Lesson 7 – Writing A Question


Writing a Question

Most of the time you will want to consult the tarot because you are facing a problem or challenge. Something about your life is troubling you, and you want to understand why it is happening and what you can do about it. The best kind of tarot reading for this situation is the Question Reading. You write a question about your problem, and you receive your answer by interpreting the cards. The question helps you relate the guidance you receive to your situation in a way that makes sense. In this lesson, I describe how to create a question for a reading you do for yourself.

The first step is to review your situation thoroughly. Think about all the people involved, directly or indirectly. Go over your options for the future. Let your mind wander freely. You want to look at your problem without judging or censoring any part. Jot down the ideas that occur to you, but try not to be too systematic. You want to use your intuition, not logical analysis.

Once you have finished your review, you can write your question. Here are some suggestions:

Accept Responsibility

Write your tarot question to show that you accept responsibility for your situation. Consider these two questions:

  1. Should I put my father in a nursing home, or take care of him in my house?
  2. What do I need to know to decide on the best living arrangements for my father?

In the first question, the writer gives up her responsibility for making a decision. She wants the cards to tell her what to do. In the second question, she is simply asking the cards to give her more information. She knows the decision lies with her.

It’s tempting to write the first kind of question. We all seek the certainty that we’re making good choices, but the tarot can’t make our decisions for us. Avoid questions that deflect responsibility, such as:

  • Questions to be answered “Yes” or “No”Will I get the job at the ad agency?
    Can I stick to my diet this month?
    Am I ready to retire? 
  • Questions beginning with “Should…”Should I let my daughter live at home?
    Should I go out with Jose?
    Should I apply to more than one university? 
  • Questions asking only about timeWhen will George ask me to marry him?
    How long will it take to find a new car?
    When will I get my promotion? 

Instead, begin your questions with phrases such as these:

  • Can you give me insight into …
  • What do I need to understand about …
  • What is the meaning of …
  • What is the lesson or purpose of …
  • What are the circumstances underlying …
  • How can I improve my chances of …
  • How might I …

Keep Your Options Open

Write your question to show that you are keeping your options open. Consider these:

  1. How might I encourage my mother-in-law to move out?
  2. What do I need to know to get along better with my mother-in-law?

In the first question, the writer is not keeping his options open. He has decided on one solution – having his mother-in-law move out. The second question is more open-ended. It’s OK to narrow the scope of a question as long as you don’t decide on the answer ahead of time. Both of the following are open questions, but the second is more specific:

  • How would a switch to sales impact my career?
  • How would a switch to a sales position at Purdue Insurance impact my career?

Find the Best Level of Detail

Seek the fine line between wording that is too vague and too detailed. Here are three questions on the same topic:

  1. How can I improve my work situation?
  2. How can I reorganize my desk so that Tom can find my files?
  3. How can I improve the flow of work between Tom and me?

The first question is unfocused. It doesn’t specify which work area is of interest. The second question is too detailed. It looks at one minor aspect of the problem. The third question is best because it finds the balance between the two. Include only the details necessary to make clear what you want to know.

Focus On Yourself

When you do a reading for yourself, you are always the central character. Your question should focus on you. There are times when questions about others are fine, but not when you are concentrating on your own concerns.

Sometimes you may not realize you are orienting your question around someone else. Consider these:

  1. What is behind Arthur’s drinking problem?
  2. How can I assist Arthur with his drinking problem?
  3. What role do I play in Arthur’s drinking problem?

The first question focuses totally on Arthur and his problem. In the second question, the writer is included, but his attention is still on Arthur. The third question is best because it is grounded solidly in the writer’s own experience.

Stay Neutral

You want to stay as neutral as possible when writing your questions. It is easy to begin a reading convinced that your position is the right one, but if you truly want to receive guidance, you need to be open to other points of view. Consider these sets of questions:

  1. Why am I the only one doing chores?
  2. How can I foster a spirit of cooperation concerning the chores?
  1. How can I make people listen when I’m talking?
  2. What is going on when I try to communicate, but feel others aren’t listening?
  1. How can I make my boss stop asking me to do overtime?
  2. Why have I had to do so much overtime recently?

In the first questions, the writer feels his position is the correct one – others are not getting with the program! The second questions are more neutral and open-ended.

Be Positive

Be positive when writing your questions. Consider these:

  1. How come I can never get my research published?
  2. How can I locate the ideal forum in which to publish my research?
  1. Why can’t I overcome my fear of public speaking?
  2. How can I improve my ability to speak to groups effectively?
  1. Can you help me understand why I always blow a tournament in the last round?
  2. Can you help me find a way to push on to victory in a tournament?

The first questions have an air of defeat. The second questions are more confident. The writer knows she will be successful given useful advice.

You may be wondering why I have gone into so much detail about writing a question. This process is a focusing exercise that prepares you for the reading that follows. Writing a question usually takes no more than three or four minutes, but, for that small investment in time, you reap big rewards. You understand your situation better and can interpret your reading with more insight.

Exercises – Lesson 7

Writing a Question

Exercise 7.1 – Writing a Tarot Question

You are going to write a question for your first tarot reading. Think about your life for a moment, and choose an area in which you are having some difficulty. (We all have one of these!) Avoid general concerns such as finding a life partner. Pick a specific everyday problem that is troubling you right now in your home or workplace. Choose something that involves you directly and that you care about personally. Follow the recommendations in lesson 7 for writing an effective question. Take notes as you go. We will be using these notes and your question in the next lesson.

