Wicca

Cunningham’s Thirteen Goals of a Witch: An Interpretation

October, 2017


 

 

 

In his book, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Scott Cunningham lists The Thirteen Goals of a Witch (in the edition I have they can be found on page 151). Cunningham does not give an explanation of each goal, which to me implies that they are his personal goals and therefore are able to be interpreted in as many different ways as there are witches.  The following are my interpretations of each goal:

 

  1.           I.    Know yourself.

This is a reflection of the first pillar of The Witch’s Pyramid. Knowing oneself is deeper than the knowledge one attains from books; it is the knowledge of self or understanding one’s motivations. It is vital for each witch to be aware of his or her abilities, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, desires and fears. If the individual witch resonates in a vibration of denial or ignorance then how can this individual be able to expand and grow? To be able to be successful in manifesting that which is desired the witch must be aware of her or his own energetic vibration. To know oneself means that the witch is willing and able to be honest and truthful with his or her self.

 

  1.         II.    Know your craft.

This is also a reflection of the first pillar of The Witch’s Pyramid. This goal speaks of the knowledge of how energy (and thus magick) works. are significant tools to learn from as well as other witches, however personal experience is vital. Learning from experience cannot be replaced by anything or anyone. This is how a witch will gain understanding of his or her own energy flow and how it works in harmony or dissonance with the energies of their environment as well as how it aligns with the correspondences that he or she incorporates into their personal practice. The witch will learn to manipulate and create through their craft.

 

  1.        III.    Learn.

One of The Laws of Magick suggested by Isacc Bonewits in his book Authentic Thaumaturgy is The Law of Infinite Data, which states that there is an infinite number of phenomena to be known that one will never run out of things to learn. With this understanding the witch would continue to seek out new information and apply it to his or her own practice and craft. Just as the universe is in a constant state of change and expansion so should be the witch.

 

  1.       IV.    Apply knowledge with wisdom.

This goal speaks of the ability to take the knowledge that one has gained from books, teachers, mentors and personal experience and relating this to his or her own insight, understanding and intuition gaining them a deeper and more meaningful perspective on not only their life experience but the nature of God Herself as well. This is the best way for a witch to achieve personal gnosis and spiritual enlightenment.

 

  1.        V.    Achieve balance

One of the main tenets within Wicca is balance. We view everything within the Universe (the macrocosm) including ourselves (the microcosm) as having polarity: masculine and feminine, day and night, creation and destruction (to name just a few). Since God Herself is the culmination of All That Is, the witch that achieves balance thus achieves vibrational alignment with God Herself. To gain balance and achieve this goal, the witch would begin with the first goal that Cunningham lists and work his or her way through each thus bringing their personal energy into alignment (balance).

 

  1.       VI.    Keep your words in good order

The definition of the word ‘good’ by Merriam-Webster Online is: of high quality, of somewhat high but not excellent quality, correct or proper. So this goal states that the witch is to keep his or her words in correct or proper order and to have them be of high quality. This is a subjective goal as it is dependent on the witch’s own belief as to what is correct, proper and high quality. This goal is a reminder for each witch to be aware of what he or she is writing, typing or saying.

 

  1.      VII.    Keep your thoughts in good order

This goal is aligned with the prior goal but is applied to that which the witch is thinking.

 

  1.    VIII.    Celebrate life

Life is a process, an experience and some would even say that it is a gift. Whatever perception held about life this goal encourages the witch to view it as important and to find the joy that is held within each moment, to be engaged, to be aware and to be involved; because in order for him or her to manipulate the energies within and around oneself it is critical to be connected to that energy.

 

  1.       IX.    Attune with the cycles of the Earth

Everything that is physically manifested on Earth, including the Earth herself, has an energetic frequency that is able to come into vibrational alignment with another frequency. When a witch is able to attune or regulate his or her own energy with the Earth’s tides and seasons that witch will find that he or she is able to manifest their intentions with ease.

 

  1.        X.    Breathe and eat correctly

Many individuals are in a constant state of anxiety. Their ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered continuously because of the level of stress in their lives. It has been proven that when an individual breathes deeply taking in a higher level of oxygen they can calm the body and reduce stress thus alleviating the continued state of ‘fight or flight’ bringing the body, mind and spirit into a state of overall well-being. Eating nutritious foods will also aid in this endeavor.

 

  1.       XI.    Exercise the body

Physical movement encourages the body to become healthier and thus stronger. Extreme exercise is not required just moderate movement to aid your body to come into a healthy state of being. Just as witches are encouraged to breathe and eat correctly in the previous two goals it is important to bring the physical body, the sacred temple, into healthy alignment as well. A body that is in misalignment makes manifestation a little more challenging.

  1.      XII.    Meditate

Meditation is a fundamental tool in achieving results from a magickal practice. It is the first step in achieving a successful visualization, which is necessary in the manifestation of a spell whether it be an intricate casting or a simple intention sent out to the Universe. It is also a major part of rituals and communing with the gods.

 

  1.    XIII.    Honor the Goddess and God

Honoring the Goddess and God means to show respect and reverence to them. They are and are part of everything that we see manifested on the Earth including the Earth. They are part of everything that we cannot see manifested on the Earth. Every experience we have is part of the energy of All That Is. Everything is interconnected which makes everything sacred. By honoring ourselves, the Earth and all beings we interact with and witness we honor the Goddess and God.

