A Dance with Ganesha, the Lord of Success

ganesha

 

Ganesha, also known as Ganesh, the elephant Deity and one of my favorite Deities to work with, was introduced to me eight years ago.

Known as the Lord of Success, as well as the destroyer of evil and obstacles, my first Ganesha figurine was given to me in a small, red velvet bag by three witch sisters who owned a shop in Connecticut. I was instructed to carry it around after chatting with them and revealing at some point in the conversation, that I had a court appearance with my ex approaching…. so I graciously accepted their gift and carried it around, but I didn’t really understand why.

In fact, the whole idea of worshiping or paying homage to any other God except for the one I was raised with (which was the Catholic one… which is also why I think I am so sympathetic to Christian Witches because in some ways, I was one on some level once– having been raised primarily by Santeras) never really resonated with me, the energy and power of spirit and place was what I found most familiar, but the rest  was not only foreign to me,  it just felt off. (My mind was quickly changed by an incredibly vivid dream by the way, but that’s another topic for another time). Though I have been a practicing witch nearly my entire life, my involvement with the various Deities in other traditions and cultures had been non-existent until this dance with Ganesha. (I was also trying like hell (puns, puns!) to “Blend” with my then staunch Catholic in-laws-to-be….. I’m sure, by now, you can surmise how that story ended! And if you can’t figure it out and are still wondering, let’s just say my little fairy-tale to be went something like this….

once upon

No worries, I was over it long before they were 😉  Clicking my heels and moving along…..

Mind you, most witches are nearly always beyond delighted to be in the company of another witch, because the fact is, unless you were in a coven (which were just as harder to find) or kept up on Pagan festivals, which were also still sort of hard to find because everything was mail order in those days and the internet didn’t make itself available to all until about 1997, (and was virtually useless unless you were a business)…oh, and take into account that there certainly was no My Space, Facebook or Linkd In…. so bumping into another witch at the time could probably be best compared to winning a lottery…. unlikely and rare, but thrilled beyond belief….I was ecstatic!

And how lucky was I? I had THREE standing in front of me! I was almost compelled to do a happy dance!

 

Snoopy-Happy-Dance

 

Ok, so when they weren’t looking I may have done one…

I carried this little elephant man in my purse, everywhere I went. It wasn’t until the not-so-fairy tale ex discovered it that I had any clue why I should be carrying it around or what to do with it. To my complete shock, (Because he had been such a good Catholic boy) he looked in the bag and said, “It’s empty. You haven’t put any offerings in it.”

huh

 

Say what??? 

He told me to put coins or candies in the bag regularly for Ganesh, and then I would start to see things happen (and all in the same breath added, “But that’s what they say, I personally don’t believe any of it”).

Uh huh. Rigggght.

unamused 2

And exactly who are “they”? But he was right. My situation at the time was nearly a dire one. I had been a single parent, was trying to start a business that seemed more like I was peeing in the wind (just to give you an idea of how good a start it was getting off to—sorry for the visual–), I had a run-down mini van that even the drive thru cleark at a Wendy’s called a “Hoopty”…. I mean, the paint was peeling off it (affectionately called a Monday-Friday job becaue they get their paychecks and say to hell with doing the job right, let’s clock out and get our cash!)…you get the idea. I wanted things to change. I was willing to work for the change, but it seemed as though I was working up hill through a mud slide. My Catholic God, whose only requirement was love and complete acceptance into my heart, seemed like He went on hearing strike. So I said, “What the hell?”, and tossed some coins into the bag, whispered my desire and waited.

I didn’t have to wait long…

**….oh, and let me just state, before anyone gets their nickers in a twist, that just because the Christian/Catholic God didn’t work out for me, it doesn’t mean he won’t for others. There. That was my public service announcement for the month.**

Two days later I landed a contract for my new company that took care of my then financial crises plus a new vehicle. I tossed some candy in the bag, whispered sweet nothings to my little elephant man again and got the apartment I wanted at a good price.

Hot damn, I was on to something!

So, being the book nerd that I am, I went to the library and researched Ganesha. I was determined to become a student of this Deity, learn everything I could about him (Which is what I recommend you do prior to working with ANY Deity)….

As the son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha, is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the God of education, knowledge, wisdom (the elephant head denotes wisdom; Ganesha’s head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings, and his trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality.and wealth. In most depictions of Ganesha, in his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from thier way. The noose in Ganesha’s left hand is a tool to capture all difficulties. The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk suggests that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. You might be wondering what is up with the mouse he rides. It simply implies that he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.

It is important to note that Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja. Each Diety, especially in the Hindu traditions, have a story behind their story, and Ganesha’s is no different. But I’m not here to give you a cosmic history lesson, in fact, I believe that every serious practitioner should do their own research on the Deities they’re thinking about working with. I’m simply here to get the ball of inspiration rolling in that direction by pointing you in the direction of a God that I have developed a wonderful relationship with, because I took the time to get to know him. Ganesh is considered the master of intellect and wisdom, so why wouldn’t I want to hang out with a guy like that? 😉

Before my own dance with Ganesha, I was taught to cast when I needed to. To attend church regularly, and not ask questions. Nothing more, nothing less. It was Ganesha who taught me the importance of worship. And I mean, daily worship.

Now, I’m not saying run out and find yourself a dictionary of Deities and pick one willy- nilly. I’m not even saying you must choose a Deity to understand how worship really works. Most think worship is external. It isn’t. It’s internal, so it makes no never mind to me or anyone else whether you are worshiping a statue or the tree out in your front yard. It does however, make all the difference in the world to your self-growth and spiritual development.

It begins with you.

Rarely have I found that worship as a means to an end or as a last act of desperation prove successful. When it is, however, the Catholics call those miracles. I’m not even going to begin to try to explain or understand why those happen for some and not for others. Maybe the ones that are helped have a better relationship with their God than they realize. Maybe they pray so hard, so passionately that someone, somewhere hears them. I just don’t know. I can only speak of what I know from experience and study, and I know this:

Regular worship works.

Beginning with Ganesha, he taught me to look within. Why was I asking Him for certain things and not for others? Ganesha symbolizes the discriminative capacities that provide the ability to perceive distinctions between truth and illusion, the real and the unreal. What worship taught me was that in order to achieve something, I first had to look within as the means to achieving what I wanted. I needed a new vehicle. In order to get a new vehicle, I needed money to get it, so that meant I needed money too. How was I going to get that money? Clicking my heels together and demanding it certainly wasn’t working. It was going to happen by making the business I had started a success. How was I going to do that? By projecting my intent, and by working as hard as I possibly could by first doing an inventory of my own assets. What were my strengths, my weaknesses? What did I need to improve upon and more importantly, what habits did I have that did not serve me in achieving my goals? Ganesha is associated with the first chakra (energy wheel), which represents the instinct of conservation and survival, of procreation and material well-being. That was the greatest gift Ganesha could have ever given me, because Ganesha will absolutely help those who have the ability to first look within and then help themselves. His assistance may come in the form of inspiration or an opportunity that seems to come from literally nowhere. It may also come in the way of removing an obstacle from your path so that you can move forward.

Worship begins with self because when we find ourselves in the moment, still and centered, whether we realize it or not we are also meditating and sending our intentions out into the universe to be manifested. If you by nature have negative thought patterns, keep in mind that the Gods are listening! So is the Universe, so be very, very careful about what you allow to worm its way into your thoughts, especially while worshiping or meditating.

If you are so inclined, do your research of Ganesha. It is important to note that if you have or plan on acquiring a figuring of this God, to not place it near the foot of the bed or on the ground. He should be elevated (especially on an altar where other deities are worshiped or acknowledged) or even better, above the front door of your home.

The mantra, “Aum Vakratundaya Hum” – Considered as one of the most powerful Ganesh mantras, is traced to Ganesh Puranas. This mantra is referenced several times in the Ganesha Purana to curb the atrocities of cruel demons. The chanting of this mantra is recommended when something is not working properly or while feeling depressed or discouraged, which I feel makes a good starting mantra when you first begin working with Ganesha. After all, if you have found yourself in need of a God such as Ganesha, chances are, you have some things in your life not going quite right.  In a nutshell the mantra invokes Ganesha (Aum) to straighten & ward off evil and difficulty (Vakratundaya) with no delays (Hum).

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Blog Header Photo Source: Unknown

References: http://www.ganeshblog.com/

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Raising the Dead: Why Samhain Is So Sacred

Arise

Yes, yes…. all us witches are very excited about Samhain (Pronounced Sow-in)… to the non-magical, curious folks reading this, that’s Halloween… our New Year and one of the most Sacred of the Sabbats to Pagans and Witches.

I still get giddy as I count-down the final days leading up to it…. (so what if I’m like a 7 year old trapped inside…. Samhain to me is like Christmas to everyone else!) And I find it marvelously ironic because I always dreaded New Year’s Eve and those damned resolutions we know we’ll never see through as we count down to midnight. Intentions are marvelous, but empty if they aren’t backed up by action.

And that is something witches understand, which is why Samhain is so thrilling. You see, all those things we endured the year before, loss of loved ones who have passed on, financial troubles, personal problems, on Samhain we have the opportunity to not only make all that has gone wrong right again, but we are also given the unique opportunity to revisit those we’ve lost, love and miss with far more ability than any other time of the year. We also have the opportunity to manifest all the delightful goodness we want to draw into our lives in the coming year.  (Don’t get me wrong, the pumpkins (and pumpkin latte’s) the vibrantly colored leaves that crunch beneath my feet, the cool, crisp air and the decorations all make me jump for joy too (plus, it’s the one month out of the whole year I can walk around town in full regalia without anyone giving me a sideways glance).

