READING THE RUNES

READING THE RUNES

 

Runes, along with many other forms of divination can be valuable allies. In preparing to do a runecast you are preparing to  ask your higher self for answers and assistance. There are many factors to take into account when interpreting a runecast, it takes practice. So, don’t  be discouraged if you come up with a few “duds” in your first readings. Because of divinations’ similarity to counceling, I highly recomend  that you practice readings on yourself before doing spreads for anyone else. You should prepare yourself before you begin to read or cast the runes. Start by  relaxing. Find somewhere free of distractions, and then clear your mind of any unrelated thoughts. It is important to concentrate on your specific question  or issue while drawing and casting the runes. Focusing your mind and having a clear intent will greatly enhance the accuracy of your readings. Interpreting a  runecast is like telling a story. Your job is to find the characters, themes, events, and advice of the reading. Take as much time as you need to interpret a  spread, and pay close attention to all the connections. The times I am most satisfied in the accuracy of my readings are when each rune clearly plays a part  in the runecast, or rather when the runecast itself becomes a comprehensable story.

Sometimes the runes will clearly answer your question, and sometimes they will ignore it completely, choosing to focus on  other issues instead. Often times these are issues that you knew existed but didn’t want to face. Look within to see if the runes haven’t met the  mark. Runes (in divination) work by connecting you to that part of you that is in touch with your subconcious, higher self or that part of you that is in  tune with the all. However you want to look at it. Even the most accurate of runecasts can not tell you what is destined to be. They only predict what is  likely to happen based on current information. A negative runecast should never be taken as irreversable, you always have the choice to change your situation  in life. In divination, runes are used to tell you what path you are currently on. Remember, it is always within your power to keep with or alter that  path.

You may use these, or other techniques and rune spreads that you come across. There are an abundance of tarot spreads  available, for example, tarot spreads adapt very well to rune divination. You could certainly form your own spreads and techniques for a reading, or maybe  incorporate methods from various spreads. Generally, the more runes used in a runecast or spread, the more involved, the reading.

Runes are read either upright or reversed. When casting the runes, it is helpful to have a system of deciding which runes you  will consider upright, and which you will consider reversed. I usually interpret all the runes with their top pointing up or to the left, upright; and all  the runes that have their top pointing down or to the right, reversed.

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What Is Rune Meditation?

What Is Rune Meditation?

