Be Yourself Aradia - The Goddess of Light Traditional Wicca As A Spiritual Path Or The Quest Of The Goddess Kernnunos Morality and Modern Paganism The Scourge


Written by Apollonius-Mithras of the Isis-Urania Covens. May be reproduced and distributed provided this acknowledgement is included.

Although the Goddess is well loved and respected in contemporary Paganism, the idea of the Horned God often provokes misunderstanding or even fear. Yet the worship of the Horned One is said by the Traditional Wicca to be essential to the development of Wisdom. Although many religions, including many Pagan ones, misunderstand Him or even ignore Him altogether, all of the Initiated Ancient Mystery Cults regarded Him (under one name or another) as not only the source and embodiment of Wisdom, but also as the Conqueror of Death.

Everything that begins must inevitably have an end. It arises out of potential and eventually dissolves again. Just in this way do we, as human beings, arise out of sleep, spend an active day, and return to sleep at night. So do we also awaken to life and return to the sleep of death.

In both cases, we will reawaken after our conscious personalities have dissolved in either deep sleep or death. And yet - the being who is reborn is not quite the same as the one who dies. Even after a night's sleep, we awaken subtly different, older, with a little more experience, and with different thoughts and emotions.{2} When we can't think of a solution to a problem, we “sleep on it” and wake up with a different point of view.

If we really examine our minds, we will find that the only characteristic we can pin down in a concrete fashion is a sense of personal history - which constantly blurs, distorts and changes - and our mental, emotional and physical habits, which usually change over a lifetime; certainly over many.

On such a flimsy structure do we build our sense of a personal “I”. We instinctively know that our “I - ness” is so ephemeral and without absolutes that we constantly seek to reinforce it with roles, masks, hopes, fears, possessions, relationships, and opinions, including religious concepts. Although these things can temporarily make us seem more solid, they also make us more neurotic and fearful, since we have to work harder and harder to defend our new frames of reference from the inevitable changes that time and hopefully maturity bring about.

It can be seen from this how fear of old age, death or even of any new experience arises from ignoring and repressing our natural tendency to change, to grow, and to experience change and growth.

We have set ourselves against the flow of the Universe, the natural and inevitable tendency toward movement, dissolution, death and rebirth. It is the calm and conscious acceptance of the knowledge of death which is the Wisdom of the Wicca, and is the key to full, free enjoyment of life. The true Witch - or Wise One - owns no thing, no concept, no identity, nothing at all, and so is free to see everything as it really is and thus to enjoy everything to its fullest -but always with Perfect Love and Perfect trust, and in the service of All.

Although the Wicca worship and learn the lessons of the God of Death, they regard as foolish and repugnant the killing of living beings for religious, or indeed for almost any reason. Rather, they worship Him most truly by preserving life.

As the old saying goes, most people “can't see the forest for the trees”. Most of humanity is so busy trying to make its thoughts, possessions, experiences, and fantasies permanent that we have forgotten the one absolutely necessary and dependable constant for experience: our awareness - the Awareness that the Ancient Wicca (along with other truly Initiated Ancient Mystery Cults) have proclaimed to be:

The true and only Deity, that Ancient and Holy One that sleeps in the Stones, dreams in the Plants, wakes up in Animals, and becomes Self - conscious in Humanity.

Book of Shadows

It is the conscious, unbroken awareness and experience of this eternal substratum of being, from which no thing can be separate and no which no concept can fully express, that the Ancient Witches worshiped at their Sabbats. It is this experience which gave them the courage and energy to endure the adverse storms of the world with Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. This eternal Watcher, the basis of wakefulness and of deep sleep, of the Universe in periods of Manifestation and Dissolution, is known to, and worshiped by Witches as the Horned God.{3} Therefore his Sacred Symbols are the bare, twisted tree and the standing stone, which bring to mind the eternal unchanging bedrock and skeleton of existence.

To truly worship the Horned One, the Wise learn to consciously rest{4} in this deepest level of awareness, which is inseparable from any manifest experience, thought, feeling or thing, and yet most often goes unrecognized. The truly great Witch can rest in unbroken awareness through death and rebirth.

Out of this basic level of Awareness and sanity arises all possible experiences, worlds, gods (whether literally or as ideals, opinions, beliefs, etc.), life, death, and all the pleasure and horror, surfeit and want of Creation. Into it all of these are absorbed at the end of their period of manifestation (like images in a dream. One is only sane in a dream if one is completely aware that one is dreaming).

