The Way of the Weird Words

(A presentation for the Port Eliot Festival in the Ways With Weirds space.)

Magick that changes your world, your life, into what you want. Both internally and externally.

In this part of the world, two types of magickal process were recognised; seidr and galdr. Seidr covers making spells & charms, bodywork, sorcerous magick. Galdr is subtler, relying on the use of sounds and words, where what one says has Power.

Word magick was viewed as respectable, and intimately tied with the idea of one’s word being one’s bond. To break oath, whether with a person or a god, or a statement made with intent, was to lose one’s reputation; if what you say happens, then your voice, your word, creates realities as you speak.

These days the written word forms a large part of our communication. Whilst a verbal agreement still has legal validity, most of what we say exists at one remove, as coded visual representation of our thoughts.

So, language represents physical constructs. Then, drawn shapes represent sounds, and then the shapes are in themselves laden with meaning (give examples). Magick encourages this kind of slightly schizophrenic over-connection between seemingly arbitrary things. It says that these harmonies can act as channels, as resonating amplifiers.

Words spoken to rhythms and tones (ie sung) have especial attraction for the magickal consciousness. Trance states can often give rise to poetic inspiration, spontaneous phrases spring to mind, long forgotten verses reappear as ancient tracks within our recordings become reactivated.

Songwriters and poets have always performed the roles of conduit between the hoi polloi and the gods/spirits/forces of the natural world. Standing between the worlds, they sign to us of time eternal, and to deities of our human wishes and fears.

The narrative monkey minds we call “I” natters away, while the deeper flow of the song continues, often shaping the course of our actions far more potently than the flighty passing verbiage that fills our waking awareness. A lot of magick relies upon deliberately reaching into and out from this deeper place.

In our in-crowd, this deeper level of more physical sense, where words are sounds with physiological effects, is characterised as the elephant, to distinguish it from the monkey chatter. The elephant strides along, the monkey rides upon its back, telling the story of what goes on, after the fact…


Glamping Port Eliot style

Glamping Port Eliot style

The gods of words are the gods of magick. Hermes Thrice Great, Thoth peering across his stylus and writing in The Book of the Dead. Odin crying out and snatching up the mysterious alphabet we call the runes. These gods may also be the gods of healing, of communication, of lies and deceit. Since magick relies on trickery, we trick ourselves that a sound is linked to a symbol, letters, mute marks on the page begin to speak. Then we kid ourselves that these marks, arranged in certain patterns are the same as spoken words. And more than this, that some combinations of words are themselves magickal, able to transform consciousness into new forms. This is writing this is magick.

But what is magick? Here are a few definitions…

“Magic, the art of sensing, and shaping the subtle, unseen forces that flow through the world, of awakening deeper levels of consciousness beyond the rational, is an element common to all Witchcraft traditions …” Starhawk

 “… magic is ‘using the power of the mind to nudge probabilities.’” Janina Renee

“Magic is a convenient word for a whole collection of techniques, all of which involve the mind. In this case, we might conceive of these techniques as included the mobilization of confidence, will, and emotion brought about by the recognition of necessity; the use of imaginative faculties, particularly the ability to visualize, in order to begin to understand how other beings function in nature so we can use this knowledge to achieve necessary ends.” Margot Adler

“the arts of exchanging consciousness and energy between differing worlds.” R.J. Stewart

“Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” Aleister Crowley

“Magick is the art of causing changes in consciousness in conformity with the Will.” Dion Fortune

“Sorcery: the systematic cultivation of enhanced consciousness or non-ordinary awareness & its deployment in the world of deeds & objects to bring about desired results.” Hakim Bey

“Real magick is not merely an assortment of skills and techniques. It’s more like an open minded attitude, a blend of interest and dedication, which allows each honest mage to observe, to learn, to adapt, and to invent unique ways of changing identity and reality from within.” Jan Fries

“Magic is a set of techniques and approaches which can be used to extend the limits of Achievable Reality. Our sense of Achievable Reality is the limitations which we believe bind us into a narrow range of actions and successes – what we believe to be possible for us at any one time. In this context, the purpose of magic is to simultaneously explore those boundaries and attempt to push them back – to widen the ‘sphere’ of possible action.” Phil Hine

“Magic is the Highest, most Absolute, and most Divine Knowledge of Natural Philosophy, advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true Agents being applied to proper Patients, strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effect, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle.” The Goetia of the Lemegeton of King Solomon.

