After a very difficult period of my life I am reaching a place where I have the reserves to return to this work. The storm hasnt passed altogether, but I’m moving through it. I recently published the essay Lamb of God: Horus, Christ and the Labarum in The Far Shining One: An Anthology to the Spirits of the Sun (Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2019). There will be more work like this to come.
I have recently reconnected with a friend of mine recently who is also an avid reader of books and who enjoys writing, we have decided to embark on a joint-writing experiment. I am looking forward to this. In some ways it reminds me of those writing exercises from high school where one person would write one line or paragraph and then pass it on to the next person until all of the people involved had completed the story. I enjoyed those exercises because it brought together many different approaches into the same project.
I began writing a series of poems based on the journey through the kabbalah. That is, the journey moving through the spheres of the tree of life, from malkuth to kether. For those unfamiliar, kabbalah is the study of Jewish mysticism. The tree of life is an explanation for the descent of man into earth, and a seeking a yearning to discover humanity’s origins and reunite with it. It has deeply inspired the development of modern western esotericism. My short definition cannot do it justice. If this strikes anyone’s interest please research it further.
About a month ago I wrote an essay on the importance of storytelling and how being plugged into the psycho-sphere of internet consciousness pulls us away from storytelling traditions. Some of my fondest storytelling moments with my family took place before the internet explosion. I think part of the inspiration for that piece of writing came from my own observations of how media, facebook and twitter contribute to the spreading of misinformation via tweets and soundbites instead of people doing their due research to understand the fullness of a complete news article. This also jumpstarted a series of thoughts on how various forms of writing, but especially poetry have evolved and the ways that poetry is used as a methodology for the expression and transmission of ideas based on observations that we make about society in our everyday lives.
As I write this I am also embarking on an essay about the origins of poetry, how it has been used in the past and its potential future developments. Growing up I was an avid reader of poetry, and especially of the romantic poets. I have written my own poetry since I was 8 years old, and at that time was influenced by my brother who wrote poetry in high school. Poetry becomes personal when we are talking about the impersonal because of the meaning we associate with the symbolism we use. Shared symbolism and meaning exists from one subculture to the next.
We use symbols of geek subculture (if you compare someone to Loki or Captain Picard) to create allusions to characters within our local, national and global world thus communicating through a mutual or shared symbolic language. Yet if I incorporate symbols from Rosicrucianism, or Kabbalah in my poetry, someone who isn’t familiar with the symbolism probably won’t get the same thing from the poem as someone who is familiar with it.
This Saturday, in Olivette, Missouri, I will be facilitating my first ever Death Cafe. I am very excited about this, as death is a topic that has long held my fascination. My primary focus is to help facilitate the conversation of death and dying in a welcoming environment.
If you are in the area and would like to attend, you may learn more by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am currently studying of Ceremonial magic. This has brought me into awareness of the Qabalah. As I study the Qabalah I discovered an intense passion to learn Hebrew. So I scour Hebrew dictionaries, play around with language learning applications, and have come to meditate on the letters themselves. Sometimes it feels as though there is a part of my mind that remembers the letters from another time. I feel similitude and camaraderie regarding some of the fin de siecle authors of the late 19th-early 20th centuries who wrote at length on qabalah and in general on occultism: Eliphas Levi, Manly P Hall, Aleister Crowley.
During this time I am writing more fiction and poetry than I have previously. It is not difficult to see how the works I am reading and studying are influencing my work. What I find most amusing is that it was through reading the poetry of Aleister Crowley that I came full circle to a re-affirmed appreciation of the romantic poets, who had influenced his own writing. When I was fresh out of high school and entered community college, I was in love with the romantic poets. There was something very special to me about that time period.
