Mind Power

The power of the mind is an amazing thing. It’s something that is very important for magic workers and divination workers to keep in mind as they do their work. The mind can cause things to happen by changing the way in which we react. Our emotions can overpower our thoughts, but our thoughts can also overpower our emotions and physical reactions.

For instance, a year ago I was diagnosed with a digestive disorder that left me unwilling to eat eggs. Let’s just say that the eggs didn’t like being in my stomach and were pretty definite about it. My hubby and I have considered experimenting with pasteurized eggs, thinking that the pasteurization process might make changes that kill whatever it is that I can’t eat. But the simple thought of eating eggs as just eggs makes my mind remember the physical sensations from when I was eating eggs before – and it wants no part of that reaction again! So without eating anything, my stomach was upset, and I had to take measures to calm it down. All because my mind associates eggs with nausea.

The same thing can happen when you’re doing magic or divination. If you’re not careful, your past experiences can affect your work. If you’re trying to make a change in your situation, and there is something about your mind that is resisting the change – be careful to address that first! The same thing can happen when you’re doing divination. If you see something in the cards that has a specific negative, or positive, association for you then you need to be aware of that and make sure that you’re reacting to the reading, not the association.

There is nothing that I know of that can take the place of taking the time to recognize and understand your reactions to things. Taking this time can significantly improve your ability to do magic or divination!

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A Kemetic Devotional to Ma’at

The Scales of Ma'at
The Scales of Ma’at
[Getting back into the swing of PBP!  I may not fill in the missing posts, but I’m going to jump back in and continue forward]

This past weekend, I was pleased to attend a devotional to Ma’at hosted by T. Thorn Coyle of the Solar Cross Temple. Solar Cross hosts devotionals most months and I’ve recently started attending. The devotionals cover a range of different Pagan orientations. Solar Cross itself is rather eclectic, with members from a variety of pagan religions, and the devotionals reflect that.

May’s devotional was a traditional Kemetic ritual designed to honor Ma’at and performed by members of the Kemetic Temple in California. The ritual was very well done, and even included a traditional prayer sung in Ancient Egyptian!
Before this devotional, I had only known of Ma’at in her role of judging the weight of the hearts of the dead to determine what their afterlife would be like. In this devotional, I learned that there is so much more to Ma’at!

In addition to Ma’at the Goddess, there is Ma’at the principle. Ma’at is the balance by which we strive to live our lives. It is the understanding that we all play a part in the bigger picture, and when we play our part well we can effect positive change on others around us. In the same way, if we are particularly negative, it has effects beyond ourselves and can bring negativity to those around us.

One of the priests said something particular interesting. He pointed out that Ma’at weighs our heart against a feather. To live in Ma’at is to live with a light heart. So all those things that we do that weigh down on us, or make our heart heavy, are things we should address. Either we find a way to feel light of heart while doing them, or maybe we don’t need to be doing them.

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Crafting for the Craft

You’ll often hear that the best tools are those you made yourself. To some extent, I have to agree. There’s just something about using (as a tool, offering or decoration) something that you’ve made yourself and are proud of. I don’t believe that you have to make all your tools, but making at least some items that you use in your practice has great benefit.

Goddess Festival Shawl
Goddess Festival Shawl

I’m a creator .. I like to make physical things.  It’s probably as a result of my job, which is mostly cerebral and conversational.  Over the years I’ve learned to make toiletries and soap, make paper, knit, crochet, weave, spin yarn, brew beer, and a host of other hobbies that I’ve dabbled in. When I do a ritual, a spell, or my daily practice with items that I’ve made myself, it adds to the rite.  Some of it is that it helps me to evoke the appropriate feelings and emotions because of my intention in creating the item; some of it is the energy and emotion that I put into the item when I was creating it; and some of it is the simple fact that I created something greater from raw materials.

For instance, for a while I used an oil that a good friend of mine and I created together for my Kindred offerings.  These are offerings in my private ritual that I give to the gods, the fae folk and nature spirits, and to the ancestors.  The offerings are supposed to be a welcome, a gift to a traveler who graces my door.  When I use the oil, I remember the feeling of companionship, of love, of community that I felt when we were creating the oil … and it brings those emotions to the rite.  I’ve since run out of the oil, but I re-used the bottle and created a new blend along the same lines.  Keeping that piece of it continuous – using the same bottle – means that I still think of that time whenever I use the oil, and the emotions are there again.

Another item that I’ve created and use is a small shawl.  The yarn was spun at the Goddess Festival while walking between, and attending, rituals.  The festival took place in a camp in the Redwood forest, among a group of women who were kind and helpful and generous.  Using the shawl reminds me of the feeling of standing in that forest, and looking up – almost forever – to see the tops of the trees.  It was truly a place out of time.  Using the shawl, or even just touching it, helps me to return to that mental space and focus.

