I walked into the forest once, as a baby witch, in search of Him. Naivety perhaps lead me there, along with desire. But also, a call.
This forest knew me well as I spent many days roaming its winding paths that stretched around several bodies of water. I had worked closely with the indwelling spirits of this forest for several years. There was another side of the forest however that I had not walked. Not for many years and only once had I ventured into it. There was a part of that forest that made your knees weak and brought on a grave sense of confusion and panic. Like you were never going to get out of that forest if you didn’t keep your head down and pick up the pace. It wasn’t until many years later that I began to understand what that feeling was deep in those woods.
So I set out to venture in once again. Uttering prayers and asking the spirits of place to allow me safe passage. Leaving a strand of my hair at the fork in the path where this time I would go left instead of right.
At first it felt fine. This path had a beautiful view of the pond that I don’t recall seeing before. It felt welcoming and I remember feeling a bit silly for all the times I shuddered at the thought of going in here. Snow began to fall, and it really was a beautiful space, very alive with spirit. I paused to welcome the sensation as it was welcoming me.
Continuing on the path, it began to turn and wind, I walked steadily and began my meditation. I chanted over and over my intentions here in a rhyme that had implanted itself in my mind days before. My intentions were, to call Him to me in these woods. That I may know Him, He who had been calling to me in dream and journey so much at that time. He who I was trying to understand outside of the hardcore paradigms set before me through my Catholic upbringing and my fairly severe Feminist mentality at the time. What I didn’t realize was that to know Him was to awaken to Him in a way I couldn’t yet fathom.
I began to see visions of dogs as I chanted and the feeling of being chased washed over me like a rushing flood. My heart began to pound as I continued to chant and sturdy myself in this fear. I could feel the shift in the air. The presence. The hair on my body stood on end. I sensed eyes, voices and panic all at once. Pure fear. All I wanted to do was run. I tried so hard to keep down the feeling that I was being hunted. I could feel it in my bones, as my knees grew weak. I suddenly had no idea where I was in this forest or if I’d make it out before the sun fell from the sky. Still chanting, my pace quickened as did my heart. My blood ran cold throughout my entire body, until I was stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of a coyote on the path up ahead. It turned to look in my direction and I ran as fast as I could, back into the forest the way I came. The ringing in my ears was so intense. I could feel my heart in my throat. I ran and ran until I reached the fork in the path and I stopped shortly after to catch myself for a moment and then the channeling began to rush in.
A women’s voice clearly stating,
“It is He who calls you off the beaten path. He is the fear the rises in you. He is the feral dog that crosses your path.”
The next day I was home and Spirit pulled me to a book I had been referencing and I opened it to an unread page and there was a paragraph on Faunus. It read “There was another side of Faunus, as there was to Pan. He could fill humans and animals with dark, terrifying emotions of mindless panic when they trespassed uninvited into his special areas. He often fulfils this role when the seeker pushes into Otherworld realms for which they are unprepared. The blind panic and fear such a person would feel will cause them to swiftly withdraw. These impressions are created to protect seekers who would not understand… or who seek such experiences for the wrong reasons.” **
I had met the Horned One, or Pan, or the Witch Father before in journey, but my relationship had only begun. I had previously been shown a side that made me feel comforted and protected. Guided and nurtured in my becoming. I had never experienced his WILD in this way. I believe that my naivety was that of His power. It was far greater and wilder than I understood at the time. Like the Dark Mother I know so well, He too brings lessons through the shadows. It was this experience of Him that pushed me to finally knock down all the barriers and walls I had spent so many years building in regard to masculinity as a whole. Yes, those barriers and walls were built brick by brick through countless traumas, but these were the shadows I had to work through in order to fully embrace my relationship with this force and understand its balance and the need for balance within me. I learnt that day to revere Him as much as I do honour Him.
Many years have passed since this door opened. My relationship with the archetype of The Witch Father (and I use the word “archetype” because to me, He is of many names) feels well rounded in that I understand the necessity of its polarity. The necessity of my own polarities. The necessity of our desires and of our wildness.
He is always near. In the shadows of my journeys and often standing behind me in my moments of loneliness, reminding me that I am NEVER truly alone. He always comes when I call. His presence marked by the shift in my vision and the raising of my senses on the back of my neck. I am honoured to know Him in this place of reverence and love upon this crooked path before me. To fear Him IS to know Him. “For love, and fear and want of Him.”
~ Seven Sisters
** Moon Magick, D.J. Conway