Traversing the worlds of Wicca and Traditional Witchcraft
Traversing the worlds of Wicca and Traditional Witchcraft
According to the early hagiographies, St. Brigid was born at Fochard Muirtheimne, a few miles north of Dundalk, about 450 CE. Though of the strength of this tradition, the place later became known as Fochard Bríde. On the hill nearby, are the remains of an Iron Age fort, a Norman motte-castle and a medieval church. St Brigid’s…
I stole this from Kelden Mercury’s blog who in turn nabbed it from Veles’ awesome blog. I find that this not only a fun way to get to know me more, but for me to take stock of my belief’s.
1. Do you use runes as a written language?
No. In my studies in MOAA I have used Hebrew. In witchcraft I haven’t really felt the need. I have looked at Ogham/Ogam but more as a historical interest rather than a magical tool.
2. Do you feel you have natural gifts such as (premonitions, hearing spirits) and if so do you think this is what led you to this path?
I have often received dreams or premonitions usually after a visit from my maternal grandmother. I’ve experienced a number of other psychically sensitive phenomena throughout my life and yeah it was a major motivation for me pursuing magical studies.
3. What deity do you work with if any and why?
Pretty much every deity I worked with was happy to work with me in ritual but no one offered to stick around as a patron/matron. In fact, the Irish gods and goddesses were flat out hostile to the idea of being worshipped or having devotees like the Greek or Hellenic pantheons.
4. Have you always worked with this same deity?
I’ve not aligned with any deity. The closest and most frequent figure in my life has been Sinann, associated with the River Shannon.
5. Do you use any personal items in your practice, (blood, semen, tears, urine, etc)?
Yes, have used hair. A few rituals have claimed an involuntary sacrifice mind you! 😉
6. Do you do past life readings or have ever had one done; who where you or how did you die?
Confession time… I did go through a phase of looking back into people’s past lives. I was with a group of friends that the hyper-realism of the process helped us stay connected. Do I think it was based on reality or history? Not a clue, but I ultimately abandoned it all because it was [re-]triggering to many people.
7. What is your favorite magical tool?
Oh tough one! I read once that the best gift that one could get for initiation is a chalice. I have a FREAKING gorgeous chalice gifted to me the weekend before my initiation into the Craft – which FYI no one knew was happening so the synchronicity comes to mind when I hold it!
8. What is a song or type of music that gets you into a Witchy mood?
Drumming definitely but honestly I’m always in a ‘Witchy mood’! lol
9. Where is the most magical place you have ever been?
A field in Co. Sligo I used to head to as a kid.
10. What animal is your familiar if any?
None. Currently between places but generally also house-sharing so animals aren’t an option.
11. If you have a familiar, did you choose them or did they choose you?
12. What in the Craft are you best at (tarot, spells, ritual,) etc?
I wish I could call myself a Pratchettian Witch to explain myself but tea works and not from tassomancy (though I have experimented a number of times successfully) but if I am forced to choose then Tarot.
13. What in the Craft would you say you are weaker at?
Dealing with hippy-dippy shit! Alas and alack it permeates so much of modern occultism.
14. What is your most favorite part of your Craft (spell writing, divination, etc)?
The mystical and deeply personal connection to the land and world around me. I suppose more in line with the question is the myriad of ways this can be achieved.
15. What was the first tool you ever purchased?
I was gifted my first Tarot deck but the first I ever purchased was probably a crystal still on my altar table.
16. What was your first homemade tool for your practice?
A very rough around the edges clay pentacle. I remember keeping it simple as I was confused by the initiatory Wicca stuff and feeling odd about copying it too much.
17. What are your feelings on raising kids in the Craft?
I understand that some Family covens bring young people in through rites of passage similar to those found in Catholicism (Confirmation) and Judaism (Bar Mitzvah), etc., but the Craft is an experiential path and I think magic is something with a bit of life experience behind you is better.
I am coloured by my traditions; Wicca and Golden Dawn though.
18. If you were a goddess or god, who would you be?
What a horrendous thought! Have you not read any of the mythos around gods? They have a shit time of it! :O Can we write a mythos where the God becomes a mortal and lives happily ever after? Kinda like Dr. Horrible…the anti-hero story!
19. Do you use astrology in your practice? In what ways?
I promise I will give this more time eventually! Its honestly not my fault that I got swept up in a thesis and life.
20. What if any ways could you practice dark magic and still respect the beliefs of Wicca?
This question actually nullifies itself! Mainly it assumes that Wicca is this one monolith of praxis when its so very diverse.
I am open to learning about action and when to magically take action to help better my family and my community.
21. Do you have any Witches in your family?
…Oh wait you said Witches…with a ‘w’. Nope none of those. 😀
22. What item can you not Witch without?
If I am there and present I am the best item I could need. We’re like the scouts in making use of what is around us supposedly.
23. What is your favourite Sabbat or time of year ritual?
Midsommer tends to be something big for me. That being said they all carry a different vibe. I loathe Bealtaine…in Irish cycles it was about the proclamation of wrongs and such but for me it just means friends explode.
