Ok, it feels a bit weird for me to be tackling this right now. I haven’t done much magic lately, but I always seem to be steeped in mysticism so maybe it’ll work out.
So. Magic and spellcraft. To me the practice of magic is entirely mundane. I mean, I’m doing the same stuff I do in the mundane world, I just stepped into a different room to do it. Things like visualization and raising energy help if I’m constructing my own spells, but when dealing with something like folk magic it’s not really necessary. Folk magic is like a recipe. I’m just cooking.
Sometimes I make my own recipe and I find too much energy work isn’t necessary there, either. If I’m creating amulets or talismans or wards I can leave them on my altar to charge, and that’s enough. There’s power in the altar, because it’s where I do things. It’s a power gained repetitively, mundanely. I don’t sit there and concentrate on charging my altar; it just accumulates naturally.
I used to be really good at sensing and raising energy but I’m not so much anymore. Likely this is related to the physical disability which makes me tired all the time now. I can still sense energy but not as well as before. I’m rusty. Anyway, I now find ways around the things that are considered standard to spellwork in many magically-inclined areas of pagandom (specifically Wicca-influenced ones). I focus more on mental concentration and visualization than actually raising energy (which I would have to sense), which seems to work just fine. Orgasm magic also works really well.
Sage and I were having an AIM conversation recently about physics and kinetic and potential energy as being a really good way to explain energy in a magical sense (this started from a discussion on TC), and even a way to do raising of energy without feeling like you have to be good at sensing it. Basically, the explanation went something like this: if you toss a ball in the air, it builds in potential energy until it hits the apex, at which point it has 100% of its potential energy. The second it starts to fall, it’s using kinetic energy. This holds true even if you don’t toss it, if you just drop it from a second story or something. The second it goes up, its potential energy goes up.
Which, of course, I immediately went “Well you could modify that for spell work. Put your intention in the ball. Or write sigils on it or something. Whatever. Then drop it from as high a height as you can manage. The ball is doing all the energy work for you, which is handy if you just can’t manage the energy work for whatever reason.” The switch to kinetic energy being a release, of course.
Another point I want to make about spellcraft or magic is the importance of words. Words are powerful. They mean things. I choose my words with care, even when improvising. Adding in an airy “let this spell not reverse nor place upon me any curse and also no bad intentions here so don’t take it the wrong way!” won’t actually help anything if I worded things wrong.
Pure intent is not magic. It has to be well-worded intent or it’s not working properly.
I mean, expecting your intention for a spell to go one way when you’ve worded it completely differently is like expecting your cookies to turn out really tasty when you forgot sugar and used a cup of salt instead. We know you intended for the cookies to be good, but they are still not fit for consumption. You have to back up that intent with correct words/actions or your spell is not going to be very effective. (Or it’ll be effective in ways you really don’t want.)
So I guess my basic beliefs on magic and spellcraft are: it’s not as difficult as it gets made out to be; it can be done using the most mundane things; words mean things; what the fuck are astrological hours are you kidding me?
(At the very most I might time spells to moon cycles. At the most. But mostly, spells happen when they happen and sometimes you can’t wait on the universe to get in the right position.)
Ok, on to mysticism. This is hard to word, because, well. Mysticism. Mystery.
For me my mysticism is about finding the small mysteries within life, about forging a closer relationship to the divine via everyday living. It’s about erasing the line that got drawn between my religion and “everything else.”
It’s about making it okay that my brain gets broken open and exposed to the heavens every so often.
It’s about finding the source of my devotion, and holding onto it like a lifeline.
It’s about understanding my place, my role in the universe.
It’s about experience.
I mean, I’m the mundane mystic. This stuff doesn’t happen in a vacuum; I don’t go off to a cave somewhere and have mystic experiences that then don’t apply to my life. They happen all the time, in little ways, and while yes, I do go on pilgrimage to Eleusis (so to speak) for Spring Mysteries Fest, that is a very specific part of mysticism for me. In general, mysticism happens all the time for me.
I’m knitting? that is entirely about Brighid as healer, as hearth goddess, even as smith.
Making apple crisp? a meal for the dead, for Samhain, for Manannan.
Gardening, choosing what lives, what dies, being the reaper as well as the sower, being there for life, feeding the plants with blood and sweat and tears (and bones)? you can’t tell me that has nothing to do with The Morrigan, because it does.
Creating new worlds with my words? I am directly harnessing Brighid’s flame. I am closer to Her than ever when I write. And I am close to the Morrigan, too, as I prune, as I choose what lives and what dies, and to Manannan, as I shepherd my murdered darlings to their literary afterlife.
This is only a short list, but the point is: the Mysteries of the gods are everywhere. This is why I’m the Mundane Mystic. There is no separation.