The Adventures of a Wiccan Prison Chaplain
The Genius Loci or Spirit of a Place has always held great emphasis and value in my personal spirituality, world view and cosmology. I have always purposefully sought out to engage the spirit of any land I have held residence with. As a veteran this includes numerous civilian domiciles and military bases both foreign and domestic. In my experience I have often found the most direct route to connecting with Genius Loci is through the community market places, like the local Farmers’ market.
It was only recently that I heard the term Locavore, which is someone who makes an effort to consume from locally produced food sources. There are many benefits to being a locavore and shopping at a Farmers’ market; the food is often organic or at the very least, fresher, much healthier and always seems to just taste better. Every one benefits financially as well when you buy direct from local growers, the cost is lower, the money stays in the community and stimulates the local economy. But for me, the greatest benefits are by far more Magical.
While I am happy to engage local farmers in a mutually beneficial producer-consumer relationship, my primary interest is interaction with the Genius loci. And this venue really makes perfect sense when you think about it; the market is full of local growers and their produce. To be a successful farmer one needs to be especially attuned to the natural rhythms and cycles of their land. Their product is the physical manifestation or body of the spirit of that land. But I’m referring to a bit more than just some tomatoes from a neighborhood garden. I took the above picture myself which feature jams, soaps, herbs, and beeswax among many honey bee products not shown.
While I honestly don’t remember the sales pitch of technical information the soap maker gave me, I do know this: 1. It is a labor of love for the soap maker, he’s not in it for the money so much as he is for the love of the craft, he cuts no corners to turn an extra buck. 2. It smells better and above all it feels better on my skin. I use them as “Magic Soap,” I carve a magical symbol into one bar of lime soap and use it for purification before rituals. Another bar of eucalyptus soap I just use for finalizing big decisions. I read a long time ago that immediately after making an important decision you should literally wash your hands of it because it’s suppose to have a positive psychological effects on you afterwards, and as it turns out it does.
But what really keeps me going back to the market is the beeswax. Not only is it significantly cheaper than arts & craft stores like Michaels, the beekeepers live here and the bees are part of the Genius loci. I would argue that our ancestors of the Craft did not have the benefit or variety of candle colors and scents we enjoy today. Nonetheless they successfully employed the beeswax candle in their magical workings. I believe this is because of the inherent magic present in the raw and natural wax, and the practitioner’s ability to make proper use of it.
The secret to beeswax candles is the temperature; you can not be in a hurry. Beeswax melts slowly at about 144 degrees, the lower the temperature and slower the melt, the better. If the beeswax is heated over 185 degrees it loses its color and desired consistency later on. The old belief is that the spirit of the wax is burned out and rendered magically useless, so take your time. It should look thick. This is the best time to cast a spell and or anything else into the wet wax before pouring it to cast and dry. With a little preparation and forethought there are some neat extras you can include such as dressing the wick with scented oils or maybe some knot magic. Some of the best magic you can do comes from the community cauldron and is filled with the spirit of the land.
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