Sorcerer’s Garden: Plants and Planning

2017/04/25

pots-716579_960_720[1]Last time I talked a bit about the sorcerer’s garden and why to have one and what it might be like.  Now I want to take some time to talk about how to set up the garden.  This will help other people set up their own gardens, but I freely admit it is also to help me think through my garden plan.  A large chunk of this is gardening 101, so feel free to skim until it gets more interesting.

 

Let’s start with the absolute basics: What space do you have to plant your garden?  It seems obvious, but I got carried away thinking about it before, and I’ve seen others do the same in conversation.  Obviously if you live in an apartment or such your space will be very limited to what you can put in some pots and planters, which is fine, it just means you have to be smarter and more selective.  What space do you have to plant your garden?  Then do you want it there?  I have a front and back yard.  My house is near two high schools and a junior public school, so kids walk by or on my lawn frequently (get off of my lawn!), and my postal carrier does too, so I might not want to put my magick garden in the front yard.  Normal veggies and flowers I’m less concerned about, but if your sorcerer’s garden is a green temple you don’t want people traipsing through unaware.  If I fenced it in with some hedges (long term plan) I could reconsider it, but right now there is no physical or visual privacy.  What about you?  Do you want your garden in all of the available space?  What areas might be better or worse for that?  If you have the space don’t sacrifice the functionality of the garden just to make it bigger.

 

Now that you know what space you’ll use for your garden it’s time to look at the environment factors of the place.  What direction is it from your house? (Or what direction is the window if you’re doing it indoors)  This will inform how much light the garden gets.  In general the side closest to the equator gets the most sun.  (So if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the south side gets the most sun)  But this is in general, in my case my neighour’s house, which is rather tall, is against the south side of my property, so it blocks a lot of the sun there for about a third of my property.  East and West both get good sun exposure, but again this is dependent on what casts shade over it, my back yard faces east, and my neighbour’s house on that side is sufficiently far away to not interfere with my sunlight, but I have a huge 50 year old maple tree in that yard which blocks the sun for much of the yard.  The direction farthest from the equator gets the least sun.  (The north side of the house in the Northern Hemisphere).  This is critical because plants evolved enjoy different amounts of sun, so you’ll be able to find something to grow no matter how much or how little sun you get, but not all plants will grow well with lots of sun or shade.  It’s important to know what sun is available before you start picking your plants.

 

The last major environmental factor to consider is your zone.  Sometimes called climate zones, growing zones, or hardiness zones, different countries and groups use different designations.  They’re broad areas that tell you what types of plants you can grow there.  They’re figured out based upon things like year round temperatures, sun light, and water.  It makes it very easy to see if a plant it likely to grow in your area.  (You can sometimes grow plants outside their regions, but it’s harder, you’ll need to take care watering them more/less, sheltering them from the sun, or thoroughly insulating them or their roots for winter)

 

We know where we can plant, and we know the sun and zone for that spot so now we need to figure out what to plant.  This is all up to you.  There are various things to consider: your spiritual tradition(s), your local plants, your family, and your preference.

 

As a Buddhist I’d love to grow lotuses, but can’t with my lack of a lake on my property.  I can grow nettles, juniper, sandalwood, and possibly figs though, so those are on my list.  From a more western practice of ceremonial magick and sorcery there are things like datura, wormwood, and rue I can grow.  I think it’s important to also grow local plants of some sort, it seems odd to set up a garden in part for the land spirits and only grow foreign plants.  For me that might be things like maple, or chokecherry.  Your family can influence what you grow too.  My garden plans to have several of my Beloved Dead’s favourite flowers to be offerings for them, but also as my family is Mi’kmaq I’ll be growing tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweet grass for my Relations.  And of course personal preference is a huge factor too.  What flowers and plants do you like, what colours, what are you called to?  I like blue and black, so most of my flowers are blue or black.  I’ve never felt called to a plant in general so nothing there for me, but I know other people probably have connections they could try to nurture.

 

Once you know what you want to plant, research it.  Can it grow in your hardiness zone?  Can it grow with the amount of sun and shade you could provide it, or the amount of rain?  As much as I’d love to grow a Dracaena cinnabari tree (Dragon’s Blood) not surprisingly something that evolved to live in the Arabian Sea can’t handle Canadian winters.

