Monday, July 23, 2018

Incantations And Other Things At Which I Sucketh

Magic Circle,  John Waterhouse,1886
When I was a pre-teen, my cousin Roger and I used to write poetry and ( for lack of a real audience) read it to one another . I used to think we were pretty good. Roger was- and still is-a poet. I, alas, was not. I will be the first to admit I'm a lousy poet. What can I say? Rhyming words just isn't my thing. It's not that I haven't tried- I have, in fact, tried very hard.  Probably too hard, particularly when I was new to the Craft and had fallen for the 'unwritten rule ' that everything you said in circle or mumbled over a cauldron had to rhyme because, well, they had to sound witchy.

When I was younger I was very much mindful ( and self-conscious) of being a proper witch - and 'real witches' spoke incantations in rhyme. Well, didn't they? Okay, let's just say that I bought into a lot of things early on that turned out to be utter nonsense  or at least no longer served me when I was older, more experienced, and confident in who I was. It took awhile for me to figure things out. Meanwhile, I had to face the fact that I was never going to write the Wiccan ritual version of American Pie, no matter how I tried. Bye, bye Big Ole Moon in the sky... See, I warned you.

Not that I'm sour on rhyming- not at all. It helps to train the brain to remember key elements in liturgy and ritual. That's why many spiritual traditions, and some Christian churches in particular 'sing' the Psalms and prayers. It's why you can recite prayers in Latin without actually any real knowledge of the language. It's all about sonic resonance. In the Pagan community, authors like Dorothy Morrison and Gernia Dunwich excel at writing poetry, and their spell work is notable. The Celtic inspired work of Caitlin Matthews is profoundly striking in both content and wording.

I, on the other hand, suck at rhyming ( which means I will never be much of a songwriter) even though I am a trained liturgist. I am fine with the content part of it liturgy- I know what I want to say and am actually quite good at condensing and editing prose. Metrical structure, not so much. The result of this are incantations that are direct and to the point and not overly flowery. I have become very good at addressing the issue and stating my intention clearly. I have dropped the tendency we have all fallen into sometime or another of being unintentionally pretentious, resorting to murky murmurings that we believe impress whatever entity or energy we're currently working with.

Thankfully, the gods are more sympathetic to intention than how we ask.

Not that I've given up. I still make a valiant attempt in the hope that one day I'll come up with something that is just left of brilliant and not sound too lame.

Did I mention that I also suck at dancing? My two left feet go in different directions. I have been known to fall down on level ground while not moving. Ecstatic dance dedicated to the Goddess is rather embarrassing on my part. My best attempt has come off looking like a wounded goose. Thankfully, She loves me anyway. I've probably given her a good laugh a time or two.

I am also rather bad at holding things ( like books), pouring liquids ( as in filling a chalice ) and lighting candles. Dramatic, sweeping gestures have resulted in knocking over statuary, vases of flowers and sending other things tumbling off the altar. Various pieces of jewelry have come off in the middle of preparing the Simple Feast ( I once had to fish a ring out of the cup, and lost a necklace that dropped off in my cleavage.)  How I have not yet set myself on fire is a mystery, but I suspect the opportunity still awaits me.

I have a sneaking suspicion all of this may have something to do with my preference for working solitary. I can bang, clank, and limp around the circle to my heart's contentment. No one sees me but Herself... and the cat.  

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