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August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
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Passion Gives Power, But How to Find the Truth of It?
Article ID: 12384
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It is the building up of emotion--it is passion that gives power to magickal workings. Since magick is concerned with the Will directing emotion, it is important for the Witch to get in touch with the emotions that serve as the raw power of her Craft and to be able to focus on those particular emotions that pertain to the Working at hand.
This is the same for the actor. Audiences go to the theater, movies, and the boob tube to see the emotions of people falling in love, venting spleen, seeking vengeance, finding forgiveness, etc., etc. Yet, how is the actor able to work herself up into such a froth or get so giddy with infatuation?
There are several acting techniques for this that are useful for the Witch. After all, dramatic art is a communication of a truth, usually of a truth of powerful emotion. Through the actor’s art we can reliably empower our Workings with the power of passion’s truth.
One acting technique, that Method acting students are warned to use only as a rehearsal technique, is to call up the emotion one experienced in the past. That is, you remember a time when you felt the emotion that is the same as needed for the scene you are playing. As you do your scene, you remember in detail the past event. This technique works astonishingly well, but it has two problems. Since the emotion is based on a problem you had in real life, you are apt to be under its sway for about a week or so.
So, if you are remembering a really sad or angry time, you are going to feel really awful for a few days. The next problem with it is that those particular emotions dry up. You can only replay so often a certain event in your mind with all the intensity of the original emotion until you become saturated with it and your body absolutely refuses to feel sad about that one more time.
So, if you need to feel sad in a performance or a ritual and you have been relying on emotional recall, as this is called, one fine day that emotion will just not be there when you remember that event in your life and then there you will be in front of hundreds of people unable to work up the tears.
Be advised then, emotional recall is a rehearsal technique. However, if you want to be rid of that experience and its emotional power over you, then by all means, re-live it, and re-live, and re-live it until you dry-up. (Therapy with a professional has been determined as usually much less exhausting and painful, though.)
The next acting technique useful to Witches to build power is to be “completely in the moment.” This means that you have focused your concentration so well on what you are doing that the scene is very, very real to you, and the emotion rises naturally as it would in a mundane setting. This is the best way as it is the truest, but getting to that point of focus requires a great deal of emotional self-trust.
The most powerful way of finding the emotion that is most directly related to a Working is to learn concentrate on what the words you say actually mean and how different inflections can give those words different meaning. This goes hand in hand with carefully listening to how words are said gives the words different shades of meaning. The following exercise will help you to develop this intensely focused type of communicating.
“The Dialog of One Word” a Talking and Listening Exercise
This exercise requires three people; two who do the talking and listening exchange and a third who directs the exchange. The pair sit facing each other; they decide who will start. The individual who is to direct the exchange starts the pair off with the first word.
In acting classes this word tends to be either ‘yes, ’ ‘no, ’ or ‘maybe.’ Usually in acting class the pair begins with ‘yes’ then moves to ‘no’ then on to ‘maybe’; however, for Witches I would recommend witchy words such as ‘fire, ’ ‘earth, ’ or ‘air.’
When the director gives the pair a word, the pair are to use this one word to create a conversation. The individual who is to say the word first, considers the word, and then says only that word in such a way as to convey a specific meaning with it.
The partner listens carefully, trying to ascertain what is being said to him or her, and then answers using the one word to answer. The pair continues in this way using only the word they have been given to communicate with each other.
They do so until the director gives them a new word to work with. When the director senses they are tiring, or the time allotted for this is up, he or she calls out softly “And slowly bring it to a close.”
Once the exercise has been done, the three should be take time to talk to each other about the experience, and then the director should change places with one of the pair to have a turn. They should talk about what they were thinking they wanted to say and what it was like to be only able to say it with one word.
Also, what was it like to try to understand what the other person said? Were they able to understand? What feelings came up during this? How powerful were those feelings.
This is an extremely taxing exercise and usually only three rounds of it (three different pairs) is done in any one session. Taxing as it is, it creates an incredible intensity of communication, and the communication ends up taking a wide range of expression.
In acting classes, the acting teacher directs it and only the students take part in the exchange. In larger covens this procedure can be also followed.
Each Witch should have a chance to take part in creating the “dialog of one-word.” The one directing should keep an eye out for signs of fatigue (which can be in 5 to 10 minutes) and “bring it to a close.” Each Witch should take part in this until the viewers feel they are really talking and listening.
“Do you believe it?” should be asked of the viewers as they watch. If someone is characteristically unbelievable they must be stopped at the first unbelievable utterance with a definite calling out of “Stop!” by the director. A Witch must not approach the Deities with pretence, so learning to speak sincerely and listening attentively are very, very important.
Do this in enough meetings so that every member of a coven has taken part in it and everyone has learned both the strenuous concentration required by it and become honest in their efforts to really talk and listen with only one word. Then, consider what a ritual with the Circle cast using only two or three words by the entire coven would be like.
One person would be chosen to give the words, and the new word could be accompanied by the striking of the bell to make sure everyone is aware a new word is being given. This could create a ritual of unusual focus and power.
There are times during ritual when mundane emotions are either lurking in your subconscious or are intruding on your concentration. Lurking subconscious emotions and overtly intruding emotions can both make you mess up your Working. At these times the actor’s dictum “Use It!” comes into play.
Acknowledge that you have the feelings you do, whether they be rage at one of your fellow Witches, terrible stage fright, grief at a personal situation, or joy that something great happened to you that day. Then apply these intense emotions to the Working at hand. Direct the energy of them into what you are doing.
If you are feeling angry, then allow the energy of the emotion to energize your Working. Strictly focus your mind on the thoughts on the ritual or Working you are doing, not allowing one glimmer of stray thought of what caused your anger to distract you. If you keep your mind fully focused on the Working at hand, the energy of your rage will rush into the Working and be transmuted accordingly. If what you are doing is saying funny things and doing funny things, the energy of anger will transmute into an energy of humor.
The energy becomes transmuted because of another principle in acting: certain movements and vocalizations in and of themselves create certain emotion reactions. Therefore the actions and words of your normal ritual have a different emotional thrust than the emotion that is hindering or distracting you. By focusing your attention on doing the ritual actions precisely, the ritual actions and words will create an emotion in you.
Take your time to concentrate on every ritual action you make to see how the action makes you feel. What you feel from the ritual actions will be bolstered by the emotion you brought in from the mundane world, but your mundane feelings will be changed by your ritual actions.
So during ritual, if you make use of such Witchy gestures as making pentacles in the air, assuming the Goddess or the God position, even simply extending your arm to salute the Quarter, concentrate on executing these gestures. These positions and gestures are important because they will help you to get in touch with the emotions of magick.
Take time to see how you feel when you stand in those positions and when you make those gestures. These gestures have the power to change your feelings. Take the time you need to stand in the Goddess position, to lower your athame into the salt, to walk the Circle and find out how these movements make you feel.
Movement, sound, and language are each in themselves forms of communication, and so when you move a certain way, when you sound a certain way, and when you say certain things that are all reflective of a specific emotional state they will imbue you yourself with the emotions that they reflect. When you walk, speak, inflect your voice, and breathe in honest communication, you will find the emotions of the deity rising within you.
Copyright: Cynthia Joyce Clay 2008
Location: Miami, Florida
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