BuJo-Planner Lists

Adventure Ideas

Books I’ve Read

  1. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs – A Beginner’s Guide
  2. Mercedes Lackey’s “Owl-” trilogy (Darian’s tale)

New Restaurants

  1. Fresh Side (Amherst MA) – The pad thai T-roll and spicy chicken T-roll were the best, but the pho was pretty good, too.

Entertainments (Movies, Concerts, Shows, etc.)

  • The Secret Life of Pets – 1/12/17 – Cute, a little funny. Likely, once was enough.
  • Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox – 2/3/17 – Calvin Theater, Northampton MA – Not as satisfied with this show as I was with the last time I saw them.  Music was still awesome, but the show felt rushed (entire show was 2 hours, for $44 per ticket); I missed the emcee acting like it was an old radio show, and Scott Bradlee himself doesn’t tour anymore (what??).  As I said, the music was still great, but I felt the whole “PMJ Experience” was lacking.

Completed Projects

  1. Remade blue scrap yarn circle afghans; Actually know how to crochet a flat circle now!
  2. Finished mending for Saera H.
  3. Replaced a bag zipper for Katie O.
  4. Finished crochet Slytherin sweater

 

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Full Contact Magick – Part 5 – Response

If Fire is my primary element, then Air is my secondary.  Which makes total and complete sense!

I’m still not quite sold on the author’s assignment of sides of the Witch’s Pyramid with the elements he chose; Will has always seemed like a Fire thing to me.  I enjoyed his metaphor with Schrodinger’s Wave Equation, as I’ve taken enough chemistry to understand what he’s talking about, and it makes sense.

celtic_triskelion_symbol_postcard-p239191115994093259baanr_400

About the size of a dime…

“Don’t exchange what you want most for what you want at that moment.”  Gods, I’m so bad at this.  I can’t decide if I’m kinda hedonistic, or making sure I enjoy life, or just have really poor self-discipline.  Prolly some combination of all three….  I’ve felt for awhile now that a triskele tattoo somewhere I can see it (preferably on the web between thumb & forefinger on the back of my left hand) would remind me of the Druidic principle of Sacrifice: giving up something small to attain a more worthy goal.  (Note to self: write more on this later.)  I’ve been doodling that symbol in that location for well over a decade, so I’m really tempted to just get it inked there.  Maybe that would remind me that I’ve got plans that do not involve me eating a pint of chocolate gelato for dinner….

My wish list would include things like:

  • Get healthier / trim down / lose extra inches
  • Build a hobbit house / earth-sheltered house, with: a screened-in porch with a hammock, a fireplace or wood stove, a bay window, and a comfy place to curl up & read
  • Renovate a bus into a tiny house & travel the US (There’s still so much of my country that I haven’t seen yet…)
  • Stay somewhere warm-ish in winter & cool-ish in summer
  • Visit ALL THE PLACES!  (Japan, Scotland, England, Ireland, Thailand, New Zealand, Hawaii, Greece, train tour around Europe, maybe China…)
  • Find a job that will comfortably pay my bills that I reasonably-enjoy doing
  • Pay off my student loans before I retire
  • Become more proficient at reading tarot cards
  • Make historical costumes and wear them to events (like renfaires & historical dances)

RE: prioritizing & setting goals – This is why I’m taking a break from school.  For so long I’ve put my schooling first, and this means that my health declined, I had to cut 90% or more of my social life, so my sanity went downhill… When stairs got challenging, I decided I’d like to NOT have a heart attack before I’m 30, so schooling got bumped to a lower-priority.  (Also, I’d like to whittle down some of my loan debt before getting any more.)

I never really had an initiation ceremony.  I’ve known since middle school that I’m not Christian, and I spent a couple years looking at other faiths to try to find something that lined up with what I intuited and what I felt was true; Wicca lines up the best, but most accurately I’m a witch.  Shortly after high school, I wrote a dedication page in my Book of Shadows binder:

“I dedicate myself to the goddess in all her aspects, this 29th day of April, year 2009.”

