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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 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...
IMAGE Making a Ouija or Talking Board
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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 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
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IMAGE Besom Briefs
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IMAGE Designing With Color Magick: Gardens, Home Design, Clothes
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IMAGE Mead Magic
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IMAGE Your Tarot Manual
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IMAGE About the Tarot Class & Cards
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IMAGE Stones for Magic & Spells
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IMAGE A Guide to Amber & Jet
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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...
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 Dragon's Blood
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IMAGE The Garden's Unseen Magical Forces
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IMAGE Working With Crystals & Stones Course Guide
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IMAGE 1: What is Quartz Crystal?
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IMAGE Pagan & Craft Traditions
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IMAGE 2017 PaganPath Almanacs & Calendar
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IMAGE Beltane - Maypole Dance
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IMAGE Theban Script or "Witchs' Runes"
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Your PowerThere are many Books of Shadows that have charts of correspondence tables to tell you when to work a spell, what color of candle to use for every situation, and which invocations to use. There is no need for this type of reiteration. Much of Craft writing and teaching discusses what technical knowledge is required to be a 'first, second or third degree initiate' or how to work a spell. However, these are simply presentations of technique. Without an understanding of what it takes to find, develop and use power, technique is just decoration. Decorating your house doesn't help if you never clean your house in the first place.

There is power in Witchcraft. This power is a drawing card that attracts all kinds of people with all types of motives. Finding a book, a teacher, or a mentor that is clear and honest can be a challenging task. The quest for power can be an honorable one, but all too frequently there are people who claim to be a "Grand High Elder of the So & So Tradition" or say that they are a "Third Degree High Priest/ess of The High & Mighty Coven". Too many of these people have missed the point. In the quest for power, they have in turn created that which they may have been trying to escape in the first place. The only difference may be that this time they are at the top of the hierarchical pyramid.

Categorizations and labels in the Craft are numerous. There are now "non-Wiccan Witches", "Green Eclectic Kitchen Witches" and even "Ceremonial Magick Witches". It would be convenient  to be able to describe our beliefs in a handful of words, but why place spirituality into little compartments? Following in the footsteps of others can often be an easier route, but many these paths may not lead to real power. These narrow compartments can get cramped and often lead to some shameful practices such as public notices of banishment from a tradition, or a higher up telling another covener what God/dess is 'appropriate' for them to worship at their "level". Unfortunately in the quest for power, some have found that ruling over others, and dictating what is "correct and true" for others is easier than finding their own power.

This Book of Shadows proposes that you make your own path. If you are Suzy, create Suzyism, if you are Tom, create Tomism. A Witch finds his or her own path to power because that power is very individualistic. This unusual Book of Shadows may provide a general road map to finding your own path. The best teacher you will ever have is YOU! If you read a hundred books and extract from them only a few ideas that are meaningful to you, you're well on your way. Witchcraft is not an easy path. There are times that it is lonely, confusing, and treacherous.

It is tempting at times to find a coven to join, particularly when you have just begun your path. But spirituality is so individualistic that it can be difficult to find others who share your views and style. Many people then are tempted to create their own coven or tradition and teach others their own style and views so they have others to share with. Often, these people have no power and are either using the power of their "underlings" or are seeking confirmation that their path is valid. Rather than forming a coven,  it can sometimes be preferable to surround yourself with loving people who will help you out when you need it. Covens are wonderful social structures, but why work magick and worship with people you don't know, love and trust enough to marry any one of them or call them family? Magical bonds can last a long time, some believe even lifetimes. Try not to rush into a coven or join one because it is geographically close to you. Besides, until you have found your own power, you cannot offer anything genuine to a coven and would simply be another warm body. A coven that recruits or accepts inexperienced members should be regarded with caution. Such a coven may have an 'outer court training circle' or some other measure to help you as a newcomer, but all too often you will find covens accepting new members are only accepting individuals who are willing to take orders and be a subservient subject.

 

It is not my intention to present here any dogma which is to be strictly adhered to in fear of repercussions on any level. By reading through this book, experimenting, studying, researching, practicing and otherwise applying your entire being to the pursuit of knowledge (self-knowledge, people-knowledge, world-knowledge, spiritual-knowledge, etc.) you will be undertaking an initiation on your own path.

Initiation is a process of change, it doesn't occur instantly during an arcane rite. For many, it takes over a year to even begin the internal changes that are often necessary for initiation. Hence the traditional "year and a day" will be suggested here as a base time line for practical and traditional purposes. Within a year of the application of your energy to the pursuit of knowledge you will notice many transformations in your self. Sometimes newcomers are all too anxious to be initiated. This is understandable however a dedication ritual might be more appropriate. Dedicating yourself to a "year and a day" of study will help you to find your own power and determine if Witchcraft truly is the path that is right for you.

The ideas presented in this book may evoke a variety of responses. Some of them will be immediate, such as doubt, confusion, inspiration, curiosity, boredom, anger, and on and on. Some of the responses may be more subtle.

