Monday, May 02, 2005

That Ol' Black Magic

Well, it's over.

After work yesterday I went over to CDHSarah's, not really sure of the plan for the evening. The poor Artist had done 3 doubles in 3 days and was hardly conscious once he got home, and it didn't help when LokiKP came up with a semi-smelly tale about having tripped the alarm and frozen the starter on his Jeep. (Since my mom's loaded 2003 Town Car doesn't even use that feature, none of us are really sure about that.) After some stern talk from StarFucksGod, explaining the seriousness and that we couldn't just "fill him in later" on the meeting, he found a ride.

Now, I was in a dither, because DesignSchoolHomie and her husband, and KoreaArmyBuddy and his wife, were at DSH's house, cooking turkey burgers and waiting for me. Those plans had been set long before last Wednesday ever came around, and I wasn't about to let the drama keep me from seeing them, since all of us have been working pretty much without respite since KoreaArmyBuddy came home -- not to mention that he'll deploy very soon, and then we won't get the chance. So, while we were waiting for LokiKabbalist and the Artist, I went over to DSH's place and ate a ridiculous amount of turkey and roasted potatoes.

DSH also gave me an awesome present...a hammer! (It's one of the householdy things I don't have and always need.) I immediately christened it the Malleus Maleficarum.

Once people were trickling in, I headed back to CDHSarah's place, WV 2.0 in hand. I knew I would need something to keep my eyes away from LokiKB and to keep me grounded and centered during the process.

We all gathered in the living room, kind of somber -- not too somber to note that I really like what the Artist has done to his beard, however. :)

CDHSarah started, then StarFucksGod, then the Artist, then myself. Each of us shared our concerns -- the black magic, the constant talk of violence and retribution, the paranoia, the way that ceremonial magic is taking him over, the black leanings of his original teacher and his stubborn refusal to move off that path, the intrusiveness on innocents -- everything that boiled down to "We don't think you need to practice any more, and that means you can't be in the group any more other. Oh, and also, you need psychiatric help." (And we don't like your sexism or the way you judge paths you know nothing about, either.) I spent the entire time smoothing the surface of WV 2.0. She looks beautiful.

He sputtered. He told us we were bullshitters to even dare to claim that he was practicing black magic -- that stopped quick when we quoted the Aleister Crowley definition back in his face. When he conceded any point, he feigned helplessness as to how to stop it. He claimed he couldn't afford a doctor (he has health insurance and is a college student, which means that was a double lie). He claimed. He babbled. He thanked us really insincerely for our concern, then spent thirty minutes easy trying to get us to say we wouldn't do any workings against us, claiming he hadn't done anything against us (blatant lie, that, as he was raising power around himself quite consciously while sitting in the room). Eventually, once everyone had said what was to be said, the Artist volunteered to take LokiKB home, since he was dragging and had to do another double today (and, I believe, had things to say to LokiKB that didn't belong in the group).

CDHSarah and her husband and I were kind of shell-shocked when it was all over, and not a little freaked out, especially since LokiKB had pulled the "I'm not going to do anything to you, so don't do anything to me....right? Right? Because that would be black magic..."

Protective spells abounded, although I won't reveal details here. Instead, let's talk about black magic, what it really is, and how you protect yourself from it.

Black magic is the magic you do solely to benefit yourself, solely to assuage your ego or satisfy your desires, without regard or care for the potential effects on others. Intent informs the "color" of magic, purely speaking -- you can do the right spell for the wrong reason and be practicing black magic. It's complicated and requires a serious introspection on ethics, but here's an example.

I have ongoing permission to visit the Artist during spirit journeying, and vice versa. This is based on our knowledge of one another (and respect of one another's boundaries.) But I will still usually ask, if I get a chance, when I intend to go looking for him while pathwalking, and especially if it's for a specific purpose such as healing. (Sometimes I just show up where he is, a result of the psychic bond, but as I have a standing permission, the "door" is usually open to me. Sometimes it isn't, and that's one "door" I'll never try to force, as that means he has some kind of psychic shielding up for reasons that may not have been made aware to me.) Because I have permission, that action shades from white (done for others, as when I borrow his energy and thus some of his Charismatic ability to lay on hands) to gray, which is the in-between where most magic falls (as well as most ethics in the physical world). It's not black to heal yourself, or to help yourself, as long as it is also done with respect for the greater good and with the Chao (universal will) placed first in your estimation. (One never does a spell "to bring wealth", for instance, without placing conditions on it -- think back to all the fairy tales about too-general wishes and their disastrous consequences -- because you could, however inadvertently, kill your Uncle Fred because there was a bequest in his will that exactly matched your need.)

