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Book Review – The Initiatory Path in Fairy Tales: The Alchemical Secrets of Mother Goose by Bernard Roger

August, 2019

Book Review
The Initiatory Path in Fairy Tales
The Alchemical Secrets of Mother Goose
by Bernard Roger
Translated by Jon E. Graham
Pages: 308

“Once
upon time” immediately places the reader in a mythical, magical
world. Like other often-used phrases, storytellers use it to
transition to a place where anything is possible.

Classic
as well as little-known fairy tales are ripe with hermetic teachings
of alchemy and Freemasonry. In this book, The
Initiatory Path in Fairy Tales: the Alchemical Secrets of Mother
Goose,
Bernard Roger, provides an
exhaustive analysis to prove his point and deliver what the title
promises.

Translated
by Jon E. Graham, Roger demonstrates how hermetic ideas can be found
in such popular fairy tales as Cinderella,
Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood
and Snow
White,
as well as the stories
attributed to The Tales of My Mother the
Goose.

These
and other tales from around the globe contain symbols and secrets,
concealed in “the language of the birds.”

The
goose, he claims, hears the primal call of nature and was considered
a messenger in multiple cultures.

Describing
a legend as “the story of a fabulous ‘fact’ attached to a place
– a nation, forest, lake, tree, spring, or stone – or historical
figure,” Roger defines a tale as a “free traveler” found almost
everywhere around the globe but having no clear date or place of
origin.

“The
Germanic Wotan corresponds exactly with he Scandinavian Odin, and he
can also be compared to the Irish Baldor, king of the Fomorians, he
of the dark powers who also saw with only one eye,” Roger wrote.

I
am moved to pair that with something later in the book: “The
woodcutter’s wife is a woodswoman, or wild woman, from the family
of ‘wild men,’ ‘green men,’ and ‘woodsmen’ who were
depicted in the Middle Ages as covered with hair and clad in leaves.
This is a close relative to our probably tree-dwelling ancestors,
whose instincts even today are probably responsible for the pleasure
children feel when they climb trees, where they can dream for hours
while sitting in the hollow formed by its branches – a secret world
that adults have totally forgotten.”

To
understand and appreciate this book, you must be very interested in
the teachings and practices of the Freemasonry society, induction and
alchemy, and have a basic knowledge of the concepts and practices. I
was not prepared. Also, many examples Roger sites are from fairy
tales I never heard of, and the pages are so thick with details, I
sometimes found myself skimming.

There
is still valuable knowledge for the beginner, such as how quests
generally have happy outcomes as the seeker learns it’s the
princess – and not the jewel, bird, key, flower or fruit – that
is meant to be found, and that these quests correspond to alchemy
practices

The
six chapters cover the tales, the initiation, the stages, the door to
the temple or V.I.T.R.I.O.L., the paths of V.I.T.R.I.O.L. and the
ultimate success. There are sections on the forest, the castle,
riddles, impossible tasks and fighting dragons. Readers will learn
the four essential factors of fate (the cause of the quest,
assistants offered to him along the way, the object of the quest, and
the place where it is found), the ritual for the 18th degree of
Scottish Freemasonry and much more in-between.

The
book gets a 3.8 out of 5 by 5 customer reviews on Amazon.

The Initiatory Path in Fairy Tales: The Alchemical Secrets of Mother Goose on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

Lynn Woike

thewitchonwheels.com

All my life I have known
magic was real. As a child, I played with the fae, established
relationships with trees and “just knew things.” In my maiden
years I discovered witchcraft and dabbled in the
black-candles-cemeteries-at-midnight-on-a-fullmoon magick just enough
to realize I did not understand its power. I went on to explore many
practices including Zen, astrology, color therapy, native traditions,
tarot, herbs, gems, and as I moved into my mother years, Buddhism,
the Kabbalah and Reiki. The first man I dated after my divorce was a
witch who reintroduced me to the Craft, this time by way of the
Goddess. For 11 years I was in a coven, but with retirement, I have
returned to an eclectic solitary practice. I am transitioning to the
life of a crone on the road, living chunks of time in a 30-year-old
school bus converted into a living space that is also sacred space.
Follow me as I share the journey that is just beginning.
thewitchonwheels

Book Review – The Witchcraft Handbook by Midia Star

January, 2019

Book
Review

The
Witchcraft Handbook:

Unleash
Your Magical Powers to Create the Life You Want

By
Midia Star

This
is a beginner’s book, someone who has some experience may use the
spells in this book just as a jumping off point to create some new
spells. At the very beginning of the book, the first thing the
author writes is “Witchcraft is the practical side of the Wiccan
religion.” I have to say that I disagree with that statement
because not all witches are Wiccan.

