elementals

Working with Elementals

June, 2014

A witch works with the Watchers of the four quarters and their attendant elementals to cultivate the four powers of the witch, also called the four powers of the magus. When these have been developed sufficiently in a balanced way, the fifth power emerges, the power of aether. These powers and their associations are as follows:

 

Direction: East
Element: Air
Power: To know
Watcher: Paralda (Celtic), Alpeno (Stregheria)
Star: Aldebaran
Elementals: Sylphs

 

Direction: South
Element: Fire
Power: To will
Watcher: Djinn (Celtic), Settrano (Stregheria)
Star: Regulus
Elementals: Salamanders

 

Direction: West
Element: Water
Power: To dare
Watcher: Nicksa (Celtic), Meana (Stregheria)
Star: Antares
Elementals: Undines

 

Direction: North
Element: Earth
Power: To keep silence
Watcher: Ghom or Ghob (Celtic), Taga (Stregheria)
Star: Fomalhaut
Elementals: Gnomes
Direction: Zenith
Element: Aether
Power: To go
Watcher: Discussed below
Star: Not known
The names of the Watchers labeled as ‘Celtic’ above can be found in ceremonial magic as well, but as they are generally adopted by modern Celtic witches, they are understood in the context of Celtic folklore.
In some traditions, an initiate is assigned a personal elemental for each of the directions / elements (except æther), who serves as an intermediary between the witch and the relevant Watcher. The four Watchers undertake to direct the initiate’s progress in the Craft through however many lives are needed to develop the witch to the point where he or she is ready for transmutation into a special kind of elemental that has all four elements in balance. This generally happens on the other side, though it can happen here in Middle-earth; but this is rare nowadays in the absence of mystery traditions, and perhaps it is just as well, as the stregha report such a transformation here on the material plane to be an excruciating experience. However, the witch can just as readily call on the Watcher directly for help with the pertinent power, and this will be communicated via an elemental.
Once a witch travels in spirit to the Sun 1 and is there given a body of light, becoming an elemental being, he or she no longer needs the tutelage of the four Watchers, but instead is taken up into the sphere of a daimon or demigod, as described in Plato’s dialogue the Timæus. 2 Transmutation generally happens to all members of a given ‘witch family’ together, souls that have reincarnated together (though never all at once, some remaining on the Other Side as spirit helpers) to help each other evolve. Each witch family has a guardian Great One, a being on the same level as a Watcher, and this may be the same as the daimon who takes charge of the transmuted witches. 3 The witch may then serve the gods on the astral plane, or possibly may ‘pay back’ the assistance he or she has received by visiting Middle-earth as a household guardian or nature spirit. There are different accounts in lore, and the reader is free to accept these ideas or not, according to their usefulness.
Meanwhile, here we are in Middle-earth, with an indeterminate number of lives ahead of us, and we must practice the Craft with a view to developing the four powers and keeping them in balance, so that the fifth power will eventually blossom. This is the power to go, that is, to go on astral journeys. The first power, the power to know, begins in the eastern quarter of Air but is carried through the other three elements and quarters, its nature altering as it does. Consequently, knowledge takes three forms, plus a fourth or negative form corresponding to the northern quarter of Earth.
The power to know
Three kinds of knowledge enter into the Craft. What is usually called knowledge, where what is learned is separate from the learner, can be called knowledge-about. It includes science and most other forms of inquiry. Whenever a spell is cast, the problem witches seek to solve by the spell has already been investigated through this form of knowledge, and everything done that can be done to solve it by ordinary means. The first step in any process is to acquire as much knowledge on a given subject as one can. This knowledge is presided over by the Maiden, who is ever-virgin and therefore remains aloof from any personal or subjective involvement with the object of knowledge. The care taken by scientists and other inquirers not to contaminate the learning process and so invalidate it corresponds to her role in witchcraft as the Purifier. The difficulty of determining causes in nature is mirrored in her aspect as the goddess of the wild; her furtive nature is leant not only to wild animals but also to the complexities of investigation. Nature, as Heraclitus wrote, “loves to hide.”
The second sort of knowledge involves personal penetration of the object to be known. It can be called personal knowledge or knowledge by penetration. You can read as many books on skiing as you like, but you will not possess full knowledge of it until you have put on skis and gone out onto the slopes. The knowledge lovers have of each other is obviously of this sort, as is the bonding with a child and the knowledge acquired by artists, poets and musicians. It involves the first sort of knowledge to an extent, but goes beyond it and is often mutual in nature, the knower being known in return. This sort of knowledge is presided over by the Mother, who gives birth to all of Nature and manifests multiply as the Muses.
In spellcraft, personal knowledge enters into exercise of will, which always involves some form of sacrifice, and works through devotional contact with the Mother and the elementals. The magical tools or weapons are fetishes or spirit houses for the witch’s personal elementals, and these are invoked during the build-up of a spell.
The third sort of knowledge is knowledge of the uncanny. It involves going against settled habits, especially habits of perception, so that aspects of experience usually ignored or completely unknown (because always ignored) come into awareness. Because the objects of this knowledge are often known for the first time, we lack words to describe them, or else the words that seem to fit now have a different, more immediate meaning. An example is the word ‘head’. The Pueblo Indian chief Ochwiay Biano told the psychologist C.G. Jung that the white man is insane because “he thinks with his head” instead of his chest. 4 The head he meant is not the physiological head or brain, but a mental construct of which we are generally unaware. 5 We go through life ignoring our apparent headlessness, having learned at an early age that the thing we can see in the mirror is in fact our head (it is not). If we learn to keep our apparent headlessness in view, our whole relationship to sensation and thinking changes, and the mental construct that blocked that view, in being removed, becomes an object of uncanny knowledge, as does the new sensation that replaces it. One’s awareness is now ‘out there,’ in the sensory field, and thoughts feel as though they were happening in the chest, because that is the nearest part of the body that has any apparent completeness or solidity. Shamans are sometimes depicted as being without heads because they have eliminated their mental ‘heads’.
