People Keep Misusing “Curse”

It seems like people are forever misusing the “Curse” word. They say “Curse”, but what they are describing is not in fact a curse. It’s a word which gets throw around a lot, and it seems like one of the more common tropes in literature, to have a character who has been cursed and must struggle to free themselves from their bonds. Probably every witch will hear of someone (or be someone) who was asked, “Am I cursed?” “No, you are not”, is the most common answer. Because it takes a lot to put a curse on someone. And people tend to associtate their own mishaps, born of their own actions, as some huge run of bad luck put on them by someone else. Seems it is human nature to try and find a scape-goat. I’ve also seen people post spells in groups and call it a curse, when it is really a hex- and often barely even that. As well as people asking for advice on “cursing someone”, when again, what they are looking for is a hex.

There are different levels of magical effect involved with these names. I don’t know of anyone who is familiar with “baneful” works who would call any old baneful spell a “curse”. The go-to is usually a hex. I’ll give you my opinion of the ordering of these terms based on effort and energetic requirements. As well as intended function.

Firstly, there is the “Evil Eye”. Not because it is considered weak or anything- not by any means! But because it is so easy to use even the adverage Joe sometimes uses it without even knowing. You can put as much energy into it as you feel like. It is the focusing of emotion-pent energy fired at a target almost like fairy shot, for the purpose of afflicting their health, well-being, fortunes, or otherwise causing them difficulties in their life. The adverage person most often seems to direct it with emotions of jealousy, anger, or profoundly offended feelings. Admittedly I used to abuse this power in school, directing it towards people who were rude or abusive toward me. My goal was to make them dizzy, nauseous, or most often, to make them trip. It worked a little to well actually. Depending on the level of force behind it, the affliction can be simple (and rather petty), or very serious. If you’ve ever heard a story about someone pissing off an old woman, and she points at them, giving the evil eye whilst warning them their actions will come back to haunt them- that’s what I’m taking about. It doesn’t have to be so obvious though. You can smack someone with this as they pass you by and they may never know what hit them. Then later they may start asking people if they are “cursed”. Haha!

In the “middle level”, we have Hexes, Jinxes, and Crossings. These are basically all words for the same thing, just from different magical cultures. Some people use the term “jinx” as a sort of “lesser hex”. It depends on the culture around your practice, I think. Probably most witches just use “hex”. This is the real bread and butter of baneful work. This is the category the vast majority of things people are working and talking about falls under. When people say “curse” , the majority of the time they mean hex. They just don’t know enough to realize it, generally. Hexes involve a sort of ritual, rather than just active focus. Think making a poppet of someone to screw with, or laying some hotfoot powder for the target to walk across and be afflicted. (Linked to them before being sprinkled down, of course, so it doesn’t affect just anyone who walks over it.) Whereas the “Evil Eye” tends to be raw energy slung in the heat of the moment, a hex uses a methodical process of tools and techniques to really build up the energy and purpose of the spell before firing it off to do its work. Hexes are meant to be more short-term solutions, spanning from a one-off hit to maybe five years at most.

The “high level”, if you will, are Curses. Curses are designed specifically to afflict a person, place, or thing over a long span of time. In many cases a lifetime. It may even be set to affect multiple generations. It drags the target into a vicious cycle intended to cause destruction in their life (usually in the form of very self-destructive habits or serious long-term illness.) If they are already in a destructive cycle, it can be set to lock them into that cycle for the rest of their days. Curses have a ritual process, as hexes do. Curses take a lot of energy, effort, and forethought. No one just gets angry at someone, goes home, and puts a curse on them. This is the big gun- the “you fucked up big time spell. It is most often applied in cases which call for serious social justice. Like someone everybody knows is guilty; who may have confessed in private even, that the police just can’t seem to nab. When the practical justice system fails or can’t do anything about it, thats when a witch breaks out the tougher arsenal. The next most common reason for its use is probably the “you seriously hurt my children, now you’re going down!” You know, the Mama Bear reaction. Because of the effort involved, and the fact that people rarely give witches cause for that sort of working, actually being cursed is rather rare. If you really have been cursed- it’s probable someone really felt you deserved it. If it is a generational curse, it’s probable multiple generations of the family were seriously messed up people. It’s unfortunate though, if it gets passed along for too many generations and affects people who may not even know of their family’s past. At any rate, you don’t talk about cursing people for “pettier” things or disagreements. I would say that curses are actually rather impractical to do on a regular basis anyway.

Lastly, there are Death spells. But those are sort of a leauge of their own. Off the scale, if you will. Obviously, as the name implies, a death spell is geared toward snaring someone into impending demise. One doesn’t even attempt this sort of spell unless someone is so vile they really deserve to die. It can be quick, or involve long agony. Either way, they will end up in a grave if you did it right.

I generally don’t agree with morality policing when it comes to witchcraft. I believe there are genuinely times which call for these types of magic, even from a moral standpoint. Some of these get slung about more often than they probably should. But as far as I’m concerned, trying to deny that witches wouldn’t or shouldn’t use such magics is to deny a large part of our heritage and power. Better to emphasize individuals should not abuse their power and act accordingly for a situation, than try to tell them not to use their power at all. That is one of the reasons I wrote this peice. I feel the denial and avoidance of the subject is one reason so many people confuse the terms, what they are, and what they involve. Better to be learned about it. To have it and not need it, than need it and not have it, as the saying goes! Although this was still rather vauge in details, I hope it helps clear things up for someone.

Advertisements

Elemental Properties of Blood in Magic

I said in my previous post on blood magic I would discuss my opinions a bit on the Elemental and spiritual composition of blood.

It’s easy enough to study the physical properties of blood, but what about the magical properties? Would you say that blood corresponds to any one Element, planet, or spiritual disposition? I would say that blood lies in the realm of all the Elements. Although probably not all planets. As for its spiritual disposition- well it could change from person to person, as everyone’s spiritual composition is inherently unique.

Perhaps to study how Elements are associated with blood, we could take a look at the Greek humors. As you may know, our general idea of the Elements comes from Greek philosophy, filtered in part through the philosophy of medieval, renaissance magicians. So I feel the humors are probably a good place to begin.