 

 

 

Book Review: Love Magic by Lilith Dorsey

May, 2017

Book review: Love Magic: Over 250 Spells and Potions for Getting It, Keeping It, and Making It Last

 

LoveMagic

 

by Lilith Dorsey

Published by Weiser , 2016

Paperback; $12.15 at Amazon

This connection between magic and eroticism is an obvious one. They both encompass absolutely every sense. We lose and find ourselves in magic and love, if we are lucky.”

So begins the introduction to this 275-page book, which seems especially appropriate for Beltane.

The first chapter presents spells for self-love and happiness.

These are the root of your magical success,” she wrote in the introduction.

That is followed by chapters on romantic, marriage, fertility, universal love and erotic adventures. As diverse as situations can be, so are the magical traditions from which the spells are drawn.

There are spells and potions for finding love, keeping love, and healing yourself so that you are ready for love. The book includes rituals for invoking goddesses of love and for love gone bad. There are even recipes for foods such as Simply Sensual Flower Fudge and Oshum Seduction Salsa, because, she writes, “Seduction is best begun at the table.”

Dorsey distinguishes between spells for a general dose of universal love and those intended to connect specific individuals, and provides spells and formulas for each. She also stresses the importance of ritual cleansing – such as baths, smudging and using magical floor washes –as “one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your home.”

Along with cleansing spells, she recommends divination and healing work, regardless of the problem, and offers a variety of each.

In addition, she discusses the ethics of love magic, and provides information about sacred botanicals and crystals, and ends with six chapters from the Book of Psalms and some recommended reading.

Dorsey is a spiritual practitioner and has been a professional psychic for more than 20 years. She is also an anthropologist, which prompted her to include historical spells. Magically, she is dedicated “to many different spiritual traditions, including Santeria, which is more properly known as La Regla Lucumi. In that religious tradition, I have been deemed, through divination, to be a daughter of the goddess (Orisha) Oshun,” she writes. Shun’s domain, Dorsey adds, includes love and marriage. “She is intimately acquainted with all facets of love.”

Dorsey wrote the book to share her knowledge and experience.

Reviewed by Lynn Woike

Interview with Moonwater SilverClaw Author of Be A Wiccan Badass

April, 2017

INTERVIEW WITH MOONWATER SILVERCLAW

wiccanbadass2

Author of Be A Wiccan Badass

“Be A Wiccan Badass” is a easy-to-read, simple guide to the Craft, best for beginners and advanced beginners, although more seasoned practitioners will still get some good advice from it. I recently sat down with Moonwater for a chat.

SM: Good morning, Moonwater. Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk with me.

MS: Sure. My pleasure.

SM: I have looked at both your website and your Amazon author page (links below). You have quite a few books to your credit, including “Be A Wiccan Badass”, which I have right here.

wiccanbadass1

What made you decide to be a writer.

MS: I had a prophetic dream. In the dream, I was at a computer and I was writing. The Gods told me to start a blog. So I did.

At first, I was, like, are you kidding? I’m dyslexic. But you don’t dismiss the Gods, so I started writing. I have a lot of help. I have my sweetheart and friends that edit my stuff.

SM: That’s wonderful. We all need some help in our lives.

MS: Yes, and the Gods have helped me immensely.

SM: Which of your books came first?

MS: “The Hidden Children of the Goddess”

SM: I will be certain to post links to both your website and Amazon page.

MS: This first book is my Wicca 101 book. I wrote it in a specific way.

You see, because I am dyslexic, many of the books I read learning the Craft were sometimes hard to understand. So, I kept the thought in my mind to write simply and to make it easy to understand.

SM: How were you called to Wicca?

MS: …..how many at the time I learned even knew about Wicca? I heard a word I had never heard before. The word was Wicca. I went down to the local book shop and asked the lady behind the counter for any books on the subject. I soon had my arms full of books. I chose one. That one book changed my life forever. What was that book? It was Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Pracitioner”.

SM: Scott Cunningham helped so many beginners enter the Craft.

MS: Yes, and I hope that I can do this, too. I want to make Wicca accessible to those who may have a hard time reading and understanding what they have read. For example English as a second language or having dyslexia, as I have, or another learning disability.

SM: I found ” Be A Wiccan Badass” extremely easy to read and understand. It was inviting, as if we were just sitting chatting, as we are now.

MS: Thank you. I tried to make it inviting and friendly.

SM: I believe in one of earlier chats, you had mentioned that you have been practicing for 27 years.

MS: Yes, I have been practicing since the 1990’s.

SM: I read somewhere in the book that you were a Third Degree Initiate. Would you mind sharing with us in what tradition you are trained?

MS: I am a Third Degree Gardnerian

I wrote this book to help others be strong and find their own power. As a young girl, I had no self-confidence and felt like I had no power to change my circumstances.

I needed to experience a shift in myself. Fortunately, my path in Wicca helped me become stronger. Instead of remaining trapped with my then husband, I left. Wicca also strengthened me to become bold. I had to shake off my fear due to enduring dyslexia as a kid. It took courage to become a blogger/author.

With my first book, you can be more confident when you solidify a connection with the Goddess. Even if someone insults you, you can carry yourself with grace and strength because you know the Gods are with you.

SM: You practice a very traditional path of Wicca, but I notice that most of your books focus specifically on the Goddess, or so their titles would indicate, while “Badass” uses both Gods and Goddesses.