 

Finally if you can grow it, the ultimate question for the magick garden comes up…if you have the freedom how do you want to arrange the garden?  In the end the main priorities will be the plants and environment themselves, but what can you do in that?  Do you want to divide your garden for magickal purposes too?  Plants are associated with planets and elements…do you want a garden divided along those lines, so you know if you need a spark of fire for the ritual, that all your fire plants are together?  What about divisions based upon tradition, if that’s important to you it could be worth keeping them separate.  You could think about it in terms of chthonic, terrestrial, and celestial plants.  Plants for the dead and the living, and other spirits.  Really if you have the freedom to go wild with the arrangement it could be satisfying to think about that in the planning your garden, though that might be the ceremonialist in me.

 

Next time we’ll think more about the actual raising of magick plants.


Sorcerer’s Garden: Thoughts and Seeds

2017/04/17

pexels-photo-296230[1].jpegAlternate title: Don’t just keep green thumbs in jars.

It’s been two years since I talked about Local Spirits, and longer since I’ve talked about my Sorcerer’s Plant (and more on it here)and now I want to move farther.

For a few years I’ve wanted to make a magickal garden, so I’m hoping if I blog about it that will help keep me on track, and I’ve already bought a lot of supplies and been reading and rereading relevant books.  While I don’t think I ever frame myself as an expert, let me be clear: I’m a good gardener, but other than my Sorcerer’s Plant and eir “cousins” I haven’t done magick gardening before.  So what I’m going to discuss in my Magick Garden blog posts will be hypothetical, book based, and/or limited experience.  I hope no one ever takes what I say as gospel, but especially not this.

I like gardening, in the spring and summer I enjoy fresh herbs, spinach, lettuce, and a variety of tomatoes. While the roses and tigerlilies on my property (they when I moved in) get used magickally that’s just because they are there, that wasn’t their intent.  But I’ve wanted for a while to make a garden that is for magick and in a lot of ways is magick.

If I grow my own magick plants, I can craft my own incense, potions/tinctures, oils, fetishes, tools, satchels or whatever.  By growing it myself I can be sure of its identity and quality, something admitted harder to be sure of with a processed/dried plant, but I also get to know the plant and the spirit of the plant more intimately which will allow me to do more.  An ally is more beneficial than a tool.

A consciously planned and quickened garden can be a thing of magick too.  I’ve cultivated a few wild places to be places of magick, or enhanced it in some cases, but something that I can work with more closely will be that much more I believe.  It’s not just about having fresh ingredients, it’s about having a collection of plant spirit allies, but plant spirits aren’t the only ones that benefit from a garden like this.

My local spirit will benefit from this, it’s a cultivation of their life energy, and will be enriched giving me another way to work with them.  Think back to all the other spirits I mentioned that aren’t really local spirits, but get grouped as them: spirits that inhabit a place, shades of the dead, nature spirits, fae-type things, they will all get more of a space on my property when a magickal garden is made and they’re given space.  Other spirits that I work with can be given space.  When you have a place with ensouled tools, items of magickal power, it develops its own energy and presence, a sense of that place with a unique warping that aids your magick.  I suspect a garden of plant spirit allies will work in much the same way, not just a magickal grove but something a bit deeper.   In essence a quickened and maintained magick garden becomes a living temple for me to work in.  This is some of the what and why, next time I’ll talk about the how some more.

So far the two books I’m working with are Viridarium Umbris (my favourite book on plant magick) and The Witching Herbs (only half way through reading).  If you have any recommendations on gardening books from a magickal perspective, please let me know.


Magickal Failures and Deadzones

2016/04/01

Failure is a part of magick. It’s a good part of magick, a healthy part of magick. It’s also a #$^#@$^#$ing frustrating part of magick some times. I’ve talked about how Failure is the Sign of the Magickian before. (Five years ago O.o) I stand by that to this day. If you never fail at magick, you’re either deceiving yourself, or not trying.

That said there are times when failure isn’t a good thing. Specifically when it’s chronic and general. As much as I say failure is the sign of a sorcerer, success has to be a big part of that formula too, and I can sadly think of some folks who tend to swim in the failure side of the pool. There can be lots of reasons for this: maybe they don’t know how to tactically root their magickal goals in reality? Maybe their techniques are flawed? Maybe they’re shooting too high or abstract? Maybe they’re just idiots who don’t know what is going on? Maybe they’re crossed? I doubt the last one, it seems more often than not an excuse to avoid working on the self. “No no, my magick is perfect, someone’s cursed me.”

