Tree Magic: The Oak and Prosperity

brown acorn

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My first experience with the magic of the oak was during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. A massive oak crashed into the livingroom of my condo. As the tree spread herself out in my home, she sent out her magic to protect us. Since then, no harm has come to my condo building, despite numerous hurricanes and other storms.

Since then, I realized that a part of doing magic with the oak requires asking the tree first. The oaks surrounding my building will answer by dropping their leaves for “yes” and waving them for “no.” An acorn dropping on my head is the oak requesting that I do magic with them.

The particular oak magic that I do annually is to gather acorns. I would bury some for the squirrels, some I would pile up for them to eat, and the rest I would bring inside. After placing them on my altar, I would ask for the blessings of protection and prosperity from the oak.

When the white oak, next to my condo, was overcome with shelf fungus, I decided to wage war. I went out with a claw hammer to bash it off. As I went to do this, I heard a voice say no. Pondering that, I realized that either I was hearing faeries or nature spirits. (They abhor iron or steel.) So I returned with my heavy walking stick. As I pounded the fungus off, I could feel a sense of relief. The shelf fungus was blocking entrances to Otherworlds. It was also suffocating the oak.

Since I am wary of faeries and nature spirits, I thought the best thing to do was to gather acorns for offerings. I spread them in a circle around the base of the tree. I hoped that the faeries would think kindly upon me for trying to keep the tree alive. I received an answer through my oracle deck when cards featuring acorns kept appearing. The faeries said thank-you.

Tempestas and the Gods of the Winds

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In June, Tempestas, the Goddess of Storms is given offerings by Romans to keep travelers safe. I find that interesting since June is also the start of the hurricane season in the Atlantic. Perhaps it is not that surprising since hurricanes can influence weather in Europe.

Besides Tempestas, I make offering to the Gods of the Winds. Having good relations with the Winds is necessary to work weather magic. For example, farmers want rain and sun during certain months, while sailors want to avoid wind storms at sea.

The Wind Gods of Rome have the attributes of the climate of Southern Europe. Since I do not know the names of my local Wind Gods, I use the Roman names if they fit. Some of those Wind Gods share similar attributes of the climate of Washington D.C. I believe that different areas are governed by different Gods of Winds (and Storms). Some like Hurican, the Carib God of Storms, rules over the Atlantic and East Pacific Oceans.

Aquilo of the Northeast brings the cold weather. We receive Nor’easters that blow northeast to southwest. These massive storms bring snow or rain, lingering for days. Corus, the oldest of the Roman Wind Gods, blows the cold in from the Northwest, Where I live, our winds of winter come from the West (October through March). Meanwhile for the Romans, Favonius of the West brings spring. For us, the North Wind comes in April.

Starting in May and throughout the summer, the wind is from the South. For the Romans, Auster of the South brought the sirocco from North Africa. This Wind God governs the strong winds of summer and autumn. Volturnus of the Southeast brings the warm rains and winds. Our major storms come from the Southeast. Vulturnus of the East also brings warmth and rain. However, Washington D.C. rarely receives any wind from the East.

Our Wind Gods include Derecho, Hurricane and Nor’easter. Each Wind God is formidable in their own right. Arriving without warning, Derecho is a “thunderstorm-induced straight-line wind” — a squall line with exceptionally strong winds. Derecho. Every few years, Derecho will arrive during the summer to wreak havoc.

Named after Hurican, Hurricane arises in the warm seasons of summer and fall. Spawning in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane brings strong winds and torrential rains. This forceful Wind God creates inlets and destroys islands.

Nor’easter rules only the Eastern coast of North America. Occurring in the colder months, the intense Nor’easter can batter an area for days. Severe flooding often occurs from the high storm surges.

Throughout the world, Wind Gods reign over various regions. Australia has the dusty Brickfielder. For South Africa the Cape Doctor blows form the Southeast. Each has their own particular attributes.

Nature Mysticism, Atheists, and the Numinous

Little marrow type pumpkin and flower.

Little marrow type pumpkin and yellow flower.

Before I became a Polytheist, I was a Nature Mystic. I felt a oneness with the world, since I enjoyed all things in nature. From my experiences, I knew that the earth is sacred. Since I had close encounters of the numinous kind, I gradually moved from Atheism to Theism.

By their nature, mystical experiences are altered states of consciousness. They are the neurochemical responses of the brain to outside stimuli. What makes the neurochemical response a transcendent one is when someone gives it meaning. A person may place import on a “supersensory” response by seeing the earth as “the Holy Body that we are all a part of.”

The Atheists who are Pagans often confer meaning to the world by science. However, by calling themselves, Nature Mystics, they have elected to enter the metaphysical realm. Nature Mysticism is a non-theistic religion with a belief in the numinous. It is the spiritual underpinning of the deep ecology movement.

Therefore, I ponder how some Atheists who are Pagans reconcile their beliefs of only science can determine the Truth with that of Nature is holy. I wonder how someone who discounts the supernatural can have the transcendent experiences that they often write about. The human places meaning on to what is sacred and holy. Science cannot do that. How does a person reconcile the two?

As a Polytheist, I am outside the norm of Western society, which is a secular one that has humans at the center of things. This society places a high value on science and cultural progress. A belief in many Gods is considered a throwback to a primitive past. Perhaps, that is my answer – in the society that we both live in, Atheists who are Pagans as the norm. They can believe in both without worrying about being congruent.

Periodic Cicada: The Nexus of Time

cicada1Right now, my area is experiencing a cicada emergence. I have found these insects to be magical in their own way. Even their singing has an otherworldliness to it.

