Words as Gateways

“In the beginning there was the word…”

Over the weekend, we experienced the solstice. As a kid I was fascinated by the idea of a ‘longest day’ or ‘longest night’ because it seemed impossible. Like most modern Western kids, I was deeply disconnected from the natural rhythms of the planet I was blessed to be born on. Yes, I understood the shift of the seasons yet it never occurred to me (and I was certainly not taught) of the subtle shifts which lent the possibility of a ‘shortest day’ and ‘shortest night’. My Dad grew up in Scotland and he told us of playing cricket at midnight in the north of Scotland during the height of summer – but honestly, it sounded like a Dad-made fairytale!! It was only years later in high school geography I understood it was actually true and how it was possible.

Solstice literally means ‘sun standing still’ (sol = sun, sistere = to stand still). It is a gateway which (depending where you are in the world) goes from peak light through into increasing amounts of darkness or peak darkness into increasing amounts of light. Solstice is a time to stop – literally – and reflect on what has been; to celebrate and prepare for what comes next. Our ancestors understood the power of these energetic gateways and built observational and devotional structures in service and celebration of them. They also understood them as markers of their survival—especially people surviving winters without modern heating, shelter or food availability.

Of Magick and Technology

Arthur C. Clarke is famous for speaking of magick and technology as synonymous with each: any sufficient advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. The thing is, Clarke’s words conflate the notion that magick is a boss-level kind of skill/energy only available to the most studied, experienced or naturally adept individual. It makes magick something ‘otherly’ with a side serve of ‘impossible’.

This isn’t surprising. Humans like to complicate things, and there is no other aspect of the human experience quite ripe for complication than magick and an individual’s relationship to it, and with it. Magick is really not akin to “a sufficiently advanced technology”. Magick is actually startlingly simple. It is being the vessel in which it moves through (us) which is the complicated part.


Magick and Gateways

My first gateway into the truth of magick was Barbara Moore when she spoke to magick as the equation:

will + skill + opportunity = magick.

She explained that if you had the desire and the ability and opened to serendipity (or were just open to receive) then anything was possible. That was magick. And I loved it. For the first time it made complete sense to me. In removing it from complex rules and ritual, tradition and history, fantasy and occultism magick opened itself to me in a myriad of exciting possibilities and adventures I could explore.

My second gateway was a short transmission in meditation earlier this year that told me several things:

  • magick is the birth right of all humans incarnate here (this removes the exclusivity that only a certain type of person can engage with magick)
  •  magick is nothing more than wilful intention (mic drop)

Wilful Intent

Wilful speaks to being ‘filled with will’. However, the word ‘wilful’ carries some seriously negative connotations. Wilful hasn’t always been a word of celebration, nor something encouraged, especially if you were a wild, spirited, independent child with containment issues and with parents who were not predisposed to supporting that fiery, full-of-life curiosity.

Will speaks to being filled with passion, drive, determination and life force. Will is an energy of inspired action, movement and expansion. Will is an irrepressible kind of intrepidness that doesn’t wait for permission slips or safety checks to go.

Intent is clear seeing, if we consider ‘seeing’ as a 360-degree all sensory concept. Intent is knowing what we authentically desire for ourselves. And here desire, like wilful, gets a bad rap – perhaps because of desire’s inherent wildness or assumption of selfish singlemindedness, or the way desire is hooked into intimacy and sex. Desire is closely associated with the energy of eros – of a deep yearning for merging and lasting transformation.

Magick could be said to be the desire and intent to connect and merge with the unknown in a way of bringing something into existence from nothing, or transmuting something from one state into another.

Will brings the heart to the party, intent brings the laser sharp focus.

And that’s magick.

The Self as A Complicated Container

What happens next is we get in the way of magick. We don’t allow ourselves to be an uncomplicated contained for magick to move through.

We get in the way by:

  • running unconscious programming
  • holding to beliefs and stories we have inherited or collected along the way that no longer serve us
  • consciously compromising ourselves out of fear, despair, anger, jealousy or shame
  • allowing others to get in the way by choosing others over ourselves
  • entangling ourselves with the agendas of drama, blame, expectation, victimisation and manipulation created and run by others
  • disconnecting from a higher consciousness/energy source

I believe as above, so below. My body is an intricate connection of electrical impulses in a deep knowing of how it all fits together in a mostly seamless functioning and I believe the cosmos is no different: an intelligent movement of energy.

The most powerful and timely magick we can do is to heal our wounds, rewrite our distorted stories, welcome in new congruent beliefs and disconnect ourselves from the energetic schemata of others.

Then magick moves easier. The ability to create from an intentional space, aligned with our hearts and our ideas, is amplified. I tell my clients that it’s the difference between trying to work magick (ie. create change in your outer world) via the Tuff Mudda obstacle race route compared with the six-lane autobahn one.

The Word

It is no accident that the bible begins with: in the beginning there was the word. If we’re really honest it actually started with wilful intent. And then came the word.

Magick is encoded in words, and those words become the gateway into what we desire. When speak those words (either out loud or in our head), when we sing them or write, we build gateways to what we want to receive. It is as simple and as complicated as: ask and you shall receive. A lot of the time we’re afraid of ask, and even more of the time we’re afraid of receiving what we desire.

