Lilith is the one crying out in the night when our lives have become too politically correct, shouting: ‘NO! I am here, I am real, let me in'.
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In one sense, magic is a process through which we influence events, producing an outcome to our liking. We cast a spell, we shape events according to our will. Borrowing terms from quantum physics, we collapse waves of possibility into actuality according to our intention.
In another sense, magic is a process of aligning our individual will with universal purpose. Borrowing words ascribed to Jesus, we might say “Thy will be done, O Lord, not mine.”
Both the Rite for Reconsecrating Our Womanhood and the Rite for Invoking the Sacred Feminine (each a sequence of 23 belly-energizing, power-centering movement and breathing exercises) culminate in the Alignment gesture enacting these words:
May all my actions be effortless;
may my heart’s desires be manifest;
may the universe accomplish her purpose through me.
As we align our individual wills with universal purpose — with the All-That-Is however you name this all-embracing Power of Being — what needs doing gets done. What needs to happen does happen: often playfully, by synchronicity and serendipity, as if by magic.
Our body’s center, our bellies, play into the magical process through the umbilical connection between ourselves and the worlds in which we live.
The alarm clock goes off, Aerosmith is playing on Planet Rock. There is a small white cat lying between me and my husband, her little head resting on my pillow. A spotted grey cat is curled up against the small of my back, sharing in the warmth. My husband gets up, showers and comes back to kiss me goodbye. I sigh, stretch, and slowly extricate myself from the sleeping, furry softness to greet the day.
Standing by the top landing window, overlooking my back garden and the horse paddocks beyond that, down the valley towards the little nature sanctuary, my eyes coming back full circle to see the sun, rising over the North Sea (I cannot see the sea from here, but it is less than a mile away). I let its light wash over me – sunny mornings have been few and far between, and with eyes closed I drink it in. “Hail to the Day, and Day’s Sons, farewell to Night and her Daughters. With loving eyes look upon us here, and grant peace to those living here. Hail to the Gods, hail to the Goddesses, hail to the might fecund Earth. Eloquence and native wit bestow upon us here, and healing hands while we live”. Another deep breath, and so the day begins.
Headings downstairs, I get food ready for the cats, and boil the kettle for my tea. The cats slowly make their way downstairs to breakfast. After getting my lunch ready, I prepare my own breakfast, and sit down at the table with a cup of nettle tea. “I give my thanks for this food I am about to eat. To the spirits of land, sea and sky, know that you are honoured”....
The question is, what are those roots? So many of us live in cultural exile as women, an exile imposed by the dominant religions, and we have been delving into our more distant heritages in search of a meaningful past. This process is a journey, along which our definitions and identifications shift as we go deeper.
I was part of the early feminist wave that reclaimed the witches, scooping that ancient word wycce up out of near-oblivion, and linking it back to women’s ceremony in an era before demonization. I found out, too, that wicca meant “male witch,” rather than being an archaic Saxon word for pagan tradition as a whole. So I opted out of using that name. But I loved learning about the Dutch cognate wickenrode, “witch’s rod,” meaning a divinatory wand, and finding an entire web of related words with animistic import. Over time I discovered other witch-names from various ethnic cultures, including veleda which belongs to a long and rich web of related Indo-European words. I reclaim its forms in both my Irish and Frisian heritages.
I’ve spent more than four decades trying to understand what was done to female spheres of power, spiritual leadership, the Divine in female form. How did we end up in a world so totally controlled by white men, by industrial, earth-raping corporations of a now-global empire? In college we were taught that male domination was a historical universal; there were no other options, and dissent on this point would not be brooked. Don’t forget, you’re being graded. Plus there are the other prestige hierarchies to think of. This situation has not improved, though exceptions exist....