Thursday, December 22, 2011

Here Comes the Sun: Merry Yule!

I hope the night was not too horrible for you and that you got to spend it by a warm fire cuddled up to the one you like best doing naughty things with evergreens! 

As was discussed in yesterday's blog, there are many ways that people use Sungazing and there are many ways that the practice can be integrated into religious practice.  I'm still getting a lot of helpful feedback from the Sungazing community, so as information continues to come it, I'll post it.

This is Issac's story:
I am not affiliated with any religious or spiritual group, organization, lineage or tradition. I live in surrender to Divinity, receiving guidance from Spirit and communing with Spirit in daily meditations.  My first regular sungazing was in 1997. I currently sungaze on an irregular basis, according to my inner guidance. On average, I sungaze once every five weeks, for one minute at a time. I always remove my glasses and stand barefoot on bare ground (I prefer gravel or dirt, but grass or stone will do, and occasionally even concrete). I often close my eyes after sungazing, and use my attention and breath to move the energy I've received evenly throughout my body, discharging any excess.  Most of my sungazing is usually with the rising sun, less often with the setting sun, and even less often with the mid-day sun. Ever since I was little I have enjoyed looking directly into the sun for only a few seconds at a time. I do this at any time in any conditions.
I sungaze only when my Heart tells me to do so. This guidance can range from a mild message that I may sungaze if I would like to, to a stronger message that tells me that it would be best to sungaze at a particular time.  By only sungazing when I receive inner guidance to do so, my natural interest in sungazing is yet one more thing that helps to keep me tuned in to my inner guidance, awaiting the signal / nudge / "go ahead".

My Heart and Solar Plexus and Belly chakras became larger and more open as a direct and prompt result of sungazing one morning, and were filled with a special energy from the sun, which felt wonderful, and stayed with me for a week or so afterwards, slowly fading.

On more than one occasion I have experienced a connexion with the Sun as a living being, gazing back at me. This connexion helps me to transcend my personal self, and gives me a deeper understanding/knowledge of life and my place in the universe. This is not an intellectual knowledge but rather a heartfelt and bodily knowledge.  I have experienced the sun as a manifestation of Divinity, and communicated with the Sun, both sending and receiving thought & feeling.  The intensity of the Sun's light touches me in a way that few things in the physical world can compare with.
Sometimes when I gaze at the sun, it splits into three or more different suns which overlap. Sometimes a colored halo appears around it, very striking, rainbow-colored or diaphanous diamond white or with other coloration. Sometimes the sun shimmers, or waves of light rapidly run across its surface in various ways. This is not really important but I appreciate it when it happens.
Halo with sun dogs, aka mock suns

My vision has at times been better after sungazing.  My appetite and digestion have often improved. I've felt quite energized at times, with a very focused and efficient mood.  Fall, winter and spring can all be rather overcast for much of the time where I live. When I sungaze, this tends to not bother me. A small amount of sungazing goes a long way in this regard.  I have experienced impaired or reduced visual acuity, temporarily, from sungazing. Nothing serious. I've had my eyes checked plenty of times over the years (I wear glasses) and the most recent tests, about half a year ago, confirmed that my eyes are very healthy.
When I first sungazed, many years ago, I was never grounded (bare feet), I gazed at the sun while it was high in the sky (very intense), and I also did not know to remove my glasses. I gazed only with my left eye. I was very ungrounded at the time and suffered from various mental issues, and sungazing in this fashion may have exacerbated things, but was not the cause. Even though, from my current perspective, I was doing it all "wrong," I think that it was more helpful than harmful at that time. However I would never recommend that someone try to copy the "technique" I had! In fact, I don't recommend sungazing to people at all unless they are guided to do so by their Higher Self, by Divinity / Spirit, and/or by their Heart and Gut Knowing.
I always love it when he gods shimmer and separate before my eyes!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting for the Sun: Happy Solstice!

There she'll be: in green sun, on blue earth under warm running water.
--"Martha" Paul Kantner

Happy birthday baby Sun!  Tomorrow will be the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Tonight is the longest night.  For some pagans, this time represents when the slain god is about to be reborn from the goddess in the form of the Sun.

There are many deities, both god and goddess, associated with the Sun.  The Japanese have the goddess Amaterasu, the Celts have Lugh and Brigid, the Greeks have Helios and Apollo, the Egyptians have Ra, and the Aztecs and Incas have a long history of giving human blood and suffering to their solar deities.
Sun worship is nothing new.  Our early ancestors recognized the importance of the Sun and the gifts that it gave them.  It was a natural extension to worship it and the energies attached to it.  Even today, we worship the Sun by tanning our bodies.  Some people even gaze at the Sun.  While many members of this growing practice would probably not say that they are worshipping the Sun, the amount of time that they spend looking at and meditating upon the Sun borders on worship.  Sun gazing is nothing new either.  Many ancients practiced it in conjunction with Sun worship.

I first became aware of sungazing several months ago when I caught the last half of the movie "Eat the Sun" on the Documentary Channel. 
Eat the Sun

My interest was peaked.  When I was finally able to catch the whole movie, and I became fascinated by the practice.  The movie's really good too.  I started out thinking that these folks were idiots.  Then I became engrossed with the idea.  I almost became convinced that it was a good idea when the movie visited the optometrist.  Now, I'm torn between wanting to sungaze but not wanting to ruin my eyes.

The modern Sungazing movement owes its impetus to this man:
Hira Ratan Manek (HRM), of the Solar Healing Center, is how many people became involved in Sungazing.  For a time, and maybe still, he held workshops and conferences all over the West Coast of the US.  He has a very strict protocol that he wants folks to follow.  His claim to fame, so to speak, is that he claims that sungazing helps lower your appetite to the point that you no longer want to eat and that the sun provides all the nutrients that you need so you no longer need to eat.  Unfortunately, he's been somewhat discredited.  I've never contacted the man, although perhaps I should.  He just strikes me as being very haughty.

