17 Witchy Questions

A Youtuber named Raven Flower shared a #17WitchyQuestionsTag video. I like these types of thing because it gives me a focus for writing and because it becomes a community discussion. Several people have responded with YouTube videos and, although I plan to post videos at some points, I prefer the written word. So, below are my answers to the 17 Witchy Questions for 2017.

 

  1. When times get tough, do you fight? Or take flight?
    1. I typically take flight. I, admittedly, am a very sensitive person, which makes me prone to being hurt or offended more times that I’d like to admit. In the past, I’ve reacted to these issues by fighting. Not necessarily the physical kind, but I’ve had my fair share of verbal altercations. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more aware of my own reactions, so I try to remove myself from negative situations and think through solutions before I act. If fighting is the best option, watch out! I’m going to come through with guns blazing. Usually though, removing yourself from toxic places is often the best solution.
  1. Is there a certain color you connect with?
    1. When I became serious about my practice, I noticed that the color blue began showing up in strange ways. When I visualize my personal energy, it’s blue. When I visualize my astral body, it’s covered in blue armor. When I astral project or do journey work, the world has a blue tint to it.
  2. What is your Sun, Moon, Rising sign?
    1. I was originally told that I was triple fire (Leo, Aries, Sagittarius, respectively) by an astrologer, but I decided to do my own research. I’m a Leo sun (typical Leo, honestly), Virgo moon, and Scorpio rising. I’m not sure what this means, but it just means I have something else to research!
  3. Something you would change if you could.
    1. My brother killed himself several years back. At the time, he and I were estranged due to some bad decisions that he made. I felt that it was in my best interest to put some distance between us. About a month before he passed, he tried to call me. I sent the call to voicemail and never returned the call. If I could change anything, I would go back and answer the call.
  4. Are you passing down your knowledge to the next generation? If so, in what way?
    1. Sort of. I’m currently running a pagan study group and several of the members have children. So, in a way, I’m helping parents to form a religion background that they may pass on to their children. This blog is another way I’m passing on my traditions to the next generation. I also plan to hold workshops at local pagan shops geared specifically to LGBT youth.
  1. Ancestor connections? Who’s coming through?
    1. Tons! Along with the other four traditional elements, I add light, blood, and shadow. Blood represents my connection to those who come before me. So, ancestors play a huge role in my practice and get evoked before any other practice. The ancestor that comes through the most is my grandpa Joe. He has a very calming and protective effect on me.
  1. Do you prefer to do magick with others or by yourself?
    1. By myself. I tend to practice “on-the-fly” or instant magick. Basically, I have a need, I throw together some magick based on what I have on hand and where I am led. This approach doesn’t typically work with a group. With that being said, I would like to begin practicing magick and ritual with my study group.
  2. Do you feel there is only one type of meditation?
    1. Not at all. I’m not one for the silent type of meditation where you sit and count your breaths. I’m too restless for that. Instead, I prefer guided meditations or journey work. I also have experienced the same benefits of meditation while painting and dancing. I’ve even experience a light meditation when editing documents at work or playing board games with friends. My biggest tip for those new to meditation is to do what works for you.
  3. What is your favorite flower? Why?
    1. Lavender flowers – I love the way they smell and I use a lot of lavender in my ritual work. It’s just always been a staple in my home and my garden. I plant it next to the doors to attract love and to offer protection.
  4. Have you tried a new form of divination this year?
    1. Actually, yes. I have a few entries posted in the past few weeks about my new shiny crystal ball. There will also be more to come, as I have been working with her a lot. I’ve also spent a little bit of time with tea leaf readings. Maybe I’ll post a little on that too.
  5. What is your favorite what to connect to the elements?
    1. Ritually, I like to focus on the parts of the elements that are parts of myself. My breath in air, my bones are earth, my body heat is fire, and my blood is water. Mundanely, I like to connect to the elements by being out in nature, particularly in my garden. I also like to find new ways to view the elements. For example, the internet is an amazing symbol of the communicative powers of air. Electricity is pretty much the same as fire. The paint I use in art is both water and earth. Pretty much everything we do can have elemental associations if you look close enough.
  1. Tea or coffee?
    1. Seriously though, I love coffee. Specifically, iced coffee with a little coconut milk.
  2. Do you come a witchy family? Do you feel that bloodline is important or does it matter?
    1. I would say that I come from a magickal family. I don’t feel that blood is important though. Family is much more than that to me. I feel like once you find your tribe, any magickal associations or gifts that might be passed down genetically can be passed own energetically as well. Simply put, witches are made, not born.
  3. List 3 of your favorite YouTube channels.
    1. Joanna DeVoe, Kelly-Ann Maddox, and Molly Roberts. You can find links to their channels in the Resources section in the sidebar.
  4. What is your favorite witchy book?
    1. Fiction would be The Mayfair Witches series by Anne Rice. I love this book series and even made it a point to visit the house it was based around during my trip to New Orleans. Nonfiction would have to be the Temple of Witchcraft series by Christopher Penczak. It’s a great self-study course in the art and science of Witchcraft.
  1. An herb you haven’t worked with yet.
    1. It’s poisonous, but in small doses, it can help one to astral project. You can buy products with a smidge of belladonna in them, I’m just a big wuss.
  2. What are your goals for the next year?
    1. To find out what I want to be when I grow up. I just finished my MBA and have a decent job, but, like a spoiled kid, I. Want. More. I’d like to work in a field where I get to help people. I’d like to travel the world again, as well. I’d also like to see my study group grow. I want to bring in more people including newbies and advanced practitioners. I’d like to offer virtual and onsite classes and workshops, create YouTube videos, and grow my Tarot client base. I’d like Caffeine-Fueled Magick to be more than a blog, I want it to become a full offering of magickal education and self-development support.

