Jane Meredith Tag - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! http://witchesandpagans.com/latest.html Wed, 24 May 2017 01:18:28 -0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Nine Days Around the Circle of Eight http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/nine-days-around-the-circle-of-eight.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/nine-days-around-the-circle-of-eight.html After walking the labyrinth on New Year’s Day my magic group was inspired to continue the ritual the next day. Oh, and the day after that and the day after that… actually for another eight days. We went to every direction in our Circle of Eight, one after the other, in order. At the end of that we couldn’t quite bear to end, so we committed to another round of visits, this time weekly so we could fit it in to our busy lives. One of the most amazing things was the amount of time we spent sitting around outside having breakfast or dinner picnics or late-afternoon homemade strawberry cocktails. It was Blue-Mountains-in-the-summer weather. It rained on many of these excursions, usually a light passing rain or heavy cloud arising or descending. It didn’t stop our picnic, trance or conversation.

Some of our Circle came on every excursion, the whole nine days in a row. Others came to several, or one but either way we spent a lot more time together than we usually do and that was wonderful. It felt like a spell for 2017 – if we begin this year with nine days of ritual (ten really, as we had done a ritual together on New Year’s Eve) – what a potent and deepening way to enter into the year. Surely our whole year will be filled with ritual? – and with each other? – and at the moment, we can’t think of anything better. 

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On January 2nd, a Monday, we met at Sublime Point, our South point of our Circle of Eight before work. Four of us sat on top of a rock and after a breakfast of pikelets, strawberries and yogurt we lay down and tranced together, journeying around the Circle we would physically travel over the next week. On Tuesday we went to our South-East point, with a dinner picnic and occasional rain. We were discussing cultural appropriation and the endless debate of how to belong to a land that has been invaded and colonised when an Aboriginal man, from a different locality, walked by and engaged us in conversation about sacred land. When I write that it seems like a fairytale, that he would be there, want to talk to us, and choose that very topic. We were a little shaken but rose to the occasion… that was the magic of the South-East. 

The next morning, early, we met for the trek down into the tiny valley that holds our East point. It was cold and lightly raining from time to time but at the bottom, as each one of us was persuaded by watching the previous person, we took our clothes off and went into the – quite cold – pool of water with the waterfall pouring in. It was a blessing and I felt touched by this place, that to me always seems left over from the time of the dinosaurs. We had a small snack of chocolate and oranges and headed up the hill for our separate days. The following day was a bit of a stretch but we fitted it in; a drive out along Mount Hay Road to the Pinnacles, another dinner picnic and sitting together watching the mists gather in the valley and gradually move in to swallow us, the land performing its own ceremony. By now we felt we were becoming part of the landscape, melting and merging within it, leaving pieces of ourselves or at least echoes of our journeying as we travelled from place to place. 

The next day was the date of our usual meeting and we went to the North, linked with the time of the year, the Summer Solstice. We sat on the tiniest, most precipitous part of the lookout, surrounded by a wire mesh fence and below that – about a hundred metres below that – the valley floor. We did a ritual along the North-South line of our Circle, stretching from the earth to the stars and finding, each one of us, a way to encompass both. On the day of the North-West we had set aside the afternoon for exploring, it was the geographic place most in doubt. We went into the valley of the treeferns and had an uneasy time, so different from all our other places, submerged in the landscape, reminiscent of the North-West itself and perhaps its nature is to be always a little unresolved. 

On the day of the West we met for an early dinner picnic, four adults and four children. I made strawberry mock daiquiris and we walked down to a place that emerges out of the bush, while still being deep in the bush. The only time I’d been there before it was raining heavily, so I was pleased to meet it in the dry. Our final excursion was another breakfast meeting, on a surprisingly hot day. We drove out to what I call Suicide Point, although that’s not its name. We were quiet there, filled with magic and journeys from previous days, marveling again at this place, not just Suicide Point, which is very dramatic, but the drama of the Blue Mountains. Mists and rain and blazing heat, cold secret pools and the black cockatoos we had seen and heard at nearly every point, it’s their time of year. I felt we had travelled as far as them, around our Circle.


