Movies and books for this magic type are listed below.
Book Four - The Way
"Let him who seeks continue until he find.
When he has found,
he shall wonder.
When he has wondered, he shall reign.
When he has reigned, he
The Gospel According to the Hebrews
- Clement of Alexandria
Chapter One: Seeking Magic
"Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful
and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity,
taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star,
and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as
- John Muir
When he has found, he shall wonder.
When he has wondered, he shall reign.
When he has reigned, he shall rest."
The Gospel According to the Hebrews
- Clement of Alexandria
Chapter One: Seeking Magic
and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity,
as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star,
and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life."
- John Muir
Of all the magical paths, this is the one most revered today. The culture's art reflects religion and general morals, so the story form of "the hero's journey" popularized by Joseph Campbell in his book, The Hero of a Thousand Faces, is by far the most popular story. This is the story of the hero as he goes from the world of the every day, down into the magical world to win the elixir, battle the dark king and return to kingship as the champion of the land. Rarely do we see the story as it rises into the real world as the champion, fearing the sacrifice of self to save his people becomes a paranoid tyrant who must be exposed by the trickster as the Emperor without any clothes and cast down in laughter until he picks himself up, absorbs the sins of his people and dies to save their souls. He is resurrected in his son, or in the annual rebirth of the sun.
This myth archetype is present in many of the great religions of the West but also shows up in almost every story medium. Harry Potter is a hero. Luke Skywalker is a hero. Frodo Baggins is a hero. Heroes can be paladins, or defenders of a creed--a kind of crusader. They can also be anti-paladins. Superman is a paladin and a hero. Batman is a paladin and a trickster. Luke Skywalker is a paladin and a hero. Han Solo is an anti-paladin and a hero. Michael Coreleone is a paladin and a trickster, thus the "honor among thieves" saying. Buggs Bunny is a trickster and and anti-paladin, chaos is his game. The difference in a serious trickster story versus a comedy is the paladin or anti-paladin role of the main character. Often the "comic relief" character or crusty heroes are just anti-paladins.
Heroes can be men or women. The most popular characters today are female heroes. Red Sonia, Lara Croft, Eowyn of Rohan, the list is long. Many authors specialize in the female heroine. Anne McCaffery and her co-writers have done more to popularize the female hero than many, yet many Andre Norton books were about heroic witches. Remember, the hero's journey is just a path, not a muscle-man. Joan Wilder, the Romance writer in Romancing the Stone is on a hero's journey and goes into the jungle with high heels. Many writers used to have female heroes and mess them up by throwing in too many elements of water magic. Captain Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager, is an excellent example. She indulges in empress politics in the emperor's chair and is unbelievable as a captain.
Heroes can be a defender of the people or just out on a hero's journey to overcome some problem in themselves. The main identifying marker of the hero is that he (or she) has recognized some psychological deficit in himself that is reflected in the outer world and undergoes a journey to correct this problem so that he may qualify as the champion. The hero, unlike the magician or the witch is changed by his magical quest. While beauty is transformed into a goddess the magic of water, the hero is not transformed, but improves himself to rise to the election of the kingship. Upon his sacrifice, he becomes the god when he takes up the sins of the people to make him the seed that will grow into grain.
The hero is nothing without his group. Harry Potter is not a seeker all by himself. He is the seeker for the Griffindor team. Luke does not fight a lonely fight, he joins the rebellion. Batman works by himself, the dark knight of a dark empire, fighting the vigilante's fight on the sidelines of the law. He has no love and loses love, again and again. Superman fights from his crystal palace, but he is aided by his father's image, and later by Superboy and Supergirl. He works for a newspaper as a John Doe and loves deeply the princess of the story, Lois Lane. The hero is almost never seen without his love interest who represents the elixir. The hero is also innocent. Batman seems to be out for revenge, and one would never call him innocent. Blood is on his hands. Superman, who has fought as many "bad guys" is completely innocent, remains innocent and keeps his hands clean. He fights over and over as a defender, not as a pseudo-criminal who feels the challenge of another mastermind. Although Batman sometimes has to save people, he does not smile when he does so, it is done because he has to, and often goes against his nature. His best "mate" was Catwoman, who was on her own quest and did not join with him.
The hero is a person that almost everyone desires to be when they are very young. He is the quarterback and the head boy. He is the president and the general. He is the fireman and the fighter pilot. Your mom is the one who says be a doctor or a lawyer, and only because they make the most money. Doctors are seen as both arrogant and holy; lawyers are almost universally despised as necessary parasites. Not so the policeman or the fireman or the soldier, even though they also work for tax dollars. Politicians are often seen as dirty lawyers, but the president and the king are the leaders of the nation.
The Heroic Figure 8
1 Manifestation Disappearance
2 Valuation Frustration
3 Exchange Indigence
4 Mastery Futility
5 Competition Desertion
6 Success Destruction
7 Theft Invention
8 Organization Industry
9 Security Diversification
10 Persecution Tolerance
The hero is the one who finds magic through his actions. Sometimes he stumbles upon magic. Often he bumbles into it. Sometimes his mentor pushes him into magic. The hero, unlike the trickster, seeks something, yet often doesn't know that it's magical, only that it's what everyone seems to want him to seek. He was born to his fate. He follows his fate. Later, he is doomed to his fate. He does not make his way any more than the princess makes her way. He is an actor, often badly following the direction of the air magic mentor. Only as he becomes the champion does he embrace his fate and find his magic.
Earth magic is not just the magic of the soil--the agricultural mystery of the planting of the seed. In Celtic cultures, earth magic is the magic of rock and stone, of mountain and craig. The most famous stones of the British isles screamed when the king pass over them. The stupas of Southeast Asia are both phallic and holy rocks. People all over the world climb mountains, some in holy pilgrimage, some for the challenge. Rocks are landmarks, rocks are the most photographed of landscape features, often against the background of water.
Rock is worn down into soil, made fertile by water, made a desert by wind and blasted and melted by fire. This simple observation is the four magics in a nutshell, so to speak. Earth magic meets water magic and the miracle of life and death and love takes place. Earth magic meets the wind and eventually, no matter how stoic the rock, it will wear down. Earth magic meets fire and all hell breaks loose as the world is destroyed and remade.
The path of earth magic is also that of seeking wealth or gain or abundance. This magic is the knife edge of success and popularity. This magic is social magic and the path is the path of the material world often craved and envied by the other three magics. Here, no amount of warning about chasing material goals is necessary. The goals are material, the stuff of earth, the substance of life, the heart of cultural exchange and the stuff of wars and civilization. Here are the jewels of the world, and the earth magic to defend them.
Of course there are spiritual ways to chase material goals and there are ways that damn the spirit. But the way of damnation of the hero is not in the world, it is in himself. So much of the hero's psyche has passed into our culture that editors demand that characters grow and change and overcome problems. People in public life are applauded for overcoming personal problems. Children and their parents are infused with the culture of personal problems. The child is the hero and his parents are the crux of his problems. Culture is blinded to the fact that people on other paths do not have problems with themselves as much as they have problems with others. The group is never blamed, only the individual. This is the problem of the hero and the core of his path, but it is not the core of the other paths.
Water is active. Fire is active. Air is active. Rock is not without the help of another element. Heroes need others the way that rock needs other elements to turn it into soil. There are plenty of rocks in our Solar system, it is only the Earth that is fertile.
