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The Bad Witch’s Guide

November, 2018

 

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Shadow Work

 

(Photo by Christian Holzinger on Unsplash)

 

For about the last two months I have spent a lot of time going within and working on my spirit. Some of it has been a choice, some has been circumstances. My health (physically) has been very poor since about July and while I am no longer bleeding nearly to death regularly I felt I needed to find my strength in body and spirit.

I have done a lot of yoga. A lot of meditation, usually every day, sometimes twice a day, and while drawing in the light around me my shadow would not be still. Darkness has a bad rap. It is often mistaken as evil. Rejected and defiled. Repressed and denied, this is the animal within. Animals are not generally evil. Neither is the shadow.

When I started looking at this place, the in-conscious (unconscious doesn’t give it enough credit), in my early 20’s I found it as the wolf. The singer of bones. The true wild. It is that gut animal instinct and for most of us it dwells within our shadow. If I gave it space and respect it spoke to me. It was wise and knowing with strong instincts that are annoying never wrong no matter how much I try and think around them! It kept me alive. Yet this was not some soft puppy. It was the desire to bite which hurt me. Run from the unknown and dig into things I didn’t want to know.

It was never about trying to control the wolf. The wolf is wild and that is how it should be. It was about listening to it, bringing it forward in my mind and analysing why I was feeling this way. The wolf brought me gifts I didn’t understand. Usually dead things from my past. A memory, good or bad. A feeling, usually something sad because I bury the shit out of those!

In slowly accepting my wild-self, that part of the shadow self, I began to go deeper still. Yet I was afraid. I was right to be. For deep in my darkness was a dragon. A dragon made of fire and destruction. A dragon that I could really feel writhe within my gut when riled. This is not a metaphor when that part of me was “woken” my guts would squirm as though something wriggling around in there. A dragon that terrified me. It was scary this beast ripping out of my being and me losing control. Uncontrolled violence and wrath. I locked it down, I repressed it hard. I refused to listen, I even hated it.

It took years of journey work. Years of looking trying to understand. I remember exactly when I met the dragon. I only went to a Dark Moon circle once and as I journeyed I joined a group of female dancers dressed all in red, whom danced covered in sharp blades and barbs. I joined the dance with them and I was cut a few times, we all were. Afterwards in a tent of red drape we compared scars as dancers do, laughing and smiling. Still I was to go deeper. Down, down. Deeper into the caves. At first the caves were cold and water dripped everywhere. Then they became warmer and dryer. There was no light. None at all. Yet I knew the way and there in the dark was a huge faintly glowing red dragon. It was asleep coiled up. Just breathing. It was beautiful. Like copper. I reached out my hand and it was warm and smooth. An eye fluttered open. The voice was like thunder, the deepest sound but gentle. This was new to me.

I asked “what are you?”

I am your pain.”

I began to weep. My fear melted and I realised this beast, this part of myself, had been consuming my pain all my life. That there had been so much especially as a child I didn’t understand I had created this to deal with all the things I was unequipped to understand. Now I understood. That the dragon was like my wolf. A teacher if I listen. A friend if I needed it.

Working in your shadow is a place within The Dreaming. It is both real and metaphor. You might not have wolves or dragons. You might have lions or “demons”. Yet the demons we make are no less real for us making them. They are often woven from our instincts, good and bad and our worst parts. The parts we reject from our Light.

They are our addictions, our vices. Our rages and pain. Our deep grief and sorrow. Yet if we come to them gently and listen they can bring such healing. That is not to say you allow them to indulge. You listen to when, to why, to the triggers. You understand, maybe even speak about it and let the urge go.

When both my parents died within six months of each other and I was cut out of the family by my sister I was devastated in a way I couldn’t comprehend. Being a witch and bi-sexual is just not okay with her. I remember sitting at the dinner table with the real and distinct urge to burn a path of destruction between myself and my sister. Not a metaphorical one. I mean kill and burn everything and everyone I met until I reached her and let fire take her too. It was odd and specific and I simply spoke about it and ate my dinner. A few month later I discovered it was a common tactic by a long dead ancestor (Grace O’Malley) to destroy traitors that way. I gave voice to my shadow, my pain but I did not give into it.

As Samhain comes and then the deeper dark of the year it is an excellent time to look within at the things moving around in our shadows. It is a daunting task, and one often sorely neglected by many magickal practitioners.

 

Simple Shadow Ritual

You will need:

A mirror

Patchouli oil

Candles/soft lighting

Bay laurel leaves

Yarrow (dried)

Frankincense resin

Heat proof container and charcoal to safely burn your herbs.

