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.

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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.

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 – An it Harm None

The main tenet of the Wiccan faith is the Rede, shown above.

Basically?  It means that as long as you are not harming anyone, including yourself, you are free to do what you wish in your life.

Imagine that.  Freedom of choice.  Freedom of will.

Freedoms that we now enjoy in our nation.

After the news on Sunday night, I know that many people rejoiced that one of the world’s most heinous terrorists had been stopped from ever harming another living soul.  I was one of the people that found this to be welcome news.

But.

I also know that there are many people out there that find the idea of killing someone, even someone as evil as that man was (I don’t wish to give his name anymore space here, or anywhere, because names have power), to be just as wrong as what he did.

I disagree.

I do believe that you need to refrain from doing harm, to the best of your ability and knowledge. 

When I do any magick, and when I teach people about the ethics of Wicca and Witchcraft, I teach them that they need to be mindful of the consequences their actions could have.  They need to remember that all actions have results, and when you seek to change the world around you, you not only have to be aware of the changes you’re seeking to make, you also need to remember that everything you do, will affect others.  Not always positively.

Responsibility.

You have to accept it for the things you do in your life.

And whether that man ever took any real responsibility for the horrible things he did, is debatable.  I won’t debate them here, however. 

He’s being judged by a power by far higher than anything that we humans could ever hope to be. 

But, to get back to “An It Harm None”.

Yes, you should seek to avoid harming others.

But when the cost of not harming is greater by far, such as in leaving a man to run free, and allowing him to cause so many others to be harmed, or killed, on his orders… then something has to be done.

And yes, his followers may choose to follow in his footsteps.

But he won’t be making any new ones.

And his days of harming others….. are over.

I, for one, breathe a little easier today.

And, whether you believe in Allah, God, the Goddess, Buddha, or any of the other millions of names of God, Cosmic Karma, or whatever – Justice and Responsibility will always catch up with your actions.  Whether it happens in this life or the next, it will come. 

It has come for him.

“I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” — Mark Twain

Bits and Pieces

Time once again to play one of my friends’ favorite games…..

What’s on Brea’s mind these days?

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

My head is often a jumbled land of the ridiculous and ranty, topped with a generous dollop of the truly weird.

This week has been no different.

*  I had a dream last night about vampires.  I know part of the reason I dreamt about this is because I’ve been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I have all the seasons, and just started watching them from the beginning again over the weekend.  The really strange thing, though?  They were not in Sunnydale… they were in the little town I used to call home, when I was a single mom, and where I spent most of my time as a 19-20 yr. old… the town of my favorite time of life.  Also?  One of my friends, one that passed away a few years ago, was there, and was helping me to fight the vampires.  I have no idea where he popped up from, but we were royally kicking vamp butt, and it was awesome!  It was actually a pretty cool dream.

*  I’m anxious about my divorce (naturally), but what I’m most anxious about right now is the fact that although my attorney told me that the papers have been signed, there’s still no word on when it’ll go to the judge.  There was a small mixup on the visitation schedule that requires an affidavit to correct it, and my attorney is supposed to tell me when it’s ready to sign.  I haven’t heard anything yet, and it’s driving me crazy.  Did his attorney send the paperwork back to mine yet?  Is there yet another hang-up to be dealt with?  I hate the waiting.  I really hate waiting without knowing what’s going on.  I need to be able to get on with the next phase of my life.

*  Speaking of the next phase… I was able to get back into my old bedroom this weekend.  After painting it!  After 10, almost 11 years, of the awful dirty pastel teal that was in the room, I chose a beautiful yellow called “cornmeal”, because it’s light, and soft, and relaxing, and warm.  The old room was a lot like the bat-cave, because it was always dark.  The windows were blocked off to allow my husband to sleep during the day, since he works nights as a baker.  There was never any real light in the room.  Now there is.  I worked all Saturday on it, and only have a bit left, which can be done in small bites, as I feel like it and have the time.  My nephew came over on Sunday and helped me move my bed upstairs into the room and I got it all set up.  I slept like a rock that night.

I love my new yellow room.

