Shadow, Deep and Community

 

Usually I try and find a story of sorts to begin these posts, but alas this time there isn’t one.  This idea, or revelation came to over the last couple of weeks and it is about the 3 types of magical work that I do, or that I perceive I do.

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Shadow Work:

This is where magic is used to work on yourself, inner work if you will.  Work to understand, heal and grow in a psychological personal sense.  It is about working with the darker aspects, as well as the lighter aspects, of yourself that come into view as you live a magical life.  It has always been my belief that if you are not working on this as a part of your magical life, then are you really living a magical life?  But having said that, living a magical life is not and should not be entirely focused on the self, hens these two other type of work which are a part of my practice and magical life.

For example this year I have been making a concerted effort to write more because all through my schooling I was told I was lazy and stupid, and then when it was discovered that I was dyslexic, as an adult, I had to overcome the common understanding that dyslexic people while not stupid could not write.  Hence the magical blogging and writing on a fairly regular basis.

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Deep Work:

This is not always overtly magical as so often reading and study is not seen as a magical act, but that I suspect depends on how your framework looks.  Deep work is about deepening your understanding through reading study and practice of your path, your magic and your connection with the Divine and the Spirit world.  As Kris Hughs from the Anglesee Druid Order said, it is when your eyes are Black with the magic of the ovate.  This can happen when you are deepening your understanding of the above be that reading, study, practice or ritual.

For example this year I learnt about trance-meditation, connected and unconnected magic, which I have then put into practice and now have a much strong connection with Spirit, the Divine and a clearer connection with a Spirit Teacher who I have been working with for years.  I also leaped into the abyss with gay abandon but that is not something will be sharing here.

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Community Work:

This for me has a strong connection with Surrendering to service.  it is the service you provide, not just to you magical or pagan communities but also you wider community.  It is talking to the little old lady at the bus stop with an empty cat carrier and offering her an ear, and sympathy because she has just had her very old cat put to sleep.  It is about helping a new pagan discover what their path and spirituality is.  It can be about organising or talking part in a beach clean-up, or helping friends move house.

For me part of my community work is helping others find their magical and spiritual paths, and talking to people at bus stops..

Of course there is crossover.  Deep work can bring up Shadow work that needs to be done and Community work that could be an aspect of your Deep work as you find yourself offering your services in the name your God or Goddess.  You get the picture right?

So there you go, three types of magical work that are key to living a magical life, or at least how i am living my magical life!

 

 

Book of Shadows, Apparently I Have One

 little red book of doom

This is my Book of Shadows, except I call it The Little Red Book of Doom.  It is nothing like the Book of Shadows that you see on the TV, and written about in many Wicca 101 books.  It doesn’t have fancy boarders, with exotic looking script.  Nor is it just spells, workings, rituals or rites. Instead it is full of my writing, well this one is,  most of it is somewhat magically themed, but a bunch of it is not.

It contains thoughts, drawings of wall hangings and trance pillows, spelling mistakes, shopping lists, and appointments for job interviews, as well as questions that I wanted to ask during said job interviews.  There are doodles, clothing designs, phone numbers, emails and to do lists.  It’s a little like a diary and not all at the same time.  It is a mix of mundane and magical, but then, so is life no?

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The Little Red Book of Doom lives in my bag along with a few pens and a mechanical pencil.  I carry it with me everywhere I go.  I have had similar books for years, sometimes they started off with drawings, doodles really of things I wanted to make, things I was thinking about and other random type stuff.  This last year’s one has more writing in it as I wanted to become comfortable with the idea that I could actually write.

This cover, of the now Little Red Book of Doom, I picked up in Canada so it is a little difficult to find new lined books that fit inside but I have managed ok.

And it has only been this year that I have realise that all of these books that I have filled over the years with drawings, todo lists, magical thoughts, book reviews, job interviews and shopping lists is actually for me a Book of Shadows.  But then sometime I am a little slow on the uptake.

I am sure that some people are able to keep a book of Shadows like you see on the TV  and that are written about in the Pagan 101 books, but I am not that person, and I am coming to realise that and in so many ways.  So often what I have read in books is vastly different from how I practice, but then it is the same to.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Pileobooks

So do you have a collection of various diaries, and journal type books that you have used over the years?

