Thursday, August 28, 2014

Insistent Little Bugger

Every few months I get bitten by a bug. It is one that for several reasons I have continued to put off for a few years. You see there is a part of me that craves teaching others—craves it like the Sun chases the Moon.

To me it is not about sitting high and mighty or any other egotistical approach. Nor is my desire about me being a teacher of the Craft, though I have trained and initiated before. There is too much responsibility and duty, and risk if these are not taken seriously or properly, for students to be taken merely for the sake of indulging the ego. I cannot accept any such approach for myself, which is fine since my own impetus doesn’t come from there.

It is easy to fall into the ego trap though, after all students tend to put their teacher on a pedestal. On one hand, this can be used by the teacher for their own ego work. There are, however, easier and better methods of doing such that do not rely on students putting them on a pedestal. It can be damaging to the teacher to want to be on that pedestal, needing students that put them there. There is a fallacy here. At some point, the teacher will fall off that pedestal, and there is no climbing back up. Every teacher on a pedestal will fall. If the teacher liked being there because of ego and tries to return to that position, they will lose their student, doing them and the Craft a disservice.

Nonetheless, teachers will be placed on pedestals, even when they don’t want to be. They too will fall… which is a good thing. As one of my own various teachers likes to point out, the teacher doesn’t really begin to teach the student until they fall off the pedestal and the two become equals. My simple advice to students out there, if your teacher suddenly falls short of your expectations and doesn’t attempt to twist the truth so as to appear perfect, but instead admits their own flaws as a human, it is not the time to quit. There are always other factors to be concerned with, so take this advice only as part of it. For instance, if there is abuse or exploitation then quitting needs to happen immediately! That is assuming the relationship could not be avoided at all. My advice given doesn’t apply there. If you as a student are training with a creditable teacher and they fall before your eyes, take it not as a sign of their failings as a teacher but as a sign that the relationship has evolved into a space of vast potential.

Long side tangent over, my own desire to teach is about witnessing. Through passing the Craft on, I get to stand in wonder as another’s Craft blossoms before my eyes. It is the spark of understanding suddenly shinning in the eye that I crave. That is all the teacher does anyway; “Here is the praxis. Here is how you Craft. Go, the rest is on you.”

I have over the course of the past couple of years turned people away seeking with me. They are all lovely people—truly. The main reason I have done so is due to my own frequent moving. I feel it would be a disservice to take a student on only to move away and I am not sure I am up to teaching at a distance, though technology in that arena has developed a long way from the ole snail-mail correspondence course. Additionally, I was undergoing an immersion into a new praxis and Tradition. As a result, it is certainly not the time to teach. There are other reasons as well, but a blog is not the place to discuss such. Let’s just say they tie deeply into my own Craft.

So why even bring all of this up? Quite frankly, writing blogs helps me to explore corners of my thoughts, most of which gets omitted. Such is the case with this post as well. The oath-bound or praxis specific stuff goes into my private and closed blog. Everything else either gets written here, not written at all, or deleted after being written. So there you have it, all this is just about me digging into parts of my Craft. I don't think any of this will make the bug go away though.  

Boidh Se!

-Spanish Moss

“Lost in a thicket bare-foot upon a thorned path.”

Monday, August 4, 2014

Guest Post: Magickal Body By Anna Anima Mundi

Magickal Body

A Guest Post By:
Anna Anima Mundi



Anna Anima Mundi is a licensed massage therapist, reflexologist, Reiki master/teacher, and high priestess in the Western Mystery Tradition. She is fascinated by the intersection of mental processes, physical processes, and spiritual states of being. A devotee of Isis and Thoth, she perceives Their intelligence in science and medicine as well as metaphysics. She lives in eastern North Carolina with her husband and priest and several fur kiddoes.


Contemporary Paganism is well-known for holding the natural processes of the Earth in high regard - of seeing Spirit in Earth. And as the chant goes, " Earth my body / Water my blood / Air my breath and / Fire my spirit."  Unlike many other religions, we regard our appetites for sex, sleep, food, and play as avenues to the Divine, not barriers.

As a massage therapist, I have come to understand the Power and Potential inherent in every human body to help access the realms of the Divine more fruitfully. Meditation, focus, raising "energy" to empower magick, are all physical processes that take place throughout the whole body, not just in our heads. Devoting a bit of attention to the body's needs will yield huge dividends in the quality of one's magickal Work. We take care in choosing athames, herbs, incenses and the like; but the most important magickal tool happens to be the Earthly home of our spirit - the body!

Our root traditions of 50+ years ago actually validated the human body as magickal instrument. Of the "Eight Paths to Power" described by Gerald Gardner, many emphasize the physical:  breath control, the dance, chanting, etc.  But our modern practices often do not utilize these effective tools-- perhaps because of the physical ills that a modern lifestyle brings? A sedentary, indoor, fast-food lifestyle impedes the free flow of physical vitality that assists our spiritual activities; chanting, dancing, breathwork and the like become difficult and unpleasant. Happily, this can be corrected fairly easily for the purposes of magick.

