Sunday, March 18, 2018

Love and Light: Veiled Abuse and Bullying in Paganism

We all know someone who is eternally happy and never has a bad day, even if it is through gritted teeth. These people are always espousing 'love and light' in their practice and encouraging everyone around them to turn their face toward the sun so that the darkness falls behind them. . .  Or something of the sort. While some of these people have genuinely made peace with their inner demons, most others have not. We have all been conditioned that 'love and light' is good and is an expression of a supreme good while those who embrace their own darkness and, therefore, humanity should be watched.

The reality that I have seen over and over is that those espousing 'love and light' the most are the ones who need to fall into the abyss of their own darkness the most, as well. They tend to be some of the most inauthentic people I have ever met and I mean inauthentic toward themselves, not necessarily, others. There are certain behaviors that are present within the vast majority of the love and light crowd.

First, I notice that may within the 'love and light' crowd like to use guilt as a motivator. Now, this only works if the person on the other end harbors feelings of guilt or some insecurity that can be linked to these feelings. One thing I hear from these types is, "You may not like them, but you have to/should love them anyway." Well, no. I am not required to waste my energy on anyone. I do not like them. I do not have to like them. I certainly do not have to love them. I can look at that person and feel absolutely nothing. I am not required to speak to them, touch them, or interact. There is zero requirement for me to entertain that notion.

Second, I notice that these types often get frustrated and very angry when other people refuse to be controlled. These types will often 'call out' an individual in an effort to shame them, another emotion that one must espouse for these types to manipulate another individual.  If one is not ashamed of one's actions or is not in the wrong, then this tactic doesn't work, thereby creating more anger and frustration for the "love and lighter". This is especially prevalent online. It happens quite regularly, as a matter of fact, in social media groups.

Indeed, it happened recently in a group that I was a member of. One particular poster wasn't very nice. I didn't like her and most everyone else didn't, either, however, she was a pretty good source of basic information. Something happened off of the group and the moderators flipped the fuck out and one decided to bring it into the group with this post:


Now, I have done nothing but block out the name of the poster, the group, and those mentioned in the post here. This is a screenshot of the post by a moderator who always espoused how much love and light she had for everyone. Here's what I see:
1. Calling the offender out in the group. This is poor taste and not in the least bit what a leader does, not even with an unreasonable poster. (And, I promise, the offender was unreasonable.) This is an invitation to the group to start bashing said offender because the comments weren't even turned off until the bashing began. Again, nothing love and light about that.
2. This is an intimidation tactic. You are telling everyone who sees this that if they step out of line then you'll do the same to them, tag them in a horrible, hateful post and leave it open for others to bash on them as well. (And, in the meantime, doing exactly what you say others are doing.)
3. You are telling everyone that there are a 'few others' you are after, as well. Waving a veiled threat around to people not mentioned in an effort to scare them into acting and being a certain way.
4. This is venting one's proverbial spleen in a group that has no idea what is going on. This kind of anger is going to seriously upset some of the more timid people. So much for all of that love and light, right? Real leaders simply don't do this.

Third, when guilt and shame don't work, these 'love and light' guys turn to projection and veiled threats. They project their own insecurities about being respected onto others as a lack of respect and they see every question as an insult to their person and their allies. One of the mods posted something, stomping her proverbial foot about being disrespected and she was going to ban the next person who said anything snarky.

Until this point, I didn't even realize that this, particular, person what even a moderator. So, she's suddenly going around threatening to ban people? I, genuinely, thought she was suddenly the group banning bitch or something. So, I asked for clarification:



As you can see, I wasn't the only person who took that comment to mean that said moderator was just going to start banning people willy-nilly because she was extra butthurt that someone disrespected her authority. Of course, my comment was taken as threatening and sarcastic.







Here is the, again, veiled threat.  The moderator was working under the impression that anyone and everyone was being sarcastic
and threatening to her as a moderator. She absolutely refused to believe that someone might be sincere and not be challenging her authority (which, by the way, was all in her head, as she couldn't even close comments on a thread without asking permission.)

So, again, another poster responded in kind to my question and her unreasonable knee-jerk response. The moderator then began (again) projecting passive-aggressiveness onto my comments declaring that there was 'a lot' going on, which there weren't, except said moderators.











You can see here, the accusation of my being passive-aggressive, even after apologizing. It was somehow my fault that she took things wrong when I asked her to clarify and she threatened me with banning. Again, these 'love and lighters' like to use people as examples. They hate it when their authority is challenged, which as you can see, she 'closed' the discussion by, as I stated above, asking the administrator if she could and getting permission first.

