By the time I was eight years old, it was obvious to us all that I was not a princess, but a witch. My only comfort was in believing that there were good witches since I had no desire to be an ugly old hag. I began an earnest search for good witches like Glinda of Oz. Not only did I find references to old and wise women and men, but I found a bread crumb trail of how to get from childhood to the the great and powerful Glinda.
Glinda was a great sorceress as opposed to a witch. Another very famous witch, was George MacDonald's Queen Irene, a shape-shifting sorceress who spent most of her time in a tower spinning. And modern fantasy books also had this image of a sorceress, a seer, a mistress of thread and fire who was very old and very learned. Like a child, I seized upon this archetype as "mine," and pored through everything I could find to begin the path to become her. No one understood my thirst for this archetype, but one woman, a librarian, understood my love of these books. She even looked like my witch, with very long ash-blond hair. If anyone had told me that this image I adored was just fiction and not out in the real world, I would have been crushed. I knew not to ask.
Had I not been such a serious and desperate girl, I never would have stumbled upon the path to enlightenment that was buried in the West. Most of the people around me were turning to the East, others just pushed religions at us. I found nothing inspirational at all about Protestant Christianity except for the love of Jesus. Had I been Catholic, the Virgin Mary might have fulfilled my thirst for this female archetype, but not quite. She was the image of compassion, not of intelligent magic for the purpose of Good. Even the very popular series Harry Potter lacks this archetype, which is sad. It was not the image that mattered, it was becoming this archetype, this image. I did not want to look at her, I wanted to be her.
I am an intuitive person. My talent is seeing patterns. Although I may agree that it is important for a religion to be cautious of the graven image, it is vital for people, especially young people to have images or stories or music to inspire them. For me, the similarity between this image of Winnie Mandela and the images above is very clear. I rejected most of the images I was handed as a child and went with my own true connection to the Divine. I now know that the path I craved and sought, was a spiritual path. Many women I knew damned the Cinderella images as images of a passive bride awaiting her rescuer. What I saw in Cinderella was not a literal story at all. It was a spiritual tale. At the time, I was utterly baffled by the belligerence toward Cinderella when it seemed obvious to me what she represented. To damn Cinderella was to damn what she stood for: purity of soul, a willingness to serve those in trouble, a compassionate tolerance for those who oppressed her, and a lightness of heart that persisted despite her poverty and grief. There is nothing at all passive about this character, but she is not a hero. In my country, heroism is everything and it only comes in one form: fighting one's fears.
I am giving this work to those who, like me, sensed that there was more to our world than what we are expected to take. This work is for those who reach for something else and choose a path that may not be clear. This work is to give them strength to explain to those who do not see what is there to see in joy and love and light. It is the reason why I can see Glinda the Good in Winnie Mandela's face and why I have chosen not to turn my back on humanity or embrace Eastern doctrines as more learned than our own. This work would take people years and years to understand, so start somewhere that appeals to you, that makes you feel inspired or hopeful of your own spiritual journey. The articles below are an attempt to break this work down into small pieces for you to study, enjoy, and pass on.
Each of the magical path pages, not only has an article about that particular kind of magic, but each page has a book list for those interested in reading stories that star one of these four kinds of archetypes. There are articles on the other pages that are introductions to some of the problems and discoveries in Western Mythology that are important to know. Our TetraMagika site is also an exploration of these four magical paths, complete with exercises to help the practitioner develop skills and abilities. There is a lifetime of research here, but I have tried to make is accessible to you. Have fun!
© 2017, A.R. Stone