To Be or Not to be Skyclad

To Be or Not to be Skyclad
Author: Lady Abigail

As a High Priestess of a Coven, I am often asked by initiates if the Coven works “skyclad.” When a coven works skyclad, they will or should be upfront about it when you first approach them for membership. Any group that springs this on you after you have joined is unethical and not a group you want to be involved with.

To work skyclad means to work only clad or dressed within the sky and nature; nude, within all the powers that be; to work magick and ritual unencumbered by mortal threads.

It sounds wonderful, don’t you think? Just you and a few very close friends, all standing around in nature. One with the God/dess, not to mention a few thousand mosquitoes and other biting things.

Please don’t misunderstand; I love nature in all of her boundless beauty. But being dressed or undressed to work ritual or magick in circle seems more of a stress than release to most.

I am not saying that one tradition is any better than another because they leave their clothes on or drop the cloak. Don’t assume because I choose not to work skyclad that I have never have. Although I have found over the years that, many times, the idea of working skyclad gets lost and somehow misused by some less than honorable people who will take advantage of any opportunity to abuse.

The human body is a magickal and beautiful part of magick. Nudity without shame is also a statement of freedom from prejudice, inhibition, coercion, and so on. However, some people are not comfortable with the idea of nudity, and that should be equally acceptable.

Working skyclad is traditional for some groups. Many Gardnerian covens still perform their rites skyclad.

The idea has been stated that it was a common practice for the Old World Witches to do ritual and magick skyclad. I disagree. I don’t believe that Native American Shaman or Celtic Witches would have stood in the shivering cold while trying to perform magick as their fingers (not to mention other parts) became frost bitten from the ice and snow. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

The reasons given for working skyclad are many and varied. Most are also sincere in design.

According to some, clothing blocks the energy. This is a personal issue. For myself, the icicles hanging off my butt cheeks block way more energy than that cotton tunic.

I have heard that being nude in ritual deepens the trust between coven members. If I have trust issues with a Coven or its members, standing in front of them with all my wrinkles hanging out isn’t going to increase my trust. Being naked for some is an issue of shame or embarrassment. For whatever reason this may be, once shamed, they will never trust or be less for it.

It is believed that removing the robes will remove all indications of rank, and therefore places all members as equals. Again, a good concept. But the truth is that Joe Bob is still Joe Bob, with and without his clothes.

Being able to remove one’s clothes shows the level of commitment one has to the Craft and/or coven. My level of commitment comes from my heart and soul, not how or whether I am dressed.

Being dressed or skyclad should not affect how you work ritual or magick. There should be nothing sexual about performing rituals in the nude, but in this society, it is hard to keep the crazies out and keep the circle protected from them all.

Do not feel that you must go skyclad because that’s what real Witches do. Real Witches decide for themselves. Feeling uncomfortable during ritual will only detract from your purpose. So if you feel awkward being naked with others or even alone, then cover up.

As a child, I was allowed to watch and, in time, participate in rituals and circle with my Great Grandmother. She and the Sister (her coven) would gather and work great mystical rites of magick. They didn’t read books on what made them Witches, they just knew. They didn’t allow anyone to tell them how to do it, they just did. They didn’t worry about how it was, it just was. And not once did they work or perform any of their sacred magick skyclad. They knew magick is magick until you make it something less.

Some people have something special to wear whenever working ritual and magick. It should be something personal to you alone. It can be a medieval gown, a tunic or jeans and t-shirt. But only wear it for working and bless it to that end. Be comfortable in whatever you choose.

Some arguments for working skyclad can be found in the book Aradia, also called the Gospel of the Witches, by Charles G. Leland. In the Aradia, Witches in worship are specifically instructed to conduct their rites naked as a sign that ‘ye shall be truly free’. Because of this book, many have decided that all rites should be conducted skyclad. I enjoy Leland’s book, parts of which are extremely poetic. However, say it is the basics for a structure of a religion I disagree with.

Also put forth as evidence is artwork and early engraving by artists such Albrecht Durer. In 1497 his engraving portrayed four women undressing for a Witchcraft ritual. If this is the evidence, then no man shall be a Witch. Does no one think it odd that men, during a time when even men were somewhat oppressed, would tell stories or draw the Witches or women naked in their magickal workings?

Witchcraft, ritual and magick unite us on a higher level; One with the oldest Gods and Nature. The freedom and exhilaration of dancing under a Full Moon is one of the ways of drawing close to all those energies and powers. But that freedom should not come at the price of your personal power. You choose if your dance shall be in the sky or skyclad. Magick should always hold a bit of mystery.

If you are considering joining a coven and they perform their rituals skyclad, but you do not feel comfortable with it, find another coven. Do not expect any group to bend their rules for you, just as you should not bend your personal power or comfort to fit any coven or group.

Dance as if no one were watching,
Sing as if no one were listening,
And live every day as if it were your last.

Lady Abigail
High Priestess Ravensgrove Coven
Orlando, Fl
Copyright © 01012006

How Are You Viewed, Outside of the Craft?

How Are You Viewed, Outside of the Craft?
Author: Arimesis

I visited my brother and his wife this past weekend, and my brother’s twelve-year-old daughter had a gift for me, and a story to make me quite proud. I want to share it, since there was a lesson in it for me, and possibly something in it for you, too.