The path of the hero is a preparation for interaction with the other elements. He must hone his mind and his psyche and his body to fight and battle and win his way through. He is rewarded for this with all the riches this life can give him. His payment is there and his greatest challenge is that he must make this payment at the end, after the prize is won and he is living the good life. The others often pay up front, but the hero must, after having all, willingly and gladly give it up for death. That our society ends most hero's paths with the championship won, is a sad, sad neglect for the magic of earth magic which lies in the great mystery of the sacrifice.
Chapter Two: Initiation into Heroism - The Pitfall of Social Success
- Humphrey Bogart
The expression "bambi eyes" is used for children who have learned the art of charm. Charm is more than beguiling those who would harm you or deny you something. Charm is innocence. Charm is the ability to channel luck or bounty or grace. Charm is now confined to silly things like rabbit's feet and lucky pennies, but it used to be something that humans had, in particular, one human had. A young person who has charm is one who seems always to get out of every scrape completely innocent. All heroes have this kind of charm. They are set up at odds in a horrible situation and yet, somehow, escape it. They do not escape by skill like the trickster or by channeling destructive energy like the witch, but through some kind of just dumb luck.
All gamblers know of "just dumb luck". You can do everything right and have everything fail. But you can also do nothing right and still succeed. Some people are gifted in this way. If they learn to put forward this gift, they learn early that they will be the ones picked for the team, regardless of their size or skill. If they are smart, they really want to be on the team and they will practice their skills and hone their abilities and learn to trust their instincts.
None of the other magics can rely upon instinct like earth magic can. Fire magic makers must learn to use intuition, but earth magic seekers must learn to "trust the force" as they say in Star Wars. Trust is a significant part of this process, for a seeker of earth magic often learns that he or she is just born with abilities and skills for a particular action or fate. Sometimes they doubt this, but the most common thing said by successful people was that they always just knew that things would go their way.
This kind of magic has been studied and some have tried to teach it. Books like Do What you Love and the Money will Follow and Follow Your Bliss are books that try to get people to access this magic and trust in their fate. Unfortunately, they don't work for anyone except members of the earth magic clan. Books for other magics exist such as The Art of War for users of air magic and Women Who Run with the Wolves for people of water magic and biographies of poets and artists and scientists for makers of fire magic. Iron John, The White Goddess, Fire in the Belly, The Hero with a Thousand Faces and Fire in the Belly are all earth magic books as well as the hundreds and hundreds of hero's journeys such as King Arthur's and Frodo Baggins's.
The problem with success is that success breeds success and wealth breeds wealth and most heroes are successful, not just because of luck, but because of birth. People struck by fortune are almost always blind to the fact that it is fortune and not some ability or innate skill in and of themselves. Although true heroes are possessed of a natal humility, many heroes can feel deep down that they are on a crest of a wave and that they have no control over it's crashing. Early on they begin to look for security and, in particular, security within their group.
They wear the "right" clothes. They look nice and upstanding. They adopt the lingos and language of their group of choice. They affect all the body language and the prejudices of the group. They mimic the elders of the group, beginning with that first mentor, the father. They do all they can to keep that star shining and to keep that spotlight from going away. For them, social success is material success and the success of the team is the success of the members. For every hero wants to be the most popular member of the winning team--the quarterback. In the Harry Potter books, J. K. Rowling makes this even more clear in that Harry wants to be and is the seeker of the winning Quiddich team. He does not want to be the leader, but the seeker, the hero and the person who wins the game.
When a person is socially successful, their way becomes the right way. Often this leads to a confusion of values. The values of earth magic are material, but the values of earth magic are not a moral code like that held by the warriors. The value of earth magic is life, abundance, wealth, riches, and security. These are all values of the agricultural roots of earth magic, in that the hero is the charm or luck that makes the harvest abundant enough to last the winter. The values of earth magic are values that PROTECT the group against anti-life threats such as famine, war, death and want. A moral code cannot do that.
In the sarcastic words of a trickster friend of mine, "it starts with not have time to mow your lawn and, suddenly, they see you as eco-fascist against their democractic values". You must take this warning for what it is: politics and morals will kill earth magic. The earth is not made fertile and abundant by fear and xenophobia. Fear is your greatest enemy. It will disguise itself in a threat to the random values of your group. We live in an age of fear. For the politicians and warriors of air magic, there is no fear, for you there is--a lot of it. For you have something to lose. But earth magic protects the land, not the king. I will repeat this. Earth magic protects the land, not the king.
You cannot personalize glory and charm. It is a gift. To command and serve this gift, you cannot control others to keep giving to you, so to speak. You cannot make them shine the spotlight at you. By your own actions, by the way you perform the quest, the light will shine. You have to try to understand that nothing about this path is personal. It does not matter if you win this game, but you have to play in the best way that you can.
To understand that you are the charm of the land, and that you are not the "best person for the job" but the chosen person for the job, it may help you to try to answer these questions.
A = usually B = sometimes C = mostly not
_____ 1. Do I crave a battle to give my life purpose?
_____ 2. Do I think that life would be easier if I was a winner?
_____ 3. Do I watch people who are considered to be successful?
_____ 4. Would I have trouble overcoming failure in myself?
_____ 5. Would I have trouble overcoming failure in another?
_____ 6. Do I look for a mate who can help me in the struggle to succeed?
_____ 7. I am freaked out by people who will not defend the rights of others?
_____ 8. Do I have morals about how I should live my life?
_____ 9. Do I condemn people who do not share my morals?
_____ 10. Is it important to fight the best with what you have no matter the odds?
Add up your points. A = 2, B = 1, C = 0.
0-5 You don't have a problem with a personalizing glory.
6-15 Sometimes you have a problem with thinking you made a mistake. You might want to think about the situations in which your preparations outweigh your abilities.
16-20 Personal glory is a trap for you. You need to be careful.
A = usually B = sometimes C = mostly not
_____ 1. Do I find most people courageous for some reason or other?
_____ 2. Do I think that life can be made more plentiful and abundant?
_____ 3. Do I want to help everyone I meet?
_____ 4. Do I find it easy to overcome failure in myself?
_____ 5. Do I find it easy overcome failure in another?
_____ 6. Do I look for someone to help?
_____ 7. Do I see some people growing more content as they age?
_____ 8. Do I find each person unique in the way that they are courageous?
_____ 9. Do I find that I can't define the good fight?
_____ 10. Is it important to live life as if you were brave?
Add up your points. A = 2, B =1, C = 0.
0-5 The path of heroism will be a challenge, but worthwhile.
6-15 You will meet challenges and you will find many things easy, on this path.
16-20 Although this journey will be easy for you, the end result is always worthwhile.
To avoid the trap of personalizing social success, you can try to remember that you shall not be rewarded for it in the end. It is because of this social success, that marks you as the chosen one, that you will be called upon to sacrifice yourself for the land. This has been repeated so often by so many generals to so many soldiers that it starts to sound hoaky.
But think of it this way. If you are a fireman, you are chosen for your ability to protect people and goods from the ravages of fire. If you form a fireman's code and demand that everyone live by this code and transfer this code to the cause of fires and decide that all fires are started by arson by those who do not obey the fireman's code and spend all your time hunting down people who might not obey the fireman's code, then where will you be when the lightning strikes or the wiring fails or an accident occurs and a city burns down? Your best energy is spent learning to fight fires, not to try to personalize fire fighting and get xenophobic about those not fighting fires.
If this sounds silly, let me put it another way.
If you are a soldier, you were chosen because the people you love need someone to fight off the hoards of raiders who will steal your goods, rape your women and destroy your lands so that your children will starve. No you can personalize this job, seeing all people as fellow soldiers or as potential spies and terrorists and enemies within. You can spend all your time trying to teach the young the code of the soldier and to recognize anyone who does not live by these values. You can spend all your efforts guarding your own people who have transgressed this code and where will you be when your country is invaded? You'd be better off learning to defend your people and to fight well.
