What is the Magickal Self?

What is the Magickal Self?

Author: Robin Fennelly

The building of the magickal personality brings us to something else; each one of us has the actor within him or her. As Shakespeare put it, so beautifully and poetically:

All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
and one man in his time plays many parts.”

The Magickal Self acts as the interface and point of transition from the mundane world to the spiritual realms. It is you, in your higher form of vibration that will more closely match the rhythms of the other worlds you are transiting. It is the trained you that as you progress along the Path also grows and expands to encompass more of knowledge and experience you have gained and reflect it back so that it may be recognizable and usable in your magickal workings.

The form your Magickal Self takes will vary in accord with your energetic changes as you move forward in your work and study. For some, they see themselves in a physical shape and form, although it will not resemble their physical coloring, build or stature at all. For others, this form may more easily take a geometric shape that holds the more highly refined state of their energy. In either case, as the physical form is densest in matter that shape will most likely not be the form taken as there is the need for a more refined energy within the astral realms. Whatever form this Magickal Self may take it is recognizable by you because it still remains your consciousness; just in its spiritual form such as:

Younger Self, Talking Self, and Higher Self
In The Feri Tradition: Sticky One, Shining Body, and Sacred Dove
Hebrew/Qabalistic: Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, Yechida
Generically in the Metaphysical Paths: Lower Self, Middle Self, Higher Self and Spiritually Evolved Self.

For our purposes we will be working with the three designations of Lower Self, Middle Self, Higher SELF and The Spiritual (or Evolved) SELF.

Lower/Physical Self: I Have
The Lower Self (Lower Mental) is our primal instinctual nature. This is the physical body we inhabit and the conscious self that responds and reacts to stimuli in the physical world through our senses and tactile abilities. This is our place of foundation and the place from which we concretely and tangibly build the world around ourselves. The Lower or physical self obeys the laws of time and because of its density in energy the laws of space and its place within it as well.

Middle/Emotional Self: I Want (to Become)
The Middle self more closely relates to the subconscious mind. The place of dreams and aspirations; of emotions and feelings. We Feel rather than thinking our way through this world. This is the first place of desire and the catalyst that yearns to become more than we are and can experience in the physical self. The Lower Self says “I Have or possess this” and the subconscious feeds it the “want and desire” that enlivens and creates connection to what we have acquired.

Higher/Mental SELF: I Will Become
The Higher Mental self is the super or Higher conscious self. It knows the results of the subconscious desire working upon the conscious mind and has transcended to a place of “knowing it will be”. This Higher Self has developed a state of “awareness” and from that awareness evolves the Higher Will. It is not the will of baser ego, but instead the Will to create, to manifest to exist. This is the part of Self that is not confined by the bounds of linear time and space.

The Spiritual SELF (The Divine Spark) : I AM
The Spiritual SELF is the continued contact and communication with the impulse of the Divine. There is no longer a need to Have or possess. There is no desire for anything for it is all and at once formed and formless. It is the realization that there is no separateness, only union and synthesis from which all other states of form emanate. It is the Divine Spark that is contained within us all and moves with us as we pass from lifetime to lifetime.

The way in which these parts of self interact when creating and calling forth the Magickal Self are multifold. Each is dependent and interdependent upon the other for forming, coalescing and finally birthing that magickal being that is inherent within us all. The subconscious generates the desire to shape and form the appropriate interface that will allow for movement and access to the higher planes. The conscious self, having been stimulated by the subconscious begins the work of creating the shape and image that magickal form will take.

If you have a firmly established Magickal Persona, this process usually occurs at the point of putting on your ritual grab, a sacred amulet or ring. It intensifies and builds in substance as you enter sacred space. And, once the circle is cast, the quarters called and the energy of the ritual space changes its vibration and intensity the Magickal Self comes forth more fully to begin the work at hand. As the conscious self seeks the contact of the Higher consciousness (Higher Mental) this form begins to interact with the energies and planes that are being accessed in the ritual.

If you are just beginning the process, every ritual, every magickal working that is done with focus and intent will strengthen and bring into greater substance that Magickal Self. In those rare moments, when all the parts of self are in alignment and balance with each other the consciousness rises to a place of opening to the Spiritual SELF, sometimes called the Holy Guardian Angel. This of course, is the ultimate goal and is not something easily attained. This contact usually comes through the subconscious mind rather than the conscious waking mind; and can be likened to a brief flash of brilliant light where you are completely at one with the Universe, its mysteries and its source. These moments are quite rare and even with diligent practice towards that end they occur in their own way in their own time (often lifetimes) , if at all.

So what is the importance of knowing about these various selves? And, what does that have to do with a Magickal Self?

Use this analogy and think on what it truly means: As we develop our Magickal Self the physical being becomes something like a cocoon. Time passes and the affects of weather and all manner of outer influence go unnoticed by what is being transmuted within. Eventually, and at just the precise moment in time there is movement within the cocoon- from which the “lightness and grace” of an ephemeral butterfly (or the Magickal SELF) emerges, a completely different form from its original with access to different sets of skill and understanding of other worlds. Its world is different from that of its former state as a caterpillar. It is through a similar state of metamorphosis that each time the call to the Magickal Self is issued the potential for a more enlivened and more refined state of being is held. And as we move through these new worlds, we are as the butterfly, transformed and empowered to soar towards our Divine nature.

