Review of Chaos Monk by Steve Dee

Steve Dee (2022), Chaos Monk: Bringing Magical Creativity to the New Monastic Path.
Norwich: The Universe Machine.

An exhilarating journey through chaos monasticism, a mystical practice informed by chaos magic. Accessible, clearly written, and witty, yet informed by a deep knowledge of the history of spiritual movements in both East and West, decades of magical practice, psychotherapy and art, this is a book for anyone with mystical leanings who wants to put them into practice.

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The Gods know their own (and are not transphobic)

Guest post from a Gardnerian Wiccan

If a person I have known and loved before were trans (or intersex or non-binary or something else) I would honour that.

I would initiate them with a Priest or Priestess or all of us together or whatever the fuck worked to generate the dynamic interplay of energy needed.

I would invoke upon them the Goddess or the God and trust that the Gods know their own and would come.

I would kiss them as a sibling and hold them and call them by Priest, Priestess or Priestex or whatever term meant servant of the Gods to them and us.

I would teach them the beautiful and awe inspiring mysteries of the Gods and not shy away from the heterosexual generative story, but I would also explore the mysteries through other stories too and encourage them to write and share their own.

I would introduce them to the wider Gardnerian community and help them make friends and connections there.

I would work to heal them when they needed healing and receive healing from them also when I needed it.

I would work to confront my own discomfort and reconcile it, not seek to remove its source in fear.

I would work to understand where I may have done wrong and try to do better.


The person who wrote this chose to remain anonymous because of the way that transphobes tend to target inclusive people. I have shared it here with their permission.

The Sun came up

It was May Morning this morning and all the Morris dancing made the Sun come up.

But wouldn’t it have come up anyway, I hear you ask.

For the answer to that question, Terry Pratchett had an answer, in The Hogfather, where the sun will not rise unless the Hogfather rides safely home.

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Nonetheless

None of the poems I read today
Spoke into the depths
Nor raised an answering echo.
Petrarch, Chaucer, Donne,
Whispering their plaints into the soft air
Fell to earth, drifting ash.
Nonetheless I wrote this,
To record the ensuing silence.


Yvonne Aburrow
27 April 2022

The line of prayer

Roots pushing down
Into the dark earth
To find the mother.

A tendril of incense smoke
Seeking the stars.

Sparks from the fire
Riding the currents of air,
Winking out in the night.

Water threading its way
Through caves
Ready to be reborn
Into the light.

Love finding its way
Through the cracks
In the pavement.

A hand extended
To caress or bless.
Reaching for the sun.

The heart’s rhythms
Exploring the depths
Of the underworld.

A thread of gold
Snaking through the clouds
Of the unknown.

Inspired by the phrase “the line of prayer” in Some feel rain by Joanna Klink

Coven structure & roles

I recently listened to an interesting podcast from Circle Talk: Four Witches on Coven Hierarchy. I was pleased to note that most of the speakers on the podcast were advocating for a pretty flat hierarchy. I have written a fair amount about the roles and expectations of the different degrees in Wicca (in All acts of love and pleasure: inclusive Wicca) and quite a lot about coven leadership and the concept of “elders” (in The Night Journey: Witchcraft as Transformation). I regard the Wiccan degree system as being like the apprenticeship system in medieval guilds (apprenticeship, journeyman, master). There was very little in the podcast that I disagreed with, except the one guy who makes his first degree coveners clean the coven brassware. I’m with the woman who said she is happy when people volunteer to help, but she doesn’t make them do tasks.

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My books

My books

DARK MIRROR

“Inviting us to examine many different aspects of Initiatory Wicca, this book is aimed at both initiates and non-initiates. It could certainly be used as the basis of a coven training programme but is also invaluable for the solo practitioner.”

— Morgana Sythove,
Pagan Federation International
https://silvercircle.org
https://wiccanrede.org

Available from the Doreen Valiente Foundation and all other online retailers


THE NIGHT JOURNEY

The Night Journey utilizes the historical legend of the witch’s flight to the sabbat to expand Aburrow’s notion of a modern witchcraft which is “queer, transgressive, and resistant to authoritarian versions of reality.” In the spiritual world of The Night Journey, witchcraft isn’t seen as some sort of rarefied practice isolated from the messy mundane world, but as a beautiful, viable, and practical way of living in the world as a person of power and integrity … a revolutionary vision of traditional Wicca which looks to the Craft’s future while simultaneously honoring its traditions.”

Misha Magdalene, author of Outside the Charmed Circle: Exploring Gender & Sexuality in Magical Practice

Available from the Doreen Valiente Foundation and all other online retailers


ALL ACTS OF LOVE AND PLEASURE

“an outstanding Wicca 201, intended for already-active, primarily initiatory covens, that examines Wiccan praxis and theology. This is the next step once you have established a solid Wiccan practice. Many aspects of Wicca are examined with an eye towards inclusivity; Aburrow covers LGBTQ, BDSM, polyamory, and asexuality; physical and mental disabilities; cultural appropriation; and trauma recovery in the context of ritual practice, relationship to divinity, and mythology. …The author looks at some of the common Wiccan myths and makes suggestions for ways to incorporate deep ecology, from adapting the Wheel of the Year to appropriately reflect your climate and geography to reducing your carbon footprint.”
Sable Aradia

Available from Avalonia Books and all other online retailers

Missing Witches

I was on the Missing Witches podcast recently. It’s a new and original format for a podcast: more like a structured group chat, ably facilitated by the lovely hosts.

Among other things, we discussed the subject of the book I’m currently writing, Changing Paths, which is about changing from one spiritual path to another. I was also really pleased with the circle opening that I did for this episode.

You can catch the episode at Missing Witches.

Dear faces

In the candlelight,

faces and bodies are rosy, softly lit.

Love springs from gesture and sound.

The repetition of familiar words

So we know we’re on holy ground.

We walk together

into known and unknown

Steering our vessel

by the winds of the unseen

Sharing our journey within.

Yvonne Aburrow

10:15 am, 15 April 2022

(About the experience of a Wiccan circle)

Inspired by the sentence “Dear faces like a multitude of moons hang over the table” in The Seder’s Order by Marge Piercy.