What is a Traditional Witch?

tradwitch

First off, Traditional witch is not a religion.  It is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of non wiccan witches of a particular type.  While traditions, beliefs, deities (or not) may vary, a common denominator with Traditional witches is folk magic, and seeking after the older more traditional ways of spell casting. Another common denominator is that working with and communing with your ancestors is a pretty standard practice in traditional witchcraft.  Typically, a tradition is line-aged either by a Traditional coven, or passed down through generations in a family/kin.    Some people believe that you can’t be a traditional witch unless you are line-aged in a coven or had it passed onto you.  I disagree with this position, because ALL traditions did have a starting point, and you could very well be some one that decides that Traditional witchcraft type is for you, and start your tradition; very likely with the intent to pass it on, and so forth.  All you need to do is learn the ways that a Traditional witch might practice. In this way, you can become like a first generation Traditional Witch.

Traditional witches can also belong to any religion, or no religion at all.  Thus, it is not uncommon to find a member of a main stream religion, who is also a Traditional witch.  You also might find Traditional witches that are Atheists, or Agnostic considering that Traditional Witchcraft does not demand worship of deities, unless you have some how gotten into a particular group that does worship deities then you would likely worship whatever deities that particular group does.  However, the choice is yours.

Traditional Witchcraft can be considered a very long but rewarding crooked Path.  If you are up for this, and you have a desire to learn folk magic, being in touch with, and working with your ancestors, and you are turned off by much of the rules and flakiness you may have noticed within witchcraft circles then Traditional Witchcraft may be right for you.  However, I always urge New Comers interested in learning witchcraft to explore various types.   If you find yourself drawn to more traditional ways, then regardless of what you explore, you will return come back to this, but at least you gave yourself the time to look into a variety of practices first.

Spotting a Charlatan

The Joseph Smith Photograph

Tonight I was reminded again, of just how rampant the delusional and the Charlatans are rampant in witchcraft communities.   I am very thankful for all the groups of witches that are devoted to exposing this sort of thing.  Earlier, when in discussing the three fold with a gentleman who claimed to have learned from his family, (Great grand mother passed down to grandmother, to mother to him), I pointed out that three fold would not have originated in his familys witchcraft history since three fold was coined by Gardner late 1940s.  Probably feeling a bit backed into a corner, the man proceeds to come back with the following claims:  His family has been a family of witches since the beginning of time, and hid three fold from Gardner.   (Weird claim considering that Gardner brought three fold up in late 1940s so it obviously was not a secret from him).  He also said his blood line has always been chosen, always women but he was the first male.   A seasoned witch who has been around the block can see these are the words of a charlatan.   Unfortunately, these delusional Charlatans do not make these claims for the sake of the seasoned witches (even if they are said to them); their target audience are those new and seeking.  this is also why he made it a point to say he was a teacher.  These words are put in public domain and set like a subtle lure for any seekers and new people lurking who may do the private approach he hopes for.    I am hoping that this blog will help the seekers and new timers develop a keen eye for these frauds.  I will go over various statements they make and why you should consider the person a charlatan.    Not all charlatans realize what they are, many are people with delusions of grandiose who sincerely believe what they say; never the less, they are still frauds like the rest and many even more dangerous than those that intentionally defraud.

I come from a very long line of witches go back to medieval times, thousand years, etc.   Look, even the genealogist with the BEST DNA tester out there, and very best state of the art resources, would not be able to validate such a claim.   A best, some (few and far between) are able to trace back a witch or other kind of magical practitioner as earliest as in the 1800s.   Most of the time, the honest families that have witches in them in each generation will not admit to anyone farther back than late 1800s to turn of the century.  Some one might have found they had a distant ancestor accused or killed as a witch, but this does not make said ancestor a witch; in fact, there is no evidence that anyone actually accused and convicted of witchcraft were actual witches.   Most were Christians who went to the wrong church.   So if you hear this claim, treat it as bogus as the winter day is long.    Also, if the so called family witch who learned from Granny is teaching their path goes back into the 1800s, and yet their path sounds oddly a lot like eclectic Wiccan, treat that just as bogus (Save for if they admit Wicca things got incorporated into the path during the mid 1900s).  Wiccan religion was founded in the 1940s by Gardner, as were any rules pertaining to it.  The man in my example would have been more convincing had he just lied and said that his mother or grand mother adopted three fold into their path (believable and possible) than to have come up with the even bigger whopper that he told.

I am a incarnated deity  Shockingly enough, the last person I saw make this claim received much applause and praise, when they should have probably been advised to see a psychiatrist.  Other variations of this, is claiming to be queen of hell, incarnated demon, or the child of a deity.   In ALL cases, they will explain that some spirits or other deities they work with told them this info.  Must be true right?  Because it is impossible and unreasonable to suspect the person has a form of psychosis kicking in right?  (Note sarcasm)  Also, in ALL cases I have seen (and by now I have come across hundreds of these incarnated demons and deities) ALL of them did not have any more power or control than anyone else, much less any other witch, and pretty much all of them could not even magic their way out of a paper bag.   I dont know about you but I expect my deities to be stronger than that.

Claims of being some kind of keeper of divine knowledge that only the enlightened are privy too.  This covers a canopy of so many types of statements alluding to this, I could not even find a statement to wrap it up in.  This kind of Charlatan, IMO is also the most dangerous out of all them.   This type is excellent with words, magnificent at playing off of words, and fantastic at manipulation tactics, including making themselves appear like the victim of lower vibe people when called out on their junk.   It is also this particular type that in every case you have heard of cult mass suicides, homicide, sexual predatory, etc. some one of this sort was running the show.  These types claim personal gnosis because they know such a claim is hard to disprove.  This is what is known as unverified personal gnosis.   I can claim that there is a supreme deity on Jupiter running a circus.   No one can disprove this.   Not being able to disprove something does not make it true by default.  Because its all based on unverified personal gnosis, it makes it that much easier for them to shut everyone down that calls them into question, as being not enlightened enough, spiritually blinded, operating on lower vibes, etc.  (those are among their favorite pet phrases) They make all kinds of statements that exalts them self while lowering the spiritual status of any one that dares to question or pull them a wee bit out of their comfort zone.  Having unverified personal gnosis is not wrong or bad, just that the difference between a witch of integrity and a Charlatan, is the witch of integrity will openly admit that this is their personal gnosis, and admit the possibility some one has a different type.   They wont claim that theirs is a better fact than anyone elses.  They do not expect or demand you believe them or get angry if you do not, and then go accusing you of being lower vibe or anything like that.   The so called spiritualist that is a Charlatan WILL become angry and rattled, but if it is online you wont see this; because like I said, they are excellent with words and what they type out, will be a whole bunch of word salad penned to make them look calm and enlightened, while the person who rattled them is either directly or subtly put down as whatever negative pet phrase they pick.   Please, for your sake, give this kind a huge wide berth, do not feed into them, at all.

Charging exorbitant amount of money, or enticing a client to spend a ridiculous amount of cash for additional services.

This is NOT a service for a fee rant.  I am ALL for charging a fee for services.   This is about some one charging a ridiculous amount of money for a service of which is inconsistent with the going market price for said services, or saying something that coerces the client into paying a lot more money down the road. There are normally two types:

 Famous greed:

Sometimes it is because the psychic or medium became famous so now they think some how their readings that use to be $100 an hour are suddenly worth $400 an hour.  Bullshit!  Being famous did not improve their skills, or suddenly made them worth the rip off.  This is out right greed!  In fact, I would suggest this level of greed might even hurt their skills. Stay far away from them.  They are no better than any other legit psychic who is not famous and charging a fair price.

Basic Con artist:

These slick bastards will normally either charge fair market price or an exceptionally low price for some kind of reading.  Their typical game plan is to give you some type of excuse to get you to spend more on additional services that they claim you need, often invoking fear tactics that frighten the client into it. These services are often a large amount of money, or chunks of smaller amounts through out the course of the scam that will likely total into the thousands by the time everything is said and done.  There is an investigator dedicated to catching these frauds, by the name of Bob Nygaard.  Contact him if you feel you are a victim of this type of scam.  Many get convicted of this, just research it.  However, this crime is often under reported because of embarrassment the victim feels.

The tell tale signs of this sort of scram are:

1.)  the psychic/medium will tell you not to tell anyone about your readings.  There is NEVER even one good reason for this, and only a fraud would tell some one who owns their own reading not to tell others about it.  Often (but not always) this is followed by a warning that some spirit will get angered if the person tells.  Reminds me of a child molester who tells their victim not to tell mom or dad or the parents will get mad.   Think about it, if there is a spirit involved, why would they be more angry about you telling your friends about the reading you had, than they would over you going to a psychic about it, to try to rid yourself of said spirit?

2.)  They will claim you have a curse/hex/demon/you or loved one possessed/psychic blockage/bad luck/are in danger, etc. for which of course THEY can fix for you.   This is when they do their pitch of how you need to give them money for this that or the other thing for them.  It will not be all on this list of fear mongering but at least one of these items.  Speaking with many reputable psychics/mediums who ALSO warn about this ilk always say that if they do see something like this in a reading, they advise their clients on how they on their own can get rid of this.  IF there is a situation their skill is needed, they will charge a reasonable price for one session of something, and it will never amount to even close to thousands, or accumulate to thousands over a period of time.

