Below is a worksheet I frequently use for private students. This is a wonderful start to a Book of Shadows. The blanks, of course, are meant to be filled in by hand. Could you go down the list and just Google the answers? Sure.
Did your spiritual adviser/teacher have you fill out such things? What benefit could you see from doing worksheets like this?
Sample Calling: I stand and I face the _________ (direction) and call the element of _______. Bring with you __________________, ____________________ and ________________ to the edge of this circle for protection and purification. Welcome, _________.
Sample Dismissal: I return to face the _________ (direction) and dismiss the element of _____. Return now to your realm and come again when I call.
Role (what does it bring or contribute?):
Logically/Mundanely – what is this element to you?
Is it important in your mundane (physical) life? How?
Spiritually/Metaphysically – what is this element to you?
Why do we call this element?
Is it important in your magical/spiritual life? How?
List 3 things you hope to learn from this element.
List 3 things you don’t understand about this element.
After working with this element – list 5 things/lessons you learned from this element that made an impact on you.
Please use this page for any difficulties/discoveries you made during your Air quest. Any other notes/thoughts/experiences or anything noteworthy to YOU can be written here for discussion at another time.
In recent months I have been watching YouTube videos made by witches/Pagans/root workers and everything in between. I can’t help but notice the staggering abundance of content related to protection rituals, protection spells and protection talismans. Protection. Everywhere.
Am I the only magick worker who does not feel the need to cast a protection spell every week? Am I the only witch who doesn’t sage my entire aura and house every month?
What are these witches protecting themselves from?
I look at protection magick the same way I view law enforcement. I am totally not paranoid of a police car. I know people who will chomp at the bit if and when a policeman pulls in behind them in traffic even if they aren’t doing anything wrong! They will still obsess over until the squad car is no longer following them. I assume this is the same kind of person who would do all these protection rituals.
Personally I do not feel the need to protect myself from much. I have been known to do ‘dark’ magick. Why? Because I feel that as a human all emotions are valid. I carefully consider all sides of the coin before doing ANY magick. If I’ve stewed on it for a day or two and I still want to cast something bordering on vengeful – I will do it. Why? Because in my mind it is better to release the urge rather than lie to myself and pretend I’m totally cool. Goddess knows I wouldn’t be true to myself or Spirit.
Perhaps I should explain a bit. I have never done anything mean. I have never casted a spell to cause harm. The times I have done something which would be considered “dark” … well .. I’ll tell the story.
Gather round! 🙂
I have had some bad relationships.
Fresh out of highschool I met a guy who was impossibly good looking. He lived about 10 miles away and went to a different school. I was so astounded he was at all interested in me. Not that I have ever been repulsive – but I didn’t consider myself in the same league with him.
The night we met in a random parking lot hanging out as 18 year olds in a town of about 7 thousand people we were just inseparable. I was infatuated with his good looks. He was attracted by my sense of humor, honesty, and my insight.
Quite a few months passed. At first I hadn’t noticed that he no longer had a job and had spent his every waking moment near me. When he woke up, he would call me. When he had dressed and showered – my parents’ doorbell would be ringing. We’d just graduated highschool so it was common for young people to still live with their family. When I had to go to my job as a clerk at a liquor store – he would show up about an hour into my shift.
At first I loved all this attention. It simply amazed me that anyone would find such joy in me that they would want to always be near me! I was so smitten with how ‘into’ me he was that I hadn’t noticed any warning signs.
Slowly my friends stopped calling. Bit by bit I stopped participating in anything that didn’t involve this new boyfriend.
When the isolation had begun I assumed I was doing it to myself. Oh, I am working a lot of hours so I don’t have time for many social things. Oh I’m just tired from working a night shift in a liquor store and going to college during the day. The only reason I don’t hang out with an of my friends anymore is because we are all too busy for each other.
It wasn’t me.
It was him.