Samhain is the Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset on October 31st to sunset on  November 1st, or about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. Samhain marks the ending of the wheel of the year, when leaves of green turn the color of a roaring fire, fall from their branches and return to the earth: ashes to ashes so to speak. The earth becomes quiet, with the coolness of winter approaching in the air. (If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am obviously in the Northern Hemisphere). As spring brings new life with budding flowers and trees, the fall brings the death and final rest of the same. Wildlife settle into the warmth of their nests and trees, their caves and caverns and even under ground. The finches and robins cease to sing quite so loudly, and the call of crows replace the morning song of the blue jays. Everything slows and sleeps.

Samhain is the perfect time for us to look at wrapping up the old and preparing for the new in our lives. Think about all the things you did in the last twelve months. If you have left anything unresolved, now would be a good time to resolve it, and not bring it into the new year with you. Meditate on mistakes you have made and the lessons you have learned from them. Take forth that knowledge and those lessons into the new year.

But what does this have to do with the dead?

Everything.

On Samhain, the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest, and witches take this time to honor our ancestors and others who came before us. I mean, how cruddy would you feel if you realized after passing that a year later, no one even acknowledged your life any more? Can you just imagine how delighted your great-great grandparents must be knowing and being present at a ritual that honored them? I know that I personally would be thrilled! If you’ve lost a loved one in the past year, Samhain is the perfect time to celebrate their memory!

I know, I know… I need to pump the breaks a bit on my excitement over all this, because let’s face it, when I or anyone else of a witchy persuasion start talking about talking to spirits and raising the dead, the rest of the mundane world get’s this image in their head:

hands

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, right?

Not exactly.

If we’re lucky, our loved ones will return to communicate with us from beyond the veil,  offer advice, and/or protection and guidance for the upcoming year. A couple of years ago when we held the ritual in the back yard, my father later made his appearance in my daughter’s room, flickering the lights and all, sending all of the children running down stairs screaming (Which I’m quite certain amused him). What typically happens when we invite our loved ones for that longed-for visit, this is what happens:

spirit

Think Patrick Swayze, Whoopie Goldberg Ghost experience (the end of the movie) but with a lot less dramatization. It’s a visit, nothing more, nothing less, and very rarely ever as profound and played-up as what you see in the movies….. but sometimes it does happen.

Now, if the thought of summoning a loved one lost scares the hell out of you (and it does most) you can honor them just as nicely by placing a photo of them in a frame, placing it upon a side table and lighting a candle in front of it. Perhaps anointing the candle with some of grandma’s favorite perfume or leaving a dish of their favorite candy (my father loved peanut M&M’s) will also entice them to gently let you know they are still with you, be it by a visit in your dreams that evening, the flickering of the candle’s flame when there is no discernible draft or window open in the room or a soft, static electric feeling touch upon your arm.

If you’d like to really get into it, and have a bit of a more elaborate set up, here are some altar ideas I’ve found scouring the web (beginning with my own ancestry altar– it’s a bit bare at the moment because I decided to photograph it after I removed everything on it, cleaned it and then began setting it up again)…… but the most important thing is to make it personal. There really is no one right or wrong way to set up an altar dedicated to honoring your loved ones…my only advice would be if you do not want your altar to serve as an entry point for the spirits, then do not place it in the West end of your home, as the West is the gateway of the dead.

Have fun erecting the sacred space of your ancestors, and as you add each item, think fondly of them and of the memories your shared together while they were here on this plane with you…..

ancestry altar

ancestor

day of dead altar

??????????

pet altar

Have a Blessed Samhain )O(

Photo Credits:

Hands: “Come To Me” by Zatsepin Alex

Model: Elisanth: https://www.facebook.com/model.elisanth

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Ancestor Candle Holder: http://itsy-bits-and-pieces.blogspot.com/

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Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Altar: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/11/01/163549325/day-of-the-dead-decoded-a-joyful-celebration-of-life-and-food

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Dorothy….. We’re Not In Salem Anymore. The Witch Hunts of the 21st Century

educate

 

It is said that understanding and education are the two best actions against ignorance and fear…. but are they? What do you do when an angry, hateful and overzealous mob of members of a radical religious group come knocking at your door? They don’t want to talk. They don’t want to listen. They don’t want explanations or reason. They’ve come with their minds made up: They want blood. Do you turn the other cheek? Do you become a martyr? There are no clicking of ruby slippers and suddenly, there really is no place like home…..

Just think, it wasn’t until the 1690’s that the persecution of witches really became a problem in the United States, and it began with a couple of naive girls in then Puritan Salem, Mass., (Now Danvers) who played with some divination techniques, got freaked out and cried witchcraft to cover their own back sides…. that act alone cost 19 innocent people their lives, because these girls used the hysteria as an opportunity to point a finger and accuse the people they simply did not like, and it was down hill from there. You couldn’t win for losing, here. Either you confessed to being someone and something you weren’t, sparing your life but living the rest of it basically shunned from those who you once called friends, or you kept your pride and your reputation and had your neck stretched out…. with the exception of old Giles Corey who was crushed to death. They didn’t mean to kill him, they said, it was an accident. They only wanted to scare him into a confession, to which they were faced with a rather unexpected request from the old man just when they thought the weight of all the stones would surely break his spirit. The request? “More weight.”

It was only a few hundred years ago that Christianity attempted to condemn Catholicism… because both  were so concerned about their way being the “One true way” that it didn’t matter who died or lost everything, innocent or guilty as long as the prevailing party was right. The Protestants thought the Catholics tasteless and tactless, and the Catholics? Well, they just hated the Protestants for not being Catholic. Queen Elizabeth I of England was faced with this very dilemma on practically a daily basis. Aside from the fact that she was a woman successfully ruling a country, refused to take a husband and didn’t give the country an heir to the throne, she was Protestant. (The very nerve!) … and attempts were constantly made on her life on behalf of the Catholics. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, this type of thing continues. It’s horrid over in Africa, all you have to do is be accused and you are immediately condemned to death, often times burned alive right on the street or in your front yard, making it rather opportunistic for greedy family members to immediately inherit any property you own upon accusation.

But we in the U.S. and other religiously free countries have nothing to concern ourselves with, right?

Wrong.

Witch-hunting has NOT gone away. It is still prevalent here in the 21st Century, and not only is it prevalent, it’s gaining speed.

According to a recent article in the NY times, “In recent years, there has been a spate of attacks against people accused of witchcraft in Africa, the Pacific and Latin America, and even among immigrant communities in the United States and Western Europe.”

What’s the matter, the bible thumping upper management afraid the witches are gaining speed? In my sole opinion, the devil and the threats of eternity in hell were both created to instill enough fear to get others to conform….. I was a Catholic once, I get it. There is such a thing as “Catholic Guilt”, I know, I suffered from it for years, despite being raised by witches who hid under the guise of the very church they brought me up in….. as a kid, was it fair to me? Probably not. I was terribly confused and incredibly torn. Here, I had these gifts and this connection with nature and the energies around me, that were fostered and encouraged at home, yet condemned in the very place I was also taught to seek refuge. There were also a great many teachings in the Bible that I felt in my heart, even as a child, were wrong or unjust. After all, people cannot help what they are, right?

Allow me to drop another bomb on the “You’re wrong, we’re right” religious groups: Witches don’t acknowledge in or believe in a Satan, a hell or a proverbial devil. It’s a Christian ideology, not a universal one, and honestly, it makes that lot who protest and raise a ruckus and shout out over horns and loudspeakers the blah, blah, blah about brimstone and hellfire make you all look like nothing but bat shit nuts. That’s right, fifty shades of cray-cray.

hell no…… she didn’t!

Yes. Yes I did.

The same group of religious wacko’s found themselves the butt of everyone’s jokes and giggles last year when they annoyed Jason Voorhees on Essex Street in Salem to the extent that he put his murderous urge aside for a moment to protest how he felt about these folks:

fuck these guys

 

Why? Cause

aint nobody got time In fact, the more they preach, the louder they get, the more obnoxious they become about it…. well, the rest of us don’t get that warm fuzzy feeling of converting, repenting or being saved….

No, wait. We do want to be saved. When we’re handed those pamphlets and “invited” to the retreats and revivals, this is what we envision:

bates

 

They make Hotel California seem like a 5 star vacation spot.

But on a more serious note, United Nations refugee and human rights agencies have estimated the murders of supposed witches as numbering in the thousands each year, while beatings and banishments possibly running into the millions. The folks who gather this info also report that making it illegal to even believe in witchcraft is not a solution to the problem (gee, ya think?) but respect for customary beliefs , however, does not allow for persecution and murder.

Now, before the rest of the Americans here reading this article starts puffing up their chests and saying “Well, they’d never get away with it here in the states!” Think again. Let the hot air out and your chest deflate, because I’m about to spring some really disturbing news on you.

On March 30, 2013 (That’s right, only a year ago) Kyrja Withers, a Pagan author in Port Richie, Florida  reported that shots had been fired at her home, affectionately named, “The Glitter Dome”.

“Someone shot at me tonight – and though they missed, The Glitter Dome is a bit more …. holey … tonight. We’ve had intermittent problems with someone honking their horn outside our house at very late hours and screaming obscenities  Once, they threw a firecracker in our front house. Last night, they screamed “F’ing WITCH” – quite clearly. No mistake. Today, we received several telephone calls where the caller said something unintelligible and then hung up, as well as an inappropriate post on one of my Rupert videos. This is obviously personal. And now, they have crossed the line and have caused property damage. And yes – the first window they hit is where I sit. It is time to deal with this. And so we shall. We ask for your assistance in calling for swift justice.” – See more at: http://wildhunt.org/2013/03/shots-fired-at-florida-pagan-authors-home.html#sthash.CpSGDKVJ.dpuf

So as I write this, I think about how far we have come, how much blood has already been shed, and I shake my head… partially in disbelief that there are still so many intolorant and ignorant and partially in disgust at the actions of those who claim they are working for a “God” history and science have already pretty much debunked. Perhaps not the God itself, but what they claim to be truth…from a book that has been molested, torn apart, revised, omitted and rearranged to suit so many times that one is left to wonder….”What the hell??” :/

I also sit here thinking, and I’ll leave this as a final thought, that witches, for the most part, mind our own business and go about our lives without hindering, being self imposing or intrusive to those around us. Why can’t others do the same? Holy wars are everything but holy.

