Lady A’s Spell of the Day for 5/10: Five Fingers Protection Bath

The following ingredients will be required:

Five dried or fresh baby laurel leaves

One cup (or more) of sea  salt

Five limes, sliced in half

A splash of vinegar, preferably lemon vinegar

A glass of spring water

A glass of rose-water or rose hydrosol, or one of the charged water.

1.  Draw a warm bath.

2.  First add the salt and the bsy leaves.

3.  Squeeze the limes into the water, tossing the fruit in as well

4.  Add the other ingredients.

5.  Enter the waster. Submerge yourself completely five times if possible. Stay in as long as you like. Rub your both with the limes.

6.  Drain the  water while still in the tub allow yourself to air-dry amidst the remnants of the limes and leftover leaves

Magickal Goody for May 10th: Lighten Up Sparkle Spray

Lighten Up Sparkle Spray

This one is a good one to have on hand for after an argument or for anytime things get too serious, heavy or overwhelming. It’s also a great support in times of grief or trauma. It creates perspective, loose stuck energy, lifts the spirits and enhances harmony and joy.

Ingredients:

Lepidolite essence or an actual lepidolite

Apophyllite essence or an actual apophyllite

Bach Rescue Remedy

Essential oil of Lavender

Essential oil of peppermint

Essential oil of spearmint

Rose water in a mister

Put 3 drops of lepidolite essence or the lepidolite, 3 drops of apophyllite essence or the apophyllite, and 4 drops of Rescue Remedy in the mister. Put 4 drops of lavender, 3 drops of peppermint, and 4 drops of spearmint in the mister. Shake. Hold the bottle in both hands and visualize very bright, sparkly, robin’s egg blue light filling and surrounding the bottle.

Crystal of the Day for May 10th is ANDALUSITE

Crystal of the Day

 

Andalusite

Andalusite is a great help when you wish to get to know all the facets of your character, but stay with both feet on the ground at the same time. It allows you to be analytical without losing sight of reality, which makes it an excellent stone to examine your problems. Andalusite strengthens the memory and awakens inner knowledge. On the physical level Andalusite is used to treat illnesses of the pulmonary tract and chromosome disturbances

Herb of the Day for May 10th is MYRTLE

Herb of the Day

Myrtle

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Deities: Venus, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hathor, Astarte, Ashtoreth, Marian.

Powers: Love, Fertility, Youth, Peace, Money

Magickal Uses: Myrtle has long been considered a “love” herb. A chaplet of fresh leaves and flowers worn on the head while performing love spells is highly appropriate. Myrtle is added to all love sachets and spells, especially those designed to keep love alive and exciting.

Myrtle is also worn to increase fertility, but interestingly enough it is also worn at weddings by brides to ensure that they do not quickly become pregnant!

Myrtle wood, when carried, preserves youthfulness. A cup of myrtle tea, drunk every three days, will doo the same, but it must be drunk every three days without fail.

When carried, myrtle preserves love. If grown on each side of the house, love and peace will reside within, and it is a lucky plant to grow in window boxes, if it is planted there by a woman. Myrtle is also used in money spells.

Deity of the Day for May 10th is ZEUS

Deity of the Day

 

ZEUS

 

Top God of the Earth and Ruler of Mount Olympus, the lofty cloudland where the Greek Gods live and look down upon mankind.

He is a real high-flyer, an Olympic champion, battling with the giant TITANS, casting thunderbolts and engaged in all manner of gut-busting glorious Godly pursuits.

His father CRONUS was so terrified of the newborn baby ZEUS’s awesome power that he swallowed him up. And lived to regret it. It was left to AMALTHEA (and her goat) to protect the budding SuperGod while he learned to walk, talk, and rule the Universe. Since then he’s never looked back.

ZEUS is married to the long-suffering HERA, but spends most of his time lusting after Goddesses, mortals, animals, and indeed anything that will keep still long enough.