Mason Dwinell

Mason Dwinell, on the other hand, I have emailed twice, and I've never received a response.  I don't know if he's tired of being interviewed, if he finds my blog socially inappropriate (as some Sungazers have), or if he's dead. I just don't know.  Mason was the subject of the documentary Eat The Sun.  According to the documentary, Sungazing has really altered his life.  It broke up a relationship he was in, it caused his appetite to be greatly diminished, it caused him to feel isolated somewhat, and it damaged his eyes.  On the other hand, according to his website, it seems to have brought him some spiritual satisfaction as well. 
Mason's instructions for sungazing, which are based off of HRM's protocol are as follows:
Depending on the weather and the level of commitment this is only a nine month to a year practice. Once you reach 44 minutes of sungazing you are finished. You should not have the need to stare at the sun any longer, your sungazing is complete. Sungazing is to be practiced standing bare footed on bare earth. Without shoes you can stand on sand, gravel, mud, or bare earth. Your bare feet should be in contact with the bare earth. Try to avoid standing on tar, concrete, granite, stone or even on grass (the grass absorbs the solar energy).  If you happen to stand on any other surfaces, that is fine, the results may simply be a bit different or arrive a bit slower.
While the sun is low on the horizon the intensity of the rays will be at a minimum. During this time, the sun's rays are tolerable, and the UV radiation is lower, so the potential of harming your eyes is lower. Use common sense within these parameters, if the sun is too bright and it feels as though it may be burning your eyes, don't stare at it. The best time to learn about your limits is right as the sun rises or a minute or so before it sets.  According to HRM the sunrise holds more energy, vitamins and minerals then the sunset. Go figure. Personally I recommend the sunrise, energetically it is a beautiful balance of yin and yang. You only need the sunrise or the sunset, both may be a bit much. By rushing about you will not find what you are looking for any faster.  Be careful and always listen to your body.
To Begin As the sun rises over the horizon simply gaze at the whole glowing ball of light for 10 seconds only. The key is to be relaxed, just like in mediation, let go of all thoughts and become immersed in the moment. Simply, look at it. No stress or strain on the face, facial muscles or eyes. Relax your jaw. Stand at peace, knees bent with your arms at your sides.  Let go.

If you choose to get up with the chickens, and try gazing at the rising sun. Stay relaxed and receptive for greater assimilation of the beneficial aspects of the sun's rays. Try to become aware of what your body is feeling, how is your mental, emotional and physical state as the sun fills every atom, every electron, and every cell in your body.  Feel every tissue filled with the regenerative and healing properties that the sunlight imparts on your body. You may notice an amazing increase in your overall energy as well as your physical stamina and positivism. Be aware of how the sunlight actually cleanses and rebuilds the whole of your being, your mind and thoughts, your feelings and your physical body; total rejuvenation. By completely surrendering to the suns greater power, and as the minutes of sungazing increase, the awareness of your energetic being may heighten dramatically. 

There is no need to maintain an unblinking, stare. Blink as and when it naturally happens, sort of like watching television. For the first few moments you look into the sun it may be very bright, after about 3-7 seconds of continuous gazing all the brightness generally goes away and you are left staring into a soft ball of pure white light; a beautiful pulsing orb. Don’t squint.  If you feel yourself squinting, relax the muscles in your face and eyes.  Let the light in.  The more open and relaxed the muscles are in your body the more oxygen and energy is able to flow within your cells, and then more light will be allowed in.
You have at your disposal an incredible amount of electricity to make things happen in your world. With the aid of sunlight, you can recharge each cell and atom to its full potential. 

Increase the time you gaze at the sun by a few seconds each day - say by 5 seconds or so per day, until you are comfortable and relaxed with the entire concept of staring into the sun. Once you are comfortable with the concept of sungazing feel free to increase gazing time at a constant rate of 10 seconds per day. You may find it helpful to get a watch or employ a friend to keep tabs on your staring time.   Subtle slow increments of time are important for allowing for the rods and cones within the anatomical structure of the eye to adapt to the intense levels light.
Increase the sungazing time by 10 seconds each day until you have reached 44 minutes, at which point you should be fully charged.   At 44 minutes you are finished with the HRM’s method of sungazing.  Depending on weather this may only take nine or ten months.
According to Mason, "Sungazing can be used as a tool for tapping into your human potential. Some change will occur to reach these peaks; your perceptions may alter circumstances, you may begin to change from the inside out.  Change can be uncomfortable.  Nonetheless, when we release our physical and emotional energetic blockages these changes will become trivial relative to the incredible expansiveness of the universe.   If at least three months are committed to the sungazing practice (reaching 15 minutes of staring time) some sort of change of your perception of your world will occur.  We are all energetic beings, vibrating at different frequencies, so we should be comfortable with the concept that all of us are different. There may be many different reactions, sensations and experiences.  Remember, whatever happens to you is perfect. It is yours and yours only.  At every turn there are lessons to be learned.  It may be helpful to become objective in your approach to life, awareness may prove to be an essential ingredient.  Be positive and open-minded; feel all there is to feel."

I would imagine that some sort of change in perception would occur.  Any time that you open yourself up, things tend to happen, for good or bad.  Mason's website mentions aliens dancing on his bed (as well as a book he's written about Sungazing).  HRM says that you'll no longer need to eat.  Dan G. says that it improved his eye sight.  The optometrist on "Eat the Sun" says that holes will be burned into your retinas. If there are such negatives associated with sungazing, why do people do it?  What kind of spiritual benefit (or other benefits) do people get from gazing at the sun and stimulating their pineal gland that makes it all worth while?  Will your "body battery" constantly be charged?  Will your libido increase?  Will you be a better energy manipulator?
  I have Sungazed a few times, perhaps against my better judgement, and I'm not sure that the practice is for me.  I like standing outside barefoot, digging my toes into the dirt while I watch the sun set, but the worry that I'm hurting my eyes usually ruins the moment.  I'm not sure why it should though.  I don't worry what will happen to my body when I ingest a hallucinogen.  I don't worry what my flesh will look like after doing fire play or being flogged (or at least not enough to ruin the mood!).  So why should I worry about damaging my eyes if the act of sungazing could hold so much promise for unlocking spiritual and metabolic doors?  Should the potential damage just be viewed as a sacrifice for spiritual enlightenment?  A gift given to the solar deities?

As with other potentially dangerous spiritual practices, there are a fairly large and international community of Sungazers.  There are Yahoo groups, web forums, blogs, chat rooms, and Facebook pages all dedicated to the act of Sungazing.  Sungazers come from all walks of life, all different countries, all different religions, and all different ages.  Some are even nudists!  There seems to be two main camps in the community: those that follow HRM's protocol and those that do their own thing.  Many of the gazers gaze for both spiritual and health benefits.

  For this blog, I joined the Yahoo groups In the Suns Rays, moderated by Dan G. and Sungazing,
 moderated by Vinny Pinto. I also solicited interviews and advice from Dan G. and the members of the two groups.  Dan G. was very helpful.  He suggests that gazers who are having difficulties with Sungazing use what is called the Bates' Swinging Method.  "In a swing movement, the eyesight focus point swings between two different objects or targets. Brushing on the space between the two markers, the eyes are exercising.
Let's say you pick as a target a tree or an electric pole on one side of the sun and another one on the other side of the son. The two targets are low intensity light.  If you "swing " between the two targets, brushing over the sun, the eyes have to adjust from the low intensity of one target, to the high intensity of the sun and again to the low intensity of the second target.  The "travel" between the two target should be about 1-2 second long at the beginning, later can be slowed down as desired and as it feels comfortable. The exercise can  be of 10-15 minutes or more, as desired.  The exercise can be done anytime of the day, as relaxed as possible.
My opinion is that this type of exercise should be a "must" before starting sungazing, and it is only too bad that it is not recommended before "parking" the eyes and staring at the sun."  
I tried this method of Sungazing, but for only 10 seconds, and it did help my eyes not to water uncontrollably from the amount of light being poured into my retinas.  Ten seconds, so far, is my gazing limit.  The time that I tried it for longer, I had spots that stayed for longer than I really wished them too.  According to Dan, there shouldn't be any after images after gazing.  "Any after image is a sign that the retina cells are overloaded.
If one relaxes the eyes right away, the afterimage or the spots  will not be lasting, but if the sungazing continues, the overloading might be of a longer term.  For example, after a sungazing pause of a few months, when I restart, I get a reddish or a yellowish big spot in the visual field. If I stop and relaxes, the spot goes away after a few seconds, if continue sungazing it might take minutes to go away.  If I stop and try again next day, the eye are already trained, no more spots.  Not all the persons are the same, I am giving you this info just as a reference.  Normally, if the eyes are in good shape, there should be no afterimage.
The idea is that a trained eye, adjusts instantaneously both to the strong sunlight and to the dark.
An additional comment : If the spots LAST  after sungazing is different from the spots APPEARING a little time after sungazing. The later might be a case for concern, the former is only an afterimage."