My niece Cheyenne is Ojibwa, and attends a school on the reservation. She has overheard me in the past candidly talking to my brother and his wife about my spirituality when they asked me specific questions, and some of what she overheard must have hit home for her. She has never approached me with direct questions, but she has learned through watching me live my path at all times and in all ways in a spiritual, service oriented and harmless way.

Cheyenne has faced a difficult childhood. With a Native mother and a white father, living on the reservation in a Native culture, she has faced outright hostility through the open discrimination heaped upon her by classmates and teachers alike. Still, she has managed to keep an open mind and good heart, and has not become cold, closed and jaded as many others would in her situation. My brother and his wife have instructed their children in what both cultures hold for them, but they have allowed the kids to make their own decisions about who they are and where they belong based on experience and intuition.

She (Cheyenne) went to school last week and there saw a classmate wearing a pentacle. She asked her classmate what the pent meant to her, and the girl told Chey it was her, “satanic symbol”. My niece told her in no uncertain terms that she was in error in her understanding of the pent, and then proceeded to tell her some of what she had heard about Paganism and Witchcraft from me. She used me as an example of service and harmlessness, those things she had personally witnessed throughout her life, and sent the girl away with a slightly different message than she had arrived with.

The next day, this same classmate came to my niece and handed her the pent, asking her to give it to me. My niece accepted the offering, and carefully boxed it up for me in anticipation of my next visit.

To the most part we are viewed and judged by others not by what clothes we wear, what our rhetoric is, or how colorful our tattoos are, but rather by how much we are seen walking our talk. The practitioner with book knowledge is a poser until he/she puts into action what they have learned, and causes that first ripple in the Universe. We all know people who talk a good game, but would you really want to be in circle with those who don’t put their words to use? Don’t get me wrong, research is an outstanding way to learn, but putting into practice what you have learned is the measure of a practitioner’s true worth. To shape yourself and profess who and what you are based on the words or writing of another is shallow and worthless; it lacks will and personality along so many fronts, and is giving far too much personal power away to the speaker or author.

Those who profess to know everything are usually scared and alone, hiding behind a facade built to keep others at arm’s length. This is the person who will tell you that his/her way is the only way, and will criticize you for doing what you feel is right for you. You will always be wrong in this person’s eyes, and they will always have a better way, the only way in many cases. We all know several people like this, and my suggestion in dealing with these people is to quickly run away from them without looking back…if you don’t, sooner or later they will be offering you cyanide laced Kool-Aid, or worse, retard your karmic progression through you not following your own path. People who do not think for themselves, yet bond together in ignorance while feigning superiority, are sadly wasting this life when they could be experiencing so much more.

There is a name for someone who purports to know everything, and outspokenly judges others who differ with them based on that unbendable knowledge, that name will too often be ‘Christian’ or far worse, ‘fundamentalist’.

There is also a name for someone who practices a, ‘do as I say, not as I do’ method of spiritual posing, and that name is ‘hypocrite’. These people become the dangerous ones when they have followers, and it is usually the followers who suffer in the long term from the lessons taught by their leaders.

When you find in your heart (and words and actions) that you feel you must always be right, and cannot accept another viewpoint or possibility, step back and take a good long look at yourself and your motivations; you just might see that which you despised enough in the past to cause you to walk away from another person, group or religion. When we cease learning our minds die, and it is only time before our bodies follow. When we settle upon one unbending and closed path, we have ceased learning.

So let me return to my story: I applaud both girls, my niece who became the teacher, and her classmate, the one who stepped from behind the wall she was building and became the student. While neither may ever embrace Paganism or Witchcraft, both have learned a valuable lesson in truth and tolerance. I only wish this lesson was available to all those who will inherit what we are leaving behind.

I will add this pent to the Western quarter of my altar, and be thankful that there are open-minded youth being raised in this country, and that there is a bright glow on the horizon of spiritual freedom. In our society of closed-minded zealots, it is nice to know that there is hope for the future.

Who Inherits Your Knowledge?

Who Inherits Your Knowledge?

Author: Lady GoldenRaven

Here is a thought: For us older wytchs, have you ever thought about who you will pass down your wytchy items to when your time comes to cross over? By the time we hit our “golden years”, most of us have amassed a rather large collection of books, articles, herbs, oils, etc. So where does it go?

We have thought about how we divide up the money we leave for our children, which one gets the house and this one gets the car. But, has anyone given thought to the wealth of knowledge we have put into our Book of Shadows?

Who gets the special oils you created? What becomes of the beautiful staff and wand we created with our own hands?

Do we leave our sacred Book of Shadows to our covens?

Is there a special child or friend who will use this information wisely and keep its secrets to themselves?

Has anyone thought of donating them to the military or some other organization?

Will they find their rightful owners or will they end up in the trash or floating around space with all the missing socks.

As I approach my Crone years and since I have taught many students in the ways of the Wise, I have often thought about leaving my stuff to one of them. However, several of my students have been online. It would be hard to leave my trusted Book of Shadows to any of them, since I have only had little contact with them. So, that leaves the students I taught in person, who are now either in my coven or have moved on.

However, I am lucky. I recently met a woman who is 25 years old. She and I have become really close friends. She had several pagan friends (who are also my friends) who had taught her a little bit about their path.

She calls me Mama Beth, since I am older and she can talk to me about things one cannot talk to about with her real parents. Since I have no children of my own, she is now my adopted daughter. She is serious about her learning of the craft, so I am now teaching her my ways.

I thought long and hard about whom would be heir to my wytchy fortune. I do not own a home, so all I have to pass along is my wytchy stuff, my Led Zeppelin/Robert Plant collection, and my car.

