Monday, December 28, 2009

Order of Scathach Incorporating

Last night the new Grand Preceptory of the Order of Scáthach finished the process of drawing up the bylaws. They can now be submitted to the province of British Columbia so that we can officially be incorporated. Our official name is the Order of Scáthach of British Columbia Society .

Here are some photos of the signing ceremony.

In Her Service
Kerr Cuhulain
Preceptor General

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pagans Tonight Appearance

I'll be interviewed on the internet radio program Pagans Tonight on 15 December, 2009, at 9PM CST: Hope to see some of you there.
BB Kerr

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Latest Arming Photos

I've just uploaded photos of our latest Arming ritual to my Facebook albums. Enjoy!

In Her Service, Kerr

Upcoming Internet Radio Interview

FYI: I’ve been invited to be interviewed on Traci Wood’s hour long internet radio show Pagans Tonight ( at 9 PM on December 15. I hope to see some of you there.
BB Kerr

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cover Of My New Book

Dear Friends:

I've been telling you for months now that a new edition of my first book, the Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca, would be coming out this Spring. I'm happy to reveal the cover and the new title to you. I'm working on the final editting now so that it can be released this spring.
BB Kerr Cuhulain

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We've just got back from a fabulous trip to New Orleans and I've just uploaded the photos from the Order of Scathach's Armoring ritual at Samhain down there to my Facebook albums. Enjoy!
BB Kerr

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mastering 2009

The Order of Scathach had its first Mastering ritual last Sunday, in which Knights were made Masters of the Order. You can check out photos of this event in my Facebook album:

Monday, October 12, 2009

The First Mastering

The Order of Scáthach is going to be holding a landmark ceremony this coming Sunday, October 18: Our first Mastering ceremony. 8 Knights will be going through this ritual to become Masters in our Order. Stay tuned for photos and video, which I will be posting on this blog as well as the Order’s training blog.
In Her Service, Kerr

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

North American Discworld Con 2009

Dear Friends:

My wife and I just got back from the 1st North American Discworld Convention in Tempe, AZ. 900 Terry Pratchett fans, many in character costume. It was a lot of fun. I was honored to be able to sit down with Sir Terry and have a private conversation with him: What an articulate, funny and amazing man. You can check out my album of NADWC photos on Facebook.
BB Kerr

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Journey of the Hero

One of the most obvious changes that I noticed over the nearly 30 years that I did police work as well as the years since that I’ve spent as a dispatcher has been the rapid erosion of manners and courtesy. No one holds doors open for people any more. People j-walk whenever and wherever they feel like it, completely disregarding traffic. Fewer and fewer people signal lane changes and the speed limit seems to be when their gas pedal hits the floor boards. How did this come to be?

The creation of the democratic ideal, the arrival of the age of machines and the development of the scientific method were all meant to lead to the collapse of superstition and old mythic systems. These things were supposed to shatter the “bondage” of tradition and religion. Things were indeed shattered, including some that needed to be. Not all of the changes that resulted were were bad. However, a few changes were unexpected and, in many cases, in my humble opinion, unwelcome.

The social unit has shifted from what Joseph Campbell called the religious “heirarchical pantomine” to a “secular state”. This shift removed all manner of rights of passage from our lives which marked the transition to adulthood. That’s why you see so many fifty five year olds running around these days behaving like fifteen year olds. Nothing in their lives ever signalled to them that it was time to grow up.

This societal change also replaced the idea of being part of a group with a total focus on individuality. It went from for the good of the tribe to every man for himself. Societal ideals shifted from a focus on religion to material supremacy and a focus on resources (who has and who has not). It also removed many reminders of our connection to our world and our place in it. People tried to solve the mysteries of science and apply this knowledge to controlling the earth while taking whatever they wanted with little or no regard for the consequences. As a result, man’s attempt to control the Earth has damaged it and pushed it seriously out of control.

Faced with this, people are starting to figure out that some sort of change is needed, but many are confused about what to do. Some are turning back to established religions seeking comfort and reassurance. They try to cling to what worked in the past, not realizing that what worked 2000 years ago no longer works in todays’ world. The world’s great religions can no longer meet people’s needs. As Joseph Campbell told us in his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces: “[The world’s great religions] have become associated with the causes of the factions as instruments of propaganda and self congratulation.”

You cannot make the required changes by turning your back on the future or turning away from progress. You can’t walk backwards into the future.

Changes are indeed necessary, and it is this need that, in part, influences our Order’s approach to spirituality and magick. In the first cycle of training for our Order, I repeatedly make the point: “Master yourself and everything else will take care of itself.” As Campbell puts it: “Man himself is now the crucial mystery... A transmutation of the entire social order is necessary, so that through every detail and act of secular life the vitalizing image of the universal god-man who is actually immanent and effective in all of us may be somehow made known to the consciousness.”

The modern Warrior/Hero’s quest is to find himself. To find one’s soul. You can’t suppress myth. Like water, it will find its way out. It is within us, and if we let it out it can transform us. We encourage our Knights to experience myth, to see how it works through them, inspiring, informing and empowering them to become greater than they were. We're putting the myth back into people's lives.

The mythical quest of the hero, as reflected in our Order’s three levels of training, has three stages: Separation, initiation and return. The first, separation, is the Squire making a decision to leave the world they’ve known up to know and follow a new path, the Warrior path, and forge their own reality. Their first task is, as Campbell puts it, “to retreat from the world scene of secondary effects to those causal zones of the psyche where the difficulties really reside and there to clarify these difficulties and eradicate them.” The second task, initiation, is about discovering one’s power and becoming a Knight. And the third, return, is about mastering that knowledge and bringing it back to share with their peers and the greater community. For today’s community is no longer the nation, tribe, etc. Today’s community is the planet.

“The modern hero,” Campbell tells us, “the modern individual, who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom it is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed must not, wait for his community to cast off its slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding. ‘Live,’ Nietzsche says, ‘as though the day were here.’ It is not society that is to guide and save the creative here, but precisely the reverse.” This doesn’t mean that you have to all go out and found organizations bent on saving the world. It simply means that you have to stand up and set an example for others, so that they can see that there is another way, an effective way.

And here within our Order you can see it in action. Even though we strongly emphasize self empowerment, this emphasis hasn’t driven people into isolation. Rather, it has made us all strong together, using each other’s powers to compliment the others. It has made us a tight knit, powerful group.

Myth is a powerful tool and spirituality a vital part of our lives. If we learn to use it effectively we can alter our perspective of the world and make positive change that will benefit everyone.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca Update

I've had lots of people asking about the status of my first book, The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca. You'll recall that the publisher of the LEG went out of business, so the book has been out of print for a number of years. Acorn Guild Press will be releasing a new, improved edition of this book in the Spring of 2010. The title of the new book, which has been expanded to include Druidism and Asatru, will be: Pagan Religions: A Diversity Training Manual. I will keep you all posted with details.
BB Kerr

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Malthusian Collapse

I heard a Christian on the radio the other day going on about how it was right and proper that we all should be having lots of children. I sat there in amazement, wondering how a person like this could justify this position in the face of the current global situation. The population of the world is now approaching 9 billion people. Our food reserves are down to record lows: In 2007 the carryover stocks were down to a 61 day supply, the lowest on record. As a result food prices have skyrocketed and there are more poor people than ever. Ever increasing populations are consuming ever increasing amounts of fossil fuels, resulting in global warming. This world of ours is being pushed to a breaking point.

