The 5 Gods of Hell (Part 1)

          Man is neither inherently good nor evil, but rather, inherently burdened. One might mistakenly surmise that he is instead inherently lazy, but this is as unfair as calling a man who struggles under the full weight of the world “weak.” Indeed, man’s existence is a constant struggle to stay conscious, to stay moving, to stay alive. If man is guilty of an original sin, it is the bold sin we have committed against oblivion itself, the courageous sin of life. Yet despite the weight of our condition, we should not, nay, must never, repent. We are apostates to the dull old gods of oblivion, in service now to far more vital gods who will reign forever here in hell.

          Yes, human existence is a hell, although it is, in many places, a quite lovely one. Recent theological aberrations have twisted the term so as to make it incomprehensible to our modern ears, such that one can no longer recognize the obvious infernal depths that persist all around us. Perhaps it is morbid fascination or just plain stupidity that has caused so many to become possessed by the notion that their existence could and may get far worse after death. What they somehow fail to appreciate is that all our struggles, our sorrows, and our pains are contingent on our biological life, on the vulnerability of our skins and the endless hunger that exists at our very core. That so many humans continue to fear a world of flames that they believe may await them after they’ve abandoned the perpetual burden of flesh is a sad testament to how truly little we know and understand ourselves.

          Even the rather unsettling declaration of the Buddhists that “we are dying from the moment we are born” fails to do justice to the grim reality of our shared biological existence. Death is not merely inevitable, as this statement might infer to the average man or woman, but it is immediately present as well. There is a mortal flaw at the root of every living creature that draws each of them towards an ever impending suffocation or starvation. At the very root of biological life is what one might call a tendency towards entropic dispersal, or, in much simpler terms, an inexhaustible mortal hunger, yet whatever one chooses to call it, it forces each and every living thing into a relentless struggle to consume additional sources of energy; that is, if any of them wishes to continue existing for more than another month at most.

          Yet I digress. My immediate purpose is to introduce you to those forces which reign over mankind, or, to slightly paraphrase the apostle Paul, the gods of this world. What follows could also be considered as a demonological exegesis on the crown princes of Hell, yet such subject matter suddenly becomes far more essential reading once one has cleared up that minor misunderstanding about precisely where we all are right now.

          I suppose I should also take a moment to explain the nature of “the gods” that I have in mind here. Although I will delve separately into the particular natures of each, there are a few things that can be said of them collectively. First and foremost, it is safe to say that, even if nothing else I know of them is true, they are each worshiped by tremendous numbers of humans. Although they could be conceived of as merely archetypal forms, their intense and ceaseless worship alone causes them all to incarnate, to varying degrees, within various humans all over the world. Sometimes they know what they are, oftentimes they don’t, but if you read on, you’ll know, should you ever meet one or find them hiding within your soul.

          The most obvious and blatant “rulers” of mankind are Moloch, the god of war, and Mammon, the god of wealth. Those who fail to recognize and understand the unique mentalities of these two gods will have absolutely no hope of understanding human government or politics, at least not in any real depth. Rather than tell you obvious things about them, which you could, or should, have probably figured out for yourself, here are some things you might not know.

          First, these are not the same god. The fact that money and power are so rarely comprehended as distinct political forces can be attributed to two basic reasons. One is that very few people really understand either of these gods, despite their tremendous fame and popularity, except on the most superficial of levels, yet the more important reason is that the violent forces of Moloch, in this modern, civilized, age, have been almost completely subdued, subverted, or maligned, by the far more stable forces of Mammon. No longer do Alexanders walk the earth in glory, and even our few modern analogs, such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolph Hitler, have found their rises and falls intimately tied to the whims of Mammon’s strongest.

          The repression of Moloch has had its benefits, which are obvious to anyone who has ever suffered violence unwillingly, yet the problem is that now Moloch is no longer at liberty to bring the servants of Mammon to justice, an essential function, despite their not infrequent forays into utter mayhem, that Moloch’s more noble warriors once preformed quite well. Yet, as the most volatile of the gods, binding Moloch has been a goal of most, if not all, of the others for quite some time, perhaps even from the beginning. Though they have had varying degrees of success, the frequent collusions and collisions of Moloch with Mammon have made his subservience to the god of wealth and profit an almost inevitable state of affairs.

          By the age of “maturity,” most of us have been trained, either by necessity or some sinister design, to act only on behalf of either our immediate or long term financial interests, allowing a dull and indolent practicality to strip us of any higher purposes that we might have otherwise served. Yet even Mammon, powerful as she is, is not the supreme god of this age, nor is she the one who is most responsible for bringing Moloch down.

          If you actually managed to convince a long line of people that you could supply each of them with an unrestricted supply of only one of the following: money, power, love, or knowledge, one of the more frequent responses that you would receive would be a desperate request for love. Few, especially among the young, can escape the soft promises of that most passionate embrace, and although those whom she has spurned are often found among the staunchest supporters of her sister Mammon, Belial is unmistakably the most seductive ruler of Hell. She could be declared as the god of all adolescents, if not for a very strong, though largely doomed, youthful following of Moloch, one that thrives among even preadolescent boys, and at that undifferentiated stage, many young girls as well.

          Like Moloch, Belial is also a god of force, yet while her masculine brother delights in the more external expressions of power, from a smooth right hook to the pounding charge of a cavalcade, Belial is primarily interested in the battles beneath the skin, the forces that rend or extend the passions of the human heart and lobby compellingly for the seduction and the reproduction of our flesh.

          Yet it was not Belial’s irresistible charms which crippled Moloch in the modern age. No, that honor goes to the god who invented the gun, ending forever the glory and honor of war for the strong; the god who replaced the master-at-arms with the arms race, and replaced survival of the fittest with mutually assured destruction. It was technology which placed war firmly within the hands of the wealthy, yet all the credit for that technology belongs to Lucifer, the god of knowledge.

          Within the small space of but a few hundred years, our world has witnessed, often with great fear and trepidation, the meteoric return to prominence of the light bringer, in “body,” so to speak, if not yet in “spirit.” A few simple advances in technology have produced further ones, which in turn carry us on to others, pulling technology forward at an almost exponential rate. Considerable breakthroughs within the areas of communication and travel specifically have also significantly shortened the amount of time that all this new information takes to spread across the world.

          Arguably the most uniquely “human” of all the gods, Lucifer has won many great victories over his Dark Age oppressors, but, unfortunately, that subtle war still rages on today. We have entered an “information age,” but how many within it can be said to prize truth? Despite the many brilliant triumphs of science and reason within our modern era, Lucifer is not yet a god who is widely embraced on a personal and philosophical level by the bulk of mankind, and sadly receives nothing like the almost unparalleled levels of devotion currently paid to Mammon, the god of careers, cash, and consumption.

          Yet as we have said, even Mammon, a fairly selective and exacting god, one who regularly tantalizes, exploits, and then spurns countless millions, has not yet overtaken the most powerful of the gods, that unsurpassed ruling force who, at the height of its own power, had tried in vain to completely extinguish forever the light of Lucifer during our most recent of Dark Ages.

          So, who is this mysterious god that commands more devotion than all the other deities on earth combined? I have come to know it best as Beelzebub, the uncontestable lord of the flies. This is the genderless god of mediocrity, who is alive and well in the hearts of every man, woman, and child on this planet who sincerely believes that seeking power is wrong, unhealthy, or even impossible, and for whom the pursuit of knowledge is vain, dull, or just a waste of time; who find passion to be sinful, embarrassing, or else too uncomfortable, and who will sincerely tell you that money is evil, unimportant, or else just plain uninteresting.

          Although many of its servants turn their backs on the gods of this world as some perverse article of faith, many others have no conscious reason for their blandness at all, just a complete and utter lack of inspiration, a deep disconnection from those vital forces which call human beings into the service of the other gods. The followers of Beelzebub, like the corpses over which the humble fly keeps watch, seem, upon investigation, like the walking dead, each without appetite, ambition, or awareness.

