Onward and Upward

To the dear folk who have subscribed to this blog; my sincere gratitude to all for your patience, as I am aware that there has been a lull in new ‘blog posts’ of late.

The tide is shifting once more, and we in the north find ourselves within the tide of Candlemas, stirring forth and venturing onward and upward, please join me as I migrate from this site and continue at:

http://www.manofgoda.com

Blessings of the tide to you and yours,

Flags, Flax & Fodder.

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Ring out, Ring in…

© 2015 Illustration by Nigel Jackson; amended by Man of Goda.

© 2015 Illustration by Nigel Jackson; amended by Man of Goda.

Flags, Flax & Fodder,

Gestumblindi


The Innocents’ Song

“Who’s that knocking on the window,
Who’s that standing at the door,
What are all those presents
Laying on the kitchen floor?Who is the smiling stranger
With hair as white as gin,
What is he doing with the children
And who could have let him in?Why has he rubies on his fingers,
A cold, cold crown on his head,
Why, when he caws his carol,
Does the salty snow run red?Why does he ferry my fireside
As a spider on a thread,
His fingers made of fuses
And his tongue of gingerbread?

Why does the world before him
Melt in a million suns,
Why do his yellow, yearning eyes
Burn like saffron buns?

Watch where he comes walking
Out of the Christmas flame,
Dancing, double-talking:

Herod is his name.”

 ~ Charles Causley (1917-2003)


The Devil’s Calvacade

Lo! Lo! Lo!

The horn doth blow!
Beyond bound and hedge
The Hunt doth show!

Tear asunder!
Rip my flesh from bone,
Each howling gust
Brings my soul back Home.

Father! Brother!
You know Your own,
Tear across the Land
On Night Mares shown!

Not one is safe,
Hidden faults are known,
Embrace the Other
Or fall alone.

The Hunt doth pass
My heart doth slow
His breath within,
All secrets known.

Until next time, now..
Go! Go! Go!

Flags, Flax & Fodder,

Gestumblindi

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Darkness Visible

Lammas-tide, has offered a time to reflect upon the process of growth, flowering, harvest – of both the states of being and becoming. It lends me the use of such natural imagery of sowing, reaping etc.

Lammas-tide, a time to reap either a full or sparse crop dependant on the quality of soil and how the externals have been filtered before reaching the seed.

Let me start my thoughts with what many would deem the ‘uncomfortable’; darkness, silence, feelings of solitude. Many would see such as a cold and unforgiving state. Personally, I think we should see this as an inexhaustible fullness.

The earth freshly cleaved offers within its bosom a natural state of darkness, the hum of silence within, true ‘being’ according to its self, no more and no less. Within the all encompassing depth of the silent dark, a seed may be found. The strength of such a thing is found within the nutrient-rich surround of darkness, its succour in the efficiency in which the silence is able to greet the fleeting externals. Away from this centre of silence the externals may find form as either torrential downpour or tepid drizzle; yet the silent dark embracing seeds of promise will merely offer waters of nourishment, regardless of the external condition.

Once strong enough, the seed will sprout, break the surface of its silent womb and in maturity will offer itself and the fruits of its existence to the world.

Musing upon this imagery, the process of ‘seed’ development, with what do we identify our selves? Are we the seed? Are we the developed plant or are we the fruits of such? Could we possibly be the fertility of silence, purity of Being in its dark fullness? Or are we an unspoken utterance, the inaudible “fiat” between the formless and the form?

Blessings of the tide to all.

Flags, Flax & Fodder,

Gestumblindi

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Parts or the Whole

To be ‘holy’ is to be whole, to have all parts reintegrated as One. By default this must include All, from creature to environment, divinity to human, all as One, All is One. Separation is but an illusion (albeit a necessary one in circumstance). Let it be known that it is no coincidence that health, wholeness and holiness all share the same root in the Germanic tongue.

Living in an age where global boundaries have been broken to degree, and yet paradoxically there seems a greater isolation (at grass-roots level) than ever before. Community is all but gone, no longer there seems cohesive units but merely a greater collection of parts.

