I have been working my way through the degree system of the temple of witchcraft for the last two years. Some may wonder why since I am one of the founders of the temple, Lead minister and ordained through the Temple why I would bother. My own craft training was self taught, through the guidance of books, spirits, and experimentation. Living in a magickal way brought on many of the initiatory experiences and challenges of the craft without me having to find a teacher or ritually experience them. When we started the process of creating the Temple of Witchcraft I recognized that out of the three founders I was the only one who had not gone through the linear process of the classes. My experiences were vastly different from those who had gone through the process of the classes. This both gives me a unique voice to point out different ways of doing things and put me in a position where I felt honor bound to do the classes to be able to empathize with those in the temple.
Some of the lead ministers had this experience as well and Had the honorary title of witchcraft five given to them in honor of the work that they had done in other systems and for the Temple. Most of the people who have this honor have started to go back and take the classes to better serve the temple.
So from this place of honor I set out on the Quest of Shamanic Witchcraft. Every level starts with setting the intention for the year and a day of experience through a simple ritual. In witchcraft one it is learning meditation and opening up to psychic skill. In witchcraft two it is learning the rituals of the priest and the ways of spell-craft. In Witchcraft three it is to seek out the shadow, acknowledge it, heal it, and partner with it. While working toward that intention you learn shamanic methods and build a team of spirits to help you in the quest. Tonight I am going to do my Shadow Promise Ritual and begin the Quest.
This morning I decided to go to the park to perform the exercise finding your world tree. The Shamans world view is vertical instead of horizontal. They believe there are three (or more) worlds: The upper world, middle world(where we live) and the underworld. The axis that moves through these three worlds is the world tree. Some Shamans have used other images to represent this axis like a mountain, fairy mound, or some modern city shamans use a skyscraper. The point of this exercise is to form a bond with a physical tree that would represent your world tree and be a sacred spot to be the “center of the world”.
I brought with me some cider to offer to the fey of the park and to my new tree friend. As I walked into the park I crossed my fingers to activate my trigger of instant alpha state and even counted myself down to alpha. In this altered state of consciousness I followed my instinct and intuition on where to walk. On the path down to the river bank I stopped to offer some cider to the spirits of the park and the fey there in to ask them to guide me to my world tree. I looked up and down the path and all around to make sure no one was watching and then I said a prayer to the spirits and poured out my offering at the base of the tree. Immediately after I finished my offering I felt the feeling that I was not alone and that some one was watching me. The feeling of fear and shame flooded my senses, thoughts about how I would explain my actions to a passer by. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark silhouette of a man standing to my left on the path watching me. Thinking it was a person I turned putting my cider bottle in my pocket and choosing a path away from the person to avoid any questions. Once down the path I looked back to find no one there.
I was still filled with a unsettled feeling of fear. My mind shot back in time to a sleep over with my friends and circle mates in my teen years. That night I first experienced my shadow psychically. Thank the gods my friends were used to an amount of psychic experiences as I faced a spirit only I could see. My friends could only feel me all around them. Where I was looking at what I called the dark man. The same fear flowed through me, the feeling of being watched and the fight for control was all there as it was in the park in the current day.
To combat the feeling of fear I used the Emotional body Training exercise and immediately it subsided. My mind felt more clear and I could marvel at something I haven’t experienced in years. The night of the sleep over brought on many more contacts with my shadow until we were more integrated and it didn’t appear to me in the physical only in meditation. Why now would it appear again? My only answer is the focus of the year long quest of shamanic witchcraft is to meet with the shadow and partner with it. My shadow seems to hear my intent loud and clear.
I wandered the park some more picking up some white pine needles for a couple of smudging bundles. I wandered the park and ended up where I have done rituals in the past. I could feel the tree calling me. The tree was white pine. I slipped deeper into meditation and conversed with the tree. I offered the rest of the cider. The tree told me of its powers to purify and protect. It also told me of how its roots grow out more the other trees, and how its Branches spreads out at the top to gather the suns light. It told me of its strong trunk that gets longer and longer. It also reminded me that it is so easy to topple over if you don’t have strong and deep roots.
I took pictures of my tree, both to connect with it from far away and just incase I got turned about in the park and needed help finding it. We said our farewells and I counted myself up to return to normal consciousness. I have a feeling this will be an interesting year.