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Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category


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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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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Throughout my nine years of studying and practicing magick, I’ve found that the most common tool recommended is salt, and I trusted this information because it was generally agreed upon by the magickal community.  I believed this until it was tested, and it failed.  I guess that’s the way all things work.

So I did some research and I did some testing, and most of all, I did some thinking.  Salt is normally used as the physical representation of the circle, it is used in cleansing solutions for tools, it’s used to protect against anything that goes bump in the night, but why is it used for all of these things?

Well, think about it.  Salt is a natural dessicating agent (it sucks up the water), and it’s one of the strongest dessicants you have available to you.  It’s why slugs die when they get salt on them, it’s why salt is used to preserve things, and it’s why salt kills all the bacteria around it.  It is sucking up the water.  On the other hand, it also sucks up oil or iron or pretty much anything else.  It is a natural oxidizer as well, which means that it makes things rust or corrode.

The final scientific reason for its use in magick is because of its unique ability to transmit electricity.  It is one of the strongest conductors known to man, and that is one of the main uses that the body has for various salts.

So, we put all of these together and what do we have?  A substance that transmits energy easily, absorbs all types of energy from the environment, and can break down most metals (brings it to a more natural state).  How does this affect the magick that we do?

Well, salt would be a great way to clean a new tool or cleanse someone after they’ve been covered in bad energy from a bad day at work or a bad experience, which is why salt baths are so recommended.  It would also be a great way to ground yourself because it pulls energy from its surroundings, even good energy.  It also would work very well as a battery of sorts because it pulls energy, but it is not all that difficult to pull the energy back out.  Just beware not to ever be negative around your salt battery because it will soak up that negative energy.

On the other hand, it is horrible for a physical representation of the witch’s circle due to it’s natural affinity for loose energy.  It will pull the energy from the circle and hold it.  Unless you make sure to draw all of the energy out of the salt before your release, you will lose energy to the salt and will gain almost nothing from using it.

It’s also a horrible way to protect your house or self from negative entities.  Unless the entities are simple parasites, they won’t be harmed in the least by the salt.  Whatever you use, whether it’s lilac or iron nails, it must be something that makes the area extremely uncomfortable for that particular entity which means that there’s no end-all be-all for entity protection, and from my experience, salt is probably the least effective measure you could try.  Think about it like this, vampires supposedly don’t like garlic, but werewolves have no problem eating a man covered in garlic.  So garlic might be effective against a vampire problem but wouldn’t have any effect on the werewolf.  It’s exactly the same thing when dealing with unknown entities.  If you wanted to keep parasites out, salt would be great, but if you wanted to keep one of the fey out, you’d need some iron.  Do some research and don’t assume that a salt circle will work.  If you’ve got specific information on something and don’t know what to do, put a comment down and I’ll try to help as best I can.

And finally, please don’t keep salt near your altar unless you are using it as a battery and have a way to open it and close it from influencing any of your other workings because it will absolutely make your workings less effective.

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I would like to pose a question to you.  Why does the word “break” mean to change something from a finished product into its pieces?  Is it because that’s the way that the language has evolved from previous languages?  That’s what historians and linguists believe.  But where did the original word come from?

Now this will take a little bit of thinking outside the box, so read carefully and don’t dismiss it until you’ve finished completely.  What if the idea of a single language was actually true.  What if the idea of Babel was actually based on truth?  Of course every culture will inevitably create its own functional language, but what if there was a single True language?  What if all of the world could speak and understand this language?  I ask this because there are hints in many many cultures that certain sounds bring forth different magickal effects.  Think about the runes.  They are not simply geometric designs to carve on something for magickal purposes.  They were a language, and a language that supposedly held a large portion of the magick of the Norse.  Each rune had its own sound as well as its own associations.  Combine this with the idea of Babel, and we have a very strange idea indeed.  As an example, let’s look at Berkano the rune.  It represents the B sound, as well as the birch tree and the female spark of life as well as being very related to all things associated with the third Sephiroth in the tree of life, Binah.  Now let’s look at words that start with B: birth, birch, book, baby, break, burn, box.

