Magick is All Around Us

Magick is All Around Us

Author: Luna 

Sometimes I get my inspirations from the simplest things. Sometimes it’s just a walk in the woods, and sometimes it’s the time of year or the holiday. Other times, it’s from interacting with a variety of people or animals, from playing with my dogs to working with native Chinese people. This time, inspiration came from somewhere I wasn’t expecting: one of the emails you guys have been sending me (thank you, thank you, thank you, by the way) .

A few weeks before writing this, I got an email from someone with a question I wasn’t quite expecting. The writer asked, “Do you think I can do magic with all this reality around me?” I have to admit that I’ve never been asked a question like that before. And, for a little while, I was confused as to how to respond to it. But then it came to me: perhaps the person who emailed me was having trouble sensing the magick in his everyday life and the forces he wanted to work with. This was something that I struggled with back when I first came to Wicca and that has taken practice for me to become good at. Not only that, but for many people coming to Wicca from a paradigm that sees magick as a thing of fantasy, this can be a really difficult barrier to overcome. So let’s talk about it a bit, shall we?

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about this dilemma is the two different spellings that get used: magic and magick. With just the addition of a simple letter, we can change the meaning of what we would’ve thought of before as just one thing: a force of fantasy capable of creating great change and wonder but that is impossible to achieve in real life.

Now, you guys may or may not have noticed this, but in my essays for the Witches’ Voice, I tend to prefer the spelling with a k, and there is a reason for this. The main reason for this is to maintain a bit of separation between the magick I work with in my life and the magic I’m used to in role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and video games. When I first came to Wicca, I didn’t know that there could be one letter that could, for some of us, differentiate between two completely different concepts. And let me tell you, if you think I’m talking crazy again: I’m pretty sure throwing fireballs and a simple prosperity spell don’t fall under the same paradigm. That’s just my take on it. But I hope the explanation helps a little.

The next problem we come to in dealing with this barrier has to do with where we come from in terms of religion. I think I speak for a lot of us who came from either a Judeo-Christian background or from another religion that doesn’t see magick the same way that much of the Neopagan or at least the Wiccan community does. I know that for me, when I grew up, I didn’t think of magick in the same way. When I was younger, Harry Potter and The Wizard of Oz provided my definitions of Witchcraft and magic. To my young mind, the only kind of magic I knew existed in fiction and wasn’t possible in real life.

Not only that, but growing up originally in the Christian faith, magic and religion didn’t mix. And I’m sure that, in some areas where you might live (and this is based only on my experience) , magick and Witchcraft are seen in a very different light. I’ve heard about so much about a number of Fundamentalists and some other sects of Christianity who denounce Wiccans and others as being in league with the devil or some such nonsense. Most if not all of us have at least heard of the Salem Witch Trials and other occurrences from what has been called the Burning Times. Now, even though I’ve left my Christian roots somewhat behind, I have a great respect for Christianity and many of its adherents. I have no problem with Christianity as a whole. It’s just some people who become very extreme and hateful about what I choose to believe and practice. I know it’s not always Christians who say these things, but it’s mainly what comes to mind. And I’m sure it’s what comes to mind for some of you, who came to Wicca or another Pagan path from a similar background to mine. And coming from a background and religious paradigm that sees magic as non-existent or confined to fiction (and those who claim to work as, at best, perhaps slightly delusional and, at worst, evil people) , accepting magick into the way one perceives reality can be rather challenging. Believe me when I say that I’ve been there and done that.
(I really hope I’m not confusing any newcomers with the whole magic/magick thing at this point…)

What’s important to keep in mind is that magick doesn’t work the same as how we’ve seen it in books, movies, video games, etc. Magick in reality is much more subtle; you don’t see people throwing fireballs at each other or calling down lightning from the sky because things don’t work that way. In fact, I like to think of how magick works in our world (as opposed to Harry Potter, great though the series is) as something akin to the wonders of a cup of tea. Why a cup of tea, you ask? Well, it may not seem like it’s doing much, but there is a certain calming power about it when you feel distressed (or, in the case of raspberry leaf tea, really helps out with bad and painful—uh, that might be TMI) . That, and it reminds me of something my dad said when I came out of the broom closet to him. While it was obvious (as many of you know from reading my essays) that my dad would see magick as being impossible, he is more than willing to admit the wonders of cup of tea has when I’m having a nuclear meltdown. I must admit that a part of me giggled inside, thinking, “Uh, Dad? That can be magick too.”

It’s often in the little things that we wouldn’t think of as magick or wouldn’t tend to notice. I often find that the magick I sense in the world always gives me a little tingle of excitement or is tied to an emotion. It could be the calming feeling that comes when watching the waves as they drift in and out with the tide. It could be the smell of a rose or any flower. It could be the sun shining down on you on a nice day (or in the midst of a ton of snow) . It could be that feeling you have when you’re with the one you love, that tender moment when you kiss. For me, this magick I sense often comes when I’m swimming, usually in a lake or in the ocean (chlorinated pool water doesn’t cut it for this type of experience, too many chemicals) . For some reason, whenever I get farther out into the water or even when I’m in open water with only a boat nearby, I feel this surge of energy and giddiness. One thing to try is to really pay attention to those feelings and sensations. At least from my experience, they can definitely be magickal.

The last barrier I wan to talk about in talking about magick in one’s life is visualization. Some of us come to Wicca or another Pagan path with a lack of practice in visualization. Now, I talked about this in my “The Importance of Basic Techniques” essay way back when, but visualization is an essential to magickal workings as well as other aspects of a Pagan faith. For many who come to Wicca or another path from a background that doesn’t see magick as part of reality, sometimes a lack of visualization skills can impact their first attempts to work with magick. Believe me, that was I a few years ago when I was first starting out. However, with some practice, I’ve found that this is the easiest barrier to overcome, especially once the importance of this technique has been explained properly. I’ve received an email in response to that essay that thanked me for clearing up why it was so important, as the sender had merely been told to practice these techniques without any explanation as to why it mattered (I really do enjoy some of the responses I get) .

So, thinking back to “The Importance of Basic Techniques” and my evening with Max, I want you to try this exercise, if you care to oblige me (you don’t have to) . Go ahead and hold your hands a little ways apart from each other and try to feel a ball of energy between them. Nothing yet? Now try it again but try to clearly picture the ball in your mind. It doesn’t matter is how big the ball is, but I want you to actively visualize it. Picture a ball forming between your hands. It can be any color you like and can take on any aspect. Are you seeing a difference? Even if you don’t see anything (which may not happen; it didn’t for me before) , you can probably feel something keeping your hands from coming together. Visualization definitely makes a difference in that exercise.

I’m going to leave you with a few resources that really address some of the questions about magick and visualization for those who are still having trouble. The first one is, of course, the “Wicca First Degree” videos from user MagickTV on YouTube. I mentioned them back when I talked about basic techniques, but I want to give it another mention and a recommendation to check out the rest of the series as well. In particular, the exercises they give in addition to the main lessons are extremely helpful when working on visualization. Along with that, I’ve got a bit of reading material for you as well. The two main books I want to recommend are “The Inner Temple of Witchcraft” by Christopher Penczack and “Natural Witchery: Intuitive, Personal and Practical Magick” by Ellen Dugan. These two books place a lot of emphasis on visualization and psychic/magickal development for the beginner, and they’ve been a big help to me.

So, in conclusion, is it hard to sense magick in our everyday lives? For some of us, it can be, especially when we take our first few tentative steps down our chosen paths. Is it there, part of the reality around us? Of course it is, even if we don’t always notice it. And, to answer the question posed to me by a curious reader, can you work magick with all this reality around us? Yes, you can. It may be difficult at times, and you may find that some techniques may not work as well for you. But so long as you keep an open mind and an open heart, and as long as the work is meaningful to you, I personally see no reason why you can’t.

Magick is everywhere around us, part of the reality we live. And, for my part at least, it’s one of the things that makes life and spirituality truly special for any young Pagan, Wiccan or Witch.

_______________________________________________

Footnotes:
“You Don’t Always Need Magick” by Luna
http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usmn and c=words and id=15186

“The Importance of Basic Techniques” by Luna
http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usmn and c=words and id=15057

A Beautiful Blessing for Our Familiars

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Furry and mysterious
You have blessed my life
And my magickal practice
With your sweet spirit
And the essence of your soul.
 
Be blessed and welcome
Companion and helper
As you boost my power
By lending your strength
And your own deep magick.
 
May we live together
And practice together
For many years to come
And bring joy and strength
As we grow in our bond.
 
In perfect love and perfect trust
May we practice our magick
forever and ever
O blessed familiar.
 

So Mote It Be.

 

Magick is All Around Us

Magick is All Around Us

Author:   Luna   

Sometimes I get my inspirations from the simplest things. Sometimes it’s just a walk in the woods, and sometimes it’s the time of year or the holiday. Other times, it’s from interacting with a variety of people or animals, from playing with my dogs to working with native Chinese people. This time, inspiration came from somewhere I wasn’t expecting: one of the emails you guys have been sending me (thank you, thank you, thank you, by the way) .

