Friday, March 19, 2010

As the Stars move, the Rice Stalks sway in the Breeze

"We all come from the Goddess and to Her we shall return,
sand and sea, sea and stone. All that died shall be reborn!"

-Goddess Chant

When I was younger, I was really fascinated by the stories told by the old people from our hometown. The practices of the Craft is again very different in the perspective of the rural farm folks especially here in the Philippines. It is rather different compared to the practices of the witches of the west, even though the basic concept is the same it is quite different in the point of view of the Filipinos.

The magick in the Philippines is more shamanic in nature. Where Persian magi looked at the skies for portents in the movement of the stars and planets, our babaylanes listen to the chirps of the crickets in the fields as well as the whispers of the wind. I have experienced this "mystery" when my grandfather told me that the wind can tell you if rain is coming. We were walking one day on a dirt road going to our house and suddenly he told me that rain will come tomorrow. I asked him would he know that rain is coming and he told me that the wind told him.

As the ceremonial magickians of the West calls upon the powers of the angels and the demons, my grandmother who is a farmer and an oyster harvester would ask the assistance of faeries and the "tag-lugar" or the "Tamawo". These unseen folks are a part of the daily life of the people in Dumangas, Iloilo- my hometown. We normally offer food without salt, fruits and rice in small caves and mounds that can be found around our place.

As clergies wrote their observation and rituals in the books and grimoires, our old folks would transfer their knowledge through stories and lullabies. They would do this not in classroom or in any alchemical laboratory but tell their wisdom to the younglings under the mango tree by the ricefields as they drink "tuba" or coconut wine or "anisado" or rice wine they call vino.

The magick that they practice could be called thaumaturgy or low magick since they practice the Craft for everyday use- blessing the food, healing, fertility and abundance in the harvest, safety in fishing, growth of the fruit trees and protection from malevolent "tag-lugar" and "aswangs". Though the real "Babaylan" tradition has been infected with the Christian belief, some of the rituals are still in its pure form-without the Latin incantation to the Holy Trinity or the Holy Spirit. It's just a call to the wild- to the spirits of the forest and caves and the master of the place.

As a follower of the Wiccan faith, I could still connect to the old Ways since its a part of my being. I may worship a Goddess or a God from a different pantheon, very far from our country but the magick that I follow is still our own. I am a Wiccan since I think it is the nearest religion that coincides with my Goddess centered belief. I think my embrace of the Old Ways, our Old Ways could help me connect to the forces and beings that live in our sacred land. however, it is very difficult to do this since the Craft of the Filipinos are fragmented and almost forgotten. I hope i will have the strength and patience to endure, and i ask the Goddess to give me more of these.

Pictures from TravelBlogs and Negros-Occ.gov.ph

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