Cat Magick

I have a tick.  A nervous, gutteral tick that shimmies and shakes that takes hold among my long Portland walks...

When I see a cat, I have to pet it.

Often leading me chasing unresponsive ones around stranger's premises.  Because , I won't let up until I get that cat.  I can't.  Otherwise my day is doomed...

I understand how ludicrous that may sound, but I often liken it to be a tad more practical than saying a few "Hail Mary's" to atone for sins.  Right?

I was raised Catholic for the first half of my childhood, and Jewish for the latter.  The only things the two disparate-but-equal religions instilled is a sense of supernatural causality.  That the most mundane routines will change the outcome of ethereal events.  Superstition became a superpower to me.  Like a man channeling the voice of absurdity to manifestation.  

I keep a manifestation log.  Usually, when I awake, I jot what I want to seize in the day. Don't think this is the grocery-aisle philosophy that's behind "The Secret."  I only write down the practical outcomes that may await, i.e. "Tonight I will perform a fully focused and well-recieved musical set that will garnish more listeners for future events." I end it with "This is my manifestiation for [insert date here]." And sign it.  Forever cementing my intent for the day. 

Because intention is the only thing that marks a creative voice.

I believe we all have to account for ourselves.  That hard-earned responsibility has helped me find the intention behind these odd exercises, whether it be having to pet every cat I see, manifestation logs, meditation in the shower (not what you think, well, maybe), or praying.  Simply praying.  I pray.  I pray every day that my intention to be a realized creative force in this world manifests.  I don't blame ethereal weight for keeping me down.  I blame myself for any inertia manifested.

Recently, at a boutique here in Portland, I came across this shirt in the window:  



And Ultra-Culture posted this in their Facebook feed the same day: "Cat magick cast out all drones."

These two experiences happening "coincidentally" on the same day I often refer to "Fat Magick", or the appearance mundane causality:  

Things have accumulated in visceral, somewhat predictable, nuances. They accumulate from spastic jokes told only to myself in transit to somewhere, or from itchy dreams that never resolve to be dreams at all. Things that ignite cognitive appreciation before they even exist. “Accidental manifestations and trivial incantations.”
— "Fat Magick" -

This sense of empowerment was not heaven sent, obviously.  I've spent a lot of my youth a drug addled thief and amoral terror.  I learned the hard way.  Or, I just pet enough cats.

Dowsing for Morels Part 1

In 1518, Martin Luther condemned the act of dowsing; calling it "the work of devil"; an occult practice that breached the first commandment.

For centuries, people used various forms of diving rods to seek out precious metals, ore, water, oil, gems and grave sites hidden in the earth.

Dowsing is widely seen as a pseudo-science, disregarded as an old custom with no real scientific basis; yet people around the world continue to use this rudimentary, magick technology with confidence to search for everything from hidden explosives in urban war zones, finding precious metals in the Yukon, or mapping and uncovering unmarked graves.

A YouTube search for "dowsing" returns thousands of videos dedicated to the subject, including some interesting surveys for gold and even a excavation of buried headstones and graves from an early Mormon encampment in present-day Iowa.

Agricultural uses for dowsing include finding water and nutrient content in the earth to map farming and gardening plots.

Regardless of any scientific basis or explanation, the practice has withstood the test of time; effective enough to remain a popular and useful technology for hundreds of years.

An article by the Center for Tactical Magic (totally worth the read) originally published in Arthur Magazine in March, 2006 brought up some great points about emerging technologies and the semantics of the definition of "magick".  The article does a fantastic job expounding on Arthur C. Clarke's famous quote:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

The act of dowsing and divination is a fantastic example of an extremely utilitarian, yet unexplained ability. Much like prayer, there's no sense in knocking something that works for certain people. 

Pair of standard modern L-shaped dowsing rods.

A friend of mine gave me a pair of dowsing rods like the ones pictured here for my birthday last year. Being a bit of an armchair mycologist and forager, I head out to the woods on a few mushroom forays a year. Mainly for morels in the spring, and chanterelles, lobster and boletes in the fall. Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest has provided many an opportunity for a mycological foray.

Morels are particularly difficult to see in their natural habitat due to their woody color, small stature and short lived mycelia (new patches must be found every year), so I figured these delicious morsels of woody goodness would be a perfect target for these newly acquired divining rods!

Morels can be extremely difficult to find, and even harder to see in their natural habitat.

Morels grow on the ground in varied habitats, though not usually at higher elevations. On the forest floor, in fruit orchards, in sandy soil, and common in burn areas, it's difficult to know where to begin when hunting for the elusive morel.

Morel season is in its infancy at the time of this post in the PacNW. In April, I plan to take a trip to the east side of Mt. Hood, hike some logging roads, and trudge through some wilderness with my sturdy dowsing rods and see what, if anything, I discover.

Morels and other wild mushrooms are basically impossible to cultivate due to the extremely fragile and specific conditions needed for mycelial growth, which is why you usually see only hardy, easy to grow, thoroughly cultivated varieties in grocery stores like portobella, oysters, and crimini.

Mushrooms are rich in essential minerals, selenium, copper and potassium. I'm hoping this will aid in their detection through divination. I've never heard of anyone dowsing for mushrooms, and wasn't able to find any information about anyone trying it on the internet, so I'm eager to give it a try and post my experiences to this blog. Stay tuned for part 2 next month. In the meantime, follow this blog for articles about all kinds of weird, wonderful and interesting topics.