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The Bad Witch’s Guide

June 1st, 2019

What
is a Familiar?

A
familiar is a spirit. This idea came into being in the Middle Ages
that witches could create and summon unseen creatures that could take
on various animals forms to spy on, to steal things and curse.
Cunning Folk had familiars too. Though they were seen as benevolent.
Some kept injured or unusual animals to help “sell” this
idea to their customers.

To some modern witches a familiar is their pet animal that does magick with them. In modern terms a true familiar would be more like astral projection or making a Fetch or Thought-Form. While it can be pleasant to work with your pets they may not have the mental capacity, desire or inclination to do your work in the astral or etheric plane.

(artist
Merysa O’Malley-Local)

Further
more familiars are at best beloved servants, at worst slaves to the
magicians will. This is not something I am comfortable with. I don’t
particularly like the summoning (rude much) of spirit in general and
certainly wouldn’t want to do that to a pet.

Some
of my pets were quite magickally inclined, others were not…how do I
say this… dumber than a box of wet hair?

If
I need to do something on a different plane I am quite able to
journey their myself. If I need someone, or something to do something
specific in my absence I can and have created Fetch’s to do so.

How
to make a Familiar (Thought-Form)

This
creation can be made alone or in a group. It must have a very precise
parameters.

An
example might be a house Guardian. A creature to Protect, Empower,
Deflect, Inform. The idea being they are there to protect the place
(and those within it), help maintain other protective wards, send
back any unwanted or harmful energy and let me know if someone or
something has tried to come in.

I
could if I had thought it through better used those initials as the
Guardians name. You shouldn’t use God or Goddess names as it is
disrespectful and likely to mean it starts behaving in unexpected
ways.

Now
you can draw or imagine this being fully. Their gender/s, physical
shape size and so on. You should also add in how long you wish them
to be. So you can say for seven days, for as long as we shall live
here or whatever you need.
Then you name them, Idep as an
example.

“Idep
is as strong as a Bull

As
wise as a Sage,

As
fierce as Hound

Gentle
as a sigh

Nothing
escapes his Vigilant Eyes.”

You
can chant this over a symbol, or statue. Once it has be “made”
or awoken it is important to feed and respect this being. Flowers,
incense and a little milk at full moon would be excellent offerings.

 

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Shadow Work

 

(Photo by Christian Holzinger on Unsplash)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

I asked “what are you?”

I am your pain.”

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

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

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

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

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

 

Simple Shadow Ritual

You will need:

A mirror

Patchouli oil

Candles/soft lighting

Bay laurel leaves

Yarrow (dried)

Frankincense resin

Heat proof container and charcoal to safely burn your herbs.

Notebook or journal.

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

 

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

I humbly come to my Shadow’s Gate.

I come to learn not to hate.

I come to see, I come to hear.

Open the Gate as I draw near.

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

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

I see you. I am listening.

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

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

Humbly I came to my Shadow’s Gate.

I came to learn not to hate.

I came to see, I came to hear.

The Gate is Closed I leave you here.

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

The
Bad Witch’s Guide to The Older People”

Or
You get Better or You Get Bitter”

There
are some people who never seem to get old. Their bodies might age,
but something in their eyes and heart has remained or even grown.
Then there are people who seem to crave death. Sometimes it is
depression. Often untreated, under supported and dealing with the
loss of a great deal. I have been the supporter of an older relative
dealing exactly with this. Without support and indeed medication
these folks become something dark and unpleasant. As The Veil grows
thin for a person you start to see what might be beyond for them, a
light or a darkness. This is not about religion or faith but an
almost physical psychic presence around people near the end. Those
near their light glow. There is a peace and beauty.

Then
there are the other ones. A presence like black sticky smoke. A smell
of something rotten or burnt like old tires or something sickly
sweet. It seems to pour from them. I can not tell if it’s their
mood, their energy, their internal mean-spiritedness or the
manifestation of something else.

Older
people are just that, people. They are neither saints or devils, but
dealing with someone whom is dark and difficult because they are
family is hard work. It is often hard physically, emotional and
spiritually.

So
how do you live with or be around this polluting force? Toxic
parents, and relatives become no less pleasant as they age and some
just use their frailties (real or imagined) as weapons to brutalise
their children and spouses and grandchildren.

As
a child of a toxic parent and one who watched someone become one in
their last years of life there is a complex soup of horrible
feelings. Guilt, duty, blame, shame, fear and pain.

As
a witch I have to change my perspective.

I
must squint at the situation sideways and think magickally.

Firstly
the mundane. Is this person mentally ill? Are they depressed,
grieving or suffering in some other way? Is mental health support
possible? Many older folks have still have a lot of shame and
misconceptions about mental health. Many have some really ugly or
difficult coping strategies. From alcohol and cigarettes, to shutting
themselves away, generationally we are in a much better place to
understand mental illness today. Some might be struggling with side
effects of medications, not knowing that their could be newer better
medications or combinations out there. Some might not have been to
the doctors at all. Avoiding what they think will be a frightening
truth.

Reach
out. Find charities and professionals that listen not only to what
they say but your input too. It isn’t easy. We had a lot of doctors
simply refuse to believe Pop’s had depression. That many of his other
issues would have been solved if they treated that first. In the end
it was as much that as his vices that killed him.

Of
course you can not help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. This
is perhaps a hard truth of our own we must face. The other option is
also mundane and really tough. Sometimes you have to walk away. For
your self, your health, sanity and well being. This might be a break,
this also might be an end to the relationship. It is not our job to
watch someone destroy themselves.

If
neither of these two are applicable (life is complicated and messy)
protect and cleanse yourself and space as often as you can. You might
want to physically clean it as well as smudge. Adding salt and
essences to your wash water can help. Protective wards, charms and
crystals help a lot too.

There
are a couple of things that can help absorb some of the toxic seep
but they are not permanent measures. One is sacrificial house plants.
Sounds macabre I know. House plants tend to die in the presence of
such people, yet these little heroes can and do take much of this and
convert it as best as they can. They don’t have to be fancy, and if
you get a few you can rotate them around (increasing their lives for
a short time). Ferns are good. One near where they sit, one in their
room, one in the loo or near where they spend a lot of time and
absorb a lot of yuck. Some quartz pebbles might even make them live
longer.

The
other is a salt and barely mojo. You can make up a big batch and keep
it in a jar and change out and throw away the used one. How often
depends on the person.

Once
a month or once a week depending on how bad it is. This can go under
a mattress, or sofa cushion or even into a pillow.

You
Will Need:

Salt,
the best kind you can afford.

Barley
(pearl barley is fine)

Calendula
oil

Parsley
(dried)

Per
one cup of salt you will need a tablespoon of barley and calendula
oil with a teaspoon of parsley. This is the base mixture and you can
add other things, like moss or wheat straw (again to absorb the
energy).

Say:

Spirit
of Salt I call to thee

Draw
what is harmful away from me.

Barley
keep the Dark away

Bind
it here until I wash it away.

