Movies and books for this magic are listed below.
Water - The Discipline of Body Magic,
Charm, and Beauty
I am the blaze on every hill,
I am the queen of every hive,
I am the shield of every head,
I am the tomb to every hope."
- The Song of Amerigin restored by Robert Graves
One: Being Magic
"Sometimes I've been to a party where no one spoke to me for a
The men, frightened by their wives or sweeites...the ladies would gang
up in a corner
and discuss my dangerous character."
- Marilyn Monroe
The men, frightened by their wives or sweeites...the ladies would gang up in a corner
and discuss my dangerous character."
- Marilyn Monroe
As a nation, we are entranced with physical perfection. The perfection of the body, from the Beatles to Miss America, from Arnold Swartzenegger to Sophia Loren, is adored from afar by millions of fans who want to be them or know them or love them. Yet beauty is also a part of personality and gets more important as people age. In ancient times, this kind of attraction was known as charm and shows up in names like "Prince Charming" or "Charm School". To the ancient Celts, charm was known as rath or rhad and also meant "grace" "favor" "gift" or "bounty". In Greek, beauty was related to ripeness or maturity, but also to the individual athelete, the sleek discus thrower or the lovely gymnast.
If you find yourself in a situation where people are fighting over you as if you were an object, then you might be a victim of charm. If you find yourself obsessed over someone's looks without caring who they are or what they say or if they like you or not, you might be a victim of charm. For the ancients, the most common spell of all was a love charm. Hundreds and hundreds of stories are told about the effects of charm and how one lover will turn from a true love for the charm of a false love or how a person will go through hell only to wake up realizing that they were a victim of love.
Being in love can make anyone beautiful. Being happy can make anyone beautiful. Youth and health contribute to beauty. Beauty can be contrived, but usually beauty is projected from a person without conscious intent. Most people react to beauty and it is the most basic of all gifts and the most difficult to control. Usually people want to augment their own beauty even before they lose their health or youth or otherwise suffer a loss of beauty and a loss of attraction.
The origins of physical perfection lie in the appreciation of the bounty of the earth. Beauty is represented by the direction of south or west, the Tarot suit of cups, the element of water, and the caste of serfs. The magic of beauty or water, seems to be a passive magic, easily victimized, easily used and abused, easily polluted. But it is not passive, it flows with a cleansing property of its own. Beauty is an elixir, the holy grail, the water of life, the nourishment and fertility of the waters upon the earth.
Being magic is not a passive magic however it may appear. The path of water magic is a spiral path of ever widening waves, growing in power and in magnitude as the waves expand. Although it would appear that some people are just born beautiful and attractive and physically healthy and strong, this is not the case at all. Even though some people are gifted in this direction, everyone can flow along this path. Everyone can learn the charm of holding the cup of bounty and fertility and learning to ripen into grace.
The path of water magic is to project or to protect the Body. The body may be health, it may be beauty, it may be a feeling of well-being or it may be attractiveness. This is a picture of the path. If you determine that this is your path, you may use Tarot cards to lay out the spiral in a large space to set up a physical work area for meditation and practice of the exercises. Please note that the direction of the path is both out and in and you might find yourself, at any time both trying to go out (project the body) and go in (protect the body) at the same time. The key to water magic is that the flow is around into and away from a center. Feeling "off" center is the way to intuit whether or not you are on the path or stuck in the path or off the path.
The Beauty Spiral
1 Awareness Sleep
2 Connection Exhaustion
3 Nurturance Isolation
4 Luxury Deprivation
5 Disappointment Abstention
6 Gratification Sacrifice
7 Gluttony  Temperance
8 Stagnation Health
9 Fulfillment Appetite
10 Saturation Growth
You can see from this, that as you go further from the center along the path, the urge to project your body image or body magic throws your spirit into wider spirals of inability to find satisfaction. This feeling of being off center urges you to protect your body with magic that becomes every more confining as you spiral back inwards. The connecting base line draws a "shortcut" between depression, disappointment, and saturation and awareness, abstention and growth as the spirit either learns to break free of the spiral or becomes trapped to repeat the same curves over and over again. Of course depression can lead to awareness, disappointment can lead to abstention and saturation can lead to growth. As you learn the connection between body health and spiritual health, you will find that the spiral can be both an enemy and an aid.
I will show you more about walking the spiral in a later article.
A more famous spiral is the yin/yang symbol, of a circle that is half white and half black. The power of Eastern magic is in the ability to balance yin and yang, together called chi. The path of water magic is thought to be yin or female and passive, but engaging in water magic means that you must learn to balance the spiral of your own body. For most people this means diet and exercise, for others the path is more subtle, learning to balance charm with privacy or learning to balance pride and intrigue.
You have probably heard it said that "the body is a temple" but it is more than that. The body is part of the spirit and the temple is part of the worship. No matter where you are, being there implies a temple or a center of being. Many people are content to have their bodies be a center of their being, yet others extend this "house" to an actual setting such as a garden, a home, a temple or a court. Another name for water magic is court magic.
People who neglect
water magic because of their obsession with other magics can find themselves becoming a
slave to their body just as people who are concerned only with their bodies can find
themselves slaves to their emotions, their imaginings or society. This is why, in schools
of magic, everyone learns the basics even though they may specialize in only one path.
Chapter Two: Initiation into Beauty - The Pitfall of Physical Success
- Joan Collins
Imagine that wherever you went, whatever you did, however you acted, everyone would think that you were a bitch or a bastard if you did not sleep with them or marry them or otherwise make them the happiest humans alive. The burden of physical beauty and health is not just the envy you provoke in others, it is the decision made behind your back that you must make another happy. If you are ugly and have always felt so, it may be some consolation to know that many beautiful people often feel ugly, even when they are chosen to represent traditional values in an elaborate pageant of marriage. It used to be that the most beautiful girls and guys were always called upon to sacrifice themselves for the good of the community, first in a marriage to the god or goddess, and then in dying for that privilege. Many Fairy Tales are based on this ancient myth. All religions of the agricultural world have gone through this myth cycle from the Aztecs to tribes in Borneo, from the Egyptians to the Norse.
The gift of beauty is the hardest one to control. People wildly envy it. If you are beautiful you often will find that there is no privacy and you have no life of your own. I once knew three different men who were so physically attractive to women that all they had to do was look at a woman from across the room and the woman would fall in love. Each of them took advantage of this talent and each of them had incredible problems with getting rid of the very woman that they had attracted. Beautiful women are often taught to deal with their natural power, but abuse it in other ways and often feel that no one sees them as people.
Prostitution is a very real thing. Yet prostitution can be subtle. A person with some kind of power of the attractive kind is always tempted to use that power to gain something for themselves. It always feels like you are doing the asker a favor. It always feels like you have sold yourself. Yet of the greatest gifts a person can give to another is the gift of physical love and this includes parenting a child.
I will later talk about the path of water magic, but first I want to describe to you the pitfalls of beauty. To you, there may seem no pitfalls to physical perfection, whether it is "the face that launched a thousand ships" or the rippling muscles of Hercules or Sampson. Yet there is a pitfall, just as there is are pitfalls in all magic.