We are creating our reality through words all the time: what we think, what we read, what we say, what we hear. We do it through what we feel and the alchemy created in the heart-mind crucible. So it is a choice do to it consciously and with heart, or to do it unconsciously with random buckshot sprays of emotion.

Solstice – A Gateway of Gateways

“…from the ashes we rise together.”

For the winter solstice I fed the fire all the things I was ready and willing to let go of. I wrote them out, read them aloud and then let the flames devour them. Then I sat for several hours in quiet reflection by the fire, alone. It’s the most peaceful and grounded I have felt for a long time. In the morning I wrote out seven single word intentions and took them out to the fire pit and burned a candle over the top of them, over the shortest day. This was what I was calling in, having made space by letting go. These were energetic bridges I could walk into the unknown on.

My wilful intent was rendered in words, ink on paper, building gateways to provide foundation, structure and shape for what I desire in the next six months.

A Final Thought

If words are the building blocks of our existence it is because they carry the charge of magick. Words are gateways because of this. And because of this, it’s worth taking the time to mindfully review what you say, how you say it, what you think, what you feel, what you desire and what you focus on.

In short, I want to ensure I’m always anchoring and building a reality that is aligned with my highest joy, my greatest love, my brightest light; a reality that is expansive, connective, creative and in partnership with my purpose here in this life.

It is as simple and as complicated as that.

SRAOC #17 Calligraphy…

Small Rebellious Acts of Creativity (#SRAOC) is a weekly invitation to explore a word, or phrase, through whichever creative avenue, platform or modality the participant wishes. It is intended to be a philosophical or creative catalyst moreso than a straight up writing prompt.

This week’s prompt was: Calligraphy of the heart and mind.


This reminded me how much I’d like to learn proper calligraphy as well as Japanese brushstroke like Adam has a crack at while he was away.

I’ve reworked Kim Falconer’s LOA Astro Flash for today. Image is Splendour of Love and Glory by Lourry Legarde.


this doubtful faith
strange as neighbours
an estrangement of familiarity
from man’s capacity to be a vessel
for the divine, this leaking jar of clay
drawing forth from Jacob’s well
waiting for the overflow of continuous water
flooded from the spring to feed the source
and provide grace for this Judas


I’ve always had a passionate connection between love and ideas when putting the pen to parchment. It’s a magical thing to see my thoughts, pushed through the pen with love, materialize on the page.

I have several fountain pens that I have collected through the years – various nib sizes for different writing occasions. Each one serves a unique purpose. The fine nib – filled exclusively with purple ink – is for carefully composed thoughts. The medium nib – filled with a blend of blues and reds – is my madman writer, lines composed wildly and with no inhibition. The bold nib – filled exclusively with a blend of blacks and blues – is for invitations and notecard expressions to friends and loved ones.

Ink spilled on to the page is just about the most authentic connection my heart and mind can make with the world eternal. It is deeply meditative, spiritual, and revealing.


Small Rebellious Acts of Creativity #18

Small Rebellious Acts of Creativity (#SRAOC) is a weekly invitation to explore a word, or phrase, through whichever creative avenue, platform or modality the participant wishes. It is intended to be a philosophical or creative catalyst moreso than a straight up writing prompt.


Make it accessible for yourself. Easeful. Invite yourself into a place and a space free from the pressure of overwhelm. Pressure to perform. Keep it simple. Small is not subjugation. Small is not less than. Small carries a power all of its own. Gift yourself 5 minutes. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be anything more.


Rebel against apathy, procrastination, perfection, self contempt, self doubt, lack of confidence, lack of time, other people’s antagonism, lack of belief, the voice of the inner critic, and anything else that wants to tell you ‘no’. Flip the bird at your Imposter Complex. Interrogate. Innovate. Initiate. This is a space for saying yes.

Act Of

Do. Doable. Doing. Done. Even if it’s five bed-headed minutes, on a Wednesday morning, with your first infusion of caffeine for the day, tapping a list of ten things into your phone. Make a space. Fill it.


Make something from nothing. Anything. The possibilities are endless. Draw. Paint. Build. Dance in the shower. Play. Howl. Doodle. Bake. Cut up poetry. Block out text. Collage magazine pictures. Snap a photograph. Garden. Read something aloud. Send someone a card. Make a digital mash-up. Create a playlist. Hum a song. Journal. Daybook. Write a list. Instagram a favourite quote. Play the instrument you have buried away in your cupboard.

This week’s invitation is…

We will be back Monday to share our meanderings and renderings and to see where ‘perception’ took you during the week.

SPARK: Making Love With The Unknown

Spark is a monthly collaborative post written from a spark of inspiration that organically finds its way to us. This month we were inspired by this Instagram post from the artist Frederic Hoffmann.

Why not? Indeed.


Writing and Sex – A Dubious Metaphor

In the process of editing my novel, I thought about the relationship a writer has with a story. It may be a short story, or a novel, a poem, a piece of art. And there is this creative process we go through in our relationship with the Work In Progress from initial idea through to completion, submission, and publication.

