Saturday, June 29, 2013

Genius Locus Work, 1

OK readers, I have not abandoned the Cthulhu occultism series - the next installment is nearly done. In the meantime Life keeps keeping me busy, so I'll blog on some of that.
 I’ve lived here for 22 years. This patch of land, bought by the wife many years before I showed up, is a bit of lake-shore wetland, in an area dominated by nursery agriculture and vinyards. The north-eastern slope of the shore of Lake Erie, where we sit, produces a delayed winter frost that extends our harvest season until Samhain, most years and benefits the grapes. It also puts us in that small zone of ‘lake effect snow’ that runs from here to Buffalo.
Our bit is actually a low spot, with drainage from built-up plantings leading to ditches. For this reason is is unsuited for nursery planting, and in fact the main meadow had to be cleared and raised, by digging a pond and using the dredged soil for fill. Other dry areas had been used for vegetable gardens. By the time I arrived, L. and I became committed to turning the place into our private park and Pagan ritual and meeting space. At first that was in context of Wicca, and her coven was privileged to have an outdoor circle throughout its tenure. In time it became Our Druidry, and we built a good temple in one corner of the place.
We’ve lit the fire here, developed various other shrines and hallows around the property, and been elbow-and-knee deep in the place for many reasons. However we have never done specific work to meet and know the spirit intelligences of and in the land. I suppose that this is the result of our evolving theory and understanding. Our experience has continued to lead us toward a spiritist approach. We are no longer so much concerned with the ‘energies’ of the land, so much as meeting the ‘beings’ that are embodied in it. As we move into this next phase we intend to use our recent magical models to gain the knowledge and conversation of the Queen of our local Court.
In this we position ourselves somewhat in a Gaelic mythic cosmos. I’m unconvinced that Iron Age Pagans had a totally animist view, in which every plant and stone has an individual spirit. Rather I suspect that they found the world full of spirits who ‘oversee’ portions of the world, a spring or glade of trees. It is my opinion that such beings were those called ‘the sidhe-folk’ by later Gaels, along, perhaps, with the souls of such of the human Dead as were fated to dwell in the land, and certain mighty daemons of the gods. In the medieval visions of the later ‘fairy faith’ the mightiest of such local spirits, or the guiding intelligence, was often called the King and/or Queen, with some preference in the lore for a female ruler.
We intend to take all that none too literally, but still to be searching for ‘the Court of the Queen’ of our bit of land. The basic outline of the work, as I conceive it, is thus:
1: Work the Welcome Charm, and seek good omens
2: Light a Claiming Fire on/for the new portion of the land. In Gaelic lore the way new land was claimed was to light the first fire upon it.
Those we will do this weekend. The next steps may be delayed by the onrushing festival of festivals in July.
3: Call our Familiars and send them, or have them send a spirit, as an emissary to seek out the Queen’s Court, and announce us. We will ask them to return in Three days with news.
4: Consecrate a meeting place or gate physically on this land as a transition-point for vision-jouneys.
5: Pass the gate into the Threshold vision of this land, and meet the Familiar on his return. See whether we can get a name of the local Chief by which to conjure, and other intelligence. This phase might involve several visions, perhaps including a general convocation of the smaller spirits of the immediate land.
6: Conjuring the Herald – a rite to call a major local spirit to act as our ‘herald’ to the Court. This may or may not involve actually calling the Queen/Chieftain as well – some will depend on the data gathered from the visions.
7: Work with the Queen – somewhere between conjuring and devotion… we’ll see.
The latter portions will be highly directed by results in the earlier portions. We will see.

 Here is text for the two charms we'll work as we take possession of the new patch.
1: A Charm for Seeking Welcome
• Prepare an offering of water from your own home, including a few drops taken from your own home shrine or consecrated ritual work. Take a divination tool, as well.
• If possible, enter the area from the west, carefully survey the place, walking once deisil around it. Look for a spot in which you can be comfortable, and feel in place in the landscape. Open your Eye of Vision according to your ability, and offer the water in three pourings, speaking a briocht as your skill allows, or use a charm such as this:
The world is in me, and I am in the world
The Spirit in me is the Spirit in the world.
