Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.

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A Charge of Hekate

I’m actually getting a post up on time? Sayeth What?! On the week before finals? Sayeth even more what?! Yes, I am actually. And I’m feeling pretty good about it. This is the promised Charge of Hekate post. I went to a weekend retreat on the 11th of November, and one of the workshops was writing a charge of Hekate. When you do a search for a Google search for a charge of Hekate there are close to half a million hits, and with the permission of my group members, I’m going to throw ours into the ring with commentary on why it works.

Charges of the Divine seem to follow the very classic structures laid out by Valiente’s elegant Charge of the Goddess and by Crowley in the first two chapters of The Book of The Law. This means that they hit on 4 main points:

  1. Who am I
  2. What I demand
  3. How to live
  4. What I give

We decided to keep this format because it is familiar (most of the group had a Wiccan background, and there is something to be said for familiarity) and because we were working in a time constraint. With no further ado, I present A Charge of Hekate.

Listen to the words of Hekate, who of old was called Phosphoros and Kourotrophos, Lightbearer and Nurse, Midwife and Guide:

We picked the epithets of Phosphoros and Kourotrophos out of the dozens Hekate has because of the connections we as a group had to them. I personally feel a connection to the torch bearer, and another in the group had a strong connection to the nurse and midwife.

Though I am known by a thousand thousand names, the whole world honors Me. I am the Queen of Heaven and Earth, Mistress of the Sea, and Ruler of the Realms Beyond Knowing, and I say unto you:

Here we pay tribute to the fact that Hekate has a whole boatload and then some of names and faces. Her realms of dominion comes from Hesiods Theogony—“Hekate whom Zeus the son of Kronos honoured above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honour also in starry heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods”. Hekate is also the daughter of Asteria, the Titaness of Divination, and a patroness of the magickal arts; making her a ruler of the realms beyond knowing.

Whenever you have need of anything, and at least once a month, and best it be when the moon is dark, you shall gather and adore the spirit of Me, the Queen of all the Initiates. You shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you are truly free you must be purified in your rights.

Here is where ancient meets modern. The first night of the dark moon is called Hekate’s Deipnon, which literally translates into “Hekate’s Evening Meal”. This was when a meal was placed at her door-shrines and the poor would it eat it. Now, the more modern version is to donate food or time to a soup kitchen. On a more practical note, many covens do gather on the full moon and this allows devotees and the priesthood to honor Hekate without a whole lot of calendar conflict. The reference to purification, was that you must come before the goddess at least physically clean and having done a little bit to purify yourself magickaly.

Let My worship be in the compassionate heart that rejoices: sing, share the feast, dance, make music and give service all in My honor, for all acts of Love and Compassion are My rituals, and My gift is joy on earth. Nor do I demand what you cannot give, for I am the mother of all; My law is Love unto all beings, and My love is poured out upon all creation.

In the modern world (or perhaps in the Wiccate view of Her), Hekate has a bit of a reputation as a hard ass. She is thought to be demanding, harsh, hard, and a little intolerant of foolishness. To a degree, I think that this reputation comes from certain devotees and members of the priesthood projecting what is within themselves. Hekate certainly can be all of these things, but at the same time She is immensely compassionate. She aids Demeter in the search for Persephone, escorts Persephone to and from the Underworld, appoints Galinthias as a sacred animal after Hera and the Moirai turned her into a weasel, and turned Hekabe into a black dog and made her a sacred familiar after her murder. We thought that because of this and the deipnon, compassion would be one of the most important things Hekate would want her devotees and priesthood to follow.

I embody the Universe: I am the beauty of the living earth, the radiant moon among the stars, the depths of the waters, and the Divine Fire within your heart. I am the soul Who holds the mysteries of the universe, and I call to you for thou are priestess and thou are priest.

More adoration of the goddess, as well as places she can be found. The Divine Fire part becomes important later.

Unleash the coiled splendor within you, spread wide your wings, and come unto Me. Let there be beauty and strength, truth and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. Keep pure your highest ideals, and harm none within your ability.

Ok, small soap box moment. I have a lot of issues with “harm none” because it isn’t possible. Throughout my life, I will harm some organism or some person every single day. I’m human. That doesn’t mean that I am intentionally doing it though. And that is the big thing, to the BEST OF MY ABILITY I try to harm none.

