17 Year Cidadae

So the big thing this summer is that the 17-year cycle cicadas are hatching. They’re big, red, noisy bastards, and a type of bug I’ve always disliked. I’ve never been big on bugs, and having insects that large that fling themselves at you unpredictable while making an awful buzzing sound is a sure-fire way to get me to emit high pitched screams and have me rapidly exit.

Well, they started hatching early this year, and it wasn’t long before I encountered them at Heartland. The first morning, one was molting on one of my camp boxes, and it went downhill from there. By the end of the festival, there were tents under tree with literally dozens of cicadas trying to dry out their newly minted wings.

See, I have this thing about bugs. I’m not exactly phobic, but I really dislike them. I’m terrified of stinging insects, and anything that I can mistake for one makes me nervous. And the bigger they are the less I like them. Anything that buzzes makes me twitch and squirm.

But if I they’re calm, and I can view them safely (say, from behind glass), then they kind of intrigue me. They’re interesting. They’re tiny and complicated, and evolved to navigate a world of smaller hazards. We still don’t know how they see with those complicated eyes. And they exists in a world of intensely strong smells and chemical warfare. (And bees can do complex mathematical calculations and estimates, and communicate them to each other.)

Yes, there’s metaphors and lessons and things in this.

So here I am at an event that I consider both a religious and vacationing experience, at a location I regard as sacred. It is a space I feel comfortable and safe in, where I can let my shields down in a way I can’t in the “real” world. And I’m surrounded by thousands of noisy bugs that I not only dislike, but usually have a fear response to.

I had two ways to respond. I could have freaked out and stayed in my tent, or I could get used to them and not worry.

I’m not sure if it was because the critters were still molty and wet and vulnerable, or if it was because they weren’t noisy yet, or because of the environment, but I kind of started to not mind them. I didn’t want any in my tent, and I steered clear of them, but I didn’t freak out or anything. I was cautious, but not nervous or scared. I wasn’t picking any up or playing with them, but who knows, maybe in time.

Things that come at me unexpectedly frighten me. Things I don’t understand frighten me. Things that I can’t control frighten me. This goes for bugs, magick, or love. But when I was able to be at peace in a safe space, I could encounter what made me uncomfortable on my terms, and be at peace with it.

I think I’m really starting to understand the importance of safe spaces and holding space in a way that I hadn’t before, and I’m hoping this can help me better deal with my Empathy and my fears of loss and rejection.

Big Ritual

I’ve been doing ritual magick in some form since I first bought Don Kraig’s Modern Magick 20 years ago. Much of that was based in Golden Dawn derived ritual, performed alone for my personal benefit in the dark corner of wherever I happened to live. Early group rituals were largely impromptu, and with small groups of no more than 6 people.

In college, I became involved with a student group that had Sabbat rituals, and I participated in and facilitated some of those, which generally had around a dozen people. I’ve worked with other groups having about the same or fewer participants, and usually enjoyed positive results. Continue reading

Thoughts from Heartland Pagan Festival 2015

Big rituals are a way different experience when you’re on center stage

I don’t mind bugs as much as I did a week ago (although I’m still not fond of them)

Sometimes you really do need a break from those you love the most

The camaraderie you get from being a part of a diverse group that completes a challenging task is a unique thing

There are always ulterior motives Continue reading

Planetary Energies

So I talked a little bit about my explorations into planetary magick.

By my question was, now that I have been exposed to these energies and can invoke them, what do I do with them?

My original idea was to invoke planetary energies in such a way that I could compensate for harsh or difficult aspects on my natal chart. To a certain degree, this is still an objective, although I have different ideas on how to accomplish it.

The source material I am drawing on is Rosicrucian, so of course  it recommended that I channel this energy into attaining Knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel. And you know what? For once, that didn’t sound like a bad idea.

But mostly, I wanted those energies to have better expression in my life. And the invocations started me on that path. But the energies were undirected, and general in their manifestation. Sure, it felt good, but I wanted something more focused. Continue reading

Introduction to Planetary Magick

I’ve been doing ceremonial magick for many, many years, but I’ve never progressed beyond elemental magick before. The rituals seemed too complex, and I wasn’t confident enough in what I was doing. I also didn’t really understand what the end game in such ritual work.

