Sex, Drugs and the Witches
Dark Lillith/Wicked Emerald
*This article first appeared in the October 2007 edition of Heads Magazine.
It’s a dark and stormy night; camera pans to a large mansion or old rundown house, stone facade or trashed wooden front, gargoyles that look like someone’s mother-in-law or scary dead tree. Let’s not forget the mandatory thunderstorm or ominous full moon. Camera moves again and focuses on an unsuspecting group of teens or young couple as they approach the old mansion or house.
More camera action and creepy music as the lens zooms in on a window candles, usually black, are all over the place, hooded figures, also usually in black stand in a circle amid much chanting of demonic sounding Latin “Sanguis bebimus, corpus edimus. Ave Satani!”
On the floor a pentacle has been painted and in the center of the pent? An altar. There’s some scary looking dude with a wicked dagger poised over the mid-section of a sweet young thang. A kickass chalice in the frame as well and you just know that it is there to catch her blood. The usual goat head or two just adding to the wholesome down-home atmosphere. These scary folks are Witches. Doing Satan’s work.
Of course, there is a problem with this scene. Witches don’t believe in Satan. Apparently, in Hollywood? This is a minor detail.
Ah, so it must be Halloween again! Munchie heaven. Dress up and live out your private fantasies, maybe in your Mom’s nicest frock and garter belt. Who am I to judge?
For me? For my crew? It’s Samhain, not Halloween. This is a major Sabbat, in fact, probably one of our favourite Sabbats.
You see, we’re Witches. The real deal, not your green skinned cartoon characters or New Age types “We All Come From the Goddess” fruitcakes; we’re the real thing, rituals, spells, hexes and when the mood hits? Orgies of food, drink and love to celebrate our Sabbats.
There are 8 Sabbats in all; Yule, Imbolg, Ostara, Beltaine, Litha, Lughnassadh, Mabon and Samhain. 4 of them are Fire Festivals, 2 celebrate the Equinoxes (Spring and Fall) and 2 celebrate the Solstices (Summer and Winter). Our Sabbats (Holy days if you prefer) celebrate natural events. They celebrate life, not long dead ideas and concepts. The Sabbats celebrate both the God and the Goddess. We are not gender specific. We acknowledge and worship both genders equally. Let’s face it, without both? There can’t be life and what would remain wouldn’t be worth living.
Traditionally, the God begins to gain strength at Yule and continues until late summer, when his strength begins to wane. The Goddess aspects worshipped go through a maiden, mother and crone transformation.
- Yule Winter Solstice. We celebrate the re-birth of the Sun. Days are starting to get longer. Gifts in honour of the re-birth are exchanged; much mulled wine, celebration and song. Traditionally, we meet the sun’s rise with banging of pots, drums or just a good old Hoorah. Neighbours aren’t really happy with this, so in the modern world, we scale it down and welcome the sun in the house/apartment on a much lower volume scale.
- Imbolg Fire Festival. The earth is beginning to warm and spring, new life and hope is on the way. Brighid, an old Celtic deity is honoured. She represents the coming season of birth, the Spring’s birth, the birth of the animals of spring. She is our sign of new hope, new life and a fresh beginning.
- Ostara Spring Equinox Days and nights are equal in length. Myth has the goddess Ostara as the symbol of fertility (we’re real big on the virility, fertility themes) According to myth, Ostara loved children; she had a pet bird (some say it was a raven but who knows? It’s a myth) she changed her pet bird into a rabbit to amuse the kids. The rabbit summoned up a bunch of eggs in all sorts of bright colours. Ostara gave the eggs to the children, hence the tradition of Easter eggs. Again, spring wines are used to celebrate and dishes that use eggs as a main ingredient are served. Much laughter, song and general fun.
- Beltane Fire Festival Fertility, love and the wonderful randiness nature and the Gods have bestowed upon us. Yup, a celebration of the act of love and procreation. Wine, women/men and song; activities that center on all aspects of procreation, birth and growth. This is a festival geared toward the younger, virile and fruitful members of coven although, older members are welcomed to celebrate as their supply of Viagra will allow. Another name for Beltane is Cetsamhain. Beltane is the polar opposite of the Sabbat, Samhain.
- Litha Summer Solstice Longest day of the year and the mark of days growing shorter. It’s a bittersweet time. Days are going to shorten but harvests are on the way. The grapes of the vine will be ripe and fields full of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains. Much feasting and “festing” is on the way. The Greenman or the God is at his peak at this time of year. More celebration of virility and fecundity.