So steer clear of the famous greedy bastards, and run like the wind if you find that a physic or medium you went to is showing either of the above red flags.  Hell, run like the wind if either are trying to coax you into paying a ridiculous amount of money for ANYTHING of any kind of service.

Making a lot of money off of books or seminars telling others how they are not suppose to charge a fee for any occult skills.

In my opinion, these are certainly frauds and the list would not be complete without them.  Rarely do they make a list like this because people do not stop to think about the problem with this.  They think *Oh wise sage advice, yeah, makes sense*  when they ought to be thinking *Hey!  Wait a minute now…*  To be clear, this is not about the personal decision one makes to not charge for a fee, this is a personal choice of the person with the skills.  It is not wrong to decide not to charge ever, as it is not wrong to decide you should get paid.  What IS wrong here is here you have this book author, or some guru, where the book author is making very good money off sharing their how tos on their skill sets, while lambasting the whole act of making any money off of skill sets.  Or you have this guru who is charging hundreds of dollars (or any money amount) for their seminar involving their skill sets where they sit there telling their audience not to charge money.   Neither is really practicing what they are preaching.  Now if one is writing a free book or offering the seminar for free, then that might be a different story.  But this is not about the rare chance of that type.

Summary:

I bet after reading this it brought back memories of an encounter with just about each type.   You may even know of other kinds of Charlatans that I neglected in this blog.  Remember, when shopping for a psychic and/or medium, make sure to research what the fair market price is for any service you are seeking in your area.

For additional advice on spotting guru frauds, please watch this youtube on it:

My Advice to Seekers Getting Started

Newbie

All the time I see people saying how they are just starting out and want advice on how to get started.   The answers that follow are always the same……research and read.   In reality, these two answers are really about the best answers that can be given for such a vague, generalized question.   With so many branches of witchcraft, no one can tell you who you are to worship, to not worship, which method of spell casting works best for you, or anything you are to be doing.   Witchcraft is not dogmatic and does not come with a list of dos and donts, never mind how tos.  Any branch of witchcraft that does have such a list, the list is only for that particular group and is not applied to all witches.  Embarking on such an open ended journey like this can indeed be both overwhelming and frustrating for a seeker.   Luckily, this day in age, seekers have more access to all different kinds of witches via networking;  unlike those in the 70s and 80s who had to rely on books (and a prayer that the book they got is going to be worth its value), and more local witches (which could prove a challenge to find, with no guarantee that these witches were practicing in a way that was to your liken.)  But how do you begin a dialogue with witches, without getting 40 responses that are all saying *read and research* in many different ways?   This is what I am hoping to help you out with.

Research and Reading are Still Imperative

While I am sharing how you can open up better dialogue with witches, this does NOT mean that I am telling you to throw research and reading to the wayside.   Research and reading need to be the bulk of what you are doing, while dialog with witches is an enhancement.   But maybe you are unsure about how to go about your research.   If you are researching online, here is a list of phrases I can suggest to help you get started:

Types of witches.  Wiccan witchcraft.  Non Wiccan Witchcraft.  Satanic Witches.  Holidays commonly celebrated by Witches.  Most common deities of witchcraft. Atheistic witchcraft. How to spell cast.  How to Ground.  How to shield.  How to Ward.  Differences between Witches.    Tools commonly used in witchcraft.  How to use tools in witchcraft.  Purpose of an altar.  Circle Casting. Various elementals.  Methods of protection.  Familiar spirits.  History of Witchcraft.  

There you have many phrase ideas for starting points to your research.  Do NOT just stick with one source, go through many for each subject so you get a very well rounded idea on the content.  Last thing you want to do is live like the blind that just got led by the blind because you stopped researching one of these subjects after reading some blog.  Lots of bad info put out there by many so you are forewarned.  REALLY take your time with this.  It is a long crooked path and if you are meant for this, then you have all the time in the world.  Eventually you will start to notice a pattern emerge, where there is a certain type of witch, witchcraft, and methods that you keep migrating to, and finding yourself spending most of your time looking into.  This is a good indicator that you have found the type of witch you are most interested in becoming.

Let the Dialogue Begin

While you are researching you also decide you want to speak with witches.  You will want to avoid asking questions that elicit a response like….Yes..No..I do….etc.   So avoid questions that start with……How many of you do this…..OR..,,Do you do this…  Keep your questions in a way that compel the witch to share details or direction.  The following are suggestions on how to start the question and some subjects you might ask that give you more thorough answers…

Can you share your particular methods in/ What are some of the ways that you go about: 

 Grounding, Shielding, Warding, Protections, setting up your altar, do your rituals, honor your deities, use your wand, call quarters, connect with a deity, connect with spirits and/or the spirit world, improve your divination techniques, increase the likelihood that your spell will be successful, observe this holiday (insert name of holiday you are asking about).

That is a non exhaustive list.  In reality, you can insert anything you want to know more details about.  There will always be witches who say to research anyways, but instead of a whole ton of that answer, you will have plenty others yielding better details.  For those that tell you to research, you can politely let them know you are already doing that, but wanted to hear more personal experiences from witches in spontaneous dialogue.  This should help you also get some helpful tips you want to incorporate into your own practices.

As always, I am open to others responding with their helpful suggestions that might help some one who is at the very beginning of starting out on this long but rewarding path. Feel free to share your ideas!

Witchcraft is NOT for everyone!

 

I have to say I am simply amazed at how often I see comments such as *anyone can be a witch* or *witch craft is for anyone that wants to pursue it*.   IMO this is a very fluffy, naive way of thinking, and it probably should not be so amazing to me, considering what is put out there, and how much the internet availability has created a situation that makes witchcraft in general, less occult.

Before I begin, I will give an example of the type of person not cut out for this, and certainly does not show the respect that witchcraft deserves.   This moron (I honestly can not think of a better term) who has a considerable following on twitter decided she was going to do a death ritual on some one.   She not only publicly announced it, but she also beckoned to the nameless faceless multitudes of people who follow her to collect the items for the ritual and join in.   A week later she changed her mind and stood down, but instructed her followers to keep the items just in case it winds up needed again.  This advisement came after some of her fluffy bunny followers were whining about the cancellation of it.    Now surely I do not need to really explain the foolishness of putting this kind of thing out in the public, or asking multitudes of people of whom she is clueless of their skill sets to join in.   These issues obviously make her stupid about it, right off the cusp.   But how about the fact that this ritual is all in jest, and subjected to her mood swing, and yet she has a following that are not smart enough to notice this, who beg to be taken down this bad situation along with her?   As a witch myself, I did a reading on her, to assess her better, after all, this thing she wanted to do is pretty serious and she opened herself to this when she put it out there.   What I saw was no pretty site, in fact, I saw a soul sooo wounded that it is not a soul that is able to carry out something like this with great precision, if at all.   I found myself feeling sorry for her many times.  There is no sense of balance with her, she is not at peace.  She does not have the attention and what it takes to respect and wisely walk the path she claimed for herself, never mind be any kind of leader of followers on it.  She sees herself as doomed and does not care enough about herself to see herself any other way, and sees herself as a martyr. The martyr syndrome is huge with her, which is a bad mix with witchcraft.  Even worse, she does not have the restraint it takes to think things through, she acts on impulse which makes things even more dangerous for her, and all those stupid enough to go along with/and or enable her.  Thankfully, it came clear to me that she can not magic her way out of a paper bag, never mind death curse anyone. At any rate, it is a situation that yet again reminds me of WHY witchcraft is not for everyone.

Disposition  Yes, as shown in my example above there are some who not now, nor will ever have the disposition for this path.   I can not say the girl in my example will always have the bad disposition for it, who knows, maybe way down the road she will fix some things about herself, but right now, her disposition makes this a very self destructive path for her; but not just her, many others like her.   People with low to no self control, patience, etc are people with dispositions that will be problematic with witchcraft.  A bad disposition + Witchcraft = a disaster waiting to happen.  Its as simple as that.

Natural ability I am not of the camp that believes people are born witches.  Becoming a witch is a personal choice that one makes.   I DO however, believe that there people are born with some kind of natural ability, and that these abilities may differ.  For example, one type of psychic may differ from another kind, or some one might be born with medium abilities or even born with the ability to manipulate and put out energy, which is needed in spell casting.  But to be a witch, you have to at least have a natural ability in something to a greater or lesser extent, and depending on what that ability is will greatly shape the type of witch you are, or what type of magical work is more your specialty.  Example is some one might be phenomenal with herbal magic, while another witch may never be able to connect with the herbs as much, but be outstanding with working with spirits as part of their spell casting.   Without even one natural ability to train with, fine tune and improve on  what you will amount to is some one with a great wealth of witchcraft knowledge, witchcraft materials, and that is about it.  You will be like some one who always wanted to be a fine artist, bought all the materials, took classes, and after years of it, your paintings and drawings are still a mess.

Dedication  Do you have the dedication and stamina it takes?  If not, then you should.   They do not refer to this as the LONG crooked path for no reason.   I am talking about years of study and practice.   In fact, even when you have learned enough to be pretty proficient at what you do, you should still always be learning and open for learning more and new techniques to try out.   Those who do not have this type of dedication and commitment to learning, practicing and walking the path should seek something else, seriously.

