How Do You Enter this Circle?
This first bit is a little about me and my history. I'm not famous or well known in large circles. I'm more of a jack of all trades than I am master of anything. These are the things about me that I believe you need to know to understand where many of my concepts and ideas come from. I have been on a pagan path most of my life in relation to personal knowings, but it wasn't until my early 20's that I discovered Wicca as a religion. At that point, I began studying as a solitary practitioner. Literally, I was the only pagan on the internet for 90 miles and any direction. It was pretty lonely, but I found a group of ladies online from various places around the world and we started our journey together. One of our group was an Alexandrian initiate and also practiced a form of indigenous shamanism. At that point, she was actually leaving Wicca to focus more on her familial path. The years passed and life happened. Some of us fell out of touch, some of us didn't, but we managed to all stay in touch with someone within that group.
I digress. The years rolled by and life changed for me. I divorced and moved. I moved again and I moved again. I found a group. For two years I studied with this group. I gave them my blood, sweat, and tears. They were my family. They opened their hearts and homes to me in a way I have never known. I became an initiate. My gods called me away. I moved one day's drive from everything I have ever known. The group leaders, who made me many promises, reneged and pretended they had no clue what I was talking about while admitting to others that they had no intentions of keeping any of the promises they made because I did not do what they wanted me to do. Other 'elders' told people I needed to 'learn something' before I could keep on with my studies. Even other elders accused me of great hubris because I listened to my gods before them. I have since, severed all ties with all members of that group, coming to understand that my actions are typical of most who have gotten involved with them over the decades. However, I learned a great many things from them and that can not be discounted or construed to be anything but good, so I am thankful for the part they played. I am thankful for their words and actions because I am now wiser than I was and can see this type of manipulation in all manner of groups around me. Lessons and mysteries abound!
I have lived in the Mid-West, now, more than twice as long as I studied with my former group. It has been everything from exhilarating to boring. I like it here and I have learned a great many things. This book is a product of my spiritual growth in the Mid-West. I have always looked for teachers and found many, but none of them were the most altruistic of people. It was after dealing with one such teacher that the idea for this collection came about.
I had hit a very low point in my life, having been taught that if a teacher leaves, then it must be something wrong with me. Again, she was a teacher who promised me quite a few things and then, when she encountered 'more interesting' things in her life, all of her promises to me were forgotten and how dare I bother her when he was obviously 'busy'. Suicide is something that has always been an option, despite the fact that it has always been the very last option (for obvious reasons). I wallowed in my doubt and my self-loathing for months. I raged and lashed out. I cried and I screamed. I begged death to come for me and to take me in my sleep, but he laughed and refused. I went to the crossroads and I begged my Hekate to cross me over. She laughed. I slipped through the forest to find Ares and I bared my neck for him, begging for death. With an ironic laugh, he kissed my neck and sent me on my way. I used my shamanic training to find the river separating the Otherworlds from the Other Side. My guides watched, mirth and knowing dancing in their eyes, as I was dashed upon the rocks, carried away in the rapids, and ultimately, washed back upon the shore of the Lower Worlds. All of those experiences lead me to this moment. They lead me to the writing of this book.
To use this book, remember two things: 1)Wicca is a living religion with an infinite number of paths and an infinite number of perspectives, so I don't believe that my words are the only way. I don't believe that my experiences are for everyone to learn from. I simply put them down on paper so that I can quiet the voices in my head telling me to get all of these things out. 2) There's no wrong way to use this book unless it is to hurt someone. This book is written from a Wiccan perspective, therefore, it adheres to the Wiccan Rede.
This book is a compilation of some of the blogs I have written over the years. In an effort to give it some kind of order, there will be five parts, each broken down into an element, the four classical elements plus spirit. This book can be read straight through, but it is not necessary. I ordered it as such so if there is a subject or element one needs to delve into, one can. I will also begin each section with a creative piece. Each piece is an introduction to the Element of the chapter and some of the core concepts of that particular element, as well as some of my own findings within that element. I find that sacred storytelling opens one up to the various ways the Otherworlds communicate with us on the physical plane. These stories came from my own meditations. I delved into each element and I simply asked what I needed to tell. These stories are something that can be read as a guided meditation or the concepts can be meditated upon. Remember, these Elementals will show you, the reader, what you need most out of the story. You may get something different out of every meditation you do. I will also add various guided meditations I have written through the years to the end of the chapter. These can be read aloud or recorded and played back. They were written for group practice, but nothing says that a solitary practitioner can not use it.
Enjoy and may you find the blessings you deserve!
Exploring the Womb:The Element of Earth
We walked for hours, finally arriving at the mouth of a cave. Rivulets of sweat race down my brow from both exertion and fear. The darkened maw beckons us into the unknown. We arrive. There is electricity in the air, something prodding us all forward. With a collective breath fortifying us, we face our fears of darkness and closed spaces; crossing the threshold. Into the womb of the Mother, into the place of our ancestors we press urgently. Someone flicks on their flashlight. The cave gobbles up both the click of the on-switch and the feeble beam of light. For a moment we stop, gazing at this cavern, its dimensions so massive our LED 's look like penlights in a closet. Then, I notice the cold. It is seeping in nearly unnoticed, wrapping its heavy tendrils around my legs, waist, arms. Its caress is like a familiar lover, whispering in my ear, lulling me. That is when we hear the voice beckoning us into the darkness.
Her whisper is muted, like the song of a bird in a snowy forest. “This way,” she says. “Hear me. Listen.”
Our lights drift toward the sound and we walk, as a group, closer. It is like hearing the trees speak or the robin's song, the promise of spring. The beckoning words turn to murmurs and we can no longer understand them consciously, but some part of us knows them. After several steps, she appears at the edge of our light beams. She is round and soft-looking, like the Willendorf statue and sits upon a throne of worn stalagmites. We stand in shock, disbelieving what we are seeing. "You come to this place seeking me and you are surprised to find me?" Her black eyes glitter with mirth. "Come. Sit. Be. I shall tell you a story."
"Long ago, before human memory, I danced. I danced with the fire bubbling up from my center. We swayed. We jumped. We danced. We made love. Then, the winds came. They cooled our passions and we no longer danced as we had before. The waters came next. The tiny drops, caressing my back, shoulders, and face, cooling me even more."
We watch the joy turn to sadness on the face of the Earth Goddess. We watch sadness turn again to joy. She's telling us Her origins, what scientists have deduced from studying the rocks of the Earth.
Listening intently, she tells us of all of the organisms who have trod upon her and how they lived on and with her in harmony. Then, she comes to humanity. "The first humans listened to me. They heard my heartbeat. They felt my fire and my breath. They knew my tears intimately. They took only what they needed and we lived in harmony. As time has moved on, this has become less and less the case. What say you, Wee Ones? What do you do to give back to your mother?"
Doubt and Trusting Yourself
Many of us don't associate doubt with being a pagan or magical topic, but it is. Maybe it's a really important one, too. We have all performed magic or spell work that simply didn't manifest. Many times when this happens, we attribute it to the Universe simply having something else in store for us, but could it possibly be that we doubted that it would work?
Doubt is a funny thing. It doesn't take very much to screw up any chances we might have of succeeding. Is doubt an emotion? Is it simply a negative thought? Dictionary.com gives the word doubt these definitions:
1. to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.
2. to distrust.
3. Archaic. to fear; be apprehensive about.
The first definition leads us to believe that doubt is simply a negative thought, but the last two innumerate emotions: distrust and fear. So, when we doubt our own magical abilities, are we simply not trusting our own abilities or are we afraid that we might succeed?
I know many new witches who look to those who have been in the Craft for years and declare them to be 'powerful.' These seasoned witches have come up through the degree system, in their chosen traditions, and been taught the lessons of the Craft. The difference I see with many of the seasoned witches, versus the newer ones, is a lack of doubt. These seasoned practitioners have learned to trust their own power and their own connection to The Power whereas many of the neophytes have yet to realize they have the same connection. There is that small shred of doubt, the 'I don't know as much, so I'm not powerful.'
Doubt creeps in when we compare our own path to that of another. One thing I am taught in my own path is this: I only exist by comparison. Well, doubt only exists by comparison. Just because a person has walked their own path longer does not make them more powerful, only more experienced. Doubt is the mother of fear and fear is the mother of failure.
When doubt creeps into our thoughts, we must stop and ask ourselves what we fear. Do we fear failure? Maybe we fear success? Those are really the only two answers to any situation. Aren't they? Next time you experience doubt, stop and ask yourself why. Keep asking yourself why until you get to the bare bones of it. When you do that, you get to know yourself a little better, but you also understand more about why you see the world as you do.
We can all work a little more on ridding ourselves of doubt and, in the end, we become better people and better magical practitioners for it. How do we do that, though? We must begin by trusting our own instincts.
How does one trust his or her instincts? It is really as simple as listening to that small inner voice that we have been programmed to ignore. Do you hear that little voice anymore? If not, then it is time to sit and be.
By ‘sit and be’, I do not mean meditation or journey, per se. ‘Sit and be’ is a phrase I use to describe reflection, as opposed to literally sitting in one spot and being in the present moment, though it means that, too. Sitting and being could be taking a quiet walk and noticing the world around you. Being present in the moment is important, but for this exercise, it is also important to notice when that presentness triggers a memory. What is the memory? Do you see it in vivid detail? Do you feel the emotions associated with it? Can you detach yourself from the emotions? Can you allow the memory to be what it is? Do you allow it to stay where it is, in the past, but recognize that it made you who you have become?
LETTING GO IS NOT JUST FOR CHRISTIANS
We have all heard the Christian saying, "Let go and let God," but what does that really mean and is it relevant to pagans? I believe it is. First, what is letting go? Is it giving up? Is it moving past? Is it no longer trying to control something or a situation? Is it acceptance? Is it a state of mind or is there a physical sensation that goes along with it?
