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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The Labyrinth: Deepening Relationship with Place

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.


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 Meredith is an Australian author and ritualist. Her books include 'Journey to the Dark Goddess', 'Aspecting the Goddess', 'Rituals of Celebration' and 'Circle of Eight: Creating Magic for Your Place on Earth', about Local Magic. Jane's latest book, co-edited with Gede Parma is 'Elements of Magic: Reclaiming Earth, Air, Water, Fire & Spirit'. 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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