You Take the High Road and I’ll Take the Low Road….
This month, I would like to have us give consideration to the type of magick we practice. We are entering a New Year and the potential held in crossing those Gates into a new way of experiencing Magick is ripe and ready. Before we can define what we practice, we need to know what some of the definitive properties are and what the effects could be.
There is some debate over what the definition of Operative Magick is and the tag lines of Practical, High and Low Magick associated with its definition. Moreover, the term High and Low does not denote that level of effectiveness or potency, but rather the nature of the working and more specifically the energies and entities that are involved in the process.
High Magick is work done with the specific intent of achieving a spiritual, mystical goal. Ceremonial Magick, followers of the Order of the Golden Dawn and Qabalistic Magick are all work with the formality and formularies of High Ritual. The work is done in a ritualistic manner; always with a circle of art being cast, the energies of the quarters called and a statement to the seen and unseen regarding the intent. The work is formal, structured and well planned in accord with the desired results.
Operative (or Low) Magick includes Folk Magick, spell work and those workings that look more to effect the mundane world using the tools and energies of the mundane in concert with the spiritual to bring about a desired result. These are the practical workings that we do on a daily basis in accord with our life or communities needs. Those who were the pagans of agricultural society and lived in the lowlands worked from dusk to dawn, had little if any time or need for elaborate ceremonies; therefore the practice of operative magick was straightforward and to the point with little fanfare. Feathers, stones, herbs, flowers and other natural items were the ingredients used to work magick to ensure a good crops, fertility in marriage or protection from those who would do harm. These needs have transformed to some degree in modern society, but the underlying premise is still the same. That of improving or safeguarding those things we need.
Operative magick makes use of very simple and concrete tools, making use of what is available whether magickal or not and then employing the natural laws and principles of cause and effect to accomplish the working.
Spell work is perhaps the most commonly known form of operative magick. The overlays and enhancements of astrology, herbs, candles, colors, crystals, oils and a litany of by products of the natural world support the working and engage the caster in a physical and energetic way.
A common time for operative magick to be employed is at one of the phases of the lunar cycle- New- Full of Dark. Most often operative magick is not included as part of a Sabbat celebration, but need may dictate otherwise and the celebration and communion with the Deity(ies) of association are called to witness and aid with the working. The spell found at the beginning of this writing was written for the Full Moon in Cancer and was part of a working of operative magick to reveal the deeper meanings of an article I had written to all who read it. Using the Moon’s energies in the sign of Cancer was an additional bolster to the intent of the working as most people engage with written and creative offerings from an emotional heart centered space. Additionally, I used a sea blue candle for the working and drew from my own emotional and intuitive responses to craft a spell and symbolic working that would be successful.
For the magickal worker who maintains the belief that their path is one of 24/7 365 days a year and is part of the fibers of their own life’s existence, operative magick is a daily routine. We cast spells as we cook. Carefully preparing and choosing the finest ingredients to produce pleasure and nourishment for ourselves and those we love cooking. Sitting and writing that special sentiment in a birthday card or sharing condolences intended to comfort are crafts of spell work. Prayers offered up for a loved one’s health and the even the simple gesture of a hug and kiss accompanied by words of “have a good day” are spells cast. These and more are done transparently and largely unknowingly as we move through our daily routines.