Just a few thoughts

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's in my Book of Shadows?

I just posted a video about this, so check out my YouTube channel if you want to see it.

My BOS isn't anywhere near complete (and really, it won't be until I die). I have so much stuff I need to add from my Mirror Book, files on my old laptop, etc., but oh well.

My BOS is a 3-ring binder with dividers in it. The cover isn't decorated or anything. The first page is sort of a title page that just says "Wyllow Lylly's Book of Shadows" or something like that. Then I have my dedication/book blessing to Hecate. Then comes my "Beliefs & Beginnings" tab that has my beliefs about life and death, deities, the 13 principles of Wiccan belief (though I'm not Wicca, I like those), the Rede (again, I like it, but  I don't necessary totally agree with and follow it), circle casting, cleansing, consecrating, charging, quarter calls (don't really use those now, though), tools and what they're used for, general Pagan beliefs, etc.

Then I just have some meditations. I need to add a few more to that section.

Then comes the section on deities and other important spirits (to me).

Then some stone meanings, herbs, seasonal correspondences, sun signs, moon signs, planets, days of the week,  phases of the moon, symbols, Theban Script/The Witches' Alphabet, etc.

Then I have a small section for chants and poetry.

Then and unlabeled tab that just has a ton of information about Air right now.

Then spells, then rituals, then Sabbats, then Esbats, then divination,  then recipes and last I have stuff about crafts.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Rule of Three & Karma

I know that it's a very common practice to observe the Threefold Law/Rule of Three, and many people live by it, going out of their way to do no harm for fear of the rule of three and backlash from karma. Personally, I think the idea is all well and good for a lot of people. Intentionally doing harm when it isn't necessary is just wrong, in my opinion. Self-defense is totally different. If someone attacks you and you kick them where it hurts, stab them, whatever you have to do to stay safe, that is what you should do (again, my opinion), and I seriously doubt karma will come up and bite you in the ass later on for it. If you just walk up to someone and punch them for no reason, THAT might bite you in the ass later. I believe the same rules apply for magick. If you do something to protect yourself and those you love, it's self-defense. Striking out at someone for no reason, not cool. 

There's someone on YouTube who used to go by HollyDaisyRose, but I'm drawing a blank on her current channel name. She has a blog, and I'm subscribed, so you can find her that way if you want to check her blog or channel out. Anyway, the reason that's relevant is because we seem to share a similar perspective about the Rule of Three. I believe that it's a nice thing and all that, but it's sort of a scare tactic as well, like hell in Christianity. "If you do bad, you're going to be punished severely!" and that sort of thing. No, I don't believe you should hurt people intentionally, but I don't think that you should just blindly follow something, either. If you believe in it, then by all means, observe it and follow it.

Some people say that it doesn't apply if it's self defense. That's personal opinion. Believe what you will about it.

Now, there's the theory that the Law of Three means that whatever you do will come back to you three times. Some believe that means it will come back to you three times as bad, some believe it means that it will come back to you in three ways (such as emotionally, physically, etc.). Then there are some who basically totally dismiss it and just say that it's a metaphor for karma. I believe in karma, all the way. I think that what you do will come back to you, but I don't think it will come back to you in the same way. For example, if you push someone down a flight of stairs, I don't think that you'll be pushed down stairs. 

Believe what you like about karma and the Rule of Three, but my advice is to never do anything (magickally or otherwise) that you are not prepared to face the consequences for.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I am Ashamed of Some Pagans...

I have been reading reviews for books for a few days now, trying to decide what I'm going to order next. I have to say that I'm appalled and ashamed of the way some Pagans speak about others. All the bullshit about "fluffy bunny" this and that and how "so-and-so" isn't reputable and you should stay away from them is ridiculous. It is possible to review something that you didn't like without going on a rant about how that author is a "fluffy bunny" for 4 paragraphs. Yes, even I agree that some authors are better than others, but that doesn't mean that I go around blasting their work and slandering their name. I know, I've ranted about this before, but it seriously pisses me off. Seeing adults act worse than children with all the name calling and crap is seriously disappointing. Really, if you don't like something, say so and move on! 