It’s tough at the top being the most fantastic hunky irresistible God of all time and having constantly to prove it. And never a quiet night in with slippers and a mug of cocoa because he has to keep his long-suffering wife HERA happy too. Their trials and tribulations form the basis of half the Greek entries in our database.

ZEUS has had so many mistresses and fathered so many children that there’s no point in giving a list here. Just take our word for it. See also CRONUS, RHEA, HEPHAESTUS, ATHENA… and in fact most of the other Greek Gods.

Moving on to more Godly matters, ZEUS was also known to the ancient Greeks as Epiphanes, the Magnificent One, whenever a certain star appeared in the east. This was celebrated with piph-ups known as epiphanies.

When he’s not running around after nubile Goddesses in the form of a lusty animal, ZEUS looks after Law, upholds Justice, and casts thunderbolts on those deserving it.

Your Daily Influences for May 10

Your Daily Influences
May 10, 2011 
 

Tarot Influence

Rune Influence


Charm Influence
Ace of Wands
A new venture is on the horizon. This new venture may be anything from a journey or business to a family.
Dagaz
Dagaz represents the fresh light of a new day. You are close to making a breakthrough. You have the will to change whatever you deem necessary. You may see the world with absolute clarity at this time.
The Serpent
This aspect will be affected by an illness that requires constant or recurring medical attention.
Your Daily Influences represent events and challenges the current day will present for you. They may represent opportunities you should be ready to seize. Or they may forewarn you of problems you may be able to avoid or lessen. Generally it is best to use them as tips to help you manage your day and nothing more.

Today’s Chakra Energy Levels for May 10

The Chakras represent the seven primary energy hubs in the body. Life force energy is constantly flowing in and out of these centers. Just as the cosmos is constantly changing, so too are the levels of energy absorbed and radiated by our Chakra centers. The graph below is a representation of the quantities of Chakra energies available today.

Sahasrara:
   
70%
Ajna:
   
68%
Vishuddha:
   
23%
Anahata:
   
58%
Manipura:
   
23%
Svadhisthana:
   
37%
Muladhara:
   
94%

Legend:
Sahasrara – The Crown Chakra represents energies associated with cosmic consciousness, spirituality, knowledge, wisdom and inner peace.
Ajna – The Third Eye Chakra represents energies focused on both physical and spiritual vision. Psychic powers resonate from the Ajna Chakra, as well as your image of the Cosmos as a whole (the big picture) and the many nuances that make your journey unique.
Vishuddha – Throat Chakra is the energy center associated with communication and creativity. Your energy to express yourself verbally and creatively are derived from the Vishuddha Chakra.
Anahata – The Heart Chakra’s energy is concentrated on issues concerning your emotions. This energy fuels your power to love, feel compassion and maintain balance between disparate aspects of your being.
Manipura – The Power Chakra provides the energy that fuels our strength of will, individuality and sense of self-worth.
Svadhisthana – The Spleen or Sacral Chakra supplies the energy we use emotionally and sexually. This is the energy used to connect to others.
Muladhara – The Root or Base Chakra furnishes the energy used to create and maintain our foundation. This is the energy that keeps us on firm ground and provides us with the basic skills to uphold a place in the world.

Your Deck of Ancient Symbols Card for May 10 is The Crow

Your Deck of Ancient Symbols Card for Today
 
 

The Crow

The Crow is the trusted messenger that alerts its allies to both danger and opportunity. Although they may appear playful and too opportunistic to be trusted, Crows are in fact powerful and trustworthy. The Crow sees and hears all. When The Crow reports it is best to listen as their news is always important and presented accurately.

As a daily card, The Crow indicates that you will soon receive news that will either protect you from loss or lead you too opportunities doorstep. To fully realize the advantage the information will soon receive carries with it you will need to react to it quickly and with sureness.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Paganism

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Paganism

Author: Crick

As folks begin to re-discover their interest in paganism, there are certain fallacies that are being put forth that do not contribute in a meaningful way to the true nature of paganism. We, as a community that is based upon many divergent beliefs, would be wise to avoid these pitfalls as we move forward. Please keep in mind that we are all individuals and as such we are entitled to our personal opinions even if it does not agree with others’ opinions.

