Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘magic’

I was talking with a friend recently (I won’t name names, though I don’t think she reads this blog) and she mentioned that I needed to write more about my relationship with Ing and what kind of work I do and how I see and interact with him.

I’ve picked up a copy of Richard North’s Heathen Gods in Old English Literature, which has a huge section on Ing in it, and connects him securely to the sacrificial king myth which is so central to my practice.

The hard thing though, is that while I can talk about him as this old, primal, almost alien force – this God of death and rebirth, of prosperity and providence, of sex and death and the ancestors, the God of the World… I can’t really put into words what it’s like to actually experience that presence? I do know that the more I work with him the older and stranger he gets, and that passing him off as Freyr “the god with the big dick” is overlooking something powerful and deep.

And, in some ways, working with him reminds me of the kinds of things I read in Peter Grey’s Apocalyptic Witchcraft – that he’s both in and outside of civilization, that he’s deviant and counter cultural and deeply sexual but also deeply tied to the dead and the elves. I’ve been “told” that one of the reasons I don’t deal much with other powerful forces among the Good People is that Ing is such a strong presence in my life. He’s the Lord of the Elves as well as all of the other things he is.

My relationship with him is ineffable – I can’t put it into words what it’s like to serve as the priest of this deity, to carry symbols of him, and his work. To know that he is the Boar, the Sheaf, the Sacrifice – John Barleycorn who falls and rises and falls and rises. The prosperous god of the mound, who dispenses and rules over frith and community.

It’s such a complex thing to try to untangle. And maybe I just need to take it one piece at a time, but I’d like to get out there the idea that there’s so much more to working with Fro Ing, with Freyr, than just fertility and sexuality (though he does have those aspects, and if you happen to be LGBT, know that is welcome in his service as well).

So this is me making a loose promise to talk more about Ing. Maybe as I read more, I’ll have more concrete things to say. And maybe this will just be me spouting a bunch of UPG. But at least it’ll be out there – UPG that others can take and try on and experiment with.

Read Full Post »

I am not, very often, a dreamer. I’ve tried all the usual things – notebooks by the bedside, intentions before sleep, mugwort tea, valerian capsules, etc. I’d blame it on the medicine I take for neuropathic pain that keeps me in deep stage sleep longer, but I wasn’t a dreamer growing up either, so it’s not like much has changed. (I had night terrors as a child/teen, but I only very rarely remembered what they were about, only that I woke up terrified.)

But then, every once in a great while, I have a DREAM. In this case, an exceptionally vivid one that – three hours later – is only just now starting to fade.

In this dream, I was working with an artisan to create a rosary to Cerridwen (I think) and Herne.

This is interesting for a few reasons, beyond just the fact that I remembered a dream very vividly.

I haven’t worked with Cerridwen and Herne for several years. They have a space on my altar still, of course, as a tiny cauldron and a wooden acorn, but they aren’t Gods I typically associate with my current practice. Herne is not far off my current Anglo-Saxon practice, being an English God, and being that it is Wild Hunt Season, but it was curious to hear from Cerridwen. (On a night just after the full moon, on the eve of Samhain, so maybe not so curious.)

Their names are the names that I used for the God and Goddess in my days as a Wiccan. (I am not an initiated Witch, and I am Quite Sure these names are not the oathbound names that witches are affiliated with.)

Now. I’m not exactly much of a Wiccan anymore. I occasionally do Witchy magic, but my following the wheel of the year has a distinctly Druid flavor, and I’m pretty entrenched in ADF and the Anglo-Saxon hearth culture.

But my practice has been pretty stagnant recently, and when I consulted people who are skilled at divination, the common answer was “you’re doing too much, you need to take care of your own practice, find your big Why, and turn inward for awhile.” They also said not to be tempted by “spiritual squirrel syndrome” – where anything shiny and new seemed exciting and worth pursuing. (I asked three diviners, and got three VERY similar answers, from three completely different systems of divination. I’m inclined to trust that answer.)

So why, suddenly, are these Gods from my past knocking at my door again?

Read Full Post »

I received notice yesterday that my IP Enrollment application has passed through the voting stage, and is approved! I’m very excited to start this new process in my Druidry. It’ll be a big step up from what I’ve done, both in intensity and study, but I’m oddly looking forward to the challenge (for the most part).