I personally don't love and adore Scott Cunningham, Raymond Buckland and the Farrars. There! I said it! I own a few Buckland and Cunningham books, as well as A Witches' Bible by the Farrars and I think that reading those was important for me, but I don't have a shrine for their work or something, nor do I go around complaining about how they don't practice the same way I do, therefore they must not be true Pagans & Witches (or must have been, since not all are still with us). 

Being a Witch and/or a Pagan is a lifelong journey, if you remain on that path. You should be constantly learning and growing. If you are reading books for information, advice, etc., I think it's a good thing to read whatever you can get your hands on and decide for yourself what you do and do not like and agree with. I don't think that name calling, gossip, slander, and other unpleasant things like that are good examples of your spiritual and mundane maturation. If anything, it just shows ignorance, close mindedness and immaturity. Maybe that's just my opinion, though.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Positive Affirmations

If you're like I was, when you think about positive affirmations and that sort of thing, you probably think, "Bullshit!" I thought that for a long, long time, until I gave it a shot and now I swear by them.

What is a positive affirmation? It's a short phrase, basically, that's positive, that you repeat when you need something. For example, "I will feel great today!" or "I will not be late!" You can't just repeat the phrase over and over with no emotion, though. You have to believe it's going to work and that what you're saying is true. Funny story about the first time I tried it:

I was running late for class one morning last winter. I was looking nervously at my clock in the car and I just started repeating, "I will NOT be late and I will find a good parking spot!" I repeated that the whole 15 minutes to college, when I only had about 10 minutes to get there. When I pulled into the parking lot, I still have 5 minutes to make it to class and I got one of the first parking spots (at the very end of the row, close to the building) in the student lot. I walked into class with a minute to spare.

I thought that was just luck, though. But, I started repeating things like that all the time ("I will not fall down my icy steps!" "I will find a bra that fits!" "I will sleep well tonight!") and they were all working. It was crazy. This stuff goes hand in hand with the Law of Attraction. Basically, you attract what you focus on. If you focus on negativity, you'll attract it, and that goes for positive things as well. 

Give it a try sometime and see how things go. 

Setting Up Your Altar(s)

What goes on an altar? Well, that isn't an easy question; it depends on YOU. Some people like a full, traditional Wiccan altar setup with all the bells (no pun intended) and whistles, whereas others prefer just a couple of very special items. I fall somewhere in the middle for important work (such as a ritual, which I only do on rare occasions). Most of the time, my altar only has a few things on it: candles, my wood-burned pentacle my husband made for me for Mother's Day two years ago, my cauldron, and incense. Now that I have a small stone collection, I tend to use those along with my working candle wherever I happen to be when I decide to do something magickal, instead of going to my altar, though.

I apologize for rambling...

For YOUR altar, you need to think about what you want on it. Do you want physical representations for deities? If so, what? Do you want statuary, candles, stones, drawings...? Do you want representations of the elements? Ancestors? Other spirits? Do you want candles? Incense? A chalice? 

There are probably hundreds of different ways to set up an altar, maybe thousands. Every Witch's altar will be different. When you decide to set one up, just think about what you will need to make yourself feel comfortable, peaceful, magickal, and etc.  I won't go into every single type of thing you can put on your altar. If you've read ANY Wicca or Witchcraft 101 books, the author probably went into all the different magickal tools, sample altar setup, etc. If you haven't, it's not difficult to find information out about them. You can just google something like "Witch altar" and look at pictures to get ideas. If you've seen my YouTube channel, I think my first video showed my altar at one point, right around the time I had done a ritual so it was setup with the works, if you want to check that out for ideas.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Finding Magickal Tools

Whether it's an athame, besom, tarot deck, cauldron, or any other tool, you should take your time finding it. I remember quite well the initial excitement of shopping for magickal tools when I first began to practice again a few years ago. I was eager to find everything I "needed" ASAP.  I didn't make that wise choice at first, when I bought my first deck of tarot cards. I didn't wait for a good deck to find me, I just bought one. It actually sort of worked out, though. It was one of those beginner decks that were super cheap at some bookstore in the mall, and it came with a decent little book that gave me some familiarity with spreads and the card meanings. They were mostly just to play around with for a while, until I became more comfortable.

