I've experimented with magic from almost the beginning of my magical practice. When I've tried techniques that other people have developed, I've always had one question in the back of my mind: How can I improve on this technique? Even with my own techniques, I am always interested in experimenting with them and improving on how the process of magic works. I thought it might be interesting to share on here how I experiment with magic and how you can, in turn, also experiment with magic.
One of the images I've been working with in the Temple of Witchcraft, though have only recently been teaching as a cohesive element, is the eight faces of the God through the Wheel of the Year. Some of it was underlying my personal shamanic practices during the course of the year, and expanded with a deepening relationship with the Green Man through my plant spirit work. I originally worked in a framework of a two-fold God and a triple Goddess. The Goddess was the familiar maiden, mother, crone who went on to take aspects of the heavens, earth and underworld, and the triple fates. The God was a Neopagan Janus – with one face of life and light heading towards the future, and one of death and darkness facing the past. He is the guardian of the threshold. On the side of the light were the aspects of the Child of Light at Yule, the Green Man of the Spring, and the Corn King of Summer. On the side of the dark were the faces of the Horned God who is both the hunter and the hunted, Lord of the Underworld and subterranean riches and the Trickster. They were my Oak King and Holly King, though they rarely manifested in those symbols, each ruling half of the year in a variety of guises.
The Horned God was incredibly distinct when present in magick, though fluid over the years. Horns of the stag were most common, but the goat, the bull and the ram appeared. One God? Many Gods? Same God? Different Gods? I'm not wise enough to answer with certainty. I work with who shows up....
With a movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s popular novel Ender’s Game being released soon, QUILTBAG individuals have spoken out to challenge potential viewers to consider whether they really want to give money to Card, considering the hateful things he has said about QUILTBAG people, and the anti-equality causes he has financially supported. Like many others, I was intrigued by Ender’s Game and its sequels as a teenager, but drifted away from sci-fi and fantasy over the years. I actually first realized that I had problems with the way Card’s approach to religion in a separate book, Pastwatch, reveals an underlying tendency to objectify others. Today, when I look back on that book as a Pagan, I find a disturbing similarity in the fundamental reasoning for the two problems to stem from a single root.
CAUTION: SPOILERS for Pastwatch are ahead.
It comes up time and again, and I'm not sure I understand it – Ghost Hunting. I have a love/hate relationship with the practices seeking out the spirits of the afterlife. While I think it can be quite helpful, healing and even practical to have some skills in this area, I see people get caught up to a level that distracts them from their own spiritual evolution.
What I”m specifically talking about are Witches, Magicians, Shamanic Practitioners, Pagans, you name it, going ghost hunting for fun. People without a magickal background, who are looking for “proof” that consciousness can exist after death, I understand their fascination, but I don't understand those in the magickal community who do it.
I do understand those who are what I would call Death Walkers, who help those entities that are in pain to cross over. That makes sense to me. It's part of our service as magickal practitioners. I do understand those of us called to clear a haunting, and having to deal with anything from a mischievous to malevolent spirit. I've gotten that call quite a few times since putting up my metaphoric shingle as a public witch taking clients. Disappointing to most whom I tell, the vast majority could be summed up by “bad Feng Shui” or simply toxic energy accumulated, seemingly taking on a life of its own. Or disturbed nature spirits. Very few have been deceased entities or close to what I would describe as truly demonic forces. Just misplaced force, which I guess is my definition of evil in the world....