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Grimoire na Cuibhle
I was minding my business at a sacred grove, which, by chance (or not), happened to be near a church. I had my correspondences laid out, and was within my circle, working up a spell of insight. See, on that day, I was putting on the final touches of a difficult translation, and while my native attunement and insight has always been quite sharp and fluid, there was one piece that wouldn't quite fall into place.

And at this time a gentleman came out of the church and walked over towards me, and I think he recognized me, me being a well-known Wiccan in these parts.

And he said to me: "In this day and age, how can you possibly believe all that Wiccan crap -- casting spells, magic circles, crystal correspondences, and all".

I wasn't sure what to say. I certainly didn't want to get into an argument with this guy, but it seemed to me no harder to accept than virgin conception, rising from death, etc. (not that I necessarily doubt these ideas), and I politely expressed these thoughts. And I added, "Wicca isn't so much a belief, but a way of life anyway. Wiccans are happy to respect that others such as yourself are entitled to your beliefs, and try to avoid arguments such as this".

"But the miracles", he blustered, "are ancient, recorded in the holiest books as the word of God. Wicca, on the other hand, is just some new age crap invented by some Brit in the '60s".

"Yes, the '60s. just when the precession of the equinoxes brought us out of the age of the Fish and into the age of Aquarius. But what's the difference, it all comes from something older. As you know, they moved Christmas to base it on Yule, Groundhog Day obviously rests on Imbolc, Easter based on Ostara, and so on, 'round the Wheel. But it doesn't matter, it all comes from something deeper, something that the Man of Truth spends his days spinning 'round the Wheel hoping to glimpse. As an interesting aside, dig up a book called Hamlet's Mill if you can find it. Even Shakespeare (or Bacon?) glimpsed it".

"This is absurd, spells, miracles, magic, the Age of Aquarius, all of it. While the precession of the equinoxes is obviously real and can be explained by science, so can everything else. What we have here is a moron debating a fool".

I turned to see where these words were coming from, and saw a bearded, ill-dressed individual walking towards us. It seemed odd that by chance someone else should stumble to this out of the way place, but he explained to us that this was the best place in these parts to think thru the knotty problems in his research.

Just We 3, I thought. Now there's a number everyone can agree on. One God, Second Law, Third Alternative.

"Well", I said, "can everything really be explained by science? Can you tell me where insight comes from? Certainly something, therefore explainable by science, ne pas?"

"Insight comes from God thru the mind of Christ", the Christian chimed in.

The Scientist paused for a minute, considering, I suppose, how to explain such complicated concepts to a couple of rubes. "Insight", he said, "is just a thought in your conscience brain. A thought is just a feedback of words that reuses audial neural circuitry, as if you're hearing it from the outside, but you're just playing it back on the same machinery from the inside. Its really quite simple, and can all be (and has) been explained by neurobiology".

"So its a quale", I said. "The sounds of thoughts, as well as the visions of those of us who think visually, are qualia, don't you agree? That flash of insight is also always experienced as qualia. That is, insight is simply a stronger, more special experience of the normal qualia of day to day life. We may reuse our audial or visual neural circuitry to experience insight, but it still comes as qualia".

"What are qualia?", asked the Christian.

"Yes, I suppose you are right", conceded the Scientist. "Qualia", he explained, "are the actual experiences of things like red, hunger, sound, etc. While the perception of red can be explained by the instance of photons of a certain wavelength hitting the retina and being processed by a system of neurons and some other neurons setting the 'red bit', as it were, the actual phenomenon of the experience of redness has yet to be explained by neurobiology or psychology. In fact, there is no proof that my experience of red is the same as yours. But its only a matter of time -- science will get there eventually, but presently it is considered a 'hard problem'."

"Will it?", I said. "Qualia are metaphysical. The experience of red has no mass nor no energy, and therefore is beyond science to explain. Qualia don't exist on any instrument in the lab, yet we experience them".

"its becoming one with God", offered the Christian. "We always have the richest experiences after we pray".

"And what is your take?", asked the Scientist. "Surely Wicca has no logical explanation for insight, qualia, the problem of consciousness, and the like? All Wicca seems to be about is wheels and circles, grinding round and round forever -- death and rebirth -- how is one ever supposed to get anywhere or make any progress? Don't you get tired of being on the Wheel?".

"First of all, I think we're looking at this the wrong way. Its not that one of us has got it right, and we shouldn't be arguing so about it, to the disdain of the other. Its more like blind man's zoo, where we've each seen a piece of it. Three views of one trillium, as it were.

"And you're right", I continued, "that modern Wicca was invented in the '60s, but it is based on far more ancient insights. Some of this work is obviously lost in translation over the centuries. And yes, it is about wheels, and even time itself moves as a circle, despite arguments by some of your colleagues that time is an arrow."

"With God at the center of the circle", interrupted the Christian.

