July, 2017

Welcome

July, 2017

 

Spirit & Life by American artist Tom Fleming

 

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Welcome to the July Issue of PaganPages.  What do we have in-store for you this month???  Many of our great articles and reviews, such as…

 

 

A Book Review of the Tarot by Design Workbook:  Color and Learn Your Way into the Cards by Diane Heyne.

 

 

The Bad Witch’s Guide discusses love spells this month and even offers up one!

 

 

 

Jennifer Engrácio shares an amazing  excerpt from her book The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within on the importance of Children and Ceremony with our Readers.  

 

 

 

We have a wonderful Review of Icelandic MAGIC: Practical Secrets of the Northern Grimoires by Stephen E. Flowers, PH.D. 

 

 

 

You can learn all about Kupala, the Slavic Goddess of mid-summer, in She Who is All.  

 

 

Have an interest in herbs?  Whether a novice or skilled herbalist Herbs – Plain & Simple Over 100 for Health and Healing by Marlene Houghton is a great little book for you.

 

 

The herbal Alchemist’s Handbook: A Grimoire of Philtres, Elixirs, Oils, Incense, and Formulas for Ritual Use by Karen Harrison is quoted to be “…everything it claims on the cover – and that’s a lot for one book to deliver,’  in it’s review this month by our Lynn Woike.

 

We welcome our newest book reviewer Dawn Borries this month with her first review for Rituals of the Light Within a Compendium of Writings from the Magical Work of Elizabeth Anderton Fox.

 

 

So please, sit back, relax, and have a great read!

 

 

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GoodGod!

July, 2017

Meet the Gods: Thor

 

 

(art by Samantha Sullivan)

 

Merry meet.

Thor is the hammer-welding Norse God of Thunder. He is the son of Odin, the primary god of all the Nordic gods, and the earth goddess Jord (also reported as Fyorgyn). He is one of the most important and well-known gods in the Norse pantheon, also said to be a sun god, the god of stormy weather, and a fertility god. His wife is also associated with fertility: the goddess Sif. Together they live in Thrudheim (“Place of Might”), the largest house in Asgard with more than 500 rooms. They have two children. Thor also adopted a stepson and had a son with a giantess.

Thor is described as massive and mighty, with a red beard, red hair and red eyes. The large hammer he carries is named Mjollnir or Mjoinir, which means the destroyer; it sends out lightening bolts. Crafted by dwarves, it can kill and destroy or it can protect. It magickally returns to his right hand after he throws it.

The Norse believed that thunderstorms were Thor riding his chariot across the sky and swinging his hammer. His chariot was pulled by two giant, magickal goats. If he were away overnight, he would eat the goats but by morning, they would have regenerated providing their bones were undisturbed.

According to an article by Cristian Violate published in 2014 and found online on the Ancient History Encyclopedia, “He also had iron gloves and a belt named Megingjard that doubled Thor’s strength once buckled on. There were also some other less destructive aspects of Thor. As a weather god he was associated with the fertility of the earth. He was also regarded as a guide for those travelling [sic] over the sea because of his power over storms and wind.”

Among the many tales involving Thor are his attempts to kill the World Serpent that lives in the ocean surrounding Midgard, the earth world in Yggdrasil. He also slayed dragons and giants – and anything else that got in his way.

In the old times, Thorrablot was known as the Feast of Thor. The festival was held in the latter half of January, that he might help people “weather” the severity of winter, and that he might bring about fertility with an early spring to let life begin again. Traditional feast foods included oats, pickled herring, sheep’s head meat, ram’s testicles and shark. Thor is said to have a ravenous appetite, so an offering of food today would still be appropriate, as would, I think, donating to a food bank.

It took strength and resilience to get through the storms of winter, and anytime you are faced with a difficult storm or situation requiring strength and resilience, you can call on Thor.

On ancient altars, he was placed in the center between Odin and Freyr. He was called upon during times of famine and disease. A bride would also call upon Thor to bless her by placing a replica of his hammer in her lap.

Today, people wear replicas of his hammer for protection and strength. Lighting a candle with the likeness of Mjoinir etched into it can empower any spell.

Thor’s Day came to be known at Thursday. You might light a candle representing lightening every week to honor him and get to know him better.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

Tarot Talk

July, 2017

The Page of Cups

(The Page of Cups Card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

Back to the Court Cards! This time, we will revisit the Tarot “Royals” by examining the Page of Cups. We haven’t talked about Court Cards in a little while, so first we will review some basic information.

A Tarot deck has 78 cards. There are 22 Major Arcana cards dealing with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards that are customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the four elements dealing with day-to-day issues.

The Court Cards are a part of the Minor Arcana that can act as a representation of the family unit. Individually, the members of the Tarot Court represent particular personality traits, traits of people, places and events in our lives. These cards can also tell us about our own personality, and how it is perceived by others. I think of my Tarot cards as people, with each card having an individual personality. This is particularly appropriate for the Court Cards, as they are the most human of all the cards in a Tarot deck. Even the illustrations for the Court Cards usually show humans in the majority of Tarot decks.

Generally speaking, there are three different ways that Court Cards can speak to us in a spread: they can indicate personality traits of our Seeker or someone affecting the Seeker; they can refer to actual individuals in the Seeker’s life, including the Seeker; and they can refer to the general aura or atmosphere of a place or situation. Court cards offer us these descriptions of personality traits and of different ways of being or acting, so we can make use of these styles or avoid them, whichever is appropriate. Of course, the trick is to know which message is being given in a particular spread!

Instead of numbers, Court Cards have rank. The early creators and users of the Tarot lived within a culture that was layered according to rank, so it makes sense that the Tarot Court shows a progression from low to high. We don’t live in a feudal culture any more, however our culture has its own set of rules and ranks and roles. The Tarot Court can help us to understand the roles of parent, teacher, manager, laborer, scientist, priest, and many others.

The lowest ranking Court Card is the Page, usually seen as the messenger or intern or apprentice (sometimes male and sometimes female, depending on the deck) who is still learning of life and living, but who is also good at dealing with the unexpected. Being the lowest in rank does not necessarily mean being the least important; something we should remember when thinking about our Page of Cups. Next comes the Knight, the representation of strong, focused and even excessive manifestations of his suit.

Both the Queen and the King usually represent mature adults. The Queen manifests her suit in a feminine or yin or inner way, and the King manifests his suit in a masculine or yang or outer way. This manifestation does not necessarily correspond to gender; a man can be represented by a Tarot Queen if he has a strong inner focus, and a woman can be represented by a Tarot King if she projects a strong sense of authority.

The suit of Cups corresponds with the element of Water. In its natural state, Water is cool and wet. When amassed, it has weight, and it tends to gather or pool at the lowest place. Because of this tendency, Water creates its own roadways or channels, and it prefers to use those already-in-place channels if it can. Water is used for cleaning and purifying, and Water can be a carrier for other substances. For instance, we can dissolve salt or sugar into warm Water, and use that concoction for other things. A body of Water can be calm and deep, or it can be dangerously churning and filled with powerful currents.

Feelings and emotions are the main correspondences of the element of Water, and the suit of Cups. Emotions flow and have currents, a powerful wave of emotions can be cleansing, emotions can be hot and expanding or they can be bubbling upward, like steam, or cold and contracting and heavy, like ice, and our emotions can affect our physical bodies (which contain a lot of Water) and our health. Often, tears appear when we feel things strongly through sadness or joy or anger, as physical manifestations of those emotions. Water also represents the Inner Voice and the subconscious, the dark and unknown depths hidden below the smooth reflective surface.