24. Have you ever had a YouTube burn out?
Yes. So much sh1te!
25. What is your fav Witchy shop, and do they have an online store?
I’m trying not to laugh. In Ireland thats a hard no.
26. When buying Witchy items, do they choose you or do you choose them?
I’m clearly choosing them if I am in the shop doing the buying! This is more of the hippy-dippy jargon I loathe.
27. How do you organize your herbs/ingredients?
Assume does what now? I don’t have any storage space for herbs.
28. Do you have interest in other deities that you don’t work with; if so, which ones?
I like the stories and mythology of many, mostly Irish deities (note Celtic is too wide a label) but Egyptian, Roman and yeah any I can get my hands on.
29. Do you have a fav time of day to do spell work; if so, why?
When people are asleep…and because they are asleep. I get privacy.
30. Are you solitary or do you work with a coven?
31. If you could pick a certain Witchcraft tradition that fits your practice most what would it be (Druid, Celtic, Wicca etc)?
If you are reading this, sorry Kelden but Shamanism hails from the Siberian region not Celtic regions. Its also not a tradition of witchcraft. Some of the witchcraft traditions amongst the colonial diaspora either shun the label witchcraft or have their own terms so describing them as either “shamanic” or “witchcraft” is a bit of a problem for cultural appropriation by Neopagans.
With this in mind, I am an initiate of Traditional Wicca. This is not necessarily my personal praxis as I don’t have the benefit of a coven to aid me.
32. What was the most creative spell you have ever done. What did you use?
My, my aren’t we very curious! Sorry this one is sensitive so stays with me. Plus I have to keep an air of mystique 😉
33. What do you prefer for divination (tarot, oracle, runes, etc.) and why?
Tarot. I love the symbolism in the cards which draws from so much communal history.
34. What are some ways you keep yourself grounded?
Deep breathing exercises. Mindfulness meditation. After ritual I eat like a pig! My waistline is proof positive of this.
35. Have you ever had a spell go horribly wrong?
36. What are your opinions on initiation rituals?
Complicated. Initiation is often understood from a very secular perspective prior to initiation and so many people I’ve spoken with post-initiation tend to be in shock with the psychic surgery that has transpired.
I lucked out with my initiations but I have had the benefit of folk who have explained the process pretty well to me and consider it a huge responsibility.
37. Have you ever had full contact with your deity; if so, what happened?
I have been contacted by certain godforms and spiritual beings but once again I struggle over owning a deity.
38. What about you is unwitchy?
My clothing choices. I’m more broke student than gothic witchy!
39. For the dating Witch, how do you tell a new love interest that you are a Witch?
Actually yeah I’ve done this with some *ahem* interests but not with boyfriend: “Bring them to my bedroom and laugh as the realization dawns on their face”. Honestly, this is a work in progress, I have tried tossing it out as a non-issue but I think it is for me. I’m not very good at multi-tasking.
40. Who is a past Witch that has inspired you, famous or not?
I know its trite but Doreen Valiente…the more I read about her the more I am in awe.
41. How do you handle rejection from a fellow Witch that refuses to do a reading or spell for you?
Why would they be doing a spell for me? I’m the Witch! I have helped friends in rituals that needed a second or grounding force in that ritual but its not something I did because I expected it to be reciprocated.
Readings more people have said no than agreed. This is fair enough. I’ve had to refuse readings for lots of reasons.
42. Do you think it is necessary to cast a circle when you do spell work or any magical working?
I don’t think it’s necessary for EVERY magical working.
43. If Steven Spielberg called and wanted to make a movie of your life, who would you want to play as you?
Someone hot with a great ass! Totally go all Hollywood and the opposite to my natural beauty! 😉
44. What is some advice that was given to you that you pass along because it made an impact on your path?
45. What is some advice you would give someone who has not found their deity?
“I think we should first focus on the forms of there, their, they’re. Also, this question is literally stupid.” – Kelden Mercury
Yes this! Sorry but I have done quite well without being obsessed with deities.
46. Where do you buy your herbs?
Grr! I don’t do either! Look if I was pressed to use herbs (not my thing) I’d forage for them in local areas.
47. How did you feel casting your first circle (silly, scared, stumbling, etc)?
Giggy, tingly and then suddenly very cool as reality just sank in that I’d just done this very bizarre thing!
48. What was your first successful spell?
A curse. Cause you know like all Wiccans I’m all love’n’light fo sho! 😀
49. What is your general practice for meditation?
I light some candles and incense and commence the Four-Fold breathing.
50. Are you a day walker or a night comer?
OMG! Is this quiz actually referencing Penny Dreadful? If so, I totally call dips on being a night-comer! lol
51. How and when did you know you wanted to be on this path?
I always kind of knew but the name only came to be when I was 15 and friends with a dabbler. I soon realised that I was taking it seriously and he was just messing about.
52. What type of pagan are you (Wiccan, eclectic, hedge, etc)?
I’m a Wiccan.
53. What candle colour do you use most?
White. Tea-lights are easy no mess no fuss for the urban and rural witch alike!