No matter what you can create … draw, write, sing, paste photos from magazines onto a box … anything, you can create items for your Craft.  Put your time and effort into the items.  Think about what you want to feel when you use them.  Put some energy into making them appeal to you in all the ways possible – visual, tactile, aural, whatever is appropriate.  Charge those items with energy and emotion, and use them!  You’ll find it much easier to bring back those emotions, to re-create that mental space, if you create something that you can use.

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Just Breathe

Pagan Blog Project[This is a post for the Pagan Blog Project – click here for all PBP 2014 posts]

Breathe, it’s one of the most important thing that we do with our bodies.  It’s how we get oxygen into our lungs and thus into our body, and how we get the toxic gasses back out of our bodies.  It’s also one of the most important things we can do for our focus and meditation.  If you do magic, it’s also super useful and important for your magic!

By taking good, deep breaths, we can increase the oxygen in our bodies, and thus the oxygen in our brains and muscles. This allows us to think better and move better.  We can also use our breath to direct and control the flow of energy.  If you’re trying to change your aura, or create a shield, or send energy to someone or something, your breath is a great way to direct that energy!

Here’s some quick and easy exercises to help you manage your own personal energy levels.

To increase your energy level:

1. breathe in for a count of 4, making sure to expand your use your whole torso – fill your belly and lungs with air.  See the energy of the world flowing into you.  You may perceive this energy as golden, or green, or just as warm breath.
2. hold that breath for a count of 2, that energy, in your body and let it flow through you
3. exhale slowly, through a count of 4, letting the stagnation and stale energy out
4. immediately repeat step 1

To decrease your energy or stress levels:

1. breathe in for a count of 4, feel the calm and peace of the land flow through you
2. breathe out for a count of 4, letting your excess energy, or stress, or whatever you’re holding in, out
3. hold your breath for a count of 2 to let the energy totally flow out of you
4. repeat from step 1

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Arthur, King of the Britons

* this is the first post of the Pagan Blog Project 2014 series.  To find out more about the Pagan Blog Project, go to paganblogproject.com *

King Arthur, of the Knights of the Round Table, is a mythological character that may, or may not, be based on a real person.  As with any myth, there are different renditions of Arthur.  In general, Arthur is seen as a great King who fought against the evil of the land and brought a time of enlightenment to the Land.  He often begins life believing that he is a commoner, but is really of royal blood. In many of the stories, Arthur was found and trained by a wizard, or druid, named Merlin.  Other stories say that Merlin was his advisor in later life.  Some people believe that he never really died, but passed from this world to another to return when he is needed.

The story of Arthur has been re-created in modern literature and film with a book series called “Avalon High” by Meg Calbot and a movie loosely based on the book, as well as a TV series, “Merlin” that follows the potential young wizard as he develops a relationship with Arthur. There are a significant number of credits to the character of King Arthur in IMDb.

In most modern re-tellings, Arthur is a Christian, but it’s possible that this is due to the bias of the re-tellers and the environment that they are working in.  In spite of this, Arthur is often revered, and even worshiped, by pagans today.

I am just beginning on my journey into Welsh magical systems, and many of the leads that I have been following seem to lead to Arthur and the mythical land of Avalon with which he is associated.

I look forward to the journey, and understanding both the mythical Arthur and the Kindred that is Arthur.

PaganBlogProject.com

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Mythology

I have always loved mythology. I grew up reading the stories of the Greek and Roman myths and reveling in the world of Hercules and Hermes and Artemis.

It’s interesting that over the years I will occasionally reach out and find out more about myths, but they are definitely more a casual hobby.  In my OBOD studies, I find that we are learning more about myths and what they tell us … and now I look at myths in a different way.

I like to listen to podcasts, and I’ve found the Celtic Myth Podshow.  Recently, they have started a series on the Welsh Mabinogi.  Episode 30 is the first one in this series.  I also really enjoy the re-tellings of the myths that Damh the Bard does.

For folks who are more interested in Norse tales, there is the various translations of the Eddas.  I’m currently reading The Poetic Edda translated by Lee M. Hollander and I find it to be very readable and interesting.

Myths of all kinds tell us about the cultures of the past, much like our fantasy books tell us about our current culture.  Just look at what Harry Potter has done to bring awareness of magic to the current people.

What are your favorite myths?


Image used:
Smith, Colin. “Artemis near to Ramsnest Common, Surrey, Great Britain.” JPG file. <http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2382330>

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Innovation or Stagnation [PBP]

Magic bookInnovation is critical for any culture or society.  Without innovation, we stagnate, we fail to change as the world around us changes, and we die.  We may not physically die, but our spirit, our creativity, our soul dies.  Innovations don’t have to be big, but they need to be there.  Something as simple as trying a new brush with an old paint, or adding a new spice to an old recipe .. these are wonderful, small innovations.