This kind of behavior goes on for several days, veiled threats, projection of sarcasm and being passive-aggressive, and foot stomping, demanding that everything get back to normal.

Bullies don't like it when people question them. They don't like it when a person ignores their fits. Bullies like to be in charge and have people just a little bit afraid of them. It gives them a sense of power when they feel like they have none.

So much of the 'love and light' crowd feels this way: powerless. They think that if they are good and kind and happy and all of the 'good' things in life, then they can hide from their out of control rage, fear, sadness, and cruelty. They can't. Those emotions they try to suppress, that Shadow raises its head in a multitude of ways, including manipulation and a bizarre sense of entitlement.

We tell our children not to bully each other, but as adults, how can we say this to children when we, ourselves, behave in such a way? Is it any wonder why children would rather kill themselves than live in this world? Do you take people where they are or do you try to force them into your little box of expectations? Do you project love and light or do you use it to your benefit to get people to do what you want?

When you work with a group of people, in real life or online, keep in mind that not everyone is all love and light all of the time. Keep in mind that some people use the 'light' in a bad way. Keep in mind that love, real love, has no conditions. Love sees you where you are and takes you as you are, only pointing you in the direction that is most beneficial for your own growth, even if that means kicking you Spartan-style into the abyss of your own darkness occasionally. Unfortunately, we humans don't often example that kind of love.

Brightest blessings,
River


P.S. I actually kind of expect some hate mail over this, people crying about how I have the 'love and light' crowd all wrong, etc. If you feel moved to respond, please feel free, however, I don't expect to be proven wrong, and in all honesty, I expect comments to prove me right. If you feel moved to respond, I hope that you are the exception. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

On Sending Energy, Distance Healing, and Other Well Meaning Magicks

We live in a community where everyone thinks they are an empath or a healer but few of us actually are. Social media allows us to send 'healing', 'good juju', or 'thoughts and prayers' to everyone we come across, if they ask for it, however, is this type of helping a good thing?

I bet your first reaction was, "Of course! How could you even doubt it?" Well, I do doubt it for several reasons and, realistically, some of these doubts are why I rarely send energy and if I do I send it with a very specific intent. (Though, until a conversation came up last week, I couldn't actually tell you why I had these doubts until I was shown a different perspective by a complete stranger.)

First, let's get the 'thoughts and prayers' out of the way. This is a big one on social media. I could be looking at your situation and thinking that you got what you deserved and praying that you get more of the same. I could be thinking that you don't deserve whatever you're getting and praying that it stops soon. They both can sound altruistic, sure, a person deserves/ doesn't deserve a break in life, or deserves/doesn't deserve death/poverty/illness/winning the lotto. Whatever.

Now, let's talk about all of that healing we send out. What are we sending when we send 'healing'? Some of us send Reiki. Others send healing energy, which is different but achieves a similar end. This difference can be significant.

As a Reiki practitioner, I can attest to the fact that Reiki is different from healing energy in two ways. First, Reiki is a blessing. Being a type of love energy, it is very highly vibrational and will get through any shields, wards, or other protections due to its very energetic nature. The spirit or higher self is not going to deflect this type of energy unless specifically instructed by the Self to do so and if we are asking for healing, we aren't going to turn 'good' energy away.

Healing energy achieves a similar end to Reiki, but it often comes from the Self or is drawn up from the earth (or down from the heavens), charged, and sent to the person in need.  This energy is often tainted with our own energy signature and can be deflected, rejected, or sent back if the receiver wants to, but again, often doesn't because of being 'open' to that intent.

So, then, what happens when someone is having an illness and they ask for healing? Depends. If it is a broken leg or post-surgery request, boosting up the healing for them will, hopefully, get them up and about quickly. It should keep the infection down or knit the bone, and in general, be a big help.

What happens, though, if this person has cancer or an autoimmune illness? The cancer is growing because the body does not recognize it as an invader or as an out of control growth of cells. What is 'healing' doing? Does it knock down the side effects of the chemo/biotherapy? Does it do its best to flush the chemo/biotherapy from the sick person's system? (In an effort to make them 'well' from the therapy?) Does it simply help the person along to die because their body is simply too worn out? Autoimmune illnesses already deal with an out of control immune system. Why would one want to boost an already overworked immune system with 'healing' when it is likely that suppression is likely what is needed? Another excellent example of 'healing' gone wrong is the flu.

