Just a few thoughts

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's Not All Black & White, Clear CUt & Simple

I've been seeing those terms a lot lately, particularly in questions and comments concerning Witchcraft. I see people say, "Are you a good Witch or a bad Witch?" like this is the Wizard of Oz or something, and then see comments like, "I practice only white magick. I don't want to mess with black magick." Then there's the "Left Hand Path," and "Right Hand Path," stuff. I understand that some people just feel more comfortable using these terms, for whatever reason, but more often than not, it seems as though the Witch saying these things is using them in an attempt to "justify" his or her beliefs. Personally, I think they all sound silly and aren't very accurate.

First of all, Magick is neither good nor bad, white nor black, etc. It just IS. It's there, it can be used, and the Witch using determines the path it takes, whether it's for positive use or negative.  

So what is positive magick and negative magick? Positive magick is for the good of all, or at least for the good of some with no harm to others. Positive magick includes things like healing. Positive magick is life affirming, always. Negative magick is magick that causes negativity for anyone or anything (manipulative magick, magick to control another person, magick to intentionally harm another person, etc.), from attempting to mess with someone's free will in some way to intentionally causing them harm. Even if your work seems to be positive, you need to examine it carefully. Pay attention to the words you use. Just because something is good for you, doesn't mean it will be good for me, or anyone else, and vice versa. 

For example, if you do a spell to get a job... You need to make sure you aren't screwing with someone's free will (meaning you shouldn't do a spell to get a specific job and add anything in that might interfere with the decision of whoever will be hiring you). Doing a spell for a specific job might land you the job, but at what cost? What if you forced the person hiring to do so, or caused someone to get fired so that you could get that job? In situations like that, go ahead and try to get the job you really want, but add in something like, "Or it's equivalent or better," (I got that phrase from Marion Weinstein, but I used something similar before), and make sure to add something like, "If it harms none," to try to counteract anything that you might have overlooked in your spell that might cause harm.

Very few things, if anything, are blatantly black and white. Most things fall within the gray area. Choose your words carefully, and be aware of exactly what you're working for.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spells

If you have to ask someone to give you a spell, you don't need to be casting one. I'm not saying that I'm against "swapping" spells (like if you're a solitary Witch but you sometimes get together with other Witches and share things, whatever), or even asking for help (everyone hits mental blocks sometimes), but if you have to ask someone to give you a spell because you can't come up with anything on your own, you aren't ready for it. I've asked for spells before. Mostly it was to try to find a beloved necklace of mine. I had written several and none of them ended up working. I asked for help with that, got some ideas for other means to find it, and eventually gave up on it (I started to think my ex threw my necklace away, and I still do).

Spells are not "cool" or a trend right now, they're serious. For one to work, you have to be invested in it. You have to put your energy and emotions into creating it and casting it or it's not going to work. You can't just open up a book or look one up online and say the words and go through the motions and expect to instantly get what you want. You have to want it bad enough to WORK for it. Do you think that everyone makes it as an actress just because they want it? No, unless they have always known the right people (ex. their parent(s) were in the industry), more than likely they had to bust their asses to make it big. Magick and spells do not replace hard work and commitment, but they can help the process, smooth it out a little, help you find the right path for success, etc. 

Lets look at an example. Say you REALLY need/want a job. You do a spell to help you find one, and then you just sit on your butt everyday expecting someone to knock on your door and hand you a job. It's not going to happen. But, doing a spell to help you find a job may increase your chances of finding a job that you at least like, if you go out there and really try to find one. 

I get e-mails from people all the time asking me for spells and tell them all the same thing. Absolutely nothing (well, usually, sometimes I respond to tell them "no"). I'm not going to give out spells, but if you're genuinely interested in this path, I will talk with you and try to give you suggestions for where to start. I've given out meditations before (mostly taken from books and then modified by me to suit my needs), I've talked to people, I've tried to steer people in a direction that will be helpful for them, but I'm not going to hold your hand and walk you through every single step of everything because it's something very personal. I can help, but I can't lead you along your path because what's right for me may not be right for you.

And just for the record, those spells for my necklace are the only ones that never worked, so after a 4th attempt, I gave up for good and decided that it wasn't meant for it to return to me. 

Spells work by manipulating energy, basically. There's energy everywhere, in everything. When you learn to raise energy and use it for your purpose, you'll be able to cast a spell. Or at least that's how it is for me. I've always been sensitive to the energies around me, and I've always been comfortable working with it, even before I knew what it was. 

