Thursday, October 31, 2019

I Joined The Satanic Temple

And then I quit.

What can I say, I am initiated into a Luciferian tradition and I am really pissed off at what is going on in my society to marginalized people, women, the LBGTQ community, the environment and more, and I liked much of what I saw. The Temple has been causing quite a stir and also getting results. They are on the front lines of much of these fights and are doing their best to stop the Christian Theocracy that is trying to send us back into the dark ages. I felt good to be doing something to help these efforts.  I got even more excited after I watched the documentary "Hail Satan?" I thought it was most excellent and interesting and found the leader of this group to be eloquent, thoughtful and humane. I guess the film garnered much interest, so much so that the Temple issued a statement.

Not a platform for activism? Wait what? Also it is a religion that does not believe in Spirits? Whaaa?

Again dear readers we find ourselves witnessing the fight between the dying Age of Pisces (Christians) and the Age of Aquarius (Insert Atheists of any ilk or Non-Spirit believing Religions). These are atheistic intellectual Satanists. They use our laws to their advantage much like the Christians do, indeed using some of the same laws against the very Christian Theocrats they are challenging. And good for them, but as a witch and someone who has had direct Spirit contact I cannot be a part of a group that views my beliefs as bunk. In a way I would not be surprised if every active member of the Satanic Temple were previously a Christian. They have personal bones to pick. 

Those of us who traffic in Spirits and who walk into the Wild Woods are not the same as those who do not. These flag wielding, statue placing, handsomely black wearing Satanists are still men of clay even if their political leanings are almost identical to ours. They still are not one of us. We have to be careful of these various Temples of Aquarius that are now beginning to rise. We are not welcome there either, but then this is a path of solitude, of the Point. 

Even when I stray from the path I am reminded of The Work. The Left Hand path, which is the True work of Self. It really is not out in the world. The Satanic Temple is not a Left Hand path, it really has more in common with a do-gooder Right Hand Path! So I wish them good luck as they fight the good fight and I am off down the road. 

Happy Samhain

Maya Grey
House Grey







Sunday, October 27, 2019

Witchcraft in a time of Fundamentalist Rage

As of this writing we have seen all over the world the rise of vicious fundamentalism. Before 2016, I and many other people in America who held progressive values thought that things were finally changing. We were becoming more accepting and open. We had legalized gay marriage, were working on more human rights for women and children and were starting to tackle the large problems such as climate change and income inequality. Perhaps these man made issues could finally be rectified and then the unthinkable. The pendulum swung so far to the right it knocked us off our feet. For years I have had this existential dread and have felt very depressed by what I have seen around me. But if we actually step back we can see in a way that this is a reaction of the last status quo power structure to the changing of the wheel. Pisces is no longer dominant as Aquarius takes hold and as once Pagans hid in the shadows so too shall Christians have to hide, in many ways they already are. But sometimes the change of power can be a bloody one. If you are unfamiliar with the wheel of the Aeons you can read about it here.

As we enter into this new era of Science as King we must remember that we too as witches, are not welcome here either. Instead of an inquisition and confession by torture we may find ourselves in a psychologists office staring at a cup of pills being forced to pharmaceutically neutralize the "spirits and demons" from our heads. Essentially trading a stone and iron prison for a medical one. We still have to be careful as even though many of our country men are not religious many more still are. Our best defense in these times, when we stand between the raging fearful fundamentalist and the power over intellectually superior atheist, is our ability to blend in, to hide in plain sight. The fight of the Christian fundamentalist, who is anti-information and learning VS the scientific atheist who is pro information and learning is already well underway. Just look at the fight of "fake news".

This is one of the reasons I do not agree with "the public witch" because making one's self a target takes away from the actual work of witchcraft. It is easy to be a public witch these days, only a click away from an Instagram post or FB post or YouTube video and then forever on the internet. Part of the reason I went underground was the birth of my child and I could see even in 2012 the rise of fundamentalism. I watch them as I watch many others and the signs were clear. Best to be quiet and focus on family and the Work.

Some of my brethren who have activist tendencies have asked me...But Maya how will students find you or how will you help others? Ahhh yes...this ties into the ..."If we don't write about our tradition or have some nexus for students to find us the information will die out!" What people who espouse this fear do not understand is that it is The Spirits who guide us. The information will never die out because it is always there with the Spirits. Have faith. Also I do write this non-promoted blog. If someone needs to find me they will find this blog. If students need me they can email or ping me. I do not seek students. That takes away from the Work. Besides, my mundane job pays me more than any student or group of students ever could and so my commitment to students will never be monetary.

But I digress. Fundamentalism. You will never change them. You will never convince them. They are your enemy and you are most definitely theirs. They are all around you. They may even be in your own family.  So it is important to be able to identify who they are and what they believe. Be aware that the thread that binds them all is militantism and the call to be soldiers in the name of their faith. Here is a brief list:

The Standard Evangelical: They believe in Christ as savior and have usually had a re-baptisim from other Christian sects, otherwise making them consider themselves "born-again". They are ultra Protestants and abhore the ritual trappings of any ritual. Even the Eucharist has been made bland from wine to grape juice and from embossed Host to wheat thin crackers. They believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. There are many different churches that espouse these beliefs such as The Church of Christ.

The Prosperity Gospel Evangelical: Think of the TV preachers and mega churches here. This is church as "brand" and money is not "the root of all evil" but instead a sign that you are favored by God. The richer you are the more favored. Combine this with toxic capitalism and you get some of the mess we are currently in. It is also the reason that leaders in this movement can commit sexual crimes and still be beloved, unless of course they go broke. There are many offshoots of these fundamentalists.

Christian Zionists: These are the people who are pro Israel and who do not care what kinds of war crimes happen to the Palestinian people. They believe that the Jews will usher in the return of Christ and that this actually started with their return to the Holy Land in 1948. Once Jesus comes he will kill all the Jews because they are not Christian in the Rapture/Apocalypse and they will ascend to paradise. This group also is responsible for a lot of the crazy conspiracy theories around Hillary Clinton and the misinformation about abortion and women's health. Planned Parenthood aborting full term babies and selling body parts on the black market? Yep that is from these nutters.