by: Donald Tyson
Before the runes can be effective for works of magic or divination , they must be understood on the intuitive level and made to come alive in the unconscious. This will occur over time  simply by using them, but the process can be encouraged through regular meditation upon the individual rune symbols. Meditation gives the runes reality in  the astral world, where magical forces and actions manifest themselves most clearly to the awareness.
When you carve a rune materially for a magical purpose, you must also be able to cut it into the astral with your will so that it glows and shimmers on the  material where you made the physical rune. When you draw a rune in the air with your right index finger or  magic wand, you must be able to see it sustaining itself with the eye of your imagination. This does not mean that you pretend to yourself that the rune  exists on the astral level, or picture it there in the way you would imagine the face of your cat. Magical visualization is more intense and real than  regular images in the imagination. The magical image persists and can be so real that it appears material.
Meditation on the runes serves the dual purpose of expanding an understanding of their meanings, both conscious and unconscious (this is needed in  divination) and allowing the clear formation of the runes on the astral level (this is necessary in ritual magic).
There are many ways to actively meditate upon the runes. One is to contemplate the forms of the runes visually. Rune cards are an excellent way of keeping  images of the runes before the sight during meditation, where they impress themselves through the eye upon the mind, when the mind reaches a receptive state.  Here I will describe a second technique that I find effective in bringing the meanings and forms of the runes alive.
In preparation you must be familiar with the shapes of the runes, their names and short meanings, their order, the place of each rune in its aett, and its  pair rune. This can be done by playing with a set of rune wands, or ideally with the rune cards, which are excellent for this purpose. Once you have a  general knowledge of the futhark, you are ready to begin considering the runes individually.
To be most effective, meditations should be done in a series at regular times, one per day. It is possible to do two meditations a day if they are separated  in timeófor example, one at noon and one at midnight. If this is done, a pair of runes should be considered each day. However, until you have had some  experience in meditating upon the individual runes, you should not attempt to consider two or more runes in combination at the same time.
Wear loose clothing and take off your shoes, belt, watch, jewelry, and anything that irritates the skin or restricts the circulation. Even if your watch and  earrings do not irritate you during your daily routine, they may be a distraction during meditation. When the mind is stilled and focused, small sounds will  seem like thunder and the slightest itch will become a torment as your mind, like a restless child, seeks any escape from the task you have imposed upon it.
Do not meditate where there is noise or bustle, or where you are likely to be disturbed. Do not meditate until at least two hours after eating a meal. Do not  meditate just before sleep when you are very tired, and do not meditate when you are physically ill, or when your mind is filled with worry, anger, or  frustration.
Find a tranquil place and sit comfortably with your back relaxed but straight. It does not really matter how you sit. I usually sit Japanese style upon my  heels, but some people find this posture hard on the knees. The important thing is that you forget about how you are sitting and concentrate on the  meditation. Face a blank wall or featureless surface. If there is no flat unbroken surface, turn out the lights and the darkness will serve. If you are  outside, face a wall, a distant forested hill, the ocean horizon, or lie on your back and look at the sky – but it is better not to lie down during  meditation. The important thing is that you not be distracted by something in your field of view. Distractions are not necessarily fatal to meditations, but  they disrupt them and delay your progress. There are bound to be distractions in any case – you want to minimize them.
Take half a dozen slow, deep breaths to clear your lungs and relax your body. When you are ready, extend your right index finger and draw the rune you have  chosen for your meditation in the air at a comfortable armís length, making it a size that will fit easily into the center of your field of vision – about 18  inches tall is a good height.
Now try to actually see the rune in the air where you have drawn it. Hold the form of the rune in your imagination, and mentally retrace over and over the  rune you have drawn whenever its strokes become indistinct or slip from your mind. It is not necessary to use your finger to retrace the rune. Pretend you  have a blackboard in your imagination, and an imaginary piece of chalk that you use to continually redefine the rune as it fades.
Runes should always be drawn, both in the world and in the mind, with strokes that move downward and to the right. A little practice will make this second  nature.
During the meditation do not actively try to consider a predetermined list of associations with the runes. These will rise in their own time and order into  the stillness of your consciousness. Hold your attention upon the shape of the rune and your task of keeping it visually before your inner sight. You must  not be thinking of your grocery list while you are doing this. It is inevitable that your mind will wander to other things, but when it does, gently and  firmly guide it back to the purpose of the meditationóan active contemplation of the rune you have drawn in the air. When an idea about the rune itself, its  nature, or its relationship with other runes comes into your mind, consider it, but do not try to force these ideas. Let them rise by themselves.
This meditation should be stopped before it begins to become physically tiring. There is no point in forcing the work. A period of 15 minutes to half an hour  will be about right for most people. Take care that you remain relaxed, your breathing regular, and your eyes focused normally without strain. Strain of any  kind is counterproductive. Only sustained attention is required, and you will find that this is effort enough.
Success is not marked by how many new ideas you have about the rune, not even by how clearly you are able to visualize its form in space, but rather by how  sustained and effortless your awareness of the rune has been during the period set aside for the exercise.
It is a good idea to do these meditations in the same place and at the same time of day. Several meditations, even half a dozen, should be done on each rune,  but these can be mixed up with other runes. You do not have to meditate upon the same rune for six days running – unless you want to, of course. It can be  useful to consider the runes in groups, doing them in pairs, or in families, or even doing the complete futhark on 24 consecutive days, then repeating it  several times. If the sequence of the meditations becomes tedious, mix it up. Boredom should be minimized, because your mind will seize on any excuse to stop  these exercises.
You will soon discover that your mind is without disciplineónot that its discipline is low, but that it does not have any discipline at all. If you try to  force it too hard, it will turn around and bite you. You will accomplish nothing. Firmness, patience, persistence, and an understanding of how your mind  functions are needed to achieve the best results. Be wary of little tricks. You may suddenly find that your bowels are tumbling every time you sit down to  meditate, that your ears itch, that people are constantly interrupting you, that you feel very tired and sleepy, or that the entire exercise seems pointless  and stupid. These are all ways your mind will use in trying to squirm out of doing the work you have set for it.

RUNE CLOTHS

RUNE CLOTHS

Many people like to have a special cloth that is used solely for rune readings and runecasts. This is called, simply enough, a rune cloth. It is usually made of a piece of white or single colored material. It may be square, round or whatever appeals to you. In size, it need only be large enough for a runecast or spread. ( A traditional size is 18″ X 18″.) It is possible to have a rune cloth replace your pouch. You could bundle your runes in your rune cloth and tie a string around the bundle.

