Tree of Life

The ancients believed that the world hung from a silver cord attached to a fixed point in the heavens, that stable point being the North Pole Star (or the Pole Star). Neither seasons, politics, nor religion could change this fixed point. It was thought that the heavens rotated around this star with the analogy of a great mill that churned out the riches and wealth of the universe, gifts from Spirit to those deserving on Earth. The Pole Star was seen as an umbilical cord to heaven, called “Mother Bond of Heaven” by the Babylonians. Other cultures likened this silver thread to that of the World Tree, Tree of Life, Tree of Yggdrasil, or Cosmic Tree. In Wicca, we find an old magickal charm that matches the idea of a magickal mill/pole in the following incantation, called The Mill of Magick:
Fire flame and fire burn
Make the mill of magick turn;
Work the will for which I pray,
Io Dia Ha He He Yea!

Air breathe and air blow
Make the mill of magick go
Work the will for which we pray
Io Dia Ha He He Yea!

Water heat and water boil
Make the mill of magick toil;
Work the will for which we pray
Io Dia Ha He He Yea!

Earth without and earth within,
Make the mill of magick spin,
Work the will for which we pray
Io Dia Ha He He Yea!

As below it is above
Make the mill of magick love;
Work the will as we pray
Io Dia Ha He He Yea!

When we analyze astrology, religion, and magick, we discover that often these systems share many of the same foundational tools. Here, the elements (fire, air, water, earth, and Spirit) form a correspondence and show the primal drive of magick lies in the concept of unity between that which is without, and that which is within — that which is above, and that which is below.

Adding an even more striking association to this rhyme is the Celtic myth of Duibhne, king of Dalriadian, Ireland, who found himself in an unlikely enchantment — basically, even though he looks human, he’s stuck acting like a bird. Since he doesn’t want anyone to see him in this sorry shape, he runs away to contemplate how he’s going to get himself out of this mess. On his journey he meets the Hag of the Mill, who “is the Cailleach na Dudain or Old Woman of the Mill, who regulates the turning mill of life and death; and is the Gaelic counterpart of the British goddess Arianrhod of the Caer Sidi.” Arianrhod means “Silver Wheel”, and this interesting goddess has several associations, including Keeper of Time and Custodian of the Silver Wheel of Stars (the zodiac). The wheel (some say) was made by three Druidesses (the Triple Goddess). It is Arianrhod’s Wheel that becomes the astrological chart you wish to interpret or the Wheel of the Year of the Wiccan High Holy Days.

Once again we see that Spirit, magick, and you are one, whether we think of a tree, a wheel, or an enchanted mill that connects us all together.

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