And that was it.  I feel like, now that I’ve learned more and established more in myself what I agree with and what I feel is true, I kinda want a ritual initiation.  I imagine it’d be kinda like throwing your own birthday party, or organizing your own wedding.  (I never really got a coming-of-age party / celebration, either; my parents split up right before my 16th birthday….)  I’ve been sorta-daydreaming about something that looks like a cross between a wedding, a coronation, a debutante ball, and swearing fealty.  This requires more thought…

Also, the description of the initiation ritual in the book kinda makes me cry.  It sounds like a really powerful experience, for everyone involved.

I’ve never used an athame (black-handled dagger for rituals), but I do have a boline (white-handled knife for practical stuff, like cutting herbs).  I use a 4″ paring knife from Cutco (pearl handle).

The bit on sound energy reminded me of a book I heard about many years ago, which I meant to read and never actually got around to: Godel Escher Bach.  It explores the links between mathematics, music, and optics.  Also, go look up string theory.

I don’t really do much chanting, though I can sorta feel this when at the dance hall & we’re singing for someone’s birthday.  The song we use is a round, and sometimes the last note harmonizes just right…  Supposedly music stimulates the same part of the brain as food and sex, and this would explain why sometimes I’m listening to great music and just want to collapse into a puddle of goo…

Also, taiko drumming is the best thing ever.  I saw the group Drum TAO at UMass in 2012, and it was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.  I shelled out $45 for their DVD after that show.  And they’re coming back in February I’m so excited!!!  It is inspiring, how much those people love what they do.  Also, the athleticism required blows my mind.  (I watched the DVD last night after writing the Part 5 post, and it re-ignited my desire to travel to Japan.)

Regarding cord magick, this isn’t the first time I’ve come across this.  I actually know a variation of the spell the author talked about, where instead of tying the cords to something and cutting them, you tie them into loops and wear them like bracelets.  This symbolizes bonds weighing you down, things you’ve carried for a time.  Then, you use the athame to cut them off, and as athames are supposed to be pretty dull, this will require effort; all the while saying how that bond has taught you a lesson and now is the time to set it aside.  When you’ve cut them all off, you burn them, affirming that those ties are no longer a part of your life.


So this is the last post in this series.  I’ve finished Full Contact Magick.  It makes sense, reading the conclusion, why the author went widdershins through the elements.  This book has certainly helped things make more sense, such as why the Wiccan Rede is such a powerful mantra.  It’s shed light on areas of my life that I need to work on, and hopefully given me a framework for actually accomplishing my goals.  Now, to go do the things!

Full Contact Magick – Part 5

Airbending_emblemThe Book of Air covers chapters 18-21 of Full Contact Magick.  “The element of Air represents the power of the mind, which, like the wind, is invisible yet powerful.”

Chapter 18: Will covers the last side of the Witch’s Pyramid.  “To Will is to have unwavering purpose.  Will is the channeling of your awareness to focus precisely on that which you want with burning intensity.”

The author starts the chapter with a description of Schrodinger’s Wave Equation, a principle of quantum physics that gives probabilities of an electron being in a place at any given time.  Until the observation is made (i.e. the event happens) it’s just probability; but “when the measurement is made, the values of the attribute are certain and the equation with is probabilities is said to ‘collapse’ to an actual event with probability equal to 1.”  (The author recommends The Way of the Explorer, by Edgar Mitchell, for further reading.)

This corresponds to the practice of magick by magick causing event probabilities to collapse to the desired outcome.  The “trigger” to the collapse is Will; to focus your Will properly, you must have strong self-discipline, because that’s what allows you to persistently pursue your goals.

“Don’t let yourself be diverted or distracted from your purpose.  Don’t exchange what you want most for what you want at that moment.”

This ties back to the Charge of the Goddess:  “Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it, let naught stop you or turn you aside.”  To this purpose, you have to know what it is that you want.  The author recommends starting a page in your Book of Shadows for “establishing precise objectives,” a wish list of all the things that you want.  This list will form the basis of the goals that you decide on during Samhain and Yule (see prior post on the Book of Earth).

