Well normally I’m one to avoid May Day or Bealtaine like the plague. In Irish lore it’s referred to as the Cattle Raiding Season on account of the end of the Winter cycle and the need to prepare for the Summer again. For this reason it was tradition to not have a large affair for Bealtaine and to be mindful of what you give away (NB: This is NOT an excuse to be a miserly git!), if you have excess leave it for the “Good People”, traditionally inferred as the Fairies but in actuality often one’s neighbours and those is more need in the community. For anyone thats been barely above the poverty margin you’ll know that it can often be the community that judges harshly.
So for Bealtaine this year I spent most of the day battling with a contract, which seems poetic enough for the season before descending on my Hairy Pagan mate’s house. He’d invited a number of friends around to have sing-song, some tea and banter and just listen to each other’s stories.
MAGICAL HEALING or HEALING MAGICALLY
The subject of healing and how being heard, or more distinctly being truly listened to, can have a healing quality of it’s own. Basically a sangha of sorts. The question was put out there to the Wiccans and Pagans present (not all of us were); what makes healing spells and rituals work? It’s become very popular to cite Terry Pratchett’s headology in modern witchcraft and in particular his character of Nanny Ogg so I did. Not missing a beat I was challenged straight away with:
“Why don’t books on Wicca [and witchcraft] include this aspect in their healing rituals then?”
Not going to lie folks… bit floored as I had to concede that Wiccan books and magic do tend to advise the practitioner do something physically to enable the magic to manifest. So if I’m working a Prosperity Spell for financial security over a certain period I’ll gather my ritual items and ingredients and if I’m swarthy enough I’ll ask for a sign the spell is working within say one month (thanks for the tip Nick!) but most books focus on what happens next – nearly all authors on magic suggest you get off your backside and go search for a job or make better effort at your current place of work or even play the damned Lotto! Something, anything to allow this change in the universe to manifest in your life. Same for Romance, you want a new boyfriend, fine spend €10-12 on a rose for a ritual that asks you to crush it all up (yep did it too!) see the incurred cost as a sacrifice and kick back and wait. Nope, once again books suggest you get up and go places to engage with other human beings (I know I think this can be such a chore too!) and allow the universe to do what it needs to after you went nagging at it.
But Healing is a bit more tricky to advise on. Not least of which because authors can be sued but because healing often means stepping beyond one’s comfort zones. Nanny Ogg would find more magic in visiting the sick person, helping them out by cleaning their house or making tea and offering a listening ear. In books, however, as stated we aren’t given any such advice or worse told to kick back and wait for it to work. A few months back I worked a Healing Ritual devised by Nick Farrell for author Donald Michael Kraig (RIP) as he faced his battle with cancer. To be honest I primarily saw the ritual as a symphony of magical practitioners working together for a good cause but magic worked then just not exactly how we thought but many people joined in helping Kraig and his family financially afterwards. So even if it wasn’t consciously done there was a move to act as agents and participants in our magic then. So why aren’t we doing this more often? Or if we do, why don’t we talk about it?
It’s almost as though to admit that magic needs a physical partnership with the magician/witch is to somehow admit defeat. Of course there is also the fear of failure at such a crucial moment in magic. Its like our magical credentials or C.V. is under scrutiny.
Over on his blog – and quite independently from myself – Peregrin Wildoak has been positing on the social actions of (aspiring) magicians. Peregrin’s blog is worth a read as he focus’s more on the structuring of groups towards this end. Where we see ourselves is an interesting aspect to magic as quite often magic is structured from the perspective of the magician or witch in magic Circle commanding (or at least petitioning from privilege) spirits and Gods to heed us.
I suppose because a few weeks back I conducted my first humanist-paganesque Naming Ceremony I’ve been considering how ritual has two faces; the magical, and then the communal/personal (social/psychological). The Social and Psychological are held distinct from the psychological of ritual magic here, for example the Family weren’t religious pagans so a religious ceremony wasn’t really going to work for them and even if it did would mean more terms to confuse guests. Being a big believer in effective communication I specifically asked them about this. Also as a formal naming in the presence of the Community we had a pool of people from a few communities offering different elements of support to the new born and the family. At the end of the day it felt like such a subtle but no less powerful form of magic. The act was also followed up by people coming for a meal to welcome the new member of our community.
Hopefully some ideas around the pre-tense surrounding Healing Arts can be redressed here for people and a few ideas can be engaged in and questioned.
But just in case you thought I’d forgotten it was Bealtaine I thought I’d share some Pole Dancing click the link and visit Facebook: