Where Could This World Be

I remember when I was much, much younger – growing up as a military dependent in Germany was an amazing time for me. I would go Volksmarching with my parents and my sister, and in the 10km we walked, I would get to see a lot of the country-side each weekend. Sometimes, the trails wound through town, sometimes through the local farmer’s fields along the paths used for the tractors and other farm equipment. However, whenever the paths wound through the forests, I would be especially happy. The forests provided me with the best opportunities to leave the trail, and walk within the woods – parallel to the walking trail, of course. Those forests spurred my thoughts and allowed me to see other worlds. Worlds full of Elves, full of imaginary battle scenes, and even dinosaurs hiding behind every large trunked tree. Yes, I was particularly fond of dinosaurs growing up. What kid wasn’t?¬† ūüôā

It was so easy to believe in magick, and the Fey, and even the Gods. But as I grew older, I was told that such things were not appropriate for a young man. Seeing Fey folks peering back from deep in the woods was just a fanciful imagination running wild. It was “ok” to believe that such things existed, but not as I got older. Things like that were “child’s stuff” and I needed to set that aside, in order to “grow up.” I was to push all that out of my mind and dismiss any such thinking as unhealthy and unproductive towards becoming a “normal” member of “grown-up” society.

As a young adult, I spent a lot of time pushing thoughts about the Gods out of my mind. Dismissing all of it as a product of my over-active imagination. But it was certainly acceptable to believe in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit…though I had no feeling towards the existence of that. And when I asked for proof, I was given a book and told the answers could be found on those pages. Because it was “socially acceptable” to believe such.

Do not get me wrong here – there is nothing wrong with the belief in the Christian God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. That is something that works and calls to those that feel that within themselves. Just as the calling of the Gods and Goddesses and Spirits of Place and Spirits of Ancestor work for me – and many other Pagans. And just as there are those who claim to have the calling of the Christian Trinity in their lives, but have no real connection – in other words, paying lip service….there are certainly those within the Pagan communities as well. But this is not about either of those sets of folks.

We believe readily in magick, the Other World, and so many other things when we are young. Not only do we embrace them, we tend to feel them as well. And then, we are told to set those aside – to embrace something that might not call to us, to dismiss our feelings as being unreal, inappropriate. And suddenly, we find that we are suppressing who we are, what we feel…. And going into the future, we might utilize this as a coping mechanism for the world around us. We bottle in who we are, what we feel, what we know to be right….and all of that starts to eat away at who we are.

Back in 1995, I felt the United States military and came back into the civilian world. In the military, it was easy to be a Pagan, easy to embrace my knowledge and feeling of the existence of the Gods. In the military, my beliefs were protected by regulations and rules dictating that to others. Sure, I had some discriminatory moments from others. There was the one time I was physically accosted at the Sembach Post Office at 3am when I was checking mail after shift. But the civilian world is a little different. Physical altercations can be more frequent and far more violent. People around you are a lot more anonymous than when they are on a military base.

It would have been far easier for me to just not be a Pagan. Or to stay in the “closet” – so to speak. it would have been easier, but it would also have been going back to denying who I was and what I felt within me. I carry enough scars from trying to hide things to appease others. I am not about to compromise on who I am or what I believe. Granted, as I have gotten older, I have learned to not wear my Paganism completely on my sleeve. But when directly confronted, I do not hide who or what I am. Not anymore.

I do wonder; however, just how many people out there lost touch with their feeling and understanding of magick – just because they were told to not have an over-active imagination at their age? That believing in the Fey was not something real – that it could be misconstrued as a sign of mental illness? How many others went through similar actions of internal repression because they were told they should not like the same gender as themselves? How many were told that they could not succeed at various desired jobs because of their gender or skin color or their parents’ income status?

I wonder how different this world could be if we would just make an honest attempt towards being who we want to be, to believe in what we know to be real….where could this world be today? I do indeed wonder….