How does the body 'heal' the flu? High. Fucking. Fevers. Now, why would you want to boost someone's immune system with 'healing energy' when the only way to beat something like that is a fever? Those fevers lead to things like dehydration if they aren't monitored. Sure, I know you're thinking that I'm missing the obvious to get the fever down, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, however, keeping one's fever down is inhibiting the body's ability to fight that infection. Fevers are good, at least to a point (and then we go back to the hydration/dehydration fever cycle.) Also, I'm not going to do more than mention things like seizures, deafness, and other things caused by an out of control fever.

Finally, I want to discuss pain as a growth factor. For some people, what they are going through is 'growing pains'. Do we really want to wish pain (or more pain) on someone who is already hurting? There are times when we, as human beings, are required by this life to find a new perspective through pain. Whether it is physical, mental, or emotional, the pain gives us what we need to grow. I know that I certainly don't unless I know very explicitly that I am giving this person pain in order to find a new perspective.

These are just a few examples of how our ideas of healing can go awry. When we send energy, Reiki or otherwise, it must be with the complete understanding that what we are doing may not have the results we expect. While we often sympathize or empathize with the person asking for help, sometimes their pain is both deserved and needed to help them along in this life. We must also understand that our helping can kill them if it is their time to die or their body is just too weak to keep going.

Next time, when a friend asks for healing, Reiki, or juju of any kind, remember to send it with the knowledge that it will help, but it may not be helpful in the way you expect or want it to.

Brightest Blessings,
River

Saturday, February 3, 2018

When Meditation Is Not the Answer

As pagans, we often look to each other for advice when it comes to energy work.  Among the new and old practitioners alike, the answer is often, "Meditation could help you with this." While this statement is true about 90% of the time, there are times when stilling your body and mind is not what is needed to produce more awareness. (Even if all of the new age hoo-ha tells us that meditation is the ultimate.)

So, when is meditation not the answer? Meditation is not the answer when you need to be more aware of your Self. A recent conversation I participated in online is a good example. The poster wanted to know how to strengthen his will. He recognized that it was more iron-clad when he was angry than when he was not and stated that he had a difficult time holding his intent. This is an excellent example of meditation not being the answer. (Have you ever stopped yourself from being angry by meditation? No? Join the club!!) Meditation will teach this posted how to recognize triggers that make him angry and it will teach him how to not react to those triggers unless he chooses to.

If the poster knows his will is stronger when he is angry, then he recognizes that it has a different sensation. Our emotions create physical sensations in our body. The problem we have is that we are usually too emotional to feel them, so we ride along that roller coaster. When we 'get into our feelings' we become enslaved to our emotions for that moment.

When we begin to cultivate self-awareness (first through meditation and then through life), we begin to notice these triggers. We begin to notice the physical sensations that go along with fear, anger, jealousy, joy, love, gratitude and even resentment. We begin to notice the physical sensations that trigger the emotional response. When we discover the trigger and the sensation, we can choose (eventually, at least) how much energy we expend on that emotion. This is the essence of cultivating the will and while this process begins with meditation, it can not be fully realized through meditation alone.

The moment we begin to choose how to spend the energy we have built up emotionally is the moment we, as practitioners, can choose how to wield our intent. Recognizing the physical sensations that go with certain emotions is the first step to that. How does one do this? It is both simple and not.

First, one must cultivate an awareness of one's body. To do this, I use a simple exercise taught to me by a very wise elder. I call it the "Let It Go Technique" and it is 4 steps:

1. Sit at a table, such as the dining room table, and hold a coin in the palm of your closed hand with your arm out in front of you, larger is better than smaller (such as a quarter or half-dollar instead of a dime).
2. Feel that coin in the palm of your hand. Close your eyes for this if you choose, but feel its weight, temperature, texture. Read it with your physical senses.
3. Turn your hand palm down and open it, dropping the coin. Notice the sensation.
4. Pick the coin up and repeat.

You will know you are successful in this exercise when you can feel every muscle, tendon, and ligament move, the pressure of the coin sliding from your hand, and if any of the tiny hairs on the backs of your hands and wrists are affected.

This simple exercise cultivates awareness of your body. If it is done enough times, one will begin to notice the tiny movements of one's hand or forearm muscles during other activities. This awareness then will translate to noticing the various sensations of our bodies as we move through life. Ultimately, this exercise opens up our awareness to the physical sensations that go along with emotions. Once one can feel the emotions physically, meditation is a good time to recall the sensation and explore it. This will also help to cultivate the will.

As practitioners, we tell each other to meditate all of the time. Meditation is not the answer for every situation. Meditation is not even the answer for most situations. Realistically, most practitioners these days don't actually do true meditation, so what we are suggesting to each other are different techniques for different practices that we all just call meditation, but that's for a different blog.

