‘Magic 1 for Priests’ Posts
Introspection – Having done the above work, provide detail of your understanding of why self-knowledge and introspection are critical for working with magic and how you intend to pursue your own course of self-understanding. (min. 350 words)
Self-knowledge and introspection are important when working with magic because the types of energies and outside influences you allow in your magical working can directly affect the outcome of the finished work. If I go into ritual with negative thoughts and distractions, then I am not putting my focus on the work at hand, and am in fact, changing my intent for the magic by allowing alternative influences to take part.
It is also important to have a working knowledge of preparation to make sure the magical working stays course. Cleansing yourself of impure intents or negativity is one way to help the magic do what you want it to do. Protecting the sacred space, or yourself, help to ensure that outside influences don’t change the course of the rite and working.
As I mentioned in the beginning, magic is not a huge part of my work in ADF, though throughout my work here I’ve realized I probably do more than I think when it comes to ritual. Initially, when I thought of magic, I thought of specific magical working and hadn’t thought that the important preparations in ritual were also a part of those magical workings. Purifying the space, for example, was not an act I had initially included, and that is something I feel strongly about. Even when I moved into my home I made sure to cleanse each corner of each room before we made ourselves at home so that we had a clean plate to start with in creating our hearth and home.
So, knowing that, I will likely move forward paying more attention to the magical workings I already do, but also look at other magical workings that maybe I should no longer ignore and make sure I continue this path with more knowledge to better prepare myself for future magical work. I also need to keep in mind that my energies will also directly affect the outcome of magical workings that others may be attempting to do in ritual, and vice versa. Having a clean understanding of how magic works will allow me to either enhance their work, or protect myself from it if the intent is not something I want to incorporate in my life and wyrd.
(Word Count: 374)
Purification Work – Provide and explain one example of purification magic from an Indo-European culture, and write an ADF-style purification working based on that example. (min. 150 words for example explanation)
In Greek culture, purification is considered a very important act. “in no way can a man pray to Zeus spattered with blood and filth”. The washing of hands, or chernips, was an active purification before libation and sacrifice. Clothes were also clean and most times they were white in color. Hands are dipped in a vessel of water at the entrance to temples or holy places and then the water is sprinkled over their bodies. The water itself is not necessarily cleansed, but the location from which it is drawn is considered before use, such as water from a powerful sea (Burkert, 78).
During our healing rite at the Clergy retreat this weekend, we used this very method for purification before ritual. We have also used it at the Grove during our greek rites as a preferred method for purification. At Grove rituals, we place a bowl of water before the entrance-way of the sacred space, and as we process into ritual, participants would dip their hands into these waters before entering sacred space. Sometimes this is just plain water, but we have also scented it with sweet oils such as rose or lavender as well. At the clergy retreat, we had one of the clergy carry a bowl of water and walk around the sacred space to allow participants to dip their hands in the water and sprinkled ourselves before we began the rite. So these methods are still very similar and have the same purpose of purification.
No words were spoken during this portion of our work over the weekend, but a sample working could be:
Lady Astraea, Goddess of purity and justice. Bless these waters so that they might cleanse those energies that work against us and allow them to purify our intent for this working. May all negativity and outside influences be washed away so we that we may continue forth in truth and pure intent.
We would then place our hands in the water to cleanse, and also sprinkle some over our bodies and say:
As I wash with the waters, I cleanse my mind, body, and spirit from impurities so I may enter sacred space pure of thought, and with love and good intent in my heart.
(Word Count: 249)
Warding Work – Provide and explain one example of warding or protection magic from an Indo-European culture, and write an ADF-style warding working based on that example. (min. 150 words for example explanation)
In the Icelandic Lore according to Flowers (Flowers, 52), involves a lot of complex spells and magical working, some of which involves a protective measure. Typically the magician creates a magical “circle” that is wrapped around a triangle for ritual purpose. The circle acts as a “ward” of protection for the magician, and the triangle acts to constrain the spirit. However, it is also mentioned that the Icelandic magician does not typically seem to need to protect himself from the entities he calls upon.
One Christianized method or spell used for protection against wrath used a symbolic stave drawn over the forehead with your left index finger and then saying the following:
It is the helm of awe that I bear between my eyes-wrath runs away, strife is stemmed. May every mother be delighted with me as Maria was delighted with her blessed son when she found him on the rock of victory, in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit:
and then you read:
0lvir, Odhinn, Evil One All will you bewitch! May God himself, with skill Send love between us two!
Another form of protection in the Greek culture is the Herma-as. These phallic wooden figures were eventually migrated to stone and placed on top of the cairns as a form of territorial demarcation (Burkert, 156).