I’ve talked about this on my facebook a bit recently, and some forums, but I want to discuss one of my major failures. I want to reframe it first though, because I don’t think it’s the chronic and general failure from above, and I would like to think I’m not deceiving myself in that regard.

When it comes down to it, I can’t do employment magick for myself. I have a pretty good success rate with clients. It’s not a specialty, but I can get things working for folks generally. Myself…not so much, to the point where I wonder almost superstitiously if my magick is interfering with mundane functions.

I just finished the 31 Days of Magick, and I admit, I didn’t stick through all the way again, but did most of it. I decided though, to focus everything on the same goal. (Note: Generally you can make a case about doing too much different magick on a single goal being a bad choice. Possibly true in this case, but not being able to influence jobs is a trend in my life, so I’m assuming this is another piece of data on that line)

I did all the tactical and strategic planning. I made sure my goals were SMART Goals like I’ve discussed before, I broke it down into micro and macro enchantments. Micro: Find an appropriate job post. Enchanting the cover letter, working on the HR personnel, etc. Macro: Get the job. I even tried to different routes. Enchanting very specifically for a specific job I wanted, and more general “This is the type of job experience I want.”

I gave both a timeline of a month, which is a bit short I know, but I also don’t think it’s unreasonable. Also in this time I was searching on my own, as well as having an employment agent trying on my behalf. Nothing.

I’ve tried different approaches, tactically, magickally, mundanely. And it never quite pans out, I am certain it’s not an issue of technique because even if one or two methods were flawed, something should have stuck by now. (So thank you, but I probably don’t need your “Surefire get a job spell”) I have friends with similar issues, but other blocks. A friend of mine is like this with relationship magick. He can do pretty good work for others (but results tend to favour fast and furious relationships, not more emotional and stable ones) but not for himself. I’ve seen it (and experienced it) with a friend and healing, can’t stop a sniffle for herself, but actually really proficient in working on other people’s health.

My ponderance is if you have eliminated things like poor planning, techniques, goals, and skills, and if the failure tends to be in the same area, what causes this, what can be done?

The easy/obvious answer falls somewhere along the line of astrology/fate/karma. And I can’t necessarily say it’s wrong, maybe there is some factor in our existence that says “You can be good at these things, alright at that, but magickally you can’t touch this” but that shuts down inquiry, investigation, and experimenting. If there is one thing I dislike, it’s being told that I literally cannot have the capacity to do something, just ask my son that resulted from such a claim. (Long story, don’t ask)

Are these some sort of block to work through? I can totally see where my childhood condition growing up below the poverty with parents working at least three jobs between them to put food on the table could interfere with the way I perceive and interact with employment. But I’ve always had good jobs, and almost every job I get is a step above the last, so I’d like to think I’ve come to some terms with it, and this relies on giving my subconscious a lot more power in my magick than I like. (It’s a huge factor, but some forms of magick shouldn’t really be swayed by it). Maybe if I come to terms with it, I’ll be able to work employment magick?

Maybe it is something that can’t be helped, I don’t like that answer, but it’s always a possibility. Maybe this magickal deadzones can teach us how to work around things. Like when I am employed, I’m great at manipulating things for more money. When I was in sales I could easily outsell my team, in office work I could always magick my way into overtime if I needed more money. Raises were usually granted. I could work to better my job, just not to get one. Maybe we just need to skip the deadzone and focus on what we can do.

I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve seen enough people I considering competent, if not actually down right good, sorcerers who have these spots that they can’t influence. So if you have one of these places. Don’t feel bad, you’re in good company, and it might not be your fault. The task is to work with what we can, strive to understand it, and always push forwards.


Buddhism 101: Response to Added Value

2016/01/12

Last time I talked about dukkha, often (mis?)translated as suffering in Buddhism. Harry picked up that thread and elaborated more on it, including the causes of dukkha, and some of the different types. I really suggest if you want clarification on the concept in Buddhism you pop over and read that post.

It looks like Harry and I are going to continue our conversation on Buddhism, due to the length of my response to him I’ve decided for now to split up the next few posts between discussion with Harry, and then my own topics I wanted to cover.