Conversations with Clara – Part 2

My room is lit by a single black candle on the altar. Dizzied by mugwort tea, I lay on the floor. Clara glowed eerily in the candlelight.

I feel like I almost had a breakthrough tonight” I began. “For a moment, I saw your edges began to blur, Clara! I started to get some insight! I just think I got too excited.”

No, you didn’t see anything. You’re just high off mugwort” Clara replied. It’s as if I could actually see her blow a smoke ring from her Virginia Slim.

“No, I’m pretty sure I saw the glow of a fire. That’s when I lost focus” I countered, still laying on the floor.

“Oh, you saw the glow of the fire!? You mean…like this fucking candle next to me” Clara spat.

“What do you know? You’re just a hunk of fucking quartz” I fired back as I sat up.

“First of all, I’m a polished hunk of quartz, little boy. Secondly, I’m not going to take you seriously since you are the one arguing with a ‘fucking hunk of quartz.’”

Oh.

Conversations with Clara – Part 1

Meet Clara,

Clara

I mentioned in a few posts ago that I recently bought a crystal ball. I saw her (yes, her) at a shop and fell instantly in love with her. The other balls were clear and pristine, but this crystal was full of inclusions and clouds that gave her personality. She wasn’t as big as I wanted, but she still felt right. From first glance, I knew she was full of wisdom. When I held her, I knew she was capable of giving me profound insight, but that she would demand respect and would make me work hard to learn how to scry. I loved this.

The night after I bought her, I held her in my hand and knew I had to give her a name. I haven’t named many of my ritual tools, but this crystal had personality. I wanted something witchy, so I held her and named her Medea. Instantly, I knew this was wrong. So, I tried Circe. Still, not quite right. I felt that she needed a classic name. So, I did a quick Google search and  went down the list.

“Electra?”

“Nope,” she said.

Goldie?

Try again.”

Mildred?

“Are you even trying?”

Oh! Florence?

“Goodnight.”

I was about to give up, when she rolled right out of my hand. She hit the keyboard hard and when I looked up, the name Clara was front and center on the screen. Apparently she named herself.

After looking up the name, I realized the beautiful sentiment of this name. Clara means clear and bright. Even though my crystal ball is cloudy and full of inclusions, she holds the power to give me clear insight.

I anointed Clara with some lavender oil and placed her back on my altar. I can’t wait to see the magick we make together.

The Magick of Tattoos

One of the members of my study group got her first tattoo today. She decided on a pentacle with a crescent moon at its center with a sky scene behind it. It is absolutely beautiful and served a reminder for the tattoos I have gotten.

For me, tattoos are an amazing way to express yourself and what you find meaningful. As a Witch, tattoos serve as powerful forms of magick. The intention of choosing an image, the pain of getting it done, and the permanence of the tattoo makes the process a powerful work of magick. I’ve gotten several magickal tattoos in my life and wanted to share what they mean to me and the magickal intent behind them.

 

My first tattoo had to be extremely witchy. I, naturally, wanted to get a pentagram, but I had to choose something a little more flashy. I finally found what I wanted, a pentacle surround by fire, on the cover of the boo Wiccan Warrior by Kerr Cuhulain. I also wanted to add some gay pride, so I placed a pink triangle around it. When I got the tattoo, it was just that, a tattoo. However, over time, I charged it to be a protection sigil and I often focus on it when I feel like I need a little extra protection.

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Years later, I got a Leo symbol tattooed on my forearm. It was terrible. Not long after, I had  experienced several hardships in my life that contributed to a major bout of depression,  self-harm, and substance abuse. After I got treatment and felt more stable, I got the Leo symbol covered up by a phoenix. It was magickally charged to remind me that I can overcome anything that tries to deter me.