Christian Fascists: I am putting this here because these are groups such as the KKK, various Neo-Nazi sects and white power groups. They focus on white supremacy but also are very Christian and usually partner with one evangelical sect or another. They are definitely militant and have and will kill those that they deem as lesser.

Conservative Elite Fundamentalists: I am putting this here because there is a large group of these types of fundamentalists operating in our government from city to federal. These people believe that there is a hierarchy of chosen and they are the top dogs. They span both parties but are concentrated in the GOP. Wealth and power are the name of the game and Jesus is a warrior figure to them. Since they are chosen they can do what ever they want. They believe in a slave and servant class, women as breeders and believe themselves to be aristocrats. They have come more out of the shadows as they have consolidated power around President Trump and you can easily pick them out in speeches because they say things like "Christianity is under attack from the Left", as was said by current Attorney General Bill Barr. They do not believe in Democracy or separation of church and state. They pay lip service to the Constitution and are actively working to make all judges in this country beholden to them. They consider themselves to be overlords and even if you are white and Christian you are considered to be a foot soldier for their objectives.

Clearly there are more groups, even Pagan fundamentalists (think the racist Odinists and Asartru) but compared to the wealth and power of these groups they are a mere blip.

As witches and pagans we do not have the social status or monetary might that these groups wield nor are we the focus of their ire. They are focusing on secular atheists (the new priests of the Age of Aquarius), Catholics, Muslims and various other types of Liberal groups. However, make no mistake that these people in any of these groups were raised since birth to believe that we are evil and should be converted or killed and the foot soldiers of these groups will happily answer those calls. This is why I believe it is best to be hidden. If you are a white pagan this is easier. If not you not only have your skin color to worry about but your beliefs as well. Beliefs can be kept quiet, color can not. You will have to be clever, know how to navigate these dark times and practice defensive magic. Because these groups do not practice magic they do not have the defenses to such practices. This benefits you greatly.  Here is what I do to protect myself and my family.

I ward my home on a regular basis. This includes evil eye and gossip charms as well as protection against enemies and thieves.

I ward my child so that he is safe as he goes to school and is out in the world without me. I have also counseled him not to tell others about our faith and why not to.

I ward myself and wear protective charms (hidden) as well as practice mindfulness and power exercises.

I make friends with the most evangelical Christian people at work and in my community. Yes you read that right. I befriend them, not to the point of hanging out, but I make a point to make them feel as if I was almost one of them. To quote a hobbit..."the closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm."

I keep silent about my work and who I truly am.

I don't needle fundamentalist family members (even tho I want to sometimes).

I watch the news and the tides of fundamentalism in my country and what is happening and were. They are vocal about what they are doing. Privilege gives you that ability. While they rail in their churches that they are under attack they are not underground at all. That gives you all the info you need about their bullshit. 


Well I hope this helps you navigate a little better in these difficult times. Stay safe, do Your Work and Blessings to you and yours.

Maya Grey
House Grey

P.S. this doesn't list all of the groups mentioned because many claim that they are "peaceful" but here is the SPLC's hate map. See what hate groups are near you. SPCL Hate Map.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Thoughts about Women and the Occult

I originally wrote this blog in 2014 but many of these issues still hold true for me today. I have met very few women who were as interested in sorcery as I am, although I am sure they are out there, and seeing as how these are occult topics that makes it all the harder to find like minded sisters. These are things intentionally hidden from view and rightly so. Added to that sorcery is a solitary path and so perhaps I long for something that does not exist.  Interestingly I woke up to the news that the large pagan event Pantheacon will be shutting down. I am not surprised by this and found my own experience of the event to be wholly lacking. It seems though, on a larger scale that the occult may be going back into the shadows where it is the most powerful. Anyways....women and the occult....


Occultsecret; disclosed or communicated only to the initiated. Hidden from view.
Woman: the female human being (distinguished from man).

I just finished reading an academic essay titled, "Managing an Experimental Household: The Dees of Mortlake and the Practice of Natural Philosophy." By Deborah E. Harkness. For those interested in Renaissance magic and ceremonial forms including angelic magic, yes the Dees in the article are "The Dees", that is John and Jane of the 16th century.  For those unfamiliar with John Dee please feel free to learn more on his Wikipedia page, but in a nut shell John Dee was the court astrologer and magician for Elizabeth I and brought the Enochian system of magic to fruition with his oracle Edward Kelly. My goodness that was a terribly short bio. Dee I consider to be one of those "mighty dead" figures in our magical ancestry and because of his amazing note taking skills we can reproduce his rituals to the most minute detail. In fact my friend Lon Milo Duquette has an excellent Enochian magic workshop based on Dee's work that I would recommend to anyone but particularly those unfamiliar with this system. His "cut out of card stock paper" rings and magical seals are hilariously awesome and inventive.  However, while I could go on about the phenomenal menfolk involved in the occult, Crowley, Agrippa, Dee, Chumbley, Gardner, V. Anderson, and Sanders to name a few and their contributions; I want to focus on  women and particularly the experience of women in the occult and the difficulty many women have coming into occult practice. You see the focus of "Managing an Experimental Household" was not about John Dee, it was about his wife Jane and her experience living with an occultist and her female perspective and difficulties therein, and while she herself was not a magician she was touched by this unseen and powerful world.  Many more women today than those in Jane's day have come in contact with alternative religions and the occult and many more have made the choice not to fully engage with the "hard" sciences of the occult. It is my hope that by looking at some of the major road marks on the magical map of women's experiences a clearer picture will emerge and we can separate the "feel good" idea of "magic" in a community context and that of actual magic(k) and serious occult practice.