 

Resources, references and further information can be found at the following:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NEWSEVENTS/Pages/Witches21stCentury.aspx

http://respectwomen.co.in/the-witch-hunt-a-superstition-or-conspiracy/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/05/opinion/the-persecution-of-witches-21st-century-style.html?_r=3

 

 

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Living Witchy…. Or Is It Witchy Living? The Ethics Behind Making A Living as a Witch

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There is a lot of discussion (Doesn’t it always seem like my articles start this way? “There is a lot of discussion or debate”…. well, there is) about being a witch and charging for services. Sure, I could talk about how to cast this spell or how to cast that one, herbs or crystals and stones and their magickal affiliations etcetera, etcetera…. but there’s plenty-a-witch out there doing all that already, and I kind of fancy writing about the things that still leave questions in most everyone’s minds… not that I have all the answers– I don’t, and I’m certainly not the authority on the subjects I choose to write about. I’m just one little witch with a big opinion (or mouth–depending on who you ask 😛 )

Most today would agree that charging for spells or other magickal acts is down right unethical. And it might be. After all, just this past year, there was a shop in Salem, Mass. that will remain unnamed that found themselves in a particularly hot and bubbling cauldron for having charged a gentleman upwards of two thousand dollars to remove a curse.

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I bullshit you not.

Gypsies over the centuries (and even today) have charged for spell casting as a way of making a living. There was one very popular psychic witch in Miami back in the 80’s and early 90’s who made a fortune for her services and had one hell of a following. Heck, I have an aunt in Puerto Rico who makes her living this way, has been doing it for the better part of her life, and has folks four deep wrapped around the block to see her. I believe that in some societies, it is acceptable, and in others it is not only forbidden, but unethical and perhaps even unforgivable. In some states in the U.S. and even in some countries, it is illegal, and in some countries, punishable by death if caught.

So you might still be wondering, what’s the big deal? Why can’t we, don’t we or should we charge for casting spells for others? Well, firstly, even as early as two hundred years ago, women, particularly, were not permitted to work in many places or at all. Take Hulda, the witch, a real-life character here in my own Sleepy Hollow who is all but forgotten and rarely mentioned and one you will not find in legend. Hulda was a real person, an immigrant from Bohemia. She displayed suspicious witch-like behavior by living alone in a cabin in the woods and gathering herbs to make remedies. But she seemed like a perfectly nice lady: when folks in town fell ill, she would leave them baskets of her potions and pastes to try to help the healing. While the people were relatively grateful, they were still scared to death of her. But back then, that’s what witches did. There were few ways of earning a living if you hadn’t been born to a skilled trade, and that was one way for the witch to live; by concocting potions and notions and casting spells on behalf of another (in secret, of course). When folks caught wind of the practices of the slaves, who do you think they would solicit to help them with their problems? Since slaves were obviously not getting paid for their day to day services, they were hard-pressed to decline an offer of money for their assistance when the opportunity arose.

But today is a vastly different world than our fore bearers knew. Witches have stepped out of the proverbial broom closet. We (in the States and a few other places at least) no longer have the prospect of death looming over our heads should our practices be discovered. We have classified ads, Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, eBay, Etsy and other outlets to advertise such services. Message boards, chat rooms and social media to network and gather and learn from one another. We have blogs too 😉

Just this past weekend, my future brother-n-law, who fell in love with my Ford SUV asked if I could cast a spell to make his wife (Who is a die-hard Chevy girl) agree to the purchase of it. I refused. He offered to pay. Again, I refused. Why? Because while I’m not a huge believer in the way Karma works and while I also do not subscribe specifically to a Three-Fold Law, I also don’t subscribe to forcing another person’s hand through the use of magick, in making a decision they otherwise wouldn’t have made as a means to a profitable end. Nuh-uh. I don’t want that juju at my door step. The Universe will be like a tax bill collector with bill for twenty-grand in its hand, payable IN FULL right then and there, when it comes time to collect–and it will. My motto is: Don’t let your magick write checks your ass can’t cash. I’d really love to sell the truck, but not that bad!

Going back to the question, “What’s the big deal?”

The big deal is this: Over the years (and because of the great many media and social outlets we have gained during this time) there have been an increasingly alarming number of scam spell casters, fake witches and fake psychics that have become a great source of worry and frustration to spell seekers, genuine witches and legit psychics alike. I had a grandmother who enjoyed reading those tabloid papers and I couldn’t decide what I found more amusing when I was bored enough to pick one up and thumb through it: The alien baby discovered in Nebraska birthed by the Virgin Mary reincarnated or the psychic and spell-casting ads in the back pages of the classifieds.

shockedImage

 

meh…YIKES!

“I will return your lost love to you!” Boasts one ad. In another, “Let me help you gain riches with this old family spell!” Now, while the cost of these “Services” sound all well and good at the tune of $50 each, do the math. Those magazines have a circulation of HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS. That $200 ad Billy Bob placed while chugging a beer and watching Nascar is earning him $25,000 that month even if only 500 out of those hundreds of thousands of readers and subscribers bite.

 

y u no

He takes your money (Payable only by money order, of course) and kicks back, collects and collects and watches Wheel of Fortune —and the title of that show is about the only magical or psychic thing you will ever see. You also have others charging people thousands of dollars to break curses. In some cases, like the experience my mother-in-law had, you bring them the money, they tell you to come back the next day to pick up a mojo bag or some other thing and when you return the only thing left of their establishment is the tumble weed merrily bouncing across the front lawn on the feeling of “Sucker” you’re now stuck with. Ebay has, in the past year or two, banned listings that sell spells. A lot of witches in the community were put off by this, but in retrospect, I really can’t disagree with the company’s decision. Some of the listings were just as bad as the tabloid ads, and there was virtually no way to prove that the buyer received what they paid for. Some buyers did in fact receive, and decided to file a claim, stiffing the seller, and getting their money back. THIS is why witches today have a beef with those who charge for spell casting services. That kind of nonsense right there makes the rest of us look like frauds too. Not only that, but it’s a slap in the face to those of us who take our Craft very seriously. The vast majority of practitioners seek to help, not harm, and gratitude from the receiver is usually payment enough.

So how does the witch– and I’m referring to the “Career Witch” make a living simply by being who he or she is? How does one step away from their “Muggle” (I adore that word!) life and dive broomstick first into their magickal one, full time? Many witches make soaps and sundries, jewelry, ritual clothing and other adornments as well as magickal incense and potions that they sell to customers and New Age and witch shops. Many also make candles, give tarot readings, conduct workshops and seminars and even write and publish books. Some study and then practice–for a living– alternative medicine and Eastern methods of healing. Still there are others who allow their spirituality to completely take over and inspire and they go on to create beautiful works of art in which they sell.

There are still some witches who don’t do any of this, instead they keep their day-to-day lives, perhaps even start a business and name it after something they resonate with spiritually. For example, I know a gent who is a witch and has a car detailing business named Wizard Detailing. I know another woman who teaches yoga and calls her business In Balance Studios, and still another woman who owns a beauty salon that uses all natural products and includes henna as an option for hair coloring and calls her shop, The Alternative Salon. 

Practitioners of the Craft today have found very creative ways to derive an income from simply being who they are and doing what they love to do without having to charge for magickal services. Many believe, as I do, that if you have the ability to harness and manipulate the energies around you, which is given freely of the universe (Some will argue with this) then it is only right to give it to another in turn, freely. Real witches understand this.

So stay away from those tabloid ads, no matter how desperate or dire your situation may seem.They’re bad. Very, very bad.  If you are a new or inexperienced witch, or perhaps not a witch at all, you have a plethora or resources right here on line at your fingertips to get some help. Nearly everyone is on Facebook these days. There are groups you can join. There are witch shops all over the net who also have brick and mortar locations that can assist you in getting the supplies you need to cast a spell for yourself or at the very least offer sage advice.

Be wary. We all once had to worry about witch hunters. Now, we must worry about con artists.

 

 

 

 

 

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Magickal Self Defense: The Difference Between Ethics and Being a Door Mat

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There is quite a big debate about using magick in retaliation or self defense in the witch community, verses turning the other cheek and allowing “Karma” to do her thing. I personally have had the scolding finger shook at me by other witches who practice a… let’s call it, “Passive-aggressive” approach to the way they do things, (ie., the pot calling the kettle black or if you will, talking from both sides of their mouths).

What I mean by this, specifically, is that they will be the first ones to throw a law in my face that I do not follow (You can read my article from January, Shove Your Three-Fold Somewhere Else if you’re looking for an honest rant and controversy; It’s right there in black and white, so I will not rehash it here… and I will also acknowledge (just as I did in that article) that not ALL are this way, but sadly, the vast majority have continuously proven me wrong…. at least from the Western world) but they are also the first ones to lash back when they read something they do not like (i.e., the truth about how some of their members are portraying their entire religion).

BUT….

They have the right to do that, yes? They have the right to defend themselves, whether verbally or magickally if they feel they’ve been attacked… and that was just what one blogger did…. and I certainly didn’t take any offense because she had the same right as I do. So let me ask you, what is the difference between that which was done, in defense, from magical self defense when you feel threatened or attacked and say, getting that extra insurance on your car in case of collision? Or better yet, filing suit against a store when you’ve slipped and fell on their wet floor when there was no sign saying such?

Go ahead… when it pops into your head, just shout it right out…

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That’s right… absolutely NOTHING! 

