Everyone is talking about the start of this new season. It’s everywhere, buzzing like bees on the tongues of everybody. For our own different reasons, most of us are looking at this new season coming with varying degrees of gladness, awe and excitement. I, for one, am considering the various symbolic implications of the new season that’s coming to us now. It is, after all, spring! The season when the spirit of the Earth mother awakens from her slumber and begins to enjoy the heat of the sun once more. At least, for those of us in this part of the world. As she rolls over, her back turns to face the cold stone of the the winter months in places like where my uncle lives in New Zealand.
Here we have this new movement into a new phase of the world this year. And as the Earth mother rolls over to embrace the sun, many of us are facing a new season in our lives too. If you’ve been following my recent blog posts and videos, you’ll be pretty clear by now about the changes I’ve been going through. Given the links I’ve added in just there, I don’t reckon I need to drone on about that any more. Most significantly because right *now*, we are on the precipice of a new season. And what does that mean? It means that we’d all benefit more from looking forward, at the waters ahead, rather than backwards into the dreary cold of the winter months. That metaphor stands up for those of us who are currently on the continents of my ancestors. For me, however, living in Mexico, “winter” or “el invierno” is synonymous with “slightly less hot than summer.”
Nonetheless, the metaphor still stands. And the symbol rings true! So why are I be mention this one then? Well, my friend, it seems that for a long while now, we’ve had all sorts of ideas about the magical connections possible in our life time and it seems only right to me that right now I renew those connections within me. I can’t speak for anyone else really but if what I say here inspires that within you then by all means, follow my lead.
Something that has been made abundantly clear to me in my recent research of my ancestral and spiritual heritage is that magic today is largely a different experience than it once was for our ancestors. What I mean by this is that, to our ancestors, magic was a way of life. More than that, a fact of life. It was something that was just as accepted and commonplace as lighting a fire or eating or fighting was to them. And now, in our more modern world, it seems that the presence of deliberate connections with magic which actually invoke the energy of magic (rather than just some nice idea or fantasy of it or some physical or emotional sensation) are too as rare as the necessity to actually kindle the light and heat of nature’s radiator and oven.
I am being crass, of course, when I refer to fire as nature’s radiator and oven but I’m sure you ken my meaning. What I’m getting at is that our way of life now is so different than the way our ancestors once lived. As such, our connection to magic must be altered in some way too. After watching a bunch of awesome videos by a YouTuber who genuinely knows her shit on Norse Mythology, I came to accept the fact that – given that her field of expertise is Old Norse and pagan initiation rituals – she was certainly right about so many things she was saying. Chiefly, she was right about that fact that even if we were to know everything there is to know about an Old Norse initiation ritual and even if we were to recreate it to exact perfection in mood, atmosphere and all its finer elements… It would not have the same effect as it had back when it was originally commonly employed.
Why? Because the minds and world-views of our ancestors – Norse, Celtic or otherwise – were different to ours now. Certainly not more primitive or simple, not at all. Perhaps, more intelligent and aware. But definitely different. Different enough for the symbols used in those traditions to have nothing like the same effect for us if done today. More important though here is the fact that we actually wouldn’t understand the significance of the symbols and the rituals as a whole because we just wouldn’t have the necessary understanding or perceptual framework on which to build it. In the same way that if you met a lion that could speak your language, you wouldn’t be able to understand him or her because their frames of reference would be a world apart from your own, our interpretation of any initiation rituals – however learned – would not be truly accurate to their ancient versions and as such would not serve the intended purpose – at least not to the degree that they really should.
Following this, I feel like it’s possible – and relevant – to expand this point of the misunderstanding of cultural and ancestral initiation rituals to a wider field. The field of magic. Continuing on from the previous point about initiation rituals, it stands to reason that – if we could never fully undergo an initiation ritual in the sense that our ancestors did – we can never truly know magic in the way that they did. But we can, as is said so eloquently in the film “Dogma” directed by Kevin Smith, “have a good idea.”
One of my greatest teachers, Ram Dass, has said before that a tradition should be changed from the inside. A point that I used to explore religion and spirituality in an article I wrote for another site here. And it’s because of this that I feel it’s important for myself and for anybody else who is seeking knowledge of magic to first seek knowledge of the ancient traditions and their wisdom; to explore them extensively seeking to understand as much as is comprehensible from our current modern perspective – and without it wherever possible – so that we might get a sense of what true magic is, without our conceptual fantasia tainting it somewhat. Or, in some cases, entirely.