Some people find it helpful to have a “map” figured out on their rune cloth. This “map” allows them to determine what the placement of the runes in a runecast mean. For example, you may wish to have a circle on your cloth. You could consider any rune inside the circle as being something that is near you, and the runes that fall outside the circle could be considered further away from you ( in terms of time, distance etc.). You could consult a book on tea leaf reading, a “map” of the tea cup can be incorporated into your runecasts or painted onto your cloth. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. If you decide to make a rune cloth, I suggest it be as simple and uncluttered as possible. If you choose to include a “map”, bear in mind, the runes should be the main focus of the reading. Rune cloths that are patterned or too busy may detract from your readings by pulling your attention away from the cast.

RUNE POUCH

RUNE POUCH

 

Runes are always kept in a pouch. This is for the obvious reason of keeping them together (you should always have 25 runes),  and it is also a handy way to carry them around. In the rune readings and runecasts I have included, you will notice instructions to “draw” a rune.  Drawing runes directly from the pouch allows the choosing of runes to be done on a subconcious level. (You can’t see them in the pouch.) To enhance the  connection to your subconcious, it is suggested that you draw your runes with your passive hand (left hand if you’re a “righty”, and  right hand if you are a “lefty”). You may wish to put your name (using the runes) on your rune pouch. Or you may wish to make yourself a new one of  a prefered color or size. Feel free to decorate your rune pouch in any way, personal touches on your pouch can only enhance the bond between you and your  runes.

Love and the Use Of Magick

Love and the Use Of Magick

Author:   Gentle Deer Lion Tamer 

In this rambling, I will talk about the ever-present topic of Love Spells and also offer some guidance on the use of any spell, ritual or potion for manipulative purposes. By manipulative purposes, I am referring to a working where the object of said working is not aware it is being done, nor has he or she consented to such a working.

Of course this is only my opinion and it is not intended to embarrass anyone. These are simply my thoughts on a subject that gets batted around quite frequently, so take it for what is worth. From the mail I receive from those who have made or seen these mistakes happen, I’m confident the majority who are experienced in this path shares them.

The primary question one must consider before undertaking any ritual working, especially where Love Magick is concerned is, “Is This Working Consistent With The Basic Tenant of HARM NONE as expressed in The Rede.”

Upon asking yourself the following two questions, you can effectively analyze the reasons to either justify or dismiss the working.

1. What is my intent in performing this work?
2. Is this spell or ritual influenced by anger; hatred; lust; greed; jealousy or envy?

If your answer to question number 1 is found within question number 2, then as a Wiccan and follower of the Light Path, you must abandon this spell or ritual because it will not be consistent with the Rede.

Likewise, if question 1 is answered by question 2 and you continue, you can no longer rightfully call yourself Wiccan. A True Wiccan will not use manipulative magick to negatively influence another for his/her own personal interests.

The whole purpose of following this path is to live in harmony and balance with the natural rhythms of life, not to manipulate them to suit a selfish goal. At this point, you need to refer to yourself as a follower of the Dark Path since manipulative magick for personal gain without consideration of the outcome falls within that realm…

Harsh Words? You Bet…

Does It Make You Uncomfortable?

Good…

By undertaking such an action without the consent or approval of another, you are clearly disregarding the Rede and using your gifts for purely selfish reasons. Therefore, you are setting forces in motion that will ultimately have negative impact in one way or another and you are practicing Dark Magick.

You must remember that once you create and release this energy as a thought form, it will acquire life, form and substance. It will run it’s course, and the final outcome through the laws of cause and effect may not be what you wanted. The potential for great harm to both yourself and others are clearly evident in such a working. This is especially clear when you consider that you will eventually need to absorb this energy back into yourself after it has ruined your life and the lives of who knows how many others…

Let’s Look At a Potential Outcome of Such a Working for a Moment…

You create a Love Spell, focus your energy and release it toward your victim. I use the word victim because that is what you have just made this person if they are unaware of your work and have not given their consent.

Through the laws of magick, your victim begins to fall hopelessly in love with you or the person you performed this spell for. So much so that they become increasingly dependent as time passes. They can no longer function without your presence and guidance. You cannot get a moments peace because they constantly have to be with you. You can no longer function at work because they are calling every ten minutes. They become increasingly jealous, possessive and suspicious because they cannot have all of your time. The list of undesirable effects could go on and on and can become more than a little frightening.

Ultimately, you must ask yourself the following questions. Would “you” want someone doing this to you, and if you truly cared for someone, how could you risk doing something like this to them? In my humble opinion, it does not show a very high regard or respect for others or yourself and the decision on whether or not to proceed is clear.

I caution you that non-consensual Love Magic is a double-edged sword and borders on the manipulation of another human being against their “Free Will”. It is also dangerously close to Psychic Rape and is considered highly unethical by most who practice the Craft.

I hope this has given those who have considered using such practices food for thought. While all may not share my opinion, it illustrates the need to consider all potential outcomes before focusing and releasing a spell.