Water is not the only element that corresponds to our Page. In the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence, and the rank of the card has an elemental correspondence. Pages correspond with Earth, Knights correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck), Queens correspond with Water, and Kings correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck). Since we are talking about a Page today, we are also talking about the element of Earth.

In its natural state, the element of Earth is cool and dry. When amassed Earth has weight; it is able to bind together or shape the other elements. For example, Water and Earth bind together to make mud, and a lake is shaped by the Earth that supports it. Earth energies are tangible, stable, and practical, and they are slow to change.

Earth is about the physical, earthly world, our physical bodies, and everything we need in order to maintain those physical bodies, including health and exercise. The element of Earth represents fertility, prosperity, and the wealth that can bring both physical shelter and mental and emotional pleasure. The element of Earth can show a possible outcome or end result of our efforts, the product of our labors; it can give information about material manifestations of all kinds.

All Pages represent the element of Earth, as well as the element corresponding to their suit; this means that our Page of Cups presents an Earthy version of Water. Earth and Water share the quality of coldness and the tendency to be binding (and that can be positive or negative, depending on the situation and the other cards in the spread). They are each fertile, they compliment each other, and they encourage inspiration.

Like the other cards of the Tarot, Court Cards have astrological correspondences. Our Page of Cups corresponds with the season of Fall and the signs of Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius. Libras are true team players concerned with creating balance, harmony, cooperation and partnerships, with fairness to everyone. Because Libra is Cardinal Air, this sign initiates through new ideas, and by being a balancing force among people.

Scorpio is a fixed Water sign, associated with a focus on achievement and on striving to understand the mysteries of the imagination, dreams, and passions. Scorpios are inflexible, stubborn, opinionated, loyal, intense and passionate, even if they appear quiet on the surface. Still waters run deep, and Scorpios love hard, and love forever.

Sagittarius is often seen as the wanderer, but remember, not all those who wander are lost. Sagittarius is the truth-seeker, the enthusiastic consumer of information who loves knowledge achieved by traveling the world and talking to everyone, and who desires to understand the meaning of life. This is a mutable Fire sign, and thus while exploration and adventure are a necessary part of life, procrastination is also a danger.

Our Page of Cups brings cooperation through emotions, and sees the world through rose-colored glasses at times. The Page of Cups reminds us of the pleasures of youth, and tells us that it is okay to have fun, to not take things quite so seriously.

Because they are Minor Arcana cards, Court Cards also correspond with a sephira on the Tree of Life. The Pages correspond with the sephira of Malkuth, along with the Tens of the Minor Arcana and the element of Earth. Malkuth is the bottom sephira on the Tree, corresponding with our physical world, and opposite of Kether at the top of the Tree, corresponding with the purest form of Deity, mostly unknowable by physical world beings. Malkuth is located at the bottom of the Pillar of Balance and is receptive in nature; it receives emanations from all the other sephiroth on the Tree.

Pages are often associated with the Ace of their suit; the Ace of Cups is the root of the powers of Water (not the manifested powers, but the beginnings of them), and the potential for those powers to manifest. The Ace of Cups tells us that we could be dealing with intangible feelings and experiences such as love, friendship, attunement and spirituality. Pages are also seen as representing a more immature version of the Queen of their suit; the Queen of Cups represents someone who is in touch with their intuition, sensitive to the emotions of those around them, finds joy in their connections to others, and can be both nurturing and practical. The Page of Cups offers us this potential and asks us to embrace it.

The Thoth Tarot Princess of Cups is surrounded by the ocean’s depths; she is dancing, with an expression of pleasure on her face and a scalloped Cup containing a turtle in her hands. Her dress is also decorated with scallops (the same motif found on the Ace of Cups of this deck). Her character is sweet, gentle, kind, tender, and voluptuous. She is about dreams and romance and rapture; she is able to manifest dreams and romantic ideas into reality and ideas flourish in her waters.

The Llewellyn Welsh Page of Cups is card whose image is filled with Water; unlike The Moon and its deep and silent lake, the Page of Cups stands precariously on a rock, surrounded by the spray and foam of crashing waves. Our Page stands steadily, holding up a Cup with a fish jumping above it. This Page feels safe here, trusting that the rock will hold steady and understanding the waves and the tides (and applying that understanding), and their push and pull. This is a card of cheerfulness and innocent optimism, of romance and playfulness and imagination and beautiful creativity.

The Hermetic Tarot Princess of Cups stands within a churning sea with white-capped waves, surrounded by creatures who live in or on the water: two swans, a dolphin and a turtle, and framed by what look like fronds of seaweed. The Hermetic Tarot sees this Princess in an upright position as representing sweetness and dreaminess, kindness and imagination.

The Legacy of the Divine Page of Cups is wearing gold silks with teal shells on his shirt, and wears a downward pointing triangle at his throat (representing the element of Water). He looks at us with an open and innocent expression and steady and kind eyes, and offers us with reverence his Cup, a container for emotions and intuition. He reminds us that relationships of all kinds are important, and he asks us to pay attention to dreams and the messages of our inner voice.

The Page of Cups is a dreamer, a messenger, a friend, and a student; our Page is concerned with connections, warmth and affection and offers us messages of love and connection. Some decks present the Page of Cups as being child-like and passive, but in other decks the Page of Cups offers feminine potential and the ability to look within ourselves without being misled or distracted by the prejudices that life experiences sometimes bring. The Page of Cups is Earth of Water, and thus all about feelings and sensations, particularly pleasant feelings and sensations. This is a card of soft and tender energies and of getting fulfillment through connections to others, and through innocent and simple joys The Page of Cups tells us to be open to our feelings, to say yes to the opportunity to connect with others, and to listen for our inner voice and value its message.

*** **This year we will be featuring the art of Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/ as part of Tarot Talk.  You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

Yoga, Meditation, & Wisdom

July, 2017

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

This month’s column will wrap up The Eight Limbs of Yoga, as we focus on Dhyana and Samadhi.

(Photo Credit: anandashram.org)

Dhyana = worship. It is contemplation, focus and concentration; the ability to find the truth about something – an object, a thought – with perfect meditation. As our minds become clearer, our perceptions do as well. We can readily discern what is, and what is not, reality.

“Maya” is illusion. It is our perceptions, our judgements, our thoughts and feelings based on our lives, that color and filter all that we do and think.

“Moksha” is the freedom to see and perceive things clearly, as they really are and not what we judge them to be based on our own filters. This freedom exists in the now. It is having no ego, no attachments, no wants or needs.

To get one (Moksha), you must cast off the other (Maya). Using the power of meditation, we clear our minds to see beyond our illusions; we must be aware enough to “see” beyond what we see with our filters.

(Photo Credit: yogatrail.com)

The last limb is Samadhi, which means “to merge”. This is “the final and true state of Yoga” (from samadhiyoga.net)

Through utmost patience and years (and years) of diligent practice, we can reach that perfect place with a blissful and peaceful soul.

(Photo Credit: samadhiyoga.net)

From the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

As interpreted by Mukunda Stiles

Chapter 1, Verses 15 – 18

Non-attachment

is the mastery of consciousness,

wherein one is free from craving

objects of enjoyment,

whether they have been perceived

or imagined from promises in scriptures.

The ultimate state of non-attachment

arises from self-realization,

in which there is indifference

to the primordial forces of desire,

as everything

and everyone

is experienced as one’s

own True Self

Thorough knowledge

is accompanied by inquiry

into its four forms

analytical thinking about an object,

meditative insights on thoughts,

reflections into the nature of bliss,

and inquiry into one’s essential purity.

Another form

of thorough knowledge

is preceded by resolute practice

to completely cease

identification with the contents of the mind.

