January 10, 2006

Get Me to the Church on Time! : Dreams of the Magical Self

I rarely post dreams in this blog, but I thought this one was especially enjoyable and may be fruitful to share. It was exceptionally vivid (as almost all of my dreams involving witchcraft are, though I do not have them very often) and, upon waking, struck me as being very purposefully instructive. In other words, no accident. I'm fond of dream analysis, particularly when the dream is confusing, chaotic or strange, but then there are times when you just have to sit back and let the dream speak for itself.

The dream began back in my old bedroom in my parents' house, where I recently slept while visiting them for the holidays. I was eagerly dressing for a summer ritual, donning my ritual jewelry (which I do not own in real life) and a new deep-blue cloak over a thin, silk, sky-blue and, I must say, attractively cut ritual robe (neither of which do I own in real life). I was excited to realize that the new cloak had a small holster sewn into the inside left fabric to hold my wand, for easy access during ritual--the wand was a beautifully hand-turned and polished length of rosewood with a delicately carved handle (you guessed it, I do not own any such wand--indeed, a wand is the only tool I have yet to collect for my personal ritual use). As the dream progressed, I packed my other ritual tools into a small bag, including my athame, gazing sphere, and a small wooden flute that, in real life, I misplaced about two years ago and haven't been able to find since. I even paused to play a few notes on the flute, which sounded wonderful and deep. I had plans to meet with an old friend to walk to a new church which had just opened recently and which offered services that combined the traditional symbolism and structure of the Catholic Mass with the aesthetics and closeness-to-nature of witchcraft, utilizing an intentional awareness of sacred magic. We were both excited and looking forward to the enjoyable walk at a leisurely pace through the park on our way to the church.

As I prepared, however, I noticed a small rip in the cloak which, when I went from sitting to standing, would catch on the edge of my foot and both restrict my movement and worsen the tear. I told my friend to go on ahead so that she would not be late to the service, and I would catch up with her after mending the cloak. As often happens in dreams, every attempt I made to fix things seemed to take forever and only make it worse. Eventually, I discarded the cloak altogether, snatching my wand from its holster and grabbing my cloth bag of other tools before rushing out the door. I came out to discover two things: that it was way too warm for a cloak, anyway, and that my friend had, even walking slowly, already arrived at the church over two miles away and the service was beginning. I ran up to my younger brother who was out riding his bike with friends. I asked if I could borrow his bike to ride quickly to the church, and as he agreed and dismounted to hand it to me, the handlebars broke off. Not at the bolt, mind you, but the entire front frame of the bike snapped off in my hand, as if it had been rusted through. Now in a panic that I was missing the ceremony, I turned to my mother and begged her to drive me. My father (the most religious person in my family and always devout about attending Mass) kept trying to discourage me, saying I shouldn't bother rushing about, as I would just interrupt the service and cause a commotion and an embarrassment. Regardless, I hopped in the car with my mother and began the short drive.

Soon, we realized that the church was set on a small, green hill far back in the park. At the foot of the hill was a spring from which a creek flowed, much like the creek in the park near my parents' house in real life, except calmer, cleaner and deeper. Past the hill was a footpath that wound its way up the hill among tall hedges. Although no longer in the car, my mother and I were still rushing past scenery as if we had the engine on and the windows up, and I began to feel a distinct pain that I was rushing past this labyrinthine garden which was clearly designed to put one in a meditative state on the winding way to the church. Then, we reached the top, where there stood the most beautiful, delicately built building I've ever seen--reminiscent of the elvish dwellings of Rivendale in the movie version of Lord of the Rings. The stained glass of the high arched windows were not webbed by thick veins, but were almost uninterrupted except for the blending colors, and the walls of the church were thin wood and stone that let in a great deal of light while still shading the interior. From inside came beautiful music, and the figure of my friend, dancing in her robes in the shadows just beyond the sunlight. And at that moment, what I wanted most in the world was to take back all my rushing and concern, and make the leisurely, gentle walk to the church, dwelling in the beauty of the scenery and knowing that, upon reaching the church, I would still be welcome. Because no one was ever late or left out at this place.