Online Course: A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path. R.Fennelly

Lord of Lights: The Path of Initiation in the Western Mysteries. W. E. Butler

Quote by William Shakespeare

What Witchcraft Means To Me

What Witchcraft Means To Me

Author: allisjames

So what does witchcraft mean to me? Wow. What a question. Is there an easy answer? No! Witchcraft is beautiful and complicated, mysterious and wonderful. For some it is all about the gods and goddess; for others it is about spell-work and ceremony; and for the rest it is just the flavor-of-the-month religion or practice.

Is Witchcraft a religion, or is it a practice? Is Witchcraft different then Wicca?

Wicca, we know, came into being somewhere between the 1930’s and the 1950’s via Gerard B. Gardner. Yet history blooms with stories of witches, brooms, black cats, and spell-work. People were burned as witches in both England and America. The monotheistic religions had a hard time with anyone who believed in other gods other then their own. Apparently, Jesus dying on a Roman stake was not good enough for the Western church – more blood had to be spelled.

But every society seems to have had some kind of equivalent to the witch. They may have been called Shamans, witch doctors, gypsies, maybe even grandmother herself. Whoever the healers were in society – the psychic, the spiritualist, the herbalists- you had the makings of a witch. And witches were not exactly liked by the church.

Gerard Gardner brought witchcraft back to mainstream society after the last laws banning witchcraft were repelled in England in the 1950’s. He reintroduced ‘The Craft’ to the world with his book ‘Witchcraft Today;’ a book published in 1954.

My initial introduction to the Craft was through a 1960’s TV show called ‘Bewitched, ’ a comedy about an American witch who married a mortal man. Throughout the show we were introduced to covens, rituals, magic, wands, warlocks, Sabbats, and spell-work. Even though a lot of the show was based on false premises (witches being immortal) , the show was on-point with true witchcraft in many ways.

In the 1980’s I came across a book by Erica Jong called ‘Witches.’ This was a coffee table sized book loaded with text, pictures, and poetry explaining Witchcraft. I devoured this book like no other. Erica Jong crafted a very fitting tribute book to a religion she never claimed to be party too. But her involvement in the neo-pagan life style is evident from reading her books and interviews. Erica’s views on sexuality and religion are very close to my own views.

To put it bluntly – I was drawn in.

In 2004 I became a member of Unity Church of Fredericksburg, VA, USA. This church was strong on the Father/Mother God concept, the unity of all things, meditation/yoga, and the divine in all of us. By 2005 I was examining, via the Internet, Wicca or Witchcraft. I started taking a course on Witchcraft through http://www.magickaschool.com. I was also hobnobbing with different witches in the local area where I lived. I did complete one course on the Introduction to Witchcraft through magickaschool.com, and still have a little ways to go on course number two. I am also involved somewhat in the Northern Virginia Witches and Pagans Meetup Group.

After a year of being homeless, I find myself once again drawn to the magick and mystery of this Path. I am reading books on the subject, meditating more, and enjoying the outdoors more. I especially enjoy watching the moon at night going through its many phases. Currently I am reading books by Raymond Buckland and Deborah Lipp. I am also learning The Hidden Path divination cards by Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor, with artwork by Mickie Mueller.

As a pagan/witch/wiccan I am no longer restrained by the shallowness and limitations of the Christian Church. I will put down no religion, but my calling seems to be more metaphysical then revelation based. I believe strongly in the line from the movie ‘Inherit the Wind’ where the defense attorney, played by Spencer Tracey, said regarding the Bible – “The Bible is a good book, but it’s not the only book.”

The path of Witchcraft is an inward path and a mystical path. In a way all spiritually minded people are witches – we all believe in some divine being, we live by some code of law, we believe in the concept of magic/miracles, and we all reach for inner transformation.

I am a Witch because I can be nothing other then a Witch. I can’t twiddle my nose like Samantha in Bewitched and cause magick to happen. It doesn’t work that way. And it’s not about that anyway. Witchcraft is about inner transformation, empowerment, magic, and ultimately LOVE. We love, not by judging and condemning, but by understanding and appreciation. All life is sacred because all life comes from a divine source. That should be the heart and soul of any religious path.

Witchcraft satisfies an inner hunger like nothing else. It is a lifelong study and practice that draws me closer to the god/goddess, keeps me open for all sorts of possibilities, and makes me a channel for light and magick. I feel more at home in this vast universe, and more appreciative of life in general. As I celebrate the Sabbats and esbats, I also celebrate the seasons and learn to adapt to each one. No matter what season, I can follow the moon as it waxes and wanes through each of its cycles.

