What Happens When the Magickal Path Doesn’t Seem Quite So Magickal

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I overheard a conversation in our local ‘witchy’ store late this afternoon.  As I rounded a corner,  I saw a group of twenty-something young women looking through the candles and the statues.  One of the young ladies wrinkled her nose and sneered at the candle in her hand and said, “They don’t have anything in here that looks like what they used to have on ‘Charmed.'”  My roommate grabbed me quickly by the arm and dragged me into the other room as I protested with the need of having a talk with those young ladies about real witchcraft and pointing them toward some useful resources.

I realize that all of us were introduced to magick somewhere.  For me, it was the movie, ‘Bell, Book and Candle’  with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak.  I marveled as she sang over Pyewacket and laughed as she used Jimmy Stewart’s fiance’s fear of thunderstorms against her.  I pondered about a witch not being able to fall in love without losing their powers.  I was doomed….I fell in love at least every other weekend.

I started the research process.  I devoured any book on magick and witchcraft I could find.  When I was a witchling, resources weren’t quite as readily available and to call yourself a witch where I am from was like admitting that you slept with the devil himself….but still I studied.  I spent more time with my grandmother who schooled me in the shamanistic practices of the Cherokee.  She taught me to walk sided by side with Nature and to listen to every word she whispered.  She taught me to draw on the magick that was already inside of me.

Now, I am not going to lie….every day of my life is not full of fireworks and thunder and lightning.  Sparks don’t fly with every wave of my fingers.  I remember the disappointment I felt when I first realized that every moment of every day wasn’t like ‘Bewitched.’  As I sit here, I remember the disappointment I felt when I realized that twitching my nose did nothing but make my nose itch….but I never gave up.

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As I read, I watched a path open up before me.  At first, there seemed to be nothing magickal about it.  It was about visualization, moon phases, elements and intent.  There was nothing about potion making or any of the preconceived ideas that I had about magick swirling around my head.  Whether I realized it or not….I was growing in the Craft.  The path that was ahead of me, didn’t so much sparkle like the gold brick of the yellowbrick road…I couldn’t find that fairy godmother to lead me through…my grandmother was the closest to Endora that I had.  My path in fact seemed to illuminate just every so often as I felt my way through the dark.

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I continued to walk this path that opened before me.  I started to truly understand my relationship with Nature and the elements around me…and then I was introduced to the Gods and Goddesses of this path that was unfolding.  Something inside of me became very much alive.   As I started to relate to the Gods and Goddesses and I began speaking to them and having relationship with them, it was easier to see the magick in my path.  Now, in my own mind and heart, it seemed as if I was being guided…led.  The visualization became easier…the intent became stronger.  It was becoming easier to control myself.  I continued to walk this path….this time keeping  a watchful eye out for anything magickal that might lead me in different directions.2014-11-29 15.48.56

 

I was listening better…hearing things around me and within me.  As I continued to grow in the Craft and learned to rely on my instinct combined with all I had learned and I communed more with the Gods and Goddesses and the elements around me, I realized that magick was not something that we had to work to attain.  It was something already inside of us.  We only had to access it.  It screams out to us on a daily basis…we have become deaf to it.  We have learned to walk through life as robots…pushing down those callings…the yearnings.2014-11-23 12.33.44

 

The quote above is the closest I have come to finding a definition of what magick encompasses to me.  When I started the search for magick, who would have thought that the place it would be found is inside me.  Roald Dahl said it best:

And above all, watch with glittering eyes

The whole world around you,

Because the greatest secrets are always

Hidden in the most unlikely places.

Those who don’t believe in

Magic will never find it.

This morning as I walked to the woods with Friz….with each step, I watched as my breath left my body.  I remembered my Greek classes from college.  With each breath, my mind exhaled the word Pneuma, which means spirit.  I watched as a piece of my spirit danced in front of me.  Magick is more about learning to control ourselves than anything around us.  Our mind can be the one thing that can limit us.  When I am standing in the wind, if I think too much, my mind will tell me, “You can’t do anything with the wind.”  Instead, I have learned to open my mind and dance with that same wind….to call to it and listen to it answer.  Jason Miller said it best.

It is my opinion that a Sorcerer who cannot control his breath is no Sorcerer at all.
There is a reason that in many cultures the word for spirit or energy is also the word for breath.  In Hebrew the word is Ruach, in Tibetan it’s Lung, in Sanskrit it’s Prana, in Greek it’s Pneuma, in Arabic it is Ruh.  Even the word spirit or spiritus means breath in Latin.  The breath is life and is so important that it is treated in some eastern traditions as a mantra in and of itself.  Yet, we pay surprisingly little attention to it.

I sat down among the brown leaves, closed my eyes and listened.  I listened to my own breath. I listened to the heartbeat of the earth mother.  I could feel her calling to me.  “Something new is brewing inside.  Something new is always brewing….it is up to you to heed its call.”   I invoked the Morrigan.  I heard Mama Crow answer.  There is more magick on this path I’m on than anything I could ever see on television.  It isn’t about mastering the nose twitch or throwing potion bottles at other-worldly beings.

What am I to do with it?  Walk this path…this magickal path…and teach.

