Evolutionary Witchcraft Excerpt
Invocation: Recognizing the Divine Within
“God is self and self is God and God is a person like myself” – Victor Anderson
Feri Tradition honors the Star Goddess first, before any of the Elements of life, Guardians or other Deities are called into the sacred sphere. She is acknowledged, not called, for She is always with us, and we open all Feri workings with this prayer: “Holy Mother, in Whom we live, move and have our being, from You all things emerge and unto You all things return. (1)
Unlike religious traditions that posit a God outside the physical earth, the Star Goddess may transcend the earth, but not our cosmos. With intimate connection, She is woven into the fabric of the natural world, in space, time, stars and green growing grass. This is immanence, the Divine in all things. In Her vastness, the Star Goddess may feel transcendent, but God-out-there is not separate from the immanent God-in-all-things that many call Goddess, and Victor and Cora called God Herself. She is akin to Egypt’s Nuit, Babylon’s Ishtar, Hine Turama of the Maori and the Welsh Arianrhod, lovers, creators and Star Goddesses all. She creates from lust and bears from her womb, messy, sticky and full of life. Hers is not the creation from pure intellect, birthed only by wind and word. Feri Tradition names Her Quakoralina. (2)
A Feri practitioner’s beliefs can range from the pure polytheism of many Gods (3), to an adapted monism, in which God Herself functions as the unifying force of all life. The Gods and Goddesses who embody particular energies that work in the world are said to have spiralled out from Her creative impulse. Victor would say that “The Supreme Being is God Herself. She needs no-one to help Her. She is male and female. The male is translated out through the female.”
As Hers was the first act of creation, God Herself – the Star Goddess – is present in all of creation. Immanent, She fills the interstices of our lives with mystery and beauty: in the pineapple weed pushing through the sidewalk cracks, or the flash of lightning, shattering the sky. Immanence is the voice of the breeze in the trees and the pounding of the waves on sand. Immanence is a kiss, a touch, a breath. It is your body sliding across your lover in lust and celebration.
Witches believe that the natural world is sacred, sex is holy, and the human body is beautiful and must be cared for. A Witch’s sense of self is linked to the earth and this divinity. The Divine in the world is also in us and establishes a relationship with all that surrounds us. The Feri practitioner, through direct contact with this divinity, becomes an everyday mystic. In Nature, we experience multiplicity: Nature is the face from which our pluralism flows. Things can be one, but they are also many, varied and beautiful. Thus, there is unity in the connection of immanence and the realization that there are many Gods and Goddesses. There are also spirits local to where you live: in the parks, the streams, the fields. The unseen realms are as varied as the seen. Though there are many realms, our religion does not aspire to some higher realm that exists beyond the scope of the material world. The realms are all accessible on earth. For us, the goal is not to leave the human for the Divine, but rather to become more Divine as humans. We are of the earth, and of divinity. Immanence then, is that within each human that makes us part of the Divine, and ensures the possibility of our becoming more Divine. Let us now meet our own sacred souls.
Encountering Your Triple Soul
Many Gods have three faces or aspects. Feri Tradition reminds us that we, too, are a trinity. Our soul is made up of three distinct parts. These can work together in harmony or become disconnected, causing imbalances within. Though Feri is the only tradition of Witchcraft to use the concept of the tripartite soul, the idea surfaces in many cultures. The parallels are not exact, changing slightly from culture to culture, yet the similarities are striking.
In his “Republic,” Plato wrote about the tripartite nature of the human being: the appetitive self, the spirited self and the thinking self. For him, these also correspond to the right structuring of society. The Triple Soul is very important in the Hawaiian religion of Huna. It appears in Sufi and Norse thought as well and in the Celtic “Three Cauldrons” (4).The concept exists in Jewish Kabbalistic writings, and from there, filtered into the studies of the Medieval alchemists.
The Golden Dawn – founded in late Victorian Britain by Rosicrucian Masons and home to such luminaries as Maud Gonne, William Butler Yeats and Macgregor and Moina Mathers – is the progenitor of much contemporary occult practice. This group borrowed Kabbalah from the Christian alchemists, rather than the Jews, and changed the system still further, influencing the course of current magickal groups. Whereas Jewish Kabbalah places five divisions of soul on the Tree of Sephiroth – with only the first three being accessible and developable during human lifetime – Golden Dawn influenced magicians place only three souls on the tree.