When setting goals, it’s important to not take on more than you can handle.  “You have to review every aspect of your life and prioritize.”  The author uses the story of filling a jar; to truly fill it, you have to put the ‘big rocks’ in first, then the gravel, then the sand, then the water, otherwise you’d never get it all in there.

The end bit of this chapter is on the importance of decisiveness.  “You won’t ever accomplish anything if you can’t made a decision….  General George Patton once said that an average plan quickly and boldly executed was often better than a superior plan that had been planned at length.”

Chapter 19: Initiation and Dedication is really the only place in this book that the author discusses ritual in more than passing reference.  The decision to take a new path deserves a rite of passage to mark the event.  This is Initiation.  Many Wiccan traditions have three degrees of initiation, though one doesn’t necessarily need an Initiation to progress.

  1. Commitment: one who has studied and decides to dedicate themselves to the Wiccan path.
  2. Sibling / Leader: having learned & matured, the Wiccan begins to assist others on the path, teaching.
  3. Crone / Elder: the Wiccan who advises less-senior Wiccans.

“Initiation isn’t just a membership ceremony. … It’s a rebirth, a beginning, entering a new phase, striking out on a new adventure, setting out on a new path, like the Fool in tarot’s Major Arcana. … It brings about a change of consciousness.  The Initiation ceremony must be created to facilitate this change in consciousness.”

It is possible to throw your own initiation ceremony.  It could be as simple as taking an oath.  The author has included one he wrote, “The Warrior’s Admonition,” if you don’t feel up to writing your own.

The second half of this chapter is an example of Initiation in a group ritual, which was written by a friend of the author for her daughter’s coming of age.  (Go read the book for the full description.)

Chapter 20: The Sword and the Athame talks about the Weapons of Air.  The athame is a double-edged dagger (usually with fairly dull edges), with a blade 6″-8″ long and a handle made of some natural material.  It’s believed that artificial materials are less conducive to the flow of chi.  The sword should be similar, with a blade about the length of your forearm.

“Wiccans traditionally use Swords or Athames to cast a circle… As they walk the perimeter of the Circle, they are symbolically cutting themselves off from the mundane world.”  Essentially, the Sword and Athame are just focusing tools, like the Wand and Staff / Spear; the same techniques apply.

Chapter 21: The Magick and Seasons of Air details various forms of the magick of sound energy.

“Since the one sure thing we can say about fundamental matter is that it is vibrating, and since all vibrations are theoretically sound, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the universe is music and should be perceived as such.” ~Joachim Ernst-Berendt

The first section is on mantras and toning, which is using your voice to create the vibrations.  Any sound or combination of sounds could become a mantra.  For example, the well-known “OM” is actually pronounced “AUM,” and the letters correspond to the trinity of deities as described below.  By chanting AUM, you’re invoking this trinity.

  • A = Agni (fire) -> Vishnu
  • U = Varuna (water) -> Shiva
  • M = Marut (air) -> Brahma

Mantras can also be single phrases (dharanis), and are sometimes called “satya-vacana, which refers to the solemn uttering of a great truth.”  Different mantras have different effects; For example, AUM draws energy in, while MA sends energy out.

The author describes a relaxation technique called Bhramari breathing, which mimics snoring and rapidly slows your heartbeat and breathing.  It’s useful to reduce stress and eliminate pain.  “Frequencies between 20 to 50 Hz have been found to strengthen human bones and help them grow.  This is the frequency range in which cats purr….”

The next section is on raising energy through drumming.  “Anyone who has ever witnessed a performance by troupes of Japanese Taiko drummers cannot fail to have experienced the electrifying energy that they raise in each performance.  These troupes don’t just drum, they live drumming.”

The author mentions the law of entrainment, which states that “if two rhythms are nearly the same, and their sources are in close proximity, they will nearly always synchronize or ‘entrain’ … because it takes less energy to synchronize than to pulse in opposition to one another.”