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jane@janemeredith.com (Jane Meredith) SageWoman Blogs Mon, 06 Feb 2017 20:03:19 -0800
New Year's Day in the Labyrinth http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/new-year-s-day-in-the-labyrinth.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/new-year-s-day-in-the-labyrinth.html On New Year’s Day we walked our local labyrinth. It was raining. We took our clothes off in the carpark, to keep them dry and walked, wrapped in a sarong, a towel across the small footbridge and along the avenue of apples, in full leaf by now and with discarded baby green apples, half eaten by the birds crunching under our feet over the bark mulch covering the path. The rain was light, gentle, not warm exactly but not fiercely cold either, it’s high summer here though most of the time you wouldn’t know it. When we arrive the labyrinth looks washed clean, its coloured mosaic tiles gleaming and small puddles across the surface of it.

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There’s no-one here of course, we knew that. Each one of us steps into the labyrinth intently – that first step seeming to be the first step of this year. I walk straight into the centre and sit on the wet ground waiting while the others journey inwards. I walked my way in at midnight, last night, New Year’s Eve and am waiting to emerge. It feels like holding space as I watch two naked bodies and one clothed child circling and circling about me, winding in closer and then further away. It looks so beautiful, skin and bodies in the elements – we would never have done this naked if it wasn’t raining and I’m grateful, though driving here I felt irritable; it hadn’t rained all day and I was thinking if only we’d arranged to walk it an hour earlier – or four hours or six hours earlier – it would have been dry. Now I feel this immense satisfaction – this revelation of the sacred – that we are only having because it’s raining. I am smiling all through with it.

The others arrive in the centre and we stand together, singing and meeting each other’s eyes. I feel the flow of so many choices, to be with these people, to be in this place on this day, to work ritual together and we’re at the beginning of a nine-day ritual, journeying through our Circle of Eight; to walk the labyrinth even though it’s raining, to take our clothes off and be with each other. It feels like the labyrinth itself, each step measured, deliberate and perfect, taking us closer to the centre; there aren’t any choices really in a labyrinth or maybe in this, in sacred ritual, holding space with each other; once we’re on the path it’s just each careful step, round and round in the pattern laid out under our feet, weaving between lines of blue and yellow, violet, red and orange, feeling the air and rain on our skins, the earth under our feet and of our bodies, the fire of the sun behind the clouds, the waves of warmth of each one of us, now beginning to pass each other on the paths. 

I’m on the outermost path when I lift my arms in the air, singing, palm upwards really in praise of this moment but then I feel the drops of rain falling on the palms of my hands, like blessings each drop kissing my skin and I think of being kissed by the elements, of my body praising them and being praised by them simultaneously. The whispers of air on the skin of my arms, the warm water and brick under my feet, the song that I’m singing and three naked bodies weaving around and around, close and distant, walking towards each other and then passing, walking parallel for a while, maybe with a path between us or one of us reaching a turn and turning; you are walking away from me, turn and you are walking towards me. Together we are like a dance composed, the grace in the path under our feet, in our walking of it, our awareness of the others and yet holding our own. I stroke my fingertips down my arms, I cradle my upper body, I feel the warmth of my hands on my skin and I sing to myself of joy and love, there is no barrier between myself and the world. 


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jane@janemeredith.com (Jane Meredith) SageWoman Blogs Tue, 03 Jan 2017 19:05:00 -0800
Casting a Local Circle http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/casting-a-local-circle.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/casting-a-local-circle.html We stood in the labyrinth to cast our circle. It’s an intimate space, about six metres across with the paths made of brick and the curves between the paths mosaic. The mosaic is in rainbow bands of colour, the outermost circuit red, then orange, yellow, greens blues and purples with the centre piece mainly white, an ‘om’ symbol picked out in a small glittering pattern of colour. Set into the grass in the community gardens it’s where we do our public rituals and – on this occasion – where we were for our monthly meeting. We walked the labyrinth in, passing and passing each other as our circuits lapped and turned and threaded through the journeys of others; separate but companionable. It was cooling down; the day had been warm and the bricks and tiles retained that warmth, fed it back to us when we arrived in the centre and sat down, welcoming, sheltering us.

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When we stood up to cast our circle the garden sat close around us. We opened our eyes, looked at what was there, immediately, holding the edges of the circle.

                South – it was the entrance to the labyrinth, the place where we step from grass to brick, from open space onto a path; the entrance to the mysteries. For surely at the heart, each labyrinth connects up with all other labyrinths; they’re an entry point into the spirit realm. So; South, entrance to the mysteries.

