I have seen *so* many videos on this lately. Luckily, most of them appear to be older, so maybe it was just a meme-type thing, but the truth of the matter is, there is only 1 sign that you are a witch. Ready for it?
You practise witchcraft.
That’s it. The end. You can’t really be a witch and not know it. Just like you can’t really be a carpenter and not know it. The word is a descriptor of an action or a trade. It’s something you know you’re doing.
Until you hit that point, you are a Seeker. And there is nothing wrong with that. Being a Seeker is the best! Everything is new and magical and filled with enchantment. Not that I’m saying that that feeling fades with time necessarily.
Even for me, 25ish years later, the spring time feels like life and magic, journeying, and meditation feel like home; but there are few things that carry the same trepidation and exhilaration that venturing down a new path does. It’s incredible. And it should be enjoyed for as long as possible.
In the beginning, having a name for your path can feel like the most important thing in the world. How can you have an legitimacy if your path doesn’t have a name? Let me ask you this: does the tree outside your window have a name? Does the bird flitting about the branches? Do they need one to exist?
Don’t be so quick to slap a label on something that is developing and growing. I can count on one hand the number of times that someone in real life has asked me about my religion, and more often than not, they ask if I attend church. My response is simply, ‘No, we don’t go to church.’ Another perfectly valid answer would be: ‘Sorry, I don’t discuss religion. It causes too much friction.’
Back in the day, our parents and grandparents held to a strict rule of ‘no discussing politics or religion at the dinner table.’ I, personally, pull that into my own life as often as possible. We very much don’t need to know every detail of our neighbours’ business, and they don’t need to know every detail of mine.
An interesting question for this week’s (probably a couple week’s ago now) Witchy Wednesday. The over all answer is no, I don’t cast on a regular basis.
When I was younger, I tended to believe that spells were a somewhat last resort when everything else you had tried had failed. It’s not what I would tell others when they asked for advice, but it was a weird standard I held myself to. I collected research, spells, rituals, lore, etc, but I rarely used any of it in a practical sense.
Then came my Saturn’s Return, and I turned away from the Craft pretty well all together. I still considered myself pagan, but in the small ‘p’ sense where I just didn’t want any part of spirituality or the like.
In the past few years, I have been slowly working my way back into my Craft, and really, until this year, I haven’t felt the need to cast anything. Life was pretty easy, and aside from wishing that I could twitch my nose and clean the house, or chant an incantation that would put my kids to sleep at night, I didn’t really have a lot of need for spells. I did keep up on my meditation and grounding skills because they had fallen by the wayside, but that was really about it.
Then recently, a group of friends and I began creating large workings to help influence change in the world. There are places outside our lives that need our power and our skills, and that work really gave me a sense of purpose with my spells. And as sometimes happens, the more you cast, the more you see instances when you should.
I have a few spells for the spring lined up for myself, and then through the summer, I will probably do some more charitable/empowerment workings for causes that are important to me.
Maybe ask me again in six months if I cast on a regular basis, and the answer might be yes.
Next week I will be jumping on the topic of Spiritual Practises. Might be a short one. Cheers!
Today’s Witchy Wednesday catchup (or YouTube Pagan Challenge Off YouTube), is about divination. Do you use it, and if so, what types?
Divination is one of my favourite tools in the Witch’s arsenal. I have tried my hand at most kinds. The ones that I have developed a talent for are dream interpretation, tarot, dowsing, and scrying.
As a kid, I had wicked nightmares paired with sleep paralysis. I also grew up knowing that prophetic dreams run in my family, so when I was about 12 or so I decided that I would take control of the runaway train that was my subconscious mind, and I studied lucid dreaming.
The first part, of course, was to be able to take control of nightmares. It’s not an easy skill to master, but it does work. My key was always “pinch me”, since I don’t feel pain in dreams, it helped alert my conscious mind that what I was seeing and experiencing wasn’t real.