This wordless knowledge is presided over by the Crone, who teaches us to see beyond our habitual limitations. She is the ultimate authority in initiation and acquaints us with the power of death in our lives by removing those unreal entities, like our ‘heads,’ that we have lived with for so long in unconscious comfort. The power of daring always involves relinquishing some sort of comfort. Through this form of knowledge, the witch alters his or her state of consciousness and enters into the magical trance in which he or she will release the Cone of Power, casting the spell into the astral through the Height or zenith of the Circle, with the help of personal power raised from within, from each witch’s ‘Deep’.
Finally, the spell is put out of mind through the power of inner silence. This is the power of the North and the element of Earth. Excess energy from releasing the Cone is grounded in the Circle and the whole process of spellcasting, including the object of the spell, is put out of mind as if it had never existed. This is also, in a negative sense, a form of knowledge, and is presided over by the Lady’s fourth or Dark Moon aspect.
The powers of the four elements must be cultivated by certain exercises and changes in the witch’s life style. I will discuss some of these next.
Elementals and Watchers, or Watchtowers, come from the ceremonial magic tradition of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. This tradition can be traced back, through the Greek magical papyri, to Mesopotamia and ancient Assyrian practice. The Assyrians no doubt derived it from the Sumerians, their cultural mentors, but the bulk of literary evidence comes from the Assyrians themselves, who cast the magical circle called the usurtu to keep dangerous spirits at bay while using their power to accomplish desired goals. This tradition influenced the Jews when they were captive in Babylon, and most of it can be found in their apocryphal writings, such as the Book of Enoch and the 6th through 10th books of Moses. A little of it has strayed into Genesis, where we read that the sons of God 6 lay with the daughters of men, and the resulting offspring were giants. This has been called the most primitive level of Hebrew religion, and it reaches back into the antiquity of the ancestral Aramæan religion before Abram.
We could investigate the magical tradition for information about the elementals and the Watchers but we would not be closer to establishing relations with these beings. As the old magical tradition states, they are beings poised to teach. The Nephelim, giant beings including the Watchers, brought in many categories of knowledge, much of it secret and occult. When I discovered the Cabbalistic origin of the Watchers and elementals, my magical partner in the U.S. remarked that she wanted to continue using those names as she had long-standing relationships with those beings. This alerted me to a fact that ceremonial magicians and strict reconstructionists seem to have missed: the knowledge that counts in witchcraft is not scientific or scholarly knowledge-about, but personal knowledge-by-penetration. What is important, therefore, in dealing with the elementals and Watchers, is to establish personal relations with them, both through ritual and through prayer and the struggles of inner Craft work in daily life. In this way they can fulfill their purpose of teaching the witch.
The witch is introduced to the Watchers of the four directions and their elemental helpers at dedication and enters (or re-enters) into an agreement with them at the first degree initiation. At this point, in some traditions, the witch receives four elemental helpers, who enter into their magical weapons and tools as spirit houses or fetishes. The witch names his or her tools, and these are also the names by which he or she will call and talk to the indwelling elementals. Thus, a sylph enters the wand, a salamander the athame, an undine the cup, and a gnome the pentacle or fossil stone. But that is by no means the end of the witch’s relations with them.
Now the witch must enter into an active partnership with each Watcher and elemental. When a difficult situation lies ahead and the witch must be careful in his or her speech, Ghom or Ghob should be prayed to at the start of the day, with the power hand on the pentacle or stone, and asked to restrain the tongue when the difficulties begin. Ghom or Ghob are names of the Watcher of the north, the quarter of earth, and one’s personal gnome is asked to accompany one throughout the day and remind the witch to observe silence when it is prudent to do so. At the close of the day, one should talk to one’s gnome and to Ghom and discuss how it went and how it could have been better. 7
In the same way, Paralda and one’s personal sylph are asked to promote understanding or help the witch to solve a problem (holding and stroking the wand), Djinn and one’s salamander are asked to boost one’s will power in keeping to a specific commitment (holding and gesturing with the athame, perhaps kissing the hilt), and Nicksa and one’s undine are entreated to lend the witch daring sufficient to leap beyond current limitations to a new life situation (drinking from the cup).
A witch works with the Watchers and elementals as keys to his or her own inherent magical power. of spells organized like cookbooks are of some use to witches who have liberated a portion of their inner power, but provide little guidance otherwise. Most of our power is already deployed in habits which gradually leach it away and so waste it. Those whose power is almost completely reserved in this way are easy to spot: they have no zest. Dancing is meaningless to them, and most jokes go over their heads. They stick to certain routines and fulfill them mechanically as a way of avoiding depression, which ever looms in the background. They have no energy left over for daring new paths, new adventures, in the quarter of the west.
Such people are often very efficient at coping with everyday life, and know how to allocate their daily ration of free energy to make the decisions required by circumstances. It is when things run off the rails that they appear at a loss. Someone must step in then who has a surplus of energy and who is consequently more flexible in using it.

