Category Archives: The Witch


Native American Comments & Graphics



If you are a beginner practitioner , this is note of caution about using spells and rituals for self defense . As a beginning practitioner, it is not uncommon to go through a period of increased awareness and sensitivity. During this period it can be easy to misinterpret increased sensitivity as being under attack. It is best to err on the side of caution when choosing a technique to employ and use those that cause lesser harm until you are sure that you are meeting the conditions appropriate for the use of magical self defense.

Learn How to Do Witchcraft Rituals and Spells with Your Bare Hands
Alan G. Joel

Let’s Talk Witch – What Is In A Name?

Celtic & British Isles Graphics
What Is In A Name?


Once we own our places and power, it’s not surprising to discover that the idea of naming comes into the picture. A name defines a person or place. It gives it a unique point on the universal map. Names provide identity, they can identify associations, strengths, and weaknesses. They affect the power of place by those attributes. It is no wonder that a great deal of superstition and folklore surrounds the giving and changing of names.

From an ethical and philosophical perspective, we must consider various things when talking about the power of naming. First, most magickal practitioners choose a new name for themselves at least once in their lifetimes, as well as special names for covensteads, sacred sites, etc. These names need not follow social convention, but they do need to follow spiritual leadings.

From a mundane perspective the question would arise: why choose a new name? Meanwhile, spirit asks, why not? When we are born, our family gives us a name that’s meaningful or pleasing to them. When we become spiritually active adults, that name may no longer really “fit” who and what we’ve become. Thus, we choose a name that is more reflective of who we are and all that we hope to become.

Let’s face it, the Neo-Pagan community has hundreds of Merlins, Bridgits, Sunshines, and Moonbeams running around. While those might have been lovely names at some time in history (the sixties come to mind), and while the names may be very meaningful, there’s something about them that may turn people off, both within and without our community. Our society (the without) has, for the most part, remained relatively conventional in its naming protocols. So when these individualistically minded pagan folk start introducing themselves with names that sound like they come from The Lord of the Rings or Dances with Wolves, people naturally wonder about that individual’s sincerity along with the validity of the path they represent. It’s just too “out there” for most limited thinkers.

No, you should not give up the name to which you felt called spiritually. That would not honor your inner God/dess. However, as a potential representative of the Wiccan and Neo-Pagan community, you do have an ethical responsibility to present yourself professionally in the outside world. So either use your legal name or find an alternative normal-sounding pseudonym that you can use when dealing with people who simply don’t understand the visionary aspect of our path. This is not only considerate of their “space,” but it also reflects positively on our community as a whole. Respect is a two-way street, and sometimes it means making people more comfortable so that they can listen without prejudgment.

Three other considerations in choosing and using names are changing social awareness, cultural meaningfulness, and (most important) what energies the name evokes. For example, at one time the word “squaw” was used as part of place names without a second thought (Squaw Peak in Phoenix, Arizona, for example). However, now that we know that the word refers to the female genitalia, we have all but eliminated it from use because it’s not politically correct. Likewise, from a cultural perspective, a person may love the way a name sounds, but upon further research he or she discovers negative connotations (like naming a pet Loki, and discovering the mischief that god embodied). Remember that once something gets named, everything associated with a name goes along with that word. You can’t just take one part and leave the rest behind. Please keep those things in mind any time you’re choosing a new name for yourself, a group, or even a place (like your house).



A Witch’s 10 Commandments: Magickal Guidelines for Everyday Life
Marian Singer


WOTC Extra – Mindful Living

Mindful Living


It would be remiss to discuss the power of place and living in balance with the earth without discussing the concept of mindfulness. Most people think of mindfulness as being sensitive to all creatures and environments in body, mind, and spirit, but that’s really only one small fragment of this philosophy. If you think about this word as a compound term (mind-fullness), the idea becomes a little easier to grasp.


Begin with the mind half of the term. It’s our vehicle for thought. It helps us interact with and understand our entire reality. That mind is continually busy processing all manner of impulses—everything from interpreting what our eyes see and hands feel to the tidbit of conversation overhead on the street. These are like files that fill the cabinet of the mind.