Exercise 7.2 – Practicing Question Writing

Life will offer you many opportunities to practice writing questions. Any time you face a problem, take a moment to create a question about it. Work on it while you’re doing routine activities, such as riding in a car or doing housework.

Writing practice questions helps you learn to analyze a personal problem quickly and recognize what you want in various situations. Also, if you decide to do a reading about the problem, you have your question ready.

BANISHMENT SPELL {Use With Extreme Caution}





This is a spell for love gone wrong, for ending a personal, family or business relationship that you no longer wish to be in. It is a fire spell. To work it, gather herbs of protection and an image of the person (photograph, poppet, etc.) Something written in their own hand, a lock of hair, a piece of clothing or a personal object will also do. Put everything into a fireproof container – iron cauldron, marble mortar, whatever – and set fire to it as you perform the spell. Add the photograph or a piece of paper with the person’s name on it if you have trouble getting the fire going. It should make a very satisfactory blaze that reduces to ashes. The ashes can be buried or washed down a drain. Flush them down a toilet if you are very angry. Dispose of all the objects that connect you to the person: gifts, letters, photographs, etc. It is especially important to get rid of jewelry. Move house if you have to. Be careful with this spell. It’s permanent, so don’t use it unless you really mean forever. It’s also powerful.  

By the crimson and the gold

By basilisk and bloodstone

By the garlic in the fields

By the poppies and what they yield

Invisibly I make my shield

To detect thee and deflect thee

And keep thy harm from me.

By dragon’s blood and salamanders

By horses when their hooves strike sparks

By the dragon breathing flames

From the Book of Life I erase thy names

I cut the cords and unlock the chains

I sever all the ties by which we were bound

And with impenetrable walls myself I surround

Against thy power and its source

Against thy evil and its source

Vesta, Pele, Lilith

Kali Kali Kali

I banish thee forever from me

And any harm from thee to me

Doubles back and tables turned

Thou shalt by thyself be burned

Lilith, Vesta, Pele

Kali Ma Kali Ma

By the power of three times three

I banish thee, I banish thee, and I banish thee

I am set free

So mote it be!

To Banish Illness


To Banish Illness




Burn a black candle anointed with banishing and burn banishing incense.


Concentrate on removing whatever the health problem may be by saying:


” As this candle burns,

So the illness turns,

Melted like this wax,

Cut like with an ax,

Remove and banished,

All disabilities vanished,

As my word you see,

Radiant health blessed be.”


Let the candle burn until done.

Then bury ashes from incense and leftover wax.


Spell To Clear Away The Old With Crystals

There are many aspects of our lives which we would like to improve, but we just can’t
muster up the willpower. In your time of need, a crystal can come to your aid.
You can program a crystal to help you lose weight stop smoking or overcome any negative
attitudes about yourself. For example, you want to stop eating chocolate but just can’t.
You know you should stop for health reasons but you don’t have the will power.
Try programming a crystal by telling it something like,
“I have completely lost any desire for chocolate.”
Wear the crystal around your neck or keep it in a pocket.
Whenever you want chocolate, touch your crystal and feel the urge dissipate.
To get the most out of your crystal, you need to get the right crystal in the first place.
Pick a crystal by attraction, by being drawn to touch it, and then hold it loosely in your left hand.
Notice the impressions, colors, sounds, and feelings you pick up. No two crystals are the same.
Each crystal has its own unique vibration, and each will resonate differently. It should feel alive in
your hand, vibrate, or radiate. In other words, it should feel good.
Before you use your crystals cleanse it. The easiest way to clean your crystal is to hold it in
the bright sunlight and order it to be completely cleansed. when, program it with your desired goal.
Now, you’re ready to enjoy your crystal!

Spell To Break Bad Habits 2

For getting rid of bad habits, overcoming obstacles, riding yourself of unwanted energy.
Take a black candle which has been ritually cleansed and some anointing oil which has
also been ritually blessed.
Do not use anything for this which has not been cleansed or blessed already.
Depending on the desired result, you should choose an oil which corresponds to this end.
At the time of the new moon, or when it first begins to wane, cast a circle or use your 9′ cord to
create a sacred space. Place the black candle (preferable a taper) on the altar with the oil.
Have no unblessed/uncleansed tools in this ritual.
Cast the circle. Call the Goddess and her consort.
Use a burin to engrave the candle with the spell you wish to cast.
Now, anoint the candle using the oil.
While you anoint the candle with the oil, speak these words out loud or silently:
“Tonight no moon, tomorrow the first one.
Let this be eroded till my will be done.
Candle burn down to remove all ill.
Let this spell be cast by the power of my will.”
And once you have anointed the candle, place it in a safe place to it can burn down completely.

Unwanted Habit Spell

To eliminate an unwanted habit, make a poppet of yourself out of cloth, straw, or a carved candle.
Make symbols or words on it to indicate what you want to release forever, allowing anger to build
within you that you have practiced this unwanted behavior. Call upon Pluto or Hecate to assist
your resolve to fully carry out change in you life.
Then, using a safe container such as an iron cauldron or metal bowl, anoint the poppet with a
few drops of oil of myrrh, pennyroyal, rosemary, or rue, and then carefully set it on fire, visualizing
the release of your unwanted habit or trait forever.
Burn the poppet to ashes, and then take the ashes to a place where you have no need to
be at any time soon. Bury it, turn firmly, and walk away. Don’t look Back.

