Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

24 October 2019

Inklust #24: Lessons from Circe




Let me say what sorcery is not: it is not divine power, which comes with a thought and a blink. It must be made and worked, planned and searched out, dug up, dried, chopped and ground, cooked, spoken over, and sung. Even after all that, it can fail, as gods do not. If my herbs are not fresh enough, if my attention falters, if my will is weak, the draughts go stale and rancid in my hands.
Circe, Madeline Miller

I have been studying witchcraft for a year. It's creative and interesting, learning to use herbs, draw sigils, design spells suited for the purpose, memorise incantations, choose the moment, focus. Focus, focus. All this requires understanding your own intent, honing it to a sharp point.

...the draughts go stale and rancid in my hands.

This past year I learnt how little we actually know of what we want—past what we're asked to want, past what's appropriate, past what makes money, past a stagnated dream we've probably outgrown. What do we want when all the jockeying and the incentives to parrot a well-learnt response go away?

Strong will, the capacity to bend reality to your desire by magic or otherwise, requires an intimate connection with oneself. Everything, everyone, works to keep us from achieving that. (Our systems are fragile. We don't know this, don't think of it, but they rely entirely on our self-doubt—our bottomless need to find some solution outside ourselves, coupled with the suspicion that we are never quite doing enough, never quite good right here.)

I also realised how much of our shared reality is magic: Our belief in the stability of money. Our unquestioned treatment of corporations as people. The misguided belief that consumption of the right things will yield preservation of the planet at large.

Consumption is always the hero. Magical thinking. The wrong kind, though. It's the kind that fuels addiction.

Think on Circe: What it means to make magic with the earth, with space, with yourself, this moment; to sharpen the deepest part of you into a subtle knife. Don't let the draught go stale and rancid in your hands.

Photo Credit: "Circe Invidiosa" by John William Waterhouse. The title means "Jealous Circe"; she's pouring the draught that will turn Scylla, "her rival," into a monster. In other words: Just another "inspired" man capturing a woman mid-catfight. Sigh. But I like it because of that tilt in her head, the furrow in her brow: She's concentrating. Even after the potion-making's over, one must still do the work of intent and execution. Circe works hard. She does not fuck around.

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What is "Inklust"? Boy am I glad you asked. Here's the manifesto: part I and part II.

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