Doing It By The Book (Or is it BUY the book?)
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I looked in the yellow pages for a Pagan public school. I didn't find any. Not one. But I did find a variety of metaphysical bookstores and magical supply shops. I went to a few of these stores. And there on the book shelf, I found all the secrets of the universe. Soft-cover, only $9.99.
So now I can do it by the book! I tried calling the four directions, but it took me so long to memorize the exact words verbatim. I tried purifying my sacred space, but I couldn't pronounce all those ceremonial words. (It was some kinda foreign language; it sounded like what my Uncle Irving and Aunt Sadie used to yell when the old station wagon wouldn't start.) I tried meditating too, but by the time I got comfortable enough, it was time to flip the cassette tape over. I'd like to just say a simple prayer to the Goddess, but I didn't get to that chapter in the book yet, so I guess I'll have to wait.
I went back to the store and the person there said that I wasn't using the right color candle. In fact, I needed not just one candle -- but 72 candles! (This is to balance the numerological energy between my magical name, the phase of the Moon, the exact weight in grams of my silver jewelry, as well as the last four digits on my Visa card.) And incense. I needed incense. And charcoal. "Don't forget to have extra charcoal," they all warned me.
So when I did my ritual, I lit all my 72 candles and filled my hibachi FULL of charcoal. 91 packages. (13 for each chakra.) And incense too. I lit the whole pack! Purple Moonbeam Aquarian Sage Ritual Incense. (This is just a code name. I can't find out the REAL ingredients until after a year and a day.) And oil. I poured in a whole bottle of Peace-Giving Psychic Wisdom Oil. (It's lower in cholesterol than even Canola Oil!)
Well, in a past life, I must've blown out a candle instead of snuffing it -- because the Fire Elementals got REAL mad. Whooof!!! Between all my candles and all the fumes from my charcoal and incense and oil and stuff, I barely had enough breath to dial 911. The ambulance driver said I had smoke inhalation and was lucky to be alive. (Gee, my first healing spell!)
After all of this, I looked at things a bit differently. I used my books as ONE way to learn from the ideas of others. Many of the authors were very thought-provoking and understanding several different view points helped me form my own opinions. I decided that I could learn from the books AND still do what felt right, for me, and for the moment. While I am very lucky to have freedom of the press, I realized that the greatest book of all is NOT for sale. It is written deep within us all, by a very special Author, and every day we turn a new page. I also found that the Old ways would speak to me through Nature, the birds singing, or the thunderstorms, or even that big ol' tree behind the Post Office.
And now when I shop for the few things I use in rituals, I do it very carefully. I realized that SOME of the people selling me stuff, were just that -- people selling me stuff! But others were more sincere about their vocation. They seemed more like teachers and mentors, rather than Retail Clergy. After a while, it was easy to tell the difference.
I stopped worrying about saying all the RIGHT words to call the Elements or to purify the Circle, and just spoke from my heart instead. I also discovered that once I stopped trying to use the exact verbatim words, that I could actually THINK about what I was saying, and WHY it was being said. I like that much better!
I even tried new things, like facing the Lake out back, or the maybe the Ocean, instead of always facing West for Water. It just feels right, like politely facing somebody when you speak to them in person. I guess facing West made sense for folks back in England, but where I live Water is someplace else! And instead of burning a green candle for Earth, I used a little cup of soil from my garden. Any candle -- even a green one -- is still Fire. But there are lots of stuff that, to me, FEEL more like Earth.
And when I think about the Goddess, I just call Her "The Goddess." That's it. No elaborate names that I don't fully understand, no historical baggage from all the wars and stuff in the mythology books. Just "The Goddess." And when I think about the God, He's just "The God." I know They both love me, no matter what phase of the Moon, and even if I'm not dressed in black.
I'm not exactly sure how to do magic, but I did find that there are PLENTY of stuff I do every day, without all the hocus-pocus, that are very magical already. Today I sent my sick friend a Get Well card. (Gee, is that a healing spell too?) And last night, I said a simple thank you before eating dinner. And the night before that, when I took a hot shower, I visualized myself washing away all my tension and stress. Ahhh. Now THAT was magic!
Maybe someday, I'll even write these ideas in my own book. Soft-cover, only $9.99.
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