There is another aspect to this picture: while the body affects our magick, magick and the Power it employs also affects the body; it's a two-way street. And, not always for the better: psychic work is well-known to be exhausting, and intense magick can cause unwanted physical symptoms or even actual illness. Anyone who does a lot of psychic, energetic, or magickal work should pay close heed to their body's needs, because they will surely change.

With this in mind, here are some "first steps" to helping our bodies become effective magickal tools that work our Will:

Movement. Being sedentary stiffens the extensive web of tissues that connects our skin, muscles, organs, blood vessels, and bones. These tissues (the "fascia") naturally have a jelly-like quality and are actually considered to be a "liquid crystal." These tissues are currently being studied by scientists as the matrix that carries the chi that acupuncture affects! Stiff fascia stagnates our energies very quickly, in multiple ways. Here are two simple ways to reverse this:

(1) Once or twice a day, and especially before you meditate or do any kind of magick or ritual, take five minutes and move all your joints through their range of motion. Start by rotating your ankle about five times to the right, and then an equal number of times to the left. Point your toes and then your heels an equal number of times.  Move up your whole body and explore all the ways each joint can move. Do not force anything, but do try to move to the full extent that each joint can. If you have a painful joint, go easy on it. You will feel more energized, and this will increase the effectiveness of your metaphysical work.

(2) Explore bending and stretching. When you stretch, go only to the edge of discomfort. Take a breath, and as you exhale, see if you can go just a smidgen more. Then slowly move out of the stretch. Keep in mind that there is no competition! if you can only bend a tiny bit, that's okay. It will loosen tissues and unlock stagnate energies.

If you are very serious about your magickal practice, consider adopting a yoga practice. After all, it was invented to help the body access metaphysical states more easily. You do not have to be young, thin, strong, and flexible to do yoga. Find a 10-minute beginner's sequence online or check out local studios. Even twice a week can be effective. Qi gong is another practice highly suited for magicians.

Hydration. You do not have to drink tons of water every day to be healthy. However, you do have to drink more water than coffee, tea, soda, etc.  Water helps keep that liquid crystalline connective tissue soft and pliable and able to convey magickal Power.  Also, magickal energy runs "hot" and increases your need and thirst for water. (This includes energies such as Reiki, too.)

Proper food. There is no one, right magickal diet. The best overall magickal diet is the one that makes you feel the best.  For some people, this may be vegetarian. For others, it may be low-carb/meat centric. Do not let ideology stand in the way of finding out what's right for you.

Doing a lot of magickal or energy work will often cause changes in your body that may impel you to alter your diet in unexpected ways. You may develop food sensitivities, such as to grain, dairy, certain fruits, or preservatives and other food additives. You may have cravings. You may suddenly be unable to tolerate meat or some other food - or you may need more of it to ground or rebuild tissues. This is not necessarily a sign of illness but of increasing sensitivity on all levels - from psychic to physical.

You may want to experiment with your diet to induce psychic changes. Eating meat does not mean you can't be psychic, of course - many great magicians and psychics are omnivores. But it is true that the quickest way to increase sensitivity is to go veggie for a few days. Vegan is better; raw vegan makes one even more sensitive. This is the big reason why magickal orders will have you fast before an initiation - it literally makes you more open to the subtle forces they are invoking into your aura.

Breath. Blood carries Power. Breath fuels Blood. Altering your breath is the quickest way to altering your consciousness. Deep belly breathing engages the calm-inducing part of your central nervous system, and energizes you simultaneously. It can change and harmonize brain waves. A few minutes every day spent doing comfortable belly breaths will make you healthier and happier. Conversely, the shallow breathing many of us adopt engages our adrenal glands to pump out stress hormones. From a magickal point of view, belly breathing and simple (but profound) techniques such as four-part breath or alternate-nostril breathing will clear and focus your mind and immediately engage that magickal state of consciousness.*

This essay is just a very tiny summation of body/magick interaction. A whole book can be written about it (and in fact, one well-known occultist is doing just that). These easy body-centric practices will help you with grounding, raising energy for spells, chakra work, and all your other magickal endeavors. Happy magicking!

* You can google "four part breath" and "alternate nostril breathing" for instructions on these techniques.


I’d just like to say that there is really some good stuff in there. Also, I could not agree more that working with the body and the energies thereof are essential to the Work of the Craft. After all, the body is one third of the ole mind-body-soul triangle.

Once again, I just want to say thanks for writing this. Thanks. It is appreciated.

Boidh se!

-Spanish Moss

“Lost in a thicket bare-foot upon a thorned path.”