I’ll actually be doing an online ritual with my IP reviewer (Nick Egelhoff) this weekend, so that’s a fun way to get to know him for the first time. If anyone is interested, the Norse Kin is doing an ADF Druid Moon ritual on Saturday evening at 7 EST (6 central) on the ADF Google+ page, via the hangout system. Our trial run looks like it has a lot of possibility, and it’ll be set up so that people can hang out and chat with us after the ritual, and can participate at home as we do the work. It’ll be a ritual honoring Freyr, in his role as Frith-maker, to bring together the online community and build our presence online. (For those unable to come, it will be available on the ADF YouTube page afterward as well.) I don’t have a very big part, mostly because I got out-volunteered (and because I’m a new face to all the people involved), but I’m excited to be part of this, and hope to take a bigger part in future rituals.

I think my first course in the IP is going to be IE Language – for which I’m told I don’t need pre-approval on my book choices, so I can freely use the Anglo-Saxon textbooks that I picked up to complete the course. I’m excited, since I’ve wanted to learn Anglo-Saxon for awhile (years actually) and this will finally get me some experience with the language AND some ritual phrases I can use on a regular basis, I hope. I’ve always been fascinated with the language, since some parts of it sound so much like English and some parts are so clearly lost to the modern ear. I’m going to have to step up my reading time in order to make solid progress on this path, but that’s just a matter of scheduling, not of desire.

The Trance 1 and 2 classes still intimidate me, since I find trance to be so difficult. I’m hoping that following the process will lead me to a place where I know what works and what doesn’t work for me, trance-wise, but I also hesitate, knowing that I have some non-neurotypical issues (and medications) that can sometimes get in the way. I definitely meditate better without meds, but I’m not willing to trade off my quality of life for one skill. Where there’s a will, there’s a way though, and it may just take me trying a lot of different things until I get to a place of comfort working in Trance. My renewed practice of my mental grove has gone well, and I’m starting to add in the concept of the mists surrounding the area where I am sitting, to help me begin the process of journeying. My energy work in ritual has been good and solid, even in groups, so I’ve obviously gotten past whatever weird issues I was having two or three years ago (though I think I figured out what was causing that, and it wasn’t ritual energy).

Magic 1 and 2 should also be interesting, especially with my renewed interest in bringing more magic into my ADF rituals. Working in ADF’s format for magic will be new for me, but I think it will be a good exercise, and help me develop my own flavor of magical practice. I got started by doing some more serious ancestor work with my solitary Hallows ritual, and that felt much better – taking time, making individual offerings and having conversations with my specific ancestors.

There are four courses that require substantial journaling requirements for completion – Magic 2, Trance 2, Liturgy Practicum, and Divination 2. Sustained journaling will be something I likely upkeep on this blog, since having a weekly check in really helps keep me focused, but I haven’t decided which of these I’ll be tackling first. I’m inclined to say Divination, since I really want to be more proficient with Runes (more on that in a later post). I have considered doing some of my journaling by hand this time as well, but I know that’s harder for me to stick with (both because I tend to put off doing it and because I can’t jot off a quick post about what I thought while I’m at work).

I’ll probably end up having to set aside specific times during the week to work on this, though with the holidays coming up, that may be hard. Still, it’s the dark time of the year, and I’m always more into reading and study when the evenings are dark and cozy and I can curl up with a mug of tea and a notebook.  I’m not giving myself a time-bound goal of when I need to be done with the IP though. With so many long-term requirements that I am probably going to have to tackle one at a time (due to my schedule), I know it will take me at least 20 months just to get through those, and that doesn’t include the reading and studying requirements! I’m glad to have the support of the ADF Study groups to help keep me motivated though, and hopefully some readers here on the blog will help keep me on track if I get too bogged down.

Read Full Post »

It seems disasters are not far from our communities this year. Yesterday a massive tornado outbreak stormed through Oklahoma and other parts of the midwest, with the worst damage coming in the town of Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City. Reports of many dead are already coming in, with predictions of more to be found. The destruction there is terrible – and that was only one of the many tornadoes that spawned yesterday afternoon. Like in previous disasters, it will take some time for the full story to be uncovered, though the worst of these tornadoes seems to be fairly well documented.

