Sunday, December 13, 2020

Time of the Horned God and Saturn's Reaping

Lay of the Arthame
 
This is the Metal: it dropp'd from the sky,
A ferrous tear of the Fire-Drake's eye,
That burned through cloud and seared the soil
And set the furious seas a-boil,
That lay in ancient pores of Earth,
til Blacksmith's hand brought it to birth,
Thrice-purified in Tubalo's fire,
It suffered the ordeal of the pyre
Cast into waters, hiss'd it's song,
The starry viper's iron tongue
Was temper'd on the anvil-stone,
Til radiant as changeless bone,
With whispered charge and wordless spell,
The gramarye of Azazel.
The edge was ground and thus was made,
The narrow road of sharpen'd blade.
This is the metal: 'twas shaped by Cain
Who wrought the heavenly Arthame. 
~~~By Nigel Jackson

As I sit here with the Feast of Saturnalia almost upon us and in the full throes of the Christmas season my mind turns to our horned God and the importance of this time of year and this year in particular. Tomorrow we will have an eclipse and later on the 21st a grand conjunction. The conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, the great benefic and great maleific are combining on the Winter solstice in a way that has not been seen in almost 800 years. Only time will tell how this will affect the course of our world but I am sure it is significant. On the 14th we will have a solar eclipse in Sagittarius and this particular alignment has not been seen since 2002. The question astrologers are asking is what were you doing in 2002? What was important then and significant to you then because that energy will be here again? For me it was the beginning of my study of Feri and my life was changed forever. I cannot know what it will bring for me now and perhaps you do not either, but big changes are here and here for all of us. 

"The Harvest" by Eugene Maslovski

On this rainy day I contemplate the turning of the wheel. The start of the Hunt at Samhain when the  horned Master rides forth collecting the souls of the dead as he and his Host jump from gate to gate and eventually culminating on Solstice with the sacrifice of the Holly King so that the Oak King may be re-born. Sorry, I don't subscribe to the revisionist history that these Spirits are lovers. It denies the arc of this mystery from the Paleolithic to our pale reflections of it from Jack-o-Lanterns to Santa Claus. The King must be sacrificed for the land.  The new King must be reborn as lover to the Lady. The power of the oak and holly wax and wane through the year. The Hunt is now. Now is the time to feast and to pay homage. To listen and see if we can hear the horn of the Hunt Master and the baying of his hounds. There are tales of hearing the Hunt even as recent as the 20th century. There is one legend from Shropshire, England where the horns of the hunt were heard in 1939 so loudly and terribly that they foretold the coming of the second World War.  A huge reaping to be sure. Saturn drank long and deep from the bloody cup.

I wonder how the the horns are blowing now as we sit writhing in this pandemic? Such a death toll to be sure, especially in nations with failed leadership. A true reaping during the time of Saturn in the dark of the year.  Saturn always takes more than Mars, always. I have felt the Hunt at times past and I know that while I am about as far away from the regions that these Gods and Spirits hail from I believe we take our linage with us in our blood, memories and customs. The Hunt is here. So too is the Holly King and the Oak and The Magister of the Crossroads and Gate. Native to Northern California are the Valley and Live Oaks, different than Quercus Robur (or English Oak of the Driuds) but proxies and analogs. So too is the Native Toyon bush or Californian Holly, which is what Hollywood was named for. Another analog. Our own Oak and Holly. Now the Toyon, an important food for animals and the Indigenous people, is ripe. Bearing it's fruit in the dead of winter. Such a loving bounty. I plan on wild harvesting some on the Solstice to make jam to celebrate the bounty our land gives to us. 

So while we shelter in place during this reaping my thoughts turn to the Old Ways, they turn inward and I try to listen to what the Spirits are saying. The tradition of Misrule seems to be upon us strongly as everything is turned on its' head. I hope for great changes but I know that I can only change what is within myself. This is the true path of Iron. I am my own forge and hammer. I honor the Mark of Cain and my ancestors. 

I hope you can find time for feasting and reflection during this pivotal year. I hope the Host does not reap too harshly from those you love and may you walk in power and wisdom into the New Year.

Maya Grey

House Grey

Northern California











Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The Road to Faery Land is Dangerous


Have you ever read old myths about the Fae? Ones from Ireland? Or perhaps the Trolls of the Northmen's kingdoms? The dark skinned Picts and other beings inhabiting wild spaces beyond the hedge? The early tales are not very nice and people did many things to avoid, placate or defend against these spirits. However, our tradition is called "Feri" for a reason and we believe that we share a kinship with such beings. That does not mean that this kinship is safe and easy. It is sharp. It will bleed you. It is partially our balance on the edge of the double blade that makes us fearsome and powerful but it also means that we can and do slip. The danger of the Road to Faery Land has many forks, pitfalls and misleading signs. These things are there for a reason. The Fae guard their realms and their mysteries fiercely. The unwary, unwise and those filled with hubris usually do not fair well on the road to Faery.

One of the things I have written about time and again is the Fae's desire to be hidden and that the active writing and publishing of secrets IN REGARDS to the Tradition, whether you think them so or not or whether you took a particular oath or not, is not condoned by the Fae.  Our Tradition is part of the greater occult umbrella, which is to say "hidden". This is part of what being involved in a mystery tradition means. We are nights side, left hand path. We work under the light of the moon as opposed to various solar cults. Secrecy is a pillar. It is a foundation to all magic. Secrecy is the 4th power of the Sphinx and I have written about it in depth here   if you would like to delve deeper. While things could be told and explained to a non-initiate, this titillating and much sought after information would not have been unfolded in the right way and much would be missed or misunderstood. 