I kept a dream journal for a while, but I find that with dreams, the message is something that is pretty immediate, and once deciphered, is really no longer relevant, so I fell out of that practise.
My mom had a tarot deck while I was growing up, and since I was always a bit of an art nut, I was drawn to cards with pictures on them. It has taken me a while, but I feel I know them pretty well — upright anyway. This year I am learning reversed card interpretations as well.
I don’t have a lot of things that I collect anymore — when I was little I collected all kinds of bits an bobs, but being a bit of a nomad in my adult life has necessitated that I have considerably less stuff. Tarot decks are really the only thing I still collect outside of photographs. Here are some of my beloveds (not all, because some were still packed from our trip when these photos were taken):
This is my Robin Wood tarot deck. An oldie, but still a classic, and I love it. Very similar imagery to the Rider-Waite, but with a bit of a Pagan twist.
This is the Sacred Circle tarot. This was my very first deck, and while I never really connected to the images in the cards, I hang on to it for sentimental reasons.
This is the DruidCraft tarot. Also one of my favourites. Alas, it isn’t used as often as I would like because the cards are gigantic. The art is still beautiful, though, so that makes up for it.
This was my second ever tarot deck, The Pagan Tarot. The images are very different from the Rider-Waite, and tell the tale of a modern Pagan/Wiccan seeker’s journey. This deck makes me feel very nostalgic about my own beginnings as a young Pagan. While I don’t connect well to the court cards, I still use it roughly once a week or so.
And here is one of my absolute favs (tied with my mom’s old deck), the Shadowscapes tarot. The artwork is amazing, and the cards are shockingly accurate. I had been following this artist for years before she started work on her deck. I remember the announcement when she began work on it and the year I spent on the edge of my seat. I use this deck almost every day.
The other two techniques for divination I use are dowsing with a pendulum, and scrying. For scrying I usually use water in some form, be it condensation on a window or a glass or a dark bowl of water. I’m a bit out of practise, but the more often I meditate, the easier it is. I have a small piece of labradorite that has some beautiful patterning that I will be making use of as I get back into the practise of scrying. It’s set into a pendant, so it is also travel sized!
My first pendulum was a “toy” that my mom helped me to make when I was about 10 years old. It was a lead fishing weight on the end of a piece of white string. It always worked for me, and it was usually pretty accurate. Great for an either/or type question or decision that needs to be made.
My current pendulums are crystals of varying sizes and a lovely handmade one that is made from a seashell. The lead one has been passed on to my daughter. She is still a little young for it, but she likes to have something special that is just between her and Mommy.
Next week, or this week if I find the time, we are talking about spells. Until then, folks! Cheers!
Hey folks! This week we are talking about Magic. I don’t use a ‘k’ in the spelling because I think it’s silly. I will tell you that it took a seriously long time to train myself not to, though. And I still sometimes slip.
I wasn’t feeling all up to writing out my thoughts today since I have other projects I am working on, so get this … I made a video instead. Can you say multitasking? Coffee makes me superwoman, I swear (we were out of coffee for a lot of this week – horror, I know it).
My views on magic are pretty much as I stated in the video. I don’t worry too much on the hows or the whys. I’ve practised for a lot of years, so I have a system that works for me. Though, I am always up for trying new techniques if I feel they will be able to fit into my current practise. I tend not to go for a lot of high ceremony – I’m a Witch. I do down and dirty.
Without further ado, here is my epic video of my own self painting a box! Enjoy.
Next week we are talking about spellwork. Interesting. Until then.
Here we are at our second “What does this time of year mean to you?” instalment of our Witchy Wednesday catch-up and YT Pagan Challenge off YouTube.
Right around now is just past Ostara, which we were travelling for, and mixed with an early Easter with relatives. It was nice. Littles were sick, so there was less exuberance than there might have been.
