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Bastet's Kitten

One of my New Year's resolutions for 2017 is to resume my explorations into ceremonial magick. I've practiced it in the past, but never with the sort of consistency that I think it deserves.
I'm basically a materialist in my outlook, which is to say that I don't believe in ghosts, fairies, demons, angels or leprechauns, but I do believe that human beings experience all of the above. I'm less interested in what's real than in what the experience of living feels like, and with certain practices, the feeling of living on Earth with a human brain and body can feel very different than it does without those practices.

Back when I looked to Robert Anton Wilson and Terrence McKenna and NLP to structure the hodge podge of sensory data and incoming memes, I had the good fortune to encounter Philip H. Farber at a ritual magick workshop in Boulder, Colorado. It was at that workshop that I performed and evocation ritual that brought a being called Bath into my consciousness. She's a feline entity, something akin to the Egyptian goddess Bastet. I think of her as one of Bastet's kittens.

My interest in magick at the time overlapped my interest in NLP, which is to say that it was motivated by sexual fantasies with a side order of self-improvement. Bath was a playful, sybaritic presence in my life, and in one ritual I performed with the intention of bringing her more fully into the realm of my experience, I imagined that she was preparing a situation for me in New York City. I lived on the Olympic peninsula in Washington State at the time and had no intention of moving to NYC.

A skeptic would assert that my eventual move to NYC was a matter of coincidence, but John Micheal Greer, in his book The Druid Magic Handbook: Ritual Magic Rooted in the Living Earth writes, "magic could almost be defined as the art of causing coincidences in accordance with intention."

My resolution around the practice of ritual magick is to perform a banishing ritual each morning upon rising from bed. A banishing ritual clears away the psychic crud and prepares one for interactions with the forces and entities that lie beyond the mundane.

The last banishing ritual that I performed on anything like a regular basis was one that I took from a book by Philip H. Farber. I would invoke Bath and charge her with the task of clearing any unwelcome presences from my space. I have seen cats, fierce and territorial beasts that they are, transform in an instant from the embodiment of indolence to the righteous manifestation of possessive terror, lounging one instant and launching like a missile to repel a trespassing rival in the next. That's how my avatar of hedonistic sexuality and playfulness also serves as a guardian spirit.

For this next phase of my explorations into the potential of ceremonial magick I plan to use John Michael Greer's druidic tradition as my framework because, if it's up to me to choose the character of the changes in my consciousness that I will achieve with this work, changing my consciousness with techniques that are "rooted in the Living Earth" appeals to me at this stage of my life.

I'm certain Bath will adapt and find a congruent place for herself in this new stage.

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February 2019


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