Water Magick

Water Magick

The properties of water are both constant and variable at the same time. Water exists on the Earth in three forms: solid (ice), liquid, and gas (evaporated). Water magick is very versatile; it incorporates techniques that bring about changes both within and without. For water magick to occur within, one must consume the water or call upon that aspect of the self. For it to occur without, one must bathe in it, swim in it, cleanse with it, etc.

Not all liquid magick belongs in the realm of water. For instance, brews that incorporate vinegar or alcohol as the primary ingredient fall in the domain of fire.

The magickal properties of particular types of water can be used for the following purposes:

Creeks and streams:  Purification, harmony, cleansing

Dew:  General health, eyesight, beauty. Dew is said to be especially powerful if gathered at dawn on Beltane.

Fog and mists:  Creativity, balance, partnerships

Ice:  Transformations, balance, creativity

Pond or lake water:  Peace, contentment, relaxation, self-reflection.

Rain water:  Energy, protection, cleansing. The first rain that falls in the month of May is considered sacred to the Water Witch

River water:  Cleansing, moving forward, protection

Seawater:  Health, magickal power, manifestation of goals. An old Welsh belief states that a spoonful of sea-water a day will ensure a long and healthy life.

Snow:  Transformations, balance

Spring water:  Growth, holy water, cleansing, protection, prosperity

Swamp and  waste water:  Banishing, binding

Waterfalls:  Power, energy, success

Well water:  Healing, wishes, intuition

The Water Witch also has an attachment to the ares surrounding the water, which can be used for the following magickal purposes:

Beaches:  Rituals, spells, fascinations, meditations

Harbors:  To promote abundance and prosperity; to serve as an aid in banishing things

Riverbanks:  To increase personal power

In Santeria practices, water from particular environments is offered as food to specific Orishas, as follows:

Ogun and Babalu-Aye:  Pond water

Oya:  Rain water

Oshun:  River water

Yemaya:  Seawater

In addition, Santeria incorporates the use of a special cleansing water called omiero. Omiero is comprised of sacred herbs, belonging to the Orisha being petitioned, and water. It is steeped upon coals to bring out the magickal properties. The making of omiero is complicated and has a full ceremony attached to it. The resulting product is used for initiation purposes.

Water Witch Lore – Water Horses

Water Horses

Here is yet another dark little tidbit about water. In Celtic regions, there was a creature called a water horse. This creature was so powerful-looking and enchanting that once see, a person could not help but wish to ride on its back. If he tried, he would soon regret it. It would run so fast that a human would not be able to catch his breath, whereupon the horse would plunge back under the water, carrying the rider with it to a watery grave.

Thought to be most prevalent in the month of November, these magnificent creatures could shapeshift into human form. In this capacity they were known to eat their victims. It was said that the only way to kill a water horse was to hold it over a roaring fire until it melted.

In Scotland, this creature was known as the water bull and was a guardian of the entries into the fairy realm.

Water Witch Lore – Legendary Rivers

Legendary Rivers

River in general have some rather dark folklore about them. In Scotland and Ireland, superstition holds that each river demands one life as its due each year. Rivers are a common theme in mythology as gateways to the other side, the land of death. The river Styx, for example, was the portal to the land of the Underworld.

Styx was considered so holy that to swear by it was sacred, even for the Gods. The person making the promise was bound by the river to tell the truth. The water was undrinkable  – it would cause even a deity to lose their voice for nine years. If one swore an oath by the Styx and did not keep it, Zeus himself would force the oath breaker to drink from its waters.

In order to cross the river Styx into the land of Hades, one had to pay the ferryman, Charon. The ancient Greeks buried the dead with coins under their tongues to ensure that their loved ones would be carried safely across.

Styx, which translates to “river of hate,” was only one river in the Greek Underworld. The other four rivers in the Underworld were as follows:

Acheron:  The “river of woe”

Cocytus:  The “river of lamentation”

Phlegethon:  The “river of fire”

Lethe:  The “river of forgetfulness”

In Norse folklore, the Underworld was known as Niflheim. It was ruled over by the Goddess Hel. It was said to have eleven icy cold rivers, which eventually emptied into the river Styx. The river Slith was a combination of floating blades, blood, tears, waste and poison. The river Gjall was called the “river of echoes.” It had many waterfalls, strong currents, and bones floating in its waters.

Though the connection between rivers and the Underworld in folklore may be a dark theme, rivers have their light side too. It is said that no vampire, demon, ghost, or attacking spirit can follow one across a river.

