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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


You're of the Dobunni, the original Celtic tribe of Witches. You live in a traditional Iron Age Celtic roundhouse. Like houses everywhere, it shows forth a likeness of the cosmos.


In the center, the round hearth, with its living, undying flame.

To the right, the Men's Side.

To the left, the Women's.

Interestingly, the seat of greatest honor is where the Sides meet: directly across the fire from the door.

Door, fire, seat.


Men's Side, Women's Side: the language of ritual preserves these ancient usages, meaning “men generally,” “women generally.” The metaphor was originally a spatial one: “side” here meaning not “team” or “party,” but “side of the fire.”

I've long known of this traditional usage and its associations, but have wondered for equally as long: right and left sides as seen from where?

Well, I now know.


Archaeologist V. Gordon Childe records that among the shorefolk of the Outer Hebrides, such traditional spatial attributions persisted into the early “20th” century.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Minoan 3D, Part 4: Faience plaques

This is the last in a four-part series exploring 3D elements in Minoan art. Find the other posts here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.


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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Experiencing the End of the World

Dreams about the world ending often signify that there are fears and anxieties in your waking life, usually about something in your future. If there are big changes coming your way, this dream can represent your world, as you know it, coming to an end. All things must come to an end eventually, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less frightening when they do. Though you might be traveling on unfamiliar roads, remember that the ending of one chapter leads to the beginning of another.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Zoos and Zodiacs: The Lascaux Shaft Scene – Alistair Coombs


At the end of the rites of man-making, the new-made men line up and receive their ritual scarification.

(You're never fully a man until you've shed your blood for the People. Same goes for women. This was true back when; it's still true now.)

These days, we have a new custom. Once the New Spears have received their scarification, those of us who somehow or other have managed to make our way to manhood without benefit of rite line up and get our scars too.

(In the old days, of course, there would have been no need for this. In these darksome times, alas, there is. Manhood without benefit of rite: disgraceful.)

That's how I got mine. If you look closely, you can see them, right here on my left pectoral.

Near the heart.

At the time—shame be upon me—it never occurred to me to ask the elder who cut me what they meant.

Now it's too late to ask. He's gone.


You know those old stories about how the Devil nips you on your shoulder-blade (left again), and that's your witch mark?

Same mark, different place.

Still near the heart.


A while back, I realized that, after all these years, I finally understood what the marks meant. Once I knew that, everything fell into place, and it all made perfect sense.

Naturally—once I'd thought of it—it seemed perfectly obvious: as if, indeed, these were the only possible meanings that these scars could bear.

We bear this knowledge on our body.


If you go as deep as you can go into the famed painted animal cave of Lascaux in France, you'll come to the Shaft.

Climb down to the bottom of the Shaft—it's about 14 feet deep—and you'll find, by the flickering light of the fat lamp that you've carefully carried with you, the only image of a human being in the entire cave.

It's a famous scene (but was it all painted at once? we don't know): a wounded bison, its guts hanging out, charging an ithyphallic man who seems to be falling backwards. Beneath him is a bird on a stick. A witch-man, perhaps? (That's how you say “shaman” in Witch.) We don't know; we never will.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

My morning coffee ritual is basically a sumbel, since I make toasts. But after each toast, I listen to see if the gods have any messages for me.I toast Odin, Honir, Lodhur Who Is Loki, and Thor. In the afternoon, I toast the goddesses with tea. I might make a toast with a more traditional beverage from time to time as well. At any time, whether I'm specially listening or not, I might receive a message from my gods. This has been happening since I wrote the unpublishable novel Some Say Fire, and in the process of writing learned to hear the gods, as I detailed in some previous posts. Here on Gnosis Diary, I talk about my gnosis a lot, unsurprisingly. Here are some of my recent gnosis experiences.

My gods very rarely tell me not to do something. As I mentioned years ago, when I was writing the post that eventually became Good Knowledge, Bad Teacher, my computer repeatedly glitched until I took it for a sign and changed my focus. After that I asked the gods to please just tell me when they want me to do or not do something. A few years ago I blogged about when Loki told me not to go spread anarchy in the desert, and I found out later that night someone had stolen the idol of Sekhmet from her temple and the angry goddess was walking the desert right then. (Eventually the temple got a new statue. But the temple was never the same after that and there was a schism in the local pagan community that I blogged about in my post Rebuttal of TERF Values.)

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Tips ’n’ Tricks: Written in Stone

Gems and crystals can give us messages and warnings or powers of persuasion and perception. Here are a few examples:

  • A fossil or a gem containing a fossil, such as amber, will lengthen your life span.
  • Jasper carved into the shape of an arrow will be a magnet for good luck.
  • If your malachite jewelry chips or breaks, beware! It is warning you of danger.
  • Malachite gives great success to salespeople. Keep a malachite crystal in the cash register and wear it during trade shows, presentations, and meetings.
  • Moonstone is the dieter’s power stone and helps maintain youthful appearances and attitudes.
  • Serpentine worn around a new mother’s neck helps her flow of milk.
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs



'...In All the Greater Temples'

Long ago, the Horned God was worshiped “in all the greater temples”, to use Gardner's pungent phrase.

(Well, maybe not all, but why pass up a snazzy quote like that?)

Then came the Great Forgetting. When he wasn't forgotten, he was reviled. Oh, our lives were the worse for it.

A few of us remembered, though. Always we missed him. In the consoling darkness, we whispered to one another prophecies of his Return.

Well, guess what, folks: the prophecies were true.

In a traditional society, now, remembering, we would make a lament for all those Lost Years.


Get Out Your Sieve

In terms of structure and realized characters, Goat Foot God (1936) is Dion Fortune's best novel: better, really, than either Sea Priestess or Moon Magic.

Which, of course, is not to say that it's a good novel, mind you. (As a friend once put it, “Dion Fortune couldn't write her way out of a chalk circle.”) But—unlike her turgid and (frankly) unreadable non-fiction—it has at least characters and a story to embody her ideas. The casual (and gratuitous) racism and unquestioned class prejudice of one who presumably regarded herself as enlightened should stand as a warning to the reader to judge her ideas on intrinsic merit, not on authority. Caveat lector.

Still, it's her novel about the Horned God and his Return. That you've got to love and, indeed, on that topic she has much to impart. As for the bugs in the flour...well, sift carefully. The sieve is a traditional witch's tool for a reason.

The Great God Pan she describes, in Christian idiom, as “God made manifest in Nature.” The novel tells two stories simultaneously: one of an early 20th century Englishman with a serious Vitamin P deficiency (talk about a pungent phrase), and a 15th-century English monk who rediscovers Pan via some Greek manuscripts.

Well, we need our stories from the Lost Years, too: so we remember “...or, failing that, invent” (Monique Wittig).


A Lament for the Horned

As epigraph to the book, Fortune cites four stanzas from her Rite of Pan. Rereading them recently, I found myself thinking: Well, there's our Lament for the Horned.


The Goat-Foot God

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