The Wiccan Mysteries - Learning

Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner - Scott Cunningham 1993

The Wiccan Mysteries

SOME READERS AND reviewers have complained that Wiccan books—mine included—don’t contain “Wiccan mysteries.” Such comments are quite true. Most books written about Wicca are either overviews of its practice or are instructions for the beginner. Wiccan writers can easily become caught up in describing circle castings, the proper use of tools, deity concepts, and group dynamics. There’s little room in such books for mysticism.

However, there’s another reason. Mysteries are, by their very nature, difficult to frame in language. They can’t truly be taught; they can only be experienced. Some manifest on other planes of existence. Many have profound emotional, psychic, or spiritual effects. Some occur solely between a Wiccan and the Goddess; others between two or more Wiccans in circle.

Perhaps I’d better define my terms. First, the term “Wiccan mysteries,” as I use it here, doesn’t refer to secret rituals, prayers, or magical techniques, no matter how secret or effective they may be. Instead, it refers to extraordinary spiritual experiences and revelations of the highest order from the Goddess and God. The Wiccan mysteries can never be outwardly displayed. Wiccan sabbats and esbats celebrate them, but only in symbolic form.

If you’re entirely confused at this point, it’s okay. After all, these are the Wiccan mysteries, and this isn’t the easiest topic about which to write or discuss.

One of the complaints of many solitary Wiccans is that their rituals seem to lack depth of involvement and great spiritual meaning. There are many possible origins for this problem, but it could very well be a lack of knowledge of the Wiccan mysteries. This inner lore, when called upon in ritual, greatly enhances the proceedings.

Why? Because as previously stated, most Wiccan rituals are in some way celebrations of Wiccan mysteries. This may immediately give you a clue as to the nature of the mysteries: what are the sabbats all about? The major, outward concept is the observation of the seasons. Once you begin to look at the seasons, you’ll find a rich trove of possible Wiccan mystery material. In the mysteries, everything is both symbolic and quite real.

Most of the Wiccan mysteries relate to the Goddess and God and these have been placed within the context of sacred activities. Other mysteries are more earth-based but, since the Goddess is the earth, we’re right back to her.

It’s possible for you to discover such mysteries. All the accumulated lore and mysteries of Wiccan traditions were discovered at some point. You can certainly continue this process to give body and depth to your Wiccan practice.

Wiccan mysteries may be discovered during meditation in ritual settings. They may be perceived while taking a walk, appear in our minds during sleep, or even come in answer to fervent prayers to the Goddess and God. Such arcane secrets are usually only revealed to those who are truly involved with Wicca, for who else would have need of them? On the other hand, some Wiccan mysteries are constantly occurring around us where we see the divine touch of the Goddess and God. However, such processes are only Wiccan mysteries once we become totally aware of them on every level of our beings.

If this is confusing, here’s an example. A ripe apple falls onto the ground. It decomposes; fresh soil is blown over the fallen fruit. Rains fall. The sun heats the earth. A sprout struggles up from a seed contained within the apple. Within a few years, a new apple tree stands where the fruit had once fallen. A ripe apple falls onto the ground. How is this a Wiccan mystery?

• These processes (fall and rise, death and rebirth, etc.) are governed by and are created by the Goddess and God, the sole sources of fertility, life, and death.

• Such natural processes don’t relate solely to apples; these cycles are evident in all the world.

• A Wiccan becomes aware of this process by watching the apple fall and seeing it eventually sprout. By narrowing her or his focus to this one cycle, for at least a few minutes each day, the Wiccan aligns her or his consciousness with the processes of the Goddess and God. She or he may further meditate upon this process’s meaning.

• This realignment of consciousness creates a new awareness of the Goddess and God both within the world and within the self. This greater awareness creates deeper spiritual connections with them. Additionally, the apple that served as the lesson-giver may become a powerful and profound ritual tool in this Wiccan’s religious practice, symbolizing life, death, and rebirth—three of the greatest mysteries that ever furrowed the human brow.

• Finally, the apple’s journey may become a potent spiritual memory that immediately unlocks the silver and gold avenues to the Goddess and to the God. In this Wiccan’s mind, the apple becomes more than a memory of a fruit, more than a symbol: it becomes a direct link between them and us, a tangible reminder of intangible things, a symbol that’s not only between the worlds, but that serves as a bridge. The apple then, in this Wiccan’s mysteries, may be: the Celtic cauldron of regeneration, the womb of the Goddess, a symbol of birth and rebirth, representative of the underworld and the overworld, or the earth itself, upon which so many mysteries await our discovery.

The secret of the Wiccan mysteries is that there are no secrets. You need only alter your perceptions and sharpen your focus. Look beyond the material world to the timeless processes at work within it to discover Wiccan mysteries. Or spend time in ritual meditation specifically to deepen your understanding of the subtlest aspects of Wicca, the Goddess and the God.

Then, after you’ve discovered them, you can celebrate and sing and dance in circles created of light and love and reexperience these mysteries time and again. Rituals may be enlarged to include recognition of such experiences, or special rites may be performed in their honor.

The point here is that true Wiccan mysteries can’t be found within Books of Shadows or in ancient secrets or within the words of others. They can only be found within our relationship with the Goddess and God, and in our understanding of nature as an illustration of their energy.

Want some more hints?

Watch a birth.

Watch the sun melting ice.

Watch the unfurling of leaves on trees in the spring.

Watch the ocean.

Watch the clouds drifting far above.

Watch rain splattering onto pools of water.

Watch lightning crackling and sparking against the night sky.

Watch smoke rising from a sacred bonfire.

Watch an eclipse.

Watch a cat hunting in the backyard.

Watch a baby rediscovering our world.

* * *

Don’t only watch these things; experience them. Feel them. Then you’ll have begun to draw the Wiccan mysteries closer to you. You’ll have the rare opportunity to fleetingly draw back the veil that we’ve thrown over our world and see the face of the Goddess. . . .

And the Wiccan mysteries will be yours.