Training Weekend: What Happens

Okay I’ve been remiss again and for this I can only apologise but know ye know why I’ve created a Twitter and Facebook Page so you dearest readers can be updated directly through your various online presences without too much hassle.

New poseI have been consistently training once a week since I last posted, missing just one week, and getting to grips with the lesser discussed (and I’d wager somewhat unique) approach to studying Wicca from an Outer Court perspective. Readers of this blog will have read how myself and my Hairy Pagan friend have been working on physical side of fitness for the Craft initially starting with sword-wielding and a variety of deep breathing exercises as well as Zen walking to learn more of our surroundings, but what I’ve not included in any of my accounts but have hinted at is the effect thats been witnessed in me and whats happened around me.

Saturday last, started as a fairly normal training day except we started with Drumming and Chanting as I needed to work on my bodhran technique and learning how its more than a drum in a musician’s hands. To be honest I have a new-found respect for all the musicians who came into our pub every weekend as my muscles were aching minutes in. I realise now that I hadn’t been holding the bodhran correctly nor striking it right on the upwards beat. Due to a lack of practice my ability to process spacial awareness has been deminished more than I’d realised as we were working on the djembe for a while to practice rythmic movements. The whole focus of this is known in theory to me because whether in Circle or at a Pagan gathering or simply at an arts event the group of people listening to music respond differently to the beating of the drum or other instrument. Music is but one of the many ways people are carried off into another mindset or another place. As if to prove this point we spent 50-55 minutes on drumming and chanting before we copped we’d been swept up in the process.

Taking on the logic of music its not a huge leap to jump to movement. Now same scéal (story) applies here with my fascination with how ritual can craft together music, dance and performance to effect change psychologically as well as magically so finally starting to explore this firsthand is a huge opportunity for me on so many levels. Like the dancer in a correographed piece Exercise is pivotal to good, safe movement. There is an element of my epilepsy which belies sensory processing issues and so exercise allows new sensory connections between my logical, left-hemisphere and my creative, right-hemisphere. The focus is on strengthening the spine and getting it used to greater movement. What I’ve noticed is that I’m loosing some excess fat and my posture is increasing helping all else along.

Taking the physical side of the spiritual back into the spiritual practices we’ve been working on Eastern forms of meditation and energy raising. The idea is not to quickly direct the energy somewhere (though something does happen I’ll chat about in a little bit*) but to observe it’s natural flow in the body as such many of the mantras we use during Zen walking come in handy. We did do some Zen walking on Monday but we’ll chat about that in a little bit. Since the Training Days are aimed at my Outer Court training we’ve also started exploring some basic methods of Casting a Circle using athames, wands and even just our own energy.

Soul-Retrieval Work

Soul retrievalSomething myself and my Hairy Pagan friend have been exploring is the idea of responsibility in the Craft, now I don’t just mean responsibility of one’s magic but of being an active participant in one’s life, in one’s community. This is something a lot of my magical friends are quite unanimous in is the Headology of magic. I referenced it briefly in my article with the Irish Independent but having epilepsy I’m hugely aware that not everyone is in a place to be fully embodied all the time and so when my Hairy Pagan friend suggested we do some drumming for the healing of people we knew I jumped at the chance.

Healing in the Craft and in magic as a whole is such a strong impulse as we don’t like to see others in suffering but we also learn of limitations and why its important to heal ourselves. A cautionary note here: I’m firmly of the belief that a former acquaintance who was prone to making whimsical statements about magic [insert relevant healing modality here] would heal ended up pinning all their hopes for a cure for themselves on me finding a cure for a neurological condition which is considered genetically inherited instead of understanding that they were projecting. The fundamental understanding was that I was broken just like them rather than I was different from societies’ conventions of what makes a healthy person.

During the soul-retrieval work I saw one person’s various aspects returning to them, invigorating them as it did so. The next person was in a different space and was battling two sides of themselves one was struggling to come to the surface and the other was arguing for self-harm. All that can be offered in either case is the ability to offer connection and ask what supports are needed. This is difficult for all of us especially those of us who do not come from healing professions.

Monday brought with it more training but of a different pacing. We went about having some food and to help digestion before attempting any exercises we went on a walk and did some Zen walking. Food grounded us but it also brought us out into the local community and offered me the chance to meet new people working for the betterment of their own communities. Connections were made to fortify and develop plans to regenerate local projects. And this isn’t something new its been happening for the past few weeks as we undertake our training. Friends within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender* Community have even heard of what happens in this area and have shown an interest in developing similar models for the LGBT Community as well.

So when I speak of Wicca or of the Golden Dawn this is the type of work that magic ought to inspire and join in.

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