Interacting with Totems Part 4

Interacting with Totems

Author: Robert Oakes

Once the totem has been identified and understood, it is time to learn how to interact directly with the animal spirit.

Totems form an invaluable ally on the spiritual path. Acting as healers, protectors, teachers, and guides, they can have a profound impact in one’s life.

Part 1 of this article looked at recognizing the various types of totems, while part 2 addressed finding a personal totem. Part 3 covered working with the totems in daily life, and part 4 will deal with interacting with the totem.

The following sections are tools and methods that can be employed in creating a beneficial relationship with an animal totem.

Guided Visualizations/Journey

Having access to someone that is adept at shamanic journeying is probably the best way of having interaction with a totem. Be careful in selecting someone to do this work, as many people like to see themselves as a shaman, but do not have the discipline and training. As with everything else use common sense, caution, and look at their track record. If it feels wrong then it almost always is, and conversely if it is appropriate then it should feel that way.

Not having access to a traditional or contemporary practitioner is not the only way to contact totems. Guided visualizations, either commercially done on a CD/MP3, or ones personally prepared from a script can be used to journey with totems.

Oracle Cards

Jamie Sams Medicine Cards, or Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm’s Druid Animal Oracle are both solid sources of information on specific totems, and offer a useful tool in receiving guidance.

Totem Dreams

As mentioned in part 2, dreams can be used to interact with totems. These can be spontaneous dreams that carry messages from a totem, or ones that are incubated by the dreamer. Incubation can be as simple as asking the totem to bring a message in a dream. It is helpful to make the request formally before going to sleep, maybe with an appropriate offering. Examples of an offering might be tobacco tied in cloth, or food put out for that totem.


Almost all pagan cultures use song or chant to connect with spirits and totems. If possible, learn a traditional song for the totem, or using chant and words create a new one. Song can be a touchstone to communicate with a totem and call in their assistance.


Prayer forms the most basic type of communication. Prayer is simply focused intention and it can be done internally or verbally. As long as prayer comes from the heart, it is effective in communicating with totems and spirit in general.

Vision Quest

Time spent alone in nature on a fast, is one of the most effective means in connecting to a totem or guiding spirit. The silence it provides is the perfect space to hear spirit.

Totem Art

Sacred art exists the world over, and can be a conduit for spirit communication. Both creating totem art and having it nearby can be a powerful touchstone to that animal’s medicine.

Carvings can also be used to represent the medicine of animal. A carving imbued with the spirit of a totem is called a fetish, and can be used to connect to a totem more easily.

Sweat Lodges Ceremonies

Sweat lodges are found in most cultures around the world in one form or another. Cultures such as the Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) of central Canada have sweat lodge ceremonies that focus on interaction with totem animals.

The sweat lodge creates the perfect environment to have profound spirit contact.

Totem Assistance and Messages

Totems can often bring important messages. This might be in the form of dreams or visions, or it might be in waking reality. Be observant of animals and their behavior. Watch for unusual or repetitive antics, especially of those of a primary totem. Take note if the totem looks healthy or sick. Seeing the totem with food in its mouth can be a sign of abundance. Watch for synchronicities.

Get in the habit of asking for a totem’s assistance when requiring protection, healing or guidance. Like any relationship, familiarity strengthens the bond.


Animal Speak; The Spiritual and Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small, Ted Andrews, Llewellyn Publications ,1996

The Once Unknown Familiar; Shamanic Paths to Unleash Your Animal Powers, Timothy Roderick, Llewellyn Publications ,1994

Medicine Cards; the Discovery of Power Animals through the Ways of Animals, Jamie Sams, St Martin Press, 1999

Druid Animal Oracle, Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, Fireside, 1995

Working with Totems Part 3

Working with Totems

Author: Robert Oakes

Totems animal spirits are an invaluable ally not only when dealing with spirit realms, but also when trying to understand life lessons.

Understanding that animal spirits choose to work with humans both in spiritual and mundane matters can be highly beneficial.

Part 1 of this article looked at recognizing the various types of totems, while part 2 addressed finding a personal totem. Part 3 will cover working with the totems in daily life, and part 4 will deal with interacting with the totem.

Greatest Strength, Greatest Challenge

A primary totem can point out the greatest strengths someone carries, as well as their areas of greatest challenge. Often this is two sides of the same coin, as the weakest area can turn into their strength if they do their work. For example, let’s say someone’s primary totem is elk. One of the aspects of elk medicine is stamina and strength. Now this person just so happens to have a chronic health condition that causes fatigue and exhaustion. By turning to elk medicine in times of greatest challenge, they will come to develop deep wells of inner strength and resiliency. By working through this issue they will not only come out much stronger than they started, but also will be able to go on much longer than anyone around them. Their greatest challenge became their greatest strength.

Animal Behavior

Ethology is the study of animal behavior. By learning about animal behavior, a person can get great insight into the medicine of a totem. Knowledge about animal behavior not only develops insight into the totem, but into the person working with that totem as well. How the animal behaves in the wild relates to how the person will work with that totem medicine in terms of interpersonal relations, adversity and daily life routines.


Although it is a generalization, people do tend to eat according to the active totem in their life. If the animal is a carnivore, then they will probably need to eat meat at least from time to time. Hoof clans tend to be grazers and will snack throughout the day. Wolves will gorge themselves at one sitting and might not eat for a long while. Bears will eat everything in sight and still look in the fridge for more.

