Prunings from the Hedge

March 1st, 2013

Conserving Magical Energy


We all contain magical energy, and this energy is unique to each of us.  But due to conditions of modern life, all of our magical energy is deployed in habits, habits of perception, of feeling, of thinking and doing.  Very little is left over every day for exploring our magical heritage.  This is why most spell books on the market are not much help in casting spells.  They take a cookbook approach which assumes that people as they are have sufficient magical energy available to make them work.  They don’t.

In order to access our own magical energy, we must begin by saving little amounts of energy which we otherwise fritter away each day in wasteful habits.  This is the starting-point of the Inner Craft.  It is a very small door, like the door Alice went through into Wonderland – she had to take a magic cordial first to make herself little. It begins, in other words, with small efforts.

Conserving magical energy requires patience.  It takes a while to save up sufficient energy to make a difference.  However, we are so used to our typical energy states, which run in cycles, that we recognize a difference in them almost immediately after starting efforts at conservation.  We may suddenly worry that we don’t seem to be worrying so much anymore.  This sounds silly, but we are so used to our own ups and downs that it takes all of a witch’s Power to Dare to venture into this unknown territory.

Here is a general map of our familiar territory, which we will be leaving behind:

1 – Cycles of worry and anxiety.

2 – Cycles of small nervous movements.

3 – Cycles of inner talk.

4 – Cycles of negativity.

5 – Mental and material clutter.

6 – Patterns of perception.

These are the main areas of our life which commandeer and squander our available magical energy.  The simplest one to start with is the second, small nervous movements.  When the witch sits, he or she is still.  This is the power of the North, the Power to Keep Silent, as expressed by the body.  Regular exercise is necessary in order to remain still in a vibrant, poised manner.  The witch notes the situations under which he or she tends to begin scratching, or tapping the foot, or whichever motion is involved.  If this occurs while sitting in a chair, the witch gets up immediately at the first sign of it, and does something else.  It is no good waiting until the train of habit runs you over; as soon as you see it approaching, you must get off the track.  This requires the cultivation of vigilance.

The first item on the list above may seem necessary to running our practical lives and avoiding financial or some other form of ruin.  If I don’t worry, how will I pay my bills on time?  The answer is to sit down daily, preferably in the morning, and make a list of daily obligations.  Plan on paper, or on the computer, and spend some time every day reviewing your plans.  If you have a long-standing problem, such as finding adequate employment, do something every day towards solving it.  Then, when you feel you have done enough for that day, close your planning book.  If there are tasks to perform, do them.  But by evening you should feel free to relax your practical self and see to other dimensions of your existence.

Eliminating clutter in your life, item number five, supports practical planning.  Go through your closets and shelves and dresser drawers, and examine all your papers and other stored items.  You may find something useful to your current needs.  Use what you find, or give or throw it away, or sell it.  The mind keeps track of everything buried deep in closets, even if you have forgotten some of those things consciously.  Dealing with them, finding a use for them, not only opens up new opportunities in your life, it unties little energy knots that you may have carried around for years.

Clutter also occupies time.  We typically over-commit ourselves to meetings, projects, visits, and other entanglements which fill up our already busy schedules.  It isn’t necessary to be busy all the time in order to live a full life.  On the contrary, the more we do or promise to do, the less freedom we possess to explore new paths.  The multi-millionaire J.P. Morgan complained that he always felt hemmed in by his busy commitments.  Practice saying things like “I’ll have to think about it” instead of immediately saying yes.

Inner talk, item number three, generally takes either of two forms.  I call these the rehash and the rehearsal.  The rehash involves repeating mentally conversations held recently, perhaps modifying the responses one made in order to appear cleverer or more compassionate to oneself.  We wish we had said something more, so we say it in our minds afterwards.  A certain amount of review of our behavior after the fact is a healthy habit, but a little goes a long way.  Obsessively revolving past conversations, or imaginary extensions of them, consumes an enormous amount of energy and increases our feeling of dependence on how others see us.