A few weeks before writing this, I got an email from someone with a question I wasn’t quite expecting. The writer asked, “Do you think I can do magic with all this reality around me?” I have to admit that I’ve never been asked a question like that before. And, for a little while, I was confused as to how to respond to it. But then it came to me: perhaps the person who emailed me was having trouble sensing the magick in his everyday life and the forces he wanted to work with. This was something that I struggled with back when I first came to Wicca and that has taken practice for me to become good at. Not only that, but for many people coming to Wicca from a paradigm that sees magick as a thing of fantasy, this can be a really difficult barrier to overcome. So let’s talk about it a bit, shall we?

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about this dilemma is the two different spellings that get used: magic and magick. With just the addition of a simple letter, we can change the meaning of what we would’ve thought of before as just one thing: a force of fantasy capable of creating great change and wonder but that is impossible to achieve in real life.

Now, you guys may or may not have noticed this, but in my essays for the Witches’ Voice, I tend to prefer the spelling with a k, and there is a reason for this. The main reason for this is to maintain a bit of separation between the magick I work with in my life and the magic I’m used to in role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and video games. When I first came to Wicca, I didn’t know that there could be one letter that could, for some of us, differentiate between two completely different concepts. And let me tell you, if you think I’m talking crazy again: I’m pretty sure throwing fireballs and a simple prosperity spell don’t fall under the same paradigm. That’s just my take on it. But I hope the explanation helps a little.

The next problem we come to in dealing with this barrier has to do with where we come from in terms of religion. I think I speak for a lot of us who came from either a Judeo-Christian background or from another religion that doesn’t see magick the same way that much of the Neopagan or at least the Wiccan community does. I know that for me, when I grew up, I didn’t think of magick in the same way. When I was younger, Harry Potter and The Wizard of Oz provided my definitions of Witchcraft and magic. To my young mind, the only kind of magic I knew existed in fiction and wasn’t possible in real life.

Not only that, but growing up originally in the Christian faith, magic and religion didn’t mix. And I’m sure that, in some areas where you might live (and this is based only on my experience) , magick and Witchcraft are seen in a very different light. I’ve heard about so much about a number of Fundamentalists and some other sects of Christianity who denounce Wiccans and others as being in league with the devil or some such nonsense. Most if not all of us have at least heard of the Salem Witch Trials and other occurrences from what has been called the Burning Times. Now, even though I’ve left my Christian roots somewhat behind, I have a great respect for Christianity and many of its adherents. I have no problem with Christianity as a whole. It’s just some people who become very extreme and hateful about what I choose to believe and practice. I know it’s not always Christians who say these things, but it’s mainly what comes to mind. And I’m sure it’s what comes to mind for some of you, who came to Wicca or another Pagan path from a similar background to mine. And coming from a background and religious paradigm that sees magic as non-existent or confined to fiction (and those who claim to work as, at best, perhaps slightly delusional and, at worst, evil people) , accepting magick into the way one perceives reality can be rather challenging. Believe me when I say that I’ve been there and done that.
(I really hope I’m not confusing any newcomers with the whole magic/magick thing at this point…)

What’s important to keep in mind is that magick doesn’t work the same as how we’ve seen it in books, movies, video games, etc. Magick in reality is much more subtle; you don’t see people throwing fireballs at each other or calling down lightning from the sky because things don’t work that way. In fact, I like to think of how magick works in our world (as opposed to Harry Potter, great though the series is) as something akin to the wonders of a cup of tea. Why a cup of tea, you ask? Well, it may not seem like it’s doing much, but there is a certain calming power about it when you feel distressed (or, in the case of raspberry leaf tea, really helps out with bad and painful—uh, that might be TMI) . That, and it reminds me of something my dad said when I came out of the broom closet to him. While it was obvious (as many of you know from reading my essays) that my dad would see magick as being impossible, he is more than willing to admit the wonders of cup of tea has when I’m having a nuclear meltdown. I must admit that a part of me giggled inside, thinking, “Uh, Dad? That can be magick too.”

It’s often in the little things that we wouldn’t think of as magick or wouldn’t tend to notice. I often find that the magick I sense in the world always gives me a little tingle of excitement or is tied to an emotion. It could be the calming feeling that comes when watching the waves as they drift in and out with the tide. It could be the smell of a rose or any flower. It could be the sun shining down on you on a nice day (or in the midst of a ton of snow) . It could be that feeling you have when you’re with the one you love, that tender moment when you kiss. For me, this magick I sense often comes when I’m swimming, usually in a lake or in the ocean (chlorinated pool water doesn’t cut it for this type of experience, too many chemicals) . For some reason, whenever I get farther out into the water or even when I’m in open water with only a boat nearby, I feel this surge of energy and giddiness. One thing to try is to really pay attention to those feelings and sensations. At least from my experience, they can definitely be magickal.

The last barrier I wan to talk about in talking about magick in one’s life is visualization. Some of us come to Wicca or another Pagan path with a lack of practice in visualization. Now, I talked about this in my “The Importance of Basic Techniques” essay way back when, but visualization is an essential to magickal workings as well as other aspects of a Pagan faith. For many who come to Wicca or another path from a background that doesn’t see magick as part of reality, sometimes a lack of visualization skills can impact their first attempts to work with magick. Believe me, that was I a few years ago when I was first starting out. However, with some practice, I’ve found that this is the easiest barrier to overcome, especially once the importance of this technique has been explained properly. I’ve received an email in response to that essay that thanked me for clearing up why it was so important, as the sender had merely been told to practice these techniques without any explanation as to why it mattered (I really do enjoy some of the responses I get) .

So, thinking back to “The Importance of Basic Techniques” and my evening with Max, I want you to try this exercise, if you care to oblige me (you don’t have to) . Go ahead and hold your hands a little ways apart from each other and try to feel a ball of energy between them. Nothing yet? Now try it again but try to clearly picture the ball in your mind. It doesn’t matter is how big the ball is, but I want you to actively visualize it. Picture a ball forming between your hands. It can be any color you like and can take on any aspect. Are you seeing a difference? Even if you don’t see anything (which may not happen; it didn’t for me before) , you can probably feel something keeping your hands from coming together. Visualization definitely makes a difference in that exercise.

I’m going to leave you with a few resources that really address some of the questions about magick and visualization for those who are still having trouble. The first one is, of course, the “Wicca First Degree” videos from user MagickTV on YouTube. I mentioned them back when I talked about basic techniques, but I want to give it another mention and a recommendation to check out the rest of the series as well. In particular, the exercises they give in addition to the main lessons are extremely helpful when working on visualization. Along with that, I’ve got a bit of reading material for you as well. The two main books I want to recommend are “The Inner Temple of Witchcraft” by Christopher Penczack and “Natural Witchery: Intuitive, Personal and Practical Magick” by Ellen Dugan. These two books place a lot of emphasis on visualization and psychic/magickal development for the beginner, and they’ve been a big help to me.

So, in conclusion, is it hard to sense magick in our everyday lives? For some of us, it can be, especially when we take our first few tentative steps down our chosen paths. Is it there, part of the reality around us? Of course it is, even if we don’t always notice it. And, to answer the question posed to me by a curious reader, can you work magick with all this reality around us? Yes, you can. It may be difficult at times, and you may find that some techniques may not work as well for you. But so long as you keep an open mind and an open heart, and as long as the work is meaningful to you, I personally see no reason why you can’t.

Magick is everywhere around us, part of the reality we live. And, for my part at least, it’s one of the things that makes life and spirituality truly special for any young Pagan, Wiccan or Witch.

____________________________

Footnotes:
“You Don’t Always Need Magick” by Luna
http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usmn and c=words and id=15186

“The Importance of Basic Techniques” by Luna
http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usmn and c=words and id=15057

Let’s Talk Witch – The Three Aspects of Our Lord & Lady!

Witch-Spell-witches-and-wizards-18449264-394-498

Let’s Talk Witch – The Three Aspects of Our Lord & Lady!

The Lady and Her Three Aspects

Maiden: She is an innocent girl. Everything is new to her.

Mother: She had matured she is all loving, nurturing and protective.

Crone: She is now the old woman and holds all our life’s knowledge. She can be stern, but she is a good teacher. In death she takes us back into herself.

The enchantress is part of the Goddess and of all women. She is the sexy, playful spirit. She is both maiden and mother. In such a way she relates to the moon as it goes from new to full.

The Lord and His Three Aspects

Prince: Full of youthful awe and wonder.

King: As a man he is in his noble and protective state.

Elder: He is an old man, wise, weathered and strong.

As there is a Charge of the Goddess, so one exists for the God.