LokiKB told us last week that he "decided" he "wanted to see what was going on" with a girl he had been interested in, and got a nasty reaction when he "went looking" for her (pathwalking). It's wrong to do that to someone who does not practice. It's wrong to do that to someone without their permission. He tried to slough it off as "but I just wanted to see if she was OK." That serves only his ego, and is done without permission, which makes it black, and disgusting and stalkerish -- people who don't practice are usually almost entirely undefended in their sleep, because they don't believe in or don't know how to set up guards around their psyches while their spirits are elsewhere and minds are relaxed. Even thinking about that makes me shudder. Ugh.

Irina asked how one defends oneself from black magic, or how one protects oneself in general. CDHSarah gave a general outline. Basically it all has to do with intent, again. One can cast a circle of protection, do a visualization of a wall or tree, create an amulet, paint a protective symbol on hand or forehead, bind the person doing the threatening from doing harm, bind oneself from harm....there are a million and one ways to focus that idea. My home is protected in many ways from unwanted influences...I have a ba-gua mirror (the red and green mirrors bordered with the 8 trigrams of the I Ching) with bells on the front door, which serves the dual purpose of alerting me to people entering and leaving, and reflecting bad energy back as well. The bells dispel negativity. Also, there is a red tassel hanging on the outside of the door; if evil tries to enter, supposedly the tassel confuses it. (All this is feng shui based.)

Over the door, inside, there is a Green Man, the nature guardian, who watches over the cats when I am not there. And soon there will be a fiery Cernunnos (now that I have a Malleus Maleficarum to put him up with) on the bathroom door, which is on a line with the front door, to frighten anything that might make it past the ba-gua, the bells, the Green Man, and three cats who are reasonably psychically aware. And I sleep next to my altar, although I'm about to change that arrangement once it warms up a little, and then I will put protective wards on my bed. There's a small altar next to my computer, also, featuring St. Isidore (patron saint of the Internet) and the child-Ganesh. When I start working from home that one will get better. These serve as foci to create the idea of safety, the intent of it, which in the end (when combined with locked doors, as I'm not so hippy-dippy as all that) is what is really required to protect yourself -- the belief that you can, tempered with the intuition that tells you when you are not safe and need to add a layer of protection.

I'm just rambling now, and I'm sure CDHSarah has plenty to add to this. But we are all safe, for now, and WV 2.0 has not been sat upon as far as I know, and all (for now) is well. And tomorrow is Beltane! Happy!


At 1:53 PM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

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At 1:58 PM, Anonymous lady Alambil said...

*hugs* for difficult situations! I'm glad you and the rest of the group found the strength to express your concerns. Remind me to ask you about a dream I had in relation to what you said about pathwalking and being unguarded in sleep.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

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At 2:20 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

We see it differently, CDHS, because we practice differently. I see the white as purely unselfish (rare), as when I chant the Heart Sutra for a passed-on soul, the grey as something that is a combination of altruistic and selfish (as when I heal myself so that I can still work and take care of my cats), and the black as purely selfish, done only to feed the personal desire and without the intention of helping anyone but the caster, or even considering the harm to others. I see the shades of gray in it as related to one's intent -- if I cast to bring wealth to myself because I was lazy and didn't go to work and I'd rather do magic than work, instead of because I had been sick and need to feed the kitties and pay the bills, then that shades toward the dark gray that it's almost black, and may indeed BE black, depending on what energies are put into the ritual and how the ritual is worded, especially if one tries to deceive inre: the real reason behind the ritual. But only the individual can really make the ultimate discernment, the individual, that is, and the Divine. Karma knows what you're thinking, so it's best to guard yourself and not participate in something that shades toward the black...avoiding the appearance of evil and all that. It's why I so rarely do active magic of a ritual type...too many factors, and oftentimes there are other ways to bring the answer than a full ritual.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

