Invoking the Holly King

Greenman Comments & Graphics=

Today we do bid Hail to our beloved Holly King
With these ancient carols, we do again sing
He who is called Father Christmas is returning yet again
As the Solstice’s longest night has finally begun
We await you, Santa Claus, Lord of Winter
To honor you on this day that you always were
Saint Nicholas, patron of children on Gaia’s sphere
This invocation, we pray you do hear
Come bless us, upon this season of the Yuletide
Great Holly King as you fly upon your sleigh ride
Whether your gifts to us be physical or spiritual
We know that they will always be most magical
Grateful, because we know your blessings’ great worth
We offer a blessing of our own — Peace on Earth!

by Ginger Strivelli

Gypsy Magic

The Holly King Presents Christmas’s Pagan Origins

The Holly King Presents Christmas’s Pagan Origins

Early Solstice Celebration

The original reason for the season is the Winter Solstice. Solstice is a word from the Latin that meaning “stands still”. For six days at this time, the sun appears to stand still on the horizon. This was a time of uncertainty and mystery as people wondered if indeed the sun would return. When it did year and year again, festivals grew up in just about every place and culture. Even today in our modern indoor society the Solstice continues to be a time of celebration across the world. The theme of light emerging from darkness is universal at this time of year.

In primitive societies the priests and shamans were most certainly the astronomers. Knowledge of the mathematical calculations needed to calculate the time of the Solstices would be seen as high magic in these cultures. From New Grange in Ireland to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, to the great solar temples of Egypt, peoples developed elaborate sacred sites to track the movement of the Sun across the sky and to note the times of the Solstices. Stonehenge is the most famous of the solar calculators and its construction is one of the great unsolved mysteries.

The celebration of Horus or Ra the Sun in ancient Egypt involved decorating with greenery especially palm branches with twelve fronds and directly linked the Sun God to the natural rhythms of the Sun in the sky.

The Solstice time in Babylon was Zagmuk. The Babylonians incorporated their Sun god Marduk who defeated the Monsters of Chaos during this dark and shadowy time. This holiday introduced the idea of the struggle between good and bad; continued today in the magical persona of a Santa Claus who uses the granting of presents or coal and switches to judge children.

The festival of Sacaea continued this theme. The Persians and later the Greeks celebrated the reversal of order that was stirred up by Kallikantzaroi, mischievous imps who roamed about during the twelve days of Sacaea. These imps had a darker side than the elves Santa associates with today.

In Rome the major festival for this time of year was Saturnalia, the birthday of the Roman God Saturn. This festival was celebrated from December 17-24. This holiday included pig sacrifice and gift exchange and was followed by the Kalends an early January celebration of the New Year where houses were decorated with greenery and lights. Both of which are usually still up on New Year’s Day in modern America.

The Norse, largely independently arrived at a similar holiday that bears the closest resemblance to the modern celebrations and unlike the Celts and many others, made this a major holiday. We can thank them for the word Yule that still is used interchangeably with Christmas by many contemporary persons. We can also thank them for the traditions of caroling, the Yule log and the first custom of bringing an entire evergreen into the house. It is fitting that this would be a major holiday for those who lived so far north that the winter nights literally swallowed the days in the time directly before Solstice.

Modern Solstice Celebrations

Christmas: The earliest record of a Christmas celebration was in Rome in 336 CE. Pope Liberus in 354 CE placed the holiday on December 25. The Armenian Church still celebrates on Jan 6. The holiday remains an almost universal celebration around the World. Many people participant in the cultural elements of Christmas to a much greater extent than the religious. Unfortunately Christmas has come to represent consumerism in our society with many stores and businesses dependent on large sales this time of year. Many Christians are trying to reestablish the religious aspects of the season by moving away from large scale elaborate gifting and returning to homemade and personal services gifting. Many see this as an environmental imperative as well as a religious one. There is also a movement towards joint celebrations with many other spiritual seasonal celebrations to allow us all to experience the diversity of spiritual experience as well as the Christian teachings of peace and good will towards all.

