Saturday, July 26, 2008

Investing In The Craft

כ"ג תמוז התשס"ח
Faunus 25

Although I have only identified myself as a witch for a few years, I have been a practitioner of Jewish Kabbalah for nearly 15 years. Kabbalah is the Jewish mystical tradition, and is also the mystical system employed by many ceremonial magicians and members of the Golden Dawn. (Just for the record, I am neither a ceremonial magician nor a member of the Golden Dawn.)

I have had shamanic-mystical experiences since I was born, so I consider myself a natural witch-shaman. I was also born with and continue to have conscious memory of my preincarnate soul's journey into manifest existence - the memory has remained with me throughout my life. While all souls make the journey in some form, few remember it. I am one who remembers it. It is an ever-present link to other realms of consciousness and being.

Nevertheless that I consider myself a natural witch, in the course of my spiritual development, when I cognitively recognized myself to be a witch, I dedicated myself to the craft as a solitary, in active ritual recognition of my witchblood (as Veronica Cummer describes in her excellent book, Sorgitzak) .

Witchblood - I love the way the word sounds. It soothes my spirit. So primordial and true to reality, it is. Given the reality of witchblood in general, it makes sense to me that I personally draw from several spiritual traditions in my own practice. I am a tapestry of many peoples - Welsh, British, Irish, Germanic, Jewish and Native American (Anishnaabek and Tsalagi). The unique traditions of all these peoples are part of my heritage, part of my witchblood.

Significant to my dedication to the craft as a solitary witch, even though I had a small BOS already in use at the time, I purchased a custom made artisan handcrafted Book of Shadows. A huge expense for me at a time when cash was not plentiful, the purchase itself was sacred, and invested with my hopes and dreams for my future and continued development as a witch 'out of the broom closet' of my own consciousness.

My mystical journey over the decade and a half prior to coming out as a witch had been tumultuous, painful, full of rejection and replete with seriously harmful descrimination from both secular and religious communities of all kinds. My life was battered and scarred.

Within the milieu of a tattered life, after assimilating the practice of witchcraft for only a short time into my usual practices of the time, the practices of witchcraft quickly and effortlessly balanced out what had been missing in my mystical practice for years. It was upon this realization that witchcraft was vital to me spiritually, that I decided and acted to dedicate myself as a witch. Walking the path of a kabbalistic shamanic druidic witch is my bliss. All of these paths are in me, some more than others certainly, but all of them are part of me nevertheless. I am still blooming as a witch, as a kabbalist, as a mystic, as a druid, as a shaman, as a human being. Tomorrow I will be more than I am today. Witchcraft has brought my life into balance and given me steadfast joy. My Book of Shadows is a testament to that. Consequently, commissioning the craft of my Book of Shadows was a healing act for me as well as integral to my rite of dedication.

Shown above is a Book of Shadows similar to the one I commissioned in March of 2007 and received a few months after that. My BOS is like the one shown except my book is black as opposed to brown. When not in use, my BOS is stored in a special place under the permanent altar set up in my bedroom. The leather of my book is deeply and exquisitely wrinkled. The spine has five corded sashes with a pentacle set into the spine at the third cord. The end papers are marbled black. The inner aged parchment pages are huge - 11 by 14 inches! The edges of the 500 pages are particularly spectacular, hand-burned, like the book has been plucked from a fire. My book is a gorgeous piece of handcrafted artwork and I love it.

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