okay, here’s another book: city magick, by christopher penczak. it contains some wonderful ideas and exercises about how to experience city environment in a new, reverent and magical way.
i feel very ambivalent about some aspects of city environment. for example, a few years ago, when a huge forest fire raged in kelowna, i was struck by the similarity and difference between the ravages of nature and the ravages of development. on the hills, the fires were consuming plants, animals, houses, streets. in the city, a new development had just consumed my favourite walking spot – a large piece of agricultural land, steeped in the typical semi-urban wildlife we find in smaller cities: a willow tree, a rain ditch, birds nesting in the bushes … instead of all of that, there were now rows upon rows of uni-coloured new houses, surrounded by a uni-coloured concrete wall – very depressing, and it seemed so dead.
it occurred to me that a few months after the fire, new life would spring up, fertilized even by the fire. but what kind of life would spring up in this new housing development? how long would it take for ANY kind of new plant and animal life to spring up there?
despite such misgivings, there is life and magick in the city. not only are there all these wonderful little undiscovered nature spots (the area across from van dusen gardens on oak street here in vancouver is my latest discovery) but the “truly” urban experience, with all its concrete and lights, can be a magical experience, too.
here is an idea inspired by penzcak:
walking the sidewalks.
after a little meditation and setting an intention about how you want to experience your environment, set out for a walk. you may even dress in a particular way to underline the intent. for example, if you want to experience the city’s light magic, you could wear bright colours.
take a map with you and start walking. as you do that, keep checking in with yourself so that you’re aware of your physical and emotional state. when you’re drawn to a sight, smell or sound, stop. experience it. ask what this experience is about. what’s the story of the smell, sight or sound? its energy? does it feel good, neutral, threatening, strange … whatever? when you encounter a negative energy, make sure to let it go so that it doesn’t stick. (if you’ve never practiced that, talk to someone who has experience with it – you can also learn something from this web site). what is your environment telling you? the trees, the buildings, the streets, the grass? who are the people living, loving, lounging, labouring there?
you could do this alone or with someone else. the someone else could be there with you in person or just in thought. i’m thinking i’d like to do this with our old dog blue, dead now so many years, whom i still miss.
when you find an interesting spot, you can mark it on your map. this could become your magical map …
when you get home or otherwise need to re-enter the “normal” city, make sure you mentally finish this experience. otherwise the trance-like state that you acquire in such an experience might linger and disorient you. i have done walks like that (although not EXACTLY like that) and every time they were an unforgettable experience.
this is an entry for my participation in the 2008 blogathon, a 24-hour marathon of blogging. please support the cause and donate – however much, however little – to the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch). to donate, email me or use this URL: www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=d2252. you should be able to get there by clicking the link; if not, just copy and paste the link into your browser. it will take you to the appropriate location at canada helps.
thank you for visiting, reading, commenting and, if you can, donating!
(image by brendan wilkinson )