Hunting the Hunter

Hunting the Hunter

by Melanie Fire Salamander

When I first started work in the Craft, as a solitary, I hadn’t much use for the God. The deity Who attracted me was the Goddess. I remember communing with Her in candlelight, before an altar of old telephone books covered with blue-figured silk. I felt incorporated by Her, supported.

My concept then of the God was the God of the Christians. From my ninth year to my thirteenth, I attended an Episcopalian church, where everyone was too polite to save me, though I did enjoy singing in the Youth Choir. I found the Episcopalian services pretty on the outside, but within they seemed dry as dust. I tried to be moved, but I ended up yawning, more taken by my walks to church through the quiet, sun-splotched Sunday mornings than by the ritual. The most of God I sensed among the Episcopalians was the echo of a long-ago voice.

When I did feel a presence from the God, that presence was of God the Father. Jesus I always saw as a person, a visionary you had to respect; I never got in touch with the loving Christ. We see our gods through the archetypes we’ve found in life, I think, and I was reared in a patriarchal household, from which I wrenched fight by fight over a period of years. In that household, the looming male figure was my father, grey-haired before my birth, the raging patriarch. Though my father and I patched up our relationship as I started serious work as a witch, my wounds were still raw enough I wanted nothing to do with fathers.

One of the first books I read that spoke of witchcraft as a spiritual path was The Spiral Dance. I remember Starhawk’s descriptions of different versions of the God: the gentle, loving Blue God, the viny Green One, and the Horned God, the Hunter. But for me none of Starhawk’s gods rang true. They seemed merely constructs. The Blue God appeared too girlish, and for me green was female. I felt the Horned God as the most real, but frightening and lumpen, as if one would want to mate with a bull. I shrugged, paid lip-service to the God in the group rituals I attended, and on my own worshipped the Goddess.

Meanwhile, life went on. Though I had no vision of the God, I managed to enjoy His sex. In Ireland I had a fling with a 21-year-old boy with dyed black hair, who wore a black shirt his friend’s sister made; we drank too much ale and richocheted against the painted stone walls of his village at 2 a.m.. Back in Seattle, I dated a photographer, also younger than me, slender as a brown sapling, sarcastic; I eroticized the smell of developer. I dated men my own age, too, but I kept reverting. Take my intersection with the surly boy, a singer in a band: I fell in love with his pumped chest and pierced nipple, though we never once held a conversation without arguing. Or take my e-mail flirtation, which went on too long and was never consummated: spiky, poison-sweet, dysfunctional as a car crash.

That one finally brought me to full stop. Some of the others had been obsessions, too, but this one patently made no sense. He had a girlfriend; we’d seen each other in the flesh perhaps five times; we’d never touched. What was it about him that sent my head spinning?

Those attachments you get, which are too strong, in the end seem to have little to do with the persons who inspire them. We tend to worship the gods we see in our lives, and the corollary is that if we don’t see the gods, they try harder and harder to reveal themselves.

I came to the God slowly, through His fauns.

Luckily the gods will teach you lessons many times over. But even when you’ve learned a few things, nothing is for sure. This story I’m telling you now, none of it is “true”; it’s just the explanation I’m giving myself.

Right now for me, the God is a muse. He comes on as a lover, but he is not a husband, nor even exactly a friend, more a capricious mentor. Our relationship is only sometimes about satisfaction; mainly the point is longing.

The God inspires my fiction; the characters I find most fun to write are usually fauns. They’re not portraits of boys I’ve known, though on occasion they’ve started out to be. Often they begin as minor players, who then take on a life of their own. The God inspires them: fills them with His breath and sets them moving. As they move, they draw me into the work, and their touch inspires the other characters.

This particular God-energy seems to work better for me driving fiction than real-life relationships. My fauns were never good boyfriends; I don’t think the Muse makes a good partner. His and my relationship is about tension, a pleasurable discomfort that makes me itch. I wouldn’t want that tantalizing, unfulfilling energy in an ongoing human relationship, but it feels right in relating to a god. It keeps me writing.

But the God will not be bound only into fiction.

At a festival, I saw a boy all in leather, crouched among greenery, looking up at me: black eyes, black hair, trembling lips with a fringe of mustache. I knew for certain I wanted him when I saw him take off his shirt. At the firepit, I maneuvered to sit next to him, warmed my cold hands on his thighs.

The Aphrodite shrine was full, locked, so we found the Pan shrine. Under a fake-fur pelt, we made love by candlelight. Something there was intoxicating as whiskey, something glancing, a bit heart-rending. I remembered him a long time, and I wrote him letters, though no permanent connection came.