I mentioned that Vajrayana is built upon Theravada Buddhism, we hold the same texts important, the same practices, and have built upon them, expanded, and added more. So anything Theravadan exists in Vajrayana, though it might have a shift in importance or emphasis. Harry asks what is the value of this expansion, beyond the access to really cool magick?

That’s a great point that can be easy to miss. If the Buddha originally taught something resembling Theravada Buddhism, and it was good enough for the Buddha, why did these other forms appear? I would break these reasons down to speed, relevance, and scope.

I’ll freely admit though I got trapped by Buddhism, I originally got involved for the cool magick, I thought I could sneak in, get what I needed, and escape…and now I’m a monk…and a good person… I miss being a heartless asshole…

The first reason is effectiveness. (Note: At this point I’m talking theory, not claiming this as a truth, but as how the tradition frames it because I’m not at a point where I can make such declarations.) The Buddha was able to become enlightened because he had worked for many lifetimes to eliminate his karma and set the stage so to speak. So from that point it only took a few years of work to become enlightened, after many lifetimes of getting prepared. There is a state in Buddhism called Stream Entry, which simply put is when you’ve reached a point where you have at most seven incarnations left, but it’s still a lot of work. It might not take all seven, but from how I usually see it explained it seems like they assume you’ll still be in the game for several more lives.

Now in Vajrayana it’s believed you can become enlightened in this life, as long as you’re born in the human realm (which really just means an intelligent being) and have access to tantra, you can become enlightened here and now. One of the best examples of this is Milarepa, probably my third favourite Buddhist Saint. He wasn’t anyone special, he wasn’t an incarnation of a Buddha, or a previous saint, he didn’t have any glorious past lives, he was a regular Joe. He was also a sorcerer and was raised in a troubling family. Eventually he used magick and killed dozens of people at a wedding, including many family members. Even if you don’t understand karma, I’m sure you understand that murdering a bunch of people, especially family, because you’re angry and jealous is not a good step toward enlightenment. Milarepa realized what he did was wrong, and eventually found a lama, who put him to work, and trained him, and because he diligently practiced and purified himself, he became enlightened.

Milarepa didn’t spend hundreds of lives to get everything set up to become enlightened. He wasn’t a Bodhisattva in human form. He hadn’t been a saint. He was a normal man (as much as a talented sorcerer is normal…well…they are in my life) who committed some horrible acts, but through Vajrayana he dealt with his karma and his impurities and became enlightened in one life. This is the promise of Vajrayana compared to some other forms of Buddhism, you can become a Buddha here and now if you commit to the path.

Now to balance this though Vajrayana is not easy, nor is it really safe, remember the vaapad analogy. It’s the Buddhism where you could potentially screw up your karma the most and make things worse, but it’s supposedly the Buddhism that allows you to become enlightened here and now, no matter what, because of these additional magickal tantric techniques. I’d say going from reincarnating somewhere between seven and nearly infinite times down to 1 is a good additional value, but that’s not the only reason.

The second is relevance. Traditionally Buddhism wasn’t exactly conducive to society. To varying extents owning property and possessions was frowned on. Some went so far as to say that enlightenment was impossible with these things, that really you had to give up everything and give your time to meditation alone to become enlightened. Some people have a drive that supports this, not everyone does.

There is a myth (there are a several, details change, story is the same) that a great king invited the Buddha to come teach him, because he had a spiritual calling. The Buddha came and taught the king the path to enlightenment was renunciation, give it all up and meditate. The king pointed out that he was a good king, protecting his people and guiding them, and if he gave up his crown who knew what would happen to his people? But if he remained king he could rule as a Buddhist and guide his people to the Dharma, so he asked is there a way to remain “in the world” and practice Buddhism? At that moment the Buddha transformed into a tantric deity in union (for those unfamiliar, that means he was two gods having sex), something so shocking all the monks fainted (convenient they were unconscious for this so it couldn’t get recorded…), and he taught the king about tantric Buddhism.

Tantric Buddhism is more inclusive of a day-to-day life as we’d picture it. You can own property, be married with kids, you can even drink, eat meat, and have sex, but it’s all done in a way that is mindful and aware. It makes it “easier” because you can keep your life externally much the same, but it’s so much harder because every moment becomes a dance between insight and distraction. You’re challenged to try to keep your awareness at all times. As someone who has done silent temple retreats I can tell you, it is a lot easier to keep focused on emptiness and suffering when all you do is sit and meditate, than it is to remember that your burger is empty as you chat with a friend over dinner.