“It may have origins in ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia, but it was the Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) who developed it into a medical theory. He believed certain human moods, emotions and behaviors were caused by an excess or lack of body fluids (called “humors”): blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm.”

Essentially, this theory holds that the human body is filled with four basic substances, called humors, which are in balance when a person is healthy. All diseases and disabilities supposedly resulted from an excess or deficit of one of these four humors. ” -Wikipedia

” The Four Humors are the metabolic agents of the Four Elements in the human body. The right balance and purity of them is essential to maintaining health. The Four Humors and the elements they serve are as follows:
Blood – Air
Phlegm – Water
Yellow Bile – Fire
Black Bile – Earth
All four of these humors, or vital fluids, are present in the bloodstream in varying quantities. ” – greekmedicine.net

Although from a modern medical standpoint we might find this rather questionable, I think it makes the beginnings of a discussion on how different parts of whole blood makes for a mix of Elements. In fact, every part of blood from the fluids and nutrients to its heavy metals and trace minerals all have Elemental associations. And all four Elements end up represented. In a way, it is a beautiful expression of how our entire bodies are made up of all Elements. Just as we might think of a pentagram in relation to the rest of our bodies, we can use it on a smaller scale with a drop of blood. All of the Elements are present, with spirit, forming a cosmic whole. The perfect conflation in a concentrated form.

As for the plantets- well, I think those heavy metals are a good place to start.

“Some heavy metals –such as cobalt, copper, iron,manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, strontium, and zinc –are essential to health in trace amounts.”

In fact, it seems most of the components of blood are ruled by three plantets. Although I won’t get into all of them as that was a rather convoluted pain, I will mention the metals in our blood which are primarily associated with each planet. Firstly is Jupiter. Jupiter is believed to rule the humors of the blood, and is connected with tin. There is also Mars with which we associate number of blood-related ideas, such as the “blood of war”. Mars of course is mainly connected with iron. Then, there’s Venus which is associated with copper and has some associations with creation and life, which we can also associate with blood. Now, I don’t know that we can distill blood into the realm on a single planet, and I’m sure one could make connections with most of the planets. But I do think these three make for a strong baseline.

I suppose this is a rather breif overview of the matter, and mostly constitutes my opinion based off of my research of the subject as well my experiment with blood. What is your opinion on the associations of blood.

Methodology of Blood Magic

I’ve posted before on the subject of blood magic. I basically gave a broad overview of the subject, with both some warnings and sugguestions. I also covered health safety tips, which I’m going to leave out of this post. I will simply say this: for your health you should always observe cleanliness and safety precautions when handling bodily fluids and instruments for containing or drawing them. I’ll also mention here that you really shouldn’t be consuming any noteable quatity of blood. If you’d like to read more specific tips on physical safety of handling blood, check out my previous post titled “Blood Magic”.

Blood is a powerful, concentrated energy source. It contains the raw power of your life force. Blood magic requires only a small amount to be effective- only a few drops at most, usually.

Previously I covered some general spell types which blood magic can be used for. That’s not to say those are the only types, of course. Just some of the most common, I’d say. This time I will endeavor to cover more of the “how-to” of blood magic. Firstly, why don’t we cover one off the most basic uses? “Blooding” tools. If you’re into runes, you’ll likely have encountered this idea already. It is believed the Norse blessed and empowered their runes, as well as made a direct connection to their runes, by covering the rune with some of their blood, sometimes mixed with red ochre. It was a sacrifice of sorts. In a similar way, you can “blood” other tools. It’s not hard really, it basically involves anointing the tool with a drop of your own blood. Say you want to anoint a wand. You might put a drop on either end or streak some along the wand. Where you choose to place the blood is a personal matter. If the object is one you can submerge, you might mix a few drops of blood in water and submerge the tool in it completely, then air dry it.

What you’ll want to keep in mind is, what energy are you concentrating into you blood? Just a general “my energy”? Or a more specific goal? I’ll make a movie reference here. I know this is cheesy and cliché, but bear with me. Have you ever seen the movie “Underworld”? It’s a bit ironic, perhaps, but we can take a lesson from the vampires. Remember when Selene wanted to awaken Victor? She focused a message into her blood by concentrating on her memories of recent events and what she wanted him to know, then fed it to the sleeping Victor. Her message was incomplete, it’s implied, because she is inexperienced at it and her emotions were getting in the way. But her general message got through and still served its purpose. When you go to use your blood, try focusing energy into it, the way you focus energy flows through your body or into objects. Consider the goal at hand and any emotions you want to involve. You might try directing your focus at the spot where you intend to draw blood from. Once you have your focus set and you are charging your blood with intent and concetrated energy, pricking for blood is like unleashing it, and the anointing with it is like an infusion, from you to your spell. It is a way to add the concentrated power from within you to the working at hand.

This method of focus and charge via contact is the main method of blood magic. Just as you can charge tools, you can add a drop of blood to mojo bags, jar spells or anoint candles, along with oils or herbs you might add. Let’s say you are doing a candle spell to help you get a promotion. You would anoint your candle with some sort of drawing oil, top to bottom to “draw to you”, and maybe roll it in or sprinkle it with herbs. You would of course do your usual empowerment of the candle to add energy and beef up your spell. Then just before you are ready to light it, and your focus and energy is set and flowing, you would put a drop of blood at the top. Maybe even drip it so it rolls down the side. Then light your candle and set it to work. If your spell involved removing something, you would anoint the candle with strokes that go upward to the top and/or away from you. In this case, you would want to drip the blood at the base and have it going the same direction as the anointing oil. However, you’ll want to take care not to connect yourself to what you are ridding of. If you are trying to remove a person, place, or thing from you, you obviously wouldn’t want to be leaving a lingering personal attatchment to them like that. If you want to rid of something internal like a bad habit or illness, the addition of blood could be visualized as removing the issue from yourself, to be burned away. Just proceed with caution. The problem with using blood is usually the risk of connections it created, which can sometimes leave an otherwise perfect spell “malfunctioning” or even backfiring. If you put thought and care into it, most likely it will be fine. Especially if it is a personal work for drawing things to you.