*  YoungerDaughter has such a gift for making me laugh!  She came home from work tonight, and after her shower, popped a huge chunk of chocolate in her mouth.  I looked at her in dismay, and she said, mouth working hard to contain all the chocolatey goodness, was:   “Awwa Wabbid’s foo… IS’ wuucky.”

All a Rabbit’s foot.  It’s lucky.

That kid kills me!  All she has to do is smile or giggle, and I’m overcome with joy.  Truly, a gift and talent that will be invaluable to her throughout her life.  She’s amazing.

*  OnlySon has been quaking in his sneakers since he came home on Monday.  I told him that we’re cleaning and reorganizing his room this weekend.  Tremble in fear, boy.  Mama’s bringing the YARD BAGS.

*  I’ve been really thinking hard about the book lately.  I want to get back to work on it, but by the time I get home at night, lately, I’m exhausted.  My friend, Sparrow, told me that this is normal at this stage of the divorce process.  Emotionally?  I’m spent at about 10 pm.  And… this leads to some rather odd texting late at night.  Sorry, B.  I mean it when I say I’m going to start keeping my phone in another room.  Everyone’s safer that way!

*  As tired as I’ve been, though?  I’ve been picking and poking at small bits of Spring house-cleaning.  I want to do a thorough, top-to-bottom, deep house cleaning this Spring, really get everything organized and ship-shape. 

Then I’m going to do a total magickal house-cleansing and re-blessing.  I want this house to lose that “bad ju-ju, emotional sinkhole” feeling that it’s had for so long.

I may just have a grand re-opening house party when I’m done, and fill the house with light, laughter, music, and good friends.  Kick this thing off right!

*  I’m so glad that the weather is starting to turn the corner here.  It’s been cold for so long, and even though we’ve got a lot of flooding here, due to the fast snow-melt and winter clingage, there have been a couple of really nice, sunny days.  I want so badly to get outside and walk in the park, instead of just sitting in my vehicle, watching the geese from my heated seat.  I want to walk.  Smell the fresh air, face the breeze, and let it blow through and around me, taking away all the anxiety and anger I’ve been hanging on to.  I’m ready.

Now, how does this all coalesce to a cohesive and comprehensible whole – namely, my brain?  Well, it doesn’t.

That’s half the fun of the game!

Thanks for playing we have some lovely parting gifts for you – Monty?  Tell the good folks what they’ve won!

How bout a lovely year’s supply of waxed turtles, Brea?

Uhhh…. ok!  They don’t call ’em sliders fer nuthin’, I guess!

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.

Tuesday Theology – SPRING!

March 20th signals the Spring Equinox, and I am SO READY!

Spring Equinox is one of 2 days of the year when the light and the dark are nearly identical in length.  This is when we in North Dakota generally truly begin to feel the warmth of the returning sun, and the signs that life is returning to us once again.

I, myself, begin to start getting horrible cabin-fever about this time of year, after hibernating for the last few months.

Wiccan theology paints the Goddess, at this time, as the Maiden Spring – Persephone returned from the depths of Hades, and once again reunited with her mother, Demeter.  Persephone is gowned in flowers, and is followed by rabbits, ducklings, lambs, and all manner of baby animals.  She is the first blush of Spring, the mist of green that adorns the trees and carpets the ground, telling us that the grass will be returning shortly.  She is the joy of sunlight and music, after the long cold silence of winter.

And to celebrate this, we paint eggs and we plant seeds, infusing them with magickal wishes for the upcoming growing season.  We plant our hopes and dreams in the fertile soil of the world, nurturing and watering them carefully, providing them with the warmth of our hearts and protecting them from harm by keeping quiet about them.  Like making a wish on a birthday candle, you don’t speak about it, allowing them to sprout in their own way, with the consent and aid of the Goddess and God.   Knowing that, if they come to fruition, then they were meant to be beneficial to us.  And, that if they do not grow, that it was not the right wish, or maybe, not the right time for it.

And so, this Spring, I plant the seeds I wish to come to fruition.  I will nurture them, care for them, and nourish them with my hopes and love.  If it is meant to be, the Goddess will allow them to grow.  I have faith that what is meant, will happen. 

And, I have already had my sign that Spring is coming.  The geese are back in the park.

Wish #1 – fulfilled!