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Unformatted text preview: STARHAWK A Rebirthlof the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess Published in San Francisco by HARPER 87; ROW, PUBLISHERS New York, Hagerstown, San Francisco, London the»th m u; g 1 ' 4'“ V) i L' g this" g El ‘ it i z. :33 a a a : Than/cs and Acknowledgments C t t This book could not have come into being without the love and V E 5 support of my husband, Ed Rahsman, and my mother, Dr. Bertha Simos. - For the opportunity to explore and strive to understand the Mysteries, I thankthe members of my covens: in Compost, Guidot, Quest, Diane, Beth, Arden, Mother Moth, Amber, Valerie and Paul,- in Honeysuckle, Laurel, Brook, Susan, Zenobia, Diane, and especially Kevyn, for the added inspiration of her drawing. ‘ p I would also like to acknowledge those who have taught me the Craft: Victor and Cora Anderson, Ruth, Z. Budapest, and the others. I am also grateful for the support and encouragement of the Bay Area pagan community and Witches of the Covenant of the Goddess, and for friends and companions too numerous to be listed here. In particular, I want to thank my, brother—in-spirit, Alan Acacia, and my brother~in— flesh, Mark Simos, for their contributions; Patty and Nada, for being there in the beginning; Ann, for her inspiration; and Carol Christ and Naomi Goldenberg, for their help in reaching a wider cemmunity. Finally, I want to express my appreciation to my editor, Marie Cantd lon, for her sensitivity and courage in taking on this subject, and to Sarah Rush, for all her help. To all of you, to She Who Sings in The Heart, and He Who Dances, 1- Witchcraft as Goddess Religion 1 thls Work 15 dedmamd' 2. The World View of Witchcraft 17 THE SPIRAL DANCE: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great 3. The Coven ' 34 Goddess. - a Copyright © 1979 by Miriam Simos. All rights reserved. Printed in the 4. Creating Sacred Space 55 United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case 5- The Goddess 76 of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For informa- tion address Harper 8: Row, Publishers, Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, New 6- The God 93 York, NY 10022. Published simultaneously in Canada by Fitzhenry & .y I , Whiteside Limited, Toronto. i 7. Magical Symbols 108 FIRST somon [ 3. Energy: The Cone of Power 128‘ Designed by Leigh Male/Ian ‘ 9. Trance . 139 Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 10. Initiation 159 Starhawk. - 11. Moon Rituals 165 The spiral dance. 12. The Wheel of the Year 169 Bibliography: p. 214. - 1. Witchcraft. I. Title. 13. Creating Religion: Toward the Future 185 BF1566.S‘77 1979 299 79-1775 , ISBN 0-06—067535-7 Tables of Correspondences ' 201 79 so 81 82 83 10 9 8 7 6 s 4 3 2 1 a ‘ Selected Bibliography 214 iv Contents 9‘!" 9°39?!“ .‘9 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 2.8. 29. 30. 31. EXERCISES 32. Shadow Play 20 Rhythm Play 20 Sensing Group Energy 43 Group Breath 43 The Tree of Life 44 Power Chant 44 Earthing Power 44 Word Association Trance 46 _ Relaxation 48 Grounding and Centering 49 ’ Simple Visualizations 50 The Apple 50 The Pentacle 50 The Knot 50 Candle Gazing 51 The Diamond 51 Mirror, Mirror 52 The Rock 52 The Hammer 52 Salt-Water Purification 59 Group Salt-Water Purification 59 Banishing 60 Air Meditation 62 Athame or Sword Meditation 62 Fire Meditation 63 Wand Meditation 63 Water Meditation 64 Cup Meditation 64 Earth Meditation 64 Pentacle Meditation—The Five Stages of Life 65 The Iron Pentagram 65 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39! 4o. 41. 42. 4s. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. So. 51. 52. 5.3. 54. The Pentagram of Pearl 67 ' Transformation Meditation 67 Cauldron Meditation 68 The Circle Visualization Exercise 68 Consecrating a Tool 69 Protective Circle 74 Permanent Protective Circle 74 Waxing Moon Meditation 78 Full Moon Meditation 79 Waning Moon Meditation 79 The Double Spiral 82 Binding A Spell . 114 Protective Filter 115 The Cone of Power 133 Womb Chant 133 Formal Grounding 134 Pendulum Exercise 136 Sensing the Aura: "Pendulum Method 136 Sensing the Aura: Direct Method 136 a Damping and Projecting Energy 137 Seeing the Aura 137 Cautions 149 The Rainbow: Trance Induction 150 55. Place of Power 150 56. The Rainbow: Emerging 151 57. Scrying 152 58. Suggestion 152 C ontem‘s 59. Memory 153 60. Trance into a Dream 153 61. Ritual Induction 154 INVOCATIONS, CHANTS, AND BLESSINGS The Casting of the Circle 55 A Circle For Healing During Struggle (Alan Acacia) 71 Valerie’s Rhyming ' Invocations 72 Invocations from the Summer Solstice Ritual 73 The Charge of the Goddess 76 Repeating Chants (to the Goddess) 86 Repeating Cycle: "Green Bud Leaf” 86 Sumerian Chant 86 Invocation to the Dewy One 86 Honor to the Goddess (Karen Lynd Cushen) 87 Kore Chant 88 Invocation to the Goddess as Mother (Susan Stern) 89 Moonmother (Laurel) 9O Invocation to the Queen of Summer 91 Invocation to