Dark Moon Magic

Our rite this night began with the “Rite of Her Sacred Fires”, a celebration and invocation of Hekate that can be done by anyone and really at any time, though people are asked to do it across this waxing moon to share in a global group experience.

Our circle casting was simple and efficient (with that much practice, its not too surprising!) though in it I used the red drum I made with Nikiah of Red Moon Musings.  Its voice has deepened and reaches far on our behalf.

And then we worked with our Ancestors, in particular our spiritual ancestors.  While I cannot speak of the ritual and our experience, I will say that it was an honour, periodically fun, and has left me glowing with the love of a night well spent.

Let as many as can release their fears, become All, become None, become One and thus find our Selves.

~the Abysmal Witch

Beltaine Excursion

This Beltaine my covenmate and I hightailed it, okay we ambled casually, over to Queen E park in Vancouver.

A beautiful place and highly welcoming.  The nature wights of the place were actually a bit confused as to why we’d bother to ask permission to do ritual there.  Don’t get me wrong, they appreciated the courtesy, but they’re so welcoming they just never worry about such things.

And yes, spring flowers were certainly the bloom of the day.  The number of hyacinths was remarkable, sending an intense wave of sweet scent over the whole park.  I love getting up close and personal with flowers, I’m guessing that’s obvious by my picture style.  In one case I got so close I was inside the flower:

Being Vancouver there were the odd markers of recent rain:

Now it wasn’t all flowers, all the time.  There were plenty of trees for us to commune with.  Many tall, straight and fair.  And some of them curlier than…well, the phrase that comes to mind is a bit rude and gives also the wrong impression so without further ado, one of the curly trees.

After touring the grounds and doing our magical thing, we headed into the Bloedel Conservatory which is in the middle of the park.  There was talk about closing it last year as part of a series of budget cuts, but so far it’s still there.  Inside there was another stream, a lot of tropical plants and trees, well labeled actually which was lovely, a display by the local orchid society and a selection of tropical birds.

There was some truly remarkable orchids, but I think my favourite were these ones.  First because of the colour and second because they made me think of two high society ladies discussing passerbys.

As we were heading towards the door we were greeted by yet another bird, this one who was kind enough to let me take his picture while he kept his eye on us.  Right up until the little kid came wandering up and then he was out of there!

And that, my dear lovelies, was the end of our ritual day.  From there it was lunch, a little metaphysical book (mostly window) shopping, and then a lacsidaisical drive home through the gorgeous sunshine.

Happy May Day to all!  And to all a great night.

The Keys to Cultural Practice

This post is inspired by Cat Yronwode‘s interview over at New World Witchery podcast, episode 14.  Followed by personal epiphany.

She spoke of how she firmly believes that anyone wanting to practice hoodoo needs to get involved with the culture it was born from (paraphrased), i.e. go and talk with some black people who have it in the family.  That it isn’t enough to read some books and do what they tell you to do.  If you want to really get into practicing it, you need to understand and *connect* with the culture(s) that birthed it.

Allrighty, stage set, would you like to know my epiphany?

First, I need to explain about ‘keys’.  Or more particularly ‘keys to a tradition’.  This is something I’m familiar with in the context of wicca.  And is also very applicable and probably described similarly in Free Masonry and other hierarchical occult orders.  Essentially, by training with a particular group, you are taught the keys to accessing the group’s egregore (group mind) as well as their accumulated knowledge and trained experience dealing with the non-physical.

Hmmm, to back this up slightly farther.  When a group of people work together over an extended period of time, a group mind, or egregore, form.  This group mind is a gestalt of the people and is therefore made up of them and also something more.  A group that exists over decades or centuries builds up this group mind from everyone who has passed through it but also from everything that group has done together magically.

This accumulates a lot of energy and power.

But access to this energy is limited to those within the group.  The people in the group have keys, ritual methodology, symbols, sigils, invocations, etc. that are specific to the group.  Having the knowledge of these keys and the proper way to use them allows a member to access this group energy.

