PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Specific paths such as Heathenism, blended traditions, polytheist reconstructionism, etc.
What is a spell? Is it the gathering together of specific items such as crystals, herbs, and colored candles during certain phases of the moon to heal? Is it the power of an invocation chanted by a coven to bring a deity? Is it a song sung by a mother to her child to soothe them? Is it the drawing of a certain symbol on the ground of a sacred space designed to protect it?
If we define magick as the process of focusing intention and applying will to situations, objects, and energy around us to cause a change in consciousness, then all of these activities are kinds of spells. They are all forms of magick in their own way.
So with that in mind, we may also consider the visual art-making process as a magical path. Of course, not every piece of art is a magickal working, but with the right elements and conditions, it has the potential.
Art can be created to take on a variety of magickal purposes - here are a few examples:
-A painting or statue created to represent a deity, to remind us of the divine
-A vessel or sculpture created to house a spirit or other sort entity
-A work created for as a focus for meditation or to transform a person, place, or thing
-Work created to be an interactive altar, sacred space or be part of an altar offering
And while nearly any object can be re-purposed for use in magick, there is something extra special about an item that was handcrafted with that intent in mind. Why?
As an artist, when I sit down to create a painting, piece of jewelry, drawing, or sculpture, there are numerous steps and factors involved. I generally (and prefer to) create my work in my studio space, which is essentially my personal sacred space. I consider what I wish to work on, making a list of what I need. I carefully prepare the area that I work in/on/around and painstakingly gathering my materials. I choose the light, music, and time aside needed to focus - and then I get to work. If I am creating a custom painting for a client, then I am meditating on them and their needs. If I am creating a piece that relates to a deity, then I approach them respectfully and allow a dialogue to occur that brings them into the process.
I find that creating work is a balance of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious levels of awareness and thought. If I am too much in any one area (overthinking, or perhaps too much in trance), the work will not be as successful. The body, mind, and spirit must be in alignment, yet also be fluid enough to allow for change.
Through much experimenting and observation over the last 20 years, I have recognized the similarities between the state of being I experience during classic spellcraft and when I am creating art infused with magick. The energy transfer feels identical, and as I have studied the work and experiences of other artists, I have noticed similar results in the product. It has its own buzz that you not only see, but feel. Whether it's a ceramic chalice, a talisman necklace, an elemental mask, a goddess sculpture, or painting of a god - the hand-worked, mind-forged, spirit-infused item seems to possess something more, right from the start, and continues to build as it interacts with the world around it.
Just like any good traditional spell, it requires skill and knowledge in the medium, the ability to focus one's intent and energy, and the patience, dedication, and understanding of working with the project and seeing it through until the end.
If you don't consider yourself an artist, that's OK. Think about the art and artful objects you may have in your home, be they originals or copies. Why did you choose those pieces, or how did they come to you? How do they make you feel? Why do you have certain things in specific places? What about art or objects that you have left behind, given away, or sold?
If you are an artist, and this is new and intriguing to you, then consider what media you are best in, and what sort of magick it may lend itself to. Over the years I have created deathmasks and psychopomp portraits, spirit portals, fetishes, drawings to bring about change, paintings for meditation, altar objects, and energizing talismans to name a few. There's a lot of potential out there, when you have the right mindset and skill to make it happen.
It’s terribly frustrating trying to figure out what the ancient Minoans did in terms of religion – what they believed, how they practiced – because we can’t read anything they wrote. They were a literate culture, to be sure. They had both a hieroglyphic script and a syllabary. But we can’t read either one of them. There are clues, though.
The Cretan syllabary is commonly known as Linear A. It was used to write the native language of the ancient Minoans, which probably died out with the collapse of Minoan civilization in the second millennium BCE. However, there is a possibility that Eteocretan, which is attested as late as the 3rd century BCE, is either the native Minoan language or a direct descendant of it....
Fridays at 6:00 a.m., this Reiki Master heard the beginning sounds of the weekend morning rush in Jerusalem. The brilliant kaleidoscope of sunrise dazzled the landscape as she stood on her deck, facing east to say morning prayers. Afterward, she immersed herself in the sights and sounds of the Holy Land. Goats scampered, donkeys brayed, and dogs barked in the wadi below her. Cars and trucks in the distance were already deafeningly pummeling down the highway to Tel Aviv, and clanging sounds came from the Arabic villages nearby. She was ready to face the busiest day of the Jerusalem week, for the next day was the Sabbath, Shabbat, when everything stalled until the first three stars came out in the evening.
