“Do you want to do a magic spell?” he asked. “We can try making it rain. We’ll be summoning the Horned God. But don’t worry; he’s nothing to do with the devil.”
I was excited. It felt transgressive and a little scary but I’d always wanted ‘real magic’ and dreamed my fantasy dreams. The shadowy, wild Horned God of the forest with his deer antlers and ragged skins and danger grabbed me by the throat and heart and mind. I was so in.
And that was my first introduction to practical enchantment. We did a Wiccan-esque ritual calling on the Horned God to bring rain. Wicca was basically the only thing we knew back in my mid-teens. It was powerful and transformative in a way I hadn’t expected and didn’t comprehend until years later. I could feel the energy of the magic circle we cast and the call to the Watchtowers that totally wasn’t stolen from The Craft movie at all. There was a rich early summer, golden and green energy to it. I think Beltane wasn’t too far off on this warm, sunny afternoon. The world of the unseen and mind-seen opened up for me in that moment. The walls of my reality dropped away, revealing vistas of green fields and slumbering forests and towering mountains. There were secrets lying waiting in places that had once been explained and rendered boring. And now I could see where they were and try to reach them.
Once our ritual was done and we had closed our amateur circle, cast clandestinely in the lounge room of my childhood home while my parents were out shopping, we raced outside to see what had happened. The sunny summer afternoon greeted us, white puffy clouds drifting across a clear blue sky. I was looking for what I thought were tangible real-world effects but I noticed in passing the feeling I had of wider senses, clearer sight, a richness and depth to the world that I hadn’t experienced before. Disappointment began to creep in. Our spell hadn’t worked. Nothing had happened.
“It might take a while for the spell to work,” he said, fueling my disappointment.
I could tell he was trying to explain away the lack of effect for himself as much as for me. Now I just felt like an idiot for standing in front of him in the lounge room chanting nonsense with my arms above my head. Obviously he had been the leader of the ritual and showed me what to do but my self-esteem wasn’t very robust at that stage of my life.
A lone cloud floated above a forested hill to the north of the house and suddenly it was raining. This one cloud rained a shower down on the trees below it five minutes after we called on a forest God to bring rain. It was so localised and so brief that probably no one else saw it, but we did.
It doesn’t seem real. It did at the time and we were amazed and elated. The gods had listened to us and we had brought rain. It quickly faded from realness, decaying into that materialist mental space of ‘did I really see that?’, ‘did I just make it up?’, ‘have I mis-remembered what happened?’, ‘was it an optical illusion or a coincidence?’, ‘was it just what I wanted to see?’
But I know it happened. The Horned God listened and fulfilled our non-specific petition for rain. The rain was real. The magic was real. I made it happen.