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I want to wake up every day and think about spirituality. I want my daily conversations to deal with it. I want to go to work and do something magickal. I want to write rituals before I go to sleep so that I’m prepared for the next day. Instead…I wake up to thoughts of how to deal with problems I have faced at my job in the oilfield. I go through my day having conversations about bottom hole pressure. I go to sleep after finishing my timesheet and expenses describing the frac job I was on. Do I want this? No. Then I should take my own advice, right? If it doesn’t make you happy, leave it behind you. Well that’s just tough shit, as we would say in the oil patch.

I am a father to four children and those four little munchkins have to go to college soon. My wife would like to be able to wear at least a couple pieces of jewelry. I would like to be able to buy a new tire if I get a flat. It all boils down to that all-mighty dollar that seems to be completely absent within the metaphysical community. I refuse to let my family go without the things that they need, and I would like to be able to get away from the foods that will cause me cancer in 20 years. I am not willing to make these sacrifices for myself and my family so that I may go to work in the magickal world.

So I ask you, the reader, the question that has plagued me for going on 10 years now. How do you make a decent living in a magickal way? Is there anyone in the magickal community who makes a living compared to me, a common oilfield engineer? I’ve read that Jason from the Wild Hunt has to crowd-fund his trips to conventions, and he’s probably the most famous person within the Pagan community. To me, this is absolutely crazy. If you wanted someone famous in the oilfield to speak at a convention, you would pay them a minimum of $20,000 for a speech. Jason, Penczak, Starhawk, and all of those other famous Pagans should be paid to come to an event rather than have to pay for their own travel.

So even the most famous people in our community still have to budget for trips/work? That’s nuts. The problem I see is that there is no way that our community can get any inflow from non-magickally inclined people. Yet we all have flow out of our community to airfare, gas, rent, food, and every other normal industry. So we steadily are losing money as a community. I’ll always have to pay for gas, clothes, food, etc. unless I live in some kind of commune (which is a fun idea once the kiddos are out of the house), but there’s no way to pay for it through the magickal community unless we could someone have some kind of a cash funnel from the other industries into our community. So I guess that the real question is what service or good can the people in our communities provide your everyday person without moving outside of the magickal. Either that or we need a really really big trust fund account.

I don’t know the answer but I do think that this is this big question that we as a community have to answer.

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Hello everyone!  I’ve been doing a bit of research into the runes and decided that it might be useful for many people just beginning on this path to have a simple cheat sheet.  I took the material from Diana Paxson’s “Taking Up the Runes” and condensed it into keywords.  If you have questions, comments or additions, please put them in the comments and I’ll add or take away from the list as needed.  I hope it’s helpful!

 

Sound Norse Rune Norse Meaning
f fehu wealth (cattle), wealth causing problems, hoarding vs freely giving, productivity
u uruz Auroch, movement of energy, changing of energy into something, consuming of energy
th thurisaz thor, pure action, raw strength, applied power
a ansuz Communication, Odin, rune of the word–song, poetry and incantation, the mouth
r raidho riding, road, horses, movement, joy and labor within the movement process
c/k kenaz torch, burning, logic, knowledge, light
g gebo gift, exchange
w wunjo joy, luck, innocence from pain and woe
h hagalaz hail, fated change, stop moving and start simply being, go with the flow
n naudhiz need, fated troubles, forced learning and growing
i isa ice, temporary stability, difficulty, stagnancy, void space, antimatter
yuh jera year, summer, continuation, the wheel of the year, harvest
ei eihwaz yew tree, opposites (tree of eternal life and death), flexibility within opposites, world tree, transition point between this realm and the others
p perthro chance, games, perthro is rarely used as p and b were interchangeable, cup holding runes or game pieces
zh elhaz moose, protection, sword, holy edge, eelgrass
s sowilo sun, extremely similar to the sun in the tarot, destroys stagnancy, guides, the will, victory, movement, illumination
th tiwaz Tyr, victory, guidance, justice, spear, courage, civilized masculinity, courage, self-discipline
b berkano birch tree, spark of life/fire, birth, womb, feminine fire
eh ehwaz horse, freyr, partnership, cooperation, transcendence of the soul, unification of body and spirit
m mannaz man, rational mind, logic, hope, the human condition
l laguz lake, water in general, the sea, opposition to one’s passage and yet still a passage
ng ingwaz Ing, Yngvi, male counterpart to Berkano, genetic inheritance, possibly destiny, meditation, calming passage, soothing masculinity, completion, transition periods that are calm and soothing
d dagaz day, youth, illumination, the aha! moment, sunshine
o othala ancestral property, mystical heritage, karma, that which is rightly yours, mystical heritage (i.e. fae heritage, dwarven heritage, etc), family, clan, group

