Pagan Goddess Mystical Rites - An Introduction
In March 1992, I had just finished compiling Sabrina's lectures and writings for "What Do You Call a Female Stud" and started, or rather restarted, a rough draft of The Priestess and notes on the ancient Egyptian religiona and Pagan Goddesses. The transition in going from modern religious intolerance to ancient spirituality struck a cord of disharmony, with the realization that there is no bridge between the mystical-mythical past and the pseudo-scientific-psychic-occult of the present. There are dozens of books on myth, or which attempt to interpret myth through comparative societies, but which, except for Hamlet's Mill and the works of Peter Tompkins, are blind to the spiritual. On the other hand, the hundreds of books that purport to deal with the spiritual are little more than regurgitated religious dogma. Those claiming to reveal mysticism center on JudŠo/christian/Islamic and far eastern occultism, or on the "magick" of Witchcraft, the Druid, or other Celtic practices. As sincere as the authors may be, none deal with mysticism as it was taught in the ancient Mysteries. Then there are the books of pure imagination that attribute the wisdom of the past to extraterrestrials who came to earth at the dawn of time. It is rare to find those who realize that there is more to the ancient past than our modern concepts allow us to imagine.
Look at the colossal monuments of Egypt that were transported hundreds of miles down the Nile and then across the desert's sands. How did they get there? Did a foreman stand on the lap of a two million pound stone statue and direct oil to be poured on the dry desert sand from a gallon vase to help 172 workers pull the monument across the desert floor as the pictographs depict?
If so, then the oil was not only the slipperiest substance unknown to man but one which must not have been absorbed by the desert sand.1 Or is the vase something more? Is it possible that the vase is not really an object, but rather a symbol? After all, the Egyptian wrote in symbolism, and their entire culture was one of mysticism and symbols. That is why we find the God, Hapi, holding two similar vases in His hands. From one he pours out knowledge, from the other he pours the water of the Nile. If we take the vase literally, as Egyptologists do, we must believe that Hapi floods Egypt with water. Yet Hapi is the Water Carrier, the Greek Aquarius, who stands in the Spring sky preparing to pour out knowledge, not water, when His turn comes in the heavens.
Mysticism deals with symbols, and symbols conceals and reveal knowledge. To the inept the workers pulling the colossus are slaves. Even the Egyptologists who view them as devoted workers by the way they are dressed fail to understand the significance in the direction the workers heads are turned, or the number of workers and how they are represented. These are all symbols, and it is symbolism that allows even the most ignorant occultists to believe that the Age of Aquarius will follow the Age of Pisces. They know little of what this means, or even when it will occur. After all, astrologers stopped the movement of the heavens 15 centuries ago, and they understand little of what the ancients knew. They look at the sky through fifteen hundred years of christian teachings and see ancient symbols through Jewish or christian precepts. Then with minds made feeble by ignorance, they are unable to unlock the knowledge these symbols conceal. None are mystics.
The ancient Romans considered the Age of Pisces to be the dawning of a new age, one in which, as Virgil joyously wrote, "Justice returns, returns old Saturn's reign, with a new breed of men sent down from heaven."2 But Virgil was no prophet, and the Justice of which he dreamed would become a nightmare of injustice. The "new breed of men" would turn out to be the christians, who like the Giants before them would destroy the gods. Virgil spent his early life studying ancient myth and searching for his Muse. He knew that the ancients had foretold that the rise of Pisces would bring about the demise of Egypt and he rejoiced in it's destruction, disdaining any concept of bowing to Canopus. Yet even Virgil was blinded by a false hope for the return of Saturnia regna,3 Rome's Golden Age. The signs were there. Egypt was no more. The symbols were there. Virgil simply misinterpreted them.
Three thousand years before Virgil, the Egyptian oracles foretold the coming of the age of "dreaded fish," when Egypt, its language and religion would be destroyed and lost forever. The Egyptians understood. It was the will of the Gods, and while fish was forbidden to be eaten by any priest, the priests and priestesses were, nevertheless, resigned to their fate.