But even as Christmas seems to be everywhere it is important to remember that other solar festivals remain and new ones have been established.

Pagan Yule: The word Yule is from the Scandinavian word Jul meaning ‘wheel’. Many pagans honor the turning wheel at this time. Many Wiccans honor the theme from the Celts: they see Yule as the time of battle between the aging Holly King and the young Oak King. Others may use the Greek myth of Persephone and the Underworld to enact the theme of dark giving way to light. Still others see the waning God passing to the waxing Goddess.

For many Wiccans Yule is a lesser Sabot: with Beltane and Samhain being more significant. Common celebrations involve all night bon fires, Yule log rituals, and rituals celebrating the return of the light with large numbers of candles. Drumming, chanting and ecstatic dancing are often a part of these rituals as they tend to be in all Wiccan and Neo-Pagan rituals. Many Norse Pagans or the other hand see Yule as the major festival, a time for swearing oaths, toasting and boasting.

Solstice/ Midwinter Night: Celebrated by many neo-Pagans, New Agers, and even by some atheists we see new traditions are arising out of the old. They may borrow liberally from many older traditions and add to them with new traditions. It may be elaborate ritual or a simple bonfire to celebrate the returning sun. It may have religious or spiritual connotations or it may just be a cultural celebration. People are finding old and new ways to celebrate with friends and family.

Hanukkah (Chanukah) : This eight day festival of lights celebrates a victory by a small Jewish army, led by Judah Maccabee over the Assyrian Greeks in the second century BC. After regaining their right to worship in the temple they had only enough sacred oil to last a short time. Myth has it that the oil miraculously burned for eight days straight. The festival is celebrated by lighting the menorah candles each night until all are lit. Gifts are exchanged and seasonal food shared. Gelt, which is chocolate or real money, is often given. A dreidel or four-sided top is also a popular gift and game to be played. Latkes or potato pancakes are often served.

Kwanzaa. This modern holiday was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, an American academic to celebrate the African roots of Afro-Americans. The word is from Swahili and translated to ‘first fruits’. Seven candles, one black and three each of red and green are lit each night for the seven principles of Kwanzaa. These principles are Unity, Self-determination, Collective work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. Other symbols are the colors of red (struggle) black (unity) and green (future) from flag created by Marcus Garvey at the beginning of the century, the unity cup, the candleholder for the candles, which is called the Kinara

Common Elements of Solstice Celebrations

Child of Wonder, Child of Light

A great many of the winter solstice festivals celebrate the birth of a wonder child. The child, especially a magical child represents hope and rebirth embodied.

The child is almost always a male and is often the result of a non-ordinary birth. The divine feminine is usually embodied in the birth and the Madonna/goddess image of fertility is often a part of the symbology.

Osiris, the Egyptian Sun god underwent death, dismemberment and resurrection yearly with the travels of the Sun and the rise and fall of the Nile River and thus the fertility of the area. In his guise as Horus he was the sun as well as the son. Pictured sitting on the lap of his mother Isis, his portrait is very reminiscent of the Christian Madonna with child images and is one of the earliest children of promise.

In ancient Greek myth the son god Attis was born in a cave around the time of Solstice and was the son of the Goddess Cybel or Isis. Attis grew to full strength with the sun and was yearly cut down to be reborn.

While Saturn was the sun god for whom Saturnalia, the great Roman solar festival was celebrated for, another god Mithras who was worshiped well (6th Century BC) before but then contemporarily (second century BC to fifth century CE) with Jesus. Mithras was also born in a cave of a virgin and later went through death and resurrection. Because Mithras was worshiped by Emperor Constantine before his conversation to Christianity he may be a more direct influence on the Christian story as well as the date since Mithras’ birthday was celebrated on December 25.

Even in North American among the Huron along the northern shore of Lake Ontario, a child of wonder named Deganawidah was born of a virgin. This child was sent by the Great Spirit as a messenger to bring peace to humankind. He traveled among the tribes and is credited with founding the Iroquois Confederacy. It is believed that he too will return to Earth at the time of greatest need. This is a clear parallel to the return of King Arthur and the Second Coming of Chris and would indicate that the story is an archetypal myth shared by humans all around the world.

