About the Author
Ly's main area of study over the past twenty years has been the history of the usurpation of indigenous people through invasion, subsequent colonization, and the history and mythology of Ireland and Britain in particular. She is known to be very outspoken on matters pertaining to the sustainability and guardianship of earth and the rights of all species to self-determination.
Ly currently (2013) lives in Melbourne, Australia and is preparing to release the expanded and much anticipated 2002 sell out The Feast of Flesh and Spirit. She is writing her memoir Bednobs and Bastards/Memoirs of a Witch Queen and working towards a PhD.
For full bio lydeangeles.com
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
And the sign said, The words of the prophets
are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whispered in the sounds of silence.
-Simon and Garfunkel, The Sound of Silence
We are bombarded, daily, by the Great God Logos-the Word.
I listen to Lee Lin Chin or Mary Kostakidas (SBS World News) as they
tell of the (edited) events of the day and the events' current implications
And that's it, isn't it? The news is all about people: what people do to
people; what the weather is doing to people; how people are creating the
greenhouse effect; how many people and their homes are affected by fire,
flood, famine, drought; or else it's about the economy (another species
that is as sick or as healthy as people).
And the news is mostly tragic.
When you hear or read or talk about the news of the world, do you
fear? Do you anticipate?
What do you talk about with your family? What do you talk about
with your friends or your peers? What do you talk about with your
lovers? How often do you agree or disagree? How often do you agree or
disagree with each other regarding the opinions of others?
It's important to consider what we say, how we say it, why we say what
we do; it's important to consider what we listen to, why we listen to it.
It's always personal, you know-our connectedness to the Big Picture.
But so often the Big Picture is perceived as recent and not in the context
of its foreverness.
We're assaulted by advertising, by investment strategies, by the requirement to assist the economy by consuming, by a seeming world-need to achieve, strive, guard against, impress, gain, be entertained, and to fit in. It all becomes quite deafening.
Logos (words) trigger war and they implore for peace. They can soothe
or they can interfere. They can be spoken or written for the sake of being
spoken or written. They can manipulate, but they can also educate.
I love words, but I deplore too many of them or (often) the ways in
which they are used. Ah! But that's not the fault of the words themselves,
is it? That blame can be laid at the feet of those who use them without
care as to the effect they could have! And it's because of who those people are and the Mythos through which they perceive life that we cannot see eye to eye.
· The Seen-Real: first world-the day to day, Otherworld
· The Unseen-Real: second world (until we're there)
· The Seen-Real: second world also (when we're in it)
Mythos is a plethora of many worlds all interconnected. People can (and
do) inhabit more than one world: the guy down on the floor of the stock
exchange jabbing at the air and yelling can be fully immersed in the
Mythos of that world. Then he goes home. He eats a little, then showers
and changes into his ritual garments, casts a Circle with his athame, and
transports himself into his other world; his other Mythos . . . . and this world is not the same as the first world mentioned above. They overlap, surely, and each affects the other. What is the same is one who walks between them-the one who travels both of them. When this person enters into the Mythos of magic, he or she enters into a world where time, as is generally thought, does not exist.
Mythos can only ever be experienced and understood as a result of
that experience. It changes us . . . and words don't matter. Logos can assist us to access the Worlds of Mythos (which is what this book's about), but words themselves can never take you there. You go there because you already co-exist with these worlds, and Logos can act as the mirror into which you peer to seek your own reflection.
The second world-the Mythos of magic (which you will find throughout
this book is called draíocht)-is as experiential as the world of the floor
of the stock exchange to the man who knows them both, but the traveler
who walks the second world journeys from the Seen-Real (the stock
exchange) and contemplates the Unseen-Real (the image of the second
world), whereby it becomes the Seen-Real (because he's experiencing it).
What happens to us, as a result of traveling between one Mythos and
another, is that we change. Not only do we change, but the world (that
others think of, perhaps, as the only world in existence) changes also. It's
as though we trail filaments of the places through which we travel back
into the day to day, affecting it and changing it a little at a time.
Creativity, in all its many guises and expressions, is the result of these
journeys into the Unseen-Real and of bridging Mythos to Mythos.
Do you ever wonder why so many books that were written in the past
and claim to be futuristic, fantasy, or science fiction actually, from the
viewpoint of the present, seem prophetic?
This book is essentially about accessing the experience of Mythos.
