Strategic Sorcery Blog Hop: Spirits And Magic Of Place
There is a new blog hop organized this month by members of the Strategic Sorcery community. Clicking the links above will take you to the previous or next post of this blog hop. You can see the list of all blogs that participate by clicking the master list link above.
This month’s blog hop is on spirits and magic of place. But what is magic of place?
MAGIC OF PLACE OR LOCAL SORCERY
Simply put, magic of place (or “local sorcery”) is magic connected to a specific location, its physical, astral and spiritual aspects and/or the spirits that live in that location. It’s not so much about summoning something from outside to come where the magician is, but more about working with what is already there and part of the location.
There are many aspects of local sorcery one can work with:
The land plays a very important part in magic. Whether you live in a big city or small village, take the time to get to know the geography of your area. Look for important locations you may need in your magic. Are there any rivers in your area? Mountains? Do you live near a desert? Near the ocean?
Even people that have lived in the same place their whole lives often don’t know that there is a location that is exactly what they need in their own town unless they actively look for it. For example, you may think that you don’t have access to a river, but if you look at a map of your city you may discover that there are many small streams in different parts of the city. So take the time to actively look for places of interest and mark them on an actual map. Try to visit the places you have marked. It’s good to know which beach, part of a park etc are ideal for magic beforehand, instead of going there when you need to, only to find that it’s usually so crowded that it’s impossible to do any kind of ritual there.
2. ENERGY AND THE ASTRAL LAYERS
After getting to know the geography of your area, it is time to look into energy currents, as well as the astral layers. Look for ley lines and put them on your map (you should be able to find known ley lines in your area if you do a search online). You’ll often find that places of interest like temples, churches, monuments etc are built on ley lines or nexus points. There’s a ley line that is very close to where I live for example, and when I checked what kinds of places are build on it, I discovered that there is an unusual number of parks (from tiny ones to relatively big) along the ley line. Interestingly enough, two well-known haunted houses of the city are also built on the same ley line.
Ley lines apart, you should take the time to visit different places of interest from your map and scan the area psychically. This will give you a better idea of the place, the type of energies naturally present there and the spirits that inhabit it. It may also reveal interesting non-physical features like gates, nexus points etc.
3. HISTORY, MYTHOLOGY AND LORE
Now look deeper into the history of your area and any myths and lore associated with it. Is there an area known for faery sightings? Is there a forest nearby that is said to be the home of some unknown beast? Are there any places that are said to be haunted?
Look into the history of the town or city. Who has lived in this area over the ages? What did they use the area for? What did they build and where? For example, my city was built over 2000 years ago. In its long history, it has been conquered many times by different people, it has been an important port and center of commerce, a center of the arts etc. The result is that you can find many different structures and buildings built by people of varied national origin and cultures over the centuries. Off the top of my head, I can think of cemeteries of at least 4 different religions that were built here and that I have access to, as well as other structures such as temples, monuments, wells etc. Even if you live in a place that was built relatively recently and you think that it has no interesting history or lore, look into the history of the area (going as far back as you can) and what you discover may surprise you!
4. WHO LIVED HERE?
A place is not just the land and the history, it is also the place where people actually lived, worked, raised their families, fought for their rights and died. I mentioned cemeteries above, and I will elaborate further on it below, but before we get to working with the dead in general, take some time to look into important people who lived and/or died in your city.
Artists, architects, royalty and famous politicians are usually the first categories that come to mind. But they are not the only ones, neither do the people have to be known worldwide or even nationwide to be important. Doctors were really important and well-respected people in the past. Not only those that took medicine one step further into the future, but also those rare individuals that practiced medicine and knew how to read and write when the majority of the population was illiterate. Even if you live in a small place, if you look into its history you will soon discover which person this was, because it would have been a very important member of the community at the time. You will also easily find lawyers this way, as well as people who fought for some kind of cause.
These are the people who will be more inclined to help in a spell where you are trying to do something for the community, whether that is to make sure all hospitals get medical supplies in time during an epidemic, that a big corporation that is polluting your river is stopped etc. When faced with big problems that involve the whole community, people immediately go to the “big guns” (angels, demons etc). But take a moment to consider the fact that these people you read about when investigating the history of your city or town actually cared for this town. Your town. Actually dedicated time, money, and more often than not gave their lives to ensure the well-being of the town and its people. When you’re fighting for such a cause, you want someone who is not only dedicated to that cause but also has personal ties to the area itself.
5. FLORA AND FAUNA
What lives or grows in your area? Take some time to learn what kinds of animals live in your area and what kinds of plants naturally grow there.
Especially if you live in a small place and you have to order your spell materials online, you may be surprised to discover that many herbs that you had to order online actually grow in your area and you can collect them yourself. This is especially important in rituals where the instructions require you to collect the herbs yourself.
