Faith, Hope and Magick

The shower is a good place for me to think deeply. It seems to “wash away” the flotsam & jetsam of the day, clearing my mind… or, at least, focusing it, on whatever I’m trying to work out.

Tonight, for some reason, I while standing under the spray if the warm water, I started thinking about Magick. 

Yeah, okay, I’m a Pagan Witch, so Magick is part of my life on the regular. But, I don’t actually do a lot of spells, at least the way most people think of them.  I shift energy occasionally, putting good, positive energy into things I do, like cooking, or my crafting; even cleaning around the house gets a happy dose of “white light”, to keep the home feeling pleasant & welcoming. 

I use stones for focusing my energy transfers, too, but normally, only for myself. Like for healing, or meditation, or just for centering & focusing myself to regain calm during an anxious period.  I also keep a stone on my desk for focus while at work.

And, I’m good at getting red lights to turn green when I really need to get somewhere…

But, that’s usually the extent of it.

But, that’s not really the point of my post tonight.

My point, short story long…

I recently read some comments on a post in a Pagan group I belong to. Someone was asking for information about stones & their magickal properties, and one commenter got really shirty about saying that “Stones don’t do anything – they’re just rocks. You should use essential oils or herbs instead.”

And a bell went off in my head.

Of course stones don’t work for that person…they don’t have any Faith in it. They have no Hope. Therefore, their Magick will always fail.

One of the first things I learned in NY early training was that you have to believe.

YOU have to have Hope that the Magick will work to attempt a spell, then you have to have Faith that everything will happen the way it’s supposed to. If that means your money spell will see you winning $20 playing the lottery, or getting ok’d for overtime for a larger paycheck, then it works. If your love spell causes a stray cat or dog to follow you home, & you end up with a new pet, or you fall head over heels in love with your soul mate, that works too. And, if you do a spell that doesn’t seem to work, maybe the time wasn’t right for it, or maybe it was going to cause you to fall for someone abusive, so it was blocked by a higher power. Maybe you can’t have pets where you live, so instead of taking in a stray, you take it to the local shelter.

Any who, my point is – to do Magick…real, powerful, life-improving Magick… You MUST have both Hope & Faith. 

You don’t have to be Pagan to work Magick. You don’t have to light incense, or stir potions, or chant, or have “all the right tools”.

You just have to believe you can, you have to direct your will, and you have to accept the consequences, whatever they are.

Without Hope and Faith, Magick cannot exist.

Advertisements

A Murder of Crows

Standing outside my office building yesterday, I watched in wonder as a murder of crows gathered, swooping and gliding, over my head.  20-25 of them – black slashes drawn boldly against the sky – they cawed raucously to one another as they danced overhead.  Spiralling acrobatics punctuated their flight, as they would come together, screaming and diving, then splitting into smaller groups that would spin around one another, only to meet up again with the others, and circle back to the spot directly over where I stood.

We have crows in our city, they’re everywhere.  But this is the first time I can ever remember seeing the aerial display that I saw yesterday.  It was almost as though they were trying to tell me something, since they would swirl out and away, disappearing from view for a few seconds, but would always return to the same place – over my head.

So, I searched my memory for meanings behind the crows… but all I came up with were the battle crows and the Morrighan.  Not comforting images, to be sure, with all the imagery of battles and death.  I knew, too, that there were different meanings between seeing 1 or 2 crows, to seeing a whole murder of them.

And the fact that they kept coming back to me, had me just a little uneasy… so I went searching for deeper interpretations.  And found this:

*”Ravens and Crows represent magick, mystery, and sacred law as well as battle, and the mysteries of the Crone and Matron (warrior goddess). A gathering of ravens is called an “unkindness”while a group of crows is a “murder”. They are highly intelligent birds, and have been known to follow armies for many miles. In Native American Myth, Raven is a Creator/Trickster god. In Celtic lore, the raven is sacred to Badb (whose name means “Battle Crow”and the Morrigan as well as Bran and Lugh. In Greek lore it is sacred to Hecate, and Apollo among others. In Norse tradition, the two ravens that sit on the shoulders of Odin are called Huginn and Muninn (Mind and Memory). As guardians through the cycle of death and rebirth, the scintillating rainbow colors in their dark wings remind us that even in the midst of darkness we have the power to touch the light.” *

I know that I’m reaching a new place in my life.  I’m a grandmother now.  I’m finished with the “having children” part, and have moved into the “almost done raising them” phase.  YoungerDaughter is graduating from high school this year, and OnlySon is, of course, now a teenager.  Pretty soon, they’ll all be off on their own adventures – and I’m fine with that.  Truly.