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Alright, so Samhain is not October 31st.  It’s not Halloween.  It’s not All Hallow’s Eve.  It’s not the day before November starts.  It IS a cross-quarter day meaning it is the day exactly between the Fall Equinox (September 22nd in 2012) and the Winter Solstice (December 21st in 2012).  That means that Samhain in 2012 will be on the night of November 5th, 2012 by my back of the envelope calculations.

Now, why is this important?  Well, why do you celebrate Samhain?  I don’t think it’s because it’s someone’s birthday (e.g. the fake reason for Christmas), it’s not remembering an event (e.g. fake Easter), and it’s definitely not in memory of a person (e.g. MLK day).  It’s because it’s supposed to be the day of the year that the veil is thinnest.  Why in the world would you celebrate that on the wrong day?  It’s not going to be the same date every year for the same reason the solstices aren’t the same date every year.  Sigh.

Now, the only other day that I could consider being a good day to celebrate it is on the dark moon nearest the cross-quarter date because the dark moon helps to get through the veil to the other side, so it’s probably a pretty thin line as well.

 

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Questions About Magick


“I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.”   ~Ludwig Wittgenstein

Well hello again!  It’s been quite some time since I’ve been back to these old stomping grounds, but it seems that I can’t ever quite get away.  I guess that’s a good thing though.  So today I’m not here to answer questions or give you advice from Ye Olde Booke O Answers.  I’m just here to ask a few uncomfortable questions that have been bothering me.  This isn’t me doubting myself or needing reassurance.  It’s more of a set of questions for you to answer for yourself to see if you’re on the right path.

Why do you do magick?

Are you doing magick because it’s cool?  Are you doing magick because you’re searching for truth?  Are you just dabbling enough to cast a spell to help you get something you want?  I guess that there are more reasons than I could list, but before you leave the computer today, ask yourself that simple question and be dumbfounded by the answer (if you can get it) because it’s something that I asked myself for years before I figured it out myself (thanks Jen for helping with that!)

How has magick helped your life?

It hasn’t helped mine.  I didn’t strike it rich.  I didn’t get the girl because of it.  I certainly didn’t get the job that I wanted because of a spell I did.  I can’t/won’t help the sick and dying unless the issue isn’t right to begin with.  On the other hand, I end up staying up until 4 am when I have work at 6 am to deal with those things that go bump in the night (they’re really good at deciding to hang out at rather inconvenient times).  I’ve been sick to my stomach in fear and worry about my wife when I have to work nights on a regular basis.  How has magick helped my life?  It hasn’t.  And it more than likely won’t.  So tell me:  how has magick helped yours?

Do you enjoy magick?

That’d be a negative Ghost Rider.  Do you copy Ghost Rider?  That’s a negative on the enjoyment of magick.  I started out trying to get physical power through a medium that perfectly fitted me.  I wanted to control my dreams.  I wanted to understand the meaning of life.  I wanted to get what I wanted in life.  Has that happened?  Yes and no.  I have a good life and it’s perfect for where I should be in life.  I’m learning the lessons I’m meant to learn.  On the other hand, money doesn’t fall from the sky.  We have been so poor that I missed meals on a regular basis and when I had them it was corn tortillas and beans (with cheese when we were splurging).  I’ve had to work my ass off for everything that I’ve gotten and I’ve been so tired that I wanted to cry.  Did I do magick?  Yep.  Did it work?  That’s another negative Ghost Rider.  Why not?  Well because I had to learn the lessons before I could move on just like anybody else.  Well if magick isn’t helping me and I don’t enjoy it, then why do I do it?  Well that’s simple.  If I don’t do it, then I die a little on the inside.  And then I die a little more.  And then some more.  Eventually, I’d end up being the person that I work next to.  The one that lives vicariously through the Us Weekly articles about celebrities going to jail and having affairs.  I’d worry about things like whether my high school football team is on a winning streak or how the Cowboys are doing.  As it is, I worry about how to deal with choices that I’ve made and how to better prepare my family for whatever may come.  I worry about moving from this stage to the next in my life.  No, I do not enjoy magick but it gives my life meaning where I find very little in other people’s lives.  I am absolutely certain when I’m doing things right and when I’m doing things wrong.  I can feel it in my bones and smell it in the air.  So ask yourself whether you actually enjoy it.  And if you don’t, then why do you continue?

