A while back when I attended Heartland Pagan Festival, I did some weather magic.
Attendees at HPF treat “weather magic” as a bad word. They always insist that whenever anyone does weather magic, it always goes wrong, and there is always a bad storm as a result.
This year was no different, as the last day of the festival, when everyone was due to pack up, was greeted with a torrential downpour and nickel-sized hail. And because I didn’t keep my damn mouth shut, everyone knew I had done weather magic. So of course, some people blamed me.
I, however, consider the magic I performed to be a great success, for several reasons (although admittedly it could still use some improvement). And frankly, I’m kind of annoyed at some of the assumptions and implications made by those so quick to label the working a failure.
So, some thoughts and analysis on what I did, what went wrong, what went right, and judging the difference.
- The temperature for the event stayed in the range I had set for the whole five days. The problem is that I set the lower limit a bit too low, and the first two nights were a bit chilly. But I needed a workable range to play with, and I wanted to keep the high down. My bad.
- It is very difficult to hold weather conditions for a period of seven days. Especially in Kansas in May. Atmospheric tensions that build in that time are tremendous. I built in a pressure release, allowing for rain on Sunday afternoon/evening. It blew out as a thunderstorm on Monday morning. Given that this was the only inclement weather, I’d say I did pretty good. It just happened at an inconvenient time: when everyone wanted to pack up. (Confession: when I did the spell, I thought festival lasted to Tuesday. That extra day before packing up would have made all the difference.)
- There seemed to be an assumption that the weather would have been fine if I hadn’t done anything. I’m not that damn sloppy, and did multiple divinations before working the enchantment. All indicated that performing the working would have a much more positive result than doing nothing. We would have had much more rain through the weekend, and that would have dampened (see what I did there?) the experience for everyone.
- The following week saw heavy rains and flooding in the area, which personally affected some friends of mine. There was some implication that my weather magic may have been responsible for this as well. Again, I’m not that sloppy. Multiple divinations indicated that there would be no ill effects (a very vague term, I suppose, but O read it as nothing worse than what would happen otherwise) upon the area due to my working. Best as I can tell, all I really did was push the bad weather back a week. I’m well aware that messing with the weather in Kansas in the Spring has the potential to kill and destroy, and I made damn sure I wouldn’t be responsible for any of that.
- One of the problems with weather magic for an event like HPF is that everyone does it, but they all do something different, and those different workings counteract and confuse each other. My method for negating all of that appears to have been mostly successful, despite the difficulties in stretching it over a week. At the end of the festival, though, when severe weather approached the area, I think a lot of other people were trying to do workings to stop it (which is never good in the short term). The system may have been overwhelmed.
- Aside from the severity of the rain we got, my projections were matched to a very high degree. It didn’t hit 90 once.
So how can I improve upon this?
- Shut up about it. I’m not talking about it at all next year.
- Work on the pressure release. Lighter rain more often will help, with a larger window.
- Specify better conditions at the beginning and ending of the festival, when set up/tear down is going on.
- Develop a means of grounding off intercepted energy from additional weather magic by other people.
- Allow more flexibility in the system during the week. A bigger range on temperature and more allowance for rain will help relieve strain on the system. The results may not be as neat, but it will probably be more workable in the long term.
- Enchant earlier. I did the working about 3 weeks before the event, which is pushing it a bit close for comfort. A launch time of at least two months will allow the rest of the weather system to adjust to the conditions I set without the abrupt bumps I had this time.
- Consult the Genus Locus of the site. Might be nice to have her on board.
- Maintain some damned humility. Related to #1, but deeper. I was too proud of what I had done, and I was rubbing it in the faces of campers that already distrusted weather magic. The success over the majority of the festival was overshadowed by the one failure. Everyone was expecting it to fail.
Weather magic is not an easy thing to do. Weather is a complex and chaotic system, and there is a lot to consider and much that can go wrong. And because of these things, people often have trouble with weather magic and distrust it. Because most significantly, when it goes wrong, everyone knows it, but they’re never sure why. (I wonder how other magicians would deal with their magical results filling the sky for all to see?) And it affects a lot of people. No, it’s not something I recommend as a regular practice, as even successes can look like failure and even experience magicians can make mistakes.
But sometimes a big event comes along and you want things to go right, or an opportunity just presents itself to help out and area or two and relieve some suffering.
This working was particularly complicated, as unlike most other weather work I’ve done, I had to maintain it over several days. And I had to work in an environment where everyone anticipated my failure. But given that the conditions I cast for were overwhelmingly met, I’m willing to consider this a success. (Despite what people whose tents were flooded might have to say about the matter.)
But I’m willing to acknowledge that it did have some hiccups, and to work to improve those things. I need to take my own advice and recognize that attempting to control the weather is stupid: I should remember to guide and encourage it.