I feel like I've been spending a lot of time lately writing about things that I don't like. Things that I want to see change in our paganism. It's easy because the list is long. But I feel like spending my time ranting about problems, even when I'm suggesting solutions is only so useful. Eventually I need to begin proposing things that are relevant, meaningful, and useful to us.
The way I was taught, we almost always start with breath and knowledge. I appreciate that, but it is not where I feel we should start. We should start with self. Not just self-knowledge, not just self-awareness. We should begin with all of our self. Who and what we are right now. Who and what we have been. Who and what we will become.
The core of self is the Center. What the (Brotherhood of the Phoenix)[http://brotherhoodofthephoenix.org] has dubbed the Point of Place. I am coming to think of it simply as the Point, the Center, or perhaps the Unity. The Center, contrary to what we constantly tell students, is not an idealized or "true" representation of your self. It is not only the parts of yourself that you like, that you think other people value. It is not perfectly objective, perfectly discerning, or perfectly controlled. The secret of the Center is that it is big enough to contain all of you.
The Center is you. All the parts of your self brought together. It is your physical, emotional, perceptual, analytical, and conscious self. Note: that is a working list of parts of self. It is by no means final, and I don't believe that a comprehensive list is important. It is all the parts of yourself that you forget are there.
Becoming aware of the Center is is not a task so much as an ongoing journey. We are complex beings who constantly change and grow. Each day our Center moves and changes, so each day we find that it is different than it was before.
You can choose to discover and explore each of these parts of self and their own various parts through a variety of practices. I have ideas and plans to bring together a variety of techniques (some my own, some other peoples) that all help you to find the Center. For the moment though, I'd like to start with Prayer.
I know that not everybody is really cool with prayer as a thing in witchcraft. If it makes you feel better, you may think of it as a litany, or a spell. The point of a prayer, in my mind, is that it gives form to a fervent and potent wish. A prayer is one of the simplest, most accessible forms of magic.
A Spell for finding the Center
Text / Litany
I am far flung thoughts,
symbols, and sensation;
I am what,
and how I feel and think and breathe;
I am a life alive with life,
a song of sacred sound;
I am a voice, a touch, a trait;
A gaze, a thought, a feel.
I come to self to Center,
I come to self to See
What parts of self might bring
a self like me to be.
Beginner Instructions When using this, take some time to get a feel for the rhythym. Take your time and think about the words, and if you are inspired to do so, change them to fit the person you see yourself as. Then speak or chant the words at a comfortable pace as many times as you'd like. Personally, I am fond of sets of three for things like this.
As you repeat the litany, allow yourself to relax into the moment. Don't create tension or put forth too much effort. The Center is a place where every part of you is welcome and accepted.
When you are done with your repetition take a few moments to be present. Try to be aware of the various aspects of yourself without focusing on any one to the exclusion of others. Release any judgements you may have of the parts of yourself that have attended. Ask yourself what it is you desire. Listen to each part of yourself and be open to how they are different and how they are similar.
Experienced Instructions Use this however you see fit. As part of a daily practice or the beginning of devotional practice. If you are trying to foster a state of Centered awareness that is longer lasting, use it as to drive your spellwork in a larger working. You should use it in whatever way feels good.
A rhyme to remember the Center
Note: I started this when I was writing the spell, but the magic wasn't in it. This is trite, but the content resonates.
The Center is the whole of me
and not a bit beyond.
The Center is the truth set free
with not a single lie.
The Center is my memory
and all I call my own.
The Center is all that I see,
and think and feel and know