So after thinking about these questions, doubt yourself a little bit.  I know, I know–that’s not what you wanted to hear from my first post on here in over a year.  No one wants to doubt themselves and they definitely don’t want to hear it from someone who says that they don’t enjoy such a major part of their life.  What I’m saying is that you need to take those rose colored glasses off and put them in the dumpster.  Life’s hard and that’s good.  Magick doesn’t make it any better.  In fact it makes it harder.  I’ve posted about Paganism being the easy religion and it is these days.  On the other hand, magick’s not.  We’re here to learn, grow, and gain experiences.  Magick does make those easier, and it does it by forcing you to do those things often before you’re willing.  So toss the glasses, pull on your big boy underwear, and get ready to go kick some ass.

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There is a growing number of Pagans in the US and many of them want to incorporate this into their daily lives aka their source of income.  For some reason, almost no Pagan businesses are ever as profitable as their non-spiritual counterparts.  I’d like to go into a bit of depth on each of the types of businesses before coming to any major conclusions as to the why and how we can change this.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing business is a very common business for Pagans.  This represents all those that craft by hand as well as major manufacturing companies that create the commonly sold things such as bumper stickers.  The problem with this business is that nearly all of the things manufactured for Pagans are one-time-buys.  No one buys the same necklace twice or the same athame twice.  The only major items that people buy multiple times are candles, incense, herbs, soaps, oils, “spell kits”.  Yes, this is a very viable business, but the problem is that retailers are the ones that buy these products and they are having a hard time which in turn means that manufacturers are having a hard time as well.

Retail

This is the path that most end up going down and nearly everyone tries at some point.  Brick and mortar stores tend to have a lot of problems due to the lack of large concentrations of Pagans in any single area.  They also have far more expenses than online stores and therefore have to have higher prices.  They’ll never be able to compete with online drop-shippers or large chains on price simply because they cannot buy products in large enough quantities to get significant discounts.  The internet retail stores have trouble because most products are one time buys and there is A LOT of competition.  It also seems that the products do not differ enough to allow the consumer to be loyal to a single company because of their outstanding product lines.  This is one of the biggest and most profitable of the current Pagan businesses especially when coupled with a service regardless of the hardships that they have to deal with.

Information  

There are thousands of people trying to make money off of a Pagan blog, website, magazine, or newsletter.  A few make it, but most end up having to have another job.  There are very few people that make their living off of this, and the only real section of people in this industry that stand out are the authors of Pagan 101 books because they can profit off of the people who are not living off of the Pagan industries.  Though it sounds very pyramid scheme-ish, it’s the truth.  Booksellers like Barnes and Nobles sell very few books other than introductory books to Paganism, and these are the places that make authors the most money.

Education

There is only one currently utilized outlet for this business:  “magick schools”.  These are almost exclusively online businesses that offer the same type of information as a Pagan 101 book and again, they are profiting off of the new kids on the block.  They offer very little (from my very limited experience with them) other than an online teacher. This is not a bad idea but the truth is that there are many other paths that should at least be tested in this business.

Health Care

This revolves almost entirely on a combination of massage therapy, energetic healing (Reiki for example), acupuncture, and acupressure.  There are other styles of “New Age” healing that we’ll consider, but these are the main ones.  There is an extremely large number of people practicing these techniques both in the Pagan world and outside of it, and so the competition is rather stiff.  It is also a business that is not extremely expandable and so those that are not business minded tend to have a very difficult time because they have to be both good at their practice as well as running a business which for many people is a difficult thing to do.

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

There is a very large number of these ranging from tourist style entertainment (think Rennaisance Faire) to musical entertainment to general artisans.  The problem with these businesses is that they’re very limited to the number of people in their niche (Paganism) unless they can branch out into mainstream (Ren Faires).  There’s not much else to say other than they will have problems until the population of Pagans increases dramatically.

