The Coven at Pooh Corner


(This article was first given as a talk at The Wiccan Workshop Number 6, held at Coombe, North Cornwall, in May 1989, and was published in Web of Wyrd #7, January 1993)


This  talk is designed to  illustrate  that  spiritual significance is present  in everything around us (see "Wicca and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:  Children of Sekhmet, May 1988). On this occasion I shall be using  for my inspiration the stories of that world famous writer A A Milne, to whit, Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. These are  of  course coded  allegories of  the  spiritual development of a certain bear.


Firstly I would like  to introduce the characters because there may be someone here not enlightened enough to have read these great works, in a similar sort of way as a Christian may not have read his Bible.


Our Hero. W T Pooh.


Pooh, as he  is known to his more intimate  acquaintances, is a modest chap not known  for his intellectual ability,  and has been called "a bear  of very little brain". He is  given to composing hums well aware that being a bear his singing voice  is not what it might be. I would think he is probably  a Taurean and  all in all  a well rounded personality; possibly because it is always time for a little something.





Piglet is a small timid little person, a very young spirit, and Pooh's best friend. He  is a chattery soul who tends to dwell on his fears of heffelumps and woozles. It is generally thought he may be a Gemini and would  be an  extrovert if  he could  find more  confidence. He has a peculiar aversion to being clean.




Wol has delusions of being  the wise old owl based mainly on  the fact that he  can spell his  name, which is OWL.  He lives in  the grandest house in the woods, the old oak tree. It is quite obvious  to everyone that he is in fact Libran because he comes out with statements of fact which are more often than not wrong. All the other animals turn to him for advice, which he  gives freely although no-one understands a word of it.




Eeyore is a  very interesting character. He is a  very, very old spirit who in this incarnation has come back as a donkey.  Nothing much seems to bother him and he lives all alone in a boggy field. He is generally perceived to be miserable. This is wrong. He is quite happy in his own  little world  and is thought to  be a Piscean with  a Capricorn ascendant. He  is in fact the most intellectual of  them all because he can make the letter A out of three twigs. Also he has a brain whilst all the rest have grey fluff which has blown in by mistake.




Kanger is a newcomer to the  forest and something of a matriarch being very protective of  her offspring,  Roo. She is  of course Cancerian, like my wife, and will mother everybody whether they like it or not.




Tigger is the archetypal extrovert and obviously an Aries. Overwhelmingly friendly and bouncy. Piglet is terrified of him because he jumps out at you and says "WorraWorraWorra" in what he thinks  is a friendly tone... He has no idea  that he can't do something until after  he has done it. He shows no trace of forethought and eventually is adopted by Kanger.


Christopher Robin


A small boy who will be fully explained at the end.



The Parables of Pooh


1    Down the Rabbit Hole



In  this story,  Pooh  after breakfast  of  honey followed  by honey, decides to  go visiting. First he  visits Piglet, and is  just  in time for  a little  something, ie  a little  honey. Eventually  they go to Rabbit's place. Rabbit,  who has hundreds and  thousands of relations, naturally lives  in a rabbit hole,  where Pooh and Piglet  are just in time for  a little something. Pooh  however eats too much  and being a stoutish bear anyway,  finds that when he leaves he  gets stuck in the rabbit hole, with  his feet dangling in  Rabbit's living room  and his head out in the air. Everyone comes to his aid, but no amount of pulling or pushing will  shift him. Christopher Robin is  summoned and decides that  Pooh will have  to stay there without  honey until think enough to leave.  Rabbit is obviously not well  pleased about having a bear wedged  in his  front door.  


However he  is compensated when he discovers that Pooh's legs make excellent towel rails.



Moral: From this escapade we can see that Pooh is not very spiritually developed. He is far too keen on the physical desires of the  body and  through  this forced period of  fasting and the  altruistic use of his lower limbs, he learns that  it is alright to be portly so long as you don't block  someone's portal. In other  words, you are at liberty to follow your own way so long as you do not block another's. This is the experience of the tarot card of The Devil. Deluded  about the relative sizes of the door and his  tummy, he cannot pass through until he has cast off the chains of his baser desires for honey.

Most covens have a Pooh at this stage  of development. This is the witch who overindulges in the communal wine during the rite, becomes comatose before the altar, and neither heaven, earth, or High Priestess's boot, can shift.