In the eastern half of North America, Periodical Cicadas from Brood X invade the countryside every 13 and 17 years. Crawling up from the ground, They emerge at once, in May and June, leaving behind their exoskeletons. For a brief month, Male Periodical Cicadas fill the air with a deafening sound, advertising for a mate. These large Insects spend their brief adult lives with only one thing on their minds – mating. When a Female Periodical Cicada is ready, She will “click” to the Males, “Here I Am!” After mating, She lays her eggs in trees. When They hatch, the Offspring will move underground for another 13 to 17 years.

Living longer than any other Insects, Periodical Cicadas emerge as a single Brood. Each Brood is spaced 13 or 17 years between emergences. This long period prevents Predators from timing their activities to eat the Cicadas. The prime numbers of 13 and 17 insure that nothing can adapt to the Brood Cycle.

Called Periodical Cicadas (Magicicada)), these Insects differ from their cousins Locusts. Unlike Locusts, Periodical Cicadas do not jump. They seem like Locusts because of their larger broods that overwhelm predators by their sheer numbers. After spending many years developing underground, They come up for only two months. Then, the Adults mate and die. Then years go by before another mass emergence.

Besides Periodical Cicadas’ size and numbers, what also makes Them outstanding is their song. Male Periodical Cicadas makes the loudest sound in the Insect World. By vibrating the ribbed plate in a pair of amplifying cavities at the base of his abdomen, Male Periodical Cicada can make his sound heard for long distances. A whole chorus of these whirring sounds resembles a deafening roar of hundreds of kazoos played at once.

Many people have heard Periodical Cicadas, and have not realized it. The sound tracks of many science fiction movies that feature UFOs use the Cicadas’ droning to signal the sound of the alien space ships. Think space aliens, and you associate Periodical Cicadas with them.

The lesson of Periodical Cicadas is living at the nexus of time. For Periodical Cicadas, time merges into one Brood. When They emerge in the present, Periodical Cicadas encourage people to remember the past. Also, They prompt people to think about what the future will bring. In the present, their numbers simply overwhelm people. Periodical Cicadas bend time into a prism of past, present, and future in one moment.

Gods Recruiting: Closed Culture: Native American

(I wrote this before Brain Fog came.)

Many people are attracted to Native American Religions, but not because Native American Gods recruit (because They do not). Rather it’s because people are seeking spiritual fulfillment and believe that these religions will satisfy their longings. Unfortunately, this becomes a matter of people seeking the Gods of a closed culture.

From the 1980s, people have sought out those who claim to be Native Americans to teach them how to be one with nature and to follow the “Red Road.” Furthermore, many of these “Native Americans” promoted their books and workshops to attract followers and make money. In response to this “selling of Native spirituality,” many Nations issued statements telling these “Native Americans” to cease and desist. Moreover, tribal authorities stressed that their religions belong only to their particular Nation.

Given the amount of material that is written about Native American beliefs, people feel that they know enough to practice these religions. However, much was recorded by outsider anthropologists and missionaries, who translated what they saw into a Western cultural milieu. For example, these religions are presented as proto-monotheistic with the “Great Spirit” as the supreme God.

Meanwhile, the books written by those who claim to be Native American or taught by Native Americans have their own peculiar theology. From my readings of several authors, they present a monotheistic New Age theology with a sprinkling of pseudo-Native terms such as “Grandmother Moon.” Often included in these books are versions of the “Rainbow Warrior Prophecy,” (Note 1) which stipulates that White people are reincarnated Native Americans, and that they need to follow Native Ways to bring about the New Age of Harmony. Another thing in common is promoting the use of crystals, which is a New Age concept. To bolster their writing, the authors will stress their special status or lineage. (Many will cite each other’s books or credentials for added authority.) These books are appealing because they present what non-Native Peoples want to be true – that Native American Religions are open and should be practiced by everyone. Also, that they present “pure, ancient truths” that are lost to the West.

What do people do if they are called by the Spirits of the Land? Before I became a Polytheist, I was a Nature Mystic, spending as much time as I could outdoors. I studied nature, learned the flora and fauna of my region, and kept a diary of the seasons. I read poetry of the Nature Mystics and wrote short poems to convey my depth of feeling. Even now, I talk to the trees and rocks, and practice reciprocity of giving little gifts for their wisdom.

Nature Mysticism is a union of the self with nature. Going deeper into the transcendental wonder of Nature, the person merges with the living world. Some types of Paganism practice Nature Mysticism and seek spiritual sustenance in the natural world.

I would suggest that people read William James’ book, “Varieties of Religious Experience.” This philosopher wrote many books discussing people’s mystic experiences and placing them in a religious or natural context. I would also suggest that people study the Nature Mystics such as John Muir, Henry Thoreau, Walt Wittman, or William Wordsworth, and others. Their writings will give people a means of how to connect to the land and nature.

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Note 1. The Rainbow Warriors Prophecy

Wikipedia: Legend of Rainbow Warriors

“When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the rainbow.”

“The legend said [the Native Americans] would also be joined by many of their light-skinned brothers and sisters, who would in fact be the reincarnate souls of the Indians who were killed or enslaved by the first light-skinned settlers. It was said that the dead souls of these first people would return in bodies of all different colours: red, white, yellow and black. Together and unified, like the colours of the rainbow, these people would teach all of the peoples of the world how to have love and reverence for Mother Earth, of whose very stuff we human beings are also made.”

The Rainbow Warriors Prophecy is actually “fakelore,” and originated in Baptist Missionary tracts.

Other posts in this series:

Gods Recruiting: Open and Closed Cultures

How Gods Find Followers: Intro