A physical connection with divinity
((Chapter One of our Ultimate Guide to Making Magic with the Sacred))
One of the old definitions of a witch was someone who worked with hidden or unseen forces. In a sense that is true – you can’t see subatomic particles, nor can you see the waves of energy at the heart of those particles. You do see the material expression of that energy.
When you see the Earth in all Her perfect and balanced beauty, you are looking at the outer expression of an inner divinity. Nature is the embodiment of divinity. Nature makes the divine tangible. Looking at Nature, we see living, incarnate divinity.
As a result, we have a new definition of a witch – a witch is someone who is paying attention, who is aware of the divine presence in all things.
If you are seeking the sacred, you will find it by immersing yourself in Nature.
How Nature Crafts Her Witches
Because it is the embodiment of the divine, Nature is our greatest spiritual teacher. Practitioners of Earth religions are students of Nature’s wisdom and our teacher – Nature – is always available. We may not have ancient books of wisdom or an unbroken line of traditions, but we do have the same teacher that our ancestors learned from. And even if all you have is a small city park to walk in or a plant on your windowsill, Nature is present if you’ll just pay attention.
To Re-enchant the World
When we are cut off from Nature we are cut off from divinity, magic, and enchantment. Our spiritual practices seek to re-enchant our lives and the world around us.
Re-enchantment of the world refers to the return of a sense of mystery to the world – or to a sense of our participation in that mystery – through our non-intellectual, imaginative faculties.
Re-enchantment is a response to scientific reductionism, which diminishes nature (including human beings) to mechanism, and to capitalism through which nature (including human beings) is commodity and resource. To understand the world, we sought to separate ourselves from nature — to step “outside” of natural phenomena and become observers of the world, to see the world as an object. This became not just a scientific method, but our ordinary, everyday consciousness. In short, our separation from nature caused a dis-enchantment. And the fruits of this disenchantment are psychological, social, and environmental sickness, individual neurosis, social alienation, and environmental ruin.
We seek to re-enchant the world through ritual and other spiritual practices, especially those which connect us with our non-intellectual faculties: our senses and intuition, our physical environment, and especially our bodies. It is in our bodies that the self and the world, the subjective and the objective, blend subtly together. Our bodies are, in a sense, the door which leads out of our self-centered solipsistic mind and opens onto the world.
To re-enchant the world requires us to form new connections with nature. It requires us to leave the comforts of our homes and get outside. Spending time outdoors is vital for the spiritual rhythm of our lives. The animals, the plants, and the Earth herself are all voices of the divine that will sing to you.
Set aside some time every day to spend outside. What do you see around you that gives you pleasure, a feeling of well-being and connection? What do you see smell hear touch intuit?
Make a point of learning about the natural environment of the place where you live. Find out what native peoples once lived in the area, how they lived and whether they fished, hunted or farmed. Learn about the local indigenous plants, animals, and insects.
Nature and Magic
People often think of magic as in magical thinking – the dictionary defines magical thinking as the “belief that unrelated events are causally connected despite the absence of any plausible causal link between them, particularly because of supernatural effects”. Meaning, the belief that personal thoughts, or a ritual or a spell, can influence the external world without the person acting on them. It’s the old “wave a magic wand” scenario. Or the old “bend reality to your will” fallacy that most traditional Wiccan practices are built around.
The old model of imposing our will doesn’t serve anyone. In fact, it only separates us from Nature and from the divine. Most of our problems come from this separation. To be cut off from Nature is to be cut off from divinity.
It’s not surprising that people seek a method of resolving their problems in this way.
We’re always looking for shortcuts.
What’s more, modern living seems like a big giant morass. If you turn on the news, it’s impossible to believe the world is enchanted. There is no doubt that we humans treat the world as if it’s the opposite of magical. In fact, we pretty much use it like a combination supply depot and garbage dump.
And our own lives seem ensnared in endless details, responsibilities, challenges, even tragedies and losses. That couldn’t seem further from enchantment. Amid this bleakness, we need ray of hope, some easy solution to get us out of the mess we’ve created.
The good news is that anyone who has experienced the majesty and awe of a beautiful sunset knows that magic and enchantment is real. What’s more, you don’t have to believe in the reality of magic or the divine to be a witch. You don’t have to believe other people’s experiences or have faith that magic will manifest in your life. Our path is not about believing in some invisible, transcendent deity. It is about feeling and experiencing and therefore knowing the divine that dwells in all things. Our spiritual path is a system of sacred, magical practices… and they work — if you work them, with a proper attitude and proper reasons.
Because our practices do work, you are going to encounter the sacred and draw conclusions about reality – that it is divine, that everything is interconnected, that life is holy and to be lived with joyfulness and gratitude.
Our tradition is also a path of personal spiritual exploration and growth. It is a spirituality that respects the capacity of each of us to encounter the divine. No one else undertakes your quest for the sacred.
What is real magic?
In our experience, magic is what happens when you have encountered the divine. It is the life altering experience of connecting to the divinity that dwells within yourself and in the world.
Real magic is your relationship with immanent, immediate, and embodied divinity. And it is how you craft yourself as a witch. It is all the extraordinary events and manifestations that flow from your Union with an embodied and present divinity.
Making magic is a dynamic process by which you co-create reality with divinity. And ultimately all real magic is a manifestation of the divine.
Experiencing magic in a concrete way
We make the best magic in Nature because Nature makes the best magic. Nature is magic because it is the body of the divine.