DON inspired me several months ago to revisit my ceremonial magick practice with renewed vigor. My primary goal, as always, was mundane: refocus my life and find a new career path. I got back to regularly performing the Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram and working with the elemental energies, but DON’s influence led me in a direction that I always flirted with but never really committed to: the invocation of my personal genius. And since I was exploring new things, I decided that working with planetary energies might help that work. Continue reading

Faith and Hope

I once made a comment to the effect that if I had much faith that the Universe would provide for me, I wouldn’t be a magician.

Faith isn’t really my strong suit. I guess that makes me a pessimist. But I think there are a couple of different kinds of faith, and I’m more inclined toward some than others. Continue reading

The Magus Kid

Many, many years ago, I started attending a metaphysics class taught by Walter (no, not his real name), who later became my Mentor. I was one of the few that stuck with his program and augmented it with material I found in other sources, so he took me under his wing, as it were.

Walter has a long string of projects, accomplishments, and fascinating stories from his life. If you can think of it, he has probably been involved in it in some form or another. He was an auctioneer, appraiser, housing contractor, submariner, radio talk show host, pool installer, real estate investor, professional psychic, rennie, actor, writer, and wizard (and that leaves a lot out).

When I met him, he had moved back home with his mother to help care for her in her old age. She was a hoarder, and he probably is as well. The basement of their house was completely filled with various items, ranging from canned foodstuffs (he took Y2K very seriously) to books, clothing, power tools, and ironing boards (his mother had a thing for them and loved to collect them.)

After some time, the venue for Walter’s class wasn’t working out, and he wanted to reclaim the basement and hold his class there. The basement was finished and actually had a nice great room, complete with a bar and a fireplace, and would have made a nice meeting spot. But there was literally so much clutter that you could not get from the stairs to the far end without considerable effort.

As I said, Walter had taken me under his wing, and was meeting with me to teach me magic. (He was also paying me to help him clear the basement.) As I helped him shuffle, organize, and carry upstairs items of value, I made a comment to him: “This feels like when Mr. Miyagi made the Karate Kid do all those chores for him.” He responded simply: “It’s just like that.”

He showed me the items of value he had, and explained how he knew they had value, and to whom they were valuable. We visited auctions, and I relearned what I knew about dollar value and demand. We repriced items bought at auction and sold them online for profit, and I learned about connecting demands to the people looking for them. I learned about clothing and image, and how to dress to impress, to stand out, and to acheive certain effects and impressions.

This was very, very powerful magic, and it is the kind rarely taught in books and grimoires.

So I understood when I read this blog post by Jason Miller.

I got this question from a friend the other day: Dude, you are writing so much about processes and strategy and habit change that it feels like you are never gonna write about magic again? How about getting back to some straight up Sorcery?”

My answer is this: if you don’t understand how this relates to Sorcery, I am not doing my job.

I started the Strategic Sorcery Blog because I realized that people were, in general, not getting the kinds of results from their practical magic that I thought they should have.  The problem was not in the magic that they were doing, it was how they were applying it to their lives. This was a problem that no-one I could see was addressing, and instead people kept chasing after new and shinier spirits and spells. “Saint Expedite didn’t make me rich, maybe Bune will.” “Bune, didn’t make me rich, maybe Tzadkiel will…

Magic tends to be viewed as a quick fix. More astute practitioners remind people that they have to follow up through mundane means to get concrete results, allowing a means for magic to manifest.

But there’s more to it than that. You have to know what channels are available. You have to know how to adjust them. You have to know how to make and exploit connections. You have to know how to barter and exchange favors. You have to know how one thing in your life, which may not seem significant, can be the very thing that breaks a new opportunity in another area.

You have to know how to strategize and where to apply your efforts.

And that is one of the reasons I like Miller’s work; he understands and actually teaches these things.

I learned the old fashioned way; via a mentor that made it seem like he was teaching me something else. And it’s difficult to pass this kind of thinking on to people, which is why he demonstrated all of it through action and example.

But magic is more than spells and tables. It is about being able to bring things together at the right time, and being able to change the probability that something will succeed by giving it more available options to do so.

A lot of magic doesn’t look much like magic. It looks like stuff just happens.

Learn from the things around you.