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by Pat Carbonell
Quantum physics: All matter is energy, simply existing at different vibrational wavelengths.
EEGs, bio-feedback and lie detectors: The human nervous system is electrical in nature, with thoughts and emotions generating distinct vibrational patterns.
These are the scientific bases of the witch's craft. Laurie Cabot, the Witch of Salem (MA), requires her students in the Craft to study physics and chemistry, in addition to their more esoteric studies.
Most of the rest of us just wing it.
There are four very distinct areas of my own Craft practice that tie into those physical laws: energetic healing, stone magic, essential oil blending and group rituals.
Let me take the last first: group rituals. This actually applies to the religious observances of any faith, not just witches/Wiccans/pagans and so forth. "Wherever two or more are gathered"... you have the potential for affecting the universe. How? Well, a good ritual gets everyone present (or at least the ones not sleeping in the back pews) thinking and, more importantly, feeling along the same lines. It builds that emotional consensus, through singing, dancing, clapping, listening... until it's released in communal prayer. Descriptions of coven rituals refer to it as raising a cone of power, which frankly sounds kind of hinky... but it's the truth. Think of a revival meeting. If you've never been to one, I'm sure you've all seen the Blues Brothers movies. Everyone grooving and jiving together, all that emotional energy sizzling along on the same wavelength, then BAM! It gets put out there in one huge gob of prayerful energy directed toward - whatever the congregation is praying for. If the minister or imam or priestess is leading that ritual right, they can create miracles.
The night Hugo was to make landfall, I and every other light worker down South were outside, all pushing the same thought/hope/prayer out there: we wanted Hugo to veer inland. For three hours we were all out there, pushing at the air mass behind it... and it worked. Against all reason, Hugo made landfall at the mouth of the Charles River in Charleston, and rode the river inland. Yeah, it wiped out a whole lot of Georgia Pacific's pine forests, but only fourteen people died. It also managed to destroy the old slave auction site in downtown Charleston - little bit of serendipity there.
Okay, so that's the major, large, blunt instrument type of energetic manipulation possible. Then there's energetic healing. The human bio-electric field follows the human nervous system, because that's the physical carrier of the brain's electrical signals. Most energetic healers deal with that field through the imagry of Eastern practice, which designates seven or eleven chakras, which tend to be in the vicinity of nerve nexuses in the body. The first chakra is in the groin, the second a few inches above around the womb/navel, the third at the solar plexus, the fourth at the heart, the fifth at the base of the throat, the sixth at the third eye/frontal lobes of the brain, the seventh at the crown. If you're working with an eleven chakra system, the other four are the arches of the feet and the palms of the hands, and they serve the body to draw energy in from or drain energy out to the earth.
Umm, sorry. Soapbox Alert!!!!!!!
Anyway, as with any body system, it can get skewed, clogged, depleted and just generally fucked up. We humans are really good at doing that to ourselves. What an energetic healer does is balance, clear and energize that system using his/her own energetic field. In the practice of Healing Touch, which is recognized by the mainstream medical community and is taught by registered nurses nationwide, the healer doesn't actually touch the patient. They use a set of proven movement patterns with their hands to encourage the patient's field to rebalance and clear. Some practitioners can sense the energy flows, but a great number cannot. They still do good work, but they're doing it by rote.
Other energetic healers, including Reiki practitioners, do touch their clients, to one extent or another. Myself, I can do it touchless, but prefer to work someone's field in combination with massage. For me it's easier to feel the energy flow when I touch someone, and everyone LOVES my massages - learned how to do massage decades ago on my dad's feet. Once you learn feet, everything else is easy!
Frequently, when the field gets balanced and cleared, a client will go through an emotional purging - crying is real common. That's because our emotions are energy too, and when the field's out of balance or clogged, our emotions are fucked up too. Then you start to discover just how much our emotions can screw up our bodies through screwing up the energetic body. That's what I dealt with last spring, attending the birth of one of my adopted grandchildren.
Dev had an emergency C-section with her first child, 'cause Mattie decided to try to come into the world backwards. For her second, she wanted to try to do it the right way, and had been working with a midwife at the birthing center over in Randolph. But she was terrified she wouldn't be able to do it - a lot more terrified than I'd realized.
She went into labor at 3 a.m., and by 4 a.m. we were all over at Randolph. She and Jay, her husband, had asked me to be there. Dev's mom's not good in stress situations, and Jay's mom was taking care of Mattie. Dev potted along for a couple of hours, and then things quieted down and they decided to sleep for awhile. Me, I went to work at that point, cellphone in hand. I was back there by 10:30, at which point the midwife was starting to get worried because Dev wasn't dilating any further - they were starting to make C-section noises - and Dev was freaking out. Turned out her cervix was tipped backwards, so the contractions couldn't do their job. The midwife gave her an hour more to see what would happen before calling the doc.
First order of business was to calm Dev down, then find out what she was so freaked about. Turned out she felt that if she couldn't give birth to this baby the "right" way, she would be a failure as a mother, and that terror was making her body fight itself. Jay was great - he held her, comforted her, calmed her down, and let me work.
Let me tell you, it's a lot harder to turn a cervix than turn a hurricane. First you have to clear and balance the whole system, then work on the specific energies surrounding the muscles that are pulling it out of position - in between contractions and crying jags.
But it worked. By the time the hour was up, she was lined up and 8 sonometers dilated. It took another couple of hours, but early afternoon I got to sit behind her, holding her on the birthing stool, while Jay and the midwife played catch on the floor, as Gabriel came into the world. Man, I was so glad I wasn't in the splash zone!!!!!!
It was the most incredible experience of my life, helping that little boy be born. I'd been present at the birth of my adopted granddaughter just six days earlier, but her mom was all focused and righteous and zipped Morrigan out in four hours. Yeah, I helped her walk and kept her monitor leads straight and provided moral support, but nothing like helping Gabe into the world.
It was funny, though, that the nurses at both hospitals wanted to know if I had duella training, because I seemed so competant, or how many births had I attended... it was cool watching their faces when I told them that these were the first and second. Didn't have the heart to tell them that sometimes the things we knew in previous lives come through when we need them, and I was pretty sure I'd been a midwife somewhere down my personal timeline. We were getting along so well, I didn't want to wreck it.
Both hospitals were also cool with the fact that I was also there as the families' minister, to bless and ward these little pagan babies as soon as they were born. They let me anoint them, and bind their umbilical cords with amber.
Now, that would be a great segue into talking about stone magic, but this column is long enough as it is - so stone magic and essential oils next week!
Patreally doesn't get on a soapbox that much