Have a blessed Imbolc. May the seeds you plant in the coming season flourish in the coming year.

Blessings,
River




















Sunday, December 3, 2017

No, That's Not How Magic Works!

It's no secret that I have recently been trolling for blog fodder in facebook magical groups. While life has got me super busy right now, I have had plenty of topics to blog about. These topics seem to cycle in these groups. Right now, the requests seem to be "I need a quick magical solution to some hard mundane problem!"

People do not seem to understand that magic does not work like that. No, magic isn't going to cure (and likely not help) your child with severe ADHD. Giving him a routine, his medications, discipline, and your unending love, as well as some psychiatric help if you can't handle him will be more effective than magic. Giving him coping skills that will help him now and later in life will be more effective than magic.

Telling a young magician that s/he can destroy energy without any explanation of how is another delusional, and quite frankly, stupid response. Sorry, no, you aren't standing at your altar and tearing apart the fabric of space-time. No, you aren't going to defy gravity and levitate (although it is reported that Buddhist monks can do this. so I do believe it is possible, but not through magical means). I'm sorry, no, you aren't going to destroy energy of any kind and if you think you are, you need to brush up on your science.

Simply put, magic does not work that way. Magic is not going to make your eyes change color. Magic is not going to make your grandmother's cancer go away. Magic is not going to help you lose weight. At least it isn't going to help you in the way you want it to.

Here's how magic works:

So, you want to lose weight? You do a spell to lose weight. Three days later your friend comes over and tells you that she's doing Weight Watchers. Oh, damn, but you don't have the money to join with her. That's okay. She can teach you the points system as she's learning and you can lose weight together! BAM!! Your spell worked!

If you let go of the expectations you had for your spell and let your friend teach you, then it worked. If you turn your friend down and keep doing what you're doing and searching for the outcome you want, then your magic will never work. Period.

There is this very prevalent misconception within the magical community that intention is everything. (Thanks to The Secret, no doubt.) However, The Secret is wrong. Intention isn't everything. I can work at a shitty minimum-wage job my entire life with the intention of being a millionaire and never achieve that intention. Why? Because intention isn't everything. If I am not going to buy a lotto ticket, I can't manifest that intent. If I don't educate myself, then I can't manifest that intent. If I don't spend the time and effort working toward that goal, then it just isn't going to happen. People don't seem to understand that.

People also don't seem to understand that a shitty spell meme isn't going to manifest dick, especially for a person new to the Craft. Those of us who are a little more seasoned will understand that energy must be raised or we are working with the inherent properties of the tools used and should probably pull out the correspondence charts to make sure everything is in line with the intent of the spell.

What does that mean? Well, what it means is, a spell is more than simply lighting a candle, saying a few words, and blowing it out unless that's all it is, except that's rarely the case. Here is what I mean:

"Light a white candle, say an incantation, blow the candle out. Do this twice a day."

This was, literally, a 'fascinating' spell meme posted to a group.

First, is white the color you want or are you using it because it's the universal candle color? If it's because it's universal, then you need to charge it to represent the outcome that you want.

Second, the words you chant have power, but if you don't put anything behind them (or don't know to) they mean nothing. (There's your intent!!)

Third, why aren't you letting the candle actually burn? The inherent properties of the element of fire will aid your intent. Why not let them?

Fourth, what's so important about 2? Would another number fit this intention better or is two most appropriate? Is this just an arbitrary number given for convenience?

Fifth, how long do I do this? Do I do it until I get the desired outcome or until the candle runs out?

Sixth, won't blowing the candle out scatter the energy or air negate the fire? Would snuffing it be more appropriate? (Mostly, this is a question of 'do you know how to blow out a candle respectfully'.)

In the end, these 3 or 4 sentences become much more than just sit down, light a candle, intention, and incantation, blow it out, repeat. Also, I know that I have not addressed the idea of casting a circle and calling the elements. This was purposefully left out as I don't believe that some magics need a full-on ritual.

So, why is it that practitioners today need to believe that magic is a cure-all? I believe it's mostly because we, as humans, are always looking for an easy way out. We are always looking for the workaround. Well, magic isn't it. Sorry. I know all of the Llewlyn books you've read might say it is, but it just isn't.

If magic worked that way, we'd all be millionaires or beauty queens. Our wildest dreams would come true. No, real magic takes work, energy to achieve. Real magic exacts a cost from us, whether or not we realize it.

