Bless and Release

I’m sitting at the table sipping my cocktail as a quiet observer. The other six men at the table are absorbed in their cell phones, as they pick their favorite athletes. My friend is hosting the annual draft for his fantasy football league and asked me to come hang out. Despite the lack of conversation, I’m enjoying myself. It surprises me to see how eerily similar fantasy football is to Dungeons and Dragons. This realization makes me giggle to myself.

During a break from the draft, I joined my friend outside for a quick smoke.

“Oh, I’ll be late for board game night on Wednesday,” he said.

“I work until six, so that works out perfectly” I agreed.

“Yeah, I ran into Jon at work today, and he said he wanted to catch up. I’m going to have a few drinks with him before I come out” my friend continued.

This revelation caused time to stop for a minute. Allow me to interrupt this story to share some of the back story.

For almost a decade, I’ve had two constant friends in my life; Jon and Kelly.  I met each of them at work, but met them at different times. I met Jon through a mutual friend. He and I were both well read, had a penchant for craft beer, and were insanely sarcastic. We were instant friends.

I met Kelly a few years later. She and I shared the same tastes in music and literature and had a knack for closing down a bar. She and I were inseparable.

A few years ago, I had a stream of bad luck. The team I was on at work was dismantled, and I found myself without a job. I found a new one almost immediately. Then, a year later, that position was eliminated due to a merger. To compound this stress, I was dealing with the pressures of pursuing my Master’s degree, dealing with several severe illnesses in my family, and ended up just feeling lost.

While in a terrible bout of depression, I turned to my friends. Most of my friends were supportive. Jon and Kelly were not. Jon, who has trouble making friends on his own, tried relentlessly to push me out of my friend group. Kelly began to create needless drama and tried to pull me into the eye of her storm. While trying to deal with their issues while trying to keep balance in my own life, I began to see that their presence was unhealthy for me.

Things came to a head one night when Jon and Kelly accompanied me to the bar for a few cocktails. I left early, while they planned to close down the bar.

When I next talked to Kelly, several days later, she explained that she spent the night with Jon. Although she didn’t accuse Jon outright, she made it clear that she felt she was too drunk to have offered consent. I confronted Jon immediately, and in his version of the story, Kelly initiated everything.

I found myself in the middle of their turmoil and couldn’t fully align myself with either of them. In my experience with Jon, I had witnessed him being aggressive with women he was attracted to, but I never saw him cross the line with any of them. At the same time, I had witnessed Kelly use the excuse “I was too drunk” to distance herself from poor decisions, but have never experienced her fabricating something as heinous as her current accusations.

After several weeks of trying to navigate the tension between these two, I realized the beauty of this situation. This wasn’t my problem. This was a blatant sign from the Universe that I needed to release these two people from my life.

I sat down in front my altar and lit a single black candle. I asked the Goddess to bless my work. Sitting in meditation, I visualized my heart chakra spinning big and green. Attached to this chakra were two silver threads connecting me to Jon and Kelly. I sent good wishes to each of them. I prayed that they would be protected, find balance, and have the best life they could ask for. Then, carefully, I cut the cords and released them from my life. As I extinguished the candle, I felt a calm come over me. I never heard from Jon again. As for Kelly, she has sent me a few texts but then fizzled out. My magick had worked on the situation, but as I would find out at the bar during the fantasy draft, had changed me.

“Do you think it’s weird for me to hang out with Jon?” my friend asked. I paused before responding. Then I gave the most honest answer I could have offered.

“I don’t think about Jon at all” I started. “Jon isn’t a bad person; he’s just not a person I want in my life. If he’s reaching out to you, he probably needs a friend. So, I hope you two have a good time, and I will see you afterward.

My friend tilted his head in confusion and headed back inside. I was confused too. A year ago, I would have been pissed if any of my friends would have associated with Kelly or Jon. Now, it didn’t bother me at all. Once I released the negativity and chose not allow it impact my life, I released its hold over me, and that’s real magick.

 

Advertisements

Turn Me On

I stir my cocktail with my straw to mix the vodka and Red Bull a bit more than the bartender did. “Well the Feri creation story says that the Goddess was alone, but complete within Herself. She was floating through space when she noticed her reflection in the curve of the Universe. She fell instantly in love with Herself, made love to Herself, and Her orgasm created everything in the Universe[1]I said before taking a sip of my drink. My friend blinked hard.