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At 2:26 PM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

Well done, parcequilfaut! Though, just seeing the subject being explained makes me understand how a whole book could be filled with handling Black Magic as a grey or white witch.
On point I must make - your explinations of White vs. Grey vs. Black Magick differs from mine. In my opinion:
WHITE - Is the working of meditation, ritual, and magick for the SOLE purpose of reaching the divine/higher self.
GREY - Is the working of meditations, rituals, and magick to further the entire world in which you currently live - this can include yourself, of course.
BLACK - Is the working of meditations, rituals, and magick solely to benifit yourself, and often without regard to the effects on others.
Within these three outlines there are a hundred other shades.
Of course we are entitled to our own opinion.
As for a further discussion of black magic...the situation with LokiKabbalist, combined with the Ethics class at PUF...hhmmm book idea....we should chat more about this, parcequilfaut! But don't steal my idea! I heart you!

edited and reposted again

At 2:29 PM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

I give up leaving comments. It's I will discuss Black Magic stuff on my blog later...and parcequilfaut...if your blog name didn't take me and hour to type, it might make it easier ;oP

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Wow, wow, wow.. indeed so much stuff to think about... But how does spirit journeying/pathwalking work? Is it the same thing as astral projections?

At 4:59 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

Yes, basically. I think "astral projection" is just kind of New Agey and annoying, because I don't believe in the astral plane qua astral plane (I believe in higher planes of existence yes, but most of the "astral proj" stuff is v. Shirley Maclaine) but they all refer to the spirit, or soul, leaving the body in order to travel, yes.

C'mon, Irina, share your thinking! I was expecting you to rip holes in my logic, girl! ;)

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Well, first I wanted to make sure I understood all the terms you use.
Here's the thing: I don't see what's wrong with using magic for purely selfish reasons, as long as you make your wishes so specific as not to harm anyone else. So what if you're lazy and want to make money quickly? As long as you use magic to find treasure or something rather than to rob someone it shouldn't matter, right?

At 9:45 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

Actually, Irina, you're right. The case you gave, I would define as "gray shading to black", because it creates a pattern of behavior to always rely on magic, rather than initiative -- sort of a "God helps those who help themselves" idea, that one shouldn't use magic solely to help yourself and for no other reason.

What I meant by "pure selfishness" would go more like this example:

"God/dess, bring me money. I demand that you bring me money so that I do not have to work. I don't care who it hurts. I don't care if I earn it or if the way in which I get it hurts someone else. I want it. I want it and I demand that I get it."

So you find a big bag of money dropped when one drug dealer shot another and dropped the goods for you to find. Or your Uncle Fred kicks the bucket so you can have that bequest he left you. Black magic. The setting of conditions is what separates black magic from gray; if you did a ritual to find buried treasure, or to win the lottery, that is so specific that the possibility of hurting anyone is minimal (although the lottery thing shades towards the black also, because of who else might have won it and what their need might have been.)

Or this, the classic black magic that comes up in love spells:

"Make this person love me. I demand that they love me, that they see no one other than me as an object of desire, that their will is subverted to my desire for their love."

That's the magical equivalent of rape, because it subverts another's free will to your desire. There have been cases where people did that and the object of affection began to stalk them (law of five!) because of the impetus placed on them for love.

The meat of a gray magic love spell would read more like:

"Encourage what love this person has for me, and, if it be compatible with their will, let them see me as an object of desire. I do not wish to compel them against their will, only to reveal to them that which is worthy of love in me."

The conditions there remove the compulsion which in the first example subverts the object of affections' free will.

Black magic is not Randite "selfishness", the healthy self-interest. It's more the sociopathic selfishness, the mental idea that your will is superior to the will and freedom of other people, and that you would have what you desire no matter what the cost to innocent people or innocent lives. It's about gaining power and control you have no right to hold...

For this reason, some, not all, blood magic is discouraged. Sacrificing a dog to invoke Demon Whatever is a black rite pretty much across the board -- you took that dog's life away, not to eat or to protect yourself, but solely to achieve your selfish aim. Contrast that to Santeria, for instance, where anything sacrificed is also eaten by the community as part of the feast; blood is sacred to them, so only the blood is given to the orishas, but the meat is not wasted, because waste is not part of their philosophy. In a sense, their blood rites are purely white magic much of the time (not always but mostly) because they are purely for communion with the Divine, not for the persons' own power, and the animal's ache and flesh are both used, so it's not a sacrifice of the animal's life only for gain, but for the basic needs of the body and the honor of God.