Today is April 1st – and while I don’t mind the day itself (it’s actually pretty sunny today), I despise April Fool’s Day. I really wish it would just go away. The art of the prank died a long time ago, and people being childish and dishonest in the attempt to make a “joke” is about as funny as listening to my kids cackle about how funny the word “butt” is. Actually, it’s less funny because at least with the latter, I get to listen to kids laughing. Child laughter is the best.
Early spring in Calgary is different every year. Some years it snows, some years it’s cold and clear and frozen, and some years, like this year, it is warm and sunny. This is the time of year when winter is finally giving up its dying breath. It snowed last week. This week, it rained and the temperature rose to 20° C.
It will be another few weeks, possibly a month, before the trees begin to pull out of their winter slumber with gusto. One thing I will give this town, once spring begins, it busts out all at once. Seemingly overnight the trees will be green and full of flowers, and the grass will have shed its tan winter coat for bright new green mantle. That is about my favourite time of year. That and the first real rainstorm.
We are just back from the coast, and I have to say, I miss it already, and my mind is swirling with plans to try to get us back there on a permanent basis. For now, I need to remain patient — like the trees basking in the early spring sunlight. Jump too soon, and an April snow will freeze off all your tender new shoots.
Biding my time. That is what this time of year means to me. Next up in our catch-up list, we talk divination techniques. Sweet! Expect lots of photos!
Let’s talk about the sun. It’s great, isn’t it? It’s breathtaking when it rises, beautiful when it sets, it makes you warm, it makes things grow, it will burn you to a crisp if you’re out in it too long … ok, well, maybe it has it’s downsides too. This week’s Witchy Wednesday catch-up post from the youtube Pagan Challenge list is all about the sun.
Me, I love the sun. I love spring and summer, and longer days, and evenings spent out in the yard enjoying cool drinks, good food, and good company.
The Sabbats are all solar festivals, all about the changing year, and the growing and declining sun. Litha has to be one of my favourite Sabbats, with its flowers and berries and wine and warm sunshine. That said, I don’t think that I really see the sun as a god or a reflection of a divinity in itself. Not in the same way that I see the moon as a reflection of goddess energy.
For me, I think of the sun as more representative of humanity and the human condition. When I was first starting out, the Wheel of the Year tale that I learned used symbols of agriculture and community, and life growing and changing with the turning wheel. It was an incredibly romantic image that stays with me even as my views on the Wheel and the stories associated with it have evolved to include different imagery.
When I think of the sun high in the sky, I still think of people coming out of their houses, apartments, whathaveyou, to drink in the rays and the life it provides. I think that the sun can represent humanity in other ways as well. When highly focused, it can start a fire that engulfs all in its path. When distant, it can allow cold and disease to creep in and suffocate life. I think we can all think of instances when this is true of our collective attention.
And if I think about it, it also reinforces the Witch’s connection to the moon, with hir being one to step outside of mainstream society and into the hidden and divine realms. Think I may have to meditate a bit more on that one. I feel there might be a story there waiting to unfold more fully.
Next week (or more probably tomorrow since I am a couple of weeks behind), we talk about the end of March and what it means to me. Cheers!
This one is probably going to be a little late. I was all kinds of on top of this project and then the flu ran rampant through my house like a horde of berserking buffalo. We are just now starting to crawl out from under the rubble.
This topic has been on my mind a lot lately. In the past, my relationship with the moon has been one of awe and reverence. I always make a point of looking up in a clear sky to see if I can catch a glimpse of her. A piece of advice I remember from when I was first starting out was, “If you want to learn the phases of the moon, look up.”
For me it has become a key*, a way to pull my awareness back to the spiritual — back to the present. One of my favourite things is a huge, heavy full moon hanging low in the sky. It adds such a wonderful feeling of magic to the everyday.
I have been trying to share this with my daughter. Whenever we are outside together and the moon is visible, I point it out to her. She gets all giggly and excited. When in the car, she talks about how the moon is following us home. I love listening to her preschooler logic about how the world works.