I believe that this dream was in direct response to a short request I made last night before falling asleep, that I be shown some hint on how to proceed in my spiritual practice. At the time, I was thinking specifically of learning my "magical name" and beginning work on developing my "magical self" or "magical personality," as described by Dion Fortune, as well as Nancy Watson and others. The purpose of the "magical self" is to create a kind of idealized "body" on the inner planes, one with all the capabilities, skills and talents you seek to possess, one which is, so to speak, a step or two further along in its spiritual evolution. It's basically the same process I went through unknowingly when I was little, when I imagined what life would be like for me as an adult poet and artist, living in fashionable, comfortable poverty in a studio apartment in some unknown city. (The funny thing is, even though I gave up on those imaginings a long time ago, I find myself now in a situation strikingly similar to the one I day-dreamed about, even down to the funky furniture and colorful decorations, the many books and the tiring waitressing job.) These day-dreams have power. Learning to visualize and step-into this idealized self works similar to other types of visualizations, helping these aspects to manifest in reality. For Dion Fortune, the magical self also provides a working connection on the inner planes to the levels of intuition and connection from our past lives as more "primitive" peoples, skills we have since lost in more recent incarnations by becoming more reasoning, modern beings. By tapping into these past intuitive connections while maintaining our current intellectual distance, the magical personality provides a way to balance these two vital aspects in a self which, by combining them, is more highly evolved than our current state, and can thus provide us with a path towards that evolution. The magical self is, in this way, not only about visualization and developing concrete magical skills in this lifetime, but also ultimately about personal spiritual growth in the long term. Dion Fortune writes, and Watson agrees, that the development of this magical self is enhanced and quickened greatly by the use of a magical name which can be invoked in relation to the developing self.

And so, I asked quietly for a magical name, last night, before eventually falling asleep--or, at least some indication of what steps to take next. And what I received was this dream. Which strikes me as an appropriate answer. Firstly, I have wished for a wand for a very long time, but have put off getting one because I have a particular one in mind that I would like, but feel it's way too expensive. Indeed, it is the exact rosewood, hand-turned polished and carved piece that appeared in my dream. And, while holding it in my dream, I felt intense relief and pleasure at its presence. The cloaks and robes, on the other hand, while being beautiful, turned out to be both a hassle and unnecessary, inappropriate for the weather and for the activity of movement in ritual. I think this is pretty clear-cut symbolism about what will be useful to me as a tool on my journey, versus what will bog me down. The wand, which was really a small and unobtrusive thing, felt full of power and meaning, and its association with the direction of will and creative manifestation seems highly relevant; while the robes and cloak were a form of cover, a way of conforming my appearance to one that seemed more "witchy" while actually distracting me from the real goal of attending the summer ritual service.

The journey itself was also insightful, and I think that the "old friend" whom I sent ahead of me is actually representative of that "magical self" for which I was hoping. I got the distinct impression that my spiritual progress will reflect the events of the dream, and that I am required to travel "alone" for a little while yet before finally rejoining my magical self in worship and work at the top of the hill. I also got the impression that the work which will be required of me along the way should not be rushed or considered unimportant, as it will be necessary to prepare me to meet the magical self (and the others who were also there) as an equal, not as an intruder. The journey will be enjoyable and fruitful, among the beautiful garden, and that I should not worry if I am alone too long or delayed, because the rejoicing and community that await at the top of the hill is on-going and unscheduled. And that is something else--the idea of community, and the fact that I miss feeling a part of a physical group of fellow practitioners to whom I can turn in real life and real time. I seem to be counseled, through this dream, to be patient and to continue the work I've already begun.

There is also another layer of symbolism here, if we associate the wand, the athame and the flute as collective symbols for my work in poetry and creative writing (the creative intention, communicative intellect and artistic expression, in a sense--the will, breath, and music, of the work). I have been considering working on a book about "Sacred Magic" to address the idea of Christian witchcraft, since several people have shown interest in the subject as of late. I feel horribly unqualified to do this, in one sense, but on the other hand, it may be an opportunity to do what I love to do (to write, and to discuss spirituality) while possibly making a living from it (or at least earning a bit extra money) and connecting with others in real life to form a growing community. The athame, which I associate most closely with the cutting blade of the intellect, I already possess and wish to put to good use, especially now that I have left school. The small wooden flute, the music and daily practice of poetry and writing, awaits my rediscovery. It is only the will, the wand, which I need to obtain as the final necessary tool, and the willingness to discard the cloaks of anonymity I hide in, worried what friends and family will think if my first published work turns out to be about witchcraft--that little snag that keeps me from moving freely to do my work.

Oooo, I love dreams! So much insight, so much food for thought. I am truly blessed, to remember such dreams.


At 10.1.06, Anonymous libramoon said...

dark magick

In the still of the dark of the moon
after the revelry has passed on
deep, deep into the frozen fields
of dreamless sleep
we, walking, silently
along the riverbed
breathing in ancient ash
of woodsmoke
breathing out long-growing tears
to weave ghostly tentacles
along our path
take each others' hand up to
our heart
to pray, to kiss, to whisper
thus casting an eternal spell.

(c) 2005 Laurie Corzett (libramoon)


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