To you, place of beauty, place of honor,
To you (name the place) I bring this offering in peace.
From the Deep in me to the Deep in you
From my Fire to your Fire
A gift of honor, a gift of worship
in hope of your welcome
That there be peace between us in all things
Biodh se abhlaidh!
• After you have poured three times, and spoken the charm, stay for a while with your Eye of Vision open.
• Take an omen to determine whether the spirits of the place have accepted you. If the answer is no then you must depart, and perhaps try another day. If the answer is yes then you may proceed to other works in that place.
2: A Charm for Lighting a Claiming Fire
• Coming into the place of the Hallows, work the Charm of Welcome, seeking a good omen.
• Go to the four corners of the place, however you have chosen them, and there cut a square of turf, or soil. Bring that turf to your center, and with one turf or measure of soil or stone from each corner or quarter make a raised platform upon which a fire can be laid.
• This is the charm to be said as each turf is cut.
I take this turf for the work of the Hearth
That the Sacred Fire be lit,
That the Old Bargain be remade,
For the claiming of this place.
Stand fast and hear me, wights of this weald,
And I will give to you good offering.
• Using the turf, soil and stones, and adding material as desired, a firm raised platform should be made, either square or round. This might be lined with rocks for stability or decoration, but the intention is to raise the fire higher, not to contain it within walls. For a claiming fire this need not be large or permanent, but the soil can simple be spread and the fire laid.
• Let the fire be kindled with as many woods as possible from the trees of the land, or the herbs of the land, or even the flotsam of the land, so long as it is lifted from the ground, and not taken from any live tree.  If the initial kindling can be made with proper and symbolic woods, according to your understanding, that is best.
• The spark for the fire should be brought, if possible, from your own hearth. If this is not possible the fire should be lit by friction, or by the light of the sun with a burning glass. As the fire is kindled recite this charm:
I kindle this fire
In the presence of the Mighty, Noble and Shining Ones.
In the power of the Dagda, the Ruad Rofessa
In the power of Brigid of the Triple Charms.
Without malice, without envy, without jealousy, without fear,
Without terror of anything under the sun,
And the Spear of the Champion to protect us.
I kindle here upon this ground
A flame of Wisdom, Love and Power
A flame of hospitality and peace
To my foes, to my friends, to my kinsfolk all
To the brave, to the knave, to the thrall
From the lowliest things that liveth
To the names that are highest of all.
• When the fire is burning well take a small torch, perhaps three tapers bound together, and light it from the fire. Also take up a cup of meador ale or whiskey or milk, as you will. Go once deisil around the Fire, stopping at each quarter to make offering, beginning in the West. Saying:
This land I claim as hearth-land. Hear me, spirits in the (West) and receive this simple gift in token of more to come. Let there be peace between us and the (West).
And likewise, substituting in each of the directions.
When all is done, conlude with a final blessing, perhaps:
The Blessings of the Holy Ones
Be on me and mine
My blessings on all beings
With peace on thee and thine
The Fire, the Well, the Sacred Tree
Flow and flame and grow in me.
Thus do I seal the love of the land.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I’ll apologize once more, and quickly, for failing to post here. Things have been at least as wacky as predicted. More volume to come in the next weeks.
The results of the wackiness are exciting. Many readers will know that I and my priestess/wife have long kept an eight-acre parcel here in NE Ohio. It has been the site of both Pagan worship and community glee since the early 1980s. We call the place Tredara, which is an Anglicized Gaelic construction for  ”three oaks”. For the last 15 years it has been the summer home of Stone Creed Grove, and the site of parties, weddings and private rites of various kinds.
The Tredara - the nice three oak spot for which
the place is named.
Our good fortune has included having the empty woods that surround our patch remaining undeveloped. Our little village has experienced rapid growth in the 21st C, but our particular street is still without water and sewer access, making condos overlooking our Nemeton untenable. However we’ve always had an eye out to acquire property both to expand our capacities and simply to prevent development hard by us. A house and multi-acre parcel went on sale a couple of doors down, and some friends expressed interest. When we went to look at it online we discovered that eight acres immediately adjoining our back woods were also for sale, at a price that we could manage, we called our realtor friend immediately.