All of these things are at least slightly associated with the Berkano rune.  Obviously birch is.  Birth and baby are as well.  Burn is different but still associated because Berkano is actually a fire rune in some sense due to the fact that it is the initial fire of life.  Box and break have to do with Binah’s association with form and boundaries.
Strange as it seems, Berkano is a Norse rune and the associations are based on its role in the Norse culture, and yet it still seems to hold at least some truth in today’s English language.  I’m sure that there are situations where it doesn’t hold true, but then again, I never said that modern English is the ‘one true language’.  I simply think that it is strange that it still holds some truth.   It’s also very strange how in the word break, the b sound could represent the origins of something, much like a seed is the origin of life.  The r represents the road to something.  K represents the purifying torch of fire.  It seems strange how even after a millennium the purifying torch takes something back down the path to its original parts.

Yes, it is absolutely true that it is a bit of a stretch, but it is also very true that it’s far too close to pass off completely.  I also doubt very highly that the Norse runes are the true language.  Many languages throughout the world have magickal languages, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if you could do something very similar with all of them.  My question is, couldn’t someone take these languages and do something very similar with them all?  Then, couldn’t you combine this research and start looking at how they correspond with each other.  It seems like something that should have been done years ago, but I’ve never seen any kind of research even remotely similar.

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It’s 600 BC in a Native American village.  A child is born.  He grows into a young boy and is a bit different than the other children.  He sees things that aren’t there.  Spirits and animals are his friends more so than his own family.  He stays away from the village as much as possible and really never gets along with any of the other children.  His parents are worried, and they talk to the local medicine man.  The medicine man realizes that the boy is simply a natural medicine man.  The spirits have chosen him, and it is his destiny to become the next medicine man.  So he begins his training.

It’s 2010 in small town America.  A child is born.  He grows into a young boy and is a bit different than the other children.  He sees things that aren’t there.  His invisible friends are more his friends than his own family.  He plays in the woods as much as he can and rarely play with other children, regardless of how much his parents try to get him to.  His parents are worried.  There’s not much for them to do.  He grows into a teen and never really changes.  His parents finally take him to a psychiatrist and he is diagnosed with schizophrenia.  He is heavily medicated and lives the rest of his life in a haze.

It’s strange how similar these stories are, and how different they turn out.  The boy would have been considered a highly regarded and highly functional member of society 3000 years ago, but now he is forced to either live his life in a haze or to be completely non-functioning in society.  Yes, I could rant and rave about how wrong this is.  I could complain about the backward nature of a society that seeks to limit and expansion of the consciousness, but I will refrain and simply seek an answer as to how we can instead learn to help these children and adults.  So let’s take this scientifically so we don’t just sounds like a bunch of crazies who also need to be medicated.  I’m writing this as I would in a scientific journal, so I apologize for complicating things that are simple.

Purpose

The purpose of the post is to explore the methods for dealing with any “delusions” that would be handled by a shaman or other historical spiritual advisor in both children and adults.  It is not the purpose of this essay to provide solutions, simply possibilities.

Assumptions

Let’s make a simple assumption.  Schizophrenia is caused by some sort of expansion of consciousness to include beings of other planes of existence.  This could be the expansion into either the realm of spirits as well as the astral (dream) world.  There may be other expansions possible, but these are the primary that come to mind.  Thus, the two expansions must be treated differently.  One (astral) should be dealt with as though everything is symbolic, much like a dream, while the other (spiritual) should be dealt with literally.  In this essay I will be dealing with the spiritual side rather than the astral.

It is also necessary to assume that all hallucinatory experiences fall into these categories as well due to their regular use in historical shamanic and magickal workings in order to induce communication with the other planes of existence.  These hallucinatory experiences include drug use, dehydration, exhaustion, starvation, torture, chemical deficiencies within the body, and other easily dealt with delusions.

It is also necessary to assume that if these experiences are caused by an expansion of consciousness, that they are as real as the realm of consciousness that we all live in.  Though it may seem difficult to do, we must not consider these to be delusions in the commonly used sense.  Drugs, sweat lodges, and ritual torturing have been used for millenia to interact with these other realms for real world changes and knowledge.  If they had not been worthwhile experiences or had given false information, they would have been abandoned far before Christianity came into existence.