He was isolating me to control me. I hadn’t noticed but I was no longer listening to songs I liked. I was only listening to what he liked. I wasn’t wearing my usual clothes. I was wearing things he would ‘casually’ point out and say “Oh Jen you’d look really good in that!” I wasn’t reading books I enjoyed – I was finding books on topics HE was fluent in so we could have conversation about what HE wanted to talk about.
All this is abuse.
It didn’t hit me until a long-time friend came into the store I worked at and said, out loud “Everyone is worried for you. You aren’t yourself. You’ve changed in a bad way since New Boyfriend came on the scene. Is he hurting you?” Since New Boyfriend was always near me – he flew into a rage.
I had never seen him get so completely angry. I had never seen him even frustrated! This incident did frighten me, but I excused it. Well afterall if someone had said derogatory things about me I’d likely be upset, too!
The isolation grew worse.
It got physical one night that I suggested we go to one of my friends’ houses.
Why on Earth would I want to hang out with these friends? These friends had totally abandoned me! They haven’t called me in months! They don’t care about me. No one probably does. I heard all the terrible things they said about New Boyfriend and he has done nothing but love me since the moment he met me. They have to be completely awful people to be so jealous of me being loved.
They’re good people – I said. They’ve been busy, I explained. Of course they still care about me I’ve just been spending so much time with You (New Boyfriend) that I haven’t made time for them.
This is not his fault. I have done something to drive the others away.
What have I done? I go to work. I go to school. I spend time with you. I’ve done nothing.
He can’t believe how insulting I am! I completely do not appreciate anything he has done for me. I am probably acting like this because I am fucking someone else.
There was no one else. I promise. He can ask anyone.
That wasn’t even the last time he hit me. This was just the first time. I was so busy trying to defend myself against his WORDS that the fact he was now physically abusing me didn’t even bother me!
The second time was worse. It was the last time.
When I decided to break ties I told my parents what had happened. They were very saddened that I had not come to them sooner. They could see he was suffocating me with his physical presence but they chalked it up to puppy love because in their eyes – everyone would fall for me ‘like that’ because I am wonderful.
This was the first time I had done a protection spell.
I did not wish him harm.
I simply casted a spell to ask spirit to guide him to do good deeds. I asked my guides to protect me while I broke it off with him. I was afraid.
I made a spell bottle with items to both send back his negativity, but also to ‘heal’ and soften him. BUT. But – in this bottle I included items which would inflict him with equal negativity and nasty stuff if he messed with me.
Here are the ingredients I used:
- A small glass jar (it was a peanut butter jar) -This symbolised that I wanted his rage and anger contained in close quarters.
- Nails ————-nails are used to construct things – but can also be used as weapons
- Broken Glass ———symbolised how even when something is perceived broken can still serve a purpose
- Bullet ——-deadly when the VESSEL is aimed correctly
- 1 small mirror (unbroken) ————–to reflect his ugly negativity back to him
- My Menstrual Blood ————Ties the bottle to me further. It is mixed with all the ingredients. The bottle and its contents are ‘exposed’ to the most primal parts of me.
- Obsidian ————-I feel this stone harnesses all the energy of the volcano it came from — meaning my spell will have continued energy for years and years
- Quartz ———–the man was so awful – I wanted to be sure that any negativity which lingered could be cleared by this quartz.
I don’t remember the words I said. I know I asked that this bottle protect me for all my Earthly days from this man. I asked that this bottle also help him see his errors and resonate with his spirit to turn his strength and virility into something positive. If he must fight – let him be a professional boxer. If he must hit someone – let it be for good purpose. If he must be a psycho – let him help the FBI solve murder cases committed by abusive husbands/boyfriends/fathers.
Since then I have not done a true protection spell. I have done clearings where I have neutralised energies …. like when I move into a different house. However, I do not feel there is anything which I should be protected from.
Do these YouTube witches have so many enemies that they honestly need all this protection? Or … are they being paranoid about seeing a police car (a perceived threat) in their rear-view mirror?
