In the horrifyingly likely case that pandemic-monium resumes this fall and “Thou shalt stay indoors” returns to its place on the third tablet as the awkward eleventh commandment, I thought it prudent to share some outdoor summer-shorts praxis. Obviously, I would never suggest anyone do anything illegal, so know your local (enforced) laws, because this involves mushrooms. However fungi are not the focus, but the vehicle, and there’s plenty of useful praxis here without entheogens and room for substitutions and experimentation (insert cannabis here.) But this technique is for connecting with plants, after all, and who better to help out with that process than our actual ancestors and the literal plant-internet?
Now, surely throughout your time spent roaming your local wilds there have been a few majestic members of the flora that have happened to catch your attention. These are the connections this praxis is meant to explore and strengthen. That pull to one plant over another is intuition, no matter how much logical mush you drown it in. This kind of attraction often plays out in the conscious mind disguised as a rational choice, but those explanations always come secondary to the impulse. The impulse is holy, trust it. Go and find a spot outdoors where you will be comfortable sitting for at least an hour and turn off your phone. Find a spot where there is some cozy sense of invitation, perhaps a spot where you notice a couple of your aforementioned favored local plants. If not, find some you like. You don’t need to know anything about them, not even their names. Sit and listen, observe. Do nothing else for that hour. Choose one or several plants growing within your view that you noticed feeling fond of in that hour and turn your phone back on, take some pictures, and identify them later.
Get to researching their genetic history, evolution, life stages and cycles, soil, climate and terrain preferences, associated folktales and legends across cultures, myths and lore, planetary associations, magical properties, edibility, medicinal potency, leaf patterns, root structure, and pollinators. And anything else you can think of to learn about said plants. Learn their history, as far as we know, and explore how they are believed to have been carried to where they now reside, all the places that they dwell, as told both by modern science and the peoples with whom they have cohabitated and collaborated. Learn their journey, their story.
On another day, whenever feels right to you, go back to your sitting spot and spend an hour just existing with those plants without any potential for distraction. Bring an offering if you’re so inclined. Just be there. Talk to them if you wish, but mostly be receptive. Try to contain nothing in your mind. No-thought meditation tech is ideal here. Note your emotions as you hone-in on one plant and wait in a receptive state. Do this for all of the plants you studied, one after another, cycling through. Thank them for their company and bid them farewell and feel your gratitude towards them.
Note how knowing their story changed the way you saw them. Note how you felt about each one. Write down some descriptors for each plant and keep that list for later additions.
Whenever you are ready, return to your spot with offerings for the land, and mushrooms, water, and some post-journey fruit for yourself. Milk and honey, fresh fruit, bread, and juice are all excellent land-spirit offerings in my experience, but go with your instinct if it should protest. I recommend 1 – 2 grams for this because a microdose is not quite enough liftoff and a full dose is a bigger commitment (and may end up not being about the plants at all.) A threshold dose is still manageable but with ample boosting of connectivity from our fungi friends.
Essentially, repeat the second visit. Meditating on the way in to the experience is unbelievably beneficial, but once you’re centered, begin to silence your feelings and listen, listen, listen. Plants often project emotions instead of reciting prose, so that bit matters. See if a plant reaches out to you first. If not, send feelings of love and warmth and see what happens. You’re on your own at this point. Experiment.
Thank the spirits of place and record your notes while the experience is still fresh. Your revelations may blow away in a breeze like a dream in the morning lest you wait too long to record them. How did your experience align with what you learned about the plants in your studies? Were they feisty or friendly? Warm or cold? Was there texture, sound, or color? Regarding any details you add to your list from this third visit, be sure to thank the fungi for facilitating those insights.
I hope this is useful to a few of you beautiful wyrdos, you tormentors of the archons. As always, share in the comments. Be safe, shit crazy. ❤
There is an uncanny amount of garbage clogging up the psychosphere in the form of inaccurate data and media terror campaigns. Whether it’s an Eurobank conspiracy, healthcare/election play, or just pure chaos the only thing any of us can be sure of is that the situation stinks. In times like these I find myself grasping to see above the waves, fruitlessly clinging to hope that somehow I’ll wake up tomorrow and discern signal from static; That it will all suddenly make sense.
