I. The Magician

Shatter yourself into broken glass and rebuild the mosaic of your life.

In the Shadowscapes deck, The Magician has his connections to the elements. I find these appealing, these four classical elements that show themselves hanging from the young man’s wings: Fire, Air, Earth, Water. Personally, I have a temptation to add Light and Dark to the assembly; always have. But those four are chief in the way I see the world.

I see myself with connections to three of the four. My temper is my Fire; my calm is my Earth; my birth is my Air, as I was born in the sign of Gemini. I find myself drawn to the wind, to its gentle touch upon me. At night, I am restless without the cool breeze upon my body, lulling me to sleep.

The Magician Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
The Magician
Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

But I have never gotten along with Water. Not surprising, I suppose, since I have been so Fire-based my entire life. It was only in recent years that I felt drawn to Earth and Air, finding myself with these elements. Fire was the first, though. I still consider myself born of it, bathed in it, and its mortal enemy is Water. So how am I to reconcile with that which is my opposite?

Honestly, I don’t know.

The Magician is unique, to me, in that he has connections to illusory magic, or the sleight-of-hand magic that is common today. Smoke and mirrors to hide the truth, trick the mind and the eye. I consider myself to be extremely observant, a skill I have developed over the years, but even I can be fooled. We all can.

He is also akin to the Fool in that he finds himself shaking off barriers. The Magician is not bound by the world; he exists within it and makes the rules bend to him, his will. Yet he knows them, for one cannot manipulate the rules without knowing how they bend and break.

Most of my life I have spent in a state of hyper-awareness. Knowledge is my friend, however I may learn it. I collect it and bind it to me for use at a later time, yet this binds me as well. I have caged myself with the physical world and its limitations, yet my spirit and my self yearn for that which is past it. That which can only be learned through experience, not books.

I have been this way for years, terrified of finding myself outside the limits of my mind, of my imagination. Of finding myself a fool, actually. Tricking my mind and falling for that which is not real. But reality is subjective, I think. My truth and your truth may never match up, but we have still experienced that which leads us to that end.

I need to bring the tactile and the spiritual together, to bring the two sides of myself into reconciliation. This is another step in my path, another stone in the wall I build.

0. The Fool

The Fool Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
The Fool
Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

To find myself one again whole, I must first tear myself apart.

Much of my spiritual practice has been thought-based these last several weeks. I miss formal or physical practice, though, but I find myself lacking in several ways. Finding myself in a spiritual rut is frustrating. I have spent most of the last month looking over the items that I already own for altar space and finding the variety lacking: candles, a few small figurines, more incense than you can shake a stick at. Unsurprisingly, I have the most items for Anubis; him being my patron, this of course is no shock to me. But I am surprised to find how little things I own as icons and devotional items for my other gods.

But it’s not just the shrine items. It’s the knowledge and feelings that I sense dwindling. I spent most of last year clinging to my gods in hopes that I may better regain a sense of self and my mind. Today, I find myself once again…not feeling like myself.

When thinking over how much I missed writing here and how I feel like I don’t know what to say, I decided to find something that I knew would jump my writing. A prompt of sorts, but one that I could hopefully find appealing enough to write on. I need a schedule, a focus of sorts, something to guide me through this journey. And so, with that in mind, I turned to my cards.

Most of you likely know the idea that the Major Arcana is a journey of sorts. The Fool is the start of that journey, even before that first step. It represents the willingness to jump forth and start the cycle over again. That is, essentially, what I plan to do the rest of this year: start over, completely from scratch, more or less. Rebuilding is hard, but worthwhile.

But what is it that I want out of my practice? Why do I find myself constantly feeling this desire to fall forward, to leap? Honestly, I have no idea. But I suppose it happens due to the feelings of stagnancy I get into. This sense that I’m just kind of wilting.

I’ve been reading T. Thorn Coyle’s Evolutionary Witchcraft the last several days in hopes of rattling loose some feelings about the experiences I’ve had and finding inspiration in new acts. She states in Chapter 1:

I change my daily practice about every six months. This keeps me from getting bored and keeps my practice from becoming mindless. However, there are two practices that I do without fail, every day, regardless of how my practice changes. These are aligning my Triple Soul…and sitting in silence. These form a foundation for all of my other work on self.

This has had me thinking since I read it, wondering what the most core acts of my practice could or should be. The things that, if I were to change the physical acts twice a year, what would I consistently do?

Breathing exercises is one. Between my previous martial arts classes and learning diaphragmatic breathing from my therapist last year, I find a lot of serenity in these exercises, in slow and conscious breathing. For now, that’s enough. It’s the basis, the first block in the wall that I am rebuilding.