Winter Solstice 2018: A film ritual for everyone to enjoy

We were happy to be asked to conduct a solstice eve ritual as part of a series of events at The Cube Microplex in Bristol, a marvellous community enterprise. Because we were in a cinema venue, we made use of the medium of film, and thought that you might enjoy seeing what we did; the YouTube version does require a little advance preparation, though nothing too taxing (find an orange and a candle).

Basically…

• Get an orange and a lit candle
• Start film
• As the stars twinkle, shake off unwanted energies
• When you see the sun, reach out your arms, feeling into the space around you
• Think about the sun
• As the sun sets over the city, sit and think about your year, from the heat of summer into the darkening evenings of the autumn
• In the dark the candle flickers, and you focus on the Here and Now
• The sun returns!
• Celebrate by eating your orange
• As the twinkling stars appear again, move around, make joyful noises

 

Detailed instructions:
1. Read through these instructions first, before pressing play at 22:08pm UT on the 21/12/2018.
2. Find an orange. Place it near the screen.
3. Find a candle, put it where you can look at it, and light it.
4. Turn off the other lights in the room.
5. Stand up, shake it off! Flick away all that yucky energy, making way for a cleaner you. Take a couple of minutes to gently stretch out.
6. Reach out with your arms, like the branches of a tree swaying in the breeze, sensing the air flow which brings with it information, molecules of knowledge.
7. Think about the Sun, whose birthday this is. Take some time on this process. Such an amazing phenomenon deserves our full appreciation! Here are a few facts (you can of course research more of your own in advance). E.g. Third generation star, very big, burns 600 million tons of hydrogen every second, the sun isn’t made of coal (as the Victorians thought), a photon can take thousands of years to emerge from its creation point in the central nuclear fusion zone to the outside, from where light takes 8 minutes to travel across the cold vacuum of space to our rock, the jets of gas which flare off are larger than our Earth… etc.
8. As the sun appears over the city skyline in the film, take a seat. Recall your summer past, a moment when the sunshine was super powerful. A field, with plants grabbing the carbon out of the air, to build amazingly complex structures out of which us animals can eat. Remember the feel of the heat on your skin.
9. The clock ticks. Bring that warmth, that intense light, inside you. As the sun sets, and we hear the sounds of city traffic, focus on your breath. On your heart beat. On the internal warmth of your body, your life as a creature in a house, with other creatures around with whom you have relationships, with whom you might like to visit.
10. Feel the dark around you. Bring to mind the sparkling of lights, the immensity of starry skies.
11. As night falls, watch the very tip of the candle flame; it contains millions of microscopic diamonds, forming and burning up with every moment.
12. The screen fades to black for the astronomical moment of the winter solstice, at 22:23pm UT. For this one minute, focus your attention on the world you can directly sense. The feel of your body on the ground, the sound and movement of your breathing, the heat generated within you. The sensations of the air as it moves in and around you.
13. The candle flame represents a portion of the sun’s energy. It represents the Now, the present portion of eternity, the only moment in which we can Do.
14. (By bringing our attention to this fact, we collectively empower our abilities to choose, to decide, to behave, to recognise we are free of the habitual stories of the past and future, the standard narratives which we blindly follow for the sake of convenience.)
15. As the light and sound return, when you feel the urge, pick up your orange. Hold it in your hand.
16. Behold! This is the solar globe in microcosm, a shining orb of orange, solar energy made matter.
17. Consider the orange; how it arrived where it is. The journeys it has taken. The people who cared for the tree it grew upon. The hours of sunlight, the rain that fell to water it. And then back, to the seed this tree grew from, then the tree before that, and on and on, with all the people, the land, the sunlight, the rainfall. All those thousands of years passed through, by all those moments, all those individual photons falling out of the sun star, through space, to our rock, creating this object.
18. Celebrate your knowledge of these moments which make up eternity by peeling and eating the orange.
19. Finish by dancing about a bit, putting the fairy lights on, waving some tinsel or whatever makes you smile.

We hope you enjoy your Christmas Present. Thank you for the time and attention!

NW & JV

I Can’t Even.

Words fail us sometimes. I hear people telling me of their failings, how they cannot make progress with their life or career. (We have all found ourselves here, on some level.)

Listening to them, I see a person not only unable to choose the next move, but unable to even consider they might have options to change their circumstances, change the person that they are/have been. They appear stuck, frozen helplessly by the mantras of the past.

Linguistically, they describe a situation, and then (even if supplied with a helpful response), their next statement is predictable: “…I can’t”. Occasionally, this is followed with a qualifying reason as to why, but more often than not they simply stop, and look down.

Biologically, feelings of depression and other forms of anxiety force us to pay attention to our immediate surroundings. Something IS wrong, so we MUST solve the current crisis before moving on. Which, as a survival strategy, makes sense. However when anxiety lasts for months or years, we can get trapped into habitually seeing no further than our now, our here.

Looking up and away from the ground beneath our feet when we feel as if at any moment we will sink into quicksand, takes courage. If, that is, we can even remember to think of looking ahead, while it takes all our concentration just to stand!

Thanks interwebz! :)

Thanks for teh memes, interwebz! 🙂

A ritual, for those who can’t even…

Standing with your arms by your sides, look at your feet. This is where you are.