Magic, like all spiritual paths, seeks to take the initiate away from the false self. The trick of this is that the false self does not want to go away. A person, in order to keep the self will latch onto the magic as the self, identify with that magic, and substitute the magical self for the real self in another false self that will be much, much more powerful than the original false self of the child. Almost all incantations and rituals are there to protect the initiate from latching onto the magical self as the real self.
You may have felt this at some time. Dancing, biking, fighting or running or some other sport may have put you in a state of mind where you felt free. You think, "this is my REAL self", as you experience the joy of freedom or the joy of success or the joy of ability. No, it is not your "real" self. It is the experience of losing the false self, of opening a door. You may have felt this when painting a picture or singing a song or writing a poem. You feel the power of the magic flowing through you, feel the waters coursing through your fingers or your voice and you have thought, "this is the REAL me", nothing else matters. Again, it is the experience of magic, of the spirit cutting loose from the shackles by which you have bound it all these years.
But the vehicle is not the ride. Opening the door is not walking through.
There are several pitfalls to being beautiful, most of them personality faults. You have heard of them: vanity, jealousy, envy, arrogance. There are many associated with craving beauty: lust, envy and jealousy. But these are mostly social pitfalls. We are not here to talk about the social problems associated with beauty and physical perfection.
Beauty in the spiritual world and in the world of magic is not necessarily physical. It has to do with purity, temperance, and mercy. True water magic is the magic of compassion. Many stories of saints talk about their ability to be compassionate. Most stories of physical success do not talk about compassion. What makes beauty a trap is substituting an object of beauty for an action of beauty. True beauty is active. False beauty is an object, a thing.
Water, when made an object, stagnates or grows polluted. Water, to be a spiritual source of health, must flow. To look at beauty as an end, or as an achievement, is to confine the magic. After a short time, the magic will begin to stagnate and then panic sets in as the wizard attempts to de-pollute the waters. This is impossible as long as the waters are confined.
Here is a quiz to help you understand whether or not you
think of water magic and beauty as an object or as a flowing action.
A = usually B = sometimes C = mostly not
_____ 1. Do I want to be beautiful/handsome/physically desirable?
_____ 2. Do I think that life would be easier if I was more attractive?
_____ 3. Do I watch people who are considered to be attractive?
_____ 4. Would I have endless trouble overcoming ugliness in myself?
_____ 5. Would I have endless trouble overcoming ugliness in another?
_____ 6. Do I look for physical perfection in a mate?
_____ 7. I am freaked out by people who are old but otherwise healthy?
_____ 8. Do I have set ideas about what I find attractive in others?
_____ 9. Do I usually find the same kinds of attributes attractive?
_____ 10. Is it important to make the best looks wise with what you have?
Add up your points. A = 2, B = 1, C = 0.
0-5 You don't have a problem with objectifying beauty.
6-15 Sometimes you have a problem with objectifying beauty. You might want to
think about the situations in which you do.
16-20 Objectifying beauty is a trap for you. You need to be careful.
A = usually B = sometimes C = mostly not
_____ 1. Do I find most people beautiful/handsome/physically desirable?
_____ 2. Do I think that life can be made more attractive and beautiful?
_____ 3. Do I want to draw beauty from everyone I meet?
_____ 4. Do I find it easy to overcome ugliness in myself?
_____ 5. Do I find it easy overcome ugliness in another?
_____ 6. Do I look for someone to love?
_____ 7. Do I see some people growing more beautiful as they age?
_____ 8. Do I find each person unique in the way that they are desirable?
_____ 9. Do I find that I can't define beauty?
_____ 10. Is it important to live life as if you were beautiful?
Add up your points. A = 2, B = 1, C = 0.
0-5 The path of beauty 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.
The Threshold of Fortune -
Hearing the Call of Attraction
Is beautiful, is marvelous,
The heart of each one breaks
With longing and love for her."
-Sickbed of Cuchulain
Each path can be mapped to a series of stories. The path of water is similar to the hero's journey described by Joseph Campbell. The hero lives in the ordinary world with some kind of problem and hears the call to adventure. The prince/princess lives in the ordinary world and hears the invitation of fortune which is not a call to act, or go on a journey, but a call to prepare for the influx of change.
The path of water is represented by the Tarot suit of cups. The most famous cups are the Holy Grail of Arthur's Knights fame, and various magical caldrons, the most famous of which is the Cauldron of Dagda. If obsession with physical perfection can be likened to concern about the appearance of the cup or cauldron, then the path of water can be likened to the magical gifts contained within the cup, chalice, grail or cauldron. This is the water of life.
The gifts of the cauldron appear in many forms. One invocation runs thus:
The gift of voice,
The gift of fortune,
The gift of goodness,
The gift of eminence,
The gift of charity,
The gift of pure maidenhood,
The gift of true nobility,
The gift of apt speech.
Another text runs thus:
A small wave for your voice,
A small wave for your speech,
A small wave for your means,
A small wave for your generosity,
A small wave for your appetite,
A small wave for your wealth,
A small wave for your life,
A small wave for your health.
These gifts or waves can be connected to
points along the path of the spiral.
1 Awareness Sleep
2 Connection Exhaustion
3 Nurturance Isolation
4 Luxury Deprivation
5 Disappointment Abstention
6 Gratification Sacrifice
7 Gluttony  Temperance
8 Stagnation Health
9 Fulfillment Appetite
10 Saturation Growth
The call or the invitation is at point two. You begin at point one with form and awareness or depression. At point two there is a voice or a connection. You either accept the voice and the connection or neglect it in the depression which comes with protecting the body or the self. At point three, the threshold to the other world has been crossed and one finds oneself at the point of speech.
The difference between superficial beauty and real beauty comes with speech. Speech is magical because it comes from within a person and is inspired or uninspired. No matter how ugly a person is, the first sign of real beauty is through communication, usually speech, sometimes the eyes or the hands, and sometimes through action. But it is a connection kind of action or eye contact. It is through speech that the spirit becomes nurtured and it is through ceasing contact that the self is drawn back and protected.
How do I recognize the call of attraction?
Sometimes it is easy. It is a real attraction from a real person. The person walks up to you or tries to make connection with you. Sometimes it is through a vocation. You might be in an art gallery and be floored by the beauty of a piece of art. The artist has reached out and connected to you through the art. It might be through a reaction to your own art, or music, or acting, or any other form of the arts. But connection can also be a call to help. A call to that within you that reaches out in love, compassion, sympathy or pity.
Usually this path is called "feminine" because it is a response to a call through connection rather than by challenge, like the hero's journey covered in Book Four. Yet as many men are called to this way as women. Famous knights like Galahad and Launcelot du Lac were knights of the path of the heart, or water. Gandhi, Jesus, and Buddha were all called to the path of compassion and equality of the spirit to inspire others to challenge ways of life that were dominated by greed, arrogance and pride.
There are several exercises that you can do to help you meet the challenge of venturing on this path.