Power Times and Environment

The totem’s natural energy cycle will influence the holder of that medicine. What time of day or year is the totem most active? What type of climate do they like? When is their mating time? When is their birthing time? What part of the year represents their greatest challenge? These are all things that come into play in a person’s life when working with a primary totem.


Totems influence daily interpersonal interactions. This can be in intimate relationships, business transactions and family life. Understanding how the primary totem acts socially will give clues to how the person carrying that medicine will behave. This is covered in greater detail in the article on totems and relationships.


One of the most powerful ways a totem can assist is in the form of protection. Just simply asking the totem for protection is recognized as a powerful defense in most pagan cultures. This might be protection from spirit based forces, or from more immediate physical threats.

Life Path

The type of totem gives interesting clues to life path and purpose. As mentioned in part 1, totems can be indicative of a certain type of medicine. Some basic examples of this would be:

  • Wolf – teacher, pathfinder
  • Bear – healer
  • Cougar – leadership
  • Elk – spirit messengers
  • Eagle or Buffalo – prayer work
  • Coyote – trickster teacher

Overall a totem will point to major work that person has come into this life to fulfill. Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak, Jamie Sams’Medicine Cards, or Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm’s Druid Animal Oracle would all be good places to start learning about specific totem medicines.


Animal Speak; The Spiritual and Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small, Ted Andrews, Llewellyn Publications ,1996

The Once Unknown Familiar; Shamanic Paths to Unleash Your Animal Powers, Timothy Roderick, Llewellyn Publications ,1994

Medicine Cards; the Discovery of Power Animals through the Ways of Animals, Jamie Sams, St Martin Press, 1999

Druid Animal Oracle, Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, Fireside, 1995

Types of Totems Part 2

Types of Totems

Author: Robert Oakes

Totems form an integral part of most pagan and shamanic paths. Learning how to recognize these different types of animal spirits is highly beneficial.

Totems are animal spirits and energies that protect, guide, heal, and teach. Although the terminology changes from teacher to teacher, there are similarities. Totems can be any number of animals, extinct species, or even mythical creatures. When talking about totems, it is in reference to the animal’s energy in spirit, as well as the physical form it may take on.

Part 1 of this article will look at recognizing the types of totems, while part 2 will address finding a personal totem. Part 3 will cover working with the totems in daily life, and part 4 will deal with interacting with the totem.

Types of Totems

The number of totems active is variable depending on the individual and circumstances. In general though, everyone will have a primary totem. Some people might also call this a clan, power animal, or animal guide. Names do change with different systems, but this is the main totem active from their birth until their death.

In addition to this main totem, the average person will have another half a dozen or so throughout their life. These situational totems come in to teach or protect during a time of challenge or change. A shaman may work with many more totems than this, and it is not uncommon for someone on the shamanic path to work with 20 or 30 totems.

Totem Protectors

The main totem might also form part of the individual’s defense, or there might be specific totems that come to their aid in times of danger. In general, predator totems such as cougar, tiger, wolf, bear, badger, and wolverine would be aggressive protectors to call upon. Some totems that people wouldn’t consider to be aggressive are actually strong fighters; dolphins are known to attack sharks, and elk have been known to kill or injure an attacking wolf.

Healer, Teacher, and Leadership Totems

If an individual is involved in healing work, they will usually attract specific totems to assist them. Most common to this type of work are bears, although many other totems do this work.

Teaching is another level that totems work on. This might be a personal teaching that the individual needs to learn, or it might be that teaching work is a life path. Wolf is an example of a teacher totem.

Leadership brings it own challenges, and a totem might be attracted to assist. Learning the appropriate use of power is a difficult skill, so a totem such as cougar might be brought in to teach these lessons. This would double as a protector when the position of leadership creates a target out of the individual.

Relationship Totems

Even a relationship with a spouse or family might have its own totem. This totem might be a protector, or it might be there to teach about patterns. Wolf and goose are both relationship type totems.

Totems Dealing with Transformation

During difficult times of change, totems can be an important guide. This might be through a death, divorce, change in life path, or shamanic death rebirth cycle. Common transformational totems would be bats, owls, snakes, and butterflies.

Of course there is also traditional role of a totem in that they can be a guide through the spirit realms. Common totems for traveling work are horses, birds, turtles, and anything that flies or swims.

Primary Totem

As mentioned, the primary totem is active throughout life. This totem tends to sum up the general traits of the person as well. It will give an overview on their personality, strengths, challenges, and the way they deal with success and adversity.


Animal Speak; The Spiritual and Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small, Ted Andrews, Llewellyn Publications ,1996

The Once Unknown Familiar; Shamanic Paths to Unleash Your Animal Powers, Timothy Roderick, Llewellyn Publications ,1994

Medicine Cards; the Discovery of Power Animals through the Ways of Animals, Jamie Sams, St Martin Press, 1999

Druid Animal Oracle, Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, Fireside, 1995

Finding a Totem

Finding a Totem

Author: Robert Oakes

How does someone find their totem? Using both traditional and innovative techniques, anyone can find their totem animal spirits.

The first step in working with a totem is to find out which totem is present in the person’s life. It is usually best to start with the main totem or primary power animal. These are different words to describe basically the same thing, and will depend more on the teacher or tradition’s vocabulary.