This is part of the danger of Vajrayana, it’s so easy to think you’re practicing because you do certain rituals and say mantras, but it’s not about what you do when you’re at your shrine, it’s about striving to keep a constant understanding. That’s a large point for another time.

Lastly is scope. Vajrayana holds the Bodhisattva ideal, that your journey to enlightenment is so you can help all beings reach that state. This is where the magick comes into play. It’s not about you. Sure, you can use the magick to help yourself, and that’s not necessarily considered bad or wrong, but it’s really about helping everyone (which includes you) get to a place where they can practice dharma and become enlightened.

Some of my training in Vajrayana is around exorcisms, how does this help others to enlightenment? Well first off, if you’re constantly being disturbed or frightened or made sick by ghosts/demons it’s hard to practice, you might not have the inspiration or comfort. So by ridding you of those disruptions I give you more space to encounter and practice the dharma. Secondly those ghosts/demons have to become enlightened too, and part of the exorcism is connecting them to the dharma so that in their next life they can learn it.

I also have training in tantric wealth magick, how does that help, isn’t greed bad? Yes. But again if you’re too tired from working multiple jobs to pay the rent, or mentally and physically unwell because you’re always worried about where the next meal will come from, then it’s really hard to be inspired to practice. If you’re financially stable, even if you’re not well off, then it’s a lot easier to practice. Then if you can maintain your compassion with wealth, you can use it to support your local temple, or help people.

As my Rinpoche has said “If you want to be a wandering monk, with just a blanket and a bowl, walking the world to meditate and pray, then owning nothing is a great blessing. But if you aren’t that monk, and you’re living in this modern world, then being poor is more of an obstacle than a blessing.”

Our magick helps peoples, not because we believe we can save them, but because it enables them to be in a place that allows them to find a release from their suffering.

Okay, that was about 1500 words on “Why Vajrayana?” and only one of Harry’s questions/points. So I guess I’ll cut this entry off here for now.


The Information Super-Skryway

2015/12/07

(I was going to use a serious title, but then I thought of the pun, and puns always win)

A friend recently did some damage to her energy body. She asked me to take a look, see if I could figure out what had gone wrong, and what she did, so I did just that. I told her I saw a blockage in a certain area, three hours later she left a party in pain, three hours after that she was in the hospital . Sure enough where I saw the block there was a calcification in her body, a literal physical block, and it flared up bad. Don’t know which came first, the energetic or the physical, both can bleed into the other, but it doesn’t really matter. (She’s being treated and doing better in case anyone cares about my random friends)

Anyways, this story is to make a point, but first I have to make another supporting point, I was right. Sounds odd, but the thing is I met this friend once in passing, we’ve really only communicated online via facebook. I don’t have any physical links to her, haven’t known her long enough or connected enough to have etheric links to her, but none the less I was able to link to her and view her, evidently accurately, without any difficultly.

On facebook a week or so back The Professor mentioned that she left facebook open on her computer, which was kept right beside her bed. She found her dreams and the people in them corresponded with people using facebook at that time, and more interesting than that two people messaged her in that time, and she dreamt of them messaging her, though her dream communications were different from the real ones. Here it looks like she is accidently connecting to people through facebook in her dreams. Both of these events got me thinking about attitudes around the internet and links in magick.

Despite this, all the time in books, and more ironically online, I see people saying you can’t get a magickal link online, that you can’t hook that astral connection through a digital medium, and then talking about all these super complicated ways to forge links. I’ve had someone tell me that my divination services must surely be fraudulent because I don’t require pictures, names, and birthdates to do my readings. I’ve seen people in flame wars (cause let’s face it, magickians can still be a big bunch of children online too) say they’re safe from magickal harm, not due to their defense, but because it’s the internet and you can’t reach them through it.

I don’t know where this attitude came from. I could see it being from two related sources. Either the inability for some magickal folks to update to the times, or a resistance to such experimentation because it seems goofy. I guess I was lucky I avoided this attitude (in part because the net was barely a thing when I started some of my training), but early on I was taught how to grab links through phone conversations, and when chatting moved online it was just a skill I transferred. (Or maybe the horrible portrayal of Technopagans on Buffy shot down the serious discussion) Or perhaps I was influenced the other way through growing up watching Reboot and could see the net as being a thriving and alive system to surf from place to place?

