Friday, July 1, 2016

Days of Hekate III: Labrys Full Moon Ritual and Wildwood Workings

On Sunday, May 22nd, I attended a public ritual for the Full Moon hosted by Labrys on Philopappou Hill in downtown Athens (it’s a hill next to the Acropolis). It was a very beautiful ritual: we were gathered in a circle around the altar, the only light coming from the illuminated city around the hill, the torches held by some of the women participating and the various candles and oil lamps on and around the altar. 

One of the torchbearers invoked Hekate with a hymn I hadn’t heard before, although parts of it were familiar. I didn’t have the chance to ask afterwards but I think it was a hymn crafted personally by her and included pieces of other hymns as well. It was beautiful, wild, and moving to the point that I couldn’t recall the hymns to the other Goddesses afterwards. The whole ritual was exceptionally pleasing, aesthetically and energetically.

There was a bit of a problem though. It got really cold to the point that I couldn’t stop shivering. Unwilling to break circle to get my jacket or to interrupt the gorgeous ritual in any way, I silently called upon two of the Four Guardian Spirits: Mother Bear of the North and Brother Wolf of the South, two important spirit animals in the Wildwood Druidry. That actually helped a lot! Slowly, I began feeling a sense of warmth emanating from inside me (my “centre”, the point in my body I visualise as my core and centre during centering and meditations, located a little above the solar plexus) which extended to my entire body. It faded somewhat at times during the ritual because my focus was divided but, other than that, it worked better than I expected. 

After the ritual, we had a simple feast of sorts, sharing salty foods and red wine and having fun as a community (it looks a lot like an outdoors party, in fact!). As always, I only took a few sips and offered the rest as a libation. Even so, I felt a bit “tipsy” and unstable on my feet and I was positively buzzing with the energy of the ritual, despite being dead-tired from the hours of standing. When I got home, I was too charged up to rest so I performed an ecstatic rite for the Wildwood Spirits, a working that brings me in communion with them through the use of a veil, ecstatic dance, and “spirit-talk”*. I thanked them for their aid with the cold and then decided on the spot to use this as a chance to do something I had in mind for a while: request entrance to the Wildwood Realm under their auspices**. I uttered my request and, while still in trance, drew a card from the Wildwood Tarot deck to serve as the answer from the Spirits. It was an overwhelmingly positive and reassuring card, essentially the Spirits screaming “YES!” to me in regards to my request. Deeply moved, I thrice blessed and thanked the Spirits and slowly finished the rite.

Thus concluded the Three Days of Hekate, which began with Her Sacred Fires, continued with the Nomen Rite, and finished with a public Full Moon ritual and a private Wildwood rite. Those three days were filled with potent energies and presences, moving and powerful experiences, and a lot of hope and determination for the future.


*Spirit-talk: Speaking while in trance and communion with Gods or Spirits, with minimal control over my speech, allowing the inspiration of the Spirits and the words of my soul to come forth, unhindered by the conscious mind. It is essentially a type of oral automatic writing, as well as a type of channeling and mediumship. The Gods and Spirits don’t possess me or talk through me per se – rather, it is a way for me to open up to their guidance and inspiration completely as well as speak what is True and what comes directly from my soul (thus all speech during spirit-talk is Words of Power and can be considered the same as spell utterances and incantations). It is an important tool in my spirit-work as it allows me to remember what transpires but also to gain insight and gnosis that would otherwise be hidden from me. It also allows me to express my true will, intent and feelings without relying on scripted prayer or invocations or stumbling to find the proper words.

**Entering the Wildwood Realm: This is part of a bigger subject that I will discuss on this blog at some point. Long story short, it is part of a process for working with and experiencing the Wildwood Realm and all its Spirits, and it refers to getting the permission of specific Spirits before entering the Wildwood, for a host of reasons, such as protection and guidance. While it is entirely possible to enter the Wildwood without permission (it’s not a closed-off realm) and even experience it in different ways (“enter it from different gates”, if you will), requesting permission is a necessary step for entering the Wildwood in a specific manner and being able to fulfill specific conditions and workings in the future, as per Triskelion and Wildwood Druidry practice.

Days of Hekate II: The Nomen Rite

On Saturday 21st of May, I performed a rite for which I was preparing for months.  The reason behind such lengthy preparation was that the Nomen Rite was as important as my dedication to Hekate and, in some ways, even more binding and serious for me. It was a long, intricate ritual, lasting a bit more than 2 hours, making it one of the lengthiest rituals I have ever performed in 11+ years of practice. It was also rather taxing and demanding in terms of invocations, maintenance and work. Truly, it ought to have been a group ritual, with at least two more people to help but, alas, the Triskelion is a solitary path (for now?).