Pick up the nearest object to you and hold it in your hand, be it a writing utensil, a stick of incense, a piece of change. Feel that thing in your hand. Note its weight, texture, temperature, and any other physical attributes that it may have. Now, turn your palm sideways and let it go. Let it drop to the ground. Did you feel that? If not, pick the object up and do it again, let it go. Notice the sensation in your hand as you open it. There is a physical sensation that goes with letting go.
I was privileged enough to watch a very wise man talk about letting go once. He did that exact exercise and dropped a quarter on the table. It took me dropping many quarters to understand that physical sensation, but it is there. As I have matured, I have come to know letting go as a form of acceptance.
I don't see letting go as giving up or moving past. I understand letting go as seeing through illusions that are cast and seeing the outcome for what it is and being okay with it, whether or not my Ego likes it. A good example is looking at a friend who consistently makes the wrong decision, despite counsel to make the right one. At what point do I, as their friend, put my hands in the air and let them go? Because we are friends, is it fair to me to get sucked into their crazy? Because we are friends, am I obligated to harass them into being sensible? Because we are friends, I don't like their decision, but they are an adult and they do have free will, so I let them go. I accept that they need (for whatever reason) these lessons. I accept that some part of them wants this insanity, so I stop wasting energy on them.
Maybe that's really what letting go is, the conscious decision to stop wasting energy on a person or a situation and doing so without judgment.
So, when is a good time to let go? Obviously, that depends on the person. We all have different thresholds and levels for what we will put up with. We all react differently to different situations. The biggest difference between letting go and other forms of severing ties is the peace that surrounds letting go (at least for me it is!!) When I let someone or thing go, it is when I have made peace with it. That's when I know it is time. I look at that person or thing, at their actions and reactions, and I can look at the pattern and see what lies ahead for that person, good or bad. When I see someone hanging on to the bad, being petty and childish, going out of their way to provoke, then I know without a doubt, it's time to part ways. When I see a person ignoring the advice they asked for (or doing the opposite), then I know it's time to let go.
Timing is always the most difficult, however, I judge it by whether or not I can say to that person, "Go in peace and love and may you reap whatever it is that you sow." If I can say that sincerely and with love in my heart, then I have let them go. If I say it with any negativity attached, I still have issues with it that I need to work on and I have not really let anything go.
Why do we let people go? Why do we let situations and circumstances go? Why am I advocating letting shit go? The short answer is: We move past that which no longer serves us.
What happens if we hang on to things? We all know what happens. It consumes us, much in the same way the spark from a camp fire can consume an entire forest. "Proving" we are right, more, better, etc. is exhausting. It lowers our vibration and we become skewed. Our purpose on this earth becomes twisted. Witch wars happen. Witch wars can only happen when two people or groups of people are being petty assholes. When one person our group bows out and decides to take the high road and not acknowledge the pettiness of the other (or alternately, laughs at the negativity thrown at them) and doesn't let it affect them, then that is letting go. Why wouldn't we, as magical practitioners, want to let go of the negative in our lives?
So, is letting go difficult? You're damn straight it is! Are we, as people and groups, better for it when we do let go? Absolutely! So, if we are such highly spiritual beings, why is it so hard to let go? Why is it so difficult to open that hand and leave whatever it is to the Gods? Who wants to try that? Just.... Let it go.
on conquering fear
Ah, Fear! How are you, you wily fucker? Still stealing people's breath? Their words, thoughts, and actions? Oh, Fear, you are a cunning friend. You quite enjoy comforting us as you stab us in the heart, don't you? You like whispering all of those negative things, don't you? You enjoy the tears, the rage, the hurt. You live for the moment when you can wrap yourself around any one of us and whisper, "It's okay that you can't. It's okay that you won't try. Don't. Ever. Try."
As you can tell, I have a long standing, masochistic relationship with my fears. Through my training in Wicca, though, I have learned that fear is a necessity in life and can even be a good thing. First, I have been taught to define fear as:
The ego, through fear, teaches us how to look out for ourselves. This is good, right? Well, it's a great thing if you are standing on the edge of a cliff. Fear may cause you to take a step back. However, not paying bills because they are late for fear that your creditors are going to yell at you isn't a good thing.
Magically speaking, how do we manifest our own reality without fear? Well, we first have to know what we are afraid of. Speaking from a personal standpoint, I have, historically, been afraid of both success and failure. How's that for irrational fears? I have never failed at anything I put my mind to, and can't think of anything at which I am a complete and utter failure. I'm horrible at tennis. I'm too tall for tumbling. I'm mediocre at painting. However, just because those things aren't my strong suits, doesn't mean I fail. It just means that I'm better at basketball, stenciling, and writing.
The fear of success has been my own biggest stumbling block. If I'm good at this, others expectations will rise through the roof. That has always been my thought. If people know I'm intelligent, then they will expect more from me. If people know this. If people know that. Until recently, I attributed this fear to my own ultra-private sense of life. I know now that it is not. I understand now that saying to another person I am limitless and believing it are two different things.