There are still struggles, and I’m going through some of them now, having changed last year from being “Married – with children” to “Single Mom, single income”.  It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve managed.  And now, with the addition of 3 more people to the household, it’s become a whole new type of struggle.  We’ll get through this, too, I know – but it won’t be easy.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s the message that the crows were trying to impart with their aerial dance and mock battle yesterday. 

“Join with those around you, for if you fly alone… there is no dance, no glorious battle to make life better… Dance, fly, dive and soar… chase the dream of something better – and make it yours.”

The Vortex

So, a couple of friends suggested to me that I set up a magickal “sink hole” or “vortex of doom” to help keep negativity out of my house during the baby shower I’ll be throwing for EldestDaughter in a couple of weeks.

I’ve actually done this before, for a friend who had someone negative coming to their house on a regular basis.  It worked, sometimes a little too well, so I’ve decided to post the process I used here, for those of you who are of a mind to try something like this!

First, clean the area that you are going to be using to set this up.  A dirty space doesn’t work well for magick.  You have to do the physical work, to help the visualisation manifest in reality.

I’ll use my front door as the example, since that’s where this is going.

Step 1:  Sweep, clean up underneath the step too, if you can get to that area.

Step 2:  Center yourself.  Place your feet about shoulder-width apart, and close your eyes.  Hold your hands out, palms down over the area (you don’t have to put your hands on it, just hold them above the space), and visualise a white light/water/wind/etc. (whatever you use for cleansing) cleansing the area.  You can also use salt water, incense, a candle flame, or a stone, if you prefer.  It’s up to you how you get rid of any “leftover static”.

Step 3:  With eyes closed, visualise a pentagram, made out of your favorite element (earth, wind, fire, water), and see it right where you want the sink hole/drain/vortex to be.  Once you have the pentagram clear in your mind, see it begin to spin, slowly, counterclockwise.  You can, if you so choose, have a chant you speak at this point, such as “No negativity shall enter here,” or “No harm brought in, let happiness win”.  Again, your choice.

Imagine that this spinning pentagram will pull any negative energy from anyone who steps on or over it.  It will drain the negativity out of them, and send it into the ground, where it can be changed to natural, non-specific, energy again.  Neither negative nor positive, simply neutral. 

Just remember, you want to have your intent clear when you set this up.  There can’t be any harmful thoughts going into the setup, or you risk having it backfire on you.  Karma will get her way.

I’ve got some work to do before I can set this up at my house.  My intentions, right now?  Not so pure.  But I’ll get there.

D.F.W.M.

I’m usually a pretty easy going person.

I try to get along, not cause drama, and if there is drama, not make it worse.

Of course, I have drama in my life sometimes, you can’t totally get away from it.  And when this happens, I normally will hole up till it’s over, or try to work around it, mediate it, or….

I simply put on my alter-ego… Tawanda…

And shut it the hell down.

I had a moment like that yesterday.  And Tawanda was only too happy to make an appearance.

You see, a few years ago, a friend (name withheld because of privacy) and I started a group.  It was a Pagan group, designed to allow people in my area to have a place to meet, greet and get together, without being afraid to talk about things that many non-Pagans wouldn’t necessarily understand, or would think were just downright “weird”.  It wasn’t meant to be a “coven” of any sort, no real structure, and no real rules other than “Play nice”. 

The word “Independent” is stated very clearly, right in the middle of the group’s name, to let people know that this wasn’t just for people looking to belong to a coven, but to those who choose to also celebrate, practice, and simply live, in their own particular way.  No obligations to attend any meetings or functions, no dues, no feelings of guilt if you couldn’t make it, or just plain didn’t want to.  It was meant to be friendly get-togethers and sharing things that  we have in common.  Or learning about how people do things differently.  Whatever.

Just this last year, when Facebook introduced the idea of “Groups” on their site, I figured that this was a good way to allow our bunch of rebels and rabble-rousers a place on the social network to meet and hang out.  So I set one up for this particular and peculiar band of “Independent Pagans”.

Basically meant to be an internet “cork board”, I wanted to give the community a place to hang their conical hats, meet others who hadn’t been able to come to the picnics and get-togethers we’d had in the past, post new get-togethers for all to see, and just generally hang out with like-minded people.  It was never intended to be anything more than that.

Until yesterday, when someone decided that the group needed a “mission statement”.

Well, I thought I’d spelled it out pretty clearly, right in the description of the group:

“A place for pagans in the area to network, post events, chat with other pagans, and have fun!”

Simple, to the point.  Just the way I wanted to get started.  Then, this person decided that they were going to not only put forth this mission statement… they were going to tack the name of MY group on it.  Rather like ripping my baby from my arms and calling it theirs, telling everyone that it was going to grow up to be just like them.

Ahem.

Remember me?

The person who created the group in the first place?

Yeah. 

