by Elkin Vanaeon
I was born with what is known in the craft as the gift, a natural from the earliest times of my childhood - able to hear my mother, or others that I had become close too - without them having verbally called me. I became attuned to the natural life cycles around me, feeling the hurt lesser creatures felt when harmed - feeling the anger, hate, or love of people around me. I naturally felt a heightened sense of right and wrong - not from a religious viewpoint, but from a deeper sense of caring about the well being of people that I met in my lifetime, but I couldn't understand why people didn't feel the depth of emotions that I felt.
Later in my life I was facing a time of crisis, a separation and divorce affecting my two children, the starting of a new life while attempting to provide for two homes. Working twelve hours and traveling more than two hundred and fifty miles a day. Watching everything I had worked for over twenty years of my life disintegrate and fall apart because of the actions of another that I had no control over. It was a time of new beginnings and letting go of the old, building a new life out of the remnants of what remained.
It was a time of self-discovery during which I had achieved a lot up to that year in 1993. Having experienced enough to have survived several lifetimes - and to realize the differences in false pride and real achievements, and feeling the need to reshape my thinking and spiritual direction. It was imperative to myself, as a man and a human being, to undertake the journey to explore human nature, especially to make the changes within myself to be the man that I chose to be!
Up to that point, everything that had occurred within my life had made me bitter and angry - yet kind and loving! The knowledge I had acquired had been passed on by those who wrote history from their position of being on the winning side (being linear in form and based on assumptions perceived by bindings placed by those teachings on that world).
But I began questioning the validity of those teachings, opening myself to the feminine and masculine aspects of divinity, removing the blinders and the bindings placed on me as well as those I had placed on myself. Seeing the actions of humanity with clarity I had not perceived possible. I became aware and awoke from the sleep with an understanding of what I can only describe as sacred knowledge, learning the true meaning of life and love. My guides came to me, having searched and found only a few like me who were open to the symbols and meanings they represented. I learned the teachings from within instead of without - for most of the teachings that were taught of this world, even though in the magickal sense, were by humanity continuing the teachings of bindings and death.
Most of what I had learned brought tremendously hard changes within my life, especially when my Priestess of the coven I was a part of requested of me to take on the true aspects of the Green man. I had already learned many of the deeper mysteries, but this required my taking a measure of myself and performing a Ritual of change, which was my choice to make. I soon discovered the journey had a higher price than I could even imagine. One of Initiations of which a higher authority intervened in all previous oaths, I would be unable to fulfil many of the obligations of everyday aspects of life to those who needed me until the ending of the journey. I found myself being placed on the Scales of destiny and having to be strong enough to survive this trial, becoming more than the person that I was, to become all that I was meant to be.
So, I undertook the Ritual of Change, sending the core aspects of my being out into its farthest aspects of the elemental realms of the world and within of myself. Restructuring my mental and spiritual core as to the realities and history of this world, and of what happened in my own life. This meant seeing and re-experiencing everything in my life - without illusions, without false pride, being totally stark and naked in truths! Knowing and perceiving the difference between those things I was responsible for in life, and releasing the responsibility of actions made by others that I had no control over.
I found myself within circle, naked and feeling as if on fire, as if every inch of my skin had been ripped from my body. I was holding a child within my arms, my inner child that merged back into me. Leaving me seeing and feeling as that child, being loved and comforted by the figure of a woman, goddess in all her aspects - telling me everything was as it should be, that I was loved, strong and going to be okay!
The journey of life is never-ending, but the time it took to traverse this part of my journey was nine years. Having to learn to walk took me almost a year, looking at the world from the eyes of a child, needing to learn how to dress and clean myself all over again. It is only through the efforts of my loving wife and others who stood by me that I was able to persevere. In every aspect my experience was a form of autism, overloaded from seeing and feeling too much of what was around me.
To receive the proper care for the state that I was in, I had to be evaluated in order to receive some form of assistance. I lived in the facilities where those who were unable to care for themselves were placed. Forgotten victims of a society that were kept hidden away, perceived as the walking dead - ravaged by diseases that affected the mind and body, tortured by actions of the past and present, seeing no future for themselves. Many kept on medications that numbed them to the point of being vegetables, medications so strong that after a few years there would be nothing left to describe them as a person. This was seen through the eyes of a child.