Now, if those everyday times weren’t enough, there are all kinds of other input. With what proverbial paperwork do we fill our minds (positives, negatives, should-bes, never-was, etc.)? How do we still such thoughts that undermine the sacred self and learn to cultivate the mind of perfect love, truth, reality, and awareness that stimulate enlightenment? How do we extend that mindfulness in true balance (within and without) so that it becomes naturally reflected in our ethics?


Practicing mindfulness isn’t something that comes easy, especially in Western society where multitasking has become an art. However, I truly believe that once we begin living mindfully, a great many other aspects of our faith and philosophy naturally fall into place. Here are some tips to get you started:


Don’t rush the rituals of life; savor them. No matter what they are, allowing stress and distractions into those rituals is part of what causes imbalance. The rituals of our lives provide comfort and a sense of structure into which we can then pour our bodies, minds, and spirits to fill things out successfully. Go a little more slowly and watch your life change.


Don’t give in to social pretext. For example, if you ask someone, “How are you?” you should really want to know, not simply speak polite words. In this case, be ready to listen and honestly respond to what that person is saying. Or when you meet someone for the first time, don’t allow your socially conditioned self to jump to judgment. Allow that person’s power of place to unfold naturally rather than basing your reactions on a similarity to other people with whom you’ve had positive or negative interactions.


This “allowing” goes for regions too. Let the energies of the earth make themselves known. Forcing feelings and relationship causes undue stress.



A Witch’s 10 Commandments: Magickal Guidelines for Everyday Life
Marian Singer

Let’s Talk Witch – Spiritual Centers

Spiritual Centers


Moving from within to without, the awakened and aware spirit is one that will become a trailblazer in this realm and others. To fulfill that role, the seeker accepts and activates the role of the divine (Thou Art God/dess), lives in balance (as within, so without), and now takes the step toward remembering and rebuilding his or her connection with the ancestors, the tribe, the world, and, by extension, the cosmos. Our ancestors give us the gift of tradition and the tribe reminds us of our humanness—our needs, wants, goals, things of which the communal necessity of companionship and a supportive group of intertwined individuals cannot be denied. Finally, the earth becomes our teacher, our provider, and a reflection of the universe and God, and it has a few surprises in store for us along the way.


True spiritual awareness means being present and paying attention. It means finding the power of your personal space, so that other spaces (teaching spaces, praying spaces, ritual spaces, be-ing spaces) make themselves known to you. Even a concrete slab can house sacred energies. Walls can talk but people don’t always listen. If you’re already living in the moment, and listening to your inner/outer God/dess, you’ll probably find special sanctuaries quite naturally. As an adult, however, it helps to have some guidelines as to what type of sensations to look for when you stumble upon a sacred place. These cues include:


*A tingling sensation (like static)

*The feeling that you’ve stepped into another time or dimension (due to a shift in energies)

*A sudden hush or calm around and within

*Intense emotional, physical, creative, or spiritual responses to a place or space evoked without warning

*Unusually lush plant or animal life

*The presence of light (or brighter light) as compared to adjacent areas


Unlike spontaneous sacredness, many spiritual centers have long-term, regionally specific holiness that’s often recognized by a wide variety of people, some of whom may not be spiritually oriented. Many people believe that these centers take their resonance from a historical event, from ley lines, from a unique composition of plant matter or stones, etc. In any case, whatever exists in that spot makes people feel differently—more awake and aware. And once such a place is discovered, the next obvious question is what do we do with this awareness, this powerful place? What is our ethical responsibility?


The most common responses to that question are “protect them, of course” and “bring other people here to experience this.” If we see the earth as sacred, this place isn’t really more sacred, it just affects us differently. Does that one spot deserve our extra protection, versus those efforts we extend on a planetary level? If we’re thinking globally and acting locally, perhaps the best thing is to devote our energy to safeguarding that spot, knowing that by extension it ties into the greater all. But shouldn’t we ask the spirits of the land first? What do they want?