So far, each morning, it hasn’t.
In hopes of attaining some clarity I’ve formulated a game plan:
Step One: Commit to NO Coronavirus news for three days. Probably nothing is going to happen in that amount of time. Definitely if anything does, someone will fucking tell you about it. Probably two or three someones before the day is through. Cut it off and see how you feel by the end of day three. If others keep you updated and the lack of stressful news is working for you, keep it going full-steam. Consider what benefit watching news outlets provides you. Consider, objectively, what the effects are when you ingest these sources in your normal life compared to the intensity and quantity you’ve been consuming since the coronavirus took over our lives. Are you actually gaining useful data, or are you only accumulating a greater intensity of emotion? Make a pros and cons list. Do it.
Step Two: There are 24 hours in a day and you can’t meditate for 20 minutes? You’re not even working this week. I kid, I kid. Probably. Really, though, now is the best time to start relieving stress and exploring your inner world. Try out some guided meditations or write and record you own after you realize you could do it better than most of the fluff that’s out there (the spirit guide ones seem to be the least bad.) Then send me a copy of your homemade ones because I need some better options too. We can trade.
Step Three: If you are under quarantine, call someone on the phone every day. At least once. Even if it’s just for a second and for no reason, and trust your intuition. You might not need to hear another human voice right now, but what if that other human voice needs to hear another human voice right now? Small actions can have huge consequences, or did you not read The Hobbit? That could easily be step 3.5 if not.
Step Four: I’ve been drawn to St. Lucy for a while now. She is usually depicted as holding a dish containing a second set of eyes and I, for one, found this to be blatantly divinatory in symbolism. Not only in reference to the ancient art of basin or water divination, but also the concept of second-sight. The ability to see the spirits, the subtleties of matter, or even the Tao itself all fall, in my mind, under this umbrella idea of second-sight. Regardless of St. Lucy’s patronage to the blind and the backstory of her second eyes being merely replacements for the martyred peepers her betrothed had removed upon discovering her christian ways, there is still some kind of magic in that first set of eyes going with God. Ghost eyes, if you will. Not to mention her striking resemblance to the Delphic oracle; branch in her left hand, water basin in her right.
After some internet digging it would seem that there are some southern cunning and conjure spells dealing with St. Lucy and divination. When intuition and research agree enough to get a foot in the door, you get experiments. I modified a common novena to St. Lucy with the renovated intent to help us see through the illusions in our present lives.
To be recited three times daily for nine days. Burn a white candle each day or keep a vigil candle going ’round the clock. Consider using the timing methods suggested in the previous post to this one to decide on a time of day for the initial and subsequent recitations or, as I like to do sometimes on Sundays, set up any saints or angels icons you have and live-stream Holy Mass as a lead-in to your work. Consider some lubricious psalms or a few Hail Mary’s (nothing crazy, just ten or twenty to get your head in the game.)
As always, I invite you to share any comments, questions, or experiences below.
Reverend Janglebones’ Novena To St. Lucy for the Blessing of Second-Sight:
O St. Lucy, you chose to surrender your sight instead of denying the faith and defiling your soul.
You chose to give your eyes to God rather than to close them to His light. And God, through an extraordinary miracle, replaced them with a second set of sound and perfect eyes to reward your virtue and faith, appointing you as the keeper of the second-sight.
They sold your body to sinful men, but they could not defile your soul; for the Bearer of Light in the Darkness is forever chaste in her Holy Death; a martyr for the Lord.
O St. Lucy, protector of the blind, I rely entirely upon your intercession that I may not be counted among those who are blind to the innumerable splendors of the Lord, but that I may see a great many things which would normally be hidden from view, through the virtue of the second-sight which I entreat you to bestow upon me.
