Quick Change

Sometimes we think or behave in ways that are downright disturbing. Some of us more often than others. Our own destructive behaviors can be a mystery to us no matter how we strive to get a glimpse of our self-sabotaging strategies before the damage is dealt. We may be able to see their effect on our loved ones and our surroundings but there are times when, despite our best efforts, the motivations for our trash actions remain as of yet out of our sight. The following is a simple original remedy for such malaise requiring only privacy and spare change. That is what we’re going for, isn’t it; change? (Come down off your pun high-horse.)

MATERIALS: Bowl or jar of pocket change, privacy, a fierce desire to change your actions.

  1. Choose two types of common coin. Do your best to find a reason to prefer one and dislike the other. If you like a gold color and think quarters weigh too much then use pennies as your “good” coins and quarters as your bad. As always, creativity and emotion are key. 
  2. Get yourself into a magical mindframe and be in a comfortable space because the next step is to get uncomfortable.
  3. Get uncomfortable by taking one of your “bad” coins and holding it in your hand as a point of meditation. Begin to guide your mind to the negative behaviors as the “bad” coin burns into your mind. Think of the people you’ve hurt or embarrassed. The opportunities sabotaged. The ripples of negativity that you helped perpetuate somehow. Get angry at the why of it all. Get sad and beg yourself. It doesn’t matter as long as you mean it. When you’ve had enough, throw the coin back into the jar with the rest. 
  4. Take a minute to center, then do the same with a “good” coin. Focus on all the joy and charm and insight you’ve brought the world. All the things you have been and are, but also those future potentials, too! Imagine the best parts of your ideal self radiating into that silly pretty coin. Love it. Then put it back in the jar with the mixed masses.
  5. Now every kind of coin is sloshing around in there, much like in you. Now dump that motherfucker all on the floor in a pile and pretend it’s your only chance to get that bad shit sorted out. Do it steadily and deliberately. Separate all the bad as you imagine the same happening within. When you have them in your hand say a prayer of cleansing and either bury them or, my personal preference, scream bloody murder as you chuck them as hard and as far as you can into a body of water. Bonus points if it’s a river.
  6. Now, take a moment to wide angle the remaining coins on the floor. Let the “good” coins start to stand out. Almost glow. Smile, because you know which ones they are. Put the coins back in whatever container they were in, but as you do be sure to feel those good things whenever you pick up the corresponding type of coin. You’re putting everything except the bad back inside you, but now you know the good when you see it. It’s a good idea to go and go buy yourself something tasty with the rest to positively reinforce your self-improvement efforts, assuming you didn’t pick the most valuable denomination as your “bad” coin.
  7. Keep the very last “good” coin you pick up separate from the rest. You just made a power object. Treat it well.

Zen Cohens

So what exactly does a mantra or a zen koan sound like in the age of terminal late-stage materialism, electromagnetic and sensory bombardment, and productivity maximization? Damn right if you said it sounds like whatever works! 

One of the first significant times I found this magically working for me was at the end of a relationship that dragged out far longer than it should have as I allowed myself to sink into the complacency of creature comforts and subsequently the neglect of those things that really mattered most in the world. The next logical step was for everything to fall apart.

A friend of mine had covered this song in his band and just one single line from the chorus resonated in such a way as to echo between the walls of my skull for weeks to come. Rolling over and over itself as it gained and lost momentum, ebbed and flowed. It became a rotary engine of my will to proceed. My driving, beating war drum of soldiering on toward the healing and growth that would inevitably follow. This particular mantra was from Leonard Cohen’s “Iodine.”

You let me love you

Till I was a failure,

Yeah, you let me love you

Till I was a failure

I have also been wont to use southern style hymns such as “Down to the river to pray” or Tom Waits’ “Cold Water.” Thom Yorke lyrics also work really well since they’re almost entirely pre-existing popular sayings framed sonically to alter the usual meaning by changing their context. Let me be clear: This kind of poetry, rearranging the current resources available to your benefit is magic.