The power to keep silence
This surplus of energy is built up from small things. The witch often begins in the north, the quarter of earth, and seeks to save energy by suppressing small nervous movements of the hands, feet and eyes. The power to keep silence includes a physical dimension as well, the power to keep still. In order to promote bodily stillness, it is necessary first of all to get adequate exercise, so as to avoid periods of nervous fatigue. The witch will walk, or work out, do yoga, ch’i kung, or other disciplines designed to provide muscular exercise and also promote flexibility. Tapping the feet, scratching the head, indulging in nervous habits generally confined to privacy and only admitted with embarrassment, and continual tracking with the eyes take up an enormous amount of energy that can be appreciated only when we endeavor to stop them. This is when the witch begins to acquire practical knowledge of spirits, for long-standing habits behave as though they were conscious entities and we have to speak to them and try to work out compromises with them. When we take everything that happens between the ears as ourselves, we set ourselves up to fail in the struggle to reclaim surplus energy locked up in habits. Psychologists, though committed to the view that all subjective experience pertains to the human subject, will advise their patients to dialogue with ‘parts of themselves’ as a way of working through inner problems. In this way they follow pagan religion, which is concerned with having traffic with spirits whether or not one believes them to be separate entities. Additionally, asking the Watchers and elementals for help will alert the mind to the onset of the habit and so help the witch to avert it. One really feels, in time, that help is coming from something somewhere.
These energy leakages also involve speaking, either silently to oneself, or directed at others, whether heard by others or not. Keeping silence can include staying calm while driving without uttering insults against other drivers, either silently or aloud. Mentally repeating or continuing conversations after they are over, or rehearsing conversations that may or may not occur later on, are habits which squander a great deal of energy and lead the mind into mild obsessions or troublesome moods. They should be replaced by attention to present surroundings when they are noticed. Once we begin watching for energy leaks we soon come upon habits like these.
After we have learned to suppress smaller habits, larger ones emerge, such as expressing opinions on a hundred-and-one pet subjects, especially pet peeves. The witch realizes with surprise at some point that he or she can answer “I have no opinion.” Fellow grousers, used to getting one’s input on certain matters, may complain that you are becoming dull. When you hear this, rejoice, for it is a sign you are making progress in keeping silence. It becomes clear that nine times out of ten, you didn’t really care one way or another about the subject under discussion; and when you actually do care and have a genuine opinion about it, it feels quite different, and you can deliver that opinion calmly rather than aggressively.
After curbing unnecessary talk and giving of opinions, the witch may notice next that he or she makes too many commitments. Life, complicated enough on its own, is further complicated by making multiple plans that cancel each other out, or saying yes when one means maybe, and then having to apologize afterwards when one cannot come through. There are people who go through life saying they are sorry; they actually seem to prefer it. But if words are to have power, we must be both sparing of them and ready and willing to back them up with action when called upon to do so.
We must become truth-tellers. Bertrand Russell doubted the virtue of always telling the truth. He gave as an example how he was hiking in nature one day and saw a vixen run across his trail and into the bushes on the left. She was evidently in the last stages of exhaustion. Presently, the fox hunt came by. “They asked me if I had seen the fox, and I said I had. They asked which way she went, and I lied. I don’t think I would have been a better person if I had told the truth.” 8 He is quite right, but the witch sensitive to his or her energy flows will note, none the less, a considerable loss due to lying. Lying opens up a mental file for storing questions like “What will I say if the fox leaps out in view and it is apparent that I lied?” This file may not be used, but it is there, and requires a minute but definite expenditure of energy to maintain. The best thing for a witch to say in that circumstance is nothing. This is precisely where ‘keeping silence’ is important.

