Posts tagged hellenic
Posts tagged hellenic
We all have our histories. Regardless if we liked them, found them particularly profound, or suppress them to only memory, the fact remains our histories mold us into who we are. There is a trend in the occult community to embellish or fabricate history in an attempt to find a prominent place within the community. The fact remains, we are all who we are because of what really happened in our lives, however great or small. Here is my story of my occult fascination and like most of us, I wasn’t particularly impressed with it as I was living it, but now I realize the importance it had on who I am today.
It is important to realize where, exactly, it started and the best I can remember is at that place in the deep woods around the campfire. I was probably around 5 or 6 when my dad and mom were telling the story of a witch who lived in the woods and would kidnap campers as they slept. By the end of the story, almost on queue, a cackle came from the deep woods which terrified my sisters and I. The next day while hiking we stumbled across a peculiar thing, a hay silo, abandoned and overgrown. Of course my dad told us we inadvertently stumbled on the witch’s house making his myth a reality to us. This type of thing was not uncommon growing up. We spent most of our summers camping at Alexandria Bay in upstate New York and were always entranced by ghost stories allowing our imaginations to run wild on the hikes and visits to abandoned places like Bolt Castle the following day. Little did my parents know they were developing a fertile imagination into the unexplored in the three of us, my sisters and I.
Coming from a Catholic family, mostly Irish, we were raised very superstitiously. My whole family believes in the supernatural and it seemed at every family gathering the subject of ghosts and demons was always brought up. There were even times phenomena would play out in front of the entirety of the guests. Lights would turn off and on, specters would be seen out of the corner of our eyes and noises would echo from the uninhabited rooms. This caused my sisters and I to begin ghost hunting at an early age. Around 6 or 7 we even tried to look for Hell, more specifically, the Devil himself. The result was digging holes in the yard and foundation of the house, an old mansion that was turned into an inn on the upper floors which was long abandoned creating a perfect habitat for the spirits of the wandering and restless dead, with a blunt ax resulting in getting my finger chopped by my cousin on a wayward swing (in my defense I thought I saw Satan’s horn and was merely pointing it out). We also believed there was a demon living in my parents closet which we regularly fed our cereal in order to avoid being eaten.
The greatest leap into the occult came when we moved from Syracuse to Kirkville to a house almost 200 years old surrounded by forest and field. When we moved in it still had it’s crumbling walls, tattered curtains and archaic layout. My room was particularly special because, as is the case of most Victorian houses, there was a sick room just beyond it which was accessible by a small wooden latched door. If you don’t know what a sick room is, basically it is a room off the main house where they would put sick and dying family members to keep them from contaminating the rest of the family. Shortly after we moved in my sister had her first experience. She was going downstairs and saw a girl sitting on the living room floor. Naturally this was both frightening yet intriguing. We began to play with the Quiji board where we were introduced to Alice. She apparently died in the house and wanted to cross back to this world and was happy to instruct how to do it. The primary thing we needed was a sacrifice. As kids, the concept was obviously foreign and the first spider that we saw, we (more specifically my cousin Jessica) sacrificed to the Infernal gods, namely Alice. I guess this wasn’t exactly the sacrifice Alice had in mind and she did not appear as she said she would.
In the following years, it was my mom who sparked the interest in witches! She has always been a Halloween fanatic, as were we because of it. Did she dress us as cute cowboys and princesses? No, we were vampires, witches, and dead cheerleaders. She knew the value of exploring the darker things this time of year. We would watch movies like “The Worst Witch”, “Witches” and “Hocus Pocus” no matter the season and stole away pots to bring deep in the woods where we would build crude stick huts and throw ingredients from the forest floor to conjure spirits and spells. We made our own brooms with fallen branches and dead grass. We each had our familiar cat. Mine was a Russian Blue named Dusty, my older sister had a black long hair names Ashely, and my younger sister had a black short hair named Precious. To us, we were witches and the world was full of endless possibilities and forgotten spirits. Little did I know that time spent in the forest building temples in fallen trees and imagining that the trees were saying as they groaned had a huge impact on my practice today.
We knew the forests were special and would often invite and offer to the spirits living within them. We were sure faeries existed and made home in the tree roots. We even mapped out the woods and fields and gave them names and kings. There was a rock I was most fond of. I dedicated it to Pan, God of Forests and, to me at the time, God of Witches. I would always imagine Him sitting on that rock playing lonely songs on His flute at night. I would look out my window in darkness and gaze into the endless field trying to catch a glimpse of Him and concentrate to hear the distant cries of His flute. It was around that time I was learning about the Hellenic Gods and I was hooked on them! My extended family on my fathers side is large and almost fit perfectly with the Greek pantheon! My dad was Zeus, naturally. My grandmother was Rhea and grandfather Kronos (if you knew him you would understand, we called him Grumper instead of Grandpa) Aunt Sherrill was Hestia, Aunt Debbie was Athena, Aunt Gayle was Demeter, Aunt Cindee was Aphrodite, Aunt Robin was Hera, Aunt Jeanie was Artemis, Uncle Willie was Ares, Uncle Sean was Apollo, Uncle Scott was Hephaestus, Uncle Steve was Poseidon. I was missing Hermes but I always figured He was off busy traveling the World Highway. Since I was Herakles (first sign of ego? LOL) my mother was Alcmene. I believed the Hellenic gods were very real (beyond my family tree of course) and I began writing spells invoking Them which I kept in a leather bag along with rings, crystals and marbles. Pan was most certainly my favorite and was the Patron of the forests where I grew up.
I always wrote my own spells out of mere interest or hobby and had numerous books on Greek myth which began to envelop my life. I would project the ancient world over the world I was living in. It made more sense and I thrived in a world that was filled with gods and spirits. It was when I was 11 or 12 that I got my first “real” occult book. It was “Out of the Cauldron” by Bernice Kohn Hunt. In the back of the book is a section on Maleficia and Beneficia, black and white magic from historical accounts, superstition and inquisition, so naturally I tried it. The first spell I ever tried was to turn myself into a cat because i didn’t do my homework and the teacher was walking around checking it. My hopes were to turn into a cat and either run away or terrify the classroom into forgetting I didn’t do it. Needless to say, it didn’t work. From this same book, my cousin and I tried to summon the Devil and numerous Watchers through elaborate rituals which we, in the naivety of our youth, took liberties to omit and substitute things like offerings of rare occult herbs for things we would find in the woods. The next day we lifted the log we kept our book and tools under (in order to hide them from my Catholic dad) to find the entire back section where the spells were missing and almost charred. A summer barbeque shortly after that peaked our interest. While gathered on the back deck just after sundown my aunt noticed something coming from the distant woods. It looked tall and dark and knelt or sat down. My cousins and I ran out to see what it was but the closer we got the more it faded away. Needless to say we never found out what it was and while some witnesses say it must have been a dog, we found it rather curious. At that moment, the darker side of witchcraft and the occult had a hold on me. I wanted to know more and explore the wonders the Underworld held and it was from there my story took a more serious stance on the subject of witchcraft…
This was only the beginning, what lead up to my serious interest. It is unembellished and while most probably won’t read it due to its length, it is pivotal to who I became. I found the gates of Hades and was about to enter them. This history is why my later years were almost exclusively occult oriented but I will write that later…