I'm trying really hard not to ramble about myself much, and this is the third time I've edited this in the past two days, trying to make it make sense. I've been keeping very weird hours because I'm caring for Munchkin (the kitten I'm bottle feeding), and I'm absolutely exhausted.

When you find a tool that's right for you, chances are you'll feel it. Plenty of items may catch your eye, but if you ever pick up something (say a pendulum) and feel a tingle, a jolt, or just an instant connection (or your feeling may be different, these are just a few examples I've heard to describe the feeling), that's probably the right magickal item for you. If you just find something that you think is pretty and you don't feel any connection to it, it may still work out  for you, but the connection may not be as strong. 

There's no reason to just rush out and buy up all the magickal tools you can find in one day. You may find that you don't even use those things after a while, or at all after you get them home. If you feel that you really must have an athame, a besom, a chalice, a wand, a cauldron, etc., by all means get them! Just keep in mind that your tools are special and should be selected carefully. You wouldn't just walk down the street and invite the first stranger you see to a ritual would you? If you use your tools regularly, you form a bond with them in a way, just as you do with people (though it's a different type of bond). There's no need to rush finding tools for rituals; it's perfectly fine to do rituals without tools, at least until you find the ones that are right for you (that is assuming that you feel the need for them at all).

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Received

And it turns out that it works if you're taking care of a human infant or bottle feeding a kitten lol.

"Sleep when the baby sleeps!"

I have to add that even if you can't actually sleep, at least try to rest.  For the past couple of days I've been getting up every 2-4 hours to feed a kitten and boy does it bring back nursing my daughter memories lol. Thankfully Munchkin seems to be doing a lot better now. When I found him, he was about 2 weeks old and still within newborn weight range (he weighed about 116 grams) and very, very weak. He was thankfully not too weak to eat, though, so I've been feeding him from a dropper. He still isn't gaining a ton of weight, but he's up to about 122g now and he's wobble walking and pooping (he wasn't pooping when we first started feeding him, and he could barely hold his head up).

I just felt like sharing what's been going on the past few days and bragging a little about my new little baby. I think he likes me lol. When my husband tries to feed him and stuff, if he hears my voice he starts squirming trying to move towards me :) He also purrs when I hold him or pet him, now, which is the cutest thing ever! I'll post a picture of him soon.

Binding and Protection (My Views)

I started thinking about these things because of a situation a friend is in, and I wanted to post a new blog. Quick update on why I've been MIA: We have 3 more kittens, and I've been bottle feeding one because mama abandoned him, but he's gaining weight now, wobble-walking, etc. and doing much better. Sorry if this isn't perfect, I'm exhausted. And yes, I already know that there are plenty of people out there who will disagree with me on this, etc. Feel free, we are all entitled to our own opinions.

If you start thinking about doing a binding spell/ritual, really think about what you're doing and why. Someone breaking up with you or pissing you off in some other way is NOT a reason to bind that person. Binding is some serious shit and you need to know that it's the right course of action and carefully think it all out before you do it. This goes hand in hand with protection magick, in my opinion. If someone is threatening you, or if someone has harmed you (as  in an abusive relationship or something like that), by all means cast a spell to protect yourself and anyone else who may be harmed, but also take the mundane (non-magickal) steps necessary to protect yourself, such as a restraining order.