MS: No, I do include the Gods in all of my books. However, the Goddess speaks to me and others more, so I put her in the title.

SM: You are specifically speaking of “Hidden Children of the Goddess” or “Badass” with this description.

MS: Specifically “Hidden Children” but the others also include the God.

SM: So, I loved the idea of “speed grounding”.

MS: Thanks. I thought that was a good one. It can help you ground fast, especially if you practice it regularly.

SM: I would think that speed grounding would be for someone who has already been practicing their path for a while and can get to that place relatively smoothly. I find the grounding is part and parcel of deeper work, as well, which is harder than what speed grounding would indicate. Do you think beginners should practice this, or have more of a basic knowledge of the path that they are following?

MS: Yes. I think they need to know how to ground the regular way first. This way they know the process. Otherwise, they don’t know if they are doing it correctly.

SM: Yes, that is the point I was making. I know that there are always those looking for a quick fix and may think that Wicca can provide that, when in reality, it is far from it.

MS: I agree that grounding is a road to deeper work.

Yes. I have a friend that loves what I do but she wants me to make it a quick and fast thing to learn. I tell her that you can’t. You still need to study long and hard and keep studying throughout your life. It is not a fast and cheap spiritual path. It takes dedication and time to practice the techniques of Wicca.

SM: That is most certainly does. It is a lifelong path.

MS: Yes, totally.

SM: I liked the section on forgiving yourself, as that is something we all need to be reminded of. Also, the section on writing your own spells was informative. This seems to be one part that stymies many people.

MS: Yes, I hoped to guide the reader to feel more confident in creating their own spells. Because a spell you write yourself is going to be more effective than one someone else writes.

SM: Very true.

Is there anything you would like to share with the readers of Pagan Pages that they may not get through your books?

MS: I think that Wicca is a positive, spiritually, that really works. The God and Goddess are there to help you on your path; to guide you and nurture your growth. Wicca is for you to become stronger and find you own power. Plus, to know that you are loved by the Gods.

As I said, they have helped me immensely.

SM: I know that you credit Wiccaa and the Gods and Goddesses with saving your life.

MS: You don’t have to believe what someone else tells you that God is, you talk to them and find out yourself.

SM: So, do you consider yourself a “Wiccan Badass”?

MS: <Laughing> I am trying every day. Some days, yes; other days I need a little help. It’s all a learning process. I’m human just like you, and we all as humans make mistakes.

SM: Did I say I was human? <Laughing> Just a little joke.

MS: <Laughing> Well, you are the nicest __________ I have ever met.

Fill in the blank.

SM: Well, Moonwater, I thank you again for taking the time to chat with me today.

MS: Sure, thank you for the chat.

For more information on Moonwater SilverClaw and her books:

https://goddesshasyourback.com

https://smile.amazon.com/Moonwater-SilverClaw/e/B00HV4Z6U2/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1490195654&sr=1-2-ent

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

April, 2017

Spell

 

To Follow or Not to Follow, That is the Question

Merry meet.

Eye of newt, and toe of frog,

Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”

So said the 2nd Witch in Macbeth (IV, i, 14-15), as she and two other ugly witches stir the bubbling contents of their cauldron. It’s one of the most familiar spell castings associated with witchcraft.

In Shakespeare’s time, people believed in witches and their powers to do evil.

Every culture has magick in its history. Some oral traditions and written documentation have survived, which has led some groups to choose to follow old spells to the letter. The more eclectic the witch, the more likely he or she adapts and improvises.

You can easily find spells that call for seemingly ridiculous or difficult workings. There’s one to get rid of your daughter’s boyfriend by hard boiling an egg laid by a black hen in urine (yours, his or hers), peeling it and feeding half to a dog and half to a cat while saying a specific sentence about how the couple shall become enemies just as the animals are natural enemies.

There must be something magical about black hens, because if you want a long life, you’re supposed to eat the first egg laid by one.

One love spell calls for cooking a chicken heart, drying it, grinding it into a powder, adding powdered coriander seeds to it and then putting small amounts into your beloved’s food to inspire passion. Another directs you to fill a shot glass with your sweat and perhaps a drop of menstrual blood, then place it atop a copper sheet and hide it somewhere the one you want to love you will walk past.

To get someone to return to you, a spell calls for wrapping three fresh eggs and a teaspoon of salt in an article of clothing belonging to that person and burying it where a footpath branches out into a fork, forming a Y shape. Saying the absent person’s name three times, you then state your wishes only once, quietly to yourself, cover the hole and leave without looking back.

A love spell calls for stealing three hairs from a woman, one at a time … on three separate occasions … while she’s sleeping … and, for maximum effect, the hair should be taken from near the nape of the neck. The strands are then to be braided and pushed into a crack of a tree.

Iron boxes, a mandrake root exposed to moonlight, fenugreek seeds and a divining rod cut from mistletoe growing on hazel or thorn trees are all parts of money spells.

Some profess that these methods have stood the test of time. Other witches believe not all that that is necessary, and might even say that magick is stronger with it’s organic and personally meaningful.

Whether you choose to follow complicated, traditional spells to the letter or you are willing to improvise and keep it simple, it’s still magick you are working. Done with intention, respect and personal power, either should be effective.

If you don’t agree, let’s have a discussion below.

Merry part, and merry meet again.

