The Sounds of Magic

Abracadabra
Abracadabra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Poof!
Presto!
Alakazam!
Abracadabra!
[Open/close] Sesame!

Over the last week I’ve found myself fascinated by these words/sounds; it started with “poof,” when I realized that for nearly everyone, it immediately denotes one and only one thing: a puff of smoke associated with some sudden mystical occurrence. (Aside from the derogatory slang for a gay man, that is.)

These terms have been debased by overuse in tawdry showmanship…but do they have deeper origins? What are those origins? Did they ever have real meaning or real power? And what connotations do they have for you?

For example, I have newfound respect for “abracadabra” after reading the Wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abracadabra

…and I’ve fallen in love with the proposed Hebrew etymology and how it translates.

Suggestions For Storybooks

Neo-Paganism
Neo-Paganism (Photo credit: Rainbow Gryphon)

I’d like to buy my little girl some books based on mythologies, Paganism and other such subjects so that her entire library doesn’t just consist of ‘The Gruffalo’ and similar books! She’s just about to turn 3 and i’d love any suggestions of things to buy her for birthday and Christmas. Many thanks!

Oh and as an aside and on the subject of presents, anyone got any ideas of what 3 year olds like? I’m trying to make a list to prepare but I’m stumped!

Magick in the Kitchen?

English: What is cooking : a scene in a Indian...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was just curious how many of you use magick and/or prayer work in your cooking, daily routine, etc.

Personally, I tend to send out little prayers doing even the simplest things, like while stirring my tea, wiping the crumbs off the counter or even making a pan of brownies. Usually, I am asking that my family be kept safe, healthy, and happy.

Sometimes if we’re experiencing particular family or personal issues I’ll contemplate those while cooking or cleaning and recite a spell or pray while asking for guidance and wisdom. I might even add a certain spice or seasoning to a meal in hopes it might help the “cause” I am working on.

I guess what I do is considered to be on the folksy side of spell work.

I just wondered if anyone else does anything similar.

Modern Applications of Seasonal Festivals

English: Wheel of the Year with Fire Festivals...
Wheel of the Year with Fire Festivals and Quarter Festivals (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been thinking for a while about having part of my seasonal observances be tied to modern-stuff-that’s-useful.

For example, my birthday falls at the fall equinox, and that would be a *very* sensible time for me to decide, say, to check all of my online profiles and make sure they’re current and saying useful things.

Likewise, at Samhain, it would be a good time for me to review the ‘what happens if I die’ stuff (will, disposition of intellectual property rights, who to tell online if something happens to me, etc.)

Those are things that fit into the cycle of the year, either fairly generally (the Samhain bit) or in an obvious personal way (the fact my birthday falls on the equinox makes the timing a bit simpler.)

But I’m contemplating spreading things out a bit more, too, and I’m curious if anyone does anything like this, has thought of doing anything like, has ideas for useful things along those lines, etc. (I also note I’m working on an 8 Sabbat model, but I’m more interested in ‘stuff and reason for particular association’ than where it ends up falling on the calendar, because some of this is going to be fairly arbitrary.)

Other things I’ve considered:
– reshelving my books in the right places.
– prepping my closet for seasonal changes (which is hard to do precisely, hello, New England, where we have very clear seasons, but when they feel like they’ve changed can vary by 6 weeks.)
– reviewing online privacy settings and related things like that (which I do as an ongoing thing, but where stuff can change without my realising it, or there’s more nuanced options than there used to be, etc.)
– cleaning out my hardrive/online bookmarks/etc. for better usability.
– cleaning out iTunes and my accumulated music and making it easier to sort.
– ditto on the ebooks.
– reviewing my long-term financial planning (retirement, etc. which is mostly automated, but it’s nice to look at it.)

Some of these things are a once a year thing. Some of them are a twice a year thing. Some of them are a ‘do more than that’ (links!) but looking at them closely at least once a year is probably smart.

Devotional Hair Practices?

English: Girl getting her hair done
English: Girl getting her hair done (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you cut, style, colour, cover etc. your hair for devotional reasons?

What do you do and why do you do it?

For the past year or so I’ve had niggling push to cut my hair. This isn’t a small thing, my hair is around 30 inches long. At first I thought I’d sell it, then decided I might try to donate it… More recently I’ve realised it’s needed as some sort of offering. The impression I get is that my cut plait will need to be kept as an offering/bargain/contract for a period of time. I don’t know how long that will be, or if I’ll be keeping the hair short during that, or what I’ll do with the plait after said period. It’s all still a bit fuzzy.

Divination Sets and Their Personalities/Characteristics

Ogham alphabet (non-IPA)
Ogham alphabet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve seen a lot of Pagans talk about divination sets and their personalities, which often seem to be independent of things like whether the set/symbols were hewn out of a rare tree or scribbled on the back of bits of paper. I’m relatively new to divination, but I’m learning this about tarot and Ogham sets myself. My DruidCraft tarot deck likes to push me to get practical things done, while my symbols-on-the-‘right’-trees Ogham set likes to be a bit ironic and ‘told you so’ about things, and my Wild Wood tarot seems to be deeply mystical. Some of this is based on the imagery of the set in question – the Wild Wood tarot was never going to be highly practical, with all those inner-world archetypes, for example. But some of it seems to be about the particular set – I have a set of Ogham cards that seems fairly neutral in comparison, even though they both use the same basic symbols.

