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It's blog hop time again over at the Strategic Sorcery Facebook community, and this month's topic is magical links. Physical materials that anchor magical intentions are key to much of my sorcerous practice, so there's definitely a lot to speak about given how broad the prompt is. Today however, I would like to talk a little about actually acquiring links for magic—a prospect which can, like the proper disposal of materia, sometimes require more thought and planning than the actual spell itself. Naturally, I'm going to be tackling this one from the perspective of spirit-work.
Whether it's local or long distance, I virtually always incorporate some kind of object or tag-lock to give whatever I'm doing a foothold into material reality. The spirits that mentored me early on when I was basically a child were always very insistent on developing a relationship with the land, geographical locale, and the "spiritual wildlife" of wherever I was living at the time. You really do reap what you sow in most cases. If I'm in a place where I'm essentially a stranger, the playing field is rather neutral; but if I'm in my own neighbourhood or at a site of power I normally work at, the energy of the land itself is highly cooperative because of the relationship I've cultivated through offerings (and in many cases, literal environmental cleanup). This means that often what I need is simply placed along my path. Sometimes this happens with actual tools, such as with my hiking staff/pole and my stang-wand, both of which I found within about three hundred meters of my home the day after I petitioned local land spirits to provide ones they felt were suitable for me. Almost all the wands and staves I've ever used have been acquired this way, and it genuinely was all thanks to the spirits. There were never branches or tree limbs that simply fell down at the right time, rather they were always curiously smooth, free of bark, and remarkably out of place among the rest of the surroundings.
Those gifts are more often than not "living" tools, so the first thing I do after leaving a small token of gratitude where I picked it up from is consult the presence within. Some of them end up being so intricately tied to the land that I end up returning them to the earth after permanently moving. Others are with me to this day.
So what about object links? You can probably guess where I'm going to go with this, given the emphasis on spirits. I always leave a little offering when I gather materia such as dirt and plants. Soil is really one of my favourite and most-commonly-used object links. Banks, churches, graveyards, crossroads, stores, hospitals, my home, schools, work, and so on—if it directly relates to what I'm doing and will therefore be very useful in anchoring my magic, I will most likely gather some dirt. I like to mix the ash of petition papers that I've dressed with oils and burned with corresponding soil to act as a literal fertilizer for spells. However, before I gather any, I always like to make my intention clear to the spirits and building-egregores near that place first, emphasizing what I want to do, what I need it for, and what I'm going to leave in return (often a few coins).
I know some people might find that to be a little unnecessary, but in my practice doing this has always sincerely smoothed things along. I don't just mean in the sense of everyone walking away or looking the other direction when you fill a canister with soil from a police station (though that certainly does help); there seems to be some kind of marked increase in serendipity around areas that have been offered to/treated with additional respect in this way. For example, a long time ago I was working on a spell and had no object links to my target. No sneaking around to pull hairs from their brush this time, no lifting the soil from their footprint. This was someone I almost never came into close contact with and barely ever saw outside the one building in which we shared a class. I had gathered some dirt and made an offering to the spirits of the earth there before, so I decided asking them for some assistance and making my case was worth a shot.
Sometimes links just come to you in the weirdest ways when you petition local spirits. I didn't end up with anything physical from them this time. Instead, while I was doing something on my phone, the person in question passed by me at the exact time their friend for some strange reason asked them about their time of birth. So I overheard: "I was born in [city, country], exactly at noon, actually". This information coupled with a quick Facebook search for the actual date produced a birth chart, which ended up working amazingly.
It's not just relationships with land spirits that have helped me acquire links. Object links are certainly highly potent when enchanting places and people, but any work that relates directly to the spirits themselves is often highly enhanced with the addition of materia sympathetic to their nature. I can normally find anything I need at my local botanica, but some things are particularly evasive. A few months ago I was doing some work with Hekate and I really needed the hair of a black dog. I could have bought it online, but I had a feeling I could probably get some for free locally. The only issue was that I didn't know anyone who owned a black dog. I made an offering of wine and asked the goddess to send me her messenger, and she did, quite literally. The next day as I was walking outside a black dog dragging her leash ran up to me and started winding around my legs excitedly. I petted her while her owner caught up, apologizing for the trouble. By the time we finished some small talk and parted ways, my leggings were covered in loose hairs, and I had a fair amount on my hands as well.
Similar events have happened with all sorts of spirits including archangels, not necessarily for the ends of practical magic but for spirit communion itself. Last year when I was making my set of Seven Spheres talismans Sachiel placed the perfect material link to him directly in my path in the most curiously potent location (the mouth of a wooden dragon) after I asked him for a sign of good fortune.
In my experience, circumstances often turn out to be that way in witchcraft and sorcery: relationships with spirits allow for more efficient and powerful magic; more efficient and powerful magic opens up better relationships with spirits. It's a kind of cycle in its own way that is extremely important to me, and through which I'm able to trace back my most important magical success stories.
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