The earliest Egyptian pictograph for Pisces are unusual by modern standards. Today astrologers symbolize Pisces as two fish swimming in water. The Egyptians, however, depicted the fish as being outside the water. They are tethered together, one on each side of the water, as though to contain the fluid between them. That is precisely what the Piscean Age did. The Fish of Pisces encompassed the water--the Egyptian symbol for both spiritual and profane knowledge--and stifled it. Five hundred years after the beginning of the Piscean Age, the world entered the Dark Ages of christianity. A thousand years later, when the west emerged from that darkness and ignorance, it found little of the ancient knowledge to have survived.
But there is more to the tethering of Pisces to be found in the myth of Pisces. Typhoeus, the fire breathing 100 headed son of Gaea appeared one day in the battle of the Titans and set the Olympians in flight. Zeus transformed himself into a ram, but was captured and upon being freed by Hermes struck Typhoeus with lighting bolts which drove him to take refuge under Mount Etna in Sicily. Hermes (Thoth) became an ibis; Apollo took the form of a crow; Artimis became a cat; and Dionysus (who did not exist until after the battle of the Titans) was said to have become a goat. Aphrodite and her son Eros were sporting on the banks of the Euphrates River and took on the forms of a pair of fish, and the event was later immortalized by Artemis who placed two fish in the heavens as Pisces. Pisces, thus, became as a warning of the day when Goddess of Love would be tethered like a caught fish.
In an attempt to recreate some of that lost knowledge, modern Druids run around Stonehedge in white robes uttering chants which they can only hope are symbolic of the past. They are most certainly sincere, for they, like the modern Wicca, have heard or read that there ancient rituals, and they wish to recreate them. Modern Witches and goddess worshipers gather in sincere convocations to perform newly invented rituals which are created to compensate for their lack of knowledge. Modern rituals like Drawing Down the Moon does not really draw down the moon. Rather it is supposed to draw the spirit of their goddess into themselves--as Ovid would say, "if you can believe that." Whatever the ritual, it most certainly is nothing like that performed anciently by Aglaonice, the daughter Hegetor, who actually drew the moon from the sky. The followers of Aglaonice were never so naive as to believe that their High Priestess drew down some unseen spirit into herself. No! Such claims would have been laughed to scorn even in that day when superstition ruled. Aglaonice, like her namesake 2,000 years earlier, was the High Priestess of Thyia who had introduced the worship of Dionysus to Thessaly and every Bacchae 4
was enthused by the Spirit of their God.5 The drawing down of the moon was an observable phenomenon, something even the non believers could see. As the High Priest of Thyia, in the direct linage of Aglaonice, I can only shake my head in wonderment at what people invent and call knowledge. Modern Wicca can't even imagine what is done in the ritual, let alone know how to perform it. They have read somewhere, that someone heard of someone who had been told by someone, who had read somewhere that there was once a ritual called Drawing Down the Moon. Being ignorant of the ancient ritual, they have invented what they sincerely believe is spiritual knowledge.
But we cannot fault the Neo pagans for their lack of knowledge, for if they did not learn most everything from the Christians, Jews and Moslems, then they learned it from the Hindus. It is such ignorance that makes bridging the past with the present so difficult. Unfortunately, the material from which to construct that bridge is mostly rotted or filled with the worm holes of cacodoxy.6 What material is left is scattered--set in disarray--so that one may find a bit of knowledge here, some understanding there and wisdom buried only at the bottom of the mess. It would be helpful if some of the knowledge we seek was preserved in the Neo pagan religions. But there is little to be found there.
The high priests and priestesses of most of the Celtic religions know so little of ancient practices that they accept fables as myth, and practice rituals which "carry as much conviction as the traditional three-dollar bill." Their concepts are often not even Celtic and their occultism is little more than Catholic heresy warmed over. They rile against being associated with Satanism, even though Witchcraft is technically a demonic child of Catholicism.
Satanism and Witchcraft did not exist before the Catholic, borrowing from the Jews, created them. There was no Devil, or Satan before christianity invented him,7 nor was there a Black Mass before there was a Catholic Mass. Rather, Catholics created Witches as a heresy to provide worshipers for their newly created Devil. And while Christians could not destroy their devil, they could expose his followers by Inquisition and force them to confess their heresy before hanging them or burning them at the stake. Neither punishment of course shed blood, which somehow by christian logic, kept the executioners untainted by blood and imbued him with christian morality.