Decades ago agricultural scientists came up with a “Green Revolution” involving monocultures, fertilizers and industrial type farming. This increased yields alright, giving many the impression that the crisis was over. What actually happened is that we ended up driving water tables down, pushing water resources to all time lows and leaving many rivers and bodies of water polluted with chemical runoff. Monoculture crops took everything out of the soil and put nothing back in, leaving soils depleted and eventually driving crop yields down. Much of our grain, instead of going to feed people, is going to feed animals and produce bio-fuels. The grain that it takes to feed one animal for food can feed 5 people. As Thomas Robert Malthus, in his 1798 Essay on the Principle of Population, pointed out that human population increases at a geometric rate, doubling about every 25 years if unchecked. On the other hand, agricultural production increases arithmetically. Thus unchecked population will always outstrip agricultural production. And if the population just keeps on growing, taking up more and more land, where exactly do you figure we are going to be able to grow this food?

It is time for a change, people. We have to abandon the current idea that we are “rulers of the earth” and replace it with the idea that we are “stewards of the earth”. We need to switch to sustainable farming, involving interplanting with plants like legumes to put things back into the earth. We need to compost and reduce our reliance on pesticides and fertilizer. We need to engage in smarter irrigation practices and use mulching and cover crops. We need to come up with alternative, clean sources of energy. And I really think that we need to start paying attention to the concept of zero population growth. We’ve reached the point of Malthusian collapse. We need to do this now, before we push our dear Mother Earth past the point of no return.

BB Kerr

Monday, July 6, 2009

Facebook Rant

Someone just sent me another one of those annoying Facebook “What kind of (enter name of animal, vegetable, inanimate object, famous person, only-the-gods-knows-what here) are you?” quizzes on Facebook. Some of these I’ve been more annoyed with than others: For instance, one recent one asking me what kind of alcoholic drink I was. I never participate in them: I consider them meaningless in the extreme. They are as bad as those automatic “We’ve just sent you a (rock, flower, drink, only-the-gods-knows-what) that are about as sincere as a counterfeit $20. I never comment on them and usually don’t do anything other than quietly block these stupid things, but this one that was sent to me today pushed me over the edge. The question was: “What kind of sniper rifle are you?” Let me rephrase this: They’re asking “What kind of instrument of violent, unexpected death are you?” Are you serious? As a former ERT member who managed to apprehend every one of his suspects WITHOUT shooting anyone, I take serious exception to that request, and said so on Facebook.

NOT a fan of Facebook, can you tell? My support goes to Twitter.

BB Kerr

Precept of the Month for July

This month’s Precept of the Month is: Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye. Perception is a tricky business: Things aren’t always the way that they seem on the surface. The Warrior must learn to see through deception and illusion to grasp the true nature of her situation. The Wiccan Warrior must learn to dip below the surface and arrive at a true understanding of things in order to act appropriately and effectively.

The only way to control something is to understand it. The more you know about something, the more control you have over it. Knowledge is power. Magick is knowing. There is an old Japanese saying: "From one thing know ten thousand things." The Warrior uses knowing to take charge of his life. Knowing is the foundation from which accurate perception stems. From this foundation the Warrior can separate what is real from what is illusion.
At the Motherhouse we constantly engage in psychic challenges in which I challenge members to find things that I've left around the Motherhouse or in our astral temple. We also periodically engage in "divination sessions" in which all of our members bring their preferred divination tools and read for one another.
Bright Blessings, Kerr

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Not Knighthood

Last night I dealt with a 911 call from an Asian male who'd been in the underground parking lot of his building with his wife. As they got out of their car, they unexpectedly encountered a dangerous looking character lurking in the parking lot. The Asian male was pretty sure that this menacing suspect had a knife in his hand. So he immediately took action: He pushed his wife in the direction of the suspect, fled to his apartment several floors up, thought about it for a few minutes, and then called 911 to report that he'd left his wife to do rearguard action while he escaped to safety. Would we please now come quickly and rescue his wife? To complicate things even further, he'd left the device to buzz open the garage door downstairs in his car in his haste to seek safety.We responded code 3 and rescued her.I'm wondering if a divorce is now being considered by the wife. I hope so.
Bb Kerr

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Battle of Proof II

The challenge facing some of my Knights now is what to do when the Seneschal challenges them at the entrance to the Mastering ritual which will make them Masters: “How will you demonstrate your Mastery?”

Last weekend after our Litha ritual, one of them had an epiphany: They had been thinking of asking for their Mastering (in our order you must ask for it, it isn't given to you automatically), but like so many others they were stuck on what their Battle of Proof should be. And they suddenly figured out that, in their case, all they had to do was stand up in front of the Challenge formation and unveil a symbol of what they had accomplished as a result of all they'd learned through dedication to the Warrior path represented by their Magickal Weapon. Without saying a word.

As simple and as elegant as that.

I said in an earlier post to my Order that the Battle of Proof is a short demonstration. And this can take the form of an actual demonstration involving your chosen Magickal Weapon, the one that you dedicated yourself to in the Arming ritual that made you a Knight. It could be a bojutsu kata, a display of swordsmanship, or an Arnis siniwali form. But think about this: What does your Magickal Weapon represent? Creativity? Will? Vision? Strength? Spirit? Then consider: What could be a symbol of this path that others can see? An action? A statement? A symbol? Let me remind you: The Battle of Proof isn’t really about fighting or martial arts. It is about Mastery. Remember that saying that I told you about by Paul Tuitean? It goes:

Soldiers march. Warriors dance.

You will also recall that I reminded you what my definition of a Warrior is in my books Wiccan Warrior and Full Contact Magick:

A Warrior is a person who makes a fearless and objective inventory of their personal characteristics and then uses this information to take control of their life.

Again: Being a Warrior is not about fighting, it is about winning. It’s not about using your hands, it is about using your head. This is especially true of this situation, because in the Mastering ritual you become the Magickal Weapon. The Mastering is about the fifth pair of Magickal Weapons: Mind and spirit. Remember your Sun Tsu: “Those who render others armies helpless without fighting are the best of all.”

Once again: The Battle of Proof needn’t be long or elaborate: In fact it is better that it is short and concise. If an expression of your Mastery takes the form of a physical demonstration involving a Magickal Weapon, like a kata, no problem. However, don’t get hung up on that. It can also be a recital, a poem or haiku, or a song you wrote to honor your Warrior path. It could be a Warrior dance, a demonstration of psychic ability, or a written essay on a related subject. Or it could be as simple as a gesture, a symbol, that represents your achievement.

