A variety of old wolf bones. Vertebrae, jaw section, ulna. Sourced from AK First Nations subsistence hunts.
Bones play a big role in my practice, and take up a significant part of my collection.
Despite how much we may or may not view the flesh as a prison, after a gnostic fashion, we are beings housed in and a part of the physical realm. Keeping the body, this temple, at peak condition is important to any magical endeavor. When the body is good physical condition there is an abundance of vitality, awareness, and endurance, all of which are important faculties in magical practice. This is best done through balanced diet, consistent exercise, uninterrupted restful sleep, and good personal hygiene. When the body is well rested as a result of sleep, full of vitality as a result of a balanced diet, refreshed by cleanliness, and poised from exercise, the magus is ready to engage in effective magical practice. Not only will these healthy habits improve the quality of your life, but also the potency, duration, and precision of your magick. ~Seth, Tactical Magick
I could not even begin to count the number of pagans and occultists I’ve run into who are out of shape, slovenly, and possessing poor hygiene practices. It just boggles the mind. There are horror stories I could tell, but really, what’s the point. I think you all know what I’m talking about. I’m utterly surprised at how anyone can focus or get any work done with kitty litter grinding under their feet, or the smell of BO and cat piss hanging in the air (yes, I’ve experienced this firsthand unfortunately). I know I can’t, but I have ADD, so what the fuck do I know?
I really need to get back into my old exercise routine. I think I may be a touch out of shape. I also need to see a doctor about that insomnia thing. Both of these will happen soon.
Just made a new update to my Etsy shop. Antique Micronesian spinner dolphin teeth, fossil dog teeth, Japanese Tokugawa era coins, wolf tooth amulet, and other fun things. More will be coming (hopefully). I also hope to have a Halloween/Fall sale at some point.
I just have so much…stuff. But I suppose that’s why I’m called the “relic hound”.
Coyotes are very interesting critters, mainly for their transformative qualities. There are over thirteen different subspecies of coyote. Once confined to the midwest, the coyote has spread its range all the way to the eastern seaboard, and all the way north to Alaska. Environmental pressures put on in by humans only cause this animal to flourish. In a way, biologically it lives up to its mythological roots as trickster and shapeshifter. It can adapt to almost any situation, and it’s flexible breeding patterns allow it to take on many different sizes, shapes and colors depending on the environment. The coyote is an adaptable creature, and responds well under stress.
Many times I’ve heard of people who complain of missing the magic in their lives, of being out of touch with their gods, of not being able to work the magic they would like. Busy schedule, work, school, kids, what have you. They miss the rites, the rituals, the pomp and circumstance. There is no time. And by this point, dear reader, you are wondering what the fuck this has to do with the above paragraph. What I’m trying to say is–we need to live more like coyotes. Adaptation is the key. And really, to a certain extent the ritual, pomp and circumstance are simply just crutches, fancy dressing. The gods will still listen whether you chant the right verses or not. Magic can still be conducted without the use of elaborate gimmicks and rituals.
One can inject magic and meaning in every part of their life. To me, there is no border between the magical and the mundane. Magic runs like a current through every aspect of life. You have but to be like the coyote, and find opportunity in anything, even adversity. Grasp that current, and tap into it. Just as with polytheism–connections to the gods are found everywhere. Even in seemingly the most dead of places.
By exercising yourself and learning to adapt your practice to any situation, you become more flexible. You become more intuitive, too. Opportunity and magic (and opportunity FOR magic) make themselves more apparent the more you exercise that ability. Especially in this day and age, it benefits one to live and think more like a coyote.
On my ride up to the beach on Friday evening, I had the very great pleasure to see a bald eagle up close. I know eagles are plentiful on the Chesapeake, but to see one this close, and with such drama was a rare occurrence for me. It flew up from a swampy area with a snake clutched in its talons to chase away an osprey flying overhead, presumably to protect food and turf. The spectacle of it, so close, was breathtaking, even if the whole thing only lasted mere seconds. The event made me wish my dad was with us to see it. He loves bald eagles, next to dogs one of his favorite animals. When I see them in any form, I think of him. They symbolize the American patriot, his coveted ’67 Thunderbird, which he has stored within various effigies of bald eagles.
Later, on Saturday evening, I went to the movies with my younger brother to watch “Clash of the Titans”. Inaccuracy and poetic license aside, it was entertaining. One of the most amusing parts about it was Zeus’s many transformations into…a bald eagle. Seemed a bit queer to me, seeing as a bald eagle is a North American native subspecies. Wouldn’t a golden be more appropriate, more historically accurate? Then I thought back to the eagle I saw on the ride up, and many connections began to forge themselves in my head.
When I think of bald eagles, I think of my father. I’m sure Perseus in the movie must think of bald eagles then when thinking of his father? I imagine the actual Perseus must have thought of eagles when thinking of his father. I think of my father, and I think of how he always would say, “I have to keep those big birds flyin’!” Those “big birds” are the C-130 military cargo planes, also known as the Hercules–a half-brother to Perseus. And when I think of Perseus I think of Pegasus, and when Pegasus comes to mind I think of the patch representing my dad’s wing, featuring a winged horse, rearing with wings outspread.
Seeing the eagle was a numinous experience. A good omen–the grace of the gods, the safety, and inner strength, of my father. I feel a profound sense of peace, and look forward to seeing him walking off that plane in May, under the broad wings of the Pegasus.
A storm is raging outside as I type this, thunder and lightning crashing closer and closer to my house. It somehow makes me feel more at peace.
