Blog Archives - The Witches Table
 
_I have been thinking long and hard recently about recommending
Pagan/Magickal/Spiritual reading material.  This has been partly
sparked by my Pagan Book Club - over the two years it has been running we have read more than our fair share of rubbish.  But it is
also informed by an interesting exchange on email with a friend.  I
was explaining how much I was getting into a particular book when they responded with "would you recommend it?" This brought me up a little short because I wasn't sure I would recommend it, not because I didn’t like the book (it was amazing and I am about to reread it), it was well written, contained a great deal of useful, practical information and was very inspiring.  But part of the reason I found it so good was because it came at the right time for me to read right now.  Some of the ideas dovetail and extend ideas of my own I have been developing - would it be quite so "right" for someone else right now.  Well honestly I have no idea.

But if we take this line of thinking to its natural conclusion then I
would never recommend any spiritual books and I do believe word of mouth is necessary to sort the pearls from the dross. There are a lot of Pagan and Spiritual books out there which I judge and judge harshly.  However, any recommendation I make has to contain the caveat from now on... that the book was meaningful to me at a particular time in my life, I hope this is the right time for you to read it but it may not be.
 
_Early in my path I was more heavily influenced by Wicca than I am
today.  It was by far the most accessible and easiest route to
Paganism and Magick and many of the first Pagans I met were also
influenced by Wicca.  This meant that my first brush with polarity
(besides "reversing the polarity of the neutron flow") was a binary
gender polarity - the male and female in perfect harmony, Goddess and Consort itself a definite heterosexual relationship.   The idea of
codifying socially constructed gender ideas into a religious and
Magickal system was and is highly unappealing to me.  Later I
came to see how exclusionary it was for GBLT Pagans whose relationships and live experiences were ignored and marginalised by the traditional God and Goddess coupling.  So I pretty much left polarity alone - I ceased calling both God and Goddess into the circle unless I had a specific reason to; the world did not end and my Deities didn't seem to care much.

So I was incredibly intrigued to see that the first part of Fiat Lux
(T.Thorn Coyle's online mystery school) was all about Polarity.  The
first installment went up in October but I have only just finished it;
it did not disappoint.  I have written before about how impressive
T.Thorn Coyle was speaking at Treadwells last year and I have read a previous article here by T.Thorn Coyle on gender and so I knew I would be getting something far more interesting than just *male and female energy*. Fiat Lux did not disappoint!

The working for the month was about uncovering the polarities in our own lives, framed very much in  terms of our own experience - I
naturally chose the push and pull between Driving Stress and Complete Relaxation, two poles I am buffeted between regularly. The starting point is learning to sit between the poles and simply be.  Sounds simple, but if it was so simple I wouldn't have spent so much of my life desperately seeking relaxation and lurching off after stress.  I would imagine that most people have a polarity struggle in their lives of some sort in their lives and it is really valuable to pause and think about how much it might be affecting, consuming or interfering with you achieving your dreams.

I am currently working and dreaming towards a more integrated Magickal Life. Achieving a state where I am at peace with both these forces and being able to stand in the space between them would be hugely liberating and, for the split second I achieved it in the Fiat Lux practice, it was immense. Standing tall in the middle and holding the space between felt almost overwhelmingly powerful and empowering.  Strong stuff I can tell you.

It threw up a reminder of one more thing.  A few years ago I was struggling with learning to drive and did some work on this both with hypnotherapy and the Chariot Tarot card.  Fiat Lux has reminded me of the polarity in the Chariot and I think I might need to go and take another look at it.  Clearly the Chariot is not done with me yet!
 
The 3rd edition of the Gaian Times is now published and I have another controversial article on Team Building for Pagans.
 
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Gathered outside the Globe.
_For some years now the Lion's Part an unusual theatre group have been running the Twelfth Night Revels.  A curious set of old British
traditions are played out on the South Bank outside the Globe
Theatre on the nearest Sunday to the Twelfth Night. This was my second outing to the Revels and, this year, at least we enjoyed clear weather, cold but dry!

We arrived early to find a group of players in costume and immediately threw ourselves into the tudor dancing whilst waiting for the Revels to formally start. More and more people arrived and  then more people in costume arrived until at last we were all huddled around a small part of the riverbank waiting for the Holly Man to be ferried up the river.  I love this part of the revels, there is a truly Pagan sense of anticipation in waiting for the Holly Man to come back to London. Obviously returning far too early for the Wheel of the Year calender but as one of the Players remarked "People just really like seeing the Green Man" and of course they do - we are all looking for the hope of Summer at this time of year.