Use what works for you. If you get a song stuck in your head, stop and listen to it. What are the lyrics telling you about your right now? Do not underestimate the Unconscious, or your team of helpful spirits feeding seemingly random thoughts into your inner dialog like easter eggs in a stock ticker. The sooner you learn to listen for these moments and acknowledge them (to yourself and to your guides,) the sooner magic begins to fill in all the cracks and in-betweens and opens up your life to high adventure and high strangeness. Upgrading the mundane to fantastic offers a self-perpetuating and infinitely gratifying worldview. Once it gets off the ground it can fly you around on its own steam for the rest of your life, at the very least.

Keep going. We’re all dying to live.

A Prayer to our Wizard Ancestors

Ancestors and honored dead are invaluable allies who truly care about our well-being, but we usually encounter the most willing the most easily. What about the less willing? What about when you follow your line back, do you have any saints? Any kings, mages, or witches? When you consider the web of genetics widening as we travel back through time, we can all safely assume we have wizards and witches in our blood. So how do we access those ancestors for help and learning? This is my experimental answer to that very thought. Why not ask the closer ones to go back for us? After all, magic is all about petitions.

All you need is some incense (frankincense is holy enough to land a default position for me, but if you have a “home” feeling scent, by all means go nuts,) a candle, and a cool glass of fresh water in a clean glass. Try this in the morning or at night before bed for a couple weeks and keep a log of any changes in dreamscapes and coincidences.

I call out to my honored ancestors, whether human, spirit, god, rock, plant, mountain, river, insect, star, planet, moon, fungus, virus, bacteria, or any other form of person unbeknownst to me. I call out to any and all who are invested in my path to be here now. Be here and hear me. 

Arrive and partake of this cool, clear water. May it quench your thirst. Partake of this smoke, that it may comfort you. Partake of this candle flame, that it may bring you warmth and light, now and forever.

I am your descendent who carries your warm blood upon this earth with his bones. It is I who carries the light which was born of your toil. Your tears and your laughter are as songs in my heart. I am the torchbearer of our line. I remember you who came before. I remember you and I honor your efforts. I honor you in the life that I now live and to this beating heart I am true. 

I call out to you who lived well and died well and made it through the veil. I call out to you who have a stake in the fate of your family line and I ask for your guidance and protection. I call out to you and ask for your assistance in delivering the following message so that it is heard. Carry it up our family lines and as far back as possible so that all of the honored dead may hear:

I call out to you who came long ago. I call out to my ancestors, to those who came before me, who understood secret things in their lifetimes, who joined in the sabbat, who recited scripture to make things happen, who healed with herbs, who told fortunes, who took up the cloth, met Jesus, spoke with saints, communed with angels, pacted with demons, spirits, or crossed the hedge on moonlit nights, I call out to you and I ask you for connection, for your knowledge and your wisdom. You are needed in these times. I need your guidance and wisdom here and now, ever and always. 

Reveal yourselves to me in dreams or show me a sign through the day. I ask you for closer contact and more direct communication. I ask you for protection. I ask you for abundance. And I ask you for all of the secret knowledge of our bloodlines. I ask you, honored ancestors, to entrust me with the task of setting our ship straight and passing on the torch before it is time for me to join you. I ask you for your secrets.

I am the magician, the priest, the mystic of our line. Please show me the ways of my birthrights, that our legacy may be bright and beautiful, just and serene.

If you haven’t seen some changes in your dreams or strange synchs within a week or two and you’re determined, consider hosting a dumbsupper. Food might do the trick.

If there is static, negative or malicious goings on, or if your general mood and mindframe suffers, do an ancestral elevation rite as soon as you can (Chiron Armand’s instructions are simple and effective.) After clearing some of that up, return to this prayer. The idea of asking for “honored” ancestors is to differentiate those that have crossed over and chose to return here to help, between those who may be stuck or actively problematic for the family so this prayer alone shouldn’t draw anything nasty out, but I feel better offering some recourse in the unlikely event of the wyrd getting worrisome.