The Eight Paths and Other Wiccan Miscellany

Dogs in the Temple

The "dogs" were male Canaanite temple prostitutes (normally eunuchs, as I understand it), with whom male worshipers had intercourse in order to obtain various boons from the gods, of which the fertility of themselves, their herds and their crops were the chief. A "dog"'s earnings couldn't be contributed to Yaweh's treasury. (Nor could that of a female temple prostitute!) Now if they were doing the Great Rite with male priests way back when to make things more fertility, why should Stewart Farrar have a cat over gay men and lesbians being involved in the Craft now? (Although, in fairness to him, I'll bet he's never thought of it that way! He strikes me as a reasonable man, all in all.)

As for the Paths

Meditation is the first and — in my opinion — the most basic, because you use it to get to or enhance some of the other Paths. Trance work is the second, which includes astral projection exercises. Perhaps it's the most important, because it gets us where we go to exercise the power or obtain the wisdom that we want to.

Dancing is a Path that I personal can't use because I'm lame; but I've been told by able-bodied Pagan friends that it's great because it engages the whole self — and especially it helps you be grounded and elsewhere at the same time. Binding with cords and other forms of sensory deprivation are good for helping the mind travel beyond the body's limits because one wishes to escape the tedium and discomfort of them. (I'm sorry, but even a flotation tank gets uncomfortable eventually!) Scourging and other repetitive acts not use pain. If they're being done that intensely, they're being done incorrectly.)

Chanting and mantras use repetitive sound and the inherent nature of some sounds to produce altered states of consciousness.

Drugs (which normally means incense and maybe alcohol but not hallucinogens and such) variously stimulate, relax, disinhibit or otherwise change one's mental state.

And that brings us back to the Great Rite and other forms of sex magick, which attempt to involve all levels from the physical to the Divine Within at one time. That's very thumbnail; but if anyone wants to know more, I'll be glad to elaborate on the ones I use or have seen used. Oh, and I can — and should — add that the various Paths can be used in combination as well as separately, that there's some variation from one tradition to another as to what the Eight Paths are, and that not all traditions have Eight Paths per se!

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