Santa and other Father Winters

Is Santa a Shamanic concept? Many pictures of northern Shaman are very similar to woodland Santas — both ancient and modern. He appears in long fur robes, often with Bells and is often an older man. The Shaman works both in the spiritual realm and in the material sphere. The Shaman climbed the world tree to bring back gifts of spiritual knowledge as well as calling the herds to supply food and materials for the material lives of his people. Often he went up the smoke hole, the early chimney at night probably in trance, possibly with the herd of reindeer that supported his clan.

Like the Shaman, Santa embodies magic and mystery, the spirit of nature as well as universal human values of caring and generosity. The word Shaman is a Siberian word and this is the land of the reindeer. In his Primitive Mythology, Joseph Campbell describes a legendary Shaman who received his enlightenment in the nest of a winged reindeer in a tree, which was thought to reach the heavens.

There were also Goddesses who rode sleighs and delivered gifts. The Norse goddess Freya rode a chariot pulled by stags.

The life and legends of the Christian St. Nickolas continues the magic of the Shaman. As a young man St. Nickolas traveled to the holy land and on his way back was blown around in a storm and ended upon the coast of Lyca near Myra. He went to pray at the nearest church where the bishop was retiring. One member of the convocation (committee) to choose a new Bishop had had a vision that the new Bishop would be coming to the church and his name would be Nickolas. Arriving as he did the boy was made Bishop of Myra. After serving a prison term under the Romans, young St. Nickolas participated in the decision of Pope Liberus to make Dec 25 the official date of the birth of Christ and the celebration of Christmas. He was a generous man who gave much to the poor of Myca through out the year but especially around Christmas. He was also a Christian Shaman whose miracles that lead to his sainthood was bring back to life and form three boys who had been chopped up and boiled in a pot for stealing.

Modern Santas: Our modern image of Santa in a red suit can be traced to Thomas Nast, an amazing commercial artist of the 19th century. He developed Santa for President Lincoln as well as the Donkey and Elephant of the Democrats and Republicans. His illustration was used in New Yorker publication of Clement Moore’s famous poem, T’was the Night Before Christmas.

Coca Cola: Haddon Sunblom popularized most common image of the modern global culture in 1931.

Contemporary Santas: Even today the image of Santa grows and expands to fill hopes and dreams of all children. Modern Santas of all races and nationalities join woodland and other artist Santas to adorn homes and businesses. Woodland Santas stand on store shelves beside Santas who play golf, surf, and just about any activity you can imagine. Some even have electronic movement and sound.

Evergreens: The obvious symbol of eternal life, green when all else is barren and brown. Evergreens were probably held sacred very early in human prehistory. Again the palm fronds in Egypt and the greening during the Kalends are recorded examples.

The Christmas tree: In the sixth century it is said that the Christian St. Boniface cut down a sacred oak to spite local druids. As the tree fell, it crushed everything in its path except one cedar. He declared it a miracle and that the tree belonged to the Christ child. This is often cited as an example of cultural assimilation of Pagan religious symbology for political purposes.

Hanging of the greens: Decorating with evergreens was first noted in Egypt. It was also popular during the roman Saturnalia and Kalends. The Norse also brought in evergreens for decoration during the long snowy winters. Where Christmas is celebrated, the evergreens are often used to mark the start of the season, which is longer than any of the preceding cultures, now beginning shortly after Halloween and withering out sometime in middle January, marked mainly by clearance sales.

Holly: A symbol from the Celts, the male symbol of rebirth is again an evergreen, this time with red berries. A plant of protection, holly is the symbol of the god of the dark year.

Mistletoe: Mistletoe may have first been used in the Greek winter ceremonies. The Norse legend said it was blessed with luck and fertility by the goddess Frigga after Balder, her son, was shot by Loki, the dark and mischievous imp god, with an arrow of mistletoe. Her tears restored him to life and fell also on the mistletoe giving it magical properties. Mistletoe was also sacred to the Druids. As it dried, it became the golden bough, symbolic of both sun and moon, of the male and female mysteries.