Brightest Blessings,
River

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Rise of 'Black Magic' Spells in the Modern Era and Why They Are Garbage or You Don't Need a Spell to Change Your Life


Lately, I have been tooling around in Facebook groups for witches. Some of these groups are utterly laughable to people who actually practice magic. What I have noticed is that people take to Facebook (of all places) to beg for spells. They often do this after admitting that they know nothing of magic. Others post images easily googled into these same groups with absolutely zero commentary. The image below is one such 'spell' that has crossed my screen as of late. Neither the poster nor one other commentator could tell me why, exactly, this spell was 'black'. Now, I am of the thought that if you can't look at a spell or incantation and surmise, at least, two possible outcomes for it, then you probably don't need to be trying it. These days, critical thinking is essential and no one seems to be able to do it!  

So, let's break down this spell and see what makes it 'black magic' and decide if it will do anything more than give you gas.


First, we have our ingredients:

Lighter
Pink Candle
Musk Oil
Carving Tool
Marjoram
Pink Cloth with 'dream of me, be with me' on one side and 'just a little nudge' on the other, preferably hand sewn by the spellcaster
Pink or Red Pouch (small)
Glass plate

The lighter, carving tool (or knife/pin/needle) and plate are, kind of, self-explanatory. Lighter to light the candle, carving tool to carve it and plate to not make a huge mess on the table.

So, now, let's look at correspondences:

Pink as quoted directly from here:

 "The color pink is gentle and feminine and evokes the scent of apple blossoms and the laughter of little girls. Pink is calming and energetic all at once. Wear the color pink to evoke youthful energy and childlike joy. Pink can be used in magic for emotional love, tenderness, conception, babies, pregnancy, romance, youth, peace, emotional healing, inner harmony, femininity, and friendship. The action of the color pink is similar to that of the color red but gentler and more muted.
Wear and decorate with the color pink, or burn pink candles to relax and energize, calm aggression and relieve stress. The color pink is also used to suppress the appetite.
In Japan, the color pink is associated with the spring blooming of the cherry blossoms (Sakura) which are associated with the souls of warriors fallen in battle."

Musk oil as quoted directly from here and here

"A love oil used to arouse one's passion and heighten sexual pleasure. Also used to draw new situations and prosperity."


"Musk is Earth associative. It’s a good incense for restoring balance and order, realigning one's energies, sealing portals, creating barriers and protections, and removing the influences of negative magick. It’s also a good incense to burn to Saturn. Musk is also associated with chthonic deities and the underworld. It’s more concerned with underworld energies and accessing the underworld than bringing forth the dead. It’s a good incense to burn for certain underworld entities."

Marjoram quoted directly from here, here, and here:


"In magickal practice, marjoram is chiefly a love herb. It is typically employed in the creation of love-potions or attraction charms. It plays a major role in fixing spells and enchantments. In more practical applications, marjoram is useful for deflecting bad luck and accidents, as well as for promoting harmony in households. Burnt as an incense, it is said to banish discord where its smoke is wafted. Marjoram may even be used to help improve relationships and marriages, especially when combined with basil and rose petals. Marjoram incense or an herbal sachet made with marjoram blossoms and balm of Gilead buds may even be used to help with depression, to counter psychic attacks, and to banish bad or negative thoughts."

"Magical attributes: protection, love, healing.
Uses: Add to all love charms or place a piece in rooms for protection. Give to a grieving person to bring them happiness."

" This perennial herb ... and was known to the Greeks and Romans as a symbol of happiness and love due to its close association with the fierce and beautiful Goddess of Love, Aphrodite. Moreover, Marjoram is sacred to Isis, Egyptian Goddess of Love and all blessings.
This is why Marjoram is believed to be ESSENTIAL to any love spell (especially Love sachets). There are many ancient customs where a little sachet filled with Marjoram is woven into the bridal dress to ensure long-term happiness in marriage and to enhance fertility."

Ok, we have our correspondences and our ingredients. Now what? Let's look at the 'spell' and see if we can decipher what we are supposed to do. 

The first paragraph says: "Cast the circle, call the quarters. Dim the lights, leave a candle burning if you wish. Take the pink candle and anoint it with musk oil while thinking of the person who you want. Scratch the name of the person on one side of the pink candle and the word love on the other side."

(I will admit to paraphrasing here because I found it too wordy and poorly written.)

In the first half a dozen words, I see a problem for a new practitioner. If you can't cast a circle or call the quarters, you should stop right there and go learn to do that. If you can, let's move on. All prep, such as dimming the lights, lighting candles, etc. should have been done before the circle was cast.

The anointing of candles with oil can be done a multitude of ways, but it is easier to carve the candle and then anoint it so you don't have to try and get a blade or sharp object into a slippery candle. Also, there are specific ways to anoint candles to draw/attract and repel/banish that this spell does not address. Is the practitioner supposed to know this already? I sure hope so!