The power to will
As we open fewer files in the mind, we actually begin to feel physically lighter. At the same time, as with expressing genuine opinions, we acquire the ability to open files deliberately, as when taking an oath, or undertaking what the Celts called a geas. Having control means also that we can refrain from opening a file, as with the aftermath of spellcasting. After the spell is cast, the witch will immediately forget it and its purpose so completely that it might never have happened. Taking energy from habits, which go on semi-automatically, increases the number of things we can do deliberately.
The power to will involves the use of thought, and thoughts have power in proportion to the level of inner quiet enjoyed by the witch, for then they are not contradicted or interrupted by contrary thoughts. We have already noted how words acquire magical power if we either tell the truth or remain silent, and if we make fewer commitments and fulfill those we do make. The same principle applies to thoughts, which are generally words spoken silently in the mind.
Once thoughts and spoken words acquire power, the witch must be especially careful with them, for he or she will be constrained by fate, which inexorably rules acts of magic, to carry out those decisions and stand by words thought or spoken. The empowered witch enters the realm of Faërie, and as we know from fairy tales, the inhabitants of that land are constrained to tell the truth and to stand by their words forever.
As the mind of the witch grows quiet, a process that can be extended indefinitely, its structure changes. This enables the witch, through the Crone’s uncanny knowledge, as mentioned above, to become aware of its usual structure and processes. Ordinarily we apply a synopsis of events, based on a selection of largely recent memories, to our ongoing everyday experience. This process can be observed more easily in dreams, for at the inception of a dream (which usually begins in the middle of a story) we are supplied with the background of the dream situation, together with what we are supposed to be doing in it.
The same thing occurs in waking experience, though it is less readily observable because of the wealth of sensory input engulfing awareness. As the mind grows quieter, however, the waking synopsis becomes more noticeable, and old, forgotten memories begin to surface along with those forming the basis for the synopsis. We find ourselves recalling how we felt and thought many years ago, even (perhaps) in former lives. These memories come accompanied by recollections of events, but the events are colored by the way we perceived when much younger. In this way we recover forgotten aspects of ourselves, and in time these aspects coalesce with our present personality and then engulf it. The witch’s personality eventually extends backward through time, and a sense of the overall direction of his or her life emerges.
As mechanical habits are replaced with inner quiet and deliberate actions, a residue of strong inner predilections replaces the compulsive and only half-desired whims that formerly drove the will. These predilections provide the new motivation for the emerging magical personality.
In order to extract the energy locked up in a habit, the habit must be disassembled. This can be done in a number of ways, always remembering that a habit is a linked chain, and every chain has its weakest link. Every habit, for instance, has one or more situations, spatial or mental, which favor its occurrence. If you waste energy by cursing other drivers, try taking a different route to work, perhaps one with less traffic. If you get together with fellow news-hounds and grouse about current events, try skipping a few news shows and cultivate a few new friends who are not into the news in a big way.
Another component of energy-wasting habits is the way in which we justify them. We may have the habit of being sarcastic but do so in humorous ways, and fancy ourselves quite the wit. Do not be too sure that the smiles and chuckles of your acquaintances are always signs that they are enjoying your material, particularly if you tend to stick to certain topics. They may be heartily sick of hearing about it, even the ones who tolerate it because it gives them an opportunity to perform in turn. Much cruelty masquerades as wit or humor, and one often crosses the line between the two without knowing it. Do you blame others for lacking a good sense of humor? Then perhaps you are belaboring them with your cutting remarks.
Both of these components point to the fact that often we cannot tackle a long-standing habit directly but must first suppress or at least re-direct one or more components of the habit. We may not be able to stop grousing about a pet peeve right away, but we can inwardly criticize the justification of the habit when it arises, whether it takes the form of ‘wit’ or ‘righteous indignation’ or something else. When we do, we should criticize it from the standpoint of conservation of energy. If we try to repudiate it ethically we can easily fall back into some alternate expression of the justification, for ethics tends to be a two-edged sword when used to criticize behavior. Thus, if I think “Oh, poor Mabel! She must have been hurt when I said that,” this can be answered a moment later by “Well, she should know by now that I was only kidding. She knows I am a great kidder. She must just be out of sorts and hypersensitive today.” If, instead, you monitor your energy after upsetting Mabel, you will see that you have lost a good deal of power by worrying over her response and feelings. Perhaps it would have been less wasteful energetically to remain silent or even say something kind to her. To this the justification can answer nothing. Each time we criticize a justification from the standpoint of energy, it will grow weaker, and eventually it will go away and the habit will have lost a major prop.
These are some of the ways in which cultivation of the power to keep still (or silent) works with the power to will in the life of the witch. And although the witch is ultimately responsible for his or her work with the four powers, the elementals are on hand to help the initiate by giving an extra push when it is needed. That is why this article is called ‘Working with Elementals’ instead of merely ‘Working with the Elements’; for if we talk from time to time with the Watchers or their elemental representatives, when we are about to fall into the power of a habit that wastes our power, we may find ourselves suddenly alert, and able to extricate ourselves in time from its grip.