Fallacy: The pentagram is the symbol of one particular group of pagans.

The truth is that the pentagram has been in use by various groups, both pagan and Christian, since Uruk IV circa 3500 BCE in ancient Mesopotamia where the general interpretation appeared to be “heavenly body.” By the cuneiform period circa 2600 BCE the pentagram or symbol “UB” came to mean “region, ” “heavenly quarter” or “direction”.

Venus is equated with the Sumerian Goddess, Ishtar (Inanna) whose symbol is an eight or sixteen point star.

In association with the Hebrews, the five-point symbol was ascribed to Truth and to the five books of the Pentateuch.

In Ancient Greece, it was called the Pentalpha.

Pythagorians considered it an emblem of perfection or the symbol of the human being. The Pythagoreans used it as a sign of recognition and they called the Pentagram “Hugieia” which is usually translated “Health, ” but can also translate as “Soundness or Wholeness”, and in a more general way, any “Divine Blessing”. Hugieia (Hygeia) is the Greek Goddess of Health, who is called Salus by the ancient Romans.

The pentagram was also associated with the golden ratio (which it includes) , and the dodecahedron, the fifth Platonic solid, which has twelve pentagonal faces and was considered by Plato to be a symbol of the heavens.

The Pentagram has been found everywhere from Egyptian statues to Gaulish coins. In fact, the Greeks, Aryans, and Etruscans (circa 400 BCE) shared a coin bearing a pentagram and the characters “PENSU” (Etruscan for five) .

It is noted that the texts of Solomon from the Mediaeval period gave great importance to the pentagram, under the name “Solomon’s Seal.”

It is documented that the first English mention of a pentagram appears in the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Stanzas 27-28 (1380 CE) . Gawain, who is traditionally the Celtic sun-hero, carries a shield “shining gules, With the Pentagle in pure gold depicted thereon”.

“It is a symbol which Solomon conceived once
To betoken holy truth, by its intrinsic right,
For it is a figure which has five points,
And each line overlaps and is locked with another;
And it is endless everywhere, and the English call it,
In all the land, I hear, the Endless Knot.”

And yet with the exception of Eliphas Levi who was associated with Catholicism, the Pentagram has never had any established definition or translation in regards to evil or any other negative connotation.

It was Eliphas Lévi who made the claim, with no justification or established historical precedent, that the pentagram with one point upward represents the good principle and one downward, the principals of evil. Eliphas Levi had trained for the Roman Catholic priesthood and was a prolific writer on Freemasonry magical associations. And as such his motives are somewhat questionable.

In fact, the five-pointed star is also defined as a symbol of Christ, “the bright and morning star”: and, inverted with one point down, it represents the descent of Christ, which represents his Incarnation. Lo and behold, there is a huge inverted five-pointed star on the steeple of the “Marktkirche”, or Market Church in fourteenth century Hanover, Germany and there are the numerous inverted stars that surround a statue of Mary and the Christ Child in Chartres Cathedral circa 1150 C.E.

The early Christians attributed the pentagram to the Five Stigmata of Christ and/or the doctrine of the Trinity plus that of the two natures of Christ.

It can also be seen on gravestones in the Claustro da Lavagem in the Convento at Tomar, Portugal, the monastery of Ravna, Bulgaria and the Church of All Saints at Kilham, Humberside, Yorkshire, England, which incorporates the symbol on the columns which support the Norman doorway. It is indented on the gateposts of the churchyard of S. Peter’s, Walworth, England, built in 1824 CE.

And yet in spite of thousands of years of the Pentagram being seen as a symbol of health and many other positive aspects, the Pentagram is now held forth by a few so called organized religions as being a symbol of a dark foreboding and evil.

However the pentagram is not the exclusive domain of any one pagan group and should not be presented as such as it now often is. Paganism is far too diverse to be represented by anyone group.