All that has been decided. And now, I have made my decision as to where my Book of Shadows and the rest of my stuff shall go. My daughter shall be heir to all I have in my Wytchy World. I have such a huge collection of books on the subject that is would fill two walls!

I started thinking about this when a friend of mine nearly died a few months ago in a terrible accident. I put much thought and many hours of thought into this decision. Once I decided, I made my intentions clear.

When I told Debbie of my decision, I thought she would never stop crying. She was happy yet sad. It was something she did not want to think about.

Well, nobody wants to think about such things, but you must. She is the only one allowed to even touch my Book of Shadows, let alone look in it to read from it. She has come over for her lessons on time every time. She is learning the Craft well. Most of all–I TRUST HER.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I surely do not want my Book of Shadows, which I spent many hours working on, ending up in a dumpster somewhere. I wrote every word in that book in calligraphy. If anything, it is a piece of art. For one, I have the fortune of having bought a grand Book of Shadows from a great company called Brahm’s Bookworks (link enclosed at the end), which is like the one you see on the show Charmed. Mine weighs over 30 pounds. Now you see why I do not want it simply dumped in the trash.

Who do I know who would appreciate this? My daughter!

Where will the hundreds of jars of herbs end up? Herbs that I lovingly planted, nurtured, and harvested. I have many bottles of oils which I have made, not to mention the holistic medicines I have made from all the above.

My staff, which I lovingly hand picked, designed by me for me, blessed and consecrated and has become a part of me, I do not want to end up in a burn pile somewhere as trash. If, my daughter chooses to burn it in memory of me so that none can use my “magickal” staff, then so be it.

A few of my friends may end up with a few things–some of the herbs and oils and such. My stones and all I promised to a friend who also makes jewelry. So he can use what he wants for wytchy works and pick what he needs for jewelry.

Of course, some things, I can leave to the world via the net. Some of this I have accomplished already. But face it, out in the world of Cyberspace, one cannot be too sure of who they are dealing with. A lot of my stuff is found and will be found as I continue, on Pathways Seminary.

But, I thought I would offer up this little essay as a reminder to all not to forget about whom you will leave your most precious Wytchy wears to. Since the baby boomers are now into their Crone years or close to it as I am, there are a lot of us pagans who belong to this age group.

So while you are sitting there, making out your wills, reserve space and time to have it in writing, to whom you are passing down your religious and magickal items to. I know, whomever ends up with them shall appreciate both the deep thought you put into giving it to them, as well as appreciating the work you did, and all the knowledge contained within these items.

I am happy that I know where my knowledge is going to be used and appreciated.

Thank you,

Link to Book of Shadows:

Zealous or Thorough…What Kind of a Magickal Person Are You? (Part 2) : Revelry or Reverence?

Zealous or Thorough…What Kind of a Magickal Person Are You? (Part 2) : Revelry or Reverence?
Author: Kestryl Angell

There are, periodically, bashing periods on the “fluffy bunny” set of Paganism. This form of intolerance is rather bothersome to both the Zealous and the Thorough practitioner in us.

On the one hand, those that are “light and fluffy” in their beliefs do very much so have as much right to their beliefs…and their dancing, sparkling, fairy-dusted, tinkling bells and moonlight-tastes-like-ice cream! .. sort of joy in their beliefs and newfound spiritual freedom as we all do to our own.

On the other hand, we also have the “right” to the peace and quiet that is found when our “sparkly, naked dancing days” come to a close and we realize that robes were given to us to keep the human being in us attuned to something higher than the basic sexuality that most of us have spent years trying to overcome the genetically coded pre-occupations that nudity often inspires, especially in one’s beautiful pagan youth.

No, I have nothing against dancing naked in the moonlight! I have done it for years! But, not every single person is as delighted with my nudity as the God/dess and I are, and thus I respect other’s right NOT to see what I only offer to the Gods who love me without the judgments held so often behind human eyes.

Is either side “wrong”? No, of course not, they are simply what are known as “mutually exclusive.” Can they co-exist side by side peacefully? Yes, as long as everyone is grown up enough to keep basic boundaries of respect for the other’s viewpoint… which is why there are often skyclad areas and non-skyclad areas, skyclad and non-skyclad rituals at pagan events and such. So everyone can have what is right for THEM and their view of “respect to self, others and Deity.”

It is appropriate to always do checking if you’re going to a public event or even a circle held by a coven other than that you’re studying or bound to. This way, if there are any issues that might come up for you, you’ll know about them ahead of time and be able to plan accordingly or bow out gracefully before it will cause any undo stress to you or others present. I’ll give an example from my own experience.

I was acting as High Priestess for a public gathering ritual. The theme of the gathering was “Finding the child within.” So, my then partner and myself planned a light-hearted ritual filled with playful revelry and imagery designed to help our inner children emerge and feel comfortable in a space of worship and kinship. We decided that using Kool-aid for our “wine” and animal crackers for our “cakes” would be a delightful expression and memory inducement for many there, as well as being a good tool for some of the shamanic portions of the ritual.

We had bubbles and sparkles and it was all sorts of kiddy fun…the fluffy bunnies LOVED it! Even the older, tried and true elders enjoyed rekindling their inner children over bubbles and Kool-aid and animal crackers.

But after the ritual, my partner and I were soon faced with a small, but very stern looking group all dressed out in their highest, brightest, most intricately machine embroidered ritual garb, all of whom were scowling mightily at us and holding their animal crackers reverently in the palms of their hands with a look of disgust that couldn’t be comprehended immediately by either of us on the receiving end of it.

