As with any witch, my Book of Shadows contains a great deal of information that I find useful. I have the usual rituals and how to information. Sabbats and projects; herbalism and runes; candle meanings and holiday recipes. I have even added some different literary works that I find thought provoking or spiritually touching to myself.
Some of these poems I wrote myself and some I have copied from other books, papers or from the internet. Most of them I have tried to give the author credit if it was available; some I have had to list in my B-O-S as “Author Unknown” because I couldn’t find it. Either way, most of this is information for myself and my children to use so that doesn’t matter as long as they know that I didn’t write it.
One of my favorite pieces is from the Nag Hammadi Library. It is entitled “The Thunder, Perfect Mind”; or according to Wikipedia, more accurately translated “The Thunder, Perfect Intellect”. I must agree that this is probably a more accurate title for the piece. I chose to use this title anyway, because it seems “right” to me.
According to Elaine Pagels in her interview with Frontline, the poem “speaks in the voice of a Femanine Divine Power, but one that unites all opposites.” The date of writing is impossible to tell for sure; however, according to Anne McGuire (via Wikipedia) “a cultural milieu like that of second- or third-century Alexandria is plausable.” It is clear; however that “the script was composed in Greek well before 350 C. E., the approximate date of the Coptic Manuscript.
The first time that I heard this poem my ex-husband was reading aloud from his copy of “The Other Bible” (Edited with introductions by Willis Barnstone. Published by HarperCollins in 1984). As soon as he began reading I told him that it wasn’t right; that it was out of order. For some reason I felt that the texts were translated out of order.
Of course he wanted to know how I knew that if I had never heard it before…but he had learned to listen to me when I would say something like that. He started at the beginning, let me correct things as I felt they should be, then we re-read the poem to see what I had done to it. I put the poem in my Book of Shadows in the way that I felt it should read.
It is a rather lengthy piece but well worth the time that I spent writing and then later, typing it into my B-O-S. For this post, I can utilize copy/paste to some extent since I keep a copy of my B-O-S on my desktop these days. I still believe (old school) that you should hand write them, but my arthritis prohibits that from happening anymore. At least I can keep adding to it as long as I can type.
I hope that you enjoy this poem as much as I do.
Like I said, this is rephrased from “The Other Bible” edited by Willis Barnstone.
The Thunder, Perfect Intellect
For I am the first and the last.
I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am the mother and the daughter.
I am the barren one and many are her sons.
I am she whose wedding is great and I have not taken a husband.
I am the midwife and she who does not bear.
I am the solace of my labor pains.
I am the bride and the bridegroom and it is my husband who begot me.
I am the mother of my father, and the sister of my husband , and he is my offspring.
I am the slave to him who prepared me.
I am the ruler of my offspring, but he is the one who begot me before the time on a birthday. And he is my offspring in due time and my power is from him.
I am the staff of his power in his youth, and he is the rod of my old age. And whatever he wills happens to me.
I am the silence that is incomprehensible and the idea whose remembrance is frequent.
I am the voice whose sound is manifold and the word whose appearance multiple.
I am the utterance of my name.
I am shame and boldness.
I am shameless; I am ashamed.
I am strength and I am fear.
I am war and peace.
I am the one who is disgraced and the great one.
Give heed to me.
I am within…
I am natures…
I am of the creation of spirits…
I am control and the uncontrollable.
I am the union and the dissolution.
I am the abiding and I am the dissolving.
I am the one below and they come up to me.
I am the judgment and the acquittal.
I, I am sinless; and the root of sin derives from me.
I am lust in outward appearance and interior self-control exists within me.
I am the hearing which is attainable to everyone and the speech which can not be grasped.
I am a mute who does not speak and great is my multitude of words.
Hear me in gentleness and learn of my roughness.
I am she who cries out and I am cast forth upon the face of the Earth.
I prepare the bread and my mind within.
I am the knowledge of my name.
I am the one who cries out and the one who listens.
I am the one who is called truth and iniquity.
I was sent forth from the power and I have come to those who reflect upon me, and I have been found among those who seek after me.
Look upon me, you who reflect upon me and you hearers, hear me. You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves.
And do not banish me from your sight and do not make your voice hate me, nor your hearing. Do not be ignorant of me anywhere or anytime. Be on your guard! Do not be ignorant of me.
