Devotion Via Little Free Library

I’m fan of Little Free Libraries. If you’re not familiar with them, the idea is that you set up a cabinet or shelf for books (preferably outdoors) and people can take or leave a book. It’s pretty simple, but I’ve seen them all over, and there’s even a relatively organized movement ( I’ve used many as they’re prominent where I live, and I hope to start one pending some yard remodeling.

As nice as they are – and I encourage you to support and even start one – I also use them in religious devotionals and invocation, and want to share what I do.

First, select an deity-appropriate book to donate. You could:

  • Take one out of your personal library that you no longer read or are done with. It’s a good way to make space, show respect, and share something you’ve vetted.
  • Buy ones at a local bookstore or used bookstore. I’ve written before about how you can even invoke the spirits of the store. Plus it supports local businesses!

Next, find a Little Free Library. You can find some online or at the link above. Select one that fits whatever god you’re invoking if you can.

Finally – and obviously – go to the Library, make an appropriate invocation to your chosen deity, and put the book in the Little Free Library. Be discreet since these are public places and run by people who put time and effort into maintaining them.

It’s simple, effective, and good for your community! Because you put thought into it, it also helps connect you with your chosen deity and what you value, making it great no matter how you regard the divine (which I’ve written about). You also put money into local businesses – if that’s where you make your purchases.

I’ve taken to keeping a pile of deity-appropriate books around, which helps as I often check out local bookstores on my urban hikes. I also make donations parts of my regular exercise, walking to appropriate Little Free Libraries. Come to think of, this method is also good for my muscle tone and cardio.

So give this one a try. Let me know how it goes – and how you innovate!

– Xenofact

Shock The Mystic

Whatever occult, mystical, or religious experiences someone has – including me – I am more inclined to listen to it if it shocked the hell out of whoever was having it.

All mystical ventures involve the mind, and we all know how much our minds can lie to us. You don’t need to even imagine an occult experience to deceive yourself – a good anxiety attack will do that for you. The imagination can be easily turned to build entire worlds inside our head that we start to believe, moreso if we want to.

If you’ve engaged at all in the world of occultism, you’ve encountered self-deceiving people, and let’s face it, we’ve all deceived ourselves before. My guess is we can remember other people’s self-deceptions a bit more easily as our own, which is one hell of a warning to our own ability to make stuff up. To engage in meditation or magic is to know you’re walking into your own delusions.

. . . and it’s also to easily forget those delusions.

At the same time, we’ve all had those magical experiences where something was really going on. That dream, that voice, that synchronicity-chain that just couldn’t happen, or something more intense. Something is out there, but sometimes you have to wonder “did I make this shit up?”

Where I pay attention, where I take occult experiences seriously, is when they shock the person who experiences them. Something unexpected, something disturbing, something more powerful than expected. Whatever happened, when it is outside of expectations and part of a mystic experience then personal making-shit-up is less likely.

I mean yes, you may have made stuff up, but it’s less likely. It may not be a truly occult experience, but a least it’s different and worth study. But then there are those moments where both explanations don’t hold up and you have to sit with what happened.

I value the shock of my mystical efforts. That’s the time to listen.

– Xenofact

Elemental Thoughts and Respect

My own religious and mystical practices are, blatantly, syncretic.  I could hold forth on my fusion of Western mysticism, Taoism, Buddhism, various religious, plus whatever I found lying around.  I’m of the firm belief religion is an interface one constructs to connect with the universe, and I’m eclectic in everything else in my life.  I’d like to tease out one part of that for a discussion of the Four Elements – Air, Earth, Water, and Fire.

I was recently contemplating the ways some of we mystics invoke the four Elements – they are oft associated with the Quarters of the world and thus guardian spirits.  Indeed, I have similar associations with my own daily invocations.  It struck me that tying elements to various guardians is appropriate as these elements represent the very life we have on earth.  Indulge me, if you will, on a deeper exploration of these elements and some mystical thought.

Earth of course is where we all come from, and what we are made of.  It is the soil in which our food grows, on which we live, and to which our bodies return.  There is no life without Earth – I mean it’s also where we keep all our stuff.

Water is vital to every living thing as we all need water – in many ways the cornerstone of life.  It is our oceans and their great dynamic energy, it is our blood and bodily fluids.  There is no life without Water.

Fire is the sun, the heat that drives the great engine of our planet.  The heat ensures life can exist, the light fuels the plans upon which we depend.  Our bodies are great chemical reactions that produce heat as well – we are Fire.  There is no life without Fire.

Air is the atmosphere, the breath.  Much like water, we are constantly in an exchange with the air that allows us to live.  It is also our speech, our communication.  There is no life without Air.

It’s appropriate we tie such elements to whatever guardian forces we invoke, from angels to the Guardian Beasts because these elements are why we are alive.  When we call upon the elements or beings associated with them to protect us it makes sense.  In fact, associating such guardians, such preservers and pillars of the world seems appropriately respectful to the foundations of our world.

With these associations in mind, my own daily invocations take on a deeper, more urgent meaning.  I not only understand the powers I call upon deeper, I also have developed more respect for them.  There’s something visceral when you invoke Fire (or the Archangel Michael, or the Vermillion Bird, etc.) and also think of the sun, of life, of plants growing.  There’s more respect.

There’s also a little healthy fear.  We depend on these Elements for life – and humanity has made a good job of trying to screw them up.  To invoke guardian powers of these forces, wether you think of them as metaphorical or alive (or both) is to remind oneself life exists in a balance, and we depend on that balance.

I present this not just for fun and conversation, but as a personal insight on why mystical correspondences are so important – they make us think.  A simple contemplation of my daily activities led me to a deeper, more visceral place of respecting my environment and my own occult practice.  Even a simple musing might lead you to some great insight and thus greater connection.

And perhaps, a little appropriate fear.

– Xenofact