Black water covers the earth, seeping down into the cracks, sliding into the hidden places.
Hallowe’en, Samhain in the direction of North-West on the wheel of the year, is a time of Black Magick.
We sat around the kitchen table, one Sister unable to join us because of the flooding, and played an esoteric parlour game. The challenge; write down a list of your top 13 deities. Having done so we can compare lists and make those knowing noises that one makes during a divination. Our selections are similar, with some deities being shared across a number of personal pantheons. Then another game; write down the first three words you associate with the phrase ‘Left-hand Path’ – more light-hearted but valuable insights into our group process.
We meet by the fireside. Banishing the space with the Gnostic Chaosphere Ritual (version 1.8) and make toasts to absent friends and the spirits and powers of the time. The first Work is the Black Mage hibernation rite:
The Black Mage magical hibernation rite: This working has been inspired by Michael Kelly’s writing on the Black Mage in Apophis and my own thinking on “Slow Magick”. The Black Mage for me resonates with the fecund earth and the unconscious, the primal rune Uruz and the Muladhara chakra. When we are able to work with the energy of the Black Mage we will hopefully access our unique primal power. The aim of this ritual is to loosen our bodily conditioning and then direct both power and intent toward planting a desired outcome into the dark part of the year.
Method: Opening with singing bowl, group breath work followed by 5 minutes dancing/seething to the track “Geneva” by Russian Circles (chosen because of its dark, overwhelming heaviness!). Once our body armour has been loosened via movement, we adopt the yogic asana “pose of a child” and groan the rune Uruz into the ground (x8) – thus planting our “slow” magic into the turning of the year. Close with prayer of thanksgiving and reflection.
For the next ritual we descent into the subterranean temple. This is work in defence of the ash trees in Europe which are threatened by a newly emerging disease. This ritual is the brilliant ‘Activating the Glass Harp Virus Smasher’ a full write-up of which can be found HERE.
Next our Sister leads a meditation. This is the Vision of Sorrow in Binah, framed by the symbolism of the four 3s from the tarot; The Three of Disk – Work, The Three of Cups – Abundance, The Three of Wands – Virtue, The Three of Swords – Sorrow. Cards placed in each quarter, we spend time sitting with these concepts. For my part I go through in my mind all the people I know and love, I say their name silently and acknowledge that they ‘will die’. I acknowledge the death of my children, my parents, my lovers, my colleagues and many more. And strangely as I follow the truth and constancy of death in all these lives I realise that it’s okay, the muscles in my face lift and I find that, by the end of our practice. I’m smiling. We’re all going to die, and that’s okay. We’re all equal and I feel compassion, equanimity and even joy in that shared commonality.
The next Work is my offering. Once more underground I have prepared a pentacle upon which smokes an incense of rich, sticky gums and the earthy scent of patchouli. Laying down the travellers in the vision are wrapped in blankets and a stone is placed upon each of their chests. This gentle pressure is their anchor as they travel backwards into deep time, into the moment of The Fall of Because – the mysterious imagined time where our species became estranged from the ‘natural order’. Each traveller holds a pearl. The physical anchor for the intention to transform the Fall into something else, to transform it with hope, with magick. As the members of our circle inhale this sacred smoke and settle back to journey, I switch on a track that mixes trance drumming with the Shepard Tone, and I tell them the story;
Think of all the problems in the world, war, species collapse, human generated climate change, mindless drone jobs, the surveillance state, nuclear catastophy, resource scarcity, famine, population pressures, violence, abuse, fear, pollution, slavery, rapacious capitalism that is literally, exponentially, eating the world…
Think of all the reasons why we might be in this state, technological processes, poor communication, alpha male dominator culture, writing, domestication, capitalism, democracy – why are we like this, how is it that we, humanity, are fallen?
Think of all the religions and the belief systems of the ages, who have tried to grapple with the problems of human nature, with their instructions for how to live, how to die, their ideas of suffering, of sin, of apocalypse, and perhaps revelation and redemption.
Think how many belief systems posit a golden age, a time in Eden, a time before we were separated from God. Before this Kali Yuga, before we were lost.
Think back now, back into history, our story.
Think back to the days of Victorian era, the age of our Empire, colonial expansion, of the wild piratical early modern period, back to the medieval of knights and castles, back to the ancient world those earliest of civilisations – the Sumerians, the Maya, all the way back to the first cities to Çatalhöyük, to Göbekli Tepe and before…
Back now further, back to those earliest of farmers, the first domesticated grains, the first domesticated animals, the first domesticated humans. The first State that counted production, enclosed fields, numbered the biological and controlled it with technology. And back further still, into deep time, into the world of our ancestors before we began to farm. Back to those hunter gatherer communities running through the forest with the deer. Back to the first fires, the first stories, back to the first words.
And back further still to the Nameless Wordless Aeons before our awareness arose, before the collapse into Nature and Culture, before our Fall.
Now from this deep timeline find the moment for you; that period in history, or prehistory, in the journey of our species, where you place the Fall, the ‘Because’ that determines our sense of separation into Civilisation and the uncivilised, nature versus culture, wild verses tame..that moment of the fall.
And there, in that moment place your seed pearl, your intention, and your hope in Pandora’s box. That glyph of the uniting of Self and Other, nature and culture, without Because and into doing. Place that bright hope into the moment of the fall so that by which we fall, we also rise, and we may fall no more.
Returning immediately, breaking into the Now our travellers are back. Knowing that The Fall has never happened. The chest stones are set aside, the pearls cast into a vessel of black water. We are each anointed with red-brown ochre, symbol of renewed life from the depths of the earth. In celebration of this we sing together:
We are ancient
As ancient as the sun
We came from the ocean
Once our ancestral home
So that one day
We could all return
To our birthright
The great celestial dome
We are the children of the sun
Our journey’s just begun
Sunflowers in our hair
We are the children of the sun
There is room for everyone
Sunflowers in our hair
Children of the Sun by Dead Can Dance
Finally for that night our Brother sets up a little Mexican Day of the Dead shrine in the centre of the temple. Peering into that tiny glass box, he reads a poem he has written. This reminds me of something I wrote about a Hallowe’en over a decade ago in Now That’s What I Call Chaos Magick about the beauty and power of simply listening, with right-attention, to inspirational text HERE.
Later one of our Brothers drives home. At one point his way is barred by black, fast flowing water. He abandons his car and wades his way across the flood-land delighting in the wildness of the experience.
In the morning the deluge of the night has broken into bands of rain punctuated by brilliant sunshine. My Brother and I watch Alejandro Jodorowsk’s The Holy Mountain and go for a walk out on the salt-marsh. The earth squeaks its’ water logged fullness, a rapid river, spotted with bobbing dead wood, is bound for the sea.
The following night I gather the leftover materials from our magick into a spirit jar; ashes, red wine, black water, pearls. Whereas the spirit house for Blue Magic shines with azure stones, blue spell cords and flecks of gold, this Black Magic vessel is full of a dark liquid in which are hidden five nacreous gems of hope.