Blue Moon

Blue Moon in August or September??

The world is actually round, and as you may or may not know, when it is Friday here in New Zealand it is actually Thursday in America, England and Canada etc. etc.  New Zealand is pretty much in future time.

So why am I bringing this up? That’s easy; it is to explain that in August in New Zealand there was not a Blue Moon.  That is using the modern theory of Blue Moons, which is when two full moons fall in one month. Generally this happens at the beginning and the end of the month, given that the moon’s cycle is about 28-29days.  Right…still with me? Good.

So, in the northern hemisphere America, Canada and England etc. etc. in August there was a Blue Moon, on the 31st.

Now, the moon is one object in the sky that merrily makes its way around the earth with nary a thought to any international date lines. It just orbits the earth affecting the tides, large bodies of water and people who sometimes become odd.   So when it is full it is full all around the world at the same time, and I am not talking about Saturday at 2am, I’m talking about a specific point in time, err maybe it is called universal time?  Essentially that means that the moon will be full in Ottawa, Canada on Friday 31st August at 10am, which is 16 hours behind New Zealand. So that means in New Zealand it is 2am on Saturday morning the 1st of September, and the Moon is full.     Head exploded yet?  Wait there is more…

So, because there is this time difference, the second full moon in a month, a Blue Moon will happen in New Zealand on September 30th at 4pm.  Hmm… wrap you head around that folks… it’s not too difficult but can be a bit bendy around the edges.

Now wait a minute, I keep saying second full moon in a month, Blue Moon, right? Which might indicate that there is a different type of blue moon…and given that the idea of a Blue Moon is quite an old one, as in probably came about before our current calendar, it is probably accurate that there is a second way of measuring a Blue Moon.  You know because having a Blue Moon every year, given that there are 12 months and 13 moon cycles in a year or thereabouts, does not really fit with the saying “Once in a Blue Moon”.  And you would be correct in your assumption.  According to trusty Wikipedia, the origins of the Blue Moon comes from way back and relates to a seasonal harvest type calendar, and the Blue Moon was when you got 4 full Moons in one season.  So according to Wikipedia the next seasonally based Blue Moon will be May 21st 2016.

And why am I posting this? Mostly it is to remind you lot in the Northern hemisphere that there is a Southern hemisphere, and that our seasons are 6 months ahead of yours. We are now heading into Spring and we live in future time and are therefore more all-knowing… *coughs*… right then any questions?

PS WordPress is being all very odd, like they have upgraded something but crashed the page where you post from.  it is all very weird and fustraiting.. just so you know.  arrgghhhh…

Presently Centered

Centring

This is the first thing I teach anybody who comes to me and is interested in Witchcraft and Magic, and it is the first thing that I teach my students when I run my classes.  The simple explanation for this is that I won’t work with someone who does not how to do this because we live in this world.  Thus when doing magical work we should be centred and grounded in this world, or at least for most of the time.

It is important when learning about magic to be grounded in this world, to understand that you still need to tidy your house, pay your bills, go to work, while also honouring your Gods and making magic.  Paganism in its various forms is by its very nature is very romantic, and has been romanticised throughout the ages.  Even the modern history is kinda romantic, there are heroes and villains and sometimes heroic villains, and more importantly there is magic, which is something real, something that you can feel, and something that you can use.  Fairy Stories, Television, Moves and some anthropological study tells us of a time when the village witch used herbs to heal the sick, used magic and a bit of salt to save the world and told of the humble stable boy, a person with an important destiny written about in prophecy. And let’s face it we all like to be feel special, to feel like our lives have meaning and importance in this, at times very difficult thing we call life, and witchcraft has that in spades.  There is finding your path, your deity and what it is that you are meant to be doing with your life.  There is discovering your true self, stepping away from ugly mainstream culture, standing up for yourself and learning how to do the things that you want to do as opposed to the things that you believe you should be doing or that you have been lead to believe you need to be doing.  Witchcraft and magic in many ways gives you courage and an out of the rat race, to be that special person with that special destiny.

