Contract Magic

Well, that’s what I’m calling it. Basically I create contracts with spirits or deities to set boundaries, determine goals, have experiments, outline limits, and set timelines. I find it a really useful and practical process.

I read a lot of blog posts and pagan news articles on the dangers of oaths before experimenting with this kind of magic. I had a friend look over the contract to ensure I wasn’t getting myself into trouble. I also counted past oaths I’ve made and pondered, “Did I complete this successfully? What happened when I did? What happened if I violated a term?”

When I call this process “magic”, I’m not casting spells over the paperwork or anything–that, in my mind, would mar the consent for all parties involved. But the contracts themselves, as a living document, feel magical.

I realized that I actually tried to start this process when I was in deep psychosis five years ago. I have not bothered to look at these old contracts because they are too painful to see, but the seed of the idea was there. Those old contracts were a scarring failure of mine. But now, I feel this process could become a great strength. I hope you’ll forgive me, readers, for not outlining what those failures were–that time of psychosis was deeply painful and I don’t like to talk about it.

At any rate, I feel this new adventure will be successful. Amusingly, I am rather inspired by the warlock class in D&D 5th edition, who creates pacts with otherwordly entities to gain powers. It does feel a little like that.

I suppose it was my recent interactions with Lucifer that reminded me of this idea so he deserves a:

Hail Lucifer!

Become the Monster as The Undead Warlock from Van Richten's Guide to  Ravenloft – Nerdarchy

Image description: a young black half elf warlock wearing a marvelous red cloak trimmed in gold. There are purple flowy bits. He has navy pinstripe pants and knee-high boots. He carries a small skeleton pet. He has a sword belted at his right side. Source.

Ramblings on Ecstatic States

So… it occurs to me that I can get into trance states pretty easy. And I think they are a mild form of ecstasy.

This morning, I was rereading “American Gods” (Neil Gaiman) and I got to the part about the vigil.  After thinking loudly about some questions about Goddess participation & agency in this novel (because let’s face it, there’s lots of sexy or cute goddesses & dead people in this book and I’m not convinced this book passes the Bechdel test), I ended up on a series of… revelations, I guess, about some powerful Norse goddesses. I’m not sure if I want to talk about it, and am just sitting with that.

But, I was certainly riding some kind of energy there, and if it’s not called ecstasy then I don’t know what it is.

I guess the sensible thing to do would be to read some Diana Paxson and Jenny Blain.

It even occurred to me today, you know, could I visit the Nine Realms, and I Saw outlines of Muspelheim in the top page borders of an illuminated manuscript. (Bookbinding, calligraphy, petroglyphs, and Celtic knotwork being my methods of choice lately.)

So the Norse Pantheon has stepped up into some kind of Muse relationship with me as Artist. And I can look to sculptors and painters of the past who were also inspired by myth, and how that relationship is ongoing today with graphic designers and tattoo artists on Instagram.

There is a spirit in my life who guides me in navigating sex stuff. This week, he* helped me understand that, for me, spiritual and sexual ecstasy are on opposite sides of a spectrum and that it’s unhealthy to try to do both in a limited time frame.

That seems like a sensible boundary for me to have. I know some people can combine the two, but I am not sure I am wired that way.

*his default mode is male but he can switch to female when he wants to

I can listen to some Norse folk metal or epic movie music and feel moved to create. I don’t find that I can just sit with the inspired energy–it’s best to do something with it.

I think I could even be capable of Othinn’s frenzy when it comes to performing spoken word but I haven’t experimented yet because… well, it’s been a slow year so far, work-wise, so I haven’t had time. But I’d like to take the time at some point.

I’ve been very slowly drawing and colouring a quilt of runes with Frigga’s face in the middle. It’s just pencil and pencil crayon but it’s quite satisfying to think Frigga has her own runic mysteries through craftsmanship and art. (So far I’ve only coloured Hagalaz, Inguz, Kenaz, Jera, and Teiwaz which speaks to what runes I feel comfortable with, and which ones I don’t!)

I’ve also made at least four or more artist’s books out of rune-staves and Jormungandr serpent/dragon designs during my bookbinding class. That was rad. My classmates knew me for a black-and-white style, since I was using a lot of India ink for the rune-staves. I finished the class with a LeGuin-inspired full colour dragon book that I gifted to a classmate. I chose not to take pictures of the book, since it was explicitly a private gift for a mystery person. Totally worth it though. Those dragons were epic.

Anyway, this whole post is to say that Norse myth is really inspiring me these days and it’s AWESOME to explore it. I feel like I have a way healthier relationship to the spirits now that I am not oathbound to them in sickness. Woot!

Art rocks!

Art & Magic, a crossing of gebo

The deeper I delve into art, the closer the gods, dragons,  ancestors, and goddesses are drawing (pun intended). 

I painted a dragon gift for a classmate and a dragon came to me in the night time.

I painted a score of world snakes and Loki has allowed me a glimpse of what I pray is a Transgender Mystery.

I stitch and sew and Frigga blesses my hands.

I study death’s history and the dead speak. (And the dead in me speaks)

I study the self through Jung and God appears. Odin shows me a valknut. My face is Baldur’s face today.

What need have I of magic if art serves its necessary purpose?

Hail all those who have helped me, blessed me, and protected me on this path! You have my thanks.

Getting creative with magical thread

So, I haven’t practiced magic in a long-ass time. In mental illness, I did some spells and rituals that were unhealthy or unrealistic. My magical practice froze for years. But now that I am making art, it’s slowing melting into something beautiful.

Want to know what I did?

I embroidered my name in the runes! AND THEN I doodled two bind-runes on paper and then I sewed them up! They are like little patches I could sew onto something! So neat, so cool! I’m very happy with the results.

I’m not sure what I want to do with the rune patches, but I am glad they exist. ❤

By the second bind-rune, I started feeling bitter about magic, so I asked Lady Frigga to help me purify the spell with salt. She really strongly encouraged me to do so, and as such, I thank Her, my stitch-friendly Lady Grandmother Goddess, for backing me up. Given that this post is so cheerful and happy about my efforts, I think the purification worked!

If the bind-rune patches were a long-term spell, it would be fine to stitch them onto clothing or bags but any that are shorter-term spells would be less useful. Embroidery creates a kind of permanence meant to be long term so one has to think carefully about the spell in question. On the other hand, using bind-runes for the sake of fashion is a perfectly excellent reason to create a heathen patch, so that’s some food for thought too. Bind-runes for charisma or beauty perhaps…

I don’t want to take pictures because I think my magic should be private as I begin again. BUT I did want to post about it because I am very proud of my efforts.

I used an old fabric t-shirt as the fabric. I stitched my name in DMC thread. It was red but I don’t remember the DMC number. I used a pale blue for the bind-runes.

Seriously, stitched bind-runes are a super useful and very easy practice to pick up. If anyone wants to use my idea, DO IT because it looks great and is really fun. Get some sewing needles from the dollar store. If you can, pick up DMC thread from a craft store because the colours are less likely to bleed out (this is called “colourfast”). If not, just grab the thread from a dollar store and be cautious when washing the patches. Be sure to handwash them!

Have fun! 😀 😀 😀

Kenaz is on my mind…

I’ve been getting strong persistent nudges from spirits–mostly Lady Freya, but sometimes Lady Guinevere–to start practicing magic again. The last time I really intentionally cast a few spells was a year ago, crafting offerings for the spirit of Fire at witch camp. And before that? I could not tell you when I had last cast some magic.

Yesterday, while teaching about writing–writing as art, not for essays–I had a vision of painting Kenaz in India ink and Lady Freya said something to the effect of “are you painting a bind-rune?” and, mentally, I had to contain my loud squee of “YOU CAN DO THAT?!?” because I was at work.

(edit: I don’t think I had ever connected those dots together because I’ve only been painting regularly for about a year now. So, when I was a baby pagan 7 years ago, the impulse to paint was not there. Now that I am healthy, the urge to art is frequent.)

While talking about graffiti and calligraphy again today, I kept thinking about painting Kenaz. Kenaz kenaz kenaz. Even while walking home from the bus stop, I think I had visions of it again.