tools

Book Review – Wicca, Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need by Leanna Greenaway

April, 2018

The cover states that the book is plain and simple and, also, the only book you’ll ever need. The forward of the book was written by Judika Illes, who is, also, an author and I quite liked it. The first chapter informs the reader about Witches and magic. She touches on the different types of Witches like Hedge, Traditional, Gardnerian, etc. It’s nice because she just does a quick little description of each, but it’s enough to give the reader a good idea of the differences between them. After that, she mentions Covens and how they were formed when Wiccans were persecuted so they had to worship in secret. Then she gets into Angelic Wicca right at the end and how she has personally chosen to follow the Angelic Wiccan path. It’s a great first chapter considering all that she mentions, but it doesn’t seem overwhelming at any point.

Chapter two breaks down Wicca and positive thoughts. “Life is like a big classroom. With each day, we learn and encounter new experience, and although at times the problems we face are hard, by going through the processes, we climb that spiritual ladder and evolve to a higher plane.” Has got to be my favourite quote from the book. It resonated to me as someone who has survived a lot of abuse and it made me feel like maybe my next life may be better due to the struggles I’ve already endured. She ends the chapter after going over some “Wiccan Ground Rules”

As with almost all Wiccan books, there is a chapter about Tools. That’s chapter 3 here. She gives a good list of typical items, touches on colour significance in the candle section and briefly talks about all the things you should have on your altar. This book lives up to its claim of being plain and simple, but in a good way. The way she just touches the tip of everything would make it a great book for a beginner.

Lunar magic is next. I think lunar magic should also be a pretty standard topic in Wicca, as a lot of what we do is based on the moon cycle. “The gravitational field of a full moon changes energy particles that reach the earth, influencing the way that we think and feel by changing the functions of our brain”. She informs the reader about the various cycles and the importance of each.

Chapter 5 is a very short chapter about initiation, specifically self-dedication and initiation, with just a few steps. The following chapter is about growing your own garden, the benefits of that and some ideas on which plants to grow and why. It’s one of the longer chapters of the book, and for good reason. She writes about what would be good for teas, tonics and superstitions, but again, in a user-friendly way with nothing being too complicated.

Chapter seven delves into animal magic. It’s another very short chapter that doesn’t get into much. I would have liked this section to be a bit better as half of the chapter is a personal story that is nice, but considering how much space if takes up, there isn’t a lot on animal magic itself. The tarot magic chapter is next, and that one is much better, with a lot of good information in a short amount of space and she writes about how “all tarot cards hold a magic of their own, and they can all help to bring about a positive result to your spells.”

I really liked chapters nine and ten. Chapter nine is about magnetic magic and chapter 10 is about the power of the pendulum. I, personally, use a pendulum all the time to help me with tough decisions and she suggested a great way to use a dictionary to help with divination, and the way she talks about the healing powers of magnets, I think a lot of readers would like it. She touches on some basic spells as well, which they are plain and simple again, so beginners can feel like these are spells they can do easily.

The rest of the book is spells specifically. There are spells for love, health, wealth, prosperity, happy families, career and willpower. All of the spells are user-friendly, and don’t need much for supplies. I am a fan of casting a circle before doing certain types of magic, but the author suggests just sitting and asking for protection. I personally wouldn’t feel safe enough to perform some of these spells without a proper circle, but I’m sure a lot of people would be fine with it. I think once a person has had experience with darkness, they are a bit more cautious.

The book overall is only 127 pages, and so it really is “plain and simple”, but she touches on a lot of different topics in those few pages. I would recommend this book to anyone starting out, but not really to anyone that has been practicing Wicca for a while. I still took some information out of it, as I do every book and I was really happy with it. The book is a quick and easy read, and I know if I meet anyone who is interested in Wicca I would for sure tell them about this book. I, also, think I will be looking into more of Greenaways’ books as it seems like she knows what she is talking about, and I love that she doesn’t over-complicate anything. I am happy I had the opportunity to read this book and write a review for it.

