Ravemore's Notes

A little meandering… Pagan reflections on a left hand path.

Month: April, 2013

Beltain Blessings…

For all of those who follow my Blog, or just happen to pop in from time to time for a peek, I wish you a joyous Beltain, and I will think of you as the witching hours approach and I place a lit candle in the window sill. May the Goat God of the Witches incite you to lust, eroticism, and fill your heart with ecstasy, his phallus a rod of iron. May Bridgit tempt you with her luscious round hips, and beckon you inside. May your garden prosper and grow green as the light of our Sun God Lugh gains in strength. May The Mother Danu embrace you in her protecting arms. May Morrígan leave your thread uncut for another cycle, as you continue to learn and grow in this mortal world. May Manannán mac Lir provide you with luck and prosperity from the mist.

Dance around the Bonfire until you are exhausted. Embrace the darkness, look to the moon with reverence, and listen for secrets whispered from the shadows.

-Ravemore

Inquisitions… Thoughts for Reflection

Most posts or articles in our community tend to deal with the horror of witch burnings, and I do not intend to take away from them because we should never forget the terror experienced by our fellow pagans, innocents wrongly accused, minority Christian sects, mystery schools, and others deprived of life, liberty, and personal wealth by the unstoppable machine that the various inquisitions had become. What I would like to do though is explore a little more how these entities flourished and were used. Touch upon some thoughts that might prompt others to dig a little more and post thoughts on their own  Blogs… something beyond the simple act of re-blogging. I firmly believe this is an important exercise because not only understanding what something is, but learning why it comes into existence and continues to live provides weapons to counter it in the future.

When we think about Inquisitions we often imagine small groups of fanatical inquisitors running around with sponsorship from the church and local government, perpetuating the horrible torture sessions, hangings, and burnings of heretics we look sadly upon today. This is a very simplistic way of looking at it though. The inquisitions were actually great ponderous mechanisms with many intricate cogs, gears, and wheels. They were complex bureaucracies with huge support infrastructures behind them providing logistics and funding. There are piles of records that can be looked at as a testament to the effort it took to maintain the tribunals. Monarchies, particular Spain often shaped or influenced the direction and focus of the inquisitions through financial manipulation, both in the Old World and the New. Peru keenly felt the scourge of the inquisition, and the unfortunate truth is there can be no clear reckoning of how many lives it destroyed. This is a reality I did not even consider until I began doing a little more in depth research. In fact, I was surprised there had been debate on whether a new Inquisitorial Office would be opened in the South American colony of Buenos Aires in 1636.

It would be nice to think the Inquisitions were shut down because we as human beings had begun to evolve to a higher level and were moving beyond such senseless and petty bloodshed, but the sad truth of the matter is it just boiled down to money. “Whether conducting full-fledged heresy trials or merely issuing warning edicts and indulgences, inquisitions incurred expenses and required sources of income. The question of inquisitorial finance has long interested scholars, and the extensive haciend records at the Archivo Histórico Nacional in Madrid have been subjected to preliminary surveys though much work still remains to be done.6 It is now generally agreed that while confiscations of prisoners’ goods and estates may have brought important revenues (particularly in the early days of the Spanish tribunals, and in special cases such as mass arrests of New Christian merchants in the seventeenth century), inquisitions were rarely profitable money making ventures.7 Day to day expenses could be met thanks to income from church benefices set aside for the purpose, so inquisitors had to be knowledgeable about the state of ecclesiastical resources in the regions to which they were assigned [INQ 5]. As time went on, revenues from seizures, royal grants or other sources were also regularly invested in real estate as a means of producing censo income.8 Yet spiraling personnel costs and extravagant auto de fe ceremonies ensured that many tribunals were perpetually short of cash or in debt.” (21.)

When the funds dried up, so did the inquisitions. This is the main point I want everyone to take from this post. In modern times we think something like this could never happen, but the reality is that wherever there is intolerance, religious zealotry, and large amounts of money the volatile mix is there waiting for a spark to ignite it. Imagine if the income sources had not begun drying up, if they had not been directed towards fighting new wars, or clinging to rebelling colonies… some of us might not be here now. When we see the religious right in whatever form it takes becoming vocal and more powerful… we should also be looking at the health of their bank accounts.

Rare Books & Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame, Ties to the new world, Lima Peru’s active Inquisition.

What is Darkness?

A question was recently asked of me, which made me examine something in a little more detail… something I have taken for granted I think. The question was fairly simple on its face, but also very complex; “What is Darkness to you?” I think the most difficult questions that can be asked of another person fall into this classification. They are like a fine wine with different hints of flavors and aromas; lost to you if you gulp them down all at once… but intense and enjoyed if you can discern their presence. Also, it is a very relevant question for me on a personal level because Darkness is something germane to the Left Hand Path I walk, and who I am as a person.

I think Darkness is not absolute, is very personal, and for me is intricately intertwined into my religion and existence.  People claim we are born innocent, not touched by good or evil, but for some this is not necessarily true. Old Souls returning from The  Morrígan’s  Cauldron are predisposed to The Light or The Darkness because of experiences in prior incarnations. For most though, Darkness starts out as an outside influence that seeks to find a way inside, and once it slips inside it is either welcomed with open arms, or battled with an uncertain outcome. I think the man who states he has never had this battle or welcoming embrace with Darkness is either a liar or a fool. Is Darkness equated with Evil? I would say yes. They are the same side of the coin. Darkness is not a static thing, it grows, it evolves, and no two types of Darkness are exactly the same. It is unique to the individual, but has the ability to shape and direct the Darkness in others. Darkness feeds Darkness, and can give birth to new forms of Darkness.