Rivers with an inspirational overtone far outnumber the darker rivers of myth. The Nile, the Ganga, and the Niger just to name a few, are thought to be life-giving. Millions of lives depend on the waters from these rivers. The Nile River is said to be responsible for Egypt’s existence, as it could never be what it is without her power. The people also credit the river with growth in the areas of friendly personalities, generosity, and love. When it comes to rivers in general, the Water Witch understands that sitting on a riverbank and watching the sun sparkle on the water is actually a way of soaking up the love of the universe.

 

An Air Ritual For Calling the Wind

An Air Ritual For Calling the Wind

The first step to working with the Elements is remembering what it felt like in the past when you encountered that Element. Remember and focus on as many details as you can. What did the wind feel like on your skin? Was your hair tousled? What smell was in the air? Did the wind whistle or howl? As much as you can, relive the experience in your mind. This puts out to the Cosmos that you are ready for this experience. You are open.

Practice going through your day noticing what the wind and the air around you feel like. In the evening, try to recall as much of the experience as you can. This is like an ongoing meditation. The more you do this, the easier it will become to call up the Wind. You are focused.

The first few times you call up the Wind, do it alone. Company can distract you from your magick. Also, these things take practice and your first few attempts might not put you in the Witches’ Hall of Fame, it’s between you and the Wind.

Go to an open place outdoors. Higher ground is better. Use an athame, if you have one – or your extended arm, if you don’t – and draw a magick circle around yourself to mark you sacred space. Open to the experience of the Wind moving around you. Focus your mind and bring up images of more Wind blowing all around you.

Try to incorporate as many senses as possible when you remember wind and visualize Wind. Now reach down and pick up a handful of dust or grass. Holding your arm out to your side and slightly above eye level, slowly let your hand’s contents filter through your fingers. Watch the air between your hand and the earth catch the offering. You may want to quietly chant, “I call the wind. I call the air. I call the mother’s breath.”  Now concentrate hard on experiencing wind. Focus as hard as you can. Hold the feeling for several minutes, and then stop. Clear your mind of your wind images completely. Wait for the breeze to pick up and the wind to answer your call. Be confident.

So Many Questions and Ideas…

So Many Questions and Ideas…

Author: Divine Witch

I have decided to be a witch. Well, I think I have. For the past three years I have been going back and forth with the infatuation with Wicca and Witchcraft. But really it started before that. As a child, I wondered about Voodoo or Black Magic. My grandmother was afraid of it. She would tell me not to let people play in my hair because they could use the hair strand to put a curse on me. Also, she didn’t like me giving pictures out to friends for the same reason. I always thought she was a bit paranoid about the whole thing. So I grew up with that and for that reason I never really heard about good witches, the ones that practice good or white magic. Except maybe the ones in fairy tales or Disney. But we all know that stuff is a joke anyway.

Of course for Halloween, kids dressed as Witches, Wizards and things of that nature. I was a Witch quite a few times. My granny (yes the same one) even made me a witch costume from scratch one year. Then when I was about thirteen, I got invited to a Halloween party last minute and had nothing to wear. So my aunt made me into a Gypsy.

I had no idea what a Gypsy was at the time. But it was fun being dressed up in all of the jewelry and other things she put on me. I don’t remember everything I had on but I do remember it was fun, and that she went a little overboard. Damn, I wish I had a picture. So really, that’s all I got about Witches and stuff like that. I always assumed it was just fairy tale Disney stuff and that it was never really real.

Then when I became an adult I had an older boyfriend who swore his last girlfriend and well as another did Voodoo on him. He would tell me stories on what happened to him. Now I’m not saying that Voodoo is nonsense or that it doesn’t exist but sometimes he was a little dramatic also. So even though I partly believed him, I was becoming more interested about it by this time.

In 2000, I took a Tarot reading class and ended up buying two decks of cards. One I actually used and the other for was more for collection purposes. Still have them I believe. After my youngest son was born in 2001, I used the deck to do readings on myself, mostly for practice. Since I wasn’t really good about reading due to lack of experience, I didn’t really understand what I was getting. But I wrote it down to see if it would make sense later. And sometimes it did. Years went on and I would be touch and go with things; I wore an Amethyst pendant around my neck or maybe I would carry a “good luck charm” in my purse from time to time.

