You Don't Always Need Magick

You Don’t Always Need Magick

Author:   Luna 

Many modern people find their way to Wicca and many other Pagan paths through an interest in magick. My only assumption for why that is would be that there is some sort of inherent appeal in magick. Perhaps it’s the thrill of being able to bring about change in one’s life, or discovering and being able to do things originally deemed impossible. Of course, it might just be the media’s portrayal of various forms of magick, even if you’re aware that throwing fireballs around without exerting any energy is pretty much impossible. While it might not be what keeps us walking the paths we walk, it is certainly an important aspect in our lives for those who choose to work it.

That said, there is an important lesson for beginners to learn should they wish to pass beyond the “dabbler stage.” And no, I’m not going to go on a long-winded speech on the ethical side of magick. While ethics are no less important than they were before you started reading this, they’ve been addressed countless times already. I don’t believe I need to restate them here. Nope, today’s lesson, should you care to hear me out on this, is about deciding when magick is appropriate in various circumstances. To do so, I’d like to give two recent examples from my own life (and, by recent, I’m talking within two or three weeks of writing this) involving protection magick.

So let’s start with the first scenario. I’ve already been working at a summer camp for a couple weeks, the same camp that has been my summer job for the last five years. Now, while counselors aren’t allowed to keep food in the cabins (kids can’t have it either, and we don’t want to attract pests) , we are allowed to keep food in the offices and in our staff fridge in the kitchen. Now, I usually kept my stash in the office, most of it sealed up in a watertight, airtight box. Whatever I couldn’t fit in the box, I kept in a plastic bag near my stuff on the desk. However, one morning I came into the office, ostensibly to get stuff ready for class, and discovered an entire unopened package of Oreo cookies missing. Well, you can imagine how upset I was. I asked around the office and even reported it to the assistant dean of the camp, a very nice man I could trust with basically anything. He was as upset as I was, suggested to me that I label my stuff and inform him if anything else went missing, and told me that, if we found the person, they’d be fired on the spot (as someone had been stealing other people’s food as well) .

After labeling my stuff, I then went about the rest of my day (which included an all-camp dance party in the evening—I had so much fun) . When I went back to the office later that evening, the other package of Oreo cookies, which had been opened and labeled, had been cleaned of all but five cookies, even though I was pretty sure I hadn’t eaten that many. After mentioning again to the assistant dean (who promised he keep an eye out for the thief) , I decided enough was enough. Making sure to choose a time when no one else was around the office, I took two stones. One was a holey stone, which has natural protective properties, and the other was a natural piece of quartz I’d found around the camp. With these two stones, I put up a protection spell not only to protect my belongings but also to illuminate the identity of the thief (though not to harm him or scare him) . Once that was done, I hid the stones in a broken electronic toy shark, set that on top of my box and walked away.

Before I get to what happened after I cast the protection spell, let’s set up scenario number two. This happened much later on in the session, close to the end of the camp for the summer, and it happened back at my cabin. On the last night before all the kids went home, a few of my girls approached me and another counselor. They had overheard rumors of one of the boys’ cabins planning pranks on our cabin that night. Now, this wasn’t too much of a surprise to us. The cabin in question had gone a little crazy with pranks that last week, which went from stealing our shoes off the front porch and hiding them in three different places around the camp to breaking into our cabin in the middle of the night and drawing with toothpaste around the toilets (I was kind of annoyed with the fact that I hadn’t managed to hear them break into our cabin) . While the girls had gotten back at them in a less invasive or destructive way (leaving tampons painted with red nail polish on the doorstep) , they were still concerned that the guys were going to go all out that night. In fact, they described the guys’ mentality as “Hey! We’re going home tomorrow. They can’t punish us!” Yeah, you can imagine how concerned we were.

However, in spite of that concern for the girls, I wasn’t sure protection magick was the best answer to this situation. I mean, this wasn’t just my stuff we were talking about. This was my entire cabin, campers and counselors alike. While I’m sure they would’ve appreciated the sentiment (they seemed to like me a lot and knew I had their safety and best interests in mind) , it would’ve been too much of a hassle to get permission from all the girls and the counselors to work a little protection magick. Plus, I can’t see too many of them being okay with the fact that one of their counselors were a Witch. On top of that, it had been a long day, and I had just recently gotten sick. I had enough materials to work another spell (I had lots of holey stones that I’d collected from the rocky paths around the camp) , but, physically, mentally, and emotionally, I was not in a good enough state to be working magick. So what did I do? I instead acted on a suggestion the girls gave me: to sleep in our front hallway near the door to prevent access to unwanted intruders.

