Right now it’s all about the breathing.
First, I have asthma. Really nasty allergic asthma that causes me to come a bit too close to my dear friend Azrael on an annual basis. I’ve never seen anyone who doesn’t want me quite as much as Azrael doesn’t want me. In this case, there’s no room to take offense. It’s getting to the point where “how’s the kids?” is a reasonable greeting for him.
Now that we have certain aspects of life straightened out – like insurance – I’m going to brave allergy shots. Both good allergists I’ve seen consider me a good candidate. This will, unfortunately, severely inhibit travel for a year or two, maybe 3.
Second, I want to get better at magick. Yes, I’m readopting that spelling. This adoption is partly because, as an inveterate nerd, I really do have an interest in the legerdemain variety as well. That may startle the few readers that know me in daily life. “But you do this all the time…”
Yes, I do. I could do it better. I work with folk practices and what I picked up when training in Wiccan covens. Wicca is wonderful for me as a religious outlook. But the culture that comes with it is a terrible thing for someone like me. Its hierarchical formats stood between myself and what else I am driven to learn.
As some of you know, I’m pretty adaptable and wily with magickal practice – and every step I’ve made forward has caused someone from my Wiccan background to absolutely have fits, screaming “no” either physically or metaphorically the entire way.
Crazymakers. It’s not just an Artist’s Way thing.
I’d rather leave all that behind, deny my intiations altogether, than carry on with that bunch of crap. The gods have been quite clear – when I ask “What am I?” I hear the answer, “A priestess.” I don’t need other Wiccans to recognize me – the divine has already made that decision and no amount of 3rd degree posing can ever undo that.
Besides, the American eclectic lineage is just fine with me. And yes, it’s still Wiccan – even if Gardnerians and Alexandrians try to say it’s not. The God/ess really doesn’t give a shit what is and isn’t Wiccan anyway. Seriously. Just ask. If we are all her children, we are ALL her children. She doesn’t give special preference to ones that run around naked in a circle. She may well have favorites but ceremony is a much more limited part of it than you might expect. All that ritual stuff is for us humans to get out of our own way and let her in, after all.
So this digression – or inclusion on my thought process – brings me back to my point. I want to get better at magic. That doesn’t begin with meditation or grounding and centering. That begins with breathing. Somehow, I only learned two breathing exercises in my early practice: breath of fire and the fourfold breath.
There’s a lot more out there. There are even specific breathing exercises for asthma. So, until the next Sabbat, (Mabon), every day begins with the practice of breathing exercises. Today’s is tougher than you might expect: inhale. Inhale until belly expands and lungs expand. Exhale as slowly as you can.
Damn. This is totally what I should have taught first when people asked me about meditation practices – it really does take your full attention.