Part 1 of this article looked at recognizing the various types of totems, while part 2 will address finding a personal totem. Part 3 will cover working with the totems in daily life, and part 4 will deal with interacting with the totem.

Traditional Method of Finding Totems

In traditional culture, the shaman would enter the spirit world to find someone’s totem animal. Some traditions use the clan system, where the major totem would be inherited or more commonly these days adopted into.

If access to a traditional shamanic culture is not possible, then either journey work or hypno-trance can be used to find the totem. This can be done with someone that is qualified to lead journey work (shamanic trance), or with the use of self guided visualization CDs or scripts.

Totem Dreams

It is common that a totem will make itself known through dreams, or even real life encounters. It is normal that these dreams and encounters can be scary or challenging. Often a totem will test the person to see if they are strong enough to carry their medicine. Being bitten, scratched, chased, attacked by an animal can often represent a test by the totem. This is especially true for predator totems. When the person is able to work past the fear, the totem accepts them and offers support.

Dreams can also be incubated by asking the totem to appear in the dream. It would be appropriate to make an offering to honor that totem and to set the intention. The offering could be as simple as a tobacco tie offering, lighting a candle, or making a feast.

Animal Connection

Affinity is another way to be aware of totems. Some people just have a natural attraction for an animal. They have pictures and sculptures of them around their house, and love observing them in the wild. Be aware of what animals draw the attention on a daily basis.

Honoring Totems

Once the totem has shown itself, it is a good idea to honor that in some way. Examples of honoring would be having a small altar or space dedicated to that totem. Pictures, sculpture, track casts, fur, bones, candles, and food are all common items, but bottom line is that it has to mean something to the person making the offering. Anything that comes from the heart is appropriate.

Feasts are a common way of honoring in traditional community. If bear is a totem, then having a feast when they hibernate in the fall and when they wake up in the spring is appropriate. Serving berries and fish would be a natural connection to the bear totem. Putting a small spirit plate of part of the feast outside for the animals, or offering it to the fire with a prayer is also part of many traditional feasts.

A more practical way to honor a totem is to support their physical incarnations. If eagles are the totem, consider helping an eagle rehab or conservation project. For a deer clan, maybe it is setting up a feeder to get them through the winter.

Part 3 will look at the teachings totems bring to everyday life.


Animal Speak; The Spiritual and Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small, Ted Andrews, Llewellyn Publications ,1996

The Once Unknown Familiar; Shamanic Paths to Unleash Your Animal Powers, Timothy Roderick, Llewellyn Publications ,1994

Medicine Cards; the Discovery of Power Animals through the Ways of Animals, Jamie Sams, St Martin Press, 1999

Druid Animal Oracle, Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, Fireside, 1995

Wiccan Home Altar

Wiccan Home Altar

Author: Joanne E. Brannan

A Wiccan Home Altar may feature the Magickal Tools Athame, Chalice and Wand. It is used to perform rituals and Magick, and for quiet spiritual reflection.

A Wiccan Home Altar is a very personal place, and should be created to reflect the Magickal practitioner. Although Wiccan Symbolism may be used to guide the choice of items to place on the altar, personal instinct and creativity should always be paramount.

What to place on a Wiccan Home Altar

Traditional Magickal Tools that may be used include an Athame (a ritual blade), a Chalice, a Wand and a Statue of the Goddess. Other items include fresh flowers or herbs, natural sea salt, crystals or carved symbols, but the choice is truly only limited by the imagination!

Use an Altar cloth of a natural fabric such as silk, cotton or linen, perhaps choosing the color to reflect the season and its Wiccan festivals.

Wiccan Athame

It is important to note that the Wiccan Athame is not used for physical cutting! The Athame is a masculine symbol, used to harness and direct power in spells and rituals. As with all Magickal Tools it is important to select an Athame with feeling and intuition. It is perfectly acceptable to order Magickal tools by mail, but do reflect and meditate well on the choice before buying.

Wiccan Chalice

A Wiccan Chalice may be simple, or elaborate, to suit the Magickal Practitioner.

Fill your Wiccan Chalice with a natural beverage to symbolize fertility and the feminine. Suitable choices, dependant on the season, include apple juice or fresh milk.

Wiccan Wand

A Wiccan Wand is a key Magickal Tool. A Wand may be purchased or made by the Magickal practitioner him or herself. See Beverly Hill’s lovely article Create Your Own Magical Tools for detailed instructions on how to make a wand.

Statue of the Goddess

An expression of the sacred feminine, a statue of the goddess may be a focus for meditation and reflection on the enormity of the spiritual world, as well as being reminder of the simple everyday generosity of Nature.

Where to place a Wiccan Home Altar

A Wiccan Home Altar may be a permanent or temporary structure, according to the space available. Possibilities include a shelf, a table or simply a cloth to be laid out on a bed. It is also important to consider the level of support offered by those who share the home of the Wiccan practitioner as it is essential to feel safe, and not to be disturbed, while carrying out spells and rituals.

Size and permanence do not affect the power of the Wiccan Altar; rather it is the intention and will of the Magickal worker while carrying out spells and rituals that manifest the power and sanctuary of this sacred space.

Create Your Own Magical Tools

Create Your Own Magical Tools

Author: Beverly Hill

Practitioners of magic know the value of having a finely crafted magical tool for spell work. Learn how to create your own magical stave or wand.