"Well, I guess that's one way to look at it", I said, "but it is true that some of the ancient texts do talk about what's at the center of the circle and getting off the Wheel. Heresy by modern standards, or perhaps you would say 'forbidden fruit', but its not my fault that weaker minds have missed and lost in translation some of the ancient ways. My personal journey is to rediscover them, and get to the center of the circle, where insight and all the rest of it comes from. So I guess that's my answer. Wicca simply seems to be the path with the least amount of baggage, and closest to the original sources -- but granted, only an approximation for many".

"So, what have you discovered?", they asked. "Not that we'll change our ways -- as the old cliche goes, there are many paths up the same mountain".

"Well, I have discovered an ancient spell, which seems to be the basis for some of the Wheel lore. But I've found more to it than that. I've just finished the translation, but I think the point of this one is to get you off the Wheel ..."

22 Nov 2005 -- Sir Braemoor

Grimoire na Cuibhle
It is appropriate for each spell to be cast at the time of its sabbat, although this is not strictly necessary to achieve some effect. In addition to the specified correspondences, a garland of trillia is suggested. Finally, the more attuned with the Elements you are, the more likely you are to be successful.

Yule (from Norse Jul), or Midwinter's Eve, of course, means wheel, and is the time of the year when the Wheel has come full circle, and is either the beginning or the end, depending on your outlook (such that wheels have beginnings or ends).

This is the time when the holly king is vanquished by the oak king, and Odin (Norse Jolnir or Jul One), the "jolly one" holds sway. It is time to gather together the red and white berries of holly and mistletoe, and orient, and burn, the yule log.

Here, at Midwinter's, the sun is at its weakest, yet the days begin to grow longer, as the sun god is reborn.

The following correspondences are gathered together and arranged in the usual way:

  • caramel (molten by candle preferred)
  • elm branch
  • emerald (or appropriate crystal substitute)
  • groundsel petals
  • icicle (ideally from a waterfall)
  • knotworked ivy
  • lingberries
  • nutmeg
  • reindeer antler (crushed, strictly from shed rack)
  • snowdrop (dried)
  • tannenbaum bough
  • tin bells

By the tears of leigh
Pluck the red berry
For by forty zodiacs
Summon the third tannenbaum grove

And with wet feet
Set the circle center
Inscribed ten zodiacs wide
Widdershins walk the wheel

Place the yule log
Directed to the earth
With aspect of the ram
Center between earth and water

So mote it be

Imbolc (Christianized as Candlemas), halfway between Midwinter's Eve (Yule) and the Vernal Equinox (Ostara), is the time when the reborn god grows stronger in the earth, and we anxiously await signs of rebirth and the coming of spring. Candles are lit to welcome the return of the sun, for purification, and to bid good riddance to winter. In some parts of the world, Imbolc survives to the day as a secular tradition known as "Groundhog Day", though most who observe this tradition are probably unaware of its ancient origins.

The following correspondences are gathered together and arranged in the usual way:

  • basil
  • candles (white and assorted)
  • groundhog fur (scavenged from shed only!)
  • iris petals (dried, blue and yellow preferred)
  • narcissi (yellow)
  • oak leaves
  • onyx
  • orange incense
  • peppermint

Raise the candle tall
And the candle short
Far above the rest
They point away

Lay the candle orange
Towards where baal reborn
Complete the circle
At the first glimpse

Nestle then his seed
For rebirth in the grove
Nurturing eldest oak
Sunder stone by water

So mote it be

Ostara, the Vernal Equinox (Christianized as Easter) is the time of celebrating the return of life by romping through the woods chasing rabbits and gathering eggs. It is a time of balance and of new beginnings.

The following correspondences are gathered together and arranged in the usual way:

  • ash bark
  • dogwood flowers
  • eggs (painted)
  • lavender
  • lilies
  • nuts or acorns (from last season)
  • orange blossom
  • rhododendron sprigs
  • umber crystal or brown garnet
  • violets
  • yellow crocus

By the great blue egg
Where colored rabbits run
Green red blue white
Cavort thru springtime wood

Chase the white rabbit
Deosil 'round the wheel
Where mottled egg spins
Of brown and green

Sit atop the egg
The white rabbit circled
Chase it into the air
On the five zodiac wheel

So mote it be

Beltane (May day) is the first day of summer and the time of union of the maturing sun god and earth goddess. The Wheel spins now to a time when the world is full of life and fertility. The maypole is strung with ribbons to symbolize the god and goddess, and the girls dance the pole; the last holding a ribbon is this year's May queen. The boys similarly determine the May king.

The following correspondences are gathered together and arranged in the usual way:

  • apple blossoms
  • beryl (pink translucent preferred)
  • carrot (one)
  • elm branch
  • ivy (in strands)
  • marigold
  • oak (any part, site of live tree, grove, or pole strongly preferred)
  • raspberry blossoms
  • rose petals
  • rosemary
  • spearmint
  • tiger lilies
  • turtle shell (scavenged)
  • umbrella tree (blossoms)
  • uncut daisies

The Wheel spins 'round the elm
Girls dance the colored ribbons
Mauve, yellow, white, jade
The may queen follows air

The sacred oak is found
Here the boys shall dance
Deep blue, dark red, white, jasmine
The may king chases fire

King and queen hand in hand
The tree of life grows strong
Yellow, maroon, wisteria
Consummated between air and fire

So mote it be

Litha, or Midsummer's Eve (Christianized as St. John's Day), is the time when the sun god is at his most powerful, yet is vanquished as the Wheel continues its inevitable spin towards Samhain and winter. The satyrs, pixies, and faeries are out in force, and the very first fruits of the harvest appear. It is often a time of wanton and debaucherous revelry.