It is not our place to trample into nature, add magickal energy willy-nilly, and walk away feeling puffed up and pleased with ourselves. To honor the earth, it would be nice to make an effort toward a polite introduction, reconnection, and relationship-building process with nature. It respects the power of place. The change in attitude turns a personal expression into a sacred excursion.


And how does bringing other people to sacred spaces figure into relationship building and respect? It depends on how you look at it. Many people would rejoice in revealing such energies to another being and watching the wonder in their exploration. However, would we be doing this for their good or because of personal desire? It’s similar to a child saying, “Look what I found!” It’s natural to want to share, but we must always consider the other seeker’s best interest. Would it be better for them to discover the power of place in their own time? Or would experiencing it communally be even a greater expression of the indwelling wonder and divinity of all things?


Do or don’t do. Those are really the options. Either decision, however, should be guided by the God/dess, tempered by balance, and nurtured by positive intention.



—-A Witch’s 10 Commandments: Magickal Guidelines for Everyday Life
Marian Singer

WOTC Extra (a) – The Good Witch

The Good Witch

The “Good” Witch Thanks to the magic of movies, it’s nearly impossible to separate the Good Witch archetype from Glinda in The Wizard of Oz. This type of witch waves a rose-colored wand and all the problems of the world float neatly away. She smiles a disarmingly innocent smile and trusts wholeheartedly that all of the world’s ills will eventually fix themselves through the law of return.


Alternatively, you have Samantha from the television series Bewitched, refusing to use her powers except in emergencies, and only if they’re used for “good.” What made the “good witch” archetype work in the popular mind forty years ago was the fact that she didn’t interfere and hesitated to wield her power, effectively immobilizing any sense of threat. She wasn’t trying to be special; she wanted to be normal.


For the modern Neo-Pagan, Wiccan, or Witch, this creates an odd challenge. What is truly “bad” or “good” about the “good witch?” Some beginners’ books on Wicca give the roundabout impression that a spiritually proficient life is nearly idyllic. It is almost as if the writer is saying, “If your life isn’t like this everyday, you’re doing something wrong.” Meanwhile, it’s hard not to think, “Hey, you! Your life isn’t like this either!” Most people’s lives aren’t the material from which Hallmark cards are made.


Why do we create mundane or magickal yardsticks up to which no one can possibly measure? That is the true danger in the “good” witch; she’s got a very tough, if not impossible, act to follow. None of us are completely enlightened, or we wouldn’t still be here, going through another round of life lessons.


Meanwhile, the “good” witch archetype stands there, looking pristine, never shaken, always grinning as if there’s not a care in the world. How many of us can say we ever look like that? The Good witch archetype externally gives the impression that perfection just comes naturally (except perhaps for the glitter). But real witches know better. We know that true magick takes more than a bucket of fairy dust to manifest.


Another concern I have with the “good” witch is the all-too-simple instructions she gives. “Follow the Yellow Brick Road . . . don’t stray from the road . . . .


Additionally, in her unshakable optimism, the “good” witch can often be taken quite unaware by life’s significant ups and downs (the turning wheel). It’s great to expect the best, to put energy toward good things. That’s part of feeding the Law of Return. However, there must always be a rational balance point—a place to which you return to regroup when the rugs gets pulled out from under your broom. No witch worth her wand would be caught dead tripped up on a floor with tusseled hair and had a wrinkled robe, but that’s exactly what can happen if the good witch gets too out of touch with reality. Sometimes things go wrong, but when that happens, just pick up your broom, clean up, laugh, regroup, and get on with it. May that is exactly why Glinda’s mantra for Dorothy was, “there’s no place like home.” Perhaps Kansas was Dorothy’s regrouping point once she got some perspective.



A Witch’s 10 Commandments: Magickal Guidelines for Everyday Life
Marian Singer

Let’s Talk Witch – The Bad Witch

 The Bad Witch

First, let’s consider the “bad” witch in terms of what lessons the archetype teaches:


The “bad” witch never seems to be afraid of her powers, nor does she question them. This implies a rather casual acceptance of magickal gifts as natural and readily available once mastered. What would our lives be like if we simply trusted in our spiritual nature as fully as she does?