1. Acting out of Love
Whenever you hear something like an invitation given to you because someone wants to connect to you, there are two responses: acting out of love or acting out of fear. Love simply means opening the spirit to receive the light of the water of life. Fear means closing down the spirit and shrinking back to protect the self. You might do this out of exhaustion or out of unwillingness to "get dirty" or out of real physical fear of what might happen. Often a response out of fear is tied to a physical state. But habituated fear is a negligence of the spirit, a kind of sloth that prefers isolation so that you don't have to respond.
When you hear a call, ask yourself, "am I acting out of love or out of fear?" Do I want to grow in this direction, to flow in this direction, to respond to this person, or do I fear interaction? If you fear interaction, can you name why?
2. Giving the Proper Response
Some people watch themselves in the mirror to see what kind of responses they give. Set up a mirror of the mind. The question is this, "am I speaking in toads or in diamonds?" This does not mean watching your language or speaking with the proper accent. That is acting out of fear. This means do your words convey beauty and compassion or do they convey hatred, arrogance or ugliness? Every time you open your mouth to respond to a person, do you act as if that person were someone you care about? This is difficult to do. The exercise is to get in the habit of it. The reason for the habit is not so that you can be a mushy-mush, but so that when you do meet someone that you want to love and want to connect with that you do not blow it by being in the habit of speaking toads or hatefully.
The proper response means that you understand the differences between politeness and consideration, between confidence and vanity, and between nobility and pride.
3. Acknowledging Humanity
The easiest thing to do is to treat everyone as if they were robots. This means that if they do not respond in the way that you want, you get offended and repeat and repeat your orders and instructions to get them to respond correctly. The next easiest thing to do is to treat everyone as if they were monkeys. This means that if they do not respond in the way that you want that you scream or rant or bat your eyes in order to manipulate the response that you want. If a person is human to you, you model them. This means that you imagine what it is to be them listening to you. Most people do this. The trick is to model them modeling you. You interact with them as a complex, conscious organism and you change your responses according to the conditions of the situation. This requires skill. It is hard not to want to manipulate or order people around. Part of developing the skill to speak compassionately is to engage the humanity or the spiritual in people.
4. Granting Beauty
Beauty is a current, a flow, a nurturing stream in the form of human interaction. Beauty can be around you, but the exercise is to create beauty in just being who you are within the interaction. Every interaction must be infused with beauty until every action from and around you is a spirit driven action toward growth, health and compassion. This requires energy. To do this correctly will feed your own love and beauty so that you get into a positive feedback loop. Women can do this naturally in their conversations with other women, often called "grooming". This soothes the emotions and helps the health of the group. Rather than just grooming the people around you, the exercise is to raise the spirit of those around you, and thus, yourself. To do this you must really care about who you interact with. They must be human, you must be feeling love toward them and you must be responding with compassion.
Chapter Four: Setting Loose the Waters
Usually a person can learn the magic of the first round of the spiral. It is only when hitting point five that a person becomes depressed. They begin to repeat an endless cycle of isolation and trying to satisfy lost connections by ruining the body in feeding the needs. Many people get stuck in this loop for the rest of their lives. Often the thrill of a marriage gets a person through the first stages of the path of water only to fall back to the beginning with a disappointment just as the person thinks that they have accomplished love.
Part of this comes with
forgetting that this kind of magic will easily stagnate. People are lazy. They may find
their lives stagnating yet not be able to get up enough energy to do anything about it.
Most of this is habit. Habit comes through discipline and exercise. Yes, this magic
begins to sound like dieting, for a good reason. The health of the body is very much like
the health of the mind, the emotions that creativity relies upon and the health of the
spirit. Health is only as good as the vessel. Although it is easy to mistake the vessel
for the elixir it contains, without a vessel, the waters cannot be contained and cannot be
5 Disappointment Abstention Eminence Generosity
6 Gratification Sacrifice Charity Appetite
Disappointment is the biggest trap of water magic. All beautiful and healthy people suffer from disappointment as they age. As you can see from comparing the Tarot points of cards that are obverse and reversed and the waves and gifts, sacrifice, gratification, charity and appetite are all closely tied together. Generosity can create Charity, Eminence can create Gratification, Abstention can create Sacrifice, Disappointment can create Appetite--they are all tied and all related both the body's needs and the spirit's needs, the body's abilities and the spirit's gifts.
Here are some examples of situations.
1. A woman has a lover. He is very attentive and she feels as though she's on cloud nine. He responds to her every need and she feels as though they have a connection. One day, he snaps at her or is late or does not show at all. She responds by feeling betrayed and disappointed. She takes revenge by not being there or shouting back. This should show him that he has erred and bring him back to his original consideration. Instead, he feels trapped and disappointed that she is going to act like all the other women he has ever known and that the romance and magic have passed. He is silent, but things are never the same again.
What is wrong with this picture
It is a normal enough picture, one enacted a million times a day. The honeymoon is over. The romance is come to pass. Disappointment has set in.
2. A man has a young wife. He is madly in love and feels that she is everything that he ever wanted. She gets pregnant and he is thrilled. They plan for the child and he sits with her through the birth and knows the wonder of bringing a new life into the world. One day he wakes up and he wants so badly to connect with his wife, but she is worn down with the baby and he feels ashamed and guilty that he is adding to her burden. He retreats from his needs and draws back a little. He still feels the strong bonds of family and fatherhood, but he feels that something intangible is lost and that his life can never be the same again.
What is depressing about this picture?
It is also normal, and many people would say that he has learned to grow up and out of his selfishness. At some point in his life, he may also be expected to turn to another woman or to suffer in silence, trading one kind of love for another.
3. A mother is intensely proud of her daughter. She dresses her up and buys her clothes and sends her off to school. One day, she is out with her daughter and she feels the raking eyes of men following, not her, but her daughter. The same day a man calls her ma'am without even wanting to look at her. She peers into the mirror that night as she listens to her daughter and a friend giggling over a magazine. All she can see are lines.
We are all expected to grow up and to stop playing romance, to stop being selfish about being the princess or the prince. There is something vicious inside of us that does not want to give this up. Why, when one has been surrounded by the light of magic, would one want to fade away in the darkness?
To have the magic of love, the spiritual magic of the grail, you have to give. You have to give without any hope of getting in return. You must give as fast as you can as much as you can. Give as if you had a bag of money and you had to give it all away in a time limit. The more you give away the faster you give it away, the more water can pass through the grail of your spirit. This is the ONLY way to spiritual health. I don't care what people say about self-esteem or letting people walk all over you. Those are responses out of fear. You must open up your hands and give.
This kind of magic cannot be held. It cannot be caught. It is a fluid that only works if it is flowing through you. You must be a vessel that is strong enough to take the force of flow, but to do this you must increase the flow, little by little, to strengthen the walls of the vessel. It is very much like physical exercise.
Take a look again at the examples.