After figuring out the root of our own fears, what do we do? I mean, one can not cast a successful spell if one is afraid of success, correct? After figuring out what we are afraid of and why, we have to face that fear. Even if facing it means doing so little by little. Facing a fear of heights means stepping closer and closer to the edge until you go as far as you dare, and then going one step farther. It means listening to that small voice of fear, but ignoring it.
When I first began facing my own fears, I had to do so in a manner that calmed and tricked my ego into a false sense of security. It was literally a case of me telling myself, "Okay, Self, I'm going to do something that you said is going to hurt me, but I'm going to do it a little bit at a time so we feel safe. If we get hurt, it will all be my fault and you can tell me so."
For the most part, I know now when I am being irrational, and I can convince myself of this. Magically speaking, I have done many things since I began taming my ego and stopped listening to the smooth voice of fear. How do you convince yourself to face your fears? Do you?
I put doubt within the Earth Element for several reasons. First, having doubts will stagnate a person. That stagnation can put a person is a bit of suspended animation, spiritually speaking. In my brain, doubt sits opposite of the Will in Elemental Fire. Where a person wants to take action, instead doubt causes them to be still and silent.
The inability to let go of things is another stumbling block that I put in the Earth Element. If we have our hands full of things that we refuse to let go of, how can we possibly reach out for new experiences or people? When we focus on the things that annoy us, we can not focus on the things that bring us joy. When we refuse to let go of the things that weigh us down, it is like fighting quicksand, the more you fight, the more bogged down you get. The Earth Element can be heavy. So, too, can simply being a human who interacts with other humans.
Finally, I added fear to the Earth Element. Why? Fear is something we can acknowledge. Fear is something we can confront. Fear is something we can accept. Fear is also something we can bury and lay to rest. As with all of the concepts and musings in this book, to master them, they will need to be explored through all of the elements.
Drafts and Tempests: The Element of Air
I’d been home alone for several days when one of the guys from the cave expedition called. “Hey, we are heading out tomorrow to find the next elemental. You in?”
“Of course,” I reply, not sure if I wanted to be in or not, but I was not going to miss a weird thing happening.
We start out before daylight driving. We head east and hurrying the sun’s daily birth along at 70 miles per hour. Then, the clouds began to gather. They are black and ominous, completely obscuring the horizon and the morning sun.
We turn down a dirt road and get out of the vehicle. The clouds are thick and rolling, but do not seem to hold any water. There is only wind and dust kicking up from the road. Debris is dancing across the ground. Our vehicle is rocking gently.
Then, a funnel dips toward us.
Before we can react, we are pulled off of our feet and into the air. The being that meets us looks so alien. Its head and tail (it had no legs) swirl like the funnel and its arms, with its exaggerated hands and fingers, look like lengths of twisted rope.
We all hang in mid-air, not really still, but not being violently thrown around, either. “You have no fear. Why?” It asks.
Its voice is like the whisper of butterfly wings. It is there, but gentle. We all look at each other, confounded, until I speak. “We seek to know your mysteries.”
The being’s laugh is that gentle breeze that catches your hair and makes it tickle your face. “You can not hope to know all of my mysteries,” it replies.
“We do not hope to know them all,” I reply. “What will you have us know?”
“What if I have you know nothing?” it responds.
“And what if you have us think,” I answer with a chuckle. “Are thinking and riddles not part of your realm?”
That laugh, like a spring breeze comes again. “It appears you truly seek to know me.”
“We do,” I respond seriously.
“Then know me you shall,” the Air Elemental responds. “All thoughts are mine. Much in the same way air is felt by the skin but not seen with the eyes, thoughts are felt by the heart and known by the soul. They can not be plucked from the brain as one chooses a rose from the bush. Much in the same way, when those thoughts are made manifest by your voice, they can not be taken back. All things spoken are also my realm. One needs breath to speak, does one not?”
“So then, would all breathing exercises and meditation fall within your realm?” I ask, not having fully realized that without breath there can not be life.
“Indeed, Child. Life and gestation may begin within the womb of the mother, but without breath, all things wither and die. It is why it is called ‘the breath of life’.
“All manner of communications are within my realm. From your fancy smart phones and your internet to the conversation you had on the way to find me. If I take away your voice, you have to find another way to communicate, don’t you?”
My focus shifts, for a moment, from the being and back to my cohorts. We are all still floating within this cyclone. The guys seem embarrassed or, maybe, as though they have been called out on something. “Alright guys?” I ask.
They all appear to come back to the present moment as I speak. Looking around, they in turn, respond in the positive that they are alright. I look back at the being. It gives me a mysterious smile. “We are all having a different conversation with you, aren’t we?” I ask.
“Astute observation, Child,” it responds. “You were all hearing what you needed to hear from me. This last thing, though, is for you all. Happiness is also governed by air. As are laughter and joy and since I have already introduced you to flight, I will also introduce you to whimsy to end our chat.”