This is not to say that there were not Pagans who had many of the trappings of what christian called Witches. After all, much of what the Catholic Church believed to be Witchcraft was derived from Pagan practices. The Christian devil, became a composite of ancient Pagan gods. He had horns and hoofs like Pan and Dionysus, he carried a 3 prong spear or trident like Poseidon or Neptune, he had lizardy, reptilian skin and a tail like, Kecrops and Leviathan and was fiery red like Helios. He often had bat-like wings like the Babylonian cherubim.
In England the Wicâ had their Wicce who were the female bestowers of knowledge. But the Wicâ was not the Witchcraft of christianity. Wicâ did not worship the christian Devil or anything that even came close to resembling it. Rather, Wicâ worshiped the many Gods of Nature and claimed that power of Nature for healing, casting spells and fortune telling. Unfortunately, christians call anyone who casts spells a Witch, and it is this ignorance that allows them to refer to Circe and Medea 8 as Witches. The Greek poets, who knew far more than any christian, called Circe a Goddess, and Medea an hecait, or follower of Hecate. In late Roman times Medea may have been called Strega, but WITCH was never a word used by either the Greeks or Romans.
Wicca, which is the modern term used by many Witches, comes from the Wicâ and is actually the masculine form of Wicce. Men were Wicca, women were Wicce. Today, however, Wicca is used as a gender neutral term by Witches. This presents a credibility problems for those who claim to adhere to the olde ways, when they call their women Wicca. Likewise, those who call themselves "Wiccan" either they do not know, or do not care, that Wiccin is the spell or enchantment a Wicce cast. It is this forgetting of the past that allows Christian terms to dictate what a Witch is. Christians have proclaimed Witch to be wicked the ancient Wicâ were of the Willow Craft, and it is from the willow 9 that wicker is made. The christians made wicker into wicked and Neo Pagans who change the christian term Witch into Wicca, do not change its christian origin as too many modern Wicca still retain many christian elements in their worship. The most obvious is the Sabbat, which, despite all claims to the contrary, is derived from the Jewish Sabbath, which was derived from tha Assyrian, Sabattu (a day of rest for the heart).
It is only those who have divorced themselves completely from Jewish/christian concepts and follow the Olde Religion, are truly Wicca and Wicce of the Wicâ. The problem is, so few know what the Wicâ is, and knowledge of the Olde religion, for the most part, is sourly lacking. Too often, the modern Witch doesn't even know who the gods of Wicâ are and we find Witches claiming to worship Diana, who was never a Celtic Goddess. Rather, Diana was the Roman form of the Greek Virgin Goddess of the hunt, Artemis. Neither Diana nor Artemis had male priests,10 and their ancient priestesses were required to be virgin.
Other Neo pagans claim to worship the Horned god as consort of Diana. But Diana and Artemis had no consorts. After all, Artemis, when yet a child, was granted any wish she desired by her Father, Zeus. (Atrimis is said to have been born full grown from the head of Zeus, and her childhood was as a grown woman.) Her wish was the gift of eternal virginity, and it was granted. The Celtic Horned god was unknown to the Greeks and Romans whose ancient Horned Gods were Dionysus, Bacchus-Bromius, Pan, Faunus and if you want to stretch godhood, the Roman general, Cipus.
There were also horned Gods among the Egyptians, Sumerians and the Dravidians, but their worship was completely unrelated to that of the Celts. None of these ancient Gods and Demigods would even admit to being worshiped by the Neo-pagans nor would they even know "what" is being worshiped.
As for the Celtic gods, the modern Celts know little about them. Their gods tend to be confused with those of Greeks and Romans, who are often worshiped by modern Witches in very different ways. The Greeks and Romans were able to merge their gods and goddesses because the two peoples were linked both by ancestry (though often spurious) and ideas. No such link exists between the Neo pagans and ancient ideas. Instead modern occultists have replaced knowledge with emotion, reason with feelings and make fantasy their reality, while confusing symbolism with imagination. But even their imagination is stifled.