In the classical times there were three roads one could take in regards to spiritual praxis, Religion, Mystery Schools/Initiatory Traditions and Magic. 

The first being religion, is open to the masses. I mean of course it is. This is where you can build power and money and feed your Gods with the energy of the congregants. There is a priest class that disseminates information to the public and it serves a community function with marriage, birth and funerary rites. The more the merrier and this is of course the realm of those pesky temple priests whether they be of a monotheistic nature or polytheistic nature. Pagan Clergy bumper stickers make me roll my eyes. I have no interest in it but that does not mean it is not important. It is here that many confuse Pagan religion and pagan priesthood with witchcraft. They are not the same. 

Secondly, you have the mystery schools. While common during the classical age they are few and far between now, if there are actually any in existence and not shades of what once was. These were the secret initiatory schools such as the Elysian mysteries, that were only open to initiates and their students. The public was not invited nor the target of their operations as it was of large religions and bureaucracies.  Because of the adherence to secrecy there is very little that was written down or shared from the mystery schools. We only know of some things via oathbreakers. I am not sure what happened to them but suffice to say it was not pleasant. Unfortunately, Christianity did a pretty good job of crushing these schools and socially speaking there are none left the way they once were in antiquity. If you kill all the keepers of oral knowledge you can kill a system. Only the Spirits will know and re-gathering that information takes time.

Lastly you have the realm of magic itself, the arena of the magician or sorcerer. Here the "audience" is simply the magician and the Spirits. There is no congregation or group of fellow initiates that share in the ritual. It is more of a solo act. That is not to say that the magician would not take on a student or scryer but for the most part this is between them and the beings they work with. Typically if things were written down they were written down as private journals and grimoires, often in code, (grimoire means "grammar" and much is left out of these books), for the use of the magician themselves and not to be shared publicly.

I see Feri as straddling these three realms. The majority of the initiates I see are a combination of the public priesthood type that wish to minister to the masses and write books and help causes they feel passionate about, as well as oscillating to guard what secrets they have as an initiatory body. A fewer number of initiates inhabit the solo sorcerous occupation or have a family House or lineage that they work solely with. The seeker must decide which road interests them the most. It is not for me to say. But I do believe the right teacher will arrive when the time is right IF you are gifted for this work. 

It is easy to pay to play but if you are truly interested in magic and the sorcerous path you will find yourself trapped in the bindings of a guru like teacher and the pressures of your fellow students. You will probably have in the back of your mind a desire to teach publicly yourself once you learn enough and to make a living from this work and so the this cycle continues. There will always be a new shiny teacher to interest the denizens of broken masses out there and so you will spend your time trying to create new content, update your Instagram page and find out what kinds of tiered classes you can offer or what new guided meditation you can create that no one else has done. I would rather be in the woods alone with the Black Man than trying to figure out how many students I need to be able to pay my rent.


One of my favorite scenes in a movie is in Jodorowski's "The Holy Mountain", where the initiates to be are following the master to the Mountain, a place of self power, magic and initiation. If you can get through the crazy low tech filming quality, melodramatic acting, 1970's ACID fashion and sequins glued onto horney toads and actually LOOK for the symbolism, you can learn a lot. 

The students have to go through many different sub-initiations and challenges before they reach the Mountain AKA Faery Land. As things progress the numbers of students dwindle, especially in the city of distraction. Here each bazaar stall or house is a way off the road to The Mountain. Some students fall in into the traps of drug addiction, sex as distraction, guru hood (now they are the "master" so why do they need to go to the Mountain? Why follow their master? They procured some of his knowledge and then begin to set up pale reflections of teaching the Work as they gather their own seekers to themselves and so the mystery becomes diluted, a pale reflection. The road is lost). There is also the promise of riches, just about anything you could think of to take you off the road to the Mountain is to be found in the city. The Faery Ring. The table of the Fae with all its glitters and promises. Strayed off the path did you? It happens. Perhaps you can find your way back in your next life.

I have seen those who stray off the road. Indeed we all stray a bit from time to time. Life is hard. Being mortal can suck. We have bills to pay. We get sick. However, we must always strive to learn and push ourselves and to find our way back to the Road. 

Initiates, who go off the road, often get side-tracked with the desire to be adored. It is one of the traps in Feri. Other traditions have other traps but this desire to be famous seems to follow us.  Feri, nowadays is rife with this sadly and to the students who seek instruction I say be wary, especially if you have to pay to play. I find this the un-exalted side of glamour. Where the mirror you hold enchants you and not the other way around.  

Then there are students who seek us because they want to be healed. The initiate does not heal you. This tradition does not heal you, not in the way you think. I often think that most students are fleeing Christian religious abuse and have an expectation the we as initiates will interact with them the same way as a minister or priest would. But it is not what we do or who we are. We are witches. I am interested in students who actually want to learn magic.