A word of caution though- be very wary of adding blood to love spells. Love spells tend to have a high risk of going horribly wrong anyway. But if it does go wrong and you end up with a crazy stalker, the blood connection will just make it that much worse. Like turning that stalker into a bloodhound, metaphorically speaking. It also makes things you draw to you harder to get rid of, for that very same reason. It’s like playing with fire. If you aren’t particularly careful, you could get badly burned. That goes for any spell that involves blood.

Another thing to do with blood is making seals or sigils. You can add it to ink or blood the overall sigil in a similar manner as blooding runes. I’m going to mention something many people find cringy or downright wrong, so be warned. Animal blood. There are some “traditional” uses involving animal blood. For example, dove’s blood ink or bats blood ink and oil. Many grimoires have ritual tools or talismans which involve animal blood or parts. Some people who raise animals will use their blood and parts for ritual purposes or otherwise sacrifice them when they are set to be slaughtered for food anyway. It’s a very personal matter, with a lot of reasons attatched. It’s also a very controversial one. But I suppose a proper discussion of blood magic would be incomplete withought mentioning this aspect of it.

Mind you, there are some things which you could try substituting with in the case of blood. Beets and dragon’s blood resin are a couple, as well as bloodroot. It depends on what you intend to do with it. But there are plenty of recipies on the internet which make substitutions for the use of animal blood. Beets are primarily a Saturnal, earthy plant, while dragon’s blood is more of a fiery Mars. Bloodroot is both a fiery and watery plant of Jupiter.

If you find working with actual blood (namely your own) to be repulsive, blood magic probably isn’t for you. You don’t want to be adding the inadvertent repulsion of that part of you to your spell. Unless it’s something you are repulsed by within yourself that you want to rid of. That could probably work in your favor. Just be careful you don’t accidentally afflict yourself with an illness by linking your blood to things you are internally repulsed by or struggling with.

On to another method of blood magic! Menstrual blood. Now, menstrual blood isn’t really good for all circumstances. In my opinion, it is best used for positive drawing spells, personal healing, and even some protection spells- especially for protecting your offspring. It comes from the same place your little spawns did, after all! I’ve also read of some Hoodoo spells which use menstrual blood in spells for “keeping your man”, in case you’re worried he’s cheating or going to run off. Keep in mind, if you use blood to keep him around it’s a sort of binding, and it could be harder to get rid of him if you get sick of him! Mostly, this works the same as the rest of the blood magic methods. Anointing, writting with it, etc. is generally the way to go. In the case of that Hoodoo spell… well, you’re suppose to add it to a food and feed it to him. Yes, I said feed it to him. Oh, don’t look at me like that! I didn’t come up with this, I’m just the messenger! Some things I wouldn’t use menstrual blood for- hexing and cursing generally. I just don’t think it’s got the right energy for those workings. Maybe if you’re trying to afflict their reproductive organs? But that’s a bit of a stretch, and I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to risk linking my organs to theirs in such a circumstance. My sugguestion for using menstrual blood is to consider the moon phase of when you collect it. Not everyone menstruates at the same point in the moon cycle. But I feel the moon phase can affect the energy involved in the blood. Now if you don’t wanna touch it directly because “that’s gross!”… I’m not sure how you manage as a female. Haha! But you might try using a Q-tip instead.

In my previous post I mentioned freezing blood to preserve it for later. In this case I think it is best used sort of like a powder. Just like you might use a powdered herb in a spell. But I wouldn’t recommend adding it to anything you intend to have sitting around your house for a long time. Because it will thaw after a while and it could begin stinking or even molding. But the blood will sort of seperate when it thaws back out, and even shaking it won’t fully reconstitute it so I just think using it while it’s still solid is probably the better option.

Lastly, I think I’ll go over another, less common use of blood. Divination with blood!

“Hematomancy/ divination using blood.” -Phrontistery
(Hemato is defined as “relating to the blood”;
Origin From Greek, haima, haimat- blood.)

“Dririmancy/ divination by observing dripping blood” -Phrontistery

“Dririmancy/driromancy /ˈdrɪərmænsi/: by dripping blood (alteration of drimimancy, influenced by Middle English drir, blood).” -Wikipedia

Using blood for divination is certainly not on most people’s radar. And it’s a highly personal methodology. When’s the last time you saw a book on divining with blood? Probably the first of never! Most books don’t even mention it. Clearly it takes some effort to work out personal meanings for what you are seeing. It would be based off things like the consistency of blood (thin or thick), the color of it, the speed it drips or dribbles, and most importantly, if it forms patterns. I’ll come up with an example here. Say you want to try and divine the best timing for a blood spell you’re planning. So you drip some blood onto a plate, and it happens to form a constellation. Well, when the moon moves into that zone of the sky, it will be in a certain house, astrologically. And lets say, while you are looking at this, you notice your blood is kind of thick, and you get a feeling that it is associated with a certain moon phase. (This is more likely if you’ve been doing this sort of thing for a while and noticed patterns in the way your blood flows or it’s density.) So you check out when the moon will next pass into that astrological house and see if it is on or near the corresponding moon phase. If your divination worked out, there should be a correspondence occuring in a practical and timely manner (i.e, soon enough to be relevant). So you’d work your spell and keep track of how it went, and if it seems like the prior divination gave you good advice or not.

Of course, this might well be over-complicating matters and is more based on my somewhat romanticized supposition. Sometimes, maybe you’ll accidentally cut yourself or make a mess during a working and it will form a pattern or it reminds you of something. And that will form the basis of your divination. It doesn’t have to be super complex or complicated. Most of my hematomancy so far has involved this very basic form (although I did see a constellation once 😉 ). It takes on a symbolic patterning much like looking at clouds or shapes on your ceiling. I suppose there are other ways of using it, such as gazing into it. Probably best to add blood to some water for gazing purposes. It will be a mix of hematomancy and hydromancy.

