I love language. Communication methods fascinate me; subtle details and nuances enthrall me. I am a writer, a free-form poet, a song-maker, and so the artistic forms of communication are bedazzling; I am equally intrigued by the body language of the human animal and the less-conscious processes of our psyches that influence how we communicate and translate what we perceive. Art and science conjoin where human interacts with human. Communication is the core of most of our world, whether we’re broadcasting to a known or unknown audience, interfacing one-on-one, interacting with non-human animals, or simply thinking to ourselves. I cannot think of anything in my life and my self that communication does not touch.
In my spare time in high school, I wrote poetry and children’s stories in French. I also developed a “conalph,” a constructed alphabet called Kalash, around that time. I created a cypher – a code that exchanges one letter for another – in order to pass notes to and from my friends without any chance of the teacher knowing what we wrote if we were caught. (Yes, I was the geekiest deviant possible.) That cypher, Khraenian, led to a simpler and cleaner one, Dannu; to this day, I can write Kalash and Dannu almost as quickly as I can write in my native English. I learned to sing songs that had been translated into Dannu and Khraenian; if I am speaking slowly, I can translate into Dannu on the fly, letter by letter into words. I’ve started crafting a full-fledged model language called Uhjayi, complete with its own grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and pronunciation style; I even created written and audio lessons to help explore/explain it. I play games while I drive where I read street signs and other visible words as though I were a native Uhjayi speaker, sounding them out with non-English pronunciation.
And that’s only touching on the linguistic forms of communication– there is not room enough in this post for me to talk about music, about color and shape, about stance and gesture. It would be half a novella if I did.
So, it is no surprise that I am just as hooked on magical language as I am on language in general.
Language is a huge part of my magical and spiritual and philosophical practices and studies. I wrote about heka, Egyptian magic, which invokes the power of the intentional word to create psychological effect and magical change. For the sigils I create, I use Kalash to encode the phrase powering the invocation. For years, I have written little “charms” in Kalash on whiteboards in my workplaces, tucking them into corners; it befuddles and entertains my coworkers, who guess at the meanings. I always reassure them that I write only positive things.
I am always watching what I say and how I say it. From my initial self-training to be clear and honest with myself in what I wanted and needed to being tactful, courteous, mindful, and still honest with other people, there isn’t a moment when I stop paying attention to the words in my head, between my teeth, and on my fingertips. I am less aware of my body language than my words; it’s easier to listen to myself during a conversation than it is to monitor my facial expressions and posture in a mirror the whole time I’m engaging with someone or something. But I try to be mindful of even that.
For me, anything that betters and enhances the self will improve one’s life overall, and magic is one of the crafts that most benefits from a clear, accurate, heartfelt use of language. From prayer to praise, from symbol to song, from spell to ritual, any time we communicate with the Unseen and the deities and spirits residing there, language becomes magic.
This post brought to you as part of the Pagan Blog Project.