Personally I don’t see why you can’t establish a link online. “But people use aliases and fake names.” And they do so in real life, and they might have shields and glamours, but you can still grab a link if you know what you’re doing. “But the net is just ones and zeros, there is nothing for magick to travel along.” Other than the communication itself, or the signals, or the wires… “If you don’t already have a connection, you can’t make the link.” Funny that doesn’t seem to be an issue when we exclude the net, we make do, and I argue the net works just fine.

Now, my caveat before I continue, is you can’t necessarily use any communication online for a link (or perhaps you can, but it just becomes far more difficult). There does seem to be a time limit. I won’t even posit how long it is, but it seems like the older a communication online is, the harder it is to connect with. Think of it like sensing someone’s energy in a room. You can walk in a few minutes later, and get them no problem, an hour, it’s a bit harder, a day, maybe, more than that it will take serious work to grab on. Online it’s the same, also there is an element of diffusion I find. I can use an email or facebook message as a link for a longer period than I could a facebook status or forum post. I don’t know if it is because one is directed at me, or if being more public it gets “washed” away, or some combination (or third or more options, reality is complex).

Without the internet, if I lack a strong link the easier way for me to connect to someone is through a mirror. (Some of my earliest training was with magickal mirrors, so it’s not surprising I fall back into it) I sit in front of the mirror (I have a triangular black mirror I use), often have candles going to get the light level right, and I relax. Then any connection I can muster I put into the mirror. Just their name if I only have that, or a memory or incident (the man who ran into my mother at the store), or connections (So-and-so’s boss), whatever mental or energetic link I can drudge up I put into the mirror. Eventually this builds until the mirror becomes a gate, and I can skry through it. No physical or pre-existing link needed, but now I have my way to reach them. (Simplified, but more or less this is all there is to it.) Oddly, folks rarely complain that I can’t do this, I guess this just seems more classically magickal?

Not surprisingly again the way I use the internet is almost the exact same, but actually so much easier. That chat window or the email, or whatever, that already has all the link I need in most cases. I just open it up, make it take up as much room as possible on my computer, and I skry through it. I say skry, but as I’ve mentioned before on here the line between skry/project can be blurry, but I might say I more project. That internet communication is like my attuned mirror, relax and go through. I don’t have the time or energy to get into the how’s here in detail, and I’d like to think my friends here have a sense on how to do something arguably basic, but here is a simple simple explanation of how to do it.

Have the screen open. If you’re not used to it, you might want to turn off the lights, put the screen down to a dim setting so it doesn’t hurt your eyes in the dark, then sit, relax, meditate and centre yourself. Then when you’re ready draw your awareness of yourself up into your head, take the attention you have of the world around and feel it compact into your head. You’re trying to make almost a point of consciousness. Don’t worry if you can’t/don’t lose awareness of your body or surroundings, it’s not necessary, but the bulk of the focus should be in this sphere in your head. Then “pour” it out your eyes (Third eye included) or the top of your head into the computer connection. That screen is your mirror, your gateway, your link to that person, it’s a window and they’re on the other side. For me there is usually a tumbling and falling sensation as my mind follows the links, never lasts for more than a second or two, and then suddenly I’m there, with the person. To come back you can either reverse the trip, or without doing so shift your awareness to your navel centre, like you did with your head before, but there is something about shifting your focus to the navel that seems to be an automatic recall (at least for me).

It is arguably, as simple as that. So if you’re one of those people who think you can’t get links online, try The Professor’s accidental method and leave an email or facebook open beside your bed, see what happens, or try skrying my way, and see what comes from it. Or if you’re someone who doesn’t see the internet as an impossible magickal divide, what do you do to connect with someone over the internet, especially when you have little or no previous connection to them?


Nonvisual Visualizations

2015/11/29

This is another post that part of me feels shouldn’t need to be said, and yet experience tells me it does.

There is a thread of commonality between what I see in visualization and perception.

What do I see when I perform the LBRP and “about me flames the pentagrams?”
What do I see when I’m chatting with a spirit in front of me?
What do I see when I’m staring into someone’s energy body trying to figure out what is wrong with them?

I’ll give you a hint, it begins with B and ends in upkis.

That’s a slight exaggeration, but not too far off, when it comes to magickal stuff, I can’t really see anything. For a long time it was an issue, both between me and others, and between me and the traditions I was working with.