Click Image for Amazon Information

Book Review: Spirit Relations by Bill Duvendak

September, 2017

Spirit Relations by Bill Duvendak

 

 

 

I found this book to be a refreshing change from the many books I’ve read on the topic of psychic and mediumship development. The author Bill Duvendak has the unique perspective of being someone experienced with energy work which gives the reader an entirely different view into the process and tools we can use to develop the tools we need to connect with spirit. He starts with a basic overview of the Clairs as most books on development do, but then goes far beyond and into the aura and chakra system. He discusses the pineal gland and its part in accessing and opening the psychic portals. With each step along the way he shares practical exercises to increase abilities and deepen awareness.

The author also is of the opinion as are many psychics and mediums that while some come into the world with better aptitude anyone with the desire can develop their abilities. This may help those who are hanging on the fear or belief that some are “gifted” and others are unable to connect at the same level. I don’t think I have ever read a more thorough book on development written from a pagan perspective. Mr. Duvendek takes into account and discusses things we don’t normally find in development books such as astrological factors, working with gatekeeper guides, our bodies as vessels and caring for them. He also treads where most will not dare to in that he discusses not only interacting with the highest vibrational beings but lowering vibration to interact with the lower forms of energetic beings. Something he reserves for only the most practiced and experienced workers.

I found his perspective, exercises and obvious knowledge to be an enlightening surprise from the same old, same old books; and as someone who is an energy worker and psychic medium very thoughtfully written. For those coming from a background of energy work, craft and psychic development this book is one worth taking a look at if you are considering deepening your work in mediumship or any psychic work.

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

About the Author:

 

 

Marcy LaBella is an eclectic witch, energy worker and intuitive.  In addition to providing readings, reiki healings, healing attunements and cranial temple attunements she is a professional teaching artist. Marcy creates works in mixed media painting, ceramics and handcrafted jewelry in copper and sterling.  “My work draws upon influences of nature, the Goddess and the magic of feminine wisdom”.

If you are interested in having an energy, reading, or healing session you can contact Marcy at Mjbella62@gmail

To view Marcy’s artwork, you can visit her on her Instagram, Facebook, or Main Web Page at: www.bellamarcella.net

 

 

 

 

Review: WitchEmoji by Pam Grossman

May, 2017

Hunt for Witches No More: WitchEmojis by Pam Grossman

Emoji2

Witches now have their own charmed emoji to use with iMessenger, thanks to Pam Grossman, a Brooklyn-based writer and curator who focuses on witches, magic and esoteric art.

I created WitchEmoji because I couldn’t find any great witchy, magical emoji to use in my texts,” she states on the witchemoji.com website, adding, “Necessity (or obsessive desire in this case) is the mother of invention.”

Working with an emoji designer who created the icons based on her designs and direction, she then built the app herself. Costing $1.99, it launched early April 2017. The iMessage sticker pack is compatible with iPhones and iPads with iOS 10.1 or newer.

It became the number one sticker pack in the App Store in its first week, beating the likes of Star Wars and Kim Kardashian,” Grossman said. “It’s currently still in the top 20 and getting stellar reviews, which has been very heartening. Just goes to show how much the archetype of the witch is currently resonating with people of all ages.”

WitchEmoji’s 80 images include a besom, cauldron, Book of Shadows, pentacles in all colors, a chalice, a candle, an owl and a love potion along with witches of all hair and skin tones in a variety of situations from flying on a broom to honoring the full moon.

There are so many more emoji I’d like to add to the pack,” she said of her towering list. “It will just depend on what I can afford to develop, so hopefully the pack will keep selling well so I can invest in making more.”

Explicit directions on how to download and load the emoji can be found at https://www.witchemoji.com/.

Emoji1

I’ve been a witch since I was very little – before I even knew to call myself one,” Grossman said. “Like lots of kids, I gravitated toward stories and artwork that deal with magical themes, and engaged in my own intuitive rituals and wild imaginings. Once I was a teenager, I began to read a lot and explore the path a bit more formally. But it was really discovering the surrealist artists and the writings of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell that opened things up for me, and made me realize that creativity is the surest path we have to the divine. My practice is very personal and syncretic, and draws as much on the art world as it does on spiritual systems.”

