On Elevations

With so many people starting at the same time, I have been forced to think about what makes a person “ready for 2nd”… and have come to the conclusion that it’s kind of inversely related to wanting to be “ready for 2nd”. I can say with relative certainty that it’s not about being able to recite the altar devotion and circle casting… though you do need to be able to perform an altar devotion and cast a circle. The one is saying that you’ve memorized the words. The other is saying that you’re working relatively effectively with the energies involved. Ideally, you will learn them together. “Being ready” is not totally about where you are in the lessons – better to absorb and experience a few than to do many quickly and shallowly, just to pass a test. (I’d have trouble justifying an elevation with too few lessons completed, but in the right circumstances I might try.) But this isn’t the whole of what I am struggling to say.

Think of it as going for a walk down to the store. One way of looking at it is, I’m going to get to the store. If you start out this way, you may or may not see the sights along the way. You might notice some incidental sensations, but you pretty much ignore them. You may or may not enjoy the feeling of your muscles working. You may or may not break into a brief run, but if you do it will be for the sole purpose of getting there faster. You will almost certainly not take short detours to explore along the way and you’ll probably get impatient and find yourself wondering “how much farther.”. The other way of looking at it is, I’m going to walk to the store. You start walking, and get into the rhythm of putting one foot goes in front of the other. You smell the cut grass. You smile at some children playing in a yard. You enjoy the feel of the sun on your skin and the breeze in your hair. You might detour, you might jog for a bit, you might sit and rest before continuing. Sooner or later you look up and realize you’re at the store.

The journey into Wicca, I feel, should be more of the latter. You might meditate just because it makes you feel centered. You might explore tarot cards out of curiosity. You might unexpectedly find that you really relate to the runes, or that you can find deep personal meaning in the LBRP. You might find a real talent for blending oils or incense. You are not expected to become an expert in every field mentioned! The lessons are structured to give you an introduction to most of these things; sort of a “basic minimum” of what every fully elevated witch should know.

When you are initiated, you make the statement that you fully intend to walk to that store, and you are handed a map of one path that will get you there. When you take your second, you have made significant progress along the road and (hopefully) learned to enjoy the journey for its own sake. When time for the third rolls around, you are looking at the storefront and realizing that there is an inside to the store waiting to be explored and a whole world out there past the store, and you no longer need (or have access to) a road map to get you there.

Take the time to enjoy the learning and get all you can from each moment instead of rushing through it as a means to an end. The best way to “get there” might be to not try to get there, and the “end” isn’t really an end.

Brightest of Blessings, and Lots of Laughs,

The Case for Death

Forgive me… this has nothing to do with magical living. Or maybe it does. But basically I’m just working through it, and I’m writing it here because it is not a topic I can comfortably discuss with my family. I’m leaving comments open. Feel free to leave your input.

As some of you know, my mother is scheduled to have open heart surgery tomorrow morning, 8/10/10. Whether she actually has the surgery will depend on whether they find appropriate veins to use – it seems that they need to take one from another location to use in her heart.

My brother, whom she lives with, doesn’t feel that she has a choice about the surgery. And it is true that with a 90% blockage in one of her veins, she would be looking at a massive heart attack in the (relatively) near future. With the surgery, though, she is looking at a painful operation and an excruciating recovery period. There is no attractive choice here. But there is a choice.

At age 87, how much longer would she have to live after the recovery period? Would she be healthy for that time? If you ask the doctors, they will say “there’s no guarantee” – which of course there isn’t – and they won’t even give you odds that she’ll have a single pain-free day.

Is it so terrible to think that a sudden massive heart attack isn’t that bad a way to go? Sudden and brief and at nearly 90 years old… what more could you ask for? I’m almost sorry that she had the warning, which just seems to me to do little more that cause fear and an illusion of having an alternative. (See why I can’t talk with the family? LOL)

Nobody gets out of dying. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you think comes after. You are going to die one day. You don’t know when it’s coming, but sooner or later the fates are going to slap a death card on the table in front of you. Sometimes it will be of a nature that will let medical science push the card back in Atropos’s lap, but you can’t avoid it forever.

