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Author Topic: Geography/location in magic  (Read 5716 times)
Garnet
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Religion: Departmental; Eclectic/NeoWiccan, Feri/Morningstar Student, Thelemite
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« Reply #4: September 26, 2008, 04:33:09 pm »

Also, any thoughts/comments any of you have on the topic would be great.

I work with place a *lot*, and have for a long time before I was aware it was part of my practice.  I haven't found any useful books on it so far, although my favorite fictional take on it is C.J. Cherryh's Fortress series.  (And yes, I've pulled some ideas from it.)  I saw a book recently about pagan sacred places, which definitely listed a lot of nifty places.  (Think Stonehenge and places like that, if I'm recalling correctly.)  The places I see as sacred and work with tend to be much more modern and urban, which is partly because of my sensibilities and partly because of where I live.

I like to walk around and "listen" to get to know a place.  In this context "listening" is almost a synaesthetic concept - listening not just with my ears but with my aura and my feet.  (I'll also describe it as "sight in the feet", referring to a line in the Bornless Ritual.)  Basically, being aware of the place. I like to look at architecture, various living things around (including people), patterns of transportation... (are there bus/train lines around? how are the roads?)  Is there water present - rivers, lakes, streams, canals...?  What is the place used for?  Are there "set apart" places - courtyards, campuses, gardens, parks, islands?  What's the neighborhood like?   Are there crossroads, doors, gates, archways?

(You can probably tell that I do most of my work with place in urban contexts.  Something similar would definitely work in more "natural" areas.)

I also find it useful to learn about places, both their history and current aspects.  I tend to do this especially when I can't visit the place easily, but it's good in general.  I've also been known to make Livejournal icons of places (hence my avatar).

I sometimes offer to the spirits of places - not the land spirits, exactly, because to me the spirits of place also include/are connected to what humans have done.  Water is a usual offering, but the first time I ever did this I offered a bit of coffee drink and scone to the spirits of my college's campus.

Place spirits strike me as very specific sometimes.  Sometimes after offering (or simply acknowledgement), I get a sense that the place knows me, and this sometimes diffuses out into the surrounding area.  I'll sometimes offer to or address "larger" place spirits - the spirit of my city, or a neighborhood as a whole.  I'll often address the place directly.

I've asked spirits of place for help finding my way around, and at one point I asked them for a job.  (The latter idea I got from skimming Urban Primitive, and I'm surprised I didn't think of it first.)

Oh, and it's entirely possible when working with place that you'll end up fascinated with public transit, or knowing a ridiculous amount about a single county in New Jersey.  YMMV. Wink

(Actually, I know about a bunch of small towns because I used to design covers for maps, and really enjoyed researching the places.  Bonus points if there was cryptozoology involved.)
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