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Caressing the Feathers of the Morrigan

The Morrigan is a Celtic Goddess who has been known as the Great Queen, Specter Queen, Supreme War Goddess and Queen of Phantoms. She is also known as Great Mother, MoonGoddess, Great White Goddess, Queen of the Fae, Patroness of Priestesses and Witches, and The Goddess of Magick. She is frequently depicted in triple form, a goddess in three parts, a shape shifter, and a warrior. Yet, the Morrigan herself seldom actually killed; rather, she used her power and magick to stir up the warriors she favored and to weaken those she wanted to lose.

Basically, she is a goddess of battle, strife and sovereignty. Like all the Celtic goddesses, she is not totally evil or good. She is a balance. The Morrigan often steps in to wage justifiable war. She is called upon by warriors, and if she agrees with their battle and motives, she aids them.

The Celts lived their lives based on the changes in nature. They saw the fields grow cold and empty, becoming dead in winter, and then watched as the earth reawakened and the fields came to life in the spring. They knew death was necessary for rebirth and worshipped the Morrigan as the one who brought death so there could be rebirth. She was the one who led the armies, the one who brought death. She was also the one who brought life in her role as a fertility goddess; She was a bringer of life, not always the messenger of death that she had been painted to be.

She is not evil, but she is a dark goddess. By bringing death, she encourages and paves the way for new life. The death that she brings causes the rebirth of that which was buried and gone. Look at the flowers of summer. Once the blooms and greenery die, it is time for the bulb or seed to soak in nourishment and grow stronger. Her hand touches all aspects of life.

Her physical form has been that of raven, hawk, wolf, vulture or jackal. All of these at first thought are predators, but if looked at deeper, they all feast on the dead and decaying. It is in the death of weakness that strength and newness emerge.

As I walked side by side this morning with that little blue chihuahua, I could feel a slight briskness to the air…..much cooler than those muggy summer mornings that had just been here weeks earlier. I had gotten used to the feeling of being covered by a heavy damp blanket as I walked to the pond through the Georgia humidity. This morning was different. Friz seemed to have a bit more spring in his step…even a little more playful, if you will. I was much the same. I felt like I could breathe in the cooler morning temperatures.

I knew this time was coming. I watched the signs for weeks now. The trees, even though the temperature hadn’t varied that much, had already started to drop leaves. More formations of birds were flying overhead..I laughed at the kids playing outside last week when they screamed as a flock of Canadian geese flew in toward them at a distance a little too close for their comfort. Of course, now all the grocery stores around here have pumpkins and gourds for sale. All the halloween decorations and costumes have been displayed…..and all that candy.

I am probably the only gay man that can’t wait for the hot, stiff air of summer to disappear and the cool relaxing chill of autumn to take its place. I am old and fat now….why would I want to run around shirtless. I look forward to the anticipation of witches flying across the moon and cauldrons bubbling over the fireplace flame with a green-eyed black cat snoring softly in front of it. Yeah…yeah…I know it’s a stereotype, but I watched alot of “Bewitched” as a child.

It seems strange to say that I have become closer to The Morrigan over the course of this year. My family has definitely seen its share of death this year. I have never been one to raise my fist and curse the Lord and Lady for another turn of the wheel. The summerlands has become a friend to me and my family. We have guided both my aunt and my grandma to the doorway and stepped back and smiled and waved as they finished the journey. The Morrigan has not been the deliverer of death, but instead she has been a guide. She shows us each step of the way those things that are required as loved ones have walked purposefully toward the summerlands.

I have become accustomed to hearing mama crow caw at me from her perch on top of the phone pole across the parking lot. It seems that it comes when I need to hear it most. I listen to her and of course I answer back. I hear her most when change is on the horizon. It reminds me again of my grandma. She would raise her bony finger into the air, laugh out loud and say, “The wind is dancin’ with another partner. Change is a-comin.'”

Change has visited many times this year. Over the past months, I feel as though I am the one “dancin’ with another partner.” Some things have left me spinning….trying hard to regain my balance. Other things have left me feeling as though I have been cuffed harshly under the chin or completely knocked backward. I have had to pick myself up too many times.

With each change comes a new battle. The Morrigan has taught me how to fight these battles. I see her favor as I draw my sword. I feel the stamina she has built within me storming its way to the frontlines. The biggest battle this year has been waged very recently. With a health scare a few weeks ago, I have had to readjust everything about my life. I have had to change the way I eat, my activity level, even the way I respond to stress. But again….I will emerge the victor. I have no choice. I will not be defeated.

I settled by oak this morning at the pond. I sat and watched the ripples of the water once again. My little pond….fighting its own battle with the city around it. It struggles to hold onto the bit of wildness that it has. It is tucked back behind all the cement and brick and traffic. It holds its own where it is. It will allow nothing to overtake it.

Friz seems to sense the thoughts that are galloping through my brain. He reaches up and licks the tip of my nose. I start to wonder where black and white cat is…..he is normally on his way to the tree by this time in our visit. I don’t see him. A friend of mine says that he is a Fae cat. Maybe he is running errands for the fae. I lie back against the tree and before I know it I have dozed off. Strange dreams of herbs and stones get tangled in amongst the thoughts streaming through. When I wake up, black and white cat is settled in beside Friz. I close my eyes one more time and breathe in deeply. I can see the shimmer of The Morrigan’s glossy black feathers in my minds eye.

During the dark months ahead, I look to The Morrigan for her guidance. Which battles are worth the fight and which do I leave for others? What is cut down by the sword and what is left standing? The pond has become that neutral ground where all is safe. I’ll rest here for now.

Blessed Be!