Notebook or journal.

Soft blankets (get comfy this might take a while).

 

Prepare your space as you would usually. Anoint your forehead and heart with the patchouli oil.

I humbly come to my Shadow’s Gate.

I come to learn not to hate.

I come to see, I come to hear.

Open the Gate as I draw near.

Touch the edge of the mirror with your dominant finger used to anoint yourself in a deosil direction. Keep the light to a minimum but use enough to be safe. Light your charcoal in your cauldron or censor. First adding the yarrow, then the bay, then the frankincense.

Cleanse your body in the smoke and prepare yourself to sit and stare with the mirror. Visualise your “gate” and begin to unlock it. This might take some time. There may be stairs or even just darkness. You may have to “jump”. Your darkness will not be the same as anyone else’s. When you are ready focus on your own face in the mirror. Say:

I see you. I am listening.

You may or may not “see” anything. You might. We spend a lot of time locking this energy away, it may take a long time to open it again. Write what you see in you notebook.

Re-anointing the mirror in a widdershins direction and drawing a banishing pentagram on the glass should you feel the need.

Humbly I came to my Shadow’s Gate.

I came to learn not to hate.

I came to see, I came to hear.

The Gate is Closed I leave you here.

Dissolve your sacred space as you would usually. If you wanted to evoke particular Deities during your opening rites please make sure to thank them appropriately afterwards.

The Bad Witch’s Guide

October, 2018

 

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Ghost Hunting

(Photo by Callie Gibson on Unsplash)

 

It is the season apparently for all things spooky…ooooh!

I don’t ghost hunt as a rule. I ghost shoo! That said I do understand the desire for some titillation and so, on some intellectual level.

It is easier in general to ghost hunt in cities than the wilds and better in Europe than the US purely down to number dead people over thousands of years. There are of course many kinds of haunting and spirit activity but violence and large amounts of people seem to imprint or cause haunting more often. My psychic American bestie used to hangout in New Orleans all the time without much hassle (but that could have been the others spirits influence, nudge, nudge) and was shocked, delighted and amazed visiting Chester for the first time! Chester is an old city, founded by the Romans in 79AD. It has much of the old town still intact as well as the later medieval town and its beautiful buildings. It doesn’t hurt that the river runs near it. Water is a great psychic and spirit conduit. She saw full blown colour spirit figures walking around, was touched, even got some stuff on film!

Hunting ghosts is easier if they are also seeking you!

That said the trend to go to derelict hospitals and such seems distasteful and a bit dangerous to me.

There are two main kinds of haunting. The restless dead (a spirit who is confused, frightened or lost, particularly one that doesn’t know they are dead) and an echo of an event that either happened over and over or was so traumatic it left a mark, a memory on a place.

The echo is just that. It doesn’t interact. It doesn’t change it is just the echo of a place remembering. It can be a bloody battle, a crash or someone leaving out milk bottles. You get a better chance of seeing one of these someone that has had a lot of people to imprint, or the sight of battle or trauma.

The restless dead can and are anywhere. This is why hospitals and the like can be bad because if they don’t know they are dead they can follow you home and get the hump when you ignore then. These poor souls often had a rough enough time in life, they don’t deserve it in death too. I dislike a lot of the ghost hunting shows, especially if they get shouty and rude.

All in all dead people are just that, people. Some of them are lovely. However some of the worst hauntings I have dealt with have been addicts and little kids. You want to see some shit go down have a ghost toddler wobbly. They will throw things, slam things and even bite! Crossing someone over usually requires years of training (which I have) and some reasonable sight, and friends and guides on the Otherside to help people cross.

All in all I’d rather living people than dead around me rather than getting cold or uncomfortable somewhere but to each their own. While I am medium I am also a witch. This means I don’t let spirit in my body, home or circle without permission, in fact I am strict when it comes to spirit. Granted I am a bit of a sucker for kids, but they are pretty easy to cross over.

A spirit guide or guardian is nothing like a haunting. A haunting is a spirit this side of the Veil. They tend to look like regular people whom slowly seem to drain of colour over time becoming shadows. They are stuck, either willingly or unwittingly and can be varying levels of troublesome. When a spirit crosses everything lifts. It is really beautiful. It is as though someone opened a window and let fresh air and light in. Spirit when they have crossed over is different. They are bright, glowing almost with the light of the Otherside. They can appear as how they saw themselves or even how they wished they had looked. They come and go at my request or their own desires rather than being stuck somewhere.

