Swinging pocket-watch

20th Art: Conjuring

64 Arts

Have you ever been hypnotized? Was it in front of a group of people on a stage? To stop a habit like smoking or help you lose weight? Or was it in a clinical setting, to help you recover memories or remember facts for an important reason?

Conjuring (indrajala)
To hypnotize and make people see armies or heavenly dwellings.

Swinging pocket-watch
I’ve never been hypnotized–I don’t think I’m a very good candidate for it since I like to be in control and find it difficult to relax–and it’s only been relatively recently that I’ve been able to meditate with any sort of effectiveness. We’ve talked about meditation in the past, so I won’t rehash that topic, but we can explore some other avenues of conjuring that might be out there.

Like what? The power of positive thinking (or, as my high school band director liked to harp on: Positive Mental Attitude), is one. The Law of Attraction–a version of which was popularized in The Secret–is another. Some might even say karma–though the ‘what goes around, comes around’ idea is a little broad (karma generally refers to repercussions from one life to another, as opposed to moments in a single incarnation).

And then there’s the more whimsical variety of conjuring: stage magic, slight of hand, misdirection and other feats of prestidigitation.

But really, conjuring is–at it’s essence–creating. Whether you’re creating images in other people’s minds (storytellers, I’m looking at you) or spinning a web of ideas that gets others to create something tangible, conjuring is the first step in creativity.

Question of the week: What have you conjured lately?

On a Spell and a Prayer

64 Arts

Magic words, huh?

A little abracadabra here… some wingardium leviosa over there…
Maybe an amen or a blessed be in the mix, too.

What’s that? Don’t think those 2 phrases belong in the same sentence? Ah… but that’s what’s so interesting about words… they are tools! What are you using your tools for?

An Unpopular Idea

I have a theory that occurred to me a few years ago and I’ve yet to be able to prove or disprove it. I’ve managed to make some people upset with it, but that’s what happens when you question a closed mind. It’s a theory based both on logic and feelings, of opening our mind to see our similarities amid the differences and a desire for tolerance, a common ground.

Basically, I think a spell is just another type of prayer.

To Those who Depend on Only One Way

I grew up in church. By choice (my mother did not attend) I went every Sunday and some Wednesdays as I got older from the age of 8 to 18 and then during various periods after.

I grew up understanding the concept of one narrow road, requiring sacrifice and strict obedience, that our way was the only true way. Even though the church down the road a bit was mostly the same and only differed on one or two points, ours was the only way.

I grew up and wondered just how arrogant that sounded to everyone else.

Questions Were Not Welcome, So I Asked Them of Myself

What makes one person’s method of asking wrong and another’s right?

Seriously, what’s the difference?


  • Ask for something or are done in reverence–be it a request for physical health, in praise of something good, we’re all going to someone or something for some reason
  • Appeal to a higher power–we can all use a helping hand; granted, some believe that power of a deity resides in them, but I find that on both sides of the Christian/non-Christian fence
  • Can be free-form or scripted–spontaneous spell-work and prayer both exist, as do rituals that include lit candles, sacramental wine and bread, and patterned responses at either end of the spectrum
  • Are part of a spiritual practice–I don’t see as this point needs additional explanation.

Is the Devil in the Details?

Yes, it’s true there is a commandment that states “Thou shalt have no gods before me.” As such, it’s a tiny leap (more like a silent shuffle) to the thought shared by many of my former pew-mates that all other deities were false, evil and wrong.

And, yet, I remember sitting in church several Sundays in a row as the preacher, our Independent Fundamental Baptist preacher, going through his series of the names of god–that there were different ones for different places and situations throughout the Old Testament. He was given the names of the Provider, the Healer, god of the battlefield and god of peace, among others. And then there’s the whole idea of the trinity, separate entities with different purposes but all, ultimately, part of the same whole.

Is it really a stretch, then, to consider the possibility that everyone is looking to the same force, just under different names? That having a god of the battlefield (Jehovah-Nissi) is that different from the God of War (Ares/Mercury)? That the duality of god and goddess is any more difficult to understand than that of the trinity?

Or is it a Dependence Thing?