Magic. Yes magic. So what is it? Some way of causing change? Worshiping Gods? Being special? I find the definition Stephen Skinner gives to be one of the most concise and accurate:

"Magic is the art of causing change through the agency of spiritual creatures rather than via directly observable physical means: such spiritual creatures being compelled or persuaded to assist, by the use of sacred words or names, talismans, symbols, incense, sacrifices and materia magica." 

 The words to focus on here are "spiritual creatures", general in nature to include various types of beings such as deities, nature spirits, human dead and others. It is through their relationship to us that the witch is empowered and it is here that one can slip from the Road to the Mountain or Faery Land. Spirits lie. People lie. Some are only unlocked through an initiation. Some are downright hostile and dangerous and some are just hard to work with or merely ignore you. I would say that this last point is the most common one and one where the delusion of the mind further traps the seeker and ill-trained initiate. What is in your head "speaking" to you might just be in your head. Was that bird you saw truly a sign? I mean you were just reading about ravens. So was it? How do you know? How do you know that you are working with Hecate or Apollo or Freya? Do they really want you to buy that chalice? Really? This is the biggest trap of all. The delusion of "thinking" you are working with Spirits when in fact you are not. 

So how do you know if you have spirit contact? Well, by working with a trained initiate who can guide you. Other wise you will just be dead, mad or a poet. Obviously, people have spirit contact all the time or experience phenomenon, but this is NOT THE SAME as working with them to achieve desired results. This is the "stuff" that cannot be conveyed in writing. It just can't. It has to taught. The initiate has to know what your limits are, how much you can take, where you are on the Road. This can never be known in a class setting and frankly it's too exhausting to deal with 8-15 different students' childhood damage, phobias, fears, blocks and delusions. It really is not physically possible for a teacher to deal with all of this. So, what to do? Read and read widely. Not just shiny new occult books but read pagan and magical authors from antiquity to the Renaissance.  Explore. Expirament. Write in your journal. Write to magical people you admire. Ask questions. It is amazing to me how few students are actually curious. Be curious! And always check yourself because there are so many pitfalls on this road. Good hunting.

Blessing of Light & Dark 

Maya Grey

House Grey

Northern California

 


Saturday, November 28, 2020

The New Age Wants to get People Killed


I grew up in the New Age movement. Specifically the Church of Religious Science, a theological sister to the Christian Science movement. Hallmarks of this "Church" included an inclusion of various religious philosophy, mostly Protestant Christianity and Buddhism with the under current of the "New Thought Movement". We sang, talked about love and community and ate cookies afterwards. It was not specifically dogmatic and definitely not fire and brimstoney. 

While on the surface things seemed nice and inclusive there was an anti medical or anti Western medicine belief as well as the constant trope of "metaphysical damnation" that always loomed. In case you were raised in a more mainstream religion such as Baptist or Catholic, metaphysical damnation is basically New Age for "sin". It is the belief that if anything bad happens to you it is because you "called it into your life for a lesson". It is not as cutting as "you are a sinner", but in a way it is more insidious because it is much more subtle. It's poison can be harder to extract.

This belief has it's roots in Calvinist predetermination and prosperity gospel but has the New Age misunderstanding of "karma" mixed in. So basically the idea is that you called in bad things to your life because you are either not "Spiritual" enough and did bad things to warrant your situation OR you needed to learn a hard lesson in this life. Both facets of this belief are incredibly psychologically damaging to a child. Add in that "medicine" and "doctors" are bad and out to get you and you can set up situations of even more suffering. On the extreme side of this philosophy are the folks who flat out refuse medical care for themselves and their children and believe in the laying on of hands or other alternative modalities to the people who only visit the doctor in an emergency.   

Additionally there are views that there are "dark forces" out there and an evil power that seeks to corrupt and co-opt your light. Again it is basically Christianity with Eastern mysticism added in. Lucifer is no longer present but "darkness" and "evil" are and sometimes "Satanic Forces". People who are attracted to this cult often find themselves interested in various Theosophical offshoot cults such as The "I'ams" or "Summit Light House" and often believe in aliens, "karma", angels, ascended masters, Jesus Christ (Trinity) and astral travel. Its adherents are often white women or the much laughed at "New Age Man". 

I bring this up because iterations of this cult have grown in popularity over the years. Conspiracy theories are common and adherents can often form hive minds and join even more dangerous cults or believing in dangerous conspiracy theories. Often these cults can seem quite harmless, like the alien abductees going to support group meetings. By the way I am absolutely convinced that all alien abductees are incest/familial rape survivors and the "aliens" are a way of coping with what a trusted family member has done. However, the conspiracy theory mill was responsible for the Satanic Panic of the 1980's and during that many families and businesses were torn apart due to the ignorant mob with their pitchforks and torches inspired by Hollywood horror movies, the new psychological classification of the "serial killer" and cult leaders insisting that there were Satanists under every bush. Inserted into this ignorant milieu are the apocalyptic Christians who are always ready for some death and mayhem upon their neighbors which helped to fuel the panic. I will also point out that there were many in the New Age movement pointing fingers as well.

As far as I know no one was killed by the Satanic Panic (no I am not talking about the hundreds of kids murdered (all of that was debunked) but I am referring to anyone accused of Satanism being killed by the ignorant mobs. If you know of a situation by all means write to me. 