54. What area would you like to see your Craft grow in?
Practice. Time and other fiscal constraints are getting in the way.
55. What is your preference, to buy or make your tools?
I’m with Kelden here, I like to either make my tools or find them through thrift shop or charity shops.
56. What fictional Witch book/screen inspired you the most?
Wait you mean Pratchett wrote fiction? :O But it seemed so real! 😥
57. With your first spell where you alone or in a coven?
All alone *sniff*
58. What is your favorite candle, incense scent for magical purposes?
Incense: Sage, nag champa, sandalwood, myrrh and frankincense.
59. Where is your favorite place to go to reconnect with nature?
Right now, a woodland area connected to a lake just of the River Shannon. My family also used to go their when my grandmother was a kid.
60. Do you believe in fantasy creatures (unicorns, gnomes, elves, fairies, etc)?
Yes – now hear me out because I study English Literature then fantasy creatures are legit characters in a lot of fantasy genre books. So choosing not to believe in them is going to make for awkward reading.
Magically, I am open to exploring the idea of elementals and beings innate in our world.
61. Do you believe in ghosts/spirits?
62. Would you ever teach the Craft?
It’s not really my goal in life but if a worthy student deemed me worthy I’d give it due consideration. Though I kind of feel that there are plenty of good teachers out there already so the “fit would have to be right” as Wiccans are renowned for saying.
63. What if any legal herb do you use for moods?
64. What is the most recent spell/ritual you have done? (slight detail please)
The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (LRP). This is mainly to do with my Golden Dawn training though. It works on the sphere of sensation (aura) of the magician (witch).
65. Do you have a happy place you go to during meditation?
Lol… Of course I have one. I was an introverted child. But the Happy Place is not a magical tool at best it is a self-help guided meditation.
I hope that what this question is aiming to ask is Inner Kingdom or Astral Temple. Nick Farrell’s Gathering The Magic is GREAT for exploring these concepts. Also Christopher Penzack discusses some of it in his series of books.
66. What is your favourite Witchy book?
“Gay Witchcraft” by Christopher Penzack still ranks fairly highly. “Natural Magic” by Doreen Valiente too.
67. Do you have a ritual to get ready before a ritual or spell? (what is it)
Deep breathing, such as the four-fold breathing after a ritual shower/bath.
68. Do you always use your own spells or do you tweak others?
Usually my own but often inspired by others. I can be a bit of a magpie.
69. Do you prefer spells/ritual inside or outside?
Inside. This is Ireland…brrrrgh! Also I prefer not to chase my ritual items all over the garden.
70. If you are coming from a Christian/Catholic background. Did you find the transition hard with family and the whole going to Hell thing? Basically leaving all you been told was right?
No, most Irish Catholics operate with a veneer of Christianity over very pagan practices. Irish Catholics aren’t so obsessed with Hell like some of their US counterparts.
71. What are your totem animals?
72. What are some things you reuse after spells/ritual work?
I’ll reuse candles for contemplation or meditation unless they were consecrated to a particular working or purpose.
73. Who helped you most when you [were] starting on your path?
When I was starting out on my path it was fairly solitary and lonely to be honest. Help didn’t come from any one particular person.
74. Do you know any good Witchy phone apps (like moon phases)?
I had a moon phases app but meh I prefer to feel the ebb and flow of the energies around the lunar cycle. Tried a planetary hours app too but it used a lot of phone memory.
75. What is your favorite magical study?
76. Outside of the YouTube and Facebook community, do you have a lot of witchy friends in the physical world?
77. Do you feel that the deities we work with are a force from one higher power and that all beliefs and religions are from the same one God/place?
Yes and no in that order.
Yes there is a source or One Thing and no that all beliefs and religions are from the One Thing, they are created by human beings (maybe with Divine guidance) and therefore the ineffable ray of truth is a bit like a jewel in the rough if I’m honest.
Many might think that I see the rough as lacking value but I like the character 😉
This is going around on YouTube. I found it on Vele’s Adventures In Witchery. I want to answer some of the other posted questions but they number in the greater so I figured I’ve take a stab at this first.
Play along, if you like. It’s fun.
1. What is your biggest witchy disaster?
Yikes! Well there is the usual spilt wax on the wooden floors which if my mother finds out about might be the end of me but I think the disaster is misused magic, both because I didn’t really know what was happening and its had be second guessing whether I should act in a lot of situations ever since.
2. What do you wish someone had told you as a new Witch?
Can I co-opt Vele’s answer?:
Oh god, here comes the hate mail! Again.
Pagans lie. Pagans make shit up. Pagans will quote the “Threefold law” or “The Rede” at people but often do pretty fucked up things to people in their lives. Paganism provides a pretty safe haven for people who need psychiatric treatment.
It sounds so harsh but it’s sort of true! When I started out I was assuming that the issues people aired were all online but then I went to moots and such and despite the best of house-keeping weirdoes do make their way in to so-called “safe-spaces”.
3. Biggest witchy pet peeves?
Lineage wars and the obsession with antiquity. There’s a difference in standing on the backs of giants and thinking you are the giant!
