Wiccan Rede * Winter 1980 by Morgana Sythove
As 1980 slowly draws to a close and we look back on this, the first year of the 80’s, there are a great deal of things I think that many of us would like to forget of this year. Mother Nature seems to have been playing havoc with the weather considering the very wet summer, and recently the premature winter in November, bringing above all disaster to farmers in the North of Holland. Looking a little further, we saw the disastrous earthquake in Algeria, a heatwave in Texas, floods in India,etc.
And then we have the man-made disasters in the world – the Iran/Americansituation, the Iran/Irak war, the Polish situation plus a general world recession with its high unemployment etc. During periods like this when it seems that the key word of our existence is ‘depression’ it is very difficult to be optimistic and see the ‘sunny side of life’. When we know many people in the world are suffering it is often easier to forget that they exist and concentrate on our own well-being. It is very easy to blame the politicians or anyone else who happens to be around rather than look at our own selfish attitudes.
One of the fundamentals of all magic work is that of intention. By willing or wishing for something to happen then more often than not it will happen. Many people ascribe this to ‘pure chance’, coincidence, but working occultists know that it is not ‘chance’. Intention properly directed can bring desired results. The secret is knowing how to direct this energy. If we take the planet as a whole it is difficult to imagine the amazing amount of ‘intent’ being projected out into the ether by the millions of human inhabitants of Earth. Unfortunately the ‘intent’ is not the same for everyone. For example, taking two extremes, if everyone wanted war then without doubt there would be a global war. If however everyone wished for world peace then one could expect that there would be world peace.
At the moment it is very obvious that the balance is missing. We are still not achieving a rhythmic pattern in our lives. No wonder that there is chaos in place of harmony. Even taking our daily situation we can quickly count up numerous examples of our sub-natural living. By sub-natural I mean going beyond or below nature, for example (a trivial example, I know) but recently I saw an advertisement where one could buy equipment for a do-it-yourself tropical storm in the bathroom! Of course modern technology has eased much hardship in our lives and I certainly wouldn’t advocate ‘doing away with the machines’ but it does seem that the creative / spiritual attitude in the world is being starved out of existence. Surely the time has arrived that we as individuals should be trying to replenish and invigorate these very creative, spiritual attitudes. This idea is not new – many other people have said similar things, and many people have begun to realise what this new attitude entails.
As this solar cycle draws to a close it is perhaps worthwhile for all of us to sit down and quietly think how we can positively help to generate a new attitude – a new approach to ‘knowing ones self’, and to encouraging others to act and think along the same lines in the hope of creating ‘world intent’ in achieving harmony.
We already have the tools – the inner tools of our intellect, intuition, emotions and will to act. We also have the outer tools – Nature herself, the secret language of symbols, of mathematics, of music, of the written word. By adding a little bit of enthusiasm, some self-discipline, courage and above all positive thought, then it will all be possible! We can start at any moment – by observing, contemplating, assimilating and synthesising all of our experiences.
At the Winter Solstice (Yule) the sun has reached its lowest point. After December 22 it begins to wax – to grow stronger each day by rising higher and higher in the sky. By following the course of the sun during the year we can make many observations – above all the changing countryside, woodland etc. Even if we live in the town we can still make our observations. But don’t leave it there – observation is the first step. Try to go beyond the purely material stage and use your creative talents in following things through.
At Yuletide there are many symbols worth meditating upon: the Sun wheel, the Yule log and the burning of it, the symbolism of various plants such as mistletoe, holly and ivy, and the various myths connected with birth. In order to encourage one’s awareness of the various seasons and festivals it is also very helpful to ‘tune’ in to your own surroundings. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – a table set aside used specifically as a ‘seasonal table’ can be made very attractive with plants of the season, or with natural objects especially associated with the season. The more one tunes in to the various cycles (solar and lunar for example) the easier it becomes to build up a natural rhythm in your own lifestyle. Life becomes more directed and purposeful. Your own intentions will become clearer and gradually you will know what you want. This can have very positive effects on one psychologically – there is inner stability and security and although outer forces may feel negative one is in a more advantageous position of fighting off this negativity.
There are many ways in which you can enrich your life spiritually, but one should never forget that we should stand firmly on earth. Spiritual ideals are fine for dreamers but putting these ideals into practice means down-to-earth hard work and effort! There is always the danger of becoming isolated and out of touch with the mundane world. Of course one should tread carefully and above all not try to convert everyone! Our contact with other people is of vital importance, not only for our own development, or theirs for that matter, but for the whole of mankind. In other words I mean our social responsibility. It is well known in psychology that the consciousness of the mass is considerably lower than that of the individual (think of football crowds or a mass of demonstrators). But for the moment let’s consider a more normal situation of one-to-one relationships, or group situations. How many times have you had a conversation with someone (a friend or an acquaintance) and realised afterwards that you’ve not really talked about anything? So many of our conversations have little or no content and it really is a pity when with a little conscious effort we could use our time so much more positively. It may be left to you to lead the way and set the example but do at least try! One or two people might regard you as excentric – it has been known! – but don’t be put off. During the long winter evenings you may find some ideal opportunities of discussing various subjects and who knows your friends may thoroughly enjoy the talks!
There are also many other things which you can develop for yourself. Your eating habits can greatly enhance your lifestyle. Experimenting with new dishes, new herbs etc. can be great fun and educational too. The important thing is that we explore all the avenues of life open to us, and as far as possible share our experiences. Then we can really say we are living life to the full in work and in play. Above all think positively – look for the central inner sun in your fellow man, and may the new sun of Yuletide help you on your journey.