Effects of the Shamanic Calling

It is important to put into perspective the effects that an untreated person who’s consciousness has naturally expanded will endure.  The experiences can range from simply hearing voices to seeing faeries to talking with spirits and demons.  Sometimes they are friendly, sometimes they are terrifying.  Whispers in the dark, your deepest fears appearing before you while you’re showering.  These are the making of the most fear-inducing horror movie, and there are children world-wide being plagued by them.  Yet, these are the same effects that people have striven to achieve with years and years of effort.  They are not able to be ignored, but medication may not be the best way of coping.

Necessities of Treatment

In order to find ways of coping and controlling this expansion, it is necessary to ascertain the needs which must be fulfilled with any kind of treatment or counseling.

Acceptance

The most important part of any kind of treatment is the explanation that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the person, that there are others out there like them.  It is important to also establish that there are hundreds and thousands of people who work their entire lives to earn the gifts that they were born with.  It is absolutely necessary for the child or adult to understand that there is help out there, and they do not have to simply ignore or try to hide from this gift because that is exactly what it is, a gift from the universe.  It isolates them, scares them, and makes their life more difficult, but that is because they do not have any control of it and have no understanding of it.

Family and Loved Ones

For the person who has these difficult experiences, isolation is most likely their most difficult obstacle to overcome.  Therefore, it is imperative that those who are still in their life need to be counseled as well.  They must learn to accept the experiences as a real experience and not the delusions of a madman.  They must be counseled as much as the patient does because it is not a simple thing to remove the society-imposed idea that only their reality exists and all others are delusions.

Coping Skills

In the immediate, it is necessary to find the coping mechanisms which the patient has created for themselves.  These can range in many directions, and most of them will be effective for as long as the patient has faith in them.  They are very likely similar to OCD behaviors due to the complete fear that befalls them when they do not keep the behaviors, and at some later date they may need to be dealt with separately.

It is also necessary to create coping skills if there are not any.  This may entail lying to the patient in order to create faith in the skills because trust is absolutely necessary for most simplistic skills to work.  This must be considered on a case by case basis due to the need for trust in such a difficult counseling/treatment situation.

Building Skills

Coping mechanisms are not enough to deal with this lifelong issue.  It is necessary to teach the patient how to control their experiences with these other realms of existence.  The best way of doing this is by looking through the more occult teaching from history.  Much will be useless due to the majority being about how to open these same realms of consciousness.  Techniques such as meditation, calming exercises, and basic understanding of the spirit world are important.

It is also necessary to teach the patient to learn from their experiences in these other worlds.  Historically, guides are available to all travelers in other realms and it is only the patient who can interact with and gain help from these guides.  They will be the primary teachers of the patient, and it is simply the counselor’s job to help the patient understand the teachings.  Especially for children, the teachings are not always simple, and it is the extremely difficult job of the counselor of holding all of the knowledge needed for these journeys and feeding it to the patient as needed.  The counselor must become the shaman of old who is training his apprentice, even though the counselor may not have any experience of these other worlds.

Necessities for Success

It’s important to understand that on a basic level, many of the issues associated with this theory are difficult to implement due to societal issues.  It is very possible for a parent to implement if they are understanding and are qualified enough (not with pieces of paper or resumes, simply in how much they understand these other worlds).  They control their environment and how much other people know about their therapy sessions.  On the other hand, society has a very strong distrust of anything outside of normal psychiatric treatment, which we’ve seen through many of the struggles of Scientology.  It would be even more difficult to promote this type of treatment due to the differences in mentality of the patients as well as age issues.

The other primary issue would be that for the immediate, the patients would need be held in the same place they are being treated so that they do not have to feel alone anymore.  The other issue is that all people working their would have to treat the patients as apprentice medicine men rather than as patients.  There couldn’t be any drugs used to tranquilize patients as they do in mental wards when there are schizophrenic episodes because the episodes are necessary for their understanding of this other realm of consciousness.

