Daily Archives: March 13, 2012

How Bad Kitty and Her Family Do Magickal Spring Cleaning

How Bad Kitty and Her Family Do Magickal Spring Cleaning

by L. Lisa Harris

The sun shone in every window making the entire house buzz with energy, newly alive and vibrant. The “warm” spring breeze floated through the open windows and doors, cleansing, purifying, and transforming the mini blinds into a worthy opponent for our self-proclaimed house guardian, Sabrina — also known as “Bad Kitty” — who was intently doing battle with “the enemy.” I felt new life and energy in the air and was ready to take on the world myself. Even the plants looked happy. It was time for Spring Cleaning.

“What are you doing with all the windows open? Are you crazy? It’s 50 degrees outside, It’s freezing in here!” cried my loving, yet obviously distressed spouse when he returned home from running errands.

He was still put out by the fact that we had taken a vacation day off–while the kid was in school–to enjoy a day of skiing, and there had not been enough snow to make it worth the drive. He had resigned himself to Chinese take-out, a video, and cuddling on the couch, only to come home and find his crazy wife dancing around the house like an idiot on an obvious “chai high” to boot.

Noticing that I had included incense, salt, herbs and essential oils with my cleaning arsenal, he said, “You’re doing witch stuff, aren’t you?”

I thought that was a keen observation coming from a man who thinks it’s amusing that he sleeps in the same room with an altar containing, among other things, a seven-inch “dagger.” He resigned himself to grabbing a comforter and curling up on the couch while I started my routine. He would have yet another interesting tale to tell the guys at work about his eccentric, dangerous life filled with daggers and the threat of hypothermia.

I have many seasonal routines, but none as important–or noisy–as spring-cleaning. It has always been important for me to clean magickally as well as physically. As usual, I started out this time with open windows so that all the mold, dust, cooking odors and yucky energy from seasonal depression, colds and other nasty stuff that builds up over the winter can escape.

After another cup of chai, I proceeded to dance around the house beating my drum, made a second trip with my tambourine to stir up all the old, stagnant energy, and to recharge any latent good energy that might have taken the winter off. I have recently added an element of ceremonial magick borrowed from a friend’s tradition, by doing a very cool banishing pentagram. This particular banishing ends with a dramatic “fencers lunge,” athamé at the ready, and the words: “Trouble not the servants of the gods!” I say this forcefully, like I really mean it.

The cat and hubby stopped what they were doing, took a moment to consider those words and then went about their business.

Consecrating and purifying the house with the elements is also part of the ritual. I walked around the house with each element in turn, incense for Air, a candle for Fire, my chalice for Water, and kosher salt for earth, sprinkling or waving it around as needed.

“Why don’t you ever use the chalice I got you for Yule?” came a voice from under the comforter.

“Because, it’s in my porta-witch-kit for public ritual honey.” I answered back.

Satisfied that his gift was appreciated, he returned his attention to his movie.

A simple chant for each element seems to help the process along, something like “I consecrate this house with the element of Air…” This time, I was in the mood to chant for all of them: “Fire, Water, Earth and Air, we call you to this place. Fire, Water, Earth and Air, to help create a sacred space.” This chant stirred up quite a bit of energy, as evidenced by Bad Kitty abandoning her battle with the dreaded mini blinds, then chasing me around the house swatting at me, adding the ringing of her little collar bell to the task at hand.

Next I turned my attention to the houseplants and the nature spirits that inhabit them. I brought each plant down from the shelf, removed dead or damaged leaves and cleaned the remaining leaves. Any plant that needed repotting was taken care of, and they were all fed, watered, and talked to.

My 11 ½-year-old daughter got home from school in time to see the kitchen counters and floor covered in leaves, potting soil and other debris.

“I hope you don’t expect me to clean that up!” she said with a disgusted and indignant look on her face.

“No, but I do expect you to clean your room. It’s spring cleaning day.”

She rolled her eyes as only an adolescent girl can, resigning herself to the fact that when I’m on a roll, there’s no point in trying to argue. She headed off to the wilds of her room, but just before her final, dramatic exit, she tossed her head and said accusingly, “You guys had Chinese food without me.”

The kitty was not brave enough to follow.

Next, it was the standard tasks: mopping, dusting, laundry and vacuuming that most folks consider a “normal” spring-cleaning, with a few modifications. I have an herb mixture, using the “nine time nine protects thee and mine” formula–any nine protection herbs will do–that I use for protection spells. I sprinkled it on the carpet as a sort of “Pagan Carpet Fresh,” prior to vacuuming.

I add cedar and rosemary oil, as well as salt, to all my cleaning solutions to magickally charge them. This is also added to the laundry when I wash all the bed linens and towels.

When cleaning the bathroom, I visualize any negative energy going down the drains when rinsing the sinks and tubs. I save the real “yucky stuff” to power flush down the toilet.

By this time, hubby was happily dusting the bookshelves and doing a little dance of his own. It’s amazing what a cup of chai and some magick will do to lift one’s spirits.

The next thing I knew, the girl emerged from the “Room of No Return” with a triumphant look on her face.

“Mom! Did you know that I have a floor?” She was positively beaming.

After the cleaning was done, I walked through the house reciting the initial house blessing chant I used when we first bought and moved into the place. I thanked the nature spirits that live in the house, and the green man who guards our front door.