Using the Icelandic example above with drawn staves and incantations, we can replicate a modern version of a protective stave to use in our magical working. Obviously we will take away and rewrite the portion that attempts to paint Odin as an evil figure. We can still use the water on the forehead which is similar to passing of the waters in ADF liturgy. An alternative method in group ritual could also be drawing the symbol over the waters, or alternatively into a drinking horn to pass the waters for the ritual participants to drink. Especially since rune carving into drinking horns for consumption was already another popular method for magic in the northern lore.
We give our key offerings and invoke Odin:
Allfather, great seer of wisdom, you who hung on the tree and gave sacrifice to receive the wisdom of the runes. Blessed Odin, King of Asgard, I ask for you to bless this working with your magic. I offer you gifts of praise and aged whiskey. Allfather, accept this sacrifice!
With a finger dipped in water or oil, I would then draw the protective symbol on my forehead while chanting:
As this symbol is marked with oil/water between my eyes, wrath leaves and strife is quelled. May all be delighted with me as the Queen of Asgard, Frigga, was delighted with her son Baldur. Allfather Odin, with all your skill and wisdom, send love between us two.
And then we continue with our ritual work as usual.
(Word Count: 234)
Healing Work – Provide and explain one example of healing magic from an Indo-European culture, and write an ADF-style healing working based on that example. (min. 150 words for example explanation)
I purposefully waited to work on this piece after we finished a beautiful healing write for a fellow priest at the Clergy retreat to make sure I was in the right frame of mind. The main source of magic work used during this ritual was through toning to place energy in some artifacts for someone in need of healing. Toning is a form of energy raising and direction through voice.
For this particular rite, we honored Brigid, patron of the person intent with the healing work. The goal was to send healing energy to the person in question, but also to charge a blanket that we all tied knots into, and a statue of Brigid as well. We did a round-robin style of ritual participation, where all of the Clergy took a role in the rite depending on where they were sitting at the time.
This particular healing work was not to fix an illness, since the situation was already beyond that. But it was to invoke healing in the recovery, both physical and mental. The type of injury was severe enough that body, mind, and soul would be affected a great deal, so our goal was to ask Brigid to help inspire these three parts of human nature to encourage growth and healing in this new life this person will experience.
We made many offerings to the well with silver and used that water to help bless the gifts. Additional gifts were butter, farm cheese, apples from the local garden, and olive oil for the fire.
A similar type of magic, using a well for healing, is during the second battle of Mag Tured. Dianchecht had a powerful healing spring called Slane, where any man mortally wounded could be dipped and healed unless “his head be cut off, or the membrane of his brain or his spinal marrow be severed”. The wounds were fully healed through an incantation over the well while they were placed into the water (Cross and Slover, 42). Once these warriors were brought back to life, they were more swift, but they could not speak.
So in a similar fashion, a singing incantation (toning, albeit this is not known from any particular culture as a magical working, it is sorta generalized) over a well to provide healing in a magical fashion, much like what we did this evening in ritual. A particular incantation appropriate for this working would be:
Lady Brigid, great healer of the forge
Open the ways for gentle healing and transformation
Inspire with fire in the mind that insights and inspires
Inspire with fire in the belly of the cauldron that heals and protects
Inspire the hands with motivation and movement
Lady Brigid, accept our sacrifice
The omen was taken by Carrion using the runes, and she pulled: Elhaz, Gebo, Hagalaz
Which was interpreted as protection through sacrifice in order to heal. The destruction of removing the illness in order to grow and transform and heal.
(Word Count: Plenty 😛)
Discuss the relative place and methodologies of magic within your personal religious/spiritual practice. (minimum 100 words)
I do not consider myself as much of a magical person as I’ve seen other priests and liturgists. It is not as prominent a feature in my personal working, but it does have its place. I do not like to put too much stock in relying on magic work for certain things, as a lot of people can take it in the direction of a crutch to rely on rather than a tool to enhance workings. I think a lot of the mundane purposes of ritual can be solved through personal responsibility instead. Too many times I’ve heard of people using magical work to land them a job but then refuse to do the actual process of work to achieve that job (such as actually applying places).
That said, magic does have its place. It’s useful for enhancing trance-work and ritual workings. It is useful for an extra “oomph” in mundane workings such as luck in the job force (as long as you do the work), protection talismans during travel, and even relaxation or meditative techniques. Those are the main types of magic that I have interest in, but I still like to rely on myself and my own responsibility to accomplish most things I want to happen.
(Word Count: 208)
Discuss three key magical techniques or symbols from one Indo-European culture. (minimum 100 words each)
Three magical techniques or symbols that I’ve discovered from the Northern Lore are galdur, seidh(r), and of course to reiterate the runic alphabet and its magical connotations.
