What Is Natural Magic?

I use the phrase “natural magic” often, and sometimes people ask me to explain it.

I can’t.

But I’m going to try anyway. Or at least I’ll try circling around it, hoping that you get it too. I’m pretty certain that you will and that you may even already know it, perhaps under another name.

First of all, it’s not like “casting a spell” – it isn’t so much something you do as it is something you are. It might be more like an intention… you see? I’m already lost trying to explain it.

Oookay… let’s take healing, for example. The way I do (and teach) healing is that you open yourself up to healing energy, inviting it to flow through you, grounding and connecting you to both heaven and earth. Then when you are cleansed, filled, and overflowing, you invite it to flow into someone else to cleanse and fill them, and they also become grounded and connected to both heaven and earth.

(I use the word “heaven” loosely, not in a Judeo-Christian sense, although you can use it that way if that’s what works for you – just be careful not to limit it!)(You might prefer to call it “nonlocal consciousness.)

Natural magic is pretty much the same thing. You invite it to fill you – and then you let it flow into… something…

(In fact, I suspect that this kind of healing and natural magic are the same thing, but I’m not quite certain of that.)

You don’t exactly tell it to do this or to make that so. You hold it loosely. One way to do that is to say, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if (thus and such) or something even better comes to pass?”

This freedom allows O Universe to be co-creator with you. It allows something wiser than your conscious mind to choose how to bring you what you truly, deeply, and wisely need and want. It’s much more of a surrender to the magic than it is a conscious choice.

Got that? Questions? Observations?

© Copyright 2019 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Heart

When I was quite small, about two years old, Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy and their stories by Johnny Gruelle were among my favorites. My mom made me both of the dolls, and I was extremely happy with them until I found out — shock, horror — that Raggedy Ann had no heart!

In the stories, you must know, she had a candy heart. Back then (almost 80 years ago now) there were small sugary heart-shaped candies called “conversation hearts” that had messages like “I love you” or “Be mine” or similar sayings. Courting couples, among others, had a lot of fun with them. Raggedy Ann was supposed to have such a heart sewn inside her. It was what made her so good and loving — and different from her brother, who was much more mischievious and didn’t have such a heart himself. The heart was mentioned often in the stories.

So, of course, I felt her body expecting to find the small heart inside of her. Not being able to find it, I asked my mom to show me. “It would be too messy,” mom said. “It would melt when we have to wash her and she’d get all sticky.”

I knew that this was wrong thinking. She had to have a heart. I asked my Gran’pa for one of the candy hearts — he was that kind of a grandfather. He got me the candies, helpfully showing me which ones said “I love you” and read to me what the others said. I kept one of the I-love-yous and ate the rest, which made Gran’pa happy too.

At the first chance I had to get hold of the scissors, I poked a hole in her chest and pushed the little candy heart as deeply into her stuffing as I could. (I knew I wasn’t supposed to play with the scissors, but I wasn’t playing — I was working!) Unfortunately, after that Raggedy Ann started leaking stuffing. I kept tucking it back in, but I knew this was trouble. She had to be fixed. When I got a hole, I leaked too, and someone always put iodine and a bandage on me. (Living on a farm, there are a lot of opportunites for getting holes in yourself, even when you are little and there are five adults trying to keep track of you.)

I took Raggedy Ann to my mother, showed her the problem, and requested a bandage. She explained that she’d have to sew up the hole, and asked if I knew how it happened. I told her about the scissors and the candy heart. She already knew that even at two I had my own views about things and that I could be surprisingly stubborn. She explained again about the candy getting wet and messy and making Raggedy Ann sticky. She was poking around with her fingers, trying to get the heart back out.

I still remember taking the doll out of her hands and clutching her tightly to me, explaining that Raggedy Ann wanted to love people and she needed her heart to do it. She had to have her heart or she’d always be unhappy. When I remember of one of these ancient experiences, sometimes I’m surprised at how little I’ve changed. I suspect that all of us are born knowing a lot of wise stuff and it’s important that we get to have opportunites when we are young to affirm and reinforce it.