Now, we get to the 'grit' of this 'black magic spell'. Well, sort of. There are those who believe that because this spells focuses on a specific person, that it is an attempt to bend their will to the caster's own and is, therefore 'black magic'. I am inclined to agree, mostly due to my Wiccan training. That said, I do not judge those who would choose to do this spell because I can see multiple possible outcomes and, honestly, many of them include the phrases, "you got what you wanted" and "be careful what you ask for".

Place the pink cloth on the plate with "just a little nudge" facing down. Light the candle and affix the cloth to the plate by letting hot wax drip on the corners of the cloth. While visualizing your desire, use wax drippings to form the shape of a heart in the middle of the cloth. Drip some wax in the middle of the heart shape and place the candle there.

So, from what I gather with this paragraph is that this is a small piece of cloth with a lot of sewn writing on it. I'm still not sure why the corners need to be affixed with wax if there is going to be a wax heart in the center and more wax drippings to affix the candle. If this is a permeable cloth, such as a cotton blend, not all of this is necessary and adds complication to a rather simplistic candle spell.

Anyway, moving on. Visualizing ones desire. Do you know how to visualize? If not, guess what you should do. That's right, learn what that is and how to do it. If you do know, then you're good. Let's move on, shall we? Also, when are we going to compel the other person to "dream of me, be with me"? Why are we doing this at all? Is it for the 'dream walking'?

With the candle burning, empower a pinch of marjoram by pinching it tightly between your fingers and feeling the energy flowing into it. Sprinkle the marjoram in the place touching the heart and candle. Let the candle burn down.

And now we add the herb! I think we should be adding it to the melting wax, but again, the spell isn't very clear. However, the caster needs to know how to 'empower' things. Do you know how to move energy? If you don't, you aren't going to 'empower' anything. If you do, are you charging it with your own energy? Are you going to draw earth energy up or maybe draw down the moon? Let's get creative!! Obviously, though, a pinch is all we need.

Crinkle the hard pool of wax as much as you can while thinking of your desire. Take the remains of wax, marjoram, and cloth and put them in a small pink or red pouch. Sleep with the pouch under your pillow and by using dream direction, allow yourself to dream of the person you want.

Sleep like this for as long as needed until the day comes when you are going to see the person. Take the pouch with you. When you see the person, wait until the time is right.

Ok, so I have just added the last two paragraphs together. It's just as well to finish it up.

To complete the spell, you must, I think, break up the wax on the cloth while thinking of your desire. Now, remember, this cloth is affixed to a plate with the same, now hardened wax. Good luck getting that unstuck from the plate without a knife or other scraping tool not listed above.

Oh, have you been sitting in this circle for 12 hours waiting for this candle to burn down and the wax to harden? Did you leave circle while the magic was being completed? I sure hope you know how to cut a door to your circle. Did you leave the quarters called? They might be a bit unhappy as to have to wait around while you go on with life, don't you think?

Assuming that you know what you're doing and you finished the spell, released the quarters and circle, now you get to shove all of that stuff in a bag and sleep with it until you can find a way to orchestrate a meeting with said person you most desire where you take the pouch with you and wait until the time is right. 

Oh! You mean the spell is incomplete? What. The. Fuck! 

Yeah, this spell is incomplete, aside from being total trash, to begin with. However, I want to back up just a little bit and explore why one would even consider a spell like this. What draws us to the supposed taboo? What draws us to tempt the Fates and attempt to harness such god-like powers as bending the will of another to our own? 

Honestly? It's different for each person, but it comes down to control, power, and significance. Now, there are those who would argue that every choice we make influences those around us and bends their will to ours. Personally, I believe that if you are aware of how your words and deeds affect others, then you can be aware of when those words and deeds affect others negatively. 

It's all up to the practitioner, but the reality of the world we live in is thus: We are all always trying to do what is best for ourselves. We put our best face forward to get a job (and we could cast a glamour to do this). We tell people what they want to hear and show them what they want to see. 

This sudden rise in 'black magic' is a two-fold thing. It is people who feel powerless and want to have some kind of control (or feel like it) and it's those who would prey on those who feel powerless. What do I mean by this?  Someone is on eBay selling this particular spell for about $5 already printed on parchment for your BoS. 

If you do not know how to write your own spells, buying one won't make you powerful. This spell, literally, raised no energy toward the goal. Now, an adept practitioner will know when to raise energy and how to do it. In fact, they will be able to do it with a simple thought, but once again, one who is new will not have any idea.

