The Ritual Magic of Rabbit Holes

Back in January, I made an oath to my gods that I would ‘hang out my professional shingle’ as a witch and priestess. I wasn’t entirely sure what that was going to mean, but with my High Priestess’s (HPS) blessing, I launched this website for my Outer Court.

And then a week later, the State of North Carolina shut due to the novel coronavirus. Ha. Yeah. Ah well.

I’m not a public witch at all — I don’t go to public pagan events, don’t do readings, don’t have a social media presence. My practice has been private and focused, and has worked really well. I love my mother coven, Foxfire, and love our coven practice. It was enough for me and I was comfortable.

But I’ve been doing this long enough to know that when things get comfortable, it means something’s about to get shaken up. So I decided to meet it head on this time.

I’m not really sure what ‘hanging my shingle’ will mean for me, honestly. I know launching an Outer Court (OC), is part of that. But I’m not sure if that also means going to gathers, finding a working partner, or otherwise somehow getting ‘involved’ in pagan and magical communities. Finding a working partner is like finding an invisible Unicorn is a dark room with your hands tied, and lockdown had pushed communities entirely on-line. That’s fine, but if you’re used to lurking, it’s not always clear how to un-lurk.

At the same time, the lockdown has provided (forced?) me with time to really dig into some glaring weaknesses in my magical training. I’m really enjoying digging into late 19th/early 20th-century European ritual magic texts, and this included various ‘witcheries’ (what I call it, not what they called it) such as astrology, sacred geomancy, alchemy, etc.

In February, my high priestess, Thorn Mooney clued me into Benebell Wen’s work and I was instantly enamored. It was exactly the nerdy analysis of ceremonial magic through the lens of a practicing witch I craved, and I dove into her course Western Witchcraft I: The Fundamentals and Doctrinal Basis course.

Okay, let’s be clear: this is not a Fundamentals in the way I, as an academic, think of a 101 course. It’s definitely 201, maybe even 301. I was about halfway through the textbook before I realized I’d somehow skipped over the pre-requisite text, which is pretty much a healthy dose of the Key of Solomon (plus some other goodies) to consider while working through Eliphas Levi’s Transcendental Magic. I’ve skipped around in those texts enough to keep up, but I’ve since slowed myself down a lot to really digest this material better. (I’ll get back to this in another post.)

In March took the Intro to Geomancy course by Dr. Alexander Cummins. I’d met Al* a few times before and he’s a fantastic and engaging speaker. The course was excellent, and I was instantly hooked on geomancy.

During that course, Al recommended Polyphane’s blog The Digital Ambler which has turned into a rabbit hole nexus.

I soon found myself engaging in Fr. Rufus Opus’ Red Work course through both The Red Crown of Stars course, and Polyphane’s own site. (What can I say. It’s how I nerd.) The material is great and I highly recommend it, but I won’t lie, it’s been a struggle for me to find a balancing point between my theology and the theurgy. (That’ll also be a different blog post.)

One of the things Polyphane recommends is using this course of study to start a blog. I resisted at first, partly because of my internal theology/theurgy debates.

But in meditation this morning (which I suck at) I realized that part of ‘hanging my shingle’ means presenting myself and my ideas as a witch and priestess. If you’re a Seeker and happen to know me in meat space, and also happen to know I’m a Gardnerian witch, then we can have a conversation and things can evolve from there. Maybe you’d send me a Seeker letter, maybe not.

But the statewide lockdown has made me realize that it’s a little like launching a business in a basement and waiting for customers to pour in. I have to do the work to meet people half-way. There’s a tension, however. We don’t proselytize in Gardnerian Wicca. We don’t look for Seekers. The onus is entirely on the Seeker to approach the coven, and for great reasons. (Thorn Mooney’s book Traditional Wicca: A Seekers Guide has an excellent chapter on this, by the way.) My coven is listed on a few Facebook groups, but even doing that was uncomfortable for me at first.

Still, every Coven is unique, even ones that practice and pass down the same Tradition. I was lucky: I knew my High Priestess in real life long before I ever realized she was a witch. In fact, discovering that she was a Wiccan — this woman I respected and appreciated — set off an entire crisis of faith for me, and set me on the path I’m on today. I couldn’t be more grateful for that! But it blows my mind how incredibly lucky I was. Well, luck nothing. I think the gods were involved.

So while this blog is partly me processing my own, personal magical explorations, it’s also an introduction of myself to others. It’s a way for prospective Seekers to get to know me and see what I’m about. A Seeker can be a great fit for Gardnerian Wicca, but may be looking for something different in a High Priestess. So hopefully, Seeker, this will help you in that process.

And if you are a witch, priest, priestess, or magician, I’m looking to build that community for myself as well! I love learning about other magical practices, and how other individuals frame their own explorations.

So, Google Web Crawler, fly fast and well with this data! So mote it be!

*Al, I wasn’t sure if you prefer to be called Dr. Cummins, but I know more priests/priestesses who cringe at formalities, so I tend to err on the side of informal. If you ever see this, let me know and I’ll change it!

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