It was only later I saw the God was laughing at me.

In the Pan shrine? Melanie, don’t you get it?

So it is often, I think. The gods don’t just come when you call. They make cameo appearances, and later you wonder why you remember that scene.

To see Him in your life, use your peripheral vision. Some people He comforts, some He teases; it depends on what He thinks you need from Him. But never doubt the God is there.

THE ELEMENTS

THE ELEMENTS

The Elements have been a part of man’s ancient and arcane lore since its

inception in  pre-historic times. Different traditions associate them with

various things. The following  list of correspondences comes from Starhawk’s

“The Spiral Dance.”

 

AIR:

Direction:  East.

Rules: The mind, all mental, intuitive and psychic work, knowledge, abstract

learning, theory, windswept hills, plains, windy beaches, high mountain peaks,

high towers, wind and breath.

Time: Dawn.

Season: Spring.

Colors: White, bright yellow, crimson, blue-white.

Signs of the Zodiac: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius.

Tools: Athame, sword, censer.

Spirits:  Sylphs, ruled by King Paralda.

Angel:  Michael.

Name of the East Wind:  Eurus.

Sense:  Smell.

Jewel:  Topaz.

Incense:  Galbanum.

Plants: Frankincense, myrrh, pansy, primrose, vervain, violet, yarrow.

Tree:  Aspen.

Animals:  Birds.

Goddesses:  Aradia, Arianrhod, Cardea, Nuit, Urania.

Gods:  Enlil, Khephera, Mercury, Shu, Thoth.

 

FIRE:

Direction:  South.

Rules: Energy, spirit, heat, flame, blood, sap, life, will, healing and

destroying, purification, bonfires, hearth fires, candle flames,

sun, deserts, volcanoes, eruptions, explosions.

Time:  Noon.

Season:  Summer.

Colors: Red, gold, crimson, orange, white (the sun’s noon light).

Signs of the Zodiac:  Aries, Leo, Saggitarius.

Tools:  Censer, wand.

Spirits:  Salamanders, ruled by King Djin.

Angel:  Ariel.

Name of the South Wind:  Notus.

Sense:  Sight.

Jewel:  Fire Opal.

Incense:  Olibanum.

Plants: Garlic, hibiscus, mustard, nettle, onion, red peppers, red poppies.

Tree:  Almond, in flower.

Animals:  Fire-breathing dragons, lions, horses (when their hooves strike

sparks).

Goddesses:  Brigit, Hestia, Pele, Vesta.

Gods:  Agni, Hephaestus, Horus, Vulcan.

 

WATER:

Direction:  West.

Rules:  Emotions, feelings, love, courage, daring, sorrow, the ocean, the tides,

lakes, pools, streams, and rivers, springs and wells, intuition, the unconscious

mind, the womb, generation, fertility.

Time:  Twilight.

Season:  Autumn.

Colors:  Blue, blue-green, green, gray, indigo, black.

Signs of the Zodiac: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces.

Tools:  Cup.

Spirits:  Undines, ruled by King Niksa.

Angel:  Raphael.

Name of the West Wind:  Zephyrus.

Sense:  Taste.

Jewel:  Aquamarine.

Incense:  Myrrh.

Plants: Ferns, lotus, mosses, rushes, seaweed, water lillies, and all water

plants.

Tree:  Willow.

Animals: Dragons (as serpents), dolphins and porpoises, fish, seals and sea

mammals, water-dwelling snakes, all water creatures and sea birds.

Goddesses:  Aphrodite, Isis, Mariamne, Mari, Tiamat.

Gods:  Dylan, Ea, Llyr, Manannan, Osiris, Neptune, Poseidon.

 

EARTH:

Direction:  North.

Rules: The body, growth, nature, sustenance, material gain, money, creativity,

birth, death, silence, chasms, caves, caverns, groves, fields, rocks, standing

stones, mountains, crystal, jewels, metal.

Time:  Midnight.

Season: Winter.

Colors:  Black, brown, green, white.

Signs of the Zodiac: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn.

Tools:  Pentacle.

Spirits:  Gnomes, ruled by King Ghob.

Angel:  Gabriel.

Name of the North Wind:  Boreas, Ophion.

Sense:  Touch.

Jewel:  Rock crystal, salt.

Incense:  Storax.

Plants: Comfrey, ivy, grains:barley, oats, corn, rice, rye, wheat.

Tree:  Oak.