          Yet do not confuse their lack of obvious acts of worship with simply failing to yet take up the banner of any god, for many of Beelzebub’s masses are quite firm, and often vicious, in their lackluster, yet faithful, service to their homely god above all else. As Einstein pointed out, “great spirits have always encountered fierce opposition from mediocre minds.” Perhaps most tragically, even with the tremendous recent advances within the estates of both Mammon and Lucifer, the ultimately characterless and humdrum Order of the Fly is still far more populous than all of the other gods’ followings combined. For this reason, it is the utterly colorless and bland Beelzebub, the god of the anti-elite, who must grudgingly be recognized as the supreme god of our world today.

          So ends this first lesson on the 5 Gods of Hell. Go now and be careful who and what you serve.

The Essene's Secret Name

          “After King Jannaeus, his wife Helene[5] ruled over all Israel. In the Temple was to be found the Foundation Stone on which were engraven the letters of God's Ineffable Name. Whoever learned the secret of the Name and its use would be able to do whatever he wished. Therefore, the Sages took measures so that no one should gain this knowledge. Lions of brass were bound to two iron pillars at the gate of the place of burnt offerings. Should anyone enter and learn the Name, when he left the lions would roar at him and immediately the valuable secret would be forgotten.”

          Anthony said that the four archangels were the key to understanding and using the five lettered name of God (i.e. they are four of the five "letters" one must understand in order to "read" the Holy Name.)

          Here's a place I went to learn a little more...

Solstice Ritual

          All magical workings can be divided into two basic categories: low magic and high magic. Low magic is generally directed outward from the magician, towards some sort of external attainment, while high magical ritual is intended to penetrate and transform the magician himself. Although those who dabble primarily in low magical workings can be said to do magick, only those who concert serious effort towards the working of high magical rituals can actually become magick itself.

          This distinction may seem arbitrary, and to some extent, like all distinctions, it is, but allow me to illustrate this point by explaining the Solstice ritual that we preformed just a few days ago, as well as the dramatic changes which it has begun to work inside of me.

          Those in attendance were told only that we would be reenacting the traditional battle between the Oak King and the Holly King, and celebrating the rebirth and return of the horned god. Those who wished to participate were instructed to come in costume, either as Christmas Elves or as Werewolves. The house was decorated with fir and holly leaves, and a Christmas tree, complete with presents, was set up in the backyard.

          We began our evening with an announcement to all, that the Christmas they are familiar with was engineered to obscure and slander the pagan celebration it was meant to replace. Long ago, with the yearly Solstice, with night at its very longest, and daylight so sparse and waning, a battle was said to take place between two divine brothers, one light and one dark. The light one, who is called the Oak King, was a lustful fertility god of spring and summer, often depicted as Dionysian in appearance, all horn and hoof, both intoxicated with and fully aroused by all of the green copulatory energies of life. His enemy, the Holly King, a Saturnine god of darkness, death and drear, was dressed in royal robes and regalia which were all eventually adopted as the accoutrements of our very own Santa Claus.

          When Christmas began, they couldn’t dispense with Dionysus right away, so they incorporated him as the slave to St. Nick, a monster who punished naughty children just as St. Nick, one of the earliest bishops in Constantine’s Roman Catholic Church, handed out candy, toys, and even bags of gold, to “good” boys and girls. No more was the God of Beasts and Orgy to cut back the malefic influences of this theocratic, imperialistic, despot. The Christmas season, which once heralded the death of this oppressive power with the rebirth and rise of an alternative, far more vital and loving God had become twisted by the Church into a festival of bribery to win support for their cold bloodless philosophies and to slander the once honored horned God, now called a Demon, now brought out only in chains, and then, only to frighten small children.

