This post isn’t yee-haw rabble-rousing or a super-scrumptious recipe (though I have a couple of those that hopefully I’ll get around to soon)… this post is going to ask you to think a little deeper, and maybe question how you do things both in your life and (interestingly) in your ritual.
Let me put out a disclaimer – I do not, in any way, claim to “know” how this is supposed to work. I’m not an Elder passing down sage, “do not break” wisdom that’s been told to me & drilled into my head. Nope, this is all just what comes to me as my brain trips along on it’s own happy way. So I’m not telling you how you need to do things… just nudging that maybe it’s good to question the status quo every so often… because what works for somebody else doesn’t necessarily work for you – or me.
When I was just beginning in the craft (and honestly, I still feel as though I am), I was convinced that there had to be “a way” to do things. My best guess is that this feeling was a holdover from being raised in the church – where there is a right & wrong way for everything, and your actions aren’t “real” unless you follow how you’re supposed to do them. And as I read some books and spoke to some teachers, that presumption was further ingrained. There were discussions of learning how to do rituals, what words to say, altar set-ups, times of year/month/day, what clothes to wear (or not), etc etc etc… It was exhausting and I felt as though I’d never actually “get it” – and more destructively than that, I felt for years that I couldn’t move forward on my path without latching myself to a teacher and learning “the hidden secrets” of magic.
Well, I’ll tell you the “woo woo big secret” that I’ve learned. There is no fucking secret. You just DO IT. … More on that later.
You’d think, OCD & Virgo as I am, that I’d have reveled in the idea that there were strict guidelines for doing magic, diagrams to match, angles & directions to consider, hard and fast rules by which I could know without a doubt, that I was “doing it right”.
But I hated it. I hated the idea of rules. I hated the thought that I had to have a certain candle or face a certain way before I could do anything. And holy hell, the idea that a specific time was required? Forget about it – my schedule is insane. The thought that I’d have to do a specific ritual in a specific way with the “proper” use of tools and candles and herbs and what-have-you before I could advance to another level of learning & magic? … Yeah, that chapped my ass exactly BECAUSE my rational OCD brain loved it.
Magic shouldn’t be rational. It can’t be – not ultimately… because we are magic, the earth is magic, everything is magic – and that means chaos just as much as it means order.
I don’t know if you’re watching the new ‘Cosmos’ series with Neil deGrasse Tyson, but you should be. Every single episode is mind-blowing in a whole new, unexpected way. And I credit the show with bringing some of my thoughts on this matter into brilliant focus.
Because I was watching one episode where Neil was discussion the vastness of known space. I’m not talking about our solar system, or even our galaxy – but ALL of it… It’s so beyond huge that it just makes you sit in awe.
While watching and letting my brain just run with this, the thought came to me: “So… what, exactly, is ‘North’ again?”
I mean… in all this vastness – does it REALLY MATTER if we’re facing left or right when we call on our magic? Or are we saying that our magic is limited to our planet? … Because I don’t think I can get behind that. If I’m magic, and my world is magic, and everything in it is magic, then it just stands to reason that everything it’s in is magic too. And that’s a really really lot of everything.
And that pretty well sealed the deal for me on ‘rules’. Because when I close my eyes, and open myself up to everything that I’m a part of… Well, we’re all just spinning and hurtling through time and space – and the more limitations and restrictions you put on that, the more you limit your magic.
Now, like I said at the top, this is by no means supposed to be an order of what YOU should do or not do – and I’m not saying there’s no place for ritual or tradition… of course there is. They’re a vital part of what makes us who and what we are… I’m just saying that for me, I’ve already got “order” down cold in the, let’s just say ‘mundane’ parts of my life.
My magic, my freedom, needs to embrace the chaos.
I need to fling my arms wide, throw my head back, and let the energy of everything that is flow through me and include me in the heartbeat of The All. I just need to DO IT.
There are times, I will admit, that I do embrace certain aspects of order in what I do. I love having candles burning and try to have all elements represented. I want to learn more about herbs and symbolism and all the rest as part of a rich and vibrant history of which I’m a part. But all that is when I have time, space, and resources.
Sometimes a feeling comes on me as I’ve crawled into bed and I’ll just lay there, the view of the cosmos spreading out in front of my closed eyes, and call my magic. Doesn’t make it any better or worse than magic done by someone who has spent months planning a ritual and memorizing the words and carefully selecting the tools and herbs and candles for the altar… just makes it different. Makes it MINE.
And really, isn’t that what we’re all working on?