Animals: Coworbull, bison, snakes (earth-dwelling), stag.

Goddesses:  Ceres, Demeter, Geae, Mah, Nephthys, Persephone, Prithivi, Rhea,

Rhiannon.

Gods:  Adonis, Athos, Arawn, Cernunnos, Dionysus, Marduk, Pan, Tammuz.SPIRIT /

 

ETHER:

Direction:  Center and circumference, throughout and about.

Rules:  Transcendence, tranformation, change, everywhere and nowhere, within and

without, the void, immanence.

Time:  Beyond time, all time is one.

Season:  The turning wheel.

Colors:  Clear, white, black.

Tools:  Cauldron.

Sense:  Hearing.

Plant:  Mistletoe.

Tree:  The flowering almond.

Animal: Sphinx.

Goddesses:  Isis, the Secret Name of the Goddess, Shekinah.

Gods:  Akasha, IAO, JHVH.

Where Gods Dwell – Creating Altars and Shrines

Where Gods Dwell

Creating Altars and Shrines

by Amanda Silvers

An altar is, customarily, an area set aside for meditation or worship, or for working magick. A shrine is ordinarily an altar, specifically dedicated to a particular energy or deity. What is the purpose of an altar or shrine, besides creating a special place for your ritual or worship to take place? There are many answers, and I offer this as a guide for beginners and more experienced people as well.

When you transform a physical area or location to focus on a divine spirit, it is then possible for that spirit to manifest in the material world. Whether it is a god or goddess, an elemental or one of the fey, it has a space and energy to create from. The idea is to cause this to be a special and sacred place of honor and adoration of the deity or spirit, so put plenty of desire and effort into your creation.

To build an altar or shrine, begin on the correct day and hour for your chosen purpose. You may determine the day and hour by looking it up in a table of correspondences, in one of Scott Cunningham’s books or in The Spiral Dance. Start fashioning a place by contemplating how much space you have to devote, where you might like it, how accessible the area is to you and how secluded it is. Importantly, if you do not wish people to ask a bazillion questions, situate your shrines where they will be private. When you think about the purpose of the altar or shrine, the deity will help guide you where best to build it; just follow your feeling or instinct.

Next, clean the space, both physically and energetically. Do a clearing or banishing with water, incense or whatever you usually use, and at the same time clean the area well. Wipe it down and take away anything that was there before. (If you wish to replace an item on the altar, cleanse and bless it first.) Once you have accomplished this, purify and bless each item for the altar and place it in its correct position. Each piece is like an ingredient in a dish; it adds to the final product. There is a distinctive energy that is produced by an altar once it is blessed, and you will come to enjoy sharing the energy there.

If what you want to create is a shrine, say a prayer of dedication to the specific deity, and with your intention and desire affect the space to be sacred to that deity. Also, as you bring in each item you may anoint and dedicate them one by one, for more power, or you may wait until the whole shrine is set up and dedicate it at the end, as a whole. Chant, sing, play appropriate background music, burn incense, do whatever helps you be in the energy of the deity you wish to venerate. Put as much energy into anointing, placing and praying over the items as you can to make the shrine very powerful indeed.

Once you have accomplished this, it’s time to invoke the deity and ask that deity to lend his or her presence and power to your shrine. Be respectful, be sincere, be reverent, but do not forget that the gods do have a sense of humor. So do not be totally surprised if something unusual happens. When you are finished, spend some time communing with your chosen deity, and hearken to the small (or not so small) voice that will speak to you.

You might try creating small altars or shrines around your house and yard. Even the workplace can become an area of worship if you are discreet and use your symbology wisely.

I have a main altar that contains my ritual working tools, a couple statues of the god and goddess I traditionally work with, offerings and some other magickal items that are special to me. I create other shrines depending on what energies I am currently working with. I have had in the past and know several people who have a shrine blessed to each god or goddess they work with. A shrine can be a nice focus for bringing in more of the energy of a specific deity.

It’s a valuable idea to keep a journal of your communications with the gods, so that over time you can look back and see how you have grown and changed in your approach. Be conscientious; keep your altars and shrines clean and well-organized (unless they’re to Eris!). Spend time engaged at your shrines every day, and you will come to have a very close relationship with the gods. Raise energy for them, and offer gifts…. remember the gods and they will remember you!