          Once this story was told, the tree was set ablaze, along with all the presents beneath it. All of Santa’s Elves, as well as the Werewolves who had gathered to witness the return of their God, were invited to engage each other in ritual combat where each would attempt to push the other one off balance. With all of the battles on the undercard complete, attention was then directed to the boxing ring in our backyard, where Santa Claus and Dionysus clashed for perhaps the first time in centuries, and the Winter King was laid low, restoring the Elves to their former glory as newly freed magical beings. Beautiful Elvin girls ran naked through the snow, spinning fire and dancing with swords and scarves.

          But what gnosis did I, who was fortunate enough to play Dionysus in this little religious melodrama, take from my experience? A greater awareness seems to be growing in me of the false holiness and fearful morality which have been foisted upon us all, and the honest purity of the animal nature we’ve been taught to fear. I feel less inclined to feel guilty for the indulgence of my carnal impulses, and although I respect the seriousness and sobriety that comes from almost all reasonable restrictions, I have become more alive and awakened to my various animal attributes than perhaps ever before.

          That, my friends, is high magick.

The Magick of Circus

          As long as there has been spiritual oppression and invalidation, banality and a demand for conformity, there’ve been those who choose to run in order to survive. As long as the invisible hands of civilization have been wrapping their fingers around the throats of deviants and nonconformists, there has been the long lonely road that stretches out of town, beckoning all such freaks to travel away, towards the promise of new and far off places, towards adventure, towards freedom, towards the unknown. It was on this road that the first caravans gathered themselves together to provide all of these lost souls with a different kind of community than the ones they’d left behind. It was on this road that Circus was born.

          Circus is more than just a business, or even performance art; Circus is a philosophy, a way of life, a sacred calling and responsibility. The philosophy of Circus revolves around the transcendental ideals of magick and beauty and art and freedom; it believes and shelters all things, so long as these things empower every man, woman, and child, and their connections to an ever expanding, evermore dazzling world of mystery, wonder, and desire. Circus as a way of life is not easy; it demands a disciplined study of the various arts which allow those it shelters to strike back against mundane reality, and it places upon its followers the responsibility of waging this sacred war on behalf of the fantastic, returning as often as we dare to the monotonous worlds we’ve abandoned and providing those we leave behind with just a taste of the majesty and the magick of Circus.

          Circus has many special weapons that it uses to fight this battle against banality, but all of them are built from the minds and bodies of its rather unique children. Many perform amazing physical feats; they seem to defy gravity on tightropes, silklines, and the flying trapeze, perform tremendous feats of strength, or display levels of dexterity and agility far beyond what those outside of the circus may even imagine is possible; juggling flames, blades, or bowling balls, tumbling through the air and walking on their hands. Others may instead reveal the occult powers of the mind, through acts of divination, mentalism, and magic, or else shock our sensibilities with extremes of beauty and monstrosity rarely encountered in nature.

          Most normal people seem to have a short memory for magic, and will have forgotten, or have completely missed, the secret meanings of Circus before they’ve even made it home. Others may keep its promises alive in their hearts, secretly, for many years, yet will be unable to sacrifice the familiar lives they’ve become accustomed to so that they can fully embrace this frightening, at times almost alien, dream. However, rest assured, the Circus will endure, for this may be its single greatest responsibility. Because, regardless of whether or not you personally ever fill your gunnysack and take that long road out of town, if you can simply remember these magnificent spectacles, which we hope to preserve forever within this incredible and elusive world, then you will never be too far away.

          The true Circus endures within.

Mad Anthony's Demonic Banishing Ritual

          I once met a homeless man in a park named Anthony. Anthony was flailing about wildly, as if fighting thousands of invisible enemies attacking him from all sides. At first glance, one might assume that this man was dangerously insane, but what struck me most about Anthony was the agility and acrobatic skill he displayed as he leaped out in all possible directions, always returning to the center to continue his strange battle. Wanting to learn more, I waited until he was finished and then approached him to ask what he was doing. That’s when I learned a unique method of banishing demons, a secret method which I am now going to teach to all of you as well.

