Saturday, October 12, 2013

Upon an Uneasy Seat Above Caer Ochren

In his 1st letter to Norman Gills, Robert Cochrane writes the following about the process of invoking the Goddess of the season:

"... invokes the Goddess through 'The dark of night and the evening star meeting together', which as you should know is brought about in the beginning by 'in an uneasy chair above Caer Ochren'."

Whatever interpretation of the above lines might be considered most accurate, we would like to offer *our* take on it.

Let's start with 'The dark of night and the evening star meeting together.' For reasons that are difficult to articulate clearly, we believe this is a reference to possession/channeling. I suppose the reasons are difficult to explain because they fall into the category of "Mystery." We can understand it, and even try to speak it, but will have some challenge in sharing its deepest meanings with you. We'll try, though, if it means helping others find the way to the Mysteries." Even Cochrane, later in the same letter, says that this process can't be taught in writing. Perhaps we should say that we aren't attempting to actually teach this process, but to shed some insight on this process and its significance to Craft practice.

I think perhaps it is easiest to say that the "dark of night" is a reference to the Self -- that internal place; the opening, yearning for something greater than what is known and seen. We all have it, this chasm that cries out for spiritual experience, for that which is beyond us.

The "evening star," then, is the Goddess who is being invoked. It could be any Goddess, though in our home-coven we only do invocations with the Black Goddess and the White Goddess (and Tubal Qayin, the Red God). We do these at their respective Sabbats, and we do this for the primary purpose of oracular communications from these Deities. We seek their advice and listen to the wisdom that they share throughout the year. We only use the method described above, though, -- the "uneasy seat above Caer Ochren" -- when we are doing oracle invocation with the Black and White Goddesses. (We use other methods with Qayin.)

The "uneasy seat" is perhaps a stellar reference, but we have interpreted it as something more practical. Caer Ochren, we believe, is a reference to the Spiral Castle. Certainly, Caer Ochren is one of the castles of Grail lore, and we believe it is Caer Sidhe itself. Some of this is just our gut instinct, but a little comes from an interesting linguistic find. "Ochren" means "sides." It could be easy to mistake "sidhe" (which means fairy) as "sides" -- or to intentionally muddy the waters by playing language tricks with these words.

So, now we have an uneasy seat above Caer Sidhe, the revolving castle, the Spiral Castle. For us, this is the center point of the compass -- and opens into all the sides. A seat above it, poetically, speaking could be the the starry point to which the central spire of the castle rises. The North Star, Tubelo's nail star, the iron hook.

It reminds us, too, of the oracle of Delphi sitting upon her tripod stand above the fissure within the temple's floor. The temple at Delphi held the omphalos, the world's navel, the center point. 

For us, we use a rocking chair as our tripod, as our "uneasy seat." When one of us sits in the rocking chair at Imbolc (the Black Goddess, Kolyo) or at Lammas (the White Goddess, Goda), we begin the process of ascending to the top of the Spiral Castle. It is the seat of wisdom, the seat of vision. By rocking back and forth as we work toward invocation (possession) we know that we are seething, which is a VERY effective way to alter consciousness.

So, while we can't exactly teach the art of possession, we know it to be one of the important arts or skills within Craft practice. Cochrane, then, is advising new practitioners to use seething as a tool to experience possession until other methods are easier at hand.  


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