With the rune lore, you have 24 set symbols that each have a magical meaning and purpose. These symbols are a series of straight lines in a particular design with no curving attributes. The symbols themselves are used both for magical purposes such as incantations, posture, carving into talismans to invoke a magical purpose, and the casting for divination purpose over a white cloth, and also as a language of communication in the common Germanic dialect. Alone these runic inscriptions perform a magical purpose on their own, but combined with each other that magical purpose or intent could change depending on the runes involved. Thorsson discusses three types of runic formulations, such as ideographic, sound-formulaic, and phonetic word representations. All three formulations are considered an important part of modern rune use, which adds to the runes being the most recognizable form of magical working within the northern lore in history and in use today.
(Word Count: 154)
Galdur is a word derived from “gala” in the Icelandic language, which means to chant or “crow”. It is assumed during the practice of galdur that one is working under a magical persona doing the magical working (Flowers, 13). Galdur and rune-working were often used together, especially since both were used as a linguistic incantation during magical working. Both techniques depend on the abilities of the magician performing the act. Odin is spoken of as the father of Galdur, perhaps due to their frequent use with runes, and naturally with Odin giving us the gift of runes, it makes sense to attribute Galdur to him as well.
(Word Count: 107)
Seidh does not have a clear meaning, but it is thought to have a relation to singing or chanting. Unlike Galdur, which focuses on a working under a particular persona, Seidh is more of a trance-like function and less ego-centric, much like shamanic practice. During this time, the magician sat within this trance state while the songs were being sung and performed the magical workings or divination. It is considered a more natural form of magic compared to Galdur, but we have less resources on the history of Seidh than we do any of these other two techniques. Seidh is also considered a feminine form of magic, possibly originating from Freyja (Flowers, 13), but still considered a working of Odin along with Galdur.
(Word Count: 107)
- Mallory, J. P. In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology and Myth. London: Thames and Hudson, 1989. Print.
- Winn, Shan M. M. Heaven, Heroes, and Happiness: The Indo-European Roots of Western Ideology. Lanham: University of America, 1995. Print.
- Graf, Fritz. Magic in the Ancient World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1997. Print.
- Thorsson, Edred. Futhark, a Handbook of Rune Magic. York Beach, Me.: S. Weiser, 1984. Print.
- Flowers, Stephen. The Galdrabok : an Icelandic Grimoire / Edited, Translated, And Introduced. York Beach: Samuel Weiser, 1989.
- Cross, Tom Peete, and Clark Harris. Slover. Ancient Irish Tales. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1996. Print.
- Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1985. Print.
Discuss the place of alphabetic symbolism as part of the symbolism of magical practice within one Indo-European culture. (minimum 150 words)
One of the most well known forms of magical alphabetic symbolism is the runic alphabet of Northern Lore. This was an alphabetic that started out as magical in origin, but was developed into a communicative language as well. This particular system is thought to have been developed as early as 200 B.C.E. (Thorsson, 5). It is written that they are a gift from Odin after he sacrificed his eye in order to receive their wisdom, and much of what we know about them come from runic poems in the Eddas. Their main magical uses were through carving into talisman pieces, horns and any useful tool in a magical working and spellwork. They are also used in divination through casting and runic incantations known as runagaldrar (Thorsson, 13). Each symbol had its own particular meaning and magical purpose, but a combination of certain runes and their meanings could create a whole different meaning and purpose as well.
(Word Count: 156)
Discuss the existence and relative function of trance-journey magic within at least one Indo-European culture. (minimum 100 words)
In the Celtic culture, Ellis mentions a bull feast used to elect a High King. A person of the Druid caste would eat the flesh of a slain bull and drink its blood. Afterwards he is put to sleep by four more druids and whomever he dreamt about while in this state would be the next High King. It was believed that if he lied about this dream or person that his life would be ended by the Gods (Ellis, 143). This was just one part of the “Cult of the Bull” in the Celtic world. This is similar to the ritual of a Druid wrapping himself in the skin of a freshly killed bull and sitting by a waterfall to meditate. During this meditation they would receive a divine message to answer the question that was asked of them prior. These are both examples of trace-related functions through magic within the Celtic culture.
(Word Count: 154)
Identify the terms used within one Indo-European language to identify ‘magic’ and ‘magician’ examining what these terms indicate about the position of the magician in that society and the practice of his or her art. (minimum 100 words)
Magic is the art of the “Magus”, which is a Persian term that means a specialist in religion (Graf, 20). These divine people were responsible for rites such as royal sacrifices, rites of funeral, divination and interpretations. They were essentially experts in anything associated with the divine or religious function, which is considered a very influential position.
Plato talks of two types of “Magus” in a passage of Republic, diviners and beggar priests. Sophocles mentions similar “mages” in Odeipus Rex where he describes beggar priests as those who have sight only for profit, but in his art is blind. Beggar priests are essentially those fortune tellers who work on the streets for money, attend games and festivals, and manipulated rich people by convincing them they have their powers from the Gods (Graf, 22). These are inherently different than the respected priests or “magus” known from Persia.(Word Count: 146)