No
darkness shall harm

With
this charm:

Tenebris
et non nocebit (And the Darkness Will Not Harm)

Tenebris
et non nocebit

Tenebris
et non nocebit!

Place
in fabric mojo bag as discreetly or not as you like. Under the sofa
cushion, or mattress is useful and make sure to empty them regularly.
Dispose of the used mixture down an outside drain with plenty of
water. Don’t put it in a river, but you could put it in the sea.

This mixture can be used for a circle ward around your home, too.

While
none of this deals with the cause of the problem sometimes all we can
do is muddle through and keep ourselves safe. In an ideal would this
sort of thing wouldn’t need to happen but the world is often not
ideal and we need to use our magick to keep us as safe as we can.
Toxic relationships are difficult and draining and it can take a long
time to heal from them. If a little magick can help you feel strong
enough to say “no” when you need to then it has done you a great
service.

Bright Blessings!

We have “sprung forward”, and are rejoicing that the daylight hours are longer. Some of us are STILL adjusting to the time change, however happy we are about it. Spring officially starts in four days from the time I am writing this, and many have already had their Sabbat celebrations for it.

Like many others, I am coming out of hibernating with the warmer, longer days. My energy levels have increased, and my mood is more enthusiastic. I have been a LOT more busy, and that means that I have forgotten to pace myself. As a result, I have had a couple days when absolutely nothing got done, and I sat around a whole lot.

One thing that has gotten done is massive patio cleanup, and hand fertilizing of the raised garden bed we built some years ago. I have carefully crumbled eggshells, cut up fruit peels, and thrown in both tea grinds, and used coffee grinds.

I am glad I live in modern times and get to “cheat” and throw in store bought soils as well. Soon, peas will be planted in the beds, and after those are spent, pretty flowers, all of which I have seeds for already!

Spring is a big deal at our house!

In Nature, everything is sprouting, and the snowdrops are already glittering through last fall’s dead leaves, on the forest floor. Daffodils are about to sprout, and our crocuses came up first, and soon, fritillaries will follow suit.

Birdsong has returned, and gets louder daily. Squirrels, and bunnies are jumping all over the place, reminding us of how very alive the Earth is. I’ve even seen a couple of mosquitoes already!

Everything in creation from plants, to animals, and even people , are seemingly awakening from Winter’s deep sleep, and are raring to get out in the sunshine and enjoy life!

Some of us spend time outdoors, gardening, and “grooving with Nature”, as my Priest puts it, but are more into the arts. We create, we dance, we enjoy music and theatre. Many of us LOVE to read! What is better than a nice book, and a hot cuppa’ in a cozy room with Spring light streaming in?

Those who are prolific readers are in for a real treat!

A new book was published recently, and let me tell you, it’s an exquisite read.

It’s called Megge of Bury Down (The Bury Down Chronicles) (Volume 1), which is part of The Bury Down Chronicles by Rebecca Kightlinger and is set in Thirteenth Century Cornwall, England. It is magical, chock full of mystery, the Old Ways, and Family Traditions. This book draws you in immediately, and Kightlinger’s descriptive narrative voice is so deep, you actually FEEL like you are THERE, watching in person. The firelight flickering in the darkness is so well detailed, you can almost smell the woodsmoke, and the faces of the women are so well described, you can almost reach out and touch them. You need this book, like , yesterday. Step into Bury Down with Kightlinger’s book.

 

 

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to speak with Kightlinger via emails, for an in depth, very intimate interview, in which she speaks not only of her book, but her own background, and women’s issues.

First, please have a look at her amazing website:

https://www.rebeccakightlinger.com/

 

And next enjoy the interview! Afterwards, this month’s working will be provided below.

 

Interviewing Rebecca Kightlighter

 

Saoirse (S)– Bright Blessings, Rebecca. First, tell me a bit about yourself and your work!

 

Rebecca Kightlinger (R)My book, Megge of Bury Down (The Bury Down Chronicles) (Volume 1), is about the daughter of a midwife in medieval Cornwall. Megge’s mother and aunt– a healer and a seer, respectively—each hold an ancient grimoire that they must pass down to their daughters, who will then become their apprentices. The books are companion tomes that together enable the women to harness the knowledge and wisdom of every previous heir to the books. They are able to query these ancestors in order to learn the secrets that enable them to serve the people of their village. The problem is that although Megge wants nothing more than to become a woman of Bury Down and be truly a part of her family, she is frightened of her mother’s book. When the time comes for her to accept it, she refuses. 

The stakes are very high for Megge’s mother, so she and Megge’s aunts must bring Megge to accept her charge and assume her role as a woman of Bury Down.

The themes are the desire to belong while being unable or unwilling to do the one thing that will make you a part of the group; the desire to find and follow your own path despite pressure to follow one laid down for you; and the closeness that can unite two people of different generations, the younger being able to learn from the elder, who brings wisdom and unconditional love.

I was an obstetrician gynecologist for many years; but in  2010, a serious injury to my right hand brought that work to an abrupt end. It was then that I started writing fiction. One day in 2011, when I was writing another story, letting scenes play out in my mind and describing them on paper, I saw not New York City or Amsterdam, where that story was set, but a pastoral scene: a grassy hill where sheep were grazing and a girl dressed in rough, heavy woolens was sitting on a big rock at the top of the hill. The girl seemed to look right at me and said, “When you’re done with those Dutch people, I want to go next.” And when I had finished the other story, she showed up again and just started telling me about her life and the lives of her ancestors. At the time, I knew very little about Cornwall and even less about the middle ages. But Megge spoke to me clearly, and with humor, showing me the scenes, and I felt this was something very real, though I had never before experienced anything quite like it.

Having been a visitor to Lily Dale spiritualist community many times, I called a medium, Jackie Avis, to talk to her about it. We had a telephone visit, and even before we started to talk about Megge, Jackie said she was seeing near me a big, very old book with a heavy wooden cover carved with symbols. She perfectly described The Book of Seasons, the book Megge was so afraid of. Our long conversation set my mind at ease, making me comfortable inviting Megge into my life. 

I knew that in order to tell this story well, I would need some serious writing skills, so I applied to The University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program. Poet Annie Finch was the director, and we spoke by phone. It was she who accepted me into the program.

In the summer of 2013, I went to Cornwall to visit the place I thought might be the region Megge had described as home. Arriving at Botelet Manor, where I was staying, was an incredible experience. Everything Megge described was right there. There is even a house on the manor that had been there during Megge’s day. The remains of Bury Down hillfort, built thousands of years ago, stood at the site Megge had described as the healer’s grove, where women came for healings at night. The church, the village location, and the castle were all as I had seen as she spoke.

Writing this book has been the most rewarding experience, and I hope this comes through in the book. 