For The Beginner – Witchcraft 101 – Lesson 1

Introduction to Witchcraft

Let me begin by saying that most of those who reach this page looking for answers will not find what they believe they will. For those looking for “Hogwarts” or a Harry Potter world, this is not it. The Harry Potter books are fictional stories written by an author who had a good idea. Nothing in those books is real. Flying on broomsticks, waving sparkly wands around and changing things in the blink of an eye are all part of a fantasy that does not exist in this world. If you have come here with pre-conceived notions based on things you have seen on “Charmed,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “The Craft,” or any other work of fiction, I have sad news for you. Real magic isn’t nearly as dramatic or showy. Being a witch is a way of life. There is real magic in the world and there are real witches. You probably know a few. Unfortunately, they don’t spend their spare time locked up in their castle tower changing themselves into animals, zapping people with curses, turning their eyes and hair different colors, running around with demons, or just generally messing with the whole space-time continuum. There is plenty of good news, however. You will be happy to learn that yes, fairies are real and so are dragons. You probably will never have the rare treat of meeting one, but it’s nice to know that they exist. There are plenty of spells to learn and enchantments to make, but you won’t be seeing any sparkles or make candles light on their own. There is a myriad of potions to brew, but none of them will turn you into a toad or bring you back from the dead. Fantasy is unfortunately much more appealing that the truth.

Who can be a Witch?
The word “witch” is used for both male and female practitioners of magic. Male witches are NOT called warlocks. I have no idea who coined that term, but it is very insulting to call someone a “warlock.” Not just anyone can be a witch. Indeed, it takes a very special kind of person. Witchcraft is the study and use of magic and this magic comes from the Earth. Magic does not help anyone who has no respect for it, so it is important that you respect the “powers that be” at all times. This is not a game and spells should not be flung about like they are in some popular television shows I refuse to mention here. Power comes from years of experience. The more you practice, the better you will get.
Going along with the whole idea of respect, it is important that you determine how much respect you have for the Earth before undergoing any type of magical work. It is not wise to bite the hand that feeds you, so to speak. People who go on to become great witches are those with a very deep-seated love and respect for the Earth and all of her inhabitants. If you have a strange connection to plants, and animals, and growing things makes you happy, you may very well be looking in the right place. If you are in love with nature then you might just find yourself at peace within the magical world. I advise that you take concern over environmental problems, look into living a healthy natural lifestyle, and give service to our Mother Earth if you decide to undertake these lessons that have been outlined here.

What is Wicca?

Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is not evil. Wiccans do not follow the devil. Wiccans do not even believe in the devil. Wicca is a nature oriented religion which centers around a single deity (known as the All) which encompasses all things in the universe and without. This All is divided into two equal halves much the same way as the universe is divided into two halves. There is light and dark, male and female, good and evil, etc. These are often evident in the two deities called the Lord and the Lady. Each represents a perfect and equal half and complement each other much like the yin and the yang. The Lord is a father figure. He represents animals, the soul, fathering, passion and the wild. He is symbolized by the color gold, air, fire, and by the Sun. The Lady or Goddess represents the earth mother, motherhood, nurturing, femininity, and that which we can touch. She is symbolized by water, earth and the moon. Wiccans believe in honoring their deities and in living in harmony with nature and the universe. Witches sometimes practice in groups of up to thirteen called covens. Covens are used to bring different people of a faith together so that they may learn from each other’s experiences. Witches can also work alone. They are called solitaries. Wiccans are generally considered witches because they practice the art of magic. Not al witches, however, are Wiccans. Wicca is a religion and witchcraft is simply the practice of the magical arts.

Because Wiccans worship nature, their holidays coincide with significant days of the year. All of the four seasons are celebrated as well as four other holidays which fall between each. All of the eight holidays are spaced at exactly the same number of days apart and do not always fall on the same day each year. Most of these holidays coincide with Christian holidays such as Christmas (Yule) and Easter (Ostara). These holidays are called the Sabbats or Sabbaths. Witches also may or may not celebrate what are called Esbats. Esbats are specific lunar dates that are of major importance. These are the new moons and the full moons. There are 13 full moons during the year, each representing one month. Thus, the pagan calendar has thirteen months and not twelve. Most today represent these lost days in the thirteenth month to leap year. These holidays are meant to celebrate the earth and her cycles of nature.

Wiccans follow one basic fundamental rule: “harm none.” The Wiccan Rede or “Law” states: “Abide the Wiccan law ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust. Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: ‘An’ it harm none, do what ye will.’ And ever mind the rule of three: what ye send out comes back to thee. Follow this with mind and heart, and merry meet and merry part.” The main goal of Wicca is to harm none. Wiccans base their lives on self discipline and helping others. Most spells are done for healing, love, friendship and to help others. You will not find Wiccan spells for harming others or spells which are destructive in any way.

Wicca is a recognized religion worldwide and is protected by the United States Constitution. Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is not an ancient religion. Some of the ideas and rituals follow what is believed to have been practiced by the early Nordic tribes, but the religion was founded in the early 1960’s and was at the time considered a “New Age Religion.” Many unseasoned Wiccans will often refer to their following as “The Olde Ways.” This is often the result of misinformation from other witches either on the internet or in books who claim that they follow ancient traditions. Some will even claim that their beliefs were handed down from century to century and guarded against Christians and others who might seek to waylay witches and traditional witchcraft. Unfortunately, virtually no information has survived to this day and we must rely on skepticism to learn how ancient peoples worshiped.

Morals
Witchcraft is often understood to be evil, demoralizing, and immoral because it goes against the beliefs of the catholic church. This is due mostly to a misunderstanding of the modern use of the term “witch.” In earlier times, witchcraft was essentially the term used for “devil worship.” Witches of old were said to be in league with the devil. They hurt people, traveled to gatherings where they engaged in evil spell-casting, demoralizing acts, and Satan worship. At the same time, there were wisepeople in villages. These people were the healers, the midwives, and the elders who knew things which might be considered witchery today. These people were not, at the time, considered or even called witches. Today, for some reason, these people have chosen to take on the name of witchcraft. Even in medieval times, people engaged in witchery. These things included charms to predict love or the weather, good luck charms, and psychic sight (gifts of the angels). For example, people knew charms that were used in prediction such as limericks and poems. These went something like: “cat’s paw upon the water, first sigh of storm-king’s daughter.” This limerick means that if you see a cat place its paw in water, then there will be a storm. These are sometimes called “old wives’ tales.” Other superstitions are: walking under a ladder is bad luck and smashing a mirror is 7 years bad luck. Magical charms were and are also used: four-leaf clovers, found pennies, locks of hair, horseshoes when turned upside down, and lucky and unlucky numbers. These things were never considered witchcraft the way we use it in witchcraft today.
Many Christians are beginning to understand the differences between what is now called witchcraft and the old word witchcraft which was used for “devil worship.” No one is really sure why the healers of today have chosen this once derogatory term to describe themselves. Likely, it has stemmed from small groups of adolescents forming “covens.” Early Wiccans were not called witches.
Today, witches are known for their good deeds. Witches believe in eternal learning. Witches believe in truth and truth telling. We are always trying to help those around us and find ways to better ourselves. Witches also follow many of the traditional views of Christianity. We believe in harming no living being. We believe in fidelity (loyalty), we love our families and raise our children to have good moral standards. We do not believe in forming cults or any other harmful or mind-controlling groups. We stand against killing and oppression of all kinds. We believe in the freedom to love who we choose to love. We believe in self-sacrifice for the good of others. We believe in charity.

The Wiccan Rede (short form)
The Rede is the closest thing in Wicca to being a law. The rede is a testament to what we stand for. The short form is as follows:

Abide the Wiccan law ye must
In perfect love and perfect trust.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
“An’ it harm none, do as ye will.”
And ever mind the rule of three:
What ye send out comes back to thee.
Follow this with mind and heart
And merry ye meet and merry ye part.

In essence, the law is to love and trust the Craft. Do what you will, as long as you harm no one, no matter how evil they may seem. Fate will take care of them and it is no concern of yours. Never do harm to others. Whatever you do to or for others will come back to you threefold. If you curse or harm someone, you will receive bad luck thrice as bad as you have made it for them. If you help others, it will also come back to you threefold. You can call this Karma if you like.

The Full Wiccan Rede
Bide within the Law ye should
To keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time
Let the spell be spake in rhyme.

For tread the Circle thrice about
In perfect love and perfect trust.
Live ye must and let to live
Fairly take and fairly give.

Light of eye, and soft of touch
Speak you little, listen much.
Honour the Old Ones in deed and name
Let love and light be our guides again.

Deosil go by the waxing moon
Chanting out the Wiccan Rune.
Widdershins go by the waning moon
Chanting out the Baneful Rune.

When the Lady’s moon is new
Kiss the hand to her times two.
When the moon ridesat Her peak
Then your heart’s desire seek.

Heed the Northwinds mighty gale
Lock the door and trim the sail.
When the wind blows form the East
Expect the new and set the feast.

When the wind comes from the South
Love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers form the West
All hearts will find peace and rest.