Later that night, we all snuggled on the couch in front of the fire feeling well fed after an enormous spaghetti dinner, quite pleased with our efforts. Bad Kitty lay purring in our laps and the whole house had a new, vital energy about it. The entire family agreed that the cleaning ritual was a worthwhile project and made us all feel better. They “got” the magickal spring-cleaning ritual.

Now if I can just get them to understand why I run around the yard barefoot, in my bathrobe in the first big snowfall of the season yelling, “Woo hoo! Snow day, snow day, no work or school day” to thank the gods, or why I paint my toenails red every year at Imbolc, we’ll be on our way to true family understanding.

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Pagan Myths Debunked: Where Did You Think That Pointy Hat Came From, Anyway?

Pagan Myths Debunked: Where Did You Think That Pointy Hat Came From, Anyway?

by Lilith Veritas

It’s never been easy to be a pagan in a world where differences are feared and minorities are persecuted. It’s made even tougher by how little nonpagans usually know about the realities of our lifestyle and beliefs. How many times have you had to explain that Satanism is not Wicca, or that Wiccans are not the only pagans? Most nonpagans get their information about Wicca, neo-paganism and other Craft-related beliefs from the mass media, which has faithfully clung to stereotypes and painted a sensationalistic picture of pagans, just like they do about everything else. TV shows like Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have contributed much to making paganism seem less frightening and more acceptable to the mainstream, but they’ve also continued to support misinformation and superstitions that have plagued pagans throughout modern times. Shows like Sabrina, or even the old favorite Bewitched, leave nonpagan viewers with the impression that witchcraft is all fantasy and special effects, and anyone who believes in such things might have a screw or two loose. Really, do you know anyone who has a talking cat or has developed a working teleport spell?

The reality is that the majority of pagans today come from other religions and backgrounds and are at least partly self-educated, and many bring some of these ideas with them! It’s really difficult to educate the nonpagan public if we’re not clear ourselves on the history of witchcraft and the origins of our symbols, tools and stereotypes. While it’s hard to change deeply held beliefs, the truth is a powerful weapon against fe

and prejudice, and acknowledging our own history is the only way to move forward to a (hopefully) enlightened future.

For a quick example of the history of a pagan tool, let’s look at the Book of Shadows. Many pagans take it for granted that these books are an integral part of being a pagan. The term itself has been popularized by the media; the sisters on Charmed have a family Book of Shadows, which seems to be a universal encyclopedia of all things magickal, and the sequel to the popular Blair Witch Project movie was called Book of Shadows. The common perception seems to be that Books of Shadows have been handed down from medieval times and contain wisdom gathered hundreds of years ago. How accurate is that perception?

The first recorded reference to an actual Book of Shadows was in 1939, by the founder of modern Wicca, Gerald Gardner. He claims to have received pieces of this book during his initiation into the religion now known as Gardnerian Wicca. Both Doreen Valiente and Aleister Crowley appear to have added to the book, after Gardner “restored” it. Prior to that, however, there is no known recording of a Book of Shadows, at least not by that name, and few references to grimoires or books of knowledge used specifically by pagans. The book Aradia: Gospel of the Witches was written by folklorist Charles G. Leland in 1899 and appears to be the closest historically, but it would hardly have been ancient knowledge a mere 40 years later. Books of Shadows are now used by many pagans, both Wiccan and non-, but that name seems to be solely a creation of Gardner and his contemporaries.

Many pagans would like to believe that there is a written source for ancient spells, rituals and traditions to which they can turn to validate their current practices. They may forget that in ancient times, and often through the first part of the twentieth century, the common person didn’t know how to write or read! Most pagans in the Western world today can both read and write, and even those deemed “illiterate” can often do both enough to get by. During the height of the witch hunts and in rural areas where folk medicine and pagan rituals may have continued more or less uninterrupted, literacy was not common, and it is unlikely that many witches, if any, kept such a book. Most commoners didn’t keep books at all!

There is another argument against the idea of ancient grimoires being commonplace: Anyone found with such a book would likely have been found guilty of heresy and possibly put to death, and the book summarily burned. This threat would have been lessened for someone of the upper classes, but for typical rural folk would probably have been too big a risk to take. During the times when herbal healers had to be very careful to hide the tools of their trade and be sure to put their best Christian face forward, it would have been virtual suicide to have a book of “arcane knowledge” laying around the house, even if most of your neighbors couldn’t read it! Having books at all was cause for suspicion amongst the lower classes, since they were poorly understood by most and rarely read by any but high society. The few documented grimoires likely did belong to folks of higher classes, as they were the ones who could afford them and could also afford to learn to read.

As I mentioned, many pagans would like to have a historical book of knowledge to justify their current practices. While it would be nice to trace such things unbroken into the past, “new” does not mean “bad” or “invalid.” Newer ideas aren’t automatically bad ideas! Now that we have the means to write down our beliefs and rituals to pass on to future generations, or just to remind ourselves, many of us will choose to do so. Knowing where a practice comes from allows room to change and grow, and keeps folks talking from a place closer to truth than superstition. And knowing that new practices are springing up will hopefully keep the pagan paths alive and vital instead of bogging them down in the dogma so common in many mainstream religions.

