1. Describe the difference between a "magical" ritual and a "religious" ritual, including if there is a difference and why there is or is not. (min. 150 words)

Bonewits defines magic as:

  1. A general term for arts, sciences, philosophies and technologies concerned with (a) understanding and using various altered states of consciousness within which it is possible to have access to and control over one’s psychic talents, and (b) the uses and abuses of those psychic talents to change interior and / or exterior realities.
  2. A science and an art comprising a system of concepts and methods for the build-up of human emotions, altering the electrochemical balance of the metabolism, using associational techniques and devices to concentrate and focus the emotional energy, thus modulating the energies broadcast by the human body, usually to affect other energy patterns whether animate or inanimate, but occasionally to affect the personal energy pattern.
  3. A collection of rule-of-thumb techniques designed to get one’s psychic talents to do more or less what one wants more often than not, one hopes.

(Bonewits 19-20)

He goes on to define religion a bit more loosely as combining magic with a philosophical and ethical system (Bonewits 25).  Using these definitions as the basis of this question, there is indeed a potential difference between a magical and a religious ritual.

For a magical ritual, it is possible to do an entire ritual where there is no need to have a shared belief or shared ethics.  The ritual itself is about making some kind of change as in Bonewits’ third definition of magic.  These kinds of rituals can completely exclude things that one would consider religious.  From an ADF perspective, these rituals could completely exclude sacrifices to the Kindred, Earth Mother, and Gatekeeper, or even opening the gates.  Instead, it potentially could just be a ritual of grounding and centering, going into a trance, doing the magic, and coming back out.  It is also possible to do a full ADF ritual, and include an extra magical working within the ritual.

A religious ritual though inherently has magic involved in it, and can also be used as a magical ritual.  Again using ADF as an example, we have magical aspects throughout our ritual format.  We open gates, take omens, and hallow waters for example.  If we look at Catholicism, they too have magical working throughout their rituals, culminating with the transubstantiation of the wine and wafers to blood and flesh, although they’d never call it magic.

Trying to decide if a ritual is magical or religious though is not an easy thing to do.  All of these rituals will have a magical component to them.  They also may make sacrifices to deities, and all the other similar hallmarks of a religious ritual.  That does not mean that it’s a religious ritual though, it could be theurgy based magic.  An example of this could be a blessing ritual where the magic we’re looking to make is to receive blessings from the deities.  This could be argued to be a magical ritual though as the purpose was a magical working, not worship that requires a shared belief beyond that the deities called will give us a blessing.  On the other hand, if we are doing thaumaturgy based magic, those rituals are more likely to have none of the appearances of a religious ritual are would be more clearly magical rituals.

In the end, my opinion is that the defined purpose of the ritual is what defines it as magical or religious.  The blessing rite above could be both, and I would propose that most religious rituals are extensions of a magical ritual.  This works with Bonewits’ definition of religion as including a magical component.  If a ritual was defined as being for a magical purpose, e.g. blessings, healings, or some other magical act, it would be a magical ritual.  If a ritual is defined as being for worship, and the magical components are there to support the worship or are secondary or incidental to the overall purpose, then that would be a religious ritual.

  1. Describe magic as it exists in one non-Indo-European culture, describe how it has influenced or could influence the magical system of an Indo-European culture, and describe what lessons you could take from the non-IE culture into your own personal practice. (min. 200 words)

In ancient Egypt, magic was part of the culture and could be found throughout the culture.  The belief was that magic, or heka came from the deities and was passed down to those that were their servants, specifically the Pharaoh and the priests, although it was available in some form to all classes of people (Dollinger). 

Priests were the main magicians for the Egyptians.  This is in large part because they were literate, and the most powerful magic was written down.  The Lector Priests were the most respected practitioners because of their ability to read the magical texts.  They were credited with many supernatural effects such as bringing figurines to life and the prevention of natural disasters.  Other people were able to perform magic though, including serpent charmers, midwives, and nurses.  Magic was not seen as a bad thing though, unless you were a foreigner (Pinch).

There were various techniques that were used.  Some were spoken word, and the words had to be pronounced correctly for the magic to work.  Others were written and had to be carried on the body.  These were often combined into one act though.  We also see the use of amulets and talismans.  One of the places we have the best record for magic though is with death.  There were great magical practices that had to be followed to aid someone into the afterlife.  This included spells to be done on the dead, various charms to be included with the body, and even the use of a book of spells, the book of the dead, to help guide the soul through the underworld (Pinch).