Accomodations, Food

There’s very few accommodations or food/drink locations that cater to specifically Pagans.  Yes, there are some but they are very few and far between and I have never actually been to one so I have very few things to note other than the fact that our sub-culture is far too spread out in most places for these places to be very profitable unless they can also reach the mainstream.

Professional Services

Professional services would be consultants, financial advisors, and the likes.  The problem with trying to start something like this that specializes in the Pagan business world would be that there are very few Pagan businesses that can afford them.  Its a business that we desperately need, but not something that we’ll likely find any time soon.

Conclusions

There are a lot of conclusions that we can draw from this analysis.  We can all see that an increase in Pagan population would without a doubt make Pagan businesses more profitable and the world is headed in that direction, but we are still a long way away from seeing a large increase in the profitability of brick and mortar stores and businesses. It seems as though more Pagan businesses need to adopt a larger service line in order to be profitable from the beginning.  Having a Pagan restaurant/bar that also sold massages in the back and had a “gift shop” (think cracker barrel) would probably have a better chance of profiting than a simple store because it would cause more impulse buying as well as combining the revenue from all of the possible options.  It would also create a much larger loyal customer base.  This would put more money into fewer hands allowing them to grow their business and in the future, make an impact in the non-Pagan community thus increasing the possible number of customers by increasing the number of Pagans.

Internet shops should push for more brand loyalty by increasing the number of unique items, increasing the number of consumable items, as well as increasing their ability to impact the Pagan community.

The key to everything involves the brick and mortar operations to increase impact on the non-Pagan community, making them more amiable to Pagans, and the internet operations to increase their impact on the Pagan community, making them more “Pagan only” whenever possible.  This would open up huge opportunities for everyone to profit from the increased spending into Pagan businesses.

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So I was thinking earlier about tools I’ve collected, been gifted, gifted, and used throughout my nearly 10 years of magick and I thought I’d let share one of them with you.  It was thought up and gifted to me by my aunt on a winter solstice around 5 years ago, and I used it for numerous years afterwards sparingly.  She gave me 4 glass bottles of water coming from the four elements which would lend the essence of water with a slant towards one of the other elements.  I’ll give you a more understandable explanation for each after I’ve written down my personal recipe for them.

Water of the Air

1 Glass Jar (needs to be glass) that is airtight.  Liquor bottles work perfectly.  Preferably it is dark tinted to reduce light.

1 Large feather such as an owl, vulture, or hawk

Collect rainwater from a single storm.  For those of us living in the desert, this may require a long wait or a trip to Seattle.  This also may mean that you need to put a bucket outside to catch enough water.  Once the water is in the jar, stir it with the feather.  Put whatever air energy you feel is needed into it.  I’m not really one for the rhyming spells or chants so throw that in there if you’re that kind of person as well.

This will be used to represent the airy parts of water:  the fluidity, hurricanes, cold emotions, and all things that go between the water and air such as seabirds, rain (yeah, I know…), and storms of all sorts.

Water of the Earth

1 Glass Jar–the same as the others

a handful of stones from a body of water or stones that represent water to you

The instructions are the same as the water of air except with the earth slant.

The important things to note when using this water is that it is of the earth and therefore represents things such as the body, water that is not in motion, creatures that travel between the earth and water (crabs for example), and emotional ties to objects.

Water of Fire

1 Glass Jar–the same as the others 

1 pot

1 match

The instructions for this one are a bit different.  First boil natural spring water (bottled water works).  Put this water into the jar.  Then light the match and feel the heat and fire flowing into the water.  Put the match out in the jar and pull the matchstick out.  There will be ashes in the water and that’s okay.

This is the combination of opposites.  It is a representation of the “hot” emotions such as passion, anger, and love.  It is also a representation of the idea of alchemy and the combination of opposing forces.  This is a tricky one to really explain with examples.

Water of Water

1 Glass jar

In this, the procedure is very simple.  You just need either water from a very large lake or water from the sea.  I’d suggest that you make sure they are as clean as possible (run them through a coffee filter or 10), but other than that just pour it into the jar and close the lid.

This is the most difficult one to explain the representation on in my opinion.  It has to do with all things purely of water.  Dreams, water bound creature, watery emotions if that makes any sense, and of course water itself.

