A Magician's Blog

A Magician's Blog

The Chaos of the Wilderness, The Dark Horned God: A Rite

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This rite is meant to trigger a mystical understanding deep within the primal side of the human mind. It is a meditation on the Horned God, for those who believe in him, and those who do not. It is a powerful rite that works not because of steps or symbols, but because of our deepest human instincts. 

The central message is to face the primal nature of our past as humans, and all the fear, adrenaline, and impulses that come with it. I was recently confronted by the movie "The Ritual" on Netflix, which features a group of men being stalked by a vicious horned creature in the forest. Comparing this creature to the Horned God of the Witches allowed me to ponder my experience of the Horned God in all of his aspects, the Wise Comforter and Consoler, and the Dread Lord of the Shadows. Such visions are a must for those pondering the mysteries of life.

You will need to find a dense forest. I would suggest a public park or a small bit of property where the trees can conceal your view of the regular world, but where you can be sure you won't get lost. I once went out to a small reserved piece of wilderness to collect wood for a wand, and although you could walk from one end to the other in about fifteen minutes, the dense trees and vines shielded my view of the outside world. I felt as if at any moment I could be turned around and lose my sense of direction, or stumble upon some natural beast or insect that would turn the peaceful situation very suddenly into a dangerous one. In this situation, the primal brain can quickly take over, and we can time travel to the ages where our ancestors hunted in the wild forests of long ago. 

When you've found your forest, be sure to prepare any necessary items and have them on hand. Bring a small offering for the Horned God in your pocket. It could be grains of pure resin incense, food, drink, a trinket of fine material, something meaningful to you, etc. Be sure to be safe and prepared for what may await you. Not only are there animals in the woods, but people, insects, obstacles, cliffs, poisonous plants, and thorns. The forest is a place where we no longer have the control over our environment that we're used to. 

At sunset, when the sky is mixed between daylight and darkness, speak this incantation at the edge of the forest:

“At the hour in between,

Let me walk beyond the threshold,

To see what to others remains unseen,

To hear of the mysteries yet untold."

Step into the forest. The entire time you are within the trees you should be focusing on every detail around you. Hear every twig snap, hear every insect and bird flutter and sing, hear the wind in the trees, smell the soil and foliage. Watch the shadows ripple, distort, and grow. Watch the forest become engulfed in the night. Feel your feet against the ground, its firmness or solidity. Pay attention to everything that you touch. 

Begin walking the path, concentrating on breathing meditatively, and observe your surroundings. There is one perfect branch in this forest that you will use as a wand for the ritual, but only one: you must find the stick that was born for the completion of this rite. It will not be found easily, but when you do find it you will know

Search carefully. As the sun sets and the shadows overtake the forest it may become harder to see. It is okay to use a flashlight, but a gas lantern would be preferable. Better yet, go out on a bright, clear full moon. 

Soon you will find the wand. When you do, point it up toward the sky and speak this invocation:

“Toward the earth thy sharp horns point,

Darkened soil, shadowed oak,

With a kiss your power anoints,

Then Earthly presence fades like smoke.

 

Dreaded Lord of dark and fear,

Of gnarled thorns and pooling mud,

Of trees which block out sound to hear,

Of frightened quickening of blood.

 

God of survival scared and dire, 

Of unknown strength and courage bold,

And dwindling embers of the fire,

God of the Ages, unknowably old,

 

Hidden flame which burns below,

Never ending yet unseen,

You have comforted the many,

All who will die, who ever have been.

 

Teach me of that hidden fire,

That let my elders see the way,

And may I grow old and never tire,

And survive the night to see the day."

 

Hold the wand out, close your eyes firmly, and begin to spin slowly, as if choosing a place at random. Make approximately twenty rotations, lose yourself in chance. 

Stop suddenly. Plunge the wand into the ground. The invocation is complete. Keep your eyes close and meditate while listening to the sounds of the forest.

Leave any offerings you have brought with you at the base of the wand. 

Turn back on your path, and leave the forest, walking slowly and consciously. 

Go home and enjoy a nice bath and a cup of tea, or whatever makes you feel comfortable. 

Thus ends the rite.

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by Austin Shippey