The decision to create a wand or stave should not be made impulsively. Each magical tool must have a clear purpose behind its creation. A wand, for instance, is a focusing tool for drawing in and directing magical energy. A stave’s purpose could be similar, or it might consist of a more protective nature used for radiating protective energies around it’s wielder. Whatever the purpose, the magical tool should be constructed in a respectful manner.

Selecting Wood For Crafting Magical Tools

The choice to use live or dead wood is a hotly debated topic amongst many practitioners of magic. Some would say that you should never use live wood, while others would contend that dead wood lacks any energy to lend toward a magical working. Ultimately the decision to use live or dead wood will lie with the tool wielder’s own beliefs and personal path.

When selecting a wood for creating a wand or stave, take time to review the magical properties of wood species and select one that will be consistent with the type of magic the wand will be used for. The lunar phase should also be noted. Most new projects should be begun on a new moon and culminate by the full moon.

If collecting from a live tree, ask the tree for permission before making any cuts. Take only enough of the tree to create the desired tool, being careful not to cause any additional damage or trauma to the tree. It is customary to leave a small token or offering in appreciation of the sacrifice.

Creating a Magical Wand or Stave

A good goal for a wand is to have a relatively straight piece of wood that measures from wrist to elbow, and then adjust the size downward from there. Using a piece of fine grain sandpaper, sand off any rough areas along the wood. It is not necessary to remove the bark from the wand, but it may be done if desired.

Once sanded, wipe down the wood with a good mineral or wood oil and then set aside. Each time the wood begins to dry, oil it again and set it aside. It could take several days for the wood to dry from repeated oiling before it finally stops soaking it in. The oiling process helps preserve the wood and keep it from drying out and becoming brittle.

A stave length should be no higher than head height, and may be shortened to whatever feels most comfortable for the practitioner. The stave should be sanded and oiled just as with the wand construction. When the stave or wand is sufficiently dry to the touch, finishing touches may be added such as the carving of runes and symbols, or the mounting of stones.

To seat a crystal into the tip of the wand, choose a crystal that is slightly smaller in diameter than the wood. Carefully bore out a small hole and fill it with gem glue. Insert the largest end of the crystal into the hole and tape it securely until dry. After the glue is dry, remove the tape. From this point wire wrap can be used to better secure the crystal to the wand if desired, or it can be left plain.

During all steps of construction, keep in mind the purpose for constructing a magical tool. Once the wand or stave construction is finished, it can be formally dedicated if the practitioner so desires. Wipe the wood with a fresh bit of oil every few months to help preserve it, and it will last for years to come.

How To Become A Witch

How To Become A Witch
in Nine Easy Lessons

By Don McLeod

Please note that this page is in the Humor section of this site and is not meant to be an accurate or actual depiction of witches. Duh.

In the 1980s, it was fashionable to be interested in the New Age. This is now a dreadful faux pas within the alternative scene, and in order to be accepted in the current metaphysical social set, one must have an interest in witchcraft or paganism. Of course, you don’t have to actually belong to a coven to be thought of as a witch; you can bluff your way into being accepted as a full-fledged witch simply by knowing a few terms and dressing accordingly. This brings us to…

Rule # 1: Image is Everything.

After all, what’s the good of being a witch if nobody knows you are one? You must therefore wear black at all times. If possible, stay out of the sun until you become really pale, as this makes the effect even better. For women (and adventurous males), dark eyeliner and black nail polish can enhance this look. Wear crystals and cheap occult paraphernalia at all times, and make sure that these are as gaudy and bizarre as possible, as this can only help your image. Wearing a pentacle around your neck is an absolutely necessary accessory – the bigger the better! Capes and cloaks are optional around town – it depends on how much of a visual impact you want to make, but either of these are also crucial apparel at any ritual or gathering that you may attend.

Rule # 2: Name Dropping is Good.

Every serious student of the craft (and I’m talking here about the term for witchcraft, not macrame) knows the name Gerald Gardner. This man revitalised witchcraft in the 1950s with his book about the true history of The Old Religion (some have called this book pure fiction, but only those picky few who like books to be based on facts). Real witches however, never let historical accuracy get in the way of their spiritual path, so in conversations with other witches, drop his name as often as possible (in tones of awe) and you will always be rewarded with smiles of acceptance.

Rule # 3: Past Life Name Dropping is Even Better.

Tell everyone about the past life memories that have been surfacing since you began studying the Black Arts. It is especially useful to remember a past lifetime as a witch who was killed during the Inquisition, or at least recall a lifetime as a famous occultist. My past lives have included Aleister Crowley, Cagliostro, Mandrake the Magician, and most of the cast of Bewitched.

Rule # 4: Behave Strangely.

Never forget why it was that you wanted to become a witch – yes, so that you have an excuse for strange behaviour. Behavior patterns previously labeled “eccentric” can now be accepted by others if they have a reason to explain them, even if that reason for howling at full moons while naked is simply, “He/she is a Witch. That’s normal for them, evidently.” So don’t let your friends down – behave strangely. You can get away with it now.

Rule # 5: Watch Occult Movies.

Make sure that you watch the movie Warlock lots of times to perfect those soft landings after over-indulging with the flying ointments (read as mead and weed).

Rule # 6: Ready Yourself for Sex, Money and Power.

