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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Ritual in the North-East mists

We stood on a rock on the top of a ridge, forested hills and valleys on every side. It was past dusk and heavily overcast, though the full moon shone behind the clouds so they glowed faintly. The mists came in, blanketing out the further hills, filling the valleys. Five of us, and looking at the others, wrapped against the chill and dampness I thought I could be gazing at standing stones, not people, or druids from another time and place, or magicians gathered to create a spell. I could see only shades of grey and black.

We had gone to this particular place because it is in the North-East of our Circle, the direction of Beltaine in the southern hemisphere and that's the time of year it is, here. But the mists and the grey and the isolation - it could have been Samhain, it felt like a night between the worlds. Sometimes the opposite Festivals reach across the Wheel so strongly, holding hands at the hub of it that it's impossible not to see this open secret - whenever it is Samhain in half the world, in the other half it is Beltaine. The earth can never have one without the other, just as it can never have night without day, simultaneously. It's not just that the opposites both exist, but that they both exist at the same time. 

This Blue Mountains magic is so dramatic - cliff edges, hidden valleys, snow and bushfires and mists - each time we go outside, past the edges of the towns we are immersed in such an unmistakable sense of place. On this night it seems we could be in a fairy tale or myth, perhaps the land's myth of itself. The rocks we are on, the ridge, is like the fossilised skeleton of a dinosaur, some ancient sea creature's long ridged backbone, pushed up from the sea bed millennia ago, when this plateau we call the Blue Mountains rose up a kilometre above sea level. 

After we have been there an hour or more, in our circle, we stand and turn to face outwards, back to back and facing our directions. I have been holding the South-East for a month and when I face into that direction I am staring straight into the top branches of a gum tree that's growing on the slope, lower down. The bush is brought so close to me - the leaves are just out of arms' reach - and that's how the South-East has been. Over the last two months I've felt I'm gradually beginning to emerge from that deep inner realm of death and loss I have lived in the last two years. Things have a wonder again, a vividness, immediacy. 

We feel down through our feet, a thousand metres down through rock to sea level, and down below that feeling this rock compound holding us up, feeling into where it comes from, where it has been. There's the memory of that force of uplift in it still as well as the power of rock to stand here, weathering through ages. We draw that up through the core, the small circle between us and then speak out, send our voices out into the world in each direction, speaking a spell of change.

As the South-East, I begin and I speak into these branches of gum tree and I say that the sun rises, every day. I am thinking of this difficult time we seem to be entering into, in Europe and America, I am feeling the fear of darkness pressing around me and expressed in riots and right-wing reactionism and fear of the other but when I speak as the South-East I have to bring hope in. The Wheel turns, the sun rises, trees and mist and rock is here and if I were to stand here all night, staring in this direction, the sun would rise straight in front of me.

The other directions speak - the North speaks of the wide embrace of everything that is, the North-West speaks of letting go, the West of the pattern of things and the South-West says that everything dies, everything in its turn falls away. And this is our spell for the world it its uncertainty, for the grieving each one of us carries for different things - for death and loss and change - and it is our answer to fear, both our own and the worlds and it is our reminder to each other, that the Wheel holds everything and we are part of the Wheel.

And then we turn. Tight together still, not wanting to risk the edges of this rock platform in the half-dark we hold hands in the centre and step, tiny steps into a new direction and I rotate past the tree branches into the East, which is even closer to the edge. We stop and turn and look at each other. We are getting cold, stiff from sitting on rock for a couple of hours and we're ready to go. But I feel how we hold the mythic an eternal between us, just by these simple actions of casting circle, holding sacred space, sharing and sounding and sending a spell out, turning the Wheel.

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Jane Meredith is an Australian author and ritualist. Her books include 'Journey to the Dark Goddess' and 'Rituals of Celebration' and 'Circle of Eight: Creating Magic for Your Place on Earth', about Local Magic. Jane's latest book, co-authored with Gede Parma is 'Magic of the Iron Pentacle: Reclaiming Sex, Pride, Self, Power & Passion'. Jane offers workshops and distance courses and also teaches in the Reclaiming tradition. She is passionate about magic, myth and co-created ritual, as well as rivers, trees and dark chocolate.

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