In Summary

I do not wish to be discouraging, in fact, those that feel very drawn to the path, I strongly suggest they start learning it.  However, if after a few years, you honestly assess yourself and find that you are no more better at it, than when you first started out (None of your spells are a success, there is nothing clairvoyant you can do, etc.) after you have tried tons of new techniques and followed the advice of many witches, then you may want to reconsider this path.   Maybe you are far better suited to paganism without witchcraft practicing.   Perhaps you were destined to be a practitioner of some kind of new age discipline.   Either way, do not be disappointed, because you will not feel peace and balance by staying on any path that just is not the best for you, so be the best for YOU, whether its witchcraft, paganism, etc.

 

 

You Gate Keeper! Wearing The Slur With Pride

Path

Lately, I have been seeing this supposedly derogatory slur hurled when ever some one brings up whether or not witchcraft should be exclusive.   Apparently, people get very upset at the thought of this, and I believe probably do not put a whole ton of thought into the subject.  They may feel insecure, thinking it is directed towards them, or finding it cruel.  Whatever the reasoning for the anger may be, this subject is worthy of some attention.

First off, witchcraft is so widely put out there anyone can access it and even practice some witchcraft.   Obviously it is available to anyone who looks for it and tries it in their life.  In the ancient times, it was very common to see many people practicing some form of witchcraft or another, typically protective types, or types to try to petition for better harvest.  However, while witchcraft practices were prominent, this did NOT make everyone that practiced a witch.  Witches were the professionals of witchcraft and sought after for professional help when the common folks were not finding success with their own attempts.  I feel same thing goes today. To claim that anyone can be a witch, in my opinion cheapens the practice.  Not everyone is cut out for this, nor should be a witch.  Example, I have a voice box, I can sing.  However, my singing is horrible.   It will never be a good singing voice.  I am not cut out to be a professional singer.   Same thing with being a witch.  Some will practice but will never be as good as it takes to be a witch at it.  So you can practice til your hearts content, but it does not mean you will make it as a witch or ever be able to cast successful spells.   Now that that is out in the open lets move back onto *gate keeping*

Gate keeping in the context of occult means to guard and protect a path, especially its secrets and oaths.  But it ALSO means preventing the wrong person from having full access to the groups (or sole witches) spirits, deities etc.   For these reasons, responsible covens and witches very carefully vet who they let in.    Imagine letting some person who can not keep a secret, shows a reckless lack of regard for others and/or the spirit world into your path, privy to your oaths (they have not shown they could be trusted with) and full on access to all the spirits you work with?   How does this, on your behalf show your own respect and dignity for your path?   To me, who people let into their coven or path reflects on their own wisdom as a witch,  and non-vetted all inclusiveness does not reflect well at all.   So you can open the door to invite others who are seeking to look into your path, but if you are anyone worth weight in salt, you will be vetting and therefore gate keeping, because you want to protect that of which is very sacred to you.

So if you ever find yourself being accused of being a *gate keeper* in the midst of the multitude of ignoramus, pat yourself on the back, and wear that label in pride.   What is REALLY means is you are being singled out as some one that WILL guard your path with care and wisdom.  Your spirits appreciate you, and the respect you have for your path and them is recognized.   You are serving your path well, and a lot better than any of those folks that think everyone should have access to it.  If they do not like it that is too bad for them.  You keep being responsible and proud of it!

Wild Witchcrafting

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The above photo is of my landscape.

Today, I have been inspired to discuss wild witch crafting, and why I strongly recommend even the most structured witches operate in this way in parts of their life.  For me, its all of my life and way.   While I have no objections at all about using items, and working with artifacts, deities, spirits, herbs, spices, etc. from foreign lands (I do this too), I am of the opinion that the main tenants of what you do and use ought to be right upon the land of which you live on.   I am hoping you leave this blog with more insight on this, as well as tips and ideas on how you can either begin,, or enhance your connections for successful wild witchcrafting.

Why wild witch crafting is so important

To state the obvious, it is because this is your land, your home and surroundings of which are important to your day to day living.   There is no place like home, so the anchor is already there.   Rather than just have a home to go to, one should connect with, and become part of the landscape, harmonizing with their local land spirits and energy force. Everything in your surroundings has a very strong energy that is very favorable for work you do within your area; including the aid of spirits, which in both cases are very much ideal for a witch who has successfully connected with it all.  These are the things that will increase the strength of a witch.   In history, its known that traditionally the cunning folk/wise women worked with what they had on hand, available to them in their surroundings.   This also included dealing quite frequently with land spirits and/or  deities governing their land.   Travel use to be very hard to do, and many never even traveled outside of their very immediate jurisdiction.   So they embraced all the energy and spirits that their land and home had to offer, just like I think witches of today should try.

How to start

Some of you may be at different levels in this, and may not find every section useful, but others have never but would love to make the wild path part of their life. For their sake, I will start with the beginning tips to offer and hope benefits everyone.   Anyone that has mastered this, and its the main tenant of their path might depart the blog with new insight, tips or ideas; just like I do when I read about this same topic from others on the wild side of crafting.

1.)   Start getting out there and walking.  Yes, I know this sounds too simple, but really its the start,, and how you walk the walk matters here.   Don’t do this walk while talking on the phone, or with others, this isn’t a casual walk.  Instead, be quiet and very mindfully observe your surroundings.  Take a good look at what is in your landscape, the sounds you hear, the warmth or coldness of the air, and over all vibe.  Watch the animals and what they are doing.  Start out by doing this for a few days,  to get more familiar.  After a few days of just walking, next walk, try to put your mind into a more meditative state, or even a trance or semi trance state.   This time around, let your mind wander in this state more.  Stretch your hands out a bit and start feeling the surroundings too.  Start feeling for energy and energy shifts, and let it flow up into your hands, arms and body, til you start to feel like you are part of this energy.  Pay attention to any fleeting visions you might see, even in minds eye.  Each landscape may have different spirits, so what you see in one place, may not be in another.  They may not even be recognizable, as in    described and labeled in any book you read.  For instance, I have seen lots of these beings with wings that did not fit the descriptions of fae, or anything else, nor did they give off the same feel as fae or anything else that I have learned of.  This is fine. This is part of the magic and mystery of witchcraft that is not found in any books.  You are also likely to start seeing people of the past, who are etched into the history of the land or see past events.  Try this for the next two weeks, getting out there to walk as much as possible, if not daily.

2.)  After you’ve done the step above, the next time you enter into this walk you are going to introduce yourself.  You are going to state who you are, and what you are doing there, and ask for any advice or knowledge that the land spirits might be kind enough to pass on to you.  Let them know you are not there to harm or threaten the landscape, but to become part of it, to harmonize and connect.   Let them know you hope they see you as another kindred spirit of the land.  Go into your usual meditative/trance, feeling energy, and start seeing and listening.   You may still have the same vision experiences described above, as well as seeing more and more spirit types, but you are likely going to now start hearing fleeting statements.   Some might make sense, others not to much.   Some might be instructive as well.  Take it all in.   Sometimes, you might here a sentence from a human spirit who once was in the area.   In other cases, they might tell you what they want you to focus on, or how they wish to be approached.   Some of these spirits might not feel safe, which, witchcraft is not always safe.  Still they may be beings you will work with down the road, and worth listening to, and having as potential allies.   If your memory is not great, it might be helpful to keep a private journal to jot down things you heard.

***Personal gnosis – At this point you are more than likely going to be gathering up a lot of personal gnosis as the spirits of the land pass on knowledge to you.   This is fantastic, BUT I have seen witches show up and start fights with other witches about this sort of thing, which is not great at all.   You may learn something as a *fact* from these spirits, BUT this fact may not be a fact another witch learned.  In fact, facts can change and deviate over the lands, each area having their own set of facts, or ways.  So what is a fact by the ocean, may not be a fact in the mountains.  So never use your personal gnosis in any manner to talk down to other witches, or brow beat them with.   That is also being disrespectful of your own craft and the beings that shared this with you.  In fact, keep your personal gnosis safe with yourself, and only pass it on to some one if you are going to later mentor some one who wants to learn your path.   So guard it as a precious part of you, and IF you do share any of it in any witch groups, make it a point to refer to it as your own personal gnosis, rather than words like *fact*.   I felt the need to cover this, because the last thing I want to see is some one learning from this blog, then going out and being abusive to other witches about what gnosis they gather.

3.)  Remember, as equally as important, you should be figuring out all the plant life, fungus, minerals, rocks, earth, animals around you and what their magical properties are.   These will be very useful for spell casting or other reasons.  Get to know the type of trees and their magical properties as well.  Different trees can yield different types of wands, and etc.   Make sure to jot them in your book.   Also, on these walks you may wind up finding *gifts*.  For instance, I have come home with deer fur, bones, feathers, rocks, etc. that I was drawn to and felt that the land spirits wanted me to take, and I always thank them for it, as should you on your adventures.