My biggest question here is: You’ve drawn the “quick and painless” death card. Do you want to keep it or throw it back? Let’s make a deal. You can have some more time, but you don’t know how much, or what the next card will be.

I am not saying that the Fates are vengeful bitches, because I don’t believe that metaphors really have emotions, let alone petty emotions. But…

I have seen bad deaths. Both of my fathers died within a year of each other. Lung and colon cancer, respectively. My father, who was arguably too young to die at 67, accepted his death as something that should have happened during WWII. The condition was painful, even with morphine, but mercifully he was out of pain within the month. My father-in-law was even younger – he was only 56 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He wanted so badly to live just one more day. He had surgery after surgery and any other treatment that the doctor thought might help. It gained him about a year. During that year, he gradually lost control of all functions, was in constant pain, and was never out of bed.

So it goes. When you toss the one card back, there’s no telling what the next one will be. Same death a year later or different death after decades. But at age 87, I think it’s safe to assume that the cards will start flying her way at an ever increasing rate. And as deaths go, how do you get better than sudden massive coronary?

In this age of medical marvels, I think it’s too easy to forget that we do have a choice. She doesn’t need to have open heart surgery. She can choose a natural death. I hope, in the hype to determine if the surgery is even an option, that the other viable option doesn’t get completely forgotten.

The Power of Nonsense

Silver’s blog the other day got me to thinking. In case anyone missed it or wants the Reader’s Digest version, it’s a Pow-Wow ‘spell’ for dealing with something that is making you feel overwhelmed or unduly stressed, even to the point where you feel paralyzed. (I love it, btw, and we’ve already gone on a creek hike to find rocks.) Say, for the sake of example, that your problem is some weeds.  Then you:

Take two rocks. Any two rocks. Bang them rhythmically together.

The weeds and the dragon flew over the wagon.
The weeds abated and the dragon skee-ated.

Chant a total of 27 times. You should be laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. Then later, before you go to bed, say ‘Lolly lolly chicken dirt, by tomorrow it won’t hurt.’.

The problem may still be there, but you won’t feel overwhelmed by it so much. You’ll be able to take mundane steps to solve it.

According to Silver, that ‘spell’ works by resetting your personal field. Which I guess is just a mystical way of saying that you can’t be intimidated by something you’ve laughed at. And yes, I know that you’re not laughing at the object of the problem, but you really can’t help but associate it with the laughter.

In a way, it’s related to the old standby of how to deal with a person who intimidates you. That is, picture him on the toilet. Ridiculous? Maybe, but effective for all that.

Nonsense can be good for more than that, though. Laughing about something together bonds us; it forms a group mind. The coven that laughs together… ok, nothing rhymes with ‘laughs’ – but Remember Badger Badger Badger…? It heals rifts between people. It’s awfully hard to stay mad at someone who you are laughing with… even if the laughter has nothing whatsoever to do with what you are fighting about.

Aside from interpersonal relations, laughter is the quickest and surest way to break a hex. The energy that laughter generates renders the hex zap harmless.

So long as it’s a good positive expression of lunacy, and not a derisive statement, laughter has more positive uses than anything else I can think of right now. (Hm… lunacy = of the moon = of the goddess = magick. Just a thought) Laughing negates the power of negative psychic energy. It puts us in a positive field which will attract more positive energy. It gives us something to share. It makes us feel friendly. It relieves stress. Where’s the down side here? Let’s all go do some You-Tube therapy!

It’s a Jungle in Here

Fine time, now that we’ve all reserved names, but here’s a list sitting on my desk of critters that are not taken – I wonder why:

  • Kestrel
  • Turkey
  • Armadillo
  • Bobcat
  • Cat
  • Elepant
  • Elk
  • Lynx
  • Moose
  • Opossum (there is a Possum)
  • Panther
  • Snake
  • Alligator
  • Crocs (coven of the plastic footwear)
  • Chameleon
  • Lizard
  • Ophidean
  • Ocelot
  • Ray
  • Shark