Or What is Magic?
The work of this traditional altar happens mostly in the spiritual, invisible, worlds that surround us. Some worlds surround us closely, like our skin or our organs, or the ground beneath us. Other worlds start right beyond that, like with the next person, the house next door.
Perceptions makes a better descriptor of what we mean by “worlds” but both words point to the limitless potential of human beings and the magnificence that is our birth right.
The difficulty with “worlds and perceptions” relates to another special word, “reality.” One must determine which perceptions are real – real to you, actually having to deal with it, or not real, a temporary creation of our mind which only appears real, but which we’re not really dealing with.
For the longest time we were a practice composed of healing practices and what we loosely described as magic. We came, however, to an evolution, where our understanding and use of the word magic transformed. We saw enough real worlds to realize that the magic we thought we were performing turned out to be, very simply, perception and its use.
We perceived that our routine day could be described as our perception engaging with other perceptions to, hopefully, make things better for all the perceptions.
Arranging, adjusting and aligning perception follows many roads. We can pray, of course, or we might use a huevo, an egg, to cleanse a person, what we call a limpia.
Sometimes we will undertake a spiritual/mental journey to determine what is wrong and while we are there, in that mental/spiritual place, seeing what is wrong. When we see it, we fight, or run, or reason with the spirit or energy that is keeping our patron from actualizing her life. Other times we retrieve energy from our patron’s past or get a glimpse of his future.
Spirit can show us a plant, or a saint or even a healing ritual that can help our patron, perhaps some advice and counsel. Our ancestors can make themselves known in a journey.
When we see something, we might apply Reiki, a Japanese healing tradition that involves both touch therapy and serious spiritual work. Maybe we will perform a soul retrieval for this person, or a ritual/ceremony.
Then, of course there’s the Tarot and other divination techniques, which apply from time to time.
All of this, as you can see, involves sight. Whether we heal by using the sight of an x-ray machine or the spiritual sight of an old lady, it’s the seeing that makes the healing. It’s all a matter of perception. Once we see it, we’re 90% done with the healing!
That covers why healers, magicians, doctors, are called seers, but it doesn’t cover how seers can make change simply by seeing the change.
It was through healing practice that we found this “magic,” this “science” we can’t explain because we don’t have enough vocabulary.
The answers we found through healing made sense; there was some logic, 2+2 level stuff, to using certain plants in certain ways, considering the properties of the plant and the person. We asked more experienced healers, we asked Spirit, we looked at books, tried to make sense of it.
But when we started getting results that just didn’t make sense, results that some call “magic,” with all the connotations, good and bad that word brings, our idea of perception took a somersault into the unknown.
In what people mostly refer to as imagination, we were able to perform what many might call bullshit, or others will call miracles, assuming they believe it even happened. Let me explain.
A client, Mary, comes in complaining of a rash that hits her head and face. She’s been to the doctor who continues to tell her nothing is wrong.
That is a typical scene at our altar. We work on lots of things the medical people can’t see yet, or at least not with their methods. They, of course, see things we don’t, as well.
We’ve tried some remedies already, herbs, supplements, we even brought in a naturopath: no relief. I decide we should journey it, see what we can about the situation.
What we call the journey, our critics label mere “imagination,” but you decide. After a little drumming, a blindfold and staying well-focused we’re in the journey.
We step into a myth, a story-land where symbols and images tell us the story. In Mary’s case we came to find her in her bed sleeping and we see a troll next to her bed running ugly fingers in a cloud around Mary’s head.
Being in-journey I’m not alone, so Coyote, one of our busiest totems, jumps into the scene and chases that troll right out of Mary’s room. While they are gone, we do a “imaginary” limpia on Mary and her room and ask about how that troll got in there.
On the way out we hear something about giving it a week or so. In other words, we come out thinking we didn’t get an answer. The scene we saw played out, and participated in as well, described the situation for us, which we already knew. As for the cause, we saw something about her parents’ lifestyle at the time, but something we’d work on after we find some relief, first.
We’re sure trolls exist or existed, but we’ve never seen one other than in journeys. Here they symbolize devourers, souls who eat the essence of other souls. Overall, the journey would translate to something related to a fear or a problem in her life – something that points to a stress draining her body’s ability to handle a rash. It’s become an illness pattern now and we need something that will change the pattern, like a remedy. That’s why we felt we got nothing, but we were wrong.
The rash disappeared three days later and months later has not returned.
Over time we saw many things like this, where the action/myth in the journey, played out in real life as a cure, a change or an answer – the things people seek at an altar like this one. These came without regard to remedies or herbs or even action other than in our so called “imagination.”
We think it’s important to open a dialogue about this level of perception, aka seeing. Our next article, and the last in Hempcredible.org for a while*, will invoke some of this “magic” for DIY: The Ultimate Amulet/Talisman. Meanwhile,