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The Never Ending Process of Internal Work

By Taylor Ellwood

A lot of the magical work I do and have been doing for the last ten years is focused on internal work. Internal work is a combination of inner alchemical techniques, energy work, meditation, ritual magic, and psychology. The focus of internal work can vary, based on the particular purposes you apply it to. For example, internal work can be used to help you develop a better understanding of your body, or can be used to refine your internal energy, while also releasing emotional and mental blockages (also known as dysfunctional behaviors). Internal work can also be used to deepen your connection to the spirit world, or it can be used to cultivate your creative resources. Ultimately, the purpose of internal work can be boiled down to it being used as a catalyst for change.

I use internal work for all of the above purposes and have been doing internal work for ten years, as I mentioned above. I woke up, one day in March, in 2004, with the realization that if I didn’t change my life I’d end up in a bad situation. I’d been living my life reactively and I suppose I had a glimmer of realization about that reactivity, which consequently led me to start doing internal work. I realized I didn’t want to live a reactive life, constantly responding to what came into my life. When you live life in that way, you live in a chaotic environment, with little control over yourself, let alone anything else, because you are letting what happens to you dictate your life and the choices you make in life. You are living a life of reaction instead of a life by design.

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Of Wolves And Men: The Berserker And The Vrātya

By Gwendolyn Taunton

Lupine symbolism is said to be one of the defining points of the Indo-European Traditions, and it is hard to cite an Indo-European civilization in which the wolf did not occupy a role of prominence. From the birth of Romulus and Remus and the foundation of Rome through to modern times, the wolf has always occupied an eminent position of privilege in the mind of the Indo-European. This is still evident today – even Hollywood cannot bypass the lonely figure of the wolf at night, for the werewolf has survived on in popular myth to this day. A number of important deities, ranging from Óðin to the Greek Apollo, can be found with a wolf by their side. That the wolf, and occasionally its canine cousin the dog, were important ritual animals cannot be doubted. At times though the important role of these animals crossed over from the natural world of the wilderness into the civilized world of man, where the boundaries between human and animal became blurred. One such occupant of this transitional space is the werewolf, another figure is that of the Nordic or Teutonic Berserker. Even older still, there is the tale of the Vrātya, dating back to the most archaic elements of Vedic society, almost completely buried by the past. The Berserker and the Vrātya together constitute what is perhaps one of the oldest Traditions, for both share a number of significant features in common, which can be found dispersed amongst other Indo-European peoples also; martial brotherhoods existed among the (Indo-European) Greeks, Scythians, Persians, Dacians, Celts, and Germans in which initiates magically assumed lupine features. Known partly for their fury in combat, partly for the use of magical means to subdue the enemy, these myths persist today in the popular myth of the werewolf. Whilst the literal rendition of the berserker is ‘warriors in shirts (sekr) of bear’, the berserkers were thought to be also able to shift their form into that of a wolf. For the purpose of this writing we will concentrate only on the symbolism of the wolf.

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Introducing: Nyx

By Elani Temperance

[Snip] Nyx (Νυξ) is the deep Night, born from Khaos (Χαος) and the sister-wife of Aither (Αιθηρ, ‘Light’). In Hellenic mythology, Nyx draws a veil of darkness between the shining atmosphere of the aither and the lower air of earth (aer) at set times in the day, bringing night to man. In the morning, Her daughter Hêmera (Ἡμερα, ‘Day’) removes this veil, and exposes the Earth once more to Light. As Hesiod writes in the Theogony:

“[At the ends of the earth, where lie the roots of earth, sea, Tartaros :] There stands the awful home of murky Nyx wrapped in dark clouds. In front of it [Atlas] the son of Iapetos stands immovably upholding the wide heaven upon his head and unwearying hands, where Nyx and Hemera draw near and greet one another as they pass the great threshold of bronze: and while the one is about to go down into the house, the other comes out at the door. And the house never holds them both within; but always one is without the house passing over the earth, while the other stays at home and waits until the time for her journeying come; and the one holds all-seeing light (phaos) for them on earth.” [744]

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Ancient Astronomy Lab Discovered In Peruvian Ruins

By Kathleen Caulderwood

Archeologists have stumbled upon a site where ancient people observed the stars thousands of years ago in Peru, a country famous for using drones to help uncover and map archeological treasures, as Reuters reported.