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.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

April, 2017

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times April 2017

Pentacle2

Bright Blessings!

I missed doing an article for last month. My computer crashed! I am thankful we have a new computer now, and I can write all I want!

This month falls in between Sabbats, March 20 being the official date of Ostara.

This is one Ostara that I have planned no gatherings, and will not attend any.

It’s not that I don’t have peeps, and it’s not that I lack invitations.

It’s that staying in has become routine for me.

Those who have been reading my articles know I’ve been struggling for a bit over 2.5 years now.

I am not having nearly as many bad days as I did before. Travel is still difficult for me sometimes, however, so I do not commit to anything I don’t absolutely have to.

Plenty of people interpret a thing like this as lack of interest, but a lot of other people in my Community know firsthand how it feels to be this way. They have been very supportive, and make me feel slightly normal. This means more to me than anything else.

I admit, a few years back, I struggling with Community, and was thinking of becoming a Solitary. I was embracing the counterproductive attitude that “Pagan Community” is somehow flawed, and I was too good to deal with “the drama”.

The fact was, I was actively engaging in the drama, and all I had to do was disengage.

When I got sick, I did not have the energy to engage in the online or in-person debates so many other opinionated “socially aware” people in our community, like myself, were taking pride in. I considered it educating people when I “called somebody out.” The result was World War Three, every single time. I unsubscribed from all chat groups, and stopped posting views and opinions online completely. I focused on things like spending time in person with people, and working on my art, which took up so much time, I did not always check my social media page every day.

More importantly, I admitted there were some individuals I had relationships with who were not healthy for me. It was just a few people, but once I decided I could not maintain these relationships anymore, I started spending time with other people who were uplifting and supportive.

Fast forward about two years, after countless doctor visits, endless tears, and worries I would NEVER recover. I started having more good days, and I got a job reading Tarot at a new local shop. I was offered hours also doing so at a different shop. A group of us gathered at the one shop to do an arts and craft group, and potluck once per month. I was asked to teach at both shops. I also shared my art at community shows, and even made a few sales! My things will never make it to a fine gallery or make me rich, but it fills my days and my heart, and I enjoy the people I am involved with.

My role in community changed from online discussion and free, open to the public things to being a part-time businessperson people treated with love, and respect. The crafts group gave me the opportunity to just show up and be a human being nobody expected anything from. There has not been one bit of tension, drama, or disagreement in that group, and we have been gathering for almost a whole year. We are all Pagan.

These things showed me how dramatic, and whiney I was being thinking “Pagan Community” is flawed. How could that be so? There are so very many different circles in our communities and so many different circles within circles. There is endless opportunity for all the diverse people we are, and there is always room for a new person. There is also room for change.

Back when I ran open to the public groups twice monthly, I saw myself as the one who made things happen for people. Now, I see that’s the wrong approach. People who manage, facilitate, or direct are not the doers, they are the delegators. I realize in our communities, typically they say clergy do the work, and other folks just show up…but I learned a very valuable lesson. That isn’t necessarily so. Pagans are like Xtians in the sense there are plenty who like to help. Maybe out of 40 participants, five to ten people help run the gathering. But that is ten to twenty percent of the attendees who are making it happen. That is pretty good. Even if all one person can do is show up and empty the trash or give one person a ride home one time, that is still helping, and almost nobody shows up for Community and has no desire to contribute. Maybe somebody can’t contribute except to just attend today, but in a couple of months, they can.

I misunderstood Community and it took me being too sick to put up with things I made the mistake of allowing, and then just being too sick to leave the house to learn to value just how good of a Community I do have.

Community has been a very big part of my healing. Two of the very first places I was comfortable being was at the Pagan shops where I read, even on days when I am not feeling my best. On days when I was not up to leaving the house, friends from the Community came and kept me company many times. On the days I had no company and was home alone, I could reach out to loved ones online. On the days they were having bad days, they reached out to me. Being able to share my talent for divination, and the information from my years of study makes me feel appreciated, but most of all, it makes me feel useful.

I honestly did not think, sometimes, that I would survive this illness, but my Community kept me going on days I would have not have otherwise bothered. It literally, helped save me. I am so thankful for all the wonderful gifts being part of the Pagan Community provide.

May you all be blessed with a great Community as well.

Blessed Be.

Supportive Practices of the Craft

March, 2017

Witchpower

 

 

 

In addition to the practices of witchcraft usually discussed, such as divination and herb lore, there are practices which support a witch’s overall efforts. The following seven sections describe practices I have found useful for tuning up my Craft practice and keeping it properly focused.

1: Cycles

Witches follow cycles in everything they do, out of respect for their overall balance of health. They don’t work all year, and then try to relax through a brief vacation; witches take little mini-vacations all the time. They sometimes appear to be laid back and lazy, but they respond well in a crisis, and they somehow get their tasks done.

A witch aims at discovering her own biorhythms, so as to work with, rather than against, her natural energy cycle. But in practice there are usually compromises to be made with work and other factors. Her actual daily schedule may be set somewhat askew to her biorhythms, but a witch will adapt to it and arrange for periods of rest between work to attend to quarters other than South / Will / Fire. There are knowledge and skills to acquire, and emotions and the circle and the practice of inner and/or outer stillness to attend to. And there is a little goofing off, daytime rest, which is essential; just watch the animals.

