One of the tings that I wanted to gently touch on again has to do with something that I said in my last post, about the nature of the work being caught up in hunches, synchronicities, and dreams, one of the reasons that I am quite fond of the tree of life model which treats the sefirot as forms of time. Which is, namely, that it makes clear what so much ritual work is about—a way of developing relationships to time.
That may sound odd when you look at how some of the sefirot are explicitly spatial and ethical rather than temporal, but if you take a moment ot consider what space and ethics entail, you can pretty quickly see how they are defined by a relationship to time. Space is defined by the movements possible through it, and movement is intimately connected to time. Ethics is defined by its relationship to our actions, which are intimately connected to time. Both physical movement and ethical action acquire their existence in time, as modulations of time.
Place, community, and such forming as special classes of time, too.
Which is probably why I still consider Thousand Plateaus to have been a proper introduction to magical work, because at its heart is a concern for the fabric of time, the texture of time, the capacity of time to be modulated through our self-experimentation with our own temporality, which is always entangled with other forms of temporality.
So, when I think about the deep ontological relationship of ritual and time, I tend to think of ritual as a specific way of engaging with time itself, and of the elements that compose and motivate a ritual as themselves being composed of time. There is a way of thinking about the importance of certain animals and plants as formations within time, and of their incorporation of them into a ritual as the injection of their time into our time, as catalyzing them.
The trick is that we have to start thinking of time more richly than we often do. Rather than as a linear series, it forms a mesh that stretches back and forth between disparate points, and I still suspect that there are changes transpiring on another plane of time altogether outside the one in which we live that develop according this crisscrossing connections. In other words, there may or may not be reverse causality, but there are effects that develop sub specie aeternitas between the mobile assemblage of connections of moments past, present, and future.
That means that specific thing brought into ritual work matters, because it is specific and actual things that are composed in the sefirot of time. But maybe we need to pay more attention to the specific and actual and less to the idea of ingredients, except insofar as those ingredients qua ingredients may themselves form part of a block of time with which we might be entangled.