Magick and Intent versus Politics – Batter Up

Every once in a while on Facebook or some other social media platform, I see something about working a hex or some other bit of magick against Donnie. I smile to myself, gently shake my head, and pass the post by. Not because I am against finding some manner of getting Donnie to shut up. That would be most ideal, in my mind. For me, magick working is not something I toss around lightly, in fact, it is usually an instance of last resort in trying to do anything. And to be perfectly honest, I see politics as being a waste of precious energy, time and intent – especially in trying to change the perspective of firmly entrenched politicians and political zealots. And I certainly do consider Donnie to be a political zealot.

For me, politics is an area that I rarely cross my Spiritual life into. But make no mistake about it; political stuff does bleed over into all aspects of my life, whether I like it or not. I firmly believe that people love who they love. Some political leaders would have us all believe that in some instances, that is against some “natural law” that is laid out in a particular religious tome. Here is politics, tinged in religious zealotry, bleeding into the lives of people that I care deeply about. Still, magick working would be the very last option for me in trying to combat this type of political and religious motivated thinking. Participating in rallies, marches, writing campaigns, talking to my elected representatives, working to actively replace elected government representatives with those that believe differently – these would be the areas that I would (and have) work with to ensure the rights of people to love who they love. Magick might be a “go-to” for others; for me, its usage comes when all other measures have not produced results.

Politics is not a defining factor for me. I have heard many folks say that everyone should be into politics. I disagree. Everyone should be informed enough to cast a vote with knowledge behind “why” – but that does not mean you have to be into politics. You just need to know enough about an issue to vote your conscience. You just need to know how a candidate stands on the issues that concern you most in order to determine your support (or lack thereof) for them at the ballot box. And honestly, if you vote because an individual is part of a particular party…and solely for that reason…well, it is not how I would go about determining how to cast my vote – but each person needs to do what works for them, not what works for someone else. I get to define me, not you – and I do my best to live by that.

Now, it can be said that I have a bit of an aversion to magick working. I do. I will not mince words when it comes to that. First, I do not believe that I am particularly good at working concepts like spells and the such. Like a pitcher that throws a good fastball, but has not managed to grasp the mechanics of a slider; I would tend to throw my best pitch and not rely on a weaker pitch. Second, I believe there is some aspect of spellwork in just rolling up your sleeves and pant legs and wading knee deep into the stream. I am not sure if it really qualifies under the various meanings of magick working, but I know it tends to get results. Just not always the results I intended at times.

However, while I have an aversion to magick working, I certainly do not turn my nose up or scoff at those who turn to spells, hexes, curses, and prayer as their primary starting point in dealing with issues. I actually respect them for the strength and value they place in those abilities. Obviously, they have managed to get results from those actions, and therefore they are going with their best pitch. All I can hope is that their intent is similar to my own…because I don’t want to be in the batter’s box against that pitch.

Bending Intent…Just Not Like Beckham

The past few weeks, I have heard from a few people that my attitude is a little different. Of course it is. And its not that difficult to imagine why. Every single day begins the start of a new adventure for me. In the words of Jerry Doyle, better known as Michael Garibaldi on Babylon 5, “As long as you’ve got today, and you’ve got a choice…why would you choose¬†to make it a bad day?”

Don’t get me wrong. I have bad moments in my days. Sometimes, I get chewed on for no reason at all by other folks. Sometimes, things happen that I didn’t expect, or don’t feel too great about. But those moments will pass. And then there will be the rest of the day: waiting to be colored in by my mind’s crayons and color pencils. Ho I fill in the rest of those colors, is up to me.

I do not work magick that often, but as I think about this process of going through my day – maybe I do, and I just don’t call it magick. Typically, its defined under the Crowley perspective of¬†“the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” So far the sake of discussion, let’s utilize this definition.