My spiritual journey began with my introduction and acceptance of the Christian path. But even then I knew there had to be more. And there was: Buddhism, Hinduism, Shamanism, Voodoo, The Golden Dawn, Freemasonry, Gnosticism, and Cabbala, as well as the historical evidence of goddess worship spanning way back into the Old Testament periods.

Witchcraft, in one form or another, has always been here. I embrace it with open arms freely and in sound mind and body. The more I read and study the Craft, the more I am drawn into it. Coming out of the sixties, Witchcraft appeals to me because of its Nature based emphasis, its emphasis on the sacred in everything, its openness to change and its encouragement to grow on whatever Path you are on. Somehow, the idea of celebrating the Goddess out in the openness of nature – singing, chanting, dancing, (skyclad or not) , under an open sky, or under a full moon, appeals to me. Celebrating Nature, and not just theological dogma’s, is what worship is all about.

When I see the full moon in the sky now, I feel like I am walking on sacred ground. The earth is my Cathedral and the Divine is everywhere. I don’t have to worry whether I am theologically sound, or politically correct – it is just me, the goddess, and Mother Nature creating energy and magick through each season, through each rising sun, and through each phase of the moon.

What does it mean to be a Witch? Everything!

So mote it be.

My personal journey from Christianity to Witchcraft

Why Do We Get In Our Own Way?

Why Do We Get In Our Own Way?

Author: Aidan Odinson

Some years ago when I was heavily involved in motorcycling, a certain motorcycle dealer made a remark to me about his competitor in a neighboring city. “I really like them,” he said. “They couldn’t do more for me if they were on my payroll!” The principle can certainly apply to Witches and Pagans. Do we help anyone besides our enemies by bickering among ourselves? Do we accomplish anything in so-called “Witch Wars” other than standing in the way of what we really need and want?

I am addressing the fact that we, as Witches and Pagans, have not yet figured out how to put aside our differences in order to accomplish something. At any rate, that appears to be the case too often. Please bear in mind that I am definitely not suggesting that we should even consider merging together into something as meaninglessly homogenized as some Christian denominations that I could mention. I am also not talking about giving up our differences. I am talking about keeping our differences in their proper perspective so that we can accomplish more, on a broader scope, than we have been able to achieve so far.

One of the most nagging problems we have is that too many of us let differences get in the way of accomplishing anything beyond the level of the very local group. Any number of Internet mailing lists and other efforts prove that some people cannot seem to rise above such disputes as “my tradition is better than yours,” or “your definition of that word is wrong, mine is the only right one,” or “your initiation isn’t as valid as mine.” My first reaction is to wonder why anyone would insist upon making an issue of something that is actually none of their business.

At this point, there is an opportunity for three reality checks. The first is that unless laws are being blatantly broken or basic tenets that we all agree upon are being violated, what a solitary does or what happens within a coven or similar group is their own business and nobody else’s. The second is that if people in any kind of position in Wicca or Paganism expect any degree of respect beyond their own little group, it will only happen as a result of their offering the same respect to others in similar positions in other groups. The third is that any religious group that has gained any degree of acceptance has done so by learning how and when to work together as a whole.

We have grown and are growing. Almost any town large enough to have scheduled airline service is also able to have at least one Pagan/Wiccan shop that does enough business to remain in business over a reasonably long term. I’ve seen one professor’s claim that we are the seventh largest religious group in the US, and the fastest growing. Someone else has made the claim that by 2010 we will be number three. If the latter is true, then that will mean that we will be ahead of at least one group which is already well-accepted by most of the religious mainstream in the United States and elsewhere.

So, why do we sometimes have difficulties in claiming the rights that other faiths seem to enjoy as a matter of course? Why do we have to raise issues in court that other faiths do not have to take to court? Why do we see ourselves portrayed so inaccurately in the popular media when a similar error concerning another faith would end someone’s career? Part of the problem might well be the fact that we are growing, and some other faiths do not appreciate the fact that many of our people used to be their people. But the bigger problem is that we have not yet learned to come together and work together when the need arises. There are times when we need to present a united front.

A quick look at a newspaper or a television news program reveals what happens when someone slanders or harms some other religious group. A top official (President, governor, mayor – and not a substitute assistant flunkey) meets with a group of their senior clergy, and things happen to correct the problem. A perfect example is the situation with Muslims since 9/11, insuring that those who follow Islam did not receive the same fate as Americans of Japanese ancestry in the US suffered in the wake of Pearl Harbor.

Whom would we send to such a meeting? I don’t know, and I am not sure that we would be able to agree on who would be in such a delegation. To begin with, there is no coalition, association, or even an informal network to form a delegation and request a meeting.

There have been times when such a meeting should have happened. Several of us remember the time when Governor Dubya of Texas claimed that he did not consider “Witchcraft” a legitimate religion. There were recent remarks about Pagans that were made by a certain White House official managing the “Faith-Based Initiatives.” Between those incidents, there was a young girl driven to suicide by her classmates in the same school district that had to be taken to federal court on another issue of religious discrimination against Witches. Anyone reading this is probably in a position to name a long list of such incidents. I promise you that if the victims had been Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists, there would have been such a meeting, and it would have happened quickly. Why did we have no such meetings? Because we have nobody, or even a selection of somebodies, who could be seen as being in a position to represent us as a whole!