This Awareness or Ancient Harmony never changes. It is the conscious, unbroken. Naked awareness of It which is, according to Our Lady, the “token that ye be really free” (Book of Shadows). If, like the truly Wise, we contact the source of life and death, the Horned One, through daily life, study, ritual, and meditation, we will see the dream or shadow-play{5} which is called “reality” for what it really is. The constant evolving and dissolution of life in all its forms becomes for us the freedom of Our Lady to create and the freedom of Our Lord to dissolve. This occurs because non-dual consciousness never really dies or changes at all (when a thought or dream arises or dissolves, the awareness that was caught up in it, or perhaps even “trapped” in its own creation remains just as fundamentally itself as it ever was).

'There is no death of anyone but only in appearance, even as there is no birth of any, save only in seeming. The change from being to becoming seems to be birth, and the change from becoming to being seems to be death, but in reality, no one is ever born, nor does one ever die.'

Appolonius of Tyana

Here we can see the difference between the Gods of the Wicca (and of other Initiated Ancient Mysteries) and those of religions in general, whether Pagan, Judeo-Christian, etc. The Witch's Gods are above the veil of ignorance and enslavement to identities, concepts, and even of life and death. They are the Joyful Experience of Unconditional Awareness, and They have committed themselves throughout Eternity to strive to awaken those gods, humans, animals and others who are trapped by the dream, by relativity, by the chains of their own ignorance (karma).

'Of the Gods, some are of the world, Cosmic, and

some are above the world, Hypercosmic.'


As the basis for being, He is the source of life, the servant of Our Lady, and together they are:

'...the cause of never failing life, of unwearied power and unsluggish energy.'

Chaldean Oracles

As the inevitable drive for change and return to the Source, He is Death the Hunter, the implacable stalker. Only in the knowledge of change is the key to freedom, and to life.

To the Wise, those who see through His eyes, death is not unconsciousness, nor is change to be feared, for the truly Wise Initiate has become dissolved in Him, while still living. He is everywhere, yet to be found, He must be sought out and recognized.

'Hence the Inscrutable God is called Silent by the

divine ones and is said . . . to be known to human souls by the power of mind alone.'

Chaldean Oracles

To the Witch who really understands, every being, thought, experience or moment which arises is one with our Lady, the Mother of Life. As it ages, dies and dissolves, it follows Her footsteps on Her Quest to find the Wisest and Oldest of Beings. Such a Witch can truly understand those Egyptian initiates who proclaimed that 'there is no part of me that is not part of the Gods' (Book of the Dead).

This is perhaps the greatest proof of our Divinity, that the Ancient Harmony is so much a part of our lives and our environment that we take it for granted, and forget about it completely. We a like fish in the ocean, who have become so habituated to our lives that we have no idea what water really is.

If we wish to remember the nature of our experiences, and recognize our basic and unconditioned inner quiet and sanity, to know Perfect Love and Perfect Trust, we must follow the example of Our Lady, and make friends with change, with death, and with our own bornless, boundless awareness which is beyond any idea of 'I' or 'mine', male or female, Goddess or God or even life and death, and yet is as near to us as our own heartbeat.

'Containing all things in His own hyparxis,{6} He, Himself subsists wholly beyond.'

Chaldean Oracles


{1} Latin: Kern = horned, unnos = one.

{2} In death, there is also a stage analogous to the 'dreaming' stage in sleep. In this stage the various heavens, hells and other environments of the different religious systems are experienced.

{3} It should be understood from this that the God and the Goddess are equally the One True Deity - they each emphasize a different aspect of the same Deity or Consciousness - called the Ancient Harmony in Traditional Wicca.

{4} Sabbath: from the Semitic Sh-B-Th: to rest, to cease, to quiet. Sabbaths are sacred to Kernunnos, Lord of Death. Full Moon Esbats (from Old French esbattre: to frolic) are sacred to Aradia, Lady of Life. There is a key here to the now often asked question as to why spells are cast at Esbats and not at Sabbats.

{5} It is this meaning of the term "shadow' that gives rise to the title of The Book of Shadows'. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a book of spells and personal writing. It contains the Laws, the Rituals of Initiations, Esbat and Sabbat and other teachings designed to deepen consciousness. As such, no personal or experimental material is included. It is named the Book of Shadows because the rituals and explanations are only shadows of the Ancient Harmony and yet contain the keys to transcend shadow realm or state of mind.

{6} Hyparxis: to begin to be.