“Nothing stands still - everything is being born, growing, dying - the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline - the law of rhythm is in constant operations....”
~Three Initiates, Kybalion
Imbolc has been and gone for those who follow the wheel of the year. Many see this as a sign that spring is on the way, and indeed it is for the signs are everywhere: the perfectly white petals of the snowdrops that have sprung up in my garden, the flowers small and delicate but startling in contrast with the greens and browns; buds are beginning to show on trees and shrubs; the mornings are beginning to grow lighter and the dawn chorus grows louder each day. And yet here where I live, Imbolc is also a time of worsening weather and it still feels very much like winter.
And yet the wheel turns. Hermeticism tells us nothing stands still. The principle of rhythm is ever in effect. The cycles of nature are no different. Whether you follow the wheel of the year or not, whether you believe in it wholeheartedly or see it as a modern creation, there can be no denying that nature moves in cycles.
And as in the natural world, the world of man moves in cycles too. Gloomily predictive ones. Moral outrage over some offence, real or imagined. The predictable knee jerk reaction, the public outcry that doesn’t tackle the root causes of said offence and then we move on to the next thing. Look at the outcry the Gillette advert caused.
An advert. Even pagans were raving about it, about how it shows a real step forward in the fight against toxic masculinity. Never-mind the fact that this company markets its female products at a higher price than the male equivalent. Or the thousands and thousands of pounds companies spend on marketing in general. As if a company would jump on a social justice movement to sell products? And has this advert really helped anything at all? Has it made any real change?
And then the next scandal. Liam Neeson. Enough said. You will have no doubt seen or heard the story. It’s been all over the media. Whilst this incident highlights the kind of insidious racism that those who possess it aren’t able to recognise it for what it is, what does the mass reporting of it do? The outcry at this obvious racism is deserved, but how does this help those for whom racism has a severe impact on their lives and well-being? Those of us who experience this kind of ignorance daily or weekly, well, this story isn’t really news at all.
And then there’s the outcry when people make legitimate criticism of whatever. Angie Speaks is the latest to receive such backlash over her video about call out culture. Sarah Anne Lawless was another when she made public the abuse she faced from within the pagan sphere (and for the record, I stand in solidarity with both of these women).
The examples above distract us from more pressing issues. Look at the energy expended by those who are outraged.
You’d think that the world was at peace. That the Venezuelan crisis wasn’t happening. That the US, UK and pretty much most major nations would overthrow the democracy they so desperately try to enforce in other areas of the world. Or that closer to home, the homeless are dying on cold streets and families struggle to feed themselves. The use of food banks has massively increased in the UK, and many of the people who rely on them are the working poor.
But things move on, and we’ll move on to the next scandal all the while ignoring the stuff that matters.
“The man who enjoys keenly, is subject to keen suffering; while he who feels but little pain is capable of feeling but little joy. The pig suffers but little mentally, and enjoys but little — he is compensated. And on the other hand, there are other animals who enjoy keenly, but whose nervous organism and temperament cause them to suffer exquisite degrees of pain. And so it is with Man. There are temperaments which permit of but low degrees of enjoyment, and equally low degrees of suffering; while there are others which permit the most intense enjoyment, but also the most intense suffering. The rule is that the capacity for pain and pleasure, in each individual, are balanced. The Law of Compensation is in full operation here.”
~Three Initiates, Kybalion
It is easy to see why the masses would turn to the easy option. The instant outcry and punishment, no matter how insincere or superficial. The storm will blow over and the world will move on. The effort expended will not be wasted. You’ll feel like you’ve really achieved something and all will be well.
And yet for those of us who see beyond the veil of the mainstream, there is a melancholic beauty in the world. A beauty that exists despite, or perhaps in spite of the brutality of the world, much of it man made. When I go out in nature, in the woods or down by the river, the worries of the everyday melt away, and though they don’t disappear, I feel better able to tackle them. I am reminded that all moves in cycles. I witness the change in this land as the year progresses, as the wheel turns. As without, so within. And when I see the destruction or the degradation of that same nature, of those places I love, the land where I have lived my whole life, it fills me with a great sadness, but there is still a hope of sorts. Or at least it feels that way. Or maybe we have to believe there is some hope, a light at the end of the tunnel or any other cliche you feel works. And yet the hermeticist within me can’t help but think…
Everything happens according to Law; that nothing ever "merely happens"; that there is no such thing as Chance; that while there are various planes of Cause and Effect, the higher dominating the lower planes, still nothing ever entirely escapes the Law.”
~Three Initiates, Kybalion
There will be hard work required to make the world we want to live in. I always like to say that those things worth having do not come easy. We must come together with networks of those we trust, such as friends and family. We must learn to rely on one another again. We must celebrate our differences whilst recognising those things that unite us, the important things; the things that matter. We are more powerful than we realise and we must make our voices heard.
“We do not live in a world of dreams, but in an Universe which while relative, is real so far as our lives and actions are concerned. Our business in the Universe is not to deny its existence, but to LIVE, using the Laws to rise from lower to higher--living on, doing the best that we can under the circumstances arising each day, and living, so far as is possible, to our biggest ideas and ideals. The true Meaning of Life is not known to men on this plane, if, indeed, to any--but the highest authorities, and our own intuitions, teach us that we will make no mistake in living up to the best that is in us, so far as is possible, and realising the Universal tendency in the same direction in spite of apparent evidence to the contrary. We are all on The Path--and the road leads upward ever, with frequent resting places.”
~ Three Initiates, Kybalion
My name is Emma Kathryn, an eclectic witch, my path is a mixture of traditional European witchcraft, voodoo and obeah, a mixture representing my heritage. I live in the middle of England in a little town in Nottinghamshire, with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs, Boo and Dexter. When not working in a bookshop full time, I like to spend time with my family outdoors, with the dogs. And weaving magic, of course!You can follow Emma on Facebook.