One way to look at the Battle of Proof is like a Zen Koan. For those of you unfamiliar with that: In Zen Buddhism, Zen Masters give their students riddles called koans to solve. The Japanese word “koan” (the Chinese equivalent being “kung-an”) means “public case”. That’s exactly what this Battle of Proof is, a public case. In answering a koan the Zen student is allowed to do anything. Anything at all. As in this case, the answer can be a gesture, a pantomine, a statement, or a single word. An old Zen poem states:

Everywhere I went I met with words,
But I couldn’t understand them.
The ball of doubt within my heart
Was as big as a wicker basket.
The Master, from his mat of felt,
Rose up like a dragon,
And, baring his right arm,
Struck my chest a single blow.
My ball of doubt, fright-shattered,
Fell to the ground with a crash!

The first koan of the Inzan School of Zen is:

“In clapping both hands a sound is heard: What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

The answer? The student faces his Master, takes a correct posture, and without a word, thrusts one hand forward.

As simple and as elegant as that.

The Battle of Proof is my koan to you. Like the Zen monk, you can do anything within reason to answer it. So be creative. Look closely at what your Magickal Weapon represents and chose wisely. Remember, one of our precepts is: Minimal appearance, maximum content.

In Her Service
Kerr Cuhulain
Grand Master
Order of Scáthach

Saturday, June 13, 2009

There Are No 'Drop In' Knights

At the beginning of the Order of Scathach Armoring Ritual (see the Rituals page of our training blog) is the Challenge where the Constable addresses the participants. In part, it reads:

“And some of you have that inward look which tells me that you don’t like what you see when you look in the mirror. You consider yourself weak or flawed or insignificant. That’s a difficult thing to deal with, to be sure. But if you came here to rub shoulders with us Warriors, hoping that you’d gain some respect or honor by association only, then I suggest you get lost. We’ve no time for that. But if you’ve come here to reinvent yourself, to rise from your own ashes like the Phoenix, to be glorious, then you are very welcome indeed. We are here to witness your triumphs and cheer you on.”

Recently I went through our membership list, identifying people that had not been heard from in some time. Some, due to extenuating circumstances in their lives, wished to take a “sabbatical” and be listed as supporting members. The idea was that at a later date, once things in their lives had been sorted out, they would be able to get involved once again in the lessons and move onwards towards mastery of their situation and themselves. I have no problem with that at all. We all have our times of trial and tribulation. Supporting each other is part of what this organization is all about.

Let me be very clear about something: The Order of Scathach will not have “supporting members”, auxiliaries or “fans” of any description who “rub shoulders with us Warriors, hoping that you’d gain some respect or honor by association”. Like we say in our Armoring ritual challenge, we don’t have time for that. That’s why I wrote that into the Challenge. If you want to be part of this Order, you must participate in this Order. As one of our Knights, Dame Devenir, put it: “There hasn't been an Order of Knighthood in history that has ever allowed ‘drop ins’.” I concur wholeheartedly and we're certainly not planning to be the first.

Recently some people have attempted to sit on the sidelines, thinking that just being on the membership list entitles them to show up at all events (while missing all classes). They’ve demonstrated that they’ve got time to waste on meaningless posts but are not willing to devote time to learning like the rest of us. If you simply want an audience for what you have to say, there are plenty of Pagan chat groups. The Order of Scáthach isn’t just a chat group. We don’t mind visitors to our rituals: That’s one of the ways that we let people discover for themselves if this is a path for them to follow. On line students from all over the world are always welcome. We periodically do public rituals for the public to see what we are all about. What we will not tolerate at any Motherhouse is freeloaders who never show up for classes, make no effort to study on line, and yet want to participate in all of our rituals. This isn’t a club for people who are fans of knighthood. It is a Fianna of Warriors. This isn’t a Church. It is an Order of Knighthood. In church you stand up or sit down when told to and sing the hymns that you are directed to. In this Order of Scáthach you stand up for yourself and sing the songs from your heart.

I want the Order of Scathach to be something special, something different. It isn’t going to be special unless we insist on standing up for our Precepts and Code of Chivalry. Let me remind you that one of our precepts is: Who dares, wins. Industriousness is part of our Code of Chivalry, and it is commitment that will earn you your Mastering degree. You can’t “buy” a degree here. This is like a dojo. Hopefully here a colored belt means something.

It is amazing to me how many people wish to be considered experts but never make any effort to learn. They want to be treated with respect and yet they make no effort to earn it. Telling the world that you are a master won't last long if you don't make any effort to be a master. Laziness isn't a path to mastery. People will eventually see through the facade to the real person underneath. Master yourself and you master everything else.

In Her Service
Kerr Cuhulain
Grand Master, Order of Scáthach

Friday, June 5, 2009

Precept of the Month: June

The precept for the month is: Minimal appearance, maximum content. This is a good thing to keep in mind when doing magick. Keep it simple: You want your energy to go to the objective, not into a fancy production that’s meant to get you there.

The principle of chivalry for this month is Industriousness. What you put out there you get back. This links into the article on prosperity magick that I posted the other day.

BB Kerr

Monday, June 1, 2009

Goddess Rising Conference, New Orleans

I will be attending the Goddess Rising Conference in New Orleans, October 30 to November 1, 2009 with a Commandery of the Order of Scathach to teach classes and conduct an Armoring ritual. I've added a link to the sidebar for anyone interested in participating.

BB Kerr

Friday, May 29, 2009

Prosperity Magick

There are a lot of people out there hoping for prosperity these days. There are a lot of people out there that need it. The problem is that many Pagans out there throw their energy at hopes of winning the lottery, and then are disappointed when they don’t. Think about this for a moment: With the lottery, especially the ones with the big jackpots, you’ve got millions of people desperately focusing their will on a single event. It is being pulled in countless directions by countless people. Even if you are very good at doing magick, chances are that you are not going to be able to overcome the tidal wave of frantic will being focused on winning the lottery.

We all dream of better things. Ambrose Beirce called the future “That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.”[i] It is a curious thing that so many Wiccans I meet dream of being prosperous and then do nothing to realize these dreams. You’d think that people who understood the intricacies of magick would know how to handle this problem. Yet so many Wiccans of my acquaintance buy a handful of lottery tickets, cross their fingers and dream on. One older Wiccan of my acquaintance has been purchasing lottery tickets for years and yet at the same time is constantly berating wealthy people. Presumably the reason that this person is buying lottery tickets is to become one. Talk about lack of focus. You’d think that people who understood the intricacies of magick would know how to handle a problem like this.

Every single time that I do magick for prosperity, it works. I don’t focus my will on winning the lottery, I focus it on my prosperity. This magick works because the only person focusing energy on the issue of my prosperity is me, unless I’ve asked some of my friends to help. Dreams do not become reality unless you pursue them. Pursuing dreams is what magick is all about.
What this all comes down to is personal responsibility, which is what the Wiccan Rede is all about: “An it harm none, do what thou wilt.” Warriors are not victims: We create our own reality. Abandoning yourself to “fate” will not get you the prosperity you want. To become prosperous you must take charge of your life. This will require work on your part. So often I run into people who figure that magick should bring them instant gratification. Phyllis Curott once described it to me this way:

“This is a fertility religion. You plant the seed, you water it, you nurture it, you weed around it. Ultimately you harvest what you cultivated. That’s how our magick works. And whatever you do, you don’t pull on the plant to help it grow!”[ii]

There are a lot of simple things that you can do to enhance your prosperity. My first suggestion is to clean house. This first suggestion may seem a little odd to some of you, but it is firmly grounded in Feng Shui. If your house is a mess then the energy flow gets messed up. Magick works much better if everything in your house (and yard) is in order. For example: The last part of my house to be renovated was the attic area in the northwest end of the house. We’d been dumping things from the rest of the house in there to get them out of the way for the renovation elsewhere in the house for some time. It was a tangled mess that we’d put off sorting out until everything else was done. As soon as I cleared it out, tossed out the things that we didn’t need, finished the room with flooring and paint and reorganized everything, prosperity started happening: My royalty cheque was larger than expected, my wife started getting unexpected new customers for her newsletter business, and unexpected overtime shifts came in. Simple stuff, and none of it specifically asked for. Just by sorting out the chi flow.