Nine woods in the Cauldron go
Burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes
To represent what the Lady knows.

Oak in the forest towers with might
In the fire it brings the God’s insight.
Rowan is a tree of power
Causing life and magick to flower.

Willows at the waterside stand
Ready to help us to the summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to puify
And to draw faerie to your eye.

Hazel – the tree of wisdom and learning –
Adds it’s strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of the Apple tree
That brings us fruits of fertility.

Grapes grow upon the vine
Giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen
To represent immortality seen.

Elder is the Lady’s tree
Burn it not or cursed you’ll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark
In the light and in the dark.

As the old year starts to wane
The new begin; it’s now Samhain.
When the time for Imblolc shows
watch for flowers through the snows.

When the wheel begins to turn
Soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lammas night
Power is brought to magick rite.

Four times the Minor Sabbats fall
Use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule
Light the log The Horned One rule.

In the spring, when night equals day
Time for Ostara to come our way.
When the sun has reached it’s hight
Time for Oak and Holly fight.

Harvesting comes to one and all
When the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush and tree
By the lady Blessed you’ll be.

Where the rippling waters go
Cast a stone, the truth you’ll know.
When you have and hold a need
Harken not to others greed

With a fool no season spend
Or be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part
Bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Three-fold Law you should
Three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow
Wear the star upon your brow

Be true in love this you must do
Unless your love be false to you
Eight words the Rede fulfil
“An it harm none, do as ye will”

The Witches Rune
Darksome night and shining Moon
East then South then West then North
Harken to the Witchs’ Rune
Here we come to call thee forth.

Earth and Water, Air and Fire
Wand and Pentacle and Cup and Sword
Work ye unto our desire
And harken ye unto our word.

Cords and Censer, Scourge and knife
Power of the Witch’s blade
Waken all ye into life
And come ye as the charm is made.

Queen of Heaven, Queen of Hell
Horned Hunter of the night
Lend you power unto our spell
And work our will by Magick rite.

By all the powers of land and sea
By all the might of the Moon and Sun
As we do will so mote it be
Chant the spell and it Be done.

Eko, eko Azarak
Eko, eko Zamilak
Eko, eko Cernunnos

Eko, eko Aradia.

The Witches Creed
Hear now the words of the witches,
The secrets we hid in the night,
When dark was our destiny’s pathway,
That now we bring forth into light,
Mysterious water and fire,
The earth and the wide-ranging air,
By hidden quintessence we know them,
And will and keep silent and dare.
The birth and rebirth of all nature,
The passing of winter and spring,
We share with the life universal,
Rejoice in the magical ring.
Four times in the year the Great Sabbatt,
Returns, and the witches are seen.
At Lammas and Candlemas dancing,
In May Eve and Hallowe’en.
When day-time and night-time are equal,
When sun is at greatest and least,
Thriteen silver moons in a year are,
Thirteen is the coven’s array,
Thirteen times the Esbet make merry,
For each golden year and a day.
The power that was passed down the age,
Each time between woman and man,
Each century unto the other,
Ere time and the ages began,
When drawn is the magickal circle,
By sword or athame of power,
It’s compas between the two worlds lies,
In land of the shades for that hour,
This world has no right then to know it,
The world beyond will tell naught,
The oldest of Gods are invoked there,
The Great Work of magick is wrought,
For the two are mystical pillars,
That stand at the gate of the shrine,
And two are the powers of nature,
The forms and forces divine,
The dark and light in succession,
The opposites each unto each,
Shown forth as a Goddess and a God;
Of this our ancestors teach.
By night he’s the wild wind’s rider,
The Horn’d One, the Lord of the Shades,
By day he’ sthe King of the Woodland,
The dweller in green forest glades.
She is youthful or old as she pleases,
She sails the tan cloud in her barque,
The bright silver lady of Midnight,
The crone who weaces spells in the dark,
Immortal and ever-renenwing,
With power to free or to bind,
So drink the good wine to the old Gods,
And dance and make love in their praise,
Till Elephants fair land shall receive us,
In peace at the end of our days,
And Do What ye Will be the challenge,
So be it Love that harms none,
For this is the only commandment,
My Magic of old, be it done!

The 13 Goals of a Witch
1. Know yourself
2. Know your craft
3. Learn
4. Apply knowledge with wisdom
5. Achieve balance
6. Keep your words in good order
7. Keep your thoughts in good order
8. Celebrate Life
9. Attune with the cycles of the earth
10. Breath and eat correctly
11. exercise the body
12. Meditate
13. Honor the Goddess and the God

The Charge of the Goddess
Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Athene, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arianrhod, Isis, Brighde, Freyja, Frigg, and by many other names:
“Whenever ye have need of anything, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of me who am Queen of all witches. There shall ye assemble, ye who are fane to learn all sorcery yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will I teach things that are as yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music, and love all in my praise. For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit, and mine also is the joy of the earth, for my law is love unto all beings.”

“Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever toward it, let naught stop you or turn you aside; for mine is the secret door which opens upon the door of youth, and mine is the cup of the wine of life, and the cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of Immortality. I am the gracious Goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man. Upon earth, I give the gift of knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, I give peace and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before. Nor do I demand sacrifice; for behold, I am the Mother of all living and my love is poured out upon the earth.”

“Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess; she is the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven, whose body encircles the universe. I am the beauty of the green earth, and the white moon among the stars, and the mystery of the water ,and the desire of the heart of man. Call into thy soul: arise and come unto me; for I am the soul of nature who gives life to the universe. From me all things proceed and unto me all things must return and before my face, beloved of Gods and of men, let thine innermost divine self be enfolded in the raptures of the infinite. Let my worship be within the heart that rejoices; behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within thee.”

“And thou who thinkest to seek from me know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou knowest the mystery ; that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee. For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.”

The Charge of the God
Listen to the word of the Great Father, who of old was called Osiris, Adonis, Zeus, Thor, Pan, Cernunnos, Heren, Lugh, and by many other names:

“My law is harmony with all things. Mine is the secret that opens the gates of life and mine is the dish of salt of the earth that is the body of Cernunnos that is the eternal circle of rebirth. I give the knowledege of life everlasting, and beyond death I give the promise of regeneration and renewal. I am the sacrifice, the father of all things, and my protection blankets the earth.”

“Hear the words of the dancing God, the music of whose laughter stirs the winds, whose voice calls the season.”

“I who am the Lord of the Hunt and the Power of Light, sun among the clouds and the secret of the flame, I call upon your bodies to arise and come unto me. For I am the flesh of the earth and all its beings. Through me all things must die and with me are reborn. Let my worship be in the body that sings, for behold, all acts of willing sacrifice are my rituals. Let there be desire and fear, anger and weakness, joy and peace, awe and longing within you. For these too are part of the mysteries found within yourself, within me, all beginnings have endings, and all endings have beginnings.”

The Four Powers of the Magus (magician)
TO KNOW – noscere – air – to know what you are doing
TO DARE – audere – water – to dare to practice the Craft
TO WILL – velle – fire – to will the power
TO BE SILENT – tacere – earth – to keep silent about what you are doing

To Know – noscere – air – to know what you are doing. Witchcraft is rarely dangerous, but when you do not know what you are doing, what you do can turn out wrong. Know the difference between good and bad. Know what you are doing and what is your intent. Know who might get hurt. Think long and hard about your words and your actions before you fling them, unheeded, into the world.
To Dare – audere – water – to dare to practice the Craft. Never be afraid of what you are. If you are not afraid of your religion, you have a freedom within it. No one should ever try to make you afraid of your god(s) or goddess(es). Your power comes from you and you should not fear that which comes from your body because it is a part of you.
To Will – velle – fire – to will the power. Magick is all power that comes from the mind. This power comes from your strength in believing and willing something to happen. If you do not believe it will happen, then it will not. Your strength is your will and your willpower. Nothing is so strong as the human mind.
To Be Silent – tacere – earth – to keep silent about what you are doing. Magick is not something that is used to make you popular or to scare or impress others. Magick, like lovemaking, is a very personal, very private act and anything said about it makes it less sacred. It is the sacredness of the act that gives it its power. The more you talk about what you have done, the less power it has. Do not discuss your spells with others until after you have cast it and gotten the effect. Also whatch who you tell. Not all eyes and ears are as understanding as yours.

Witchcrafted

Magical Thinking

Magical Thinking

Author: Levi

Many times when people find the Pagan community we hear that children display many unique abilities, unlike their adult counterparts who have been conditioned to our modern mundane world. How do children view the world of seeming superstition and magick? What can we learn from this and apply to our lives as modern Pagans? It is with the tools of skeptical thinking, psychology and a dash of good old fashioned pondering that I would like to explore with you these topics.

