People circled counterclockwise into the darkened room, with illumination shining down upon 3 veiled forms in shades of blue as violin echoed throughout the room. The first form rose to welcome all with voice. The second form physically opened the Gates and revealed to them, themselves. The third form called Her down and brought everyone into their bodies, and face to face with Her.
The inspiration started as the smallest of ideas, when we were all more comfortable and sure that upcoming changes on the horizon would be smooth and positive. But She knew. Of course She did – it is Her job to hold the torch in the darkness and to guide us through it.
Hekate has been at the forefront of my practice for nearly two decades, yet I continue to marvel at how the vibrations are increasing. Her name appears more and more: in art, in writing, on lips. It is a sign of the times and our needs.
“I am the Key that changes to fit the Lock. You are the Lock that changes to fit the Key.”
This is my experience of deity in a nutshell. It came to me while an attendee was describing to me afterwards how he saw/experienced my energy in the midst of my presentation of “Hekate at the Crossroads” this past weekend at Many Gods West. He expressed that my energy during the ritual was unlike anything he’d ever seen before, in such a way that it was hard to describe. And it also changed as I encountered each person.
Hekate recognizes that we are all similar in so many ways, yet we each have our own trials and tribulations, goals and challenges. This means that encountering every single person is a unique experience, with a different message. In this, the Divine changes to fit us, but we in turn change to react to the Divine. It truly goes both ways.
Ecstasy: Constant Change, Shifting Patterns
I’ve done this ritual at events 4 times: Paganicon 2016, PantheaCon 2017, Pagan Spirit Gathering 2017, and now Many Gods West 2017. Each has been different in its own: the time of day, the physical location, the people, the course of the ritual itself. It started with just Nathaniel and I, then S.J. Tucker joined us, then Anaar – (with additional assistance provided by Ryan and Alexander). Anaar and I have performing and crafting ritual together now for nearly 15 years. Nathaniel and I have been doing improvised performances together since 2010. In the last couple of years, we’ve both worked with S.J. in that capacity as well. What we all share in common is the ability to trust each other, read the overall situation, and act/react accordingly.
Which is ideal considering this presentation is firmly rooted in being essentially unplanned. Her will is that only the barest of bones can be constructed, and She will take it from there. There is a shared idea, an inkling of a plan, and everything else is priestessed in the moment. The first time all of us were physically in the same place to discuss the evening was about 2 hours prior to the ritual, during dinner. Which may seem shocking and disrespectful to those who spend months writing scripts and rehearsing – but regardless we are fully invested, committed, and prepared for the experience in our own ways.
For me, the most powerful of ritual allows for change. We can repeat certain elements and follow patterns, but we weave in the moment, guided by the sensations and experiences around us. Being able to shift, shorten, extend, repeat, and add new ideas as ritual is happening can lead to a profound experience through capable hands and minds. There are many ways to look at the word ecstasy – but I like to play with the sound and meaning of “ex” + static/stasis. Breaking the static, shifting out of state.
Unlocking the Crossroads
I didn’t hear any feedback this time about the ritual being “too dark.” (Which again, when I think back on that: it really comes down to people perhaps not being ready to face their own fears or what lays in their own darkness.) It was also wonderful that earlier in the day, Sean Donahue offered a workshop called “Loving The Darkness” – during which I took many notes! Darkness is nothing to fear, and I feel the “reveal” part of the ritual reminded each participant that they were looking into themselves first and foremost.
I feel that in this particular group, many came with the mindset that we have work to do. And they’re ready to do it.
Which brings us to the Crossroads. It is the place where our past, present, and future meet. It is a place of choosing, a place of leaving, of making sacrifices, and uttering words of faith and promise. We are both the lock and the key. We are the illuminated and we are the shadow. We do not fear the dark of the wild or the light of the city.
We know ourselves.
We are Aradia.