Preserve in me the eyes of my soul, the faith through which I can know my God, so that I may see the beauty in Holy Creation, the flow of the Sun, the Moon and stars, the dancing of the Holy Angels, and every deceit devised by spirits malevolent. That I may never lose sight of His love for me, nor the road that leads me to where you, Saint Lucy, can be found keeping company with all of the holy saints and angels.
Saint Lucy, preserve my faith and enhance my second-sight. Amen.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be x3)
O, Glorious St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, you greatly glorified the Lord by preferring to sacrifice your life rather than be unfaithful. Come to our aid and, through the love of this same most merciful Lord, save us from blindness to the Holy Spirit and reveal all illusions in our path. Through your powerful intercession, may we spend our lives in the peace of the Lord and be able to see Him with our transfigured eyes in the eternal splendour of our celestial home. Amen.
St Lucy, pray for us and for those in most need of your blessings.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Candle spells are undoubtedly the basic-bitch of the magic world. Some swear by them and others swear about them, but where is the split? On one hand I can completely understand the allure found in the simplicity of lighting a candle and making a wish but is that really effective? On the other I can see where a more advanced practitioner would gleefully turn their nose up at such a practice, even if just to preserve their own investments in light of the frustration they feel when watching noobs do very little before boldly proclaiming themselves wizards.
In either case there is one thing for certain; there are egos in the way.
If you want to wish into a candle and manifest it subsequently then there are a few ontological and philosophical parameters that I believe can help raise this practice from the shelf of the novitiate and revitalize the heart (and the metaphysics) of the candle spell.
Fire = Hot
First, take a few moments to forget, to the best of your ability, all your learned notions of the metaphorical properties of the elements. Let all those associations go with just a few deep breaths. Now, let’s think about fire for a minute. If you have a candle handy, light it. Sit with it. Think about the nature of that little spirit you’ve just conjured. Consider how easily that little spirit can act like a gremlin fed post-midnight when not properly tended to. Think of a single word to represent the process that is taking place before your very eyes. That light, it’s potential; all-encompassing and fatal. A lack thereof, equally as such.
I personally arrive at the word “Hunger.” with a capital H. In an animist model of the universe, everything has an interiority, a spirit, intelligence, or consciousness. Our fire is the very embodiment of need and this is the only association required here. Fire needs, as do we. Give the fire agency in your mind. Even if you don’t believe it, try it a few times. If you partake of cannabis this is probably all too easy. Perhaps recite Eliphas Levi’s Prayer of the Salamanders. Clear your head and feel the sounds of the words. Build the image in your mind’s eye as you go along and try to keep your mind uncluttered of thought, then sit with your flame. Get to know one another for a while.
How Do You Want It?
The next step is to allow that want/need to flow through you freely as a wild desire. Meditate on the target of your spell. Dig deep within and notice any clever resistances to your goal. Do you actually not feel that you deserve what you want? Are you selling yourself short? This is where the success or failure of your candle spell is most likely determined: Your ability to want with your whole being, totally conscience-free. No guilt, and no shame. If you cannot do this, reconsider your target. More often than we could stomach believing, I’d wager, what we want is actually not that far off, but we have numerous resistances within that prevent the manifestation of our desire. Bhakti yoga can be very helpful in this process. Once the bliss of adoration can flow through you because of a godform, it isn’t that much of a stretch to feel something of similar intensity towards a preferred outcome in your life.
Ongoing shadow work is crucial to keeping one’s intentions pure and powerful, as are ancestral relations. The effectiveness of one’s magic is directly proportional to the amount of clean-up work that has been invested in one’s overall spiritual health and that of their lineage. I mention this now rather than in the last step because there is a lot of prep work to be done here for most everyone.
Don’t say candle spells don’t work if you haven’t put in the time to fortify your own convictions about how your life should look. We have to clean up our messes before we can have any new toys.
Timing Is… …Everything.