Why you who hate me, do you love me; and you hate those who love me?
You who deny me, confess me; and you who confess me, deny me.
You who tell the truth about me, lie about me; and you who have lied about me, tell the truth about me.
You who know me, be ignorant of me; and those who have not known me, let them know me.
For I am knowledge and ignorance.
Give heed to my poverty and my wealth.
Do not be arrogant to me when I am cast out upon the Earth, and you will find me in those that are to come.
And do not look upon me on the dung-heap nor go and leave me cast out, and you will find me in the kingdoms.
And do not look upon me when I am cast out among those who are disgraced and in the least place, nor laugh at me.
And do not cast me out among those who are slain in violence.
But I, I am compassionate and I am cruel.
Take me to yourselves from understanding and grief.
And take me to yourselves from places that are ugly and in ruin.
Out of shame, take me to yourselves shamelessly; and out of shamelessness and shame, upbraid my members into yourselves.
And come forward to me, you who know me and you who know my members, and establish the great ones among the small first creatures.
Come forward to childhood, and do not despise it because it is little.
And do not turn away greatness in some part from the smallness; for the smallness’s are known from the greatness’s.
Be on your guard!
Do not hate my obedience and love my self-control.
In my weakness, do not forsake me and do not be afraid of my power.
For why do you despise my fear and curse my pride?
But I am she who exists in all fears and is strength in trembling.
I am she who is weak, and I am well in a pleasant place.
I am senseless and I am wise.
Why do you curse me and honor me?
You have wounded and you have had mercy.
Do not separate me from the first ones you have known.
And do not cast anyone out nor turn anyone away.
I know the first ones and those after them know me.
I am the knowledge of my inquiry and the finding of those who seek after me, and the command of those who ask of me, and the power of the powers in my knowledge of the angels who have been sent at my word and of the gods in their season by my counsel, and of the spirits of every man who exists with me, and of women who dwell within me.
I am the one who is honored, and who is praised, and who is despised scornfully.
I am peace, yet war has come because of me.
I am an alien and a citizen.
I am the substance and the one who has no substance.
Why have you hated me in your counsels?
For I shall be silent among those who are silent, and I shall appear and speak.
Why then have you hated me, you Greeks? Because I am a barbarian among barbarians?
For I am the wisdom of the Greeks and the knowledge of the barbarians.
I am the judgment of the Greeks and of the barbarians.
I am the one who’s image is great in Egypt and the one who has no image among the barbarians.
I am the one who has been hated everywhere and the one who has been loved everywhere.
I am the one whom they call life and you have called death.
I am the one whom they call law and you have called lawlessness.
I am the one you have pursued and I am the one you have seized.
I am the one whom you have scattered and you have gathered me together.
I am the one before whom you have been ashamed and you have been shameless to me.
I am she who does not keep festival and I am she whose festivals are many.
I, I am godless, and I am one whose God is great.
I am the one whom you have reflected upon and you have scorned me.
I am unlearned and they learn from me.
I am the one whom you have despised and yet you reflect upon me.
I am the one whom you have hidden from and you appear to me.
But whenever you hide yourself, I myself will appear.
For whenever you appear; I myself will hide from you.
You honor me and you whisper against me.
Judge them before they give judgment against you because the judge partially exists within you.
If you are condemned by this one, who will acquit you? Or, if you are acquitted by him, who will be able to detain you?
For what is inside of you, is what is outside of you.
And the one who fashions you on the outside is also the one who shapes the inside of you.
And what you see outside of you, you see inside of you; it is visible and it is your garment.
Hear me; you hearers, and learn of my words, you who know me.
I am the hearing that is attainable to everything; I am the speech that cannot be grasped.
I am the name of the sound and the sound of the name.
I am the sign of the letter and the designation of the division.
Those who are without association with me, are ignorant of me; and those who are within my substance are the ones who know me.
Those who are close to me have been ignorant of me, and those who are far away from me are the ones who have known me.
On the day when I am close to you; you are far away from me, and on the day when I am far away from you, I am close to you.
Look then at all the words and all the writings that have been completed.
Give heed then, you hearers; and you also, the angels and those who have been sent and you spirits who have arisen from the dead.
For I am the one who alone exists, and I have no one who will judge me.
(Rephrased from “The Other Bible”)