Coming back through readings on occultism, entheogens, and sexuality emerging from the end of the Victorian period, I gained a greater appreciation for the focus of their writing during that time considering the dangerous threats made upon their persons if such writing had seen in public circulation. Crowley himself inserted many ideas into his work that were designed to challenge the culture of his time. Ida Craddock wrote extensively on spiritual relations that attracted the attention and fear of persons who sought to shut down her expression of feminism and spirituality.
A subject of great interest to me at the present are the writings from the fin de siecle era on sexuality, written by bisexual authors. Aleister Crowley and Richard Burton to name a few. Richard Burton’s widow burned his collection of papers for fear of what people of their Victorian England might say if the content were released. I fear that was a tragic loss. Crowley wrote about sex at length in his fiction and poetry. In my own writing, spirituality and sexuality lie at the center of the crossroads of all other things.
There was a time when uttering the phrase “I’m studying Ceremonial Magick” would have accrued the most ignoble treatment onto my person. Nowadays I can go on practically any digital media platform and talk about sexuality, drugs, occultism. I can talk about these things in real time as well. It might garner some weird looks from people who wouldn’t expect to hear it from me, but it cannot endanger me because it has become part of a shared national culture (save versus cultures for whom these topics are more than taboo but illegal and punished severely (even unto death). Even these subjects transcend nation as they are discussed across the globe. A few days ago I was on facebook and came across a socioeconomic quiz. Its designed to test the elasticity of one’s social bubble, how aware they are of American culture, based on their own socio-economic status as a child and through adulthood. One friend of mine noted that they are asking the wrong questions. I agree with her statement. I stated I feel no shame for being disconnected from American culture.
And then I was reminded of a very powerful statement I heard once. How can a writer contribute to social change if they are not immersed in the culture? There is a melting pot of reasons why people write. Some actively seek to thwart the auld order and evoke change, others strongly feel that they enjoy writing and that is their penultimate raison d’etre, they have no need to further define it beyond a sense of true will. In 2016 I wrote about my own reasons for writing in relation to the dark night of the soul.
So how does a writer shape his/her world without knowing the culture of place or of time? This is a hard one for me, a moment of being damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I often relate that I don’t really feel like I belong in this time. If I had lived in the early 20th century I think something in the field of the arts would have suited me best. On one hand I have little to no interest in aspects of our shared social constructs that seek to divide and conquer, and on the other, I’m consciously aware that they exist, I would just rather focus on other things; I’d rather focus my attention on work that brings people together not those that tear them asunder.
For years I have used this platform for sharing my essays, abstracts and rants. I am not shutting this down. I will continue to share essays on this blog but would like to encourage my viewers to also connect with me through https://shadowlyte.wordpress.com/
As I grow as a writer, I am developing and channeling all of my writings through the brand of Nox Canto. It is also a way for you to stay in touch with me and receive news on updates and future publications. You may also connect with me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/malandradara/
This holiday season I have heard nothing from my husband except for the widespread discourse on cultural appropriation with regard to how Christianity misappropriated Pagan symbolism from traditions that celebrated Yule. I know what he’s doing. In his own very special way he is trying to teach our son that there are various paths that share ideas in common, and that all traditions and symbols hail from some earlier point of origin; that our Christmas tree is also a Yule tree. In his own special way he seeks to “take it back”. Our son is six years old and he’s especially fond of Christmas. For him however, Christmas is entirely a social convention, it is a celebration with a tree dressed in a robe of light, and he gets to open presents.
Now I have been celebrating both Christmas and Yule since 1996. Growing up Christian and forging my own path through the jungle, I began practicing witchcraft in the mid to late 90s and cementing my own traditions under the radar of Christian traditions. I knew if my practice was going to survive, it would do so by a blending of those practices.
Research and meditation set me on another course not so distant from this topic. While meditating one evening on my father’s rosary I had an inkling I ought to research the symbolism. It is engraved with the symbol of Chi-Rho, which has become synonymous with Christ for nearly 2000 years. Not surprising, right?