The percussion of drumming activates the root chakra, which facilitates energy flow rising up.  Drumming is also an excellent stress relief and helps raise energy.

The following section is on cord magick, which is included here mostly because it uses the athame.  “Cords are for binding, and the Weapons of Air are for separating things.”  There are a number of different cord techniques described, including cutting them to cut the bonds holding you back and braiding to help focus on your magickal objective.

The last section is on the seasons of Air, which are for beginnings.  It was a time the Warriors mobilized, so this is when we convert the plans made during the seasons of Earth into actions.  Imbolc (Feb. 2) is a time of commitment, beginnings, and consecration.  Your projects should begin to take shape, and now is the time to work magick for success.  Ostara (spring equinox) is a fertile time of hard work, nurturing the seed of the idea and beginning to see its shape and direction.


Conclusion:  The author’s decision to work backwards through the elements, to end the book at the place of beginnings, was to help banish negative influences and leave the freedom to take charge of your life.

  1. Know thyself.
  2. Nurture the ability to perceive the truth in all matters.
  3. You create your own reality.
  4. Develop a sense of Right Action.
  5. Do not be negligent, even in trifling matters.
  6. Your body is your temple — care for it!
  7. Minimal appearance, maximum content.
  8. Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye.
  9. Power with.
  10. Who dares wins.
  11. The Gods cannot help those who will not help themselves.
  12. Be creative!
  13. Do not engage in useless activity.
  • To Know = Developing a complete understanding of the situation.
  • To Keep Silent = Making your mind still, so that your awareness can encompass your situation and give you this understanding.
  • To Dare = To make the decision to use your magickal power to take charge of your situation.
  • To Imagine = To clearly visualize your magickal objective.
  • To Will = To take the energy that you’ve raised and direct it unerringly at your goal.

“By this point you should have the beginnings of a Book of Shadows that is a true working journal. … It will not be like any other Book of Shadows in the universe… because you are unique in this universe, too.”

Magick is your birthright.

Full Contact Magick – Part 4 – Response

Again, I’m not sure why this section has only three chapters.  Also, I note that the length of my writing on Part 4 is shorter than for the other sections; this could be because it’s only covering three chapters, but I think it’s because I’m most familiar with this type of magick.

A poor photograph of the painting I made, March 6, 2015.

A poor photograph of the painting I made, March 6, 2015.

Be Creative: I do this ALL THE TIME.  Creativity is such an integral part of me that I actually go a little crazy when I go too long without making something.  For example, this past spring semester I had no time to do anything creative (dancing, sewing, jewelry, etc.) that I kinda lost it.  My bestie gave me a canvas and let me use his paints, and I spent 6 hours making an art.  It soothed my soul.

Useless Activity:  I’m of mixed minds about this precept.  On the one hand, I don’t reuse magickal techniques if they didn’t work for me.  On the other hand, I feel like I waste a lot of my time doing things of little importance (bumming around the internet, for example); I’m not sure where “reading” falls on the scale of importance, as that tends to restore some of my sanity, but I’ve spent SO many hours doing it.

As far as a Book of Shadows goes, I kinda have three different versions.  I have a journal, in which I write tarot readings and important happenings (kinda like a diary); I have a 3-ring binder, in which I have a bunch of notes and recipes that I copied out of books, and aim to have more stuff b/c the binder is cool (I drew a runic array on it with silver sharpie); and I have a folder on my computer of all kinds of stuff that I’m too lazy to print out or hand-write.  Part of me wants to convert everything to the paper BoS b/c that’s traditional, and hand-writing things puts more of your will and concentration in them.  But I recognize that keeping things electronically is (in some cases) easier, and saves on paper and ink.  I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing with this…

I’ve been trying meditation the last few nights, 10-minute durations before going to sleep, and I’m not sure how well visual images work for me.  I know that images draw me in easily, but I also have a lot of practice from daily life in pulling myself away from being sucked in.  Sounds, on the other hand, I’m used to concentrating on; if you’ve ever tried to eavesdrop on a conversation in a different part of the house, you’ll know what I mean.  Last night I used the sound of my own breathing and pretended it was the waves on a shore, and I think that worked fairly well.

