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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Hope

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Radical Hope

Last night I read the news about Cape Town, and then dreamed that my garden died.

I live in a condo in Los Angeles, so my garden is small and fragile and mostly in containers: calendula and tulsi and borage and lemon balm in pots and window boxes, selfheal that's dying no matter what I do, jasmine and passionvine that twine around each other in bombastic friendship, nasturtiums that cascade in a curtain of friendly little circles. Baby blue eyes and violet seedlings growing in a flat. Cleveland sage in a pot, since the soil is mostly clay, and sagebrush and California fuschia in the ground, since they can tolerate that clay. I had to fight with my building manager to put plants in the bare dirt behind the building, even though I'm on the HOA board; status quo bias is so strong that people trust ugly cracked ground more than they trust small, quiet plants. (I won the rest of the board over partly by telling them my unit's property values are suffering because of the eyesore that is the dirt. In reality I don't care much about the property values, but a witch uses the tools in her toolbox; she shapeshifts when she needs to.)

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Lighting Winter Solstice Sympathetic Magic

I live well out in the rural hinterlands of Ireland. Folk memory is long lived and some traditional farming practices tend to border on folk magic. One such custom that can still be found is to put an predator's carcass on display to warn off other of its species not to prey on herd animals - sheep and chickens. I have known pine martin to be nailed up on chicken coops as a warning. Walking our dogs down our lane I saw a road kill fox draped over the pasture's fence post.  It's a form of sympathetic magic. And it is deep, deep in our cellular memory. Sympathetic magic is imitative magic or correspondences according to anthropologists. You don't have to be identified as pagan to practice it.

 

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  • Solitarieone
    Solitarieone says #
    Thank you, Bee! For more than 40 years, I’ve wondered about that magic that I saw at my landlord’s farm. I was a military dependen

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Unmoored

   This is the time of year that I look inward, thinking back over the year and what I have done. I meditate on how I could have done things differently, or better, or not at all. I usually find things I am disappointed about, chastising myself for everything I wanted to do but didn't. I find some few items I am pleased about, usually related to my children and their success.

   Coming toward the end of this year, I felt that my reflections were going to be different. My life and career saw so many amazing changes: I received a promotion from a job I enjoyed to a job I loved so much I genuinely looked forward to going to work every day. I went back to college, intent on pursuing a degree that would bolster my career. Beyond this, my family was happy and healthy, our finances good even in the wake of three children's fall birthdays and the looming holidays. For the first time ever, I could confidently say things were good.

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  • Solitarieone
    Solitarieone says #
    Thinking about you and your family during this Solstice season, Nicole. Remember: This, too, shall pass. That reminder has gotte

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A New Hope: Star Wars Magick

Like most anyone under the age of 50, I grew up with Star Wars As an integral part of my childhood.  Through movies, video games, pen and paper RPGs, cartoons, books, toys, and more, tales of Jedi, rebels, rogues, and the empire have permeated almost every level pop culture.  One of the most powerful and enduring themes in all Star Wars stories is the promise of hope in the darkest of places.  As the new year dawns that message of hope is needed more than ever.  In this post I will explore some of the many ways we can use Star Wars to bring hope and light to dark times.

***Note - This post will be discussing the use of Star Wars in generic pop culture magick.  While I am aware of the Jedi religion, I don’t really know any of the details.  If you’re looking for information on the Jedi religion or Jedism in Paganism you’ll need to look elsewhere.***

The music of the Star Wars universe is some of the most evocative and easily recognizable in the public consciousness.  I think I first heard the opening fanfare of John William’s Star Wars Theme when I was about four years old and from that first time I have always known that hearing that music meant I was about to embark on a journey of hope, heroism, and adventure.  Magickally, the song has a powerful energizing effect.  It can be used as a catalyst for taking action, inspiration, or charging objects with energy for hope and rebellion against tyranny.  On par with the opening theme, for its place is the public mind, is the Imperial March.  If you want to charge a spell or object with the power of intimidation or an ability to exert control then this is the piece of music for you.  It can also be used to powerfully identify “the enemy.”  There’s so much music to choose from across the (currently) eight films and numerous cartoons and video games, there’s a perfect piece of Star Wars music to enhance or empower just about any magickal act.