In the past twenty years there has been a strong movement among feminists to return to Goddess worship. But the goddesses of these new movements are little more that female versions of the christian god, a Jesus in drag so to speak. Feminists read into the past that which never was, and create goddesses in their own image who represent their own ideals. Few are willing to accept the ancient Goddesses as they really are because they are too unlike the ideal of the feminists, too unchristian, too sensual and far too sexual. Religion is what the believer make it, and religion has always been perceived by emotions. Emotion needs no logic or reason. It requires no proof. What it requires is a sincere belief, and the Neo Pagans, like the Christians, Jews, Moslems and Hindu are filled with sincere belief.
Some may think the baby is being thrown out with the bath water; but when you wash away all the dirt and mud that cover ancient knowledge, little is left but muddy water. There is neither form nor substance. This is an unpopular position. It does not sit well with those of the New Age, Neo-pagan and Witches who like to believe that they have spiritual knowledge. It certainly flies in the face of Christianity and its bastard offspring, the Protestants. Nor can the Hindus and Buddhists sit smugly back thinking that knowledge must inevitably point in their direction. On the contrary, they can offer no more than the Christians, Jews and Moslems.
Claims of ancient knowledge must not, however, be "invented ignorance" which is passed off as wisdom. It must be based on the past and reveal, or allow, the reader to discover what is hidden. That is the intent of this work. We shall examine some of the knowledge that survived the Inquisition, and hopefully point the way for the reader to regain--or gain anew--some of the spiritual knowledge of the ancients. Of necessity, our inquiry will begin with the Greeks. For although the Greeks were not the inventors of knowledge, nearly all of what the western world knows and believes, came by way of the Greeks. That is, the Greeks borrowed their knowledge from other cultures and after modifications, transferred their redactions to the Romans who in turn made yet further redactions. We could begin our search with Sumer or Egypt, but eventually their religions, ideas and concepts would have to be reexamined through the bastardized concepts of the Greeks.
There are many who would like to avoid this path, as they believe that the present and future rests in changing the ancient ways to conform with modern knowledge. But modern spiritual knowledge is an oxymoron, and those who seek to avoid the past, possess little or no knowledge of the ancients. None are priests or priestesses who have been ordained by the Gods and Goddesses. The best they can claim is an intuitive knowledge which is little more than imagination.
This was brought home to me shortly after I had completed the first draft of this work. A friend invited me to lunch with Kebrina Kincade, psychic to the stars. I had met Kebrina at a party twenty years before, but this was the first time we had an opportunity to really talk. When the subject of the "great destruction" which all Christian psychics predict came up, my friend told Kebrina that I did not believe in Jesus.
"What do you believe in?" she asked.
"I am a Pagan."
She went through the roof. "How can you be a Pagan," she demanded. "Pagans worship the devil, they kill children and sacrifice goats."
After telling her that Buddhists and Hindus are also Pagans, but that I was not a Buddhist or Hindu, and the word actually means "civilians," as opposed to the Christian Milli, who were enlisted in the army of Jesus, she insisted that I should not tell people I am a Pagan.
"It has too negative a connotation," she insisted. "It pushes the wrong buttons for people."
I agreed that it did, but added, "I would rather be called a Pagan in disdain, than be called a Christian in honor."
A great deal of human nature was reinforced for me that afternoon. I have known since my youth that most people have a bumper-sticker mentality. The whole of their intellect is reduced to slogans; "Jesus saves," "ban the bomb," "just say no," etc. Philosophy, "the endeavor to discover by systematic relations, the ultimate nature of all things," is incomprehensible to such people. They make "live a good life," their pseudo-philosophy. They want simple answers to complex problems, because their minds are geared for simplicity. But what was made clear to me that day was not that people learn "what to think," and not "how to think," for that was a theme of this work. No, what I learned is that people have bastardized Descartes, "Cogito ergo sum" ("I think therefore I am") to Cogito ergo est, "I think, therefore it is." Their very thoughts, no mater how irrational, become reality. Truth means nothing in the light of their imagination.
This is most evident in the conservative factions of society--the "Right Wing." The religious right is expressed in radical "fundamentalism." It is in these fundamentalist religions, Christians, Moslems, Zionests and Jews that we find militants killing others because of their beliefs. In politics the "right wing," is expressed in Fascism, Naziism,11 Communism and among the religious "right" who hold political power. The leaders of right wing, whether religious or political, are expected do all of the real thinking for their followers.