With that, we begin tumbling within the whirlwind. We go up. We go down. We circle each other in an ecstatic dance none of us are in control of. Only when we are all laughing hysterically with joy does the being put us down.
We land on the grass of the ditch bank on our rumps. Our sides hurt. Our cheeks hurt. We are all out of breath. I am the first to look up. The sky is no longer black. There are no clouds. That show, I think, was just for us.
Then, a brightly colored butterfly flutters toward me and lands on my forehead.
SITTING ATOP THE THRONE OF JUDGMENT
Here's a scenario we can all identify with: A person does or says something you don't like. (Maybe they said your idea was stupid or that your outfit was dated or too tight.) That person then goes on as though he or she did nothing wrong. You, not liking what was said or done, think about that 'slight' every time you see that person. Then, you nitpick his or her every move for months. You stop talking to them. You go out of your way to make him or her feel uncomfortable or stumble. You intentionally stir up trouble for that person weeks or months after the initial 'slight'. You hold on to your anger and righteous indignation declaring it to any who would listen because that person is a 'bad' person. Half a year later, you still sit upon your Throne of Judgment because you didn't get what you want. Eighteen months later, you still look for ways to dig at that person. In five years, you can't even remember why you don't like that person, but you are certain that he or she is evil and everyone should avoid them at all costs.
We have all been there. None of us sit in a place of pure love all of the time (and if you say that you do, then you are also a liar). We all sit in judgment of another, whether or not it is the right thing to do (and the Ego always says it is right and justified). When we do that and, especially, when we allow revenge, pain, or stirring trouble against that person to consume us, we have climbed upon our Throne of Judgment. What our Ego doesn't tell us is that Throne of Judgment is flimsy. It isn't sturdy. It falls apart easily. It is constructed full of holes and rotting wood. Maybe a leg is missing. We look at this Throne through the eyes of the Ego and this wobbly, rotting, bit of wood and glue becomes this glorious oaken seat with velvet cushions, gold-capped nail-heads, a fur wrap for those drafty days, and a matching velvet-topped ottoman to rest your righteous feet.
The problem with sitting in judgment (and the danger of it) is that the other person may not even realize you are still angry at them. If that person has moved on then your anger is wasted emotion. If that person has walked on up the path they walk, then the boulders you call yourself throwing may only be pebbles to them. If that person has no feelings of ill toward you, then what you see as stumbling blocks, they crawl on top of to get a better view of what lies ahead. Your judgment isn't causing that person any pain, resentment, or other negative emotion because they are beyond your realm of influence. You are only fighting with yourself when you hang on to the 'slight'.
Another problem with sitting in judgment is that, ultimately, the self righteous hanging on and self-justification of all of those negative emotions creates an imbalance within the spiritual self. If the Ego is in the driver's seat, then the Higher Self can not be accessed as readily. Well, what does the Universe do when there is an imbalance? Yep! It seeks to create balance. If there is a huge amount of Ego, then the cure is humility. So smash, bang, crack, pow! Some part of your life gets banged up a bit. Maybe that part is your job or your finances or maybe that part is the disintegration of another friendship or maybe your spouse cheats on you. The karmic repercussions don't necessarily happen in the same area of your life. Balance is balance.
So, if 'bad things' are happening in one area of you life as you sit upon your Throne of Judgment, it isn't the other person throwing bad juju at you, it's your own accumulation of bad juju as you sit upon your Throne. Having constant headaches? Your third eye or crown chakras are likely clogged or closed shutting off the flow of energy and severing your connection to your Higher Self. Feeling tired all of the time and having low energy? That's from constantly searching energetically for the 'bad things' that other person is 'focusing' upon you. Another word for that is paranoia. Want to go crazy quickly as a magical person? It is very, very easy to do that when one walks between the worlds and is in constant contact with the energies around us. The Ego can filter anything in a way to make you think someone is out to get you.
Unfortunately, the Universe does not revolve around any of us as single entities. So, your judgment of another is your own. The price you are willing to pay for 'being right' is your own. However, as you sit upon your Throne, do not blame others for the karmic debt you incur. When that Throne finally collapses into a heap, do not point fingers. When the illusions are finally disbursed and you can see clearly the unfiltered situation, remember that cause always leads to effect and that what we put out always comes back to us. Magical people tend to quote that, but then forget it when they want revenge. They tend to forget it when their ego is bruised and want to hurt another back. For Wiccans, the last few lines of the Rede is good to remember:
Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.
Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.
These Eight words the Rede fulfill:
"An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will"
For those not Wiccan, the Universal Law of Cause and Effect will do:
"Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law." — The Kybalion.
Or maybe the Law of Polarities:
"Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled." — The Kybalion.