Star Wars has also provided us with many classic lines and catchphrases that can be used as incantations or mantras.  Some of the classic lines that can be used in magick for hope and making a difference include: “Do or do not, there is no try”, “May the force be with you”, “Never tell me the odds”, and “I am one with the force and the force is with me.”  These are all phrases that are deep in the currents of pop culture and draw on tremendous power.  “May the force be with you” is as powerful as any traditional blessing and resonates across cultural lines without engaging the triggers of potentially antagonistic religions.  Using any of these lines in magick immediately taps into the emotion and resonance of the scenes in which they were uttered, giving them the potential to tap into far more power than something more traditional. 

The characters of the Star Wars franchise include some of the most easily recognizable and iconic in existence; I challenge you to find anyone who does not immediately recognize Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, or Han Solo - to name a very few.  If you need to work with a character to help you with believing in yourself, taking action in the face of overwhelming odds, doing the right thing in spite of immediate self interest, or to feel connected with others in similar situations then there is a Star Wars character just waiting to help you.  For example, you could invoke Yoda to gain the wisdom to determine the correct actions to take in a given situations or call on Princess Leia to help you bring people together in a common cause.  In the Star Wars universe everyone from smugglers, farm boys, and urchins to engineers, soldiers, and politicians have something they can do to help make their worlds better.  They show us that there is always something we can do, no matter our circumstances, and they give us courage to do it. 

*** Here be Rogue One spoilers ***

Sometimes one must be willing to put oneself in danger and make sacrifices to stand up for what one believes in.  Something as simple as standing up against cyberbullying can put one in danger of being doxxed, harassed, or assaulted.  In dangerous political climates doing the right thing can get you arrested or worse.  In Rogue One we see a small group of courageous people make the ultimate sacrifice in a stand against tyranny in order to give hope to the rebellion.  Each individual makes small but irreplaceable actions that, in the end, make ultimate victory possible.  Call upon these heroes when you need the courage and strength to put yourself at risk for what you believe in or to shine light on how the smallest act can make all the difference.

*** End Rogue One spoilers ***

As the first movie franchise to truly embrace merchandising, Star Wars presents the pop culture practitioner with a near endless array of options for tools, talismans, and enchanting.  You can get action figure or bobble heads of pretty much every character in the Star Wars universe, making creating a spirit house for a character you want to work with absolutely effortless.  You can get everything from t-shirts to underwear with symbols of the rebel alliance as camouflaged talismans.  You can even get fine watches and jewelry of lightsabers, droids, or emblems to enchant and wear in even the most formal of situations.  Further, the amount of fan made art and crafts available are staggering.  (As of 12/26/2016 an etsy search of “Star Wars” yields almost 100,000 items including everything from sculptures to knitting patterns.)  Any object you could possibly want to enhance your magick is available to you. 

In its many forms, the Star Wars universe gives us all the opportunity to embrace our own inner hero and stand up in the face of evil.  It brings us a message of hope and resistance that we all need to endure and overcome dark times.  Further, it gives us such a diverse number of heroes, great and small, that each one of us can find someone who seems just like us doing something incredible.  Remember, rebellions are built on hope.  May the force be with you.

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Shortly after beginning to write this post I heard that Carrie Fisher had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.  As of publishing she is in stable condition, but still in intensive care.  May the gods watch over her. Update 12/27/2016 - RIP Carrie Fisher.  I have no words.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Hope

Hope can be a double-edged sword. It can lift our hearts, rally us towards a cause, or it can lead us to the depths of despair when it dies. I've often wondered whether it is better to have hope or not, whether hope is a carrot dangling in front of us, or whether it is that very real need to invest our emotions into the belief that we can change our world. Back in 2012, I wrote about the Zen approach, in a piece entitled "No Hope". The words that I wrote four years ago still resonate strongly within me, even as my relationship to hope has changed.

