This past holiday season seems to have been a particularly internal one this year, for myself and many people who I’ve spoken with. Now as 2016 begins to emerge, I feel the call to look forward into this cycle and prepare for the next chapter in my life which for me personally will be a significant one. In league with my dear friend and colleague Morpheus Ravenna’s recent repost of an earlier blog, as well as my own from a year ago, it seems relevant to mention that I don’t do “new year’s resolutions”. Ultimately I’m opposed to declaring the “new year” at this time at all, for reasons I spoke to here. Despite this there is something, cosmologically speaking, sensible about setting intention and preparing for the year ahead at this time. But the way we set these intentions needs to be looked at and refined in order to really reap the benefits of Winter’s dark magick and the instinct many people feel toward setting a course for the next cycle. As the darkest time of the year, Winter Solstice/Yule naturally induces a sense of introspection and stillness, which unfortunately in our consumer-driven society often times falls of the to-do list. But if you follow this natural rhythm and go inward, a logical next step after diving into Winter’s depths is to begin, ever so slowly, reaching tenderly toward the light and looking toward what the next cycle will bring and what aspirations you may be bringing to it.
While making declarations in front of kith and kin, with a drink of some kind, toward some lofty endeavor may be the standard model for which our contemporary culture understands this kind of intentional magick, there are other more subtle and perhaps effective ways of shifting ourselves to bring about a desired change. One such ritual/meditation that I’ve employed before at the start of a new cycle is the practice of sharpening all the knives in the house. This might seem like a routine choir, but the actual act of sharpening knives with a traditional Japanese, dual-grit whetstone is very much a spiritual practice. It requires complete concentration and focus, but with a relaxed and clear mind. And of course, sharpening blades that have sacred function also calls for a fair amount of reverence. The repetitive and circular motions, along with the occasional pause to test the edge, induce a very familiar trance state. It creates what I like to refer to as an actualized metaphor- a thing or an action that in addition to it’s own physical reality, transmits lessons about so many other aspects of life. Archery is an actualized metaphor, which deserves a post unto itself. As a Pagan Polytheist with a basis in the both Feri Tradition and Thelemic ritual tech, I identify the blade is an actualized metaphor for the Will. I hear rumor that in some Pagan traditions the athame- or magickal working blade- is either specifically kept dull or is otherwise unspecified. This just boggles my mind. It is not so in Feri. The essence of a knife is sharpness, whether that be for cutting your food into sizable pieces or for raising power and casting one’s Will.
Now am I suggesting that everyone who reads this go out and sharpen all your knives (and swords, axes, guillotines, etc.) as part of your New Year celebration? Well, yes, actually I do think that sharpening your knives is a good idea, if just for the sake of keeping your fingers safe while you prepare food. But the real point of all this is to say that whatever your tools of trade are, tend to them. Tend to them with love, intention, and meditative patience, and in so doing, sharpen your Will. Obviously, not everyone reading this has the same relationship with sharp pointy things as I do. But we all have tools in our lives that provide the basis of our living and carve out our place in the world. To some, they may be less physical tools, like the software in your computer, or perhaps your voice. There are nevertheless ways that even the less than physical tools need to be maintained and honed so they function at their optimum. Now is an ideal time to do that as part of a resolution to make this orbit around the Sun better than the last. In my opinion, based on my assessment of astrological chart for 2016 which I’ll address in a following post, it’s going to be critical that we approach this year sharper than ever. The battles of ideologies will be coming to a head with this major election year happening. A lot is at stake and we have some critical decisions to make as a country. It’s imperative that those of us who stand for social and environmental justice maintain focus and precision in our words and actions through what will likely be a fairly tumultuous year.
This entry was posted on Sunday, January 3rd, 2016 at 17:56
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