Witchcraft: What it is and What it isn’t

Witchcraft: What it is and What it isn’t

by AmberSkyfire

You’ve seen “The Craft” five times, you watch “Charmed” every week, you have a black cat that you have most recently renamed “Salem” or “Kittywitch” or something like that, and you  dress all in black. You can cast any spell from your three spellbooks and a huge  pentagram adorns your neck, your (very creepy looking) book of shadows, and  numerous other items in your cache of school supplies. People look at you when  you walk down the street, your friends think you are oh-so-cool and your craft  name, Moonlight FairyWillow WolfWings, is posted at the top of your web forum in  creepy red letters. You are a witch, right?

 

Wrong. Witchcraft is not a fashion statement. It is nothing  like what you see in the movies. It is not a fad. Hollywood has created so many  false ideas about witchcraft to draw people in. Teenagers are especially  susceptible to these ideas. In an attempt to be rebellious, teens will don the  look and the catch-phrases of the neo-goth community. They are drawn in by the  glamour of Hollywood and the promise of great power. Teenagers encompass a group in society called “midriffs.” (Anyone who has  studied sociology or journalism knows what I am talking about.) Midriffs are at  a point in life when they feel the need to grow up and look to others around them  to learn how to do it. They will copy what they see: fashions, hairstyles,  makeup, slang words and behavior in an attempt to fit in with their age group.  This rebellion can have negative effects because it makes young people blind.  They will follow from one fad to the next. Style is fleeting. Often, young  people will turn to witchcraft for its glamour and seduction. Nothing is more  alluring to the inexperienced than absolute power.  The first thing that you should know about witchcraft is that it is, first and foremost, a religion. Magick is based entirely on religion and  the belief in the unknown. I don’t care who you are or what kind of powers you  claim to have; unless you have faith in something, you cannot perform magick.

 

Secondly, magick is not a fashion statement. True witches are  easy to discern from the witch-wannabes. Witches do not wear all black. Witches  do not wear huge pentagrams or black lipstick. Witches know that the power of  magick is in its secrets. When you lay it threadbare before others it loses all  its power and all you have left is a costumed wannabe with nothing to show but  the ten pounds of crystal and pewter jewelry around their neck. True witches  have learned to cast off their desires to be accepted by the “in” crowd. Real  witches are at one with themselves and their surroundings and do not seek to fit  in with any clique or to dress in a certain style. True witches look just like  everyone else. You will not ever be able to tell a true witch in a crowd of  people unless they want you to know that they are there (and I can assure you  this will not be very often.)

 

Witchcraft is not what you see on television. No such thing  exists. Many movies, television programs, and books, even some pagan books, lure  people in with fake ideas of witchcraft. You will not learn to levitate. Fire  and lightning will not shoot from your fingertips. You will never be able to  bring down the wrath of the gods or walk on water. These things are fiction –  fairy tales. They do not happen. Witchcraft is not instantaneous. Magick takes  time to happen and even longer to learn. magick is not something that you can  learn in a week or a month or even a year. Witches never stop learning. There is  too much to learn for anyone to ever be perfect or know everything. Most people  come into the craft because it is a fad and quickly leave because it is too hard  or it takes too long. Not anyone can be a witch. To practice and learn the  craft, one must be patient, curious and honest with themselves.

 

If you are interested in being a true witch, there are  numerous talents that you will learn. Witchcraft requires a love of nature. If  the sight of nature and beauty inspire you or strike awe in you then the craft  might be right for you. You will learn how to heal others, speak to plants,  animals, trees and spirits, travel on the astral plane, learn to understand  yourself and others and divine your dreams and the future. You will learn to  better yourself and open your eyes and your mind to new possibilities.  Witchcraft is very difficult but if you are one of the few who have the talent,  strength and patience for it, it can unlock hidden talents you never knew you  had and free your imagination.

