A Not So Theoretical Walk In the Woods

I admit, I’m rather envious of Gordon’s ability to go visit Neolithic stone circles and ruined cities on the weekends.  Here in New England, the chance to do that sort of thing shows up only rarely.  And in general, people who think of themselves as pagan (whether they are or not) practice indoors or in private, and only rarely out in public.

The following is kinda long, and well off the beaten path of my usual writing.  But it’s a road-opener working of sorts, and an effort to use appropriate tech for an entirely new purpose.

I have talked fairly often with C.T. and others about how one of the challenges that pagan and pagan-friendly people face in North America is that it’s Cultural Appropriation to use Native concepts, but that this is a decidedly non-European landscape — most of us live within an hour or so of an urban center or two, and major urban centers are rarely more than a couple of hours away.  Yet the space between is often heavily wooded… and yet not truly wilderness.

Some friends of mine introduced me to a Chippewa colleague of theirs, who said that New England is the first region of the world she’s ever been to that feels spiritually dead. Except perhaps for a back yard here and there of someone who cares about nurturing the spirit realm, there’s very little going on energeticaly. Even there, it’s usually only a flickering presence (she said).  It’s thus a complex landscape in several different ways for the spiritually- or pagan-minded:  we don’t want to trespass on other people’s spiritual landscapes, but we’re not resident in the land of our own ancestors.  We’re close to woods, but not necessarily close to wilderness.  We’re in a region of dense population but filled with interstitial spaces and times that are potentially valuable.

Hence this experiment on September 14, 2013: to find keys to a sacred landscape that can be used without trespass, and with some semblance of dignity; to see if a pathway to a holy place can be made, even in a place as public as a park.

To find, not Olympian, but Higbyan Jupiter.

Mount Higby

Mount Higby is a prominence of traprock left over from an ancient volcano of the Triassic Period, when Europe and Asia on one side, and North America on the other, went through a tremendous divorce.  Lava broke through the Earth’s crust here, forming sheets of basalt hundreds of feet thick.  Later earthquakes and faulting shifted these sheets and shattered them, tilting the mountain downward and eastward at an angle into the earth — and lifting up the western edge into a high cliff face visible from I-91, between Meriden and Middletown [Google Maps].

Which is what the geologists will tell you.

But of course, this is mythology, so it’s important for you to know that Jupiter, in his contest with his father Saturn, launched himself to Olympian heights from this point in order to begin the battle with the Titans.  It is in this place that the mighty sinews in the thighs and calves of Jupiter bent and flexed, and he vaulted into the heavens.  The earth heaved with his passing, and shattered, and molten rock filled his footprints, and the ground broke beneath his feet.  And now this mountain lies here, Besek to the south and this one here to the north, enduring testaments to the power of Jupiter.

Not for nothing does the state police academy shelter beneath these mighty cliffs, its memorial to fallen officers clearly visible from the treeless lookouts along the summit — for good government and honorable justice, and the responsible execution of the law, all take place beneath the watchful and generous eye of the Thunderer.  On a clear day, from some parts of the northern flanks of the mountain, the dome of the state capitol building is also visible.

OK, this seems hokey even to me.  I mean, mythologically, it’s believable if you can believe in myth at all. What is it that Suetonius said, “things that always are and never were”?

But here I am, halfway up the path from the car park.  For a variety of reasons, most of them work- and bad-sleep related, I’m climbing this mountain halfway to midday, instead of at the hour of Jupiter — because I know that it’s Saturday, and Jupiter’s day is Thursday, and yesterday was the Lectisternalia.  Still, it’s the right season, and I’m hoping that the gift of a mountain will count for something (what do you get a god who has almost everything for his anniversary?).  Still, I’d rather not be struck by a terror of what I’ve done on the way back down — I’ve done that once before, after all.

A Pilgrimage Road

But you have to be in the right frame of mind to go find Jupiter on Mount Higby.  I mean, kids and parents and their dogs play here, and old people go walking here, and young people find places to smooch and do other things in the woods here. You can’t just declare the whole mountain sacred to one deity without so much as a by your leave to all the human beings who use the park and the mountain for all the other purposes.

You need to have locks in place, too, so that the Neighbors, that might happen to upset those other, human visitors to this area don’t wind up wandering around out of doors scaring away the tourists and the bicyclists, or frightening dogs off the cliff edges.

