I tripped and fell out of linear time

I recently had an experience where I stood outside the solar system, looking down on it and rolling and unrolling time as I moved through space and swung my arms. But even that is too linear a description for the experience. I could see and feel that everything was cyclical—endless iterations of the same moments, small or short ones nested in larger, longer ones, spherical layers of varying thickness that could be moved around, along and through or turned and twisted and realigned like a quantum puzzle box. But always the same moments/entities from the longest to the shortest, from the micro to beyond the macro.

And I say it was a recent experience because measured on a calendar it’s just a few months. Experientially, it is a lifetime ago.

This disruption of my once-strong sense of linear time has continued and may be getting stronger.

I mentioned in my post about my visit to Marcus’ pā site the strange feeling of entering cyclical time. So much of that experience brought the past and the future together and tangled them in the present. We did an intention exercise for the future of the site but what was confusing for me was that I kept getting a strong feeling of ancestors. I took me a long time to realise that these were future ancestors—ancestors that hadn’t even been born yet. But still ancestors: the dead who have passed on and now look back to help the living.

I’ve been doing a lot of ancestral healing work, using Daniel Foor’s methods (highly recommended). But that started well before my visit to the pā site, which had a massive ancestral healing focus for me. So if I hadn’t done the healing work before going, would it still have had that focus? Would I have had the opportunity to go if I hadn’t done the prior healing work? Or was it because I was going to go that I started the healing work months before?

I’m wondering after my experience with the pā site’s future ancestors if, once you’ve got your past ancestors healed, you can then call on your future ancestors—descendancestors, if you like—and bring back even greater healing and magic from them because the healing you did in the past has strengthened them even further. If time is cyclical, that means there must be a point where your ancestors and descendants converge at the opposite point in the cycle, the other side of the circle to you.

But that point is probably also you, making the cycle more like an infinity loop. Which means that your ancestors and descendants only belong to either the past or the future depending on which way you are facing.

Pulling things back from this trippy abyss (and before I break out the Burger Rings) one of the immediate, linear-time effects of this visit to cyclical time at the pā site was my outrageous ‘luck’ in catching connecting flights home. I was delayed over and over again, well past my scheduled layover times but I always somehow managed to make the connections. I’ve travelled internationally enough to know that this sort of thing does not normally happen. And I wasn’t the only one who experienced it.

Since then, it’s not that I know things before they happen, but I’ve found myself doing or saying things that end up being extremely advantageous for me when later events happen. In other cases, the things I did or said are literally just ahead of actual events. I randomly decided to trial working from home a few days before everyone was forced to. Again and again I’ve found myself spending time on tangential matters at work only to find out that they’re suddenly incredibly necessary and urgent. And here I am, already prepared.

The smack-upside-the-head example of this for me was the lunation rite I started in February that ended with me getting a temporary promotion right when hundreds of thousands of other people started losing their jobs.

This shift outside of linear time may be something that boosts the effectiveness of magic.

For the first time in my life I am actually starting to feel ritual. I’ve never been able to connect with ritual before now. It always felt artificial and constrictive. But now I can feel my daily recitation of the Orphic Hymns stepping me outside of linear time and connecting with all of the Monday’s that have ever been. I’ve been doing it daily for almost a year now, so maybe I’ve just reached that tipping point where daily practice becomes a ritual. But this has coincided exactly with the massive disruption to linear time perception that quarantine creates. At the same time as my ability to access space has been reduced, my ability to connect to cyclical time has increased.

Would I have been in this position if I hadn’t had those experiences in January? Or did I/my ancestors/my descendants/whoever arrange those experiences so that I could reach this point at this time in this place?

To bring things back around to the beginning again, my break with linear time in January was only a few days off the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn—the planet of time meeting the planet of death. And the current escalation coincides with Saturn’s shift to Aquarius—the air sign beyond the boundaries of the norm.

So, how much of this is in my mind and how much is not? If we’re moving into the Jupiter/Saturn air triplicity this year, is there any difference anymore?

Why did my experience of cyclical time begin with a vision of the solar system? Maybe it is a gift from the stars themselves—the campfires of our ancestors.

A sigil a day keeps wealth coming my way

Inspired by Rune Soup’s last premium members’ course on wealth magic and Circle Thrice’s lunation rite, I decided to do a magic-every-day practice for the Pisces to Virgo lunation (24 Feb to 24 Mar). It wasn’t the full Circle Thrice lunation rite. I’ve never done something like this before and I was worried about the amount of time that daily ritual would take. I also don’t really have an existing relationship with many of the deities Ivy suggests petitions for and I haven’t done very much with the grimoires yet, either. So I feel like I’m coming at that rite from a less than ideal starting point.