This is one of the rare things I remember from when we lived on the farm, but for some reason, I dreamed about it today and woke up sad and teary and angry with the world. I don’t remember if I had tears in my eyes way back then, but I had them this morning, and I have them again now. And I think of the children at the border being taken from the people who love them and having their hearts broken. I think of all of the children who get harmed in this society we humans have made.

I also think of something I realized in my years of practicing spiritual healing — right at their very core everyone needs and wants to love and be loving. It’s what we really are, no matter how hidden that core may be by experiences and hurts and betrayals. It’s always there. This is something mystics and some healers absolutely know, even more certainly than we know the sun will rise tomorrow. I suspect that ultimately, it’s the only part of us that is eternal.

Seanchaidh – a recurring dream

I just awakened from a dream similar to several I’ve dreamt in the past. At least, I remember walking this trail before same place, different times and seasons, other people. The last time was several years ago. It always begins walking a trail — the kind of a trail you’d expect to find along a mountain ridgeline — rocky, rough, up and down. The air is thin. The ridge is narrow in places, the sea nearly lapping across, yet miles wide in others.The trial may be right beside the water or well above it, high on a hill.

In the dream, I know that I’ve been there before, and that this narrow ridge of land surrounded by the sea is all of the land that there is in this wide water-covered world. It’s winter and the breeze is gentle but cold. Ice has formed here and there on the ground, so I have to watch my step and be careful not slip. My backpack is light because I’m wearing most of my clothes, as well as a blanket for a warm shawl. The little pack worn on my chest is also light, and yet warm against me, It’s tucked inside the blanket shawl to stay warm as well.

There are occasional old buildings, some nearly fallen, others quite old-fashioned but in reasonable repair. I come to an old building, partly stone, partly aged timber. It’s fairly large and looks like a combination of an inn and a general store. Smoke comes from the chimney, and voices come from a window that is only open an inch or two. From the sound of it, there are a number of people inside.

There is a little gap in my memory here, and then I find myself inside the building, peeling off my blanket and outer clothes to be comfortable in the warmth. My face, fingers, and toes tingle as they warm. There aren’t many people, perhaps twenty or so. Few of them are children, many are old. They stare at me as if strangers are unusual but not unheard of — not afraid, not friendly, but with a “wait and see” air about them. Most of them sit on chairs and benches in a ring around the large room.

An older woman gestures for me to sit at a table in a corner and puts a bowl of stew in front of me, and asks if I’m an òranaiche or a seanchaidh. I reply that I’m a seanchaidh, a storyteller. She nods and then brings bread and a hot drink to go with my soup.

Another gap, and I find myself sitting in the circle beside the hostess, who stands up to tell the people that I’ll be telling a story now. As I also stand, I feel something stirring in my small pack on my chest, so I fold back the top. A small kitten lifts her head up and gazes around at the people with sleepy eyes. All of the people draw in their breath at once and hold it for a moment — then let it out in a sigh. Older ones bend to the children and I hear whispers of cat, kitten, and puss around the room.

The kitten isn’t awake enough to be hungry yet, so I begin, “I’m here to tell you a true story of olden times, which you may believe or not, and my name is Summer SainteTerre.”

No! No, you are not Summer SainteTerre!” creaked an ancient crone huddled by the fire. “She was here long ago — when I was a child. You would have to be older than I am, and you are far too young.”

Smiling gently at her, I repeat, “As I said, you may believe me or not, as it pleases you, but I am who I am, and my stories are true.”

Chairs creak as people shift in their seats, some looking intrigued, some a bit frightened. The ancient draws breath to speak — and I suddenly wake up, momentarily surprised to be in another time and place. I lie in my bed remembering that I’ve dreamed of walking that trail before, meeting other people, sometimes just passing through, other times staying for a long while, a semi-repeating dream. I don’t think I’ve written any of these dreams down before — perhaps I should. Now, still half-asleep, I’m wondering if this is a possible future after centuries of climate change… or if it’s just imagination, just a dream. It can’t be climate change — as far as I know, there isn’t enough water to drown all but the very highest mountain ridge in the world. This may have something to do with a question I’ve been asking myself: Where do stories come from?  All I know is that when I was dreaming, I did say all of my stories are true.