                South-East – we turned and looked at a confusion of fruit trees, bushes, small paths; nothing was distinct until we raised our eyes and saw two tall pines, like guardians, massively taller than everything else, a distance away. Like sentries, or guardians, not invited in but overlooking, keeping the perimeter. South-East; the two pines.

                East. Immediately east, a few metres away, though up one level in the gardens, were two young trees, silver birches, leaves whispering. Close enough to each other to be like sisters, like brothers, close enough to our circle to hear, to stir in the breeze as we called to them; consenting, delighting maybe. East, silver birches.

                North-East, and as we swiveled to look the doorway loomed out. A doorway out of fairy tale, of myth, two upright weathered beams of wood with an upright across the top of them. Leading from one piece of grass to another piece of grass; leading nowhere, you could say. Inviting the imagination, inviting magic. On leaving the labyrinth in this direction you may end up anywhere; another land, another story, find a different self. North-East, the gateway.

                North. This was into the stretch of the gardens, planted vegetable beds behind a screen of lowish trees. North and the stretch of it, the invitation of space, north of lush and growing summer. If south is the entry, north is – where you travel to? Or travel towards, never really arriving, because it always stretches further? North is what draws the eye, the arrow on the compass, stepping into the labyrinth; from the south, everything else is north. North – into the distance.

                North-West – the North-West is obvious. There’s a small stream – very small – that runs along the west edge of the community gardens and, directly north-west of the labyrinth, there’s a tiny wooden bridge that crosses it. More ornamental than structural, you could probably leap across that water. But it’s lovely, and perfectly placed. White cockatoos screech and flock, sweep low over our circle. North-West – a bridge over water.

                West. It’s the direction I’m standing in, I’ve been holding for a month and when we turn and face that way I can see immediately what’s there. Two woody bushes, several metres high, and unremarkable in their leaves but I was here a few months ago and I saw them in flower. White warratahs; I’d never seen them growing before, only the commoner red ones. Warratahs are quite spectacular and the white ones, only a few on each bush showcased in green leaves looked other-worldly; bringing elements of moonlight into the early summer; midsummer dreams. West – white warratahs.

                South-West – we turn and are looking directly at the tree closest to the labyrinth, so close we nearly brush its leaves walking that outer edge. It’s a fruit tree, low and spreading, we can’t tell if it’s apple or plum but the trees here are cared for and bear heavily each year. It’s an emblem of this place, both grounded and offering sustenance, touching the labyrinth but more of the earth. Very south-west. South-West, the fruit tree.

                South and we are facing the entry again. The end is the beginning, the entry to where we stand now, our small circle of human bodies in a circle cast around us by these points, these places, by our words but words that merely brought attention to what was there, human eyes that picked a pattern, like we do when we walk the labyrinth, turning and turning on the brick paths while the mosaic curves guard the ways. Entry, two pines, birch trees, gateway, stretching distance, bridge, white warratahs, fruit tree. Entry –

                The circle is cast.


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jane@janemeredith.com (Jane Meredith) SageWoman Blogs Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:57:46 -0800
Ash and Salt in the East http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/ash-and-salt-in-the-east.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/ash-and-salt-in-the-east.html I stood balanced on a jagged spit of rock with the sea below me on both sides, water churning and swirling. I guessed it would be covered at high tide. I felt remote, at the tip of the world. The grit of ash was in my hands and releasing to the wind, the sea, the rock. Small pieces of bone fled through my fingers, back to our beginnings in the ocean and death. The waves sucked and smashed in and out, like the breath of the universe or life and death itself; in, out, in, out relentless and endless. When I looked down, my jeans were whitened in places, with ash. My hands were covered in it. I put the back of one hand to my mouth and licked. Salt and ash. Grit.

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All the ash was gone. The altar I had made was gone. Trinda was gone. Making my way to this rock my legs were shaking so much I wasn’t sure if I could get there. After my small ritual I felt steadier, more grim but focused. In the breath of waves and air I wondered what exactly the Eleusinian Greater Mysteries had been, surely they couldn’t be more than this? I am living and she is not and yet the waves breathe in and out. I wanted to talk with someone, someone who would know. Trinda. That’s who I would have asked. I tried asking it, Trinda, what do you know about the Greater Mysteries of Eleusis? I am not ready to let her go, to be unable to have that conversation. I will never get to the place where I am ready. 