This is the modern-day equivalent to the ancient grimoires. The ones published today have most of the magical sigils and words, but few of the practical things like correspondences that the neophyte would have discussed with the adept, the things that aren't written down. The powers of deduction and critical thinking are lost on most people today, which is why we have people selling 'powerful black magic spells'. 

If you aren't prepared to write your own spells, you probably aren't ready to try and perform anyone else's.

Please, don't blow yourself up.
River

(P.S. It's not lost on me that I didn't make any commentary on the actual correspondences. I did that on purpose. Maybe we could discuss why they are good or bad ingredients?)






Saturday, November 4, 2017

Know Thyself

Being the weekend of the full moon, and the final one of the Witch's Year (the sun goes 15 degrees Scorpio Nov. 6, marking Samhain) I thought it would be a good time to do a bit of reflection and musing on what it means to be Witch.

I have recently ventured into the world of Facebook groups for pagans. It has been both enlightening and terrifying. Most people post asking for spells, mostly money and luck and, occasionally, love. Others post asking for help of some kind or asking for (some demanding) free tarot readings.  Still, others post stating they have done some spell or another and why didn't it work and can someone help them.

To the last one, they get all of these responses of 'you can't doubt yourself' and 'it won't work if you doubt your magic'. Both good points, but neither addressing more than one potential cause of the spell actually not working. Realistically, there is an infinite number of points in the timeline where the magic could have been scattered, absorbed, or otherwise used up to make the magic not work.

First, the practitioner may need to change their perception of the world. In this world of 'spells are like prayers on steroids' people honestly believe that they can simply speak their desires into existence. Except, most people can't due to lack of discipline, faith, or understanding. To put it simply, it was doomed before it was begun to do subconscious concepts that the practitioner may or may not even realize they have.

Second, the structure of the spell could have been faulty. Spell and ritual creation are like baking. You have ingredients that must be added at the right time and in the right proportion with the right amount of catalyst to create the change. If any of those things are off, the spell won't work. What do I mean? Well, too much flour and your cake is dry and crumbly. Too much liquid and it is sticky and not quite done in the center but almost burnt around the edges. Too much heat, your cake burns. Too little and it doesn't cook.

Third, and this may be the most important one, if you want to learn these things, no one can do it for you. The manufacture of coincidence isn't a practice that one sits down and simply does from the beginning, just as one does not simply bake a cake at 5 years old.  While, yes, talent helps, discipline and practice hone the talent and sharpens it like the edge of a razor.

In a world of instant gratification and 'The Secret' type of thinking. No one wants to believe that discipline and practice are what it takes to become a magician. They believe that they can read a book on the basics and cast a spell to be a millionaire or to make someone love them. If that were the case, a witch would win the lotto every week.

The magical axiom, Know Thyself, takes on a new meaning once you turn inward and stop blaming all of the outside sources for your spells not working. Do you fear failure? Maybe success? Do you fear being found out? Who are You? What makes You tick? Once you figure out your fears, you can get on with becoming an adept magician.

Brightest Blessings, All!!
River

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Soul Contracts: Evolution Through Experience

I have been thinking about the concept of soul contracts lately. I can not say that I know the origin of the theory, and I know that some people believe the idea to be new age hooey. I'm somewhere in between.While we pagans like to attribute everything to karma, I am of the belief that some of our life circumstances and events our soul agrees to pre-incarnation. I am of the belief that our soul makes pacts with other souls in our group pre-incarnation so that we may evolve. How the situations and life circumstances are handled by the two egos determine the amount of karmic debt that is repaid. This repayment determines how far the scales come back into balance.

For instance, a moderately prominent adult in my own community was recently accused of, what amounted to, molestation by a child. Having known this adult and the child for the better part of a decade now, I would have a difficult time believing the accusations. My own thoughts were that the kid misspoke. Period. However, the person who was given the information, initially, is a mandated reporter. So, of course, once word got out this person had been reported, it was a huge kerfuffle.

The reported adult, let's call her Beatrice, believes that she was reported out of spite. Her friends also believe this. The mandated reporter, let's call him Aaron, has repeatedly espoused that he heard about abuse and reported it as he is required to do, no judgment. The parents involved could not or did not communicate to each other about their children, which is what led to this situation. No judgment. It is precisely what life is made of.

If indeed, a soul contract was made within this soul group of people, this means that seven souls came together and agreed on the general semantics of the situation: one would be the reporter to the authorities, one would be the reported to the authorities, one would be the "victim", one would be the "victim's" friend and secret holder, and the final three would have communication issues that may or may not have prevented the whole situation. Soul contracts sound as complicated as mundane contracts!