Winged Goddesses, Angels and Elves: These range from representations of the Goddess Iris to the Catholic Holy Spirits. From the many spirits of the holy host to Santa’s magical elves these winged fairies bring another element of the mischievous imps to our Solstice season.

Madonna: The female remains firmly in the season, firmly eternal throughout the turning of the wheel, the force of nature herself. Her consort, son, partner going through continual birth and rebirth is the wonder child.

Yule log: This harks back to the importance of fire during the darkness of winter. A whole tree was burned during the Greek festival of Sacaea to scar away the Kallikantzuroi (mischievous imps) . The familiar Yule log was a Norse tradition adopted by the Christians. In early America there was a custom “freedom of the Yule, ” a week off for slaves and savants while the Yule log burned. “Firewood as wet as a Yule log” was a saying that this custom generated.

These are many of the ancient legends of the Solstice, which have been important in the development of our modern holiday celebration. As modern spiritual seekers we are borrowing from and saving the old ways while we create new ways. We take what is significant to us and add to it, creating personal, family and community traditions. There are kids, stories, and magick as the Sun and Son once again returns!

Daily Feng Shui Tip for December 7 – ‘Letter Writing Day’

It’s a perfect time to start a campaign since it’s ‘Letter Writing Day.’ If you’re planning on penning a letter to Santa, then by all means write it in red ink. And don’t forget to seal it in a red envelope as well. According to Feng Shui, both of these actions activate energies of fortune and luck. Speaking of sealing, forget about doing that with a kiss and try this next empowering method instead. When the letter has been signed and sealed, place it on a table that’s covered with a big black cloth. Pour salt around the letter so it forms a silver circle and then visualize that the note will work wonders for you. Fold the cloth to cover the letter and kiss the folds while sending rays of pink love from your heart to this now mystical memo. Release the letter and send it on its merry way! Soon enough you should see your own special delivery!

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

The Snow Maiden

The Snow Maiden

(Russia)

Many readers will already be familiar with the tale of the Snow Maiden. It come to us from Old Russia, a land of sparkling forests and frozen palaces. The tale begins, as do so many folktales the world over, with an old childless couple. They are poor and devoutly religious (poverty and piety being de riguer for old childless couples in folktales). While cutting wood in the forest, they take a break to build a snegourochka, a little girl made of snowballs. Lo and behold, the snegourochka comes to life, and she is everything the old couple ever dreamed of in a daughter. She is pretty, respectful and well dressed in fancy boots, cloak and diamond tiara. She helps out around the house and conveniently for her elderly parents, she’s bypassed the diaper stage.

The storyteller would have us believe that this Snow Maiden is a gift from God, a reward for the old couple’s unwavering faith. Given the outcome of the story, however, the exercise seems cruel and pointless in God’s part. For Snegourochka is not a child of flesh but of snow. In some versions of the story, she crumples at the first sign of spring. In others, she lasts until Midsummer, only to be vaporized by the St. John’s Day fires. A few writers hint at the possibility that, like Frosty, she’ll be back again someday, but this is a modern gloss. When the girl is gone, she’s gone and the old couple is left with nothing but a soggy patch of forest floor.

No doubt it was a witch and not an angel hiding behind one of the snowclad fir trees in the forest that day–perhaps Baba Yaga or one of those pesky German witches flown over from the west. “Be careful what you wish for, “ she might have cackled to herself as she worked her magick over the doomed little snegourochka.

Excerpt from:

The Snow People
Linda Raedisch
Lllewellyn’s 2012 Witches’ Companion
An Almanac for Everyday Living

About.com: 12 Days of Yule Devotionals (Day 1)

About.com
Day 1: A Prayer to the Earth at Yule                              
Patti Wigington
From Patti Wigington, your Guide to Paganism /Wicca                                                                           
Welcome to the 12 Days of Yule Devotionals! We’ll begin today by taking a moment to honor the earth at the time of the Winter Solstice.
A Prayer to the Earth at Yule                            

Just because the earth is cold doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on down there in the soil. Think about what lies dormant in your own life right now, and consider what may bloom a few months from now.