Spiritually, this problem is much more subtle. To embrace earth magic, you must turn from yourself and your fear and look outward at the beauty and bounty of the earth. You are its defense. You are its savior. Your people will shower you with love because they know that you are the person putting your life on the line when things go wrong. You're only there when things go wrong. And they do. Fortune can turn the wheel. A good harvest can be followed by a bad harvest. Famine and disease can strike at any time. Fortune chose you for fortune's game. You had good luck in being the chosen one and the bad luck to be the chosen one.
You cannot focus on the luck part. Earth magic chooses you. You go out on your quest to defend life and wealth and fortune chooses you for earth magic. It is a gift. It is out of your hands. It is not because of you. It is your choice to go on the quest. But it is not your choice to be chosen as the champion.
Chapter Three: The Threshold of Fortune - Hearing the Call of Popularity
- Bill Gates
When the garden is dry, you water it. When the weeds are choking the small plants, you pull them. When a flock gets lost, you find them. When your pigs are sick, you try to heal them. If you, the initiate feel something is wrong in your heart, you must go forth and find a cure.
The path is so well known that you might have seen it before. But magically speaking, you are just a guy (gal) in the the ordinary world minding your own business. But something happens. You sit bolt upright and know that you must get your act together. If you are pure of heart and kind in deed, the earth or the world will speak to you and ask you to rise up out of the common man as the champion. But to become the champion, you must be chosen. To be chosen, you must go out on the path, blind and trusting, and take the leap off the cliff.
Often hearing the call might be something insigfigant like an upcoming school election or tryouts for a sports team. If your team has failed over and over again, you might just be the one to turn that luck around. If other people think so, too, than you should set off down the road, like Dorothy to the Land of Oz. You will meet many people on that road who will help you, but the person you usually meet before you get to the first challenge is the mentor.
As a quester for earth magic, almost always you will meet a mentor. This is another way to go onto this path, is to trust your mentor, your coach, or any other authority figure in your life. They will know the way and they will help you. If you are trusting and not caught up in the splendor of your own glory, you can humbly ask them to help you on this way.
1 Manifestation Disappearance
2 Valuation Frustration
3 Exchange Indigence
4 Mastery Futility
5 Competition Desertion
6 Success Destruction
7 Theft Invention
8 Organization Industry
9 Security Diversification
10 Persecution Tolerance
The mentor is the master of magic. He is Dumbledore, Gandalf, Obi Wan Kenobi or a sergeant or a professor or some other master of magic. He will evaluate you in a flash and set you on your way to the first threshold. There you will be challenged. If you pass the first test, you will be initiated.
The first person to set down this path in a very clear format was Joseph Campbell in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Here is his path. Below is an expanded path tied into the cards of the Tarot based on the work of Sir James Frazer and Robert Graves and other mythographers. It is also the path of religious initiation, as old as history itself.
The World of the Common Day
H1 - The Fool: The Call to Adventure
Refusal of the Call
Crossing the First Threshold
H2 - Fortune: The Belly of the Whale
Descent, Initiation, Penetration Descent, Initiation, Penetration
The Road of Trials
Meeting with the Goddess
H3 - The Lovers: Woman as Temptress
Atonement with the Father
The Ultimate Boon
H4 - The Champion: Return
Refusal of Return
The Magic Flight
Rescue from Within
Crossing the Threshold
H5 - Judgment: Return
Master of Two Worlds
Freedom to Live
Fall From Grace
H6 - The Emperor: Consolidation of the Kingdom
Call to Sacrifice
Refusal of Call
Saving the Son
H7 - The Hanged Man: The Sacrificed King
Dying for the Sins of Man
8 - The Resurrected Sun/Son
Here is a melding of the important points of
the paths next to the minor arcana path of the Tarot for the suit of disks, or the path of
earth magic with the obverse and reverse meanings.
1 Manifestation/Disappearance - The World of the Common Day: The Fool
2 Valuation/Frustration - Crossing the First Threshold: Fortune
3 Exchange/Indigence - Woman as Temptress: The Lovers
4 Mastery/Futility - The Ultimate Boon: The Chariot
5 Competition/Desertion - Crossing the Threshold: Judgment
6 Success/Destruction- Consolidation of the Kingdom: The Emperor
8 Organization/Industry - Dying for the Sins of Man: The Hanged Man
10 Persecution/Tolerance - The Resurrected Sun/Son: The Sun
Has anyone today asked you to be a hero? Would you know what that meant?
It is said that the spiritual goal of sports is to learn to fight without the personal anger and kill or be killed mode common to the trickster. Many people say that sports is a way to train the young how to be aggressive and competitive without being violent. Although the trickster fights with the cold head, he fights to win and win he will, against all odds, no matter what it takes. He will stab a knife in the dark or defame a person with invented scandal. He is vicious and cruel and has no mercy. It is his job.
The path of earth magic demands that you give all of this up and learn the values of the sporting field. Cuchulain was of Ulster, the Irish land to the North. But Finn MacCumhail was of the East and the caste of farmers. Finn belonged to a group of young men who founded the Finn. The Ulster heroes fought alone and more often than not, against each other, Cuchulain no exception. The Finn was a band, like Robin Hood's Merry Men or Rolland's Peers or the Knights of the Round Table. In Celtic countries of ancient times, twelve men formed a fighting unit headed up by the thirteenth, who was their leader. The number 13 is superstitious because the leader was either the warrior or the king and did not belong to the band, did not practice the camaraderie of the band and was sacred to the band, but not of the band.
Of all virtues that you need to pass down the path of earth magic without getting stuck, you need the virtues of the Finn.
Loyalty - to learn to love those whom you will work with
Fair Play - to learn to play fair and fight for the people, not against them
Camaraderie - to learn to work with your band as one person, not as many
Trust - to learn to help and be helped without hesitation
Virtue - to learn to strike evil from your heart so that you may see clearly
Prowess - to strike only when you need but to strike true
These are the virtues of the playing field and also the values of the group that must work together like a group of firemen putting out a fire or a group of reapers getting in the grain or a group of builders putting up a wall.
Chapter Four: Finding the Path
- Annie Dillard Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Earth magic is heart magic. You cannot seek a path with your mind, you must be there and have your heart tell you "hey, this is the path". The best way to find a path is to go on a mission for your king. Almost every earth magic Fairy Tale begins in this way. The old king is dying, his sons go to find him the water of life. Someone is stealing the king's fruit, the sons spend the night in the orchard to capture the thief. The old king dies and orders the boys to go off and seek their fortunes. You may not be the son of a literal king, but every worker of earth magic is the son of a king. Whether that king/father/teacher/guardian is old or young or tyrannical or just or weak or strong--he is a good reason to go out into the world.
Another good reason to go out into the world is to learn the language of the earth. In Fairy Tales often the hero must learn the language of the beasts or the stones so that he can accept their assistance. You should know by now that no hero walks alone. He has sidekicks, mentors, animal helpers, buddies--he must accept help where it is offered in a humble and gracious way.
out in the world is one of the best ways to get a feeling for the world that will stay
with you for the rest of your life. Helping to build a house is a way to get close to
houses in a way that will stay with you. Help take apart a car. Go to help your father
at work. Intern with a teacher over the summer. Go with a guide, out into the world of
your choice. You heart will tell you when you've made the right choice, so try many things
if you can.