When we are at our lowest, we might still have some hope that things will get better. This hope may be the only thing that gets us through those long, dark nights of the soul. Then again, that hope may be what is preventing us from achieving things in our own right. Hope may cause complacency. If we work without hope, without expectation, then we may be even more motivated to make a positive change in the world in our own right, for the benefit of all.

With hope comes expectation. When we have expectations, we can be thrown against the rocks of frustration, anxiety, anger and despair when those expectations are not met, when things do not go the way that we would like them to. We want people to behave the way we think they should, for the benefit of all. We want our politicians to think of the people that they represent instead of their own agendas. We want colleagues to pull their own weight, spouses and partners to be there for us, children to love us. When things don't go according to our plans, or according to our expectations, we might crash and burn. We might dive into darkness at seeing a new President-elect, we might look at the environment and realise that perhaps we have simply gone too far, and there is no remedy for what we have done. When this happens, we can lose momentum, we can get stuck. Hope might be the thing that brings us out of this stagnation, or it might leave us altogether, so that we are in an even worse state than before.

So how do we work with hope? I've found it useful in the last couple of years to work with Hope as a god. I've worked with Time in the same context, and it has been illuminating for me in so many ways. Working with the gods, we learn to create a relationship with them, one that is nurturing for all involved. There is a give and take, a sustainable and reciprocal feeling to it that means that we cannot rely on them to do everything for us, and vice versa. It is in mutual respect where we meet, where we realise that we are part of an ecosystem, and where we need to strengthen the bonds of relationship so that it functions for mutual benefit. We learn from permaculture that diversity is key, that edges are where things happen. We learn to work with both, and in doing so can make this planet a better place. If we give up Hope in this context, if we give up Hope as deity, then there will be a very real feeling of bereavement in our lives; we will be bereft. That relationship will be gone, and when it is gone then to whom do we relate?

Others would say that this might be preferable, and in giving up Hope as deity we then become more self-reliant. But self-reliance is a myth. We are all co-dependent upon everything else on this planet. We do not exist in a vacuum. We need others in order to exist, let alone thrive. We are not separate. Without the innumerable other factors in our lives, beings seen and unseen, we simply could not be. I think that this is why I believe in the gods. The gods are all about relationship, about relating to our world through a means which is personal to each and every being. This is why I'm starting to work with Hope on a new level, when it seems perhaps that all hope is lost. Otherwise, I fear I might spiral into apathy, or depression. If I work with Hope, if I talk to Her and connect those threads of sustainable relationship, then I might be inspired to solve a problem, mend something that is broken, reweave the threads of connection in the best way that I can.

Hope can be the spark of inspiration, the awen that sings to us in the dead of night when all seems lost. Hope can also be a force that keeps us from changing our lives for the better, hoping someone else, someone more powerful or intelligent will do it for us. But when we work with Hope as deity, then things begin to change. Hope will not save us from ourselves. But Hope may inspire us to do better, to be better, to be the change that we wish to see in the world.

Or so one can only Hope.

 

© Joanna van der Hoeven 2016

Joanna van der Hoeven is a Druid and author of several books, including the best-seller The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druidand her most recent release, Zen for Druids: A Further Guide to Integration, Compassion and Harmony with the Natural World. Find out more at www.joannavanderhoeven.com

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Patience & Fury, Part 2

 

This is the second of a series of blog posts on how to move more gracefully through the turbulence of current events in the world. Each post can stand alone, and the order does not matter, but I suggest reading the whole series as they support each other. I am calling this series “patience and fury” though I could just as well call it “empathy and apathy”, “mercy and punishment”, or “hope and despair”.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Music of the Longest Night

To many, winter is a time when the grief of loss strikes hardest.  The symbolic death of spring and summer combined with the cold have us turning inward, some seeking a spiritual hibernation.

For me, this grief has been compounded by my mother's December birthday.  This year she would be turning sixty.  One of my friends grieves both her parents today, while another sits in a hospital waiting for her mother's unconscious body to relinquish its hold after a stroke.

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