When queried as to how they liked the ritual they said, “If we had known there was going to be animal effigy sacrifices in this ritual we would NEVER have attended! We will be praying tonight that the animal spirits that you sacrificed for your “kiddy playtime” will forgive you!” and they stalked off in a hufflepuff of righteous indignation and “ritually appropriate” gear.

I will be honest about our reaction. At first we were totally dumbfounded that we had insulted someone so deeply with animal crackers.

Secondly, we were thinking to ourselves “uh… animal effigy SACRIFICE?!?!?… OOkayyyy… Right! It’s an ANIMAL CRACKER, idiots! Open your MINDS!”

Then, we had to realize that we had indeed deeply insulted their personal practice, and though totally unintended, had obviously affected them very strongly to the negative. So, later that evening we got all “appropriately attired” for a visit to such a camp and made our way into it with all the appropriate ceremony that their “age-old practice” demanded and made formal apologies both to their teachers and students and to the spirits we may have offended in the process of our “thoughtlessness.”

Now, did WE feel we’d made the animal spirits angry? NO! Our perception of them was pleased with our efforts to have fun and connect with nature. But, in the spirit of not wishing bad blood for future times or opportunities that paths might respectfully cross between students of my world and students of their path, we chose to make the appropriate moves to secure mutual understanding and to restore respect on both sides.

The acts that we make in the name of reverence to the right of every person to believe and practice as they will are those that most often are the strongest ones we can make. It shows compassion, understanding and a desire to learn that is often respected even if your beliefs and practices vary widely from those you seek to understand.

In all of paganism, one thing stands true of every practice I’ve ever had the honor to learn much about. There is a time and place for everything. There is a time and place for starched, detailed, immaculately planned and executed high ritual magick and there is a time for complete and utterly beautiful silliness and light-hearted play with the Gods.

There is a time to smile, perhaps even dance a few steps and get some glitter in your hair from a passing “fluffy bunny” newbie and there is a time to put on your finest gear and go get humble in front of the elders of another path in the name of peace. There is a time to “let Pan rule!” and there is a time to remember with complete gratitude and utter reverence our Elders, Ancestors and the Gods.

The key to really good magickal living, on this note, dear readers, is learning to navigate the difference between the two. So remember, “moderation in all things…including moderation.” Learn to smile and dance with the fluffy bunnies and remember when your practice was new and sparkling sweet like summer wine…and hold reverence for how far you’ve come in your practice, or in the age of your soul which “demands” more reverent and detailed study of your path than being a fluffy bunny might give you personally.

Learn to be tolerant and compassionate, to be both filled with revelry and joy in your beliefs, your practice and your direct, beautiful connection to Deity, yet also be reverent of the past and where it has brought us. Be both! Be it all! Be zealous and passionate, detailed and thorough in your lives, your loves and your faith-practice.

It is the only way to be truly magickal! For magick, like love and life itself, exists in all the shades of grey between black and white. Which shades detail your particular view, your particular palette of expression, are entirely up to you and Deity as you see It.

Zealous or Thorough…What Kind of a Magickal Person Are You? (Part 1)

Zealous or Thorough…What Kind of a Magickal Person Are You? (Part 1)
Author: Kestryl Angell

When seeking our own personal balance, both as human beings and as practitioners of a variety of magickal paths, it is always wise to ask ourselves several questions about the nature of what we seek to become by their working. For instance, do we wish to be zealous? Passionate almost to the point of losing ourselves entirely in the belief or practice!

Or do we wish to be thorough? Paying all attention in the world to every minutest detail of a rite or practice and being completely bound by its structure, nearly without individual thought or expansion being allowed or accepted.

Do we wish to lean toward revelry or reverence? What are we truly seeking to accomplish by using magick for the task before us? Could the goal be accomplished another way that might not include magickal “pushes” from us or do we need to do the working to illustrate the act of creation for ourselves? Let’s look even a bit more closely at the first of those ever-telling questions above.

For the first, do we wish to be Zealous or Thorough?

We’ve all met our friendly neighborhood Zealot. He’s the one that bashes you over the head with his bible in trying to get you to “share the word of God” or “hear his Testimony!” She’s the one that shoves endless volumes of empirical evidence up your nose to the contrary of what you are trying to share with her in discussions of faith vs. science rather than seeing that, to those that look more closely, science is only the proving of magickal theories that have been called “magick” for so long due to our ignorance that is now being disproved to find so much of what is called “supernatural” is actually just a part of the “natural” we hadn’t seen before.

He is the one that believes only in numbers when it comes to business and not in expanding a “vision” of an overall company outlook. She is the one that staunchly stands on long-disproved “facts of life” as being “correct” because it is all she’s ever been taught and she’s afraid to see anything past her own truncated viewpoint.

He is the one that feverishly swears that “this new product will remove those unwanted pounds in DAYS instead of weeks, months or years, without the need for invasive surgical procedures!” when he knows its really just a vitamin supplement with trace minerals that often help relieve common ailments and inflammations with “miraculous” ease.

They are the Salesmen and women of Hype.

Regardless of whether it is on a magickal path or simply on a path of learning, whether it is about personal moral and ethical belief structures and practices or whether or not science supports or refutes the supernatural as truly “existing” within our sphere of understanding, you will know a zealot by the uncanny fire (see crazy swirls spinning madly in the glistening wideness of their eyes, revealing a depth of passion with little spin on the fullness of what reality might be) in their eyes and their unswerving devotion to their own viewpoint.