Intellectual analysis of this text may stir responses such as curiosity or skepticism on a cerebral or mental level. Internal changes however, often evoke the powerful reactions of the emotions such as fear, hope, joy, anger, rejection, inspiration etc. Through all of these responses, it is hoped that there is something within this work that speaks to the One Who Knows... that spark of divine in all of us, our inner child, our inner bell of truth, our subconscious, the aspect inside of each of us that is connected to the All. Perhaps this work will arouse that inner voice from a long sleep in this mundane world, or, if that voice is already heard, it may give it leave to speak up more frequently, or with greater clarity.

Daring to take the first step down this path is confusing. You may have to contend with external forces in our society (anti-Craft propaganda, peers, modern societal attitudes, etc.) and you will certainly have to address the forces within yourself that will resist these changes. These internal forces are often manifestations of prior religious upbringing, fear of knowing yourself and accepting yourself, low self-esteem, etc.

As an excellent starting point, there is one basic guideline that should be kept in mind before anything else. (nope, not the Witches' Rede!) Be true to yourself! This first guideline can be one that is difficult to apply on a personal level. If you are trying to gain self-knowledge and feel that what you are doing is wrong in some way, you must question whether your mind has put up a wall of resistance to change or whether you are doing something that is truly wrong for you. Because you will be questioning everything at this point, it is hard to find your sense of security and stability. This forces you to draw strength from within yourself and find the power within you, but it can also be like groping in the dark if you are having trouble finding that strength. If your self-esteem has been low for many years, if you've never trusted yourself and your thoughts, then you must be careful to know that "being true to yourself" is not the same as being true to your old patterns.

The guideline of 'Be true to yourself" is also difficult to follow when we are faced with our own fears, egos, and insecurities. It is easy to think that we are being true to ourselves, acting for the good of all, or for what is best, when, from another perspective, we are being selfish or power hungry.

For example, imagine that a Witch who is rather new to the Craft is invited to teach a small group of people interested in Wicca. We will name him Jack. Now Jack found a great deal out about himself by using an herbal concoction he had made. After a few weeks of teaching the basics, Jack is motivated to speed the progress of his students by administering this herbal brew to them. His justifications to himself for doing this were to help his students. But was Jack being true to himself? Was he being honest with himself? Did he wish to bolster his ego by being an expert teacher? Were his actions really the best for all involved? Were the students ready or willing to 'advance' that quickly or by such means? Or was Jack being motivated by a need to flaunt his herbal knowledge or have his powers acknowledged?

Being true to yourself at first may mean questioning even your own actions, not simply questioning your old beliefs and teachings. It is also a difficult guideline to apply when you are venturing out on a path that is so persecuted that it is considered "evil" by much of society. At the same time you are trying to open up to new ideas, you are faced with information (from people books, etc.) that is misguiding, is provided with duplicitous motives, or is just plain misinformation. These 'attacks' can make you defensive which makes it even harder to remain true to yourself because you are closed off.

The two things to remember that will assist you in following the first guideline of "Being true to yourself" are:

1) Keep asking questions, even of yourself, check your motives, other peoples' motives, question those things you assumed were true that you were taught, question the new materials you read in the Craft, question why you are draw to the Craft in the first place.

2) If you become confused about your motives, other peoples' motives, etc. and aren't sure which direction you should go to be true to yourself, then try to step away from the situation. "Ground" yourself, take deep breaths, try to get outside and take a long walk in nature, write down the situation in your journal or Book of Shadows, try some form of divination to shed light on the situation. Then, when you make your choice, write it down in the Book of Shadows again. If you've made a mistake, you can go back and learn from it, if you didn't make a mistake, you can go back to remember how you brought yourself out of the confusion.

So now that the first guideline is clear, where do we begin in the Craft, especially in the practice of magic? The next guideline is called the Wiccan Rede. There are many versions of this, here's the long and the short of it:

    • An' it harm none, do as you will.

Or the long version:

    • Bide the Wiccan (Witches) law we must,
    • In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.
    • Eight Words the Wiccan Rede fulfill(s),
    • ‘An it harm none, do as (what) ye will.
    • Lest in thy self-defense it be,
    • Ever mind the rule of three.
    • Follow this with mind and heart,
    • And merry meet and merry part.

There are those who would argue that the ideas presented here are not that of Wicca, Witchcraft, The Craft, The Old Religion, etc. However in my studies and experiences, I have discovered that there is no True and Right form of Witchcraft. It is a religion without orthodoxy or dogmatic doctrine. There are only a few guidelines, however, if you intend to call yourself a Witch, it is honorable to abide by at least some of the few widely accepted (but not holy writ) tenets of the path. (See Pagan Paths & Trads in the Library section.) Every tradition is only a derivative of many elements, refined and distilled into a living spiritual path. No differentiation is made here between Wicca and Witchcraft as it is felt to be unnecessary. Some will disagree with this, however nearly every aspect of the Craft could be argued into the ground until it no longer existed. Perhaps this is exactly what some who promote these arguments would desire. We will not participate in such self defeating battles.

This then, could be considered by some as yet another tradition, but it is really more of an approach. It is presented here for you to draw from, in whatever way you wish. In order to find a clear path, sometimes you have to abandon the ones made by those who have gone before you and make your own. Doing so presents more challenges, as there are no guideposts, no safety catches of a coven or priest/priestess. With only the divine within yourself to guide you, how can you tell if you are deluding yourself or being directed by fear, hate, insecurity, lust for power, need for love, and desire for control? This is the doom of many of the Self-initiated then, to succumb to those aspects of humanity that create disharmony and lack of ecstasy, but it doesn't have to be you're pitfall. Following the Wiccan Rede is, again, a good place to start. At the same time, some self-initiated Witches who follow individual paths are spared the issues of repeating mistakes made by so many others, and often make more progress than they would have if they'd followed a traditional path.

In order to maintain balance within yourself while walking this path, it is necessary to toggle between diligent research and intuitive practice. Lets look at Witchcraft for a moment as an artist would. An artist must study and practice the traditional techniques of art in order to have a base line of knowledge. Their natural talents and this traditional training will help their art to become better. However, their art is not truly wonderful until they make it their own and move forward with it. A popular saying among many artists is, "You must know the rules of your art in order to break them."

Another example would be to look at Witchcraft as you would your health. You wouldn't just eat what you wanted and label it 'healthy' without a base line of knowledge. Researching nutrition and health provides a base line of knowledge. Your research may uncover information that is incorrect or misleading, but it will ground your ideas. Then, the final step is to listen to your body, your inner voice, and take it from there.

To gain a base line of knowledge, a Witch must be willing to spend the time to do the research, and spend the energy to listen to their inner voice. There is much knowledge to be gained in books. In them you can read of the signposts that others have seen on their paths, you can be warned of their pitfalls, but only you can know of your own. I present to you, the reader, and perhaps initiate, this book, to help you discover how to get in touch with that inner guide who will assist you down your own, individual path. My personal experiences will echo throughout this work as is entirely appropriate, but they are not meant to be a hindrance or even a guide to you, simply an example. The path you discover on your own may be the only true one for you. Here is just one path in a universal web of spiraling paths that all lead to the center, and all lead out, expanding and contracting to make a complete whole, the All of life, death, and all forms of energy and it's exchange.

It is difficult to express in such a static form as the written word, a concept that is living and moving, always evolving, forever in flux. This work could never come close to representing Witchcraft as a whole, for Witchcraft is the All. Therefore, this shall represent the fraction of the All that is my understanding at this time. I'm quite sure that as I progress through these pages, many changes shall come about, as is the nature of the Craft, energy, and life itself. However, this is only a representation, a snapshot in time, a symbol for us to look at, to analyze, to take apart and reconstruct until it is known to us and is nearly a part of our psyches, then, perhaps it will trigger that gateway to the all, open us to understanding, not just the symbol, but our own places in it and our own personal truths. This work may lead you to your inner One Who Knows. This work is an initiation....

A mind, once expanded to a new idea,
can rarely return to its previous dimensions.

This quote represents the only true "evil" in the Craft. For example, if you didn't know the truth about something like, the dangers of tobacco smoking, you could live your entire life enjoying a peaceful cigarette now and then. Once you know the truth, it is difficult to enjoy that cigarette with the same pleasure. This can be applied to many areas of the Craft. Seeking truth in yourself and in the world is an essential aspect of many traditions. Ignorance may truly be bliss, but a Witch recognizes that "knowledge is power", and generally chooses the later.

Best Way to Watch TVBeing born and raised in American society, or any society dominated by Christianity, will have effects on people's minds. Even when we question many of the tenants of the Christian faith, there are lingering doubts and thought patterns that remain. For example:

Once upon a time, hehehe, there was a women-only ritual and study group (coven?). The women in this group had been through some trying situations, but each had emerged like a phoenix from the flame to find themselves reborn. Most of the situations were brought on by controlling, alcoholic, and insecure men. Once they had broken away from their codependent relationships, they completely rejected everything patriarchal and even all that involved males. They were so adamant about this, that when one of the women became pregnant with a son, she was no longer allowed in the circle for the duration of her pregnancy. The members of the group explained to me, "We cannot have any male energy contaminating this safe space". They would also not allow male animals in the residence during a circle, not even in another room.

These women, though quite well intentioned, and quite within their rights to do this, were following a very hierarchical dictate. This exclusive mind set, and idea of contamination, is often a Christian or modern societal program. Ok, so I know this sounds like the ravings of a paranoid lunatic, and it is NOT my intent to criticize the beliefs or methods of others, these are simply true life examples that help to demonstrate my point. Here are some more examples:

Throughout early Christian history, especially from 500-1600 AD, members of the church would go on pilgrimages to seek "holy objects" such as the remains of a saint. These relics would be on display at the church, and it was considered good luck and a blessing to lay eyes on them. A sort of collection-admission was expected of onlookers. The churches were often designed with towering spires and intimidating gargoyles, as well as releaf showing horrible tragedies. The interiors were made to look like a refuge from the outside world, stained glass filtered, and CHANGED the light entering the church, so people felt like they were touched by god. The high arches, and quietude evoked a sense of power, peace, and protection. This is no different from modern day advertising techniques. It is also reminiscent of the use of formal, classical architectural designs for modern government buildings, to evoke a sense of solidity, security, and strength. These subtle influences are powerful psychological triggers. The subtle influences of society should be identified and combated if they are hindering your progress.

So, what do you do to identify, and eliminate, the programming of your mind? This is the hardest, and most important step in gaining self empowerment as well as maintaining sanity while walking "between the worlds". What alternatives are available (Especially if don't hate men "grin", don't hate other religions, and generally don't hate)? Here are three things that have helped me discover subtle programming, and alternatives to it:

A) Learn History- Learn about the true history of Christianity, read the Malleus Maleficarum or get a copy at your local library or bookstore, and force yourself to read it. (I got 2/3 through it before I threw up) Read "Drawing Down The Moon" to shatter the myth of modern Witches and find out where the ideas of Wicca have come from. Read "The Chalice and the Blade" for alternatives to patriarchal, or matriarchal societies, as well as many parts of "Food of the Gods" for information on Partnership-Based societies.

B) Catch your mind in the act! For example, (not a great one):

A person is in love with an alcoholic and abusive partner. No matter how much abuse is laid on the partner, they continue to stay together. There have been repeated attempts to change the situation, but the abusive partner is not willing to alter their actions or attitude. The abused partner remains in the relationship because they have been told (by upbringing, peers, society) that they must maintain the relationship. It is their supposed "duty" to make the relationship work or to accept it as it is. The "victim" also remains because of insecurity; they are afraid no one else will love them (a snow-balling cycle that the entire situation perpetuates by confirming the "victim's" worthlessness) so they remain bound to the relationship. The victim in this situation is equally guilty for their situation; by not breaking away from their programming, not admitting and changing their self image, and by not leaving!

C) EVIL-what is it? Ok, you're breaking away from self-defeating mind sets, and maybe breaking away from a Christian mind set, so where are your morals? Are these ideas evil? In Wicca, you immediately hear "oh no, we're not evil, we follow the Wiccan Rede, which is like the golden rule and it says we can't hurt anyone, not even ourselves, or it will come back to us three times over!" That's a neat and tidy answer. But totally irrelevant out of context. When doubts about your involvement or workings arise, take a good look at them. Each person must decide for themselves what evil is. Identify what evil is to you at this time. For example (ooh nooo not another one.... yup, and a true-life one at that):

A local college campus has a stalker who is brutally raping girls at random. There have been 12 "hits" so far, one girl is hospitalized. You are asked to help stop the situation with your magic. Some Witches would scream, "NO WAY! I DON'T DO CURSES OR BINDING SPELLS! That is controlling another person's free will". Some would say, "I can send healing energy to the victims" Some would say, "If what I do comes back to me, then my instincts say to protect my own, and it could only come back as me being less likely to attack or hurt others" All of these answers are correct for the people who have said them. Evil is in the mind of the beholder. Witches simply take full responsibility for their actions.

Exercises for Part I:

1) Catch yourself in the act of utilizing a mind program that no longer works for you. Relationships are good for this, also, everyday "mental chatter" Write down your findings, (in your Book of Shadows / BOS or journal, shadows= shadows of your mind, ideas hidden from normal thought, shadows as in hiding to evade persecution, etc.) Now take "positive affirmations" one step further and remember how your thoughts worked to use that pattern, and reroute them. I don't mean a flaky "I am beautiful" in the mirror, (unless that works for you) I mean, if you just tried on jeans that were too tight, then watched MTV, and then looked in the mirror and said, "yuck" then right away, CATCH YOURSELF! Identify how the ads on MTV made you feel less worthy, identify what makes you feel like a failure when your clothes are tight, identify how society has programmed us to think that we have to look and be a certain way.

2) Watch TV with intention, and Catch the programming within the programming. Not just in advertisement, but also in what ads are with what shows, (Slim-fast with soaps, Beer with sports, women with diet soda, men with regular soda) also identify it in the actual shows, like the "morals" of the story / sitcom. Networks are better for this than Fox or many cable shows.

Third Eye and Personal PowerIn 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 Starhawk's "power over" ideas) The classic ideas of fate, destiny, and an all powerful god, as well as modern hierarchies in business and relationships, all demand that we relinquish our responsibilities for our lives and our actions. ("I killed them because I was ordered to"........ "Who said you could do that"...... "I'm a jerk because of the drugs") Learning to recognize power within vs. power over takes practice. Read "The Spiral Dance" by Starhawk to better understand the traits encompassed by these two. But! In the Meantime......... Exercises! And a one and a two and a three, feel it stretch...........

1) Your Personal Power Levels: Throughout the day, and several times a month, try this exercise and record ANY results in your BOS or journal. This includes no results. Include the day of the week, the time, the moon phase, and your mood, as well as the weather that day or even what you've eaten. Place palms flat on your thighs, raise them up in front of you and have them face each other, palm to palm about a foot apart. With one hand (still flat) make a T by pointing your fingertips towards your other palm that is still pointing upward. Move the horizontal hand up and down, keeping it flat so that the tips of its fingertips are about one-three inches from your vertical hand. You are trying too identify sensations. Some people feel a tingling where the fingertips point, some feel pressure, heat, cold, etc. The effect may be subtle, or at times, not even there, so keep trying. You will find that many things will affect your personal power/energy. Some find that eating red meat or chocolate will change it, for better or worse depending on the person. Others find that when the moon if full it is stronger for them. I find that late nights are the best for me, so I do psychic readings and magical works at those times. My friend finds that if it has been raining for several days, it is stronger for them. Another friend is full of energy at the Equinoxes, but drained at Solstices.

2) Deja Vu is explained through many different theories; it is a glimpse of the future, past, etc. it was a prophetic dream that you didn't remember until something triggered it or it was needed, etc. These ideas don't help much when it is happening to you. Recording in your BOS or Journal can help you cross reference the experiences to help better understanding of them. Having Deja Vu frequently when you are with a specific person may help you develop ideas about your relationship with that person. (We were together in a past life..... I dream about that person a lot....... that person is easy to read for psychically .......that person has karmic ties to me..... whatever) You can identify what triggers it in you, and what it is telling you.

3) Synchronicity & Meaningful Coincidence The dictionary defines synchronicity as: "the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality -- used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung" * Here's one that can make you obsessively read too much in to things, but it's great fun. Try to notice what Jung would call "Synchronicity" in your life. A visitor to this site, Naurthon, relates an example of this used by Jung: ...a patient of his is relating her dream involving a scarab beetle. While she was telling Dr. Jung the dream, a beetle of the scarab family began trying to fly into the room through the closed window. That is synchronicity because of the psychic content involved. Naurthon goes on to relate: If the beetle had flown into the window just as the patient happened to open a book to a picture of a scarab, that would be just ordinary coincidence. However I don't think this is just coincidence. The patient may have been thinking of her dream, and the picture in the book, just as the beetle showing up, also shows there is psychic content involved. Perhaps her subconcious guided her to open the book to just that spot, or perhaps she psychically attracted the beetle when she saw the picture.

Another example: These events may seem like coincidences, but becoming aware of patterns in your life can help you learn. Say you are watching a movie about a boy who loses his dog. Your partner calls to let you know she will be late for supper because she is picking up dog food before coming home. You hear a weather broadcast on the radio about the "dog days" of summer being here. Then, the next day your neighbor wants to give you a puppy, a client or friend wants you to find their lost dog, or (hopefully not) something happens to your dog. I've also found that deja vu is more common when these parallels are happening. By finding, and recording these incidences, you can discover parallels in your life and "predict" the future more easily, as well as learn more about how your mind works in general or how obsessive you can get. "grin"

The only one who can identify personal experiences as synchronous or just simple coincidence is you. Common sense is needed, and sometimes an unbiased opinion helps, but essentially it is up to you. This doesn't mean that coincidental or synchronous events and thoughts are a way relinquish responsibility for you life, in contrast, by identifying the patterns in your life, you can often take hold of the reins to steer it in the direction you wish to head. By recording these events, you will come to be able to identify simple coincidences from meaningful ones. You will notice a certain feeling goes along with synchronous events. For some people, this is a shiver, for others just a sense of knowing. When you learn to identify significant and meaningful events like this, you will be able to use them as tools for understanding and directing your world, path and self.

4) Acknowledge your impulses One of the fastest ways to increase your psychic and magical abilities, is to indulge your "inner child". If you feel the NEED to call a friend that you haven't seen for years, DO SO! If you are singing a song that you don't even like, turn on the radio and see if it's playing. As you allow these impulses to be heard, the parts of you responsible for them will become stronger. You may look like a fool "guessing" who is calling when the phone rings, etc. but eventually it pays off. Ignore any negative judgments from other people about how you "look" when you are doing this. When others question your intuition, it triggers self doubt and all that old programming.

5) Traditional exercises:  These are traditional exercises that are given to psychics and magic users. They are Not recommend until people are more advanced or practiced. But not because they are more difficult, (in fact they are quite simple) or because of some elitist hierarchy (or I wouldn't repeat them) but rather, because they may seem unethical to some people. You must have determined prior to doing them, what your ethics are. You must also be willing to take responsibility for any results of these exercises. They do affect other people and only you can decide if and how you want to try them. The first is the "Turning Heads" exercise. Go to a place where people wait, grocery store lines are excellent. Pick someone who is spacing off and send a signal to them---- something like "look at me" ---or-- "look around" -----or--- "HEY!". When they do look, you know that you have successfully invaded someone's head. The second is the old stop light thing. Before you get to a red light, project green, or the word CHANGE, but this is dangerous for many obvious reasons, and besides what about others waiting for the red light. I prefer an altered version of this taken from Laurie Cabot I think. Before you set off to a store, visualize your favorite parking spot there and see it as vacant, and "reserved" you'll find it empty more often than usual.

What is Deity to You?Part III: Deity; or more "Breaking away from hierarchy or patriarchy without hating"

Ok, so you get the self-empowerment thing, and you've proven to yourself that you've got something going on spiritually, magically or otherwise. So WHAT IS IT??!!! Some Witches believe in Goddess and God and people-entities, like Jesus and Mary. In fact, some "Catholic Witches" actually use Jesus and Mary in place of other Goddess and God names. Some use Kernnunos and Kerridwen as archetypal images in much the same way. Others will find deities they can relate to, like Kali Ma for the rape victims seeking revenge, or Brigid for the Celtic in you. Many are of the theory that the old God/desses need us to acknowledge them in order for them to exist. For (yup you guessed it) example:

The devil, as an actual entity, does not exist, however, if 5 million fundamentalists believe he does, and then 50 anti-Christians (Satanists) spend several days "conjuring him up" then, perhaps, they will see an actual devil within that smoke, talking to them like some bizarre B-movie scene and altering things in our reality. So, in such a way, thousands of people, over thousands of years, have provided food for the coagulated energy we call "Osiris" Then he does exist, and you can utilize the energy in this "psychic pool" for worship or magic.

Some of these ideas, more than others, are still playing upon the idea that deity is separate from, or even "above" ourselves. But there are other ideas, as each Witch has his/her own belief system. There is the idea that because much of nature is seen in male and female, we identify with a male and female deity. They are both one, but in order to relate to them better, we distinguish between the two. Theories from other traditions abound in books and on the internet.

My personal idea (you can view other trads here): matter is energy, light is energy, sound, everything is energy. It has no good, and no evil, it just is. Because we are intelligent enough to glimpse this energy, and because we attempt to utilize it to our wills, we hold a special responsibility. We are responsible for changes in the universal web that we have caused. Any high school science teacher will tell you that when two objects touch, each goes away with some of the other. When you wear a copper bracelet, some of the copper is deposited in your epidermis. Close inspection of the bracelet will show skin cells attached to it. When you talk to a person, ideas are exchanged in much the same way. These are all exchanges of energy; matter in the former, and thought forms in the later. In a small way, this explains how connected we all are. The universe, the earth, people, plants, etc. everything is connected. Kirlian photography shows that plants from a house whose owner has died are very different from those same plants two weeks earlier. Talking to plants is an old time technique that really works, and whether you believe that it is the increased carbon dioxide from human breath, or is the energy of love being fed to the plant, it shows that we are all interconnected. The dust in the corners of your house is a high percentage of "star dust" or fallout, as tons of debris from space enter our atmosphere every day. There is no REAL dividing line, understanding this is easy, KNOWING/FEELING this, utilizing this knowledge, and remaining sane, is "walking between the worlds" So deity to me is energy, the universal energy, even pockets of energy that we call "Pan" or "couch" or "electricity" This energy takes infinite forms and "frequencies" but I feel that generally it works in a spiraling manner. Like DNA, the Milky Way, fractals, water flowing down a drain (water flow indicates energy movement- clockwise/doesil in the northern hemisphere, counterclockwise/widdershins in the southern-hence the invocation of the circle/sphere is done accordingly) However, identifying with an archetype, whether it is Diana, or the High Priestess of the Tarot, can aid in self exploration and improvement. And, identifying with an archetype can help you to draw on a specific type of energy. This energy, to me it seems, has an ordered nature, even a consciousness.

DeityPart IV: Modern Use and Misuse of the Gods and Goddesses or Universal Energy

A) Deity as Santa Clause- like the exercise for changing stop light, and like the girls in the movie "The Craft", There are some who will do a spell or other magical working at the drop of a hat. This is a power or control addiction. "I need money, so I'm doing a prosperity and fertility spell" This kind of work is volatile! If that person's parents die and she gets an inheritance, or the fertility is expressed by her becoming pregnant, she will be screwed. (literally!) Using magical energy (which as we have seen is not separate from universal energy) is not an answer to every problem. Sometimes being connected enough to see beyond the facades of life is all that is needed. I worked for years in heavy labor jobs for minimum wage, all the while attempting schooling for a marketing career. Neither made me happy. Realizing that I couldn't make any money in an unhappy career, or labor job. I didn't understand why I couldn't get ahead, but completely reassessing my life was just the trick. Aligning my needs and loves with my external life was more successful than any spell could ever be, and once I reached out in the "correct" direction, everything took off as if by great fortune and luck, falling in to place like the pieces of a puzzle. This was not "luck" so much as it was hard work to take full responsibility of my life path.

B) Deity as the Big Boss- Christian and societal programming at work again. Postulating yourself in front of a chosen deity is not way to develop power within. "Oh mighty God/dess" has its place if you are tapping into an archetype that demands this (like the Christian Lord or Yahweh) however, in general, it is unnecessary, if not deter mental to personal power. Rather than "Please Goddess don't let me crash" upon veering off the road, an instinctual reaction of a protective "energy field" is perhaps more appropriate?

Both of the above ideas of deity are reaffirming the God as punisher/rewarder theory. But true judgment is only from within ourselves, or if we allow it, our peers. Your magic will not "run out" or be taken away through misuse, but the balance has to remain in the universe, so the subconscious may put blocks on your power, or the universal energy will balance itself out in other ways that become evident when your magic is blocked. (This is not the only reason for failed magic, see #1, where all the money spells in the world couldn't have changed my reality) Only you can determine when magic is necessary, just as only you can take responsibility for doing it.

C) Deity as the slave-like minion. I have found that for some reason, many (BUT NOT ALL!) of the people I've met who are drawn to ceremonial magick, especially Aliester Crowley's techniques, see God in this way. "Do as you wilt shall be the whole of the law" is interpreted as: If you want something, you don't ask for it, like the Santa syndrome, you demand it, command it, evoke (rather than invoke) it, and otherwise demean the energy of the universe. Insecurity under the mask of a megalomaniac's power driven personalities thrive within this theory. I cannot stress enough that not all ceremonial magicians, nor all of the people drawn to Aliester Crowley's ideas see deity in this way! There has just been an inordinate amount in my experience with fellow magicians. Perhaps these theories lend themselves well to power hungry egotists, and perhaps those same people are misinterpreting Crowley's ideas, either way, the vision of using energy this selfishly and irresponsibly makes my hair stand on end.


* 1999 Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Find Your SkillsThe exercises you've done so far will help you determine what areas you are good at, and at what times you work best. It is not necessary to specialize, but if you desire to do so, then the more you practice the more you will know of ideas for areas of specialization. Here are some exercise ideas:

1) want to try your hand as an herbal healer? Make infusions of teas and sense what they are doing to you, record physical, psychic, and mental experiences (including taste, smell, etc.) Try easy ones at first; 1 inch piece of ginger root simmered in 1 cup boiling water, or 1 Tablespoon loose cut licorice root simmered in 1 cup of water (slight laxative, look out) Mix up your own incense, try the loose kind that you burn on charcoals first: rosemary, bay, and sage from the cupboard, or cloves and cinnamon, or a small piece of amber perfume resin blended with sandalwood powder, or myrrh, frankincense, copal, and benzoin.

2) Divination is a useful skills that is almost a side effect of knowing your mind and gaining power from within. If Tarot, Runes and Crystals aren't doing if for you, but you still need a tool to go from, try "The Bag of Tricks".  I did this when I was little... collect objects from around the house that arouse meaning in you. A toy ring, an earth colored marble, a feather, etc. Use your intuition, the ingredients can change any time you wish to whatever you wish. Put all the objects in a bag, and focus on a person, or have a person draw out an item. Your interpretation for the feather being drawn could be, a flighty person, new found freedom for that person, taking a trip by air soon, etc. a meaning for the ring could be marriage, stuck in a loop, money coming, etc. use your intuition, there are no rules here! Check out the divination section of the Library for more ideas.

3) Try your hand(s) at healing. If a friend has a headache, guide them through "The Little Green Man in My Head" visualization. Have them imagine with you, a little man shoveling their headache, seen as a bright red light", in to a pool of water in their head, where it cools off slowly. Or place one of your hands (your projective hand, usually the one you write or point with) on their forehead and one on the back of their neck. Project energy flowing from one palm to the other. Keep going for a while, then switch hands so that the projective hand in on the back of the neck this time.

4) Kind of a twist on Green Witches, try your skills at gardening or growing plants. See the Plants, Herbs & Spices section of the Library.

My Worship is in the Heart that RejoicesPart 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 you know, guilt is self-defeating, so why include it in your spirituality? Some MORE examples:

For a year, while living and working in a private residence, I was unable to "practice" my craft, or as I felt at the time, be a Real Witch. Then, I began making a packet of instant ginseng tea every night after my duties were completed. I would say a blessing (that has since been altered to: Let positive energy infuse this drink, that I, who consumes it, will be cleansed of the stresses of my day.......) sometimes I would specify a God/dess, sometimes I would specify different attributes I desired. I now realize that this was Real Witchcraft, that this was my ritual, my sanctuary.