Excavators working on a complex at Licurnique, in the country’s northern region, have uncovered evidence of an “astronomical laboratory,” that dates back between 3,500 and 4,000 years, according to Peru This Week.

“Astronomical [observations] were engraved on a flat-surface rock, which were used to track stars,” its report said. It added that the petroglyphs were likely used in forecasting rain and weather patterns to help farmers. “It is worth exploring without a doubt.”

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Depression, Dark Night of the Soul and Magick

By Frater Barrabbas Tiresius

The last couple of days I have had some interesting conversations with some of the more insightful magicians who are my friends on Facebook. They are discussing the phenomenon of the Dark Night of the Soul, and that feelings of desolation, despair and a deep depression which can occur to anyone who is following the initiatory path of magick is also analogous to the classical definition of the mystical Dark Night of the Soul. There seems to be the consensus that all magicians at some point retire from the world (and in a sense, renounce it) and undergo the mystical rigors of the Dark Night of the Soul while seeking union with the One.

Strangely, I seem to be one of the few who finds issues with this kind of explanation and I have respectfully disagreed with those who have espoused this perspective. I think that it has more to do with a mystical approach to the Godhead than a magical approach, and there are also the issues of chronic or situational depression, isolation and despair that have really nothing to do with spiritual ascension. In clinical depression, removing oneself from the world is a common symptom and strong feelings are often replaced with a feeling of numbness, stasis or apathy.

The real question then is whether or not the iconic Dark Night of the Soul is real for mystics and magicians alike. Some have also questioned whether there is a difference between the two paths since they seem to lead to the same ultimate place. (I intend to answer these questions, hopefully once and for all, later in this article.)

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Druid Grove Misconceptions

By Nimue Brown

The desire for working groups often exceeds the availability. One of the reasons for this is that all too often people who have not been in a Grove, much less run one, have unrealistic expectations about what that should mean and do not realise they could just dive in and make something happen, or there is a Grove and it doesn’t live up to expectations and that causes discomfort. Today we will be taking pot shots at straw men…

“You need two Druid-Grade Druids to start a Grove.” You don’t. This is an OBOD concept that has accidently been allowed to escape into the wild. To run an OBOD Grove, you need two OBOD Druid grade folk, otherwise you have to call it a seed group, but it still does all the core things a Grove would do. Other Orders have different requirements – you usually need a few Order members to count as a Grove of a given Order and there will be things to uphold. Otherwise, some Druids or proto-Druids who want a Grove, is the only necessity.

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How Yoga Practice Can Transform Your Relationship To Food

By Melissa Grabau

A good yoga class provides a physical workout with a healthy serving of food for thought. Like a side salad with your meal, worthwhile nourishment is to be had in the crisp insights and tender offerings from the teacher. One such insight that I received during a sweaty weekend morning practice many years ago was the suggestive comment, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” The class laughed, because the way that this particular teacher intoned the phrase brought sex to mind; we all looked around and giggled, wondering what our down dogs might have to say about our comportment in the bedroom. However, my mind soon migrated from the bedroom and landed squarely at the dinner table—which, for better and for worse, is not an uncommon occurrence for me. What might my yoga practice have to teach me about my relationship to food and my body?

•”Get it over with already!”
Somewhere along the way, I noticed that I was getting my yoga practice over with. “”Okay, what do I have to do today? Need to go to the bank, get some shopping done, pick up the dry cleaning. Play date at 1:00. I’ll get my yoga out of the way before lunch.” Enter yoga room, set up mat. Mind projects ahead to lunch, which lay just around the long, seventy-five-minute sweaty corner. Then lunch, that long awaited fuel stop so imbued with intent and need. Shovel food down as if I’m…go figure, getting it over with. How you do one thing is how you do everything… I will spare you the extension of this wisdom to the bedroom, thank you very much.