Moving into the realm of stereotypes, many Americans think of the pointed black hat as the key identifier of a witch. These folks are often the most surprised when they meet a real, modern witch wearing jeans and a T-shirt. But where did the stereotype of this pointy hat come from?

One thing to keep in mind in the search for this stereotype’s origins is that it is peculiarly American and Western European, particularly from the British Isles, and it is a fairly modern invention. Witches in Eastern countries do not appear wearing pointy hats or any of the accoutrements that we commonly associate with the Halloween-style witch. Early woodcuts of witches in the Middle Ages showed them wearing scarves, or hats popular at the time, or even with their hair flying in the wind. Our media has popularized the view of witches with pointy hats as well as green skin, warts and brooms. I suspect the Wizard of Oz movie released at the dawning of the media age has more to do with the current stereotype of the “wicked witch” than does historical evidence!

The most positive interpretation I came across was echoed by Doreen Valiente as the probable source: Pointed hats were actually a visual representation of the Cone of Power that witches drew upon during their rituals. While this puts a nice, witch-friendly spin on the image, I find it to be rather unlikely. People in previous centuries who were creating woodcuts of witches tended to paint a very unkind picture and did not include positive aspects of true witchcraft as it existed at the time. Witches were portrayed dancing with devils and participating in all varieties of heinous rites, not drawing down the moon and healing the sick. It is unlikely that someone projecting a witch in such a light would bother to represent a Cone of Power, which is typically a positive force.

There is another, commonly held belief that the pointed hat originated with another persecuted group in Europe, the Jews. While Jews did wear pointed headgear, most scholars now believe these hats were not a likely source for the witch’s pointed hat. After all, pointed hats were fairly common throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

This fact leads us to the source I find to be most believable, and most mundane, for the Pointy Hat Look. During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, commoners in Wales and England often wore pointed hats. As fashions changed, the last to retain the old styles were the rural and peasant folk, who were considered “backward” by higher society and were usually the ones accused of heresy and witchcraft. Much as we today have stereotypes of the sort of student who might commit violence at a high school, so did the medieval people have their ideas of what sort of person might be a witch.

Along these lines, Gary Jensen, a professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University, postulates a connection between the persecution of Quakers in America and the stereotypical appearance of witches in our folklore. Quakers did wear pointed hats, and the negative image of witches wearing conical hats in America became common about the same time anti-Quaker sentiment was at a peak. Quakers were thought by some to consort with demons and practice black magic, things also associated with the early American view of witches. Once again, an easily recognized symbol of an oppressed minority may have become generalized to a group equated with them.

In the final analysis, it’s likely that more than one of these issues came into play to ingrain the pointy hat into the mainstream idea of what a witch looks like. After all, the ideas that stick most firmly in the mind are the ones repeated from different sources, and many things in history can’t be traced to a single root cause or moment.

In the Craft, as in all aspects of human culture, the powers of media and modern communication weave together a new “truth” from bits of folklore and whispered traditions, and picking apart this fabric to get at the real foundation requires persistence and the willingness to view your own ideas in a new light.

For those interested in further reading about pagan stereotypes and history, I suggest the Internet as a great source of information, if one takes the information found with the proper grain of salt. Two articles in particular that I came across stand out in my mind, and I believe it would benefit pagans in general to read and consider the implications of both of them.

First of these is a speech by Doreen Valiente at the National Conference of the Pagan Federation on November 22, 1997. As a founding influence on the modern practice of Wicca and a contemporary of both Gerald Gardner and Aleister Crowley, Valiente had a unique perspective. In this speech, she questioned many “truths” about Gardnerian Wicca and presented views that some may find surprising. Transcripts of her speech can be found at http://www.users.drak.net/lilitu/valiente.htm.

Second is a very well-researched essay about the Burning Times by Jenny Gibbons, which can be found at http://www.cog.org/witch_hunt.html.

While I don’t endorse either of these sources as the absolute truth, they are certainly thought provoking.

Some other sources:

The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Best Witches site, http://www.rci/rutgers/edu/~jup/witches

“The Witching Hours,” by Shantell Powell, http://shanmonster.bla-bla.com/witch

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Magickal Meanderings: Traveling the Mystical Highways of Life

Magickal Meanderings: Traveling the Mystical Highways of Life

by Bronwynn Forrest Torgerson

Over time, it has become increasingly clear to me that while we may be the ones who pack the cooler, check the tires and top off the tank, there comes a time in every trip where the best charted course goes astray. It is then that we lay the map aside and rest while Deity drives. Spectacular vistas unfold in this way, and the harvest of tales is terrific.

When I left my hometown of Peoria, Illinois, last October and headed toward Washington state, I yearned for the sequoias up the California coast. However, after several leg-cramping days on the road, motels that chomped deeply into my budget and a first taste of winter’s ice and fog and snow, I seriously considered cutting my journey short and opting for a more direct route home.

In Salt Lake City, I cursed my luck and their road construction. I-80 had abruptly ended, thanks to rerouting for the upcoming Winter Olympics, and I was forced into town. I rolled down my window at the first business I came to, a car wash, and asked two men for directions. They conferred, then one turned back to me. “If I were you, Ma’am, I’d hang a right on Redwoods Boulevard.’ A word to the Wiccan was sufficient, and I found my route again, forgoing the connection to I-90 and forging on to the trees.