And commenting on the nature of magick, a translation by Isaac Newton of The Emerald Tablet of Hermes The Trice Great:

Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing
And as all things have been & arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse.
The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.
It ascends from the earth to the heaven & again it descends to the earth & receives the force of things superior & inferior.
By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world
& thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtle thing & penetrates every solid thing.
So was the world created.
From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof the means (or process) is here in this. Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world
That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished & ended.

Explanation, informally, of the idea of the talk: To travel through a ceremony, a ritual using magical poetry and texts drawn from a variety of traditions. The style of contemporary occultism we dig is called chaos magick, which attempts to engage with many different spiritual styles, to discover their core technologies, and apply those in a way that both reverences ancient traditions and allows for the creation of new ones.

Start with grounding and centring: I am here, we are here. Quiet, notice the sounds, feel the air around the earth beneath. Quietly say your name, as a statement of certainty. We are here; what shall we do?

1. Statement of Intent
We might begin our ritual with a statement of intent. An act that declares our purpose, our desire, our prayer. What might we, collectively conjure for? In a festival such as this inspiration would seem to be a good one.

It also fits neatly into the psychological paradigm.

All of us here have various mythologies, some of which may overlap, but to explore each of these in the time available is not possible. So for the purposes of convenience we shall adopt a psychological metaparadigm, as this mythology has widespread coverage at the moment 😉

A model of the how magick works that talks about auto-suggestion, psychological metaprogramming, sleight of mind and positive thinking. This is something we can all probably believe in (at least some of the time) and this model gets away from mystical and unmeasurable energies, wacky stuff about quantum non-local effects and quaint but probably delusional ideas about spirits and demons.

For succinctness, we shall use terms like spirits, but please remember throughout that by this we merely tap into the fantastic shortcut our species has for dealing with the world as a collection of people; anthropomorphising everything in order to apply the biggest analytical engine we possess, our mighty brains which evolved primarily to deal with the intricacies of social situations. By pretending everything is alive and to a degree a human-like character, with motives, and hopes and fears, we can fast predict and resolve apparently complex problems.

Thus, we rationally commend the animist view to our audience.

Our statement of intent is drawn from the lyric in a song by Public Service Broadcasting (who played on the Friday night of the festival). They sang ‘Let us at last exault in the importance of ideas and information’.

2. Making Sacred Space
We might begin by making our sacred space, banishing stuff that sits in our way, affirming the boundaries of this temporal autonomous zone, building the temple.

(This is done by Nikki using the Hammer Rite.)

3. Make a sigil
If we are working with words then having made our sacred space we may want to create something that is emblematic of our desire. Perhaps one of most frequently encountered ways to do this would be to use a sigil. This process of constructing a monogram, while found in older sources such as the bindrunes of Norse sorcery, is most closely associated in modern times with the artist magickian Austin Spare.

(The sigil, derived from a relevant phrase was presented . This had been designed to be reminiscent of an elephant’s face – Port Eliot being the site of the Elephant Fayre back-in-the-day.)

4.Raise power/breathe life into the sigil
Now we need to get the blood pumping, to raise some power as the witches say or generate some gnosis as chaos magicians put it. One could think of a sigil as representing a pattern, a knot, a node of behavioural manifestation, which we intend to invest belief into. Much as one decides to buy a new dress, and there is that moment when you are in the changing room, and you say Yes this one, I can see myself wearing this and it enhancing my experience of x event. And subsequently, the dress is associated with a type of behaviour, a thought set, which in turn is entangled with specific events, and types of interaction.

Similarly a sigil acts to tell our non-narrative self that we are in a different world which that symbol, as representing a different world, now exists.

So how do we do this? Which forces can we summon? Remember these are, at least for the purposes of today, archetypal or psychological processes (not spirits). But as a trick, a slight of mind, if we are calling on these powers sometimes it’s easier to imagine them as entities outside of you coming in. We’re humans after all and our neurological system is built to interact with humans. So by conceptualising the powers of the self, or the universe as entities, that seems to work pretty well.