Some of my regular readers may be wondering how Sungazing connects with the theme of this blog, which is gritty spiritual practices, or with the current series of blogs, 'Blessed Be Thy Feet'.  Well, as I stated above, Sungazing can be dangerous.  And if you slogged through Mason's directions for Sungazing, Sungazing is typically done barefoot. 
According to Dan G., Sungazing does fit into a typical ritual format.  "Being started and driven by notorious nonscientific people, sungazing is very likely to become ritual driven. The barefoot walking is one of those aspects. Scientifically speaking, I would relate the barefoot walking requirement to the light massage and the stimulation of the soles of the feet, and through the nervous connections to the rest of the body. (see also Reflexology) The ten second exposure increment value is also empirical and ritualistic, and probably unnecessary. Ten seconds is the duration of the prayer, the timing of the rituals through prayer is a tradition."   
This correlates perfectly with what one Sungazer wrote me: "I practice sungazing to stimulate the pineal gland and also simply, to energize my overall being.  I do it very briefly each morning, followed by closing my eyes to "lock in" the energy I've taken in from the sun.  My practice is entirely intuitively guided and I have not experienced any major health benefits other than perhaps enhanced mental clarity and physical energy, improved overall mood.  For me, it is a form of prayer that helps me to feel connected to the cosmos." 

Real life Sungazers on a commune somewhere in the US
Another person that I interviewed for this blog is Zarrin.  Zarrin has been Sungazing periodically for four years, usually in short minute to five minute bursts.  He doesn't follow a protocol.  He uses Sungazing as a way to stay connected to the Earth since he's no longer a farmer, but a college student.
                                                                         Zarrin's Story
I have become increasingly inventive with the practice as time has gone on.  I learned of "shooting the sun" which is where you blink open your eyes to look at a bright midday sun which you cannot look at continuously.  After ten or fifteen minutes of this, it becomes possible to have your eyes open wider for longer.  Then, this past summer in Iowa, I sungazed in the middle of the day near the
summer solstice while standing on my head.  I found I could stare directly into the sun without blinking.  Then I did a bit of gazing while lying down and it was a bit easier to not blink.  While
standing, I had to blink much more.  However, as a result of this I gained a blurry spot in the center of my vision which has still not totally resolved.  I believe this also caused some perturbations to my
energy body as well, as I cannot see as clearly as I used to. Previously, I had excellent long-distance vision and I could steadily gaze into the distance.  This is rare for people today who mostly look
at books, computers, and things within the range of indoors distances. Our ancestors would have gazed and searched Nature more often. 
I feel my sungazing times as well as working outside on farms had brought me these visual and physical benefits of stillness, clarity, and centeredness.  Much of that has changed for me since this past summer, due to the sungazing mishap and other reasons which were the reason I did such a self-destructive sungazing session in the first place.  There was no need for it except that I was emotionally distraught and sought anything to rescue me from me karma there, but such rescue was not possible.  In times of difficulty, it can require great surrender to put up and shut up.  At that time, I faltered and suffered damage to remind me of my mishap, although I don't feel that there was any "purpose" for the event.  It just happens to remind me now of the need for surrender; in another situation or person, such damage may not have the same effect.

In the months of September and a bit in October, after I had returned to the lakes of upstate New York, I found my favorite practice of sungazing to date.  I would float, mostly on my back, in the
lake--therefore totally grounded--and look all around the sun.  Not directly at it, but above it, to the sides, and below it.  And I would look around it at different distances to the above, sides, and below.
This allows the light to enter my vision at an angle instead of directly through the focused center.
I always prefer to gaze, then look at the sky away from the sun for a bit, then relax with closed eyes for a period of time.  If I gaze for too long, I might end up with a tension headache, perhaps from too
much light.

And, I always look around at other parts of the sky after I finish gazing.  I also like to look at the earth's landscape in far-off vistas--for example, across the lake but below the sky, which I also
look at--after sungazing.

I determine the requisite time by my inner guidance/impatience.  And I often wish for more patience and love which produces patience, stillness, and happiness with choosing either way to gaze or not,
when, and for how long. 
Sometimes, sungazing seems to help thoughts to slow and quiet.  When they start back up again, or when calm interest gives way to a feelingof willful force to continue, is often when my body and mind and inner guidance know it is time for the practice to stop for the moment or
 Although Zarrin has suffered some eye damage from Sungazing, he says that he will still continue doing it since he believes it has helped stave off diseases, it helps to keep him grounded and connected with Nature, and it helps him to acclaimate to new places and stave off jetlag.

Sungazing sounds very Pagan, doesn't it?  Maybe the Druids did it.  A brief look at the rising Sun on the morning of the Winter Solstice could be a very powerful tool for meditation and energy work.  In theory, it could energize you for the coming year. What better way to welcome the infant Lord (if you're following a Wiccan or Neo-Pagan belief about the Sun's death and rebirth at the Solstice) than to gaze lovingly upon it?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Evergreens, my dear, for a long Winter's nap

This is a Yuletide idea that was suggested by a sister-in-arms.  It can be a simple act by itself or incorporated into a Yule ritual.  It can be for a couple or a single person.  It can be as comfortable or as uncomfortable as you please.
Create a bed of evergreeen boughs.  These can be fir, pine, cedar, or for the true S&M experience, holly.  Cones can be left in or taken out as the mood demands.

There's a Native American legend that says that evergreen trees are evergreen because they were given this ability as a prize for being able to stay awake the longest of any of the trees.  Many people stay awake all Yule night to keep vigil by a fire so that the Sun will return the next day.  Europeans would bring evergreens into their homes during the Winter to remind them of the promise of Spring, and to sympathetically ensure Spring would return.  The greens would also bring prosperity and luck for the coming year.  Hence our modern custom of the Christmas tree and wreaths.
With this in mind, recline on your fragrant bed, enjoy the crackling warmth of the Yule fire, and perhaps the warmth of a little something more intimate too!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Krampusnacht Remembered

As I've been doing research and soliciting interviews for upcoming blogs, a fond memory of my Krampusnacht popped into my head.  Hopefully your Krampusnacht was all you wanted it to be, and if not, well there's nothing stopping you from having Krampusnacht tonight!
If you'd like to contribute blog ideas or be interviewed for a blog (I'm currently interviewing Earthwalkers, barefooters, Hare Krishnas, Mormons, Muslims, foot washers, Pagans, and Sungazers), please drop me a line at

Friday, December 9, 2011

Blessed be thy feet: Part 1--A little tickle

Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways.....

