Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why is My Magic All Wonky? Pluto at Work

"Why is my magic all wonky?"

I love when I get questions like this via email, and believe me, a lot of magical practitioners are finding that their magic is indeed a little wonky these days. Magic spells are going off track, astrological effects are hitting harder than ever, and divinations are often "hinky" at best.

So what the heck is going on with the magic?

Wonky Magic and the Pluto Return
The short answer to the question is this: astrology. Astrological factors are at work here. In particular Plutonian effects are at work. My sense of things is that globally we are experiencing a Plutonian return. Pluto, called by many astrologers the Lord of Karma, completes its orbit every 248 years.

Basically, we are receiving the results of whatever was occurring around 1761. During this period, the French-Indian War occurred, the Seven Years War ended, the Western Territories changed hands and the colonies experienced an economic slump. Then, of course, the difficulties with Great Britain began during this period, ending with the war for independence in 1775. So, here we are again.

Pluto has returned to the same position it was 248 years ago, and we are reaping the karma that has accumulated during that time.

What's Happening on the Individual Level
On the individual level, adaptation, acceptance, and change are being called forth. To the majority this appears to be a threat to survival, whereas to some it presents an opportunity for innovation. There will be possibilities galore for exasperation and anger, but also a lot of impetus for change that we have been, until now, too stuck, lazy, tired, or unimpressed to make.

What seems to be working for us, and for many magical practitioners, is to avoid confrontation on the worldly level and to create change on the magical level. In other words, if a physical event occurs that angers you, don't go immediately to action. Instead, focus on using daily magic rituals of maintenance to create an inner sacred space. From that sacred space, do whatever magic you choose to effect change, whether this be a spell, some simulacra magic, or a ritual offering.

For those of you who aren't sure what magic to use to create inner sacred space, check out the "Magic in Your Mailbox" series. It's an email serious that helps people formulate and use basic magic rituals as a part of daily life.

Sign up for "Magic in Your Mailbox" here.

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/flyingsinger/ / CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When to Use Magic: Should I Use Magic or Fight on the World Plane?

When a nasty situation crops up in your life, do you fight it or do you use magic? That's a question that many magicians face on a regular basis. On the world plane, taking action to resolve an "unfair" or "bad" situation seems like the right thing to do, but does getting entangled in a negative situation drag the rest of your life downhill?

On the other hand, if you use magic to attempt to resolve a situation without taking physical action, what kind of result will you get? Will the magic be strong enough to stop or change a negative situation that has already manifested physically? What's a magician to do?

When to Use Magic
Well, as a Native American elder once told me when I asked him the same question, "Do all the magic that you can ... and buy insurance." I got a laugh out of that, and I hope you do, too! And the message is clear:

1. Do all the magic that is appropriate to the situation
2. Take any and all physical steps to remedy the situation that do not cause you to feel negative or interfere with your magical work

That's pretty simple, right?

A Few Examples to Illustrate the Use of Magic
Of course, most magical principles sound pretty simple until you actually have to apply them to everyday situations. Reality is never as tidy as we would like it to be. So here are a few parallel examples that might illustrate what I mean.

We live in a farming community in Colorado, and out here in the high desert water is of immense importance: no water, no crops, no farming. People have been killed in Colorado over water issues and water rights. It's a big deal. Here are three examples centered around water rights and the use (or non-use) of magic to illustrate my point.

John's Case
John doesn't practice magic at all because he doesn't know anything about it. He got into a tussle with other members of his homeowner's association over how water was being distributed. Not having any magical means at his disposal, he (along with half of the homeowners) went to court against the other half of the homeowners. Ten thousand dollars and a year later, when the judge finally passed its decision, John wasn't satisfied with the result, and neither were ANY of the other homeowners on either side. Plus, he had a seriously bad taste in his mouth about the whole situation.

