Local Magic: Creating Magic in Your Locality

What type of earth magic exists where you are? What is the local nature of air, fire and water? How do you make magic with the living forces all around you – not as they appear in books, but as you see and experience them when you step outside your front door? Every locality has its own flavours, energies and secrets… and when we work our magic and ritual in alignment with our locality we enter deep into the earth’s living magic.

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Jane Meredith

Jane Meredith

What type of earth magic exists where you are? What is the local nature of air, fire and water? How do you make magic with the living forces all around you – not as they appear in books, but as you see and experience them when you step outside your front door? Every locality has its own flavours, energies and secrets… and when we work our magic and ritual in alignment with our locality we enter deep into the earth’s living magic.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I often marvel at the difference between humans and trees. In particular, I wonder how it would be to spend your whole life in one place – and I don’t just mean one locality, I mean one exact place, like a tree does.

What would it be like to learn the angles of the sun, never moving but only by them moving past you? To offer a refuge to birds, animals and insects that isn’t fleeting, temporary, but will last as long as your life lasts? To deepen into the earth gradually, over years, learning the precise geography of the land beneath you – it soils and clays and rocks, the exact bands and patterns of them – to seek water not as some temporary, immediate need but as a life long commitment, learning exactly, precisely where it is to be found and anchoring there. 

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I stepped into the labyrinth. It was midnight on new year’s eve. I walked its paths in the darkness, in the mist of low cloud, mist hovering in the air all around me. I could only see the paths of the labyrinth by default; they were completely dark, whereas the lines between the paths, picked out in a mosaic of coloured tiles, held and reflected what little light there was. So I trod the curves and turns of darkness, held between faintly shining edges. In daylight these mosaic pieces are a rainbow of colours, starting with red on the outermost one and following the rainbow’s strata as they get closer and closer to the centre, but at night none of that was discernable, only the gleam off their surface. Treading paths of darkness, inbetween the light, felt deeply significant to me as I walked out of the year in which my mother had died and into a completely altered and unknown future. I would be in darkness, though held and guided by the light.

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We sat in a small circle on a slab of rock, looking down into the dramatic valley and across to the sunset. There was a cold wind but the view and the place were worth it. Usually we begin by checking in, listening as one by one we speak, telling of what’s happening in our lives or strong for us at the moment. After it was suggested we start the check in we fell silent, waiting for someone to speak. 

We fell silent but the world around us wasn’t silent. I heard birds chittering and calling out as they gathered in bushes, getting ready for the night. We heard insects, buzzing and humming. The winds in the valley swept up the sides of the cliff and we heard them as a whole soundscape. The longer we stayed quiet, the more and more we heard. It stretched out. Still no-one spoke and still we heard more and more. There were a dozen or more different birds calling and singing, choruses of them; themes that continued with commentaries that circled round and returned, notes that were sustained and sounds that interrupted, before fading back to be part of the whole.

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  • Susan B. Chandler
    Susan B. Chandler says #
    There are many times, especially when I am hiking alone in the forest, that the place will, upon rounding a bend in the trail, cal

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Local Magic is location-specific magic. It's the magic you can make, and feel, in the place where you live. Of course, where we live isn't always where we ideally want to be living, and the landscape isn't always the one that calls to our heart. Perhaps we prefer to create magic and ritual indoors, imagining we are really in Avalon, or an Egyptian temple, or the forests of our childhood. This can be a powerful magic, with the weight of our yearning, our imagination or our history bound up in it. And yet Local Magic - the type that happens specifically where you live, and happens only there, has its own allure.

Local Magic can teach you not just about locality, wherever you find yourself but it will also teach you about the nature of magic; specifically Pagan magic. Unless you happen to find yourself living in a temple complex, or on an ancient sacred site, the magic you will learn to participate in with Local Magic will be of the natural variety. It will concern the types of soil, rock, trees, birds and animals, airs and waters, skies and moods of the place where you live. Previous learnings, such as herbalism, astronomy, trance, working with deity can all be alive in Local Magic but there will be one great difference.

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  • Susan B. Chandler
    Susan B. Chandler says #
    Thank you so much for this post! There is a trail to which I am repeatedly drawn and one day while sitting in one of its quiet pla
  • Michelle Simkins
    Michelle Simkins says #
    Yes. So very much yes! There's nothing like really connecting with where you are, and drawing your spiritual practice and magic fr
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Jane Meredith! I so love this blog post. Many years ago, when I began my journey into magic, one of my first teachers told me t

Pulpit Rock is the North point in my Blue Mountains Circle of Eight. A pulpit is a raised place within a church, where a speaker stands. Standing on Pulpit Rock and looking around me I see a church built not by humans but by the earth itself. We call this place the Blue Mountains but actually it’s a plateau, lifted up by volcanic activity around 170 million years ago. Pulpit Rock has nearly 360 degree views of vertical cliff, deep folded valley and curving lines of tree tops. I feel small there, but also expanded, reminded of my capacity for the appreciation of beauty and my connection to this living planet we are all a part of.

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I have a postcard on the window frame above my computer. It's an artwork of a small iconic mountain in Northern New South Wales and the road that leads into the town. This is the view you see as you drive into town. The postcard has the words coming home written down the side of it. The sunset sky behind the mountain, the greens leading up to it and at its base, the black road with the white dividing line - they tug at my heart. I have it there to remind me, to let that mountain and that view of home call to me.

But that's not where I live. I haven't lived there for years. I live a thousand kilometers to the south, in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Even though I adore Local Magic - both the concept and the living engagement with it - I've hesitated to make a commitment here, to this land. I spent three years living on the edge of the city, next to the ocean and felt a wild belonging to the sea and the air that didn't seem to feel the need to be tied down. But since I've been living on this vast plateau, in the last year, the land has called to me.

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We buried my mother in a cemetery ten minutes’ walk away from where she’d lived for the last forty years. It’s a place that’s remained rural as a suburb has grown up around it. There are gum trees on the paddocky, sloping land and white cockatoos fly overhead. It was established 150 years ago and the older headstones had that degree of tilt and benign neglect that soften their relationship with grief and turn them to landmarks of history and intrigue. My brother and I played as children in that cemetery.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I am grateful for this beautiful entry, Jane, but I am sorry for your loss.

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