The following correspondences are gathered together and arranged in the usual way:

  • absinthe (or wormwood if unavailable)
  • almonds
  • ash bark
  • echinacea
  • hazelwood log
  • kingfisher eggs
  • night-blooming jasmine
  • nightshade (non-poisonous variety)
  • pink tulip (petal)
  • quartz
  • red grapes
  • St. John's wort
  • snakeskin (scavenged)
  • unchilled wine (red)
  • unpolished amber

Around the house of the Wheel
Frolics the goat-footed archer
In water's direction ye romp
Celebrate with dionysian fruit

Ashes to tulips, raise yggdrasil
At that numinous time and place
Where the sun god traces the wheel
And rests between, day and year

Deosil 'round yggdrasil
Trace one zodiac wheel
Drop both log and hypericum
To rest farthest from air

So mote it be

Lughnassadh sits midway on the Wheel between Midsummer and the Autumnal Equinox (Mabon), and marks the end of summer and the first harvest. Fruits and grains are now ripe for the harvest, and although we don't feel it yet, winter and death are beginning to creep. Its time to bake breads, harvest fruits, and make sure we are prepared and provisioned for the upcoming journey to the Otherside.

The following correspondences are gathered together and arranged in the usual way:

  • apples
  • corn kernels (Indian corn preferred)
  • eagle feather (scavenged)
  • eggplant
  • essence of juniper
  • fennel
  • gooseberries
  • indigo (or other legume)
  • nettles (dried to prevent stinging)
  • newly milled wheat
  • onions
  • poppy petals
  • ruby (or red crystal)
  • rye
  • unmilled wheat
  • vanilla beans

Gather at the place of baking
As from the fields you reap
Hither and yon to harvest
Between the fire and the air

There harvest maize and eggplant
Thyme, onions, gooseberries, and apples
Closer draws the path to the Otherside
In s'teen zodiacs the wheel turns

And again turns for three
As you finish off the loaves
With five to jupiter and mars
The harvest adroitly completed

So mote it be

Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox, is the time of the second harvest, where the goddess earth fills the cornucopia, as we further provision for winter and the journey to the Otherside. It is also a time of balance between light and dark, but ultimately the god of darkness vanquishes the god of light And while the creep of death may not have been noticed at Lughnassadh, it can be felt now.

The following correspondences are gathered together and arranged in the usual way:

  • apple slices
  • chrysanthemum
  • different colored leaves (captured as they fall)
  • eight different gourds
  • embers from a bonfire
  • evergreen cones
  • fallen tree branch (oak preferred)
  • goldenrod
  • nine different kinds of berries
  • nuts
  • oakmoss
  • orange squash
  • rock from an ice cold pool
  • root vegetables (yams, potatoes, turnips)
  • unusually large pumpkin (naturally grown)
  • wintergreen

Death and the house of the Wheel
In balance at this time
Dividing line is hewn
Bridge to the Otherside

Death shall be the victor
Float towards the fire
Where again life and death
Arise in perfect balance

Gather up your harvest
For the time shall come nigh
For again the Wheel to spin
And all to be made whole

So mote it be

Samhain (surviving as "Halloween") marks the beginning of winter and the time of death of the sun god, who awaits rebirth at Yule. The dead are raised and in control until the Wheel spins through the rebirth. This is the time when boundaries, such as those those between the living and dead, among others, are the thinnest, and is thus the time when witches and others are most active working their magicks. Some would say Samhain is the beginning of the Wheel, but, like a dream, the Wheel has no beginning or end -- though the path off of it and the Otherside has been glimpsed by the fortunate few.

The following correspondences are gathered together and arranged in the usual way:

  • amber
  • black candles
  • decorated or carved pumpkin
  • egg nog
  • iron filings
  • moonstone (or appropriate crystal)
  • non-alcoholic cider
  • nutmeg incense
  • orange candles
  • red oak leaves
  • red quartzite (ground to a sand)
  • teeth (scavenged)
  • witch hazel (flowers)
  • yew bough

The Otherside is near
Prepare to cross the boundary
Adroitly bake sinister sand
A sign the time is nigh

The Otherside is crossed
The final spell is spoke
The chant from the living
In the voice of the dead -

Araf oillteil bracha sivudlit fwltur
Sjo weoloc casherick six six six
Imlev ordogi zwolf mjegulluar fumo
Vaim baznicas txori abmangg odin

So mote it be

Translated by Sir Braemoor, Sep 2005 thru Nov 2005.