One bittersweet theme that wove throughout my journey Northwest was my nightly phone call to my sister in Illinois, whose husband was dying of cancer. Hospice was involved, and his time would not be long. Just south of Eureka, California, I was tired and the gas gauge low. No motel signs in view and the prospect of sleeping in my crammed-to-capacity van looked grimmer by the moment. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small, faded sign. “Accommodations,” it read, with an arrow pointing down the road, right into the middle of nowhere. Down a dirt road, over a trestle bridge, past a winding creek I drove, astonished to find myself at the driveway of a small cluster of stone villas! The local cat ran out to brush my legs, then sped off toward the circular courtyard, where a grove of five redwoods stood sentry. That night, sad news awaited. My brother-in-law had passed away that morning. Later that night, when the stars came out, I adjourned to the courtyard alone. I lit some sage in the abalone shell decorating a white wicker table, and sent prayers in many directions. My stay at that stone villa was the least expensive night of my trip. Deity had provided, in every single way.

Bellingham has proven to be no exception to serendipity. Earlier this year, a postcard for an artist’s reception and the promise of free French food and wine coaxed me from my home. I arrived at the Jody Bergsma Gallery on King Street, where gurgling fountains and candlelight led one to the door. Inside, a visual as well as edible feast awaited. I seated myself in the loft where a musician unknown to me would soon perform.

As Christopher Bingham took the stage and launched into his first song, the lyrics dropped my jaw. “Calling up a Horned One, calling up a Green Man, we are gathering here!” Stunned, I noticed the pentacle patch sewn to his guitar strap! By the end of the first set, I had purchased a CD and become a forever Gaia Consort fan.

As a mistress of magick, here are some highway travel tips I can offer you. After checking out of your motel room and consulting your atlas, trace an imaginary pentacle over your steering column, intoning, “Spell and magick, three times three, swift, safe journeys grant to me that I might reach my destination without accident, incident or cops unless I need them.”

When freeway traffic is frozen, through unseen hazards or misfortunes up ahead, you can send positive energy to unblock the obstruction and speed you and fellow travelers on your way. To do so, wave your power hand in an undulating motion saying, “Ebb and flow…ebb and flow…swiftly, safely, on we go.” Surprisingly soon, you’re rolling right along.

In closing, let me say that while it’s good to consult your travel agent before embarking on adventures, don’t forget to pack blue protection candles or to invite the gods along. Safe journeys, good winds and Godspeed as you travel the highways of life!

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Creating and Using Roles of Power: When Wisely Used, This Ritual Bond Can Multiply Your Energy

Creating and Using Roles of Power: When Wisely Used, This Ritual Bond Can Multiply Your Energy

by George D. Jackson

The establishment and utilization of a pole of power is probably the most far-reaching magickal operation you will ever attempt. A pole of power can be defined as a person or persons joined to you on the five levels of intellect, emotion, creativity, spirit and the physical through empathy and consensus to perform powerful magickal acts. In joining, the other person or persons and yourself form a gestalt, an integrated structure or pattern that makes up a unified experience and has specific properties that can neither be derived from the elements of the whole nor considered simply as the sum of these elements. In short, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

The formation of this gestalt means a pole of power can be viewed as one of the most significant power multipliers available to a magickal adept. This bond is in fact a magickal marriage, and its offspring are magickal operations that the individuals involved would have difficulty performing on a solitary basis. Groups such as covens operate on this principle but utilize numbers to make up for an individual commitment to the circle that is (usually) less than between a paired couple working as poles of power.

Most magick users operate in a solitary mode, occasionally forming temporary group gestalts. The solitary approach is perhaps the least vulnerable and most unhindered from a personal standpoint, but with some notable exceptions it is also the least powerful. Even when practicing magick in the solitary condition, an in-depth personal psychological preparation is strongly advised. Many individual practitioners venture into areas where their power levels are too low to properly cope with what they locate, or where they cannot comprehend the circumstances they find themselves in. Among the unfortunate results of this type of journey can be deep states of depression, as well as from time to time hallucinations. Exploring the magickal unknown on a solitary basis frequently means the practitioner has few resources when it comes to falling back, regrouping and establishing a magickal defense. For such exploration, strength in numbers can be very valuable.

Poles of power are utilized at three levels. The first is a temporary union of two or more magick users to perform a predetermined magickal act. Practitioners often form poles of power on this level at festivals or magickal gatherings, and the most common usage is the erection of the magickal circle and the wards. The second level is semi-permanent and frequently involves a coven, guild or religious organization. The most common magickal actions at this level fall within the area of invocation (addressing a deity). The third and final level is the state of the permanent pole of power.

The permanent state does not have to be between a male and female, but that formation is the most common. A permanent state is almost always bipolar, with each pole contributing the psychological orientation the other lacks and reinforcing the other’s abilities. To effectively create a permanent state, the magick users involved should view the state as they would choosing a marriage partner in consensus reality.

To create the bond effectively will very likely demand that each partner perform some very honest self-evaluation. This is a formidable type of personal survey. From what participants learn in it about how they relate to themselves and others, they may find it necessary to perform some psychological engineering upon themselves before entering into a permanent pole-of-power relationship. To understand the level of work involved in such engineering, consider how many self-help books are being sold and how many people are undergoing some sort of psychotherapy. The initial groundwork of self-evaluation, empathy and consensus make a permanent pole-of-power state one that is best not rushed into.