1. In this situation, the woman has to forgive and to forgive fast. She must nurture, love and cherish, no matter what the man does. Many people cannot do this in the face of hurt and disappointment, but you have to. You have to practice doing it. Over and over and over. It is more than turning the other cheek. It is reaching out and caressing the hand that struck you. It is realizing that no one strikes out of hate when they have loved. They strike out of pain out of fear or out of disappointment. You cannot control this, but you can keep from adding to it. Instead of becoming part of the problem you can become a safe harbor for the hurt person. You can become a healer, but first, "do no harm". DO NO HARM. No matter how you feel. Eventually, you will not feel pain or hurt or fear, you will only feel the great love washing over and through you.
Yet is is essential that you do not do this for a return. You must force yourself to keep loving through your own hurt. I did not say it was easy. It is an exercise in spiritual discipline.
Often, it is important at this point not to speak. But the hands can say what the voice cannot. Especially across gender boundaries. Some people can only break down through sex. Some people can break down under a massage or other physical contact. Sometimes it is enough to put a hand on a shoulder or to give a gift or make someone feel at home by adjusting the room for quiet and peace. Often people are just tired and an ill retort spared will mean that when the person is rested all can return to normal.
In situation two, the man also needs to realize that he has needs. But those needs can be met and he does not have to be a glutton, needing all the time, he can hone those needs into a new way to express love. A person can be beautiful if you let them. And that beauty can strike into your soul and make you more in love than ever before. The energy of that flow of love will take your needs and make of them a wondrous thing, a growing wash of comfort and bliss.
In a situation where a person is stretched too thin, communication and connection can only happen in focused ways. Rather than this man learning not to be selfish, he needs to learn to be focused. He has experienced his wife and child but he has not focused on his wife and child. He needs to learn that this is his wife and child and that the situation is completely unique and therefore intensely beautiful. He needs to make his wife and child into art, so to speak.
All artists know that they see differently when they are drawing than when they are just looking. The pencil trains the eye. Musicians learn that when they are playing they hear the notes whereas before when they just listened, they only heard music in a gross way. To learn to love in a more focused way, a person needs to make love into beauty. Not an object of beauty, but a process of beautifying.
If this man picked up his child and put the baby into his wife's arms and adjusted her hair or caressed her cheek and stood back and said, "you are my wife and my child" with a kind of pride in the uniqueness as if all his life he had tried to achieve the beauty of the painting before him, his wife would understand that she was not just a mother and a wife and a slave and a cook and a maid and a nurse and on and on, but in his eyes, uniquely these things. She then would feel again the love that he had for her and that that love was boosting her up upon a wave of the moment that would never come again. Her focus would tune to his sharp focus and she would begin to shine with the light of this magic of life. If their lives became a string of these focused moments then beauty would cast them up and out of the mundane world and into a spiritual realm that far outweighed anything any church service could do for the ordinary person.
In situation three, the mother is expected to put aside her beauty and let her daughter have the stage. For many women, this is incredibly painful. As much as they love their daughters, they have to blind themselves to this pain to keep loving.
This is not only unnecessary, it is tragic. Part of her problem is society's expectations of her and the value put on youth equaling beauty, but this is nonsense. Part of the pain is in realizing mortality and the passage of time and mourning the lost youth of both mother and child. In this case, the error is not of beauty or age or passing time, the error is of time horizon.
The mother must realize that she is seeing life played out moment by moment. She, as a human being, has the ability to see the river, not just the drops as they pass through her hands. She must learn to see not just her daughter as an infant now grown into a woman, but as a woman who will birth another generation and as a woman who will see her own children grown and as an old woman who will age, mourning the passage of her own mother. This girl turning woman is not that. She is a vessel of the liquid of life. Each passing moment she is a vessel filled with new liquid. To see only the immediate moment is to try to hold the water and then to see it stagnate, die and sour.
Take some time, (and a notebook) and seriously answer these questions.
1. When in the past were you disappointed. Why? How did fear cripple you?
2. When in the past did you add to another's pain? How did you do harm?
3. Do you have any situations in your life where you are disappointed?
4. Are you holding onto the waters of magic, blocking their flow?
5. What can you do to forgive, feel compassion, or love, without words?
6. What can you do to focus on love, making of it art (something unique to your experience)?
7. What will your love, (the love coming from you) be like when you are fifty years older?
8. What do you want to feel at that time?
9. How can you make an art of your life?
10. Practice compassion. For whom do you lack compassion and why?
11. What will you get for your efforts?
12. If you had to give that up, would you still do what you are doing?
13. If you were to lose the person that you love tomorrow, would you still love
would you want to draw away?
14. What can you do to stop holding onto love and beauty and start creating love and beauty
Chapter Five: The Protection of Pride
If they don't give me proper credit I just walk away
They can beg and they can plead but they can't see the light, that's right
'Cause the boy with the cold hard cash is always Mister Right, 'cause we are
Living in a material world, and I am a material girl"
- Madonna's "Material Girl" by Rans & Brown
Someone once asked in on a chat list if it were possible to find an attractive woman who was not a bitch. I could not resist answering this and the consequence was over 100 flames from all the disgruntled men on the list who felt the need to damn me. My answer was this. Often what they mistook for bitchiness was either shyness, reserve, or a reluctance to get involved. Madonna's parody aside, most attractive women are under siege and the one way to deal with it is to create a the glass wall.
The glass wall is very common in Fairy Tales. The prince, after the princess, and with her the kingdom, must find a way to get over the glass wall, briar hedge, up the tower, over the obstacle between him and the princess. Most princes fail. Usually the person who has put the princess in such a predicament is an evil stepmother, witch, wizard or other guardian. As many people have noted from Bruno Bettleheim to Clarissa Pinkola Estes and C. G. Jung, it is a mistake to take Fairy Tales literally. Most people consider them to be psychological aids, but I consider them to be spiritual or magical aids. They are the very spells that I spoke of in the first chapter.
Magic is not one spell that you cast over an enemy or for a friend. To appreciate magic, you must live and breathe a constant magic. Just as religion is not very effective if you just mutter a "hail Mary" when you're in trouble as opposed to creating a fabric of worship interwoven into the fabric of your life. Part of the greater spiral, or spell, is the creation of the glass wall.
In the movie, Love Potion #9, there is a scene where the hero goes into a bar and his friends bet him that he won't go try pick up a certain attractive woman. Instead of giving him the common brush off, she tells him exactly why she can't pay him the time of day. She tells him to look at her clothes and tells him that if he can guess who designed her dress then she will go with him. Of course, being a nerd, he hasn't a clue. After he takes the love potion, he goes back to the bar and meets the same woman. She is under the spell and completely entranced. He tells her that he will not go out with her unless she can tell him how to synthesize a mentholated alkaloid. Of course, everyone cheers whose been in the position of being one of the princes who failed to climb the glass wall, or in more real terms, been victimized by a bitch, as all the men on the chat group would say.
In many countries, young women are protected by family members. They can be as attractive as they like without fear of being assailed. In America, women are expected to be very cool and often cruel in order to maintain the wall between them and all the people who would assail them. Again and again in magic, we come across one of the more common charms, that of a love potion, and we are given the illusion that the real magic is in attracting people to you. Then, supposedly, you have the power over people and can make them do what you want. We do not hear very often of repelling charms, but Fairy Tales are full of magical ways to repel all but the most worthy of princes and princesses, for another common tale is of a prince who is enchanted and the princess must find him or rescue him.