If you have a basic understanding of astrology or gods of the classical world, then you understand something of the personalities of the planets. Matching the nature of your spell’s intent to the nature of the planet that rules the day of the week on which you begin your spell, with a petition and offering to that planet at dawn, can greatly increase the chances of your success. Additionally, I always end a candle spell on a full moon regardless of the duration. Consider what sign the moon is in during your spell and how that position, plus any malefic or benefic aspects from the other heavenly bodies might play into your success or failure from an astrological perspective. Or, perhaps use grimoiric timing, the foundation of many later timing systems including that widely employed in Wicca. If you need something now, then by all means do something about it immediately, but often it is far preferable to wait for the right time.
Dress For Success.
Dressing the candle by poking holes of a number somehow relevant to your working and stuffing them with herbs and oils to get the attention of whomever you may be petitioning for assistance is also another helpful way of weaving together your need with the planets of the day, the spirits that assist you, and the raw chemical need of the fire itself. Remember that the animal world has representational language, the spirit world has symbolic language, and we humanfolk have both. This is the way magic works, which reminds me…
Make a sigil of your goal and carve it into the candle, deep enough that it will be visible when lit. You will charge it when you pour your heart and intention into the flame like fuel, emboldening the beacon of your need. The sigil will charge and, as the candle burns, be destroyed and successfully forgotten to the Unconscious realm.
My most successful candle spells have been accompanied by a story as told through a succession of carefully chosen tarot cards laid out in order across the space or surrounding the candle representing the progression of attainment or relevant characteristics. The more intent and sensory guidance you put into this, the more metaphor, the more you will get out but that isn’t to say busier is better. Simple and intentional is best. Make it a story a spirit can understand. The card progression in this post’s main image is meant to convey the acquisition of a lucrative new job in a creative field and I have used Robert M. Place’s Alchemical Tarot for it’s highly illustrative and largely self-explanatory nature (regarding the images, not the alchemical sigil-fest.)
Get clean and get comfortable, in a clean space, and alter your consciousness by your chosen trusted means. Invoke, meditate, take a bong rip, microdose, it doesn’t matter. Make sure you have given thought to your room’s general mood and ambiance and cleared the room or banished and that you will not be interrupted. Petition any of your allies, guides, and honored dead to help in thine occasion, with their own offerings of appreciation according to your relationship with them.
Finally, light your candle. Perhaps you wrote a prayer for your need, or a poem. Never underestimate the power of a few well-chosen words with your whole heart behind them. Perhaps a mantra that fits your work, maybe one of your own devising or some Our Fathers. Perhaps draw a picture and put that under your candle, if visual expression is your bag. Imagine the end result. Imagine, as Mitch Horowitz recommends, remembering doing this spell from the end result. Feel the aching, yearning pull of your targeted desire. Allow that to flow through you like light and sound. Like you’re in love. Get emotionally involved in this and make it count. Stare into the flame and use whatever breathing method works for you. I do a five count in, five count hold, five count out, five count hold, repeat. Shop around.
I sometimes go for an hour per session, sometimes five minutes. This is a personal preference, although I do recommend trying for longer periods. There are levels of intensity that require time investment in order to reach, at least until a familiarity is gained with that conscious state and can thus be invoked with less time and effort. Dawn and dusk are ideal times of day for these sessions unless you are using planetary hours that suggest more favorable options. When you feel your session has ended, snuff out your candle and thank your assisting spirits and ask them to return when you plan to continue. Do show up, though.
If by the end of your spell, like me, you let your candle melt into a disk within its burning dish, think of a nice incantation or prayer to sum up this work and seal the deal by carving it into the leftover wax puck. This can be kept until the fruits of the operation are harvested or, as I usually do with mine, they can be buried in a sacred place or at a crossroads. I offer mine into the earth as a seed down by my hearth in the woods. Make it your own.
I Dare You To Succeed
The best things about candle spells are their diversity and their simplicity. You will not be appropriating anyone’s culture by wishing into a flame and there is an amazing amount of room to make this practice your own. I have found an unusual amount of success in this most basic of magical acts and I urge you to consider these suggestions. Perhaps candle spells do work for you, if you get the peripherals right. Again, the keys to this actually working are the gathering of otherworldly witnesses, the weaving of metaphor, of story in front of them, and the ability to allow desire to truly blossom and flow through you. If these things can be cooperatively employed “silly” will no longer be a word subtexting candle spells in your mind.
