Practical Magic

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I have been watching Johnathan Strange & Mr Norell, and I am struck by how much it reminds me of the state of modern magic. There are many content to study without desire to actually produce results. There are others who present themselves as authorities when all they have managed is to rise within the ranks of lodges and societies that scarcely function as more than social clubs for bored suburbanites. Too often those who choose to be viewed as magicians in modern times, hide those things which would reveal them to be human. It is almost as though being well rounded is anathema to being a magician, as if revealing ones whole self-will somehow weaken their power. I have come to believe this is a fallacy which needs rectifying, magic does not exist in a vacuum.

Holy Sacraments

When I started this blog, it took me some time to come up with a title. I wanted something that reflected who I was, not necessarily what my blog was about. Primarily I write about magic, but I try to write about it from the perspective of how it touches my everyday life. This is not a how to do magic type of journey, I believe that is an individual pursuit. This more about how MY magical journey enriches my life. I share experiences and folklore, the how to is up to the reader to suss out. So that is how the name of my blog came about, Tacos and Tequila are my Holy Sacraments.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              fat_tire_tacosTacos are pure magic in my opinion. Start with a tortilla, another variant of the ubiquitous round flat bread found in every culture, ever. Next add whatever you have, eggs, beans, rice, or all three it doesn’t matter. That is the magic, a simple tortilla wrapped around anything transforms it into something delicious and heavenly, may all my magic be so effective. The tortilla itself is nothing more than flour, water, yeast, and fat (usually lard), and yet through a wondrous alchemical transformation these simple ingredients form the portable, edible food wrapper of the gods. Tacos are poor people food, but you do not need to be poor to appreciate them, they transcend socio-economic boundaries. May all my magic be so flexible. Whereas I have to be in the mood for $100 a plate chef prepared meals, and yes the mood does strike me, tacos are always an option, without question. I aspire for my magic to be like tacos, simple, ubiquitous, versatile, and delicious.

Tequila is my Soma. A holy elixir that opens gateways, but one that must be used with caution. I am not a heavy drinker, in fact, I am entirely a social drinker and being an introverted recluse that makes me a very light drinker. Usually I drink beer in most social settings, but there are those special occasions where something more is required. On campout, long weekends, rainy days, and winter retreats, nothing beats the golden warmth of tequila. In a drop of tequila I taste the earth, the summer sun, and the highlands of Jalisco. When shared with others the tequila_hires_550conversation flows as the warmth penetrates deep into the bones, deep thoughts and precious intimacies are shared. May my magic be so inspirational. When shared with my spirit allies a bond of friendship and loyalty is forged that rewards us both. May my magic always be reciprocal. Tequila like tacos is made from simple ingredients, blue agave cacti, water, and yeast. Like the tacos a bit of alchemy transforms these ingredients into something spectacular. A word of caution, Tequila like all potions must be treated with respect, too much will hurt with a vengeance not soon  forgotten. May my magic be like tequila, strong, lucid, intoxicating, and a little bit dangerous.

I try to model my magic a bit like Tacos and Tequila. In addition to the references I have made above, it my desire that my magic be made of simple ingredients, mundane one might say, that are transformed through the agency of spirit, alchemy, transcendent power, or even fermentation, into something more spectacular. Made into an essence, a power, a force that far exceeds the sum of its parts. Something that can only exist because of a combination that must be executed precisiely to yield proper results. Something that exemplifies “solve et coagula”. This is how I model my magic and why Tacos and Tequila are sacraments to me.

Daily Inspirations

I love the word “inspiration”, it simultaneously means being mentally stimulated towards creative ends and inhalation. This dovetails with both the ancient greek “pneuma” and the hindu concept of “prana”. With pneuma we have a word that both means breath and spirit, or the vital, creative force of a person. Prana is a concept of spirit and creative lifeforce found in all things needed to live. This is usually illustrated in the following way; food, water, and breath all have prana. One can go weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without breath, therefore breath has the greatest amount of prana. Very different cultures, same concept, spirit, that is the creative force that gives us life is found in the breath.

The idea that life is in the breath along with the force we consider creativity leads to some very interesting considerations for magic. Most important is the realization that both life and creativity are forces that exist externally to one’s being. Through inhalation these forces are brought to dwell within oneself. To my mind this settles the entire debate about whether spirit is external or a fabrication of the mind. This also explains why creativity is not necessarily an indwelling quality. I could at this point get into very long winded (see what I did there) explanation about the metaphysics involved with the chemical reactions in the brain that are a result of this interaction, but that is really a book in itself. Instead I will say with each breath the holy creative fire is stoked within our cranial organ and thus life is maintained as well as creativity.

This all leads to the topic of meditation. If one wants to be more effective with magic there is nothing more powerful or efficacious than meditation. Many balk at this idea because it seems to simple, if I have learned anything in my 30 plus years as a mage, it is that simplicity is the hallmeditation31mark of the greatest magics known. Meditation quite simply is sitting still, quieting the mind, and breathing. That’s it. Breathing however is the process of ingesting life force, spirit, and creativity. Want more effective magic? What could aid one more than building up stores of spirit, life force, and creativity? Not to mention the added benefits of being able to focus concentration, control of one’s own mind, and knowing how to take a deep breath to clear distracting thoughts. Just like Tacos and Tequila, a little bit of alchemical transformation turns breath into something spectacular. Breath is the greatest ally a mage can have.

Authenticity

Astrologically speaking we are in a very interesting time, Saturn moved into a partie square with Neptune which means liars will be exposed and deceptions uncovered. It is very hard in this day and age of virtual interactions to determine who is authentic and who is creating a character. It is my sincere hope that during this astrological time the veil will drop and those who are authentic will be able to move forward. This is perhaps a far-fetched dream, but it is true to who I am. Authenticity however can determined by one single factor, simplicity that transforms into the spectacular. That wonderful alchemy that helps one find gold in the compost.

My personal gauge for determining authenticity is not lineage or membership in any association, no it is much simpler than that. I can tell when someone is authentic because they are willing to go all in. What I mean by this is when you read an herbal witches blog and she shares the wonder and joy of introducing her child to the forest. Cartomancers who share how much they love their siblings and their pets. Sorcerers who specialize in helping others to be better sorcerers themselves and yet share family vacation stories or tales of plastic toy chasing cats. Brave souls unafraid to be themselves in a public space. I’m not suggesting that to be authentic one must share every aspect of their life, but rather that one is true enough to themselves that they lack fear over being open. When one is well rooted in themselves the need to play a role or present one side of one self as the totality drops away.

Whether one specializes in cartomancy, astrology, herbalism, or scrying, that is not all one does, nor should it be. I believe that all too often that when one works to be a well rounded magician an erroneous state of mind takes hold that convinces the individual that they must excel at all schools of magic. Rather than live a fulfilling life filled with variety and adventure, these poor souls become consumed pursuing the next new thing. Pursuing dilettantism rather than developing their super power. There is nothing wrong with a herbalist studying cartomancy, in fact, one may excel at both, but not all herbalists must study cartomancy and vice versa. A great astrologer may find more inspiration in physics or the poetry of Sandra Cisneros than in divination by dice or dominoes. A herbalist might be inspired more by zymurgy than alchemy, then again perhaps both. The point being that truly informed magic comes about from engaging with the world rather than withdrawing from it. This engagement when coupled with inhaled spirit and creative force awakens one to the strange alchemy that transforms ordinary things into spectacular sacraments, much like Tacos and Tequila. The ability to find magic within the mundane is authentic and practical magic. Very practical magic indeed.

PEACE LOVE LIGHT

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