Saturday, April 20, 2013

Regarding Elementals

I'll leave the demons alone for now.

But elementals? I mean the sylphs, gnomes, salamanders and other such 'weird creatures' that fill medieval bestiaries and even get mentioned by magicians at the most unexpected times.*

I have a serious fondness for elementals. I've interacted with a few, and simply witnessed others.

The first time I saw one was after a night of debauchery, as I was walking home. I turned and looked down a row of vacant lots that filled the eastern section of Fresno's suburbs... And witnessed something the size of a goddamn small house hurtling through space towards – well, I have no idea where it was going. It was at least ten feet tall, and appeared to be covered in rock. I stood and mutely watched it for at least five minutes... because it isn't every day that you see a giant... thing booking it down the road.

It wasn't physical. It left absolutely no footprints. I was in a highly altered state at the time. But it gave off the most earthen pulse of power as it moved that I've encountered thus far outside visiting the astral sphere of Saturn. Except, unlike the cold wastes of Saturn, it seemed to have a sense of heat or energy to it.

We didn't interact. I figured that a giant, earth-thing wouldn't have much to say to me. So I went home and crashed.

Since starting to try and gain names and sigils for the Genius Loci of my city, and other places I travel to, I've also experimented with making deals with the local elementals I encounter in Sacramento's parks. A lot of the housing areas in the downtown to midtown area of the city are set beside parks that are well maintained and gorgeous. I also love the fact that building anything comes with requisite demands to plant an enormous amount of trees. So the city is nicely shaded, and parts of it are simply beautiful in comparison to my former home town.

Amongst some of these experiments have been simple trades. After using automatic drawning and trance within the park, and producing a sigil (which I think use to speak to the spirit and see how well we get along) I would occasionally make requests.

A friend of mine, about three years ago, was having work trouble and I wanted to see if I could barter with an elemental on his behalf. It was another earth sort – except it appeared to be more of a tree with a face – and we worked out a bizarre, but profitable arrangement. There were an enormous amount of irate costumers that my friend had to deal with on a regular basis for what seemed like weeks in a row. I requested that the elemental try and maintain a protective atmosphere extending over the store that sat next to the park, and give everyone breathing room to deal with upset costumers in a productive manner. It requested that I bring it – and I know this is bizarre – a child's toy that had been cleansed with frankincense and sprinkled with clean water and leave it beside the tree it was manifesting from as a focal point. Within two or three days of my having left the request where it wished, my friend reported that the problems had cleared up so much that it was as if he had a new, better job. Thus far, he's requested no further work and I can only assume the elemental is still looking out for the store near to it.

In other cases, I've had spirits request that I leave flowers, sweet fruits, and honey for them. I'm always happy to leave a plate of 'the good stuff' for a pleasant elemental, or really any spirit that doesn't come across as being dodgy during our interactions.

Eventually, I hope to meet a proper Salamander. Being a very fiery sort of person, I think I could learn a lot from one. Like how to burninate the countryside more effectively.

In any event: this is my post babbling about some of my personal experiences with the non-infernal elementals. It's pretty light, I know. But I think some folks miss out on a lot of adventures ignoring the things that are alive, and well, right now beside them.

Go out, have an adventure... See what you live beside. Magick is about living, and seeing differently. At least sometimes, anyway.

Be seeing you,

* At the end of Initiation into Hermetics, Bardon decides to unleash his full capacity for crazy by telling students that have completed that work so far that they can 'learn much from the Gnomes,' and then goes on to discuss invisibility. Because Franz Bardon is awesome.

Note: Most of the process for working with localized spirits that I use was stolen from Spare, or just as often, Stephen Mace. Stealing the Fire from Heaven was the text that made start thinking about trying, and is worth a gander for the interested. Thank you, Mr. Mace.


Rachel Izabella said...

I just wanted to say I loved this post. Compared to much standard fare it seems completely refreshing and new. Probably because it's based on personal, lived experience. Great work.

Scylla said...

I have seen gnomes. Only the once though. They looked like they were made of layers of muted-toned fungi, treebark, and soil.
They were standing in a ring looking at the ground, apparently discussing something very important. I blinked, and they were gone.
What they had been looking down at was a bird that had met the end of it's days and had the appearance of something that had been lying on the ground during heavy rain - the soil had begun to weld it to the earth... but we'd not had any rain for weeks.

By and large I leave them be. They're like wild animals - trying to make them contact a human world seems painful to them.

Frater Acher said...

Excellent post - thanks so much for sharing your personal experience.

I actually think this act of magic is much more meaningful and powerful than many conjurations performed in the temple. Because it is part of actual life, it is balanced in terms of giving and taking and it helped to connect people and the land you live in... In my eyes this is exactly the way true magic is performed.

And one you are approach by a demon in the park, asking for your support to unblock certain energies or transport items from it on the physical plane - then it is time to work with demons, I guess?

PhoenixAngel said...

Nice Post Jack. I enjoy the elementals too but I also give them great respect. Some of them like to poke at you or mess with you when you're not looking out of curiosity or mischief. If you ever have the experience of going over Interstate 5 over the Grapevine to LA, you will find the Slyphs are quite prevalent there. I like providing my offering to them there