The “bad” witch rarely hesitates to use magick to improve her fate. She sees her magical abilities as a birthright and sees herself as wholly worthy of what those attributes bring. In this, we are reminded that the human ego serves a very real purpose. We must know and honor ourselves if we hope for any type of positive result from our workings (as within, so without). More importantly, we have to use our magickal methods and ideals if we ever expect either to impact our realities.


The “bad” witch laughs—rather, cackles—in the face of adversity. You won’t find this lady whining and wringing her hands over a poorly dealt hand. Instead, she sharpens her nails and her wits and tries another angle, flying off to that task fully anticipating success. Now, that’s confidence!


The “bad” witch speaks strongly of the way we as a species perceive power. Why must a woman’s strength, confidence, and conviction be hidden behind old age and/or a displeasing visage? Because anything else would threaten the status quo. I’m pretty sure that if The Wizard of Oz were rewritten today, we’d discover that Dorothy was a young upstart, intent on taking over the wicked-witch’s business deals. By the way, this new-improved wicked witch would wear a three-piece suit, carry a brief case, and ride a Hoover!


The archetype of the bad witch does have its darker side, the side that embodies energies that most modern witches strive to avoid. In the “what goes around, comes around” scenario, dark magick, while it may be successful, cannot only swing back to bite the user but it also negatively affects the user’s aura in definable ways. To use the analogy of a radio, unless you’re completely tuned to be evil and nasty, that type of energy is going to create static in and around your life, just if you tried to force an AM signal through an FM channel. Dion Fortune explains this very well in Psychic Self-Defense:


One of the most effective, and also one of the most widely practiced methods of occult defense is to refuse to react to an attack, neither accepting nor neutralizing the forces projected against one, and thus turning them back on their sender. We must never overlook the fact that a so-called occult attack may be evil thought-forms returning home to roost.

Someone wielding negative magick will eventually see that figurative “wheel” turn around and come back to himself or herself. That alone becomes a pretty nasty prospect. Next, consider the kind of feelings someone would have to put into baneful magick. What sort of memories would they have to evoke? What kind of energies would that person call to himself or herself? If you stand too close to that type of energy, or stand in the wrong place at the wrong time, just as surely as if you were standing too close to a raging fire, you’re going to get hurt.


Many people cannot figure out why anyone would choose to go to the “dark side” after weighing the consequences. It seems obvious that any sensible practitioner would carefully avoid baneful magick.


However, there is an allure in dark magick, one that comes from wielding power without worrying about tomorrow . . . one that comes from the spirit of selfishness that grows fatter the more it gets fed. Make no mistake. We all walk a very fine line between good and bad, but the farther over that line we go in either direction, the harder it becomes to distinguish where it was originally.


Additionally, there is also a chance that some people were pushed into what could be considered “dark” magick out of desperation (such as feeling helpless when a loved one got hurt, and running out of mundane ways to try and help). Or people may do a good thing for a bad reason. It’s a good thing to want to help others, but sometimes that turns into enabling. There are moments in every person’s life when they’re pressed to a wall, when they feel as if there are no good choices, or when they feel the need to fight back. Most of us have faced that moment of truth. What then? No one wants the Threefold Law to hit with full force with negative energy.



A Witch’s 10 Commandments: Magickal Guidelines for Everyday Life
Marian Singer

WOTC Extra – Mess Up? Clean Up!

Dragon Comments & Graphics

Mess Up? Clean Up!


The mage recognizes that for every action there will be an equal and opposite reaction somewhere. That’s a law of physics over which we have no control. So watch the sky overhead, the ground under your feet … monitor the illusions through which you’re trying to move, and keep moving. When things happen because of your actions, take responsibility (not just in magick, but in life).

Be aware that everything has consequences, from taking out a loan or getting married to making tonight’s dinner (or not). Well-crafted metaphysical methods define limits in some way to balance potential consequences. The boundary of our magickal constructs may be a person, an effect, a means to achieve the end, or the time at which the effect dissipates. Additionally, the wise witch is careful to restrict, deflect, and dispel potential contrary reactions that could harm herself or innocent bystanders. At the end of the day, even with precautions something can go wrong. Messed up? Don’t wring your hands and say “poor me.” Get up, dust yourself off, clean up, learn everything you can from the experience, and fix it.