4.)  Going into your land area employing the methods above now should be routine.   But now you may want to find a spot that becomes your special spot.  Although your landscape itself is sacred, this spot will be your most sacred, or where you create your witch circle.  You will use this spot as your meeting place among the spirits, evoking and or invoking.   This will also be where you do your outdoor spell casting, and petitioning, or most of your rituals and honoring of spirits or whatever deity/deities you have.   Which ever branch of witchcraft you are in, a circle meaning will vary.   In my case, this isn’t a circle of protection or barrier of any sort, but more like an opened portal that is kept for multiple purposes I described above.  Within my circle,, the energy is always a bit different, more potent of a feel, and kept that way even when I am absent from it.  I also use this highly energized circle for charging various tools simply by placing them in it for a period of time.   This is where I have charged wands and currently (although it may be out by the time you read this) have an extra stag absorbing that energy field and charging up. Anyone that has held an instrument I charged in that circle can attest to the strength and energy illuminating from it.    At the north part of it, I have a three pronged stag set with flat rocks that serve as an altar and base. This is where I set down gifts of my own, often from the ocean, or various flowers or feathers I find that I feel might please the old one, and the spirits.    At any rate, this will be how ever you cast your circle whether you follow a wicca path, or a traditional witch way, and have it more permanently set.   When evoking spirits, even with a permanent portal, it’s still always a great idea to set the compass round when inviting them, then ending the session in widdershins with the understanding that they will still walk with and guide you.

5.)  Always consider yourself a steward over your land.  If you see litter pick it up.  Always be kind towards the life, and respectful.   Be protective of the earth and animals within your landscape.  You are all connected and it is your duty to over see and look after it.   The spirits will notice and you will come more into their favor.  The energy will least likely reject you.  Remember to always say a word of thanks or show thanks when harvesting for a spell, or other need.   The more you are into this, the easier it will be fore you to forage and know what to pick for what kind of magical working you are doing.   Practice makes masters as always and Wild Witchcrafting is definitely a practice worth mastering.

Note for City Dwellers

I realize can be frustrating to always see blogs involving nature.  However, YOU dwell within,  would I dare say is one of those most energetically charged landscape.  When ever I venture into the city, I am struck with the enormous amount of energy I feel.  It is indeed, supercharged.   Therefore, you can and should follow the same routine or tips to become one with your landscape.  Even though you are surrounded by buildings, you will still have spirits native to your land, and then some.  If the buildings weren’t all around, the place would be full of all the natural flora of that region.  There is still trees, rocks and parkways present too. The only thing is, you may want to be a little more discreet so you do not come off as a bit of a weirdo to onlookers.   Also, you might want to stick with creating the altar in your room, as hiding places in the city are hard to come by.  What ever you do, don’t think you have to hang up doing something like this, just because of where you life.

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****If you, or anyone else has experiences with this and would love to add tips of your own, please share.  If you are trying these ways and have found any of what I said helpful, I would love to hear from you too and what in particular helped you on your way. *****

 

 

 

The Blasting Rod

The blasting rod is particularly a Traditional Witch tool, however, I am sure you don’t have to be a traditional witch in order to create and use one.   The instrument is created from Blackthorn tree/shrub.    However, many of us live in regions of the world where this either does not grow, or it is so scarce that you may go a  life time without seeing it out in the wild.   So I found that if there is no blackthorn trees in the area, it is okay to instead, select branches from any thorn bush local to you in order to create this.   Plus, traditionally, witches worked with what they found within their immediate surroundings; and that of which you find within your surroundings holds the energy, history, and spiritual essence of the land you live and thrive on.   So this is better, in my opinion, than trying to buy  a rod, or branches from a foreign area to work with.

Below is what a finished blasting rod looks like.  This is a photo of a rod that is housed in the Museum of Witchcraft in England

blasting rod

Blasting Rods are commonly used for the following reasons:  summoning and spirit work, cursing, hexing, binding, protections, exorcisms, warding, shielding and expelling (especially evil people, spirits, or magical workings against you).   If these are things you find yourself doing often, then you might want to consider creating one for your witch tool box.

Creating a Blasting Rod

You can create these as fancy or simple as to your own liking.  However, you’ll probably want to avoid using materials, stones, etc  that contradict, or contraindicate the purpose of the rod.   Before you begin, you will need the following:

  • Three blackthorn, or other kind of thorny branches.  Try to keep them all the same length or close to it.  Mine is about three feet.   (Make sure they are still fresh so they will be easier to bend and twist.  Old ones crack easier and are not as flexible.)
  • Something to attach or assemble the point together, as well as the end you will use for a handle.  Usually like a soft bending wire, hardy string, etc.
  • Black spray paint, other kind of black paint and varnish (varnish is optional)
  • Something to hold the handle end of the branches together, as well as what you are going to use to make the handle.  I used a hollow copper pipe for the handle part, as copper is an excellent conductor of energy.   Then I coiled leather around it, using a strong glue.  You can use a pipe like this, or anything to make your handle with.
  • Gloves – working this thorns can be an uncomfortable experience, without them. But these are optional.
  • Something to cut and prune with.  You may find you have to cut down some of your branches, any wiring you are using, or leather. You will also likely find that you have to prune off a few of the thorns at the base by the handle.

Now that you have all your stuff, its time to assemble your new blasting rod.

1.)   Take the branches and attached them together at what will wind up being the handle area with the wiring or whatever you got for this task.   Once that is secured start twisting the branches around each other in a triple helix pattern.  It does not have to be perfect or tightly woven.  For mine,  I was only able to twist twice.   Once that is done, then take your wire to wrap around and attach the branches at the tip area, make sure its secured well.

2.)   Prune off any branches that are undesired, and make sure the area you are making your handle on is thorn free.  Now, Spray paint the branches with your black paint, or if another kind of paint, brush it on until all branches and thorns are covered and allow to dry.   If you are using a pipe for the handle, paint this piece too.

3.)  Once dried, you can now create your handle. If you got piping, force the base area into the pipe tightly.  It might help to have something like gorilla glue in the pipe to hold it even better.  If you are just using leather, then just tightly coil and glue as you go along.   Super glue might work best for this.

4.)  Decorate your handle whatever way you want: gems, sigils runes, ribbons fitting for the uses of the blasting rod, or leave it as is if you like.

Your blasting rod is now finished and ready for use.  The way you would use this would be the way you’d use your other type of wands.   Except you would only be using it for the purposes described above.

 

 

Halloween and The Dumb Supper

Dumbsupper

While most of you are aware of the history of Halloween (Samhain, or Sauin), its purpose, festivities, the thinned veil, etc.; you might not be aware of (or maybe a little aware) of a long standing tradition that some do, known as the Dumb Supper.  Perhaps you will be inspired to include it into your Halloween Tradition here on in.

Before I begin about Dumb Supper, lets be reminded that Halloween is traditionally the best day for spiritual communicate, and visits from beyond the grave.   This is considered the time that the veil is thin enough that spirits of all sorts can easily pass to and fro.   It is a time that witches often welcome the visits from their dearly departed, and might seek insight and communion with their ancestors.   There many ways of which a witch might do this, and one of them is a Dumb Supper.   You don’t even have to be a witch to host a Dumb supper, or even partake in welcoming visits from the deceased.  Either path you walk, a Dumb Supper is a great way to welcome such visits.

So what exactly is a “Dumb Supper” you might wonder?   A Dumb Supper is literally a dinner for living and dead to join in.   It is the dinner of honor and communion with any friends, family, ancestors that you wish to invite in on Halloween.  Of course, Halloween is not the only time that you can host this kind of dinner, but it’s the most popular night, only because of how thin the veil is, of course.   Other nights, might be times that it is harder for some loved ones to come through so you could run the risk of a loved one that you want there, not being able to attend.

The internet is chalk full of all sorts of ideas on how to host one of these dumb suppers.   Through out the years I have tried many different methods, some more effective than others.   I will share the method that I personally found most effective.   You might want to give it a try, or try something different.  I welcome you to even make adjustments and add some personal touches to your dumb supper, as I believe, the more personalized (rather than rigidly following some one else’s structure, the better it will work for you.) It also helps a lot if you have a natural aptitude  like medium-ship, but this isn’t necessary.  Remember, a dumb supper is always done in silence, hence the word ”dumb”.

Moving on, here is a method that might greatly help enhance your dumb supper…

Preparations! 

Any dinner that comes out grand is usually well prepared in advance.  This one is no different.    First, decide who you are going to invite, both living and dead. You can invite some of your pets that you loved too!  Next consider what were foods that the living and the dead liked.  Sometimes, you can recall a get together with the deceased as a group at a function and found they all liked a particular dip, or dinner plate there.   Your departed grand mother may have been a huge fan of swedish fish.   Perhaps your great Uncle always enjoyed a beer. Maybe you are inviting a cat that loved tuna fish as a treat.  Before long, you should have some kind of list that includes a variety of foods.  Don’t go crazy though and buy up every single thing that you knew the deceased liked, nor do you have to pick a favorite food for every deceased person you are inviting.  If you are inviting a lot of them this can get crazy and wasteful.   After all, the deceased isn’t actually going to be eating the food, it is merely going to attract them and let them experience a dinner once again, where something  they liked was served.  So it’s acceptable and practical to even pick some dishes that are universally enjoyable, like mashed potatoes or something, plus better on the budget.