Please, share with me your successes and failures, past and present, in the comments below! It is we that are our most valuable resource, we together.
Thanks to GrepGiggles for inspiring this post with a write-in question. My contact form is always open.
Standing on a varietal patchwork of green mosses covering verbosely shaped rock quintessential of the Swedish landscape, surrounded by courageous dendrites whose roots desperately grasp for purchase in the mere inches of windswept topsoil, and with the meager offering of tobacco, I perform the Orphic Hymn to Tyche in the direction of a rising scandinavian sun.
Normally I would burn frankincense and light a candle, but calling in a presence to experience and share the golden light of a wild morning seemed, to me, far richer than incense. This morning practice of performing a Tyche alignment has had some interesting effects in the four weeks since it began. One of which being the invitation from an old friend I hadn’t seen in years to enjoy a weekend with both of our respective fiances catching up and steaming in the loving warmth of a Swedish spa, his treat. This unexpected and treasured time with a beloved and long-missed friend, as well as this luxurious experience which my partner and I could not have afforded otherwise pushed my senses, and my sense of worth, into the realm of miraculous deserving.
Learning how to want is difficult, but for anyone to accept that they actually deserve to be pampered, or wealthy, or loved is a far greater challenge. This is the main lesson I am learning from Tyche. Nobody doesn’t deserve these things. So why not me?
My running thesis at this time is, in that new-thought kind of way, is that we have to actually open those possibilities by healing our misconceptions about our limits and our merits. We have to know that we deserve the things that are best for us before we can truly have them.
There is something else here to be mentioned, though, in the archipelago east of Stockholm. Not so much a something as an undeniable lack of something. There is simply no trace here to be found of that wascally wabbit Wetiko. It’s simply too far out of its jurisdiction. I couldn’t find a trace of rampant cynicism, woker-thans, postmodernist ironies, toxically masculine feminism, or subversive acts of goodwill.
No cannibals here, spiritual or otherwise.
Sure, the Swedes have their own battle with the itch of abandonment their predominantly atheistic materialist-science driven worldview will undoubtedly leave them with eventually, but they simply don’t have the same rampant mind-virus/selfishness algorithm that has absorbed the United States all but entirely.
It’s barely detectable in Stockholm, which is surprising, but back in much more familiar Copenhagen there are signs of the Wetiko pandemic spreading, mostly through the attitudes and speech patterns reverberating through streaming services, and popping up in actual conversations like little spells, tricking the unconscious mind that repeats the pattern into belief that the thoughts are their own, into a thought pattern that is essentially alien and hostile.
My scheduled trip home has me wondering about my spiritual arsenal and just what, exactly, I should be doing to immunize myself against the thick fog of the Selfishness Archon prior to my return.
Suggestions are welcome.
Another interesting result of my daily Tykhe alignment came from a dream in which I walked to the local metaphysical supply store and purchased the silly little Lo Scarabeo Gypsy Oracle deck and, upon actually physically walking to the store in efforts of signaling to the Other that I am paying attention, I discovered none other than the lady Fortune herself, blindfolded and generous, on the back of the pack. I purchased the deck immediately and readings have thus far been amazingly accurate, but not for hypotheticals. It seems Lady Fortune is not inclined to tell me “What will happen if…” but will accurately and readily answer true to “Show me this weekend…” as a closed article of fate.
At the break of dawn, light candle. Fumigation from Frankincense. Honey, Sunflowers, and their seeds are amenable offerings. I offer pocket change occasionally which I let accumulate in a cup before randomly giving the entirely to one street performer, indiscriminately, just as Fortune would do. Visualize each sound and feel it as you slowly and deliberately speak the hymn from your heart. After recitation, wait thoughtlessly and visualize a crown on your head showering gold coins all around you.