My typical day starts with greeting the Sun as we both rise. Me, from my slumber. The Sun, from just around the eastern horizon, as the Earth spins. The point, for me, in greeting the Sun is to provide a basis for the rest of the day. Clear skies, cloudy, overcast, rainy – the Sun will rise. Using that moment of tranquil beauty, with a coffee cup in one hand, and sometimes birdseed in the other, my greeting is a reminder that each day is a new start. No sunrise is exactly like the other. No start to my daily adventure is exactly like another. There are similarities, but no exact duplication.

From that moment, my day unfolds step-by-step. From getting ready for work (on work days) to driving to the college campus I work on, each day unfolds differently. Sometimes, the pastures on either side of the Farm-to-Market road are packed with cows. Sometimes, the only life I see is the occasional hawk circling above the fields. Each work day provides a new data puzzle to solve, a new story that the data gets to tell, and new conversations with people that I work with, and students who attend classes there. Each new experience builds on the ones from the day before. Sometimes, the towers of experience come crashing down because of a bad moment during that day. And here, I have that choice. The choice to color my day by this one experience, or to set it to the side and resolve it in the future, while continuing to experience the better parts of the adventure.

I don’t always choose the better part of the adventure. Sometimes the bad experience does wind up coloring my day. That’s where sunset comes in. Sunset is where the day comes to a close. Where the Sun dips beyond the horizon, promising to return the next day with a new adventure. This is also where I put to rest whatever bad experience has been coloring my day. Because tomorrow is the start of a new day, which brings a new adventure. And I certainly don’t want to have a shitty one.

In essence, I am taking moments of my day, and allowing the change that I want according to my Will. I would prefer a nice cheerful workday, where I get tasks done, but manage to find the fun side of the adventure as well. I am bending the day to meet what I am wanting to get from it. But like magick, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes the results are not quite what I wanted. Sometimes, its a disaster. I chalk that up to experience and try again the next morning. In between, I rest. I relax. I meditate. I calm myself. I ground and center. I let go of the experience that wasn’t so great. I prepare myself to try again, knowing that circumstances for the next day can vary a little or perhaps even greatly in comparison to the previous day.

I keep working at it, Altering small parts here and there to see if small changes will work better. hich I have done quite a bit. And I now have a routine that I vary only slightly from on a daily basis. Through continual hard work, I managed to puzzle¬†out what works¬†for me. The same can be said of working magick. When the results turn out not to be what you were expecting, do the hard work and research what you did versus what the magickal working called for. Find the differences. Look for small things you can change without changing the intent of what you were doing. Let’s say that the working called for the use of salt – and you used iodized Morton’s salt. In preparing for another try, perhaps using sea salt might be better. Be prepared to do the hard work. And yes, be prepared to follow the instructions, the framework, the wording….at least the first time. Try not to alter things without trying the original methodology first.

Like I said earlier….I am not a huge worker of magick. For me, magick is the last alternative to reach for. For me, the first methodology is typically the most mundane one. Elbow grease. Words. Communication. Actions. For me, this is where the first steps of any intentional act, magickal or not, starts. Just a thought (or five)….

–T /|\

Magick and Familiar Stones – My Perspective

My stone circle in the backyard is a focal part of my daily Spiritual Life. When I get home in the late afternoons from work, I have made a habit of stopping by the circle and offering a short moment of thanks for the day. Even a bad day. After all, I made it through whatever has happened, and have managed to reach the safety of home. The stone circle is also a place where I do my grounding and centering. Its a place of safety, a place of comfort, and a place of “known energy” for me.

Thinking back, I originally created my stone circle as a place that could look “nice” outside of my backyard window at my previous home. Over time, it morphed from a “nice” thing to look at, to a functional place where I could handle meditations, and that one practice I dread using the most – “magick”.

I am not one to utilize magick lightly or even often. For me, its a tool that I use for bigger needs, and even then I am reluctant to go that route. In other words, I don’t take magick use lightly. Its not something that I immediately reach for. I usually take the time to puzzle out if another tool or technique might not reach similar results. Or to use a different analogy, magick is like a nuclear weapon. I have it in my arsenal, but am reluctant to utilize it because of the immense power that it is, when something else might accomplish the goal through a modified use or in a greater set of repetitions.