Bibliography

BHAIRAVAN, Amarananda, Kali’s Odiyya; A Shaman’s True Story of Initiation, York
Beach, ME, Nicolas.Hays, 2000.

GRIMASSI, Raven, Ways of the Strega, St. Paul, MN, Llewellyn Publications, 1995.

HARDING, Douglas Edison, On Having No Head, London and New York, 1981.

JUNG, Carl Gustav, Memories. Dreams, Reflections, New York, Vintage , 1965.

NIKHILANANDA, Swami, translator, The Upanishads; a New Translation, in four
volumes, New York, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1952
RUSSELL, Bertrand, The Conquest of Happiness, Toronto, New York and London,
Bantam , 1968.

Prunings from the Hedge

October, 2011

Inner Witchcraft

Working with Elementals

Introduction

These chapters were originally presented as information supplementary to that provided by the High Priestess of a coven I was advising over in Colorado.  Since I could not be physically present among them, I provided more private aspects of my practice, some part of which would surface at times were I with them.  My contention throughout has been that most magical energy is locked up within the human body and therefore preparation for witchcraft must attempt to remove some of these blocks so one can experience and make use of one’s native magical energy.  By ‘magical’ I mean here ‘capable of producing unexpected effects.’  This loosening up of energy locked within the body is presented here as preparation for spell work, but, as with all work on the Sun-wheel, one must go round multiple times.  As it is a circle, the Sun-wheel has no beginning or end.

I  begin with an attempt to describe the main types of knowledge as touching the Craft.  The East is associated with discursive knowledge, knowledge involving symbolic systems, whether linguistic or arithmetical, knowledge of an object separate from the knower.

The quarter of fire involves personal knowledge, in which the knower and known meet in a link of mutual understanding in which both are subject and object of shared knowledge. It is in this sort of knowledge that one contacts the gods and demigods in prayer, and has an ongoing partnership with each of the four personal elementals.

The quarter of water / west is ruled by the Crone, and this is where we contact and make use of her shadow-knowledge, which reveals hitherto overlooked features of the world and can lead to altered modes of awareness.