I’m also very good at daydreaming.  I mention this because I’m unsure at this point how well I can visualize right now.  I get bored easily…

But I have made an astral temple.  It was years ago, when I was taking tai chi lessons, and we were doing a 20-min “stand in this position and don’t move” exercise and I was bored so I imagined myself in a grove of birch trees in high summer, with a light breeze and sunlight dappling through the leaves.  My cat ran through, and I met the Star-Eyed Goddess.  I don’t remember everything about the encounter, but I’m pretty sure I wrote it down in a journal somewhere, so I could look it up.  The point is that I have enough visualization to do this, but meditating on an image doesn’t work very well right now.

Note: Upon taking my daily walk today, I passed a waterfall, and realized that while I could meditate to the sound of rushing water, watching it gives me a touch of vertigo.

I have both a wand and a staff; the staff I made (I think it’s maple), and the wand was made by a carpenter friend of mine.  I can’t honestly say I’ve ever used them to channel energy; waving a wand around makes me feel a little silly…

Dancing:  This is what I experience during a really good dance, where I have good connection with my partner, and the music is in my bones…!  It’s pretty fantastic.  I once danced with another fire mage, and we tripped a breaker in the circuit box of the dance hall with the energy we raised.

I have done fire magick similar to what the author describes.  The spell I crafted took a dried rose and several notes that an ex-boyfriend had given me; I wrote runes on the outsides of the notes and attached them to the flower (which was also from him), and tossed it into our woodstove on Yule, with the intent of removing his influence from my life.

We’re halfway between Litha and Lughnasadh now, so I need to put more effort into the things that need doing.  Some things I’m working on are purging my belongings (because I have too much stuff), and maintaining my car, and going places with people to see stuff (because I haven’t had time to do so until recently).  I also need to vacuum my bedroom.  Badly.  And I really should start that Etsy store…

Full Contact Magick – Part 4

Firebending_emblemBook Four: The Book of Fire covers chapters 15-17 of Full Contact Magick.  Fire is a transformative element, and in its hands lay creativity and imagination.

Chapter 15: Imagination describes another side of the Witches’ Pyramid, To Imagine, which is clearly visualizing your objective.  It is allowing inspiration to fill you.

Twelfth Warrior Precept:
Be creative!

To illustrate this precept, the author tells the story of Miyamoto Misashi, who taught himself the sword.  In the 16th century, when Miyamoto lived, it was tradition for the samurai to choose the katana or wakisashi, based on the circumstances, and use the one sword with both hands.  Miyamoto would instead draw both swords, one in each hand; the others complained that it was unfair, untraditional, and improper, but it worked.  He was never defeated.  The point here is to not do something because it’s tradition, but to use a technique because it works.

Thirteenth Warrior Precept:
Do not engage in useless activity.

This is about seeking results.  Experimentation is okay, but if you find something that doesn’t work, set it aside.  This is the benefit of using a Book of Shadows as a working journal, to record your processes and results (and failures).

The section on visualization springboards off of the previously-discussed meditation techniques.  When you can focus on an object for ten minutes or more with no stray thoughts, try closing your eyes and imagining your focal object.  The more vivid you can make the object, the more potent your magick will be.  “To visualize something fully you have to build a CASE.”

  • C = Color (Visualize the object in the most vivid colors you can imagine.)
  • A = Action (Moving things hold our attention, so put the object in motion.)
  • S = Size (Make the object HUGE.  Imagination is bigger than a bread box.)
  • E = Emotion (You need to be emotionally involved in the process.)

The author gives a few variations on this technique, eventually working up to visualizing yourself getting up and walking away from your body.  This is usually called astral projection, so it makes sense that the next section is on building your astral temple.

The astral temple is sacred space created entirely within your mind.  Before you begin, you must first decide what kind of temple you want; Use whatever you’re comfortable with.  Then you take “a voyage inward,” visualizing your temple utilizing all of your senses.  (For the full technique, read the book.)