Bigger innovations make larger changes in our world and our perception.  Electricity, string theory, teleporting a proton, these are big innovations that change our view of the world and what is possible.  Even the TV show Star Trek helps to spark innovation.

Within our own pagan and magical worlds, we need innovation to continue.  Modern pagans like T. Thorn Coyle, Ian Corrigan, Jason Newcomb and may others who I have not yet met are taking old ideas and technology and combing them with modern innovations in new ways.

Ian Corrigan, for example, has developed a technology for using ceremonial-inspired magic within a Druidic rite to call upon the Court of Brigid and begin to develop new ways to work with these spirits to support our worlds.  You can find more of Ian’s work on his blog under the “Court of Brigid” label. Ian’s work has inspired another druid, uberrod, to create a similar working with the Norse Court of Sif.

So .. if you have a chance to do something a little different, don’t be afraid to innovate!  It might not go exactly the way you planned, but it could change the world!


Works Referenced
Corrigan, Ian. “Into the Mound: The Court of Brigid – a Druidic Spirit-Working.” Into the Mound. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2012. <http://intothemound.blogspot.com/2011/08/court-of-brigid-druidic-spirit-working.html>.
uberrod. “Jumping into the Void – Court of Sif.” Jumping into the Void. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2012. <http://uberrod.livejournal.com/151023.html>.
callisto, ostillac . “magic book.” 2009. JPG file. <http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1204250>

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Sometimes Ice is nice [PBP]

ice in the coast of Baltic seaIn my effort to catch up on my Pagan Blog Project posts, here’s my first “I” post … all about Isa

Isa is a bit of an odd rune to get in a reading, and even more odd to get in a single rune pull. On the surface, Isa is about the harshness and danger of ice.  The cold of ice and the sharp spikes of icicles are dangerous to traverse.

Like most runes, however, there’s more than one aspect to appreciate.  In addition to the cold and harshness of ice, there is the protective nature of ice.  Farmers put on their sprinklers during a frost in Florida to protect their oranges.  The water freezes and prevents the orange fruit being ruined by the freeze (Skipp).

When I pull Isa in my daily practice rune pull, it signifies a need to turn inward.  In winter, when there is (theoretically) ice and snow outside, we stay inside.  It’s a time for introspection, for working internally and for understanding ourselves better.  This rune reminds me to do the internal work that I need to do the external work that i’m embarking upon.

At the midsummer ritual for my ADF group yesterday, we pulled Isa as one of the omens.  The seer defined it as a reminder not to try to move the immovable, but to work with it to melt the ice.  Once enough has melted, then we can move it or move around it.

Image sources:
Rune Card: Power of the Runes Deck
Photograph: ice in the coast of Baltic sea by philat

Works Referenced:
Skipp, Catherine. “Florida Freeze: Citrus Crop at Risk in Cold Weather – TIME.” Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – TIME.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2012. <http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1953384,00.html>

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Journaling for the non-journaler [PBP]

Creating a Book of ShadowsNo matter what path you follow, you will frequently encounter suggestions that you should journal your experiences.

When I started out, I wasn’t the journaling type.  For years I refused to journal unless it was required for a class that I was doing, and then I would do the minimum required.

A few months before I started doing the ADF Dedicant’s Program, started having some very vivid dreams.  To help me figure out what they all meant, I wrote them down in a journal.  Around the same time, I started doing a daily morning practice, and I would write down what I did in my journal.

Initially, what I wrote in my journal was very basic … what exercises I did, how long I meditated, etc.  Over time, my journaling has evolved and it’s now as much about how I’m feeling or odd things that have happened as it is about the exercises that I’ve done.

Periodically, I go back through my journal and I gain new insight on what was going on in my life and, with the value of the retrospective, I see patterns and learn more about myself.  It’s also useful to try to understand the effects that the spells and rituals that I did have had.  The learnings that I’ve had make me happy that I’ve been journaling.

Even if you’re not a journaling person, I really do recommend that you at least write down the things that you do.  You can use your favorite computer program or a hand written journal, whatever you prefer.  Just remember to include the dates, and times if they matter to you, to what you write.

You might be surprised and how you can work with a journal.

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Justice [PBP]

I thought that Justice would be an interesting topic for the Pagan Blog Project this week.

In my wanderings through various pagan publications, online and offline, I come across spells for Justice.

Using magic for justice is a very tricky thing.  You have to be sure that your slate is as clean as it can be.  I don’t mean that you’re perfect, but you have recognized your imperfections and understand your motivations with regard to the situation that you’re seeking justice for.

Justice is objective.  It does not favor the one who seeks it or the one who it was called for.  If your motivations are not pure, if you had a hand in causing the unjust thing that happened, then expected to be brought to task.  The gods will bring justice to all involved, and each will receive punishment or recompense determined by their actions and intentions.

If the situation you are in could benefit from the justice of the Gods then a spell may be appropriate, but be sure to follow up with the appropriate mundane actions least you call justice down on yourself!

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