Names are an important key to what a society values. Anthropologists recognize naming as ‘one of the chief methods for imposing order on perception. ~David S. Slawson
In early January I attended a full-moon gathering in west Cork. It was a womyn only space and those who gathered were delicious in their strength and vulnerability. We sat in silence, wept, laughed, burned away what no longer served, and gifted each other with words of love. Afterwards, as we feasted, I was asked to define my spiritual path. In that moment I realised that the names I use for myself, the names I use to define my path, are changing; have changed beyond recognition in some sense.
I fell back on definitions that I know are constant; I am an initiate in two beautiful yet different traditions of modern witchcraft: one focused on feminist principle and ecology, the other fiercely independent and Left Hand. But after that… out of my mouth came a thing I had not articulated before or perhaps even thought:
I seek to embody the traditions of wise women from the age of my most remote ancestress; before it was even certain modern humans would remain as the sole surviving species of genus Homo. The women who birthed and buried, who healed and cursed, who wept and fucked, who dreamt outrageous dreams and changed herstory.
The difference in my response was one of focus. In the past I may have responded with a poetical on the Earth, our Mother, or on relationship with the beings who dwell beside us, our brothers and sisters – seen and unseen. And this is still true. My relationship with the natural world and those beings I share it with, especially my Kin, is foundational in my life. It’s the cornerstone upon which I build my Art as a Witch.
What then did I mean by embodying the traditions of the wise women? I still don’t know. I’m simply noticing the shift. The direction of my gaze has gone from the outward to, while not directly internal certainly nearer, Self. I am learning my place in this world at last.
Within Feri we work the tool of the Iron Pentacle; its points are: sex, self, passion, pride, power.
I am a human animal who lives within a vast universe of other animals – seen and unseen. I also share that multidimensional space with plants, bacteria, protozoa, fungi, etc. All of us are divine. We are all sacred.
One of my early lessons from the Guardian of the West was that I, along with all of you, comprise The Human. No, I’m not getting in to the mystical or theological pedantics of that statement. As a wise man once said, “Perceive first, then believe.” My experience may be nothing like yours.
Nevertheless, it was a powerful moment for me; perceiving how my actions are intrinsically tied to every other human on the planet! Just as the actions of every cheetah are connected to The Cheetah. My focus toward Self is not a self of ego, or even the exploration into shadow and personality. Rather, it is a turning toward the Self of THE Human.
Which seems perfectly natural. After all, my work as a witch often involves “standing in the gap” for some one who doesn’t know their power yet; some one who doesn’t re-member. I stand before The Powers as The Human. It’s interesting to notice this shift of names…this change in my internal story and the naming of my path.
Words have meaning and names have power. ~Author Unknown