- Lughnassadh Fire Festival and the first of the 3 harvests. Wine, women/men and song. The grains and the corn are ripe; the God is weakening and the Goddess begins to age. In some traditions, a mock battle is held; the Old Stag King must battle the New Stag King. Old Stag King always bites it. His time to rule is, pretty much, over. It isn’t as dismal as it sounds; now we get to celebrate the new King. Off with the old and in with the new; party time.
- Mabon Autumn Equinox Day and night are equal again, just as they were at Ostara. This is the second harvest. A kind of Thanksgiving really, the tables are set with the bounty of the fields. Underneath all that though, is the realization that another year is coming to a close and we begin to celebrate all that we’ve accomplished. It’s a time of meditation as well and a good many folks use other harvests to help them with the meditation process. Buds are pulled out and pipes stoked. Actually, whenever meditation is required, during ritual or just personal meditative work; a lot of Witches will employ various organics; more on this a little further along.
- Samhain Fire Festival (sow-in or sow-een). It is the original Celtic term for the last harvest, the time for culling herds and getting your shit together before winter hits. We also believe that the veil between our world, the physical and the other world,the Shadow World, is at its most thin. We employ various forms of divination and contact with friends, relatives and other loved ones who have passed from this veil to the next. The rituals themselves are pretty solemn, in keeping with the occasion but following ritual? Party like its 999. The costumes date way back, actually. The costumes were worn to fool evil spirits roaming around. If they couldn’t recognize you? They couldn’t hurt you. The thinning of the veil is a double-edged sword. Sure, it’s easier to contact departed friendly folks but the Shadow World isn’t only populated by nice folks, there are just as many, not-so-nice entities over there. We tend to be very careful when we employ any type of Shadow World contact. ‘Cause ya never know.
Samhain is actually closer to your New Year’s Eve except we’re celebrating the end of the year and trying to get our ya-ya’s in before the traditional dark, cold and killing winter. It is how we honour the memory of those long dead. We honour two Deity archetypes; the Dark Lord and the Bone Mother and yes, they are as dark as they sound.
They reign over both worlds, this one and the Shadow World. And They are always ready, willing and able to take you from one side to the other, unfortunately, it is usually only a one-way ticket EXCEPT at Samhain. Then They offer return trips.
Television, newspapers and movies roll us on out for a little vicarious thrill or two at this time of year. We’re ignored, pretty much, the rest of the time. No offense taken, by the way. You guys do the same thing to that chubby old dude with the red suit and beard.
I figure we’re in good company. The fat bearded guy takes care of the good cheer shit and we’re hauled out to scare the bejeebers out of you. If it works for you? It’s all good.
Of course the real difference is? Santa Claus is imaginary and we are very, very real. We’re your neighbours, your co-workers, your teachers and possibly, if you are really dumb, your enemies but not for long.
Don’t get your boxers in a twist; by the time you finish reading this? You may want to join us, not hide from us.
You’ll need a little more background first;
- We are polytheistic; this means we believe in more than one god.
- We don’t believe in the existence of the Devil/Satan. He’s a Christian manifestation actually.
- We believe life is meant to be enjoyed, lived to the fullest. Wine, women/men and song. Enjoying life, not feeling guilty because we’re having a good time.span>
- We believe in the power of Magick as opposed to the Chris Angel ‘pull a Chrysler out of my ass’ crap. Laws of energy are used to bend situations to our own will or needs. And yeah, that means not only your run of the mill love spells but a really good hex or two when required.
- We believe in the basic nature of the natural world, we’re a part of it. We aren’t masters of it. The survival of the fittest. Natural law was here long before we arrived and it will be around long after Green Peace and PETA have bit the dust.
- We don’t believe organic pleasures are wrong; in fact, we tend to celebrate all our major days with all sorts of natural treasures as well as those terrific “sins of the flesh.” These things are as much a part of nature as are we. NATURAL pleasures, not false pleasures manufactured in a lab. Those are not pleasures. We don’t endorse nor do we accept the use of chemicals. (Sorry.)
- We don’t believe in the Bible, the Q’ran or the Torah. We have no Holy Book that orders our lives. We command our own lives.We, essentially, make our own rules with certain laws in mind; call them Karmic laws for the sake of simplicity.
Which brings us to the whole sins thing; we don’t believe in sin.
- We believe that we are meant to do as we wish but we also understand that everything has a price. We choose whether or not we’re willing to pay the price.
Example? Girlfriend does your best friend? You put an, admittedly, well deserved curse/hex on the both of them.
Well, think back to your high school physics class; for every action there is a reaction. You better be ready for the consequences otherwise, back the hell off Jack! The reaction will be swift and immediate.
There ain’t no big book of celestial black marks recording your misdeeds. Screw up and you’ll get it back in the here and now; not after you’re worm food.
This leads to the “going to hell” thing.