That was in April, but by Beltaine we were told that another offer had been accepted before we acted, but they were snagged on a technicality. I’ll admit that I was prepared to write it off as a momentary dream, but L. remained convinced that it would be ours. “Why would the spirits show us such a thing and then take it from us?” she kept asking. Not the sort of question I usually seek answers for, but she continued to ask and wait.
If the spirits don’t know what we want for this place by now, they haven’t been listening  (though I’m fairly convinced that they have). Both L. and I have been committed throughout our lives to the restoration of a meaningful, working Paganism grounded in physical worship space. After 20+ years of gradual improvement we’re reaching the moment when we are making it happen, and any increase in resources simpy goes to that goal. By late May we discovered that the parcel was still listed for sale. We called our agent, and in fact the previous deal had fallen through (no active hexing from us, incidentally, though I can’t say there wasn’t a degree of passive wishing). After a moment of hesitation we made a formal offer, and began magical work.
The new configuration, with our
swampy woods top right half, and
the high and dry new areas left.
We were fortunate to have this phase occur just as the moon was waxing into the Full Moon of June, on the weekend of Summer Solstice. We planned a rite for the coming Thursday, but we set a light each night before that, to warm the cauldron. Thursday before Full Moon we worked our usual Offering to the Allies, convoking our Not-God friends, under the Blessing of Brigid and our other Gods. The Omens for that rite, drawn in ogham, were:
nGetal – Charm Against Wound – the Reed – the Healer’s art,
Gort – the Garden, Ivy, growth and increase.
Uillend – Elbow – Honeysuckle – this last is in the disputed ‘forfedha’ signs. L immediately associated the ‘elbow’ with work, of which there will be plenty. My mind ran toward the sweetness of the honeysuckle, and another kind of elbow-bending, of which there will also be plenty.
Healing, Growth and Labor/pleasure. We took that for a good omen, and lit a larger light as a calling and claiming flame. The next day we got the call that the primary seller had said yes, and that we were waiting on a secondary party in the selling estate to say yes as well. We went in to Solstice weekend on pins and needles.
As usual we had a Grove gathering culminating in the full sacrifice rite on Sunday. Of course the air was full of the new possibilities. Regardless of the legal niceties of ownership, this new purchase will be for the benefit of the Grove, bigger and better facilities, shrines and fun for the community. The whole thing had a dice-in-the-air feeling.
The Solstice rite went beautifully, with perfect weather and a nice turn-out for what is often a minor holy day on our calendar. We keep the solstices, and often the equinoxes, in Norse style, and so we drew the omen from the Elder Futhark:
Sowilo the Sun, or the Sail of Your Ship Coming In – victory, and as direct as one could ask for solstice.
Othala – Ancestral wealth, real estate.
Berkanaz – The Birch – new growth, the Feminine Power, purification.
I love when the omen is so obvious and true that I must laugh out loud as I draw them! Incidentally, the divinatory question we usually ask is “what flavor of blessing will you pour into our cups?”, so we were quite willing to take that particular cocktail as we waited for the final ‘yes’.
The final yes came the next morning. At this writing we still await making the payment and claiming title, but it’s in the pipe and flowing. We hope to begin brush-hogging as soon as this weekend. We must cut a road through our swampy back woods to the new patch so that we can get foot and golf-cart traffic through without going out on the main road. By Lunasa we hope to be able to camp and park overflow in the new patch, and then we can really get started.
Some shots of the current status. Rows of shaggy nursery plantings, with nipple-high grass. The good news is that much
of the ground cover really is grass, and should respond to mowing by becoming nice camping meadow. Also lots of shade.
Someone asked, over the weekend, whether we had ‘a plan’. I laughed. We have an ascending ladder of immediate plans, things-we-can-really-do-soon, and then various models and dreams. It will certainly give me new stuff to blog about in the coming years.
Along that line, this will also require a new round of land-wight work. We were pretty much poised to begin in this past moon, but then switched to a straight practical-magic rite. We will have to light a formal claiming fire as soon as we get title, and from there we will work a round of genius locus contact rites. I’ll post that outline soon.
This is big news for us and the start of bigger news for our local Pagan community we hope. The shrines of the Gods and Spirits are returning to the land in North America. May we all be blessed by it!