Magic: Completed Bag

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Druid letters and carry-bagWell. Here’s the completed bag, which I began yesterday. The lucetted cord or braid has been attached to the outside and around the edges.  And the extra cord has been turned into a carry strap or wrapper to help bind the bag around itself while it’s closed.  Given that the bag is made of felt, it’s possible that I could add a felted decoration to the outside, as well.  There’s relatively little adornment.

And those wooden disks are about the size of quarters, which gives you a sense of scale.  Each wooden disk is pyrographed with a dot indicating the bottom of each character and the character itself on one side, and on the back is the Roman/English character, and the name of the character in Welsh but written in Roman letters.

There are 24 letters in this druidic alphabet.  To this I’ve added four additional characters, the emblems of the four directions that the druidic tradition I’m in (DOGD, whose head, John Michael Greer, founded the order and who writes The Archdruid Report, and the Well of Galabes).  I have hopes that I can work out the correspondences between the 28 Mansions of the Moon, and the druidic letters (while using the four extras to cover the 0°-origin signs, which are 0° Aries (1st Mansion), 0° Cancer (8th Mansion), 0° Libra (15th Mansion), and 0° Capricorn (22nd Mansion).  The 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet are associated with the 28 Mansions of the Moon, so there’s a parallel.  But it also may not be possible to do that.  So I may have to chuck those four tiles after a period of time.

That said, I also need to come up with divinatory meanings for those four characters when they come up in the course of a reading — if I’m going to use these emblems for divination as well as just for making cool things.

Astute magical readers will notice that I’m going from making the thing to thinking about representations. That is to say, I’ve gone from the physical realm of matter or Earth to the realm of ideas or Air.    I’ve sort of skipped over the realm of Water, or emotional response, though.  Because at some level I don’t really have an emotional connection to these objects yet.  I’ve just finished making them, after all.

Now I have to process them intellectually. And that means identifying a process by which I can process them intellectually.

Most of the emblems are associated with a Tarot card.  I think that the first step is to put each of the druidic emblems on the relevant tarot card, and lay all of them out on the floor in a way that mirrors the druidic positions of the cards on the Tree of Life.   That will help me get a feel for which cards belong where on the (druidic) Tree of Life, and which of these letters belong where, and which Tarot cards they belong with.

But it seems to me that I can do the same process with the images of the Mansions of the Moon… and that if I’m serious about joining these druidic letters with the Mansions, that I should go through that process. Call it research through scrying — I have to try each of the characters (emblems? letters? runes?) with each of the images of the Mansions, and see which ones line up with which.

So there’s a double-intellectual process here, I think: one is processing the historically-attested information and assimilating the place of these characters in our tradition.  And then there’s a second process, which is commingling that tradition with other material to make a more rich, more complete and thorough experience of both within that tradition.  And I think I have to finish the first part of that process — the understanding of the alphabet within the given tradition — first.

Once the first part of that process is complete, I intend to do the Fire work associated with these tools, which is to purify and consecrate them.  And once that’s done, I’ll be on my way to completing the emotional connection, which is internalizing them and using them as a tool in my life and work — just as I do the Roman alphabet.

The second cycle can then begin, which is figuring out how to work with these characters in connection with the Mansions.

Hmm.  I think I just talked myself out of a cool project, or at least postponed it.  That’s ok.  I have time.


Tai Chi Y4D247: to four directions

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I did druidry this morning, followed by 20 squats and 20 push-ups. Then I did Eight Pieces of Silk and Five Golden Coins.  Then, since this morning I did druidry and tai chi in the same room, I did four iterations of the form of tai chi that I do — one in each of the cardinal directions.

It’s silly to me that I’ve not picked up on this before.  Actually I have, before, done push-ups and forms to the four directions.  But it’s silly to me that I forgot this particular insight — which is that if I face the four directions, and do tai chi from each of those four starting positions, then I’m honoring my druidry and honoring my tai chi practice at the same time.  More practice, more good practice, more better. Right?

This week I heard a speech about Jane McGonigal’s relatively recent book, Super BetterIt’s about gamifying your life. Some of the elements of it are giving yourself power-ups from time to time, and quests, and challenges.  A daily tai chi practice and druidic work are two of the ways I’m gamifying my life: if you read yesterday’s entry about making a bag and some tokens for my druidic ‘runes’, you’ll see that I’m recognizing that the work of studying magic has in fact helped make me into a Maker (and a poet, and a teacher, and a…).  I think it’s a complicated relationship, really — because being a gamer is kind of what got me thinking about magic in the first place.  And now, twenty, thirty years on from my first D&D game, I’m a practicing druid, magician, martial artist, and nominal cleric.  Multi-class!   And what am I doing with this set of skills? Gaming my life.