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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in magic

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Disreputable English Magic

To assuage the sadness of knowing there is no more Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell to come (or perhaps there is a but a long way off), I have been thinking about how English magic did fall into disrepute so that a man of Norrell's character found it necessary to make it respectable once more. One of the first examples to occur to me is Chaucer's Canon's Yeoman's Tale (hereafter CYT because I will tire of spelling it out).

CYT features one of the belated arrivals to pilgrimage in The Canterbury Tales. The canon and his yeoman catch up to the pilgrims and the yeoman launches into a recital of the canon's alchemical life that soon makes his boss leave in a huff. The yeoman takes this opportunity to show that the canon is a scoundrel in this 'elvysshe craft' known as alchemy

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    May be it that craft is so easy to learn? I'm sorry you're sad about your show but so glad to read this!
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    I think it's easier to learn the form of it -- appearance of it? -- and then feel frustrated that one doesn't know more. I'm think
The Subjectivity of Spiritual Experiences

Lately, in my meditation group, we've been doing some work with space/time magic meditations and with spirits associated with space and time. In our most recent session I had the group do a meditation with Purson, a goetic demon who has some specific skills related to time. What I also told the group was that it's important to recognize that their experience of Purson is subjective and that he is only as real as that person wants him to be. That may seem like an odd statement to make, but the group was comprised of people that ranged from atheists to people who believe in the objective existence of spirits, and so I felt it was important to acknowledge that a wide range of experiences could happen that would nonetheless be significant to each participant and wouldn't necessarily invalidate any of the experiences. All the participants accepted that explanation and then we had our various encounters with Purson.

Spiritual experiences, by their nature, are subjective. For example I believe that spirits are objective beings in their own right. Note the word believe. Believe is a word rooted in subjectivity. That's what I believe, but I can't really prove it. I can tell you about my experiences and I can cite other people who've had experiences in their own right which tells that what they encountered is real, but its ultimately subjective. For that matter so is the argument that the spirit is just a psychological aspect the person is drawing upon. Again we can find a variety of people who will argue that position and draw on their experiences, but it's still subjective.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
To Find My Ancestors

One Pagan's DNA Research

My ancestors are important to my shamanic path. My previous post discusses that and why taking an AncestryDNA test is part of that path for me. 

Today's post discusses my feelings as I waited for the test results, my reactions to the results, and the adventure it put me on as a Pagan. 

An AncestryDNA test predicts ethnicity. Waiting for test results, I wondered if I'd like them. I felt excitement and a bit of trepidation.

I was empowered thinking about the benefits my friends' experienced. One friend learned which regions in Africa her ancestors hailed from. Prior to that, she did not know where in Africa she was from. Another friend uncovered secrets her family had hidden. This freed her from decades of lies.  

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joyce ORourke
    Joyce ORourke says #
    I loved reading about your experience with the DNA testing and your results. Did you ever just know something about yourself since
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Joyce, Thanks for checking out the blog. I am delighted you liked it. And yes, I really hear you about knowing stuff despite any
  • aought
    aought says #
    Yes, I look forward to having my DNA analyzed. Oh, the ancestry that is buried. Raised "English," (Grandma was an English immigran
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    aought, thanks so much for your perspective on this. I am glad that you agree with me that 1) discovering one's ethnicity both doe

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Experiencing the Sacred

Friend and fellow colleague, Kevin Emmons, once described the sacred as “A simple thought that isn’t so simple. What we see and experience as sacred is what allows us to glimpse the eternal through cracks in consciousness caught in the field of time.” I love it when people say things that really make you think. You can find links to other inspiring writers on my personal blog at Down the Forest Path.

As a Druid and animist, to me everything is sacred. Everything is sacred, and yet everything is also mundane.  As author and Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck once said “Nothing is special. And when nothing is special, everything is”.  She wrote an entire book, called Nothing Special. I highly recommend it.

Kevin’s words are beautiful, evoking an image of eternity in which we can only catch glimpses.  My Zen Buddhist tendencies lead me to question whether anything is eternal, as the main tenet of Buddhism is the impermanence of everything, and yet there is a certain paradox in that the energy of life is never-changing: it only changes in the forms that it takes.  Energy manifests itself as different forms of matter dependent on circumstances such as environment, genetics, etc. So yes, the energy is eternal, but the manifestation is not.

Catching glimpses of this energy, of the sacred through cracks in consciousness is an absolutely delicious concept.  It reminds me of Emily Dickinson’s poetry, when she speaks of nature as in XCII:

To my quick ear the leaves conferred;    

  The bushes they were bells;      

I could not find a privacy             

  From Nature’s sentinels.            

 

In cave if I presumed to hide,             

  The walls began to tell;               

Creation seemed a mighty crack              

  To make me visible.