 

Cold and dark, this time of year, the earth lies dormant, awaiting the return of the sun, and with it, life. Far beneath the frozen surface, a heartbeat waits, until the moment is right, to spring.

Additional Reading                            

Cultures around the world have celebrated the winter solstice for eons, and each has its own unique set of traditions. Take a moment today to get to learn about some of the customs of winter.
Tomorrow: A Sunrise Prayer for Yule                            

                                        This email is written by:                                                                      Patti Wigington                                                          Paganism / Wicca Guide                                        

The Secret of the Witch

The Secret of the Witch

Author: Lady Lira

Keeping something a secret is sometimes one of the hardest things a person might have to do, especially if it’s a really big, juicy, important secret.

Like being a witch.

It’s tough to hide part of who you are, but the fact is large sums of pagans out there have to do it every day. Perhaps your co-worker is a Druid, or your classmate is a Wiccan. Maybe your Aunt Marge is a Hedge Witch, or that stranger walking down the street is a Shaman. You may never know it, even when they’re staring you right in the face…all because they keep it a secret.

I, like most pagans, have to live with the secret that I am studying the Magickal Arts. My mom is aware that I’ve dabbled in a bit of Wicca, and goddess bless her open-minded soul, but it’s not a topic that I’m too eager to bring up at dinner-time, since she’s not too fond of religious discussions. But except for her, I keep my secret hidden from the rest of the world, afraid that I’ll be beaten down for my ‘offbeat’ interests.

I was raised Christian, since the majority of the family followed that faith though it wasn’t long before I (and my mother) began to fade away from the church (I was probably about eleven at the time) . Eventually we became agnostic, though it took a while before the guilt of not believing in the Bible eased up. I found myself feeling lost and confused with no solid beliefs, and often wondered about those heavy universal questions: “How?” and “Why?”

I was so frustrated with the world, and I couldn’t seem to sort out what was truth and what was just a bunch of woven lies.

Growing up, even in a Christian family, I had always adored magic (k) and fantasy. I was always the kid who wanted to believe in something a little longer than she should, like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. I was the avid Harry Potter Fan, even though my grandma looked down begrudgingly on its witchly contents. In my heart, I knew it was all real to some degree. It HAD to be real…the magic (k) , the wonder, the dreams of a young child. Because if it wasn’t…then I would have lost a part of my soul.

It wasn’t until a year and a half ago that I came across the workings of real Witchcraft. A good online friend admitted to me the experiences she went through as a young teen Wiccan- the fun and wonder it brought her, but also the terrible mockery and discrimination she faced.

That night I decided to Google ‘Wicca’ and ‘Witchcraft’ and I found pages and pages of beliefs and a wealth of information. Wicca and all its forms (from Fae and Draconic to Gardnerian and Alexandrian and all the versions in between) , Druidry, Shamanism, Dianic, Minoan, Eclectic… the list went on forever! I couldn’t believe it! All these different religions, and they all practice magick? Real, actual magick? Plus they tied in with my growing love of ancient mythology!

I was enthralled, intrigued, and deliriously delighted beyond my wildest and craziest dreams. I had stumbled upon the secret, the part of myself that I would mask from my friends and classmates. I’d discovered the occult arts, “The knowledge of the hidden, ” as it translates. I was back on the path to spiritual enlightenment, and very excited (Well, it was more like I was wandering through the woods, edging clumsily toward the path) . I looked into Wicca more closely, and found was one of the closest religions I had found yet that complimented my personality. I’ve been on and off then on again in my study, learning what I can, when I can, always tempted by the oh-so-fascinating and mysterious subject.