You may say to yourself, “but pagans are loving, wonderful, non-judgmental people that would NEVER do to them what others have done against their beliefs after suffering so much difficulty at the hands and beliefs of others!

Oh yes, boys and girls, there ARE most definitely pagan zealots-haven’t you had any visit your local gatherings lately? -Look for some of your wilder nudist types that insist that to wear robes in circle is “sacrilege” or those who staunchly feel “EVERY pagan should stand up in this modern day and age, regardless of personal risk to life, family structure, livelihood, etc. and speak up for the practice of their faith ’til someone acknowledges their RIGHT to practice it publicly without ridicule!”-There are other examples, and this is by no means a “slam” to those that choose to have those beliefs strongly for their personal practice. However, your right to do as you feel is correct is just as important as mine is to me.

Guess what? The time when all people simply have the smarts and compassion to just let one another BE what they are without judgment or ridicule will be a wonderful day-and those guilty of DEMANDING their RIGHT to be heard when they already HAVE these things not only by national law, but by Constitutional Right-in fact, they are exercising them in the very moment they are ranting about someone else’s repression of their beliefs or practices-they are just as guilty of judgment of another’s beliefs and their right to state them freely as those they are rally-crying against for supposedly repressing them.

The general idea of balance in the face of an overly zealous person, regardless of their personal belief structure or practice, is to not necessarily practice yourself what they believe or practice, but simply to ALLOW them to do so. You don’t have to agree. Tolerance is not about supporting some one else’s beliefs or practices by doing it ourselves. Tolerance is about allowing them the God/dess given right to do, be, feel, think and say what they feel is correct or incorrect about the running of the world around them-just as it is ours.

However, in an effort to study balanced practice, which is what we started out to do, we must also look to the other polarity of common practice. Those, that rather than choosing to be purely zealous about their practices, beliefs and such, choose to be thorough in how they study it and use it in daily life. These folk are often studious, sometimes to the point of being reclusive. They often have huge libraries that they have read repeatedly, usually cataloging in extreme detail all along the way so that all their references may be at a moment’s touch.

They are the ones that are drawn to proving what is and isn’t “historical fact” and what is simply the growing mythology of a collective set of belief structures caught under the mutual “umbrella” called “Paganism.” They are what in my old days in the Society for Creative Anachronism were called, the “period police.”

They are the ones that look for just the right number of folds in that Tudor crinoline collar and make certain that you hand pressed every single one of those 50, 000 petticoats before stepping into your period appropriate undergarments and all the other properly stitched and beaded layers that you wish to sit uncomfortably beautiful in for the next 3 ½ hours of court that await your already aching ears.

Now I do not wish to appear here to be saying that an attention to detail is not important. When studying the various paths of magick, I am the first to advocate those that choose to do so with the greatest of possible detail.

However, just as pure zealous response can lead to an opposite response to what we are seeking, so too does too studious an approach lose our purpose, at times, in the seeking to line up all the appropriate signs, sigils, times of day, week, month and year, the appropriate herbs, incense, oils, candles, sabbat oil, blessing oils, and more to the point where the original reason and the passion for it is lost in the expectation of perfection in the tools being used to accomplish the goal.

Magick should always, regardless of the tools available at the time, come from within the worker of it, for it will never come from the tools they use it if did not first come from them…nor will the magick return to them, but to the tools.

For some workings, having all portends correct and every type of power available aligned just so is not only appropriate, but completely necessary to the working’s success.

However, as with the difference between needing a picnic lunch and a full seven course dinner, there is a skill to learning what is what and what to use when…and when you’re just going for complete and total overkill in the details department. Keep in mind, you can ruin the best soup with just one too many spices. The same is true for magick.

Simple is good for many things. Use “complicated” when you must. Don’t use magick at all, if it can be accomplished in another way.

Now I can already hear those out there who are of paths that consider personal gain to be an “awesome and totally acceptable reason to use magick whenever possible!” starting to kvetch and gripe that they “don’t believe in the three fold law so it doesn’t effect them!” and I say if you haven’t seen karma as a Universal Rule on your own, you aren’t looking closely or clearly enough.

It doesn’t have to read in your mind or book of shadows as “the Three-fold Law” or the biblical ten-fold references. But the simple Universal Law of Averages and of “what goes around comes around” are concepts so obvious to enlightened human beings that if all you’re arguing over is the numbers or the particular path stated (i.e. you’re “not a WICCAN, I’M a (enter your chosen path emphatically here—and don’t forget the “!!!” at the end!!!)

In this case, you’re being too detail oriented and not seeing the Universal Brickbat for what it is. That is just one of the lovely ways the Gods find to tell us every time we stumble in our oh-so-human way…”Nope, you don’t have it yet, pup. Keep trying though, you’re very amusing!”

The Key we’re truly trying to discuss here, however, is the balance between being Zealous and being Thorough in our practice and, one hopes, in our overall response to the world at large. So, first and foremost remember, “moderation in all things… including moderation.”

This means pick the appropriate tools or lack thereof for the job. Don’t overdo. Give reverence to the past for bringing us to where we are now in terms of our knowledge and our powerbase in connecting with Deity. But do not be so bound to the past and its rules-which were made for another time, place and set of people’s lives than those we live now-that you cannot take what is beautiful, good and strong from the past and make it into something even deeper and more meaningful to you and to your future generations.