When I read the initial posting, I had to hold myself back from immediately ripping this person a new orifice.  I was on my lunch break, and knew that, for as mad as I was at the time, it wouldn’t be pretty, or polite.  It would be downright nasty.

So I kept mum until after work.  In the meantime, the friend who helped me start this group went on and posted a query as to the other person’s intent.  And got a snarky remark back.

Game on.

I was polite.

I was tactful.

And I was also very, very…. honest.

Some might call it  – blunt.

I saved the actually angry stuff for my own personal page.  Basically saying “Don’t F*** With Me”.  I have a reputation, you see, that when someone pushes me?  I push back.  And I don’t back down.

A brief apologetic post followed a couple of hours later from this person.

Nuff said.

Play nice, kiddies…

Tawanda out.

The Reason for the Season

Samhain.  All Hallow’s Eve.  Halloween.

Each of these names mean something different to everyone you speak to.  And the legends, stories, and mythology come from many different sources and histories.

Some you talk to, will say it’s all about the costumes and the candy.  Some will say that it’s about decorating your house with ghoulish images, and about setting up scary scenes for people that come calling.  Others will say it’s all about spooky movies, and hiding behind corners to pop out and frighten your friends. 

There are a lot of different ideas about the holiday found at the end of October.

And so, I’m here to tell you about my reason for the season.

Yes, I love the costumes, the candy, the decorations filled with spiders, bats, ghosts, skeletons, and other creepy things.  I love the spooky, scary movies and the rest of it.

But, when you get right down to the whole feel of the month of October, and the actual night of Samhain… something changes for me.

In the Wiccan faith, and in fact, over many of the Pagan beliefs, there is a consensus that the veil between the living and the dead is thin at this time of year.  That those on the other side of this barrier have the opportunity during this season to come to our side a little more freely, with a stronger sense of purpose and energy.  They have greater access to the living, and can speak to us, bringing us signs of their presence.

More magickal spells are done at this time of the year, I believe, than any other.  Partly, I think, because of the heightened awareness people have of the possibilities of what magick can do, with all the attention that paganism get.  Witches play such a huge role at this time of year, due to the media hype, that they get asked at this time of year more than any other for spells. 

But the strongest magicks are those that deal with honoring those who have passed before us.  Seances, which I personally will not do, just for personal reasons, are popular during this season.  I don’t believe that the spirits need a seance to manifest during this time, and to hold one… well, I feel that it’s disrespectful to those spirits who wish to remain at rest, as it more or less pulls them from the other realm to speak to and interact with this one.  Leave those at peace, in their peace.  And those that wish to cross over, temporarily, will do so in their own time and manner, without our interference.

Divination, the use of tarot cards, pendulums, runes, palm reading, etc., is done more at this time of year, as well.  The reason for this is that many people believe that it is spirits from the other side that bring these messages of the future for the person getting the reading.  I, personally, believe that the messages come from within the person being read, not from an outside source, but their own belief that Halloween allows this to be a stronger, clearer reading, opens them up more to this form of fortune telling, so it works better, because they believe it will.

In essence, the outward trappings of Halloween are fun.  I’ll be the first to throw on a creepy costume and traipse around behind my children for trick-or-treating, or simply to get into the spirit of the season for those that come knocking at my door.

But the reason for the season… for me… is to honor those who went before.

 And that, I do privately.  Quietly.  With dignity, respect, and love.

May Spirit light your way, and guide you home through the darkness.

Tuesday Theology – Beltane

May 1st is Beltane.  It’s a joyous celebration of Spring, complete with flowers, ribbons and fire.

And yes, it’s a fertility holiday, too. 

BUT.

It’s not just about that.

Beltane is a fire holiday that celebrates not only the creation of new life, but the creation of prosperity.  In the old days, people would light the Beltane bonfires in celebration of the sun returning in full force to help everything grow.  Couples would hold hands and jump the flames to show their commitment to one another, with those that jumped the flames at their highest, without letting go of each other’s hands, bringing good luck to their relationship for the years to come.  Usually, the eldest couple in the village would wait till the end of the night, when the fire had dimmed to just coals, and holding hands, they’d step over the remaining fire calmly.  This was the culmination of the night, and afterwards, everyone would take some of the leftover coals home to light their hearthfires, knowing that they contained all that hope and love that had been infused into it by the people that leapt the flames.

The villagers would also bring their cattle, and drive them past the bonfires, to bring fertility to their herds, and luck to their farms.

Beltane is about the earth breaking open, to release the magick of the seeds that had lain just under the surface, and growing into the crops, flowers and grass that was necessary for life.

It’s about the breaking open of all sorts of magick, that’s lain fallow over the winter, waiting for its moment to come forth and spill good luck and prosperity over those that wish for it.  It’s about the fulfillment of hopes and dreams, and seeing the beginning of new and wonderful things in your life, after waiting through the darker times, and working for this new start.