There are several reasons to make an astral temple.  “It serves as a link between your conscious mind and your subconscious. … What occurs in this astral temple resonates through your world and can manifest in it. … The astral temple can also be used as a meeting place for several people who aren’t able to meet physically.”

Chapter 16: The Wand and the Spear describes the Weapons of Fire, which should be made by the person who’s going to use them.  Wands are usually made of willow, elder, oak, apple, peach, hazel, or cherry, while Spears (or Staffs) are usually birch, willow, or hazel, because those trees grow long, straight branches.  They may be as plain or as decorated as you wish, as long as you remember that wands and staffs are focussing tools and are not a source of energy themselves.

There follows a few techniques on how to get used to channeling energy through your wand and spear.  “You may experience a number of sensations when you are successfully sending energy through the Wand [or Spear].”  These tools can also be used as lightning rods to ground out excess energy, and to draw energy into you.  Remember to try not to rely only on your own reserves when making magick, but to let the energy of the universe flow through you.

The next section is on sending shared energy, and describes the Cone of Power as a visualization technique for building and directing the energy.  One of the most common ways to raise group energy is by dancing:  “The difference between a soldier and a warrior is that soldiers march, warriors dance.”  Sometimes chanting will accompany the dance, but they must be simple chants:

“The ultimate aim of dancing is to be able to move without thinking, to be danced.” ~John Blacking

Chapter 17: The Magick and Seasons of Fire begins, “Fire magick is a very effective way to help you break away from habits or relationships obstructing your progress or adversely affecting your well-being.”

The first example the author gives is to write down on a piece of paper anything that is obstructing you (fears, habits, etc.), imagining as you write that these things are in your past.  As you burn the paper, visualize the negative ties dissolving and affirm that they are in the past.  The author offers a variant of wrapping the paper around a flammable powder and tossing them in a bonfire, as the resulting flash when the powder ignites “is a very satisfying visual” to assist in visualizing the end result.

Another example is candle magick.  Traditionally, you choose a color candle that corresponds to the type of magick you’re working, which helps in visualization.  Anointing the candle with oil and writing words associated with the magickal objective on the candle are also ways to help focus on the objective.  After you’ve lit the candle, put it in a safe place and let it burn all the way out.  This works because the knowledge that you’ve got a lit candle going will stay in your mind, which keeps bringing your focus and will back to the magickal objective.

The seasons of Fire are summer, the season where warriors did their fighting.  This is the season of action and achievement.

Beltaine (April 30 / May 1) is a fertility celebration, so this is the time to exploit any opportunities that present themselves and further your goals.  Be fully committed to your chosen course of action.  Put maximum effort into achieving your goals.

Litha (summer solstice) is a time to make adjustments.  Monitor your progress, and see if there is anything else you could be doing to help your plans come to fruition.

“What ever you can do or dream you can do, begin it… boldness has power, magic, and genius in it.”  ~Goethe

Full Contact Magick – Part 3 – Response

I found the chapters on Water magick a little odd… Like, why were there only three chapters?  And the reading didn’t seem to flow very well, though that could just be me;  I’m a self-identified fire mage, so water magick isn’t my forte.  And that includes all the emotional stuff that water deals with.

This carries over into why I don’t do much with Water energies.  If Daring is “emotional intensity,” then admittedly I’ve muted a great many of my emotions over the years.  Though I’m not sure I’ve ever really had the self-confidence that the author references as most-conducive to successful spellcasting. Hmm…  Maybe the process of building my emotions back up will help with making magick.

The gods help those who help themselves.

I’ve never really held with the practice of prayer fixing all ills.  The gods aren’t there to solve all our problems.  I like the spiritual faith that comes up in Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books, as practiced by the Shin’a’in, and their Star-Eyed Goddess who (for the most part) gives her people just enough tools so they can help themselves.