Items that you might want to place on your altar or shrine

For a working altar, you will want a number of magickal tools including, but not limited to:

  • Athamé (sacred to the God)
  • Bell (air)
  • Bowl of water (water)
  • Candles (fire)
  • Cauldron (earth)
  • Chalice (Goddess)
  • Incense burner and incense (air)
  • Oil lamp (fire)
  • Representations of the God and Goddess
  • Rocks or crystals (earth)
  • Salt (earth)
  • Shells (water)
  • Wand (air)

For a shrine, you will want:

  • Representations of the deity; these may be pictures, statues or other things that represent the god or goddess in question to you
  • Altar cloth
  • Anointing oil
  • Athamé
  • Bells
  • Candles
  • Crystals
  • Earth
  • Feathers
  • Flowers (alive or dead)
  • Fruit
  • Herbs or greens
  • Incense and burner (the fire of consumption)
  • Meat or animal parts
  • Metal
  • Money
  • Oil lamp (the fire of illumination)
  • Poetry
  • Salt or sand
  • Shells
  • Stones
  • Wand
  • Water
  • Wine
  • Other offerings as appropriate

The suggestions following, regarding shrines to specific deities, will aid you in starting shrines, but use your personal preferences and the colors and items associated with your particular deities.

For Aphrodite, I recommend a rose-colored altar cloth, rose quartz, a statue or picture of a beautiful woman or sexually explicit photos, some Aphrodite incense, red candles, shells, pink or red flowers, water and a condom or two. Her colors are rose, red, orange, white and pink.

For Pan, think green! Provide a green or brown altar cloth. Pinecones, greenery, wildflowers, phallic-shaped stones, statues or pictures of the god, goats or a beautiful man are good, as well as animal skins (especially goatskins), Pan incense, green or brown candles, earth, mushrooms and phalluses (dildos). His  colors are brown, tan, forest green, leaf green and teal blue.

For Hecate, remember she is the goddess of magick and witches as well as the goddess of death and transformation (destruction). For her, I have a black altar cloth, a crystal ball, Tarot cards, crystals, dead and living flowers, animal skulls and bones, Hecate oil and incense, black candles, an oil lamp and a threefold statue of Hecate. She likes her devotees to write poetry and songs to her, and she is somewhat jealous. Her color is black.

Scrying Using the Black Mirror

Seeing Into Darkness

by Katlyn Breene

The following excerpt comes from a book-length work on scrying and magick mirrors. Katlyn, a scrying expert, also runs Mermade Magickal Arts, manufacturing black scrying mirrors in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The black scrying mirror, or magick mirror, is a powerful psychic tool. It can bring the user hidden knowledge and clairvoyant ability and can act as a portal to other planes of existence. History shows its use in many of the traditional mystery schools and oracular temples. Today the serious student of magickal arts can rediscover the ancient rites of the magick mirror, for these techniques are again coming to light.

Scrying can be defined as the mantic art of gazing into or upon a crystal or dark mirror, allowing the physical eyes to relax, thus letting the inner psychic eyes begin to open and receive desired visions or information. The use of the black mirror is one of the best methods of achieving the state of mind required for entering trance and for scrying work. It not only acts as a focal point for visualization but can become a doorway into the astral plane. It allows communication with higher realms and the subconscious and access to Akashic records. The traditional crystal ball is also a wonderful tool, but it is more difficult to scry with and is extremely expensive. The mirror is a more efficient way to begin to learn to scry and journey in other realms. However, all techniques in this article may be used with a crystal ball as well as the black scrying mirror.

Consider the reality of the Akashic records, in which all ideas, actions, influences and vibrations are stored. The practiced scryer has the ability to “read” these records and focus on this vast source of timeless knowledge with the aid of the mirror and a strongly directed imagination. Guides from the world of spirit often lead the scryer in astral travel and mental journeying through the black mirror or crystal sphere. Scrying develops one’s clairvoyant abilities and is especially helpful in strengthening the third eye.

The preparation and construction of the mirror is extremely important. The black scrying mirror must be created with the highest magickal standards and traditions. At the full moon, specially cut glass disks are cleansed and magnetized. They are then anointed with a powerful herbal fluid condenser to attract and hold energy, vital force and any charge given them. A tincture of gold and moonstone is then applied to the surface, and they are ritually blessed under the light of the full moon. They remain for a night and a day within a circle of protection. The black coating is then applied to seal in the energy, and a felt backing is put on to protect the mirror and absorb later applications of fluid condenser. The mirror stand is carved rosewood, ebony or teak.