In general my experience with dead people has not been spooky, dark places. It is usually well lit living rooms on a sunny Sunday afternoon, or someone’s kitchen.

My advice is don’t go somewhere derelict especially without permission, you may end up as one of the ghosts! The floors aren’t clear, the ceilings are crumbling and you are far from help if you need it. I am serious these places are abandoned for a reason. If you want to ghost hunt, do a proper tour. You can do them in many cities and even some castles at least in the UK. Take a protective symbol with you (be it pentagram or something else) as a precaution. Cast a circle if it gets ooky. Don’t use a spirit or Ouija board*. Cleanse with salt water and smudge (sage, rosemary and frankincense are great) afterwards. Don’t get drunk or high and ghost hunt. You might be more open but you are also more vulnerable too.

If you are thinking of getting spooky closer to home (is your Aunts house haunted?) and decide to do some spell or rite or other please do not invite anyone or anything. Don’t use a spirit board or Ouija board. If you can get a proper and respected medium to attend do it. You would be surprised how often I get calls this time of year from folks doing this by themselves who get freaked out, and get caught out by something unpleasant. Some get attacked, some get sick, and some even have pets die! Mostly it is purely psychological and I turn up, check nothing weird is about and shut the door they opened. Again if you fail to heed my advice and you need to fix this, you will need a decent medium and they have every right to charge you through the nose (call it an idiot tax).

 

*Creating a doorway you can’t close is not a smart idea ever.

 

Book Review – Dark Goddess Craft: A Journey Through the Heart of Transformation by Stephanie Woodfield

August, 2018

Dark Goddess Craft:

A Journey Through the Heart of Transformation

Author: Stephanie Woodfield

Publisher: Llewellyn Publications

Copyright:2017

I decided to do more than just a review of this book. I wanted to work through it. I read the whole book, but I picked which Dark Goddess to work with as I read each section. Ms. Woodfield explains upfront the nature of the Dark Gods or Goddesses as she has come to understand it. I feel that she is right, about how only in the modern times have we picked the labels of Light (Good) and Dark (Evil/Bad). Our ancestors didn’t classify things in such a manner, because to them the Underworld wasn’t seen as Evil or Bad. It was the same as what we see today in the world, but it did have its differences.

Ms. Woodfield breaks it down into three different parts, The Descent, the Challenge, and Rebirth. The first two parts have 4 Goddesses with which to work. The Rebirth is the only part that has 3 Goddesses only. There is a mix of Goddess with which to work. Ms. Woodfield has Devotional Work and Rituals for Greek, Hindu, Inuit, and Yoruba Orisha. There are others as well, and this is just a sample of what she gives.

There is the Descent first. Here you have four different Goddess, and you get to pick which one you want to connect to in your working. I picked Hekate, and she is already a Goddess I relate to daily. In doing the Devotional operations that Ms. Woodfield put in the book and working the Ritual, I deepened my connection with Hekate. Through this working, I also learned some more about myself, and how I see the world around me.

Next comes the Challenge. Here is where I felt the real work came in for myself. You may find that the Descent is where you face your main challenge and this part is more comfortable for you. Here I worked with Eris. For me, this happened when there was a family crisis and working with the Goddess Eris was calming for me. I can see why the old saying of “What a Deity causes, they can also take away.” I thank Eris for helping me through this time of chaos.

Rebirth has 3 Goddesses from which you can choose. They are Blodeuwedd, Scáthach, and Persephone. I had a bit of a challenge here seeing Persephone as a Dark Goddess because I have always thought of her in the role of the Maiden, but she is also Queen of the Underworld. And working with her in this way was liberating to me. I felt that I had a rebirth in two ways.

I found this book to be insightful in that it helped to change and challenge my views on Dark Goddess Craft. Ms. Woodfield has written a book that I think will help others find their way forward with Devotional workings and Rituals. I am looking forward to reading more of Ms. Woodfield’s writings.

Dark Goddess Craft: A Journey through the Heart of Transformation

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become an E-Book reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Review of the App Spellcaster

June, 2018

I downloaded Spellcaster on January 26, 2018. I started right away doing the daily draw of the cards. Every day I get both, the one card draw and the 3 cards draw. It does seem that it is random. It uses the Rider-Waite deck and the meanings are somewhat standard to what the LWB says for them. So, there is no big surprise there.

