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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Ash and Salt in the East

I stood balanced on a jagged spit of rock with the sea below me on both sides, water churning and swirling. I guessed it would be covered at high tide. I felt remote, at the tip of the world. The grit of ash was in my hands and releasing to the wind, the sea, the rock. Small pieces of bone fled through my fingers, back to our beginnings in the ocean and death. The waves sucked and smashed in and out, like the breath of the universe or life and death itself; in, out, in, out relentless and endless. When I looked down, my jeans were whitened in places, with ash. My hands were covered in it. I put the back of one hand to my mouth and licked. Salt and ash. Grit.


All the ash was gone. The altar I had made was gone. Trinda was gone. Making my way to this rock my legs were shaking so much I wasn’t sure if I could get there. After my small ritual I felt steadier, more grim but focused. In the breath of waves and air I wondered what exactly the Eleusinian Greater Mysteries had been, surely they couldn’t be more than this? I am living and she is not and yet the waves breathe in and out. I wanted to talk with someone, someone who would know. Trinda. That’s who I would have asked. I tried asking it, Trinda, what do you know about the Greater Mysteries of Eleusis? I am not ready to let her go, to be unable to have that conversation. I will never get to the place where I am ready. 

But the East, the East and the ash had come for me. This is Cape Byron, the eastern most tip of Australia. When we worked the Circle of Eight it was our East, our place of beginnings and the fresh breath of air that travels forever, so it seems, over sea before it arrives at land, this land. The East for dolphins, for whales, for the lighthouse and dramatic full moon rises. It was a week past the Spring Equinox as I offered my handful of her to the sea. I felt I had her carried with me, every step of my journey, her presence and a sense of our connection; constant, grief-torn, loved. I was content to travel with her, half in the realms of death myself, dreaming of her every night and constantly aware. Of her, of death.

When I arrived here, early this morning, walking the path through to the tiny beach then to cross the rocks I saw it was low tide, and that someone, before me had drawn on the sand a large double spiral. Trinda used to draw labyrinths at beaches, as well as on the floor of my house, I had been with her many times as she did it. This double spiral was a simplified form of the journey within, I thought she would appreciate it. 

I had brought small things with me, for an altar. I planned to make it, then maybe take a photo of it and then release the ashes. I put down the painted egg we had made her at the Spring Equinox, another ritual I had done with her so many times. Trinda’s eggs were always works of art; coloured inks with gold, muted bronze and black, experiments in landscape. The egg I had for her was very plain, sky blue with patched white clouds. I imagined her finding it in the egg hunt we always held, she would have accepted it as the egg she was meant to have and, looking at it now, I think she would have said her life was simplifying, opening up. I think she might have liked it. 

I place down a twig of bottlebrush, the large bright red flowers contrasting with the black, damp rock. I get out the piece of chocolate I have saved, break it in half across the diagonal and put one half down for her, cram the other half into my mouth though I am crying so hard I don’t know how I can eat it. I put down the white shell I picked up just before, on the beach. I straighten up and as I do so, before I have even properly looked at my altar, a wave comes in. It smashes up and over my rock, comes up to nearly my knees, soaking my jeans, my sandals, pushing at me so I have to find my centre and ground to stay put. As it washes away I look for the altar. It is gone, completely gone. I look below, in the water and see no trace of a blue egg, red flowers, a white shell. It’s been swallowed. 

Then I took out the ash.

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Jane Meredith is an Australian author and ritualist. Her books include 'Journey to the Dark Goddess', 'Aspecting the Goddess', 'Rituals of Celebration' and 'Circle of Eight: Creating Magic for Your Place on Earth', about Local Magic. Jane's latest book, co-edited with Gede Parma is 'Elements of Magic: Reclaiming Earth, Air, Water, Fire & Spirit'. 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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