Some joke that religion is an exercise in co-dependency. Some do more than joke.

Maybe the biggest difference I see between the two sides is the belief by one that we are not enough, ever, and that it’s totally up to that higher power to make it happen. On the other side is the belief that power lies within us all and that we have the ability to manipulate that power, that energy (remember we talked about energy being neither destroyed or created?) to our purposes with, maybe, the help of others whether they be in-the-flesh or of the spirit.

But, you know, the Baptists I know say you had to “put feet to prayer,” too.

One Destination, Many Roads

For the record, I’ve become quite comfortable with the idea of a Universal Divine–a creator force, a higher power, that goes by different names depending on the culture or situation you find yourself in. And that’s about as close to a label as I get, these days. I think any time the human mind–with it’s flaws and agendas that might seem well-intentioned but almost always go too far–tries to organize something so organic as beliefs we muck it beyond reason.

But that’s the wonderful thing: we have choices. Which road is right for you?

Because that’s what I’m after here, today: a little creative thinking, a little understanding, a little tolerance.

Why should the word–tool–we use to describe an action make it acceptable or not if it means the same thing? How do we presume (sometimes assume, with all the implications accepted) to know that our way is the only way. If we’re lucky, we do our best with the information we’re given and hope we’ve got it right.

We won’t know until it’s too late, after all. Might as well use this time the best we can, be nice to one another, accept–even glorify–our differences and use that mind that we were granted by someone or thing–that mind that is equipped for thinking and reason and making connections, and accept that there’s more than one way to live this life.

Let’s spend our time creating, not tearing down, the things and ideas that make this life special.

What common ground can you find with someone, today?

Charms for the Easy Life

64 Arts

(no, not the movie, though it is delightful…)

Can we get one thing straight? There isn’t one. A charm that will ensure easy life, I  mean.

If life were always easy, we’d never appreciate it. At least not enough.

No, what I’m thinking of are those things that make us feel better, that put our minds at ease, that give us a focal point for our tension so we do not direct it at others.

3 Cars, 3 Crystals

I got my first car the month I turned 22. It was out of necessity–my husband at the time had asked for a divorce on Easter Sunday and I was going to need a car to get around in as we’d been sharing his. It was a gently used 97 Geo Prism, dark blue, and it was my freedom.

Over the next 7 years she and I would be involved in just as many accidents (only one of which, for the record, was my fault–the rest was just unfortunate luck, a fact my insurance company will back up). My friends dubbed her Cher from the amount of body work she’d had done. The last incident, after I’d duly paid off the note and had survived my second failed marriage, was what did her in. A 17-year-old ran a stop sign coming up a slight hill and spun Cher and I around in the intersection. She was totaled.

Next came Phoebe, a 3-year old Saturn Ion that had been a lease before me. Not one month after signing the papers a college student decided to make a left out of an apartment complex, ignoring the 2 lanes of oncoming traffic he’d have to cross before reaching the safety of the median, and I was unable to avoid him. I joked that they were only supposed to transfer the tag, not the hit me sign, too!

All jokes aside, I decided it was to be a bit creative. Defensive driving can only get you so far.

Phoebe only lasted a year before her computer systems started acting up. After 4 repairs in as many weeks, Electra entered my life (so named because she had a nasty habit of shocking me every time I’d get out of the car for several months). Electra was a brand new, 16-miles-on-her-including-my-test-drive, Saturn Ion 2, and the first thing I transferred to her was the amulet I’d made after Phoebe’s first (and last!) accident.

After 4 1/2 years with no accidents, I’d say the jade, quartz and amethyst crystals are doing their job!

Animism, Energy or Something Else?

Natural stones and crystals derive, some believe, a certain amount of power and influence as they are formed from and within the earth.

To me, it brings into play the Thermodynamic Laws (named the first one which says energy is neither created nor destroyed, it merely changes form). Stones, in this way, are merely potential [metaphysical] energy waiting to be utilized. The hows and whys are more mental or emotional as opposed to chemical. (Though, it should be noted, light-workers probably consider stones as having kinetic energy.)

