Your journey work on the Path of She requires the skill of deep listening. To do this you have to learn to step aside of your habituations of thoughts and actions, and pay attention to your inner voice, the one connected to your soul and sleeping beauty.
Every day, when you have a few quiet moments to yourself, take some slow, full breaths and still your mind. Close your eyes, turn your awareness inwards, and say, “Show me my beauty.” Then pay attention to anything that arises in you – images, thoughts, or sensations. You begin by turning your ears inward, to sense and give space for your secret hungers and dreams. Even if nothing shows itself at first, just continue the practice. You are training yourself in the skill of deep listening, and giving your inner landscape the time and focus to reveal itself to you. Know that what you pay attention to, pays attention to you.
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In my Reclaiming tradition, we end our circle casting by saying, “What changes our world, changes all worlds.” With these words, we acknowledge the interconnectedness of all things and the rippling outward of the intent and energy of our magic making.
Though we do not bring the same kind of focused intentions and actions to our everyday lives, still the same principle applies: who we are, how we live and dream, and even the minutiae of our moment by moment thoughts, choices and actions continually influence others and the world around us.
This week observe for yourself your impact on the world around you. Choose one of your best and one of your worst behavioral traits. Think of these traits as expressions of your inner world in the outer world.
The first level of influence is on those closest to you. For each trait think about where the behaviors came from. Are they innate in your personality? Or inherited from a family member? Do any of your siblings have similar traits? If you have children, do any of them exhibit similar traits? If you have a significant other, consider how they respond and adapt to these traits? Or how these traits are affected by their behaviors.
From here the impact spreads outward. Think about your workplace and how these traits come into play in your work environment and relationships with your colleagues. Observe the responses of others, or established patterns of relationship with your colleagues, clients, etc. based on these characteristics. See this as a dance, where your traits/patterns interact with the traits/patterns of another personal, in a process of mutual cause and effect.
Beyond this, you shape those with whom you interact indirectly and even with strangers you encounter. Consider how these traits determine how you hold your body, your beliefs and values that filter what you see, hear and take in, and the judgments you place on others and on external situations.
Now that you’ve brought all this awareness to these behavioral traits, change one of them. You may want to do this with the negative trait by trying on a more positive behavior. Don’t tell anyone what you are doing. Just change and then pay attention to how others respond, from those closest to you, to work colleagues, to perfect strangers.
The intention of this exercise is to see for yourself that your world impacts the worlds of others. You can observe the effects of your traits and changes in behavior in your direct human relationships. Know that the effect goes deeper still, these traits, along with the rest of your personal makeup, are part of your core energy system and auric field. Who you are from your depth, translates into all aspects of your energetic and physical being, and the minutiae of how you live and dream. Change your core traits and behaviors — you change your core energy system. Change your core energy system — you change the world. So mote it be!
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Like any skill area, we gain mastery by study and practice. While we no longer have access to the Craft knowledge and practices of our ancestors, the neo-pagan and Wiccan movements are alive and well. There is a wide range of magical information you can draw upon to develop your mastery of the Craft.
This week pick one magical skill you would like to develop. If you are new to magic, pick one of the basics like cleansing, grounding, casting a circle or creating sacred space. If you are an experienced priestess, pick a skill that you would like to strengthen or an advanced skill you’d like to master.
Do some research and reading on your chosen skill. Ask a more experienced friend to mentor you. Find a local workshop or group. Practice and then practice some more, until you start to develop a sense of ease and confidence.
Then take the skill to its next level. Make it your own. Magic is like jazz music. There are basic principles and frameworks that you need to master, and then you step outside of their strictures and start to improvise. Set your magic jumping by adding your own special nuances and groove.
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The concept of spontaneous magic recognizes that any time we set intention and consciously engage in an activity in alignment with this intention, we are making magic. It encourages us to play with imagination, creativity and inspiration as a means of discovery and transformative change.
Intention is the grounding rod of spontaneous magic. It focuses, attracts, and conducts the energy of our inspired activities. To effectively engage in spontaneous magic, the intention must be charged with our passion and intensity. It has to be connected to something deeply important to us, at the level of soul.
This week, practice the art of spontaneous magic. To decide on an intention, look for something that is going on in your life right now that is charged with energy, either positive or negative. If you are new to magic making, pick something that is positively charged. And always set the basic intention of working with your highest good and the highest good of all.
Come up with a specific intention for focusing your magic in relation to this issue/situation. Keep your intention simple but potent. For example, say you’ve always wanted to express yourself artistically. Set the intention of opening to and experiencing your creative self. Or say there has been a big change in your life that you haven’t come to grips with. Set the intention of opening to this change and learning more about what it means to you.
Then spontaneously choose an activity to explore and express this intention, and do it. Be playful and creative. Try something new and intriguing or engage in a familiar activity but from a place of conscious awareness and deep presence. This is not an exercise in formal ritual or spell crafting, so don’t worry about form, words, or outcomes; just keep it simple and improvise.
When the activity feels done, bring it to a close. Make sure to express gratitude to whomever or whatever appeared to support your magic making, and to fully return to your everyday state of awareness. Trust that no matter what happens, your spontaneous magic will change you. Pay special attention to your dreams and any new experiences or insights in the coming weeks.
The art of spontaneous magic allows you to experiment with intention setting and to renew the craft of magic with your own flavor and style. Enjoy the sheer delight of the experience, like the returning home of a long-lost , beloved friend.
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The dream: I am walking down a street close to my Grade 3 school. I go down a short flight of stairs that lead to an empty playground. In front of me is a tall, stone wall with ledges that support intertwined pairs of mated swans – some are radiant white, some are charred black and dead, and others are a mottled mixture of black and white, in the process of dying from the inside out. One female swan, clearly inflicted with the blackness disease, captures my attention. Her liquid, smoky-gray eyes plead with me to save her. Her message: I’ve married myself to the wrong masculine energy, the wrong mate, and it is killing me.
In Grade 3, I took a decisive turn on the path of life. After presenting a well-crafted project on the solar system, I figured out that I was smarter than average, and that brains and hard work were my tickets to the social acceptance I craved. I chose my masculine, in-the-world accomplishments over my inner, female essence and knowing. And from that age onward, I was a full-blown overachiever and perfectionist, seeking my sense of self and worthiness through my worldly successes. It was this strongest, most resilient layering of identity and public persona that I had to unravel if I was to heal my swan soul.
Swans are a classic symbol of the power and beauty of the Deep Self. Your in-the-world identity and persona can either serve your swan soul, or slowly burn it dead until no trace remains in your waking world.
This week begin an inventory of the core elements of your identity and public persona. What are the key roles you play in your everyday life? What do you do for a living? What is your relationship and family status? What groups are you part of? What is important to your sense of self? How do you name and describe yourself to others? How do external elements such as family, career, education, socioeconomic status, cultural/ethnic roots, religious/spiritual beliefs and groups/causes form part of your identity? What parts of your personality feel essential to your identity? What parts do you keep private and secret from others? What masks do you wear in the world which feel protective or contrived to you, and not connected to who you truly are? Whose voices do you hear in your head when you think about who you are? What would it be like to strip some of these core elements of your identity away? Who would you be then? What would it feel like?
As you go through this inventory, pay attention to what nurtures and feeds your swan soul, and what is restrictive and deadening to your inner beauty and power. Imagine that wall of intertwined swans from my dream. What pairing of your swan soul and her in-the-world mate best represents your life: two white, healthy swans both growing and flourishing; or the blackened and dying partners? Be honest with yourself, and be hopeful, because the point of increasing your self awareness is to make new choices that better serve your life.