Of course, part of the problem is that we are not yet an “organized religion” in the manner that most people think of religions. If we were to get organized based on the organizational models currently in use, we would be in danger of having our descendants criticize what we built. Worse yet, they would use the same criticism that we currently aim at some of larger present-day churches.

As a general rule, we comfortably do without the person some folks describe as “the fat bald guy behind the pulpit, telling us what to think.” Continuing that image, we also don’t have a hierarchy of people above that “fat bald guy” whose appointed duty is to insure that our own local “fat bald guy” follows the same party line as all of the other “fat bald guys.” Our covens and groves are as sovereign as our solitaries, and they need to remain so. It’s a major part of that which makes us what we are. But we must learn to work together, and come together when necessary. Witches are known for imagination and creativity, and so designing a structure that would meet the necessary goals while avoiding the known dangers should be within our grasp. That is not to say that it will be an easy task, but it can be done.

Learning to come together and work together is the first step.

Why We Should Agree to Disagree

Why We Should Agree to Disagree

Author: Elevander

I was wandering around on the Internet the other day and came across an article on Wicca and Christianity. As I began to read it, I felt as though someone had punched me physically in the stomach, such was the hatred and vehemence behind the words.

A large portion of it was dedicated to emphasizing how, according to the Bible, Witches are Satanists, heretics and sinners, i.e. children of the devil. We do not follow their texts and their God and so we are painted as being evil and wrong.

The author dismisses emails he had received from Wiccans informing him that we do not believe or have a place for a devil in our faith and pointing him towards websites such as witchvox.com for a clearer view of our faith, by stating that just because we do not acknowledge Satan does not mean that it is not he who leads us.

It is an example of the shining white of the Christian God; if we do not worship him then we must be completely dark and led by Satan. It is a comfort to me that the Lord and Lady are both light, dark and shades of grey, and so nothing I experience will ever be a mystery to them but rather a part of them.

Instead of becoming angry at the intolerance in the words, I found myself considering the similarities between the two faiths, rather than the differences. Wiccans believe that the divine is represented by both male and female, the God and Goddess who were created by The One.

A popular school of thought is that all Goddesses are one; different aspects of the female divine that can be found in every pantheon, the same applies to the God and the male divine. This could be interpreted as there being one God.

The concept of a Goddess places the first stumbling block, and yet Christianity does have a female figurehead in the form of the Virgin Mother (notably Catholicism in which Mary can be revered even more than Jesus, especially by the women).

Ignoring the inherent dehumanization of her title, Mary the Virgin Mother does provide a female influence even if her importance in relation to the Christian God is generally iniquitous within the texts and their followers.

It may be suggested that, similar to the Triple Goddess, the Christian God is considered to have three aspects, which make up the Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, although Christians have said that this is not the case and that the three are One together, rather than being three separate aspects of the One.

This is rather confusing as they are mentioned separately by name in the new testament and yet the old testament uses the term ‘God/Lord’ throughout, suggesting that the two options are synonymous like the Goddess, whose three aspects can be spoken to separately or as one; but all are the Goddess.

I see more similarities on a moral level, the Bible containing parables and passages about the way you should treat your fellow man.

The Bible contains the story of Moses and the 10 commandments – the Christian ‘laws’ if you will, such as “Thou shalt not steal…commit murder…adultery, etc.

We Wiccans have one law ‘An’ it harm none, do as thou wilt’. It seems to me that this encompasses the 10 commandments and more besides, but without all the negative commands such as ‘Put to death any woman who practices magic’ (Exodus 22:18).

Are the two faiths really all that different?

I mean obviously there are differences in outlook as Wiccans do not seek to recruit others or disparage their paths as each person’s path is their own, but surely it is how people behave towards each other that is most important, not the fine details of exactly what they believe?

A point was made that Wiccans have no place or need for forgiveness within our faith and so no concept of sin. I personally believe this to be untrue, anything which goes against the Rede is wrong and therefore could be considered a ‘sin’, it is just that we do not need to ask forgiveness from a perfect God, but rather seek understanding and forgiveness from a divine that is both darkness and light and therefore a divine that understands.

As we are a part of the divine, we must also be able to forgive ourselves our mistakes and make conscious efforts to learn from them, so that they may not repeat themselves.

I suppose a concise way of looking at it would be that Wiccans try to make up for our mistakes while we are alive, and so learn lessons, rather than pay for them and be punished once we have died.

Perhaps what I will say next will seem simplistic, but if everyone made the effort to see common areas rather than differences we may all be better off and happier in ourselves.

Even if this means placing importance on different (and possibly more constructive) parts of the Bible teachings such as “Love thy neighbor as thy brother”, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” and “Judge not, lest ye be judged” (‘Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to ye again’ Ibid 7:1-2).