So how did everything work out in each scenario? Well, in the first scenario, two things happened. First, the assistant dean bought me a new package of Oreos to replace the ones that had been stolen (such a sweet guy, I can’t remember how many times I thanked him) , and no more of my food was stolen. Second (and more importantly) , one of the other counselors began acting strangely, and some of the other counselors began to talk about recent changes in him. I’d even seen him run out into a terrible storm during a tornado watch with no rain coat, then just stand out there letting out a Tarzan yell. That freaked me out. After hearing how clingy he’d been with one of the other counselors and hearing some of the things he’d done and said to her, I let the assistant dean know. After that, more people began to speak up about his behavior, and the dean and the assistant dean confronted him about it. While I’m not sure exactly what happened between them, I know that he had decided, with suggestion for the dean and assistant dean, to return home and seek help. From what I heard later, it turns out that he had not only been stressed about entering college that fall but had also gotten into marijuana, which, according to my mom, gives you the munchies after the high. And, seeing that he didn’t have his own food stash in the office and my stuff was closest to the door, my guess is he was the thief as well. At any rate, after he left, my stuff was left alone.

But his story doesn’t end sadly, and it brings up what resulted from the second scenario. After a late night spontaneous dance party suggested by the dean to get the kids too tired to play pranks, I set up my sleeping bag out in the front hallway, close enough to the front door that anyone trying to get to the girls’ rooms would have to, quite literally, go through me. Later on, another of our counselors joined me in the hallway, a good friend of mine whom I cared about deeply. We spent the time until we both fell asleep quietly chatting about what had happened over the previous week, how we had enjoyed this cabin much more than our previous cabin (not to say we didn’t love our previous cabin too, but spending two weeks with twenty-five girls between the ages of seven and fourteen can drive you crazy—my room in that cabin was actually dubbed the “madhouse” by the girls I shared it with) , and what we planned to do after we went home.

However, it was during this time that I found out about the counselor who had left. My friend had been probably the closest to that counselor while he was going through the worst of his issues at camp and was the only person I knew of who still maintained contact with him. She let me know that he was doing a lot better, had managed to get help from his parents and some doctors and was drug free. According to the texts she received from him, he was grateful that things unfolded the way they had and that he was getting the help he needed. And, quite honestly, I am too. For everything that he went through, I couldn’t have picked a better ending. I also couldn’t have picked a better ending for the night I spent sleeping in the hallway. No one tried any pranks, and, aside from being woken up at around 7 to make room for the girls leaving early on the bus and crashing on the couch, the only person to sneak past me was one of our cabins counselors who was trying her best not to wake the rest of us up (we joked about her being a ninja) .

So what was the point of these two stories? Well, remember how I started out by mentioning that not all situations call for some kind of magick? I could’ve used protection spells in both those scenarios, but I didn’t. I didn’t need to. They were two completely different situations that needed to be resolved in two different ways, yet both stories have happy endings.

Probably one of the biggest traps that novice Witches and Wiccans can and sometimes do fall into (speaking from personal experience, and I’m sure many of you can relate to this) is thinking that every situation can be resolved with some sort of spell. While magick definitely carries its own sort of charm (pun intended) and can certainly be effective in any situation, not every situation needs magick to be resolved happily. The protection spell I used in the first scenario was something I did because I felt I had exhausted all other options. I never intended for the outcome of it (and I only asked to illuminate the thief’s identity, not to mess with him or scare him off) , but the fact that the thief ended up getting help for some of his own issues brings a little more warmth to my heart. In the second scenario, I was in no shape to work any spells and I still had options at my disposal, one that was even asked for by some of my campers. And, as you guys read, everything still turned out okay (aside from being sore from sleeping on the floor, but I can live with that if it means my girls feel safe and secure) .

So, the lesson for today: there is nothing preventing you from using magick to help out in any situation, but you should carefully consider whether or not magick would be the best option. Take into consideration every factor you can think of and everyone involved, including others and you. People might not want the spell worked, and their wishes could affect the outcome. Look at your own condition. If you’re working magick when you’re sick, angry, depressed or in any way not feeling your best, chances are that will affect your magick. Magick is a wonderful aspect of life, but not every situation calls for magick. You’ll know when one does.

Current Moon Phase for Sept. 11th – Waxing Crescent

Crescent Moon

(waxing/44% illumination)

During this Moon phase, there is a slight slowing down of enthusiasm due to an emerging desire to produce tangible results from the energy being expended. The issue of values enters into the equation and an urge to tie together the data available so that you can utilize current opportunities. There is still plenty of forward motion, and this is a great time to continue initiating and progressing forward. This Moon phase favors gaining more information and the input of others to further your plans.