Emotions are one of the best resources for spells. You need  an emotional connection to what you're doing,  and your emotions can be a very powerful source of energy for casting a spell. That's one reason why you need to watch how you feel when casting a spell. If you're full of negative energy, your spell may turn out negatively. It's ok to do a spell because something makes you angry and you want to change it (for example, if war makes you angry, it's ok  to do a  spell for the safe return of soldiers or for peace to come to the warring area, etc.). But, you need to to use your anger in a POSITIVE way.  You also need to believe that your spell will work. If you keep thinking that it's not going to work, it's not going to work. The power of positive thinking and all that, as well as the law of attraction, comes into play with spells.

Another important aspect of casting a spell that some people seem to overlook is keeping your mouth shut about any spells you cast. When you cast a spell, keep your mouth shut! Don't tell people about it. The emotions of others can interfere with your spell once they know about it. Say you tell your best friend that you just cast a spell and s/he thinks you're nuts for it, even if s/he doesn't say so. That negative outlook can mess with your spell. 

Don't expect your spell to manifest overnight. Spells will very rarely manifest that quickly. It can happen, depending  on the spell, but it's unlikely. Don't give up on it and start thinking it didn't work just because you didn't wake up the next morning to results. Give it time, and be patient.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My BOS

This is the BOS that my husband got me for Mother's Day. I just realized that I did a video and totally forgot to post on here about it!
 Front cover















Side view of the pages/thickness blurry webcam pic














Side view of the spine

















And this is just to show the matching quill/dip pen that came with it
Here's the link to the etsy shop I got it from.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Wicca" is NOT Interchangeable wtih "Witch(craft)"

What is Wicca?
Wicca is not an ancient religion. In fact, it's not very old at all, or at least the religion currently recognized as Wicca isn't. Modern Wicca is a reconstructionist religion that was formed based on knowledge of older religious practices. Many of the beliefs and practices that were held during the early times of modern Wicca were pieced together from surviving covens' Books of Shadows, or at least that's the theory. Wicca isn't just a nature based religion, it's a fertility religion (or, an alternative description is that it's just based on ancient fertility religions). Sex magick is involved in many Wiccan traditions. Does that mean there are orgies at every coven meeting? No. Sex magick is a very powerful thing, and very sacred. I won't go into that more now because for one thing I'm tired, and I'm also not extremely well versed in sex magick.

Wicca came about in the 1930s-1950s in Europe and you can thank Gerald Gardner in large part for it, and you can certainly thank him for it's current acceptance in the world. Gardner was the first person who really "came out" and said that what Margaret Murray (author of The Witch Cult in Western Europe and The God of the Witches) had claimed had merit, and Witchcraft was still alive, and he knew that because he was a Witch.  Gardner tends to be looked at as the founder of modern Wicca and created the Gardnerian Tradition of Wicca, which is probably one of the most well-known traditions in existence today.

Gardnerian Wicca began around the 1950s after Gardner basically decided to re-write things for himself, the way he thought they should be. Prior to founding his own coven, Gardner had been (according to him, at least) initiated into an existing coven. He published one fictional book depicting Witchcraft (High Magick's Aid), and later was able to further persuade his coven into allowing him to reveal more truths of Witchcraft in a non-fiction book Witchcraft Today. There are many stories surrounding Gardner and whether he really did originally belong to a coven or not, but regardless, we should all be thankful to him for having the guts to come out of the broom closet and speak out for Witches and Witchcraft, and for correcting some misconceptions about Witchcraft.

Now back to what Gardnerian Wicca is! Basically, it's a form of Wicca with degree systems within the covens, and one must be initiated into the coven. They also work skyclad. There is no self-initiation. Degree systems typically go by the "Year and a Day" of study practices, meaning that with each degree, the person must study for a minimum of one year and one day to advance to the next degree. If I'm not mistaken, a third degree person earns the status of High Priest(ess) and is then capable of leaving the Mother coven and forming a new one (or "hiving").

After Gardnerian Wicca, there are countless other "branches" of Wicca, some claiming to be older, some are newer. I'll touch on a few briefly.

Alexandrian Wicca: This was formed by Alexander Sanders in the 1960s, and is similar to Gardnerian Wicca. They also practice skyclad, but they place more emphasis on ceremonial magick. 

Seax-Wicca: This was formed by Raymond Buckland in the 1970s. Buckland was a protege of Gerald Gardner and he formed this tradition in the US when he moved here. This tradition is based on Saxon traditions, but Buckland created it himself. The coven members can decide for themselves if they work skyclad or robed. You can be initiated through the coven, or studying on your own.

Dianic Wicca: This tradition focuses almost exclusively (or totally exclusively) on the Goddess in her three aspects. Many Dianic covens are female only, but in recent years there have been men accepted in some. Z. Budapest is typically thought of as the founder of Dianic Wicca, in the 1970s.

There are also Eclectic Wiccans. These are the Wiccans who follow the general beliefs of Wicca, but do not follow one set path. There are Eclectic covens out there, but most Eclectics seem to be solitary practitioners.