 

S- I will add, I am a psychic advisor/seer/reader, or whatever people choose to call me also. I am thrilled you spoke with a seer! I refer to this as a gift of spirit, as do many others. I feel we all have gifts of spirit including, speaking with the dead, healing, comforting the grieving, ability to use prayer to intervene in other’s lives, etc. What are your personal beliefs and views about oracles/seers?  Do you feel you have gifts of spirit, and if so, what are they? It sounds like a spirit showed up and told you her story! Is that right? What is your spiritual path, and how does that influence your writing of this book, and your writing in general?

 

R- My mother and great-grandmother had strong spiritual gifts, and it may have been their openness to spiritual communication that has enabled me to accept this communication without fear, judgment, or censure. Like you, I think we all have the ability to perceive the presence of some who are now, as Megge says, in the ether. I sometimes feel my mother or father very near and have had communication of a sort with my mom through dreams after she passed. She told us in her final days that she would “stay nearby as long as possible” to comfort us after she passed, and when she did, I felt her spirit in the room with us for a good long time. It was a sense of joy I’ve never forgotten. 

I believe strongly in the power of intention and prayer, and I know that people’s needs are somehow made clear to the person who can help. I’ve been in that situation many times as a physician, and I know it’s true.

Is Megge a spirit? I can’t say. All I know is that when I’m ready to write, she seems to come and take me through her story. I don’t see or hear her with my senses, but her words come through me onto the page along with scenes as clear as any you’d see in a movie. And the only time this happens is when I’m at my typewriter or keyboard, ready to write. Her home, her village, and all the people in her world are just as vivid and consistent as anything in this world. 

I don’t know what my spiritual path is or where it is leading. One thing for sure is that my daily life is much more solitary that it ever was, and this feels right. It’s not lonely or boring in any way. The writer’s life seems to suit me now, where it would have been wrong for me before this. I used to have a busy practice, which I loved, and I worked with and taught some wonderful, caring, skilled, intelligent people. My patients, mostly middle-aged and elderly women for the last ten years of my practice, were smart, canny, funny, and insightful. I loved being their doctor. I remember talking to a lot of them about matters of the spirit, and I saw that as we all got older we seemed more in touch with it. It stopped seeming like something outside ourselves and became a source of both comfort and, well, interest, for lack of a better word. As I and my patients and friends began to experience more of the spiritual, we began to talk more openly about it and realized that we were having many of the same experiences. 

Other authors, I’ve learned, experience a similar kind of communication in their writing. One young man related in a lecture that when he sat down to write, he would close his eyes and see his narrator arrive at the door and ring the bell. He would let her in, and she would tell him her story. At a recent book-signing event, I asked the author how he invented his characters, and he kind of laughed and shook his head. “They just show up,” he said. “They do whatever they want. I had no control over this story.” Other writers have no idea what this means. They construct charts and plot points and have the beginning, middle, and end mapped out before they even start their story. Many search newspapers for inspiration or ideas, or capture snippets of conversation that they write down and build a story around. That sounds harder to me, more cognitive, but is probably a more efficient use of writing time!

For me, the cognitive part begins after a scene is down. I research the era and place–I visited the place Megge described–and cut and splice scenes, sometimes changing names or details where needed. But I don’t change the overarching story. I stay true to what I’m seeing so the story can continue to move forward. It may sound funny, but I want my narrators to trust me. I want the narrators who are waiting in the wings to tell their stories to know that I won’t mess with them too much. 

It feels like there are countless narrators/spirits out there waiting to tell their stories and searching for someone who can “hear” them. Is this how we return to the living world? Through a storyteller? Is this why many stories somehow just ring true? I can’t say. The first novel I wrote was narrated by an entire town. I had asked my husband for a manual typewriter for Christmas one year. He bought me an Olivetti, and I sat down at it for the first time ever and had no idea what to write. So I closed my eyes and thought, “Who has the story?” And in seconds, probably thirty or forty people showed up in my mind’s eye, all looking like working-class people and farmers from the 1930s, and all jostling to be the one to tell the story. It seemed they had all come back to tell their part of a horrific event that involved all of them but that that none of them knew the whole story of. Each one ended up telling his or her part, often interrupting each other and correcting details. Every night, at 8 pm, I sat down to write. For an entire year. And the whole story came out, all the details that had been kept secret. When it was done, those narrators disappeared. I’ve not heard from them again. One day, when Megge’s story is done, I’ll go back to that one. I hope I will have developed the skills by then to tell it well.

And this is probably much more than you wanted to hear! But it is unusual for me to be able to relate this kind of information about myself and my writing to someone who will understand and not judge. I’ll be very interested to learn if others have this experience and how they deal with it. How it first started and how they reacted. To me, it felt natural, inviting. I’ve never questioned it, and I hope it never stops

 

S- As somebody with a medical background, how does the past misunderstanding of illness, combined with superstition strike you? What do you have to say about it? Have you ever seen similar attitudes in today’s world?

 

R- There have always been and probably always will be superstitions about illness. Back in the Middle Ages, when so little was known about the body in health or illness, it’s understandable that people would confuse association with causality. The scientific method hadn’t yet been designed to distinguish between the two. So, when a patient made a spontaneous recovery from illness after taking a remedy or submitting to bloodletting, charms, or prayers, the association of that treatment with recovery meant that it must have worked! Word went out, and the treatment became more widely used.

My feeling is that even today there are treatments that work but whose mechanism of action we don’t understand despite considerable scientific research. Additionally, there are many treatments and remedies that might be beneficial but that will never be adequately studied simply because no one has a sufficient stake in the results of controlled, double-blind studies. And if the research might show that the product doesn’t work, it’s a gamble. For this reason, some approaches that are considered “superstitious” or “magical” may never be scientifically proven safe and effective, even if they are. 

But, while superstitions in healing can sometimes result in harm, I’m less concerned about that than I am about people harnessing the power of superstition to do ill to the most vulnerable in society. We saw this in Megge’s story just as many have seen throughout history: the most powerful in society using both superstition and strong beliefs against the most vulnerable.

In the worst cases, superstitions are thinly-veiled excuses for committing violent acts. In The Midwife and the Witch, author Thomas Forbes cites “the crowing hen.” From the time of Aristotle until as recently as the late 1800s, a female showing masculine characteristics or behaving “like a man” (i.e., talking) was said to foretell doom. Often, this resulted in the death of the offender.

Whistling maids and crowing hens

Should have their necks wrung early.

(Scheftelowitz, 1913; Jones 1880)

A German proverb prescribed punishment for both hens and women who would dare make their voices heard:

When the hen crows before the cock

and the woman speaks before the man,

then the hen should be roasted 

and the woman beaten with a cudgel. 

(Abbot, 1903)

So, to my mind, the danger of superstition is not so much that the superstition itself will directly harm the believer, it is that others often use the power of belief to control and punish. In the case of Megge and the midwives in her life, someone uses both religious dogma and fanciful beliefs as an excuse to harm both women and children. 

 

S- Attending University in Maine placed you in New England- not horribly far from Salem, Mass. where one of the most famous accounts of witch scare happened. Have you studied this much, or have any insight into it? 