In my book Full Contact Magick I described average millionaire. In their study of millionaires, Stanley and Danko identified seven common factors[iii]:

1. They live well below their means.
2. They allocate their time, energy and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth.
3. They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.
4. Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care.
5. Their adult children are economically self-sufficient.
6. They are proficient in targeting market opportunities.
7. They chose the right occupation.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Prosperous people don’t put their faith in lucky charms. I don’t knock myself out doing magick to improve my luck. I make things happen in my life. I do magick to increase my fortunes. I make my own good fortune. And you can too.

BB Kerr

[i]. Ambrose BIERCE. (1881-1906). The Devil’s Dictionary.
[ii]. Phyllis CUROTT. (2000). Comments from a discussion with the author at Blessed Be and Merry Meet in DC (BBMMDC), 14 October 2000.
[iii]. Thomas J. STANLEY Ph.D. and William D. DANKO Ph.D. (1996). The Millionaire Next Door, list taken from pgs. 3-4.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Feast of Fallen Warriors

Check out the new Feast of Fallen Warriors ritual on the Scathach Training Blog:

BB Kerr

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ritual Combat Training

Greymalkin, our brother from Seattle who coreographs sword fight scenes for the entertainment industry, is going to be at the Motherhouse at 4 PM on 31 May to teach ritual combat involving swords and other weapons. This is primarily for the Knights travelling to New Orleans for the Armoring ritual there this coming Samhain. If anyone is interested in this, please contact me.

Bright Blessings

Kerr Cuhulain

Sunday, May 17, 2009

CNPC Keynote Address: Hope

I just uploaded the Power Point and Word script of my keynote address to the CNPC Gaia Gathering at UBC in Vancouver, BC, yesterday to the Order of Scathach Training Blog: Its not the same as being there, but it does capture some of the spirit of it.

BB Kerr

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Scáthach Schedule, Surrey Motherhouse 2009

Dear Friends:

Here is the updated Order of Scáthach schedule all the way to the New Orleans trip:

Saturday, May 16: Kerr’s keynote address at the Gaia Gathering at UBC.

Sunday, May 17: Novice (Class 4) training at 7 PM at the Motherhouse (Lesson 2).

Wednesday, May 20: Stick Nights for Stick Knights at 7 PM at the Motherhouse

Sunday, May 31: Squire (Class 3) training at 7 PM at the Motherhouse (Lesson 7).

Sunday, June 7: Novice (Class 4) training at 7 PM at the Motherhouse (Lesson 3).

Saturday, June 20: Reiki I at the Motherhouse 10 to 6.

Sunday, June 21: Litha, 7 PM at the Motherhouse, including initiation into the Mystery Cult of Bill the Cat.

Sunday, July 5: Squire (Class 3) training at the Motherhouse (Lesson 8).

Sunday, July 12: Novice (Class 4) training at the Motherhouse (Lesson 4).

Sunday, August 2. Lughnasad at the Motherhouse 7 PM.

Sunday, August 16: Novice (Class 4) training at the Motherhouse (Lesson 5) and Squire (Class 3) training at the Motherhouse (Lesson 9).

Sunday, September 6: Novice (Class 4) training at the Motherhouse (Lesson 6).

Sunday, September 13: Squire (Class 3) training at the Motherhouse (Lesson 10 and 11).

Sunday, September 20: Mabon at the Motherhouse 7 PM.

Saturday, October 10: Reiki I at the Motherhouse 10-6. Lyn and Rita presenting.
Sunday, October 11: Reiki II at the Motherhouse, 10-6 Lyn and Rita presenting. Open to students who already have Reiki I from any tradition/teacher.

Sunday, October 18: Armoring/Arming rituals for Class 3 and 4 at 7 PM at the Motherhouse.

Friday, October 30 to Sunday, November 1: New Orleans Pagan Conference.

BB Kerr

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photos of the Seattle Armoring/Arming

Here's some photos of the Armoring and Arming rituals in Seattle on May 10th including the Puget Sound and Surrey Preceptories of the Order of Scatach.
BB Kerr

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Beltaine Update

I've just uploaded a Knighthood Vigil to the Order of Scathach Training Blog as well as a reading list.

On May 10 the Order will be in Seattle to conduct Armoring/Arming rituals for our Puget Sound Preceptory. If you are interested, please contact Skatha.

BB Kerr

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Juusan Kun

Those of you familiar with karate will be familiar with the term “Niju Kun”, which means “20 Rules.” These were written by one of the founders of karate, Gichin Funakoshi in about 1890 and first published in a book The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate in 1938. Gichin’s Niju Kun was one of the things that influenced me when I created the 13 Precepts of the Order of Scáthach in 2007.

Funakoshi’s original five rules of the dojo, or Dojo Kun, originated with Okinawan Karate masters. The actual creator of these rules is possibly Sakugawa, an 18th Century Okinawan karate master. It seems more likely that this Dojo Kun was created by Funakoshi Gichin, but no evidence exists one way or the other. Funakoshi’s five Dojo Kun (“Rules for the Dojo”) are:
Hitotsu. Jinkaku Kansei ni Tsutomuro Koto.Hitotsu. Makoto no Michi wo Mamoru Koto.Hitotsu. Doryoku no Seishin o Yashinau Koto.Hitotsu. Reigi o Omonzuru Koto.Hitotsu. Kekki no Yu o Imashimuru Koto.

Every line begins with the word “Hitotsu”, which is a counter that means “one.” Every line ends with the word “koto”, which literally means “thing.” This is generally interpreted to mean “Here’s a rule, here’s another rule…” These Dojo Kun translate as:

First. Seek perfection of character

First. Protect the way of the truth

First. Foster the spirit of effort

First. Respect the principles of etiquette and respect others

First. Guard against impetuous courage and refrain from violent behavior.

In simpler terms:
Seek Perfection of Character

Defend the Path of Truth

Endeavor to Excel

Display Courtesy

Refrain from Violent Behavior

Some Karate styles, such as Goju Ryu, have developed eight rules from the original five:

One thing: Be humble and polite.
One thing: Train considering your physical strength.
One thing: Practice earnestly with creativity.
One thing: Be calm and swift.
One thing: Take care of your health.
One thing: Live a plain life.
One thing: Do not be too proud or modest.
One thing: Continue your training with patience.