Copyright © 2019 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Nature & True Nature

 

Years and years ago, when the Faeries’ Oracle first came out, I went to San Diego to show a small group of people how to krow* with the Oracle. Nice people! We had fun with the cards, and they found that they could be really helpful. As the last thing in the class, I asked each person to draw a card to tell them what the faeries wanted from them in the future — not a question we often think to ask. I don’t remember what anyone else drew mine was Unity because I was so blown away by the message I heard in my head as I looked at the Unity card.

We need you to save the world. Right now, humanity is standing on the edge of tipping into collective insanity. It could go either way, but the thing you must do to prevent this is to bring people back to nature. They must connect with Earthmother, with the trees, the stones, with all creatures, even each other, as well as all of the nature spirits and MamaNature herself. Most of all, they must remember to be their own True Nature.”

I was totally flummoxed and speechless. How could I possibly do that? Everyone? Humanity? All of it? I doubtfully told the voice, “I can’t do that! It’s far too big a job for any one person no matter how wise or capable that person is, and I’m certainly not anyone special at all!”

Don’t worry about that you’ve been working on it for years, but now it’s time for you to know the true purpose of the work you’ve been doing. Knowing how important this is will help you to stay in focus. You need to be conscious! You need to be Awake and Aware! Many other people are working toward the same purpose in their own way. You are far from alone. And of course, we’ll help if you invite us!”

That skittered around inside my head the rest of the evening, but I didn’t say anything about it to anyone. It sounded so… grandiose… as well as overwhelming. Who did they think I was anyway? Whoever they thought I might be, I knew I wasn’t.

I didn’t sleep soundly that night. My mind kept going in circles as well it might. And besides, I was flying home the next morning and had things to do before I went. I got up quite early and began packing, but it wasn’t long before my hosts knocked on my door, saying we needed to watch the television.

Have I mentioned the date? September 11, 2001. Yes, that morning.

Needless to say, I didn’t get on a plane that morning. In fact, it took a whole week for me to get home. As I watched the way that people behaved, how they responded to that event, how they (in many cases) cherished each other, were so kind and helpful to strangers, and then watched how we gradually fell apart again “going back to normal” I understood what the fae had been talking about.

Getting back to nature. Nature. MamaNature, Earthmother. Nature Spirits. Our Own True Nature. That.

There is, of course, the nature of blood, tooth, and claw, but there is also the choice of spirituality, blessing, and compassion.

I’ve only mentioned this to a very few people up to now, so why am I telling you today?

9-11… and then 11-9-2016 and that election. Yes. Which way did the scale tilt then? Toward MamaNature? Against her? And which way is it tilting now and how are we influencing it ourselves? Each one of us?

Some people might consider this to be a war. I do not! Greed, selfishness, and all of that is what causes war. And war begats war. Those are precisely the things that got us into the mess we’re in now. Taking things from others and even from EarthMother just so we can have more-more-more, so we can go faster and farther and have more stuff, much more stuff to sit in our closets and cupboards, to throw away, to create unbelievable piles of trash.

For all of us, our purpose in being in the world now, our mission, the thing we are meant to do is to make a simple choice. Either we choose to come to our own true nature, which is compassionate, or we choose to succumb to the fear that births greed and anger. This is the choice each of us has to make. No decision is irrevocable yet.

One more thing no choice is too small to count in one direction or another. Everything we do makes a difference one way or the other.

If we are going to opt for healing ourselves and the world, we must do it with joy and and kindness and gentleness, not anger nor greed nor fear.

Kindness.

Gentleness;

Generosity.

Compassion.

*Krow “work” playfully spelled backwords. A faery knackerty knotion about recognizing that the only difference between work and play is attitude. We forget that when we start to school before that, it is something we instinctively know. This too is something we need to know on our mission to save our world, each other, and ourselves.

Resolutions

This afternoon a friend asked me what resolutions I planned to make tonight for New Year’s Eve. I hadn’t even thought about that at all. I used to do quite elaborate things with lists and cards and runes and sewajus and write everything in notebooks — and probably never looked at them again. And this time, for the first time I could remember, I seemed not to be doing anything at all. How odd.