However, times have changed and now we have social media and the idiocy of the internet where everyone lies and people are fooled by deep fakes, fake news and fake media. Add to this a degrading of our society where most of us have lost the prosperity of the 60s, 70s and 80s, we can't afford to buy a home and we are going broke due to shitty health care as well as the looming BEAST of Climate Catastrophe.  Gen-X, of which I am a member, is the first generation to do worse than their parents, it is even worse for Millennials and Gen-Z is set to inherit mass climate refugees, crop failures, a further reduction of wage and resource, an uninhabitable equatorial zone, pandemics and poisoned air. There is more at stake now and the Satanic Panic has morphed into QAnon. People are scared. They have nowhere to direct their fear. How can they stop the billionaires who care nothing for them? The weakened governments powerless to protect them? The looming climate catastrophe? What do people who have no control do? They lose their minds and their power and give it to populist autocratic leaders, conspiracy theories and power stripping religions and cults. They now believe they are "in the know", they "know the truth" and they have guns. Lots, and lots of guns. What could possibly go wrong?

I believe that the Satanic Panic set the stage for QAnon and both movements were fueled and perpetuated by the New Age movement and its adherents. Russian State actors who are actually behind QAnon used weaponized social media to target white suburban women interested in crystals, yoga and essential oils. They knew exactly who to target. The message they sent was an old familiar one and it goes like this:

There is a widespread cabal of evil and it is located in: (the government, rich/famous people, Communists, the Catholic Church, Jews). These evil doers are stealing and abusing your children and drinking their blood and killing them. The elites are all involved and it is up to YOU to stop them before they destroy our society completely! 

Yawn. So cliche. So over done. What is common to each of these is that they are movements that are racist, sexist, rooted in conservatism and classism and need a "common enemy" to perpetuate themselves before they burn out due to extreme violence or morph and reclassify themselves in a new rendition. You can read more about this boring ass trope and the movements it spawned in the links below if you want to really go down the rabbit hole. But it had been around since the Middle Ages and probably before that and unfortunately Americans are completely addicted to magical thinking and their own superiority. Humans are tribal after all.

Satanic Panic

John Birch Society

Know Nothing Party

Blood Libel

So here we are again with this QAnon iteration of the ole' Blood Libel and I am worried. The adherents to this are many and because of the challenges of our time and the ease of communication and social media this movement is growing. Most likely you have one of its adherents in your family and there is nothing you can do to change their mind because you cannot argue with belief. Belief cannot be reasoned with. It is why the faithful strap bombs to their chests and blow up cafes and buses full of innocent people. It is why people give their bodies, life savings and even children to the "enlightened leader" and follow him into death. It is what breaks up marriages and families and countries. Our enemies know this and know mono-y-mono is futile. But a decaying empire always rots from within and the strategy of its enemies is easy to see if you stand back a bit and read some history.

So what to do? Keep to your business. Hide in plain sight. I reiterate this more now than ever. The mob is always looking for a scapegoat and what better than an "in your face" witch? None of us can change what is coming. Do you read cards and look into astrology? Then you know what is coming. It is going to be bad. So you must build resiliency. Build your skills, ones you never thought you might need. You must take care of your own. Get ready to pack the wagon if you must. Cultivate your relationships with the Spirits and your ancestors.  Hold your community close and brace yourselves. The Earth is going to need stewards now more than ever. The illusion of the conspiracy theories is strong but we in Feri know illusion when we see it. We are gifted glamour by the Fae. We can walk through the lies. We wield Occams Razor. We have the ability to see through the bullshit. I know this can be sad and lonely but see it we must.  As Andrew Chumbley once wrote, "Those who cannot walk the twisted path alone will be walked on by those who can."

In Sex. In Self. In Passion. In Pride. In Power.

Maya Grey

House Grey

Northern California










Sunday, August 9, 2020

Witchcraft in Uncertain Times

 Gentle Readers,

I know it has been a while since I posted but my family and I had to pivot once this pandemic hit. Mainly fortifying ourselves to endure the long darkness that is upon us all. We have learned many new skills and have been able to focus on reading books that have sat idly and we have gotten to know one another and neighbors much better. One neighbor makes beer, another keeps bees, another sews, one makes homemade bread, I make jam from trees in the neighborhood. We all trade. We never used to. These are good things. 

Life is often strange and uncanny but one thing is for certain witchcraft teaches us to be adaptable. To slip through the cracks and to bend our reality a bit so that we can achieve desired results in life. Right now there is chaos all around us. Our institutions and structures are fracturing and collapsing. Religious fundamentalism is on the rise (a visceral reaction to the Age of Aquarius no doubt) and anger over hoarded resources is on the rise. Both will get worse. If you follow astrology as I do you will see that over the coming months there will be government collapses and breaks and violence all over the world. Many of the more violent episodes will be in the Middle East, but the United States will not be immune. Our toxic neo-liberal capitalism, slave/racism culture, mysogyny, hyped consumerist, the break down of the family structure and income inequality are all coming to a head. The American Dream was always a lie but the belief that is was true has shattered. If you were not born to wealth you will never attain it. I see sectarian violence in America and the possibility of no elections. We are on a knife edge not knowing what will happen. These are perilous times but uncertainty makes reality more malleable. Magic allows us to maneuver and we have to be quick on our feet these days. We have to be open to change and we have to learn new skills as well as adapt to new situations. Here are some things that I think are important that we do. 