Whether this counts for animism is up for debate–animism considers everything has a soul… but you believe souls *are* energy, well, then, let’s call it that, too!

At any rate, if you choose to use crystals for anything besides their shiny, pretty properties, you’ll want to know a few things about them.

Jade, quartz and amethyst

My Travel Buddies

My travel amulet consists of a piece each of jade, quartz and amethyst.

  • Quartz is a universal stone–it’s good at everything! Kinda like salt in cooking, it amplifies and enhances whatever you want it to. It’s incredibly versatile as a facilitator.
  • Jade is, among other things, great for protection. In the case of travel it prevents accidents. As a side note, the little elephant figure happened to be what I had around at the time but it was even more fortuitous–Ganesha* is the Hindu god known as the Remover of Obstacles–how’s that for defensive driving!
  • Amethyst is a calming stone. In this case it’s a defense against road rage.

Now, I know a lot of folks consider this a whole lot of woo-woo New Age hooey. And that’s fine. It’s not for them. But after being rear-ended twice, having this little bag to concentrate on helps relax me when I’m stopped in traffic and the person coming up fast behind me makes me think back to that trapped feeling just before impact. I take it with me when I fly as something to hold and concentrate on during take-offs and landings and it gives me something to do instead of worry. And I haven’t been in an accident since I started keeping it in the car. It’s enough for me.

To find out more about a particular stone you’re drawn to or interested in, check out the lists over at Crystal Energy Works or Emily Gems, they seem fairly complete. And if you want to learn how to make a little gauzy pouch for your own crystals or other uses, check out my new tutorial, Drawstring Pouch with French Seams, through the Projects tab.

*Ganesha is generally depicted as a man with an elephant’s head, sometimes riding a mouse. I didn’t know this until after I picked my little jade elephant dude, but I still the the synchronicity is nice.

the 13th Art: Charms, Drugs & Magic Words

64 Arts

As used in anger, they will be explained together with occult practices, but do not include black magic.

Let’s begin this art with a little dispelling of certain notions that might make this topic difficult for some folks, starting with the definition of occult. Some folks get really uncomfortable around that word or the ideas and images it brings up. So let’s think about that for a moment.

(from the Free Dictionary) Occult adj.

1. Of, relating to, or dealing with supernatural influences, agencies, or phenomena.

2. Beyond the realm of human comprehension; inscrutable.

3. Available only to the initiate; secret: occult lore. See Synonyms at mysterious.

4. Hidden from view; concealed.

5.a. Medicine Detectable only by microscopic examination or chemical analysis, as a minute blood sample; b. Not accompanied by readily detectable signs or symptoms: occult carcinoma.

First off, I’m not going to go into supernatural stuff, so no worries there. Five doesn’t even have the slightest thing to do with our purposes here, today. Rolling definitions 2-through-4 all together: why do things have to be so difficult to understand or hidden?

You know the phrase TMI, right? Too Much Information. And, while, yes, there are some things, some details, that I might not want to know about private lives or health weirdnesses, in general? That’s more of an appropriateness issue. I’d even go so far to say that there’s no such thing as too much information from a research and learning position.

I love to research. I get an idea and the first things I’ll do are head to the ‘net and the bookstore.

Growing up I was afraid to ask certain questions, check out certain books from the library, that sort of thing. I hated that feeling the not being able to know. But more than that, looking back, I hated the small minds that thought facts were bad, the ideas were evil and the part of me that cared so much.

If there’s anything that defines my life it would have to be I want to know more and I want to know why. If I have that information I’m a happy girl.

If there’s a point I’m trying to make, here, it’s that we shouldn’t be afraid of information. All I ask–patiently, kindly, hopefully–that you will keep an open mind. That you will think about the things that come up. That you will ask the questions that arise in your mind. That you will not censor curiosity.

Here’s some of what I plan to cover in the pursuit of this art over the next couple of weeks:

  • Crystals
  • Aromatherapy
  • Home Remedies
  • Meditations
  • Affirmations

Feel free to ask any questions you might have, I’ll bet I at least have a book with the answer in it.

See, I don’t worry what other people think about what I read or know anymore.