Which means that you need keys to those gates.  And you need to put the keys out there so people can find them if they need them or want them — hence this blog post — but that no one is going to stumble into the high places of Higbyan Jupiter accidentally.

You have to make it a pilgrimage.  And the keys are the acts that pilgrims perform on the road, to let the entities at the end of the road know they’re coming. They’re the bells rung on the doorposts, the proclamations of Hekas, Hekas, esti bibeloi, the raps of the door-knocker.  We’re coming. Are you home?

Four Keys

I know, from previous experiences in Spain, that it’s possible to travel to the same place by different routes, and not arrive at the same locus of power. In June of 2000, I walked the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain, from Léon to Santiago, with a tour group. It was, in many ways, a grueling journey. It was a lot of fun, too.

Higbyan Jupiter: a not-so-theoretical pilgrimage.
A rock cleft by lightning?

I don’t think I can forget my visit to a village called O Cebreiro, though. The Holy Grail is on display there, in a glass case.  The tricksy thing is, though, it’s not the Holy Grail if you arrive there by car or by tour bus.  And I know, from talking to other people, that even if you walk there, it may not be the Holy Grail you find, but a 10th century gold chalice.  Thus, it’s helpful to have a copy of the official Camino passport in your pocket, duly stamped and filled out in whatever post office, bar and refugio has a damp inkpad and a rubber stamp.  Because, apparently, this historical artifact is the Holy Grail if and only if you arrive in O Cebreiro by walking there, as a pilgrim. Otherwise, it’s just a valuable but not particularly beautiful gold cup.

And so this is how I’ve chosen to structure this pilgrimage. Part-way up the path from the Route 66-westbound carpark, is this enormous stone, suitably and completely coincidentally cracked in four pieces, and just beyond it a beautiful glade of grass under trees. Oak trees, sacred to Jupiter at Dodona and other places around the ancient Mediterranean.

Stop a moment here, and say or sing a formal prayer to Jupiter:

O divine one, dwelling in majesty and jubilance,
send a ray of thine abundance to descend upon this place,
and awaken in me a measure of your powers —
for I am coming to do you honor.

Pour out a libation from your water bottle, or your other bottle, if you just happened to bring one, and press on.

Higbyan Jupiter: a not-so-theoretical pilgrimage.
picnic on a purple blanket? purple wine?

And then pause for a bit to admire the grassy glade beyond.  Have a picnic here, if you wish, and don’t forget to leave a few crumbs behind…  Or at least a libation. This part is totally optional, but it’s still a beautiful spot.

The same prayer can be used as before, or you can play Holst’s The Planets, with the Jupiter movement, as you go on.  This is not particularly hard.  The whole point of these kinds of keys is that anyone should be able to do them — and while they’ll work here, it’s also possible that they’ll work elsewhere, on different routes, if people take the trouble to think about them and set them up. The route needs to be primed — sort of like a trail of gunpowder to a large firework. That’s sort of the point here — this is replicable tech.  I think.

At the top of the glade, the path sort of meanders off in three different directions.  One of them goes to the right and across this beautiful glade; another goes down a sloping path to the left, and which loops around this next challenging bit without any difficulty at all.

We want some difficulty, though.  Jupiter makes things easy for other people, sure. But that doesn’t mean he wants you to take it easy coming into his presence.  You want to make sure he knows you went to a bit of trouble to come see him.  So don’t take the easy route.

Higbyan Jupiter: a not-so-theoretical pilgrimage.
“are you sure these are stairs?”

Take the stairs:

These are the Stairs of the Middle Path (quite literally, since the other two paths branch left and right), and it’s the middle way that leads to Jupiter.

Say or sing this:

Radiant among the gods, O Jupiter,
as a child you hid in the caves of Mount Ida:
Now I take the rough-hewn way over rock to reach you:
send a ray of your abundance down on this place
for I am coming to do you honor.

Because it’s nice to make an appointment, and it’s nice to let people know you’re coming ahead of time; and if traffic is bad, you or your partner phones or texts ahead to let them know where you are, right?  It’s politeness, especially if you’re approaching the house where the big party was just a few days ago.  Did I mention the thunderstorm on Thursday?