My Wondrous Path So Far: I keep a tiny composition notebook wrapped in rustic brown paper that serves as an inconspicuous Book of Shadows, and any form of an altar is yet to be set up. I’m still trying to discover what Gods and Goddesses I will follow, but that is all part of my journey in finding my path and myself. As far as any books involving Wicca or Witchcraft… they are allowed to rest freely on my rickety wooden shelf, except when company stops by for an over-night visit. Sometimes I feel more comfortable hiding them away under the bed or a crummy sofa cushion just to avoid any awkward questions.

It’s not something I want to hide, the fact that I started studying witchcraft, but I feel its necessary in my time and place, at least for now. I’m dominated by a school world ruled by the concept of Bully vs. Victim, a hub where even the slightly weird, unique, or unordinary are picked on and laughed at.

It can be like that even in the adult world, which leads to the main reason why so many prefer to study in secret rather than express themselves out in the open: It’s the fear of not being accepted, or being “disowned” by your extra faithful Christian family. It’s the the worry that maybe your friends will give you a funny look or your boyfriend will call you crazy. No one wants to feel ashamed or un-liked, so in many cases, it is easer to simply keep silent.

I congratulate those who are brave enough to proclaim their faith, and I remind those of you who have open-minded and accepting friends, family, or coven members that you are very fortunate. I end here by saying that though it may be a secret now, it is also one of the greatest gifts. Perhaps one day soon I will able to feel more comfortable and open about discussing my ambitious pursuit of magickal knowledge.

As I continue to learn and explore the Craft, I continue to grow as a person…

And I continue to hold the secret of the witch.

‘The Magic is Real!’ (Sometimes We Just Need To Be Reminded.)

‘The Magic is Real!’ (Sometimes We Just Need To Be Reminded.)

Author: Lodestone & Lady’s Mantle

Do you remember the day when you forgot? What was it? Was it when you felt like the last person to learn there wasn’t a Santa Claus? Was it that one day the magic failed? Was it even a single moment? Did you just stop seeing “Them”? Be it ghosts, fairies, elementals, or that invisible friend that faded after countless therapy sessions, it’s one of the biggest stumbling blocks I’ve discovered with the modern practitioner.

We’ve forgotten.

We embrace the religion and forget that what it stands for is even there: The Magic is Real. We pray when in need, we dance under the moon when the space allows, and we burn our candles, but when was the last time you saw the magic working? We celebrate the festivals, we check our astrological charts, we burn incense or sage and sweet grass, but there’s something missing for so many that something needs must be said.

The Magic is Real.

There’s probably three people in our community that haven’t seen “What the Bleep” or that ‘secret’ movie, but the rest of us can see how even science is telling us it exists. It may be wrapped in reduced expectations of magic, but it’s still there. Jung theorized it, with the Collective Unconscious. Kirlian photography has given us pictures of it. Bad ghost-hunting television programs have taken miles of footage of it.

The “One Decimal Point”* is coalescing all of this data (and making-up even more than that) ‘where witches fear to tread’. They hold INATS, and other conventions, to sell us “Aura Photos”, and crystal bowls, but we don’t find the magic there, either. Weekend Yoga supplants Open Circles, Reiki replaces Spellcasting, and chanting dispossesses invocations, but it’s still the “Same Shinola, Different Wrapper”. Going through the motions isn’t Magic. Magic is about Life, and not simply little pieces of life. To truly live in Magic one needs to enfold their life within it.

We cast, we wait, we see results, we get what we want, and we stop. …and we forget. We forget it works. We forget it’s Real. If we wait too long, we have to remind ourselves again. It’s not your fault. A LOT of time and effort went into teaching you that it wasn’t real. It was in every classroom. It was behind every disapproving scowl, inferred in between every-other word in every book we’ve read. It’s left out of our day-to-day jobs, and rarely mentioned in commercial radio. There’s a lot of momentum to over-come.

I have three suggestions: See! Do! Remember!

1-See:

Have you ever seen an Aura? Not that retina after-image of someone you’ve stared at for too long, but a real aura. Once you can see those, it includes every metaphysical manifestation, from seeing the wind, to spotting ghosts. You used to see them long ago, as a child, but were taught they weren’t there, so you developed a Blind Spot to them. Now you need to overcome that Blind Spot. It’s not as hard as you would think. Let’s help you out…

A) Take an Orange sheet and hang it on the wall. I know you probably don’t simply have anything big and orange lying around, so this may mean a trip to a hobby store. Since demand is low, it shouldn’t be too hard or costly. I’m afraid it does have to be orange, though: Sorry.