 

R- I’ve studied witch trials from all over the world and in different eras. When I first started looking into the history of this horror, I went to the Cornell University special manuscripts library and studied some original trial transcripts. 

I came away with a picture of ordinary women being tried, often tortured, and put to death after having been accused of witchcraft, sometimes by her neighbors, and often out of fear or retribution. The accusations rarely made sense, and the atmosphere of misogyny and hatred was almost palpable in these documents. Those who controlled communities engaged in witch trials needed a scapegoat for their rage and to control those in their jurisdiction, and this was often either the most vulnerable member of the community or the outsider.

Midwives were often targets of accusations, especially in the Middle Ages, as they treated the most frequently maligned portion of the population–women–and they often did so through techniques and remedies outside the understanding of the medical and religious communities. This made them suspect, and suspicion made them victims.

 

S- Magic is all around us, and in many forms. Your ladies in your book understand this, and practice well. They understand the power of blood bonds, as well as adoptive family bonds. They understand the power of women working together in a man’s world. They understand the power of working in generations. Today’s neo-practitioners are 50/50 in love or hate with this idea. Some shun it, and recognize no elders, believing they are born very powerful and don’t want anybody telling them how to practice. Some like me value our elders, who are passing our craft on to us. This is more ancient, and what the women of Bury Down are doing. I see value in both, personally. In your historic readings, what have you read about passing traditions down? About mentors and students? About family traditions? What examples can you share from history?

 

R- Nearly every profession, skilled trade, and educational or spiritual community relies on one generation teaching the next through both formal, didactic education and mentorship or apprenticeship. The alternative to being thought by someone more skilled or educated is to be an autodidact. People will dispute this, but while I understand that many of us possess innate talents and gifts that we can develop to some extent on our own, I think raw talent needs shaping from the outside, otherwise one’s learning tends to center on readings and teachings that substantiate our own theories and biases rather than challenging or questioning them with an eye to dispelling misconceptions, arriving at a truth, and honing our skills. 

Living by and passing down traditions is documented in religious, cultural, medical, artistic, and every other societal group or profession I can think of. While there are many short-lived splinter groups organized and led by one person, religion and spiritual traditions probably provide the most universal example of laws, rules, mores, and history transmitted to children through their parents, their schools, and their religious/spiritual leaders and teachers, with didactic learning supplemented by sometimes very intimate, inter-generational mentorship in the home. This is documented throughout history in religious texts and in literature ranging from The Iliad to the Mists of Avalon and The Red Tent

Another example of passing down traditions is the oral, storytelling or bardic tradition strikingly manifest in The Mabinogion, a suite of eleven Welsh prose tales passed through generations by storytellers (another profession whose practitioners learned from masters from the preceding generation).

Finally, witchcraft and magic have a long tradition of being practiced by those who draw on ancient knowledge coupled with the skill and insight of a master practitioner. In preparing the manuscript of Megge of Bury Down, I studied numerous grimoires including Picatrix, a compilation of works from the ancient, the medieval and the Renaissance eras, which urges its readers and students to learn from sages: “The wise who are endowed by nature with intelligence never cease nor neglect to seek and inquire that they might learn and understand the secrets of the sages, who sealed them up in their books and wrote them in hidden words, that the aforesaid might search them out by careful investigation until they attain what they desire…” [The Picatrix, Trans. Greer, John Michael, and Warnock, Christopher. Adocentyn Press, 2010, 61.] 

While I am neither witch nor magician, I see in the writings about spiritual practice the value of sages, of teachers, of mentorship. This is the basis of Megge’s story and path. She seeks and finds mentors throughout her life; and this, I believe, is what many people have always intuitively known they’ve needed, have sought throughout history, and continue to seek.

 

S- What that we have not discussed would you like included in my article, please?

 

R- Megge of Bury Down is the story of a young girl growing up in another time and place. It is historical in that it takes place in the past. But it is not really about the history. It is magical realism in that Megge’s family is charged with passing down two grimoires whose power preserves the spirits of their ancestors. But it is not about the genre of magical realism. 

The historical research and the literary technique here serve story: the story of a girl growing up in a family of women. A girl who wants to be one with the mystical women she admires but whose fear and misconceptions keep her apart. A girl who must find the courage to look past her fears to a terrible truth and find a new path. It is about the love, the traditions, and the teaching that unite generations. It is about the women of Bury Down, but it is mainly about unbreakable bonds, crafted over lifetimes, that precede us into each life, sustain us as we find and do the work we came to do, and then guide us into the next. 

 

Many thanks, Rebecca for this amazing interview! Blessed Be!

 

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This Month’s Working

Our next Sabbat after this is published is Beltaine. For the first time in years, I am not hosting!

I’m also not planning to attend Sabbat anybody else hosts!

What will I do with myself for Beltaine this year?”, I wondered.

I thought on it, and was inspired by some things I saw, and decided to send out an appeal to other women to do a One Month Challenge with me instead of a one-time Sabbat rite.

In Wicca Beltaine, May traditions crown a May King and May Queen, and they represent the Goddess and God in ritual, blessing everybody, and bringing life, growth, and in some traditions, sexuality to the people in the ritual.

There are a lot of “Sabbat Pagans” who attend Sabbat, and seemingly forget they are Pagans until the next gathering.

What can I say? It saves time for some folks.

Not everybody has the time, or ability to do lengthy daily, or even weekly devotions. It is easy to assume that we do, but the truth is, for some people, it’s just not happening, and it’s not in any way a choice.

What I thought of was a way to, for 30 days, bless other women, and ourselves, thus blessing, venerating, and adorning the Goddess in each of us women. Collectively, then, we adorn the Mother Goddess through the bodies , hearts , and souls of her daughters, the Earthly representations of her.

The topics brought up in the interview, specifically of abuse of women, and children made me think of an ugly truth. We often focus on abuse men direct at women, and completely ignore the toxic competitiveness we have with one another.
“That bitch thinks she is something, doesn’t she? I’m prettier than her!” Instead of “You go girl! Shake that tailfeather!” We sometimes become jealous that another woman has pride, and we are afraid if she is proud, she will take away the good things about us. Instead, we need to ALL root for one another.

It is not a competition- we should ALL want to help each other succeed.

I see examples of women who are not fat at all get attacked online, and called fat by women who are obviously jealous. Why does this happen? Because we think we don’t look as attractive? Because we would rather she be physically ill and bulimic or anorexic than comfortable in her skin, and healthy?

And why do we make fun of the “scrawny” girls? Maybe they DO have an illness, but this does not mean they should shroud themselves away, unfit to be seen.

Why do we place unfair demands on mothers? If they work, they are accused of putting career before family. If they are stay at home moms, they are accused of being ambitionless freeloaders. If they are tired, and not all made up fancy from keeping up with kids, we accuse them of “letting themselves go”. If they do not want children, they are accused of refusing the “responsibility” of being moms. If they have a lot of kids, we ridicule them, calling them breeders, sluts, and baby factories.