Starting with the Sun cycle and making allowances for work, etc., a witch reserves the earlier parts of the day for practical affairs. She will not work on taxes, for instance, into the evening hours, but will start earlier in the season and devote some weekend daytime hours to the chore. Evening is for going within, withdrawing to one’s own hearth and communing with ancestors and familiar spirits.

2: Directions

It isn’t on any list of witch tools, but a compass is important to the modern witch so she can orient her life and work to the four directions. Witchcraft is always done in a physical context. Pagans are highly aware of their immediate environment and traffic with spirits of the field, yard, stream, the most prominent local tree, as well as with household spirits. The key to contacting household spirits lies in feelings.

When you first move into a new house or apartment, it feels cold and uninviting, especially if it hasn’t been lived in for a while. Not much later, it fits you comfortably like a suit of old clothes; and if, in addition, it is alive with saged boundaries and household shrines, you feel liked by the house as well as liking it yourself. This is a boundary perception, which we are taught to ignore or treat as a subjective matter, but if instead we address the good feelings and express our appreciation for the atmosphere of our dwelling, we break that boundary and begin to recover ancient pagan perception.

In the same way, outdoor sprites can be contacted through greater sensitivity to one’s feelings without discounting them from habit.

Upon awakening in the morning, when a witch is ready to start the day, it is a good practice to take out the compass and address the four quarters. One begins in the North, opening oneself to calming energy. Then to the East, holding in mind briefly what needs to be known or learned today. Then to the South, deciding the first tasks. Then to the West, expanding awareness according to one’s ways. Then seal to the North, stilling the mind and body once again. The witch is now ready to face the day.

3: Expanding Awareness

One way of expanding awareness when silently addressing the West is to relax and wait for something in your peripheral awareness to stand out and beckon your attention. It might be the reflection of something in a window, or the shadow of a tree or the spaces in its foliage. Whatever it is, when it gets your attention, continue to view it peripherally. You are in touch with its mana, or magical energy, and can use it throughout the day when you call it to mind. The image in your memory should be peripheral, not central, i.e. the way it looked when it got your attention. This can also be done with things heard peripherally. These are some of my ways.

4: Conserving Magical Energy

There is a kind of energy or power that the modern world has forgotten, though the memory of it is preserved in folk tales and myths. Indigenous peoples are well aware of it and live their lives with reference to it. While the immediate environment abounds in it, and we take it in all the time, we do not notice it because we squander it in habitual ways, habits that have been with us from early childhood. The ancient Latins called it numen, and the Mongolians, hiimori. It is always personal, taking on the features of the person holding it.

It is only by conserving this energy that the witch becomes ready to do magic, both in the circle and life. We don’t realize that everything takes energy, even unconscious ignoring of things in our environment, such as shadows, eyeglass frames, or background sounds. When we expand our attention to include such things, we gain the energy that was used in keeping them in the background of our attention, the penumbra or half-shadow. This energy is always exponentially higher than the small amount required to expand the attention.

The energy takes four forms for witches, associated with the four ancient elements. The energy of Air makes us learn and understand new things that hadn’t occurred to us before. In everyday life, it also manifests in any new knowledge or understanding.

The energy of Fire boosts the will and lets us accomplish tasks in life that seemed too big to tackle. In order to bring changes into our physical lives, we have to both give up some things, at least temporarily, and adopt other things or actions that further the goal. In the Craft, habits or actions that squander magical energy have to be sacrificed, and then the freed energy finds new outlets on its own.

The energy of Water attracts us to the unknown, and gives us the daring to escape the current limitations of our lives. This is the energy of initiation, which expands and transforms our awareness and can give our lives a whole new basis.

The energy of Earth is cloaked in silence. Witches seek inner and outer stillness, quite as much as Zen monks or Hindu yogis do. This stillness is deep, and the deeper the witch descends into it, the more he or she is transformed and the greater the magical energy that results. It is pursued gradually and at first in little things, like learning to sit still and not scratch, or refraining from certain topics in conversation.

Not that the witch is inactive, quite the contrary; Earth, the North, is also the place of our physicality, and the witch exercises regularly, and takes care of business through Fire and the South. Stillness refers instead to the enormous amount of energy we waste in fidgeting and performing other small, unnecessary actions, both mental and physical: for instance, compulsively repeating past conversations in one’s mind or rehearsing conversations to come in some hypothetical future event (for all thoughts of the future are hypothetical) .

The witch sums up a past event and plans for the future, but these are finite acts that come to an end, instead of repeating over and over and wearing on the nerves. The energy to be had by restricting such habits cannot be anticipated in advance. Out of stillness comes new understanding, closing the circle of practice towards Air and the East.

Thus the witch pursues the four powers of the magus: to know, to will, to dare, to keep silence. But there is a fifth power that results from the balanced development of the four: to go. The witch is saving energy for his or her definitive journey, the flight to the True Sabbat, fellowship and celebration with the ancestors, spirits, and deities in the other world. Folklore depicts it as a joyous occasion, and colors it with the pleasures and longings of the time when the tales were spun. Some tried to cut corners and get there more quickly through the use of the witch’s flying ointment. The actual flight may or may not follow traditional lines.

One may not literally fly up the chimney and then meet the Wild Hunt in the sky and fly to a rath or burg and descend therein through a tunnel into the Otherworld. The journey may parallel many of these features, nonetheless; and there are preliminary journeys to be made that go partway there.