In the other direction we have the rehearsal.  We think about an upcoming event, an encounter with someone perhaps, and we begin talking to that person in our minds.  This can be more or less hypothetical, as of course all thoughts about the future are hypothetical to some degree.  Here again, there is a fruitful use of this habit, as when we are planning what we will say in a job interview.  But too much last minute ‘cramming’ is usually counter-productive.  Plan what you will do and say, then lay it aside and direct your attention to other things.

When a witch feels caught up in the rehash or rehearsal, he or she identifies it first, thinking “that is the rehash” or “that is the rehearsal,” and then turns the attention to the surroundings, or some other present reality, such as a book.  Here as elsewhere, it is a matter of knowing when to stop.

The fourth item, cycles of negativity, must be approached in a two-step process.  If we have habits of making sarcastic jokes, we may justify this by seeing ourselves as witty persons.  Encouraged by the laughter of others (which may have only been polite), we may feel that we have a reputation to uphold as comedians or critics.  Or perhaps we dislike political correctness and see ourselves as rebels when we make remarks some find offensive.  Or we may see ourselves as heroic figures motivated by righteous outrage to tilt at windmills.

The first stage of saving magical energy by not squandering it in expressions of negative emotion is to discover what self-image, or images, we are using to justify such expression.  If your expression takes place in a social setting, you should consider the possibility that less grumbling or joking from you will be a relief to your usual audience.  If you express negativity in private, perhaps cursing other drivers or your computer, see yourself doing it and how absurd it would look to someone else.

Once you have deflated the justification for your negativity, it will be easier to work on deflecting the expression itself.  Here again, think of the approaching train: you must see it chuffing along towards you from a distance and jump off the tracks well in time before it sweeps you up.  In other words, you must become familiar with your cycles of energy wastage so you will know when to break them.  Habit cycles are like chains, and every chain has a weakest link.  Finding the weak link is the key to breaking the chain.

In doing all these things, the witch should avoid the feeling that the Inner Craft is a goody-goody ethical pursuit.  It is nothing of the kind.  We want access to free energy, and in order to get it, we must become misers of energy.  We must bear in mind that all our energy is already deployed, and our only hope of breaking free from our energy strait-jackets is by saving little bits of it, one bit at a time.

Once we have become vigilant with these five items it will be time to turn our attention to the subtlest and, potentially, the most powerful form of conservation, changing patterns of perception.  We perceive all the time, and our way of looking at and listening to the world is a habit of such long standing that changing it is a most subtle affair.  It is necessary to have the other five areas well in hand before attempting this last, sixth one.  If we go for the sixth item prematurely, we shall achieve some novel effects, but before long we will drop it as an interesting exercise which goes nowhere.

The Inner Craft distinguishes between directing the attention to where the eyes are pointing, which it calls looking, and spreading the attention from that, extending it to perceptions lying to the side of where our eyes are pointing, or above or below where they are pointing.  The eyes do not move to these things, just the attention.

In the same way, changing perceptual patterns involves extending the attention to background sounds as well as to sounds we are currently focused on.  We generally listen to background sounds sporadically and then shut them out if they are annoying or fail to interest us, as with muzack in a store or elevator.  The witch takes in all available sounds continuously, for this saves the energy habitually employed in blocking them out.  It takes much more energy to ignore peripheral sights and sounds than to include them in attention.  This is the secret of this form of magical energy conservation.

Attending to things to the side is called gazing in the Inner Craft.  We can gaze to the side of an object, such as a television screen, or we can switch our eyes to the side of the screen and gaze back at it.  If you practice switching back and forth from one form of gazing to the other, you will feel a sensation starting in the back of your head at some point.  Something will open up back there.  Don’t try to make this happen, or you will become involved in imagination.  Just be aware when it does happen on its own.

When you close your eyes to go to sleep at night, you will see little lights and patterns produced by the gentle pressure of your eyelids on the retinas.  These are called phosphenes.  Generally we ignore them and just go to sleep.  This is probably for the best, for if you follow them with the attention, you may or may not drop off.  But it isn’t necessary to keep your eyes open all day until it is time to go to sleep.  If you observe animals, they spend a good deal of time with their eyes closed.  This is especially true of cats, at least as far as my observation goes (I am a cat person).  You should rest your eyes two or three times during the day, and as you are not doing so to take a nap (though you may fall asleep anyway), you can observe your phosphenes.  This is called “reading the book of the eyelids” in the Inner Craft.