Yet so much of traditional Wicca focuses on indoor rituals and other practices with an emphasis on imaginations on transcendental or akashic planes. The common approach to witchcraft and to making magic is to imagine the air, the Sun, the water, the Earth. We visualize being in a Spring meadow or sitting beneath a towering oak or circling in a forest glade. We envision traveling to power places on the astral plane.
Much of this mental work is an inheritance from our ceremonial forebears whose magic was deeply influenced by biblical theology and patriarchal culture.
But magic can’t be just imagined – it must be felt and lived and embodied. You don’t need to imagine divinity when you are standing in the forest or walking along a lake or helping to harvest a field of golden corn or dancing beneath a full moon. Nature’s magic doesn’t have to be imagined; it must be experienced and lived.
And so whenever possible you should engage with our rituals and spiritual exercises and practices outside.
At the same time, you can’t just passively wait for magic to happen. You must do your part. Crafting yourself as a wise one and encountering magic require taking responsibility for yourself and your life.
The sacred magic of immanent, immediate, and embodied divinity is a direct, personal, and objective experience. Actively using or engaging with our practices – not just thinking or reading or talking about them – helps you to see what is present but which you might not otherwise notice.
Our pathway – our ways of engaging with magic – enables you to take off the blindfold and see the sacred in the world clearly. You know the world is numinous and alive because you use your spiritual practices to sense it, engage in dialog with it, listen to it, and most importantly, to learn from it – because you are awake to it.
Real magic doesn’t take place in abstract or imagined realms but right here amid divine daily reality. You know it isn’t just random coincidence that something is happening. To experience real magic, understand that magic is not just extraordinary, it’s divinely ordinary and anyone can experience it at any time.
Magic and your connection to divinity
In our experiences, all magic flows from our connection to the sacred. Therefore, all of our practices must be guided by the divine nature of the energy with which we engage.
Because the physical world is an expression of the divine, magic has always been used as a tool for practical purposes. But unless it is it is guided by the sacred, magic rapidly deteriorates into selfish ego gratification.
All magic ultimately runs on your connection to the divine. When you remain connected to the divine, the divine will speak to you – in patterns and connections, signs and synchronicities and all sorts of gifts.
When magic rises to the surface of your awareness in your life, it makes life a wild adventure. It is also a source of incredible strength, coming to you when you need it most.
Our practices are those of personal revelation and communion with the divine. With them you will discover there is divine energy within you that unites you with the divinity of the world. Magic is everywhere. It manifests in your life every day because of your connection to the sacred.
Magic is not something you do or make. It isn’t something one does to the universe – magic is what a living universe does with you once you have awakened to its divinity.
Exercise: Sensitivity Training
We are a terribly busy culture and making a transition to a more spiritual state in a natural environment is not always easy. Starting with some physical activity such as hiking, working in your garden or cleaning up the natural area can help you relax and focus. It will also help you reap the magic that paying attention provides.
After you have done this moderate yet comfortable physical exercise, find a natural setting that appeals to you. It can be in your backyard, a local park, a wilderness trail, or other outdoor location. Find a spot that gives you a positive feeling or where you may even receive a visible sign such as an animal appearing and not being disturbed by your presence. Ask the spot’s permission to engage with it. Perhaps you can even pick a spot that you can come back to time and again. as such the place will become more powerful for you and you in turn can contribute to its well-being.
How long you spend there for this exercise is up to you, but 10 minutes is a good length of time. The goal is to isolate one of your senses and then concentrate on it, paying attention to your experience of the natural environment you have chosen.
This sensitivity exercise can and should be used to develop all of your senses. As you learn to focus your attention, your senses, including sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, and even your extra-senses such as your Intuition, will become keener and more sensitive.
By paying careful attention to our teacher, Nature, you begin to attune yourself to Her rhythm, to the sacred wisdom in Her flow of energy. She is crafting you as a witch. It is so delightful to live in a magical world!
Sit down, close your eyes, breathe deeply. Try to clear your mind of wandering thoughts. Bring your attention to your body. Notice how you are feeling. Are you cold, hot, uncomfortable? Just notice these feelings without assigning judgment.
Bring your attention to one of your senses and what you are experiencing through that sense. Let’s start with your sense of hearing. Listen to the sounds carried by the air. Remain still and listen. What do you hear? Are you hearing distracting sounds? If there is indeed a background hum of humanity, listen to that first. Notice what the sounds are, where they come from and most importantly how they make you feel. Now open your eyes and look around. Enjoy the beauty of your spot.
When you feel ready, close your eyes again and this time focus on the natural sounds of the setting you have chosen. Let go of any distracting noise pollution. Focus on the natural sounds while you listen carefully. What do you hear? A bird? A flock? How does bird song make you feel? Do you hear the wind blowing? Leaves rustling? Trees whispering? Are you hearing sounds you've never noticed before? How does that all make you feel? If your mind starts to wander, return to being present in the moment again by again focusing on the sounds of Nature.
When you're ready, open your eyes. See if you can spot the sources of yourselves. How does listening to Nature make you feel? You may wish to write down how you felt and what you experienced in your magical journal.
When ending this exercise, always be sure to thank the place and your companions and perhaps offer it something that would nourish it and help it to flourish.
In the future, when you return to the spot, or repeat this exercise of attentive listening, you may hear a song or poem within you. Then when you do this exercise again you may wish to begin by singing or reciting your inspiration.