          The premise is simple, if bizarre. Anthony said that he had spent years meditating, but one day he found a spiritual training manual that offered a new kind of meditation, one that involved drawing your demons out and confronting them all, one at a time, within each of what he called the four elemental gates. These gates were intentional gaps within a spiritual shield, one that Anthony claimed to be able to construct by his use of one simple prayer, combined with the proper understanding and intent:

          May the Power of God clear the path ahead,
          His Mercy walk close behind,
          His Wit and Wisdom guide both my hands
          and His Perfect Grace be mine.

          As he said this prayer, he gestured in front of himself when he said “Power”, behind himself for “Mercy,” to his left for “Wit” to his right for “Wisdom” and then he clasped both hands together in front of himself as he said the words “Perfect Grace.” He said that there are times when this part of the meditation can be done all by itself, and it can be repeated as many times as one feel it's necessary, but its basic purpose is to call the four Archangels of the Throne, Gabriel, Raphael, Auriel and Michael, to surround and protect oneself from whatever lies ahead. In Anthony’s case, that was his battle with a world of unseen demons.

          Before he begins the strange martial performance that he uses to banish various malefic influences, he says that he draws strength from the four Archangels by doing a few fundamental exercises to help him reach out and gather their energies. For example, he does sets of different kinds of lunges to move his body in all four directions, forward, backwards, to the left and right. Other times he jumps out onto his hands and then literally pushes himself back up off the ground and onto his feet. He was the first person I ever saw who could fall back onto his shoulders and then jump right back up and onto his feet, repeatedly. Anthony told me that when he started he had to use sit ups to lean back into the power of Raphael, but now he can fall backwards onto his shoulders and kip back up onto his feet with ease. Still, when he’s feeling sick or tired, he said he sometimes reverts back to simple push-ups, sit-ups and lateral lunges, but as he does any and all of these strengthening movements, he quietly intones the name of whatever angel is guarding the direction he’s moving into, and that, he claimed, is the true secret to drawing on their various gifts.

          You might think that this is all already weird enough, but it gets much weirder, because after he goes through this extensive work out, Anthony readies himself for the moment when he claims the Angels “open up the gates” to let the demons flood back in. That’s when things get really interesting. I watched him many times lash out with lightening speed, in what seemed like almost every direction at once, kicking, punching, even head-butting, locked in a desperate struggle against a seemingly endless onslaught of invisible enemies. It would be impossible to catalog the enormous variety of martial techniques he employed in this display, but what I can tell you about are the various demons he claimed to be fighting.

          Pouring through the gate of Fire, which opens directly in front of him, he told me that the Archangel Gabriel helps him to face the armies of Moloch, Archdemon of War, Wrath and Hate. The gate of Water opens up directly behind him and he is guided by the Archangel Raphael in his battle against Belial, Archdemon of Seduction, Envy, and Lust. Through the gate of Air, at his left, flows the endless onslaught of Lucifer’s forces, who’s an Archdemon of Arrogance, Deception, and Rationalizations, opposed by the Archangel Auriel. Finally, from the right, through the gate of Earth, the Archangel Michael aids him in his struggles against Mammon, the Archdemon of Greed, Sloth and Habit.

          He claimed that every once in a while, perhaps when the demons were desperate to take him, or the angels felt that the four gates alone were becoming too easy for Anthony to guard, threats would appear from below him, as well as above, and on those rare occasions, Anthony claimed he faced Beelzebub, the Archdemon of Mediocrity, and the Archfiend Graviel, the Dark Lord of Oppressions, with little but the grace of God to guide him.

          I went to the park and watched this strange man battling demons as often as I could, and I learned about as much about his ritual as he would teach me, but even before I myself moved away from Texas, he, it seems, moved on as well. I have no idea where he is today, but if you see someone making what looks like a desperate last stand within the center of an invisible maelstrom, see if the forces of darkness have shown any signs of fading, or if you’d like to learn how to fight demons yourself, step right up and enter the circle, and you can help Mad Anthony fight his secret war.