4. When did you first know there was something different about your spirituality?
Realisation that my spirituality was different didn’t actually occur until my family situation changed. My family hit on hard times and so I was looking for something that didn’t negate my connection to something greater than myself.
I guess I was looking for my own story. The Goddess and God of Wicca (as distinct from the Wica) offered me a mechanism to explore and listen to different stories as powerful tools.
5. Best witchy book you’ve ever read?
Terry Pratchett’s “Wee Free Men”, the idea of Granny Weatherwax and Tiffany Aching.
6. Best witchy movie or tv show?
“The Craft” as best film and as for TV show I think Willow and Tara in “Buffy” work but also something engaging about Salem. I’m too much a literature student to think that fiction owe us historicism. Truth appears in many ways.
7. Have you ever doubted your Craft and what did you do about it?
Vele’s wins the internet again for this response:
Always. Not so much the praxis itself, but the woo and mysticism and ZOMG THE POWAH OF THE GAWDESS and invisible things talking to you shit gets more than a healthy dose of skepticism.
This isn’t your normal blog post on love and lust magic. I did contemplate placing a sample ritual of each version but since I am still trying to make sense of so much of this I felt a better approach would be an allegorical approach from my own history with magic and being sensitive. This is, I hope, going to be therapeutic.
I don’t think I have ever really shared with you all how it was I ventured out in to the practice of magic and eclectic witchcraft in particular?! Well, as always there was a guy! He went to school with me and he came out first. I remember feeling like it was an odd him coming up to me after school, for one reason he NEVER used his locker which was beside mine; and for another he only ever spoke to me in passing up until this point. Heck, last I really recalled interacting with him was to accidentally pick up on the vibes between him and another girl in class!
Anyway, this guy, let’s call him “A”, just comes out as being gay at our lockers once everyone had left. I’d been bullied so bad I needed counselling in primary school I’m not above saying I was so very paranoid that this was a set up. Somehow we managed to get beyond the undoubtedly mutual paranoia and started hanging out. A few of his friends were eventually told to but he certainly spent months “out” before me. The reason was that I wanted to know what being gay meant. Its one thing to know you’re attracted to the same sex but another to figure out how you want to be both yourself and gay! This is especially difficult when society tells you what gay is meant to be.
“A” and I had another secondary identity burgeoning – he was dabbling in witchcraft and I was interested in Wicca and magic. He was so much a part of these two secret worlds for me. Especially when we started sleeping together. At the time I told myself I was just experimenting and not emotionally invested but I was a teenager so of course emotions and sex feature strongly together. “A” asked me at the time if I wanted to be his boyfriend but something instinctual told me “NO”…now my psychic sensations from childhood had gone into the background so I didn’t assume this might have been something more than just an instinct. In any event I said no to a relationship but yes so sex – I told myself I was protecting myself and being in charge of my sexuality, and he was clearly content with this!… Wasn’t he?!
Things turned sour as friendships and relationships often do. Part of this was the flack he was enduring for coming out whereas even out I seemed to be liked. Truth was I was protected by my uncle owning the only off-licence in town at the time and working there at weekends, guys that were jerks in school were my best friends at the weekend. Naturally, I took delight in wielding power and saying no to them but “A” had so such mental reserve. Dabbling in witchcraft and magic should have given him power over others and if most magical practitioners are honest with themselves its a huge part of the attraction for many magical practitioners.
One of the biggest regrets I have was getting angry with him for “breaking up” with me and lying about me was using magic to hurt him. I had the curse uttered before I even knew what I’d done. I know it had an effect because I could see him mucking up his other friendships and pushing people away. I’d wanted him to feel as alone as I did (or more aptly how I’d felt before having any friends in town).
“A” moved away after ditching me. I don’t know what happened but a few weeks or months later he came back to town and sure enough we’d bump into each other EVERYWHERE! I could not get away from this guy and everytime I saw him I was overcome with loneliness and anger over what he’d done and it would re-trigger things for me, and I gather that further fed into the curse. I remember reading Fiona Horne’s big book and flicking to the page on “Hexcraft” or “Bitchcraft” – not my fault someone had broken the spine to that page! Anyway, she explained that part of working curses or hexes can be tying you to the person – a-ha!
I had to learn to let go of the anger and break the curse this way. It took some time. Eventually I learned to let go and started feeling better in myself as time went on and sure enough I stopped bumping into “A” around town. A few years later he did make a big thing about astral projecting into my dreams but he’d taken some ‘shrooms’ to make it happen and I was in a bad space dealing with some college related stuff (honestly a story for another day!).
Since Fiona Horne’s advice had worked so well in fixing what I’d done to “A”, I decided that I still wasn’t ready for love but she had a funky “Condom Spell” that really seemed a sneaky way to make condoms cool to carry with you but meant also recognising that sex can be fun. I didn’t want to regress as a gay man and had so many questions about what my body liked and what other guys liked to do and so a lust spell that targeted no one but focused on my well-being seemed like a legit direction.