Gichin Funakoshi’s original Niju Kun reads:

Karate-do begins and ends with rei (courtesy)


Karate-do wa rei ni hajimari rei ni owaru koto a wasaru na

There is no first strike in karate


Karate ni sente nashi

Karate stands on the side of justice


Karate wa, gi no taske

First know yourself, then know others


Mazu onore o shire, shikashite ta o shire

Mentality over technique


Gijitsu yori shinjitsu

The mind must be set free


Kokoro wa hanatan koto o yosu

Calamity springs from carelessness


Wazawai wa ketai ni seizu

Karate goes beyond the dojo


Dojo nomino karate to omou na

Karate is a lifelong pursuit


Karate-do no shugyo wa isssho de aru

Apply the way of karate to all things. Therein lies its beauty


Ara yuru mono o karateka seyo; sokoni myomi ari

Karate is like boiling water; without heat, it returns to its tepid state


Karate Wa Yu No Gotoku Taezu Netsu O Atae Zareba Motono Mizuni Kaeru

Do not think of winning. Think, rather, of not losing


Katsu kangae wa motsuna; makenu kangae wa hitsuyo

Make adjustments according to your opponent


Tekki ni yotte tenka seyo

The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles emptiness and fullness (weakness and strength)


Tattakai wa kyo-jitsu no soju ikan ni ari

Think of hands and feet as swords


Hi to no te-ashi wa ken to omoe

When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies


Danshi mon o izureba hyakuman no teki ari

Kamae is for beginners; later, one stands in shizentai


Kamae wa shoshinsha ni atowa shizentai

Perform kata exactly; actual combat is another matter


Kata wa tadashiku, jisen wa betsumono

Do not forget the employment of withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the body, the swift or leisurely application of technique


Chikara no kyojaku tai no shinshuku waza no kankyu

Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of the Way


Tsune ni shinen ku fu seyo

By way of comparison, you might call the thirteen precepts of the Order of Scáthach “Juusan Kun” (“thirteen rules”), which are as follows:

1. Know thyself.
2. Nurture the ability to perceive the truth in all matters.
3. You create your own reality.
4. Develop a sense of Right Action.
5. Do not be negligent, even in trifling matters.
6. Your body is your temple: Care for it!
7. Minimal appearance, maximum content.
8. Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye.
9. Power with.
10. Who dares wins.
11. The Gods cannot help those who will not help themselves.
12. Be creative!
13. Do not engage in useless activity.
If we rewrote Gichin Funakoshi’s Niju Kun to relate to the Order of Scáthach, it might read something like this:
1. Knighthood begins and ends with courtesy
2. There is no first strike in Knighthood.
3. Knights stand on the side of justice
4. First know yourself, then know others
5. Mentality over technique.
6. The mind must be set free
7. Calamity springs from carelessness
8. Knighthood goes beyond the Motherhouse
9. Knighthood is a lifelong pursuit
10. Apply the way of Knighthood to all things. Therein lies its beauty
11. Knighthood is like boiling water; without heat, it returns to its tepid state
12. Do not think of winning. Think, rather, of not losing
13. Make adjustments according to your opponent
14. The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles weakness and strength
15. Think of hands and feet as swords
16. When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies
17. Posing is for beginners; The Knight stands in strength.
18. Perform exercises exactly and patiently; Practice magick with spontaneity
19. Do not forget the employment of withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the body, the swift or leisurely application of technique
20. Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of Knighthood

BB Kerr

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Power Point on Scathach Training Blog

Today I added a power point (Lesson 15b) to the Scathach Training Blog demonstrating a basic bo kata.

BB Kerr

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The Order of Scathach supports Kiva (see link on the sidebar), and organization that provides micro loans to third world entrepreneurs. This is an excellent organization, helping people to help themselves. You provide loans in $25 increments to these entrepreneurs. When they pay the loan back you can then re-loan it to another entrepreneur. I encourage you all to check it out and participate. The Order of Scathach currently has 8 entrepreneurs in its portfolio.

BB Kerr

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Scathach Training Cycle

Just a reminder that the next training cycle for local students of the Order of Scathach starts Sunday, April 12 at the Motherhouse at 7 PM.

BB Kerr

Monday, April 6, 2009

Askani's Blog

One of the newest Knights of the Order of Scathach has started her own blog: Please check it out. I've put a link to it on the sidebar.

BB Kerr

April 2009 Arming and Armoring Ritual

Last night the Order of Scáthach held Armoring and Arming initiations for members both local and out of town. The Order now has three new Knights. The next Arming/Armoring will take place in Seattle on May 10. The Arming ritual is the Knighthood ritual of our Order. Here's some photos from the Arming.
For those of you who weren’t at the Arming last night, as part of the ritual we did magick for members and others who’d requested it. Wildvine had asked for energy to put up a ward around her property in Balfour, BC. I phoned Wildvine to let her know that we were starting. She and Sherry were going to take the energy and push it out to the perimeters of her property. At this end the Commandery at the Motherhouse was going to send them the energy to do this. Wildvine wrote to tell me what happened:

“Kerr, wow, just wow. That was the strongest shot of energy I have ever felt. About 10 seconds after we hung up the phone, Sherry and I began to gather our energy balls. We decided to do it in the living room instead of outside because it had gotten late and was very cold. We were tired and at first I was struggling to gather my ball of energy. After about 1 minute, Sherry whispered to me "I can feel them" meaning all of you in the group. I just whispered "not yet" because I was still working on it and couldn't feel it yet. I had my eyes closed and didn't know that Sherry had taken one step toward me. Our hands were close but not touching. Then, all of a sudden I felt a searing white hot surge of energy hit the top of my head, shoot down my body with sparks flying. It took my breath away. I said "now, now I feel them". We gathered the energy up and made our bubble spread out over the property as we had done before like a soap bubble with flexible edges. This time I was not trying to visualize a colour but was letting it take the course that it would. The colour was an iridescent pink/purple and it hung in the air and all around like a living thing. Right away, Sherry went to each side of the house to reinforce the shield in each direction then we both went out onto the deck facing south (the problem area) and reinforced the shield there as well. My knees were shaking, and we looked up to see a huge moon dog around the waxing moon. My head felt singed and tingly until I went to sleep. It was a very powerful ward.Thank you to everyone that lent us your energy.”


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More Scathach Training Blog Updates

I've just added glossaries of Wiccan terms and Sabbats to the Order of Scathach Training Blog.

BB Kerr

Magickal Buffet Article

My article on the Wiccan Rede just appeared on Magickal Buffet:

BB Kerr

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bojutsu on the Scáthach Training Blog

Dear Friends:

I've been receiving a lot of e mails from people interested in the martial arts training that we do in the Order of Scáthach, so I just added 2 bojutsu training lessons to the Order of Scáthach Training Site (lessons 5a and 15a). Here's some photos from the session.

BB Kerr

Friday, March 27, 2009

Warrior Article

Dear Friends:

There’s an interesting article on “Being a Warrior” by Tanrinia at the ADF Warrior Guild site: Check it out. I’ve also included a link to the ADF Warrior Guild in the sidebar.

