The Mysteries

Lady Bridget © 1998

Many initiatory religions have had access to what they have usually called the "Mysteries". Exactly what are these mysteries? How does one come to learn them? What is the difference between the female mysteries and the male mysteries and how does one distinguish between them? It is interesting to note that there are gender differences within the mysteries of Wicca. There are no barriers to learning the mysteries of the opposite gender, except the physical ones of the body. For example, childbirth will have to remain a feminine mystery of the female body until such time as science can allow a male body to carry a fetus to term and deliver it alive. (I wait for the day that can happen, because it is my firm belief that when men can become pregnant, a lot of legal propaganda regarding abortion and birth control will drastically change!)

Basically, the mysteries are transformatory. They cannot actually be taught, but must be experienced since true transformation occurs within. However, the method of achieving such transformations differs from person to person. The female mysteries have traditionally been such things as, of course, menstruation, childbirth, and menopause - which are actually physical changes which occur within the body during a women's lifetime. The male mysteries which are similar to those are the first ejaculation, or first seed, and fatherhood. Perhaps your first grey hairs as well? These are referring to physiological changes which are obvious and easily recognized.

But there are other mysteries as well, that are also transformative, if done correctly. My definition of what constitutes a mystery may certainly differ from yours or from other teacher's, but I do count transformative acts, such as cooking and forging metal, as mysteries. In cooking, as in forging, the reality of the material is changed, the properties themselves have been transformed - and the result should be a pleasing one. And of course, either gender may learn to do them.

Sewing, cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, carding, and all other type of stitching and cloth work are also some of the traditionally feminine mysteries. They can be used as repetative and meditative work; to relieve stress, to calm the mind, and transform ourselves in the process. We can learn patience, preciseness, and the pleasure of achievement through the completion of a successful project in doing these tasks.

Then, likewise, the male mysteries would include such things as building, fixing or creating machinery, welding, forging, leatherworking, woodworking, etc. As we build and create, we bring our dreams into realities and learn to manifest our thoughts on the physical plane.

Alchemists in the middle ages searched for a "Philosopher's Stone"which would turn ordinary lead into gold. In more modern times we we seek to transform ourselves, to elevate ourselves through our studies and to achieve whatever form of enlightenment we desire.

To simply list all the activities and skills which could be called part of the mysteries would serve little purpose and distract from the real definition of a mystery. That is to say, "the process by which we transform an object, and in the process, transform ourselves" that is my definition of the Mysteries.

My advice - take your daily processes, your daily rituals, and look at where transformation occurs around you, and NOTICE and OBSERVE your experiences. Learn from them, and you will be learning the wonderful "mysteries".

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