My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

The Gothic subculture is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, and looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Tim Burton, Siouxsie Sioux and Anne Rice et al.) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. Goth should not be limited by what is considered "goth", inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Witching On A Monday

Last night I went to the local open Circle's moot. The Circle is an open discussion groups for Pagans, Witches, and Occultists of various traditions. The Moot is basically a pub meet-up where we talk about mostly on-topic stuff, but the conversation has a tendency to deviate (often to cats... ) 

Yesterday was Aleister Crowley's birthday, and that was the theme of our discussion. Personally, I'm not really very fond of Crowley as a person, but I respect his contribution to the Occult. One member brought the deck illustrated by Lady Freida Harris for Crowley's Thoth project. Lady Harris was an amazing illustrator, and I loved the mixture of early 20thC and late 19thC styles used in it (and rather wish I could use a few of them as prints!). Another discussed the Abremelin ritual, and I asked about Boleskine House and we discussed sense of place. Discussion wandered a little off topic with a conversation about how the mythology/reports of experiences around aliens is often very similar to that around faeries. 

We sit in a quiet corner of a local pub, and I'm probably the only member that looks "witchy"; you'd probably think we're just a group of slightly eccentric friends having a chat to look at us; a Goth (or two), a few hippies and a few more ordinary looking folk, on comfy chairs with pints, having a giggle. It would only be if you overheard us that you would know we're not just a group of friends out for a quiet Monday drink. 

Selfies taken on my laptop's webcam. Edited with PicMonkey

I rarely wear this much religious jewellery at once, but felt this was an opportunity to wear the pentacle bling! I got these new pentacle earrings recently, but I feel like they're actually a bit ostentatious to wear out and about much, so they're probably going to end up as mostly ritual jewellery rather than decorative jewellery that I would wear on a daily basis. The beaded charm necklace (nearest my neck) was actually from Claire's Accessories! I guess they were selling them as part of that rather problematic 'occult trend' going on in Goth at the moment, but the mixture of a pentacle with celestial symbols is actually rather suitable - only problem is the pentacle is inverted so I think I may swap that charm out for a properly point-upwards pentacle. The top point of the pentacle in the tradition I follow, symbolises the fifth (energetic) element, Spirit which is in balance with, but above, the four (material) elements, Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. The circle is symbolic of the cyclical nature of life, and how all things are one interconnected thing, with the knot-like interlace of the pentagram star itself also symbolic of that interconnection and fluidity. As such, the orientation of the pentacle is important. An inverse pentagram or pentacle is a deliberate inversion or upsetting of that balance; sometimes that is a positive force for change, but often it has been used to symbolise Fire and Earth being prioritised in a carnal and greedy manner - lust, rage, violence, greed, jealousy, etc. Of course, in Neo-Paganism, interpretations aren't fixed, and are varied between traditions. 

The inverse pentagram and pentacle, while they have been used in Satanic contexts, are not by any means exclusively Satanic, or necessarily negative symbols, but as they are popularly associated with Satanism of an erroneously understood anti-Christian variety, I choose not to wear them, as it only adds to greater confusion about my religious affiliation and the stereotyped assumptions about my morality. Very few mainstream people I encounter understand the differences between LaVeyan Satanism, the inverted Christianity of the anti-Christian variety, and the other religious and spiritual paths that see Satan as either an archetype, or part of a polytheistic pantheon, or as a positive symbol of rebellion and individuality, etc. Very few mainstream people I encounter know that those paths are rather different from Neo-Paganism, Wicca, and Witchcraft traditions like Cunning Folk, either. I'm rather fed up of fielding questions about curses, animal sacrifice and ritual sex! 

You may also note that my hair isn't its usual colours in these selfies; I have not dyed my hair copper, but am wearing a wig on account of my dye having faded and blurred, my roots having grown out fairly significantly, and my being in dire need of a hair cut! The colour also reminded me of the turning leaves now that autumn has arrived, so I thought it seasonally appropriate. I am actually wearing shimmery eyeshadow, too, in browns and purples, with a bit of gold shimmer - yes, warm tones! - but it didn't show up very well in the photographs. 

There's a visual pun in those photographs; if you spot it, you get a kudos but no physical prize :P

8 comments:

  1. You look fantastic! Love the outfit! Must get an orange wig sometime!

    We have the Thoth tarot around somewhere, the art is great although it doesn't speak to me as a deck.

    Claire's is great, I got some stuff there when I was in England years ago! I love cheap accessory stores!

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    1. I think I could have figured out a better way to style the wig; still learning about that! I'm thinking of 'Wednesday'-esque twin braids.

      I'd like a Thoth deck myself. The member who brought it said that his larger size deck made it ideal for using single cards as visualisation focuses for workings, and as part of altars. I think that's a brilliant idea and may have to try it myself. My personal working Tarot deck is Peter Pracownik's Dragon Tarot, but when doing readings for others, I prefer the more 'neutral' design of the Universal Rider Waite deck. I'm thinking of establishing a little collection of Tarot cards, but I lack the resources.

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  2. What a lovely way to spend a Monday evening! I mean, normally the start of the week can be quite depressing, but if you have some interesting plans ahead for after work like yours, I think it might be slightly different.
    Also, I find really nice you managed to meet such a special bunch of people. Sometimes it can be so hard to connect with other fellows!

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    1. It's great :) The Moot is monthly, but the rest of my Mondays are training nights for martial arts, so I always have something to look forwards to on a Monday.

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  3. For what it's worth, I think you looked fabulous and appropriate for that night's event.

    It would be so nice if our local/regional Goth community had discussion group events. Club nights are also good, but they're not exactly a good venue for conversation and making new friends--and even club nights are few and far between these days.

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    1. I'm thinking of running a few picnic type events next summer; things the Goths with families can attend so they can join in with the scene here when childcare is impractical for club nights, and also so younger Goths can take part. Not really a winter possibility here, though. Maybe you could try organising something similar? Picnics, cafe meets, quiet pub meets, etc. are all great for discussions as the food/drink acts as a focus to bring everyone together socially, and the location is quiet enough for people to talk.

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