“I think I will Google how to do a spell”

If that thought has crossed your mind, STOP.

You do not need to do an internet search on how to do a spell.  There is no right way or any certain way to do any spell.  In my opinion, beginner witches shouldn’t be doing spells, honestly.  I feel that you need to have a personal relationship with your chosen deities before you start asking for assistance of things.  They need to know you’re serious.  They need to know you aren’t just going through a ‘phase’ and want to see if you will get what you ask for before you commit.

What is a spell?

Well a spell isn’t something that requires a list of exotic and expensive ingredients.  As a matter of fact – I get a bit insulted when I see ‘witchy stores’ offering spell kits.  I feel that when it comes to spell casting there should be no convenient alternative.  I don’t feel any spell should be offered in a zip loc bag for the low, low price of $19.99.  From a business point of view, I can understand why they do it.  However, I feel a better alternative would be to offer ‘make your own spell kits’ where a customer can pick a candle, an herb, an oil, piece of parchment, incense, and a crystal.  That’s just how I would do it if one day I live my dream of having my own ‘witchy store’.

A spell is simply a prayer.  A prayer that has been strengthened with other items.  Some spells are as simple as thinking of something really hard – or as elaborate as acquiring crystals, specific herbs, etching a candle, burning a special candle for 7 days … the list is endless. The bottom line is – all spells are a prayer with focused intent.

I heard to do a spell you need x, y, and z.

No.  You don’t.  Not unless you personally feel you must have those items to strengthen your intent. The more you do yourself for the spell, the more powerful it will be.  If you simply punch “love spell’ into  a search engine and write everything down word for word, gather the exact things the internet says to gather, do it at the time the internet said to do it – how completely pointless.  I imagine that for the God and Goddess hearing spells like this is like going and hearing a really bad cover band.

I can understand becoming stuck while trying to write a spell.  It happens!  But I personally feel that casting spells should be done once you have a personal relationship with your chosen deities.  That is because the human mind is very powerful.  The saying “you can do anything you put your mind to” is very true.  Anything you put out to the universe can be done.  Does it always happen?  No.  Why?  For the same reason that we aren’t all millionaires.  The potential is there.  Anyone could be a millionaire.  Yet we aren’t all millionaires.

Spells are the same.  We can all cast spells.  Should we?  No.

When is the best time to cast a spell?

When you aren’t angry.  When you aren’t sad.  When you are totally emotionally stable and have meditated on the focus of your spell for at least 48 hours.  Why?  Well this is to be sure that if your intentions aren’t entirely good that you have time to back out before its too late.  Sometimes we think we want things, but all too often we wish we could go back and change it.  In my path there is no repentance.  You will pay for your mistakes no matter how sorry you are for them.  Eye for an eye.

Can’t you only cast spells at certain times of the week/month/moon phase?

Some people think so.  There are people who believe that if you want to cast a protection spell it should be done on Thursday night between 8pm and 11pm in the New Moon with a black candle, a mirror, a piece of quarts while burning blue sage.  I, however, do not think this.

I think any time you need to cast a spell and you are in control of yourself – do it.  I am not entirely comfortable only doing things when I’m told by someone else they need to be done.  Sabbats are different.  Spells, I feel, are personal.  Rituals when done with a group/coven are less personal but still powerful.  I have never been part of a group that does spell work together.

I just heard about witchcraft and I want to cast a spell.

Who am I to say you can’t?  No one.  But I like to tell people “I just heard about heart surgery and I want to do a transplant on you”.  It doesn’t work that way with anything else in the universe, so why should it work that way with witchcraft?  It shouldn’t.  It doesn’t.  It won’t.

Try doing a daily devotional for a few months first.  Get familiar with what it feels like when you are charged with energy.  Get familiar with how to release that energy in a focused way in order to empower your intent.

Have a conversation with your chosen deities every morning when you get up.  Tell your deities what you would like to focus on that day (example: let me have patience with co-workers today) and start from there!

Try it!

Mabon

Mabon is also known as the Autumn Equinox.  Here’s a hint – on an equinox that means that day and night is equal.  So Vernal Equinox (aka Spring Equinox or Ostara) means that the daytime hours and the nighttime hours are equal.

Mabon shows the official coming into Autumn by the summer days now growing shorter and becoming equals with the night.

What’s the point in celebrating Mabon?

Its officially the final harvest before Winter fully sets in.  Some places on this beautiful planet begin to get nightly frosts after this holiday.  In olden times it was likely a good reason to gather as a community or family to celebrate while daily life was still easy.  Best to do it now rather than in the dead of Winter when things could certainly be difficult.

Times have changed!  Winter isn’t harsh and cruel as it used to be!

Please remember for some it is.  Some are totally self sufficient – or rely heavily on their gardens.  Unless they live somewhere tropical they will not grow anything else without aid of modern technology.

