28 Sep Mighty Dead Chap. 1
Chris Penczak himself asks the question: Who are the Mighty Dead?
In my opinion, he seems to beat around the bush a bit at the beginning of the chapter, and his concept felt fuzzy to me. At first, it appears to be an umbrella term for Deep Ancestors, demigods and other enlightened beings, elementals, Archangels and other entities, which he then says can be synonymous with Mighty Ones. Closer to the end of the chapter, his definition becomes a bit clearer for me. The second way he uses the term is more specific: it’s a term used in witchcraft and other neo-pagan traditions to specifically name magickal, as opposed to blood, ancestors. It took me a while to ‘get’ his definition. As he says, the definition that works for him may differ for someone else.
Can you answer this question from your point of view before reading this first chapter?
Yes, actually, I could. I was shocked to find out it meant something similar to him as it did to me. I agree with his definition in the more specific sense. It’s not the term I would use, however. I would call them Deep Ancestors and would also include other animals in the definition, and not confine it to magickal ancestry.
Did you change your ideas after reading this chapter?
No, I did not. However, it did give me food for thought as to the nature of some of the spiritual paths that are so different from mine, particularly the Eastern / Buddhist / Taoist traditions. It was interesting to see they share similar ideas regarding this, even if their end goal is very different than my own.
Were you surprised by the way Chris portrayed the The Eastern Masters?
I found it interesting to read how he portrayed them. Since I am not called to an Eastern Path, I had not spent much time studying them, so ‘surprised’ is the wrong word for me; I didn’t have any preconceived notions about them.
What surprised you the most about the Occult Revival section?
I found it very validating that Dion Fortune believed and wrote that we ourselves can become members of the Mighty Dead. I have always believed that is, for me, the main spiritual goal – to work to become as the Gods, and turn and give back to those behind us.
Were you surprised to read that Gardner knew little about the Mighty Dead?
I was not. What I have read of him is his more public persona, the part he played in developing Wicca, and some of the infighting and other shenanigans that went on. However, I was aware of some of his personal beliefs, because one of the Druid groups I have worked with (The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) has a founder that was a personal friend and heavily influenced by Gardner (Ross Nichols).
Have any of you heard of the Clan of Tubal Cain or American 1734?
I had heard of the Clan of Tubal Cain, but not the American 1734. The context was a discussion I had with a group of pagan friends on Wicca and magick in general and some of the historical aspects of it, in particular ceremonial magick.
Did you know that Doreen Valiente was the Mother of Wicca?
I had never heard her called the ‘Mother of Wicca’. I had read some of her work, and knew she held an important role in Wicca.
Some of you may be in a local coven as well as being the the Sacred Mists Coven. Do your covens follow a special “Group of Witches’ such as the feminist group, or a group that welcomes all to their covens (Men, Women, Lesbians)?
I’ve been a Druid for many years; the group I’m most active with is considered to be Celtic Reconstructionist. They welcome one and all, because for them, Celtic is a culture, not a bloodline, but the group’s core order of ritual is very specific and heavily researched. They’re leery of personal gnosis, but not individual differences like gender, sex, race, ethnicity or non-mainstream orientations. So, our Grove would welcome one and all.
Do you always have an Empty chair for the King of Witches?
Honestly, only by pure coincidence, I could. There’s usually an unused chair at the table, sometimes more than one. Since I have not been following a Wiccan path, my Deep Ancestors would not have included Alex Sanders.
Did you know there were so many names for the Mighty Dead?
I genuinely did not know that. I know how I think of and experience them, and how folks I work with speak of them. I knew they exist for everyone, no matter what path one is on, but I wasn’t privy to what others on different paths call them.
Do you have a favorite group of Mighty Dead? Why do you like these Mighty Dead?
Yes, thanks for asking! Penczak refers to them as ‘the Company of the Watchers of Avalon’. I like them because I have worked with at least one or two of them since I was a little girl. I had no clue at that time what I was experiencing and no one to guide me, but, the connection I made was incredibly strong and continues to this day. This connection helped me survive a very rough childhood. The second group is that of the ‘Saints’. I was chosen by one rather forcibly when I visited her shrine outside of Edinburgh, Scotland. She, too, is an important Otherworld connection for me.