In closing, I think I’ll mention, you could probably get away with refering to blood magic as Hematomancy. In the same strained way that Necromancy has gone from divination via the dead to refering to just about any working involving the dead. I have seen people use the term Hematomancy in this way. But it seems most people prefer to just say “blood magic”.

Hopefully this was a sufficient explaination of methods of blood magic and has given you a better idea of how blood can be used in your magic! I might get into my theories of the spiritual composition and elements of blood, as well as how that relates to magic, in another post. For now, I hope you’ll contemplate how you feel about blood magic, and where you would consider using it, or not using it!

Why I Don’t Spell Magic With A “K”

It’s my personal preference. I could leave it at that, but that wouldn’t make for much of an article! It won’t be much of an article anyway, I suppose. Here’s the thing- if I’m talking about magic amongst practitioners, I don’t feel I should need to make it clear I’m not talking about stage magic. If I am among friends, on a witchy Facebook group or page, or writting on my blog which has “occult” at the header, I feel it should be obvious. There are a lot of different ways people spell magic. I’ve seen people write “magick”, “magik”, “majik”, and even some bizzare form I can’t quite recall the spelling of. It all comes down to preference. I had an elderly witch and acclaimed practitioner of many decades have a tizzy because I spell it without a “k”. Who friken cares!? If you are such a long standing practitioner, why in the world would I need to spell it out for you? Why are you accusing me of not knowing my craft because I don’t spell it with a “k”? Are you really that petty? Where did you get this idea that “magick” is the only true and proper spelling? Damnit, Crowley, look what a mess you made! But seriously, why does this sometimes spark such a fuss?

Words are magical, but they are no less magickal for not using a “k”. Of all the rediculous things to get mad about, this is a pretty absurd one. My capacity doesn’t bank on my spelling of magic any more than your’s does- than anyone’s does. Why can’t we debate more important or interesting things? If it makes you particularly uncomfortable, I have to wonder, why? Maybe some people are just super squeamish because they themselves associate “magic” as stage magic, and therefor ostracize the term. Maybe they think, “Oh no, we can’t have that! This person is making it look like it’s all the same thing!” Except in an enviornment where we actively discuss the occult, it’s quite clearly not a conflation. At least, it ought to be clear. In most cases, I think new comers are making fewer “stage magic” assumptions, and more “Harry Potter” ones. So in most cases, what the newbie thinks about it isn’t even that sort of concern. I would argue how we spell it in our own circles is a complete non-issue. Outside of magical circles- well I don’t even talk about it much. Power of silence, and all that. Maybe if I encounter another practitioner in an “outer circle” situation- well, I’ll still use the “magic” spelling. Simply because, the Adverage Joe wouldn’t understand anyway, and I’m to lazy to explain my practice to strangers. So let them think I practice stage magic! What difference does it really make in relation to my life? Most random people I might encounter on the internet, I’m not likely to see very ofter, or ever again. I’ll stick with my spelling of the word. People can throw as many fits as they want. Their tantrums say more about them than it does about me.

What Witches Don’t Understand About Mental Health

I’m not talking about all witches, despite the generalized title. Just certain individuals of the “magic everything to death” persuasion. Here’s the thing:

Magic doesn’t treat mental health. Mental health professionals, and active treatment, treats mental health. And neither method is certain to cure it.

Magic works if it has an avenue to work through. It doesn’t matter how many spells you do if you won’t seek practical treatment. Magic also requires focus, as well as the direction of energy. Most mental health “issues” can heavily affect your ability to maintain the focus required to perform effective magic- not to mention your energy levels and ability to maintain a steady energy flow. Performing magic can become a royal pain in the ass when you are stuggling with poor mental health.

Now, it’s important to acknowledge that there are a wide variety of mental health disorders. They come in all shapes and sizes; and the same disorder may not even present itself the same way in ever patient. There are a great many causes of mental health problems. Not all of the potential causes are even know in many cases. A person might have a chemical imbalance, a hormone imbalance, a vitamin or mineral defficiency, a seriously traumatic experience, serious physical trauma which caused a mental health problem- such as a brain injury. They might have a chronic illness or disease which has subsequently led to a mental health struggle, or have high stress levels. Maybe someone experienced a recent loss or they just have a genetic predisposition which has manifested in health problems. There is no “one size fits all” treatment, even if individuals share a diagnosis. So why do we see so many “one size fits all” sugguestions from random people?

For that matter, why is it that if you even mention your health situation, everyone suddenly turns into some kind of psudo-expert and begins throwing unsolicited advice at you? That happens everywhere, not just in the magical community. I’m going to go over some of those unsolicited sugguestions, and maybe make a few of my own.

First of all, the whole “You need to let go of the negativity” trope is not helpful. If just letting go was that easy and such a fix-all, probably no one would have mental health problems. You see, in many cases people with a mental health disorder have had their brain basically hardwired to focus on the stressors and unpleasant thoughts they are experiencing. It’s no simple task to “think positive”, or “reprogram” yourself. That’s why we go see therapists. They help us through all that. But talk therapy isn’t always enough. Especially in cases where a physical factor is enforcing the mental factors. Mind and body are wholly interlinked after all. That’s where medicine comes in. Oh no! Everybody have a freakout over the evil allopathic meds and Big Pharma!!

That’s my next point: people who are very much against “modern medicine”. “Traditional medicine all the way, baby! You shouldn’t be putting those nasty chemicals in your body! What you need is some St John’s Wort, Valerian, Omegas, B-Vitamins- are you getting enough fiber!?” If I had a dime for every time some random internet-surfer told me I should take St John’s Wort, I’d have some serious pocket change. Not all allopathic medicines are bad, and not all herbal medicines are effective for everyone. Witches and herbs practically go hand-in-hand, but that doesn’t mean we are only limited to our herbs on hand! It’s not particularly safe to be passing out health advice to people. Especially if you’re not a health professional. Firstly, it puts you in a position of liability if something goes wrong. Secondly, if you direct someone away from one kind of treatment and into another, and the other isn’t very effective; you could be putting someone at risk. You never know for sure if someone will respond well to the herbal treatments or not. Don’t play god with people’s health and lives!