First of all children take things for face value; while observing, they soak in every comprehensible detail unknowingly. Yet their actions are based more on what they have been instructed to do, not what they observe independently. If you were to throw a notion or better a devout law into their thought process, and couple that with the respect they feel for the notion-dropper, that child is capable of believing in any possible thing. Think about Hansel and Gretel, Harry Potter, God, the bogeyman, any of the archetypal “make-believe” characters, and you know what I mean. Their level of belief in the characters, and/or magickal thinking, depends greatly on which level of cognitive development the child currently maintains. Aside from that, social learning plays an important role because parents are the children’s first and foremost teachers and the sheer scope of their job is extensive. “Therefore if children are to learn to walk, to speak, and to take care of themselves, adults cannot simply wait for a time driven process of cognitive development to unfold, neither can they wait until a child exhibits desirable behaviors by chance, and then lavishly reinforce the lucky episode.” (Vyse pg. 157) As the years pass from pre-operational thinking, ages 2-7, to concrete operational thinking, ages 7-11, so declines their susceptibility to superstitious beliefs and irrational concepts of reality. Skepticism is an adult characteristic and is acquired, if at all, with age. Which brings us to formal operational thinking, over 11 years of age, which starts to incorporate logical thinking over the more fiction-based, directly-handed-down method of learning. The pre-adolescent begins to put together abstract thoughts and construct its own views on its reality, and other realities. After the pre-adolescent stage the child therefore begins to seemingly take on a more what we would term adult view of reality and reason. Though conformity can be seen as the destroyer of intellectual thinking, it nonetheless steps in around this age. It works as your individual observations weigh less as your understanding of social interaction and acceptance begin to affect more and more of your decisions.

What exactly does all this mean, you may ask. Well all of these facts show that in our increasingly modern world we are slowly conditioning our children to no longer think with imagination and creativity. Nevertheless a starling array of what are termed as old wives tales, warnings and magickal thought still survive till today and are reflections of many preoccupations and/or human fears that have been passed on over time. But it is my thought that we need not view these things in such a light, as it would be much wiser to view them as a part of oral tradition to pass on. It is also interesting to note as a parallel that sometimes science has demonstrated that certain beliefs relating to various plants and foods that hold magical powers do in fact have a basis in reality and have been proven to work. On the other hand people still avoid walking under ladders and knock on wood and cross their fingers in order to guard there luck. With this in mind, of all things this teaches us that it is not only important to instill our traditions into our youth if they are to survive, but to instill these traditions as a way of love, if the world and intelligent humanity is to survive.

My personal experience with the topic of traditions could be viewed I guess in part as a long legacy if you will, which everyone has, if a little thought has been put into it. First off I come from an Irish/Sicilian descent; both cultures have been steeped in magickal and superstitious thinking for millennia. Ever since I was a small child I remember a figure or wall plaque of the triskele in my home. The triskele is a symbol of Medusa surrounded by three legs representing the three magickal nymphs. In essence the story of this symbol dates back to the times and stories of the goddess Diana within ancient Italy. Still today many Sicilian people have this symbol within there home to guard the home from negativity and yes today here in my home, hanging over the front door, is a triskele symbol. Somehow throughout my childhood I have taken on this simple traditional superstition, accepted it and have woven it into the workings of my own life. But this is typically how family traditions or what may be termed superstitions seem to work.

Thrown into this mix I was born and raised in Kansas. Now the Midwest doesn’t seem like it is much of a magical place, but actually it is a place filled with local traditions and legends, mostly belonging to the Native Americans that once lived there and other people known as God fearing Christians! In addition to this I can remember as a child being told by my grandmother to stay close to the house because of the Gypsies who at one time were known to be in the area. But moreover she taught that they would kidnap me and never let me come home. Actually and generally these Gypsies were immigrants that would travel through the area from time to time, but were long gone before my days on the prairie. What I do know now is that this was her way of protecting and keeping me close to home as was also her way of keeping me in bed at night with tales of the bogeyman and his nightly rampaging of the land in search of children! “But don’t worry; he might let you lose when the sun comes, if you’re lucky, ” she would always say, ever so wisely.

Over the years as I grew up and have (unfortunately) gone far beyond my stages of development I have later learned that these fictional creatures have served as a tool for elders throughout time as means of safeguarding children. Even though I still may think of Mr. Bogeyman from time to time, and maybe I’ll pass that one on. I believe that because of these experiences that I have had in the past, my upbringing and the fact that I am the product of two old hippies, this has led me to where I am today. It has led me to my view upon the world as a much more magical place than what the average may think. Witchcraft and the study thereof, is an earth-based religion passed on from our Pagan ancestors that looks to the divine within the aspects of nature, therefore working and following closely with the waxing and waning seasons of the year. It is heavily involved with ecology and moral issues in addition to environmental issues. Witchcraft also teaches us to be open-minded and at the same time to think very wisely of the world, and the issues within it. It also teaches you to value the people around you and your future of this world, remembering not to take everything for granted or at face value, thereby devaluing one’s own self and worth.

It is suggested these traditions are that of false superstitious behavior and are abnormal in nature. Probably no other aspect of psychological behavior is more challenging to understand than that of the abnormal because it is thought of as kind of working hand-in-hand with mental disorders. In everyday life, people often talk about “mental illness, ” a term which echoes of medical asylums and twisted and cruel mental health practitioners, so in turn this view has given a negative view or stigmatism upon the subject of abnormal behavior. In hand this is placing a negative view upon traditions, which may be viewed as abnormal, because they do not fit into the mainstream. The reality is that public understanding of true abnormal behavior is fairly limited and right now we still don’t have all the answers when it comes to understanding and treating disorders. But is abnormal behavior by itself really a disorder? When you think about the word itself all abnormal behavior really is the fact that when someone may act in a manner that does not fit society’s expected view of normal behavior, they are viewed as abnormal. Does the behavior make them mentally ill? I think not, in fact to me this sounds a little reminiscent of what we now term as The Burning Times. Truer things to consider or to ask when deciding if someone is abnormal are: Is this person suffering? Is her or she seemingly maladaptive? Are they irrational or unpredictable? Or are they violating morals or society’s standards? The thought is that when a person displays a couple or more of these conditions then we could label one as abnormal or as having a mental condition with some confidence. I also think this is a good approach and also say as long as the person is not harming him or her self, others, or the surrounding area then there may really not be a problem at all. Maybe the person is very creative or there could be a long list of other possibilities that do not fit under the heading mental illness. When real thought is put into it maybe the real problem lies in the observer of this “abnormal behavior.” It may in fact be touching on some of observer’s own personal fear, bias and or issues on an unspoken or hidden level. Or simply it may be a behavior that the observer has never been exposed to before.

This also works within the realm of Magickal traditions. Because of the mainstream views upon Magickal traditions as irrational in nature it is thereby simple to label someone as irrational. This type of labeling can be very tricky and or harmful, as history has shown us. But again we tend to view irrational behavior within the context of the extreme, which leads us back to that old abnormal behavior. Are my beliefs or traditions abnormal and/or irrational compared to that of a Christian or a Jewish person or are theirs compared to mine? I think not, because as we can see every faith and/or culture around the world has its own set of values, traditions, and thoughts on belief, magick and superstition. It’s how we think that is really important because when we think in a linear way opposed to a more creative way we tend to push our personal views and/or perspectives upon others and in the long run can lead to conflict, maybe even harm. We see these downfalls and issues working everyday within the media alone.

My closing thought on growing up learning and passing on magickal traditions and in effect living one’s life with the belief in these ways is not something to be shunned. The point is no matter how odd society would like to view us and our magical ways of thinking or what labels they would like to put upon the subject, in actuality under some circumstances it can prove to be very rational, therapeutic and/or a combination of the two. Our beliefs in Magick as well as our traditions will continue to flourish as a natural human expression around the globe even in the most technologically advanced societies, and probably as long as there are humans to utilize these tools… The fact is, is it above irrational to bring comfort to the modern human condition? Which the magickal traditions can and do provide. With this in mind learn once again to think with the imagination of a child and create new beautiful realities for our future to come.

Footnotes:
Vyse A. Stuart (Oxford university Press 1997) Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition
Pickering, David (Cassell 1995) Dictionary of Superstitions

 

Pomona, Goddess of Apples

Pomona, Goddess of Apples

By

Patti Wigington

Pomona was a Roman Goddess who was the keeper of orchards and fruit trees. Unlike many other agricultural deities, Pomona is not associated with the harvest itself, but with the flourishing of fruit trees. She is usually portrayed bearing a cornucopia or a tray of blossoming fruit. She doesn’t appear to have had any Greek counterpart at all, and is uniquely Roman.

In Ovid’s writings, Pomona is a virginal wood nymph who rejected several suitors before finally marring Vertumnus – and the only reason she married him was because he disguised himself as an old woman, and then offered Pomona advice on who she should marry. Vertumnus turned out to be quite lusty, and so the two of them are responsible for the prolific nature of apple trees. Pomona doesn’t appear very often in mythology, but she does have a festival that she shares with her husband, celebrated on August 13.

