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My thoughts about Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca, cooking, gardening, and anything else that catches my fancy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Living With "The Land," And The Importance of Regional Variation

If you read the best books available on Traditional Witchcraft, you'll quickly notice one thing: they are almost all British in origin, and are directed towards a largely British audience.  This is fine for most of the material, as meditation techniques or spellcasting methods will work no matter where one is located.  Certain areas, though, will have to be adapted to fit your local surroundings.

For example, many of the herbs one is directed to grow, or use for certain purposes, might do well in rainy, cool-weathered England but are literally impossible to grow in incredibly hot, humid Texas where I live.  Rowan might make wonderful ritual tools and wands (and in fact I do have a Rowan wand) but it doesn't grow anywhere near me.  Even the spirits one encounters might be different, as the terrain in the American South can vary from wide, flat plains to rocky mountains to marshy swamps.  As such, it's important to experiment and find out what works for YOU in YOUR area.  As we draw some of our power and our knowledge from the Land, it's important to get to know it intimately and not simply rely on books, especially when they describe places that are vastly different from your own.

In my own city, we've got abundant Oak, Maple, and Ash trees, and I've experimented with all of these types of wood.  Oak and Ash are pretty traditional woods to work with for wands and such, but Maple is less so.  However, I've found that it has a wonderful energy, and seems especially suited for "growth" workings (gardens and fertility) and other positive magic.  In my garden, I've planted things that do well in our sunny, hot climate and will soon have a beautiful crop of Sunflowers, Moonflowers, and Morning Glories as well as some tasty herbs I can use for both magic and culinary use.  Working with these things makes me feel more connected to the Land, and to the energy that surrounds it, much more so than if I simply tried to make British magic work in an American State.

All this is not to say that one should ignore tradition; far from it. I myself favour a pretty traditional path.  However, I do think it's wise to adapt tradition to blend with your surroundings and to bring them into harmony with the unique powers that infuse your particular geographical area.  By using local wood, local plants, and taking into account the local terrain you can help to harness their power and perhaps gain the favour of the spirits of place (genius loci) which can aid you in your magic.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very good post - especially when considering the fact that the things which work for somebody may heavily depend on them being that special person, and might do nothing (or worse) for another person. This even goes for people who write books. ^^