Feet.  Most people have them.  Some people love them, some people hate them, and some people fetishize them.  Quentin Terentino loves Uma Thurman's feet.  Watch Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill movies again and count how many times the camera has a tight shot of her feet.  Feet take us everywhere.  They can bring us pleasure and they can bring us pain.  They can be lavished and spoiled, or punished and tortured.  They can symbolize dominance, like a foot on the back of the neck, or they can symbolize submission, like bowing to kiss someone's feet.  Feet carry us on secular paths and religious paths, often both at the same time.
The next series of blogs was suggested and inspired by two of my readers.  The series will look at how different religions, not just Pagan ones, incorporate feet into their worship, deities associated with feet, the Eathwalking/barefoot movement in the US, and some of the grittier, kinkier things that can be done with feet.  As always, along the way, tie-ins will be made to Paganism and how to incorporate this topic into your personal religious practice (and maybe other practices too).


From a Hindu forum:
" In the image, the sole of one foot of the Goddess is visible,
 apparently decorated with Mendhi, beautiful designs. I thought that it
 was an insult to display the sole of one's foot. Is that only true for
 the Islamic population? Is there an exception for Goddesses or other
 deities? Am I misreading the image, perhaps?"

"Every part of the Great Goddess Durga is Sacred! Haha It may be a little
distasteful to rub your own dirty feet on someone else or point them from a
cultural standpoint. From the point of Divinity it changes though. In fact,
many temples to the Goddess and Vishnu amongst others have only an image of
the deities feet. The idea is that to gaze upon the whole figure would be to
There is a Hindu custom of touching the Gurus feet or even placing your head
at the Gurus feet as a sign of reverence. The idea is simply that you
acknowledge the Guru's superiority in whatever it is they are teaching you. A
direct way to state that they are above you in some regard.
There is nothing filthy, or profane about the Goddess's feet for she is a pure
Look at Kali Ma-she is dancing on Lord Shiva's chest right now!
He doesn't seem to mind;-)"
He looks asleep or dead to me.  I guess that's why he doesn't mind!

Some people may question why I would investigate Hinduism and other religions for a blog that is unabashedly Pagan.  The reason is because Paganism is eclectic.  Even Wicca, that little subset, is eclectic.  Many Pagans have taken ideas and deities that they like from different religions and made them their own.  Gardner took many, many idea from the Hindu religion and made them Wiccan.  This was brought home to me one time at a handfasting that I attended.  The handfasting was at a public park, and an Indian couple stopped by to watch the rite from afar.  Once I spied them, I motioned for them to come closer and join in the fun.  After the ceremony, all they could talk about was how similar the handfasting ritual was to their own Hindu marriage ceremony that they had had in India.  The ritual planners hadn't set out to borrow Hindu customs, but because they had gone with a status-quo Wiccan ceremony they had done so anyway due to Gardner's original borrowing.
In the above quotes, the answerer discusses how bowing and touching one's head to someone else's feet is seen as an act of humility and respect to teachers and deities.  This practice is called Pranama.  It's often part of the custom of darshan, which means to "see with reverence and devotion," where not only does the one touching their forehead look to connect with divinity, the one who's feet are being touch often bestows a blessing.  This is done in connection with puja, which could be described as a Hindu worship service or ritual.
In some British Traditional and Gardnerian covens, especially ones that adhere to The Ardanes, coven members are expected to show respect to the High Priestess by bowing, sometimes to the point of their head connecting with feet.  As in Hinduism, it's a sign of respect.  I also know of many groups that will bow to the elements and deities when they are welcomed in or invoked in circle.  Some groups also have their members bow low to a person who is representing or aspecting a deity, especially if a blessing is being bestowed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Krampusnacht!

Who is Krampus and his hermaphroditic counterpart Frau Perchta?  They are the epitome of Yuletide Dom(mes)!

As you can tell from the video, Krampus hails from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and into France and Northern Italy.  Pretty much anywhere they speak German or once spoke German, he makes an appearance.
Although now most folks associate him with St. Nick and Santa and see him as a minor devil, he was originally a Pagan nature spirit in his purest form that was associated with the Winter Solstice.  His original purpose wasn't to necessarily punish people, although he was a bringer of justice.  His original purpose was to scare off winter and bring about spring.

He is a carry over of the horned nature and pastoral gods like Pan and Cernunnos and of the trickster god Loki.  This can clearly be seen in his appearance and in the etymology of his name--"claw".    Originally he brought chains to bind up winter and any roaming negative spirits.  He wore bells to wake the Earth up from it's slumber and to ward off negativity.  He was also a bringer of fertility.  He is often portrayed riding a broom, which was a common sympathetic magic performed in fields to show the crops how high to grow.
In the same spirit of Lupercalia, he bears a birch rod.  The rod is seen as a phallic device. With every lick he imparted his fertile seed to the community.  The beatings with the birch can also be seen in the same light as beating the bounds of ones home to ward off evil, which may be how his whippings were twisted into a punitive context by early Christians.

And why does Krampus have his tongue out?  The better to eat you out with, my dear!

Even Krampus is a switch!
The Christian version of Krampus is still a big deal in German speaking countries and the pockets of the world where Germanic folks settled.  Instead of celebrating him on the Solstice, he is celebrated the night before St. Nicolaus' Day.  Every year there are huge Krampus runs in the Alps, where everyone turns out.  The runs were originally done by young men to chase away winter and to bring about the spring.  However, in some areas the runs were more like an enactment of the Wild Hunt than of a Yule Vigil. Kids today look forward to Krampusnacht and stoically bear whatever beating they may receive.  
Carting the babies off to Hell.

Krampus' counterpart and sometime companion is Frau Perchta.

As previously stated, Perchta is a hermaphrodite, but often carries herself as a woman.  She represents both man and woman, both light and dark.  She is an incarnation of the goddesses Holda, Holle, and Frigg and vaguely of Brigid.  Her name means "blaze",  and she is seen as a spinster who checks on the girls to make sure they've spun all the materials that they have available. She is also a leader of the Wild Hunt in some areas.  Sometimes Perchta is pretty and sometimes she is not!
Instead of beating you with a birch like Krampus, Frau Perchta slits open your belly, steals your guts, and replaces them with straw.  Dommes are always more sadistic than Doms!  If you're on her good side, you can leave her an offering (she likes herring) and she'll bestow upon you riches and fertility.  Around the solstice before she visits, folks usually smudge the house and barns to chase away evil spirits but to also cleanse the air of any germs.  Sage is a wonderful antiseptic.
Krampus and Perchta

Now to review just who Krampus is:


Winter's a long cold season.  Make it more fun by enacting some of these old traditions with your partner(s).  One night you can be Krampus and the next night the naughty one. Or maybe you're always Krampus!   If you've never prepared a birch rod before, there are instructions in the BDSM ritual section to the right of this post.  Chains should be tight enough not to get caught and tangled in things but loose enough to allow for blood flow. Clips for chains are safer than locks.