I’m not trying to ruffle any more feathers here, though I am almost certain I will anyway, freedom of speech is, after all, the nature of the beast when it comes to writing. What I am actually attempting to accomplish here, is to sort out some of the confusion when it comes to this subject matter. It is, of course, my take on it, but I’m certainly not alone when I say you absolutely have a right to defend yourself, and to protect yourself and those you love with magick if the need should call. You also have a good leg to stand on where “Karma” is concerned, should you decide to help give her a bit of a nudge for a wrong doing, because let’s face it, she doesn’t always act quickly. Most of us would rather see retribution happen quickly, and leaving things up to Karma alone doesn’t always work that way. But we also don’t always get to watch her in action, either. Sometimes, Karma doesn’t come around at all, leaving the person who was wronged feeling like it’s all a crock of…. well, you get the picture.

Am I telling folks to run out and gather up a group of “Voodoo dolls” and start checking names off their list? No. It would be nice though, wouldn’t it? Besides, I’m a firm believer that anger and bitterness, when held onto, is like cancer. It eats away at your spirit slowly until their is nothing left.

Here’s my take on the Rede, ‘Do what you will, an it harm none’ which I believe to be an ethic that discusses personal intention.  In other words, it’s not acceptable to intentionally hurt someone, and I’ll go long with that, but conflict does occur. Bad people do exist. Bad situations happen, and often times, to very good people, unfortunately. 

For times when harm comes your way I do believe that defensive magic is appropriate. In most cases this should never intentionally hurt anyone…. but notice I said most. 

I have an ex who is probably the epitome of annoying. When we split, he wouldn’t go away. In fact, he thought he’d play the charming card. You know, “Mr. Helpful” and sweet after I sent him packing (and this was a guy who was never helpful or sweet). You would THINK after five years of living with me that he’d have caught on somewhere along the line that I didn’t just fall off a turnip truck. An entire half of my family is either in the military or law enforcement. The ability to sniff out BS runs through my blood, and I’m good at it (I totally missed my calling, but whatever. Being the family Bruja has its perks too ;)). But because I didn’t trust him, I cast a binding spell on him using the shoe lace off one of the pair of boots he’d conveniently forgotten and left behind.

Cue music,  music “You must not know ’bout me, you must not know ’bout me” music

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I bound him from the ability to do any harm to me, to anyone I loved or cared for and even though I really had to think about this one, from doing harm to himself. The next day, I was served with court papers.

Naturally, the binding hadn’t worked yet because the papers were drafted even before I performed the spell. But the utter garbage and lies they contained was one of those instances where I see all too often a person who wields the power use it in the wrong way… don’t get me wrong. If I sat here and told you I didn’t think about doing it too, I’d be a liar. In fact, I sat and thought about it for a whole week before I decided the best course of action for someone like him. I pulled the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” spell on him. Anything, and I do mean ANYTHING he sent my way, anything he did to try and throw me under a bus, undermine me, proverbially cut my throat, any negative thought he had toward me would bounce off and head right back at him ten times. Simply, what I did was side-step the responsibility that comes with cursing another. It’s not a curse, a jinx or a hex if all you are doing is protecting yourself and wielding back what was sent your way in the first place. A person doesn’t have to physically do something to cause you harm. Thoughts are a powerful force too. Whether he realized it or not, the thoughts he had about me were being sent out to manifest, and I wasn’t taking any chances of allowing that to happen by being lax, turning the other cheek and letting Karma handle him. Chances are, if I  didn’t want to deal with him, she wouldn’t want to either. To make a long story short, within months he’d lost his job, had utility service cancellations attached to his front door and the house in early foreclosure. Ironic since his last words to me were “You won’t get by without me”…. and to his dismay, I did. Not only that, but the final order handed down from the court did not go in his favor either. Quite the opposite (for good measure, I’d also worked an old family court spell with the petition I received while I was at it… it’s called crossing your “t’s” and dotting your “i’s”.)

What is the point of being a magickal being if you are too afraid to use your own power and energy or the power and energy around you? Sure, you could live a life of servitude, collecting Karma points along the way by performing nothing but house blessings and healing, but even a tea pot that has been steaming and whistling for too long will evaporate and run dry.

Speaking of crossing “t”s and dotting “i’s’s”, I also have several triggers set up in and around my home. If something nasty is coming my way, these little alarms will tell me. Here are a few easy tricks and tips that you can set up yourself:

Place a plant (I use Rosemary) on your front porch or household plants by the front door and in every room of the house at or near an entry point, like a door, window or mirror. If there is a spiritual or psychic attack of any kind that makes its way in, the plant will take the hit first: by literally just dying or drying out (presuming you have been watering and caring for it in the first place).

Magickally connect yourself to your familiar(s). I have a dog and two cats. If there is something coming, has already arrived or is on its way, I know it. I have an Old English Mastiff. Look up the breed. They’re known as gentle giants, who are incredibly inactive, but fiercely protective and pass their time away by sleeping.

I mean, c’mon… here’s what he does all day…

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They also aren’t vocal, therefor, they rarely bark. Mine will howl when something is present (he also does this each time I perform a ritual bath). The cats will stand guard or attempt to protect me by smothering me to death in my sleep– or while awake– (why my head is the most coveted space to them of all the places in the house they could go is beyond me.) But they will also stand guard at the door of the room I am present in.

 

My vehicle is charmed. Both of them. I have an SUV with a disabled alarm. When something comes, the alarm will still sound. (I was shocked when it actually worked, I won’t lie, I had my doubts). The lights on my black car will randomly just begin flashing.

There are Gargoyle statues at the entrance of my back garden, which is where I meditate, pray, perform rituals and host Sabbats. Needless to say, the land has been made sacred and the Gargoyles, known for their fierce protection and servitude of the home and its occupants, have been placed upon the grave dirt of the 90 year old grave of one of my aunts, another witch. Both the gargoyles and the spirit have been charged with one task: to protect the home and all within it by not allowing anyone or anything with ill intent to enter. (And for the record… Spirit trapping (another blog post for another time) isn’t trapping when the spirit has agreed….. more good juju coming my way for that. 😉

One of my children, who is a sensitive, refused to enter the garden  (I hadn’t told him what I’d done) because of the “Lady in the black dress” who stood by the wall, smiling at him. Once I explained, he was OK with it…. the sight of her still freaks him out a bit, but all spirit does, since he is only just learning how to develop his gift and doesn’t particularly trust something that makes all the hair on his body stand on end just by walking into a room… and I can’t really say I blame the kid for that. But a few of the more nosy neighbors who have seen her weren’t so “OK” with it. I suppose it’ll teach them a thing or two about trespassing.

I have also driven a rusty railroad spike into each of the four corners of my property, creating a grid. Ever wonder why those old cemeteries have iron gates around them? It isn’t for keeping the living OUT as much as it is for keeping the dead IN. Iron and spirit do not mix, and it is a powerful deterrent for anything looking to cause trouble.

My point is, before I went on my tangent, is that setting up the proper reinforcements before you find yourself the victim of someone else’s ill intentions or pubescent rage is not something you should ever fear Karmic retribution from. Nor should you fear it if you are protecting yourself. My ex simply received back what he sent my way in the first place. If you’re simply walking around town hexing folks for the joy of it, you’re going to have a problem. If you hex your lover’s wife so that she takes ill and dies, leaving him all for you… you are most definitely going to have a problem. You’re likely to have a problem anyway if she finds out about you. It doesn’t really come down to Karmic sense as much as it does ethical sense. One of the few things I agree with in the Bible is that Golden Rule of theirs: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Keep your nose clean. Don’t go looking for trouble, or to cause it needlessly, because trouble, where magick is concerned will have no problem finding you to collect.

Another thing I do is pay very close attention to signs. If I am so angry that the thought of cursing another enters my mind, (it’s a fight) but I take a few days out to calm down and really think it through. I’m grateful that I haven’t come into to many situations where I’ve felt the need for doing this, but I stand by saying that there are rare instances when it is appropriate. Sometimes, someone needs to be taught a lesson. But before I take it upon myself to do anything like this, I meditate long and hard over it, and I ask the Gods if it is appropriate. Signs for me usually come through nature. 3 black crows will appear in a row at my window. A Red-tailed hawk will rest on my out door altar, leaving its fresh kill behind. A coyote will pay a visit, make sure it’s made eye contact with me and then go about its business. Four or five young bucks will cross my path, each acknowledging my presence before moving on.

The use of magick alone is a big responsibility, particularly in that witches for the most part believe and accept that we ourselves are responsible for our own actions. We didn’t do it because someone else made us do it. We didn’t turn our back on our gay brother because there was a book telling us that, that is what we are supposed to do because the other person is wrong in their decisions. We make up our own minds. We are also prepared to accept the consequences if any, of all of our actions. The act of healing, even through a modality such as Reiki, requires an exchange for the energy and healing given and performed. It is no different with magick. The exchange with healing services is more often than not monetary, but there is still an exchange nonetheless. It’s all about balance. When we allow other people to harm us, we become imbalanced. We are left with feelings of hurt, anger, sorrow, bitterness and even victimization. You can’t tell me that sticking a few push pins into that doll you fashioned of the offender doesn’t make you feel damned good. It’s therapeutic at the very least. When we take in other people’s garbage, it depletes us. And that goes for everyone, not just witches or sensitives. It robs us of the beautiful, magickal lives we are meant to live.

I know a woman who was in an abusive marriage. One day, she went to the little botanica down the street from her house and bought the items she would need to perform a spell to separate herself from this marriage and from the abuser. A month after she performed the spell, her husband was dead. He’d gone for a check up at the doctor’s after he’d developed a cough, discovered he’d had advanced emphysema and was dead 2 weeks later. Although she hadn’t cursed him specifically, by performing the spell she did she asked for this problem of hers to be removed from her life, she called for protection,  and the Universe did it in a way it saw fit.

