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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in spellcraft

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Where Does The Magick Happen?

"If we focus more on the end result - the product - more than we do on the process, we teach ourselves and others how to consume instead of how to create."  (Quote by me.)

I may have woken up with a tad bit of a ritual hangover this morning.  But that didn't stop my brain from diving down a fascinating rabbit hole thanks to a facebook post from Byron about art and witchery. 

We often look at art in terms of being an end result, without much thought to the process.  I'm not only talking about visual art here, but all of the arts: dance, music, writing, theater, etc.  The end result rarely speaks of all of the hours of work, training, editing, practicing, derailed personal lives, lack of sleep, cuts, bruises, sweat, blood, and a whole slew of other things that really aren't slick, sexy, or appealing in general.  Yet the result is often something of beauty - profound, moving, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually compelling.  Unless you're involved in that art yourself, it's hard to fathom or understand everything that went into it.  Which is another reason why art is so often devalued in our society - that it's merely entertainment, dressing, something easy and amusing, full of pleasure and indulgence. 

Yet, it's also not just some combination of elements that make it into art.  Just because you have a canvas, some paint, a brush, and some time does not mean you will have a great painting at the end of it.  You'll have a painting in the basic sense of the word, but that doesn't mean it's art. Nor does a beautiful work of art mean that lollypops, cupcakes, birds singing, and sunshine were the stuff that made that piece happen. Inversely, a dark and painful appearing work of art doesn't mean that blood, tears, and thorns were involved in the making of it. Really, unless you were there, you can't know or say, you only have your own personal experience with the end result to base your opinion upon.  Which leads us to, when we add in the concept of "beauty is in the eye of beholder" and the lines between real and fantasy, experience and validity become very wispy indeed.  

Regardless of the end result, a skilled artist calls upon their experience throughout the process of making, transforming and changing materials through focus and intent. 

Similarly, a lot of folks look at spellcraft by the results without understanding the process.  They see the results, and they see a list of ingredients, and assume that's all that is needed.  But the experienced practitioner knows that it's the will that transforms and causes change in recognition of the elements and materials. It's the application of will and focus in the process.  You can follow the motions (burning a candle, digging a root, inserting of thorns, etc), but without the understanding and focus, they're often just actions that fall flat. 

Ask any artist where the magick happens, and they'll most likely tell you it's in the making of the art.  The need and desire to create comes from the actual process.  While the ego may be pleased by the end product of the process - and yes, it's definitely the thing that everyone else responds to -  it's the art-making itself that satisfies the spirit.

Though I certainly hope that for my own work, the ordeal and experience of the process is something that the end viewer gets a glimpse of. Not so much a look at my personal process, but perhaps that it speaks to their own experiences and processes.

In the end, it's not the telling of the process nor displaying of the art or spellcrafting that makes the magick, but the actual doing of it. 



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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Magick of Coloring

1-2 years ago, when friends and clients told me I should come out with a coloring book of my art, I must confess I was rather perplexed, and the thought conjured up images of newsprint booklets for children, full of cartoons.

Which mind you, it didn't seem like a terrible idea, as I have thought of writing and illustrating children's books, but I wasn't confident that my regular art was entirely child-appropriate. Heck, my work tends to unsettle most adults who are not of an esoteric persuasion, I didn't want to be responsible for freaking out small children. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Objectification

Objects can hold power, and collect energy.  In "The Magick of Making", we explored how magick can be instilled into artwork by the maker.  But what if you're not an artist/maker? And what about items that weren't originally made with magical intent but take on meaning for you? 

Even if you don't consider yourself a "material" person, there is undoubtedly some sort of token that means more than the sum of its parts to you: your grandmother's thimble, a book from your father, the feather you found on the street on that really rough day, the rock from the hike you went on during that vacation, your "lucky" sweater. 

Whether an item is made by humans, manufactured by machine, or created by nature, it has the potential for meaning, and meaning can be acquired most typically via association or by function. 

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  • Melissa
    Melissa says #
    I had to smile when you started talking about mugs. I have a mug that was given to me by a good friend of mine, just before she di

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Magick of Making

What is a spell? Is it the gathering together of specific items such as crystals, herbs, and colored candles during certain phases of the moon to heal?  Is it the power of an invocation chanted by a coven to bring a deity? Is it a song sung by a mother to her child to soothe them? Is it the drawing of a certain symbol on the ground of a sacred space designed to protect it? 

If we define magick as the process of focusing intention and applying will to situations, objects, and energy around us to cause a change in consciousness, then all of these activities are kinds of spells. They are all forms of magick in their own way.

So with that in mind, we may also consider the visual art-making process as a magical path. Of course, not every piece of art is a magickal working, but with the right elements and conditions, it has the potential. 

Art can be created to take on a variety of magickal purposes - here are a few examples:
-A painting or statue created to represent a deity, to remind us of the divine
-A vessel or sculpture created to house a spirit or other sort entity
-A work created for as a focus for meditation or to transform a person, place, or thing 
-Work created to be an interactive altar, sacred space or be part of an altar offering

And while nearly any object can be re-purposed for use in magick, there is something extra special about an item that was handcrafted with that intent in mind. Why?

As an artist, when I sit down to create a painting, piece of jewelry, drawing, or sculpture, there are numerous steps and factors involved.  I generally (and prefer to) create my work in my studio space, which is essentially my personal sacred space.  I consider what I wish to work on, making a list of what I need. I carefully prepare the area that I work in/on/around and painstakingly gathering my materials.  I choose the light, music, and time aside needed to focus - and then I get to work. If I am creating a custom painting for a client, then I am meditating on them and their needs.  If I am creating a piece that relates to a deity, then I approach them respectfully and allow a dialogue to occur that brings them into the process.

I find that creating work is a balance of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious levels of awareness and thought.  If I am too much in any one area (overthinking, or perhaps too much in trance), the work will not be as successful.  The body, mind, and spirit must be in alignment, yet also be fluid enough to allow for change.  

Through much experimenting and observation over the last 20 years, I have recognized the similarities between the state of being I experience during classic spellcraft and when I am creating art infused with magick.  The energy transfer feels identical, and as I have studied the work and experiences of other artists, I have noticed similar results in the product.  It has its own buzz that you not only see, but feel. Whether it's a ceramic chalice, a talisman necklace, an elemental mask, a goddess sculpture, or painting of a god - the hand-worked, mind-forged, spirit-infused item seems to possess something more, right from the start, and continues to build as it interacts with the world around it. 

Just like any good traditional spell, it requires skill and knowledge in the medium, the ability to focus one's intent and energy, and the patience, dedication, and understanding of working with the project and seeing it through until the end. 

If you don't consider yourself an artist, that's OK. Think about the art and artful objects you may have in your home, be they originals or copies.  Why did you choose those pieces, or how did they come to you?  How do they make you feel? Why do you have certain things in specific places? What about art or objects that you have left behind, given away, or sold? 

If you are an artist, and this is new and intriguing to you, then consider what media you are best in, and what sort of magick it may lend itself to.  Over the years I have created deathmasks and psychopomp portraits, spirit portals, fetishes, drawings to bring about change, paintings for meditation, altar objects, and energizing talismans to name a few.  There's a lot of potential out there, when you have the right mindset and skill to make it happen. 





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