Last May her 36-page book “What Is A Witch,” was released. Illustrated by Canada’s occult sweethearts Tin Can Forest, and published by Tin Can Forest Press, it is described as “an illuminated incantation, a crystalline invocation, a lovingly-crafted celebration of the world’s most magical icon” and a “manifesto on witchcraft.”

Grossman’s blog, Phantasmaphile, can be found at Pamgrossman.com.

She is the associate editor of Abraxas International Journal of Esoteric Studies, co-organizer of the Occult Humanities Conference at New York University, and co-founder of the former Brooklyn arts and lecture space, Observatory, where her programming explored mysticism.

Grossman’s writing has appeared in “Sabat Sciences Occults,” “Huffington Post,” and MSN. Lectures include such topics as the occult in modern art and female magic in Western , and she also teaches classes on spellcraft, ritual and herbalism.

Tools of the Craft

August, 2014

Last week I was interviewed by a student in cultural anthropology who is doing her bachelor’s thesis on Wicca. Her focus is on the mind- and consciousness-altering aspect of ritual and the use of tools. She came well-prepared and informed, it was a wonderful conversation and I look forward to reading her thesis. She asked me about my use of tools and how they help (or not).

Tools can most certainly have a purpose to a witch (or other pagan). They have no power in themselves, though they do have powerful symbolic significances. They can be an extension of yourself and are literally ‘tools’. An athame can help direct energy. With a broom or besom you can ritually cleanse the circle by sweeping. Every tool has its own use.
In old times, when people couldn’t be open about their practices, they hid their special tools. That is, if they had any! In these days it was also common to use everyday stuff like a kitchen knife.
Ritual tools are as individual as the witch who uses them. They can belong to a whole coven, a working partnership or an individual witch. The only tool that is hardly ever shared is the athame. Never touch another witches’ tools without her or his permission!

If you ask me whether I need tools, the answer is a definite NO. My body and mind are all the tools I need and otherwise I can find anything I might want to use around me. Sometimes, when I’m walking in the dunes for example, I spontaneously want to do a ritual. All I need is there. I can just sit down, meditate and do a complete ritual in my mind. No tools needed at all.
If I want an altar, I look for a nice spot and stuff to put on it. A feather for air, dew drops on a leaf for water, some red berries for fire and a nice stone for earth for example. I can cast a circle with my finger or with a twig. If I want to do some divination, I just look around for signs or watch the clouds to see patterns or shapes to interpret. It’s called aeromancy (from Greek aero: ‘air’, and manteia: ‘divination’).

Still, I do have tools. Why? Because I like them, and sometimes they can have added value. For years I didn’t even have a permanent altar. I made one when I did a ritual and put my stuff away when I was done. Nowadays I use my altar as a focus point in my room. I like to sit in front of it to meditate, or light candles for whoever needs my support. I now have statues, but at first I simply used images or tarot cards to represent God and Goddess.
Over the years I have collected quite some stuff, including tools. Some bought, some gifts, some self-made. Some people say that you have to make your tools yourself. That way they have your energy in them. That’s true of course, but you can also add your own energy to a bought or given item. You can add something personal and/or work on it (inscription, carving, wood burning, etc.). You get a bond with something by using it. Whenever I have a new tool, whether it’s bought, made or given, I wear it with me, meditate with it and before ritual use I consecrate it in circle. That way the tool becomes mine and the bond gets deeper with every time I use it.
I don’t think you have to make your own tools, but it can be fun to do so. I made my own set of runes, a shaman drum, a lead pentacle, brooms (besoms), staves, wands, cords and more.