When I’d attend pagan events people would always play their woogity games and eventually “Read my aura” would come up. I can’t see auras. People would ask me, and I’d rattle stuff off “You had a hernia when you were younger, your relationship with your mother sucks, you’ve been getting migraines recently.” Then they’d ask me how I saw all that, and when I’d explain that I didn’t see anything, they’d react like I was lying. I’d explain that I don’t see things, and they’d confirm I was right, yet the fact it was non-visual seemed impossible to them.

When I read books on magick, there are those dreaded words “see” and “visualize.” “Visualize the figure approaching you, see what they carry.” That doesn’t work for me. I’m not a visual person. It’s not just about magick, it’s about my life.

The thing is I would like to think I’m an accomplished sorcerer of some sort, even without this ability to visualize, why? Because fuck your visualization right in the third eye.

Most people who see things, understand that it’s not physically seeing, that it’s a subtle sense, and it might not be objective, but the way your brain interprets information that’s not as “solid” as everything else. That ghost might not literally so wispy, that angel might not literally be holding a curved dagger, there might not literally be a blue sphere around that person…that’s all how our brain interprets the spiritual data, it codes it visually so we can understand.

If you’re not a visual person though it might not code in the same away, and you’re probably doing more harm than good in trying to work from a visual model of magick.

Stop for a second, and think back, think back to your earliest birthday party that you can remember. What do you remember? Do you see the cake? Do you hear your friends and family singing? Can you smell the candles burning? What do you remember? And what sense or form is it coming from?

Chances are this is the sense/model that your magickal perceptions use too. It seems in my experience that the way our brain is wired for memories is the way it handles these perceptions.

For me my memories and perceptions are data based. I can’t see the cake, hear the singing, smell the candles. I can tell you what room of the apartment it was held in, I can tell you guest list, I can tell you the weather. Not because I see/hear/smell any of these things, but because I know them. The best analogy I have is like reading a book. You know from reading in history class that during the War of 1812 the Canadians marched into Washington D.C. and burnt the WhiteHouse. You don’t remember it cause you saw it, or anything like that, but you remember it as the information, the fact.

That’s the majority of my memories. Information, I could describe them like I wanted them written out in a book, but not like I could describe something I see. The same thing goes with my magickal experiences. Very rarely do I see a ghost (yet, due to the visual-dominance in magick, I’ll often use the language of seeing), but I’ll know it’s there. I might not see anything about them, but if asked I could tell you she’s a young woman, that she has dark hair, that she always feels cold. Whatever. Even in more complex things like scrying. I can’t explain how, but when I scry I “know” I’m in a dungeon, or on a desert and I “know” there is music in the air. I can’t see or hear it, but I know it. I get all the same information other people get (sometimes more) it just not a sight thing.

It took me a long time to deal with it personally. Now it seems stupid to me, but when I was in my early teens and getting into magick it felt like I was failing when I couldn’t see what I was supposed to see, especially when friends who I was teaching would start seeing things. Things really took off for me when I decoupled sight/see/visualize and recoded it into my head as perception/understand/realize. Suddenly I realized I was aware of a lot more than I had been accessing, because I had been ignoring how my brain was coding it.

Again, this doesn’t feel like something I should have to say, and I see this mentioned from time to time. Yet two weekends ago I was hanging out with some woogity folks, and one of the people there just had this revelation, suddenly they were aware of new things, because they stopped looking for images and started using another sense.

If you visualize things, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s great. Learn to play to your strengths. Even when you can’t see something, there is something in your brain that perceives and understands and translates in your own model. So when I’m learning a technique and I’m told to “visualize green energy” or something, I can just know that the energy I’m moving is green, and it works the same way. The translating back and forth becomes a non-conscious thing. If you hear things (as one of my old high school friends did) just tell your brain to hear the green energy. It might sound like nonsense to you, but your brain can mash it together and spit it out, and suddenly that C# on a clarinet sound pours out with your energy, and apparently that’s the same as green.

In a mundane sense we all experience and perceive the world differently. Magickally it is no different, so be open to letting your other sense take over, and stop fretting about seeing things, if that has been your concern. I can’t see my magick, but I know it.


