Monday, September 13, 2010

Magically Mundane Mondays - Part 1: The Neti Pot

This is the first of a series of what I hope to be weekly posts about a subject I've become passionate about - filling my life with magic.   To the uninitiated*, living a "magical life" must sound fruity and idealistic at best, and delusional at worst.  To many Pagans, magic is very real.  What people outside of the proverbial magic circle struggle to understand most is that a lot of magic is just a different way of seeing and interacting with the world.  Magic means intentionally focusing on the intent of an action.  Magic is very much living a purposeful life.  Although some of what I talk about may seem to some as an impractical waste of time, to me my little rituals and magical acts are how I maintain a spiritual connection to the world outside of ritual and meditation.  Some of what I write about will be influenced by Druidism, folk-magic, and kitchen/green witchcraft.  A few will incorporate other cultural/religious practices.

I'm going to begin by talking about the object pictured at right**.  It's called a neti pot and I've been using one for the past two months.  My father gave it to me after I told him I was suffering from possible allergies and wanted to obtain one.  It has been one of the best and most practical gifts ever.  This may sound gross to those of you who have never tried a neti pot before, but you combine water and salt to make a solution.  You then pour the liquid through one nostril at a time while you lean over a sink and breath through your mouth.  The solution flushes the irritants from your nasal passage and is very effective at reducing the symptoms of allergies and colds.  From what I understand, it is a Yogic practice but many Muslims also us a form of nasal irrigation.

"Ok Grey," you say.  "Yoga aside, what does flushing snot out of your nose have to do with magic?"

Everything!  First of all, healing is one of the most basic ways of practicing magic.  By taking your health into your own hands and using a natural method to fight allergies instead of using expensive drugs, you are moving into what I would argue is a closer relationship to the Earth Mother.  That's pretty Druidic!***

How else is using a neti pot magical?  When I prepare my solution, I go about it in a semi-meditative/ritualistic way.  I fill the pot with warm water and think on the fact that this is the combination of fire and water.  I add the salt which represents the earth - land.  Fire/sun/sky, well/sea, and sacred tree/Earth are present in this simple healing ritual.  They mix in the neti pot (cauldron of transformation).  As I stir the ingredients together, I perform the Two Powers meditation and direct the energies of above and below into the "potion."  I say, "By fire, well, and sacred tree / let this salt water heal me!" before using the neti pot.  Trust me, approaching any form of traditional healing according to your spiritual practice is really empowering****.

Finally, using a neti pot is a great way to prepare yourself for another ritual or magical act.  Many cultures or people talk of purifying baths to prepare for ritual.  If you are the sort who likes to mentally and/or physically prepare yourself for a rite, but you either can't or don't want to bathe, a neti pot is a great practice before ritual that can be combined with washing your hands and brushing your teeth.  Even if you believe that our bodies don't need any such preparation to enter sacred space, using a neti pot has a great practical use before ritual - it helps to alleviate sinus discomfort so long as you are gentle and make sure to blow your nose after using it.  As someone who often sniffles, this is a great practice for helping to remove a distraction to myself or others during magical workings.

*And by that I mean the non-Pagan people in the world...
**I wish I took that photo!  I found it on this blog.  
*** For all the whiners and nitpickers out there, I am not against modern medicine.  If someone has a real debilitating issue going on, by all means take what the doctor prescribes you!  I just think our society is a little too pill-popping-happy.  There are more natural ways to fight common allergies.  Even my doctors agreed with me about that.  
****Yes I realize this is a type of cultural appropriation.  I'm giving credit where credit is due and learning more about it all the time - so there.

( For My LJ Friends: )

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