Let’s take an example, the ritual knives. I have several. The athame has to be blunt (it isn’t used for cutting) and have a double-edged blade and black handle.
When I was in an Alexandrian coven I had to have proper knives. The ones I had/used were rejected because they had no wooden handles. Especially for the coven I bought two matching knives, cheap ones with wooden handles, black and white. That coven and I didn’t turn out to be a success together (to put it mildly) so I doubt I’ll ever use those knives again as they feel ‘tainted’ with bad vibes.
Years ago I bought a dime a dozen knife on a fair. I made it my own by wrapping the handle and protection cover in black leather, attaching it by lacing it with the same leather. I have been looking for a boline to accompany it for quite some time. I wanted a sickle, but couldn’t find the right one. The ones in pagan shops didn’t appeal to me though; they are all the same. Three years ago I met a blacksmith, that understood exactly what I was looking for. He forged a sickle from a 400 year old iron nail. I made a handle by wrapping white leather around it and lacing it to match my athame. I love this set and use these the most by far.
Another athame that I’m very fond of is the one, that my husband carved for me from wood he found when we were on a vacation in Belgium. He also gave me a pretty little Scandinavian knife that I used for years as a boline. This athame and boline may not meet the ‘official’ requirements, but they work fine for me. I especially like to use them when I perform a ritual and/or magic for my husband or for the two of us together.

Tools1Tools2Tools3

You can see some of my tools in my Facebook album “Pagan stuff” – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.492586602271.269890.677652271&type=1&l=e1f1c544ee

 

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a Budget

June, 2014

Rethinking Tools
Witches are typically pictured with a cauldron or a besom – or both. That’s because a cast iron cooking pot and a broom were ordinary household objects, safe to be seen with when it wasn’t safe to be a witch. The same goes pretty much for all tools used in witchcraft – which shows that you can use objects you have on hand in magical ways.

The cauldron is a symbol of transformation, wisdom and the womb. To my knowledge, a cauldron is always cast iron – the witch’s metal, having strong protective powers – but there is no requirement that it have three legs and rounded sides to successfully hold magic. It can have straight sides, a lid, handles and a flat bottom – or not. While cauldrons can be found in witch shops, they can also be found at camping stores, antique shops, tag sales and flea markets. When you are ready to own one, you can be sure it will appear. Who knows, you might have a friend who, like me, is a tag sale junkie and can never pass up a good deal, and ends up gifting them.

Besoms

A besom is simply a broom used in a magical way – to cleanse or purify a space. It can be any broom, from the corn brooms with wooden handles found at hardware stores to the lobby brooms with a steel pole and angled nylon bristles found at Ikea to handmade ones of scotch broom with carved handles and crystals.

I attracted several besoms of various shapes and sizes over the years. There is a hearth broom from a friend’s family, a broom found in the garage of a very special woman after she died, one purchased at a pagan festival and two decorated as coven crafts. The small ones with the beaded handles are from a fair trade craft sale, the cinnamon broom was a gift and others were found along the way. While I have a favorite, others have called to be used at different times.

For little or no cost, you can also make one using twigs, willow branches and other natural materials secured to a pole or stick with cording. I think there would be something quite powerful in a besom crafted from herbs I grew myself, and it’s something I hope to do one day.

An athame is essentially a knife. What makes it magical is the witch using it. It can be handcrafted or purchased, gifted or found. I have seen them made of bone, stone, crystals, metal and wood. While typically it is double edged and not sharp, that need not be the case. A butter knife works perfectly well, as does a letter opener and that knife used to cut your wedding cake. Someone I know uses a long antique crystal stopper from a decanter for her athame; another used her husband’s switchblade.

Wands

Wands are another tool that need not be purchased. A stick or an antler found in the woods, a bone, or a piece of felspar or selenite would all work wonderfully. These may be embellished or not, as you choose.

I know a witch who uses her mother’s wooden spoon for her wand. Another uses a skeleton key hung on a thong around his neck as a traveling wand.

While I have used a glitter-filled tube, primarily I reach for one of two plain wands I’ve always meant to decorate, but then when I take one out to start planning what objects to use, I always end up stroking the wood fondly and returning the wand to its place on the altar.

Chalice

Another tool is the chalice. It could be just about any wine glass or goblet – or any vessel that you find pleasing.