If you decide to go into Frau Perchta territory, make sure that you are experienced with edge play, and have antiseptic and other first aid materials near by.  If you are not experienced with edge play, an alternative is to blind fold your partner and use a plastic or wooden knife.  Both can be made to have sharp edges that don't cut.  If your hoodwinked partner thinks you're still holding a real knife, it will feel like a real knife to exposed skin.  Using a sterilized pin to simulate a knife point works well too.  Since Perchta means "blaze", wax play would be an appropriate tribute to her as well.

There are a myriad of other Solstice traditions out there that are meaningful and fun as well.  The wild hunt is one of them.  This can be enacted by partners or a group and be something as simple as wild hide and seek or something more complicated and serious.  There's also the battle of the Holly and the Oak Kings (or it can be Queens).   The Holly represents the waning year and the Oak represents the waxing year.  In some myths there is also an Ivy girl/boy who is a mediator.  An idea for this tradition is a mock Holly and Oak king battle, with the weapons being oak and holly switches.  The looser can be bound with strands of ivy for the real fun to start.  Holly leaves can also be used on the skin like a Wartenburg wheel or spurs.

Have fun and remember:
As with any sort of S&M and or sex ritual, be responsible.  Use safe words and condoms and respect boundaries.  No under aged participants or spectators.  Outdoor sex should be on private property.  Bondage should allow for blood flow.  If you break skin, use first aid to treat it and clean your equipment properly.  And for heaven’s sake, avoid the spine and kidney area!

May your Krampus put you in the best chains with the loudest bells, wield the stoutest birches, and be super horny to put that long tongue to good use!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Dark Moon Rising" A book review and my thoughts on the work

Clicking to look inside won't help anything.

      Dark Moon Rising, written by Raven Kaldera, is a really good book.  However, it's not a great book.  The main reason why it's not a great book is because Raven Kaldera invited his friends and associates to contribute chapters, essays, rituals, and poems to his book.  Many of these contributions weakened his original work, especially the essays contributed by the famed Morning Glory Zell (she's still white bread).  It would have been better if these contributions had been collected into a slimmer companion volume or into an appendix section.   There are also some line editing issues that seem to be the hallmark of cottage and vanity presses (of which Asphodel Press is one).
      These issues aside, there is a lot of good information in this book that will be genuinely helpful to folks. [I've had several readers tell me what an invaluable resource this book has been to them.]  If you are new to either or both S&M or Paganism, I would recommend reading a general how-to book for both subjects before reading this book.  Kaldera does his best to provide definitions, but being unsure of what the jargon means will definitely diminish the full effect of the material.  For a short suggested reading list, please check out my blog entry entitled "Sadomasochism, Pain, and Wicca/Paganism". 
     While almost everything presented in the book can apply or be altered to fit any tradition, Kaldera is of the Northern  Tradition Shamanistic path, which should be remembered when reading his anecdotes.  To be honest, I don't have a firm understanding of what the tenets of that path are, but it seems like it's similar to Asatru, but not really.
       The title of the book comes from the Mabon Wild Hunt ritual that he has included in the book.  I have to say that out of all the rituals that are in the book, the Mabon ritual is the only one that really intrigued me and made me wet to enact it.  It was the only one that seemed like it would fulfill my personal needs and desires.  That's not to say that the other rituals aren't good; they're just not what I'm looking for. [As you may remember, I'm not really into heavily scripted rituals, and a lot of his rituals are heavily scripted.]

     To give you a better idea of whether this book would be a good buy for you, I'm going to outline the chapters.  The book is broken up into six parts, multiple chapters and sections, and interspersed with photos from Shibari-Do practitioner Bridgett Harrington.  Some of the photos were nice, a few were stimulating, but most I would have traded out for others.  I'm also not really taken with the poems included in the book.  Perhaps they should have been in an appendix.  They kind of just left me cold, and not in a fun way.
Part I: Introduction and Definitions
"The Ordeal Path"  This is the intro.  You should always read intros unless it's to The Scarlet Letter.  The intro to that book can be summed up in a paragraph.  And in case you haven't read The Scarlet Letter, it's got some great masochistic elements.
"Words of Power"  Read this if you're new to things.  Skim this if you're not.
Part II: Sacred Pain
"Sacred Pain"  This is more background information on using pain in ritual.  It has some nice anecdotes in it that almost verge on being strokable.  If you're new, read it completely, some sections twice; if you're experienced, just read the stuff in italics.
"An Intimate Look at Ritual Pain"  This is a section written by a "friend" and not Kaldera himself.  It's not a great section, but the anecdotes in it are worth a read.
"Dark Ecstasy"  Skip it.  It's not a Kaldera chapter.
"The Many Paths of Earthly Bondage"  Even though this chapter isn't written by Kaldera, it did have some interesting thoughts on bondage that were interesting to me, and I'm sure very helpful to new folks.
"Between Earth and Sky"  This chapter is all about hook suspension and is written by Kaldera but with many anecdotes from others.  I have to admit that while rope suspension is absolutely lovely, hook suspension for many years completely terrified me and to some extent I viewed it with disgust.  It wasn't anything personal to the folks who practice it; it just was so not for me or in my realm of thinking.  However, after reading this chapter and some work that I've done this year with the Descent of the Goddess, I think I'm almost ready to don lapis beads and hang for a bit.  It still terrifies me, but that's part of the allure.
"Chain of Command Part I"  This section is not by Kaldera, and it did nothing for me.  It should have been in an appendix.  It kind of pissed me off to have to read it in amongst the other chapters.
"Silence" is also not a Kaldera chapter, but it's skim worthy.
"Sacred Toys, Holy Tools"  This chapter is by Kaldera.  In it he offers a refreshing perspective on how the things that most people consider sex toys can be transformed into consecrated ritual tools.
Most BDSM folk refer to their tools as "toys", just as they refer to some serious sensation work as "play", largely because they want to minimize the "scary" aspect of these practices, and make them seem light and fun, so that outsiders will not be frightened.  Most Neo-Pagans refer to their various magical tchotchkas as "tools", even when they don't actually use them for any purpose except decoration and showing off.  Personally, I'd like to see people in both communities being a lot more clear about what's a toy and what's a tool.  Certainly those of us who cross both have no excuse.
Page 97
"The Invisible Toybox"  The chapter by Kaldera has a lot of really neat ideas in it.  Yes, I read it twice!  I've also tried out some of the suggestions, and they work pretty well.  Read it a time or two and adapt the suggestions into your own practice.
"Opening Up"  This chapter may be something you find useful and then again you may not find it useful.  It really depends on what your kink is and how "open" you already feel and want to be.  Definitely read it and decide for yourself.
Part III: Journey to the Underworld
"Journey to the Underworld"  This chapter is a good chapter, but not a great chapter.  I'd describe it as a piece meal chapter.  Some stuff you may want to slow down to read, while you may skim through other sections.
"Staging Sacredness"  This chapter is a good introduction to constructing a BDSM ritual for beginners and it's a good review for veterns.  It contains some helpful check lists and things to consider, like children and AIDS.
"Master of the Underworld"  In this chapter Kaldera discusses more in depth his own experiences on the Ordeal Path, but he also touches on some truths about being a Dom that would be insightful for Dom/mes and Subs alike.
"Divine Intervention"  I'm not sure who wrote this chapter, but I would either skip it, skim it, or jerk off to it.
"The Way of the Ordeal Master"  This chapter is a good read for folks who are thinking about being a dominant in a Pagan setting or for folks who are just curious about what their Dom is thinking.
"Dark Tantra"  Skip this chapter.  It's a waste.
"Q-Moon's Ordeal Path Ritual"  I'm not even sure why the pages for this section where expended.
"The Dark Moon Rising Mabon Ritual"  As you may remember from above, I really enjoyed this ritual.  A definite read.
"Baphomet and Babalon Rite" -"Ordeal-Ritual of Dedication to Lilith"  These chapters did nothing for me, but they're worth skimming.
"The Descent of Inanna Ritual"  This was an interesting read.  I have trouble visualizing how this ritual could possibly work in reality since it's so complicated, but it got points for being graphic.
"John Barleycorn"  I like my "Threshing the Corn Mother" ritual better.

