Posted: August 27th. 2001
Times Viewed: 6,046
Pulling back on the bowstring for the first time, Wren marveled that she could actually do it at all. It certainly was more difficult than she had thought that it would be and yet it felt smoother and more fluid than she had anticipated. It wasn't a very big or a very fancy one. A simple straight bow, it had a pull of only about fifteen pounds or so. Halfway into her draw, Wren was a very, very happy Witch that she had decided not to go with anything heavier than this. When the 'break' finally came and the string at last came back and level to her ear, Wren inhaled and looked down the sight. Across the lawn a standard bulls-eye target wavered, then steadied before her eyes. (Well, one eye anyway.) Mentally checking her stance, she inhaled again, held it, and then gently released her arrow.
Not too bad for a first time. Low and about six inches beneath the center circle, her arrow still vibrated slightly. At least she hadn't missed it altogether. And as she was in the company of some guys who were pulling professional compound bows of sixty-five pounds and more, she had no doubts that a very prolonged- and probably self-perpetuating- round of guffaws would have followed her as she walked over to retrieve her point had she totally blown it. Nope, not too bad at all.
Twenty-something years later, Wren hasn't touched a bow in quite a while. But she can still recall quite clearly the technique and the 'feel' of her foray into the world of archery. The mental preparation, the perfecting of the physical stance, the focus and the intense concentration had taken several months to become a 'habit' rather than a mental checklist that she had to consciously run through each time she took up a bow or notched an arrow. What she remembers most is the delicious buildup of tension and controlled power that seemed to suspend reality for those last few seconds before the arrow was released into flight. Of course, she doesn't have to thump her memory very hard to recall any of these things; she still uses the very same techniques every time she works up some magic(k).
While her daughter, Skye was visiting last week (She went back home to New Hampshire on Monday. Sniff!), they went out scouting for bargains at antique malls and thrift shops. While on one of these jaunts, Wren picked up an old vanity bench for a mere eight dollars. Structurally very sound, it just needed a little reupholstering to make it a real gem. Thinking that she could use the bench for both extra seating and as a portable buffet table, Wren decided that a piece of red leather would be the perfect choice for the replacement cover. Trouble was, as usual, that finances were tight. She had spent about ten minutes that same day trying to decide if she could justify the fifteen-dollars for a pair of pinking shears or the twenty for a staple gun. The 'little voice' that she relies upon while bargain-hunting whispered, "Nah!" and so she sent the requests for these little things into her 'psychic wish list folder'. In other words, she made it known to the powers-that-be (call them whatever you prefer) that these are things that she is looking for. Wren didn't find an affordable piece of leather that day- or the scissors or the staple gun for that matter. But that's okay. Wren is a very practical and a very patient Witch. She knows that seldom does the Universe teleport physical items and drop them into her living room. But she also knows that if she projects her psychic wish list 'out there' consistently and with focused concentration, eventually things get rearranged- and sometimes it's Wren's master plans that get rearranged!- and the items either find their way to her or she to them. And as it turned out, that 'little voice' was correct once again.
Pagans who practice the martial arts or regularly engage in a sport know that the difference between sports psychology and magickal psychology is mainly in terminology only. The same values and training advice resonate throughout each venue. If you take a look at the steps outlined in Mind Tools-Sport Psychology, one can easily recall many occult or Pagan books and web sites that say pretty much the same thing. Substitute the words 'magic(k)' or 'spell' for 'sport' and there you have the basic outline for magickal mental and physical training in a nutshell. Of course, the budding magickal practitioner or athlete still has to supply the will, the determination, the practice and the intention to any such program if they are to develop any real proficiency in either one. One has to practice, practice, and practice before what once took conscious effort to recall or execute becomes a habit of thought and action. But once that level of expertise and experience in sport is reached, it is quite easy to pick up a bow or a tennis racket at any time and in any place and use it well. So it is also in magic(k). A mentor once told me that the most powerful occult practitioners he knew never seemed to leave their easy chairs. The magick had become second nature to them. They could slip in and out of altered states of consciousness and send out their projections as easily as the opening and closing of a door.
One develops instincts in magickal workings done over time. Just as a golfer or an archer can tell by the 'feel' of their posture whether they are 'on target' or not, so can seasoned occultists and magickal practitioners 'feel' if the conditions for their workings are right. As the ball or arrow springs from the sportsman or woman, they often can tell right away if they have made a good shot or missed the mark even before the projectile gets anywhere near the goal. This special insight doesn't happen overnight but is the culmination of many years of dedicated and continuing practice and attention to detail. 'Close enough' is a phrase not spoken by serious sportsmen and women and those words shouldn't ever escape from between the lips of anyone serious about magic(k) either. Trained athletes and trained adepts make what they do look easy, but it is only because they have paid their dues with time, dedication and energy that it seems so. Anyone serious about developing their magic(k)al talents and skills needs to know up front that there is no shortcut. But the rewards that eventually do come to those who are disciplined enough to stay focused upon their goal are well worth all of the effort.
And the pain. If Wren had known how sore that she would be for the three days after her first archery lesson, she still would have gone for it. But it would have been nice to know ahead of time that using some of those muscles in her arms and ribcage and neck for the first time and in entirely different ways was going to make her feel as if she had an anchor tied to each finger for several days. Ouch! So here's your Wyld Witch Word to the Wise on that subject: A beginner in magickal workings should recognize that he or she is using certain spiritual 'muscles' for the first time and in entirely different ways. Headaches, vision distortions, equilibrium disturbances and general physical and mental fatigue may follow your first practice sessions and can reoccur anytime one attempts a new line of magickal or occult training. Sometimes one can 'work through' these 'pains', but sometimes one really needs to ease off and rest those 'muscles' before attempting the next session. It's up to you, but at least now you know that those 'sore spots' in your after-magick psyche are not just your imagination. And neither is that 'little voice' that tells you when the timing for something is right.
The Universe is the original and ultimate 'open source'. Its supplies are unlimited and available to those who know how to access them. That is what has always made Witches unique. They know and they can feel threads of energy within the fabric of the Universe that others do not. They are not surprised when what they have on their psychic 'wish list' comes their way. Although sometimes the delicious and creative 'way' that these spells/projections travel astounds even them.
In her weekly phone call with her mother-in-law yesterday, Wren and Georgia were just chatting about family stuff when Georgia- literally out of the blue and without any mundane knowledge of Wren's current post-it notes on the Universal bulletin board- asked Wren if she by any chance could use some- yep, you guessed it- red leather! It 'happened to be' that someone had just given her an entire cowhide of red leather (Chuckle. That's Wren's fault. She didn't specify the SIZE of the leather piece that she was looking for!) and that she had taken it- not because she had any use for it herself- but because she figured that maybe 'somebody' else would. Uh-huh. And, oh by the way, Georgia continued, would Wren 'just happen' to have any use for a staple gun or some pinking shears as well?
Wren-who is still a very patient and a very practical Witch- has seen some pretty amazing things in her lifetime. Some of them- such as the physical healings of friends and family- are the very big things that we often concentrate upon. But it is in the small mundane things of Life where the Universe really shows itself to be truly available to us. And it is in the small things where we come to realize that the Universe has a vested interest in all areas of human activity. Life is as interested in the small things as it is in the large things. We need only to remember that, to ask for them and to then believe that we will receive them.
So, does magick really work? Well, make up your own mind, but Wren is willing to bet her sweet new pair of pinking shears that it does!
Walk in Love and Light,
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