Many years ago, I began with a blue pottery goblet I found at a tag sale. Soon a heavy blue glass wine glass found its way into my life. A dear crone who’s become a mentor gifted me her beautiful pottery chalice with women dancing beneath a moon on the sides. I also have a silver-plated goblet that belonged to my mother. Recently, I found a set of large black wine glasses at a thrift store in a local senior center for less than $2 each I hope to be able to use for Samhain.

The pentacle is the last of the witch’s primary tools. Long ago, they were made of wax so that they could be thrown into the fire and melt before raising suspicion. There are many for sale in all price ranges, but you can also make your own simply by drawing on a piece of paper, paint it on a rock or using a sand dollar. Just let your crafty self play around. The results will be meaningful.
I suggest that when you have a need or a desire for a particular tool, make the request to the God and Goddess and then be ready to receive it with reverence because it will find its way to you.

ThriftCrafting: Witching on a Budget

March, 2014

Introduction

 

Merry Meet.

In this first column about witching on a budget, I wanted to explain my belief that you don’t need any thing to practice the Craft except yourself.

You don’t need ritual garb. In fact, you don’t need garb at all; it’s not uncommon to practice rites skyclad (“clad only with the sky” or nude). Some old texts insist this is the only way to do ritual, based on the belief that only in this way are you truly free. While this is my preferred method in solitary practice, it has never been appropriate for the public or group rituals I have attended, and it’s not something my coven chooses to do. In fact, I find that few people are comfortable skyclad, and I believe it’s important to be comfortable.

Some witches turn to robes, long skirts, Renaissance dresses, kilts and other costumes not worn any time other than ritual as a way to differentiate the mundane world from the magical realm. But magic is not less powerful because you are wearing the jeans and shirt you wore all day. In the next column, we’ll talk more about ritual garb, but for now, know that it is not necessary.

There are so many tools of the Craft, but the only one that matters is you. You are the most magical tool of all. It’s your intentions and the energy you put into them that determines the results. Some witches never use a tool other than their own bodies, thoughts and will.

You don’t need an athame or a wand to cast a circle. You can do it with your finger.

You don’t need a bell, broom, cauldron, chalice, staff or sword. Magic does not require you to burn incense, light candles or place offerings before a statue.

There is a smudge fan I fell in love with on Etsy last year – an artist’s personal one that was not for sale. My guess is that if it had been, it would cost at least $70. I still sigh when I see the picture of it that I saved, with its variety of feathers, white deer skin and gemstones. There was another one incorporating feathers and an antler I saw at a pow wow that cost double that. If money were no object, I probably would own them both. They’re nice, but by no means necessary. I use the turkey feathers bound with leather and horse hair a fire witch friend gave me and I am blessed with her energy each time I hold them, but even they are not necessary to move smoke; using a hand or simply moving the smoking sage or incense also works in most situations.

Another tool often seen is an altar pentacle, typically as a focal point of concentration or to consecrate other tools. Back to the theme we need only ourselves, our body forms a pentagram when legs are apart and arms are outstretched, so that when you connect those four points plus your head, you have a pentacle. Staying centered keeps you focused.

When it comes to the elements used in witchcraft, our breath is all we need for air; passion serves as fire; tears, spit or other bodily fluids are water, and our body itself is the earth. If you think of your body as a vessel, it can be equated to a a chalice, which is the tool connected to the element of water.

So, now that I’ve explained that nothing is needed to practice the Craft, let me say I am by no means adverse to working with tools. There are so many beautiful and meaningful objects that are a pleasure to own and use. Over the years, I have amassed my fair share of them.

In the coming months, we’ll talk about about tools, garb, supplies, altars, decorations, holidays, methods of divination, and anything else you’d like to suggest – all with a budget in mind.

You’ll come to see you, too, can have these things without spending a lot of money.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Crafting in Sandi’s Enchanted Garden

June, 2013

 

Making a Pendulum from a Crystal

 

                Hello crafty witches! My name is Sandi and I will be showing you how to create fun and magickal things right here in my enchanted garden. I want to thank everyone at Pagan Pages for inviting me to create with you! Today we are going to make a crystal pendulum and a question board.