"Shadow Play"  This section sounds like it was written by somebody in the Reclaiming Tradition, although I assume it was written by Kaldera.  I would skim it.  I would only spend serious time on it if you're all about your inner demons and doing therapy and stuff.  Personally, I'd prefer thirty minutes under a stout flogger to talking to a therapist.
"Chaining Fenris" This ritual goes with the above chapter.  Again, flog me please and get it over with.
Part IV: The Path of Service and Mastery
"The Path of Service and Mastery"  This chapter discusses some serious ethical and personal points.  It's a definite read.
"Sacred Masks"  This chapter explores the different archetypes that are encountered in most people's BDSM experience.  I really liked it.  It deconstructed things in a way I had not previously considered, and the ways that the archetypes are arranged make it easy to evaluate your BDSM preferences and experiences.
"Being the Mirror"  This chapter is written by Kaldera's boy, Joshua, and offers insight into Kaldera's personal BDSM spiritual life and gives tips for Spiritual subs.  I really like the prayer at the end.
"Don't Break the Spirit"  This chapter may appeal to Dom/mes more than subs.  It's at least skim worthy.  I would skip to the section that discusses words of power, touch, and ritual.
"Shaman's Boy"  This chapter is also written by Joshua and offers another glimpse into Kaldera's personal life.
"Dedication to Sacred Service"-"Oath of Service"  These are some self dedication rituals.  I would personally only use them as a source for ideas, not verbatim.
Part V:  Guardians of the Gate
This whole section, that is made of chapters of varying degrees of great writing and annoying chatter.  It can be summed up with this phrase:  You are your deity's bitch.  Deal with it.
Part IV:  This Leather Pagan Tribe
This section is just a long poem, that after I read the first stanza, I put the book down.  I would have left it out.

As I said before, I did like the book and I found some sections extremely interesting and helpful.  Other sections I wish had not been included.  I was surprised by what wasn't included in the book.  I can only assume that things like fire and electrical play were not included because Kaldera doesn't work with those techniques and doesn't know anyone else who does either. 
So, in conclusion, there's enough good stuff in the book to make it worth the purchase price.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Ardanes: a supplemental reference

In my previous blog, one of the people interview referenced the "Ardanes", an ungodly long list of rules that some Wiccan covens use as a basis for their practices.  Gardner claimed that they came to him, unbroken of course, from knowledge passed down from Medieval covens.  I highly doubt that, and so do many other people, even folks who were in Gardner's inner circle.  I think that they were a Gardnerian concoction pieced together from fragments from witch trail transcripts, rules that fin de siecle covens had in place (such as the New Forest Coven), and his own fancy.  Like everything in Wicca, Gardner's original list was taken and "improved" upon by others along the way.  There are several versions of the Ardanes out there.  This is Lady Sheba's version.  Because of the extreme length of the text, I've highlighted in red the section that pertains to the previous blog.  Feel free to skip the stuff in white.  I certainly would.

1. The Law was made and ardane of old by those whom art called, The Old Ones.
2. The Law was made for the Wicce, to advise and help comfort in their  troubles.
3. The Wicca should give due worship to the Gods and obey Their will, which they ardane, for it was made for the good of Wicce, as the worship of the Wicce is good for the gods. For the Gods love the brethren of the Wicce, and it is from this love that cometh the Power.
4. As a man loveth a woman by mastering her,
5.  So should the Wicce love the Gods by mastering them.
6. And it  is necessary that the Magick Circle, which is the temple of the Gods, should be duly cast and purified that it may be a fit place for the Gods to enter and dwell.
7. And the Wicce should be properly purified and prepared in heart to enter into the presence of the Gods.
8. With love and  worship in their hearts, they shall raise power from their bodies to give power to the Gods.  And in so doing the complete Circle is formed.
9. As has been taught of old.
10. For in this  way only may man have communication with the Gods, for the gods cannot  help men without the help of man.

11. And the High Priestess shall rule Her Coven as the representative of the Goddess.
12. And the High Priest shall support and protect Her as the representative of the God.
13. And the High Priestess shall choose whom She will, if he have sufficient rank, to be Her High Priest.
14. For, as the God Himself kissed Her feet in the Five-fold salute, laying His power at the feet of the Goddess, because of Her youth and beauty, Her sweetness and kindness, Her wisdom and Her justice, Her humility and gentleness and generosity,
15. So He resigned all His power to Her.
16. But the High Priestess should ever mind that the power comes from Him.
17. It is only lent, to be used wisely and justly.
18. And the greatest virtue of a High Priestess be that She recognizes that youth is necessary to the representative of the eternal Goddess.
19. So she will gracefully retire in favour of a younger woman should the Coven so decide in council.
20. For the true High Priestess realizes that gracefully and humbly surrendering pride of place is one of the greatest virtues.
21. And it shal be that She thereby return to that pride of place in another life, with greater power and beauty.

