Is Poetry A Spell?

What is poetry? What is a spell? Is a spell poetry? I believe that the “rules” of poetry deserve special consideration in the weaving of spells. I don’t mean meter & rhyme – both of which are effective but not requisite. Spells operate from a more basic level. Graves states that true poetry is a retelling of some aspect of the Great Myth – the unfolding story of the Goddess & the God, the Lady & Her Lord. Since the Great Myth encompasses all that the (human) mind can conceptualize, any undertaking may be addressed within It’s context. Maintaining the context is an exquisite aid to completing an effective spell. Trying to be all encompassing doesn’t help, & can actually dilute the effect! If, for example, you would cast a spell for love – the context should fit within the calendared context of love between Goddess & God, Lady & Lord. Consider the ages of any entities invoked, the minerals, plants & animals involved and the season of the year. For example, when naming a specific plant, consider its context in the calendared cycle & note whether the plant is dormant, in leaf, in bloom, with seed, etc. In a straightforward spell for love, neither the elder nor the cuckoos have much place.
By adhering to poetic semantics, a good spell becomes as a Celtic knot – a seamless, unbroken whole. But how is this accomplished with language, which is inherently linear & divisive? My approach is 3- fold. The first weaving is to craft verse, which follows Grave’s rule. In retelling part of the Great Myth, the verse itself becomes part of the whole. Through this isomorphism (or mapping) the verse becomes a seamless, unbroken whole – like that from which it is drawn. The second weaving is to assure, before the actual working of the spell, that all participants (human & familiar) understand the intended semantics of the work. Open discussion is fundamental (ouch – LOL) to this accomplishment. The third weaving (the ritual retelling) is to transcend language – & semantics of the verse itself may hurt or hinder this. As the works are spoken, the mind must be freed of their limitations, of linguistic divisions, & merged with the Web. Here, meter & rhyme are of assistance as trance-inducers, especially for the novice. To illustrate that semantics MATTER, consider: A spell is an awful thing to unleash upon the world. This statement illustrated the importance of semantics. First, I’ve introduced a deliberate ambiguity – which most do not anticipate.

The root meaning of “awful” (the archaic spelling WAS purposeful) is something full of awe & wonder, or something that fills you with these. Not the “terrible” most of us interpret with. Second, no spell represents something that is created & released by the weaver alone. Weaving represents NOT the creation of force (impudent, considering the Great Myth, no?) but a purposeful selection of threads from the Web & a careful reweaving – or retelling – of them in such a manner as to influence the local properties of the Web. And third, I recognize that SHE creates – I recreate. Again, consider the semantics: to recreate is to remake in the explicate (the “real” universe) that which already exists (a potential) within the implicate order (the unfolding Web). Recreation is the JOYFUL doing of a thing.
SHE has full understanding of our meaning, but a spell falls not on Her ears alone. Working in a circle of friends leads your words to their ears as well. For others to lend energy fully to a work, each must have full understanding of the casting in progress. Ambiguity, however, is not the problem. (Actually, the ambiguity is over there, in a box (LOL)) In fact, it can be quite sublime. Ambiguity simply necessitates clarity within the circle. For example, I begin all rituals with the invocation “Grant me hearing, Holy Mother” Seems simple on the surface. Well, there are multiple semantic implications. I am asking Her to listen. I am asking Her to let me hear. I am asking Her to let others hear me. I intend them all – there is clarity in the ambiguity so long as everyone working (human & familiar) understands the intent. We simply need to share the ambiguity, know where it lies and know for what it is intended. I believe, for this reason, that any ritual, invocation or spell is worth sharing among the circle BEFORE the ritual retelling. I, as a principle weaver, strive to prevent my innate egocentrism from interfering with others’ ability to ADAPT to the work and I, as a member of a circle, as a secondary weaver, strive to offer all resources available to UNDERSTAND and ACCEPT a principle’s intent – without undue quibbling over my own (egocentric) interpretations of the exact semantics & syntax. In the unity of our disparities lies a true path towards powerful weaving, towards enlightenment & towards the passion of being. The joyful union of friends in Retelling the Goddess (RECREATION!) is as or more important than the actual work undertaken.


One thought on “Is Poetry A Spell?

  1. Pingback: spirit of clarity or divisiveness « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

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