These harsh words do not just come from men. They oftentimes come from other women.

We cannot do this.

We need each other.

We need to build one another up.

This is the inspiration for my working.

Without Further adieu, I would like to share my working with you.

If you would like to, do this working with me.

 

Saoirse’s Solitary 30 Day Adornment of the Goddess/Crowning of the May Queen

For thirty days, do these three things. If you forget a day, oh well, nobody will know!

You may journal every day what you do if you like, but you don’t have to.

  1. For 30 days, give an honest compliment to one woman per day. Build another woman up with your words. Words are mouth magic, and we create whatever we want to with them. Use your words every day to build one woman up to bless, and adorn the Goddess.
  2. Reach out to one woman in the next 30 days, and do something nice for her that will make a difference in her life. It can be small, or great. Maybe you know a lonely woman who loves coffee. Dedicate one day every other week from now on to sitting down to coffee with her. Say you know a woman who is trying to eat healthier. Encourage her, and share recipes with her if she would like that. Say your neighbor loves plants, but says she has no time to garden this year. Gift her with a hanging basket, and offer to help keep it watered if she needs it. What you do to make a difference in one woman’s life can be a great thing or a small thing, but it will make a huge impact.
  3. Finally, do not forget the Goddess in you. It might be easy to do something good for others, but not yourself. It’s time to do one of the kindest things for yourself.

We are often our own biggest, and harshest critics, and while yes, others may tear us down, we sometimes internalize toxic voices, and tear ourselves down worse than anybody else.

Think of something you really find frustrating about yourself. This can be something as simple as age spots on your skin, or something big like, having panic attacks. This is to be a thing that always bothers you. Something you are upset with yourself about.

Now, you are to start forgiving yourself of whatever this is.

This is going to be the most difficult part of the challenge, and it will last beyond 30 days. It may entail deprogramming, tears, or the resurfacing of past aches, but it’s very important.

While we can easily see the Goddess in others, and nurture that, we also need to see the Goddess in ourselves, and nurture that as well.

Enjoy the Spring, Beltaine and being the Goddess you are.

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel

 

 

 

The City Witches

 

 

Wow, do we have a Gorgeous Box for you this month! This issue we feature a jam-packed recurring Monthly Subscription Box from The City Witches. Their boxes, called Magick Mail, can be bought one at a time & in 3-month, or 6-month subscriptions. Their prices range from $20 for an individual box to $120 for a subscription. The City Witches offer a new theme each month to their fully packed boxes! This month’s box … Magickal Workings for the Moons of the Month.

 

Three Informative Grimoire Pages

When you open your box you are greeted with 3 pages for your BOS. The first page describes the Moon Phases for Magickal Workings. Helpful addition to any Spellsbook. The second page teaches, briefly, how to create your own moon spells. The information suggested on this sheet are helpful and handy to have. The third sheet is a Full Moon Chant.

 

Purple Bag of Goodies

Next thing that catches my eye from my City Witches Box is a Purple Bag full of goodies!

The first thing I pull from the goody bag is a Star Shaped Wooden Incense Burner & it is adorable. I love how it can hold an incense cone and many sticks. This will be perfect in my next moonspell.

Next we have Amber Sugar Scrub Cubes. Opening the jar I find they are in the shapes of roses. Delightful! Just like their smell. I use them on my hands and the feeling I am left with when I dry off is a lovely softness.

The black little bag is Moon in Sagittarius Bath Salts. The smell is heavenly and I can not wait for the time to be right for it’s use. There is enough for a good soak or even two!

The little blue bag is a Mixture of Salts & Herbs to be burned or used in a bath. Unfortunately, I am not sure of it’s exact contents. I can smell lavender & see the salts.

A vial of Virgo Moon Oil is included in the bag of goodies. The bottle is a little tight a difficult to open. However, there seems to be a slight glitter to the oil! Glitter is always good to this Gal!

We get a small Vial of Black Salt. Good to add to the stash of supplies and to work moonmagick with!

A Chunk of Charcoal is included for the Bottle of Full Moon Powder Incense.  It comes out as a tuft, like a cloud from the jar. The smell is light, a slight heed to it’s sweetness. I think, up-to-date, this has been my favorite homemade incense so far. I just wish I knew what was in it.

Last, a few pieces of Sage to keep handy. Never know when you’ll need a quick cleanse. Convenient! It’s like a traveling MoonMagick Bag!

 

Black Candle

Over 7” tall black Blessed Herbal Candle “Drawing Down the Moon” for the New Moon by Coventry Creations, Inc. The candle reads it is for Beginnings, Innocence, and Creativity. The back of the candle explains about what a New Moon is, what it’s opportunity holds for you. This candles packaging is amazing. Not to mention the size they send in this box! But, are you ready for this…

 

White Candle

Another 7” tall white, this time, Blessed Herbal Candle “Drawing Down the Moon” for the Full Moon by Coventry Creations, Inc. The candle reads it is for Magic, Imagination, & Mystery. This candle explains and teaches about the Full Moon. These look very exciting to use.

 

Sage Smudge Stick

Next up I find SAGE!! A nice hunk of a Smudge Stick! This will last a long time

 

Clear Glass Bowl

This lovely glass bowl can fit in your hand. It is crystal clear. No blemishes. Beautiful for any altar. I am guessing it is included, being this is a moon box, for maybe moon cleansing. You can clean stones, tools, anything during these meaningful moon moments with your new Altar Bowl.

 

Three Gemstones in Gauze Bags

In two purple gauze bags you will find 3 large, polished gemstones. The stones are, from left to right; Fluorite, Malachite & Amazonite. The colors are vivid, and the patterns on the stones are sensational.  The sizes they sent are generous.

 

Huge Moonstone Point

This HUGE, solid, speckled moonstone point is amazing to view and to hold. You can feel the peaceful energy this sizeable piece of stone is bringing. It is a wonderful addition to anyone’s gemstone collection.

 

Moon Incense Sticks

Included in this recurring Monthly Subscription Box is a large box of HEM “The Moon” scented incense sticks. There are 20 sticks in this box. I’m impressed with the size they have included. Usually I see the smaller size, 5-10 sticks, enclosed in boxes. They are HEM so they are of good quality.

 

Witch’s Brew Oil

Crafted with Magic! Witch’s Brew Original…by Coventry Creations. Myrrh & Mugwort blend for a scent out of this world. The label reads “Ignite your Magic,” and you can smell the power. This is no cut-price blended oil, but an item made with skill.

 

Druzzy & Moonstone Necklaces

My next find in this amazing box is another little black box. It’s exciting to find jewelry inside. Not one piece, but two. Two gorgeous necklaces. A Black Druzzy & a Moonstone Point. Each has been placed on cording and ribbon for a lovely effect. On my path I have not worked with any druzzy stones, so I am not sure what their uses are. This is, however, a gorgeous piece, and I will be sure to look into what it’s uses are. The moonstone I do know. This eye-catching, point, suspended in copper is simply luxe.  An elegant way to keep the energy of moonstone with you everyday. They have included two new pieces of ritual jewelry for moon working.