It would also be important for the area to be conducive to exploring the spiritual realms.  Areas of natural beauty where the patients could be alone would be helpful.  Because many of the journeys necessary to understanding and controlling their gifts require solidarity, there would have to be ways for the children to spend large amounts of time away from the protective eyes of the adults and caretakers.  This would mean that it would have to be protected from intruders and dangerous animals.

All of these issues would require large amounts of understanding and informed employees as well as a large amount of land and funding.  At the same time, there would be little to no government assistance because of the lack of sanctions from government agencies.  This is not even considering the issues with current laws and licensing.  All of these point to a very limited possibility for this type of institution to exist.  I have no idea how something of this type could come together, but regardless, I believe that there is a need for it.

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/start sarcasm

My exaggerated view of a Barnes and Nobles metaphysical bookshelf

Hmmm… this is a pretty big Barnes and Nobles, maybe they’ve got something different than the one from my small town in South Texas. Oh yeah, there’s some Silver RavenWolf, that’s what I’ve been looking for. Sweet! I’ve been needing a sixth book on Magick 101! This one’s got a pretty picture of a flower on the cover and it’s all sparkly! Oh yeah, and there’s the section on Cunningham, definitely haven’t seen those before. I hear they’re good especially if you’ve never heard of primary sources. Oh and here’s the section on meditation. Probably much different from the meditation that’s taught in Asian philosophy and everywhere else. Oh yeah, and there’s the 270 page fairy book that has absolutely no information that can’t be found in a child picture book. Definitely my choice purchase. Oh wait, it costs $31.99? I’m sure it’s worth it. Oh yeah, here’s what I was looking for, the section on altars. So there’s Altars for Different Seasons, Basic Altars, How to Make Your Own Altar, and the ever popular Different Crap You Can Buy to Decor…I Mean Honor Stuff With Your Altar.

/end sarcasm

I wonder why the average Pagan creates an altar. I also wonder why there is such a market for books on the subject. I know that some people need ideas for their first altar, and most books are marketed to the novice in their practice, but the idea of an altar is fairly simple and doesn’t really require buying anything–even books on the subject. An altar’s three-fold purpose is to create a sacred space in a home that is normally filled with non-sacred emotions and actions, to honor spirits, and to use as a magickal tool for filling something with energy and power.

When taking the purpose into account, can you really tell me that you need to buy a bunch of overpriced stuff for an altar? And how can you make an altar out of a book? I know that my altar has a few things that a book would suggest, but I wouldn’t ever go buy the items just to build an altar (which the books seems to suggest that you do). I’ve got a chalice that I used long before I ever had an altar. Yes, I’ve got a few crystals that I had before I was Pagan and was using them for meditation practices. Yes, I’ve also got an incense burner that is actually a mortar filled with salt. I’ve got a few feathers…that I got as a gift my spiritual teacher.

So what is it that I’m trying to say? An altar is supposed to bring you closer to “God” as the Christians say. It’s supposed to open you up and allow you feel safe and calm. It’s no different from the sacred temples of the ancient Greeks or groves of the Druids. Do you really think that the priests of old went to their local Magick-Mart for a bunch of stuff made in China or Korea in sweatshops to put in their brand new temple? We don’t have to hand-make everything like they did, but please remember that the energy in these cheap foreign-made products is likely to be less that awesome. I would rather have an incomplete altar than one filled with items that will bring negative energy into my workings. Magick is a subtle art that is heavily influenced by the nuances of the practice rather than the basics, and so in this case, yes you should sweat the small stuff.

The other thing to think about is that an altar is not so much a tool like a rake or steak knife. It isn’t just something to use in order to get results. It becomes a living extension of yourself. That is one of the primary reasons that taking care of it is such an important task. It needs the love and attention that you give in order to put you into that place of spiritual openness.

How is it so necessary to own 7 books on a subject that is simple. Put pieces of yourself into the altar above all else. Put spiritual pieces that mean something to you next. Yes, it’d be nice to honor the elements and certain gods, but remember that the altar is your gateway to the infinite, and so it should be a part of you rather than some altar template that you found in a book.