The Egyptians are likely to have influenced the Greeks in their magical practices.  This is because the two cultures mixed, with the Greeks being in control of Alexandria.  As a result, it shouldn’t be unexpected to see influences from the Egyptians on Greek culture.  Georg Luck lays out some of these similarities where the Egyptians may have influenced the Greek magic.

  1. Magic is not practiced primarily as a necessary protection from the evil powers that surround the individual; rather it is a means of harnessing good or evil powers in order to achieve one’s goals and desires.
  2. The operator of the magical papyri pretends to be a god in order to frighten the gods.  This attitude of pretending, of temporarily assuming a supernatural identity, is highly characteristic of magic in genera.
  3. Magical power linked to certain words that are clearly differentiated from normal language; they are pronounced in a certain way or written on gems, papyri, and the like, along with certain signs and diagrams.
  4. Power is also linked to certain gestures and rites; these rites are similar to the ones used in religious cults but, one would assume, are sufficiently different and distinctive to avoid misunderstandings.

(Luck 56)

As magic and the culture evolved in Greek society though, magic did go from something respected to disrespect.  This was not seen with the Egyptians.

There are many things that can be gained from studying another culture’s magical practices.  My personal practice is to do what I have found to work, and not to limit myself to one culture.  If I have found something in a non-Indo European culture that works, I will use it.  With this specific example, the biggest thing I take from it is that magic is something to be respected and used, unlike what was seen with the Greeks where it was relegated to the shadows and thought of as bad.

  1. (Crossover Requirement) Keep a journal for five months detailing the trance work that you have done. Write an essay based off those journals that examines your practice over the time you journaled. The essay should describe how you use trance for your magic, whether trance has helped your magic, and particularly how trance and magic have played off each other in your personal work. Entries occurring less than weekly will not count toward completion of this requirement. Your journal must include work from the exercises found in the support material for this course. [This requirement's journal matches up with requirement 10 in Trance 1: see required and recommended reading for that course for further information] (min. 1000 words)

I did this journal when I was living in Singapore.  This meant that I was away from most of the things that I normally have available, and was not able to do the things as I would normally do them.  I was in a strange land and didn’t want to run afoul of any laws or customs of the land, so that did limit me in what I did.  I also was now living in an apartment without access to fire other than in the form of a candle, and living very close to other people that I didn’t want to disturb.  I then moved into a hotel, which made things a bit more restrictive for me as the walls were really thin there.  As a result of all this, I decided up front to focus on thaumaturgy instead of the theurgy that I normally practice.

The majority of my workings relied heavily on visualization.  This worked well with the trance work that I was doing for trance 1 at the same time.  For the majority of the work I did, I would go into a trance.  Once there, I would either journey to some place to do the working, or I would slowly bring my consciousness to where I was while maintaining the trance.

One of the kinds of magic I did with good success was Reiki healings.  When I’m at home and doing these I use a surrogate body, such as a teddy bear, to represent the person I’m working on.  I didn’t have anything like this available to me.  What I ended up doing was doing a trance journey to a “home” that I have worked on building up in this journey world.  When I got there, I would then do a visualization to bring the person into the room.  Once this was all set up, I would then do the healing as I would normally do if they were sitting in front of me.

Another thing I did multiple times was energy manipulations.  This started off by creating energy balls between my hands while in trance and then play with them.  In general I spent fifteen minutes or so making them bigger and smaller and also floating the balls around the room or over the landscape around me.  I also change the colors of the balls and started to experiment with changing their shapes from balls to other basic shapes.  These were interesting exercises as it required a lot of concentration on my part, especially when I went away from the initial ball.  It taught me how my energy manifests, and how to get basic control of it.

Another theme I had was weather magic.  This was not as successful.  Again, visualization played a big role in all I did.  I did this work by doing things like building bubbles around areas I wanted good weather at, for example when I was traveling somewhere on vacation.  I also attempted putting up wedges of energy to divert things around where I was.  I also did work to draw clouds and rain in when it was a month of dry weather in Singapore.  This was all done through visualization and my intent, and for the most part this didn’t really do much.  I did get some of what I was trying for, but it was in no way consistent in how it manifested that I would feel comfortable saying it was my work.  I do wish to work more on the weather magic, but I want to do it more with theurgy than thaumaturgy.