What can I do to celebrate Mabon?

If this is your first Autumn Equinox that you’re recognising … welcome!  Typically Mabon falls somewhere between September 20-24.  Want to know the exact day for the year?  Punch it into the search engine of your choice!  I’ll save you a little trouble and tell you that this year Mabon is on September 22.

– Try making a large dinner and invite your friends and family.  If they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Mabon they will probably ask you “What’s the occassion?!”  You can either tell them, or just say “I haven’t seen you in a while so I thought I’d invite you over!  Hayyyyyy!”

– Pick some apples (if you can).  This time of year is typically apple picking time.  In the South (USA) we also gather pecans and walnuts around this time of year.  You can’t make banana nut bread without the nuts!

– Greet the darkness.  Spend one whole day and night without electricity.  Go to bed when its dark enough to do so.  Gain some perspective on just how hard we, as humans, work on this planet.  Hell, maybe even get a little angry over how the introduction of artificial light has caused us (as people) to lose a lot of sleep as well as become enslaved by ‘the grind’ (aka our jobs.)  We don’t go to bed when its the right hour – we go to bed when we’ve finally wound down from whatever crazy day we’ve had.  One day and one night – don’t use any artificial lights.  I understand you have to go to work, but you don’t have to use them at home that night.  Try it.  Its quite enlightening (hahaha).

– Center yourself and find some balance.  As the days and nights equal out – maybe you could use some equalisation.  Maybe you’re drinking too much or in a bad mood too often.  Now would be a great time to re-center and refocus.  Just as our Mother Gaia is doing.

– Give thanks and count your blessings.  This one really goes without saying.

During my Mabon ritual I like to talk about Persephone.  Persephone was the daughter of Demeter.  Many Gods loved her and tried to woo her.  While she was out being the little nymph she was – Pluto burst through the Earth and abducted her.  Demeter neglected the Earth in every sense of the word while she searched for her missing daughter.  Eventually Helios (the Sun – who sees everything) told Demeter what had happened.  Finally after hearing the prayers and cries of the starving humans Zeus demanded Pluto release Persephone.

Pluto agreed.  He had a trick up his sleeve, though.  He released Persephone but Hecate was the only one powerful enough to walk Heaven, Earth and the Underworld.  Hecate assisted Persephone by lighting her way and guiding her out of Hades.  Pluto gave Persephone a pomegranate while she was making her way out of Hades.  She ate four kernels while in the underworld.  The Fates said anyone who ate or drank in the underworld was doomed to stay there for eternity.  Due to eating only 4 kernels  Persephone must only stay 4 months in the underworld with Pluto every year.

Even though Persephone was abducted against her will … even though by all accounts she shouldn’t have to stay with Pluto in the underworld – she has so much honour and integrity that she does stay those 4 months.  Persephone is a representation of spirit, hope, honour, integrity, courage, and faith.  All of these traits were required by our ancestors to survive the winter.

So tell me, how do you celebrate Mabon?

I plan to do a video about it in a couple weeks’ time.

Song for the Spirit

 

 

Song: Circle of Stones

By:  Tina Malia

Album: Shores of Avalon

 

Assumptions in Paganism

My father has always said

When you assume it makes an ass out of you, not me.

There are so many assumptions in regards to Paganism and spirituality as a whole.  All humans like to categorize things.  We like things to fit into neat little columns and rows and when we can’t do that we can sometimes get .. well .. pissy.

The worst part about it all is the amount of assumptions I have seen/heard about Pagans BY Pagans!  Here is a long list of examples.

“You aren’t a real Pagan because you wear makeup.”

Really?  Are you kidding me?  Pagans aren’t allowed to wear makeup?  Why!?  If my heart tells me wearing makeup is somehow wrong, then I won’t wear it.  I have no spiritual conflict wearing bright purple eyeliner and multi-colored eye shadow

“You can’t possibly be a real Witch because you don’t wear long flowing skirts and shawls.”

While it is true that some Pagans enjoy wearing a certain style of clothing – we are all individuals.  We don’t ALL like it.  I love seeing the stereotypical witchy lady – but I don’t feel I can pull that look off.  Does that make me less spiritual?  Of course it doesn’t!  How insane!

“You aren’t vegan?!  You’re not a true Pagan.”

Some Pagans choose to be vegan.  Others don’t.  While many Pagans follow the rule of “An it harm none, do as thou wilt” – (in my opinion) is pretty damn vague.  Does that mean only humans?  Humans and animals?  What about plants?  Its very open to interpretation.  I do know of non-Pagan vegans who use ketchup on their fries.  Unless it clearly states it is vegan … ketchup is flavored with beef.  I know of Pagan vegans who use drums during ritual.  They’re covered with animal hide!  Life is all one huge contradiction – and I’m totally cool with that.  But don’t force your views of whatever it is upon me if you, yourself can’t fully accept them!