Protect Yourself from Psychic Attack

 

by Christopher Penczak

The heart of magick is empowerment. Magick taps into your own personal resources and builds a bridge of harmony with the universe. Fear is the limiting factor of empowerment. Those who seal away their own magick build a wall with their fear. They fear other people’s opinions, the responsibility, danger and ultimately themselves. Fear is a weapon used by those who seek to control the power. Control mongers bombard society with messages of fear to spread their own power.

Healers, midwives and wise women were tortured and put to death during the Inquisition for using their knowledge and talents. The Church and the newly established medical profession wanted to keep their base of power, and the wise folk threatened them. Rumors of pacts with the Devil, evil witches casting curses and demons stealing children in the night were spread. The general public started to fear the wise folk, and newly developing psychics chose not to explore their gifts because of the social stigma associated with them. The lessons of the Inquisition were simple: Fear pain and death more than honoring your power. Learn to obey those in command. The higher power does not exist in you. You need others to tell you the truth. These are old lessons repeated over and over by dominating forces.

Due to present and past life associations with such propaganda, mystical explorers often fear their own power and the ability to do magick. They believe evil things are lurking about, waiting to snatch their souls. They fear being healers and teachers and do nothing, playing it safe. Unfortunately, the world needs healers and teachers, wise women and cunning men more than ever before.

Because of popular horror movies, books and Ouija boards, the world of magick is associated with the dark creatures that go bump in the night, ready to snatch us away. The good magick of fairy tales seems impotent by comparison, and as a society, we forget our ancient mythology. People with strong psychic, spiritual and magickal talents never tap these resources, fearing the worst will happen. First experiences can seem dark and mysterious, but we often encounter our own darkness and shadow selves, enabling us to make peace with them before we continue onward. I have heard many stories of “psychic attacks” from dark beings or even other practitioners, but 90 percent of the time, it is the victim’s own perceptions and fears reflected back. That is not to say there are not dark beings out there in the spiritual realms. There are, but these creatures are far less common than most people think. Fortunately, the techniques of protection work for both “real” and “self-created” attacks.

Psychic Attacks

 

Psychic attacks come in many forms. The simplest is an everyday experience. Someone says something bad about you, makes a judgment, calls you a name, yells or curses at you. The person is directing his or her energy in a harmful way toward you. If you are not strong enough in self-esteem and personal power, these little attacks take their toll.

Do not become paranoid with this information. Do not go running around accusing everyone who does not agree with you of a psychic attack. Such negativity is not meant as an attack. It is an unfortunate by-product of how our society conducts itself. This is a simple, subtle way harmful energy is directed. We all do it at times. Most often, we do it to ourselves. We judge ourselves as not worthy, not attractive, not lovable, and these images become thought forms, packets of energy, filled with a poor self-image. When people experience an “attack,” they usually are experiencing and clearing these thought forms. Be aware and responsible of your own thoughts, directed towards yourself and others.

Other thought forms and astral entities have a life of their own. You might feel a malevolent presence or voice. These are the reported demons and devils plaguing mystics. They take the form of your greatest fears. Their goal is your fear, your attention, your time and energy. They draw energy from you to feed their existence. Ignoring them is an easy way to break their hold. Laughter is even better. If you don’t take them seriously, they will lose power.

Many people believe in “psychic vampires.” They are not the blood-drinking variety from Hollywood movies or Anne Rice novels, but actual people who drain your energy. Psychic vampires are not usually occult characters, but ordinary people who drive to work every day, raise families and go to school. Usually, they are not aware of this problem. A very few are aware of their energy draining tendency, but lack the skills to stop it. We all know people who are tired, drained and depressed, people who latch onto others for their continual support and strength. Not everyone who is occasionally depressed is a psychic vampire. We all get depressed. Vampires are rather rare, and vampirism can grow out of this malady. Remember vampires are not usually consciously attacking you, and once you are aware of the phenomenon, you can stop playing into their games. With your knowledge comes empowerment.