These are Greek letters which were combined to form a kind of bindrune stemming back to the vision Constantine beheld of a banner carried off in the shimmering light of the Sun. This rather late Sol Invictus beheld the vision of this bindrune on a banner of victory on the eve of battle. So we already know that Chi-Rho was perceived in the 3rd century as a symbol of victory. What came as a very nice surprise to me was the discovery that Chi-Rho are Greek letters that stem back to Horus the Elder. I’ll explain.
In Egyptian mythology, Horus is the son of Isis and Osiris, reflected in Thelema as the inheritor of the new age or aeon, an age of force and victory. Horus is often identified with Lucifer in many respects. The aeon of Isis is a reflection of a matrilineal agricultural period and mother goddesses. Osiris similarly is a representation of the aeon of the dying and sacrificed gods (the group to which Christ is often attributed).
In the story of Horus, he is born after Isis reassembles the severed body of Osiris and fashions a synthetic phallus with which she seminates herself. Horus becomes the sun victorious who defeats Sutekh (at whose hands his father died). Horus and Sutekh vie for dominance over Egypt, and represent the two kingdoms, however there are variations in the story that claim a peace treaty was struck. (Is there an association present with the relationship between Horus and Sutekh and that of Lucifer and Satan? I may have to consider exploring that line of inquiry in the future). For now, though, returning to the concept of appropriation.
The ways in which I am working with the rosary are not unlike my husband’s approach to what he calls his “defense against the war on Yule”. We are both coming full circle by bringing awareness to the historicity of symbols that have been previously appropriated. What was once old is new again.
Happy Christmas and Merry Solstice.
This year I embarked on a study of Shamanism with the Temple of Witchcraft and one of the focal points of that study was to pursue the study of a pantheon. This is a wonderful concept. One I am acutely familiar with from my days as an undergrad and grad student when I actively sought out any material I could access through the university libraries on various pantheons. The one I always come back to is this: Slavic mythology. Let me tell you something about myself you might not know. My great grandparents emigrated from Croatia to the United States in the late 19th century. This was Croatia when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Census records I have perused (as I am a bit of a genealogy hobbyist) often said Hungary. I didn’t make the connection until recently about how or why this wasn’t inaccurate. My brother and I still converse about Croatian history and our own family history, especially the areas where our ancestors came from. Recently showed my five year old son pictures of Croatia and he has decided we need to go on a holiday to visit the beaches of Croatia. I’m absolutely in favor of that!!!
In lieu of the fact that I have had a few friends (who also have genetic lines that run parallel to my own, gypsy, Romanian, and other branches of Slavic heritage) inquire about the resources of my research, I have put together a beginner bibliography with those resources so that anyone who is also interested in researching Slavic history, religion and mythology can also utilize those resources as well.
Proto-Slavic Mythological Bibliography
Kokic, Gordana. Modern Rodnovery, Hittites and Scythians; Slavic Roots in Antiquity? http://modrodnovery.com/the-scythians-and-thracians-slavic-roots-in-late-antiquity/ visited: 18 Nov 2016.
Melhorn, Gary. The Esoteric Codex: Shapeshifters. Lulu, 2015.
Pennington, James Joshua, PhD. St. Perun and St. Volos. Academia. Pp.1-13. Visited: 5 Dec 2016
Rendić-Mioĉević, Ivo. Retracing The Past to the Cradle of Croatian History. Eastern European Quarterly. 2002. Vol 36, No. 1, pp.1-25.
Smrekar, Saša Iskrić. Cave of Iapodes and its petroglyphs – an early Slavic shrine of Perun/Kresnik, academia, pp.1-16.
Trkanjec, Luka. Chthonic aspects of the Pomeranian deity Triglav and other tricephalic characters in Slavic mythology. Studia Mythologica Slavica, 2013, vol 16. pp9.25.
Wratislaw, A. H. Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources. 1890. Sacred Texts Archive. http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/sfs/index.htm visited: 8 Dec 2016.