No matter what, there are certain universal truths out there, laws that must be followed. When we sit in judgment, others judge us and that is not something we want. We yell 'live and let live' but then do not. When does it end, the cycle of judging? When is it okay simply to let it go? When is it okay just just let someone else be right, even when they are wrong? That's my personal choice. Hell, their being 'right' doesn't hurt me in any way and they will be the ones to have to deal with the karma of it. I do not have to love or hate them for their blindness. I just have to keep walking my own path. Their being 'right' has no bearing on my purpose in life, even if they are sitting in direct judgment of me.
When the Ego Runs Rampant...
Ego has been on my mind as of late. Not just presented as arrogance or aloofness, but what happens when the ego presents itself in the form of a title? What happens when the ego presents itself in the form of laziness? What happens when it presents itself in a form other than what many of us have been trained to pinpoint? What happens when it is pointed out in that alternate form? Do you really think declaring shenanigans is going to change things? Of course not! The ego is a wily being, just waiting to jump in and 'save the day'.
I often look at myself and how I handle situations. I often wonder if I allow my own ego to get in the way. I look at people I know, people I used to know, and sometimes, people I don't know and I recognize certain things. I recognize those who may need help in one way or another. I recognize that some of those people don't know they need help. I recognize that some of those people don't want help. This is a frustrating thing. How can I help those who don't want it or think they don't need it? The short answer is, I can't. At this point, my own ego gets in the way.
Instead of doing the sensible thing and simply being, gathering information for when that person does want help, I get impatient. This is a function of ego and I know it. I know better and yet I do it anyway. I feel quite fortunate that I have surrounded myself with those more experienced than I am, so that they can point this out to me. I don't necessarily like it, but once it is pointed out, my own feelings are then narrowed to a specific source and they tend to make more sense to me. The light bulb comes on and, suddenly, I can navigate these feelings from a different place.
What happens when we are presented with someone who believes him- or herself to be 'greater' because of a title that has been bestowed upon him or her? What if this title only means something in ones group or local community? A good example of this would be the title of Elder within a regional community. Elder status is not something that is given by the other Elders within the community (though in certain places, the Elders would have people believe this). It is a status bestowed by the people in the community, whether a person wants the status or not. Yes, it helps when the Elders accept the will of the community in regards to said person, but they can not foist Elder status of a person upon the members of the community if said members do not want it. This is as much a function of the ego as is holding Elder status back from a deserving individual (and ignoring the will of the community).
What about the public shunning of individuals, or leaving them out of group activities, or making a commitment to a person and then reneging on that commitment without so much as a word to the individual? All of these things have the potential to cause grievous harm, if the individual allows it. These are all functions of the ego. Of course, on occasion, the person shunned moves past his or her own ego and sees the shunning for what it is: The will of the gods for them to move on to greater things. Then, *poof* the actions of those who are doing the shunning seem silly and childish and another illusion has been dispelled.
Another thing the ego does, especially while in a position of leadership, is strokes the ego of those it sees as 'beneath' it, so they do not see themselves as being used. Have you, dearest reader, ever watched someone turn into a slave? I have, many times, unfortunately. People want to be seen as important, worthy, more than they are and they allow themselves to be manipulated right into slavery. They allow those whom they perceive to be wiser or more than they are to stroke their egos with feelings of importance, saying things like, "You are special." or "The gods have great plans for you." (And many other manipulative placation's.)
I have always felt myself quite fortunate that I have never had delusions of grandeur. I do not want to lead vast hordes of people. I do not want people hanging on my every word because I am 'somebody.' Yes, I still have issues with wanting to prove myself to others, but not to the point of changing my own will to match that of another person's or allowing them to plant certain suggestions. I have long figured that if I make a difference in the life of one individual who goes out and does the same, then I have accomplished a great purpose in this life. If, by writing these simple thoughts down and leaving them on the internet for anyone to read, one person is moved, changed, or even questions anything they have been told, I have accomplished something greater than myself and doing the work is what is most important, not who delivers it or how it is delivered. (And, it is certainly not important for me to jump up and down or do the "Look at me" dance...)
This world has enough 'somebodies' in it. There are more than enough important people out there who want to stroke each others egos and tell each other they are doing the good work. They want to tell each other how important they are to the masses and how the masses need them to keep doing the work. There are more than enough people out there with title and status. Jesus wanted neither title nor status. While he is not my god, I do believe he is a good example. Buddha did not want title or status. While he is also not my god, he is also a good example. Both did the work they believed they were sent here to do. They did what they did and many lives were changed for it.
I walk a path of service: Service to my gods and service to my community. Let no man's words or deeds hinder that service. Let no man's will or desire transcend the will of the gods. So mote it be.
psychic attack: practical defenses
If I had to guess, there is a metric fuck tonne of literature out there on psychic attack. I'm sure that I have even written on it a time or two through the years. However, this seems like a good time to do a guide on the different types of psychic attack as well as how to combat them in practical ways.
First, we must describe what a psychic attack is. A psychic attack can be defined as negativity sent toward a person, whether conscious or unconscious, with the intent to do harm. This includes both general negative juju as well as astral entities sent with the instructions to be bothersome. So, what can be done about it? Glad you asked!