Sigillum dei aemeth from John Dee's Enochian Spirit workings.
However, let me say this before I go on. This is not some feminist rant piece or some political piece to prove a point. Or maybe it is! I really do try to avoid such trappings but I have things to say people!  I want to try to look at actual magical practice as experienced and utilized by women as opposed to men. You see more than ever before all the avenues of magic are open to women. Where once we could only be wise women, fortune tellers or tea leaf readers or perhaps only the sexual vehicle for manifestation of a man's magic (either in his children or Spirit contact) we now can partake of the entire feast of the occult ourselves. We can orchestrate and experiment and take up the sword if we so choose. Those forbidden books were expressly more forbidden to women in years past but  now are easily obtained and utilized. In fact I feel that we are in a new Spring of Grimoric writing  of such depth and interest, a Renaissance if you will, that it will be the characterization of our magical generation.  Nowadays a woman can pick up a copy of the Goetia or the Grimorium Verum or the Greek Magical Papyrus and practice as diligently as a man and on her own terms.  It is interesting as well if you read any of these old spell books they really do seem as if they were written by men for men.  They are chock full of spells to get women into bed, to make women hot and lustful and to gain mistresses oh and also to make sure your wife does not find out about your mistresses. So far I have not seen one spell to "get that man in to bed", but maybe we don't need magic for that.  Magic of course was not just a man's sphere although I would argue that higher ceremonial forms and the ownership of forbidden books was almost exclusively held by men. Let us not forget the iconic image of the witch and all the accusations of magic directed at women especially if she aroused a man's passion. Wait a minute..first you want to get us into bed and then you get angry when you finally do get us into that bed...geez....make...up...your...mind! Jesting aside, the philosophical sphere of magic or what we might label "high magic" was mostly utilized by men and the sphere of "low or natural magic" was often thought of as more women's work since it involved things like herbs and potions as well as simpler types of divination and this had been the norm in the occult for hundreds of years. Change is slow but it does come.

It seems to me that the feminist movement in the 60's and 70's brought along with it a desire for women to look to a female deity and engage in spiritual practice that was conducive and compassionate to them and their needs, because traditional Christianity certainly was not. Women wanted to make love to whom they wished both in or out of marriage. They wanted birth control and abortions and control of their own bodies. They wanted equal pay for equal work and they wanted to work outside the home. Many did not want to have children. While all of this seems mundane and normal now, at the time it was culture shattering, almost unthinkable. My husband and I were talking about the 1960's and how the boss could get away with smoking cigars and drinking whiskey in his office and slapping his secretaries on the ass as he walked by and that was that. While a woman could not directly challenge the boss at this time trouble was a-brewing for the status quo. The activism of these decades combined with a desire for a Goddess centric spirituality, Margaret Murry's use of bad anthropology, the infusion of the New Age movement with it's feel good message and Eastern influences,  Ray Buckland's bringing of Wicca  to the US and later Starhawk's pivotal book "The Spiral Dance"  all created a huge Wiccan religious movement that was community based, activist based, feminist in nature and focused mainly on the Goddess and healing rituals. And certainly healing was needed.  It was here women could get together and let it all out. They could sing, dance, fuck, love, laugh and challenge the restrictions that bound them. Magic became a "feel good" act and one of healing and helping. "To harm none" was the motto of the day and books like Scott Cunningham's "Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner", and "Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs" graced every shelf. Many women were not interested in magical experimentation for the most part, they were swept up in the tides of change and experience. To them the magic was in what they were doing and the community they were building and it was important work.

An early pentagram with planetary associations.
 The people seemed to have had enough of violence and things that were dark and uncomfortable. Was not the Vietnam war just over but still fresh in their minds? Many Wiccans of the period also believed that  thousands or millions of people burned at the stake as witches. They also felt that the Christian God was responsible for all the evils of the world and they wanted to distance themselves from the religious abuse they had experienced. They spoke up about rape and wife beatings and child abuse and no protections in the courts.  But along with the protests and anger about women and children and men who were gay or who were peaceful at heart came another issue.  The issue was small and unnoticeable at first but it was the white washing and cleaning up of the old magics to make them palatable for a larger and can we say Christian audience as well.  It happened in small ways such as Scott Cunningham's description of mugwort as a substitute for Graveyard dirt in magical spells.  No explanation was given why this substitution was made but others came as well and magic and the occult in the sphere of women began to dumb down. Gardner himself was guilty of this as well making witchcraft seem "normal" in his book "Witchcraft Today". If you look at some of his older work and notes through other sources you would not think it "normal" at all. At the same time commercialization worked its way in and found new markets. New Age shops sprung up, workshops and Gurus Du Jour could be found almost anywhere. No longer did you have to study magical philosophy for years and years or overcome magical ordeals or walk the knife edge between being "red in tooth and claw" and having compassion. Nor did you have to be initiated into a magical order. All you had to do was "feel good" and be kind and if you decided you were a witch or magician well who was to say any different? It was all about feeling good and making others feel good as well.

The "Satanic Panic" of the 1980's furthered to create a fear of "black or dark" magic and while available and not illegal to use, those old grimoires were still off limits to many women or seen as evil things to be avoided or even simply not known about. What was once a Western Magical tradition was turning into a religion for the masses which needed to have bylaws and standards and codes of ethics. The magic was being bogged down in the minutia of the bureaucracy of religion and eventually ceased to be magic at all. There arose a new class of Priests or Priestesses who ministered to the masses. This Goddess movement ceased to be occult because it was available to all and in full view of all the masses. This distinction is what separates the priestess from the witch. That is the one who ministers to the masses and the one who walks alone beyond the hedge. They are two very different creatures with very different goals.
Baphomet..the "Devil" has many layers and gifts and things to teach you.

While I am fine with community rituals and women's spirituality and power movements I want to be very clear that I do not consider them to be magic or occult. That is not to say they are not powerful for people in need of healing or community, hell even Jesus performed miracles but occult magic and power is a different Beast.  I am lucky as a woman of this day and age because now I can engage in both worlds if I choose to. I can have the feel good rituals and healing or I can sit down and do some hard core occult study and ritual operations.  The roads are opened further to me than they have been to my ancestresses and I make it a point to learn and do what I can. Yes I balance being a mother and a wife but I also have those old "evil" books to ponder over and the realm of the Spirits to engage with. That is my ultimate passion. I am a student of the occult in many forms from Traditional Witchcraft to African traditions to Ceremonial forms and much more. I want to be more than I am and I know that the ultimate Work is the work of self and the relationship I have to the Spirits.
Yes lets do coffee and evil books!


