The secret to magical living is that we guide ourselves according to unseen and unheard of solutions. With magical living it is like with magical places. As Herman Melville once put it in his great Moby Dick: “It is not down on any map; true places never are.” So, true living is magical living and it has little to do with the recipes for life offered on a daily basis by new-age or business-age well intended kind of folks in a lame and clichéd manner. I don’t believe in cookbooks. I believe in what scientists have finally ‘discovered’ as the third intelligent system, namely that of the gut (Michael Gershon, The Second Brain, 1998). As it turns out, the digestive system has more nerve cells than the spine and the entire peripheral nervous system. It produces all the neurotransmitters in the brain. This means that the enteric nervous system works independently in its own laboratory, and as such, one can infer, it works independently of what we ‘think’. This being said, it also means that we can forget about bashing the gut for its being unreliable in decision-making and the like, as the gut really doesn’t give a damn. The gut does its thing, and the best we can do is to trust it.
So on the full moon here in a magical place called Holøya in the Lofoten Islands, I decided to hike to an even more magical place nearby that hosts some iron-age burial places. I followed my gut that I must make some rune bindings, or runebinding, in which a spell is embedded in the letters of the elder futharc. This is a most creative act, and if you do it for friends who need some magic in their lives, the reward is even greater than the usual journey for allowing for patterns to emerge while in a changed state of consciousness associated with sigil making and the like. As no consecration of items and ideas, however, can be done without an offering, I asked the Tarot cards to instruct me on what to bring. As my question was very specific and context-based I took the answer very literally – actually the gut tells you to what extent a symbol can be taken literally. So I armed myself with what the cards indicated: LA LVNE, 5 DE DENIERS, AS DE COUPES, and set for the road.
I had my shamanic drum with me as well. In the pocket of the carrying bag, I had the drumbeater, a few rattles, and what I call my Jupiter-Venus conjunction wand, as I picked the twig at the moment when the Grand Trine was over us. On the way to the place, a strong wind made itself felt. My partner, who assists me in my magical work, told me: ‘this wind is trying to tell us something.’ ‘It sure does,’ I thought, keeping silent and marching forward with equally strong determination. We were already between worlds where such statements are most commonsensical. Then rain set in. The kind of rain that gets you soaked to the bones in 3 seconds. At this sign I turned back and declared tentatively: ‘perhaps we are not ready for this.’ When I instantly also discovered that my wand was missing from my bag, I decided resolutely that we must turn back. After 5 minutes of renunciation and marching home, I found the wand on the trail and pointing strangely in a direction where a patch of blue sky was visible. The chalice bearer, who also follows his gut, then said to me: ‘now listen, my feeling is that this is quite important to you, so I suggest that we give it another try’. Said and done. I decided to use the wand by dragging the blue window over us – one doesn’t carry a magical wand for nothing – and turn towards the mound once more. The wind stopped, and the rain stopped instantly.
We got to the beautiful spot, and although I had intended to use the bigger cairn of the two found, as soon as we reached the smaller and more modest stone, my gut kicked me into decision-making mode again. ‘We must stop here,’ I said. ‘It is here that we must take care of business’. Said and done. The goat skin used for many purposes – from altar making to costume – fit perfectly on the flat surface, and we placed on it the rune bindings – one of them incrusted on amber with a sharp hot knife (that one I made especially for my nephew). The drum poured over us its amazingly deep sounds, and we soon immersed ourselves into the landscape and its spirits. After I finished, I placed my hands on the grass next to what I had decided was the Queen’s stone, where I also placed two Norwegian coins that have a rather esoteric sun wheel on them. The whole mound flushed through me with enormous warmth. This being in the Arctic is very unusual, so I decided that whatever I was doing was well received.
On the King’s mound not far away I poured water from the chalice and left 5 coins. 4 Danish and one English made from copper. I pointed the wand to the blue spot in the sky and we turned back. The blue got bluer, and the warmth on my hands grew even warmer. Now I can’t wait to get back and give my friends and family the consecrated gifts filled with full moonlight, midnight sunlight, and the love of a Queen. I consulted the Tarot again on what I was given at the graves, and I particularly wanted to know whether the Queen also had a visual message for me that might support the other signs. The cards fell beautifully mirroring in the Ace:
AS DE COUPES, LA FORCE, 3 DE DENIERS suggested that my love was given right back to me with strength and a promise to overcome all risky business. With my resistance to words these days, I consider that insofar as such experiences cannot be rendered in any representational and mediatory form, at the end of the day I will have said nothing. Perhaps just disclose where my preferences lie, and what I want to see and experience beyond the philosopher’s stone, a ‘clear’ head, and a hollow shining armor. Let us all know how to live magically by consecrating ourselves to what deserves love and attention.
Note on the deck: Tarot de Marseille, Jean Noblet, 1650 as restored by Jean-Claude Flornoy.
For more Tarot related posts, go to my Taro(t)flexions website.