There are more cultures, faiths and origins in today’s society than we can count and yet intolerance and prejudice has not been diminished.

With the growing unrest and suspicion due to the ongoing wars and the media panic over terrorism where everyone is a potential enemy, tolerance needs all the help it can get – even if it means that those who walk in peace must agree to disagree in order to concentrate on the wider issues.

– Christians Don’t Understand Wicca? David J Stewart

– The Holy Bible

Wicca v Witchcraft

Wicca v Witchcraft

Author:   Irishdize  

What are some of the differences between a Witch and a Wiccan?

Wiccans believe in and worship deities, usually a male and female God or a God and Goddess. Most Witches either worship only the Goddess or see the Goddess as a personification of nature, as I do. Wicca is one religion with laws, such as the Wiccan rede and the law of three. The rede says ‘an it harm none, do what ye will’. While I think it’s a wonderful law that covers just about everything you could ever wonder about, I don’t and cannot follow it. I simply instead do the best I can, given my circumstances. I don’t believe in ‘the law of three’ either which is whatever I send out ‘will come back to me times three’. I certainly believe in the law of Return, but it doesn’t work in quite the same way. Whatever I send out does return, but right away and is usually the exact same lesson reversed back at me. As you might surmise, I am not Wiccan.

Another key difference is that Wiccans will generally take gods and goddesses from mythology and call upon them for certain help, such as calling Aphrodite when they are doing a love spell. I simply do not need to use mythological deities to make my magic work; Magic is using natural energies that exist within me and around me in Nature to bring about change. In fact, one can believe that God doesn’t exist and still work Magic. Wiccans have a Wheel of the Year that they celebrate. There are eight holidays — starting on Oct 31st ‘Samhain’ or the Witches New Years. Their holiday structure has four high holy days and four low days as well as 13 Moons, some full and some new, when Magic is usually worked or divination is usually done.

I have random ritual days wherein I will spend the entire day or night in ritual, reading, contemplating, spirit dancing, or just connecting to the trees, rocks, the grass, whatever I feel like doing. Sometimes I will watch spiritually uplifting movies or listen to Native American music. Sometimes, I will just sleep or do readings by dice and Tarot. It’s all unplanned and very spontaneous whereas in Wicca, it’s usually planned down to the letter. Spells are written out before they are performed, as are rituals and of course, as I said, they know what day is a ritual day and what not. Most Wiccans I have encountered believe that their strongest magic can only happen on Full and New Moons. I disagree completely. Magic comes from within; it doesn’t matter what day or night one performs it and it doesn’t matter how well written your spell is or what tools you have (if you even have any tools) .

Most Wiccans have many tools and an Athame to direct energy or cast the circle. This is done for many reasons I am told: to create sacred space, to have a protective barrier against negative energies, lurking spirits or unexpected Visitors (human or animal) or to keep the magic within the circle until they are ready to send it out to do its purpose.

Witches like myself generally see no reason for a circle. Nature is holy; The Universe is Divine. There is no place in Nature that is not sacred already to us, so if the circle is being drawn for that reason, it isn’t needed. The energies that are around us at all times are both positive and negative, and while you can definitely put a mental shield up to protect yourself against such energies that cause you stress or harm, an imaginary circle isn’t needed. but by all means if you feel a need for it, who am I to say you shouldn’t do it?

Lurking spirits aren’t relevant to me as I don’t believe in spirits or ghosts and let me tell you something honestly, I have NEVER cast a circle in ritual while doing magic and never had my spells backfire or had any negative response. Sure, I’ve had spells that didn’t work because I didn’t put the right amount of effort into them but that had nothing to do with not casting an invisible circle or because I didn’t make the backyard sacred enough. As far as unexpected visitors or animals, my cat is just as sacred as the tree is so I am not worried about his energies affecting my work.

Many other tools that a Wiccan might have are cauldrons, mortar and pestle, wands, specific colored candles, incense, specific books by well respected authors, etc. I use only the following: Incense, Oils, Sage, Candles and Dice. I use Tarot Cards on occasion for personal insight, not to read the future. I do believe that you have to use specific colors to achieve certain goals but at the same time I KNOW that this isn’t true, I have used a yellow candle, for example, to bring money into my life and it worked because ultimately the candle is just a tool, Magic comes from within me and around me but I NEED what I NEED at the moment and candle colors represents some inner need, so I embrace that at the moment.

Books are of my own choosing. I read what I am drawn to read. A lot of the times, the books on my shelves are devotionals from different religions or books on Wicca (because that’s all I can find) . I have heard from several Wiccans that we should not read books written by certain authors. Let me tell you, read whatever feels right to you, whatever you are drawn to. Don’t worry about what another person thinks about you or your path. Maybe you need to read something in that book to teach you a lesson?

Of course, we Shadak Witches also have 108 Books of Shadak that we draw inspiration and wisdom from. These books have been handwritten or typed out by modern-day Witches with computers and are leather bound. These books are filled with the thoughts, ideas and opinions of our family members as well as instructions, rules and rule changes, counsel decisions and more and are to be read alongside any other books of our choosing.

