.   However is it complete and perfect?  Is it wholly without condition, no matter how destructive their behavior is to you?  Can you walk into a sacred space with this intention and remain true to it?  Only you can truly answer for yourself.   Personally, while I “might” be able to have unconditional love for my child, extending that without reservation to all comers is something a bit different.  We are all a bit pragmatic, are we not?

So where does the word “perfect” really come from?  As children we are taught that perfect or perfection as a concept is something unattainable. The highest, most correct or beautiful state.

Perfect as defined by Miriam Webster is “to be perfectly without fault or defect; flawless; corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept; expert, proficient; pure or total.”

There are some big scary words there, when we look at doing something in perfect love and trust. Flawless comes to mind first.  Thinking on perfection and periods of perfection in our lives, do they exist? A point at which everything falls into place and fits, resulting in a STATE of perfection!  Perfection comes in bursts, more like an “AH HA!” moment, the epiphany. It is transient and in its transience it motivates us to work towards achieving that state again and again.  So by its very nature perfection, propagates itself by motivation, through desire.

So yes perfection is attainable and by its nature, it seeks to attain itself.  So when we apply this concept to Love what are we really saying?  Let me step back for a moment to my roots in philosophy.  Erich Fromm, a psychologist and social philosopher, in his 1956 book, The Art  of Loving, observes that real love “is not a sentiment which can be easily indulged in by anyone, regardless of the level of maturity reached by him.  All his attempts for love are bound to fail, unless he tries most actively to develop his total personality, so as to achieve a productive orientation; that satisfaction in individual love cannot be attained without the capacity to love one’s neighbor, with true humility, courage, faith and discipline. In a culture in which these qualities are rare, the attainment of the capacity to love must remain a rare achievement. Or – anyone can ask himself how many truly loving persons he has known.” Fromm goes on to state that the “active character of true love involves four basic elements; care, responsibility, respect and knowledge.”  This is exceedingly interesting from a pagan perspective!  Fromm’s basic elements correlates to our own elements; care (water), responsibility (earth), respect (fire), knowledge (air).  For any whom have worked to balance their total personality from an elemental point of view, you will know each of this varies markedly from person to person, based on the people involved and the circumstance within their lives at any given time.   Working towards developing the total personality with true humility (earth), courage (fire), faith (water) and discipline (air), is no small working, but rather a lifetime of effort. Seen this way we find love is hard work, however it is the most rewarding type of work.  What is perhaps even more powerful with this type of creative work, toward true or Perfect Love, is it resonates from us, touching all others around us.  You need never say a word.  It moves energetically through you.

Fromm also addresses self love.  To love one’s self, applies the same elements; caring about oneself, taking responsibility, respecting and knowing oneself.  For example, be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.  Know when and where to push yourself emotionally and when perhaps it is time to heal so that you may work your boundaries and limits even further.  To every truly have the capacity to love another, first one needs to be able to love one’s self in this way.

   

 ”Love is an active power in man, a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from fellow man, which unites him with others, love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet permits him to be himself, to retain integrity.” Fromm

So this is all fine philosophy, and it sounds like a great deal of work, but what does this have to do with stepping into a circle with Perfect Love?  One of Fromm’s points is that modern humans are alienated from each other and from nature, I will go on to conjecture, from the Gods.   We as humans today tend to seek refuge from our aloneness in romantic love and marriage.  We are disappointed and frustrated when it does not fill the need we have.  In truth romantic love could never totally fill it.  Our aloneness spans more than one type of love, it encompasses ALL love.  From the point of view of a Priestess, when we enter circle, most of us will go through the motions of Perfect Love, it is truly something for which we long, that drive for unification, with others, nature, the elements, The Gods; to have our sense of aloneness drop away and feel the magick and power of union.  Perfect Love is the active power of love!  It is each one of us stepping into sacred space with care, respect, responsibility and knowledge of our circle mates, the elements, the Gods and most importantly with ourselves!

So we have developed an understanding of Perfect Love, what about Perfect Trust?  Mirram-Webster defines trust as an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength and truth of someone or something. One in which confidence is placed, as well as responsible charge or office, and care or custody.  Any of this sound familiar yet?

For myself, I would have thought Perfect Trust would have been the easier of the two concepts to work through.  I am a relatively well balanced Libra, with very few relationship emotional scars, and a fairly decent childhood.  I do have a degree of trust for everything and everyone with whom I come into contact.  For the most part, throughout my life I would have answered trust, although earned to some extent, was easy for me.  I learned otherwise.  Part of that alienation we refer to comes from our inability to truly open ourselves up to love and trust, and this is generally derived from the trust portion. We allow connection to a point, yet there is always that part of ourselves, we hold separate and closed to the rest of the world.  Perhaps it was because; at an early age the world (our environment) damaged it in some way, through neglect, abuse, ignorance, or its own self absorption.  Perhaps because we hold within it our most treasured dreams, hopes, ambitions, those things we are loathe to open to that same world, for fear they would be damaged.  So our block truly appears.  It is fear.  It is fear of being open and hopeful, fear of loss, disappointment, destruction.  Fear paralyzes us, and strips away the assured reliance.

Where does Perfect Trust come from, how do we obtain it?  Perfect trust “blossoms” from love.  Through our active power of love, the ability to trust springs forth.  In fact it is not just an ability to trust, but a longing within.

 

Whom do we trust when we are working towards Perfect Trust.  Like love, trust requires foremost we trust ourselves.   That sounds easy, right?  Not really we usually have quite the track record of mistakes with ourselves. In fact we usually have let ourselves down, more than any other person or entity in our existence.  Equally we are harder on our own mistakes than on anyone or anything else.   Where fear is our block, many times that fear is a result of our own mistakes, as much as anything else.  So if fear is our block to opening ourselves to trust, how do we find our way past?  Working through fears individually is always positive, difficult and rewarding, most often necessary for your growth.  The key is Forgiveness. Who we need most to forgive is ourselves.

 

Forgiveness frees you from your fears.  It clears blockages to love and opens the ability of trust to return or blossom forth.  While it is important work to forgive others their ‘trespasses” and it enables us to move forward.  The movement forward is then to forgive ourselves.  Perhaps our personal forgiveness maybe for getting involved with someone, or a group, it could be for the individual mistakes we made in a relations with others, our own inability to stay true to our thoughts, words or deeds, no matter the reason.  Whatever the reason it must be dealt with and let go.

 

“In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust” It is funny how six simple words actually speak volumes of our ability to free ourselves and connect with the universe around us. How they attempt to describe a type of loving, openness and resonance which can and should exude from each of us.

 

We are able to step confidently into our circles and sacred space, knowing  our ability to love frees us to unite with nature, our circle mates, the elements, the Gods and most importantly ourselves.  Through our power to love and unite we are assured through strength and truth that we act for our highest good.  We are assured we work in harmony with nature and The Gods, and those individuals that are contained within our sacred space are working towards the same perfection, and if not, that our resonance inspires them to do so.  Because of our care, responsibility, knowledge and respect, we have the foundation upon which to lay our trust as we come together to work in the most intimate way, to touch each other with power and magick, to join and become one.

So the next time you stand outside awaiting to enter sacred space, and you are asked for your “password”  remember all of this and know as you actively work toward both Perfect Love and Trust,  you are able to truly step into space with them and they are not just empty words.

 

How do you enter the circle?

 

 

 
References:

Fromm, Erich, The Art of Loving, circa 1956

Miriam Webster Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/

Sutphen, Dick; Lighting the Light Within May 1997, Valley of the Sun Pub. Co