Do you do protection spells often?
Let’s discuss it in the comments!
Not everyone feels the need to choose a patron God or Goddess. Some, though, feel called to do this. A lot of what I will say in this post will probably not apply to anyone. That’s okay. I feel its never a bad thing to hear information. You don’t have to agree, disagree, adopt or transmute any of it.
In my opinion all religions have ‘characters’ which are all basically the same thing. They all share similar paths but the names have been changed. I choose, to mix and match depending on who identifies with me.
But Jen if they are all the same person why does it matter which ‘name’ you choose to call them?
Well let’s say you have a favorite book. A few years later that book becomes a film. Its named the exact same thing. The characters have the same names, but something is off. Its because the person the producer/directer has chosen to play those characters aren’t how you had pictured these people in your mind’s eye.
That’s how choosing a patron God/Goddess is to me.
Why choose a patron God or Goddess?
I think it gives you focus. It gives you a reason to focus on different aspects that you’d normally not pay attention to.
I devote myself to a different God or Goddess for a minimum of one year. There have been years I have chosen to rededicate myself to the same God or Goddess because I don’t feel my work is done. Its a way of improving aspects of yourself. I try to adapt their vibrations and energies to my life.
When I was young I pictured my Goddess as a ‘spider hag’. It was an old lady who could take the form of a spider. She was venomous but wouldn’t attack unless provoked (like most wild things.)
Later in life I learned about the Greek Pantheon and happened to put the name Hecate to my goddess. Do I worship the ex-Titan Hecate? Not really. At least I don’t think so – but there are some similarities. I happen to think if the energies of the deity I work with didn’t like me calling her Hecate I would have been corrected by now. Perhaps this Goddess doesn’t have a known name and has just allowed me to call her Hecate because that is simply what is comfortable with me.
Choosing a patron God or Goddess can give you some strength and solace. Its also a good opportunity to expose yourself to different paths that you may not be familiar with. I hope to one day feel comfortable with Oshun and ask her to lend her aspects to my life but the time has not come yet.
Some Goddesses and Gods are more picky than others. You can’t just say in your head “Yep I am now a devotee of Isis” and that be it. That is not it.
You should be able to answer:
- Why are you a devotee of this God/Goddess?
- What characteristics of them do you hope to adapt?
- What kind of daily offerings would they like?
- Am I prepared to pray to and give offerings to this God/Goddess every day?
- Am I willing to accept aspects which I may not think I need?
- How long will I devote myself?
These may seem like stupid questions but there are people who say they are a devotee of a God/Goddess yet have never had a line of communication. Gods and Goddesses will come in your meditations, dreams, while you’re typing a blog. They will present themselves in different ways and its up to you to recognize it.
There are signs. You’ll know them when you see them. Once you have inner confirmation, allow yourself some time to debate. If that God/Goddess is willing to work with you, they want you to be sure its what you want, too!
Who do you work with regularly and why? How did you know they were right for you?
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:
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.
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.
Most Pagan traditions have a personal book with things you have learned written into that book. Some paths have strict guidelines as to what goes into the book, who can read the entries, yadda yadda.
This is what I think.
It does not have to be called a Book of Shadows. However, it may be easier to relate what the item is to someone else if you use the same terminology. Call it “My Magical Book of Sparkling Unicorns”. Call it “The Fonz”. It doesn’t matter!
I don’t feel that every single thing you’ve learned/read/heard should be put in your personal book. Things you feel are important that you may forget should certainly be put into your book. You don’t need a big 4 chapters to explain (essentially to yourself) what your path is and what you believe.
I feel that a 3 ring binder with printed pages is just fine. Its easy to replace pages – and it is sometimes easier to read than your own handwriting! Some people are not very artistically gifted and would therefore prefer to print out pretty pages to make their personal book feel more elegant. Should they feel bad for this? No!