Most Wiccans I have met believe in the Summerlands or life after death, ghosts, and angels. I’ve even heard some Wiccans speak of demons, which are from the Christian religion. I suspect these are Wiccans who were raised around Christianity.

I believe that when a person dies, their energy is reabsorbed back into Nature, back into the Goddess. I don’t believe in a traditional afterlife, so no Summerlands, no angels, no ghosts, no demons. I don’t believe in Jesus either -shocking, huh?

My altar is very simple, as well. I have two altars at the moment because I am living in my own apartment and then, part time, with my boyfriend. Both altars are just flat wooden tables. Both have candles on them, incense, oils, sage, some dice, Tarot Cards, books, flowers in a vase. Nothing elaborate; no statues, no athames, no pictures of the lord and lady, no pentacles…though I do wear a pentacle necklace and a pentacle ring, Both to me represent that I am Pagan, that I believe in the 4 elements and spirit and the six senses.

Most Wiccans have a year-and a-day of study. They can start out a bright-eyed bushy-tailed young teen ager and a year later become a High Priestess who doesn’t even know how to read tarot cards!

In Witchcraft, there either is no degree system at all — because progress is marked personally by how much we have learned or how much we have experienced — or there is a personal degree system such as the one that I follow which takes many YEARS to get through until you can become a High Priest. There are six levels within each degree in the system I follow and you earn a level by reading certain books and doing what you are supposed to do in the books. You do a simplistic ritual to see if you have earned a level. The die is instrumental in determining this.

Wiccans care very much about the rede and law of three. They don’t hurt people willy-nilly. But in The Tradition of Witchcraft I was raised in, we must wait for certain changes to happen. We must wait for the doors to open. This means that if I want to go to college, I must read The Books, cast the dice and wait for that door to open, Wiccans may just apply and attend school, not thinking about whether or not this is their intended path, whether or not they have taken a slot that someone else was supposed to have, etc. After all, what rule is there to follow other than the rede?

As far as sex, the body, life on Earth, we have similar views. Sex is sacred to most Wiccans and Witches and whatever someone does, as long as there isn’t harm, is all right. I’m gay and that’s perfectly accepted in both paths. The body is Holy.

Many Wiccans I have encountered tell me that Wicca is the religion and Witchcraft is just Magic. Magic is Magic, folks. You can be a Witch and NEVER practice Magic. There are many Traditions out there called Witchcraft and these people consider this to be their religion or spiritual path, as I do! If someone asked me what my religion was, I would say I am a Unitarian Universalist and a Solitary Eclectic Witch. I might also say that I am a Shadak Witch because Shadakism is the name of the tradition that I was raised in, It would depend on how much time I wanted to invest in explaining myself to the person I was talking with.

Magic is such a small part of being a Witch. I think I have been a Witch for 29 years and have done only about 50 spells in that entire time. Most of what I do is worship Nature, cook, garden, read, contemplate, dance, chant, cleanse, clean, watch TV, listen to music, have sex, walk in the woods, swim and cast dice, which are all parts of being a Witch. You should embrace your spiritual life as well as your ‘mundane’ life.

‘Blessed Be’ is usually a Wiccan saying, much like Merry Meet or Merry Part. Most Witches won’t say this when you meet them. It’s one good way to tell if the person you are speaking with is a Witch or a Wiccan… but some Witches will use the term if they are speaking with someone else who uses it. For example, my sister is Wiccan and will often end our conversations with “Blessed Be!” and out of respect I will also say it.

So, out of respect for the Wiccans who chose to read this, I say, “Blessed Be”!

Laugh of the Day for Aug. 18 – Your dentist is crazy

Your dentist is crazy

The Top 10 Signs Your Dentist Is Crazy

  1. Keeps trying to sell you extra teeth.
  2. His restrooms are labeled “Bleeders” and “Non-Bleeders”
  3. Pumps gas into the waiting room in advance.
  4. Does an extensive search for cavities…dental and body.
  5. He…ummm..licks his tools clean.
  6. Gets mad when you mention that 4 out of 5 dentists surveyed line.
  7. When you come to from being under the gas, he’s quick to insist that you wore your pants backwards when you came into his office.
  8. Wears a necklace made of human teeth.
  9. Has a grindstone in the office for his tools.
  10. Insists that a Novacaine shot is something that he’ll buy you at a bar if you just go out with him.

Daily Feng Shui Tip for Aug. 18: 'Serendipity Day'

I don’t believe in serendipity. I thought it apropos to share this fact today, since it is ‘Serendipity Day.’ I believe that the things you put your complete attention and focus on are what create every situation and circumstance in your life. Surround yourself with images of the people, places and things that you would like to see integrated into your existence and then don’t be surprised when they ‘serendipitously’ show up.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

Your Charm for August 18 is The Bulla

Your Charm for Today

Today’s Meaning:   

You are distracted from this aspect by other areas of your life you feel are more pressing. This aspect is suffering from this lack of attention. You must ask yourself how much more you can let it suffer before you give it due attention.