2    In which Pooh and Piglet go hunting heffalumps



One  snowy day,  Piglet finds Pooh  staring at some  footprints. Pooh thinks this may be a  heffalump or maybe a woozle,  and  exhorts Piglet to  come and follow it. Piglet is not  keen. He agrees as long as Pooh is with him. Sometime later they notice that  the footprints have been joined by another set, two heffalumps, or, as it may be, woozles!


Pooh composes a hum  to keep their  spirits up, "How  cold my nose, tiddly pom....".  A little  while later  there are  four sets  of footprints.


Piglet is getting frightened. They sit down for a think and eventually realize they are walking around a wood following their own footprints.  So off they go for a little something.


Moral:  Here we see Pooh's total lack  of brilliance. He gets there in the  end with a  bit of help. On  the other hand  there is the immense faith he  inspires in others. People feel safe with Pooh. He knows the value  of a  kind word and  a cheery  song. This  also illustrates the  danger of overwhelming others  with your enthusiasm for a  path, which may not be the path they would choose. This is why in Wicca we are not evangelical. Each must find his or her own heffalump or woozle.



3   In Which Pooh Builds Eeyore a House



One  rainy day  Pooh sets  out  to find  Piglet. After  many hours of careful  thought  he has  realized that  everyone  has a  house except     Eeyore, but he has a plan. On one side of the wood he has discovered a pile of sticks,  so with Piglet's help they take  the sticks around to the other  side of the wood  and build Eeyore  a fine Des.  Res.


After some moments  of contemplation of their labours,  they set off to find Eeyore. They come  across Eeyore  in the approximate  location of the pile of sticks looking  puzzled. So they take him off  to show him his new house. Eeyore is muttering but Pooh and Piglet take no notice whatsoever.  They arrive  at Eeyore's  house and  Pooh and  Piglet say proudly, "There!".  Eeyore looks  pleased, but even  more puzzled. It transpires that Eeyore built  a house out of a  pile of sticks on the other  side of  the wood.  He  puts down  the change  of location and  certain architectural  improvements  to the  high  wind of  the night before. Pooh and Piglet say nothing to Eeyore, and then Pooh says

That he thinks it's "Time for a little something."


Moral:  From this  we can  see that  although still  not devastatingly intelligent, Pooh has managed to perceive someone else's  problem, and has made some attempt  to solve it for them. It may  however have been better if he had  consulted Eeyore who had already gone  about solving his problem  for himself. Thus  we see that  we should not  impose our particular perception of the universe on others. Fortunately Eeyore is of such greatness of spirit that he lets this event pass, and Pooh has developed  sufficient maturity to let discretion be the better part of valour. As Eeyore was muttering perhaps we should also learn to listen to others.



4. The Great Flood


Pooh looks out one morning and sees that it  is STILL raining. Christopher  Robin has  been  getting concerned  about  the rising waters, measuring their  progress with sticks. Each  morning yesterday's stick has disappeared.  He  goes around  and warns  everyone to  go to high ground. Pooh laboriously takes his stock of honey and balances all his jars on a high branch of  a tree, where he takes refuge. When  all his stock  is exhausted  he ponders  for a  while, then  makes a  not very  successful  boat  out of  a honey  jar. The  boat  and Pooh  have some disagreement as to whom  should be on top. He eventually  paddles this Craft over to Christopher Robin's house where they take to Christopher

Robin's upturned umbrella. They then ensure that all the other animals are safe.


Moral:  This story illustrates Pooh's growing concern for the environment  and his fellow creatures.  In this particular  crisis, Pooh does not go off half cock making rash  decisions, but seeks the help of the most  developed spirit in the  forest.  Pooh  exhibits great fortitude and  determination in  his quest  for this  higher spirit. Also he is showing  better use  of his  baser desires,  ie for  honey.


There are obvious parallels  with numerous  other flood  myths although  in this Wiccan  version, having had our fill  of our favourite tipple, the Ark mark 1A  has some design  faults. This  is why in  the world of today there aren't quite so many  unicorns and other mythical beasts.  They lost the argument with their honey pots.



5. What Tiggers Eat



Pooh, strolling through the woods, hears this peculiar noise:  "WorraWorraWorra". He picks  himself up, looks around  and espies this strange creature. The creature  bounces up and down and  says, "Hello, I'm Tigger". Pooh,  being a generous soul, asks him  back for a little something. He  asks Tigger what  he would like to  eat. Tigger doesn't know  what he eats,  so Pooh gives him some  honey. Tigger is not impressed, so off they go  to Piglet's house with Tigger  bouncing along, running  ahead  of Pooh  and leaping  our at  him  in a  very friendly fashion. When they arrive,  Piglet gives him some acorns.  Tigger does not like Acorns. So off they  go to Eeyore's where Tigger tries thistles. Tigger definitely does not like thistles. Lastly they try Kanger.