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Ritual garments have been worn in almost all traditions from the beginning of time. We’ve read about this in books, we’ve seen this in movies, and we’ve pictured it when we think about magicians cloaked in blue velvet. The question that I pose is, “What purpose do these ‘magickal’ clothes have?” There are a variety of perspectives to look at the purpose in this common tradition, and from these perspectives we can gain an insight into how we can alter and improve upon our current magickal clothing.

Thinking about it from a psychological viewpoint, it is clear that these ritual garments are like any other ritual tool in that they bring about a shift in perception of the world. When you don your magickal cloak, you are the magician, the witch, the walker between the realms; you are not the accountant that shows up to work every day to do tedious mathematics at a job you hate, you are not the father or mother that has to worry about three children, you do not have bills to pay, you do not have any worries. As far as this perspective is concerned, the more ‘magickal’ the clothing’s appearance, the better it is at altering the mind state to that of a magickal nature. This shift in perspectives is key to any magickal working, and if for no other reason, is a valid reason for ritual garb.
Though the previous reasoning seems sufficient, let us delve a little deeper. Let us again take the ritual garments as yet another tool to the magician, and ask ourselves a few questions about tools in general. Does a tool you bought yesterday work the same as the tool that you’ve had for 20 years? Why is it different? How does it feel when you pick up your trusty athame or wand that you’ve worked with for years and years? It feels as though it is a part of you, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Think about energy as being similar to electricity. When you turn off your television, the screen goes black, but is all of the electricity gone from it? No, there is still residual electricity in the wires and capacitors. Once something holds energy, it is very difficult to completely rid it of residual energy, and in our case, that energy is our personal energy. That athame that you’ve had for 20 years is holding residual energy from that entire time, and it resonates with you because of that. It is not simply a tool that you use, you are a part of it, and it is a part of you because you have drawn energy from it. For this reason, it is greatly advantageous to use the same tools (including ritual clothes) in all relevant rituals rather than change for new ones on a regular basis. For this reason, a single set of clothes should be set aside for ritual use only, hence the need for ritual wear.

When looking from these perspectives, I see very little reason to use clothing other than as just another tool, as the purpose behind using ritual clothes is no different than that of any other tool. Well, let’s delve even deeper. What do clothes do? They warm the body. They protect the body. And they hide the body. In essence, they are the body’s defense against the world. So how does this translate into magickal operation? They are the shield, the light against the demons of the dark, and the protector of our souls. How do we make these flimsy cotton and velvet layers into an adequate armor against those that would do us harm? The same way we would protect our house or turn our athame into more than a pretty steak knife. Adorn them with runes and glyphs of protective nature, spend time and energy crafting complex (not simple candle magick) spells of protection, but most of all, put your desire, no, put your need for protection and shielding into them. Remember, they are not separate from yourself in energetic terms. They are more than simple cotton and velvet layers, they are another extension of yourself, of your soul, in a way that nothing else truly can.

Now let us think about yet another angle on this inadequately discussed topic. Clothing is not only for the individual, it is a society’s means of identifying individuals. All people wear different clothes; the clothes represent a person’s personality, their values, and their status. In the same instance, many people wear uniforms to display that they are a part of something else. Their personal identity is lost when they wear the uniform; they are simply a piece of the company or business that they work for. It is almost always in occupations that value company loyalty and hard work over individuality and creativity that a uniform is imposed on the employee. It is strange in my mind that there is no true representation of this in the magickal community. In magick, as in everyday life, the design and type of clothing is important mainly for the purpose of a creative outlet for the individual. The only true exception would be in the community example that simply does not exist currently.

The last piece of this puzzle is centered on the effect other magicians’ and witches’ clothing has on you. In order to understand this, we must take the previously described perspectives and thoughts and apply them to you, a fellow practitioner, and see what the results are. What happens when you see other people in cloaks, skyclad, or in that really cool ‘magickal’ tie-dyed t-shirt? When working in a group atmosphere, it is important, if not necessary for your clothing to have a positive effect on your group. Do your ritual garments help them to shift into an altered state? Is your cloak adding energy or taking away energy from the group? Is it helping to shield you so that the guardian of your group does not have to focus so heavily on protecting you? Does it help you to share your energy with the group, or does it hinder this? And most of all, do your ritual garments help to achieve the required group goal?

