Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where Is The Magick?

Bodega Head
Yesterday, my teacher and I went to Bodega Head. We were having "class" once again outside, where magick actually happens. We bundled up and got out some chairs from the trunk and planted ourselves out on one of the cliffs to see what we could see. The ocean was cold and choppy and unrelenting waves smashed into rocks and the shore.

We were watching Her glas* skin- roiling under the surface, constantly in motion, teeming with life. I cannot imagine how it must feel to never be at rest like that. We watched these plants, firmly rooted in solid rock thrive despite living in sea water. They would bow under wave after wave of turbulent ocean, only to snap upright again as soon as the waves (temporarily) subsided.We talked about how emotions are like that- how they are constantly coming, be it love or anger and they wash over you and you have a choice to be drowned or snap back upright, over and over. Seemed an appropriate conversation to have at the ocean.

California's Brown Pelican.
There were birds to amuse and distract us. Crows, seagulls, cormorants, and the largest flock of pelicans I have ever seen. They all took turns diving and screaming in front of us; using their tails as rudders as they rode the air currents. They looked stock-still in the air, surfing there. This was of course the same air that made us gasp and whipped my hair about in a frenzy. These birds thrived and were positively graceful in that very same wind.

I watched the sea foam as it pooled near the rocks edges and shore, reading in it images of the here and now- screaming faces and burning houses. We talked about how the world is a house on fire right now- how polarized human society has become- both here in the US and places like Norway, Greece, Pakistan, Egypt, and half a dozen other countries that have been in the news lately.

California Grey Whale.
We both laughed at the folly of some of our unknown companions. Periodically, a car would arrive and unload some people and they would trek to "our" cliff and try and engage in conversation with us (clearly they were not noticing we were sitting there in contemplation, silent and watching). In one key illustrative moment, a woman asked loudly (interrupting my concentration) , "Are you waiting for the whales?" (People come to Bodega Head to whale watch and hope to catch a glance of the grey whales that feed there.)

"Um, no. We are not waiting for anything." I replied. I think this threw her off. Most sleepers go places with a specific agenda, a check list. She walked away from us, not knowing what to say next. Then, to us (or no one in particular, I cannot be sure) she said, "Well, I am not going to wait around anymore." She had been there all of 10 minutes. As soon as she and her loud friends got out of sight of the amazing ocean view, what do you think happened? Yep- a huge grey whale breeched and gave us a look at itself.

"The Material Plane"
Magick is like that. It is not all "in the mind" and about foisting your Will upon the natural world to make it do your bidding. Magick is about understanding that everything here has a purpose and a resonance. If you listen well, you will come to understand what a plant, a whale, or the ocean is telling you. And then you can use that information to make magick.

This is why the people (who think they are training to be Witches) who stay in carpeted rooms and focus only on themselves and their self improvement or trance journey here and there aren't really learning Witchcraft. The Great Work of transforming yourself is worthy, but to what end? A Witch transforms her/his self in order to be a sharper instrument of the Gods. If you are only thinking of your (puny, ego-driven) Will when doing Magick, you aren't really doing Magick at all. Because Magick requires the understanding that we are not separate- we are all connected.

*Glas is a welsh word for the indescribable blue-grey-green of the sea.


  1. Thank you for this is exactly what I needed to hear this am...thank you again...blessed be

  2. That was a wonderful gift the whale gave you. But be careful about judging others. You have no right to tell someone that they aren't really learning witchcraft if they don't do it "your" way. There are several different ways to practice the craft and they are no less valid just because they are not your way.

  3. Ma'am:

    Harmony is listening. Magic is listening to what the natural world is telling us and working with it. -- isn't this somewhat opposite from Crowley's and Valiente's definition of Magic?

    ALthough I like what you wrote. It is a relief actually, this aspect of Magic as a work of cooperation. I mean, iF all we who are magically inclined ever did is impose our Will on the natural forces to get what we want, what makes us different from the Earth Overlords? We'd still not be citizens of the world because we are not listening to our fellows (human and otherwise).

  4. What a beautiful post. I especially like this bit: "If you listen well, you will come to understand what a plant, a whale, or the ocean is telling you. And then you can use that information to make magick."

  5. Yes! Thank you for a very inspiring post that affirms what I have usually called "goofing off" which is distinctly different than zoning out or tuning out. You help me to see it as important work for the spirit.

  6. Glad y'all enjoyed the post. I felt very inspired to write it!

    Fedelynn: what I wrote was not the opposite of Valiente, although a novice follower of Crowley would think what I wrote was opposite.

    Many beginner ceremonialists think that it's all in your head and you need to impose your order upon things. Balderdash and impossible to do, I say. What you can do is work with allies to do what the ceremonialists call True Will, which can never be out of alignment with what God Herself wants, anyway. Many people mistake True Will for will (with a little "w", meaning it's all ego puffery).

  7. Salem Witch Child: There's judgement and there's discernment. I am using the latter to warn those that hope to pursue an education in the Old Ways. Just like knitting, there are a few variations that you can do and still call what you do knitting, but if you go too far astray, you are no longer knitting and doing something else. You mistake judgement for discernment- which is a very important Witch's tool.

  8. Crowley on Magick (Wikipedia): The British occultist Aleister Crowley chose the spelling to differentiate the occult from stage magic and defined it as "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will" -- "W" instead of "w". Ahh.

    Re Valiente: YOu're right. I misnamed the lady. It was Dion Fortune.

    My fault is that I relied on what were quoted from both Crowley and Fortune(?). Should have gone to the sources first to check the difference.


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