What Inspires You?
This first post launches my new monthly column entitled The Magickal ARTS. The intent is to forge and strengthen the connections between magickal/spiritual practice and the visual and performing arts. Music, dance
, literature, visual art and more are woven throughout both our mundane and magickal pursuits and act to heal, inform, change and enliven us. Some are overt in their impact and others are transparent; yet profound in the vibration and energy offered. These tools inspire us to reach deeply into the stores of our own creative endeavors. The arts engage us at emotional levels reaching into our soul’s hunger to feel, to gain experience and to ultimately share that experience with others. The arts catalyze our mental processes encouraging us to think “outside of the box”, to imagine and to become the architect of our own inner and outer landscapes. Most importantly, as physical beings, these artistic endeavors call our physical presence into action in response to what surrounds and allow us to create, to manifest and to breathe life into what will become beauty, harmony and balance.
You may surmise from the words above that I am passionate about the arts
s and you would be quite correct. I see this passion as one of the most powerful aspects of humanity and the fires from which springs our highest achievements and most successful aspirations of magickal work. Passion fuels our desire and intent. The addition of artistic pursuit become the kindling that keeps those fires burning its brightest. By definition the word ART means:
1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
2. the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.
I particularly love the definition of application of human creative skill and imagination. These are the cornerstones of magickal practice and spiritual growth. This quest for creative action is the yearning of every soul in physical form. That creative expression takes many forms and each serve to inspire and touch us at deep levels of understanding that fosters the greater understanding of our place in this world. The arts weave their own particular magick through all of these applications as hands move to create, hearts pour out the words of emotion, minds invent and physical form moves in a tapestry of rhythm, vibration cause and effect. I believe the fabric of the human soul and consciousness is fed by the stream of artistic endeavors and creative actions that surround and permeate our every moment, whether consciously or at the subtle levels of our responses. In retrospect, this belief and the foundation from which it was created early in my youth has been the singular thread that has punctuated all of my life’s experiences both magickally and mundane.
I will begin this article as I usually do when relating to the arts and magick with a little background about myself. The performing and visual arts have been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember and are directly responsible for the way in which I practice and perceive magick. My grandmother was a pianist, choral director and writer and my mother has a passion for opera, dance and fine arts. My summers were spent listening to classical music, teaching myself ballet combinations and choreography and putting on shows for my mother and grandmother. As a young girl I remember the impact of classical music and the excitement of regularly attending free summer concerts at the Robin Hood Dell in Philadelphia. I was a regular at the local library and my first job was in this glorious space of shelving books, and reading the new finds from that work.
All of these were in support of my ultimate dream to become a ballerina and although I did not realize the spiritual and magickal implications of that dream at the time I passionately embraced every aspect and tool that would get me closer to that goal. I wholeheartedly dedicated myself to the training and perfection of my body as a vehicle of expression for this magickal energy. I could not take enough classes, read enough books about famous dancers or have enough time to experience the joys of pure and liberating movement. Hmm! Sounds like a similar description for the dedication and discipline that is required for successful spiritual/magickal development, doesn’t it? We’ll talk more about that in later articles.
We need not look very far to see the magickal effects of the arts in our mundane lives. Advertisers make use of varied artistic disciplines as ways to encourage sales. We are bombarded by jingles, logos, photographs of smiling well-toned people and pages of testimonial and touting of the product. The carefully selected colors used are part of the visual appeal and directly influence the responses we have; largely at a sub-conscious level. We will often purchase something simply because of the visual appeal and then later question the need or validity of the purchase. This is mundane magick at its best. Now, if we were to bottle this approach and use it as the anointing oils for our ritual workings, think of what we could attract by way of pure manifestation!
I do a lot of writing and teaching and have found that by using the literary style of poetry engages the reader through rhythm and structure (Not too dissimilar to the rhythm created through rhyme of a spell!). If I add a pathworking that is richly filled with imagery, the visual inner screen opens and the keys of the sub-conscious reveal new inroads of experience. Further, if I add a beautiful graphic to the posting or book, I am directly engaging the eye, the brain and neural pathways of response to deepen the experience. This visual stimulation evokes and calls forth a specific vibration in which the reader may than find a point of resonance and internalization of the words presented in a way that is kinesthetic and visual.
In ritual, the use of a chant helps the crescendo of necessary energy for workings. The sound carries the individual/group on the waves created until a point of common resonance occurs and the energy is flowing in a cohesive way. The addition of movement around the circle or even simply swaying in place warms and prepares the body for receipt of the energetic flow as each creates their own singular pattern of energy and vibration. And, the visuals provided through the smells and bells of ritual set the scene, engage all of the senses and ultimately prepare the mind for what the intention will be. In this scenario, body, heart and mind become co-creators through the use of music, dance and visuals. To one who has the sight to see the flow of energy, this collaborative effort paints a picture of the finest beauty on a canvas that becomes the astral plane of magickal birthings.
This section will be part of each month’s exploration. The suggestions given will offer opportunity for you to build your own style of connection to the arts
s, become more cognizant of their impact in all of our workings and maybe inspire your own creative nature.
Spend some time thinking about which of the arts you most enjoy. If more than one, write down in order of preference. Set your focus on the one that is at the top of the list, and sitting quietly and reflectively recall the times and places that you were able to experience this art form as either participant or observer (or both). Write down any feelings you remember as being prominent at the time. Be as specific as you can with regard to the art form you have chosen. For instance, I love to read and Dion Fortune is my favorite author. I love to listen to music, but am particularly fond of violin compositions.
This work will form the foundations that will develop more awareness of how a particular art form is interacting with your own energy and which are more effective in drawing you whole-ly and completely into the experience. Once identified, these are the tools to use for magickal work and to be most aware of in group workings as your own personal set of keys to open you more fully to the intent.
As we begin this journey of exploration of artistic creation open yourself to the possibilities and surrender your hesitation and inner critic to the beauty of the Cosmos.
I lay back looking
Up at a star filled
Night as music played
The rhythms of cloud
And Lady moon above.
The sound held me
In Her magick and
Slowly I rose moving
In pace with the ebbing
Of Universal tides.
Palette of black velvet
Sky and brush of dusty
Star light painted their
Magick upon the canvas
Of my mind’s imagination.
I gently flowed and moved
Danced and sang in rapturous
Joy in the sculpting of life’s
Creation above and below.
My mouth opened
And breath called
Out the words of
Evocation and Will
As the weaving of
My intent etched
Its beauteous path.
I lay back looking
Up at a star filled
Night as music played