You may find, while your eyes are closed, that your hearing becomes more acute.  You can play with this sensation by opening and shutting your eyes at intervals.  Do this while sitting or lying at home, or while a passenger in a car or train, looking out the window.  Don’t try it while walking or driving!

Exercises of these sorts increase our use of the ears and relax somewhat our over-reliance on the eyes.  In particular, extending one’s visual attention to the side (or above or below) of where the eyes are pointing tends to relax the muscles at the outer sides of the eyes.  These are typically tensed because we are using our eyes to track on objects, as though they were searchlights.  Pueblo Indian chief Ochwiay Biano (Mountain Lake) once remarked to the psychologist C.G. Jung that “The white man’s eyes have a staring expression; they are always seeking something…they are always uneasy and restless …We think they are mad.” [1] From being searchlights, the eyes can become passive windows, taking in the whole visual field as it is presented.

When the muscles at the outer sides of the eyes relax, the witch will feel a peculiar energy entering there, an energy carrying feelings and what might be called ‘wordless knowledge.’

Another way of taking in the whole visual field at once is to keep our headlessness in view. [2] Did you know you were headless?  You knew this when you were a small child, before you were told that ‘the baby in the mirror’ was you, yourself.  At that point, we began to ignore the little we could see of our heads without using a mirror or other reflecting surface: perhaps a blob for the nose, eyelashes in bright sunlight, or a cowlick hanging down in front.  If we keep those sensations in view, we will stay in contact with the whole visual field.  Losing those sensations, we tend to alternate between thinking and looking.  We feel that we are shut up in our heads, looking from moment to moment out of two portholes at the world around us.  If we keep our headlessness in view, we shall think and see at the same time, as Janus the threshold guardian does at the Pagan’s front door, looking out and in at once with his two faces. We shall live on the outside of our bodies.

There is much more to this part of the Inner Craft dealing with perceptual patterns, such as noticing shadows.  Cars at midday roll along over their shadow carpets without casting them back from the wheels.  When we walk home in moonlight, the moon keeps pace with us.  When we cross our eyes looking at two candles placed side by side at eye level, a third candle appears between them, combining their colors and features.  These are only a few out of many perceptual patterns which help to release our magical energy; but it is unnecessary to mention all of them, since practicing a few of the basic ones already mentioned will inevitably lead to all the rest.

If you take the six items above in the recommended sequence, you will be able to integrate the Inner Craft in your daily lives, and in the Circle you will hum with magical energy.





HARDING, D. E., On Having No Head; Zen and the Re-discovery of

the Obvious.  London and New York, Arkana, 1986.


JUNG, Carl, Memories. Dreams, Reflections, New York, Vintage ,





[1] Jung, C.G., Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 248.

[2] See On Having No Head, by D.E. Harding.

236 Responses to “Prunings from the Hedge”

  1. dagkaart actieon 01 May 2017 at 4:56 am

    You have made some decent points there. I checked on the web to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

  2. ginger syrupon 02 May 2017 at 4:32 am

    Major thankies for the blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  3. Some really wonderful information, Gladiola I found this.

  4. Free online classified ads for freeon 02 May 2017 at 1:06 pm

    That as a great post. Thank you so much.

  5. Ad Reportingon 02 May 2017 at 5:27 pm

    This web site truly has all the information I wanted concerning this subject and didn at know who to ask.

  6. real timeon 02 May 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Usually I don at learn post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, quite nice article.

  7. tools businesson 02 May 2017 at 9:49 pm

    You ave made some really good points there. I checked on the internet to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

  8. real timeon 03 May 2017 at 12:00 am

    Thank you ever so for you article.Thanks Again. Awesome.

  9. Ad Campaignon 03 May 2017 at 2:11 am

    Wonderful work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the net. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher! Come on over and visit my web site. Thanks =)

  10. Girl on Girl chaton 03 May 2017 at 4:21 am

    Im grateful for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

  11. table lampson 03 May 2017 at 8:41 am

    There is certainly a lot to learn about this subject. I love all of the points you have made.