My first book was a leather-bound journal. The 200 or so pages in it could not be replaced. I could not add to the book. I decided that I wanted to decorate some pages – but was then unhappy with the outcome. Then came the gut wrenching activity of tearing pages out. That was so painful! I had probably 5 of these journals in a book shelf and thought “Wow what a waste.” All that time I could have combined everything into one big binder and have been able to add or subtract as time went on.
When actually doing spells I feel those should be hand written. But your book? I don’t feel that is necessary. Mostly because it is only meant to be used for reference and possibly teaching someone else. However – if they only learned from a book what would they need you for?
Where should you begin?
Begin by having an idea what you want your book to look like. Craft stores have come a long way – so get creative! And if in a couple years’ time you don’t like how it looks don’t worry! You can get a new binder and start all over! That is the great thing about using a binder as your personal book rather than a bound journal. As people we grow all the time. Our tastes in all thins change. My first book looked more like a weird interpretation of a Necronomicon than anything else! Why? Because I was about 15 and I thought that was how it should look.
Here is a video done by a British Lady with quite a posh accent. She shows her Book of Shadows done in a binder form. Maybe it will give you ideas.
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!
Many of you know that Imbolc (pronounced EM-bulk) is just around the corner!
What is Imbolc? Well, it is one of the 8 Sabbats. Its also sometimes called Candlemas. Think of it as the Spring starting to kick within the womb of Earth. It is a time to celebrate the lengthening of the days.
There are many traditional stories about Imbolc/Candlemas. Groundhog Day is a spin on an ancient Celtic tradition where they thought if the weather was nasty – the hag stayed inside and gathered no more wood for the winter (meaning Spring will come sooner). If the weather is lovely – then the hag is out gathering wood and Winter will last a bit longer. This is of course the Laymen’s Terms. I tend to just give the basic idea so as not to drone on and on (I do that sometimes.)
This is the time of year (first couple weeks of February) that the ewes give birth en masse. In England they called it “Lambing Season”.
Here is a list of things associated with Imbolc/Candlemas
Activities Usually done at Imbolc/Candlemas
- Light a candle in every window (never leave candles unattended! Just light one in the room you’re in)
- Hiking and searching for signs of Spring
- Making Priapic Wands (wand made out of an acorn, ribbons, a stick, and a bell. Its meant to be phallic to represent fertility. Instructions to make one is below*)
- Bon Fires
(some) Deities associated with Imbolc:
- All Virgins/Maiden Goddesses
- Gods of Love and Fertility (such as Eros)
Symbols of Imbolc/Candlemas:
- ‘Out with the old – In with the new’
Herbs associated with Imbolc
Well here goes.
This is officially the first post. Well, the second actually. I spent way too much time filling in the ‘about’ page. Have you read that? You should.
I hope to post here very often with information, inspiration, divination and anything else that pops into my mind.
As a witch who started her path at the dawn of the Internet Era, I have sifted through a lot of garbage as far as my online guidance attempts go. I grew up in the Bible Belt where there was no ‘New Age’ section at the Barnes & Noble (which was over an hour away from where I lived) or any way of finding other Pagans easily. If they did exist – they were super deep in the broom closet.
Some posts here may be as simple as a picture. Perhaps as complex as a new ritual I am trying. Maybe I put a song I heard on iTunes that I think others will enjoy.
I am not the authority on Paganism. I would go so far as to say there are many people out there much more qualified to share what’s in their mind than I am. However, without the guidance of other Pagans from all over the world I would have never become the Witch I had always wanted to be. I think there is a time in everyone’s life path where they need some information, ideas, or inspiration from someone else’s mind. I want to be that. I want to help push others. I want them to be the witches they want to be, too!
Information I share here will be open ended with no path as a focus. That is because it is the way I have chosen to travel my path. I spiritually identify with a lot of paths, but I can’t seem to 100% follow everything on any one path. Instead of having any internal conflict – I take the bits I like. The bits that feel right. The pieces that are non-restrictive. I’m just totally Pagan.