I left those locked places, back to the freedom of the outside world and a place that had become alien to me and no longer perceived or felt as home. The only comfort I knew was by my wife and true friends, those that endured this time with me. For many left - either feeling what I was going through was either too painful to experience, or too much trouble in the attempt. Those that had been in coven with me saw only the loss of the thrills and benefits of being with someone whole (vigorous and interactive) replaced with someone perceived as ill, broken, or incapacitated! This was seen as a journey into darkness, which frightened them and to be hidden away. Their perceptions shamed me, not of myself, but in their actions of denial!
In many ways my spirit traveled through time and space, on many different paths! Seeing, feeling, and reliving the lives of those of my ancestors - bound and driven from their homes and lands (for desiring to live as free men and women), whom where served injustices in their lives and in their deaths. I learned from the memory of previous incarnations, knowledge of the past, but learning that it is life in the present that is to be revered. I traveled to those ages of enlightenment and ignorance, finding specter's that gave up their knowledge held lustrous in their own time, yet dusty to ours. Seeing the tree of life, which could not be contained and had broken through the mazes, built by man, ever reaching for the stars. So I reached out to the stars and met beings young and old, some stark and forbidding and others curious or joyful in their existence. Many known to our kind as ancient ones still interested in our welfare that offered secrets and mysteries whereas others wouldn't even acknowledged my presence. Of most importance was the knowledge that the young were joyously born into existence, to then become fledglings to fly on their own to tend to their own destinies! We are of this earth, yet borne from the stars - that there is no grand purpose or premeditation, as to our own destiny in the universe, other than what we choose to make in the bringing of change and life to our people.
The teachings of religions of this world are of bindings of judgements, purification, and death brought on by those whom justify their actions by promises of a greater life after their own deaths and degradation to those refusing to accept their beliefs. There is more than suffering and hopelessness in life, every moment is precious. Death is always present and to be respected by those whom reach the end of their years - each having remembered lives of passion and ferocity for life. In the swing of the balance - we offer death with passion and ferocity to those whom would take by force that which is not theirs to have. We are not lambs to be led to the slaughter. Nor do we revere death in the same fashion as those attempting to fulfill prophecies of Armageddon, by those who place themselves back upon the food chain, willing to prey upon and profit from ones own kind!
We offer life to those who give of themselves to benefit our people, and us, presented in the sacred symbols we choose. My acceptance of this allowed me to realize that love cannot be bound or contained, which opened my heart so that my beloved and I could allow another to join with us in our home. Later, all three of us were hand-fasted to each other, learning in the joining that compassion, joy, and love were freedoms worth living and dying for, and never to be forgotten.
This led to the birth of my youngest daughter, who was born one pound five ounces, premature in 1995 on her sixth month. This was especially hard on my wife since it was an emergency cesarean section, requiring her to be bedridden while our daughter struggled to survive in the hospital for over three months. We were called one night to come and be with our little girl, she had started to die during the day…. not being expected to live through the night. Her lungs were too tiny and most of her organs and bodily functions were failing or had already shut down. We called several of our friends and asked many others across the nation to join in the effort to heal her, as we did in the privacy of the moment when we joined in circle. I called within to her spirit that shone like a faint star, and asked if she truly wanted to live. She brightened and on doing so, I sent to her from all the others, and especially from us, the energy to heal what was wrong, breathing life back into our child. The doctors and nurses didn't understand, but were overjoyed at her recovery. Other than being tiny, she has thrived and been nonstop in the motions of joy and laughter ever since.
There was much more in the experience of the journey - finding strength, friendship, love, knowing the true value of magick comes from the togetherness of family, not in what is done to each other, but in the giving and sharing and the joys of life in everything we do. Learning that we're all warriors in the facing of adversities and challenges of life, all struggling and learning from each other in our own ways, diverse in our beliefs and attempting to live in peaceful co-existence!
Not to be too drawn out, six more years passed and I have found love has brought us, as well as those we call family, closer together - bringing magick into every aspect of our lives. I was asked recently, that if I knew then what I knew now, would I have still undertaken this journey - I answered yes, Magick is life and to be cherished, having made me who I am now in the present and worth having lived every part of it!
(March of 2002)
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