I found a pink candle and inscribed it as the ritual recommended and placed the condom beneath it to drawn in the energy for the lust ritual. I remember this as being my second attempt at candle magic and fascinated with the colours and visualisation side of magic.
Anyway, I found myself hooking up with a lot of guys. I was 17 years old by now so still quite young and never sure what it was I was looking for since my ritual was just at finding the opportunity for sex (I went off books from Horne’s advice on this). I had a bi/closeted guy that used to bully me in Sligo, and then older guys and none of them very full-filling after awhile. Clearly Lust Magic was not the way forward so I stopped and tried to curtail my hormones now.
I decided to show a little restraint with magic around this point. I figured when it came to helping me find a nice boyfriend I was either at home or when I started in my course I was working at weekends and the course was 40 hours per week so I had no time. Don’t get me wrong I had time for sex, I mean I was at college even if it wasn’t university and my primary degree.
I felt strongly at the time I needed to allow a natural connection between myself and another guy. Trouble was Sligo was again not the right place for me to be an out gay man nevermind a sex-positive guy.
At least now I was prepared for a love connection even if I wasn’t going to use magic, right?
University came around and I thought a couple of times I might have started something. More often than not my wild-child days had a stronger hold than I’d wanted to give it credit for because I didn’t know how to date or start to let down the guards. After everything with “A” and with “closet guy” I’d fallen in with a group in the west of Ireland who held events but it was all older guys or an impenetrable clique of younger guys who clearly didn’t like me because I’d been brought in by one of the older guys. I suspect I was known as “his boy”.
This was tougher to let go off than I’d realised. So I focused on making friends in the uni’s LGBT Society. I even became elected to the presidency in my first year! Once I was President of the Soc shagging or dating new members was out of the question – no really the Soc rulebook wouldn’t allow it! So celibacy was par for the course for me. Around this time I was initiated into the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea (MOAA) so it started to take up much of my time.
Flash-forward to two years ago, I had ended my celibacy and started sleeping around again but it was still too much of the old-patterns of behaviour and needed to stop.
I was working on my pre-Wicca training and I was getting some flashes of a lover in my near future. I wasn’t exactly sure when or where I would meet this guy. I felt like I would be back home but I never said anything to anyone, I did share that I thought I might have a liaison with someone else before I met this guy. Believe me I really felt like one of those fair-ground fortune-tellers telling myself all this, and maybe because those are the figures people associate with clairvoyance and clairsentience thats how we process the information we see/hear or sense?
By now I have noticed the trend for being slightly amorous and lusting after sex is generally followed by a desire for companionship. In the last year I have attempted to date three guys – the first was messing with my head in a big way, I fully understand that this was not his intention but at no point when he sorted himself out did he try to offer any apology for treating me like dirt. Suffice to say we never really dated, so the next guy I really tried to see my vision come through even though he looked nothing like my vision. And honestly, I faked my feelings well. Most of my family and friends thought I liked him more but I still had that feeling like with “A”. He was aggressive and could be controlling in small minute ways. Perhaps, it was nerves with him too but after him getting upset when I had some bad news and not really knowing how to check in with me I decided to call time on this one. I definitely could have handled it better but my energies were a mess.
With guy no.3, I was circling around his Grindr profile for a week or so. I talked myself out of tabbing in to chat because I wanted to leave Grindr and focus on my college work. Until *ping* or *scrunchy sound* he messaged me. We chatted and I just so happened to be doing a Tarot reading, so when he asked what I was doing I just said ‘doing a reading’. My plan was if a negative reaction go fob it off as a typo and say I was reading for college. But I had a sense. Aside from the shaved head he didn’t look exactly like my vision but we arranged to meet for coffee in Sligo.
The date went really well, turned out he was a witch too. This was promising because even if not in my Tradition or in MOAA he could be sympathetic to the time it takes up. Turned out he’d done a spell to meet someone with the same “interests”. We struggled to find time to meet – neither of us driving and with him working a new and demanding job. Despite this I really liked him. We went on a few dates – not many with his schedule and the poor weather and my getting sick.
I remember telling another witch-friend of mine who counselled me to be cautious with love spells as they tended to be messy in her opinion. I remember thinking that all the Wicca 101 books used to caution the same so I was a bit peeved at this advice coming in when I’d found a really good guy more or less on the same wave-length. Hindsight I should have copped that my friend usually only says things like that when she senses something up.
Just before New Years’ I got a Facebook message while out with a friend of mine. Yes it was that type of message and it was over Facebook too. I knew then that I’d been ignoring my instincts with him as well. This had been coming a while. I’d seen him online meeting friends when he’d been too busy at work for me (honestly, don’t know why because everyone has friends that need some TLC too so the fib was completely unnecessary) but I’d also noticed him on Grindr and I had just told myself, “Hey, I’m on Grindr too, maybe he’s deleting spambots too”. I knew it was a lie to myself, I could sense him due to the spell connecting us. He was searching for something.
Now, I feel that I should explain that I am a firm believer in setting a person free. Don’t try and control everything but this was starting to hurt. I’d left him to see if he wanted to meet again he seemed like he did and then *BOOM* the Facebook message arrives.