A Witch’s 10 Commandments: Magickal Guidelines for Everyday Life
Marian Singer

Let’s Talk Witch – When You Mess Up—Clean Up

Dragon Comments & Graphics=

When You Mess Up—Clean up: Action, Inaction, and Consequences


There is a saying that goes, karma simply is. Karma is not an external force that imposes justice; it is a system of checks and balances that has no particular time frame. Karma also has no agenda other than illustrating the principles of cause and effect, action and reaction, total cosmic justice, and personal responsibility. It is as impersonal as physics. It is the universe’s way of balancing itself out in any direction.


There are several types of karma. The first comes from all actions in previous lifetimes. Think of this like a cosmic debt or bonus that you add to, or take away from, based upon your daily behavior. The second type of karma is from actions in this life. Third is what might be called “instant” karma, things that manifest daily, such as a person getting arrested for breaking the law. In this last example, we can see where karma’s lessons come through experience; linking our action or inaction with results and responsibility.


Returning to my previous example regarding using magick for personal gain or revenge, karma asks questions like the following:


Can you live with your choice? Can you look in the mirror and be comfortable with what you see?


What kind of person do you wish to be?


Are you ready to accept the responsibility for what you’re doing, plus all possible repercussions?


These are three good questions to ask any time you’re feeling uncertain about your motivations, and how best to proceed. However, in talking about action, inaction, and consequences, I think there are several other points to consider:


Sometimes life simply happens. Say you’re in an accident and someone dies, but you live. Unless you purposefully and willfully had some hand in creating that accident, or in speeding that person’s death, there’s no karma involved for your current incarnation. In fact, there was very likely no karma involved in the accident. Death is a natural outcome of living! I only mention this because all too often people look for deep, spiritual meanings to things that have none.


There are many situations in which we do have some level of responsibility. In that case, it’s time to take steps to ameliorate the damage. Being “sorry” is not enough. Apologies do nothing to fix things, other than perhaps making the person who did wrong feel a little less badly about it. Until we’re ready to act on those things for which we’re responsible, we have learned nothing. It’s comparable to a child who continually engages in bad behavior because he or she thinks that mom and dad will either (a) give them positive or negative attention for it, and/or (b) forgive them. When they’re old enough to understand the consequences of their actions, kids need to know better. They mess up, they clean up. This is a philosophy that applies very nicely to Wiccan situational ethics. If you’ve messed up, fix it to the best of your ability.


There are going to be some things you cannot fix. Say you initiate a huge fight with a family member. Afterward, you do everything in your power to seek out forgiveness and improve communications. If that person rebuffs your efforts, the karma is no longer yours to bear. Leave the door open and move on, knowing you’ve diligently and honestly sought peaceful closure.


Despite the power of magick, there are many things for which one must work physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to remain as a cocreator with the divine. Within the broad Neo-Pagan community, there seems to be a creeping sense of entitlement. People expect magick to move mountains even when they’ve invested very little personal effort. For example, the creator of a ritual strongly suggests beginning at sunrise for the greatest amount of success. Well, to heck with that! We want to sleep until noon. Is it any wonder that such a ritual would go awry? While not all rituals require strict timing, in this illustration a timing was strongly advised. Without proper intent and honest effort, there’s no reason for manifestation to happen. There was no real energy invested to begin with. The old saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” applies to magick, too. Be ready and willing to work for magickal manifestation.


Finally, what about those moments when our back is, indeed, up against a wall? A soldier will tell you that when shooting is about to start, you do something. This isn’t the time for indecision. Such hesitancy on a regular basis creates the victim mentality in which you will remain on the sidelines of life as a proverbial wallflower. Yes, it’s possible to make people angry through action. It’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason, but to constantly do nothing isn’t the perfect answer either.



A Witch’s 10 Commandments: Magickal Guidelines for Everyday Life
Marian Singer