Does that make more sense? Need vs. want is a big ol' deal in magical ethics... If you still have disagreements, feel free to continue the debate! This kind of talk from someone outside the religion actually helps me (and CDHSarah, I think) develop our ideas a little better...say "black magic" at PUF and most people have an idea what you mean. Try to define black magic to someone outside, and you have to define your ideas a little more clearly.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Thank you for explanation. That makes a lot more sense... But you've mentioned White, Gray, and Black Withces. Does that mean each kind ONLY practices that type of magic, or more "primarily", but still sometimes use other kinds?

At 9:19 AM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

Wow...yes, parcequilfaut, I agree with you when it comes to defining. These discussions really give me a chance to iron things out in my head...
O.K. I have a lot to say...
First, parcequilfaut, I believe that what we often call "asteral projection" does exist. However, like, for instance, yoga, tantra, and auras, it has become at least slightly skewed as it has entered a more mainstream line of thought.
Second, on your discussion of black magic, I share a different opinion.
In my personal opinion, there are two reasons that say...seeking a treasure chest because you are lazy is wrong. First, as a witch, I will speak for witchcraft and no other belief. Many - though not all - witches understand that their path is NOT going to be easy. It's not supposed to be. The ability to cast a spell to find a treasure takes a lot of time and practice. One must be disciplined to accomplish such a task. If a witch has gotten so far in the craft and is still lazy and unthoughtful of the possibilities, then something has definately gone awry. Also, while finding buried treasure may not seem a likely way to affect another negatively, it may. We cannot sit here and just know all of the possible outcomes of finding such a thing. If the circumstances are dire, then I would understand. But otherwise such behavior is only showing a lack of spiritual growth and poor decision making. However, parcequilfaut, you made an excellant point and I am not entirely arguing with you, just differing in opinion. I generally avoid "spells" because I rarely feel the need or the ability arise. Mostly I focus what little skills I have to propel me to where I want to be spiritually.
As for your question on the types of magic, irina, I would say that most primarily practice one type of magic, but that nealy everyone has done them all at least once. Of course as always, there are exceptions to the "rule".
Discussing things like this is really helpful to me right now. Lets continue!

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Let's make the question of treasure-seeking a little more complicated. Suppose you decide to seek treasure not for any material gain from it, but out of a sense of adventure or to practice your skill? (By the way, I don't think it's EVER possible to predict all possible outcomes for anything, so one should use one's discretion, but not go crazy about it).

At 11:05 AM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

To me, it's "what path am I on"? No one is perfect and there are always ethical exceptions, but your path is defined by what you're trying to do with/get out of the religion and its practice.

For me, I am basically a white practicitioner because I do almost no magic that has anything to do with myself and my needs. What little ritual I do generally has to do with helping other people. While I occasionally do gray magic, I am far more likely to ask another practitioner for help in matters concerning myself (as when I enlisted pretty much every witch I know to bring the middle kitty home) than I am to step up and use magic every time I have a problem. It takes a major stressor to make what CDHSarah calls "productive magic" my first resort. I am not opposed to gray magic, and practice it rarely, but my path, in general, is that of the White. That's the road I'm on...doesn't mean I don't stray onto the middle path if there's something there I really need, but I pretty much have left the "Left-hand" (black) path behind entirely for the past 6 years.

So the short answer is no, 'Rina. ;)

At 1:21 PM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

O.K. , Irina, good twist. seeking treasure just for adventure or practicing your skill...well, if a witch is so bored that using magic to find a treasure seems fun...something is wrong with that picture...unless he/she is already really rich with three or four phd's in which case, I am jealous. Ethically, I can't call either scenerio Black magic without really knowing the exact circumstances. But I can at least say that if finding a hidden treasure is how you are supposed to grow and improve, and you are very careful not to upset the balance of the universe in the process, that is definatly leaning toward a very pale shade of grey. And while seeking out adventure in such a way would normally be defined by me as dark grey or black, I could also see someone using the opportunity for the greater divine plan. It's all a case to case thing really.
I have discussed this stuff with parcequilfaut and you so much that I think I will devote my next blog to the subject for further discussion

At 1:28 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

'Rina, your comment wasn't in the cache when I posted last. Sorry.