After you’ve done your guest list and menu, move onto selecting artifacts to put around the room and on the table.   See if you can find some photos, and personal items the deceased owned at one time.   If you can not access a photo and have no personal artifacts, then think of something that you knew they owned and liked.   Maybe your great grand mother loved to knit, so you can get a set of knitting needles.  Maybe you decided to invite your great uncle and you heard he was a fisherman, so get some fishing lures.   If you decided you wanted to generally invite ancestors, perhaps you can put up the family crest, or try to find some period items at an antique or consignment shop, or both.   One thing that always seems to work in case of ancestors is period money, which you can often get cheap, or empty bottles or tins.

Lastly, you will want some things for aesthetic purposes, such as candles, scented or not, flowers, or other types of decorations.   I have found that aesthetics do enhance anything I do, whether it’s a ritual, spell casting, seance, or something like this.   Also, it’s very helpful  to have a set of bells, as these can be chimed when calling your guests to dinner.  I have found that spirits are pretty responsive to this.   I also set my black mirrors up to aid in it, but having other types of table mirrors, surely can help too.   In fact, anything you normally use with your spirit work, should definitely be included in all this, which ever these might be.   Another thing spirits tend to be receptive too is a little bit of tobacco and a nip of good whiskey, so be sure to set these too on the table or near by.

Setting up

On the day of the dumb supper, take some extra time to set the table you will be using.   You want it to look nice, like you put some care into it.  Set any photos directly on the table, especially closer to the plate or plates you will use for the deceased.   When it comes to how many places to set for the deceased, I have found one seat, plate, glass and set of silverware perfectly sufficient, opposed to trying to set up a bunch of spots.  Put the extra artifacts on the table or surrounding tables or areas in a decorative fashion, including items you use when working with spirits.   After this, go ahead and prepare your meal, which can be as elaborate or complex as you desire, as I have found, this didn’t matter much.  I have done a dumb supper with just pizza (which everyone I know that passed liked a lot, and cake, which none were ever adverse of either.)

The Dinner

Now everything is done, you are ready.   At this point, gather the items you use for spirit work, start using them in a manner to draw the spirits in.   Call out vocally the names of the live people first that are invited, if any.   Next, call out the names of the deceased that you have invited, but at this point, when you do it, chime the bells as you call them forward letting them know that dinner is ready.  I found it helps at this point to also stand behind the chair designated for them.    If there are ancestors you don’t know their names but wanted them there anyways then just say, something like ”all my ancestors, come forth, dinner is ready” as you chime the bell.   After you have called everyone forward, do a small opening speech that you wrote about how everyone is gathered here together in communion with honored guests from beyond, everyone be seated and enjoy.

After that speech and the dinner officially started, there should be no talking at all from the living.   This entire dinner should be kept in silence.  You as the host should light the candles, if not already done, and be up serving the dinner on everyone’s plate including a little portion on the plate set for the deceased.   For them, set the tobacco by their plate as well as pour the whiskey into a small glass.  After all is served,  be seated and join.  Sometimes the living guests may want something like butter passed to them.  To prevent them from accidentally speaking, leave flash cards with pens by everyone’s place so they can write what they need passed to them.   If you are alone, none of this is a problem.

What to expect during the dinner

While you are eating, pay attention to the surroundings.  The most common things you should be experiencing at this point is the sense that there is a presence in the room.  You should start feeling the feelings you use to get when some of these particular loved ones were around you in life.   You might even start smelling the smell they use to give off.   Often you will feel drops in room temp or in spots, or feeling touched or poked by unseen hands.   If the deceased speak at this point, you will suddenly hear a statement pop in your mind, usually sounding just like a certain loved one, tone of voice and all.   Past memories with some of them, even memories you forgot about are likely to start coming back in bits and pieces or floods of them during this time.   If ancestors were invited, you will hear sentences out of no where in your mind, but you won’t recognize the voice or tone.   Its not uncommon to start feeling a rush of a breeze at times either.   It is not too likely that you will see full bodied apparitions appear, your loved ones are still trying not to frighten you, so don’t expect dramatics; however, you might notice a shadow or other type of anomaly.   It is not uncommon to notice something in peripheral, or fleeting in the mirror.  You are also likely to start feeling the vibe you’d get when a certain person was present.  This vibe is hard to explain but you will know it when it happens.   ***With a successful Dumb Supper, you should at least be experiencing some of these things.   Some suppers yield stronger results than others, not necessarily everything on this list of what to expect, but maybe some of them a lot stronger or longer in duration.   This method, including the list I will give following on what to avoid is the one that has yielded the strongest results for me. But you might want to test out a few methods you research to figure out which one is best for you.

When Dinner is completely over, stand up, chime the bell and do a small speech about dinner being complete, everyone may now commence with talking, thank the living for attending, then thank the departed for being the honorable guests that attended and let them know that they are welcome to stick around and be part of the after dinner company til they feel it is time to leave just like any other guests.   I find that some stick around for a bit longer, others leave pretty quickly, they tend to follow the habits they did in life.   Now clean off the table, but leave the artifacts for a little while longer. (Hopefully the live guests are helping you) then engage in what you would normally do when company is over.  If you don’t have company then just do what you regularly do from there on in.

What to avoid

1.)  This shouldn’t be a scary or creepy experience.   If the idea of having deceased guests in your house feels creepy to you, or you are scared of spirits, then don’t do a dumb supper, period!   Plus, your fear will likely be picked up on by your deceased friends and family making them leave or not show up anyways; they still love you and don’t want to be creepy or scary for you.

2.)   Personally, I think you should greatly avoid interjecting pagan or witch nuance.  Not unless all the loved ones you are inviting were also pagans and witches.   Remember this supper isn’t about you, proving your rights, or proving any points, this is suppose to be ALL about your loved ones, and for them.   So be mindful that the grandmother you loved fiercely, who fiercely loved you, might have been a devote Catholic, or  Baptist, and may still harbor some of those beliefs.  From what I have observed (yes I have tested this myself, done plenty enough dumb suppers to do so), when using witch or pagan terms, phrases, etc. many of who I invited, did not attend or were afraid to because they never understood or feared that about me.  Then when I removed all this from it, the attendance was far better.  Don’t you like it better when people keep their functions more generic as far as religion is concerned, therefore respecting that not everyone is their religion?  I know I can’t stand when I am at a function and spoken to like I am expected to be christian, or told to bow my head and  pray.  Unless I am visiting a church,  I find that pretty uncomfortable, in fact.   So treat your deceased guests as you want to be treated by keeping religion completely out of it.

3.)  Try to keep live guests to a minimum, and be very selective about who you invite.   Don’t invite anyone who is very skeptical about spirits, or who is frightened by them.  This is not a dinner just to invite those that are curious, or might not be as respectful and as serious as should be about it.  If I invite guests, it’s typically only one other person.   Otherwise, I prefer to be the only living being in attendance.

4.)  Do NOT treat this like a ghost hunt or paranormal investigation.   Do not set up EMFs, or any thing to try to track or prove anything.   There are times and places for that and this isn’t one of them.   If you are doing this dinner just to try to collect paranormal evidence, then you have done it for the wrong reasons and that is rather a mean thing to do to those you love that died.   How would you like to be invited to your cousin’s house for dinner, you show up and find out that it was set up just to study you?   Your departed loved ones don’t like this either, and may not ever want to come back to have dinner with you again for a stunt like this.  They are your honored guests this time, so honor them fully, and study them at a later time under the right circumstances if you must.

5.)  If a guest accidentally slips up and speaks, just smile, giggle and say Sssh then drop it. Ruminating on it, is more likely going to screw up a dumb supper than the slip up itself.  So don’t stress this.  The dinner will not be ruined over an occasional incidental uttering.

 

Now that you know what this is, how to host one, and things to avoid, go out and host the best dumb supper ever!

Coven Shopping

witch_coven-300x240

Previously, I did a blog on seeking a mentor.   Hopefully, most have taken those steps and it paid off.  But now, I’d like to offer some help for those who have thought about it, and have decided that they truly are a coven person, and really want to find what is right for them.   The problem is, there are so many troublesome groups (or high priestess/priests) out there, along side so many eager to join, not realizing they are about to be caught up in a situation they never bargained for.   I have heard many sad tales about this, some even being turned off from continuing their witchcraft.  Others, it took a long time to recover from.   So if this blog can even help just one person either not invest any more time in a coven they already started involvement in, or another steer clear in the first place, then it’s not in vain.

The warning signs are sometimes obvious and upfront; like the man who was telling prospective students that witchcraft is all about nudity, and insisting he be sent pictures of the woman standing up nude, as well as laying on a bed nude, and spread eagle so he can read their “garden”.   Wearing a cute belly chain or pentacle necklace was also suggested but optional.   Other times, however, it’s far more subtle, and the HP/HPS rely more on the person’s ignorance of what is acceptable, and what is not.   Not all the signs are necessarily predatory in nature either;  some are just, the person is a very bad leader for the coven, or the coven itself and leader might be fine, but just not for you.   These types I will focus most on.  Either way, this should be a service to you in your search for the right coven.

