Local Magic: Creating Magic in Your Locality

What type of earth magic exists where you are? What is the local nature of air, fire and water? How do you make magic with the living forces all around you – not as they appear in books, but as you see and experience them when you step outside your front door? Every locality has its own flavours, energies and secrets… and when we work our magic and ritual in alignment with our locality we enter deep into the earth’s living magic.

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Jane Meredith

Jane Meredith

Jane Meredith is an Australian author and ritualist. Her books include 'Journey to the Dark Goddess' and 'Rituals of Celebration' and 'Circle of Eight: Creating Magic for Your Place on Earth', about Local Magic. Jane's latest book, co-authored with Gede Parma is 'Magic of the Iron Pentacle: Reclaiming Sex, Pride, Self, Power & Passion'. Jane offers workshops and distance courses and also teaches in the Reclaiming tradition. She is passionate about magic, myth and co-created ritual, as well as rivers, trees and dark chocolate.

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After walking the labyrinth on New Year’s Day my magic group was inspired to continue the ritual the next day. Oh, and the day after that and the day after that… actually for another eight days. We went to every direction in our Circle of Eight, one after the other, in order. At the end of that we couldn’t quite bear to end, so we committed to another round of visits, this time weekly so we could fit it in to our busy lives. One of the most amazing things was the amount of time we spent sitting around outside having breakfast or dinner picnics or late-afternoon homemade strawberry cocktails. It was Blue-Mountains-in-the-summer weather. It rained on many of these excursions, usually a light passing rain or heavy cloud arising or descending. It didn’t stop our picnic, trance or conversation.

Some of our Circle came on every excursion, the whole nine days in a row. Others came to several, or one but either way we spent a lot more time together than we usually do and that was wonderful. It felt like a spell for 2017 – if we begin this year with nine days of ritual (ten really, as we had done a ritual together on New Year’s Eve) – what a potent and deepening way to enter into the year. Surely our whole year will be filled with ritual? – and with each other? – and at the moment, we can’t think of anything better. 

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On New Year’s Day we walked our local labyrinth. It was raining. We took our clothes off in the carpark, to keep them dry and walked, wrapped in a sarong, a towel across the small footbridge and along the avenue of apples, in full leaf by now and with discarded baby green apples, half eaten by the birds crunching under our feet over the bark mulch covering the path. The rain was light, gentle, not warm exactly but not fiercely cold either, it’s high summer here though most of the time you wouldn’t know it. When we arrive the labyrinth looks washed clean, its coloured mosaic tiles gleaming and small puddles across the surface of it.

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We stood on a rock on the top of a ridge, forested hills and valleys on every side. It was past dusk and heavily overcast, though the full moon shone behind the clouds so they glowed faintly. The mists came in, blanketing out the further hills, filling the valleys. Five of us, and looking at the others, wrapped against the chill and dampness I thought I could be gazing at standing stones, not people, or druids from another time and place, or magicians gathered to create a spell. I could see only shades of grey and black.

We had gone to this particular place because it is in the North-East of our Circle, the direction of Beltaine in the southern hemisphere and that's the time of year it is, here. But the mists and the grey and the isolation - it could have been Samhain, it felt like a night between the worlds. Sometimes the opposite Festivals reach across the Wheel so strongly, holding hands at the hub of it that it's impossible not to see this open secret - whenever it is Samhain in half the world, in the other half it is Beltaine. The earth can never have one without the other, just as it can never have night without day, simultaneously. It's not just that the opposites both exist, but that they both exist at the same time. 

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It snowed in the Blue Mountains, where I live. It's always colder here than in Sydney, the mountains - which are not really mountains at all, but a plateau pushed up from the sea one hundred and seventy million years ago - are a kilometre above sea level and have their own weather. Which means that, although it never snows in Sydney, it does sometimes snow up here.

I was coming back from Sydney, on the train and I watched as the rain drops falling outside the window somehow seemed to get lighter, to become blown about by the wind, I watched them becoming snow as the train moved higher and further west. It was late afternoon and out the window I saw small dips in the land filled with ferns carrying a delicate blanket of snow on their fronds, like icing, it was truly magical. I stared and stared.

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I planned a beautiful ritual with my magic group for Samhain in the Blue Mountains; at night in the labyrinth, with a fire and masks and an underworld trance. But I wasn’t even there for it – instead I found myself in Northern New South Wales, the place where the Circle of Eight was birthed and I had lived for so long. It wasn’t a time I’d planned to travel, or to travel there in particular; a tenant in my house gave notice and I knew I couldn’t organise the number of things that had to happen from where I live, a thousand kilometres away. I asked my son to drive with me, amazingly he had already taken a week off work, though it wasn’t the week that suited me. It was the week over Samhain.

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I just spent two months in the United States and got to see spring in three different places. Really, I got to see three different springs. 

My first spring was in San Francisco, which was unaccountably hot. The last time I was in San Francisco, in the July of their summer, I needed my winter coat. This February I needed t-shirts, which I hadn’t packed. It was hot. Not just mildly warm, but as if I’d arrived in the middle of summer, except it wasn’t. There were leaves on the trees, magnolias in full bloom, shedding those deep-red-purple centred white petals onto the street. I felt completely disoriented, particularly as I’d come from my own Blue Mountains where – in summer – I’d been needing to wear several jumpers. 

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We stood in the labyrinth to cast our circle. It’s an intimate space, about six metres across with the paths made of brick and the curves between the paths mosaic. The mosaic is in rainbow bands of colour, the outermost circuit red, then orange, yellow, greens blues and purples with the centre piece mainly white, an ‘om’ symbol picked out in a small glittering pattern of colour. Set into the grass in the community gardens it’s where we do our public rituals and – on this occasion – where we were for our monthly meeting. We walked the labyrinth in, passing and passing each other as our circuits lapped and turned and threaded through the journeys of others; separate but companionable. It was cooling down; the day had been warm and the bricks and tiles retained that warmth, fed it back to us when we arrived in the centre and sat down, welcoming, sheltering us.

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