Traveling is the best way to understand that you are a defender of the world, a member of the population and of Planet Earth. Traveling lets you see the faces of other people so that you will not fear them. Fear for you is not-knowing. Xenophobia and hatred begins with not being able to see the face of the enemy or only seeing his differences. Traveling out of the kingdom out into the world automatically makes you humble as all strangers have to be humble. Only the workers of air magic can go to another place and afford to be scornful of the help. It's far better for you to go someplace and be the help. Organizations like the Peace Corps are excellent places for you to learn to hear the Earth's voices. The Army is not as good, but if given no other choices, go for it.
Pulitzer prize winner, Robert Olen Butler, talks about his experiences in Viet Nam that led him to write, Good Scent from a Strange Mountain. He was the only one he knew who when called up for duty in Viet Nam, actually made some effort to learn the language. His experience in that land was the opposite of the men he knew because of this. Because he knew the language and the people of this country had a real face for him and were not just "slant-eyed gooks", he was able to come back from Viet Nam a larger person, a better person, a person who had found the path instead of a nightmare.
Another person I know talked of his experience as a child on an air base in Germany. He went to the military school on the base, but he played soccer with the locals. He was able to learn German and he remembers being in Germany with great fondness for his experiences on the playing field and with his fellow soccer players. He belonged to Germany in a way that none of the other kids did. He had found a path.
Another kid, from a rotten neighborhood, got to join a Parks program in which he spent the summer building paths and doing grunt work through a national park. At the end of the summer he took back with him a piece of the park and later went on to be a ranger and an activist for conservation. He feels himself a protector of wild life and wild spaces that generations after him will appreciate. In this, he has found a life-long path.
The accumulation of stuff and entrenchment at an early age will damage your chances of finding the path. Poverty is one of the tenants of this magic. As Annie Dillard says, one must live a life where "finding a penny will literally make your day". Yet even more damaging is the denial of experience and fearing to leave your home. To find a path, you must leave your home, because leaving home is often the only way to find your home.
If you are landlocked, try to go to the ocean. If you are from the East, try to go to the West, and from the South to the North, etc. Traveling and living in another place, if only for a short while will sharpen your senses. Working there will make your experience part of your lifelong path. Often going to college is the way that kids do this, but college is often for the elite unless you can play sports unusually well. Yet in every tourist town and in every major city, young people pour in to work at whatever they can to broaden their experience.
If you like to ski, take a
year and go work at a ski slope. If you like boats try to get on as a merchant marine.
If you like horses, try to go get a job as a stable boy. Go with what you feel and ignore
your parents if you have to. If mom harasses you about being a doctor or a lawyer, quote
to her from Follow Your Bliss and tell her that you are making a few mistakes now
to prevent a mid-life crisis when you are 40. Since she is probably near this age, she
will admire your foresight. Remember she's just worried about you starving or getting in
prison. Well, you might before it is over. That, too, is part of the path.
Adopting a Stone
One of best ways to find a path is to adopt a stone. This does not mean to carry around a stone, but to go to place and make it yours. Part of earth magic is owning and possessing. Other people use things or destroy and create things. Your part is to own them. The most earthy and rooted people are those who have adopted a stone or a mountain or a field or a tree or a river and watched it through the seasons, walking along it, getting to know it, making it part of you in a way that true ownership does. Ownership means knowing and understanding. The best defender is a person who knows what he defends and knows it well enough to confuse and befuddle invaders. Owning means making a map, not literally, but in your heart. Knowing the seams and creases and chips and pieces and substance of the stone.
The first thing that a commander will want is a man who knows the territory or the path. If the path is yours, if you fully own and understand the path, you can be a guide or a pathfinder for others of a team that is defending a territory. You will fight better for something that you know, own and love with all your heart. Remember, sometimes seeing something means leaving it and returning with new eyes.
A stone does not have to be a thing; it can be a profession. Adopting a profession is just as involved an ownership as adopting a mountain. Some people adopt families, but this involves more magic than is on the earth path and adopting a stone is between you an the thing owned. People cannot be owned in the same way.
Remember, ownership is love. Love means open hands to go forward to a thing. If you feel the fear and want to retract, listen to your heart. Always follow your heart, no matter what others may think about it. If you give up a fortune to save your soul, you have saved your soul.
Learning to Listen
Other workers of magic must learn to listen in order to do something. You need to listen just to listen. Listening is learning to hear over the flood of voices in your mind. When Luke Skywalker is trying to fight becoming a Jedi, he gives excuses and wise old Obi Wan says "now that is your father talking". Listening is leering to listen to your heart over the voices of those you respect and love and fear.
Listening is a scary thing. Sometimes you will hear things that will make your heart race with the idea of doing something wild or adventurous or radical. Every path into the unknown is scary to contemplate. What listening means is feeling this feeling over the fear of failure, the fear of loss, the fear of rejection, the fear of harm, over all the fears that are associated with the secure, warm den of your home.
Listen to the wind rattling the door. Listen to the rain on the roof. Listen to the thunder and the far off voices of the storm. Fell how comfortable you are. How warm and full and sleepy in the pack of your fellows. This is the temptation, this is the sweet taste of security that hides the steel jaws of the trap of a greater fear. The longer you postpone your trip, the more settled you will become and the more tightly you will be bound. The time for binding is later, not now. Now you are free and you need to run hither and thither seeking the path.
Chapter Five: The Protection of Arms
- Muhammed Ali
As a walker of the path of earth magic, you have to hone your physical skills. In turn, these skills can help you stave off attackers. We hear too much in our society about men who rely too heavily on their physical strength for defense, turning instead upon those they love. But that does not alter the fact that most often your defense is not verbal, not deceptive, not psychological, but straightforward, involving the skills you learned on the playing field.
Part of the defense is knowing when to fight. Often the Finn learned the skills of the hunt to avoid becoming prey themselves. The hero's leap, mimicking that of the salmon, was used by the hero to get away from someone as well as to chase someone down.
Part of the defense is knowing when the best defense is an offense. Preemptive attacks are very effective, yet among the most dangerous to use effectively without increasing your general paranoia.
The East is deep in skills of the martial arts. Most of these arts are defensive arts, only some are more dance like or strictly for dueling. Tai Chi Chu'an is a better art for water magic initiates, Karate or Fencing for air magic initiates. Kung Fu is one of the best of the defensive arts and one of the most abused by outsiders to try to intimidate people weaker than they. I cannot urge you enough that if you decide to take a martial art, go to school or get a master. Learn the philosophy with the art for that will save your soul. Skimming the surface of things is your biggest downfall. You must root to the earth and own the skill. The shallow rooted plant will dry up and fail to thrive and blow over in the slightest wind.
Skills learned on the playing field are among the best. You not only learn physical coordination and control, but you learn when to attack, when to defend, when to run, when to stand your ground, when to act on your own and when to hold back. The better sports for earth magic initiates are the sports that are more social and less hierarchal. Soccer is better than American football. Team swimming is better than individual swimming. Tennis doubles is better than tennis singles. Part of the skill set is working with another, not just combat. Leave dueling sports like tennis singles to warriors. You are a hunter and a soldier, not a warrior. warriors fight for fun. You fight to defend or for need.
That is perhaps the simplest way to put the trap of defense by arms. Are you fighting for fun? Does it give you a thrill to beat someone, so much so that you attack people who are not up to your own skill level? Back off. If you get a thrill out of the competence you share with your teammates in pitting yourself against other, BETTER, teams then you are on the path.
The greatest situation for walkers of the path is a win-win scenario. You all get together, you play a great game, everyone hones their skills and gets a good workout and everyone goes home the better for it. Exchange and marketing are also a large part of this path. Good economics means that everyone wins. You sell something, someone buys something, you both are better for the exchange, richer and happier.