It is my hope that more women will pick up those forbidden books and get to work. That they will push themselves beyond the Medieval bodices and maypoles and belly dance skirts and full moon rituals (psss I like all that stuff too) and actually study about magic and its workings. That they will push past their comfort zones and ask questions. Yes even ask hard questions to other women. That they will begin to open up and talk. That they will leave behind the lure of the "cult of the guru priestess" and become more. No really, there are enough guru priestesses and not as many bad ass witches. The occult world is hidden of course, that is its nature and our roads therein twist and turn but that is part of the journey of this Work. I believe we women have much to contribute to the occult in terms of our art, writing, and experiences; all we have to do is begin and not be afraid. In a way we are of this "stuff" anyway, we are lunar and hidden, even down to our genitalia. This is natural to us, more so than to men.

 I still see so many women who are afraid of things "Satanic" or "evil" or who refuse to read or grind through some of these more complicated books or systems. I would say to them that it is possible if you are interested and that you can balance the mundane and the magical. Unlike the guru priestess there is no box for you to fit into or live up to.  I would love to sit down with women and discuss how astrological magic relates and differs between Agrippa, Lily and Dee. I would love to talk about sex magic in terms of a woman's experience, or really get into the guts of Lilith and her cult and even make or copy her spirit plates as were done in Babylonian times. Can you imagine a grimoire book club with coffee and confections?  Discussions on the relationship of spirits in grimoires to African magical traditions in Brazil? The sexual spirit husband of the 19th century mystic and feminist Ida Craddock and how women can use sex to work with spirits? How right now there is a huge resurgence in African American folk magic called hoodoo and how that is affecting other magical movements. Perhaps I have ventured into the more strange than strange but a serious occultist woman is definitely hard to find and I am more than up for some awesome conversations with my magical sisters out there.

I think it is time for women to take up their mantles of power and to do the work of not just caring for others but to really work in power. If you are one of those interested in these difficult topics and not afraid to open dangerous books then I salute you! You are one of the few.

Maya Grey
House Grey


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Winds

Hard ripping winds today. More of the Hunt. Last year we lost Paradise to fire and wind. Hell Hunt. Now people are afraid. Power is off to over 1/3 of us. We are in the dark. Afraid of the dark. How will we survive without our electricity? How will be check social? What is there in the darkest corner peering out at us? Or worse in the dark of the trees whipping in the storm. Calm in the violence?

Change is coming on these winds. I hope you are prepared for it. Rending, death of things. In the times when we knew only candle and fire light people were afraid to breathe the very air. Believing in malefic vapors or the winds of Hell could swirl in their very lungs and cause insanity and death. Can it? What swirls on these winds? Deadly flus? Angry words? Trumpets of Hell? Drums of War?

The birds are silent. Only the trees tell their tales. This wind is incessant. Chimes batter against the house and the rafters creek.

Wind. Hunt. Wild riders. The Lord is there too, leading it. Thundering at the front of it. Call your ancestors. Light their candles. Speak to them. Listen. Listen through the winds. Sit in Zazen. Sit in your calm. Sit in your power. This too shall pass.

Maya Grey
House Grey

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A Question

I have a question. Why aren't more women interested in sorcery and grimoric work? There seems to be an over abundance of women interested in circles, healing groups and social type things. Things like make up and fashion and movies bore me. Are we still relegated to these spheres? Trying to land a husband or only feel power attached to our beauty? Are we merely breeders? Ugh! What about the folkloric use of certain plants and their astrological associations? Any female alchemists out there? Anyone interested in discussing the Grimorium Verum or the Keys or the finer points of Agrippa? Greek Papyri? Wanna get really in-depth into Astaroth? Has anyone actually created a lamb skin vellum? Anyways, something I have noticed. And as one of my teachers used to say...if you can't find your tribe...make it. I guess my interests are beyond niche. So off to do the work.

Maya Grey
House Grey

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Hunt Begins


Today I am thinking about the dead. A week ago we had a tornado here. It was the smallest a tornado could be as measured by our scientists (a Cat 1) but it was still fearsome and powerful. Nature. Air. East. Angry winds. I felt in that moment that the Hunt had begun. I think with all of this Scorpio energy this Samhain will be fearsome indeed. I wonder what it will bring? Certainly it has already begun to cleave beloveds out of my life. Deaths in all but flesh. This has begun and all I can do is look on at this cleaving and remember my Zazen, remember the center, remember the Point and know that in the end nothing really matters anyway, just the Work.

Now the ancestors and Mighty Dead whisper more to us. They walk amongst us or perhaps we among them. Both. I refresh my ancestor altar every Saturday and talk profoundly and candidly with my non-fleshed relations. I tell them of my sorrows, my fears, my successes and my loves. They listen. Sometimes they have advice. My seven grandmothers beat their drums as they sing in their buck skin dresses. These are my Native grandmothers. They are fierce. Then there are my pioneering ancestors. Those who hacked their way into the wilderness. Tough, hard working, austere and full of the old magic of Europe. Sometimes I wonder how to reconcile my blood. Half of it the Indigenous people of this land here for 10,000 years...longer maybe, and the European settlers who often fought the Native peoples with book and blade; or in my families case married them. Old country and New. Or perhaps it is vise versa? Regardless my blood SEES me and HEARS me. Even the ones whose names I do not know.

Great great grandpa Griffin was from Wales. He refused to read the Bible. He said he had better books. This was the 1800s. He was educated and was a teacher and a judge. My grandmother tells me that he was an old Country Pagan. I suppose that makes for a good story. He was into mysticism. I have his phrenology report. Apparently he had a really nicely shaped head and that made him a good person. They have strong winds in Texas, where he settled. I wonder what he knew about the Hunt? About Gwyn Ap Nudd? I wonder if the Winds blew from Snowdonia and brought the Hunters here? Perhaps I will sit in the dark with one candle lit and ask him one day. He has helped me before.