Most suspected psychic attacks just simply aren't psychic attacks. What I mean by this is that another person isn't sending the negative juju, we are attracting it. Yes, it happens. Yes, it happens more often than we want to admit. Energy follows the path of least resistance. All energy. From a lightening bolt to an arc welder to a television, energy only wants to complete the circuit and do what it is meant to do. Psychic energy does the same thing. If you have a bad day and your thoughts turn to the negative, what happens? Things kind of snowball. When you go to bed, you reset and you get up the next day maybe feeling better, maybe not.
As human beings, we don't want to hear that we are the cause of our own harm, but we oftentimes are. Those negative thoughts tend toward lowering our vibration and allowing more negative (or maybe more appropriately, low vibration) energy in, which in turn, affects us and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.
What happens, then, if a psychic attack is just that? What can a person do to combat such an attack? Most books and websites out there make many of the same basic suggestions: smudging with sage, black stones (usually black obsidian and black tourmaline) shielding, bathing yourself in a white, loving light via visualization, etc. These things are suggested because they work. They are suggested often for the same reason. That said, what happens if you do these first line things and they don't work? Well, they aren't basic, first line things for nothing, right?
If basic stones, shielding, and smudging don't work, I like to do a combination of basic things next. That may sound silly, but sometimes layering works. What do I mean by layering? I mean using multiple artifacts for multiple purposes. For example: Smudging and placing a combination of black stones near any opening to my physical space. Maybe use tumbled hematite to reflect the energy back (tumbled hematite is shiny and can be used as a mirror) or raw hematite to absorb and ground the negativity. Then, use obsidian to 'cut' the energy. It is, after all, volcanic glass.
After that, a protection and banishing oil using salt, black pepper, cinnamon, bay, rosemary, and cayenne pepper can be made. The salt creates a boundary. The black pepper (again) 'cuts' the energy that might get past the stones. Cinnamon and cayenne pepper are hot and will burn (both literally and figuratively). Bay and Rosemary are both for protection. **A word of caution when using this oil. Cayenne and black pepper will burn the fuck out of your mucous membranes if you don't wash your hands thoroughly after using it!!!!!** Mix it as you would any oil, and anoint your doors and windows with it. I would not suggest using this mix on yourself, as again, the peppers and cinnamon can burn your skin.
Once these things are done, wait and see. If things get better, you have protected yourself. If things don't get better, there are other things to be done that are not quite so basic.
One, not quite so basic thing that can be done is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. If you haven't ever done it or don't know what it is, you can find this (particularly good) instructional on YouTube. The LBRP is an excellent tool for banishing all negativity. Yes, it does use the archangels, but this is from the Golden Dawn, so it's expected.
Another not so basic tool is the mirror. I say not so basic because mirrors can be broken (as can hematite, from above!!) Of course, one can not simply stick a mirror on the wall and call it good. It needs to be cleansed and charged for its purpose before being placed mirror side out. That's right. You want to see the back of the mirror. These must also be cleansed and charged every so often because they are magical tools in this instance.
A third not so basic exercise is to look your attacker in the eye and tell him/her you know what they are doing and it isn't working. This is, probably, one of the more dangerous things you can do. It is dangerous because if your will falters for even a moment, your attacker might just know it and can use it against you. It is also dangerous because it is, in essence, psychological warfare.
What I mean by this is that you have to use all of your own confidence and charm when confronting your attacker. How many of us can muster that up? Not many. It takes courage, confidence, and most of all, knowing ones self. You absolutely must be confident in your self, your will, and your magic for this to work in any capacity. The moment a doubt enters your mind, you have defeated yourself. So, this particular approach isn't for everyone.
However, if you want to try it and you succeed, then your attacker will be caught off guard by a few things. First, said attacker will be caught off guard by how bold you are. Your bravado (false or otherwise) will let said attacker know that you are not what you seem to be. Secondly, if done right, your bravado will plant a seed of doubt in your attackers mind. This is the reaction you want. You want your attacker to second guess him- or herself. Finally, if this approach works, anything you say after calling out your attacker will plant a seed that you are not to be trifled with.
If calling your attacker out isn't your style, there are other not so basic exercises you can use. I will reiterate, these may not be palatable to some as they are Craft and, as such, may fall within the realm of gray or black magics. (Oh, yes, yes she did!!) And, as we all know, the Universe does not like a vacuum, so what we put out always comes back to us. Before moving on, I ask that we all be aware of these things.
If you're still reading, good. The next exercise that can be done has two different meanings. The fith-fath. In the Irish and Scots Gaelic, a fith-fath is a charm, often spoken in rhyme. It is used to obscure a person from the site of another. We often hear children use fith-faths.
"I'm rubber. You're glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks on to you."
Oh, you've heard that one before? It's a bit of sound defensive magic, I think.