Ways in which the black mirror can be used

  • To contact spirit guides
  • To access knowledge
  • For healing and self improvement
  • As a magickal transmitter and receiver
  • For divining the past, present and future
  • As a portal to the astral plane
  • For shamanic journeying
  • For ritual invocation and evocation
  • To improve visualization skills

Preparing to work with the black scrying mirror

  • Always keep the surface very clean using alcohol and a soft cloth.
  • Never use it for anything but its intended magickal purpose.
  • Do not let others look into its surface, except in ritual context. Keep it stored in a silk bag when not in use.
  • Frequently recharge the mirror with vital force and fluid condenser, as explained following.
  • Practice the visual exercises described following until mastered.
  • Keep the working area clean and free from any disturbance.
  • Generally, scry using the mirror at night, preferably during the full or new moon, depending on the operation. The mirror can be used at any time, but tends to work better at these points.
  • When indoors, light two votive candles, one on each side of the mirror. Use white or colored candles appropriate to the work: blue for healing, purple for psychic work, orange for communication, and so on. (For more suggestions on candle colors, see any standard table of correspondences, for example in Scott Cunningham’s books or The Spiral Dance).
  • Burn a lunar or psychic blend incense before working with the mirror.
  • Place the mirror on a wooden table or altar with a clean cloth beneath it and be seated on a wooden chair in front of it, or if you prefer, assume a comfortable asana on the floor with the mirror before you.
  • Extinguish all light sources except the candles and/or moonlight.
  • Allow nothing to reflect in the mirror’s surface. It should appear as a dark tunnel or window.
  • Before starting, always create a sacred space to work in. Cast a circle of protection or visualize the area surrounded by white light and protection from false or misleading influences – call your guides and guardians to protect the working.
  • Keep a journal to record your experiences.

The rite of scrying

First, clearly decide what you seek or are trying to accomplish in the working and prepare appropriately. Then prepare the work area carefully as suggested previously.

Once you are ready, close your eyes and begin to relax; feel every part of your body releasing, relieved of all tension. Visualize your circle of protection and know you are safe and in control of all that happens within it. Begin to breath rhythmically and fully; try a count of four in, hold four, release four, four in, hold four, release four and so on. Feel yourself entering a light trance surrounded by sacred space, removed from time and the material world. Silently call your guides or guardians of the work, invoking the Goddess or calling angelic presences, spirit guides, watchtowers, astral guardians or whatever you prefer. Reaffirm your desire and the purpose of the work.

Now open your physical eyes and gaze into the mirror; remain relaxed and do not hesitate to blink when necessary. Relax the focus of your eyes but remain alert. After a while, the surface of the mirror will begin to change and fade; a dark mist will appear.

Your inner eyes will now open, and the journey into the mirror begins. Remember that the inner eye sees inside the mind, through the magickal imagination. Most people when scrying do not see the images appear with the physical eyes on the mirror’s surface but see within the mirror and in the mind’s eye. The mirror acts as a focal point, a gateway within.

When you have completed your journey or work you set out to do, begin the return to your body and ordinary senses. Breath fully and deeply, and remain still until you feel you have completely returned. Now close your eyes and remember all you saw and felt during the scrying or journey. Review your entire experience mentally.

Write it all down immediately in a journal kept for this purpose.

To begin to see

This is a very important exercise to master if you are new to scrying or are having trouble receiving images. It will aid your “visual imagination,” which allows your psychic and physical eyes to see clearly together. It gives clairvoyant strength.

Sit before your mirror and begin to imagine objects on its surface, one after another. You should try to see these images clearly in the mirror with your eyes open, just as if they were there in reality. Try simple shapes or colors first. Hold onto the image of each shape, object or color one minute before dissolving it and going on to the next. For example, use a red triangle, a yellow square, a blue circle and silver crescent; see them appear in the mirror using your firm imagination. For best results, do this exercise every day for 15 minutes until it is mastered.

This exercise is well worth the effort; it gives magickal discipline and strengthens the inner eye so visions can come with clarity and ease.

Charging the mirror with light

To charge and empower the mirror with light force is a simple but powerful process. It should be done frequently, especially just before using the mirror, so as to ensure you see correct visions, connect with positive energy and do not experience interference.

First, you must imagine that white light is collecting inside your body, being channeled down from the crown chakra. The body becomes a vessel filled with light. Remember to breathe fully, deeply and rhythmically. Now stand in front of the mirror and direct the palms of your hands toward one another. Imagine that the internal light is now moving into your hands, forming a ball of condensed white light between them. See and feel this clearly in your imagination. When ready, begin to project this ball of light into the surface of the mirror, purifying and enlivening the mirror, filling it with magickal force. See the light “soak” into the mirror. This process needs to be repeated until the mirror feels “full.”

