Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tools of the Craft

It's about  time for my annual High Mowing Ritual, which happens to coincide with the autumnal equinox.I love the word equinox; it literally means "equal night", beautiful. There is no logical explanation for this coincidence of events, it just feels right. My excitement is heightened this year by two events, both blog related. First was this absolutely wonderful piece from Jen Rue, entitled Tools of the Game. I have been considering the magic of tools recently, there is much in world fairy lore about tools; more on that in a bit. It was after I read this reflection on Dark Ecology by Paul Kingsnorth, who was brought to my attention by the good Aidan, that I discovered what my next tool shall be; a scythe.



To decide to take on the role of Bodenehemann or "Land Husband" is a commitment to listen and be rewarded with unexpected rewards. To take this liminal role as a boundary keeper, bridging the gap between wild and domestic is a responsibility to also maintain balance. We are the last defense on both sides.

As I dream about next years adventure with a scythe, I prepare for this year's last of the season mowing. Looking about the property I notice an amazing thing, a forest is growing. I have been combining, forest gardening, native species rehabilitation and a hands off approach, to slowly achieve a balance between my needs and the needs of the community of life in This Place. Squirrels will provide an example.

Sciurus Niger, the humble Fox Squirrel, hated by birders and gardeners alike, this lovely fiend has become one of my greatest allies. I used to fret about the competition for pecans and acorns, until I paid attention to what was actually happening in my yard. Squirrels do not eat dry pecans, they don't. They eat green pecans, and bury dry pecans. in the spring when the pecans sprout they dig them up and eat the small green tree. Squirrels are gardeners. This stunning realization coupled with the presence of pecan trees and oak trees in places that I had not planted in, lead me to reassess my relationship with squirrel. Now we have an arrangement, I don't gather pecans until late in the season, and squirrel plants trees and trim the ends of the branches. When I first saw a squirrel chewing the end of a branch I thought it was damaging it, turns out it works like pruning. The tree responds to the stress by producing more branches, which produce more pecans, brilliant. The pecans I gather by the way are still clinging to green husks, way out on the end of low hanging branches, easy for me to pick and unsafe for squirrel to fall from so close to the ground where the predators are. the pecans are usually bigger sweeter and still moist sometimes, definitely worth the wait. I only gather acorns every other year. Added bonus, I get to cull the squirrel population.

Every part of the property has it's own needs and arrangements. At first I thought I was sacrificing too much, but once I learned certain things like brush pile away from the house give rodents somewhere else to stay in the winter than in your house. Also putting said brush into the arroyo will cut down on erosion and save topsoil. I don't rake until spring, by then it is a great mulch that has helped seedlings stay warm all winter. I pile it up in spring and let it melt into the yard throughout the year. Nature wastes nothing. Slowly I have begun building "islands" small areas that are a mixture of whatever blew in on the wind, native plants and certain herbs that I cultivate surrounded by a border of rocks or logs from the property or neighboring properties. These become hands off zones where I let nature do its thing. As time goes by I am learning more and more about how to integrate into the environment. A rewilding of the physical and the spiritual aspects of myself and the land.



Shotguns and sigil shoaling work on very similar principles, by firing multiple projectiles all at once you are more likely to hit the target. Take it another step and dress your shotgun shells with sigils. then make targets of the sigils themselves and fire the gun at them. Each level adds energy. I plan on doing this, but using a barrel as the target. afterwards I will cut the barrel in half and make two fire containers further adding to the enchantment.

Do not think that this is willy-nilly random firing, no just like hunting, magic works better with target practice, a calm hand, a steady eye, and breath control. You are still definitely aiming for a target, your are just increasing your odds of hitting it. This approach can also be accomplished by combining techniques, Materia, invocation, sigil shoaling, micro- and macro-enchantments, candle magic, and spirit work are all combined whenever I launch a magical campaign. Volume is the key.

Fire works and explosives are also handy for energizing sigils and releasing spells. At new years every year we set off two large strands of fireworks with prayers of prosperity and health attached. This year we used incense sticks to light them. We written sigils and intentions on balloons with corn starch in them, thrown into a fire they make fireballs. Sky rockets, bottle rockets, and roman candles can all be utilized. Shotgun Spells are about a multi pronged attack and explosive results.



It's time to get back into the underworld.Time to reacquaint with root and bone. The bare essentials of life and death. Back down into the Unterwelt, to work with Hermekate, the grand androgyne of dark alchemy, deep shadow work. My guides on this Journey will the ever present Madre Hueso, the Necro Saint, San Cipriano, and San Lazarus. Down into the earth.

Earth magic is where one finds the overlap between the sacred and the mundane. More precisely it is where you find that the mundane is the most sacred of all. The Lord of Earth, Auld Hornie, never lets you forget this and thus is feared. To accept your animal nature is the beginning of liberation, not a block against it. To get down into the dirt is to literally get down into yourself.



I have knives to consecrate, a scythe to purchase, and a machete to bless. Every tool I possess is sacred to me. I develop a bond, a trust with my tools.  Some tools, like those previously mentioned are used for day to day matters, and others are only used for ritual purposes. Some like my zymurgy supplies and my knives transcend both worlds.

As I said at the beginning of the year, this has been the Year of Knives, and cutting year it has been, I see a very definite rift forming in global society between those aware of our global society and those who aren't. Change is inevitable and like urban coyotes, we need to adjust to our new surroundings. For the Magi, I believe that like the Cook County Coyotes we to must become like ghosts. Operating just out of sight, but our effect can still be felt. Our cunning is our best tool.

Cunning just like knives has a sharp edge that will quickly remove the unnecessary. Coupled with Knowledge , cunning becomes a multi tool and a sword at the same time. Your tool kit is comprised of many things, both physical and non material, it is important to keep them all shiny and sharp. When did you last do an inventory on your toolbox? Sometimes we find things we didn't even know we were missing.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the mention, kind Sir.

    I love the idea of sigil shooting (or shoaling). I used to be a very good shot, but my small 22 is languishing in my father's gun case. I'd rather wander in the woods than shoot targets, but perhaps it's time to pull it out again.

    Also - squirrels as gardeners? Amazing!