Despite that complication, we still aren't even to the heart of the possibilities of the implications of a soul contract. So, to cut down on complications, we will focus on Beatrice and Aaron, since it is their lives that will probably be the most impacted in the long term. (We all know how long adult's memories can be.)

We will talk about Aaron, first. Aaron heard about abuse and, as a teacher/mentor/clergy, is required by law to report it. This is difficult if you don't know all of the people involved, so knowing those involved, I can imagine made it even more difficult.

The one thing I noticed people telling him was that he shouldn't have reported a rumor. Another thing I noticed was that he was told that he should have used 'common sense and good judgment' and gone to the other adults in the situation, including the accused. While that is good, sound advice in most situations, that is not how mandated reporting actually works. Many people, including other mandated reporters, think that just asking an accused abuser if they are abusing is enough to get them to stop (if the abuse is actually happening and not just a wild rumor).

For a mandated reporter, reporting abuse is just that, mandatory. If one does not report suspected abuse, it can be punishable by a fine. That's right. A person can be charged with a misdemeanor.

So, despite the judgment of not using 'common sense', Aaron did just that. He knew, as a mandated reporter, that his job was to not judge a situation. He knew that he should only report it to the proper authorities and make sure that the child was safe. In doing this, he created ripples throughout the community.

Sometimes, we do the right thing and, despite that, we are roasted alive because, let's face it, people have no ethics these days. Aaron was lambasted by our local community. His name was dragged through the dirt, repeatedly, by people calling him various names and accusing him of predating on women. Oh, the libel flew! People kept asking him why he would do such a thing but no one wanted to hear that it wasn't personal. People wanted to believe that Beatrice was just being victimized by another man.

Aaron has stood firm, despite the attacks on his person, his values, and his ethics. He knows that he did the right thing and he knows that no matter how many people tell him he was wrong, he wasn't.

Now, we come to Beatrice. She was accused of molesting a child. She is an inherently good person who, for whatever reason, got caught up in this terrible situation. She, too, is a mandated reporter and should know how that works. This terrible accusation has put her career on hold, among other things.
She now has to battle the stigma of having been accused of something so terrible.

She also has to deal with knowing that her friends, in coming to her 'aid', chose to name call, harass, and accuse the other person. While she may not have actively encouraged this behavior, it was done on her behalf, so those effects are something that she will have to deal with, even if it is to say, "Not my words, not my actions."

So, what can they each learn from this so that they, as universal souls, can evolve? Well, first, these situations create thick skins for those involved. Those who do the right thing will always be accused of doing the right thing due to selfish reasoning. Those who are falsely accused need that thick skin to raise their heads above the mess and move forward.

Another thing to learn from this situation is compassion. What if the involved child was being molested but not by the accused? What if the child was being abused and didn't know how to bring it to the attention of the adults in his/her life because they are so busy being grown-ups that they did not have the time or energy or whatever to listen to the child?

Why didn't the accused 'step out' of her own inadequacies and victimhood for a moment to put herself in the shoes of the one who reported her? Remember, the accused is also a mandated reporter and may, one day, end up doing the reporting. Wouldn't that compassion for the other person also translate to compassion for one's self? I would hope so.

Probably the biggest lesson to learn from this is that knee-jerk reactions to situations show us where we are lacking in our evolution. If our first reaction is indignation or anger, we should ask ourselves why. Yes, false accusations are horrible. They are beyond horrible, however, if one is innocent, there's nothing to worry about. If there's nothing to worry about one can focus on things like compassion and understanding. (And, understand, I'm not suggesting that anger or indignation signals one is guilty. I only suggest that maybe one has something to hide if they are doing whatever they can to get the negative spotlight off of themselves.)

We all experience horrible situations in life. Whether we are accused falsely (or rightly) of some crime or we contribute to or witness death or we just encourage something we should not. Our own actions and reactions suggest what and where we need to learn the lessons we were put here to learn. We have soul contracts in place with people whom we reincarnate with throughout various lifetimes. These people, whether or not our ego knows it, are people whom our soul trusts and whose soul trusts us, to be the best vessel for learning the very tough lessons we must learn and endure.

These souls agree with our own about the varied and potential outcomes within that lifetime. On a soul level, we agree to hurt each other in order to find healing. We agree that our ego may get in the way and that it will add another level of hurt/healing to our soul's journey. These contracts are, sometimes, difficult to digest. Just remember, the next time someone seems to go out of their way to hurt you, maybe you agreed to it before you were born and there is a lesson to be learned from it.

Blessed Be, Friends,
River