Oh my god! I said the “M” word! Does that mean I’m going to talk about…GULP…Magic? Well, yes, and no. I want to talk about changes in the seasons and how you can recognize them long before most people do. Which means maybe not magic, but more observation and perhaps a bit of empathy.
Let me explain.
Recognizing the Rhythms of Your Land
Regardless of whether you live in the country or the city, in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, or in the Americas or “across the pond,” the land you live in has its own rhythm, its own wights (and I use that term loosely), and its own timing. Back when I lived further south in the Rocky Mountains, it took me forever to recognize this–mainly because I wasn’t a Heathen then and I had other concerns which took up a good deal of my attention. Back when I was younger, the weather, the climate, and the land were simply distractions from day-to-day living. Now, I realize that day-to-day living is a distraction from the weather, climate, and the land.
Look, you don’t need to become a tree hugger or run around naked in the forest to connect with nature. (However, if that’s what you do to get your rocks off, that’s none of my business.) It involves changing your viewpoint and paying more attention to the natural occurrences that surround you (even in the city.) Changing your viewpoint isn’t that hard, but it does require mindfulness. This is why I often recommend mindfulness training to those who are getting started in Heathenry.
If there’s a form of magic I do believe in, it has to do with mindfulness. Seriously, it’s something everyone can do and it will help discipline your mind enough to deal with the stress of modern life. I recommend a book called Mindfulness for Fidgety Skeptics if you’ve never done this before. I get a small stipend from Amazon if you buy it through the link. You support this website if you use the link, so I would appreciate it if you use it. Even if I didn’t get some money through this, I’d still recommend the book.
What You’ll Discover Paying Attention to the Land
Being mindful and paying attention to the land opens a whole new world of experiences you never knew existed. You start noticing not only the cooler temperatures of autumn setting in, but also the increase or decrease in humidity that follows the change. Maybe you start seeing stratus clouds and high cirrus replace the fluffy cumulus. Maybe you see a shift in the bird population, the increase or decrease of certain insects, or even the shift in the quality of light you get. Instead of noticing the latest fall fashions creeping into people’s wardrobes, you notice how the squirrels are moving from tree to tree to gather food. You may see different species of birds. If you live in a place with deer, you may see a shift in their foraging.
At night, you may see a change in the constellations–if the light pollution isn’t too bad. If you live in wildfire country like I do, you can actually see if there are new wildfire starts nearby just by the color of the moon, often before the news picks it up.
How This Makes You a Better Heathen
At this point, you may be wondering how this makes you a better Heathen. Let’s think about this a bit: our gods and the landvaettir are nature entities. Even Odin, who is our creator god, deals with natural forces. (How much more natural is the creation of life?) So, we’re looking at gods who reside over nature. By paying attention to things not human made, we gain a deeper understanding in the world around us. You become a better Heathen, and you even open yourself up to the wights and gods. It may or may not be a type of magic, but I know it works.
How to Communicate with the Gods
That’s one thing about being a Heathen a lot of Heathens miss. You see, you can get close to the gods without all the mumbo-jumbo. In fact, I suspect it’s the best way to get in touch with the gods. You don’t get a conversation with the gods from mumbling prayers or sacrificing goats usually. You get that from opening yourself to them and seeing who pops up. That requires paying attention to them and listening to what they have to say.
If you’re not receptive to the gods unless Thor takes a hammer to you and smacks you silly, you’re unlikely to hear them. That does happen to the most dense of us and it is quite unpleasant. Trust me when I say you will really get shaken out of your reality when the gods do that. It will make you question your overall sanity, unless you’re already bat-shit crazy. Now, it’s a lot easier to deal with because I’m more in tuned with them, but for a while it was fucking nuts.
I hope I’ve given you some things to think about. Let me know what you think.