I look to the cards to inspire my work and my writings. In this matter I am guided by Lenora Carrington's recently released Major Arcana, white edges trimmed off and the new edges sanded to an exquisitely distressed finish. The Wheel, the Magician and the Moon appear.
Major Arcana by Lenora Carrington
We might be tempted to think of both ourselves and the dead as static. It is the same ole song and dance. Up we rise, down we fall. The moon waxes, then it wanes. The dead are dead and we, the living, are alive. However, the moment we consider which is which, that moment dies in the arms of impermanence. Identification of the situation is entirely dependent upon our choice of language. The dead eventually move on, though when that occurs is still a matter of conjecture. Through experiencing death ourselves we also eventually join their ranks. The rhythm of the cycle itself may not change, but our position within that rhythm does.
In many cultures the dead are considered to hold great power. Care must be taken to appease them and avert their jealous presence. Their counsel is sought because consider them wiser and more knowing. We have buried curse tablets at their graves in the name of both justice and vengeance because we perceive they, or the powers who command them, are either more powerful than we are or capable of providing access to a different kind of power. Something subtler, something more blurred and less easily ensnared by the confines of the linguistic prisons we erect.
They reside neither among the living nor have they moved on to wherever it is they go when ultimately they do. So too in many traditions are they citizens of the night, its darkened landscape often dotted by the pale light of the moon and the cries of mysterious creatures. Both their capacity to counsel us and aid us in our earthly desires resides in their status as one of the dead. However, it is perhaps more precise to say that their power resides in their status as citizens of the liminal. It is, after all, in the liminal where the very best magic happens.
How do we, as practitioners of magic embroiled in the ritual of it all, cast our own spirits into the liminal so that we are as the dead themselves are? Think of this as something you can do both in preparation to seek out the dead and when you engage with them.
The Fool, The Charioteer, and the Hanged Man appear.
That path to re-positioning oneself as a citizen of the liminal is that of inversion. Whatever you do and however you do it simply invert it. Embrace inversion both in regards to how we might normally do things as one of the living, as well as in regards to the specifics of your own personal practice. In so far as the former is concerned, try fasting instead of eating. Go without showering and sprinkle yourself with earth from the cemetery, much as we might cover you with it when we bury you one day. When it comes to your ritual practices consider working in absolute darkness instead of by candle flame. Dig things up instead of burying them. Modify your voice so that it is no longer powerful and resonant when you speak your incantations and prayers, but somber and melancholy as spirit roused from its grave in the dead of night may be.
Be bold like the Charioteer in your pursuit to invert as much of your very being and practice as you possibly can. Emphasize twisting the very power of the details that once consecrated you as one of the living and now hallow you as a deathly citizen of the liminal. Then see where your new insights and magic take you.
This post has been authored by Dorian Broadway, folk magician and fortune teller. If you wish to learn more about Dorian and his amazingly profound work, or book his services, you can visit his website here. www.dorianbroadway.com
IG handle: @dorianbroadway
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