If you are ever so angry at another that you want to condemn them to a curse, take a few days to really think it through and calm down a bit. No one thinks clearly when they are enraged. But whatever you do, do not, under any circumstances allow another to tell you are wrong in wanting to do so. It’s the same as them telling you that you are wrong for feeling hurt. Your feelings are yours, and at the end of the day, it is you who reaps the benefits or faces the consequences of your actions, not them. Shaking a finger at you and telling you to “Harm none” is the Pagan equivalent to the Christian hell fire and brimstone for not being a Christian, for having pre-marital sex, for admiring the beauty (coveting) of your neighbor’s wife, etc., etc…. that gives you something to think about, doesn’t it? Protect yourself and those you love as you see fit. Sometimes, sending something nasty to the offender is the only way of protecting yourself or others from that person. Causing harm of any kind may be unacceptable for some, but being a door mat for continued hurt and abuse is unacceptable for many others, and more importantly, to your own spirit….. cast wisely.

 

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Gods and Goddesses: Be Careful Who You Summon

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There is no doubt that each of us who have connected or resonated with a Deity have developed a personal relationship with them. They understand us…we understand them.

…….But do we? Really?

We know what we have read and researched and Googled. We look up beautiful pictures of our beloved patron God or Goddess and we draw them on notebook paper, or perhaps ink our bodies in their likeness as a display of unwavering devotion…. devotion, by the way, can really be a beautiful thing.

But how well do we really know the Divine? Just how close can we, mere humans (even if we are witches) get to them?

I’ve seen a lot of craziness over the web, and I’m sure you have too. That message board where one member questions another about something seemingly trivial, the other member takes offense and fires back, some more rounds are fired off between the two (and by now perhaps several more have needlessly gotten themselves involved {it is after all, the 21st century, we have all kinds of rights, including the right to stick our noses in an argument it never belonged in, in the first place} ) and then the offended party (or the offender, or someone else who got their knickers in a twist through the course of all this) lashes back with something no one expects to see come from the debate, something that makes half the onlookers shake their heads and think, “Here we go again..” and the other half hold their breath, but suddenly, it’s the one statement made by that one person that makes everyone else involved (or watching) realize that, that individual may very well be a few fries short of a Happy Meal…..

The ultimate threat is made, and they who have offended had better watch out because the witch you just pissed off is a direct descendant of the God/Goddess such-and-such, and tonight, when they log off their computer, they’re going to light a candle, do a rain dance, maybe mimic a pit mosh and have their Divine Ancestor who they have traced through blood (cough, cough) come down and bibbity-boppity boo your rear end.

…………………………………………..  meh…………………………………………………….giggles……………………….

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Sorry….. couldn’t help myself. That subject is a whole other blog post but if you’d like a good giggle and further reading about what else could possibly annoy a witch (or get them to point and laugh at you)… read here (I love her stuff!) … if you haven’t seen these types of arguments, give it time. They’re all over social media and message boards.

**Giggles a little more**… Clicking heels together and moving forward….

Here’s the truth, and who better for it to come from than a witch who has already managed to irk an entire community of like-minded people (and who has no intention of stopping any time soon) by saying the things most just shake their heads and walk away at. The truth is, we are nothing to them. Even with being the magical and/or spiritually minded creatures we are, we are actually but a speck of sand on a vast beach to the Divine. They owe us nothing. So why is it that there are still so many witches who feel that they are entitled to call upon a Deity whenever it behooves them to get into a peeing match with someone online, who they’ll likely never, ever meet in person….. because their ego was hurt, and expect the God or Goddess to do their bidding as if they were nothing more than the witches lap dog? Why do so many witches perform an internet search of Celtic Gods and Goddesses, Egyptian Ones, Norse Ones, etc., etc… looking for the one THEY resonate with the most (or just pick one because he looks bad-ass and cool) at the moment for whatever soap opera may be playing out n their lives at the time? C’mon, people! Get with the program! This is a mistake I see so many new witches make (also affectionately called “Baby witches” by many)…. they get on the search engines, read a Wikipedia article and BAM! They have their patron God. Then they hit the dollar store, get a couple of poorly made candles, light them and then beg that God for their assistance in hitting the lotto. It’s going to take a bit more than a salt dough sculpture that’s been saged and dubbed blessed and thrown on a makeshift altar to get their attention. It’s gonna take a bit more than a couple of $1 candles too. They don’t have to do SQUAT if they don’t feel like it. In fact, it’s the other way around. We should be the ones who honor and thank them each day for the air we breathe, for the fact that we have awoken to another day, for the blessings, both small and large they have bestowed upon us.

It’s like walking off the street into Trump Tower and straight to Donald’s office, throwing him a cheeseburger from the dollar menu of McDonald’s and then saying, “Hey, I’ll sweeten the deal with some french fries if you give me a hundred grand.” You’re gonna get the same reaction from him that you’ll get from the Gods:

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(And by no means am I calling Donald Trump a God, but let’s face it, the man has more money than any of the rest of us have a dream of ever seeing… a cheeseburger and fries from a fast food joint is hardly going to impress him.) It’s the same with devotion to beings that are at a much higher spiritual level than you are. I wrote a blog back in November titled: Building a Better Relationship with the Gods. It’s a good place to start when trying to understand how they tick. But the very best way to learn about a Deity you have chosen to pay homage to is to become the student of that Deity. Go beyond a Google search. Go beyond a passage in a Pagan publication written about them. Get your hands on everything you can about this being. Understand every single aspect of them, not just the ones that appeal to you. That isn’t how it works. If you noticed at the top of this article there is a beautiful portrayal of the Goddess Kali. Most who are at the very least familiar with her know her as the Goddess of time,change and destruction. “She Who Conquers Over All”, all-auspicious, the remover of darkness, the “Excellent One Beyond Time”, the bearer of the Skulls of Impure thought the reliever of difficulties, loving, forgiveness, supporter of the Universe. However, upon closer study, you will also find that she is also associated with empowerment, and is sometimes presented as dark or violent, being the fierce aspect of the Goddess Durga, the name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death: Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kāla— the eternal time — the name of Kālī, his consort, also means “Time” or “Death” (as in “time has come”). Her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation of evil forces still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally “redeemer of the universe”). Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess. Kālī is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing. Shiva lies in the path of Kali, whose foot on Shiva subdues her anger….. and that should speak volumes to the one who chooses to make this particular Goddess their patron. It’s a cautionary tale, at best. 

I’ve known a hand full of witches who made the mistake of doing a quick look-up on a Deity, making an offering of something they thought would suffice, and pleading with the One,  during a course of situations transpiring within their lives where time was of the essence. To say they weren’t particularly pleased with the outcome of it all would be an understatement. It ties right in to that whole “Be careful what you wish for” thing…. but when you are wishing and worst yet, playing with Gods like you’d play a game a chess, without regard, careful study, regular devotion and caution, instead of getting what you wished for, you may be getting your comeuppance instead, for what they will view as nothing more than ignorance and disrespect…. which they have little patience for and they will not hesitate to humble you for it.

There is certainly something to pay attention to with the statement of “Feeling the wrath of the Gods”……….

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Beltane: Eroticism and Sacred Sexuality….. We All Just Get Naked….

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**Side note: I realize this article comes after Beltane. Not only was I busy celebrating it (see photos below) but I’d been really wanting to touch on this subject for some time now, while handling it with care, so, I took my sweet time in writing it 😉 ***

Well, we used to…. ok, maybe not us, as in modern day Pagans… okay, okay…some of us still do.

Most folks who are new to Paganism or who have been raised outside of Paganism seem to think that any Pagan gathering is inclusive of wild orgies in the forest (Hey, fun times!!), and drunken, drugged-out sex parties……. I’m not confirming or denying but I’ll get back to this in a moment.

Once, an old boyfriend of mine (who was Agnostic) extended the invitation to a Litha gathering at my home to a business associate of his. The business associate was a practicing Catholic (which makes no never-mind to me) but clearly he had a preconceived notion of who Pagans are and what we do at our get togethers, when he showed up with the largest box of condoms I’d ever seen, a case full of liquor, and a smile from ear to ear….

I can’t be certain, but I just KNOW I had THIS look on my face:

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One of the lesser-known celebrations, which are part of the earth-based spirituality cycle of holy days, is Beltane and is the last of the three spring fertility festivals, the others being Imbolc and Ostara. Beltane traditionally marked the arrival of summer in ancient times, and  like Samhain, is a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds (the world of the living and the world of the other) are at their thinnest. No time is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and magic is it’s strongest. 

When the veils are this thin it is an extremely magical time; particularly at Beltane where a fairy sighting is more likely than at any other time of the year. It is a festival of rapturous gaiety as it joyfully heralds the arrival of summer in her full garb. Beltane, however, is still a precarious time, the crops are still very young and tender, susceptible to frost and blight. The ancients believed the Wheel {Wheel of the year} would not turn without human intervention. People did everything in their power to encourage the growth of the Sun and His light, for the Earth will not produce without the warm love of the strong Sun. Fires, celebration and rituals were (and still are) an important part of the Beltane festivities, as to insure that the warmth of the Sun’s light would promote the fecundity of the earth…… and so is sex.

 

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Sex, among Pagans during this time is a Beltane tradition referred to as the Great Rite, which, along with Hindu tantra, is the most powerful example of sacred sexual practice known today. It isn’t sex for the sake of having sex. Sex at Beltane is an act of devotion. There is no question that an intense sexual experience, whether or not there’s love present, can actually cause changes in your biochemistry, igniting cells, chakras and your energy field as a whole and, as a result, often triggering significant transformation in your life. Sacred sex, however, usually activates profound transformation not only for you personally, but properly directed it also can have the same intense effect on the world around you….. which is the entire motivation behind the Great Rite. Because crops are still so young, tender and vulnerable, the act of sacred sex encourages that growth, by means of that act being devotional in nature, and because the Great rite has everything to do with fertility…. get it now?