A Better Solution

A friend who wishes to be known as “Betty” writes this:

A couple of years ago, I was single again after the demise of a long marriage. I was lonely, and hoping I would not spend the rest of my life alone. I had decided to ask the Goddess for help, using my own energies and powers. So, not wanting another not-so-good marriage, I was asking for what qualities in a person I wanted, and asked to be -SENT- someone rather than just find someone. I went outside and performed a ritual under the full moon, by myself. I asked that I be sent -THE RIGHT- person, with no particular idea of who that person would be, or any specific qualities about that person. From my previous marriage, I knew that it was important to me that the person share important things in my life, including my religion, at least in a basic sense.

Well, in a couple of days, I met a new person online. I thought we were writing about our shared interest in folk music. Then, after a little while, first he, then I, admitted that there was more interest than that. One thing led to another there, he came to visit me. He told me that he too, had been doing a simple ritual during that same full moon: Lighting candles, and asking Goddess, “Please Mother, send me someone to love so I don’t spend my life alone”. He ended up staying and sending for his things, and we were later married.

This is a better solution than asking for a specific thing, in a specific way, or especially from a specific person. For one thing, the issue of manipulation completely went away. Instead, the person who was sent was also asking for someone to love, through his own ritual. We did not know each other when we did these rituals.

For another thing, we were both asking for a “right person” for us. In both of our cases, sure, other people (former spouses) believed that we were not “the right person”. We probably weren’t for them. For each other, we may well be. Neither of us is perfect, no one is a “perfect partner” for everyone.

We have always been amused that we were doing these rituals with similar intent, although the specifics of the operation of the rituals were very different at the same time, for the same purpose. Perhaps Goddess runs a “cosmic switchboard” of sorts. When She gets various requests, She just introduces people on some criteria – kind of like a dating service with ALL of the information.

The Natural Witch

The Natural Witch

Author:   Hypatia 

My mother was a natural witch. she died in 1998. She was not a nice witch. She practiced dark magick and was not a good mother. She abandoned me when I was just a child. My father tells me she was powerful and passionate. She would scare him with witchcraft.

The memories I have of her are so intense. I remember she loved nature… but she was a hunter. I remember she had a madness that seemed to plague the thoughts of others. I was four when she left on her journey. I guess it’s where she felt she needed to be.

Me… I stayed and waited… the journey of a four-year-old witch was a rollercoaster ride of emotion, turmoil and eventual discovery.

Even at four I felt different. My whole childhood I felt a strange connections to nature and my dreams. My stepmother used to say I was one with my dreams. I talked, walked and enacted my dreams even as I slept.

I ran away a handful of times. I wanted to find my birth mother. The first time I ran away I was 13. I was chanting on the streets of Long Beach, “I will be fine, no one will hurt me”. I came up to a Jack-in-the-Box and sure enough a large black man (maybe large to me because I was all of 13) offered to buy me fries and a drink and asked me to sit down.

I could tell by his eyes that he was a kind man, intuition mind you that I would begin discounting in my late teens. He knew I was running away and managed to talk me down from my emotional ledge. I walked home at midnight on a busy street across from a strip club with a sense of accomplishment. I may not have found my mother, but at least I was looking.

My parents thought I was strange about nature but put it off onto my Navajo roots. I used to stick my head out the window while my parents were driving to get a better look at trees. I spent hours in forest preserves. I always felt like someone was waiting for me. At first I thought it was my mother. It was, but not any mother I could visualize with my mental database at 13.

At 16, I was pushing my birth mother out, everything about her, especially the fact that she was a witch. Actually, as open-minded as I was, I wasn’t very apt to listening to the nonsense people spewed about witchcraft. I didn’t mock it. Somehow even at a rebellious 16, I was still respectful. I hated her though. I hated what she had done to my father.

At 18, I met and fell in love with a beautiful woman; it was the first time I had ever loved another woman in a romantic way. She was a witch. She was older than me. She was my mentor in many ways. I would laugh though as she would cast spells.

I would think she was ridiculous as she tried to teach me. I was intrigued, and the power was still in me, but the chaos was so strong. I couldn’t pull together a fragment of a thought, let alone try to piece together the history of my people.

My beautiful kept telling me that I was a natural witch. She said I had a power that I didn’t even know how to harness. She said she observed my connections with nature, but abilities to get anything I wanted without hurting people and again… the dreams. I told her I didn’t believe in that voodoo. I slowly pulled away from the first coven that I was ever in, without even knowing I was a part of something real.