I also did some protection magic for when I was journeying.  This was mostly prayers to the deities for a safe journey, and visualizations of the safe journey.  As this was all impromptu when I did it, I didn’t write down any of the prayer work.  The magic did work, or at least didn’t do any harm, as I survived all my travels, all be it with some delays along the way.  I was only asking for safe journey, not timely journey.

The final magic I did was to help Isaac during the healing circle at Wellspring 2010.  The trance I was in was deep, and I was able to draw upon the energy that was being sent around the circle to heal him.  I was able to visualize myself inside his body, almost as if I was a surgeon, and I saw the extent of the damage the cancer had done to him.  It was not pretty, and I knew then that he’d be lucky to live more than a few months.  That being seen though, I did send the energy to the parts of his body that appeared to need it most.  There was a natural omen that happened shortly after the ritual, and that was a blood red moon rose over the field.  I took this as a bad omen.  It turns out the bleeding that Isaac was suffering at that moment was stopped, so the working as the group intended worked.  He wasn’t cured though and passed a couple months later.

My focus on using my own energy instead of using ritual and calling on the deities for help, or to actually do the work, was an interesting experience.  I felt that when I was doing work that could affect more than just me and my immediate location was something that was questionable to be doing.  That is possibly why the weather magic I did had mixed, if any, results.  I just wasn’t that comfortable doing that kind of work without doing it through a ritual practice and having the deities act as that circuit breaker that I ask them to be.

Trance did aid me greatly in this practice though.  I found that the deeper in trance I was able to go, the better the visualizations I was able to get, and the more I was able to do.  This is especially true with the healing magic I did.  I did reiki on myself once during this journal while in one of these trance visualizations.  It was the most interesting experience I had as I could feel the energy going when it needed to go, but I could also feel it moving through me as it does when I normally do this kind of working.  This is hard to explain but I could feel the whole cycle of energy coming from the earth, through me, out of my body and back into my body going to where it was needed.

Overall, this period of work has convinced me that I need to include more trance and visualization work into the magical workings that I do.

  1. Discuss the role of the Three Kindreds in magic, particularly in your personal practice but also in ADF's cosmology. (min. 300 words)

The three Kindred of ADF are the Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and the Deities.  The Ancestors are those that were of flesh and bone and have died and usually inhabit the lower realms.  They can be seen as our grandparents that can be gone to for advice and help.  The Nature Spirits are all the other beings living on the earth.  This includes the plants and animals, but also the unseen spirits like the fey.  Often we deal with the unseen spirits asking them for help with things immediately at hand, or protection of our dwelling.  The Deities are those beings that often, but not always, live in the upper realms.  They tend to be seen as more powerful, and are often the ones we go to when we want something done.  The Deities are in general those we deal with most in rituals.

ADF’s rituals and cosmology can be best summed up with the word *Ghosti.  This is the idea of reciprocity, “I give so that You may give” (Thomas).  We are always calling on the Kindred and making sacrifice to them with the hopes that they give us something back.

This *Ghosti setup is a good way to do magic.  My usual personal practice when doing magic uses this setup.  I generally will give to the Kindred.  If I can find a specific being that is highly appropriate for the magic, I will give more specifically to them.  With my giving, I make my intent of what I wanted done well known.  When I am done, I make one final sacrifice to them asking that my request be done and let the Kindred or whatever being I called on, do the actual work.

One reason behind this is that the Kindred are more powerful than we are.  The theory is that if we give what we can to the Kindred, they will return the offering with what we ask of them.  I also am of the belief that they are wiser in that they can see things that I cannot and can take that into account if and when they do the magic we ask of them.  That is why when I do this kind of magic, I ask them to ultimately do what is best for all.  This way if I’m doing this in a moment of passion, they can act as a circuit breaker and not send that out to the world.

This isn’t required though.  As was done with the practicum part of this course, I didn’t call on the Kindred.  Instead, I was focused on using my own powers with mixed success.  It is possible to do magic without the Kindred, but I find that I prefer to have their power help me with what I’m doing, and to have their wisdom act as that circuit breaker to protect me from doing something I shouldn’t do.

  1. Discuss three different instances of magic done in every ADF ritual, how the magic is accomplished, and what makes that particular work magic. (min. 150 words each instance)

Recreating the Cosmos

Towards the start of the ritual, we need to set up where we are as the sacred center.  This process is recreating the cosmos.  I am using the term recreating here broadly.  Some people are fortunate enough that they have a permanent ritual space and no need to create the sacred center, just re-affirm it.  Most people are not that fortunate though and have to create the sacred center from scratch.

