Burying My First Cache

Tonight I decided to take Fox’s suggestion about creating caches of items in the Middle world for use while journeying. Something Ravenari mentioned to me at one point is taking the “essence” or “spirit” of a physical item with you while journeying, and so I wanted to experiment with that concept. So when I sat down to drum, I held in my lap my antler handled ritual knife that I’ve been using for over a decade through the various permutations of my magical/spiritual practice. Of all my ritual tools, I have the strongest connection to it, and the greatest amount of my energy soaked into it, so I thought it would be a good choice for something to hide and then find again. Granted, I might have taken something I was less attached to in case things didn’t work, but I wanted something I’d have a good chance of not losing.

I drummed, and when I got to my starting point, Fox arrived shortly thereafter. S/he took me to a particular pile of stones, made hirself small, and leaped down into the crevice. I did the same, and followed after hir, though not until I spent a few moments pawing at the crevice, trying to figure out how to make myself small, and hoping I didn’t get left behind! Fox led me back further under the rocks, and we got smaller and smaller and smaller, until we got to the very back of where we were going. There I saw a glowing patch of golden light, and Fox told me to place the spirit of the knife there. So I did, nudging it into place with my muzzle. I asked Fox who could see the cache, and s/he told me only s/he and I could. I asked why s/he could see it, if it was my cache, and s/he said “Because I’m the one who showed it to you, that’s why!” So now I’m wondering if Fox will show me more caches, or if other totems or spirits will, or if I’ll be finding or making some on my own, or some combination thereof.

Then we came back out from under the rocks and returned to the starting point. I had forgotten to bring food for Fox, so I went off hunting and caught a Douglas squirrel for hir. S/he appreciated it, and ran off with the food. I then headed back.

To my understanding, caching the spirit of the knife (or any other thing I choose to take there) has two purposes. It allows me to access that thing while I’m journeying; I plan on stockpiling various things over there, such as things for offerings for the various beings I may work with. It also allows me more connections to the spirit world through the physical items themselves. The physical item and its spirit are still connected; the spirit’s just been moved to where I journey. I should probably find out if there are any specific things I should do to take care of the physical items, or any other considerations.

I have a few other specific things I’ll be taking over in subsequent journeys, things the spirits have told me are good for this sort of work. I want to keep exploring the Middle world, too, to see what’s out there.

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The Journeying Continues…

Tonight I tried my first journey with a purpose beyond exploration. I had a favor to ask of Badger, and so I went to see hir. I had an offering in mind, something I could give hir now, and something later, if s/he would help me.

I asked Small Horse and Small Deer (the drum and beater) for their aid, warmed up the drum, then I played Small Badger’s song to ask him to help me to negotiate with Badger. He was quite pleased that I played the song for him and asked him for his help, though I may make it a habit to make a small offering besides that for the skin spirits and other helpers.

So we all went to go see Badger. I drummed for a bit to let Small Horse and Small Deer take me to the starting point. When I arrived, I sang Badger’s song as loudly as I could, just to let hir know I was there. In retrospect, I could have gone looking for hir, too, but s/he didn’t seem miffed about coming to me instead. This is probably at least in part because s/he was expecting me; we’ve already talked a bit about the situation, and this time I came armed with offerings.

Badger made hirself look very large and impressive, and s/he towered over me, even for being a normally close to the Earth animal. I was sufficiently awed, and s/he and I got down to business. I told hir what I wanted hir help with, and also what offerings I would make. S/he was surprised, though not unpleasantly so, that I was offering something now and something later. S/he knew how important this situation is, and also that it would take some time to complete. So s/he accepted, and I was happy. I sang Badger’s song for hir again, to boast about how wonderful s/he is, which tickled hir even more.

Then I came back, and sang songs for Small Badger and Small Deer, and played Small Horse’s drumbeat, though I don’t have a song for hir yet. I warmed the drum down, and set out to start making things happen on my end.

I am quite pleased to note that my ritual structure is coming together nicely. When I started all this stuff out last year, I was doing things in a much more generically neopagan manner. I did a circle casting with an athame still, and swept the place with a broom beforehand for purification. I won’t say that my ritual structure now is the exact same as such-and-such culture’s shamans do it, because it isn’t. However, the structure has changed quite a bit.

Part of this is due to my beliefs. I no longer feel that I need to create a “world between worlds” to practice in, and I see all space as sacred, even if the Land in one place is tougher for me to connect with than in another place. While I greet the totems at the directions, I don’t do this as part of circumscribing a circle to divide me from the rest of the world. I don’t see myself as calling them, either–they’re already there; I need only remember that.

As I’m also focusing more on journeying, the ritual structure has evolved to support that as a central practice in many of the rituals, preparing me to go in, and helping me to come back out, as well as interact with the spirits at all points throughout. And the drumming has become much more prevalent, essentially having replaced the athame in greeting the directional totems and others.

Obviously, there are things that are in common between the previous structure and what I use now. But these are the most significant changes I’ve ever made, taking whole sections and tools and things out, and adding others in because they work better. It’s made things a lot more effective, even in this relatively short period of time.

So we’ll see how things progress, and what Badger ends up bringing about. While at an earlier point in my life, particularly when I was heavily into Chaos magic, I was very focused on the end results of my magic to determine my success. While that’s still important, what constitutes a good result may vary more than “I asked for X and got X”. It may be something as simple as “I asked for X, but Badger decided that Y would actually be better–and s/he was right”. Or it may end up being something much more complex, something that can’t be quantified in a linear, cause and effect fashion. “Success” is a very subjective notion, and a ritual that didn’t result in the intended way may still end up being more success than failure.

Not that I’d mind getting what I asked for, of course 😉