As I write this it is the evening of the 4th day of the year. The 4th day. Wow, it feels like the year is already half gone my head has been so busy! My year has started in the same way last year ended – hectic. Physically, emotionally and mentally, it’s been hectic.
I am stuck in this legislative headspace, because my state government is trying to put through new rules for homeschooling that aren’t of any interest to many reading this. But I have been reading and writing up a storm trying to understand what they want and what we need to do to fight certain parts of it. I am also still packing, slowly, in preparation for moving so my body is stuck there – as is my head. Plus a bunch of other things, all rolling around in my head, tightening my shoulders, keeping me awake at night as I make plans that I forget about the next day.
And so it has been very difficult for me to get into a good head space for writing here on Patheos and, unfortunately, to get into ritual mode at all. Basically, the Pagan and religious side of me has been pushed away.
I Suck at Meditation!
Most people would suggest, in this busy brain and body situation, to meditate. Meditation is the way to go, it will quieten those thoughts and relax the body and blah blah blah. It really doesn’t help me, meditating makes things worse for me – at least traditional forms of meditation. I have a few times been able to miraculously achieve that quiet mind stuff that meditation is meant to bring about – but when I am done? My head gets even worse, as though it is overcompensating for that small period it was shut down.
So meditation is not the answer to this, not for me!
The Sound of Music
One of the things that I have used in the past to get into ritual mode is to listen to music that I deem “Pagany”, even if it has nothing to do with Pagan things. It’s about the sound of it and what feelings or thoughts it creates in me. Songs that create a fey or witchy feeling, songs that bring a haunted (but not sad/depressive) feeling. Songs that are somehow, mystical. I am not sure how to describe it really.
So I might listen to some Loreena McKennit, Faith and the Muse, Elane, Omnia and similar. Or I might listen to things that others wouldn’t think of using for this purpose – the main song from Skyrim or Game of Thrones for example.
What I do is put the earphones in and turn it up loud and get so consumed by the music that my head does become empty and my body loosens up and relaxes. The music doesn’t empty me though, it leaves something else behind. Depending on the song, it’s like being filled with (non-toxic) smoke, shadow, darkness, fire, ice or something else like that. Some natural thing inside of me, that isn’t mundane, isn’t part of human concerns, but raw and pure and powerful. It’s a different thing for each song, but it’s all the same in that non-human way.
I suppose, in a way, listening to music with intent is a form of meditation for me. It can break my mood, strip my emotions bare, empty my thoughts or change them completely, focus me or, when in need, let my focus relax so I focus on nothing but instead just flow.
Music is helping me write this post.
The Power of the Voice
I also love to sing, and in my opinion I am actually a pretty good singer. Your opinion may differ, but your opinion in this matter is unimportant really. I love to sing. It’s similar in nature to listening to music, except it is more physical. When stressed or angry I find singing a very good way to release all of that pent up emotion and let it out in a way that doesn’t make you sound like you’re killing people. Getting my voice pumping out will literally take the tension from my scrunched up shoulders and neck.Of course it depends on the day and the thing that is making me angry. Sometimes singing doesn’t help, but rage cleaning is the only way to go.
Some spells and rituals require words and/or hymns and the like. We can chant things or just speak them. We can also sing them – and I think, for those of us who get some feeling of strength from singing then this would be a good way to enhance the spell or ritual.
Magic in Movement
There was a time when I couldn’t figure out how to break my own long term psychic shielding. Let’s not discuss how that happened, but it did happen. I was at a complete loss as to how to break it down, I couldn’t remember how I used to do it and I couldn’t think of a way of just reversing how I made it in the first place. I found a way though, a way that I know had never used before but it worked a charm.
I danced it away.
Not even kidding here. I used no words, I used no tools, I used nothing but the movement of my own body. Not any choreographed dance, no special movements, just spinning and twirling and twisting and swaying. It was like using my body to physically smash through my own non-physical shields. It was an unusual experience, but I plan to use it more often and on different things, because it was highly effective.
I also now realise, thinking on it, that I have used it before in other ways without realising it. In my Hearth Witchery actually. There has been many times now that I will be in a good mood, cleaning or cooking or doing other domestic annoyances and I will be singing, because I do that. And I will also start dancing around as well, no reason just dancing. Thinking back on it, the times I was doing that and already doing my usual casual Hearth Witchery, I was actually using the dancing and singing to add more strength to the witchery I was already doing.
Music and movement, these things are almost primal. They can touch the deepest parts of you and bring things out without you meaning them to come out. If it can do that on the mundane level, what hidden power reserves might you be able to tap into? I know this stuff isn’t unknown to Pagans and the like, but I don’t know – it seems like the idea is usually reserved or mentioned in regards to group work. So it’s not something I had considered all the much for my solitary practice.
Things change, we learn. And now I am off to dance a little!