A fith-fath is also the making of a poppet. To create a fith-fath there is a whole ritual that goes with it that I will not get into here, but must life must be breathed into it. If you are interested in learning more about fith-fathing, please feel free to research. These can be used for bindings and other, similar, forms of magic.
A fetch is similar to a fith-fath. Again, depending on your information source, your fetch is created in the physical (like a poppet) with a ritual and sent to do your work to be undone when the task is complete. A fetch can also be an astral entity, similar to an elemental but created by you in the astral realms, sent to do your work and cause change or create havoc in the physical. Either way, once the work is done, it must be undone.
And finally, the Witch's Bottle. Oh a great many things have been written on a witch's bottle, but it's because they work. You can find recipes for them online, so I won't go into the mechanics of constructing them. I will, however, discuss the magical actions that having one creates. First, they are an excellent all around protection. However, they protect against all negativity indiscriminately. What does that mean? Well, it means that if you have one and you and your best friend have a big fight and said best friend spends the next 3 days (attacking your psychically) and wishing you dead, then said friend dies horrifically and unexpectedly, it could have been the bottle protecting you. Yes, I have seen something similar happen. One does not need to aim the bottle at a specific person. The inherent magic in the bottle (your intent and its sole purpose) is a very potent passive magic.
The other side to a witch's bottle is that particularly skilled practitioners can find a way to break them, therefore breaking the magic. If it is buried, they can find them and dig them up and then they have something of yours to use in magic against you.
All forms of magic, defensive and offensive, carry risks and benefits. Not all suspected psychic attacks are actually psychic attacks. As always, it is important to wield your magic with responsibility. It is important to weigh the costs and benefits of such magics. Protecting ones self and family from psychic attack is important, but also striving to do the right thing is, too. Always be practical in your workings and always be aware of how they can affect yourself and those around you.
in life there are two options: adapt or eliminate
There are times in our lives when the lessons are difficult. For some, the lesson of adapt or eliminate is an easy one. These people see something bad, negative, or otherwise not good for them and they let it go. These same people see something that can be turned into a positive thing and they adapt themselves to it and use it for the good. Unfortunately for me, neither adapting nor eliminating comes easy. It happens, but I often second guess myself or beat myself up over the decision. My choleric personality type often raises an eyebrow and asks, "Are you sure you aren't just giving up? If you can, even remotely, make a difference, why are you giving up?"
It is in these moments, when I have to remind myself that not everyone wants what I have to give. Sure, I want to instill confidence, beauty, and a bit of common sense in everyone I meet. I want them to draw upon their melancholy personality (which is what I mask my choleric with) and think. I want them to think for themselves. I want them to weigh the good and bad out for themselves. I want to gently guide them to these conclusions, but only if they are receptive. When they aren't receptive, I find myself either adapting to their negative or chaotic outlook, or I eliminate them from my life. Those are the only two choices I have.
I have found myself with people or in situations where, quite frankly, I open my big mouth and try to help. I see these people, whom I count among my friends, with fear, negativity, and chaos in their lives. They whine, complain, and lament their bad luck constantly. Being on the outside and having stood in their shoes, I understand now what I didn't know then. I understand that these people draw the chaos to them. They thrive on the drama and the chaos. If things weren't bad, they would happily sabotage something to have something to complain about.
I've been there. I've been one of those drama-seeking self saboteurs. The chaos in my life was exhausting! Of course, the exhaustion was just one more thing for me to whine about. I liked it. I liked blaming everyone else for the crap life was flinging so mercilessly at me. Now that I'm a bit older and maybe slightly wiser, I don't know what I was thinking! Not to say that my life is completely chaos free or anything, because it isn't, however, instead of succumbing completely to the tornado of chaos, I stand as strong as I can against it, willing myself to not get caught up. If I do happen to get caught up, I lament my luck for a bit (really, who doesn't?!?), but then I have to gather myself up and make a decision. I can allow it to take over my whole life, or I can adapt or eliminate.
There are few situations or people who I don't adapt to. I cherish the people in my life for the individuals they are. That said, many of those people are also in the Craft. We come to the Craft to learn. We come to the Craft to grow. We come to the Craft to become better than we were. When I point out a learning opportunity to someone and, because they don't want to learn and grow, I am the bad guy, I am the negative one, holier than thou, or whatever 10,000 other ways they choose to try and insult me, I know that it is time for me to move on. Adaptation is no longer useful and it is time to eliminate. I love them anyway and I silently walk away. I know that if they keep upon their path and walk it true that our paths will meet again down the road and we will have an opportunity to grow in our Craft together.
I've lost many people because of this choice. It's heartbreaking. It's difficult. It really makes you re-evaluate your life, your changes, where you are going, and what you are doing. For someone with my personality type, it also makes me wonder if the changes are worth it, makes me wonder if the progress is really forward progress. That said, I look around me and realize that for every person I have lost, two new ones have manifested and, despite how things may appear, they are wise and lift me up and, right or wrong, help me see my own lesson in the situation. As long as I learn those lessons, I can't be any worse off for it.