 

We cannot escape life. It is always there, always around us, and we are always a part of its flow. There is no separation, only integration.  We live with each other; we live because of each other in a beautiful dance throughout the ages.  These cracks in our consciousness allow us to break through our perceived reality, and move beyond perceptions, beyond subjectivity into the entirety of being.

Our senses are so beneficial to us, and yet they also are the cause of our subjectivity. We see the world through our own eyes, feel through our own fingers, listen with our own ears. Everyone is different, yet everyone has a shared experience. When the species is the same, there is a deeper shared experience, an understanding and knowing where the Other is not so “other”.  Transcendence is moving beyond the senses, moving beyond the boundaries and definitions into pure understanding, pure experience.  Then there is no “I” or “Me”, there is no “You” or “Them” – just life, glorious life.  

Our consciousness is a blessing, a gift. It is also the greatest hurdle to overcome, for it shouts aloud and above the songs of the earth, drowning out the consciousness of other beings in our own minds.  Cracking open our consciousness we allow those other songs to come through, to inspire us, to nourish us, to blend with our song in a wonderful symphony of energy manifesting, over and over again.

These cracks of consciousness are caught in the field of time (however you may view time, whether it be linear, circular, etc.).  Energy manifests, for a time, and then changes its form.  Time is what creates the impermanence that is so vital to life. Without time, there would be no conception, no materialisation, no death and no decay. Within the moveable boundaries of time we see a progression of the eternal processes of birth and decay.  Time is a gentle sanctuary, an indiscriminate boundary that allows these processes to occur.

And so, the sacred is that which allows us to glimpse the eternal. The sacred is anything and everything, if only we open up our senses and move beyond our perceptions.  Through the cracks of consciousness within the fields of time we perceive this sacredness, flowing and changing, manifesting and decaying, a boundless stream of energy moving through the cosmos.

May you see through the cracks to glimpse the sacred.

 

*For more writing on the sacred and other concepts witin Druidry, visit www.joannavanderhoeven.com for a full bibliography of the author's work.*

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Magnlia_a_Verbania.JPGWhen I was a kid, I loved picking up the bright red seeds that littered the ground each fall. I was used to seeds being various shades of brown or black, and the riot of color that marked each passage into winter was always thrilling. I never really knew what to do with them; I'd usually carry them around for a bit and then discard them. But they were fascinating.

When most people think of the Southern Magnolia, they think of its huge white blossoms, which are currently in bloom. They think of the South, not Los Angeles. But we have them everywhere here, and to me they feel just as integral to Southern California as palm trees or pines.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
DNA and Ancestral Ritual

Science and magic meet. I won't choose between mysticism and science. They can feed each other.

My ancestors are spiritually important to me. So I'm combining science and spirit in a deeply personal way: I ordered an AncestryDNA test kit

A mystic, I travel through the blood in my veins, back through time, to discover the ancient ways my family once practiced. Today, the logical rational side of me does the same by spitting into a vial. This test tube becomes a chalice that arrived by mail, enclosed in plastic. Two supposedly disparate halves of me come together to feed my spirit. 

I mailed my saliva, part of my sacred body, to scientists, who will analyze it to reveal my ethnic background. They'll go back through many generations, the same way my meditations have. Their work will expand my otherworldly travels. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Honestly I was a bit bummed. My husband had a more interesting mix (and surprising to find out he has a significant amount of Nat
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Arwen, I can see how that would be a bummer. But you're such a gorgeous woman, your ancestors must've been beautiful too.
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    I did mine and it was as I expected. European to the very core with that 5% nod to the Sub-Saharan wanderers.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Arwen, was it an interesting experience to have what you had always been told confirmed? My dad's side of the family turns out to
  • Kin Roberts
    Kin Roberts says #
    I just received my DNA kit from Ancestry. Looking forward to the results.
Number Crunching, Number Magic

Do you want to live in a world where magic holds sway, or a world restricted by "facts"?

Many of us were taught to "face facts," which is often another way of saying, "Work 24/7, trapped by fear and one-sided "evidence." There's an alternative: Joyful play is powerful magic. Relaxing and enjoying life aligns us with the Divine flow of abundance and power.

In a recent counseling session, I advised someone, who deals with a lot of numbers in his business, to not get bossed around by the numbers. Numbers might suggest limits that ritual can transcend. 

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  • irene boyce
    irene boyce says #
    Hi Francesca, all my life I've known I've been walking a destined path. As a teenager 13/14 ish, I was walking home from school w
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Irene, thank you for going to such great lengths to convey your experiences with numbers. May your days always be blessed with bea
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Been off-line for several weeks, and was happy to see this upon returning. As someone who has dyscalculia (but nobody knew what th
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, hi, good to see you! I was wondering where you'd gone to. Thanks so much for reading my blog and for your kind words about it

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