When we’re recreating the cosmos, what we are doing is defining where we stand in the big picture, and also defining where we stand as the center of it all.  The way I typically do this is multi-part.  First I will go though some kind of two powers meditation where I visualize myself as being the tree and being connected to the lower and upper realms.  Then, when I am hallowing the hallows (usually fire, well, and tree), I am using magic to connect the symbols I am using to the purpose that they are there for.  The fire to connect us to the upper realms, the well to connect us to the lower realms, and the tree to tie it all together.  I am also defining where these three hallows are sitting is the center of all the realms.  All of this is through the use of personal and group energies and not through the help of one of the Kindred unlike the rest of the magic that happens in a typical ritual.

Opening/Closing Gates

The opening and closing of the gates is a magical act that is performed in every ADF ritual.  This is done is usually with the help of a gatekeeper being.  The typical setup for this is we call on some being to work with us and help us open and guard the ways between where we are and the rest of the realms.  Once we call them and make sacrifice to them, we then call on them to join their powers with ours and actually open or close the gates with the hallows we’re using for that ritual being the focus of the gates.  In a typical ritual where fire, well, and tree are used as the hallows, we often open the fire and well as gates, and opening the tree (or axis mundi) to be the pathway for our communications.  This cosmologically makes sense as the well is our connection to the lower realms, the fire is our connection to the upper realms, and the tree is what connects all three realms together.  This can also be done without the help of a gatekeeper, but it is typically easier to do when we call on a gatekeeper to help us.

Receiving the Blessings

This part of the ritual can vary greatly based on who you are asking to get blessings or the return flow from.  It can involve all the Kindred, or it can be limited to a specific being or beings that were called to be honored for that specific ritual.  The overall process is the same though.

We start by giving the beings a sacrifice of some kind.  This is again in the fashion of *Ghosti where we give in hopes of receiving.  We give the beings some kind of sacrifice.  If we’re doing a blessing ritual this will normally be just the Kindred.  If we’re doing a ritual with some being as the focus, then this would be to them.  Once we give all the sacrifices we want or need to give, we then ask them for blessings in return.  We then ask a seer to take an omen to determine what we are getting in return or if the sacrifices were enough.  If we don’t like the omen, we can always sacrifice more until we get an omen that we accept, or until we decide to give up. 

It is now that the true magical moment occurs.  We call on whomever we gave the sacrifices to.  We ask them to fill the “waters” with their blessings they are giving.  We then take this blessing and bring it into ourselves through drinking the “waters”. 

  1. Discuss the use of song and poetry in magic within your hearth culture, and explain how you have used music and poetry in your own work. (min. 300 words)

Music and poetry are commonly found throughout the Norse magical practices.  We can take a look at the practice of Seidhr for one example.  In the Saga of Eric the Red, we see a detailed account of the practice.  Part of this practice was the singing of an enchantment to bring the seeress into a trance to do the work (Sephton Ch. 4).  We can see this in the modern practices of Diana Paxson when she does seidhr work.  She starts off with singing and drumming to bring her into the trance she needs to do the work.  This music is related to poetry as a lot of songs can be looked at as poetry set to music.

The use of sound is also important to the Norse magical practice.  Galdr is the use of sound for magical practices.  This can be as simple as intoning individual runes as described for each rune in the second section of Thorsson’s FUTHARK (Thorsson 19-69).  Galdralag is the traditional use of the magic of sound.  This is a specific poetic form that is four lines long, with the fourth line being a variation of the third line, and generally reads as an incantation (Wikipedia).

In my personal practice though, I don’t generally use poetry or song for the magic I am doing.  I like to do most of my workings spontaneously and without a large amount of planning as to what or how I will say something.  This is largely due to my preference to do what feels right at the time.  I have come to trust my intuition to a large degree and experience has told me to follow that instead of what I may have planned going in.  As a result, I have found more than once that if I prepare some kind of poetry or song for my magical working, my intuition tells me not to use it.  So much so that I have found it to be a waste of my time and efforts to do so.  That is not saying that I don’t use either, but if I do, it’s spontaneous, and usually nothing that I remember after the ritual.