Avoid situations like the plague if you are defrauding someone or someone is defrauding you. To defraud someone, to sell cheap goods or to do a bad job or to exchange out of anger and revenge rather than joy and winning is to act out of the earth and to lose your balance and your roots. Rootless soldiers, like Ronin, are a plague to everyone. Defrauding someone is beating up someone who can't fight back very well. Bad for your soul.
The other thing to avoid is showing off. Sure, you feel good about your abilities and the fact that your team has won. The women (or men) throw themselves at you. You feel your popularity rise and you want to enjoy the good life while you can. Hold back. Indulging in the good life too early will lead you to that warm den again with that huge trap. Sometimes that trap's name is Woman. Eventually you will want to sire a family, but a king sires a family, not a fool or even a champion. Your heart will know when you are ready to become the king. Then you will get all the rewards of life and feel that you deserve them. Getting them too early short circuits learning enough skills to become the champion. It chokes your roots and smothers you.
As you rise in your skills and physical prowess and team popularity, people will envy you. Your life will become filled with traps to steal your charm to make someone else's life lucky. Part of your defense is to look at everyone who comes along and think, do they want me, or do they want luck and fortune? If your heart says the latter, STAY AWAY. This is the part of your defense training that says RUN! Run like hell. Beauty will want your fortune. Talent will want your luck. And those tricksters will be on your tail.
In The Right Stuff, astronaut Gus Grissom is seen loading his suit down with dimes before he goes into orbit to sell a dime that has been into space to collectors. The writers of this movie show how he fell into the trap of selling his luck and when he lost his luck (lost the spacecraft) his life was a living hell for a while. Astronaut Glenn is portrayed almost as a goodie-goodie, refusing all the favors and treats of fame and fortune and protecting his wife from publicity. He is remembered in a better light for his love of family instead of wanting to sell his fame.
Also remember, that society itself defends you. If you are outside of society's bounds, you are off your path again. If society is in flux, you may find yourself having to take sides and break the bounds of the other side. Part of defense is knowing your enemies. Knowing your enemies for a walker of the earth path is as simple as knowing your friends. If your friends are threatened, defend them and you will automatically be fighting your enemies. You will never be condemned or blamed for defending your friends or your team, no matter what the circumstances. Going out there and looking for enemies is the best way to lose your friends and lose your way. Soon, everyone will be your enemy.
Trust society around you. The rules are there usually for the good of all of you. In a healthy society the dance of the trickster and the tyrant will keep the rules fair and equitable. Your job is to defend against the dark king or the creator run amok. Society is on your side in these situations. You will feel it. The rules will help you, not hinder you. As soon as you question the rules of the game, start questioning yourself. You may be on the wrong path.
Chapter Six: Ways to Tyranny of the Weak
- Gen. George S. Patton
Sufi mystics talk about what is called "rage force", one of the two driving forces of the animal world. In humans, sometimes this force is seen in its pure, naked form, in times of war, during times of great stress or in criminals, yet it is usually overcast by humanity into a force controlled so that it becomes a tool of oppression, control, direction and restraint. When it is revealed, humans look upon it with fascination and horror naming it torture, sadism and megalomania. But who among us does not admire the king or the leader or the self-made financier? We feel that to lay aside this force inside of us is to submit to the herd, completely. The meaning of the Greek "krat" or the Celtic "smacht" involves the subjugation of the other, or hearing the other's voice inside oneself to discipline the self as in hearing the voice of authority within. The word "tol" was the word for a man--a human--who had learned to attack as an act of will, not fear, from a hollow inside the self where no voice roars out in threatening rage.
In the stretch that the hero makes
from his championship over the demons of the other world and his escape to bring the
elixir to the real world he marries, fathers a child and becomes the all father, the king
or the emperor. The trap of this phase is to want to hang onto the rewards that
championship have won, to be that champion over and over again. The temptation is to turn
this force that made you effective against the enemy into a rage against your fate that is
taken out on those who are not responsible and those who cannot fight back.
The trap takes the king into frustration and then to competition and then to pacification of rebellion or punishment of desertion of his cause. Around and around, the enraged father attacks his children, attacks his wife, attacks his people and in fearing retaliation or rebellion orders his men to tighten up and start the witch hunts for any other signs of rebellion.
What is the root of this fear? He is secure. He is fortunate. But he is
aware that he must give himself up and his satisfaction turns sour for fear of someone
stealing it away. A good king is he who has passed the test of true courage. A bad king
is eaten away by the little fears he was able to repress in his championship. In the
peace, he has time to worry and to give way to self doubt and loneliness. Gone are the
days of the pack. Gone are the days of games and youth and winning just to play again.
He is feeling age creep up on him and his fear rises in the dark of his soul. He has
ceased to listen to the voices of the earth and gives ear to those voices within.
Testing true courage.
1. Have I ever saved anyone and expected them to remember it later?
2. Have I ever helped a buddy and then felt betrayed when he wasn't there to help me?
3. Have I ever kept the team together just for old time's sake and not to play any games?
4. Have I ever felt the cold fingers of death at the moment of victory?
5. Have I ever resented fate for being capricious against me?
6. Have I ever struck out at someone without thinking just because I was worried?
7. Have I ever yelled at someone to shut up when I was the one who refused to listen?
8. Have I ever wanted something so badly that I couldn't enjoy it when I had it?
9. Have I ever worried that time was taking my power from me?
10. Have I ever felt relieved after a good fight with someone I care about?
If you answered yes to any of these questions (yes any) you have fallen into the temptation of worry and need to work on true courage. True courage means that you are able to face what comes along, when it comes along and not to have to stay up at night waiting for it or something just because you think something might come along. It has nothing to do with the ability to defend yourself, but with your ability to listen. If you fall into these traps more often than not, you are in the trap of the tomb.
You may reach a point in your wanderings where you want to be settled and marry into a kingdom to call your own. You may fall in love with the land and never want to leave it. You may want to be buried there. The problem with planning for death at this stage is that you may make a tomb of your home without meaning to. "As the thinker thinks, the doer does", so to speak. If you are looking at death, your body will respond with fear or relief, both of which may not be the right feeling for the right time. Now is the time to celebrate life. Yes, you may be mortal, but fearing it won't make it go away. So many kings fell into this trap and left behind huge tombs as momentos of this folly, that my words should not fall of deaf ears. Life insurance is a con to prey upon these fears, so are different legacy set ups. The problem is not now, my friend. All too soon, but not now.
The other trap is to fall prey to deafness.
1. Have I ever heard something wrong?
2. Have I ever swore that I heard the voice of my father in the voice of my son?
3. Have I been sounding like my own father when he yelled at me?
4. Have I ever threatened anyone with disinheritance if they didn't do what I told them to?
5. Have I ever threatened anyone with my fist if they didn't do what I wanted?
6. Have I ever decided that a person was after something just because of a similarity to another cry for help?
7. Have I ever denied a loan or help to someone because I didn't like something they said?
8. Have I kept someone around because their words matched my fears?
9. Have I ever refused to listen?
10. Have I ever laughed at someone because I thought them a fool?
People are only as good as you treat them. If you treat them as robots to listen and obey you without question or response, then you will not hear them. If you learn to listen to the boy who cried wolf!, you will hear wolf! every time you quiet down enough to listen. Everyone is filled with internal voices that tell them why they're not worthy. If fortune put you where you are, these voices may overwhelm you. If you defeated one of your friends who was better than you are just by a fluke and won the kingdom, those inner voices may be quite overwhelming. Courage has nothing to do with not feeling fear. Courage is feeling the fear and refusing to be deaf to the outer world. It takes courage to be a champion. It takes more courage to build a home and a family. As a champion, you know your enemies and have them at arm's length. As the king you are surrounded by friends and your enemies are far away, but your attachment and ownership is so great that you have much, much more to lose than that green boy who beat the dark king.