I think the prayer I wrote for those searching for survivors in West, TX is applicable here, so I thought I’d repost it, in light of the ongoing search and rescue operations.

Great Freyja,
Who flew like a falcon over the whole earth in search of your lost husband,
Place your falcon cloak over the shoulders of those who search through destroyed homes and buildings
Bring them peace in their terrible work.

May your sharp eyes and swift wings speed their search
May they find those who yet live.
Strengthen their hearts, which are already full of care for the wounded,
And bless all those who would aid them.

May the dead be at peace, and their families comforted.
May the survivors be at peace, and their recovery swift.

© 2013 The Druid in the Swamp

As well, I’d like to add a prayer here to a less public side of this storm disaster – the farmers who lost crops, cattle, and horses (and are still trying to find those cattle and horses) in the wake of the tornado outbreak.

Mighty Freyr,
Lord of crops and grains and growing things,
Cast your powerful hand toward farmers and ranchers this day.
Bless their search, that they may find the livestock
On which their livelihood depends.
Aid them as they try to recover their crops
In the wake of the destruction that occurred yesterday.

Great Freyr,
Who knows well what it is to care for a great horse
And also the pain of losing him,
Help those who search for their horses
Find them and return them to safety.
Protect those horses from danger, keep them calm.
Speed their safe return.

© 2013 The Druid in the Swamp

And, since a little late is better than never, and the spring tornado season is far from being over (and hurricane season is just around the corner), a prayer to Thor for protection in a storm:

Wielder of the hammer,
red-bearded one,
Thor, protector,
to you I call.
I stand in the midst of a storm
and ask your protection.

Source: “A Book of Pagan Prayer” © 2002 Ceisiwr Serith.

An old folk blessing to help keep a storm from your home also involves squirting holy water out the front and back door in the shape of a holy symbol. I’ve seen this done with holy water used to make crosses and full moon blessed water to make pentagrams, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with a Druid sigil (or the Awen symbol, or the Hammer symbol) and some “holy” water – either natural water, water from three natural sources, or just water that you’ve blessed for this purpose. (Water blessed by the sun and moon would work too).

You just put some in a squirty bottle, like a bottle you’d get for liquid dish soap, open each of the doors of your house and squirt the water in your preferred pattern of blessing and protection, while saying a prayer for protection from storms.

It’s simple magic, but sometimes even the simplest magic can be powerful.

Finally, as a reminder to all of us with pets we love dearly, please have your pets microchipped. In the event of a horrible storm or other disaster, a microchip greatly increases the chances that you and your lost pet will be reunited. This is true whether there is a tornado or hurricane, a house fire, or your pet just gets loose from your home/yard.

Read Full Post »

One of the email lists I’m part of has been having a really interesting discussion about the difference between prayer and doing magic. I firmly believe there’s a place for both in Paganism, and as I read more about Druidry, I’m hoping to find a balance between the two there as well.

To me, prayer is talking to/with the Kindreds (Gods, Ancestors, Nature Spirits) – prayer is essentially about communication, though it can be about asking for things. But asking for things through prayer removes the control from the situation. You’ve asked your Deity for something, and now you wait to hear their answer. (Which is a little like meditation – prayer is the talking part, meditation can be a listening part (though it can also be other things))

Magic, on the other hand, is taking a situation into your own control. It says “I’m going to do X, Y, and Z, with things A, B, and C, in accordance with my will and energy, to create result Q.” I might ask for a blessing on the work from Diety/ies, but I am the one doing the work, and I am therefore responsible for the result.

In a metaphysical sense, I see magic as a way of stacking the deck of events, an idea I got from the blog Rune Soup. Basically, in a world where any outcome is possible, magic stacks the deck in favor of the outcome going a certain way. The more out of control the possibilities, the bigger the magic has to be to have any affect. My favorite example is the lottery example, which says that if your odds are 1 in 6 million to win, and you do magic really well, and reduce those odds to 1 in 1 million, you’re still likely not going to win the lottery, even though the magic worked.