For example:  Praying for more money won’t net you anything if you’re unemployed and not actively applying for jobs.  OR, you’ll get what you’re asking for, just not the way you wanted (ie, someone close to you dies & you get a life insurance payment).  You have to be really careful what you ask for.

If it was easy, everyone would do it.

As regarding fear…   Admittedly, fear is a rather large part of why I do things (or not).  I deliberately don’t experience the depth of my emotions because I kinda fear their intensity.  I don’t think about things that have happened because I don’t want to experience all the associated bad stuff.  I don’t get close to people because I fear getting hurt again and I fear losing the ones I love.  Kinda makes me wonder what form my boggart would take…

At any rate, I really really really want to travel, all over the planet, and while I get really excited about the idea, I also have a lot of fear about it.  Fear of the unknown, fear of all the bad stuff that could happen on the road… I still want to do this.  I know it’ll be good for me.  But that doesn’t stop me from being really really nervous about the whole thing…

One of my schemes is to have a sewing business, and travel between renfaires & sell the stuff I make.  Maybe I’m romanticizing the faires a bit, but I think this would be really fun.  The problems start when I remember (or someone reminds me) that I have bills to pay (damn you, student loans!).  There’s a lot of doubt wrapped up in, “Can I really make enough to pay my bills doing this?”  And I know that my family is hoping I’ll choose a more conventional way of making a living, and won’t really support me in this.  As a matter of fact, I asked my dad if he would help me build a vardo so I could travel, and he dismissed the idea before I could explain my plans.  I’m not really sure why I was so disappointed by that reaction…

“Let each of your acts be your last battle on earth.”  This.  This exactly is why I’m taking time off from school, why I’m trying to figure out what makes me happy and what to do with myself.  Life is too short to be unhappy, too brief to do work that kills your soul.

A major transformation

A major transformation

This is the image from the Death card of my Lord of the Rings tarot deck.  When I read the lines about a “little death,” this was what I immediately thought of.  It’s honestly one of the few cards I’ve memorized, despite having the deck for… at least a decade.  (It seems this one is not a very diligent student.)  Though that could be in part because the images on the cards are (mostly) incompatible with the language of my subconscious?  I’ve been debating looking for a new tarot deck lately, hopefully something whose images speak to me more.  I’d like to become better at reading tarot.  (It’s kinda embarassing, needing to look up most of the cards in a book…)

I’ve also dabbled in runes, though that went less-well than tarot.  I think I’m more inclined to use runes to enhance spells, and not as an oracle.  I can, however, read tea leaves.  I’m pants at interpreting what I see, though I suspect that’s due to not holding the altered state of consciousness long enough to attempt interpretation.

As for purification, staying hydrated is one of the bits of water magick I diligently practice.  I try to drink about three liters of water each day, depending on the weather and the day’s activity level.

Also, I do love tea.Screen shot 2015-06-27 at 9.23.15 PM

Full Contact Magick – Part 3

Waterbending_emblemBook Three of Full Contact Magick is the Book of Water, and covers chapters 12-14.  (Not sure why Water warranted only three chapters…)  Water is the element of flexibility and adaptability, through which we learn about emotions, intuitions, and psychic abilities.

Chapter 12: To Dare covers another side of the Witch’s Pyramid, for “the practice of magick demands emotional intensity.”

Tenth Warrior Precept:
Who dares wins.

“To dare is to have faith in yourself and your abilities, to let go of your inhibitions and doubts. … If you do not trust your magickal power, its strength and energy will be weakened.”  The author backs this up with a story about his wife’s early magickal practice, and how her spells all worked at first because it had never occurred to her that they wouldn’t.

Eleventh Warrior Precept:
The Gods cannot help those who will not help themselves.

The next section is on the importance of failure; it’s a common side-effect of trying, and one must try before one succeeds.  “Anything worth striving for involves taking risks.”  Failure is feedback, letting you know what doesn’t work so you can become better.  This includes self-mastery, which “requires discipline and determination.”