The last kind of psychic attack is the most rare, coming from another practitioner of the magickal arts. These attacks come as curses, wishing bad luck, nightmares and psychic or mental pain. Usually, the person knows you and will have some vendetta against you. My mother’s godmother practiced folk magick in her Italian community and broke curses all the time. Belief and giving into the curse is the worst thing you can do. The more you feel you are cursed, the more the universe responds. No one can curse you unless you let him or her.

Psychic Defenses

All psychic defenses are based in building your own self-esteem, personal power and confidence. Some contain more physical acts, but ultimately it is your will empowering those acts.

 

To purify a space and prevent unwanted, harmful energy from entering, burn purifying herbs. Frankincense and myrrh are a favorite of both witches and the Catholic Church. Native Americans use sage, cedar and sweetgrass. Southern American cultures burn copal. You can also use lavender or cinnamon. These substances naturally clear a space. Salt absorbs harmful energy. Iron grounds the same energy. Horseshoes were pointed down and hung over doors for this purpose. Iron nails are placed in house frames for the same reason. Potions and oils made of these substances are worn for protection.

Magickal symbols of protection can be worn or drawn. Pentacles, crosses, the Star of David and the Eye of Horus are strong protection symbols, and you can usually find jewelry made with these symbols. Wear this jewelry with the intent of protection. A banishing pentagram, a star drawn starting in the lower left corner, dissolves harmful thought forms and removes unwanted spirits. Repeat it as many times as necessary.

During meditation, start by visualizing a shield of clear crystal around your entire body, about three feet away. State “This protection shield protects me from all harm and reflects love back on the source of the harm.” Never send energy back to do harm; it will again return to trouble you. Even if one attacks you first, you are not justified to curse back. By sending love, you neutralize the harm. Wishing good things on your enemies can be the key to defeating them. They will be so happy with what they have that they stop bothering you. Bless your harm away, and more blessings will return to you. Similar protection shield visualizations can be used around your home, car, loved ones and pets.

Sometimes binding spells are necessary. Write the name of the person meaning you harm on a piece of paper. Put it in a bottle, bound with black thread. Fill the bottle with sea salt, protection herbs, iron filings and things like John the Conqueror root. Seal the bottle and ask that this person harm you no longer. As long as you do not open it, the binding will last. You can put the bottle in your freezer or bury it in the backyard.

As a last resort, call upon your guardian spirits. Call on your guardian angel, your spirit guides or the Goddess and God. A student of mine protected himself by asking for help from Mother Earth and drawing Her energy up and directing it to the malevolent spirit. Be creative when protecting.

As you claim your power and grow in your magickal abilities, you will move in harmony with the universe and attract less attention from such darker entities. Others wishing you harm will effortlessly roll off you because you know your place in the cosmic dance of life. Nothing can make you skip a beat of your dance.

Christopher Penczak teaches witchcraft, Tarot and Reiki classes privately in Salem, NH, combining lightwork, chaos magick and multiculturalism into his magickal tradition. He is also the editor of

The Second Road newsletter. For more information, contact him c/o The Second Road, P. O. Box 2252, Salem, NH, 03079, or e-mail torcboy@aol.com.

 

Witchcraft 101: Power of the Path

Power of the Path

Your having come to the Craft of the Wise is unique in that you have picked one of the hardest of spiritual paths to walk. It takes great courage and charisma to be a Witch. However, the rewards for this hardest of paths are equally great.

Why is Witchcraft hard? It is an imperfect, misunderstood, and highly individualistic religion that challenges your beliefs and actions at every moment of the day and night.

We live by principles and traditions that prevent us from doing magick to harm others, that acknowledge that for every action, there is an equal or greater reaction that visits like energy to the sender.

In other words… If you do good works, it is highly likely you will have good come to you. If it is for negative (save protecting yourself in a life or death situation), you probably risk bringing negative forces of all sorts to your step.

