Root & Branch: Eclectic Folk Magic, Conjure, and Witchery for Every Day.
Discover the natural magic of the British countryside and apply its
lessons to your life, wherever you roam.
Realm of the Horned God
“Most of the books I read concentrate on the Goddess, and often ignore the God altogether ... I understand traditional witchcraft is more god-oriented. Are there any easy ways of connecting with ‘Horned God’ energy?” SBW (Ayrshire)
If the fields and hedgerows are considered to be the province of the Goddess, then the Woods and Forests are certainly the realm of the Horned God, since first and foremost, forests and woodland have played a mystical role in all cultures where trees have dominated the landscape. Trees bring Nature right up close and personal and, as a result, the whole of the natural world becomes a ‘tangled web of enchantment’ to a true witch’s eyes.
In reality Old Craft does lean towards the male aspect of Deity since the female remains veiled and a mystery. In other words, the ‘God’ is the public face of traditional British Old Craft while the ‘Goddess’ remains in the shadows, revered and shielded by her protector. Not because she is some shy and defenceless creature but because face to face she would be too terrible to look upon!
Nevertheless, it is amongst the trees of ancient woodland that we come face to face with the Old One, or in some cases, are pursued by Him. Who has not experienced the presence of the God when walking alone in the woods and suddenly feeling that we are being hunted, or that rushing feet are coming up behind up, only to turn and confront – nothing? Except for the unearthly sound of laughter fading in the undergrowth, and a few scurrying leaves.
Although not generally acknowledged, there are areas of the forest, known as the Wild Wood that are dark and untamed where unearthly and potentially dangerous beings are still to be found. This is not always welcoming and many urban witches never get over an ‘atavistic fear of Nature uncontrolled’. On a magical level, the Wild Wood refers to those strange, eerie places that remain the realm of the Horned God and untamed by man.
Ancient gnarled oaks, festooned with ferns and draped with lichen, carry an air of solitude and remoteness that is deeply unnerving – here birdsong and the trickle of the stream are the only sounds to break the silence. It is the realm of the Horned God, of Pan and the Wild Hunt. Here among the trees, we are never sure that what we see is reality or illusion. If we truly wish to experience the ‘Presence’ we should try the following call taken from Aleister Crowley’s Hymn to Pan, which has been used by all and sundry for years (even Wiccans), simply because it works.
IO PAN! IO PAN!
IO PAN! PAN! PAN!
IO PAN! IO PAN!
IO PAN! PAN! PAN!
This should be repeated over and over again when walking in the woods, timing each word to the rhythm of your step. Remember that the word ‘panic’ comes from Pan, so be prepared for an over-whelming sensation of fear. Nevertheless, the exercise can produce some very intense moments of Horned God energy!
Traditional Witchcraft for the Woods and Forests by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books ISBN: 978-1-84694-803-9 £9.99 148pp
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