Then in 2007 it happened. By this time I was heavy into Native American studies and culture (still am as that is my heritage) and was looking to connect more with Natives. I ran into a lady on a Native American news/culture/events website and she told me about a retreat that is held every year in June. I received more information about it and wanted to go. So I went and found about Goddess worshiping and the moon cycles, and loads of other stuff I never really thought about. Oh, and I participated in a sweat lodge too. Wore me out but it was a nice experience. But the whole three days was an eye opener for me. It was full of women, regular women like myself that were Witches.

I went home with my head spinning and swimming with ideas and thoughts. I never knew there were publications catered to the Goddess or Witches. I never really heard of Wicca either. All I heard about was the negative stuff. So I bought Scott Cunningham books and Sage Woman magazines. Then I started purchasing candles, athames, seashells for incense burning and other things for my altar. And I really wanted to work with herbs. I even wanted to grow my own herbs for magickal purposes.

Then I would practice. Or try to. I could not concentrate. For one, I was waiting on one of my kids to get out of bed and disturb me, or the phone to ring or whatever. My brain would never shut up, that didn’t help either. So I grew frustrated and walked away from it. Well, not entirely. I would still pick up a Sage Woman magazine every so often or read about the Salem Witch Trials. But then it was hard because school kept me busy and I really couldn’t dedicate myself to it.

And now here I am again with all of this time gone by and still basically at square one. I know so much but still know so little, feeling just as lost as before. So now I do have a couple of friends that I could get insight from but one lives in Canada and the other does not practice really anymore either. So in between being uneducated and being in an area where witchcraft is taboo I am stuck. And I don’t like being stuck.

So you’re probably asking was is the point of all of this? Well, it’s really because I need some help. And maybe I felt that I needed to say this and I has helped me realized some my problems too. One of the reasons I felt I could not concentrate is I still have some stigmatizing behavior and thinking to take care of. And I also realized that I am more passionate about Witchcraft and root work. Go figure, huh?

So now I need to find someone or something to help me on that path while working with the stigma and other things as well. But how do I get over that? How long is it going to take before I feel like a real Witch? But hey, I’m getting there. As a kid I never thought it would come to this.

Slowly but surely.

American Witchcraft

American Witchcraft

Author: Spirit Walk Ministry

The subject of Witchcraft in America is a confusing one, the concept being muddled primarily from a basic misunderstanding of what Witchcraft is, and what it is not.

Witchcraft is the name that was used by the Christian Church to stigmatize the pagan practitioners of “The Old Religions”, which was the continuation of the practices of the native spiritual and cultural beliefs of Europeans and others that existed prior to the advent of Christianity. Simply put, it is a descriptive (and demonizing) term for anyone who practices a pagan or nature based religion.

As in most areas of the world where Christian “civilizations” colonized the native peoples the term witchcraft, as we think we understand it today did not exist prior to the arrival of the Europeans to America. Even when the label “witch” was used it was exclusively applied to the European settlers and not the native people themselves. Those native people that practiced the Old ways were referred to as “heathens” and their religious leaders as either medicine men and women or “shamans”.

The word “shaman” originated in Siberia and it describes a specialized type of holy person who practices not only with prayer, ritual and offerings, but also through direct contact with the spirits themselves. Because trances were so important to the Native American people as a means of getting in touch with spiritual forces, the title “Pow-Wow”, (from the Algonquin word “pauwau”, meaning “one who has visions”) , was accorded to those who fulfilled this role in the tribe. The word, whose spelling was eventually settled in English as “pow-wow”, was also used as the name for ceremonies and councils, because of the important role played by the pauwau in both. Though the nature of the shaman and the pauwau is similar, many Native Americans find the word “shaman” offensive and one should not use the word to label Native American tribal vision seekers.

All pagan religions are local nature religions, meaning that although the principles are universal, local myths and legends predominate the culture, which the local ritual must embody, as the local tribal allegorical references. It was therefore, within the natural order, that when European settlers of tradition pagan beliefs immigrated to America that they adopt local myths, customs and into their pagan beliefs and rituals. While some wish to claim these traditions as Wiccan or neo-paganism the traditions of American Witchcraft are merely a communion of the European “Old Ways” with the spirits and energies of the land that is now their home.

The homeland is quite possibly the most important aspect of Traditional Witchcraft. The homeland is the home of the Gods, and in many beliefs the two are synonymous. The early inhabitants of Europe believed that the Gods they venerated inhabited the land itself. Many were migratory people, and so as they traveled across the continent they took their Gods with them. As they traveled, though, these people often looked toward the North Star, Polaris, for guidance. It was a fixed point in the night sky that they used as a reference point.
When these early Pagans wished to honor their Gods, they created a connection between their homeland, where their Gods resided, and the land where they stood. In this way, the new land became a part of the homeland. The elemental correspondences to the cardinal directions act as a way of aligning yourself with the homeland.