Without thinking, I said, “I’ve decided not to do any resolutions at all.”

“So, you’ve resolved not to make any resolutions, have you?”

“Right!”

“I remember you decided not to make any last year — and the year before.”

“Yes, but later I changed my mind and made them anyway. Then I forgot about them and when I remembered, I scolded myself for forgetting. So this time I really won’t do it at all.”

Later on in the evening, my phone rang. It was a pre-arranged call from my friend, Nancy, so we could do New Year’s Eve readings for each other as we usually do on the turning points of the year. I promptly forgot the whole resolution thing as we looked at where we each were now, what we wanted to leave behind us, and what we wanted to bring into our lives. (There may have been some sort of hints at resolutions there, but if there were, the word was never mentioned.)

At the end of the process, I drew a final card: What did O Universe want to tell us? Ilbe the Retriever turned up to say that he was keeping our old lost dreams and desires safe, and the time was coming very soon (like now!) when we would do well to bring them back into our lives to enjoy.

We talked about what those lost, forgotten dreams might be — Nancy’s had to do with music, mine with faery arts.

While we were discussing that, I remembered that another friend, John Logan, used to say that anything you learned after the age of 56 would become an inborn talent in your next life. We laughed about this, since the forgotten dreams were things we’d already planned to do well in our next lives.

Not resolutions — not at all. It’s the difference between “You must … !” and “Wouldn’t it be lovely to … ?”

I’m writing this book, you see…

Most of you know that I’m writing a book. Heaven knows I’ve made enough noise about it. I’ve written three books already, but this is different. Harder. Or if it isn’t actually more difficult, I’m more insecure about it. The first three books were about things I’ve been teaching for years and know, but this one is “fiction” — although I have to admit that that it feels like the story is already there and I’m just writing it down.

My first beta reader (who prefers to be anonymous) has commented a couple of times on the delightful slowness of the story and the wonderful world that Marzipan (main character) lives in and how he’d like to live there himself. Of course, that made me wonder if it was too slow, if it didn’t have enough action fast enough. The second reader definitely wanted it to move faster. So did I because I “knew” it “ought” to, but it just wasn’t happening.

What should have been the next bit with lots of action somehow just kept getting put off while the characters went on with their daily lives, caring for and about each other while we got to know them better. Finally, it had to be acknowledged that I just didn’t want bad things to happen to Marzipan! I just kept wanting her to be happy! Silly me… I told the first beta reader this, and he replied, “Actually, I’ll bet there are a lot of people who’d agree, and would be quite content if your book had no conflict. Especially with today’s conflicted world whirling around us.”

Reading this brought me to a total halt. YES! But…

All of the rules you hear about writing stories are against this. As we talked a bit more about it, we did realize that there was a difference between “conflict” and “danger” — but even so I found it difficult to make her unhappy or to let her get hurt. But I knew I had to have adventures for her. So I finally wrote the part where she gets frightened to bits. But this turned out rather like when I tried to make a tarot deck and the Lightning-Struck Tower kept being insipid instead of scary. Same problem.

However, having recognized the issue, I can do what I did then — do it over and over until it’s finally right. It doesn’t have to be rough and tough enough in my first try.

Today, while looking for something else, I happened across a Youtube video. Jon Favreau, President Obama’s speechwriter, was given the James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of the University College Dublin. He began with something very important, emphasizing how we are surrounded by “bad news” constantly. These are often things we can do nothing about — earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, climate change, seemingly endless wars, and all the rest of it. He went on to say that what we need is stories that give us hope so we won’t just fold up and die. Such stories are what give us the courage to keep trying to do our best.

Right away, I got this. What all these people have done is to give me the courage to go on, and hopefully, ultimately, I hope Marzipan’s story will indirectly help others to see that same hope in their own lives and have the courage to keep trying. When all we have is hope, it’s very important to hang on to it. This is no time to be a pessimist. So, I’m writing this story to show us how, hopefully, we can learn to be better and kinder to each other. There are small things each of us can do and attitudes we can hold that will help us make our own lives better. It may not save the world, but who knows what difference it actually will make?