But the East, the East and the ash had come for me. This is Cape Byron, the eastern most tip of Australia. When we worked the Circle of Eight it was our East, our place of beginnings and the fresh breath of air that travels forever, so it seems, over sea before it arrives at land, this land. The East for dolphins, for whales, for the lighthouse and dramatic full moon rises. It was a week past the Spring Equinox as I offered my handful of her to the sea. I felt I had her carried with me, every step of my journey, her presence and a sense of our connection; constant, grief-torn, loved. I was content to travel with her, half in the realms of death myself, dreaming of her every night and constantly aware. Of her, of death.

When I arrived here, early this morning, walking the path through to the tiny beach then to cross the rocks I saw it was low tide, and that someone, before me had drawn on the sand a large double spiral. Trinda used to draw labyrinths at beaches, as well as on the floor of my house, I had been with her many times as she did it. This double spiral was a simplified form of the journey within, I thought she would appreciate it. 

I had brought small things with me, for an altar. I planned to make it, then maybe take a photo of it and then release the ashes. I put down the painted egg we had made her at the Spring Equinox, another ritual I had done with her so many times. Trinda’s eggs were always works of art; coloured inks with gold, muted bronze and black, experiments in landscape. The egg I had for her was very plain, sky blue with patched white clouds. I imagined her finding it in the egg hunt we always held, she would have accepted it as the egg she was meant to have and, looking at it now, I think she would have said her life was simplifying, opening up. I think she might have liked it. 

I place down a twig of bottlebrush, the large bright red flowers contrasting with the black, damp rock. I get out the piece of chocolate I have saved, break it in half across the diagonal and put one half down for her, cram the other half into my mouth though I am crying so hard I don’t know how I can eat it. I put down the white shell I picked up just before, on the beach. I straighten up and as I do so, before I have even properly looked at my altar, a wave comes in. It smashes up and over my rock, comes up to nearly my knees, soaking my jeans, my sandals, pushing at me so I have to find my centre and ground to stay put. As it washes away I look for the altar. It is gone, completely gone. I look below, in the water and see no trace of a blue egg, red flowers, a white shell. It’s been swallowed. 

Then I took out the ash.


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jane@janemeredith.com (Jane Meredith) SageWoman Blogs Wed, 21 Oct 2015 17:04:00 -0700
Circle of Eight in London http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/circle-of-eight-in-london.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/circle-of-eight-in-london.html Circle of Eight in London

I just spent an evening at Watkins Books in London talking about my latest book Circle of Eight: Creating Magic for Your Place on Earth. As a way of trying to explain how a geographical Circle of Eight might look if you lived in a city I experimented with, placing the bookshop itself as the centre of a Circle of Eight, radiating outwards from there.

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The River Thames is in the heart of London, you could say it is the heart of it. Its bridges, buildings and history build up a map of the city. For Pagans, especially, this tidal river brings the water element right up close, even in the midst of industry, commerce and crowds. 

The Thames is to the south, south-east and east of Watkins and so influences that whole arc of this theoretical Circle. It’s closest at the south-east, so that’s the direction I’d align it with, although probably it is also the strongest landmark of all, meaning this Circle would be oriented to the south-east. The south-east equates with the Festival of Beltaine, in the Northern Hemisphere, adding references of fertility and sexuality into the magic, just perfect for a tidal river. It brings an interesting aspect to this particular Circle of Eight, as the Beltaine energy highlights the risks, the randomness and the powerful friction of interaction that exist in a big city. Potent magic is implied…

Directly south of the bookshop there’s a choice of several important places – Big Ben, Parliament at Palace of Westminster and also Westminster Abbey. South is aligned with the Summer Solstice and the element of fire. I wouldn’t want to make a choice between these places until I’d visited them, searching to see if it was possible to do ritual nearby. In the north – direction of the Winter Solstice and the element of earth – is the British Museum; perfect, I think for Britain’s connection to so many different cultures and parts of the world and tracing the emergence of our culture. It also has implications of the Underworld – and all those Egyptian and Sumerian pieces are there… 

To the west lies Hyde Park and the mysterious Serpentine – called a river but actually a lake; beautiful for an alignment to the element of water and the Autumn Equinox. In the east are Covent Garden, Somerset House and then Temple Gardens on the banks of the Thames, which sounds very promising but again, I’d want to visit and make sure it was possible to do ritual there before making a definite choice.