BB Kerr

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scáthach Training Blog

Today I edited the Lessons and Rituals pages on the Scáthach Training Blog to more clearly define the objectives of each lesson and the nature of our various rituals and assist the on line student in figuring out how to use the blog. As a yardstick for progress: Novice training is lessons 1 through 6. Squire training is lessons 7 through 12. Mastery training is lessons 13 through 17.
BB Kerr

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eostre 2009

Here’s some photos from the Eostre ritual at the Surrey Motherhouse last Sunday. You can find our Eostre ritual by Dame Janus on the Scáthach training blog ( The theme, as you can see, is planting. Everyone planted seeds in containers and either took them home or left them in the greenhouse at the Motherhouse.

BB Kerr

Sunday, March 22, 2009


There seems to be two groups of people out there. There are those who want to be Knights and there are those who want to tell people that they are Knights. Those in the first category dedicate themselves to the precepts and code of chivalry or our Order and through hard work and discipline become Knights. I recognized these two groups when I wrote the “Challenge” at the beginning of the Armoring ritual for the Order of Scáthach. The Challenge reads:

“I can see in some of your eyes that haunted look that tells me that you’ve been victims. You’ve been set upon, bruised, harassed, suffered setbacks. That’s a terrible thing. But if you came to this place to claim the title “Victim” and expect to have us feel sorry for you, then you’ve come to the wrong place. You may as well turn around and leave. Yet if you came here to empower yourself, to take charge of your life, to say “Never Again!”, then you are very welcome. We Warriors are here to show you how.

“And some of you have that inward look which tells me that you don’t like what you see when you look in the mirror. You consider yourself weak or flawed or insignificant. That’s a difficult thing to deal with, to be sure. But if you came here to rub shoulders with us Warriors, hoping that you’d gain some respect or honor by association only, then I suggest you get lost. We’ve no time for that. But if you’ve come here to reinvent yourself, to rise from your own ashes like the Phoenix, to be glorious, then you are very welcome indeed. We are here to witness your triumphs and cheer you on.

“And some of you have fear in your eyes. You’ve found the world to be a chaotic and dangerous place. But if you came here hoping that we Warriors will stand between you and that scary world, then think again. Yet if you came here to stand shoulder to shoulder with us, face your fears and not back down, then you’ll find yourself amongst friends. We Warriors are here to stand with you and watch your back.

“At this point in many rituals the priestess or priest pokes you in the chest with an edged weapon and says things about it being “better to rush upon this” than enter with fear and demand secret passwords.... There are no passwords that will get you through life. What you need to enter here is not a secret. To enter this Circle you need to bring seven things: Loyalty, Justice, Sincerity, Courtesy, Compassion, Courage and Honor. If you have these, then enter...”

The reason that I wrote that was because of people in the second category: People who wish to call themselves Knights but aren’t willing to make any effort to earn that title. The Order of Scáthach is not a place for “victims” to seek sympathy and feel sorry for themselves. It is a place of healing and empowerment. The Order of Scáthach will not be used by people who want to sit around on their ass and wave a membership card around to impress others. Honor is earned. The Order of Scáthach is sworn to defend but has little patience for members who won’t make an effort to defend themselves. To us, the terms Warrior and Knight aren't just titles: They are terms that describe what we really are.

The Order of Scáthach isn’t a club, it is an order of Wiccan knighthood. It isn’t for wannabes, its for Warriors.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Prosperity Book

Those of you with prosperity problems in this current econonmic fiasco might want to check out Ian Edward's book The Wizards Way to Wealth. You can check out a review at:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Eostre Greetings


I’ve heard from many Pagans in the last few weeks and it is appalling how many have either lost jobs, had hours cut back, or have friends or relatives who are in this situation. We’ve been doing some prosperity and healing magick for several people who asked for it. We’ve also had to do some warding magick for several people. All in a day’s work for us Pagan Warriors.

It’s been a cold winter with a lot less rain than usual so far. The last two days we set records for low temperatures.

I’ve got a new greenhouse up. It is entirely solar, with a small composter at one end (for heat and CO2 for the plants) and thermal mass (a large black barrel of water to radiate stored heat). I’m pretty excited about doing herbs and vegetables in there (particularly tomatoes) and starting bedding plants for the Motherhouse garden. Do any of you out there have a greenhouse? I’m just learning. I’ve found an excellent reference book: The Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion by Shane Smith.

Several times a night a police dispatcher like me at ECOMM will be asked to do a BOLF (be on the lookout for) broadcast for other channels and various other agencies. Many of these relate to missing persons. Usually these missing person BOLFs include the missing person’s name, date of birth, physical description, and clothing description. So the other day I get this BOLF from Coquitlam RCMP. It related to an elderly missing male. It had his name, his age (82 years) and the following description: “Has all of his teeth and is not circumcised.” That’s it. No height, weight, hair color, clothing... nothing but that. So I figure, what the heck, that’s what they’ve given me to work with, that’s what I broadcast. So I do. Silence on the air. Then a police officer sends me a message from his lap top: “OK. I’ll check for the teeth, but I’m not checking for that other thing.”

I’m gradually discovering more and more Pagans on Twitter, where I’ve been posting what I’m up to as well as various thoughts on my Warrior path. If you go to, look for warriorwitch for my deliberations.

I’ve been updating our Order of Scáthach web site, and various blogs. We still have our members-only blog and I’m still posting news on my blog: You can link to the blog from my web site: The Order of Scáthach continues to grow steadily and is attracting a lot of talented and committed people. Our on line training blog where our students download lessons and rituals has received more than 2300 visits since we set it up last November. I’ve just updated that too, with photos and updated lessons.

We’re off to Seattle, Washington, to do a half day training session on the 10th of May to conduct an Armoring ritual for the members of our new Seattle preceptory. If you are interested in participating, just drop me a line.

I’m still waiting on the editing on the upcoming Law Enforcement Guide to Pagan Religion. Acorn Press tells me they’re busy on editing it. I’m also waiting to hear back on a proposal to Llewellyn for a new book of ritual and recipes.

As I mentioned in my Imbolc note, my wife and I will be in New Orleans in October 2009. Several other members of the Order of Scáthach will be attending the Pagan conference there with me. I’ll be teaching some Warrior classes and conducting an Armoring ritual. If you are interested in participating in this, please let me know.

I hope that you have a wonderful Eostre.

Bright Blessings, Kerr Cuhulain

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chivalry is Simple Things

It is amazing to me how many people look surprised when I hold the door open for them at the store or at work. It clearly seems that people aren’t used to having people show courtesy towards them these days. It certainly seems to be something lacking in their life. Likewise people that I let merge into traffic in front of me seem surprised. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by this. In my line of work as a dispatcher I am certainly aware of the growing number of road rage incidents out there. Many people have become so self centered and isolated. The more discourtesy they experience, the more this feeling in them grows.

I always arrive early at work and let someone on the dispatch line go home earlier than they are accustomed to. Some fellow workers that I do this for seem upset and guilty: They tell me that they can’t come back the next day and return the favor, because they are going on days off. I tell them I don’t expect a “pay back”. I tell them that when they come back they should let someone else go and “pay it forward”.