Repeat continuously, aloud if possible, “I literally cannot even … I literally cannot even … I literally cannot even … I literally cannot even …”.

Would you like to move?

“I cannot even … I cannot even … I cannot even … I cannot even …”

Look a short distance ahead.

“I cannot … I cannot … I cannot … I cannot …”

Take a step.

“I can … I can … I can … I can …”

While doing this, take a plenty of time at each stage to take stock of your internal state; using at least three adjectives, describe how you feel, physically. Paying attention to our body gives clues to our elusive subconscious emotional status.

For a more magickal experience, do the ritual inside a magic circle, with yellow candles to represent the importance of ego magick, incense which matches the intention to expand awareness, and holding a sword to signify your decision making ability.

NW

Viva España!

A few months ago, I was invited to speak at a day of talks about chaos magick in Bilbao. I agreed, and then googled where Bilbao actually was…

At the southern edge of the Bay of Biscay, in the Basque country, Bilbao is a northern industrial city. Therefore, grim, I suspected. The airfare arrived the next day, courtesy of some unexpected proofreading work, and I booked my flights. I packed for cold weather, with a waterproof coat as my prize last minute purchase! Optimistically I bought some sunblock at the airport. Both proved essential, as Blibao’s weather is the most abruptly changeable I have ever encountered.

The locals seemed very friendly, the food delicious, and the city easy to enjoy. Not grim at all, although certainly robust in places.

The talk itself presented a few issues. I cannot speak any Spanish, and my audience was unlikely to have much English. Making an opportunity out of this, I gave a talk on language and non-verbal communication. I include the notes below:

Introduction

¡Hola! No hablo nada de castellano. Es una pena, lo siento mucho. Mi amigo traducirá por mí, y voy a tratar de ayudar mediante el uso de gestos.

[Hi! I do not speak any Spanish. This is sad. I am very sorry.  My friend will translate for me, and I shall try to help by using gestures.]

Words shape our thoughts. They are the containers of our concepts, or we can think of them as the handles by which we move abstract ideas around in relation to one another.

These sounds that indicate either physical objects, like this table, or non-physical objects, like April (Abril), allow our species to share our intelligence and emotions with each other. With this group mind, we can achieve different things than as individuals.

BUT!

Words alone only communicate a small amount. Most of our evolutionary past did not use ‘words’. Other signals gave us ways to share information and emotions.

Knowing another person’s internal emotional state proves vital. Our current technological social media recognises this as the primary motivation, shared status updates are where it begins.

Acting together as a group has always been important. In ritual space we often need to co-ordinate our movements. Giving verbal instructions can interrupt the flow of the ritual.

Today we can see if we can perform a ritual, using a few words as possible.

We will be creating parts of it together too, and as we do not share expertise in one language we will need to communicate using other tools as well as words.

There are chalks to draw with, we can use sounds and gestures. We will practice these in a moment.

Words are used so much today as we type and write to each other so easily. We sometimes forget to learn about other ways of listening to others, ways of understanding what they really feel or know.

Magicians like to escape from the patterns and traps of the usual. We sometimes use made up languages (so, not like the ‘real’ ones we all speak everyday…), like Enochian, or ancient ones like Latin or Greek, or strange sounding multi syllabic Ouranian barbaric. This gives the narrative verbal parts of our awareness something to play with, while our consciousness can then focus on getting meaning from other levels of communication signs.

If we add in a simple repetitive set of movements, to entertain the bodily awareness too, our intellect is freed to wander, to see directly what remains outside of words, outside of existing categories. The attention floats free, as in los sueños. And, this helps us to find ourselves in magickal states of consciousness.

Rituals often require these components, meaningless sound, and repetitive movements.

Today we will do a ritual which we construct as a group.

We will do the whole process with very few words, using sounds, and movements.

All the elements of Bilbao

The basic elements of Bilbao

SOI

*takes paper. Writes on it, big* This is a spell, the result: For all of us to gain the power to understand what people are REALLY saying to us, by paying attention  to their non-verbal communication.

Explain charging stuff in centre

The power of the spell becomes alive when we charge it, a word which has echoes of charging a phone with energy.

It also means to give instructions, to give responsibility for a task.

These objects *place them on paper* will catch the charge, and act as talismans to carry this spell with us, to help it to come back from the ritual into our daily lives, acting as a physical reminder (until we lose it, by which time it won’t matter as we will be the talismans ourselves…).

Charging a thing can take many forms *demonstrates*

Elements

Many systems use four elements one for each direction. *demonstrate* Other qualities can be mapped onto these four, according to local cultural and geographical influences.

Glossolalia

We do not all know a common language, so we will just make random sounds. Practicing: Take a breath, let the air out through open mouth. Let the air make sounds, as it wishes to.

Sound & movement

*Get groups to make up elemental evocation, and they each charge the spell with their elemental power*

Four groups

*People into four groups* Name each element.

Say stuff about each one.

Chalks

Give chalks out/have them in situ in advance

Charge stuff in centre, by non-verbally leading the group through holding hands and raising cone of power.

Everyone gets a talisman or several, moment of silence while holding them before breaking out into laughter.

The group of nearly 20 people joined in with gusto, and the talismans worked well, with very few problems with communicating during our stay! Some intelligent questions were asked, and excellent conversations had.

NW