Very recently I have seen another quick reference on the five important rules of performing Magick. Some times its six or ten or three, the number is not really important, it is the word rules that I have a problem with. The word rules to me indicates that you must follow these steps for your Magick to work.
This causes a dilemma for me. For example if I am about to duck into the supermarket and wish to remain invisible as I just don’t have the time or brain capacity to run into certain people do I then need to follow these “rules”? Some people would define this as Magick others might not. Now one of these rules was about cleansing yourself before preforming Magick which adds to my dilemma, how am I going to perform a cleansing while sitting here in my car before going into the shops??
In reality I can do quite easily as I have a very broad idea of both of these concepts, a cleansing can be as little as sitting for a few minutes and removing negative areas within, then performing the “invisibility” Magick and off I go. My dilemma comes about because I am a seasoned Witch. I have been on this path for a number of years now and can work with the small and simple to the big and elaborate if I want or need to. But what about those that are only starting there path, what happens when they see these “rules” how do they interpreted them with the limited knowledge they have gathered at the start of there path?
I ask the question of Why is a cleansing important before performing Magick? To me this is much more important than being told to do something or to follow a rule. So here is a list of what I would consider important elements to consider and understand when conducting Magick
- Why am I performing this Magick?
- What is my intent?
- What steps do I need to do to perform this Magick?
- Why do I need to perform these steps?
To me it is words like these that would be better to be tossed around and not the “rules” which can lead to people following some list of steps without really know why they are performing these steps or how they will effect there Magick. After all how do you learn and grow if you do not look at the What or Why?
This week we had a discussion about personal Gods and Goddesses and two different questions were asked:
- Do you find them or do they find you?
- Do you need a personal God or Goddess?
This is not the first time I have been involved in a discussion that focused on these questions and I am guessing it wont be the last and I have always been a believer in that in finding them or them finding you is a bit of a mixture, and that each individual needs to work it out for themselves if they even need a personal God or Goddess.
However the discussion did get me curious on what information is out there, especially for the beginner if you Google “How do I find my personal God or Goddess”. What an interesting exercise.
It was good to see that there was a lot of personal stories out there that people were willing to share on wither how they did find there personal God or Goddess or when there personal God or Goddess showed themselves to them. Also personal stories on why individuals did not have a specific relationship with a personal God or Goddess and shared there view on an over all perspective or relationship. I also found an interesting article that went into the “why” of why do you feel you need a personal God or Goddess and asked a good question of “why does it worry you if you don’t have a personal God or Goddess?”
However there were also the ‘try this’ which is OK, but then the “do this” or “follow this method’ type instructions along with some really cringe worth judgmental comments, and these always worry me. Developing a relationship with the Gods and Goddesses is a very personal thing and what works for one person may not work for some one else. It may be that you never form a relationship with one or two (or more) particular Gods or Goddesses or it may be that you do. The importance of this is really only relates back to you and not what other people think you should have (or not have).
My own personal experience really shows me that it depends on how a person learns and what lessons or steps they need to make for there own spiritual growth. After all, we are all individuals.
I have been a practicing Witch now for approximately 15 years. And while I have conducted many rituals, both on my own and with other Witches and Pagans, it has only been in the last few months that I have set up an altar. So why now, what is it and do you really need one?
So what is an altar? Looking up the definitions they talk about a raised structure or mound or platform for worship, religious rites, sacrifice and a place for offerings to be left for the Gods and/or Goddesses. When looking specifically at Wicca then you also get answers like a place to practice Magick or to cast spells, or a place to place symbols that represents Deity and also as always a place to keep your Wiccan tools. But do you really need an alter so that you can do all these things. Well I guess not since I have been practicing for a number of years without one
In all reality you don’t need anything to practice your faith. It is easy enough to be walking in a forest, bush land, by the sea or in the mountains and freely and openly practice your faith. I have even sat in a park with every day people going about every day things and simply and easily connected with the divine. It is nice now having most of my tools in the one space ready to go whenever I need them. I like having an altar set up, but I also know that if space becomes an issue then I will have to pack it up and again store my tools around my home again as I have done for many years now.
For me it is the things I do every day that define my practice and not just what I do in ritual. It is the combination of the whole from the formal ritual that I do, to watching the beautiful Red River Gums and the patterns and color’s they make along the river bed that I walk nearly every day. From the time I spend with other Witches to the Thank you that I give every night to Deity for the day I have just had. All these things make up my practice and all were happening before I set up my altar and they would continue if I have to pack it away.
So why now do I have one, well I guess the simple truth is that the opportunity presented itself for me to be able to, and it is nice having one set up. Time will tell to see how long I will have the available space to keep it.
From the moment I started working with them I knew I had found something that I related with and could work with. Runes are not easy to learn and it takes time to establish your relationship with them and for me they are grounding, yet powerful, spiritual yet practical. Pick up any book or look through any Internet search on Runes and you will find differences in the interpretation of what each rune means. Normally the interpretations have similarities, but not always, and it really is up to you to establish your own working relationship with the symbols.
The Story of where the runes came from runs deep in the Norse Mythology and is centered around the God Odin, The Tree of Life – Yggdrasil, Mimir’s well, death and sacrifice. To gain knowledge Odin gave one of his eyes in payment for a drink from Mimir’s well where the waters of inspiration come forth, a drink that would give those that consume the water an elixir of wisdom. From this drink Odin was shown how he could gain the wisdom of the runes. He fashioned a spear from a branch of Yggdrasil, then wounding himself with this spear he hung upside down pinned to the trunk of Yggdrasil half drowning in Mimir’s well. Odin hung there for nine days and nights as he knew it was only on the brink of death that the knowledge of the runes would come forth. And on that ninth night he finally spied the wisdom of the runes, grabbing them with one hand he freed them from the well and brought there knowledge out into the world of Midgard (Earth).
From this story we can see how the runes are connected to the energy’s of the world. They come from the very depths of Mimir’s well whose waters give wisdom, knowledge and inspiration. This water in turn nourishes Yggdrasil the Tree of Life that spreads all though the universe and is part of all that is, was and every will be. And the knowledge of the runes was only gained after much sacrifice and only upon the brink of death. It is little wonder that runes can be a great source of power.
Today is Lughnasadh (for those in the Southern Hemisphere) or Lammas for short, a Greater Sabbat that celebrates the first harvest of the season. There are many different ways to celebrate, but it struck me when reading a different post just how much we can get disconnected from the reasons why we celebrate.
In this post the person talked about the joys of joining in a small village festival that was celebrating a successful wheat harvest. These villages may or may not have been Wiccan or even Pagan, but they were very connected to their land and the crops that they grow and harvest. To them a bad crop could mean a very hard year.
To me this is the very essence of, winter is coming and a successful crop means a greater chance of surviving the harsh conditions of winter. This is definitely a reason to either celebrate a successful first harvest, or if the harvest was not all that it could have been then it is time to put energy into the crops of the second harvest and Lughnasadh does both.
However looking at my own life I am very far removed from this part of the food supply chain. To me a successful harvest is going to the fruit and veg store or the local supermarket and re stocking the cupboards and fridge. A ritual I normally do every Sunday. In years gone by we did not have such a high rate of global trade we had to make do with the food that was in season, preserving what we could for times when it was not so readily available. Now days when our own countries stocks become low because the season has passed, we just buy the stocks from international markets where the food is in season.
However it is still important to remember the hard work, sweat and tears that go into producing our food. So while most of us may be removed from the initial harvest, we can still remember and pay our respect to those that work so hard to keep us in plentiful supply. Not forgetting that these days it is not just our local farmer we need to thank, but farmers from all over the globe.