In order to answer these questions, it is necessary to take the individual garment choices and analyze their effect on the group. The most commonly referenced ritual garments are in fact none at all. Being skyclad is the only regularly referenced magickal uniform, but does this truly make sense or was it simply instated due to Gerald Gardner’s perverted desires? The reasoning given in most circles is so that there are no barriers between the members of the coven, but is it truly beneficial to throw away what appears to be a very helpful tool? Obviously, this does not matter to the individual. For solitary practitioners, there are no other coven members to reveal yourself to, as well as no other individuals to share energy with, so let us simply say that it is more advantageous to use some sort of ritual clothing when working alone because there’s no good reason not to. In a group atmosphere, the first problem with being skyclad is its effect on the mind; the initial fear and uncomfortable feelings that come from being nude around others tend to make it difficult to alter the mental state to that of the magician. While this can be overcome by exposure, it adds a barrier from the very beginning. The other problem is that when you work all rituals skyclad, it makes it difficult to shift to an altered state while wearing clothing. We should be working to remove the barriers between our everyday lives and our magickal lives, and this provides yet another one. Being skyclad also means that you do not have a protective layer between yourself and those energies that are called during ritual. It could be reasoned that this also means that there is no filter between yourself and your coven-mates, but that seems to point to a lack of creativity and dedication. It would not be all that difficult to set up a binding among the ritual clothes themselves to allow them to share energy direction amongst themselves. This would take some out of the box thinking, but would not be an impossible notion. Remember again, these garments are not simple cloth, and must be treated as magickal entities in their own right.
The last issue that I have with being skyclad is the individuality that it provides. In a group ritual, there should be a lack of individuality and a focus on group mentality. When working as a part of a magickal group, the mental shift should not be the same as when working as a magickal individual. Being skyclad instantly makes you aware of the differences in the individuals. You know High Priestess RandomColorAndAnimal and every flaw; you can see if she is faltering. The High Priestess is a physical piece of the group entity known as a coven. She is not High Priestess, she is Random Coven; you are not a 2nd Degree witch with experiences in the OTO, you are Random Coven; everyone in attendance is the same being, they do not make up the coven, they simply are Random Coven. It is this loss of self that is necessary for optimal group magick, and it is in this respect that being skyclad seems to be the most inferior ritual garment choice.
It should be noted that being skyclad has its uses. It is the optimal choice for magickal practice. Being skyclad is a way to strip away even the most basic of tools for the magician or witch, and this is a key part of practice. Athletes train with as many difficulties as possible so that they are as prepared as possible, and it should be the same with magick. If you only practice with your trusty athame, you will be at a loss should that athame be taken, lost, or Goddess forbid, destroyed. This should always be remembered, tools should be used to put you at your best, but tools should never become a crutch. The magick is in the magician, not the tool.

Because skyclad is the most commonly referenced choice for ritual wear, I described it and its problems in greatest detail. This is not the only choice though, so let us take the next most common (or at least most commonly marketed) choice—the cloak. The cloak adequately protects the magician, it can be charged with energy, and it can hide the individual if needed (as long as it is a hooded cloak). It seems as though this would be the optimal choice, but there are subtle problems with it. The cloak is still an expression of individuality as stated earlier, and though this can be disregarded for the individual practitioner, it should be remembered for group rituals. This problem could easily be removed by having a standard cloak for the group, but then again, the energetic bonding would not occur as well with having a separate cloak for group rituals. This could be dealt with by using the group cloak for personal rituals as well as group rituals.
Because there are so many types of cloaks available, it is important to discuss the various types. First and foremost, if you are going to be using the cloak in a group setting, it would be very useful for it to have a hood so that your identity could be hidden for the reasons stated previously. It should be warm enough for you to not need any other clothing even on cold winter nights. It should also be light enough so that you do not feel the weight of it. The decoration of the cloak should optimally be your own, with your personal glyphs and symbols covering it. It should be a general use cloak so that your energetic bond is stronger. Also, the type of cloth’s magickal attributes should be considered. All of these variables play into the versatility and effectiveness of the cloak.
There are other types of ritual wear that are available to the witch, but they are too numerous to consider individually. There are considerations to take into account for these as well. Most of them correspond to the previous considerations for choosing a cloak. Warmth, weight, decoration, and general usability are all very important. It is also important to remember that the clothing type should help you, as well as your coven-mates, to enter a magickal state, so it might be best if you didn’t choose your Lynard Skynard t-shirt as your magickal garb (unless you are part of a coven based on Lynard Skynard’s magickal theories of course). It is also important to remember that you should have clothing that will stand the test of time. Remember, you don’t want to throw these clothes away next year; you want them to stay with you for the next 20-30 years or more. So don’t get that super skin-tight outfit just because you’re 19 and haven’t had children yet. People put on weight, they have children, and their bodies mature. Also, the more pieces of clothing that you have, the more pieces that you will need to bond with, so less is more in this case.