You will undoubtedly hear more of this as your learning advances… I am not here to rehash all of that… Plenty of material exists on the subject already.

To put this in a few sentences: My own take is that if good goes into something, good is going to come out… bad-in, well… bad will come out of it. This is a simple cause and effect rule. Just be aware that your actions and intent affect more than just your immediate surroundings in life and that the effects of your intent do come full circle.

Often, these effects come from unexpected directions and are the direct result of choices made earlier, even if the connection is not easy to see or makes sense to you.

Think of it like this: A pebble tossed in a pond makes waves (forces) that eventually cross the entire pond, bounce off the shoreline, and then return with effects that can be either helpful or disastrous. So too, are our workings and intents in life and in the Craft…

Speaking of forces… Most of Witchcraft is about living well… without all the Hollywood effects, drama of running around in robes or “looking like a witch” for some theatrical part.

Some of the most powerful witches I know do not even use the tools you are “supposed to” use. They construct their own simple ways of practicing, and use their minds to make magick and to bend forces and work *with* nature and natural energies to bring harmony and balance to the world.

These same Witches use magick to help themselves, and feel no shame in being here in the universe. They and we have every right to be here, and to choose the manner and means in which we acknowledge our creator and deity(s) of choice…

Organized religion holds no place for brave souls like this… indeed; they never fit in that system in the first place. So… in this first lesson, I hope I am dashing any sense of the continual drama and wishes for awesome effects at every moment… Witchcraft is work. It is the art of working on you. You also work on your relationship with the people, universe, and forces/powers to which we all have access.

This is not to say that there are not dramatic moments in the Craft. I have seen amazing events in my 13 years of being a Witch. I have seen winds blow through a house, extinguishing candles in a room that had closed windows and doors. I have seen trees raging and dancing. I have even been part of a circle where a ritual called for rain from a seemingly cloudless sky and within a few minutes, a downpour ensued.

The common thread to these events was that there was every reason for me to be at each of these events, and they were reminders that being a Witch does invite mysterious forces and entities to our lives, who are hopefully there to teach and guide us.

They are not there to entertain… Instead… these events provide a base for us to know that the unseen is there and that they work with and around us as we undertake our missions in life and as witches.

 

IAmAWitch.com

You Know Someone Is New To Magick and Paganism When They Think That…

You Know Someone Is New To Magick and Paganism When They Think That…

An ATHAME is the gas you use for your grill.

A CENSOR is a drink you mix with alcohol.

ASTRAL PROJECTION is a home-made movie viewer.

A SYMPATHITIC LINK is when you feel sorry because your chain broke.

WICCA is that part of the candle that burns.

APHRODITE is a prehistoric bird.

ARCHETYPES is a kind of building structure.

BLESSED BE is the god of insects.

A BOOK OF SHADOWS contains silhouettes of friends or family members.

A BRAZIER is support wear for women.

CASTING is done with a fishing line, or on a set in Hollywood.

CHARGING is done with a credit card or battery.

The only way to get into a CIRCLE is to have the right of way.

Crystal CLEANSING is done with window cleaner.

CYCLES have to do with your washing machine and when to add fabric softener.

DEMETER is where you put your quarter when you park downtown.

A DOLMAN is a new brand of banana.

HANDFASTING is eating without utensils.

LEY LINES happen at the airport in Hawaii.

PAN is something you fry food in.

A QUARTER is 25 cents and still buys a cup of coffee. (Note: This person is not only new to magick, but they also haven’t been out in a while!)

SKYCLAD is a shade of blue clothing.

A TRAD is a type of geometrical figure.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE is the game show with Vanna White.

Coven Life: What I Have Learned

Author: Sleeping Moon
I started practicing witchcraft or the ancient path as I prefer to call it, back in 1996 or so. At first I was solitary, read my homework, started working with spells and rituals. Thought it interesting when my cats would act a bit crazy during that time. But, felt something was lacking. I wanted other people to talk to, to practice with. And to make sure I was doing every thing correctly. Because I couldn’t “see” energy with my real eyes, I had doubts.

