The Summer Solstice has passed and as I edit this blog post, it is almost New Years Eve. I have spent the last several days cleaning my house and baking. You see this year for the Summer Solstice I had several magical realisations, several penning dropping moments. I have spent these liminal days between Christmas and New Years quietly thinking about this new understanding while also cleaning my house, and Baking. Today it is Ginger Gake.. but I digress, sort of.
These magical realisation and or breakthrough moments generally happen over a period of time. Sometimes it is several days and sometimes it is several months, it can in some cases even take years. I like to think of these moments as series of puzzle pieces, of related things that I have flagged as important and to take note of. I have over the years become much better at spotting when they happen. Sometimes water just wet.. but other times water is a magical puzzle piece, and learning to tell the difference can be a bit trial and error when you first start out.
This time the puzzle pieces came in the form of, a Tarot orientated blog, which in an of its self is unusual for me, two podcasts, a Tarot documentary and an episode of Librarians. The galvanising and linking of these magical puzzle pieces where helped along with some liberal applications of Sarah Lawless‘s Sabbat, and Mandrake Ointment and cups of tea with a good friend
This galvanising and linking was both magical and psychological and also not. Magic and psychology are so intertwined and also vastly separate, that it can be very difficult to put into words, let alone figure out which is, which. Some Modern Pagan and Magical practices and traditions come from a occult magic foundation, and others come from magic is psychosocial foundation. For me the magical work that I do now comes from a more magical foundation and this in turn facilitates? the psychological bits.
It has not always been this way for me, I stared my magical path and journey reading predominantly Goddess and Feminist Books as that was what was available and it was when it was common to understand magic as a psychological phenomenon.. rather than an occult magical phenomenon. But the deeper you go down the rabbit hole the more the magic is real and both separate but intertwined with the psychological. I suspect it is different for everyone, as to my mind. it depends on how your world view is wired. But I digress somewhat.
Did I mention that I have been cleaning my home and baking in that liminal space between Christmas and New Year’s. And with a magical realisation, I have found is always followed by much work, but before that work can take place there needs to be a period of time to let the dust settle so to speak, which for me this year has been about baking and cleaning.
The practice of magic, I believe should not just be in your head, or reading many wonderful books, it should also be about doing and about practice. Preforming, and practicing those things that you have read about while also refining those practices that you have been reading about so that they have more meaning and connection for you. Doing this adds a more and a very personal understanding the magic that you are doing and in turn can facilitate more magical realisations. Kinda spirally really.
Let me put it another way. You can read the recipe for the World’s Best Banana Cake however if you have not baked and/or eaten it you only have half the story and none of the experience, so your understanding of it will be lacking. There are some very important things that you lean when you actually physically bake the World’s Best Banana Cake. And sometimes these things are not written in the recipe. Just as there are realisations when baking and eating the World’s best Banana cake, so to are there realisation when you are practicing your magic, which as I mentioned before so often looks nothing like what you have read about in magical books. Your experience should and will be different from that of the person who has written the book. Besides maybe you might not like banana cakes. Instead, for you the World’s Best Banana Cake might be a Ginger one?
This comes with a warning however. It can be all too easy to use the practice of magic to hide the fact that you are not actually doing anything, rather you are hiding from yourself. This is both magical and the psychological work that goes hand in hand with magic and magical belief. Too often we can hide in the obsession, with the next new book or the technical workings of the next Sabbat ritual or somebody who is wrong on the internet. so we don’t actually do anything, or we get so caught up in preforming the ritual correctly that our focus is in the wrong place. We do not open ourselves up to the possibilities of growth and change that comes with these revelations.
For me this is where discernment and paying attention becomes key. Many years ago when I was studying at University a professor called me into his office to discuss an essay I had written on Modern Pagan rituals that are now considered Christian rituals. He happily gave me an A, but that A came with some of the best advice I have ever gotten when it comes to information and study. Two questions he said are the best way to learn. How can this be wrong, and how can this be right? This took me from being a first year student who was all ‘Information is Amazing and Awsome” to a second year student who gained the ability to look further, question, discern, and gain deeper understanding about the subject that I was studying.
So for New Years I am going to leave you with a some excellent recommended reading, listening and watching.
Podcasts, Blogs, Documentaries and Librarians
Podcast Being Boss with Carolyne Elliott
website with good articles and insight. Carolyne and Camelias website.
The Librarians Season Two Episode Nine, which is not to difficult to find on line.