5. Ganesh
(Intro description of Ganesh and the joyful bhakti yoga technique of the Salutations.)

Salutations to him who is our refuge
Salutations to the one with the wondrous form
Salutations to the foremost presider
Salutations to him who is the fire within
Salutations to the first born
Salutations to the unborn one
Salutations to him who is without impurity
Salutations to him who is worshipped by all
Salutations to the manifestation of the unmanifest
Salutations to the inexhaustible one
Salutations to the inexhaustible one
Salutations to the granter of devotees’ desires
Salutations to the destroyer of devotees’ obstacles
Salutations to the one who loves pomegranates
Salutations to him who is celibate
Salutations to him who is free from aversion to the Divine
Salutations to the foremost knower of Brahman
Salutations to him whom intelligence is dear
Salutations to him who is powerful
Salutations to him who wields the discus
Salutations to the wearer of the moon on his head
Salutations to the ingenious one
Salutations to the one with four arms
Salutations to the skilful one
Salutations to the self-controlled one
Salutations to the compassionate one
Salutations to the resplendent one
Salutations to the courageous one
Salutations to him who is fond of durva (grass) and bilva (tree)
Salutations to him who has two mothers
Salutations to him who is fond of the twice-born
Salutations to the one with a single tusk
Salutations to the lord of the multitudes
Salutations to him who has an elephant’s face
Salutations to him who wields the mace
Salutations to the son of Gauri
Salutations to the lord of planets
Salutations to him who transcends all qualities
Salutations to him who is lion-like
Salutations to the rapturous one
Salutations to him who hold the sugarcane bow
Salutations to the bestower of Indra’s power
Salutations to the one with matted locks
Salutations to the embodiment of wisdom
Salutations to him who works incessantly
Salutations to the bestower of absolute happiness
Salutations to the destroyer of Kali’s impurity
Salutations to the embodiment of time
Salutations to him who is love
Salutations to the beloved one
Salutations to him who upholds the mountains
Salutations to the one with the big belly
Salutations to the source of all illusory power
Salutations to him who is praised by sages
Salutations to him whose vehicle is the mouse
Salutations to he who wears a cobra as a sacred thread
Salutations to him who is without blemish
Salutations to the destroyer of wickedness
Salutations to him for whom there is no other
Salutations to the wielder of the noose and goad
Salutations to him who is feared by ambitious men
Salutations to the blissful one
Salutations to the pure one
Salutations to the God worshipped by Rama
Salutations to the creator
Salutations to him whose form is existence/ knowledge/bliss
Salutations to him who is fond of playing with his mother Parvati, daughter of the mountain lord
Salutations to the powerful one
Salutations to him who is fond of the Sama Veda
Salutations to the attentive one
Salutations to the supporter of the worlds
Salutations to the dearest son so Shiva’s spouse
Salutations to the bestower of all perfections
Salutations to the bestower of all fulfilment
Salutations to the son of Siva
Salutations to the omnipresent Self
Salutations to the peaceful one
Salutations to the peaceful one
Salutations to the unchanging one
Salutations to him whose lotus feet sage worship
Salutations to the bestower of fulfilment
Salutations to the auspicious one
Salutations to the first-born, Skanda’s brother
Salutations to him whose eyes are the sun and moon
Salutations to the bestower of prosperity
Salutations to him with the beautiful throat
Salutations to him who manifests prosperity
Salutations to the lord of Lakshmi
Salutations to him who has a stout neck
Salutations to he who is pleased with praise
Salutations to the pure one
Salutations to him with ears like winnowing fans
Salutations to him who is a vast ocean of sweetness, more charming than the god of love
Salutations to him who acts independently
Salutations to the self-established one
Salutations to the content one
Salutations to him who holds the blue lotus
Salutations to the lord of speech
Salutations to the bestower of boons
Salutations to the bestower of speech
Salutations to the lord of the wise
Salutations to the controller of destiny
Salutations to the lord of obstacles
Salutations to the remover of obstacles
Salutations to him who is free from fear

6. Hymn to Pan
What Professor Ronald Hutton Called the Citron 2CV of gods from Arcadia. Re-imaged by Kenneth Graham and Arthur Machen and Shelly and Crowley. As we move from the majority of people living in rural setting to the vast majority living in cities (a transformation taking just a century, 1800-1900), so the industrial revolution casts a curious shadow. That shadow is the lost idyll of the land, ruled over by The Great God Pan.

(Here we connect with the romantic power of the English landscape in which we find ourselves.)