Worry will make you old before your time. Learn to let go
and enjoy listening to the trees growing.
Chapter Seven: Becoming the God
but you will never imprison my mind."
- Mohandas Gandhi
In every land, there are fortune tellers and fortune tellers. The ancients rarely did anything without an army of seers and oracles directing their decision making. Part of it was pragmatic: if anything went wrong, one could blame the oracle, yet much of it was because people often understand that they see their fate one way and those around them see their fate in a completely different way. The more responsible a person was for the livelihoods of others, the more they needed to see the fate that others saw for them. Even as late the 19th Century, kings and queens were still put to death in order to appease angry gods; a large part of the benefits of being a king went to counteract the scapegoat nature of the job. Thus, the greater the responsibility, the more the kings, warriors, farmers and priests relied on fate, seers, casters of the future, and the associated riff-raff that surrounded those who might be sincere in trying to predict a course of action.
In linguistic history there are body people and head people--people that count their citizens by body or people who count their citizens by head. This determines the nature of their politics. Body people tend to be centralized and authoritarian and workers of earth magic. Head people tend to be nomadic or decentralized and workers of more shamanistic, individualized, air magic. In modern times, the heads and bodies tend to be mixed depending on the linguistic history of the country. Yet, for almost all peoples, heroism is in the heart, although having guts, spleen, or liver implies another kind of courage. For the Greeks, Romans and Celts the, heart was reserved for those who fought from the chariot or from horse with the spear or the lance. Those who lived by the spleen or with guts, were the ditch diggers and the infantry or those of water magic, the serf caste. For the cultures of Earth, the image of the chariot has been replaced by the image of the knight and then the image of the bomber pilot or sea captain--the man who must control a vehicle while at the same time fighting his enemy. The man of heart must be a man of control, strength, endurance and ability, and is saluted by both head and body people as the pinnacle of glory and gallantry. In almost all cultures, this warrior of the vehicle is not a god of war, but a god who drives the sun across the sky. The god of war fights man to man and is for the common soldier. Ra, Helios, Lug and Mithra are all chariot drivers who fight with spear.
The graduation from common soldier to champion means that fortune has rolled the dice and the wheel and a god has arisen from the ranks of the people--a hero of the heart. What makes a hero of the heart?
Victors are greeted with certain expectations. In the languages of the Celts, the word "neart" and all its variations was meant to signify strength, power, plenty, but held in its meaning a responsibility to prevent or the avert disaster or evil. When a figurehead king was elected, it was because of this "charm" he possessed, and like a charm, he is expected to ward off evil.
The word to describe this hero of the heart, or figurehead king was the opposite of the word "smacht" or tyrannical power. The abuse of power was punished by the Celts who outlawed kings of this sort.
People who scoff at the civilization of nomadic or non-centralized peoples should take a look at this fine line drawn between these two kinds of power associated with kings or rulers or leaders. Even the Classical Ancients with all their thirst for empire, knew that a man who possessed smacht and did not possess neart was not long for power and often would overextend his troops and bring upon the people the cataclysm of high taxes, plagues, invasions as a form of retaliation--all manifestations of the anger of the gods.
Victory was never attributed to smacht but always to neart. Only the charmed would have the power to bring the gods upon the side of the victors. It is difficult for republicans to understand this ancient idea--easy to dismiss it as superstition. Yet, earth magic heroic legends support this truth and the Holy Grail could only be found by a person of such purity of spirit that it begins to sound like the charm desired of the Celtic kings.
The height of the path of the initiate of earth magic is here, when he passes through the magical world and is deified. At this point, he can no longer act the part of a man. He must take on the responsibilities of the god king or the scapegoat. This magical event is still celebrated among people like the Catholics with their Feast of Fools.
As the god, a walker of the path of earth magic has passed through the valuation of the judgment of the queen and won the elixir or holy grail or other such prize. These prizes were symbols for the ability to charm the land or to make it fertile. At this point on the path, the champion took his winnings which included the kingship and the queen and was set up, not only to defend the land against invaders, but to defend the soul of the land against any angry gods.
It is difficult at first to deal with this daze of glory. Most successful champions are naturally humble and do not find themselves entirely comfortable with power, property, family and wealth. Roman champions, riding in the chariot at the head of their victory parade were whispered to by a slave who reminded them in the noon of their glory that they were mortal and what fate would give, fate would take away. Knowing that you will have to pay for this will make it easier to take what is given to you as your reward, not for what you have done, but for what you will do. The danger, of course, is with all pre-payment, you might not want to do the work after the reward.
The path of the spirit here seems easy as your star rises and everything seems like heaven on earth. Everything is beautiful and everyone is gracious and happy. The land celebrates your wedding with pomp and partying that lasts for days and days. This is your time to fatten up or to draw up the energies of the world into your godhead to return them to the earth fertilized with the true spirit of courage and purity. This is the time to have a family and to own the land in which you reside, over which you rule.
For most men (or women) who can feel that their home is their castle, this is an easy ride and it is not too difficult to take up the mantle of godhead, especially if everyone wants you to. Ruling is tedious and the sacrifice you have to make will be horrible, but for now, all is roses.
But during this time it is important to use your power as a god in the naming of things and in the owning and knowing of things. Walk through the garden of the spirit and name what you see there. Enjoy each branch and each leaf. Uncover each stone. Hike every trail and look at every sunset. Now is eternity and now is all.
Chapter Eight: Black Magic and Fear
Many people have felt the thrill of victory and have felt the joy of being successful and popular. Many people have enjoyed the fruits of their labors and rested after they have climbed the hill to the top. Sometimes people have failed, or in fearing failure have not tried. Sometimes they have been caught up in events far beyond their control and have lost everything before the moment of glory.
Yet what most people on this path fear more than anything else is the downward swing of the wheel of fortune when one has been at the heights. Most people spend their lives staying at the height and training their children to keep the wheel from turning. Yet there is a saying, "shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations". This means that one man can make a fortune, pass it on to his child, but that the grandchildren will suffer for it having been squandered or mismanaged.
These are actual life stories. But the path of magic is a spiritual path, related in stories and religious dramas, an interaction between the soul and the natural world. The path of earth magic is the path of the dying and resurrected king, and yes, Jesus was a walker of this path. But so are so many other characters from stories--it's just rare to see the end. We have some beautiful stories other than the story of Jesus as examples. In the North among the Celts and the Norse there are the stories of Arthur, Beowulf, Baldur and Llew Llaw Gyffes or Lugh of the Silver Arm. In the South, Osiris is the Egyptian variant, the Greeks had too many to name--Adonis, Apollo, Dionysus, Heracules--and the Romans passed to the world the story of Mithras that is still celebrated today among secret societies.
Over and over we here tales as late as the 19th Century of scapegoat kings who wriggled out of their service to their people in offering up a substitute slave to take their place as the sacrifice. For thousands of years people have wanted the glory and not wanted to pay the price.
In reality, the price was death. Spiritually, the price is the death and rebirth of the soul. In reality, this drama is reenacted over and over again as each generation gives up its health and power and life to the next generation. Even if technology extends the human life span indefinitely, this drama will continue to occupy the walkers of the path of earth magic.
