Twelfth night. Yule itself and Christmas too have come and gone. Family gatherings have happened, we’ve comforted ourselves in the darkness with rich foods; roasts, figs, chocolate, wine and more.
Now our group turns its attention to the symbolism of Octarine – the colour of magick, the north & midwinter. We gather for these rituals by the hearth of the Covenstead. In the corner of the room the Christmas tree twinkles its little lights. A large reproduction of Atu XV – The Devil, Lord of Misrule and capricious midwinter goat – graces the temple. There are drums and rattles for music (an essential component for our meetings) and the altar glitters with peacock feathers, holly and festive lights.
‘The colour of magick that can be described is not the true colour’. Octarine sits outside of our symbolic categorisations; it is beyond what we know and, more directly than the other ray of the chaos star, points towards the ungraspable nature of the Mystery.
We open the temple with the Gnostic Chaosphere Ritual (version 1.8), and pass a cup of ginger wine round the circle, which summons a warming, seasonal glow. The first ritual is the ‘Octarine Pineal Gland Working’. In this practice we install a homunculus in our brains, a miniature visualisation of ourselves, sat in the core of our brains, massaging our pineal bodies. The internal adept gently rubs the gland and from it the octarine secretions are released, flooding through the whole being. This magickal fluid opens us to the transcendental. Causing the brain to unfolds like a flower blooming in the night, unfirling like a receiver to cosmic consciousness.
The Brother leading the ceremony plays the singing bowl and thingshaws, and we sit for a while under the winter stars, bathed in octarine radiance.
In the next rite we conjure ‘The Chalice of Becoming’. Our Sister has drawn water from the sacred spring of St. Aldhelm, and this is poured into a silver cup. Using gestures and sounds at each direction the elements are called. The chalice is carried round the temple as we move to each quarter, the sacred water absorbing the words of power that we speak, quivering in sympathy with the moments we make.
We sit while a singing bowl sounds; meditating on what it is that we need, what we feel the drive to Become. When the meditation is done we each speak our desires aloud into the water, pronouncing our words over liquid so that it absorbs the vibrations of the sound.
We leave the temple and, in the garden, pour the clear (or is it octarine?) fluid onto the cold, dark earth.
Our next ritual is part of an on-going series of workings, delicate political magic and not something I can go into too much detail about at present. As Princess Irulan remarks in Frank Herbert’s Dune ‘A beginning is a very delicate time’. Suffice it to say that ‘the colour that must not be named’ was summoned to create a bridge between our group and the spirit we want to work with. It is perhaps lawful to provide a link to the music used for this rite HERE.
The final ceremony of the meeting concerned the impossibility of containing the Mystery. I’d been enjoying the work of an American fundamentalist preacher and considering how all his spiritual knowledge was refrenced to the King James version of the Bible. Understandable but still strange how we seek to limit, to know, to create certainty, even in our dealings with the Mystery, or God or whatever one wants to name it.
Still skyclad from the previous rite, we pulled the powers of the eight directions into our circle. Asking for illumination from each of the eight colours of magick, from the sabbats and energies associated with them.
I wanted to call on the power of perhaps one of the earliest spiritual frames of reference, and to this end, had been researching the Yezidi and their key symbol of The Peacock Angel Tawûsê Melek. The Yezidi religion looks very like an ancient paganism of the middle east, wrapped in almost as old wrapper of text and tradition which (arguably) reaches back to the deep time of Göbekli Tepe and Sumer. The lustrous shine of the peacocks tail reminded me of octarine and of course the irridecent transformative stage of alchemy. Then there is the suggestion that the Yezidi (in common with Wiccans and Heathens) hold the north as the most sacred direction of the compass.
We made prayers. These had to be from memory and so for many participants they were those from the Christian tradition, the framework for the sacred that many of us learnt as children.
I then read the words of Tawûsê Melek, as given in the Kitab al-Jilwa, The Book of Revelation:
I lead to the straight path without a revealed book; I direct aright my beloved and my chosen ones by unseen means. All my teachings are easily applicable to all times and all conditions. I punish in another world all who do contrary to my will. Now the sons of Adam do not know the state of things that is to come. For this reason they fall into many errors. The beasts of the earth, the birds of heaven, and the fish of the sea are all under the control of my hands. All treasures and hidden things are known to me; and as I desire, I take them from one and bestow them upon another. I reveal my wonders to those who seek them, and, in due time my miracles to those who receive them from me. But those who are without are my adversaries, hence they oppose me. Nor do they know that such a course is against their own interests, for might, wealth, and riches are in my hand, and I bestow them upon every worthy descendant of Adam. Thus the government of the worlds, the transition of generations, and the changes of their directors are determined by me from the beginning.
Then we sat again in meditation, considering for ourselves the spontaneous, surprising and unlooked for moments in which we had each encountered the Mystery. Moments perhaps arising from ceremony or other spiritual work, but particularly those times where these experiences, of gnosis, of ecstasy, had appeared unbidden. We remember those times when our revelation over-turned our expectations and previous beliefs. The times where the octarine Mystery burst the banks of our paradigm and inundated our reality.
We take a moment to listen for the unstruck sound in the deep midwinter.
Moving from this space. We now open ourselves to the wild delight of Mystery, of the midwinter goat, and dance to the words of our fire-and-brimstone preacher, re-purposed as an invocation to Baphomet HERE. The god who has no myth, the deity without fixed form, the freakish hybrid of unknown possibility – Io Baphomet!
There is food and music and delightful conversation later that night (and another sermon from our favourite pastor, this time testifying about the pineal gland and illumination HERE). The year turns towards the light and, with full bellies, thankful of our riches and curious of the unknown nature of the year ahead, we step into the Mystery.