As a result,

only subliminal impressions remain

and their residue

has no impact on the mind.

Verse 43

When the

storehouse of memories and impressions

is completely purified,

perception is

empty of vacillations

and only the object’s

true essence

shines forth in

thought-free perception.

Verse 51

When the mind

becomes free from obstruction

all vacillations cease,

and the mind becomes

absorbed into spirit

without producing future seeds.

Thus a new mind is born

of this wisdom,

free of ignorance

(Photo Credits: Pinterest)

Book Excerpt: “The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within” Jennifer Engrácio

July, 2017

Children and Ceremony

In many cultures in the world, rituals are built into daily life as a continual way of renewing the individual and community spirit: celebrating, giving gratitude, grieving, and letting go of that which no longer serves the health and well-being of the village. Ritual is a kind of glue that helps us to remember who we are and how we are related to everything in the universe–something we humans tend to forget unless we build times to experience this connection consciously into our busy lives.

Each of us authors noticed several years ago that many children we met wanted and needed ritual in their lives. The children were interested in what we were doing as shamanic practitioners and some children started asking us to work with them by creating healing ceremonies either with them or for them. This was particularly true of those brought up in the Western world without ties to ancestral traditions of their particular lineage.

With the growing secularization of society in the 20th Century, mainstream Western culture gained more freedom of spiritual discovery and expression. Unfortunately, some of us also lost our conscious tie with the sacred both inside and outside of us. This has created a generation of kids who seem to feel a bit in limbo; many want ways to walk their spiritual paths and make a difference in the world but do not feel comfortable in either secularization or organized religions. We find that many kids have instinctively discovered a relationship with the cosmos in a consistent way through spending time out in nature.

Indeed, ritual seems to come naturally to many children already. For example, when a pet dies, kids intuitively give them a burial and a formal farewell. Grandmother Ann (our co-author) wrote a little about her experience of doing ceremony with children in 2011:

I was fortunate, several years ago, to work with a group of children whose parents were also studying shamanism.  These children and I played games, did ceremonies and had discussions about their joys, fears, hopes and dreams.  We talked about how the ceremonies related to their lives in all aspects: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and life force energy.  We discussed the natural world and our connections to the Earth.  Doing ceremony together, I got to know the children’s needs and the gifts they brought to life.  For a parent, grandparent or other caregiver this sharing can bring increased joy and deepen your connection and love for the child.  That is a wonderful gift.”

The following is an excerpt from the book “The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within:”

A few years ago, one of our teachers shared her dream of creating a book of ceremonies for children.  She and our other teacher were working on their own book of ceremonies for adults at the time.  A few of us expressed passion for this project.  Each of us (Ann, Jen and Kat) have a deep devotion to children; serving them is part of our pathway in life.  Ann is a grandmother with five children of her own and two grandchildren.  Katherine (Kat) is a published children’s author and an aunt to two little girls.  Jennifer (Jen) is a BC-certified teacher and an aunt to a boy and a girl.  We share a love of children and passion for their welfare and empowerment.  Each of us has done so much healing through ceremonies.  We know how powerful they are.  Our dream for this book is that children everywhere will experience the magic of self-discovery as they do these ceremonies. 

 

Shamanism is a term to describe a general practice of using the wisdom of the natural world and the earth’s energies to heal oneself and add beauty to one’s life. Shamanism includes many spiritual practices and does not have one doctrine of belief to follow.  

The ceremonies we have created are earth-based and draw upon the wisdom in nature (and in each of you as parts of nature) in order to bring healing into your lives.  With the natural world as a point of connection, we hope that children (and parents) of all faiths, beliefs and cultures find these ceremonies accessible and healing.  Children who live in urban areas can connect with nature around and within their human-made environments.  Most kids will have access to trees, even if they are small ones that line the concrete streets.  Most kids will find insects, birds and other animals in their cities to observe and connect with.  All of us have access to the sun, the wind, the water and the earth…

Ceremonies can teach us how to use magical tools (altars, medicine wheels, wands) to call something we want or need into our lives, for protection, for working with life’s challenges and for calling forth our gifts, so that we can live the best life we can while we are here on Earth.  Ceremonies can help change our inner worlds so that our lives work better and we are happier people.  I don’t know about you, but in my life, it can be so hard to hear my own voice among people telling me what I should do, what I should think and how I should act.  So many “shoulds” can drive a person crazy!  As Grandmother Ann states, spending time doing ceremony can help people to hear their own voice so that they can follow their own inner wise magician in their lives: 

Why do I do ceremony?  By doing ceremonies, I clear away all of the monkey noise in my head so I can discover my gifts to the world.  I discover magical mysterious me.  I hear the magician that is my higher self, who knows what I need to do and how to do it.  When I do ceremonies, I hear the song of the Universe and its vibrations so that I can vibrate in time with the Universe’s rhythms.  Ceremony sets me free to be me.”

This book is an invitation to ceremony for adults and kids. It can be used in a random and intuitive way. We invite each child and adult’s inner child to listen to the ceremonial descriptions and choose ones that feel/sound interesting. It is okay for parents to make suggestions, as long as they are not attached to the outcome.  It is important that the child participate willingly.  Each one of us has our own path to walk in life and making self-governed choices is a vital part of that journey.  We have included age groups that each ceremony is best suited for.  However, this is only a guideline.  Kids who are outside the age range are welcome to do any ceremony that calls to them. 

It is important to note that this is not a book “for” kids as much as a guide that will allow adults to connect with their playful, lighthearted selves while they participate in the ceremonies with their children. It is not intended to be a book where kids are left on their own to do these ceremonies…

Each one of you has special gifts you brought to the world when you were born that you carry around inside.  Our deepest wish as the authors of this book is that doing these ceremonies supports each one of you to shine more of your inner light into the world.  Discover your mysterious magical self!   What magic will you bring to the planet?

***

Author Bio:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing”

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

To purchase “The Magic Circle,” visit: www.ceremoniesforkids.com

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

July, 2017

Full Moon Rise

 

 

 

Merry meet.

An eclectic group of women in my area have been getting together for as many full moons as possible these past two year. One of our favorite traditions grew out of our coven – to gather at a small public beach that does not close at sunset. We bring blankets, camp chairs and food, and set up where we see the sun set behind the cottages and then watch the moon rise in the east over the water.

 

 

 

We do it as often as possible when the full moon falls on a weekend during warm weather. The most recent time was June 9, which happened to be the Strawberry Moon.

 

 

 

 

 

An informal, impromptu ritual included directional candles set up on a blanket and a fertility goddess. We chanted. One woman bought her singing bowl to bring us all into harmony. We all raised strawberries to the moon along with our petitions and gratitude.

 

 

 

 

There was raucous laughter and deep silence, and conversations both magickal and mundane. We dipped our toes in the ocean under the moon. We hugged and kissed and allowed our wild women selves to come out.

Perhaps these photos of that night will prompt you to have an equally awesome and awe-filled experience.

 

 

 

 

Merry part. And merry meet again.

The Three-Storeyed Universe

July, 2017

 

Notes on Our Cosmos 

 

I am collecting notes about our cosmos which seem suggestive and relevant.

The first thing to note is that our cosmos is local. A cosmos is an ordered habitation, and does not mean everything within reach of our telescopes. It is still under construction and goes through cycles of birth, growth, decay, dissolution and incubation. We shall understand what these cycles mean when we understand how life, evolution and intelligence fit into the dynamics of a cosmos.

The Sun is the principal deity and world of our local cosmos, while the Earth is its principal ‘field’ of nurture. The Moon, which is the same apparent size as the Sun, serves as a circuit breaker for solar energies and governs the cycles of reincarnation.

