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Thoughts FromThe Four Gates

  • Writer's pictureKai

Giving your all, spirit work and "The Finest Things"

When I first started magical practice, I was still in high school. I had some disposable income, and my basics were covered. I did however have to hide my practice in many ways. My mom wasn't the most accepting. When we fast forward a few years, and I'm free to display my practice, but homeless. Even after I was no longer homeless, I had some pretty hard financial constraints for a while. I learned really quickly that magic can be very expensive, if you let it. Much of that is getting the "right" thing, or pretty things for our altars. Much of it though is in offerings. Things that you might give to spirits. If you look at the texts, many spirits want things that at least nowdays are rare, or hard to find. Even if not, many spirits have expensive tastes.

Why the spirits are so expensive

Sometimes throughout history, we see both sides of this. Magic was at times frowned upon, and at times embraced. The farther back in time you go though, at least in a general sense, the more that things we would consider to be magical work their way into daily life and mundane existence. This thing about the spirits and gods being expensive though is fairly normal. When it comes down to it, they demand the best. Here's what I've learned though. This is mostly at it's core about the importance you attach to it. THAT is the big key here. There have always been ways of making things important that had very little to do with money, and the modern age is really no different in that.

How do we make things important?

I don't have an issue with spending money for the nicer things exactly. I do think in the modern age, we can use throwing money at something as a way to avoid putting some of the work in. I see often folks that want to just hire a spellworker, so they don't have to do any of the work themselves. Most good spellworkers will end up giving someone like that some form of either assignment or instruction. Something that makes them put some of the work in themselves. Sure, there's usually a practical component to that, but it also forces someone to treat it with a level of importance. Magical tools in the modern age are often prettied up for Facebook/TikTok what have you, and cranked out on laser engraving machines and the like, and sold. Now, I'd like a laser engraver as well, and I've found that there are some things that are darn near impossible to get right without something, but unless you need something specific, I find that there's more power in a simple design for say a pentacle, done to the best of your ability, than something you've just thrown money at. Effort equals energy here. That's not to say that folks can't make some very good things for someone else (I'm working on a small selection of tools for folks myself), but you certainly shouldn't think that you can pull it out of a box and start using it for magical practice.

In other times, there was an idea that while we still use, I think is a bit done by rote anymore, consecrating your magical tools. Often these are things that are so specific to magic that they're not useful for other things, or at other times, it's about setting something aside JUST for magical practice. It makes these things important, and I owe you all an article about how to do things like this.

How spirit offerings are different

When you're working with a spirit though, sometimes you'll consecrate something specifically for that spirit. It becomes Theirs. It's funny, while they share with me (with one exception) each spirit I work with has their own coffee mug, which is theirs any time I do the coffee thing with them.

This idea also is used in the uh... consumables for the spirits. Each spirit has a way they like their coffee, and of course, other offerings that are sacred to them, things that they like. Much of this is easy, but sometimes it's not. I think this is another thing that speaks of the need to treat the spirits as actual real entities.

Look, in my mind it's actually pretty simple. Think of it as getting a gift around for someone who cares about you. Sure, you can throw money at it, but you'll need to still put the thought into finding something that they like. You can make something yourself, if you have even a small amount of the skill for that. That said, it kind of has to be possible for you, right? If you bake a cake from scratch for someone's birthday, they're not going to care that it's a bit lumpy, but they will care if it's raw.

Tools of the Trade

For our tools of magical practice, it's kind of the same way. Some forms of things you can make things for, or grab something and repurpose it. Other things are precise enough that they require a specialized tool. Sometimes you can make those yourself, in which case you know the ins and outs of that tool, and it'll be more effective for you. Sometimes, there's no way you're going to make it yourself. Buy that, make it sacred, and move on. In many ways here, I fall back on the "closest mundane analog" rule.

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