Immaturely there seems to be an attitude that persists of “me against society”, an “adversarial” two-fingers up at the World and its rules. People actively seek and shape themselves to become an adversarial character, holding a sense of pride for being an outcast. Traditionally, communities thrived – outcasts died. Traditional Craft is no different, its roots aren’t to be found in a faux revival of academia’s portrayal of “historical witchcraft”, complete with its imps drinking from secret teats. It’s roots are to be found in groups of Peoples. What may have been labelled as “witchcraft” by outsiders was simply the “our way” of the People. A folk, a People within the clanship system lived and passed on through the generations certain forms, ways of living, ways of perceiving, ways of being within the whole, their way. As a folk, this will be a living, breathing transmission of reality, not a stagnant worldview entrapped as words on paper.

Today we are living tomorrow’s folklore.Please reflect on what these words may mean for you. This, I believe, is the essence of traditional transmission.

However, there cannot be a folklore in the absence of a ‘folk’, a community. So, those who pride themselves on being on the fringes of society or outcast by all, realise it is a false rebellion, you are only there because society has put you there, you have merely willingly cut off your connection to community. But may I ask, for what end?

To be outside of your clanship, your own people, is a dark prospect; to willingly be banished from such is a dread-filled circumstance. Traditionally, individuals were known primarily via their relation to others (so-and-so’s son or daughter), rather than individual notions of “achievement”, this was merely a secondary concern after provision and safety of the community is secure. Is it a coincidence that with the development of Christianity and it’s supplanting of more indigenous values that concern for the individual self became more apparent? Individual salvation and individual damnation the just desserts of an individual’s life. I think it is difficult to ascertain with confidence one way or the other. What is clear to see now though, is the allure of individual over community, “modernity” over traditional values.

When the stars fall from the skies which will you be a part of; the “adversarial” one-person island of self, or the cohesive whole of true community? A people, a clanship, a tribe, call it what you will – it is traditional mechanics of existence at any rate.

These words may be seen as “adversarial” to some cherished view, yet this is never a label which I childishly covet. Instead, I aspire to be holy, healthy, whole. It is my hope that these words aren’t greeted as the Enemy but instead are viewed as a hope to heal. From self-imposed isolation to a necessary wholeness.

Flags, Flax & Fodder,

Gestumblindi

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A Contemplative Craft

It is unfortunate that many who aspire toward what is termed Traditional Craft see it as being a means of material acquisition or domination over an external.

“What can I gain if..?” and “I can have power over…. if I….”

Rarely do I hear the likes of;

“This process had revealed ……. about my nature..” or

“This working shall enable me to overcome this shortcoming in my persona”.

‘Soap-boxes’ are ever fashionable, here I climb on mine…

People bewail the tyrannies of a materialistic/capitalist system…. just after they have attempted their umpteenth ‘money spell’ or have just bought their latest deluxe cloth bound edition of a fleeting text.

Folks cry aloud at the atrocities of war….. once they have put down the poppet or blackthorn rod ‘cursing’ their troublesome colleague.

Worldviews are held so long as they confirm one’s personal agenda.

Therein lies the crux of the matter.

Persona and its agenda are temperamental, they shift according changing environments and circumstance. As one accumulates or loses throughout life, wants and needs of the individual change accordingly and so does the paradigm one accepts which will confirm the ‘rightness’ of one’s ensuing desires and aspirations. Persona isn’t permanent, how many times have we heard “I’m a different person now.” or “This is the new me”. Yet we are enamoured by the temporal wants and reinforcements of ‘who we are’ and try and grasp them as frozen stills in Time. Constantly one tries to emphasise ‘this is who I am’ through what they acquire in life. More truthfully I believe the statement should be ‘this is what I think I am at this moment’. It is the illusion of separation that lies at the root of unbridled domination and exhaustion of resource, each ‘part’ wanting more than and be ‘better’ than the next.