General Description:   

From remote times the terrors of the arts of fascination have been dreaded, and by wearing this charm, which contained a written invocation to their gods, it was believed that full protection was obtained. The Bulla was popular in Rome from a very early period. It was worn on a necklace, or upon the girdle. The Gorgons head, with hair of writhing snakes, was believed to terrify and drive away the power of the bewitcher. Even today in many countries, the magic power of the evil eye is still believed in.

Your Animal Spirit for August 18 is Turtle

Your Animal Spirit for Today
    August 18, 2013



Turtle carries his home on his back, and his question to you today is whether your life is weighed down with “things” that serve no purpose. Everyone loves buying stuff, but do you use shopping, spending, and the acquisition of “things” as a substitute for passion, conviction, commitment?  It’s worth thinking about, isn’t it?

Today's Tarot Card for August 18 is The Hermit

The Hermit

Sunday, Aug 18th, 2013

The challenge of what has traditionally been known as the Hermit card is to be able to recognize a teacher in a humble disguise. This font of mysterious knowledge will not make it easy for the student to acquire his wisdom, as it takes time and long contemplation to fathom what he knows. He often speaks wordlessly, or in ancient and barbaric tongues, communicating with the elements, animals and Nature herself.

While the hourglass was an identifying feature on the earliest Hermit cards, more modern ones have shifted the metaphor, showing more or less light released from his lantern. In either case, the Hermit card reminds us of the value of time away from the hubbub of civic life, to relax the ego in communion with Nature.

Daily Horoscopes for Sunday, August 18

Managing our options can be challenging today because it’s tempting to take our emotions to extremes. The ambitious Capricorn Moon prompts us to stifle our feelings as we offset sensual desires with an unquenchable thirst for success. However, pleasure-seeking Venus is empowered as she moves through her home sign of collaborative Libra until September 11. Nevertheless, it’s difficult now to strike a healthy balance between work and play

Aries Horoscope

(Mar 21 – Apr 19)

Finding your comfort zone is tricky today because the more you adapt to meet the needs of others, the more you want to break free from the demands being placed upon you now. However, withdrawing emotionally tends to make you resentful. Your smartest strategy is to prevent your energy from stagnating. If you consciously breathe deeply throughout the day, you won’t be as likely to suppress your feelings. Expressing your desires without being tied to the outcome relieves the pressure for everyone around you.

Taurus Horoscope

(Apr 20 – May 20)

You might have a difficult time acknowledging the wishes of your friends and family today. Although the Moon is still in earthy Capricorn, your stubborn streak may surface in little ways that prevent you from just walking away from a volatile situation. Explore strategies that include someone who was previously the subject of your criticism or ire. Instead of being a perfectionist now, make the most of your heightened senses by responding in a more practical and enlightened manner.

Gemini Horoscope

(May 21 – Jun 20)

You may be feeling a bit out of sorts today, especially if someone is counting on you for something you don’t want to do. You might have other plans, but chances are that not much is going to change yet. Your values are brought into sharp focus as you compare your desires to your current opportunities. But satisfaction is elusive; although having patience can be tough, you need it now more than ever. Waiting may be the hardest part, but it also brings the greatest rewards.

Cancer Horoscope

(Jun 21 – Jul 22)

You are at the beginning of a three-week phase where your needs may be in stark contrast with what is offered to you in the real world. The key is to seek balance between experiencing new pleasures and getting your most basic needs met so you can feel secure. This is not a time to go overboard with indulgences. Nevertheless, you will be surprised how happy you can be if you just take care of the bare minimums and leave the rest up to the universe.

Leo Horoscope

(Jul 23 – Aug 22)

You are eager to discuss your attractions and desires in an objective manner now. Thankfully, you have an even-handed approach to relationships and the more you talk about them, the better your chances are to find the love you’re seeking. However, chores or previous commitments could get in the way of your pursuit of happiness if you put too much emphasis on them. Meet your obligations, but leave time to explore your personal needs, too.

Virgo Horoscope

(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

Reevaluating your priorities inspires you to set new relationship goals. Thankfully, it’s easier to express your needs in a more spontaneous manner now that the earthy Capricorn Moon is visiting your 5th House of Love and Play. But you might also feel a bit wistful if you think you missed your chance to have fun today. Don’t worry if sharing your desires with a good friend is currently easier than actually fulfilling them. You’ll have another opportunity to act like a kid in just a few days.

Libra Horoscope

(Sep 23 – Oct 22)

You may be preoccupied with relationship issues as the love planet Venus travels through your sign for the next three weeks. Luckily, you’re more likely to experience sensual pleasure now since your charm factor is soaring. However, you also can get lazy as you soak in the good times that await you. Instead of concentrating all your energy on fleeting moments of physical enjoyment, explore ways to let your creativity take root and flower. Remain open to being surprised because romance is in the air and magic is afoot.