Approach strong Fortune [Tykhe], with propitious mind and rich abundance, to my pray’r inclin’d
Placid, and gentle Trivia, mighty nam’d, imperial Dian [Artemis], born of Pluto [Eubouleos] fam’d;
Mankind’s unconquer’d, endless praise is thine, sepulch’ral, widely-wand’ring pow’r divine!
In thee, our various mortal life is found, and some from thee hi copious wealth abound;
While others mourn thy hand averse to bless, in all the bitterness of deep distress.
Be present, Goddess, to thy vot’ry kind, and give abundance with benignant mind.
There’s no doubt that cannabis is a plant on a mission. It’s growing acceptance both culturally and legally is taking hold for the first time in the modern world and its ease of acquisition is at an all-time high.
Forgiving the pun, this brings up an interesting question. What does it look like when someone is actually spiritual allies with cannabis rather than simply dependent on a substance for its “medicinal properties?” In the stoned-ape theory sense, wouldn’t any idiot ape or idiot-of-ape-qualities incidentally ingesting, say, psilocybin mushrooms and various other entheogenic plants such as, say, cannabis be forming bonds with these fungi and photosynthesizers with-or-without the intent to do so?
This case could be made, certainly. But what about the lazy stoners out there clutching xbox controllers for dear life with Dorito-stained hands? There’s no doubt they are under the influence and thus technically communing, but the same could be said for the opium addict nodding out mid sentence. It appears there is an important difference between communion and symbiosis.
Those who commune with cannabis regularly for health conditions, physiological and psychological alike, are certainly allied with the plant in some way, but this seems to be a different relationship dynamic than the kind a magician or witch forms with a plant spirit through the intentions of exploration and the expansion of both wisdom and power. This strikes me as akin to the difference between a dry work relationship and the intimacy of a close confidante.
I would argue that the particular personality of cannabis is one of subtle ferocity, rather than a snacky-sleepy one. Even when a hearty indica pulls your eyes half-mast as you become one with the couch cushions, the spirit you submerge into is tenacious and somewhat sneaky. In plunging the depths of my relationship with her (as well as my couch cushions) in tandem with my spiritual/magical practice I have found a spirit that makes one work really quite hard to unlock her true gifts. In her I have found a spirit just as capable as other entheogens of opening up my direct-perception / spirit-vision and with her own whole set of boons and traps to-boot. She is a powerful plant covered profusely in intoxicating pollen and hardy enough to adapt to an uncanny array of conditions and locales across the planet. This a plant that has been tested by time and elements mercilessly and survived. She’s a fighter. Did you think she was just going to give you the goods without rigorously testing you first?
So what’s the point in ranting about this? Well, hopefully many years of sharing headspace with her, many of those while magically operant, has hopefully left me with at least a helpful word on how to improve this most damaged relationship. After all, un-learning a previously patterned and socially reinforced dynamic in favor of a healthier one which is against the norm is no minor task.
I should also note that when I was actively and heavily addicted to both crack and heroin I would intentionally avoid smoking cannabis when offered because every time I partook my desire to acquire the bad, trap drugs would simply melt away. Even at my truly very worst she was extending a hand and offering a way out of my nightmare. It was only in my total commitment to remaining trapped that I avoided her help. Everyone is obviously entirely their own person and creature especially when it comes to synthesis with plant spirits, I simply aim to offer this as perspective.
The number one advice I can give to aid in forging a healthier relationship with cannabis is to say thank you. For gods’ sake, mind your manners when you’re burning someone’s flesh and entwining your awareness with theirs. It’s very easy. Think about all the good things she has done for you, the good times, the inspirations, the giggles, and then feel that warm glow as you hold in your hit. In your mind, reach down and out with the roots in your feet, find a nice healthy weed plant in your imagination. Connect to that plant and release all that grattitute. Say thank you. Out loud, for a while. Remember you just started minding manners with a being you have been consuming for years. A little extra courtesy would not go amiss.