As a community (whether we’re physically connected or not – we are all the walking, talking, breathing representatives of whatever it is we believe) we should support each other.  I know that sounds like ‘tree hugger bullshit’ but its true.  There is so much harsh criticism outside our own faiths (ANY faith!) that we shouldn’t meet that kind of judgmental stereotyping within it!

So many years now I have heard how Pagans are so misunderstood and want to be accepted … but time and time again there have been many who have shown me that they can’t even accept each other!  How can anyone else except us if our own brothers and sisters can’t?!  I think its sad.  It really does hurt my heart.

I, for one, do not agree with all aspects of all Pagan paths.  I do not, however, judge those who do!  Is it not possible for us to follow these steps:

Hear information

Does this work for me (Yes/No)

If Yes – Adapt it!  Share it!

If No – Move on.  Nothing more to see/hear.  Thanks for sharing, though!

My whole point is:  don’t assume.  To my knowledge there is no total right and wrong.  Circumstances make everything in life complicated.  What works for A won’t work for B – and there is nothing wrong with that.  If you see something wrong with that – that is totally fine!  Regardless of how big the group you belong to feels it is wrong – doesn’t make you right!  What’s right for me probably won’t be right for you.  That’s what makes being a human beautiful!  We’re all different.  Celebrate it instead of hating, criticizing, demeaning, assuming, and putting other negativity into it.

Here is a great exercise:

Make friends with someone who has totally opposing views to your own.  Give them a chance to break any stereotypes you might have about them.  Maybe you already have a friend like that.  Ask what kinds of things they assume about people who present themselves with some kind of difference in religion/politics/sexuality/race/economic standing.

I think everyone should meditate on who they are.  Are you being true to your spirit?  What can you do differently to improve?  Have you improved in some way?  Are you guilty of rampant assumptions?  Let’s talk about it.

A Song to Hecate

Hecate by Wendy Rule

Album: The Lotus Eaters

Celebrating Holidays while on Vacation

Every summer I return to my home state.  Often there are at least two holidays I ‘miss’.  I do not have and likely will never have a travel altar.

The first few times I felt really lost during Litha and Lammas.  I had become so accustomed to celebrating a certain way that I didn’t now how to celebrate without all my ‘pretties’.

Its taken a few years, but I have finally learned that I don’t need any of my regular tools to celebrate.  Once you’ve gotten into the habit of using tools its hard to imagine holding ritual without them.  Trust me, though, it isn’t as hard as you think.  You probably already do many of these things without really realising it!

This is what I do:

Litha-

Spend most of the day outside.  I greet the sun when I wake up.  I thank God for helping all the crops grow.  I admire all the flowers, wildlife, and spontaneous storms as they roll through.  At night when the fireflies start to twinkle, the moon rises, and the bullfrogs start to croak I am still.  I thank Goddess for shining through the darkness (if there is a dark moon – I empathise with her need to rest) and giving the nocturnal wildlife the light they need to see.

Typically I use this holiday as an excuse to gather wild flowers.  I thank God and Goddess for the flowers.

Lammas-

Thanks.  That’s all.  I thank God and Goddess for all the fruits, vegetables, and grains I will eat to sustain myself through the dark months.  I thank the God for his strength during summer, and give a heartfelt inner speech about what kind of success or prosperity I’ve had during the year to that point.  I praise Goddess for all her motherly work.  I spend these few days making ‘fall’ food such as pumpkin soup, bread/rolls, squash etc.

I use this holiday as a time to feast.

I don’t cast a circle in the normal sense.  I find a way to just be still and be alone with the feeling you only get when you have a personal connection to the divine.  It isn’t quite meditating, yet it isn’t a fully awake state.  Its like a light daydream.  Right before I feel myself hitting this state I take notes of the smells, temperature, animals (if outside) and my feelings.  Offerings made during the time I have no altar are always simple.  Sometimes its just the heel of a loaf of bread.  Maybe its leftover lettuce or spinach from the big bowl of salad I made.

No one realises I’m having a little mini ritual.  I don’t say anything out loud.  Everything is kept very personal and silent.  I make no hand gestures (this doesn’t mean I couldn’t – I just choose not to.)

Celebrating holidays without tools helped me appreciate what my tools really mean to me – and what they bring to my spells and rituals.  While I am on vacation I don’t do any spell work.  I use this time, instead, as a study time.  I will spend this time learning new techniques and information which will guide me once I return home.  I also use this time to catch up on reading.  Since purchasing an e-reader I have been simply devouring books.  Sometimes book stores with a variety of Pagan books is hard to find!