I decided to simplify, go my own route and focus on the daily planetary rulers. I began exploring astrology a couple of years ago and it has gradually permeated much of my practice. I feel a very strong connection to the astro-energies now and tapping into them over the last year magically has been extremely effective.

I have a physical representation of the planets, each one a sphere of semi-precious stone that I collected at random over the years and one day realised matched almost perfectly. They all live in a line on one of my bookshelves in my Spirit Room (read: spare bedroom). Each morning I hold the sphere relating to the planet that rules the day (Sun for Sunday, Moon for Monday, etc.) and recite the relevant Orphic Hymn. I then place the sphere on a little bowl/stand on the shelf above the others, directly over the Earth sphere to represent it ruling the day. I do the same each night for the night planetary ruler.

It was easy enough to add a sigil to my daily morning practice so I figured I’d see if I could tie together a sigil statement relevant to the lunar day and the planetary ruler of the day. It worked surprisingly well. Although there were a couple I had to get creative with, such as Mars ruling one of the lunar love days and Venus ruling the lunar day for compelling enemies. But in the end, I managed to work it out.

I set up a spreadsheet with all of the lunar days and their rulers and spent a few days at the start of the month preparing appropriate sigil statements. That meant there was no thought involved in the actual process, making each morning launch as easy as possible.

The daily ritual was simple—my usual morning prayers, the creation of a sigil based on the statement of the day and then reciting the Orphic Hymn of the daily ruler to the sigil as a means of activating it. I found the whole thing surprisingly effective, with the added bonus of getting better at crafting sigils on the fly. I managed to do a sigil for every day (a couple of times I even did two), not necessarily in the hour of the ruler, but as close to it as I could. I kept the sigils in a stack on my altar, each one waiting for the next day’s to cover it.

I’m really pleased with the outcome of the lunation rite. Obviously it had a wealth focus. I didn’t get the result I planned but, while thousands of people were losing their jobs, I got the opportunity to act in a higher role that pays a lot more than I’m used to. It means I’m completely exhausted and run off my feet dealing with all this pandemic stuff but I am so incredibly grateful. It’s a very Jupiter-in-Capricorn outcome, really—here’s more money and status but, boy are you going to work for it.

I started this lunation rite in a very different world to the one in which it ended. I’m very glad I did it when I did because I think that the effectiveness was boosted by already being in flow as the big change hit. I wasn’t suddenly trying to change a difficult situation. Instead, I had early tendrils reaching out into the future, already seeking the best possible outcome even as the situation changed, and that’s what helped me land it.

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

I was fucking terrified.

Every night as a child, I could tell it was just outside my window, staring in with malevolent intent. The only thing protecting me from it, from its teeth and claws and eyes, was a fragile pane of glass. I wanted to peek through the curtain to see if what I sensed was “actually there”. And I was too terrified to look or even move too close in case it was. The wolf in my window was my greatest childhood terror. I instinctively understood that it was there and not there and that I couldn’t talk to anyone about it.

Along with the wolf came the screaming. Unearthly high pitched wails that drifted out of the night, sometimes far off, sometimes far too close. They had a mournful, desperate quality, as though some lonely creature was wandering through the darkness, crying. There was never a physical threat component to these screams, but they terrified me as much as the wolf.

My response was to curl up with the blankets over my head, no matter how hot it was, because I knew that if the bad things couldn’t see me, they couldn’t get me. My doona was a shield against the horrors in the darkness.

The thought occurred to me—what if the wolf one day smashed its way through the window.

No.

Nothing bad was allowed into my house. And yes, that did include the screaming creature roaming the night. And no, preventing that one specifically from coming it did not somehow allow other non-specified bad things in. And no, it didn’t matter if they tried to force their way in through a window or a door. And yes, that did include doors or windows that my parents had left open. No, bad humans were also not allowed in. No. Yes, it did work for that. No. No. Yes. No…

Before I realised what I was doing, I had a nightly shielding ritual prayer designed to protect my house and family. It started out as a series of no’s and yes’s and qualifications as I imagined all the possibilities and tried to cover off on them all. Eventually, it evolved into a more typical prayer to deity, with the same focus and a lot of repetition until I felt comfortable enough to go to sleep.