As for the remaining cross-quarters, having given the south-east to the Thames: to the north-east is something called Lincoln’s Inn Fields, it could be perfect for a link to Imbolc and early spring. In the south-west lie Green Park and Buckingham Palace; that would be an interesting commentary on the burning and falling powers of Lammas, past the greatest height of the wheel. And the north-west –the direction that links with Samhain – there is Regent’s Park and even the London Zoo, or possibly Primrose Hill to go a bit further away and for a view of most of the Circle. I wouldn’t make any of those decisions without visiting those places, perhaps many times, at different times of day and night and probably in different seasons. What are they like at dusk, at dawn, under a full moon, in spring and winter? 

Even though it’s so close, I haven’t incorporated the London Eye – which actually is a wheel – into this geographic circle. It’s across the other side of the river and although I love Ferris wheels and their imagery is perfect for the Circle of Eight, it doesn’t quite gel for me that it’s a sacred place. It’s to the south-east, anyway, so perhaps can be incorporated in that general location of the Thames for that direction. 

As for how the elements are present in London, I would work with the rivers – the Thames and maybe the Serpentine, which is actually a lake and apparently supplied with water from the Thames – for water. The earth underneath London has layers of chalk and London clay; both formed under water originally and both important to the development of London as a city. Apparently, because the clay is easy to dig through, the tunnels of the Underground follow the clay deposits, and of course the clay is then used for bricks. The chalk filters groundwater, which still goes into London’s drinking water. It’s a very particular type of earth; chalk and clay and I think would influence the nature of this local magic quite strongly. For fire I would probably pick that all too rare sunshine, which has Londoners rushing outside on weekends and lunchtimes to lie in the parks, walk along the river and sit at outside pub benches. Air – well, I don’t know. It’s often been said that English air is soft… how would that translate into elemental workings?

I started playing with this idea just to have a way to illustrate the Circle of Eight system, but it’s seized hold of my imagination now and even though my talk is done, that Circle of Eight is still beckoning to me. Perhaps someone will go out and work it properly, start to uncover its mysteries in the way that I know happens, as soon as we start to work magic with the landscape. Let me know…


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jane@janemeredith.com (Jane Meredith) SageWoman Blogs Sun, 13 Sep 2015 01:38:53 -0700
The Labyrinth: Deepening Relationship with Place http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/the-labyrinth-deepening-relationship-with-place.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/the-labyrinth-deepening-relationship-with-place.html 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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At our Samhain ritual two weeks ago it rained. A light rain, not torrential, so we did the ritual outside anyway, in the labyrinth. There was sodden and muddy ground around it but the labyrinth itself was solid, stable ground and although it had a few puddles, it wasn’t marshy. We stood in the centre of it to name the dead, lighting candles and speaking a few words for each of those we’d known who had died in the last twelve months, my mother among them. Someone’s sister, a child, a neighbour, the young men executed in Bali, the 7,000 and more from the Nepalese earthquake, members of our community we’d known and respected, old friends. We tranced then, into the realms of the otherworld; of spirit, the dead, the Underworld. I had a feeling of standing one side of the river of death, holding hands with my mother, who stood on the other side. Behind her, the line stretched back, my grandmother, her mother, her mother… And beyond me, the line stretched forward, I could feel it, though I didn’t turn to look at who was there, but I could feel the pull of it.

It was still raining. We gathered at the entrance to the labyrinth to walk into its heart, to walk into the heart of winter, of darkness, of mystery. It was dark by now; the sun had set and many of our candles had gone out in the rain. I watched the first person head into the labyrinth on one of the white strips of mosaic, not the path. I grabbed the second person and showed them the path, they started off on it but then didn’t take the first turn and began circling round on top of the pattern, heading inwards. The third person managed the first turn but then got confused by how the others were walking, and gave it up to also spiral inwards.

I let go and watched chaos happen as people wandered about, in the dark and rain but all heading for the centre, on their own paths. I headed there myself, remembering that other dark wet night I’d walked these paths and linking ritual to ritual, the second acknowledging the first and that first deepening this current time. It’s as if I’m slightly outside time, or folding two times together and the labyrinth lets me do that, the rain and the dark taking me back so that I feel my mother’s death doubly, once from each occasion, and me heading into the centre of it. I’ve just walked in both times, not out; it’s not time to walk out of the labyrinth yet.