The author then discusses fear, and how courage is not the absence of fear.  “You will need to dig down deep at times to find the courage to overcome the obstacles you will encounter in life.  … The greater the objective you set yourself, the greater the fears that you are likely to face.”  The author uses the story of how he decided to turn from the path his family had set for him and instead follow his own path.  “Sometimes you will find yourself faced with situations where support is noticeably lacking,” for even those who are supposed to have our backs can turn and withhold their support, especially at the times when we most need it.

“Let each of your acts be your last battle on earth… If you are going to die there is no time for timidity… A hunter gives his last battle its due respect.  It’s only natural that his last act on earth should be the best of himself.”  ~Carlos Castaneda~

“You haven’t time to waste, to doubt, or to procrastinate.  The Warrior makes every moment count.  He faces each challenge as if it is a life or death struggle.  Nothing is unimportant.  This is the spirit of daring…”

“By deciding to transform yourself from what you are now by following this Warrior path, you are undergoing a ‘little death.’  A death of what you were in order that you may be reborn as something better.”

Chapter 13: The Cauldron and the Chalice introduces the magickal weapons of Water.  They are symbols of rebirth, nurturing, and regeneration.

This chapter tells about divination, a way of gathering information or intelligence by way of extending your awareness.  Divination does not reveal a concrete future; it shows us “what will most likely happen if you continue on your current course,” tendencies and trends.  Many of the variables involved can be controlled by the Warrior, and this is part of how we control our destinies.

There are many ways and forms of divination.  The skill can manifest as clairvoyance (visuals), clairaudience (sounds), or clairsentience (just knowing).  The technique for divination, regardless of what focal point you use (water, crystals, mirrors, flames, etc.), is to shut down random thoughts as with meditation, and let impressions float to the surface of your mind.  It is important to write down any results immediately afterward, as the altered state of consciousness at the time of divination will cause the knowledge to fade soon after regaining normal consciousness.

Also, not all systems of divination will work for everyone; you’ll need to experiment with different forms until you find the one(s) that work best for you.  For example, tarot works by “placing images in front of us that help us identify the images in our subconscious.  The tarot deck whose images most closely resemble the symbolic language of your mind is the deck that you will find easiest to use.”

Chapter 14: The Magick and Seasons of Water discusses cleansing and purification.  The first section discusses the importance of baths, and how with most people taking showers we’ve lost the element of relaxation.  This helps improve the flow of energy, and aids in attaining a meditative state. There are many herbal bath mixtures available; most contain some combination of bay, bistort, catnip, eyebright, honeysuckle, mugwort, rose, valerian, wormwood, and yarrow.  Whatever mixture you choose, “be sure to bind the mixture up in a cheesecloth or a tea ball” so you don’t clog the drain with plant bits.

Water can also be used to cleanse ritual implements and magickal weapons.  Fresh running water (such as a clean stream) is the best, but setting them overnight in a jar or basin of water will work as well, grounding out any stored energies.  For best results, combine the basin of water with light from the full moon.

Water is an internal purifier as well.  This is part of the reason people are supposed to drink at least 8 glasses of water each day; if you’re dehydrated, your body can’t get rid of toxins as easily.  (This links back to “the body is a temple.”)  Herbal tea can also be used for grounding excess energy, and if you use loose tea, the leaves at the bottom of the cup can be used for divination.

Other uses of water magick include aromatherapy (setting a small dish of water over a flame, often with a bit of essential oil added), and putting water in a jar or vase to soak up any negative energy; Adding a bit of salt or vinegar will enhance the effects, and be sure to empty and refill the jar periodically.

The seasons of water are those of growth.  Historically, the warriors returned home to help bring in crops.  This is a time for harvest, assessment, and review.

Lughnasadh (August 1) is when we begin to harvest the fruits of our labors.  It is a time to examine results and take pleasure in accomplishment.

Mabon (fall equinox) is for determining how successful the past year has been in terms of attaining objectives and resolutions.  This will help in setting goals for the next cycle of seasons, and helps us identify problems and mistakes.  With this information we can develop magickal solutions to problems, and become more effective Warriors in the next year.