Greetings to you, Arianrhod, Silver-Wheel. Greetings to you, Crown of the North. You who deny in order to fulfill, I greet you. You, Queen of Witches, Initiator of Bards May I remember my times in your Caer And embrace the Stars that wheel around you.
If you linger here, transfixed by the beauty of what you see,
then you will be a captive forever. But, if you have the strength to turn and walk out of the Spiral Castle, then the hidden secret of House Arianrhod will be revealed to you.
—Lyn Webster Wilde, “Becoming the Enchanter”
I spent years seeking Arianrhod. Came up empty-handed more often than not. She’s an elusive goddess—a fleeting shadow in the corner of my eye, sensed rather than seen.
She dawned on me slowly, the way the first stars appear when you’re not looking. Before you know it, you’ve got a sky full of them.
She’s an enchanter, an illusionist. She hides in plain sight. A riddler, a trickster. She diverts our attention from her sleight of hand. Her bright Silver Wheel “mirrors us back to ourselves and flashes tricksy images into our mind’s eye that can easily confuse … what is real and what is not? And what is reality anyway?” says shaman and author Elen Sentier.
Arianrhod demands we master the enchanter’s art of clear sight. She tests our grasp on reality. In myth, she grants the gift of prophetic sight. In practice she drives us hone our gaze—to see through illusion and spot the hidden.
Most often when I meet her, she takes me by surprise. But I’ve gradually learned where to look for her.
Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess,
she in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven;
whose body encircleth the Universe.
I, who am the beauty of the green earth,
and the white Moon among the stars,
and the mystery of the waters,
and the heart’s desire, call unto thy soul.
Arise and come unto me.
For I am the Soul of Nature,
who giveth life to the universe;
from me all things proceed,
and unto me must all things return;
and before my face, beloved of gods and mortals,
thine inmost divine self shall be unfolded
in the rapture of infinite joy.
Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth,
for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.
And therefore let there be beauty and strength,
power and compassion,
honour and humility,
mirth and reverence within you.
And thou who thinkest to seek for me,
know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not,
unless thou know this mystery:
that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee,
thou wilt never find it without thee.
For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning;
and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.
I know the Laws of Nature are you, Lady. Keep me mindful that I step upon Your Body,with your feet, that my sorrows are Your sorrows, and that a healthy priestess makes all things sound. I feel Your breath in the wind, and Your hand in mine. Keep me sincere. Give me Your work, which is to be joyous,and to tend all things,
because all things live, of themselves,and with Your spirit. Your will through mine, so mote it be.
Stand at the threshold. Feel the abyss yawning. Feel your toes curl over the edge. Let it suck you in.
Now you’re on the path. It’s longer than you thought. Take your time. Turn away from your goal. Turn, and turn again. When you see it next, it will seem farther away than before. Keep turning. Trust the path.
Let your feet consecrate the ground. Let them grow roots. Tear them up and plant them anew. Make each step an offering. Make each breath an offering.
Get lost awhile. Forget your intentions. Forget the center. Let go your thread. Be a child exploring ancient ruins. Shed your expectations. Shed your thoughts. Shed it all. Shed it like Inanna’s regalia. Shed it like dead snakeskin.
Become a vessel. Let the rain fill you. Let the sun fill you. Let the wind and birdsongs fill you. Let the holy light of the source fill you. Let yourself brim. Let yourself fountain. Let yourself spill onto the sacred ground beneath you.
Rest at the center. Fill it with prayers. Flood it with tears. Offer up whatever is inside you. Throw it on the sacred fire. Watch it burn.
Be still. Sit in the stillness. Let it take you. Let it consume you. Feed the flame. Be the flame.
Let it go.
Let go the peace. Let go the stillness. Let go the center. Let your feet itch again. Let them guide you out. Make each step an offering. Turn, and turn again.
Pause once more at the threshold. Feel your toes curl over the edge. Feel the possibilities calling. Let them lure you out.
See what awaits.
One slow step
at a time, you practice
the aching art of leaving,
only to find as you make your bow,
cross the threshold,
and fold your body back into your life,
that it is every bit the twisted holy path
you thought you left behind.
O Arianrhod of the Silver Wheel, By all the many names men give to thee — We, all thy hidden children, humbly kneel Thy truth to hear, thy countenance to see. Here in the Circle, cast upon the Earth Yet open to the stars — unseen, yet real — Within our hearts give understanding birth, Our wounds of loss and loneliness to heal. Isis Unveiled, and Isis Veiled, thou art; The Earth below our feet, the moon on high. In thee, these two shall never be apart — The magic of the Earth, and of the sky.
In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
Witches know the power of words. Words are carried on the breath, and the breath is the gift life. Words express thoughts, which form the blueprint of the manifest world. Words can change our perception of reality—and they can change reality itself.
Chanting combines words with rhythm to induce a trance state, allowing us to change our consciousness at will. It’s a vital part of the Eightfold Path, which comprises a witch’s fundamental magical toolkit. On a more mundane level, chanting has been found to “oxygenate the brain, reduce heart rate, improve blood pressure, and calm brainwave activity. It can even cause the left and right hemispheres of the brain to synchronize,” says writer Alexa Erickson.
Whenever I feel touched by the sublime or experience a wave of unexpected awe, chanting helps me lean into the moment. It lights a spark in the mundane. It bolsters me in moments of darkness. It reminds me of who I am, what I am, what I believe. I’m never far from sacred space.