Many Wiccans are Witches, but not ALL, and not ALL Witches are Wiccan.

Witchcraft and Magick
Witchcraft is a practice, or a craft. It's a way of life for many, just like religion. I think that's one reason it's typically considered a religion, but I have to disagree.  Someone from any religion, or someone with no religion, can be a Witch, and practice Witchcraft and Magick. 
First, let's address the word "Magick." It's spelled with a "k" at the end when we're talking about Witchcraft, to distinguish between our form of Magick and the magic performed by stage magicians. "Magic" is an illusion, such as pulling rabbits from hats and sawing people in half on stage for entertainment. "Magick" is the use of energy to produce a change that you desire. 

Witchraft has a long and very ugly history, thanks in large part to slander and Witch hunts (such as The Burning Times). It also takes on different names, depending on what it is exactly that you're looking at. For example, throughout history people such as Shamans, midwives and healers have been (or could be) considered Witches. In a way, that's an accurate description, though I'm sure at least some of them would find the term offensive because of the negative connotations the word carries with it. They can be described as Witches for using Magick and Witchcraft in their everyday lives, even if they wouldn't call it that. Using herbs to cure things can be considered Witchcraft.  Using herbs, stones, cards, etc. to find answers can be considered part of Witchcraft. Some people would still consider Jesus a Witch because of the way he caused changes, such as healing the sick.

Have you ever wished so hard for something and it came to you? That can be considered Witchraft, or Magick. For it to work when you cast a spell or do anything, really, you have to want it bad enough. You have to really believe it's going to happen. (Sorry I'm getting off topic some, it's really late, so I'll try to wrap this up.)

Most Witches (even if they don't call themselves by that term) end up doing Magick without even realizing it. You don't have to sit down and perform an elaborate spell with tons of props for your result to come about. I think many of us even tend to perform spells accidentally, or intentionally using only our minds (visualization).  I'm not saying that you should not use props. For many, they help with the visualization and energy directing processes, and that's great. I'm simply saying that Magick can happen without them, as well.

And now I'm thoroughly exhausted and heading to bed. I'm probably going to read this tomorrow and think, "Shit, I didn't say that right," about something, but oh well. Criticize if you like, correct me if I've misrepresented something, or explain something if I didn't do it well (which I'm sure I didn't).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Questions I'm asked a lot

I'm going to try to address a few common "beginner" questions with this blog,  but forgive me if I ramble or something. Friday morning I was  trying to wake my husband up for work, and because he had scooted to my side of the bed and I was trying to climb over him, I lost my balance and started to fall and he basically punched me in the ribs while trying to catch me, so I'm a little groggy from laying down all day and  being in pain lol.

What is a Pagan?
The simple answer to this  is  basically anyone who does not follow an Abrahamic religion (Christianity, Judaism, or Islam), but that's a little narrow for some. I've known some people who practice Hinduism that consider themselves Pagan, but I've also known some who don't and find the term offensive, even. There are also those who prefer to be called Heathen instead of Pagan because of their specific path. You can read more about that here. I'm not an expert on the subject by any means, but this link was provided to me by  someone who does consider herself a Heathen and we have found it informative and useful. There are too many "branches" or "denominations" of Paganism to really go  into them in depth in this one post, and honestly I only know a few, so I won't  go into that. The original definition or meaning of the word "Pagan" was "country dweller" and referred too those who lived in the country, off the land, back when the Christians were trying to take over. They were the Goddess worshippers who either refused to convert, or were very slow to convert. They parcticed the "old ways" which incorporated magick to improve their lives, the earth, etc. They were the "nature people." One reason the term "Pagan" has been adopted  to describe or classify religions such as Wicca is because most of us believe in honoring the Earth, not forgetting the Goddess and using positive magick, etc., and many believe in living as natural a life as possible. Hence, "neo-Paganism." (If you don't know, "neo" means "new.")

When can I start practicing Witchcraft & casting spells? 
Well, there is no simple answer to this.  First I suggest that you look within yourself and figure out if you're on this path solely because of the Magickal aspect. If the answer is "yes," this may not be the right thing for you. Being a Witch is a way of life. It's a way of doing things that incorporates magick into your daily life, even when you don't necessarily realize it. When you reach a point in your studies where you aren't nervous, you have control over your energy and can "manipulate" the energy around you (like when casting a Circle, and that sort of thing) and you don't have  to look up how to write andd  spell in a book, or use a spell from a  book, then you might be ready. Start small, don't overdo it. Take your time when writing it and performing your  first spells and don't freak out if you misspeak or something. You need to learn to laugh at yourself. I'm not saying that you shouldn't take  things seriously, but don't take everything TOO seriously because you'll lose your connection to what you're doing. You have to be emotionally involved in whatever you do.