It is also well to know at this point that, because the pole-of-power state is a magickal bond, an automatic energetic feedback loop is created on the quantum or elemental level. Once this loop is formed, violating your partner’s sense of propriety is going to have consequences. Also, it is well to know that the subconscious does not forget anything that you do. You will become vulnerable to actions connected to this bond, and the stronger the emotional value of the occurrence the more vulnerable you will be.

Should the participants decide to go forward, the emotional and intellectual status is laid down for a permanent pole-of-power relationship by establishing a state of trust and honor and a desire to work for mutual benefit. This mutual trust and cooperation in turn will provide energy for the spiritual, creative and physical portions of the bond. The process is hinted at in the Wiccan “In perfect love and perfect trust” and the Thelemite’s “Love is the Law, love under Will.”

Once you have done the groundwork, you are ready to perform ritual, and some if not all of the power evoked will remain with you for the rest of your life.

The ritual is performed in the following manner. The first thing to do is establish the statement of intent, which is for both parties to commit to being each other’s pole of power. The next thing is to build a “free space” or place of power in which to perform the ritual. In the male-female mode, it is recommended that the rite be done in the nude, symbolizing that both parties have nothing to hide from one another. A banishing spell is then done to clear the area of hindering forces and is followed by the primary bonding ritual. An example follows:

We are one mind, me and thee, together when apart; near when far;

Thoughts within thoughts, aware when unaware; bound within the circle

Now until whenever!

We are one spirit, me and thee, together when apart; near when far;

Will joined to Will; felt within and without; bound within the circle,

Now until whenever!

We are one body, me and thee, together when apart; touching when separated;

Flesh of the same flesh; bound within the circle,

Now until whenever!

As a form of reinforcement, which is not a requirement, the ritual may be culminated in sexual union. Aleister Crowley frequently used sexual union in bonding rituals, and practitioners interested in including this technique in their ritual are referred to his works. After this step, the wards are then dismissed and the circle is taken down.

I can tell you from personal experience that the pole-of-power circumstance has many benefits outside of being a power multiplier. It can be an excellent early-warning system when the bonded pair explores unknown spaces. What might have a limited impact on one person can affect the other quite strongly, which information can allow both to make a strategic retreat from a threatening situation. A pole-of-power bond is also very good for long-range nonverbal communication. It sets up that “call me” feeling that crops up in the back of one’s consciousness.

There are other advantages that vary with the people involved. While the bond does not prevent the highs and lows that occur in interpersonal relationships, in my experience it very definitely shortens the duration of the lows. Finally, there is a personal connection that persists even when the people involved have drifted apart in time and space. When consensus is joined once more, power is immediately renewed.

George D. Jackson is an Adept V of the Sorcerer’s Guild, a group dedicated to the enhancement of magickal work among its membership that is open to initiates of most magickal traditions.

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Powering Up the Circle

Powering Up the Circle

by George D. Jackson

One of the problems I have become aware of in our community is the low level of power we raise in the circles we cast. I have noticed this mainly through listening to and reading a litany of complaints from various practitioners in several magickal paradigms. At first I thought perhaps this problem was just in these people’s perception, but after inquiries among some long-time magickal practitioners in the region, I have found that these people are not alone in this observation. I also found a number of our fellows out there seeking solutions.

Several reasons exist why we may be having difficulty in raising high levels of power within our circles. Sometimes, low power levels in public rituals are deliberate so as to shield neophytes from psychic overload. I have some reservations concerning this, as I was originally drawn to my magickal paradigm by feeling the power present in a series of semipublic circles.

Another significant reason for lack of power is that some of us come from the major religious paradigms where group activities were performed in a follow-the-leader type of approach and the magickal dynamics were never explained. The leader of these activities probably had some concept concerning the methods being used to unite consciousness, but he sure wasn’t going to call them magickal. Also, any power that was raised was directed to the benefit of the religious organization involved. The congregation, powerwise, was left in a dead zone and just accepted that as normal. Because people learn from experience and many magick users go from major religions to being solitary practitioners, attendance of public magickal rituals with low power levels was not remarked on.

Another reason why there are difficulties in raising power in the group environment is connected to the personal psychological defense screens that most of us have installed in our individual subconscious minds over the course of our lives. These are necessary for us to go on with our day-to-day lives without being overwhelmed by outside forces. However, many of us don’t know how to lower these screens when the need comes about. The following is an exercise that can give the individual magick user the ability to drop her or his screens at Will when the circumstances warrant it.

This exercise includes a method used in the Huna (Hawaiian magick) paradigm. It involves using a pendulum to talk to your “basic self,” otherwise known as your subconscious mind. The Huna approach considers an individual as a gestalt entity consisting of three selves existing in the physical body. The middle self is the conscious analytical mind, tasked with aiding the evolution of the basic self as well as its own; the high and basic selves are both contained in the collective unconscious. The high self is the most evolved and is the source of individual power; the basic self is primal and is the source of emotion, as well as storing all memory, processing environmental items into energy and running the autonomic nervous system. It is also the conduit between the high and middle self, and as such it needs to be educated.