22. In the old days, when Witches extended far, we were truly free and joyfully worshipped in all the greatest temples.
23. But, in these unhappy times of woe, we must celebrate our Sacred Mysteries in secret.
24. So be it ardane, that none but the Wicce may see our Mysteries, for our enemies are many and torture loosens the tongue of men.
25. So be it ardane, that no Coven may know where the next Coven bide.
26. Or who its members be, save only the Priest and Priestess and Messenger.
27. And there shall be no communication between them, save only by the Messenger of the Gods, or the Summoner.
28. And only if it be safe may the Covens meet in some safe and secret place for the Great Festivals.
29. And while there, none shall say whence they came, nor give their true names.
30. To this end, that if any be tortured, in their agony, they may not tell if they do not know.
31. So be it ardane, that no one shall tell anyone, not of the Craft, who be of the Wicce, nor give any names, or where any abide, or in any way tell anything which can betray any of us to our foes.
32. Nor may he tell where the Covendom be.
33. Nor the Covenstead.
34. Nor where the meetings be.
35. And if any break these Laws, without express permission, even under torture, the curse of the Goddess shall be upon them, so they may never be reborn on earth, and may remain where they belong, in the hell of the christians.

36. Let each High Priestess govern Her Coven with justice and love, and with the help and advice of the High Priest and the Elders, always heeding the advice of the Messenger of the Gods, if he cometh.
37. She  will heed all complaints of all Brothers and strive to settle all differences among them in reason and justice.
38. But it must be recognized that there will  always be people who will ever strive to force others to do as they  will.
39. These are not necessarily evil.
40. And they oft have good ideas, and such ideas should be talked over and decided in council.
41. But, if they  will not agree with their Brothers, or if they say,
42. "I will not work under this High Priestess,"
43. It hath ever been the Old Law, to  be convenient to the Brethren, and to avoid disputes.
44. Any of the third may claim to found a new Coven, because they live over a league away from the Covenstead or are about to do so.
45. Anyone living within the Covendom and wishing to form a new Coven shall tell the Elders of their intentions and on the instant avoid their dwelling and remove to the new Covendom.
46. Members of the old  Coven may join the new one when it is formed, but if they do so, they  must utterly, unless otherwise so bidden, avoid the old Coven.
47. The Elders of the new and old Covens shall meet in peace and brotherly love to decide the new  boundaries.
48. Those of the craft who live outside both Covens may join either indifferently, but certainly not both.
49. Though all may, if the Elders be in agreement, meet for the Great Festivals, if it be truly in peace and brotherly love,
50. But it is known that the splitting the Coven often means strife, so for this reason these Laws were made of old, and may the Curse of the Goddess be on any who disregard or take these Laws lightly!!

51. If ye would keep a Black Book, let it be in your own hand of write, let all Brothers and Sisters copy what they will, but never shall ye let the book out of your hands, and ys shall never keep the writings of another.
52. For if it be found in their hand of write, they may be taken and engained.
53. And let each guard his own writings, and destroy them whenever danger threatens.
54. Learn as much as you may by heart, and when danger is past, rewrite your book an it be safe.
55. For this reason, if any die, destroy their book, an they have not been able to.
56. For an it be found, 'tis clear proof against them.
57. And our oppressors know well "Ye may not be a Witch alone".
58. So all their kin and friends be in danger of torture.
59. So destroy everything not necessary.
60. If your book be found on you, 'tis clear proof against you alone.  You may be engained. 

61. Under torture keep all thoughts of the Craft from your mind.
62. If the torture be too great to bear, say "I will confess.  I cannot bear this torture.  What would you have me to say?"
63. If they try to make you talk of the Brotherhood, do not.
64. But if they try to make you speak of impossibilities such as flying through the air, consorting with the christian devil, or sacrificing children or eating men's flesh,
65. To obtain relief from the torture, say, "I hold an evil dream, I was beside myself, I was crazed."
66. Not all the magistrates are cruel;  if there be any excuse, they may show mercy.
67. If you have confessed ought, deny it afterwards.  Say you babbled under the torture, say you know not what you said.
68. If you are condemned, fear not.
69. Fear not, the Brotherhood is powerful, they will help you to escape if you, but stand steadfast in trust.
70. But if you betray any Secrets, and Bretheren, there is no hope for you in this life or any that is to come.
71. Be sure, if steadfast you go to the pyre, drugs will reach you, you will feel naught. You go but to death and that peace which lies beyond.

72. To avoid discovery, let the working tools be as ordinary things that any may have in their houses.
73. Let the Pentacles be of wax so that they may be broken at once or melted should danger threaten.
74. Have no sword, unless your rank allows you one.
75. Have no names or signs on anything.
76. Write the names or signs on them in ink immediately before consecrating them and wash it off immediately after all rites have ended.
77. Do not engrave them lest they cause discovery.
78. Let the color of the hilts tell which is which.
79. Ever remember, ye are the "Hidden Children of the Goddess", so never do anything to disgrace them or Her.
80. Never threaten, never boast, never say you would wish ill of anyone.
81. If any person, not in the Magick Circle, speak of the Craft, say, "Speak not to me of such, it frightens me.  'Tis evil luck speak of it."

82. For this reason:  the christians have their spies everywhere. These speak as if they were well affected to us, as if they would come to our meetings saying, "My mother used to go to worship the Old Ones.  I would I could go myself."
83. To such as these, ever deny all knowledge.
84. But to any others, ever say, "'Tis foolish talk of Witches flying through the air. To do so they must be light as thistle-down.  And men say that Witches all be so blear-eyed, old crones, so what pleasure can there be at a Witch meeting such as folks talk on ?"
85. And say, "Many wise men now say there be no such creatures."
86. Ever make it a jest and in some future time, perhaps the persecution may die and we may worship our Gods in peace and safety again.
87. Let us all pray for that happy day.
88. May the blessings of the Goddess and God be on all those who keep these Laws which are ardane.
89. If the craft have any Appenage, let all guard it, and help to keep it clear and good for the Craft.
90. And let all justly guard all monies of the Craft.
91. But if any Brother truly wrought it, 'tis right they have their pay, and it be just.  And this be not taking of monies for the Art, but for good and honest work.  For money cheapens the Arts.
92. And even the christians say, "The laborer is worthy of his hire," but if any Brother work willingly for the good of the Craft without pay, 'tis to their greatest honor.

93.   If there be any dispute or quarrel among the Brethren, the High Priestess shall straightly convene the Elders and inquire into the matter and they shall hear both sides, first alone, then together.
94.   And they shall decide justly, not favouring the one side or the other.
95.   Ever recognizing there be always people who can never agree to work under any others.
96.   But at the same time, there be some people who cannot rule justly.
97.   To those who ever must be chief, there is but one answer.
98.   "'Void the Coven, or seek another one, or make a Coven of your own, if ye be of the third, taking with you those who will go."
99.   To those who cannot rule justly, the answer shall be, "Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you."
100.   For none may come to meetings with those with whom they are at variance.  For to so so angers the Gods and hinders the Brotherhood.
101.  So, an either cannot agree, "Both get hence, for the Craft must ever survive."