  1. Detail your understanding of why self-understanding and introspection are critical for the magus at any stage and how you intend to pursue a course of self-understanding. (min. 200 words)

Understanding one’s self is extremely important for any magician for many reasons.  I believe that the primary reason is because it goes to speak of the ethics of the magician.  Developing one’s own ethical code is something that requires a great deal of introspection and understanding of what drives one to do certain things, and on a more basic level, what that person considers to be right, wrong, or in the grey area of uncertainty.  Without spending time understanding yourself, you cannot develop a thorough and reliable set of ethics.  Ethics is not a single time thing though, but it is a process that has to be done continuously as everyone changes through time and what was acceptable yesterday may no longer be acceptable today.

Another reason for self-understanding is to understand your motives for doing various magical workings.  This can often be done when preparing to do a working to see if you really should be doing it.  From my personal experience, doing magic with an acceptable motive according to my personal ethics will have a better result overall.  When I have done things with a motive that clashed with my ethics, I have felt dirty when doing the work, and have had off results.

One last reason for knowing one’s self speaks to knowing ones capabilities.  If one goes about doing magic that is not in their capabilities, they risk harming themselves.  One example from my life comes from channeling energy during a ritual.  I was the focus for the energy of the group, and was to direct it to do the magical working.  I had done energy working before, but I never had this amount of energy come at me before.  I was obviously naive and I was lucky that all that happened was that I was physically exhausted.  If I had taken the time to reflect on what was going to happen, the energy I was going to get, and my own skills at that time, things probably would have turned out differently for me physically.

I am constantly working on maintaining my self-understanding.  Doing the Ethics course where I developed my own ethics was a good start to it.  I now periodically reflect on what I am doing and why.  I also am periodically looking at what my skills are and am conscious of what I can and have done.  That doesn’t mean I won’t push myself to go further as pushing ones abilities is how one grows, but I do so knowing that I am pushing myself, and try not to go beyond to such an extent that I suffer for it.  This introspection happens every time I do a magical working that is not part of the ADF Core Order of Ritual, and on a periodic basis of about once a quarter.

  1. Describe three workings you have done that had demonstrable, intended results. Explain what those results were, how the working was conducted, and how the result appeared to manifest. (min. 150 words per working)

1)  help get job for a friend

A good friend of mine was just laid off from her job and she had asked for any help that I could give.  She also asked for a divination to find out what her life was going to be like in the near future.  The divination that I did told us that she was in for a whirlwind time in the near future, but that she would end up in a good position.

When I did the magic for her, I took a bottle Barcardi 151 that I had as it was of high alcohol and something that I felt would be appreciated as a sacrifice, even if it wasn’t culturally appropriate.  I did a full ADF ritual and called on my patrons, and her patrons for help.  Before I started to do the sacrifices, I did a divination to ask if I should be doing what I was about to do.  I got a positive omen. 

At that point I then started to make sacrifices to everyone that I had called in.  With each pour of the alcohol, I asked them to aid her in finding a good and stable job.  I also asked that they do what is best for her.  This was done so that if there was a reason for her being in the situation she was in, that would not be affected.  This would only work if the deities I called in felt that she deserved it.

What I did do did work.  Within a few months, after having a terrible time that was predicted by the divination, she found a good job.  2 years later she’s still at the job and has found it to not be as stable as she hoped, but she is still enjoying it.

2) Opening gates

The most powerful experience I had in any ritual magical working was when I opened the gates for a Samhain ritual.  The day itself was cold and miserable, but we had around 60 people show up for the rite.  When it came time for the ritual, it was dark and cold, but the sky was clear promising an even colder night. 

We came to the part of the ritual to open the gates and I made a sacrifice to Manannan to aide us as our gatekeeper. By this point, the participants of the ritual were sending a great deal of energy at me to help with the opening of the gates.  I took this energy and I took the help that Manannan was giving and I focused the energy to open the gates.  This involved me focusing the energy to leave through my right hand and visualizing the fire and well, individually, opening as gates to the upper and underworlds respectively.  Then, using both hands, I sent the energy into the tree and visualized opening it as a double door to the other worlds.  The verbiage I used was along the lines of “Let the fire open as a gate.  Let the well open as a gate.  Let the tree be the crossroads between all worlds, open to our spirits and our voices.”  When I had sent the energy and visualized the opening of the gates, I then stood at the fire, looked skyward with arms outstretched and declared the gates open with “Let the Gates be Open!”