“Isn’t that a little, narcissistic? I mean, She was turned on by Her reflection” he asked. I paused and shook my head,

“No, not at all. It wasn’t just Her beauty that she fell in love with. It was Her power. Her potential” I explained. As soon as the words left my lips, something clicked inside my head. It was like a mystery being revealed to me.

“Did I lose you?” my friend asked? He stared at me and slowly sipped his beer.

“Dude, I think I made a breakthrough” I blurted out excitedly.

“The Star Goddess was able to create everything we know because She loved Herself, trusted in Her potential, and gave Herself the permission to create reality. That’s the recipe for real, transformation magick!”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” he asked, this time lighting a cigarette. I sighed, but decided to continue.

“My magick works, but it doesn’t always feel organic. I think this is what I am missing. Before I work magick, I must honor myself and honor the power of potential that lives within every choice that I make, magickally or mundanely. I literally need to look at my actions, work under the guidance of my own divine authority, and be turned on by my own capabilities. That’s the path of true magick”

“Did you want another drink?” he asks, still not following. He got up before I could say anything, but that was fine with me. I leaned back in my chair and enjoyed the afterglow of my spiritual insight.

 

 

[1] This creation story was taken from The Spiral Dance by Starhawk.

No Frills Magick – Finding Lost Items

In my last post, I spoke about the practical, no-frills way I approach magick. This week presented me with the opportunity to “practice what I preach.” My friend Jamie has an amazing job that affords her the opportunity to work remotely. She has taken full advantage of this by spending the last several months travelling to the Czech Republic and South Africa. Jamie was home for three months, but left to continue her adventures on Sunday.  Sadly, Jamie posted that her luggage, pretty much everything she owns in the world, was lost during her flight to Prague. Nothing a little magick can’t handle.

I asked Jamie to describe something that was in her suitcase and she mentioned her travel altar, a small box carved with the image of Nuit on the front. She posted a picture of it in our study group when we were discussing altar creation. I studied the picture until I could visualize the box easily.

I sat at my altar, lit a single black candle, and asked the Goddess to guide me on my journey. I visualized the box in my hands. I felt the smoothness of the wood, the rough edges of the etching, and the power of her ritual items pulsating through the wood like a heartbeat. Once I knew I had the visualization “solid,” I looked around me and saw that I was standing in an airport in a small office just a few feet away from a row of luggage carousels.

I allowed the visualization of the airport to fade away, but kept my mental grip on the box firm. I then visualized my friend Jamie. I saw her standing before me. The relief of getting her belongings back washing over here. I handed her the box and allowed the vision of her and the box to fade from my mind.

I brought my awareness back to my room. I grounded the excess energy into a piece of hematite, thanked the Goddess for her help, and extinguished the candle.

Yesterday, Jamie posted that her suitcase was found and would be delivered to her. Sure, it’s extremely plausible that this would have happened without magickal intervention, but I’d like to think I helped clear the path for it to happen.

Magick is Seldom Spectacular Because It Seldom Needs to Be

This quote from Donald Tyson has been the tagline for my blog since I first started it several years ago. It perfectly summed up my view of magick. I repeated it this past week when talking to a friend about magick. My friend asked about my magickal technique and was surprised to see that it wasn’t as theatrical as he expected them to be.

To be fair, I’ve done my fair share of theatrical magick. Once, the coven I used to work with mixed sulfur with incense and pushed our fears into the mixture. When we “sacrificed our fears to the cauldron of the Goddess (a cauldron of hot charcoal)” the blast from the sulfur lit up the night. It was amazing! Another time, I littered my backyard hundreds of tea lights and bowls of dry ice for a full moon ritual. It was awful to clean up, but it created a magickal ritual space.

As I have gotten more comfortable with my practice, my reliance on the proverbial bells and whistles of magick has decreased. That doesn’t mean that I don’t use them, but most of my magick is based in simple breathing exercises and visualization.

This works for me specifically because the magick I use most often is for practical purposes. Since most of these things happen when I’m away from my altar, I have to rely on the most important magickal tool, my mind. When I need to avoid traffic, I imagine that everyone else on the road take an alternate path. When I’m having an issue with a coworker, I charge a packet of sugar with loving thoughts and add it to my coffee. When I need the weather to cooperate with my plans, I simply pray for it to change.