Turn right at the bottom of the stairs. North-ish.

Then the path will cut down into a ‘ravine’.  Everyone comes this way, I think — or at least, everyone else up on the heights came this way or left this way.  Was a regular traffic jam.  Caught up with a couple of late teens kissing here on the way up.

As you cross the ravine:

Monarch of brilliance and thunder,
send down your servant Iris,
open the way between you and me,
for I am coming to do you honor.

Higbyan Jupiter: a not-so-theoretical pilgrimage.
Among Cedars…

And then you’re going UP.  Into cedar trees:

And at right about this point, if you look west, or left, you’ll see the state police academy down below, with its mini-city-street shooting gallery, and its pistol range, and the memorial for fallen officers, and the big block that looks like a high school.

And what comes next should be obvious.  You’re going to turn left, and look at that view, and shower blessings down on the future guardians of order. Because that’s what worshippers of Jupiter do, man, on their way to see the king in his own house:

Lord of might and majesty,
mercy and judicious law,
send a ray of your authority
down upon the students and faculty
of that school, right there,
that its graduates may be
honorable and decent
in upholding the law,
and merciful
when carrying out justice.

Higbyan Jupiter: a not-so-theoretical pilgrimage.
The Academy

Four keys turned, right?  Four locks unlocked.  Four gates opened.  By now, it’s likely obvious that you’re not taking the same route to the top of this mountain as everyone else.    And you’ll be looking out at the same view as all those rubber-neckers, but you’re not going to be seeing the same things.

In fact, you’re not actually arriving at the same mountain top that they are.  Even though you’ll be tripping over one another at the top of the mountain: kids with their mothers, kissing couples, elderly people who probably shouldn’t be climbing on mountain tops, and all the rest.  They’re not where you are, even though you could reach out and touch them.  You’re not where they are — you came here through other doors.

I hope you really meant to use all those keys.

The Mountain

Not much farther beyond the cedars is an open place on the top of the ridge line, on the western cliffs of Mount Higby.  It’s not the summit of the mountain, which is another quarter-mile further along (and which has equally impressive, if similar views).  But if you’re here as a suppliant, this is the end of the road. This is the forecourt of the temple, and we don’t trespass on holy ground, not on our first visit, not with the four gates open.  This is the place you do your work.  But farther beyond this? Leave that to the god, and to the hawks, and the tourists who don’t know what they’re doing.  (They don’t really let you touch the reliquary of Santiago in Santiago either, and you don’t get to say mass there even if you are a Catholic priest. Follow the local customs, please.)

Higbyan Jupiter: a not-so-theoretical pilgrimage. And here, with the valley of the Quinnipiac River stretching out before you, and with northern New Haven visible to the south, and the edges of southern Hartford (barely) visible to the north, and the clouds massing in the west,  you stand upon one of the highest points you can see.  With a mass of trees behind you, it’s impossible to see the east, but it’s there — the Connecticut River beyond the hills, and beyond the river, another horizon line of hills and ridges. To all appearances, here on Mount Higby, you stand at the center of the visible world.

There are plants and animals on this mountain that can be found nowhere else in the state.  It gets more lightning strikes than anywhere else around here.  And you’re right there, in the middle of that.

My altar — in my current  style — in lower right, with my current working notebook.

I sang my chant-version  Thomas Taylor’s Hymn to Jupiter (recording from Thursday night’s thunderstorm:   and recited two of my own paeans to Jupiter, as my rites for this event.

And I asked Jupiter to recognize the gates and keys that I had established upon the routes to this high place.  With visible hawks, he accepted.  I asked him to accept the mountain — when approached through these portals already established — as his sacred mountain. And he accepted again.  And finally, I asked him to accept the ashes of the incense offerings I’d made elsewhere, as offerings made to him here (they really frown on fire up here, at least for now — downwind of the city reservoir, and lots and lots of very dry trees…).  And he accepted. So, I poured out my libations from their little bottles, carried up in my kit, and scattered my crumbs, and ate and drank my (suitably small) share.