 

Box of Gemstone Surprises

One more little black box contains a collection of Gemstone Surprises! Hiding in this box we receive another piece of jewelry, a lovely mixed gemstone, beaded bracelet. The beads are of medium size and the bracelet itself is 9 inches and is one size fits all, on stretch cording.

Next up in the box we find two cute moonstones. Perfect for pocket carrying.

Lastly, but not least we have a small selenite wand. Palm size. Shiney. I like the size for travel and easy quick use.

 

Moon Spell Magic Book

 

Click Image for Amazon Information

 

We are getting to the bottom of the box and two things remain…One being a book for our personal libraries on the boxes theme, the moon. Moon Spell Magic: Invocations, Incantations & Lunar Lore for a Happy Life by Cerridwen Greenleaf. The book teaches the lunar calendar and gives spells for every phase, demonstrates how to set up your own lunar altar, informs you about celestial Gods & Goddesses, and includes a plethora of spells & rituals you can perform on your own.

 

Journal

Stay Focused Because You Totally Got This. We do! Inspiring words outside, and on the heart bedecked inside, it says more…”I look forward to holding any thoughts, dreams, goals, *brilliant ideas, and AMAZING moments…” This box is sure to bring those, and this journal is now ours to record them. All the spells, rituals and things we learn on our way, about the Moon and all it contains. I think it is a lovely book to use as a Moon BOS.

 

My Overall Impression…

For the first time I am noticing a trend in the packaging everything comes in. There are bits of sage in them. What a beautiful way to cleanse, purify, & bless all you send. Every single gauze bag, small black box, and even the big box everything comes in itself has sage in it! I am very touched.

Now I want to mention the price. This box is bursting at the seams and I cannot believe how little they charge. Could they really be making money here?

I thoroughly loved this box for celebrating the moon. I feel all the contents went with the flow of the Moon Magick theme. I really found it gratifying how the company did not send you just tools and stash to help you celebrate, like candles & incense, or stones and jewelry to harness the moons power. Instead, they went the whole gambit, and by this I mean they sent you a method to really fully learn about the moon. They send you a book & a journal and tell you learn! They rally you to GO FOR IT! Now I have not reviewed the book. I do not know how good it is, but it is a starting point. The 3 BOS pages that are sent are a great starting point, as well…this box doesn’t just give you items, it encourages you!

 

Who is behind the inspiring Magick Mail Boxes from The City Witches?

None other than Jade Perri & Selene Serket. They were gracious enough to take some time to answer some questions for our readers about Magick Mail Monthly Subscription Boxes, their shop The City Witches, and Themselves. Here’s what they had to say…

 

PaganPagesOrg: How did the idea for a Monthly Subscription Box come to you?

Jade Perri & Selene Serket: The idea of the Monthly Magic Box, came to us, after subscribing to many ourselves and being unhappy with the contents. To us, getting a box monthly, themed for aiding us in our practice was very exciting. Many people do not have access to a metaphysical store near them, or they do not have the time to go shopping, or they do not know what to buy. It seemed to us, that if you could subscribe to a “magick” box each month, it would automatically come to you, and would contain items you could use to practice-not just a box full of random items. Our box contains relevant items to be used together or separately, all based on a certain theme. It is a nice way to also build up your stock, so you have everything you need, if you chose to use at a later date.

 

 

PaganPagesOrg: How did you begin your Boxes?

Jade Perri & Selene Serket: We began with a what we thought was a universal and important part of our craft. The Moon Magick Box. The Moon can represent New Beginnings, so we thought that would be perfect as our first box to introduce.

 

 

PaganPagesOrg: How do you choose each Box’s contents?

Jade Perri & Selene Serket: We choose what is in our Monthly Magick, based on the theme of the month. Each box contains approximately 10 items, that are all relevant to the theme. Normally each box’s base contains a ritual, a crystal, herbs or essential oil, items for your home or altar, as well as jewelry, a journal, and candles. Additional items will vary based on the theme of that month.

 

 

PaganPagesOrg: How do your Box Subscriptions work?

Jade Perri & Selene Serket: Our box can be purchased monthly, or as a subscription. It is more cost effective to purchase as a subscription box, for example, if you sign up for a 3-month subscription, you pay $75 ($25/per box) instead of $90. If you sign up for a 6-month subscription you pay $120 ($20/per box) versus $180. Boxes can be purchased for $30 individually.

 

 

PaganPagesOrg: Who are The City Withes?

Jade Perri & Selene Serket: The City Witches was created by two of us. Selene Serket and Jade Perri.

Selene is a a practicing eclectic High Priestess, who has been practicing for over 30 years. She is an experienced teacher and specializes in numerology, astrology readings, ritual magick, custom spells, and Sabbat rituals. She also has an extensive knowledge of all craft-related topics including Reiki and Chakras. In addition, she offers classes and certifications on many different topics such as A Year and a Day (Year 1-3), Chakra 101, and Crystal Magick. Selene is certified in Wicca High Priestess, Reiki Master and holds various Tarot, Crystal, Herbology and Astrology certifications.

Jade is an eclectic Witch has been practicing for more than 10 years and offers guidance on an array of topics. She specializes in divination from tarot cards, oracle cards, runes, and pendulums, as well as scrying and automatic writing. Jade also practices animal magick, dragon magick, and poppet magick. She is also an enthusiastic teacher and offers classes and certification in many different areas such as tarot classes and dragon magick.

 

 

PaganPagesOrg: What do the two of you enjoy besides working in The City Witches :)

Jade Perri & Selene Serket: Jade is married with two children and is the manager of her local animal shelter. She enjoys spending time with her family and advocating for homeless animals.

Selene lives with her furry family of 5 Himalayan Cats, she enjoys reading, spending time gardening, continuing her Wiccan Education through classes, and spending time with her friends.

 

 

PaganPagesOrg: What did you feel the Pagan community was missing to make you put your Box out?

Jade Perri & Selene Serket: We felt that with the options people have out there for monthly boxes, we wanted to design a box that was useful , fun, and educational. We wanted to really give our clients the best quality box for an affordable price. We also are lucky enough to work with other small businesses, such as Enchanted Reeveries, who provides items handmade from polymer clay, as well as Valessence Skin Care, who provide handmade bath products. We also include our own brand of handmade candles and essential oils.

We do not use printed boxes, or spend extra money on packaging, however, our boxes are stocked with everything they need for the month. What we save on packaging, we give back to our clients-each and every box contains additional free surprise gifts as a Thank You, to our customers.

The other option we offer, is that we do not pull our boxes once the month is up. They are available to our customers at any time. This is very helpful to customers, if they are unable to purchase during the month, they will not miss out-and can purchase anytime throughout the year.