The materials needed for this exercise are a pendulum and a piece of paper with a circle drawn on it and a cross within the circle. The first thing one needs to do is set up the parameters of the operation. Suspending the pendulum over the center of the circle by finger and thumb, you tell your basic self that forward and back is “yes” and side to side is “no.” Around the circle is “I don’t know.” Now ask your subconscious to show you yes, no and I don’t know.

Once this agreement is set in place, you are ready to proceed. Holding the pendulum over the circle, you tell your basic self to lower its barriers and allow outside energy to flow through you. You then ask your subconscious if it understands this command and will comply. When it answers “yes,” reward it by telling it how much you approve of this decision.

This exercise is designed to be performed by two or more people who have learned to drop their barriers. The people involved join hands and command their basic selves to drop their barriers and allow the energy flow. Power flows into the right hand and out of the left. It should be cycled at least three times or until one can feel the tingle or surge passing through them. Practitioners can then direct the accumulated power into the center of the group and use it to perform operations agreed on before the gestalt (the whole that is greater than the sum of the parts) was formed. Alternatively, the power can be directed outward to form a cone of power. Once the group’s goals are accomplished, be sure to ground the power and raise the pre-existing personal barriers. This kind of work is a temporary magickal bonding. If it is not dissolved at the end of the ritual, you are going to leave with more than you planned on.

Like most worthwhile things, this exercise takes a period of practice. Once it becomes commonly used, it becomes second nature. One thing it does is allow the user to rate the levels of energy in any circle the user participates in. When among close associates, it allows for a lot of fine-tuning. I use this in my “Path of the Adept” magick course, and my students are strong!

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Strengthen Your Magick by Learning Your Personal Color Key

Strengthen Your Magick by Learning Your Personal Color Key

by Melanie Fire Salamander

As I write, the deep green-blue of earliest dawn fades to clear royal blue, which lifts to a hovering grey that turns peach-yellow. Goddess Aurora, the herald of the sun, washes the east with color as every day begins.

For the sighted, color defines the first visual experiences of life. Before we see shapes, we see dappled colors moving before our infant eyes. From these shifting colors, the forms and the meanings of our lives come into focus.

Yet often, pagans take the color meanings for our magick from tables of correspondences. The rich traditional associations for color can certainly help drive your workings. But to work my own color magick, I have found it useful to discover the color meanings that already lie in my own deep symbol-speaking subconscious — the personal meanings that my deep self has accumulated for each color over my lifetime, and perhaps before. My teachers and my own work have shown me that the deep self is one of the main drivers of magick, and I find that my deep color resonances affect what my magick brings me. You too will probably discover that what your deep self associates with each color has resonances that affect your magick.

To discover your own personal meanings for colors, try the simple meditation following.

Color Meditation

1. Choose the colors you want to meditate on. For my work, I chose five: orange, green, red, yellow and blue.

2. Find a pure, unpatterned example of each color. I worked with sheets of colored construction paper, but use whatever you have handy, for example magazine pictures or plastic color gels. For best results, choose unmixed colors, without too much black or white muddying or clouding the tone. I chose colors that were all of similar intensity.

3. Cut a medium-sized, rectangular swatch of each color, say about five inches tall and three inches wide.

4. Set up your space for meditation. Find a comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed; take the phone off the hook and if necessary shut out your pets. Make sure an even light falls where you will place each color swatch, so you get the best visual image of each.

5. Set the first color swatch at easy eye-level for meditation, and set the others so that they’re ready to trade for the first swatch.

6. Ground, center and get into light trance.

7. Meditate on each color swatch in turn for five to ten minutes, enough time that you feel that you’ve worked through all the meanings your deep self has to bring forward for you. Write down your results, if you so desire.

My Results

One reason I’m glad I performed this meditation is that I didn’t always get what I expected from each color, as you’ll see.

Orange, I found, raised my energy immediately. It made me feel tense and nervous; the feeling was intense and unpleasant. That didn’t throw me, but I was a little surprised at how quickly I felt the energy change and how negative it was, because when just looking at the color I liked it.

Green also changed my energy level immediately and strongly — I felt a strong, pleasurable sexual sensation in my groin, most intense about the level of my ovaries. The color warmed me up physically, and I felt an almost smug pleasure. I had an image of the woods and thought of the god Pan. I felt horny, but not for anyone specifically — just that energy, without an object. I’ve found that green correspondingly works for me in love and sex magick. (Note that, for best karmic results, it’s best not to work love or sex magick to change another person’s will, but rather work to let the universe bring you your best partner or partners, whomever that may be.) Orange and green were probably the biggest energy changers of all for me.

Red wasn’t as intense for me as green or orange. I felt a slight headache, and a change of emotion rather than a strong change in physical energy. The emotion I felt was one of yearning or longing, not so much mine as of an ancient tragedy. I had an image of smoke over a battlefield, and I thought of the goddess the Morrigan. That was interesting to me, because I’ve always consciously associated red with love: Valentine hearts.

Yellow was moderately intense, more so than red, not as much as green or orange. I liked yellow. It raised my energy in a positive way, made me feel cheerful and made me smile. I thought of grassy lanes in sunlight.

Blue I found trancing; it had a reverberatory effect. It didn’t change my energy as the other colors had, because blue had for me the same deep thrumming energy as meditation itself. Blue did intensify and deepen my meditation, and I felt it strongly in my heart chakra. Its strength was on a par with yellow.

