Pagan Paths

It’s a common thing to hear that there’s a difference between our magical lives and our mundane lives. In reality, we have the ability to step into ritual and devotion each and every day.

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To Keep Silent - Listening and Remembering

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It's mid-day. The air is crisp and cool. The fog is clinging to the tops of the redwood trees, wetting the forest floor with something not quite rain yet more than mist. Sunlight makes it's way, through leaves and branches to the duff below and highlights patches on the ground. I can see spectacular rays of sunlight, filtered and spreading out like fingers, illuminating stumps and bright green lawns of moss.

I'm standing still. The air and I are both still. There's no birdsong, just now, not even the distant croaks of the sentinel ravens, roosting high above me. It's as quiet as a forest can be. Practically silent, in fact. I take in one long breath and let it out with an even longer "ahh!". It is the only sound I'll utter for the next few hours as I wander about this oh so familiar spot in the woods.

I cross the creek bed on a low, bridge that looks like a pallet. There's water here but not nearly enough. One of my dearest mentors and friends often camps near here. Many other people do too, but for some reason I always think of this as "Urania's" bridge. In the silence I can hear her laughter and the particular way she says "Oh Gwion! Yep. That's a tough one alright." and then leaves me gobsmacked as she drops profound, hard earned wisdom on me.


Just beyond the bridge is a swimming hole. I've stood naked here. I've done ritual here. I've let the cold, cold water wash away my troubles and bring me back to life. In the silence and stillness, it's easy to recall all that's happened here. The magic I've worked in the past is still here, ever working, even in the the silence. Perhaps, because of the silence.

I wander along a path. Here I crawled, covered in mud and sticks. There, friends drew sigils and wrote powerful words on each other's skin. Just under that circle of redwoods, a person sat a few years ago and sang the morning awake with the most lilting, aching, beautiful voice I've ever heard. And I can hear it again now.

I've entered the main ritual area. It looks somehow smaller and larger all at the same time. There are no chairs, no drums, no left over blankets, no signs that this place has been home to a hundred or more witches, spiraling around roaring fires, singing our hearts out for much needed change, for nearly twenty years. But in this silence, in the "no sound" that is here today, I can see all of their faces, I can hear all of their voices, I can remember each and every spell that has been uttered here. The words are still here. The songs are held in the trees. I can add to the magic again, meet with it, strengthen it, let it support me. All I have to do is stay silent and listen.

Just over another bridge there's an old stone chimney. I don't know the history of it, perhaps there was an old cabin there or an outdoor oven. To me, it's always been an altar for the Mighty Dead of our tradition. Mercifully, there are still few of them. Looking at the spot where their pictures are placed, I'm suddenly aware of someone standing behind me. The hairs on my neck stand bolt upright and I'm covered in goosebumps. In the silence, in the stillness, I can hear the strong, clear voice of a a recently passed on camper invoking Fire. It's then that I realize I'm leaning against a bench dedicated to yet another of our Mighty Dead.


I traipse over to the dining hall, to the place I always pitch my tent, to the place I first taught witchcraft in this forest. Everywhere I venture, I can hear the magic, hear the calling, hear the drumbeat, hear the charge to take action, hear my friends and beloveds laughing, hear the voices of those I've been calling to, gods and mortals alike. I hear it all, plain as day, loud and strong and vital.

The Silence is anything but silent.


Note: All of the pictures are from my personal stash.

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I've been a practicing witch and ritualist within the Reclaiming Tradition since 2003. I love being in service with this community of witches and world changers.   My own practice, my own way of changing the world is through devotional practice. It's my belief that we can re-enchant our lives by re-framing the so-called "mundane" as sacred and divine. By imbuing the familiar with a sense of wonder and infusing daily life with acts of magic, we choose to consciously make all of life devotion. Whether we engage in large, public rituals or sink sumptuously into the pure ecstasy of eating a delicious meal by ourselves or meditating at sunrise, our daily rituals can draw us back into harmony with the world and each other.  


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