The Watchers are the Suns or principal deities of four other cosmoses who provide astral cross-fertilization to the Earth through the agency of elementals: sylphs, salamanders, undines and gnomes, from the stars Aldebaran, Regulus, Antares and Fomalhaut, respectively.

The astral Earth is a higher dimension of our physical world, where our root souls reside and gradually grow to maturity through many incarnations. The point of growth of our current incarnation is our everyday identity, where we look out through our eyes at the physical world and inward at the thoughts and feelings in our astral world. Ordinarily our awareness of the two alternates rapidly, but we can learn to look out and in at the same time, serving as the Threshold Guardian of our inner cosmos. When we succeed in learning to do this, sudden noises will not frighten us. This was noted by the heathen Ainu of Sakhalin, who warned their anthropologist that sudden fright opens one up to the ingress of malicious spirits.

Records from many ancient civilizations, such as the Hittite, Sumerian, Mongolian and proto-Voodoo (Vodun), indicate that the Sun is the Threshold Guardian of our local cosmos, or that the Threshold Guardian resides in the Sun.

The dissolution phase of our local cosmos does not necessarily involve the destruction of the physical globe itself, but initiates a general dying-off of life on the land and in the sea. The greatest extinction was in the Permian event, about 252 million years ago, which separated the late Palaeozoic from the Triassic /Mesozoic eras and destroyed about 95% of all species. Dinosaurs evolved during the latter period. The great ecological crisis we are currently in may well lead to another such extinction, as predicted in the Volva’s prophecy in the Elder Edda.

A dissolution phase may or may not affect the astral Earth dimension, but incarnation activity would cease until conditions favoring life are re-established.

When root souls in the astral Earth have matured sufficiently, they will undergo a transmutation and travel to the Sun to receive bodies of light, as taught by both Italian stregheria and the Hindu Prasna Upanishad. Thereafter the transmuted soul lives in the solar world, that is, the local starry world, and assists the Gods in their labors.

The Caucasian mystic Gurdjieff taught that in order to take account of everything that can be contained in a cosmos, three cosmoses must be considered together. This fits in with what has been said above about the structure of our local cosmos. Each of us contains an inner cosmos, with an inner cosmic pillar or tree by which our dream soul 1 can descend to the root soul and then reascend to the physical Earth. Each of us serves as the Sun of his / her inner cosmos and can become its effective Threshold Guardian by means of maintaining simultaneous awareness of outer perceptions and inner thoughts and feelings, as already mentioned above. This is the first cosmos.

By means of the sacred household and the offices of household spirits and demigods, including the house’s Threshold Guardian, we are put into contact with the local physical cosmos, and can receive energies from the Sun through the crown chakra, which is open at birth and can be re-opened through special exercises. This teaching is so widespread it is well-nigh universal. By connecting with the Sun and the root-soul and spirits and elementals in our physical world, we help to construct the second cosmos, or cosmic level.

Finally, by undergoing transmutation in the astral Earth (or more rarely, and formerly, on the physical Earth), we travel to the Sun and are there given a body of light. Thereafter we dwell in the solar or third level of our local cosmos.

The Gods, it would seem, are developing and building the local cosmos on three levels in imitation of a pattern established by higher Gods, perhaps in the galactic world. So they, too, have Gods.

1 The reincarnating bud-soul is dual in nature, with the dream-soul able to travel to the root-soul and back, while the bud-soul proper keeps watch over the body. Only the dream-soul rejoins the root-soul after death.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

July, 2017

July 2017 Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

It is the day before Summer Solstice, and I’m writing July’s article.

Next month will bring Lammas! The year is going by so fast!

This month’s topic will be a very important one we talk about, but seldom sit in silence and meditate on. How Pagans get on with those who they cannot stand.

It all depends on both your tradition, and your personality.

My own, personal knee jerk reaction is to tell people off very harshly, and write them off for good if I really cannot endure them. This is because, like many, it takes a lot for me to get to that point. I have gotten a lot better at resisting doing this as I am middle aged, and have mellowed quite a bit. However, I still don’t judge, or criticize other people who still write people off when they feel they need to, and I understand there are times when this is absolutely the only option.

I will focus on the Wiccan Tenet of Tolerance for combatting this, and share some suggested spellwork when you have tried all you can, and the offending parties just have got to go!.

The Seven Tenets of Wicca

Different traditions will have different beliefs of what is right conduct. Some value the Rule of Three. Some don’t. Some have Thirteen Laws of the Witch. Others have a simple Seven Tenets.

These are:

  1. The Tenet of Balance
  2. The Tenet of Learning
  3. The Tenet of Harmony
  4. The Tenet of Humility
  5. The Tenet of Tolerance
  6. The Tenet of Trust
  7. The Tenet of Reincarnation

More than one Wiccan Tradition focuses on these. These are things that govern how one lives life, and how one interacts with others, as well as oneself.

While each Tenet can figure in to how we put up with other people we’d rather strangle, I will focus on The Tenet of Tolerance for today.

First and foremost, let me say that Tolerance is not necessarily acceptance. It can simply mean biting your tongue to put up with somebody. Notice acceptance is not a Tenet? We don’t have to agree with other people, or understand them to tolerate them. We just have to understand there are times we cannot control a situation, and we put up with it to get by.

Sometimes, we need to bite our tongues instead of expressing our true feelings, because either 1) nobody will listen, and it will be a waste of breath, or 2) there will be negative consequences. It is these times when I ask myself if the consequences will be worse for me than keeping my mouth shut. Most of the time, I find it is not worth it to even say anything, and just go do something that actually matters.

Coming from a family of women who ALWAYS spoke their mind, oftentimes without thinking before they spoke, it is easy for me to understand that sometimes less is more in regards to communicating. ?

Tolerance of that fact is the very most difficult part sometimes.

Also, it just doesn’t feel fair that sometimes other people who we feel are 100% wrong, are allowed to get by with something we feel unjust. Many magical practitioners will struggle more with these situations, because we know how to move energy, and believe we can influence everything. In these situations, my priest quotes the film, Little Big Man, and says “Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes, it doesn’t.” and life goes on.

We can either tolerate that the fact things are the way they are, or we can pull our hair out trying to influence things we are powerless to change.

The trick is knowing what we can change and what we can’t. The Xtians Serenity prayer comes in handy here.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. “

It’s short, sweet, and very wise.

Idle No More is a Native American organization , and one of their members coined a saying. “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

This is equally wise.

WC Fields had another take on this topic. He said “If at first you don’t succeed, try , try again. Then quit. There’s no point being a damn fool about it.”

This statement contains great wisdom as well.

The trick is to know which applies to the scenario.

When it comes to tolerance of other people, you have to take your own personal capabilities into consideration. We all have a breaking point of what we can endure and what we cannot. Some people are not worth the air they breathe in regards to the contribution they make to our lives, while others are hurting nobody, they are jjust slightly annoying, and we can live with it.

Now, in public places, and at work, we really don’t have that big a choice. You bite your tongue, and get through the day until quitting time somedays. Just because you have bills to pay. You may work with somebody you just dislike on a personal level, but they do a good job, and your supervisor won’t give a crap if you dislike them. You keep your mouth shut, and your head down because you like the job, and you know your nemesis is not going anyplace either, unfortunately.

Or are they?

How much power, do you, as a witch have, to get rid of somebody your life would be more pleasant without?

Say Suzy Snotrag works in the next cubicle. She refuses to take a day off work, and drags upper resp, which she is constantly contracting from one of her half dozen crotch dumplings into work every two or three months. She has PERFECT attendance, which the boss loves, and you have a depressed immune system from a lifelong chronic condition. Upper resp hits you twice as hard as it does other people.