The Personality of the HP/HPS

There are some personalities out there that just have no business leading  a coven no matter how much of a wise sage they are!   Here is a list of personality traits that should make you look elsewhere

1.)  Holier than thou  Leading a coven is no excuse for this type of behavior at all.  Plus people that act this way, were already this way long before they came to lead a coven.  A great leader promotes the growth of their members, not how they are so much higher above the members!

2.)  Know it all    A good leader STILL considers them self a perpetual student of the occult, and looks forward to further growing in it, along with their own members growth.   A good leader ALSO knows that they know little about a lot of other types of witch communities out there and does not try to pretend they know all about everyone else.

3.)  Lack of respect for others, especially those of different beliefs  I’m not referring to not respecting predatory behavior, or when some one peddles personal gnosis was facts for all to accept, there are excellent reasons to not respect these antics.   I am also not referring to throwing judgement calls to the winds either.    I am talking about talking down or insulting other groups.  For example, referring to those that do not adhere to “three fold” rule from Wicca as “foolish”,  or automatically claiming a type of witch or group of them are evil, even though they themselves know nothing about them (this happens to satanic witches all the time).   A great leader will promote understanding and acceptance of different types of witches, and focus more about what is in common than not.  If they do point out something the coven does not believe in, rather than insult, they will instead say something along these lines  “That type of witch does not adhere to three fold like we do.   We do not worry about, or attack that, it is good to learn how other witches are, as they are wise in their own practice as we seek to be in ours.”

4.)  Very little or lack of self control     This type ALWAYS needs the last word, and they can not stand it when others do not agree with them.   They get irate fast, and if you challenge them, their behavior gets increasingly condescending and patronizing.   They seem to have no filter when talking to others and  because of their own lack of control, they have a great ability to exacerbate situations, whilst no or low ability to defuse.  I know of a HPS that just started a new coven.   She is also a book author.   Her finely edited and polished up book IS rather a good read.   Unfortunately, my first hand dialogues, discussions with her, not to much.   She has practically no self control, and therefore no business running a coven.

5.)  Often the catalyst of drama or doesn’t really know how to quell drama that occurs  If you are noticing that the HP/HPS is either the creator of the drama in the coven, or having little or no ability to handle and disperse drama that arises, this is a very  bad thing for you and the coven as a whole.   How in the name of magic can anything be accomplished in either a coven run by a drama king/queen, or some one that has no idea how to reign in any drama?   All groups will have drama at times, that’s unavoidable and not the issue here, but rather who is the culprit behind all the drama, or how it’s dealt with.

6.  The control freak   A coven should never be run by some one who looks at it as a group to rule over, but rather by some one that sees all members as their equal, and are most interested in promoting their progress, and over seeing what is in the best interest of everyone in the group.   These types can not stand it, when a member has a different opinion or even a slightly different belief.  Usually they deal with this by attempting to lecture the member in front of everyone else about why the member is wrong, and hope to embarrass them into compliance and conformity.    They might use phrases like “You are very new to the craft, so you really have no idea.  You need to listen more, then you’ll get it.”  Those types of phrases serve to dismiss you over your experience, while shoot down your thought, all while completely avoiding explaining what might be problematic (if anything) with your thinking.   Also, these types do not like to be questioned at all usually.  They serve to tell you what to do, how to think, etc.  It is their way, or no way.

7. Over all bad attitude   This person might actually seem all fine at the coven meetings, even a sweat heart.   But observe how they treat and speak to everyone around them, including non members.  How do they talk to their friends, family, etc?   How do they talk about other groups of people?  Do they spend quite a bit of time bashing others?  Or are they as out going and sweat with everyone they deal with?   Can they stand different opinions, or do they come off as aggressive, passive aggressive, or snarky when something is said or asked that takes them out of their own comfort zone?  Really pay close attention to this!

8.) Nice and passive to a fault   Sweet and passive people make good friends, and people tend to love them.  But many of them have a real hard time in leader ship roles because being a leader often requires situations where there might be some confrontation, or hurt feelings.   With some one like this leading, it’s likely that situations are going to spin out of control over the leaders fear of confrontation, or sadness about hurting feelings.

9.)  The manipulative type   This type is terrible because often, you won’t even notice the manipulation tactics.   So the best way to figure out if you have been, or are being manipulated is to think about what it is they asked you to do, and how you feel about it.  Just about any time you went forward and  did something per request of another, especially a leader like a HP/HPS that you felt either guilty, ashamed, scared, uneasy, etc. means that you had been manipulated into doing that thing.  After all, it had to be something you had reservations about in the first place, so they did what it took to persuade or manipulate you into it.  Likewise, if you are feeling uncomfortable with what is being asked of you, and you are turning it down, but the leader continues to try to insist, and pressure you at all, then they are a manipulative person running the show.

10.  Little or no tact, not very diplomatic in their dealings   A good leader should reflect what you would expect from an ambassador.   All their dealings should be straight forward and fair minded.   More over, their speech should reflect how they would want to be spoken to.  They shouldn’t be showing favoritism, demanding that only their feelings matter, nor speaking to members of the coven in a manner that is not seasoned with salt.

11.  Refusal to admit when wrong  No one is perfect and no one is 100% right ALL the time.   A good leader knows this and will readily stand corrected during an occasion that they are wrong.

The Coven Itself

This doesn’t always mean that the coven itself is bad or wrong, it just might be all wrong for you is all.

1.)  Compatibility of beliefs with yours      While every witch has unique beliefs of their own (no two are identical) but the main tenants of the coven system should be compatible with your own.   This is for your and the coven’s benefit as I am of the belief that a major clash in belief can have a negative effect on the group coven work.  An Atheist witch won’t be compatible with a deity believing coven.  A person who believes in polytheism in the sense that all deities are solely sovereign and different may not be compatible with one of those covens that believes that all those different deities around the world are really the same one deity taking on different shapes and acts.   A goddess only or more emphasis on a goddess based coven may not work with with some one who emphasizes a god more, or believes that both or more types should be focused on just as much.  Three folders might not be compatible in groups that do not believe in three fold, or your three fold belief might be drastically different than the covens.  This last point might be minor enough that compatibility can be had, it depends on how strict, or how much the coven pushes “three fold” into their group.   You get the idea I am sure!

2)  The type of coven    Are you looking for something that has lineage to Gardner, or Alexanderia, or something hived from it? If so, make sure that the credentials are in order.   There are people out there that actually start up covens that THINK that they are starting a Gardnerian coven because they think that Wicca automatically = gardnerian.  These are the worst because the person obviously doesn’t even know enough about Wicca to even be starting a coven if they don’t know the difference.  Gardnerian Coven is the first type of Wicca, and since then other types have emerged.  If some one claims a coven like this and is unable or unwilling to share their credentials, then look elsewhere.   If it’s not this type, that is fine, and it is fine if you wish to belong in a coven that was created and not hived out of the main groups, but the founders should explain this clearly to you.  There is nothing wrong with these types of covens either, after all, even Gardner’s coven was a starting point.  Just that you have to know that this is what’s going on.

3.)  Is the coven upfront about what is expected?   These are mystery groups, so you are definitely NOT entitled to be privy to ALL the deeper mysteries that you might learn as you progress through the coven.  However, the coven SHOULD be upfront and telling you what the basic requirements are for their members.  For instance, do they only practice in the nude, or sometimes and is this not something you are comfortable  with?   What other things might be involved, dues, membership fees, required amount of meetings, etc?   Make sure you get the scoop on all of this before attempting to join.

4.)  The experience of the one who founded the coven    There are some eager beavers out there who may have been a practicing witch for a year that suddenly want to do a coven.   This is fine IF they admit that they are still new, and if they present the coven as something that they wish to grow and develop along side you, eventually into a good foundation.  In this setting, those leading circles should probably take turns at it, and there should be some more experienced witches involved with it.  They should probably hold off on appointing a HP/HPS until the belief system, coven rules and ways are more established.  I suppose this could be fun and exciting, as long as this is what you want and you are well aware that you are all babes in the woods unified in co finding a coven.

5.)  Putting pressure on members     Does the coven ever try to make or force members do do things they are uncomfortable with, using guilt, or other manipulative tactics?   This behavior is never acceptable.

If you suspect that you might be getting involved in an ill run coven, here are some questions you should ask yourself to evaluate the situation.  If you find yourself answering yes to a number of these, kindly do yourself a favor and pull out! 

