Tag Archives: ancestors

Getting the Sight, Part 2: Rush Hour in the Otherworld

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We See Things.  And some more Things.  And pretty soon — like the clever monkeys we are — we start trying to piece together the patterns and understand the rules.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s helpful to try to learn rules instead of experiencing the journey for yourself.  However, over the years I have found it absurdly comforting to compare my experiences to the experiences of others.  In the back of my mind, I always wondered if I was … well, delusional.  Because, let’s face it, Seeing Things is one of the classic symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and dementia.

(One of the reasons why, in my opinion, folks with those conditions should steer clear of witchcraft.  If you’re already trying to separate what’s real from what’s not, adding an extra layer of what’s Otherworldly into the mix is just too stressful on an already taxed system.)   But I digress …

So these others with the Sight — not a very large group, just 8 or 9 folks.  For purposes of this article, I call them the Pool, because it’s good to have a pool of experience to pull from.  Below are some interesting gleanings from those conversations, in case you’d find them comforting, too.

Rush Hour

There is a rush hour in the Otherworld.  Although strictly speaking, I guess it’s really an Otherworldly rush hour here, in our world.  And really, it’s more of a rush season.  (Nothing like being definite, right?!)

No surprises, the weeks around Hallowmas form one such rush hour.  There are no sharp demarcations; just a gradual ramping up to a few very busy days, then a tapering down to the usual traffic levels.

And by “busy,” I mean (1) you have more sightings per day, and (2) you see more and different otherworldly things than usual.  For instance, instead of seeing one Cheshire Cat and one Tall Dude on Tuesday, you may also see a Diving Cat, something some of the Pool likes to refer to as the Greek Chorus, and something you’ve never seen before squatting across the inside of your front door, which you later realize is what the Spirit of your Door Knocker looks like in the Otherworld.

(I realize how totally crazy this sounds.  But for the life of me, I can’t think of how to describe it so it doesn’t sound crazy, and flippant is one of my default settings.)

What I found surprising — at least until I got a little deeper into Crafting — is it’s even busier around May Day.  All you experienced Crafters will be nodding your heads now.

Interestingly, none of us noticed it being particularly busier at one time of the day over another.

You See What?

In the Pool, some folks saw ghosts, some folks saw otherworldly beings, but no one saw both.

The folks who saw ghosts described them as being dead people who hadn’t yet crossed over to wherever the dead go.  They often float, drifting in and through furniture, walls, etc., They generally feel sad and lost.    The folks who see ghosts said the ghosts talk to them, in one instance with the ghost saying its name and where it had worked.

The folks who saw otherworldly things all agreed that such creatures didn’t walk through walls, and didn’t seem to be floating (although sometimes you couldn’t see what they were sitting or standing on).  Otherworldly beings tend to use doors, stairways and open spaces to move through.  When they don’t use a physical door or hallway, they seem to be using an otherwordly door, which has a fixed position relative to our physical architecture.  Outside, they sometimes move into a tree or feature of nature, but not through it as part of their line of movement.

For purposes of this discussion, I don’t lump ancestors in with ghosts, because in my mind, ancestors have passed over to some sort of Happy Hunting Ground.  While I haven’t seen an ancestor that I knew in life, at least one of the Pool has.  Ancestors look more or less like people.  Otherworldly creatures (which I think are probably what witches would call faeries, but that word is so loaded I can’t bring myself to use it) can sometimes look like mostly like people, but don’t feel human, as though your subconscious mind recognizes that something’s “off.”  Mostly otherworldly beings look like something you might read about in a storybook.  Well, maybe one of Neil Gaiman’s storybooks (think Coraline).

I’ve often wondered if that’s because I’m processing them through some internal filter of my own, or if that’s how they’re projecting, or even if that’s how they really are.  (So do you have giant eyes because you’re searching for something, or because you’re a Peeping Tom?)  Mostly I tell myself not to get hung up on that, because frankly I find it too disturbing to dwell on.

