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Thoughts FromThe Four Gates

  • Writer's pictureKai

It's Aliiive! The identity of spirits and the creation of egrigores

Updated: Dec 24, 2022

"I conjure thee, O Circle of Power, that thou be a Boundary and a Protection and a meeting place between the world of men and the realms of the Mighty Ones, A Guardian and a Protection that shall preserve and contain the Power which we shall raise within thee, Wherefore do I Bless and Consecrate thee." These words, from the Gardnerian book of shadows, are echoed in Solomonic or grimoire traditions. They should be though, as Gardner was influenced directly from those traditions.

So it's funny. I thought Ceremonial magic as far away from animism as we could get. Certainly a lot of folks that do that kind of evocation work in the grimoires wouldn't consider themselves animist. Nobody has that kind of spirit focus with each and every material thing in a tradition like that.

We talk about spirits in a general sense all the time. Pagan types will talk about the gods being all around us, there's a wealth of ideas of spirits being ever present and in everything. People that didn't grow up with that type of animism though can have a hard time understanding what you can and can't actually WORK with. See, I think the thing that gets in the way is ego, or alternately the physical body. We have this idea that a spirit or intelligence has to be finite and quantifiable. The spirit you're dealing with has to be either the spirit of YOUR herb, or ALL of that kind of herb. What happens to the spirits when it's blended? All this stuff is natural to think about when you grow up with that kind of spirit all around you, but less if that's a new symbolic language. Fact of it is, that kind of thing is incredibly responsive to US.

The kind of prayers and ritual in that evocation stuff is a way of making your mind understand that… whatever you need there is as true as any other. All of that is true at the same time. Christian teachings even keep the Mystery of the fluid nature of identity within Spirit in the Trinity.

So how does this enrich or inform our practice? First, we learn that anything that you can put together mentally can be approached as a spirit. Second, that approaching something like that AS a spirit can need us to define or shape that spirit. NOT because this spirit didn't exist before, but because THEY don't need that ego or definition in the same way we do. They ALLOW US to define them this way so we can understand. 3rd, if you choose to explore this, it makes me wonder… what kinds of spirit can we be a part of, if we can set the limit of our body and our ego aside?

Definition may be important to us, but the spirits don't care. They don't give a crap if we "created" them, defined them, or if they've always been. The truth of that question is that all of that is true.

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