The buildings in which we spend our lives are often overlooked when it comes to our thoughts on magick. After all they are just man-made boxes to hold our stuff and keep the weather off us, rented or borrowed spaces to accommodate our rituals. Even when they are beloved places we own and decorate and in which we sleep, eat, cook, make love and raise our families, celebrate our holidays and visit with our friends, we rarely think of them as magickal beings.
We may cast spells to protect our loved ones, ourselves and our things, we may even cast spells to protect our homes from fire or lightning but, do we ever give thought to the buildings themselves? Do we give thanks or make offerings of love? Do we ever pause just to be aware of the support they offer to us and to our magick?
I love architecture, I love walking through an empty building and seeing the structure and form and potential of the definitions it creates. I enjoy the energy they hold and the clarity with which it can be felt when all of the “things” are not in it. The way light enters through windows with no curtains regardless of whether it is overcast or sunny. They don’t just hold energy though; I think they can also have energy of their own. We believe that stones and trees and animals have energy of their own, it stands to reason that buildings might as well.
In a workshop on magick that I attended in a house of a friend, incense was burned that caused a feeling of chaos (that was its intended affect) while the feeling was quite delicious, or maybe because it was, in order to dispel its affects I needed assistance. I put my hands on a structural beam of the house in order to regain my balance, and became instantly aware of the building’s structure and strength and the support it provided to all of those within it.
At a large public ritual in a rented Meetinghouse recently, I managed to find a moment of quiet in a kitchen that has been the working space for generations of women, washing dishes after church functions. The window-sill over the sink had a number of lovely potted plants that were obviously healthy and it occurred to me that the energy of the Meetinghouse itself supported the plants on the sill as well as all of the church meetings held there over generations, and my Tradition’s rituals as well. The church I grew up in felt that way too, the memory of it came flooding into me as I looked at that window and put my hand on the door frame.
I live in a second floor studio apartment in a house that is over 130 years old. The house itself has two other tenants as well as my 88 year old landlady who lives downstairs and who raised her four daughters in the home with her husband. Other families raised their children in this house before her. While I have decorated my little Treehouse to suit me and my feline companion and I think that it is beautiful, it is beautiful regardless of our efforts. The house supports us and both of the men who live here as well as my lovely landlady. It has warmth and light and strength and stability (even during the earthquake a couple of years ago, and during storms and power-outages) it is sound and safe and its structure protects and supports those within it. I recently cast new spells on the space that we occupy (my companion and I) and while I did a competent job, the house itself seamed to interpret my unspoken intentions and manifested them in ways I had not consciously expressed (much to my delight). The house taught me about what it was capable of and what I should have considered. It took my slightly awkward spell and manifested it with so much more power and beauty and grace than I could articulate.
I recently had the profoundly powerful experience of receiving my second degree initiation from my Coven and Tradition. The ritual itself took place in the home that one of my coven-mates was moving out of a week later. It took place over three floors of the house and involved climbing the stairs from the cellar to the top floor. Then and now I realize that the house itself supported my every step. From the ritual bath to the eating of food afterward, the house was the one entity with which I was in constant contact. My feet were always in contact, my hands often as well. The house itself supported me and all who were present working to midwife my transformation. It did so quietly and without being asked (although I did thank it afterward before leaving, knowing I would not get another chance).
I am beginning to believe that all things with structure have energy. That the buildings in which we live our lives are beings worthy of our attention and awareness just as the “living” beings around us, just as the rocks and the rain and the snow and the tools we use in our magick. How much more because we inhabit them. The land upon which we walk is alive and should be respected and treated with gratitude and attentive care. The buildings in which we live, sleep, dream, love, celebrate, grieve, laugh and work magick deserve our gratitude, care and respect as well.
I would ask you to take the time to get to know the buildings in which you live. Get to know the buildings in which you hold ritual. Take a little time to become aware of them and to consider all that they do. Maybe even give them a little of your love and gratitude and ask if there is aught you can do to honor their service.
“Bless this House and All who Enter Here”