Pagan Paths

It’s a common thing to hear that there’s a difference between our magical lives and our mundane lives. In reality, we have the ability to step into ritual and devotion each and every day.

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Ritual Elements Center - The Cauldron in the Center

I've been examining my practices and interactions with the Elements for the past month or so. It's one of the core pieces of magic I teach in the Reclaiming Tradition. Not all magical traditions work I've been part of work with five Elements, some work with three, others work with four. I revisit this work every so often as a teacher and as a student. In my last four articles I've chronicled my explorations with Air, my connections with Firemy dive into Water and my complex dance the Earth.And now I find myself standing in the Center.

The Cauldron of Mystery

Somewhere in Somerset a bell is struck. The chime rings out across the land and already hushed voices fall silent. Bodies in motion come to rest on benches and on old Kentish ragstone walls and on the grassy earth. Sounds flood in from everywhere; an afternoon chorus of insects and birds. Water drops and flagstones meeting one another other. Breezes causing leaves to shudder. My vision is soft and yet incredibly sharp, so sharp the world seems etched and highlighted and brighter. A familiar voice so very close  to my ear and impossibly  far way asks "where are you right now?" Words aren't forming and those that do seem lacking and heavy and dull. All I can mange to say is "I'm right here and I am nowhere and I am everywhere."

A different time and place and I'm standing in a field, on a hillside that cuts through the borders of North Carolina and Tennessee. It's pitch black in the circle. A priestess beckons me to come forward and look into a large cauldron. It's so dark and everyone is in black cloaks. I pick my way to the cauldron and peer in. I have the distinct feeling of falling. Stars are swirling around me. The cauldron is bottomless and complete. I am at once potential and matter. I am right here and I am nowhere and I am everywhere.

It's after a particularly potent ritual, deep in the redwood forests of Northern California. I am spent from running, from being chased, from going in deep and from journeying out far. The sounds of the forest are deafening. I can hear every insect, every bird, every leaf, every person walking back to their cabins. My own skin is like a too tight T-shirt and I feel suffocated in it. I can tell that I'm not making sense. I can tell that I am making perfect sense. Someone asks me if I'm alright and the only thing I can think to say is "I'm fine, really I'm fine" but what is aching to be heard is "I am right here and I am nowhere and I am everywhere"



This is how I experience Center or Mystery or Spirit. Different traditions call this by different names, but when I work with Center it's about connecting to that immeasurably expanding and infinitely rare moment of complete connection to everything, everywhere and nowhere. From this place or from no place or from all places, (see it's tough to explain this in words) I find myself everywhere at once, which means it's just one step to anywhere and that means I must be standing in the Center or in the Cauldron of Mystery or at the Crossroads or within the potentiality of Emptiness or by many other names that make sense in that moment to describe "Center".

And this is what I hope to convey when I invoke Center. It's not about a geographical location or the next thing to be invoked after the last thing that was invoked, it's about connection. Center is about being present and holding that in this moment, this singular moment in all of creation the gods, the universe, infinity, eternity, whatever you want to call it, is right there with me as I step in to make the calling.

Center is with me always, if I only remember to step into it. It is there when I am harried and rushed, when I am at rest. Center is when I have choice and agency and when I have no choice but to stand still. This is how Center is part of my daily life and my daily practice. Center I honour you.

How does Center show up for you? 


Notes: Yes. the picture of the eye with stars is from one of my favourite movies ever - "2001: A Space Odyssey. Favourite quote? "My god! It's full of stars"






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I've been a practicing witch and ritualist within the Reclaiming Tradition since 2003. I love being in service with this community of witches and world changers.   My own practice, my own way of changing the world is through devotional practice. It's my belief that we can re-enchant our lives by re-framing the so-called "mundane" as sacred and divine. By imbuing the familiar with a sense of wonder and infusing daily life with acts of magic, we choose to consciously make all of life devotion. Whether we engage in large, public rituals or sink sumptuously into the pure ecstasy of eating a delicious meal by ourselves or meditating at sunrise, our daily rituals can draw us back into harmony with the world and each other.  


  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan Monday, 13 April 2015

    What a fantastic description of Center, I love it!

  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven Monday, 13 April 2015

    Thank you Annika - As my practice has deepened, dare I say matured, I find myself more often in the Center. Although, the moments I described in the piece are quite rare...tantalizingly rare :)

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