Darkness for me is the conscious decision to seek enlightenment for myself without seeking to save mankind in the process. Darkness is the fulfilling of carnal desires without thought to societal taboos and organized religion’s doctrine. Darkness is the unleashing of my passions, directed by an iron will to affect change beneficial for myself without high regard towards others. It is putting myself above the other base animals around me crudely mimicking the ideal of “human kind.” This life is merely a pathway towards my own ultimate ascension at the end of The Low Road, if not this upcoming time, perhaps the next. Darkness is power. The key aspect of this realization though is that there are varying degrees of Darkness within the individual. Although I hate, I also love. Although I want to kill, I also want to nurture. Although I want to injure, I also want to heal. Darkness in others may be skewed slightly one way or another, or be totally off the scale. I also recognize that to function in society I have to have a hand firmly in place on the reins of my Darkness. I recognize both the good and the evil inside myself, and accept the consequences of my actions… as all actions do have consequences. I am comfortable with who I am. I have embraced Darkness and am evolving with it. We have a symbiotic relationship…

Self-examination like this is not as simple as I have made it out to be though. I’m sure my thoughts and philosophy will change over time as my Darkness evolves and the balance shifts. From time to time I may make further comments on my thoughts concerning Darkness.

Stars…

What is it that makes the stars shine at night? It is the darkness…

-Unknown Author

And Death Shall Have No More Dominion…

“And when, after having divested thyself of thy mortal body, thou arrivest at the most pure Æther, Thou shalt be a God, immortal, incorruptible, and Death shall have no more dominion over thee.”

-Pythagoras

The Watchers and Nephilim…

Éabhla watched her son Demna sleep next to the dying embers of the hearth fire coals. It had been eight years since she had given birth to the boy, none but her knowing his father was the Goat God of the Witches. The feeble light bathed the small cottage room in an orange light, and she quietly mulled over the words of the stranger who had come to the village three days earlier. He was a smith and artificer claiming to be a traveling merchant of metal wares, and his skill and merchandise was the subject of much awe and admiration. He was obviously a master of his art. He offered his name as Tubal Cain… a strange and foreign name. Earlier that evening, after the boy was asleep he had knocked on her door. She had allowed him entry, as she was a witch of great power and had no fear in her heart. Fear was an emotion that had died on that terrible night so long ago. The tale he told to her was fantastic, but in her heart she knew it was nothing but truth.

The old man was very tall, and his skin dark. He smiled benevolently as he sat at the small wooden table in her cottage. His voice was low, and strong… but kind. “Éabhla, the Master has sent me for the boy. He will be a great leader among men someday, and he requires instruction in the mysteries, battle, and kingship. He is more than man, as you know all too well. He requires tutelage away from Danu’s Third Children until the time is right for him to return.”

Éabhla’s heart fell, and a great sadness filled her. The boy was precious. Tubal Cain smiled reassuringly. “Do not fear Daughter of Danu, you will see him again. The auguries foretell it.” She straightened herself in her chair and leaned forward asking quietly “Tubal Cain, tell me more of yourself and my son’s destiny.” She sensed sorrow, or perhaps tiredness, from the old man as he nodded his head and spoke. “I am old Daughter of Danu… very old. I hearken from a faraway land, and from a time far in the past. Like your son, my father was not of men, but my mother was of the Third Children created by the Great Goddess. As a young man I committed a great crime and was banished by my people, but my father placed a mark upon me by which I would be known… and any who would do me harm would feel the full power of his curse.” He bared his left forearm and she glimpsed a strange symbol burned into his flesh. “In those early days man began to multiply on the face of the earth, and the Fomori were still in exodus from our world after the Second Battle of Mag Tuireadh, but some resolved to remain and watch over man. For this they were labeled “Fallen Ones” by the Fomori tribes… hated and despised for bringing The Light to mankind. They numbered 200 and were spread throughout all lands where men scavenged or tilled, for they were not confined only to your country, but were known to have inhabited many other places. Some of the most powerful of The Watchers were Araqiel, Armaros, Azazel, Gadriel, Baraqel, Bezaliel, Chazaqiel, Kokabiel, Penemue, Sariel, and Samyaza. Cernunnos was the greatest among The Fallen Watchers, before he ascended to Godhood at the Great Mother’s bidding. The other Watchers serve him unquestioningly. They taught chosen individuals among Danu’s Third Children dark arts, powerful enchantments, mathematics, and astrology to name but a few, but they also saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they took human mates and thereby bore children. Even now this happens from time to time, as well you know. The children of these unions are known as “Nephilim” in an older tongue. They are destined to be great and mighty men of renown. They are often taller, stronger, smarter, wiser… more than mortal men. To fulfill their destinies they must be shaped upon the anvil, tempered, and honed. This is for the benefit of all mankind.

After a long silence he rose from his chair, but before Tubal Cain left he walked to the boy’s bedside and gently moved a lock of golden hair aside. “Éabhla, when he returns he will be known as Fionn, and after this night you should take upon yourself the name of Muirne and leave this place. You will see your son again six years from now… the auguries foretell it. I will return in the morning for my brother and we will depart. He then made his way to the door, offering a gentle and comforting smile as he left. The sadness in her heart was replaced by hope.

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