And after all of this, and only after it all, I feel we are prepared to go in search of our own initiations. In doing so, we will likely realise that the discovery of these ancient forgotten insights was part of our initiation process. And that this process is not really one we can orchestrate and light candles for because it is a natural one. To our ancestors, the lighting of virgin candles and the tracing of athames or the waving of wands and staffs or even epic invocations bellowed under the light of the full moon had a special meaning. But for us, the special meaning is only an intellectual one at best. An intellectual learning which – which potent and meaningful for us – is not something which is so deeply ingrained in us as it was for our ancestors.
So, it stands, that while these rituals and magical practices may be in some way powerful and relevant for us in our modern world, they are as always, only as potent as our understanding of them on a heart and soul level combined with the energy we give to them. And one without the other is just not enough. When I say “the energy we put into them”, I don’t mean in the sense of “This is my energy and I’m giving it to this thing” but in terms of surrender – sacrifice. For our ancestors, that surrendering or sacrifice was sometimes the sacrifice of life-blood. Such a sacrifice for us would be wasteful and without any real purpose because we do not have the cultural understanding necessary to match the energy of the sacrifice within ourselves. We would not be able to truly respect it.
To our ancestors, the connotations of these things were only a reinforcing of the energy; they were only a reinforcing of the heart and soul level understanding that was so commonplace in these rituals and other mystical practices. It is for this reason that any attempt to replicate these traditions would be futile if what we are intending is anything more than a fun experience where we get shivers down our spine or feel good/weird/excited/awed.
It is for this reason that I feel I am – during my own initiation – being guided by the careful hands of fate, towards a deeper and more transcendental understanding of magic. And, as I have said to a few people in conversation by now, I have the foundational understanding that none of this that seems real (life itself) really is and so will not take things so seriously. After my last escapade with roles and labels, I won’t be so quick to box or cage myself up. Nonetheless, it’s on this journey of initiation that I am discovering a more natural and organic connection with magic. One which is beyond the rituals and rites so common in many pagans communities. And one which may, perhaps, allow me to access deeper levels of initiation in the future. Though for now, I am content to be counselled and shown the ways of the ancients in a language I can comprehend more deeply.
This counsel won’t be without misunderstandings or confusions I’m sure. Nor will it be without mysteries of its own. Regardless, I find myself set on a path now. And it’s a path whereon I am already discovering so much about the world and the invisible realms. Not the least of which is the principle I shared in a recent post about Thor, “If you wish to alter the course of events, watch which way the river flows.” And as of now, I am seeing the current moving in the direction of greater understandings on these topics.
I find myself astonished, actually, at the degree of new corners of my capacity I am discovering. As someone who has often likened themselves to the reclusive and abrasive nature of a badger at times, I have been shocked to find a new taste of socialisation occurring within me. Like, I actually want to talk to people. Those who’ve known me for any length of time will have either noticed or recognised sooner or later that I don’t tend to be one for conversation unless it’s about something I felt I could help with. Though, now my need to help has been accompanied by a love for connectedness (and stripped of its love of being a spiritual teacher), I’m able to enjoy talking to others. That’s something new and interesting. And it’s just one of many things that are morphing for me of late. One of the many road signs I’m passing on my walk where everything evil may have me.
So, in conclusion, magic is an ancient and powerful energy. While the energy of magic itself is unchanging – as far as phenomena goes – our ability to connect with it is morphing as consistently as our culture is. As such, there needs to always be an updated method of connection with that energy. A deeply individualised experience is that of connection with magic. And it’s certainly not something to be dabbled in lightly or with ill-intent. God help those who dabble with ill-intent! Damn! Fire shouldn’t be played with!
Regardless, the old ways of accessing magic are difficult for us to understand from our modern perspective. And although the symbols remain as potent, and we can learn and learn, there are some things which cannot be taught. And of which understanding must be garnered through experience and trial and sacrifice of our own. Sacrifice in terms of surrendering attachments and so on. And as I venture deeper and deeper into the rabbit-hole of magic and do my best to avoid the strange more Gothic or new age-y aplastic versions of it – and go straight to the real deal – I invite you to join me. So, if you’d like to do so, please follow this blog and ‘like’ this post to let me know. And feel free to share your take in the comments! I’ll reply to everyone who isn’t a crazy spammer!
Until next time,
With big love and hugs,
Live, love and play!