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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mystic Sun

The Great Mask of the God of Witches lives in a closed shrine in the Temple of the Moon.

Twice daily it receives incense, song, and prayer.

Weekly it receives offerings of food and water.

A light burns continuously before it.

But though the Mask dwells in mystic darkness, in these days and weeks following Grand Sabbat, I who have seen it tell you that a light shines forth from that shrine, a mystic light, a light as though there were a Sun within.

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In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Realizes That He's Both More—And Less—of a Purist Than He Thought

Check out HeatherAnn's jaw-dropping Great Goat/Black Phillip mask over at High Noon Creations.

Stunning. (And let's hear it for the model.)

It's enough to make any aigolater's* heart beat faster. Oh, the sabbats we could do.

Here's the catch. The mask is made from urethane rubber with NFT faux fur and acrylic eyes; its horns are lightweight plastic backed with a rigid foam.

The Minnesota Osser (sometimes spelled ooser, but rhymes with bosser), which for almost 30 years the witches of the Driftless have used at their Grand Sabbats, is made—in the old style—from wood, antlers, and leather. I am privileged to be its keeper. It lives in a shrine in my home, and I worship it with incense and offerings twice daily.

Call me old-fashioned, but it's difficult for me to imagine something made from urethane and acrylic as the recipient of cult.

Theological question: Granted this distinction between—shall we say, ritually fit and unfit components—could High Noon's Black Phillip mask be used at a sabbat?

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  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Well...while plastics and synthetics dont appear in natural form, after watching nylon be created in a chemistry class from rearra

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Upright Man

The first was a gift, of course—well, aren't they always?

—that Kelly gave you (he'd made it himself) one night

after one of those early sabbats in Shirley's basement.

Rite concluded, circle down, the rest had gone

upstairs to drink and party, but we—the young,

the pious, the naked—had stayed down by the fire.

 

Then suddenly it was on you, he was on you,

and the rite began, the real one: antlered

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mysteries of the Horned Lord

The mask—and, in particular, the horned mask—is generally reckoned among the mysteries of the Horned Lord; his priest wears it to personify Him in ritual. As such, it is also accounted a men's mystery.

Why?

As is usual with the archaic, ones looks for origins to humanity's perennial preoccupation, the getting of food.

As such, the mask originated as a strategy of the hunt.

To disguise your scent and outline, you wear the head and hide of (for example) a deer. Here we see the origins of disguise generally.

It is also the origin of the personifying priesthood: pretending, in effect, to be who you are not. Disguise yourself as a deer and act like a deer, and it gives you a better chance of taking the deer that you need to feed both you and your People.

This also explains the Mask's specific (though, of course, not exclusive) association with men. Although among people who live by hunting-gathering, virtually everyone—regardless of age or sex—hunts as well as gathers, hunting is generally accounted part of the men's sphere, since hunting large animals is dangerous and (to be quite frank), in the larger life of any given society, men are more readily expendable than women.

To this day, the priest of the Horned still wears the god's horned mask at the Sabbat, and a sacred connection to our food-sources lies at the very heart of the Sabbat and everything that we do there.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    In one form or another, Tehomet, I suspect that these ethics have been around for as long as we've been hunting. They're our imme
  • tehomet
    tehomet says #
    I enjoyed this article, thank you. How old is that Charge, do you think?

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mask

And there's the mystery:

that down the long years

all manner of men have worn it,

yet somehow, in the end,

it's always him.

 

They say,

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ooser

Ooser (“Rhymes with bosser, not boozer,” I always tell people) is a term from what Sybil Leek would call the Language of Witchcraft. It denotes a carved and horned wooden head-mask of the God of Witches.

It's a dialectal word, of unclear etymology. Doreen Valiente suggests an origin from ós, the Old English cognate of Old Norse áss, “god,” better known to English-speakers in its plural form aesir. An ooser, then, would be a “god-er,” which, since it bears the god and is worn by his personifier at the sabbat, makes sound theological (if not etymological) sense.

The famous and mysterious Dorset Ooser is the best-known example. Also known, from its bull-horns, as the “Yule Bull,” it frightened generations of Dorset children until it was stolen from its hereditary keeper in 1897 and never recovered. Old Craft scuttlebutt would have it that it was “took” to get it out of cowan hands, and that it has since remained in ongoing, if private, use among witch-folk to this day.

Well, so they say. In its own way, it's even a true story.

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