  12. JAV SGSRon 03 May 2017 at 3:11 pm

    You can certainly see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  13. Website Maintenance Companyon 03 May 2017 at 5:23 pm

    This blog is obviously entertaining and besides informative. I have chosen a bunch of interesting stuff out of it. I ad love to visit it again and again. Thanks!

  14. Bluetooth Speakerson 03 May 2017 at 9:48 pm

    time and actual effort to produce a good article but what can I say I procrastinate a

  15. SEOon 04 May 2017 at 12:01 am

    Really informative blog post.Much thanks again. Really Great.

  16. ?????????? ?????????? ? ?????????on 04 May 2017 at 2:16 am

    Thank you for your article.Thanks Again. Cool.

  17. foreclosed home saleson 04 May 2017 at 5:15 am

    You actually make it appear so easy together with your presentation however I in finding this

  18. Prufung ortsveranderlicher Gerateon 04 May 2017 at 12:05 pm

    It as hard to come by educated people for this topic, however, you seem like you know what you are talking about! Thanks

  19. Regalinspektionon 04 May 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I value the article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

  20. Hesteron 05 May 2017 at 4:52 am

    this wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every little

  21. rechargeon 05 May 2017 at 7:09 am

    Wholesale Mac Makeup ??????30????????????????5??????????????? | ????????

  22. Marrakech camel rideon 05 May 2017 at 9:25 am

    the check this site out in a single-elimination bracket and let people vote for their favorites.

  23. wall stickers for bedroomson 05 May 2017 at 8:49 pm

    more at Voice of America (blog). Filed Under:

  24. jual jilbabon 06 May 2017 at 8:20 am

    I truly appreciate this blog article.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

  25. fort worth texason 07 May 2017 at 5:45 am

    Very informative blog post.Really thank you! Really Great.

  26. Brandon inchaurigaon 07 May 2017 at 8:01 am

    Really appreciate you sharing this article post.Really thank you! Want more.

  27. Californiaon 07 May 2017 at 12:35 pm

    That is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!

  28. funny memeson 07 May 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and the rest of the website is also really good.

  29. this websiteon 07 May 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you ever so for you article.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

  30. homemade baron 07 May 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Im grateful for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  31. light fixtureson 07 May 2017 at 9:45 pm

    this article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both

  32. dog food brandson 08 May 2017 at 12:04 am

    What as up, just wanted to tell you, I liked this post.

  33. buy cheap giftcardson 08 May 2017 at 2:23 am

    Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is magnificent, as well as the content!

  34. Empty vegetable capsuleson 08 May 2017 at 4:41 am

    My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different page and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking over your web page again.

  35. shfigqntson 09 May 2017 at 2:08 pm » Blog Archive » Prunings from the Hedge

  36. where to find big cloud vapor baron 12 May 2017 at 4:33 am

    Perfectly pent written content, Really enjoyed looking at.

  37. Farolillos Voladoreson 12 May 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Keep up the superb piece of work, I read few posts on this website and I conceive that your website is very interesting and holds lots of excellent information.

  38. judi bola online terpercayaon 12 May 2017 at 2:35 pm

    very good submit, i definitely love this website, keep on it

  39. world series of poker chip hackon 12 May 2017 at 7:06 pm

    three triple credit report How hard is it to write a wordpress theme to fit into an existing site?

  40. amazon gift card balance refundon 12 May 2017 at 9:23 pm

    That is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

  41. Wendy Gillon 12 May 2017 at 11:40 pm

    very nice publish, i certainly love this web site, carry on it

  42. get your free downloadson 13 May 2017 at 2:00 am

    webpage or even a weblog from start to end.

  43. Skijacke Herren Teston 13 May 2017 at 4:19 am

    Major thankies for the article post. Fantastic.

  44. Washington DC engagement photographerson 13 May 2017 at 6:40 am

    There is clearly a bunch to identify about this. I think you made certain nice points in features also.

  45. StewartTixon 14 May 2017 at 2:09 pm

    wh0cd481117 cialis online

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply