Study Global News

IMAGE 2017 PaganPath Almanacs & Calendar
Welcome to the 20th edition of the PaganPath Almanac. Great improvements have been made over the years based on your input and our growing... Read More...
IMAGE Beltane - Maypole Dance
The Beltane season has that quivering anticipation, similar to Samhain.  Filled with a sense of magic and quickening, it is a time of growth and... Read More...
IMAGE PaganPath Sabbat Cakes
Originally entitled Volute's Sabbat Cakes. See note at end of article.* Very Chocolate, Very Strong, Very Good, just so VERY! These cakes can be the... Read More...
IMAGE Mead Magic
Mead is often referred to as the Nectar of the Gods, or the Drink of Love. It is a delightful ritual beverage that can add depth to your rituals and... Read More...
IMAGE House Cleansing & Blessing Ritual
This home ritual is designed to cleanse a house of negativity, but it is also designed to create a positive and balanced atmosphere which encourages... Read More...
IMAGE Alter Your Altar: Alternative Altars
Your altar reflects who you are and what your energy is like at this point in your life. It can even be a reflection of the goals you wish to... Read More...
IMAGE Dragon's Blood
(Shop)Dragon's Blood Resin comes from the collected and dried sap of many plant genera.  Usually it is harvested from a type of spiny, climbing... Read More...
IMAGE The Garden's Unseen Magical Forces
There are unseen forces working their magic in your garden! Have you ever printed a photograph when your ink cartridge is out of yellow ink? ... Read More...
IMAGE Pagan & Craft Traditions
Traditions are also known as "Trads". By necessity, these definitions are general. Each Witch in every tradition could define his or her path... Read More...
IMAGE The Four Quarters or Corners
In This Article:  What are the Quarters?  •  How are the Quarters Called?  •  Deosil vs. Widdershins What are the... Read More...
IMAGE Working With Crystals & Stones Course Guide
This is the course index for the Working With Crystals & Stones class.  Your studies will be easier if you go through each lesson in... Read More...
IMAGE 1: What is Quartz Crystal?
Welcome to the newest course available in the PaganPath Academy! The first two lessons of this online class are available to the public. Please... Read More...
IMAGE Theban Script or "Witchs' Runes"
Theban Script is an alphabet used by many Pagans, Witches and Wiccans as a to prevent prying eyes from reading private entries in Books of Shadows... Read More...
IMAGE Scarabs: History, Symbolism, Uses
Scarab Symbolism & Uses The popularity of the scarab (pronounced SCARE ub) in Ancient Egyptian culture is undisputed.  The scarabs from Friday's... Read More...
Herbs & Wortcunning Course Summary
A great class to help you understand the magical, medicinal and other uses for herbs and plants from gardening or growing your own indoors to... Read More...
IMAGE Your Tarot Manual
Your Tarot Cards User's Maintenance Manual (The one they forgot to include with your cards.) Forget the superstitious mumbo jumbo. Clear your head of... Read More...
IMAGE About the Tarot Class & Cards
Designed to help you become proficient in reading the tarot without consulting a reference book, this course is excellent for both beginners and... Read More...
IMAGE Besom Briefs
A besom is a broom used by some Witches, especially for Handfasting and Imbolc (around February 2) rites.  Because we hope to offer information... Read More...
IMAGE Designing With Color Magick: Gardens, Home Design, Clothes
There are thousands of websites and books you can use to look up the meaning and properties of a color.  Even here on PaganPath you will find... Read More...
IMAGE Part II: Where is Power?
In Part I we talked about the self defeating programming that takes power from within you and gives it to things outside of yourself. (similar to... Read More...
IMAGE Part VI: Worship
Part VI: Worship; or, giving yourself permission to connect with what moves you in whatever way you deem best What is being a real practitioner? As... Read More...
IMAGE The PPe-Tarot: A Digital Tarot Deck & Free Reading
Your free online tarot reading, and much of the The Online Tarot Class in the Academy is illustrated with the PPe-Tarot. The PPe-Tarot was developed... Read More...
IMAGE The Elder Futhark Runes
The following interpretations of the meanings of the Elder Futhark1 runes are summarized from my research through dozens of books and manuscripts.... Read More...
IMAGE Making a Ouija or Talking Board
Making your own Witch board, Ouija board or "talking board" can be very easy.  You can also have someone with more experience make one for you,... Read More...
IMAGE Make Your Own Scarab
This is a good project to do with kids, and for the kid in you!  You can create your own scarab fetish and inscribe symbols and words that are... Read More...
IMAGE Stones for Magic & Spells
Stones are excellent tools for spells and magic.  You can use them in a number of ways, but stone pouches are a convenient tool for energy and... Read More...
IMAGE A Guide to Amber & Jet
As you can see from the picture, there are many types of amber, and these are often confused with each other, as well as with ambergris, copal and... Read More...
IMAGE Online Class Participation
Welcome to the ComprehensiveWitchcraft & Wicca Course Let there be Beauty and Strength, Power and Compassion, Honor and Humility, Mirth and... Read More...
IMAGE About the Witchcraft Course
If you are not already a Premium Member, you can enroll from this page. You will have full access to the Academy and all online classes for a Year... Read More...

The Pagan Path ShopThe PaganPath Shop is open!  Come celebrate our grand opening with free gifts and more!  All through The PaganPath Shop.  You receive three free gifts with your order!

  • Free Nag Champa Incense Sample
  • Free hand rolled Smudgie
  • Free Crystal Point from the PaganPath Sanctuary

Don't forget your Member coupon code in your account menu (that floating key in the upper right when you are logged in), low flat rate shipping starting at $5, plus free shipping for orders over $80.  We now have an extensive one-dollar section!

Click here to visit The PaganPath Shop.

Download the PDF catalog here.  It is a great resource for magickal herbal, stone, crystal and incense correspondences, but please refer to the online shop for updated in-stock and new items.

To enroll in the entire Academy and become a Premium PaganPath Member for a full Year and a Day starting right now, just enter any notes (optional) and send $25 through PayPal by clicking the button below.  You do not need a PayPal account to join!  Premium Members receive 10% off shop purchases whether it be here onine or at our shop at Pagan events.

Any Notes or Comments to Add?

Earlier this year we vended at the Conway, AR Pagan Pride.  Here is the press release for that event with Pagan Path Shop information:

You will be able to get our famous Witch Balm lip balm, made fresh in small batches since 1991, as well as all the unique, rare and unusual items the shop is known for.

This year we are bringing the largest selection of our custom incense ever presented at one time. Experience what incense should be like with these power packed delights.  Made with only natural ingredients from around the world, including many herbs and resins from the PaganPath Sanctuary forest here in Arkansas.  This incense won't make your eyes burn or your nose stuffy like some synthetic varieties.  Masterfully blended for their fragrance and energy, hand rolled and cured, and available only in small batches.  Check out the selection early, as some of the blends with aud (aloeswood), jasmine absolute and Oman frankincense are limited due to their very rare ingredients.

You will also find many rare and unusual items such as photocopies of the Key of Solomon directly from the British museum, a turn of the century incense tin with its original cone maker, and "released for review" tarot cards that only came out in very small productions.  Explore the stones, crystals, tarot decks, recycled wisdom (used books), all natural pure essential oils, cauldrons and a smattering of magical jewelry.

Add some extra oomph to your lustral baths or just your daily shower routine with magically blended soaps.  These are not the "melt and pour" type, but instead are great-gradma's old fashioned hot processed lye soap.  We've updated the old recipes with precisely calculated formulas that only include cold pressed vegetable oils, butter and waxes; pure essential oils and no coloring agents.  Made in batches of about ten bars at a time, cured for over a year, and meticulously tested to insure that there is never any free lye, your soap is sure to be soothing, extra conditioning, healing to the skin and packs a great energy punch.

Everyone can find a special treat at the "One Dollar" area, and we can offer expert assistance in creating your own combination of items for specific energy uses.

PaganPath Academy instructor, Friday, will offer tarot readings to Pride attendees.  Friday began reading professionally in 1993, and has been teaching tarot at the Academy since 1997.  After many years as the vice president of a national psychic company with over 200 readers, she now only reads for new clients about once a year, and this is it!

Before you leave the Pride festivities, take a spin at the Wheel of Fortune!  Everyone gets a free spin with any purchase, so try your luck and see what great prize you will take home.

A spell is cast by one of the three daughters with the library window in the background.The Lifetime television network premiered the series "Witches of East End" on October 6th, 2013. In the show (based on the book by Melissa de la Cruz) there is a library where one of the Witches works.

The library has round windows adorned with Theban Script, a magical substitution cipher used by Witches, Wiccans, Pagans and other practitioners to obfuscate passages in written spells and books of shadows.  Theban script is also known as the Witches' Runes.

One of the windows at the mid landing on a set of stairs is featured clearly enough in the first season that the PaganPath staff has been able to attempt a translation.

A great shot of the letters on the windowClick on any image in this article to see a larger view of the library window in Witches of East End, and the possible translations and meanings provided by PaganPath. You can click on the right or left side of the enlarged image to scroll through the slide show of pictures. Perhaps season two will provide more images and clues.

Possible Theban Script from the Library Window in Lifetime's Witches of East End Is the X used as a w?This lead role is played by Rachel Elizabeth BostonAnother picture at the top of the stairsA rose style window - sub rosa means under the rose. Newell post at the upper landing Witches of East EndTranslating the letters is tricky.  One letter is replaced directly by another symbol.  Do you have a different view or translation? Witches Runes or Theban Script

References & Resources

Read more about Theban Script in this PaganPath article.  Also, print out a free bookmark so you can translate the Witches' Runes.

True cut sheet of parchment from a wild caught deer skin.When a spell instructs the Witch to inscribe something on parchment, most Witches use a fine writing paper such as the type used for calligraphy.  However, the word parchment originally referred to the skin of a lamb, sheep, goat, young calf, or other animal, that was specially prepared for writing.  This is true parchment or real parchment.

Vellum is a word generally used interchangably with real parchment.  However, vellum refers to a particularly fine type of parchment, usually made from the skin of a very young animal, especially calfskin, and is often rendered clear and white.  Parchment and vellum both make excellent book binding materials for their strength and longevity, and for their low elasticity.

Parchment was considered a superior writing surface.  Dried ink could be scraped off with a parchment knife, and it was durable enough to be handled repeatedly.  However, it continues to be an expensive item.

Many Witches feel that it is wrong to use the skin of an animal, others feel it is wrong to cut down a tree.  Either way, real parchment can still be found, but fine paper works just as well and does cost less.  We prefer to make our own paper and incorporate herbs, resins and even ground gemstones into the paper to add energy to magickal workings.

The use of parchment in older spells will clue an observant Witch in on the spell's origins.  Although ancient Greeks used parchment, it is unlikely that European Witches used it in their folk-type magick.  Many Witches were illiterate, and parchment would be costly or laborious to make.  This may give you some clues that a spell which requires parchment may have ceremonial magick, Judeo-Christian, or Kabbalah elements in it.

The use of brown ink on parchment (real parchment, or ecru colored parchment paper) makes a nice effect for framed certificates or sigils and mandallas.

A scribe's knife used to scrpe dried ink mistakes off real parchment.To the right is pictured a parchment knife.  It is also known as a scribe's knife, these were used by scribes to both help hold down the parchment, and to scrape any writing errors off of the parchment.  After scraping, the parchment would be polished with a stone or other hard object so that any new writing would not "bleed" into the paper.  This example dates from between 1800 to 1850, and has an ivory handle with a steel blade.

Parchment is costly, running about $35 per square foot and up. Parchment style paper is much more affordable at about 25¢ a sheet or less.

References & Resources:

  • An online search will yield many results for parchment, usually the paper type.  If you are looking for real parchment, check out Pergamena.  They also carry fine book binding leathers.

A cake of pure, unrefined beeswaxA swarm of bees in May, is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June, is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July, is not worth a fly.
~Circa 1850 nursery rhyme

History & Use

Paraffin is the most frequently used wax for candles and cosmetics today. However, paraffin is a gray sludge left over from petroleum refineries. It is bleached with toxic chemicals and often contains carcinogenic fragrances. When paraffin burns, it creates more black soot than most other types of wax used for candles. This soot can coat the walls of your home, and your lungs. See also Healthy Candles

Beeswax has been used since ancient times and is indispensable for making the finest candles in the world. Thousands of years ago, Egyptians kept bees and traded the wax and honey along the coast of Eastern Africa. Historical and literary references to wax dating before 1800 are most likely to be referring to beeswax. Beeswax was not often used for candles however, being rather costly and somewhat rare. See also the True History of Candle Use in Magic article.

Beeswax is nearly indestructible and can be stored just as it is for many years. Animals and insects are generally not attracted to beeswax. Kept in a cool, dust free place, it will remain usable for decades. It is normal for a hazy white “bloom” to appear on the surface of beeswax. When this occurs on candles, it is often desirable, however if you wish to remove this “bloom” it can be wiped away with a cloth or diffused with the gentle heat of a blow drier.

It takes over 2,500 bees, consuming about ten pounds of honey, to produce a one pound block of beeswax. You may have heard that the collection of beeswax involves the killing of large colonies of bees. This barbaric practice has been obsolete since the early 1850s, when advances in the apiary industry made it possible to harvest wax without harming the bees.

Beeswax candles made with the right wicks (often the square braided type) will not drip, sputter or smoke. Beeswax candles produce a very bright flame along with a soft honey fragrance. Although they are more expensive initially, they burn much longer than paraffin candles, making up for the extra cost.

Natural beeswax will vary in color from dark brown to very light yellow. The color depends on the type and amount of pollen collected by the bees. Gums and resins (propolis) within the wax cause the coloration. These “impurities” can sometimes be desirable for certain uses of beeswax, yielding a much richer honey scent in candles, and a healthy color in cosmetic products. Preserving these “contaminants” in the wax by using the correct temperatures, will insure a good candle color and scent.

Of course you don't want chunky, dirty wax for candles. Too many impurities will cause candles to sputter and smoke. For cosmetics, a purified and filtered wax will yield a smoother and higher quality end product.

The least expensive way to purchase wax, and the method that provides you with the most options of purity, is to purchase unfiltered beeswax. By doing your own filtering and refining, you have complete control over the amount of propolis, color and fragrance. Much of the "refined white cosmetic beeswax" sold is either chemically purified and bleached, or is synthetic! In addition, beeswax is normally bleached industrially by using strong oxidizing agents. These destroy much of the natural honey fragrance, and more importantly, are damaging to the environment.


A lump of melted beeswax on a large cake of beeswax


Outside the U.S.? Our temperature & measurement conversion chart can be found here.

Purification of Beeswax

The melting point of beeswax is about 140F to 150F. The more propolis, the lower the melting point. Beeswax will deteriorate and smoke at temperatures above 250F (120C). To prevent the loss of color, texture and scent, use low temperatures and glass (best), enameled or stainless steel containers. To preserve the honey aroma of beeswax, never heat it more than a few degrees above 165F, and do not keep it melted for extended periods of time.

This is the easiest method I've discovered to purify beeswax:

Break beeswax into small chunks, such as one inch cubes.

Combine wax with an equal amount of water in a large enameled or glass (best), or stainless steel (ok) pot.

Heat the water and wax slowly on low, uncovered. Do not allow it to boil. *

When the wax is completely melted (be patient) stir the brew thoroughly.* Most of the major impurities will disperse in the water, and the clean wax will float on the top.

Turn the heat off and allow the water and wax to cool. Then place it in the refrigerator. When the wax has solidified, lift it off of the water and use as desired. You can discard the water . . . I toss it on the compost heap.

* Caution: Melted beeswax is flammable, use caution when working with melted wax and candles. Use baking soda or a fire extinquisher to put out wax fires. Do not use water!

Bleaching of Beeswax:

After purifying your beeswax as outlined above, you should have a deep golden to light yellow, smooth wax. This will work wonderfully for any candles, grafting wax for plants (beeswax contains some growth hormones), for coating nails and screws to go into wood easier, to lubricate wood drawers and cupboard doors, to coat sewing needles and thread, for making furniture polishes and soap, or for any of the other wonderful uses of natural beeswax.

However, you may wish to lighten the color of your wax, especially for making pastel colored candles, batik release wax for fabrics, lip balm, ointments and lotions. Although I enjoy the healthy yellow glow of natural yellow beeswax in most cosmetics, there will be instances when knowing how to bleach wax will come in handy for any herbalist. This bleaching technique has been used in Greece since ancient times, and works quite well.

Chip off small pieces of beeswax (about 1/2 inch flakes) and lay out in a single layer in the sun. I use a glass baking pan. You may wish to cover the wax with clear plastic wrap or a single layer of cheese cloth to keep out insects, however you will be purifying this wax again so it is not necessary. In addition, covering the wax with plastic may cause the wax to melt on hot days. Because you want to expose the most surface area to sunlight, allowing the wax to melt is not desirable. The flakes will fuse together and form a single smooth surface instead of many rough, flaked surfaces.

Place the flaked wax in the sun for one or two days. This is best done during the long days of summer so that you expose the wax to at least 24 hours of direct sunlight. The longer you leave it in the sun, the lighter it will become.

Next, purify the wax in hot water as described above, but add a teaspoon of salt (sea salt is traditional) to the water.

The resulting wax should be several shades lighter than you began with. If it is not light enough, flake the wax again and repeat the sun bleaching for another day or two. Then, purify the wax in hot water again. Repeat this entire procedure as much as you like. When repeating this procedure several times, we recommend omitting the salt in the final purification water to avoid salt buildup in your wax.


Three bees wax candles found at the Alamannic gravyard of Oberflacht, Seitingen-Oberflacht, Kreis Tuttlingen, Germany. Dating to 6th or beginning 7th century A.D. They are the oldest survived bees wax candles north of the AlpsMagickal Uses of Beeswax

Beeswax makes excellent ritual candles and magical ointments. It has a unique ability to "blend" and "combine" energy. When using many types of herbs, oils or stones, beeswax can help bring everything together for better focus. It is considered to contain and be ruled by all four elements with an emphasis on air (bees) or fire (if made into candles).

Any time you need to blend a variety of energies, beeswax might be the perfect tool. It can be used in unification ointments for covens that will help everyone stay on the same level. It is also useful for complicated magical work that involves several steps. For example, suppose you want to banish a bad habit, then reinforce a good habit. Incorporating beeswax into such workings will help when switching your focus without loosing accumulated energy.

Beeswax is also ideally suited for modeling wax because it becomes soft and flexible at temperatures around 120F (49C). Melt four parts beeswax with one part oil. Use whatever oil you like, sunflower, almond, olive, etc. You can also add a few drops of appropriate essential oils to give it a magical boost. Color this wax to suit your magical needs by adding a crayon to the mix. Allow the wax to cool until it begins to stiffen like putty and you can handle it comfortably.

While focusing on your intention, mold the wax into your desired shape. For example, for healing you may wish to try a green colored modeling wax formed into the shape of your "patient." You can incorporate herbs or essential oils to refine the magical charge, or mold the shape around a wick to make a rough candle. These candles may burn hotter or emit smoke because of the addition of oil to the modeling wax. Therefore, they should only be used for magical figure/shape burning, not for everyday votives, etc.

Your figure can be used as a focusing tool, or it can be added to charm bags. You can also release the energy you've charged into the figure by burning it over a fire, or if by lighting the wick if you've included one.

Blessed Bee!

References & Resources:

If any of the links below are not working, please Contact Us here. Thank you!

Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.
~James Russell Lowell (1819–1891), U.S. poet, editor.

* Caution: Melted beeswax is flammable, use caution when working with melted wax and candles. Use baking soda or a fire extinquisher to put out wax fires. Do not use water!

There are thousands of websites and books you can use to look up the meaning and properties of a color.  Even here on PaganPath you will find reference charts and correspondences for magickal and spiritual use.  However, bringing this information into your everyday life is a jump forward you may enjoy trying.  Even if you are color blind you can still use color magick.

Let's use a web site color scheme as an example.  Note that of course you can apply a color scheme to everything from an outfit to room decorations or automotive customizing.  To make things simple, we will use PaganPath as our example.

Although you will find many correspondences for a color, it is essentially up to you to determine if that color is appropriate for your use.  For example, red may indicate energy and warmth for some people, but for others it may represent anger. 

You can be inspired by something you see in a photograph, product label or even your garden.  The sage blooming in the PaganPath Sanctuary garden was a lovely sage-green and nearly ultraviolet purple.  Green and purple are good secondary colors that have the energy we were looking for on the site.

Now that you are inspired, apply some basic color theory.  There are some people who are color blind, and this is not just a red/green perception, it can also be purple/yellow and affect the perception of many other colors.  To increase the contrast of the site, we made the green a tad "cooler" by adding some blue, and the purple a tad "warmer" by adding some red.  This helps make the site more usable for those with different color perceptions.

Color Blindness & Color Perceptions:
Although the perception of a color may vary from person to person, the wavelength is still present.  This means that the energy of the color is still being received even if the color is not perceived the same for each individual.

Color Wavelength mµ * Explanation
Ultraviolet 380-280

Ultraviolet and infrared are given as a point of reference and are not considered to be visible colors.

 

* mµ =nanometers
=billionths of a meter

Violet 430-390
Indigo 450-440
Blue 480-460
Green 530-490
Yellow 580-550
Orange 640-590
Red 750-650
Infrared 1000-750

Take a look at a color wheel and learn some basics of color theory such as through Wikipedia here or Tiger Color here, and combine it with your knowledge of magickal color correspondences and your intuitive color perceptions.  The correspondences below are combinations of our perceptions of a color along with classic correspondences.

For PaganPath, green is used for:
nature, environment, luck, growth, heart chakra, fertility, relaxation

Purple is used for:
intellect, magick, mystery, spirituality, crown chakra, playfulness

So, get inspired, apply some basic color theory and check your color wheel, combine it with your magickal correspondences and research and your intuition and personal perceptions.

Color magick can be used in every area of your life to provide the feeling you want from an altar, bedroom design, book cover and much more!

Witch Cat Shadow Cat Shadow MenSeeing shadows out of the corner of your eye is not that unusual.  There are many reasons for this phenomenon from mundane to magickal.  Most paranormal investigators refer to these phenomenon as shadow men or shadow people, however in our experiences there are many causes for seeing shadows, particularly in your peripheral vision.

Let's begin with the practical and mundane causes for people to observe shadow people, shadow cats or witch cats.  Then we will cover the possibilities from a practical Pagan's perspective, along with ways to wrangle witch cats.

Chemical Causes:

As Pagans and Witches, we are practical folks and must first consider the mundane factors.  There are certain foods and chemicals that will emphasize these occurrences.

For example, if you drink more coffee than usual, have less sleep than usual, change your sleep schedule frequently, or consume certain amphetamine and related compounds such as ADHD medication, you may see witch cats more frequently (and you will attract more attention from animals).  Of course if you are under the influence of a hallucinogen or have entered a shamanic mind state, it is to be expected that you will see a wide range of possible visual phenomena.  This brings us to the physical causes.

Physical & Physiological Causes:

In addition to ingesting compounds, there are physiological causes for seeing shadows. Your eyes have both cones and rods.  Peripheral vision is produced largely by retinal rod cells and these do not produce detailed resolution like the central cone cells.  Rod cells sense light and movement, but not color like cone cells.  This can cause a low resolution, low color, fleeting movement to be seen out of the corner of your eye (shadow).

The more attention given to this phenomenon, the more it will be observed due to visual substitutions.  When you have ambiguous, conflicting or insufficient sensory stimuli, your brain will resolve it by providing you with an interpretation.  In other words, your brain will interpret the shadow image through its own expectation filter, providing you the image of a face, figure, cat, or other common human interpretation.

Paranormal Causes:

As mentioned above, most paranormal investigators will quickly define the shadows you see as shadow men.  Next you may be informed that these shadow people are ghosts, demons, angels or lost spirits.  This may be one possible answer, but in my experience it is not the most common.  An exorcism is often recommended by paranormal and metaphysical workers.

Causes from a Pagan's Perspective:

One of the most important skills a Witch can develop is to observe without labeling.  There is no way we can know all the facts, so report what you see, not what you think you see.  In other words, avoid filtering your observations through predefined expectations.  Yes, you might be seeing time travelers or inter-dimensional being, but there is no way to really know.  Maybe they are ghosts, aliens or demons, who can truly say?  What is important from a practical viewpoint is to observe and control how these shadows affect you and those around you.

That said, of course I have my own solutions based on my observations.  In my experiences, witch cats are a frequent infestation for Pagans and Witches who are dealing with a lot of stress or working a lot of magick.  My current working theory is that extra energy that is lingering sort of collects, like an energy dust bunny.  They can become terrible, even frightening (which they like and feed off of) but are actually very simple to remove.

They can also be made more cohesive through negative attacks against you or your home, such as the classic "evil eye" whether intentional or not, or outright magickal attacks.

Once you have accumulated several observations, you can investigate to see if there are any common causes, mundane or magickal, and turn these triggers off.

Magickally and metaphysically speaking, I have observed that witch cats appear more frequently to those who are working with magick and are psychically attuned to differences in energies.  Of course, some of this may be due to the chemical or physical causes listed above (Witches often keep late nights).   However, I've observed some common situations that cause the appearance of these shadows.

  • The person observing the shadow is highly psychic, empathic, or has been performing magick.
  • The person observing the shadow has been meditating or entering shamanic states of consciousness.
  • The area where shadows appear is highly charged.
  • The area where shadows appear is often in "tweens" like doorways and windows, near the edges of magickal circles, near thresholds.
  • The area where shadows appear has collected psychic and physical junk, such as stacks of paperwork, piles of clothes, un-cleansed crystals on an altar, etc.
  • An area has been cleared and cleansed, but no charge was provided in place of the cleared out energy.
  • Most often, there is an accumulation of random energy, and the more attention you give to the shadows, the more cohesive and "manifest" (for lack of a better word) they become.

No matter what the cause for witch cats, shadow cats or shadow people (whatever you wish to call them) it is clear that the more energy, paranoia, or concern you provide them, the more frequently you will see them.  From a magickal perspective, you are feeding them energy.

From a Pagan perspective, it is best to do a thorough cleansing, but don't make the frequent mistake of cleaning everything out and leaving a vacuum.   After a cleansing, the best protection is a new charge or blessing.  Good options are for grounding, clarity, blessings, and peace.

Laughter, sunshine, fresh air, regular sleep, proper diet, standard physical cleaning, not giving the shadows too much power or attention, proper grounding and clearing of energy and charging cleared areas with a specific intent are all good housekeeping practices to keep them away.

There are several cleansing and protection rituals in the PaganPath Library under "Rites, Rituals & Magick" that are helpful for serious or out of control infestations.

Just remember, relax, don't give them your fear, and don't feed the witch cats!

Stone Soup - A Folk TaleStone soup is a popular folk tale. Many versions exist and this version, highly adapted specifically for the online PaganPath Witchcraft course, remains closely based on the traditional basic story line.

Although this folk tale is included here for reference in the classes, you may simply enjoy the story even if you are not taking the Witchcraft course.

An adventurer was traveling around a vast countryside. Running low on food supplies and becoming weary from the road, he decided to stop at the next village. There, he hoped to trade his labor for some food.

As he rounded the next curve in his path, he came upon a small community of twelve shabby huts. The village was quiet, and obviously poor. There were no children playing in the center clearing, and no adults splitting wood for the coming winter.

"That's odd," he said to himself, "villages around harvest time are usually a bustle of work."

He knocked on the first door.

"We have nothing for you." a stooped and wrinkled crone said before slamming her door.

"The first harvest has been so bad, there's no food to bring in from the fields." said a very tall and very thin man.

"My small family only has a few carrots in the larder." a desperate young woman pleaded.

"You'd better leave!" peeped a small girl covered in dirt.

The traveler visited eleven of the twelve huts and received similar greetings at each door. Doors were slammed, sometimes curses were muttered, and again the village was silent. As he walked to the final hut, he again thought to himself how strange it was that the people in the village were so isolated from each other." Before he could explore that thought any further, his hunger got the better of him and he knocked on the twelfth and final hut.

"I am but a lonely old woman and have no work nor food for you." stated the abrupt woman.

Before she could slam the door on the traveler, he quickly said, "Young lady, I have no desire to ask favors of you, I was simply hoping you could share some salt so that I can make my world famous soup. I have a magical stone, given to me by my great grandmother, that will make a soup fit for a king. I would allow you to have a sample of it in exchange for your salt.

The woman's cold gray eyes studied his face for a moment. Her pinched face began to relax. She scurried back into her hut for a moment and returned with a small crock of salt. "This is all I've got, so you'd better make a soup that really is fit for a king!"

The woman followed the traveler back to the clearing in the center of the village, clinging to her crock of salt as if it were more precious than gold. He began humming a cheery tune and opened his pack. His melody seemed out of place in the church-like stillness of the village, but he continued, louder all the time.

The small, dirty girl appeared with a young (equally dirty) boy to watch the strange traveler. The traveler was making quite a ruckus as he tumbled objects around in his pack, but finally he withdrew a large pot and wooden spoon. His tune became quite loud now and he began belting out a lively song.


"Oh I am a rovin' Journeyman I roam from town to town
And whenever I get a job of work I'm willing to sit doon
My kit's all on my shoulder and my graftin' tool in hand
And 'round the country I will go a rovin' journeyman"1

Sprinting around the outskirts of the village circle, he collected stones and fallen branches. He carted his collection back to the center of the circle and formed a ring with the stones. His song ended as two thin men joined the woman with the salt and the two dirty children in the village circle.

He stacked the fallen branches inside the ring of stones and loudly rummaged in his pack again to retrieve his flint. He could hear the men whispering to each other "fit for a king you say..." and "soup from a stone you say..." as he sparked the flint and blew on a curl of smoke rising from the branches. The fire came to life and he carried the large pot over to the village well to fill it with water. Carting the heavy, water filled pot back to the fire, he balanced the bottom of the pot on the ring of stones. Then he said, almost to himself,

"This soup would be fit for two kings if I only had a few onions to add to it."

One of the tall thin men left quietly, walking toward one of the smallest huts. He returned with his wife who carried a bundle of small, wilted onions in her apron.

"Why thank you!" the traveler exclaimed in a surprised voice, "you shall have some of my world famous stone soup, fit for a king or a queen, in exchange for your gracious generosity." He flamboyantly bowed low.

The traveler then took a small handful of salt from the crock (still held firmly by the woman with the gray eyes) and threw it in the pot. Stirring with the wooden spoon he muttered something inaudible to himself and then rummaged in his pack again. Making loud clattering sounds and humming, he produced a paring knife from the pack with a loud "ah ha!" As he peeled and cut the onions he broke into song again...

"Off to reap the corn,
leave where I was born,
I cut a stout blackthorn,
to banish ghost and goblin
A brand new pair of brogues,
rattlin o'er the bogs
And frightenin' all the dogs
on the rocky road to Dublin."2

The two thin men began tapping their feet, and the stooped, wrinkled crone appeared from her hut.

"What's this I hear about making soup from a stone?" she asked accusingly. Peering into the pot she exclaimed, "There's no stone in this soup!"

The traveler dropped the onions into the pot of water and said,

"Why my good woman, you're right! I've nearly lost my head and forgotten the most important ingredient of all!"

He rummaged in his pack and muttered quietly while more villagers appeared. After several minutes the villagers began shifting around impatiently and he could sense the doubt in the small crowd. Finally he discovered that a small stone had lodged itself in the bottom of the pack. He grasped it triumphantly, stood up quickly and held it aloft.

"Here is the magical stone, passed on to me from my great grandmother, that can make soup fit for a king!" The villagers leaned in close and he dropped it in the soup with a quick plunk!

Steam from the now boiling onions and water wafted around the clearing, and soon every villager was present, drawn by hunger and curiosity. The traveler said, somewhat to himself,

"Soup from a stone is fit for a king, but it would be even better if it had a few carrots in it."

The desperate young woman he'd met earlier, took off briskly to her hut. She returned promptly with a small handful of withered carrots.

"Why thank you my lady!" the traveler cried in a surprised voice, "you too shall share in this magical stone soup, fit for a king." and he bowed low.

He cut the carrots into the soup while singing again,

"Well a Scotsman clad in kilt left a bar on evening fair
And one could tell by how we walked that he drunk more than his share
He fumbled round until he could no longer keep his feet
Then he stumbled off into the grass to sleep beside the street...
About that time two young and lovely girls just happened by
And one says to the other with a twinkle in her eye
See yon sleeping Scotsman so strong and handsome built
I wonder if it's true what they don't wear beneath the kilt"3

His song trailed off as he became aware of the "mixed company" and he said, almost to himself, "This soup would truly be fit for a king if only I could find a few potatoes."