The treasure thing is pretty much not black magic at all...there can be a case made for anything, but that's a fairly gray thing, it's one of those ethical gray areas. The concern is more the desire to get something for nothing, and a desire to improve your skill -- a treasure hunter invoking St. Anthony to assist him in his skills for instance -- isn't asking to get something for nothing, in the way that killing uncle fred magically to get the cash out of his bequest is. It could even be white magic, if you were doing it to, I dunno, save an orphanage or some Blues Brothers shit....

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

: D Although, there are legal questions involved. I believe if the treasure is money, you have to pay taxes on it, depending on where you find it. Some countries claim the treasure as their own, especially if it's an artifact, so this issue involves even more ethical complications than treasure-seeking itself... such as the decision what to do with it (report it or not) once you find it!

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Special Sauce said...


I'm learning a lot from reading here, and I hope you will all continue leaving comments- this is really interesting to me. (which sounds ridiculously dumb, but I'm really enjoying this!)

At 3:48 PM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

Exactly Irina, I had planned to mention the possible complications of just "oops...well, heres a million dollars in a hole...huh" in the real world. Though, parcequilfaut, you and I are seeing the black magic thing differently because your roots are more in eastern thought and the concepts of "balance" and "simply is" and "no-thingness". All wonderful concepts...just not ones that I tend to use in daily practice...which is why are discussions are so diverse.
And, Special Sauce, I am glad you are enjoyin yourself...please jump in! This is great training for me!
Hearts and happy vibes to all! This time I am REALLY leaving work!

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Memphis Word Nerd said...

This is absolutely fascinating. My first exposure to true witchcraft was as a child when my parents and I went to England. We happened to be in Glastonbury (believed to be the location of Avalon) for Beltaine. People had travelled from all around the country to join in the Beltaine festivities. My parents spent the day touring museums; I spent it sitting in the ruins with a stack of newly-purchased books on magick/paganism/Wicca/etc, praying for...well, something...I wasn't sure what. Definitely a life-changing event.

So, back to the white/gray/black discussion. Let's use your runaway kitty as an example. Obviously, you enlisted a lot of help in getting him home safely. That's white magic because it was done by someone else for your benefit and kitty's benefit, right? Here's where I need clarification: if you had done magick to bring him home safely, would it have been white, gray or black? Based on your explanations, am I correct in thinking that it would have been white if you did it completely for his own safety, black if you did it completely because you missed him, and gray if it was a combination of reasons?

And (I'm definitely not judging, I'm trying to understand) would that be a compulsion since he might have been enjoying his soujourn? Or is it considered okay because he was not aware of the dangers that he was in? In other words, does safety outweigh self determination? When is it "right" to impose your will on someone else's?

I'm intrigued by this topic because it's something that I face every day at work (as a therapist). When a client is suicidal, I have to assume responsibility for keeping them safe. However, when a client is making dangerous decisions that aren't necessarily life threatening, it is much less clear cut. How does your religion answer this question?

At 1:03 PM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

wow! umm...braincramp...
ok, MWN, Hi, I'm me, commonly refered to as CDHSarah in parcequilfauts blog.
First, if you ever go to Glastonbury for beltaine again, take me with you!
Ok, now...
I am going to take a leap of faith and say that parcequilfaut would say yes to your kitty explination...
I have a difference of opinion, because, well, because in order to be pagan you HAVE to disagree with another pagan on SOMETHING;oP
In my opinion, wanting the kitty to be safe is grey, as well as a combination of the two reasons. Being purely selfish would be considered, for instance, your 50 cats were taken away because of the revolting living conditions and you try to bring them back anyway.
As for the white perspective, I believe white practice is using magickal means solely for the purpose of the divine...i.e. getting closer to your deity, following your spiritual path, etc. In other words, if you cast a spell to bring your kittly back ONLY because it is your divine will that that kitty be with you, that is white magic.
The idea of divine will is difficult to explain, unless experienced. To quote a wonderful novel, it is when "A man travels further and further along his path, until he has no choice, but does only and wholly what he MUST do."
(That quote is not verbatum, but close)
In any case, I will have to mention this point in my blog now. Feel free to stop by if you wish, the same thoughts are being discussed there as well!
(parcequilfaut....if I was incorrect in my assumption on your opinion, I apoligize. But I'mm only apoligizing because you are asleep at my house right now and I want you to be nice to the bunnies! ;oP)

