Today is a momentous date! August 2, 2016 marks one year and one day that SilverLeaf Hollow has been in existence.
In the craft, we often assign certain lengths of time as significant, a year and a day being the most common. Neophytes must study for (at least) a year and a day before being initiated, and traditionally, initiates must wait at least a year and a day between initiating to higher degrees.
Craft tradition is not the only place where a “year-and-a-day rule” has been implemented. In early European feudal societies, if a serf ran away from his lord’s domain, and could keep from being returned for a year and a day, he would be considered a free man. A traditional handfasting would be binding for a year and a day, after which the couple could dissolve the union if they were not happy, and have no negative stigma attached to their time together.
There’s that word again: Time. What exactly is time, anyway?
Wikipedia says that “Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past, through the present to the future.” We perceive time through the experiences we have, and we have divided those perceptions into units of “time”, minutes, hours, days. But how we actually experience those units of time is dependent on what is being experienced. “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Why does the weekend go by in a blink, but the work week seems to drag? And time seems to slow to a crawl when we are looking forward to an exciting event or activity.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Professor Slughorn has an hourglass that is affected by the environment around it. If the evening is full of interesting and stimulating conversation, it slows down the sand as it falls. But if the evening is boring, it speeds up. By all accounts, one can say an “hour” has passed; it just varies how long that hour actually is. Of course we don’t have time pieces that can do that (sadly), but there is a concept in magic that has the same varying attributes: Planetary Hours.
By dividing the time, in minutes, from sunrise to sunset by twelve (for the number of “hours” in a “day” or “night”), we end up with twelve “hours” that (more often than not) are NOT 60 minutes long. In fact, there are only two days in the year where the planetary hours will be 60 minutes long: on the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes.
So what does this all have to do with why we use “a year and a day” as a magical allotment of time? We know a year as the amount of time it takes for the earth to complete an orbit around the sun. The next day would be the start of the next orbit to be completed. Much like how we don’t stop at the last quarter to be welcomed in the circle, but proceed back to the quarter where we began, to recognize a complete cycle of the heavens and how they relate to us, we have to come back around to the relative place we started, and then go past it to begin the next cycle. It completes the Circle.
Time will always be something that humankind measures and records. Significant events in our lives and our worlds will always be marked and remembered by the point in time that they happened. The challenge is to make the most of those time that may not be “significant”, find the magic in the moment, and find the spiritual in a split-second.
Share your experiences with different perceptions of time in the comments. When has time slowed down or sped up for you?
This past week was the first full moon of Spring, and here at SilverLeaf Hollow we had our first “round table” discussion evening. We talked about Divination – different methods, different tools, what they can really be used for. Early on in the conversation, a common misconception came up that divination is for “telling the future”. While some fortune tellers will use divination techniques that may appear to tell the future, divination is really more grounded in the present.
Using a tool like tarot cards or runes can help to recognize a pattern on actions that could lead to a general possible outcome, but because the future is not set in stone, we have the ability to change directions if we don’t like where the possible outcome is heading. What we are really learning from these types of readings is what is affecting us right now that can have significant impact on where our path is going.
Pendulums are used to tap into information our higher selves already know (and really all divination is doing that as well) to help us find a lost object or answer basic questions.
Scrying through various mediums can show us things outside our direct consciousness that can be affecting challenging aspects of our lives.
All of these methods are giving us insight into our present and possible future events based on choices we are making in the present.
So why do we, as Witches, use divination? At the heart of it all, we are on this path to raise our level of consciousness, to connect to that divine essence that we are all a part of but may feel disconnected from due to our limited human brains. The tools and techniques of divination act as a sort of conduit to that divine essence and allow us that connection with our higher divine self. And for folks that have difficulty with meditation, due to over-busy minds and such, working with a deck of cards or gazing into a candle flame can act as a focus and still that busyness (or at least keep it from being the focus) and open the mind be open to that connection.
More than a few modern Witches may dismiss these techniques as cliché, or just never have considered studying them, or even think they lack the discipline to fully learn a technique. And others will stick with a single technique, never branching out to try something new for fear of steeping out of their comfort zone. So in this time of new growth and budding life, I challenge you to put aside preconceptions, reach outside your comfortable bubble, and explore a divination technique or two. There are so many different types of divination, you can be sure to find one that strikes your fancy!
And feel free to discuss your observations and experiences in the comments below. Or if you have a suggestion for an upcoming post….
High Priestess of SilverLeaf Hollow
.The days are getting longer, if not warmer, and the Earth will soon burst forth in new life. The God was born at Yule and is growing in his power. The Goddess has been renewed and is the Maiden once more, even if she is still in the Underworld. This is a time of Transformation! But what does that really mean?
I know what you may be thinking: “I’ve been practicing for blah blah number of years; I know ALL about Transformation! I can feel the phases of the moon and the cycles of the seasons way down in ma bones!” But what if you couldn’t? What if you were trying to convey the meaning of Transformation to someone else? What does it really mean in these modern times, when we have houses with heaters and grocery stores around the corner so running out of food may not be a real issue?
From a purely physical perspective, Transformation is the changing of one thing into another thing. But Transformation does not just happen. The water does not turn to ice just because. The flower does not all of a sudden just become a piece of fruit. There has to be a catalyst to begin the process.
I have recently been trying to teach myself crochet, and it occurs to me that this is an act of Transformation. The yarn, through a process of looping, hooking and pulling, becomes a blanket or a scarf or any number of other things. But this does not happen just by willing it so. The catalyst is the moment I make that first slipknot and begin the foundation chain. That is the beginning of the Transformation of that ball of yarn into whatever it is I want to make it into.
So what does that mean for us on a spiritual and magickal level? When we as practitioners decide to do a working, we become the catalyst for our own magick. We begin the process of Transforming whatever it is we want to change. And we all know that once that magick is in motion, we still have to do any physical work that will enhance that Transformation. I may want to weave my magick into a blanket that could be used to comfort a friend in need, but if I don’t actually pick up the yarn and hook, it will just stay a ball of yarn. We make the decision to affect a change in our lives (or in the lives of people we care about, with their consent). But the flip side of that is we can be the catalyst for Transformation in the lives of others, without a magickal boost. By interacting with the people we care about, engaging with the people who may cross our paths at work, and by reaching out to those in need, we may ignite a catalyst that Transforms someone’s life in ways that we can never foresee. Finding the magick in the everyday of our lives allows us help others see the magick in their everyday as well.
High Priestess of SilverLeaf Hollow