Do you worship the devil?
No, Pagans don't worship the devil. We don't even believe in the devil, that's a Christian concept. We (at least mostly seem to) believe in a balance between good and bad, light and dark, etc., and accept that all things (including people and deities) contain both.

How do spells work? Do they really work?
Spells work the same way prayer can. You need to be emotionally invested in it, know how to use energy for your purpose, and do things in the physical world as well. For example, if you do a spell to help you with financial problems, you should be checking for a new job/better job, figuring out a budget and ways to cut back on spending/bills, etc. In my experience, yes spells do work if you put forth the effort.

Where should I begin? 
I suggest any books you can get your hands on that are geared towards beginners and include history. The Internet is also a great resource. Learn the history first, though. I have a blog or two on recommended reading, as well as videos on my YouTube channel, and there are tons of others  out there with  similar things posted.

How do I start a Book of Shadows and what goes in one?
You can start your BOS whenever you want to, but it should be meaningful for you. When you're first beginning, I recommend not buying an expensive, fancy, bound book. A 3-ring binder works very nicely. I suggest sheet protectors as well, to keep the pages from tearing, getting wax or something on them, etc. You may also find it helpful to keep a notebook for taking notes and making plans from the things that you read, which you can later organize and transfer to your BOS. Some suggestions for sections in a BOS: Your beliefs about deities, life and death, "rules," Sabbat lore, Esbat information, correspondences for herbs, stones, colors, days of the week, moon phases, etc., books and your take on them, deity information,  spells, rituals, tools, how you do things (like cast a Circle, set up your altar, etc.), and divination. And index is also useful. You can keep things like records of rituals and spells in your BOS. I tend to keep mine in my BOM (Book of Mirrors), though.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Animal Testing

As you probably could guess from the title, this has nothing to do with Witchraft, it's just a rant. It honestly pisses me off SO bad when people buy products that are known to be tested on animals, and then turn around and talk about how they love animals, blah blah blah. It annoys me even more when a "nature & animal lover" (like many Pagans) don't even think about it. Seriously, how can you not pay any attention to that when you claim to love animals and care about that sort of thing? It's bad enough that some companies still test on animals, anyway, but the fact that people don't care about it is even worse.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Don't Be Afraid, Just Do It!

There are so many things that I could say this about, but I'm talking about spells and rituals and every other aspect of Witchcraft. I hear people say they don't want a specific deity as their Matron or Patron because of what they've heard about that deity. For example, I was terrified when Cerridwen (and later Hecate) "called" to me because I knew they were considered Crones and I heard all sorts of BS about them. People told me that because I'm young I couldn't have a Crone as my deity, and that they were "evil" basically because they're Crones. I was also told that they just couldn't be Matron deities with no explanation for why. (At some point in the future, after some more researching, I'm going to post about Hecate, possibly in several posts. For the record, she is NOT a crone!)

As for spells and rituals, stop being afraid of screwing something up! Intention is everything. Learn to laugh when you say something wrong, or call the east quarter for the south or whatever. Trust me, the gods and spirits have senses of humor. They aren't overly serious and you shouldn't worry about being that way, either.  The serious stuff is important, but having fun and actually enjoying what you're doing and feeling a connection to it is more important. You have to enjoy what you're doing and feel connected to it! That's what makes it work for you. You can't just read something from a book every time with no feeling and expect your spiritual life to grow or to get results from what you did.

Oh and the taboo subject of spells that some view as "negative." YOU make your own rules, YOU know what feels right to YOU, etc., so no one else can tell you what to do or what not to do. If you really need someone out of your life and you've done all you can in the mundane sense, doing a spell to cut ties with them is a good way to go. I don't necessarily agree with doing spells that could harm someone, but think of this scenario: You're a mother and you find out that your daughter was raped by someone and she didn't know them and they haven't been caught. Is it wrong to do a spell that would cause something to happen to them that would lead to them getting caught? I read a journal by someone who did a spell because her daughter was nearly abducted. She worked it so that the person would have something happen to them that would attract the attention of cops. Some time after that, the guy was cruising around the area again and tried to abduct another child and he developed a genital itch. Some cops happened to be nearby, saw the suspicious activity, and took the guy in (I think maybe he was a sex offender, not sure though).
Don't be afraid of doing what YOU need to do, or what feels right to YOU. No one can write YOUR rules or tell you how to practice.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yay!

I want to thank a very special woman for the awesome thing she's doing. I just ordered several crystals and stones from KimiRose's Etsy shop for a total of $3.45! She's re-homing some of her stones and crystals and she's literally giving some of them away. I wanted to do this as a sort of "shout out" to her because I think it's wonderful what she's doing and I'm so grateful for it, as well. You can also check out her great YouTube channel. She has some really good videos and her Etsy shop is wonderful, too. Thanks to KimiRose for this amazing thing! I can't say "thank you" enough!