The deeper one delves into one’s Craft the more one loses themselves. The more one discovers about their environment, their motives, their wants – the more one realises that they indeed are not held by or solely identified by such transient things. At the core, when all dross and distraction is filtered away, we discover that we are Timeless, we are eternal, we are that which has always been and will always be, that which finds itself in All.

Only then, at that experiential realisation that All is in All, will Truth be known and the round of Life trod accordingly.

For what does one truly craft throughout life if it is not the discovery of One-Self?

Flags, Flax & Fodder,

Gestumblindi


A Voice Reclaimed

Beloved Lady, do you remember me,
One who’s voice has been lost in the wilderness?

Battle-worn, each scar that I bear,
A token carried marking my love for You.

Kinship’s bond; that I am and will be,
Is found within the dreams and deeds of my People.

Woe befall all who sully Your name,
Weal to those who hold no breath outside of Truth.

Whisper’d song, a sonnet to Your favour’d, a doom to the treacherous.
Your beauty beguiles, a snare to the unready.

Willingly laid, awaiting Your verdict, am I ensnared or embraced?
Staves have long-been carved, yet I will be last to know…

Flags, Flax & Fodder,

Gestumblindi

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(“Kreimhilde’s Revenge” by Harold David Johnson)


Solve et Coagula

It seems that many wish to change the world, be it on a grand scale or on the smaller scale of one’s ‘personal’ world, being that of immediate circumstance. Fewer people, however, look to change themselves. Fewer people, scrutinise long held views, beliefs, habits and other attitudes and behaviours. Many quote that stasis is stagnation and death, that the Cauldron of Existence can never ‘be still’ but few have Faith to apply this statement to their own becoming. Note here, how I have chosen to use the word ‘becoming‘, it alludes to the idea that we are not ‘there‘ yet, we are still working through and moving ahead (we hope!) in the process of Being.

Yet many people seem comfortable in the current crafted form of their persona; ‘this is who I am, this is where I choose to stand in the world, I know my strengths, weaknesses, I know myself because I have made myself‘. If only this majority could see that they in fact do not know themselves in the way that they think they do, they only know the constructed projection of their persona. To know their true Self is indeed to know God; when God is realised the desire to nurture or hold a persona fades. In the words of the New Testament, Matthew 16:25:

“For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

What are we to do then?

Personally, I feel that we have been given an opportunity, through mortal life, to realise ourselves as conscious conduits and transmitters of Divine Virtue. We seek to do this with open heart and mind, being Truth-full and accepting the raw material containing impure dross in which we must initially work with. A Crafter cannot craft if they do not learn and accept the nature and properties of the raw material with which they wish to work with. We are all a composite of the ‘metals of antiquity’, though we each hold them in differing amounts and purities. The Crafter in the initial stage may wish to assess the composition of their raw material and know to what degree they hold each metal. From then they may garner insights in how to test and temper their ‘work in progress’, how to adjust the levels of each metal, so that the finished piece in which they are working towards is a Work of Strength and Beauty.

Tubal Cain, my Clan’s tutelary deity, I personally see Himself in one aspect as the Master artificer of my Being, I am his apprentice. As I ‘progress’ in life, I improve by degrees until my Work speaks for itself and I too am the Master artificer of my Being. The world as His forge, He shall raise the temperature of the Forge and adjust its environment so as to test and shape specific ‘metals’ at specific moments. There is a thought that the Divine shall place us in situations in which we shall ‘learn’ what we need to throughout existence, I propose that this is His adjusting the forge to allow us to work the metals towards the necessary balance. The more we neglect the necessary balance the greater the shock when we are forced out of the status quo; we can either work with our own initiative or be prepared to have circumstance forced upon us. As I approach a proficiency in my Crafting as His apprentice I shall be able to see in what circumstance or environment each metal is being tested, then I shall be able to act and mould accordingly, I will not be passively subject to Fate and circumstance, I will be actively working with the bestowed environment. When, in my apprenticeship, I may arrive at the lofty proficiency of Master Artificer, I will be co-creator with Tubal Cain Himself, I shall raise and lower the temperature of the Forge as necessary according to a purified perception, in changing myself I will be changing the World.