The Nomen Rite, as the name suggests to those familiar with Latin, was my naming ceremony. In this ritual, I took a special name – a “magical name” for the first time in my entire Pagan life – that was revealed to me by Hekate and the Wildwood Spirits, and one I had to take if I was to commit fully and truly to the Triskelion and open up all channels and gates for the road ahead. At first, I was only aware of one name I had to take but during the preparatory period, I was “told” that it had a supplementary name-title indicating “where my heart was born”. 

I’ve mentioned this before here, and now I can finally talk more about it. Specifically, divination and spirit communion explained that I can, now, reveal the Great Spirit that has been aiding me in this work as well as a good deal of the Rite itself and a part of my name: the supplementary name-title. I am under oath not to reveal my “core name”, sadly. I also cannot share details of the Nomen Rite such as the invocations used or my Naming Oath (although I can tell you roughly what I swore). The Spirit that has been aiding me is the Heron and my new name is Chelydoreus, taken after the name of the village where I’ve spent nearly every summer of my life, the place where my maternal grandmother was born and raised, the place I consider my true home: the village of Chelydori, between Mt. Evrostini and Mt. Chelydorea, where Hermes found the tortoise he used to fashion the lyre, according to myth.

The Rite itself was deeply potent. Here’s the outline of the ritual: 

1.       Preparation:
·         Self purification
·         Space purification
·         Gathering necessary tools, offerings, etc.
2.       Casting the Magic Circle.
3.       Invocation of Hekate:
·         Hekataion Hymn, Orphic Hymn
4.       Invocation of the Wildwood Court:
·         Invocation of the Four Guardian Spirits
·         Invocation of the Heron
·         Invocation of the Horned One and His Lady of the Moon and Forest
5.       Rite of Manifestation of Hekate's Seal
6.       Main Working:
·         Declaration of the ritual's intent
·         Naming Oath (Όρκος Ονομαστικός, Sacramentum Nominis)
7.       Offerings, libations, hymns and prayers of praise
8.       Red Meal*
9.       Closing.

*Red Meal: Yes, this is indeed like the Traditional Witchcraft practice. The name and way to perform it were revealed to me by the Wildwood Spirits and after researching it out of curiousity I was shocked to find that it is an already existing and established rite - I thought it was a unique request from the Spirits!

One of the peculiarities of the ritual was that, even though the presences of the Gods and Spirits invoked were stronger than usual, I got very little in terms of communication and practically nothing in terms of epiphanies or revealed gnosis, despite my continuous requests to be shown what comes after this and what I should do from now on. After a lot of effort and communion, Hekate finally had a message for me: “You know what it is that must be done following this and We have nothing more to impart at this time.” In other words, we’re not going to spoon-feed you everything, you’re way past that stage. Do your own dirty work. Duly noted!

The offerings were nothing spectacular, sadly, but both divination and my intuition pointed towards them being very well-received, which made me very glad. Feelings of insecurity and inadequacy are some of my biggest personal “demons” and being told that even the small things – the only things – I am able to offer are happily accepted is a much needed reassurance.

This whole Rite and the naming itself primarily served as a dedication, of sorts, to the Triskelion. I committed myself fully and formally to this path and system and to the Gods and Spirits that come along with it. No more excuses, no more feeling bad about “dry spells” or periods of inactivity, no more arm-chair occultism. Moreover, the days after the Rite I found myself more open and sensitive to the Otherworld and receiving a lot more revealed gnosis that before – or, at the very least, more detailed and complete gnosis as opposed to the bits and pieces I was getting before. Indeed, other workings and divination confirmed that many spiritual “gates” within me and in my path had been opened and certain aspects of my work are finally accessible to me. In many ways, the Nomen Rite was a kind of spiritual initiation akin to what I experienced during my dedication to Hekate and felt very much as the – somewhat overdue – next step from the dedication.

That was the Nomen Rite or, perhaps more accurately, the Nomen Experience. I have a lot of things to still share here, beyond this; my account of the Three Days of Hekate is still not complete. I also have many other writings and work to finish and post. Until next time:

I am CHELYDOREUS, devotee of Hekate, practitioner of the Triskelion, Polytheist, Witch, Pagan, a student of the Mysteries indulging in the Great Work.