Tomorrow morning I’m leaving for a 10 day roadtrip to South Dakota. I won’t be able to get to a computer, so there won’t be any new posts until August 30th. Have a great couple weeks!
Archive for August, 2008
Sacrifices have been made for various reasons, but for the most part they fall into four categories: releasing attachment, in reverence/celebration of gods, to build energy, and to return the energy given by the universe/gods.
In many magickal systems there is a need to release the attachment or memory of a ritual or spell in order for it to work. This is primarily based on the idea that you continue to draw energy from that spell every time you think of it or talk about it, thus weakening the spell. A very common way to do this is through a sacrifice. This is commonly done by taking the ashes of a ritual fire and burying them, burning something, throwing an energized object into a forest, etc. It is almost always some sort of material sacrifice that happens at the very end of the spell or ritual as a closing. I’m not really sure why this works, but it is one of the best ways to break the attachment from the spell. Maybe this is something that we could discuss some more.
Every religion/culture has made sacrifices to celebrate or revere the gods or spirits that they associate with. Some of the examples could be the ritual human sacrifices by the Aztecs, the sacrifice for Lent by Catholics, or even when warriors would pour out the first bit of a drink for their fallen comrades. This is as much to give reverence to the gods and spirits as it is to bring out the emotions necessary for that celebration. The Aztec human sacrifices were a way to call forth the energy of Huitzilopochtli, the sun god, as well as put everyone there in an emotional state to welcome that energy into their lives; that’s not even mentioning the energy that Huitzilopochtli received for each of these sacrifices (they did become an incredibly large empire, maybe this had something to do with it?) There is a lot more to this ritual because it was such a serious sacrifice, but that’s the most important part of it in my opinion. The sacrifice that people make for Lent is a way for people to build up the martyr energy necessary to understand what Easter and Lent are all about. It is also a way to celebrate Jesus’s personal sacrifice made to his followers. The warrior’s sacrifice is different than these because it is obviously more about bringing forth the emotional response of remembering loved ones and celebrating their lives. It is also to remember that we are all mortal and that we should enjoy ourselves. All of these sacrifices give energy to the spirit that is deserving of the sacrifice and gives them power, but it also allows the energy that they are giving to come into their lives through the emotional response of the sacrifice.
As Jessica stated, there is a common idea in many cultures that requires a gift be returned with something worth at least equal value. Therefore, gifts were often more of obligations than gifts. The Norse have a rune called Gebo that signifies this idea as a gift that must be returned or honor and status are lost. Therefore, if you sacrifice something to a god, they are obligated to give you something in return and vice versa. Therefore, a safe voyage on the sea required a gift to the gods of the sea or else they would be angry because the “gift” of safe passage was not returned in equal value. This can also be seen at Christmas time in modern America when people give the most they can afford in order to maintain or achieve a higher status in the family.
I’m sure that I’m missing some categories, but these were the only ones I’ve been able to come up with. I guess that you could categorize spells as well, but these seem pretty clear cut as far as divisions go.
Lately, it seems as though the brainstorming for a post topic is taking almost as long as the actual post takes. So in response to this shifting difficulty, I’ll change it up a bit and have a single topic that I/we can elaborate on throughout the week. Yes, I’ll still be posting every day, but it will be on a single topic that can be explored a little more adequately than a single blog is able to do. Maybe I’ll even be able to have some topics to research now (and maybe a little time to do that research now that I shouldn’t have to brainstorm for 45 minutes to come up with a decent topic). Anyways, onto the topic of the week: Sacrifice.
Sacrifice is a natural instinct and has been represented in many myths. Wine/champagne bottles have been broken on ships in order to sacrifice the wine to the gods of the sea, animal sacrifices were made worldwide for any number of gods and reasons, and many cultures even had human sacrifices. The difference between the sacrifices in myth and the ones in the present day is that people have forgotten what sacrifice truly means. Sacrifice does not mean to give up or to lose; it means to make sacred.
So what exactly does making something sacred mean? Well, probably the best way to think about it is to consider your sacrifice a gift to the gods/universe. This means that instead of being annoyed that you’re losing the item/time/energy, you have to be glad that you’re giving it up. No one wants a gift that you are mad that you have to give. At the same time, it has to be a gift that is hard for you to give up. It has to be something that you care about. No one wants a gift that you’re annoyed you have to give, but at the same time, nobody wants a piece of grass that you couldn’t care less about.