Despite her being a rather obscure deity, Pomona’s likeness appears many times in classical art, including paintings by Ruben’s and Rembrandt, and a number of sculptures. She is typically represented as a lovely maiden with an armful of fruit and a pruning knife in one hand. In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Professor Sprout, the teacher of Herbology — the study of magical plants — is named Pomona.

Practicing With Dark Energies

Practicing With Dark Energies

Author:   Meph   

There’s too much confusion and misinformation out there regarding Dark energy workings, not helped by media portrayals from The Craft to Harry Potter’s “Protection from the Dark Arts” teachers. “Dark” does not automatically mean evil, bad, or nasty. It can just mean “Dark.” “Light” and “Dark” are just two of many dualities in the Universe – e.g., Ying/Yang, Birth/Death, Female/Male. Together, they form a natural balance – without one, the other could not exist. Learning to responsibly work with both is required by many traditions and recommended to make you a better Witch.

Energy is Energy

We believe energy is energy. There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” energy; it just is, much like electricity is neither good nor bad. What matters is the intent of the person or persons casting the spell.

Energy can be used for both creative and destructive purposes; however, “destructive” does not have to automatically mean “bad” or “evil”. As the Universe is balanced, and there must be both death and life, so both creative and destructive energies have their place.

Our standard example is healing. How would you possibly use Dark, destructive energy for healing? A friend has cancer and asks for your help; you have full consent and the person will be present in the Circles. You perform two Circles with them. During the first, at Full Moon, you raise constructive White Light energy and direct it to their entire body (less the site of the cancer). This raises their energy level, helps them overcome the side effects of the medical cancer treatments they are taking, and keeps them from developing secondary problems. Then, fourteen days later on New Moon, you have them in a New Moon Circle. This time you deliberately raise Dark energy — killing energy — and very carefully direct it at the cancer itself. An effective use of Dark energy for healing, and an excellent example of using both sides of the duality.

Another use is to remove obstacles or blocks. During Full Moon circles we’ll use each of the four elements’ positive properties to help us achieve a goal. During New Moon we’ll use each element’s destructive properties to remove or destroy what stands in our way or blocks us.

Care and Ethics

Keep in mind using Dark energy is not something to be taken lightly. It requires patience, experience, and, most of all, control and ethics.

In the above cancer example, what would happen if your control was off just a bit and your guidance in directing the killing energy was off by a few inches? Unless you can create, manipulate and direct energy very, very precisely (and know your anatomy), take great care. Otherwise you can end up doing far more harm than good. If you’re going to use magic for healing, take close note of the old medical ethics statement “Primum non nocere” – “First, do no harm”. You wouldn’t hand a scalpel to a child and tell them to operate. So don’t hand Dark workings to anyone not trained and prepared to work them.

Likewise, ethically, always differentiate between removing an obstacle or block and tromping on someone else’s will and freedom of choice. If you’re having a problem getting that cute boy to notice you, target Dark energy to destroy your shyness, not to destroy your competition.

Balance

All of life is a balancing act. Nature is full of balances; never exact but swinging back and forth. The length of day and night, equal at the Equinoxes and most out of balance at the Solstices. The Moon – going from Full to New and back again. The circle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. All of these are balances of dualities. Likewise, Light and Dark energies are merely balances of two sides of the coin of energy.

As you start to work with both Light and Dark energies (or, more precisely, constructive and destructive intents), keep in mind the balance. This doesn’t mean an exact balancing between the two all of the time, but if you find yourself getting too far one way or the other, stop and reflect and see if the rest of your life isn’t getting out of balance as well.

Practicing Light and Dark

The easiest way we’ve found to teach Light and Dark energy work is to start by doing Moon workings. Practice these on the days of the Full and New Moon. I used to have to find a Moon calendar once a year and then remember where I put it; now I just keep the U.S. Naval Observatory’s “Phases of the Moon” page bookmarked ( http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/MoonPhase.html#y2006) . Working on the actual day of is best, but we’ll go one to two days either way if necessary.

To practice, perform a Circle. After Casting, invoke each quarter and invoke the appropriate aspect of the element. For example, during Full you might call upon Water and visualize a soothing bath, or cool breezes for Air. During Dark you might call on earthslides (or mudslides, if in California) for Earth or a raging inferno for Fire (be careful of your candles if you do this latter one). Then raise a cone of energy – appropriately colored – and release it to accomplish your intent. But be very careful in your intent. It should be both specific and ethical.

Another practice takes the form of meditations.

As a Dark meditation, we teach an anger meditation. Sit in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Center and ground, and then visualize your anger. Take your anger to each of the four quarters and use the destructive aspects of each element to destroy your anger – burn it, bury it, drown it, blow it away. If all your anger isn’t gone, run through it again. At the end, take a long time to ground very thoroughly.

As a Light meditation, we teach an encouragement meditation. Like the Dark meditation, do the same, but visualize something in your life – part of you, your kindness, getting good grades, or the ability to succeed at your job. Likewise, take what you visualized to each of the four elements, but this time use the constructive aspects of each element to help, encourage and grow what you’re trying to increase or improve.

Balanced Practicing

As you learn and continue to work both Dark and Light, hopefully your life will improve and be more balanced itself. Working with both gives you one more set of magical tools to help you in your life. It’s up to you to use them wisely.

Calendar of the Sun for August 3

Calendar of the Sun

3 Weodmonath

Day of the Dryads

Color: Green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a green cloth patterned with leaves lay many live green branches in the shape of a woman, with a green cloth over her for a dress, and a woman’s mask.
Offering: Plant a tree.
Daily Meal: Vegan

Invocation to the Dryads

Hail, Keeper of the Trees!
Hail, Spirits of the Old Ones!
You who are the living breath of the forest,
You who are the living soul of the wood,
You who raise your arms to the wind,
You who are stripped by the autumn
And grow full again in spring,
We honor you today, not merely with words,
But with deeds; we will work the earth
And plant more of you than we cut down.
You give us warmth in winter, and heat for cooking food,
And fruit, and nuts, and most important,
The very air we breathe.
Hail, dryads of the forest!
We give you honor on this day.

Song: The Dryad’s Song

(All should go out and spend the work-hours planting trees.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Saxon Wands

Saxon Wands

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

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

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

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

A Thinking Witch’s Approach to Silence (and Quantum Physics)

A Thinking Witch’s Approach to Silence (and Quantum Physics)

Author: Ehsha Apple

Most of us who teach, concentrate on the theological approaches to Paganism. This makes sense – it’s religion, right? But what if your worldview imagines “Science” as part-and-parcel with “Theology”? That’s where I found myself. And then I found that there were a good number of Pagans just like me. I teach a very impressive assortment of students who were not finding “purely religious approaches” to spirituality fulfilling. They needed something to tickle the academic part of their brains. For them, I formulated a series of courses that combine both science and theology. If you are like us, and you enjoy a dose of science in your religion, come along.

The very first lesson that I share with my students is the importance of silence. (1) Unfortunately, we still live in a place and a time where Paganism – or anything outside of the American Christocentric imperative – is not welcome. Primarily, this is because of misunderstanding, but such misunderstanding is often based in jingoistic bias. (I recommend my students watch the documentary, The Burning Times. While there is some conjecture about the numbers presented in this film, the overall point remains valid.) Of course, we don’t literally burn witches anymore but I have known plenty of people who have been burned by the judgment or ridicule of others. So, there is a very “real world” reason for Pagans to maintain silence and anonymity. This doesn’t mean that I support hypocrisy. I would never recommend that you “pretend” to be something that you are not, but I recommend that you think about all aspects of your secular life before making your spiritual life common knowledge.

Some of you are fortunate to live in open-minded arenas; some of you live in less amenable atmosphere. Some of you have broadminded families; some of your families will be angry, hurt, upset, or even fearful about your decision to study Pagan spiritualities. This isn’t their fault. More than likely, they will base their comments (if you decide to tell them) on their feelings of love for you and their misguided belief that you are “dabbling” in something dark, dangerous, or even demonic. (If you are just now deciding to tell your family or your work/social circle that you are Pagan, there is some really practical advice on Patti Wigington’s “About.com” pages.) Aside from avoiding judgment, there are other reasons to maintain silence. Maybe not about being Pagan, but about conducting a Pagan ritual. Many practitioners will tell you that they maintain silence to protect a coven secret or rite. This is all very appropriate and should be respected.

Before I begin talking about silence in earnest, I would like to explore a very important phrase: “To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silent.” As we all know, this phrase comes from The Four Powers of the Sphinx, written about most extensively by French occultist, Eliphas Lévi. And an introduction to the The Four Powers of the Sphinx comes from Lévi’s most popular work: Transcendental Magic. He states:

To attain the SANCTUM REGNUM, in other words, the knowledge and power of the Magi, there are four indispensable conditions–an intelligence illuminated by study, an intrepidity which nothing can check, a will which cannot be broken, and a prudence which nothing can corrupt and nothing intoxicate. TO KNOW, TO DARE, TO WILL, TO KEEP SILENCE–such are the four words of the Magus, inscribed upon the four symbolical forms of the sphinx.