Harriet's Case
Harriet is a magical practitioner. Faced with a neighbor on the same ditch who kept taking her water, Harriet first response was to tell off the neighbor. She confronted him three times, to no avail. In fact, on the third go-round, the neighbor pointed out that Harriet's fence line was actually on his property, and that he could force her to move her fence if she kept harassing him about the water. That left Harriet, who has no love of pounding fence posts into the ground, in a bit of a quandary.

But she did have options--magical options. So she did some basic spell work to bring water to her pasture, which was drying up fast. She also did some weather work. The results were fairly neat, if not totally karmic. It rained and it rained. Harriet simply puts her horses on her pasture and doesn't cut hay from it, so the rain was perfect. Her field got watered and the grass grew. The neighbor, on the other hand, had just cut hay so his hay got rained on, which is never a good thing. It was all fairly karmic. The rain also delayed the neighbor's hay-cutting schedule, so there was plenty of water in the ditch for Harriet to use during the ensuing weeks. Pretty neat magical trick.

Our Case
Then there's our case. This year we have three new people on our ditch who are water hogs. We've tried talking to them, but they told us to take a long walk off a short cliff. Having figured out from past experience that no amount of "talking" would create much effect (and any talking immediately made us negative), we turned immediately to magic. In a very nifty turn of events, unexpected money and people showed up. The money came in the form of a check in the mail, literally. The people came in the form of electricians who could and would wire a pump on the back of our property so we could water our fields without bothering the people up the ditch from us. Perfection!

I hope these examples make clear the two principles I outlined above about when to use magic. In our case, we are taking physical action in the form of having a new pump installed ... but only after we had done our magic. In addition, these actions make us feel very positive rather than negative, which means that we won't get in our own way karmically or magically about the water situation. Make sense? Good, then go make some magic!

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mixing Up Magic with a Pinch of This and a Dab of That? Not Hardly!

I know magical practitioners who approach the craft with the attitude of, "All it takes is a pinch of this and a dab of that." And certainly if you watch movies like "Harry Potter" or TV shows like "Charmed" you might get the idea that magic works like your grandmother's cooking: no recipe needed, just follow your instincts. Not hardly!

Magic is a Precision Science
From experience I have discovered that magic is a precision science. Using the right words, ingredients, symbols, and tools is very important. For instance, we often teach our students to use invocations to address magical powers and beings. In one, we address "Sky Father" and "Earth Mother." I am always amazed at how many students casually switch the order of these words when doing the invocation, and end up addressing "Father Sky" and "Mother Earth," thinking that they are addressing the same beings as "Sky Father" and "Earth Mother."

Not so at all. Magic is a precision science, and "Sky Father" is an entirely different being than "Father Sky." If you think that the distinction is unimportant, consider your own name. Suppose your name is Adam Johnson. Would it make a difference to you whether I called you Adam or Johnson? Sure it would. In many cultures, addressing a person by their last name can be either a sign of respect or a sign of denigration. It can make a huge difference.

Do Magic as a Precision Science
My teacher and mentor in magic, Reverend George Dew, had a favorite saying about magic: "Take your time, think it through, do it right." That's a great motto to use anytime you want to practice magic. After all, in the case of invoking powers and beings to help you, you want to get the right being. Getting the wrong being can send you down a rabbit hole or through the looking glass!

People often wonder why our magic courses, like Basic Magic, take so long to complete. It's because magic is a precision science, and a person doing magic rituals or practices without understanding the reasons behind them is risking harm. If you want to learn more about practicing the art of magic as a precision science, here are some guidelines to help you.

1. Learn Rules of the Road, the universal laws that we have found true in governing magical practice.

2. If you don't know the reason behind a magical practice or ritual, do some research until you understand, or don't do the ritual at all.

3. Take your time and learn one magical item at a time. When you get in a hurry and want to win the lottery with a spell immediately, you might as well toss your wand in the trash. Fast magic loaded with anxiety won't produce results, ever!

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Photo credit: George Eastman House