So, a couple of questions come out of this:

1) Do you have a divination set with a particularly interesting ‘personality’? What kinds of experiences have clued you into this?

2) Do you think the ‘personality’ of a set has more to do with the type of divination it’s set up to do, or is it more about the character of a specific set? Is the Thoth tarot destined to be weird and dark, or could you conceive of a cheerful Thoth deck?

3) Or do you think it’s not possible for a set of printed cards or factory-etched runes to have any kind of personality? In that case, would you be more willing to ascribe one to a hand-made set?

Runes: Making vs Buying

Picture of Runes used in Fortune Telling
Runes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am reading up on using runes on the fabulous website previously mentioned someone on the board (I am sorry but I can’t remember who posted it). I was wondering whether buying runes in person or online would be better.

I have found posts regarding buying various tools (cards, stones, pendulums, etc.) where it was recommended to hold the object in your hand and see if it speaks to you in some way. I definitely get this, especially for divination tools since their use is so personal. I don’t know where to find runes in person, though, and don’t even know what keywords to use in searching for a local store that may carry them.

I found this http://www.sunnyway.com/runes/runeset.html on making runes on the site I have been reading. Has anyone made runes this way?

How Does Habits of Generations Affect Faith?

English: A photograph of a 2 month old human i...
Four Generations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am doing class work on how different generations think about work and how that effects their work. This is not part of my class work nor will it be used for it. I got the question how and what does the generations think about faith? How has it affected the perception of belief?

Generations
Traditionalists 1925 to 1945,
Baby Boomers 1946 to 1964,
Generation X 1965 to 1980,
Generation Y 1981 to 1994,
Generation Z 1995 to 2004.
Current generation 2004 to 2013 (do not know the name).

I am a baby boomer and lost my faith for a while due to the enforced belief that what my parents believed was right and what I believed was wrong. Until I learned that my belief was right for me.

Shared/Confirmed Gnosis Resources?

Gnosis (magazine)
Gnosis (magazine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are there any resources with specific examples of shared/confirmed gnosis? Just browsing this forum I’ve picked up a few patterns, which I’ve found to be incredibly helpful. While I think an actual list of gnosis experienced might ruin things by planting ideas (and thus risking “false experiences”) and taking some of the hard work out of it, it might also help bolster faith and prevent people from “reinventing the wheel.” Comparing notes could be a great way of turning UPG into SPG or even CG (or, contrarily, reveal a UPG as a misguided hunch). Also, perhaps the Deities reveal contradictory things; could this not also be enlightening?

I know there is some pantheon-specific SPG, but it’s usually sprinkled around instead of gathered together. Are there any resources that do, even if they are only specific to one pantheon?

For example, here is some UPG-turned-SPG I’ve encountered from different “paths”:

– The Morrigan seems to disappear for long stretches of time, and has a sort of vibe that is like “No…I’ll call you.”

– Ishtar and/or Inanna generally seem to come off to people as…scary. Not necessarily bad, but potentially dangerous. While most (if not all) Deities can be intimidating, there’s a specific wild vibe to Her.

– Ganesh doesn’t seem to have a bad thing to say about anyone. I’ve never heard of anyone getting a negative response from Him unless it was in the form of an important lesson.

– People seem to also find Kemetic Deities to be especially forgiving and patient. There are always exceptions, of course, but in general the reception seems to default towards warm, or at least kindly uninterested.

– On separate occasions, people have noted that Freya requested chocolate, and Anpu has asked for…Tootsie Rolls? The oddest thing is that these are usually requested without their wrappers.

– When I was active in the Celtic Recon community, I noted that I was getting very hostile feedback from Dian Cécht, and this was very quickly echoed by nearly everyone else.

If there isn’t a resource like this, how hard might it be to put notes together and make one?

Alternative Symbolism of the Pentagram?

Pentagram with a circle around it
Pentagram with a circle around it (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A small silver pentagram charm recently entered my life under the sort of circumstances that always means (to me) “this is important — pay attention!” It’s very simple, about the size of a U.S. dime, and seems to be made of one piece of silver wire fashioned so that the “woven” aspect of the pent is present, and surrounded by a silver wire circle.

I’m not sure why this is standing out to me as significant. I’ve never felt much of a connection to the symbol before and never worn a pentagram. I’m not Wiccan, nor do I practice witchcraft of any type.

So, I’m curious about other meanings people see in the pentagram (the pentagram specifically — not other five-pointed star designs). I’ve often seen it used as a symbol specifically of Wicca and sometimes of paganism in general, and I’ve seen it interpreted as representing the four classical elements (earth, fire, water, air) plus spirit. Anything else?

Do you know of any other interpretations, whether modern or ancient? Does anyone use it in a unique way to represent something spiritual or religious, other than Wicca or the elements? Does it have specific meaning in other cultures?

I do have an idea of what it might be telling me, but I’d really love to get some outside input on the possible symbolism.