Though ritual garments are often not discussed when talking about ritual tools, they are a very important piece of the magickal toolbox and should not be disregarded. They are the primary visual focus for your fellow witches as well as the only tool that covers the entire body. It is imperative that your ritual wear be given as much attention as an athame or wand would be given, so make your choices wisely.

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Welcome back to Magick for the Real World!

It has been a long time since I wrote a regular blog here, and I’m hoping that I can again entertain and inform a few people with my thoughts and ramblings. I’ve experimented with a lot of other media in the past year and a half, and have again returned to my writing’s origin here at wordpress.com

The blades and bowls lay in the dying light, rusting not the from the air around them, but from the lack of care and use of their spiritual owner. The stones no longer glow with life and energy; they have taken on the look of the dead earth of winter. They long for their master and friend. How has this happened?

It is a common occurrence for everyday life to come between a magician and his magickal practice. Children are born, family emergencies happen, and jobs get hectic. The magician usually is slowly called back to the craft whether internally or by external stimulation, but sometimes this return can take months and even years. It is only in the recent past that I was called back to my magickal practices and when I looked at my stones, blades, and other tools I found them to be foreign, almost as though they were not mine. I felt as though I had never had the soul-bond that I had felt for so long. I had no idea that this bond could ever be weakened or broken. These were the tools that helped me to attain my spiritual identity and power. I looked at them as friends and have now found that they were much more than that; they were as much a part of me as my arms and legs.

I am not sure exactly what the importance of this is, but I know that there is a revelation to be had from this experience. Obviously, it is important to maintain your personal connection with spiritual tools for them to be effective in any of your pursuits, much like a soldier must carefully oil and clean his weapon daily. I had never realized how much of a spiritual process this could be. The soldier is bound to his weapon for survival, and the magician is bound to his weapons of the spiritual plane for his power and survival as a spiritual warrior.

For many years, I had always believed that the magick was solely in the magician and that the tools allowed the magician to enter into another state more easily. I have had to reconsider these beliefs after experiencing the intense sadness when I realized I had forsaken these pieces of my soul. Though it is hard to believe, it was as intense a sadness as the loss of a loved one. This should not be the case if they are merely tools for my metaphysical advancement.

So where does this actually place the tools and weapons of the magician? Does the soldier weep for a destroyed weapon? Does the carpenter mourn the loss of a good saw or hammer? The soldier depends on his gun and knife for survival, but I doubt that he would weep if it were replaced. The carpenter depends on his tools for his craft, but he will easily replace one if it begins to grow ineffective, and rarely cares for them as the magician cares for his tools.

It seems more and more apparent that the wand and chalice are more than simple tools for a purpose. The energy that passes through them brings about a change in them. They become alive with the constant life-force passing through them. The magician’s place in the web of life becomes intertwined with these seemingly life-less objects, possibly giving them a life of their own. Or possibly, the alchemical idea that when a spirit is evolving, all of the world around him/her evolves as well. It could also be possible that all things have a life to them, and that through the energetic workings of the magician that the item awakens. Whatever the case, it seems that the tools become alive in the process of the magician’s practices.