The Others

Chances are, when you do this on Mount Higby (or in your own neighborhood, on your own locally-sacred mountain), you’re going to run into a lot of Others. And I don’t mean spirits, although it could mean that.  I mean, other humans. People out enjoying the day. People taking selfies against this tremendously wide and beautiful backdrop.  People out for day hikes.  People hiking the whole of the Metacomet Ridge. Lovers. Old people. Old lovers. Kids. Dogs wandering perilously close to the edge (and there is an edge. AND it’s a long way down. Don’t be stupid up here, folks).

Be friendly.  I was perhaps overly friendly; I got sucked into a lot of conversations.  Don’t be open about what you’re doing there, but be open about who you are.  Friendly, generous, merciful, open. Those are the virtues of Jupiter, and you must remember to practice them here, in his temenos at the center of the (local) world.

But remember, they’re not with you, and they’re not doing the same things you are. You’re not even standing on the same mountain top, even if you shake hands with them, right then and there.  EIther they’re somewhere else, or you are, or both.

Consecration

During a rare window when there didn’t seem to be anyone around, I performed some particular libations, and I asked Jupiter to take the mountain as his local home.  He agreed, although it feels like it’s going to be more like his fifth house in Aspen that nobody really visits any more, and it’s been on the market for years.  He promised to be home if you let him know you’re coming ahead of time, though.

I’m not going to reveal all the details of consecration, because then it might be blissfully easy to undo them, or make a hash of things.  Frankly, from the “Jesus saves” graffiti in a lot of places up there, I think it’s fair to say that the mountain has already been claimed by a surprisingly large passel of divinities, all of whom are welcome to work out the covenanting and time-share details among themselves. Between their various afterlives, they ought to have enough lawyers from enough different traditions to settle the matter by now.  And even if they don’t, the paperwork and the negotiation will keep them interested in the property and what happens there, for decades, at least.

Who knows?  Maybe someday the temple that I saw in a fever-vision on top of this mountain, thirty-five years ago as a kid, will eventually be built.  Probably not in the lifetimes of anyone kicking around today, but you never know.  We all have to leave big projects behind, for someone else to carry on after our deaths:  This may become mine.  Maybe that’s just hubris, too. Maybe I’m the only one who will ever perform this particular experiment.

One Last Drink, and a Dice Throw

There’s one big rock that’s easy to miss on the way up, and difficult to miss on the way down.  If you’re stumbling downhill in the dark, be cautious: the path takes a big turn to the left just before this boulder.  If you wind up passing this boulder on your left, instead, you’ll be tumbling head over heels all the way downslope to the car park a few hundred feet further down.

Higbyan Jupiter: a not-so-theoretical pilgrimage.
The Oracle Stone

Here it is: The Oracle Stone.  Don’t do your divinations to communicate with the god in the temenos itself.  Do it on the way out, as you’re leaving, as you’re closing the gates behind you.

In the little shelter this rock provides, half-hanging off the edge of a mountain, draw a card from your Tarot deck, or throw your geomancer’s dice, or drop your knuckle-bones. However you do divinations, whether nature-mancy or sortilege, cast your chart here. This is the place, just where the path juts against this enormous rock.

Then pour your last libation in the crack between the stones, the last bit of drink you brought up the mountain. Save it for here, and say:

Close the gates for now,
and bar the doors, merciful Jupiter:
let the doors be shut until next time,
when reverent suppliants and joyous worshippers
climb the heights of your sacred mountain.

And now your visit to Higbyan Jupiter is over.  You’ve made the pilgrimage, you’ve scaled the heights, you’ve passed the four sacred portals, and you’ve walked in the temenos of an Olympian in North America.  I hope it was worth the trip.

Is This For Real?

For some readers, those who clicked through thinking who knows what this could be and then found themselves falling down a rabbit hole of decidedly pre-modern thinking:  You’re now likely wondering what you’ve gotten into, what idiocy is this, who would do this, what strangeness is this?  What does he possibly believe about all of this?

I can say, with perfect certainty, that while I was going uphill I knew what I was doing, and I even believed in what I was doing.  Coming down the mountain again, my usually-rational and fairly-skeptical self reasserted itself, and I found myself losing whatever arete had possessed me on the way up.  Perhaps it was fear of hubris reasserting itself.

But after I closed the gates, and left the Oracle Stone, I watched a young family — two kids, dog, energetic mother, tired father — climbing toward the summit.  They were walking on the tourist path, not the pilgrimage path I’d just finished defining and opening.  They were going to arrive on the summit of Mount Higby, not in the high temple of Higbyan Jupiter.

And the moment those gates closed behind me, I no longer know whether *I* had been in the temple of Higbyan Jupiter.  I mean, I said the words, and I sang the songs, and I asked that the gates be opened, and I had spoken words of consecration and dedication over the whole mountain.  And I’d babbled at ordinary people in moments of pure joy, that I was in the presence of divinity.  What exhilaration!

But now those doors were closed, and I was no longer half in this world and half in another.  And skepticism reasserted itself.

Still, there’s my question performed at the Oracle Rock: Is this mountain called Higby, now properly consecrated to  Jupiter the god of the same planet, and of lightning, the king of gods?

My answer process, returned by sortilege, and dutifully recorded in my notes as it happened: Perfect success, by your own proper efforts.

15 comments

  1. […] Let’s start with what everyone knows about the Camino.  This is a path that runs from central-ish France, or more specifically several places in France, to the few narrow passes through the Pyrenees mountains, which gradually converge on a single road through Basque country, the bishopric-cities of northern Spain, Astorga and Leon and O Coruña and others, and eventually arrives in Santiago, the burial place of Saint James the Greater, brother of Jesus and Apostle in his own right.  Travelers along the way are likely to encounter various experiences, from wild dogs in abandoned villages to a church containing the Holy Grail.  Interestingly enough, if you walk the route, part of your travels take you over Roman and medieval roads, past faerie mounds, and into places where genuine danger—both material and metaphysical—lurks with surprising frequency, along with marvels and miracles with almost-equal frequency. Yet if you drive this route, you are much less likely to encounter experiences of magic or mystery.  It was in part this experience of the Camino, the differential between the miracles of muscle-powered travel and machine-travel, that inspired my own work on Mount Higby. […]

  2. I stumbled over here from Runesoup and think this is fascinating work and I’ll probably wander back this way to hear if there are any other developments. As a magical undertaking it seems pretty darn interesting.

    I am not at all convinced this avoids the cultural appropriation issues, though. It sounds kind of awful to me when I consider it from that perspective. I don’t think this work has to be culturally insensitive, but this post reads that way to me (and hey, it’s the internet, so I will own that perhaps I am reading this in some odd way that misses or distorts what you have done dramatically; please do return the favor and read this in the calm spirit with which it is offered).

    Let me be very clear (again, because this is the internet). I will not tell you that you ought to make cultural sensitivity a guiding force in your spiritual practice. I am only raising these concerns because you cite it as one of your motivations for undertaking this work and, if it is, I think you could do better.

    If you want to play the bold magician card and say that your magical and/or spiritual curiosity trumps your cultural sensitivity concerns, no big; you were just using the cultural appropriation talk as a convenient hook for a blogpost. I would advise you use that term less casually if so, but otherwise you can stop reading and save yourself some time.

    When I put on my magic hat and read your myth, I don’t see hokey. You invoke Jupiter as conqueror of titans and patron of the police force–that police force would also happen to be on the side of the nation that conquered and co-opted the Indians’ world. If that sounds harsh, all I can say is that colonialism is harsh; let’s not turn our eyes away too quickly from that even if we decide to place it in the harsh reality we can’t change category.

    I’m a fan of law and order, so I definitely feel the police love (and basically agree that the police force falls on Jupiter’s side, but conquest and control aren’t absent from his concerns, whether his presentation be jovial or otherwise), but it is worth pointing out the spiritual undertones of that. While many Indians are not opposed to the police, those tribes that can have often been proud of their ability to field their own police force, suggesting that they don’t always identify the police forces associated with the U.S. government as theirs. I think they have some good reasons for that.

    Saying that you are willing to let the gods fight it out isn’t culturally sensitive, because it suggests you don’t give two figs if the Indian spirits who may or may not have ties to that place come out the poorer for it. Great you had your vision of Jupiter’s temple, but might the realization of that dispossess others? Gods don’t seem particularly sensitive on those points, so if it matters to you, you need to take responsibility for seeing those values carried out in the world and not leave it for the spirits. If anything, realizing that within yourself will make it more likely that the spirits will work in sympathy with you, no?

