I did magic tonight w an old friend of mine, a woman who used to be in my circle and with whom I still get together once a week, along with others, to do ecstatic dance, eat a common meal, chat.
It felt so good to be standing in the cool air of an Autumn evening, underneath a few bright stars peaking through the clouds, grounding, centering, feeling the way that my animal body becomes, because it is an animal body, a vessel for magic.
I may be wrong; there may be women for whom this comes early and easy, but it seems to me that there is a feeling born only of years of magical practice, that teaches the lesson from the charge of the Goddess: "And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire."
You can't set out doing magic in order to obtain this feeling, this cellular and organic understanding that you are a vessel for, and an opening into the world of, magic. But at some point -- after half a lifetime of grounding and centering and casting circles and calling the quarters and speaking intentions and chanting and dancing and drumming and visualizing and raising cones and releasing cones and being frustrated and being enchanted and returning daily to your altar, happy, sad, frustrated, disbelieving, coming, as Rumi said, yet again, come, come, even though you have abandoned your vows a thousand times, come, yet again, come, come -- you find the mystery within yourself. And it seems to me, not that I would know, that it's just like what they said about those who experienced the Mysteries of Eleusis: ever after, they had no fear of death. Ever after, you know that you have found within yourself what you could never find without: that which has been with you from the beginning and which is attained at the end of all desire.
And, yet, and here's only one more lovely paradox, you have to get up the next morning and practice again, sit zazen again, ground again, connect again with the mist in the Autumn garden and the squirrels in the trees and the current in the air and the Fifth Sacred Thing. Because what I imagine, not that I would know, is that what they taught at Eleusis was that it's a process, not an end result.
I suppose that I stopped making sense several paragraphs ago. There's a Rumi poem about that, too.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."