While on another trip to my Hairy Pagan friend we started looking at some of the old techniques we’d looked at in previous training sessions. This time though we would work in three different magical spheres (picture the three-tiered game of chess on Star Trek). The irony of this scene is that McCoy, upon seeing Spock playing chess while Kirk is on trial, remarks, “Mr. Spock, you’re the most cold-blooded man I’ve ever known.” To which, Spock replies, “Why, thank you, Doctor”. The exchange seems juxtapositioned to the theme of kindness, compassion and empathy which I’ve previously been blogging about but of course as any “true” Trekker knows Spock is FAR from cold-blooded.
The first sphere was working with the Sword. The Sword in magical traditions is used to cut and prepare space, often representing the will of the witch or magician yet it has only been through working alongside my Hairy Pagan friend that I’ve begun to understand what “will” is. In Judo a black belt in the final run of their exams they would undergo the process from dawn until dusk traditionally and this was done so as to reveal their spirit through the shear exhaustion as the martial artist wears down and slowly begins to work from the muscle memory and afterwards a ‘spirit’ within them. The idea is that practice and working through all the levels of wielding a sword can help a magical warrior claiming space. Using the Sword, we made the following cuts:
- 8 Directions
- Cuts using left and right
- 9 Body Cuts (right & Left)
- 3 circles – ankles, waist and head; starting in the east.
Working with the Sword like this helped to limber me up as it had been a while since I’d taken up a weapon to practice with. Besides limbering me up the specific cuts and strikes allowed me to build up visualisation and muscle memory. Working on both left and right works different muscles as well but also develops the core self as the weilder learns that they can fight with both arms equally.
The second sphere was working on Drumming and Chanting (I’ll try and get some of the chants up in a few weeks time – I’m working from work of all places as my laptop is getting repaired at the moment). This stage of the work involved using a Djembe and Bodhrán using a number of pagan chants. Between the beat of the djembe and the rhythme of the bodhrán and the pacing of a the songs/chants I was a learning to relax a lot more. Sure I missed things as my critical mind crept in but I wasn’t as nervous about my terrible singing voice anymore. A curious thing happened between the Sword-sphere and the Breathing and Drumming sphere the partial seizures which were stressing me out subsided after breathing and drumming work, why I’ve no idea. Perhaps theres a connection to the brain receptors which looked at left and right brain connections that were relaxed in the breathing and music. It’ll be interesting to see as time moves on.
“I don’t mind and You don’t matter” breathing as we came to call it was a lot of fun as it has been something that since my first readings on Wicca and modern witchcraft I was very much interested in breathing as a premise to “altered states”. The premise of this was to build up the core of the practitioner’s body while ‘tripping’ the mind to prepare for the other-world. Basically I felt as though the physical and mental world around me simply didn’t matter as a constant concern and worry. I felt entirely blissed out.
Circle Casting – using 2 wands charged from the Orange centre, while facing east. The Goddess breathes downward first while the God breathes upwards using white light. (I noticed that the wand was “crowned” with a white star). Using this rainbow technique we cast circle expanding this outward to the surrounding area. Given that it’s now Pride here in Limerick the rainbow is a very apt symbolism combined with the rejuvenating force of the wand. *After the circle casting we chanted: ‘Om Mani Padme Om’, ‘May I be free from Suffering’ (upwards, changed to “others be” back down).
Taking a small break we looked at a history of Wicca with some discussion on it.
Moving onwards with the work ahead and still feeling very blissful and aware of the moment we recited a call to the God and Goddess and to others that seek what we seek – which is a shared space to develop spiritually and magically as Pagans and Witches. As we sang songs inviting people along I saw friends and others coming along dancing ecstatically and joyfully along.
By the end of it all I suddenly was made aware that we’d somehow misplaced a huge chunk of time. Seriously, we were having so much fun we may have stopped paying attention to the road signs a wee bit but only in the sense that we had an interesting trip around the countryside and seen some wonderful and enjoyable sights. It’s this space that we’re hoping others interested in magic and paganism and Wicca would like to come and experience some of the fun for themselves.
There was a great deal more to the day’s proceedings but as with such things its experience rather than story-telling that works best.