Scorpio Horoscope

(Oct 23 – Nov 21)

Someone may ask you to play the role of a compassionate caretaker now, and the more love you have for this person, the easier the job will be. You can feel a high level of altruism in relationships these days, but your tendency toward self-denial could become a problem if you are being pressured or coerced. If you’re not feeling it then inaction is better than faking good intentions; do what’s in your heart and you can’t go wrong.

Sagittarius Horoscope

(Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Your mind is working overtime envisioning reliable ways to make money, but your follow-through might not support your big ideas now. Your social needs lure you away from your more practical responsibilities; you may prefer to have a memorable time with friends than to put extra hours in on a project. Fortunately, love can be combined with friendship in a way that makes adventures more possible today, especially when you are participating in group activities. Get out and have some fun while the getting is good.

Capricorn Horoscope

(Dec 22 – Jan 19)

It may seem easier to make more money these days, but don’t get sidetracked by any kind of get-rich-quick schemes. Love isn’t full of surprises now; instead, you get what you deserve. This is a great time to reach for your goals because people in power are more inclined to support your ambitions now that attractive Venus is visiting your 10th House of Public Status. Happily, you can count on what you receive as being the real thing in matters of the heart or concerns about the bottom line.

Aquarius Horoscope

(Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Companionship arrives in unusual forms today and broadens your horizons in ways that you never imagined. These next three weeks may offer you intriguing opportunities to take a trip with someone special, but even if this doesn’t happen, keep in mind that you can still travel within the realms of your imagination. Lighten your approach to love; it’s too important of a journey to take seriously.

Pisces Horoscope

(Feb 19 – Mar 20)

You might attempt to maintain your balance in the realm of relationships now, but your sexual appetite could pull you into deeper emotional waters. Nearly any intimate encounter takes on unexpected intensity since you’re more likely to express your passions without restraint today. Your current challenge is to create an emotionally safe space where feelings can flow naturally.

Daily Cosmic Calendar for August 18

[All times are calculated for the Pacific Daylight Zone. If you are living in a different time zone, add or subtract the necessary hours so that any timed alignment will be exact where you live.]  Every month, the two days before a Full Moon constitute a preparation time-period. That is the process beginning now for the enlightening vibrations about to manifest throughout humanity and the Earth on Tuesday August 20.  Keep in mind that yesterday’s Sun-Ceres conjunction still carries a lot of potency concerning your productive output across the board, eating habits, and interaction with maternal figures. Tensions may be rising in the psychic environment due to the monthly Moon-Mars polarity — right now happening between Capricorn and Cancer (11:27AM). An extra hassle here could be that this opposition across the zodiac also starts a void lunar uncertainty zone that lingers until 9:08PM when the Moon enters airy Aquarius. During the 9+ hours when the Moon is void-of-course, it is much better to mellow out completely than to use arm-twisting maneuvers to make someone do your bidding or follow your lead. In other words, relax, have fun, and let sleeping dogs lie.  It is intriguing that Mercury unites with Vesta in Leo (12:27PM) — a conjunction that has a capacity to increase the value of your assets and investments. However, you are advised to utilize this favorable sky pattern after the Moon enters Aquarius (9:08PM). Once the Moon is in the eleventh sign of the zodiac, group projects, team sports, and community activism are reinforced

Calendar of the Moon for August 18

Calendar of the Moon

Coll Invocation

Colors: Blue and Brown
Element: Water and Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of blue place a goblet of spring water, the figure of a leaping salmon, and three blue candles; next to them on cloth of brown place a musical instrument, a pen, and fresh flowers.
Offerings: Poetry, songs, art, writing.
Daily Meal: Either fish (for the Salmon), poultry (for the Duck) or salads.

Coll Invocation:

Call: Hail the month of the Hazel Tree!
Response: Hail the month of the nuts that nourish us.
Call: First tree of the harvest, you give forth wisdom.
Response: Last tree of the summer, you chant our memories.
Call: The fading warmth follows you,
Response: And we feast on the fruits of your knowledge.
Call: This is the month of words and song.
Response: This is the month of the search for the mysteries.
Call: This is the month of the sacred pool,
Response: Wherein swims the Salmon of Knowledge.
Call: We fish for the gleams of divine light on the surface,
Response: We dive for the truths that lie deep in the Well.
Call: Our intuition is the hazel-twig held before us.
Response: We shall search out the underground streams.
Call: We shall find the hidden treasures.
Response: We shall spread them forth in words of power.
Call: We shall bring them forth with our hands in works of art,
Response: We shall gift the Gods and the people with our songs.
Call: Our voices will find their way across the land.
Response: Hear us, O Gods, as we sing your praises!
Call: This is the month of the bard’s silver tongue,
Response: This is the month of the golden door of autumn.
Call: As the Hazel Tree stands with words of peace,
Response: So shall we stand between the warring parties.
Call: So shall our Rule spread Justice and Peace,
Response: So shall our words spread beauty and harmony.

(As this is the month of the Bard, one or more shall stand forth and sing before the others, or read what words they would, to bring gladness and knowledge to the hearts of those who listen.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]