1. Create space to release fear and anxiety: If you are reading this then you know a thing or two about the magical world. So cleanse and clear. Meditate. Take news breaks. Make your home or room beautiful. Get out in nature if you can and as much as you can. 

2. Ward your space and yourself: Things are flying. Tensions are up. People are going to react with anger, fear and violence for the smallest things, especially men with fragile masculinity. You do not want to be collateral damage for their rage. Rage kills. Protect yourself so that energy passes you by so that you just miss the angry man in the big truck at the grocery store, or the rage filled woman spitting on people who choose to wear masks, or desperate people looking to snatch and grab from your car or home. Ward yourself, make yourself invisible to these things. 

3. Focus on your dreams and desires: Because everything is in flux this means that it will be easier for your spells to work. What do you truly desire? And I don't mean crazy stoner inflated desires like owning a yacht or being Lady Gaga famous (you work for an insurance company and sing karaoke ahem!). I mean you have to know where you are in life and what is reasonable. I say this because people are going through so much change it will be easy to weave in that. Times like these, while dangerous and scary are also full of opportunities. Really think about what you desire and focus on it. 

4. Build your relationships with the Spirits: Now is the time to build up your ancestor altar. Ask for help. Let them guide you through the danger. They went through it...WWI, 1918 flu, The Depression, let their wisdom help. Also make sure you are good with the genii loci and house spirits where ever you are. These can help you not to be evicted and help protect you from people who wish you harm.

5. Money: Yeah so much of this is about money. Here are my suggestions to go through if you have trouble with money. They are both mundane and spiritual. 

a. Look at your birth chart. Specifically your 6th and 10th houses and see if you have any detriment to money and career in your chart. If you do then you need to do astrological remediation. 

b. Deeply search your philosophy to money and relationship to it. Is it negative? Were you brought up to think money is evil? Did you grow up poor? Change your narrative to money if it is negative. 

c. Start educating yourself about money and finances. This is the boring mundane part. Learn how to budget, how to grow your wealth, live within your means. Go deeper. Join a Credit Union instead of a Bank. Start small. Work on getting out of debt. 

d. Create a permanent money altar. Work it on Sundays and Thursdays. Create a practice of drawing wealth to you.

e. Work with an abundance Spirit or deity. The choice is up to you. You will know yourself better than I. 

f. Abandon toxic relationships with people in regards to money as well as your own. Have that moochy boyfriend that never gets a job? Bye. Have a relative that is always asking for money and never fulfilling promises? Bye. Are you compelled to gamble or spend money for "retail therapy"? Get help.

g. Be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself for blunders and for fear. If you were not born into wealth then you have to get creative. Be patient.

h. Have gratitude.  Money can be fickle. Without gratitude it can easily slip away.

Below is a Sun Seal from the Veritable Key of Solomon by Rankine and Skinner. I have found this quite useful in money workings. Hopefully you will too. 

Sun Seal. Veritable Key of Solomon. Rankine & Skinner

So my friends, stay safe, healthy and smart. Times are going to be tough for a while but so too are we who work with the unseen world.

Maya Grey

 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Feri Witchcraft, Permaculture and Bringing Back the Fae

Our particular tradition of Witchcraft is called Feri and yes it does indeed relate to the Fae. It's name gives you a clue as to our nature. The Fae, those beings of nature both aloof and dangerous that call the wild spaces their home. We believe ourselves to be kin to these beings and revere the Earth that we all call home. It is why you will find many of us opposed to climate endangering policies and why we can often be found out in the wild spaces or even away from cities as much as possible. We are also human beings in a flesh and blood body that requires, healthy food, clean water, a safe home, clean air and the ability to have solidarity and freedom in our lives. Much of that is threatened by the "powers that be", the new versions of Robber Barons who now threaten all life on Earth for the glittering gold and power that they desire above all else. At the international World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland each year all of the world leaders and richest elites come together to discuss the economic pulses of the world. They refer to themselves as "The Masters of the Universe". The last conference hosted both President Trump and Greta Thunburg. Trump was given a standing ovation and there were a few lukewarm claps for Greta. Greta doesn't line their pockets with gold like Trump does and so that is the God they worship.  They, the few, make choices that impact, we the many, in every aspect of our lives. One aspect in particular has been our food and this has been on my mind due to the pandemic and the breakdown of the supply chain. We in the United States went from "the best economy on the planet in history" to great depression levels in a matter of weeks. All smoke and mirrors and the curtain was pulled aside and we could see the great inequalities laid bare. 

I had been thinking about our food supply long before this pandemic and indeed Ed and I have made it a personal goal to wean ourselves off of corporate food in an effort to become more self reliant. This led us to the permaculture movements started by Bill Mollison. The concept of permaculture or "permanent agriculture" is to create a system whereby you work with nature and in harmony with all living organisms. Yes, even the pests and ones that would devastate your crops. The cornerstone idea is that of a food forest where you mimic a natural forest but with food for yourself and the creatures around you. After a time it begins to take care of itself. It isn't like traditional farming which requires back breaking labor, pesticides, fertilizers and a market. The system begins to renew itself and stacks redundancies upon itself and can create micro-climates, heal the soil, restore the water table and much more. After a time you begin to heal the land and yourself. After a time the Fae return. Then your magic takes on potency because you are completely in tune with your land and yourself.

