I don't know if I'm stretching myself too thin, or if I've just got an overabundance of desire/craving/obsession with learning and knowledge, and by association if I'm lucky, wisdom. But after a discussion with a friend recently, it was pointed out that I may very well be the kind of person who doesn't need to do spells and the like. The term that was used was "intuit", in that when doing some kind of magickal working, I merely focus on the intent, and change can occur. I've been experimenting a little with this idea... and really, it kinda fits in with the alternate/virtual reality sortof setting that I've been talking about. I've grabbed up a few books from amazon on the subject, and of course begun sifting through the internet for more information, but not yet quite dug into any of those. The more I think about it, the more I think this could very well be why doing spells with words and stuff, even whispered ones, never has felt "right". Give me a focal point and a purpose and I'm good to go. It may very well be that this is why when asked to lead Circle, I do better remaining silent with eyes closed. It seems like when we did that before, the power and energy within the Circle felt so much stronger than it had in the past. There are other examples as well, such as recently mom had found a picture someone had posted on facebook, and she said she felt very drawn to it. Me being the person I am, my first thoughts jumped to a past life sortof thing, especially knowing a good portion of our family tree and where our people come from, figured when she said she felt like there should be water nearby, that it was some kind of correlation to that. I told her to put it on her desktop as her background and for one week, to focus on it for 15 minutes a day (not necessarily all at one time, but to focus on it and clear her mind of everything else). She did this and sure enough, within one week, she made the correlation: It reminded her of the path leading to the river near where she lived as a child, and where the path had grown up with the trees covering overhead, it looked almost exactly like the picture. Perhaps it wasn't magick, but I feel like it was magick, by my suggestion, guiding her to find the answer herself. What I really need to do most, is find someone who could tell me more about the things my grandmother did. I'm completely convinced that if I knew more about her, the answers I've been seeking could be found.
I'm not gonna pretend, I don't even know if eclecticism is an actual word. But I'm gonna use it. Why? Because it works. After reading Cootie's reblog post (click to read, will open in new window), I decided to put some effort into at least beginning to define what it is I do believe in, not necessarily attaching a label to it.
I came across THIS article.. You don't have to go read it, I'll just quote the bit that really grabbed me about it. It's purpose was to define the difference between an eclectic pagan and an eclectic spiritualist.
If you're questioning what faith you belong to, or you're practicing pieces of multiple faiths simultaneously, you may well be an Eclectic Spiritualist. If you know you're Pagan, but you don't fit in any specific subgroup or you feel attuned with parts of multiple systems, you might be an Eclectic Pagan.
I really couldn't have summed it up better myself. I won't say I read "alot" of blogs or articles on the subject, but what I have seen is that many are pulling away from set-in-stone tradition in search of something that best fits them, and that generally takes the form of eclecticism.
For me, this works best for several reasons; Primary one being, I consider myself a student of history, of cultures and how they develop and change over time. I believe there is a beauty in the fact that over 2000 years of one religion or a small handful of monotheistic religions attempting to force people into believing a certain way, and there are so many people the world over who refuse to let that stop them. There are too many who won't even allow a refurbished ancient religion push them into believing the way said ancient religion demands.
As it stands, there are different things I might call upon for various reasons.. this is most evident in my meditations/visualizations. When I began the Element Walk, the very first one.. Air was associated with celtic or native american woodwind music and the imagery of a mountain top in the smokeys surrounded by mist and clouds. Fire was native american drums, or something resembling Egyptian music and the imagery of an underground cavern with a well of fire in the center that, when allowed, would whirl around, spreading almost to the walls (ala Dumbledore when he was helping Harry find the horcrux in the little basin thingie). Water was nature/ambient sounds.. rainstorms primarily, sometimes it would be either Tibetan monks or the Tibetan singing bowls; with images varying between the beach and the woods during a storm. Earth would vary.. sometimes it was bagpipes and drums, other times it would be something along the lines of Eluvetie; the imagery would be of the Scottish highlands or some snow-covered area in a remote part of Scandinavia. I think that the choices of music and imagery reflect best where my interests lie when it comes to religion/spirituality. They show what I associate the Elements with, and must be explored.
I think it's a fairly safe bet that I will most likely never consider myself to have "mastered" anything where my Path is concerned. There is always something worth learning. There is always something bigger waiting to be noticed, recognized. This universe is way too large to ever fully know all things, to think otherwise is to be arrogant and well.. small-minded. I think I am forever destined to be... Padawan. And I'm perfectly fine with that!