This was my introduction to magical practice. I performed this prayer ritual every single night of my life, mostly from fear of what might happen if I missed a night. Taking on that kind of bullshit responsibility for all the world’s unfortunate chances wasn’t healthy and it’s taken me a long time to let go of it (still working on it). But it was what I needed to deal with the terrifying things that I was facing as a child and I did the best I could with the information and experience I had. So go me!

I’m just now realising the benefits of this slightly messed up practice.

My magical shielding is stellar. As soon as I extended my sphere of influence in my nightly prayers to the edge of our yard, the wolf at the window vanished. He came back once or twice, but a quick recitation was enough to banish him again. The horrifically screaming thing in the night turned out to be a bush stone curlew. My dad bought a bird book to show me what it looked like and my fear instantly vanished. Interestingly, no curlews ever ventured onto our property.

And the protection has continued. I’ve done it nightly for all the places I’ve lived as well as my childhood home where my parents still live. That house has to be one of the most well-protected places in the world by now after 10,000+ nightly prayers.

I’ve managed to turn a fear-based unhealthy habit into a powerful regular magical practice and I’m actually kind of proud of that.

Into the Underworld

Or

My recent visit to the Ngā Ariki Kaipūtahi pā site and Mangatū River with other Rune Soup premium members

Part 1 – The Gatekeepers

It feels significant that we started our experience in the Pacific Ocean. I only just realised that my hotel for the first couple of nights overlooked the mouth of the Waimata/Taruheru Rivers. Water is the theme of this experience, from source to river to ocean, blood and tears; Water is Life.

The stingrays at Dive Tatapouri have to be some of the most alien creatures I’ve ever encountered. Their shapes, appearance, movement, colour—everything about them is what the unthinking part of my mind considers ‘other’. They carry the endless inscrutable depth and expanse of the entire Pacific Ocean.

They also have names like “Tara”, “Pancake” and “Waffle”.

Interacting with them was like being accosted by curious, slippery and over-enthusiastic couch cushions. I was equal parts nervous, weirded out and enchanted. From their bizarrely adorable little smiley mouths to the instinctive and cultural feelings of avoidance their tail barbs engendered, they are fascinating, strange and beautiful creatures. Feeding them was like having a piece of fish vacuumed out of your fingers while the aforementioned couch cushion tried its best to climb your legs. That close to the surface, they make snuffly cow-like noises when they breathe. That was my biggest shock. How such a familiar, relatable sound could be made by these mysteriously majestic alien creatures. Needless to say, enchantment won out and I could have spent hours standing out in the water in those unflattering green waders until the stingrays got bored and left or pushed me over to try and find any food I was carrying.

Those stingrays were the gateway guardians to a watery underworld I wasn’t prepared for.

Part 2 – The Descent

Ironically accomplished by driving up into the hills—crammed comfortably in a car, enfolded in the scent of fresh herbs, with people I’d just met who turned out to be some of the most beautiful human beings ever. And that description applied to everyone on the retreat—amazingly beautiful human beings; so happy to have met them, so sad I had to leave.

I was not prepared for the singing requirement of the pōwhiri. Singing in front of anyone else is not something I do, let alone in a completely unfamiliar language. I have a just good enough sense of pitch to be able to hear how bad I actually am. But the earnest enthusiasm of our driver/choirmaster quickly had us all singing along, practicing—for which I was very grateful when we arrived.

The pōwhiri itself didn’t match anything that I expected from my pre-arrival preparatory google. Surprise. It was us moving here and there, with the formality of a chess game, in response to the movements of our hosts, accompanied by long speeches in the beautiful Maori language. I didn’t understand either movement or words at the time but I felt like I was a puzzle piece filling the correct shape and place and time. Hovering in the air throughout the entire site is a feeling of something deeper and older and yet-to-be, waiting to be filled in by physical objects.

After passing through the gates and challenges and greeting each other in language and song, we sat down at one of the biggest tables ever to eat. There we introduced ourselves by speaking our names and our ancestry, our blood, and the lands in which that blood now flowed. Now that we were in ceremony, even such a simple thing held meaning enough to catch heart and tears.

I was not at all prepared for such depth of feeling.

Part 3 – The Underworld

Marcus compared the path down to the pā site to entering the Underworld. The site sits on the slope of the hill below the marae and has its own spiritual energy that is utterly disconnected from modern Western concepts of linear time. That sense of underworld energy, of timelessness and of being within cyclical time permeated the entire weekend.