The quarter of earth / north is the quarter of stillness, where work with elementals both begins and ends, and where the spell is earthed after release of the cone of power.  Its essence is inner and outer stillness.

The partnership with elementals is a focusing device that fixes the witch’s attention on the functions they represent.  Work within the eastern quarter of discursive knowledge makes no further requirement.  Work within the southern quarter of will involves personal knowledge, so that the practitioner takes up the resident magical weapon of the elemental and tries to visualize its form within the weapon.  The witch acts towards the elemental as if it were a real person.  Nothing further is required.  This is part of ‘the theatre of witchcraft.’  The energy exchanges between paired opposite elementals are necessary for the completion of work within those quarters.

Work begins in the northern quarter of keeping still.  The witch meditates to quiet the mind, and then slips into the silence between successive thoughts, descending to the level of inner whisperings.  On this level a compulsive habit can be dismantled by removing one of its weak links.  The witch begins with very small habits controlling various nervous movements or tensions in the body.  Overcoming one of these habit-cycles releases the energy that was used to run the habit.  This is made available to the salamander, who is ready to do inventory.

Inventory is work in the southern quarter of will.  It involves, initially, going through all the clutter in the house and putting things in better order, throwing out whatever is no longer needed.  If an object or document, et al., is connected with an old unfinished project, the witch decides then and there whether it needs to be completed.  If not, the project and its artifacts are abandoned; otherwise the project is scheduled for immediate attention.  In this way, past commitments (which do not go away when we put them ‘on the shelf’) can be cleared away, making mental space available for commitment to a new project, such as,  in time, some spellwork.  This is done by the witch and the salamander together, the latter making use of energy freed by the witch and  the gnome in the northern quarter.  The offering of mental space from completed or canceled projects is the salamander’s requital of the gnome for the latter’s gift of free energy.  The primary motivation of elementals in offering the witch initiate their services is to effect this energy exchange with their elemental opposite ( gnome – salamander; sylph – undine).  They also share in the balancing of elements the witch is achieving.

Under the guidance of the High Priestess, first degree initiates are taken into the western quarter of daring, where they enter a state of altered awareness in which to practice raising the cone of power together, subsequently earthing the spell in the quarter of the north.  Witches are cautioned to stay out of the west / water / daring when on their own, until passing the second degree initiation.  Some information is given on initiations at this point and the nature of the second degree in particular.  But all this is more properly the High Priestess’s province, so I pass from it to the quarter of daring as subject.  In all quarter work, my aim has been to show how to free up energy and mental space, then uses of elemental work in ordinary life, and finally, their application to the Circle and spellcraft.

I  end with an account of work in the western quarter.  Further information on earthing spells is best left to coven work; and besides, we have already considered the general nature of work in the quarter of stillness.  A possibility for future development is briefly mentioned in connection with dreams, namely, developing the ability to dream lucidly, in which the dreamer knows it is a dream.  This is presented as a springboard towards astral journeys.  Such can lead in time to a transcendent experience in the Summerland called ‘the true Sabbat,’ traditionally reigned over by either King Saturnus or by Bacchus and Ariadne.

The Everyday Witch

February, 2009

The Everyday Witch notices the magic in the mundane and uses the images of her environmental space to conduct effective Spelling.   In order to get to that point in our daily lives, where the magic is obvious, we must have the tools to visualize our space and experience the magic.

For my introductory column, I am supposed to write some flowery stuff about me and my heritage and what I know.  Instead, I will direct you to my new MySpace and The Everyday Witch website to give you the update on me.  I would much prefer for you to be thinking about and what they mean to you, what images you personally associate with Fire or with East.  I have included a Correspondence table for you to read.  You can also use this Google Search link which looks for the key words “witchcraft correspondences”.