As Feries our magic is directly connected to the land we inhabit. If we have no connection or do not get out into the wild spaces there are no Fae for us to interact with. The magic withers or worse we lose connection to the current and we become merely posturing impotent witches LARPing what we wish to be. We get deceived by the glamor of our egos and exist merely to consume popular culture's idea of what we should be (insert whatever witch movie de jour) or try to become the fame Feris Ed and I have so often railed against. The Fae do not inhabit the concrete jungle, other spirits do of course, but not the Fae. They desire the land untouched by human hand or at the very least cohabitate with a gentle stewart of said land. They empower us. We are allies to them. All else ceases to be Feri and becomes something else when there is no connection to the land.

In our experiment to heal the land and become more self sufficient Ed and I have applied permaculture principles to our current suburban home and yard. Even before the current plague descended upon us we started to grow some of our own food in pots and raised beds. This created a host of problems. Initially it was the slugs and snails which decimated our fragile little seedlings and plants. How could we possibly win? We tried poison (bad I know, but we all make mistakes), slug tape, beer traps and salt. Nothing worked until we decided to introduce predators to snails and slugs and in our particular area that happened to be frogs and toads. So we created a frog and toad habitat by putting in a pond and creating toad houses. Then we sent our boys frog hunting during frog breeding season. They were only happy to comply. After two years we established a breeding population and controlled our slugs and snails. This is one example of many including composting to create soil because dirt and soil are not the same thing. Dirt is dead. Soil is living. Soil is the gut biome of the forest and plants need it to thrive. Your food starts with soil and travels the chain before reaching your fork. Whole organic food you grow yourself has Vita in it, that is actual life force. The energy of the sun itself. This is the energy of the land and sun pulsing into your body when you lovingly harvest ripe food. It is not the same as petro-chemical food you buy in the store. That food has no Vita. It is a pale reflection. So, as we healed the land we began to increase the insect population, butterfly population and now have two resident humming birds and one extremely grumpy squirrel. With this has come more humidity and more mist. More materia magica for the Fae to travel in. Oddly enough, though not wild, I would say the spirit of the land has begun to heal in our tiny little yard and it has increased our magic. We have begun to harvest herbs for spell work and healing teas that we grew ourselves. More power to our magic. More connection. More attunement to the seasons, the stars and the phases of the moon.

The connection to the land in which you live is essentially Feri. The more you get tuned in the more you will be in the cycles of this magic and it will be especially important when you are in the wild and dangerous places where few dare to go. The Fae will recognize you and you them. You will be able to call upon the spirits of the land and they will answer the call. But not if you just posture. Or buy your herbs from who knows where. My dittany of crete flourishes from the rich soil compost I give to it in my garden where I speak to it and where I listen. I know its nature and moods. When I burn it in offering it calls to those whom I wish to speak.

To bring back the Fae and awaken them from their torpor requires time and patience and a dedication to the land. It is no easy path and it is not glamorous but it's rewards far outweigh any imagining. I truly do believe that we are the few stewards of the land and that if we can create an alliance with the land than we can flourish in harmony. I believe the principles of permaculture are in alignment with this and I believe that we can start where ever we are and in whatever circumstance we might find ourselves in.

If this path interests you then go into nature, honor it, help in anyway you can. Learn about the native plants in your area. Chances are that your area (if you are in North America) was once inhabited by Native peoples who knew their plants. Find books written about this. Learn. If you are lucky enough to have land then transform it. If you are not then guerilla plant.  Plant food for humans and bees. Be radical. Identify all of the edible plants in your neighborhood. As an exercise with our boys we went for a neighborhood "salad" which included plantain, clover, cleavers and California poppy flowers that we collected from yards and the greenbelt. We have also inoculated areas with mushrooms. And as for mushrooms, this ally is deeply intwined with the Fae and not just the psychedelic friends which I have written about HERE but the mycelium of the mushroom (all species) is the bed rock for health for all forest plants. Without it you have dead dirt. It is also the super highway of communication and fertility for the land. There is a reason the Fae are directly linked to the mushroom. You can see the echoes of this in even the cute little fairies sitting on a toadstool. Yes, you probably know the shamanic uses wherein the shaman or witch uses the mushroom in ritual, but I am not even speaking to that I am speaking of the network beneath your very feet. A super mycelium plant spirit highway. So bring it back. Bring it all back. Gaia. Mother. Wild space. Mushrooms. Plants. Humidity. Recharged water. Clean air.  A space for bees and birds and snails humans. We can all live in harmony and that is a goal worth fighting for.

Maya Grey
House Grey
Northern California












Monday, January 20, 2020

The End of Pantheacon

Ed always used to say after every Pantheacon that he would rather spend the weekend in a cabin on the lake. Well that is what we did this last weekend, although not exactly Pantheacon weekend, and we had an amazing time. Close to nature. Breathing in the crisp mountain air and so completely far away from a hotel ballroom. Our spirituality lies in nature and nowhere else.

So, Pantheacon is shuttering its doors after 26 years and I can't say that I am surprised. Times have changed. Paganism has grown and the heros and BNPs (Big Name Pagans) of yesteryear seem to have faded, their relevance seeming to dim with the younger generations struggles and issues. The whole TERF vs. Inclusive Trans fight comes to mind. On one had you have lesbians and feminists saying, hey we fought for a safe space for women, those with penises need not apply and the other side saying hey our Trans brothers and sisters are fighting for their very lives and should be given their due and a safe space too. Battle lines have been drawn. Communication seems to be at a standstill and the various segments of Pagandom seem to be at war with one another. A microcosm of the static of the planet, Kali Yuga, if you ask me. Everywhere there is fighting. Add to this tone deaf con administrators and you have a dying event.