Here is something that I have wondered for awhile, this stems from the emptiness and questions I had with Christianity.
This was a post I found in my Facebook feed today that got me to thinking… If you can get past the blatantly anti-Christian atmosphere of it. How many times have we sat there watching a movie, cartoon, or reading a comic book about these beloved heroes? As opposed to the times we’ve picked up a bible or other spiritually-related book? I know I’m more than guilty of it myself. And you know what? I’m perfectly ok with that. I’ve actually been trying to look at the world around me in a different light.. to find the magick within any situation, any person, any given moment. I know it’s there. We just have to look, to shine light on it and really see it for what it is. After last week’s trip to the doctor with my mother (the lump was just an infection thankfully), she took me to Cracker Barrel for my birthday (which isn’t for another 4 days now), and as we sat there eating and talking, it dawned on me just how differently the day could have gone. Instead of being happy and laughing as we ate, we could have had the big C cloud hanging over our heads. It could still happen, later on down the road, and I know in the end, there’s literally nothing I can do to stop whatever comes. But in that moment, every annoyance, every irritation, every slight and wrong done to me by her, evaporated. Every bite of food tasted better, every sip of that sweet tea was sweeter, even the sun seemed to shine a little brighter. And that… I think, is magick, in the simplest of situations, at work.
Back to the topic at hand, I think this Brook person is on the cusp of a much deeper concept, in that, it doesn’t necessarily relate to Christianity’s lack of a way to provide for the lesser blessed in this world. But more that superheroes prove that even the most ordinary person can do extraordinary things, and the true magic of it lies within the human spirit. This is seen time and again with Green Lantern (I will refrain from any reviews of the movie here). Hal Jordan, test pilot, happens upon a crashed alien ship, and in a moment of dire need, the ring transfers itself from Abin Sur to Hal Jordan, and Hal becomes Green Lantern. Multiple times he saves the world, other worlds, other races, and proves the worth of the weak, less-enlightened human race. Batman, I really wouldn’t go too far to say he’s in this same caliber, perhaps demi-god or some such. He has gadgets and money. I put him in the same category as Tony Stark (although given the choice I’ll watch Iron Man before ANY Batman movie, any day of the week)
So what is it really that makes superheroes the modern version of the Gods and Goddesses of old? MILLIONS of people, the world over, worship at the alter of Marvel, DC, Stan Lee and the like. That altar? Movie theaters and comic book stores. Obviously, Thor and Loki hold to the mythologies pretty well. The ability to relate to these people, who have taken whatever situation they are dealt (i.e. Bruce Banner/The Hulk… a gamma-ray infused version of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde without the depravity) and making the best of those situations, helping people, righting wrongs as they can, but still maintaining some resemblance of their former lives, -that- I think, is why so many are drawn to these characters. I think the ultimate truth within it all, is that religion, worship, spirituality, have all evolved. We don’t necessarily want to place our faith in a deity to take care of problems for us. WE want the ability to handle our own shit. We all want to be Catwoman. We all want to be Thor. We all want to be Tony Stark. And at the end of the day, we have it within our grasp to do great and wonderful things. We may not have Mjolnir, we might not have a vibranium shield, we might not have a solid gold bustier and the rock-hard rack to pull it off, but each one of us can make just the smallest difference in the life of another person. The ultimate truth here, is we all have it within our grasp to be heroes.. to be god/dess-like, if we’re only willing to accept what comes with it.
In the words of Uncle Ben Parker.. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.
(DISCLAIMER: We are not responsible for physical injuries or embarassment should anyone take it upon themselves to don a cape and spandex and think they can fly. WARNING: PLEASE do not tell Tony Stark about any of this, we do not need him getting an ego bigger than he already has. THANKS!)
At our most recent Circle gathering, I was asked to cast the Circle. PANIC! RUN! HIDE! were the knee jerk reactions. This is not something I’m accustomed to doing. I like to leave that to other, more knowledgeable people (Like X). Thankfully, instead, we joined hands and proceeded with it that way. Then today, I was looking through my facebook feed, and one of the pages I subscribe to had something on casting Circles. I don’t particularly prescribe to this method of doing it, but its not a bad concept. (EDIT NOTE: I can't seem to locate the exact post now.. 12/27/12)
The page can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Good-Witches-Farm-House-Kitchen/264811936868196
Now, with that being said.. all of this has brought to light the questions: What IS the right way to cast Circle? How do I know if I’m doing it “right”? WHEN do I cast Circle?
