This article was written by me and will appear in a private publication, it has been edited for content.
Our kids know we practice magic, and it’s led to some interesting discussions around how magic works and the functional aspects of it. They’re aware of Harry Potter, and similar notions of how magic works according to fantasy books, and they ask some good questions according to their level of understanding. I thought the questions would be interesting to answer at an adult level in an essay. I ultimately explained that the willow tree next to the garage isn’t going to come to life and destroy the house which was the concern.
“Is there actually a whomping willow?”
Nope. If there were a whomping willow, there would be many whomping willows, as trees require pollination from our beehives to reproduce. There might even be a field of whomping willows. It might even keep our nosey neighbors at bay. But unfortunately everything is governed according to it’s virtues, and so there is no whomping willow or it’s the last of its kind and about go to extinct. It would also make a very poor tree for a swing.
“Could we make a whomping willow?”
The whomping willow, if it was made whomping by magic, could be possible to make. However I believe that by making a tree into an animated, stomping, hostile mess, we have violated the essential nature of being a tree. A tree is a slow thing. It doesn’t change day by day except in small amounts, and to really notice the changes in a tree, we have to look at them according to seasons. Trees are really quite a good teacher for the progression of the year as they work on this scale. In spring they bud, in summer they grow leaves and bloom, in the fall they lose their leaves and let us harvest their ripe fruits, and in winter they die back to hibernation. A willow which spends all it’s time being angry and smashing things is really a very poor tree as far as other trees would see it.
Nature is the eternal teacher. Even things which exhibit unique qualities do so because they have the capacity for their behaviors in their own nature. In this way, some animals can be domesticated and some animals cannot be domesticated by the virtue of their essential nature. Some animals never realize this domestication – there are certainly examples of wild horses and feral cats – but this doesn’t mean that they lack the fundamental capacity toward this end.
“Could you [consecrate] a stone to make me lucky?”
What is this task though? Are some stones lucky simply because they are lucky? Is this as simple as giving him a stone we know to be lucky and sending him to sports with the stone in his pocket? After rolling the philosophical problem around in my head for a bit, I came to some ideas.
Certain stones, like animals, have the ability to become lucky. A stone may be “domesticated” towards a purpose of work, much in the same way a horse might be domesticated to drawing a plough. Certain breeds of horses are better for certain types of work, and so certain stones might be better towards the task of being lucky.
Individual stones, in the family of stones suitable for a task, may be lucky simply because this is expressed strongly in their nature. Much in the same way a litter of housecats born in a barn may simply appear to be feral cats from a distance, individual cats may be friendly and suitable for pets. Stones, the same way, may individually exhibit qualities of being lucky. It is very difficult to ask a stone if it’s lucky, however. I suppose we could test it through some gentle and friendly gambling with the stone present and without the stone present, but it seems much better to use our tools.
Finally if a family of stones were particularly lucky, someone surely would have been mining them on an industrial scale and they would be available at your local Walmart. I think then that certain stones have the capacity to become lucky through the use of our tools, but this is not well expressed generally in stones.
When we look at sources like the Three Books of Occult Philosophy (I recommend the Tyson edition), this is really how the virtues of things are treated. Virtues have to be cultivated. All apple trees can bear fruit, but cultivating an apple tree to bear fruit is our task. They all contain the virtue of bearing fruit for most of their lives, and some may naturally bear fruit, and others must be cultivated to express this virtue. I don’t feel it’s sufficient to simply look up “lucky stones” in a book and pick one up from the local geology shop. I do feel that all trees possessing the virtue of bearing fruit will benefit from careful cultivation and so to stones and any part of nature also.
How then shall we make a stone lucky? Using our tools! A gardener would not simply walk into an orchard and use their hands, nor a beekeeper casually tilt the lid of a hive without proper preparation, and fortunately the systems of magic give us exactly the things we need to be properly prepared!
My wife and I decided to take the stone to “the office” and work to cultivate it’s virtues.
The first task was to select a suitable stone. Our son was particularly fascinated by a piece of aventurine which was seafoam green. As belief is the first step to any spiritual work, I thought it was important to use a stone he liked. The qualities fit: It was green, it was a crystal and not a composite rock, and it was in the quartz family which was highly regarded for it’s utility in magic.
We placed the stone on the paten, and opened the circle in the normal way, and during the consecration of the items on the altar we also consecrated the stone. Having read Peregrin Wildoak’s excellent By Names and Images, I’ve been paying particular attention to the ritual to ensure the energy moves correctly and connects me to the universe. I think it’s an important signpost in the ritual to ensure things are working properly and should be developed as an important psychic sense.
When it came time to do the consecration, we held hands and placed the stone between our clasped palms. We raised energy. I intended on directing my energy from my crown chakra (which connected me to the universe) into the stone. What I felt, however, was that this wasn’t working. I was having a bit of a magical misfire here. I tried again from the heart chakra, and this seemed to work much better. The energy was flowing correctly this time.
This brings me to an interesting philosophical problem. In ceremonial magic, everything is accomplished through the will of the One Thing. If I am connected to the One Thing, then the magic works by their providence. Where I think I had failed to understand the ritual was this notion I held that I am connected to that via my crown chakra. By approaching magic this way I maintained the belief that I was me and He was they and we were seperate things connected by some sort of a psychic tether. I no longer believe this is the case, I believe that in the act of becoming the God, we affirm that we are the God. If I understand that through the act of Becoming, the magician becomes the God, then I am not seperate from the God and intellectually approaching the problem to render language into a petition. Rather it is my heart (being one with the God) which is governed by my desire to perform the act which is guiding the operation.
Where do the celebrants stand then? If it were more than my wife and I in the circle, what is their place in the rite? I believe that since the magician become the Godform themselves, then the celebrants are not the Godform themselves functioning in that capacity. Much in the same way, the Magician is not the Godform before the Becoming, they retain their individual identities. I would also suppose that failing to Become properly should be a sign that the desires of the officiants are misguided. For the celebrants in the circle, however, their magic does have an intellectual component of the crown chakra, where they must understand what the purpose of the magic is which is being performed, and an element of their heart chakra, which is their love of the Godform which is what forms the psychic glue, so to speak. The celebrants in the circle become an essential part of the circle – the part which contributes the “magical body” to the operation being formed and gives it life itself, much as the placenta nourishes a baby through the living circle of the womb.