 

Thank you Jade Perri & Selene Serket for this great interview. Your Magick Mail Subscription Boxes definitely live up to what you desired them to be and that is to all our benefit.

 

How can you get your own Magick Mail Subscription, visit The City Witches Shop, or Follow them? Just like this…

For the Direct Link to Magick Mail Subscription Choices & Back Log of Boxes Click HERE.

To Visit The City Witches Shop Online Click HERE.

You Can Like & Follow The City Witches on Facebook by Clicking HERE.

They are, also, on Instagram as thecitywitches.

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Sacasa-Wright is simply a Witch. She runs PaganPagesOrg eMagazine.  She loves hearing your opinions & thoughts on the eMagazine and welcomes comments. You can email her at jenniferwright at paganpages dot org.  When she is not working on PaganPagesOrg she is creating in some other way & trying to make the world a better place with her family.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times October 2018

Bright Blessings,

This is the end of the growing season for me due to the kinds of plants I grow, and I’ve already started fall cleanup. It’s also the time I begin planning what I will plant in fall, and I decide what I might like to consider growing come next Spring. I am busily reading bulb catalogs and selecting next years seeds.

Pulling the zinnias is always heartbreaking, but we had such heavy rains earlier in the month, they had been knocked over onto the sidewalk so badly, and I had no choice. They wouldn’t have been left another week even, however, as they were spent. The stems and roots were packaged up as yard waste, and the flower heads given to a neighbor friend who dotes on the neighborhood birds. The birds just love to munch on zinnia seeds in the flower heads!

Also, we are rolling towards Samhain, the final harvest, and in Westerville, the town just North of Columbus where I live, that means we are having pumpkin patch trips, apple picking days at orchards, and the last of our tomatoes we proudly grew all Summer are blessing us with abundant bounty.

It also means poison ivy for those of us doing cleanup. BAH! A neighbor told me to vinegar spray the heck out of them, and I am going to do that today.

I also did not plant as much this year and I’m glad I didn’t. My back has taken a turn for the worse, and although I am in physical therapy now, it’s been getting progressively worse for about five years now. I may have to accept downsizing the amount of plants I do from now on, and I am not happy about it.

The Good and the Bad

Like in the garden, there is good and bad in all things. Everybody wants the good, but facing the ugly realities happen to be something few care to do.

Instead of the typical Sabbat based article, I will be reviewing a couple of things that came up in pop culture that has a lot of feathers ruffled in our communities, discuss some things from a generation ago, and why we ought not to be so quick to fly off all angry or offended.

The Box

The first thing that made so many Witches, Wiccans, and Pagans angry was the Witch Starter Kit Sephora was about to release.

Various individuals blew up all over social media calling it theft, appropriation, offensive, infuriating, intolerable, and what have you. Many bloggers condemned it as sacrilege, and disrespectful of Witchcraft and Wicca, and there was such a public outcry, Sephora pulled the product, and they apologized.

Apparently, I am the only Wiccan/Witch/Pagan who was not in any way upset by this product.

Before you boycott me, or burn effigies of me, hear me out.

I am going to number the reasons why it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to be upset about this product.

  1. There are tons of similar kits out on shelves and have been for quite some time. What, you think the “Starter Voodoo Kit” you nabbed at Barnes and Noble or Half Priced Books when you were 17 were authentic and written by a real Voodoo priestess? Think again. You think the “Crystal Pack” you nabbed at a similar shop, or even a metaphysical store were by a real elder of the craft? Not necessarily. Both mainstream shops, and metaphysical shops sell such items on a daily basis and have for quite some time. Nobody who is raising hell and crying that Sephora’s kit is a great injustice to our sacred traditions seems upset about the other kits at all. This is no different.
  2. Look what is in it.
  1. A tarot deck, which you can get almost anyplace these days.
  2. A rose quartz crystal, which again, gets sold in kits constantly. We had a stash of different ‘crystals’ at a cavern where I was a tour guide, and you can nab then at various trendy shops at malls these days. Many non-metaphysical stores carry magical crystals, and nobody complains.
  3. White sage- which, I am sorry is not in any way European. It is Native to the American Southwest, and South America. So don’t tell me that was misappropriated by this company from European based Pagan and Witch traditions. WE took it from Native Americans. We take a LOT from their practices, and that is a proven fact. Witches use white sage, and don’t think twice about the fact we got it from somebody else. If we are allowed to incorporate practices from others, then others are allowed to incorporate our practices into theirs as well.
  4. Various good smelling tubes of something something.

Each of these products is sold to, sold by, and used by Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches on a daily basis. They are also sold by non-magical practitioners who want to earn money. Even some mainstream groceries carry essential oils these days, and I know of more than one organic market that has nag champa, white sage, and tons of essential oils for sale. Nobody bats an eye about that. Sephora is just one of many companies creating a product that the magical public uses.

Furthermore, in the apology they released, they said “Our intention for the product was to create something that celebrates wellness, personal ceremony, and intention setting with focus on using fragrance as a beauty ritual.” That is magic folks. And glamour. Witches are well-known for using certain looks, and scents to illicit responses, and beauty and making others find us pleasant smelling will draw more people to us. Rose quartz also initiates love and affection. It’s just another magic kit.