At 5:00 AM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

Since my kitty isn't a person -- well, he is, but you get what I mean -- the "rules" are a little different. He doesn't really know how to fend for himself out in the wide world, and is in a clear and present danger when he gets out because of proximity to the road. I can see very few instances where a spell or working to bring home the kitty could have been black, because for me, in my situation, it couldn't ever be purely selfish, but rather motivated mostly by my desire to have an alive-cat. I'd have to do some seriously wonky shit (shit I would NEVER do, like sacrifice one of the other kitties to bring the middle kitty back) to make a black rite out of finding the kitty.

Now, when CDHSarah and the Chieftess and the Champion were all doing magic to help kitty find his way back safely, their rituals were purely white to my knowledge, because they were motivated by desire to help me and the middle kitty (who apparently knows I'm talking about him, as he is being insistent about skritches as opposed to typing), and not with the knowledge or expectation of any personal gain.

CDHSarah, you're at work and I'm not (hee!), but you are right -- all the Eastern philosophy probably does inform this difference of opinion.

MWN, forget CDHSarah, take me with you. I had a pic for the longest of the neo-Druids doing their HUGE solstice circle at Stonehenge and I was so. Jealous. Of those folks.

On your other point, magic using folks (Witches like CDHSarah, shamanic seekers like the Artist, even l'il ol' nondifferentiated me) aren't bound by the professional ethic. No, as a therapist you can't go much beyond the classic "danger to patient's self or others" parameter in imposing your will on another person. Our definition of "harm" is somewhat more broad on the whole; magically speaking, a binding can be the equivalent of a straitjacket, so one must be pretty certain it's warranted, and make it quite specific to the harmful behavior. But we can (although we rarely do) bind against self-harming behavior in a lifestyle sense, as CDHSarah talked about with LokiKabbalist. Since your options are basically limited to throwing folk in the ward, your options are a lot different (and btw that's really cool that you're a therapist, and good to have you back!)

Y'all, it's five in the damn morning Parcequilfaut local time. But I am glad this comments thread has blown up. Let's keep it going...and in the morning, I'll try to take Goddess pics (after the sun is up, at least.)

At 8:57 AM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

You made some very good points, parcequilfaut, thoough I had a question I wanted to ask. Aside, from the santerian (spelling?) beliefs on animal sacrifice and blood, what is your opinion of those who believe that, for instance, the "harm none" rule is not broken by drawing blood for ritual. I think I have mostly hammered down my own opinion, but I was curious what yours was...

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

What was the novel from which the quote came? It sounds pretty cool!

At 12:46 PM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

It is actually part of childrens trilogy. I have never had the luck of finding the first two books - though I may now, because they made a mini series out of it, and it is climbing back up the social ladder, so to speak - The name of the book is "The Wizard of Earthsea" G...I think.
But keep in mind it is a childrens story...though good enough for me to read again. I hope you can find it!

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Thanks! I actually really like some books which many consider children's!

At 4:43 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

The Wizard of Earthsea trilogy! Ursula K. LeGuin! I love her.

Go to and search "earthsea" under a Title search, the whole trilogy pops up.

'Rina, we're so alike-yet-different it's scary. I can go on about YA lit all day.

And CDHSarah should envy me, because I'm reading the third Rowan Gant book, and she's not.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

CDH, I didn't address this in my last comment, so I'll do it now.