And I suspect that these things may be the foundations on which we can build much bigger things that are solid enough to keep growing.

The video is at:

When I Was Queen In My Ain Countrie

I woke from a dream, hearing
myself say aloud, “When I was queen
in my ain countrie…” That was all;
nothing more. I later remembered
that someone in this world had said
that I needed a tiara for writing.

“A tiara,” she said, “marks off
the time and space in which you rule
as Creatrix. Some authors do like
to dress up, but I feel that a tiara is enough
to remind one of who one really is —
a tiara and a really good fountain pen.”

So I bought a sparkly tiara for me
and another for my granddaugher,
who was of an age — three, I think —
to really enjoy a tiara. I also bought
a nice pen. But I’m the only one I know
that makes so many typos with a pen.

I much prefer a computer and its quiet hum.
The tiara gave me headaches. It tangled
and pulled my hair. I was going to wind up
with a tiara that had more hair than I did.
So I made a tiara of my own design with
honeysuckle vine, leaves and crystals.

I would quite like a nice silk gown
with feathers and fur and bright gems —
yet the tiara and gown are not meant
for anyone but the cats and me to see.
Other people don’t need to know
who I really am as they pass by.

I have come to believe that there is
no Right Way — only the way that works.
For me, it’s to be a Queen in My Ain Countrie
in disguise, wearing an invisible tiara
and a transparent gown of royal blue silk velvet
with a pure white lace jabot and pristine lace cuffs.

I shall just wear ordinary clothes beneath
my invisible royal vestiments so courtiers passing by
won’t pester me as I create my ain countrie.

© 2018 Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Harken, Listen, Pay Attention

Do you think you hear birds singing?
What if you’re hearing faeries?
What if they sing like skylarks,
like blackbirds or wrens?
What if they fly like eagles and owls
or cheeky sparrows or spotted towhees?

What if they are singing
for the caged and tear-gassed children?
What if they are singing
for the mothers who weep for their children?
What if they are singing
for the  fathers, helpless in the hands of the wicked?

Earth’s fae spirits know this is so wrong —
We are Earth’s children also —
why don’t we get it?

I mustn’t read the news before I try to sleep.
I mustn’t read the news before I try to eat.
If I must read the news (and really I must)
there must be a time to mourn after
and then strength to fight the battles.
Evil seems never to stop, never to give up.

What is it about humans
that so many of us must be
watched every moment?

Are we listening? Are we hearing
the faeries singing like birds —
like blackbirds and mournful owls
like wrens and eagles?
Do we harken at all?
Are we learning anything?


Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Apparently not.

© 2018 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

What If…

What if
the Rapture came
in the middle of the night
and in the morning
we rejects went out to find
tinfoil hats
old zoot suits
straitjackets
worn red spike-heeled shoes
with one spike broken halfway?
Or a pair of red silk thongs
slung across
tinfoil underpants —
all scattered on the pavements?
Would we realize
from this strange detritus
that we are the crazy ones,
the lazy ones,
the ones that didn’t make it,
and that
what god/dess really wanted,
what s/he was growing in this world,
were the trippers, the daily
roller-coaster riders,
the wild-eyed ones
who wear their clothes backward,
the oddities, the ones who
can’t stop laughing,
the ones who walk
through the park, shouting,
“The locusts have stolen my honey!” —
the ones who never say, “Be safe!”
the ones who live
on the very edge of glory?

© 2018 Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

81 — Birthday Cake Bonfire

I cannot hear the gentle rain any more —
it has to come down hard on the roof
for me to hear it well,
but I can see it bouncing on the leaves
of the honeysuckle and the salal.

My world is quiet.

I’m slow — really slow —
and stumble on the forest paths.
There are bruises and scars
inside and out from mishaps —
sometimes I fall.

So far, I always get back up.

I don’t know if “over the hill
is better than under it.”
How could I know that?
But I do know I’m not finished yet.
I still have work to do.

Joy is in the doing.

Someone asked, would you live forever
if you could? How could I know that?
Eighty isn’t even a fraction of forever.
I’m still learning new things, and
I shall know when it’s time to go

dancing Home.

© 2018 by Jessica Macbeth 2018