This morning seemed like just any ordinary day: first day of a new month, a new moon AND a solar eclipse. I couldn’t have asked for an more auspicious energetic setting to send me off on a new magical journey. Today I dedicated myself to the element of alchemy and I am in a year long service to both this element and my deity exemplar, Kelsier, a character from Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy novel, Mistborn.
In this essay I go into as much depth as I can about this elemental working as I learned it from Taylor Ellwood and what I hope to accomplish.
Entering a year long study with anything takes a bit of prep work. This elemental working takes quite a bit of preparation before you decided to jump right into doing it. At minimum, you need to know three things:
- The element you what to work with. I keep a running list of “elements” in one of my books of magical stuff and when it gets close to the next year I look over the list and select one, or add a new one to it. You will want to create a virtual meeting space to work with the deity and have that deity give you a symbol (or agree on one that you have found) so that you can invoke that deity at any time.
- The deity exemplar you want to work with. This can be a real deity from a standard pantheon, a person you know or admire, an animal totem or spirit guide, or a fictional character. Sometimes it’s good to research a few candidates, and interview each, for this experience to find the one that suits you best. Once you have your deity, you need to research everything you can find on that entity. The more of a complete image of the deity you have, the better the experience becomes.
- The change, or desired outcome, you want this element to help you achieve. Why is this working important now? What do you hope to achieve by mastering this element? These are good questions to keep in mind as you prep for a year long adventure.
To put this into practice, I’ll use myself as an example:
Obviously I picked “alchemy” as my element. This term came out of having several discussions with my friends Anna, Ember, and Taylor, as well as my partner Kender, about what I wanted to do with my tarot life. Ever since I got home from the Readers Studio, it’s been clear that I want to make tarot a central figure in both my working life and spiritual life. Everything I want to do moving forward joins hand in hand with tarot. The below is how I defined my intent for this alchemical working:
transformation of myself and synthesis of all the knowledge I have learned throughout the years of studying and playing with tarot.
I have a picture in my head of where I want to be in a year or so: published tarot author; successful tarot reader/coach to clients in helping transform their life and giving them a clear set of bullet points to attain their goals and dreams; and a budding tarot coaching practice where I teach others what I know and how to read the cards from no knowledge at all.
With all this in mind, the idea of alchemy… turning lead into gold, pushing myself beyond my limits to become something new…seemed to fit rather well.
The second thing I did was list a few possible deities: Nicholas Flammel, Kelsier, and Vin. The first one is the only “real” alchemist I’ve heard of, while the other two were characters from the fictional world of the Mistborn series. That series uses a creative magical system where the characters imbibe metals to have effects on the world. It’s a form of alchemy and seemed to fit well with my intents. I then interviewed each person to see what they said and how they felt teaching me the principles of alchemy according to the desired transformations. The only one who wholeheartedly wanted to work with me was Kelsier. So I had my deity.
Finally, I took to the interwebs to re-remind me of the metals Kelsier and Vin used in the Mistborn series; I also reread the info about my deity. Since I’m no alchemist, I also thought it important to have a background idea of what this magical process was and where it came from. With Taylor’s help I gathered a list of book titles and purchased a few of them to help give me the basics I needed that were specific to this working’s needs. I also found two symbols to work with Keliser. One is a hand motion that I can use at any time to invoke him to help me with my working. The other is a meditation focus that I’ll use to set my transformation intent.
Dedication Ritual Outline
This is where we fast forward to today. This morning I went into my ritual room and held my dedication ritual. I’ve written a new script to use and share so that I can help others learn this process. Despite this being my 4th year doing the process, I still feel like I am an initiate at it. Another goal of this year’s working is to integrate tarot a bit more strongly into the working from previous years, so I’ve added more tarot bits and integration.
Bring a tarot deck, or two, into your sacred space. If you like candles, incense, or any other implements, gather those too. Prepare yourself however you normally do before performing spells or rituals. Then you can follow this script.