It is one thing to establish a religion/spiritual path that is often a mishmash of beliefs from other religious belief systems. But for such religions who were formed after the fact to engage in such blatant distortions doesn’t do much to contribute to the understanding and acceptance that these same religions claim as tenets of their own beliefs.

Until the members of such religions find the will and inner strength to empower the truth, there will always be such institutional hypocrisies. And as such these misnomers will continue to belie and disrupt any real effort at understanding and good will towards others.

Fallacy: The mystical arts are primarily a religion.

To my mind, when one takes the mystical arts which to my mind is constantly evolving and is limitless in its definition and understanding and places it within the parameters of religious dogma, then one is in effect limiting their personal spiritual growth and ability to develop within the concept of true mystical arts.

I understand that such limitations work well for some folks and that is what it is. However such a concept does not work for those who are solitaire, follow the path of shamanism, Voudon, Asatru, Nordic, Witchcraft or what have you. Such folks follow a spiritual path and not a religion. And so there needs to be more of an acceptance of such a reality.

Far too often there are attempts by those who desire to turn the mystical arts into a religion to downplay the beliefs of others or to elevate themselves above all others. Such behavior is detrimental to any attempts at creating a true pagan community and thus is a pitfall to be avoided.

Fallacy: Everyone who follows a pagan path is in effect a Neo Pagan and attempting to re-construct an ancient pagan belief.

This is simply not true and does nothing more than to play into the hands of those who would like to be seen as the pagan standard and whom often falsely claim to represent all pagans.

This misnomer may apply to those primarily of European descent who now desire to follow a pagan path from ancient Europe. But the reality is that there are in fact folks from such descent who have always been pagan. Though the organized religions did their utmost best to eradicate pagan beliefs, there were some families who did not succumb to such attempts.

To paint everyone who follows a European based pagan belief with such a broad brush is self-serving and in fact stereotyping. There are also many folks around the world who have always been pagan such as the Eskimos, Australian Bushman, Siberian Shamans, the many indigenous tribes located all around the world and so forth.

To deny the pagan heritage of such folks is arrogant and elitist to say the least. It also deprives us of a rich and valuable source of experiences that far exceed many of the modern day pagan paths. Do we really want to establish a pagan community based on such deceptive behavior?

And so as we move forward, we should keep in mind that it is human nature to put forth fallacies that are self-serving to one’s particular group. But if we are in fact going to avoid the missteps of prior belief systems, then we should be aware of the pitfalls that are waiting for the unwary.

Paganism is not about any one particular group. We are far too diverse for such a self-serving fallacy. And so moving forward, we should show common respect for all of our divergent beliefs… for we are Pagans…

Coming Out Of The “Broom Closet”

Coming Out Of The “Broom Closet”

Author: Lea

I am lucky to have two parents that fully accept the fact I am a Pagan. In fact, after I converted, my mother followed; the jury is still out on my father…he would be willing to join in for ceremonies or feasts, but he still goes to church some Sundays and doesn’t really know anything about religion in general. The rest of my family was technically raised Presbyterian, they don’t go to church and we just say grace before big family meals, mostly because of my grandmother.

I doubt my family would have major issues with the fact I am a Pagan, they would probably brush it off and think it was “just a phase”, or ask me questions about what Paganism really is, but they wouldn’t disown me.

Yet, I still have found myself unable to come out of the “Broom Closet”. So, I kind of want to talk about why, or why not, to come out of the broom closet.

All of my information is taken from personal experiences of friends and of myself, and from the website Lady of the Earth, which is credited at the bottom of this essay.

Picture if you will, you’ve been studying Paganism for a while, and maybe you’ve managed to cast a couple of circles, built up a rather nice collection of oils, incense and candles, and really proud of what you’ve learned. So, now what? Are you ready to tell your friends and family?
Wait, we’ll have to consider some things first:

“In Africa today, someone may be brutally murdered because they were accused of Witchcraft. Whether or not they are or aren’t doesn’t matter. Just an accusation.