This process can also be used to give a special or programmed charge to the mirror. Follow the steps preceding and create the ball of light between your hands, then mentally project your desire into the light before projecting the light into the mirror. This technique can be used for healing works and self-improvement. You can also charge the light with a specific color or vibration – whatever can be felt or imagined can be put into the mirror to aid the magickal energy. The empowering exercise can be used for other magickal operations as well, such as charging other magickal tools and the giving of healing light to another person. All it takes is a strong desire and powerful imagination.

Locking the charge into the mirror is accomplished by willpower. When the light has been absorbed into the mirror, state in your mind and with all the faith you can muster that the charge will remain as long as you require it. To release or remove a special charge, simply reverse the procedure, pulling the light out of the mirror into the space between your hands. Then disperse the energy into the atmosphere through the imagination. Do not draw it back into the body – see it return to the universe.

Creation and use of the fluid condenser

A fluid condenser is an infusion of herbs with tinctures, essences and gold added. It serves to hold the mirror’s magickal charge and attract elemental force. The condenser can be used not only on mirrors but also on all other ritual tools you want to charge for ceremonial use. The use of certain herbs, stones and metals in small quantities attracts etheric energy of a like kind. These fluids can be made individually to represent each of the elements or to enhance a particular work. I recommend making a universal fluid condenser that will work for all purposes, having all elements represented along with tincture of gold, representing solar and God energy, and essence of moonstone, representing lunar and Goddess energy.

The fluid is applied to recharge the mirror and to draw magickal symbols upon it for use in ritual. When the mirror is not in use, it is wise to anoint its surface with the fluid before putting it away. The fluid can be cleaned off with alcohol or distilled water later.

To make the fluid, you must first gather the herbs you need. They can be fresh or dried, but the more life force they contain, the better. The list of herbs following includes some suggestions, but you need not use all the herbs to make a good condenser. Use the ones you can find of good quality.

Once gathered, the herbs are placed in a pot with distilled water or rainwater. There should be about an ounce of each herb and enough water in the pot to cover the contents completely. Bring this mixture to a boil, and then turn down the flame and let it simmer for an hour with the pot lid on. When this is done, let the mixture cool and strain it through a muslin cloth. Put the liquid back into the pot and simmer without the lid until only a quarter of the original amount is left. When this is cool, add the gold tincture, about 13 drops to each pint of liquid. Then add the essence of moonstone. If gold tincture and essence of moonstone are not available, gold chloride or gold salts can be used and whole moonstones and crystals added to the mixture as a vibrational additive. Gold tincture can also be made at home with fairly good results.

To make gold tincture, take a pure piece of gold and holding it with a pair of pliers heat it over a flame until red hot. The red-hot gold is then dunked into a container of about half a quart of distilled water or rainwater. The heat and rapid cooling causes gold molecules to remain in the liquid. This process should be repeated nine times in the same water. Be careful of the rising steam, and try not to get the hot pliers into the water!

When you have combined all the fluid condenser ingredients together in a sterilized glass container, then add an equal amount of wood or isopropyl alcohol to act as a preservative. Store the condenser in an air-tight glass container in a dark place, and it will last for years.

For a very powerful and personalized condenser, add a few drops of your own blood to the mixture. Quartz crystals can be left in the fluid while it is stored to keep it clear.

Herbs for the fluid condenser

  • For the water element: elder flowers, water lily, orris root, white rose, willow, cucumber seeds, jasmine
  • For the fire element: red poppy, cinnamon bark, bay leaves, orange peel, rosemary, marigold, galangal, damiana, tobacco, nutmeg
  • For the earth element: oak, ivy, cypress, mugwort, vervain, patchouli herb, wheat, primrose
  • For the air element: mistletoe, acacia, clover, pine, sage, lavender, verbena
  • For spirit: gold, blood, crystal
  • For healing: juniper, thyme, mandrake, tansy, elder, coriander, lavender, life-everlasting, sage, cypress
  • For universal fluid condenser: chamomile, dittany of Crete, ivy, oak leaves, bay leaves, almonds, cypress, clover, grape leaves, rose petals, mugwort, jasmine, vervain, mandrake root

Incense for psychic work

The best incense to use when working with the mirror or any scrying device is lunar or psychic in nature, representing the sphere of Yesod. These types of blends may be purchased or created by yourself and must be burned on self-igniting charcoal disks. Here are some excellent recipes for fine-quality magickal incense to be used for the rites of scrying.