Suzy is the only person in the company who does this. She does an exemplary job save for being a disease factory, and you can’t get her fired because the boss thinks she is the second coming.

Time to get rid of Suzy using a little witchcraft.

Maybe you are not like me, and you don’t want to curse her away. Maybe you are all love and light, (yuck), and it would kill you if you ever hurt a fly. Maybe you don’t believe in influencing other people’s lives, because you feel it is against the natural order of things, and you are afraid you will rack up bad karma if you do anyways.

I say you need to witch up, and discard the combination Xtian /Hindu afterlife fears. Accept that good things happen for bad people, bad things happen to good people, and Suzy Snotrag has to go. Like, yesterday.

But I can’t dictate beliefs!

So, you tolerate Suzy’s constant “giving” of her personal bacteria that is delivered through the air you are forced to share with her.

Then comes the day you have used all your sick and vacation time, and you have none left. You have a few months until you will have accumulated more, and your best friend wins an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii for next month, where you have ALWAYS wanted to go. Since you have no vacation time left, you can’t go, and your best friend’s pinch faced sister -in -law goes along instead. ?

Suzy, on the other hand, has just gotten a perfect performance eval for her amazing attendance record, and you finally get good and mad, and decide it’s no more Miss Nice Witch. You pull out the black hat to show that germy bitch who she is dealing with!

The Working

Getting rid of people can be simple, or complicated, and can take longer, or a shorter period of time. It entails spellwork, and then waiting. Once you send the energy out to the Universe, it is in the hands of the powers that be. Sometimes, no matter how specific you are as to details, including timeframe, the gods work in their own ways, and on their own timeline.

Don’t let that deter you. Get started.

Here are a few different things you can try.

  1. Hotfoot powder– Your local metaphysical store likely has this, and if not, you can order it online. It is sprinkled either in the shoes of the person you want to get rid of, or where they will walk. You don’t have to say any special words, because the powder is specially charged with the intent that they leave. For good. If you decide to make your own, mix black pepper, salt, and red pepper, saturating it with your intent the whole time. Be careful to put it where only they will step. I was told by a very wise witch the rest can be vacuumed up. This has always worked for me. Just don’t let anybody see you doing so, and try to make sure the powder is not visable to them in any way, or else they might clean out their shoes or clean up the floor, thus spoiling the spell.
  2. Send them to Texas– Or wherever you like. This is done with a map, and a piece of paper with their name on it, and a pin. Start out by pinning them at their current location. Gradually move it, over the course of days, or weeks, to the place you want them to be instead. Talk to whatever is representing them each time you move it, telling them how much they want to move, and how much happier they will be at their new place. The best bet for a move location will be a location that you are aware will be very beneficial to them, but is far far away from where you are. Pick Suzy Snotrag’s hometown where all her family is. Convince her that she just can’t handle all those little hellions on her own, and they would all be better off in town with grandma and grandpa and all the uncles, aunties, nieces, and nephews. Or say she is not family oriented, but has her eye on a move up the corporate ladder at a location in a different state. “Bless “ her by wishing her the promotion. The buy her a nice big going away gift, charged with your energy that she STAY gone for good.
  3. Mail them away– Similar to sending them to Texas- only this time, you actually mail them to where you’d like them to go. Make a poppet of them. It can even be a copy of a photograph of them- or in Suzy Snotrag’s case, dig a snotty Kleenex out of her trash when nobody notices, and mail that away. Wear gloves if you are concerned about fingerprints- as a witch always covers his or her tracks, and type the address out so your handwriting cannot in any way be traced. Do not have a return address on the envelope, under any circumstances, because what you want is a magical one way ticket away. You do not want to create access to a path for them to come back. Mail the representation of Suzy to her mom’s house. Okay, maybe it is mean and gross to mail a snotty, used Kleenex to Suzy’s mom. Then mail a nice, neatly folded, clean kleenx, or if you like, a nice pretty handkerchief.

 

This is just three ways to get rid of somebody you have tolerated all you can, and you are “changing the things you cannot accept” and showing them the door out of your life.

Just remember not to “spell and tell”. If people get the gist you are doing magic on them, they will know the source of what is causing the change, and know who to focus on to dispel the magic. The more people you tell, the more chance it has of coming back to them. So don’t risk it.

Unfortunately, maybe Suzy Snotrag belongs right where she is, and your attempts at magic did not get her moved. Get yourself moved.

Go and talk to the boss and say how much you love your job, but your immune system is bad, and you need more vitamin D. Is there any way she can give you a cubicle nearer the sunlight when one opens up? No cubicles are near a window? Maybe you see a position open up in the department you are qualified for, where people are a long ways away from one another, and even farther from Suzy. Apply for a transfer there.

Suzy will be hacking, snotting, and salivating after the coveted position you transfer to, and there won’t be a thing she can do about it, no matter how many tissues she sneezes into. You will breathe easier, and be proud of yourself for either sending Suzy on her way, or making a way for you to hit the road, yourself, and without her, you live happily ever after!

The End!

Bad Witch’s Guide

July, 2017

 

 

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Love Spells


I am a bad witch. There are a long list of reasons why I am a bad witch. Having been out of the broom closet for some considerable number of years I would on occasion get asked “but you’re a good witch though?” My response to that depending on the person asking but I found I started to say “yes, a very, very good witch” rather darkly as it usually got the point across.

Good witches will either hand you a love spell without blinking or warn you off them completely. I however, am not a good witch.

The warnings are not without good reason. Love is a power thing. An energy and force that can move mountains. In messing around with this you might miss the BIG one/s. There is a real difference to being “in love” and actual love. In love is chemical attraction, a dizzy connection, an awakening. This always fades, but can also wax again. Real love, real connection is deeper than that and born out of respect and loyalty.

Most love spells are not actually about love, which is probably because most folks wanting a love spell, don’t actually want love either. Most love spells are about lust, loneliness and power games. That doesn’t mean something real cannot develop from a lust spell. Sex is fun and healthy after all. However problems really arise when they are done “in house” with a relationship. I have known wives desperate to stop their husbands cheating resorting to magick. It kept the marriage together for two more agonising years before blowing up.

No amount of magick can make someone really love you.

I have seen folks do magick consciously (and not) to draw the same kind of “wrong” or and over again. Sometimes they ask for “a Viking” or “a sexy Scorpio” and they get caught in this web of magick and cannot seem to easily free themselves. “Isn’t this exactly what you asked for” the Gods seem to say.

This can make people even swear off magick all together (as though it was its fault for your terrible taste!)

OMGdd you’re so judgey!”

Sometimes I am. I have done my share too of pushing on a pull door. In fact it is how I sort of met my husband. I was in a terrible relationship (I had been in it for nearly three and a half years) and I wrote a love spell (with the intention of fixing my relationship), however what I asked for was “my true love”. With six weeks I had moved out and was seeing my now husband of 16 years. I do wonder sometimes if I hadn’t done the spell would everything had happened so fast? I was married and a mum by 22 years old. I wouldn’t “undo” it. Yet it might have been good to have taken things slower!

However, no matter how weird or unlikely there tends to be strange jigsaw pieces that fit together and the world seems to conspire to put them in each other’s path.

So what makes a “good” love spell?