Closer to home, in America today, someone may lose his or her children because a social worker was misinformed. Children have been taken from their parents because a ‘child welfare’ worker believed they would be sacrificed at Samhain.

Very close to my home, in Canada today, someone may be forced into a mental institution for practicing Wicca. Some institutions believe that practicing modern Witchcraft is a sign of mental distress or social maladjustment.

In the world today, someone is losing a job for being Pagan; someone is losing a friend.

Someone is polishing a gun and muttering about the ‘baby killers’. Someone is holding community action meetings to deal with the ‘Wiccan threat’.”—Lady of the Earth

These may be old numbers, as many areas have repealed “anti-witch” laws, but we must always remember that people are misinformed about Pagans, and they get all their information from Hollywood or outdated sources.

When I first came out of the broom closet, my father had some misconceptions about Paganism, even though he is an educated man with a university degree in accounting, from when he was a child being raised in a very Catholic small town. In fact, when my mother and I stopped going to church because we converted, he got very defensive.

With common misconceptions dispelled, however, he now understands why we converted, and why we weren’t very happy with the Christian church. It made the relationship a bit tense at first, and he would often leave Sunday mornings to church and not tell us—we assumed he went to the office to do some filing or make some calls without bothering us—and he almost seemed ashamed to admit he was going to church. I sometimes wonder if he thought the big scary Pagan women were going to curse him!

You must always remember, coming out of the broom closet will change everything, usually for the good, but you must realize that sometimes it will be for the worst.

If any of you reading this are gay and have come out of the closet, I’m sure you’ll know how difficult it can be. I think that is why Pagans use the analogy of “coming out of the closet” to describe telling people of their religious views, and by making it a “broom closet”, Pagans give it their own twist.

This is not intended as a how-to come out, but more of an essay on what you can do to come out, and some things to consider. Everyone’s coming-out will be different and unique to the person and situation. Also, keep in mind there are different forms of being “out”. If we want to be technical, I’m very much out in the open, but at the same time I am very much in the closet.

I am out with my friends, but for my cousins wedding that happened on August 1st, I was more half in the closet. I am more out with my mother than my father. Ordering books online is more anonymous than going to your local bookstore. Do what feels comfortable for YOU. This is your life.

Paganism is about trust in yourself and the world around you. You have to trust in what you do in rituals for it to work, for example. Therefore, the basis for coming out of the broom closet is trust. So, if you want your family to trust in you after or during your coming out, you have to make sure you’re doing trustworthy things.

Don’t hide the fact you collect oils or incense; tell your family you are looking into aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is used in spas, so it is less suspicious than hiding about it, or arguing, or straight out lying. Saying you’re using aromatherapy is, at least, somewhat truthful. Though you could argue it is lying by omitting, it’s still a lot less risky. Think of it along the same lines as the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

Safety is the next consideration. Is it safe for you to come out? If you think it is unsafe, then don’t come out, at least not yet. Safety includes protection from physical abuse, but can also include having somewhere to live, or the emotional worry of having people harass you or even attempt to convert you.

I have a friend who was unable to come out in her hometown because of an abusive situation. I doubt I could come out to some of my extended family just because they think anything outside the “norm” (in that area, Christianity) is wrong, and they already think I’m weird because of my personality.

The next step is then to try to predict how the people you are coming out to will react. Start with one group, like your parents. Will they understand? Curious? Supportive? Angry? I do suggest starting with people you live with, because you can predict their behavior best. Make note of how they act talking about religion in general. This stage might take only a few days to have a general idea of how they will react. It might take several weeks. Be patient, and keep your eyes and ears open.

I did this myself just recently, when coming out with my mother’s sister, who comes over to our house pretty much every Sunday for a visit and dinner. She is not exactly open-minded, but she’s not close-minded either: she’s more in-between. I had wanted to come out to her for quite some time, but was unsure how to mention it.

She had seen my collection of candles, incense, and admired my collection of Egyptian statues. She was there when I picked up some of my tarot decks and Pagan books, and was with me when I purchased some Aztec prints. She reacted pretty positively to the items, always commenting how much I had loved this stuff when I was younger.