Lunar blend incense:

  • A base of white sandalwood powder
  • Orris root and myrrh in equal parts
  • Oil of jasmine and jasmine flowers
  • Oil of lotus and synthetic ambergris
  • A small pinch of refined camphor
  • Poppy and cucumber seeds

Blend together sandalwood, myrrh, and orris root, and crush them together into a powder. True refined camphor is hard to come by, but if you should have some available, add a pinch to the powdered base. Also add at this time the poppy and/or dried cucumber seeds. Put this mixture aside in an air-tight jar.

Next, blend the jasmine, ambergris and lotus oils together in equal parts. Coat the dried jasmine flowers with the blended oil and set them aside in an air-tight jar. Let these sit until the next full moon. On the evening of the full moon, mix together (in a silver or crystal bowl if possible) the oil-soaked flowers and the powder base with your hands, meditating as you mix on the beauty and wisdom of Mother Moon. Ask her to bless this incense with Her magick.

Scrying incense (psychic blend):

  • A base of mastic gum, myrrh, galangal powder and frankincense
  • Mugwort and wormwood herbs
  • Rose petals and lavender buds
  • Green cardamom pods and star anise
  • Bay leaves
  • Oils of mimosa and lotus, and dark musk

Blend together mastic, myrrh, galangal and frankincense in equal parts and grind to a powder base. Add a few cardamom and star anise seeds to the base and put aside in an air-tight jar. Now mix equal parts of ground mugwort, wormwood and bay, about half the amount used in the powder base. Coat this mixture with dark musk oil, and put it aside in a sealed jar. Mix the lavender and rose petals together, coat them with mimosa and lotus oil and put them aside in a sealed jar. Let the ingredients stand for nine days during the waxing of the moon.

Then blend all ingredients together by hand. As you mix, meditate upon your spirit guide and developing your psychic abilities. Know that when the incense is burned, your inner eyes will open and a link will be formed between you and world of spirit. (It is best to remove anise and cardamom seeds from the incense before burning; their scent will have been absorbed by the incense base.)

Let’s Make Magick!

Let’s Make Magick!

by Janice Van Cleve

When I began this article two years ago, I got nowhere. Either I was not ready to write it, or the article was not ready to be birthed, or maybe the world was not ready to see it. It languished for months until one day my editor gave me a deadline. Suddenly I was ready, the words came forth, and you are reading it. Was it magick? Certainly my skills and knowledge continued to grow over the years, but they were not enough. It took a need to kindle the will. The will found the path that knowledge alone could not. A deadline is a powerful spell!

So what is this thing we call magick and how does it work? Its very name conjures up images of mystery, delight and power. Its tools are everything from “an eye of newt and toe of frog” in Macbeth to “the Force” in Star Wars. It has been judged both good and bad, depending upon the outcome or the perceiver. It either explains the unexplainable or creates it. Magick reaches beyond the reality we know.

Scientific Reality

The reality we know is relative. Science continually extends our capabilities to discover and to document our reality. We all recall the old movie: Natives capture explorer. Explorer uses magnifying glass to start fire. Natives are awed. They embrace the event as an act of magick. To the explorer, it was just basic science. What is magick for one person may not be magick for another.

Thousands have died of HIV/AIDS, but now new combinations of drugs are apparently able to restore T-cell counts and hold the fatal disease in remission. Lives that used to focus on early death are now faced with the challenge of life, career and old age. Was that magick? It took years of methodical research and countless tests to produce the drugs, yet the effect was to transform lives and create futures where none existed before. So what was a reality yesterday may not be a reality today.

As science continues to observe, analyze, synthesize, replicate and document the unknown, it converts the latter into knowable reality. This act itself may seem magickal to those outside a particular field of research, but the fact that we know that somebody knows how it works — even if we don’t ourselves — removes it from magick to science. Even the practitioner does not need to know how it works as long as the procedure produces predictable results. Many medicines were invented by wise women of the village from their own experience, which later have been revalidated by modern doctors. Shamans at Stonehenge may not have known modern astronomy, but their observations allowed them to predict the seasons and eclipses with accuracy.

Most everybody loves to watch magic tricks. My favorite is the rope trick. When the magician slides that knot off the end, we marvel and applaud. Yet we know that the magician presents us with a disconnected reality, by hiding the intermediate steps in the process. We deliberately participate in this disconnected reality for our amusement. While we ourselves may never discover just how the trick was performed, we are nevertheless confident that it is indeed a trick and not really magick.