Well firstly sometimes you are the worst person to know what you actually need. Have a little faith, and ask for something good for you, something happy. What someone looks like might seem important but someone to hold your hand during your Dad’s funeral and actually make you feel better is far more important. A good love spell is about letting go of how you think it will be. If you are too hung up of that your truest love could walk straight past you because you were stubbornly clinging to this idea of a “type”. Some good therapy and an honest look to what you are calling to you helps. You really want your love to turn up will you are carrying enough emotional baggage to sink the Titanic? Are you loving (or at least trying) to love yourself, find your own worthiness? If someone loves you, can you accept that love, can you be loved graciously and love in return?

 

 

 

 

My True Loves Call

One red rose

One white rose

Ribbon (either pink, red or white)

Three candles (tea-lights are fine)

A dish or bowl of water

A pinch of powdered cinnamon.

A pink stone (rose quartz would be fine).

 

Place the bowl in the middle of the candles forming and equilateral triangle. Take a good sharp knife and cut the roses vertically in half. Take the “good half’s” and set aside. Light the candles and carefully add the rose petals from the other halves into the bowl saying.

I call to you through time and space, my true love, come and find your place.”

Slowly add the petals a little from each at a time. Sit with the pink stone in your hand or over your heart. Imagine you love someone romantically (don’t visualise a specific person) and imagine opening your heart and filling the stone with the light, a warm pink loving light. Imagine as you breath out you are radiating love and as you breath in accepting it gently. When you have done this for a few minutes add the stone to the bowl of water saying.

I shine with love, kind and true, my true love, I am ready for you.”

Add a pinch of cinnamon to the bowl and to the cut halves of the “good” roses now and say.

With passion, with kindness, with love, as below so above.”

Carefully but firmly bind the rose halves together with the ribbon.

I call through all space and time, my true love, a love Divine.

Your love is kind and true, you are ready for as I am for you.

We shall share, and love and grow; as above, so below.”

Sit with the candles and the bowl some time and extinguish the candle before leaving the bowl overnight. Burn the candles until burned out and keep the crystal in your pocket or with you for the next lunar month. Reserve a small bottle of the water and throw away the rest into running water. Keep the roses in a vase somewhere you can see them until they fade and then untie them and throw them in running water like a river or stream.

Love is a beautiful and mysterious thing but relationships take compromise, compassion and hard work. Be someone worth spending time with, and make sure you find someone worthy of you.

Exploring the Penumbra: First Steps in Sorcery Part 2

July, 2017

Wordless Knowledge

In time I realized that my new experiences came from a sort of energy flowing through my body. This energy was always there, but most of it was engaged with thinking and frontal attention; consequently, I rarely noticed it. I had discovered a way to increase the flow of this energy, so that I became aware of it for the first time as a factor in my environment. I had no name for this energy because we only name the things we notice. In this way shifts in energy awareness lead to wordless knowledge.

As energy flowed through my body, feelings flowed through my mind. I couldn’t put words to these feelings, but I could place them in long forgotten memories. Apparently memory, too, had a foreground and a background, and these detailed memories were of past moments that had lain forgotten in the background. Reselection of sensations must lead to a reselection of memories. From background sounds to things seen to the side to forgotten memories, one penumbra led to another.

Were all my memories as detailed as these? If so, background sensations must be stored in memory whether we are aware of them or not. Or were moments in the penumbra all somehow linked together in their own separate memory? I wasn’t remembering everything, like a drowning person; instead, I was somehow recalling the feelings of past moments. I could follow any feeling back to its memory, and in that sense I had potential access to all my memories, but it was the feelings that were important to me. Each one contained the particular perspective I had at a given moment in the past, both on myself and on life. My present sense of myself was expanding back through my past. I began recovering my early openness to new experiences, and came to feel that everything is potentially interesting.

As my inner silence deepened, psychic abilities like telepathy and precognition began to appear, like mice that creep out at night after the family has gone to bed, as one writer put it.1 These things just happened by themselves after I’d accumulated enough energy. In what follows I will show the reader how to access this energy and save it up. If energy itself is the teacher, this might explain how the knowledge of sorcery arose in the first place.

The Echo

In 1972 I was living in Encanto, then a semi-rural community of southeast San Diego. At that time I’d found that three or four hours were about as long as I could attend to background sounds before thinking would start in again. Then one day while walking along Imperial Avenue, it suddenly occurred to me to mentally imitate the sound of a truck that had just driven by. This immediately resulted in heightened attention to sounds and a powerful surge of energy.

At first my mental reproduction of engine noises was not very accurate, but that improved with practice. Sometimes I reproduced sounds mentally a moment or two after they occurred; at other times the echo happened immediately afterwards, and became like an extra resonance to sound. I called the first the ‘delayed echo’ and the second the ‘immediate echo’. The delayed echo heightened attention to sounds, while the immediate echo prolonged such attention.

The echo combined well with other explorations and amplified their effect. On this occasion I tried mentally echoing sounds just heard while keeping my eyeglass frames in view. The result of this doubling up was three full days (not counting sleep) in the penumbra.

At one point the feeling of lightness became like a breeze blowing through my body from back to front. Things seemed to take on a bluish tinge, but this was feeling rather than vision; it had to do with how fresh everything felt. The feelings blowing through my body flooded every pore with wordless knowledge.

By the third day, the breeze had risen to a light wind and was blowing through my memories. My personal history, the sense of who I am, was being shuffled like a deck of cards, or rolled like those little pictures in the windows of slot machines.

I call this episode in my life ‘the spirit wind’. By the end of the third day the wind set me down somewhere else in myself; that is, my store of familiar memories was completely revised and my feeling of myself permanently changed from that point on.

Mental talk uses the memory of spoken words, played back on a sort of internal tape recorder, I reasoned. When I mentally replay sounds just heard, I momentarily unplug this tape recorder from my store of familiar memories and plug it instead into immediate memory, into sounds selected randomly by circumstances. The effect, after several hours, was to send my memories on a roll. In the longer run I discovered that the echo was like a feedback signal and provided a sense of inner companionship I usually derived from thinking. I talk to myself because I am usually lonely and want to have a companion, here in my mind where I feel most alone. With practice, the echo replaced mental talk as my inner companion.

The echo gave me the power to be alone without feeling lonely; and I had flown on the echo, flown without the desert, peyote, or magic mushrooms. Poor D.D.!

Years later, some friends and I practiced the echo together in a circle. Each of us in turn made a single soft non-human sound, after which we would all repeat it mentally. After three or four go-arounds, M. laughed and said it really made her feel dizzy.

The Camera

I saw that vision supplies a sense of continuity to my experience even when interrupted by thoughts, so I tried disrupting this continuity by fluttering my eyelids like a strobe light. My lids soon got tired, so I tried opening and shutting them more slowly and resting them for a moment or two between ‘shutters’. Eventually I settled on a shutter speed that was slow enough to be comfortable but too quick for my mind to begin thinking about what it saw. I called this the ‘camera’.

In this exploration, close your eyes and breathe quietly for a few moments. Now open and shut them again immediately; not rapidly, just before you start thinking about anything. Take a few more breaths, then open and shut the eyes again. Do this for a few minutes. It works well to try it before a changing scene, so try it before an open window, or when you’re riding as a passenger in a car or on a train.

The camera can be practiced while walking across long flat surfaces such as park lawns or sandy beaches. Just look towards the ground about three feet in front of you and open your eyes often enough so you won’t trip over anything.

The disruption in visual continuity forces the mind to turn its attention to hearing and the other senses. At the same time, the slow deliberate interruption of the shutter interferes with the rapid disruption of frontal vision by thought.

An unexpected effect of the camera is to relax the chronically tensed muscles at the outer corners of the eyes. We tense these muscles habitually in order to track on objects. Once those muscles relax, something opens up there and a flow of energy enters the eyes from the sides carrying with it feelings and wordless knowledge. The eyes no longer strain to see but instead become passive windows, and vision becomes fresher and more vivid. Try varying the number of breaths taken between shutters, as well as the speed of the shutter itself. Eventually, your eyes will shutter by themselves spontaneously.