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As part of my recovery from the breakdown mentioned above, I had to clear out my group of friends. Several of them were bad influences and, honestly, just bad people. From this experience, I realized that I have the propensity to be too trusting of people. This leads me to be taken advantage of and not really having people in my corner when I need them. So, I chose another magickal tattoo. This time, a beautiful swallow with the phrase “A true friend is a rare bird” written in Latin below it. Like *ahem* magick, all of these bad friends simply fell to the wayside. It’s still a struggle, but this tattoo helps me discern who belongs in my tribe. And, like magick, when I determine that someone is not worth my time, they pretty much disappear.

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I was once, (brace yourself) very whitsey-lightsey. Everything in my spiritual practice was about love and happiness. It was a façade. I was trying to hide the darker aspects of who I am. After some shadow work, I was able to fully embrace my inner monster. To commemorate this,  I got the alchemical symbol for sulfur tattooed on the nape of my neck. In alchemy, sulfur is a symbol of the Devil (my shadow self) and represents the soul. My tattoo is charged to be a mental focus on shadow work, as well as astral work.

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Finally, when I began working with Ganesh, I asked him to be my guide and to open the door to happiness for me. I got his image tattooed on my right wrist as a symbol of his guiding hand.

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I’m sure I’ll get several more tattoos in my life. I’d eventually like to get excerpts from my Book of Shadows tattooed on me. This way, my skin will be a record of my magickal journey.

My (Tiny) Problem with the Witches Pyramid

The Witches Pyramid is a tool used to describe the steps of spellwork. The pyramid equates the elements of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and (sometimes) Spirit, with the respective steps of To Know, To Will, To Dare, To be Silent, and again sometimes, To Go. At its most basic explanation, this simply means that to perform effective magick, a witch much know exactly what it is they want to manifest, to empower this intent with their will, and to dare to invest their emotions into their magick, and to hold silence to allow the magick to manifest. The adage “to go” is often equated to remind the witch to stay balanced in their four elements and to live in harmony with your magick, or speaks to the actual act of releasing energy to do its work.  If you want to learn more, a quick Google search will definitely yield a lot of results.

The pyramid is a great tool to teach and understand magick, but my issue lies in the widely accepted definition of “to hold silence.” Most witches interpret this to be a caution of speaking about your magick. Those in this camp say that telling others about their magick can open up seeds of doubt from non-magickal practitioners. Others say that this steps instead warns witches about dwelling on their magickal efforts in fear or negating their magick with their own skepticism. While I see the wisdom in these interpretations of holding silence, I disagree.

For me, to be silent is better interpreted to mean, “to hold space” or “to act in accord.” Since the element of Earth corresponds to this lesson on the pyramid, I think it is important to remember that the element of Earth embodies the physical world we live in. This is why I place these statements in place of “to hold silence,” rather than at “to go.” Allow me to explain.

Magick seldom manifests our desires out of thin air. Instead, magick simply tips the scales in our favor. For example, author Dorothy Morrison taught a workshop on money magick and told a story of her High Priest who was searching for a job. When she asked how the job search was going and he simply pointed to a green candle burning. Dorothy later explained that magick is nothing unless we are willing to follow through in the mundane world. We have to do the legwork after we cast our magick.

For example, if you are looking for a new love, we can cast the most powerful love spell ever. Aphrodite herself can appear to us and write down a list of everything we’re asking for in our next lover, but we don’t leave our house, how will we ever meet our soulmate? There are several ways we can mundanely hold space for love to enter our lives. First, we can clear our busy schedule and spend time out on the town. We can let our friends now we’re back in the dating pool. Hell, we can even create a Tinder profile.

In another example, a friend of mine once cast a spell for protection since she routinely returned from work late at night. After the spell was cast, she was mugged at gun point. It’s not that I think her spell didn’t work, she just had no mundane follow through. She walked alone in downtown Chicago late at night, wearing expensive jewelry, and stopped by an ATM. Instead of acting in accord, her actions blatantly undermined her magick.

Recently, I cast a spell to help me achieve balance in my busy life. I tend to have very little free time because I don’t have boundaries between work, school, and social time. The three often bleed into each other and since I can’t say no, my sleep schedule is often wrecked. Once I casted the spell, I started acting in accord. I set an alarm for the entire week and I force myself to get up at the same time every day. I set my work schedule and once I am off work, I stop checking email or answering my phone. If I have to stay late one night, I arrange with my coworkers to come in late the next morning to make up for my time. With school, I schedule time through the week to complete assignments and have spoken with my friends about my need to schedule time with them in advance. As a result, my magick doesn’t have to influence the outside environment; it simply has to influence my perspective and my commitment.

