Sigil on a Strudel
by Ronda Snow
We are each and all a teeny-tiny infinitesimal little speck of stardust in a universe that is enormous beyond imagination. At the same time, we are each and all intimately and inseparably connected to that entire unbounded Cosmos. That is magick.
The first draft of this post was easy. Too easy. It tumbled out as a soaring, cathartic memoir of a journey from an extremely evangelical fundamentalist Christian part of the American South to atheism to magick and everything in between.
When it came time to talk about craft and magick, the soaring memoir flew smack into a brick wall. How can a self-taught freethinker write about something so ancient and revered? My first idea was to talk about how challenging it is for us with a religious upbringing to identify with terms like magick and witch, but that doesn’t feel right. Flying into that wall means it is time to let the “recovering fundamentalist” label go.
There are two difficult but critical lessons that a recovering fundamentalist must learn. First, religion and spirituality are two entirely different, opposite things. Second, spirituality is very individualized, complex, and multifaceted. The lockstep group energy of “we are the one and only true religion” is everywhere in Southern Evangelical culture. EVERYwhere. The local bowling alley has more religious tchotchkes than some churches. To be fully one of them, you have to renounce everything else and “accept Jesus” even if you were born there and have no idea what else there may be in the world. Seeing yourself by one, and only one, spiritual label lingers like a ghost monkey on your back, even after you “leave the church.” You must believe ________. You must BE _________. Even if you fill in the blank with things like Buddhist, atheist or witch, there must be a label and there can be only one label at a time.
Conversely, the hallmark of a fully recovered fundamentalist is letting go of all labels, or at least wearing several at the same time. It is a big universe out there, and a bigger one in here. We all have room in our hearts and minds to be many things.
Magick itself is like that. Magick reminds me of that TV time machine. It is much bigger here on the inside than it looked on the outside. There is room for those of us who take an in-the-moment, secular approach just the same as for those who revere deities, ritual, and lineage. Magick means a whole universe of things. Magick resists functioning as a label as much as it resists being labeled. Magick is big enough to let you bring in all the things you’ve learned along the way of getting there.
From atheism & science I’ve learned that the paranormal isn’t para, it’s normal. Undefined, maybe, outside of current science, certainly, but magick is still part of the totality of the cosmos. Even if something really is bunk, it can still be understood in terms of a normal human propensity to love nonsense, and invent religions. Blind faith in deities isn’t necessary for magick to to be useful. Magick, like science, is one system among many to help us understand life, the universe and everything. Sometimes the two methods overlap, sometimes they don’t, but both science and magick embrace implementing what works, building on past successes and discarding that which no longer serves.
From Taoism I’ve learned about harmony. The yin - yang is an important symbol. Yang is outward, yin is inward. Harmony applies to the people and world around us but it also means an inward harmony. It means honoring our own personality, our own emotions, strengths and weaknesses. Harmony extends to our individual inner nature as well as the outer environment. Magick does this as well. Whether we choose to invoke gods and goddesses, use complex rituals, faithfully follow a tradition in full detail….or whether we draw a sigil on a strudel and have it for breakfast as a popular Internet meme suggests...there are outer magickal ways to suit everyone’s inner nature. Some people are extroverts and thrive in a coven. Others are introverts and find their greatest empowerment as a solitary. It’s all good. It’s all magical, with or without the K.
Magick is utterly sacred at the exact same moment it is everywhere in the mundane. Scott Cunningham has written that “the feeling is the power.” As I see it, magick is anything and everything that connects us to the Cosmos. Magick is anything that helps us feel magickal.
Ronda Snow reads Tarot, writes a blog, and makes stuff.
She has read Tarot and oracle cards since the mid 1990s, professionally since 2003. Ronda holds a B.S. Med. Sci, a Ph.D in Natural Health and certification as a Traditional Usui Reiki Master-practitioner. She is also a retired Tai Chi instructor.
Her published writing includes:
Individual poems in contest anthologies (Sparrograss Poetry Forum “Treasured Poems of Americal 1994, “Quicksilver Moon” and “Nature’s Echo’s).
Magazine articles for “Point of Light” “Find Your Psychic” and “Kindred”
“PeaceTarot” and “Triquetra: The Dance of Worlds” e-books self-published on amazon.com for Kindle
Upcoming titles include “Bead Mindful, Begin Meditating” and “The Oracle’s Toolkit”
Her digital / distance Tarot readings and handmade mala meditation beads are available through Quirk And Flotsam on Etsy.
She gives Reiki sessions and Natural Health Consultations on a limited basis in the South HIlls communities near Pittsburgh PA where she lives with her family, her yarn stash and a strong dislike for doing yard work.