Three older boys (or were they young men?) ran from the village clearing and disappeared behind a hut. The traveler continued to sing a more appropriate song as a heavily bearded man produced a pennywistle and began accompanying him.

"In days of old in a kingdom bold,
there lived a fearsome dragon.
And the King he was in great distress
and the countries spirits flagoned.
Until one day there came a knight,
he was handsome, bold, and charming.
And he slew the dragon with his sword
with a smile that was so disarming.
With a hey and a ho and a hey nany no,
A smile that was so disarming."4

The faces of the tired, hungry villagers began to relax, some even broke into smiles! As the song ended the three boys returned with a large basket of potatoes.

"My my!" the traveler exclaimed, "this will truly make the stone soup fit for a king! You too shall sample this magical brew!"

He began cutting the potatoes into the soup and sang while the bearded man played his pennywistle.


"Now the harvest being o'er the farmer went walkin
Along the Faele River that borders his land
And 'twas there he first saw her twixt firelight and water
The tinkerman's daughter, the red-headed Ann."5

The thin man and his wife began to dance, and the wife threw her apron off into the small crowd. All of the children joined in the dance and a man in rags began singing with the traveler. Then, two women and three more men joined in singing, and all the remaining villagers started to dance or stomp their feet to the tune.

The traveler pulled the stooped, wrinkled crone aside and said, "If you had a few stalks of celery, you could share this stone soup too." She ducked behind one of the huts and reappeared with two beautiful stalks of celery.

The traveler joined in the singing again while cutting the celery up into the soup. Dancing and singing continued for a couple hours. Some of the villagers noticed that the traveler would occasionally pull someone aside, but everyone was having too much fun to dwell on the matter.

As the sun sunk low in the sky, the traveler stood up on a nearby log and shouted over the festivities,

"The magical soup, made from a stone, is finished. Let us all feast on this fine brew like kings and queens!"

The villagers busied themselves getting bowls and spoons. The children were made to wash up and several jugs of water and mead appeared. Everyone ate their fill and as the children drifted off to sleep, the adults began talking.

"It is so good the traveler came to bring us soup from a stone." Said one.
"Yes, we may have all starved if it weren't for him." said another.
"That soup truly is fit for a king!" said many.

Many of the villagers were concerned about the first harvest of the season being poor.

"You know Finn, I noticed that your barley didn't make it this year, but that you have some carrots. My barley did well, but my carrots were eaten by the rabbits. What if we make a trade..."

And soon, many of the problems the village was struggling with didn't seem so terrible. Singing, talking and dancing continued half the night. Late the next morning (everyone slept a bit late) the village was bustling with children playing, villagers working on each other's huts, food and clothing being swapped, wood being chopped and so much more. No one noticed the traveler had disappeared sometime in the night . . .

Many years later, the villagers would still wonder about the traveler who came the year of the bad first harvest. Did he really have a magic stone, or was he just a smooth talking trickster? Still, the stooped old crone would smile wistfully when people spoke of him, knowing the true magic afoot.



The Traveler's Songs:

  1. The Rovin' Journeyman (traditional)
  2. The Rocky Road to Dublin (traditional)
  3. The Scotsman (Mike Cross)
  4. A Fairy Story (unknown)
  5. The Tinkerman's Daughter (Michael McConnel)

Spell CandlesMany spells require the use of a candle that will take longer to burn than you have time available to supervise.  It is perfectly acceptable to cut down your candles before you use them or charge them magickally. A 12 inch taper can make four very nice spell candles.  Be careful cutting them! They roll around and can slip, so you also have to trim some of the wax off one end of each of the pieces to expose the wick.  Save these wax trimmings and make your own candles out of them for Yule or Imbolc.

Occasionally you will come across a spell, or develop one yourself, that requires the use of a seven or nine day candle, or even a candle that is re-lit each day for several days. Of course for these workings you will need to use a larger candle or the one specified in the spell instructions. There are also workings that will call for multi-colored candles. You can dip small white candles in colored wax (crayons can be used if necessary) to fulfill this requirement.

However, in some cases this is not best. There are rituals that work on the chakras or help you to achieve altered mind states that utilize rainbow colored candles that can take several hours to burn. These hours are sometimes necessary to achieve the desired results.

 

If you are adept at focusing your intent, there is no need to sit in front of a candle for 15 hours while it burns itself out when you've already done the real work. If you enjoy sitting for long periods of time staring at candles until you fry a spot in your cornea, that's okay, but generally there are other ways.

 

In recent years, a few companies have come out with small candles in hundreds of colors. They are about one centimeter in diameter and about 12 centimeters tall. They burn for about 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours and are great for rituals. They even have tiny candle holders of all types; from 5 pointed stars and miniature taper holders, to small ceramic cats and strawberries.

 

If you can't find those, you can get Hanukkah candles around (before) Yule time that are inexpensive, high quality, quick burning, and varied in color. But then, cutting down big candles works too.

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