Seek your true Will, strive ever to fulfill it. Let nothing hinder or turn you aside. And you would learn all magick, yet have not won its deepest secrets, to you will I teach all things yet unknown. To you I will teach the Great Mystery: what you seek is within you, you will never find it without.

As you can see, the capitalized Will has arrived. It’s a bit of an influence from my beloved Thelemite fiancé, and here is another. Crowley defines magick as “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will.” Pursuit of science and art comes from within, you can’t create anything without a desire to; the same way that science becomes difficult when you aren’t passionate about it. If you seek magick, if you seek the gods, if you seek Hekate, you must have access to the Divine Fire in your heart. That Divine Fire is what ties you to magick and the gods, if you can’t see it within, you won’t see it in the outside world (and it’s true, no matter how New-Agey it sounds).

I am a gracious goddess, Keeper of the Keys of life, the cauldron of woman’s womb, and Mine is the holy gift of transcendence and growth. In life, I give the delight of My guiding presence and knowledge of the path continuing. And beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, and reunion with your beloved who have gone before. I am with you at your birth, and accompany you at death. For I have been with you from the Beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of Desire.

Here we loop back to the beginning of who Hekate is, and what She gives to us; because we all are really just a circle connected to each other.

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With in and With out

On Tuesday my cousin (and maid-of-honor) started texting about the wedding. Our conversation went a bit like this:

Her: You sound so tired, it’s a lot of work, but it will be worth it.

Me: Yeah, the party will be awesome. But it’s not like anything is really going to change.

Her: But it’s two souls becoming one through Gods will and holy matrimony! It changes everything!

Me: Wait, what?

I think that this conversation really highlights the biggest problem I’ve had talking to my family. We see things fundamentally differently. As far as I’m concerned, my marriage to my fiancé won’t change a whole lot. We already live together, have a mortgage, and have 2 pit bulls. We’ll be adding a few insurance and phone bills, and that (as far as I can foresee) is about the extent of the changes to our mundane life. I’ll even be keeping my last name. We have discussed the sticky topics: money, politics, kids, and monogamy. We’ve been handfasted for 2 years, and been May Royals (what a wild ride that was). I’d say we’re pretty on top of it. Marriage is magickal and legal ceremony, but it’s not the fantastic cure all or fix all that my cousin seems to think that it is. If anything, I think it’s an initiation. To what, I’m not quite sure. I’ll let you know when I do.

One of the women in my coven once said “there are three types of initiations: ones that will never happen, ones that jump start what needs to happen, and ones that reaffirm what have already happened.” I’d like to believe that when we do get married it’s the third type. After all, we have already bound ourselves to each other on our own; though I wouldn’t be opposed to it being the second. It probably is a little bit of both. And I’m totally ok with that. But it’s something that we do as humans, the ceremony itself is not a crucible that changes how or why a relationship works.

Which circles around, kind of, to my original point. We see things differently, and it impacts how we think about the sacred ceremonies that shape the cycles of our lives. My cousin (and a majority of my family) see marriage as something that comes from and is created by the Divine. I see it as something that comes from and is created by us. Our union comes from us choosing to be bound to each other, and from us creating and maintaining a loving relationship. We can certainly ask the Divine to bless it, I know I certainly will be appealing to the gods for them to do so; but this is not something that comes from them.

I think that’s where a lot of communication problems come from. We as Pagans, particularly Pagans who are Wiccan or have a Wiccan flavor to their practice, are told “if you cannot find me within, you will not find me without”. But our Christian families aren’t told that, they tend to be told “accept Jesus into your heart”. For them, the Divine is outside them in a way that Pagans can’t really understand (even the hard polytheists like myself). For us, the Divine is fluid, in and around us in a way that our Christian families can’t really understand. The first step though is to remember that the gods are known by a thousand, thousand names, and that each god has dozens of specialized epithets; but that their charge to us can easily be summed up.

All acts of Love and Pleasure; Strength and Kindness; Mirth and Reverence are ritual. All acts. If we remember this, we can remember that our families still love us, we have moments of happiness and pleasure with them, they help keep us strong, they are kind when we need support, that we share moments of mirth, and this brings us a reverence of what the relationship with our families can be. And that right there is the Divine at work, with in and with out.