Strong winds. They are here now. They are blowing. Blowing with the fury of the Hunt. I think about the old Europeans who came here to Northern California and brought their wine grapes, and cork oaks and oregano and mint and the Old Ones. These now mix with datura, Salvia Apiana, valley oak, tobacco and coyote. What a mix. I have always felt the power in this place. Perhaps it's blood is just as mixed as mine.

This Samhain feels different to me. It is as if it carries more death than times before. The harvest has not been so great for many. But I am ready to work through the deaths that come. That is the cycle after all and after the death comes the decay and then the new life. Birth and death are married. Hades and Persephone. All is there in the old myths really.

I have so many questions. Soon it will be dark and I shall put some of my blood into my wine as I sit before those who walked before me. I will sit before them in only candle light. Breath in. Breath out. Listening. Then I shall peer into my glass and see what I will see, raise it to them and drink to my blood. This Hunt will be fierce and terrible but I have so many at my side to help me navigate the dark waters. Honor your ancestors this season. Honor them well.

Maya Grey
House Grey









Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Wilderness, Screens and Silence

Just a few thoughts this morning before I start my day. Ablutions and Zazen are completed. Hour of Mercury. It is still dark.

The road of witchcraft is a solitary one. Well perhaps not if you count the Spirits. But we traverse it alone housed in our flesh. The Spirits speak to us, but not in the deluded way of the charlatans of self and others, but in subtle and quiet ways. You have to really listen. You have to really know the signs. Otherwise so much is lost in the noise. Are you distracted? I think so. I am too at many times. I struggle with our technological and screen society because it is so convenient and so easy. It makes the Ego games a hundredfold more intense. I have seen students walking while peering into their phones fall off curbs or tumble down stairs. We are always checking to see what others think or say to us. Are our egos this weak? Do we need an external locus of control to feel safe? Such fragile shells. The Spirits can see through these masks. They can see deep. They have seen generations of us making the same shallow mistakes. Do you have Spiritual Authority? Do you really? Are you brave enough to test it? Internal locus of control. Start there.

The Spirits in my tradition are liminal and wild. They do not care too much for the grids of mankind. They prefer the untamed spaces. Spaces often with no cell phone reception. Wild spaces filled with earthy and chthonic natures and beings. These are not the spaces of thumbs up, the latest Netflix show or Instagram stories. All of that is transitory and meaningless. The television shows of witchcraft these days crack me up the most. I call them "Christian Porn" for they are there to titillate those who have not broken the bonds of their Christian programming. To frighten the believers like a haunted house ride or to make the angry and resentful ones think this is how you get revenge on the others in the cult they were born into. These shows have nothing to do with actual witchcraft. The more and more we are glued to the propaganda and cultural narratives of our time the further we are from the wild and the Spirit teachers that reside there. Will you find witchcraft on your phone? In a PDF? An online chat or class? Perhaps even a book? No. You will not. Although I can say that books are wonderful and I have much to say on them. My point is that there is so much to distract us from the Work. So much.

Time to leave all distractions behind. Time to visit the graveyard alone in the dead of night. Listen as the wind blows through the Cypress. Push through your fear. Witches command the chain rattlers and the ones who look from the shadowed corners. Listen. What do you hear? Feel? Know? Time to visit where three roads meet. She is waiting. What will you offer to her? It is for you and Her alone. It is not for the gaze of the profane who sit sipping their propaganda online day after day and believing that the world thinks of them. No one is thinking of you, not really in the way you desire. They are too busy thinking about themselves. This is our culture. The me, myself and I culture. Come then, into the moon lit woods at night. The creatures and plants that reside there have much to tell you. Listen. Learn. See. Know. 

Witchcraft and the Spirits of our current are not in all of these things. They are in the wild liminal spaces. Spaces forgotten about or feared. This is your classroom. These are your teachers. So get off your damn screens. Work to de-program your mind from the fantasy and fake stories of mere base entertainment. Learn. Become. Push the boundaries. Go explore and traverse the terrain.

And now I have spent more time on a screen than I have cared to. So I am off to start my day. Off to listen and balance the two worlds that I too must traverse.