To help me begin, I’m going to bring up Phil’s comment in the former post, in which he brings up some very good points. In order to help me compile just what I’m trying to say however, I’ll start off by saying that I too have chronic illness–in fact it was the onset of this chronic illness that tipped the scales when it came to my shamanic practice. I had leanings most of my life, but it was in 2005 when this thing hit, that the dam really burst open for me. I still have it. No amount of discipline, praying or “mind over matter” will ever make it go away. It’s here, and here to stay for the rest of my life. This doesn’t make me weak, or inadequate, and certainly not incapable of performing the duties in the path I walk. I walk a more ordeal-oriented path as a result–but this wasn’t my choice. Psychological scars also are present, and there are things, mentally and physically, that I will never “get over”.
Or, to put it this way: Certain things never will be gotten over–and no one should ever expect you to.
Sometimes it is only in the presence of injury, disease and related hardship that true knowledge can fully blossom.
In fact, this is one of the reasons why I always detested and despised the New Age drek The Secret or the Christian Purpose Driven Life, or otherwise related ‘name-it-and-claim-it’ philosophies. No matter how skilled a magician you are, or how hard you pray or how disciplined you are…shit happens. It just happens. It’s what you do with that shit, what you transmute it into, that matters.
Phil’s quote in his one reply was quite handy in this:
This is where the idea of lycanthropy as a disease can be useful. If you let it control you, and it is the master, that’s the bad situation where you have amnesiac werewolves who go on killing sprees. If you can control it, and use it most productively, let the beast out when it needs to get out and so forth, then that’s a position of true power and mastery, and it doesn’t involve squelching it or conquering it, or getting rid of that disease either (which is something one rarely sees in films and such…).
Of course you can apply this to a wide variety of ailments, but the general idea is there. And I think, for the moment, I’ll leave you all to ruminate over that, because my ability to form intelligent words right now is drastically flagging at the moment.
In looking back through my childhood (not an easy thing to do), I realize that I had all of the (stereo)typical behaviors of a magician and shamanist in the making. Traumatic events, both explained and unexplained. My brain was wired differently–so differently that I was consistently medicated for it from the age of seven, and reminded of it for every day of my life. I didn’t start actively trying to make friends until college, and even then, I wasn’t very social. I’m still not. As far as practitioners go, I’m very, well…solo.
Though unlike some, I was very underwhelmed when I began reading about magic, paganism and the occult back in my preteen years. It all seemed to describe to me things I knew already, or was already experimenting with. I somehow didn’t seemed too incredibly surprised to find others doing the same, though I was surprised to be able to connect with like-minded individuals who fit that niche. When it came to the occult and the paranormal, the big thing that really surprised me was that a thing like “otherkin” and “therianthropy” existed outside of my own little island of being. The honeymoon period with that, however, is long since over. I no longer actively seek connection between peoples that fit those two descriptors, simply because most of them are merely trying to escape from themselves and the species or world they were born into. I have no commonality with the false, the damaged, and the confused.
It leads me to wonder why I deal with the occult or animistic community at times. I can’t really say I deal with it as much as some–I am virtually inactive on most social fronts aside from my writing. But the patterns I seem to pick out most readily is the glorification of the bullshit artists and “internet shamans” that float around out there. The ones that are glorified for their fanciful storytelling, name-dropping, pity-partying and attention-seeking through their traumas (which, they feel, is an automatic badge for the practice of shamanism). Although they claim to be healers and to (desire to) help others, in the end they help no one but themselves–if you can really call it “help”. The people they surround themselves with are nothing more than yes-men, psychophants and enablers. But amongst these people are those who, I was astonished to find, are actually reasonably intelligent people. It stunned me to think that people who were so smart could be duped by such high school grade behavior. It wasn’t until I read Daniel Pinchbeck’s Toward 2012: Perspectives on the Next Age did I find out that Carlos Castaneda had actually duped a fair amount of professors who even had studied the Yaqui culture. Suppose this thing could happen to someone regardless of intelligence, though it leads me to speculate why, and how. The essay within the book, “Shamans and Charlatans: Assessing Castaneda’s Legacy” is well worth the read and relevant to this part of my rant. In fact, Reality Sandwich has some great essays in general on a variety of topics.
But it’s one of a few reasons why I step back, or remain on the periphery of what people there call “community”. I was never much a social being, which is kind of funny you think, coming from someone who claims strong alliance to canine archetypes. But witnessing this sort of thing is a turnoff towards community. The bullshit artists, the spindoctors. Plenty of people can write books and still be completely incompetent, and just because you’re popular doesn’t always make you right. I’m also a private person, and the extreme freedom by which occultists and shamanists share in gross detail their experiences is beyond me. I hold strongly to the clause, “To keep silent”, or as Christian Sedman in Generation Hex puts it:
We could tell other people straight out, but of course the minute you talk about magic–the shit you’ve turned into gold–is the minute it turns back into shit.
But hey, at this point you’re thinking “Well hey Solo, you do write about magic, right? Yes I do. I love doing so. I want to inspire people, or at least shoot out that signal flare out there that yes, there is someone else out there who isn’t doing this for wholly selfish reasons, or to find some sort of crutch for an inadequate life. Sedman goes on to say:
Sometimes you can write about it. That kind of works. The best thing you can do with something you’ve written about magic, I think, is inspire somebody else enough to try it themselves, so that they can see for themselves.
Even within the paradigm of magic and the animistic, there is so much people aren’t seeing, and it can be frustrating. I try not to waste too much time myself though. I am too constantly involved in the magical and animistic world to always pause enough to write about it or network or “do business”. Or, perhaps it’s too involved in me.