Friday shopping could be dodgy and dangerous. People shouted and screamed, motioning with their hands in their cars and on the street. The Supersol, my local supermarket, was jammed—a mad house with orthodox, ultra orthodox, and secular Jews, pushing and shoving. A line up meant nothing there. I wondered if I should become one of them, but reminded myself I was not that kind of person. Keeping on telling myself; shwei, patience, as I often waited in twenty-foot long checkout lines while the cashiers idly chitchatted with friends for what seemed like an eternity. I always arrived home hot, hungry, and unscathed, though....
This was the first year we've held Pagan Pride Day at the Temple of Sekhmet, which is a couple of miles north of Indian Springs. There were a few metaphoric bumps in the road, but I think we'll flatten them out next time. PPD was a wonderful, exhausting, fulfilling experience of great community, great ritual, great entertainment, and all around awesomeness.
I picked up my old friend Prudence Priest at the airport the Thursday before PPD. She and Tom N. and I had a lot of fun in Vegas and in my home in Henderson. Saturday morning I headed into the desert with my truck loaded with a tent, tables, ice chest, books, and other stuff for our booth. Prudence sold her Lithuanian amber jewelry and my books, Asatru For Beginners, American Celebration, and No Horns On These Helmets. Because I'm still dealing with my knee injury, I could not have managed setup without the help of the wonderful volunteers. After putting down a rebellion by my body, I managed to get my energy together to teach my drum circle workshop, which was well attended and a lot of fun. The drum circle was the highlight of my day, but I also really enjoyed watching the fire dancers, Flameology (pictured) and having a fry bread taco for lunch. Our exclusive hot food vendor was the Western Shoshone Tribe.
It was great to see the replacement statue of Sekhmet. The old one was stolen last year and was never recovered. It was great to see so many old friends and meet new friends. Thanks to everyone who made this event happen.
The day after PPD was the Blood Moon Supermoon Eclipse. Prudence, Tom, and I tried to watch the onset from the viewing platform on top of the Stratosphere, but we only caught glimpses of it through the cloud cover. Prudence and I howled anyway, garnering a few odd looks from the young people with drinks who may have thought we were having a little too much fun even for Vegas. Then we went to my house in Henderson and had much better viewing as totality passed. Prudence and I and my mom and the neighbor dog all howled at the wolf to let the moon go. It must have worked, the moon came back (lol.)
Photo: a pic I snapped with my phone camera of the performance by Flameology.
May you spend lifetime with your gods, pleased with you without displaying anger.
May your reward be received after old age.
May you enter your tomb of the necropolis and mingle with the excellent Bas. May you be judged among them and be declared righteous in Busiris before Wennefer and be well established in Abydos before Shu-Onuris.
May you cross over to the district of Peqer in the god’s retinue and cross the divine region in the retinue of Sokar.
May you join the crew of the Neshmet barque without being turned away. May you see the sun in the sky when it initiates the year.
May you be triumphant in the sky, a shining one.
May you transform yourself into whatever you wish, like the phoenix, with each of your forms being that of a god, just as you desire.
— Quoted from: Ancient Egyptian Tombs: The Culture of Life and Death © 2011 Steven Snape.(Translation from Papyrus Anastasi I, based on that of Wente 1990:100-1 (Wente,E.(1990) “Letters from Ancient Egypt”)
Is your ultimate idea of paradise to spend your eternity with chosen deity, to enter the sacred marriage, hierogamy of the soul? Some people follow the path of spells that will make them take permanent residence on the fields of Offerings with Osiris but Coffin text spells of the Book of the Two Ways were written especially for "hermopolitan devotion". The selected few CT spells are precisely aimed at making your residence "in the mansion of the Moon" and joining the suite of all devotees of Djehuty who want to "admire his beauty all the time". And why wouldn’t you? When you start a devotional relationship with a deity, it means you align your soul and desires with that deity’s values and personality - and, with all deep and core aspects, not simply something that lies on the surface. You undergo a transformation with each divinity you touch.