The Sphinx, a composite creature, has the head of a man, the torso and paws of a lion, the rear of a bull, and the wings of an eagle. In its design, it signifies the Four Powers of the four Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. He adds:

You are called to be king of air, water, earth and fire . . . the human head, in order to possess speech; his the eagle’s wings, in order to scale the heights; his the bull’s flanks, in order to furrow the depths; his the lion’s talons, to make a way on the right and the left, before and behind.

To attain such an achievement it is necessary to KNOW what has to be done, to WILL what is required, to DARE what must be attempted and to KEEP SILENT with discernment.

We must WILL to create change
In order to WILL, we must DARE
In order to DARE we must KNOW
And to maintain control we must BE SILENT (show discipline)

To Know refers to the idea that the spiritual journey is one of knowledge. And that’s why we are all here. We must recognize that the quest for knowledge is never-ending. We must constantly be learning, questioning, and expanding our experiences. Also, we must know ourselves before we can know our true paths. “Know thyself.” That’s what the spiritual journey is really about in the end. If you are on this path because you want material riches and worldly power, you will be very disappointed. And you are short-changing yourself. The riches and the power you will obtain by examining yourself and finding your place in the grand scheme of things far supersede any material goods or earthly authority.

To Dare can be understand as “courage.” By daring to face the unknown, even the unknown within our Selves, we inevitably grow stronger.

To Will means more than determination and perseverance. The will is the ultimate tool of the practitioner (Magician, Witch, etc.) . Alistair Crowley, founder of Thelema, defines Magick as: “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.”

To Keep Silent seems obvious, but it’s more complex. Yes, being silent means that we do not share the teachings of our coven, that we do not “out” other members of the Pagan community, and that we do not discuss Magickal workings outside of the sacred circle. But it also means that we learn to maintain a level of stillness, inner silence.

This last point about silence brings me to another phrase: “In perfect love and in perfect trust.” Many Pagans use this phrase to indicate the sanctity of “trust” in our community. The safety provided by perfect love and perfect means that we are safe within our circle and that we avow to protect one another and to never harm one another. This is imperative. When working together (as a solitary, you may not face this) you must have complete trust in those working around you. The vulnerability that comes from functioning within a community – either physically or online – can make or break a magical work and a spiritual path.

But more importantly, I think, there are two reasons to keep silence. Both are very theoretical: one based in psycholinguistics and the other in quantum physics.

One major reason to keep silent involves the nature of Magick and of spoken language. For me, to speak is to conjure. Both Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan knew this. Power resides with those who control language. We can subvert language and we can evolve language, but we only do this because it is language that gives us such power. This is not only true in the cultural-linguistic realm, but this is true in the realm of Magick and Craftwork as well. Consider: most popular representations of “the magician” involves a “magic word”.

Think of Disney’s many magical characters and phrases, like: “Bippity-Boppity-Boo” of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, “Prestigigitotium” of The Merlin, Angela Landsbury’s “Treguna Mekoitis Tracorum Satis Dee” and any number of things that came out of Mary Poppins’ mouth. Think of the many magical-sounding terms in the Harry Potter series. Think of “Open Sesame” from “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”. Think of almost any TV show or movie involving witchcraft (I particularly remember “Shazam” from the 1970s) . It makes sense that popular culture should represent a “magic word” as the key to all magical working.

Consider Ancient Creation Myths where the universe is spoken into existence by a god/dess (typically one god and one goddess representing order and chaos, respectively) : Mesopotamian, Mesoamerican, and Middle Eastern Creation Myths all include a “speaking” into creation (“And God said, ‘Let there be light, ’ and there was light”) . Further, there is the presumably-antediluvian Enochian (or Angelic) Language, given to Victorian Magicians, John Dee and Edward Kelly by the Great Angel Ave, which suggests that all things, even the apocalypse, can be spoken into existence.

This last part, to me, seems reason enough to keep silent!

If quantum physics is your thing, another reason to keep silent is to refrain from collapsing the wave. Ly de Angeles explains that consciousness, “the pattern of thought” as she calls it, “moves as light moves and is, therefore instantly there and instantly not. It is both particle and wave, as is light, which, incidentally is why spells are told to no one. To speak a thing is to collapse the wave” (Witchcraft: Theory and Practice. 7) .

I won’t pretend to be a physicist, I will do my best to draw an analogy between Magick and two popular scientific ideas. The first is the “Quantum Double Slit Experiment” and the second is “The Copenhagen Paradox” otherwise known as “Schrödinger’s Cat.” (2) Quantum Physics is the physics of atomic and subatomic levels, and quite honestly, the rules of “normal” physics do not apply on these levels. Electrons, protons, and neutrons move about without passing through the space between. In essence, they are constantly vacillating between existing and not existing. They literally “pop” in and out of existence. We don’t know why. We don’t know where they go. We don’t know from whence they return. Not yet, anyway. There are all sorts of cutting-edge theories that suggest multiverses and parallel universes. (If these things are said in a religious context, we are scoffed; we say them in a scientific context and it’s deemed “cutting-edge.”) This is why I contend that there is nothing supernatural; I believe that we simply cannot account for all of the majesty of our strange and complicated universe – yet.

Return to de Angeles’s reference to consciousness and thought as “both particle and wave.” To make any use of this, we first must try to grasp the difference between a particle and a wave. A particle, quite simply, is perceivable matter – something with mass; a wave is a transfer of energy within some substance – i.e. a disturbance in the water or in the air. Subatomic – quantum – particles are not particles – they have no mass (i.e., they don’t exist) – until they are observed. No fooling. This gives a whole new meaning to the tree falling in the woods paradox.

The answer is “no” – it makes no sound, because there is no tree if it is not observed. (It’s like when the little boy on The Matrix tells Neo, “There is no spoon.”) For some mysterious reason – a reason that keeps scientists banging their heads against their Bunsen burners – everything in existence is nothing more than a wave of information (or possibilities) until we observe it in some way. Until we actually observe the not-yet-a- particle, it’s nothing more than a wave. Sounds nuts, right? Wait, there’s more. That wave is “pure potential” itself. In other words, the wave exists in every possibility at the same time. It’s doing everything that is potentially possible – all at once. Once we observe the wave, it “solidifies” into a material reality. Therefore, we create reality just by observing it.

Need proof? OK. The Double Slit Experiment is a quantum experiment that shows us that subatomic material will take every possible path at the same time as a wave when not observed. When observed, the particle collapses down to one point as a particle. Likewise, The Copenhagen Paradox argues that all potential outcomes are in existence until one of them is observed. The paradox continues: who observes the observer? Some use this as a “proof” of deity; “god” is watching us all. But, then, who is watching “god”? That is a question to be puzzled out later. The universe is full of incongruities; all of our natural laws have exceptions. This too is a Mystery. (3)

But what has this to do with Magick? Much like the collapsed wave or the observed cat, some practitioners believe that speaking a thing changes it. Many believe that confining the meaning of a Great Mystery to the limits of spoken language can “ruin” a spell. This is like taking “potential everything-ness” and reducing it to an observable/hearable singularity.

This is not to say that language is not used for spell-crafting. But in the instance of casting, language is used in conjunction with the will. This makes the words carry the will rather than the literal meaning of the word. Yes, this is a Mystery. But there seems to be something to the argument that banal or causal conversation without the power of will weakens the power of the spell.

Further, some practitioners believe that speaking a thing makes it so. For this reason, they will never talk of magical affairs without first casting a protective circle. Whenever two or more witches are together and start talking about magic, for fear of “drive by” casting, you are likely to find one who will insist on some witchy prophylaxis. If, as many believe, words are thoughts and thoughts are things, we create every time we speak.

I believe all of these things – and then some. For these, and so many other reasons, I encourage you to keep your silence. Protect it. Nurture it. Enshroud it. It is always possible to reveal a thing – it is almost impossible to re-conceal it.

As they say, you can’t un-ring a bell.


Footnotes:
1. This information first published on my teaching blog, with some revision. (Apple, Ehsha. Open Path Sanctuary Training Program. “On Secrecy (and a bit of Quantum Physics) : Phase 1, Lesson 2 (Practice) .” 20 September 2011. Web.)

2. This has been met with criticism. Most of the criticism (firstly with Godel and Einstein) about the Copenhagen Paradox revolves around the superposition state and the specialty of observation.

3. There are mysteries and then there are Mysteries, or Great Mysteries. The kind that involve a sort of “initiation.” The word “Mystery” translates to “secret rite or doctrine.” Therefore, one who practiced “Mysteries” is referred to as a “mystic.” The specifics of these religions are kept “behind closed doors, ” or “secret.”