In love magic, and in love religious disclipines such as the Tantra, we are given many, many ways in which to interact with the beloved, but rarely does anyone talk about how to chose the beloved. This process has been given over to personality maps and simple "how to find your soul mate" games. Yet, even then, we are not told how to repel the assailants or how to deal with the consequences of being successful at love magic.
Again, in Love Potion #9, a side character, who is a whore, takes too much of the potion and drives men mad. They chase after her whenever she speaks. Because she is a comic character, she coughs in church during a wedding and suddenly she is running down the street followed by hundreds of men. Note here that it is the speech that triggers the potion, not her looks. Finally, fenced in, she turns on her assailants and yells, "STOP!" and to her surprise and amusement they all do. Then she discovers that they will do anything, anything, that she tells them to.
Many women perfect the icy look that will stop a possible lover cold. Men often just rely upon women's lack of confidence in their looks, but as women are encouraged to be more aggressive, young men are finding that they, too, are besieged by women who only want to get them into bed. In every society, there are social rules to help people create a wall between them and all those who would want them.
The first thing to realize is that the people who might approach you are usually under a spell, charmed, or enchanted. They are usually not acting in a way that they would normally act. The waters have washed over them and they are propelled forward by the need for love and by the power of attraction. A woman is called a bitch when she bursts this spell. Soon, there will be a word for young men who do the same to women that is more specific than "jerk" or "snob".
In Fairy Tales it is understood that the center of the love spell cannot sympathize with the bewitched. It is encouragement and does not work as a counter spell. The answer is to create a wall or create the impossible tasks. As Madonna has said, in modern times the impossible task is often money. In making the wall and the impossible tasks tied to money or position in the material word, you must be prepared to sacrifice the spiritual world. For some people this is fine, but most of these people will wake up one day, stuck in the loop of disappointment and depression, finding that the more they buy, the less satisfies them.
For people who do not have much experience with the power of attraction, it is much harder to build a defense. The young and the inexperienced are very vulnerable to the ravages of people who would abuse them. You must understand that if you choose to hold the grail with the elixir, you will always be assailed by the undeserving who would abuse you as a short cut to the elixir. Often people confuse those who have attraction with the elixir itself. They assume that, in having the person, they will get the elixir and attract people themselves. But you must also realize that attractive people, like attractive art, are objects to prove to others the power that is held in the material world. Someone on the path of Earth magic will need the elixir to achieve the kingdom. This is what is meant when people say "a trophy wife". A short cut to proving that you are the prince is to steal a princess and vice versa which is called, "gold digging".
The other thing to realize is that although you may be on a spiritual path, you cannot ignore a billion years of evolution. People are driven by the need to procreate, their brains are geared toward that, and most of their lives are completely taken over by this drive. In undertaking water magic, you are fighting these billion years and asking people to rise above almost 99 percent of brain conditioning.
The purpose of the wall or the impossible tasks is to force the assailants to reroute their efforts into something that will improve their own spiritual awareness. The benefit of the magical voice that you will have if you are excercising the power of attraction is that you can tell them what to do. The protection is not rejection. Rejection causes hurt which causes anger and often creates a hostile reaction. This again, is black magic which leads into a spiraling downward into a situation where you are sealed up in a room with no outlet. Then you will thrash until you grab onto anyone who can break through the wall, no matter how evil they are.
Here is the exercise.
Pretend that you are powerfully attractive. Pretend that you hold the grail filled with the elixir of life, health, and love. Pretend that all who are drawn to you are drawn by the power that the water magic has over them. If you know this already, then you are there.
Now, step two.
Imagine that these assailants are not monsters, but need desperately to become more aware of their nature as spiritual beings. This is part of the Toads and Diamonds exercise and one of the first rules of compassion. If you treat them as evil, they will become evil, if they started that way or not--even the soul mate who deserves love.
Step three, think up impossible tasks.
Don't demean this by insisting that they drive a BMW or that they dress better. The power that you have is over their soul. If you are interested in the true way, in improving the human condition, in doing good magic, of saving yourself from bad magic, then listen up. Those tasks have to be spiritual.
What does this mean?
If you can bear to interact with the assailants, here is a simple reply, "what have you done to make our lives better?" "What have you done to save the planet?" Or "what can you do to improve the human condition?" This may well be met with a "huh?" reaction, so you have to be prepared to explain yourself. If you know the person a little better, you can make your challenge more specific.
The clue here is pride. If you are proud, you can be condemned for doing things just for effect for being able to say that you are better than everyone else. Yet pride also means that you are glorious and magnificent with the proper self-respect. Often this feeling can drive off anyone who has little self-respect or a fear of rejection. A response to the spirit from a true pride is the proper response to those who are undeserving in their current state. Compassion will allow you to convey to them that you believe that their state is temporary. This will open a door for them to allow the waters of life to creep into their stagnating souls. You are the lion, the image of pride and health. You do not have to hold out your hand to set an example.
If you are on a mission to do something for the planet yourself, you can direct the energy of those who would assail you in that direction. In the next chapter we deal with the dangers of manipulation. But here, just know that if your cause is a true cause and your are impassioned about it, it will do no harm to get others interested.
As a last caution. Remember compassion. If you are too hard on everyone, you will drive away your own love.
Chapter Six: Ways to Resist Political Intrigue
- Queen Victoria
Many people object to the magic of beauty because they think it is passive magic. We have all heard from people talking about what is called, "The Cinderella Complex". What these people fail to see is that the spiral of Cinderella stops at the marriage, at the meeting of the lovers. The spiral continues around past point four and five and into stories of the Empress, or the Queen that Cinderella becomes. There are familiar stories, such as that of Guinevere and less familiar stories such as many of Shakespeare's comedies like A Midsummer's Night's Dream and A Winter's Tale and tragedies such as King Lear and MacBeth. Akira Kurosawa's Ran, a Japanese King Lear is probably the best example of water magic gone black through the misuse of political intrigue through the Lady Kaede, wife of the eldest son, and the best depiction of good water magic in the Lady Sue, the wife of the middle son. If you are interested in water magic, I highly recommend this movie as a counterpart to the more passive Western princesses like Cinderella and Snow White.
The greatest trap of water magic is not disappointed love, but in the power of being able to get people to do what you want through their being bewitched. Lady Kaede and Lady Sue have both seen their families killed by the tyrant, Hidetora. The ladies are married off to the sons of Hidetora so that he may control their lands, a common practice in feudal empires. Lady Kaede gets revenge for her family by manipulating the downfall of Hidetora and his sons. Lady Sue, a paragon of Buddhist values, sets an example that causes the exposure of Lady Kaede and her death. Although these two women are hemmed in by the Japanese male dominated culture, it is very clear in the movie that they are the land and they are the elixir and they are the power of water moving through the court politics.
