Socially Responsible Magic: My Journey to Stillness

Socially Responsible Magic: My Journey to Stillness March 18, 2015

On this blog I usually post about social issues that catch my interest, but for this one I thought I would make it more personal. Each year I do a ritual working called the Elemental Balancing Ritual. I do it once a year and then do the daily work thereafter. It’s internally focused, for the most part; the idea being that I do the work to create balance with an element I’m working with. It’s hard work, for it involves facing and working through my own issues, and yet it is rewarding work because I feel that it has, on the whole, led to a more balanced and holistic approach to life.

a pier reaching out over a still lake
Courtesy of mackieklew on

This year, I’m working with the element of stillness. The previous two years I worked with the element of movement, and at this point I’m not sure if stillness will be two years or if it’ll only be one year. The reason for that is because the elements pick me. When I first started this work it was the other way around; I picked the element. But a few years into it, I started having experiences part way through and those experiences were ones where the next element would show up and make it clear that I needed to work with it.

My journey was partially inspired by my work with movement. As I worked with movement, I came to appreciate its intricacies as an element, not only in how I and others physically move, but also how movement shows up in thoughts, emotions, and in spiritual work. Stillness might be considered the opposite of movement, but I actually see them as complementary of each other, one leading to the other and back again. While I was working with movement as an element, stillness came up quite a bit, in both my personal practice and in the lessons I learned. Not surprisingly, movement comes up quite a bit in stillness work as well.

Stillness is important to me.  It helps me experience some deeper layers of my being, but also connect to the world in a more meaningful way. Stillness teaches you to be and to experience instead of trying to offer your own input all the time. As a a writer, I can tell you it can be very hard to go to a place where you aren’t offering input, but it can also be liberating, because in stilling yourself you’re learning an essential skill all of us continually need to learn: how to be receptive to what is around us.

My journey to stillness isn’t easy. Sometimes, it’s a journey which calls on me to be vulnerable with myself and others, which doesn’t come easily to me, but I seem to be doing anyway. Sometimes it calls on me to be aware of just how many thoughts I have buzzing away in my head, keeping me from being still. And, sometimes I just hit this place where everything is still, where I’m relaxed into a state of stillness and everything seems to gel together into some wholeness that really can only be experienced by doing this work. I can’t tell you what I’ll experience on a given day, but I take whatever it is and let it speak to me and express itself.

So how is this work relevant to the concept of this blog? I think its relevant because in doing this work, and all the other related work I’ve done with the Elemental Balancing Ritual, I’ve found that it doesn’t just apply to changing myself but also changing my relationship with the world and my role in it. When I started this work a long time ago, I wasn’t someone who really cared that much about other people or about the issues that those people might face. I was just living my life, doing whatever I needed to do to get by. But the nature of any internal work is that it does change you and not just you in relationship to you, but you in relationship to everything else! You can’t do this work and not be changed by it. You also can’t be someone who is just changed. You must become part of the change you’ve brought on yourself by doing the internal work.

Socially Responsible Magic is published on alternate Wednesdays. Subscribe via RSS or e-mail!

Browse Our Archives