While baking bread for a local health food store, and finding myself too busy to practice my craft, I realized that baking bread was my ritual. Within a huge mixer (cauldron) I would blend Water, Earth (sea salt and whole grains) Air (honey made possible by the wings of bees, as well as CO2 from the yeast) and then bake it all-Fire. To transform all these things in to the "staff of life" yes, a Christian quote! delicious, healthy food.

When gardening, we combine many different energies to make a whole. The Witch becomes the baton (wand) holding conductor, as well as an amplifier of the life energies in the garden. (Check out the Plants, Herbs & Spices section of the Library for more ideas.)

Exercise, especially yoga, can be a gesturing salutation to not only the Sun, but also the Moon and the universe.

Writing in your journal/BOS can be a ritual in itself, showing that the pen truly can be mightier than the Athame.

Tea time at sunset can be as fulfilling as an entire full moon ritual with all the pomp and props.

The point is, incorporating your Craft into your daily life IS Witchcraft! There is no need for you to fulfill the expectations of a particular Craft author (including me), only fulfilling your personal spiritual needs is necessary.

Alter that Altar!

Alter that Altar! Your computer can be your altar, as well as your desk. I like the "arms reach" altar, based on arms reach baskets made from whatever grasses or twigs are within your reach while sitting outside. In a hotel, this could be plastic cups for goblets, ice bucket as cauldron, ash tray as incense burner, etc. Or, outside it can be a rock as an altar, a stick as a wand, etc. This intuitive type of set up can sometimes be even more "accurate" than many book set ups. Your yard can be your sanctuary, your favorite chair to meditate can be your sacred space.

Be Your Own GuruMeditation can be your best teacher, but sitting in a knot half asleep sucks. Try guided visualizations to refresh your energy, make up your own. This may be more fulfilling than that OM chanting. Record everything in your journal/BOS

1) Meditation in a house, with a spouse? Visualize entering a house, what rooms are there? How many floors, anyone home?

2) Meditation in a cave: Go to an ocean, find a cave, go in, find a pool, someone emerges from the pool and approaches you?

3) Meditation on a hilltop: You are standing at the edge of a field, in front of you, you see a hilltop on the horizon. You lift up from the ground and are flying or floating across the field, see the ground blur past you. You fly up the hill and stop at a clearing in the midst of trees. There is a small spring and across from it............. what is there?

The best interpretations come from within. Ask yourself what your visions mean to you. Sometimes it may be better not to know the psychological or psychic interpretations of these before you do each of them a few times. This leaves you the freedom of not projecting specific expectations on your visualization. If you want to know the traditional meanings for each of these, there are many books about dream and symbol interpretation on the market. Don't be surprised if part of the scenery changes on you between "visits". I lay down to do these, as well as other visualizations.

More exercises:

1) Record your dreams. These are like unguided visualizations.

2) Know the mind states. (Check out the Library under Divination to learn more about mind states.) Learn about brain wave frequencies and try to identify which you are in. The state you are in right before sleep when pictures and ideas appear is usually alpha and is excellent for magic working. There are guided meditations counting down from a mental picture of a red number seven, through the rainbow to a violet number one. (In Laura Cabot's book) Holding the picture of each number in your mind while relaxing and breathing deeply and regularly the whole time. Mind machines and biofeedback programs will tell you exactly what state you are in. Certain chemicals and herbs will affect your mind state and enhance or hinder workings. We aren't talking thorazine here! But shamans, as well as Witches (Those darn flying ointments!) have frequently employed the use of hallucinogens and psychedelics to attain altered states. Some Witches will shudder at this, others will recommend MILD and LEGAL herbal triggers of these altered states, especially if you are a Green Witch. Sometimes just a cup of chamomile or kava kava tea before meditation can be stimulating to various mind states... follow your intuition and record all experiences.

One last thought on the subject of being your own guru: We as humans have separated ourselves from the earth, each other and our minds. We don't know our neighbors, or our families, we shut off our minds with empty entertainment that keeps us from looking inside of ourselves to seek the truth. We use deodorants, insecticides, herbicides, anti-bacterial soap, antibiotics, etc. Some of these things can be a blessing to society, however, we as a whole, have not maintained a balance. The idea of "More is Better!" has dominated us for long enough. We cannot receive unless we give. Meditate on this if you wish: Squashing a bug is not squashing a part of divinity, it is divinity, only the form, and energy is different. Do everything with intention, fully aware of your responsibility. This does not mean that you should never kill a weed, however, know what it truly means to do so, to the best of your abilities at the time. (Notice the last part of the previous sentence, and keep in mind also any feelings of guilt for actions in your past that were not well thought out. These are not useful feelings unless you use them to learn, to change, to prevent it from happening again, and to perhaps rectify any damage you once did. Guilt is self-defeating unless utilized for change.) A weed's energy, may be transformed into energy for your use, by composting it, mulching with it, preparing potions or remedies with it, etc. Poisoning it with toxins does no good. It is sad evidence of our separation from the All.

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