  1.  Has the HP/HPS often dealt with you in front of the coven that make you feel ashamed, belittled, hurt, embarrassed or in any manner humiliated?
  2. Have you  observed the HP/HPS doing the same things to another member, that is described in the question about?
  3. Does the HP/HPS use tones of voice, or say things that strike you as patronizing, condescending, mocking, or vocalized in any way that has made you or another member feel inferior to them?
  4. Does the HP/HPS demand that you or others accept and respect their views and opinions but does not offer the same courtesy in return?
  5. Does the vibe of the coven feel more like a dictatorship than it does a democracy?
  6.  Do you or other coven members fear approaching the HP/HPS with questions and concerns?
  7. If Drama takes place, do you notice that the HP/HPS appears to be the sower of this kind of discord?
  8.  When and if some one leaves the coven or decides it is not right for them, do you observe the HP/HPS bad mouthing the person to the coven after their departure?
  9. Do you regularly get talked into doing something, or did the HP/HPS attempt to talk you or someone else in the coven into doing anything that make you feel uncomfortable?
  10. Does the HP/HPS demand complete obedience from you and the others?
  11. Does the HP/HPS make demands on you or others that are either ridiculous or over bearing?
  12. Does the HP/HPS promote only a our way or the highway attitude, mocking the beliefs of groups that differ than the coven?
  13. Do you feel like the HP/HPS has tried to force their own opinion down your throat when you attempted to politely disagree or share a different view?
  14. Does the HP/HPS promote a separatist attitude within the coven, rather than the coven seeking common ground with other witches to fellowship with them on?
  15. Has the HP/HPS gotten flustered, combative, argumentative, etc. toward you or another member when a question or concern was raised that took them out of their comfort zone?
  16. Does the HP/HPS have a short fuse with you or others, that escalates and continues getting worse and worse until you back down?
  17. Are you starting to dread going to the coven meetings or feeling like you or others are walking on egg shells around the HP/HPS?
  18. Do you feel as if the HP/HPS is more invested in showing how great and wise they are, than they are at catering to the needs and goals of the coven?
  19. Do you feel like your questions often go unanswered, or like they are discouraged?
  20. When and if there are some differences of opinions on certain matters, does the HP/HPS use the threat of kicking the member out of the coven as a way to discourage such individuality?

****  It is important to remind you, NO ONE IS PERFECT!  Sometimes you might see a bunch of these things at one time or another.   Maybe last week, the HP/HPS beloved dog died, and they are heavily grief stricken, and lost their patience a bit with you or someone.  Perhaps, their work is demanding 60 hours a week for the next three weeks, or their loved one’s health has taken a turn for the worse.  There are many reasons and stressful circumstances that may easily cause a good number of the above behavior.   So the way to use the list is to see if these things you answered yes to are the norm, or a habit in the coven, rather than the rare instance. *****

I am sure what I covered in my blog is non exhaustive.   I wonder how many of you readers have any additional types, or have you ever had a bad experience with a coven?  Please share your experiences, and let your voice be heard!  

No, Your Pet Is Not Your Familiar

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Or in all likelihood, they are not.   It is possible that sometimes there is a pet that is a familiar but these would be very rare cases, rather than the norm.   I think a whole slew of very bad information out there has contributed to this culture of people insisting that their beloved pet is their familiar.   The internet, indeed, can be a blessing as much as a curse, if the reader doesn’t look beyond (or even know to) the bad info they get; and some book authors don’t help matters much either.    You will find, in countless communities, some one one posting a picture of their cat with a heading like “Hi everyone, meet my familiar, his name is Sylvester”  Then a bunch of others follow suit by showing pictures of anywhere from cats, dogs….all the way to pet mice, in all cases, calling them their familiars.   Then some one always comes along to point out that these are not familiars and tries to educate the crowd on the matter of familiars and is usually met with scorn, told not to judge, told that all paths are different, word meanings change, etc.   Indeed, this is a very sensitive subject matter that rides the heart of the witch, therefore, I intend to try to be as gentle and nice as possible about this.

Before I begin, I will touch base on the general non witchcraft version of a familiar (noun not the adjective) which is:

familiar

noun

fa·​mil·​iar | \ fə-ˈmil-yər  \

Definition of familiar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a member of the household of a high official
2one who is often seen and well knownespecially an intimate associate COMPANION
3a spirit often embodied in an animal and held to attend and serve or guard a personthe loathsome toad, the witches’ familiar— Harvey Graham
4aone who is well acquainted with somethingfamiliars of violence— John Updike
bone who frequents a placefamiliars of the embasy— Rebecca West   
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
**Now if some one is claiming their pet is a familiar because their pet is a close companion, then in that sense, the pet is a familiar.  However, this is not what the person means when they are in witchcraft communities showing off their pet as a familiar.  In these cases, they think of them as a witches familiar which is fitting to the third definition above.

So What is Actually a Witches Familiar and The Main Tenants Of This Kind of Familiar?

A witches familiar is a spirit, often one in folk lore that can shape shift into various animals or humanoid figures, who also assists and protects the witch.   During the medieval period, the church referred to them as demons; perhaps in some cases, they were.   Other legends have them as fae.   But in ALL cases, they are some kind of a spirit.  Their duties ranged from helping the witch cast spells, sometimes imparting knowledge to help he/she improve, acting as an assistant in all manner of ritual, as well as protecting the witch from both magical and mundane attacks.   While they frequently took on the form of an animal, they did not remain in this constant state, and often even shape shifted into different type of animals, depending on a specific task they were doing.  For further info on this, it would serve you well to research the following types of animals that a familiar might shape shift into in order to better serve the specific task of the witch: Witches cat, Witches Hounds, And Witches Hare.   There are other animals they could shape shift into for certain things to be done, but these three seem to be the main forms.  In some cases, some familiars did not take on any animal forms, and remained in their spirit form.   (please feel free to research everything I have said to check for accuracy.  I am always willing to take correction from credible sources.  However, if you intend to show me something from a blog made by some one with a name like Silvermoon, please do not bother me with that.  I have no doubt there is a wealth of very bad info that comes from curators of sites that they themselves received and did not research beyond the bad info they received as well.)
So a Witches familiar encompasses everything on this list…
1.)  Is a spirit
2.)  Is capable of shape shifting into multiple animal or human like forms depending on need, but not all necessarily do this.
3.)  May be a demon, fae, or other type of spirit.
4.)   Helped out the witch in all manners of their magical practice.
5.)   Protected the witch, therefore would be the one to take on the brunt of any harmful magic administered towards the witch.
Therefore, to be a witches familiar  all these attributes must be present.  This means that not all spirits are even familiars.   Thus, if you have a spirit around you that is kindred, but doesn’t meet the criteria on this list, then that spirit isn’t your familiar either.   So how many of you who posted photographs of your pet, or claim your pet is a familiar fit this very simple list of how a familiar functions and what they are?  How many of you REALLY want your beautiful loving pet to be in the position to possibly wind up dead or badly hurt because they protected you from a magical attack? If you are forcing them into this role, and you forcing it on them actually works, you are putting your pet in quite a bit of danger that I don’t think they deserve to be in.  In my opinion, I would never want any of my pets in a situation like that, and I feel it is my duty to protect them from everything, as well as serve them, so they can be spoiled happy pets who lived a wonderful life.   I am willing to bet, you also love your pets so much that you would also agree with my opinion.

Arguments People Typically Use When This Subject Comes Up and They Want to Argue A Case for Why Their Pet Is a Familiar

 

This would not be complete if I did not help the reader be aware of the type of arguments they will likely face if they ever try to educate others on this subject.   I will address the most common ones I see.
My pet and I share a very special connection:  I agree, or else it would be unlikely that this person would be considering their pet a familiar in the first place.   This pet is, indeed a familiar, IF we are using the term in the non witches familiar sense as shown above, but not in the witches familiar sense.   In fact, having some special kindred connection isn’t even required of  a witches familiar.   If you think about it, a typical person has many people, animals, spirits, etc. that they have felt some kind of special strong connection too, but you certainly wouldn’t go calling all these your familiars based on this attribute, would you? Of course not.
My pet always comes around when I am working magic, seems very interested and assists me.   Are you sure of that?   Are you totally sure that they are actively assisting you, and not just very curious about what you are doing, like pets tend to be and therefore watching you?   I recall certain cats I use to have that would come up every time I cooked, or did home work (back in college) who would watch and nose around for much of the time.   They certainly were not helping me cook, nor with my home work.  In fact, one cat, when I did my homework, liked to take his body and plop it dead center down right on the book I was trying to read.   Don’t your cats also come around to watch you do various chores?  Do you consider them to be assisting you in all these chores you do that they hang around at, or do you only selectively consider them assisting when they are doing the same thing when you are working magic?   Plus, not everything that assists with magic is a familiar.  I’ve had the assistance of plenty of spirits and people in my time with magic that were not familiars, that’s not unusual.
Yes the term familiar use to mean what you say but words change over time:   Yes this is true.  But, however a term changes, the main tenant still remains intact.   Even with the shift words can take on, that doesn’t mean we can just go around bastardizing terms to fit our own liken in any old direction the wind blows.   Take the term “witch” for example.   The term use to more specifically pertain to some one that did evil magic.  As time went on, it now includes those who don’t do, or only do baneful magic.  However, the main tenant remains, it is, and always will be some one who practices witchcraft.   Pets being familiars started well into the neo pagan movement, and became most popular in the late 1990s into the 2000s (when it really flourished thanks to the internet).   But it is a logical fallacy to claim that just because so many do it, means it must be correct, or that the definition needs to be stripped of its main tenants and replaced with new ones in order to appease a popular movement that is most likely a result of piss poor information that went rampant like wild fire out there.   No, that does not seem quite right.
My pet sees when and warns me when spirits are around:  They probably do.  Through out the ages, animals of all sorts have been reported to be able to sense spiritual activity before their humans notice it.   This does seem to be a natural aptitude that animals in general have.  It even seems universals.  So are you really observing some thing specific that your one animal does that differs from others, or are you noticing something that animals in general are typically capable of anyways, with or without your familiar label?
I didn’t choose my pet, my pet chose me:  Maybe they did.   But did they choose you because they knew you were a witch and know all about working witchcraft, and want to help you and also take the hit and possibly getting badly hurt from magical attacks, or maybe it was just an animal that sensed that you were a wonderful person that they simply wanted in their life?  Maybe the animal just saw how great you are, how you love animals, noticed the gentleness of your soul, and figured you’d be the best at taking care of and protecting them!