The flight to the True Sabbat is a milestone on the way to the witch’s ultimate journey to the Sun, when he or she acquires a body of light that can materialize at will, so that further incarnations here in middle Earth are no longer needed. This transformation seals the work of the Craft and completes the vows made at initiation; thenceforth one does other work, perhaps as a guardian elemental, paying back for the help received along the way on this side by paying forward.

5: The Familiar

Witches traditionally kept a cat, sometimes a horse, as a familiar. The witch’s astral journeys were made in company with the spirit of the familiar.

The best information I have found on this practice is in Timothy Knab’s A War of Witches, a factual account of an anthropologist’s investigation, some twenty plus years later, of a battle with brujos and brujas in the highlands of central Mexico. In the course of his investigation, he is inducted into Toltec brujeria by one of the survivors and makes a journey to Tlalocan, the Toltec Underworld.

Tlaloc, the Lord of the Underworld, keeps animal spirits called naguals in his corrals. He gives a nagual to each human at birth. The nagual could perhaps be thought of as the link, within each of us, to other animals, inherited though latent from the prehistoric past. But it is a real spirit and to be a brujo one must find one’s nagual. Afterwards, an experienced brujo, through many journeys to Tlalocan, may have acquired a number of naguals, keeping them in fetish objects like puma’s claws, or in a special gourd.

The human soul is called the tonal. It has two halves. One faces towards the Sun and stands guard over the body when the dark lower half, the shadow, goes on journeys down the world pillar to the underworlds. The shadow is so called, both because it lies below our daily awareness and faces towards the nether regions, and because it follows its nagual into the depths as the latter’s shadow.

If the nagual is a cat spirit, the shadow takes on the semblance of a cat spirit. This is done for protection from hungry denizens of the deep, who prize the heart blood of a tonal but will let a nagual go by.

The discipline Knab goes through in becoming a brujo is well worth the reading. But to return to our own practice, preparation for a liaison with a cat familiar’s spirit, besides the obvious step of getting a cat, would seem to involve re-molding one’s own psyche closer to that of a feline. We do this unconsciously when we sit in company with a cat and enjoy its utter relaxation. Cats are content to go from moment to moment doing whatever they are doing, even if it is only resting.

We, however, often have a habit of doubting whether we are making best use of our time, or regretting we are not elsewhere doing other things. Cats, apparently, have no such qualms. The daily practice of witchcraft in fact promotes a calm mind fully given to the moment. Apparently cultivation of inner stillness connects us with the animal, pre-rational mind, so that we can enjoy shuttling between two minds, as the occasion permits.

This is only an example of how the witch models him or herself on a cat familiar. Whether or not one goes on journeys with the cat, cultivating a close relationship with one will draw the witch closer to his or her own inner, pre-rational mind, through which he or she can call up power from the Deep in circle.

6: The Patron Deity

It isn’t incumbent upon pagans to have a special relationship with a single deity, but it can be a rewarding experience. The pagan will continue to honor the other deities and spirits, of course, and may enter into a similar relationship with another later on. Suppililiumas, the king of the Hittites, was singularly devoted to his goddess, and as we know, his subject Abraham devoted his wandering life to his family god, the later Yahweh.

All gods stand ready to teach by sharing their consciousness, and by helping the devotee to practice the disciplines that lead to that awareness. Pagans will generally choose a patron deity (male or female) on the basis of temperamental preferences, though they may be influenced by a dream or vision. The relationship can be devotional or more like a friendship. In the latter case the deity is like an older mentor or senior partner. In late heathen times, Thor was popular with people seeking this latter relation.

In the Craft, the Lord and the Lady serve as patrons. The Lord is the year-god, who has waxing and waning aspects, and these replace each other at the solstices. Because the outgoing aspect dies and is reborn six months later, the Lord (sometimes called the Lad) is more of a demigod, and is not quite up to the Lady’s level. Witches and warlocks alike tend to relate to the Lord as a tutor or preceptor, and to the Lady devotionally.

The continental Celtic god Cernunnos is associated by modern witches with the year-god. He is known only from artifacts and only by the description given him by Greek traders in antiquity on the Ister or Danube river – the horned or antlered one (we do not know his Celtic name). Cernunnos teaches witches the way to deal skillfully with both the outer and inner life.

The Oak King or waxing year aspect teaches, by example, how to deal with the outer world joyfully and fruitfully. The Holly King or waning aspect is the psycho pomp or soul-guide in Craft initiation, and also provides fellowship with ancestors at Samhain, October 31st.

On the Gundestrup cauldron, found in a peat bog in Denmark, Cernunnos is the central carved figure. He has two antlers, wears a torque or neck-ring signifying wealth, and holds another in his right hand, as bestower of wealth. His left hand grasps a ram-headed snake by the neck, an Underworld animal linked with healing and sacrifice.

It often happens that a pagan already pursues some discipline designed to conserve magical energy, and chooses an appropriate god or goddess, asking him or her to be the patron of that practice. If the god is willing, he or she will help, first of all, by reminding the devotee to practice whatever part of the askesis is appropriate for the present situation.

The devotee thanks his or her patron for these reminders, knowing from experience that practice would be slacker without them. As the partnership goes on, the world will start to take on the colors peculiar to that deity’s consciousness and personality, and will cause subtle changes in the personality of the devotee as well.