Current Moon Phase for Aug. 12 – Waxing Crescent

Crescent Moon

(waxing/38% illumination)

During this Moon phase, there is a slight slowing down of enthusiasm due to an emerging desire to produce tangible results from the energy being expended. The issue of values enters into the equation and an urge to tie together the data available so that you can utilize current opportunities. There is still plenty of forward motion, and this is a great time to continue initiating and progressing forward. This Moon phase favors gaining more information and the input of others to further your plans.

Simple Passing Ceremony for a Pet

Simple Passing Ceremony for a Pet

Supplies:

One purple candle, holy water, Oreo cookie, one favored pet toy, stalks of fresh mint. NOTE: Purple is the color associated with the dead. The Orea cookie, with its white and black coloring stands for the darkness before the Fire Mother and the Light of Spirit. (It also happened to be my pet’s favorite food). Mint is used to banish negative energy as well as provide protection for the spirit of the deceased during his or her journey to the Summerland.

Instructions: Band the stalks of the mint together with string or a rubber band. Lightly crush the mint, once, in your hand. Dip the leaves in the holy water and sprinkle over the altar, then sprinkle around the area in a clockwise direction. Return to the altar. Sprinkle the candle (avoiding the wick). Hold the candle in your hands and close your eyes. Think of your pet being happy in an environment that he is or she loved. In your mind, surround your pet with favorite toys and food. Know that your pet is safe and in the arms of the Goddess and God. Focus loving energy into the candle. Take a deep breath, relax and open your eyes. Place the candle back on the altar and light, saying:

 

“I love you and I release you to the happy,

loving place where Your Spirit belongs.”

 

Allow the candle to burn completely out. Bury mint, candle end, food, and toy on your property, or place on the grave.

The day after you pet has passed away, you may not feel so good physically, which is to be expected.

Excerpt from:

“Rite of Passage”
The Ultimate Book of Shadows
for the New Generation
Solitary Witch
by Silver RavenWolf

A Little Humor for Your Day – Oreo™ Psycho-Personality Test

Oreo™ Psycho-Personality Test


The Test

Psychologists have discovered that the manner in which people eat Oreo cookies provides great insight into their personalities. Choose which method best describes your favorite method of eating Oreos:

  1. The whole thing all at once.
  2. One bite at a time.
  3. Slow and methodical nibbles examining the results of each bite afterwards.
  4. In little feverous nibbles.
  5. Dunked in some liquid (milk, coffee…).
  6. Twisted apart, the inside, then the cookie.
  7. Twisted apart, the inside, and toss the cookie.
  8. Just the cookie, not the inside.
  9. I just like to lick them, not eat them.
  10. I don’t have a favorite way because I don’t like Oreo.

Your Personality:

  1. The whole thing This means you consume life with abandon, you are fun to be with, exciting, carefree with some hint of recklessness. You are totally irresponsible. No one should trust you with their children.
  2. One bite at a time You are lucky to be one of the 5.4 billion other people who eat their Oreo’s this very same way. Just like them, you lack imagination, but that’s ok, not to worry, you’re normal.
  3. Slow and Methodical You follow the rules. You’re very tidy and orderly. You’re very meticulous in every detail with every thing you do to the point of being anal retentive and irritating to others. Stay out of the fast lane if you’re only going to go the speed limit.
  4. Feverous Nibbles Your boss likes you because you get your work done quickly. You always have a million things to do and never enough time to do them. Mental break downs and suicides run in your family. Valium and Ritalin would do you good.
  5. Dunked Every one likes you because you are always up beat. You like to sugar coat unpleasant experiences and rationalize bad situations into good ones. You are in total denial about the shambles you call a life. You have a propensity towards narcotic addiction.
  6. Twisted apart, the inside, and then the cookie You have a highly curious nature. You take pleasure in breaking things apart to find out how they work, though not always able to put them back together, so you destroy all the evidence of your activities. You deny your involvement when things go wrong. You are a compulsive liar and exhibit deviant, if not criminal, behavior.
  7. Twisted apart, the inside, and then toss the cookie You are good at business and take risk that pay off. You take what you want and throw the rest away. You are greedy, selfish, mean, and lack feelings for others. You should be ashamed of yourself. But that’s ok, you don’t care, you got yours.
  8. Just the cookie, not the inside You enjoy pain.
  9. I just like to lick them, not eat them. Stay away from small furry animals and seek professional medical help – immediately.
  10. I don’t have a favorite way, I don’t like Oreo cookies. You probably come from a rich family, and like to wear nice things, and go to up-scale restaurants. You are particular and fussy about the things you buy, own, and wear. Things have to be just right. You like to be pampered. You are a prima donna. There’s just no pleasing you.