As an attractive person ages, superficial attraction can be traded off for a more dangerous and powerful attraction. As a person gains experience in using the drives that bind people to their bodies against their souls this person can work magic of a subtlety and evil that is more insidious because it is hard to trace back to the source. Trickster magic is very easy to trace although bewildering. Oppressive earth magic is easy to see although hard to overcome. Fire magic rarely touches other people but will destroy their environments and is impossible to combat directly. But the flow of water is sometimes only visible where it is dammed up. People do not realize that they are ensnared until it is too late and the waters have eaten away the foundations of their souls.
Most women have engaged in the evils of water magic at some time in their lives, usually when they were mothers. The petty politics of a family are usually not to be compared to the far reaching devastation of court politics, but the effect on the woman (or man) practicing the magic is the same. It can damage the soul as much as prostitution can. The effect of politics it to force the power to keep circling the magic maker until the waters become a whirlpool. The waters flow, but only around and around the center until anyone who comes close is swept up in this maelstrom of death and destruction. Most women at this center find that the power of attraction is not the power to attract love, but the power to attract hate. The attraction is still there, no one can resist, but the elixir is now a poison and everyone dies slowly of bitter resentment.
The darkness of the poisoned elixir will show through in the face and the body. You will have to spend more and more time trying to cover up the damage from within. People who age with the light of the elixir growing more and more strongly become exceptionally beautiful. Even art and music can be attractive but heavy with the poison of hatred.
The power of the Queen affects everyone around her. As the King and Queen age into their power, the King is calcified as the Queen becomes more and more mobile. Patriarchs of families hold court and people come to them, but matriarchs are into everyone's business, and know everything that goes on and have spies everywhere. Many times a man will act this way or have people who work for him that act this way for him if he is in a position of power. But there is no denying it that the politics of manipulation is water magic. Earth magic politics is that of confrontation, water magic stabs people in the back in the middle of the night.
5 Disappointment Abstention Eminence Generosity
6 Gratification Sacrifice Charity Appetite
7 Debauchery Temperance Pure Maidenhood Wealth
9 Fulfillment Appetite Apt Speech Health
10 Saturation Growth
The spiral of power politics moves from disappointment and eminence at point five across to point ten and back through saturation, appetite, debauchery and sacrifice. The responsibility of the Empress or Queen is to go from point five through a positive loop encouraging temperance and health and charity and growth, again, through example.
The secret is this. When one is steeped in the power of water magic, the temptation is to act upon it. The secret is to be, not act. The secret is to breath in and sing beauty through the voice. The temptation is to breath out, urging people to act as your arms and legs, bringing you prizes, bringing you treats, bringing you power, bringing and bringing and bringing until you are so glutted that you have nothing left but self hatred and over saturated debauchery to distract you. No matter how you are tempted, you must not ask to receive. The more you give away, the more beauty that you create, the more you will receive, but it will be the light of the soul, not material objects.
When you are on the path of learning to channel love and water, interaction with others is a way to practice compassion. When you are steeped in the power of attraction and are the Queen of water, you must refuse any gift that comes to you and refuse any person who throws themselves at you. Absolutely. Without hesitation or ambivalence. You must refuse anyone who wants to do something for you at this stage. The only thing you can do is to set an example. And all of your time should be dedicated to setting the example of compassion, creativity, love, health and purity.
Some people think of charity work as fruitless and a kind of noblesse oblige or a token thrown to the unfortunate to relieve the guilt of the rich. If you are infused with water magic's power, charity is one of the few things that you can do besides the creative arts or healing that will benefit you more than the world. Learning the art of giving without expecting a result is the best gift you can give your soul at this point. You need to exercise compassion, but more importantly at this point, you need to exercise generosity of spirit. Giving does not mean giving material goods. It means giving of the soul. Spending time to uplift those around you, to bring love where there is pain and of bringing healing where there is fear.
Testing true generosity.
1. Have I ever given anyone a present and then reminded them of it at any later date?
2. Have I ever given anyone a present and been disappointed when they gave it away?
3. Have I ever listened to someone wanting to do me a favor and asked them for one?
4. Have I ever told anyone something about another person for the effect?
5. Have I ever allowed anyone to give me a gift to apologize or make me happy?
6. Have I ever refused a gift because I was hurt or angry?
7. Have I ever given of my time just to shut someone up or make them happy?
8. Have I ever given something because I felt guilty?
9. Have I ever thought about giving, or planned giving something?
10. Have I ever felt better about myself after giving?
of pride and need to work on true generosity. True generosity means that you are giving because you have an abundance, because you are overflowing, because you cannot keep what you have. It has nothing to do with the gift or the receiver or the use of the gift. If you fall into these traps more often than not, you are in the trap of the whirlpool.
1. Have I ever asked someone to do something for me?
2. Have I ever used someone to get someone to do something for me?
3. Have I always politely refused to let someone in love with me do things for me?
4. Have I ever threatened anyone with rejection if they didn't do what I wanted?
5. Have I ever threatened anyone with emotions if they didn't do what I wanted?
6. Have I ever promised to do something for someone in exchange for their doing something for me?
7. Have I ever promised a favor knowing that I wouldn't follow through?
8. Have I promised someone else's favor in exchange for someone doing what I wanted?
9. Have I ever used anyone for any reason?
10. Have I ever refused to say "I love you" because I was angry or hurt or put out?
If you've answered yes to any of these questions, you've
fallen into the trap of politics. You need to see people as humans, not as robots.
Occasionally, you may fall under fire of someone who sees interpersonal cooperation as
helping one another if you refuse help. This can get really complicated. If they put you
under fire, it means that they, too, are engaged in politics. Sometimes men will engage
in a team building exercise that means that they all have to learn to help one another.
This is very different from political manipulation, but, unfortunately, most men and women
mix politics in with it, even on the playing field. The clue is this. If anything in the
team smells of a popularity contest, it's politics.
Politics usually begins between spouses or, more often, between a parent and a child. Children are the victims of political manipulation every day. It is often in this relationship, (yes, fathers, too) that compassion and love break down before political manipulation, especially if the child is fighting back. Most Fairy Tales show this scene of family politics too clearly with the evil witch in the role of honor. Love gone bad stories always start with politics.
Chapter Seven: Becoming the Goddess
love recompenses the adorers."
- Kahlil Gibran
The point where you find that you have become the Empress or a powerful agent of an Emperor or in some position where you are the center of intrigue and politics but also at a pinnacle of attraction you must make the jump between earthly power and magical power. This transition means that you must give up the Empire to become a God or Goddess. In some religions, it is permissible to become a saint, or someone who is enlightened. This is the same thing. You must reject eminence for true nobility just as you have rejected power for generosity and politics for compassion.
Here are the steps to becoming a goddess (or god).
1. You must be in tune to the land.
2. You must become the land.
3. You must give birth to the land.
4. You must transform the land.
5. You must transcend the land.
Yes, I know. But I shall explain.
Becoming Tuned to the Land.
Have you ever had the experience of being out in the wilderness or in your garden or out in the world and were able to feel the world in and through you? Perhaps late at night you have lain under the stars and felt the earth wheeling around? Have you ever had your house around you feel as though it were a part of your soul projected outside of yourself? If you have had the experience of feeling like you were with the world and not just a person living in the world, then you have felt attuned to the land. With discipline, you can feel that way all the time.
