Five 'old skills'

DaisyDragonfly

Shapeshifting is when you see through the eyes of a creature you are not. It occurs when you are meditating/journeying and you simply shift to a different perspective, and - to all intents and purposes - become that creature. You see what it sees, you feel what it feels.

It happened exactly once to me: years and years ago, when I was practicing Wicca on a daily basis. I was meditating every night and gotten good at relaxing/clearing my mind. Then I saw deer on a grassy plain and they were running. Then I was one of the deer, running with the rest. It was breathtaking: but the moment I realised what was happening I came back to myself.

Never been able to do it since. But I remember the experience clearly. It was very powerful.
 

Wendywu

I can occasionally shapeshift with my spiders. It produces a very different view of the world and the physical sensations are strange. I don't have enough legs when I come back to being me and coordination is difficult. Muscles I don't have in human form ache to be used.

There is a fascination in it, but I hesitate to stay too long. It's such an easy/hard world to live in.
 

Carla

I can occasionally shapeshift with my spiders. It produces a very different view of the world and the physical sensations are strange. I don't have enough legs when I come back to being me and coordination is difficult. Muscles I don't have in human form ache to be used.

There is a fascination in it, but I hesitate to stay too long. It's such an easy/hard world to live in.

Omigosh! I never!

I am not very good with visualisation, let alone journeying, to say nothing of shapeshifting. It may come of all those years of Buddhist meditation focusing on the breath and emptying the mind entirely, discarding all thoughts and images as soon as they occurred. Or maybe I'm just not cut out for any sort of shamanic path. I consider it a triumph to strongly visualise my own chakras, let alone becoming a spider. :)
 

Milfoil

From my own personal understanding, these 5 abilities are what the adept needs in order to function between worlds.

Shapeshifting, - the ability in altered state to merge with and experience things form the perspective of an animal or bird.

Divining, - Use of a standardised system to discover information not readily available via the normal 5 senses.

Summoning, - The knowledge and intentional ability to 'call the Spirits', empower objects, communicate with those in non-material realms, invocation of Gods/Goddesses and other propitious beings to solicit assistance.

Hexing/healing, - the use of intent, instinctive and traditional knowledge in order to affect change for whatever purpose.

'Telling the maze' - the ability to read the signs and messages (omens) and subtle indicators which inform the decisions we make in our lives.

The last one may seem similar to divination but is subtly different. In divination we ask a question and do something to receive an answer. In 'telling the maze' this would be about being connected, feeling the changes and reading EVERYTHING so as to be aware and live aware.

I may be wrong, the 'telling the maze' is not a term that has come up in the traditions I have been able to research or privy to. It's just how I would see it based on what is important in my path.
 

Milfoil

I wasn't meaning that it wasn't a valid term, just that it is used by those who follow a path that I don't and have not really researched or been part of a coven who use this term. So my understanding of the term is based on what I feel it may be rather than any defined knowledge.

That series of letters Carla - can you point out which page of which letter. It is a long document that I don't have time to read right through but would like to see the term used in context.
 

Carla

That series of letters Carla - can you point out which page of which letter. It is a long document that I don't have time to read right through but would like to see the term used in context.

Letter #5, page 1:

'Now then, what is a witch? A witch today is an unlicensed practitioner of the mysteries of witchcraft, since there is no longer (apart from one clan in Dorset) an unbroken tradition of discipline. What do witches call themselves? They call themselves by the names of their gods. I am Od's man, since in me the spirit of Od lives. Now you know how that old country dance 'The Goddesses' got its name. Want to argue 'simple old pellars' now? In other words, there is only one way of finding the witch, judge them by their works and their silence. If one who claims he or she is a witch can perform the tasks of witchcraft, that is they can summon spirits and spirits will come, they can turn hot into cold and cold into hot, they can divine with rods, fingers and birds. They can claim the right to omens and have them, above all they can tell the Maze and cross the Lethe (all this and many more in our surprise bumper packet). Now what do I call myself? I don't. Witch is as good as any, failing that, 'Fool' might be a better word. I am a child of Tubal Cain, the Hairy One.'

Because telling the maze and crossing the Lethe are linked in the sentence, I assume they are closely related, and thus I interpret them to be journeying with memories of past lives.
 

Milfoil

Ok, apparently this is the section:

“If one who claims he or she is a witch can perform the tasks of witchcraft, that is they can summon spirits and spirits will come, they can turn hot into cold and cold into hot, they can divine with rod, fingers and birds, they can claim the right to omens and have them. Above all they can tell the Maze and cross the Lethe. If they can do these things, than you have a witch”

I found it by Googling rather than reading the whole document. It looks as though I am wrong since this excerpt suggests that omens and the right to them are separate from 'telling the maze' and 'cross the Lethe'.

The Author of the blog where I obtained the above quote from says, when asked the same question:

Jason Miller, said...
Tell the maze refers to the use of maze walking or gazing to enter into a trance.

Cross the Lethe refers to the river of hades that causes forgetfulness of previous lives. If you can cross the lethe it means that you can remember beyond just this life.

So there you go.
 

Carla

Yes, we covered Jason Miller earlier in the thread (although maybe I just did that in my head and forgot to post). But reading the letter confirmed it, because I don't know who Jason Miller is and didn't want to take his word for it. :) The phrase, 'If they can do these things, then you have a witch' is not in Cochrane's original letter. Trust no one!
 

Milfoil

Sorry, I had missed this last reference. Telling the maze does then make sense as a metaphor for the journey experience AND relating it successfully when back to normal awareness. Crossing the Lethe makes sense also (though why the need to use a Greek name I don't know?).