When I am talking magick, I am correlating this specifically to spell work. Not that long ago, there was a push to work spells and/or curses against Donnie’s presidency. I decided not to participate in all of that because of the three-fold concept of karmic return. But I also made sure not to denigrate or belittle the choices of others who decided to go in for all of that either. Their choice, their karma.

So, I tend to get a lot of push-back on my stance on magick. After all, its there – why not use it? Again, I point out that I cannot – and will not – choose for others, nor will I look down on those who choose differently from me. I hold magick – particularly spellwork – as a last resort. When I have exhausted every methodology I can think, and then even after I carefully weigh the possibility of its use, magick becomes an option that gets set on the table for me.

Perhaps its just the programmer in me, or maybe the Technology troubleshooter, but I prefer to hold the biggest, baddest tool in reserve until I have tried all other options. For me, its like squashing a fly with a sledgehammer. Just an unequal use of force for the application at hand. And to be honest, when I do decide to utilize magick, my preference is to use it in territory I am familiar and comfortable with. And that would be my little stone circle.


Portable Music – Magickal Memories of the Past, Present and Future

Continuing in the vein of having some non-spiritual fun….

jazzWay long back, I had a listener (of the now defunct podcast “From the Edge of the Circle”) ask me what I had on my iPod. Well, these days, I don’t carry an iPod with me – though I still have my red iPod in a drawer somewhere. These days, I carry my audio stuff on my iPhone. And typically when I am walking through the neighborhood, I have the ear buds in, and something is playing.

In fact, there’s typically some kind of music or speaking stuff is playing out of speakers near me. Even at work, where I stream Pandora Radio from my iPhone on to my little red Bose Color Speaker. I find music to be rather soothing, although I will shut off my music to listen to the wind in the leaves of the trees or the sound of s stream rushing by. But that auditory sense is always something that I have to have going. Even when I am reading — though I am a little picky when it comes to that. It can’t have words. I guess I get confused between what I am reading and what I am hearing.

But back to what’s on my iPod….err….iPhone. Currently, I have the last four episodes of The Wigglian Way, the last two episodes of Down at the Crossroads, and the last four episodes of Druidcast….all of which I have yet to listen to (and thus the reason that they are on my iPhone). Then follows all the music…and there’s a lot of it….

  • Amaranthe — Massive Addictive (album), The Nexus (album), Amaranthe (album), and Leave Everything Behind (EP).
  • Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe – (self-titled album)
  • Chick Corea – Friends (album), The Mad Hatter (album), The Leprechaun (album), Return to Forever (album), Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (album), and Tone’s For Joan’s Bones (album)
  • Coyote Oldman — Compassion (album), and In Medicine River (album)
  • Craig Chaquico — Follow the Sun (album), Midnight Noon (album), Shadow and Light (album), Four Corners (album), A Thousand Pictures (album), Acoustic Planet (album), Once in a Blue Universe (album), and Acoustic Highway (album)
  • Craig Chaquico and Russ Freeman — From the Redwoods to the Rockies (album)
  • Damh the Bard — Sabbat (album), Antlered Crown and Standing Stone (album), As Nature Intended (album), Tales From the Crow Man (album), The Cauldron Born (album), The Hills They Are Hollow (album), Spirit of Albion (album), and Herne’s Apprentice (album)
  • Douglas Spotted Eagle — Closer to Far Away (album), and Legend of the Flute Boy (album)
  • Duane Deemer — Windhorse (album)
  • Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians — Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars
  • Eloy — Chronicles I (album), Metromania (album), Performance (album), Planets (album), Live! (album), and Ocean (album)
  • Emerald Rose — Archives of Ages to Come (album), Celtic Crescent (album), Rants & Rambles (album), Bending Tradition (album), and Emerald Rose (album)
  • Epica — This is the Time (EP)
  • Eric Johnson – Ah Via Musicom (album)
  • Fiona Davidson — The Language of Birds (album), and Fonnsheen (album)
  • Florence + the Machine — How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (album), and Ceremonials (album)
  • Giant — Last of the Runaways (album)
  • Glass Tiger — The Thin Red Line (album)
  • Grace Potter and the Nocturnals — The Lion, the Beast, the Beat (album), and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (album)
  • Grateful Dead (every single studio album they ever made)
  • Halestorm — Into the Wild Life (album), The Strange Case of… (album), and Halestorm (album)
  • Hardline — Hot Cherie (song)
  • Jim Faupel — Here Be Dragons (album), and Reinventing the Wheel (album)
  • Kellianna — Traditions (album), Elemental (album), and Lady Moon (album)
  • Omnia — Musick and Poetree (album), Wolf Love (album), World of Omnia (album), Paganfolk at the Fairy Ball (album), and Alive! (album)
  • Paul C. Newman — Passing Fayre (album)
  • Rush — (every studio album they have made)
  • Sara Evans — Restless (album), and Three Chords and the Truth (album)
  • Yes (every studio album they have made)