the God 93 Repeating Chants (to the God) 103 Repeating Cycle: "Sun Shine Day” 103 Equinox Invocation of the Male Aspect (Alan . Acacia) 103 Invocation to the God of Summer 104 ’ Invocation to the Goddess and God (Valerie) 104 Invocation to the Ground of Being 105 Song to Pan (Mark Simos) 105 Blessing over Cakes and Wine 156 Dismissal of the Goddess and God 157 , Opening the Circle 157 SPELLS Anger Spell 116 The Indrinking Spell 116 Spell for Loneliness 117 Spell for Fallow Periods 118’ Safe Space Spell 120 Spell to Know the Child Within 120 Spell to Be Friends with Your Womb 121 Herbal Charms—t0 Attract Money 122 vi Contents To Attract Love 122 b For Eloquence .123 a ' To Heal a Broken To Win in Court 124 g Heart 122 . To Charge an Herbal For Protection 123 Charm 124 A l V ' . To Get a Job 123 Healing Image Spell 125 ' For Inner Power 123 To Bind an Enemy 126 MYTHS Creation 17 The Goddess in the , The Wheel of the Year 28 Kingdom of Death 159 ,. . was 3—1. 2 Between the Worlds The moon is full. We meet on a hilltop that looks out over the bay. Below us, lights spread out like a field of jewels, and faraway skyscrapers pierce the swirling fog like the spires offairytale towers. The night is enchanted. Our candles have been blown out, and our makeshift altar cannot stand up under the force of the wind, as it sings through the branches of tall eucalyptus. We hold up our arms and let it hurl against our faces. We are exhilarated, hair and eyes streaming. The tools are unimportant; we have all we need to make magic: our bodies, our breath, our voices, each other. The circle has been cast. T he invocations begin: ‘“ All—dewy, sky—sailing pregnant moon, Who shines for all. Who flows through all . . . Aradia, Diana, Cybele, Mah . . . Sailor of the. last sea, Guardian of the gate, Ever~dying, ever~living radiance . . . Dionysus, Osiris, Pan, Arthur, Hu . . . The moonclears the treetops and shines on the circle. We huddle closer 2. The Spiral Dance for warmth. A woman moves into the center of the circle. We begin to chant her name: "Diana .. .” "Dee—ah-nah . . .” "Aaaah . . The chant builds, spiraling upward. Voices merge into one endlessly modulated harmony. The circle is enveloped in a cone of light. Then, in a breath—silence. » “You are Goddess,” we say to Diane, and kiss her as she steps back into the outer rzng. She is smiling. She remembers who she is. Oneby one, we will step into the center of the circle. We will hear our names chanted, feel the cone rise around us.‘ We will receive the gift, and remember: ' "I am Goddess. You are God, Goddess. All that lives, breathes, loves, sings 1n the unending harmony of being is divine. ” In the circle, we will take hands and dance under the moon. "To disbelieve in witchcraft is the greatest of all heresies." Malleus Malefit‘arum (1486) On every full moon, rituals such as the one described above take place on hilltops, beaches, in open fields and in ordinary houses. Writers, teach— ers, nurses, computer programmers, artists, lawyers, poets, plumbers, and auto mechanics—women and men from many backgrounds come together to celebrate the mysteries of the Triple Goddess of birth, love, and death, and of her Consort, the Hunter, who is Lord of the Dance of life. The religion they practice is called Witchcraft. - Witchcraft is a word that frightens many people and confuses many others. In the popular imagination, Witches are ugly ‘ old hags riding broomsticks, or evil Satanists performing obscene rites. Modern Witches are thought to be members of a kooky cult, primzirily concerned with cursing enemies by jabbing wax images with pins, and lacking the depth, the dignity and seriousness of purpose of a true religion. ' But Witchcraft is a religion, perhaps the oldest religion extant in the West. Its origins go back before Christianity, Judaism, Islam—before Bud— dhism and Hinduism, as well, and it is very different from all the so—called great religions. The Old Religion, as we call it, is closer in spirit to Native American traditions or to the shamanism of the Arctic. It is not based on dogma or a set of beliefs, nor on scriptures or a sacred book revealed by a great man. Witchcraft takes its teachings from nature, and reads inspira— Witchcraft as Goddess Religion 3 tion in the movements of the sun, moon, and stars, the flight of birds, the slow growth of trees, and the cycles of the seasons. According to our legends, Witchcraft began more than 35 thousand years ago, when the temperature of Europe began to drop and the great sheets of ice crept slowly south in their last advance. Across the rich tundra, teeming with animal life, small groups of «hunters followed the free—running reindeer and the thundering bison. They were armed with only the most primitive of weapons, but some among the clans were gifted, could "call" the herds to a cliffside or a pit, where a few beasts, in willing sacrifice, would let themselves be trapped. These gifted sha- ' mans could attune themselves to the spirits