Tag Archives: witchcraft

Gandalf Style?

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Dramatic lighting is my friend.

Last week’s Sexy Pagan Friday offering is as good a place as ever to start off a little rambling about what has probably been my most significant magical practice since returning to KCMO.

Most of my effort, magical and otherwise, has been devoted toward settling in: to establishing my space, and to being in the right place at the right time.  Notice all the green in that photo: my hat, my scarf, my pocket handkerchief, the shirt you really can’t see because I got super dramatic with the lighting, and even my fucking socks are green.  Zip back through my last few spf posts, and you’ll find a shit ton of green in them, too.

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Saturdays I dress in black. The purple tie is usually for Mondays, but I was just feeling extra fabulous last week.

Taking a cue from Aradia, who did this diligently before she quit her office job back in June, I’ve been incorporating planetary colors into my clothing as much as possible.  (Wednesday is a fucking challenge: I look absurd in orange, which basically leaves me shit out of luck.)  It’s a simple, mindful thing, rather than an act of overt magic, but it’s something.  (Mondays are my favorite because purple.)

This also goes back to something I’ve touched on before: crafting a new image for myself as I become too old–and too committed to “professional” life–to let my freak flag fly full time.  Since then I’ve learned that I receive very different from both the mallgoers who patronize my jewelry store and the coworkers who’ve known me for six fucking years now when I wear a tie and nice shoes.  Simply put, they take me more seriously.   (This, of course, should come as a surprise to no one.)

And, I will say, it sure helps that men’s fashion has gone in some pretty awesome directions since I made this decision.  Vests are seriously back in style.  Colors and patterns are vibrant and fun.  And pocket squares!

It’s difficult to gauge the efficacy of general prosperity magic–yeah, I’m doing pretty alright, but I’m also busting my ass–but judging by the ways in which I do seem, increasingly, to be in the right place at the right time, I believe that I can call the experiment, at worst, a moderate success.  The things I want to buy are on sale and in my size, I sit down at the right table to meet close friends of the hosts of open events, people respond to my messages on OKC, the art store has a shipment of the strange craft supplies I’m after in the deep discount corner of the basement.

I want to escalate this shit.  I bet I can make a talisman out of a tie or a pocket square.  Can you enchant a suit?  I’ll fucking find out!  (And you can’t tell me no one has never tried.  The question is, did they blog about it?)

John Fucking Constantine

Solid character. Not a role model.

But it kinda fucks with my head.  I mean, yes, these are magical successes, in a sense, and I am having a good time with it.  But it’s all so fucking butch.  I no longer fit my own image of a witch, or even a wizard or a sorcerer.  I mean, there’s some precedent for a magician playing the straight man… but being a magician did some fucked up shit to my head: Aradia was preparing to stage an intervention.

The realistic solution is probably to get better at code switching: taking off the work costumes as soon as I get home and putting on clothes that are more in line with my self-image; finding times and places where those clothes are more appropriate.

And keep doing magic.

Always do more magic.

 

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Filed under hedonism, witchcraft

February Dark Moon Tarot

February Dark Moon Tarot

There’s a little bit of love goin’ on in the Current Position and the Querrant cards, but … dag, I ain’t feeling it right now. Very intrigued by the parallel sevens in the “inner influences” positions, and the parallel knights in the final outcomes.

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5 February, 2014 · 8:44 pm

Imbolc Altar 2014

Imbolc Altar 2014

This year more than usual, my Imbolc prayer is for the return of warmth.

Also, really trying to rock the candle / light theme this year.

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4 February, 2014 · 10:55 pm

ξένια: The Ethical Implications of Hospitality and Witchcraft

Behold, ξένια (xenia):

“… There you have my lineage.  That is the blood I claim, my royal birth.”

When he heard that, Diomedes spirits lifted.  Raising his spear, the lord of the war cry drove it home, planting it deep down in the earth that feds us all and with winning words he called out to Glaucus, the young captain, “Splendid–you are my friend, my guest from the days of our grandfathers long ago!  Noble Oeneus hosted your brave Bellerophon once, he held him there in his halls, twenty whole days, and they gave each other handsome gifts of friendship.

Come, let us keep clear of each other’s spears, even there in the thick of battle.  Look, plenty of Trojans there for me to kill, your famous allies to, any soldier the god will bring n range and I can run to ground.  And plenty of Argives too–kill them if yo can.  The men must know our claim: we are sworn friends from our fathers’ days till now!”