Thrill with lissome lust of the light,
O man! My man!
Come careering out of the night
Of Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan! Come over the sea
From Sicily and from Arcady!
Roaming as Bacchus, with fauns and pards
And nymphs and satyrs for thy guards,
On a milk-white ass, come over the sea
To me, to me,
Come with Apollo in bridal dress
(Shepherdess and pythoness)
Come with Artemis, silken shod,
And wash thy white thigh, beautiful God,
In the moon of the woods, on the marble mount,
The dimpled dawn of the amber fount!
Dip the purple of passionate prayer
In the crimson shrine, the scarlet snare,
The soul that startles in eyes of blue
To watch thy wantonness weeping through
The tangled grove, the gnarled bole
Of the living tree that is spirit and soul
And body and brain — come over the sea,
(Io Pan! Io Pan!)
Devil or god, to me, to me,
My man! my man!
Come with trumpets sounding shrill
Over the hill!
Come with drums low muttering
From the spring!
Come with flute and come with pipe!
Am I not ripe?
I, who wait and writhe and wrestle
With air that hath no boughs to nestle
My body, weary of empty clasp,
Strong as a lion and sharp as an asp —
Come, O come!
I am numb
With the lonely lust of devildom.
Thrust the sword through the galling fetter,
All-devourer, all-begetter;
Give me the sign of the Open Eye,
And the token erect of thorny thigh,
And the word of madness and mystery,
O Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan Pan! Pan,
I am a man:
Do as thou wilt, as a great god can,
O Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! I am awake
In the grip of the snake.
The eagle slashes with beak and claw;
The gods withdraw:
The great beasts come, Io Pan! I am borne
To death on the horn
Of the Unicorn.
I am Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan!
I am thy mate, I am thy man,
Goat of thy flock, I am gold, I am god,
Flesh to thy bone, flower to thy rod.
With hoofs of steel I race on the rocks
Through solstice stubborn to equinox.
And I rave; and I rape and I rip and I rend
Everlasting, world without end,
Mannikin, maiden, Maenad, man,
In the might of Pan.
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan! Io Pan! 

7. Call down the Arwen
Using the Druid chant imagine this making the sigil grow/glow.

8. Earthing process Charge of Goddess
Entering the meditative, reflective space. A nod to the symbol of the Wicked Stepmother/Queen/Crone used in by the Ways With Weirds team.

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old also called Artemis; Astarte; Diana; Melusine; Aphrodite; Cerridwen; Dana; Arianrhod; Isis; Bride; and by many other names.

Whenever ye have need of anything, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of She, who is Queen of all witches. There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will She teach things that are yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in Her praise. For Hers is the ecstasy of the spirit, and Hers also is joy on earth; for Her law is love unto all beings. Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it; let naught stop you or turn you aside. For Hers is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth and Hers is the cup of wine of life, and the cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of immortality. She is the gracious goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man. Upon earth, She gave the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, She gives peace and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before. Nor does She demand sacrifice, for behold, She is the mother of all living, and Her love is poured out upon the earth.

Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess, she in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven; whose body encircleth the Universe;

I, who am the beauty of the green earth, and the white Moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters, and the heart’s desire, call unto thy soul. Arise and come unto me. For I am the Soul of Nature, who giveth life to the universe; from me all things proceed, and unto me must all things return; and before my face, beloved of gods and mortals, thine inmost divine self shall be unfolded in the rapture of infinite joy. Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou know this mystery: that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee. For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

9. Banish With Laughter 🙂

Elephant with sigil

Elephant with sigil

Thanks to the fabulous Ways With Weirds team for asking us to take part. For recordings of this and the other Ways with Weirds presentations,  plus lots more, please visit the fabulous Soundart Community Radio.


6 thoughts on “The Way of the Weird Words

  1. blighta4 says:

    Thanks for that, another lovely article. I’m struck by the similarity in our practice tho’ I don’t call what I do chaos Magick, probably a generation thing. One thing, I don’t know the Druid chant can you give me a reference ? Thanks again.

  2. Thanks blighta4 🙂 the Druid Chant is the ‘awen’ see for example
    I guess magick by any other name… 😉

  3. Sable Aradia says:

    Reblogged this on Sable Aradia, Priestess & Witch and commented:
    I am struck by the similarity in our understanding of the realization of symbols, language, and the elements of ritual, and their effects on consciousness. If you were to read my book you would recognize this thread of theory. We even use some of the same quotations to illustrate the point and some of the same metaphors to describe the magickal process of getting that “monkey I” out of the way to listen to awen. I cannot imagine you’ve read my book at this point, so it’s a good argument for the effectiveness of chaos magick; seems that we’ve both caught some of this zeitgeist! Naturally I find this a fascinating essay and I am reblogging it as a different way of explaining some of the points I raised, since much of teaching is finding a way to communicate with people in a language they understand, and another perspective can only enrich us! Thanks for this. Obviously I agree with your thoughts almost completely. 🙂

  4. Ru Callender says:

    Hey Julian, Ways with Weirds Ru here. ( I like the sound of that..) lovely to read here what you said at Port Eliot. And loved your piece on Psy press. Keep up the good werk! Xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s