I’m going to state my personal bias up front: This is an astonishing modern grimoire written by a personal friend of mine who is an extraordinarily talented Witch, artist, writer, and devotee of the Goddess Hekate: Jeff Cullen. In 2019, he approached me and announced that he was going to be developing the idea for Liber Khthonia into a book. In addition to consulting me in an editorial capacity to discuss the structure and content of the manuscript (I did copyedit the final draft), Jeff honored me greatly, knowing of my reputation in the Chicago Pagan community as a Priestess of Hekate Khthonia, by asking me to write the book’s Foreword! I was thrilled to do so and saw the entire undertaking of the publication of Liber Khthonia as fulfilling a vital need among the Goddess’ ever-growing number of devotees worldwide who have been yearning for just such a book to deepen what can only be called a devotionally anchored Hekatean Tradition of Witchcraft. The book, hot off the presses, is now available in a handsome hardcover edition that truly belongs on the library shelves of every Witch who adores the Queen of Witches!
My time-honored tradition of performing divination to foresee the year ahead with my calendrical/zodiacal houses/clock face spread continues unabated. However, due to being very busy working New Year’s Eve and Day and needing yesterday to rest and decompress, I had to wait until today to actually do my Tarot spread. Come join me on this journey of (self-)discovery, won’t you?
I love being a morning person. I’m not one to sleep in past 6 a.m., even on the weekends, so I’m up and walking my dog, L’il T-Man, very early in the morning. Our first destination is the paupers’ graveyard near my home. It’s a treat to witness the dawn of a new day from the vantage point of standing in one of the commemorative concrete circles, each of which bears bronze plaques that honor a different demographic group buried on the premises (e.g., John Doe Civil War dead, John and Jane Doe victims of the 1871 Chicago Fire, Cook County Asylum for the Insane patients and their children, etc., over 38,000 total bodies).
And in the past 7 years of living in this far Northwest side Chicago neighborhood, the paupers’ graveyard has been my focal point of clean-up efforts every Earth Day. With today being the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, and it being the Dark of the Moon at the time of this writing (the New Moon at 3° Taurus will occur tonight at 9:25 CDT), I am dedicating my clean-up efforts in a wider context of spiritual service to one of my Patron Deities, the ancient Anatolian-Greek Goddess, Hekate Khthonia (Hekate “From Inside the Earth”).
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide Sea!
And Christ would take no pity on
My soul in agony.
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere, In Seven Parts” (1798), Part IV, lines 224-227
In my last post, I wrote about the beauty and the power of prayer and how it forms the core of my contemporary Polytheist devotional practice. But I certainly have had my challenges over the years in sustaining my practice, like any other religious person committed to devotional piety. Whether the span lasted for weeks or even months on end, the spiritual crisis known as the “dark nights of the soul,” a term first coined by the sixteenth-century Spanish Counter-Reformation mystic known as St. John of the Cross, was a dreadful phenomenon I’ve endured many times. Continue reading
As long-time readers of this blog will know by now, I did not enter into Polytheistic Paganism with a seething hatred for the Christian denomination (Eastern Orthodoxy) in which I’d been raised.
Happy New Year, everyone! Last night I performed my time-honored divination ritual, casting my 13-card Year-Wheel/12 Houses of the Zodiac Tarot spread to see what 2019 has in store for me month-by-month as well as filtered through the aspects of life experience denoted in the zodiacal 12 Houses of Western astrology. I carved some space and about an hour to myself amidst the revels at a friend’s house, and I think he and his two adorable Havanese dogs (sisters from the same litter) proved to be good luck charms for my reading, as I haven’t drawn such an awesome spread in a long time!
I thank today’s insanely creative astrological aspect of Taurus Sun trine Capricornian Pluto, in addition to my PMS-fueled personal energy boost (yaaasssss!), for the immense spate of personal creativity that had me bead 14 necklaces in the past 2 days and upload them for sale on my Etsy site, JackalMoonDesigns. Happily, two of my pieces, both made with antique pendants from Tibet (a Green Tara and a labradorite skull), have already sold and are en route to their buyers in different parts of the country. (I ship worldwide, actually!) Better still, take $10 off until May 14 with the coupon code 1STANNIVERSARY. Check out what’s available!
No matter how dedicated we may be in our service to our Deities and spirits, and the communities in which we live and serve, I find that it’s good to periodically take time out for a spiritual battery recharge. It’s all the better when that experience can be accompanied by a drastic change of scenery, one that squarely situates you in Nature’s nurturing bosom for a few days, allowing you to simultaneously connect with unfamiliar/non-ordinary terrain and with your own inner resources of flexibility/willingness to endure hardships, physical strength and stamina, and the commitment to be fully present in the moment. Those are the reasons why I like camping (in “primitive” conditions) so much, and why I couldn’t pass up the chance to attend this year’s Green Spirit Festival in southwest Wisconsin. Sponsored by Circle Sanctuary, this annual festival affords community celebrants the chance to create an intentional Pagan village for a three-day weekend, attuning to the land and nourishing the body, heart, mind, and spirit with educational workshops, nature walks, communal rituals and home-cooked meals, at least one handfasting, a major mugwort harvest, a concert from Celtic folksinger and comedienne Celia, Tailteann/Highland Games, a candlelit labyrinth meditational walk at night, and joyous socializing with members of your Tribe that you’d be hard pressed to connect with in person at any other time of the year.
This year’s Green Spirit Festival occurred from Friday, July 28 to Sunday, July 30. It was the spiritual battery recharge experience I was seeking and so much more. It’s taken me a full week to process my experience internally and to integrate its manifold benevolent effects spilling forth, Ace of Cups style, into all aspects of my life, giving me added reason to give profound thanks not just for this Sabbat season of Lughnasàd, but for the Sacred Time of celebrating my Kemetic Gods’ birthdays in that liminal period known as the Epagomenal Days in the ancient Egyptian calendar, that which divides the Old Year from the New.
“Hymn to Hekate”
(c) A. Applegate 2017
We give greetings to fair Hekate,
Mighty monogenes--sole child of starry Asteria and the Son of Eurybia.
Titaness of the Threefold Realm of Earth, Sea, and Sky,
Revered above all the Ancient Powers by Olympos-dwelling Zeus Himself.
With pleasing eyes, accept our sacrifice
Mistress of the Underworld surrounded by swarms of spirits,
And open the ways to the dreaded realm of Thy majesty,
That we may claim our rightful power in service to Thee.
With pleasing eyes, accept our sacrifice
Strong One of the Wine-Dark Sea,
Who birthed death-dealing Skylla,
And open the ways beneath the waves,
O She-Wolf, O Sea Wolf,
That we may draw into the depths of our being
Unending praise of Thee.
With pleasing eyes, accept our sacrifice
Queen of Angels, Savior of the World-Soul,
And open our ears to receive Thy counsel in the Music of the Spheres.
Hidden Hekate, fair of face,
Mighty Hekate, Lady of Power,
Lead us through the crossroads at the behest of Thy grace,
In our magical endeavors,
Help our workings to flower.
In heartfelt devotion,
We kneel before Thee,
While many practitioners of alternative spiritualities associate the full moon in May by annually commemorating the Wesak of the Buddha, I choose instead to light fires of welcome for my Patron Deity, the Goddess Hekate. Since 2010, the Covenant of Hekate has issued a global summons of Hekate devotees to participate in its annual Rite of Her Sacred Fires, which always occurs during the full moon in May. Continue reading