Wasn’t this the other reason you were drawn to witchcraft? In the past, Adepts of the occult were known to possess charismatic, lusty, and powerful personas. When people find out that you are a witch, they may automatically assume you have (and therefore empower you with) these same qualities. This may sound pretty good, but unfortunately, in today’s world, another group of people have become even more established within the realms of kinky sex sessions and unlimited power – yes, the politicians! Beware of this elitist group of power-brokers… they don’t want any competition to their manipulative monopoly over the gullible public, hence the laws against witchcraft and divination that have remained unchanged for centuries. So, if calling yourself a High Priest doesn’t lead you to unlimited sex, money and power – or if it does, but you then find yourself as the target of political and legal harassment ‘ you may have to put aside your cloak and broomstick and pick up a pinstriped suit and a back bench in Parliament. If you can’t beat them, try bribery, then if that doesn’t work… join them!

Rule # 7: Atmosphere is Essential.

Your home must reflect your witchy nature. Incense must burn continuously. It’s important that visitors see clouds of incense smoke billowing from a spluttering censer in the corner of your dim, dank, and dusty home, so dismantle the smoke detectors and start collecting strange little bottles of exotic looking ingredients (use your imagination and label them with names like powdered bat’s eyes, or dried dragon’s gonads). And if you don’t like housework, you can explain that the layer of dust that covers your floors and furniture helps to neutralise the highly charged psychic energy that results from your magical spells, thereby protecting your home and possessions from electromagnetic disintegration.

Rule # 8: Be Patronising to Christians.

In social discussions, don’t forget to make plenty of derogatory remarks about fundamentalist Christians, and remember to save your most biting comments for other witches that you don’t get along with.

Rule # 9: Brag About Your Psychic Powers.

Any self-respecting witch will tell you that after their initiation to witchcraft, their psychic powers awakened and their tarot cards (which they always carry with them) are now much easier to read (they now get something right once in a while). They will also tell you that they can now sense energy fields (in other words, they don’t bump into things as often as they used to). Follow this example and brag about the rapid development of your psychic abilities since your initiation. If asked about your initiation ceremony, simply state that you were sworn to secrecy about it, then quickly change the subject by mentioning your newly awakened ability to detect Ley lines, but try to remember that a Ley line is not a queue for the after-ritual orgy!

Now you know how to pass yourself off as a real Witch, so place that broomstick in a conspicuous corner (one that is not clouded by too much incense smoke); pull on those black clothes; give everyone that you meet a sinister look – and your social status will improve overnight. If you do all of this successfully, you may even find yourself with enough adoring acolytes so that you can start your own coven! Good luck and Blessed Be!

A Charm To Turn Aside Evil And Ill Fortune

A Charm To Turn Aside Evil And Ill Fortune

The mountain ash or rowan tree has long been honored for its power against evil forces. It should ever be treated with respect, that its favor be not turned against the one who employs its strength. In late summer, when the tree is heavy with red fruit (the yellow variety is of a weaker influence), seek out one branch that leans toward the south, and shake it gently until it shall let fall four berries. Gather these up, and also take four of the leaves, carry all indoors, and soon build a fire of good birch or apple wood upon your hearth. When the blaze is ripe and golden, cast one of the rowan berries into the flames, along with one of the leaves, saying this:
Virtue is mine, as of this tree
Beware the fire I cast at thee
Cast in the second berry, and a leaf, saying:
Wisdom is mine, as of this tree
Beware the fire I cast at thee
Cast in the third, both berry and leaf, saying:
Power is mine, as of this tree
Beware the fire I cast at thee
Take then the fourth leaf and fruit, and roast them slowly in an iron pot over the fire until they are dried and blackened. Cool them, and wrap their remains in a red cloth, which charm should soon be buried in the Earth near your threshold. Thus it shall protect the house and those who dwell therein from whatever evil emanations might dare to stray too near.
Crone’s Book Of Charms & Spells
Valerie Worth
ISBN 1-56718-811-7

Casting Simple Candle Spells

Casting Simple Candle Spells

The light and warmth of a candle’s flame provides one of our most powerful connections to fire – the element of creativity, life and health.

Remember the first time you made a wish as you blew out the candles on a birthday cake? As a child you believed your wish would come true and had an innocent faith that something magickal would happen. You probably didn’t realize it, but as you visualized the end result (making a wish), concentrated upon it (blowing out the candle) and hoped your wish would be granted, you were casting your very first candle spell.

Paper, Ribbons and scents can also be combined with candles to cast simple spells.

Getting Started:

Candle magick is very simple – but highly effective. From the tealights that warm your essential oil burner, to the romantic candles on your dinner table, you probably have everything you need in your house already. All that needs to be added is the knowledge of how to choose the appropriate candles for your purpose and how to use it to weave magick.

The Magickal Power Of Candles:

Colour – As candles give out light, their power lies partially in the visual realm of the colour spectrum. As colours have strong magickal associations, choosing the appropriate one for your candle can help to strengthen the power of your wish.

Transformation – Fire holds the power of transformation and purification. It can burn away your bad habits and carry your good intentions out into the world in its smoke.

Connection – People all across the world have lit candles for centuries. Close your eyes as you light yours and feel yourself connecting to your neighbours and ancestors.