How it starts and where it goes

Those in the Pool who see otherworldly things agreed that their Sight started with seeing things in their peripheral vision.   Then things would pass through their line of sight.  It’s usually the movement that draws your attention, and you get a glimpse before whatever it is fades out or moves on.

Things start by appearing as a dark or light shape, like a solid shadow.  Some of the Pool felt the things that appear as dark solid shadows have a more wholesome feel, and the lighter solid shadows often feel sinister.

And then you’ll occasionally see otherworldly creatures in full color and three-dimensions.  Some of the Pool say at that point, they’ve instinctively cried out or spoken to the beings, because, let’s face it, you would, wouldn’t you?

It’s a sliding scale between solid shadow to full-color-3-D.  At some point, you’ll find your gaze is snapping to their eyes, because generally humans look for a face in things.  (Even buildings and sidewalk cracks, that don’t really have a face.)  Not everything you See realizes you’re looking at it, but occasionally you’ll startle an otherworldly being that suddenly realizes you’re Looking at it.  Which is weirdly gratifying to me, because they’ve startled me.  Plenty.

Sometimes you don’t See something, but you can Hear it.  I’ve never been able to make out the words, but the times I have Heard something, it feels as if I can almost make sense of it.

Most of the Pool agreed that if you’re trying to See something, remember to glance up, because some of the things you’ll see are taller than us.  Also, sometimes you’re seeing something, but it’s so large it’s hard to pull into your focus from your particular vantage point.

The Moment of Truth

Some of the Pool members agreed, laughingly, that they reached a point where they went from saying “I wonder if I Saw something?”  to “Shit!  I just Saw something!”

I believe there must be some continuity to the beings we’re Seeing, because a few members of the Pool have described seeing the same beings in the same general area over the course of several years.  And we’ve been able to fill in enough details for each other that we believe we’re Seeing the same being or beings.

During the busy season, the dog can See and react to something, that I can then glance over and See it, too.

Geography Matters

Some places, and some portions of a house, are busier than others.  The plane separating busier from not-as-busy often cuts through the house, as though it were following an otherworldly feature.  So the back half of the livingroom, back bedroom and courtyard beyond of one Pool member’s home was a busy area, but not particularly the rest of the rooms or courtyard.

Helpful Hints

  1. Alcohol doesn’t blur the Sight.  While it might steady your nerves, you’re not always going to have a glass of wine handy every time you See something.  So I wouldn’t recommend it for those of you who may be freaking out a bit over Seeing things.  Trust me, working on some sort of control is much better.
  2. It’s easier to See in the dark.  Maybe because there’s more of a blank slate to work with?  Turning on the light will help tone things down, but won’t stop you from Seeing.
  3. If something is giving you the creeps, it helps to move towards it, follow it or try to find and have a Look at it.  It’s almost as if it’s a bit of fun to give you a scare, and certain otherworldly things will keep it up as long as they get a rise out of you.  Take it from a girl who used to avoid looking up, going into empty rooms and looking into mirrors – the faster you try to look these things in the eye, the faster you can feel comfortable in your own surroundings.
  4. A sharp gaze will dispel something more quickly than a soft focus.  So if you’re trying for a longer look, work on developing your peripheral sight and keeping a soft gaze.
  5. Pick your battles.  You may not want to go around telling one and all you’ve got the Sight, unless you want an intervention and /or a stay at a mental institution.
  6. Most important of all — keep a wide range of friends and interests, so that you stay well rounded.   It’s not good to immerse yourself in metaphysics.  You’ve got friends and family that love you, a job to keep so you can afford a roof over your head.   Don’t go off the deep end.  Keep your magical life balanced with other, more mundane interests.

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For Hallowstide

For those of you who —  like our merry band — celebrate Hallowstide after October 31st, below is one way we’ve worked it with good results.  It’s actually from last year’s ritual done for the book club group, hence the ceremonial wordings.  As always, change it up to suit yourself, speaking from your own heart.