Mythos is a way of expressing and experiencing forever in a time and
place scenario. That's easy to do because you live forever and experience
everything. One small part of living forever is the body of the person you
Do you know that you've been alive Forever? That the memory of Forever is encoded into every cell of the body of you? That the hydrogen
atom, the iron atom, the mitochondrial DNA that expresses the pattern of
you, now, and the flora and fauna living and breeding in your gut and on
your skin (and everywhere else on/in you) has lived forever; has always
You can access that Forever, you know. You can remember. Your
humanness might be the merging of many cultures, many bloodlines,
and through the study of the many-colored tapestry of culture, history,
myth, and legend, you'll see yourself; you'll feel the connection-maybe
to just one or two places, maybe to many, and perhaps to certain specific
myths and legends.
A human being . . . experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings,
as separated from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of onsciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal
desires and to affections for a few persons nearest to us.
Forever and the Song of Earth
These are your inheritance, you within the Songline, you upon the
journey of Imramma.
This connection is to the Song of the Earth and to our place within the
Song. Our awareness of this Song is very, very important-and it hasn't
any words. No Logos. It is Earth's (unheard-with-ears) Song of Forever
and it can only ever be felt or sensed.
Words can mimic the Song (by way of their harmony and placement)
or they can be dust and discord.
The way each person lives is the way he or she merges with the Song.
The way of magic is about merging with the Song, hearing it and acting
The Song is nonjudgmental. It has no moralistic premise or attitude. It
neither condemns nor condones, is neither good nor bad, it just is,
and therefore it is the truth.
People often try to interpret the Song according to pre-set parameters
or previously considered philosophies, and this is a bias that's very difficult
to drop; it is, however, worth both knowing and dropping.
There are limited evaluations of right and wrong (what the world of
people is doing/what the world of nature is doing-somehow dividing
them into two separate, often opposing categories), and there is the unlimited Big Picture (life forever-suns and stars and space beyond measure).
Time-out to contemplate the Big Picture?
You can realize that personally-individually-you (we) are probably
irrelevant. Ah! So then, this being realized, you (we) can get on with a life
of living well, of doing what is considered important, regardless of recognition or the lack of it, because you might as well!
No one can really tell you what's right or wrong; you can't not know!
You do know! For yourself, for those around you, for life itself, which is so intensely precious. You know it all innately. . . because once you've contemplated (and sort of understood) the Big Picture, forever, the Song, how Logos operates, your life in the unlimited Worlds of Mythos, you can make conscious choices. Magic is all about conscious choices, walking the many worlds, fixing what you can fix (because it feels innately right to do so), changing what you can change (ditto), and it is all about walking with the gods (when you've discovered what they are).
Of Gods and Goddesses
Witchcraft reinforces, in our culture, the honor and awareness of a Goddess (for lack of a better word). This means all kinds of things to many different people, but nothing even remotely limited to a human construct to me. Witchcraft is also, most assuredly, aware of God (for lack of any other suitable analogy), although not in the way that most religions are. I do not personally like either the word goddess or the word god, as these words are loaded. Preconceptions are consistently able to reinforce stereotyping, and it can be so easy to fall into age-worn patterns of externalization or exclusivity. We can call them by these two words, but I suggest that we do not become complacent.
Throughout this book I will constantly refer to them as he, she, them,
and, when referring to a name of God I will refer to him in the collective,
using the older Gaeilge equivalent for gods: Déithe, always plural, therefore embracing all the gods-in-common or those expressing the same/similar traits (for example, when I refer to the Déithe Merlin, I inform you that many gods are the same/similar, such as Math, Gwyn ap Nudd, Ogmios, Urien, and Arawn, for all the gods are not one God, but rather many gods known by several names [depending on the pantheon],
expressing variations of a theme by way of their attributes, personalities,
When referring to the Goddess throughout this book I will be calling
her Déithe, and by the title/name Mórrigan (which means Great Queen),
for I am her priestess.
Animism, Pantheism, and the Ancestral Nature of Witchcraft
The vital principle; source of energy and creative action; soul; life.
All the gods of a people, collectively.
Witchcraft is very much a process of integrating our awareness of ourselves -as a species-with everything else, removing the false sense of isolation and inequality that is humanity's angst at its psychological alienation from the Big Picture (life, forever, and everything).
So how do we understand what a goddess is? What a god is? Two
ways: one's personal; the other is by interconnection-the understanding
that nothing is disconnected from anything else. This understanding, of course, is how magic happens.
Women who are witches have the knowledge of the many representations
(aspects, mythologies, interpretations, psychologies) of the Mórrigan
at their fingertips, as well as others of equal potency, and they are confronted by her in every recorded pantheon, thanks to the work of many people over the past several decades. These priestesses see themselves reflected in one or another of her humanized or totemic representations, and work at invoking and interpreting her through empathy with the persona to which they are most attuned. They have the cycles of the moon to guide them, the cycles of their own bodies, and, through the countless years of suppression, the determination to express individuality in not only relationships but also society as a whole.