Your Own Work

You don’t have to work with the same colors I did, of course. Try meditating on the colors that you like best or that repel you, and find out why you react that way. If you like, you can use meditation to clear a color of negative meanings — simply bring that color up in your mind’s eye and run neutral cleansing energy through it until its energy changes. When visualizing color, I have found it best to work with transparent colors; if you find muddiness or cloudiness in a color you’re working with, try running cleansing energy through it. Check in with colors over time — you may find that their meanings change for you.

Once you know your personal color meanings, try using those in your magick. Find out which colors mean willpower or cheerfulness for you, and wear those to draw those feelings to you, or incorporate them in spell-work. If orange helps you concentrate, use it for your computer desktop and in spells about mental tasks. If blue or purple calms you and makes you trancy, paint your meditation room with it. If a clear pink means sex to you, dress your love rituals and your boudoir accordingly. Knowing your own personal color associations will make color an even more useful tool in your magickal toolbox.

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A Romp Through the Palette of Life

A Romp Through the Palette of Life

by Freya Ray

Personally, I love color. I’m not an especially visual person, and yet I am vibrantly aware of the magical properties of color every day. Since theory fails to fascinate me, and inspiration to play around with the possibilities of this luscious world always fascinates me, let’s have a romp through the rainbow, shall we? Here are some bright ideas for expanding the palette of your life, for fun and profit, color by color. And it’s my romp, so we’re not doing equal time — some colors are more fun than others.

Luscious, Bloody, Sexy Red

Red. The root chakra. The primal invitation to life. The blood of birth and death, the red clay of the mother between our toes, that haze that comes over your vision before you do something really really stupid, fire, rage, passion, life. Red is a color that knows it’s alive, that feels the heartbeat of its own jugular, that wants and demands more. More what? More of everything, most especially more life. Red does not ask why it’s here or if these pants make its butt look big. Red is too busy sinking its teeth deep, growling and getting lost in the sensations of the juice running down its throat. By all means, if your life has gotten a bit academic or routine lately, invoke red.

Wear lipstick of that shade fondly called “Fuck-Me Red.” Paint your nails to match, especially your toenails. Dye your hair.

Char a big slab of steak, leaving the center bloody. Cut it into strips, pile them in a bowl with the blood released by your knife, and eat it with your fingers. Drain the bowl, knowing in your mind you’re drinking the blood of the beast as you do it. No, tempeh cannot be substituted. Have dark chocolate for dessert.

Paint your body with tribal designs of your own delirious inspiration. Use red finger paint, or lipstick, or menstrual blood, or catsup. Dance naked, covered in slashes and spirals, to the beat of a drum.

In feng shui, red is the color of the “fame” corner. Red always screams “pay attention to me!” Wear the color and act as though you deserve to be noticed. Call attention to yourself in outrageous ways. Laugh loudly and refuse to be cowed.

Feel your heartbeat. Feel the blood pulsing just below the surface of your flesh, and know you are beast. Know you are life. Know you are passion, awaiting expression. Know your blood, your heartbeat, is the blood and heartbeat of all your ancestors, all the ancestors, all the peoples and creatures of this planet. Know that the pulsation of all life is one, in you.

Juicy, Tasty Orange

The belly chakra. Relationships, sexuality. It’s a great color, I’m sure, but it makes me look like I have hepatitis, so I have a slightly estranged relationship with orange. Nevertheless, I can make a couple recommendations.

Bake cookies with cinnamon in them. Add saffron to your rice. Make juice from fresh oranges — it takes what, five minutes, and what a difference! Better yet, let someone you love wake up to fresh-squeezed juice and your silent smile.

Meditate on a candle flame, letting the shifting play of tones awaken your memories of warmth, family or sexuality. Let the connection of the belly and the flame lead you back through the past, before this life, to the beds of all your wonderful lovers. Let the memories of loving bliss wash over you in waves of time and space. Light all those candles scattered about and make love to someone in a glow of shifting orange reflections.

Want what you can’t have, and then answer the question, “If I could have it, or the feelings that I believe it would evoke, how would I get it?”

Let lust — primal, unreasoning attraction — lead you to a new friend. Let yourself acknowledge the little belly flutters of lust you feel sometimes, in unguarded moments, for a dear friend. Know that all of life is about connection, and that lust and love are allies.

Yellow, the Sun of Shining Self

The light of all life. The shining disk of the solar plexus, the home of the will, of personal power. The gold glitter of success. Yellow evokes happiness, confidence and power.

Get some sun. I know it’s early spring in Seattle, but on those days when Father Sun emerges, go worship him properly. Get out your shades and tip your face up to the sky. Paint your entire body with gold glitter and go dancing. Have a power dinner: warm melty brie and crusty bread, crab legs and dripping yellow butter, champagne…

Meditate on your solar plexus chakra, seeing a shining sun at home there, and feeling the strength of your will, your ability to create the world of your choosing.

Abundant, Grass-Stained Green

The color of money. The wonderful power of our nation’s choice of paper currency. This color is also associated with healing and the heart chakra, but, truth be told, I think first of big wads of cash and second of doing summersaults down an immense hill.

Play with money. Do some fun work with your abundance issues: take $200 out of the bank in one-dollar bills. Scatter them all over your bedroom. Clear wads of them out of your bed so you can sleep at night. Find them everywhere. When they gather in the corners, pick them up in handfuls and toss them into the air. Money is energy crystallized. A truly magical photosynthesis, as the energy of work is stored in flat paper. Nothing more than love in material form.