If you've done all of that, and you still feel that you are in danger (still being threatened, etc.), then you may consider a binding.  Binding should be a last resort step, though, and take every precaution you can to ensure that you will not be harming the person intentionally or seriously screwing with  their free will. A lot of people think that binding is wrong because it always screws with free will, but so does protection, if you think about it. If someone WANTS to harm you, and you do something to prevent that (even throwing a punch in self-defense or something), you're harming them AND screwing up what THEY WANTED to do.

Today a non-Witch friend of mine asked me to do a binding spell for her. It's a long story, and I normally do not do spells for other people, but I've seen a lot of this relationship she just got out of and I was friends with both parties. In fact, I did a binding on him in the past because he was threatening ME, but it was recently broken because he seemed to be doing better (he had been in therapy). So, now she has asked me to basically re-do it because of what happened. I agreed because he's been known to get physical (and I heard from other people who were there when the shit hit the fan that he DID get physical with her, but she hasn't said he did), and I'm worried about my friend and their two young children.  She has a protective order against him, but he already violated it once  and went to jail, and she doesn't know when he'll be getting out.

I digress...

Choose your words very carefully, and once again I have to stress  the importance of doing all you can in every other way before resorting to binding. As with any other spell, be prepared for karmic consequences.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hey Everyone!

So this blog is basically just a thank you for those who are following me. I can't believe that I actually have a few people interested lol. Really, you all mean a lot to me and I thank you :) Ok, so what can I do different that will improve this blog? This is a chance to leave feedback about what you think of this blog, what you'd like to see changed/kept the same, topics you'd like to see, etc. Anything you have to say about it, good or bad.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Vegetarianism and Paganism

This is one topic that everyone will probably have a different opinion about, but here's mine.

To be a Pagan, you do NOT have to be a vegetarian OR vegan. They two are not related, really. There are plenty of non-Pagan vegetarians/vegans and plenty of non-vegetarian/vegan Pagans. Too many people rush into vegetarianism without learning enough about it first, and they end up in the hospital or something. I have a friend who ended up in the ER because of passing out because the friend in question wasn't getting all the things needed. It isn't JUST about protein, either. There are a lot of things that you have to be very careful about substituting with non-animal products.

A lot of Pagans are vegetarian or vegan, though. Some do it for health, some for moral reasons, and I'm sure there are other reasons as well. Personally, I WAS a vegetarian (and then a vegan for about a year) long before I "officially" declared myself a Pagan. I did it originally because a friend graphically described the slaughtering process to me when I was 13. After a while, it became more about my health, though. I have battled depression a lot, and being a vegetarian actually made it easier to deal with, and it helped with my PMS (which was HORRIBLE!), but I was careful with it. Now, I still consume animal products. Very little dairy and egg, though, because I'm mildly lactose intolerant and I just don't fix eggs often. I don't really eat chicken, beef, etc. very much, but I do eat fish. I'm basically a pesco-vegetarian, but I do eat some other animal products from time to time.

I've heard a few people say that becoming a vegetarian really doesn't help the animals (for those who do it because of the way animals are treated) because there are still tons more people eating them, than not. And, more than likely, for every person who becomes a vegetarian, there are probably several hundred babies born who will be eating meat very soon. The planet is very over-populated. A few thousand people cutting out meat isn't going to make a difference, really. I digress...

Yes, if you go by the Wiccan Rede it says to harm none. That's the reason a lot of Pagans give for becoming a vegetarian. But think about this: When people totally relied on their land to live, long before super markets and all that, what did they eat? They had harvests AND....? Yep, animals. They hunted game and used the whole animal, basically. Some hunters still do that today, but it's becoming less frequent since hunting seems to have mostly become a sport. In MY opinion, unless you set out with the intention of being malicious and causing pain/suffering/heartache/destruction, etc., you aren't really going against the Rede. I don't live by the Rede, but I believe that the line about not doing harm means doing it totally intentionally with malicious intent. Eating is survival. What you eat is your choice, though.