The patron deity also teaches in dreams and guides the devotee in waking life by means of signs and omens, often peculiar coincidences that seem mysteriously significant.

The Lady nurtures and feeds witches as well as all her children on the earth, and also teaches those who prefer to relate to a female divinity. The discipline taught by the Lady involves cleansing the emotions of their verbal accretions. The devotee learns to feel without thinking or analyzing or labeling the feeling. In this way, the witch or warlock draws closer to the animals, who have naked feelings unclothed in thoughts. The askesis of the Lady is especially suitable for couples.

7: Inventory

Supportive practices of witchcraft aim at optimizing the free flow of energy through the life of a witch.

A cluttered life is full of energy knots that trap old, stale energy called `miasma’ by the ancients. The first phase of a spell, purification, is designed to unravel one or more of these knots, so that an increase in the flow of magical energy renders the flow palpable. The energy must be felt to be directed, and as some of it is flowing all the time (however feebly) , the rate of flow must be increased for it to be felt. It can then be directed to a chosen purpose in the consecration phase, and, in the final phase, charged with all the force the witch can command through expanded awareness.

But if the witch’s life is full of energy knots, untying one or two of them by purification may not result in a very strong flow of energy. For a stronger flow, the witch must gradually remove clutter from his/her life so that energy knots are few and easily unraveled.

Clutter comes in many forms. There is mental and emotional clutter; the clutter of always being too busy because of over-commitment; the memory-clutter of too many unfinished projects; and the material clutter found in the home: over-stuffed closets, garages, basements, storage sheds, etc. This section is about material clutter.

By learning and applying the principles of feng shui, we can facilitate a free flow of the energy the Chinese call ch’i throughout the home; but before putting feng shui into practice, we must face and do something about the mountains of clutter tucked away in corners, closets, cupboards and other hiding places. We may think that if our accumulations are out of sight they will be out of mind as well, but the deeper, pre-rational mind we share with the animals keeps tabs on every least thimble.

When the writer Aldous Huxley’s house in California burned down, he remarked on how clean it felt to be free of so many possessions. This was a drastic example of what we can achieve in a smaller degree through the practice of inventory.

The deep mind keeps a file on every item we own, and these files must be closed and cleared away if the witch is to use the filing function for fulfilling oaths and following threads of self-discipline. Accordingly, at regular intervals a witch will go through some of his or her clutter, putting things together that belong together, and getting rid of items no longer needed. A good rule of thumb to follow is to keep what one can use (sentiment counts as a use) and put the rest where it is likely to do the most good. In this we see an illustration of the balance of the Craft, which aims at getting maximum enjoyment and effectiveness from possessions without getting bogged down in being possessed by them.

Putting things you don’t need where they will do the most good may mean giving things away; but be careful doing this, as you may lose friends if they feel you are dumping stuff on them. And above all, never tell anyone you are following the rule of inventory, as gifts should at least appear to be made from a feeling of friendship.

Closing accounts with past unfinished business, either by abandoning old projects or by completing them, leads to a greater integration with one’s past selves, and can clear a channel through memory, and far memory, for the witch to travel in the inner journey down to the Summerland.

______________________________________

Footnotes:

1. For numen see Rose, H.J. in the bibliography.

2. For hiimori see Sangerel, both references, in the bibliography.

3. For the folklore of the Sabbat, see Jackson in the bibliography.

4. On the journey to the Sun, see Grimassi, p. 219, in the bibliography, also Nikhilananda, vol. II, p. 158.

5. See Knab in the bibliography.

6. See Gurney in the bibliography. More recently, a royal charter of King Suppliliumas has been found, authorizing a mercantile expedition to Byblos on the ancient Lebanese coast. Abraham may have been in it.

7. See Davidson (I) in the bibliography.

8. For the significance of Cernunnos in modern witchcraft, see Farrar in the bibliography.

9. See Davidson (II) in the bibliography.

 



Bibliography:

Davidson, H.R. (I) , Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, London, Penguin , 1990.

__________ (II) , Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe, Syracuse, NY, Syracuse
University Press, 1988.

Farrar, Janet and Stewart, Eight Sabbats for Witches, Custer, WA, Phoenix Publishing, 1988.

Grimassi, Raven, Ways of the Strega, St. Paul, MN, Llwellyn Publications, 1995.

Gurney, O.R., The Hittites, London, Penguin , 1952.

Jackson, Nigel, Call of the Horned Piper,

Knab, Timothy J., A War of Witches, Boulder, CO, Westview Press, 1995.

Nikhilananda, Swami, translator, The Upanishads, in 4 vols. New York, Ramakrishna-
Vivekananda Center, 1975. Prasna Upanishad is in Vol. 2.

Rose, H.J., Religion in Greece and Rome, New York, Harper Torchbooks, 1959.

Sarangerel (I) , Chosen by the Spirits, Rochester, VT, Destiny , 2001.

_______ (II) , Riding Windhorses, Rochester, VT, Destiny , 2000.

Spiralled Edges

March, 2017

Spiralled Edges – Real Pagans

 

witches

 

Occasionally, I see a resurgence of the perpetual “What is a ‘Real Pagan?’” argument. Usually connected to something that has been reported in the news, or a round of gossip or bitchcrafting.

Nothing new under the sun, these same arguments made the rounds years ago without the aid of social media. Invariably, any argument or discussion that being with “Real Pagans or True Pagans…..” finished with a list that manages to include everything the person does and excludes everything the person doesn’t. And for every single “Real Pagans don’t do X” I have seen I can point out a Pagan somewhere who does do it.

