Manifestation: The Power of Words

“The Bards had been re-born continuous peacekeepers and were wizards at employing the most influential tools. They had been endowed with the ability to enact the story of our people as though it was an intricate weaving. As superb musicians and the poets of the tribe, The Bards were called in to play or recite the clan stories in such a way that each would be reminded that we were spun into the web of the Infinite Present as a single people. Masters of drama the Bards could perform everything from sacred dances to death spasms, heartsick sadness and Earth moving tragedy. As historians and lineage keepers they had become consorts to the Oak, as matchmakers, lovers to the Moon. And they had been blessed with the greatest magic of all, the power of words. It was well known and unquestionably accepted that the Bards could make a thing manifest merely by pronouncing it, affecting, creating reality with words alone. It was rumored that many had scarified their tongues with the same inviolate symbols cut into Birch Clan tablets and Greihound flesh. It was believed that their magic was the blessing received from such an extraordinary offering. They were dreammakers, healers, prophets and tricksters like their fox familiars. Only those above suspicion were permitted to handle that medicine.”

The power of words. Words govern our thoughts; they dictate our position within our community. A single word or the lack of one can create or destroy in an instant. Words do define dreams. They create the vehicle with which we prophesy and heal. And when cultivated as medicine words can make unknown worlds manifest and cause known worlds to disappear.

There are about 250,000 English words with more than 600,000 meanings. And this figure does not include slang or scientific terms that would more than quadruple that figure. It is estimated that 25,000 new words throughout all possible categories become part of someone’s vocabulary every year. And yet it is theorized that only 45,000 words are in common use today. That suggests to me that we have given up a whole lot of power. Words do not belong to the academic community alone; they belong to all of us. After millions of years of evolution language is probably our greatest achievement. Words allowed us to create sophisticated social structures, develop complex group cooperation, and launch ourselves into fantastic spiritual journeys. The group, Sacred First Foods has several essays that lead us through our evolutionary journey. But now let’s think about the power of words and its place within the Craft.

The first thing that comes to mind is spells. There wouldn’t be much of that without words. Then there are rituals led by the critical selection and use of specific words. The knowledgeable use of words, sound, moves us from our everyday world into the realms of magic and mystery. And so long as those words continue we continue on our journey transcended and aware that the world of everyday is merely the surface of any infinite multiverse of possibility. Words are windows, portals, gateways and without them we remain stuck in a lackluster world of our own creation.

Spirit Handlers (Shamans) and Sacred Clowns (Bards) figured out the power of words millennia ago. They know that the power not only exists in the single word but how numerous words are strung together. Skilled practitioners can string those words together like DNA strands that go on for days. Words are transformed to songs and songs are accompanied by drums, flutes, rattles, and a whole host of things. Some groups such as the Navajo and Tibetan monks add sand paintings to those songs that are sung for days. Others like the Tuvan have transmuted words into extraordinary sounds produced by throat singing. Check out a recording called Sixty Horses in My Herd. The Tuvan throat singers in that will transport you to a world previously unknown to you. That is power; that is the power of words.

Every practitioner, regardless of how far they have traveled on the path, needs to own two books: an excellent dictionary and Roget’s Thesaurus. And don’t settle for anything other than Roget’s work or a dictionary that is less than 1500 pages. Then become a word nerd. Find a word in the back half of Roget’s, the listing will direct you to much longer lists found in the front of the book. Take each word in the listings and go to the dictionary. You will be amazed by the subtle meaning of each word and how each word varies from the word you chose originally. The secrets are in the subtleties and subtleties create and dissolve worlds right before your eyes.  Words become our thoughts, our prayers, our rituals, our songs, and our spells. Learn how to “make a thing manifest merely by pronouncing it, affecting, creating reality with words alone.” Words have power, words are essential to magic. They are not the purview of the academic world alone. They are the wands of true magicians.

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