The ‘swing camera’ is performed by moving the head slowly from left to right several times, working the shutter at each end of the arc. Then face forward and slowly open your eyes. The whole visual field will appear united, with the left and right peripheries prominent.

Where there is danger of stumbling, the reverse of the camera can be performed: the eyes are open but are slowly and relaxedly closed and opened again at intervals. To avoid strain, let your eyes blink by themselves normally between times. The discoverer called this exploration ‘long blinking’. [P.J.]

A related exploration involves periodically opening the eyelids a little wider than usual, then letting them relax back into their accustomed position. This is most effective after practicing the camera for a while. [W.W.]

But there was one problem with the camera, and solving it led to a new way of exploring the lumina.

Phosphenes

When I first began practicing the camera, I noticed that I tended to drift back into thinking during the phase when my eyes were closed. So I took the explorer’s tack of looking for whatever I was ignoring in the situation.

What I was ignoring were phosphenes, all the little lights and vague shapes that seem to hang or dissolve across the backs of the eyelids. Here was an unexplored region of the lumina, a book only I could read, though written in an unknown language.

I was not trying to project known forms on my phosphenes; I simply picked out this or that detail and tried to follow its changes. Though these images were like nothing in the world, I could study the ways they changed into each other, getting a feeling for their movement. I saw that one way they change is by reversing figure and ground. At one point a detail that is part of the foreground begins to merge into the background, while background details gain in prominence, like the black silhouette of a wine cup that becomes two lovers kissing, or the ambiguous paintings of M.C. Escher.

When I combined this exploration with the camera, each shutter was followed by an after-image that faded into the usual slow dance of unknown figures. Whatever I caught sight of when my eyes opened slowly disintegrated when they were shut again, and in this way I saw something known gradually turn into something unknown. I tried to catch the point at which the after-image was no longer recognizable. These explorations deepened my inner peace suddenly. It felt like slipping down a floor or two in an elevator.

While watching phosphenes, the eyes can slowly and gently move from side to side, as they do more rapidly while dreaming. The eyes are not moved physically but move by themselves as the explorer moves his attention across the field of lights and shapes. [W.E.]

A related exploration involves opening the eyes just enough to admit a minute crack of external light, which is essentially the way Zen Buddhists peer at a wall while meditating. This ‘wall vision’ heightened the mind’s attention to phosphenes when the eyes were fully shut again.

Echoing sounds just heard provides a soundtrack to the phosphene movie. When I did this, my mind associated the two in a single rhythm. I called this sort of exploration a ‘blending’. Blendings concentrate the attention more fully in the penumbra, so that the explorer goes in more deeply and stays there longer.

Spirit Door, Spirit Candle

Early on I tried experiments with crossing my eyes, making the visual field all penumbra. It was hard to do without strain, so I developed a preliminary relaxation. First I crossed my eyes for short moments without focusing on anything in particular. This helped to loosen up some of the muscular tension around my eyes. I just crossed them a moment and then relaxed letting the muscles go, allowing my eyes to uncross by themselves. This warm-up by itself led to a calm feeling of strengthened will power in the center of my head.

As practicing the camera also helped relax the muscles around the eyes, it was natural to try it out with the eyes crossed, once they could be crossed without strain.

I tried darkening the room and lighting a candle on a table at eye level, three feet or more in front of me. I lit the candle and then did the preliminary relaxation, making two candles, then releasing the eyes and letting them return to one candle again. I repeated this several times until my eyes suddenly stayed crossed by themselves, without strain.

(Fig. 1: Spirit Door: 1st point, lower 2nd point.

Fig. 2: Spirit Door: 1st point, lower 2nd and 3rd points.

Fig. 3: Spirit Door: 1st point, upper 2nd and 3rd points.

Fig. 4: Spirit Candle.

The signature is my son Corin Elliott’s, who drew the illustration in 2000 C.E.)

My eyes were directed at a point midway between the candle flames and on a level with them. Keeping my eyes on that point, I extended my attention to a point just below the first (fig. 1). This made the space between the two apparent candles seem like a doorway; feelings began flowing through this doorway into my eyes, producing a surge of energy in the middle of my head. I called this ‘the spirit door’.

Without moving the eyes, I then moved my attention to a third point at the same lower level, but closer to me (fig. 2). This triangulation gave space a different geometry, in which the two apparent candles seemed to be rushing towards me without ever arriving. If I extended my attention to a point just above the first, and from there to a third point on that level but closer to me, the strange geometry also appeared, in which I seemed to be rushing towards the candles without ever getting to them (fig. 3).

When the candle was farther away, I redirected my eyes from point 1 to point 2 to point 3, keeping part of my attention on point 1. In other words, I practiced ‘gazing from the side’ instead of ‘gazing to the side’.2 I found both forms of gazing to be effective.

The ‘spirit candle’ was similar but used two candles of the same height and shape but of different colors. When crossing the eyes created a third ‘spirit candle’ between them, both colors were present in the candle but did not blend as a third color. When one eye got lazy, the corresponding color disappeared. Keeping the two colors steady helped to detect mind-wandering and stopped it in time (fig. 4).

My candle experiments became rather baroque after a while. I would place two candles side by side in the corner of my bathroom sink, where they were reflected in two mirrors at right-angles to each other, making as many as six apparent candles. The additional images didn’t result in more energy, however.

The spirit door and spirit candle filled me with calm will power. Will and knowledge seemed to be the same thing after practicing them, and this effect combined with a surge of power in the center of the head.

Filling the Boat with Water

The traveler in the penumbra must manage to integrate these strange practices into a reasonably normal life, or he may give the appearance of schizophrenia and wind up in an asylum, like the protagonist of the French film ‘La Vie a l’Envers [Life Upside Down]’. 3 It is probably not possible to avoid a certain appearance of eccentricity, but with circumspection one can avert raising a general alarm.

While sitting in an airport and maintaining peripheral vision I found it was enough to wear dark glasses and hold a magazine in front of my face, turning the pages occasionally, to avoid appearing odd. I called these tricks of protective coloration ‘alibis’.

I saw that every situation affords some opportunity for extending the attention beyond the lumina. In a restaurant it may be revolving shadows cast by a ceiling fan, a convenient thing to gaze at while waiting for one’s order to arrive, while of course maintaining an air of day-dreaming. This ever-present opportunity I called a ‘bindu,’ a Sanskrit word meaning a point from which new creation can emerge. So in every new situation I looked for the bindu and had an alibi ready for camouflage purposes.

This helped me to integrate sorcery into any given moment, but the question of integrating it into my life as a whole remained. I still built up my energy for two or three days and then wasted it through anger, worry, or mild obsession. I enjoyed the fluid lightness of continuous sensation, but could only save up just so much energy, since my thinking mind found so many ways to squander most of it. Accessing the energy, then, wasn’t enough; I had to find a way to save it and store it up if I wanted to make progress.

An eastern teaching says we are like leaky vessels; we should find the leaks and plug them before filling the vessel with water. This means correcting bad habits and purifying oneself ethically before opening the door to psychic development.

Exploring the penumbra, however, is like filling an old boat with water to find the leaks. The explorer saturates mind and body with the energy of the penumbra and then quietly observes what his personality does with the increased energy. The eastern

teaching is prudent, and the explorer should bear in mind that filling the boat with water can be risky at first until you know where your big leaks are. Although adventures can be therapeutic they also contain dangers. To protect themselves, seasoned travelers travel lightly, simplifying their lives by eliminating useless possessions, opinions, commitments, relationships, clutter of all sorts. Greater openness to sensations makes the explorer seek silence and solitude, and cutting down on distractions makes it easier to spot energy leaks and plug them.