Additional Considerations

If in the rare chance some one does have a pet that does meet the criteria on the familiar list, then their days dwelling as that pet are likely numbered. In that unlikely case, the spirit will expect to die quickly and will intend to incarnate as another animal in order to continue to serve their witch.   But this doesn’t even make sense to me this kind of spirit would even go this route.   A pet can not take the same kind of magical hit that a spirit that is meant to serve in this way can, nor would I see a spirit that is suppose to be a familiar even weakening themselves by incarnating as a full blown flesh and blood animal.   A REAL witches  familiar understands that in order to best protect and truly serve the witch, they would remain incorporeal rather than corporeal.  In other words, even when it may shape shift into an animal form, it still remains a spirit, and may not always stay in the same shape as the same animal, if it does this at all.   So no, as much as many people in the neo pagan world would love for familiar spirits to make this kind of decision to incarnate as the kitty, I don’t see the spirit being so impractical that they would opt for this choice.  That would just even be foolish of them at best.  So I personally, don’t even honestly agree with the supposed rare times, a flesh and blood pet is a familiar.  However, I can’t not totally 100% discredit that possibility either, no matter how foolish or impractical that would be for a familiar spirit to do, therefore I lend it as something I don’t believe, but perhaps, in some rare cases, possible.

Summary

I do not wish that this offends anyone.   As I said, I understand how sensitive this subject is, and quickly feelings can get hurt if others disagree with Fido being  a familiar.  But I also owe it to my craft, as well as others who care to learn, rather than cling to terrible information out there, to share some truth.  The truth is, there is nothing wrong with your cat fluffy simply just  being a loved companion, who gives you inspiration and positive energy.   There is nothing wrong with Peter the Parakeet bringing you happiness.  There is nothing wrong with any special bonds and connections you feel about your pet, and you loving them dearly.   But considering what a familiar actually is, what it does, with all due respect, truth is, there is something wrong and even diabolical about demanding, or putting this kind of pet into that kind of position that could prove to be very dangerous for them should wrong magic come your way.  This also means they take the hit if your magic some how back fired on you.  Just don’t put an animal into this kind of situation.  I have always believed that it is OUR duty to care for, assist and protect the animals, rather than the other way around.  I hope you do too, and even if you don’t agree fully with this blog, at least appreciate the concern I have about every animal I see paraded around as a familiar.   While I apologize for any hurt feelings, I will not apologize for coming up against crappy info that has been fed to those trying to learn witch craft that has been peddled around far too long; especially when it pertains to animals.

Black Mirror Scrying Tips

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(I choose the above all black image for those who want to start practicing and don’t yet have a black mirror.  You can use this for now.  Right click and then open image in new tab.  It will enlarge and have enough black to practice with.)

The same advice can work with regular mirrors too, however, those have a higher tendency of reflecting more things from the room that can create distractions. These same tips can also be used to help with crystal ball scrying as well. So I will get right into this and put all the types that I have found helped me out quite a bit, that I hope will help others in their quest to learning this kind of divination.

Before you start, you’ll want to do whatever it is that you do when you prep for any kind of divination if anything at all. Some people like to do cleansing baths, others like to listen to certain kinds of music to put their mind in the mood. If you don’t do any prior preparations that’s okay too, this is optional.

If you like to use any type of incense, herbs, crystals, scents, oils, etc. that enhance clairvoyance. (Frankincense is good example). If you haven’t used anything like this before, then it’s worth a try to help during your session. These you will set up in the area you are working in. Incense you’ll light right before you begin.

Make sure to have all the lights off in the room and just have one or two candle’s going. Lights are extremely distracting, in fact, I wouldn’t even be able to begin under that condition. After you have the candle(s) lit, you will want them behind you, set in the distance. You don’t want them to the side or front of you, where the sight of the flame will keep catching your attention. After that, you want to angle the mirror so that your face isn’t reflecting in it, nor is any other items in the room. Try to angle it so that it’s reflecting the blank ceiling, but you can still see the surface fine.

Next it is important to get into a comfortable position. You don’t want a position that might get so uncomfortable that it takes you out of your trance. Once you do this, close your eyes, try to clear your thoughts a bit. This would also be a good time to beseech any spirits of any type that you work with, for guidance. Once more relaxed, and almost in a meditative state, open your eyes and gaze. At this point, go into a trance, keeping your eyes on the mirror. It’s okay to blink if your eyes are feeling strained or getting too watery.

You will at first likely notice the mirror take on a white haze. You may not get beyond this your first few times. But eventually, you will start noticing other things take on shape in the mirror, or bright spots. They could form pictures or symbols. Some might look like black figures of animals or people starting around on the mirror, in like a fleeting image. Some might show color. They could be slow moving or so fast and rapid that it takes you a few extra seconds to process what you saw. Also, during this session, pay attention to any fleeting thoughts or images that come into your mind as well. Often, these sessions don’t just show you things in the mirror, you will get messages in other ways as well. Suddenly songs might pop into your mind, words, statements, etc. A perfect example of this: About a month ago a male witch friend of mind asked me to look into a matter with him. So I did a mirror reading. I kept seeing this long cloaked figure, and suddenly the song “Dear Mr. Fantasy” by Traffic popped into my mind. For some weird reason, that song always made me think of wizards. Then I realized I was looking at some one that calls them-self a wizard. Turns out, long ago, he had some one in his life like that, and what they did to him pertained to the problem he was having now, which was an occult related situation. I saw something else, and it took him off guard that I saw it, because it was a secret that no one is suppose to know about. I can’t disclose it because it’s confidential, but it flashed right after the wizard showed up, and sort of like flew out of the mirror. Sometimes you may spot images outside of the mirror too. So all of this, what’s in your mind, your senses, what’s on the glass, off the glass, is all relative to the session even if it doesn’t seem that way..

When starting out, buy a note book, just for this purpose, and have it handy. Record your practice sessions, everything about it, what you saw, heard, etc. After a while, you’ll start realizing that when you see certain things, they have certain meanings to you when they show up. So this is a way to help you decipher your own personal divination process, sort of like learning the language of how your own clairvoyant mind works. Example…for a while, you may not know why you keep seeing trees over and over again. You write this down, and it keeps showing up. Then suddenly some day, you realize what the trees meant to you. Maybe for you, you realized that the trees were revealing that you are connecting with Tree spirits. Now you’ll have figured out that when you see trees, it’s about these spirits.. But some one else might find out that when they see trees, it means some kind of journey usually. So it’s always good to keep track of what you see, and will help make the process of learning how you interpret things, easier.

No matter what, do not get discouraged. This takes a lot of time and practice. Try setting aside practice with it, three times a week, and start out with 10 minute sessions at first then eventually increase the time to 20. I usually won’t recommend (nor do I myself) go beyond 20 minutes, unless I am doing a extended reading I am taking breaks at times during it. The more you practice the better you will get. Practice always makes masters when you are determined and stick with it. I assure you, in time you will start understanding what you see and developing your interpretations. It’s all personal to you. First, spend a lot of time practicing on yourself. Then after a while you might want to grab a trusted friend who will let you practice on them. I have heard from many in my travels that they consider this to be the hardest to form of divination to do. I think the reason it may seem that way is because there’s plenty of instructions on doing it, but not a whole lot on what the images might mean. There are books that try to help with this, and can be of great assistance, but in reality, the interpretation is up to the interpretation to figure out; hence the challenge. So the real trick is a lot of practice which helps you figure out what certain figures, symbols, etc. mean to you when you see them show up for other reasons.

Additional considerations….There is differences of opinions on handling the black mirror. Some insist that a ritual should be done to charge it. If this is something you feel you should do, or would make you feel better if you did, then I’d do it. Personally, I have never found it to make a difference either way, but if it’s important to you, then it may matter. A lot of sites also advise against allowing others to touch your black mirror. I have been dealing with them for years, and I have found that other people touching my mirrors did not hinder any ability to use them, so I don’t personally mind people touching mine. But I realize that some witches really get bothered by people touching their items, so if you aren’t at all comfortable with other hands on your mirror, then definitely keep them from other people. The one bit that I do agree with that is often advised, is not to let others do scrying on your mirror. Although, I know that the mirror is just a tool that can get your divination juices flowing, and that all that you see and hear is all solely from within you; I also believe that all things are flowing with energy. I believe that when we use our tools, we are also infusing them and imprinting them with our own energy, especially over a good period of time. In my opinion, the more your regular tools get infused with your energy, the easier they work with you. I know I would not want my mirrors having any one else’s energy imprinted anywhere in it, just my own. However, again, I realize that witches are a very vast group, and another witch might not feel this same way about this. Just bringing these points up, and you can determine what is best suited and most comfortable for you..