As you can see….my tastes are quite eclectic. Depending on my mood, I will fire up any of these albums at any given time. And if I find that none of them match my mood…I have tons more to pick from off of my external hard drive back at the house. Music is a driving force in my life…each song tugs at a different string in my soul, evoking a different moment of magick within my life. Sometimes its a piece of magick from the Past, sometimes a piece of magick that just happened, and sometimes its a hint of magick yet to come.

Magic – Quote

Magic is about discovering and coming to understand the patterns and balances that underlie all things. It is about working in concord with them in order to maintain or re-establish those patterns and balances. We all work magic of some form or another every day – using herbs to heal, gardening organically, preparing a meal. Those who devote their life ot magic, learn to live their whole life in harmony with the natural order.

The Voice Within the Wind, Greywind, p.21

Stray Thoughts: On Magick…

Anyone who has known me for any length of time, knows about my aversion to using spell-work. Or as the remark was pointedly made to me – “you hate Magick”. Which is not correct. Magick is a daily part of my Life and my daily Path. Its spell-work that I find to be untoward. To be somewhat clear – spell-work, for me, is a manner of working with magick – utilizing it as a tool to achieve some desired goal. That might not be the definition that you may use, but its the one I am working from here.

Spellwork is a technique, but magick….well, magick is not a tool for me. Magick is something that occurs all around us, all the time. Its that feeling of awe, when you look up in the morning sky, and catch the first glimmers of the morning sun peeking over the distant horizon. Its that moment when you feel the embrace of your environment, feel its connection to you, and your connection to it. Its the feeling you get with certain pieces of music, the way the rhythm and the chords resonate with your body and mind, extract a whisper of a memory that embraces you in emotion. That moment of discovery, when you realize how something works or goes together or the way a theory presents even more avenues of thought to explore. When you lay back on the grass, look up into the trees, and realize that there’s a whole world up there that you never noticed before. magick is the awakening of the senses, and a widening of the perception of the world around you. For me, that’s the essence of what Magick is.

Its very difficult for me to see all of that as a “tool” – except that as I think upon it, its not that difficult to comprehend at all. At some point, human beings realized that rocks and sticks did a far better job as weapons than a man’s bare hands. Or that the same stick was a better application for creating a furrow in the ground for planting. And on and on and on. Its the creativity in determining how to utilize such applications that is the Magick for me.

I am not sure how anyone else defines the concept of Magick, only that I realize that whatever their definition is – it works for them. I know there will be plenty of people that disagree with me on the definition…or the application of the definition, and that’s perfectly fine with me. Nine Hells, if we were all the same, agreed on everything – this would be a really boring place, ya know??