B) Place a brightly burning candle in front of the orange sheet. Don’t start a fire! We need to reflect back-lighting from the orange sheet, when we…

C) Place a Living Subject in front of the candles, and dim the lights. This gives a clearer contrast to the Aura and therefore an easier target. Next, the Eyes…

D) Work with hard and soft focus of the eyes.
The hard-focus is the left-to-right eye coordination of the two eyes. We play with it when we flip through those old “Magic Eye” books from the 90’s. Staring out to the horizon spreads them apart. Trying to thread a needle brings them together. Know these extremes.

Next, Soft-Focus: This is the thickening and thinning of the shape of the lens of the eye. The closer the object in front of your eye, the thicker the lens becomes, as we try to, say, focus on our fingerprints.

The room and subject are all set up. Stare through the subject, and off into the horizon, past the wall behind them. As you adjust your eyes, always be aware of the subject. Bring your focus in, closer and closer, until (with the aid of your finger) you are focused in to an inch from your eye. Stay Aware of The Subject! Your body will respond to the objects you focus on, but your mind needs to remain aware of the Subject before the Orange sheet. This exercise is about getting past the Blind Spot you’ve developed.

The effect can be dramatic, so be prepared. You may choose to reject it, so it pops in and out, as you ‘keep loosing it’. Stay resolute.

Now that you can ‘See!’ …

2-Do!

A) Gain control of your aura, now that you can see it. Change its shape, modify its thickness, or even generate energy-forms. See what you can do with it, like a child with crayons or play-dough. In the safety of your own home, it’s okay to play with it.

B) Cast spells! Not the huge “Life-Changing, Will-Dominating, Karma-Will-Get-You” kind of spells. Just cast the little ones. Summon things into your day, like having a specific vintage automobile drive by, or a woman out walking a bizarre pet (leaving it to chance as to the breed) , or seeing a little farther into the future. Send telepathic messages to a compatriot, provided you’re both okay with the exercise. “Keep Your Hand In”, as they say. Magic begets Magic. It’s like a muscle: Use it or loose it.

3-Remember!

Keep a journal: It makes no difference what you call it. Even scientists keep logs of their results. If you want to keep doubt at bay, nothing breeds certainty like good solid proof! Your journal can do that for you. Whether it’s a Book of Shadows, Book of Secrets, pebble-notes, text-file, or even video-log, make sure you can look and see that you cast for it, and you got it! Record The Results, as well as the Attempts. You need to remember that both took place.

You’ll be surprised at how these simple little things can bring dramatic effects back into Life. It doesn’t just affect your life, but also the community at large, as the paradigm is nurtured, and Magic gains momentum. The more we each recognize this, the more and stronger results we all realize. The more we manifest things, the more dramatic the manifestations become, as each practitioner ‘pushes the envelope’ a little further.

If you can’t remember, you forget to do. If you don’t do, you forget to see.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded.

The Magic is Real!



Footnotes:
*-“The difference between Pagan and New Age is one decimal point” — From Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers and Other Pagans in America Today, by Margot Adler (Courtesy of “Pagan Confederation Canada” website)

The Secret of the Witch

The Secret of the Witch

Author: Lady Lira

Keeping something a secret is sometimes one of the hardest things a person might have to do, especially if it’s a really big, juicy, important secret.

Like being a witch.

It’s tough to hide part of who you are, but the fact is large sums of pagans out there have to do it every day. Perhaps your co-worker is a Druid, or your classmate is a Wiccan. Maybe your Aunt Marge is a Hedge Witch, or that stranger walking down the street is a Shaman. You may never know it, even when they’re staring you right in the face…all because they keep it a secret.