No one wants to die. Know that. You are not the first, you will not be the last, (yet). Even with immortality there will be the magic of the dying king. The problem with the magic of the dying king, is that it is not the dying that is the magic, it is the rebirth. No king who offered himself up knew that he would live again. But there are ways to manage the fear and ways to insure that your death, physical or of the soul, will not be wasted.
Although the dream of monks and saints has been the everlasting glory of heaven, nature does not support this dream. Sex is mortality and mortality is sex. Sex, not in the procreative sense, but in the birthing of a new generation. Each year the vegetable puts on this furious show of setting seed in time for winter. Each year the animals go through the fury of birthing and raising the next generation before the winter. In the tropics, the show goes on all year, sometimes as sharply marked by the arrival of the monsoon. People who followed the path of agriculture had to understand this cycle to survive.
There is a joke that people from the Northern States who move to the south, plant all their seed in April and May like they did up North. If they were depending on these crops to survive, they would all die, for the season begins in Arizona and Florida and Mexico in the autumn so that the crops can be harvested before the blistering heat of May and the floods of summer. To deny this cycle of growth, harvest, death and rebirth is to deny knowledge of the earth. Yet, over and over, each generation wants to hold on, to offer up a substitute. "Take him, so that I might live a little longer". In the greatest of fears, people invented stories of vampires, creatures who could only be immortal by taking another life.
In your deepest fear, you must realize that to hold onto your soul, you condemn yourself to a living hell where you must take the souls of others to keep your soul alive. Here is Lord Voldemort, Count Dracula, the black kings of Numenor, and the crux of many Satanic rituals. For most of these kings, the elixir of life is blood, usually the blood of an innocent.
For the soul, drinking this blood means finding a source of nourishment or life that will sustain your own. Psychologically this takes the form of buying that hot car or dumping your older wife for a young one or getting a hairpiece or a facelift or wearing clothing affected by the young. It is called a mid-life crisis. For the soul, the mid-life crisis is more serious. It is a restlessness combined with a lethargy as if your brain was on fire but your legs were paralyzed. It is accompanied by dreams of smothering and suffocating while the body is paralyzed. You begin to feel bound and restless but unable to free yourself and panic begins to set in.
Some people feel this is a clue that you have too much responsibility or that your life has stagnated. This is not true and will lead you to the thrashing of mid-life crisis. What you are feeling is the closing in of the walls of the living tomb and it is real. It is not a sign of anything, it is real and true and not something that you can talk about any more than you can talk of being afraid of the dark.
The popular television series, The Sopranos, stars an aging don who is suffering from the panic attacks of the dying king. His psychiatrist keeps telling him that he is in denial and that his attacks are stress related and have to do with his issues with his mother. But for Tony Soprano, this kind of advise is belittling for he is being smothered alive in his tomb and at his side is the crone of his mother, actually trying to kill him. He has tried all the mid-life remedies. A young girl friend, boats, cars, trips to Italy, drugs, drink, but the only thing that works for him is murder--not murder of his pals that makes him even more claustrophobic, but murder of people he sees as threats to the group.
What Tony does not understand is that he is locked into a loop in the path that will lead him deep into dark magic. But he understands it in his heart, in his soul. What Tony's soul wants is to die, well not to die, to reincarnate. But Tony is in the dark. He cannot see his resurrection, his reincarnation. All he can see is death, closing in. That it is a real thing with his mother overseeing his torment is a story element. This is a perfect example of how we make our lives fit the path of the soul. In a story, the elements of the story always reflect the path of the soul. If we see patterns in our lives and in our psyches it is because we have spends thousands and thousands of years seeing the world through these soul paths.
What will help Tony are two things. What will help Tony
is to become blinded by the light of his resurrection. Because he is locked into a
religion that considers there to only be one resurrection, they might encourage him to be
reborn into Christ. Because of Tony's background, he will dismiss this as a state that he
is barred from, which is true. At several points, Tony survives a near miss with death
and he is elated. What he feels from these physical misses is his soul's capture of the
light of his resurrection for one moment. Many people grow addicted to these near misses
with death and love the feeling so much of surviving that they put themselves into greater
and greater risks to feel it over and over. The problem with this is that the soul
rapidly habituates to this "thrill" and it requires more and more of an effort
to achieve it.
What Tony needs is the vision of his soul's transmigration.
Before he can achieve this the second thing that Tony needs is forgiveness and nourishment from the triple goddess. He is attended by the crone, the matron and the girl but his shrink is right. His relationship is healthy with none of these women. His queen is engaged in complicated family politics and Tony panics every time she harasses him about them. His mother is also engaged in complicated family politics. His daughter is still innocent and seems to be, from the story, Tony's one way out. The only time he feels really good about himself is when he begs the blessing of his daughter and she grants it, graciously, with all the power of love and water magic. If Tony's queen and crone embraced and forgave him in this way, he would be free of the feelings of claustrophobia. At times, Carmen is able to forgive him, but then she's off into the politics again. Tony needs to shake her out of it and to get her to give to him the water magic that will help him back around the corner, through the death of the king.
In this complex map, you can see that the heroic path is intersected by the spiral at a number of points. While it overlaps the magicians path, the magician is always there in one form or other, but the power of fire and water magic is only there during crises. When the hero enters the threshold at 2, he sometimes has a fleeting glimmer of beauty or talent. At point 3, aptly ruled by the Lovers, he meets his possible queen, beauty, or the holder of the water of life, or he meets the dark queen, Persephone, who will lure him with the exchange of his soul for the power of fire. Again, he has fleeting glimmers of fire as he comes into his power as champion at point 4. At point 5, the return threshold, he meets the queens again as Justice or Judgment. Either he is judged to have "won" the prize and freed the elixir for use in the world or he is burned by the fire of failure. In femme fatale romances he often dies here.
As he rises to the position of the king at point 6, he sees the power of water magic wash over him either as a whirling flood of politics that swamps him at point 7 at his sacrifice or as a gentle rain that showers over him with blessing, compassion and beauty and eases him gently into the earth.
You see, for Tony's soul to be reborn into the light of the rising son, into the warmth of the turning year, into the bounty of the next generation, he must have this blessing. He is torn between his daughter at the lower point 3, his wife, bogged down in the whirlpool at 6 and his mother who grins at him from the darkness of points 8 and 9 where her own stagnation and horrific appetites have made her into an ogress of death who watches for him, frightening him out of his wits. Notice, Livia is always eating. Her name connects her to the queen of politics from Caesar Augustus's household who was always trying to poison him and get her own son, Tiberius on the throne. Although his shrink doesn't really understand it, it is Tony's mother, or the ogress of his fear is the one blackening his vision of resurrection.
To overcome your fear at this point, to keep from taking your pleasure in drinking the blood of young people who would threaten you, find the water magic. Is it flooding and swamping you? Is it nourishing you and giving you the blessing to transmigrate? Do not look for a real person, but for the ogress or mother of mercy for your soul.
Chapter Nine: Sacrifice
and as that natural fear in children is increased by tales, so is the other."
- Sir Francis Bacon
In the practice of earth magic, the greatest tie to religion still remains. In water magic, we still hear people extolling us to "turn the other cheek" and many religions still celebrate the Mother of Compassion. Fire and air magic have been almost completely vilified and turned into the "devil's magic" yet are closest to the old remounts of Wicca that is even older than the Druids. Earth magic is so close to some of the major religions that you may feel as though you are committing a sacrilege just to read about the dying and reborn king that lies at the end of this path. If you have some spooks lingering in this department, it may be much easier to think of the story of Arthur. Arthur is said to be "the once and future king". His story is put on hold at the moment of his transportation to Avalon where he sleeps until his resurrection to save the world at its greatest moment of threat. Some people thought that Arthur would rise in WWII as others before them longed for his release in earlier conflicts.
