Thursday, December 20, 2012

Commentary on the Charge of the Goddess 22: and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music, and love, all in my praise.

Sources and Influences

Ye Bok of Ye Arte Magical: And ye shall dance, sing, feast make music, and love, all in my praise.

Leland Aradia: And thus shall it be done: all shall sit down to the supper all naked, men and women, and, the feast over, they shall dance, sing, make music, and then love in the darkness, with all the lights extinguished; for it is the Spirit of Diana who extinguishes them, and so they will dance and make music in her praise. (No Italian text or verse numbers)

The passage from Aradia does not follow on from the passage quoted previously, Aradia’s speech to the witches, but occurs in the next section, on the Sabbath.

Crowley Editorial to The ‘Blue’ Equinox: Christianity has destroyed the joyful celebrations, characterized by music, dancing, feasting, and making love.


    There is a curious synchronicity between the passage of Aradia and the passage from Crowley; Gardner takes the passage directly from Aradia, mixes it (consciously or subconsciously) with ideas which may be found in Crowley, and the idea once again emerges in a new form in Wicca. These aspects of Wicca may simply appear to be some of its more countercultural aspects, but Gardner transforms them into parts of the magico-religious technology by which witches practise their religion, the point of which is freedom, signified by nudity, and achieved using these methods.
    For Crowley the significance of taking pleasure was found in the passing of the age of the old gods of servitude, and the arrival of the new age of Thelema, in which every man and every woman is a star. The seeking and doing of the True Will means there is no longer any place for gloominess and a consciousness of sin, which are replaced by the mastery of all. He writes thus (on the two pages of The Law of Liberty from which Gardner took so many of the quotations used in the Charge):
‘...Live as the kings and princes, crowned and uncrowned, of this world, have always lived, as masters always live; but let it not be self-indulgence; make your self-indulgence your religion.
‘When you drink and dance and take delight, you are not being “immoral,” you are not “risking your immortal soul”; you are fulfilling the precepts of our holy religion – provided only that you remember to regard your actions in this light. Do not lower yourself and destroy and cheapen your pleasure by leaving out the supreme joy, the consciousness of the Peace that passeth understanding.’  (Aleister Crowley: The Equinox Vol. 3, No. 1, March 1919 (The Blue Equinox). Weiser Books, San Francisco, 2007, p.48)
    Gardner takes the joy both of the witch-cult as pictured in Aradia and that as viewed in Thelema and includes dancing, feasting, and making love as rituals of Wicca. He changes the emphasis slightly by making the feast in Wiccan ritual a sacramental communion, which he is at pains to emphasise is not a satire on Christian communion, stating that they took it from us (Gerald Gardner: The Meaning of Witchcraft. Weiser Books, York Beach, 2004.).  The feast also appears as part of the witch-cult’s rituals in Aradia, where it is seen as more of a magical act than it is in Wicca, since the meal to make the bread is conjured to make it the body of Aradia (Mario Pazzaglini and Dina Pazzaglini (editors): Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches. Phoenix Publishing, Blaine, 1998.).
Making love as a religious ritual is transformed in Wicca into the major sacrament, the Great Rite, where man and woman as the Goddess and God are united in the major mystery of fertility and creation celebrated in Wicca.
Dancing and singing are also transformed in Wicca into some of the eight ways to raise the power by which witches create what they need: dancing speaks for itself, but singing becomes the repetitive chanting by which witches build power. So dancing, singing, feasting, making music and love, rather than merely being the hallmarks of the liberal rituals of a countercultural religion, are transformed in Wicca into a communion feast, a celebration of the major mystery of creative union in Wicca, and some aspects of the inner magical technology used by witches.
And not merely inner magical technology: once again it is important not to forget that these words are being spoken by the Goddess of the witches drawn down into the body of the High Priestess. These things are done in her praise, as part of our co-creative work of being the Goddess, incarnating the Goddess in us, helping others to recognise their inner Goddess, and manifesting the Goddess in the world around us.

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