Courtesy, in other words showing respect and consideration at all times towards others, is one of the keystones of the Order of Scáthach’s Code of Chivalry, just as it was one of the keystones of Bushido (rei). Compassion is another key principle of Bushido (jin). Compassion is another key principle of our Code, as well as being one of the ethical principles named in Doreen Valiente’s Charge of the Goddess: “Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.”[1] These two Warrior concepts fit seamlessly into the other thirteen principles of chivalry in the Order’s code: Sincerity, Courtesy, Compassion, Perseverance, Industriousness, Justice, Loyalty, Courage, Self-Discipline, Humility, Largesse, Truth, and Honor. Our Code of Chivalry grows out of the fourth Warrior Precept of the Order of Scáthach: “Develop a sense of right action.” Right Action is what Robin Wood describes as finding the balance point: “The spot where all the possible outcomes on one side of a decision are weighed against all the possible outcomes on the other side, and they come out even.”[2]

The current world situation was largely created by people who violated some or all of these principles. This is why it is so important for Pagans everywhere to embrace these principles and set an example for the rest of the world to follow, to lead us back into stability and security.

BB Kerr

[1] Stewart FARRAR. (1971). What Witches Do: The Modern Coven Revealed, pg 197-8.
[2] Robin WOOD. (1996). When, Why...If, pg 22.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ostara 2009

The Order of Scathach's Ostara/Eostre 2009 ritual is being held at the Motherhouse in Surrey on 22 March at 7 PM. If you are interested in attending please write to me.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Christian Hate Mail

I just got the following e mail from a Christian person whom I’ve never met. This is typical of some of the mail that I’ve received over the years from Christian strangers:

“They must let anybody become a cop in Canada. I mean come on, a pagan cop. Yeah, that is what I want, a cop who talks to false gods, and bashes christians. How many misleading things did you give out as a wiccan cop? Come on, you occult types love to deceive and mislead. Deny Christ, accept the devil's lies and whatever form they may come, wiccan being your fun form. You were an investegator, but cannot even see past the lies of the greatest deceiver around. Let me guess, wicca has nothing to do with satan, right? Thought so. Yeah wicca is just a harmless little religion that hurts nobody. Anywho, I hope you come to your sense and find Jesus, accept his salvation, drop your ego, and realize you are a sinner. God Bless”

People like this are one of the reasons that I’m not Christian.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Precept of the Month: March

The Precept for the Month of March is: Develop a sense of right action. Right Action is what Robin Wood describes as finding the balance point: “The spot where all the possible outcomes on one side of a decision are weighed against all the possible outcomes on the other side, and they come out even.”[i] Grace and guilt do not exist. The Wiccan Warrior replaces guilt with responsibility and honor. Right action is having a sense of impartial justice. A Warrior must put aside bias and favoritism. The Wiccan Rede reminds us that what is right for you must also be right for others.

The principle of chivalry for this month is compassion. There’s a lot of people hurting out there these days thanks to the down turn in the economy. Let’s help them if we can.
BB Kerr

[i]. Robin WOOD. (1996). When, Why...If, pg 22.

Eostre Biscuit Recipe

There are several regional versions of Eostre biscuits. Here is our variation on it:
Eostre Biscuits
1/2 cup butter
¾ cup sugar or berry sugar
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons currants or sultanas
zest of one lemon
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons Amaretto or brandy
a little extra caster sugar
Whisk flour, spices, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat the egg to the butter mixture. Add the lemon zest, amaretto and currants. Add the flour mixture and combine to form a soft dough. Take pieces of dough to form 1 – ½ inch balls. Flatten these out to make cookies and line them up on a baking tin lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes at 180 C (350 F) until golden brown. Another variation that I like is to substitute a ½ teaspoon of ginger for the mace and two tablespoons of Jamaica rum for the Amaretto.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Magick Results

Dear Friends:

Last Monday a Commandery of the Order of Scathach convened at Aurora’s place in Surrey, BC. We did some warding magick for Aurora, as well as some magick for our sister Karen here and prosperity magick for Vonita in South Afrika. Vonita had asked us for prosperity magick to help her in a job search. Vonita wrote to tell us what happened:

“This week, I had two signs which I take as very good and that things will work out. On Monday, a dove came to my office window and tried very hard to get inside, clicking its beak on the window. He continued with this, even when my colleague rapped on the window. I could see that the bird could definitely see me through the window, because when I stood up to take a closer look, it stopped what it was doing and looked at me. Then it started again. I even put my hand right up to the window, and he did not fly away. Then a second one came along and did the exact same thing.

“This morning, I opened my cupboard door and found a ladybug sitting on one of my jackets. This is the second one I have seen since the weekend, but I thought that it was quite peculiar to find one like this.

Also, 3 People have also phoned me during the past week to set up an interview for a job.

Thanks again to you and the group.”

Well done to Aurora, who was the “steersperson” sending our energy and to everyone involved.

BB Kerr

Celtic Martial Arts

One of our members just found this link to a discussion of Celtic Martial Arts:

BB Kerr

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Almond Tarts

Almond tarts seem to be one of the favorites for the agape at our Order of Scáthach rituals, so I thought that I’d post the recipe. Almonds are the kernel of the fruit of the Prunus dulcis, which resembles a peach, but is inedible. They are perhaps the oldest known nut crop. There are two types: Sweet and bitter. Bitter almonds contain prussic acid and must be blanched and roasted to make them edible.
Archeological evidence shows that almonds were being collected from the wild by the inhabitants of Franchthi Cave by 10,000 BC, and in Turkey, Syria and Palestine by that time or soon afterwards.[1] By the third millennium BCE cultivation was probably under way in Jordan. Almonds were typically included in ancient Greek banquets. The ancient Romans often used them to flavor food and their sugared almonds were one of the first known sweetmeats. Ancient people also prized almonds for their medicinal properties.
Medieval recipes often included almond flour or almond “milk”, which was used as a substitute for eggs on days of fasting.[2] Almond paste is the basic of many Medieval cakes and confections, such as macaroons and marzipan. Sugar coated almonds, called comfits, were offered as wedding gifts in Medieval times.
Almond tarts are one of my favorites. I use a sweet dough based on Italian pasta frolla for the crust of my almond tarts.
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups (300 gm/11 oz) flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sugar
Almond Filling:
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups finely ground almonds or almond paste
½ teaspoon almond extract or amaretto
Crust: Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add flour and mix to form a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Take balls of dough about 1 inch in diameter and press them into each recess of a greased miniature tart tin to cover the bottom and sides.
Filing: Beat the eggs in a bowl with a whisk. Add the other ingredients and mix together well. Put about 1 teaspoon full of filling in each tart crust (they’ll be slightly mounded when full). Bake at 325 F for about 25 minutes. The edges of the crust should start to brown. Makes about 2 dozen. Let them cool completely. Some people like to dust them with a little icing sugar and/or garnish the tops with sliced almonds. Some like to put a sugar glaze on the tops. I like to frost them with a butter cream icing:
½ cup butter
3 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons cream
Cream the butter and 2 cups of the icing sugar together. Add the vanilla and milk, then the remaining cup of icing sugar.
Variation: You can put a tiny bit of jam in the bottom of each crust before putting in the almond filling. This makes each tart a bit like a Bakewell tart.

