Magic of the Mystai

Magic of the Mystai

There are as many paths of witchcraft as there are witches. Ask ten practioners what the path of the Wise One means, and you’ll likely get ten different definitions. Still, as we find our footing along the way, various terms and titles invariably pop up: green witch, grey witch, hedgewitch, kitchen witch, priestess, priest, shaman, mystic, healer, psychopomp, necromancer–names that invite us to further define both ourselves and our craft. How do we find which one resonates with our own witch’s soul?

Secular versus Sacred

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

One important thing to consider is secular witchcraft versus sacred witchcraft. That is not to say that all paths of the craft cannot be sacred to the witch–they certainly can be. For myself, however, I define the difference between secular and sacred as those who do not work with a form of deity in their spiritual path, and those who choose to connect with those we call gods and goddesses. Though we have many similarities, the fundamental nature of how we approach our craft is very different. While the secular witch may utilize a connection to the elements or their own power directly, the sacred witch typically harnesses energy through a connection to the divine.

Image by travelspot from Pixabay

I fall into the latter category in my spirituality. In my personal path of witchcraft, I work with the goddess Hekate as my matron, as well as Persephone and Hades. My connection that I feel to Hekate when conducting rituals and working magic makes me desire something beyond the title of Witch. 

The word witch, while a deliciously wonderful word, doesn’t quite capture the true essence of that bond for me. Flashes of familiarity, like when I walk a labyrinth or brew a healing salve make me feel sure that I have followed the path of the wise ones for many lifetimes, a path of holiness and healing. I can see myself tending altars, sacred fires, serving others, sitting in blissful connection with the goddess. I feel it resonate so deeply when I dive further into my studies of Modern Hekatean Witchcraft. So how do I define myself? Once, I aspired to call myself priestess; but negative experiences with the hierarchical nature some calling themselves priestesses develop soured the term for me. I have great admiration for the shamanic spirituality paths of the world but I do not count myself among them. Nothing quite seemed to fit, yet the longing for that last step in my personal growth, that moment of truly knowing myself, refused to leave.

Enter the Mystai

This past full moon, I had the opportunity to participate in celebrating The Rite of Her Sacred Fires, a time of devotion for followers of Hekate that celebrates the resurgence of firey energy in spring. The ritual was led by Cyndi Brannen, and I had been asked to be one of the officiants who would evoke the flames. 

Image by Mary Gorobchenko from Pixabay

She used a term to refer to us that I hadn’t heard before: Mystai. It immediately clicked as if something had awoken in me. Ancient initiates in the mysteries, keepers of the sacred flame, tenders of the torches. This is who I am and who I will always strive to be. My relationship with Hekate is not that of supplicant or servant, reaching for the unreachable. We walk side by side. My devotion is one of respect and of love, and, most importantly, of choice. The magic of the mystai.

Image by Cari R. from Pixabay

“Fearless” by Aine Foraois

In grotto deep in hallowed earth
You brought about my soul’s rebirth
Beneath great tree’s ancestral roots
Shedding lies and donning truth
In pools reflecting
With flames that soothe and burn

And I will fear no darkness
For you are at my side
I will heal my shadows
With your torches as my guide

In cosmic cauldron of darkest night
My bones were stripped and set alight
Dissolving grief and guilt and shame
The primal void transmutes my pain
The silent singing
And echoes ringing
In form reforged in fire

And I will fear no darkness
For you are at my side
I will heal my shadows
With your torches as my guide

Anja Solsystir

Desert Dwelling Heathen Witch with a penchant for daydreaming Connect with me:

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