All of these waters will work for the water aspect in a ritual, but they are specifically designed for certain types.  For example, I would use the Water of Fire in a ritual to bring about more passion in your life but it wouldn’t be a good one for bringing more wealth into your life.  On the other hand, if you wanted to a very water based ritual, you could use all of the waters as representatives of the 4 elements.

You have to be careful not to let them into the light very much because algae will start to grow if they’re exposed to much light and nobody wants to use water in a ritual that’s got weird green stuff in it.

Anyways, good luck and if you have any questions or thoughts, give us a few comments.

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Eliphas Levi' Baphomet

What is reality to you?  Is it a bearded man sitting on a golden throne in heaven?  A group of drunk and disorderly gods and goddesses sitting on top of a mountain?  Is it the media and science’s portrayal of reality where we sit in cubicles until we’re too old to see the computer screen clearly and then we’re put into nursing homes until we die?

My reality is none of the above and though I’m sure my regular readers know, I hold to no reality for very long.  It is constantly shifting to fit my current understanding of the world.

“Knowledge is changeable.  Truth is eternal.  It is disastrous to confuse them.”   –Madeleine L’Engle

This quote is of the utmost importance to all that practice magick because although our society teaches rigidity in belief, magick teaches us fluidity.  It is impossible to fly when you cannot bend your own reality to accept that it is possible.  For anyone who has ever practiced magick knows that the reality that we are taught is flawed and therefore cannot be the truth.  It is the magician’s quest to constantly search for that truth, to follow meandering roads to their ends and to always search for the one that leads to that golden door of enlightenment.

This post is not a simple post.  It isn’t about a simple topic such as athames or tarot cards or even the meaning of life.  This is about what lies beneath all of it.  The core answer of every question.  Truth.

“I’m going to paraphrase Thoreau here… rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me truth.”  Chris McCandless, Into the Wild

To the magician, everything is based on their current idea of truth.  If they believe that the truth allows them to fly, they will search for a way to do this.  They will always test, always make sure that something will work before they need this.  They gather tools and build their repertoires in this way, but in reality they are actually exploring the unknown and changing their reality to always get closer to the truth.

The end result is a culture of expanding minds, of modern day philosophers.  These expanding minds are the future of our society.  It is only so long before the rest of the world begins to see where these philosophers are headed.  Every day more and more government officials have ties to this culture from the small town officials to a Presidential hopeful, Gary Johnson.  The society that was dominated by science is slowly being influenced by the surrounding proof of flaws in our ideas of reality as well as the ever-encroaching mainstreaming of Pagan culture.  These modern day philosophers are not always authors or college graduates.  They are simply people who’s minds have been opened to the idea of other realities through trial and error.  We are the advisors, the councilors, the confidants of our society and we need to start acting like it.

The expansion of reality does not mean that we should live outside of the bounds of normal society.  We must still provide food for our families, must still keep clothes on our backs and should never become a burden for the ones we love.  We must somehow balance the knowledge that we have gained and the world that we have chosen with the world that we have been placed into.  Remember, we were placed in this time and society for a reason and it is our duty to fulfill our role.

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The Big Bang.  Quantum physics. Neutrinos.  The splitting of a proton.  Energy.  Massive Energy.  Fire.  Hurricanes.  Wind.  Waves.  A landslide.  Magick.

All of science has shown that magick doesn’t exist.  On the surface.  The science of the 1700′s, 1800′s, and 1900′s worked to understand the how’s and why’s of the world and to uncover the secret workings of what was considered “magick”.  They did an amazing job and the result is the world we live in.  Computers, cars, planes, and chemistry run our lives and give us the means to live our lives in comfort.  We discovered the atom (which actually is Latin for irreducible) and from there have manipulated them to nearly the maximum extent that they can be manipulated.

We discovered that an atom is not in fact irreducible.  There are two parts of an atom:  the nucleus and the electron cloud that surrounds it.  Imagine that an atom is the size of an orange.  The nucleus is smaller than one of the seeds.  The 1-160 electrons that make up the cloud are each the size of a speck of dust.  The rest is void space.  Okay, that’s kind of crazy but imaginable.  So an atom is 99% void space and 1% mass.