Lately, I have been putting more of my energy into getting back into practical workings, and I am finding myself taking notice of the moon and her phases more. While I am a big believer in doing a working or a spell when the need arises, and making the circumstances work for you, it is still vitally important to me to be paying attention to where the moon is in her travels. You can’t adjust the parameters if you don’t know what energy you are tapping into. Often times, you can get all the info you need simply by looking out the window, but other times you need more specific information — such as when the moon moves between signs and when she is void of course.
Back in the day, almanacs were a great source of such information, but these days, it is as easy as opening an app on your phone. I use iLuna and an app called simply Phases of the Moon — both available from Google Play (I am sure that iPhone users have much fancier apps at their disposal, but I am on Android, so I use what I can get).
I don’t “celebrate” esbats regularly. I put celebrate in quotes because they aren’t really holidays, more a time for working magic and divination. Back when I had the luxury of time for such things, I was fairly lazy about regular practise. Now that I have some time again, I am finding myself eager to add something new to my routine.
With the spring and summer on their way, I would like to make full moon esbats a special time for my little burgeoning witchling. At her age, I think that just some “girl time” will make them special. Maybe start with hot chocolate under the full moon. And maybe as it gets warmer, a big candle — probably of citronella.
Our Ostara celebrations this year will coincide with the March full moon. Weather permitting, we can spend some time as a family outside under the moon and stars, drinking in the beauty of spring.
Next week, we talk about the sun. I’ll have to spend some time thinking on that one. Until then, folks!
*this term is one I picked up from Thorn Coyle in her work Evolutionary Witchcraft.
“Do you keep a journal or diary of your experiences?”
And how! Actually, I think the real answer is more along the lines of ‘sort of‘.
I have a more journals and notebooks than I can count. I am also terrible at keeping track where they all are. I’m told it’s a writer thing.
In recent months I have been compiling all my scattered assorted knowledge into a File of Shadows using Scrivener. I have the file set to ‘Non-Fiction Novel’ and it’s been pretty great so far. Lots of work as I can’t just port old Word files into it (plus the assorted random scribblings are being typed and made pretty), but it forces me to go through everything and add bits here and there and take out things I never really ended up using.
I recently found my dream journal that I used to keep way back in the day from when I first started getting into dream interpretation. I fell off using it, and it was probably about half full. Years of experience have shown me that the messages in my dreams are of finite usefulness. Things manifest pretty fast, and then there is nothing else of use other than a bit of fun nostalgia and a few laughs. That said, I may start using again if only to fill the pages.
For daily writing, I have a love/hate relationship with diaries. I have kept them off and on throughout the years to help me work through things. Once on the other side of whatever crisis lead me to start it in the first place, an unshakable need to purge usually causes me to burn them.
For a long time I felt that this need was something that I should be fighting against and that I should just accept my flaws and not be ashamed of them. But, a realization came to me a few weeks ago that I had never really considered before. I am a Witch. And the sealing of a spell requires that the words be burned and the ashes be offered to the universe. If I don’t purge, the spell lies open, and it’s energy is not completed.
I love it when it all comes back around. Don’t ignore your gut, people. Even if you don’t understand it at the time, there is a reason for those urges you can’t ignore.
Another form of journalling I have tried and failed at keeping regularly is an art journal. I have a handful of sketchbooks, but nothing that I really keep a finished project in. I like those to be loose, and in my portfolio.
I think that the only real sort of journalling that I have kept up with regularly over the years is blogging. I started with a Livejournal account way back in the early 2000s, and then I followed a bunch of folks to Dreamwidth, then I started my WordPress blog (along with dozens of others that fizzled over the years), and here we are. 250+ posts and counting. I think that is the most steady I have been with anything writing related in a very long time. And even as I try to make the leap to adding video, I think I will always be a blogger at heart. It’s in my nature.
Next week we talk about moon phases. This will be awesome. Lunar stuff is so much fun – even something as small as watching my daughter’s face light up when I point out the moon in the sky.