Good Hunting
Maya Grey
House Grey






Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Mabon


The ancient serpent gathers me into her folds
And carries me aloft into the reddened sky
Past the flames in which Her laughing passion
Reaps the harvest from land in smoke and ash
Thrice about the winding labyrinth
On that gale swept coastal cliff
Falling between the worlds upon the ship
Diving amongst the spray and spume
With hands upon the fallen Lord
The sail burns bright into the night
Upon the Isle of Apples
Amongst the orchards clothed in mist
I called for the Myrddn to show the Way
Only crazed satire from the dense thickets
And swine rushing to and fro in the fog
I turned and walked the twisted path alone
The Master of the Hunt tracks me down
Pressing the blade’s tip to my throat
Do you fear Me?
I fear no Gods anymore, the Goddess’s covenant
Trickles through my veins
I am Shadow, nothing yet more
Until the dawn swallows me again
The nightshade leaves glisten
The stream steals through the night
A whisper, a promise, a silent step
And I am gone
~~~ENG

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Feri Seekers & Students

"Eat Willingly" by Maya Grey


From time to time people may be drawn to witchcraft. Their reasons vary. Perhaps they were struggling from Christian religious abuse and are looking for something different. Maybe they have the spirit of activism and wish to find something more in alignment with those views. Maybe they have always been counter culture and are looking for a practice that honors this or perhaps they are just looking for acceptance and healing because they have been rejected from the arms of mainstream status quo society. All seem to be looking for some sort of power. All are valid reasons to seek in life and find a "tribe" to join.  However, witchcraft and specifically Feri witchcraft are well off the beaten path and may not be appropriate for all seekers. That being said, because of the commercial nature of Feri as of this writing, I fully expect the tradition to become more mainstream as additional books, workshops and webinars emerge. We here at House Grey find that particularly problematic because witchcraft is the moon-lit path. It is shadowed and occult. It is not for the gaze of the profane and the masses. We cannot help what will become of the tradition at large but what we can say is that each lineage or stream is very different. Many do not teach in the old way nor were taught this way themselves and much has been lost and confused with Pagan religion. There are bi-laws, cannon, churches, prison ministries, classes and workshops. All of that makes me cringe. It's all rather Christian wouldn't you agree? Theistic. I am reminded of the Pagan Romans who had outlawed witchcraft and were afeared of it. Especially the Thessalian witches. In those days people practiced magic (folk magic), they worshipped many Gods, there were miracles and oracles and omens but none of that was witchcraft. It was Pagan religion and folk magic. The witches were something else and they were feared.

To add to the confusion for seekers as they assess approaching this tradition they will find many streams. First they will come across the flashing lights of the public Feris who teach for pay and who are well known in Pagandom. The web sites are easily searched on Google.  Access is easy, if you can pay, $10 to $15 bucks will get you a book of "secrets". Advanced and trusted students may study from time to time in the house of the teacher, even become their lovers and initiates.  I have taken such classes when I too was seeking, although not of Feri. They can be more comfortable for new students because they tend to be a classroom setting with notes, hand-outs and exercises. They are familiar. It wasn't until I began my Feri training in the home, one on one with my teacher that I realized how different things are in the old method of teaching. Think Mr. Miyagi vs Cobra Kai. Is public Feri bad? Is it wrong? No. It is just a different way of doing things. It works for most but not for all or for those who desire something "else".

Once the seeker begins to learn and read more about Feri they will find that in 2011 the tradition split into two main branches. Those who are public, write books and profit off of teaching and those who are vehemently against teaching for pay and prefer the apprenticeship model.  Both are Feri. But the type of instruction or curriculum is vastly different in method and although they do overlap with some lore, deeper secrets and the history of the tradition, the have a completely different ethos.

Non-public and not for pay teachers (of which I am one) are less easy to find and for the most part like it that way. Many of us are deeply involved in our Work. Teaching is not the focus of what we do. In the early days of the split we argued back and forth and it proved to be a messy type of family break up. Many of us "to be silent" Feris were expected to never be seen or heard from again. I suppose that would be convenient for those who are public to hold the entire narrative of the tradition, however, there are many paths leading to the Current and there is more than one narrative. Remember too that all traditions eventually split...Catholicism and Protestantism, Sunni and Shia, schools of Tantra etc. Seriously though, study ANY religion or spiritual path and see that they ALL split eventually.  I believe seekers should know that, which is why I write from time to time. I do not share lore Feri lore or expose my brethren. My writings are my own opinions. Agree with them or do not. I do, however, share personal experiences, my take on what is already published and a wide range of occult topics. Honestly there is so much to discuss about the occult. Another thing to note is that we "to be silent" Feris never had a problem with someone teaching say a tarot class or a class on herbs. Our contention was with the public teaching of the Tradition itself. Witches have always funded themselves with working for clients but never sharing what it was they were doing. Yes I will make you a love charm but I am not going to tell you what is in it. We are silent about our work.

I wrote an entire blog post about being silent which you can read here. This ethos of silence is in-fact married to the of payment for the instruction of witchcraft. This is not a new phenomenon or problem in the Craft and was written about by our late Feri Bard and Brother Gwydion Pendderwen in the 1970's when the witchcraft revival, civil rights and women's movements were in full swing:


The Selling of the Old Religion
by Gwydion Pendderwen
from Nemeton, Volume One, Number Two: Lady Day/Beltain, 1973


It wasn’t too very long ago that my existence as a Witch was a guarded sec­ret. It isn’t wise to advertise, ran the doggerel of my people. Once in a while, we’d invite an outsider to hear the words of the elders or the Grand Master, but never did we allow people from the outside to witness our rites. Our memories down to the 19th century are long and painful, and we were just coming out of the fear of official persecution.

It happened that, with time, we broke total silence, and we corresponded with some of our kinsmen and women scat­tered around the globe. Much had been forgotten by all; much was irreparably damaged by isolation and wanton destruction. We learned a few basic facts of anthropology, however: No matter how carefully a tradition is preserved, it changes; and no matter how strict and conservative the elders, the coven and the Craft were influenced by the larger society about us. Between traditions long separated, grave differences appeared, thus proving that the Craft was a living, growing, changing entity, rather than a mummified corpse from antiquity.

I greeted the growing publicity of the Craft, and the interest in membership therefrom, with mixed feelings. It was good that the truth be known, even if some would sensationalize it, but the Craft, I felt, was never meant for everyone, nor for many at all. The Old Religion, the old ways, yes; but the Craft was for the very, very few.

In the first few years of the revival of the Craft, I was pleased to learn of the honest concern and interest of so many individuals. It was rather disconcerting to me, on the other hand, that a multitude of traditions were springing up (Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Traditionalist, etc.), but wherever people were genuinely touched by the Goddess as Muse, a feeling of inspiration arose and spread like a rumor. The Old Religion was right, it was good for people, it was non-sexist, and whomever it touched in turn became good people.