Let’s face it, when we start off (especially when we are young) and the way Hollywood portrays magicks, we, or at least I thought that’s how it was supposed to be. And I was hoping that’s the way it was supposed to be. When that didn’t happen, I didn’t get discouraged. In fact, quite the opposite. I practiced more. To the point where I was calling the quarters just about every night of the week. I also wanted to understand the difference in feeling the energy as well, both while in circle and out of it.

After a year and a half or so, I had found a store in town that solely based their market on the Craft. Of course I was thrilled! (I think I heard about it through hear say.) I of course spread the word to just about any one that would listen what I did and what I was looking for. Both in personal life and in my professional life. I felt like I wasn’t the only witch in town and the only way to find people of like minds was to open my mouth.

When I first walked into the store, I was mystified and in awe. But was a wee bit disappointed in how small it was. I browsed around for a time, and then got the courage to ask the woman behind the counter if she knew of any covens or groups in the area. She was very sweet and took my number. She didn’t give me any definite information. Of course, I left the store a little disheartened that I didn’t have a group to contact me right away.

I’m not sure how much time passed after that, but that nice woman behind the counter did in fact call me. It just so happened to be around Samhain time and that she had her cousin who is a priest, come up from the city to hold a Samhain celebration. She asked me if I would like to attend.

Needless to say, I was on cloud nine and of course accepted.

That first Samhain celebration was a magickal one for me. We held ritual, the priest did his thing, and we blessed and consecrated some items and did a bit of fire scrying. But, during this session instead of being drawn to the fire (like I normally am) I was drawn to the sky. I did end up seeing something that concerned me and asked the priest about it later. The moon was full and round in her splendor that night, but not only seeing that moon, I saw three others as well. Of course I knew what the three moons meant; maiden, mother, crone, but was flabbergasted about the fourth. When he heard this I recall his eyes growing wide and he said most don’t see the fourth moon and it meant that it was the dark moon or hence the dark goddess. Then, in the next breath, he told me witchcraft wasn’t for me.

Boy, was I literally floored. Why would some one tell me that most witches don’t see the fourth moon and then tell me that it’s not my rightful path? Didn’t make much sense. But some how, since he was the only clergy I knew, I persuaded him to teach me. I worked with him for a bit over a year, he would come up from the city quite often and a friend and I would go down there as well. Life was good.

Until he started discouraging me. He was telling me things that didn’t sit well with me and said that he wasn’t comfortable teaching me any more. Plus a big thing that I didn’t care for was it was his way or the high way. (I find that quite often in more distinguished groups.) So after some time, I told him that I was leaving, as I was uncomfortable with his teachings. (He also told me once that he would not initiate me through the great right! Which of course turned me completely off!) So hence I left. My friend did continue working with him, which I didn’t discourage.

After that, I did work solitary for a time until I found Witchvox. I also found my next coven. Or I hoped it would be. It was several hours away, but I didn’t mind the drive because it wasn’t often. This group did a bit of Pow-Wow magick, which I did like. Then I started speaking up a bit more and telling a few individuals what kind of entities I am drawn to (the fae) and what I was currently working with at the time. (It was more of a neutral energy than a positive one…but NOT negative.) When they found out, I was kicked out. Only light energies where allowed there and they wouldn’t tolerate any thing else. (And this person wrote about negative entities–go figure!) I never once brought this neutral energy into our circles and was stunned speechless that this would have happened.