A week later my co-teacher is leading a trance into a place of power and in my mind, I go there, to the labyrinth. We look to the East and I see white cockatoos flying overhead, which I have seen many times. He asks us to turn North, and there I see their cousins, the black cockatoos; they flew in mixed waves over our Autumn Equinox ritual, black followed by white followed by black. In the West I see a black snake coiled in the grass beyond the labyrinth, near the creek; I’ve seen them there before. When I turn to the South I see my friends clustered there at the entrance, those people who weathered that wet Samhain ritual with me. My human allies. It brings tears to my eyes. I did not conjure them, or search for them in the trance, they were just offered there, surprising me with their presence, produced from the labyrinth itself. The place is speaking to me, when I’m there and in trance and ritual; offering me doubled and tripled memories, layering into my practice and magic. I feel the layers of its magic, the folds and turns of it, our relationship is becoming labyrinthine and very real.


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jane@janemeredith.com (Jane Meredith) SageWoman Blogs Tue, 12 May 2015 04:03:31 -0700
Listening to the Local Earth http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/listening-to-the-local-earth.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/local-magic/listening-to-the-local-earth.html 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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No-one spoke. No-one checked in and yet – it was as if we were listening to the most fascinating check in ever, as it deepened and circled all around us. The birds checked in, the insects, the winds, stretching out my senses I felt the sunset was checking in, the trees in the valley below, the rock we sat on. We listened and listened. It became far more fascinating than listening to a person would have been at that point, it was as if a spell were weaving all around us and we were privileged to hear it, privileged to be listening. Our small circle of humans was surrounded and contained by a much larger circle and as our quietness intensified and focused into this listening, the landscape showed us more and more of itself.               

Every time we meet outside I feel less and less like importing anything there; I’ve gone off casting a circle when it always seems we’re in a natural circle, I’m certainly off lighting candles when we have the sun or the moon or stars, I’ve gone off invoking presences who don’t seem to belong to that place naturally, or already be there. For a little while there it even felt like speaking – not our presence, just disrupting the place with human talk – was a detraction from the natural magic happening in our presence. This event was like being in the middle of an orchestra that was playing Late Summer Dusk, Blue Mountains. It had the effect of widening our circle immensely; from a small, huddled group of humans to the largeness of the cliffs, the valley below us and the bush on the plateau.

Local magic is based in relationship and like all relationships, we can’t be talking all the time. We have to listen. Sometimes listening is easy and obvious, when we’re next to a waterfall or a flock of parrots. Sometimes it’s not easy at all, when thoughts and concerns fill our head, when we have to learn to listen in places that may seem to us very quiet, or that are shadowed by industrial or human soundscapes. Sometimes it’s not obvious we should be listening, such as when we’ve brought our magic or ritual to a sacred or natural place and we may be filled with energy and have an agenda, a script or a pre-defined ritual.

But when we do listen – when we go out there with an intent to listen, or when it just happens and we find ourselves listening – then we get a chance to respond to what we’ve heard. I can think of no better way to recover ancient understandings of the earth and its cycles, to rediscover the roots of paganism, than this listening, hearing and responding. Listening is more than just listening, of course, it’s also a metaphor for paying close attention, using all our senses. Tasting the air on our tongues as if we were snakes, watching the gradations in light and the tiny movements of the beings who live in the place we’ve come to, smelling all the different levels of smell; down near the ground, up close to the vegetation, after rain, in different seasons.              

Perhaps we will sing back to the dusk chorus our own song of nearing the end of the day. Perhaps, hearing that sense of natural community all around us, we will draw closer to those we came with, seeking our connections and sharing even more deeply with them. Perhaps we will be inspired towards art or music, healing or community. Perhaps we will enter into dialogue with the natural places around us and begin to hear from them what’s important, how the natural world works and how to be part of that. Local magic is not something we have to invent, or import; it is there, just waiting for us to listen, to engage and to offer ourselves. 


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jane@janemeredith.com (Jane Meredith) SageWoman Blogs Fri, 20 Feb 2015 19:21:35 -0800