1. The Healing Qualities of Water.
Create a water fountain or a sanctuary for water. Water is your path, water is flowing through you, part of your tuning process can be made more easy with water. Daily, create a ritual "washing" or "baptism" where you can wash your hands or your face or dip your fingers into the flowing water and wash yourself of the feelings that are blocking your soul. This ritual must be private and can be as simple as taking a bath as long as your bathroom is a kind of sanctuary.
2. The Pilgrimage of Water
Create a time when you can visit some kind of stream or lake or ocean natural water. Hiking alone there or with a loved one can create a deep feeling of accord inside of yourself. People all the time talk about the healing power of the sea. Lakes and streams and rivers can be just as wonderful. Try to go as often as you need to (even if it is just a fountain at dawn) to feel the presence of water that is greater than yourself.
3. The Imagery of Water
If you swim or not, try to meditate every night as you go to sleep with the image of yourself floating in water. Let the water rock you, nurse you, and soothe away your problems.
Becoming the Land
Have you ever looked at yourself and realized that you are yourself your own planet? Not in the silly sense of being a host to micro parasites, but in the sense of being explored or being a substance or being a mysterious country beyond the rim of the known world. If you've ever massaged a person, you might have felt their geography and topology and realized that they were a structure and a substance. Realizing this will make you realize that you are yourself a vessel and a land to bring forth life. Not in an animal sense, but in a sense that real land is something to be occupied and won and owned and lived in and upon. If you let your children climb upon you you may have had this feeling of being something substantial to them as if they were circling a planet.
1. Recreating size
If you remember letting a mouse or a ladybug or a lizard crawl upon you, remember that. If you can get a small critter to climb upon you, or even a bigger critter like a child or a cat, do this. To them, you are substantial and real in a way that you are not being inside of yourself. It is too easy to run around and forget that you are yourself a chunk a mountain a territory.
Give yourself a massage or give someone you love a massage. Slowly go over their bones and muscles and understand that they have structure and are themselves a country. Realize in giving yourself a massage that people see you as a country to be explored and conquered and invaded and owned. A real country, not a personality.
Take a shower and watch how the water runs over your body. Think of yourself as the flow of water in and over a surface.
Giving birth to the land.
This is not actual birth, although actual birth can be a part of it. This is understanding the nature of creativity. One of the better things a person engaged in water magic can do is to grow a garden. If gardening does not appeal to you, take a ceramics or painting class or become a baker. If you don't feel a creative bone in your body, go to the beach or a sand box and make sand castles. Do something but use your hands to do it.
1. How do you feel when engaged in making? (Except artistically frustrated!) Do you feel that concentration, of learning how to guide the hands and how to push and dig and prod until you see a shape that you like or a change takes place? Creativity is not just a head thing. It is a hand thing. Your hands are instruments of creativity.
2. If you can remember this feeling, think of manipulating your brain in the same way. Think of manipulating your spirit. Think of pouring water into the powder of your mind in order to create flowing earth.
3. When you are feeling at odd with people you love or in the world, try to remember this feeling of manipulation with the hands, not with the heart. Not of manipulating others, but of manipulating your mind and spirit into a shape that will flow around the problem.
Transforming the land.
After you manipulate the land of your mind, you will begin to see a transformation as the form accommodates flow. If you feel a blockage or a problem, go back to your water. That is your inspiration. You are the vessel, your spirit is the elixir. This is the essence of godhead is in freeing your spirit to flow forth across the land and transform it into godhead.
Transcending the land.
As more an more of your spirit flows through your changing landscape, you will feel yourself transcending yourself. You will look back upon yourself at an earlier time and feel that you are now beautiful and that then, you did not understand the nature of beauty. As you grow, you will channel more and more of the water of life through yourself and naturally, not forcibly, you will have to give it away.
Chapter Eight: Black Magic and Carnality
Perhaps the worst of people's nightmares lies in the black magic of the water path. Here is the ogress who eats children and the black cults of Kali. If the initiate gives way through politics and disappointment and increasing appetite to carnality, then the body is lost and the body begins to feed on itself and those closest to it.
If you go back to the history of magic and the agricultural roots of water magic, you can see that the black magic of water is the rot of plant stuff giving back in the cycle of life to the rich earth that will support the new crop. This image is of death, but in these communities, death led to life and then to death again, following the cycle of the plant life around them. Although this is a sacred image, it can be a trap. People who get trapped here become obessed with death, disease and dying to the neglect of the other parts of the cycle. In the television hit, The Sopranos, Tony's mother, Livia, lives locked in this horrible trap.
Motherhood and creativity of this kind is also tied to death. In many, many tales we read about the queen who stands accused of killing her own child. She is often judged and condemned for this, taking a shape in which she cannot defend herself or actually going to the block to await death for her crimes. More often than not, she is wrongfully accused and those who love her must sort out the mess to exonerate her.
Most witchcraft was supposed to involve rituals of death and cannibalism. Witches led the young to their deaths, most often young men. This witchcraft would also take the form of a fairy or a queen of the underworld stealing a young man away to stay with her until he grew old. Even Shakespeare's Titania fought with Oberon over a boy that she had stolen. Often queens were accused of taking young lovers and of having much of their court politics go on in their beds.
Two wonderful example of two "witches" of water magic are in the movies, Dangerous Liasions and The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. In both of these movies, like in Ran, an evil queen is set up against the good. In both movies, the villianesses are given excellent reasons for being where they are. The Marquise de Merteuil is an excellent example of a Queen stuck in the political trap of being the center of a whirlpool. She is set up against Madame de Tourvel who epitomizes the magic of love and compassion and shines with it even up until her death. The Nanny in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is an excellent example of a Titania figure, who will steal away little boys and girls, appearing attractive, yet hiding away a soul eaten away into blackness by hatred and revenge. She is set up against the pure and wrongfully accused wife.
Over and over again we see this juxtaposition of the good queen and the bad. The Fairy Godmother and the Evil Stepmother. Or the Ogress Witch and the spirit of the Good Mother. Whenever you see double imagery like this it is a warning of a trap on a magical path.
Just as stories like Toads and Diamonds warn of the dangers of misusing the voice, stories with mistaken mothers, evil stepmothers, ogresses and such warn of the dangerous position of being a mother or a matriarch and falling into the trap of carnality through politics or hatred.
At this point in the spiral, a person is strongest in water magic and will be strongest in black magic. The witch here will still be unbearably attractive to some people, especially those with some secret guilt or desire to harm themselves. Although most people would deny ever wanting to be in this position, most people find it fascinating to listen to stories of mothers who turned on their children or the femme fatale who kidnaps men and leads them to their deaths.
Some cultures still revere this dark reverse of compassion. Many have divided their worlds into devils and gods and put this image into the devil category, but leaving it there to tempt people as much as they are tempted by other images of failed spirituality. Rabid Christians fear this image so much that they burned hundreds of women over it. Psychologists love this image, making it into an archetype of the good/bad mother who terrorizes every infant and toddler with nurturing it and eating it that is carried over into adulthood.
