I have just finished reading WITCHFATHER: Into the Witch Cult Volume 1: A Life of Gerald Gardner, by Philip Heselton. And by “just finished,” I mean I read the last page last night, and literally groaned when I realized there was no more.
When I found that WITCHFATHER: From Witch Cult to Wicca Volume 2 is available, I stopped writing this post long enough to download it to my tablet, and am already planning to ditch my day’s chores in favor of sitting in the back garden, indulging in a day of pleasurable reading.
Because Mr. Heselton’s book is just that — pure pleasure. I feel as if I’ve gotten a real look at Gerald Gardner. Before the book, I honored Gardner for his Craft contributions. Now I feel like I know him as a person, and I like him all the better for it.
Thank you Phil Heselton, for this new jewel of a book. May you write many more!
To order your own family jewels, visit Thoth Publications, or Amazon. For more about Mr. Heselton, visit philipheselton.com.
I guess sooner or later every Gardnerian writes this post. The one telling seekers just what “seeking” means.
So here’s mine.
“When the student is ready, the master appears.” Seeker’s say this a lot. I think it’s followed with a silent plea “So pick me already!” Ironically, they’re usually saying it while surrounded by masters. Ones who will only apprentice those who ask.
Seeking is an uncomfortable business. It’s a personal journey with a roadmap you chart for yourself. And when you finally do find folks you resonate with, the destination’s still invisible. In order to work with a coven, you’ll have to ask folks you hardly know to work with you. Risking rejection. Or (even scarier) risking acceptance, with all the years of hard work and personal risk-taking that come with it. If you can’t stretch your comfort enough to ask, you’ll never stretch it enough for all those years of apprenticeship.
The asking’s a test. So when you find a witch you truly resonate with, wherever that may be, then gather your courage and ask.
No one said it was going to be easy. Things of worth rarely are.
We are creatures of energy, moving through an energetic world. Even without training we all can sense it, because humans are social creatures. Clever monkeys who need to intuit our group and our surroundings to survive. When you walk into a house, can’t you always tell if it’s empty or not? If someone is staring at you, can’t you feel it? Even if you’re asleep, the intensity of the stare wakes you up, as many a startled parent knows!
As witches, we consciously use energy to power our workings. The particulars of how you manipulate energy determine what kind of witch you are (at that moment at any rate) and how you work with other witches.
So, how does one raise magical energy? Well, as the old joke goes … you rub two witches together. Because magical energy flows in a closed circuit.
Now that your mind has swirled right down the gutter, let me heave you back up out of it. Because I’m not talking about having sex, although sexual partners certainly can use that energy. Gay, straight, any-way-the-wind-blows.
I am talking about tapping into an energy source and making meaningful connections so that the energy flows in a useful fashion. How you raise that energy is up to you.
Our group works the cycle of the seasons and the fertility of land, animals and people. We raise the energy many different ways, but because fertility is about producing offspring, no matter how we may please ourselves outside of circle, within it we close our circuit between a man and a woman. For no other reason than that particular connection makes the most sense in the context of fertility.
So, Mary Mary, quite contrary, how does your magic flow?
Picture this — your family has gathered for Thanksgiving dinner. You’ve just started passing the pea salad, when a smiling woman bursts through the front door, sets a ham on the table, and pulls up a chair. None of you recognize her, and confusion erupts.
She claims to be your Cousin Pearl, just moved back from Bora Bora. However, she doesn’t know any of your names. She doesn’t know that you haven’t eaten ham for generations. And she doesn’t know it’s bad luck to use the front door. But not to worry, her ties with you stretch back to the mid-1600s.
What the … ?
If she really does turn out to be your long-lost cousin, you’ll be thrilled. But what if she’s just after the family silver? So you ask a few questions, trying to place her. Then a few more. Finally, you realize there’s nothing to go on. No relationships with other family members. No common family practices. If Pearl’s going to be considered part of the family, new ties will have to be established. You’ll have to start over.
It’s every bit that startling when a stranger pops up in the NeoPagan community claiming to be Gardnerian. Because here’s the thing — there really are Gardnerians. Real live Gardnerians, quietly going about their business, and flying completely under the NeoPagan radar. Actually, not just a few Gardnerians, but quite a lot.
So when Lady Moon Beam announces she’s Gardnerian, invites you all to her traditional Full Moon Ritual, and a duel ensues over whether or not such a thing is possible, please know we’re battling to protect our family’s good name.
And if it turns out you really are family, we’re fighting like hell for you, too.
As witches, we all feel it. We can recognize another witch. And we stumble across each other in the most unlikely of places. Somehow, we’re drawn to one another.
Yesterday, it happened to me again. I was bending over to give someone a goodbye kiss on the forehead. I raised myself, my energy, up into the kiss, as I often do. And there it was — an answering lift of energy rising up to touch mine. A piercingly sweet surprise.
And I’ll bet you’re all nodding your heads, because it’s happened to you, too. So … how do you experienced that feeling of recognition?