Of the five guys I’ve mentioned here there are others with another element of the overall story and of course these guys have their own truths. It is not my intention to paint them as villains. I made missteps in each of my interactions too.
- In “A’s” case, I failed to trust him and with that he learned that he could not trust me either. I used him when I should have tried to talk to him more.
- In “closeted guy’s” case, I jumped into bed with him without knowing who he really was and this meant that I was too focused on sex and not on whether I really wanted or needed that after everything with “A”. I was still hurting.
- With the group mentioned, I had already started telling myself I wasn’t worthy of love or a meaningful connection.
- ‘Guy no.1’ – we’d dated before I went back to college and I felt an intense connection. He rejected me for his ex, so when he said he wanted to get back together last year and then dropped me I ignored the signs that night! For one I seized really badly but also when he decided to say this he was jealous of another guy I’d been with previously giving me attention. It was never about me.
- ‘Guy no.2’ – straight forward enough once more I lied to myself but worse I lied to everyone else. At least after Guy no.2’s thing I was not being given a choice to listen to my feelings on this one.
- ‘Guy no.3’ – like ‘guy no.1’, no.3 had a lot on his plate when I showed up. If I were asked why would his spell bring us together for such a short time I don’t think I would be angry about it. I am upset with being dumped by messenger but not that he came into my life. I’ve had a look at my life and I have fallen into a rut and no.3’s been able to help me see that the way things are can’t continue.
Hermetic Tablet: Journal of Western Ritual Magic has just completed it’s second print cycle. The journal is a bi-annual publication available in hardback and paperback. Many have posed the question whether the modern occult world needs yet another publication – to them I would counter that Hermetic Tablet isn’t like other publications with consistently good material from seasoned magicians from a variety of traditions and experiences it can boast of being one of the few good ones. Unlike many New-Age self-help magazines this is a journal which is worth procuring as you can always return to articles.
Volume 2: Winter Solstice 2015 has been printed with contributions from Jake Stratton-Kent, Mike Magee, Chic & Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Aaron Leitch, Nick Farrell, Jayne Gibson, João Pedro Feliciano, Tony Toneatto, David Nez, Tony Fuller, Ina Cüsters Van Bergen, Morgan Drake Eckstein, Christine Zalewski, Wynn Westcott and Cynthia Caton.
The Winter Solstice 2015 edition has so much to offer and while it may be tempting to limit this journal aimed just toward Hermetically inclined magicians as always this publication offers both historical and practical information to seasoned and beginner students of modern occultism.
Some of the highlights include: “Following the Dawn: The Magical Life of Christine Zalewski” by Nick Farrell which examines the unique path to the Golden Dawn and the need for an experiential pursuit of magic. Christine Zalewski offers “Jack Taylor: The Colourful Magus”, which is a wonderful insight into Zalewski’s time training with Jack Taylor, who himself trained in the ‘Whare Ra’ Temple in Havelock North, New Zealand. Indeed, upon reading both of these articles one really begins to understand that the question for magical orders in the twenty-first century really is: What next?
The answer to that question lies somewhere in the works of the other writers. In her article, “Spiritual Development of Paranormal Talents”, Ina Cüsters Van Bergen ponders on the nature of psychicism and extrasensory perception in magic. At what point can we trust in the visions of our magical work? Van Bergen suggests that what the modern magician needs is to heed the words above the Temple door, “Know Thyself”. This may sound like she is recommending flights of fantasy but in truth fantasy is the doorway, the poet and playwright, W. B. Yeats knew this through his visionary work on A Vision (A & B) with his wife George Yeats. One has to be pragmatic about what happens as Van Bergen points out any spirit guide/contact will be content to offer earthly context for the communication.
Almost as though creating a dialogue between the various contributors, two more articles offer a discussion on spirits; “House Gods” by Mike Magee and “Familiar Spirits” by David Nez. What Hermetic magicians are doing with House Gods and familiar spirits may seem like a bit of an oddity as most readers tend to associate those discussions with Traditional Wicca or Witchcraft. However, making snap decisions would be rather unfortunate as Magee discusses the Hindu concept of Gods subduing the chaotic forces to form a safe space for the hearth and home. Magee clearly places the House-Gods in connection with the Sphere of Sensation and the celestial forces which are reflected therein.
Nez’s article, “Familiar Spirits”, looks more comprehensively at the re-emergence in working with familiar-spirits and the often complicated relationships between the shaman, witch or magician. As a piece in Hermetic Tablet, Nez’s article offers an interesting counter-perspective to the more mystical or subjective interpretation of Magee’s House-Gods, here we see an evolving relationship to the Spirit World or Astral World. Between these two views stands Van Bergen’s counsel “Know Thyself” or to check in with oneself on the nature of the experience.
Cynthia Caton’s piece, “Death is for the Living”, explores the very personal relationship to the fantasy of death and the means by which we as magicians tend to encounter death. What becomes interesting from reading Caton’s piece is the power in knowing the stories of the past and the ability to build memories of the past as she describes connecting the matrilineal links to the hearth and home despite many of these dwellings being supported by patrilineal figures. It stands that our links to loved ones become something a little more than just the connection to that one individual.