“When Man triumphs, fate stops and the Gods are defeated – so you understand the meaning of magic now. Magic and religion are aids to overcome Fate, and Fate is a cradle that rocks the infant spirit.”

~ Robert Cochrane

Flags, Flax & Fodder,

Gestumblindi


Learning to Die: Devotion to the Cause

The words of my mentor and Magister, Robin-the-Dart, echo in my ears;

“You are the Craft.”

As seems to be his trademark enigmatic style, a single seemingly-simple statement can contain worlds of possibilities within it.

The past 15 years or so has seen a marked increase in the interest in Traditional Craft. It offers something ‘different’ to the frequently milked cash-cow that Wicca has been treated as. Unfortunately, I have seen some try to steer Traditional Craft down this same route too. McWicca, and if some had their way, McCraft, a dish that I wish not to see served.

So let me get one thing straight and possibly be provocative;

There is NO such thing as a generic Traditional Craft.

Anybody who tries to sell a notion any different as a fact should be left well alone. Ignorance shall breed more ignorance and dogma shall be a result.

What Cochrane, John (Evan John Jones) did and currently Shani Oates offers to do now is highlight to seekers of ‘Other’ that there is another way to what is commonly espoused. In Cochrane and John’s time this was to make apparent a pre-existing alternative to predominately the invention and development of Wicca; whereas in the current time the main protagonist seems to be the ‘dogmatic’ and limiting ideas of what constitutes so-called ‘real’ Traditional Craft. Personally, I only know the Old Craft based on what was passed on to Robert Cochrane, Evan John Jones and Shani Oates & Robin-the-Dart. I can speak with full awareness that I have the support and guidance of my People and our ancestors. I cannot speak authoritatively in regards to any Craft tradition that I am a ‘Cowan’ to or any path that an individual wishes to carve out for themselves. This courtesy should of course, extend both ways.

The Old Craft as I know it, as one of the Clan of Tubal Cain, isn’t concerned solely with Thaumaturgical matters, with the sole utilisation of either Folk Magic or Ritual Magic; the aspiration of the soul, seeing and living in Truth is, in my experience and opinion, a much more laudable pursuit for Crafters.

To quote Robert Cochrane:

Magic is only a by-product of the search for Truth, and holds an inferior position to Truth.

Magic, in Cochrane’s opinion and so, by a necessary extension, the opinion of the Clan, is a product of the soul in its aspiration and therefore an ‘after-thought’. How ‘topsy-turvy’ those who declare themselves stalwarts of ‘Traditional Craft’ have got it in comparison to Cochrane’s view! Instead, people want to nurture a nostalgic infatuation with bottles of piss and rusty nails! All to declare themselves followers of a historic practise and supposedly therefore ‘authentic’ Craft! Not in my ancestor’s name I’m afraid.

The value of the Old Craft today is that in it lie the seeds of the old Mystery tradition.

~ Robert Cochrane

This doesn’t equate to superstitious tomfoolery that empowers the ego but a pathway in which the tenets of Truth, Love and Beauty are not only expressed but most importantly – realised. For one cannot fool the gods without fooling themselves first in the attempt. Without awareness, one at best will be enacting a mummers play without meaning, no matter how good one’s intention may be. At worst, one deludes not only themselves but also deludes others too, if done wittingly, a great dishonour to Life, to Truth, will be occurring, and may the gods and the ancestors of the perpetrator cast them out from their kinship.

The Old Craft I know, is a path of Devotion, Surrender and Sacrifice;

Take all you are given, give all of yourself.

Any magics thence forth shall be utilised to live fully in the awareness of Truth, not to encourage banal pursuits of lovers, wealth and creature comforts. Once we have learned to die, we will find Truth, once we have found Truth, we shall truly know how to live.

Flags, Flax & Fodder,

Gestumblindi