For more on how to use magick on the fly, you can check out Instant Magick by Christopher Penczak.

The Magick of Pendulums

20170507_202045-COLLAGE

I first encountered pendulums at Jupiter’s Door, a metaphysical shop in Norwalk, Ohio. My friend Liz and I walked in to the shop and saw the display of pendulums on the counter. We asked what they were and Judy, the owner of the shop, gave us a demonstration. I, of course, immediately purchased one.

Most pendulums available at occult bookstores are made of a piece of polished stone attached to a chain. However, I’ve seen some witches use a charm necklace with remarkable success. Pretty much any object that can dangle from a string can be used as a pendulum. To use a pendulum, you simply hold the chain in your dominant hand and observe the way the stone swings.

Here are some ways I have used my pendulum in my practice:

  1. Simple divination

To start, I hold the chain in my dominant hand and place my non-dominant hand underneath the stone. I ask the stone to show me “yes” and note the way the pendulum swings. I then ask the pendulum to stop and ask it to show me “no,” again noting how it swings. Then, I simply ask a yes or no question and record the answer.

 

  1. Spirit Communication

One method of spirit communication with the pendulum is to repeat the steps for simple divination, but ask the spirit to move the pendulum.

 

Another method is to create a spirit board with the alphabet listed on it. Then move the pendulum slowly over the board until it reacts. The reaction might be a circle around the letter or you may feel the pendulum be pulled to a certain letter. Record what it spells out and you’ll have the answer to your question.

 

  1. Finding lost objects

I quickly create a makeshift map of the area I am searching (usually my house). Then I slowly move the pendulum over the map and note any reaction from the stone. Usually, the area of the reaction is where the object is.

 

  1. Checking Chakra Energy

I meditate and open my chakras. Then, one my one, I move the pendulum to the area of a chakra and note how the stone moves. For me, if there is energy flowing through a chakra, the pendulum will spin in a circle. The faster the circle, the more energy that is flowing. If the circle is wonky (a technical term) that tells me that there is something blocking the flow of energy.

I’m sure there are more uses for pendulums, but these are the practices I tend to get most traction with. Simply put, pendulums are fun! So, how do you use pendulums?

Spring Reiving

I first learned about the concept of reiving, or the process of ritually cleaning, clearing, and preparing your magickal work space in the book Witchcraft: Theory and Practice by Ly de Angeles. What started as practice of clearing my ritual space before a hefty ritual, slowly evolved to involve my home and surrounding property.

The first step in the process is extremely mundane. In fact, it involves the stuff that normal spring cleaning entails. I wash the walls, clean the baseboards, vacuum the floor. You name it, I do it. I even move the fridge so I can clean behind it. This is also my annual closet clean out. I take out everything that I haven’t worn in a while and set it aside for donation.

At this point, I’m usually a sweaty, dusty mess. I lay out some clean clothes and take a shower with intent. I ritually purify myself with sea salt and lavender oil. I then move to the center of my home.

On the coffee table, I place a dish of incense. It’s made of equal part sage, clove, and copal. Also on the makeshift altar is a dish of burning charcoal, a dish of sea salt, a chalice of water, a glass of red wine, a single white candle, and my athame.

I light the candle and ground myself. I cast a circle with my athame around my altar. Once the circle is cast, I visualize it expanding around my entire house. Once this thought it solidified in my mind’s eye, I push the circle out to cover my entire property.

Next, I place the tip of the athame in the salt to bless it. After I add three pinches of salt to the chalice of water, I sprinkle the water around my house working clockwise. I then move outside to sprinkle salt around the perimeter of my house. Side note – I typically do this late at night to avoid my nosey neighbors. Once I move back in the house, I toss some incense on the coals and repeat the process of smudging my house and the outer perimeter of my property.

When I return to the altar, I place the censer back in its place. I ground, once again, before picking up the glass of wine and sitting on my couch. Once, I’ve finished the wine, I head to bed, letting the circle dissipate, forming a natural ring of protection around my home.

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.

IMG_20170415_002006

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.

IMG_20170415_001826

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.

IMG_20170415_001844

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.

IMG_20170415_001920

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.

IMG_20170415_001932

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.