Now we get into the quantum physics part of it.  Through crazy testing that I’m not even going to begin to try to explain they’ve found that the nucleus’s parts (protons and neutrons) can be further broken apart into what are known as quarks.  Come to find out, they too make up only about 1% of the proton and neutron volume.  The rest is void space.  So within an atom, only 1% of 1% (that’d be .01% for the non math majors out there) is actual mass.  That is incredible.  So here’s an example of why that’s so incredible:  Think about an airplane.  It weighs hundreds of thousands of pounds and carries 150 people through the air, defying gravity.  Now think about it in terms of atoms.  For every square foot of metal, cut out all but a single piece of metal about 1/8th of an inch by 1/8th of an inch.  Oh yeah, and as thin as a hair.  That’s how much actual mass is there.  The rest is all just nothing.  It’s kind of mind blowing.

Now let’s look past that to what hasn’t been discovered and make an educated guess.  No one has ever broken apart a quark or atom (that I’ve ever heard of), but my guess is that there’s only about 1% of the quark that’s actually there and the rest is void space.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  Eventually you realize that there really isn’t anything out there.  Nothing takes up any space in actuality because there’s nothing really there.

Except energy.  There is motion and so there must be energy.  Even if an electron cloud is nearly all void space, it acts as an object.  It has force and it has volume.  Energy is the only thing that is real in the world.  Now my question to you is this:  how is the energy that is the world any different from the energy that is pulled through your body to create change in the world?  It isn’t.  It is all the same thing with different vibrational levels and different intention.

The next thing that needs to be thought about is the fact that our bodies are also made of atoms which means that truthfully we are made of nothing but energy.  And something else.   There has to be something else inside of us that allows us to be alive and different from one another.  This is the most logical and perfectly undeniable proof of the soul for lack of a better word.

So we are in essence, a soul that is somehow bound to energy.  This is pretty much exactly what the Eastern philosophies and religions have taught for thousands of years.  Now comes the true question of this blog:  what do we do with this information?

Well, as far as magick is concerned, this logic tells us that if we can control the energy of our body then why would we not be able to control the energy outside of this body?  Also, why would we not be able to transform the energy of a chair into the energy of an ice cube?  And furthermore, why is it that we don’t already know how to do this?

I don’t know.  Possibly it has to do with the fact that we are here for a reason and that reason doesn’t include having everything we want without any effort.  That’s about as far as I can get at 4 am.  I’d love to hear other people’s ideas on this.

The more important question to ask is this:  if we are all made up of energy, and the world is made up of energy, and our souls are simply tied to the energy that we inhabit, then what inhabits everything else?  I’d have to say that the idea of a Mother Earth or a God or the Universe or whatever other name you’d like to give it sure does sound pretty plausible when you put it into those terms.   If you take the first point and put it with this point, then one of the most obvious conclusions for me is this:  there is a reason we are here and there is some sort of design to all of this chaos that is our lives.

Okay, that’s as far as I’m going to get on this topic for now since I’m ridiculously exhausted from a long night of work and I’ve got to get ready to go back for a few more hours.  Let me know what you think.

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In the past, I’ve never really used a book of shadows.  It always seemed as though it were just another journal which could be useful as a self exploratory tool, never really caught my interest.  The further along the path laid before me I get, it keeps becoming more and more apparent that I need to keep one–not for myself, but for my children or any other “students” that come along.  I know that I have had to figure everything out myself from the very beginning, and though this has been a useful exercise in itself, it’s not something that I would wish on anyone else especially my children.  There will always be trials that I never had to go through, entities that I’ve never encountered, and paths I have not traveled, but I wish to have a reference for them so that they can have a place to begin with.

And that brings me to the purpose of this post:  to explain my thoughts on my now current BoS and the future of it.

The purpose of the BoS is not to be a journal.  It is to be a reference book that could never be sold in a store, but can be trusted completely as a reference.  Therefore, it must be clean, easily scanned through, thorough but not to the point of rambling.  All of the information must be completely understandable and not put into metaphysical/New Age confusion which is so prevalent in other references.

It must be a book not a computer file because computers die, flash drives get lost, and every other possibility that can cause things to get lost randomly on a computer.  It is currently in a journal with no lines so that drawings are easy to understand.  It currently is unorganized because organizing in a journal is a task of futility, but once the journal is filled, the information will be recopied into another that is far more organized.  It may even be typed up and printed.

The sections will include the following:  rituals, practices for increasing magickal power, entities and all information on them, special circumstances, information on associations, and a random information part.

Now, other people may have different ideas on what a book of shadows is supposed to be, but this is my view of it.

