Aradia and I celebrated Beltane this year with a brief but much-needed retreat to Camp Gaea at the beginning of last week. Our ritual was small and private: the ritual burning of the leftovers of our magical practice since Samhain — sigil sketches, expired maeteria, and the like — and the detritus of the job I was let go from at the beginning of the year. There was a great deal more of the latter than the former — despite the planetary witchcraft experiment, which has yielded largely negative results, the majority of our magical energy over the last year has gone toward the coming festival — and I believe that I got a great deal more out of our ritual than she.
That night and in the morning, I was struck by an epiphany of sorts. It came to me in the form of one of the first lines I wrote for the Earth Ritual, with which we will open HPF 2016: “We are of the Earth, upon earth, and, in the end, below the Earth.”
Two nights later, when I performed the Stele of Jeu for the Dark Moon — my first return to that ritual in many months — the power came, as usual, but to little effect. Previously, when I have performed the Headless Rite, the power has rushed out into my Kingdom, opening fissures in the landscape of my life even as it filled others. This time, however, it merely rippled out over a smooth plane, affecting nothing except perhaps to burnish the already polished surface.
For three solid years in the Sunrise Temple, and more haphazardly since coming back to Kansas City, I devoted myself to courting the spirits of the Upper Worlds — spirits of the stars and planets, of the Heavens Above. When I tried to bring my practice back to the home-place of Witchcraft, I tried to do it incrementally. My first forays back into witchcraft merely changed the means by which I sought those starry powers, re-callibrating my rites into things that would make sense to witches who, eclectic though they may be, had never dabbled in the Legemeton or the Golden Dawn. I didn’t want to just abandon all that I had learned. I wanted to, somehow, bring back the wisdom and the power I had learned among the stars.
This, I believe now, was precisely backwards. Someday, I will write my book on planetary witchcraft. But first I must make myself, again a witch, rather than the sorcerer I have become.
What I need to do now is resume my former devotion to the gods and powers . This will, of course, almost certainly prove to be a false dichotomy in the end. But I must follow the path where I see it.