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Monday, 2 May 2011

Making friends with the Earth, Moon, Sun and Stars

A few months ago, I sat at my altar and asked for guidance from the Guardians. I asked how I could deepen my practice and requested that they help me to ‘fill in the blanks’ of my personal spiritual devotions. Almost immediately I got a hit from them: they said that I should ‘make friends with the Earth, Moon, Sun, and Stars’. (I capitalise these to emphasise the magico-spiritual qualities, as opposed to the physical and scientific view.) Now, the ramifications of that statement are manifold (and I would like to explore them in another essay, especially from a more Qabalistic viewpoint) but one way that this is relevant is when we are planning magic, the focus of this essay.
Consider the first of these bodies: the Earth. She is our mother, the most physical and sensual manifestation of the Goddess. She is immediate – the ground upon which we walk and from which grows our food. The Earth is continually bathed in the energies of the Moon, Sun, and Stars and puts them to use. In this sense, we should connect with the energies of the Earth for each act of magic, and in fact, most of us do! If you practice grounding, deep breathing (this oxygenated atmosphere being specific to our world) or any other form of preparation like this, you are connecting with Earth energies. Any physical props we use for magic come from the Earth; therefore Her energies are inherent in what we do. The relationship we have with the Earth should be our prime relationship. (This should be a conscious decision to relate to the Earth – unconscious relationship is not going to be helpful in the long run).
The Moon has an extensive global mythology and to even scratch the surface of it would require a whole volume of essays. Nevertheless, I would like to focus on how I personally view the Moon from my own idiosyncratic Feri perspective. When I first started Witchcraft I was led to believe that the Moon was female, a Goddess, and this is how most Witches relate to the Moon. The most compelling arguments for the Moon being female are the connection between women’s menstrual cycle and the Moon and that the Moon has a softer, more feminine energy. (The connection between the three phases of the Moon and three phases of a woman’s life has never made sense to me. Don’t men have three phases too?)
I have never felt the Moon as female; I see its energies as masculine, the ‘man in the moon’. This fits with a lot of cultures (I am thinking of the Norse, Egyptian, Hindu and Traditional Japanese pantheons here). I understand the Moon as the most obvious symbol of the Divine Twins. The two ‘moving’ phases represent the Twins, as they are separate, yet mirrored, entities. The waxing and waning of the Moon represent this Twin energy for me. I see the full Moon as the joining and dissolution of the Twins; the pearlescent joy of two halves coming together to form a whole (‘coming’ being a nice pun – I see an obvious connection between semen and the Moon). The dark Moon for me is the sense of division and separation fully realised – the necessary longing and absence that allows us to feel desire for unity. Crowley’s Liber al vel Legis captures this perfectly: “ For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union…that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all”. Feri Tradition often sees the coming together of the Twins as Melek Ta’us, and one of His symbols is the pearl. What is the Moon, if not a huge pearl in the sky?
The practical application of this lunar magic is immediate: the Moon’s energies are one of the most used in spell casting. Personally, I feel spellwork is most effective when done while the Moon is moving, so that spells for increase are done while the Moon is increasing, and vice versa. The full Moon, traditionally a time for celebration, fits in with my view of the full Moon representing the joy and connection of the Twins in love and lust. The dark Moon is a time for introspective workings and divination; when we can divine our true desires as we long for wholeness.
As the Moon is the changing face of the Twins, the Sun is the eternal Star Goddess, She who gave birth to our galaxy. She is the sustainer of life, the prime source of all. We experience God Herself as the Star Goddess, and what is the Sun but the most important star in the sky? Solar magic is magic for longevity, for life, for healing. Yet, there is a danger to the Sun. If we are not careful, we can burn. The Goddess is birth and death, construction and destruction. The Sun that warms our planet is the Sun that starts a forest fire, consuming life indiscriminately.
In this specific climate, the Sun and the Earth engage in a unique dance: as the Earth rotates around the Sun, we encounter the different seasons, each of which has particular magical qualities. Spring helps us to begin afresh, to cleanse things from our life, to rejoice in the natural world. Summer is for celebration, for wholeness, for sexuality and sensuality. Autumn is a time of slowing down; of reflection and reaping the harvest of our efforts. Winter is the time of being dormant, of planning, of rest and hibernation. We can tap into these energies by planning our magic accordingly. For those Feri who follow the Wicca-inspired Sabbats, this is the most usual way of attuning to the seasons; for those of us who do not, simply recognising the shifting face of the world each day and being fully conscious of this is enough.
The Stars are perhaps the most elusive, yet also the most familiar. Everybody in the world knows their star-sign (well, sun-sign, at least) and horoscopes are commonplace. I do not wish to discuss the merits of astrology, for that is beyond the scope of this essay. Rather, I wish to focus on a Feri-inspired view of the celestial realms, specifically how we can involve them in magical timing.
In Feri, we work with seven Guardians, who are often called the Guardians of the Elements of Life. While, yes, they do correspond nicely to the four (or five) elements, I believe they are much more. They seem more celestial or heavenly, and other essays discuss the origins of the Guardians as descendants from the Nephilim, or Star People. My personal relationship with the Guardians tells me that each Guardian has a special role in various elements of Feri practice. A couple of years ago I met the Guardians in a trance and asked them when they would like me to give them offerings. The Guardians told me that they correspond to the seven traditional heavenly bodies, and thus the days of the week and planetary hours. This astrology interests me as a Feri Witch. Briefly, in order:
Monday = Moon = Guardian of the West
Tuesday = Mars = Guardian of the South
Wednesday = Mercury = Guardian of the East
 Thursday = Jupiter = Guardian of the North
Friday = Venus = Guardian of the Centre
 Saturday = Saturn = Guardian of Below
Sunday = Sun = Guardian of Above
By combining the knowledge of the Guardians, with that of the Earth, Moon, and Sun, we can call in as many energies as possible when planning a spell or ritual. I will give a common example: a love spell.
First, we whittle down our desire so we know specifically what we want. I always do divination (perhaps on a Sunday, or during the dark Moon) and imagine I have divined that what I want is a sexually compatible lover, rather than a life partner. Firstly, I will call in the energies of the Earth and select appropriate oils, herbs, candles, and images that remind me of amazing sex. Then I need to relate to the Moon: if I wish to bring something toward me, I work my spell during the waxing Moon. If I know there is something specific barring me from realising my wish, I could work during the waning Moon, or perhaps I could do two spells, thereby further calling in the power of the Twins. If I am lucky, and it is springtime, then I have called in the energy of freshness and new beginnings, or I can use the heat of the summer to fuel my passion. Finally, I relate to the Stars by either working my spell on a Friday or a Tuesday, calling in the power of either Guardian of the Gate or Shining Flame. (Or, if I want to be even MORE specific, I could work out the correct planetary hour…)
While obviously we cannot always utilise every single compatible energy from these four, conscious meditation on them and the development of a strong relationship with them as allies can only help fuel our magic. By making friends with the Earth, Moon, Sun and Stars, we not only make more powerful magic, we become more attuned to the universe, and (Qabalistically) more aligned with our souls and the Four Worlds. This is strong work. 

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