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this is a lunar love letter reminding us to attend to ourselves, to our home, and to one another

on the linguistic alchemy of charm casting
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november the 15th, 2020
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new moon in scorpio
I found fragments of this plate at a secret river spot on the train tracks. It had a lot of angry words on it & it had been shattered to pieces. The binding of these words to this token & the subsequent smashing seemed to me like the casting of a charm.
For Hermes. For Hecate.
What is a charm?
 
Eleven months ago, on the Aquarius new moon in January, in my very first lunar newsletter, I spoke of the nature of charms. How they serve as a reminder of: a spell, a prayer, an intention. How all you really need to do is hold a token in your hand, make a wish, and then remember. How it was very similar to that old trend of tying a thread around your finger to not forget.
 
In this newsletter, I’ll go a little deeper and share my own understanding of how this works.
 
Simply put, charms are metaphors.
 
You begin with a wish and you begin with a token. These are the only ingredients for your charm.

And these are the instructions: 
When you’re setting your intentions for your charm, you will first take your spell, your wish, your prayer, either in an audible form of an incantation or written down.
And then you will take that token (it can be pretty much anything, a coin, a handkerchief, a petal, a bone, a string) and you’ll bind the two together. 
Wishing words and object are married here, and that’s your charm cast.
Now the token is taken to represent the wish; it has become the wish corporeal, physically solidified.
 
Spell and token bound metaphorically together become the charm. 

The charm is a metaphor.

It is the same as if you were to say: “Juliet is the sun”. Juliet is may not really truly be the sun, but she is up there: so bright, so luminous, so damn lovely that for a moment she and the sun are bound by their similarities and your feelings of love and awe to make her, for all romantic intents and purposes, the sun, in your eyes and your mind.
 
Metaphors have the effect of rhetorically turning one thing into something else, while charms have the effect of magically turning one thing into something else.
My favorite word to use to describe charms is one I found while reading a haunted collection of Japanese ghost stories written by Lafcadio Hearn called The Kwaidan. The word is Nazorearu.
 
Nazorearu, Hearn writes, cannot be exactly translated into English, but it has been understood to mean “to liken” or “to imitate” or “to compare”. These definitions fall short of the true, older, esoteric meaning of this term: “to substitute, in imagination, one object or action for another, so as to bring about some magical or miraculous result.”
 
(Isn’t that beautiful?)
 
This substitution or replication is done with an intent that both metaphorically and magically turns that object or action into that which it represents.
 
Lafcadio Hearn says that perhaps you cannot afford to build a Buddhist temple, but you can still lay down a small pebble before an image of the Buddha with the same piety you would have if you were rich enough to build a Buddhist temple, and the pebble before Buddha becomes as if you were building a Buddhist temple.
Or, perhaps you do not have the time to read all 6,771 volumes of the Buddhist texts, but you can make a revolving library and spin that library with the same earnestness that you would have in reading those texts.
 
It is the intention, the piety, the earnestness here which enhances the representative object or action to effectually become that original intention.
 
This is magic, this is metaphoric, this is the nature of charm-casting.

Charms serve to bind a spell unto an token that will metaphorically, magically, nazorearu-istically represent the intention or focus of the spell.
 
Boiled down, this way of casting charms is a practice of performing a simple feat of linguistic alchemy.
 
Today is the new moon, a traditional time of setting intentions and striking new paths.
May your practice of this linguistic alchemy bring about miraculous wonders and radical change and always only essential growth.
 
<3
xoxo
clare

p.s.
An article that I wrote about the tragedies of the linguistic pandemic of plastic language has been published in Oak Journal's second issue. Oak Journal is an anti-civ journal documenting the local and global destruction of civilization, and if you want to buy a copy, click here!
mirror.in.the.cup is a tea-leaf reading & charm casting service performed in a fluid blend of divination, story, intuition, and play.
please contact me to schedule a reading!

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