It wasn’t until I turned 30 and forgave my birth mother that the Goddess really started to hone in on me. I felt Her everywhere. I craved the outdoors just to be near Her. I saw Her face in everything: the trees, the sky and the ocean. It seemed that even the wind was calling my name.

Still friends with the witch from my childhood, I began to confess my feelings. She smiled and said that she had known all along. She was just waiting for me to be found.

I have always had this power. It is confidence. It is love. It is compassion. And it is so much more. I cannot tell you any more than this. I am a private woman with my craft. I will not even share my name with others. The only person I tell anything to is my friend, and she only hears some things.

My husband doesn’t know. My kids are probably natural witches as well and that is a path they will find on their own. I found it, because the Goddess willed it so. I do not know if secrecy makes my powers stronger, but I figure I have no reason to share my identity with the world. If the Goddess wills it to be, it will be.

I wanted to share my story because I believe that others are like me. My grandfather was touched. My mother was touched. My brother and I are both touched. We never talk about it; but we know.

Maybe every person has the potential to harness such great power, but I know in my heart that the Goddess chose me. She sought me out. She spent 30 years waiting for me to find her. After my discovery I knew that She had been with me all along.

In retrospect, I felt Her with me at 11 while I was running through the meadow in the back of my house. I was a bookworm who never read outside. It was almost like outside is sacred. It was my first altar of sorts. I need this always to be my place of solace.

I respect my Mother, my Goddess, and reciprocate her kindnesses. I will always protect Her, the way She has always protected me.

A Synopsis of Evil

A Synopsis of Evil

Author:   Bryce 

Within the Pagan community, we tend to avoid discussing the topic of evil. While many of us accept the idea of at least some form of karma or retribution, we do not generally dwell in depth on it. Indeed many of us were raised within the “mainstream” religions that focused all too much on the topics of sin and Satan. Thus we try to stray from these concepts and instead focus on the “brighter” side of things.

Yet as human beings, we cannot deny that there is a certain level of evil and negativity in our world. We also cannot reject the simple truth that we ourselves often take part in such acts. So how do we, as Pagans, react to this concept? How can we come to understand it and combat it?

Now I cannot and would never tell you what to believe. Spirituality is a journey, and we must come to accept it and understand it on our own terms. Thus what I have provided here is my understanding of evil. If you agree with it, that is wonderful. If you cannot quite accept it, that is just as well. Either way it is my intention that this perspective will give you new-found strength in dealing with and understanding evil in your own life.

What Is Evil?

Over the millennia, evil as accrued many different titles, the most popular of which among the Western World is sin. However no matter by which name you call evil, its nature is the same. Evil is the conscious choice to turn ourselves away from the Divine. We hear this a lot in Christianity under the summary that “sin separates us from God.” While this is true, for Pagans it is not quite the whole of it.

Many Pagans view the Divine as being within Creation. Thus the Creator and its Creation are one. In this light, then, the meaning of evil begins to take on a new identity for Pagans. While evil separates us from the Divine, it moreover separates us from our Divine-selves. This self is the Divine spark that lies within us and connects us to the great All. Thus in choosing to commit evil, to act so that we go against this notion of solidarity, we cut ourselves off from the Divinity within us.

In accordance with this, we now have a Pagan understanding of evil: a choice that fails to recognize our Oneness and thus separates us from our Divine-selves.

How Does Evil Exist?

If we can accept that the Creator is within its Creation, therefore making it one, we encounter another puzzling question: If the Divine is perfection and the perfection is here, how can evil exist within it? In truth, the answer to this question is the same as what prompted it.

The Divine is within everything, including us. As such, the Divine seeks to work through us that we and others may come to experience it. Thus we, and all other life, are co-creators of our own reality. However we are different from other life on this planet in that we are reasoning beings; as humans we have the ability to decipher what is right and wrong.

This gives us options: we can choose to work for the betterment of Creation, or we can choose to work only for ourselves. It is when we choose the latter that we allow evil into our lives, for no longer are we working for the Whole but only the singular.

What Prompts Evil?

Only we can ultimately decide to allow evil into our lives and our world. Yet we know that there is a certain prompting, a certain push toward evil that is often involved in our choices. Like evil, this too has been known by many titles, such as Satan and demons. However I would like to present a revised understanding of this concept, one that does not view it as a being but rather as a natural human condition.

In the natural world, both energy and matter flow through the path of least resistance. The human psyche seeks to do the same. It wishes to follow by the easiest path in order to get what it desires. However this route is not always the best, and we may end up harming others. Therefore, while we are provoked to do what is most convenient, we must remember that we are reasoning beings. We must do what is right rather than what is easy. If we fail in this, then we allow evil to enter our lives.