_When the Holly Man emerges from the river the whole assembled company Wassails the boat, hoping for safe passage for the year for the sailors and this signal my favourite part of the proceedings.  I love Wassailing, I love standing with a group of disparate strangers
wishing for good cheers, safe passage and the tongues of poets to set
fire to the Globe.  Because once the boat and an apple tree are
wassailed the company always wassails the Globe Theatre for a fine
year of Playing.  I am not really much of a patriotic person but I was
proud to stand and wassail the globe for another fine year of creative endeavour.

_
The formal Revels end with a traditional Mumming play which was great fun, St. George battled the Cuts and stood as Protector of the Welfare State, the Doctor and assembled company healed St. George with magic wands when he fell in battle and all was well. The cakes were passed around and inside two a pea and bean led to the Crowning of King Bean and Queen Pea - in true 21st century style they were both, in fact, women busting those normative gender roles!

We didn’t go to the George pub afterwards for more stories, dancing
and the Kissing Wishing Tree but instead travelled our weary way home. But I feel like I have started the New Year off properly, seeing the Holly Man really does raise my spirit and wassailing everything in sight creates an amazing sense of community amongst strangers, however temporary.

Wassail.  Drink Hail.
 
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Shards in the aftermath
_New Year, new beginnings and what this has brought to the UK is a
barrage of winter storms.  The Element of Air has been stalking the
land, throwing around cars like toys, wreaking havoc, destruction and even causing two deaths, in fair Albion.
_As someone who has grown to identify closely with the element of Air this has been an interesting time for me. Most lunchtimes I take a long walk down by the canal and despite the wind and occasional rain Thursday was no exception.  I always find my lunchtime walks essential to calming my mood, lifting my spirits and reinvigorating me for the afternoon but Thursday was something very special.  On reaching my usual avenue of trees I could see the devastation of the last few days; many big, old branches had been torn from the trees and in one case a venerable old tree had snapped in half, it's whole
top-heavy end lying on the ground.  Looking at the cast off branches
and the corpse of the shattered tree I could see they were often dry and brittle with the heartwood rotted out.  Heavy, ancient
branches that no longer served the trees they clung to were swept away by Air and… it made me start to rethink the element of Air.
_It is usually Fire we think of as active and destructive, burning away
that which no longer serves us.  Fire is the element cleanses and
purifies even as it lays waste.  But here I was watching a more
selective, yet still very destructive cleansing.  The air was ripping
away those branches which could no longer bend and move with the
flow, but the rest of the tree remained intact.

When we think of a cleansing with Air we tend to imagine the gentle incense or smudge smoke curling up and around our tools, homes and ourselves permeates and surrounding us. The image is not one of a gale force wind literally blowing away the deadwood.  But as I took my walk and felt the wind and saw the trees I took a cleansing as well.  I saw the wind blowing through my aetheric self, stripping away any negativity that clung to me, polishing my aura until it was a bright shiny thing.

I would love to hear of non-traditional ways you have worked with and used the elements so let me know below!
 
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The adventure starts here!
What an interesting place this is on the cusp of 2012.  Firstly, I love this time of year, there is so much energy around as everyone is feeling they have a fresh start.  The internet is full of lists, declarations of hopes and dreams and resolutions - there is an inspiration in the air which is infectious and intoxicating. 

But this is also 2012 - the year which has been the source of speculation, rumour and mystery for a very long time indeed.  There have been so many books, films and conspiracy theories that there is a different sort of anticipation this year and a lot of people are just waiting to see what will happen.

My own take is that this is an exciting time and we are moving into uncharted territory.  I intend to jump in tongue first and make sure that this year is an amazing year for the whole planet. I am starting right now. 

I have been working through the fantastic Goddess Workbook 2012 from Goddess Leonie, recognising what I achieved in 2011 and making plans for 2012. 

So 2012 is going to be the year that:

1. I learn to manage my stress completely;
2. I take my creativity to the next level and remake it as a way to financial independence;
3. I integrate my spirituality even more closely into my life;
4. I finish my Masters; and
5. I build a sacred mind temple.

Because I believe that time isn't something that happens to you, it is a resource for you to spend, I am going to make 2012 something very special.

The 3 words summing up the 2012 I am going to make are:

Mindfulness
Healthy
Integrated

How are you planning on crafting your 2012?