Full Moon Musings: Finding the Devil
‘‘The Devil reveals a narrow path into a darkened wood.’’
~ Peter Grey, Apocalyptic Witchcraft
As the moon waxes towards its zenith, my mind turns ever towards the Sabbat, and I can hear the call of the woods, feel it in my warm blood. I can see that white path, luminous in the moonlight as though it is silently urging me on, the path that disappears into darkness towards the truth of what I am, of what we are…
My woods is called Devil’s Woods and has been for as far back as I can remember. I don’t know why or if it was ever called anything else but Devil’s woods it is now and shall ever be. It’s accessed by a single track, one that disappears into the darkened woods. And it doesn’t matter that this Devil’s wood is small, nor that it is tucked away between the ever encroaching industrial and housing estates, that it is run by a wildlife trust. It is not the man managed rows of pine but instead elder and birch and others beside, wild and twisted. Beautiful. And the track that leads to it disappears between the the trees, alluringly so, so that you feel compelled to follow…
I used to be afraid back when I was a girl. Not the fear that comes with monsters and ghosts and all of the other things conjured by a child’s mind but a fear that comes with lack of understanding; the feeling of something tangible and yet unable to be grasped. Back when I was a girl, I was afraid of so much, but oh how things change as we grow both in years and experience. It’s not the woods that inspire fear, but the possibility of freedom, of change, of becoming yourself. It is the fear of shedding old comforts, no matter how crippling they are or have become.
Instead of losing ourselves, we find ourselves in the wild, our true selves. And as I began to understand, I realised that here, in these woods of the Devil’s namesake, I didn’t feel lonely, even when alone. Especially when alone. I had only ever experienced a hint of this when lost in the pages of books, for I was a weird kid, or at least that’s how it seems to me now when looking back (maybe everyone perceives themselves to have been a weird kid, who knows?). There was a magic in the reading of stories, or I found the magic in those stories, especially those of Enid Blyton or Beatrix Potter. The Wind in the Willows was another favourite. I can always remember once, don’t ask me how old I was, when one of the kids on the estate came to call for me, and I remember saying no because I wanted to read my book and my mum asking am I sure I wouldn’t rather go out instead (I always had my head in a book!). Perhaps the child I was already knew something of the nature of ‘people’.
And now as an adult, I find solitude in the woods. The single track beckons, even now and tomorrow (or tonight depending on when you are reading this), I will go to my Sabbat in those woods that belong to the Devil and find myself once more.
And what of the Devil? In his book, Apocalyptic Witchcraft, Peter Grey talks of the Devil in all of his (or her) forms; the feared, the misaligned, the misjudged and misunderstood, for so many things have been called the Devil and today Nature itself is the Devil. Don’t believe me? Then let’s take a look at recent news items. For instance, the fires in the Amazon rain forest. Those not sending love, light and prayers spend their time in equally useless arguments and conflicts. I’ve heard so many times the argument about people not being able to eat and what about them eh? Should they starve so that the rest of the world can save the rain forest and feel superior for doing so? Colonialism for today? But let us remember that if the ranchers and capitalists clear the forest, those people without food would remain so. And let us look closer to home too, here in the UK, where what is left of ancient woodland is under continuous threat in the name of development, in the name of economic growth. Increasingly we are peddled the lie that in order for all to be prosperous, we must cut down the woods, we must develop. We must grow. We must consume and use at ever growing rates. And yet the truth is that the poor remain poor, no matter where in the world they reside. In fact they are often the poorer for listening to the lies, for believing, for daring to hope that they might for once matter to the wider world.
We see it time and time again. Hipster foods that make poor brown people starve because they can no longer afford a food that was once their staple; or crops that are grown for cattle to satisfy our demand for ever cheaper meat instead of to feed those people who grow them. It’s not those folks who benefit from this supposed growth. It is not you or I.
The truth is that nature is as demonised today as it ever was, seen either as a resource or as something that is in the way and so, as it ever has, it becomes another aspect of the Devil, something to rally against, something used to scare the mild and the meek into submission.
If the Devil be so, then let us embrace it.
And so on this Sabbat or the next or even the Sabbat after next, whatever you hold your Sabbat to be, find that track that leads into the wilderness, both in this outer world and the inner. Let us rekindle our wild nature and in doing so open our eyes and begin on the path to freedom.
‘He is the revealer, and the wood is waiting behind all our eyelids’
~Peter Grey, Apocalyptic Witchcraft.
My name is Emma Kathryn, my path is a mixture of traditional European witchcraft, vodou and obeah, a mixture representing my heritage. I live in the sticks with my family where I read tarot, practice witchcraft and drink copious amounts of coffee.
You can follow Emma on Facebook.