I got immediate confirmation that the magical working had worked.  It was at this point that the skies, which were clear not long before the ritual starting, opened up and started precipitating on us a mixture of snow and slush.  While the intention of the gates opening was to open the gates, this was a very obvious sign that they had indeed opened, and opened wide.  Add into that the success of the remainder of the ritual, and the comments I received post ritual about peoples experience of the gate openings, it became very obvious that the working of opening the gates worked.

3) Reiki

The same friend from example one has given me permission to give her reiki healing whenever I want.  She also has asked me to do workings on her specifically many times.  Once she asked me to do a distance healing because she was having major back pains.

When I do distance healing, I try to use some kind of stand in for them where I am.  In this case I used a teddy bear for the stand in.  I placed the bear on my bed and I brought myself into a meditative state so that I could do visualizations.  When I got myself to where I wanted to be, I then visualized the teddy bear as my friend.  Once I got a good visualization of her, I then did the reiki healing attunement to her.  When I was done with the attunement, I released the visualization and came out of the meditative state.

I talked to my friend the following day.  She told me that she had the best night of sleep that she’s had for a while, and that her husband was upset with me.  He was upset because the working I did put her into such a deep sleep that she snored, and he couldn’t get her to stop.  The working obviously did what it needed to do, even if it wasn’t directly stopping the back pain as I had intended.  That is the nature of Reiki though.

  1. What three modes of magical work do you find most appealing, and why do you find them so interesting? How have you used these modes? (min. 200 words for each mode)

Bind Runes

Bind Runes is the practice of combining runes into a glyph of some sort.  The runes are usually overlaid and make some kind of design.  It is entirely possible that the runes will form the shapes of other runes which may add a deeper meaning.  An example of this (though not likely intended as a bind rune) is the Bluetooth symbol.  This can easily be seen as Berkana and Gebo being combined.  These can be parts of sigil workings, incorporated into talismans, or just about anything that has a material component.

What attracts me to the use of bind runes is that they are extremely versatile, and they can be of any level of complexity.  If they are done well, they can be works of art on top of a magical working.  They also are relatively simple to do and can be quite powerful as I have found runes to be a very powerful tool for magical workings.  Another reason I like them is because they produce something physical.  My preference is for them to be carved into a material, and I enjoy doing things like carving.  So, this is just an extension of doing things I like doing already.

I rarely have used this kind of magic.  I have carved a few bind runes for specific purposes, but rarely have had a reason to create them.  In the event I want something that will last a long time, I will create them though.


Reiki is a form of energy manipulation that is used for healing.  The theory that is taught is that you are connected to an energy current when you are attuned and you pass this energy through your body to do the healing.  This can be local and hands on, or it can be distance and very hands off.  There is also the idea that no matter what you do, this won’t cause harm as the energy goes where it is needed most, and won’t do anything against the greater good.

Overall, I like the idea of healing others and myself.  The idea that this is very much a brains off activity also makes it appealing as it is something that I can do, and found to be best done, on autopilot.  The idea that it won’t do any harm, and will go to where it is needed most also appeals to me as I know that I cannot be 100% sure of what someone needs.  This is just in general a form of magic that is easy to do and can do a lot of good.

This is probably the form of magic I use most often.  I have a few friends that often ask me for reiki energy, and have given me carte blanche to work on them whenever I want to.  I also get benefits out of any working I do as some of the healing energy bleeds and heals me.  I also find that it is a relaxing practice and rather meditative practice.


Galdr is the magic of sounds, and usually associated with speaking the runes.  There really is not much information to go on historically for this form of magic, even though it is a historical practice.  There is the Galdralag, which is mentioned in the Hattatal part of the Prose Edda.  This is a poetic meter that is supposedly a magical incantation meter.  Modern practice tends to be done by the speaking or intoning of runes. 

This form of magic appeals to me because it can be done anywhere and without any tools.  It just requires me being able to intone the sounds of the runes.  This can be a very simple thing to do, or with planning, it could be a very difficult and lengthy form.  This is also similar to bind runes in that you’re combining runes together for a cumulative effect. 

I use this form mostly when brewing beers.  I will usually combine it with the dropping of physical rune stones into my boiling wort while intoning the runes I drop in.  I also have done this where I drop the runes from the omen I just pulled in ritual and intone them into the waters to hallow them and fill them with the blessings I just read.