So I wonder….. what’s the hang-up among some Pagans have about stripping down and getting it on?

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Well, there’s the whole STD thing, and unplanned pregnancy thing, and the feminist movement; sure, we should honor our bodies as temples because they are. And in honoring it we certainly aren’t going to just let anyone have their way with it. I get it, and if it’s any consolation, I feel the same. But I’ve come across some pretty uptight Pagans in my life when it comes to this subject. I suppose what it comes down to at the end of the day is individual comfort levels….. and the fact that not all Pagans are ritual Pagans. It’s the truth, not all Pagans are practicing, they simply have their set beliefs and live by them accordingly without ever having partaken in any type of ritual….not every Pagan is a witch, and that’s cool too. I mean, under normal circumstances, you couldn’t get me to strip down to my birthday suit in front of a group of folks I know or hardly know, even if they are all naked too…. but then again, after a few shots of Blackhaus, I’ve been known to be talked into crazier things 😉 ….. I’m finding out that this is the Westerner in me coming out. A friend of mine who is from France told me the beaches in France are primarily nude or topless, and they can pick out a Westerner from a mile away at these venues because the vacationing Westerners are the only one in the sand gawking. Makes sense, I mean, here in the states you get arrested for relieving yourself out doors because it’s considered “Indecent exposure”….. honestly, sometimes I think only in America can you be punished for being human (and no, I don’t really believe this… I don’t completely live under a rock, I’m well aware there are places much worse)….. it’s indecent to be the way you came into this world at any other time but arrival….. and they won’t let you go out that way either. The most interesting wake I’ve ever attended was that of a nudist. His express wishes were to be waked naked. the funeral home adamantly refused, and so the family settled for a Hawaiian print top and khaki shorts…. I sometimes suspect that  it’s society that’s the problem: Magazines with beautiful, incredibly thin women, “Fashion experts” that dictate what is and is not attractive, Law makers (Primarily Christian followers) who hand down the order of what is and is not acceptable behavior (**Cough, cough… we won’t mention all those political sex scandals they find themselves in though, cough, cough**).

……. a rant I’d rather leave for political discussions… clicking heels together and moving on….

Typical Beltane celebrations today include bonfire gatherings on every hill, boughs hung over doorways as a sign to maidens living within that a certain young man is interested, the rather obvious symbolism of dancing around and decorating a Maypole and, of course, rowdy parties which conclude with plenty of sex and giggling in the bushes—in the theory that all that lusty energy will help motivate the Earth to bloom and grow abundantly…. yes, yes, some of those gatherings do still exist…..

Now that we all have the image of a scene straight out of  Shakespeare’s A Mid-Summer Night’s dream in our heads, (those naughty, naughty nymphs 😉 ) or maybe even Hugh Heffner’s reality, allow me to move on to a subject that seems a bit “touchy” (puns, puns!) where Beltane is concerned:

One of the most common and most enduring myths surrounding Pagan women is the idea that we are all nymphomaniacs. (easy, boys… I’m about to shatter some hopes here)…. we’re not. Pagans, in general however, tend to be more open minded about sex than anyone else.  We view sex as a normal and natural part of the human existence and human experience, and not as a dirty or immoral act, although we are often accused as such by more traditional faiths, mainly because sex to us in uninhibited and not limited to an act solely between a married couple.  But for Pagans, sex isn’t taken lightly either. Traditional Wicca for example, views sex as the sacred union between the Goddess and God. In this case, sex is held to be very sacred, creating a strong spiritual bond. When sex is a sacred act, it becomes even more meaningful. To waste a sacred ritual for manipulation or any other reason, is to harm yourself greatly, which is one of the reasons I was so very annoyed with Mr. Condoms and cocktails. Another reason my nerves were plucked (and this is part of what I said I’d get back to earlier in this article) is that Pagans are often accused of a wide variety of sexual perversions, the most common being that orgies are held regularly at our ceremonies and gatherings. This is not at all true. Yes, we consider sex to be a natural moral act (even if it is between two individuals of the same sex—- but that’s another cauldron stirring for another time   {for the record, I strongly support gay rights} ) we also view it as a bond of love. While casual sex (when agreed to and understood as such by both individuals involved) is not considered immoral by most Pagans, it’s certainly not considered to be appropriate for a religious or spiritual ceremony. As I said before, those kinds of groups do still exist, but you’d be hard pressed to either find them or get an invitation to one…. they’re pretty secretive, incredibly private and above all discreet and participated by people who are comfortable with each other. Suffice to say, those people know full well in advance what they signed up for and are completely fine with it…again, I guess this all goes back to individual preference and comfort levels.

Additionally, not all Pagans are gay or bisexual. I have a friend whose wife despises Pagan men (him being the exception, of course) because the last man she’d had any kind of relationship was Pagan and had an affair on her with another man…. that she walked in on. As unfortunate and traumatic as this was for her I am certain, it is most definitely not the case with all of us…. which may or may not make you wonder why there are so many gay or bisexual men and women among Pagans as opposed to any other religious or spiritual group…. the answer to this is easy…. can you guess, can you guess???

Because we are more accepting of people as individuals than most any other faith. We also do not tell anyone they are going to hell or are damned to torment for eternity in purgatory.  We aren’t told we aren’t “True Pagans” (a statement I have come to despise) because of our sexual preference. With the exception of some rules among a certain group of bunnies Pagans/Witches who will not initiate someone who is gay into their path (not naming any names here, but if you know which group I am referring to, no names are needed ;)) most Pagans and Witches (because not all Pagans are witches) could give a rat’s arse who you lay with at night (or afternoon, or morning, or whenever the mood strikes).

Lastly, not all Pagans have open relationships. I have another friend who prefers the company of married women. I brought him to a Pagan festival with me just to get him out of the house and hopefully introduce him to a single woman. He said to me, “You know I prefer them married.” I responded with, “Well, then I wouldn’t attempt it with this lot. Pagan men often carry very large knives, and the head on your shoulders won’t be the only head you lose”. I will say here that many of the Pagans I know (and I know a lot of Pagans) are in long-term, committed relationships with each other. To this I will add that I have personally never dated a Pagan man who was okay with sharing me.

Pagans and sex combined is a delicate subject, no less. But in terms of Beltane, regardless of your sexuality and level of comfort, there are a plethora of ways to celebrate it. I would encourage anyone unfamiliar with Beltane, but curious enough to have read this or research it, to attend a public Beltane festival, such as the Long Island Beltane Festival I attended last weekend. I’d introduced two people that day to the way we Pagans celebrate, and they had the time of their lives. I have every confidence you will too. Enjoy the photos!

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Photo Credit: “Wild Embrace” by Hak Ukamizaki

Male Model: Alex Morrell / Female Model: Emily Thomas
Make-up Artist: Yoiwan Kong
Hair Stylist: Francesca Masters                                                                                                                                              
Photographer & Stylist & Editing: Hak Ukamizaki

Photography Assistant: Ivan Mastershttp://hakukamizaki.deviantart.com/art/Wild-Embrace-272858676

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The Witch Hunt Among Witches: Eclectic Witches & Cultural Appropriation

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This is a touchy subject… not that I’m afraid to talk about it, clearly, if you have been reading my articles, you’ll already know that I have no bones about speaking my mind or hurting a few feelings in doing so. But let me begin this by saying that Cultural Appropriation is different things to different people, and more often than not, it’s solitary Wiccans (usually non-initiate) and non- Wiccan/Witch “Spiritually minded” Pagans, just treading their own paths, who are accused of this more than anyone else. When someone takes a practice (or several)  from one culture and applies it to their own, they may see it as paying homage to that culture or practice and thereby incorporating it into their own spiritual journey, bringing them closer to the Divine (however they may view the Divine to be) on a more personal level. The problem with this however, herein lies with the culture in which the individual is borrowing from. I am not one to begrudge anyone of the spiritual choices they make, but I do see how some of these cultures have issue with this practice. 

You would be surprised at how ugly this debate becomes, especially when it is between what we have come to know as Eclectic Witchcraft and say, Vodouists, who would prefer one not engaging in their practices at all unless you are committed solely to it… and these folks have a legitimate gripe, as do the Native Americans, which is where I believe this whole war on Cultural Appropriation really starts. 

When you look at things from a religious standpoint, it is only natural that a Native American tribe would be troubled by and have some serious concerns about the adoption of Native American practices by someone who is not Native American, (the same with Vodouists) and has never truly had or lived the Native American experience. It makes sense. The majority base practices off of what they think it is and are basing their adopted practice off some imaginary or wishful interpretation of what being Native American really means. The truth is, the lack of social, historical and practical experience of this culture makes it impossible for anyone who is not actually from it to accurately understand what it’s like to be a part of the group and group’s practices they are attempting to emulate. Having a feather in your hair makes you no more a Chief than having a vintage badge you scored on ebay makes you a police officer. The most common one I see today is Shamanism, which used to frost my grandfather (who was Native American) like you wouldn’t believe. Today, you take some classes, go though and achieve different levels, maybe attend a few retreats and you are dubbed a Shaman, complete with a pretty certificate stating so. In tribes, it was similar to some extent, each tribe having their own way of determining whether or not one was suited (strong enough) for the job. But I assure you, there were no sterile facilities or classroom environments involved in this process. It often included days of fasting, a night of plant-induced hallucinating and if  you survived the evening fighting off demons and other monsters that come to you, bringing messages that you had to determine were trick or truth, you then would have to hike far into the forest or desert with escorts and perform a series of other, miracle-worthy feats before they even considered you to be worthy of being a healer. (Again, different tribes had different ways of determining this). 