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Finding Your Pagan Moral Compass: On Forgiveness

By Deborah Castellano

Sometimes being a Witch is challenging. We have a much murkier moral structure than many other world religions, especially if you don’t subscribe to one branch of spirituality like I do. Sometimes, I miss being Catholic, in my own way. While it wasn’t always easy to adhere to the belief structure, there was a structure to follow for everything. You could expect Mass to go a certain way, you could expect sinning to go a certain way, you could expect forgiveness to go a certain way and you could even expect death to go a certain way. As a creature of habit and structure, I miss those certainties even if they weren’t always necessarily certain in my own head as when I was a Catholic.

When I learned about the Japanese tea ceremony, learning all the structure to it seemed very daunting to me. There are so many nuances to it. But it made sense when it was explained to me that this was how many people in Japan relax. The structure dictated literally everything that happened during the ceremony, from the conversation to how you held your teacup. That meant that you could relax because there was no uncertainty. Everything was decided before you even stepped foot into the teahouse. As someone who is incredibly anxious and who is triggered by uncertainty, it made sense to me.

Setting up your own moral compass is challenging, which is why a lot of people prefer a pre-fab version, even in Paganism. Some subscribe to a general rule of three and/or some kind of karmatic system. I don’t actually really personally subscribe to either of those. I don’t disbelieve in it or anything; it’s just not for me.

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Polytheist Laity

By P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

[Snip] Not unlike Catholicism, though, but perhaps even more especially so, there has been a lack of an acknowledgement of laity even as a reality, much less as a desirable category, in modern paganism particularly, and for the same reasons within modern polytheism–and this despite the latter often recognizing better that there is not only a need for laity, but also that laity already exists and needs to be accounted for. I suspect that this is a side-effect of something I’ve discussed on various other occasions previously, i.e. that because modern general paganism has been constituted as a countercultural response from an overculture that is Protestant and entertains the default notion of a “priesthood of all believers,” likewise paganism has taken that notion one step further, and made each person an individual priest in name as well as in actuality (according to its own definitions, at least), so that their experience of whatever-it-is-that-is-encountered-within-its-theological-understanding is “unmediated.” For a variety of reasons, I think this is a problematic concept.

No, there is nothing keeping the gods from interacting with whomever-they-might-choose, whether they are a layperson or clergy; and yet, one of the things that makes laypeople different from clergy on an almost constitutional level is that clergy have either specialized training or natural gifts (or, often, some combination of both) which make them…well…specialized. Not everyone has the ability to be a good oracular medium; not everyone has the intellectual interest or time to become a properly-informed exegete; and while any deity can reach out to any person, having some people who are particularly devoted to and connected with certain deities and are then in service to that deity by helping to connect other people (laity or not–and the latter is supremely important, I think, and yet gets written off quite easily even by people who generally agree on these other points I’ve already raised…on which more in a moment, too!) with them is more of a benefit than it is a “concentration of power” or an arrogation or appropriation of something that *should* be available to everyone.

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The Testament of Cyprian the Mage

Reviewed by Al Cummins

The Testament of Cyprian the Mage is the final part in the Encyclopaedia Goetica series by Jake Stratton-Kent. It is at once a remarkable conclusion to this series, and an outstanding work in its own right. It is a two-volume set that analyses grimoires, acting as both a reader and commentary on such texts. Yet it also appears, in a comely form of course, as somewhat grimoiric itself. It is also a book that cites peer-reviewed research, eruditely synthesising and contributing to academic discourse, and bequeaths a veritable trove of a bibliography. It stresses the importance of personal eschatology, totems, spellwork and agreements when interacting with spirits in serious magical praxis. It spins from gods of time to the spirits of the decans to demonic kings and queens to sylphs and gnomes through geographically diverse and ideologically distinguished occult philosophies and practices. Such an exploration is remarkably nimble-footed, and leads us treasure-seeking to magical lore concerning plants, animals, and folk.

The author reveals that the Testament of Cyprian can be read as the treasure search between the grimoire study of the True Grimoire and the argo-ride through ancient Greece (and a modern necromancy) of the Geosophia. It starts with an ancient spirit catalogue, tracing roots down to the powers and myths of time, the dead, stars, and markings. Petitioning its namesake, Cyprian of Antioch, brings to light these ancestral rhizomatics of Old and New World traditions, in a manner that itself seems both time-honoured and innovative. Those who see those two approaches – of the “rooted” and the “branching” – as mutually exclusive will almost certainly struggle with this text and the sanguine approach that enlivens it.

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