After the leaks are plugged and the hull is caulked, the old boat can be launched into the sea of the unknown.

Bindus

Upon awakening, not putting on the light right away, but lying quietly, slipping gradually from sleep to waking. Watching the lights on the inside of the eyelids. Slowly beginning the camera, fluttering the eyelids open every third breath or so. After this getting up and moving around, keeping the attention in the penumbra for a few more moments.

Driving to work around dawn, watching the long shadows of trees fall across the face like weightless waves, shadow-surf. The eyes seem to feel things.

Noon, cars gliding by on their shadows like carpets fixed to the wheels, yet the wheels roll over them just the same, a visible contradiction.

Swimming slowly across the pool, watching unrepeatable detail, lights wriggling like phosphorescent worms along the bottom, how light this body, how long the breath can be held!

Restaurants are excellent for peripheral listening, even better in the evening, by a window or in a glassed-in patio, mixing reflections with listening. Ocean of conversations all together, surging and falling to a great tide.

Lights at night, exquisite when the mind is quiet. Reflections of the interior mingled with views of the night outside. This mind wants to see either the reflections or the night, so watch them both. Headlights of cars beyond the inlet moving across the forehead of that woman eating at the next table wearing a streetlamp behind her left ear.

In the evening listening to distant sounds, letting my ears travel to the limits of the night, echoing fugitive noises until the dark flows back into my mind and the night is inside and all around me.

Late at night, off with the reading lamp, shutting the eyes, falling-asleep thoughts mingling with phosphenes. Those vague lights and patterns will be woven into dream images. My day begins and ends with this book that only I can read.

Blendings

“I’ve always got some tune or other going through my head,” my father said.

Minor obsessions like tunes that stick in the head waste a lot of energy but can be dispelled by blending them with sounds heard in the moment. Begin by echoing sounds a moment after they occur. Let the pace quicken on its own, until you are echoing sounds immediately upon hearing them. Now listen to the tune and the echo together as though they were a duet, like one of John Cage’s chance compositions.

The mind will find a rhythm common to them and they will sound as though they were keeping together within it. Presently, the inner tune will be absorbed into the outer sound, and only the outer will remain.

Mental tunes and inner talking can also be absorbed into visual movement. Watch how things move, observe their rhythm and let the mind blend with it.

When I am sleepless or otherwise caught up with obsessive thoughts, I can blend them with the rhythm or sound of my breathing, the way sitar music blends with the droning tamboura in the background.

If I try to suppress thoughts, they will only grow stronger; so instead I blend them like tunes into external sounds, letting them reverberate and die away on their own. The solution to these small dilemmas can be found in this moment of sensation.

Sometimes, when I am upset about something I can’t do anything about for the present, I begin obsessively repeating what I am going to say when the time comes. Pointless rehearsing, as opposed to intelligent planning, is a major energy leak in the hull of my boat.

At other times, dissatisfied with my response or role in a situation recently past, I will begin rehashing the situation over again, seeking to look better in my own eyes; or else I will hug to myself some quick response I made that drew laughter or applause. Either way, I waste a lot of energy in my obsessive concern over how I appear to others.

Like all trains of thought, the rehash and the rehearsal can be blended into sounds just heard, or into visual sensations. The echo, in conjunction with other explorations, lets me build up enough energy to sidestep the rehearsal and rehash before they capture my attention.

The wake of the moment just past often contains a ready-made synopsis of my life’s ongoing story. Maintaining a running story-line for my life and worrying over the plot is a full-time job and engages most of my energy.

If I blend the synopsis with sounds of the present moment my story starts

to fade, and is eventually replaced with a series of timeless pictures, like the calm

colored illustrations by Clement Hurd to Margaret Wise Brown’s children’s book

Goodnight Moon. 4

These pictures convey the feeling of immediacy enjoyed by very small children. Here is a small rabbit saying good-night to all his familiar companions: chairs, a red balloon, the moon in the window. This ‘great green room’ must be his first room, where everything began for him; only this is near the beginning and his story hasn’t really started yet. Instead there is a series of timeless moments, each complete in itself. Everything fits together and makes sense the way pictures make sense, but the moments following each other do not add up to a story because there is no plot and no synopsis.

Mirages

When my second son was little, we used to take evening walks. On the way home one night suddenly we both looked at the moon. “It’s following us home,” I said, with that slight twinge of guilt parents feel when they’re lying about Santa Claus. Then it occurred to me that I hadn’t noticed this for years, probably since being told it was an illusion.

Here was an experience usually ignored, like the shadow carpets of moving cars or the fuzzy sensations that are all I can see of my head without a mirror. These sensations, rejected once we ‘knew better,’ are doors into the penumbra. I decided to call them ‘mirages,’ because like desert mirages they tend to melt away when we suddenly see through them.

The mind’s proclivity for placing unrelated sounds in some sort of rhythmic pattern, so that all the conversations in a restaurant, for instance, seem to swell and fall in a great tidal pulse, was mentioned earlier. In the preceding section its usefulness for stopping mild obsessions by ‘blending’ them into external sounds was described. These explorations make use of the energy locked up in mirages.

When out walking on a windy day, attend to the wind in rhythm with your breathing. Don’t try to control your breathing, but follow the sound and feeling of breathing while listening to the wind as though it were the breathing of some enormous animal. Breathe with the wind, then breathe in response to the wind.

When clouds are packed up in more than one layer, look at one cloud and reverse it with the cloud in back or in front of it, switching figure and ground. This one is from my brother, a field surveyor. [W.W.]

The ancient Norse seeking their farmstead idols collected stumps and rocks and such that seemed to have faces carved in them by nature. 5 These were regarded as beings trying to emerge from stock or stone, and were carved and decorated just enough to help them come out. Like the Surrealist painter Salvador Dali, they looked for hidden faces in things.

We look at faces differently from mere objects, because faces look back. The explorer finds faces in wood grain, clouds or foliage and looks, then gazes at them as if they were faces looking back, without believing or disbelieving that they are. This is a good follow-up to the camera or echo, and augments or fine-tunes their effect.

Watching phosphenes leads to a feeling of being asleep while knowing one is awake. The next two mirages also play with the border between sleeping and waking and result in strong surges of energy accompanied by strange feelings.

When it is difficult to dispel the feeling of a dream, or if you simply recall the flavor of some dream, whether recent or from long ago, project its feeling into the current waking situation; that is, look for qualities or features similar to the dream and blend them with your memory of its mood or atmosphere. Pretend the dream is happening right now and you are temporarily aware that you are dreaming.

When you have actually had a lucid dream and can remember how it felt, project that feeling into the present waking moment and look at everything as though you were back in that dream. As lucid dreamers know, anything in a dream is a potential distraction that can make the dreamer lose his lucidity, so you want to look at things warily, without being drawn into them. Once you are drawn in you will forget you are dreaming and it will become an ordinary dream again. If you do this while awake, you will receive a strong jolt of energy.

We have a major energy investment tied up in the isolation of dreams from waking reality, which makes it very difficult for most people to become lucid dreamers. I will conclude by considering this barrier to lucid dreaming, and how it might be overcome through a mirage.

1 Alan Watts, I think.

2 See page 6.

3 Jessua, Alain, writer and director. See bibliography.

4 Brown, Margaret Wise. See bibliography.

5 Davidson, H.R. Ellis, Pagan Scandinavia. See bibliography.

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