Before I leave my house – I cleanse my sacred space.  I make sure my libation bowl is full.  My libation bowl is a small crystal bowl which I fill with gathered rain water, a crystal of some kind, salt from my altar, and some ritual water (I make it myself but I think the popular name for it is Florida Water).  I cast a circle and converse with God and Goddess to tell them that I will be away.  I ask that they take no offence if the libation bowl dries (sometimes I am gone for 8 weeks or more).  I burn some incense, light a candle, and ask that they see over my travels.  I leave an offering of some kind (flowers, bread, salt, ashes from my incense) outside.

When I return – I start with lighting my working candle while I physically clean the entire room top to bottom while playing clearing music.  Sometimes I find a good radio station on iTunes, at times I pop in a generic ‘nature sounds’ CD, and there are times I even sing.  My intense physical cleaning includes all altar tools.  I recharge everything for two days(technically one FULL day):  a day in the sun — a night under the moon.  Depending on the weather the items may be charged through the window in the light of Goddess. The moon doesn’t necessarily have to be full, but I normally prefer it that way.  However, if I know I will be doing any workings or ritual soon after arriving home I will not wait for the full moon.  Even when we cannot see Goddess she is always there. This allows me time to recuperate from traveling while everything cleanses and charges.

The time I spend with all my stuff when I return helps to strengthen the bond I have with those items.  They are mine.  They belong to me.  Like any healthy and strong relationship, my passion is rekindled for these things when I have been away for any extended period of time.  These things are not just things.  They are my things.  They are the physical representatives of other things.  They each mean something to me.

Use What You Need

That small statement bothers me.  It bothers me to no end!

When I really started getting serious about my spirituality I was told by the majority to “only use what is needed.”  But what’s really needed?

I get insulted when someone’s idea of what’s needed is forced upon me.  To be totally honest, nothing physical is ‘needed’ for spell work – or anything regarding religion as a whole.

Some mentors have people disassemble their altars, and some get really upset when asked to do this.  I think its a good exercise in order for individuals to decide exactly what it is they feel they need.  Its a good way to (pardon my language) clear the bullshit and get down to the real deal.  Some, over time, accumulate a lot of things that do not serve them.  Magical Hoarders, if you will.

Personally, I feel my spiritual path is beyond just need.  It is a representation of my spirit.  Do I need incense?  No.  I like it!

Many items on my altar are there because I feel I need them.  There are even some items not present that others say are ‘needed’.  I have a censer which is about to be replaced by just a cauldron.  I have a chalice which was replaced by a bowl.

I prefer to tell people:

You need whatever you feel you need.

How do you know what you need until you’ve had it?  For example:  I have absolutely no use for a chalice.  I have one on my altar, but its very small and it doesn’t get used.  I have a small crystal bowl which I keep charged salt, Goddess (rain) water, and a stone of some kind which represents what it is I hope to ‘evaporate’ into my space.  Though the stone, of course, never evaporates – I like to visualize that the stone is also charging its properties into the water which I use to bless myself, the area – and by the act of evaporation – blesses my whole house.

My advice:

Obtain any tool your spirit thinks you need.  If it turns out you have no use for it – hang on to that tool!  A young Pagan’s spirit may be calling out for that tool and you may cross paths!  I try to pass my unused or replaced tools down to someone else.

Witch-cycling.  Its like recycling, but for witches!

A Song

I thought I would share a song today.

Its from the 90s.  It sounds like it really should have been on the Queen of the Damned Soundtrack.

I really do love this song.  A bit ‘darker’ than normal music deemed Pagan Music.

Enjoy The Hunter by The Moors.

Ostara

Ostara is also known as the Vernal Equinox.  For a couple days daylight and darkness are even.  The Earth is in balance as the Maiden reaches full fertility.  She is receptive.  Now is the time to plant things with fertility at its peak and conditions lending themselves to growing crops.

Popular trends during Ostara are pastel colors, eggs, and rabbits.  Things you can incorporate during your Ostara ritual:

Food:

  • Leafy greens
  • Seeds (pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Dairy foods
  • Sprouts

Incense

  • Jasmine
  • Rose
  • Strawberry

Go for a walk and enjoy the changing season.  Be sure to put out containers to catch the spring rain to use as your ‘Goddess Water’ for your altar.  This water, as it has come directly from the Earth, needs no consecration, purification, or charging.  You can, of course, charge it under a full moon or the sun if you’d like.  Charge it under the Moon to work with feminine energies.  Charge your water in sunlight if you are attuned to the element of Fire or want to work with masculine energies.

Public Pagans

Some are very fearful of being publicly open with their choice of religion.  Many think they will automatically be judged and take a defensive stance.  I haven’t had this experience – and neither has the woman in the video I will be posting below.

The only way to improve public perception of the Pagan community is to be public. There will be the odd ‘baddie’ who will just try to get a rise out of you.

I share many (if not all) of what this woman says, and feel it is very good advise for everyone in the Pagan community.

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