Solar eclipses reveal a blank slate for us to explore. Open the nooks and crannies of our inner selves, revealing our deepest wishes and darkest desires. Pisces is queen of going "far out" into the astral realms. Eclipses tend to reveal sudden imbalances and creates a hyper-awareness of the world around us. Trust your gut instinct during this time as it is flooded with insight. Pisces offers guidance and curiosity into these spiritual corners. Take note of your dreams and manifest them into reality! Swim on into the rivers of these changes!
This is the first entry in Carl Neal's new blog, "Incense Magick." Entries for "Circle of One" can still be found in the archives of Carl Neal's writing on PaganSquare.
I started making incense in 1995. Since then I have taught thousands of people to make incense in various workshops and classes and tens of thousands through my books, web sites, and You Tube channel. I obsessively research incense and read every book I can find on the topic. Over the years of speaking with various practitioners and students, as well as reading many “magick 101” books, I have learned that most people regard incense as representative of the element of either fire or air (or occasionally both). For decades now I have respectfully disagreed.
What's missing in modern life (and most modern western religion) that sends people in search of everything from Peruvian ayahuasca rituals to Native American sweatlodges and peyote ceremonies? Ecstasy.
No, I don't mean the street drug, but the state of consciousness that takes us out of the ordinary and transports us closer to the numinous, the divine. A while back I wrote about how most of the modern world is ecstasy deprived. We're so steeped in the post-Enlightenment materialist mindset that we forget to look beyond the physical to see what else is around us. We also forget that each of us is more than just physical, that we have amazing abilities to transcend our "daily grind" state of consciousness.
Some of us are haunted by the idea of perfection. It holds us back from our creative work; from any of our important work, for that matter. We fear we won't be able to do justice to the idea in our head. We've tried writing or painting or dancing, and somehow the brilliance of what we envision becomes corrupted as soon as we try to make it manifest. And there's that nagging voice in the back of our heads telling us what we have always known...that we're not good enough. That we will never have the skill to create what we dream of. That if it's not perfect, they'll deride us, they'll tease us. They'll reject us. Nobody will like us.
One of the ways we can figure out how the ancient Minoans practiced their religion is by looking at their art. Much of their art - frescoes, seal stones and rings, carved vases - contains ritual scenes that give us a glimpse into their spiritual life. And some of the most famous frescoes are from the Minoan town of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini (it was called Thera in the ancient world).
One of the buildings in Akrotiri, called Xeste 3, appears to have been a ritual building where puberty rites were held for girls and boys. How do we know that's what happened there? The frescoes show us!
“Beginnings and endings are so very sacred, to give honor to all that has transpired, every experience, every joy, every pain, is a doorway to the magical. Hold your entire year between your hands, every day, every thought, every breath. Now bless it with gratitude, love and humility. You have done more to transform this new year than a thousand resolutions.”