When a Witch is within the land that is within the boundaries of the homeland, they do not need to use the correspondences to make a connection. Instead, they evoke or invoke the land itself. The concept of the homeland is something that is very integral to the practice of Witchcraft, but completely missing from the Neo-Pagan movements.

The Pow-Wow Tradition is a classic example of this melding of “The Old Ways” of the Europeans and local native beliefs. Though some claim that the Pow-Wow Tradition is German in its origin, it is more an adoption of local Native American traditions by the early German and Dutch immigrants of pagan heritage who settled in the Pennsylvania region of the United States.

Observing the Algonquin’s powwows, the pagan immigrants discovered that like themselves, the Natives used charms and incantations for healing. Impressed with their methods of driving out evil spirits, they adopted the term “powwowing” to refer to their own magickal healings. As their practice of magick was also centered on herbs and healing, they learned from the local people about the native roots and herbs for use in charms and healing.

As stated earlier, the term Pow-Wow comes from the Algonquin word ‘pauwau’”, meaning ‘vision seeker’ and the Pow-Wow Witches encompass shamanic like rituals of healing through visions and the application of traditional medicines, which are often accompanied by prayers, incantations, songs, and dances. The Pow-Wow Tradition places great significance on the vision seeker as the nexus of group (coven) activities and rituals.

Perhaps the most fascinating of the European/American merging of pagan ritual and practices is the Appalachian Granny Magic Tradition. Dating back to the first settlers of the Appalachian Mountains who came to the United States from Scotland and Ireland in the 1700’s and who brought with them their “Old World” magical traditions. Those traditions were then blended with the local traditions of the Cherokee into a combination of folk remedies, faith healing, storytelling and magick.

The ‘Granny’ Witches call themselves ‘Doctor Witches’ or ‘Water Witches’ depending upon whether they are more gifted in healing and midwifery, or if they are more in tune with dowsing for water, lay lines and energy vortexes. This tradition is termed ‘Granny’ from the prominent role played by older women in the mountain communities. Which calls to mind the image of “Granny” or “Doctor Granny” from “The Beverly Hillbillies” who, though a comic parody, was a fairly realistic representation of an actual Appalachian “Granny Witch”.

Therefore, the traditions of American Witchcraft are not a “new witchcraft”. They are not Wiccan, nor neo-pagan. They are simply the ways that pagan immigrants have found to bring the native spirits of their new homeland into harmony with their traditional beliefs and practices in order to find their way around the new neighborhood.

Before You Call Yourself A Witch

Before You Call Yourself A Witch

Author: Alorer

“When can I call myself a Witch? What are the basics everyone is telling me to learn first?” In this essay I will try to provide you with some answers to these questions. Please note that this is by no means the “end-all, be-all” of such views; it’s simply my own answer to a seeker’s aforementioned questions. Take it with a grain of salt people; this is the Internet after all!

So, you found a path that seems to fit you and satiate your spiritual hunger. You have probably read a couple of books, skimmed through a couple of sites, talked with a couple of people and feel a genuine, honest and strong pull towards religious Witchcraft. Thus you proceed to call yourself a Witch. Right?

No!

Before you pause in disbelief and stare the screen calling me all sorts have… names (mehehehe) for my apparent “bigotry” stop and think. What does calling yourself a Witch entails? Is it just a name for this spirituality that anyone delving into can take up? Or does it mean something more, something deeper?

Well, I’d say the second. Why you ask? Because any name or title of any empirical, practical and knowledge-filled system has specific connotations and denotes an understanding and a form of capability in the name’s/title’s fields. For our own example, what does one profess, even unknowingly, when taking up the name of a Witch? Well, you’ll find that views differ on this (just as they do on any other subject) , so I’ll present my own view here.

I believe that by calling one’s self a Witch, that person professes a level of mastery, understanding and experience in a variety of fields. Specifically, it denotes a range of various experiences, a degree of mastery over various arts of Witchcraft, a developed and well-grounded spirituality and an effective relationship with deity. I doubt any newbie that starts studying or is at the first few months of their studies have attained or reached any of those things.

I’ll provide a list of requirements that one should meet before they can take the name Witch for their path.

1. Sabbats: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of what the Wheel of the Year and its Sabbats deal with as well as have observed it wholly (without having missed any of the sacred days) at least once (meaning, throughout at least a year) .