Part of the beauty of our faiths-in my humble opinion-is that they are, generally speaking, growing and living faiths. They are growing from a past that is deep and vast, regardless of whether we carry on family traditions that have been passed down through the eons…or whether our path just became a recognized belief structure 15, 20, 50 or 100 years ago.

Whether they have been passed from blue blood witch to blue blood witch for generations or whether it was practice by our grandfathers and grandmothers, whether it was brought to us by an anthropologist or was channeled in sweat lodge, whether it existed when cavemen painted their sacred images on the walls of their sacred places or whether it was woven together only within your own lifetime of experiences-no one has the right to tell you that your practice is any more or less “Valid” than any other.

That is not their call, nor is it their right.

That particular “mystery” is between you…and Deity.

It is not a viewpoint’s age that makes it valid. Nor is a viewpoint all there is to beliefs of faith. But in matters of faith and religion it is our belief that, for us, how we see things being organized and connected to is the way things are for us that matter.

We’ll look at the other questions in Part 2!

Daily Aromatherapy – Scented Beeswax Heart

Daily Aromatherapy – Scented Beeswax Heart


Scent a room with this decorative accent. Use a cookie cutter to cut a heart shape from a sheet of natural beeswax. Wrap the heart in cheesecloth and infuse it with a few drops of Rose Otto. Place the wrapped heart in a plastic bag for a week. Remove and discard the cloth and glue a ribbon hanger to the back of the heart. You can even decorate it with dried flowers and a bow. Hang it in the kitchen or
even the bath!!


Brought to you by –

The Witches Spell for August 6th – CURSED OR BLESSED



You need:

Piece of burlap

piece of wool

piece of silk

Some polished stones (polished) from a river or stream

A live leaf

A bowl of fruit and/or bread

A dead branch


Lay the silk, wool and burlap at the foot of your bed in that order. About 5 feet from the foot of your bed, toward the left, lay the branch. About 5 feet from the foot of your bead, toward the right, place the bowl.  The branch is the barren curse and the bowl is the bountiful life that withers the curse.  Lay one stone on each cloth then lay a path from the wool, straight down the center, between the bowl and the branch.  The stones must touch. At the end lay the leaf.  By laying the stones, you show respect for the fates and the balance of life.  Light three candles and incense and meditate over the rite.  Sleep without touching the items.  When you wake, watch how much the stones have moved.  If they bias the branch, you are cursed.  If they bias the bowl, you are blessed.  If it doesn’t move, no outside force is affecting you.  If you are cursed, how far it has moved will determine the strength of the curse. Reset the path, and that night, light the three candles and the incense and meditate again over the rite.  Sleep again without touching anything. The path should have moved less than the first time.  Repeat this every night until the path stays in the middle.  Next, move the path toward the bowl following the same meditation and sleep process as before.  Continue this every night until the path stays at the bowl.  When it has done so, you may complete the rite.  Touch nothing, but for the three following nights, meditate over the rite, to seal your new fate.  The stones must be returned to the river or stream where you got them from .  The branch must be returned to the forest floor where you found it, and the leaf cast to the wind.  The bowl of fruit must be eaten,  and the cloth must be saved in a dark place, undisturbed.

Let's Talk Witch – Your Personal Code



Your Personal Code

Every magickal tradition, from the Druids to Wicca to Santeria, has its own code— principles that guide the practitioner, boundaries that he or she won’t cross, a core of beliefs that permeates everything he or she does. These core beliefs define the parameters of the magickal practice. In Wicca, the primary principle is to harm nothing and no one.

But individuals also develop their own personal codes. Have you defined yours As previously noted, cultural differences have a hand in sculpting a particular individual’s beliefs. In the end, however, each of us must refine our own code as we evolve from children raised in the belief systems of our parents to adults who decide for ourselves what we believe.

This is not to say that any of us is omnipotent, that any of us has all the answers or even a good chunk of them. We’re all seekers and we all have a need for some sort of belief system. Your belief system may include an adherence to an organized religion or to some other spiritual discipline, or it may not include any sort of spiritual ideas at all. But at the heart of any belief system lies a code by which you live your life, and it may not have any connection whatsoever to other people’s concepts of good and bad. After all, even thieves have codes.

Do you believe in an afterlife In a supreme being In good and evil Do you believe that reality is exactly as it appears, that what you see is what you get Do you believe people can’t be trusted, that all Dobermans are vicious, that it’s every man for himself, that you’re a victim and there’s nothing you can do about it Then your experiences will confirm those beliefs.

If, on the other hand, you believe that nothing is fated, that your free will and your innermost beliefs effect your reality, then your experiences will confirm that, too.

Because you have picked up a book on magick and spells, you probably already believe that you can shape your own destiny and are looking for practical information on how to do it more efficiently and pragmatically. Magick is one route. But there are hundreds of ways to get to where you want to be. The bottom line of any exploration is defining what you believe and what works for you.


The Only Book of Wiccan Spells You’ll Ever Need (The Only Book You’ll Ever Need) Singer, Marian; MacGregor, Trish (2012-08-18).