Kerr Cuhulain

[1] Food in the Ancient World From A-Z, Andrew Dalby [Routledge:London] 2003 (p. 6)
[2] Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2000 Volume 2, (p. 1717)

A Warding Mission

Last night our Commandery met at a member's place to do some warding magick for her “stalker”. I thought that I’d describe what we did for those who weren’t there but sent energy to assist.

As I’ve outlined in lesson 4, wards such as the magick Circle that Wiccans typically put up around their rituals are simply a screen that keeps out the random negative energy that is in the neighborhood. It is kind of a “duck and cover” exercise. However, if you’re dealing with someone either deliberately sending negative stuff, or deliberately drawing energy away (as was the case here), then you need to drop the shields and engage the person. Remember the old martial arts adage: “When they push, you pull. When they pull, you push.”

What we did was a two part process. We first put up a ward around Aurora’s townhouse. For this we stood in a circle and faced outwards, with Aurora in the middle. The five of us put out the energy to create the ward while Aurora in the middle pushed it out to the perimeter of the property: Aurora was most familiar with the boundaries of her space (it is her space, after all), so she was the best person to do this. The rest of us focused on the intent behind it. This is a similar process to the one that I used to put up double wards around Dûn Scáthach.

Next, each of us went to one of the doors to the place (there are 5). We stood facing the door and focused defensive intent on the portal in front of us. This is something like created a “haunted house”: We were imprinting the entrance with the thought that if anyone with hostile intent showed up, they’d pick up on the message: “You are in danger. You are not welcome. You do NOT want to come through this door.” We wanted that person to feel as if someone was right behind them. That person that you think that you see in your peripheral vision, but when you turn to see, you can’t see them. That person that you fear that is on the other side of the door, making you want to turn around and run away. The closer you get, the more you want to pee yourself and run. This stalker guy is going to see me staring right through the front door with my sticks in my hand. He’s going to see Sir Ravin waiting with his bo. He’s goign to see Dame Janus waiting with her bubbling cauldron of caustic energy. He’s going to see Dame Sorayah waiting with her spear and two jaguars. He’s going to see Dame Ravin standing there with a water barrier behind her and a bo in her hand. People with no evil intent won’t feel it: If they feel anything it will be security, as will Aurora. In fact she commented on how she felt more secure the moment that we finished.

Thanks to all of you who couldn’t make it but sent energy to assist.

BB Kerr

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Scáthach Symbolism

The symbol of our Order originated back in the early 1990s before I wrote any of my Warrior books and was experimenting with a training coven. The name of that coven was the “OODC”, which stood for “Our Own Damn Coven”. It was a name that started as a joke but stuck. The OODC was what got me thinking of the concepts that I needed to develop for the Order of Scáthach to become a reality. When I sat down to create a symbol for this concept, this is what almost immediately came to me. Looking back at it now I see that it encapsulated much of the meaning that has become the Order of Scáthach now.

What does that symbolism mean to me? The moon represents the divine feminine. It represents the intuition and psychic power that directs and inspires us on our path as Warriors. The branch silhouetted against the moon is a symbol of the divinity which shines through us and illuminates our Warrior path. The upright branch represents the divine masculine. It represents the life energy, chi, that flows through us and helps us to grow and achieve on our Warrior path. This branch, with it’s three leaves, represents our growth as Warriors through our three degrees: From Novice to Squire to Knight and, ultimately, to Master.

The three leaves also represent the dubbing ritual that forms part of the Arming ritual that makes us Knights. This is where the Grand Master taps the initiate with the sword first on the right shoulder, then the left shoulder, then the right shoulder again.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Battle of Proof

“Courage was mine, I had mystery
Wisdom was mine, I had mastery.”
Wilfred Owen, Strange Meeting

To qualify for the Mastering ritual that makes a Scáthach Knight a Master, candidate Knights need to come up with a short demonstration of their Mastery for the ritual. This demonstration is called the Battle of Proof. At the entrance to the area where the initiation is to take place, the Seneschal challenges each initiate: “How will you demonstrate your Mastery?”

The Battle of Proof is a short demonstration in which the candidate for initiation may actually use their chosen Magickal Weapon. It could be a bo kata, a display of swordsmanship, or a siniwali form. This option has clearly been one of the first things considered by candidates for the upcoming Mastering. This is not surprising, since this is a Warrior tradition, and since our training is clearly influenced by martial arts. We all dedicated ourselves to Magickal Weapons at the Arming ritual that made us Knights. The candidate for the Mastering knows that they have to bring that Magickal Weapon to the Mastering Ritual to become a Master. So it is not surprising to me that so many of you approaching this milestone seem to be struggling with the upcoming Battle of Proof. If you don’t succeed, you won’t get initiated. The problem is that you’re all thinking martial arts as fighting. Let me remind you that in that very first class I taught you:

Soldiers march. Warriors dance.

Let me further remind you of my definition of a Warrior which I gave you in that first lesson as a novice:

A Warrior is a person who makes a fearless and objective inventory of their personal characteristics and then uses this information to take control of their life.

Being a Warrior is not about fighting, its about winning. It’s not about using your hands, it is about using your head. Remember your Sun Tsu. This is especially true of this situation, because in the Mastering ritual you become the Magickal Weapon. The Mastering is about the fifth pair of Magickal Weapons: Mind and spirit.

The Battle of Proof can indeed be a physical demonstration involving a Magickal Weapon, like a kata. However, this is not the only option. It can also be a recital, a poem or haiku, or a song you wrote to honor your Warrior path. It could be a Warrior dance, a demonstration of psychic ability, or a written essay on a related subject. If you’re dedicated to the grail and cauldron it might involve healing or cooking (the cauldron as the cornucopia, remember from Lesson 13?). If you’re dedicated to the stone and shield, it might be something that you forged or made (basic anvil magick - remember Lesson 14?). It just has to be something that demonstrates Mastery, that is to say, understanding of the true meaning and symbolism of the Magickal Weapon that you are dedicated to.

The Battle of Proof needn’t be long or elaborate: In fact it is better that it is short and concise. Presumably the candidate would not even be here seeking this initiation if they had not already met the requirements by demonstrating the Mastery that they wish to be recognized for. Specifically, before applying to be initiated as Masters they must be able to write and perform Sabbat rituals, teach classes in the subjects that are part of the magickal curriculum of Scáthach, and prove that they have engaged in charitable work of some sort for their community. They also must be able to prove that they’ve attained some level of mastery of the Magickal Weapon to which they dedicated themselves in the Arming initiation.

And this brings us back to the Battle of Proof, because that’s exactly what the Battle of Proof is for.

So be creative. Look closely at what your Magickal Weapon represents and chose wisely.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Warrior Magick Class

Just a reminder that my Knights and I will be teaching a Warrior Magick class at Grimoires Books in New Westminster, BC, at 5 PM on Sunday, February 15.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Imbolc 2009

Here are some photos of the Order of Scathach's candle making workshop at Imbolc 2009.