As I pack for the Starwood Festival (If you're not planning to attend, you should) here's one more round of notes. Back after a week or two. Stay cool if you're hot, and stay hot if you're cool.
I’m very pleased with the progress of the Court of Brigid experiment in spirit arte. Thanks to the skill and willingness of the ADF participants I think we have been able to get somewhere further than I had even hoped we might go, in less time. We have a preliminary list of some 28 spirits, with several more in possible private alliances. I have been working to develop simpler methods of applying the basics of spirit arte, and to encourage those interested in the work to do rites and make contacts with individual spirits. I have a little agenda of follow-ups in mind:
• Simple Conjuring Rites: I have posted a simple conjuring rite meant to be usable by a solitary Druid at a home shrine to invite one of the courtiers to come for a specific purpose, or even just to make a more individual alliance. Anyone who has been present at either of the group conjuring rites has received the oath of these spirits and is entirely empowered (according to one’s skill) to call to them for personal needs. Those who haven’t attended one of the rites might try working the festival rite adapted for themselves, but might also wait for the three-part sequence soon to be published before calling individual courtiers. This might change, per:
• Development or Reception of Spells: I’m probably going to continue to use ‘spell’ to mean “A spiritual practice combining ritual, symbolism and the power of natural things intended to produce a specific result.” In tantra the usual term is sadhana, meaning ‘a specific form of practice’. Magical lore is full of such prescriptions. Some of them simply come down from who-knows-when, but others seem to be the result of magicians asking the spirits for methods by which the spirit can aid in the desired outcome. This leads to the folkloric sort of “Take a branch of whatever and wave it however while saying this verbal formula given by the spirit, and it will be done”. When we offer to the gods we rather expect them to answer as they will. When we ask these working spirits for aid we are rather expecting a how-to that produces a result. The use of natural things and material gestures links Otherworld to Middleworld in ways that lets the spirits do the job. If we ask, we can learn such methods from the spirits we have met.
|Take a distaff under the proper moon and stars, and pluck |
a sprig of the proper herb. Take the thread in hand and
say my name...
The good news is that the nature of the spirits we have met is plainly benign and helpful in the way we intended by beginning with Nurturing Brigid. We have met spirits of healing, both physical and emotional, spirits of inspiration of poets and artists, spirits of the shaping of metal and of hard-crafting, and a whole class of spirits who seem to be about ‘bringing joy and delight’. This last might seem airy-fluffy, but I see a solid practical use for such spirits for the working bard. There can be no better result for a bardic performance than an audience filled with relaxed pleasure, kisses on lips and hearts light. When a bard come backed by a band of pleasant daemons, even an off night can be fun for the hall.
So while we might not feel the monkish need to ‘Cause Three Women to Dance Naked Before Me’, as we see in the late medieval stuff, a charm to enchant a festival fire to produce pleasure and delight might be welcomed. On a more practical level at least one of the courtiers concerns himself with the management of wealth and money-survival – always a skill an artist needs. There are a number of ‘messenger’ spirits as well as those concerned with making material manifestation out of raw materials. Such powers can be directed in clever ways to a variety of intentions.
• Further Work with the Tri Cumhachtai: The work with the persons of the Three Powers of Brigid – the Harp, the Hammer and the Cup – has plenty of juice yet to be reached. I advise anyone who might undertake the work to pay attention to those Powers as persons, not just symbols. More on that to come.
• Publication: I’m still ruminating on how soon to publish a more formal grimoire and account of the work. I want the short rites tested a little more, even by me, and I may want to work the big rite in public once more to round out the spirit list. Soon, though, I’ll do a nice publication of the work, maybe even with a higher-quality hardback. I still have grimoire envy.
• More Gods: One direction for a next step is to simply choose another deity and begin work. I here that we expect to see another group of ADF mages work a similar rite for a Norse Goddess (I’ve heard Sunna and Sif) this summer. I’m working on an angle for the Manannan working as well. At this point progress on that is unlikely until winter because I still intend to work directly with the Genii Locus of our patch of land before snow flies.
• Shameless Plug: Those interested in all the details of my model, and especially interested in a progressive order of rituals intended to establish alliances with the spirits, should read The Book of Summoning. ADF Dedicant graduates interested in a systematic round of Druidic magical training might take a shot at The Book of Nine Moons, though I still mean to re-organize the material. It works as presented if you work it. Those who are reading this blog without a background in Pagan Druidry might start with my core book Sacred Fire, Holy Well.