For example, while it may be easier to steal the apple rather than paying for it, we must use our reasoning abilities to discern what the just path is.

How Is Evil Combated?

This is a question that has been tried and tested over many thousands of years. From confessing your sins to a priest to allowing an aesthetic Yogi to pay for your wrongs, religions the world over have found their own ways to eradicate their practitioners’ evil. Yet what about in Paganism? What do we have that allows us to move beyond this state and back into alignment with our Divine-selves?

Most of us would say that we have some understanding of karma and that we will pay for our evil acts. However, while this may help us recognize them, it does not necessarily get us to move beyond these actions. To do that, I believe that we must look again at a reoccurring theme in this essay: Oneness.

If we accept that the Divine is within Creation, we must accept that it is also within evil. To absolve evil from us and from our world, then, we must seek the Divine within it. If we allow ourselves to revisit our acts and instances of wrongdoing, we can invite the Divine into these experiences and look for its messages and teachings.

There is something to be learned in everything, even the most heinous of crimes. If we open ourselves up to these Divine lessons, we can pass them on not only to ourselves but to others as well; thus we can help prevent the same evil from being reintroduced into our world. And it is in this act that we leave behind our evil, our sin – for we have turned it from selfish evil to love that will benefit the Whole.

The Great Irony

There is a great irony in all of this, of course. While evil may be done, it can never prevail. Energy spent on evil is useless, for it ultimately benefits no one. As we can tell from the natural world, Creation abhors anything useless and therefore makes it useful, whether it is through the decaying of dead organisms or the evolution of a species. Thus it is with evil. It is useless, but the Divine may make it useful in the form of lessons and teachings. Therefore the only way that evil can ever win is if we, the reasoning co-creators of our reality, let it.

My Advice

What I have presented here is a summary of my thoughts on and reasoning behind the concept of evil. Whether you accept all or any of it is up to you. However, this is my hope for you: take your negatives and create them into positives. Live life not by what you have done but rather by what you have learned. Above all remember that in the Divine—no matter how you perceive it—all things are possible.

Slán leat

The Witches Spell for December 30th: A POWERFUL WISH SPELL

Witchy Comments & Graphics

      A POWERFUL WISH SPELL

This is a little complicated to describe but is well worth it.

You need a piece of recycled paper (recycled notebook paper works fine).

On the paper, write a short poem or chant to the Goddess and God that states your wish.

It is alright if you aren’t the best poet on earth! But it is very important that you say exactly         how you feel and what exactly you need. Do your best and say it from the heart.

Close the poem with thanks to the Goddess and God.

Fold it in half with the words inside it.

Draw a triple goddess sign on the outside.

Now fold it in half again with the symbol on the inside.

Now draw a pentacle on the paper.

Finally, flip it over and write your name and birthdate on the other side.

Put this aside in a safe place and your wish will come true in due time.

If you change your mind before it comes true, burn the paper and put the ashes to the earth.

Pagan Lite: Being A Non-Magical Witch in A Magical World

Pagan Lite: Being A Non-Magical Witch in A Magical World

Author:   Charmed Boy 

This article is one I had hoped to put off writing for a while. It is a continuation of sorts to the first article I wrote entitled When Walking The Path…Wear Shoes.I am what I call a “non-magical” Witch. I don’t cast spells or perform elaborate rituals. That may be fine for most of my Pagan brothers and sisters but it’s not really my thing.

I first realized magic and spells weren’t my thing when I attended the last Samhain celebration hosted by my friend Fran. As many who have read my first article know, Fran was the High Priestess of a group here in Arkansas called Net-per-netjer which means “beautiful house of the Gods.” Fran was an amazing woman. She meant business when she donned the crown of Isis and acted as High Priestess and conducted rituals. She also cared about the people who attended the celebrations.

I remember one occasion; it was after ritual. Fran had made a delicious feast of ham and colcannon. My father and I had both attended but my father preferred to observe from outside of the circle. He’s not Pagan but he is very supportive of my choice of faith. Fran made sure everyone ate. I was sitting in the front room watching a movie when I heard Fran’s voice from the kitchen.

“Chuck! Where is your father?”

I shrugged. “I think he’s in the car.”

My father is the type of person who doesn’t like to get into other people’s way when they are doing things like ritual. Fran frowned.

“Tell your father to come in and eat something.”

I went out and got him. Fran made sure he ate before we left. That’s just the kind of person Fran was. Always concerned with the welfare of others. After that, Fran and I didn’t see each other. Not because there was an animosity between us but because we both had things going on in our lives. We e-mailed and spoke on the phone quite a lot.