I
had a hard time on telling what demographic the writer was going
after with this book. There are spells for home, sex, work, and love.
While at the back of the book there is a section on Dreamboards. In
this section, the writer states that the Dreamboard should be for
your dreams and not those of your friends or parents.

While
the author’s writing is well done, I do have to wonder about the
information this book contains. As far as information on herbs,
crystals, oils, and Moon phases the author is spot on. But there are
other little small things that I feel are misinformation.

Page
79 of the book the author writes in the Did You Know? box:
“Christians once used the pentagram as a religious symbol. Each
point represented the five wounds of Christ. To pagans and to
witches it represents Morrigan, the war goddess who fights for peace
in good fortune for others. If you see the pentagram drawn with the
top point of the star pointing to the bottom of the circle, this
represents dark and sinister magic, so always draw your pentagram
with the top point of the star pointing upwards.” The part about
the Christian’s is correct. I honestly don’t know about the
Morrigan part. But the inverted Pentacle I do know something about.
This is misinformation because on specific paths the pentacle with
the star pointing down is a sign of protection or even a sign of
attaining another degree within that path.

On
page 97 the author writes when talking about A Garden Space: that in
the William Shakespeare’s witches’ famous incantation’ eye of
newt and toe of frog’ actually refers to mustard seeds and a type
of buttercup plant. I had never heard that myself, I would like to
know what research the author used to arrive at that conclusion.

On
page 123 Midia Star writes in the Did You Know? box: “The Druids
where the first to believe and the power of the four-leaf clover.”
Now whether this is true or not I don’t know, again I would like to
know other resources the author used to arrive at that conclusion.

The
book contains no bibliography, or other sources were the author may
have gotten their information. The author does state that they have
tried the spells and they have worked for them. Again, as I said at
the beginning, the information on herbs, oils, candles, and the Moon
phase are all spot on. But, I do take exception to the things I have
listed, due to the lack of the bibliography.

The Witchcraft Handbook: Unleash Your Magical Powers to Create the Life You Want on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

Dawn
Borries
 loves
reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org.
Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past
25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are
interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings
by Dawn
on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Review of Coloring Book of Shadows: Planner for A Magical 2019 by Ami Cesari

January, 2019

Review

Coloring
Book of Shadows: Planner for A Magical 2019

by Ami Cesari

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the beautiful “Coloring Book of Shadows-Planner for a Magical 2019” from the author Ami Cesari. I have had both her planner and her magical coloring books in the past and have always thoroughly enjoyed them. I am an avid colorist and a fan of planners, so this combination of the two was right up my alley!

There
are two styles available of this book, both a regular bound book and
a spiral bound option. I personally prefer spiral bound, as for me I
like having the ability to fold the book in half for ease of use when
coloring. Her books are available on amazon right now and this
planner is available for the very affordable price of $11.69.

This planner/coloring book is just so much fun. It has all the things you want in a planner; full calendar pages, pages with extra room to write your plans for each day, a page for each month for your intentions, moon phase info, other dates such as holidays and sabbats, plus it also includes both a ton of magic themed adorable coloring pages and a lot of informational pages on the sabbats, ritual suggestions, craft ideas, recipes and other topics of interest. There are little pictures included on most of the calendar pages as well, which really adds an element of enjoyment to the task of organizing your schedule. I think it makes me personally much more likely to use the calendar book because I enjoy looking at the beautiful completed pictures throughout. You could color as you go, maybe at the beginning of the month start the images & pics for that month, or you can jump around and color in whatever order you choose.

I immediately as soon as i received this book jumped in (I was so excited to get started!) and I began with the title page of the book, then did the January page, then a couple pages that really called to me. I have included the finished pages here that I have completed thus far. Going forward I think I will color it month by month. And I will read the information in order as well and incorporate the suggestions into my routine when called.

If
you are in need of a really fun, functional and aesthetically
pleasing planner for this year, I highly suggest this book. I am
absolutely in love with it! It has everything you need plus an added
bonus of coloring pages, creative ideas and education as well.

I
have really enjoyed coloring the pictures I’ve done so far, and I’m
pumped to work my way through the rest of it throughout the year.
After the year is over you could remove the pics you choose and frame
them or incorporate them into your book of shadows or grimoire (I
plan to do this for sure).

If
you aren’t in the market for a planner, definitely check out her
other coloring books! I plan to get them very soon. The illustrations
are just so cute, witchy and magical and so much fun to color!! I
can’t recommend this any higher!! Just a joy from front to back!

Thank
you to Ami for sending me her fabulous planner to review!