Special Kitty of the Day for March 14th

Gryffindor, the Cat of the Day
Name: Gryffindor
Age: One and a half years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Korat
Home: Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA
Irealize every pet owner believes their furry friend is the ultimate pet of pets. However, Gryffindor is more than a pet to me. As a college student with a busy schedule, Gryffindor is ultimate companion. I can always count on him to greet me each and every time I step through the front door. He anxiously awaits on the same step (where he has a clear view of the driveway) day in and day out and sprints down the stairs to offer a warming hello upon my arrival. Good luck finding a human with that type of commitment! I received Gryffindor as a 21st birthday present. I remember the day I picked him out from a Kansas Humane Society Shelter. I had been previously viewing photos on the shelter’s website days before Gryffindor’s adoption. Growing up, I had the same cat, Snowball, who I loved more than anything in the world. After almost nineteen years with me, Snowball left to join Kitten Heaven. I needed to find not a replacement for Snowball, but a companion that could fill the empty space Snowball had left in my heart and who I could devote my time and attention to the way I did with her.

Then, one day I came across this beautiful gray kitten with the bluest eyes that warmed your heart with one look. “Asher” was his name and he was only weeks old. I saved his photo as the background of my mother and father’s phone screen so they might get a hint of the one thing that would make my birthday special. I would causally throw into conversations what it would be like to be “Asher’s” owner. They would laugh it off and tell me I was being silly. Then around a week later, I remember my father waking me up and asking how I felt about giving “Asher” a home that day. I leaped out of bed and was ready to go in seconds. Once we got to the Humane Society I made an appointment to meet “Asher” before any other kitten. I wanted to keep my options, but the minute they handed him to me and I could feel his tiny little self start purring I knew I had to have him. I viewed a couple more kittens, but none of them greeted me like “Asher” did. He started playing with my shoe strings right away and I couldn’t leave that place without him in hand. We adopted “Asher” that afternoon and that evening a Harry Potter marathon was on. I’m not the biggest HP fan, but a scene was playing in which a professor transforms into a beautiful gray cat. I looked at “Asher” and decided he needed a name as unique as his personality. That’s when “Asher” became my Gryffindor.

To this day, the name Gryffindor couldn’t be more fitting. Gryffindor is the ultimate social ham. He loves people and he loves attention. He’s the most agile cat I’ve ever seen. He finds new obstacles to climb every day. He loves paper balls and will fetch them much like a dog would. His personality is the perfect mix of spunk and compassion. He can entertain me for hours but also cuddle with me when I’ve had a bad day. I am the luckiest girl in the world to call Gryffindor mine.

Making A Dream Wand (Storm Moon)

Making A Dream Wand

(Storm Moon)
 
Using wands is a way of focusing your energy and pointing your magickal energy toward something in particular. Make this wand to focus your magickal power.
 
You will need a stick the length of your elbow to the end of your middle finger when outstretched. Youwill also need superglue, a pointed stone or crystal point and your favorite color of ribbon. As in Harry Potter, wands can be made from many things and are a reflection of their owner. Choose a wood and stone that reflect who you are as a creative and magick person.
 
Strip the wood of its bark, then glue the stone onto what you want to be the tip end of the wand. After the glue has dried, drape the ribbon around the wand, starting from the tip and moving to the base. You can also glue and tie things on your wand that help it to become uniquely yours. Be creative!
 
After you have finished making your wand, draw a magick circle of light and call in the elements. Standing in the middle of the circle, hold your wand with your power hand and raise it high up in the air. Say:
 
“Come almighty powers of Oneness,
Inbibe this dream wand with your powers,
So that it may have a direct connection to the divine.
To always guide and protect me well.
Ayea! Ayea! Ayea! So be it! Blessed Be!”
 
When you are done, bid farewell to the elements and close the circle. Keep your wand to your altar and use it to make magick night and day.

I Am Me

I Am Me

Author: Dahlia Starwatch

I was always told, “Yup, Jesus is up there. Yup, God’s watching you, so be good.” And I couldn’t help but feel a bit afraid of the menacing big guy upstairs that would send down to the inferno that (not literally) burned right under my feet if I did something wrong or bad. And I couldn’t help but feel alone when the topic of religion came up in my family.

I said I was this, but it felt off. Then I’d say I was this, and still feel off. Then I got more into Buddhism. It felt close enough to what I wanted; I said that’s what I was. So I studied and studies and practiced and my grandparents were proud. They’d take me to the temple just to study. They made sure I practiced at least once a day, but everything still felt off.

But that’s what the problem was, I felt off. And I hated it. I just wanted a religion that would let me believe in what I believe in, and that was magic. I had always loved magic since I was a little girl. Starting from watching “Charmed” with my mom and aunts to “Harry Potter”. I found magic in the world, and that’s what I wanted. I just could never find it. So I stuck with Buddha, no matter how uncomfortable I felt.

Then I started going for walks around my neighborhood and down at a close park and felt the energy of the world. I felt the energy that the rocks stored and carried. I felt the energy from people that passed me on their own walks or as they sped by in their cars. I felt the energy of the creek and the trees and all the other plants. I didn’t understand it so I just dismissed it. I didn’t like dismissing it. But it was foreign, and I was very “in my shell” back then.

I kept going for my walks and I kept trying to ignore what I felt. It was really hard, so finally, i just sat down on a big rock in the park by the creek and just sat there. I sat there for a good hour. I watched how the world changed in front of my eyes, even if they were just little changes. I felt the world’s energy shift and move and felt it move through me and i was just in awe.

I came back the next day and did the same thing all over. I soon began to realize, after I left the park, I felt much happier. I felt better I felt amazing. I didn’t understand it, so I went to mom about it. I tried to explain it to her. I tried to explain how the energy moved and how the world changed and how beautiful the change and energy flow was. But she just told me that I was touched by a special gift from one of the Gods. I felt crushed that that was the only explanation I was going to get. So I went down the park continually, and every day I thought to myself, this feels like magic. This is what I like. This is what I want to feel like everyday, all the time.

Then one day, a good friend of mine began talking about some of his Wiccan friends. I became really curious and decided to do some research. Being that I couldn’t get to a bookstore, I Googled away (yes, I am a dweeb at times but I love being that way ^.^) ! I ended up finding a website (Wicca-spirituality.com) and fell in love with Wicca. I ate up the information and began to really study the faith trying to understand the God and Goddess, and I realized, this is what I am. This is the religion I’ve been searching for. I couldn’t feel more… centered. I felt at home.

I told my mom, but she didn’t know what the religion was. So I tried to explain it to her, and she still didn’t understand. She told my dad, and my father said nothing. But they both threw a terrible fit when my friend gave me tarot cards for Christmas. I argued with them that it was apart of my religion.

They argued it was bad luck. I wasn’t going to give up something I believed in. They had raised me to fight for what I believed in. But now they were being just plain hypocritical. I was allowed to be a Wiccan, but I couldn’t practice Wicca?

I couldn’t practice the magick I had believed in my whole life? I was shattered. This is who I am, and my parents wouldn’t let me be true to myself when that’s what they taught me while growing up. So finally, I just shut them out of my religious beliefs.

I shut them out. I didn’t want them to talk down to me because they said what I believed in was now said “Evil”, which was a common misunderstanding. Wicca is beautiful religion, and I’m proud to be a witch. But apparently they weren’t.

Finally though, they began to accept who I am, religion included. They even take me to the Stores to buy supplies when needed, even though the Stored are a long drive a way

So I’ve been studying Wicca ever since. I am proud to say that I’ve actually merged two religions and it feels perfect for me and I am proud to say I am Buddhist Wiccan. It made no sense to me to drop a religion I had done for so long, and Wicca isn’t really all that different when it comes to the faith. I love that I found out who I am, and that I have a Goddess watching over me.

Merry ye meet and merry ye part. (:

Blessed Be~~ Dahlia Starwatch

Power Objects & Ritual Tools

Power Objects & Ritual Tools

 
When Harry Potter first went to Hogwarts, in the wonderful series by J. K. Rowling, he had a long list of books and tools he needed to take with him in order to practice his “magick.” Many modern Pagans feel much the same way, particularly when they are new to their paths. They want to be sure they have all that they need to do it right. And more than that most Pagans just love to work with beautiful garb and tools.
 
The truth is that we don’t really need any of these things to practice magick. It has been said that magick is the practice of effecting change in one’s life. While this is certainly true and we all do small magicks each day, real magick effects change through the use of ritual action. This may be something as simple as a mantra or visualization done each morning, or it may be an elaborate as a ceremonial magick ritual. For most of us, it is something in between. The energy that goes into magick flows through you. You are the main tool and you provide the desire, intent, and belief that make it manifest.
 
But power objects and ritual tools are most definitely not irrelevant. They hold, magnify and direct power for us. For many people, the power of magick is increased with the addition of ritual tools, and access to the energy of spirit allies is much easier when focusing on power objects. Our relationship with these tools and their uses are not interchangeable, however. As you will find, they are complementary but often very different magickal assistants.