Finally, just a few weeks ago, she was watching me while I was putting a few finishing touches on an entry into my Book of Shadows, and asked if the spell book I was copying from was “made up” like in Harry Potter. My mom and I gave a jumbled reply saying they were from old grimoires and such, and my aunt took it all quite well. She said it was interesting, flipped through it a bit, and then went back to what she was doing.

You may be lucky, just like I was. Your family may not need your choice explained to them, and they will support you no matter what. But, if I have learned anything, it’s that never trust luck. Always have an explanation. Make a list of what you like about paganism. Write a little paragraph or two explaining why you converted or are not impressed with more mainstream religions.

Also, be sure to plan to explain some of the common misconceptions about paganism. This can be really helpful if you would rather write a letter or e-mail to your family to come out and let them come to you.

The biggest trick will be to remain calm. Are you prone to anger very quickly? You’ll have to work on that before even considering coming out. Calmness is key. If you speak calmly and explain your points in a level voice, they will be more prone to listening. To help remain calm, you can really benefit from preparing beforehand.

Plan for EVERYTHING you can think of, because it can give you something to refer to, and it will help you keep your thoughts in order. You can even make cue-cards to refer to during your actual coming out. It may seem like over-planning, but if you are forgetful or easily frustrated, the more planning you have, the less likely you’ll lose you cool, because you probably have something written down.

Another good reason for this is, if your parents learn better by reading, you can physically give them something to read with all your points on it. My mother is like this, so when I came out, she ordered herself a book on Wicca to educate herself on my religion.

In many cases, what is known about paganism by the general public (people who haven’t studied it) are the misconceptions and rumors spread by Hollywood and religious bigots. Remember, your parents and friends love you, and want what’s best for you and want to keep you from getting hurt. Reassure them that paganism is not a cult, and that you are educating yourself on all aspects of the religion.

Please be patient with them; it may take them some time and some research of their own to fully accept your actions. Also, use common sense. If they are in a bad mood, don’t bring this up; you can wait until they are in a good and talkative mood.

It is more than likely, if you’ve explained your position well, that your family and friends will be supportive, even if they don’t agree with you. The teachers at my high school were very open-minded and prided the small pagan community we had; my friends may not agree with my beliefs, but they happily accept that it is what I believe and support me.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll really pique someone’s interest and aid him or her on his or her own spiritual journey.


Footnotes:
http://www.ladyoftheearth.com/lessons/how-to-tell-family-friends.txt

http://www.ladyoftheearth.com/lessons/10-beginner-mistakes.txt

The Modern Coven: Importance of Documentation

The Modern Coven: Importance of Documentation

Author: RedHawk

After a ritual with my coven sometime ago, it occurred to me that we’d all had a really good time, gotten a lot out of it, but alas, had nothing of the physical realm to show for it. Then it hit me. I am a military-trained videographer with an HD camera I wasn’t using NEARLY as much as I thought I would. How fortuitous is that? Two problems were solving each other.

Beautiful. It’s like they used to say on the old TV show “the A Team”: I love it when a plan comes together. Now all I had to do was sell it to my High Priestess.

I tossed my sales pitch around in my head for hours…. what I’d say, how I’d say it. What could I do to convince her we needed to start producing an audiovisual representation of how we did things? After all, it could potentially have a significant impact on later generations of Dragonstone (our coven) and ourselves when we wound up doing our AAR (Sorry, a military term: After Action Review) .

I guess my biggest concern in photographing rituals was that these are sacred, religious rites and even in the process of documenting them, sanctity needed to be preserved. Then again, I’ve photographed lots of weddings, baptisms, and confirmations, and this has never been an issue in the past.

Much to my surprise, it took little more than the mere suggestion. My HPS had always considered our group a modern coven with a forward-thinking attitude. For her, to be anything less is to become obsolete.

Honoring decorum and tradition is paramount. Clinging to it to the point of spiritual stagnation, however, inhibits the growth of the people within. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea.