Yes, I know selenite is a very healing crystal, as is amethyst, rose quartz, and peridot. But I’m not going to put a ton of faith in the handful of stones you want me to carry around in my pocket. I don’t believe magic is based just on the faith of it working. I practice magic, not mentalism. Yes these stones can give you a boost- if you can connect with the enegy in them. But I have a really hard time connecting to the energy in almost anything when I’m really at a low point. I’m sure a lot of people can say the same. So while they may work in tandem with other methods, the stones alone don’t do much for me. It’s not for lack of trying, as it were. And please stop giving the old “You’re trying to hard, just relax and feel the flow, man!” I’m not saying I’m trying really hard, I’m saying I’ve tried repeatedly and not had good results.

“I’ll pray for you! Sending light!” Okay, maybe I’m just a grump, or maybe I’m ungrateful or something. But I get a distinctly cynical feeling when I see these. It’s nice that you think telling people that is going to make them feel better, but what good is it if you don’t actually act on it? I’m willing to hedge my bets that most people never actually do it when they say it. They forget to pray for someone, or they send a quick, half-assed sentence to the gods for ya. And how many actually try and send you energy? On one hand, if they don’t know you, how can they? All a person can do is send it out into the universe with the intent that it goes to you and hope enough of it trickles down to help. But there is a lot of universal noise, if you know what I mean. Static of everyone’s energies being sent every which way and mingling. It’s hard to send energy long distance even if you know the target. That’s why long distance magic can be a pain. I just haven’t seen enough results from such bombardments of “positive” facebook messages to be convinced it does any good. It’s basically a placebo and more often someone’s attempt to feel good about themselves ’cause they “did a kind thing” reassuring you, than a genuine concern. It’s nice and all but it’s also rather numbing.

We don’t just need to realign our chakras, meditate, do some yoga, ground ourselves, or try aromatherapy. Flower essences aren’t likely to save our lives if we’re in an extreme situation. It’s probably not a curse, hex, angry spirit, or “bad energy” attacking me. I’m not going to sage myself until I have an alergy attack because you think I may have some astral parasites.

As a witch, I have well considered the possibilities. I have wondered if a turn of mental health was some kind of wayward spirit or hex by a random snob. But logic says differently, given my circumstances. I’m sure others would agree, it’s very irritating when people start coming at you like you must be in need of basic training. If I am asking for uplifting sugguestions as an addenum to my treatments, I’m not looking for a how-to on cleansing myself! There are also people who will go off on a whole ritual schpeal like, “Bathe in rosemary, then dress in a pure white robe, light a white candle under the full moon, and pray to the Goddess to take away all your burdens and pains and fill you with love and healing light!” I’ve seen this happen even when a person wasn’t seeking help or advice, they just happened to mention they were struggling. On one hand, they are just trying to be nice and helpful. On the other hand they often appear be clueless to the fact that you may not share their beliefs or even be a religious person. Sometimes the things people sugguest leaves me thinking, “And how has that worked for you?” I honestly don’t think a lot of people can even fathom where we (people with mental heath struggles) are coming from, and have never attempted their own sugguestions for anything serious.

There is a significant portion of the magical community who has heath struggles, and were probably drawn to magic by the sense of control it gives them over their lives. There also seems to be a large proportion of those clueless individuals itching to dish out spells, chants, and memes. I don’t know about you, but I find those sappy memes get tiresome very quickly.

Here’s the thing, my darling witches. You should consider how someone else is going to feel before spouting off your ideas. Probably they won’t feel terribly pleased or grateful if you start prattling off random “you should trys”. If it is unsolicited, consider why you feel giving that advice is warranted. Consider that what you are about to say, is probably something the person has heard a thousand times already. Consider if you even want to be getting wrapped up in what that person has going on. Don’t go tossing out medical advice. Even if you are a doctor, you’re not their doctor, and you are not in a hospital or clinical setting. If you’re going to insist on medical advice, why not make it advice on where they can go to seek treatment, such as an online directory to mental heath facilities? Assuming, of course, you already asked if they are recieving treatment, and they indicated they aren’t. Don’t just assume someone has a mental health problem, or is willing to admit that in public- and subsiquently start throwing sugguestions their way or telling them “go get help.” Ultimately their health is their buisness and they have a right to privacy. So don’t go sticking your nose to far into their buisness. If you are concerned for their safely and believe they are self-harming or going to commit suicide, there are hotlines for that you can google. Not just for them to call but for you to call and ask for advice on what to do about it. I’m going to tell you right now, no one appreciates having a hotline number thrown at them. And most people in desperate mental situations aren’t up for calling a random stranger through an unfamiliar hotline set-up. And for goodness sake, have some discretion! This is someone’s personal health, and a sensitive subject! Even if they put out a request for help in a group- that group is probably a closed one where only a certain number of people can see. That person probably had to work up the courage to post and probably chose that group because they felt it was a safe enviornment. Don’t turn into that asshat who makes them feel there is no safe enviorment to reach out for help. Making people feel like there’s nowhere to turn can lead them into to some dangerous ideations or isolation. Remember: if you are going to take it upon yourself to get involved you are assuming a degree of responsibility in the situation. which means you should try to think and act in a responsible manner while dealing with it.

I suppose my main point in all of this is, try not to get so caught up in the magical side of matters that you forget the practical ones. Keep in mind that you’re not going to cure someone’s problems by throwing energy at it. And be sure you are considering the safety and well being of the person you are talking with. Don’t jump to conclusions. And don’t assume you know better about someone’s health treatment options than they or their health care providers do.

Phew, that was a long article! Kudos if you made it to the end! If you struggle with mental health, consider trying to start a dialouge about it with your groups and circles. Awareness and education can make a difference!

Mixing Pantheons- To Do, or Not To Do?

This seems to be a very charged subject. People tend to have very polarized views on weither it is appropriate, or even do-able to mix different pantheons. Of course, I can only offer my opinion on the matter.