This has caused me to rethink the focus for this work. For while the focus must be on ancient knowledge, it appears that the reader will also have to know what to think, as well how to discover why he or she should think that way. The goal of course will remain the same, that is, a search for spiritual knowledge, where to find it, how to get it, and how to use it for power today. And in doing so, the reader may discover the Goddesses.
What is presented here and the pages that follow were originally entitled The Priestess which was begun in 1987. A final draft was completed in 1992, and some of the pages were altered from the original and converted to HTML in 1997. The original chapters are being converted to HTML and will be added to the site in their original form as they are completed.
1. The Colossus would have required a bed at least 25 feet wide. Assuming that oil one hundredth of an inch thick would coat the dry sand-bed, ever foot and a half of travel would require one quart of oil (assuming the surface was perfectly flat)--less than 6.5 feet per gallon--20,600 gallons per mile, 2,060,000 per hundred miles--all of which would be poured from a gallon vase.
2. Eclogue IV:6-7
3. Saturn's reign or rule.
4. Bacchae were the followers, both male and female, of Dionysus, who is called Bacchus by the later Greeks and Roman. Among the worshipers of Dionysus are the Thyiades, His priestesses from Thessaly, and the Maenads, His priestess from Maeonia in Asia Minor, some of whom Dionysus brought with him to Europe.
5. Enthusiasm means literally "possessed of the Gods".
6. Cacodoxy--false doctrines. Literally bad doctrine
7. The biblical Lucifer (light bearer) Satan (Hebrew, adversary) of the Jews have little in common with the devil of Christianity.
8. Medea (the eponomous mother of the Medes) was the daughter of Aeetes, the oldest brother of Circe. Hecate was the daughter of Perses (son of Crius and Eurbyia) and the Goddess Asteria. While Hecait, whom Circe says came from Egypt, was the daughter Perses and the Pleiad, Asteria. There was also a close connection between Hecate, Circe and Pasiphae, as Perses was also the name of their younger brother. Hecait, in Egyptian, was not a goddess, but rather the term for an enchantress--a witch if you like.
9. The most ancient written reference to willow comes from the Greeks, whose myth has their god, Apollo attempting to bind the two-day old Hermes with willow (wicker) cords, which fell off as quickly as they were tied.
10. Diana was an ancient pre Roman Goddess, quite different from the Greek Artemis, but had so completely taken on the personality of Artemis by the time of the Republic as to make the two indistinguishable. There were men dedicated to Artemis, who were called priests, but they were in fact priests of Her brother, Apollo. These so-called priests of Artemis all claimed descent from Amyclas and Meliboea the only son and daughter of Niobe and Amphion to survive the wrath of Apollo and Artemis when they slew the Niobids. Amyclas and Meliboea later killed their father, Amphion, after he attacked Delphi in a vengeful fit of grief over his slain children. Meliboea's name was changed to Chloris, and it was she who married Nelius, and became the mother of Nestor, three generations before Troy. Again, the "priests" of Artemis came only through these these two lines and did not in fact officiate for Artemis--that was the duty of the priestesses--but rather officiated as priests of Amyclas and Chloris in worship of Artemis
The so-called priest of Diana were not called Her priest, but rex nemorensis, "King of the Grove" or "Woods," and were protectors of Diana's sacred grove on Lake Nemi in Aricia. The worship of Diana at Lake Nemi was not ancient, but was introduced by Laevius Egerius, on behalf of the Latin League, as their protector in battle. And there was never a Priest of Diana until modern times when self-appointed males made themselves priests of a goddess of their own creation.
The Nationalsozialistische Deutche Arbeiterpartei (N.S.D.A.P.) or Nazi party was essentially the German form of Fascism. And while Communism had its origin in the concept of "common ownership of all things," that changed with WWII, so that the Communist State, wherever it existed or exists has taken on most of the aspects of Fascism. But Fascism is a term for a "political attitude" which makes the nation-state or the race or church, its power or development, the center of life and history. It is the exaggeration of absolute nationalism which entirely obliterates both individualism and humanity. It relies on "Power Politics" and "Real Politik", to make all theoretical considerations subservient to the "inexorable dynamics" of the situation.