You
can follow her on Instagram @coloringbookofshadows,

On
fb (coloring book of shadows)

Or go to her website and get free downloadable coloring pages each month at www.coloringbookofshadows.com/book/

I
hope you will check them out! Happy 2019! CrystalBlessings,

***

About
the Author:

Retha
N. Lent

has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have
four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has
her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences
from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s
Crystals
” & sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry &
specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her
customers and those interested in learning more about crystals &
all things magical called “Retha’s
Crystal Circle
“. She is also an advisor in the Sage
Goddess
Affiliate
Program.
She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing
certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan
Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for
crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual
practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs,
manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite
place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal
collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She
has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You
can reach her at [email protected]
or on her business
page on FB
:
https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or
in her
FB group
:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her
Sage
Goddess
affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or
follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

Review of Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The House Witch

December, 2018

Review of Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The House Witch

 

 

I received a “review copy” of The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space With Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home by Arin Murphy-Hiscock just before the Thanksgiving holiday. This handsome book is published by Adams Media, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, and is the twelfth book by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. On Simon and Schuster’s author website for Arin Murphy-Hiscock, you can find all the titles of her other published books. Some were known to me and some were not. Some, like Birds: A Spiritual Field Guide, I had borrowed from my local public library and had on my “to-buy” list. So naturally I was elated to get The House Witch. I immediately cracked it open and wrote my name and the date on the inside cover.

But the demands of the Thanksgiving Holiday – cooking the meal and getting together with family in town for just a few days – meant that I wasn’t able to sit down and give The House Witch a good read. And then I caught my son’s cold. Sick and miserable, I gave up. I took a box of tissues and curled up on the couch under a hand-crocheted afghan for several days in a state of semi-slumber.

When I did finally get back to The House Witch, I was delighted, as I knew I would be. One my very first impressions was, “Gee, I wish there had been books like this back when I was first getting into witchcraft and wicca!” In the 1970’s and 1980’s, there were only a few books out on the subject and most of them – like Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance – were geared toward the large group or the coven but very rarely the solitary practitioner. Not until Scott Cunningham published Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner in 1988 that you started to see more attention paid to the solitary witch. While The House Witch is not specifically written for the solitary witch, it addresses the many concerns of those of us who practice alone – whether we live alone or with other people.

I was born in May, under the sun sign of Taurus, my moon in Pisces, with Cancer rising. Issues of home and health and happiness have always been forefront in my spiritual practice, so it is natural that I would gravitate toward creating and maintaining a beautiful home, even if that home is a tiny apartment in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in a rust-belt city. Because of my wonderful grandmothers, I was always aware of the magic in everyday things but many people – especially those born after, say, 1980 – do not have the benefit of the wisdom of their elders. On page 17, Murphy-Hiscock lists four steps that anyone can learn to “recognize the magic” as she terms it, reminding us to keep things simple and always to focus on what we are doing in the house. These steps are: live in the moment, be aware of your intent, direct your energy properly and focus on an action. Anyone who has studied any kind of meditation, magical instruction or spiritual path will recognize these steps. So just what does all of this have to do with the home and the hearth? Murphy-Hoscock writes,

“Opening yourself to the simplest of tasks and allowing them to inspire you with some insight or wisdom, or even a

moment of peace, illustrates that the Divine can whisper to you in the oddest of unexpected places. Hearthcraft is

about communing with the Divine through everyday tasks, not through complicated formal ritual.” (page 19)

She talks about home as sacred space. One thing she mentions is the removal of shoes in cultures such as Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia; I don’t allow anyone to wear shoes into my apartment and I am always amazed – when I watch TV, for instance – and I see people, not only with their shoes on inside their homes but also on the furniture!

When I was growing up, I always lived in houses that had fireplaces and we usually had a fire most winter evenings, so the idea of a hearth and a hearth fire is not unknown to me – one of our houses actually had a giant hearth built into the wall surrounding the fireplace! But since I have left my parents’ house, I have never lived in a house with a fireplace, much to my great sadness. I consider my hearth to be my kitchen oven or perhaps a meditation candle. However, when I was sick a day ago, I had some split pea soup and freshly baked bread and lay down for a nap. I could feel the warmth of the soup and bread in my belly and it occurred to me that my hearth fire was inside of me.

With this in mind, the “Bank Your Inner Flame” ritual on page 45 makes perfect sense. I had a wonderful warmth inside of me and I needed to be able to hold onto that warmth. It wasn’t just the soup and bread – it was the sense of being safe and secure in my own home. I love the word “smooring” – I love anything Scottish and Gaelic – I added it to my list of cool words and then I copied the “smooring prayer” (page 46) into my personal prayer book.