I never thought that fellow pagans would be so prejudiced against certain energies…negative ones, understandable but not the one I was dealing with. This entity I do give a lot of credit too because it pulled me out of several dark moments in my life. This being one of them.
Like I said, I enjoyed the groups company, felt connected and thought I felt at home. Wow, did I get a slap in the face! They also didn’t care for the fact that my Matron was Hecate and the god I was working with at the time happened to be Hades. Too much dark, they said. You need to balance their energies in order to have effective magick. Ptah! Maybe for them, but not for me.
So, I was back to solitary once again.

I started to petition to the gods then to find me some good folks to practice with and that I can feel comfortable enough to be myself and not have to worry about stepping on any ones toes. And let’s face it, being kicked out of a coven or group.

I then went to a few open groups, several which were more than 50 miles away and each one didn’t sit right. Most where the ones where I just stood in circle with my hands in the goddess position and let the Priest/Priestess do all the work. I felt like a minion. Even lower than that. Many times, I didn’t even lend my energy because I felt like a ghost. I also didn’t like the fact that they made you where this, or you couldn’t where that. How discouraging!

Then, back in 2004 I got the courage to look for individuals this time and in my immediate area to hopefully start up a group of our own. I had no goal at the time, no set of rules and no doctrine. I just didn’t want to be alone in my quest. Not too long after that, some one did contact me! This person happened to live in a town not to far away and I was thrilled. We met at a local coffee shop and hit it off.

We practiced between the two of us for a time, went to open group functions together and I came to this conclusion: We needed to start a group of our own where people can feel free to practice how they see fit, with minimal rules and regulations. So then, I placed a group add on Witchvox again. About several weeks later, a woman from a neighboring town contacted me and we met up. Then a few more. For several years it was only five of us, but we where comfortable with that.

We started to bond, open up more, did activities out side of the craft and simply enjoyed each other’s company. After a while, we decided we would like to look for more individuals to join our tight nit family. Several came and went, some didn’t work out for us, and we didn’t work out for them. Which of course happens, whether it’s through conflicting personality traits or the group wasn’t right for them. Period. We even tried to get men involved and that turned out to be hairy. (Not saying that men weren’t welcome, it’s just the certain men that wanted to join with us.)
A few months ago we did open our group to two new women and are lovely additions! About a month ago two more joined and fit in quite nicely.

My main rule of thumb here is that this group of mine is open to all paths that follow the ancient ways. So long as we come together on a common ground, can enjoy each other’s company and feel comfortable enough to speak our minds. There is no right way or wrong way in this group and there is no such thing as a designated high priestess. For we all are! We don’t go through degree’s or initiations for that is up to you and your guides/gods to decide and for the simple fact that we learn from each other.

It also stems back to the age-old question: Who initiated the first witch? And if that spirit initiated that witch, why can’t it initiate more of us?

The broader we are in our magicks/paths, the more we can learn from each other. I purposely let each lady take the chance to host a circle/sabbat so we can see how that witch likes to practice her path. And if that lady is interested in a different magickal aspect of the craft, she has a chance to express that interest to the group.

I don’t base acceptance on race, creed or age. But it is a women’s group at this time. Because I feel the wider we are in acceptance of others, the more fun and enlightening the group will be. And the more we can learn from each other.

I feel humbled that I finally found or I should say that the Gods led me in the right direction to this wonderful group of special women. Each one of these ladies holds a place in my heart and I am thankful that each one has come into my life. I have learned much from this experience, continue to learn daily and enjoy every minute that I spend with them.

Coven life can be hard and challenging at times. If we don’t find a common ground, a member has to go or if a problem arises and is not fixable again, member has to go. It’s tough but the positives out weigh the negatives in this case. There is something awesome about connecting with a group of women that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

I feel that each woman is unique unto herself and that her view of the craft is the same and should be shared with the world. Or in this case, this group.

I am not saying that other groups have it wrong. Absolutely not. I just feel that more structured groups aren’t right for me as I like each individual to feel like she has a voice and that freedom can speak it’s tongue. In this, I have found my path and hope each one of you does as well.

There is something awesome about finding people of like minds that you can feel free enough to be you.