By acting in accord and holding space for my magick to manifest, I have experienced a greater success rate. Sure, some people might call it coincidence or the placebo effect, but I say magick is whatever works.

We All Float Down Here

Float in a Sensory Deprivation Tank & Enter Inner Space” the headline on the UltraCulture website said. I clicked on it and learned all about sensory deprivation, or float therapy as it’s now commonly referred to. Basically, float therapy involves laying in a tank of water that’s been saturated with large quantities of Epsom salt. This allows you to float effortlessly in the water, which has been warmed to body temperature. The sensation of being weightless has numerous benefits for the physical body, as well as reaching a meditative state. I’m not going to get into the science behind floating or the metaphysical benefits here, you can follow the link above and read what UltraCulture has to say. Instead, I’m going to recount my experience.

I arrived at the float spa near my home and was surprised to see 5 other people waiting for their appointment. After we had all signed in, they took us to a room and made us watch a video on floating. The video promised relief of muscle pain, stress, and spiritual bliss.

After the video, I was taken to my spa room. After I showered and put in my ear plugs, I got into the tank. It was the perfect temperature. I laid back and floated with no effort. I closed my eyes and waited for the spiritual bliss I was promised. It didn’t come.

My mind was racing with things I had to do today, stress from work, and I mentally made a list of things to include in this post. I forced myself to stop thinking and began counting my breaths. This calmed me down and I fell asleep.

This is where the magick happened. I had a dream where I was in a classroom furnished only with a whiteboard.  I wrote everything on the board that was currently stressing me out. When I wrote something down, it would transform into a positive affirmation. For example, I wrote “my job is overwhelming” and it became “I am talented and resourceful.” The entire dream centered around changing my perspective.

Then, I drifted into the side of the tank, woke up, and got salt water in my eye. After I left the tank and showered, I went into the tea room of the spa. I had a cup of tea and realized how relaxed I felt. Not just physically, but the short nap I had was the most restorative rest I have ever felt.

I was also happy. Not in the giddy cheerleader sense, just content and relaxed. In fact, I left during the lunch rush and was stuck in traffic for a while. I just cranked up my music, let people jump in front of me, and just enjoyed my ride home.

If there is a float spa in your area, I’d definitely recommend that you check it out. I know I’ll be going back.

 

A Pagan on St. Patrick’s Day

This is going to sound terrible, but it’s honest. I love drinking. I saw that look– let me explain. It’s not necessarily the drinking that I love, but more so the experience of being out with my friends, sharing stories, laughing, and just having a good time. With that being said, I love any occasion where it is socially acceptable to go out and have a good time in bar. That now includes St. Patrick Day.

For many pagans, St. Patrick’s Day has extremely negative connotations. St. Patrick is revered for being an amazing missionary and driving the snakes out of Ireland. Snakes are, of course, a metaphor for the pagans of Ireland. Some say that the Irish pagans fled, others say that pagans were killed. For me, even if they were simply converted, beautiful traditions were lost as Christianity spread throughout Europe and that saddens me deeply.

When I was a baby Witch, I detested St. Patrick’s Day. I equated celebrating St. Patrick’s day to celebrating the Holocaust. I chose not to wear green, but to wear black as an outward symbol of my protest. I even draped a rubber snake over my shoulders. When someone asked, I recounted the evils that the Christian church had perpetrated over the years and explained how St. Patrick was revered for destroying a rich tradition of Paganism. It would have been cute, if it wasn’t for the fury I felt.

As I’ve gotten older and more laid back (yes, I am much more laid back now…despite what this blogs otherwise indicates). I traded in my black clothes for my normal business casual attire at work, although I still didn’t wear green. My rubber snake replaced with a simple snake lapel pin. If anyone would ask, I would simply say that it “wasn’t my thing.” I also would avoid the bars, but would light a candle on my altar in remembrance of the spiritual practices that were lost.

This year was a bit different. On Friday morning, I got dressed for work and put on the hideous mint green sweater that I bought on sale a few months ago. I made a fruit tray of all green fruits for our company potluck an even left the snake pin at home. When I got off work, I made my way to my favorite bar to have a few pints with my friends.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think revering a Saint who was dedicated to spreading his faith even if it meant wiping out the faith of others is perverse. However, as I looked around my office and the bar, none of these people were doing that. They were wearing green and silly hats and having fun with their friends.

I didn’t light a candle on my altar on Friday. Instead, I took a shot of Jameson and dedicated it to those who lost their way in ancient Ireland and reveled in the fact that not only have the snakes returned, but that we’re sitting in plain sight.