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horned god ...

Calling the Horned Back Into History

 

With the wreck of the ancient world, it seemed as if the Horned had turned his back on history.

Never did he turn his back on the world itself, of course. Seedtime, harvest, the rutting, the yeaning, the running of the deer: these continued as ever they have and ever they shall, while ever the world endures.

But of history, of human history, he seemed to have taken final leave.

Then he came back.

Why?

The answer is both simple, and profound.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

What Happened to Moriyama's Fireflies ...

 

The dead god lies outstretched on the altar.

The white shroud, like a ghostly snowfall, blurs the horizon of his body. Over the red ruin of his chest, the stained cloth clings moistly, horribly.

Suddenly, from the woods behind, like some night bird, the voice of a flute.

Like flowing water, it ripples and rills, calling.

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 Wheat blowing in the wind | Tim Fletcher | Flickr

In all my years of pagan ritual, I've never seen anything like it: a spontaneous act of mass adoration, utterly organic.

Grand Sabbat 2022: the covens of the Midwest Tribe of Witches, gathered before our god.

He Whose Horns Reach Up to Heaven towers on the altar; we his people stand before him. Me, attendant to the god, I stand with the rest, beside the altar, rapt. He fills my eyes, my heart.

Behind me, beside me, I sense, more than see, a ripple of motion. One by one, in the presence of this Mystery, we bow to the ground, a wave of loving adoration, like wind through wheat.

(Talking with others later, I find that no one can remember why it happened, or how it started, only that it did.)

Now, witches in general are not bowers, nor do the rubrics of the ritual require it.

This, though, was no act of humiliation, of ceremonial self-abasement, but rather, paradoxically, an expression of collective pride: natural, unforced, its rightness like the rippling of a field of standing grain before the wind. Before the Mystery of our god, we bow.

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Hindu Red Thread Evil Eye Protection Stunning Bracelet Luck Talisman A –  www.OnlineSikhStore.com

 

“What's with the yarn?”

(Gandalf: that's the name of the buck-goat whose wool I'm wearing around my wrist: hand-sheared, hand-spun, hand-dyed.)

I've stopped to get ice on my way home from the Grand Sabbat of the Midwest Tribe of Witches. One's first time back in non-pagan space after a sojourn in Witchdom is invariably a little disorienting.

(“I'm cowaning out,” I'd joked earlier that afternoon, putting on a shirt for the first time in days. Folks laughed and assured me that I could pass or, at least, probably wouldn't get arrested.)

I tie this knot in Old Hornie's name: aye 'til he fetch thee home again. That's what they say as the thread is tied on. Then you don't take it off again until you get home safely. Leave it on until it falls off of its own accord, they say, and the God of Witches himself will grant you a favor.

People of the Red Thread, we're called. All of us have the Blood that goes back to old times—His blood—witch and non-witch alike. Some of us know it, though, and some of us don't.

Oh, the Sabbat and its weird glories. (That's “weird” in both senses.) Some day we'll die and rejoin that never-ending dance on the Sabbat-Field of the Buck. To some—his beloved children—he gives the unutterable gift of tasting this ecstasy, this state of simultaneous Being/Not-Being, while in life.

How do you explain all that to someone asking what is, after all, nothing but an idle question? As usual, I take the easy way out.

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A few months after the first Sweetwood Grand Sabbat—that's the tribal gathering of the Midwest Tribe of Witches, which takes place when the corn first ripens in the fields, and the berries hang red on the rowans—a long-time tribal member, while at the store one day, ran into some Sabbat first-timers that she'd met that year.

They talked for a while. When it was time, she said—we all get such a charge out of saying this—Well, see you at the Sabbat.

No, they told her, they weren't planning to go back.

Flabbergasted, my friend had to know: Why ever not?

It was too emotionally intense, they told her, and too culturally immersive.

Too emotionally intense, and too culturally immersive.

That's got to be the best bad review that I've ever heard.

It's also a thoughtful and articulate review. As we all know, the Sabbat is not for everyone. For those accustomed to the well-meaning but undemanding eclecticism of your average pagan festival, a crash course in tribal immersion like the Sabbat might well overwhelm.

But for those of us who belong, there's no place else like it. As Jeanne Dibason told the court at her trial in 1620, “The Sabbat is the witch's true Paradise.”

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