Follow this link HERE to see purchasing details for this issue of Hermetic Tablet as well as previous publications. All monies raised for Hermetic Tablet go toward charitable causes.
Because the subject is very much on the go so to speak I thought I’d share this blog from Aaron Leitch.
I’m not really sure if I have much else to add to it. In Ireland the occult, generally speaking, has two primary facade’s from what I can see. The first is that of the Neopagan or Wiccan who over a sympathetic Pub Moot will nod to the more CM work that they may operate on parallel lines to Paganism or Wicca. Of course their Paganism or Wicca is not for the fluffy-bunny types either but the moniker often shields them in conversations with the New-Agers in pagan social circles. The second type is the type that will not really be caught out too handy. Their occultism is not for the masses and as genuine practitioners of magic they rarely take on students.
I’ve hidden among college going students for a while now. Even attempted to set up a college pagan society (we had no takers) but I found that most modern witches don’t really wish to explore the occult or magic they simply wish to practice it. When it becomes clear that practice means PRACTICE things waver and teeter off. I’ve come off even crazier amongst these lot of people than I do amongst “Muggles”! It is frustrating and tiring being alone in a crowd. In fact if I am honest trying to make the crowd work out has cost me my own magical practice.
As such I am a fan of retiring from the limelight and paying more attention to the Art of Magic.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:. – Acts 2:17
Nick Farrell has done it again. Love him or hate him, you have to admit he knows how to stir things up from time to time. 😉 This time, it was with a blog post declaring the death of “public occultism.” If I were to summarize his position, I would say he feels occult students have become millennial wannabes who believe magickal knowledge should simply be on tap. You just turn on your computer, press a few buttons, and one of the various modern occult leaders will simply deliver their wisdom to your front door in a nice box with a smile…
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Not to put too fine a point on it but Nietzsche proclaimed that God was dead quite some time ago. It has been a bit a crow for the modern pagan movement to deal with since we like to boast of our vast reading experience, our familiarity with various philosophers and with this one right on the doorstep of when modern pagan witchcraft was borne [nope shan’t be dealing with that ol’ crap of the ‘Burning Times’ or the ‘Old Religion’ because so many rabbit holes!] Tonight I happened upon a Facebook post by Wade MacMorrighan in which he asked:
Say, does anyone else cast some seriously judgmental side-eye at fellow witches and pagans when they speak of communing or working with some amorphous and divine entity that they call “Spirit” as if they are some New Age hippie on the verge of being diagnosed with diabetes from all the sweetness-and-light they are spewing?
Well straight out to bat I am going to say yes, yes I do get fairly judgmental when I hear neopagans hide behind some vague concept such as “Spirit”, the reason isn’t because I have a particular issue with ‘Spirit’ in Native American traditions but because most neopagans or new-agers have no concept of what they might mean. Often it is a means to obfuscate the fact that they are insecure about their own processes and relationship to the world around them.
I recently had a very surreal experience with someone who claimed to be a shamanic practitioner here in Ireland but who used Chakras and basically blamed my epilepsy on my Chakras being misaligned or some shite like that. When I asked why “Oh Spirit told me”, as if that was a legit reason to try to claim my neurological condition as your truth. Of course same said individual went on to say ’Spirit’ had revealed to him that everything was an illusion… great so thousands of years of mystical and magical structures and teachings get ignored from a hundred odd traditions and spiritualities because you don’t like being told what do do… Bardo, Maya, etc!
If you want to offer sound healing advice for me then test your contacts out. Ask them for specifics and get them to check their own sources. Or better yet, if you don’t actually have any contacts or spiritual guides then don’t blame them for advice that comes from some inexplicable source an is only partially correct. Even in Traditional Reiki, Usuhi had diagnostics as an intricate part of the early studied for would-be healers in his system.
Moreover, it irks me when some witchlings say, “I don’t worship anything!” as if they are somehow greater than the spiritual powers that animate the Universe! Of course, some actually say, “I don’t believe in the gods!” and they insist that anyone who is pagan and calls themselves a “witch” is misusing the term. However, it is they who are misusing the term “witch” since “Witch” has always had strong magico-religious connotations. Instead, they ought to call themselves “sorcerers”, which yields (academically!) those atheistic denotations that best describe their practices. But, they still *want* the term “Witch” for some reason. They are trying to redefine it! In recent years I have seen MANY so-called “traditional witches” harshly criticize any anythor who dares to conflate witchcraft with paganism. They simply won’t have it and use the internet to bully anyone who might.
I disagree here. I think it is not only entirely possible to call oneself a witch and mean it when you don’t believe in gods or do but simply refuse to worship any. Personally, I fall somewhere into the spectrum of existentialist views on paganism. There is much of the g/Gods I can accept but worship seems to fly in the face of thousands of years of working with tutelary deities and spirits. Even when cultures or individuals in cultures have acted as emissaries to the g/Gods the depth by which they worshipped was varied.