I did pay for the Rock Guide and the Runes. The Rock Guide has 23 listed rocks, and that has not been updated since I got the app. The Runes are a daily draw or a 3 Runes draw. The meanings are again standard from the Elder Futhark Runes.

I did find under setting that the only thing you could do was either enable or disable push notifications. There are ads Spellcaster. But they are not in the Runes or the Rocks; I think this is because you pay for both of those features.

There is a shop area. I wanted to see if it would update from what they initially were carrying. The first time I looked at the shop, it was mostly Yule Items. It still has mostly Yule items. The App has added Athame, Crystal balls withstand, chime candles, a few books and a couple of Tarot cards. Otherwise, everything is still Yule, as in Yule oils, Yule candles, Yule log pin, nothing in this area has been updated for the Holy Days.

I did order something from the shop this month. I clicked on the “Greek Athame,” and it leads to an Amazon link for that item. The price on Amazon was a bit lower than the price listed on the site. I ordered it, and it arrived in 2 days. I just clicked on the “Yule Log Wood Candle Holder” again, it led to Amazon, and it is not available at this time.

I did sign up for the newsletter the night that I downloaded Spellcaster. I have received two newsletters, both times it was only advertising that I could purchase a reading and gave a link to go to for the reading.

There is an area where you can use a link to get to Blogs. I have a Samsung Galaxy S9+ phone, and I can’t read the blogs because the format doesn’t support mobile viewing. If you use the link go to the forums, you can see the blogs and daily videos that have been on the site since 1/3/18, so, there hasn’t been an update. Forums haven’t had anything in them for about six months to 2 years ago.

I am happy that Spellcaster was free and that it only cost me 3.80 to get both the Runes and the Rock shop unlocked. If it had required more, I would have been a bit angry. I think that the person who started this lost interest and has decided to give up on updating anything. It is too bad because there was some great potential here.

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become an E-Book reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Spiralled Edges

April, 2017

Spiralled Edges – Good and Bad Teachers

I’ve been thinking about teachers and students a lot recently. We talk a lot about teachers in Paganism. Someone to teach us how to be Pagan. How to do “it” right.

 

goodbadwitch

 

I’ve been a teacher, and I’ve been a student. I’ve been both at the same time. I’ve been a bad teacher, and I’ve been a good teacher. I’ve known teachers who were bad for me, but perfect for someone else, and vice versa.

But what, in my mind, makes someone a good teacher and for that matter, what makes someone a bad teacher?

A good teacher:

Has a good understanding of their history, including the myths that may be perpetuated about Paganism, and encourages others to know their history. This is true whether you are a Celtic Pagan, Wiccan, Heathen, Hellenic, or Eclectic

A bad teacher:

Presents myth as fact and discourages a deeper understanding or study.

A good teacher:

Knows that knowing the rules is important, but knowing when to listen to internal intuition and break the rules is even more important.

A bad teacher:

Holds fast to dogmatic rules and discourages intuitive awareness.

A good teacher:

Encourages their student to soar, while providing a solid grounding to land upon.

A bad teacher:

Keeps their student tethered to an unsteady ground.

A good teacher:

Admits when they don’t know the answer.

A bad teacher:

Is never wrong.

A good teacher:

Is learning alongside their student.

A bad teacher:

Already knows it all.

A good teacher:

Knows they are not always the best teacher for a particular student.

A bad teacher:

Thinks they are always the best teacher for everyone.

A good teacher:

Wants the student to surpass them.

A bad teacher:

Wants the student to remain less than.

A good teacher:

Sees their student as an equal

A bad teacher:

Sees their student as inferior

A good teacher:

Promotes tolerance and understanding between religions

A bad teacher:

Bad-mouths other religions and promotes intolerance

A good teacher:

Has their sh*t together in their personal life.

A bad teacher:

Is always moving from one crisis into the next in their personal life.

A good teacher:

Realises that sometimes they will be a bad teacher.

A bad teacher:

Tells you they are always good.

Now, I know that this list is not all-inclusive. I will most likely think of a few more that I could have added soon as this is published. It is however a pretty good starting point.

I am equally certain that others will think of items which could be added to this list based on their own experiences. Please feel free to comment with your own suggestions as to what makes a good teacher, or a bad teacher.

