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Thaumaturgy Lesson 5: The World Around You

on Sun 01 Jul 2018, 16:49
Using The World Around You

At some time or another, you will find yourself out and about and in need of some magic. You may need to protect yourself or others with a shield, or be called on to help send a blessing or healing. If you're traveling, it's probable that you won't have every tool you want or need on your person at the time. Then it's time to improvise and use the materials at hand in the world around you.

Raw Materials
Centuries ago, everything people had to work with came from the natural world. Herbs, trees, stones, water, fire, animals, and handmade objects made up any magic tools needed. Even when a mage was away from home, they could identify the raw materials needed for a working and get down to business. It wasn't ideal, but it would do in a pinch with the necessary know-how. The same still holds true for modern materials, you just have to know where to look and how to use them. And what to substitute as needed.

Identifying these raw materials is key to this type of magic work. Even if you're in the middle of a city, there are gardens and wild plants growing around you (or that can be purchased at a nursery) and most things around you are made up of natural things, including blacktop pavement (stones and bitumen) clay bricks, iron, glass, wood, mirrors, or cement (limestone, clay, gypsum, silica, and other minerals).

Energy is another raw material that can be gathered up and used. Have you ever been at a convention, or in any large crowd, and started to feel disoriented, dizzy, or anxious from the raw energy around you? It's very easy to become overloaded from it, especially if you're an empath. If you can channel it and transmute it into your purposes, however, it's a very powerful energy source for the thaumaturge. Sound is another source of energy, which can be found in music, or even just the ambient noises around you.

Think Outside the Box
Since you literally have the world at your fingertips to work with, let's narrow it down a bit. What do you commonly use for your spell work? If you use an oak wand, for example, know what oak trees and branches look like in your area, so that if you need to snap off a piece and use it as a wand, you're grabbing the right thing. If you use water a lot, start to become more conscious of where water is around you at any given time -- it could be from a bathroom faucet, a drinking glass at a restaurant, a hotel ice machine, a nearby creek, your own spit, or rainwater dripping from a roof.

Substitutions can also be made when you know the purpose of them in the working. If you need a black stone for its symbolic color, any black rock will work. Cinnamon, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and hot sauce will all work interchangeably as a fire-related spell ingredient, and all of them are easy to obtain at various types of restaurants or cafes. You can even use a pen or letter opener as a wand or pull a thread from your clothing to wrap up a binding spell. Can't find a pen to draw a sigil? Draw it on the ground with a squirt of mustard or on the sidewalk with a piece of landscaping bark.

Be Prepared
Of course, it's smart to be prepared and carry items with you that can be used for quick spellwork, such as chalk and salt. Sidewalk chalk is cheap to purchase, or you can even make your own with a simple recipe found on the internet (and you can include oils, herbs, powders and other ingredients for extra kick). If you need to purify something, salt from to-go food packets will work in a pinch and are easy to toss in a bag.

Other ways to carry the magic with you are in the things you wear. If you have an article of clothing or piece of jewelry related to your guides, you can essentially become a walking altar everywhere you go. You can charge your favorite jacket as a shield, or cast a glamour on your shoes to help you walk about undetected. You can also hide things inside things, such as a slip of paper inside a shoe or hat, or an object inside a body cavity (but please be safe and sensible about what you're putting where).

Developing "tool vision" and being conscious of what you wear will help you feel safer and more confident when outside your home, because you will never be without what you need for magic again. This is much like the warrior mindset where "everything can be used as a weapon." It will also help you see new ways of re-using things you may have around the house. Visits to the thrift store and yard sales are a lot more interesting when you start seeing all the magical uses for "mundane" stuff. And, once you get used to looking at the world around you in this way, you'll have the freedom to craft whatever you may need, as you need it.

Homework: Think about any tool you commonly use in your regular practice (yes, ANY tool that is not part of your body -- could be a wand, spell component, drawing materials, substance, music, color, etc). Imagine that you've left this important tool at home, and find yourself in a circumstance where that tool is really needed but you can't access it. Find five new substitutions for this tool from common objects and describe where/how you could get them in a pinch. Also describe how these substitutions might (or might not) alter the working and the results.

Senior Thaumaturge, Kithriarch of House Petra, Patrex Chapter
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