I, like most pagans, have to live with the secret that I am studying the Magickal Arts. My mom is aware that I’ve dabbled in a bit of Wicca, and goddess bless her open-minded soul, but it’s not a topic that I’m too eager to bring up at dinner-time, since she’s not too fond of religious discussions. But except for her, I keep my secret hidden from the rest of the world, afraid that I’ll be beaten down for my ‘offbeat’ interests.

I was raised Christian, since the majority of the family followed that faith though it wasn’t long before I (and my mother) began to fade away from the church (I was probably about eleven at the time) . Eventually we became agnostic, though it took a while before the guilt of not believing in the Bible eased up. I found myself feeling lost and confused with no solid beliefs, and often wondered about those heavy universal questions: “How?” and “Why?”

I was so frustrated with the world, and I couldn’t seem to sort out what was truth and what was just a bunch of woven lies.

Growing up, even in a Christian family, I had always adored magic (k) and fantasy. I was always the kid who wanted to believe in something a little longer than she should, like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. I was the avid Harry Potter Fan, even though my grandma looked down begrudgingly on its witchly contents. In my heart, I knew it was all real to some degree. It HAD to be real…the magic (k) , the wonder, the dreams of a young child. Because if it wasn’t…then I would have lost a part of my soul.

It wasn’t until a year and a half ago that I came across the workings of real Witchcraft. A good online friend admitted to me the experiences she went through as a young teen Wiccan- the fun and wonder it brought her, but also the terrible mockery and discrimination she faced.

That night I decided to Google ‘Wicca’ and ‘Witchcraft’ and I found pages and pages of beliefs and a wealth of information. Wicca and all its forms (from Fae and Draconic to Gardnerian and Alexandrian and all the versions in between) , Druidry, Shamanism, Dianic, Minoan, Eclectic… the list went on forever! I couldn’t believe it! All these different religions, and they all practice magick? Real, actual magick? Plus they tied in with my growing love of ancient mythology!

I was enthralled, intrigued, and deliriously delighted beyond my wildest and craziest dreams. I had stumbled upon the secret, the part of myself that I would mask from my friends and classmates. I’d discovered the occult arts, “The knowledge of the hidden, ” as it translates. I was back on the path to spiritual enlightenment, and very excited (Well, it was more like I was wandering through the woods, edging clumsily toward the path) . I looked into Wicca more closely, and found was one of the closest religions I had found yet that complimented my personality. I’ve been on and off then on again in my study, learning what I can, when I can, always tempted by the oh-so-fascinating and mysterious subject.

My Wondrous Path So Far: I keep a tiny composition notebook wrapped in rustic brown paper that serves as an inconspicuous Book of Shadows, and any form of an altar is yet to be set up. I’m still trying to discover what Gods and Goddesses I will follow, but that is all part of my journey in finding my path and myself. As far as any books involving Wicca or Witchcraft… they are allowed to rest freely on my rickety wooden shelf, except when company stops by for an over-night visit. Sometimes I feel more comfortable hiding them away under the bed or a crummy sofa cushion just to avoid any awkward questions.

It’s not something I want to hide, the fact that I started studying witchcraft, but I feel its necessary in my time and place, at least for now. I’m dominated by a school world ruled by the concept of Bully vs. Victim, a hub where even the slightly weird, unique, or unordinary are picked on and laughed at.

It can be like that even in the adult world, which leads to the main reason why so many prefer to study in secret rather than express themselves out in the open: It’s the fear of not being accepted, or being “disowned” by your extra faithful Christian family. It’s the the worry that maybe your friends will give you a funny look or your boyfriend will call you crazy. No one wants to feel ashamed or un-liked, so in many cases, it is easer to simply keep silent.

I congratulate those who are brave enough to proclaim their faith, and I remind those of you who have open-minded and accepting friends, family, or coven members that you are very fortunate. I end here by saying that though it may be a secret now, it is also one of the greatest gifts. Perhaps one day soon I will able to feel more comfortable and open about discussing my ambitious pursuit of magickal knowledge.

As I continue to learn and explore the Craft, I continue to grow as a person…

And I continue to hold the secret of the witch.