Even if you were to take a religion such as Hindu, (for the sake of example) where each piercing and each Mendhi design has a significant meaning, a time-honored tradition among a group of people with practices and beliefs that have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years was suddenly taken by Western cultures and turned into something completely insignificant and then dubbed “Spiritual” can actually be insulting to the originating group. I imagine something as beautiful and traditional as this:

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gets taken, melded, mashed and incorporated in with several other belief systems, looks like this in their eyes by the time it’s all said and done:

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Um…. yeaahhhh…. Image

 

So how does this affect the Eclectic Witch? It affects them in a LOT of ways. Particularly, Eclectics have been under fire by just about every Pagan and non-Pagan Pantheon that’s out there primarily because they don’t fit into any specific definitive category. A Christian is a Christian, a Wiccan is a Wiccan, and Celt is a Celt a Druid is a Druid, so on and so forth. The Eclectic takes a bit from each (Christianity aside for a moment because that isn’t always the case here) and then forms his or her own tradition of beliefs and practices, and because this system can’t be defined as something else, it can be defined as eclectic….. which seems to have become a dirty word in the Pagan and Witch community, probably because of some of the points I made above and the perception of there being a lack of commitment to any one path, but I also think a bit of it has to do with the fact that we are human and because we are human, we need to place everything into nice, neat compartmentalized boxes with labels attached to them. If we cannot define it for sure, then it isn’t authentic or genuine… right?

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While I, myself am somewhat on the fence about this entire subject, mostly because I believe in a person’s right to choose the spiritual path or paths that brings to them the most peace,and also because I myself am from a mixed bag of spiritual and magickal cultures, I am also a bit old-school when it comes to being respectful to the originating pantheon or culture in that, if you are to emulate one of their practices or incorporate them into your own, it should probably be done discretely and with as much reverence to it as possible. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a deep fascination with Vodou, but encourage as they might, my friends in the higher ranks of the religion who have suggested I look further into it and go through what it takes to be initiated, I simply will not do it for the fact that I cannot whole-heartedly commit to its belief system in its entirety, and so I have taken a fancy to the practices of Hoodoo and rootwork instead, allowing me to have my “fix” of some of the practices without completely insulting the religious aspect of it (they are the same, yet very different–much in the way that Wicca and Witchcraft are–one is a religion, the other is a practice). But simply because I cannot completely commit does not mean it isn’t genuine or real, and for the same token, also does not give me the right to pick apart the pieces of it that jive with me and incorporate it with the things I do believe simply because it will suit me. It isn’t fair. And so, out of respect for the religion and those who practice and have worked hard to preserve it, I ask questions for understanding and education, but I certainly will not besmirch it by picking it apart and bending it for my own needs. 

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who is a Vodouist (translated in French to vodouisants, meaning “Servants of the spirits”) that began after he’d posted a photo to his Facebook page of an altar he’d erected to the Loa. Before I continue this story, allow me first to explain how this works, to the best of my ability, since I am not a Vodouist. Vodouists believe in a distant and unknowable creator god, called Bondye, who does not intercede in human affairs. Therefore, vodouists direct their worship toward spirits subservient to Bondye, called Loa. (Any vodouists reading this, please correct me if I am wrong in anything I have attempted to explain here). Every loa is responsible for a particular aspect of your life, with the dynamics and changing personalities of each loa reflecting the many possibilities inherent to the aspects of the practitioner’s life over which they preside. Vodouists cultivate personal relationships with the loa through the presentation of offerings, the creation of personal altars and devotional objects, and participation in elaborate ceremonies of music, dance, and other rituals and practices, which as you can see, makes it quite difficult for an Eclectic or anyone else who is not of this religion, to truly grasp the meanings and practices of this religion, because if you believe in many Gods, how can you also only believe in one Bondye? Pagan witches seek to know and build relationships directly with their Gods and Goddesses, where the Bondye is unknowable, and doesn’t get involved with our day-to-day rif-raf. Can you imagine erecting an altar to honor the Loa, having all the appropriate statuary and offerings on there and then placing a statue of Pan up there with them? How pissed off would the spirits be? 

And that brings me to the conversation, where someone commented under the photo asking if it would be appropriate to erect a similar altar to the loa but incorporating a few pagan touches. The answer was a resounding NO. 

When it comes to Wiccans and Eclecticism, there is some argument about who is Wiccan and who isn’t (here we go again!).

The argument is typically over the existing lineaged Wiccan traditions, such as Gardnerian, and newer “eclectic” traditions. The argument goes something like,  only those lineaged covens are permitted to call themselves Wiccan, and that anyone who claims to be eclectic is, by definition, not Wiccan but Neowiccan (labels, labels labels!!!). But lineaged is often used to describe more or less who initiated you and who initiated the person who initiated you and so on.  While lineage is not of importance to some traditions, in those that count it, you can bet your bottom dollar you will find a whole lot of “Uppity-ness” over your eclectic practices if you are also calling yourself Wiccan while doing it. Lineage is more often than not however primarily found in the traditional groups and not so much in Neowiccan or other pagan paths, but you still might want to be a smidge pickier about what practices you take from what traditions… Wiccan or otherwise. 

There is no easy answer to this debacle of eclecticism….and it is a bit of a debacle, at least until there is more tolerance for it. On one hand, your spiritual path is just that–yours. On the other hand, some religions have a real issue with parts of their beliefs and practices being picked apart and used in conjunction with others. Is there ever going to be a happy medium? A meeting of the minds? Probably not. 

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Witchcraft and Modern Medicine: There’s Not Much Taboo In Hoodoo

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For some of you who have followed me for the past few years on The Pagan Circle, you know I have a very sick child at home. He has a chronic illness, Ulceritave Colitis, which is a form of IBS or Irratable Bowl Syndrome, except his condition seems to be unique in its severity. He has bouts of severe diarrhea, vomiting and bleeds out, dehydrates and weakens quickly, rapidly loses weight and his immune system is completely shot, so he cannot be around those who have something as mild as the common cold. What this translates to is that we spend a LOT of time in the hospital, getting monthly treatments for his condition, blood transfusions, and working to bring all of his levels up including his iron, protein, calcium, etc.  Ulcerative Colitis also historically causes Colon Cancer.

The reason I’ve chosen this blog topic is simple: Many of us live naturally, take herbal supplements and use home remedies when we are sick. Some don’t vaccinate their children (and in some states in the US, no one can tell you you have to). But where does the line get drawn in using those things, turning to Magick and seeking professional medical help? I think it’s important to discuss this, particularly because so many hospitals do NOT acknowledge our religion  (They don’t even acknowledge Wicca, which is a Federally recognized religion) when they ask you if you have a religious preference while they’re doing your intake, and self treatment, particularly where it involves children, could potentially get you in quite a bit of trouble, especially because we live in a day in age where a parents’ right to parent is being slowly stripped away by our governments, by school officials and by medical practitioners. Our beliefs and practices can, and often do get translated by these three groups into medical neglect.

When he first started having issues, many in the Pagan community advised me to have him take this or that, or perform this or that spell or ritual on him. I appreciated the advice, and the kind thoughts and words and prayers have not gone without a tremendous amount of gratitude. But the fact at the time was that I really didn’t know what was the matter with him, and I was scared out of my mind. At the time, tests were being done that could only tell me what he didn’t have, but none of them were successful in telling me what he did have. While I know herbs and their medicinal and magical uses like the back of my hand, I am also a firm believer that unless you know exactly what you are dealing with medically, you run the risk of causing more harm than you do in attempting to do good.

That being said, little progress has been made in my son’s condition and treatment, as far as traditional medicinal practices go, and I am currently seeking a second opinion, as well as outside holistic sources. But at his last hospital stay, I asked his physician about Periwinkle. She looked at me like I had six heads. She knew what the flower was, but admitted to knowing little about its medicinal benefits, (except that nothing is medically proven when it comes to herbs and they may interact negatively with the current medications a patient is taking and, blah, blah, blah… you know, the standard cop-out answer you get from someone who has spent years analyzing cells, dissecting cadavers and memorizing synthetic medications… {Nothing a call to the pharmacist to cross reference like you would with any other medications can’t handle if you ask me}) one of which is the treatment of inflammation in the intestines caused by conditions such as Crohn’s Disease and UC.

Despite the doctor’s hesitation to think outside of the box with herbal remedies (which honestly came as no surprise to me, so few of them are open to it, despite the fact that ancient magical practices and herbal apothecary and alchemy are what paved the way to modern medicinal practices and treatments) I am also from the school of thought that there is nothing this planet cannot provide us, including the flowers, plants and herbs to heal ourselves of various ailments. I believe, whole-heartedly that the use of magical and holistic practices and herbalism in conjunction with modern medicine could very likely heal and even cure everyone of everything one day.

Many medical practitioners today have forgotten that  modern medical practices used to be labeled as witchcraft. The use of “remedies” was looked down upon and discouraged, and even punished. If you were suffering some ailment it was a penance for something you did wrong. The use of minerals and herbs to heal the body was devilry. Even midwives were considered evil because the suffering of a woman in labor was placed upon all women for the punishment of Eve for her part in the “Original Sin.”

Traditional remedies, utilizing medicinal plant and animal products, have been used as treatments for human diseases and and medical conditions for millennia.  In recent years, (as of about 4 years ago to be precise) 60-80% of the word’s population,  mainly from developing countries, depend primarily on traditional medicines , folk remedies and home cures, as well as treatment from witches and other “Supernatural practices”, for their health care needs. In Western societies, complimentary and alternative medicine is gaining and increasing in its acceptance, although alternative medicine has yet to be included in the majority of any given medical school’s curriculum.

While scientific studies have have validated some some traditional remedies  for instance, by confirming the biological activity in plant extracts (the doctor can take that and smoke her pipe with it) the use of complementary and traditional medicines remains contentious among medical practitioners, and despite the scientific proof, there are still a good amount of doubting hold-outs.  **Rolls eyes**

The origins of medicine are closely linked to the supernatural. The primitive view of medicine had more to do with magick than with what is considered medicine today. Witchcraft, or the practice of magick, could be used to inflict illness or to take it away. Hippocrates and later physicians tried to separate medicine from magickal thinking, but the two remained connected until at least the 17th century. I applaud all those practitioners, holistic, witch, alternative medicine and the like, for lobbying hard to bring the two back together.

