On Airy Monday we start the week with stories of the Mind and the element of Air. Today we have the recovering ozone layer (good news and the bad news); the Polar Vortex explained; archaeology for Pagans; esoteric journal Abraxas; webinars on women & nature.
A U.N. report has good news for the ozone layer: it's recovering faster than expected. Unfortunately, the world replaced the ozone-depleting chemicals with a greenhouse gas, so now the world is looking for a replacement for *that* chemical, too.
Kat and I are reading Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling right now. It's a classic Fantasy story, but what I find interesting is that in the first chapter, if you know what to look for, you discover a lot of esoteric and occult practices shared with the protagonists of the story, and this sharing continues throughout the rest of the book. It's a subtle way to teach magic to readers. Given when the book was written, the author needed to be subtle about it, but what fascinates me is that even to this day you can still find a number of fantasy writings where esoteric ideas and secrets are shared if you know what to look for. And if you don't know what to look for, well guess what? You're being given an education in magic and how it works so that if you get to that point where you actually start practicing you've already got some idea of how magic seems to work.
Kat and I like to discuss the books we are reading together, so we got into a long and fascinating conversation about not only Rudyard Kipling, but some of those writers who've written esoteric secrets into their fantasy. For example, if you've read any of Michael Moorcock's writings you'll find quite a lot of esoteric secrets shared. In Elric of Melnibone, he practically spells how to evoke an entity in several different instances where the character needs supernatural aide. In the Corum series, he focuses in on the magical aspects of gift giving and the connections gods have to people and vice versa. And there's a number of other series he writes in where he shares esoteric ideas and concepts, which I recognize many years later as playing a foundational role in my understanding of magic. As a young, impressionable reader the stories I read fascinated me because of the adventure, but as a magician I can see how my evocation practice has been shaped by what Moorcock wrote, as well as some of other esoteric beliefs and practices.
When you've practiced magic long enough, you inevitably start to form relationships with spiritual entities, and much like relationships you have with people, its takes some work on your part (and their part) to create a healthy and sustainable relationship. There's also the question of how you form the relationship initially. There are some approaches to forming a relationship with a spiritual entity that I would find quite rude (these approaches involve commanding an entity to appear and do what you tell it to do), and other approaches I wouldn't do because I'd be concerned about how much power I was giving to the entity.
Personally I prefer a middle approach. I'm not going to worship a spiritual entity or deity and do what it says. If I wanted to do that I'd have stayed with the religion of my family. But neither do I believe in doing the medieval approach to evocation which involves summoning the entity and threatening it with other entities in order to coerce it into doing something. I figure why not just ask nicely and on top of that create a good relationship? I know, I know, some of you will say, "That sounds rather fluffy and ill-advised." But seriously why not simply dispense with all the theatrics and try and make nice? It's always worked for me and I've gotten the results I've wanted while also creating a solid relationship with the entity I've worked with.
In my first post in this blog, I shared my working definition for the term path. In brief, a person’s path is the synthesis and the summation of their spiritual, religious, and magickal undertakings. If you have not read the first blog, I hope that you take time to read it.
This is my first post in this blog and it is actually the first time I am blogging. Although I am generally an early adopter of many technologies and cultural trends, I do resist certain things. As an example, I did not have a cell phone until 3 years ago though I have had email since 1979. Part of my resistance to blogging was that I needed to choose a focus for the blog because I am blessed with so many interests. I am passionate about the growth and development of the various intertwining streams of inspiration that form the pagan community. I also feel a great sense of duty to this community, this marvel of diversity that so often overflows its banks and cuts new stream beds. The name of my blog is "Skryclad" a play on skry and skyclad as I intend to offer my bare personal truths clothed in my visions, dreams, and observations. It is my intention for passion and duty to equally inform my work on this blog.
To get things rolling, I'll be doing a three blog arc on the use of terms to describe personal and collective identity in my community, which may also be your community as well. Names, labels and categories have power and power can be used for good or ill. It may be that you wish to reframe the existing schemes of description or that you just wish to replace a few key words. It may be your choice to reject all notation and that the tradeoffs are equitable from your vantage point. It is my premise that the outright rejection of these containers is also a loss of their powers. I am sharing my work in progress on these matters with the hope that it will enliven your process. Here are a few observations to get us started.