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December 6th, 2006
04:21 am
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Full moon ritual
Candle candle
Lesson one: This is what happens when you take two identical candles, light them less than 30 seconds apart and extinguish them together. Assuming, of course, that in the meantime you have dedicated one to the God and one to the Goddess, and let them burn for a ritual with 10 women and one lone male.

Tonight was a Gemini moon -- a tidbit I didn't know until I arrived at the full moon ritual downstairs, given my remarkable indifference to astrological trivia. The upshot is that it's a good time for things associated with the element of Air, most notably travel, communication, and abundance. The ritual was meant to focus our collective energies on these things and draw what we needed closer to us this month.

It wasn't meant to blow me out like a cheap fuse, but I got to appreciate a little bit of that as well.

Things started out innocently enough. Casting the circle, invoking the god and goddess, and a guided visualization to meet the goddess for some words of wisdom for the upcoming month. (Her message for me wasn't particularly verbal, and could be reasonably summarized as "Carry on.") Everyone had previously prepared a charm with herbal elements representing the things they wanted to draw to themselves, and we took our turns explaining them and then charging them on the altar.

Then we all linked hands. The ritual leader explained the next part, which would consist of gathering and focusing the energies that would be used toward our desires. We would all keep drawing and pushing energy clockwise around the circle, building it up, chanting ... wait a second, clockwise? ... and by then it was too late to do anything but frantically attempt some jerry-rigged internal rewiring and ride the thing out.

I have now been practicing magic for over a decade. You don't go that long without picking up both knowledge and habit. I've known for basically that whole time that I handle incoming energy more easily with my left hand and outgoing with my right; I've had ten years to reinforce that through habit until I'm virtually as polarized as a magnet. Naturally, in the wrong direction for tonight's work.

Some of my fellow mages out in the audience might be wincing at this point. "Polarization? Noob mistake ..." But I swear I've only let that go on for 10 years because it's never come up. I've been in a tradition that heron61 has coined "American Eclectic Magic," and my experience with willworking has all been individual, direct, and freeform; little concerns like "Which direction will energy move around the circle?" have always been a far-distant second to raw effectiveness. Tonight was, and I am not making this up nor undercounting, the third group ritual I've physically participated in during my whole decade of practice.

At least I had the skill to open myself up and let the group energy more or less blow through me.

Some impromptu self-readjustment after the hand-linking was done helped me stabilize, but I was halfway in la-la land for the rest of the ritual. (Which involved, mostly, a great deal of talking. I started restlessly eyeing the chairs on the other side of the room, but I figured I'd wait until the circle broke before beelining for them.) After long minutes of light-headedness and shaky legs, we uncalled the corners and drew down the circle, and I finally got my chance to bolt. Sitting down and letting all my muscles untense did a great deal to bring me back to mental focus; wobbling upstairs for my camera so I could take the picture of the candles helped me feel less useless. Even so, after the ritual broke up and the attendees scattered to be social, I had to stay close to a wall. I did a lot of leaning while I ate some snacks (more for the energy than the hunger; I'd eaten before the ritual) and listened in on social chatter.

My legs didn't stop trembling until I managed to talk with the ritual leader; I asked if future rituals would be clockwise, the story came out, and she snatched me some camphor and told me to breathe deeply. That scent is a powerful grounding agent, it was explained, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed. A few deep breaths and my calves returned to solidity. Thus reset, I was basically alright again, and a little energy and some time did the rest.

All things considered, it was a valuable experience. I'll have to start doing a little more energy work on a day-to-day basis to get back into shape for rituals. Maybe I can work on the polarity thing while I'm at it.

Current Location: ~/computer_desk
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Afro Celt Sound System, "Release"

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:December 6th, 2006 03:04 pm (UTC)

Don't feel to bad

My energy runs backward too. I do much better with counter-clockwise flow. I have been in two energy workings and both times I was able to switch my focus but it was hard.

Then again I am a baby witch who has been stuck in babyland for a decade due to lack of people to learn to practice with. My fiance is a witch too and though he has more expiriance his old coven is run by his soon to be ex-father in law and obviously that just won't do.

Love the candles btw - very nice!
[User Picture]
Date:December 6th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
Hee! :D I have to admit, I find the dash of hacker jargon in a discussion of magical ceremony particularly amusing. ;) And, yah... I grok about being kind of "wait, what?" wrt: group working; not the kind of thing I have much (sub: any) experience with. :P The picture (with caption) was very amusing, too. ;)
Date:December 7th, 2006 12:33 am (UTC)
...You're 'supposed' to take energy in with your right hand and dispense with your left? Weird, I do it the other way around too, though I can switch-hit if I have to...

I wish I had the opportunity to practice with other people, but ... it's hard; I don't know many of the magical sort around here, and the few I do know I'd feel somewhat weird working with.
[User Picture]
Date:December 7th, 2006 12:50 am (UTC)
wow, good word of warning there. I can run energy in both directions, but it feels better to me counter-clockwise (my left to right) too.

Man, that photo is cool.
[User Picture]
Date:December 7th, 2006 02:46 am (UTC)
That's a fairly impressive example and lesson. Thank you.

Once again, I stumble across some mention of a whole big area of magic that I've never even heard of-- polarization? Using hands to pass magic a particular direction? It sounds like I should have heard of this, considering how I go through magic books. Maybe it's because I haven't tended to read books about group ritual and I skipped chapters regarding them. Or I haven't read carefully enough, or the books I've read in detail don't really deal with it at all.

In this example, polarization is a problem in instances where one would have to go against one's polarity, but I would have assumed that polarization was actually a desirable outcome, considering how much of magical theories are based around the male/female projective/receptive dualities, and they're often described as being practically set in stone. (I have my own opinions on that, but that's something else entirely.)
[User Picture]
Date:December 7th, 2006 08:24 am (UTC)
I'm curious -- are you right-handed? I've seen a number of places suggest that one commonly sends energy through one's dominant hand and receives it through the other. That would mean that for right-handed people, the natural way to pass energy around a circle would be counter-clockwise if the decision was based solely on using the hands in the most normal way.
[User Picture]
Date:December 8th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
I'm not right-handed, but I am counter-clockwise. See next post.
Date:April 12th, 2007 07:01 am (UTC)

The more I hear about energy work, the more I wonder whether I should have taken more electrical engineering classes, just to compare them with what people say and see how far the eerie similarity goes.

(This reminds me distinctly of plugging a TTL logic chip into a breadboard and then plugging in the power backwards. Kerpoof!)

[User Picture]
Date:December 31st, 2008 01:10 am (UTC)
Direction of energy is not so important when you're just cycling it around the group to get everyone synched up.

Direction is extremely important when you're trying to decide whether to send energy out or bring it in. Typically, clockwise circles act to cycle energy inward, holding it into the circle and letting it build up before a release. Counter-clockwise circles are "open", focused outward and on sending energy out for some purpose, such as to deal with spirits surrounding the group (but not in the circle), or to clear a room's energy.
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