The first thing one must possess to practice effective Magic is Belief.  Correspondence Witchcraft gives the Witch an edge on Belief.  The corresponding ideas work together to form a synergy which aids in the visualization.  What I would like to focus on for my first column is to give you something useful and relevant to the that Everyday Witches use in their Craft.  A project of sorts, timed to the moon and designed to assist you in visualization in time for Ostara 2009.  You will need 6 panels.  A box or heavy paper is sufficient.  If you aren’t the creative type, a journal with 6 entries on 6 pages will suffice.  I do however, believe strongly in visualization as a means to success, so please make an effort to print or draw images during the exercise to help guide your learning process.  This would make an interesting addition to a BOS or a Scrapbook on Wicca. The 6 panels will represent the 6 Cardinal Directions.  North, East, South, West, Above and Below.  It will also encompass the 5 basic elements of Earth, Air Fire Water and Spirit. This is the over arching Theme to my column, .  You could call it “Foundations for Successful Witchcraft”.  The best way to classify the information in my column is “The rudimentary knowledge one should have before committing oneself to the Craft”.  I may want to be a Plumber, but without a wrench I’m just a bald guy with bad butt crack.  The tool is very important to the Craft.

While you are deciding between the journal and the box, I will tell you that I have always considered the world around me in a relational sense.  This is related to that through this relationship.  It’s like an odd “six degrees of separation”.  For me, make sense of those relationships and gives them an order that no other religion or path of faith has provided me.  Only witchcraft with the belief in the Goddess incorporated into ritual, has provided a sense of order and structure in my life.

I think it is best to say that my column is about the magic of ordinary things.  In the 1970’s, the Scholastic Book Club carried books by Ruth Chew.  What the Witch Left and The Wednesday Witch.  This genre of fairy tales that best describes Witchcraft are those of ordinary household items being magical tools.  The Folk Practices of the 1600’s Scotland included this tradition of Kitchen Witchery for the benefit of healing and family prosperity.  It’s not just a kettle, it’s a magical cauldron!  That is the stalk from which I am raised.  The Hippie Love Flower Child of the 1970’s with a spiritual philosophy of LOVE and The Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tales are the tacky metallic wallpaper which cover the walls of my sacred space.  I am a city witch, growing up primarily in the crowded apartment complexes and “designed neighborhood community”, with summer visits to the Southern California Desert and teenage years spent roaming the fields of the Silicon Valley… before it was the Silicon Valley.

You will find a book list in the coming months which focuses on the beginners path, and hopefully there will be some more “advanced” discussions on religion, magic and the need for Ritual in our ordinary lives.  To start with, I use the Seasons of the Witch Planner from 7th House, as I find the information interesting – the mundane stuff like Planetary Hours can be found anywhere on the internet.  Having a good calendar geared for Moon phases, Sabbats, and other helpful information like Astrology and Tarot is very nice to have in practicing the Craft.  I’ve used a lot of them, Seasons of the Witch is by far my most favorite.

The candles, the incense the altar, the chalice, the bread, the wine, all are part of the Witchcraft ritual.  For people on the Catholic path, Witchcraft should appear familiar and easy.  Witchcraft is very ceremonial – but it is not the ceremony which makes the magic, it is the belief and our ability to visualize our intentions.  The ceremony is simply the descriptor for our Sacred Space.

Correspondence Witchcraft takes advantage of the visualization, providing a 6 sided “space” with which to define our environmental space.  Correspondence Witchcraft can be likened to the work of Carl Jung.  The importance of imagery and visualization is very central to both his psychology and his other writings.  The Correspondence Table for my personal brand of Correspondence Witchcraft is included with this column, as mentioned above.  Here’s the link again. Keep in mind that you will most probably have a different path, a different set of .  You may be from the Southern Hemisphere reading this column on the Web, and of course it will be very different for you!

The Beginning is very important to one’s beliefs.  While the Wheel of the Year is a pretty picture, there isn’t a lot to guide an inquiring Witch to understanding how the Wheel is read.  So, “ Where do you start?”  I personally start in the East.  When I finish my circle, I want to be standing firmly on the ground, therefore I end my Quarter Calls in the North, or Yule.  Or think of it as, I start on the shoreline with the rising sun on the East and I end on the shoreline in the North.  This makes Imbolg the first ceremony of the new year.  It also makes Imbolg a Cross Quarter Sabbat.  But we will get into all that in a future column.

Only you can decide the start of your Year.  Is your path more Wiccan, does your Wheel start at Samhain, making your first Sabbat of the year Yule?  Or is the wheel not a consideration and you begin every Ritual facing East?  There are a multitude of justifications for where your box should “begin”.  Pick one that is right for you.