 

Turok’s Cabana

A Little Humor For Your Day – Oreo Cookie Divination

Oreo™ Cookie Divination


Casting

You will need a package of Oreo Cookies … the cheap imitation sandwich cookies are an insult to the Goddess! … enough for everyone to have at least three. Milk is good, but optional.

  • Take a cookie in your hand.
  • Ask the cookie a question. A “yes or no” question is best.
  • Put your intent on the cookie, e.g. hold the cookie in your left hand, cover it with your right, and hold it for 13 seconds.
  • Using both hands, take the cookie apart (straight pull or twisting deosil), with one side in the left hand and one side in the right.

Reading the “creme filling”

  • If the creme filling is full on the right side cookie, the answer is “yes”, or a positive outcome, or wish will come true.
  • If the creme filling is full on the left side cookie, the answer is “no”, or negative outcome, or wish won’t come true.
  • If the creme is mostly on the right, the answer would be mainly positive.
  • Vise versa on the left cookie.
  • If the creme is on both cookies in a pattern, shape, split, chunks falling off, etc, you may interpret the creme filling in however manner you feel comfortable with.

You can also interpret the creme as moon phases: The full creme on right side is full moon, left side new moon….different  phases can be  interpreted by different splits in the creme. There are many other possible ways to interpret these cookies.  Go with what feels right for you.

Grounding

Of course, you must eat the cookie afterward to honor the Goddess.  If you want to dunk your cookie, do so after the divination.  Mushy cookies don’t separate well.

Making the Most Out of the Dark Time of the Year

Making the Most Out of the Dark Time of the Year

 

by C. Cheek

In the days before deep freezers and electric heating, winter was a time of deprivation, a time of hungry children and wolves baying in the dark. Now, winter means a thousand media images asking you to spend money you don’t have, to buy presents people don’t need, in celebration of a god you don’t worship. The difficulty of turning down yet another plate of free cookies is nothing like wondering if you’ll have enough food to last until the spring. We live in better times now, times in which our main problem is one of excess. But aren’t we missing something? The silence and hunger of winter have something to teach us.

How then, can we draw back our lives? How can we cast off the gluttony and excess that surrounds us and listen for what darkness has to teach? Here are some practical suggestions for bringing this paring-down into your own life.

Clear your debts: Shinto-Buddhists, on December 31, pay off old debts to start the New Year with a clean slate. Even if you can’t “consolidate all your high credit card bills into one easy payment” as the spam advises, how about giving back that ten bucks you borrowed from your sister? And what about other debts? Sometimes we owe debts to our friends that aren’t monetary. We all borrow things — books, clothes, movies, CDs — and sometimes those things never find their way back to their owners. Those shoes will sit in your closet, with you always meaning to give them back to Sarah next time you see her, and then years later you clean it out and realize that Sarah has moved out of state. The shoes have now entered that uncomfortable stage where you don’t feel right keeping them, but you can’t get rid of them either. Go through your home and find anything that doesn’t belong to you, and make a point of returning it. Don’t wait until the next time you accidentally see that person. Bring that book back now, or send that DVD in the mail if your cousin lives too far away.

Sometimes we have emotional debts. In many relationships, we ask more than we offer. Are you the asker? Do you have a friend who listens to all your problems without complaint? Or maybe your coworker has covered your shift? Think about your life and try to balance out, get down to a place where you owe no debts, and have no obligations tugging you out of your center.

Clear your home:While you’re getting rid of some of your money, how about going through your household goods? Do you really need four spatulas? Are you ever going to wear that size six bridesmaid’s dress again? Many worthwhile charities could use donations, but more to the point, we can use the feeling of relief we get when things we don’t need leave our homes. Maternity clothes are a perfect example. I kept bags of maternity clothes in the closet for almost a year after my daughter was born. Clothes are symbolic of periods in our lives. Giving my maternity clothes to the Goodwill meant that I was acknowledging the end of the childbearing chapter in my life. Hard? Yes, it’s always hard to close a door.

Let this be the month to slay white elephants. When my grandmother died, she left boxes and boxes of antiques, which a packrat like me couldn’t resist — a silver-plated teapot, a porcelain figurine, a souvenir from someone’s trip to Mexico — a lifetime of clutter from my grandmother’s life. She hadn’t showed these things to me while she was alive, so the objects had no sentimental value. I kept them because they were too `good’ to throw away. But there’s a perfect place for white elephants: re-gifting. How about that lava lamp, or your singing bass? Look at it, think about all the people you know, and try to decide who would like to get this as a “just because” gift. Can’t think of anyone? There are always eBay and yard sales.

