Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Appurtenances

It’s true that we don’t really need an altar; we can create sacred space anywhere, at a moment’s notice. It’s true we don’t actually need magical tools; our hands and fingers are sufficient. All the same, both my Beloved and I were starting to feel that something vital was missing. We’re elderly, we’re slow, we’re busy, he got sick for a while ... it has taken us many weeks since moving house to finish unpacking the books and the magical supplies, and set up the garage as library / consulting room / temple.

We’re still not quite there, but nearly. The pictures are on the walls, almost all the books have been put right way up and in their right order on the shelves, and some of the ornaments have permanent homes. The Reiki table and the little table for psychic readings are in place and have even been used.

Yesterday I finally created a makeshift altar on a couple of tea chests turned on their sides on top of each other like huge drawers. I set out the symbols of the elements, the big black cat statue that represents Bast, and the gnome through which I acknowledge the nature spirits. I stored wands and athames inside one of the ‘drawers’ and began to assemble the components of my crystal healing grid.

Sometimes, if you 'show willing', the Universe steps in. Unexpectedly, in a couple of days we are getting a real chest of drawers from friends who need to downsize. That will become the repository for magical supplies, and the top will serve as our altar.

Meanwhile, it feels SO much better to have things set up, even in a temporary way. It changes the atmosphere.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Merry Meet and Merry Part — Isaac Bonewits

I am remembering magickal author Isaac Bonewits, who died peacefully in  his sleep on August 12th, with his family around him, from cancer. I never met him in person but valued him as an author and teacher who made great contributions to the Pagan community.

You can read his obituary here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Experiencing the Divine

Pagan Magic asked:

The town that I live in has quite a few churches, as I suppose many towns do - and each of them have posters which change weekly, asking questions such as 'Find God through Jesus', 'Have you found God?' - as a pagan I've always felt in touch with the divine spark - but these posters make me question the experience of Christians - do they connect to God like we do to ours? and then that got me to thinking, what experiences have other pagans had with God/Goddess/Creator.

Very much a musing question this week, but I hope that you'll get involved as I do enjoy reading the comments each week.

I said:

Well, I suppose Christians must answer for themselves, and that it would depend on the individual Christian. I see those posters as advertisements addressed to unbelievers, part of the evangelical impulse of the Christian churches. It also seems to have to do with the Christian concept of being 'saved', of finding God in that sense, involving a renunciation of 'sin'. These are all concepts which feel very foreign to me.

As for me, in childhood I was unquestioningly aware of the divine spark in all things. It was just there, part of what is. It was a surprise when I realised others didn’t always share that awareness. I learned not to speak of it but never became unaware.  That, I think, would have been impossible.

I was always aware, also, of spirit beings of various kinds. Only I didn’t think of them in that way; they were just people who were around. Some of them were maybe a bit different, but the main difference was that, again, other people weren’t aware of them. There was one who seemed particularly protective, though not in any way that curtailed my freedom. He was humorous and wise (still is). It was many years later that a magician friend described his Patron Deity, Thoth, and I recognized that he was talking about the dude who’d been around me forever. That was pretty exciting as Thoth is, among other things, patron of poets. But mainly he’s a friend.

I have since met others on a personal level, usually — though not always — when 'journeying' (including Jesus, btw; he’s been around a long time too, as a friend, and in later years as my 'Master of Healing'). But the question was about God/Goddess/Creator, the Source of all, whom I sometimes refer to as Great Spirit or The Universe, and like to address as 'Mother'. I can’t think of a time when that energy hasn’t been present in my life. There has never been any need to 'find God'; God’s never been missing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Important Are Words?

Pagan Magic asked:

We've all heard the phrase 'The pen is mightier than the sword' - have you found this to be true yourself, and how important is it to use the correct words in magical rites?

Aleister Crowley frequently relied on the etymology or origins of words to interpret their real meaning (Source: Goetia pxx Editors Foreword) - nowadays a lot of words have different meanings to their original ones - how does this affect magical workings.

I said:
As a poet, of course I think words matter enormously, in both sound and meaning. The sound vibration (the music of the words) is important, so is the message the words are intended to convey and we'd best use the most accurate words we can find. (Which can be quite tricky in languages like English, with many nuances and shades of meaning, many ways of saying the same thing a little differently!) Hopefully sound and meaning work well together.

In energy work, intention is indeed paramount and it's true that a wordless burst of emotion will communicate powerfully to the Universe and bring about the desired outcome. Energy is always the first thing that communicates. In an emergency, a forceful yell of "Help!" directed to the Deity or to one's personal guardians, either aloud or mentally, is as powerful a spell of protection as anything more elaborate. However, we do use words for communication, and even the yell of "Help!" does that. It makes sense that the words should accurately reflect the intention.

If you're doing a working in your own language and have clarity and certainty about your intent, I think there is room to improvise your own words, whilst attempting to make them as clear as possible. If you're working with traditional words from another language, best try to get the pronunciation and if need be the spelling correct, or you'd risk sending the wrong mnessage.

 I added:
On the other hand, a small mistake probably won't spoil the working. E.g. I guess everyone glossed over my typo above and read "message". (No, I didn't do it on purpoise, but it IS a good example!)

Oh no! 

So is "purpoise".