The Witches Correspondence for Tuesday, August 6th


The Witches Correspondence for Tuesday, August 6th


Magickal Intentions: Courage, Physical Strength, Revenge, Military Honors, Surgery and the Breaking of Negative Spells, Matrimony, War, Enemies, Prison, Vitality and Assertiveness
Incense: Dragon’s Blood, Patchouli
Planet: Mars
Sign: Aries and Scorpio
Angel: Samuel
Colors: Red and Orange
Herbs/Plants: Red Rose, Cock’s Comb, Pine, Daisy, Thyme and Pepper
Stones: Carnelian, Bloodstone, Ruby, Garnet and Pink Tourmaline
Oil: (Mars) Basil, Coriander, Ginger

Mars rules Tuesday. The energies of this day best harmonize with efforts of masculine vibration, such as conflict, physical endurance and strength, lust, hunting, sports, and all types of competition. Use them, too, for rituals involving surgical procedures or political ventures.

The Witches Almanac for Tuesday, August 6th

Gothic Comments

The Witches Almanac for Tuesday, August 6th

Tuesday (Mars): Passion, sex, courage, aggression and protection.

Hiroshima Peace Ceremony

Waning Moon

The Waning Moon is a time for study, meditation, and little magickal work (except magick designed to banish harmful energies).

Moon Phase: New Moon 5:51 pm

Moon Sign: Leo

Leo: Draws emphasis to the self, central ideas or institutions, away from connections with others and other emotional needs. People tend to be melodramatic.

Incense: Cedar

Color: Red

5 Superstitions and Why They Exist

5 Superstitions and Why They Exist

By Allison Ford, DivineCaroline

I was at work a few years ago when a coworker walking by my desk let out a  terrified squeal. “Your purse is on the floor! Don’t you know that’s bad luck?”  Apparently, she was referring to a superstition which holds that to place your  purse or wallet on the floor is to invite money troubles. I had never heard of  this old wives’ tale and didn’t lend it much credibility, but on my way home, I  did notice my lifelong habit of avoiding sidewalk cracks, surely a leftover from  a youthful urge to protect my mother’s spinal health.

Superstitions ascribe supernatural origins to things that  humans don’t understand, and they occur across the world. Early humans had a lot  that they didn’t understand, but modern people are much more enlightened.  Superstitions about bad luck feel like the kind of things we tell gullible  children, so why do I still see people knocking on wood, throwing salt over  their shoulders, and refusing to walk under ladders? Exactly where do these  strange superstitions come from, and do any have even the tiniest basis in  reality?

Don’t Spill the Salt! Salt is one of our most ancient and versatile foodstuffs,  used for preserving food as well as flavoring it. For most of history, it was  incredibly valuable, too, sometimes even used as currency. Spilling such a  precious commodity was akin to dumping the thirty-year-old Scotch down the  drain. For anyone who was careless enough to waste salt, throwing a pinch over  the left shoulder was said to keep the devil away, since he was sure to be  following you after such a grievous offense.

Walking Under Ladders Brings Bad  Luck This superstition has its roots in religion. Some Christians  believe that any object with three points—like a ladder leaning against a  house—represents the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Early  Christians believed that to destroy or subvert a three-pointed object (like by  walking through it) one was expressing disbelief in the Trinity, and would  therefore probably go to Hell. As religious conviction softened, the promise of  eternal damnation was relaxed to merely the threat of bad luck. I admit to  following the rule against walking under ladders, but for a more practical  purpose—I don’t care for things dropping on my head, as is wont to happen when  people are working above.

Un-Lucky Number Thirteen Plenty of otherwise rational  people are loath to schedule important events on the thirteenth of the month,  and many buildings and towns don’t even include a thirteenth floor or thirteenth  street, because so many people believe the number to be cursed. The origins of  this superstition are factually tenuous, and there are many theories about how  it came about. Christian theology teaches that Judas was the thirteenth guest at  the Last Supper, making him unlucky. Norse mythology states that the god Loki,  who was the thirteenth guest at a banquet, killed the hero, Balder. Not to  mention the fact that several serial killers have thirteen letters in their  name, like Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer. Fear of the number thirteen even  has its own name, triskaidekaphobia, and many sufferers refuse to be the  thirteenth guest at a party, or to sit in row thirteen on an airplane for fear  that some terrible fate will befall them. In reality, there’s no credible  evidence to suggest anything sinister about any particular number, and in some  cultures, the number thirteen is actually considered quite lucky.

Shakespeare’s “Scottish Play” Many  actors refuse to say the name Macbeth, especially when they’re inside a theater.  The play is said to be cursed, and is usually referred to as simply, “The  Scottish Play.” Some accounts say that productions of Macbeth have been plagued  by an unusually high number of accidents, injuries, and deaths on- and offstage,  perhaps because the play itself is unusually ripe with fights, weapons, battles,  and opportunities for things to go wrong. Since the play features three witches,  some origin stories for the superstition say that the lines uttered by the  witches are real curses, that real witches were offended by the play and cursed  it, or that Shakespeare’s original prop master stole items from a real witches’  coven. The most likely explanation is that Macbeth, being one of the English  language’s most enduring pieces of drama, is often put on by theaters trying to  stave off bankruptcy, and the play eventually got a reputation as foreshadowing  a theater’s demise.

Sacred Sneezes
All cultures offer some sort of blessing  after a person sneezes. While the origins of the benedictions are muddled,  it seems certain that primitive people thought that a person’s soul could leave  the body through the nose, and asking for God’s protection was a way to prevent  its escape. Romans, however, believed that sneezing expelled demons, and  witnesses to a sneeze offered congratulations and support. During the sixth  century, there was a plague raging, and the populace thought that sneezing was a  symptom of impending death. Pope Gregory pronounced that the official response  to a sneeze would be “God bless you,” which was thought to invoke divine  protection for both the sneezer and the sneezed-upon.