And, like Topsy, it just grew and grew! But somewhere along the line, the magic failed to reach into a number of persons, who saw the potential of the Old Religion as a gold mine, and the prophets of profit entered the scene. Someone said, Hey! There’s a mint to be made here!, and the race was on. Cosmic eyes, blessed oils, holy scriptures, anything that could be printed, molded, stamped or sewn was sold. Even the secret writings belonging to the Gardnerians were prostituted by the truly heretical act (if ever there be such in the Craft) of publishing “The Book of Shadows.” The fundamentalist crusades of the 1930’s paled in comparison to the occult revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Now some people are making the current interest in the occult pay off without damaging their personal integrity, or, exposing the Craft to vapid commercialism. But others are making a disgusting mockery of the Old Religion in their blatant disregard for the principles of the Craft, the very personal feelings that must be invoked in the individual, and the very terms Witch, Wicca and Witchcraft.

I received a short while ago a newsprint publication which deals with every conceivable aspect of occultism and spiritualism. It’s published in Houston, Texas, and the mimeo cover letter proudly announces that this publication is centered towards Parapsychology, Metaphysics, Esoterics, Occult, Astrology and Natural Foods. I think the only fad left out was Scented Toilet Paper. The letter goes on to explain how inexpensive are their advertising rates, and that the newspaper is presently distributed to over 450 U-Totem and 7-11 convenience stores. Whoopie.

I was not surprised by the appearance of this publication. A little ill perhaps, but not surprised. Hucksters seek the dollar wherever it may hide, and since there’s a sucker born every minute, this newspaper can claim a circulation of over 7500 copies per month. I remember when the Haight-Ashbury was a big tourist attraction and hippie underground newspapers were being hawked for 50¢ each; neither written nor produced by hippies, they contained absolutely nothing “hip” or underground, but they made some enterprising entrepreneur very well off.

The inside of this occult publication offered an article on esoteric astrology, describing Aries as “the mystery of God the Father”, Taurus as “God the Sun”, and Capricorn as the Holy Ghost. Other articles (all five of them) were written with the same semi-literacy as Jesus-freak tracts.

Numerous ads dotted the twelve pages, from Sister Paula’s appeal to those with problems and evil spells to contact her (send $5.00 donation), to the amazing classified ad which read:

WITCHCRAFT COURSES. Be the center of attraction. People will flock to you. Become a certified witch. Learn how to raise and use your dormant powers. See into the future and live a full spiritual and sexual life. Intro book $1.00 (Name and address of school.)

Wow! What more could you want! And for only a dollar!

L. Ron Hubbard, revered by his followers as if he were a dead prophet, learned long ago that there were only two ways to get rich easily in this country: invent a new religion or invent a new form of psychotherapy. He did both, and he’s made a fortune with the Church of Scientology. It is apparent that he has become the idol and the model of hundreds of would-be mil­lionaires with silvery tongues and suede shoes who want to cash in on the current interest in whatever-the-fad-is.

The shame of it all is that there is a genuine Craft to be explored by a multitude who will be turned off by the hucksterism of the profit-seekers. And unfortunately, it is the most sincere people, the serious adept and the sensi­tive Pagan, who will be hurt.

The Craft will endure, as it always has, a little tarnished and discredited perhaps, but with dignity. But we have no trademark rights to the terms Witch and Wicca (and maybe some clever P.R. man will ensure that for all times), nor do we have the right to tell someone he is not a Witch because he did not do such-and-such. Mail order initiations, like mail-order doctorates in divinity, are already available to the gullible person willing to part with the requisite tuition fees, and the day of the franchise coven appears not too distant.

I can look upon this wholesale pandering for only so long without anger welling up within me. Thus far, only esoteric bull-shit has been pushed as “witchcraft” by the occult peddlers. I don’t doubt that they are capable of peddling even nude orgies and bestiality under the banner of “witch sabbats”, but I become livid when I think of the possibility, the very great possibility, of the discovery and disclosure of the secret names and writings of varying traditions, and their sale in U-Totems and 7-11’s. Lady Sheba, who swore an oath of secrecy, published the Gardnerian rites; if an initiate might be so base, what might a non-initiate be capable of? Not that the secrets need be understood, mind you. All that is necessary is that they carry a tidy profit.

Perhaps we should go back to those days of utter secrecy, before what secrets remain are exposed in Playboy opposite the centerfold: the Goddess in a bunny costume. Or perhaps we should make a more concerted effort to let the public, and especially those attracted to the Old Religion, know that there are places to go and people to contact in order to learn more about the true Craft. As of this writing, several of our sister covens, organizations and individuals are making very concerted efforts to expose the occult-pimps. But this is only a start, and the profiteers have more money into promotion than may be imagined.

I could not bring myself to title this editorial, as originally planned, “The Selling of the Goddess”. The idea sickened me so that I could not write. But somehow, I can’t help seeing in my crystal a pack of smooth-talking, misogynous promoters plotting rape. And I don’t like it. How about you?
Copyright © 1973 by Nemeton.

Clearly I agree with Gwydion about not charging for instruction but here is another point that he makes, that I agree with: Witchcraft is NOT for everyone but Paganism is.  First of all not everyone is "gifted for the work", a term used in the practice of Hoodoo to describe Rootworkers. The same applies to witchcraft. Not everyone is gifted or has this mark upon them. I know this is a highly unpopular viewpoint and especially so for those who depend on students but I believe this to be true and I will tell you why. Once you start to be involved in the Pagan community you will see a large number of folks who identify as "witch", who are broke, sick, have terrible interpersonal relationships and who always seem to be troubled. A witch worth her salt could easily conjure up $70 for that parking ticket, make a rude boss more pleasant or get fired, make court documents disappear and manifest basically what ever they desire within a reasonable time frame and reference of skill. A witch could walk into a football tailgate party, a 5 star restaurant with movie stars or down a dangerous street in Oakland and not be noticed...or be noticed if that was their intention. A witch is not identity politics or glitter or tattoos or black clothes or pentacle jewelry. A witch isn't there to force your face into an activist sentiment. A witch could go to church every week and none would be the wiser. All of these states of being are secondary to the witch herself. Because a witch walks her own path known only to her. We don't act in accordance with the social pressure of the Pagans or Christians around us. A witch MUST be able to produce results and must be able to walk in all segments of their society because it is their WORK that is important, not the perception of they themselves. All of that is external noise. In her core a witch is strong and stable and knowing. A witch you see is a true shape shifter. 

While this path is hard, treacherous and dangerous, the road of Paganism with its ethos and religion is not.  Here you will find community, healing, rituals, groups, magic and even miracles. Here you will find a home if you are different, or run against the grain of society at large. Here you will find a belief system that is congruent with the healing of our beloved Earth. I believe that only a Pagan ethos will save the world as the Death Faith of Christianity seeks to destroy it. So yes flock to Paganism. I think that is a good thing. Witchcraft and Paganism as a religion are not the same thing. 