                Pendulums are used for many different things from finding lost items, to figuring out answers to problems, and even locating spirits. The pendulum is basically a chain with a pointy end. Copper and crystals are the best things to use for your pointer on your pendulum. If using a crystal you can choose one whose properties match the intentions of the question you are trying to answer.

                A question board can be something as simple as a piece of paper with yes and no written on it or as fancy as you could imagine making one. A question board isn’t necessary but can be a great help with focusing and for learning. If you are looking for a lost item a floor plan of the place you want to search is necessary. Hold your pendulum over the plan while seeing your lost item in your mind. The pendulum will move towards the spot your object is hiding! If you are searching for spirits focus on the desire to communicate with the other side and ask questions. The spirit may move your pendulum in the direction that indicates a yes or no answer to you. Sometimes a pendulum has been known to point to spirits in a room.

Before using you pendulum you must first calibrate it. To do this begin by establishing the direction you want it to seeing for a yes answer and which way for a no answer. Next, begin by asking questions you know the answers are true. After a few of these ask questions you know to be false and see how it answers. Once satisfied with the way the pendulum is answering you can begin using it for divination and searches!

                You will need:

A crystal with a definite point

A 6 ½” chain or rope

2 – 10” wires to wrap your crystal

3” wrap wire

A bead of your choosing

Flat nose pliers

Round Nose Pliers

Wire Cutters

 

The first thing we want to do is to wrap our crystal so it can be hung from a chain. 

Take your 2 wires and bed them into an L shape in the center. Hold them so that they face each other and make a small square in the center.

Place the bottom of the crystal through the square and twist the ends        

                                          with your pliers 6 times.

Then fold the twisted wire flat against the stone towards the top and

start twisting the new sides together.     

Bring the sides to the top of the crystal, hold together, and bend the wire back with the round nose pliers into a bail.  

 

Take your wrap wire and wrap it around the bail.    

 

Cut off the excess wires and flatten.

 

Cut a 2” – 3” length of wire and run through the bead. Use your flat nose pliers to hold the wire and the bead. While using the round nose pliers make a small loop and wrap the excess around the loop to hold it in place. Do the same with the other end but slip it through the chain before closing it off. This bead at the end will help you to hold onto the pendulum when using it. 

Use a jump ring (or make one with wire) to hold the pendulum to the chain, and you are done!

 

Moon Owl Observations

March, 2013

The Besom

            The besom is a traditionally constructed broom. They are an item some people choose to keep around for various reasons. Of course, the meaning has changed significantly over time.  Unlike a regular broom, a besom should have a rounded brush instead of flat. This is because the straw should be wrapped around the pole. You can buy them in a store, but they are relatively simple to make on your own.

 

They are best made with an ash staff, birch twigs for the brush and bound with willow. This option give you the best protection, healing and love. Straw is another common item for the brush. The three items are symbolic of the triple aspect of the Goddess. Ash represents one’s ability to work with the four elements. Birch draws spirit to one’s service, and the willow is connected to the dark Goddess’ energy. In some lore the besom would contain 6 different woods- willow, broom, hawthorn, birch, hazel and rowan.

 

I was once believed that if the witches went to sabbat and left their besoms behind, the besoms would fly to the sabbat on their own to be with the witches. Broom ends were thought to have their own life force and were capable of warding bad weather away from crops. Because of their uses, medieval witches were sometimes referred to as “broom amazons”

 

Midwives of ancient Rome used special brooms to sweep the threshold of the house after childbirth. This was to cut the ties between the world of the living and the realm of the dead. It was believed that the child had entered from the world of the dead and the pathway should not be made easy for a quick return. Since around 1336 B.C, Egyptian priests swept the ritual area then sprinkled it with blessed water. This ancient tradition is in a way still used since in modern practice, a large besom is used for cleaning the area before a circle is cast. Sometimes a besom is lain across the edge of the circle to serve as temporary closure.

 

Crossing brooms at quarters, and then symbolically uncrossing them, had been used to allow quarter energies into the cast circle area, while nailing crossed brooms to your front door or wall is said to guard the house and disperse negative energy.

