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Posted on:  Aug 3, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Everyday Magic
Our breath, though we ignore it most of the time, is something we are intimately familiar with. It is an innate, natural part of our human functioning that we could no more suppress than we could stop the rising and setting of the sun.
Every moment of our life is marked by its presence. We come into a life on a breath, and leave it on a breath, and mark every moment in between by its rhythmic, never-ending cycles.
Breath is the dance of our inner world with the outer world. In-breath: we enter deep inside ourselves. Out-breath: we share what is inside with the world. Return in-breath: we draw the world back into our body and let it feed and change us.
Most of us have lost the true capacity of our breath. We breathe in a shallow, truncated form, neither fully filling our bodies, nor fully emptying them. We ride the crest of our breath, rather than the deep and wide range of its powers and mysteries.
Yet what is lost can be regained. We can learn, through conscious awareness and specific techniques, to breath in the manner our bodies and beings where designed to function.
And when we do, our bodies are enriched and our conscious awareness expands, because breath is the bridge between the physical and the spiritual, where mysteries unseen are made manifest in our living forms.
Read the above once more, but now apply these same words to magic.
Breath is magic. And magic is breath.
Posted on:  Jan 15, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  From the Tale
With her hands on her belly, Annie begins to breathe in a deliberate, entrancing rhythm, pushing air through her throat in a manner that amplifies the sound. The red fabric of Annie’s dress accentuates the movements of her belly, rounding outward with her long, slow inhalations, and flattening inward with her leisurely exhalations.
I close my eyes and let the music of Annie’s breathing fill me. My breath spontaneously responds in sympathetic resonance — slow, slow in, my belly rounds out — slow, slow out, my belly flattens. The rest of my body remains motionless. I hear my ritual companions join in, enriching and intensifying this common, shared pattern, and melting the boundaries that separate us. My breath becomes Annie’s and my neighbor’s, and their breath becomes mine, until we are all breathing together in one sensuous, measured cadence.
“Relax and empty your mind of all but the sounds and sensations of our joined breath. Slow, deep, steady,” Annie says in a low, enchanting voice, “On every in-breath feel the energy build and swell in your belly. On every out-breath let this power spread through your whole body, from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, pushing out and emptying you of extraneous thoughts and concerns, and of physical pains and tensions. Allow your breath to cleanse and renew you, and ground you fully in the present moment. Only the sounds and movements of your breath matter — in and out, in and out.”
Annie’s suggestions seem to enter my body and take on a life of their own. My breath stokes my belly like a bellows, fanning an inner heat in my center, and building an intense energy that courses through my upper torso, head and arms, and through my lower body and legs. My mind and body feel strangely open and empty, yet simultaneously buzzing, like live electrical wires.
“Now on the out-breath send that belly energy down through the bottom of your feet and into the earth, like roots of a tree digging deep, deep into the rich, loamy soil,” Annie says, “And up through the palms of your hands, like branches reaching far, far into the starlit sky. Feel the full extension of your being and your true, holy nature, for we are each made of Heaven and Earth, and of light and matter.”
From a hidden place inside of me, I naturally understand and respond to Annie’s words, fueling my inner heat on every in-breath, and sending that buzzing aliveness coursing through my flesh and out of my body, earthward and skyward, on every out-breath. Over and over I repeat this process until I imagine myself anchored in and stretched between, like a shining silver cord, the very heart of the earth and the heart of the stars.