One day last year I sent an e-mail to Fran just to say hi and see how she was. I got a reply from her husband informing me that Fran had passed away. I miss Fran very much. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her and the good times we shared. Attending those rituals made me realize that, that sort of thing wasn’t what I wanted.

I took some time for meditation and reflection to decide if being a Witch and Pagan was really for me. I walked in the woods near my house and listened to the birds and the wind as it blew through the trees. During these walks I posed questions to myself. Do I really need to practice magic and perform rituals to consider myself a Witch and Pagan? Do I really need all the trappings that go along with it, such as candles and incense and athames? Where am I meant to be? I asked the Goddess and Fran for guidance. I asked them to speak to me and give me a sign if this is the path I am meant to be on.

One day I went out for one of my walks when WHAM!! The answer hit me like a ton of bricks: You don’t need to practice magic or perform rituals to honor the Goddess and or God.

I have spoken to other Pagans and Wiccans who have told me that if you don’t practice magic and do rituals you ‘can’t really call yourself a Witch and Pagan’. I believe differently. The definition of “Witch” as I understand it means “wise one” and “knowledge seeker” and that Pagan means “country dweller” I believe we are all Witches and Pagans, regardless if we cast spells and perform rituals… or choose not to.

I have come to realize things about my faith and myself. I am both a Witch and Pagan and am very proud of that fact. I wear my Pentacle with pride. Whenever a Pagan holiday or Full Moon comes around, I pray, make an offering of thanks to the Goddess… and that is pretty much it. No muss, no fuss. For many other Pagans and Wiccans, the lighting of candles and incense, the chanting and casting of a circle adds to the enjoyment of ritual, and that is awesome. I believe everyone should be able to do his or her own thing, whatever that may be. Goddess knows, I don’t have the right to judge someone by what they do or don’t do.

Occasionally I’ll read an article on Witchvox.com about performing ritual and working magic. Want to know what is magical to me? Standing outside on a cool night when the moon is full in the night sky and glows like a big orange night light. Talking to my best friend on the phone and hearing the sound of her laugh. Seeing the sparkle in my godson’s eyes when he is excited about something. Stepping outside in the wintertime and smelling the sharp, fresh, cold scent of the air and seeing the freshly falling snow on the ground. Seeing the leaves in the Fall change color from green to red and orange and yellow. Smelling the scent of burning leaves and wood. Eating handfuls of candy corn. Sipping hot apple cider on a cold October day while going on a hayride with my dad. Feeling the power and ancientness of All Hallow’s Eve. These are my rituals. This is my magic. This is the way I honor the Goddess.

Do I believe those who do cast spells and perform rituals are wrong? Of course not. Fran did, and seeing the joy and power it brought into her life was an amazing thing to witness. When I am asked what my choice of religion is and I tell them “I am a Witch”, the child within me claps his hands and squeals with glee. I laugh whenever someone asks me if I fly around on a broom. I smile and say “No but I wish I could. It would make getting from one place to another a lot more exciting!”

In all seriousness, I am very proud to call myself a Witch. Walking the path I have been walking for the past 12 years has made me the person I am today. I am a little wiser and a lot more compassionate and forgiving. I am humbled and honored daily by the compassion and endless love the Goddess has shown me. We are all her children, regardless of how we choose to honor her. I cherish the Pagan and Wiccan friends I have made, especially Fran. She will live on in my heart and in my memory forever.

In closing, to all my Witchy brothers and sister out there I say this to you: Be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t let others tell you your way of worshipping the Goddess and God is wrong. Wear your Pentacle with pride! These are indeed magical times!

Blessed Be!

Can You Think Like A Witch?

Can You Think Like A Witch?

Author:   T.L.   

There has always been a strong connection between Witches and Fairies known to all students who study Fairy lore. Several Pagan traditions have come to choose the term Fairy (or Faerie or Faery or Feri) as a result of Fairy mythology and scholarly research regarding Fairies in the past. In the late 1990’s, the year before her death, my 90-year-old paternal aunt, Nina Sutter, told me that our ancestors who lived in Mecosta County, Michigan, were Fairies. She also told me that “those people all stuck together” and that they were “like the Indians.” Because of what she told me and other family memorabilia I have, I believe it is possible that Wicca is a survival religion associated with Fairies. At the time my aunt spoke to me, I do not think she knew what a Fairy might be—just that this was something she was told and something that she sensed was important. I knew nothing about Wicca at that time, and I did not know what a Fairy was either. Several years went by before I figured it out what she was talking about.