I think it is perfectly do-able. You just really need to get to know your deities and work out the dynamic that is comfortable for the beings involved, yourself included. Is it appropriate to mix pantheons? In my opinion, it’s fine. For many cultures there is even a historical basis. I do think it is more beneficial to learn the historical basis between the cultures you mix. And most pertinant, it is important to interact with your deities and learn their energies and personalities. The more you learn about them as individuals, the more you are able to fit the puzzle together in it’s most functional way. Some deities may not want to be on the same altar but it is possible their energies, while opposite, are complimentary in relation to your practice. You are the pivotal point in your works and your practice. Sometimes you may be the only thing holding your mix together. But if it works for you guys, who is to say that it is wrong? If your gods are fine with it, who gives a rat’s ass what other people are saying?

I will say that I do think some cultures are just impractical to mix. That doesn’t mean someone can’t work with them both. It just means maybe working with them at the same time, in the same sitting, isn’t the most efficient way to do it. I personally am involved with (as in studying and including in my practice) multiple cultures, but I don’t work with most of them in the same sitting. I just don’t feel I can do that effectively at this time. I’m still fiddling with my dynamic and experimenting with the ways it works. And I will probably be making adjustments forever.

The only thing that really peeves me is when someone calls on anyone and anything with little or no study of that being, and little or no effort to engage with their energy and/or learn about them first. To me, that’s just plain rude. This isn’t dial-a-date! Why should any being randomly help you if you have never show interest in them as an individual, and you have never put any effort into getting to know them? If you’ve never even introduced yourself, why should they listen when you randomly try to call them up? I feel like sometimes people use the idea that “all deity stems from one source” as an excuse to call whomever, and they just expect an outcome. It’s rather entitled thinking in my opinion. Even if you believe all beings are one at their core, you still need to get acquainted with the certain aspect you are engaging. And I don’t mean just looking them up in some vauge correspondence chart. Those charts are awful and don’t even scratch the tip of the iceberg! Sometimes they even file a deity under an archetype or domain they don’t fit in, upon studying them. Deities are so deep, complex, and beautiful. There is so much to learn about them and from them. And to me, glazing over what they truely are, all they carry, and all they represent, is just fucked up. How can one ever behold the magnificence of such a being and be awash in their energy if said person never even gives them more than a passing glance?

I personally don’t suscribe to a “oneness” theory. That’s just not what my interactions have sugguested. To me, even if all gods were born of the same energy, that does not make them all one in the same as that energy. I was born of my mother, but I am not my mother. I share a bloodline and a bond with her, but I am a distinctly different entity. I feel deities work similarly. So to me, it is very odd to see people treating all gods as one. I just feel they deserve and have a right, to be treated and respected as individuals. Gods have feelings too; they aren’t just tools to be used. They aren’t just outlets to plug into when you want something. That’s my opinion, and I suppose that’s all I’ll say on that matter.

I guess feeling one can call on whomever “because oneness” probably makes it easier for a lot of people to mix pantheons. I suspect there is a bit less legwork involved, when one doesn’t feel there are those differences or barriers to overcome. But I feel it is still enriching to do the studying and experimenting before heavily mixing pantheons and different cultures. Or perhaps more effectively, as you build up to it and as you go along.

The endeavor itself has a beauty to it.

A Waking Dream

Years ago I had a dream which has lingered on my mind. It has left me with strange feelings of regret I am still working to let go of. Stunning, how much of an impact a dream can have on our minds.

As the dark, comforting haze of sleep began to lift, I drifted into a form. I was suddenly walking down a hallway. It was lit from dim fluorescents and a window at the end. Light reflected of the polished floors as my feet padded softly. I knew there was to be a meeting; I didn’t want to be late!

I walked into a small bright room and approached a light colored wood door with a big square window. I looked through and saw a long narrow room. There were tables and chairs up against the adjacent wall. A man sat in the center of the room all alone, waiting. He looked like a Native American man, with shoulder length hair. He was young and old all at once. Or perhaps alternating. It was difficult to tell. He wore modern clothes with an embroidered and bead-laden vest. White beads with yellow. There was a four-point ‘star’ on either side. I felt I was supposed to go meet him.

But I didn’t go in the room. For some reason I can’t recall, I turned away. I wanted to leave.

The room was crammed full with people now. They sat in chairs facing the center of the room. They were all older people wearing vests, colorfully embroidered and with the stars. I only recall looking at two of them as I left. One old man with chin length grey hair, and an old woman with long black braids. I felt I might be unwelcome among them. I fled back to the hall, but it was narrow now and only a few feet long. There were three doors crammed together at the end. The two on either side were normal sized doors and the one in the middle, offset to the left, was narrow like a closet door. It was yellow-hued with carvings like vines.

I knew the door on the right was ‘wrong’; it wouldn’t lead out. I opened the door in the middle. On the other side I saw a classroom with desks and a redheaded ‘typical’ teacher giving unseen kids a lesson on something. Was it colors, or math? Perhaps it was both. I closed the door. Then I opened the door on the left. I saw a living room there, dimly lit in blues and whites by barely noticed windows. I went inside. The room was cool, and somewhat ‘old fashioned’. Then the door was suddenly closed behind me and I became aware it was an apartment. Two women were in the kitchen. There were cats everywhere! I turned right and fled to a corner, upset with my failure. A grey striped cat came and crouched on the table beside me, and pressed its head against mine. It was kind and calming and held very still.

Then, the old women came out from the kitchen. I knew time had taken their minds. They milled about saying senseless things and doing pointless actions. One of them began watering a plant on the mantle. It was blackened and dead, and I knew it had been for a long time. But the woman didn’t seem to notice. I wanted to leave the building again, and suddenly noticed a door behind me. I opened it to find the same classroom, the redheaded teacher now leading the class in some nameless children’s song. I heard the voices of young children singing with her. I closed the door and resigned myself to be trapped. The dream faded away in a dim haze.

Why, when people feel inadequate or like they may not be accepted, does the instinct to flee arise? Why does every door seem like a failure sometimes, while some doors never get opened? Why do so many things slip away from us with time?

