Reclaiming Quarterly Web Features Back Issues Subscribe Ads/Submissions Site Index Reclaiming Home

Inviting in the Divine

by Pomegranate Doyle

The first I remember hearing of aspecting was some years ago when Rose May Dance (an elder of the Craft) asked if I would like to aspect the Goddess Diana at an evening Witchcamp ritual. I was a student-teacher, and afraid to tell Rose that not only had I never heard of "aspecting,"

I hadn't thought much about Diana, either.

Concerned that I would never be asked back to teach because I was so uneducated, I plastered on my "sure, I know all about that" smile, nodded yes and hoped to hell something would happen when my time came to aspect.

That night, I sort of sunk down into by body, let go of control and sent out an invitation to Diana, trusting that the Mysterious Ones are out there, waiting for a chance to take on human form. And take me over Diana did. My body changed shape. I grew taller and stronger. Her dogs kept jumping up on me and knocking me over.

I don't remember the ritual. I don't remember what was said. All I remember is the moon glowing and growing large until it literally came down from the sky and enveloped us. Diana was reminding the campers of their beautiful bodies, bodies of potential motion and power. She did this by beaming the moonlight out of her hands and her solar plexus. I saw her do it — and yet I was with her, too. I was sort of bi-locating, outside and yet deeply inside the experience. And then she left, very fast. I was dizzy and tipsy. I felt my body deflate and my mind swim. I fell down just like in all those old movies when you see the channeler slump as the ghost leaves.

Still being invented

Aspecting allows a spirit to take on human flesh and faculties for a brief period of time. The human who offers up their body deflates their own presence in the body and calls in a spirit to take over and use parts.

If you want to see some truly amazing aspecting, see Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman in the movie The Man on the Moon. And the Scorsese film Kundun has an example of how the Tibetans use aspecting.

In the Reclaiming tradition we have a stubborn need to learn through trial and error. We reinvent the wheel so that we have ownership of what we've made. With each different technique, we ask individuals to define it for themselves and develop their own methodology. This is true of any living religious tradition. For us, aspecting is still being invented, and should only stop when archeologists are digging up our bones.

Don't try this at home

I know some of you are thinking, "Maybe I'll try out aspecting this afternoon."

Well, don't! If you really want to try it, go find some one to teach it to you. But first become very skilled at grounding and purification and be sure to do a good mental health check, ask people around you, "How is my sanity these days?" In order to let someone else use our bodies we must first truly know who we are and know how to get in and out of our own bodies. Aspecting is not a party trick.

As with most things in Witchcraft, we must be able to take aspecting with a grain of salt. When receiving words from an aspect, use your intuition. Even if you are in the presence of a Master Aspector whom you trust, don't take in everything without question. Not all Mysterious Ones are our friends. Aspecting can be used like a drug, inducing an effect similar to drunkeness. It can also be over-used. We did that at Witchcamp for a while when we first started using it. We wanted to aspect absolutely everything. One time I remember aspecting the Garden of Eden.

Done well, aspecting can change all those involved. Being in the presence of divinity can be felt in the body, a feeling of grace filling you. You become more than you had known yourself to be. Your own presence becomes more full, and the aspect reveals to you a larger sense of your authentic self. After the aspect has gone, you feel in a deeper way the divinity of all things around you.

At its best aspecting is a kind of mini-enlightenment and a cultural exchange. You have been changed and so has the Mysterious One who came for a visit.

Pomegranate Doyle is an artist, homemaker, Witch, priestess, and a senior teacher in the Reclaiming Evolution of Witchcraft.