Saturday was another witch meetup. Half the girls couldn't make it, meaning that there was in total only four of us. ("Four would make a circle....") Ultimately this worked out well, as it meant that we had an opportunity to do more than just talk.
After the talking and sangria, it quickly became apparent that the issues facing people were not exterior problems but rather internal. I decided that we should do a reading to help clarify, and so I pulled out the Vertigo deck and shuffled it up. Each of us picked a card, and then I drew an additional three to see how our individual needs connected and what to do about it. I had everyone interpret their own cards. The reading confirmed that the issues facing each of us were emotional and mental, and not something quite as cut and dry as "I need more money."
The intersect cards were The Devil, the Four of Swords, and the Three of Swords. Once again I asked the girls to give me their thoughts on the cards, which they did. They were all very insightful, and I admit it was fascinating to hear what other people felt and saw in cards that I myself am so familiar with.
The key to crafting magic in this case was The Devil. The Vertigo's Devil is Lucifer from the Sandman comics - the fallen angel who handed over the key to hell and escaped his prison. In the card, Lucifer's wrist is shackled. That to me was the crux of the matter - we had these sword cards, and then here's a shackled figure. We were in bondage, perhaps willingly.
So what does that mean? Well. You want to break free, obviously.
We did a five minute sitting meditation, and then an exercise I learned in dance class. This exercise is a variation on one my sister had assigned as 'homework' last month to everyone in the group - the ideal way to do it is to be able to roll across a length of floor with your eyes closed while music plays. The idea is that gravity can't fuck with you when you're already laying down, so your body can move in ways it cannot when you're standing. It can express movement more freely, even if you can't do a full roll - you just need enough room to starfish in.
My apartment isn't big enough to allow four grown women to starfish at the same time, so instead we used the up-and-down variation: you begin in essentially child's pose, and move in between that and standing. My house, my music, so we used Chelsea Wolfe.
So why make anybody do this before sitting down to cast some spells?
It is entirely possible to do magic without emotion - there are plenty of instruction manuals out there that you can use to follow formula, and you will see results. In my personal experience, however, the most successful magicians are those who can navigate their own interior landscapes. How are you supposed to traverse other wolds when you cannot look within? If you don't know who you are, you can get lost more easily, and if you don't deal with your emotions you are at their mercy when they eventually overwhelm your defenses.
We carry emotions in our bodies. This isn't news - plenty of people have stress induced muscle pain, particularly in the neck and shoulders. Lots of people clench their jaws or grind their teeth. Exercise can lift our mood. If you are lucky enough to have a range of movement, allowing your body to express itself can help you bypass the thinking mind. You don't analyse your emotions, you simply feel them. They move through you.
The key to escaping our shackles was the Devil. Traditionally, this is a card associated with indulgence in 'base' desires and impulses. The old goat will not tell you deny your body. He won't tell you to restrain your emotions, either.
The spellwork itself was focused on ridding ourselves of things we
were chained to, and I feel that doing the exercise directly beforehand made the spellcasting portion much, much easier. There was a sense of surrender to whatever needed to happen - the entire evening revolved around freedom from painful coping mechanism and blockages, and attempting to control that freedom would simply smother it instead. Open, we could accept the change that is coming.
What remains to be seen, of course, is how we deal with it when it happens.