This, much like anything else you will do in your magickal working, is purely based on what feels right, what works for you. You might lean more towards a traditional wiccan casting, add in your own flowery words and make it all spiffy and poetic. Or you might just do as I do, close your eyes and visualize yourself inside a bubble. A shield if you will, against all negative influences in the world around you, clear on the inside, but mirrored on the outside, reflective, as it will deflect anything and everything from the outside world. For that moment in time, you are part of the world, but set apart. Nothing can harm you, and like Luke on Dagobah with the tree in the swamp, the only things inside are what you take with you. Leave your stress, dramas, and worries on the outside, unless the intent of the Circle is to rid yourself of those things.
How do you know if you’re doing it right? Well, again, you’ll know. If it doesn’t feel right, then you haven’t done it right. Lather rinse repeat, whatever steps you took… change something, whatever you have to do. But the important thing is confidence. This is especially important if you’re casting a Circle with others present. I failed in that department, but I know I can handle it next time. If you’re not confident in the Circle you prepare, others will feel it, and it could throw off the energy within.
When do you cast a Circle? I can’t stress this enough. WHEN. YOU. NEED. IT. If you feel its necessary, do it. I do it, visualized, but I do it when I meditate. I do it anytime I need to break away from the world around me and get a few moment’s peace. I do it when I’m afraid. Because its safe there, its the one place no one and nothing can touch me, and I can regain my composure and feel alright with everything that might be going on.
I think though, that this is something I’m going to have to work on. I’ve always done my own thing, quietly, and usually without words, inside my own mind. Its a necessity when one isn’t out of the broom closet yet! But there is no ONE way to do it, and there is no absolutely right way either. Tailor it to suit your needs and your own personality, and don’t overlook your intent.
While I was initially looking forward to Earth, as we near the transition back to Air, I can honestly say I’m GLAD it’s almost over. The grass is starting to come back, things are starting to bloom, it’s getting warmer out, and really, it’s just time. Winter months being what they are.. one long arduous pain in the ass, I embrace the return of Air with open arms. (No, not a Journey reference).
Speaking of Journey, I have had this song in my head all day.
Now, ya’ll know I love me some Journey. But for some reason, I can’t help but feel a particular draw to this song. Especially lately. Let’s look at some of the lyrics:
“Winter is here again oh lord,
Haven’t been home in a year or more”
Sure, its probably more metaphorical than literal. But as we come out of Earth into Air, it HAS been a year since I’ve been “home”. Air is where I started, as a Libra it is my element, and although I have really come to love what the other elements have to offer, Air is where I thrive. There are a few elemental references throughout the song, and despite whatever true meaning the song has, it isn’t hard to find the references to the different seasons/quarters of the year. “I’m stranded in the sleet and rain, Don’t think I’m ever gonna make it home again, the mornin’ sun is risin, it’s kissin the day” Sounds very much like someone waiting in the midst of the Earth quarter, in the dark of winter, for Air and morning, to return.
So this is where I am. Everything is a journey, and it really is about living each year, or even each week or day, like you’re starting over. The more you hold onto the baggage of the past, the heavier they will get until you simply can’t keep going. Just so long as you keep your eyes in front of you rather than behind, breathe a little and we’ll get through it just fine. I haven’t managed to make a few of the changes in my life that I wanted to make, but overall I can’t complain, and I’m looking forward to what my 3rd year on this path will bring. Stay tuned! This should be an interesting year!
**Edit: I just realized NONE of us posted during February. I hereby deem February did not exist. Thank you, that is all. XD
I could start this out similar to an AA meeting “Hi I’m Laury/Morgana, and I am a geek”. But geek does not even begin to cover it. I’ve been forced over the past months to accept that I am, in fact, a nerd. And I’m ok with it, I’m embracing it. Its just one of the things that makes me “me”. I’ve traveled a long path to find where I belong in this world, “the meaning of it all”. Whether I’ll ever reach that point is a mystery. In the meantime, I play the following roles: mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, geek, nerd, gamer girl, over-thinker. There are reasons I am referred to as So-Crates and Padawan. While there are things I am knowledgeable about, there are things that I have yet to learn. In the end, that’s all life is about..