Do Dogs See The Supernatural?

Do Dogs See The Supernatural?

Whether folklore or fact, many of us would like to believe that our dogs can  detect unexplained or invisible presences, guided by a canine sixth sense. It’s  exciting, and comforting, to think a favorite dog is sensitive to a departed  relative or friend.

But hard evidence of dogs’ extrasensory perception is elusive and anecdotal.  The 2009 book “Tails of the Afterlife,” by Peggy Schmidt, chronicles multiple  instances of unexplainable actions by dogs who apparently interact with  something, or someone, unseen. For instance, she writes about a woman named Del  Johnsen who left seven dogs and six cats when she passed away. Numerous  witnesses believe she still visits her pets daily, and report seeing the animals  suddenly gather in one spot, cats arching their backs and purring, dogs flopping  over for a belly rub, wriggling in enjoyment, all of them sitting at attention  and staring into the air before resuming their own activities. And Schmidt says  her own Jack Russell terrier Pixie has repeatedly reacted to ghosts present in  local buildings rumored to be haunted.

But your pet’s so-called sixth sense may simply be the result of his keen  hearing, exceptional nose, and a dog’s eye view on the world that allows him to  sense small movements that escape our attention. A dog’s senses are keener, and  different, than ours: His eyes detect more delicate movements; his sense of  smell is 1,000 to 10,000 times more sensitive than a human’s. He can hear much  higher frequencies, and at four times the distance of a human with normal  hearing.

Wild and domestic animals, including dogs, seemed to sense the impending  Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, displaying their distress with behavior changes  and vocal warnings, and either ran for cover or refused to go outside. Some  experts believe they could sense vibrational changes on land from impending the  earthquakes before humans could.

Dogs’ heightened sense of smell is credited with their ability to detect some  cancers in humans. Service dogs who aid seizure-prone people are alert to subtle shifts in body smells and dilated pupils, signs that enable the dogs  to warn their owners of a looming attack.

As for a sixth sense connecting to the supernatural or  paranormal, pet psychologist Marti Miller believes that both dogs and their  owners possess one. “But humans judge or deny what they are feeling,” says  Miller, who is based in Austin, Texas. “Dogs don’t judge what is going on in the  environment. While our own minds start to analyze what is happening, dogs don’t  do that. They feel the barometric pressure change, and may react by shaking,  panting, salivating and feeling anxious, or they may not react at all.”

Miller says dogs’ varying reactions to a shift in the atmosphere or  unrecognized sound or movement can stem from early traumas, such as being caught  in a rainstorm, hurricane or tornado, or from “a cellular memory that they have  brought with them to this lifetime.” For dogs, “sensing the supernatural is  natural because they don’t judge it. People could see auras or spirits, but they  either don’t believe they exist, or think that if they do exist, we could not  see them.” Animal Planet’s own series “The Haunted” includes episodes with  instances of family dogs reacting to the apparent presence of spirits, reactions  that have no easy explanation for the out-of-the-ordinary behavior.

Scientific studies on dogs’ senses offer debatable evidence of dogs’ psychic  and sensory perceptions. In his 1999 book, “Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are  Coming Home and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals: An Investigation,”  biologist and author Rupert Sheldrake presents a five-year exploration into  canine behaviors. His work is based on the experiences of thousands of dogs and  owners whose arrival home at unexpected times did not surprise their pets, who  reacted with anticipation. Sheldrake concludes that “there is a strong  connection between humans and animals that lies beyond present-day scientific  understanding.”

When watching your own dog during activities in your household, or when you  take him visiting, you may see him fasten his attention on something you can’t  see or hear. You may shrug it off as anxiety or reaction to an unfamiliar smell.  Or just maybe, you suspect your own pooch is communing with the unseen.

Because dogs can’t talk to offer their own explanations, there’s no way to  know what exactly is going on. “The simple answer is, we don’t know that dogs  see ghosts or spirits,” Miller said. But she adds, “If you observe a dog  standing in the corner, barking at nothing visible, then there’s a pretty good  chance that he’s barking at an entity, spirit, or energy that doesn’t belong  there.”

A distant noise, an unseen spirit or fresh cut of meat? You decide.



Daily Feng Shui News for Aug. 6 – 'National Fresh Breath Day'

If you’re certain that your occasional bad breath is not caused by digestive difficulties, gum disease or any other chronic conditions, then take advantage of today’s ‘National Fresh Breath Day’ tips from the world of all-natural medicine. Immerse two sprigs of fresh parsley in white vinegar and chew it in order to sweeten what comes out of your mouth. Or you can mix two drops of peppermint essential oil in a glass of warm water and swish, but never swallow. After you spit out the first mouthful take another one and gargle and then spit it out too. Do this until the glass is empty. With all this beautiful breath going on you might now look at life as half-full — like a glass, that is!

By Ellen Whitehurst for

Your Animal Spirit for August 6 is the Polar Bear

Your Animal Spirit for Today
August 6, 2013

Polar Bear

Has Polar Bear lumbered into your reading? If so, he’s reminding you of the value of being flexible. Polar Bear instinctively knows how to conserve his energy and will observe a situation before he takes action. Once he decide it’s the appropriate time to move forward, however, he has the strength, energy, and fortitude to face whatever dangers lie ahead. Having problems making a change? Polar Bear is here to help, and his message to you is:  Take heart, have courage, build your strength, then MOVE!