I’m going to dirty it up and compare it to sex.

The Initial Idea -Something catches your eye; piques your interest. You look, but don’t want to get caught looking. There may even be some casual flirtation after initial introductions are made. After some witty repartee, numbers are exchanged and there is a tentative agreement made to meet up for coffee later in the week.

Sketchy Ideas – you know there’s something special but it’s taking a while to figure out. Texts, phone calls, flirty messages, chats over coffee, even a small gift have done little to assuage the feeling of “I think it’s right but I’m just not sure yet.”
So you take the plunge.

The First Draft – You rip off each others’ clothes and engage in primeval, animalistic, urge-driven sex. It’s a quickie. Pants are down around your ankles. There is speed. There is haste. There is mess. There is no thought to foreplay or decorum. It just happens. There is celebration of sorts. It’s rather selfish as all you think about is how good your idea is.

Subsequent Drafts – You’ve seen each other naked but you know there is work to be done. You’ve know reached the “awkward” phase in the relationship with the story.
In a half-baked attempt at romance, you take things a little slower. There is the offer of flowers, desserts, sensuous massage, candles, walks along the beach. Even a movie if you’re particularly keen. You’ve even made a mix tape to make out to. You have playlists for when you’re cooking dinner or breakfast.

But, you still can’t quite figure out how to get the bra off without appearing like you’re an incompetent teenager and breaking the mood. You have even remembered to shower.

Sometimes you finish first. Sometimes nothing happens and it feels like a let down. Just don’t be tempted to flirt with other story ideas. Work at it. This is an investment.

Each time you come back, you’ve learned a little more. You know when and where to stimulate it to make it work. You take your time. You luxuriate in your story. You have even gone out and bought new underwear to let the story know it’s special.

Each time you are together, you learn to work more closely, watching, listening, learning.

The Final Draft– You have now learned to make love to your story.

You have explored every nook and cranny; you know what turns your story on. You can undo the bra. In the dark. One handed.

Truly you have learned to make love to your story. You consider its feelings by not passing wind when you are intimate together. Snuggling after sex is enjoyable. Intimacy is achieved; a connection of souls.

Cigarette, anyone?


A Dubious Guide to Making Love to the Unknown

To make love to the known immediately makes me think of four things.

  • to connect to the unknown
  • to surrender to the unknown
  • to be present with the unknown
  • to find pleasure and embodiment in the unknown

All of which are counter intuitive – because, well, the unknown is the unknown.

How do you connect to it? How do you surrender to it? To be present with it? Or find pleasure and embodiment with it – especially if the unknown brings with it fear?

Do you open? Do you carry no expectations of what will be? Do you scream ‘Hello, I’m here’ and wait to see what happens next?

Making love is an existential meld with the past, present and the future. A tryst with the unknown is no different.

I’ve always been more on the intrepid side of things (though as I have got older this has toned down as fear and the need to be responsible have somewhat blunted the sharp thrilling edge of it). The unknown has not bothered me. I’ve known I’ve been in the right place when I’ve been excited-terrified. The last four years I’ve danced in the shadows, unearthed, released and healed parts of myself eons old and as a consequence it has been a completely different journey into the unknown.

Next time fear or age-wearied responsibility tries to muscle in, I’ll remember something that’s said about giving birth in hospital – would you let all those people in your bedroom to make a baby? (Probably not unless you have a penchant for role playing doctors and nurses with a bunch of strangers).

I adore the idea of making love to the unknown – even if it carries something of the paradox in and of itself. So yes, I’ll be less keen on welcoming fear and responsibility in as co-lovers in creative spaces (or just life in general). I’ll make love to the unknown in as authentic a resonance as I’m capable of: surrendered, connected, present, totally embodied and embracing of pleasure. Why not?

Photo by Jens Johnsson from Pexels


For most of my life, I have been keenly aware of Querencia, our wanting-place where we feel most in our element to do or try just about anything. Some might confuse this with a comfort zone. This is totally antithetical to comfort; it is all about confidence. I have found it impossible to do anything from a place of comfort, especially when it comes to making love with the unknown. What prevents us from doing so is fear: fear of change, of losing our comfort, of revealing ourselves to a larger world beyond the walls we know and trust too well. To make love with the unknown, one must first know her Querencia, and begin there.

My friend T and I would take spontaneous road trips when we were in college. Each adventure would uncover some wild aspect of ourselves and the world around us. We did make love with the unknown while on the road, practicing a certain foreplay with nature as we headed to some unknown destination, some deeply satisfying climax that we still remember today. Whether it was in the mountains along the Appalachian Trail, on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, or among the two-lane main streets of Maryland’s smallest towns, we made love with the earth, with time, with singular moments that could not be imagined, only experienced in ways that were possible right then, right there.

And because we so freely made love with the unknown 35 years ago, the doors were opened permanently for me to embark – so confidently – into the unknown, freely and sensuously, wherever I desire. The comforts of older age knock at my door occasionally, but I rarely acknowledge them.

I. Love. Life. And no creatures of comfort will ever lure me away from the absolute thrill and passion I have for making love with the unknown.