Author Unknown

Crystal Ball

Crystal Ball

The crystal should be without flaw-no scratches on its surface or bubbles within (the new acrylicplexiglass “crystals” work quite well, but scratch very easily). Rest the ball on a background of black. A black velvet cloth is ideal. This can, in turn, rest on a table in front of you or can cover your hand(s) if you wish to hold the crystal. This black background is to ensure that you see nothing around the ball to distract you as you gaze into it. Initially you should work alone, in a room that is quiet and dark. Your temple, of course, is the ideal place. Have just one small light, preferably a candle. Place the light so that you do not see it reflected directly in the crystal. Burn a pleasant-smelling incense, since it will help you concentrate. Work in a consecraed circle, at least to begin with. Later, if you should want to use the crystal elsewhere, you can simply imagine yourself surrounded by, and completely encompassed in, white light; though even then I would strongly advise casting a small circle about yourself with you athame. Start by saying some protective prayer, then ask the Lord and Lady for their guidance and their protection.

Now sit and gaze into the crystal trying to keep your mind blank. This is not easy and will take some practice. Do not stare at the ball unblinking; this will just cause eyestrain! Gaze-blinking your eyes naturally, as necessary. Do not try to imagine anything in the ball. Just try to keep your mind blank. After a while (anywhere from two to ten minutes) it will seem that the ball is filling with white mist or smoke. It will gradually grow more and more dense until the ball seems full of it. Then, again gradually, the smoke will thin and fade, leaving behind a picture- almost like a miniature television picture. It might be in black-and-white but it more likely to be in color. It might be still or it might be moving. It might be from the past, present or future. Also, it is very likely to be a symbolic picture, requiring some interpretation-much like a dream.

Initially you have no great control over what you see. You must just take what comes. As you become more adept, you may meditate for a few moments before gazing on what you wish to see. Then, when you start to gaze, clear your mind and try to keep it blank. Most people seem capable of success at scrying. If you get nothing the first time you try, then try again the next night, and then the next. It may take a week or more before you get anything, but keep trying. Do not, however, try for more than about ten minutes or so at each attempt.

If you can’t obtain a crystal, it is possible to use a regular convex magnigying glass lens. Polished carefully and laid on the black velvet, it will work almost as well as the ball. Whichever you use, ball or lens, keep it purely for your scrying. Let no one else use it or even handle it. Keep it wrapped in a cloth (its black velvet or a piece of black silk) and do not permit sunlight to strike it. It is traditional to “charge” the crystal by holding it up to be struck by the light of the full moon, once a month.

If you can’t obtain a crystal, it is possible to use a regular convex magnigying glass lens. Polished carefully and laid on the black velvet, it will work almost as well as the ball. Whichever you use, ball or lens, keep it purely for your scrying. Let no one else use it or even handle it. Keep it wrapped in a cloth (its black velvet or a piece of black silk) and do not permit sunlight to strike it. It is traditional to “charge” the crystal by holding it up to be struck by the light of the full moon, once a month.
Buckland’s Complete Book Of Witchcraft
Raymond Buckland
ISBN 0-87542-050-8

Saxon Wands

Saxon Wands

The Saxon Wands are very good for obtaining a direct, prompt answer to a question. In a way they are similiar to the Oriental I-Ching, though far less complicated.

Seven wands are needed. These are made from wood dowel. There should be three, each nine-inches in length; and four, each twelve-inches in length. One of the twelve-inch wands should be marked, or decorated in some way, as the WITAN wand. Actually, you can decorate all of the wands with runes and symbols, if you wish, but make sure the Witan wand stands out from the others.

Kneeling, lay the Witan wand on the ground before you; horizontally “across” you. Take the other six wands and hold them out over the Witan wand. Close your eyes, and holding them between you two hands, mix them together while concentrating on your question. Keeping the eyes closed, grip the wands in your right hand (left hand if left-handed); take hold of the tip of one wand with the fingers of the other hand; concentrate for a moment longer on your question, then open your right hand. All of the wands will fall to the ground except the one held now by the fingers of your left hand. Open your eyes.

i: If there should be more LONG wands that short
wands on the ground, then the answer to your
question is in the affirmative.
ii: If there are more SHORT wands than long wands
on the ground (excluding the Witan wand) then
the answer is in the negative.
iii: If any wand(s) touch the Witan wand, it means
the answer will be a very definite one, with strong
forces at work.
iv: If any wand(s) are off the ground (resting on
others), circumstances are such (forces still work-
ing) that no definite answer can yet be given-
regardless of (i) or (ii).
v: If all the wands point towards the Witan wand,
then you ( or the person for whom you are asking)
will have a definite role to play in the determina-
tion of the question.
vi: If none of the wands point towards the Witan
wand, then the matter will be determined without
your (the Querant’s) interference.
As with the crystal and the tarot cards, don’t let anyone else use your wands. They are your personal instruments. Keep them wrapped in a black cloth.
Buckland’s Complete Book Of Witchcraft
Raymond Buckland
ISBN 0-87542-050-8

Money Simmering Potpourri

Money Simmering Potpourri

If money is a problem rather than a pleasure, when you’re faced with unexpected financial obligations, when the money you earn doesn’t seem to come in fast enough, brew up one of these and set money-attracting energies into motion.
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
4 tablespoons whole cardamom seeds
2 tablespoons whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or two whole nutmegs)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
With your fingers, mix these ingredients in a small bowl, while visualizing increased prosperity. As you mix them, say these or similar words:
Money simmer in the air;
money simmer everywhere!
To use, simmer according to the instructions above.
Spell Crafts
Creating Magical Objects
Scott Cunningham
& David Harrington
ISBN 0-87542-185-7