Clean your home. Once you’ve gotten rid of the knickknacks you never really liked, it’s time to get rid of the dirt. Some Zen practitioners believe that manual labor is the perfect meditation. Launder those curtains. Wipe down the walls. Push the mop back and forth against that floor, and let your mind empty itself. And when you’re in that restful center place without thought, wash away the negative energy that’s accumulated in your home. Pour it down the drain with the dirty water.

Clean your body on the outside: When your home is clean and uncluttered, you can work on the home of your soul. My morning shower feels so rushed. Some days there isn’t even enough time to wash my hair. Make a day for cleaning. Sit down, look at yourself. Toenails grow, calluses build up on feet and elbows. Get a pumice stone and rub away that built-up skin. That skin is weeks old. Let it go. You don’t need it anymore. A toenail can take 12– 18 months to grow out. What were you doing when that toenail first came out the quick? Maybe there was something in your life a year ago that you wish hadn’t happened. Snip, snip. Throw that crescent into the garbage.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our outside face, we forget to show people who we really are. When you’re a child, soap and water seem enough. Then, you add moisturizer, conditioner, make-up, colognes — product after product until the scents and chemicals swirl around you. Don’t forget, you’re a human under there. If you dare, let your hair go un-dyed, leave off the conditioner and hairspray and gel, stop your make-up routine for a week. Or only a day? Do what you can. Look in the mirror. That skin, that hair, that’s you. Haven’t seen her for a while, have you?

Clean your body on the inside: You know those egg sandwiches for breakfast aren’t really good for you, and neither is that two-latte-a-day habit. Yes, we all gain weight over the holidays. Unless they’re living in Siberia, no one can escape the Christmas blitz. Free food, parties, candy on sale; sluggish overeating can make us feel terrible. Go through your pantry and get rid of the food you don’t need. Give it to food banks. No, not just the can of beans; the food you really don’t need, the Oreos, the cake mix, the six-pack of soda, the giant tub of frosting. In this day of plenty, we don’t need high-calorie foodstuffs hoarded away. Be a lean hungry wolf, not a fat hoarding chipmunk.

Make New Year’s resolutions and diet, not just to lose weight, but also to feel hunger. That’s right, hunger. Hunger can teach us things about ourselves that we can’t learn in any other way. That empty belly, the grumble, the hint of pain. Our ancestors lived with that for months on end. Could you live on dwindling supplies of grain and dried meat? No? Could you live without cigarettes, or caffeine, or chocolate, or beer? Try. See if you can. See how strong you are. See what’s in your core. Maybe you’re tougher than you gave yourself credit for.

Clear your heart: Take a vacation from people who harm you, from those who sap your energy, from those who make you angry. The holidays can be hard to bear, and there’s no reason to keep carrying emotional angst around with us until spring. Sometimes people hurt us, knowingly or unknowingly. Get a notepad and write down the hurt: My sister criticized me. Someone dinged my car in the parking lot. My co-worker got a raise and I didn’t. Take those notes and burn them. Watch the smoke fly away. You don’t need the hurt anymore. In the spring, you’ll make a new life for yourself. Feel neutral yet? No? Maybe you’re the one who harmed someone. Find the strength within you to apologize to your brother for yelling at him. Admit to your roommate that you didn’t clean your mess, and make it right. Even if it hurts, you’ll feel better afterwards.

Some friends and I used to play roller hockey on Sunday mornings. We’d get up early, and play for hours until our arms and feet ached and our shirts were soaked. No shower feels as good as the one that sluices off sweat. No meal feels as good as the one that truly slakes hunger. By truly embracing the cold and darkness of winter, we’ll make the most of spring. Now is the time to tear away all the old weeds in our flower bed and clear the soil to make room for new growth. Let go of that which you don’t need, and that which you can live without. Prune away the inessentials, until only you remain. Then we’ll see what blooms when the earth warms again.

Special Kitty of the Day for Jan. 30

Oreo, the Cat of the Day
Name: Oreo
Age: Eight years old
Gender: Female
Kind: Cat
Home: Nova Scotia, Canada
This is Oreo. She spends most of her time in cubby holes and sunny windows. She disappeared for over six months and came back to us very skinny. Now her belly hangs off windowsills, like she is making up for lost time. We are working on helping her lose weight. She loves meeting new people and playing with their feet… so we have to warn visitors about that so she doesn’t get stepped on! The only trick she knows is how to convince someone to give her more food when she just ate, which works particularly well with visitors. She’s loyal, as far as cats go, and thinks she’s my guard cat. However she is easy to petted into submission and loves her chest and belly scratched.