Also books, the several hundred thousand books that have been written on various forms of paganism and how to do and or be a witch or druid or priestess also have a tendency to paint a very romantic picture.  There are powerful visions, rituals and deities that these Authors meet, and seemingly a teacher can be found on every street corner just waiting for you to walk by so they can nab you and show you how to find your destiny and path.  Alas the reality of it is that it is not like this but it is very easy to get swept off your feet,  into the romantic maelstrom and loose touch with reality, to loose touch with this world and all of its wonders.  So this is why I teach Centring and Grounding first to help to keep touch with reality with this world, with this earth and remember that you still have bills to pay and houses to clean. And so that you know how to come back to earth with less of a bump. So that you stay grounded enough that when you hit the deep magic’s you can stay sanely, centred, and come through with an excellent experience and pretty much not go batshit insane.

Right scared yet?  You should be.. ok maybe not.  Perhaps not scared so much as weary, stepping onto this path in a more conscious way can be interesting and sometimes in a Chinese sense of interesting however  it also can be wonderful beyond words, but then if it wasn’t I wouldn’t be teaching classes or writing about it now would I.  So Centring and Grounding, now that we know why it is important, what is it? and how do you do it?  First I am going to talk about Centring, and in the next post Grounding.

Centring

Centring is like gathering your thoughts, so that you can concentrate on what is at hand, and what you are doing.    At times I believe that it is very much like being in the present, in the now, as so many self-help gurus and Buddhists will tell you.  However this ‘being in the now’ is, as is so often the case, not as it is portrayed in books.  I think that to get a point across in writing, so that it doesn’t sound lame,  and  can be understood  the writer embellishes what they are writing, not because they are being mean or dishonest but it is more  give a clearer picture of what they were feeling and what they have experienced.  How this can create an over blown expectation for the reader, or as in my case a miss understanding.  So often in these books that talk about living in the now, and the present,  they are talking in absolutes, ‘you should be in living in the now all the time’ the books say, ‘always be present in your own life’. I often ended up wondering what they were talking about as I am present in my own life? I live it don’t I?  And what’s more Living in the now all the time can be very difficult to achieve, unless you want to be a monk living on a mountain top somewhere.    It took me quite some time to wrap my head around being in the present, in the now.  I did not have any problems understanding centring and grounding. But I did have problems understanding this living in the now.  Until a Student asked me if you could centre and ground separately?

Most the time when you are preparing to take part in a ritual, centring and grounding was done together as one exercise.  Centring was about concentrating on the ritual at hand and grounding about being grounded and drawing up energy from the earth.  Seemed simple right?  Little did I realise that centring was very similar to living in the now, so to speak.  And grounding was about staying there.  Always good to learn from your students I say! But it take me while to understand.

It was not until I happened to be walking to catch a train to work one morning that I finally understood what the books were talking about, and what centring and being in the now had to do with one another.  As I was wondering down the hill pondering about being present, and what it meant, I was not paying attention to where I was walking, not that it is difficult to walk down a hill on a paved footpath,*coughs* but alas before I knew what was happening I tripped and landed on my arse on said footpath.  And was very present and in the moment, feeling the sting of concrete on my hands and embarrassment in my face at having fallen over, but more than that I was present, my mind was not wondering about on the either thinking of arcane  things, but it was instead present and I was sitting on the ground.  So I learned that being present is about being aware, not just of what you are thinking about but also aware of where you are physically, what you are doing, what’s going on around you, which when you think about it, is the same of being Centred.  Not only are you focusing yourself, so that interrupting thoughts of ‘must clean bathroom’, are sent on their way, so that you can focus on the working, or ritual at hand.  You are also being aware of where you are and what you are doing, in the present moment.  This also allows you to pay attention when signs and messages are sent.

So clear as mud?

my suggestion is to practice being aware, to practice being centred  and try take note of the times when you are not.  Now this is of course way easier said than done.  I have often equated learning to do magic similar to driving a car, when you first learn there seems to be so much to remember, check mirror, check handbrake, check seatbelt, what gear are you in, which peddle are you using, steering, driving, screaming at the other drivers.. but after a few years, it all becomes second nature to get in your car and drive of without giving it much thought.  The difference with magic though is to keep giving it that thought, sure it will become second nature and your technique  will change and it will become easer like driving a car, but the trick with good magic is to be aware, be present.

Right then now on to the grounding segment of our lesson, which I will discuss in the next post.

Have at it!