My paternal great-grandmother, Alta Isadore Gould (born in 1851) published a book of story-length Civil War poems in 1894. The Veteran’s Bride And Other Poems was very popular for its day, going through five editions (and six printings) in four years. Gould integrates Wiccan symbolism in various ways within her published stories that are best understood within the context of their underlying themes, that include the myths of the Wheel of the Year, the myth of the Dying God, the Missing Cauldron of Cerridwen, and Hestia of the Hearth. When I realized that my great-grandmother’s book was about Wicca, I finally was able to figure out what it meant to have ancestors who were Fairies.

Gould’s metaphors are enhanced by hidden Wiccan symbols within each of her nine engravings. My aunt showed me one of those symbols—an “athame” hidden as a spire at the top of an arch in one of the engravings—except that she called it a “knife.” I do not think she knew the purpose of the “knife, ” just as she did not know the significance of “Fairy.” The knife was just something she had been shown and something she sensed was important. My aunt showed me the knife, just like her mother showed her the knife, just like her mother showed her the knife. This transfer of knowledge from my great-grandmother, to my grandmother, to my aunt, to me, shows that the knife was consciously positioned as a spire in Gould’s engravings and its presence is not just a matter of interpretation.

It is the culmination of Gould’s writing, her engravings, and other memorabilia I have regarding her life that makes me believe all of what my aunt said was true. My aunt was an honest woman, a Methodist, who would have had no motive for aligning the family with Paganism. The fact that she embraced these sparse memories in her old age, and wanted to share what little she knew with me before she died, shows she harbored warm feelings regarding this facet of our family’s history, and speaks positively of Wicca.

Obviously, I do not know what it means to have ancestors who say they were Fairies. More importantly, I do not know what being Fairies meant to them. It is possible that Alta Gould’s own ancestors, just like founders of Pagan traditions today, chose the term Fairy to describe themselves and created their own Witch-religion as a sort of secret society that encompassed all aspects of their lives. Theoretically, if there were multiple pockets of people similar to Gould’s group scattered throughout America, Canada, and Europe, perhaps something like this is the Witch-religion that Gerald Gardner ultimately was exposed to.

One good thing about social media is that participants do not have to yield to some higher authority in order to have their stories told. Currently, experts in Wicca claim there is no hard evidence that Wicca existed before Gerald Gardner–but it is hard to visualize what the hard evidence they seek might be. Although I do not have a stone tablet of Wiccan runes spelling out its history, or an ancient, crumbling Wiccan charter retrieved from a locked vault, the limited evidence that I do have is very real. It involves interpretation of texts, symbols, photos, and memorabilia, and is the closest and best thing to hard evidence of a Witch-religion prior to Gardner that, I believe, exists to date. One might critically say that my interpretation of these texts, symbols, objects, and memorabilia are just one of many. But the truth is, not all interpretations are equal. Some interpretations are better than others—and my interpretations are good, solid, and apparent. Interpreting texts, objects, and family histories has long been a tried, true, and accepted way of learning about the past and of doing research.

Even the work Ronald Hutton engages in involves interpretation. There is not (and never will be) a long buried stone tablet affirming that Wiccan imagery comes from the Romantic poets. Even though he will never find “hard” evidence to support his thesis, his research nevertheless is interesting. I know that I am not Ronald Hutton—far from it. But, on the other hand, Ronald Hutton’s aunt did not tell him that his ancestors were Fairies, and his great-grandmother did not write a book with an interwoven Wiccan subtext.

The biggest problem with my research is that first someone has to actually read it. I have written a book (Remembering A Faery Tradition: A Case Of Wicca In Nineteenth-Century America) . I am not a professional academic, but I did the best that I could to write about my discoveries and place them within an interesting context. I am sure my book has many faults, but my main message is very tangible. Also, I have made a web site that discusses much of my research and includes a chapter from my book. It is not a professional web site, but it serves a function. I have items and photos and letters that someone else, beside myself, would have to look at. Finally, and most importantly, someone else besides myself would have to read my great-grandmother’s book, front to back, perhaps several times, with a critical eye. If you understand how poetry is written and how metaphor is used, and if you are Wiccan, and if you are able to think like a Witch (surviving within a Christian culture) , you should be able to understand her poetry.

Social media allows me to put all of this “out there” whether anyone ever looks at it or not in current time. Perhaps someday new information will come out that will cause some other researcher to want to look at my research, and then my research might either provide a lead or confirm another finding. Perhaps there are other people, like myself, whose ancestors described themselves as Fairies, who will recognize some of the things that I talk about in my research, and then go public with their information also. Even though it seems that there is not even a small audience interested in the history of Wicca in America—for myself it has been exhilarating, thought-provoking, and a whole lot of fun.