My background in began when I was a child.  My grandmother and grandfather secretly practiced and taught me the importance of the relationship of “things”. By the age of 34 I had become a Level 2 Energetic Healer and a 2nd Degree Priestess of Sankofa Pride.  It was with Sankofa Pride that I discovered my knack for and how easily I could associate colors and stars and goddesses.  I worked with the Temple of Isis, Iseum of Isis Padeusis and remained close with Lady Sankofa.  I established a “Big Witch” Circle in Long Beach CA where ritual witchcraft was practiced on a monthly basis.  The Grotto enjoyed a full year and several months in Long Beach.  I am finding it harder and harder to find the “big witches” simply because most of us, at this point, retire and teach only our family.  I hope that by laying down the basics, I can provide the impetus for a future Big Witch to carry on.

For the month of February, you should be preparing and gathering items to make your box, your 6 scrap book pages or your 6 journal entries.  The craft store Michael’s has some lovely sized affordable boxes to decoupage or paint.  Your thoughts should cover what you want to do – box, panels – how involved you want to be – easy glue on or in depth detailed painting – and of course the visualizations.

I will let you be the guide to your own creativity.  However, may I suggest using the Google Image Search to gather and meditate on your ?  I have provided a link here for you which searches the Google Images for “witchcraft correspondences East”. That should get you on your way to visualizations!  Mix up the key words and see what comes up for “Animal Totem West” or “Water Undine”.  Save the images you most relate to or that speaks to you strongly.  You will want to print those images in color for later decoupage (gluing) on to the box or panels.

Using basic Wicca concepts, your 6 panels will become the visual representations of North, East, South, West, Above and Below.  Not everyone likes to do Below since the box is sitting on that panel.  For the Ceremonialists reading along, please, note I am including this portion especially for you.

Starting in the East, you will want to sketch out the 4 cardinal points and their correspondences.  You can also use the Season and the Sabbat correspondences to the cardinal points.

All of the panels should be sketched out as you want them by the first weekend of February.  Decide where on your box or object the elementals will be placed, color choices for each Element should be identified and any photos or pictures you want to glue/decoupage on the box should be printed in color and ready for application. The first Elemental Panel (your choice) should be traced or outlined on the box at the very least.  Ideally you should be well underway with painting or applying the first panel.  If you are using a journal or 6 scrapbook pages, you will want the Elemental panels sketched out, and your visual materials ready to be glued or stapled in place.

The Dedication Full Moon is February 9th.  You will want to have the majority of the Elementals Sketches complete by now and well underway.  If you are using a box, the material should be prepped – base coats applied, etc and so on.  During your regular February Full Moon observance, you want to hold each of the elemental panels in your mind and meditate on their magic.  As you attend Full Moon Circle for February, reflect on the images you have chosen to remind you of the Elemental Beings, the Animals and the Star Watch Tower.  In your mind, go through all of the Elemental Beings and the ritual tools and the colors, for East, and for South, for West and for North.  Hold these images in your mind and let them interact, let their synergy mingle. Hold this synergy in your thoughts and dedicate it to your future spells and intentions.  This energy should be channeled into your box, your journal or your pages, for the seeding and planting of the magical tool which will aid your future intentions in magic working yet to come.

For the remainder of February, the Elemental Panels should be completed and/or applied.  Instead of playing Solitaire this month, spend those 3 hours a day researching the Goddess which corresponds to West?  This is the “get your hands dirty” kind of Witchcraft preparation work that inspires the mind.  Spelling is not just about words.  Spelling is about visual images and 3 dimensional ideas we can hold in our mind.

For the March column, we will cover the structure of a Full Moon Spell used in conjunction with a Sabbat Ritual.  You will need your box or your panels as Correspondence will be a central component.

Correspondence is the foundation, Spelling is the structure.

Book List and URL References

The Everyday Witch – http://www.geocities.com/girleegeek/

The Everyday Witch at Myspace – http://www.myspace.com/theeverydaywitch

Correspondence table – http://www.geocities.com/girleegeek/TheEveryDayWitch/Witchcraft_.htm

To Ride a Silver Broomstick – Silver Raven Wolf  http://www.amazon.com/Ride-Silver-Broomstick-Generational-Witchcraft/dp/087542791X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232566860&sr=1-1

To Stir a Magic Cauldron – Silver Ravenwolf  http://www.amazon.com/Stir-Magick-Cauldron-Casting-Conjuring/dp/1567184243/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232566860&sr=1-3

Moon Magik – DJ Conway  http://www.amazon.com/Moon-Magick--Llewellyns-Practical/dp/1567181678