Spirit Allies: Relationships Over Collections

2015/11/21

Minor Rant

I need to repaint my living room, and I could ask friends or family to help. They’re not professional painters, but they’d get the job done. It’s easier to ask them then it is to hire professionals, or befriend a professional in hopes of getting them to help as a favour.

It’s a sloppy analogy, but I see it all the time in magick.

“My mother just broke her hip, and I want to help heal her, what god should I work with and how?”

“I bought a new house and want to banish it thoroughly before moving in, what god would be a good choice?”

“I’m trying to find a job, which Buddha should I petition?”

Here is my answer: if you have to ask, you shouldn’t be working with them. Aside from an issue with how people collect and toss gods for favours in a manner I find ridiculous and disrespectful, it’s also not an efficient way to handle it.

Our relationships with spirits and gods are just that, relationships, not matters of convenience. Yet what type of relationship can you build quickly for that one goal.

Now before I go on, I’d like to clarify two points. First, I’m obviously not against working with spirits, but when I’ve discussed this before I’ve had people assume I’m anti-spirit work or something. Far from the case, but I’m against inefficient (and perhaps rude) spirit work. Second, we need to draw a distinction between short-term singular goals, and long term goals. There is a difference between being sick, and being chronically ill, or between being unemployed, and perpetually low on funds.

So what’s my issue here? Why do the spirits help us? People claim lots of reasons; altruism, their nature, compulsion, whatever. Yet even if you have a friendly neighbour who would help you do your garden, if you’ve never talked to them, and suddenly pop over and ask for them to help out for a few hours, it’s weird, and kinda rude.

Yet people do that with spirits all the time, they have a goal, and they begin working with a new spirit. This ignores the fact that our spirit allies are far more complicated than many people give them credit for, and this perhaps belies the lack of relationship people have. Why are you trying to build relationships, that you won’t maintain, will promptly forget, just to get a goal, especially when chances are you already have allies who can help.

Again, think of them like real people. I’m not a professional mover, nor am I super strong (but stronger than I look), but if you need help moving something, I can do just that. I’m not a repair person, but I’m smart and good with google, so if your tv isn’t working we could sit down with a computer, and possibly get it up and running. Yet if I were to write a description of my skills I would never think to include “Helps move heavy shit” “Can tinker like a mo-fo” or such, because they’re not my focus…but they’re there. Most spirits are like that, more so the “bigger” they get. Okay, perhaps something like a Goetic spirit is more limited in what it can do (though trust me, some of them are a lot broader than the paragraph says), but when you work with higher order angels, or gods, saints, Buddhas, why act as if they can’t help?

They might not be “experts” in the field, but they can probably help, and more importantly you already have a connection with them, a relationship. If you need an expert, find one, but why go through that effort until it’s actually needed? Your patron might not be listed under “Job magick” in some witchy-cookbook, but there is probably something they can do to help, either directly, or indirectly.

To make another, geekier, analogy think Pokemon. In Pokemon some pokemon are good at somethings, but not others. Fire pokemon are good against Grass, but not against Water. Grass pokemon are good against Water, but not against Fire. Water pokemon are good against Fire, but not against Grass. The trouble is you can only train six pokemon at once. So sometimes you’ll being raising Fire pokemon and you encounter a Water pokemon. Normally your Fire pokemon would be weak against them, but because you’ve been working with them, they’re strong, and if you switched to a Grass pokemon you’ve never used, sure it is technically strong against Water, but it’s so much weaker than your Fire pokemon that it isn’t useful. So even though the Fire pokemon isn’t the best designed for the situation in terms of strengths, it’s still the best choice you have.

I hate to say our spirit allies are pokemon, but I think it’s an accurate comparison here. It’s not so much that working with us makes them more powerful, but perhaps more connected and precise. A spirit that you’re really bound to can influence your world to a far greater extent than most newly contacted spirits. That link draws them into our lives, into this level of reality.

Don’t be afraid to ask your spirits for help, even if it doesn’t seem connected to their abilities. If you’re looking for a job and Thor is your go-to for everything, ask him, the worst case is he’ll tell you he can’t help. Aphrodite might not be the first choice to get you out of debt, but if she’s been with you for years, ask her, again the worst that can happen is she’ll hand you off to someone else. Manjushri might not be about healing, but if you ask he’d do his best.

Perhaps I take my relationships too seriously, but I would rather not engage with someone new for the sake of a task, when I could work with a friend.


%d bloggers like this: