Wednesday, May 26, 2010

City Liminal Places

and spaces, well actually Train Stations.

its something i have been looking into of late.. the liminal places of a city.. of which there are quite a few, not alwasy on the outskirts of the city. sometimes, actually many times these 'liminal' places can be found in the middle of the city, or in one area of the city where 'liminal' type people hang out. Liminal, according to one definition i found is a "state of being on the "threshold" of or between two different existential planes" liminal is also a space that is outside mainstream community, set in contrast to mainstream community, it is Victor Turner calls liminal communitas, which has always fascinated me i guess as i am a pagan and have studied modern paganism i can understand that this "community" while constructed somewhat differently from a physical community, is also a community that is Liminal Communitias, it is in opposition to that of mainstream. but that is a different topic for a different day.. *grins* so City Liminal Places..

Lets look at Train Stations, i can remember recently posting on a list about train stations and its liminal status, like that of a hedge, where instead of crossing the hedge you are crossing the Trax, or perhaps travelling in-between stations. I may of not been very eloquent about the concept that i was trying to get across, which was one of Urban Witchery, verses Hedge Witchery, as you see i live in a city, the capital of New Zealand and while Wellington has a fantastic green policy and there are huge green belts all over the city, it is still a city. I was also drawn to hedg witchery, but not at the same time, something was missing, something was not quite fitting, and what was missing was the city aspect. You see in my head there is a disconnect with Hedge Witchery and cities, mostly because there are not many hedges in the city itself, and i associated Hedge Witchery with meandering country pathways that are lined by hedges not concrete and tall buildings. then yesterday i checked my google reader and New World Witchery had a post about City Spirits and low there was a picture of a train station as well as mentions of train stations a liminal places, so i started to post a reply but it turned itself into a blogg post.

so to Train Stations: in some cities train stations can be found in the middle of the city, and sometimes they are found on the outskirts, it depends i am guessing, on whether how much the trains are used as a medium on transport for the inhabitants of the city. which will also i figure, change the energy of said train station. also public train stations that have commuter trains as opposed to freight train yards, will, while generally close to one another will also have somewhat different energy.

Wellington Train station is however quite a liminal place. i know that here in Wellington the trains are one of the more important modes of transport in and out of the city, they are also have a strong connection with the sea and ships that bring stuff to our port not just from other countries but also from the south island. So in many ways major railway stations that contain junctions can be similar to that of ley lines in that sense of connecting the station with everywhere else in the world. Like Cory said from New Word Witchery, similar to hoodoo in that crossroads sense, if that crossroads are the initial connect to the universe and world.. *ponders this*

Like the people who use the trains travel to and fro, from work, the energy at the train station itself ebbs and flows, like the tide on the seashore or rivers close to the ocean. The energy is different during the week than it is during the weekend. During the week there are distinct steams of traffic that head out towards the city to the various places where people work. If you panted the bottom of the peoples feet, i know in Wellington the resulting image would look like a delta that is sometimes found at the beginning of rivers, crossing and weaving flowing into and out of the city, similar to the tidal flows. The energy flow during the week is different from that of the weekend. there is more traffic and a determination about which is spiced with despair and tiredness nearer the end of the week as people come to realise the drudgery of not liking the job that they are in, which worsens over winter as they trudge to work and from work in the dark. The money is good but the work, not so much, the energy flows and ebbs following the seasons and the peoples work lives.

During the weekend, the energy has lost that intense focus of determined going to work, stress and general tiredness, and has become more about enjoyment, going into town to have breakfast or brunch with friends, meeting up with others, shopping relaxing and just enjoying the city itself. There is still that determined work type energy as people do work in the weekend. But as a general rule the work is different, less office orientated and more people orientated.. thus a slight difference in undertones to that energy. In the evening the energy changes again as a slugish beligeriance of achole takes over, drunken stumbling to get home on the midnight trains, secutiy guards everywhere. disafected teens hanging out, as the night falls the energy shifts to a feeling of mistrust and danger tinged with the sadness and a slugshniess with a dirty air.

I suspect that you can use that energy, as well as the phycisal trains themselves to release things into the universe, to encourage good will and good energy to return, and also to send energy and or something to someone or to break/send away energy.. you could use different days and times of day depending on what type of energy you are needing to do your working or spell, have you ever spend the night of the full moon hanging around the train station?

i have in my head this image of a fetish spell, found objects, a leather glove, to represent a strangers helping hand, (a stranger being a city deity, the energy of strangers helping strangers) a found key to help unlock esoteric secrets of the city, maybe to unlock a locked situation or energy and a newspaper to represent local and national knowledge, or to connect you with a different city, or your spell with a different city or to even connect you with you local city divine, These objects are gathered together and tied wrapped however you see fit, energies given intent, and then left on an outbound train, be it to one of the blurbs, or to another city. It is not difficult to get onto a train going to another city as a general rule, leaving the fetish where someone will fine it or where someone won't, again depending on what the purpose of said fetish is. then getting of the train and leaving the fetish to do its work, the energy to take the form of the intent that you have given it and be boosted by the energy of the train station itself.

I see leaving things inside a train as a working to gain something or positive, and if you leave something on the tracks, to banish or break away from./
So many possibility's.. liminal spaces in a city..hmmm..

Saturday, May 15, 2010


In the northern hemisphere to go sunwise is to walk in a clockwise direction, whereas in the southern hemisphere it is anticlockwise, that is the sunwise direction. Its not hard to figure this out as the sun is quite prominently in the north, and when it rises in the east as it does everywhere in the world, it heads north to where the equator is. Well it does do for us southerners. Now why am I posting about this, well you see being that I live in the southern hemisphere, and being that I am a Witch, I cast my circle and sacred space in a sunwise direction, and I use the word sunwise, however many of the books I read are written in the northern hemisphere, thus, their circle casting is in the other direction, which more often than not is referred to as clockwise. which makes me grind my teeth a little cause sunwise is not clockwise everywhere in the world…. And given that clocks were invented in the northern hemisphear, it is not a supprise that they turn in a sunwise direction for where they were invented. But then the adventures came south, passed the equator and low and behold the sun went in a different direction…. But that is a whole nother story. Well actually its not.. here in the southern hemisphear pagans of what every variety cast their circles starting in the east and then go north, then west then south and then finishing at east completing the circle. I did spend quite a bit of time contemplating this, and trying to figure out if this was an arbitrary thing or if it really had any merit this sunwise thing.

Then I got to wondering why it is that we cast in a sunwise direction, and uncast or banish in a widdershins direction.. why is that? How does that work.. and an answer arrived, which happens when you think about things. *grins* You see the sun rises in the east, no matter where you are in the world the sun will always rise in the somewhere in the east. However depening on where you live in the world can change which way is sunwise, left or right of east. The sun is also what powers our planet and in many ways it is representative of the element of fire, being a large fiery ball in the sky. First thing in the morning just as the sun peeks over the horizon, it does not have much heat energy, but as it rises, and heads towards its zenith, which is north for us southerners, and south for you northerners, (say that ten times fast) its power grows, its heat grows as to the light grows, bringing with it clarity, shedding its light if you will, as well as heat and a fast moving energy that is associated with things when they heat up. Once it has reached it zenith, things start to slow down, perhaps they start to temper, like tempering after the blacksmith has finished shaping his metal, once the sun dips behind the horizon in the east, the light fades away, and night is upon us reaching its zenith at midnight, south for us southerners and north for the northerners, (now that is easer to say ten times fast) with the darkest hours just before dawn, and the rising once again of the sun in the east.

So when casting you are repeating the same kind of cycle, with the exception that insead of lessening energy you are continuing to build energy as you call the various elements from the cardinal directions, following the building path of the sun and increasing the energy as you by pass each of the stations, dawn, midday, dusk, midnight, and back to dawn, so that the energy is contained, the energy is balanced, and ready for you to give it its intention and send it out to the world in that ‘change the world’ like way.

Gosh, that made sense to me, and what’s more I could picture it happening, almost feeling the energy of the elements combine with that of the sun and universe to create a circle as I moved in a sunwise direction.. excellent. ! did it make sense to you? *ponders this*

Just one more thing tho, you budding authors out there and you veteran ones, we don’t have many books that are written from down here, thus we do spend quite a bit of time reading ones written in the northern hemisphere, so if you would be ever so helpful and remember that down here south of the equator, our sun goes from east to north, not clockwise, and our season are about six months different from yours.. so when you are celebrating Beltane however you want to spell it, we are celebrating Samhane, however that is spelt. And for you others playing along at home.. the above is also a reminder that you must practice your magic in the land you live in and with the direction that your sun goes in as well as the season that your land has for the land you live, that is where much of you magic comes from.. mmk…

*skips about*

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Witch, Priestess, Teacher, Bard, Ovate, Druid,

I have been having some interesting conversations of late with various Witches and pagans in wellington, some from here and some from not here. One that struck me as being quite interesting was one about what the various levels of witchcraft, although levels is not quite the right word, and the different aspects of Druidry, namely OBOD Duridry, and not surprisingly these aspects and levels come in threes. Perhaps within witchcraft and Wicca there should be more emphasis on aspects as opposed to levels as to me that just smacks of elitism with judgemental pants and hierarchy, where as aspects is more about following where your own heart and skills take you. Anywhoo i have not heard the various levels and aspects explained this way, and it struck a chord, thus i thought i would share some of my ponderings, which start like this.. if i was ever to create a ‘tradition’ what would this aspect of it look like?

I think for me there would be three aspects, as well in a way three levels, but without the overt of nasty hierarchy of your doing it wrong.. gosh that sounds difficult.. lets see.. to start at the beginning..

The first level would be Witch, when a person first starts out, when they are finding their feet and learning about magic, witchcraft, and the basics, so to speak. The grounding framework of this type of path. This would not necessarily take a year and a day, for some it might be longer and for others it might take less. I believe this obsession with things taking a year and a day is for some quite unrealistic. Sure its fine if you like formulaic styles, “and by the word of the god and goddess this first phase will take a year and a day as they have decreed.. blar blar blar”. Not really me, i am much more of a person who is comfortable to go with what feels right, and for me, this initial stage of being a witch was well over a year. Before i learnt anything or perhaps it is more accurate to say that before i stepped? Found? Was pushed *cough* onto this path, i was a seeker. I knew that there was something out there calling, but could not find it, however i was defiantly looking. From the ages of about 16ish to the age of around 24 i was seeking, i went to the theosophical society, various talks on various spiritualities, talked long hours with a naturopath, and homeopathy, and various other ‘alternative’ healers and thinkers. It was not until i was 24 and a friend gave me a deck of cards that my feet start to find this path of the Witch. My years as a beginner where fruitful and full of the wonder of discovery, reading, experimenting, talking, formulating ideas and then reformulating them as i learnt more and then having that all change as i experienced things that are difficult to put into words.

The second step if you will, is a more conscious one and for me, although i did not think of it as such until recently, is that of the priestess or priest if you are a boy. As i said this step is a more conscious one, as opposed to the sometimes foundering around that i did in the first step, i did not and have not lost the Witch aspect, as it is very defiantly who i am and how i live my life, but i am also priestess, and this came about during an odd spontaneous dedication ritual, where i made myself known to the divine, and that i was open to the divine will, but at the time i perhaps didn’t see it in those exact words, but then on one level i am currently wondering if i did.. *ponders this*. Anyway, i can remember the dedication, me standing in front of my altar, with my naked self, just me and the divine, stating firmly that i was purposely stepping on to this path, i was making a very conscious choice to continue on this path that felt so much like home.

The third step? Aspect? Is that of teacher, or what i am calling teacher because this is how my path has formed. Just over a year ago i did a self witnessed dedication, some might call it an initiation, but as i do not belong to any tradition as such, i have come to see it has a dedication, where i once again dedicated myself to the divine, and my community as Witch and Priestess, this was a couple of months before is started to ‘offically’ teach others in small classes, to impart knowledge and what i knew and also encourage others to figure out what and where their path lies. I have come to realise that it dosn’t matter what style, tradition, formal or informal path you chose to walk on, if it is not speaking to you, if it doesn’t raise your spirit, move you, then it is not for you, and i am happy to help those who are looking to find what path that they are crying out for, no matter if that is pagan of whatever flavour, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, whatever.. just so long as it speaks.

Now the thing about these levels is that they are also aspects to, because i have not forgotten or forgone what came first, i am still a Witch, a Priestess, and now a Teacher, and while i have and am experiencing all three, i also can see that each is important in its own right, none is more or better than the other, they are aspects as opposed to levels. Which neatly brings me to the second three aspects of my imaginary tradition. These three are much stronger aspects and not so much level as they are quite important in their own right. Now Ali from Meadowsweet and Myrrh sums up these three aspects quite beautifully, so instead of me bumbling along you should go along there and read what she says. *nods*..

Druidry i have been told recently is not so much about the levels in a hierarchal sense but more in teh sense of giving a space and framework for people to try out all manor of things that they may or may not have any talent in or draw to. And that this is so that they may find that aspect, that talent and that calling which is home and become a mastercrafts person, so to speak.

Right back now, ok so when you mix both of the threes together, i find that this path becomes less about who is grand poohbar and who has reached the highest level, nor is it about the race to the top to see who can get there the fastest because to do or believe any of the afore mentioned i believe means that the message of this path has been lost. However for me the mixing of these three aspects, these three learning stages, these levels if you will is more about understanding and learning where your or in my case my talents lie. For me it was about teaching and ministry but not in the sense of healing, or counselling but more in the way of helping light up someone else’s way, or as i was to learn helping them light up their own way, these things are and have been much more important to me than being at the top or having teh official initiations of “insert tradition here” tradition. But having said that, if that is your path, and is what speaks to you, being and or finding a tradition to belong to or to initiate into, then i am more than happy to help you find that, more than happy to help you understand what that means to you, because that is my path as Witch, Priestess, and Teacher.

Of course i wonder if there is further steps, and if i really did have a tradition how that would work in with other things that i believe traditions have or need.. hmm.. *ponders*..

What would you tradition look like if you equated your journey so far to one?

*contemplates navel*