If you are interested in Wicca and magic as a spiritual journey, you will run headlong into this image in other people's minds. You may find yourself accused by people who, fearing magic, have this image in mind. Especially among those who desire to steal the elixir of life. As a woman ages (and some men) they grow from being desirable in and of themselves so much that they suffer from being objects to be stolen or owned to becoming a misrepresentation of this primal fear of a magic that will steal the lives of others. As an old person, or as an ugly person who is attractive or as a person who is attractive but in a confusing way, you will be accused of being this ogress or a Lady Kaede or a Marquise de Merteuil.
Until you stand accused, you have no idea of the power of this accusation. This is not the accusations of a jealous husband who has found you out, but of the lover who hates being attracted to you and accuses you of bewitching him, drawing back in horror. This is the accusation of the mother or mother-in-law that you have abandoned or messed up a child. It can hurt even more if it is an authority figure for a child, or the child himself at any age.
And you may be guilty.
In the book The Lord of Rings, Sam and Frodo are with Galadriel at her water mirror in her water garden. She has passed the test of the ring, but Sam, angered by what he has seen in the mirror about the Shire being ravaged, says to her to take the ring because she would set them straight. She replies sadly that that is how it would begin. Galadriel, who is 7,000 years old and who has passed many tests of pride and false nobility, knows that no one walks onto the dark path without some good, but misinformed, intention. She is a glowing example of a queen of water magic who has created around her the land of Lothlorien, a land of light and healing and spiritual beauty of the like not found anywhere else in Middle Earth. In his brilliant language of myth, the light of Galadriel appears when Frodo faces the carnivorous Shelob, a giant spider who reeks of her own filth and eats all light. Tolkien has cleverly shown us Galadriel's end should she take the ring, whatver her original intention.
As Galadriel says to us, we may want to be guilty. We may, with good intentions, want to set straight a wrong like the Nanny in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. We may, with good intentions want to expose all the evil around us such as the Marquise de Merteuil wants in Dangerous Liasions. We may want to avenge our tragedy upon evil people as Lady Kaede does in Ran. Of all the workers in magic, the only one who can set to right these things is the worker of air magic. He is a kind of Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple or Portia from Two Gentlemen of Verona. Air magic is the magic of justice and law and revenge. Water magic, used in this way, leads the maker down the road to the ogress to Shelob.
Often in magic making, a person of power seeks to use other magic or seeks to use their magic on another path with terrible results. A maker of air magic could not use the tools of trickery and unraveling truth to attract people any more than a maker of fire magic can successfully use the talents of channeling creative inspiration to attract people. Yet both magics are used to this end and the makers almost always suffer for it.
Watch for these signs.
1. Wanting to right a wrong using your magic of generosity as a tool for justice.
2. Wanting to destroy a people who are evil using your magic of healing for destruction.
3. Wanting to protect an innocent from attack by using your magic of compassion for defense.
These three instances are general descriptions of situations that cannot be handled by water magic.
1. No matter how you feel about it, water magic cannot be turned to judge right and wrong. You must stand, as Jesus stood, and say, "forgive them for they know not what they do." You cannot take up the cause of an individual against the state. You cannot take up the cause of an individual against another. The only situation in which you can use water magic is in the situation of need, and you can help to bring that need to light.
2. No matter how evil someone is, or a group of people, no matter if they threaten the world or if they are spreading destruction, water magic cannot be used to stop them. To do harm, even to deny healing is to pervert and pollute the healing springs. Your job is to heal all those who have sickened, not to decided who should be healed and who should be hurt.
3. No matter who is threatened, you cannot protect them. Now this does not mean that you cannot stand in the way of someone threatening your child, it just means that the magic cannot be used for protection. It is not that kind of magic. Water is not particular like that. Trying to use water magic for protection is to call up universal destruction. As much as it may hurt you and the people you love, you must realize that compassion is not protection. This lesson is almost impossible for parents to learn.
You can only channel this magic, it has no substance. If you treat it as if it had substance or yourself as if you could make it go where you wanted, you will deny the lesson of Galadriel and become the Dark Queen or the Black Sow who eats her own young.
The hardest lesson for
people to learn is not how magic can help, but how it cannot help. Everyone has good
intentions. It is difficult to see the consequences. In all stories, warnings are often
Chapter Nine: Compassion
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
And when the broken hearted people Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. Yeah There will be an answer, let it be.
And when the night is cloudy, There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, Whisper words of wisdom, let it be"
- Lennon & McCarthy
Finally, if you reach this point on the path you have learned the power and limitations of water magic. At this point you are the most beloved of all the mythical images. You are like the images of Kwan Yin, Mother Mary and other goddesses of Mercy. Looking back along this path, you may wonder how it is possible to be there. At one point in the history of the world, there were many more images of water compassion. For the Celts, from which much Western magic originates, almost every spring and river had it's goddess of water who was prevailed upon for mercy when people were troubled.
As the lyrics in this famous song by the Beatles tell you, the most difficult part of this path is learning being magic, learning to "let it be" so that the light of compassion and mercy flows through you and into the world. Of all magics, this is closest to the tenants of Buddhism with its powerful imagery of rebirth and breaking free of the endless cycles caused by wanting and doing and fighting too much. Much of Buddhist thought is a preparation for death in that only in shedding the passions of the world can death be faced in this position of being so that the awareness may ride upon the wings of death to save you from rebirth back into a world of pain.
At the beginning of the 21st Century, we are faced with a new challenge. Fairly soon, scientists will be breaking the last taboo and challenging death itself. If each person were standing at the end of each of these paths when that happened, then they would not, as the Buddhists monks do not, fear an endless cycle of living in the world of pain. They would understand as enlightened beings understand that it is time to transcend.
In the first magic, the first cycle, you must just be there when it is time to transcend. The hard part is getting there without moving or loving without passion or giving without expectation. All magic seems contradictory until you have walked the complete path.
Movies and Books
Ancient Story Motifs:
Toads and Diamonds
East of the Sun, West of the Moon
Snow White and variants, Cinderella and variants
Vasilisa the Brave
The White Duck, The Stone Boat, and variants
Cupid and Psyche
The Bad Mother, the Evil Sister songs
Dracula, Twilight, Interview with a Vampire other Vampire novels
Emma - Jane Austen
The Little Mermaid
most Romance stories
King Lear, Ran
Galahad and the Quest for the Holy Grail stories
Diedre of the Sorrows
Garth Nix Lirael series
The Last Unicorn - Peter Beagle
Possession - A. S. Byatt
The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
Books, Stories and Movies that have classic Water Magic characters, Stories in which
there are two or more who represent multiple sides of this magic:
Galadriel/Shelob - Lord of Rings
The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
Scarlett/Melanie in Gone with the Wind
Enchanted April (almost everyone)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Star Trek (original) Metamorphosis
Beauty and the Beast variants
Love Potion #9
The Black Cauldron - Lloyd Alexander
The Magician's Nephew, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S.Lewis
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
After seeing many of these movies (or reading the books) you will come to recognize very quickly the setting of this story archetype, the kinds of magic (good and bad) and the play off of the two sides of this mirror/water persona.