The engregore also includes (this part is only my opinion, so far as I’m aware) the experiences the group has had while within the group mind.  In other words, if the group has frequently done invocations to Bast, the egregore of the group would have specific connections to Bast that are stronger than other groups and a member, even a relatively new member once they have the keys, would have a closer to relationship to Bast than someone else at the same level of training but in a different group.

So my epiphany was realizing that the cultural involvement or sensitivity that Cat Yronwode was describing, this need for a strong practitioner to really be involved with, understand, connect and resonate with the cultures that birthed Hoodoo was also a description on how someone can get the magical keys to the Hoodoo tradition.

There is no lodge to go and train with.  No book written down (yes, there are spell books and Hoodoo books, but they are not the same as the grimoire passed on from master to student which would also include the verbal instructions that go with it) to steal the keys from.

In my personal and perhaps random opinion, the importance she placed on steeping oneself in the culture is actually one of the keys.  Another way to put it is that the art of  Hoodoo is culturally derived and therefore those pieces of culture are at least some of the keys that allow you to access it.

And if you can’t work with the keys to an egregore, you will never be able to access the full strength of the tradition.

Or your access to that style of magical craft will be hampered compared to someone who can embrace more of the direct keys.

Now personally I also see Hoodoo, from her description, as having been born from repeated meldings of different cultures, and each meeting place birthed new evolutions of spells and methodologies.  I believe that as a living tradition, as it encounters other magical practices and other new cultures it will continue to evolve.  So even if you are not comfortable in say working with Jesus Christ, you can still work with Hoodoo.  However, you will be cut off from that particular key to the tradition and may want to find or create a different key that will work better for you (though please note, new keys typically take time to build up their strength).

But that starts getting into some serious nitty gritty which I won’t be going into today.  Or possibly ever on the blog.  One never knows.

~The Abysmal Witch

~*#*^!^!BEACH!^!^*#*~

Yes, I’m afraid there’s no deep meaningful title, no alluring phrase when it comes to a day at the beach.  It simply is.  Wonderful, windy, wet, dirty, smelly and glorious.

This is the beach of my childhood:  White Rock beach, so named for the massive white rock at one end near the pier.  These days it’s painted white (damn graffiti artists!) but I’m old enough to remember when it was naturally white.  Well, whiteish.  It’s much more striking of a white these days.  Paint helps.

Naturally, a stroll of the beach was required, getting wet all the way up the legs, but hey, that’s why I wore shorts.  There’s more seaweed than I remember.  Even the rocks are coated.

Amongst the seaweed and crab legs and shells, I also happened to spy a jellyfish floating along (I tended to assume it was dead, but I’ve never seen one that big so up close).  Please excuse my hand in the picture, I’m not as good with the camera when I’m wearing sunglasses.

Then it was time to stop for lunch which earned me some very intense local interest.

I had to share.  Well, at least the fries.  The fish was mine!  Fish and chips from Moby Dick‘s right along the waterfront in White Rock. Highly recommend it.  Though when you ask for one piece, you get two, ask for two, get three, etc.  so be prepared. It took only seconds from when I sat down before I had a congregation of hope surrounding me.  Naturally this led to some in-fighting.

After lunch it was time for a little spell working.  Just a simple spell of marking my intention into the sand and letting the incoming tide release the spell.

I had meant to take a picture of the tide claiming the spell but alas, the tide was too quick for me and my sunny day distraction.  It wasn’t long after this, though, that I came across a young woman doing pretty near the same thing though I doubt she was thinking along the lines of spellwork when she did it.  How many wishes have been laid in the sand and offered up to the gods and goddesses of the sea?

And so my day at the beach came to a close as must this post.  Here is my final picture of the day.  I hope you enjoy.

~Saturn

Goddess in the silence

All is quiet, the silence profound and inwardly sweeping.  Searching for the unkown, the question still not fully formed, and the stones are laid out before her.  Let the answers slip towards being, let Her light guide the way.

Listen not to the inner whispers, listen not to history and wishes, listen only to the silence, open only to the silence.  Within that home She waits, listening, hearing in return.

Hand to stone, Her hand, my stone, my hand, Her stone, thresholds blurred, impact, I act, cast and cast again.  Whispers to the heart, the head.  Thoughts spoken.

I listen.  I hear.