Try getting around twenty to thirty minutes deep into a creative or constructive project while stone-cold sober. Just when the momentum gets rolling, then take a break and partake and immediately return to your task. Note any difference in focus or productivity. This is especially effective for creatives but anyone who regularly partakes should see a difference with this strategy.
One of her “tests” in my opinion is in overcoming the overly chatty influence she can have on the inner monologue. I see an ancient intelligence throwing out distractions to prevent the less evolved of mind from accessing what she offers. Any repetitive saying works well for this in the raja yoga sense, but I find hail marys and mantras to be particularly effective. Of these options, and considering the goal, either a Kali mantra or Ganesha’s path opening mantra would be ideal. This combination has vastly improved my ability to see the invisible, so-to-speak. If you are catholic or have a rosary, there is something very special and interesting about the presence a round of 50 Hail Mary’s can bring into a space, physical and mental.
I would recommend this formal greeting to Kali for anyone new to her presence:
Om Sri Maha Kalikayai Namah
(aum shri maha kalika-yea namaha)
If you are skilled in the imaginal realm, I highly recommend planting an astral cannabis plant in your immediate vicinity. I do this with all my allies in my astral garden. It’s similar to constructing anything astrally in that a suitable form can be a warm invitation for a spirit to inhabit a designated part of your imaginal realm. Eventually interaction with the spirit can become possible without their physical matter even being present.
I hope this helps someone out there to rediscover this glorious plant; materialistically revered but spiritually taken for granted.
She has so much to give, so much more than she gets credit for.
As much as my feelings on old Al Crowley seem to rest at a comfortable love/hate, the bastard sure could write. He also came up with many useful templates for crafting one’s own spells and incantations, although it sometimes seems these truly profound accomplishments of his get ignored in favor of the more extreme sensory experiences of elaborate ritual pageantry.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that a few well chosen words well-mastered can be just as powerful and without all the expenses and planning. That said, getting comfortable with your own expressions is a hell of a challenge and in hopes of inspiring some of you out there to write your own magic (or use someone else’s template,) I am sharing my own dedication to Kali Ma modeled after Crowley’s instructions in Liber Astarte for crafting a dedication to align oneself with a deity.
This practice is not necessarily devotionalism. It can be, but it can also simply be something akin to tuning an instrument. Once you really have a grasp on the personality you are tuning in to it becomes easy to dial that force back up again from then on. Rinse and repeat until the ability to differentiate one subtle force from another has been developed.
Without further adieu, Liber Kali by Reverend Janglebones.
I plead unto to thee, most terrible Kali
Lend me thy grace and shine thy bright darkness
That I may dissolve at thy lotus feet
OM MA (x3
Hail demonslayer, great Goddess of black
My skull and my sword, they are yours to your service
Until your great tongue takes them back
OM KRIM KALI (x3)
Grandmother weaver, from whom all is born
You could blink but your eye and erase every form
You could cease but your laughter and freeze time in stone
And in you, not ever, has a soul been alone
OM KALI MA (x3)
Oh mighty and merciful Kali,
Without whose darkness there could be not the stars
Without whose thirst for destroying illusions
Without whose ecstatic emancipation I would be
Forever bound and found-less
OM KLIM KALIKAYAI NAMAHA (x3)
Did you not confer to me a compact
When I thought none I could accept, surely?
Until the shape of fate laid prone before me
From birth unto death
Shone the one single thing I’d regret if my breath
OM SRI MAHA KALIKAYAI NAMAHA (x3)
Always do you see me, never falling for my charms
Reflecting as a confidante the profundity of my folly
Marking out ahead of me the tripwires of desire
And chivalrously sounding the alarms
OM HRIM SHRIM KLIM ADYA
KALIKA PARAM ESHWARI SWAHA (x3)
Hail She of shameless night, bare-breasted in Her glory
Whose nectar from the deepest rose bestows memento mori
I would drink of your sap and collapse in your Shakti
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.
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.
Get yourself into a magical mindframe and be in a comfortable space because the next step is to get uncomfortable.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keep the very last “good” coin you pick up separate from the rest. You just made a power object. Treat it well.
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.
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.