  1. Not everybody in our communities who sells to us belong to the tradition of merch they are selling. I will reword that to make sure people understand what I am saying. Every metaphysical shop where I have ever entered was ran by somebody who practiced a particular path, but sold things for members of many other paths besides their own. Some shop owners are not initiated, and just self-educated, and are very good at running a store. At no time in the 13 years I have been active in the Pagan/New Age/Metaphysical community have I ever heard one individual remark on this fact, let alone refuse to by merch for Wicca from a Druid, for example. It would make no sense because how would we be able to buy anything if we were so picky? Sephora’s product is no different.
  2. Furthermore, not everybody in our community who is either a business person or clergyperson has any education, training, or affiliation outside of their own thing. Don’t believe me? I have met more than one self-initiated, self-ordained “Priestess” who recognizes no elders, and put herself in charge because she wanted to be the boss. They have no issue finding followers. I have also known non-clergy who read a few books, and declare titles for themselves they swear was bestowed celestially, and everybody else is just too unenlightened to understand. There are always a number of them at every large gathering, and they slip in and out of our circles seamlessly. We “don’t judge” and we “are inclusive” and put up with a lot of bullshit because we are terrified of somebody getting mad at us for questioning them. Why do we accept this at face value from people who come to our gatherings who are not one of us, yet we raise hell over a product that is actually usable? Furthermore- who is the actual person who designed the kit? Are they Pagan or not? Would it matter if they were?
  3. The people who make tarot cards are not always practitioners. Some are just good at art, got a deal, and have bills to pay. Furthermore, the people who do the assembly line work cannot possibly all practice magic or be Pagan. Nobody seems to mind about that. The people selling you the merch at a non-Pagan shop may or may not practice magic or one of our religions. Again, nobody seems to care. How do you handpick your tarot cards? Do you research the manufacturer and artist and pick over a deck because they do not adhere to your tradition? Nobody does this. It would make no sense. So why are we mad at this manufacturer but none of the other ones? It is not possible to buy all things for our religious or magical practice only from others who practice just as we do.
  4. Is it because it’s more mainstream? Well, how many times have Pagans. Wiccans, and Witches decried the fact the mainstream often rejects us? Now that we are “socially acceptable” enough for things we use to be saleable in a mainstream shop, as we swear up and down we deserve to be, we are insulted. I am sorry, but we cannot have it both ways. “It’s a corporation so they have no right to take our money” some have said. Really? I will mention Barnes and Noble and Half Priced Books again. I am not sure which of the three companies I mentioned makes more money, but all of them are pretty large, successful businesses.
  5. Our practices are derived from other practices. Period. I have already mentioned our use of white sage. But let’s talk about Wicca in general. An excellent publication that is one of the most controversial in our history is Aiden Kelly’s Inventing Witchcraft. In it, he published parts of Gerald Gardner’s Book of Shadows. The entire Book of Shadows is now available for free online at Sacred Texts. Here is the link- http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/gbos/index.htm Nobody was supposed to see that except initiates, as it was secret, and for members only. Some Wiccans were very angry with Kelly for this. Oh yeah?
    Well, Kelly demonstrated line by line just WHERE Gardner got certain things from. Some from Crowley, some from Rudyard Kipling, some from varied other sources, some on his own. But Gardner and early Wiccans swore Wicca was ancient, from an unbroken tradition, and unchanged for centuries, even thousands of years. My question was- if it was all SO secret, why did Gardner and others put ads in the newspapers, contact journalists to do interviews, write books for publication, and generally put Wicca in the public immediately? Because nothing was secret, nothing was ancient, and they wanted to attract as many as possible. That is fine, it being a small, secret tradition for the few, and it is now readily available for anybody who will buy a book cannot both be true at the same time. Furthermore, Doreen Valiente, a true High Priestess, took one look at some of Gardner’s ritual writings, and said “No way.” She rewrote quite a bit herself. Kelly’s book can be had from Amazon.com, and here is the link.
    Wicca is not an ethnocentric ancient religion that went underground and reemerged when Gerald Gardner decided to publish books. It’s Gardner’s creation. It’s one I am thankful for, but it’s something that was pulled together and created from the many things that inspired Gardner. We, those who practice that have no business criticizing others for doing the same things we, ourselves do.
  6. We do not own the practices we utilize, and are not allowed to tell other people they cannot practice what we do unless we give them permission. Many other religious traditions, including atheists who believe in energy and spirits use the things we use, and follow some of the same practices. We do not have the right to dictate they are not allowed. Even somebody who thinks a kit at a shop is pretty or interesting or looks fun has the right to buy it and use the things without our guidance, permission, or approval.
  7. Nobody is making fun of us. Nobody makes us look bad but ourselves. I could list all the things I have seen and the people who I have met in the community who have driven me to tears of frustration over the years with their bullshit, but I know good and well the rest of you have seen pretty much the same things, so I won’t bore you. We also almost never call people on their shit in our communities unless it is childish arguing online over some discussion topic. I would really like to see us focus more on the condition of our own community instead of pitching fits about how some people who don’t belong in our circles views us.
  8. It is not the mainstream’s job or responsibility to portray us correctly. That is up to us. I am so over the people crying over Charmed or the latest horror flick’s wrongful use of the pentacle. I am sick to death of hearing people passionately declare Hollywood makes us look like devil worshipers and is to blame for misconceptions about us. No. Again, that’s us. And that did not come from Hollywood originally. It came out of the fact we use terminology the Xtains have used for centuries to denote devil worship. The word “witch” was never used to indicate something good until Gardner “reclaimed “ the word, swearing up and down the Inquisitors misunderstood the indigenous religions and demonized them. If you read what the witch trials looked for, you will not find one damned thing about Mother Earth, the goddess, blessing babies, handfastings, honoring elders, or blessing the garden. You will find sex with the devil, killing innocent people, enslaving people, poisoning neighbors they had a disagreement with, turning into rabbits to eat all their neighbors vegetables, causing crop blights, and insect infestations, peeing in a hole to create a hailstorm, making epidemic illnesses, etc. The word Coven, the number 13, the black hats, a horned man all in black, and brooms were all things “confessed” to during torture during witch trials. Nobody ever did those things. So Christians were taught there were evil people worshiping the devil doing all the awful things you could think of, and we are a new religion of people using the language set by the Inquisitors having “reclaimed” the terms? Likewise, the terms “Pagan “ and “Heathen” was used in the Bible to denote terrible people, and yet we call ourselves these things and demand to immediately be identified as the good people we actually are as opposed to the horrible people the words have been used by Xtians to describe. I think this is unfair of us.

The Commercial

Now I come to a commercial that is making people mad as hell also, and to me, it’s not infuriating either. Here is the video:

 

 

It’s about a 15 second commercial for Constant Contact marketing. It shows women sitting in a room of their business products, one meditating, the other playing a digeridoo. I will add both are white girls who look like they are about to run to Starbucks for their Pumpkin Spice Latte on the way to yoga. That sounds good right now!

They click on the page to see how many folks have looked at their listing through Constant Contact, and there are a lot! The girls are tickled pink, and one says “Oh, my goddess!” and then resumes her digeridoo playing.

And people are losing their minds about this also.

Here’s the thing. I know a LOT of New Agers and Pagans and Witches and Wiccans who look, act, talk JUST LIKE the actresses in the commercial.

I am sorry if you have not had the pleasure of meeting such delightful people, and if you find these people insulting or infuriating somehow, but this commercial in no way makes fun of or misrepresents these types of folks in our communities. There are a lot of folks just like these gals in our communities, and it was a realistic representation.

So, on one hand, we throw a fit about Hollywood not portraying us just as we are, but if somebody portrays us just as we are, we are also very angry. Then again, if they do not mention us at all, we feel left out.

The upset reactions by so many to these things says a lot about how much growing up a lot of us have to do, and I have no sympathy about how offended some people are.

Just because you are offended does not mean that you are right.

The Working

I had thought of doing a dispelling anger working for people who find it so necessary to get upset and offended over things like this, but I have a better idea. I want to make you laugh. One of the people I studied with utilized laughter as banishing, and I have found it to always be very effective.

I am not making fun or ridiculing. I want to show how silly we can be sometimes. I get mad sometimes too, but getting offended, and assuming people are trying to harm us or disrespect us every time they mention magical practice does nothing but make our day and life negative. It’s important to stop when we have a knee jerk reaction, take a step back, breathe, and really look objectively at things.

Or consider this- There are now so very many of us, and we have become so much a part of the mainstream – we are now portrayed by the mainstream, and products for our personal use and for those who aspire to join us have made it into mainstream stores.

This is SO good.

Enjoy this lighthearted take on being offended by one of our funniest practitioners.

Blessed Be.

 

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About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

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