*Just as an FYI, the image is from Oberon Designs who make the most fantastic leather journal covers I’ve ever found.  Check them out because you won’t find a better journal cover.

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I have been practicing magick for a while now and though I’ve tried to temper my eagerness for results with the caution that experimentation requires, I’ve failed at times and have witnessed the dangers firsthand or realized just how close to the ledge I have been.  I feel that when my children are old enough to start experimenting–with magick that is–that they read or are told what happened or could have happened when I was not safe in my practices.  And so, I have decided that it is probably a very good topic to write about.

Tip 1:  Don’t do magick in your home.  I’ll start with my first words of warning:  be wary of what kind of magick you do in your own home.  Spirits/demons/ghosts/energies of all kinds/things that go bump in the night are all attracted to energy and magick is big-time energy.  Just because you cast a circle and close it and all of the other things that you’ve learned to do, it’s inevitable that your home will become well known as an energy source.  If at all possible, do your magick somewhere else whether that’s in a field, your backyard, a park, or even just your garage.

I learned this through two of my own residences becoming energetic feeding grounds.  As I’m sure that you know if you’ve read much of what I’ve written, I know the basic protections and fail-safes that circulate magickal circles.  I have kicked my fair share of not-so-nice things out of my apartment, but I promise, you don’t want to deal with the trouble every night when you really would rather be getting some sleep before work or a final or even just to watch a good movie with a particular someone.  The bad thing about it is that no matter how many spirits you banish from your home, every time you do it you’re releasing more energy and you’re only making it worse.  I don’t know a fix for this, and the only way that I eventually rid myself and my family of this trouble was to move.  That’s why I would suggest that you didn’t start the cycle.  If you must do magick in your home, remember to cleanse well afterwards so that the energy doesn’t build up.  It’s not hard to clean it up quickly before your home becomes an energetic hotspot, but it’s very difficult to clean it up once it’s known in darker circles.

2.  Leave the innocents out of it! The things that go bump in the night are attracted to those of us that can deal with them.  They’re attracted to the energy that we put out when we practice, when we worship, and when we simply move about.  On the other hand, they can affect people that they aren’t drawn to, so when you are doing magick even remotely close to other people, please don’t just make the spirits leave you.  The entities were drawn to you, and therefore they are your responsibility.  Don’t cause harm simply through neglect.

This one really hit me hard when I realized what had happened.  I was dealing with a rather difficult entity one night and it was causing a lot of pain to my wife, so I did the first thing that came to me–I pushed it away.  Well it went up…to my upstairs neighbor’s apartment.  I didn’t think too much of it for a while.  I figured that it would be back like most of them ended up doing, but it never really came back.  A few days to a few weeks later, the family that lived upstairs and to my knowledge had never really had any real problems split up.  The dad left and I never saw him again.  They had had a serious fight that we heard downstairs after never hearing anything from them in a year, not even their 2 year old crying.  This family had done nothing to draw the entity to them, had no way of knowing that it was an entity causing pain and turmoil, and had no way of dealing with it.  Don’t be the cause of someone else’s pain, even unintentionably.  Trust me, it really sucks.

3.  Don’t forget the basics.  The basics are there for a reason.  We all learn to cast a circle.  We all learn the basic protections.  We all learn the basic idea that yes there are things out there that can hurt us and yes we should make sure that they don’t come near us.  Remember these all the time.  Especially when you’re doing something new.

Not too long ago, my wife and I were working through a rather intense invocation ritual.  I did the unthinkable and didn’t cast a circle.  I made a circle in order to contain my wife in the event that something bad did happen, but I didn’t make a circle to insulate her from any unintended participants.  Yes, I know that this was a very very poor decision.  Luckily nothing bad happened (that I am aware of *knock on wood*), but it was very clear how close we came to an unintended invocation.  My wife left her body for a very short time, but that was only after feeling the multitudes of entities that were coming and pushing against her.  The intended spirit was invoked successfully, but her only communication was to basically tell me that I was an idiot.  Let me tell you that not only did I feel like a complete idiot in front of a very powerful spirit, but I ran the risk of injuring my wife or having her be possessed.  This is not something to play with.  Regardless of how invincible you feel, do not forget the basics.  They’re there for a reason.

Well that’s it for now.  If anyone has any other hard-earned tips, please post them for others.

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