You can choose to use your own blood to bind a ritual, but it's risky. Menstrual/seminal fluid is preferable, or blood drawn accidentally -- the Artist has a particular sigil he blessed with the handkerchief he used to mop up a split lip he sustained at Tribe. I'm not unilaterally opposed to the use of own-blood drawn intentionally, it's a case-by-case basis. I don't hold "Harm None" as highly as some Witches do, because it's impossible. You have to eat, and right there is harm, and there you go -- as a pantheist, all forms of life are sacred to me, and as a Zen-type person, it's all about balance and respect, which is why I'm not a vegetarian, as my doctor has told me in no uncertain terms that with my particular body chemistry, I require the iron that specifically comes from animal protein (non-chelated) in order to avoid anemia and stay healthy, because my body can't process the chelated (plant source) kind. But I eat as much game as is available to me, since I don't live in an area where I can hunt or where I can get hunted meat easily. And I never fool myself into believing that I can live without causing harm.

To get back to your point, I would say, no, I'm not opposed -- depending on the circumstances. Is the blood being used in a white, gray, or black rite? Is blood required as a sacrifice, or does the person use it simply to indicate how pressing their need is or to firmly imprint their own energy? I have put my own, accidentally drawn, blood into my art before, does that make it a black rite?

Everyone has to make up their own mind; you know I don't believe in universal truth. For me, menstrual or accidentally drawn blood is the way to go, to avoid what is, for me, an unhealthy compulsion, as a person with a none-too-distant history of self-harm. But I won't set myself up to judge everyone without knowing the specifics of their rite or ritual. What LokiKabbalist was doing was harmful; w/r/t blood rites, he was sacrificing his own blood to gods for more power, not to signal intent, to place a personal "stamp" on a rite, or to signal urgency. Sacrificing ones' own blood to gods usually makes them hungry for more, in my experience, and is then "harmful" by my definition. Whether or not that fits a universal "standard" of black-vs.-white magic, it's not an energy I want near me.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Tribe? What tribe?

At 1:37 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

Irina --

"Tribe" isn't a religious thing. In addition to Radiant Star, most of the RS membership (all of it, now that we don't have LokiKB anymore) is also in a Celtic Iron-Age reenactment society that we usually refer to as just "Tribe" -- we get together 7-8 times a year to feast, discuss history, beat on each other with boffer a Civil War reenactment, with more plaid. Not a religious thing, although we talk about period religion, just a reenactment thing and excuse to eat stew until one bursts from venisony goodness. Most of the people in it are earth-religioners, but our Ovat (Druid, essentially) used to be a practicing Catholic before he moved away, so it's not really a pagan thing.

At 3:24 PM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

Though, parcequilfaut, there has been discussion of adding earth religion to the tribe officially because it was so important to the celts at that time.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

If we make tribe a religious gathering or coven, instead of just talking about "Celtic" religion in historical context and sometimes having a join-if-you-want-don't-if-you-don't circle like we always have had, I will go and not come back. And I AM an earth religioner.
I have a spiritual group. I don't want to limit tribe to people who actively practice. How is that going to work for SFGod or me? Neither one of us are practitioners in the "Celtic" tradition.

But that's a side note.

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

So there's no one left in the group who practices in the Celtic tradition?

At 9:32 AM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

Irina --

SFGod is a ceremonial magician, and I'm nondifferentiated, so I honor Celtic deities about as often as any other deities, on a very individualized basis. The Artist uses "Celtic" deities (Cernunnos) but doesn't hesitate to blend them with other pantheons (Germanic and Egyptian) to suit his needs. And CDHSarah is a Wiccan, and while she uses Inanna (also "Celtic") as a deity, I wouldn't call her path primarily Celtic. (She may say different but that's as I understand it.) About the only thing we all take from "Celtic" peoples is the cycle of 8 holidays, but that's not exclusively the province of those peoples.

It's the very fact that none of us is on an easily pigeonholed path that we formed Radiant Star -- it's almost the Coven for Misfits. Now, I have been in tribe for a long time, but if it becomes part historical society, part Celtic coven, I'll go away. I have had no problem with attending circles there in the past because it has never been a part of the "required" activities -- it's always been after court and feast, and optional. It's the making it mandatory that would chafe me right out.

At 9:58 AM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

The making circle mandetory, I can understand. But the discussion came up when everyone was expressing that they would enjoy experiencing the more spiritual side of the celts. Though...I can see...ahem...the "cheiftess" of tribe trying to make everybody become celtic. It wouldn't suprise me.

At 5:39 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

Wouldn't surprise me, but she can dream on.


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