So far, in ADF, I’ve heard a lot about prayer, especially as it relates to piety (which I see as both prayer and devotional action). The ADF-Dedicants and ADF-Discuss lists have talked about conversational prayer, petitionary prayer, and especially offertory prayer – prayer used as part of an offering of praise. Though spontaneous prayer is definitely common, the major rituals are often formulaic or formula driven prayers, and Ceisiwr Serith’s Book of Pagan Prayer is quoted often as a starting point. The Book of Pagan Prayer is a collection of prayers to various Dieties for specific occasions, and many of the prayers are lovely and powerful.

They are not, however, acts of will-driven magic. I’d like to think there’s a part of ADF that would have a space for magic as well.

ADF ritual is, in some ways, thematically magical – you do the offerings to get the blessings, ideally the blessings that you are asking for. The *ghosti relationship that defines how ADF relates to its gods encompasses both being a good guest and being a good host, and the reciprocal hospitality that goes along with it. This can be argued as being a form of magic – you’re not just begging for something, you’re building a relationship whereby you can ask things of the Gods and they can ask things of you. Still, it’s not a personal-responsibility sort of system at its core. Yes you’re responsible for making the offerings, but you’re still at the whim of the Gods when it comes to what blessings you receive. If you’re asking for Patience, you may find yourself more patient… or you may (more likely) find yourself in situations that try your patience mightily, and have to figure it out for yourself.

I’m looking for a system that has space both for magical work and for prayer – for creating a deep relationship with the Gods, for petitioning the Gods for blessings, and for working to create change around me. I can see situations where I might do both prayer AND magic for something.

Say, for example, I’m looking for a new job. In addition to doing the “fill out job applications and send them in” ritual, I might pray for the foresight to find openings around me, but I might also do magic to open new pathways and do strong sending magic on the applications before I mail them out/deliver them. Before an interview, I might pray for comfort and reduction in nerves, but also do some sympathetic magic to sweeten the relationship between myself and the interviewer, so that I make the most favorable reaction. I’d be doing divination around all of this to determine if something is the right path for me going forward, or to help me see the unseen in a new situation.

Ideally, I’d be using my own will and the power I can raise myself to direct change, and asking for additional power and blessings to aid that work from the Gods. They may choose not to aid me, but I am still the one initiating the work, and still the one ultimately responsible for the outcome. This seems very different than asking the Gods to fix or change something for me.

Which comes down to my interactions with the COoR.

The Core Order of Ritual is a devotional format designed to enact the basic “magic” of Druidry – the *ghosti relationship of offerings and blessings. There’s a section in the end, after the receiving of blessings, where there’s a note that “any magical workings should be conducted here”.

If I’m honest, I find that a little disruptive so far. The state of mind that I enter to devote my time, prayer, praise, and offerings to the Kindreds is not the same state of mind that I enter to work magic. Maybe I’ve just not experienced the true energy of a well-done COoR rite yet (which is possible, I’ve only experienced my own), but I find that I’m wanting to work magic in a different context. Not even that I’m looking to cast circles and do Neopagan like magic. More like I’m interested in Traditional Witchcraft type magic, with sympathetic magic and symbols and sigils and herbs and candles and lots of home-grown energy sent out in the direction of some change.

As a solitary Druid, I’m working my own magic on my own time and schedule, so I can do that magic separately or in a ritual as I so desire. However, I don’t know how well a very personal magical working would go in a large group setting like a Grove. Magic works best when it is focused and well-directed, and a congregational style setting isn’t really one where I see getting focused and well-directed results, even in a group with the best intentions. It’s hard enough with a small coven of Witches who are all used to working together and who are well briefed on the imagery and chants and symbols beforehand! The advantage of a group is that you can tap into more energy, but without good focus and an agreed upon, specifically defined result, you get fuzzy magic. And fuzzy magic makes for fuzzy results.

Maybe this is possible in a small Druid setting more than it would be in a more congregational style grove ritual. I imagine there are both types of gatherings, just as there are in any community-oriented religion. That still means separating magic from the COoR though. (And there’s no rule that you have to use the COoR all the time either, so maybe my focus on that is unnecessary.)

So how does this all fit together into Druidry? Do I just separate my magic from my prayer and devotional rituals, since I see them as different things, or is there a new kind of magic I need to learn, a kind that fits into the COoR better?

Obviously a balanced practice has both prayer and magic, and I want to think there’s room for both in Druidry. I’m just having trouble finding the place where magic fits.

Read Full Post »