Brooms are used to banish unwanted energies, send the dead back to slumber land and work weather magic. Besoms were used for Pagan weddings as couples would “jump the besom” to symbolize their union. This is literally jumped during a hand fasting to signify the leap from one “life” to the next.

Besoms might not have as much meaning now as they used to, but I think that they are still important in casting a circle as it is always better to have a cleansed area then not.

Paranormal Path

February, 2013

Common Banishing Tools
 
     Some people are not very welcome to the idea of a spirit in their home, especially if the spirit has shown ill or malicious intent.  If you wanted to try a banishing on your own, there are a few common tools that are used throughout many cultures and religions.  Here are a few ideas.
     The simplest technique is to ask the spirit to leave.  Many human entities do to realize their physical bodies have passed.  They do not realize what they are doing or their mere presence is frightening.  Telling the spirit to move on, giving them permission to leave and telling them they no longer belong here can work.  However, some spirits, especially if you are dealing with a non human entity, can be more stubborn and therefore more difficult to convince to evacuate your space.
     Water, the element that helps sustain life and makes up a huge part of our bodies and our planet, is a readily available tool that can also be used.  The key is to have the water blessed by a religious official.  This does not mean you have to go to a Christian or Catholic, there are officials in every religion that can bless the water and the result will be the same.  The water can act as a barrier or a transitory plane.  Wet your fingers with the water and mark all entry ways into your home.
     Another common practice is the use of sage.  Sage has been used by many cultures and is widely believed to help protect as well as cast out negative energy.  Sage sticks are lit, the flame blown out, allowing the bundle to smolder.  Allow the smoke to trail as you walk around the haunted area, it is believed the smoke will capture the negative energy and carry it away as the smoke is fanned out through open windows and doorways.
     Salt, preferably sea salt, is crucial to have in any banishing ritual.  Salt acts as a barrier that the entity cannot pass.  I like to use salt towards the end of a cleansing / banishing ritual as a way of sealing off the area, assuring unwanted spirits cannot return.
     We all know the power of the written word.  Try writing the problems you have been facing with this spirit on a piece of paper, be as specific as possible, names, dates etc.  Follow with writing your intentions, that the spirit is not welcome and you wish to reclaim your space, then proceed to burn the sheet of paper with a candle of your choice.. White candles can be used for protection and black candles can be used for banishing.  You may want to place the paper in a clean white bowl for a controlled burn.  The smoke will carry the negative energy away.
     Finally there is a method that seems to work mainly for non human entities.  These entities can be malicious and very difficult to remove.  One theory is that these spirits do not like to be challenged.  Taking a small bag of tiny grains, such as sand or rice, place it in the doorways with the contents spilling out.  There is a belief that the entity must stop and count every last grain.  This task is nearly impossible and the entity should grow frustrated at being unable to complete this challenge and will leave your space and move on.

The one thing you must remember when using any of these methods, is you must believe that what are you doing will work and put confidence behind everything you do and say. If you don’t stand beside your ritual or allow fear or skepticism to take over, you will not succeed.

Across the Great Divide

October, 2012

 “Innovations in Paranormal Tech”

 

 

Put away your proton packs and your PKE Valiance devices. While the theories behind Egon’s famous PKE meter are based on actual parapsychological research, the toys of Hollywood’s Ghostbusters are just that. Out in the real world, however, their influence has been ingeniously innovative, often practical, and sometimes just silly.

Investigative technologies in the field of paranormal research have been adapted, tweaked, modified, and reimagined over the past 100 years to further the quest for that paradigm-shifting piece of evidence that will duct tape the mouths of the skeptics shut.

These tools of the trade have evolved from the days of bulky cassette recorders and 35 mm cameras- which were used primarily to merely document data and present it to the world as valid evidence at face value- to include the latest in Bluetooth and other digital instrumentation.

The various tools of today have rightfully expanded their roles to three core purposes- documentation, communication, and authentication.

Advances in digital photography, for example, have reached a point where it has far surpassed the 35mm film of days gone by. The data encoding that is involved serves as a digital blueprint for authentication because it tracks date, time, geo location, and changes or manipulation of the raw images.

