Come with me while I journey as an Initiate through the Feri Tradition of Witchcraft - a shamanic path of fey sorcery; a martial tradition of magic.

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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Watering the Flower(s)

"Who is this flower above me? And what is the work of this God? I would know myself in all my parts. " - Feri Tradition prayer, from Victor Anderson.

Some days, my daily practice seems like a huge task. In order to get to work on time, I leave the house just after 7 - if I factor in my daily practice I have to wake up at 5.30. This is sometimes difficult, especially in the cold and wintery weather we've been having recently, and my Vivi just wants to stay comforted under the duvet for another half an hour.

If I miss a day's practice, I've missed an opportunity for growth, alignment, and wholeness. The odd missed day is okay, but I liken it to missing gym workouts. If I miss one out of four, it doesn't impact too much, but if I only manage one workout a week, not much progress is made.

Sometimes I catch glimpses of my soul as an unfolding flower. This flower will never be fully bloomed; it is in a continuous flux of blooming and closing, with my daily practice being the careful watering and tending of the unique flower that is my Self. One day missed will not kill the flower, but too little care and practice can lead to ill-health and a stunted bloom.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Courting Presence

To be truly present in each moment is the work of a lifetime. To be fully aware of all our parts, graced by the kiss of our divinity (what Feri Tradition calls being "self-possessed) is our only true spiritual goal. Of course, there are many smaller goals that contribute to this over-arching aim. (Hmm...somehow calling it a spiritual aim doesn't do it justice. This implies a linear direction, almost like the aim of an arrow. In my almost 5 years of Feri study, I can more accurately describe it as a flowering.)

Although we may at first catch only glimpses of intentional presence, a tingling at our sex and crown with our heart beating and the air in our lungs, if we court our divinity like a lover, it will eventually be a constant companion.

I am currently reading T. Thorn Coyle's latest book, Make Magic of Your Life, which is centred on finding one's desire and living it, seen through the lens of the Witch's Pyramid (to Know, Dare, Will, and Keep Silence). Part of finding one's desire, I believe, is to stay in the present as much as possible, not reliving the past unnecessarily, nor imagining some potential future which is unlikely to occur.

This is difficult work! Indeed, scores of books, websites, and spiritual traditions are centred on the cultivation of presence or mindfulness.

I was reminded today of Thorn's definition of magic, "the marriage of breath, Will and desire", when I went to my spinning class after work. Now, for those who have never been to a spinning class, it is a hardcore cardio class of roughly 45 minutes on a stationary bike. It is a killer class, and not an easy thing to do after a hard day's work.

During the class, about ten minutes in, I was aware of how many people were glancing at the clock on the wall. They most likely did not want to be there, probably there out of some sense of "should". Mentally, they had already showered and gone home for dinner!

I attempted to be more present than this. I focused on my breathing, the burning of my muscles, the swear pouring down my forehead, the coarseness of the towel, the sweetness of the water. I spoke to my Vivi, soothing her, telling her that this was ok, and that this was good for us. I did feel some resistance (and I might have checked the clock myself a couple of times...) but the important thing was that I tried an act of magic: "The marriage of breath, Will, and desire."

Firstly, by breathing and focusing on oxygen going into my body, I was courting presence as well as focusing on the interconnection of God Herself. By Will, I mean I have cultivated this by simply showing up to the class. It would be easier for me to go home, have a cup of tea and watch television. And you know what? The first few classes were tough. But, merely beginning and showing up once made it easier to repeat the process.

And what is my desire? To honour my body by taking care of it and getting it strong. This, to use Thorn's definition, is both a want and a need. By taking care of my body and making it strong, all other parts are easier brought into the fold - my mind is sharper, my emotions more stable, and my spirit more joyous. This feeds into my greater desire, which is ultimate connection with the flow of God Herself.

Let the Sun Shine!

Today is the first day that I have felt spring coming. The sun is gently warming, the trees and plants are stirring, and my heart is unfolding with possibility.

Spring is my favourite season. It is hopeful, light, joyous, and expectant. We can imagine the delights to come, enjoying the warm weather in anticipation of the heat of summer. The smell of freshly cut grass, the chirping of birds, the kiss of a lover in the sun, are all part of the fabric of God Herself.

In a couple of weeks, I will be celebrating the Spring Equinox with my circle. We will invoke the Gods of springtime, the youth and the maiden, the Twins in Their guise as Dian y Glas and Nimue. We will dance with them and sing with them, casting our spells of hope and joy like the insemination of an egg.

New life. Hope. Expectation. Love.

These are the things I wish to conjure this spring.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Evolution of the Gods, or Invoking Oshun in a Gay Bar

Several of the bloggers that I read (Rune Soup and A Mage's Blog) have recently been discussing the evolutionary nature of the Gods, in that They change and grow depending on location and time (what Rune Soup adroitly called "terroir") and They are not stuck in their Ancient Greek togas, bound by the constraints of the "original" culture that first acknowledged Them. The Gods are in process, just like the Universe and (hopefully) us.

I have been working with Oshun for the past couple of weeks and at first I visualised Her as She might have appeared to the Yoruba people - a tall, black woman wearing jewels and something yellow while in a river. And you know, this kind of works for me.

But last night, I went to my local gay bar and Oshun's energy was physically palpable. I could practically taste the honey in the air and at one point I became aware of a golden ribbon travelling through the heart of each person there, binding all of us together in the fabric of love. When I mentally called out to Oshun, She still appeared to me as a voluptuous black woman but there was no sense of Her looking "ancient". If anything, in Her tight golden dress, dancing and grinding next to the gay boys, She reminded me of Beyoncé...

So, this is what it is like to be a shamanistic Witch in the modern world. Praying to an Orisha and having a divine experience of unity with the fabric of love, while my friend buys me a beer and I'm dancing along to Destiny's Child.