This book is filled with jewels.

There is a chapter on “The Magic of the Cauldron” in which she talks about how to find and care for a cast-iron cauldron. “Hearth and Home Deities” is just what it sounds like – a chapter of gods and goddesses of the home and hearth. The next chapter is about the kitchen as a sacred space – something that not many people even think about seriously nowadays. If your idea of cooking is opening up a box of prepared food and popping it into the microwave – or even using something like Hamburger Helper – then I would give Chapters 6, 8 and 9 a very close reading. As I already stated, Chapter 6 is about the kitchen as a sacred space. Chapter 8 is “Magic at the Hearth” and Chapter 9 is “The Spirituality of Food”. Recipes included!!!!!

Other topics in this fabulous book are “Using Hearthcraft to Protect Your Home”, “Herbs, crafts, and other Hearth-Related Magic Work”, and a chapter of various spells, rituals and blessings. Quite naturally, there is an appendix and a bibliography that have quite a bit of information in them as well.

In the “Postscript”, Arin Murphy-Hiscock writes, “Several times as I was writing this book, my thoughts moved faster than my fingers, and as a result ‘hearth fire’ very often came out as ‘heart fire.’ I wonder, at times, if my subconscious was trying to tell me something.” (page 247). I do not wonder at all. This book most assuredly set my heart on fire. In this rich season of Yuletide joy, when all of us decorate our houses with festive lights and traditional ornaments that may only have meaning to our loved ones alone, The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space With Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home by Arin Murphy-Hiscock is a book which brings together all the spiritual and happiness that home and hearth can represent. I highly recommend it for anyone on any spiritual path.

References

Murphy-Hiscock, Arin. The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home. NY: Adams Media, 2018.

The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

August, 2018

Claws with Crystals


Merry meet.

Bones are a type of fetish,” Sarah Anne Lawless posted on her website. “A fetish is ‘an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency (source).’ The word fetish originates from the French fétiche which stems from the Portuguese word feitiço meaning ‘charm’ or ‘sorcery.’ Feathers, bones, crystals, and stones are all types of fetishes. Skulls and bones have an appeal to witches who perform spirit work and are a necessary and simple way to connect with spirits of the dead and of animals.

Working with bones is not just for necromancers and black magicians. Practitioners who work with bones are a wide range of healers, diviners, shapeshifters, rootworkers, witches, shamans, druids, and pagans.”

When a hunter I respected offered me wings and claws from turkey he had killed, I accepted. I covered the severed ends all with salt, rubbing in, placing them in a box and adding more salt. When more were gifted to me, I placed the fleshy ends in borax. Both were left to dry for several months. (An explanation of a process can be found on many sites.)


When I received them they were already a couple of days old, but the claws were pliable. I was drawn to having them hold crystals. The shape of some of the polished stones I chose made them unworkable. Thankfully, the pagan store I frequent did not mind me bringing in the legs and holding up crystals to determine what would be a good fit. Certain stones seemed to want certain claws, so I went with it.


There is a lot to be said for a more intentional approach, but as I sensed only one was for me, I did not consider uses and intentions that you would if you were making one for yourself.


I positioned each toe and talon to curl around the stone and then began wrapping it all in string to secure it while it dried. In one instance I used tape and while it worked, I think the string was easier to use and adjust.


After a few months had gone by I unwrapped them and found each was stone securely held.

It would be natural to use them as a wand – as is, embellished or attached to another wand – to direct power. A woman who bought one planned to tie it with a cord that went around her neck so it hung almost to her waist.


Bones carry the animal’s magical attributes which is one of the reasons I have worked with bear claws, a turtle shell and a coyote’s jawbone. Smaller bones have fit in mojo bags created to address various needs.

Turkey is considered a good omen, signaling that gifts are imminent. It’s also “a symbol of sacrifice for renewal and that generosity will open the doors to growth and rebirth,” according to a few websites posting the same information.


Turkey as a totem animal means you are “the abundance generator” for your community.

You have a gift for attracting all the bounty of the universe available to you and you are willing to share. You will often meet the needs of others in a giveaway self-sacrifice form simply because all life is sacred to you. You easily translate your life experience into growth and understanding. You recognize that what you do for others you also do for yourself,” according to spirit-animals.com and other sites.

Awareness, creation, generosity, harvest, pride, purpose, sacrifice, understanding and virility are also associated with turkey.

Knowing this, if you would like to make something similar, ask the Source and then be ready to receive what the universe brings it to you.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self-taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Book Review: Essential Oils in Spiritual Practice by Candice Covington

July, 2018

Book Review

Essential Oils in Spiritual Practice:

Working with the Chakras, Divine Archetypes, and the Five Great Elements

by Candice Covington

This book has a decidedly Eastern, rather than Western Hermetic approach to the use of Essential Oils, herbs and the elemental correspondences. In fact, the page opposite the title page is a full color and beautifully rendered graphic of the shapes and colors of the Five Tattwas, the Eastern cousins of the traditional alchemical elements that are used in most pagan magical practice.

The Forward sets the tone for Candice’s work and is written by Sheila Patel, M.D. and medical Director of the (Deepak) Chopra Center. Despite what appears to be not very well aligned with traditional pagan practice, this book is a definite keeper for anyone wishing to broaden their knowledge of adding the layers of subtle anatomy, Divine archetypes and vibration in the form of numerology and color consideration in selecting essential oils for mundane and magickal pursuits.

The book is neatly separated into major chunks of information with Part One taking the reader through the basics of Theory and education about the Tattvic elements, Divine Archetypes, Chakras and concluding with a chapter on manifestation and consciousness. This lays a very well-thought out foundation before discussion of what essential oils are and how they may be used comes into play. This approach also affirms the interwoven energies of these areas of consideration and their usefulness in fine-tuning what and how you will use the oils.

Part Two gives a complete picture of how essential oils may be integrated as part of daily practice as well as an alphabetical listing of some more commonly used oils, their properties and a host of correspondence categories aligning with the information provided in Part 1.

I especially liked Part Three and the way in which the author engaged the reader in exercises and quizzes, all weaving back to reinforcing self-study and self-reflection as paramount deciders in the work you choose for your essential oils. Healing is prominently highlighted and deepening your own experiences with meditation as you allow the energy to flow in accord with what your intention is in choosing an essential oil for this journey.

All in all, I would say this is definitely worth a look regardless of your spiritual path or preferences. Having different tools in your kit ensures that you are adequately prepared and informed for any task.

Essential Oils in Spiritual Practice: Working with the Chakras, Divine Archetypes, and the Five Great Elements

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

MagickalArts

March, 2015

The Calling: The Magick of Experience

This morning I felt the need to be outside at lunch. This had nothing to do with the beautiful sunny weather. Instead, it was a deep yearning to hear and feel what I sensed needed my time and attention. I work in an office, sitting at the computer for most of my workday. Although we have a window that looks out to a tree-lined neighborhood there is nothing natural about this environment. So, at lunch I walked to my favorite space that is nestled within a bustling suburban community. As I sat quietly on the porch of the historic colonial home that was once farmland. I felt my body relax and allowed my mind to open to receiving whatever wished to present itself.

Streams of energy came pouring in related to recent studies of alchemy, qabalah, tarot, astrology and more. Esoteric writings flashed through my mind’s eye and ownership of my spiritual and mundane practices and the many paths I have taken all came flooding in.

As I sat quietly allowing these things to move in and through me, all seemed to come to a point or place of convergence.  I was aware that my physical self, acting as a receptacle was held within the support and greater container of the space of nature around me. The thought and feelings of inter-connectedness resonated somewhere deep within me and my physical self, subtle bodies, physical space and nature’s subtle bodies flowed together, each feeding and taking spiritual nourishment from the other. I don’t know how long I sat in this way because at that point time seemed to pause and there was nothing but combined energy, seamlessly and effortlessly moving. As the feeling subsided there was at once greater clarity and more detail in what I was looking at.

There are a few hawks that inhabit the physical place in which I sat. And as I looked out I saw a hawk hovering just above, circling the trees and casting shadow on the porch where I was sitting.  HE passed several times and then moved on. I am reminded of Hors and the alchemy of transformation and the lesson of union with the Divine nature. The aspiration of humanity to become part of the fabric and webbing of the unified whole at all levels of existence.  The ability to soar high above and still see with clarity and depth the tiny details beneath.

In a place of gratitude I am thankful that I answered the call to be held within the space of the natural world. I am thankful for the reminder that connection begins with sitting quietly and being open to what may be received- without the exerted will of preconceived expectation. As I got up to return to work, I was humbled by the beauty, strength and splendor of this place that offered deep wisdom.

I will carry this wisdom with me as I go through my day and pause more often to see this energy that surrounds us as the catalyst for stirring and awakening an inner sense of connection and continuum. Continuum, that provides a place of anchor- the physical and manifest Earth- from which we too, as the Heru Hawk may soar towards our birthright of oneness with the Cosmos. Where will you find yourself when the “need” arises?

Prunings from the Hedge

March, 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.

 

 Bibliography

 

 

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 Books,

1965.

 

 

 



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

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