The mystery of the sacrifice is practiced in many ways all over the world. In most Celtic and Greek mysteries, the dying king is entombed in a living tree. In many other rituals such as the mystery of Osiris, he is torn into fourteen pieces by his brother for Isis to put back together.
In a more profane explanation, the dying king is the goal for the trickster. The trickster, or the Tanist, Set, in these rituals, exposes or rips up the king, thus taking his life or his power over the earth. In many stories, the trickster detective uncovers the killer as a man of power and prestige who then kills himself rather than face the shame of exposure. For someone like Tony Soprano to "die", all that has to happen is for a clever detective to trip him up and shame him. To stay true to mythology, his son would then rise to power after the trickster ruled for a time and would kill him. This cycle of brother against brother against son is the story of the sun or the moon, both who come and go and affect the natural order of the planet.
At this point in the path, you must expose or rip up your soul, feeling the power of the wind to rip from you your edifice of fear and glory, blowing down the stone walls of the tomb.
Have you ever seen some edifice of your soul build up into a tomb? This is your chance on the path of earth magic to free yourself. If you are oppressed or persecuted or frustrated or taking out your rage on others, striking at them from the fear you hear inside of your head, this is your chance.
The 12 Step Program insists that you turn over your life to a higher power. This is the same thing. For walkers of the path, you must turn back to that power that infused you with the charm of the earth. You must go down upon your knees and expose the multitude of sins to die. They will not be all your sins of your doing, but you can take up the sins piled upon you over the long years of your rule and rend them into bits and bury them where they will give the charm back to the land. The others around have to know that you are destroying all the sins of your rule. They have to be behind you on this, gathered around you, your family, your friends and your comrades in arms. And they have to let you resurrect. If they let you rot in the ground, if they hold the sins over your head as a huge stone to cap your tomb, then you will not rise again and they will starve.
You must be creative in convincing them that they will starve in the desert created by the wind. They will fear that you will rise again a zombie to feed upon them in ever growing strength with each person you destroy. They must be convinced and you must convince them. You may have to show them that you are willing to give up your life of sins and that they will have to trust in the power of the earth to take up these crimes and in the power of the water to heal them. Call upon fire magic, too, if you need, knowing that fire is the ultimate cleansing. They must create between them the rains of the monsoon. They must forgive. They must let go. And so must you. You may have to do this a few times to get it right. But once you do you will know instantly, through your heart, that you have walked the path of the earth and you have received the blessing of abundance and life.
Epilogue - The Center of Being
The path of every religion, magic, personality development and personal history is to arrive where every path crosses. This crossroads is the point where you become flexible of mind. This means that, although you have walked the earth magic path, you are not on that path, you know it yet you can choose to use it or not, depending on the circumstances. Most religions recognize that the ability to choose how you dance the dance of life is what enlightenment is all about. Many people think that enlightenment means opting out of the dance. It does not. Dancing the dance is being human and enlightened people have accepted their part as human.
But what happens when humans no longer have to be human? Most of enlightenment is also preparation for death and the next stage. Tibetan monks practice all kinds of ways to keep hold of consciousness when they die. Dr. Stephen LaBerge who proved with EEG studies to the scientific community that conscious dreaming was a real thing gave one of his DreamLights to the Dali Llama. The Llama was thrilled to have a device to help with lucid dreaming, a way that the monks practice holding onto consciousness. LaBerge demonstrates that, not only can spiritual states be demonstrable and accessible, but that technology can help people access these states. He also discovered that there was a common pattern to the evolution of people's exploration of the dream world. Most people began with flying and fighting and worked up to dealing with personal demons and then let go of control and sought spiritual insight.
Will other technologies offer us this path so similar to other spiritual paths? It depends on how fast they arrive and how prepared we are to deal with them. People, like the Dali Llama who have achieved the center with a flexible mind, will be able to embrace these technologies to go further into a super human state without spending time dealing with, what I call, monkey baggage.
Another group of Californians, who call themselves Extropians, are desperately eager for what is known as "uploading". This means taking the consciousness and individuality of a person and putting it into another substrate as if it were software. They long for immortality and infinite computational abilities for their expanded minds. Sadly, many of these people are looking forward to interacting with one another with ultra-beautiful bodies and shimmering personalities that will win them the attention of the group. Some want to relive parts of their childhoods with themselves as the hero. Others want only to go on adventures where the bounds of Earth do not exist and they have superhuman powers.
Will they all become enlightened quickly enough to not be overwhelmed by the distractions of this technology? Everyone plays out their own version of the afterlife. One of the fears of this new technology is that the first person to upload will conquer the afterlife and put their stamp upon it so that everyone else will have to be angels to the god who got there first.
Of course, this is silly. But the temptations exist.
Most of human life is kind of silly, but we engage in it with all the passions of our
species. Why would anyone think that a few techno-gizmos will change that? Einstein
didn't. He struck right when he said that the problem lay in the human heart.
Being the opinionated person that I am, I rather think it might be a good thing for most people to get enlightened pretty quickly before the temptation of this new uploading technology gets a serious handhold around our necks. To pretend it won't happen will not make it go away. Like all technologies, the rich and the powerful will want first dibs. Do we want to keep our caste system, locked in the battles of fire versus water and earth versus air for the rest of eternity? Most Science Fiction stories show this scenario. Some do not. Arthur Clarke's Childhood's End is one of the few books with a different scenario, but he is rather vague about it.
Vernor Vinge, another popular writer in this genre, gives more specific scenarios with one of the more positive outlooks for modern Science Fiction.
If you can begin to understand where you are and what you want and what you are doing, you are way ahead of the monkey game. No matter which path you choose to follow, I believe that it is important to choose and to follow it with all the extra energy that you have. Those who find the center will be ready to launch into the "brave new world" of modern magic.
Movies and Books
Ancient Story Motifs:
Set, Osiris, Horus myths (there are thousands)
Jesus, Buddha, other holy leader stories
The Firebird, other Third Son or Foolish Prince fairy tales
Hercules, Theseus and the Minotaur
Sampson and Delilah, Moses, and Joseph stories
Loki and Balder, Lugh of the Silver Hand
King Arthur, the Green Knight
Jack and Beanstalk, most Jack and John variants
Star Wars (the first six movies are the only complete spiral of modern times)
Almost all adventure books and movies are of the heroic type
Indiana Jones, Tom Clancy books, Horatio Hornblower, Huck Finn, the list is endless
Romancing the Stone, Lara Croft (girls can be heroes, too!)
Nearly all comic books, even Batman who is a dark knight
Twilight (another girl hero)
The Blue Sword and the Hero and the Crown - Robin McKinley (girl heroes)
Lord of Rings (this is a true hero story in that Samwise is Everyman, not Frodo)
Harry Potter, almost all fantasy is of this type of story
Books, Stories and Movies that have classic Earth Magic characters, Stories in which
there are two or more who represent multiple sides of this magic:
Samwise Gamgee - Lord of Rings
Anakin Skywalker - Star Wars
Marvel's X-Men Series - Magneto versus the heroes
Leto II in the Dune series
The truncated hero's journey story which ends when the hero returns after defeating the bad guys is so popular that many put this story forth as the only story. It is so popular that most Hollywood producers and most American children's book and comic book publishers will not consider anything else. It is an American story, defining that country's attitudes toward success and morality. The challenge is not finding this story, but finding paths that are not this story!