    When I look at the broader narrative with my ‘is this culturally polite?’ hat, I’m not comforted. You cite as a partial justification a single Chippewa woman’s sense of the region. The invocation of but one Indian person sounds like tokenism and puts a lot of weight on that one woman’s heritage which I suspect she didn’t ask to have put there (and you don’t seem to have asked her directly about this, just applied her opinion in another context to this one).

    As I understand it, Chippewa aren’t even locals to CT. Consider that some dispossessions of Indian tribes were legitimated in the historical record by claiming fair ownership through a rival tribe’s authority (even where that rival tribe’s approval may just be a historical fiction). That isn’t what you are doing, but it resonates with it (and, hopefully as a magician you take such sympathy seriously).

    Did you check with any tribal groups in your region to see if their people had once claimed (or still claim) the mountain, or some part of it, for sacred purpose? If you did, then you should be really clear about that in this post because it would provide people with some exemplary behavior to follow. An entire post about the ease or difficulty of that sort of thing would be worth its weight in sacred tablets.

    If you didn’t, you are moving past appropriation (which at least acknowledges the utility of Indian understanding) into casual imperialism (again, not entirely foreign to magicians or ol’ Jupiter, so I welcome you to play the bold wizard/devoted priest card and write this off as not your problem). That’s how most of us move through this land so not the worst thing ever, but if you want to claim you are concerned for the cultural sensibilities of the (real life, actual) Indians and don’t want to appropriate from them, you might want to be clear about how they feel about prominent elements of their landscape before you cast it to your god.

    Okay, sorry for the length, but I do think the topic deserved it, especially if this sort of thing becomes more common among the magical community. Thanks for sharing this–I think its is valuable.

    • Dear Io,

      Thanks, actually! Rather than being mad, or outraged, I’m actually genuinely pleased by what you’ve said. I thought I’d considered carefully what needed doing, and yet you’ve raised several issues that I feel like maybe I should address further, both with the spirit realm and with other humans.

      You raised a lot I want to touch on, but it’s late— please forgive me if I don’t answer completely tonight.

      But let me begin with the land. I can look at Mount Higby with an ecologist’s eyes, and see a unique formation, both of rock and of flora and fauna. I look with a systems analyst’s eyes, and I see that my clean water is dependent upon the reservoirs on its eastern flanks. My clean air rises daily from the hardwood forest on its slopes. Those same trees keep the dirt, precariously balanced on traprock, from sliding eastward into the lake that holds next month’s and next year’s clean water. And — being honest, if I made it to the farmers’ markets more often than I do now, its farms would feed me.

      Given these things, shouldn’t i make an effort to see Mount Higby as sacred ground, regardless of what culture I belong to? Must I not keep it in my prayers? Shouldn’t I help other people take care of it, and help them see the value in caring for this particular piece of ground with greater-than-normal care?

      I started with that particular road into the future in mind. The cultural appropriation thing, I grant, is trickier. I was desirous of not using the tools, words and materials of Native culture to do this work. I’m not entitled to use them: abalone shell, sage bundles, sweet grass, feathered fans, headdresses and beaded breastplate, the works, prayers to the Great Spirit, and so on. Not my genetics, not my cultural upbringing, not my original spiritual training, not my later-on occult leanings. Also maybe not really the common tools of native tribes in this region, as I understand them [admittedly not well].

      But I was conscious that other people would want to use those tools, and to go to Higby to meet other powers and other spirits. Maybe legitimately. Maybe not… Either way, I left those spirits room. And others. And that’s why I specified gates — specific actions and specific routes to the not-quite-summit, specific prayers. And so, It’s Jupiter’s shrine if you go up his front walk to ring his doorbell, but I don’t think he’s home if you don’t call ahead.

      And likewise, I think if you went to Higby as an agnostic tourist, your eye could fall with dismay on the graffiti of “Jesus saves” along one bit of summit-rock, among others; but a devout Christian might perhaps be annoyed at the parks and rec folks half-hearted attempts to scrub it off.

      As for the claim that I’m a high and mighty magus, well. Not so much. 🙂 I’d agree — this could have been more expertly done. Youve given me lense to look through more carefully, should I attempt this again — and I admit it took more than I thought it would to do, even as it stands, inexpertly done. It could have been done with the advice and consent of local tribes, or some friends along for the journey, or with more deep openness about the ecological reasons why I thought it was important to do. I’m smart about some things, dumb about many others.