2. Seats: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of what an Esbat deals with as well as have observed any number of Esbats between 4-7 or more within a year.

3. Arts and Crafts: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of a number of arts of Witchcraft of their choice and preference as well as have attained a level of mastery in those.

4. Deities: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of the deities of their choice and preference or calling as well as have built a working relationship with them.

5. Organization and Structure: One should have formed and follow a standard, stabilized and concrete path, with regular observances, rites and practices.

Of course, those apply on a specific form of religious Witchcraft, one that is influenced heavily by outer court Wiccan material (known as Neo-Wicca or Dedicatory Religious Witchcraft) or has Celtic influences. If you find yourself drawn to another form of religious Witchcraft, simply replace the sacred days, the requirements etc with the appropriate ones. In addition, this is geared mostly towards solitaries and not people under training with a traditional coven. If you happen to fall under the latter, please consult with your uplines/High Priest/ess regarding the requirements that specific Tradition has set.

Why do I say all this? What does it matter whether you meet certain requirements or not? I say all this and it matters because to call yourself something you have not yet attained, have not yet fully understood and have not yet fully realized will cause issues.

First of all, it will deceive and trouble those that seek you out for help be it practical or spiritual. Second of all, it will confuse you since you’ll find yourself unable to neither meet the expectations of the community nor help those in need. You’ll say, “But I don’t intend doing so!” I know you probably don’t wish to deceive others or find yourself in a tough position.

I’ll give you an example: let’s say you have a medical issue and want to find what it is and how to treat it. What will you do? You’ll probably seek out a doctor. Now, think for a moment how you will feel if the person you found calls him/herself a doctor but in all actuality is still only a sophomore of medical school. Won’t it cause you problems? It’s something similar with calling one’s self a Witch.

After reading all this you’ll most probably feel confused, lost and wondering, “What the heck do I call myself then?” Call yourself a Seeker. Call yourself a Student. Or find another term that fits your case better. However, I ask that you do not mislead others and burden yourself by calling your path something it isn’t yet or something it might never be.

NOTE: Due to the fact people might overlook this part of the essay: this refers only to Wiccan-influenced paths. If your path is different, more power to you. I am not Wiccan-influenced either. I simply understand that the majority of people are indeed on such a path, at least while in their Pagan “infancy”. These are completely my own views of the “basics” of such a path. I am in no way an authority on a subject. My word is not law; it’s not written on stone.

Ash Tree Magic and Folklore

Ash Moon: February 18 – March 17

In Norse lore, Odin hung from Yggdrasil, the World Tree, for nine days and nights so that he might be granted wisdom. Yggdrasil was an ash tree, and since the time of Odin’s ordeal, the ash has often been associated with divination and knowledge. In some Celtic legends, it is also seen as a tree sacred to the god Lugh, who is celebrated at Lughnasadh. Because of its close association not only with the Divine but with knowledge, Ash can be worked with for any number of spells, rituals, and other workings.

  • Some traditions of magic hold that the leaf of an Ash tree will bring you good fortune. Carry one in your pocket – those with an even number of leaflets on it are especially lucky.
  • In some folk magic traditions, the ash leaf could be used to remove skin disorders such as warts or boils. As an alternate practice, one could wear a needle in their clothing or carry a pin in their pocket for three days, and then drive the pin into the bark of an ash tree – the skin disorder will appear as a knob on the tree and disappear from the person who had it.
  • The spear of Odin was made from an Ash tree, according to the Norse poetic eddas.
  • Newborn babies in the British Isles were sometimes given a spoonful of Ash sap before leaving their mother’s bed for the first time. It was believed this would prevent disease and infant mortality.
  • Five trees stood guard over Ireland, in mythology, and three were Ash. The Ash is often found growing near holy wells and sacred springs. Interestingly, it was also believed that crops that grew in the shadow of an Ash tree would be of an inferior quality.
  • In some European folklore, the Ash tree is seen as protective but at the same time malevolent. Anyone who does harm to an Ash can find themselves the victim of unpleasant supernatural circumstances.
  • In northern England, it was believed that if a maiden placed ash leaves under her pillow, she would have prophetic dreams of her future lover.
  • In some Druidic traditions, it is customary to use a branch of Ash to make a magical staff. The staff becomes, in essence, a portable version of a World Tree, connecting the user to the realms of earth and sky.
  • If you place Ash berries in a cradle, it protects the child from being taken away as a changeling by mischievous Fae.
  • The Celtic tree month of Ash, or Nion, falls from February 18 to March 17. It’s a good time for magical workings related to the inner self.