And then, there’s the maypole.

Young maidens and young men were typically chosen to dance around the maypole, weaving the ribbons round it in a certain pattern.

It was designed to bring the young people together, allowing them to meet one another in a supervised setting, giving the parents a chance to find “good matches” for their children in the future.  It was also about “weaving the magick” to the earth, through the wooden pole stuck into the ground, making it stay in one place, to “hold” the magick and good luck in one place, ensuring the prosperity of the villagers for the whole year.

This Beltane, some friends and I are finishing a ritual that we began at Ostara.  Eggs were cleaned out, decorated, and a slip of paper containing our hopes and wishes were placed inside of them, and sealed with tissue and wax.  In this way, we were “planting” our dreams, giving the magick time to grow within.  At Beltane, we will crush the eggs in our ritual, releasing the magick into reality, and burning the slips of paper to deliver our dreams to the God and Goddess, in the hopes that they will be received and fulfilled for us.

No one speaks about their wishes that were written, safeguarding the magick with silence.  I know, though, that the magick has already begun.  Speaking with one of the others, as well as my own experiences, tells me that this is so.

And on Sunday….. everything will become the reality that I’ve been wishing for.

So Mote It Be.

Dissecting the Wizard – Finish Him Off!

The second half of the tale of Dorothy leads off with the girl and her pals wandering off to find the Wicked Witch’s castle, searching for a way to get her broomstick… so the Wizard will feel safer, more powerful, and hopefully grant the wishes of each of them.  A brain, a heart, courage, and a way home.  Just what should be on everyone’s list when shopping for your friends.

The Wicked Witch of the West?  Well, she sees them coming from mile away. 

I mean, after all… when you’re the envy of the neighborhood, you better keep your eyes and ears open, hadn’t you?

Adorable, ain’t she?

Yes, she is.  And I want one of those flying monkeys of hers.

Just sayin’.

Anywho

Dorothy gets snatched up by the winged primates, and hauled off to be confronted by the witch, who really – really wants her shoes.  And I don’t blame her.  Ruby slippers?  Are you kidding me?  How fantastic are those?

And the boys are left behind, cleaning up after themselves.  They immediately strike off to find their friend, and to get her and Toto’s ashes out of the fire.

Remarkably?  They get into the castle with very little trouble, and find Dorothy almost the moment they step inside.  Funny… the castle looks pretty big from the outside.  How’d they ever find her so fast?  Oh, of course, Toto… the tiniest member of this motley crew, finds the boys and leads them to her door.   Anyway, they bust Dorothy out of her room without rousing the whole castle (even with breaking down the door with an AXE, mind you)

Getting out of the castle, though?  They get stuck.  The Witch meets them at the door, and her guards pin them down at spear-point.  But, through someone’s quick thinking (ironically, the dude without a brain), they escape, only to get caught in a game of Tag, and end up in one of the towers on the edge of the castle.

And when the Witch takes her moment to tell them exactly what she’s going to do to them?  They douse her with a bucket of water, trying to put out the flames she’d laid on the Scarecrow.

(Really?  Who decided that they should use water?  All this told me as a kid – was that baths were bad for you, and would make you melt.)  Not really a message my parents wanted me to learn.

Well, they get the broom, and get it back to the Wizard.

Who tells them to get stuffed – he’s too busy for them.

Jerk.

So the dog turns him in as the fraud he is.  Good boy, Toto!  Who’s the Wizard now??

Hoist on his own – fraudulent stories – the Wizard comes clean, telling the troupe that he’s nothing but an old fraud, but that maybe he can help them out somehow, anyway.

Handing over some tokens, he shows each of the guys, that really?  They had what they were looking for, all along, they just needed to have someone else validate it for them.  Being seen through someone else’s eyes as a valuable, valued person, is something everyone strives for. 

And then, it’s Dorothy’s turn.

And the dud has nothing in his bag for her.  Well… except the balloon that dropped him in Oz in the first place!  Dude!  A ride!!

Of course, he doesn’t know how to drive, and ends up taking off without the girl by accident.  Of course it’s an accident – right?

Whatever.

And here’s where Glinda steps back into the picture.  Miss Obvious.

She explains her earlier silence by saying that Dorothy had to figure everything out for herself, or the magick of the shoes wouldn’t work.  Yeah.  Sure.  That’s why.

So, Dorothy clicks her shoes….. and wakes up.

Back at home, in  her own bed, with her family surrounding her.

Lessons learned?

Basically – You can’t run from your problems.  They’ll follow you, even over the rainbow.  Find your friends wherever they are, whoever they are, and hang onto them.  No matter how quirky, strange, or downright crazy they may seem.  They’ll help you keep on track toward your goals.

And don’t ever, ever forget – Home is in your heart, no where else.