of the herds, and in so doing they became aware of the pulsating rhythm that infuses all life, the dance of the double spiral, of whirling into being, and whirling out again. They did not phrase this insight intellectually, but in images: the Mother God— dess, the birthgiver, who brings into existence all life; and the Horned God, hunter and hunted, who eternally passes through the gates of death that new life may go on. Male shamans dressed in skins and horns in identification with the God and the herds; but female priestesses presided naked, embodying the fertility of the Goddess.1 Life and death were a continuous stream; the dead were buried as if sleeping in a womb, surrounded by their tools and ornaments, so that they might awaken to a new life.2 In the caves of the Alps, skulls of the great bears were mounted in niches, where they pro— nounced oracles that guided the clans to game.3 In lowland pools, reindeer dOes, their bellies filled with stones that embodied the souls of deer, were submerged in the waters of the Mother’s womb, so that victims of the hunt would be reborn.4 In the East—Siberia and the Ukrainemthe Goddess was Lady of the Mammoths; She was carved from stone in great swelling curves that embodied her gifts of abundance.5 In the West, in the great cave temples of southern France and Spain, her rites were performed deep in the secret wombs of the earth, where the great polar forces were painted as bison and horses, superimposed, emerging from the cave walls like spirits out of a dream.6 The spiral dance was seen also in the sky: in the moon, who monthly dies and is reborn; in the sun, whose waxing light brings summer’s warmth and whose waning brings the chill of winter. Records of the moon’s passing were scratched on. bone,7 and the Goddess was shown holding the bison horn, which is also the crescent moon.“ I The ice retreated. Some clans followed the bison and the reindeer into the far north. Some passed over the Alaskan land bridge to the Americas. Those who remained in Europe turned to fishing and gathering wild plants and shellfish. Dogs guarded their campsites, and new tools were refined. 4 The Spiral Dance Those who had the inner power learned that it increased when they worked together. As isolated settlements grew into villages, shamans and pnestesses linked forces and shared knowledge. The first covens were formed. Deeply attuned to plant and animal life, they tamed where once. they had hunted, and they bred sheep, goats, cows, and pigs from their wild cousins. Seeds were no longer only gathered; they were planted, to grow where they were set. The Hunter became Lord of the Grain, sacri~ ficed when it is cut in autumn, buried in the womb of the Goddess and reborn in the spring. The Lady of the Wild Things became the Barley Mother, and the cycles of moon and sun marked the times for sowing and reaping and letting out to pasture. Villages grew into the first towns and cities. The Goddess was painted. on the plastered walls of shrines, giving birth to the Divine Child-—her consort, son, and seed.9 In the lands once covered with ice, a new power was discovered, a force that runs like springs of water through the earth Herself. Barefoot pnestesses trace out "ley" lines on the new grass. It was found that certain stones increase the flow of power. They were set at the proper points in great marching rows and circles that mark the cycles of time. The year became a great wheel divided into eight parts: the solstices and equinoxes and the cross—quarter days between, when great feasts were held and fires ‘ lit. With each ritual, with each ray of the sun and'beam of the moon that struck the stones at the times of power, the force increased. They became great reservoirs of subtle energy, gateways between the worlds of the seen and the unseen. Within the circles, beside the menhirs and dolmens and passage graves, priestesses could probe the secrets of time, and the hidden structure of the cosmos. Mathematics, astronomy, poetry, music, medi— cine, and the understanding of the workings of the human mind devel- oped side by side with the lore of the deeper mysteries.m But in other lands, cultures developed that devoted themselves to the arts of war. Wave after wave of invasion swept over Europe from the Bronze Age on. Warrior gods drove the Goddess peoples out from the fertile lowlands and fine temples, into the hills and high mountains where they became known as the Sidhe, the Picts or Pixies, the Fair Folk or Faeries.11 The mythological cycle of Goddess and Consort, Mother and - Divine Child, which had held sway for 30 thousand years, was changed to conform to the values of the conquering patriarchies. In Greece, the Goddess, in her many guises, "married" the new gods—~the result was the Olympian Pantheon. In the British Isles, the victorious Celts adopted many features of the Old Religion, incorporating them into the Druidic mysteries. , i The Faeries, breeding cattle in the stony hills and living in