So what exactly does this mean? The tools are alive, but how does that affect the magician? That’s the real discussion question. It could mean all sorts of things. Can the tools guide the magician? Can the athame show the magician how more effectively create a magickal circle? Would the magician even know that this was happening, or would it seem to be an intuitive leap by the magician? How many times has this happened to any given magician? Can the tools become angry? Can they purposely refuse to work? Can they do their own magick to protect or hurt?

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Colors


::Compares 17,345,132.32 intro to magic books::

There seems to be a single cohesive idea in every Magick 101 book you’ll ever find, and that’s the power of colors.  It seems that all you have to do in order to fix all of the financial problems in your life is to burn a green candle all night.  I mean, that’s it right?  Every intro book I’ve ever read has pressed this idea that the color of the candle that you burn or the color of the gemstone you have is really all that matters when you’re setting up your spell/ritual.

I don’t want to say that colors aren’t important because they are absolutely important, but they’re not the only part of magick.  I’d say that the color of something determines about 15% of its magickal nature.  A red candle is definitely going to influence your magick towards something more passionate than the purple one, but at the same time it’s still a candle.  It’s still fire energy, so they’re both going to push towards passion and energy and anger as well as shortness of duration and lack of steadfastness.  The red one is just going to be a bit stronger of an influence while the purple will have a little more air and water energy.

Gemstones and crystals are most commonly classified by their color when deciding what type of magickal energy they have.  This seems like a good way to go about it since it’s one of the only noticeable differences between two different crystals (similar to the difference between a red and purple candle), but at the same time an emerald and malachite are both green yet have drastically different effects.  Remember that stones have all sorts of natural physical differences while two candles truly can differ solely on color.  Many things have to be considered when judging a gemstone’s magickal character, and the only true way to decide it is to have an active relationship with the stone.  It is important to keep in mind that every stone has gone on a completely different journey since its creation.

Truthfully, there’s much more to talk about with the problems dealing with characterizing the world based on color, but I simply do not have the time today to go incredibly in depth about it.  There will be another day that I can delve more deeply into the subject.

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Not long ago, I was riding along on a road trip around thinking wands and staves and how most of them end up looking so silly and/or ugly because people use glue/clay/leather to attach gemstones and crystals to the wood.  So I started brainstorming some ideas as to how I could do something different.  I really couldn’t think of much for a long time, and then as I passed an orchard I realized a possible answer.

What about if instead of cutting a branch off of the tree and putting the stone on/into the wood, we put the stone into/on the branch while the tree was still young and the tree would integrate the stone into its structure.  I’m not sure exactly how you would do this, but I’ve seen trees grow through holes in walls and encompass a large portion of the wall because the tree grows on either side of the wall but not in the hole.  This creates a very strange looking branch/root, but if designed the right way I don’t see why this wouldn’t work.  It would be a very very long process like making the very highest quality wines, but at the same time I’m sure that the symbiotic relationship between the crystal and the tree would be an incredible advance over the current process.

 

Another answer would be to cut a piece out of a branch and put the crystal into it while it was still growing.  I’m not sure how much I agree with this process energetically because you’d be injuring the tree while doing this.  Logically and physically it would probably work quite well but the energetic process worries me.  This would still take some time but wouldn’t take nearly as long as the previous way.

 

I also came up with the idea of integrating the ideas used in wooden weapon creation and jewelry creation.  Just like diamonds are held in place by small pieces of metal that are connected to the ring band, why not soak the top of the staff in water for several days then split the top.  After splitting the top, you should be able to slowly bend the pieces outward enough to place a crystal/gemstone inside the cavity created.  Then, the gemstone would have to be tied down extremely securely and the pieces of staff would have to be allowed to relax so that they could move back to their old places.  This idea could be manipulated to create beautiful staves/wands without all that ridiculous glue and leather that’s currently used on a regular basis.  I’ve never tried this, but I would think that it would work pretty well in theory.  Any thoughts?  Has anyone actually seen this done?

 

I’d love some feedback on this because I’d love to know if someone already does any of these things or if it’s one of those things that no one would ever buy so no one makes them.

 

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