Changing Reality at Will

So if science continues to expand reality and trickery only manipulates our perception of it, where is the magick? Somewhere the power of the will must operate to make the impossible possible, to span realities, and by definition to do so with deliberate intent.

Who can do such things with more deliberate intent than marketers? Think about it. “Things go better with Coke.” “The Friendly Skies of United.” Joe Camel. The engineering that goes into a marketing message is one of the most highly developed sciences in the world. Millions of dollars and countless hours are invested in creating a perception that will catch on with the public and become a household word. Nobody uses tissues; they use Kleenex — even if the tissue in their hand is a Crown Z product. Nobody photocopies; they Xerox — even on a Canon copier. These are examples of very successful brand marketing achievements created and abandoned as business dictates. They have no basis in science. After all, things go very well without Coke, the skies have no friendly emotions, and camels don’t smoke.

Marketing creates powerful realities, not all of which are intended or beneficial. The Nike swoosh is a registered trademark with legal standing in court, while a 20-year relationship between two lesbians with children has no standing. A high-school student is suspended from school for wearing a Coke T-shirt on Pepsi appreciation day. (I’m not making this up. It happened in Atlanta!) A child in Detroit was even killed for his sneakers because their brand and style had been elevated by advertising to have a higher value than a human life.

Is this not magick? It is an act of will that deliberately alters reality on many dimensions in symbolic language. It is widely understood, and it has clear, tangible outcomes that are not always intended. By extension as a tool of the state, it has created nations like the two Koreas and has eliminated nations like those of the Native Americans. It both imposed apartheid in South Africa and overthrew it. Marketing’s magick bubbles only bursts when marketers cannot sustain the illusion, as when the lofty rhetoric of clashing ideologies is reduced to counting chads.

The Internet has also changed reality at will. A Montana rancher, hundreds of miles from the nearest library, who has never been out of the country, is completing his doctoral thesis on eighteenth-century Russian literature from the University of Minsk in Belarus. A surgeon in Kinshasa, Congo, is performing a delicate operation with the help of a team of specialists online at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York.

The Internet has created a connectedness of human consciousness unparalleled in history. It has created a new dimension where virtual images have all but replaced the tangible entities they represent. The almost instantaneous transmission of human thought and emotion, brain to brain, across hundreds of miles is very nearly an out-of-body experience — a “sending.”

Is this not magick? Parties can transcend physical reality to operate with deliberate intent in a virtual cyberspace and affect tangible outcomes. They can enter and exit multiple webs at will. From warfare to Wall Street, lives and fortunes are directed by digital images.

Disappointed? Were you looking for magick in a cauldron and found this article telling you to look in a computer? Were you looking for magick in an incantation and instead found it in a commercial? The word “magick” has been used in many different and often conflicting ways. Starhawk in The Spiral Dance defines magick as “the art of changing consciousness at will.” She calls magick an art of elaborate metaphors, not truths. She warns us that if we use these metaphors “for glib explanations and cheap categorizations, they will narrow the mind instead of expanding it and reduce experience to a set of formulas that separates us from each other and from our own power.”

From this viewpoint, magick is not only an alternate reality to be reached and relinquished at will, it is also a personal consciousness of ourselves in relationship to the interconnectedness of all people, and ultimately the interconnectedness of the whole universe. Magick is not about changing tangible things or intangible images so much as it is about changing our own personal relationship to them.

Years ago, I bought into the patriarchal, suburban, career Yuppie philosophy and alternately valued and despised myself by those yardsticks. Then came the layoff, the collapse of my savings, resume rejections and finally the emergency room at the hospital. I had to let go of the old yardsticks. From inner values, I visioned a new place for myself in the world that had more to do with who I was instead of a corporate title. I learned to give generously and to receive graciously, to be part of the flow rather than looking for paybacks. As it turns out, I prospered even by the old yardsticks, but it didn’t matter anymore. I took risks I could not have imagined earlier, and I achieve incredible goals as commonplace occurrences in the new flow of my life.

Was that magick? Indeed it was. Often we read stories of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. We read about their courage or determination, and sometimes we reflect how different their attitude is from our own. Coaches say attitude is everything, and counselors teach us that affirmations help build our self-esteem. However, unless these become integrated parts of our lives and we become integrated as well into the whole universe, they will have no magick for us.

A cup may be half-empty or half-full. Neither science, nor tricks, nor marketing, nor computers can change the volume inside the cup. A pessimist may complain; an optimist may be grateful. But the worker of magick? She drinks!