- We don’t believe in the Devil or Satan so believing that he has some sort of subterranean residence with out of control central heating is, pretty much, ridiculous.
Another big thing that separates us from you?
- We don’t believe in a middleman. No one speaks to our Deities on our behalf. We believe Deities are omnipresent and available to whoever wishes a little conversation.
Life makes such conversations difficult. We’re running around, worried about money, worried about the bills, exams, tuition, jobs and the general sorry state of world affairs. It’s hard to achieve a state of mind necessary for enlightenment. Now, how can this be cured? Let’s see now, the magazine is Heads. How about some bud? A few ‘shrooms? Or some other herbal cure? Damiana for example; great herb for releasing those inhibitions. These things were used long before the government and its Draconian laws existed.
Using organics to achieve a meditative state takes practice (Can I get a Hallelujah?); every individual is different. Our physiology differs with regard to how much we need to attain meditative state as opposed to that pleasant comatose state. So, in this case? Practice makes perfect. (Can I get an Amen?)
Some Witches will use organics in ritual (kind of a mass for Witches); others will use it prior to ritual. Some don’t use it at all. It all depends on the individual’s ability to attain a state of total relaxation.
Again though and I have to make this really clear;
- We don’t use chemicals. No acid, no ‘X’, no Coke. These aren’t natural; they are manmade and run directly contrary to our beliefs. While we celebrate life and death; we don’t believe in hastening the whole death aspect of things.
The legends of Witches’ orgies and nekkidness and much fornicating? All stories have a basis in fact. The facts are, yes, there is nudity, there is lovemaking and there is much in the way of good, natural fun.
- We CELEBRATE life, love and nature; we aren’t ashamed of it. We don’t believe that sex is dirty or organics are wrong. So yes, orgies we hold, orgies of pleasure, food and fun.
Now, just like what has occurred with all the world’s belief systems; our own system has branched off. You’ll find all sorts of people out there claiming Witch status. We believe they can call themselves whatever they wish to call themselves; doesn’t necessarily make it accurate but who cares? You’ll recognize them, most of them are vegans, they don’t smoke, drink and rarely have guilt free sex. We call them “Fluffy Bunnies.”
They are usually all about the female aspect of Deity. Light, love and all that marshmallow, yummy stuff. The male Fluffy Bunnies are all about being in touch with their feminine sides. We, on the other hand, prefer our men to be men and women to be women. Neither stronger than the other, just different. If you are around them? You may feel like your blood sugar has suddenly gone through the roof and you have that nauseated feeling, like you’ve eaten way too much candy.
Another sign that you are in the presence of a Fluffy Bunny? Bookshelves lined with ‘authors’ such as Silver Ravenwolf, Scott Cunningham and that infamous Laurie Cabot of Salem fame. What you won’t find is anything by Ronald Hutton, Israel Regardie, Eliphas Levi or Uncle Bugger (Aleister Crowley).
Want to really know what all this is about? Read some Regardie, jump into some Crowley. Sort through Levi. Try some Isaac Bonewits for a more modern and humorous perspective. Stay the hell off the internet.
Fluffies know nothing about the darker aspects of being a Witch. They couldn’t summon a demon if their lives depended on it. In fact, a good lot of them don’t acknowledge the existence of demons. Demons are as necessary to what we do as celebrating the Sabbats.
A well know phrase for us? A Witch who cannot kill; cannot heal. This is usually accepted as a thorough knowledge of various herbal mixtures/tinctures and potions but it applies across our span of knowledge. There are entities who are summoned for one purpose and one purpose only and you better believe, the purpose has nothing to do with light or love.
Consider the medieval ‘flying potions’ rumoured to have been used by our forbearers; it contained belladonna, hemlock, wolfsbane, Morning Glory seeds. No wonder they thought they were flying; a thorough knowledge of these plants and their properties are a prerequisite.
If you don’t know what you’re doing? We’ll be contacting you at Samhain, as you sit, perplexed, on the other side, wondering what went wrong.
Are we evil? Are we scary? Depends on your perspective.
We scare the theocracies because we don’t believe in their right to exist.
We scare the governments and other sections of legislature and justice because we believe that we are responsible for our own behaviours; we don’t need some fat politician feeding off our sweat to tell us what is right and what is wrong.
We don’t need someone telling us what we should or should not be doing with this gift called life. We are the original Anarchists.
So celebrate Halloween or Samhain, celebrate it like never before.
Indulge your fantasy; that’s what it is all about. It is a celebration of life, love and all the natural world has to offer you. Winter’s dark, winter’s cold comes too quickly.
We are the ones who will open your mind.
Leave the weak and the haunted behind.
(10 000 Fists Disturbed)