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Wake the Dead: some thoughts on Crossing the Lethe


The body of the witch is an alembic that can transform the substance of the dead into gnostic nourishment for the living.

I personally believe we have multiple bodies in many worlds.

I have a body of flesh here in the waking world, the horizontal-perceptual realm where time seems to move in one direction just as the sun moves from east to west. I have a dream body, the Fetch, I inhabit when I’m dreaming, and a whole Other existence experienced as sets of serial dreams with my spirit lover (though maybe it’s not in “real-time”). There are layers and layers of persons buried in the blackness of the Fetch-body, endless chains of entities both dreaming and dead that stretch back long before our species was made distinct by angels’ lightning. Some of them are/were/will be You, all of them are the ancestors that live on through each of us, here and now.

I don’t think it is all happening inside our waking-conscious minds. For instance, the Eternal Sabbat--the spirit locus at the center of time and space where the Moment of Creation is always happening--cannot be truly apprehended by the waking mind, because it is an experience of the Wholeness. I think we have many modes of consciousness potentially accessible to us and are much more expansive than the idea of “individual” can account for. We are ones who can Cross the Lethe.


To witches, "Crossing the Lethe" means being able to remember before the beginning of this lifetime, being able to access former lifetimes, Ancestor-Selves.


At some point you start not only getting little scenes from ancestral memory, which even folks not involved in sorcery experience, you get bigger chunks and richer and wider sense experience within the memoryscape. You may live out days or weeks or even months and years of an Ancestor-Self, all of this is buried in the dark body of our Fetch, accessible to those who dare to gaze with necromantic seership and scry the abyss of the Self.

This deeper foray into these memories stirs them and with aid from our Familiars or fellow covenmates who might contain the Virtues we seek, we can re-knit this ancestor-self into our flesh body, re-mapping them into our current form, and they become a conscious part of the cleverly woven tapestry that we are. It is often helpful to give them a rune or glyph on your aitheric Raven Cloak.


This is also not limited to human ancestry -- a courageous soul voyager committed to the Henosis of the Flesh can draw up Ancestor-Selves from Memory’s Deep Well far, far back/down the blood-tree (and wind their way up new/divergent bloodthreads to integrate truly unusual Fetch-beasts), all the way back to the shapes inhabited by the very first forms of Life. This is where the Red and Black Serpent-powers meet and mingle, where necromancy and skin-turning co-habitate as fusions of the Art.


At some point you're Re-membering these Ancestor-Selves into full apparitions, perhaps even venerating them as a special class of Mighty Dead. Feeding them offerings, seeking their counsel and advice. Drenching their ghosts so that their hollow voices sing from the grave to your ear. There is true treasure in being able to perceptually inhabit entire perspectives from a culture and era long gone, and what fruit that might bear to your current waking life.


It is exciting, sorcerously, in how that can bridge our ordinary daylight selves to unlived experiences, in creating real empathy and magical sympathy with those whose struggles and everyday experiences are unseen to us because of our cultural vantage point (usually relating to our privilege). If we cannot empathize with ALL other human beings, especially those who have been brutalized by the socially and materially powerful, how can we ever shift ourselves into greater, deeper, wider shapes?

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