In Feri, the first division of the soul is Sticky One, the energy body that most closely follows the physical body. Energy “sticks” to it, drawn in and stored as in a battery. Sticky One carries our animal and child nature, our instinct, and the immediacy of our connections to sex, food, sleep and exercise.
Then comes Shining Body, which includes your energetic aura, an egg shape around you. This is the seat of communication and intellect of giving and receiving information rationally, energetically and psychically.
Last comes what the Sacred Dove. Physically, this is a sphere that reaches above your physical head, like a halo, intersecting all the parts of you. This is our own divinity, or God Soul, and connects with all the other realms, including the ancestors and Gods (5).
The Triple soul in Feri is accessed on the human plane and shows us that the physical is woven inextricably with the spiritual. As a Feri practitioner, I find this most helpful, for I am not so interested in a disembodied spirit or an “after life.” I want to live fully and well in the here and now, on this physical plane, in my sacred body in a sacred world.
In the system brought through Feri Tradition, all three parts of the soul can change, grow, strengthen and come into alignment. You can begin this work by observing yourself and noting which parts are most developed. You might be out of balance in one-way or another. For example, while it is unwise to be wholly controlled by our animal nature, the Sticky One, it is equally unhealthy to ignore its instinctive wisdom and exist solely on an intellectual plane, in Shining Body. The Witch’s way is not to leave her body behind and strive for a purely spiritual existence. Sacred Dove, our own God Soul, is embodied. Our very spirituality is embodied. All three souls are one, rooted in our body in this lifetime. While unaligned – out of touch with the various parts of ourselves – we are more easily prone toward being controlled by random events and emotions or stray thoughts. Disconnection from ourselves, particularly from our Sacred Dove, can lead us into disconnection from our society and the earth and in extreme situations leading to totalitarian governments, serial killers, slavery, and human caused environmental disaster. In less extreme cases, soul disconnection can simply make our lives much more difficult and painful than they need be, keeping us stuck in old patterns and unhealthy work or love situations.
Lack of alignment is a splintering of pieces of ourselves from each other. Culturally, we isolate reason from emotion, body from intuition and male from female, creating duality where none really exists (6).This causes serious rifts that have long reaching psychic, psychological and physical repercussions, causing all sorts of illness and dis-ease, including war. Humans long to be whole.
Soul alignment is a central spiritual practice, it re-knits our spirits and can, in the long term, help us to refashion the ways in which we live with one another. The tools in this book begin this process by mending the unnecessary split between the psychic and the physical. The following exercises, ending with the most important tool in this book, the Prayer for Alignment, will help you to become whole, balanced, strong, happy and open to the abundance of the world. For the remainder of this chapter, we will explore the nature of our Triple Soul, beginning with Sticky One and working our way through all the parts until we are familiar with them. Then we will learn how to balance and align the tripartite soul, making it straight within us.
(1)This prayer is traditional to Feri craft and came through Victor. You can hear in it echoes of other religious traditions.
(2)See Thorns of the Blood Rose by Victor Anderson (Cora Anderson, 2003)
(3)] I use upper case here to indicate that I am talking of Deity. It is standard to use lower case for polytheistic forms of the Divine but I do not want to reinforce the prejudice that my Gods are somehow lesser for having multiple expressions. To reserve an uppercase G for monotheistic Deity denigrates all polytheistic religions. Nature, being divine, is also capitalized.
(4) In The Spiral Dance Starhawk uses a more psychological model, calling them the Three Selves. These concepts can also be found in ancient Egyptian, Kundalini Yoga and Rudolf Steiner’s work. St. Augustine relates the Christian Trinity to the human being. See the Cauldron of Poesy for the Irish source www.seanet.com/~inisglas/cop1.html).
(5) Victor Anderson gave me these names, with the exception of “Sacred Dove” which he called “Paraclete.” Some students have trouble calling it “dove,”
thinking that to be Christian imagery, but Victor called Triple Soul alignment “feeding the Dove”. One may also call it the Sacred Falcon, using Egyptian imagery if that is more comfortable for you, or God Soul will suffice.(6) See Dr. Candace Pert’s Molecules of Emotion (Scribner, 1997) for a scientific counterpoint to strict dualism.