      The mountain remains sacred, just the same. My tea water right now comes partly from the reservoirs on the mountain, and I choose to give thanks to Someone who helped put those waters there — so that now, they can be here, in my house. In my cup.

      I don’t feel I’ve answered all your questions and comments to my satisfaction or your own. But I’m aware that tomorrow’s workday comes soon enough, and a longer conversation may be brewing.

      • Thanks for the reply–I understand the pressure of time (I have a date with a full moon soon), so please don’t feel rushed to reply to me; if it sets you off in a direction you think good, that’s good in itself. I tend to think the best work gets done in the thinking with the talking an important but subsidiary phase.

        Regarding the land–I totally agree with being able to see it as sacred regardless of your tradition and, like I said, I think the work you undertook is exciting. There does seem to be a difference between appreciation and consecration, though–much like you said in your own post, it’s one thing to see the church, another thing to think you should say Mass there.

        I am intrigued by the doorbell approach, it reminds me a bit of the general lodge tech that seems to drive a lot of Golden Dawn style work, but I wonder if folks who don’t tend to think in those terms would see it the same way? I honestly can’t say, and thanks for drawing that out. Definitely food for thought.

        • Today was parent night at school, im very late getting home; and there’s a full moon up, and a sukkot to visit which is reported to be quite beautiful. So I am going to bow out quite soon myself for a bit. 🙂

          But on the question of lodge tech — I was in a bookstore a number of years ago, and a copy of John Michael Greer’s book, Inside a Magical Lodge, more or less flung itself across the room at me while my back was turned. Few works, I think, have been quite as influential on my magical practice as that one, not the least of which was that I actually took the job of stepping down from a leadership position seriously — and did so. I learned a lot from that —and a recommended and necessary step, I think.

          It’s curious. Having worked with Higbyan Jupiter now, you’d think I’d be aching to go back, to document more work, to establish a relationship, to deepen the connection. But I don’t, really. I mean, for one it would be creepy if I was up there once a week burning cedar incense and prostrating myself and singing hymns to Jupiter— cool perhaps, but creepy too. Deb Castellanohas a bit in her book the Arte of Glamour, about letting the work marinate for a while — closing a door on the working room and letting the energy and the entities play and work for a while on their own. Rather than invest any more of my power in that place, I kind of want to see what Jupiter (or someone else) does with this work so far. Will someone else step into the role of Jupiter’s temporary priest? Will I step up again, either on my own or in conjunct with another or at another’s behest?

          I know I want to go next time as a tourist, or with other spiritual eyes open, and without knocking on Jupiter’s door. Then I may know and see if I’ve wrought the work as planned…

  3. Catching my breath… Your narrative leaves me feeling I climbed up and down with you – and though not presuming to feel I participated in the consecration, I nonetheless followed (breathlessly) the building intention – hope, and action.
    Is Mt Higby now Jupiter’s 5th home? I hope so. I suspect – as you suggest – the mountain may have already been appropriated for ” a large passel of divinities” – but I think pluralism suits just fine. Thank you for doing the work – thank you for carving the pilgrimage path. Since being in Texas precludes much exploring soon, I can only wonder.. but I will look forward to when I am able – to walking that same path and listening to see if I hear thunder. Or lightning.

    • Hi Janet,

      I’m glad you liked it! I sent you the link because I thought you’d be interested in the work itself, but also because I thought you’d pick up a lot of the concepts and tools quite well, and do your own bit of spiritual landscaping down in your part of the world. I hope more comes of this post than just one new place for Jupiter: pluralism of places, and not simply god-condo time-shares, one on top of another.

  4. In the years I have lived in Japan I have come across a handful of sacred spots. The two most powerful for me are Mt. Fuji and Mt. Osore, Both are sleeping volcanos, usually cloud cover. At these places I am surrounded by
    the four elements of fire, wind, water and earth. Each mountain is the essence of a spirit. In Japan they ports, connected with the rest of the Shinto spirit world.

    • I’m glad to hear that one of the three I built in northeast Connecticut is still around. One was on private land, and the owner decided a flower bed was better; and the other is now under the baseball courts or the tennis diamond or whatever it is. Just one left!

      I hope you and David and David are well. How is Kerri doing?

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