  1. Explain how you determine if a magical working is the proper action in the situation you wish to apply it to. Describe your method of determining the proper magical course of action, from start to finish, as well as any particular exercises (such as divination) you go through to ensure that your actions are correct. (min. 300 words)

The first thing I do before I do any kind of significant magical working is to sit down and figure out whether or not I should be doing this.  This involves me examining the ethics of what I am doing and if the work fits within my own ethical code.  I also look at why I am doing this working and do the motives sit well with me.  I also take a divination on the original idea.  With this divination I am asking if I should do what I am thinking of doing.  I also then ask what the outcome of the working is likely to be.  If any of this conflicts with my personal ethos or comes out negative, then I don’t do the working.

At this point I sit down and plan what I am going to do.  This planning takes into account my abilities and how much I want to push myself in doing this magic.  I also take the time to think of possible outcomes and consequences of the working.  I also try to determine what the probability of them happening is.  This is done purely though the knowledge I have and gut instinct, and I admit is by no means a full analysis of everything that can happen.  As the saying starts, a butterfly sneezes…

Once I am sure that I want to do the working, it’s within my abilities and ethos, and divination says this is something to do, I get everything prepared,. start doing the ritual for the working.  It is during this ritual that I take final divinations to determine if what I am doing is what I should be doing.  I again ask if I should be doing what I am about to do.  If that comes back positive, I then ask what the outcome of the working will be.  If this divination comes back with what I want the outcome to be, I then do one last check.  At this point I do a gut check to see if it just feels right to be doing the working.  If everything has come back positive and in the direction I want for the working, I start the working.

At the end of the working, I then do another divination to see how I did.  This is when I get my first check on how I did.  If something went wrong, I can try to modify the action now, or make sacrifices to the deities to correct the mistakes that I cannot fix.  Overall though, it’s doing a lot of divination throughout the process asking if I should be doing this, and what the outcome will be, and modifying based on the results of the divination.

  1. How can the magician serve modern society? (min. 300 words)

I believe that the magician can definitely serve society.  The overall theme of their service though should be the magician doing work that is positive and for the better of the people involved, society, and/or the world.  One kind of working that I find that I do often is healings.  This is done for people, and always with the caveat that whatever magic happens, it is for what is best.  In some cases this may mean that the magic is emotional support for those around someone that is dying.

Another way that the magician can serve is through providing protection for those that need it.  As an example, doing magic to help those in the military survive their tour of duty in one piece physically and mentally is a way that this magic can be done.  Unfortunately this may also mean that the magic that is being done may cause harm to someone that is on the opposing side of the military.  This is something that needs to be considered when preparing and doing the working.

Weather magic is also something that can be of great use to society.  Many times a year we have some kind of weather based disaster somewhere in the world.  Doing weather magic to help minimize the disaster can be of a great benefit to society.  Good examples are doing magic to stop or slow the rains in an area that is flooding and bringing rains to an area on fire or in drought.

Yet another way that the magician can serve society is through the role of the priest and performing the rituals of the religion.  This is consistent with the Dumezelian first function role.  We can see the magical aspects of the priest in ADF rituals through parts such as the opening of the gates and the hallowing of the return flow.  If we look at a Wiccan group, we can see the same kind of role with the casting of a circle and the great rite.  Even in the Catholic Church, there is magic being done, best exemplified by the Eucharist where wafers and wine are turned to flesh and blood.  It is obvious to me that the role of a priest is also that of a magician.

Overall, the magician should be doing what is for the benefit of society, and not just themselves or their friends and family.  This is why the magician should have a code of ethics and follow them.  This is also why divination or some other method of determining if the magic should be done should be part of the process of planning and doing the working.

Works Cited

Bonewits, Isaac. Rites of Worship: A Neopagan Approach. Earth Religions Press, 2003.

Dollinger, André. Heka: The magic of ancient Egypt. n.d. 10 04 2011 <http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/religion/magic.htm&gt;.

Luck, Georg. Arcana Mundi. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

Pinch, Dr Geraldine. Ancient Egyptian Magic. 17 02 2011. 10 04 2011 <http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/egyptians/magic_01.shtml&gt;.

Sephton, J. Saga of Eric the Red. 1880. 28 Mar 2010 <http://www.sagadb.org/eiriks_saga_rauda.en&gt;.

Thomas, Kirk. The Nature of Sacrifice. n.d. 24 Oct 2008 <http://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/nature-of-sacrifice.html&gt;.

Thorsson, Edred. Futhark. San Fransico: Weiser, 1984.

Wikipedia. Old Norse poetry. n.d. 27 03 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Norse_poetry&gt;.