Engage with life in a basic form — the creatures that photosynthesize so that the rest of us can live. Buy some houseplants, or more of them, and make a luscious jungle inside your home. Plant a garden in a couple of months. Grow wheatgrass and feed it to your cat. Notice the moss in the sidewalk. Find trees and hug them already!

Have a healing circle with some like-minded friends. Allow the healing color of green to travel where it is needed. Meditate on ideas of love and connection, your relationship with all life. Be in love, without concern for a suitable object. “I’m in love” is a sentence without referent, and a beautiful place to be.

I Ain’t Got No Chakra But Boy Do I Rock Pink!

Blushes. Where would we be without pink for blushes? Challenge yourself: find the compliment outrageously true enough to get every one of your associates to blush.

In feng shui as in Valentine’s Day, red, pink and white are the colors of love. Live it up! Decorate the back right corner of your home as a love altar with candles, ribbons, pictures of Hindu goddesses, massage oils, photos of your true love — whatever evokes the concept of loving connection for you.

Pink is your friend. Pink has never had a self-important moment in its entire career as a color on this planet. It is impossible to stand on your dignity or take yourself too seriously when wearing pink. This is good!

Calm, Cool Blue

Blue is a money color in feng shui. Adding an aquarium to your home or business is said to bring prosperity. Create an abundance altar in the back left corner of your home, including the colors of red, blue, and purple, along with candles, plants, lights, stones and pictures that evoke abundance for you.

Meditating on the color will put one in touch with calming influences and the state of mind where creativity can be expressed.

Water — deep, flowing blue water — is one of the most profound healers on the planet. Soak in it, bubble in it, stand under a moving stream of it and ask water to take away that which no longer serves you. Offer yourself naked to the ocean. I guarantee a rebirth as you emerge.

There are some very groovy blue stones, including sodalite and lapis lazuli.

Royalty Loves Purple

If red says, “Notice me,” purple says, “Respect me.” Perhaps even, “Obey me.” Purple is a power color, and wearing it is guaranteed to help you feel on top of your game.

Violet light is a strong tool for cleansing in visualization. Amethyst is known as the “sobriety stone” and has a remarkable ability to puncture denial.

Violet is the color of the third eye, of psychic awareness. Put some lavender oil in the bath, light a bunch of purple candles and see where your insight takes you. See that violet flame between your eyes, and let the images of your deeper mind flow into your awareness.

Basic Black

Black has been the color of choice for clergy in many traditions. It gives the sense that the person wearing it has access to mystical information, mysterious secrets. I could tell you more, but as my own wardrobe is mostly composed of black clothing, I’m going to leave this color as an exercise for the reader.

Champagne

I’m mentioning this vital color for two reasons. One: I look like crap in white and so ivory, champagne, whatever, is my best option for trying to look innocent. Not like anyone buys it anyway. Two: it’s the color of vanilla-scented candles, which are on the short list of reasons why this is a cool planet to live on. Put a vanilla bean in your sugar bowl.

Oh, and girls! Buy some pearls. Your grandmother knew about pearls, even if many of us have forgotten, and have caught the delusion that somehow diamonds are more important. It’s crap. Diamonds are the junkyard of stones, collecting every stray bit of energy that comes through their life and they can’t be cleared. But pearls, well, get enough strands of them so that you can feel their weight (cheapest method: gem show, buy a hank, string them yourself). Drape them on yourself, and you will know you are woman. Guys, by all means do this when you’re wanting to access your feminine side. But beware, they will bring up fonts of estrogen you didn’t know you had!

White

They say white contains all the colors together. Visualizing white light is a tree-hugging crystal freak cliché, but you know, it works. For healing, protection, and clarity, see that clear, bright, almost bluish light of a halogen bulb or clear sunlight on a brilliant day.

It’s also a reflection of the truth that all of life is a hologram, every part contains the whole, every individual is connected to all of the cosmos. The Akashic records are always available, and in every moment it is possible for you to know everything you need to. Practice believing that there is no separation. Even if you only pull it off for a moment. We are all one, the light of each soul shines brightly if we only choose to see.

Bathe yourself in moonlight. Put a jug of water outside at the full moon, and drink the essence of lunar wisdom. Know that everything happens in its own rhythm and in its own time. Know that the only guarantee is that all life is learning love, and that we will all find that loving union in time.

White is your canvas. Draw on it what you will, and harm none.

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‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for March 13th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

What is the texture of life?

Texture is that finely woven fabric of life that demands we have a congenial environment. It asks that we be industrious toward success, and that we should have a way of life, a purpose. We should hear the music of life and taste the bitter and the sweet.

Texture requires us to research every experience and learn the lesson in it. It orders us to communicate with life and make discoveries about ourselves and progress toward a texture where the coarse has been refined.

Frequently we should examine the texture of life to identify the quality. How wide is my world? How high is my sky?

All of us should know our own makeup, our capabilities, our gifts with which we have been divinely endowed. And we should think long on these words from Edna St. Vincent Millays’s Renascene:
“The world stands out on either side no wider than the heart is wide. Above the world is stretched the sky, no higher than the soul is high.”

*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*

Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

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