So as of now, I am the considered the coven’s “documentarian.” Since we have a highly organized structure in the coven, we have what are referred to as “points of service.” It’s our way of serving the various needs and functions within the group.

For instance, some may help keep the herb closet stocked, others may help out with the website. I was now the person in charge of keeping an audiovisual record of the coven’s goings on.

There would, of course, be issues.

I should state up front, that we are not, by virtue of our tradition, a skyclad coven—so that would never be an issue. But what about people who were uncomfortable with being photographed?

Personally, I hate being photographed. That’s why I always volunteer to be the one taking pictures. If it were an open ritual, whoever was joining us would also have to consent to being photographed. These were just the beginning of a host of potential things to be ironed out.

But most importantly for me, I’m still a part of the coven…and I need to be involved and an active part of the ritual or event taking place. Fortunately, these issues aren’t as complicated as they appear to be on the surface. As a rule, you really don’t need consent from someone to photograph him or her for personal use. Or in the strictest sense here—for coven-related purposes only.

As long as it’s not going to be used to sell something (commercial purposes) or mass distribution (i.e. YouTube) , you’re usually good. However, anyone from the outside, joining the ritual, needs to understand (well in advance) that you are photographing the ritual for archival purposes. Giving them advance notice, allows them a chance to opt out if they don’t want to be photographed.

As for the members of your coven who don’t want to be photographed, this is where the HPS needs to step in and smooth things out. In short, that’s why they’re the High Priestess.

As for my coven, they’re a pretty shameless bunch. So most love getting face time, the rest put up with it. I’m neither here nor there about it. I view it as a necessary part of keeping a true record of the coven’s history and practice.

Now…what to photograph?

This is the real beauty of it and what makes it stunningly practical and ruthlessly efficient. Technically you can photograph ANYTHING!! And we do! I’ve yet to photograph a ritual per se. But that little omission is just a week away from being a reality (i.e. this upcoming Samhain) .

Another use we’ve found for documentation is classwork. We have members in different states (some thousands of miles away) who simply aren’t able to take part in coven rituals and classes on a regular basis. Therefore, documenting the class gives them a chance to take part (in an after-the-fact sense) from far away.

Also keep in mind, with technology as consumer-based as it has become, it’s quite simple to ‘burn copies’ of any recorded event for all of those involved. This would especially come in handy for rituals such as handfasting for which you KNOW multiple copies will need to be made.

Sometimes we just get together for grins and giggles. You know summer picnics and the like. Having a visual reminder of just how silly and giddy everyone got, makes me smile. Much better than just a few still pictures.

These are just a couple of ideas on how to incorporate video into coven workings. These uses are as infinite as the variety of rituals you can do.

In closing, this method of record keeping was never meant to be a replacement for a Book of Shadows or a Grimoire. Consider it merely a supplemental. But it’s a position worth considering in larger groups, particularly if the group is expected to continue long into the future. (Sure, it requires someone to purchase a video camera, but they’re so cheap and common these days and usually someone within the coven is likely to already have one.)

Imagine what the covens of old would’ve done if they’d had this technology at their disposal. Now…. imagine what WE could’ve have learned from them if they had.

Making Your Life Magical

Making Your Life Magical

Author: Wulfcempa

Most Wiccans and witches – and many other pagans – practice some form of “magic” (often spelled “magick” to distinguish it from stage illusions) . Magick is a topic at which most modern westerners would likely scoff, and doubtless this attitude throws into question the credibility of those who claim to practice it.

We do not believe in the “supernatural“. All that exists that is part of this universe, is part of nature itself and is therefore “natural”. If intrusions from other universes or realities happen in this one, then that too is part of its natural processes. In other words, everything – everything – can be rationally and scientifically explained; we just don’t know all of those explanations yet.

We accept that there are many things about this universe that we not only cannot explain in concrete terms, but things of which we’re not even aware. Bear in mind that there was a time that germs, bacteria, and viruses were all completely unknown to humanity; a microscopic world of living creatures has surrounded us for as long as we’ve been on this planet and we only recently learned of it.