turf— covered, round huts, preserved the Old Religion. Clan mothers, called Witchcraft as Goddess Religion 5 “Queen of Elphame,” which means Elfland, led the covens, together with the priest, the Sacred King, who embodied the dying God, and underwent a ritualized mock death at the end of his term of office. They celebrated the eight feasts of the Wheel with wild processions on horseback, singing, chanting, and the lighting of ritual fires. The invading people often joined in; there was mingling and intermarriage, and many rural families were said to have "Faer blood.” The Colleges of the Druids, and the Poetic Colleges of Ireland and Wales, preserved many of the old mysteries. Christianity, at first, brought little change. Peasants saw in the story Of Christ only a new version of their own ancient tales of the Mother Goddess and her Divine Child who is sacrificed and reborn. Country priests often led the dance at the Sabbats, or great festivals.12 The covens, who preserved the knowledge of the subtle forces, were called Wicca or Wicca, from the Anglo-Saxon root word meaning "to bend or shape.” They were those who could shape the unseen to their will. Healers, teach— ers, poets, and midwives, they were central figures in every community. ' Persecution began slowly. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries saw a revival of aspects of the Old Religion by the troubadours, who wrote love poems to the Goddess under the guise of living noble ladies of their times. The magnificent cathedrals were built in honor of Mary, who had taken over many of the aspects of the ancient Goddess. Witchcraft was declared a heretical act, and in 1324 an Irish coven led by Dame Alice Kyteler was tried by the Bishop of Ossory for worshipping a non—Christian god. Dame Kyteler was saved by her rank, but her followers were burned. Wars, Crusades, plagues, and peasant revoltsraged over Europe in the next centuries. Joan of Arc, the “Maid of Orleans," led the armies of France to Victory, but was burned as a Witch by the English. “Maiden” is a term of high respect in Witchcraft, and it has been suggested that the French peasantry loved Joan so greatly because she was, in truth, a leader of the Old Religion.13 The stability of the medieval Church was shaken, and the feudal system began to break down. The Christianvworld was swept by messianic movements and religious revolts, and the Church could no longer calmly tolerate rivals. In 1484, the Papal Bull of Innocent VIII unleashed the power of the Inquisition against the Old Religion. With the publication of the Mallcus Mallefz’carum, "The Hammer of the Witches,” by the Dominicans Kramer and Sprenger in 1486, the groundwork was laid for a reign of terror that was to hold all of Europe in its grip until well into the eighteenth century. The persecution was most strongly directed against women: Of an esti- mated 9 million Witches executed, 80 percent were women, including children and young girls, who were believed to inherit the “evil” from their‘mothers. The ascetism of early Christianity, which turned its back on the world of the flesh, had degenerated, in some quarters of the 6 The Spiral Dance Church, into hatred of those who brought that flesh into being. Misogy- ny, the hatred of women, had become a strong element in medieval Chris- tianity. Women, who menstruate and give birth, were identified with sexuality and therefore with evil. "All witchcraft stems from carnal. lust, which is in women insatiable," stated the Malleus Malefi'carum. The terror was indescribable. Once denounced, by anyone from a . spiteful neighbor to a fretful child, a suspected Witch was arrested sud- denly, without warning, and not allowed to return home again. She" was considered guilty until proven innocent. Common practice was to strip the suspect naked, shave her completely in hopes of finding the Devil’s “marks,” which might be moles or freckles. Often the accused were pricked all over their bodies with long, sharp needles; spots the Devil had touched were said to feel no pain. In England, “legal torture” was not allowed, but suspects were deprived of 4 sleep and subjected to slow starvation, before hanging. On the continent, every imaginable atrocity was practiced—the rack, the thumbscrew, "boots" that broke the bones ' in the legs, vicious beatingsu—the full roster of the Inquisition’s horrors. The accused were tortured until they signed confessions prepared by the Inquisitors, until they admitted to consorting with Satan, to dark and obscene practices that were never part of true Witchcraft. Most cruelly, they were tortured until they named others, until a full coven quota of- ' thirteen were taken. Confession earned a merciful death: strangulation before the stake. Recalcitrant suspects, who maintained their innocence, were burned alive. Witch hunters and informers were paid for convictions, and many found it a profitable career. The rising mal...
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