On their recent podcast on Occult of Personality Alkistis Dimech from Scarlet Imprint said the wonderful sentence: "My understanding of witchcraft is completely coming from my body. (...) This is the space of witchcraft for me." I think that is a very provocative thought - especially for men who aren't necessarily used to working with their bodies in the same way as women. So I sat down and needed to mediate about it. Here is what I found...
When I started meditation a decade ago I learned that the relationship between our mind and body should be like a rider and his horse. The horse is powerful and beautiful in its own way, yet in order to be able to ride it the horse needs to accept direction and pacing from the rider. While the horse needs to be tamed, this can only be achieved if the rider learns the language of horses. The goal of their relationship is a state of balance - both accepting and nurturing each other's strengths and needs.
I like this analogy a lot and it did help me get through my initial phases of asanas. The break through finally occured when my horse accepted that not all of its desires had to be fulfilled right now. It learned that time for movement and time for stillness take organic turns... just like the tides.
While 'Horse and I' are doing quite good these days, I also had to learn that in reality the relationship with our body is much more complex unfortunately... Our body might look like a single shape, yet once we get under its skin we discover it holds a plethora of smaller bodies unified into one large form. And if we listen to these bodies we quickly learn there is not one desire or need but hundreds and millions: The desire of my heart might vary significantly from the desire of my pelvis, the desire of my skin might conflict with the desire of my blood... The challenge of the rider is much larger than just riding a single horse. Learning how to ride simply is the first step. The next one is to be a good shepherd for a whole flock of horses...
Now, here is how I think this second phase can be approached.
In a recent post I referenced the Neoplatonic idea of 'sympathetic chains'. Each chain starting at the first emanation of the Universal Soul and then extending downwards - through multiple levels of emanations and beings - into the lower realms of creation until they anchor in the four elements. That means they also anchor straight into our bodies. These chains of spirits come together in our physical bodies like roads leading into a city. And in this city it has lots of different residents and passengers - most of them unknown to us. The Egyptians clearly knew this when they called the body 'the house of gods'. But the Egyptians also had a talent for covering the ugly truth behind beautiful names. If you are ready to wake up, take this: Most of our houses of gods resemble more rundown suburbs or proper slums than a dwelling for gods.... It's more like NYC in the late eighties. A wonderful place - which is in really bad shape. Well, consider yourself happy, because you are the major.
I know - we'd all rather be a king than a major and clean up the hard way. Bring trucks and police in, get the waste and dirt out, polish over the cracks, find investors... you get it, the whole gentrification thing. But here is the bad news - we are no kings, but majors in this run down place. And there are no trucks, no police forces and no investors. There is nobody except for us - and the bedraggled citizens of our body-city. It seems our city won't be cleaned up like it happened to NYC, in a tough top-down manner... But It will take true leadership to get anything moving in your favor.
So what does any good leadership start with? ( - long pause -) I guess that would be two things: trust and fairness.
Trust, that would come from knowing your citizens, from listening and being approachable, from not placing yourself above them but from leading from the front... When was the last time we went into our liver's borough? Or we listened to the muscles in our shoulders singing from the gutter? Or visited our lungs and skin and skull in the asylum? I guess they are all citizens in our city - and they all have a voice that counts... Fairness in this case means not to favor one citizen or borough over the other, to leave our own preferences out of consideration when we take decisions. It means paying attention to the needs of our gut in the same way as to the needs of our hearts or teeth or eyes...
Think about it and you'll see - this job is a handful! It is something that takes learning. I guess we all will need to grow into it, slowly over time. Well, most of us haven been elected for something between 60 and 90 years as majors... Of course, that is if our people don't start a revolution and take over before - or just tear down the city completely.
If that should ever happen to you - I guess you still were a major who thought of himself as a king and tried to bring in the trucks and SWATs... As Alkistis Dimech explains in the final chapter of XIV:
"It is witchcraft which can destroy the Tower, turn over the social order and throw kings from the battlements. Opposed to an external coercive authority, I see witchcraft being spun from the body, the true pole around which the dance of life and death circles."
XIV - Briging Down The House Of God - link