Category: - The Witches Table
_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!
Treadwells runs a fantastic rolling programme of speakers and workshops throughout the year and I don’t get to go to anywhere near as many as I would like. 

Recently though I saw that T.Thorn Coyle was speaking and since I had just  started listening to her podcast and reading her blog it seemed like an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.  T.Thorn Coyle is one of those rare practitioners who is out there, practising, building on what knowledge we have and taking it a step further. I have really enjoyed her no-nonsense approach to magick and witchcraft and was really keen to listen to what she had to say.

The reason I have titled this post “Spending an Evening with” rather than “Attending a Talk”, is that, in line with her practical approach there were several exercises which she led us through during the evening as well as the talk and Q&A.  I was over the moon that she took this approach and found that all the techniques were simple and yet powerful.  In fact they have provided me with an interesting new way of framing and structuring my own personal practice which is very exciting (I was up at 6.25am trying this out I was so energised by the evening).  I hope to start seeing some great new results from that shortly. I also really liked the fact that the emphasis was on technique and practice which meant it was very easy to use in any personal tradition in which you work. Thorn was exceptionally knowledgeable about a variety of different traditions and paths which meant she was able to give examples in numerous different paradigms this made the talk very rich but also gave me immense confidence – this is someone who has studied extensively and clearly sees where the different traditions converge and overlap.  This is an approach I have advocated (hence my own eclectic bookshelf) because many paths are using the very similar basic frameworks just with different icing on the top.

The core of the talk was Self-Possession as “integration”.  Thorn advocates that we should be integrating the higher self with the body, not attempting to transcend the body to inhabit only the higher self.  As I was listening to the talk it did open up a whole new aspect of the classic phrase “As above so below” which, when you think about it in this way is clearly about integration not transcendence.  This is the other reason I went along as integration is currently something I am working very hard on, trying to expand the person I am when I am working magic into the rest of my life until there are no divisions.  So Thorn’s exercise on the Crown Chakra was particularly good for me here – if you want to know what the exercises are then you’d better buy the books

In my experience as a witch and as someone who tries to attend various talks and workshops you get a sense of who has “got it” and who hasn’t.  There are plenty of people on the “talks circuit” generally (not necessarily Treadwells who have very high quality speakers)  who are not walking the walk.  Then there are other people who radiate with energy, who are so utterly real and present and who fill the room you can feel how powerful they are in their tradition. Funnily enough these are also the people who practise... a lot... and have total confidence in their work because they are living it. Whenever I come across one of these people I always sit up and listen because I can tell that they really “know” what they are talking about.  Thorn Coyle is one of those people – if you get the chance to hear her speak then I would snap it up!

I have added both of Thorn’s books to my wishlist and once I have finished the current pile of books I have on the go I hope to be buying them.  I’ll certainly reporting back on them and letting you know my results.