All Pagans are real Pagans. Not just the ones who follow a limited definition. This means that the Pagan who does curses is just as real as the Pagan who never curses. The Pagan who follows one God is just as real as the Pagan who follows many, or none. The Celtic Pagan is just as real as the Hellenic Reconstructionist. The Polytheist is just as real as the Pagan atheist. The witch who studied at grandma’s knee is just as much a witch as the witch who looked herself in the eye and recited “I’m a witch” three times.

Am I saying that anyone who calls themselves a Pagan is a Pagan?

Yes, actually, I am. It is neither my role nor my place to tell anyone else what or who they are. Pagan is not a single religion, it is an umbrella term that encompasses many religions.

I also see Pagans placed on pedestals by other Pagans, with a somewhat naïve expectation that because someone is Pagan, they somehow are above or incapable of negative actions. So let’s clear up a few of those myths and misconceptions.

Pagans come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and flavours. There is no one size fits all here.

  • Some Pagans cast spells, some don’t.
  • Some Pagans celebrate the Sabbats on the Wheel of the Year, some don’t.
  • Some Pagans follow the three-fold law, or the 7-fold, or the 9-fold. Some don’t.
  • Some Pagans follow the Wiccan rede. Some don’t. (Hint, if someone isn’t Wiccan there’s a good chance they don’t.)
  • Some Pagans are lefty-leaning, eco-warrior, long-haired hippy freaks. Some Pagans aren’t.
  • Some Pagans are right-wing fundamentalists. Some Pagans aren’t.
  • Some Pagans never eat meat. So do.
  • Some Pagans would never dream of doing a binding spell on anyone, let alone a curse. Some Pagans won’t hesitate to zap your butt if you threaten their family or loved ones.
  • Some Pagans are pro-life. Some are pro-choice.
  • Some Pagans are criminals. Most aren’t.
  • Some Pagans abuse their spouse or partner or children. Most don’t.
  • Some Pagans are obnoxious assholes. Most aren’t.
  • Some Pagans are sexual predators. Most aren’t.
  • Some Pagans I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw them. Some I would trust with my darkest secrets.
  • Some Pagans are extroverts. Some are introverts.
  • Some have chronic illnesses, or mental health issues. Some don’t.

Pagans do not hold a monopoly on goodness and light. The vast majority are every day folk, just going about their lives the best they can. But, we are human and like all humans we have our good and our bad points.

We are all Pagan because we all claim the title of Pagan. It is not my place to exclude someone just because they aren’t the same kind of Pagan as me. Nor is it yours.

Merry Meet

December, 2016

marciayuleornies

 

                       Welcome

 

Our beautiful Front Page Image is the artwork of Marcia Stewart (RocknGoddess)interviewed in this issue of PaganPages.  

 

 

We have a Fantastic & Packed Yule Issue for you this month with some great features, such as…

 

mandalastones1

 

A Book Review on the book Meditative Mandala Stones By Maria Mercedes Trujillo Arango.  

 

 

starcat

 

An Interview with author  Nikki Starcat Shields.

 

paganway

The Final Episode of Patrick Kavanagh’s short story series Kiara!

 

gifts1

 

 

It’s that time of the year again, when everyone is running themselves ragged trying to find the “perfect” gift for each person on their list. Well Susan Morgaine decided to help us out this year with her article “Crafty” Gifts for Witches & Pagans: A Guide to Yule & Holiday Gifts

 

and much much more!!!

 

Join us on Facebook  & Twitter!!

 

 

 

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

November, 2016

Knot Magick

spell

Merry meet.

A simple yet powerful way to cast a spell is by putting knots in a cord. It could be for protection, healing, invoking energies or giving yourself confidence. Sailors once had witches put wind into knots, so if they found themselves in a calm, they could untie one of the knots to get wind to fill their sails.

Before beginning, fix your desire firmly in your mind as you feel what its like to have what it is you are asking for.

A round silk cord or other natural fiber is generally preferred, but anything from a shoelace to yarn to ribbon can be used. You might also pick a color to correspond with the spell.

Say, “By the knot of one, the spell’s begun,” as you tie a knot on the far left of the string.

Say, “By the knot of two, my words come true,” as you tie a knot in the far right end of the string.

Say, “By the knot of three, it comes to me,” as you tie a knot in the middle of the string.

Say, “By knot of four, “I’ve opened the door,” as you tie a knot between the left end and the middle knot.

Say, “By knot of five, the spell’s alive,” as you tie a knot half way between the center knot and the one on the far right end of the string.

Say, “By knot of six, this spell I fix,” and tie a knot in between the two on the left end of the string.

Say, “By knot of seven, there is no question,” while tying a knot between the two knots on the right side of the string.

Say, “By knot of eight, it’s now my fate,” and tie a knot to the left of center and the knot to the left of that.

Lastly, say, “By knot of nine, this thing is mine,” and tie the last knot between the center knot and the one to the right of that.

End it with, “So mote it be,” or some similar seal.

To add more power in each knot, after saying the words and while imagining the feel of having the desired outcome, blow your will into the cord as you tighten it.

The knotted cord is then worn or carried with intent, not as a casual accessory. When the spell is over, I recommend burying or burning the cord.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

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