Improvements in camera technology are also well noted in the Looxcie LX2 camcorder, an ear-worn camcorder that utilizes Bluetooth technology to pair with a smartphone or tablet.

As a Point of View (POV) camera, it is simply genius in its design, with wireless capabilities that can be viewed from 15-20ft away. In addition to freeing up the hands for the use of other equipment, the “always on, always ready” feature of wearing it- rather than carrying it- removes the problem of having a personal experience and not being quick enough to get your camera ready to capture the activity.

The newest season of SyFy’s Ghosthunters introduced the GoPro2, a camera converted to film in the IR range. Also, the ability of the new “full spectrum” cameras that capture visible light, ultraviolet, and infrared spectrums are just now reaching a level that will blow the lid off of the amount of potential evidence to be found.

The TAPS team also used an app for Android-based devices- a multimeter based on the “Mel Meter” hardware. The interface features an EMF field sensor, ambient temperature sensor; audio recording capability, an LED torch flashlight, and a camera function all at the fingertips. When the EMF field is interrupted, or the ambient temperature rises or falls, an alarm sounds. Pretty neat; and the all-in-one design cuts down on the number of items you have to carry and switch between.

The app uses an Android’s built in magnetic field reader to accurately measure surroundings. Not all Android phones or devices may have a built-in Ambient Temperature Sensor, but it is great for monitoring the overall room temperature while searching for cold/hot spots.

These are all great in theory, but somehow I doubt that the EMF and ATS capabilities will be anywhere near as accurate as those on a dedicated device; unless you’re able to connect an external microphone, most smartphones are impractical for quality audio recording, let alone valid data; and I’ll admit that I use my phone quite often to take breathtaking photos while out and about, but anyone who has ever used a camera phone knows that the picture quality in low-light conditions common to ghost hunting make its use impractical and hit-and-miss- a problem you can’t afford to have while on an investigation.

I commend the thought behind it, but the TAPS team dropped the ball by promoting this one. It’s just another free geek app that has potential but lacks the hardware behind it to make it scientifically valid. The developer put it best himself, “As with all of my Ghost Hunting apps, please be aware that RESULTS MAY VARY. Neither myself nor anyone else can guarantee contact with ghosts, demons, aliens, or your deceased grandmother.”
Here’s some of the latest tech that has also found its way into ghost hunting investigations:

Everyone is familiar with the ‘flashlight test’. This was an interesting concept that has now reached laughable status thanks to the folks behind the various shows on television which never seemed to get any results; then lo and behold the boys at TAPS had it happen and now they and every other show out there have at least one incident per week. While this does have the potential to produce motivating results, there are so many variables that can leave even the most zealous investigator sarcastically raising an eyebrow.

Well, someone answered the call and created the Paranormal Touch (PT1) to put a dent in those questionable results.

Place the PT1 on any flat surface, turn it on, and a flashing red light is your phone call to the other side. It uses not one, but two vibration detectors to trigger the unit; and has integrated a Negative Static Detector into the unit to provide additional confirmation of paranormal activity.

Then there’s the “paranormal puck,” a device that plugs into a computer’s USB port and uses “ECM,” or “Environmental Communication Mode,” technology to “read” energy levels and translate it into text.

Great, now even ghosts are texting. I guess Verizon really does have the world’s largest network.

Famed researcher Loyd Auerbach is cynical of a dependence solely on technology. He thinks someone with psychic abilities is far likelier to communicate with the other side than someone with a lot of gadgets around their belt.

Auerbach does, however, feel that technology can provide some clues.

Think about how you might track an invisible boat on a big lake.

“We’re really using technology to detect the wake of the boat,” he says. “From that, we can infer that some things are going on in the environment, provided we know there’s a boat there to begin with.”

If there’s a common ground that both skeptics and believers can share, it’s that ghost hunting is often just as complicated as finding an invisible boat. So we set our sights on the horizon and like the seafaring explorers of old, set off to see what’s out there amid the turbulent waters of scientific discovery.

© 2012 R. Wolf Baldassarro/Deep Forest Productions

Next »