The point of this blog is that you need to THINK for YOURSELF about things, and not just blindly follow something. If you think you HAVE to become a vegetarian to be a Pagan, ask yourself WHY. Think about it, meditate about it, research it, THEN form your own conclusion about it. Don't just blindly jump into things because you think you should or have to.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stone Meditation: Releasing Unwanted Feelings

I'm sure that somewhere out there someone else has come up with this, but I figured it out on my own quite accidentally a few months ago. Some of you may know that I'm not super stone/crystal knowledgeable. I have only recently really started a collection and began to learn about them, etc. Ok, moving on. I also have horrible insomnia and I was plagued with nightmares for a long, long time. A while back, I decided to use one of my newish amethyst stones to help me sleep. I began by just holding the stone, and then my intuition or something took hold and led me from there, so now every time I need to calm down, or release any type of negative feeling or overwhelming feeling, I grab a stone and meditate with it and this is usually how things go...

I sit and try to clear my mind, but usually when I need to do this, that proves to be very difficult. I have no idea WHY I see things in my third eye this way, but I do: I visualize the emotion I'm feeling as a color. For example, if I'm angry I visualize deep red. I see it in my mind, coursing through my body and I focus on pulling it in to the center of my body, in a ball of colored energy. After that image is clearly in my mind, I can feel the energy pulsing and I slowly see it forming a river of energy through my arm, and ending by leaving my hand and entering the stone. I continue this visualization until I feel totally calm and my mind is clear and I'm certain that the emotion I was feeling is gone.

I usually try to cleanse my stone shortly after doing this, but sometimes I don't feel it's necessary. Stones can hold a lot of energy without it leaking back out from my experience, but I don't like taking chances, usually.

I don't always use amethyst. I generally think about the emotion and select a stone that will help counteract that feeling.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Menstruation: It May Not Be a Curse After All

Female Witches: How many times have you cursed your monthly visit? How many times have you thought of it as a blessing, rather than a curse (and not because it means you aren't pregnant or something lol)?

For YEARS I thought of it as a curse. The pain, the bloating, the fatigue, the nausea, the mood swings, etc. My periods have always been rough. In fact, I went through 70ish hours of natural labor and since then have wished my period pains were more like my labor pains because they're so much worse than labor was for me. I've passed out from the pain before, to sum it up, and pain doesn't bother me usually. I've broken bones and laughed, I cut myself for years, you get the point (sorry I'm rambling a bit, I had a ton of coffee and I'm wired).

For the past few months, though, I've noticed something about my menses and ovulation. My greatest moments of inspiration for rituals (which I rarely perform), spells, meditations, and other things that have gone into my BOS came during those two times in the month. Also, my psychic abilities are more pronounced than at any other time. Tarot readings are more accurate, intuition is heightened and more accurate, and my desire to learn and create things for my BOS and other things are at their peaks.

Maybe this has to do with the moon phases (still looking into that), and maybe it's part of the blood mysteries which have fallen into myth and disuse over time. Who knows for sure? All I know is that I've begun keeping track of when I menstruate and when I ovulate in my Witches Date Book and my almanac and I'm going to try to find a pattern with moon phases and the like. I encourage you to do the same, if you don't already. Not only does this help you keep track of exactly when you menstruate, it may also shed some light on other things, like your patterns with the Craft. Keep track for a couple of months and see what you come up with. Pay attention to how you feel during those times (no, I don't mean the bloating and all that, I mean psychically and the like). Do your senses seem heightened? Do they seem less obvious? 

Knowing when your times of peak performance are can help you in your practice and study. Find them and use them to your advantage. If you find, as I did, that your peaks seem to coincide with your monthly cycle, focus on that instead of the cramping and other irritating PMS symptoms and meditate on things. Stop cursing it and turn it into something positive.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Circle of Moms Top 25 Faith Blogs

So, I was convinced to add my blog to this list for the voting. If you click on the little button to the right you can visit the voting page. Also, check out this blog for a list of some of the other Pagan ladies and vote for them!