In my experience, the best sacrifices are not monetary sacrifices or materialistic sacrifices because these things are usually replaceable. When I make sacrifices, I give up things that mean something to me or that are hard for me to do. For example, I have taken dried herbs and roots as well as gemstones that are related to a certain god and crushed them into dust. The entire time, I make sure that I stay in the moment and don’t think about the groceries I need to get or the bills that need to get paid. I spend the two hours simply crushing things in order to make a sachet to leave in the woods somewhere. I know that this seems silly, but have you ever actually sat in one spot and focused on doing a very brainless activity for two hours? It’s incredibly difficult, and therefore is an excellent sacrifice. I put my energy into the gift I am giving to the gods. It’s no different than giving a gift to a significant other. The energy and thought are the important thing, not the actual gift (though I’ve found that diamonds are the exception…).
This leads to the next type of sacrifice that Catholics have completely embraced. Have you ever sacrificed something that you enjoy doing for a god? Catholic priests have given up sex (well…they’re supposed to have given up sex…) and Catholics in general celebrate Lent, where they have to give up something that they really care about for 40 days. Can you imagine the kind of energetic build-up if you were to sacrifice something that you truly enjoyed for 40 days? This could be used for magickal purposes, but at the same time, it could be sacrificed. I’ve made these kind of sacrifices and they’re incredible. You wouldn’t believe the luck I got afterwards…or the dreams for that matter…
I’m not proposing that every sacrifice should be a six month long endeavor to make, but at the same time, it should be something that is worth something to you as well as be made with a good heart. I can’t stress that last bit enough.
So I’m taking an early leave of the work week this week. I’m headed to St. Louis tomorrow to meet up with a friend from high school, so I won’t be writing again until Monday. Hopefully this will be the last of the ultra busy weekends for a couple weeks. I’ve got some good ideas for the next couple blogs. Have a great weekend everyone.
I’d like to get everyone’s opinion on a somewhat controversial topic. There’s that ever present issue with what is right when it comes to magick. Most people simply go with the old advice of the Rule of Three or Karma. Then there are the ones that adhere to Crowley’s only rule which was ‘Do what thou Will shall be the whole of the law.” Remember that he means by Will, he means the true Will of the person. He’s not simply saying do whatever you want to do. He’s saying that you should do whatever you need to do to stay on your personal path to enlightenment, and to never stray.
I, personally, am a follower of Crowley’s laws. Instead of trying to convince you to do things for your common man, he instead points out that becoming the best that you can be is far more important. That doesn’t mean that you should kill people, do negative magick for no reason, or even insult people. These things break his law quite quickly because they do not put you further on the path to finding your True Will. They actually create road blocks by creating enemies. On the other hand, if someone is doing something that is keeping you from becoming a better and more full you, then you should absolutely do what you need to to remove that negative influence from your life. That doesn’t mean to kill them because, again, you are simply creating more obstacles for yourself.
On the other hand, the Rule of Three and Karma are based on a system of right and wrong. It feels a little too reminiscent of heaven and hell style ideas. I don’t think that there’s any reason why you can do something that is wrong if it’s your soul’s true path, yet that may mean that you have to banish someone who is continuously interferring with your life. In the Rule of Three and Karma world, you should let the Universe take care of bringing the problems back to bite them in the ass. In the mean time, they are interferring in your life. Yes, you could put up protection spells, but at the same time, pushing them out of your life completely (and usually displacing them by some strange coincidence…) is usually much more effective. Some people will argue that you won’t get bad Karma because of this, but you’re moving a person out of the area they enjoy, you could be moving a parent out of the life of his/her child, or you could be moving a teacher out of the life of a student. You aren’t just giving someone what they deserve and protecting yourself; you’re also causing a lot of negative effects for a lot of people. So you should be getting some bad Karma on this one. Yet I’d do it if it was necessary, and I don’t think that I should have negative outcomes because of it. If that’s the case, there’s negative outcomes to everything we do.
What is the big draw to the Rule of Three and Karma then? Is it that people have experienced the effects of it? Couldn’t that just as well be the effects of not living out your soul’s desire? The world could be trying its hardest to push you away from these unnecessary actions that are pushing other people off of their soul’s paths as well.
So the next question is, “What’s my soul’s path then?” I really don’t have an answer for you on that except to ask other questions, “What have you ever done that made you feel ecstatically happy?” and “What makes you want to be awake rather than be sleeping?”
Oh yeah, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t involve TV.
