During my rare classes on Green Witchcraft, questions and situations arise relating to the actual process of magical work. I realized that there was more information to be shared.
My course on the Witchcraft of Nature spans eight consecutive weekends, so I developed Green Witchcraft: The Manual as a do-it-yourself instruction book for people to use on their own. But as questions arose on the "nuts and bolts" of magic and energy movement, I pulled together information for a focused discussion on the methodology in Green Magic: The Sacred Connection to Nature. I grew up with magical practices, spiritism, and Rules of Conduct interwoven with daily life due to my mother's Craft heritage, and my writings have been based on these oral instructions, events, observations, and experiences.
My teaching method imitates my own learning, utilizing verbal instruction, activity, and participation. Thus, through the doing, the Craft comes alive, and opens the way to more detailed information. Normally, students are already practicing the Craft when they arrive in my class, but even so, there are surprises.
Need for Grounding
One student, who had been a Practitioner for at least a year, expressed reservations about being in a group magical activity because of a history of fainting after conducting successful spell work. That came as a shock, for I assumed that if students were practicing magic, they must know about grounding and centering. This student had a powerful aura, and so no harm had been done, but once we discussed and worked together as a class to ground and center, the fainting stopped. Until then, personal energy had been drained away simply because no Earth energy was being drawn in as a supplement during magical work.
Learning is a two-way street, and my students taught me that their comprehension was enhanced when I separated things into components during my demonstrations of typical ritual work. The use of gestures and tone of voice for manipulating energy was something I had taken for granted, yet this was novel to many students, some of whom were so self-conscious about Craft work that they barely moved at all, and preferred to think rather than speak their spells.
Visualization was another weak area, yet the moving of energy, drawing it in, directing it, and sending it off on a task requires feeling and handling the energy as well as seeing the task accomplished or at least passing through appropriate stages.
Making Magic Manifest
I learned from watching my mother that magical workings pass through the individual and are felt as done for the results to manifest. There are different ways to generate this feeling. My mother would drop her voice a register, becoming deep and still—reminding me of polished mahogany—and I felt every word was vitally important. Her whole demeanor would change, the expression on her face, the intensity and focus of her dark brown eyes sharpened to a narrow beam, her breathing rolled, and her gestures became distinctive so that every motion had meaning and purpose. I could sense the energy in motion.
Magic may be part of everyday life, but the mundane is not part of magic—moving energy requires something unusual. Being self-conscious can limit the amount of energy raised or hinder its effectiveness. You really do need to "get into it" when conducting energy, being as dramatic or theatrical as necessary to be fully focused on the work in progress. Mother liked to play cards with friends and always brought home a prize from games of bridge or gin rummy. But winning was her focus, and in forty years of card games, I never beat her simply because she would playfully jinx my cards. As a youngster this would infuriate me, but as I got older I saw this quirk as harmless and quite humorous. She was not self-conscious about magic in the middle of a private game, and I am sure that in public she managed a sly jinx on her competition from behind her cards.
Certainly some magics can be worked in silence, such as creating a parking space on a crowded street. Merely drawing up the energy and projecting the thought will suffice. I did this in a car with two other Practitioners, and three spaces suddenly opened up, amusing us all at the effectiveness of our silent workings.
To write about the process of conducting a magical working meant taking it apart and examining step by step how the energy is moved. Other influences are also at work in popular Craft culture, including Eastern religious practices like chakras, mudras, and pujas. Discovering that things familiar to me can be related to other cultures is fascinating, but I feel that for learning purposes, the approach to magic needs to be from the standpoint of the practicing Witch. With my book on magic, I have attempted to put more information "out there" for others to look over and draw into their own practice as they feel is relevant. It is my hope that through my writings, the lessons I learned as a child will be passed along to future generations.