I only attended one Pantheacon and found it not to my taste. I had been attending the Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle each year and the two could not be more different. The former having lectures and book signings from some of the most brilliant occult minds of our day in an environment that felt genteel, intense and dangerous. Like sipping absinthe in Paris with artists and counter-culturalists. A place where the mind was stimulated. The other felt like a county fair or a hybrid of an SCA event and psychic fair with lookey loos, carnival barkers and ware hawkers. The amount of people and scale were overwhelming too. I tried to find workshops and events that I wanted to attend but there were very few that interested me. However, one that did catch my eye was a Norse Seidr event where the trained shamans went into a Seidr trance and then prophesied for the participants.  That sounded pretty cool and so I went. I cannot though describe to you how un-magical and un-inspiring a hotel ballroom is, even with the lights turned low and the battery powered candles in full flickage. I know that set and setting are as important to magic as the prowess and talent of the magic maker. This went beyond a suspension of disbelief. So too did the "trance possession" ritual and prophesying. I think there is more power in a Southern Christian Pentecostal Snake church than there was here. It felt contrived and fake and forced. I suppose to someone new to all this Pagan stuff it would be intense, but I had been trained in possession myself and I knew when I was watching the real stuff versus simple ritual theatre. When it came time for my priest to speak to the dead he spoke to my grandmother whom he told me loved me very much. Clearly something I could deduce on my own Boveda at home. Sadly these priests believed there was real power here and took their work very seriously. I suppose they should but they seemed so lost to me. I knew from my explorations of Seidr that bloodletting is an important aspect to these rituals and though I did not expect such in a hotel ballroom, it was not mentioned either. Another candy coating of a tradition. I left disappointed and mad at myself for expecting more.

Overall I found the event to be clickish and too broad in spectrum, too big and found myself wanting to hide. I have been to other large Pagan events and festivals and found the same energy there as well. Magic and ritual are intimate and require the interaction with the Spirits. Something nearly impossible in such a setting and with so many strangers. I know that many have found value in such an event, whether to learn, to get laid, to boost the ego or to just be in a place with so many like minded folks. I am not saying there is no value but I feel as though in this information age the Pagan boom has well, boomed. Some rituals and experiences cannot be replicated in a ballroom with strangers. The commercial point was not lost on me as well. Everyone had something they wanted to sell, whether actual pagany wares, their books, or entrance to classes or traditions. Everyone was looking to score.

For me this was the furthest place from magical tutelage possible. I prefer the quiet wild spaces far from prying eyes. The altar shared by my consort and husband. The sanctuaries I have created for specific purposes. I also prefer students who truly desire to learn and who work hard and who are not afraid to change. Were that you here at my table breaking bread with me. We would talk of magic and of things happening both micro and macro. We would suss out your talents and focus on those so that you grew in power. All witches have gifts but not all witches have ALL gifts. There are places I know that we could go to where certain Spirits can be conjured for specific purposes (not in ballrooms mind you!). To me these are my learning halls. These are the places I desire. I think perhaps there are few like me but maybe that is good. Maybe people need the large festivals and classes and rows of merchants all dazzling and sparkling with novelty. There is a place for all. I just wonder what is next now that the largest Pagan event is ending. Shall we all go back to honoring the 4 Powers of the Sphinx? Or will bigger events prevail? What ever new events blossom you will not find me there. I would rather be wandering shadowed and moonlit paths and learning from teachers older than any now walking on Earth.

Maya Grey
House Grey









Saturday, December 28, 2019

Why your collective curses won't work

Have you ever been scrolling on Facebook and noticed that there are various memes or perhaps even personal posts people you know post about doing curse magic or blocking magic to say Donald Trump or various oil corporations or even to say help people like the Dakota Pipeline protesters? Yeah I have seen them too. Political curses are common in these times and I get why, people are angry and scared. We are standing in the middle of the 6th major extinction (human caused) and now have the beginnings of runaway climate change. It seems like every large, wealthy democratic nation has flipped on its head and is supporting only the uber wealthy and their planetary exploitations and the Fundamentalists of Christianity, Judaism and Islam are fighting for dominance in their respective regions with their boots on the necks of progressivism, science and humanism all for their sheer fucked up boners for the apocalypse. They have taught us that it will be like an exploding bang. Trumpets will sound and the 4 horsemen will descent and then I don't know Jesus will kill the Jews and then be like, hey Billy Graham you are so rich I approve of this, up you go? Anyways, like some dark anti-orgasim big religious bang, the apocalypse will happen and all the people that the Christians have been oppressing and who they hate will really get it and the righteous will get to live like the covers of the "Watchtower" pamphlets or is it more like Islam where they get harems of 72 virgins and get to eat dates? Or Mormons with their planets and women who just breed, breed, breed? I personally think, and you can take this how you want since I am a tiny voice on the internet, but I think the apocalypse is already here and it is like a Tsunami, slow and unstoppable. Have you ever seen a Tsunami? Look them up on Youtube. You can literally walk away IF you know what is happening. I recently read an article in the New Yorker about science fiction author William Gibson of "Neuromancer" fame. In it he described trying to write his new dystopian book but had to keep re-writing it because Donald Trump kept doing more fucked up things than what he was writing. Yeah Trump is that bad. He also said of the apocalypse or what he calls the jackpot:

"The jackpot is (sic) a "multicausual" - "more a climate than an event." The world eases into it gradually, as all the bad things we worry about - rising oceans, crop failures, drug-resistant diseases, resource wars, and so on - happen, here and there, to varying degrees, over the better part of the twenty first century, adding up to "androgenic, systemic, mulitplex, seriously bad shit", that eventually kills eighty percent of the human race". 