BUT, whenever using herbal remedies, it is always, always wise to read up on them as much as you possibly can before self prescribing. Honey for example, has SO many benefits, but it should never be given to children under the age of 5 due to the small amounts of salmonella in it. It’s little things like that, that could trip you up and land you in more trouble than you ever intended without doing the research or seeking the advice of a physician. I think what it all boils down to are two things: Common sense and there not  existing such a thing as being too careful, because you can never be too careful, especially when caring for an ill child or elderly loved one.

Secondly, I believe the mind is a powerful thing. It allows us to imagine, create our realities by focusing and shifting our thoughts and turning those thoughts into energy to be sent out and manifested, hense the term “Mind over matter”. The trick is to truly believe it will work, especially when healing yourself or another. My son recently helped me erect an altar to Hekate where at least once a week he sits at it, reflects, meditates and asks her for her guidance and assistance in healing him (and so you all know, he is just 10 years old). He also asks me to do a smudging over him a few times a week before he goes to bed at night. It calms him, and within minutes he is sound asleep. My point is that even if at ten he doesn’t whole-heartedly believe it will heal him, and he hasn’t said whether or not he does, it brings him peace. And sometimes, that peace is all the body needs in order to be able to rest, allow the medications to do its work, and begin to heal itself.

So when using herbal remedies to treat something, keep in mind that there could be interactions and unwanted side effects on your regular medications in conjunction with the use of the herbs. Pregnant women and children should use the most caution. There are in fact, herbal birth controls and that would not be a good thing for a pregnant woman to be taking! When it’s concerning kids, children’s weight and general health should also be considered before using herbal remedies or supplements. As always with children a pediatrician should be consulted first to be sure the right actions are taken for their health, and if herbal remedies and magickal practices can be used in conjunction with their prescribed treatment(s) even better!

Sources for mathematical analysis, medical analysis and research on historical and medical information and reference may be credited to:

http://www.plosone.org/, http://dancingmooncoven.blogspot.com/, http://www.faqs.org/

Photo Credits:

http://artismyhustle.tumblr.com/

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Love Spells……. Be Careful What You Wish For…

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It’s human nature. Every single aspect of it.

Love.

The wanting of it, the blissful days filled with the feeling of being in love, and the heart
break of losing it. For years I detested Valentine’s day just because of it. People rushing to and fro with roses, chocolates, teddy bears. And then we had MySpace and Facebook where our friends would gush over the lovely and thoughtful things their love’s gifted to them on this day, complete with photos posted to their virtual walls.

**GAG!!**

Now that I’ve gotten THAT out of the way, I’ll have you know I’m over it. I dropped my axe for it a long time ago. But it will still never get me to perform or dish out a love spell. Why? Because they’re trouble.

By the way, The FTC requires that I give you my Advertising & Affiliate Disclosure, because I may recommend products I have tried and tested by a company that I am an affiliate for, products I manufacture and sell, or for products I have received in exchange for reviews. Isn’t that neat? And so,  Bewitching New York & Krystal Madison may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.

Moving along…

When I was learning the Craft, there were no “Innocent Love spells”. Despite how they have been altered, ripped apart, rearranged to suit and delivered in a pretty little “Harm none” package over the past 25 plus years, at their root they are still designed to alter another person’s free will.

…. But I’ll get back to that…..

When I was twenty years old I thought I was in love. I was with this guy on and off for a few years, and when I’d decided  to perform a certain love spell on him to bring him back, I hadn’t taken into consideration the placement of my altar, that spells take time to work, or that I may have been opening Pandora’s box…..

….Oh, what a tangled web we weave!…. Well, at least, I did.

I lit the candle, did everything I was supposed to do, and I did it every night after I came home from work. A few months down the road with no results, not even so much as a phone call, I’d given it up…and besides, I had a new boyfriend 😉 …nothing heals a broken heart faster than someone else to distract you from your woes 😉

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One night (Valentine’s Day, as a matter of fact) I’d come home from work to find that the new boyfriend had a romantic, elaborate dinner waiting for me…complete with the candles from the spell I’d tried casting months earlier…..LIT.

Sure, “Oh, CRAP!” crossed my mind. “What if?” crossed my mind too. Then I thought, “Nah!” and enjoyed the the time with him.

Three days later, the phone rang. It was the ex. Mind you, about eight months had passed since first  lighting the wick of the candle I’d designated for the spell. I sat quietly on the line…in shock and disbelief as he told me that he missed me. That he’d made a mistake. That he wanted us to work things out. That for the past eight months all he has been able to think about was me, that he’d resisted the urge to call but couldn’t take it any more and blah, blah, blah….. sounds like a line of BS, but you’d have to know the guy to understand that something came over him to pick up the phone and do that….eight months after the fact.

I tried my best to be polite, despite the urge to rub my new-found happiness in his face. I was a good girl, I let him down, but I let him down gently. Now he knew I’d moved on, I was happy, and that I wanted him to be happy too.

A week later, he showed up at my job with roses. The phone calls (mostly late at night) continued,  letters and cards pouring out his heart started flooding my mail box (this was way back when before the internet or email existed and people still used mail correspondence 😛 )

Do these chicks look familiar to you??

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Remember what they did to that poor SOB Chris? He was a love-sick zombie… and my ex was no different. It really was becoming a problem.

I had two mentors in my path. The first was my great-aunt in Puerto Rico and the second was Maria ( I wrote a bit about her in my previous blog post). My aunt, when I begged and pleaded for her to help me out of the debacle I brought upon myself laughed, called me an idiot (and I was) and told me to lay in the bed I made. Maria, fortunately, was a bit more sympathetic and helped me. Not because I deserved it, I didn’t. And certainly not because she liked my new boyfriend. She didn’t (even though she didn’t like too many people to begin with), but she REALLY detested the old boyfriend, so I was in luck!

Here’s the thing.

Imagine you are at a diner or restaurant and on the table in front of you is one of those paper place mats with the puzzles and activities on it. One happens to be a connect the dots game. So you get a pen and start connecting the dots, but before you get a chance to finish, your food arrives. You look down at the picture, incomplete, and can see that it would have eventually been a picture of a crab. Doesn’t really look like a crab, it has a smiley face and all, only a couple of legs and maybe one claw, but you’re intelligent enough to know that if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s a duck…but in this case, it’s a crab.

It’s the same with love spells.

You can alter them. You can change the “intent”. You can change the candle color, the wording, the moon phase, add “Blessed Be” or, “An it harm none” to it or whatever you want to do to try and justify that you are doing it for someone else’s greater good, but at the end of the day, it’s still a love spell, and it still holds more doors open for the opportunity for something to go awry. It wasn’t just my own stupidity that brought me to this conclusion. I’ve seen it happen time and time again with others. With clients I’ve had that came to me to bail them out of a relationship they thought was “It” when they were 16 (and now they’re 30, married with kids and the old flame is causing problems in the marriage), I’ve seen it happen with my own students. If you’re hell bent on performing any kind of love spell, consider the responsibility it holds and do it on yourself instead–and even that can be risky.

Let me give you another scenario.

Liz and Tom are 6 months into a committed relationship with each other. Liz decides it would be a fantastic idea to perform a love spell on them both to “Make their love stronger”. Harmless, right? Well, let’s say for the sake of argument that 3 more months down the road, Liz decides that while she loves Tom, maybe they’re rushing into things a bit and she needs some space. Another two weeks go by, and while out with her girlfriends one night, Liz meets this really great guy and decides she wants to see where it goes with him…

Where does this leave Tom? Love sick.

And still thinking about Liz who, while well-intended at the time, cast a love spell on the two of them to make their love stronger. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t still love the guy, maybe she just wants to play the field a bit before she settles with him. Meanwhile, as they say, absence makes the heart grow stronger, poor Tom is sitting around waiting on this girl to come to her senses missing and loving her more.

I mean, the above scenareo could get far more sticky than just that. Tom could walk into a pub and find Liz all cozy with the new chap, and Liz, by virtue of her own carelessness, has just lost the guy who truly loved her from the start. Or Tom could go and sow his wild oats with every skirt that gave him the time of day all in an effort to try and forget Liz. What if they had been married and she had performed this spell, and Tom wasn’t really such a nice guy after all? She just bound herself to someone and to a relationship that are both toxic for her.

You might even be completely single, a free agent of the game of love…however profoundly educated on the topic of love spells you fancy yourself to be,  you can still perform a love spell listing seven qualities you desire in your next girlfriend… get them, however, they may come in seven different women. ( That stampeding you hear in the back ground is the single, gigolo men rushing out the door for the nearest place that sells red candles). Most of today’s witches go by the general rule of if it doesn’t cause harm to someone else, it should be ok to do it. However, you have to realize that I’m talking about all kinds of harm, not just physical harm. Subverting someone’s free will is causing harm. Stealing their property (another man’s wife, another woman’s boyfriend or husband) is harm.

So how do you know what’s a bad love spell? (In my opinion, they all are) but the kind of love spell that is cast to make someone fall in love with you would fall into the bad category…. even the traditional, old-school witch doesn’t like doing them. You’re attempting to subvert their free will to make them love you. Not only is this bad because you’re subverting their free will, but it’s also bad because, if the spell is successful, then it wouldn’t really be love, because the person the spell was cast upon wouldn’t have chosen it….. and for me, if it ain’t real, then I don’t want it.  ..

Sometimes, it might just be better to be patient and let nature take its course…..

Photo & Artwork Credit:

Wonky Barbed Wire Heart With Spider Web And Spider by thedustyraven

https://www.etsy.com/listing/91043800/wonky-barbed-wire-heart-with-spider-web

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