It is the human condition. We humans fear often without much cause. Does it make us brave to walk through the door? Does it make us cowards if we won’t go through for fear we cannot handle what is on the other side? We judge ourselves by extremes, and often to harshly.

Who was that man? Could he have been a spirit guide? Or was he only there to show me my current self? What could I have learned from that man? Is wondering futile? It may be my soul is telling me “Stop judging yourself! Stop assuming you will screw up!” What was I running from? Perhaps I am running from my growth, or searching for the impossible. It is easy to give up.

But those doors unopened are still waiting. Wondering where I went. A sad person is waiting, wondering why I left him there and didn’t keep my appointment. Was it a dream- or a nightmare?

Today I recognize my mistakes. Fleeing one’s path only leaves us stagnate and unsatisfied. I know that I need to pay attention to those doors that arise. I need to walk through them, even if I am uncertain. I need to stop fearing the people therein, and stop fearing myself. I do not want to be left hollow and dark; gone mad in old age from the things I gave up on in life.

Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery

It was another road trip, strewn out to long. We were on our way home in the dark. Road trips were the highlight of my life. Roving the Rocky Mountains at all times of year with my grandparents, my sister and I in tow. When they say Rocky Mountain High, they mean it! There’s nothing like the crisp mountain air and clear sunlight at altitude shimmering on fresh crystals of snow. We often went out just a bit to far- lured by the beauty of the mountains. We would still be in the mountains by dark at times. With fog patching the road in a haze of mystery, stars outlining eerie pine trees, and the moon occasionally peeking out from the high rocks and wispy storm clouds. I could never sleep in the car no matter how tired I was. My sister would pass out on a whim when no one was looking. But I couldn’t get enough of the darkness- especially in the mountains!

But not all mysteries hide in the hills. I don’t remember how old I was exactly. Old enough to remember details, young enough not to convince myself I was seeing things. We were almost home. Back to my grandparent’s house that is- which was more home than my parents house at the time. They lived in a country suburb then. Just into the plains with the cacti and across a bumpy set of railroad tracks that said you’re in cattle country. Indeed there were a number of ranches in the area. But the road to home passed through a long stretch of thicket wedged between a ranch and a creek. We only very rarely saw wildlife in this area, although we knew they were there. Any time we saw deer or a stray fox my grandma insisted we go back to look again. And my grandpa always obliged. They love animals. This was a common habit on road trips even close to home. My grandpa would always bet if we saw critters close to home, we would see a lot the whole day. And he was usually right! We hadn’t seen deer all day. But there were plenty of antelope and big horn sheep and hawks. We thought we were done for the day.

And there we were, on the road home in the dark, passing through the thicket. I think my sister was half asleep at the time- her head against the window. I was musing over the swirling fog patches on the road. Then out of the darkness suddenly a figure was right in front of us! Grandpa hit the brakes and the thing that had materialized was gone almost as quickly. Despite the wide rays of headlights it seemed to move only slightly rightward before disappearing. What was it?! I had been looking at the fog on the road ahead of us by peering between the front seats. And I felt like I had a front row seat to a scary movie! Big antlers! The thing was like a deer- at first sight. But it didn’t freeze in the light at all. It seemed to shift in the darkness, as if it stood up! It seemed larger than any deer and I swore I saw hands. It was as if it were some creepy masked being! There were no reflective eyes like I was used to with deer. Just dark spots.

I was petrified for a moment. It was gone and I heard my grandma say “Wow that was strange!” All I could manage to say was “Did you see that?” The reply was “Yea, that was weird!” I thought they had seen what I saw. Yet later they chalked it up to a random stag.

It seems now I’m the only one who even remembers the incident. The only thing I could think of to compare it to was big foot. Or maybe some weird alien. Both of which I commented to my grandpa the next day. He of course began to joke about aliens, and although I joked too as always, I became rather paranoid at the time. Still, I’d never heard of any alien that looked like that and I stuck with the big foot comparison.

I tried to ease my nerves by joking with my sister about the ‘big foot deer’. She didn’t know what I was talking about and acted like I was crazy. I guess she basically missed the whole event and just echoed what my grandparents said. It was just a big deer. I tried to convince myself of that. But it was just too freaky.

A couple years later we went to one of my grandpa’s buddy’s home for Independence Day fireworks. (Illegal ones of course. The kind you only got away with in the middle of nowhere even then.) This buddy happened to live right in the middle of this thicket near the creek. His family had made a walking path around their property. We were invited to go out and see the fireflies. But we were warned about deer. A deer had nearly attacked one of his daughters that same summer. I was scared. Not of the dark, or the deer specifically. I wondered- what if it’s out here!

I still wonder what I saw. Of all the ‘mythical’ beings I’ve read about I still can’t decide on a satisfactory answer. Was it some kind of shape shifter? A nature spirit? A ghost? Of course as time goes by and the incident is forgotten, it is immensely frustrating to be the only one who remembers. The only one who wonders. It is the only time anything like that happened. Even in my dreams, nothing like that happens. Maybe I was the only one meant to see it, and remember it. I still see its image in my mind- although it’s getting blurry lately. I don’t even know what time of the year was now.

But I always find myself thinking about it at this time of year. When summer is waning and the smell of autumn hangs in the air… I think about Deer Man. I’ve had people equate him to Cernunos and such. I don’t think he is. I think he’s probably just a nature spirit I encountered. Perhaps it was just chance. Perhaps it was a lesson. Either way, I feel this being had a hand in setting my feet on this path.

An Expiation and Cleansing

Sometimes we find ourselves having an inexplicable run of “bad luck”, or seem to have picked up some miasma somewhere. Often times, we just aren’t sure where it has come from, either. But every now and then we need a cleansing, and maybe even an expiation. First of all, what is an expiation?

“Expiation:
the act of making atonement; the means by which atonement is made.” -Merriam-Webster dictionary

And expiation is a process of “atonement” for wrongdoings, guilt, or even angering deities. An expiation is primarily supposed to be an act of appeasing an angry deity or clearing oneself of spiritual miasma, guilt, or fault. Let’s define “miasma” for good measure.