Both agreed.  Both fighters sprang from their chariots, clasped each other’s hands and traded pacts of friendship.

Iliad VI.251-279.  Translated by Robert Fagels.  Penguin (1990).

From ξένος, “stranger” (though, specifically a civilized neighbor, not βαρβαρος ) and often translated as “guest-friendship”, ξένια was the ancient Hellenic practice of hospitality that assured travelers a safe place to stay, on the one hand, and the good behavior of guests on the other.  In a very real sense, the reciprocal obligations obligations of hospitality among mortals mirrored the reciprocity of piety and patronage between mortals and gods: it was a covenant.  Guest and host honored their duties alike, because it was one of the founding ethics of their society; to fail to do so invited chaos.  The central conceit of the Iliad, after all, is that Paris/Alexandris violated the terms of hospitality when he abducted Helen (willingly or unwillingly, the primary text is unclear … and how does being brainjacked by Aphrodite, as Helen implies she was at III.460-5, calculate into discussions of consent?), and the otherwise un-unified whole of Greece went to war for it.  For further examples, the whole Odyssey is basically a treatise on what goes wrong when you violate the terms of hospitality.

This is one of the Hellenistic practices that translates almost directly into my own life: all who come under my roof come under my protection–for the duration of their stay, at the very least.  Those who partake of my hospitality may always expect (at the very least):

  • clean water, and what food and booze I can afford to share (all my friends being as poor as I am, that painful caveat is mutually understood)
  • a safe place to stay at the end of the party and an intervention of they are too intoxicated to travel on their own
  • a safe place to stay when traveling through my territory
  • the use of my shower and laundry facilities
  • that, barring simple accidents, their bodies and property are safe within my territory
  • that they may always request a change of subject, excepting only if an intervention is taking place
  • that, while sexually charged situations may arise, sexually predatory behavior will never be permitted
  • that, should anyone encroach upon them, I will always take their side

But the idea of sacred hospitality also intersects, in my mind and heart, at least, with Hermetic notions of the Kingdom and with my feminist notions of witchcraft.  For those who partake of my hospitality on the regular, the protection follows them home.  And, however problematic it may be, I expect the same of them.   They are allied nations, in a sense, and the standards by which I judge the hospitality they offer are raised considerably.  Although I have never been handed this law as a taboo, it is the only position I can hold given my particular background of neo-Hellenism, Hermetics, and feminist witchcraft.  Simply put, fair or not, I hold the hospitality of others to my own ethical standards as a matter of spiritual obligation.

The thing of it is, though, these are not just words.  Ideas have consequences–ethics in particular.  What does one do, then, as a modern neo-Pagan neo-Hellenistic feminist witch, the divinely-charged manager of one’s own spiritual world, when one learns that a friend–the lord of an allied Kingdom–has grossly violated the laws of hospitality?

Clever readers will have already noted that this is a particularly neo-Pagan spin on one of the fundamental issues in feminism and other social justice movements: how do we police our own spaces?  What is the best way to respond to racist, sexist, and homophobic language when it’s coming out of the mouths of people we love?  What do you do when your friends exhibit sexually predatory behavior?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, unfortunately.  Confronting bigots in the wrong way often leads to them doubling-down on heir biases; socially isolating predators can lead to faster escalation.  Do we bind them then?  Curse them into oblivion?  Feed them to the Furies or to Tartaros, himself?  But I’m tired of seeing these issues blown off in Pagan circles as “divisive”, or being the fault of people who just can’t hack it (whether “it” be the liqour they’re drinking or the permissive atmosphere of festivals or whatever), or dismissed as “politics” and therefore unrelated to spirituality.

I am, however, hereby formally proposing that, at the very least for those of us who see a sacred component to hospitality, these are issues of spiritual consequence.

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Filed under scholarship, witchcraft

Full Moon Musings–November 2012

Over the course of the semester three new magical tools have come into my possession: a pentacle, a staff, and a black-handled knife.  The pentacle I picked up at a swap-meet hosted by the local pagan store.  The staff is hand-made by a fine gentleman in the local community, and was given to me as a gift.  The knife was also a gift, a birthday present from another friend here in IMG_5583Sunrise.  These were my first clues that it was time to get back to my basics.  I didn’t ignore the message, per se; I just couldn’t figure out how to enact it in the context of my current workload.

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