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Set up your altar with a skull, or representation of a skull.  We used a pottery skull with old skeleton keys crossed in front of it, as crossed bones, or “feet.”

Light candle beside skull,  saying

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From this fire, exorcised unto our need, spring forth now the Cunning Fire, which sits between the horns of our god.  Be Thou a lamp to light our ways, and a beacon to call forth our Beloved Dead this night.
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Knock three times, then say:

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By my Will I shape this throne
And call our Dead upon this Bone
Come ye in my Master’s Name
Until I send Thee back again

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Breathe life into skull, until you feel it stir and waken.

All stand in circle around altar.  Take up a red thread.  Each person ties knots into their thread, in the fashion of a snaim.  More about this another time, but for now — Don’t touch the thread with either forefinger at any point during the process.  Bring the thread to your forehead while concentrating on your intent, then down in front of you to tie the knots, then to your lips to whisper the name of one of your Beloved Dead, or to send a general call to the Ancestors.

Tread the Mill, stepping sideways and moving widdershins.  Pass thread deasil.  Whisper names of Beloved Dead, interspersed with “One by one and all together.”* Keep steps slow, but allow chant to increase in volume and/or speed.

When the Mill reaches its natural conclusion, one at a time, each person takes a thread up to the altar.  Offers a sign of love or respect (usually kissing the “feet”), then places bead end of thread into eye socket of skull, holding the other end.  Commune.

Remove thread, take up candle and pass around head 3x, to “take in” the cunning fire.  Rejoin circle.

When all have communed, perform a housle**:

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For our Ancestors, our Gods and ourselves, we do this.
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(((Knock 3 times)))
Here is bread, the life of the Earth,
Blessed to give us life and strength.
I consecrate it in the name of the Witch Father
With my left hand I bless it (mark it with goosefoot)
With my left hand I shall eat it.
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(((Knock 3 times)))
Here is wine, filling the cup with abundance
I consecrate it in the name of the Witch Mother
With my left hand I lift it,
With my left hand I shall drink it.
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Holding the cup in your left hand still, bring it near your lips, and say
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I drink this cup in the Witch Mother’s name:  She shall gather me home again.
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Then drink a little. Everyone who shares from the cup should say the same, holding the cup with their left hand, before they drink.
After everyone has shared from the cup, everyone should eat a piece of the bread- tear or cut it apart, making enough pieces for everyone. As you bring the piece of bread, held with your left hand, near your lips, you should say:
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I eat this bread in the Witch Father’s name, that I might have of his cunning fire

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Make an offering of bread and wine into a bowl.

Make subsequent toasts spontaneously from the heart.

Make the final round in silence.

Pass the bowl around for each to anoint their forehead with mixture in offering bowl.

While this happens, one of your number says:

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As some is taken, so is this given
By the sons and daughters of the family of the Old Faith
I give it to the Ground
I give it to the Pale People below
That above and below will become one
For what is taken is truly given
And what is given is truly taken
The day and night are wed
As the living and the dead.
Here is shown a mystery.
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Anoint skull.

Close the Skull, saying:

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In my Master’s Name, I bid you depart to your proper place, and be there love between us ever more.  So mote it be!

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Silently, each person takes up a candle from around the circle or on the altar.  One of your number takes up the offering bowl and starts a procession to a quiet place outside.  This could be a place where 3 trails meet, or any place you find good for leaving offerings.  In our case, our Magister is at the end of the procession, because the “Devil takes the hindmost.”

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Pour your offerings onto the ground, “To our Beloved Dead”

Leave your candles burning by offering.

Turn and walk away, without looking back.

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May you and the Ancestors be blessed!

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*Peter Paddon uses this phrase, and I like how it works.

**If memory serves, these words are a combination of Robin Artisson’s red meal and American Folkloric Witchcraft’s housle.

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