102.  In the olden days, when the Old Ones walked amoungst us and we were blessed with full powers, we could use the art against wind and fire and any of those who ill-treated the Brotherhood.  But in these evil days, we must not do so!  For our enemies have devised a burning pit of everlasting fire, into which they say their God casteth all the people who worship Him, except it be the very few who are released by their priest's spells and masses.  And this be chiefly by giving monies and rich gifts to receive his favor, for their God is ever in need of money.
103.  But as our Gods need our aid to make fertility for man and crops, so it is the God of the christians that is ever in need of man's help to search out and destroy us. Their priests ever tell them that any who get our help are damned to this hell forever, so men be mad with the terror of it.
104.  But they make men believe that they may escape this hell if they give up Witches to the tormentors.  So for this reason, all be forever spying, thinking, "An I catch but one of the Wicce, I will escape this fiery pit."
105.  So for this reason, we have our hidels, and men searching long and not finding us say: "There be none, or if there be, they be in a far country."
106.  But when one of our oppressors dies, or even be sick, ever is the cry, "This be Witches' malice", and the hunt is up again and though they slay ten of their own to one of ours, still they care not. They have countless thousands.
107.  While we are few indeed. 

108.  That none shall use the art in any way to do ill to any.
109.  However much they may injure us, HARM NONE  and now times there are many that believe we exist not.

110.  That this Law shall ever continue to help us in our plight, no one, however great an injury or injustice they receive, may use the art in any way to do ill or harm any.  But they may, after great consultations with all, use the art to restrain christians from harming us or tax others, but only to dismiss or to constrain them and never to punish.
111.  To this end, men will say: "Such an one is a mighty searcher out and a persecutor of old women whom they deemeth to be Witches, and none hath done him skith, so they be proof that they cannot, or more truly where be none."
112.  For all know full well that so many folk have died because someone had a grudge against them, or were persecuted because they had money or goods to sieze or because they had none to bribe the searchers.  And many have died because they were scolding old women.  So much that men say "only old women are Witches."
113.  And this be to our advantage, and turns suspicions away from us.
114.  In England and Scotland, 'tis now many a year since a Witch hath died the death. But misuse of the power might raise the persecution again.
115.  So never break this Law, however much you are tempted, and never consent to it being broken in the least.
116.  If you know it is being broken, you must work strongly against it.
117.  And any High Priestess who consents to its breach must immediately be deposed.  "For 'tis the blood of the Brethren they endanger."
118.  Do good, an it be safe, and only if it be safe.
119.  And strictly keep to the Old Law.

120.  Never accept money for the use of the Art.  For money ever smeareth the taker.  " 'Tis sorcerors and conjurers and the priests of the christians who ever accept money for the use of their Arts.  And they sell dwale, and evil love spells and pardons, so letting men escape from their sins.
121.  Be not as these.   If you accept no money, you will be free from temptation to use the Art for evil causes.
122.  All may use the art for their own advantage, or for the advantage of the Craft, only if you are sure you harm none.
123.  But ever let the Coven debate this at length.  Only if all be satisfied and none be harmed in any way, may the Art be used.
124.  If it is not possible to achieve your ends one way, perchance the aim may be achieved by acting in a different way, so as to harm none.  May the Curse of the Goddess be on any who breaketh this law.

125.  'Tis judged lawful an any of the Craft need a house or land and none will sell, to incline the owners mind so as to  be willing to sell, provided it harmeth it not in any way and the full price is paid, without haggling.
126. Never bargain or cheapen anything whilst you live by the Art. 

127. "Tis the Old Law and the most important of all Laws that no one may do anything which will endanger any of the Craft, or bring them into contact with the law of the land, or any of our persecutors.
128. In any disputes between Brethren, no one may invoke any Laws but those of the Craft.
129. Or any tribunal but that of the Priestess, Priest and Elders.  And may the Curse of the Goddess be on any who do so.

130.  It is not forbidden to say as christians do: "There be Witchcraft in the land,"  because our oppressors of old make it heresy not to believe in Witchcraft, and so a crime to deny it, which thereby puts you under suspicion.
131. But ever say, "I know not of it here, perchance there may be, but afar off-- I know not where."
132. But ever speak of them as old crones, consorting with the devil and riding through the air.
133. And ever say: "But how may men may ride through the air an they be not as light as thistledown?"
134. But the Curse of the Goddess be on any who cast suspicion on any of the Brotherhood.
135. Or speaks of any real meeting place where any abide.

136. Let the Craft keep books with the names of all herbs which are good for men, and all cures, so all may learn.
137. But keep another book with all the Bales and Apies and let only the Elders and other trustworthy people have this  knowledge. 

138. Remember the Art is the secret of the Gods and may only be used in earnest and never for show or pride, or vainglory.
139. Magicians and christians may taunt us saying, "You have no power.  Do magick before our eyes. Then only will we believe."  seeking to cause us to betray our Art before them.
140. Heed them not.  For the Art is a Holy Gift, and may only be used in need.  And the Curse of the Gods be on any who break this Law.

141. It ever be the way with women, and with men also that they ever seek new love.
142. Nor should we reprove them for this.
143. But it may be found to the disadvantage of the Craft.
144. And so many a time it has happened that a High Priest or a High Priestess impelled by love, hath departed with their love, that is they have left the Coven.
145. Now if a High Priestess wishes to resign, they may do so in full Coven.
146. And this resignation is valid.
147. But if they should run off without resigning, who may know if they may not return within a few months time?
148. So the Law is:  If a High Priestess leaves her Coven, but returns within the space of a year and a day, then she shall be taken back and all shall be as before.
149. Meanwhile, if she has a deputy, that deputy shall act as High Priestess for as long as the High Priestess is away.
150. If she returns not at the end of a year and a day, then shall the Coven elect a new High Priestess,
151. Unless there is a good reason to the contrary, the person who has done the work of the High Priestess should reap the benefit of the reward.
152. If somebody else is elected, the deputy is made maiden and deputy of the High Priestess.

153. It hath been found that practicing the Art doth cause a fondness between aspirant and tutor, and it is the cause of better results if this be so.
154. But if for any reason this be undesireable, it can easily be avoided by both persons from the outset firmly resolving in their minds that if any such ensure, it shall be that of brother and sister, or parent and child.
155. And it is for this reason that a man may be taught by a woman and a woman by a man and that woman and woman and man and man should never attempt these practices together.
156.  And may the Curses of the Mighty Ones be on any who make such an attempt.

157. Order and discipline must be kept.
158. A High Priestess or a High Priest may and should punish all faults.
159. To this end:  all the Craft must receive their correction willingly.  If not from the hands of the Representative of the  God and Goddess, how then from the Gods Themselves if you are so blessed with Their presence?
160. All properly prepared, the culprit kneeling, should be told his fault, and his sentence pronounced.
161. Punishment should be the $  followed by something amusing such as several SSSS, or something of this nature.
162. The culprit must acknowledge the justice of the punishment by kissing the hand of the Priestess and by kissing the $ on receiving sentence; and again thanking for punishment received.