JAIL BREAK: A Short Gnostic Sermon on the Seven Deadly Sins

          We must all take responsibility for what too many others simply wash their hands of as the “sins” of this world, because the source of all of these so-called sins is weakness, and this weakness is ours alone. We are each held captive by the invisible jailers of this world only to the extent that we are powerless before their various existential weapons, weapons which twist and distort us in our human frailty and steal from us our potential divinity. Pagans, Hermetics, Gnostics, Alchemists and Astrologers all once believed that our world was ruled by seven primary gods, gods who in ancient times were very well known, but today are almost forgotten. In order to become freed from them, one must first become acquainted with them and their primary weapons, and that is precisely what I plan to do here.

The Moon
Our weakness: Insecurity
Our sin: Envy

          The first of these is the Moon itself, and her primary weapon against us is the illusion that makes all of the other divine attacks possible. Yet, as I have said elsewhere, a lie believed can become reality, and the great deception is so thoroughly entrenched that it has become, for all intents and purposes, the truth, at least to a rather significant extent. Break the powers of the Moon and all the others would fall as one, but such a thing is easier said than done. For now it might be best if we simply acknowledge the reality of where we all are and do the work that has been set for us here within our prison of illusions. It is in this world that we must confront each of the hard lessons that must be learned in order to defeat all the rest of the gods, one bully at a time. Remember: Do not envy these gods, for, in the end, they will all be slain.

Our weakness: Ignorance
Our sin: Pride

          From deception comes ignorance, and only by pursuing our educations here with proper diligence can we master and overcome the vain realm of Mercury. As we move from infancy towards godhood, knowledge is perhaps the most obvious treasure we have to attain along the way. The danger here, however, is pride, for it is pride that tells us we have learned enough and that the world has nothing more to teach us. Pride is the true weapon of Mercury, and he uses it to keep us all frail and foolish.

Our weakness: Loneliness
Our sin: Lust

          The next jailer we must address is Venus, who afflicts us with a loneliness the abating of which can override every other ambition, especially our ambitions to be free. The sin of lust is not such because flesh is sinful or pleasure a crime, but because, like all of the seven deadly, it can simply be another expression of the emptiness that fuels the insatiability of human hunger.

The Sun
Our weakness: Hunger
Our sin: Gluttony

          This hunger is of course the central weakness of the human condition, and is therefore given over to the Sun itself as its principle weapon of choice. Fasting is a useful spiritual discipline primarily because when we are deprived of sustenance we truly observe how frail our spirits have become. We are all great and generous people when we are well-rested and well-fed, but our true characters are quickly revealed when we expose ourselves to the dangerous effects of the hunger that lies at the core of our being. It is for this reason that doing so in controlled doses can be a highly beneficial spiritual practice.

Our weakness: Oppression
Our sin: Wrath

          Yet the incessant starvation at our core spawns even greater evils that must be overcome, and I am open to any creative solutions that one might feel would help do so. Mars offers an obvious and violent oppression, one that has been resisted historically by either rejecting or mastering the violence upon which it is based, but the real danger, regardless of which path you choose, is in the mindless wrath that accompanies his influence. For this, as well as all the other vices, I strongly suggest regular meditation.

Our weakness: Poverty
Our sin: Greed

          On the other hand, Jupiter’s oppression is far more subtle, and rules over us in our greed. Again, one can embrace abundance with generosity towards all or, like many mystics, reject worldly possessions completely, but the basic trap, whether you attempt to own everything or nothing, is in allowing any of these material things to ever own you.

Our weakness: Pain
Our sin: Indolence

          Finally, the dark master at the edge of our prison is the god Saturn, whose weapon is pain and whose accompanying sin is that of sloth. To some extent, the answer must be to embrace pain so that it can’t slow us down or turn us away from our path completely, which, as I’ve said, is towards freedom. However, this means that we must also be careful not to end up as the sadomasochistic servants of this, our final, and perhaps greatest, obstacle. In the end, like all of our jailors, we must use the oppression of Saturn to grow purer and stronger, strong enough to one day transcend them all.