Set up circle.
Bring in elements to preside over the working. Light candles, incense, or whatever helps you focus.
Ground and meditate.
Say: Today I dedicate myself to the element of . I call upon my mentor exemplar who will guide me through the next 12 months of learning about the element and how I can effectively use it in my life.
Say: Welcome deity. I call upon you today to dedicate myself to you and your teachings of (insert what you want here). Please guide me through the process of working with this element that will bring me clarity and insight into my life during the next 12 months. I promise to listen to you and do the internal work necessary to improve my life.
Meditate and see if the deity has insight to offer. Pull first tarot card and ask the question, “What aspect of should I focus on this month?”
When finished thank the deity and elements by putting out candles and focus.
Write down experiences and thoughts gleaned from the working and then begin to do any activities that you or your deity feel useful to learning about this element.
This outline is flexible enough that it doesn’t take a whole lot of time. It also allows you to perform other workings that you may want your deity and the elements to oversee. The next section gives you what I did at my ritual.
I lit a yellow candle for air, then lit a dragon’s blood incense stick. Using the incense stick I proceeded to light a red candle for fire, and a blue candle for water. I don’t light candles for earth, preferring to use that time to ground myself and open a connection to earth.
When I felt stable and grounded, I then began the above script, dedicating myself to alchemy and Kelsier. I spent some time talking to him in the space I created for him. I was looking for his approval as well as any words he wanted to tell me. His first request of me was to “know my metals.” Before you can work to combine any two metals together, or in his terms, burn a metal effectively, you need to know each individual item by heart and what it does to you. Therefore, I will be taking a 78 day, one card a day, study of my “metals” or my tarot cards. I will try to fully imbibe each essence and craft my own LWB of meanings for each one. At the end, I hope that I have a good base foundation for which to burn and combine these elements.
I then deviated from the script for a bit. I had two side workings:
- Perform a new moon/eclipse ritual reading for today.
- Cleansed and initiate 4 new tarot decks into my service. One of the decks was my new Gaian Tarot and I wanted Kelsier watching over this process since I’m using this deck in this working.
So I performed these workings and then refocused my attention to the script. The final thing I did was to pull a single card from the deck to focus my energies for the next 30 days. The card I drew was “20-Awakening.” While I have not read the information Joanna added to her book, I can already tell you that I feel like this is an auspicious start to this year’s working. I am awakening from an old perspective, an old way of doing things, and magics and working on the wonder that is transformational alchemy and the serious study of tarot and integration of it into my life as a whole.
I set this card on my altar where I will visit it daily and meditate on the concepts of awakening and “knowing my metals” for the next 30 days.
I closed the down my ritual and then wrote down notes of the experience in my book of shadows stuff.
This post contains a heck of a lot to digest, I know this. Unfortunately, there’s no real short cut way to explain the transformation and processes that go into a year long working. That would take a whole book or more to elaborate on. It is my hope that you all have gotten an idea of this year long element working can go. The effects of working with an element in this way are powerful. Three years later I am still working with, and honing my power, with the element of movement. The weight I’ve lost under that element’s guide and help makes me proud.
Now I start my year long journey with alchemy. I’ll start working on my card a day experience tomorrow. I plan to focus on just the Shadowscapes deck as that’s my go-to deck. And I’ll also do any other assignments or workings as Kelsier, or I, deem worthy of fully integrating the processes of alchemy into my life.
I won’t be posting experiences every day. However, I will be posting a 30-day summary of my experiences, which should give you a idea of what it’s like to undertake this experience. You can also visit Taylor’s blog, Magical Experiments, to get his perspective of how he uses his own technique in his life.
I hope you have questions. Really, I do. So please, feel free to contact me in any way, here, Facebook, email and I will do my best to help you understand what this is and what I get out of doing it every year? Yes, there have been “failures” but even then I have learned a lot from those experiences.