” In Greek mythology, a miasma is “a contagious power … that has an independent life of its own. Until purged by the sacrificial death of the wrongdoer, society would be chronically infected by catastrophe.” -Wikipedia

Miasma can come from a variety of things, from criminal or amoral acts, to the more common contact with “unclean” substances, and offending spirits or deities. You might think of it as a sort of spiritual pollution. Now, if people have taken on some miasma, you wouldn’t just go around ‘offing’ those people. Rituals could be performed to rid oneself of this miasma, by using a scape-goat and performing an expiation. This typically involved passing the miasma to a sacrificial animal by touching it, then when the animal was ritually killed, the miasma was purged.

Of course, we aren’t going to be sacrificing any animals.The process I’m going to go over will involve an expiation, a cleansing, and a protection. The expiation and cleansing should dislodge any ‘pollutants’ that have attatched to you or been sent to you, and the protection should keep things from being pulled into the vaccum left behind.

The Expiation

All this will require is an you and egg. The idea is to pass the miasma into the egg. Hold the egg and pass it over your body slowly head to feet, visualizing the pollutants being pulled out of you and into the egg. To finish, hold it against your skin on your heart and pull away slowly, pulling the last of it out. While you are doing all this you might chant something to help you focus.

“May the unpure in me be passed into this egg.
May what offences I have committed be taken off my head.
I will be cleansed by this expiation!”

Repeat the chant as many times as you feel the need. I sugguest a minumum of three times. When you finish, take the egg to a crossroad or ritualistically “bury” it in a dumpster, somewhere off of your property. You don’t want it hanging around. Walk away from it, not looking back. It is out of your life.

The Cleansing

Once you get home, it’s time for a cleansing bath. This doesn’t have to be a bath, though. It can be a shower. For a shower, make a pitcher of the cleansing solution, and wash yourself with it head to toe. The solution I will sugguest consists of:

1 Tablespoon Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Cloves
1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 Cup Vinegar, or the Whole Pitcher Full
(All measurements are aproximate- I just ‘eyeball’ it.)

I sugguest the whole pitcher of vinegar for a bath, since you are adding it to a bunch of water, and a cup or the whole pitcher for a shower. Steep the ingredients in a pitcher of water (or vinegar) like a strong tea, and either pour into a bath or wash yourself thoroughly with it in a shower. If you are doing a shower, try not to rinse off too much. I have found it is better to air dry, as it seems to leave some of the ‘vapors’ from the bath on you better than wiping the water off. After your bath or shower, I sugguest rinsing the tub with vinegar-water and casting a banishing pentacle over the drain to ensure the pollutants are gone from your home. In my experience, vinegar is really great at cutting through gunk- spiritual and physical! This same mix can be used as a floor wash or put in a spray bottle to spritz around and cleanse your home.

The Protection

Once you’re finished with your bath, it is time to set a protective barrier around you. You might use olive oil or some prepared protective oil such as the Fiery Wall of Protection oil I went over in my “Brindleroot’s Recipes” article. You would anoint yourself from feet to head, like you are pulling on a protective suit. Each foot, each knee, lower stomach, solar plexus, heart, throat, forehead, and wrists. Or if you are a Christian witch, you might consider anointing each foot and then crossing yourself.

Then, you might viaualize yourself in a protective pentacle. By this I mean, your body is like the star- head, arms, and legs forming the points. You can draw a pentacle in your mind, from point to point until your body is a glowing star. Then, visualize your star within a sphere. The pentacle is anchored to your body, encasing you in a glowing, protective barrier. Do this visualization until you feel yourself vibrating with energy and you get a feeling it is “set” and ready.

In conclusion, I would like to mention, this process is not just for people who feel they have been hexed or have offended some being. It can be used any time you feel like you are in a funk you just can’t shake, or you feel you have collected some spiritual debrie. Sometimes, you might “just feel like it”. It can be psycologically soothing too, in a way, by helping you let go of some of the crap you’ve been holding on to. You could easily skip the expiation and just do a cleansing bath and protection. And if you do think there is a specific deity that you have offended, you might add a line to the chant during the expiation in order to appease them. Alternatively, you could add a “proclimation” for when you deposit the egg at the crossroad. For example- when I flubbed a crossroad ritual for Hekate, I felt I was left with some inexplicable miasma. I decided to do an expiation, and when I disposed of the egg I left it with the statement,
“May the miasma of my home and I be gone.
Brimo, may you be saited and calmed.”

By home I was refering to our household. You can cleanse each person with their own egg and even use this for your house. You just have to alter the chant to suit the situation. When I cleansed my mother with an egg expiation, not only was her run of bad luck removed, but some bruises she had gotten at work healed overnight. Which was a real shock, since she is prone to anemia, bruises easily, and takes forever to heal. I am confident enough this process is effective to post it, and I hope this information will be helpful to others. If nothing else it might give you ideas for your own method!

Fate, or Free Will?

To be, or not to be… fated? I spent three hours laying awake contemplating fate this morning. Are we ruled by fate, or free will? I think it is bound to be both as with most things in philosophy.

I like to think of it like a massive spider web. Each thread is a path, and each place where threads meet is a decision. It’s up to you to decide what path to take, and in that there is free will. But each decision only has a certain number of choices, with a certain number of probable outcomes. And in that there is fate. Of course, where there is a fresh web, there is a spider. The spider is like death. The whole while we are running around the web, we are avoiding the spider. Eventually we’ll grow to old and slow to out-run it, or we will take a wrong turn and run right into its fangs. Death is probably the only fate we are all gauranteed. Our demise is inevitable- we just try to keep it at bay as long as possible. In that, the spider itself is fate. It weaves the web of life, and drives us ever onward in a bid for survival, till it consumes us. While we are trying to cheat the spider out of its meal; to cheat death, we cling to what control we have. Our free will to make decisions. We milk it for all it’s worth as best as we can. Our day to day fate can shift and churn like sand and sea, forever changing our futures in life. But we all have one future, in the end. Of course, we are not alone scurrying about in this silvery maze. Our lives intertwine with others’ as we all try to postpone our mutual conundrum. It makes our sticky situation more interesting, anyway.