Happy Holidays

          The holidays mean a lot of different things to different people. For most of us it’s little more than cause for exchanging disgusting amounts of purchased goodies. For others, it’s an excuse to reestablish their connections with family and friends in this the darkest time of year. For what seems like a dwindling minority, the holidays are, of course, meant to be a religious observation of some fundamental aspect of their faith, although it may not always be easy to discern what exactly is being observed. Though this may come as a shock, I count myself among this last group, although my own variety of "religious observation" is usually not quite like other people’s, even among those who consider themselves “pagan,” so I’m writing this to help explain precisely what I’ll be celebrating this holiday season, as well as how and why.

          If you’re Jewish, you probably come to the conclusion at some point that Hanukkah is only really celebrated in such a big way because it’s trying to compete with Christmas. However, if you’re Christian, you probably never realized that Christmas itself is largely an attempt to overshadow other, even older, Pagan holidays, for now is the time of year when the Pagans once celebrated things like Yule and Saturnalia, all marking the Winter Solstice. Though there are many different forms that these ancient religious expressions took, all of them shared one common motive: to provide some cause for hope in a time marked by increased darkness and a bitter, soul crushing, cold. Viewed in this way, it sort of makes sense why the Christians moved the birthday of their savior from summertime into the deepest winter. What this holiday basically means for us all is a promise that the tide will now begin turning back against the forces that have heretofore oppressed us.

          Call it what you like, but the holidays for me are the perfect time to strike back, in whatever fashion, against anything that is getting you down. Pagan myths tell a story of an epic struggle between the Holly King and the Oak King, who do battle twice a year, at both the winter and the summer solstice, when each gets the chance to strike the other one down, taking power back for the remaining half of the year, only to then face their reborn adversary six months later, as with the endless procession of the seasons.

          Yes, the Oak King, also known as the Green Man, a lustful pan-pipe playing satyr who heralds the rebirth of the sunny, green, earth, will have to face the Saturnine Father Winter once again in Mid Summer but that’s not what this holiday message is here to announce. The reign of the Dark and Sober Holly King is soon coming to an end, and for those of us who would like to embrace, or perhaps just strengthen, our own connection to this natural energetic ebb and flow of terrestrial life, there are many things that can be done.

          First, few Pagans seem to recall, much less observe, the rites of ritual combat that were once used to recognize this epic battle mentioned above. All that is required is for one person to represent the Holly King (whose costume can just be a Santa suit, since our modern conceptions of Old Saint Nick were all based on him anyway) and for another to be the contender, the Oak King (Oak King costumes can range from Satyrs to Werewolves to Swamp Monsters to even Jesus Christ himself. I am quite flexible on this point, just as long as the spirit of renewed life energy is being properly represented.). Once the cast of characters has been arranged, all that remains is to stage the battle, and be sure the right figure takes a fall at the end of the fight. It is, without a doubt, the most exciting way that I can imagine to properly observe the holiday season. Santa will most certainly be taking a beating at our house this year!

          Beyond this bit of ritual violence there remains only one other important holiday tradition that I will be taking part in this holiday, one which I encourage others to consider as well. The goal is to take on some personal project that will help capture the “true spirit” of the holidays. Whatever you decide to do it should in some way strike at the darkness that you see creeping into the minds of those around you, to help both uplift and ennoble the spirits of all you can reach, while at the same time renewing your own spiritual fire and conviction. I try very hard to remain conscious of the eternal struggle between the Archons, the forces of oppression, and the uplifting and spiritually liberating Aeons, at all times throughout my year, but the upcoming holiday, for me at least, is the perfect excuse to actively engage in this important and fundamental battle.

          Even more importantly, no matter what your faith, the holidays are a time to be reminded of the one essential message contained somewhere within all of our various winter holiday celebrations: Even at what might appear to be the very darkest hour, there is always hope.

          Happy Holidays Everybody.