In classical times witches and priests were not one-in-the-same. That innovation only really became accepted mainstream with the growth of the Traditional Wiccan movement. This is not to say that priests and priestesses were without charms or magical spells but that these were not for the day-to-day running of the household.
Cochrane, Gardner and Sanders amongst others all coopted the terms; witch, Wicca, Wica, Pagan, et al. for their own purposes to revive the idea of the ‘Old Religion’ echoing Margaret Murray but this has long been disproven. Gardner in particular wanted to see PAGAN witchcraft flourish in Britain. The “witches” who were more properly called cunning folk or healers were either Christian or non-plussed about doctrines of faith, they had cures and spells to enact those cures alright. The specifics are often muddled now but I daresay assuming that all so-called low-magic systems of witchcraft believed in worshipping deities is a bit far-flung.
I personally feel the problem in trying to guess the secularist attitudes of the cunning-folk witches lies at the heart of British culture at the time. It was just starting to establish a modernist identity following WW2 and we can see this in the power-structures of modern Traditional Wicca. I’m not suggesting everyone who joined Wicca or the Craft of the time did so because Nietzsche proclaimed God to be dead but it does mark the epistemological doubt surrounding society of the time which I do believe affected modern Paganism. Customs and traditions being what they are and cures often cheaper that medical advice people found a sense of control in keeping these alive.
From the period of 1800s-1900s magic as well as modern paganism enjoyed a revival. Because modern witchcraft became synonymous with modern paganism other forms of witchcraft either fell outside of the accepted vernacular for what defines a witch or succumbed to modernity and the development in technology. I know of only one confirmed family tradition of Witchcraft which was Christian but it died with the last practitioner because the children refused to carry it on viewing it as too archaic for a modern world. So what I suspect kept the familial customs of witchcraft alive in Britain until the popularity of Wicca could help to define it may have also killed off other forms.
I’m not a fan of most of the Traditional Witchcraft forums online – certainly not the Facebook groups because they often spend more time defining themselves as something other than Wiccan. They seem to ignore the fact that they have just as much magpie syndrome as any other witch out there. I know some really good people in the Appalachian region of the USA who work magic and help people in their communities but I don’t need the forums to remain friends with them. I’m always doing to remain open to learning from others as I go – I don’t need family lineages going back to before the Famine anymore than I think lineages in Wicca or the Golden Dawn have served to help end false groups.
Many of the posts in response to Wade’s question seemed to err on the side of least judgement. I don’t think the word sorcerer is well defined enough my anyone to accurately state that it is better for atheistic witches. Largely because many of the words we use: witch, sorcerer, magician, warlock, pagan, etc. have been used as both cultural and counter-cultural motifs when deemed necessary. In modern parlance I call myself a Witch amongst pagan friends as I am Gardnerian and Magician amongst my ceremonialist friends as I am a member of MOAA. And frankly I see both terms as meaning much the same.
Tam is a third degree Wiccan from the UK and has been in the craft for 37 years following along the line of the well known Gardnerian “Whitecroft” line, started
Okay, Peregrin is a little on the harsh side here but I do see where he is coming from. For those that read my wee ramble on “Why join anything?” I referred to a few different schools and teaching styles. I know that many solo practitioners enjoy “working things out for themselves” the thing is even if you have access to a teacher or elders within a tradition you still have to think for yourself. So a person really needs to consider their audience when producing information for mass consumption online.
One of the main reasons I have shied away from diagrams here is that I don’t feel comfortable with all that I need to learn. I have some ideas that I’m happy to share publicly because I’m happy to hear alternatives and suggestions to correct misinformation. I’ve learned FAR more from my years hosting this blog and it’s predecessors than I have taught anyone.
In the previous post on joining a group I was writing in partial response to some off-hand comments from non-affliated friends. Now by virtue of them being my friends they are not misappropriating materials and remediating them online with misinformation as if they full know and comprehend materials. Most of these friends are animistic in a very non-descript way. Honestly, they just resonate with energy and rarely overthink matters. They have no need to look for hidden meaning.
Peregrin does identify some issues with online posters. Many are seeking to learn but seem at times fearful to even antagonistic toward learning within a system or a structure. Believe me I too feared I would loose my sense of self and be simply another generic Wiccan or a generic Golden Dawner (MOAA) by the end but in a well structured approach this sense of self doesn’t need to be completely eradicated.
This is kinda a follow up to the last post. And then I’m done, as these problems seem to be more and more prevalent in the magical-Pagan communities since the internet. I’ll have said my piece and will move on to bunny pics or good news stories 🙂
First off, it should go without saying that I view the people mentioned (but not identified) in this post as images of the One, whole and divine and that I do not – cannot – judge their spiritual life. I am simply responding to what they say and do.
The other day I noticed on Facebook a rather new beginner to all things magical produce a nice little chart of the Kircher Qabalistic Tree of Life, complete the 22 paths, superimposed over the human body for meditation reference. Very nice and kind of him to make and share this publically. However, there…
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