Generally, there are more women owning up to being witches than
men, but that's changing as the taboos are seen for what they are. And
witches know that that's what they are. Men who are not witches cannot
(do not) understand about men who are witches, so how easy is it to publicly proclaim oneself?
Much of this is the fault of Western culture, as a rite of passage does
not exist for boys or men, and they are under constant pressure from their
peers to conform, usually to their detriment (the men who apply these
pressures are men who do not understand the ways of women sufficiently
to interrelate through mutual respect of our intrinsic differences), and
many men who are witches and who seek initiation into an established
coven are put on immediate defensive by women trained as priestesses
(unless the men are used to the women!).
The men who do seek initiation as priest/witch have an advantage that
holds them in good stead-they know what they want to do, and it is
very much the right of the Mórrigan to work with her brothers, lovers,
sons, and champions to enable them to learn how they can gain, and give,
all the insights and knowledge available, through both honoring her and
resonating and representing our gods (by any or many of their names and
purposes) themselves, both personally and collectively.
We are the offspring (or an expression) of Déithe-of life. We're one of
the many ways that Déithe manifest themselves within life, and as such
we revere the sacredness inherent in all things and seek to interweave our
lives with the so-called tapestry of the Evolving Whole. Unlike other religions, we do this by answering to the call of the wildness in ourselves as well as heeding the so-called civilized.
We are of the earth; we are physical; we learn all about birth, life, and
death, and seek to give each of these passages its due respect. Turning
one's face heavenward and denying the significance of a life well-lived
now, and all that this signifies, is the cause of the harm that we see being
perpetrated at earth's expense, and all that she is, right now. This degradation cannot be tolerated and should not be condoned. Our biological species is responsible and will be accountable for its negligence.
Working draíocht is working with our innate inheritance. Working
with the forces of life instead of seemingly against them provides us with a
common purpose: to work the draíocht, to defend what is threatened, to
keep the arts of magic alive for future generations.
This work presents symbolic legends and practical disciplines, introducing
you to the many persona of the witch's gods and the rites and rituals of a practicing male witch: a Cunning Man. The training herein is specifically for you.
These workings are seemingly directed toward heterosexual men. Gay
witches are asked to realize that all the people, animals, plants, and everything, within each legend, represents you. You probably won't need to adapt the legends, but do so if you choose.
Throughout this book most ritual incorporates visual story. These are
to be read and understood, insofar as they not only represent you (every
character-man, woman, plant, animal, whatever), but also, through
their Mythos, nature itself.
You will find yourself understanding not only yourself, but other men,
women, and the draíocht that represent the Mórrigan and all Déithe of
the priesthood of witchcraft.
Each legend is a ritual journey into one of the Worlds of Mythos.
The many invocations (That which I adore I also invoke . . .) will open
you up to the Imramma represented by the persona of Déithe, and you will
integrate Déithe through your recognition of them; they connect you.
Jung considered these persona as archetypes, and this is true, but they
are more, and other, than this: they dwell in your racial memory; they
exist in nature as separate entities that can be known.
While knowing the Déithe of the Mórrigan and working her rites with
the priestesses of the Craft at the full moon, dark moon, and new moon
(when and if that happens), you may find, when working solitary, the
need to tap into the Esbat ritual at the full of the moon only, until such
time as you can work with a priestess. The more knowledge you have of
these rituals, the more chance you will have, upon finding a priestess with
whom to work, of reflecting to her the Mórrigan as you know her and of
representing our Déithe within the rituals.
So, herein are solar/earth rituals that will begin your quest, the main
aims of which are: to align yourself to the rites of a male witch, and to
align yourself with the Mórrigan through acknowledgment and representation of her god, king, and consort (lover, friend, and ally).
The Ancestral Nature of Witchcraft
If you take such theories as the Big Bang into account (and it's as viable
theory as any other if you feel the necessity to consider anything as having
a beginning), then we must, logically, have been there, in the ancestral
sense, as nothing comes from nothing, even if it is (in difference to was-
I'm sure you'll work with me here!) merely as the possibility of energy as
we consider energy to be. The same applies if you throw away the entire
illusion of a beginning and consider the concept of a continuum, and consider the possibly that we don't know everything (consciously).
We're the offspring of that immortality. We may be sun and moon and
sea and stone and person and rat and mountain lion and reto-virus and
all, but we're still related! And everything is unique but relative to everything else (divided for love's sake on the chance of union).
Witchcraft acknowledges this deep-time ancestry by our awareness
of the very few degrees of difference between all things (certainly not just
others of our own species), and honors the connections most specifically
at the festival of Samhain.