It’s also important to know about the animals that live in your area. If you live in a rural place and you work with animal parts, you will know what types of bones you are likely to find in the forest or mountain for example. Even if you don’t work with animal parts though or you live in a very urban setting, it’s still important to know what types of animals live there. For example, I have to be very careful what types of offerings I leave outside because there is a huge number of stray animals in my city (mostly cats and dogs) and I need to make sure that they won’t be harmed by eating something I have left outside.
The easiest way to start building a relationship with local spirits of all kinds is to give regular offerings. By giving offerings and inviting the local spirits too, you start building a relationship with them. Gradually, some of the spirits that come to your offerings may present themselves to you individually and you can get to know them and build a relationship with those that have chosen to approach you this way.
Even if you can’t clearly communicate with spirits though, giving offerings is still a great way to build a relationship. You are sharing this land with the spirits, and very few people acknowledge their presence nowadays. If you’re an active practitioner of magic you are going to attract spirit attention anyway, so why not formally introduce yourself and show them that you acknowledge their presence and want to have a good relationship with them? When you move into a new house, you get to know your neighbors and they get to know you. Offerings are basically the spirit edition of the apple pie you bake for the new neighbor.
Just like physical neighbors, spirit neighbors you are on good terms with will keep an eye on your property when you’re away, notify you when there’s anything important you need to know, will be there to give you a hand when you need help, and you may end up becoming good friends too.
On the other hand, some local spirits will be hostile towards you. Many times this is for reasons that have to do with the modern way of life, with how we pollute the environment, how humans build on the spirits’ habitats etc. Making offerings to those spirits is a good way to apologize for any such offenses.
7. GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
You have already explored the town you live in. But what about your neighborhood? Make a list of all the places you may need in your magical practice that are in close proximity to your house. Which are good places to bury stuff? Are there any crossroads in your neighborhood, and if so what kinds? When is the area busy and when is it a good time to do all the things you need to do discreetly? What kinds of spirits live in very close proximity to your house? Where does the actual spirit of the land where your house is located ends and another land spirit begins?
8. START BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP WITH SPECIFIC SPIRITS
If you have specific places in mind where you intend to do rituals then it’s a good idea to build a relationship with the spirits of that place, or at least make sure to ask for permission to do magic in their space. Many places (especially but not only places of power) have guardians, and if you want to be welcome there then it’s a good idea to ask permission before doing anything in the place they guard. The land spirit of the area where your home is located has its own personality. Get to know it. Does it look healthy? Can you communicate with it and figure out if there is something that it needs to be healthier and happier?
9. WORKING WITH THE DEAD
There are numerous ways to work with the dead. I mentioned above that graveyards are places of interest that you should mark on your map of the area, as well as investigate famous or important people who are buried there. This is because to work with the dead, you usually need a link to them. Necrotic material (bones, ashes etc) would make the best links, but these are pretty difficult (not to mention illegal) to get most of the time. The solution to that is graveyard dirt.
Graveyard dirt is exactly what the name says: dirt from a grave. Each tradition has a slightly different way of how you are to obtain it, but the basic process is finding the grave of a person that would be helpful towards your goal, getting permission from them to collect some graveyard dirt, and paying for the dirt (usually by leaving a dime, some whiskey or both where you collected the dirt from).
Depending on who the person was in life, dirt from their grave would have different uses: Dirt from policemen and soldiers would be good for protection spells and curses, dirt from musicians would be good when trying to master the instrument they played in life etc.
Apart from working with specific spirits though, you can pay homage to the spirits of the dead in other ways, whether that is by working with a deity associated with the shades of the dead, through traditional rituals (that some religions have) that are used to take care of the dead and make sure they do not get stuck here or that they’ll be able to move on if they are indeed stuck etc.
10. WORKING WITH SPECIFIC BUILDINGS AND THEIR SPIRITS
There are two main ways to work with specific buildings and the traits they represent. The first one is by collecting dirt. Just like graveyard dirt is used for specific purposes that depend on the spirit you got the dirt from, you can use dirt from specific locations and buildings in your magic following the same logic. For example, you can use dirt collected from your bank in wealth rituals. The other way to use dirt from different locations is to use it as a link to that location. So if you are doing a working that is meant to affect a specific place (a store, a company, a family etc), you can use dirt from that building as a link.
The second way is to work with the spirit/egregore of a building, business etc. When we were having specific problems in the building where I lived, issues that kept going on and on for no apparent reason, I worked not only with the local spirits but also with the spirit of the building itself to figure out what was going on and what I could do to help. When you are working at a company and there is one person causing a lot of trouble, you can work with the spirit of the business itself, petitioning it to help remove the person from the business (since the spirit of the business is usually interested in ensuring the business is thriving).
You can also work with the spirit of your town or city itself by giving offerings, making a honey jar to sweeten your relationship with it etc. City spirits are often very conscious and easy to communicate with if you take the time to learn how. I have a deep personal relationship (bordering on love affair) with a city in another country, but I never quite hit it off with the city I live in. So I’m now working to rectify that, at least to some degree.
So these are a few ways I work with the area I live in and its spirits. What kinds of local sorcery do you practice? Leave a comment and let me know!