The retreat itself was one big long ceremony that contained smaller ceremonies within it and smaller ceremonies within those as individuals or smaller groups performed their own rituals or actions of meaning. Time became largely meaningless (which I’m sure annoyed Gordon and the other organisers at times), but from where I walked, everything was perfectly arranged and landed in exactly the most impactful way.

I can’t go into everything that we did there. I don’t have the words to do it justice. And I’d probably misquote Gordon’s amazing talks enough to get a justifiably exasperated tweet. But I can tell you that we spent hours poring over what ended up being an absolutely stunning despacho, filled with many prayers and wishes and the greatest of all intentions—right relation.

We went on a short hikoi up the Mangatū River. I should have worn thongs because walking barefoot over those river rocks was incredibly painful. Learning that those beautiful braided river beds should have been deep flowing streams instead of choked with silt made me feel like I was sharing the pain of the river itself.

We visited an old pā site of Marcus’ family that had been flooded and silted up so often from the erosion caused by European farming practices that it had to be abandoned. In less than 30 years, the ground level had risen to the roof eaves of the old broken building. The first thing Marcus did on our arrival was thank us (many of us white people of European descent) for coming to that place—an action of such grace and regal dignity that my heart broke and I descended into a blubbering mess for the rest of that visit. While Marcus spoke of healing, joy and family there, I mourned quietly for what my ancestors had done. In the end we were all healed.

We did intentions and lunar mansion mantras for the flourishing of the pā site, for wealth and for the healing of people and the river.

We received the gift of the children of the Mangatū River—white quartz stones—and blessed them with many sacred waters so that we could seed that magic across the world.

I received a romi romi healing session from Ariana that dragged me down out of my head and poured me back into my body and the earth below my feet. It was an incredibly deep and confronting healing experience.

We sat on the grass under the wide night sky and discussed conspiracy theories, the construction of the moon and ancient stories of the stars.

We made music and sang and told scary stories around a sacred fire, tapping into an ancient space, time, place and practice that was also new and yet-to-be.

We conspired in the latest and darkest hours of the night to make the world a better place.

We slept in the painstakingly constructed traditional buildings of the pā site, in the uttermost peaceful, dream-filled depths of the Underworld.

By the end, walking barefoot and sitting in the dirt on the land was normal. Tears were normal. Conversations of magic and astrology and visions, spirits and dreams were normal. Feeling the hopeful and beautiful future shape of the world was normal.

This retreat was transformative for the soul.

Part 4 – The Return

Before I left home, knowing Marcus’ work with the rivers in New Zealand and at Standing Rock, I walked to the head of a tributary of my local river. I’d seen this tributary soggy but never flowing, because it’s a seasonal stream and I think a lot of the water flow happens in the earth. Also the surrounding suburbs channel a lot of the water runoff away to other places. I was allowed to select a stone to take with me as a gift to the Mangatū River, as long as I brought back the blessings of the waters I received over there.

I found a small piece of white quartz.

I gave this stone to Marcus and Ariana before I left.

When I returned home with the blessings of many waters, I found this:

The same place where I found the stone, which a week before had been dry and dusty, was now flowing with clear water. I’m not taking credit for the ridiculous amount of much-needed rain that the entire east coast of Australia received while I was away, but this is one of those ‘coincidences’ that let you know that magic is happening and that you’re in right relation with the land and more-than-land.

Another sign that I got (which is probably only going to make sense to those of us who heard Gordon’s talk at the retreat that mentioned bees) is when I returned to work and re-noticed the canvas I’d hung up behind my desk 6 months ago of photos I’d taken on holiday the year before:

Do bees work? I don’t anymore, although I still have a job.

I have a job that helps 5 million people … in an office that overlooks a river … that received the blessing of many waters … from a gift I gave to a man … who walked the rivers of an island … after starting to rebuild the pā site of his ancestors … who journeyed there an age ago … from across the Pacific Ocean.

#WaterIsLife

Disclaimer: I’m a white Australian with English, Irish and German ancestry. My knowledge of and contact with Maori history, culture and language is limited to non-existent. I’ve tried my best to be respectful and not screw anything up, and I’m documenting the experience from an outsider’s perspective in a way that should, I hope, convey my respect and wonder. Please let me know in the comments if I stuffed anything up.

First magic

“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.