Scientists have never actually seen an atom, and many modern physicists feel confident that evidence indicates such incredible things as multiple universes. We’ve learned so much, but that which we still do not know boggles the mind while thrilling the imagination.

As I have said many times, being a witch or a pagan is more about what we do than what we believe. Whether it’s a magickal activity or a religious ritual, we engage in time-honored rites that – for whatever reason – just seem to work for us. It’s a bit like exercise; one need not understand advanced kinetics and physiology in order to benefit from a brisk, daily walk. Nor does one need to understand ritual and magick in order to reap its benefits; those who do it regularly will experience mental and spiritual gains.

But this post isn’t about magick; it’s about life.

I have an Egyptian-themed altar/shrine at home, and among the items on it is a statue of Thoth. In Egyptian mythology, Thoth was – among other things – a god of writing, magick, and science. I’m not sure what initially drew me to him, but my attachment is long-standing and strong enough that I made an altar for him and the goddess Bast.

By day, I’m a computer programmer. I write, using computer languages, things like this:

begin
select responder, recipient_role
into v_emp_user_name, v_recipient_role
from temp_notifications
where message_type = itemtype
and user_key = v_requisition_no
and notification_id = history_record.notification_id;
exception
when no_data_found then
v_emp_user_name := null;
v_recipient_role := null;
result := ‘COMPLETE:N’;
end;

…and when these words are “executed”, they result in the taking place of literal, real-world actions.

Remember Arthur C. Clarke’s famous statement, “any sufficiently-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic“? It is easy to see the parallels between what I do by day and the concepts of magick. I use special languages full of words that have power, and yet I must order these words properly for them to have the desired effect. Sometimes they definitely backfire! But most of the time, I get the desired results.

Over time, I began to think of Thoth as having a modern role in addition to those normally attributed to him: the “patron saint” of computer programmers! But then, more recently, I made another connection. If what we pagans call “magick” isn’t supernatural, and if what computer programmers do is so similar to the methods of magickal practices… what, then, separates the two? Is it merely the fact that we humans have a scientific understanding of computer processing?

If modern magickal workings were to be defined scientifically tomorrow, would we put a new name on those activities and cease to call them “magick”?

I’m fond of blurring lines. A line that we’re forced to cross is no different from a line that holds us back; true freedom happens when there are no lines. And true magick happens all around us, every day.

Aleister Crowley defined magick as “the art and science of causing change in conformity with will”. We all do this, every day. For instance, when I sat down to write this post, it was something that I chose – to share my thoughts – and because my will to do this was strong enough, I made the time and put forth the effort. It is art (writing) and science (grammar, spelling, word processors and the Internet) , it is change (because this document didn’t exist before I wrote it) and it was my will.

Am I trying to diminish the practice of magick? Of course not. Instead, I am suggesting that we bring magick into our everyday lives… where it belongs. Learning to see the “magick” in the things that we choose to do means seeing those things in a whole new light… because when we realize that those elements that make up an act of magick exist in so many of our daily actions, we begin to see ways that even the mundane can be made special.

In many eastern philosophies, adherents are taught the value of living in each and every moment:

“As you practice Zen in your life, you will see that living in the present moment is like living heaven on earth. Even though we can all deal with this one moment right in front of us, we rarely live in this one moment right in front of us. We don’t know how. We have been conditioned since our early childhoods to live in the future or the past.” -Everything.com, Zen: Living in the Moment

Seeing ordinary actions as magickal is one way of helping us to live more consciously and building in us the habit of “living in the moment”. Yet it works in the other direction, as well… for as people who have studied the ways of “magick”, we are already trained in the skills necessary to embrace a magickal life.

This is convergence; when the ordinary and the magical become one in a person’s life, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The ordinary takes on new vibrancy, and those energies, which are normally reserved for our rituals suddenly, work their way into our everyday lives.



Footnotes:
http://www.everything.com/zen-philosophy-living-in-moment/