Kanger  is very  concerned, but  doesn't know  quite what  to suggest.  However, whilst giving malt extract to her baby Roo, Tigger bounces up and grabs  the spoon and says  "Mmmmmmm". So we find  out what Tiggers eat.


Moral: This shows Pooh's ready acceptance of all types of people, even Aries! He goes to great lengths to help this very young spirit to find spiritual sustenance and someone willing to look after him. Kanger, as is the  case with most Cancerians, does not believe they can solve the problem  but in  fact the  solution is  in their  grasp all  the time.


Unfortunately, Kanger is now stuck with this waif and stray.  Pooh has climbed a long way  from the days when he got  stuck in Rabbit's door, and has learnt  the responsibility that goes with new initiates in our  world.


N.B. Please note that in the true Pagan spirit of this tome, even Tiggers eat vegetarian food.



6. Pooh and the Honey Tree



On this day we find Pooh staring  up into the branches of a tree.  His highly tuned senses  have detected  honey. Being a  portly bear he is none too good  at climbing trees, so  he comes up with  a plan. Christopher  Robin had  a party with  lots of  balloons. So off  he goes to Christopher Robin's house to ask if he might borrow a balloon. He also asks  Christopher Robin to help him. They set off with Pooh's requirements. The balloon is painted black to look like a thundercloud, and blown up. Pooh, grasping the  string, floats aloft. Christopher Robin stays beneath with  his umbrella  announcing "Tut tut,  it looks like rain." The  bees of course are  not fooled for an  instant. About this time Pooh  discovers the major flaw  in his plan. He  cannot get down.


After much careful thought, Christopher Robin  shoots the balloon with his pop  gun, and Pooh descends  very rapidly and lands  on a thistle.  Eeyore considers this a waste of a good thistle.


Moral: This is the pinnacle of Pooh's intellectual development. He has solved  his immediate problem, but  not really thought  out the consequences. In a  spiritual sense, he has  strived too far  without being properly prepared  and is  brought back  to earth  with a  bump.  Pooh,  having developed so far, has  forgotten that if you are to  go flying, astrally or  not, then you  must not  forget your  parachute. As Pooh found with the bees, we must  learn not to underestimate life forms we perceive  as being  lower than  ourselves. Eeyore  is another case in point. Although he is  seen as under-developed because he does not say much, he has obviously seen the outcome from the word go, and  is only upset at the demise of a juicy thistle. Christopher Robin is obviously an interplanes adept  since once  again he rescues  Pooh after having clairvoyantly foreseen the outcome.





To lead up  to my  great revelation  I must  conclude the  story. On frequent  occasions when Pooh calls  on Christopher Robin,  he is out, but has left a  note that he will be  "BAK SON", and is nowhere to be seen. Pooh takes these notes to Wol, who is not sure if they refer to a herbaceous "Bakson" or a spotted "Bakson". One evening, Christopher Robin arrives  at Pooh's house  and reveals to  Pooh that his time in this place is nearly over and he must go to school. He and Pooh have a long chat and Christopher  Robin decides that Pooh is  ready to accompany him on this great adventure  and they walk off hand in  hand into the Sun.


This illustrates the basic fact of life that no matter how comfortable we are  we must be prepared  to grow and  develop and move on when we must. Christopher  Robin is in fact  Pooh's Higher Self and  as can be seen from  the stories, unless you  use your Higher Self  you will not reach  your desired aims, and  indeed may go the  same way as the unicorns  and their honey pots.  Between Christopher Robin  and Pooh they have achieved sufficient development to leave their current  plane and move on to higher things.  Christopher Robin, as can be seen  from his name, Christ/Robin, is  a Tipherathic  aspect of Pooh;  ie the centre  where the lower  and higher self come together. When  they have united the way is open  and clear for them to  move on to the next sphere of existence.



Thus it  should be every witch's ambition to be reincarnated as a bear of very little brain who lives in the hundred acre wood on a plane at least one  above this one.  After all the  idiots we see  running this world have to be  seen as a damn sight more stupid  than even Wol. (PS Mrs Thatcher is also a Libran!)



Copyright to  David Wadsworth, who has been a bear of little brain for many a long year!


The End