The first thing I want to say is that after only 33 days of being an active blog, there have been almost 2100 hits. That’s such an incredible number that I can’t express how pleased I am with the numbers. I couldn’t have nearly that kind of popularity without the advertising that some of you have been doing. So I’d just like to thank those of you who are spreading the word about it.
I’d also like to thank those of you who have continued to comment and give me new ideas. I’ve learned a lot and have really expanded my ideas about what I want to do with this Movement because of the ideas that have sprung from the comments on some of the posts.
The purpose of this post though, is that we’ve been talking about a movement that’s going to be nationwide. We’re going to need a massive amount of people signing up as well as advertising for us. We really have no funding at all currently, so we can’t really do much advertising of our own (unless someone independently wealthy has been reading and wants to write me a check…). I think that the key to that is to get as many people interested in the movement as possible. Because the blog is the first real step in this process, we need more hits to the blog.
I think that the best way to get more hits is to get more posts and more articles. We’re going to need them anyways if we’re going to create a comprehensive list of all things Pagan for the final website. What I’m getting to is that I need some other writers. I don’t know everything about Paganism, and I definitely am not creative enough (nor do I have enough time) to write 5 posts a day.
Here are some simple ideas as to what I’m looking for:
How to make anything
Examples of effective spellwork
Political issues having to do with Paganism
News and commentary on Pagan issues (UU church shooting in Tennesse for example)
Exploration of the elements
Gardening and Herbology articles
Energy healing techniques
Any commentary on Pagan-lifestyles (think of the stereotyping <a href=”http://magickfortherealworld.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/stereotyping-pagans-pt-1-the-legendary-poor-pagan/”>post</a>)
Commentary on other Pagan blogs
Pagan/Magick book reviews
Any kind of comedy relating to Pagans
Basically anything else you could think of that relates to Paganism, think of Witchvox style articles without the 2 year wait to be published.
Now, I’m not giving up complete control on this. The first couple of articles you want to publish, I’d like to read first. After that though, I’ll add you as an author and you can publish whenever and mostly whatever you want. I’d like a couple of people to contribute regularly because people like to read stuff from the same authors, and we’re trying to draw a bit of a crowd. I’d also like most of them to be intelligent, or at least as intelligent as mine have been. I will also continue to post almost daily, and will continue to alert everyone of new posts via myspace bulletins (you guys are going to get sick and tired of that… and I may have to quit depending on the number of authors).
So if you’d like to give it a try, send me your idea and/or post you’d like to post.
I’m having some trouble here lately coming up with a reason for the secrecy of magick. I know…I know…magick’s supposed to be kept in secret so that people who aren’t worthy of the power won’t get it… The only question I have is, “Do you know anyone who, after spending 10 years on a magickal path has less of a right to this supposed ‘power’ than you do?” I know that I’ve spent a lot of work getting to where I am, and I don’t think any government officials are worried about what I’m doing. I agree that we don’t want a bunch of crazies doing serious curse work, but then again, if they’re smart enough to get to that point then they’re probably going to get the information regardless. I guess that if we kept it in covens or groups where someone could weed out the crazies then it would work out, but how many of you have stayed in a single coven for your entire magickal career?
What I’m asking is for a true reason for the secrecy. I personally think that there are a lot of good reasons why it was hidden (persecution, wanting all of the power to themselves, solitaries wishing to learn rather than teach), but why do people want it hidden now? The secret’s out kids, Wicca is a recognized religion. People are very aware that there are people walking around calling themselves witches and magicians (though most of them think we should be taking crazy pills). Very few, if any, Pagans want the books to stop being published or for Barnes and Nobles to stop selling Tarot decks or for those rare Metaphysical stores to all be shut down. So why are so many people up in arms against anything that resembles being public about our beliefs?
So after all of that, I would like to know if there is really any valid reason why people should keep their practices secret. I feel like I may be missing something because everything I’ve ever thought about magick is always steeped in secrecy, but I just can’t logically come up with a reason. I know that individual rituals or ceremonies shouldn’t be talked about due to the leaking of power, but should the basic ideas behind rituals be made public? If there is an organization that is pushing for Pagan equality, they’re going to have to explain what exactly it is that we believe and how it works. So do we downplay things or do we be straight-up with them and explain what we do? Or do we just tell them to read a Silver Ravenwolf book (which I’m absolutely not saying in a sarcastic manner, it’s just that she writes in a very easy to understand language for people with no background)?