Now, I want to briefly touch on the lineages in Feri. I will not list them all out because some are known and some are not known publicly. It is good enough that you know that each Feri initiate is part of a lineage that leads back to Victor. Some teachers created names and practices for their lines or created a new line and each student initiated by a teacher is in the line of their oath mother or father. Here we have two lineages The Draconian, of which Ed is the Magistar and the Elencin which is my line but belongs to my teacher. We teach from both lineages but our students would be considered part of the Draconian line. Students and seekers come to us from time to time and there are some areas that we are firm on as "nos". I put these here with the purpose of clarifying for seekers areas to heal and work on prior to instruction as well as a guide to other Feri teachers who have commented to me that they started instruction but things did not work out because the student had problems in one of these areas.   

Hard No's:


1. The seeker is not dependent. In other words they depend on someone else for their basic financial needs, a parent or a partner typically. We don't consider government assistance to be this type of dependancy.

Why?: This is a no because the seeker is not walking in their power. They do not have the freedom and often the space to do certain study and exercises. Often the person holding the money has demands and expectations of the seeker (a power over) and this always impedes the Work. Be independent. Whether that means with roommates, in a motor home or a mansion, be able to pay for your basic survival needs without having someone being able to make demands of your energy. 

2. The seeker is looking for community and needs healing.

Why?: The reason this is a no is because we are not healers and this path is dangerous. Clearly we all need healing from time to time in our lives, but witchcraft will not heal you. That is not its function and especially Feri, which is in alignment with the Fae. These Spirits have a mercenary quality to them and if you are not in your power they will take advantage of you. If you don't believe me just read myths about the Fae. They aren't nice. Witches also are not always nice. We at House Grey are also a family coven and a small group of initiates. We are not a classroom setting. If we meet you we are taking time out of our busy mundane and magical lives to do so. Eventually if we agree to start teaching, you will sit in our home, our most private and intimate sphere. This is a lot to ask of anyone and sometimes takes a while for us to build a relationship with you and for us to trust you and you to trust us. We don't "owe" you instruction and we don't care if people get mad at us. We are witches. Pretty much everyone is mad at us, that is the nature of this work. We worry more about what the spirits have to say. We teach those who we are called to teach. The connection must be deep and right and you must work hard. The Spirits have their say in this as well. They choose and bring to us who they will.

3. The seeker is an active addict.

Why?: We will not train an addict because witchcraft is a path of power and an addict is not in their power,  they are under the thrall of the spirit to which they are addicted to. It will always come first. Go to rehab and get help. Break the thrall. 

4. The seeker is mentally ill or delusional.

Why?: We don't have time to deal with this in our lives. We are not healers or psychotherapists and people who suffer from these afflictions are easily swayed and taken advantage of by the Spirits.  This work is dangerous and you must be mentally strong. The Fae have a tendency to drive people into madness (again read the tales) and we have seen one too many students and initiates fall into madness and suicide who were taught when they shouldn't have been. This is not to say that as we work to get past our hurts and outer layers to be more in our power that people will not be emotionally up or down. We all deal with intense emotion but this is not the same as someone who is so damaged or deluded that our instruction is lost in the noise of their own heads. We are merely guides. Get help if you need it. 

5. The seeker is not currently involved with some sort of learning/education or is not an educational self starter or is not an avid reader.

Why?: We teach, as part of our curriculum, many academic sources that are difficult in nature. Our process is in depth and hard. Years long. Think of it as occult graduate school. We do not require you to be an occult expert when you begin but we do expect you to know how to research primary, secondary and tertiary sources, write and make academic links between information and subject matter and to critically think. Training with us is mentally rigorous. We often work through books written in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries which are hard to read and understand. Ever had to take Shakespeare? We don't have the time to bring you academically up to speed. Go get education if you need to --- at worst you learned some more things and at best you got some education and leveled up in the job world. Skills pay the bills after all. We ourselves are constantly taking college courses, online certifications and classes in the mundane world to better ourselves. You should too. Learning on all levels is a life long thing. It is how to better yourself. It shows will power, dedication and perseverance. So how about learning German or guitar or Java script? Get to work. 

6. The seeker has a desire to be famous, save the masses or to write about Feri.

Why:? There is plenty of that out there already. Seek elsewhere. Perhaps if you work hard enough you can de-throne one of the current super stars. There is always some one more beautiful and glittery than one's self to interest the masses eh? Humans do love novelty.  However, if you are interested in accompanying us into the forest to learn about how all of the lichens and mosses that are used magically in our area or how to put down an angry dead that is trying to kill a pregnant woman or how to summon and work with the genii loci, then we might be for you.  We are not gurus, we are not famous (and don't want to be), we do not write books about our tradition. Honestly, you would do better in Scientology or the New Age. I have heard quantum physics is all the rage these days. Add to that some Native American philosophy and you could make some big bucks with a new system! 

7. You are just "curious" or are worried that this is "Satanic" or just want to try it out.

Why:? We don't have time for curiosity seekers and frankly they piss us off. It's like a peeping Tom trying to see us make love. It is offensive. This is our most private and sacred way of life. We have made oaths to our Gods and to one another that you try to violate for your own base curiosity. You are not coming from a place of respect and integrity or boundaries. If you are curious and want to try things out then read. There is plenty out there in terms of public classes and courses. Go explore. Actually we prefer you did so that you can find what you truly are looking for. There is so much! Thelema, Golden Dawn, New Age Gurus, other public forms of witchcraft, public Feri and so much else. Also if you are afraid of the Devil then you should start running now. There are many Devils in the Craft. The ones you know and the Nameless. 

Whew that was long! Thanks Gwydion for your wisdom. So are you still here? Not scared off?

Ok, what's next? We are actually happy to respond to emails and we are rather friendly towards genuine seekers who may have some questions. Many of us corresponded with our teachers first before meeting. This was how it was done in the old days too although, by snail mail. You see, when you wish to approach a private Feri initiate it is the start of a relationship. The beginning is the beginning and as Bilbo Baggins says..."It's a dangerous business stepping outside your front door, you never know where you will be swept off to." And if it is meant to be then it will be. If we are not right for you we can recommend other groups or other initiates. Seeking is not a wrong thing. We all have been there. But there is so much work to be done. So if you will excuse me I must begin to prepare for the feast of Mabon. There is food to cook, candles to lights and wine to be offered. First a walk in the garden and a deep breath of fresh air and a gratitude to the Spirits and all of their wisdom. 

Good Hunting
Maya Grey
of House Grey
Mabon 2019

"Summon" by Maya Grey