Times be scary people. The apocalypse really is here. Explains all the zombie movies in mass media and our anxiety ridden subconscious no?

Most witches and pagans are people who are fringe anyway and are in no way shape or form beloved of mainstream society either liberal or conservative, albeit the liberals are more accepting. Pagans believe the Earth is our Mother and tend to gravitate towards groups that protect the Earth and are conservation minded. So it is no surprise that these folks would use what they have in their arsenal (magic) to combat these issues. They certainly do not have the monetary resources, the political sway and big business connections or even fan base such as a large celebrity has to apply pressure to issues they care about. No. All they have is their beliefs and knowledge and application of magic.

I have often read about the Gardnerian cone of power directed at the Nazis during the blitz as the reason the tide of fascism was turned back and Britain won the day. Yay the witches saved the day! Except I don't buy it, if it even happened at all. Gardner was a bit of a propagandist anyway and even if they did do a ritual on the beach to stop the invasion this does not take into account the entire fighting force of Britain and the civilians who fought too. It was their Alamo moment and they prevailed. In other words forces bigger than just a coven of witches were at play here.

So that begs the question what happens when you do a curse towards someone who you consider to be an enemy but who is a larger than life figure such as Donald Trump?

Well if you know anything of how magic works and is directed then we have a check list of questions to answer.

1. Are you a powerful witch/sorcerer? Do you get results? Have you cursed others successfully before?

2. How close are you to the target? Do you know them? Do you have something personal of their? Hair for example?

3. Have you created a relationship with spirits who are known to curse? Like will they even listen to you?

4. Are you skilled in timing?

5. Do you know what to do to protect yourself once you begin a cursing operation?

Ok, let's say you are a billy bad ass and can answer yes to all of these. And I mean really answer them, not just say it to people on the internet to bolster your ego. I very much doubt that you will effect Trump in a negative way (good job getting some of his hair tho) nor have any effect on him at all.

Why?

Well have you ever talked to a Santero or a person who is involved in an African magical tradition? If you yourself are schooled and skilled in such magical arts this will not be of any news to you but if not then listen up. When bigger than life people come around, and this can often be seen in their charts as well, they surround themselves with minions, fans, and sycophants (although I will add that with Trump these often can be seen going to jail). These are not just their loyal followers but rings of protection for them spiritually as well even if they themselves do not understand such occult secrets. In other words you are going to have to get through ALL of these people in order to get to your Target. Trump has spirits working for him too, all of us do and his are ones that have motives of chaos and death. These too you go up against. When your energy goes out it will "hit" one of his fans, or followers and they will "take the hit". I have had this happen to me when in the past I was locked with an enemy and energy was flying. My beloved cat took the "hit" and died, protecting me. The other thing to consider and really the main thing to consider are all the followers who are PRAYING for their leader. You literally have tens of millions of Evangelical people praying for Donald Trump every single day. That too is power and protection. It really is this you will need to get through. How will you do it? How? Please tell me because I would like to know. Can you imagine what would happen if YOU had tens of millions of people praying for you? We all "send energy" when one of our own has hard times or is ill and we can feel that and we are few. You can also see what happens when such figures lose the prayers and trust of their followers. They fall and they fall hard.

 It gets even more amalgamous if you choose to say curse something more abstract like "the oil and gas industry". Like pissing into the rain you only shower yourself with sickness. These are huge egrigoric energy forms that are jockeying for power. You are not a demi-god or if you are then why are you reading my crappy article. Your rage and hurt only grows and if you do not know how to cleanse yourself from a curse, so then you attract more of the same to yourself. No, not like stupid new age karma concepts or the 3 fold law, no, you just get more of the same energy. You have to know how to work, store and handle such energy whatever its vibration. If not it's like picking up plutonium with your bare hands. Is plutonium evil? No. It just is what it is, but you are the dummy for not learning safety precautions and protocols with such powerful stuff.  See you in the next life. 

So what do you do? What about your magic?

You use your magic in the environment you are in. You work on self. You learn survival skills for the 21st century. You open your eyes. You adapt. You use your magic on local officials, crazy fundamentalists at your local Planned Parenthood or where ever and you build your power. Witchcraft is a left hand path, a path of SELF. If you have an activist heart then you use it in the community in which you live. You cannot and will not change the larger tides that are upon us but you learn to see that slow moving Tsunami and you get to higher ground while everyone around you watches reality TV and takes their Xanax. You make pacts and relationships with local spirits to protect you and yours. You manuver in the times in which you live successfully like some of our Mighty Ancestors did. Both Crowley and A.O. Spare lived in London during the Blitz and survived and continued their magic and work with the spirits.

I wish you the best of luck in these "interesting times".

Maya Grey
House Grey