Musings of a Massachusetts Witch

June, 2010

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Well, first we need to understand what the word “bad” and “good” mean to humanity. Bad is defined as unfavorable, disagreeable, unpleasant, harmful, unhealthy, diseased and evil. Good being the opposite of bad is defined as favorable, agreeable, pleasant, honorable, loyal, wholesome and benevolent. Things we label as bad evoke negative emotions from us. They make us feel hurt, angry, disappointed, irritated, depressed. And good things evoke positive emotions such as happy, joyful, cheerful, wonderful, pleased and blissful. What we need to understand is that these are labels that we have placed on circumstances, people and situations we encounter in our lives. The Universe does not label things in such a way.

Now Christianity will tell you that we shouldn’t try to comprehend God’s plan. Our brains were created with the rest of our bodies by God therefore, we can only use them to the extent that He allows and to try to question his motives is truly presumptuous on our part. The Christian beliefs remind us that just by being human we are tainted by sin and are consequently not innocent. There are no good people. We are all bad and should not expect to be excused from the wrath of God. We all deserve to be thrown in hell for eternity. We are here only because God is merciful and gracious. And any suffering we endure here on earth is pale in comparison to the misery we would experience in hell.

Judaism tells us that bad things happen for a variety of reasons: discipline, punishment, being made an example for others so that they might change their ways, by personal or cultural history which brings about the circumstance, by choice or by removing oneself so far from God that the individual is no longer under His protection or guidance.

I discovered that some religions believe that bad things happen to everyone, good and bad people, for no reason at all. There is no meaning behind it. It just happens – like excrement. God didn’t make it happen. The individual that it happens to didn’t make it happen. The Devil didn’t make it happen. So there is no answering the question of why it happens. However, if you so choose you could assign a reason – if that makes you feel better and gives you motivation to endure through the bad.

There was a web site that I stumbled upon that informed me that I really didn’t want an answer to this question because if I had the answer then it would be easy to rationalize all human tragedy. I would become callous towards it and “tolerate others pain because I could neatly explain it away”. It tried to convince me that I should take my anger at the injustice and use that for a force for good. I should channel this outrage and “combat the pain in the world with goodness” to alleviate any suffering I witnessed. I disagree with this concept. Negative energies attract more of the like and just because I understand why bad things happen to good people doesn’t make me indifferent to their suffering. Just because I comprehend how to alleviate the pain others experience does not mean I am callous. In fact, the answer encourages me to help others help themselves. Understanding the why has even brought me closer to The Divine because I understand that s/he isn’t about punishment or judgment or pain and suffering. Yes, all those things originate from the Creator just as all things are the Creator however I understand that Source is love.

So, why do bad things happen to good people? The answer is simple. Bad things happen to good people because they made it so. They created it. It wasn’t a judgmental God who brought it down upon them. It wasn’t a disciplinary action or punishment for something they did or didn’t do. It wasn’t a chance occurrence. It happened because that individual manifested it. They are responsible for the bad thing. Difficult to believe, I realize that. You’re probably asking yourself, “Why would a good person want, for example, to be hit by a car? Or be diagnosed with cancer or any other disease or illness?” Well, notice I said that the individual manifested the bad thing not that they wanted it but that they created it. Most times individuals manifest things in their lives unknowingly. They create by default. They attract people, things and circumstances that they are thinking about and have strong feelings about. This means that an individual could most certainly manifest things in his/her life that he/she does not want or ever would want.

Let me illustrate this with a common example that I encounter frequently when doing Tarot Readings for people. A woman is interested about her love life. She wants a relationship with a good guy and she believes that she’s being positive about it and is open to a new relationship.

I’m out there and meeting guys. I just want a nice guy!” my client will say to me.

But if you truly listen to what it is she is feeling. You will hear. “I am out there and dating but I catch all the jerks. I guess that’s what I’m bound to get – a jerk. Or be alone for the rest of my life! All the good guys are taken!

And because her words and her feelings don’t match up she attracts that which is stronger – her emotions. Because of this she will manifest either jerks or no one at all.

If you worry about being assaulted, getting in an automobile accident, falling ill, losing your job, not having enough money … you will by The Law of Attraction, manifest them into your life experience. Spending energy thinking about scenarios and circumstances you don’t want will attract that same energy vibration – the one that matches your thoughts and feelings. So if you are worried about the safety of your home and someone else is planning a robbery – these two energies could attract each other. Manifesting in your life that which you do not want.

Now this doesn’t mean that because you understand why bad things happen to good people you cannot have compassion for those who deal with negative or uncomfortable situations. You are allowed to feel compassion, sympathy and empathy. What you do not want to do is to allow yourself to begin to dwell on the fact that it could be or may be you. Because if you do that then bad things may begin to happen to you.